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#ResistTrump by joining a local Indivisible group, maybe?

An Indivisible group in Oregon

We need to keep making calls — they’re working! 5Calls, as always, has some suggestions, scripts, and phone numbers for your congress members.

Especially important, at least for voters in Ohio and Kansas: Calling to oppose Betsy DeVos for Education Secretary. The vote on her nomination was delayed, and now could come Saturday or early next week. See here for the latest news on the anti-DeVos efforts and phone numbers for the possible swing-vote Senators.

Another issue which has gotten zero media attention: Congresswoman Maxine Waters is calling for a serious investigation of Trump’s Russian ties. Urge your congressperson to support her!

But if you want to go beyond calls, consider joining a local Indivisible group and visiting your elected officials in person with a large number of new friends.

Find (or start) a local group here, and check out the Indivisible Twitter feed to see some inspiring pics of these groups in action.

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ALW
ALW
4 years ago

@MAWG

Anecdata: I work in a big corporation. We pride ourselves on our inclusivity and valuing people exclusively based on their contribution. We even have working groups for every disenfranchised segment of society you care to name to encourage every employee to bring their full self and contribution to work.

Recently, a few of the groups got together to organise a big awareness event, with several very prominent women and POC folks within the firm talking about their experiences, with a specific emphasis on precisely the biases that Scildfreja outlined above. This was a widely attended event. I was one of the organisers.

Immediately after the event, people told me it was a success: Well put together, nicely coordinated, got the point across. The type of praise which would be expected for an event that came off well.

But a week or so that followed, I started getting a different kind of feedback. It came exclusively from white men, and took almost identical form: They would come up to me, in the hallway or the cafeteria, with a sheepish look. They would admit that, while they completely respected the experiences of the speakers, at the time they had dismissed them as not relevant to this firm. Not out of any sort of malice, you understand, just because that sort of thing doesn’t happen here, right? We’re a totally inclusive firm, everyone’s voice is equal, the only thing that matters is the quality of people’s ideas. They put the speakers’ experiences down to age (such things happened in the past, but we’re over that now), or location (different firm, different culture). So these guys had headed back to work and didn’t really think much more of it, but it turns out, some of it stuck. And they started noticing things. Little things – a woman getting interrupted here, a POC being talked over there. But the more they started noticing it, the more it seemed to be happening. In fact, it seemed to be happening *a lot*. And they also noticed that, while white men did sometimes also get interrupted, it was far less frequent, and the attitude of the group was different, more willing to continue with the interruptee’s train of thought afterwards. And that’s when these guys had their lightning bolt moment and were so amazed that they had to find me and tell me about it, because they suddenly realised that this sort of thing *does* happen in our firm as well, and, crucially, that *it had been happening right in front of them this whole time and they never noticed because *they* always felt completely heard*.

These guys learned, and I hope some at least took away the things white men can do to help ensure that others are heard back into those meeting rooms. This is just anecdata, but you seem like a reasonable guy, so please, no matter how equal or fair *you* think your groups are, or how they look to you in hindsight, take Scildfreja’s post to heart, and going forward, keep your eyes open for it. Just like the guys at my firm, you might be amazed at what you suddenly see.

Middle Aged White Guy
4 years ago

@Dali

That was a serious, literal point. Fascists like seeing people suffer. They talk about it all the time. Conservatives are proto-fascists.

That is as stunningly offensive and uninformed as anything the Alt-right or KKK might say.

It frightens me.

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

Dali,

Did you mean the CEO of Papa John’s? Or did the CEO of Pizza Hut/Pepsi say a bunch of terrible things too?

The thing that me made me 100% certain (as opposed to the 99.99% certain I had been) that right wingers get off on people suffering was the infamous 2012 Republican presidential debate where Ron Paul was asked if someone without insurance had a medical emergency, should the hospital just let him die and some man in the audience yelled “let him die!” and many others cheered that sentiment.

Looking back, I think that was the moment that finally got me to stop even trying to respectfully disagree with these people. Why bother when they won’t respect anyone else and they have zero empathy?

Dalillama, Shepherd of Demonic Crocodiles
Dalillama, Shepherd of Demonic Crocodiles
4 years ago

@MAWG

That is as stunningly offensive and uninformed as anything the Alt-right or KKK might say.

It frightens me.

