Aristotle: On Trolling

by Henry on May 7, 2016

Via Cosma, this, by Rachel Barney at the University of Toronto, is the best thing I’ve read on the Internets in quite a while. UPDATE: since it has been Creative Commonsed, as I should have spotted immediately, am publishing the whole below the fold, free to all finders, birds, beasts, Elves or Men, and all kindly creatures.

That trolling is a shameful thing, and that no one of sense would accept to be called ‘troll’, all are agreed; but what trolling is, and how many its species are, and whether there is an excellence of the troll, is unclear. And indeed trolling is said in many ways; for some call ‘troll’ anyone who is abusive on the internet, but this is only the disagreeable person, or in newspaper comments the angry old man. And the one who disagrees loudly on the blog on each occasion is a lover of controversy, or an attention-seeker. And none of these is the troll, or perhaps some are of a mixed type; for there is no art in what they do. (Whether it is possible to troll one’s own blog is unclear; for the one who poses divisive questions seems only to seek controversy, and to do so openly; and this is not trolling but rather a kind of clickbait.)

Well then, the troll in the proper sense is one who speaks to a community and as being part of the community; only he is not part of it, but opposed. And the community has some good in common, and this the troll must know, and what things promote and destroy it: for he seeks to destroy. Hence no one would troll the remotest Mysian, or even know how, but rather a Republican trolls a Democratic blog and a Democrat Republicans. And he destroys the thread by disputing what is known to be true, or abusing what is recognised as admirable; or he creates fear about a small problem, as if it were large, or treats a necessary matter as small; or he speaks abuse while claiming to be a friend. And in general the troll says what is false but sounds like the truth—or rather he does not quite say it, but rather something very close to it which is true, or partly true, or best of all merely asks a simple question about the evidence for climate change. Hence the modes of trolling are many: the concern-troll, the one who ‘sees the other side’, the polite inquirer into the obvious. For the perfected troll has no need of rudeness or abuse, or even of fallacy (this belongs rather to sophistic or eristic, and requires making an argument): he only makes a suggestion or indication [sêmainein].

And this is how the troll generates strife. For what he indicates is known to be false or harmful or ignorant; but he does not say that thing, but rather something close. In this way he retains the possibility of denial, and the skilled troll is always surprised and hurt, or seems to be, when the others take his comments up. And so he sets the community apart from each other, and introduces strife where before there was scarcely disagreement. For each person who takes up what was said grasps only a part of it, and insists on that, and is annoyed when others affirm something different. For some indeed see that the troll trolls, and are harsh; but others think that they ought to be more gentle, and others again do not even see the falsity, but grasp the truth which is nearby and insist that the troll ‘has a decent point’. And this is excess of charity and the death of the board.

The end of the troll is not in his own speech, then, but in that of the others, when they take up his comments in as many ways as bring regret. For there is excess or deficiency in each response, and then more again in each response to that; and every responder chooses his own words lightly but demands exactitude from the rest, and while correcting the others he introduces something new and questionable. And so resentment is built up, and the slighting begins; and the strife is the work of the troll but the origin is not clear.

Trolls differ primarily in their for-the-sake-of-which: at any rate some troll for amusement, and a few for profit, but most as enemies and members of a faction. (Hence the troll is thought to be weak, and one who sits in pyjamas: for the advantage to the faction is not worth much, and a courageous enemy would fight in some other way.) And of these the amusement-troll is in a way the worst, for he aims only at his own gratification. But this one is also the least harmful; for he is careless and easy to discern, coming close to being a lover of controversy. And since trolling is in each case a matter of choice, no one is ever a troll involuntarily or by accident, but only an idiot who has posted in the wrong thread.

One might wonder whether there is an art of trolling and an excellence; and indeed some say that Socrates was a troll, and so that the good man also trolls. And this is in fact what the troll claims: that he is a gadfly and beneficial, and without him to ‘stir up’ the thread it would become dull and unintelligent. But this is incorrect. For Socrates was speaking frankly when he told the Athenians to care for their souls, rather than money and honors, and showed that they lacked knowledge. And this is not trolling but the contrary, exhortation and truth-telling—even if the citizens get very annoyed. For annoyance results from many kinds of speech; and the peculiarity [idion] of the troll is not annoyance or controversy in general, but confusion and strife among a community who really agree. And since the one who does this on every occasion must act with knowledge, and on the basis of practice and care, he has a kind of art—just as one might speak of the art of the hack or of the grifter. But it is not really an art, being without any function; and it belongs not to the serious person to be a troll but to the one who lacks education.

What the troll is, and in what way he trolls and for what, has now been said. And it is clear from this that there can be trolling outside the internet. For every community of speakers holds certain goods in common, and with them the conversation [dialegesthai] as an end in itself; and the troll is one who seeks to damage it from within. So a questioner can troll a political meeting, and academics troll each other in committees when they are bored; and a newspaper columnist may be a profit-troll towards a whole city. But blogs and boards and forums and comments sections are where the troll dwells primarily and for the most part. For these are weak communities, and anyone may be part of them: and so their good is easily destroyed. Hence the saying, ‘Trolls are not to be fed’. But though everyone knows this, everyone does it; for the desire to be right on the internet is natural and present to all.

Journal of the American Philosophical Association / FirstView ArticleCopyright © American Philosophical Association 2016 This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/apa.2016.9 Published online: 03 May 2016. Author: RACHEL BARNEY UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO.

{ 848 comments }

1

Lynne 05.07.16 at 8:23 pm

That second paragraph is wonderful.

2

Henry 05.07.16 at 8:27 pm

It gets better – my very favorite bit is the last sentence which I don’t quote (and I hope that she or the journal puts the whole thing up somewhere non-paywalled so that those without journal subscriptions via their institution can enjoy).

3

Brad DeLong 05.07.16 at 9:00 pm

Journal of the American Philosophical Association, page 1 of 3 ⃝C American Philosophical Association doi: 10.1017/apa.2016.9 This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

4

Alan Bostick 05.07.16 at 9:01 pm

5

Roland Stone 05.07.16 at 9:01 pm

Henry, it is an Open Access article. PDF, HTML, Epub, Kindle links are there.

And definitely worth reading in its entirety. You should invite Prof Barney to blog here!

6

urban legend 05.07.16 at 9:07 pm

Heard on progressive talk radio:

“I’m a Bernie supporter and I will never, ever vote for Hillary because she enabled Bill’s misdeeds and went after his women.”

Now that’s a Republican troll in my book.

7

RNB 05.07.16 at 9:18 pm

In his new book on argument Fish has Milton setting up Satan as a troll of Eve

8

Donald A. Coffin 05.07.16 at 9:19 pm

That’s beautiful.

9

Mike Schilling 05.07.16 at 9:43 pm

It’s east to spot a community of closed minds: anyone who disagrees with the consensus is immediately branded a troll.

10

Val 05.07.16 at 10:11 pm

For Socrates was speaking frankly when he told the Athenians to care for their souls, rather than money and honors, and showed that they lacked knowledge. And this is not trolling but the contrary, exhortation and truth-telling—even if the citizens get very annoyed

I would definitely put myself in the Socrates camp rather than the troll camp when I try to introduce a feminist analysis to discussions on CT – even though the citizens sometimes get very annoyed.

(I think I saw this mentioned on Feminist Philosophers or somewhere, but I didn’t read the whole thing then – it’s delightful.)

11

RNB 05.07.16 at 10:23 pm

On not eating the apple Milton’s Satan: “Will God incense his ire/For such a petty trespass, and not praise your dauntless virtue?” But if God is not testing your courage, then perhaps He is devious: fearing that your capacities would be enlarged, is he worried that He will be less able “to keep ye low and ignorant/His worshippers. So either God is setting you up to be courageous or He is jealous and devious. Satan succeeds here as a troll in enticing Eve to question what had been an unshakeable commitment to treat the tree as forbidden. See Stanley Fish, Winning Arguments, pp. 24-6

That’s just awesome trolling.

12

Cassander 05.07.16 at 10:26 pm

Without articulating a method or criteria slfor distinguishing trolling from Socrates-ing, I really see little value here.

@Val

>I would definitely put myself in the Socrates camp rather than the troll camp when I try to introduce a feminist analysis to discussions on CT – even though the citizens sometimes get very annoyed

Of course you think that, but that’s exactly what a troll tells themself.

13

Henry 05.07.16 at 11:07 pm

Great that it’s creative commons – hadn’t spotted that and will change when back at a computer.

14

bob mcmanus 05.07.16 at 11:15 pm

Without articulating a method or criteria slfor distinguishing trolling from Socrates-ing, I really see little value here.

She states very clearly, that among other things, whether or not the person considers herself part of and for the community and its internally valued common goods is the critical distinction. This doesn’t strike me as so difficult.

15

MilitantlyAardvark 05.07.16 at 11:24 pm

@Cassander

“Without articulating a method or criteria slfor distinguishing trolling from Socrates-ing, I really see little value here.”

For it is the part of the wise man to distinguish such things and on that account the philosopher is most highly esteemed.

16

js. 05.07.16 at 11:46 pm

This is utterly brilliant. And yes, that final sentence, so good!

17

bob mcmanus 05.08.16 at 12:18 am

Oh, because “The personal is political” always demands the dance between the particular and universal, and the application of metaphor, metonymy and synecdoche I can’t help going up a level on the OP and ask: Can and how does the abject/subaltern/Dalit speak to the community that excludes them without being destructive, being a troll?

Presuming they are in some way separate things, which is open for me:

Can Black America speak in and to White America?
Can Feminists speak to and in the Patriarchy?

Some Marxist theory explicitly states that Marxism does not speak to Capitalism and the bourgeoise, but to workers (of course does not speak for workers) and trolling the superstructure profits no one.

18

RNB 05.08.16 at 12:40 am

Other example Stanley Fish discusses relevant to discussion of trolling–how paid industry lobbyists “market doubt” about the science on dangers of smoking, acid rain, DDT and global warming as analyzed by Oreskes and Conway. The troll here mentions the revisability of scientific belief to argue that radical action should be delayed because all the evidence is not in, though the troll has already granted that the evidence is never all in, having accepted this feature of science in his first move as a troll. I don’t find Fish’s criticism of Oreskes and C0nway convincing, but that is another story.

19

BBA 05.08.16 at 12:41 am

Like the man said, trolling is a art.

20

engels 05.08.16 at 12:58 am

The troll here mentions the revisability of scientific belief to argue that radical action should be delayed because all the evidence is not in

I blame the CIA

21

mdc 05.08.16 at 1:00 am

“Can and how does the abject/subaltern/Dalit speak to the community that excludes them without being destructive, being a troll?”

That situation doesn’t seem so different from the general situation of anyone with something interesting to say in pursuit of what they take to be true: that is, they wouldn’t be speaking unless they thought they had something new to say, and so implicitly some error or inattention on the part of their ‘community’ to correct. This better not be trolling, since it describes pretty much every author who’s any good. The Philosopher above is probably right to deny that the troll pursues the truth.

22

oldster 05.08.16 at 1:21 am

Your formatting obscures an important point in the translation of the last line, made clear in the journal.

Instead of “Hence the saying, ‘Trolls are not to be fed’.”
the original reads,
Hence the saying, ‘Trolls not to be fed’.

The angle-brackets on either side indicate that Barney has supplied the word “are” in her translation.

The conjecture is probably sound, but of course since the actual corresponding word does not appear in the Greek there is room for doubt.

In order to respect Barney’s scholarly caution, you ought to restore the angle-brackets.

23

oldster 05.08.16 at 1:24 am

And I now see that your commenting software swallows words between angle-brackets.

Well, in any case, the important point here is that no word for “are” appears in the original saying. Barney explicitly indicates that so far as that word goes, she has simply made it up. Whether rightly or wrongly will be a task for further philological investigation.

24

Roland Stone 05.08.16 at 2:00 am

Trying: “Trolls <are> not to be fed.”

25

Roland Stone 05.08.16 at 2:01 am

Well, that seems to work. Use &lt and &gt HTML entities if you want corner brackets.

26

Kiwanda 05.08.16 at 2:27 am

bob mcmanus 14: She states very clearly, that among other things, whether or not the person considers herself part of and for the community and its internally valued common goods is the critical distinction. This doesn’t strike me as so difficult.

Indeed, since trolling (in “Aristotle’s” discussion) consists mainly of malign motives and bad faith arguments, it existence depends on the interior mental state of the troll. Since the good people (that is, our group) can easily discern the mental states of others as needed, there’s no difficulty at all in policing for trolls, keeping our group in line, and keeping the bad thoughts out.

27

harry b 05.08.16 at 3:44 am

That is a work of art. Great art.

28

Meredith 05.08.16 at 4:32 am

I think I am with Kiwanda@26. Maybe I am just coming at this as a teacher who doesn’t try to mind-read her students (I have my theories and surmises about them, but I take each on as an honestly confused and searching person — like me), but I fear that the clever troll-reading here would discourage listening to honestly confused and seeking people. (suddenly the Greek etymos overtakes me, and gates of horn and ivory, and Penelope’s dilemma)

29

js. 05.08.16 at 4:58 am

The reason this is so brilliant is that not only is the style done almost to perfection (which let us note it is: “Whether it is possible to troll one’s own blog is unclear; for the one who poses divisive questions seems only to seek controversy, and to do so openly; and this is not trolling but rather a kind of clickbait.”—yeah, wow.) It’s also actually a really smart reading of the phenomenon of trolling. (For someone like me, it takes a couple of readings to get this because the writing is so good it’s distracting.) But the bit at the end about how trolling is possible in various contexts but easier on comment boards because *communities are weaker* and so more easily open to destructive disruption. That’s just very good.

30

Peter K. 05.08.16 at 5:24 am

Krugman was pretty good at trolling Bernie supporters during the primary.

Either that or he was a secret Sanders fund-raiser.

@9

“It’s east to spot a community of closed minds: anyone who disagrees with the consensus is immediately branded a troll.”

or they do what DeLong does and ban commenters for the mildest criticisms.

31

Shylock Homeslice 05.08.16 at 7:05 am

Delong blocked me on twitter the 2nd time I ever commented on his feed.

Twitter blocking is weird because it prevents you from reading somebody’s stuff, in addition to commenting (an alternative is to mute someone, and one can notify the person that you are muting him).

32

Shylock Homeslice 05.08.16 at 7:05 am

Anyway, I responded by tweeting that Delong is fat.

33

Neville Morley 05.08.16 at 9:06 am

Brilliant – though I would add that I think this sort of abstract categorisation needs to be supplemented with the critical account of the historical phenomenon offered e.g. by Thucydides in his description of the effect of factionalism on political rhetoric.

34

Val 05.08.16 at 11:54 am

Bob @ 17
Can Black America speak in and to White America?
Can Feminists speak to and in the Patriarchy?

Some Marxist theory explicitly states that Marxism does not speak to Capitalism and the bourgeoise, but to workers (of course does not speak for workers) and trolling the superstructure profits no one.

Feminists have to speak to and in the Patriarchy because it is performed by our brothers, fathers, lovers, friends – and, as bell hooks has said, by our mothers and even our sisters at times.

35

Kevin 05.08.16 at 12:15 pm

My personal favorite: ” (Hence the troll is thought to be weak, and one who sits in pyjamas: for the advantage to the faction is not worth much, and a courageous enemy would fight in some other way.)”

36

oldster 05.08.16 at 12:21 pm

Another way to think about its brilliance is to see it as an exercise in code-switching.

37

One of Many 05.08.16 at 3:20 pm

16, 36, 37:

‘This’ is said in many ways, for in one sense a ‘this’ is that which is primarily, i.e. that which is a substance, and in another sense it is a statement that is excellent in a way that has no need of a further account, because its excellence is more knowable by nature and without qualification, but also to oneself, than are the simple terms of any further account, though perhaps not more knowable to the mass of mankind. And the account of which every statement is a ‘this’, such as that of Barney, is the most excellent, and happier than that which merely ends in a ‘this’, for the former is similar to an album of which every track rocks, and of which every track is thought to be the most excellent on the album, until the next track, while the latter may contain much filler.

38

Lupita 05.08.16 at 3:46 pm

It’s an organism’s immune system that’s worth examining, not millions of various microbes

This is apparent to those who also participate on non-English-language comment threads and are able to compare. Each language group has its culture, assumptions, and acceptable ways of dealing with differences, ignorance, and disruptions. I haven’t seen the levels of trolling and anger that are displayed in English-languages threads as I have witnessed in the Spanish-language ones.

39

Anderson 05.08.16 at 4:25 pm

Really needing now a t-shirt with “For the desire to be right on the internet is natural and present to all. –Aristotle, On Trolling.”

40

Donald 05.08.16 at 4:54 pm

False accusations of trolling are probably at least as common as actual trolling. I was accused of trolling some months back at another blog, but as the world’s leading expert on my own motives I know I was perfectly sincere. It’s one of those blogs where you can up or down vote comments. I get a lot of up votes if I ( sincerely) praise a post in some moderately clever way and am accused of trolling if I think a post is stupid and say so.

Usually I’m not accused of trolling, but it’s still my impression that false accusations of others are pretty common. Of course, actual trolling is also ( IMO) pretty common.

41

RNB 05.08.16 at 5:06 pm

“the peculiarity [idion] of the troll is not annoyance or controversy in general, but confusion and strife among a community who really agree. “

As wonderful as this piece has been to read and re-read, I am not sure that it captures what goes wrong here.

Would there be a shared conception of the good here were CT not vulnerable to trolling?

What would that shared conception be–the only thing shared here seems to be that (excepting js and me) CT is as all-white site as a Trump rally.

I would say that the site is more marred by those who want to leave evidence of their exceptional moral integrity and incorruptibility though posts that are too long and/or too numerous than engage in a careful debate on difficult issues. Trolling is less a problem that a work ethic of excessive posting that serves the psychological need for signs of being predestined to be a member of the moral elect.

42

Anderson 05.08.16 at 5:19 pm

42: the behavior you describe in your last graf seems itself a species of trolling, since none of those “moral integrity” posts is without implicit criticism of others.

CT as a community seems to be dedicated to sincere discussion of whatever issues are at hand; the troll is one who advances an insincere or irrelevant position for purposes of derailing such discussion.

43

ccc 05.08.16 at 5:27 pm

Discussions about trolls are often individualistic. Trolls are examined as individuals and advice is directed at other individuals (“don’t feed the trolls”). But solutions must also be structural: make platforms that impede trolling! Some commenters on CT are trolls in that they pretty often try to derail discussion. The plain CT comments platform enhances their power. Switching to threaded comments and adding some downvoting/flagging powers (perhaps only for admins and a few trusted regulars) could curb trolling and its effects.

Jeff Atwood has written good stuff on the design perspective
http://blog.codinghorror.com/what-if-we-could-weaponize-empathy/
http://blog.codinghorror.com/your-community-door/

After CT’s Piketty seminar I made a User Script for hiding unuseful (in the eye of the beholder) comments which I’ll now repost. It works in Greasemonkey for Firefox and Tempermonkey for Chrome. Any comment text from a blacklisted name is replaced with “(removed)”. I’ve preset the blacklist with a few names. Change the list within square brackets on line 12 to add/remove names of your choice. Put the names there in lowercase even if the commenter usually uses uppercase letters.

The source for the script is here http://pastebin.com/XUyMxSPb

If you are familiar with User Scripts you should be able to see that the code does what it says and nothing more. If you aren’t familiar with User Scripts and if the code might as well be text in klingon to you then you should not use it since, even though this code is legit, it is a bad habit to use code you don’t understand that someone you don’t know has put on pastebin, even when they say it is legit.

44

weareastrangemonkey 05.08.16 at 5:39 pm

No this is just describing disingenuous argument, true trolling is about mischief and fun, it is about making people believe and react to the ridiculous. It is a form of sarcasm, it is what parents (with a sense of humour) do to their kids, it is what locals do to tourists when telling tall tales, trolling is glorious if done well.

This is a troll:

https://www.reddit.com/r/KenM/

Enjoy.

45

weareastrangemonkey 05.08.16 at 5:47 pm

The platonic form:

46

Ronan(rf) 05.08.16 at 6:12 pm

I liked the op, but tend to agree with weareastrsngemonkey. Id see the troll as a mischief maker, or mischievous sort. I think the article assumes too much rational thought and intent on the trolls part. A good troll is not necessarily trying yo sow division, but is part of the community not because they act as gadfly, but because they bring a class of merriment and sense of the absurd to the proceedings.
Having said that, I might have misunderstood who or what a troll is.

47

Chris G 05.08.16 at 6:27 pm

The analogy to trolling for fish is rarely noted. Pardon the Wikipedia quote:

“Trolling is a method of fishing where one or more fishing lines, baited with lures or bait fish, are drawn through the water… To be effective, trolling baits and lures must have the visual ability to attract fish and intrigue them with the way they move through the water. Most trolling lures are designed to look and behave like dying, injured, or fast moving fish…”

Is the analogy for that ‘clickbait’ rather than ‘trolling’?

Barney writes: “One might wonder whether there is an art of trolling and an excellence…” When it comes to fishing there certainly is.

48

js. 05.08.16 at 6:28 pm

Not threaded comments! Anything but threaded comments. Trolls for the most part don’t stop me from commenting on CT threads, threaded comments would.

Also, from the OP:

And of these the amusement-troll is in a way the worst, for he aims only at his own gratification. But this one is also the least harmful; for he is careless and easy to discern, coming close to being a lover of controversy.

49

Donald 05.08.16 at 6:30 pm

Accusing people of wanting to be part of the moral elect is just another form of name calling. In the current climate this means you are a Hillary supporter who dislikes commenters who argue the whole system is corrupt. We all know who you are criticizing ( not me, btw, as I am out of my league here and rarely post long comments, and furthermore think Clinton is the lesser evil.)

50

RNB 05.08.16 at 6:41 pm

Satan as serpent trolls Eve; climate change-denial “scientists” troll those who put epistemological value on science. John Holbo once interestingly (but not persuasively IMO) described Nietzsche as trolling the racists of Europe, pretending to play along only to undermine racist discourse from within. I think these examples fit the description of trolling in the OP.

51

ccc 05.08.16 at 6:52 pm

js. #49 “Not threaded comments!”

Why not? Have you used the Discourse platform (see Jeff Atwood links or go check it at e.g. Boing Boing)? Comments can be read as one long list but you can also click to read all replies to a post. It is a mean between old style “only one long list” comments (CT) and strongly threaded comments (reddit). With Discourse there is not excessive threading nor is there a deficiency of threads. It performs its function well. Which is good. As someone might say.

52

weareastrangemonkey 05.08.16 at 6:55 pm

I think there are many great trolls, three of my favourites:

Andy Kauffman, mixed wrestling champion of the world.

Chris Morris, see Brass Eye, a high light is getting the government to discuss in parliament the problem of the drug “Cake” – “Don’t do it! It’s a made up drug!”

Sascha Baron Cohen, most of his personas trolled celebrities and politicians, I think his best character was Muhammad Ali.

53

Kiwanda 05.08.16 at 7:33 pm

Anderson 43: “CT as a community seems to be dedicated to sincere discussion of whatever issues are at hand; the troll is one who advances an insincere or irrelevant position for purposes of derailing such discussion.”

Like the terms “politically correct”, “troll”, and even “harassment” and “abuse” and the various “ism”s, the word “derailing” has multiple meanings. As most commonly used, it means “someone is saying something I disagree with, and other people are paying attention”.

54

Stephenson-quoter kun 05.08.16 at 8:20 pm

This is a lovely, beautiful piece of writing. It is, for the most part, also correct. The recognition that trolling can only really be judged relative to the prevailing values of the community is vitally important, as it explains why an uncontroversial sequence of comments on CT would be regarded as trolling on, say, Samizdata (does that still exist?), and vice versa. “[D]isputing what is known to be true, or abusing what is recognised as admirable” are activities that would require very different speech depending on the values being disputed.

I think this leaves out something important though: we can judge a community, or even individuals, by what behaviour they would consider to be trolling. In some communities, statements in support of gun control or anthropogenic climate change theory or reproductive rights would be considered trolling, because the community has already decided that these things are wrong. Any attempt to out-wit the community’s leading advocates by forcing them into self-contradiction, or confrontation with indisputable evidence, would be seen as trolling.

A good 15 years ago, I was a moderator of a forum. The community had no particular ideological bias, and there was no presumption that political views were grounds for exclusion (out-and-out racism would probably receive a ban, but pretty much anything else was allowed). Because there was no community position on politics, one could not really troll the community as such. But there was a lightly-held assumption that getting really upset about other people’s political views on an internet forum was about as bad as having obnoxious political views in the first place, so it was really hard to troll the community as a whole.

What was possible was trolling specific individuals. This mostly entailed finding someone with a disagreeable view and a weak grasp of logic, and gently nudging them into self-contradiction, at which point their cognitive dissonance would cause them to make increasingly ludicrous statements. This would ratchet up until either a) the person would realise that they had become incoherent and admit defeat or b) it would become so apparent to everyone else that they had done so, and the moderators would call a halt. Generally speaking, this kind of trolling always felt benign to me; it is true that “[t]he end of the troll is not in his own speech, then, but in that of the others, when they take up his comments in as many ways as bring regret”, but causing a person to reveal the regrettable underpinnings of their arguments isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It happened to me on occasion, and made me more humble in the face of disagreement than I otherwise would have been.

It may be the case, therefore, that trolling is not a phenomenon of bad actors but of bad communities, or rather badly-governed communities. To be clear, I am not suggesting that if you have trolls in your comments that it’s your fault, but that many online discussion communities these days have both weaker moderation (Twitter) and stronger ideological biases (most blogs) than used to be the case, which makes them extremely vulnerable to low-effort trolling. The idea of a space in which communists and libertarians can argue amongst themselves, moderated by people who don’t have any particular stake in the outcome of the argument, in the context of a community that is tolerant of disagreement but not of overreaction to it, seems a long way away from reality even in the best internet communities.

This is where I feel mild disagreement with the conclusion:

But blogs and boards and forums and comments sections are where the troll dwells primarily and for the most part. For these are weak communities, and anyone may be part of them: and so their good is easily destroyed.

I’m not entirely sure what is meant by “weak communities”. I presume it means that the community is not central to the lives of its participants, which is certainly true of most online communities, but certainly not all. Perhaps it refers to weak moderation, or weak barriers to entry (but then why “and anyone may be part of them”)? In light of the earlier passages explaining how trolls target the community’s shared beliefs, it would be more correct to say that weak communities are predictable communities, in that they are defined by allegiance to some idea or principle or ideology, and are thus easily riled en masse by anyone who dissents persistently enough. The more a community is noted for its beliefs, the easier it is to troll. It is possible to build a troll-resistant community, by defining the community in opposition to excessive reaction to disagreement, but to do so necessarily means abandoning the maintenance of any other core set of ideas that all community members are meant to respect as self-evidently true.

55

js. 05.08.16 at 8:31 pm

ccc @52 — The short answer is that in my (limited) experience threading tends to make comment boards unreadable without significantly mitigating the troll problem. With the caveat that I am not familiar with Discourse (tho it seems to share general features with Kinja, which I’m sort of familiar with, tho haven’t participated in threads on):

Most of my experience with threaded boards comes from the Guardian, where I’ve occasionally commented on film and cricket boards, and Lawyers, Guns and Money. Guardian uses one-inset collapsible threads, which have the advantage of at least being readable. LGM uses a certifiably insane level of insetting that I at least find extraordinarily difficult to follow/make sense of. It’s supposed to “facilitate conversation” or some such, but I find it to be pure cacophony. Plus, you can end up with 10-character columns, which just ain’t right. In both cases, you get the further problem that everyone wants to be “near the top”, so the early threads can get a bit mad—and recreate the problems of unthreaded boards. Plus too, chronology becomes a giant mess, which I at least find unhelpful. And in exchange for introducing unnecessary levels of confusion and complexity, you don’t really solve the troll problem (assuming one exists).

On a slightly related note, I don’t think CT actually has a significant troll problem (I can certainly remember times when it was much worse). What it does have is a different kind of problem, which I’ll maybe get to in a later comment because it’s likely to piss everyone off at once.

56

Lynne 05.08.16 at 8:50 pm

js @ 56, I await this infuriating comment with interest. :) But I came here to reply to your horror of threaded comments, which amazes me. Threading makes it so much easier to follow conversations, which doesn’t matter so much when there aren’t many comments, but really matters in the mega-comment posts.

57

Collin Street 05.08.16 at 9:02 pm

Threaded comments means that discussion breaks up into sub-threads that can’t usefully/easilly draw from one another or rejoin; you can discuss sub-detail and sub-sub detail but there’s no real/easy way to integrate what you’ve learned.

Even usenet worked better.

58

Shylock Homeslice 05.08.16 at 9:24 pm

To weareastrangemonkey’s list I’d like to add the great troll Richard Lyons, who had the misfortune (if one cares about such things) of passing the same day as Prince.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Lyons_(musician)

59

Martin James 05.08.16 at 9:28 pm

Of all the things the Internet has unleashed on the world anti-trollism is surely the worst.

60

engels 05.08.16 at 9:29 pm

I get a lot of up votes if I ( sincerely) praise a post in some moderately clever way and am accused of trolling if I think a post is stupid and say so.

That’s pretty much my experience of blog commenting. Personally, I dislike trolling, I dislike ubiquitous false accusations of trolling and treating people like trolls when they are just defending their own opinions, and I disllike the endless ‘great post!” / ‘by far the best thing by anyone ever on this topic, you’re a better prose writer than F. Scott Fitzgerald, I broke down in tears while reading your blog’ / over-the-top sycophancy swarms of comments blog posts sometimes seem to elicit. There ought to be a word for that – it seems kind of like trolling’s mirror image.

61

Layman 05.08.16 at 9:46 pm

“There ought to be a word for that – it seems kind of like trolling’s mirror image.”

That’s trolloping.

62

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© 05.08.16 at 10:19 pm

Shocked to find trolling going on in here.
~

63

LFC 05.08.16 at 10:21 pm

js. @56
LGM uses a certifiably insane level of insetting that I at least find extraordinarily difficult to follow/make sense of. It’s supposed to “facilitate conversation” or some such, but I find it to be pure cacophony.

Though I’m perhaps not quite as down on the LGM insetting system as js. is (and I’m only an occasional reader of comment threads there), I think CT’s comment system is somewhat better and easier to follow. I really don’t see the pt of splitting a thread up into a whole bunch of mini-conversations via insetting. I realize that others (e.g. Lynne @57) disagree.

64

LFC 05.08.16 at 10:30 pm

p.s. I don’t have experience w the Discourse platform that ccc mentioned. That sounds as if it might be ok.

65

bob mcmanus 05.08.16 at 10:43 pm

over-the-top sycophancy swarms of comments blog posts sometimes seem to elicit. There ought to be a word for that – it seems kind of like trolling’s mirror image.

Squee

66

bianca steele 05.08.16 at 10:47 pm

@60 +1

I would add that I also dislike the social-sciencization of discussions of Internet behavior norms, the persistent obsession with group-building and the inevitable narrowing of the supposedly official focus until only a cult member could love it. And I’ve long thought CT has a problem in being tech-interested and seemingly wanting to attract the technical norm that once was, while also wanting to maintain discussion norms alien to that group –not so much a problem these days though.

That said, I can’t help adding this: If this were actually a treatise of Aristotle, the essay would be the first chapter. The second and third would begin as if they were the first and would offer different formulations of what might or might not be the same theory. 95% of the rest would be empirical studies of trolls with various circumstances being modified, requiring extensive debate to be reconciled with the theory. The last couple of chapters would be basically independent essays on tenuously related topics. It would be up for grabs whether the theoretical or empirical portions would age most badly; but the final, eccentric chapter would be timeless.

67

js. 05.08.16 at 11:20 pm

[I’m going to post this and go hide behind the sofa, so don’t expect replies or anything.]

I would say that the site is more marred by those who want to leave evidence of their exceptional moral integrity and incorruptibility though posts that are too long and/or too numerous than engage in a careful debate on difficult issues.

I would propose a weaker version of this. I don’t think it’s really about displaying moral superiority (tho that sort of showing off probably does play a role). What I do think it’s about is using any given thread to go off interminably about one of one’s small set of pet concerns, which may or may not have anything to do with the concerns of the OP to which one is nominally responding. It’s a form of mental masturbation essentially. And sure, maybe all blog commenting is mental masturbation at some level, but this is like tantric mental masturbation because it goes on for fucking ever. And this does of course derail threads in the very specific sense that now the conversation isn’t about what the OP was about. And anyone who does want to comment on what the OP was about is understandably discouraged because that’s again not what the conversation is about.

To put this another way. CT—well CT kind of has a white bro problem, a very sophisticated version of the white bro problem, I hasten to add. It’s been noted more than once that CT threads don’t get a lot of women commenters, that women who do comment often don’t stick around, etc. (If you’re genuinely inclined to wonder why, look through Belle’s threads or Maria’s threads.) It’s a kind of macho element that I completely recognize, having been to grad school for philosophy. To fully tease this out would take a while, but I think it’s the flip side of the tantric mental masturbation. Needless to say, this isn’t trolling, which also makes it more difficult to address (I think).

——

On as completely different note: One of Many @39—nicely done.

68

bob mcmanus 05.09.16 at 12:02 am

Trolloping is pretty good.

I like “squee” (” A noise primarily made by an over-excited fangirl”),for many reasons; the sound itself is somewhat gendered, as “troll” is gendered; it is already common usage; in those places it is used it is considered acceptable, even admirable, although in a somewhat complicated way, in that it includes the expression of vulnerability as a virtue, i.e., “I trust you folks, my community, enough to express my most embarrassing feelings” which makes it an opposite of secretive rolling.

Connected I think to the Japanese concept of Amae – 甘え …extended quote, because I think this connects to what the OP wants in order to be a place unwelcoming to trolls

Amae (甘え) is a Japanese concept/word that is used to describe people’s behavior when you desire to be loved, you desire someone to take care of you, when you want unconsciously to be depending on another person (your parents, your wife/husband or even your boss) with a certain meaning of submission.

there is even a verb amaeru that means “depend on the benevolence of others”. It happens that in Japan the amae phenomenon is very exaggerated and you find 40 years old women who act like a 15 years old girl. Japanese men like girls with childish faces, they expect childish behavior from women, they like them submissive

a girl who is working with me explains me at lunch time how much she would like our boss to be her big brother, so he could take care of her, someone like our boss would be her ideal brother.

Amae plays a fundamental role in a collectivist society where individualism is not well seen and people likes the group to have the power. Amae helps in the process of creating harmonious interconnections inside the family, in the companies and between friends.

I think “squee” carries these connotations of “amae”, of displayed vulnerability and excessive trust as virtue. The desire to be publicly uninhibited like a child, a safe space, a community that protects from nasty Internet trolls and competitive dudebros.

69

Anderson 05.09.16 at 1:11 am

54: oh please. “never mind X, what about Palestine/abortion/superdelegates” ….

70

J-D 05.09.16 at 1:19 am

RNB @42

‘What would that shared conception be–the only thing shared here seems to be that (excepting js and me) CT is as all-white site as a Trump rally.’

js. @67

‘To put this another way. CT—well CT kind of has a white bro problem, a very sophisticated version of the white bro problem, I hasten to add. It’s been noted more than once that CT threads don’t get a lot of women commenters, that women who do comment often don’t stick around, etc.’

Generally speaking, I can’t find sufficient evidence in people’s comments here to draw conclusions about their colour or their gender.

71

js. 05.09.16 at 2:04 am

Lynne @57 — Yeah, I’m pretty sure I’m in the minority when it comes to threaded comments. I’m sure there are ways they could be made to work well, or in certain contexts they would. But I will say that multiple-level insets should be against the Laws of Comment Boards.

72

LFC 05.09.16 at 2:16 am

I was going to react to js.’s comment, but instead I’m going to write my own hide-behind-the-sofa comment.

To wit: “Aristotle on Trolling” makes the point that a troll aims to sow “confusion and strife among a community who really agree” (emph. added).

What does the CT community “really agree” on? The comment threads feature proponents of views including anarchism, Marxism (of somewhat different varieties), social democracy, some kind of conservative or other libertarianism (a small minority, but it’s there), liberalism or progressivism (in the contemp. U.S. sense), etc. There has been a Clinton/Sanders divide in some threads, plus at least one commenter consistently not-unfriendly to Trump.

Although I think, to adapt a line of former Sup Ct Justice Potter Stewart, that I roughly know trolling when I see it, I’m not sure I cd precisely define it, nor am I sure how much a big deal it is to sow (artificial) strife in a community already characterized by considerable actual strife, or at least disagreement.

73

LFC 05.09.16 at 2:22 am

p.s. RNB @42 already made the point I am making. I’m just putting it in my own words. ;)

74

Kiwanda 05.09.16 at 2:22 am

Anderson 69: “54: oh please. “never mind X, what about Palestine/abortion/superdelegates” ….”

Yes, that is one kind of usage of “derail”. I described a different, more common one.

75

RNB 05.09.16 at 3:54 am

I actually think LFC is a model of engagement we all could learn from. At times I have been in vigorous disagreement with some of the ideas proposed by Corey Robin. It took me some time to figure out that LFC was not CR or even necessarily defending CR’s views but striving to make sure that they were understood so that debate would move us forward. He had actually read the relevant work. I appreciate this.

Several times LFC whoever she or he is had led me to a deeper understanding of what someone whom I was criticizing I was saying. At times I would drop my criticism, and other times I would try to deepen it. But either way I felt that I had learned something.

I would basically say that LFC is the anti-troll of Crooked Timber.

76

Val 05.09.16 at 4:11 am

What about feminism in your list of “views” on CT, LFC? I know it’s not there very often, but I do try sometimes.

Which in some people’s views makes me a troll! Because, I guess, in terms of the OP, they are united in seeing feminism as irrelevant to the discussion and therefore, I am a troll because I keep introducing irrelevant subjects.

It’s similar to something Bob said earlier – if a feminist tries to challenge the patriarchy (or the White Dude-Bros as js might suggest), is she a troll?

77

RNB 05.09.16 at 4:12 am

By the way, thanks to someone above for the Ken M pages. Oh…my….goodness. I am in awe.

78

engels 05.09.16 at 10:23 am

What would that shared conception be–the only thing shared here seems to be that (excepting js and me) CT is as all-white site as a Trump rally.

True (afaict) but it’s also just as much all-male, all-Anglophone, all middle-class, all over 40s (at a minimum, I’m guessing), and very heavily biased towards Americans, people with graduate degrees, and people with grievances and obsessions of one form or another and a lot of spare time. Not really representative of the world as a whole, or even white men. To the extent that there is a ‘white bro’ problem it’s seems as likely to have been caused by the self-selection of the OPs (see side-bar) as the commenters.

I do think there’s a kind of ‘wise old men’ vibe to some of the long threads with endless speech-length posts though

nor am I sure how much a big deal it is to sow (artificial) strife in a community already characterized by considerable actual strife, or at least disagreement.

That’s easy. Communities which are characterised by considerable disagreement have norms which circumscribe the space for such disagreement and the manner in which it can be carried on and violating these norms will create strife (to test this, you could try delivering a paper in defence of ISIS at the APSA, or punching a panellist…)

79

engels 05.09.16 at 10:33 am

And this does of course derail threads in the very specific sense that now the conversation isn’t about what the OP was about.

While I find this annoying at times I find it less annoying than the fact that the topics of the OPs are not themselves the result of any kind of democratic process.

80

Lynne 05.09.16 at 11:14 am

I enjoyed the definition in this post because I really wasn’t sure what a troll was, before, and from this I instantly recognized some behaviour I’ve seen here. Granted that there are other definitions, but running with this one, it seems to me that John Holbo is one of the biggest trolls here (can one troll one’s own blog?) He regularly sows discord, resulting in long, acrimonious comment threads, by appearing to write seriously about something serious, but really taking the opposite point of view, to everyone’s consternation (or at least, to mine.)

81

ZM 05.09.16 at 11:14 am

engels,

“What would that shared conception be–the only thing shared here seems to be that (excepting js and me) CT is as all-white site as a Trump rally.

True (afaict) but it’s also just as much all-male, all-Anglophone, all middle-class, all over 40s (at a minimum, I’m guessing), and very heavily biased towards Americans, people with graduate degrees, and people with grievances and obsessions of one form or another and a lot of spare time.

I find it less annoying than the fact that the topics of the OPs are not themselves the result of any kind of democratic process.”

Maybe we can form a CT commenter minority group organisation and request permission to write OPs twice a year which are written through our organisation’s democratic processes ;-)

82

Lynne 05.09.16 at 12:48 pm

“What about feminism in your list of “views” on CT, LFC?”

I think most people here would consider themselves pro-feminist the same way they consider themselves pro-gay-rights, for instance, but mostly they don’t want to talk about it explicitly. (To generalize madly, but that’s my impression).

83

LFC 05.09.16 at 12:59 pm

RNB @76
Thks for the kind words. I shd say I was not fishing for compliments w my comment @73 nor was I trying to defend troll-like behavior as ‘Aristotle’ defines it.

Val @77
What about feminism in your list of “views” on CT, LFC?

Feminist viewpts are underrepresented in the threads, I agree. This may be connected w demographic composition of the commentariat (already remarked on above) and to js.’ perception of some kind of ‘male style’ of argument (I hope I’m paraphrasing him accurately) referred to @68 (though he didn’t fully spell it out, as he said).

84

RNB 05.09.16 at 3:05 pm

@84 was already thinking of the compliment before you wrote @73.

85

engels 05.09.16 at 5:26 pm

comment threads feature proponents of views including anarchism, Marxism (of somewhat different varieties), social democracy, some kind of conservative or other libertarianism (a small minority, but it’s there), liberalism or progressivism (in the contemp. U.S. sense), etc. There has been a Clinton/Sanders divide in

I think this is quite an exaggeration. Iirc of the three (or so?) regular commenters call themselves Marxists, two are regularly treated like trolls (Ze was banned several times and Bob regularly gets called a troll by OPs). Imho Rich’s ‘anarchism which isn’t opposed to capitalism’ would be regarded as liberalism to most ‘anarchists’ who aren’t Rich. Apart from Corey the OPs are left-liberals. Imo it’s left-liberal blog with mostly left-liberal commenters – who do in fact agree on a lot, although that!s rarely foregrounds in the threads – with a bit of criticism from a conservatives and leftists.

86

PGD 05.09.16 at 5:38 pm

This piece just convinced me further that accusations of ‘trolling’ are just another attempt by the majority to get the minority to shut up. ‘Trolling’ in this piece akin to the old accusations of being a ‘splitter’ in Marxist circles. Except instead of the ‘splitter’ being exiled from the party for fracturing the unity of the proletariat, the troll is ‘splitting’ the hypothesized ideological unity of the discourse community. What is supposed to distinguish the troll from someone who just disagrees with you is that the troll is ‘pretending’ to be a member of your group while ‘actually’, no matter how politely or even correctly, disagreeing with what you posit to be the core principles of your community. But of course the claim to define these core principles and to get everyone who disagrees with them to shut up is itself a power play of the highest order.

Also, I didn’t find the pseudo-Aristotelean gobbledygook this was written in to improve the clarity or quality of the piece that much.

87

engels 05.09.16 at 5:44 pm

“Everything I know about Marxism I learned from watching Life of Brian…”

88

Rich Puchalsky 05.09.16 at 5:48 pm

I don’t think that engels’ “Marxism” is actually Marxism either, given that he doesn’t hold to any core Marxist beliefs. He’s just a poseur.

As for the rest, I see that it’s the usual: “a work ethic of excessive posting that serves the psychological need for signs of being predestined to be a member of the moral elect”, “mental masturbation”, “white bro problem”, “‘wise old men’ vibe”: all about people who are more interesting than you are and have more to say. It’s good thing that the anti-dudebros here are so concerned about civility.

I plan on ignoring the comments of the people who are being jerks in this way, so you can discuss whatever without me infringing on your safe space. Although if you do persist in lying about my views as engels does I’ll reply in kind.

89

PGD 05.09.16 at 6:36 pm

LOL, Engels.

The fundamental issue is that the discourse habits most effective for building solidarity and generating good feelings to bond a group, which is one kind of productive use of speech (especially good for political organizing) are quite different than the discourse habits for surfacing difference and possibly introducing enlightening new perspectives, etc.

I never hear anyone say this on the internet, possibly for good reason, but I have actually learned a lot from people who disagree with me in comments sections.

90

Anderson 05.09.16 at 7:38 pm

Also, I didn’t find the pseudo-Aristotelean gobbledygook this was written in to improve the clarity or quality of the piece that much.

BLANK STARE.

91

AcademicLurker 05.09.16 at 8:08 pm

Online fora tend to take on a specific character if they last long enough. I don’t see that it’s a problem that a space like Crooked Timber, with its own specific character, exists. It’s one among a huge number of options.

I would add that, of the slew of blogs that I started reading regularly when I first discovered the blogosphere back around 2004, CT is one of the few that is still active in recognizable form. Many of the others either faded away from lack of interest or imploded due to toxic interactions and general bad behavior. So CT would appear to be getting something more or less right.

92

engels 05.09.16 at 8:53 pm

I don’t think that engels’ “Marxism” is actually Marxism either… He’s just a poseur.

So you won’t be informing me that my discredited beliefs caused several million deaths anymore then – that’s nice

93

js. 05.09.16 at 10:04 pm

I plan on ignoring the comments of the people who are being jerks in this way

I’m glad we could come to a mutual understanding. But while we’re on topic, just one point. If you and others want to go around calling people “liar”, “bully”, “horrible people”, etc., then you all ought fucking well to expect to get back a little of what you’re happy to dish out.

——

On a more positive note, I completely agree with AcademicLurker that CT gets a lot right. And I am very happy that it exists. I certainly didn’t mean to imply otherwise.

94

Rich Puchalsky 05.09.16 at 10:14 pm

I’m glad to see the confirmation that js’ holier-than-thou condemnation of bromanship is just his resentment at his own behavior being called out on a previous thread. I do expect to get back some of what I dish out: I don’t pretend that I’m speaking for community values when I do so. As usual, the people who do pretend to speak for a community that they don’t actually speak for are just putting a smarmy face on old grudges and trying to pretend that anyone who disagrees with them has just insulted a whole group of people that they somehow speak for.

95

Rich Puchalsky 05.09.16 at 11:46 pm

AcademicLurker: “I would add that, of the slew of blogs that I started reading regularly when I first discovered the blogosphere back around 2004, CT is one of the few that is still active in recognizable form. Many of the others either faded away from lack of interest or imploded due to toxic interactions and general bad behavior.”

I once considered writing up a whole piece on why the blogs of that era died, and I remember from the little bit that I did that it was actually pretty rare for a group blog with more than a certain number of posters to die out. Those that did generally had, like The Valve, early goals that it became increasingly clear weren’t going to work out.

96

One of Many 05.10.16 at 6:51 am

Ze K @92

An ‘art’ (techne) in Aristotle’s sense is a craft or skill (e.g. medicine, housebuilding), which is more than just a knack because it involves principles and can be taught. It’s generally thought that an art has the function (ergon) of producing a good (health, shelter). Trolling has outcomes, but probably doesn’t count as having a function in that sense. Also, truly high-level trolling is arguably a knack or instinct that eludes codification. In which case it’s not an art.

js. @ 68

Thanks for the vote of confidence!

97

ccc 05.10.16 at 2:07 pm

js. @56: I think Kinja injects indented threads right below parent comment. Discourse puts new posts at bottom but has a button to show/hide all replies directly below a post. Works well for one level threads and could fit CT. I should add that I called Discourse threaded but they don’t: “Simple, but with context. Discourse is a simple, flat forum, where replies flow down the page in a line. Expand context at the bottom and top of each post – even quotes – to reveal the full conversation without losing your place.”, https://www.discourse.org/

Modest threading can help pinpoint trolls and if you click to read only one thread you’re spared trolls of other threads. More antitroll tools are needed.

Collin Street @58: “Threaded comments means that discussion breaks up into sub-threads that can’t usefully/easilly draw from one another or rejoin”

I’ve seen no platform that solves that for discussions (for software there is git/github). But with Discourse’s flat chronological list of comments can keep the current CT method of merging: add a new comment that in text mention ealier names/post numbers/topics.

js. @68: “using any given thread to go off interminably about one of one’s small set of pet concerns”

More generally CT comments branch into parallell discussions. Some between troll and troll feeders, some off topic pet concerns like you describe but it seems often branches are on topic but on a specific and complex issue that not all readers have time for or interest in. That “richness” plus no threading or other structural aid makes it harder to track the one branch you’re interested in.

98

Val 05.10.16 at 6:22 pm

I’m with js (in fact I seem to agree with js about a lot!) – I think non threaded is better than threaded, particularly at CT where people are commenting at different time zones (right now it’s four in the morning here and I’m on the overnight bus to Adelaide and can’t sleep). So you can have several different conversations going, and people can pick them up as they come in and out of the overall conversation.

99

F. Foundling 05.11.16 at 2:31 am

On the subject of the OP, PGD @ 87 is what needed to be said, as far as I’m concerned. As for the poor and downtrodden victims of CT leukadelpharchy on this thread, I deplore your plight with much lacrimosity.

100

Val 05.11.16 at 4:01 am

@ 83
I think most people here would consider themselves pro-feminist the same way they consider themselves pro-gay-rights, for instance, but mostly they don’t want to talk about it explicitly. (To generalize madly, but that’s my impression).

But why, Lynn? Do they think feminism is a kind of side issue?

I have been reading some gender analysis in my area (public health) and it tends to confirm the old trope ‘gender = women’. In general, seems as if much discourse proceeds as if there are ‘normal people’ (adult, able bodied white men + plus people, including women, who can play by the rules for adult able bodied white males) and ‘others’ (people who can’t or won’t play by the rules for adult able bodied white males). That’s a crude summary but obviously I cant reproduce here all the 14000 words I’ve just written on this stuff! (Perhaps when I finally finish my thesis I will be able to summarise these ideas simply and clearly – maybe :) )

101

Val 05.11.16 at 4:06 am

@ 102
Ok, what is “leukadelpharchy”? I have googled it, and Google says it does not match any documents (in the known universe, presumably).

102

J-D 05.11.16 at 4:13 am

Val @104

It’s a nonce-word constructed from three Greek roots (each of which can probably be found using Google) to mean ‘the rule [or ‘domination’] of white brothers [or ‘the white brotherhood’]’.

103

Val 05.11.16 at 6:39 am

Thank you J-D. And can you explain this:
As for the poor and downtrodden victims of CT leukadelpharchy on this thread, I deplore your plight with much lacrimosity.

Is it just snark, coming from a place of privilege*? Or does it have some useful contribution to make in the world?

*I think the kind of privilege that white men have is a kind of privilege that’s not worth having, for all sorts of reasons, but just on the empirical evidence, they still have it, and it would be better for everyone if they didn’t.

104

J-D 05.11.16 at 8:23 am

Val @106

Since you ask me, I can find no value, as a contribution to this discussion, in the sentence you quote.

105

Lynne 05.11.16 at 9:35 am

Val, yes, I believe that sometimes it is looked at as a side-issue. Other times, I believe feminism is assumed to be included without being mentioned, as in “I’m talking about human rights, which naturally includes women’s rights”.

I think this is particularly unfortunate given how watered-down feminism has become (not here, specifically, but in public generally).

106

Lynne 05.11.16 at 9:36 am

But as someone said above, there’s nothing wrong with one blog among many being a place for white men to talk about politics and academics. It’s a private blog, we’re guests. It rankles when the topic is something germane to women, like abortion or sexual assault, though.

107

engels 05.11.16 at 3:22 pm

there’s nothing wrong with one blog among many being a place for white men to talk about politics and academics. It’s a private blog, we’re guests.

If a blog stated it is ‘a place for white men to discuss politics’ and all comments from women and black people were blocked, there’d be nothing wrong with that because it’s a private space and just one blog among many?

108

Lynne 05.11.16 at 3:32 pm

Engels: No.

109

engels 05.11.16 at 3:48 pm

So it’s okay to have a whites-only politics forum (on private property) provided it’s not an explicit policy?

110

Ronan(rf) 05.11.16 at 4:04 pm

There isn’t even an implicit policy of attracting “whites males only” to comment here, so the argument is moot. It’s just US identity politics lunacy (basically rnb wants more of a specific demographic (manufactured for purposes of personal grievance )commenting, ie more of himself, which is all of the above with a different skin pigmentation)

Val, keep an eye out for this when it’s not behind a paywall .

https://www.jacobinmag.com/2016/04/catholic-church-ireland-magdalene-laundries-mother-baby-homes/

Might be interesting to you

111

bianca steele 05.11.16 at 4:27 pm

Ronan:

Just after I started commenting here–having decided a few years before to use a pseud but to be explicitly female, as I am in real life (and having said that, of course, I’ve called in to question for a “certain kind of commenter whether I am or not, which kind of thing is part of the reason I no longer use my real name)–there was certainly a little flurry of discussion over whether (or rather, over the fact that) this is a place where there’s a kind of male-only culture. Of course, I had no way of knowing whether they meant “this is a tech kind of world” (which would have been an odd thing for someone who knew me to “warn” me about, I’d have thought) or whether they meant “this is an academic kind of world (which I’d certainly encountered before, weirdly enough, among Shakespeare-authorship cultists and teenage David Foster Wallace fans), and they only succeeded in annoying me and resulting in my having a lasting distaste for people using coyly probably-Anglo-male-but-now-that-you-mention-it-I-see-what-you-mean “ambiguous” screen names.)

I also am (irrationally) annoyed by the person who calls themselves “Bob Smith” for months and then suddenly comes out with, “You’re only nitpicking my grammar because I’m not a native speaker of English!” Which who knows WTF is going on with that person, maybe they’re trying to have it both ways, maybe they’re making fun of non-white people who are not themselves, maybe they’re being “ironic.” I miss the days when you could have a good grammar subthread. But c’est la vie.

112

engels 05.11.16 at 4:59 pm

the argument is moot

Huh? #109 says:

there’s nothing wrong with one blog among many being a place for white men to talk about politics and academics. It’s a private blog, we’re guests

which implies, I’m fairly sure, that CT is such a place. I disagreed with the italicised statement (I think that barring special circumstances there probably is something wrong with a blog that is ‘a place for white men to talk about politics’ even if it is ‘a private blog’), you evidently disagree with the implication (but clearly others disagree with you). I’m baffled as to how that makes either point ‘moot’…

113

engels 05.11.16 at 5:10 pm

There isn’t even an implicit policy of attracting “whites males only”

I’m not really interested in pursuing this myself but it hardly seems implausible that the fact that out of 16 front-page posters all but three are men and every one is white would have some causal effect (where iirc around 70% of the USian population is white and 80% of the British…)

114

RNB 05.11.16 at 5:42 pm

@113 I was thinking more along the lines of how more diversity in the OP could have led to broader discussions, e.g. in the Piketty seminar no OP even mentioned his analysis of inequality in the Middle East or the dynamics of nationalization in post-colonial Africa or the nature of racial wealth inequality in the US; but we did have discussion of Australia. Most of the US election stuff has been focused on Sanders vs. Clinton. I don’t think there has been an OP on how Trump may be changing the norms of racial discourse in the US. Stuart Hall passed; there was no mention. University politics have been recently been violent in India and South Africa (from what I understand)–no mention. Obama is about to visit Hiroshima–no discussion. What is happening in Brazil is quite interesting, to put it mildly.
I understand that you think I am promoting a narrow identity politics of grievance. If so, just ignore what I write. I try to contribute to discussions substantively. The way I see it, the list would benefit from more diverse OP’s.

115

Ronan(rf) 05.11.16 at 6:06 pm

Well you compared CT to a trump rally, so what am I to assume ? I’m not sure what “whiteness” has to do with talking about the non west ? The one consistent (self identified) non western poster here you dismissed on the immigration thread, even as she gave a different perspective from the sending country, so apologies for not taking your pronunciations on the preferences of the non white world as gospel.

116

engels 05.11.16 at 6:14 pm

I vote for Stuart Hall and Brazil – I’m over there for a few weeks shortly and will hopefully talk to people a bit about the situation – in the mean time, Perry Anderson’s well-worth reading

http://www.lrb.co.uk/v38/n08/perry-anderson/crisis-in-brazil

117

RNB 05.11.16 at 6:17 pm

Well don’t take anything I say as gospel. I did not dismiss Lupita. I cited Milanovic’s evidence of the international wage differentials for different categories of workers. Lupita cited evidence of the differences in minimum wage not being as high,but they still are remarkably high, though perhaps the difference is not usually 10x greater. There are of course many min wages in a given country and huge informal sectors outside those laws.

But take another example from Ha-Joon Chang–how do you explain Sven a bus driver in Sweden making perhaps 50x in PPP adjusted dollars than Ram a bus driver in India. It’s quite possible Ram has to be a better bus driver. I would not minimize the effects of luck in the birthright lottery and to the extent that Lupita is doing that, I find her unpersuasive.

118

Ronan(rf) 05.11.16 at 6:19 pm

Engels, yes, their interests are quite obvious. Here you won’t find arguments over doctrinal disputes in Lebanese Shiism . So what ? They are white-anglosphere-political economy people. The fact that they don’t overly branch out, IMO, is a positive, as it means the content is higher. And this is not a homogenised demographic. There is a lot of diversity within the Atlantic/aus political world , even if the monoperspective of US identity politics might ignore it

119

Ronan(rf) 05.11.16 at 6:30 pm

Rnb,but (afaicr)lupitas argument wasn’t solely about wage differentials, but the effect of large scale emigration on sending countries, which is not captured by individualised comparisons. The developmental impact of large scale immigration is often overlooked, or at least dismissed by short term studies, by migration boosters. The long term social, demographic, political and distributional consequences, I thought, would at least be taken semi seriously by a Marxist

120

Ronan(rf) 05.11.16 at 6:32 pm

Typo- emigration , not immigration.

121

RNB 05.11.16 at 6:46 pm

@122 Lupita offered no serious discussion of the impacts of emigration on the sending country. We would have to look at remittances and whether FDI from the host country becomes biased to countries sending a lot of emigrants. We’d have to balance brain drain effects with the possible opening up of job opportunities. I found Bertram quite unconvincing in his attempt to minimize the life chance advantages emigrants could enjoy even with partial rights with his vague talk about a loss of capabilities to the full cost of which the obtuse emigrants are somehow blind.

122

Ronan(rf) 05.11.16 at 6:51 pm

Well, we can agree to disagree. I found you were unresponsive to any argument put to you. Regardless, in this thread you tried too write off any opposition you might face (past , present it future) as

“CT is as all-white site as a Trump rally.

I would say that the site is more marred by those who want to leave evidence of their exceptional moral integrity and incorruptibility though posts that are too long and/or too numerous than engage in a careful debate on difficult issues. Trolling is less a problem that a work ethic of excessive posting that serves the psychological need for signs of being predestined to be a member of the moral elect.”

123

RNB 05.11.16 at 7:08 pm

Well you should learn how to quote honestly. You put in ellipses when you excise material. What I wrote was “What would that shared conception be–the only thing shared here seems to be that (excepting js and me) CT is as all-white site as a Trump rally.”

As LFC understood, the point here was to emphasize that there may be no shared sense of the common good here at CT that a troll could undermine. But sure I don’t think there is any harm in asking ourselves who is posting and not posting here.

On the morally elect comment, it was a delayed response to being called “shameless” a couple of times by a very troubled poster.

OK obviously I am posting today because I need to take a breath after marking exams. But back to that.

124

Ronan(rf) 05.11.16 at 7:14 pm

There’s no significant difference between your quote and mine

Now, from enda delaneys “diaspora”

“It was also presumed at least initially that migration had a positive impact on the economy of the southern European sending countries in that unemployment levels would be reduced, much needed foreign currency acquired and the migrants would eventually return with useful skills. However, the available evidence indicates that the ‘benefits’ of migration for sending countries were in fact illusory. It would be difficult to summarize the various strands of this overarching debate on the effects of migration on the sending country here, but increasingly the consensus – insofar as one exists – appears to support the view that few benefits were accrued by southern European countries by large-scale migration to western Europe.”

I would genuinely love if the adherents of mono causality in US political science would read the historical record

125

RNB 05.11.16 at 7:20 pm

Well there is a difference. By not giving the full quote you don’t allow readers to understand how it was a criticism of the trolling piece insofar as it could be applied here. It’s not how honest people operate. If you leave something out from the sentence you are quoting, you put in ellipses. People should be forewarned that you should not be trusted in summaries of others’ positions here.
Your quote proves nothing of course. If the advantages to the emigrants themselves outweighs any loss to the sending country, then you have no welfare argument against migration.

126

bianca steele 05.11.16 at 8:20 pm

Ze K @ 129

But if everyone is rational, it’s just like if you didn’t have diversity, eh? “We need more Diversity” is just the complaint of those who can’t cut it (in Val’s words, “can’t or won’t play by the rules for adult able bodied white males”)?

In that case, we can rely on Bruce Wilder to formulate the sense of the comments thread, and the rest of us can take a nap.

127

bianca steele 05.11.16 at 8:50 pm

So you’ve got your educated, comfortable, cosmopolitan liberals who make economic arguments with math and fit in at one of the Cambridges, but you also want “the real people”: a Trump rally? That’s diversity?

128

F. Foundling 05.11.16 at 8:50 pm

Val @ 106

>Is it just snark, coming from a place of privilege*?

Snark indeed it is, as snark is all that your complaints about being oppressed or marginalised by CT ‘whitebro culture’ deserve. As for you, I won’t even bother – been there, done that. As for js. @69, he ludicrously implies that thread derailment is somehow a white male thing; and then comes the dark hint that when Maria and Belle Waring’s posts are sometimes criticised, this is somehow mistreatment of them qua women (and not, say, a reaction to the content of their posts). Of course, the hint has to be portentous, yet vague and nonspecific, because otherwise it might be difficult to defend. As for RNB, at 42 he makes a similarly portentous comment about CT’s being as white as a Trump rally except for him and js.; this was clearly about race, not nationality (since they are both American). That CT is too limited to Anglosphere perspectives (@ 117), which I agree with, is a completely separate issue from race.

As for my ‘privilege’, considering the shitty country I am from, you Western academics and professionals, black or white, female or male, are all automatically very palpably above me, financially and in terms of living standards. In addition, you are privileged by the fact that it is the governments elected by you that invade, subvert democracy and instigate and support coups in countries like mine, not vice versa. As a matter of fact, both of you, RNB and Val, have defended this privilege by supporting the US presidential candidate that has engaged in such actions (besides her general pro-business, anti-egalitarian policies). Flaunting an oppressed identity, while actually defending and serving oppression is an excellent way to advance within the System, Condoleezza Rice-style.

Lynne @109
>But as someone said above, there’s nothing wrong with one blog among many being a place for white men to talk about politics and academics. … It rankles when the topic is something germane to women, like abortion or sexual assault, though.

Absolutely nothing prevents any non-white or non-male person from talking about politics and academics on CT. If *you* don’t join any discussions but those specifically germane to women, that’s *your* choice, not the fault of other commenters or blog policy.

Probably won’t be responding, because handling the shitstorm likely to ensue would take too much time.

129

phenomenal cat 05.11.16 at 8:57 pm

“But sure I don’t think there is any harm in asking ourselves who is posting and not posting here.” –RNB @ 126

Ah, yes, so very innocuous.

It seems to me you’ve got the best of several worlds, RNB. On the one hand you can dismiss Lupita’s perspective because of your extensive training, technical proficiencies, and general scholarly seriousness while on the other you can bemoan how the white maley-ness of CT site keeps its short on perspectival diversity.

It’s discussions like this that convince me that new and better definitions of the concept “diversity” are needed.

130

bianca steele 05.11.16 at 10:00 pm

It occurs to me I may have misread Ze K. Maybe what they want isn’t for the Trump rally guy to be actually here, but for us over-cosmopolitanized comfortable professional US liberals who all are comfortable discussing academic stuff as would be acceptable in whatever Cambridge, to listen to those regular Trump rally people? (I admit it, I’ve been on the Internet too long and can’t keep track of the crackpot theories anymore.) Maybe “Trump rally people” is a total, ridiculous myth, one that we rich people whose daddies paid cash for college (because how the hell could we feel free to post comments on such a high-class place as Crooked Timber otherwise) have projected onto the real people. And obviously the fact that we defer to over-cosmopolitanized academics is something we would never do if we listened to the real people.

131

Val 05.11.16 at 10:09 pm

Love these guys like F Foundling that say they’re not going to engage with me because I’m so stupid always whinging about my so-called “oppression” (where did I do that? Point me to the place?), but just while they’re talking, I’m wrong about everything, especially supporting Hilary.

I know nuance is hard, but please try: I’m not American, I can’t vote in your elections, but if I were I would probably vote for Bernie, however I would be a bit sad about not being able to vote for Hilary, because I think she has a good track record on feminism and issues that particularly affect women, such as work and family, also it would be great to see a woman as US president.

Said it before, can say it again if I really have to, but why do I get the impression that people like F Foundling aren’t interested in what I’m saying so much as they are interested in what their imaginary Straw Woman Feminist is saying?

And also just for the record – I’m a pacifist, have been for many years – like 300,000 other people including my children, I marched in the biggest demonstration Melbourne has ever seen against the Iraq war, just before our then government ignored us and took us into it. Yes, ‘my country’ invades others, but I don’t support it.

132

bianca steele 05.11.16 at 10:12 pm

why do I get the impression that people like F Foundling aren’t interested in what I’m saying so much as they are interested in what their imaginary Straw Woman Feminist is saying?

Because they’ve long ago lost interest in replying to people and are working on moving the discourse one paragraph at a time. You are only interesting as a provider of material for them to work with. They may not even realize anymore that individual people exist, just floating indications of mentalities. (Maybe that doesn’t apply to FF and if so I apologize. It’s a generalization and doesn’t need to be applied to any one person to be informative.)

133

Val 05.11.16 at 10:28 pm

Thinking back to one of Harry’s earlier posts where one of his rules for creating gender inclusive class room discussion was always to call out Strawmanning, I remember I said I would always try to call out Strawwomaning when directed against me as a feminist / female commenter.

So just to make it formal, F Foundling, I’m calling you out for Strawwomanning me. That’s the kind of stuff that likely discourages women from commenting, not because, as you imply to Lynn, they’re just too feeble and whingy to do so.

Btw F Foundling, I owe you an apology for accidentally implying that US elections were “your” elections in my previous comment. I’m used to having this particular argument with US commenters. But as you said you come from a “shitty” country that the US invades, I guess you are not. I’m interested to know why you call your country shitty by the way – because you think it is, or because that’s what you think most CT commenters would think of it? Why is it shitty?

134

Val 05.11.16 at 10:45 pm

Also I can’t get over the number of people who attack RNB and js for saying that CT appears to be largely white. No-one is saying they’re wrong, AFAIC, just dredging up reasons why it doesn’t matter, or they’re bad people, or something. Can’t we look at the actual issues? Is CT largely white and male and does that matter? I dont really agree with Lynn’s suggestion before that it doesn’t really matter – I think it does matter because I think women and POC are maybe feeling that their views won’t be respected here. Also even though the CT bloggers are predominantly white and male, I don’t think they want women and people of colour to feel excluded.

Also there seems to be a suggestion that if RNB really cared about diversity, he would always agree with Lupita, that’s obviously not right. If he were being disrespectful to Lupita or calling her “nutty” or saying that he wouldn’t bother to engage with her in future, maybe, but I don’t recall RNB doing those kinds of things.

135

engels 05.11.16 at 11:22 pm

Ladies and gentlemen, I think we’ve reached peak CT.

136

J-D 05.12.16 at 12:06 am

If a group of people set up a group blog because they want to use it to explore and discuss a particular domain, then the diversity (or lack of it) of those people will affect how close they come to exploring the full extent of that domain (or, conversely, how close they come to restricting the blog to a narrow subdivision of that domain).

The same analysis does not apply if a group of people set up a group blog mostly because they feel comfortable together each blogging about personal interests.

Just to take one specific example, if some people set up a group blog to explore and discuss the impact of globalisation, but those people all came from the same country and had the same ancestry and religious affiliation and same gender identity and sexuality, then the discussion on the blog would skew towards an exploration and discussion of the impact of globalisation as it is experienced by people of that country, ancestry, religious affiliation, and gender identity and sexuality. (The demographic profile of the commenters would also be likely to skew towards the demographic profile of the bloggers.) People who want to establish a group blog that explores and discusses the impact of globalisation more broadly than that need to recruit bloggers with some consideration of diversity of backgrounds.

By contrast, if I, as a lone individual, decided to set up my own blog about the impact of globalisation, the fact that I, as a lone individual, am not a representative sample of humanity would be irrelevant. Such a blog could be expected to skew towards my personal perspective (which is naturally affected by my personal background), but that’s what every individual blog does; that is, as they say, a feature, not a bug.

If it’s an object of Crooked Timber to explore and discuss the experience of humanity, then a lack of diversity among the bloggers would guarantee failure. My impression, though, is that the objects of Crooked Timber are more idiosyncratic than that.

137

phenomenal cat 05.12.16 at 12:08 am

“Also I can’t get over the number of people who attack RNB and js for saying that CT appears to be largely white. No-one is saying they’re wrong, AFAIC, just dredging up reasons why it doesn’t matter, or they’re bad people, or something…Also there seems to be a suggestion that if RNB really cared about diversity, he would always agree with Lupita, that’s obviously not right.” Val @ 139

I think using the word “attack” is overstating the case by a wide margin–by the way, I’m speaking about RNB’s statements because that is what I addressed in my comment. Here’s the problem as I see it: by pretty much anyone’s definition Lupita’s voice is going to be assigned to the categ0ry marked “diversity.” She fits the bill. Does that make her contribution a shining oracle of truth and moral goodness? Nope, but thankfully she does have interesting things to say and brings a somewhat non-normative perspective to the proceedings.

And yet RNB’s summation of his discussion with Lupita is:

“Lupita offered no serious discussion of the impacts of emigration on the sending country. ” RNB @ 124

Let’s just say I disagree.
RNB’s free to find Lupita’s discussion unserious by whatever definition or criteria he chooses, but it strikes me as obviously the case that however much he may advocate for a certain kind of “diversity” on CT he doesn’t seem to be that interested in any epistemic diversity–at the least. Because Lupita did not discuss the issue within a highly specific set of terms and boundaries her contribution wasn’t “serious.”

So, yeah, I find it intellectually disingenuous to see no harm in wanting to have a diversity accounting for CT while expressing such provincial (read: epistemic) narrowness toward an actually existing diverse perspective. Like I said, new and better definitions of what constitutes diversity are needed.

138

J-D 05.12.16 at 12:08 am

No sooner had I finished that comment than I realised there’s something else I should have added.

Given the apparently idiosyncratic nature of Crooked Timber, the demographic skew of bloggers and commenters and its effect on the nature of discussion is a legitimate subject for discussion — that is, at least some of the time: certainly in comments on a post like this one.

139

AcademicLurker 05.12.16 at 12:14 am

It’s kind of great that the meta-discussion about the demographics and inter-commentariat dynamics of CT occurs in the thread under a post on trolling.

It’s probably worth distinguishing between specific behaviors that might discourage people from participating here from general vague “Well, it’s pretty white/anglosphere/middle class/academic around here” observations. The tone of sites like this is set largely by the people who comment regularly*, and those people are who they are. It’s not very easy to influence such things when you’re talking about a bunch of anonymous strangers who are doing this in their spare time (or, like me, as a form of procrastination when they should be working).

And anyway, why should it be a problem that the regular commenters are who they are? Specific abusive or belittling behaviors that drive people away is one thing, but if the issue is that the most active commenters are the sort of people they are, write in the voice that they write in, and have the sort of conversations they’re interested in having, I just don’t see that that’s a problem. There are many many site on the internet that I don’t pay attention to because the people there talk about things that I’m not interested in or have a communication style that grates on me. There are also places that I used to read regularly but stopped because the prevailing tone shifted in a way that I didn’t like. I don’t begrudge any of those people having a space in which to do their thing, even if “their thing” doesn’t interest me.

Val’s 138 is more useful in that she points to a specific behavior she’s saying makes her, and possibly other potential commenters, feel unwelcome. But if the complaint is just that CT is the online equivalent of a stodgy leather chaired and oak paneled gentlemans’ club, with CTers wandering around in smoking jackets with cigars and snifters of brandy…

Considering that there are sites devoted to furries, bronies, and every sexual fetish imaginable, I don’t think that a few virtual smoking jackets are the end of the world.

*I don’t mean to take anything away from the posters with that. But if CT were just the posts with no comments, it would be a very different sort of site.

140

Lynne 05.12.16 at 12:36 am

Hey Val,

“Is CT largely white and male and does that matter? I dont really agree with Lynn’s suggestion before that it doesn’t really matter– I think it does matter because I think women and POC are maybe feeling that their views won’t be respected here. “

Yes, it matters. Where I was coming from may sound odd in the context of this discussion, but just because people here are mostly white men, I wouldn’t want them to feel they should keep quiet. Someone dear to me once said he didn’t want to contribute to a discussion because it was already dominated by white men (and he is that) and I’ve never forgotten it. I wanted his voice to be heard. And this is a private blog. If I have a bunch of people into my house to talk and the group isn’t representative, well, so it goes.

But of course discussions are necessarily lacking at times, and sometimes it is provoking when the majority don’t seem to notice the lack.

141

RNB 05.12.16 at 1:02 am

As was pointed out perhaps by kidneystone, Lupita’s political advice that we need not look at borders to address international inequality at this time of millions of refugees in suspended status should be rejected. Lupita’s arguments that migration is not an effective development program were not persuasive. Lupita pretty much welcomes Trump’s protectionism as a way to destroy the neo-liberal trade order and give birth to delinked, small-scale production in the Latin America and the Third World. Given the implicit position she has on tight borders and her desire to blow up the world trading system, it is on Lupita to make sure her arguments are as serious as the politics she espouses. I find her arguments flippant given the gravity of the issues. I also do not know where Lupita is from as Lupita seems not to want to locate herself so she can speak on behalf of all of Latin America and the Third World in general.

142

js. 05.12.16 at 1:19 am

there’s nothing wrong with one blog among many being a place for white men to talk about politics and academics. It’s a private blog, we’re guests.

This is true. But I would think that the owners of this blog wouldn’t want this to be a space where white men get together to talk. So if that is what this blog is or has become—and to be clear I don’t think it’s nearly quite that bad—then that would be problematic I think. In any case, it’s what you say later that I think is exactly right: “But of course discussions are necessarily lacking at times, and sometimes it is provoking when the majority don’t seem to notice the lack.” That’s very much what I’d want to say too.

——

@ccc — So I spent some time over at boingboing.net. And there a lot more than just threading going on there obviously, or pseudo-threading or whatever. There’s a pretty sophisticated system of community review, different statuses for commenters, etc. I guess I can see something like that working, tho it does seem a little time-intensive on commenters’ part. And while I can see that working well in some contexts, I can also imagine it going horribly wrong in others. (I’m imagining factions developing e.g.)

143

J-D 05.12.16 at 1:39 am

RNB @146

I’m not sure that Lupita is an advocate of tight borders and protectionism, but I think she does take the position that allowing unrestricted migration to rich countries will not solve the problems of poor countries — and independently of whether that’s Lupita’s position, it’s correct.

144

bianca steele 05.12.16 at 1:51 am

This blog has been strongly pro-globalization on every possible (IIRC) question for as long as I’ve been reading it.

But, okay, that goes back to the definition of the troll as outside the community. Pro-globalization people can chat if they like. People who disagree shouldn’t disrupt the discussion just because they disagree. If certain kinds of disagreement are going to be ruled out of bounds, that’s their choice.

There are no shortage of non-white and non-western people who take the same position and the same economistic approach. I’m sure there are lots of women who do also. They’re just not in comments, maybe for good reason. Instead, here, we have two extremes.

145

Val 05.12.16 at 2:49 am

Just to be fair, I think RNB’s statement in regard to Lupita’s position @ 146 was a bit problematic – not rude but a bit like ‘this is the orthodox position and if Lupita doesn’t agree with it, the burden for showing why she should be taken seriously is on her’ – which yeah is a bit exclusionary I’d say. Also I don’t think the allusion to Trump was fair was it? – there’s discourse issues about associating someone with another by juxtaposing them – unless Lupita has actually said she supports Trump’s position in some way.

146

RNB 05.12.16 at 2:52 am

Lupita has talked about the unintended beneficial consequences of Trump’s policies would have on “the Third World” on whose behalf she speaks.

147

Val 05.12.16 at 2:53 am

@ 149
So Bianca are you suggesting that if the majority here supported globalisation, then someone coming here and criticising globalisation could legitimately be seen as a troll? I don’t think I quite got what you meant.

In practice I would think most people might have mixed feelings about it – good and bad aspects. But sometimes I think things get ascribed to globalisation that are more related to neoliberalism or capitalism.

148

Lupita 05.12.16 at 2:54 am

@RNB

I also do not know where Lupita is from as Lupita seems not to want to locate herself so she can speak on behalf of all of Latin America and the Third World in general.

I find it intriguing that you accuse me of posing as the voice of all of Latin America, and indeed of the whole 3rd world, by means of not locating myself, but not of all women or all non-whites. I guess I would have to locate myself in the West in order to be able to fill the last two positions, just like the presidencies of the World Bank and the IMF are.

149

js. 05.12.16 at 3:07 am

I guess I missed a bunch while I was hiding behind the sofa. But re LFC:

nor am I sure how much a big deal it is to sow (artificial) strife in a community already characterized by considerable actual strife, or at least disagreement.

Well, the artificial vs. non-artificial thing matters quite a bit, I think. It’s one thing to disagree in good faith, even if angrily, and another thing entirely to argue/provoke in bad faith. In the first case, you can still treat your interlocutor as a virtual friend, so to speak, whereas that’s impossible in the second case.

150

RNB 05.12.16 at 3:09 am

@143 So are you President of the World Bank or the IMF?

151

Lupita 05.12.16 at 3:13 am

@RNB

I thought you knew. I am Christine Lagarde.

152

RNB 05.12.16 at 3:19 am

W now I understand why you have so many annoying hangers-on here.

153

bob mcmanus 05.12.16 at 4:02 am

149 maybe or then someone coming here and criticising globalisation could legitimately be seen as a troll?…sure, but trolls aren’t so bad

Well, I am surprised that although the linked article and original poster was from the perspective of the “community” so many of us in the thread are taking the perspective of the troll. I consider myself perma-troll, alienation as condition and choice, but do try to have some empathy for communities and their members.

Sure, of course it is not polite or kind to visit a community not yours for the intention of disrupting it, or making thoughtless mistakes with that unintended consequence. As a secular Westerner, do I go hang outside mosques and argue about veils?

And we are, meaning regular commenters, are actually often careful about it here, not jumping into cricket or Rawls or Australian politics threads, or doing so gingerly and treading lightly.

To the degree we (white males) do jump into such threads, or specifically some feminism threads, it is probably because we do feel ourselves part of some CT communities, and feel excluded or stereotyped by the feminist conversation. Maybe we’re wrong.

In any case, thinking about who and what kind of community you are approaching, and what kind of relationship you have or want to have as an outsider, is an important preliminary to writing a comment, that should be examined before the subject matter of a particular conversation.

154

engels 05.12.16 at 9:40 am

there’s nothing wrong with one blog among many being a place for white men to talk about politics and academics. It’s a private blog, we’re guests.

This is true.

And there was me thinking this a might be a complex issue that required more than a millisecond’s thought. How foolish of me!

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/8320250/Lady-golfers-unhappy-about-law-to-end-sex-discrimination.html
http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB124588111858449559
http://www.zuzeeko.com/2010/01/racial-discrimination-in-night-clubs.html

155

Lynne 05.12.16 at 11:43 am

F. Foundling @ 133, I wasn’t going to reply to this, but to set the record straight, Val hasn’t claimed to be oppressed by anyone here, and I haven’t accused anyone of preventing me from commenting.

156

bianca steele 05.12.16 at 12:21 pm

Ze K @ 159

Oh, sure. Can the ones talk who disagree with you that those are the only two important groups, too?

Val @ 152

So Bianca are you suggesting that if the majority here supported globalisation, then someone coming here and criticising globalisation could legitimately be seen as a troll? I don’t think I quite got what you meant.

Legitimately? No. According to a certain definition of “community” you occasionally run across, and a certain theory about the best kind of community and how much of their beliefs they have to share–which I disagree with and dislike–possibly. In that case, this would be a blog to–say–discuss globalization using complicated economics arguments, that didn’t necessarily rule out left-leaning interests, but which most people couldn’t be expected to understand (which seems, in fact, to be the only kind of discussion that’s still vibrant at CT these days–and the rest of us would be, to use a word that’s already been used, “guests.”

But I just meant that if pretty much everyone here prefers RNB’s kind of post to Lupita’s, it isn’t surprising that Lupita is criticized or that RNB thinks it’s natural that she is.

In practice I would think most people might have mixed feelings about it – good and bad aspects. But sometimes I think things get ascribed to globalisation that are more related to neoliberalism or capitalism.

Surely we can call globalization a subset of “neoliberal” policies, whatever neoliberalism is? In any case, what difference does it make?

157

bianca steele 05.12.16 at 12:26 pm

My first paragraph in reply to Val is too strong. I’d change her suggestion to “a group of people publicly discussing the arguments for and against globalization, who in fact only want participants from one side of the argument,” maybe. And obviously a group like this can’t moderate fully, so there would be an inner group, probably, and a bunch of trolls pretending to participate while also trolling the other “guests,” who would be largely ignored by the “inner circle.”

158

engels 05.12.16 at 12:36 pm

I’m not a guest, I’m a squatter.

159

Z 05.12.16 at 12:41 pm

What would that shared conception be–the only thing shared here seems to be that (excepting js and me) CT is as all-white site as a Trump rally.

FWIW, upon the rare occasion I have to self-identify (usually to fill in a diversity report card for an academic employment) I don’t self-identify as white/caucasian. Seeing that I am significantly darker than most of the 16 West Point cadets described as blacks who are being investigated for raising their fists Black Lives Matter style, I think that would be accurate from a US point of view.

What most characterize the CT community (both posters and commenters) is, it seems to me, quite obvious: the proximity to the academic world and adherence to the (implicit) values of this field.

This fact brings us right back to trolling (and to Aristotle-for surely that guy and his masters had something to say about the tension between democracy and knowledge). Because the overwhelming majority of us is used to producing and evaluating intellectual products with extremely high standards of intellectual quality, we tend to find the casual production of others as expressed in their hastily written blog comments despairingly lacking (that is in fact even true of most posts; the blog medium is after all not very conductive to scholarly works). But meanwhile we forget that our own production here is roughly of the same quality for the very same reason.

Or in shorter version: I write scholarly works of impeccable quality. You repeatedly misinterpret me and harp on inconsequential details. He is a troll with nothing but incoherent snark to offer.

160

Lynne 05.12.16 at 12:51 pm

js: “This is true. But I would think that the owners of this blog wouldn’t want this to be a space where white men get together to talk. So if that is what this blog is or has become—and to be clear I don’t think it’s nearly quite that bad—then that would be problematic I think.”

It is problematic, if they don’t want this space to be male-dominated. This is not a good place to talk about feminism or issues that are particularly important to women. I don’t like that, I wish it were different. But it isn’t my blog.

As for this caution Bob McM alludes to above, that men exercise in wading into territory not their own…except, as he further says, when the topic is feminism: well, I’ve noticed the lack of caution when feminism is under discussion. Maybe some men are keeping quiet, though, and I’m not noticing their absence.

161

Rich Puchalsky 05.12.16 at 1:11 pm

Z: “FWIW, upon the rare occasion I have to self-identify (usually to fill in a diversity report card for an academic employment) I don’t self-identify as white/caucasian.”

Uh oh, Z is spoiling it for the two guys who like to say that they are the only nonwhite people here. Who would have thought that some of the people posting with nondescript nyms are actually not white? I mean, “white” is the default so that unless people say so, we should just assume they’re white, right?

What surprises me, as it always does in these threads, is the huge amount of bad faith on display. If you look back at the initial characterizations of “what’s wrong with CT”, not one of them was an actual characterization. The bit about “a work ethic of excessive posting” and “what is the shared conception of the good on CT?” was not about the shared conception of the good on CT. It was about RNB’s anger that I’d called him shameless. For which he referred to me as a “very troubled poster”, as if my natural distaste at his willingness to advocate for bombing people in Syria indicated that I must be disturbed. The bit about “mental masturbation”? js was mad about being insulted. Val’s everlasting grudge about her theories being called nutty? What she doesn’t tell you was that she attempted to have me banned from CT, and that she routinely calls any feminist man who doesn’t agree with her particular feminism an anti-feminist. That’s insulting, but when she gets insulted back, why then it’s a problem with the community rather than a problem with her being both insulting and thin-skinned.

As Z has pointed out before, almost anyone could play this game. People here routinely say that I think I’m smarter than everyone else, that I talk too much — gee, sound anti-Semitic to you? There was a whole recent thread full of clueless stuff about Israel. If I’d simply wanted to win arguments, I could have joined in and written that anyone who disagrees with Israeli policy is anti-Semitic. But I didn’t, because people see what a cheap shot that is, and it’s disruptive to a community. You might even say that it’s shameless. But the people here show no such restraint: they happily take every disagreement and turn it into “you’re racist”, “you’re sexist”, “the whole blog should run according to how I think it should be run because it’s racist or sexist”. Way to go!

162

bianca steele 05.12.16 at 1:34 pm

Here’s a scenario, which I have seen: A group of people is discussing something, maybe they’re using casual language, and so on, and an outsider joins the group and presses for less cussing, less gossip, more seriousness, less sex, less chitchat and so on. Is this trolling, or is that person Socrates? If they succeed in changing the character of the group, is that illegitimate? After all, later-comers won’t know who was first, and they were trying to get the sense of the discussion before they chimed in, and made a good faith effort to do so. At least, do the others at least have a valid complaint, even after they lost “fair and square”?

Is there a natural course of events for Internet communities?

163

bruce wilder 05.12.16 at 2:11 pm

If commenters were trying to amuse each other by telling jokes, someone would come along and claim to simply not understand a joke and demand an explanation and the explanation forthcoming would not be funny, nor would the questioned joke be any longer funny, having been explained. Pretty soon comments would be no laughing matter.

164

Lupita 05.12.16 at 3:12 pm

I think people are being categorized in two different ways when talking about diversity. First, there is the RNB categorization where only Westeners are divided by race and sex: Western demographic diversity. Then there is the second one, where diversity is viewed as a product of experience, culture, ideology, language, and nationality: diversity of thought. I find it curious that when talking about demographic diversity, I am not mentioned as an example of a female and non-white poster but am placed in a foreign category where these dimensions are of secondary concern.

As to CT becoming more demographically diverse among its Western posters, I see no way of measuring this except for all posters constantly filling out forms such as the ones needed to cross the US border. As to international diversity, please remember that posting in an academic blog in a foreign language is not what many would consider relaxing or entertaining. It is difficult to express thoughts while taking into consideration cultural differences, meanings of political terms, and background knowledge. Non-Westeners have to translate their thoughts for a Western audience. I have spent a great deal of time composing posts, trying to explain foreign notions, explaining how we see things and feel them, what is important to us, and giving examples, only to realize that I have totally missed the mark. My point is, I don’t think CT will ever get many non-Western posters. It is just too difficult and underappreciated a task.

Just as RNB sees me as a raceless, sexless blur of otherness, I must admit that I see Westeners the same. I do not see how stating your race and sex would add depth to your posts. Actually, viewing demographic diversity as an indicator of ideological diversity seems a very Western notion to me and the latest intent of legitimizing neoliberal globalization, which I doubt will catch on since it is so alienating and incomprehensible to non-Westeners. I have never self-identified as a POC.

165

AcademicLurker 05.12.16 at 3:27 pm

Just as RNB sees me as a raceless, sexless blur of otherness, I must admit that I see Westeners the same.

We should all just imagine each other as Star Trek style beings of pure energy.

166

bruce wilder 05.12.16 at 3:36 pm

salty, little yellow ball of light — you are wrong on the internets!

167

bruce wilder 05.12.16 at 3:37 pm

oh, wrong thread, wrong universe

sorry

168

The Temporary Name 05.12.16 at 6:02 pm

I’m a being of pure enervation.

169

engels 05.12.16 at 6:10 pm

Guess we’re not going to be talking about Hall but for any London-based commenters/lurkers, I dropped into Housman’s on the way home and they’re selling off his personal library. Lots of interesting stuff and definitely some bargains still to be had!

170

Z 05.12.16 at 6:34 pm

As to international diversity, please remember that posting in an academic blog in a foreign language is not what many would consider relaxing or entertaining. It is difficult to express thoughts while taking into consideration cultural differences, meanings of political terms, and background knowledge. Non-Westeners have to translate their thoughts for a Western audience. I have spent a great deal of time composing posts, trying to explain foreign notions, explaining how we see things and feel them, what is important to us, and giving examples, only to realize that I have totally missed the mark.

This. A thousand times this.

171

engels 05.12.16 at 6:38 pm

172

RNB 05.12.16 at 8:09 pm

Z and others,
You are missing the nature of this discussion–it is much more political than it is academic. Claiming to speak on behalf of a lot of people (Latin Americans, Third Worlders, Lat American women, the world’s poor), Lupita has told us that immigration policy should not be at the center of debates about international inequality just as you doubtless know harraga are dying at sea and welcomed the closing down of trade between wealthy and poor countries.

These are political positions, not properly academic ones. And authenticating these reactionary positions as how “we see things and feel them, what is important to us”, as if Lupita speaks for the world, is absurd judged as the political argument that it is .

Others would argue differently. And so it goes.

173

Lupita 05.12.16 at 8:49 pm

@RNB

So, you do not dismiss me because of my sex and race; you dismiss me because of my politics and my flimsy arguments. Great. This is precisely what others have said here. They do not dismiss others because of sexism, racism, and privilege; it is because they disagree with the arguments posed.

174

LFC 05.12.16 at 9:08 pm

js. @154
I take the point. Occasionally it’s hard to tell whether someone is arguing in good faith, but at other times it isn’t. I’m not in favor of bad-faith arguing. (I’m also, tbh, not that into these kinds of meta-discussions, but that’s prob. just me.)

Ze K @179
The opening sentence/paragraph of that piece you link is incorrect. Hastert was *not* charged with (and therefore not sentenced for) sexual abuse of minors, because the statute of limitations had run and therefore he couldn’t be charged w/ those acts.

From an ABC news piece (emphasis added):

After the sentencing hearing, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois made a statement, saying “With this case, the Office sought to hold Mr. Hastert accountable for the crimes he committed that could still be prosecuted: illegally structuring cash withdrawals and lying to the government about his motive for engaging in that activity. All of us have been inspired by the strength and bravery of the victims and witnesses who came forward in the most challenging of circumstances.

175

LFC 05.12.16 at 9:10 pm

Sorry, I actually meant to put the response to Ze K in a separate box, b.c it’s completely off the topic of the thread, obviously.

176

The Temporary Name 05.12.16 at 9:26 pm

Follow the links in Ze K’s Hastert thingie and see what happens to your bullshit detector.

177

bianca steele 05.12.16 at 9:48 pm

Lupita @ 180

To be clear, I don’t think they “dismiss [you] because of [your] politics and [your] flimsy arguments.” AFAICS RNB dismissed you because all he cares about are economics arguments, not arguments from the point of view of people the policies affect, and not any other kind of argument, like a moral argument. Maybe he does figure your gender has something to do with it; maybe he doesn’t. I think probably, though, your gender has something to do with the fact that that’s the argument you want to make, that you’re in that position. It’s certainly convenient for someone that economics arguments are mostly made by western white men of a certain background, and those arguments leave out things important to others.

Most people who aren’t committed to doing CT style arguments, probably are more likely to agree with you than with RNB, at least about what’s important. It’s people who went to college and learned just a tiny bit about economics–and assumed economics was the key to understanding everything–who aren’t.

178

Z 05.12.16 at 9:48 pm

You are missing the nature of this discussion–it is much more political than it is academic.

RNB, I haven’t followed the discussion between you and Lupita at all. I did find her comment about what it means to participate in a discussion shaped by different cultural norms very eloquent.

I come from a culture which is reasonably close to the dominant one on CT and yet I find myself very often taken off guard by positions which are apparently treated here as the norm. To tie this up with another theme of the thread, I tend not to post in discussions about feminism and/or race, or at least try to refrain myself from doing so, because the normal understanding of these terms in the society I operate is significantly different from the normal one here-both “normal” to be understood in purely statistical terms, no judgment implied-and bridging the gap has proven beyond my rhetorical capabilities. You know, in other words, “I have spent a great deal of time composing posts, trying to explain foreign notions, explaining how we see things and feel them, what is important to us, and giving examples, only to realize that I have totally missed the mark.”

But that I repeatedly felt the same feeling of alienation (in the very strict sense) as the one Lupita describes does not mean I endorse (or reject) her positions.

179

bianca steele 05.12.16 at 9:51 pm

As to why RNB got slagged, if he did (I wasn’t paying attention), it might be because he was using an obviously “non-white, non-western” name at the time. It might be because he sounded like someone else. It might be because someone just wanted to create a little drama. I don’t know how js. perceives things here but I consider him to be someone who’s deservedly well-respected.

As to whether CT being a “male, western-educated” place, instead of a “white male” place (whatever this means) is better, well, in some ways maybe it’s better for me, but obviously in others it’s not.

180

LFC 05.12.16 at 10:53 pm

I didn’t follow the discussion on the immigration-related thread betw RNB and Lupita so I’m not addressing that exchange. I don’t think, however, that to characterize RNB as caring only about arguments from/about economics (however defined exactly) is quite accurate. But he can speak for himself.

Btw, I shd have acknowledged engels’ comment way upthread to the effect that the politics of the posters and perhaps majority of commenters here are ‘left-liberal’. One cd make that case. But as engels himself noted, they do draw responses from other parts of the political spectrum.

181

Val 05.12.16 at 11:23 pm

Rich Puchalsky @ 167
Can you point me to the place where I tried to have you banned? I don’t recall doing such a thing. It may be my faulty memory, but I’d appreciate if you could clarify when this happened, thanks.

182

J-D 05.13.16 at 12:55 am

RNB @178

The correct answer to the question ‘What should be at the centre of debates about international inequality?’ is not ‘Immigration policy’.

183

js. 05.13.16 at 1:05 am

engels @160 — I’m happy to rephrase “This is true. But…” as “Even if this is true…”

(And bianca steele, thanks for the vote of confidence!)

184

Rich Puchalsky 05.13.16 at 1:29 am

Val: “Can you point me to the place where I tried to have you banned?”

I vaguely recall that there was more than one, but can’t be bothered to Google. I’m pretty sure the first was in this thread in comment #218, although I’ve linked instead to a great work of comic genius that languishes forgotten in that thread. Since I can’t be bothered to find more, I’ll amend my comment to “threatened to try to have me banned.” For non-response to comments and/or argumentative misrepresentation.

185

RNB 05.13.16 at 8:01 am

@185 I see how you have read the quote, Z. It’s not what I read in it.

@189. We should think about this more carefully, J-D. Let’s say we tripled the number of migrants from 3% to 9% of the global population and that migration primarily took the form of generally so-called unskilled labor trapped in some kind of informal sector in poor countries moving to wealthy countries, what would be the effect on the global level of inequality? It could possibly reduce it more in a shorter span of time than increased development aid would. Or perhaps not. But again I think we would have to think it through.

Or even more radically assume that borders were abolished, what would happen to the global level of inequality? Again it’s a complex question, as Milanovic himself has underlined, in part due to the effects this would have on the cultural unity of peoples living in nation states and the unpredictable effects the weakening of those cultural forms would have on the social and political life of people.

@184 silly point. This thread was supposed to be about trolling. I did not give economic examples but quoted Milton on Satan trolling Eve, mentioned how climate skeptics troll those who put value on science, and recalled how Holbo interpreted Nietzsche as trolling the racists of his time. This makes me narrowly economic, that I read a prepublication copy of Stanley Fish’s new book on argument and used examples from it?

Those are not economic examples. In response to the OP, I noted that it was not clear to me that there is a shared conception of the good that a troll here could undermine, the only thing being shared here is the whiteness of the people who post the OP’s here and comment.

The point of that flippant comment was to underline that very little here is shared so the CT blog is not really vulnerable to being trolled in the sense that the OP specifies. LFC clearly understood what I said not as primarily an attack on the demographics of the list. The point I made was that I found the morally elect more disruptive of serious conversation than trolling per se.

Some then just went crazy with my talking about the whiteness of CT being and not respecting the diversity that Lupita brings, which people assume perhaps out of prejudice is that of non-academic person who is also from (for reasons incomprehensible to me) an *unspecified non-English speaking poor country* and has anointed herself spokesperson of all women living under the yoke of US imperialism.

At any rate, what do you (bianca steele) mean that I don’t sound like someone who has a non-white, non-Western name?

186

RNB 05.13.16 at 8:01 am

@185 I see how you have read the quote, Z. It’s not what I read in it.

@189. We should think about this more carefully, J-D. Let’s say we tripled the number of migrants from 3% to 9% of the global population and that migration primarily took the form of generally so-called unskilled labor trapped in some kind of informal sector in poor countries moving to wealthy countries, what would be the effect on the global level of inequality? It could possibly reduce it more in a shorter span of time than increased development aid would. Or perhaps not. But again I think we would have to think it through.

Or even more radically assume that borders were abolished, what would happen to the global level of inequality? Again it’s a complex question, as Milanovic himself has underlined, in part due to the effects this would have on the cultural unity of peoples living in nation states and the unpredictable effects the weakening of those cultural forms would have on the social and political life of people.

@184 silly point. This thread was supposed to be about trolling. I did not give economic examples but quoted Milton on Satan trolling Eve, mentioned how climate skeptics troll those who put value on science, and recalled how Holbo interpreted Nietzsche as trolling the racists of his time. This makes me narrowly economic, that I read a prepublication copy of Stanley Fish’s new book on argument and used examples from it?

Those are not economic examples. In response to the OP, I noted that it was not clear to me that there is a shared conception of the good that a troll here could undermine, the only thing being shared here is the whiteness of the people who post the OP’s here and comment.

The point of that flippant comment was to underline that very little here is shared so the CT blog is not really vulnerable to being trolled in the sense that the OP specifies. LFC clearly understood what I said not as primarily an attack on the demographics of the list. The point I made was that I found the morally elect more disruptive of serious conversation than trolling per se.

Some then just went crazy with my talking about the whiteness of CT being and not respecting the diversity that Lupita brings, which people assume perhaps out of prejudice is that of non-academic person who is also from (for reasons incomprehensible to me) an *unspecified non-English speaking poor country* and has anointed herself spokesperson of all women living under the yoke of US imperialism.

At any rate, what do you (bianca steele) mean that I don’t sound like someone who has a non-white, non-Western name?

187

engels 05.13.16 at 9:18 am

The odd thing for me is that I started out by disagreeing with RNB’s and LFC’s assertions that the CT ‘community’ is too ideologically or socially fragmented to be trollable but the experience of reading this thread has made me strongly inclined to agree. I seriously doubt there’s _anything_ an ‘outsider’ could do to make a discussion like this more chaotic and unproductive, or to make commenters more personally hostile to each other.

188

J-D 05.13.16 at 11:22 am

RNB @193/194

I have thought about it carefully. The correct answer to the question ‘What should be at the centre of debates about international inequality?’ is not ‘Immigration policy’.

189

bianca steele 05.13.16 at 11:56 am

At any rate, what do you (bianca steele) mean that I don’t sound like someone who has a non-white, non-Western name?

?

That’s the opposite of what I said. We’re talking about something that happened when you called yourself something different from “RNB”, right?

190

bianca steele 05.13.16 at 11:57 am

engels@195

So optimistic!

191

bianca steele 05.13.16 at 12:00 pm

RNB,

By someone else I meant some other poster who is disliked, or a type of person who isn’t liked.

Am curious how you have a copy of Fish’s unpublished book, though.

192

Z 05.13.16 at 12:16 pm

We’re talking about something that happened when you called yourself something different from “RNB”, right?

Ooooh, a mystery.

193

Val 05.13.16 at 12:35 pm

@191
I don’t know who you think I am, but I’m just a commenter here, and I’ve got no special power to “have you banned”. What I actually said in that thread was that I was sick of you misrepresenting me and ignoring me/trying to freeze me out of the conversation when I asked you politely to stop, and that if you kept doing it I would report you to the moderators.

In other words, you were strawwomanning me, and as I’ve said a few times, there’s no reason why I or anyone else should have to put up with that stuff. If I’d reported you to the moderators, what I would have liked them to do was tell you to stop strawwomanning

No wonder you “couldn’t be bothered” to look for more examples.

194

Rich Puchalsky 05.13.16 at 1:34 pm

I knew it was a mistake to reply to your question when you asked when you did this. I never said that you had any special power to have me banned: on the contrary, I thought that the idea of reporting me for arguing against you / not responding to you was ludicrous, control-freaky, and not likely to get any response as indeed it did not. The fact that you thought it was a good idea and *still* think it’s a good idea only proves that what I wrote about you was correct the whole time: you take personal disputes and insist on treating them as evidence of anti-feminism (your personal disputes, that is, I’ve never seen you care much about any of the other female commenters here such as Lupita who is currently being attacked for being a Third World woman who declines to provide information about herself in a way that would have you running to the moderators if it was you), and your idea about what to do about anti-feminism is based around enforcement of your ideas of what the norms should be.

I’ll try to go back to ignoring you. I realize that I’ve written that a lot, but sadly I don’t always follow through on my self-set goals.

195

Lupita 05.13.16 at 2:38 pm

@RNB

The diversity that Lupita brings, which people assume perhaps out of prejudice is that of non-academic person who is also from (for reasons incomprehensible to me) an *unspecified non-English speaking poor country* and has anointed herself spokesperson of all women living under the yoke of US imperialism.

So you believe I’m a poseur, as if Latin American socialists were a rare breed. How am I to prove that I am what, more or less, people get from reading my posts when anything I say is unverifiable? Actually, it is you who has repeatedly stated that you are unverifiably non-white, one of two here, to give an extra dimension to your comments, the dimension of being politically on the left, which is a very American notion, and urged people to state their race in order to reproduce American society on CT. It has not worked, which is why you are trolling me. I actually am a socialist, not by virtue of my race but because of my politics, which people may verify by reading my posts, and can certainly disagree. You may be non-white, it does not matter but, based on your posts, I am still on your left. So, yes, it is political.

196

Layman 05.13.16 at 2:49 pm

RNB: “In response to the OP, I noted that it was not clear to me that there is a shared conception of the good that a troll here could undermine, the only thing being shared here is the whiteness of the people who post the OP’s here and comment.”

This sort of thing frankly baffles me. I, myself, have little ability to detect whiteness from prose, and I wonder if this is caused by the absence of some sensory organ or my failure to fully exploit one. If you, RNB, did not tell me your race, I would not only have no idea what it was, I would in fact spend not one second speculating about it, since, from my perspective, any such speculation would be as rewarding as reading tea leaves. If anything, I think such speculation is a distraction – one ought to be able to engage with another’s ideas an words as they are presented.

197

RNB 05.13.16 at 2:50 pm

@197 J-D, we don’t share the same understanding of what “thinking” and “carefully” mean.

@205 yup, Lupita, I think you are a poseur.

198

RNB 05.13.16 at 3:03 pm

@206 Well yes layman we should try to engage with ideas of others. You don’t think I do that? My comment was really about the diversity of who posts the OP’s here and the effect it has on the kinds of issues that are put up for discussion in the first place, which reflects in my opinion a lack of diversity. For example, note that the parts of the Piketty book on inequality in the Middle East and the dynamics of nationalization in post-colonial Africa and the colonial ownership of assets and the nature of racial inequality in the US were not as far as I remember addressed by any of those invited to write a comment on the book. Now of course those topics could have been addressed by a white person, but no such person was invited. The result was a more narrow discussion of the book than we should have had.
I also see no harm in asking people here to out themselves as some kind of minority so we can figure out one of the factors possibly influencing discussion. It’s just one data point.

199

Layman 05.13.16 at 3:13 pm

RNB: “You don’t think I do that?”

I don’t say that as a general critique; but you are not doing that at the moment.