You know what fucking frightens me? That the vice president is going to have me fucking tortured to death. Because he openly advocates torturing people like me until we kill ourselves. And the guy in the Oval Office has promised him a free hand. That fucking nazis are walking the streets of my neighbourhood waiting to catch me or one of my friends alone so they can beat us, or worse. That people like you, who pretend that these are simple fucking differences of opinion that good-hearted people can have, will continue to stand by and watch, like you have every fucking time these fuckers have fucked us, over and over and over since the fucking country began (and most recently since Ronald Fucking Reagan started rolling back every iota of progress that your generation claimed to have made while you all sat back and fucking watched). I’m afraid that when they kick in my door in the middle of the night, you’ll be the neighbour tut-tutting my struggles as they drag me away. I’m afraid that everyone I love and care about is going to die in the street if they’re fucking lucky. That’s what I’m fucking afraid of. What the fuck is your beef?

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

Seriously, MAWG?

Marginalized people should stop saying their oppressors terrify them because it terrifies privileged people to hear mean things about other privileged people?

There’s a reason people here aren’t warming up to you and it isn’t because you’re new and it isn’t because you’re a white man.

I know I was initially going to give you the benefit of the doubt even though I’m generally regarded as one of the “mean” and not putting up with any bullshit ones around here. But if you’re going to pull this every few days, I’m done.

PeeVee the (Noice) Sarcastic
PeeVee the (Noice) Sarcastic
4 years ago

MAWG,

I am side-eyeing you so hard right now.

Middle Aged White Guy
4 years ago

@ALW

Thanks. Totally hear you and believe you have related a real, and likely common experience. For me to say any more might sound like I’m rebutting.

@TreeHugger

Marginalized people should stop saying their oppressors terrify them because it terrifies privileged people to hear mean things about other privileged people?

No, they should not stop.

@Dali

That the vice president is going to have me fucking tortured to death. Because he openly advocates torturing people like me until we kill ourselves

Scares the fuck out of me, too. That’s why I am actively working to make sure that does not happen.

What the fuck is your beef?

Don’t have one. I’m frightened and sad, but don’t have a beef.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
4 years ago

@ MAWG

The thing to remember about fascists is that cruelty is an end in itself. It’s not merely the byproduct of some ultimate goal. Take the Holocaust for example. One of the most bewildering things about the Holocaust was how ‘counterproductive’ it was. Resources vital for the war effort were diverted to the death camps. Transportation of victims was a priority for the limited railway stock rather than essential troop movement. Deportation was dismissed, only extermination would surfice. Suffering was the sole consideration.

And the same mindset is at work today. Immigration is objectively a good thing, even if you only consider purely utilitarian considerations. Migrants boost economies. They provide essential labour and they buy goods and services. Note also that opposition to migrants I’d greatest in areas where migrants are fewest. The people complaining about how migrants ‘don’t fit in’ hardly ever even have to interact with them. Opposition to migration is based purely on prejudice. There’s no logical basis for it and people are worse off when they succeed in limiting it. But they’re willing to accept that so long as making it clear migrants are not welcome succeeds as an end in itself.

I could go on, but I can think of no ‘progressive’ social policy that has a negative effect on conservatives’ supposed goals. Oftentimes it’s quite the reverse. It therefore seems like the ultimate example of cutting off ones nose to spite ones face. Unless you consider that the stated goals may not really be the priority.

Thought experiment for you: the government offers a choice. Tax cut or criminalising homosexuality. How do you think such a referendum would turn out?

Policy of Madness
Policy of Madness
4 years ago

MAWG, I am one of those people who has zero tolerance for trolls and troll-like behavior. I didn’t say it at the time, but after you walked back your original bad start, I was willing to give you another chance. It seems to me that you’re not a troll and you’re trying to learn, and I respect that.

But this?

That was a serious, literal point. Fascists like seeing people suffer. They talk about it all the time. Conservatives are proto-fascists.

That is as stunningly offensive and uninformed as anything the Alt-right or KKK might say.

It frightens me.

This was as stunningly offensive and uninformed as anything the alt-right or KKK might say, to quote you. You might or might not agree with what Dali is saying, but what she said was neither offensive nor uninformed. And what the fuck is frightening about it?

You know, I bizarrely hope you stick around and continue to learn, because your learning curve is going to be pretty damned steep at this rate and you really need it.

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

Marginalized people should stop saying their oppressors terrify them because it terrifies privileged people to hear mean things about other privileged people?

No, they should not stop.

Comparing Dalillama to the KKK indicates otherwise. At the very least, you seem to think she should only talk about it in ways that don’t offend the delicate sensibilities of the privileged. Which, is also silencing whether you intended it or not http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Tone_argument

Scildfreja Unnýðnes
Scildfreja Unnýðnes
4 years ago

I fell behind on this conversation, apparently. Huh!