“For example, note that the parts of the Piketty book on inequality in the Middle East and the dynamics of nationalization in post-colonial Africa and the colonial ownership of assets and the nature of racial inequality in the US were not as far as I remember addressed by any of those invited to write a comment on the book. “

‘People didn’t talk about what I wanted them to talk about!’

200

RNB 05.13.16 at 3:17 pm

@211 Well sure that is my point. None of the ten people invited to comment on the book talked about some parts of the book that I found very interesting and Piketty found important enough to research and write about. Why were those parts of the book ignored? Do you too think they were not as interesting as those parts that were chosen for discussion? Who determines/how is it determined what is “interesting” enough for discussion?

201

Rich Puchalsky 05.13.16 at 3:21 pm

Lupita: “Then there is the second one, where diversity is viewed as a product of experience, culture, ideology, language, and nationality: diversity of thought.”

I’ve been thinking about this, and it’s not only diversity of thought, it’s diversity of aims. Since this is primarily an academic blog (more specifically, about anglo social sciences and humanities), academic habits of thought tend to go unquestioned. Even people who question the norms of the blog tend to write things about how others aren’t backing up their statements with academic rigor or how they don’t stay on the assigned topic or how they don’t hold to academic norms of civility.

But of course that’s not the only kind of person here. There’s a substantial population of people here who are more or less intellectuals but not academics, and they have somewhat different habits of thought than academics do. More to the point, they have different aims in writing here than academics may have.

For instance, one of the things that some non-academic intellectuals like to do is what I might characterize as “boisterous arguing”. This seems to be the root of a lot of the complaints about white-male-dom. It’s something that I associate with New York. If you don’t live in a major city, you don’t generally get to do this, so some people instead comment on blogs like this one.

Of course there may be as many other reasons to comment here as there are people. I, for one, think of this kind of thing as productive of poems, romantic comedy about thought experiments, literary criticism, the above-linked mini-plays, and other amusements rather than anything resembling an academic argument.

202

bianca steele 05.13.16 at 3:22 pm

Here is the cue, I think, for the sociology-centric commenter to explain to RNB about how there are rules and process and discourse and such. (Everyone gets to decide for themselves whether they mean to include race and other diversity issues in their ‘splainin.)

203

Layman 05.13.16 at 3:23 pm

Shorter RNB: Some people talked about some stuff, but didn’t talk about other stuff. Racism!

204

RNB 05.13.16 at 3:23 pm

Also I don’t think anyone made the criticism of Piketty’s book that Tim Harford did, which is that the primary source of inequality is not determined by class position within a nation but by luck in the birthright lottery of national belonging and that Piketty’s “methodological nationalism” makes him blind to this. Yes, I think this would have been worth talking about, but it was not considered interesting enough to be a point of focus. Why is that? I say that it reflects a certain CT blindness to the world outside of Europe and its settler colonies.

205

bianca steele 05.13.16 at 3:23 pm

And here’s Rich, right on time!

Not sure whether I’m glad I deleted the comment I had about the new, post-Occupy Puchalsky.

206

RNB 05.13.16 at 3:26 pm

@215 shorter Layman: no problem here; the internet is open and free.

207

Lynne 05.13.16 at 3:29 pm

“‘People didn’t talk about what I wanted them to talk about!’”

That exact same thing happened to me!

208

Rich Puchalsky 05.13.16 at 3:30 pm

Z, there was never any incident in which RNB posted under another nym (as far as I know): bianaca steele simply made that up as a hypothetical reason why someone might have picked on him because she couldn’t read or couldn’t understand the actual reason, which as I wrote about above was that he was defending bombing as humanitarian intervention in Syria. If you object to “rational” “academic” consideration of humanitarian bombing, that makes you one of the moral elect.

209

Layman 05.13.16 at 3:32 pm

‘…that Piketty’s “methodological nationalism” makes him blind to this.’

I very much doubt that Piketty is blind to this. Am I surprised that a book written for the purpose of explaining the driver of inequality within existing polities, and proposing political solutions for addressing those inequalities within polities, did not focus on inequalities between peoples in differing polities? No, I am not.

210

bianca steele 05.13.16 at 3:33 pm

Yes, the old Rich posted a lot about how this comments section was like or unlike his church; the new Rich had gone Nietzschean, “anarchy means the strong overcome” kind of thing.

Also, he’s suddenly found the old Usenet subculture of telling people “you can’t read,” which doesn’t say much for his powers of observation.

I don’t know whether RNB wants to be outed or not. S/he can have it both ways for all I care.

211

RNB 05.13.16 at 3:34 pm

@220 RP: the discussion we were having was not about Syria but about Clinton’s recommendation that Qaddafi’s forces be bombed and whether this recommendation should disqualify her from the Presidency, though Sanders supported the bombing too from what I understand.

212

RNB 05.13.16 at 3:37 pm

@221 no one is saying that there isn’t much of great value in what Piketty is trying to explain and how he is framing the issue (I think I was one of Piketty’s biggest fan boys here despite notsneaky’s and JW Mason’s arguments against him), but if the question is human inequality, then he may have missed its most important determinant in the last two hundred years. This is worth talking about. Tim Harford had a nice column in the FT, citing Milanovic on this.

213

Layman 05.13.16 at 3:43 pm

“but if the question is human inequality, then he may have missed its most important determinant in the last two hundred years”

‘If’ does a lot of work here!

214

Rich Puchalsky 05.13.16 at 3:44 pm

bianca steele: “Yes, the old Rich posted a lot about how this comments section was like or unlike his church; the new Rich had gone Nietzschean, “anarchy means the strong overcome” kind of thing.”

I have to say that bianca steele consistently does the worst misreadings of anyone I’ve ever encountered. “anarchy means the strong overcome”! I invite anyone here to decide for themselves whether I’ve “gone Nietzchean” or think that anarchy means the strong overcome. I avoid responding to bianca steele not only because she’s insulting, but because she literally can not understand what anyone writes.

I have no idea whether RNB really can be “outed” as anyone else — though if so, I’m sure that he or she is glad that bianca steele brought it up — and in any case that wasn’t the reason why I criticized RNB.

215

bianca steele 05.13.16 at 3:48 pm

Rich, you and Val are two of a kind. Weirdly, I don’t think you actually know that.

216

js. 05.13.16 at 3:53 pm

I, myself, have little ability to detect whiteness from prose

Well, when, people start getting Trump-curious or get all “Hillary’s the *true* imperialist hawk [guffaw, guffaw]”, you can make some well educated guesses.

217

Lynne 05.13.16 at 3:55 pm

Bianca @ 227, why do you say that? I’m curious.

218

Lynne 05.13.16 at 3:56 pm

js @ 228, and can you tell non-whiteness from certain comments, too? I’ve been pretty colour-blind here, maybe a fault of mine for not reading closely enough.

219

Layman 05.13.16 at 4:00 pm

‘Well, when, people start getting Trump-curious or get all “Hillary’s the *true* imperialist hawk [guffaw, guffaw]”, you can make some well educated guesses.’

When I read that kind of crap, I assume the writer is stupid, or insane, or hopelessly blinded by ideology. Color doesn’t enter into it.

220

AcademicLurker 05.13.16 at 4:02 pm

Any takers for the theory that all of the commenters here are actually one very bored person who’s been serially commenting for over a decade as an elaborate joke?

221

js. 05.13.16 at 4:17 pm

Yes, Layman, white people in a white-dominant society have the luxury of ignoring skin color. This is, I don’t know, well attested and extensively theorized.

222

js. 05.13.16 at 4:18 pm

AL @232 — I’m going with John Holbo.

223

RNB 05.13.16 at 4:20 pm

I am John Holbo.

224

Layman 05.13.16 at 4:33 pm

@ js, if I were to say that reading stupid comments on the internets led me to speculate about the race of the author, I imagine you’d say that was, well, racist. When instead I say it doesn’t lead me to speculate about the the race of the author, you say that’s racist.

That’s some catch, that Catch-22.

225

bruce wilder 05.13.16 at 4:35 pm

AcademicLurker @169

Surely any theory positing teh joké still must divide the commentariat: those who get the joke and those who don’t, those whose confidence in their own infallible sense of humo[u]r motivates their navigation of these shoals by ironical wit from those who must need run aground trading resentments with false confidence fashioned from a humorless righteousness.

And, in the end every one is John Holbo.

226

js. 05.13.16 at 4:46 pm

@Layman — Honestly, where did I say or imply that either such speculation or lack of speculation is or should be considered racist? Because I’m really pretty certain I did no such thing.

227

Layman 05.13.16 at 4:56 pm

@js, fair enough. That’s how I read your comment, but that’s on me.

228

Lupita 05.13.16 at 5:34 pm

@js.

Well, when, people start getting Trump-curious or get all “Hillary’s the *true* imperialist hawk [guffaw, guffaw]”, you can make some well educated guesses.

From today’s Guardian:

‘He’s our hero’: Hindu nationalists rally for Donald Trump in India

Not all of Trump’s Indian supporters come from a rightwing Hindu background. Abhijit Iyer-Mitra, a foreign policy analyst and magazine columnist, says that he just didn’t want to see Hillary Clinton in power.

Projecting unto the rest of the world, where most non-whites live, the US’ peculiar brand of identity and racial politics, where one can make an educated guess about a person’s politics based on race, may prove problematic.

229

js. 05.13.16 at 5:53 pm

@Lupita — My background is Indian, as a matter of fact. I am aware, as it happens, of Hindu nationalist support for Trump. The reasons for this support can I think be euphemistically described as unpleasant (and sure, there might be some odd hanger-on who’s not indicative of anything). In any case, perhaps I should have considered whether any of the Trump-curious commenters on CT were in fact Hindu nationalists, but the likelihood of that seemed a bit low.

230

RNB 05.13.16 at 5:57 pm

The likelihood of being a supporter of the anti-Muslim bigot Trump even if you are a reactionary supporter of Hindutva is remarkably low. Still I imagine President Trump’s first visit in India will be to the Babri Masjid.

231

RNB 05.13.16 at 6:05 pm

From the twitter account of the Indian foreign policy “expert” cited in the Guardian; given the swipes at Clinton as Hitler and Warren as an ass-licker, he may well have a woman problem:

Abhijit Iyer-Mitra ‏@Abhijit_Iyer 12h12 hours ago

True – Hitllery only likes asslickers …. No one better than warren at itAbhijit Iyer-Mitra added,
Siddharth @siddharth3
It would be a shame if Hillary Clinton doesn’t pick Warren as her VP. https://twitter.com/elizabethforma/status/730458060746051585

232

Lupita 05.13.16 at 6:06 pm

@js.

My point was that one cannot use American racial assumptions on foreign populations. For example, I once commented on opinion pieces supporting Trump that have been popping up in the Latin American media. The reason given was his opposition to NAFTA which the Latin American left also strongly opposes. It would be mistaken to ascribe to Latin Americans any of the whiteness ascribed to American Trump supporters. Different cultures, different societies, different politics.

233

bianca steele 05.13.16 at 6:07 pm

Well, when, people start getting Trump-curious or get all “Hillary’s the *true* imperialist hawk

Speaking only for myself, this election has reminded me how much I really can’t stand a certain segment of the American left. It’s too bad, because the left has good ideas. It’s too bad so many of them are assholes.

Too late, probably, to do anything about it.

234

RNB 05.13.16 at 6:19 pm

Oh the reason Trump has been popping up in the Latin American media is his opposition to NAFTA in which apparently, according to Lupita, the clueless Latin American left finds echoes of their own concerns? Um, Lupita can you think of another reason or two his name may have popped up here or there or his effigy burned?

235

Ronan(rf) 05.13.16 at 6:27 pm

Well , Rania khalek, A leftist, “non white” woman from (I think) a Palestinian background expressed trump curiosity. A stupid opinion no doubt , but one clearly not only held by white men.

https://mobile.twitter.com/RaniaKhalek/status/727682499451695104

I really have no idea Why the left have decided to adopt the race and gender existentialism of the old racists and sexists. I’ve a lot of time for js specifically, who I think speaks a lot of sense, but this “argument to white man” is usually a lazy tactic from a certain type of partisan leftist faction.
And it usually works primarily to remove any sort of individuality from the non white moron (as opposed to the white moron, who has all the agency in the world), who instead gets thrown into that great blob of people known as the “non white male”, who no one has to listen to or take seriously, instead they’ll just assume positions on their behalf.

There are so many good arguments for opposing trump that I’ve no idea why this idiotic one is given any credence

236

Ronan(rf) 05.13.16 at 6:32 pm

“Yes, I think this would have been worth talking about, but it was not considered interesting enough to be a point of focus. Why is that? I say that it reflects a certain CT blindness to the world outside of Europe and its settler colonies.”

Oh come on. Your initial comment was quite obviously a mealy mouthed attack on a handful of commentators who you’d had a previous run in with. The idea that your only concern is to expand the parochial perspectives of people here, to a truly global one , is self serving bull. Most notably because (1) this particular issue (birthright lottery) has been dealt with multiple times, particularly by Chris bertram (who had a book event on it) and (2) I don’t really see any interest from you in other countries, politically or socially, beyond the superficiality of a Harford analysis, or how they tie into US politics (ie humanitarian interventions, immigration etc).
And your initial objection to lack of diversity *was purely parochial*. You objected to the lack of non white Americans, not the lack of foreign voices (of course in terms of foreign input, ct doesn’t do too bad, particularly compared to other US centric sites. There is what, nearly 10 nationalities represented here? Add in different ethnic groups within those countries and that number increases again. Your objection was primarily a parochial one, concerned with arguments you had had with other commenters on other threads over trump. Now it’s a more noble concern , that we don’t have equal representation for all the peoples of the world)

237

RNB 05.13.16 at 6:43 pm

And the book event is a one-time thing; after that we are left with Bertram making very unpersuasive and ungenerous and really just outright nasty arguments that Milanovic is the architect of neo-apartheid.

Why I would have to write about what I wish others would be writing about? I gave some issues above–the impeachment in Brazil about which I have been speaking with a Brazilian sociologist, the violence at Universities in South Africa and JNU in India (which I have been following), the set of issues that I mentioned in Piketty’s book, the passing of Stuart Hall (black lives matter after all), etc. You think the coverage is good. I don’t agree.

But note that this is what you Ronan have wanted to talk about. My comment about the Trump rally was not meant to begin a discussion of the demographics of this list. It was meant to indicate that there is no shared conception of the good here that a troll could undermine and the problem with discussion here is not trolling or even lack of diversity but the output of those who want us to consider them morally superior (RP) or alone out of the cognitive mush the rest of us find ourselves in (BW).

238

RNB 05.13.16 at 6:47 pm

Rania Khalek is simply wrong that Clinton is to the right of Trump. Trump would not care at all if Assad killed off civilian opposition or if Qaddafi had been left alone to do the same. Trump has pledged to tear up the deal with Iran, not Clinton. Trump had Bobby Knight introduce him as the candidate ready to drop nuclear weapons again. Trump has spoken in defense of torture even without the supposition that it would yield useful information.

239

bruce wilder 05.13.16 at 6:53 pm

bs @ 246: I really can’t stand a certain segment of the American left. It’s too bad, because the left has good ideas. It’s too bad so many of them are assholes.

We all agree on that, but apparently opinions diverge on which ideas and who is rightfully despised.

240

js. 05.13.16 at 6:54 pm

Let me try a longer comment. Probably a mistake!

Lynne asked me upthread if I can “tell non-whiteness” from comments. Well, generally, no, tho there might be exceptions. But generally, I can’t tell whiteness from comments either! I brought up the Trump thing because (a) it’s more the exception than the rule, tho it’s a telling exception. (Maybe this was unclear.) But I also brought up the Trump thing because (b) I think—and I admit I could be wrong—if non-white commenters (caveat to follow) were better represented in the CT commentariat, there would have been a much more visible “Are you fucking out of your fucking mind?” reaction than there actually was when Trump-curious and related comments showed up in CT threads. (What we got was mostly silence.) In any case, it was that set of events that made me think—jesus christ, this site feels really white.

Now the caveat: Maybe I should say North American-based non-whites above. (Tho I do think that support for Trump in the Global South, esp. among the left, is being a little exaggerated here.) Because this isn’t really a point about identity politics. This is the much simpler point that if you are the member of a group that is being singled out by a regime/administration/set of policies, and there is a good chance that you or people close to you will be directly, materially affected by the regime etc., you can’t help but sit up and take notice. Whereas erstwhile comrades and allies can quietly slink away.

241

js. 05.13.16 at 6:58 pm

PS. Rania Khalek, tho—I got nothin’.

242

bruce wilder 05.13.16 at 6:58 pm

RNB @ 251

As the poet said, mush is as mush does. Or was it that mush is in the eyes of the beholder? Perhaps, it is all mush to those who mush mush.

243

Ronan(rf) 05.13.16 at 6:59 pm

I don’t think “the coverage is good” , I think your complaint is largely irrelevant, as there are plenty of places you can get that coverage, and it would generally be of a higher quality than the analysis you would get here. (As most of the main posters are not professionally expert on such subjects). I mean if I’m looking for an analysis of the Syrian war, or on welfare provision in southern Africa, I obviously don’t look here, right?
And I think your new objections are largely disingenuous and a case of goal post shifting. Your initial complaint, was (1) (as you imply) a dig at Wilder and puchalsky, (2) quite obviously a comment on the lack of diversity(by one standard) of the site”. You seem to think youre the only one with varied interests that transcend ones limited parochial perspectives, whereas it’s probably closer to being you’re the only who feels the need to make a big song and dance about it,

244

engels 05.13.16 at 7:06 pm

Describing Khalek as ‘trump curious’ is a serious misrepresentation at best.

“It has become accepted orthodoxy in establishment circles to view Trump as an authoritarian race-baiter who would present a major threat to the world if elected in November. While this characterization is certainly well founded, it ignores the fact that Clinton is also dangerous to world stability. And unlike Trump, she has the blood on her hands to prove it. If lesser evilism is the goal, as establishment pundits insist, it remains unclear who the lesser evil is – if the choice is limited to Trump or Clinton. […]

“Trump is riling up fascist sentiments. But he’s doing so by tapping into legitimate anger at the negative consequences of trickle-down neoliberal economics driven by establishment politicians like Clinton. She played an active role in dismantling the welfare safety net and selling out American workers to disastrous corporate trade deals. Another four or even eight years of Clintonian economics and military adventurism could well lay fertile ground for the rise of a demagogue even more bellicose than Trump.A general election between Clinton and Trump would be a dreadful race to the bottom. It’s no wonder so many people would refuse to cast a ballot for either candidate.”

https://raniakhalek.com/2016/04/16/is-hillary-clinton-more-dangerous-than-donald-trump/

245

RNB 05.13.16 at 7:10 pm

Again Ronan you’re the one who made a big song and dance about the Trump comment in a post that clearly was as LFC understood a criticism of the assumption in the OP that there is a shared sense of the common good here and that the problem bedeviling this list may not be trolling but indignation from those dudes who think they are moral/epistemological superiors.
You want to focus on diversity. I have nothing to add to what js just wrote–I did not feel here as if many people felt what I felt when Trump spoke of thousands of Muslims celebrating 9/11 and illegal immigrants being murderers and rapists I felt that a line had been crossed in American politics and the insecurity that I felt was not widely shared here and was not recognized by those who write the OP’s.

246

RNB 05.13.16 at 7:11 pm

It’s not unclear who the lesser evil is, and it’s not unclear whether Clinton will have to be challenged every step of the way.

247

Ronan(rf) 05.13.16 at 7:11 pm

Js I don’t necessarily disagree . Trump is the voice for white racial resentment, afaict, so there’s clearly, on average, going to be a difference in perspective of what threat he poses based on race.
My impression would be that the (what you might call) “trump curiosity” found here at times is more a selection bias towards certain strands of leftism (which are more hostile to mainstream liberalism.and the dem party establishment) I think if there were more non white American commenters here they’d plausibly be equally the result of that selection bias, and so we’d still be likely to have a number of trump curious non whites.

248

Ronan(rf) 05.13.16 at 7:14 pm

Engels, yes and that’s pretty much the analysis of trump by the “curious” around here

249

RNB 05.13.16 at 7:20 pm

Khalek writes: “Trump wants to ban Muslims. But Clinton has a solid record of advocating for bombing Muslims, not to mention her ongoing pattern of trashing Arabs and Muslims to win over pro-Israel voters and donors.

Trump is riling up fascist sentiments. But he’s doing so by tapping into legitimate anger at the negative consequences of trickle-down neoliberal economics driven by establishment politicians like Clinton.”

Legitimate anger? Really? Those worried about neo-liberal economics would rally to Sanders if not Clinton. How can one not understand Trump who wants to carpet bomb so-called ISIS holdouts and torture indiscriminately and ban whole groups of people is a much more dangerous racist than Clinton?

250

engels 05.13.16 at 7:21 pm

There is a huge difference between Khalek’s position ‘Trump is a borderline fascist but Clinton may be worse and unlike him already has blood on her hands’ and the kind of ‘Trump may be a bit right-wing for me but at least he’s sticking it to the beltway elite’ crap that you sometimes encounter. Js. is quite correct that particular kind of idiocy is a white dude klaxon.

251

Ronan(rf) 05.13.16 at 7:23 pm

Right, rnb, you’ve certainly created an elaborate justification for what was, really, just a bit of snark directed at a couple of commenters you don’t like. I have no idea what it would look like in practice (or why it would be any sort of comfort) to have the main posters “recognise your fears.”
But I agree we’ve really said it all at this stage so I’ll leave it there

252

Ronan(rf) 05.13.16 at 7:25 pm

Engels, maybe, but without actual example of this white dude klaxon, I can’t really judge. Though it sounds plausible

253

RNB 05.13.16 at 7:28 pm

Khalek is recklessly willing to risk a lot of things (torture, virulent domestic racism, and heightened misogyny) on the basis of a delusive hope that Trump would give the Palestinians a better deal than HRC would.

254

Layman 05.13.16 at 7:31 pm

RNB @ 247, you’ve badly misread Lupita @ 245.

She writes: “For example, I once commented on opinion pieces supporting Trump that have been popping up in the Latin American media. “

You see, here, she’s talking about supportive opinion pieces, not pieces in general.

So, when you write: “Oh the reason Trump has been popping up in the Latin American media is his opposition to NAFTA in which apparently, according to Lupita, the clueless Latin American left finds echoes of their own concerns? Um, Lupita can you think of another reason or two his name may have popped up here or there or his effigy burned?”

…it really comes across as, well, confused, if not deliberately obtuse. Do you mean to say that the same people who pen Trump-supporting op eds turn around and burn Trump in effigy, for the same reasons? Do you realize how stupid that sounds? Do you think no one will notice the sly elision, whereby ‘pieces supporting Trump’ becomes, in your rendering, ‘Trump’?

255

RNB 05.13.16 at 7:37 pm

Put it this way, Layman: why is Lupita reporting only on the pro-Trump editorials popping up in the Latin American media (and I would appreciate the cites) and not a. showing how the Latin American left opposes trade deals for very different reasons that Trump does, b. explaining that Trump would likely fight for even more asymmetric trade deals with Latin America and c. failing to share with us the critical editorials of Trump that are appearing in whatever place Lupita claims to be in Latin America?

256

Layman 05.13.16 at 7:38 pm

RNB: “How can one not understand Trump who wants to carpet bomb so-called ISIS holdouts and torture indiscriminately and ban whole groups of people is a much more dangerous racist than Clinton?”

Is there someone in particular who you think doesn’t understand this?

257

Lynne 05.13.16 at 7:39 pm

js: ” Because this isn’t really a point about identity politics. This is the much simpler point that if you are the member of a group that is being singled out by a regime/administration/set of policies, and there is a good chance that you or people close to you will be directly, materially affected by the regime etc., you can’t help but sit up and take notice. Whereas erstwhile comrades and allies can quietly slink away.”

Thank you for that.

258

RNB 05.13.16 at 7:41 pm

Well, yes, Khalek for one and those who find her persuasive here. We could also talk about Trump’s stance on the Central Park rape case. He called for the capital punishment of those later exonerated and has never had second thoughts about it. But some will say that Hillary Clinton is just as bad because she once referred to “superpredators” and has apologized for it.

259

Layman 05.13.16 at 7:42 pm

js: “Whereas erstwhile comrades and allies can quietly slink away.”

This is spectacularly insulting, whether you intended it to be or not.

260

js. 05.13.16 at 7:47 pm

I think if there were more non white American commenters here they’d plausibly be equally the result of that selection bias, and so we’d still be likely to have a number of trump curious non whites.

Holy shit, that is a really frightening thought.

261

Layman 05.13.16 at 7:47 pm

@RNB, I read you as decrying the white-western-male dominance in this forum, and blaming that for your sense that this forum is insufficiently critical of Trump. So, who are the white western males here who you think don’t believe that Trump is “a much more dangerous racist than Clinton”, and what have they said which makes you believe that?

262

RNB 05.13.16 at 7:49 pm

@276 you did not follow the exchange between Wilder and js?

263

Lynne 05.13.16 at 7:59 pm

@274 And you don’t think the silence js referred to was insulting?

This is an academic blog, and I’m frequently surprised by how diligently it remains academic even when the topics under discussion affect people’s lives in frightening or outrageous ways. I take js to be referring to one of those times.

264

Layman 05.13.16 at 8:02 pm

@RNB, do you mean to say that the all-white-male cadre at CT consists of, well, bruce wilder…?

265

Layman 05.13.16 at 8:06 pm

“And you don’t think the silence js referred to was insulting?”

No, actually, I doubt there was deliberate silence of the kind js seems to mean. Even he said it was ‘mostly silence’, which is a way of saying it was not silence. In any event, if I were to say you were craven on the evidence of nothing more than your failure to elicit a reaction to something you perhaps had not even seen(!), I imagine you would find that unfair.

266

RNB 05.13.16 at 8:08 pm

As js noted, the equivalence thesis about Trump and Clinton did not receive the unsparing criticism that I think it deserves. In terms of % of content, bw is more than one person.

267

engels 05.13.16 at 8:08 pm

How can one not understand Trump who wants to carpet bomb so-called ISIS holdouts and torture indiscriminately and ban whole groups of people is a much more dangerous racist than Clinton?

Because the question of how ‘dangerous’ someone is isn’t purely a function of what they ‘want’, among other reasons. Fwiw my own reason for opposing Trump more strongly than Clinton is because of what he is, not what he might do (which was also my reason for celebrating – in certain respects – Obama).

268

engels 05.13.16 at 8:15 pm

Since this thread evidently can’t get any worse I shall illustrate the point by paraphrasing a Zizek argument about the purported ‘equivalence’ between Stalinism and Nazism. If you look at consequences – millions of people murdered – then you’d have to conclude not only that they are equivalent but Stalinism was worse. That’s not true – consequences aren’t the only thing that matters.

269

The Temporary Name 05.13.16 at 8:17 pm

Since this thread evidently can’t get any worse

Where are all the trolls you’d think it’d draw?

270

JimV 05.13.16 at 8:18 pm

I just recalled that soon after 9/11 a chain-email was circulated in the plant where I worked, with a video which showed the WTC buildings crumbling and then some men and women in robes and scarves dancing and yipping. I think the latter part was from a CNN report on reactions from other countries, but it could have been faked, for all I know. Maybe Trump saw that same thing and took it seriously and that is what he was referring to – which would mean he is a fool who falls for crude propaganda but what else is new?

In other OT but tangentially-related news, my favorite movie of the year so far is “Eye in the Sky” (starring Helen Mirren, Alan Rickman, Aaron Paul from “Breaking Bad” and others) which is about the trolley problem: do you bomb some highly-wanted terrorists in a terrorist enclave who are outfitting some suicide-bombers to go out and kill a lot of innocent people; and especially do you bomb them if a young girl is selling her mother’s bread within the blast radius? I wasn’t sure as I left the theatre, but one of the actresses (whose name and character’s name I don’t remember) looked and argued like my sister Pam, so I decided to side with her. (She was against it.)

I don’t know all the details of the decision to bomb in Syria, but it could have been a similar dilemma: damned if you do, and damned if you don’t. So I don’t judge HRC so harshly for it as to disqualify her.

As for the OP, I figured out that the style was based on Aristotle (the title was a big hint), but reading it reminded me of passages in Tolkien. (Not just because it mentioned trolls a lot.)

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RNB 05.13.16 at 8:25 pm

@285 It was video of Palestinians celebrating, not Muslims in the US as Trump repeatedly claimed. Moreover, the footage was shot from an angle that did not allow the viewer to understand how isolated the celebration was. But that is another point. Trump inflamed an exterminatory hatred against American Muslims (I am not one, by the way) on the basis of a lie that he was allowed to get away with. Again I think a line was crossed in American politics and in the American media.

272

Layman 05.13.16 at 8:31 pm

“Trump inflamed an exterminatory hatred against American Muslims (I am not one, by the way) on the basis of a lie that he was allowed to get away with.”

@RNB, I agree with you that this behavior by Trump is outrageous. Yet, still, I do not know what you mean when you say “that he was allowed to get away with it.” Who allowed him to get away with what? He told a lie, and people challenged him on that lie, and he stuck to the lie, and people called him a liar. What else was supposed to happen?

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RNB 05.13.16 at 8:34 pm

A lot, lot more relentless media scrutiny. But the vulnerability he created was not shared, so people went light on an outrageous lie. Plus, there could have been a lot more academic discussion of the nature of this outrage, and I did not feel that there was nearly enough. But here we are now with his having a real chance at the Presidency despite Robin’s comforting McGovern analogies.

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engels 05.13.16 at 8:37 pm

He told a lie, and people challenged him on that lie, and he stuck to the lie, and people called him a liar. What else was supposed to happen?

One case study

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Lynne 05.13.16 at 8:45 pm

Layman @ 280

Okay, I gather you didn’t see the long discussion RNB referred to (I can’t remember the name of the post) and I also gather that you are taking js’ comment personally. Since you are one of the community, and perhaps you consider yourself an ally of js’, it offends you to think you have been accused of slinking away when you should have spoken up. Have I understood correctly?

I think this is what is happening: not many people evinced the reaction js did to Trump’s anti-Muslim talk. There could be lots of reasons for this, but understandably commenters here who felt personally affected by the threat in Trump’s views would feel that silence, or near-silence quite personally, too. I doubt very much that js meant each and every one of the commenters here (he can, of course, speak for himself) so if you didn’t even see the discussion, his comment wasn’t meant for you. But as his ally, maybe you feel concern for the situation anyway, eh?

This is not a one-off on Crooked Timber. As I said, the studiously academic discussions here sometimes seem wildly inappropriate. The people who notice will include the ones facing the real-world consequences of whatever is under discussion.

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Layman 05.13.16 at 8:46 pm

@RNB, I think there was in fact a lot of media scrutiny of that claim, with only right-wing pseudo-news outlets supportive of Trump. I see you think there should be ‘a lot, lot more’, but honestly I don’t know how you’d even go about measuring it, or how you’d know if there was enough. Trump is the Republican nominee because the core base of the party consists of racists and cranks, and no amount of media scrutiny into Trump’s wild, racist statements would have prevented that outcome.

Also, too, this: “despite Robin’s comforting McGovern analogies.”

…strikes me as another exercise in deliberate obtuseness.

277

Ronan(rf) 05.13.16 at 8:56 pm

Ze k, 267-, this is what I mean by “racial resentment”

https://mobile.twitter.com/i/status/731172375820161024/photo/1

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RNB 05.13.16 at 9:07 pm

The media allowed trump to pivot what he wanted to pivot to and could have uncovered a lot more if they weren’t making reality tv

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js. 05.13.16 at 9:09 pm

js: “Whereas erstwhile comrades and allies can quietly slink away.”

This is spectacularly insulting, whether you intended it to be or not.

I said they can, not that they necessarily do. I would think this is fairly uncontroversial. Also, this is a perfectly general statement that, in a given context, could apply to me as much we to anyone else. If understanding all this, you think this is “spectacularly insulting”, I’m not sure what I can say.

But a couple of things about the specific case. One, this wasn’t directed specifically at you. (I hope that’s obvious enough that it didn’t need stating.) (2) Beyond the silence that Lynne mentions, there are certain comments, certain consistent themes in comments that I had in mind. I don’t want to point to specific comments because I don’t want to name commenters I still like and respect. (And if nothing else, I don’t have the energy for what would follow. Also, it’s a nice day, and I’d like to spend the rest of Friday afternoon doing something other than defending myself on a CT thread.) So I guess where that leaves us is that I’m going to have to leave my claim unsubstantiated.

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engels 05.13.16 at 9:42 pm

I assume the insulting part is the hypothetical accuasion of betrayal. If I told my colleague he can’t use my letter-opener because ‘erstwhile colleagues can stab me with it and leave bleeding on the office floor’ I might get a negative reaction even though I didn’t suggest anyone would (nb. not passing judgment on its effectiveness as rhetoric….)

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LFC 05.13.16 at 10:01 pm

js. @254
…there would have been a much more visible “Are you fucking out of your fucking mind?” reaction than there actually was when Trump-curious and related comments showed up in CT threads. (What we got was mostly silence.)

I don’t want to get into the details, but my perception is (1) only two or three commenters said nice or neutral things about Trump (one was quite persistent, the others somewhat less so) and (2) they were met w a fair amt of pushback, though it might have slid eventually into ignoring. That said, it may well be that a differently composed commentariat wd have had a stronger reaction. But “mostly silence” doesn’t really match my recollection, fwiw. These things are subjective, of course, and I don’t have time or inclination to get into counting up comments, etc.

282

engels 05.13.16 at 10:02 pm

It seems to me the discussion of US party politics here (which I don’t usually follow that closely) polarise around a ‘populist’ pole, which I do find rather ‘white’ and even a bit unsavoury at times, and a ‘liberal’ pole, which I find authoritarian and elitist. Mainstream left positions as I see them offline and in other places online just aren’t well-represented. Fwiw everyone I know irl whom I regard as on the Left has reacted with outrage to the kinds of things Js. is talking about regardless of whether they are Asian or Muslim. That’s not to argue for complacency about racism, just stating that my experience of my acquaintances is really quite different from Lynne’s, apparently.

(Just probably state for the record that I’m white and the only time I’ve been commenting when Trump was discussed I think I said more-or-less what Js. said.)

283

Lynne 05.13.16 at 10:05 pm

“just stating that my experience of my acquaintances is really quite different from Lynne’s, apparently.” ??

I haven’t talked about my acquaintances so I don’t understand this.

284

LFC 05.13.16 at 10:15 pm

For the record, I happen to be white and male and I think the choice btw Trump and Clinton is so obvious it’s not a question that even warrants discussion (i.e., of the jotting up of pros and cons variety). And, also f.t.r., I voted for Sanders in the primary in my state.

W/r/t statements relating to immigration and race broadly understood, Trump has crossed lines not crossed since George Wallace (or maybe Pat Buchanan, though I’m not sure Buchanan went as far). Moreover, as P. Campos remarked on LGM, Trump’s apparent psychological profile is such that he shdn’t be trusted w command of a set of steak knives, let alone a set of nuclear codes for an arsenal capable of blowing the planet up many times over. He’s also just ******* ignorant of matters that a candidate for president shd know something about. These things are disqualifying for the presidency, irrespective of his other positions. IMO.

285

engels 05.13.16 at 10:16 pm

Sorry – when you said you thought ‘not many people evinced the reaction js did to Trump’ I assumed you were referring to people you had encountered. If not, then who?

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js. 05.13.16 at 10:20 pm

“Not many people evinced etc.” *in the CT threads in question*, presumably. That’s how I read it, tho Lynne can speak for herself.

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Lynne 05.13.16 at 10:28 pm

Engels, what js said. It was in the context of CT. In my life, yes, the general reaction among my acquaintance is horrified disbelief.

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The Temporary Name 05.13.16 at 10:29 pm

For the record, I happen to be white and male and I think the choice btw Trump and Clinton is so obvious it’s not a question that even warrants discussion (i.e., of the jotting up of pros and cons variety).

Yes, a “better” argument for Trump is still a stupid argument.

289

Layman 05.13.16 at 10:30 pm

js: “I said they can, not that they necessarily do.”

To be fair, I’ll quote you at length:

“But I also brought up the Trump thing because (b) I think—and I admit I could be wrong—if non-white commenters (caveat to follow) were better represented in the CT commentariat, there would have been a much more visible “Are you fucking out of your fucking mind?” reaction than there actually was when Trump-curious and related comments showed up in CT threads. (What we got was mostly silence.) In any case, it was that set of events that made me think—jesus christ, this site feels really white.

Now the caveat: Maybe I should say North American-based non-whites above. (Tho I do think that support for Trump in the Global South, esp. among the left, is being a little exaggerated here.) Because this isn’t really a point about identity politics. This is the much simpler point that if you are the member of a group that is being singled out by a regime/administration/set of policies, and there is a good chance that you or people close to you will be directly, materially affected by the regime etc., you can’t help but sit up and take notice. Whereas erstwhile comrades and allies can quietly slink away.”

I read this second paragraph as explaining the pathology, the cause of the phenomenon you describe in the first. Which is to say, while you do say ‘can slink away’, in context what you meant was ‘did slip away’. You did not see the appropriate reaction to Trumpery, you say, because white (so-called) allies were not threatened and so, cravenly, did not respond. There’s really no other way to take the two paragraphs together.

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bob mcmanus 05.13.16 at 10:53 pm

What Wilder gets and most here ignore is that “Trump is worse than Clinton” will in actual practice turn into “Clinton is good” and much time and effort will be spent defending and praising and excusing Clinton with some kind of intention of weakening her enemies and empowering her allies, perhaps us. But will in fact mostly empower Clinton and weaken anyone or anything to her left.

And Clinton is a horrible monster.

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engels 05.13.16 at 10:53 pm

Engels, what js said. It was in the context of CT. In my life, yes, the general reaction among my acquaintance is horrified disbelief

I thought you were attempting to provide evidence for the theory that unlike Js. white people do not tend to vocally object to Trump’s Islamophobia. Unless none of your acquaintances are white this seems to undermine rather than support that

292

Val 05.13.16 at 11:01 pm

I have the same impression as Lynne re the reaction to js’ comments on Trump – I guess I wouldn’t call it academic (though I know what Lynne means) so much as insensitive. I identified with what js said particularly because I have Muslim relatives, but I would have thought other people might’ve able to understand his position more than they seemed to.

I do feel sometimes that the CT commentariat – not all of it, but a significant proportion – is white, male, American and tends to not always get non-white, feminist or subaltern perspectives on particular issues. Or maybe it’s that they don’t seem to care – gender, race and colonialism/imperialism are other people’s problems, not theirs, even though in fact they are relations of power and privilege.

(Lynne as to bianca comparing me with Rich, I think it’s unfair and untrue, but unfortunately bianca seems to have a strange attitude to me – I thought it was over but again earlier in this thread she seemed to get offended by a remark of mine to her which was simply meant as a mild disagreement on a point of content, in no way as an attack on her. So I think maybe bianca reads me as being more aggressive or arrogant than I think I am, or something. But I’ve tried before to clear this up, and it doesn’t seem to have worked, so I guess it’s better just to let it go)

293

engels 05.13.16 at 11:11 pm

Even if we were to apply this odd standard, how is it possible to prefer a power-mad psycho to narcissistic loudmouth?

If those were the only differences, it wouldn’t be.

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js. 05.13.16 at 11:20 pm

Layman @305 — You can read this thread and this thread and decide for yourself. Maybe they read differently to me than they do to some or most others. Note, tho, that I don’t really mean to draw your attention to Bruce Wilder’s comments (or mine), so much as to responses (or lack thereof from commenters active in the thread) from self-identified left-liberal regular CT commenters.

And this comment by bianca steele pretty much sums up how I thought those threads were going. So cheers to bianca steele for that.

295

js. 05.13.16 at 11:22 pm

Meant to add: Meanwhile, I will think about whether I should retract/rephrase the bit that seems insulting. Honestly.

296

engels 05.13.16 at 11:38 pm

On a more positive note, Londoners have just elected their first Muslim mayor in the face of (a) a repulsive Islamophobic campaign against him by the mainstream right (b) a smear campaign against the left-wing of his party by liberals within the party, based around false accusations of racism.

297

Lynne 05.14.16 at 12:01 am

Engels @ 307, No, I was just talking about what I’d seen in the comments here, without reference to white/non-white.

298

Rich Puchalsky 05.14.16 at 12:12 am

Against my better judgement: I responded to this for the first go-round here, in one of those threads.

Meanwhile, “erstwhile comrades and allies”? Since when? If Trump wins, we’ll have to be allies out of necessity. If he loses and HRC wins, are we “comrades and allies”? At that point I expect the Democratic base to decide once again that they really do like warmaking, surveillance, sweeping executive powers, police powers, and repression of protest as long as a Democrat is doing it. So the whole comrade and allyship thing lasts as long as Trump does, and hopefully he’ll be gone in the general election. After which it’s back to “you think you’re the moral elite”, and I don’t expect the people asking for support against Trump now to repay that help in any way.

299

engels 05.14.16 at 12:36 am

Food for thought:

“Despite off-the-charts wealth inequality, Democratic Party liberals have been concerned not with an egalitarian reckoning to unite the have-nots against the haves but with inclusion: bringing different “interest groups” into the professional class while managing everyone else’s expectations downward.

“This kind of “inclusion” politics — the chance at climbing one of a tiny handful of rickety ladders to the top — is the only economic program the Democratic Party mainstream is selling to those not already in the upper tiers. Sure, this politics is better than nothing. But as Ralph Miliband put it, “access to positions of power by members of the subordinate classes does not change the fact of domination: it only changes its personnel.””

https://www.jacobinmag.com/2016/05/white-workers-bernie-sanders-clinton-primary-racism/

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js. 05.14.16 at 12:42 am

engels @312 — Yes, that is a good thing. Tho am I wrong in thinking that Khan is actually closer to the closer to the Blairite wing of the party than the Corbynite wing? (Again, not taking anything away from the fact that given the context, this was an excellent win.)

Relatedly, it’s frankly painful that my main source for UK news/web browser homepage—i.e. the Guardian—has revealed itself to be so thoroughly in the Blairite camp. Maybe this was always obvious to people who knew more about Labour party politics, but it wasn’t to me.

301

Lupita 05.14.16 at 1:05 am

@js.

I read those threads you linked to and, while there was no sympathy expressed for Muslims who would be barred from entering the US (there was a little for you, personally), neither was there any from the Clinton supporters for the peoples of the world who will undoubtedly be invaded, bombed, and crushed for the greater glory of her Wall Street compadres. I did detect a lot of cynicism and even some despair, though. I think that counts for something.

302

Donald 05.14.16 at 1:26 am

I used to be to like the the threads here, but there is just too much of people ignoring the legitimate points of the other side and the circular firing squads are out of hand.

My opinion–

Trump is a possible fascist and therefore worse than Clinton. But Clinton might actually be worse on foreign policy. But you can’t tell, because Trump is totally unpredictable. Clinton is horrible, but in relatively predictable ways. But she might possibly plunge us into a war in Syria or even the Ukraine and unlike her supporters ( as opposed to reluctant lesser evil voters like me), I think she is a damn fool. Stupid, arrogant, like the best and brightest that got us into Vietnam. How anyone can see her laughing about Qaddafi’s death and not feel disgusted…well, Clinton supporters have some very effective filters. But still, Trump is the one appealing to naked racism about policy here at home, so I understand what js is saying. (Though IMO Clinton’s speech to AIPAC was racist as hell.) I do think Trump is much worse overall, but I keep going back and forth because if you aren’t horrified by Clinton I really don’t care what you think about anything.

But I also agree with bob mcmanus and Rich P–there are a great many people who want and demand lefties support Clinton and I find the lesser evilism argument convincing, but they don’t really mean it. They actually think Clinton is great. They pretended to hate Bush’s policies, but when Democrats are in power it turns out they didn’t really care about any of the things they said they cared about, unless the Democrat in power still condemns it. I suspect that if Obama supported water boarding so would some Democrats.

303

js. 05.14.16 at 1:36 am

Donald — who are you counting as Clinton supporters, on this thread e.g.? (Also, respectfully, I don’t think you understand what I’m saying.)

304

Donald 05.14.16 at 1:43 am

“I used to be like” should read I used to like. I blame my iPad.

305

Donald 05.14.16 at 1:50 am

I was speaking of Clinton supporters in general–I am not sure anyone in this thread is as bad as the ones I have seen elsewhere.

I think you are saying Trump is so clearly dangerous to Muslims and Hispanics and women (and maybe others, but I forget what other groups he might have said terrible things about) that only white male privilege could explain how a few people here could think he was no worse than Clinton. That could be. I am venting some of my own feelings–granting that Trump is a dangerous unpredictable clown, I will hope Clinton wins, but I think she is a terrible choice.

306

Layman 05.14.16 at 2:04 am

js @ 310

I’m ill-equipped to explain bruce wilder, but I’m not entirely sure he’s saying what you think he’s saying. I think he’s bemoaning lesser-evilism and the extent to which adherence to it amounts to shoring up the status quo, although not in the way I would do it, and I have so argued when he has raised this comparison before. I also think he’s been quite clear in denouncing Trump. That said, I understand your perspective. And, I resolve to try and read more charitably, if that matters.

307

js. 05.14.16 at 2:52 am

Layman @322 — On the narrow point: I’m still going to go with the plain meaning of “ordered preferences”, but I reeeeeeeeeealy don’t want to relitigate this; as I said, I meant to point you to the responses. More broadly—OK, and thanks.

——

Donald @321 — Fair enough, that’s pretty close to what I was saying.

308

bianca steele 05.14.16 at 3:00 am

I skimmed the threads js. linked. What a clusterf—. I don’t normally participate in discussions of Republican primaries. Because I’m not a Republican and don’t give a damn about their internal politics. I’m sorry if js. and others perceived unwillingness to engage as acquiescence. I think that’s the least of the problems here, not that more immediate issues aren’t important. If there were in fact that many people in the comments section supporting Trump, yeah, I’d be gone.

I could have cursed in this comment a lot more, but some people don’t like that.

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Donald 05.14.16 at 3:19 am

http://www.politico.com/story/2016/05/bill-clinton-palestinians-israel-223176

For me the things Bill Clinton said in the link above are nauseating Basically this is support for war crimes with the obligatory blame shifting. But yes, as I keep admitting, Trump is worse on more subjects.

But this is why I have zero patience with many ( not all) of the Clinton advocates. If one forthrightly admits that the lesser evil is evil in many respects, then fine. I am all ears. But the countless bloggers who toss around terms like narcissist and white privilege and don’t acknowledge the problems that come with supporting people like the Clintons can go sit under an American made bomb as it lands in Gaza or Yemen as far as I am concerned.

310

The Temporary Name 05.14.16 at 3:29 am

But this is why I have zero patience with many ( not all) of the Clinton advocates. If one forthrightly admits that the lesser evil is evil in many respects, then fine.

While I’m happy to call Clinton evil, this is a demand for a denunciation game. “But why didn’t you denounce X” is a real waste of time (although fun when trolling).

311

bruce wilder 05.14.16 at 4:01 am

js. was disappointed that so few commenters chose to denounce me for views I do not hold and have not expressed — though gratified that bianca steele came thru

312

RNB 05.14.16 at 5:13 am

@325 Please stop it with the “HRC may be worse in Yemen and the Gaza stuff”. Sheldon Adelson who wants to drop an atomic weapon in a desert in Iran to make sure Israel’s security concerns are met in negotiations has pledged to give Trump probably more than $100 million. No, HRC has never contemplated dropping an atomic weapon on Iran to win an advantage in negotiations; she said that she would retaliate with a nuclear strike if Iran carried out a nuclear strike on Israel. This is not the same thing. It’s not reasonable or perhaps even sane to think that we run the same risks with the nuclear codes in Trump’s hands that we would were the codes in in HRC’s hands.

313

RNB 05.14.16 at 5:23 am

@327 really bw you have not been misrepresented. You may want to backtrack from where your rhetoric had led you. I wrote this a while back:

RNB 03.04.16 at 6:57 am
confused why BW says js not getting him right. BW tells [us] over and over [again] that capitalists are neo-liberals and feel that the system is safer in the hands of a Democrat who will give them everything they want (paper Wall Street regulations) while legitimizing the system by eliciting some enthusiasm for it by tying it to a facile multiculturalism and humanitarianism and offering social programs that prove, upon closer examination, to be give-aways to business (Obamacare). Clinton is thus a more insidious candidate than Trump who driven by personal ambition would just create confusion and dysfunction for neo-liberal capital and thus is to be preferred to Clinton, the toxic racist environment he would create notwithstanding.

Everything BW writes is an attempt to bring us to this conclusion without stating so explicitly that the American left needs to bring down the Democratic or social Democratic or multicultural face of neo-liberal capital by any means necessary, including a racist and misogynist demagogue if that is what history has made available to us.

314

ZM 05.14.16 at 5:32 am

I haven’t read all of this thread, but from my memory of the thread where this Trump issue came up, I think there was some pushback against the idea of Trump being better than Clinton.

What happened next as I remember it was that this turned into a sub-thread argument about “identity politics” more generally, and more broadly in terms of race, culture, and gender as well

I don’t really have time to read the thread again, but I do remember thinking (and hopefully I wrote) that js had a good point at the time and also that the initial point Bruce Wilder made was thoughtless and disappointing

But I also want to say at the time I didn’t actually believe that Bruce Wilder was in favour of Trump, or that he was in favour of Trump’s racist and anti-Muslim policies ( although now apparently Trump tweeting about eating Taco bowls at his hotel chain makes everything alright with him and Mexico :-/ ???? I do miss Belle’s posts at the moment)

How I interpreted Bruce Wilder’s comment was that he was rejecting Hilary Clinton’s neoliberal politics, and that in doing this he used ill chosen and thoughtless rhetoric saying Trump was better than Clinton.

js. had and has a really valid point that people who are actually potentially going to be affected by Trump’s racism do not really have the luxury of condemning Hilary Clinton with pro-Trump rhetoric, and that this sort of rhetoric is a dangerous avenue to go down given Trump’s political positions

Bruce Wilder has a particular interest in the broadly populist institutions and economy of the post-war period, and is generally critical of neoliberal governance and institutions, in this case I really wish that at the time he had written something more objective like —

“the emergence of Sanders and Trump as Presidential candidates in the primaries show that the neoliberal hegemony since the 80s is being challenged by strains of left and right populism”

I think that is probably what he actually thinks, and his rhetoric was ill chosen and was criticised at the time (apart from then in my recollection it turned into a more general sub-thread argument about identity politics) so I am a bit uncomfortable with him being a branded a Trump supporter now in subsequent threads without context unless people go back and read the original thread

315

ZM 05.14.16 at 5:36 am

“the emergence of Sanders and Trump as Presidential candidates in the primaries show that the neoliberal hegemony since the 80s is being challenged by strains of left and right populism”

What I tried to get across, is that if you unpack Bruce Wilder’s thoughts a bit, he could possibly be construed as generally pleased about the challenge to neoliberalism presented by Sanders and Trump’s candidacy, without actually supporting Trump as a candidate. That’s not what he wrote, but that’s what I like to think he meant

316

ZM 05.14.16 at 5:38 am

js. @316

“engels @312 — Yes, that is a good thing. Tho am I wrong in thinking that Khan is actually closer to the closer to the Blairite wing of the party than the Corbynite wing? (Again, not taking anything away from the fact that given the context, this was an excellent win.)
Relatedly, it’s frankly painful that my main source for UK news/web browser homepage—i.e. the Guardian—has revealed itself to be so thoroughly in the Blairite camp. Maybe this was always obvious to people who knew more about Labour party politics, but it wasn’t to me.”

Teju Cole wrote about this on Facebook:

“The new mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, is Muslim. Good. Khan beat a nasty opponent, and will have lots of racists upset. Alhamdulillah. Great symbolic achievement. Symbols matter.

Now, what’s he actually going to do about London’s ridiculous property market? Who is he willing to offend? Is he another neoliberal? As an MP, what’s his record on war? How far will he go to be unthreatening? Any good critiques from the left? (Links please.) The times are hungry for heroes, but I’m twitchy about hosannas. I say let’s check in with Mr Khan in a couple of years.”

317

js. 05.14.16 at 7:13 am

I appreciate the interest, but again I have absolutely no interest in re-litigating this. But ZM — @330 is a very generous (in a good way!) reading of that entire horror-show; I’d like to think it’s true.

318

Lee A. Arnold 05.14.16 at 9:46 am

If you think Trump is a challenge to neoliberalism, then you are seriously mistaken.

319

Rich Puchalsky 05.14.16 at 10:09 am

ZM: “I am a bit uncomfortable with him being a branded a Trump supporter now in subsequent threads without context unless people go back and read the original thread”

I don’t think that people even called him a Trump supporter, because he isn’t. The problem was supposed to be that he thought HRC was worse in some ways.

I wonder how people would deal with an actual Trump supporter? kidneystones is one, but no one bothers to denounce him. The reason is pretty clear: BW is supposed to be poaching. People on the left are supposed to belong to HRC politically, and kidneystones isn’t writing anything that could change that, but BW is articulating a point of view that that’s about people breaking free of Democratic Party lesser evilism.

Ze K (whose general views I don’t in any way agree with) wrote upthread that he wanted the viewpoint diversity of having an actual Trump supporter writing here. And then of course the usual arglebargle took place. But wow, think of what might happen if there were actual Trump supporters here. It might become clear that this isn’t really about criticism of Trump at all! Because everyone here agrees with those criticisms of Trump, except kidneystones. What this is really about is a demand that people on the left support HRC.

320

Lee A. Arnold 05.14.16 at 10:21 am

If you think that supporting Hillary is equal to being fooled by Lesser Evilism, then you are seriously mistaken.

321

Rich Puchalsky 05.14.16 at 10:27 am

If you think that writing one-line pronouncements is convincing anyone of anything, then you are seriously mistaken.

322

kidneystones 05.14.16 at 10:41 am

Can’t stop talking about Trump. Engels with his usual talent for understatement puts his finger right in the wound at 315. Democrats in general were entirely on-board with the anti-democratic coup conducted by HRC’s coalition of special interests until Sanders showed-up. Rather than respond positively to someone committed to socialist change a great many so-called ‘lefties’ immediately set to work demolishing any possibility of real debate.

Not to put too fine a point on it, when historians compare the 2016 nominating process of the two major political parties, only one looks remotely like a fascist coup. And when the unwelcome prospect of an actual democratic debate involving more than one candidate was forced upon the rubber-stampers, twas when a great many so-called anti-authoritarians grovelled and abased themselves publicly to better serve the status-quo.

Dems are the establishment. The Democratic party is supported by some of the richest capitalists in America and, based on the record, couldn’t give a fuck about the plight of the victims of income inequality other than to provide bread as well as water to the victims of both parties.

Kudos to all Sanders supporters. Don’t give an inch.

323

Lee A. Arnold 05.14.16 at 11:04 am

Rich Puchalsky #339: “If you think that writing one-line pronouncements is convincing anyone of anything, then you are seriously mistaken.”

Hoo, boy. Rich, three months ago you tried to convince me that most people don’t find dignity in honest work and would rather be cheaters and free riders who can get away with it… Yet, two months ago you tried to convince me that under a state of anarchy, people would freely choose to work down in the sewer system… Yet, last week you tried to convince me that it was unrealistic to defend Obama for not being more effective in the face of blanket Congressional opposition! Therefore, we may be beyond convincing each other of anything, even at multiple sentential lengths. It’s sewer systems all the way!

324

Rich Puchalsky 05.14.16 at 11:15 am

I’m not trying to convince you of anything, Lee. You didn’t understand any of those things, which isn’t really a problem since other people did. No, what I meant was that you’re being annoying by writing one-line incredulities without presenting your reasons for believing whatever it is that you believe.

325

Lee A. Arnold 05.14.16 at 11:22 am

Rich Puchalsky #342: “You didn’t understand any of those things, which isn’t really a problem since other people did.”

Who “understood” them, and how, exactly? Are we talking about affiliating with your mood?

326

basil 05.14.16 at 11:22 am

It comes as no surprise that all the non-white male and white-female supporters of HRC (and BHO) cannot see Lupita’s multiple interventions as they deploy their identity politics in support of the vicious racist status quo.

This is the hegemonic anti-racism that doesn’t know of the Clinton Foundation, their term as U.S Secretary of State, peddling toxins and violence to invisible faraways populated by disposable multi-coloured bodies.

Invisible Haitians
Invisible Yemenis
Invisible Palestinians
Invisible Central American children whose fragile bodies ought to be used to ‘send a message’
Invisible Iranians
Invisible everyone who’ll be disproportionately affected by TPP, and the love for the sweet toxicity of fossil fuel addiction

I remember engels once asked Val’s opinion of Margaret Thatcher. I thought, ah, easy shibboleth. And then I read Val’s answer. And I think does Val come from Sara Ahmed’s Australian feminist tradition? And I see cites of bell hooks, but strangely those who stand against this are the ones with a race problem, the ones allowed by their privilege to avert their gaze from the suffering of more vulnerable others.


Interesting reading js. lamenting Khan’s Blairism. When I read the ‘brown’ Clintonites comments, I hear them in candidate’s Khan’s voice, all realistic and punching left.

327

Rich Puchalsky 05.14.16 at 11:27 am

Lee: “Who “understood” them, and how, exactly? Are we talking about affiliating with your mood?”

I’m not going over all of those threads, Lee. Read them for yourself. I will note that in the last one you considered that my bringing up concrete historical counterexamples was “mood affiliation”, which like your usual slam “knuckleheads” means that you don’t understand an argument and can’t be bothered to understand it.

328

Layman 05.14.16 at 11:33 am

kidneystones @ 340, self-parody is just a form of masturbation.

329

Lee A. Arnold 05.14.16 at 11:40 am

Rich Pulchalsky #345: “my bringing up concrete historical counterexamples”

But both of us brought up examples, and then you declined to explain your own categorization of them. This is not conducive to “understanding”. No one else displayed that she knew what you were on about, either.

330

engels 05.14.16 at 11:41 am

You don’t have to be a fan of Khan’s politics (I’m not) to take satisfaction in the way the race-baiting campaign against him was decisively rejected by Londoners or be happy to see the back of racist scum like Johnson (another character whom Ze would doubtless categorise as a harmless buffoon). No, he’s not a Corbynite by any stretch (and that’s true of the majority of Labour politicians, rather than members).

331

kidneystones 05.14.16 at 11:52 am

The reality is that the majority of voters in 19 Democratic state primaries (so far), not to mention Iowa which HRC barely ‘won’ by winning a truly miraculous sequence of coin-tosses, are deeply, deeply unhappy with the Dem non-response to income inequality, minority unemployment, failing schools, the Dem policy of endless war, and crushing student debt.

O, HRC, Biden and the other friends of corporate America and international exploitation are concerned that Sanders’ critiques might upset the Dem coronation, or worse, provide ammunition for ‘other’ critics of Dem-sanctioned screw-the-workers politics.

And that’s the real issue. The DNC and HRC in their delusions believe that if they can only push Sanders out of the race all those Dem voters in 19-20 states so far will suddenly forget their own critiques of HRC, because these legitimate critiques will be magically transformed into ‘GOP’ talking points and can, as such, be ignored.

In any other election cynicism of this sort would very likely succeed. I very strongly suspect that only a tiny minority of Sanders supporters are going to ‘forget’ their lack of employment, failing schools, crushing debt, and the prospect of much worse for their kids.

The current Dem strategy post-Bernie is ‘let them eat confetti’ and ‘Trump=Hitler”. This two-prong approach isn’t going to work period with a very sizeable number of voters on both sides of the political aisle.

As I’ve mentioned before, in 2016 patriotism is in, as is American jobs first – fuck NAFTA and the TPPP. Someone said bad things about group A? Who cares? I need a job, my kids deserve real paths to a better life, and paying taxes for x number of years means my interests and those of other Americans come first, not second.

He who cannot be named offers all this. Dreaming that a majority of voters can be suckered again is delusional, as one gang of ruling class assholes has already discovered. The other is about to find out.

332

Rich Puchalsky 05.14.16 at 11:53 am

Lee: “No one else displayed that she knew what you were on about, either.”

Factually incorrect. Corey Robin, the person who started the thread, did. Cranky Observer did. Really other people did, but I’m not going to bother arguing that: suffice it to say that I “declined to explain” after a whole lot of paragraphs of explanation that you countered with your usual sure-fire style of asking the question over and over. Your inability to understand arguments is your problem, not mine.

333

engels 05.14.16 at 12:27 pm

has he tortured and murdered any Poles, Pakistanis, or Jamaicans?

Ah yes the ‘sticks and stones’ approach to racism in public life…

334

Lee A. Arnold 05.14.16 at 12:30 pm

Rich Puchalsky #350: “Factually incorrect. Corey Robin, the person who started the thread, did. Cranky Observer did.”

They both affiliated with your mood, but not with your factifications.

Corey neglected to mention that the top marginal rates are back to where they were before the Bush Tax Cuts. He neglected to mention that the middleclass rates have stayed the same in the face of the lesser depression, and properly so. And he neglected to mention that no politician in their right mind thinks that tax rates are forever because the next officeholders can change things depending on the electorate.

Cranky defends your definition of “achievement”, if it includes “long-term disasters for one’s own side” (i.e. big failure). But under that redefinition, we might be led to conclude that all Presidents’ records are replete with big achievements.

You draw logical, factual lines only where they ALREADY agree with your emotional mood.

335

Rich Puchalsky 05.14.16 at 12:47 pm

Oh god, the political theorist professor is supposed to be just doing mood affiliation because Lee disagrees with his argument. And there’s no back off at all from the claim that no one understood what I was on about, even when it’s immediately disproved.

I’m not rearguing that thread, Lee. You made claims, I disproved them, now you’re reasserting them without admitting that I answered them. You can do that forever.

336

Rich Puchalsky 05.14.16 at 1:14 pm

kidneystones: “Can’t stop talking about Trump.”

By the way, some time has gone by since kidneystones posted this and I haven’t seen written expressions of shock and horror from the other people posting here. Are you white people who are using your privilege to quietly slink away from your allies?

337

kidneystones 05.14.16 at 1:42 pm

346@ Self-pleasuring takes many forms. The OP is excellent. Watching the thread deteriorate into parsing BW and whining about being misunderstood is, in a way, even better.

Few sights are more enjoyable than watching liberals lick the glove.

338

Lee A. Arnold 05.14.16 at 2:10 pm

Rich Puchalsky #354: “I’m not rearguing that thread”

You cannot reargue it! To RE-argue something, you must have argued it the first time. You did not.

You wrote instead, “If you can’t figure out what I mean by ‘major accomplishment’, then it isn’t worth my time to explain further.”

So now, I have to call Corey and Cranky to figure out your definition of “big achievement”.

But I am not going to call them.

Why bother them? What they have wrote doesn’t work in your behalf; their comments don’t illuminate your definition.

Indeed they refute you: According to their kinds of examples, Obama has been no less effective than any other President.

339

Lee A. Arnold 05.14.16 at 2:17 pm

This gets us back to trolling, by the way.

The Philosopher (as unearthed by Rachel Barney) wrote about trolling, but unfortunately the next fragment was lost to history. There are indications of its contents in a later mention by an ancient; I seem to remember that it is in Pseudolus.

It goes to this effect: The troll is a manipulator of emotions.

Therefore, one can semi-troll oneself, and invent fictions and factives which align with one’s emotional mood.

340

engels 05.14.16 at 3:33 pm

May I just point out that I did abusively denounce (the view attributed to and repeatedly disavowed by) Bruce in the thread Js. linked? Don’t I get any radical activist points for that? I’m almost thinking of putting my recycling in the wrong bags this week in retaliation…

341

js. 05.14.16 at 4:04 pm

engels, you’re a true comrade.

342

engels 05.14.16 at 5:03 pm

Don’t worry, I consoled myself with Horkheimer:

A revolutionary career does not lead to banquets and honorary titles, interesting research and professorial wages. It leads to misery, disgrace, ingratitude, prison and a voyage into the unknown, illuminated by only an almost superhuman belief.

343

bianca steele 05.14.16 at 5:17 pm

Lee:

Tragedy tomorrow, COMEDY tonight!

344

Layman 05.14.16 at 5:50 pm

“I’m almost thinking of putting my recycling in the wrong bags this week in retaliation…”

The horror. The horror.

345

RNB 05.14.16 at 5:52 pm

So Basil you’re saying that due to your and Lupita’s anti-racist concerns about authoritarian leadership in Haiti and Honduras (I trust that you actually know what role Clinton had and did not have in these regime transitions; for example, Zelaya was not ousted in a CIA coup), brutal treatment of child refugees (I trust you have made some estimate of what % of these children would receive asylum under Clinton and Trump administrations), and wars against groups considered Iranian proxies (I assume that this is what you mean by “Yemen”), you would not vote for Clinton to keep Trump out of office because that would be an use of the grotesque politics of minority identity to keep in place a racist status quo which of course given your deep anti-racist commitments you would not want to worsen.

I take it that you have not heard Trump celebrate murderous authoritarian rule in Russia, Syria and Libya and express desires to stamp out the free press and dissent generally; call for the forced removal of 12 million illegal immigrants and a ban on all Muslims and pledge to tear up any deal with Iran.

346

RNB 05.14.16 at 5:56 pm

I am checking Rania Khalek’s twitter feed to see what she has to say about Sheldon Adelson’s $100 million pledge to Trump. Nothing so far. Strange. Does this make it more difficult to say that Clinton may well be more dangerous than Trump?

347

RNB 05.14.16 at 6:06 pm

Oh yes Basil’s couching his anti-Clintonism in terms of anti-racism is a good example of…trolling.

348

RNB 05.14.16 at 6:08 pm

Don’t know when we are going to see Trump’s returns. One possibility is that Trump may actually have less post-tax personal income (even with with his expensing everything from his residence to his personal grooming for his brand as Piketty warned) than Clinton and be more beholden to his backers, such as Adelson.

349

Dipper 05.14.16 at 6:17 pm

Ze K @ 351 – “Boris Johnson is a harmless buffoon”.

Boris is a magician. He distracts you with his buffoonery so you don’t see what he is up to, and then you think “how did he do that?”

350

engels 05.14.16 at 6:55 pm

Socialism or barbarism

… This week was arguably the worst for Mrs Clinton since her shock defeat to Mr Sanders in Michigan in March. A stinging loss in West Virginia was followed by fresh allegations that The Clinton Foundation, the charity she founded with her husband, may have broken federal law by channelling money towards a company part-owned by close friends. She also received a chastening reproof from the director of the FBI for describing the agency’s investigation into her use of a private email server when she was secretary of state as a “security inquiry”. James Comey said that he did not recognise that term, adding: “We’re conducting an investigation . . . That’s what we do.”
The vulnerabilities of her candidacy were laid bare in a poll of Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, the most valuable swing states in November’s presidential election. It showed voters regarding Mr Trump as more capable on the economy despite confusion about his own tax plans, and on terrorism, despite Mrs Clinton’s seat in the White House situation room during her four years as secretary of state. It suggested that Mrs Clinton was more unpopular than Mr Trump, and that Mr Sanders would beat the billionaire comfortably, while she barely has her nose in front. …

351

Lupita 05.14.16 at 7:32 pm

@Z

I’m glad you liked my brief description of what it is like to be a stranger in a strange land. I would like to add something to my list of difficulties on commenting on an academic blog in a foreign language, how one has to take into consideration cultural differences, meanings of political terms, and background knowledge while translating thought, that is, provide a cultural translation. Another problem would be providing links in English when one’s primary sources are not in that language. Other than Ze K who linked to a Portuguese-language article on Rousseff which I did follow (thanks, Ze K), I don’t recall any other such links.

352

LFC 05.14.16 at 7:39 pm

@Ze K
So Trump, someone who apparently masqueraded as his own PR person under a diff. name on occasions in the ’70s/80s/90s, is a mere buffoon while Clinton is a “power-craving psycho,” eh?

That’s complete nonsense. Clinton can be criticized for many things, but there’s no evidence she’s any more a psycho than the run of politicians. Of course, in Ze K’s universe there may be only two categories: buffoons and power-mad psychos. You’re either one or the other (certain favored leaders excepted from the generalization).

As to West Virginia, it’s an atypical state (for reasons that wd take too long to go into) and those figures are not surprising.

353

engels 05.14.16 at 7:42 pm

I knew I should have quoted Horkheimer in the original

354

LFC 05.14.16 at 7:46 pm

@lupita
I don’t recall any other such links.

There have been links in the past to material in French here, and I’m pretty sure German and Spanish as well, and given the length of time CT has been in existence I wouldn’t be that surprised if that were not the first Portuguese link .

355

Layman 05.14.16 at 7:51 pm

@Ze K, no Democrat was going to win West Virginia. It’s a hotbed of poor white racist animosity, almost the definition of the rump Republican Party.

356

LFC 05.14.16 at 8:01 pm

I would probably not be quite so harsh in my characterization of W. Va. as Layman (having lived there albeit briefly and a long time ago), but it’s been a solid Repub state in presidential elections for a while now, and its demographic makeup is well-suited to Trump’s appeal (for lack of a better word).

357

engels 05.14.16 at 8:06 pm

I did quote Catullus once I think.

358

LFC 05.14.16 at 8:07 pm

@Ze K
It shows that he’s a relentless narcissistic self-promoter and if that doesn’t approach ‘power-crazed psycho’ — well, I’m not sure what does. Words like ‘buffoon’ and ‘clown’ don’t capture it.

359

LFC 05.14.16 at 8:14 pm

I did quote Catullus once I think.

…in the tradition of those with elite British classical educations who become radicals, while others with the same education become Tory prime ministers. ;)

360

bianca steele 05.14.16 at 8:24 pm

Il est démontré, disait-il, que les choses ne peuvent être autrement: car, tout étant fait pour une fin, tout est nécessairement pour la meilleure fin. Remarquez bien que les nez ont été faits pour porter des lunettes, aussi avons-nous des lunettes. Les jambes sont visiblement instituées pour être chaussées, et nous avons des chausses. Les pierres ont été formées pour être taillées, et pour en faire des châteaux, aussi monseigneur a un très beau château; le plus grand baron de la province doit être le mieux logé; et, les cochons étant faits pour être mangés, nous mangeons du porc toute l’année: par conséquent, ceux qui ont avancé que tout est bien ont dit une sottise; il fallait dire que tout est au mieux.

361

Layman 05.14.16 at 8:27 pm

@LFC, my family is something like 6 generations of West Virginians. I know whereof I speak. I’m lucky my parents fled when they were young and fearless.

362

bianca steele 05.14.16 at 8:32 pm

I thought I could find a Spanish version, but can’t, but be assured: todo es por lo mejor en este mejor de mundos posibles.

363

LFC 05.14.16 at 8:46 pm

my family is something like 6 generations of West Virginians.

duly noted. I can’t match that.

364

js. 05.14.16 at 8:51 pm

Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darueber muss man schweigen.

365

engels 05.14.16 at 9:57 pm

Datta. Dayadhvam. Damyata.
Shantih shantih shantih

366

Lupita 05.14.16 at 10:20 pm

May this string of random quotes in random languages serve as proof eternal of the diversity and cosmopolitanism of CT.

367

LFC 05.14.16 at 10:34 pm

js. @388
just google-translated that. Very apt. (Will resist impulse to be clever on my own account by displaying my extremely superficial knowledge of Wittgenstein.)

368

engels 05.14.16 at 11:16 pm

There was a Chinese guy who used to comment here once – I think his name was Mao Chemh Ji – does anyone know what happened to him?

369

Jake 05.15.16 at 12:04 am

392: banned for trolling on threads from female OPs I think. Along with Hector St. Clair maybe. But I was never sure that Mao was actually Chinese.

370

Rich Puchalsky 05.15.16 at 12:30 am

You know, I’ve been thinking about this, and I maybe I’ve been approaching it the wrong way. I had been thinking that this election was an especially pronounced example of the dynamic by which the GOP candidate says horrible things and motivates both bases, after which we get neoliberalism. And that references to comrades and allies was especially silly, since the left is going to give whatever they can give and get nothing. But maybe this is really an opportunity for the general collection of voters who supported Sanders.

Sure, I think it would be fine to support HRC, in exchange for a massive political bribe. What will you give us for our support? Nothing so crass as money. How about Sanders gets to nominate all Supreme Court justices during HRC’s term? Or socialist parties in America get, I don’t know, half of the Cabinet positions. Or maybe HRC agrees that any future wars and trade treaties have to be approved by a council of anarchist delegates. Those are all possible strictly through Executive action. How about it?

Remember, comrades-to-be, no price to stop Trump is too great! If this doesn’t happen, it’s on you. I don’t see how disappointed Sanders voters can really muster the enthusiasm to turn out and vote for HRC without something like this. So you’d better start writing letters to her now demanding one of these actions, or Trump wins.

371

engels 05.15.16 at 12:45 am

He reminded me at times of Henri, the Swiss guy – I thought they might be related…

372

engels 05.15.16 at 1:21 am

373

LFC 05.15.16 at 1:29 am

@engels
Don’t you have some Engels to read or something, instead of these tongue-in-cheek, deliberately mischievous comments?

@RP
I wdn’t be surprised if Sanders et al tried to get something from HRC at the convention or just before that, though what it will be I’m not sure (it won’t be your particular suggestions). But he’s fairly well-positioned, I think, to hold out for something in the way of policy commitments…

374

LFC 05.15.16 at 1:31 am

p.s. was referring to the Mao/Henri stuff.

375

Rich Puchalsky 05.15.16 at 1:37 am

LFC: “But he’s fairly well-positioned, I think, to hold out for something in the way of policy commitments…”

I predict that he gets zero, zip, nada. There will be some high-flying rhetoric about how he has increased the salience of economic inequality issues and pulled the Democratic Party to the left, which in policy terms will equate to nothing.

376

kidneystones 05.15.16 at 1:42 am

@399 When you’re right, you’re right. “Let them eat words.” HRC on her way to Rustbelt states to deny any connection to NAFTA, TPPP, Libya, O, the DNC, and her general indifference to anyone not ready to pony up 6 figures. Her message? “Trust me.”

377

js. 05.15.16 at 1:53 am

Yeah, that “Mao” character was a little old-timey, wasn’t he? Also puts me in mind of something that begins with the last letter of the alphabet? Hm. Just can’t put my finger on it…

378

Layman 05.15.16 at 2:32 am

@ Rich P, this act is creaky and tired. Suggest something concrete; otherwise, you’re just a useless crank.

379

kidneystones 05.15.16 at 2:47 am

Air Force 1 Single Payer 0

Kucinich sells out the left for a place in history. http://talkingpointsmemo.com/dc/from-holding-out-to-whipping-health-care-how-dennis-kucinich-is-helping-dems-pass-reform

No need to make cruel jokes about O letting Dennis play president for a day in order to get the last, best hope of single-payer to help make America’s richest richer and expand coverage for the poor. There are good points to the Affordable Care Act, and Kucinich isn’t a entirely facile dupe. He is, however, a politician. Democratic sources confirm that ’twas the confetti’ that finally convinced Dennis to switch his vote.

Sanders, ( I hope) is made of sterner stuff and is wiser. Elections are about winning. The only way there will be any positive long-term changes in America is to support Sanders through the primary, through November, and through the onslaught that is certain to follow, should Sanders prevail. Both Sanders and He Who Cannot Be Named are promising to end business as usual. Both are running against the entire apparatus of the political establishment.

The differences between the two candidates are profound. 2016 really is a chance to help make Sanders make America great, not just build walls.

380

Rich Puchalsky 05.15.16 at 2:53 am

Layman: “Suggest something concrete; otherwise, you’re just a useless crank.”

Oh dear, in comparison to all of the high-powered political fixers here I guess that I really am. If only I’d suggested some concrete plans, like the plan to denounce people on a blog and bring change! Last time I talked to Rahm he told me that too — “Puchalsky,” he said, “your problem is your lack of plans, you crank. If you had a plan we’d get it done. But you don’t, so get lost.” I was crushed. But I’m going to write up a plan and send it to HRC, and I’m confident that this time I won’t be thought of as a crank at all.

381

engels 05.15.16 at 3:01 am

382

engels 05.15.16 at 3:06 am

Just can’t put my finger on it…

You need more Data…

383

js. 05.15.16 at 3:39 am

Nicely played.

384

Layman 05.15.16 at 4:39 am

“Oh dear, in comparison to all of the high-powered political fixers here I guess that I really am. “

Most other people here don’t seem to be on this silly ego trip you’re on, the one where you rant at everyone else about how stupid they are, how their answers are all wrong; but somehow, you can’t seem to ever point to a right answer. Why is that, I wonder?

385

bruce wilder 05.15.16 at 6:24 am

Project much, Layman?

386

b9n10nt 05.15.16 at 7:05 am

can I just express appreciation?

Like, in these projections, I think I know who McManus Engels Wilder Puchalski are* ‘and of course each of the blog ascendants

A community of political sanity (wh paradoxically leaves the sane member helplessly neurotic!)

Projection. “It’s all in the mind”‘-George Harrison yellow submarine

387

b9n10nt 05.15.16 at 7:38 am

* so…assume that we’ve already passed way too many filters and this is all gravy Civilizationally speaking. We are all free to be dead without consequence to anything summative in the observable state. (Pause)

Each of us is so hopelessly caught in our need to gain acceptance or power, and yet out of this comes an ethic of social compassion. This is then grafted on to academic learning and social intelligence. Is it more than egoic positioning, the ultimate biologically-determined state? Or more…

I emphatically vote “more”

388

J-D 05.15.16 at 10:09 am

Ze K @267

‘What’s “white racial resentment”? I get the impression that there’s a whole bunch of perfectly decent people who are sick and tired of being called racist, homophobe, misogynist, etc. every time they deviate from the party line, liberal orthodoxy. Like what I read recently about “all lives matter” being a racist statement. IOW, a backlash. Would this qualify as “white racial resentment”?’

It may be that there are decent people (my impression is that there are very few perfectly decent people; maybe none at all) who are sick and tired of being called racist (inaccurately); however, I am sure that there is a far larger number of racist people who are sick and tired of being (accurately) called racist. If there are white people with racist attitudes who resent having their attitudes and behaviour described (accurately) as racist, then I think their resentment can reasonably be described as white racial resentment.

389

Rich Puchalsky 05.15.16 at 11:12 am

Layman: “somehow, you can’t seem to ever point to a right answer”

Oh? There’s a thread linked to back in #191 that people could check out if they wanted to see how this works. The first time you demanded “right answers”, i.e. a concrete suggestion of what you could do, I considered your actual skills (educated, can write on a blog, aggressive) and interests and suggested that you start a program of learning about your local power generation infrastructure, who runs it, and how to influence it. This involves a whole lot of boring going to meetings and sending letters and making phone calls, and it can result in an effect completely disproportionate to the effort put in, because usually very few people are doing it locally. I’ve done similar things and have some ideas about it.

You derided this as “wasting stamps” or some such. (Sorry, not going to find the actual quote. You can if you want.) I think that you also asked whether my writing poetry was supposed to be what I planned to do. So you have no actual interest in any concrete suggestions that I might come up with. It’s simply your tic: Lee habitually says that people are mood affiliating as a way to shut people up instead of argue, other people say that the people they are “discussing” things with are autistic, you demand that criticism stop in favor of concrete solutions.

The actual truth is that you are powerless, and there is no magical individual solution that I have to offer you. It’s possible that you could become marginally less powerless, but that requires, you know, actually listening to people.

390

kidneystones 05.15.16 at 11:58 am

The top-trending story at real clear politics is an extraordinary piece on the WAPO and the DOJ’s handling of the investigation into the HRC’s illegal email activities (alleged, ahem). The author, Andy McCarthy is a right-wing crank and former prosecutor. I’m familiar with his stuff and wouldn’t ordinarily make any reference to his work. His latest, however, is the most widely-read piece on this aggregator site. His arguments, which I won’t repeat here, are worth noting for two reasons: the first is that they’re gaining some traction, and second because McCarthy’s arguments are sure to become part of the attack line against HRC, definitely by the GOP, and possibly by dissident Democrats who would rather not support a candidate who arbitrarily decided to delete thousands of emails while under investigation. The FBI does not, as their own leaders have stressed, conduct inquiries, but instead investigates possible illegal activities. The Dem position that HRC was the victim in Libya, rather than Ambassador Stevens, rests entirely on the credible supposition that the GOP fabricated a cover-up out of nothing. The same, however, cannot be said as easily of the FBI investigation of HRC. HRC’s incredible claims become even more incredible now that we learn that all four-years worth of emails of her principal IT manager in charge of the server have also mysteriously disappeared.

Crooked Hillary. It fits.

391

Layman 05.15.16 at 12:03 pm

@Rich P, I’m talking about the fury with which you deride those who say they’ll vote for Clinton to avoid a President Trump, after you, yourself, have admitted you’ll probably vote for Clinton as the lesser evil. It would be funny if it weren’t so self-righteous. Apparently, only mortals less morally erect than Rich P are fools when they cave to lesser-evilism.

If in fact you mean to say that the existing power structures are such that we’re stuck with this bad choice, and we ought to make the best of it until we succeed in changing those power structures, then by all means say that and get on with the business of advising people on how to go about long game of changing them. Strangely, though, you don’t seem to spend your time and energy on that. You just shit on people who’ve come to the same conclusion as you have about the nature of the current choice, and which is the lesser evil.

392

Rich Puchalsky 05.15.16 at 12:15 pm

Layman: “I’m talking about the fury with which you deride those who say they’ll vote for Clinton to avoid a President Trump,”

Oh dear. Why would I have written that I would vote for HRC (if my vote mattered) to avoid President Trump, if I was deriding people who would vote this way per se? No, I was deriding people who try to say that if you don’t do this, you’re exercising white privilege, and who call on a bogus solidarity that is completely one way in that the left is supposed to support neoliberalism without neoliberals having any intention of giving anything back to the left after the election is over.

“If in fact you mean to say that the existing power structures are such that we’re stuck with this bad choice, and we ought to make the best of it until we succeed in changing those power structures”

Oh dear. Where have I last written anything like that? Could it be … that I linked to such a statement right upthread in #314, and that I’ve written the same thing a whole lot elsewhere here? But sadly, whenever I do this, other assholes than yourself say that there is no possible way that I can believe what I believe if I believe that, and I never really get to the concrete solutions even if I could think of some that broadly apply to people here.

So I think I’ll just keep on as I’ve been going, thanks.

393

engels 05.15.16 at 12:53 pm

@Rich P, I’m talking about the fury with which you deride those who say they’ll vote for Clinton to avoid a President Trump, after you, yourself, have admitted you’ll probably vote for Clinton as the lesser evil

If, like Rich, you (a) change your opinions constantly (b) regard anyone who disagrees with your opinions as a liar or a lunatic, then this unfortunate situation is fairly likely to arise somewhere down the line…

394

J-D 05.15.16 at 1:02 pm

Ze K @415

‘Why would a racist be sick and tired of being called racist? It doesn’t make sense.’

Yes, it does. Sometimes people resent having their behaviour described as cruel even when the description is accurate; sometimes people resent having their behaviour described as mean even when the description is accurate; sometimes people resent having their behaviour described as unfair even when the description is accurate; and sometimes people resent having their behaviour described as racist even when the description is inaccurate. Often people who have been, for example, cruel, mean, unfair, or racist consider that those descriptions don’t apply; but just because that’s how they see it (that the description doesn’t apply) doesn’t mean that it’s so.

395

ترول 05.15.16 at 1:25 pm

I feel impelled to congratulate this post’s commenters on their fine job of collaboratively creating an almost perfect parody of what a mutual trolling contest would look like. Only no one has gone quite far enough in their concern for the voiceless: do you realise that 100% of CT commenters and contributors are literate, speak English, and have Internet connections? When will this blog make efforts to remedy this blatant systemic bias?

396

engels 05.15.16 at 2:30 pm

I’ve seen people disagreeing something so who’s to say who’s right? God?

397

Layman 05.15.16 at 3:08 pm

Rich P: “No, I was deriding people who try to say that if you don’t do this, you’re exercising white privilege, and who call on a bogus solidarity that is completely one way in that the left is supposed to support neoliberalism without neoliberals having any intention of giving anything back to the left after the election is over.”

Strangely enough, I don’t recall anyone saying that “if you don’t do this [vote for HRC to defeat Trump], you’re exercising white privilege”. Who said that?

398

bruce wilder 05.15.16 at 3:12 pm

I don’t recall Rich saying he votes.

399

bob mcmanus 05.15.16 at 3:33 pm

Baaack to the OP, thinking on about communities and outsiders, while reading (about and) Nishitani and Tanabe on nationalism, I’ll link to Safe Spaces and mildly complain that bianca steele quoted me out of context on guys jumping into feminist threads, leaving out “because we do feel ourselves part of some CT communities, and feel excluded or stereotyped by the feminist conversation. Maybe we’re wrong.”

In my discussion of “amae” (indulgence/seeking indulgence as bonding) above, I was positive but the amae I see in semi-closed community threads also includes negative statements.

Safe spaces or closed communities are, among other things, those places tolerant even encouraging of your hyperbole, exaggeration, performative misrepresentations.

A safe feminist space might be one where a poster or commentator is able to toss off “All men are beasts” without getting a “Wait a minute” or “Black Lives Matter” without “even Idi Amin? Don’t Asians matter?”

And for including myself, the trollish among us, do we really need to interject in those places, even if we feel excluded and treated unfairly by a discourse within what we view as outr community? Maybe the feminist posts are not really part of the general CT community, don’t want to be, and if a guy wants to comment there, he should ask himself if he wants to part of that thread on its terms.

OTOH, if the feminist threads want to be the community that excludes, I don’t have to support them.

400

bob mcmanus 05.15.16 at 3:41 pm

If the feminist in her living room with spouse and sons says “All men are beasts” the “amae” response is “Rawrrrr.”

Why among relative strangers am I not completely comfortable with that?

401

Rich Puchalsky 05.15.16 at 4:33 pm

BW: “I don’t recall Rich saying he votes.”

I don’t, but in a community that is centered on personal virtue as illustrated by individual voting, I always have to mention the (true) hypothetical that if my vote actually did matter then I would vote, and that I would vote in this particular way.

I recommend reading this (and comments) if anyone really cares about what I think about this.

402

Donald 05.15.16 at 5:00 pm

RNB–

I don’t think I have said Clinton is worse than Trump. I would say that on particular subjects, Trump has been both better and worse than Clinton, sometimes within a couple of sentences. He has been critical of her interventionism, for instance, and then turns around and advocates war crimes. He says we should be balanced on the I- P conflict and is derided for this by Clinton, and then he says Israel should build more settlements. I can think Tump is a dangerous unpredictable clown , prefer Clinton, and still despise Clinton. In fact, it’s easy.

As for ritual denunciation, which someone else said I was demanding, guilty as charged, but I’d put it differently. There are some people who say we should support Clinton, but don’t do this with enthusiasm because they acknowledge her flaws. Then there are people who demand we support Clinton, dismiss her flaws, or even share her views. I respect the views of people in category one and not those in category two.

403

bianca steele 05.15.16 at 5:01 pm

mildly complain that bianca steele quoted me out of context on guys jumping into feminist threads,

Funny. My impression of my own behavior on this thread is of having ignored you. Do I have an obligation to find some way to interpret you as making sense, or may I point out your mistake and risk being called humorless?

404

Layman 05.15.16 at 5:02 pm

“I always have to mention the (true) hypothetical that if my vote actually did matter then I would vote,”

Thanks for the link. One thing I find unclear is, what does that hypothetical look like? Under what circumstances would you decide that your vote actually might matter? Do you mean something like ‘you live in a state where the outcome is in doubt, during an election where the electoral outcome is similarly in doubt’?

405

Donald 05.15.16 at 5:10 pm

Hard to keep track of who hates whom in this thread and for what reasons. We need a FAQ, maybe in the form of a network with names and hatred vectors pointing from one to the other, with reasons and/ or explanatory links underneath each arrow.

406

bianca steele 05.15.16 at 5:24 pm

Donald @ 432

Do you belief no one ever takes issue with what another says unless they “hate” them? “Hate” is a strong word, usually referring to irrational feelings where there should be rational listening.

407

RNB 05.15.16 at 5:26 pm

Someone not enthusiastic about handing Trump a decisive and humiliating defeat to Hillary Clinton probably suffers from some combination of sexism, authoritarianism, various forms of ethnic and racial prejudice and ignorance. The people who are unenthusiastic about Clinton defeating Trump are not people who know that Libyans would have been better off without NATO intervention and care deeply about the Libyan people (take Puchalsky for example; he so little cares about the Libyan people that he remembered weeks’ long discussion here about R2P in Libya as a debate about policy in Syria); they certainly can’t be people who are outraged by the conditions of the Palestinians (or perhaps they don’t know who Sheldon Adelson is, which means of course that they don’t actually care about Palestinians).

408

Donald 05.15.16 at 5:26 pm

Someone upthread asked about what Rania Khalek said about Adelson’s support for Trump. It’s not hard to find, but she mentioned it here–

https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/rania-khalek/hillary-clinton-attacks-her-church-over-israel-divestment-vote

409

RNB 05.15.16 at 5:35 pm

Rania Khalek has not mentioned on her twitter feed what Trump taking $100 million from Adelson means for his policies in the Middle East going forward. One would think that this much money coming from someone too right wing even for Haim Saban would make her rethink her position that Clinton may be more dangerous than Trump.

410

bianca steele 05.15.16 at 5:38 pm

Curious who sets the “terms.” Though the idea that there are terms is just another example of too much sociology. Are we trying to please the OPer, or the sense of the commentariat, if this exists? Or some higher power? It’s bullshit, IMNSHO.

411

bruce wilder 05.15.16 at 5:55 pm

RP@428

I did read the linked post and comments. I guess that means I care, or I have time on my hands after walking the dog and watching Martha Raddatz show me pictures of the village after they destroyed it to save it. Apparently, vietnamization is working in Iraq. Nixon would be so proud. But, Obama ended the war in Iraq, except for the American general flying Martha around in his American helicopter to show her the effectiveness of American airpower and advice and training (always lots of training! — look at those shirtless Iraqi men completing the obstacle course!) in combating someone in Iraq. But, I digress.

I will go back to the consideration of (true and untrue) hypotheticals. “what does that hypothetical look like?” It is a question for the ages, that is!

Counterfactuals are the best evidence. “If” is such a powerful word, that it can cure feelings of powerlessness and doubt in an instant if you are only willing to accept things as they are and make the best of it, grateful that you can find meaning in your role in preventing the greater evil with your heroic conformity.

Powerlessness and social acquiescence are strange bedfellows.

412

Donald 05.15.16 at 5:56 pm

Khalek in her EI article seems to think they both stink. She was more positive about Trump back when he spoke about being evenhanded, but she evidently changed her mind. I think it was silly to put any stock in anything Trump says, though it was revealing when Clinton reacted negatively to his short- lived call to be evenhanded.

You seem to want more from Khalek. I don’t. People who are concerned about the Palestinian issue will get an accurate description of what the two candidates have said from that article.

413

bob mcmanus 05.15.16 at 6:02 pm

430: My mistake, bi…, it was “Lynne” at 166. Hard to tell y’all apart sometimes, since hostility and deception seems, as I said, a condition of solidarity

“As for this caution Bob McM alludes to above, that men exercise in wading into territory not their own…except, as he further says, when the topic is feminism: well, I’ve noticed the lack of caution when feminism is under discussion. Maybe some men are keeping quiet, though, and I’m not noticing their absence.” is what is referenced in 427

414

Rich Puchalsky 05.15.16 at 6:07 pm

Layman: “Strangely enough, I don’t recall anyone saying that “if you don’t do this [vote for HRC to defeat Trump], you’re exercising white privilege”. Who said that?”

js. gave the polite version, but RNB as usual gives the impolite version:
“Someone not enthusiastic about handing Trump a decisive and humiliating defeat to Hillary Clinton probably suffers from some combination of sexism, authoritarianism, various forms of ethnic and racial prejudice and ignorance. “

Yes, you can nitpick about whether they and similar people said exactly that. The message is the same as the message they’ve been directing at Sanders supporters from the beginning: if you don’t vote HRC you’re a racist or a sexist.

415

bob mcmanus 05.15.16 at 6:09 pm

And going back to the Aristotelian OP…

…when you engage a community, like the male commenters at CT, under the opening assumption that that community is predisposed to be hostile to you, you are a troll. Read it again.

416

bruce wilder 05.15.16 at 6:10 pm

RNB @ 437

Also, Power Rangers are so diverse! “Even the liberal” Brookings says so.

417

RNB 05.15.16 at 6:14 pm

@442 No you don’t have to be a racist or a sexist. I clearly said that you could also be authoritarian and/or ignorant.

418

Rich Puchalsky 05.15.16 at 6:17 pm

BW: “Counterfactuals are the best evidence.”

I know how ridiculous it is. A few centuries ago, I would have had to ritually declare that I believed in God in certain discussions, maybe later I would have had to preface every remark with an expression of confidence in the Party, now I have to talk about my hypothetical vote.

419

js. 05.15.16 at 6:17 pm

Imagine if I’d just trolled you all with my original comment. I didn’t. But it would be pretty funny if I had.

420

bob mcmanus 05.15.16 at 6:19 pm

442: “…they’ve been directing at Sanders supporters from the beginning: if you don’t vote HRC you’re a racist or a sexist.”

If politics is a dynamic self-organization of affects and affiliations, than “with us or against us” is only what matters, and once I decide to exclude myself from them, say older black southern women, then, from their perspective, I suppose they get to decide why they think I am choosing to oppose them. I am not sure why, from outside, I should be able to persuade them to accept my own self-justification, which serves me not them.

Politics ain’t beanball, it’s Schmittian war.

421

bruce wilder 05.15.16 at 6:21 pm

No you don’t have to be a racist or a sexist. I clearly said that you could also be authoritarian and/or ignorant.

The Power To Choose!

RP@446

I know you know. And, that you are most often ahead of me on the path.

422

Rich Puchalsky 05.15.16 at 6:22 pm

RNB: “I clearly said that you could also be authoritarian and/or ignorant.”

The Marxist statist is saying this in response to an anarchist, so we can leave the “authoritarian” part out. And I’m clearly not ignorant about the American political system by any reasonable standard. Therefore you are exactly the shameless person that I always thought you were.

423

RNB 05.15.16 at 6:25 pm

I see that you don’t denying being sexist or racist, though.

424

bianca steele 05.15.16 at 6:28 pm

Rich: I know how ridiculous it is. A few centuries ago, I would have had to ritually declare that I believed in God in certain discussions, maybe later I would have had to preface every remark with an expression of confidence in the Party, now I have to talk about my hypothetical vote.

And I would have had to ritually deny that I’m a feminist, by expressing disinterest in any part of the conversation except decorum, manners, and feelings! We’ve come a long way, babe!

425

engels 05.15.16 at 6:28 pm

Donald, you need to draw a Venn diagram with some of the following overlapping loci
– hates neoliberals
– hates Marxists
– hates liberals
– hates whitebros
– hates arrogant Western intellectuals
– hates people who over-use sociological analysis
– hates the global managerial elite
– hates Clinton/Trump
– hates people who don’t hate Clinton/Trump sufficiently intensely
– hates privilege
– hates identity politics
– hates academics
– hates haters
Apologies to those I’ve omitted

426

bob mcmanus 05.15.16 at 6:32 pm

I suppose the answer is that Clinton and Sanders supporters pretend or act like there is some larger community or referee standing outside and above both that they are addressing, judging fairly the claims and accusations. And to an extent there was and is, for instance those who have yet to vote.

But Sanders supporters should be addressing the undecided with our own arguments, not addressing Clinton supporters, or defending ourselves from Clintonian attacks, which are just trying to frame the differences to their advantage.

I’m long past caring about being called sexist or racist, directly or subtly and try not to feed the trolls

427

bob mcmanus 05.15.16 at 6:34 pm

Apologies to those I’ve omitted

The misanthropes do not accept your apology.

428

RNB 05.15.16 at 6:38 pm

Who the heck here is using the bad names for Trump against Sanders? That charge is as accurate as the one that I support Marxist statism, a charge just leveled by the desperate Puchalsky. Sanders has already said that the biggest issue for him is a commitment by Clinton that she’ll nominate Justices likely to reverse Citizens United which she for personal reasons alone is likely to do.

429

engels 05.15.16 at 6:55 pm

Nobody hates academics

You might be right – I was probably thinking of Seth Edenbaum

430

bruce wilder 05.15.16 at 7:10 pm

bob mcmanus Clinton and Sanders supporters pretend or act like there is some larger community or referee standing outside and above both that they are addressing, judging fairly the claims and accusations.

Quite apart from this particular intra-partisan campaign, consciousness of a real and imagined larger community cum referee(s) has long entailed a whole set of standing tropes and clichés of American politics. Politicians drone on about what the American People want. Conservatives attack the liberal media. Some liberals have tried to influence politics by criticizing journalists and the practice of journalism as a profession, the free press being the referee and fourth branch of government, blah blah. I see on Real Clear Politics that the regular Democrats took the primary they stole in Nevada fair and square and, like Elvis, left the auditorium and turned out the lights; Sanders supporters were shocked.

I talked to a friend on Thursday. She does not like the way Sanders talks, and hates the frumpy outfits Hillary wears. She’s the undecided primary voter. How should the campaigns address her concerns. Competitive makeovers?

I watched one of Sunday morning political shows — apparently Republican politicians are reconciling themselves to Trump. Few indications from the pundits that any of this is predictably idiotic, let alone consequential.

431

Donald 05.15.16 at 8:20 pm

Bianca–

I think that yes, people can take issue with statements without feeling hatred, but I also think hatred or some milder version of it often enters into it. This happens even on issues where there isn’t any moral issue in sight–I remember reading some pretty heated language between scientists debating whether birds were descended from dinosaurs. Happens all the time. No issue is too small. So when it comes to politics, I expect it.

As for this thread and similar ones recently at CT, the personal dislikes seem pretty obvious in some cases.

Engels, that’s a good start. I’d fall in some of those circles, at least when in a bad mood.

432

engels 05.15.16 at 8:48 pm

Like many of my generation, for a long time I was sceptical of internet technology. Whatever the potential, the main purpose seemed to be for bored office workers to send e-mails such as “Can people take only ONE MALTESER AT A TIME from the chocolate tin as some of us haven’t had any while others have had FOUR!!!” Or “Has anyone seen my elastic band?” Website forums, which promised unprecedented global debate and discourse all seem to degenerate into the same nine people slagging each other off, like Eastenders with exclamation marks. There’s probably a forum for astro-physicists, in which every thread ends with someone calling themselves Black Hole posting “So – Quantum Boy upholds the possibility of string theory in a parallel universe! Why aren’t I surprised? Face up to it, your theory’s are anti-matter you tosspot sub-atomic loser.”

433

Lynne 05.15.16 at 8:59 pm

bob mcmanus:
“And we are, meaning regular commenters, are actually often careful about it here, not jumping into cricket or Rawls or Australian politics threads, or doing so gingerly and treading lightly.

To the degree we (white males) do jump into such threads, or specifically some feminism threads, it is probably because we do feel ourselves part of some CT communities, and feel excluded or stereotyped by the feminist conversation. Maybe we’re wrong.”

“A safe feminist space might be one where a poster or commentator is able to toss off “All men are beasts” without getting a “Wait a minute””

“My mistake, bi…, it was “Lynne” at 166. Hard to tell y’all apart sometimes, since hostility and deception seems, as I said, a condition of solidarity”

It’s a mystery why you might not feel welcome in a feminist discussion!

434

PGD 05.15.16 at 9:44 pm

Powerlessness and social acquiescence are strange bedfellows.

LOL — I see Bruce Wilder still has a bit of the revolutionary romantic in him! Powerlessness and social acquiescence are the most natural bedfellows in the world, what else are you supposed to do when you’re powerless?

435

engels 05.15.16 at 9:51 pm

Powerlessness and social acquiescence are the most natural bedfellows in the world,

At the risk of antagonising the sociology haters, I think I read about a recent study that claimed to have confirmed this (can’t be arsed to find the link…)

436

J-D 05.15.16 at 9:55 pm

Ze K @423

Some statements are accurate; some statements are inaccurate; in each case it is the facts that make them so. If you want my opinion of the accuracy of any specific statement I’ll do my best to provide it,

For example, you write ‘I’ve seen defenders and opponents of the race-based “affirmative actions” accusing each other of “racism”.’ Is that statement accurate? I don’t know enough about the facts to answer that question.

437

Rachel Barney 05.15.16 at 10:23 pm

Well, clearly I was wrong to say you can’t troll inadvertently.

438

engels 05.15.16 at 10:34 pm

#468 wins the thread—possibly the blog, if that’s possible

439

js. 05.15.16 at 10:39 pm

I do think the collective efforts of the Croooked Timber community to get Rachel Barney to reconsider her thesis should be acknowledged and applauded.

440

bruce wilder 05.15.16 at 10:54 pm

PGD: what else are you supposed to do when you’re powerless?

Uh, . . . find or build your power. If you need power, you should get busy, get organized.

Social acquiescence isn’t what you do after you are completely powerless; it is what you do with your remaining power, when you’ve been persuaded that there is no practical way to use it effectively. Social acquiescence is giving away your remaining power cheap.

441

bruce wilder 05.15.16 at 10:55 pm

Rachel Barney @ 468

!

442

AcademicLurker 05.15.16 at 11:27 pm

If CT ever forms its own political party, we definitely need to adopt engels’ list in 454 as our platform.

443

J-D 05.16.16 at 12:49 am

Ze K @208 and @210

The cables made public by Wikileaks show that each of Michel Temer and Petro Poroshenko has discussed politics with a US Ambassador. It is not clear to me in what sense everybody who discusses politics with a US Ambassador is a CIA informant.

444

Layman 05.16.16 at 1:37 am

Rich P: “…now I have to talk about my hypothetical vote.”

No, you don’t have to, but when you say you’d vote if you thought it would matter, the question asks itself.

“…but RNB as usual gives the impolite version:”

Yes, I saw that. After the fact, but a close enough match. Feel free to shout at RNB, then.

445

J-D 05.16.16 at 2:23 am

Ze K @461

‘The figurehead in WH doesn’t affect anything important, but we’ll have to listen and watch her on TV for years. It’s vital to select the least annoying…’

Not so; you don’t have to listen to or watch anybody on television if you don’t want to.

446

Rich Puchalsky 05.16.16 at 3:45 am

Layman: “Yes, I saw that. After the fact, but a close enough match.”

There isn’t anything after the fact about it. The entire HRC campaign has been using the “Bernie Bro” idea to make this claim for pretty much the whole primary. It’s propaganda: it’s not some individual peculiarity of RNB’s. Here’s a breakdown of the whole thing.

Or, for racism, how about a quote from Corey Robin? “Speaking of forgetting everything: David Brock, the man who called Anita Hill “a little bit nutty and a little bit slutty,” now says “black lives don’t matter much to Bernie Sanders.” Brock is described here as “a top Clinton ally” who “runs several super PACs aiding her candidacy.” Only in this country could such a charlatan make these sorts of claims and get away with it.”

So when RNB writes things like “I see that you don’t denying being sexist or racist, though” — as if I’m supposed to dignify his smear — he’s following a playbook. It isn’t trolling, or anything personal: it’s just a small part of how this campaign is being played.

And it’s why the kind of people who use these smears will never be allies of anyone.

447

RNB 05.16.16 at 3:53 am

Surely have never argued that Sanders supporters are racist and/or sexist. I said that racism and sexism are likely culprits for a lack of enthusiasm to see Trump defeated resoundingly by Clinton. We weren’t talking about Sanders/Clinton but Clinton/Trump. Really. Check out the discussion here yourself.

448

RNB 05.16.16 at 3:57 am

Rich P, I must say that I don’t find you a useless crank as layman suggested above. I find the case you put for whatever you are arguing very useful for showing its untenability. I am glad you are here.

449

js. 05.16.16 at 4:05 am

Well, I guess everyone (#notactuallyeveryone) gave their sense of humor a day off.

450

Val 05.16.16 at 4:26 am

@473
Although there’s one group engels forgot:
– hates the term ‘identity politics’ and those people who keep using it even after I’ve explained several times that it’s a neoliberal term

(You’d think they could work out that if they hate neoliberals, they shouldn’t use neoliberal terms, but no, they’ve got no consistency. What can you do?)