@Dalillama, you’re right, I am far more generous, it’s a flaw of mine. I’m glad you keep critiquing me on when I shouldn’t be so forgiving. That’s one of my blind spots.

@MAWG, I’ll reply to a couple spots here for you. First, this one:

My thing is that my “Overly generalized and/or absolutist statement” detector is stuck on high alert, so we might have some fun, you and I.

Hi, I’m Scildfreja. I study rationality and logic as a researcher (currently unpaid, the lab’s out of budget, but, you know. That’s how things are these days). I’m not going to rely on any credentials like that as proof for my points, but, well – that’s my background.

This “generalization/absolutist detector” that you have? It’s garbage, throw it out. It will only do you harm. Generalizations and absolute statements are wrong, true – but they’re also how people talk. That a statement is made as a generalization or an absolute does not make it necessarily false or worthy of rejection.

Smart people are bad for this one. They develop a library of reasons-to-reject-arguments, making their biased opinions unassailable. The “Malformed argument” rejection-reason is the most common, because it’s easy to apply and can be used on almost everything – humans don’t speak in perfect syllogisms.

(Notably, in western society men are taught from birth to value smartness, and to defend their own opinions, making them especially vulnerable to this behaviour)

You do yourself no favours by following the path that your “generalization/absolutist detector” suggests.

Second thing is this one:

@Dali

That was a serious, literal point. Fascists like seeing people suffer. They talk about it all the time. Conservatives are proto-fascists.

That is as stunningly offensive and uninformed as anything the Alt-right or KKK might say.

I have two comments on this general direction of discussion.

First, in general. Fascism, authoritarianism, and the ugly shades of hate that they represent lurk in all of us. The past couple of years have taught me that quite thoroughly. It takes conscious, willful and explicit effort to fight it back. It’s a lot like recognizing sexism and racism. You can believe it’s not there and everything’s great, but something opens your eyes – as the remarkable @ALW’s story above illustrates- and suddenly you realize that it’s everywhere.

The weapon against this deep-rooted, instinctual hate is empathy, Compassion, an understanding of other people’s struggles. This leads me to my second comment. Conservativism is not about compassion. Correct me if you feel otherwise, everyone, but it’s about preserving inequality for the sake of overall “societal efficiency” it seems (though Dali raises good points about how much they really care about the efficiency).

Compassion argues for universal health care. That’s a progressive cause. Compassion argues for eliminating prison sentences for non-violent crimes. That’s progressive. Compassion argues for Planned Parenthood, raising the minimum wage, raising welfare, eliminating homelessness, equality for LGBTQ+ people, humanitarian aid missions. These are progressive causes.

The left holds Compassion close – the Right holds Greed, in the flowery prose of the Invisible Hand and the Free Market. Which of these two is a useful tool for subduing the hateful beast that’s so easy to rise in the heart of humanity? Rhetorical question, obviously.

And the argument, of course, is that greed creates prosperity, which is better for everyone – which creates wealth that everyone gets access to. This is compassion, right? Prosperity for all? But even if you believe this (I don’t), it still leaves compassion and empathy, at best, a satellite, welcome at the table so long as Greed can sit at the head and choose who eats what.

Conservative people aren’t evil, but their beliefs come to be at odds with compassion time and time again, when greed instead holds sway – as in all of those lists of things I listed above, and more. When they’re willing to barter away a compassionate cause because “it isn’t worth the money” (at best) or “I don’t believe in it” (an explicit lack of empathy, far too common). Whatever reason they give is immaterial.

Isolating ones’ compassion in this sense is a Conservative trait. When isolating to ones’ national group in an extreme fashion, we call it Fascism, Authoritarianism, or similar.

Sorry for the ramble – I’ve been exploring my own thoughts on this as I’ve been writing. I’m happy to take correction or exception.

Policy of Madness
Policy of Madness
4 years ago

Correct me if you feel otherwise, everyone, but it’s about preserving inequality for the sake of overall “societal efficiency” it seems (though Dali raises good points about how much they really care about the efficiency).

The just-world fallacy plays a huge role in conservatism. Once you know to start looking for it, you see it everywhere. Just-world is there in conservative immigration policy and in conservative fiscal policy. Despite what conservatives will tell you about how life isn’t fair, the just-world fallacy could almost be called the foundational doctrine.