451

ZM 05.16.16 at 4:39 am

I don’t see how bob mcmanus can feel excluded from the female blogger posts at CT when he is the only commenter Belle Waring gave a nick name to, he should feel like part of the feminist gang now

452

J-D 05.16.16 at 8:49 am

Ze K @483

‘Assuming the TV … is on …’

There is no reason to assume that the television is on. You don’t have to have the television on.

‘Mr. Poroshenko is specifically identified as “OUR UKRAINE INSIDER POROSHENKO”, not as “Poroshenko, discutant of politics with a US Ambassador”.’

Poroshenko’s discussion of politics with the US ambassador is recounted in the document; the fact that he is specifically identified as an insider of the political party Our Ukraine does not change this, and being an insider of that party is not synonymous with being a CIA informant.

Likewise, the fact that Temer is explicitly described as offering an assessment does not change the fact that his discussion of politics with the US ambassador is recounted in the document.

In both cases your reasoning is faulty in the same way: an explicit statement of one description does not automatically make all other descriptions false.

453

Rich Puchalsky 05.16.16 at 10:27 am

There are no Trump supporters here. Well, there is one, kidneystones, but it’s already been demonstrated that people aren’t concerned about him and basically ignore him. This whole accusation is directed at Sanders supporters, since no one else would have insufficient enthusiasm for defeating Trump, or be “Trump-curious”. It’s supposed to be a way of keeping them in line. Since the Democratic Party isn’t going to promise them anything. the alternative is to say that they’re racist or sexist if they don’t vote for HRC. That’s simply a continuation of long-standing techniques: note that the post that I referred to above in #429 wasn’t even about this election and it was still applicable.

So, again, this smear isn’t just the invention of a few people here. People should think about that when it comes time to actually vote. The lesser evil that you’re voting for has nothing but contempt for you.

454

kidneystones 05.16.16 at 11:26 am

@486 Hi Rich, thanks for this. I am keenly interested in Trump and his supporters and you’re welcome to make whatever assertions you like regarding my political sympathies. I’m sure others are capable of reading my comments in favor of Sanders for themselves, even if you just block them out.

Second, you evidently believe that the CT readership does not extend beyond the inner-circle of elite intellects parsing BW on this thread and exchanging high-fives. My guess is that the actual readership is considerable larger, almost all of whom may well ignore me, and maybe even you. The OPs on this blog are almost always interesting. The comments, I confess, not so much, particularly my own.

I’m happy to chime in when my intellectual and moral superiors are declaiming that all who support borders are racist, life has improved for African-Americans under Obama, and that Trump could never win the nomination. Last week, we had people asserting that Trump couldn’t possibly close the gap on HRC. This week we have Trump even, or ahead in Ohio, Florida. I’m happy to remind you that I, alone, predicted as much. Just as I predicted that Labour’s strategy of demonizing those who wanted an EU vote as bigots and racists would cost them big. Trump is a liberal moderate vulgarian who’s yet to start a war or bomb anyone. I can see how you’d prefer HRC over him.

455

Rich Puchalsky 05.16.16 at 11:50 am

Not even one declared Trump supporter? Lupita and Ze K are, strictly, lesser evilists in this matter: they just disagree about where the lesser evil lies. Lupita presumably doesn’t even get to vote in American elections: I’m not sure about Ze K. Crickets?

The reasons for hypothetical, angels-dancing-on-pins preference of HRC have nothing to do with her or Trump, really: it’s that when you vote in American elections you’re really largely voting for a coalition, not a candidate. The coalition that reluctantly and regretfully backs HRC is a whole lot closer to my politics than the GOP coalition.

456

kidneystones 05.16.16 at 12:09 pm

@488 Nice try, homie. You’re on board with the wars, Libya, TPPP, and the rest. The difference between you and me is that you’re already making excuses for pulling the lever again for endless wars. Unlike you, I recall easily and clearly an unbroken record of war and destruction initiated by both the GOP and the Democrats. And unlike you, I’m ready to support anyone who’s willing to kick that fucking mess to pieces.

Only Sanders offers a real possibility of change and it’s got nothing to do with angels on pins. The GOP already have their change agent. Whether they can control Trump is an open question. Had Dems realized earlier the mood of the nation and paid more attention to Trump, rather than mocking those of us who were, Sanders and his allies might be running the Dem ticket instead of the Wall St. and the rich.

457

Layman 05.16.16 at 2:06 pm

The idea that Trump – the guy who says we should target and kill the wives and children of terrorists, who says we should invade countries and then seize their oil fields for our own purposes – that this man(!) is the anti-war candidate is, well, mind boggling.

458

armando 05.16.16 at 2:44 pm

@490

It is straightforward. Trump is a bombastic and racist loon who will alienate every foreign leader he talks to, whereas Clinton is a much more skilled diplomat.

So Trump will talk about killing lots of people, but end up isolating the US and hence be much less effective than Clinton. Of course, Clinton’s body count will be accompanied by lots of hand wringing about humanitarian efforts, and difficult moral choices.

Thats the argument, more or less. I’m not sure I buy it exactly, but it isn’t totally crazy.

459

engels 05.16.16 at 3:01 pm

Assuming the TV or radio is on, and you have eyes or ears, and closing your eyes and ears in not an option – you have to listen to or watch, even if you don’t want to. And this is an accurate fact.

Of all the silly things you’ve said on this thread, this might be the least important, but fwiw this is far from being ‘an accurate fact’–both ‘listen’ and ‘watch’ are verbs that imply intentionally directing your attention towards an object (in contrast to ‘hear’ and ‘see’).

460

Rich Puchalsky 05.16.16 at 3:02 pm

armando: “Of course, Clinton’s body count will be accompanied by lots of hand wringing about humanitarian efforts, and difficult moral choices.”

Complete with self-declared Marxists defending those killings. That’s what they do; I guess it’s a habit.

I hope that HRC wins for global warming reasons if nothing else. Neoliberalism has more or less decided that something has to be done about global warming, as the Paris Agreements make clear, and Trump’s base is still in full denial and he couldn’t do anything about it even if by some freakish reversal he decided to. Trump is himself, of course, a full-blown denialist. HRC will butcher a lot of people, but so will Trump, so that’s kind of a wash.

As for the rest, the next four years are going to something like this, for me anyways:

1. HRC wins! Then the people who I work with will get to grind away slowly at global warming issues (remember Obama’s “leadership” on Keystone XL?) while the Democratic base (plus Marxists!) chants “you’re sexist” if anyone objects to a bomb being dropped anywhere, or;

2. Trump wins! Then I get the “pleasure” of having to help organize a whole lot of people who suddenly decide that the stuff that Obama did is dangerous now that Trump is doing it, and they show up for demonstrations because Trump Is Bad with no idea of what goal they have in mind other than to stop Trump, who is Bad.

461

Layman 05.16.16 at 3:11 pm

@armando, or it could be that there is no anti war candidate on offer. That seems far more likely to me than the argument that Trump is so bellicose his bellicosity somehow prevents him from fighting wars.

462

Anderson 05.16.16 at 4:28 pm

Of *course* the thread on trolling pushes 500 comments. Of course it does.

… Rich at 488: ” The coalition that reluctantly and regretfully backs HRC is a whole lot closer to my politics than the GOP coalition.” This is very sensible. We don’t get to order off a full-service menu in November.

463

RNB 05.16.16 at 6:05 pm

HRC obviously has a better health care plan and will make better appointments for the Federal Courts and the NRLB.
On foreign policy.

Trump is more likely to bomb Iran. He has said that he will bomb ISIS holdouts in Iraq and Syria as well. He is now owned by Sheldon Adelson, having taken 20x more money from him than HRC has taken from Haim Saban.

Trump supported the Iraq War without any words of warning. While HRC stupidly and cravenly gave W. the authorization for war, she also clearly warned him against going to war without the breakdown of the inspections process and without broad international support. She stupidly did not understand the threat of W. breaking with traditions his father followed. But HRC clearly saw the dangers of unilateral war and warned against it. Trump simply supported the war on the Howard Stern show.

Trump supported the strikes against Gadhafi. As did Sanders. It is not clear that leaving Gadhafi in power would have yielded a better situation in Libya.

So given Trump’s open call for carpet bombing and for torture as a form of punishment and his new alliance with Adelson there can be no reasonable doubt as to who poses greater risks for catastrophic foreign policy errors.

The American people would be guilty of crimes against humanity if we gave Trump the nuclear codes and put him in a position to threaten enemies at his whim with nuclear annihilation. It is already an outrage of enough that he is receiving intelligence briefings.

464

bruce wilder 05.16.16 at 6:13 pm

Anderson @ 496: This is very sensible. We don’t get to order off a full-service menu in November.

So, it is sensible to acquiesce in a choice made for you by people who despise you, because . . .

Clinton does not need you or your support and isn’t going to do anything to secure that support, other than try in desultory fashion to fool you with tons of advertising bought primarily as a sop to Media giants.

It is as it was: the powerful do as they will, and the rest of us must suffer. Why pretend?

465

The Temporary Name 05.16.16 at 6:22 pm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hzFsDQeTUT4

It is impossible to achieve the aim without suffering.

466

Lupita 05.16.16 at 6:29 pm

@RNB

catastrophic foreign policy errors.

Is that what neoliberals are calling imperialism nowadays?

467

novakant 05.16.16 at 8:22 pm

Sanders did not support the strikes against Gaddafi.

And as for Libya – how could it be any worse?

468

Rich Puchalsky 05.16.16 at 8:31 pm

“Sanders supported a non-binding Senate resolution that called on Gaddafi to resign his post in a peaceful, democratic transition of power.” (source). This counts as “supporting regime change”, but he never supported air strikes.

But, come on, what’s one more slur against Sanders in something that’s ostensibly supposed to be against Trump.

469

RNB 05.16.16 at 9:08 pm

The source you cite, RP, includes this:

‘In a March 28, 2011, interview, Sanders described his position toward regime change in Libya. He wanted Gaddafi gone, but not at all costs.

“Look, everybody understands Gaddafi is a thug and murderer,” Sanders said to Fox News. “We want to see him go, but I think in the midst of two wars (in Iraq and Afghanistan), I’m not quite sure we need a third war, and I hope the president tells us that our troops will be leaving there, that our military action in Libya will be ending very, very shortly.”‘

This not a statement against military action; on the contrary. Sanders was also only one of ten to sponsor the resolution in question.

470

RNB 05.16.16 at 9:10 pm

@501 As Clinton says, Libya could be worse; it could be Syria where the dictator has held on to power.

471

Rich Puchalsky 05.16.16 at 9:16 pm

Deceptive and misleading, as usual. The quote of his statement in the interview doesn’t indicate that he “supported the strikes against Gaddafi.” The resolution didn’t support military action at all.

If anyone else is bothering to read this, the disagreement is about more than pettifogging. What RNB is doing, knowingly or unknowingly, is a propaganda technique for blurring boundaries. Are you opposed to war? Well, then, it’s supposed to be that every politician that you can vote for supports it, so what can you do? Are you particularly troubled by HRC’s support for war? Well, then, it’s supposed to be that every politician that you can vote for also supported it, so what can you do? It’s reinforcement of “There Is No Alternative”, the primary technique by which neoliberalism sells itself.

472

RNB 05.16.16 at 9:25 pm

I just quoted a statement where Sanders urges Obama to make the intervention in Libya short, which it was. Do you have a quote where Sanders tells Obama not to strike Gaddhafi’s forces? If not, it would seem that the evidence we have is that Sanders did not oppose the short military action in Libya that Obama approved. I would be happy to read Sanders’ judgments as to what should have been done before the strikes, and am more than willing to grant that Sanders had better ideas about how to proceed in Libya than Clinton or Obama did. But the evidence you provided does not yet establish that.

473

RNB 05.16.16 at 9:32 pm

For example, did Sanders question for good reasons the intelligence Clinton and Obama relied on to assess the threat Gaddhafi posed to civilians? Did he predict that striking Gaddhafi would inevitably lead to regime change and those those poised to seize power given the balance of forces throughout the country would be even more murderous thugs? Did he call attention to evidence that a negotiated settlement was possible?
If Sanders did say such things, as critics of intervention around the world did, I am happy to applaud his bold challenges to Obama and Clinton. But I think what he said can only be interpreted as tacit approval of the strikes.
But please do provide us evidence that shows otherwise. I will happily concede the point.

474

Layman 05.16.16 at 9:59 pm

RNB: “While HRC stupidly and cravenly gave W. the authorization for war, she also clearly warned him against going to war without the breakdown of the inspections process and without broad international support.”

The problem with the Iraq war was not that it happened before the inspections were ‘completed’ (whatever that means), or that it was unilateral. The problem was that there was an Iraq war at all; and that the premise of the war was a radical doctrine under which the U.S. asserted the right to launch a war on the basis of what it suspected another country might do at some time in the future – which is to say, the doctrine transforms the U.S. into an aggressor nation.

RNB: “The American people would be guilty of crimes against humanity if we gave Trump the nuclear codes and put him in a position to threaten enemies at his whim with nuclear annihilation.”

So when HRC, as a member of the Senate, entrusted with secret knowledge and elevated to a position of power, in turn empowered the President to launch an illegal war, without knowing how he would use that power, this was not a crime; but when voters with no secret information and no power, vote for a candidate, without knowing what the candidate will do, this is a crime?

475

The Temporary Name 05.16.16 at 10:07 pm

And as for Libya – how could it be any worse?

I think we’ve learned there is always a way.

476

RNB 05.16.16 at 10:08 pm

@308 I am suggesting that the war would not have happened had the inspections team been given time to indicate that it was satisfied. As I remember it, anti-war people here thought Blix would cave into US pressure, but he did not. And without the UN imprimatur and broad international support, I don’t think George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton or Hillary Clinton engage in regime change in Iraq. But I do agree with you. I think the sanctions the US had imposed on Iraq, including the ban on the dual use technologies needed for reconstruction, were unjustifiable. I do believe we Americans are obliged to make sure our politicians do not overlook the enormous so-called “collateral damage” US policies have, and that will mean that Clinton has to be challenged every step of the way. But Trump is beyond all this, and it would be the most indictment of us as American people were we to allow someone as unstable, vicious, irrational and terrifying as Donald Trump to have the nuclear codes.

477

Rich Puchalsky 05.16.16 at 10:09 pm

In disproving a claim that Sanders supported the strikes against Gadhafi, I don’t have to come up with all sorts of evidence that is clearly unavailable to me or to anyone, such as what Sanders questioned, predicted, or said in non-public statements. If anyone wants to know Sanders’ side of the story, it’s here. Note that he does flatly state that Obama broke established law and that that is why legislators never did get to approve or disapprove of this war.

478

Layman 05.16.16 at 10:11 pm

Honestly, could Hillary be a worse candidate? What she really wants to promise is that, as President, she’ll find and release the Secret Goverment UFO Files…?

479

RNB 05.16.16 at 10:15 pm

@311 Sanders saying Obama broke the law in carrying out strikes in Libya does not appear in the piece you linked to. Not saying that he did not say that. But he seemed to be arguing for limited strikes in the piece you linked to. I was hoping that there were public statements;At least that is a reasonable interpretation of the quote. Gotta go.

480

The Temporary Name 05.16.16 at 10:16 pm

Honestly, could Hillary be a worse candidate?

I think we’ve learned there is always a way.

481

Rich Puchalsky 05.16.16 at 10:28 pm

Me: “Note that he does flatly state that Obama broke established law and that that is why legislators never did get to approve or disapprove of this war.”

The quote from the source:
“President Obama made sure to notify Congress within 48 hours of his first announcement that the he had mobilized a U.S. military intervention in Libya, as prescribed by the War Powers Act. This initiated a 60-day period, during which he was required to obtain approval from Congress. If he did not obtain approval from Congress in that time, the act gave him at most 30 days to halt all hostilities.

After the 90 days were up, Obama’s counsel, Robert Bauer, reasoned that the president had the right to continue the military campaign in Libya without legislative support, effectively breaking an established law.”

482

J-D 05.16.16 at 10:47 pm

bruce wilder @498

‘It is as it was: the powerful do as they will, and the rest of us must suffer.’ That is true; and yet it is not true that none of our choices ever have any effect.

483

engels 05.16.16 at 10:52 pm

xenophobic bigot

You think I don’t appreciate the diversity you, Henri, Mao and Data all brought to the discussion?

484

RNB 05.17.16 at 12:08 am

@515 Whom are you quoting, RP? You linked to a piece. Is the quote in the piece to which you linked @502?
What you linked to was an assessment of Clinton’s claim that Sanders supported the strikes against Gaddhafi’s forces.

It concluded: “We rate Clinton’s statement Mostly True.”

This is from the link you provided. It could be wrong. It could be part of the propaganda machine, but it’s the link that you provided, for goodness’ sake.

I really would get off your high horse and stop accusing me of being “deceptive and misleading”. You are the one mishandling your own evidence, not me.

485

Rich Puchalsky 05.17.16 at 12:24 am

“If anyone wants to know Sanders’ side of the story, it’s here. Note that he does flatly state that Obama broke established law and that that is why legislators never did get to approve or disapprove of this war.”

Link was on the word “here” — kind of as usual.

486

RNB 05.17.16 at 12:29 am

I see that you took the quote @515 from Sanders’ website
1. What you quoted is not a quote from what Sanders wrote or said before or during the Libyan intervention.
2. Sanders own website presents him as favoring the establishment of a no-fly zone in Libya, which of course cannot happen without intervention.

I can see why the other link you provided judged Clinton’s claim that Sanders supported the strikes against Gaddhafi as Mostly True. Again that was the conclusion of the piece to which you linked.

487

RNB 05.17.16 at 12:33 am

The question of illegality is not about whether the intervention or the establishment of a no-fly zone was illegal. Sanders clearly thought it was legal. This is part of the reason why Clinton’s claim is mostly true. What Sanders says is that Obama extending the intervention overturned established law. There is actually no argument that this overturning was illegal in this case. It may well have been. But I don’t see the argument on this website.

488

RNB 05.17.16 at 12:36 am

Sanders website links to a New York Times article in which it is discussed whether Obama was in violation of the law to extend the intervention in Libya. Koh makes an argument that it was no illegal. I am finding no quote therein from Sanders arguing that Koh was wrong. Again Clinton’s claim does indeed seem to be mostly true.

489

Rich Puchalsky 05.17.16 at 12:43 am

RNB: “I can see why the other link you provided judged Clinton’s claim that Sanders supported the strikes against Gaddhafi as Mostly True.”

Is that what that piece says?

The piece says that it’s mostly true that Sanders supported regime change. But that depends on a non=euphemistic meaning of the phrase. Sanders supported peaceful regime change — he was calling on Gaddafi to resign. He wasn’t calling for “strikes” as in air strikes.

I shouldn’t have to walk you through the sources this way. I gave two links to two pieces: right in the citation to the first one I wrote “‘Sanders supported a non-binding Senate resolution that called on Gaddafi to resign his post in a peaceful, democratic transition of power.’ (source). This counts as ‘supporting regime change’, but he never supported air strikes.” That’s the same thing that I’ve said now and the same thing that the source always said. But of course if you confuse the issue for long enough you can leave everyone with the impression that the issue is confused and some people say one thing, some people say another and it’s too hard to figure out. Are you a campaign operative?

490

RNB 05.17.16 at 12:48 am

No I am not a campaign operative. I am horrified by Trump. And you can’t read your own evidence.

491

Rich Puchalsky 05.17.16 at 12:55 am

Anyone else who wants to bother can read the two pieces I cited and see that they say what I claimed that they say.

As always, you’re shameless.

492

Lupita 05.17.16 at 12:56 am

@ kidneystones

The GOP already have their change agent. Whether they can control Trump is an open question.

The GOP has already proven that it cannot control Trump since he is now their candidate much against their will. But I think that if he reaches the presidency he can be controlled by the markets just as all the other heads of state in the world are since that is what neoliberalism means, that states are subordinated to markets as opposed to liberalism in which states and markets are merely separated.

Voting for the market choice, Clinton, would permit Americans to identify for a few more years as members of the freest, most democratic, and most powerful country on earth and continue bombing, invading, and torturing at will, with no consequences. However, if Trump wins and begins fiddling with the system – free trade agreements and immigration, not the wars, those are fine – he would unleash the fury of the markets, be deposed just like Berlusconi was, and Americans would undergo a crash course in the functioning of global neoliberalism. Americans would end up just as neoliberal as ever, but a bit wiser.

493

LFC 05.17.16 at 1:30 am

(1) I’m not sure at this point why Rich P and RNB are debating the Libya thing. I’m mean I’m sure there’s an internal reason in the thread, but in the big picture it’s fairly obvious that Clinton’s foreign-policy views are somewhat (not nec. drastically, but somewhat) more interventionist than Sanders’ or Obama’s for that matter. Jeffrey Stacey, who worked for Clinton at the State Dept, has a recent post at Duck of Minerva making that Clinton/Obama comparison (and incidentally saying some things about Syria that I found rather dubious, but that’s neither here nor there right now).

(2) I think RNB can make his case for Clinton and express his horror of Trump w/o going overboard as in claiming that the US electorate wd be guilty of crimes vs. humanity simply by electing Trump, before he’s even done anything. That’s clearly a piece of hyperbole, IMO. What the electorate wd be guilty of is very bad judgment.

(3) Clinton’s for. policy views don’t esp. align w. mine in some respects, but that doesn’t affect my decision in the Clinton/Trump matchup. It might affect how enthusiastic I am about her, but since I’m going to vote for her it doesn’t really matter. I can’t see Trump running foreign policy not so much bec. I disagree w his for. policy views but more b.c I don’t know what those views actually are, and I don’t think carefully reading the for. policy speech he gave will help. He’s unpredictable, he has no record on these issues, there’s no way of knowing whom he wd appt to key positions, his for. policy advisory team is thin from what I can tell, and that’s to put it charitably. (I heard that he announced today that he will be mtg w Kissinger which is pointless except as part of his ongoing effort to cover his *** or attempt some rapprochement w the Repub establishment.)

(4) It’s clear from a 5-second perusal of RP’s link that at a minimum Sanders thought Obama shd have consulted Congress on Libya during the 90-day period. This was a widely held view at the time and the issue was debated back and forth by intl law types and others. Obama himself is now on record as saying the Libya intervention was a mistake given the sequel, though I haven’t read the Jeffrey Goldberg piece which I think is where O. said that. I don’t know where this leaves one except I don’t think this has much to do w the Clinton/Trump matchup.

(5) If the election turns out to be close it will come down to how some people vote in a few ‘key’ or swing states, and those people are likely not to care at all about for. policy.

494

RNB 05.17.16 at 1:54 am

The debate is narrow–not about foreign policy in general, LFC. Clinton claimed that Sanders supported the intervention in Libya. Sanders voted for a Congressional resolution which called for a UN resolution for a no-fly zone which cannot be established without intervention. Clinton said that since Sanders sponsored the Congressional resolution and the UN called for a no fly zone Sanders supported intervention as that is necessary for a no-fly zone. The piece RP linked to concluded that Clinton’s claim was mostly true.

Still RP calls me shameless and accuses me of being misleading and deception. But you are free to take RP seriously. I find his debating skills risible.

495

RNB 05.17.16 at 1:59 am

There is no evidence yet cited that Sanders thought at the time Obama committed an illegality by prolonging the intervention in Libya or wanted him to bring up the question of continued intervention in Congress since Sanders himself may have feared unreasonable Republican intransigence. Again the link on the Sanders website takes one to a New York Times piece in which I can find no quote from Sanders opposing Obama’s prolongation of the intervention at the time. That he may want ex post facto give a different impression on his website is another issue.
Sanders may well be more predisposed against intervention than Clinton, but he seemed to have supported some kind of intervention in Libya. Clinton’s claim here seems mostly true.

496

RNB 05.17.16 at 2:08 am

@2. You really don’t make contact with what I have said about why Trump poses such a threat to humanity. He had Bobby Knight introduce him as someone who would have dropped atomic weapons on Japan. He has recently been bought by Adelson who has recommended dropping an atomic weapon in Iran to get them to negotiate properly. Trump having the nuclear codes would be at the least a psychological crime against humanity and the American people are duty-bound to send him to a humiliating defeat. I see nothing exaggerated in what I am saying.

497

Rich Puchalsky 05.17.16 at 2:13 am

RNB: “Clinton said that since Sanders sponsored the Congressional resolution and the UN called for a no fly zone Sanders supported intervention as that is necessary for a no-fly zone. “

RNB, previously: “Trump supported the strikes against Gadhafi. As did Sanders.”

Look at the way that “regime change” — as in, peaceful regime change — becomes a no fly zone, which in turn becomes “intervention”, which in turn becomes air strikes. Classic.

498

RNB 05.17.16 at 2:20 am

I’ll say it again the piece you cited said that the links are correct (the Congressional resolution expressed support for a UN resolution for a no fly zone which can’t be established without intervention) and that what Clinton said is mostly true: Sanders also supported intervention in Libya!
So you are arguing with your own evidence, RP; not me. Do you see that?

499

bruce wilder 05.17.16 at 2:29 am

I fully admit that I was a bit skeptical about the possibility of anarchist workers volunteering to clean the sewers for the sheer glory of it, but Rich may be making a believer out of me with his persistence in taking out the trash, 500+

500

LFC 05.17.16 at 2:33 am

RNB @530
Well I agree that Trump should be resoundingly defeated. On that point at any rate we’re in accord. (I understand the debate was on a narrow point but I guess I was trying to pull back from it. In a campaign words like ‘intervention’ will sometimes get used broadly and this kind of debate, about who was in favor of what and when, will result. I’ll just leave it there.)

501

RNB 05.17.16 at 2:38 am

@533 “Trash” can’t be “shameless”. You two totally radically dudes Rich Puchalsky and Bruce Wilder are going to have settle on terms of abuse. Plus, make sure you don’t have a secret attraction to Trump; you both seem to be his core constituency if you know what I mean.

502

RNB 05.17.16 at 2:48 am

Again from the piece Puchalsky linked to:

‘The Senate resolution [which Sanders sponsored–RNB] asked “the United Nations Security Council to take such further action as may be necessary to protect civilians in Libya from attack, including the possible imposition of a no-fly zone over Libyan territory.”

The two related U.N. resolutions — 1970 and 1973 — called for drastic measures to pressure Gaddafi to stop his alleged human rights abuses, including establishing a no-fly zone and imposing an asset freeze on members of the regime. Neither resolution explicitly call for regime change, though.

But Clinton as secretary of state and leaders from other countries did use the two U.N. resolutions as a platform to take actions that they hoped would pressure Gaddafi to step down and allow a transition to democracy.’

It was naive of Obama, Clinton and Sanders to believe that any intervention in Libya would not eventually involve the UN, NATO and the US in regime change, given the way Gaddhafi would likely to react to that intervention. If Sanders did not want regime change, he should not have sponsored the Congressional Resolution. So on this question of Libya, Sanders does not have a record of being more anti-interventionist or having better judgment than Clinton.

Sanders does not seem to have had the hokey idea of Clinton’s to establish a no-fly zone with Russia apparently against itself. We haven’t talked about their differences in Syria. Sanders has not pressed Clinton here.

503

Rich Puchalsky 05.17.16 at 3:01 am

So “Trump supported the strikes against Gadhafi. As did Sanders.” That’s what you claimed.

Why, I’d been thinking bad things about Trump, such as that he supported air strikes. But by the terms of your comparison, I guess that Trump must have supported “such further action as may be necessary to protect civilians in Libya from attack, including the possible imposition of a no-fly zone over Libyan territory.” Since that’s evidently what you mean by “strikes” in a context in which people are clearly discussing bombing. RNB, I’ll take your word for it that you’re not in politics, but you should be. You have a talent for it.

“So on this question of Libya, Sanders does not have a record of being more anti-interventionist or having better judgment than Clinton.”

That really wasn’t the comparison you were making. You wrote that Trump supported strikes, as did Sanders. So you were really comparing Trump and Sanders. See what you did there?

The trash that BW was talking about was your arguments, not you. But really I think that you’ve done your work here. People like LFC are all (paraphrased) “Well, on a 5 second read that document clearly seems to say what it obviously says, but I’m not going to read through a long argument to figure out who’s right. Whatever.”

504

JeffreyG 05.17.16 at 3:18 am

By all accounts (other than her own) Clinton was one of the strongest advocates for regime change in Libya, highly willing to use the military to achieve that goal. Clinton’s role in this decision is consistent with her role in other similar decisions like that of the Afghanistan ‘surge’. When the room is mostly full of Democrats, Clinton is the greatest hawk in that proverbial room. If she were to become president, we can expect a return to the sort of bipartisan, conventional-wisdom approach to foreign policy that Obama has struggled to break from. We already see the beginnings of this among those republicans who dislike Trump.

RNB, you are engaged in sophistry. Multiple people, myself included, suspect(ed) that you were a hired hand for David Brock. Consider that before you accuse the next poster of being a closet Trump supporter.

505

js. 05.17.16 at 3:19 am

TTN @499 — That is fucking excellent. I did not know about this, cheers!

506

RNB 05.17.16 at 3:26 am

Have you asked yourself why Sanders was one of the ten Senators to sponsor a resolution that supported UN resolutions to do what was necessary to protect Libyan civilians from Gaddhafi? The UN resolutions authorized the use of force whether it took no-fly zones (which take a lot of military intervention to create) or strikes or bombing against Gaddhafi’s forces or whatever was necessary to protect the Libyan people from a dictator in his death throes acting violently.

Sanders did not have to get involved–he could for example have said that he did not think Gaddhafi posed a significant threat to civilians– but he was actually a sponsor of the Senate resolution. For him to turn around and say that he did not support the actions taken to protect people from Gaddhafi is disingenuous.

This is why the link you provided said that what Clinton says is mostly true.

I guess you are not embarrassed by the evidence you cite undermining your own arguments. There is probably a word for someone unfazed by such self-contradiction.

507

RNB 05.17.16 at 3:28 am

@538 You’d have to look at the totality of my posts to know how insane that charge is. I suspect that you have not.

508

The Temporary Name 05.17.16 at 3:28 am

TTN @499 — That is fucking excellent. I did not know about this, cheers!

Pleased to have added something worthwhile. Enjoy.

509

RNB 05.17.16 at 3:31 am

Again the question is not whether Clinton is a hawk. I just criticized her authorization of the war in Iraq. More than that: I criticized her support of the sanctions on Iraq before the war. I am not arguing that she is not a hawk. I am only arguing against the claim that she was more interventionist in regards to Libya than Sanders or Trump. The evidence cited by RP undermines the claim that Sanders differed from Clinton here.

510

RNB 05.17.16 at 3:33 am

I am sure that the paid Clinton spokespeople have been told to lay off foreign policy and focus on health care, family leave and not putting women in prison for an abortion.

511

Rich Puchalsky 05.17.16 at 3:52 am

Cool, it’s the George W. Bush approach to interpretation of U.N. resolutions! I never knew that that had been so influential in Marxist circles.

Here is the full text of the U.S. Senate resolution that Sanders actually cosponsored. Note that it supports U.N. resolution 1970. Resolution 190 and resolution 1973, although they are sometimes grouped together, are really quite different. Here is the full text of U.N. Resolution 1970. I encourage anyone interested to read through it and see where it authorizes “the use of force whether it took no-fly zones (which take a lot of military intervention to create) or strikes or bombing against Gaddhafi’s forces or whatever was necessary to protect the Libyan people from a dictator in his death throes acting violently” to quote RNB.

Or, alternatively, you could say that when Sanders supported Resolution 1970, he was supporting Resolution 1973. In which case… time travel. Or precognition. I really think that if Sanders has magical or science fictional precognitive powers to see into the future, this should really be counted as an extraordinary qualification for the Presidency.

512

RNB 05.17.16 at 4:01 am

RP, the piece you cited has the Senate Resolution and Sanders supporting both 1970 and 1973. Moreover, the Senate resolution would seem to have expressed support for the UN process in regards to Libya which results in 1970 and 1973 which according to the piece you cited authorizes the use of whatever force was necessary to protect Libyan civilians. For Sanders to turn around and say that he did not support force or the UN process in regards to Libya–when that was the point of the Senate resolution–would be disingenuous.
Again this is why the piece you cited says Clinton is mostly right. The piece you cited.

513

JeffreyG 05.17.16 at 4:02 am

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2016/04/the-obama-doctrine/471525/

This is the evidence that HRC was more interventionist in regards to Libya than Sanders or Trump. If you can find evidence of a comparable effort on the part of either of those two individuals to that taken by HRC, highlighted in the piece above, let us see it here.

If Sanders made mistakes during the Libyan crisis, foremost among those mistakes was the mistake in trusting that Obama and HRC had properly thought through their course of action.

RNB, I have read a large number of your posts (you may not have realized, but one can read a thread without commenting in it). Your argument style and aggressive posting are similar to that of CtR trolls that I have encountered elsewhere on the internet.

514

Rich Puchalsky 05.17.16 at 4:06 am

RNB: “RP, the piece you cited has the Senate Resolution and Sanders supporting both 1970 and 1973.”

No it does not. Now you are straightforwardly lying.

515

RNB 05.17.16 at 4:07 am

You know, the measure of truth-telling I saw at some point a major newspaper doesn’t have Sanders as more truthful than Clinton from what I remember. But due to sexist reasons Clinton gets slammed for spinning more than Sanders. Sanders website is wrong to give the impression that he was an opponent of intervention in Libya. He may want that to be true given how things turn out. But it isn’t.
RP’s evidence makes the case.

516

JeffreyG 05.17.16 at 4:10 am

RNB: “the piece you cited has the Senate Resolution and Sanders supporting both 1970 and 1973”

*ctrl+F’s “1973”; –> 0 of o.

517

RNB 05.17.16 at 4:13 am

Not lying. It is the impression that the article you cited gives. Here it is:

‘The Senate resolution [which Sanders sponsored–RNB] asked “the United Nations Security Council to take such further action as may be necessary to protect civilians in Libya from attack, including the possible imposition of a no-fly zone over Libyan territory.”

The two related U.N. resolutions — 1970 and 1973 — called for drastic measures to pressure Gaddafi to stop his alleged human rights abuses, including establishing a no-fly zone and imposing an asset freeze on members of the regime. Neither resolution explicitly call for regime change, though.’

Moreover, since the Senate resolution explicitly allows for a no-fly zone which requires massive intervention and is likely to exacerbate hostilities to the extreme, it’s silly to paint Sanders as anti-interventionist in regards to Libya.

But I guess you insist that he was and that Clinton is wrong to say that he was. And that your evidence is wrong.

518

RNB 05.17.16 at 4:27 am

@547 Jeffrey you may have not noticed that I am defending the conclusion that the piece RP himself cited reached. It’s not aggressive to do this; it could be embarrassing for someone to discover that the evidence they cited reached the opposite conclusion that they said it did. But I would not worry about my embarrassing RP.
Sanders never argued against the use of any kind of force in Libya. He had plenty of opportunity to do so. But in fact he only seems to have requested in public that the intervention remain limited. Which in fact is approval of the use of some kind of force. And Clinton was not wrong to read the Senate Resolution that he decided to sponsor as approval of the appropriate kind of force.
There are tough questions here about R2P, and there is a reason why a decent person like Sanders in fact accepted the need for force to deal with Gaddhafi.

519

LFC 05.17.16 at 4:30 am

@RP
People like LFC are all (paraphrased) “Well, on a 5 second read that document clearly seems to say what it obviously says, but I’m not going to read through a long argument to figure out who’s right. Whatever.”

Not *quite* what I said, Rich.

But it’s true, I have no interest in parsing the precise degree to which Sanders did or did not, at the time, favor “some kind of intervention” (RNB’s phrase) in Libya or the degree to which he thought Obama had overstepped his exec authority, and so on, or get into a discussion of no-fly zone vs other measures because at this pt it’s basically fucking irrelevant to anything except this quarrel betw you and RNB.

I made the pt that Clinton is overall more predisposed to an interventionist f.p. than Sanders (or Obama). I proceeded to say it made no substantial difference in my decision re Trump/Clinton, though I wd prefer a sort of diff approach to f.p. I thought the pts were reasonable.

And btw Rich, I’m not going to waste my time closely reading a Sanders campaign website (feelthebern.org) when, barring something totally unforeseen and improbable, HRC is going to be the nominee. Yes Californians etc etc shd vote in their primaries and we will all be on tenterhooks blah blah blah blah blah blah. But I’d rather waste my time in other ways than reading a Sanders campaign website, esp as I already voted for him in the primary where I live. I don’t have to read the fucking campaign website.

It happens to be past midnight here, not of course that that makes a bit of difference to people whose devotion to The Truth is so intense and overwhelming that their idea of the best way to spend the hour btw 12 and 1 a.m. is to engage in a detailed analysis of the differences betw Resolutions 1970 and 1973 and to consider whether the Sen. res. that Sanders sponsored endorsed only one or by implication both. At this pt in the sad recent history of Libya I’m really not sure who in the electorate gives a flying f*ck exactly what Sanders’ position was on this.

520

RNB 05.17.16 at 4:36 am

Umm LFC I wrote one sentence that Clinton, like Trump and Sanders, supported the use of force against Gaddhafi. Then Rich accused me of being a shameless liar, while citing a piece that said Clinton was mostly right that Sanders supported the use of force against Gaddhafi. I think he has made a fool of himself. Jeffrey disagrees.

521

Rich Puchalsky 05.17.16 at 4:38 am

Wow, LFC just spent 4 paragraphs telling me how uninterested he is.

I pretty much assume that Sanders already has lost, so I’m not doing this because of tenterhooks. But yeah, who cares about history, UN resolutions, all that stuff: we should fire all the academics who study that useless garbage because it’s all irrelevant.

522

RNB 05.17.16 at 4:50 am

Let’s not let anger at me distract us from Lupita’s call @526 to put Trump in office so Americans can become wise, chastened neo-liberals.

523

novakant 05.17.16 at 7:03 am

RNB: the “totality of your posts” strongly suggests that you are a Clinton shill, paid or not, and engage in elaborate sophistry and misleading rhetoric to pursue your goals

524

RNB 05.17.16 at 7:29 am

@557 Since you don’t give the impression that you are someone convinced by reason and argument, I guess I have appealed to you in terms that you understand.

525

novakant 05.17.16 at 7:59 am

526

novakant 05.17.16 at 7:59 am

527

RNB 05.17.16 at 9:14 am

David Brock connects Bernie Sanders to Hugo Chavez according to what you linked to. I just connected Sanders to Hillary Clinton due to their both agreeing to a no-fly zone in Libya in response to Gaddhafi’s air attacks on the civilian population. Jeffrey clearly does not understand the implications of Sanders sponsoring this resolution.

Both Sanders and Clinton should have understood that a no-fly zone would escalate hostilities to the point where regime change could become inevitable. For Sanders to turn around and say that he did not think that there should have been intervention in Libya is disingenuous. He’s simply spinning like an ordinary politician given that things did not work as planned.

Now if I were trying to demonize Sanders in comparison to Clinton, I would not stress their similarities since I am urging a vote for Clinton to deal Trump a resounding defeat.

There is another way to connect Clinton and Sanders–did you know that Sanders supports drone warfare as well? I heard him say that he does in a televised interview, I believe, with Chris Matthews at the University of Chicago. I think neither understands the risks here, especially as we move to LARs.

Yes, Hillary Clinton cravenly gave W. authority to occupy Iraq and voted for some kind of debtors’ prison as well in the bankruptcy bill (exaggeration). She also took no action against Honduras descending into authoritarianism, and her plans for Syria seem at best ill-conceived. And I don’t know of arms sales Secty. Clinton refused to authorize to countries where big money had come for the Clinton Foundation. Do David Brock’s employees write these things? Trump will hit with corruption charges in regards to the Clinton Foundation.

But Sanders is not a hippie–he voted for the Crime Bill, the Iraq Regime Change Act, the deregulation of derivatives (maybe the most important legislation leading to the financial crisis). He also had the right-wing libertarian position of letting the big banks go under even if that meant huge collateral economic damage to innocents. I have long argued here that I find Sanders very irresponsible on this issue.

I also don’t count the anti-trade positions in Sanders’ favor. We may disagree. Reasonable people can.

I have a lot of disagreements with both candidates, but I think defeating Trump is of the utmost importance. Of course to fight for the democratic and tolerant aspects of our Republic. For the rights of women. And to move forward on climate change.

And I think Trump’s foreign policy would be incomparably worse than either Democrat’s. Of course I think the loose talk about dropping atomic weapons and torture is more than just talk; it is like action in the real world sure to have consequences.

George W. Bush tried to pretend that he would have a humble, low-key foreign policy as Trump is lying about his opposition to war in Iraq and Libya, but people should have seen through Bush’s lies when he chose Cheney as his VP.

Trump is erratic, ill-tempered, authoritarian and racist to the core; and he’s in the pocket of Adelson. There is absolutely no excuse to think his foreign policy would not be incomparably worse than Clinton’s.

I believe all American voters should be working for Trump to be defeated at the hands of Clinton. And not everyone who believes that is working for David Brock.

528

Rich Puchalsky 05.17.16 at 10:37 am

From novakant’s link at #559, something written by Shane Ryan:
“Using a tactic called “astro-turfing,” Clinton surrogates like Brock have attempted to advance the concept of the “Bernie Bro,” and to promote the idea that Sanders supporters are little more than a sexist cult.”

That’s why this is about more than just one guy who mysteriously can’t criticize Trump without also criticizing Sanders. RNB, whether a paid operative or not, is calling on a propaganda technique that predates his comments here, and actually predates this election. Maybe people should learn how to recognize it.

Shane Ryan: “It was also about turning the Internet into a political wasteland, so that if anyone sought information that might be against Kremlin policy, they’d encounter a confusing morass and feel immediately discouraged.”

LFC: “It happens to be past midnight here, not of course that that makes a bit of difference to people whose devotion to The Truth is so intense and overwhelming that their idea of the best way to spend the hour btw 12 and 1 a.m. is to engage in a detailed analysis of the differences betw Resolutions 1970 and 1973 and to consider whether the Sen. res. that Sanders sponsored endorsed only one or by implication both. At this pt in the sad recent history of Libya I’m really not sure who in the electorate gives a flying f*ck exactly what Sanders’ position was on this.”

I invite anyone who cares to look at just how difficult it is to prove a simple matter like what Sanders supported in a Senate resolution when the text of that resolution and the text of two different U.S. Resolutions, one mentioned in it and one not, are all freely available. A determined obfuscator can simply never admit the point and continue on.

Is RNB “trolling”? I don’t like the definition of trolling in the OP. RNB appears to me to be a standard sophist, using a style of refusal to admit anything that’s part of this core community. I can count at least three people upthread who’ve done the same thing about their own pet issues when I cited past comments to show that they were wrong.

529

kidneystones 05.17.16 at 11:03 am

@562 Hi Rich. I sure hope I’m one of the three. If not, can you expand the list?

530

Layman 05.17.16 at 2:12 pm

RNB @ 471: “Trump supported the strikes against Gadhafi. As did Sanders. It is not clear that leaving Gadhafi in power would have yielded a better situation in Libya.”

I’m with Rich on this one. RNB’s claim here looks false, conflating ‘strikes against Gadhafi’ with a call for Ghadafi’s resignation and possibly a no-fly zone to protect civilians. Sanders did not call for the use of military force to oust Ghadafi from power – he called for Ghadafi to peacefully resign, and to prevent Libyan air forces from targeting civilians.

RNB @ 503

Unless I’m wrong, this Sanders statement comes 9 days after Obama committed forces to intervene in Libya. If so, it can’t be read as a call for the President to intervene in Libya, but rather as a call for the President, having already done so, to get out quickly.

531

RNB 05.17.16 at 2:50 pm

@564 Well again first Rich is not with himself in terms of his own evidence which you evidently did not read.

Note how massive a military intervention a no-fly zone is. If Sanders did not believe in military intervention he simply would not have been one of ten who sponsored the Senate resolution. Biden probably would not have supported it, given the risk that a military intervention of this kind could easily “creep” into a protracted affair and distract from Afghanistan and Iraq. And there is nothing in Sanders resolution or anything in the record from that time that warns about mission creep. So there it is, Sanders as only one of ten Senators sponsoring a resolution for action in Libya, which allows for a massive military intervention. And there is nothing in

Now of course Sanders was for using the US military or NATO striking down Gaddhafi’s air attack but not for regime change. But that was true of Clinton as well!

According to the New York Times piece, it was military leadership’s assessment that it could not do the job a no-fly zone was supposed to do–and the work Sanders wanted done–without a broader intervention in Libya.

And there is no reason to think Sanders would have told military leadership that he was dispelling then to create a no-fly zone that they could not engage in the broader intervention of bombing Gaddhafi’s force that they thought they needed to get the job done of keeping Libyan civilians safe from Gaddhafi’s attack while keeping themselves (US military personnel) safe; and there is no reason to think Sanders would not have done what Obama or Clinton did at this point–get broader authorization from the UN that the military said was needed.

So it is really disingenuous for Sanders to say that he had an oppositional role that Clinton did not. He’s the one that opened the door by approving the objective of keeping Libyan civilians safe by a massive use of force.

532

RNB 05.17.16 at 2:54 pm

@562 You’re hilarious, RP. Do you think the piece you cited was also using sophistry in reaching the conclusion that Clinton was mostly right about Sanders’ stance in Libya? Is it sophistry to say that Sanders also supports drone warfare, and is not the hippie pacifist people here seem to think.

533

RNB 05.17.16 at 2:57 pm

@562 I have never suggested that Sanders’ supporters are sexist or racist. My wife who is black is a Sanders supporter, though that’s straight Brooklyn identity politics.

534

Layman 05.17.16 at 3:11 pm

RNB: “Note how massive a military intervention a no-fly zone is.”

It is not ‘strikes’, and it is not a call for military intervention to oust Gadhafi, and you know this.

535

RNB 05.17.16 at 3:17 pm

Of course a no-fly zone would involve striking down Gaddhafi’s helicopters or grenade launchers and many other things. Of course there would likely be strikes with a no-fly zone unless Gaddhafi just withered away once it was established. Of course there would be a massive US military presence in Libya if a no-fly zone were established; of course anyone advocating a no-fly zone understands that they are running the risk of exacerbating hostilities in the extreme. Sanders was for military intervention in Libya. He stood out among Senators in support of this. Yes, he was not advocating regime change. But neither was Clinton going into this.

536

RNB 05.17.16 at 3:28 pm

As for being psycho, Ze K, you should probably consult Gaddhafi’s actions as he was losing massive parts of the country.

537

Lupita 05.17.16 at 3:30 pm

My wife who is black is a Sanders supporter, though that’s straight Brooklyn identity politics.

I wonder where Val is when you need her.

538

engels 05.17.16 at 3:35 pm

RP@446 I know you know. And, that you are most often ahead of me on the path.
Rich may be making a believer out of me
etc

The duo’s mutual sidekicksmanship often manifests itself during road trips. “Whenever we drive down to Cincinnati to see bands, I take the wheel,” Morrell said. “Me being the leader, not to mention the one with the car, I’m always the one who drives.” Rotham, however, sees it differently. “As the man with the plan, I choose to take the role of navigator on road trips,” he said. “Marc couldn’t find his ass with a homing device, so that means I’ve got to man the maps. And, let’s face it, even though Sulu pilots the Enterprise, he still takes orders from Kirk. I am captain, and Marc is my first lieutenant.

539

Layman 05.17.16 at 3:36 pm

RNB: “Of course a no-fly zone would involve striking down Gaddhafi’s helicopters or grenade launchers and many other things.”

Given a choice between ‘liar’ or ‘stupid’, you choose the latter. Grenade launchers?!

“Of course there would be a massive US military presence in Libya if a no-fly zone were established.”

Not so. There need be no US forces of any kind in Libya to enforce a no-fly zone. There is no part of Libya which is not in effective range of US carrier-based fighter aircraft.

540

Rich Puchalsky 05.17.16 at 3:40 pm

Why I find interesting about RNB’s later efforts is the explicit way in which he treats U.N. Resolutions as meaning what neocons always said that they meant. In this theory, a U.N. Resolution that authorizes anything pretty much authorizes everything: authorizing a no-fly zone is actually authorization to bomb anything on the ground or indeed go to war.

But yeah, who cares, U.N. Resolutions are sooo boring, they only lead to major wars in which thousands or hundreds of thousands of people are killed.

541

RNB 05.17.16 at 3:45 pm

Sanders had to consider the possibility that Gaddhafi may strike against those who were preventing him from using his helicopters. Sanders thus opened the door for being dragged into protracted military conflict in Libya–are you denying this? That would be silly.

542

engels 05.17.16 at 3:48 pm

Donald @ 318 was a pretty good comment btw

543

RNB 05.17.16 at 3:55 pm

@575 No the point I am making–and it’s the point that is rightly made against Clinton’s advocacy of a no-fly zone in Syria–is that a no-fly zone is a massive military operation likely to lead to much deeper military entanglement. And I am saying that there are 90 Senators who have a right to complain about the course of action in Libya. But as one of ten who explicitly approved the setting up a no-fly zone in a terrifying situation Sanders is not one of them. The disaster in Libya may well put an end to R2P, and I’m reluctantly for that. But it’s with a sense of sickness that I see that there may be no force that can protect those threatened with extreme violence.

544

RNB 05.17.16 at 4:06 pm

Oh layman are you saying that I was wrong to say that Gaddhafi was using rocket-launched grenades when it was the rebels who were using them. Gaddhafi used jets and helicopters. Not getting your point.

545

bob mcmanus 05.17.16 at 4:07 pm

Bored now with the troll feeding. Again we are watching leaders bomb and excuse themselves like judges at a platform dive. I give Sanders an 8 for form.

Stathis Kouvelakis discusses Nuit Debout at length at Jacobin. This is what politics looks like, and what analysis looks like.

546

Layman 05.17.16 at 4:13 pm

RNB: “Sanders had to consider the possibility that Gaddhafi may strike against those who were preventing him from using his helicopters.”

With grenade launchers?!

RNB: “No the point I am making–and it’s the point that is rightly made against Clinton’s advocacy of a no-fly zone in Syria–is that a no-fly zone is a massive military operation likely to lead to much deeper military entanglement.”

This is not the argument against Clinton’s advocacy of a no-fly zone in Syria. The argument against that is that it would involve shooting down Russian planes, because Russia is a de facto military ally of the Syrian state, and is operating air forces over Syria.

547

js. 05.17.16 at 4:18 pm

Scrolling back, just ran across @422. Which is quite excellent, tho I expect not many people on here will get the joke.

548

Rich Puchalsky 05.17.16 at 4:19 pm

RNB: “But as one of ten who explicitly approved the setting up a no-fly zone in a terrifying situation Sanders is not one of them.”

If only he’d been more cynical — more cynical than you, since you still were/are defending R2P as of maybe a month ago. Cynical enough to know that his non-binding Senate resolution would lead to a no-fly zone and that would lead to bombing and then the same forceable, military regime change that HRC advocated. Everyone knows there’s no difference between not being cynical enough to predict a consequence and actively advocating for something.

bob mcmanus is basically right that Sanders, as a Senator, is necessarily implicated in everything that the system does. He’s a democratic socialist Senator, but still a Senator. The point of this isn’t to say that he’s a wonderful hero, it’s to analyze the propaganda that keeps people from seeing any possible difference, even any imaginary difference.

549

RNB 05.17.16 at 4:22 pm

Well yes no fly zones mean that you may have to shoot down jets and that military conflict is likely to be exacerbated to the extreme. So obviously if Gaddhafi’s advantage is with his jets and helicopters and NATO takes those out, then he tries to keep and win back territory with more brutal things on the ground which requires some kind of response. Again once you have advocated a no-fly zone you are signing up for a possibly very protracted conflict. As one of only ten who signed the resolution, Sanders does not get to challenge the military operations that were taken in Libya. It would be disingenuous for him to do so and Clinton is mostly right about this. Not my words but the words of RP’s favored expert.

550

RNB 05.17.16 at 4:27 pm

I am not defending R2P but trying to dwell on the tragedy it is that it cannot be implemented humanely. I want to make sure that there is no way that R2P can’t be implemented before we harden a categorical opposition to it, as the evidence is leading us to do. We really should talk about Syria in this context, though I agree with mcmanus that the piece on France is important and interesting.

551

Lupita 05.17.16 at 4:28 pm

Have You Ever Considered Working From Home Online?

Freelance writing is one of the most popular ways to earn money online. Many successful freelancers can earn an average of 50 cents to a dollar per word. Some are earning twice that!

Working online has been a financial windfall for RNB, who struggled for months to find a decent job but kept hitting dead ends until he was offered the position of “Online Communications Associate” by a Hillary Clinton Super PAC.

“I don’t even have to sell anything and nobody has to buy anything from me. The best part of working online is that I am always home with the kids.”

“It’s really simple, I am not a computer whiz, but I can use the internet. I follow David Brock’s simple instructions and am provided with information to use in my online postings.”

“The pay isn’t very good, but since I am working from my apartment, I suppose it isn’t bad and I am able to do several other writing assignments on the side.”

552

Layman 05.17.16 at 4:32 pm

RNB: “So obviously if Gaddhafi’s advantage is with his jets and helicopters and NATO takes those out, then he tries to keep and win back territory with more brutal things on the ground which requires some kind of response. “

Well, no. If you’re enforcing a no-fly zone, you’re not enforcing a no-keeping-nor-taking-of-territory zone. Those are different things. Supporting the one doesn’t necessarily mean supporting the other. You’re simply wrong.

553

Rich Puchalsky 05.17.16 at 4:36 pm

RNB: “Not my words but the words of RP’s favored expert.”

For (hopefully) the last time: that is not what that article says. It says that it’s mostly true that Sanders advocated regime change because calling on Gaddafi to step down is a form of advocacy for regime change.

Looking back over the community here, I think that this thread is fully in keeping with community values. The values of a group of horrible, spiteful, and resentful people. Look at engels’ #573, for instance. What kind of jerk writes that? A jerk who has never in his life had an original thought, and who is probably sad that RNB is behaving exactly like most of the other Marxists I’ve come in contact with: busily excusing mass killings in the service of some kind of party line.

554

RNB 05.17.16 at 4:37 pm

No LaymanI don’t buy that. You don’t have a no-fly zone to have a no-fly zone. You have it to protect civilians so it follows that if the consequence of your no-fly zone is to worsen the already horrific situation among the people you are protecting you have to extend the intervention. Which from the NYT piece is apparently what the military told Obama and Clinton would have to happen. Again Sanders having as of one of only ten called for a no-fly zone is implicated in all that follows

555

RNB 05.17.16 at 4:43 pm

@589 Sanders calling for a no-fly zone is not an act of peace. It is a military threat against Gaddhafi. Again I am not advocating war but recognition of the tragedy it is that we may have to develop a categorical opposition to R2P. It creates a sickening situation for humanity going forward.

556

Layman 05.17.16 at 4:44 pm

RNB: “No LaymanI don’t buy that. You don’t have a no-fly zone to have a no-fly zone. You have it to protect civilians so it follows that if the consequence of your no-fly zone is to worsen the already horrific situation among the people you are protecting you have to extend the intervention.”

Put another way, then, supporting a no-fly zone is just like supporting a massive nuclear strike. Because, as you say, you don’t have a no-fly zone to have a no-fly zone, you have it to protect civilians, so it follows that if the consequence of your no-fly zone is to worsen the already horrific situation among the people you are protecting you have to extend the intervention, and a massive nuclear strike is one way to extend it.

Really, a no-fly zone is just like eating babies! Because, of course, eating babies would certainly be an extension of your intervention.

557

RNB 05.17.16 at 4:50 pm

No don’t buy the slippery slope argument.

558

Layman 05.17.16 at 4:57 pm

@RNB, yes, of course, you only argue for the slippery slopes you like, where calling for someone to resign and for a no-fly zone is just like calling for strikes to remove someone from power; and where saying forces which have already been inserted should be withdrawn quickly is just like calling for them to be inserted in the first place.

559

RNB 05.17.16 at 5:00 pm

Do you think a no fly zone would not mean striking or shooting down jets and helicopters? I guess that you have some religious faith in Sanders who supported the NATO operation in Kosovo and supports drone warfare today as some kind of hippie pacifist. But he’s not. Which means for example that opposition to drones and LAR’s will have to come from outside the White House.

560

engels 05.17.16 at 5:01 pm

What kind of a jerk writes that?

You got me!
https://youtu.be/UrgpZ0fUixs

561

The Temporary Name 05.17.16 at 5:48 pm

562

Lupita 05.17.16 at 6:21 pm

Again I am not advocating war but recognition of the tragedy it is that we may have to develop a categorical opposition to R2P. It creates a sickening situation for humanity going forward.

What a privilege to be able to use the imperial “we” and determine whether what “we” tragically oppose will be sickening or not for … humanity!

563

RNB 05.17.16 at 6:35 pm

Lupita,

There is the privilege of inaction when you have the resources to make things better for others at very list cost to yourself. See Rwanda. Bill Clinton’s inaction here may have been the most horrible thing he did as President.

Now to the feelthebern.com website that RP has directed us to.

Sanders to this day proudly defends the “humanitarian bombing” of Serbia which resulted in regime change! Let’s let him say that he did not support similar actions in Libya, though he admits that it was a human rights catastrophe as with the Kosovar Albanians. If that is true, then why the apparent double standard: why the willingness to use NATO in aerial bombardment to protect European lives but not Arab lives?

Now about how about gender. Many support Sanders because he is putatively not a hawk like Clinton, but he is still proud of having supported the NATO strikes in the Balkans which led to regime change; and he supports drone warfare and he supports Israel 100%.

Sure, there is the Iraq War, but again there is no evidence that Clinton would have herself used the Congressional war authorization to actually go to war without the breakdown of inspections and support of the international community; and there is no reason to believe that Sanders would not have gone to war if that happened, as he had already voted for the Iraqi Regime Change Act.

So why is Clinton considered so much more the hawk that she is deeply hated in a way that Sanders is not? Why don’t people hate him in the same way for supporting the use of drones and to-this-day defending “humanitarian bombing”? Could it be that Clinton is subjected to sexism from pathetic, whimpering men as a woman who is willing to use force?

Which of course is not to say that the opposition to NATO “humanitarian bombing” and drones is sexist, but it is sexist to not let it bother you in the male candidate and drive you away from the woman candidate.

564

js. 05.17.16 at 6:38 pm

565

The Temporary Name 05.17.16 at 6:38 pm

566

Lupita 05.17.16 at 6:54 pm

There is the privilege of inaction when you have the resources to make things better for others at very least cost to yourself.

Welcome, imperial “you”. Of course you meant “we”, as in, “we Americans”. The privilege I am talking about is that of the US determining whether action or inaction is good or bad … for humanity! I wonder when the US will make things better for others by permitting a non-Westener to head the World Bank or the IMF. It would cost nothing.

567

Layman 05.17.16 at 6:56 pm

RNB: “Do you think a no fly zone would not mean striking or shooting down jets and helicopters?”

A no-fly zone does mean shooting down aircraft. Do you think that when people call for ‘air strikes’ they mean to shoot down aircraft, or do you think they mean something else? More importantly, do you actually think?

568

RNB 05.17.16 at 6:58 pm

The question here is whether those who support a no-fly zone do. So Gaddhafi hits a NATO plane trying to take down one of his jets or helicopters? What do you think happens? NATO does not strike his capabilities on the ground? Really?

569

engels 05.17.16 at 7:00 pm

It’s hard to think of a better way to end a critique of Western, white, male, middle-class over-representation than a bunch of links to the Soft Boys.

570

Layman 05.17.16 at 7:03 pm

“So Gaddhafi hits a NATO plane trying to take down one of his jets or helicopters? “

…with his grenade launchers. Phooey.

571

RNB 05.17.16 at 7:08 pm

At any rate, this faith in a man who has supported “humanitarian bombing”, voted for the Iraqi Regime Change Act, supported Obama’s recent bombings in Syria and Iraq and drone warfare, signed on the invasion of Afghanistan, and decided to be one of only ten Senators allowing for a no-fly zone in Libya as some kind of hippie pacifist reflects the desire of people for a savior. Or it is the result of people wanting to hate Clinton in sexist fashion for her unfeminine embrace of force and then having to imagine that Sanders or even Trump is different in order to shield themselves from the sexism that actually drives them.

572

Lupita 05.17.16 at 7:08 pm

Could it be that Clinton is subjected to sexism from pathetic, whimpering men as a woman who is willing to use force?

Maybe those pathetic, whimpering men are anti-imperialists.

573

RNB 05.17.16 at 7:10 pm

Do you think Sanders fits your somewhat vague definition of anti-imperialist?

574

Layman 05.17.16 at 7:10 pm

“Or it is the result of people wanting to hate Clinton in sexist fashion for her unfeminine embrace of force and then having to imagine that Sanders or even Trump is different in order to shield themselves from the sexism that actually drives them.”

Or it’s that you started this exchange with a falsehood, and won’t admit it, which means everyone else must be a scoundrel.

575

Asteele 05.17.16 at 7:14 pm

I am going to be shocked when RNB immediately stops commenting after the election.

576

RNB 05.17.16 at 7:14 pm

The falsehood presumably being that Sanders who supported “humanitarian bombing” in Serbia supported military intervention in Libya in the form of a no-fly zone which was likely to require strikes being taken against Gaddhafi’s military capabilities?

577

RNB 05.17.16 at 7:17 pm

I may take a break after Trump is defeated resoundingly

578

Lupita 05.17.16 at 7:19 pm

pathetic, whimpering men

unfeminine embrace of force

Really, where is Val? My intuition tells me there is something wrong with RNB’s gender characterizations but I can’t put my finger on it. We need an expert here.

579

Lupita 05.17.16 at 7:20 pm

Do you think Sanders fits your somewhat vague definition of anti-imperialist?

No.

580

The Temporary Name 05.17.16 at 7:21 pm

It’s hard to think of a better way to end a critique of Western, white, male, middle-class over-representation than a bunch of links to the Soft Boys.

I only take that kind of criticism from those named after Western, white, male, middle-class people.

581

RNB 05.17.16 at 7:21 pm

I know. You think Trump is the real anti-imperialist. You’ve got fans here. Go figure.

582

Rich Puchalsky 05.17.16 at 7:28 pm

RNB: “At any rate, this faith in a man who has supported “humanitarian bombing”, voted for the Iraqi Regime Change Act, supported Obama’s recent bombings in Syria and Iraq and drone warfare, signed on the invasion of Afghanistan, and decided to be one of only ten Senators allowing for a no-fly zone in Libya as some kind of hippie pacifist reflects the desire of people for a savior”

Wait, I thought that you were supposed to be deeply worried about Trump.

If David Brock had the brilliant idea of having his people pose as Marxists in order to discredit Marxism, or something like that, I’m going to owe engels a big apology. Or, who knows, maybe with “Could it be that Clinton is subjected to sexism from pathetic, whimpering men as a woman who is willing to use force?” he’s supposed to be discrediting feminism or something.

At any rate, back to RNB’s wonderful prose. It really is a gem of technique. The paragraph starts with stuff about how Sanders is bad — he does all these bad things just like all other bad politicians. But then, even if he was good, he’d be a “hippie pacifist” — weak, whimpering, ineffectual. So he’s bad at approaching an ideal which is, itself, bad, and the people who are even attracted to that ideal are looking for a savior and themselves other-directed and weak etc.

This kind of thing was implicit in RNB’s whole shtick from his first posts here that I saw. The people who eagerly joined in with his accusations as a vehicle for their resentments are now, I guess, posting videos and pretending that it was someone else who gave credence to this guy.

583

Lupita 05.17.16 at 7:33 pm

You think Trump is the real anti-imperialist.

I do not. I think he is unaware of how easily the global financial elite can depose heads of state, including him. That is, he is a fool. Clinton and Sanders are aware that there are rules they must follow if they are to keep this secret from the American public.

584

engels 05.17.16 at 7:38 pm

Lupita’s Trump financial coup scenario is about the first interesting comment on this thread. Does anyone have any references which might flesh it out?

585

js. 05.17.16 at 7:40 pm

It’s hard to think of a better way to end a critique of Western, white, male, middle-class over-representation than a bunch of links to the Soft Boys.

So you’re going to defend the Happy Mondays but you don’t like the Soft Boys? Bet you think Oasis are better than Blur too.

586

RNB 05.17.16 at 7:40 pm

Yup much more worried about Trump than Clinton or Sanders. It’s good that those who support Sanders do not do so on false pretenses, like he is the anti-war candidate.
Cmon Lupita, don’t backtrack like Bruce Wilder. You clearly think Clinton as the candidate of financial elites will fight their imperial wars that Trump will not. You prefer Trump. It’s so annoying when you and Bruce Wilder try to hide your madness like this.

587

Lupita 05.17.16 at 7:52 pm

You clearly think Clinton as the candidate of financial elites will fight their imperial wars that Trump will not. You prefer Trump.

Clinton vs Sanders vs Trump discussions are like Byzantine palace intrigue to me. I’m the peasant in rags knocking on the window trying to tell you that the Bastille is being stormed.

588

engels 05.17.16 at 8:02 pm

It’s good that those who support Sanders do not do so on false pretenses, like he is the anti-war candidate.

Afaict most sensible leftists supported Sanders on the basis of his views on inequality, welfare, etc although he did a bit better on some foreign policy issues under pressure from his supporters (eg Israel)

589

RNB 05.17.16 at 8:03 pm

Whatever. I think you are being cowardly in hiding your preferences, Lupita.
Here’s how I see it.

Actually being an unthinking categorical hippie pacifist is unethical; the use of force cannot be ruled out in principle.

The best arguments and the historical record are leading us to a rejection of R2P, and I am worried about the consequences even if they are not as bad as they would be with R2P in protection. I am really hoping for a left position that is critical of Samantha Powers but is somehow different from the right-wing rejection. http://www.the-american-interest.com/2013/06/12/its-fatally-flawed/

Those who really hate Clinton as a hawk but like Sanders or Trump more in regards to foreign policy are either unaware of what the actual views and commitments of these men are, or are sexist in that they can’t stand the idea of a woman commanding force.

Clinton has won the Democratic nomination, and it would be crazy not to make sure Trump is defeated by her. Here we could consider the domestic issues: reintroduction of the public option, paid family leave, better Court appointments, more reasonable tax reform, etc.

590

RNB 05.17.16 at 8:05 pm

Well on the questions of inequality, welfare, medical care, worker rights and women’s rights Clinton is incomparably better than Trump even if not as good as Sanders who has lost the nomination. Trump is also an authoritarian racist.

591

engels 05.17.16 at 8:06 pm

“Bet you think Oasis are better than Blur”

Yep – lesser evillism

592

engels 05.17.16 at 8:08 pm

#626 Sure, I agree

593

Lupita 05.17.16 at 8:17 pm

RNB is talking, fighting, and disputing with himself in order to reach his daily minimum of postings as an Online Communications Associate. I wonder how this will look come his performance review.

594

Lupita 05.17.16 at 8:48 pm

I may take a break after Trump is defeated resoundingly

By how many percentage points does Clinton have to win for you to get your performance bonus?

595

engels 05.17.16 at 8:49 pm

From the Huffington Post, current favourable/unfavourable ratings
Sanders 53/41
Biden 48/37
Obama 48/46
H.Clinton 42/55
Trump 39/58
Kasich 37/38
P.Ryan 34/38
E.Warren 25/27

596

Donald 05.17.16 at 8:56 pm

RNB’s ranting is kind of fun to watch, and I should just lurk, but Someone Is Being Wrong On the Internet, so I can’t shut up completely–

1. On no fly zones, from what I’ve read RNB has a point. In order to enforce such a thing you might have to bomb some targets, things like radar installations and anti-aircraft missile bases, or so I’ve read. Sanders strikes me and most people as not very interested in foreign policy, so he might have endorsed no fly zones thinking they were a relatively safe way to intervene. In general, he seems to have followed the lead of the Democrats in most of his positions. Voting for the Iraq Regime change act was probably more of the same–it’s boilerplate. Not exactly brave of him, but a politician who opposed such a thing back in the day would have been accused of being pro-Saddam. It’s a far cry from voting for that and actually supporting an invasion of Iraq. There were politicians who opposed this. Obama opposed it and so did Sanders. Clinton did not. Seems important to some of us. And actually quite a few Sanders supporters were/are critical of his positions as being too hawkish, but he seemed amenable to pressure more than Hillary. And anyone who jokes “we came, we saw, he died” has a very creepy attitude towards the use of force. I’m 100 percent sure that if a Republican was caught on tape saying that it would be considered a Very Big Deal by all the center-liberal Hillary supporters.

2. RNB says Sanders ” supports Israel 100%.” Actually, he has changed under pressure from his supporters. This is why you will find some pretty harsh criticism of him back in 2014, where he yelled at some pro-Palestinian demonstrators, but two years later he criticized Israel’s tactics in Gaza while both Clintons defend Israel’s actions by saying the civilian deaths were all Hamas’s fault. Since RNB must know this, it’s hard to understand why he frames the issue in this misleading way.

3. And the idea that people dislike Clinton’s militarism because of her gender is, well, silly. I despised Bill Clinton when he was President for the same lefty reasons I despise Hillary Clinton. There was an article in Salon the other day which said that Hillary is a Cold War Democrat, which seems about right to me. That’s the type of Democrat that thinks the proper way to prove one’s credibility as a leader is to be “tough” on crime, “tough” on foreigners, and who thinks, as IIRC Albright said once, what good is this wonderful military we have if we can’t use it. The Clintons aren’t the only Democrats who think like this–obviously, since people praise her foreign policy experience as though it is a positive, there must be quite a few Democrats who think like this and only oppose militarism when it comes from Republicans.

4. Trump’s worse. Occasionally he sounds like he is better on some issues, like when he criticizes the Iraq War or says we should be evenhanded on the I/P conflict, but then he usually follows up by saying something worse, like advocating the murder of family members of terrorists or saying Netanyahu should build more settlements.

5. I hate American politics.

597

RNB 05.17.16 at 8:57 pm

Most of the bonus would be taxed away, especially if Sanders became President. We need regressive tax reform to unleash the shills for Clinton.

598

Layman 05.17.16 at 9:02 pm

“Since RNB must know this, it’s hard to understand why he frames the issue in this misleading way.”

This strikes me as a good all-purpose response to almost anything RNB writes.

599

RNB 05.17.16 at 9:08 pm

Donald,
I gave a lot more evidence of Sanders’ hawkishness than you consider in this post (humanitarian bombing, drones, bombing in Iraq and Syria presently). I think if you look at all the evidence you’ll see it as difficult to see a big gap between Sanders and Clinton on foreign policy. Sanders said that he supported Israel 100% as he was raising these concerns; that’s why I don’t take the criticism as actual criticism. That your opposition to Clinton’s hawkishness is principled does not mean that much of it is not driven by sexism.

600

RNB 05.17.16 at 9:09 pm

@631 Yes this is why I am up at night worried about a Trump victory. It could happen.

601

RNB 05.17.16 at 9:11 pm

@634 I have already said that the reason you find it misleading for me to point to Sanders’ support for drones, humanitarian bombing, aerial attacks on Syria and Iraq today and even strikes in Libya is that you may have something of a religious relation to him, and so can’t see the facts in front of you. I am not sure what the reason is. Just guessing.

602

RNB 05.17.16 at 9:12 pm

@637 So says the person defending the integrity of Gaddhafi. Great stuff. But I am sure I won’t make inroads with this group.

603

kidneystones 05.17.16 at 9:13 pm

Late reply to Lupita. Ryan confirms that Trump is the leader of the Republican party. Which means little.

As one who is keenly interested in Trump, I suggest less Trump until after the Cleveland convention and/or the Democrats select a candidate. Speculating on what Trump will actually do seems a bit of a waste of time given that past statements from all politicians are no guarantee of future actions. As several have noted, Trump makes so many contradictory statements, which suggests only that he understands exactly how this game is played.

I’m certain those living on the ground in no-fly zones would deny in the strongest terms that justifying a no-fly zone constitutes justification for ground attacks. Those equating the two confirm only they’ve never considered being on the receiving end of military strikes.

604

The Temporary Name 05.17.16 at 9:18 pm

As several have noted, Trump makes so many contradictory statements, which suggests only that he understands exactly how this game is played.

It suggests he is what he has always been, not that he has adapted to politics.

605

Layman 05.17.16 at 9:18 pm

“…is that you may have something of a religious relation to him”

If you’re going to engage in baseless speculation, jump in with both feet. Maybe I’m his mother.

606

RNB 05.17.16 at 9:20 pm

You might imagine that you are his mother; but I don’t think you are.

607

Donald 05.17.16 at 9:24 pm

“Sanders said that he supported Israel 100% as he was raising these concerns; that’s why I don’t take the criticism as actual criticism.”

That’s not true. It’s a fairly typical claim made by people who usually support a 2SS along the 67 lines, but are critical of Israeli brutality. They will say that they support Israel, but supporting Israel means that they criticize Israel when it is wrong. It’s the sort of thing Peter Beinart would say–I love Israel, but hate the occupation etc…

People who are further to the left and favor a 1SS sometimes criticize Sanders for not going far enough, for being too militaristic and so forth. Not all 1SS supporters will say this (I tend to lean 1SS and I welcome what he has said in a national forum), but some do. I’ve seen people say he’s no different from Clinton. But this is simply inaccurate. It doesn’t matter where you stand on the issue, it just isn’t analytically useful to lump Clinton in with Sanders on this. There’s a wide range of people who say they favor a 2SS–on the two extremes you have people who only say it as a form of lip service and in practice they support Israel no matter what it does and on the other extreme you have people who favor intense pressure on Israel to end the occupation. Clinton is closer to the first group, and Sanders is clearly trying to appeal to the 2nd.

I dealt with your other evidence very briefly under point 1. Sanders isn’t up to speed on foreign policy. That’s generally acknowledged. He has often just gone along with what the Democrats do. I think he is much closer to the left in the sense that he could be swayed to move left as he was swayed to criticize Israel’s conduct in Gaza in a debate just before the New York primary. Not that it matters so much at this point. But he clearly isn’t the passionately committed interventionist that Clinton is. Clinton is, barring some miracle, the chosen leader of the Democratic Party and after all the years of liberals ranting against the Iraq War as one of the most catastrophic blunders in US history it turns out that much of that was just partisan hypocrisy.

608

RNB 05.17.16 at 9:26 pm

As contradictory as Trump’s statements may be, what his commitments are, are clear on a moment’s reflection. He has no limits on the use of force and collateral damage he’ll countenance to get others in a weaker bargaining position. He will disfavor minorities in manifold ways and let bosses get away with hell with workers. He’ll humiliate women. He’ll celebrate the death penalty and torture. He’ll unleash anti-intellectualism and degrade our culture in manifold ways.

609

Lupita 05.17.16 at 9:27 pm

@Ze K

Why did you suggest that RNB had to be snappier to seem authentic? Now he’s getting snappy!

610

RNB 05.17.16 at 9:29 pm

@644 Please direct me to a piece where Sanders’ and Clinton’s positions and voting records on Israel/Palestine are compared. I don’t think there is much difference here, but I may be wrong. In Adelson’s pocket Trump is to the right of both.

611

Lupita 05.17.16 at 9:33 pm

He’ll unleash anti-intellectualism and degrade our culture in manifold ways.

RNB is Trump!

612

RNB 05.17.16 at 9:36 pm

No I am not Trump. I am John Barron.

613

novakant 05.17.16 at 9:48 pm

I have never suggested that Sanders’ supporters are sexist or racist. My wife who is black is a Sanders supporter, though that’s straight Brooklyn identity politics.

Could it be that Clinton is subjected to sexism from pathetic, whimpering men as a woman who is willing to use force?

lol

614

Donald 05.17.16 at 9:50 pm

Sigh. I just said Sanders was yelling at pro- Palestinian demonstrators during the Gaza War and was pulled left by his supporters, so no, I am not going to look for the kind of evidence you demand because you choose to ignore what everyone has seen in the campaign. In the days before the primary Sanders was criticizing Israel’s killing of civilians in Gaza– he confused deaths with casualties and was criticized for this, while Clinton defended what Israel did.. Clinton has also said she wants to take the relationship to the next level.

The only people who see Clinton and Sanders as the same on this are pro-Palestinian types who want complete purity on the issue and rightwingers who think Clinton is going to stab Israel in the back. Literally everyone else sees a pretty big gap between what they have said.

615

RNB 05.17.16 at 9:53 pm

When I think of whimpering pathetic men who hate Clinton, I think of Trump’s base to which he appeals by saying he is not trigger-happy like that, roughly here, cackling beetch. I do not think of Sanders’ supporters who include many principled doves and some hippie peaceniks.

616

RNB 05.17.16 at 9:56 pm

I grant that Sanders has openly recognized the human tragedy that the Palestinians suffer in a way that the Clintons have not, as they continue to blame every innocent Palestinian life lost on Hamas military tactics. I just don’t see what Sanders would do differently. But I am open to education.

617

LFC 05.17.16 at 10:04 pm

Rich Puchalsky suggested or implied upthread that, because I somewhat intemperately expressed my disinclination at a late hour to get into the question of Sanders’ position on Libya, I don’t care about history, about UN resolutions, etc. As anyone aware of my interests will be able to attest, that’s not the case. Just from what I’ve read in this thread (and I haven’t every word of the recent comments) , I think R. Puchalsky probably had/has a reasonably good case on the merits of this particular question (i.e. Sanders on Libya).

That brings me to RNB’s recent repeated assertions that there is not much space between Clinton and Sanders on foreign policy. First, as someone (I think it was Donald) already said, Sanders simply hasn’t spent much time thinking about foreign policy. I voted for him mainly b.c of his views on inequality and related issues, which have of course been the centerpiece of his campaign.

Second, before RNB continues in this vein, he might want to read Charli Carpenter’s piece at Duck of Minerva on Sanders’ for. policy views, which saw him (though I didn’t read more than the opening of the post) as having a distinctive position.

Third, I don’t understand RNB’s concern/obsession with this whole issue. Sanders is obvs. not a pacifist and has never presented himself as such. If one were to position Sanders vis-a-vis what Jeffrey Stacey at Duck of Minerva calls ‘the Obama doctrine’ and ‘the Clinton doctrine’ [see here], Sanders is, istm, closer to Obama.

Now maybe RNB wd deny that there is any difference between Clinton and Obama on for. policy. But there clearly is a difference. Just to take one example, Clinton favored a form of intervention, indeed publicly called for no-fly zones and safe zones, in Syria, which Obama of course did not favor. In closed-door deliberations, acc. to the linked post, she wanted to attack two Assad regime air fields at a time when intel assessments supposedly said that wd lead to a Free Syrian Army victory. That’s just one example. I’m fairly sure there are others. (Btw Jeffrey Sachs in his critical columns on HRC, mentioned somewhere on this blog earlier, took HRC to task for torpedoing Annan’s peace efforts in Syria.) I’m not arguing the merits of these positions right now, but trying to pt out that it is v. possible to discern differences between Clinton and Obama, and (prob) between Clinton and Sanders, on for. policy. These differences aren’t chasms but they do exist. Why RNB wants to deny this is something of a puzzle.

618

RNB 05.17.16 at 10:05 pm

Look we are going to have to end this lovefest because my week before summer session is almost over. I’ll be handing over the Clinton shilling to another publicist, Carlos Danger; that should also double the Latino presence on the list.

619

RNB 05.17.16 at 10:09 pm

Absolutely do not want to deny that Clinton’s recommendation of a no-fly zone was ill-advised to say the least; if in fact she was serious about it as she at one point thought the Russians would cooperate in it.

I said that above. She has to be resisted every step of the way. But again the difference with Sanders is not that great. He supports Obama’s bombing in Syria and Iraq and has only said that “at this time” he does not support a no-fly zone in Syria.

You don’t say anything about the support of drone warfare and humanitarian bombing at least when carried out to protect Europeans.

620

RNB 05.17.16 at 10:18 pm

LFC,
LFC, I would like to see your argument that supporting the military intervention to set up a no fly zone is

a. a stance against military intervention in Libya,

b. that Sanders would have said “no” to the military leaders claiming that they couldn’t create a no-fly zone without the broader mandate that Sanders was willing to give NATO in Serbia,

c. that Sanders can be claimed to be innocent of knowing the the broader powers the military would have wanted when he signed on to a no-fly zone, given his support of in Serbia; and

d. the Senate Resolution was not a pledge to respect the UN resolutions which eventually resulted in *1973* as regards to intervention in Libya.

I continue to think it’s disingenuous of Sanders to say that he opposed the military action in Libya given his sponsorship of the Senate resolution and his previous support of humanitarian bombing.
Really Sanders is also capable of prettifying his record too. Clinton is right to challenge him on this in my opinion.

621

RNB 05.17.16 at 10:24 pm

The torpedoing of Annan’s peace efforts was motivated by Clinton’s anti-Iranian politics (according to Mohammed Ayoob and Jeffrey Sachs) which *perhaps* Sanders does not share. I do not know. Nor has Sanders made this an issue in the campaign. What we know is that Trump will set back any diplomatic efforts with Iran and that Clinton has now pledged to bring Iran and Russia to the table.

622

engels 05.17.16 at 10:28 pm

Reuters: EXCLUSIVE: Trump says he plans to dismantle most of Dodd-Frank financial regulation if elected; he will outline economic vision in two weeks
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-election-trump-exclusive-idUSKCN0Y82JO

623

RNB 05.17.16 at 10:37 pm

Writing way too fast. Here corrected:

LFC, I would like to see your argument that supporting the military intervention to set up a no fly zone is

a. a stance against military intervention in Libya!

b. that signing up for a no-fly zone is not a commitment to striking some of the military resources of the opponent as Donald said above.

c.. that Sanders would have said “no” to the military leaders claiming that they couldn’t create the no-fly zone he wanted without the broader mandate that Sanders was willing to give NATO in Serbia,

c. that Sanders can claim to be innocent of knowing the broader powers the military would have used when he signed on to a no-fly zone, given his support of such military powers in Serbia; and

d. some explanation of why Sanders was willing to sponsor military intervention in the form of a no-fly zone and why you think he would not have gone farther in the face of military requests though he had gone farther in the case of Serbia

e. some argument that Sanders would have told the military that he would not try to authorize their broader tactics in the UN as he supported in Serbia if they said that they did not want to be charged of illegalities if the mission of a no-fly zone necessarily creeped into something bigger.

f.. some argument the Senate Resolution he sponsored was not a pledge to respect the UN resolutions which eventually resulted in *1973* as regards to intervention in Libya.

I continue to think it’s disingenuous of Sanders to say that he opposed the military action in Libya given his sponsorship of the Senate resolution and his previous support of humanitarian bombing.

In fact I think it’s cynical of him to turn his back on this humanitarian bombing when he laid groundwork for it, did not criticize it in the days leading up to it, and supported a similar campaign in Serbia. He’s just hanging Clinton out to dry, and I think Clinton is right to challenge him on this.

Really Sanders is also capable of prettifying his record too.

624

engels 05.17.16 at 11:02 pm

(Last link apropos of those arguing that Trump represents a challenge to ‘neoliberalism’ and/or expecting him to be deposed by global capital…)

625

Rich Puchalsky 05.17.16 at 11:58 pm

LFC: “tt is v. possible to discern differences between Clinton and Obama, and (prob) between Clinton and Sanders, on for. policy. These differences aren’t chasms but they do exist. Why RNB wants to deny this is something of a puzzle.”

Actually, his denial of difference wasn’t between Clinton and Sanders, it was between Trump and Sanders. And it’s really not a puzzle. Of course you don’t want to read the thread because he’s done his best to make it unreadable, but if you did read it you’d get to bits like his “Could it be that Clinton is subjected to sexism from pathetic, whimpering men as a woman who is willing to use force?” and realize that you’re dealing with someone writing in laughably bad faith.

I do suggest that next time you find someone who is, however mysteriously, interested in the differences between U.N. Resolutions 1970 and 1973 that you just let them have at it instead of telling them that it’s pointless. One of the reasons I quoted your paragraph was to illustrate his technique: he can make someone with an IR doctorate (if I’m remembering rightly, that’s the degree you said you had) get all confused and annoyed and denounce the idea that someone might want to actually understand this.

626

RNB 05.18.16 at 12:38 am

Yup, I wonder whom I would vote for were it to come down to Sanders v. Trump. I guess I would just abstain.

I mean: after all Trump says he opposed the military action in Libya and I believe him.

I think Sanders supported the military actions taken against Gaddhafi’s military and Ze whatever tells me that Gaddhafi was a man of great integrity; I also truly believe that Trump is less trigger-happy despite all that talk about carpet bombing, dropping atomic weapons and enjoying the jouissance of torture.

But I don’t like Trump’s trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the editors at my favorite magazine People by not copping to being John Barron. Seriously: you mess with the tabloid editors on whom our culture depends, and you have gone too far. So I just wouldn’t know whom I would vote for.

I’d probably sit it out.

627

RNB 05.18.16 at 12:50 am

OK Rich, I welcome your reading of the Senate resolution which states
***Urges: (1) the Gadhafi regime to abide by Security Council Resolution 1970, and (2) the Security Council to take such further action to protect civilians in Libya from attack, including the possible imposition of a no-fly zone over Libyan territory***

The Senate Resolution of which Sanders was one of only ten sponsors seems to me encourage (goad even) the Security Council to take *further action* which it did in the form of Resolution 1973.

Here are its key features according to wikipedia:

The resolution, adopted under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter:

“demands the immediate establishment of a ceasefire and a complete end to violence and all attacks against, and abuses of, civilians;
imposes a no-fly zone over Libya;
authorizes all necessary means to protect civilians and civilian-populated areas, except for a “foreign occupation force”;
strengthens the arms embargo and particularly action against mercenaries, by allowing for forcible inspections of ships and planes;
imposes a ban on all Libyan-designated flights;
imposes an asset freeze on assets owned by the Libyan authorities, and reaffirms that such assets should be used for the benefit of the Libyan people;
extends the travel ban and assets freeze of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1970 to a number of additional individuals and Libyan entities;
establishes a panel of experts to monitor and promote sanctions implementation.”

The Senate Resolution that Sanders sponsored clearly gave advance approval of the further actions that the Security Council thought necessary in the unfolding crisis. He can’t stand apart from what resulted. He made the decision to be one of only ten to sponsor the Senate resolution.

But again I am open to you or anyone else saying I am reading this incorrectly. I don’t see how Sanders gets himself off the hook.

628

LFC 05.18.16 at 1:07 am

RP @662
his [RNB’s] denial of difference wasn’t between Clinton and Sanders, it was between Trump and Sanders.

The original statement that set this off was couched that way (though I frankly don’t recall well that particular piece of the thread or might have skipped it). But I’ve read enough of the thread to know that RNB was also, particularly in the later stages, arguing that there is relatively little difference between Clinton and Sanders on foreign policy. E.g. @656: “But again the difference with Sanders [i.e. between Clinton and Sanders] is not that great.” And earlier, for ex., RNB made one of several repeated references to Sanders’ support of the NATO air campaign in Kosovo (this @599):

Sanders to this day proudly defends the “humanitarian bombing” of Serbia which resulted in regime change! Let’s let him say that he did not support similar actions in Libya, though he admits that it was a human rights catastrophe as with the Kosovar Albanians. If that is true, then why the apparent double standard: why the willingness to use NATO in aerial bombardment to protect European lives but not Arab lives?

Here RNB is saying (1) Sanders supported (some kind of) intervention in Libya, but if he did not (2) he is a hypocrite or has double standards b.c he supported it in Kosovo. Leaving aside the merits, it seems an odd point to be making at this stage of the campaign.

What I don’t quite understand is why, when HRC is overwhelmingly likely to be the nominee and people interested in defeating Trump shd be aiming to unify the party in some way, RNB is doing his best to alienate Sanders supporters. If one were to give RNB every benefit of the doubt, one might say he was stung or offended or something by some effort Sanders made to draw distinctions betw himself and HRC on Libya; RNB found this “disingenuous” on Sanders’ part and proceeded to go on a tear about it. From a political standpt it doesn’t make much sense though to be reinforcing bitterness betw the two campaigns right now.

From following the campaign, albeit casually not with v. close attention, it was apparent to me that foreign policy and intl affairs are not Sanders’ main interest. It’s not what propelled his candidacy. And his relative lack of interest helped make him willing to change his mind occasionally — Donald @632 points out (and I’ve no reason to doubt this) that Sanders’ publicly expressed views on (aspects of) the Israel/Palestinian conflict changed somewhat under pressure from supporters — and might also have led him to make statements he wd have thought twice about later. I don’t know about the latter but it’s possible.

There are discernible — not, on the whole, huge but nonetheless discernible — differences on foreign policy between Clinton, Obama, and Sanders. A close perusal of the three would, I’m sure, reveal these distinctions. (J. Stacey, who worked for Clinton and whose post I’ve already linked, definitely sees distinctions betw Clinton and Obama (and favors the Clinton approach); he doesn’t discuss Sanders in that post.) If one bracketed Libya entirely and just looked at other issues, the distinctions would, I’m reasonably sure, still be there.

These distinctions would be interesting to explore in a discussion, whether online or in a seminar room or wherever, of U.S. foreign policy. But in the setting of a general election campaign of Clinton v Trump, the distinctions betw Clinton, Obama, and Sanders necessarily are going to fade into the background, at least for the duration of the campaign itself. Many people who are unhappy with or disagree w HRC’s approach to for. policy are still going to vote for her, and most people who will vote for Trump are not going to vote for him b.c of his for. policy views (whatever exactly they turn out to be).

629

RNB 05.18.16 at 1:13 am

LFC,

Some Sanders supporters are alienated from Clinton because they think she is too much of hawk for them; but she isn’t much more hawkish than Sanders, so her hawkishness should not be a reason not to support her enthusiastically in her bid to beat Trump.

Now for some of us both Sanders and Clinton are too militaristic; take the issue of drones. But are frighteningly naive about the dangers here, I believe. I still say that voting for either to keep Trump out of office is very important.

630

RNB 05.18.16 at 1:20 am

Another obstacle Clinton faces is that she is considered dishonest. But she is no more dishonest than Sanders and certainly much less dishonest than Trump.

So look at we have learned here. In this spat over who is misrepresenting whom in regards to Libya, Clinton may be closer to to truth than even Bernie Sanders.See my @664 for some evidence. Clinton said that Sanders was supportive of the intervention through the Senate Resolution he sponsored, and I think she is right though Sanders has challenged that.

Now people may find it hard to believe this after the Republicans have told us for years about Clinton’s proclivities to lie. See Benghazi.

I think Clinton has pretty much been subjected to a witch hunt with people presupposing that she is unusually deceptive and manipulative for a politician. But she is the one closer to telling the truth in this situation.

631

js. 05.18.16 at 1:48 am

I hate American politics.

Amen.

632

js. 05.18.16 at 1:56 am

@573 —

That thing where you think you’re talking to one person but really, you’ve run into a rather unfortunate package deal.

(Also, Oasis is the lesser evil like Trump is the anti-war candidate. Just sayin’.)

633

Layman 05.18.16 at 2:07 am

“Look we are going to have to end this lovefest because my week before summer session is almost over. “

And there was greatly rejoicing.

634

J-D 05.18.16 at 2:25 am

Ze K

@570
‘All this will end soon, anyway. I have no doubt whatsoever that the psycho (Clinton) will push too far, and missiles will fly.’

As evidence for any conclusion, I find an absence of doubt on your part unpersuasive.

@578
‘Qadhafi had more decency in his little finger …’

He never had enough decency to allow the people of his country the opportunity to vote his government out of office.

635

J-D 05.18.16 at 2:30 am

Lupita @619

‘ I think he [Trump] is unaware of how easily the global financial elite can depose heads of state, including him.’

Since no US President has ever been deposed by the global financial elite, there’s no direct evidence to show how easy (or how hard) it would be. I suspect it would be harder than Lupita imagines.

636

Rich Puchalsky 05.18.16 at 2:31 am

LFC: “What I don’t quite understand is why, when HRC is overwhelmingly likely to be the nominee and people interested in defeating Trump shd be aiming to unify the party in some way, RNB is doing his best to alienate Sanders supporters. “

So many possibilities. I don’t really care about RNB, but I’ll go through the general reasons why there’s so much Sanders-baiting from Clinton supporters right now.

1. Maybe they aren’t Clinton supporters. RNB could just as easily be a Trump supporter as anything else, trying to make Clinton look bad and trying to make people who criticize Trump look ridiculous.

2. People who talk about the need to vote for the lesser-evil candidate are not generally actually interested in getting people to vote: they are interested in demonstrating their moral superiority. When you actually want people to vote, you’re friendly and encouraging. No one goes to your door and says “I’m here to take you to the polls so you can vote for Hillary, you jerk.” No, the point of Internet lectures on how irresponsible people are using their white privilege to not vote is to make the lecturer feel superior.

3. Most likely, Clinton supporters — paid or unpaid — are actually more concerned about Sanders than Trump. Clinton pretty much wins if she just holds Democratic states, or at least has a strong advantage. And she’s never going to get Trump-leaning voters. So the important thing is to get Sanders voters to vote for her. And telling them “You’re sexist if you don’t vote for HRC” or “You’re racist if you sit this one out” is pretty much her consistent appeal and the core of her leftward campaign, based on guilt rather than any positive qualities, since from a Sanders-voter point of view she doesn’t really have any positive qualities.

4. We’re still in the primary, and it’s David Brock running the show. He wants people on the left saying stuff like “I hate American politics” and generally resigned to numbly doing nothing but going to the general election and casting their lesser-evil vote.

637

Rich Puchalsky 05.18.16 at 2:48 am

” the Senate resolution which states
***Urges: (1) the Gadhafi regime to abide by Security Council Resolution 1970, and (2) the Security Council to take such further action to protect civilians in Libya from attack, including the possible imposition of a no-fly zone over Libyan territory***”

When someone writes “take actions to do X-and-so, including the possible imposition of Y” they generally mean actions up to the severity of Y with Y being the outer boundary. No one would write “We urge a bombing campaign in Libya, including the possible imposition of a no-fly zone.” The no-fly zone is supposed to be what the Security Council does if necessary and it’s pretty much the limit of what the Senate resolution is urging them to do if necessary. If they wanted a higher limit, they’d have mentioned it.

And contrary to the George W. Bush neocon theory of U.N. Resolutions, calling for a no-fly zone does not mean bomb people on the ground, and it does not mean escalate general military action. It has a specific meaning. The idea that by calling for a no-fly zone Sanders is responsible for bombing runs is an idea that is applied to no other politician, and is only being applied here in a ridiculous excess of bad faith and deliberate misreading.

638

Val 05.18.16 at 3:36 am

Lupita @573
[RNB] My wife who is black is a Sanders supporter, though that’s straight Brooklyn identity politics.

[Lupita]I wonder where Val is when you need her.

At that time I think fast asleep. I’m on a very different time zone to most here. And later, looking after my grandson.

Anyway I don’t quite know what to make of RNB’s use of the term here. He is using it in a new way – not in the neoliberal ‘there’s no such thing as oppression on the basis of gender and race, it’s all just about personal identity’ way, but in a kind of ‘it’s all about where you live way’ – as if I said ‘I vote green because I live in the inner-city Melbourne suburb of Brunswick and that’s what we do here’ kind of way (those are #auspol references, I hope they make sense). Community as well as locality I suppose, but does sound a bit patronising to RNB’s wife.

639

Donald 05.18.16 at 3:57 am

Leaving RNB out of this, I think Rich P is right that much of the lesser evilism that you see online is just tribalism and these self- described pragmatists are actually purity trolls. You can make the distinction between actual pragmatists and the faux variety by seeing if there is any friendly acknowledgement that yeah, the Democrats really do suck in a lot of ways but third party voting doesn’t do anything constructive and only helps the greater evil, though if you aren’t in a swing state you might as well vote however you wish. That’s how you’d reach at least some of us who really don’t like the Clinton wing of the Democratic Party. It works on me. Instead the fake pragmatist does a lot of chest- pounding about how stupid or evil or ( this is where the irony meter explodes) how self – indulgent the third party voters are. I enjoy ranting myself, God knows, but I never think I’m doing some pragmatic politicking when I do it.

640

Donald 05.18.16 at 4:07 am

I was thinking of my earlier comment that people can get heated and self righteous about almost anything. Here’s a link to a paper on the debate over bird evolution and whether they descended directly from theropod dinosaurs. My impression is that this is settled now in favor of dinosaurs , but I don’t know and maybe I am repeating ” paleobabble”. But look at page 4– the participants really got heated about it.

http://www.ohio.edu/people/witmerl/Downloads/2002_Witmer_Debate_on_avian_ancestry.pdf

641

RNB 05.18.16 at 4:51 am

@674 Rich, I see how you are trying to parse the Senate Resolution.

Still you still make it seem as if a no-fly zone is the upper limit of military intervention that Sanders would support, but he still stands proudly by his support of the “humanitarian bombing” in Serbia.

Sanders explicitly put his confidence in the Security Council going forward to assess what the threat to Libyan civilians was and how to respond to it. That Security Council came back with a no-fly zone and more. The Senate Resolution was not written to say that the US should not do more than create a no-fly zone or that it would withdraw support of a no-fly zone if it was militarily determined that further action would be needed to create it.

Sanders put the US on the path of acting on the Security Council resolutions, and this is why Clinton rightly says that Sanders should not say he opposed the intervention. Sanders’ history also shows that he is not opposed to “humanitarian bombing” in principle.

Now you seem to be implying while Sanders stands by his support of bombing of the enemy military in Serbia, he would not have supported the same thing in Libya even though

a. Sanders thought the human rights situation was catastrophic as in Kosovo and

b. Sanders found Gaddafi as horrifying as Milosevic and

c. the Security Council in whose judgment his Senate group put faith authorized the broader strikes

In light of what is and what is not in the Senate Resolution and Sanders’ own previous support of humanitarian bombing, the most reasonable conclusion is that Sanders had pledged to support further Security Council resolutions on Libya, which included Security Council Resolution 1973 which authorized the bombing of Gaddafi’s forces if deemed militarily necessary.

Additional evidence that Sanders supported the bombing which the Security Council authorized is that neither of us has found evidence that Sanders opposed or even warned against bombing in Libya before the bombing began. Sanders also did not try to get the Senate to make a statement against the bombing as happened in the House. He must have hoped that it would turn out as well as he think the bombing in Serbia which he supported did.

642

RNB 05.18.16 at 4:55 am

I am not sure whether you still think my line that I admittedly got from Hillary Clinton that Sanders supported the strikes in Libya is not a shameless lie as you accused me. His support of the bombing is what is implied in his sponsorship of the Senate resolution and his previous defense of humanitarian bombing in Serbia.

643

gbh 05.18.16 at 4:55 am

My god. I really love this site but this shit is obscene.

644

RNB 05.18.16 at 4:57 am

I guess it was not funny to suggest that Brooklyn loyalty runs deeper than racial and gender loyalty. But Brooklyn is a special place.

645

RNB 05.18.16 at 5:07 am

Why would it alienate Sanders’ supporters from Clinton to say that in fact on an issue where they may have thought there was a sharp difference–how to respond to Gaddafi– there in fact was a lot in common. To be sure, they may well have both been wrong! But they were not different and Sanders’ supporters should not exaggerate the differences here. Sanders still stands by humanitarian bombing. He’s not different from Clinton here.

646

RNB 05.18.16 at 5:50 am

This worst part of this discussion began in my opinion after I made a case for Clinton being better on foreign policy than Trump. I added one line that those who oppose Clinton for the strikes in Libya should note that Sanders and Trump also supported the strikes, so this would not be a unique liability that could be held against her.

Rich Puchalsky accused me of shameless lying in my saying that Sanders supported the strikes.

So Puchalsky poisoned the discussion with serious accusations of unethical behavior on my part. If people want a better list ecology, tell him to ratchet it down.

It should be clear from the Senate resolution that Sanders sponsored that neither Clinton nor I are shameless in thinking that Sanders was on board with the military intervention that the Security Council authorized.

It may still turn out we are wrong to have interpreted the evidence this way, but it is certainly not an unreasonable interpretation of Sanders in light of his previous history.

And it was simply wrong to accuse me of shameless behavior and lying.

647

J-D 05.18.16 at 6:07 am

Ze K @684

‘Colonel Qadhafi doesn’t need my defense, RNB. He’s been and will always remain a great historical figure, …’

For some values of ‘great’, obviously.

648

Raisuli 05.18.16 at 6:15 am

RNB, perhaps you should consider starting your own blog? I feel like at least 50% of my scrolling on these recent politics-related threads is moving past your comments to see if anyone else has posted something

649

RNB 05.18.16 at 6:29 am

Yes, it’s a good idea to move past my comments since you’ll read them in the many, many other posts that quote them and respond critically to them. No reason to double-read my comments.

650

Raisuli 05.18.16 at 6:39 am

It’s a lot of scrolling. Seem like you have a lot to say – plenty of content for a blog, no?

651

basil 05.18.16 at 10:09 am

Coming up on CrookedTimber’s great trolling debate, RNB and the faux leftist anti-racist/feminist posse (to be fair his team’s ephemeral solidarity on this particular mission is a spectacle in itself) shift from the Punic vistas of North Africa to tackle HRC’s telling adventures on aid and wages in Haiti, then human rights activists and shoring up coup-plotters in Honduras, and then free-trade and unions in Colombia. We start though with a vigorous defence of BHO/HRC’s policy for the deportation of unaccompanied Latin American minors into zones of extreme violence to ‘send a clear message’.

652

basil 05.18.16 at 10:50 am

Also, may USian respondents please clarify:

i) isn’t it already settled policy/practice that families/associates of terror suspects are available for murder or other punishment with impunity? To be avoided, but if it happens, then shrugs all around.

ii) isn’t it settled policy that a wall exists/ and ought to be extended to keep the southern horde out? Aren’t draconian deportations already bipartisan policy? Love them but not sufficient room.

iii) isn’t it settled policy that Muslims are suspicious: that random Muslims be barred from entry into the United States, with little expressed justification or recourse to explanation/ and the practice that those in the US are targeted by US law enforcement for especial profiling and surveillance – wasn’t there a CR thread here from NYC colleges about this?

iv) isn’t it settled that a ‘what’s in it for the US’ policy defines US interventions abroad, whether military, trade, migration or on climate change?

These are good faith questions proceeding from mainstream news and activist pushback that is in evidence during a double Democratic Party term. There may be nuances I don’t understand, but I think the antecedents of Trump’s wild lashing out at minorities, women and immigrants are interesting. His ledger based foreign policy similarly seems to me to be in keeping with an ongoing tradition that includes commercial calculations of benefit in deciding where and how to intervene.

This is not just to show the hypocrisy of those who now insist Trump is the devil incarnate, unrelieved evil and a danger to the world, although that is important. Trump is a mirror that distorts, but he – a great, recent supporter of liberal candidates and their political positions, producer and purveyor of culturally valuable media content – is a reflection of the mainstream. Beyond Trump, it is useful to understand how naked bigotry, here as much as in the US, comes to appeal to so many in the primaries, inside nominally non-racist parties i.e. to become mainstream.

I don’t think dismissing RNB and his cohort is wise. The collective could pay more attention to Lupita’s questions about the underlying assumptions defining US politics and their relation to the rest of the world. For me, battles against liberals/liberalism/neoliberalism define the mainstream and are the most important site for politics today. Sure, there’s much that’s fouler to their right, but we survive the world of the liberals, the world of their feints against structures producing violence and death, and it is the sturdy army of liberals and their justifications and declarations of what is impossible that truly stands in the way of a better world.

653

Val 05.18.16 at 10:59 am

@ 689 and 670

Is your name really basil or did you name yourself after the herb?

654

basil 05.18.16 at 11:18 am

jejeje,

I will start a petition at change.org to bring back the old Val – an unwavering voice against patriarchy and hierarchies, whose voice was a reminder of the importance of always fighting against our easiest assumptions, our blind spots and exclusions. They are much missed.

I will sign there with my full name.

655

Rich Puchalsky 05.18.16 at 11:55 am

basil is depressing me. Let’s just do the next argument in short form to save space:

A: You’re racist if you don’t vote HRC.
B: But she talked about deporting kids to send a message and supported policies to do that.
A: So what? Sanders wants to ‘secure the border’ too, as does Trump.
B: What? Sanders wants to do that in a very different way.
A: No he doesn’t.
B: OK, I’ll dig through a whole lot of text to show that what he supported is different.
A: So now you’re ‘parsing’ text. Maybe it says that, who knows? It’s complicated. Why are you insulting me? You’re racist.