Middle Aged White Guy
4 years ago

@AlanRobertson

Again, I agree with 99.9% of what you wrote… and the slight quibble can be saved for a future time.

I am sad that what I wrote earlier is being read as defense of fascism, or excusing any number of horrible things said and done by MANY of those on the Right.

I simply was objecting to the conflation of Conservatism = Fascism. It is understandable how people might conflate them, as Fascists and Alt-Right and Trumpsters have hijacked the term “Conservative”. However, one can be an economic and regulatory conservative (for example), and identify more as Republican………….. yet also be extremely caring and compassionate, and socially very, very liberal.

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

There was a study a couple of years ago that showed that giving homeless people actually costs the government less money than letting them stay homeless does. Comments sections on articles about this study were still swarmed with right wingers saying that homeless people shouldn’t be given housing because they shouldn’t expect something for nothing and “I have to pay for my house, why shouldn’t they?” My right wing uncle (who is far from wealthy and only gets by because family members help him, BTW) once made some hateful joke that boiled down to Jesus not wanting to help homeless people because they’re lazy. It’s kind of hard to buy the argument that conservatives want the country/the world to be safe and prosperous and moral when you see that kind of shit. Homeless people suffering because they made “bad decisions” such as being mentally ill or addicted to drugs or losing their jobs in a recession is more attractive than the fiscal responsibility they claim to prize.

I’ve never seen a conservative attempting to make an argument that systemic poverty and the suffering that goes with it is a societal good. They just seem to enjoy that systemic poverty exists. They do make an argument that forcing people to bootstrap it is the key to eliminating poverty even though they never manage to provide remotely convincing evidence that this is true, but they do seem to realize that poverty is a bad thing.

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

Oh, you absolutely cannot have conservatism without the just world fallacy and a huge dose of magical thinking. Not surprisingly, this thinking and how common it is in American culture is a huge boon for very wealthiest. Train people to blame themselves if their wages are too low or they’re treated like shit at work or they’re taken advantage of by predatory creditors and train people to blame others for having similar misfortunes befall them, and people are less likely to agitate for better working conditions and more financial regulation.

I wish Bright Sided by Barbara Ehrenreich was required reading in all middle schools so kids would grow up knowing it’s okay if you put in effort and think positively and still don’t always have the outcome you want.

Scildfreja Unnýðnes
Scildfreja Unnýðnes
4 years ago

Yeah, you guys’re right, thanks @PoM, WWTH. It’s not that they’re reaching for social efficiency or anything of the sort. Howabout this, then: “Conservatism is interested in preserving social inequality for the sake of preserving hierarchy”? Does that mesh better with your understanding?

Either way, the expression of conservatism on a day-to-day basis is wildly different from the high-minded “invisible hand, free market, enlightened selfishness” that more intellectual Conservatives like to talk about. Those are just excuses for validating the expression of raw greed.

Scildfreja Unnýðnes
Scildfreja Unnýðnes
4 years ago

More babbling on the whole Just World Fallacy, it really is a deeply-ingrained thing in us. It’s not a Western or American thing, and it’s not new; it’s very intrinsic. We’re all prone to it, and it takes work to overcome.

Thanks for mentioning it specifically. I should do some writing down that vein tying that fallacy with Conservatism; it feels like a very deep root of that tree. Maybe when I’m less medication-addled.

Middle Aged White Guy
4 years ago

@Scildfreja

Thanks, once again.

I’ll consider that “generalization detector” comment of yours… of course, it’s how people talk, but I find any “All X people think Y and are Z” comment to be offensive and threatening to open dialogue and communication.

Your rest, about compassion and etc.

Again, we are very similar in our views, at least as I understand what you have written. Should the statement have been “Conservative principles and politics are effectively discompassionate to other people’s lives” or “have the effect of being cruel”….. I would not argue.

“… the Right revels in watching people suffer” was the statement I objected to. Do you find that statement to be true?

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

Okay, MAWG’s posts are drifting all about the page now.

I am sad that what I wrote earlier is being read as defense of fascism, or excusing any number of horrible things said and done by MANY of those on the Right.

Why are we supposed to care if you have a sad when you’ve shown no concern for the feelings of anyone else here?

I simply was objecting to the conflation of Conservatism = Fascism. It is understandable how people might conflate them, as Fascists and Alt-Right and Trumpsters have hijacked the term “Conservative”. However, one can be an economic and regulatory conservative (for example), and identify more as Republican………….. yet also be extremely caring and compassionate, and socially very, very liberal.