It’s absolutely true that from an anarchist point of view, there isn’t much difference. Politicians are supporting the system: people are getting bombed or deported whether the preliminary justifications are “good” or “bad”. Other anarchists tend to tell me not to get involved in the whole thing because it just makes you stupid.

But while I’m here, anyways, I’ll point out that the sense in which there isn’t much difference is *exactly* the sense that people arguing for lesser-evil voting don’t get to use. If you’re saying that people are supposed to vote for the lesser evil, you’re saying that these differences are important. You can’t do that and at the same time argue so badly that all of these politicians are basically the same on some issue in order to immunize one of them.

656

engels 05.18.16 at 12:15 pm

657

engels 05.18.16 at 12:20 pm

658

engels 05.18.16 at 12:38 pm

659

basil 05.18.16 at 12:53 pm

Rich,
I think you misunderstand me, but I don’t fully comprehend your post so I don’t know how to explain myself better.

No, I don’t think your labour in these exchanges with RNB is in vain. I think I understand his sophistry and its motivation. Yes, Sanders is invaluably different from HRC, and from Trump. I intended to move the conversation on to the next airing of extenuation, the next page in which Clintonian solidarity with the put upon in their multi-coloured presentation is revealed to have involved strategic action/collusion against the violated, but to have taken a form that is marginally better than what Republicans would otherwise have done. It is interesting to see what RNB and others have got in their arsenal.

I’m sure we have the same perspective, and I only got involved in this because I really chafe at the the toxicity of the charge against ‘white, privileged males indulging in excessive fantasies of justice and turning away from the suffering such lofty aspirations cause’, and how this is deployed here to silence dissent and recruit an unseeing defence of a conservative politics of violence and domination.

I think what’s different about my approach is that I see Trump as an accusation, a charge against liberalism, and an opportunity for liberals to confront the monstrous implications of some of their beliefs. I’m not going to be declaring chasms between Obama, Clinton and Trump just to satisfy liberals. I am much more interested in pointing out what they have in common, what makes a Trump possible/inevitable in a macho, muscular, nationalistic race to the bottom.

P.S. While I have your attention, it would be the greatest treat if you and engels were kinder to each other. You’ve both been uncharitable to each other. Also if you were all nicer to Plume.

660

rwschnetler 05.18.16 at 1:15 pm

And this is how the troll generates strife. For what he indicates is known to be false or harmful or ignorant; but he does not say that thing, but rather something close. In this way he retains the possibility of denial, and the skilled troll is always surprised and hurt, or seems to be, when the others take his comments up. And so he sets the community apart from each other, and introduces strife where before there was scarcely disagreement..

RNB is having the opposite effect, must be a fairy[1].

[1] https://www.powerthesaurus.org/troll/antonyms.

661

Rich Puchalsky 05.18.16 at 1:25 pm

basil: “No, I don’t think your labour in these exchanges with RNB is in vain.”

I think that I understood your reasons for saying that it wasn’t in vain, but I’m not entirely sure whether that’s right. There’s an endless supply of RNB’s and (as you point out) a whole lot of superficially different issues on which they can argue in the same way, and when I find myself pre-arguing out the whole thing, maybe it’s time to stop. I already lined up like three citations on what Sanders means by ‘securing the border’ and why that is very different from what Clinton means by that phrase, not to mention what Trump means by that phrase. But look at what happened here with ‘regime change’. Does it really matter that one person understood that when Sanders supported ‘regime change’ it meant that he was calling for Gaddafi to step down? People refuse to generalize these individual arguments into conclusions about how the system works.

All right, momentary frustration there. Of course I won’t stop.

“While I have your attention, it would be the greatest treat if you and engels were kinder to each other. You’ve both been uncharitable to each other. Also if you were all nicer to Plume.”

The truth about left activists in the West (broadly defined) is that we are, in general, very annoying people, for easily explicable reasons. But I think that I’ve learned how to deal with not being annoyed by Plume and who knows, maybe engels some day too.

662

AcademicLurker 05.18.16 at 2:16 pm

Val@675,

not in the neoliberal ‘there’s no such thing as oppression on the basis of gender and race, it’s all just about personal identity’ way

That’s not how I generally see the term “identity politics” used in the US. I most commonly see it as asserting importance of oppression on the basis of race or gender or sexual orientation & etc. over the importance of class. Basically, a rejection of the old Marxist* idea that it’s really economics all the way down.

Anyhow, this thread must reach 1000 comments.

*Yes, yes, I’m sure I’m getting it wrong somehow. Replace “Marxist” with “vulgar Marxist” if that helps.

663

Rich Puchalsky 05.18.16 at 2:20 pm

basil: “The collective could pay more attention to Lupita’s questions about the underlying assumptions defining US politics and their relation to the rest of the world. For me, battles against liberals/liberalism/neoliberalism define the mainstream and are the most important site for politics today.”

Double commenting here, but I thought I should put in a bit more on this part. The perspective from South and Central America (and other places, but those are the places I’m even slightly familiar with) is exactly why I get annoyed (there’s that word again) about the interminable claims that neoliberalism is merely a local U.S. phenomenon that began and died with Charlie Peters or Hayek, or a British one with Thatcher. It’s a world system, and a good chunk of the world talks about neoliberalism and we’re not going to redefine it here on this blog so that we can be “clear”. The only thing we can do is keep explaining what each of us means by neoliberalism and how that fits into the constellation of general uses of the word.

But “battles against neoliberalism” isn’t quite how I’d describe the main site of left politics now either. The problem that I see (and have written about here ad nauseum) is that the left really does not have a good theory of what is supposed to replace neoliberalism. “Socialism”, yes, but the vast majority of actually existing socialisms have been pretty bad, and the supposedly existing ones have been coopted into neoliberalism anyways. Until there’s a widely accepted general idea to replace the ideas we’ve inherited from the 19th century, I don’t think that there actually can be a widespread battle against neoliberalism. Right now the left seems to me to be in a position of having to tacitly live within neoliberalism while disagreeing with it.

664

engels 05.18.16 at 2:37 pm

I think that I’ve learned how to deal with not being annoyed by Plume and who knows, maybe engels some day too.

My existence on this cold, dead planet has hope, meaning and purpose after all

665

Rich Puchalsky 05.18.16 at 2:50 pm

engels: “My existence on this cold, dead planet has hope, meaning and purpose after all”

…annoying.

666

Lupita 05.18.16 at 3:54 pm

@engels

Even if Trump says he will dismantle Dodd-Frank, there are still the issues of immigrants and NAFTA, which are his signature issues, the reason for his campaign, and the basis for his support. I do not see how Trump would be able to re-negotiate NAFTA or deport millions without intense opposition from corporations, bond vigilantes, Wall Street, and the media.

Despite intense opposition from the elite, Trump was not blocked from winning the primary elections because it would seem undemocratic and the elite do not want to play that card yet in hopes of being able to reason with him, like it did with Tsipras. However, if he does reach the presidency and he tries to change immigration practices and NAFTA in important ways (that threaten GDP growth) then, I’m afraid, the pretense of democracy will be unceremoniously ditched as it was with Berlusconi.

667

engels 05.18.16 at 4:40 pm

Lupita, I dunno. My gut feeling is that (generally) capitalists would prefer Hillary to Trump, but if the alternative was Sanders etc then they’d be okay with Trump. Also (from how things are unfolding in parts of Europe) that tighter borders and deportations wouldn’t be a deal-breaker for them (although I expect some changes of rhetoric on this and other issues soon). On a basic level, your view seems uncomfortably close to the liberal view (which I reject) that fascism is somehow anti-capitalist (unfortunately, I doubt we’d resolve these issues here).

668

bruce wilder 05.18.16 at 4:43 pm

Lupita @ 705

I don’t know how “intense” the opposition to Trump has really been from various right-leaning elites. Noisy in a way yes. Well-publicized. But, “intense”?

The Republican Party has been used to supply obvious losers as Presidential candidates in this, and the previous two elections. The Donald fills the bill, as far as being an obvious loser. The plan, as near as I can make out, is to enable Clinton to win despite a depressed / repressed turnout that protects Republican power in Congress. All the rest is kabuki.

The vast majority of Americans are completely oblivious to the advance of authoritarian structures and precedents. I listened to National Public Radio doing on-the-street reporting from Paris this morning. NPR supplies leftist-attitude for the tote bag progressives, but no notice that the nominally left Hollande is imposing neoliberal reform by decree against majority sentiment.

669

JimV 05.18.16 at 4:45 pm

President Clinton committed the cardinal sin against corporation CEO’s and their Boards of Directors and against Wall Street: he raised their taxes. And they did try to get rid of him, and almost succeeded (with a lot of foot-aimed ammunition from him), but failed.

They have also tried to get rid of President Obama, with Birtherism and various attempted lawsuits against his “unconstitutional” practices, but he hasn’t given them as much real ammunition.

They’ve been trying pre-emptively against HRC for a long time (White Water-gate, the “murder of Vince Foster”, Travel-gate, etc.) again with a lot of help from her, and haven’t quite succeeded yet.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Trump has even more loose cannonballs lying around, which they could use if they needed to, but more likely I think they would just use them to keep him in line. The only principle I see guiding his actions is whatever is best for Trump. There’s no need for the global finance mafia to get rid of someone like that.

Just some more wild speculation on the way to 1000 comments. Not meant to insult or annoy anyone, but probably someone will take it that way. My own (unofficial) definition of a troll, by the way, would be someone who comments with one of their objectives being to insult or annoy another commenter.

670

engels 05.18.16 at 4:51 pm

if the alternative was Sanders etc then they’d be okay with Trump

And just to be clear, I think the alternative to Trump etc is Sanders etc. There is no reason to expect American politics to drift back towards where it was in the 90s. If Hillary scrapes through this time, she will be the last of her line.

671

bruce wilder 05.18.16 at 5:00 pm

As an actual liberal, I would like to say that I do not regard “fascism” as anti-capitalist per se. Fascism is anti-liberal, even in a broad sense of “liberal” encompassing both American and European senses. Liberalism, in that broad sense is, and frequently claims to be, the capitalist ideology, and is jealous. Fascism, on its own confused and incoherent terms, is arguably a rival capitalist ideology. Liberals will naturally argue that fascism is bad for a capitalist social and political system.

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Donald 05.18.16 at 5:05 pm

Wall Street hated Clinton? I don’t remember this–I remember the 90’s as a time when Clinton and Rubin and Summers and on a lower level Tom Friedman all treated Wall Street with great respect ( except for some early complaints by Clinton about effing bond traders). And Alan Greenspan was the great oracle worshipped by all.

673

Rich Puchalsky 05.18.16 at 5:08 pm

BW: “The Republican Party has been used to supply obvious losers as Presidential candidates in this, and the previous two elections. The Donald fills the bill, as far as being an obvious loser.”

Structurally descriptive, but sounds too planned. I don’t think that there is anyone in actual control of who gets nominated. Basically the GOP is becoming a regional party, out of touch with international ideas and funded by grifters, and their pool of candidates isn’t capable of reliably producing someone who can attract a national vote. Which isn’t to say that Trump can’t win, but he’s not very likely to.

In case anyone just hasn’t got enough commentary from me and needs, no demands, even more, here’s my best attempt to talk about this kind of thing (in the context of why Roberts let the ACA be implemented and whether this was determined by elite interests).

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bruce wilder 05.18.16 at 5:58 pm

sounds too planned

No doubt. I intend that summary description to be read in the spirit of social “as if” it were planned, knowing that the social processes are a bit too diffuse to be as intentional as a conspiracy’s deliberate strategy.

I do think we should recognize that there are people in politics, mostly not in office, who act deliberately and with a long view, and as Lupita suggests, they intervene decisively when motivated to do so. The Republican Party has chosen losers as much from what these people do not do, and do not feel they need to do, as from what is actually done. The Party is always there, but a subtle change in the cast changes the play from drama to farce.

The Republican Party controls too many states to be accurately described as a merely regional Party. The Presidential Party component — the loosely organized group that pursues the Presidency — has weakened, and become almost vestigial, but that does not indicate a weakness in the Party so much as that the individual States are much more vulnerable to right-wing business domination in the current political environment. The Dems are arguably more dependent on big cities and a few big urbanized States; the Democratic Party apparatus is definitely weaker.

Neither Obama nor Clinton has threatened the interests of the most powerful and decisive, so they do not feel a need to act thru the Republican Party’s Presidential franchise. They leave it to others to try this or that. Trump’s unexpected success has threatened the credibility of the professional campaign consultant grifter class, which was given a prolonged opportunity to make a lot of money and ultimately came up with nothing. That’s just data, for the powers that be.

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bruce wilder 05.18.16 at 6:04 pm

Ze K @ 713

Neoliberalism in action.

676

engels 05.18.16 at 6:24 pm

677

Lupita 05.18.16 at 6:57 pm

@engels

My gut feeling is that (generally) capitalists would prefer Hillary to Trump, but if the alternative was Sanders etc then they’d be okay with Trump.

I think they would prefer Sanders because he has never questioned the neoliberal order, that is, trade agreements that weaken labor and social rights abroad and internal labor market growth through non-racist mass immigration, to achieve the ultimate goal of GDP growth on which the whole edifice rests. Furthermore, he’s a nice and reasonable guy.

Trump, on the other hand, has been focusing on the microeconomic impact of trade and immigration, decided that fundamental change is necessary, that a strong and intelligent person like himself can figure out how to bring about that change, and he is definitely not nice and reasonable. He is an erratic, ignorant, stubborn, and stupid revolutionary.

Of course, once in power Trump could be convinced that his plans would shrink the US economy leading to the stock market to crash, pension funds to shrink, treasury bonds to collapse, interest on the debt to rise, the US’ credit rating to be downgraded, and austerity to be imposed. He would then backtrack and be called a traitor by those who believed him, but he would survive as zombie president, like Tsipras.

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Lupita 05.18.16 at 6:59 pm

@bruce wilder

All the rest is kabuki.

That is more or less my point. This whole election, and elections worldwide with very few exceptions, is all kabuki. Latin Americans realized this when Lula and Bachelet made their peace with global capital and focused on some internal stuff that did not threaten global neoliberalism. Europeans realized this when second referendums were held when electorates got it wrong the first time and others were postponed indefinitely because polling showed they would not pass, when Berlusconi was deposed, when Tsipras changed his tune, and even when Tata Steel could not be nationalized because of European restrictions.

Trump being elected and then, either being deposed or becoming a traitor, would undoubtedly make many Americans arrive at the same conclusion: TINA.

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engels 05.18.16 at 7:21 pm

Lupita, so where are the billionaires backing Sanders? I agree he doesn’t challenge the capitalist order; saying he doesn’t challenge the neoliberal order seems to me bizarre (if ‘neoliberal’ really means anything more than ‘capitalist’). Imho you’re also massively over-estimating the risk aversion of the rich (cf. climate change).

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Lupita 05.18.16 at 7:40 pm

@engels

The billionaires are backing Clinton. As to what neoliberalism means, in practical terms, it means free trade agreements with provisions that weaken social and labor rights, cheap labor for rich countries and their corporations, intellectual property rights (also for Western corporations), free capital movement (for Western financial institutions), and the transfer of power from national governments to global capital.

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engels 05.18.16 at 8:39 pm

What strikes home is the degree of difference between the wealthy and the rest. The single greatest concern of the wealthy is budget deficits.
They propose to reduce them not by paying higher taxes — far from it — but by cutting programs like Social Security and health care.
This, of course, is directly opposed to the preferences and needs of the majority of Americans. And it is this disparity, in part, which is fracturing the Republican Party — dividing its donor class from its resentful blue-collar base. This is illustrated by another priority of the wealthy: limiting government regulation, including of the financial sector. No matter that the Great Recession of 2008 decimated so many Americans or, for that matter, that most of us favor government action to offset climate change. For most of the wealthiest Americans, these are not pressing concerns.

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The Temporary Name 05.18.16 at 8:48 pm

The bosses want Clinton, obviously.

The bosses will donate to anyone they think will have influence. What they would like is a Republican who is not an arsonist.

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LFC 05.18.16 at 9:15 pm

Donald Trump to meet with Henry Kissinger Wednesday

I already noted this @527 under pt #3
No harm in the repetition, though I think it’s just part of his suck-up-to-the-Repub-establishment-in-effort-to-mend-fences.

684

LFC 05.18.16 at 9:18 pm

Btw too bad the great Col. Ghaddafi isn’t alive and running for pres of US. That wd really make the bosses nervous.

/sarcasm

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Rich Puchalsky 05.18.16 at 9:44 pm

People tend to underestimate the degree to which there is internal differentiation among “the bosses”. On certain things they all agree, but who they’d like to have for President is not one of those things, and some will end up supporting Trump.

This article is somewhat instructive. The top donors are in families who provided about half of the early money in the Presidential campaign. They are:

* not corporations
* tend to be new money rather than inherited money
* back GOP by 7 to 1 over Democrats
* are largely in finance, secondarily in energy and construction (“financiers who once managed other people’s capital now, increasingly, own it themselves”)

So The Temporary Name’s “What they would like is a Republican who is not an arsonist” may be true in some sense, who knows what they would like in some abstract sense, but in terms of tribal identity (which these people have too) I predict that the majority will donate to Trump once he’s the candidate.

Why does this matter? Well, these people sound like “the bosses” because they are families controlling a huge amount of money, but multinational corporations actually control a much, much huger pile of money, and they don’t exactly have the same interests. They are run by a technocratic class that breaks neoliberal even as the billionaire-donor class breaks right. Of course if you see no difference between the two, then you see no difference, but on some issues there’s a pretty big difference.

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bianca steele 05.18.16 at 9:45 pm

The bosses will donate to anyone they think will have influence. What they would like is a Republican who is not an arsonist.

Well, if Sanders succeeds in taking over the Democratic Party, us centrists will have to go somewhere!

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The Temporary Name 05.18.16 at 9:46 pm

I predict that the majority [of bosses] will donate to Trump once he’s the candidate.

Indeed. It’ll be a rough ride for everyone.

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Val 05.18.16 at 9:59 pm

Academic Lurker @ 700
I think the term ‘identity politics’ can be used in a variety of ways and has complex and contradictory origins. However it seems to have arisen mainly in the US in the 90s. It’s not common in Australia, I don’t recall seeing it much till I started reading CT – from my perspective it reflects the ‘liberal individualism’ that seems to characterise much US politics and is different from the more collective approach that is common in the left in Australia and Europe (not so much the UK).

Neoliberalism drew on that tradition of liberal individualism in its attempts to resist the egalitarian and democratising trends which were common to (true) socialism, feminism, anti-racist and anti-imperialist movements. For the traditional liberal individualist view that we are have rights as individuals, it substituted the view that we all have rights as individuals and we can best assert these in the ‘free market’ (of course it’s contradictory, I won’t analyse that here).

So while I agree that ‘identity politics’ can actually be used in a variety of ways, I’d say it gets its strength in the US from liberal individualism, which has in turn been further strengthened by its (apparent) adoption by neoliberals. That’s why it seems ironic that supposedly progressive left wing people on CT, who apparently hate neoliberalism, use it to attack feminists and people of colour here.

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bianca steele 05.18.16 at 10:04 pm

Val

You’re right, “identity politics” is seen by the traditional, class-focused left as neoliberal, individualistic, etc. But that would exclude gender and race oppression, too, wouldn’t it?

I know you like to say that gender oppression is an appropriate way to view class oppression, but that doesn’t change the meaning of the word.

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bob mcmanus 05.18.16 at 10:50 pm

729 is pretty good, but it might be helpful to replace “liberal individualism” with CB MacPherson’s 60s concept of “possessive individualism” in which the right to free speech for example, becomes the personal property of an individual. In this way under late capitalism our personal qualities and social advantages (including group identifications) have become “capital” to be developed and profited from. Thus under neoliberal post-Fordism, everyone becomes the entrepreneur of their own bodies and contingencies.

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bob mcmanus 05.18.16 at 11:17 pm

Once what used to be group traditions and social negotiations became personal property in a political market

think of personal appearance and the choice to veil/not veil in France

or reproductive rights, from abortion to the right to pregnancy at work

then the only real guarantor of property and property rights and contracts, the coercive protecting government changes its focus from collectives to individuals and liberalism becomes neoliberalism.

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The Temporary Name 05.18.16 at 11:47 pm

In this way under late capitalism our personal qualities and social advantages (including group identifications) have become “capital” to be developed and profited from.

I hope there’s some negative capital posited, because the idea that some of my friends have reaped any kind of profit from qualities not currently seen as advantageous seems dumb, especially individually. Or is it that it only applies to groups reaching a political critical mass?

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bob mcmanus 05.19.16 at 12:12 am

Yeah, critical mass of group identification sometimes provides a form of “standing”, but benefits accrue to individuals, with little uplift to the group. Affirmative action. Of course some have more “capital” than others, communicative skills, attractiveness, Ivy League degrees, the mode of accumulation and exploitable production is in the competition.

Think of the long term change from “right to organize the workplace and have a closed shop” to the “right to work.” Collective right to individual right.

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J-D 05.19.16 at 12:31 am

bruce wilder

The polls suggested that nominating (for example) Kasich would have given the Republicans a better chance of winning the Presidential election than nominating Trump.

I don’t know whether the polls are reliable on this point, but that’s what they suggested.

Supposing the polls were giving an accurate indication, one possible explanation for why the Republicans have nevertheless chosen Trump over Kasich is that the factors which make Kasich more appealing than Trump among marginal voters and the factors which make Trump more appealing than Kasich among Republican primary voters are the same factors (or the majority of them are). Maybe (generalising) it’s precisely the candidates who are less competitive in the general election who are most appealing in the primary elections.

I’m not sure that’s true, but it’s at least plausible.

What is much less plausible — in fact grossly implausible — is that there are people who want the Democrats to win Presidential elections and who are in a position to manipulate the Republican Party to go into the tank by nominating the inferior candidate over candidates who would be more competitive in the general election.

Those two explanations are seriously divergent.

But I can’t tell from reading your comments above (707 and 714) which of these two explanations you’re suggesting.

Looking further, I note that the polls also suggest that the Democrats would have a better chance of winning the Presidential election with Sanders as their nominee than with Clinton as their nominee. Again, I don’t know that the polls are reliable on this point, but that’s what they say.

Taking that into account, the divergence in plausibility between the two kinds of explanation is even greater. It makes a lot of sense to suppose that both parties face the same basic structural problem, that the qualities required to appeal to primary voters are in conflict with the qualities required to appeal to marginal voters in the general election. It makes almost no sense to suppose that both parties are being manipulated into nominating candidates with poorer prospects in the general election.

695

J-D 05.19.16 at 12:38 am

Lupita

I remain unpersuaded that it would be as easy to depose a US President as you suppose.

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js. 05.19.16 at 12:52 am

C’mon, mcmanus, most right-to-work laws go back to the 1940s and ’50s, as I’m sure you know. You can do better than that, surely?

Anyway, it’s curious to me that the way most people here think about identity politics isn’t at all what I would’ve said (not that I would even necessarily endorse what I generally think of under “identity politics”). But probably best not to set off another 300 comments.

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bianca steele 05.19.16 at 12:59 am

js.,

The rise of “identity politics” under that name used to be a bigger topic for discussion here, before a few changes in the blogroll roster, and mostly among people slightly older than me (if I understand the political history correctly, I was in college when the issue was emerging) than it is these days.

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js. 05.19.16 at 1:24 am

Yeah, I think of it as going back at least to the ’80s, tho it might be even older. Certainly, it was well established—entrenched, one might even say—when I was in college in the mid-to-late ’90s.

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bob mcmanus 05.19.16 at 1:36 am

737: Right private labor membership at 35% in 1955 and 6.6% today, hardly anything changed at all. I’m sure Wisconsin, Indiana and Ohio are reassured that nothing changes.

Stanford is good on Identity Politics…umm…Cressida Hayes, ha ha 2016, with a lot of cites and references after 2000.

“a “posthumanist” reluctance to award ontological priority to any shared characteristics of human beings”

There is a crazy attempted slide into actual “singularity” as opposed to “particularity” (of a class or type) that relies on unique personal narratives as unassailable arguments or emotional appeals. See T Coates latest book. The descent into neoliberal singularity is connected to certain moves of poststructuralists to mysticism and religion, as it would have to.

Stanford: “This mass of shifts and contradictions might be thought to mark the end of the era of identity politics. Whatever limits are inherent to identity political formations, however, the unfashionableness of the phrase itself belies the deep implication of questions of power and legitimate government with demands for self-determination that are unlikely to fade away.”

“Identity politics” is an unfashionable phrase. Neoliberal individualism has become even more powerful, dominant not hegemonic.

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js. 05.19.16 at 1:55 am

hardly anything changed at all

No, lots changed.

701

Lupita 05.19.16 at 2:43 am

@J-D

I remain unpersuaded that it would be as easy to depose a US President as you suppose.

It wouldn’t be easy. It would require a lot of hard work. For example, Goldman Sachs would have to tweak algorithms, quants calculate multivariate regressions, and media pundits get all hysterical in front of cameras. Then there are the credit raters to bribe, currency and precious metal markets to rig, coalitions to form, people surrounded by video-taking mobs to arrest. Naturally, the heads of the IMF and the Fed would have to be on board, maybe even the EB and, of course, congresspeople and senators would have to be promised all sorts of stuff. Burner phones. You’ll need lots of those. And coke. Let’s not forget this will not be cheap, so you better have a good plan to get financing.

All these backstabbers and dealers, compromisers and losers, would all have to come together in harmony like one great orchestra. Just because these people are rich and powerful does not mean that they have it easy.

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ZM 05.19.16 at 3:46 am

I think of identity politics as actually being the re-emergence of tradition into a modern/post-modern historical context.

So, what I think of as identity politics style feminism allows women to embrace aspects of traditional feminine qualities.

Identity politics anti-racism allows, say, African Americans to embrace aspects of their cultural heritage either from Africa, or earlier African-American culture.

I suppose for homosexual people and transgender people identity politics is a bit different due to their subaltern status historically in the West, so perhaps it is less tied to tradition. I’m not sure.

In the built form it is moving away from slum clearing so as to build brutalist sky scrapers; to building more diverse public housing styles that are more integrated into the wider community.

I think you can trace elements of this to the 60s and 70s, but I would say it maybe became dominant in the 80s and 90s.

I actually don’t think there was a time in say the 30s 40s and 50s where people never at all embraced aspects of traditional gender or racial or cultural roles or qualities, but I think a strain of leftist thought in the mid 20th C was heading in a direction of wanting to nullify differences such as gender, race, and culture.

I don’t think hardly any leftist thought has that goal anymore, and would I think identity politics is pretty much accepted as normal by people from generation x and younger.

Of course there are all sorts of problems with this on a theoretical level, as it lends itself to a relativist epistemology. But I think that since people in the main didn’t like the idea of nullifying gender, racial, cultural, sexual difference, then there is no practical alternative other than some sort of identity politics in cosmopolitan societies.

I think this is where it differs the most from traditional leftism, in that it is very much a politics of practice, encountering the other and negotiating what is acceptable difference.

703

Val 05.19.16 at 4:10 am

There are many different views on identity politics and what the term even means here, it is quite fascinating. However I don’t have time to do this discussion justice at present. We are actually having an election here in Australia at present (a chance to have our fifth different Prime Minister in three years, yea!) and I am involved in advocacy work and volunteering, also I am trying to finish my thesis this year, so I don’t have much time.

My apologies for throwing out some controversial ideas and then not being able to respond properly in the discussion, but I will be reading the discussion with interest.

704

Val 05.19.16 at 4:19 am

Just to tie my above comment at 744 to Lupita’s comment on getting rid of presidents – we are still a fairly stable political system here in Aust, and don’t have the whole paraphernalia that Lupita describes – in fact I think the old-style left method of demonstrating in the streets had some effect in getting rid of Tony Abbott (last PM but one) – but our experience does suggest that once you start turning over leaders, it can be hard to stop. I’m not saying that’s necessarily a bad thing, though.

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J-D 05.19.16 at 5:18 am

Lupita @742 and Val @745

It’s a matter of historical record that it is possible (or, at the very least, that it was once possible) for a US President to be driven from office, because Richard Nixon was driven from office.

There’s no historical record to demonstrate that it’s possible for a US President to be driven from office in the kind of way Lupita describes by the kind of people she describes as doing it. That doesn’t prove it’s impossible. It may be possible. But I doubt it.

706

RNB 05.19.16 at 7:07 am

I think this @693 was the response to my @678 where I put the case for why Sanders’ sponsorship of a Senate Resolution indicated support for Security Council resolutions on how to respond to the threat faced by Libyan civilians and that Sanders had thus committed himself to broad military actions the Security Council thought necessary.

Rich Puchalsky responded that the Senate Resolution indicated support of action, including the establishment of a no-fly zone; but that the Senate Resolution set the limit on the establishment of a no-fly zone.

But the Senate Resolution does not say action “up to” a no-fly zone; rather it puts confidence in the Security Council to determine the actions necessary to protect Libyans. I also noted that it is simply false to give the impression that Sanders is opposed in principle to “humanitarian bombing” (this false belief may well have driven the accusations that I was lying shamelessly about Sanders having supported the strikes in Libya) and that Sanders made no statements against doing what the Security Council authorized before or during the military intervention in Libya.

I thus judge Clinton’s statement true that through his Senate Resolution Sanders had indeed given advance support for the military action that the Security Council authorized. Resolution 1973 includes the following: ‘imposes a no-fly zone over Libya; authorizes all necessary means to protect civilians and civilian-populated areas, except for a “foreign occupation force”‘.

But it should go without saying I do not thereby support the military intervention in Libya. I simply do not think there is in this case and many others the big gulf between Sanders and Clinton that many people seem to think there is.

Now here is Rich Puchalsky’s response to my argument:

“A: You’re racist if you don’t vote HRC.
B: But she talked about deporting kids to send a message and supported policies to do that.
A: So what? Sanders wants to ‘secure the border’ too, as does Trump.
B: What? Sanders wants to do that in a very different way.
A: No he doesn’t.
B: OK, I’ll dig through a whole lot of text to show that what he supported is different.
A: So now you’re ‘parsing’ text. Maybe it says that, who knows? It’s complicated. Why are you insulting me? You’re racist.”

What I have said is that those who support Trump over Clinton likely do so out of some mixture of authoritarianism, sexism, prejudice and ignorance. Of course people prefer Sanders over Clinton for other reasons: universal health care, Wall Street reform, trade policy, etc. On the first two issues Sanders and Clinton are much closer to each other than they are to Trump. On the trade issue of course Sanders and Trump stand opposed to Clinton with whom I agree here.

Clinton’s statements that she would deport children or rather relocate them to their families are indeed chilling; she has thankfully repudiated the public statements that she made during the migration of thousands of unaccompanied minors often from Central America.

But it is true that I believe that Clinton has supported amnesty for over twelve million people while Sanders has stood in the way of immigration reform. I have long said here that this is one reason to prefer Clinton to Sanders.

I am all for parsing the Senate Resolution Sanders supported. It shows support for judgment of the Security Council to determine the necessary actions as the Libyan crisis unfolded. It does not give the Security Council limits on what the Senate will approve; and Sanders is no principled opponent of “humanitarian bombing”. Sanders does not have distance from Clinton here.

707

RNB 05.19.16 at 7:39 am

I would think neo-liberalism favors a subjectivity liberated from “identity” to foster “flexibility”. Why is it assumed that identity politics is a form of neo-liberal subjectivity?

708

RNB 05.19.16 at 7:57 am

I like this by Amartya Sen on identity but worry that he may exaggerate how truly plural our identities already are (as if we were already Marx’s hunter, fisherman, herdsmen and critic):

“Civilisational or religious partitioning of the world population yields a ‘solitarist’ approach to human identity, which sees human beings as members of exactly one group…This can be a good way of misunderstanding nearly everyone in the world. In our normal lives, we see ourselves as members of a variety of groups – we belong to all of them. The same person can be, without any contradiction: an American citizen, of Caribbean origin, with African ancestry, a Christian, a liberal, a woman, a vegetarian, a long-distance runner, a historian, a schoolteacher, a novelist, a feminist, a heterosexual, a believer in gay and lesbian rights, a theatre lover, an environmental activist, a tennis fan, a jazz musician, and someone who is deeply committed to the view that there are intelligent beings in outer space with whom it is extremely urgent to talk (preferably in English). Each of these collectivities, to all of which this person simultaneously belongs, gives her a particular identity. None of them can be taken to be the person’s only identity or singular membership category.”

709

bob mcmanus 05.19.16 at 8:15 am

“Each of these collectivities, to all of which this person simultaneously belongs, gives her a particular identity. None of them can be taken to be the person’s only identity or singular membership category.”

And the way it is supposed to work in practice is that she identifies when it is useful, but is a singularity when identity gets in the way or when others identify her. Identity is individually instrumental but socially or collectively taboo. Neoliberalism.

Clinton is a feminist to get votes, but an individual when counting her millions, not in the class of rich jerks.

Reminded not to read Sen.

710

RNB 05.19.16 at 8:22 am

Sen does not throw much light here on Clinton’s shifts but rather on how, e.g., Hutu and Tutsi identity could become so overwhelmingly ethnic to undercut other possibly overlapping bases of identity as to create the conditions for unimaginable violence.

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bob mcmanus 05.19.16 at 8:25 am

Why is it assumed that identity politics is a form of neo-liberal subjectivity?

Because some of us believe that subjectivity is more socially determined than individually chosen.

I can’t be the only jazz fan in the world, I need other jazz fans to substantiate and validate it. I can claim to be Lithuanian, but the Lithuanians decide. Maybe I’m a brain surgeon?

Liberalism coincided with nationalism, the period when we might let the Lithuanians determine their borders and boundaries. Neo-liberalism attempts to extend that self-determination to the individual, which is absurd.

712

RNB 05.19.16 at 8:25 am

So aside from Sen, there is Jacques Ranciere’s attempt to think about how those who are part of a situation but not counted or recognized actively assert their equality. Not identity politics per se.

713

RNB 05.19.16 at 8:28 am

Why can’t flexible, weak identities be socially determined? Why can’t a model of subjectivity be socially determined that attempts to free itself of any identity that has been inherited or biologically determined? Doesn’t neo-liberalism in a way welcome this anti-identity form of identity or at least the delusive pursuit of it?

714

Rich Puchalsky 05.19.16 at 9:10 am

I referred to Niewert’s writing on the American right once before, but I don’t think that anyone followed that thread. Here is one of his posts about Trump. It repeats itself a bit but it’s worth reading. I basically agree that Trump’s change of winning is small but that he serves as a “conveyor belt” (another Niewert concept) of far-right ideas into the mainstream, and those ideas can easily be taken up by someone who comes after him.

In that post Niewert writes about Producerism, concept that makes some sense out of the mixture of supposedly “left” (distrust of globalized financial capital, bankers, etc.) and classic right elements (rejection of immigration).

715

Rich Puchalsky 05.19.16 at 9:19 am

“Trump’s change of winning”

Should have been Trump’s *chance* of winning.

716

Rich Puchalsky 05.19.16 at 9:32 am

RNB: “But it is true that I believe that Clinton has supported amnesty for over twelve million people while Sanders has stood in the way of immigration reform. I have long said here that this is one reason to prefer Clinton to Sanders.”

So RNB is going down the same exact path that I predicted — agree that Clinton has in some sense done something wrong, but that Sanders is worse, so what can you do? His claim above is just as misleading as the “Sanders supported strikes” one, but as my response to basil mentioned, RNB can do this over and over with every issue and even a Stakhanovite sewer-worker gets tired eventually. People should just see that this has the exact same form as the last one and hopefully start to recognize this as a propagandistic style.

717

bob mcmanus 05.19.16 at 9:41 am

Here ya go, all fashionable Nomadic Theory Rosi Braidotti

We are in the weeds of abstruse post-structuralism, and I am attracted to this stuff, but the deterritorialized immanent field of flows is not really a self. In order to find agency, these thinkers usually, as I said way above, do a post-Kantian move of explicating a transcendent singularity (which started immediately after Kant showed you can’t say anything about the transcendent), whether the body or the soul, and so a lot of post-structuralists are flirting with religion and mysticism. Here’s some Braidotti for you to abuse language with:

“As Haraway rightly puts it: you must be located somewhere in order
to make statements of general value. Nomadism, therefore, is not fluid­
ity without borders but rather an acute awareness of the nonfixity of
boundaries. It is the intense desire to go on trespassing, transgressing.
As a figuration of contemporary subjectivity, therefore, the nomad is
a postmetaphysical, intensive, multiple entity, functioning in a net of
interconnections. S/he cannot be reduced to a linear, teleological form
of subjectivity but is rather the site of multiple connections. S/he is
embodied, and therefore cultural; as an artifact, s/he is a technological
compound of human and post-human; s/he is complex, endowed with
mu ltiple capacities for interconnectedness in the impersonal mode.
S/he is a cyborg, but equipped also with an unconscious. She is
Iri­garay’s “mucous,” or “divine,” but endowed with a multicultural
per­spective. S/he is abstract and perfectly, operationally real. “

Yes, there is a body, or sensation or perception. The moment you say
the body (Real) is mine or female, you have moved to the symbolic, the social realm of language, the Patriarchy. (The Imaginary really isn’t verbal)

Haraway is better. See the first line of the quote. Abandoning socially determined subjectivity* can only happen with the acceptance of collectivity, which as I said, chooses you, not you them. This is the Lukacsian revolutionary consciousness. the proletariat becoming aware of itself as the subject of history in its own determined contingency.

*Individualism is the mystified social relation of liberal capitalism, alienation and reiification. You become a thing, an object to yourself, a commodity.

718

ZM 05.19.16 at 11:00 am

bob mcmanus,

“The moment you say the body (Real) is mine or female, you have moved to the symbolic, the social realm of language, the Patriarchy. (The Imaginary really isn’t verbal)”

Well I kind of feel that periods, pregnancy, etc somewhat problematise the above statement.

Do women just go off into a menstruation cave to avoid troubling anyone with the physical existence of female difference?

This is kind of like mathematicians insisted for centuries that the hyperbolic geometry embodied in lettuces and corals could not exist, despite, um, the existence of lettuces and corals.

Most of them probably ate lettuce salads their wives prepared for their lunch then went and wrote another chapter about how hyperbolic geometry couldn’t possibly exist.

719

ZM 05.19.16 at 11:37 am

I feel like you just successfully trolled me bob mcmanus

Re: questions of body, society, nature, culture — from The Ecology Of Others by Phillipe Descola :

“One does not have to be a great seer to predict that the relationship between humans and nature, will, in all probability, be the most important question of the present century. It suffices to look around oneself to be convinced of this: climate change, the erosion of biodiversity, the multiplication of transgenic organisms, the exhaustion of fossil fuels, the pollution of fragile environments and of large urban centres, the accelerating disappearance of tropical forests, all have become an issue of public debate at the global scale and fuel the disquiet of numerous inhabitants of our planet.

At the same time it has become increasingly difficult to continue to believe that nature is a completely separate domain from social life… a domain that humans attempt to understand and control and whose whims they occasionally suffer, but which constitutes a field of autonomous regularities within which values, conventions, and ideologies have no place. This fantasy is now vanishing: where does nature stop and culture begin in regard to global warming, in the thinning of the ozone layer, in the production of specialised cells from stem cells? Clearly the question no longer makes any sense.

Above all, beyond the many ethical questions it raises, this new state of things upsets older conceptions of the human person and its components, as well as of the constitution of individual and collective identity; at least in the Western world where, in contrast with what happens elsewhere, we have been used to distinguishing fairly clearly the natural and the artificial in humans and their environment.

In other places, in China or Japan, for example, where the idea of nature is unknown and where the human body is not conceived of as a sign of the soul and the replica of a transcendent model — a divine creation formerly, a genotype today — this kind of problem does not arise.

….

Granted, nature is only accessible to us through the devices of cultural coding which objectify it: esthetic forms, scientific paradigms, technical mediations, systems of classification, religious beliefs.

Granted, natural phenomena can only be apprehended as translated by a kaleidoscope of practices and representations which underline, isolate, or overshadow certain physical properties, certain types of action upon matter, certain relationships of analogy or contrast.

The study of uses and representations of the body and of the environment should thus not be an end in itself, but rather a privileged means of accessing the intelligibility of the various structures which organise relations between humans and with non-humans.

But the mistrust that anthropologists feel toward theories which postulate a direct relationship of determination between the genome or the ecosystem and social institutions should not make them more receptive to approaches that envision culture as an entirely specific order of realities.

The former draw erroneous conclusions from the evolutionary continuity of organisms, because they neglect the uniquely social processes of deriving from the diversity of modes of human life, while the latter choose to differentiationignore this continuity by only considering the symbolic dimensions of social life; this has the effect of rendering it eternally mysterious and difficult to compare in its different instantiations.”

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engels 05.19.16 at 11:49 am

For people who really don’t understand how identity politics could be controversial could be controversial (except among neoliberal whitebros) the Stanford article is a good place to start:

Since its 1970s vogue, identity politics as a mode of organizing and set of political philosophical positions has undergone numerous attacks by those motivated to point to its flaws, whether by its pragmatic exclusions or more programmatically. For many leftist commentators, in particular, identity politics is something of a bête noire, representing the capitulation to cultural criticism in place of analysis of the material roots of oppression. Marxists, both orthodox and revisionist, and socialists—especially those who came of age during the rise of the New Left in western countries—have often interpreted the perceived ascendancy of identity politics as representing the end of radical materialist critique (see discussions in Farred 2000 and McNay 2008: 126–161). Identity politics, for these critics, is both factionalizing and depoliticizing, drawing attention away from the ravages of late capitalism toward superstructural cultural accommodations that leave economic structures unchanged. For example, while allowing that both recognition and redistribution have a place in contemporary politics, Nancy Fraser laments the supremacy of perspectives that take injustice to inhere in “cultural” constructions of identity that the people to whom they are attributed want to reject. Such recognition models, she argues, require remedies that “valorize the group’s ‘groupness’ by recognizing its specificity”, thus reifying identities that themselves are products of oppressive structures. By contrast, injustices of distribution require redistributive remedies that aim “to put the group out of business as a group” (Fraser 1997: 19).

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Rich Puchalsky 05.19.16 at 1:15 pm

Oh, funny. Today’s NYT has a story “Sanders Willing to Harm Clinton in Homestretch”. How dare Sanders try to win! As always the Onion predicted this one ahead of time.

722

ZM 05.19.16 at 1:33 pm

engels,

I don’t think that redistribution and recognition need necessarily be opposed.

One of the geography professors at my uni< Ruth Fincher, is the co author of a book that was a key text for a subject on urban planning for inclusive cities, Planning and Diversity in the City: Redistribution, Recognition, and Encounter . All three of these are seen as important for diversity and inclusion.

A lecture she gave drawing on the book is available here http://soac.fbe.unsw.edu.au/2007/SOAC/seingcitiesandtheirplanningwithdiversityinmind.pdf

"Diversity of course is a broad term. Loretta Lees has reminded us that ‘the diversity of different “diversities” is often under-theorised’ (2003a, p. 613). To make some headway with theorising diversity for planning, Kurt and I have identified the three social logics of redistribution, recognition and encounter as our theoretical starting points for designing and evaluating social planning interventions in cities.

In addition, proceeding by articulating normative social logics focuses on the importance of norms for planning (after all, a normative activity) as well as attention being paid to the details of implementation processes which has been a strong recent focus of the planning theory literature: in this we support the point recently made by Michael Dear (2000, p. 135) in his commentary on US planning history, that it is timely to restore what he calls the reform tradition to planning and its practice.

In the three sections of my talk I will do the following. First, I will make the claim of the book that redistribution, recognition and encounter are suitable norms or social logics for planning that has an eye to diversity, though we know that in any context these aims may be entwined.

Second, I will provide some small examples of ways of working with these ideas, in recent planning contexts, that I find compelling.

And third I will note some tensions that are juggled in current planning practice based on these theoretical aims, that are evident in the examples I supply."

723

ZM 05.19.16 at 1:35 pm

forgot to say, Nancy Fraser’s work is engaged with in the book and the lecture I linked to

724

bianca steele 05.19.16 at 1:41 pm

What is crucial about the “identity” of identity politics appears to be the experience of the subject, especially his or her experience of oppression and the possibility of a shared and more authentic or self-determined alternative.

This may be true, but if true, is so because the alternative, whether mainstream or Marxist, is taken to be “objective” to such an extent that it can’t be challenged except by means of claiming evidence or witness from personal experience. Mainstream liberalism, traditionally, at least claims to be empirical and so has or had a space to consider personal experience; Marxist thinking claims to reject empiricism and so can’t consider these arguments. So the claim that identity politics is all about “feelings” is both partly true and misleading, an easy way for the Marxist to dismiss it.

Fraser spent a fair amount of time, I believe, trying to get women’s economic experience into Marxist discussions, by adding, to questions of production, questions of reproduction (including cultural initiation) that are naturally in the private and women-centric domain. I tried to read her long enough to decide I don’t care enough about Marxism to care about her strenuous attempts to save it.

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bianca steele 05.19.16 at 1:41 pm

Quote was from the linked article,

726

ZM 05.19.16 at 2:02 pm

bianca smith,

“questions of reproduction (including cultural initiation) that are naturally in the private and women-centric domain”

We had an interesting event in the last year of politics in Australia where one female MP had a baby and I think she was late getting into sessions because of needing to breast feed, I think first she was told she should express more milk in her office so she could get into sessions on time and the baby could be bottle fed, then after this caused public outcry they decided that female MPs can breast feed in parliament now.

This is an issue that male MPs just don’t face in their parliamentary careers, and the parliamentary protocols were unfriendly to women, so it was better to remove the barrier all together by changing the rules, otherwise women couldn’t have children while they were MPs or if they did they would have to express milk in their offices

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RNB 05.19.16 at 2:22 pm

@758 As you Rich Puchalsky were wrong about Sanders position on the Libyan intervention at the time, you don’t actually know that Sanders has been obstructionist on bills that would give millions of people amnesty. This has been discussed at Crooked Timber. Sanders opposed Kennedy’s immigration reform on the grounds of its inclusion of a guest worker provision, though he has supported guest worker programs in his own home state. Oh my goodness, you must be saying. Sanders could not have been a political hypocrite just like you seem to have believed that he could not have supported “humanitarian bombing”.

At any rate, a second piece of legislation that would have given amnesty he weighed down with a hugely expensive youth employment provision sure to increase the level of opposition from the Republicans. This has been reported in the New York Times piece on Sanders’ thin legislative accomplishments. Sanders has not been a champion of amnesty in his Senate career. Again I would not use this issue to argue for Sanders over Clinton. But he is better of course than Trump whose position on immigration and amnesty I need not review here.

As for Sanders, many of his supporters may have the false belief that he could still get a plurality of the pledged delegates or that only a “rigged” system stands in the way or that he actually has more popular support than Clinton (he actually has something like 2 or 3 million fewer votes than Clinton and stands no chance of substantially reducing the deficit in the raw number of votes). At any rate Sanders will continue to run, making Clinton respond to him while she continues to be hit by Karl Rove’s ads against her. Rove is not running ads against Sanders. And the Republican Party is disturbingly consolidating behind a candidate with actual fascist tendencies. Remember his calls to punish women who have had an abortion or wish to dip bullets aimed at Muslims in pig’s blood. We have talked about what could possibly explain the lack of urgency some who claim to be on the left have in making sure that he is defeated by the other candidate whom he will will face, i.e. Hillary Clinton.

728

LFC 05.19.16 at 2:37 pm

bob mcmanus @753
(note: sorry, haven’t read all of the subsequent comments)

Liberalism coincided with nationalism, the period when we might let the Lithuanians determine their borders and boundaries.

“Nationalism” is not a “period,” but I understand mcmanus is getting here at the idea of “national self-determination,” so ok, fine.

Then he says:

Neo-liberalism attempts to extend that self-determination to the individual, which is absurd.

Is it? If a Lithuanian wants to renounce his or her citizenship, it’s probably possible. Having been born in Lithuania, that person might still be considered a Lithuanian ‘national’ by other Lithuanians, but he/she doesn’t have to consider him/herself a Lithuanian.

If X wants to declare herself a jazz fan and start going to jazz clubs, nothing is stopping her if she has the opportunity (money, proximity, time) to do so. There is no requirement that she first read Gunther Schuller’s (or whoever’s) history of jazz, pass a written or oral exam, and be “validated” by other jazz fans. It’s true that she can’t be the only jazz fan in the world, but the main reason that’s true is that if there were only one jazz fan in the world there would be no audience for that music and its players wouldn’t, from an economic standpoint, be able to survive. (Of course many have a difficult time as it is.)

729

Lupita 05.19.16 at 3:27 pm

@LFC

If a Lithuanian wants to renounce his or her citizenship, it’s probably possible.

What if I want to renounce being a member of The Hispanic Ethnic Group? As a Mexican, every time I cross the border I magically become a member of the Hispanics. Instant ethnicity! A nationality, Mexican, with 120 million members, becomes a subcategory of a 55 million American ethnic group, most of whom cannot sing “La patita”.

A friend of mine, from Spain, self-identified as white in that form you have to fill out when entering the US. She was informed that her correct identity was Hispanic. Another friend from Spain was told that she was not Hispanic but white and could be arrested for not checking the box with her correct identity.

And what about that “one drop rule” to self-identify as black? Does not that derive from American whites’ self-identification as a 100% pure race?

730

Lynne 05.19.16 at 3:29 pm

bianca steele @767 That is a really interesting perspective. I have to say I have read in bemusement when identity politics is mentioned here (usually as an accusation) and wondered where it came from, what its virtue might be, and why there is so much animosity toward it. I haven’t understood what on earth it was. So I will keep reading, but this comment was particularly illuminating for me.

731

bianca steele 05.19.16 at 3:30 pm

ZM,

That’s itneresting in part because it’s the kind of thing that almost everyone is going to come down on the same side of, unless they’re ultra-reactionary and opposed to women serving in Parliament at all. I suppose there could be a few people who figure women just have to suck it up, realize they can’t have it all, and decide whether to be a bad mother in their own eyes or a bad parliamentarian, and live with the realization they’re far from perfect–but this seems rather implausible as a real-life attitude.

Anyway, it doesn’t really force anyone to come down on one side of a real intra-feminist or intra-left political position at all. In the US a few years some older left-leaning feminists were annoyed at younger feminists’ asking for more attention being paid to their experiences, hopes for accommodations at work, and so on–the older women believed this showed a weak and tradition-minded refusal to face the rigors of the work world, and preferred solutions that let family remain private: universal free child care, promulgation of support for more equal gender roles in parenting, and so forth. Of course, anything less than “decadent late capitalism–after the revolution it won’t be a problem anymore” would be taken as less than serious by an anti-“identity politics” lefty type (though maybe those older women get a pass for some reason or other, obviously it wouldn’t be something I’d know about).

732

bianca steele 05.19.16 at 3:43 pm

Lynne,

Hm, do you mean the quotation is interesting? Because as I suggested, I disagree with it. “Identity politics” seems to me to describe the existence of a small number of groups who are considered to have group identities. Bob, preferring Marxism, doesn’t like it and calls names. This tells us very little, almost nothing. Obviously, there are numerous books that all describe and analyze the situation–the exact same facts–in different terms. It seems to me that discovering a link that evaluates the situation in a certain way is almost useless, once you realize there’s more than two possible ways of evaluating it.

733

Lynne 05.19.16 at 4:00 pm

bianca steele,

Oh, I don’t know. The more you see a term used, the more you know about it. But what I found particularly interesting was this, of yours:

“This may be true, but if true, is so because the alternative, whether mainstream or Marxist, is taken to be “objective” to such an extent that it can’t be challenged except by means of claiming evidence or witness from personal experience.”

Obviously I could have researched the term myself if my interest ever manifested itself when I wasn’t on CT, but alas…

734

bianca steele 05.19.16 at 4:06 pm

Lynne,

Sure, my point is that the sentence quoted doesn’t define identity politics. It identifies a situation that can be addressed by identity politics and also in other ways.

It only defines something if there is only one possible true belief system and one possible false belief system. In that case, it indicates which side it’s on.

If there’s only one possible true belief system and no real false belief systems, either, it just represents a tiny obstacle to everybody agreeing about the truth, I guess.

735

The Temporary Name 05.19.16 at 4:29 pm

Moaning about identity politics is a nice way for white guys to justify bigotry and ignore the world around them.

736

Rich Puchalsky 05.19.16 at 5:22 pm

Intersectionality developed as a reaction to “identity politics”: a sample text might be here. It was largely developed by black feminists starting in, well, I’d put its furthest-back antecedents that I know of in 1851: “But man is in a tight place, the poor slave is on him, woman is coming on him, he is surely between a hawk and a buzzard.” (Sojourner Truth in the so-called “Ain’t I A Woman” speech, which actually as far as we know did not include the words “ain’t I a woman”.)

So “Moaning about identity politics is a nice way for white guys to justify bigotry and ignore the world around them”, ummm….

737

JimV 05.19.16 at 5:25 pm

“This is kind of like mathematicians insisted for centuries that the hyperbolic geometry embodied in lettuces and corals could not exist, despite, um, the existence of lettuces and corals.”

This seems to have been taken from a TED Talk which was based on a newspaper interview with a mathematician, but has little basis in mathematical history that I can discover.

Wikipedia:

“The hyperbolic plane is a plane where every point is a saddle point. By Hilbert’s theorem, it is not possible to isometrically immerse a complete hyperbolic plane (a complete regular surface of constant negative Gaussian curvature) in a three-dimensional Euclidean space.

There exist various pseudospheres in Euclidean space that have a finite area of constant negative Gaussian curvature.

Other useful models of hyperbolic geometry exist in Euclidean space, in which the metric is not preserved.”

(E.g., corals.) (And horse saddles, as in “saddle point”.)

Mathematicians did spend centuries trying to see if the parallel-lines axiom of Euclidean geometry could be derived from the other four axioms, and what kind of geometries would result with a different axiom, among which is hyperbolic geometry. One early mathematician, Saccheri, came to believe that Euclid’s 5th postulate was somehow a logical necessity and published a book in 1733 saying so (which ruled out hyperbolic geometry), but I can’t find any evidence that this was a widespread opinion, and within 100 years later, the math of hyperbolic geometry was firmly established by Gauss, Lobachevsky, and Bolyai. By 1868, Eugenio Beltrami showed that a surface called the pseudosphere has the appropriate curvature to model a portion of hyperbolic space and in a second paper in the same year, defined the Klein model which models the entirety of hyperbolic space.

I rate the claim that “mathematicians insisted for centuries …” as mostly false. Most of the uncertainty mathematicians had on this topic for centuries was over what could be proved (and how to prove it), not on what existed – which, as one of them stated, “we leave to the physical sciences”.

738

The Temporary Name 05.19.16 at 5:27 pm

Trolling Abb1 Rich. Not that white guys complaining about identity politics is some strange phenomena. You pick up your cudgels where you can find them, right?

739

LFC 05.19.16 at 5:28 pm

Lupita @772
Yes, but the point I was driving at — I’ll try to spell it out — is that mcmanus on the one hand stresses that certain individual (and at least partly acquired) attributes (e.g. dress/appearance, education, whatever) are ‘human capital’ under ‘neoliberalism’, suggesting a degree of ‘agency’, however constrained, in accumulating (or trying to accumulate) human capital; while on the other hand he maintains, @753, that subjectivity under ‘neoliberalism’ is more socially determined than individually chosen, so one’s becoming a jazz fan, video gamer, whatever, is largely imposed or determined ‘externally’. Maybe there’s no contradiction here — ‘subjectivity’ being placed in one box, ‘human capital’ in another — but arguably there is a tension, at least.

His comment I was responding to had these claims:
(1) Under liberalism, nations or peoples get to be self-determining;
(2) ‘Neoliberalism’ wants to extend this principle of self-determination to individuals, but that is “absurd” (his word) b.c individuals don’t actually choose their identities/subjectivities in the way (some) ‘peoples’ do (or did).

If that sounds right to you, fine. I think something is amiss in the argument, even if hard to pinpoint it exactly.

For one thing, liberalism is usually thought to be all about individualism, so one would think if liberals favored self-determination for peoples (in the plural), they would equally favor self-determination for individual persons. But mcm. says no, that second step is ‘neoliberalism’.

(I’m busy right now, so I think I have to bow out for a while.)

740

The Temporary Name 05.19.16 at 5:37 pm

is that mcmanus on the one hand stresses that certain individual (and at least partly acquired) attributes (e.g. dress/appearance, education, whatever) are ‘human capital’

I’m thinking that McManus is drawing attention to a view of that and I don’t think he’s endorsing it. If I were, for instance, a Baha’i in Iran I’d be subject to jail for saying certain things: my alignment with other Baha’i could be a liability and expose me and my circle to sanctions including death. I don’t think there’s a sense in which you can say that capital is accumulating, nor is there a reason to say “Hey, Baha’i person, ignore this struggle and get with the real program of the left” when simply hanging around with your peers will get you beaten.

741

Rich Puchalsky 05.19.16 at 5:38 pm

I agree, The Temporary Name, that white guy complaints about this are obviously most of the complaints, rather than complaints of intersectional feminists. But trolling Abb1 sort of obscures the idea that most of the complaints *here* aren’t of that type.

Going back through early influences, I probably unjustly left out Emma Goldman 1923: “It is a tragedy, I feel, that people of a different sexual type are caught in a world which shows so little understanding for homosexuals and is so crassly indifferent to the various gradations and variations of gender and their great significance in life.”

742

engels 05.19.16 at 5:40 pm

743

engels 05.19.16 at 5:45 pm

744

The Temporary Name 05.19.16 at 5:51 pm

But trolling Abb1 sort of obscures the idea that most of the complaints *here* aren’t of that type.

Well maybe. The “identity politics as capital accumulation” model just seems to be a slur: it’s not different from Ronald Reagan talking about welfare queens in Cadillacs (except that Reagan wasn’t very good at multisyllabic words).

745

Rich Puchalsky 05.19.16 at 6:00 pm

Can’t speak for bob mcm, but from what I’ve read of his comments in the past he claims to hold to some sort of intersectionality. Saying that a degree from Harvard is “personal capital” is not really similar to Ronald Reagan; saying that neoliberalism encourages the development of personal identities including an identity based on group membership as capital isn’t either. (Note: I pretty much agree with the first — a degree from Harvard is personal capital of a sort — and don’t really agree with the last.)

746

The Temporary Name 05.19.16 at 6:11 pm

Note: I pretty much agree with the first — a degree from Harvard is personal capital of a sort

Oh indeed. But I think quantifying group differences as measurable capital presents a host of problems: should I resent my handicapped friend for the capital of their oddly-functioning brain? Even within the confines and abstractions of a political system in which there are voices speaking on behalf of the handicapped it’s not the case that this person has acquired political advantage over me or has more political capital than I do. Unless the bastard’s secretly sitting on top of a pile of actual capital.

747

bianca steele 05.19.16 at 6:46 pm

The moment you say
the body (Real) is mine or female, you have moved to the symbolic, the social realm of language, the Patriarchy. (The Imaginary really isn’t verbal)

This just means “The Tao that can be spoken is not the eternal Tao,” right?

748

engels 05.19.16 at 7:01 pm

749

NG 05.19.16 at 9:11 pm

Watching from abroad, it isn’t easy to understand US politics, and it’s getting harder every day. Much has been made of Bernie Sanders popularity among white voters, which is supposedly a problem for him. However, in the general election most voters will be white, and appealing to such voters isn’t exactly unhelpful if you want to win the election. This is even more the case when running against a right-wing populist like Trump, because Trump will 1) be popular among white voters, and 2) make sure the Democrats get a high number of non-white voters, regardless of their nominee. So, strange as it may sound, leftist Sanders should be able to triangulate more easily than centrist Clinton can.

But I’m highly skeptical of the whole framing, as younger voters overwhelmingly back Sanders. It’s just too implausible that young Americans are more racist and sexist than older Americans.

750

js. 05.19.16 at 9:14 pm

@Lynne — I think identity politics is the subject of so much animosity because it gets targeted by Marxists and some other radical left types on the one hand, and by traditional liberals, for lack of a better term, on the other hand. (This is leaving aside the fact that “identity politics” now seems like a tag to attach to whatever Jon Chait the speaker/writer is currently pissed off at; so kind of like “neoliberalism” I guess.)

But still, the fact that it’s considered simultaneously problematic from opposite directions is a lot of it, I think. I mean, I myself think it’s ultimately quite problematic, but I also think it probably provided a necessary corrective to certain styles of thought when it emerged, and to some extent it’s getting at something true, which ought to be recognized. But a Crooked Timber thread is quite possibly the worst place on Earth to have a reasonably sane conversation about this.

751

js. 05.19.16 at 9:21 pm

Maybe I’m coming around to the idea of threaded comments :)

752

Lynne 05.19.16 at 9:41 pm

Thanks, js! Yes, probably not a good place to discuss, thread trees or no, but I appreciate your input. Between you and bianca steele, and through a couple of links, I’ve at least circled around the idea. Progress has been made!

753

engels 05.19.16 at 9:43 pm

The FT’s survey of business lobbyists appears to refute some of “Trump’s more anti-capitalist than Bernie” weirdness:

Lobby groups representing nearly 100,000 US companies would prefer Hillary Clinton in the White House over Donald Trump by a ratio of two to one, in a striking sign of how the Republican businessman is straining ties between the party and its traditional allies.

[…]Mrs Clinton has shifted to the left on some issues in an apparent response to the votes Mr Sanders has won with tirades against a system “rigged” by the elite. The Vermont senator was identified by 53 per cent of trade associations as the worst candidate for members. “There is no prior election that I can remember where there has not been a pro-business candidate,” said Mr Shapiro. “In fact, business is being considered the enemy by both [Mrs Clinton and Mr Trump]. It’s an extremely unhealthy environment and it’s of great concern…

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/5d0eb7ba-1c78-11e6-b286-cddde55ca122.html#axzz498iVkYgq

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bianca steele 05.19.16 at 9:44 pm

Responding to @793 and @794 together, I’d guess that a lot of Sanders supporters, especially but not only the younger ones–and excluding some of the most vocal ones online–have really not encountered the harsh conflict between “identity politics” and “‘real’ leftism” js. alludes to. They aren’t racist, in fact they’re anti-racist, and they aren’t even post-racial . . . Similarly with feminism . . . I’d suspect a lot of them see themselves as feminists and “humanists,” and haven’t come into a situation where they had to decide which. (Some of the online ones seem to think a male leftist can be a better feminist than a liberal woman ever can.) This isn’t a bad thing. It’s just that some of them do see themselves as opposing people who are, in fact, currently within the Democratic coalition, or the left coalition, or both.

755

LFC 05.19.16 at 10:25 pm

I frankly am not even entirely clear on what “intersectionality” means — I’ve seen the word used, of course, but it remains somewhat obscure to me b.c I haven’t troubled to figure it out.

I’m going to take another crack at what’s bothering me here. Maybe I can be clearer this time.

First, I see very little, if any, connection betw. ‘identity politics’, as I understand that phrase, and ‘neoliberalism’, as I understand and use that word. For one thing, ‘identity politics’ as I understand it is not something aligned explicitly w free-market economics, deregulation, and all the other stuff I associate w neoliberalism (either in the European sense or the different, ‘weaker’ U.S. sense). Identity politics has been criticized for downplaying issues of class and economic inequality in favor of race/gender etc., but those criticisms, if one takes them for the sake of argument as valid, do not tie identity politics to neoliberalism except perhaps *very* indirectly.

Mcmanus, by contrast, clearly does see a big connection betw ‘identity politics’ and neoliberalism. However, I don’t really understand his arguments. This could be (1) because I have not read the relevant theory (or Theory), or (2) because mcm expresses himsef often in a rather cryptic way that avoids the kind of expository prose I find easiest to follow, or (3) some combination of (1) and (2).

To the extent I do follow his arguments on this point I don’t agree with them for reasons I’ve already tried, inadequately, to indicate.

For instance, take the notion, advanced by mcm., that liberalism is aligned w national self-determination whereas neoliberalism is aligned w individual self-determination.

I find this contention to be completely baffling. Liberalism — in the broad philosophical sense, not the contemp. US politics sense — is all about individual liberty and, by extension, individual self-determination. That doesn’t mean btw that it’s anti-egalitarian (see e.g. D. Allen on the Dec. of Independence, the bk that was the subject of a CT ‘book event’). But if “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” means anything, it must mean individual ‘self-determination’ at least as an aspiration. And Jefferson, afaik, was not a ‘neoliberal’; he was (a kind of) liberal.

Ok, I’ve said enough on this.

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J-D 05.19.16 at 11:30 pm

LFC @771

‘If a Lithuanian wants to renounce his or her citizenship, it’s probably possible.’

If you wanted to know, it would not have been hard to check.

http://www.migracija.lt/index.php?-1183268696

‘Citizen of the Republic of Lithuania has the right to renounce the citizenship of the Republic of Lithuania, with the exception of cases set in the Law on Citizenship.’

757

bob mcmanus 05.19.16 at 11:35 pm

(When I say “identity” I am also including any kind of self-appellation or definition:plumber, physicist, Texan, tall, generous, maybe I could add “that can be applied instrumentally in discourse or the market” maybe not.)

Wendy Brown interviewed about her book, Undoing the Demos April 2. 2015

“In this book, I treat neoliberalism as a governing rationality through which everything is “economized” and in a very specific way: human beings become market actors and nothing but, every field of activity is seen as a market, and every entity (whether public or private, whether person, business, or state) is governed as a firm. Importantly, this is not simply a matter of extending commodification and monetization everywhere—that’s the old Marxist depiction of capital’s transformation of everyday life. Neoliberalism construes even non-wealth generating spheres—such as learning, dating, or exercising—in market terms, submits them to market metrics, and governs them with market techniques and practices. Above all, it casts people as human capital who must constantly tend to their own present and future value.”

(Disagree obviously, umm, learning, dating, and exercising are very definitely “wealth generating spheres)

More Brown:”Today, market actors—from individuals to firms, universities to states, restaurants to magazines—are more often concerned with their speculatively determined value, their ratings and rankings that shape future value, than with immediate profit. All are tasked with enhancing present and future value through self-investments that in turn attract investors.”

Adam Kotsko asks for additions to a bibliography of neoliberalism. I’ll let y’all if you like follow the link to the William Davies bibliography, because I think it focuses too much on the economic and history of economic thought dimension, not enough on social theory, and I wanted to make my third link, and three may be too many

Christina Scharf “Gender and Neoliberalism: Exploring the Exclusions and Contours of Neoliberal Subjectivities”

CS: “Neoliberal subjects are entrepreneurial subjects who calculate about themselves and work on themselves in order to better themselves (du Gay, 1996). In the literature, both terms – neoliberal and entrepreneurial subject – are used; therefore, I will employ them interchangeably here.

Feminist research has demonstrated that women, and young women in particular, are increasingly positioned as ideal neoliberal subjects (Gill and Scharff, 2011; McRobbie, 2009; Ringrose and Walkerdine, 2008). As Angela McRobbie (2009: 15) has shown, young women have become “privileged subjects of social change” who capably maximise newly won opportunities such as access to the labour market and control over reproduction. “

758

bob mcmanus 05.19.16 at 11:41 pm

Way too much emphasis on Foucault, especially the biopolitics lectures in this literature.

The Italian autonomists discovered the “neoliberal subject” on the shop floor and voting booth, as the unionized heavy industries of North Italy, Fiat and chemicals, became automated and intellectualized in the 70s and 80s.

759

J-D 05.19.16 at 11:43 pm

Lupita @772

‘What if I want to renounce being a member of The Hispanic Ethnic Group? As a Mexican, every time I cross the border I magically become a member of the Hispanics. Instant ethnicity! A nationality, Mexican, with 120 million members, becomes a subcategory of a 55 million American ethnic group, most of whom cannot sing “La patita”.

‘A friend of mine, from Spain, self-identified as white in that form you have to fill out when entering the US. She was informed that her correct identity was Hispanic. Another friend from Spain was told that she was not Hispanic but white and could be arrested for not checking the box with her correct identity.’

It appears that your friends were given misleading information. It’s common for people to think that they know what the official rules are when they don’t (it happens all the time in Monopoly, for example).

Here’s an official statement from the US Government
(https://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/fedreg_1997standards/):

‘Respect for individual dignity should guide the processes and methods for collecting data on race and ethnicity; ideally, respondent self-identification should be facilitated to the greatest extent possible, recognizing that in some data collection systems observer identification is more practical.’

In other words, the general approach endorsed by the US Government in this area is to accept that you are what you say you are.

It may also be worth noting the following point from further down in the same statement:

‘The categories should set forth a minimum standard; additional categories should be permitted provided they can be aggregated to the standard categories. The number of standard categories should be kept to a manageable size, determined by statistical concerns and data needs.’

As an illustration of that principle in application, here are the relevant questions from the most recent US census:

NOTE: Please answer BOTH Question 5 about Hispanic origin and Question 6 about race. For this census, Hispanic origins are not races.
5. Is this person of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin?
No, not of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin
Yes, Mexican, Mexican Am., Chicano
Yes, Puerto Rican
Yes, Cuban
Yes, another Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin (Print origin, for example, Argentinean, Colombian, Dominican, Nicaraguan, Salvadoran, Spaniard, and so on.)
6. What is this person’s race? Mark one or more boxes.
White
Black, African Am., or Negro
American Indian or Alaska Native (Print name of enrolled or principal tribe.)
Asian Indian
Chinese
Filipino
Japanese
Korean
Vietnamese
Other Asian (Print race, for example, Hmong, Laotian, Thai, Pakistani, Cambodian, and so on.)
Native Hawaiian
Guamanian or Chamorro
Samoan
Other Pacific Islander (Print race, for example, Fijian, Tongan, and so on.)
Some other race (Print race.)

http://www.census.gov/schools/pdf/2010form_info.pdf

760

LFC 05.20.16 at 12:26 am

bob mcmanus @802

Ok, the first two links in particular are helpful, on a quick perusal.

One of things I took exception to, as already said, was yr remark/analogy @753 on nationalism/self-determination etc. But willing to put that aside as an analogy that didn’t resonate and leave it at that.

Haven’t read the Italian autonomists. Aware of the ‘regulation school’, haven’t read. What I know of the biopolitics stuff (and my exposure to it is quite limited) does not much impress me (n.b. I’m not referring to Foucault himself but to some of those who (ostensibly) take inspiration from or riff on or ‘apply’ him).

761

LFC 05.20.16 at 12:27 am

Sorry I meant @801.

762

js. 05.20.16 at 12:31 am

I wonder if “J-D” is also in the habit of reproducing EEO forms to show that discrimination is dead.

763

js. 05.20.16 at 12:36 am

But yes, one wouldn’t be arrested no matter what one out in that form.

764

J-D 05.20.16 at 1:21 am

js. @806

No, on the contrary, the continued existence of EEO forms is evidence that discrimination continues (and also evidence that there are efforts, or at the very least nominal efforts, to combat it).

To trace out in more detail how my comment was supposed to be relevant to the comment by Lupita that I was responding to:

Lupita observed that in the US she is counted as Hispanic, in a way that seemed to suggest she objected to this. I am sure that many Mexicans — probably most of them — are regarded, while in the US, as Hispanic (or, possibly, Latino) by many Americans — most of them, perhaps — including probably many US government officials.

In general, we can’t control the way other people regard us. I personally strive to avoid referring to individuals in ways they don’t prefer — to me that seems basic courtesy — but I know that lots of people don’t behave that way. I don’t know how Mexicans would regard me if I went to Mexico, but I know I couldn’t control it. I know that governments can’t control it, either. I think it’s worth pointing out that the official general policy of the US government is to count people as Hispanic if they say they’re Hispanic and not to count people as Hispanic if they don’t say that they’re Hispanic, even though I also know that this does not control what people do — sometimes not even what government officials do, because they don’t always fully understand government policies. If I was filling in a US government form and an official told me that I had to to this or I had to do that, I feel it would be useful to me to know what the policy is in case I wanted to argue. I still understand that Lupita could be vexed/frustrated by the way she is regarded in the US. I do not support dismissal of concerns of that kind.

765

js. 05.20.16 at 1:52 am

J-D @808 — Fair enough, point taken.

766

engels 05.20.16 at 2:18 am

I’d guess that a lot of Sanders supporters, especially but not only the younger ones–and excluding some of the most vocal ones online–have really not encountered the harsh conflict between “identity politics” and “‘real’ leftism” js. alludes to

Of course they have, that’s pretty much the whole point of the BernieBro meme: denouncing class politics from the point of view of identity politics.

767

engels 05.20.16 at 2:22 am

Clinton: “If we broke up the big banks tomorrow….would that end racism? Would that end sexism?” “No!” crowd yells out
https://twitter.com/ABCLiz/status/698598708674326528

768

RNB 05.20.16 at 2:46 am

On Hispanics and identity politics, some have refused to be identified as Hispanic (Hispanolia, Spain) in order to emphasize their non-European roots (indios and African) [see for example Carlos Muñoz Youth, Identity and Power). Chicano identity was asserted as well as Mexican-American and Latino identity. Latino also lends itself to pan-ethnic identity, making it easier to group people born in the US with immigrants from Central America and South America, i.e. Latin America. Here in the San Francisco Bay Area I hear “Latino” much more than “Hispanic” which is interesting as George W. Bush pointed out because most don’t actually speak Latin.

769

RNB 05.20.16 at 2:54 am

@801 though Narayana Kocherlakota has argued that US government is not being run a rational economic enterprise which would take advantage of these historic low interest rates to borrow and expand. What’s so interesting in Brown’s analysis is how how economic thinking as a principle pervades non-economic spheres of society, and this argument reminds me of Pashukanis’ argument of how the law of value jumped from the regulation of commodity exchange in the economy to structuring the nature of punishment in criminal law, i.e. punishment was meant to make the criminal pay the abstract value, plus penalty, measured in the time of imprisonment of what he had appropriated without without equivalent.

770

js. 05.20.16 at 4:38 am

Pro-Sanders sanity, at least for Sanders supporters like myself.

(I’m just trying to help AcademicLurker’s goal of 1000 comments.)

771

Val 05.20.16 at 4:42 am

I didn’t want to engage further in this discussion because I thought if I wanted to engage properly I would have to do more reading, which I don’t have time to do.

But this, from LFC @ 799, I think I can respond to fairly succinctly, and hopefully make my point clearer:

First, I see very little, if any, connection betw. ‘identity politics’, as I understand that phrase, and ‘neoliberalism’, as I understand and use that word. For one thing, ‘identity politics’ as I understand it is not something aligned explicitly w free-market economics, deregulation, and all the other stuff I associate w neoliberalism (either in the European sense or the different, ‘weaker’ U.S. sense). Identity politics has been criticized for downplaying issues of class and economic inequality in favor of race/gender etc., but those criticisms, if one takes them for the sake of argument as valid, do not tie identity politics to neoliberalism except perhaps *very* indirectly.

I first came across the frequent use of the term “identity politics” here on CT where it seemed to be used mainly to denigrate or downplay the concerns of feminists and people of colour, by people who appeared to be white men of the broad left. At the simplest level, what I saw happening was that they were treating being a woman or a person of colour as a mere personal or individual attribute and eliding the systemic issues of oppression and exploitation around race and gender. In this, they were behaving like neoliberals, who similarly treat such differences as merely individual and elide questions of power, exploitation and oppression.

I hope that makes it clearer.

As I say, I have become aware that there are other people here who use ‘identity politics’ in a different way, for example in the sense of positively asserting an identity as a member of a group that has been oppressed or discriminated against – but I feel I would need to do more reading to respond to those ideas properly and can’t justify the time at present.

772

JeffreyG 05.20.16 at 6:52 am

js.
“So, Bros—do Bernie a favor. Grow up.”

Yeah, this sort of rhetoric is actively impeding the sort of reconciliation that the author professes.

That article is crap. I would break down why, but it is not worth my time – the refutation would be longer than the piece itself. But let me direct you to that part where he insinuates that team Bernie might be complicit in the second coming of Hitler? Top notch political analysis right there.

773

kidneystones 05.20.16 at 9:35 am

It’s time for HRC to drop out. Her email problems are bad enough. But the recent debacle of alienating working-class voters combined with the prospect of having the war on women playing out with Bill and Hillary as the villains virtually guarantees a Trump presidency.

Trump has closed the gap on Hillary and now leads, albeit with a large group of undecided/others. Sanders stands an excellent chance of beating Trump, looks at least as electable, and is far the better candidate on the issues.

When will HRC stop trying to destroy the Democratic party and start putting country before personal ambition?

Time to get out now. The last thing America needs or wants is Bill and HRC cutting deals with Wall Street and bombing the hell out of whatever country strikes their fancy.

774

AcademicLurker 05.20.16 at 10:13 am

814 & 817: Excellent. Keep the dream alive! Only 182 more to go.

775

Lynne 05.20.16 at 11:24 am

Val @ 815

Yes, I first encountered the term here, too, used in the way you describe, but I’m only now appreciating how much of a put-down it was, as you also go on to describe: “At the simplest level, what I saw happening was that they were treating being a woman or a person of colour as a mere personal or individual attribute and eliding the systemic issues of oppression and exploitation around race and gender.”

I haven’t noticed people here use the term to describe themselves, but I guess I missed it.

Some disjointed thoughts that occur:

Radical feminism as I understood it in the 1970s and 1980s included oppression based on race and class in its analysis, so intersectionality isn’t new. “Confront your privilege” was an ongoing part of feminist analysis.

When I see name-calling in a discussion, I take it as a sign the name-caller has his fingers in his ears and is shouting “I can’t hear you.”

776

bianca steele 05.20.16 at 12:54 pm

FWIW, re. “identity politics”:

I don’t remember hearing the term itself before I heard it here, or at something linked from here (written IIRC by a front-pager).

I ran into the idea (not the term), I think, in college, in the form of (1) the emergence (AFAICT) of women’s and black-students’ groups that wanted to exclude allies from outside the group from their meetings, and (2) the emergence, a couple of years later, of student-paper editorials calling for such activists (and presumably anti-apartheid activists) to no longer engage in politics outside of the socialist movement. (Obviously most Ivies in the mid-1980s probably weren’t edited by professed socialists.)

I also associated the idea with something I’d read for a class assignment in the early 1990s, whose author was apparently (that is, was stated in class to be) a Marxist socialist and a Brit, published in 1976. I can’t find the quote I found yesterday. The idea is that class is real. In the US, the civil rights movement is legitimate and expresses a real issue. Everything else that was going on in the 1960s and 1970s was countercultural movements of personal liberation. As someone who thinks Marx is bullshit (which, though engels and LFC seem to agree that there are few Marxists here, seems to be an unpopular opinion), I don’t see any reason to take this seriously.

Anyway, this is almost surely quite out of date, and I’d be surprised to see it reflected in current writing, etc.

777

engels 05.20.16 at 1:52 pm

778

ZM 05.20.16 at 2:06 pm

Jim V,

“I rate the claim that “mathematicians insisted for centuries …” as mostly false. Most of the uncertainty mathematicians had on this topic for centuries was over what could be proved (and how to prove it), not on what existed – which, as one of them stated, “we leave to the physical sciences”.”

I’ll have to look into it further.

My comment was based on a talk I went to in late 2014 by Margaret Wertheim who wrote the book Pythagoras’ Trousers, about her global participatory art project Crochet Coral Reef. I didn’t take notes of the talk, but this is the blurb for her book on the website:

“For two thousand years mathematicians knew about only two kinds of geometry – the plane and the sphere. But in the early nineteenth century they became aware of another space in which lines cavorted in aberrant formations. Offending reason and common sense, this new space came to be known as the hyperbolic plane.

Although the properties of this space were known for 200 years, it was only in 1997 that mathematician Daina Taimina worked out how to make physical models of it. The method she used was crochet.

Here, IFF director Margaret Wertheim presents a brief history of hyperbolic space in mathematics and nature, and offers a “field guide” to its crocheted manifestations. An invaluable resource for those interested in the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef.”

779

JimV 05.20.16 at 2:58 pm

ZM, that talk is available online as a TED Talk, as I referred to in my comment.

I have no problem – well, just a very little problem – with the blurb you quoted. My little problem is with “Although the properties of this space were known for 200 years, it was only in 1997 that mathematician Daina Taimina worked out how to make physical models of it.” While true, the way that truth is stated might suggest that mathematicians spent 200 years trying to make physical models (and failing). As I noted, some of them did seek a theoretical, mathematical model of a physical shape whose surface exhibited hyperbolic geometry, and one of them described one by 1868. Once the theoretical model existed, it seems plausible to me that few mathematicians spent much time researching practical fabrication methods, contrary to the possible implication of the blurb.

Of course when marketing a book one is traditionally allowed some poetic license, and I think that particular statement falls well within such limits. The fabrication method Dr. Taimina came up with was indeed brilliant and interesting, and is a good way of drawing attention to the coral-reef problem. It also illustrates that math is where you find it. I have the view that math is just (good) thinking, thinking is math, so that anyone who comes up with a clever idea which works has done math.

Which brings me to my favorite quotation, from Einstein: “All mathematicians make mistakes; good mathematicians find them.” Combining that with my assertion that math is just thinking, Einstein’s quote then applies to all occupations.

780

RNB 05.20.16 at 3:07 pm

@817 No one is going to give up a democratic mandate to be the nominee because polls which have not had good predictive abilities say another candidate may be stronger. So Clinton with 3 more million votes is not dropping out for Sanders, and the super delegate are not going to overturn the democratic will based on them. Again these polls seem not be good predictors; second no one knows how Sanders would fare under a relentless Rove attack which Clinton has already been subjected to for the last two years; and third Clinton will get a big bump as Trump just has once she sews up the nomination.

781

Lupita 05.20.16 at 3:23 pm

@J-D

I don’t know how Mexicans would regard me if I went to Mexico

The immigration official would identify you by name and the nationality stated on your passport. Nobody would ask you if you have Neanderthal genetic markings and, if so, make you “self-identify” as a member of the non-existent Neanderthal Ethnic Group for the sole purpose of keeping a record of how many pure Sapiens exist in Mexico. This is the function of the Hispanic ethnic group, which is not an ethnic group but a demographic one (more or less) of mixed raced people with ancestors from Latin America where no anti-miscegeny laws existed up until the 60s that would ensure the purity of those claiming to be white.

“Hispanic” is an imposed identity because there is no such thing as a “Hispanic ethnic group”. People with Latin American ancestry and immigrants and tourists from Latin America do not form a single social group or community, with a history and a common future. They are a demographic group of individuals of Latin American ancestry and nationals from the different Latin American countries.

782

RNB 05.20.16 at 3:24 pm

@816 Jeffrey G, I am sure we would all benefit from your patient critique of Meyerson who makes criticisms of supporters of Clinton and Sanders. I wasn’t expecting you Jeffrey G to hurl abuse at a fellow Sanders supporter, but I am glad to see that you insult freely and frequently, and not just at me. js, thanks for the link.

783

engels 05.20.16 at 4:41 pm

784

LFC 05.20.16 at 4:57 pm

Val @815
Thks; I understand where you are coming from. I also can’t engage this further right now.

785

The Temporary Name 05.20.16 at 5:55 pm

Temer Orders Military to Surround Residence of Dilma Rousseff

I wonder if there’s some “where were the members of this government during the dictatorship” scorecard somewhere.

786

bob mcmanus 05.21.16 at 1:02 am

I can’t believe people gave up on taking this to a thousand

LGM

For context, Steven Attewell at LGM: “One of the things that I find truly frustrating about the way that the 2016 Democratic primaries have gone is that, while most of the attention and energy has gone to debating the virtues and identities of various groups of Bernie and Hillary voters and the ongoing attempt to turn fairly normal primary tactics into a grand moral crisis of something, we’re actually spending very little time talking about policy.”

random says:
May 20, 2016 at 3:46 pm

” I would phrase it as some Bernie supporters doing really stupid and bad things, and then some Clinton supporters making the debate about that and only that.”

The ‘bad things’ specifically involved doxxing yet another professional woman for doing her job. Followed by thousands of young men from all over the country threatening to murder her and her family.

It kinda makes sense that Clinton supporters don’t see a debate over that sort of thing as a distraction from ‘real issues’. Over and above any dispute over the primary, it kinda goes to the core theme of her candidacy.

I thought this comment was terrific as an example, and as trolling against Attewell’s post.

I talk way above about the tactics of identity politics, and the use of personal narratives and immediacy as a way to control the discourse. How can I possibly answer “random,” of course the doxxing and email attacks are immediately important to the target and trying to move past them to single-payer or other issues will feel callous and sexist in this framing.

I am not necessarily even criticizing, this is just a brilliant and devastating tactic to bury economic issues, create solidarity among feminists and guilt among others, and I admire it.

787

J-D 05.21.16 at 3:06 am

Lupita @825

I am sure you are right that if I visited Mexico I would not be required by the immigration officials to give any indication of race/ethnicity/ancestry/descent. I am also aware (as noted above) that some official US government forms do require people to answer this sort of question (as in the case of the census questions I noted above). (If you tell me that immigration forms are included in the ones that make such declarations compulsory, I will also take your word for it, although I have to say I’d be a little surprised.) However, (as I also noted above) in both cases (that is, both in the US and in Mexico), what the official government requirements are is one thing and what happens outside that is another. Maybe no Mexicans meeting me would mentally place me in a particularly labelled category, but then again maybe some of them would; I don’t know, but I do know that I can’t tell the answer just from what the official government procedures are.

I’ m sure it’s true that many people have the experience of being labelled as Hispanic in the US and react negatively to it (they don’t like the label ‘Hispanic’; and/or they feel it doesn’t apply to them; and/or they wish it weren’t used at all; and/or there’s some other description they’d prefer; and/or they feel it’s pejorative; and/or they feel it’s inaccurate), and, as I noted above, I personally strive to refer to people only in the ways they prefer to be referred to and I don’t dismiss negative reactions of that kind. However, if you tell me that there are no people in the US who think of themselves as Hispanic, it’s not clear to me how you could know that, and I’d need more than just your word to be convinced of it. Obviously there would have to be historical reasons why people would choose to adopt or accept that label for themselves, just as there would have to be historical reasons why people reject it, but I would dismiss neither the acceptance nor the rejection just because there are underlying historical reasons.

788

kidneystones 05.21.16 at 3:27 am

Three points. Right now the US election is effectively over for several reasons. A sizeable number of Sanders supporters are not going to vote for the Wall street candidate and some will definitely vote for the populist game changer. The politics of identity are blowing up in the victim candidate’s face – few will feel much sympathy, or solidarity, with a cynical serial liar who amassed 100 million from secret speeches to bankers and donations from the Saudis, and who may or may not have enabled her husband’s career-long exploitation of women. Change agents are in. It’s not too late for Sanders to win, despite all claims by establishment drones to the contrary. Both have seized the imagination of the nation, and one of these is certain to win.

Second – re 831’s tendentious arguments. No proof is required to support the observation that people whose roots lie in non-English speaking cultures reject English language words, such as japanese or hispanic to define their identity.

Third – life is great! Woke up to a beautiful morning with most ordinary work completed and the prospect of two days of long walks, fresh air, good books, interesting correspondence, some writing, and great meals with the family in front of me.

Hope everyone enjoys the same, something similar, or a weekend of productivity and pleasure in whatever form suits their fancy.

789

Val 05.21.16 at 3:38 am

So women objecting to online abuse is an attempt to bury economics? So victims aren’t just to be blamed for being victims, they’re also to be blamed for distracting from the real issues?

Sorry about the 1000 target, but I think there’s not much more to be said here.

790

Val 05.21.16 at 3:39 am

Sorry my comment was a response to bob mcmanus – didn’t think there was anyone else still commenting!

791

Val 05.21.16 at 3:42 am

You know bob, what you said was quite sick. You should really think about it.

792

J-D 05.21.16 at 6:29 am

kidneystones @832

You may be prepared to accept conclusions without evidence; I am not.

But one out of three ain’t bad.

793

kidneystones 05.21.16 at 8:25 am

836 J-D Wrong. The burden of proof lies squarely on your shoulders. We’re living in world of evidence that counters your unsupported belief that people choose to identify their identity using words foreign to their L1.

You’ll need to provide some evidence that people English people living in France, for example, define themselves as ‘anglais’, rather than ‘English.’ Native peoples in Canada, to cite another example, explicitly reject the term ‘Eskimo,’ no matter how many times those outside their community employ this word. This is elementary, not complicated. I do know of one anecdotal example of an Turk pretending to be an Armenian in order to work among Greeks. But expecting Spanish speakers to embrace an English word to identify their cultural roots is a bit like expecting Chinese people to identify themselves using a Korean or Russian word. It’s plainly idiotic.

If you’re having difficulty with the concept of language and identity I recommend you try reading a book on the subject. Never too late to learn.

794

J-D 05.21.16 at 8:49 am

kidneystones @837

You’re challenging me to provide evidence to support an assertion that I did not make. Obviously it’s easier to win an argument if you get to decide the other side’s position as well as your own; but it’s cheating.

795

kidneystones 05.21.16 at 9:00 am

838 So, now you’re claiming that Lupita is in fact correct regarding the use of the term hispanic and that you agree with her.

Fair enough. My work here is done.

796

J-D 05.21.16 at 9:07 am

kidneystones @839

No, once again you’re attributing to me a position I do not hold and did not state; so my former comment applies again.

797

kidneystones 05.21.16 at 9:13 am

@840. So, you’ve devoted x number of words to say nothing at all. 831 pretty much sums up your non-contribution.

Lupita is correct and you’re full of shit. Have a nice day!

798

J-D 05.21.16 at 10:19 am

kidneystones @841

What’s happened is not that I’ve said nothing but rather that you have not understood what I’m saying. There is a solution to that problem; that is, if you want to understand what I am saying. If you’re not interested in understanding what I am saying, there’s no problem.

799

Ronan(rf) 05.21.16 at 10:13 pm

Has the 1000 comments goal been abandoned ?

800

engels 05.21.16 at 10:22 pm

I’ve done my share – I think certain others haven’t been pulling their weight.

801

engels 05.21.16 at 10:38 pm

We

802

engels 05.21.16 at 10:39 pm

only

803

engels 05.21.16 at 10:40 pm

need

804

engels 05.21.16 at 10:40 pm

another

805

Ronan(rf) 05.21.16 at 10:40 pm

Well,for my part, I think the Israelis should give back the holy land.

806

engels 05.21.16 at 10:41 pm

150

807

engels 05.21.16 at 10:45 pm

“Zionism is identity politics with an army.”—Rhania Khalek.

Discuss.

808

AcademicLurker 05.21.16 at 10:50 pm

The Star Wars prequels were actually pretty good.

809

AcademicLurker 05.21.16 at 10:51 pm

And the 1978 holiday special was awesome.

810

bianca steele 05.21.16 at 10:53 pm

Peter Davison was the best Doctor.

811

bob mcmanus 05.22.16 at 12:14 am

Way up near the top I mentioned Jodi Dean’s new book Crowds and Party, about reinvigorating the Communist Party. Near the end, I am appreciating the structure of the book. She starts out fairly abstract and theoretical, Le Bon Michels Freud/Lacan Elias Canetti and finishes the book with Raphael Samuel talking about his mother and Hosea Hudson sitting at a kitchen table in Birmingham. Very moving.

Hudson:black sharecropper steelworker party organizer for years before the Party helped him to learn to read voter register in 30s Alabama blacklisted after the war

Of course the real heroes are Obama and Neera Tanden

812

AcademicLurker 05.22.16 at 12:31 am

David Brooks’ insightful observations on the mood and values of working class voters in the Midwest really haven’t been given the attention they deserve.

813

RNB 05.22.16 at 12:39 am

OK Clinton-supporter Neera Tanden leads us to the back to the OP and the question of what trolling is. Matt Bruenig who may support Sanders has been accused trolling.

If you want a 1000+ comments, just provide answers to whether Matt Bruenig was correct to say in regards to welfare reform that “scumbag” Neera Tanden “starved [his] mother of cash assistance” and disgustingly “uses welfare when she needs it [sic] then takes it away from others when they need it” and “tried to starve [Matt Bruenig] and [his] mother because she [NT] wanted to be in Democratic politics”.

Pretty much this is the Rich Puchalsky- and Jeffrey G- style of combat here.

I am wondering whether it is actually true that Tanden herself worked on the welfare reform that visited these horrors on Bruenig’s family.

According to Kevin Drum and Matt Yglesias, she did not in fact work on welfare reform as she was in law school in 1996 and therefore starve Bruenig’s family; according to Yglesias the welfare policy that Clinton is supporting today is not much different from what Sanders is proposing.

814

Lupita 05.22.16 at 1:03 am

815

Lupita 05.22.16 at 1:04 am

How do you post videos?

816

bob mcmanus 05.22.16 at 1:04 am

I am wondering whether it is actually true that Tanden herself worked on the welfare reform

Empirical question. Welfare Reform passed in 1996

Neera Tanden

Various biographical facts about Tanden: Worked on the Dukakis campaign; graduated Yale Law 1996; “worked in Clinton [Pres] administration;” deputy campaign director and issue manager for Clinton’s 2000 Senate campaign; CAP senior in 2003. Those are big enough jumps that I can believe she was not out of political contact in 1996, and may have done research, writing, or grunt work for the administration while still at Yale. Would need more detail. Bruenig is closer to those details than I.

My ignorant guess is that she was somewhat more involved than say Yglesias and E Klein supporting the Iraq war from college blogs; but in no way enough of a significant player in 1996 to get credit or blame for the specific bill. After 1998 she is near the center of “Progressive” politics obviously, and I would look at HRC’s Senate campaign pretty closely.

Of course I would never get that close to the Clintons, as a moral choice, and one could characterize her as like someone who became buddies with Stalin after WWII. No, not directly responsible for purges and starvations, but not perfect and unquestionable judgement perhaps.

Bruenig went too far, not in “scumbag”, but in his twitter followers. OTOH, this is about oligarchs and courtiers, female, silencing the less powerful resistance.

817

Lupita 05.22.16 at 1:08 am

0:50 and especially 2:50 are the highlights of the video.

818

RNB 05.22.16 at 1:12 am

@858 So people carrying contraband can go over the border, hoping to avoid the dogs, and “exactly nothing happens”–is that what I heard. It’s all in broad daylight. Passed my Spanish exams a while ago.

819

RNB 05.22.16 at 1:13 am

@860 As Drum notes, this kind of aggressive tweeting can lead to saying something libelous. Drum wrote this update:

‘I searched “Neera Tanden” for the entire decade of the 90s. The first hit is from 1992 in the Los Angeles Times: “UCLA student Neera Tanden was awarded the first Sam Law Leadership Award by the Asian Pacific Alumni of UCLA at a Nov. 17 reception held at Royce Hall on the campus. Tanden, a senior planning to attend law school, was selected for her leadership experience, community and university service.”

The other 11 hits were all the same: she was listed as a contact in press releases for the Clinton/Gore campaign in 1996. I did a more cursory search from 2000 through the present, and found mostly mentions of health care reform. The closest thing I could find about welfare was from a 2014 interview where Tanden criticized Republican budget cuts: “Food stamps have been cut. Proposals to cut nutrition aid would drop children from school lunch programs. Section 8 housing and welfare aren’t keeping up with the need. I’m concerned about how the attack on these programs is going to impact people in our country because I know that I wouldn’t be here today if they hadn’t been available to me.”

If Tanden ever so much as mentioned welfare reform, she sure didn’t do it publicly.’

820

bob mcmanus 05.22.16 at 1:21 am

I found Yglesias much better on Bruenig-Tanden (Joan Walsh, SadyDoyle) than Kevin Drum, and of course, I could guess MY knows the players at least caually.

821

ZM 05.22.16 at 1:28 am

“Of course the real heroes are Obama and Neera Tanden”

822

ZM 05.22.16 at 1:29 am

engels

823

ZM 05.22.16 at 1:29 am

is

824

ZM 05.22.16 at 1:41 am

engels the commenter, I mean.

While I’m not American so I’m not following the Primaries as closely as Americans (we have an election here in Australia), I don’t think politicians need to discuss only economics in elections/primaries.

While it is important they discuss economics, especially when they are proposing reforms, it isn’t really fair to say they shouldn’t talk about other things, like gender, or online abuse etc. They are after all going to legislate on a lot of different issues, not just economics.

825

bob mcmanus 05.22.16 at 1:52 am

868: I hate to engage and defend myself, or get defensive but I suggest you study 830 more closely. I won’t speak for Attewell, but just say there has been a consistent pattern in online discussions, that is not about refusing to discuss gender issues or online abuse. At all. Goes like this:

“We are here tonight to discuss how to get to single payer healthcare”
“Somebody somewhere sent a woman an abusive tweet.”
“That’s terrible! Now back to healthcare…”
“Why are you so dismissive of women’s issues?”

Now check the material in 830 again.

826

Lupita 05.22.16 at 1:58 am

You Foolish Men
Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, 1651 – 1695

You foolish men who lay
the guilt on women,
not seeing you’re the cause
of the very thing you blame;

if you invite their disdain
with measureless desire
why wish they well behave
if you incite to ill.

You fight their stubbornness,
then, weightily,
you say it was their lightness
when it was your guile.

In all your crazy shows
you act just like a child
who plays the bogeyman
of which he’s then afraid.

With foolish arrogance
you hope to find a Thais
in her you court, but a Lucretia
when you’ve possessed her.

What kind of mind is odder
than his who mists
a mirror and then complains
that it’s not clear.

Their favour and disdain
you hold in equal state,
if they mistreat, you complain,
you mock if they treat you well.

No woman wins esteem of you:
the most modest is ungrateful
if she refuses to admit you;
yet if she does, she’s loose.

You always are so foolish
your censure is unfair;
one you blame for cruelty
the other for being easy.

What must be her temper
who offends when she’s
ungrateful and wearies
when compliant?

But with the anger and the grief
that your pleasure tells
good luck to her who doesn’t love you
and you go on and complain.

Your lover’s moans give wings
to women’s liberty:
and having made them bad,
you want to find them good.

Who has embraced
the greater blame in passion?
She who, solicited, falls,
or he who, fallen, pleads?

Who is more to blame,
though either should do wrong?
She who sins for pay
or he who pays to sin?

Why be outraged at the guilt
that is of your own doing?
Have them as you make them
or make them what you will.

Leave off your wooing
and then, with greater cause,
you can blame the passion
of her who comes to court?

Patent is your arrogance
that fights with many weapons
since in promise and insistence
you join world, flesh and devil.

827

The Temporary Name 05.22.16 at 2:26 am

Geez, Lupita, without knowing the Spanish (or Spanish) that looks like a great translation. Is that the case?

828

The Temporary Name 05.22.16 at 2:30 am

Peter Davison was the best Doctor.

I think you’re forgetting Dr. Quincy, M.E.

829

Lupita 05.22.16 at 2:36 am

@The Temporary Name

I’m afraid not. I just translated the title as “You Stubborn Men”, googled it, and got this “You Foolish Men” translation.

830

The Temporary Name 05.22.16 at 2:50 am

Well thank you in any case. Something to investigate.

831

JimV 05.22.16 at 3:27 am

B. Steele at 854: I understand that was an ironic illustration of trolling and an attempt to stimulate comments, and as such was well-played.

Tom Baker #1, Matt Smith #1A. Peter Davison was adequate, but suffered from being Tom Baker’s replacement. In addition to his whimsical style, TB had the greatest storylines: Dr. Davros’ escape from his prison ship and attempt to regain control of the Daleks, which he created (revisionists have forgotten this history in contemporary episodes); the return to Gallifrey and becoming President of the Time Lord’s Council; and the Key to Time with the White and Black Guardians. Also, he had the best sidekicks: Sarah Jane Smith, Romanadvoratrelundar, and of course the robot dog K-9.

He was brought back as the Curator to make the ending of the “Day of the Doctor” special. I rest my case.

It is of course well past time there was a Lady Doctor. If the humanoids in Iain Bank’s “Culture” novels can change their gender as well as regenerating, why not Time Lords?

832

js. 05.22.16 at 5:17 am

It lives!

833

js. 05.22.16 at 5:48 am

@Lupita — To post videos, just drop the URL in the comment box, and don’t include any text *after* the link. I believe that works.

834

js. 05.22.16 at 6:01 am

Also, Tom Waits sucks. I don’t even understand how that man has had a career in music.

835

js. 05.22.16 at 6:04 am

And while I’m at it: the Talking Heads are massively overrated. Blondie is a far superior band that don’t nearly get the recognition they deserve. Probably because of sexism.

836

Neville Morley 05.22.16 at 6:21 am

This thread has lost it: K-9 was an abomination.

837

Shylock Homeslice 05.22.16 at 7:09 am

js, I think you must be confusing Tom Waits with your mom.

838

Val 05.22.16 at 7:26 am

mcmanus @ 869

When asked for evidence, the troll will invent a scenario, saying: this has definitely been known to happen.

839

Val 05.22.16 at 7:28 am

The troll will also say: feminists are so sneaky, they would definitely have done that sneaky thing.

840

Val 05.22.16 at 7:29 am

The troll will sometimes add: I don’t hate feminists for being so sneaky, I admire them.

841

Lynne 05.22.16 at 12:37 pm

ZM: “How come political debate has turned into something where women keep getting abusive tweets from strangers when they voice their opinions? “

Indeed, that is the million-dollar question.

As for the story of your harassment, it doesn’t bore me, but it does distress me, so I hope you won’t write more about it. I can’t deal with it here in a comment thread, so I’d best say no more, though.

842

ZM 05.22.16 at 2:36 pm

Lynne,

You ave said that you don’t believe me before, so I would actually prefer that you don’t comment when I write about this life experience, if you don’t mind.

I have written to Corey Robin about this matter at his CUNY email address, as another CUNY professor is the musician David Grubbs who has some knowledge of what has happened due to his work for the record label Drag City. I believe David Grubbs was not aware of all the details, and did not know my side of the story until I wrote to him.

I attached a 20 page email that I sent to the Minister for Police, which has more detail obviously than I can write in comments.

While I am aware that me repeating this life experience on Crooked Timber may be boring for those who have already read my comments about it, and I try not to bring it up in comments too often, while I haven’t been asked by the Crooked Timber bloggers to not ever mention it, I feel like it is okay to mention it when I feel it is relevant.

I am in a situation where the people who have stalked and harassed me have access to media via being musicians or film directors, whereas I am just a normal person. Crooked Timber is actually my main access to public debate. I don’t get interviewed by The Guardian or The New York Times or anything like that when I put out a new record.

bob mcmanus was commenting about political debate being overshadowed by women’s complaints about getting abused online, which he finds a frustrating diversion from political debate.

But I would put it to him that the cause of the issue is people abusing women (or men) online, rather than the subsequent complaints about it.

If there seems to be a high volume of complaints — this is possibly because, like me, women who are abused online feel unprotected, unsafe, and unheard.

I suggested that some sort of governance reform would be an appropriate remedy. I am not sure how you would reform the governance of the internet actually.

843

Lynne 05.22.16 at 2:50 pm

ZM, Fair enough. Be well.

844

Lupita 05.22.16 at 3:12 pm

845

Lupita 05.22.16 at 3:13 pm

It worked! Thanks, js.

846

Val 05.23.16 at 12:01 am

ZM, I hope you are ok and talking with your doctor or support people. Really we do sometimes need other people’s advice to help us sort out the best thing to do in difficult situations.

847

J-D 05.23.16 at 4:27 am

‘I have written to the USA Department of State about it, since most of the musicians are in America. I don’t know who else to write to in the American government since the government is structured differently and you don’t have Ministers.’

The differences in structure may not be quite as big as you think. The members of the US Cabinet have broadly similar roles to the members of cabinets in other countries, and the government departments that report to them have broadly similar roles to the government departments that report to cabinet members in other countries. Most of them are called Secretaries (and not Ministers), but then most of the members of the UK Cabinet are called Secretaries. For example, the US Defense Secretary and Defense Department have much the same sort of job as Defence Ministers and Defence Departments in other countries; the US Education Secretary and Education Department have much the same sort of job as Education Ministers and Education Departments in other countries. The department whose responsibilities include Information and Communications Technology is the Department of Commerce, headed by the Secretary of Commerce; the department whose responsibilities include law enforcement is the Department of Justice, headed by the Attorney-General.

848

ZM 05.23.16 at 9:55 am

Thank you Val and J-D x

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