You posted before my post on conservative attitudes on homelessness went up. But see that story as an example that goes against this point. I’m sure somewhere out there the compassionate conservatives I keep hearing about but never see exist, but in my experience if you scratch the surface of fiscal conservative but socially liberalism, you’ll find that they aren’t all that compassionate. Lots of conservatives are perfectly capable of acting pleasant and polite, particularly if you look like them and are in their socioeconomic group or a higher socioeconomic group. That doesn’t mean their views aren’t toxic and mean. I can get along with conservatives at work or whatever, but I can never fully trust them because victim blaming is a feature of conservatism, not a bug.

Scildfreja Unnýðnes
Scildfreja Unnýðnes
4 years ago

@MAWG, not to pick on you! But this here:

one can be an economic and regulatory conservative (for example), and identify more as Republican………….. yet also be extremely caring and compassionate, and socially very, very liberal.

Is a tough one. It involves an artificial division between (economic and regulation concerns) and (social, compassionate concerns).

We tell ourselves that they can be separated, but they can’t. Economy is just what you get when you reduce social concerns down to restricted metrics and then perform analysis on those metrics; regulations are the same when discussing restrictions down to a different set of metrics.

Someone who is claiming to be fiscally conservative but socially liberal is either a) just saying “I’m compassionate, I just don’t want to be stupid with money/regulation”, which is an empty statement because no one wants to be intentionally wasteful, or b) is using the lullaby of statistics to conceal the injustices that economic or regulatory conservatism entails. They save their compassion for their in-group, and may frown and be unhappy at the misfortunes of those outside, but don’t actually take action to help them because of their economic or regulatory conservatism.

There’s this weird idea that progressives want to waste money or legislate frivolous regulation. They don’t. Progressives want to spend money to help people, and want to create regulations to help people. That conservatives call this “waste” is telling.

Again, I’m no expert, that’s just my understanding – critiques are welcome.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
4 years ago

I wonder if there’s any connection between the just world/bootstrap mindset and the Protestant heritage in the US. All that protestant work ethic ‘god helps those who helps themselves’ sort of vibe?

After all, Jesus was pretty explicit that ‘the poor shall always be with you’, so eliminating poverty is both impossible (according to the Bible) and defying god a bit to try?

Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
4 years ago

Late to the party, but
@WASP

That is as stunningly offensive and uninformed as anything the Alt-right or KKK might say

You may kindly fuck the fuck off. You are everything wrong with the ‘left’, and, if you could keep your invariably bullshit opinions to yourself, the whole of the world would be better off. Now, get to the back where you belong, nobody asked you!

You, and I think Axe (others?) gave me a less accusatory response that allowed me to better listen to the points being made, and I thank you for that

I simply must insist you fuck the fuck off. I didn’t allow you to do jack shit. Don’t blame me for your failures. You didn’t listen to others’ points, cos you didn’t want to. That’s a choice you made, asshole. And you have the nerve to pretend like you’d know if your groups were toxic. WASP meet mirror. Remember when I said to change your nym? Don’t bother. If you wanna advertise that you’re a privilege blind, garbage person, who am I to stop you. At least it’s accurate

How’s that for “less accusatory”? Jackass…

Scildfreja Unnýðnes
Scildfreja Unnýðnes
4 years ago

@WWTH,

I keep hearing about but never see exist, but in my experience if you scratch the surface of fiscal conservative but socially liberalism, you’ll find that they aren’t all that compassionate.

I’ve experienced the opposite, actually. I’ve scratched the surface of a number of “fiscal conservatives” who end up holding extremely progressive values – they’re just afraid of calling themselves progressive or liberal for fear of not being taken as seriously, or just general social pushback. A slice of our conservative party up here seems to be that way – they want to spend money on regulation, on progressive goals, etc. They’re progressives.

(They’re also in the process of being silenced and pushed out of the Conservative party entirely. There’s quite a dramatic shakedown goin’ on over there right now.)

Not to contradict what you’re saying – there are plenty of people who say they’re just “fiscal conservative, socially liberal” and turn out to be monsters. But I’ve seen enough to think that it’s not at all exclusive, and a lot of people are just afraid to be thought of as frivolous with money. Decades of trash talking from conservatives and all that.

Middle Aged White Guy
4 years ago

Seriously asked…

Are my comments pain in the ass, or disruptive, or whatever enough that it’d really be better if I went away? Like in “No, I really mean it, go away!”?

Cause it’s pretty lousy for people to be talking, and you just invite yourself into the party… I don’t want to that. Maybe sometimes what people write is just getting stuff off their chest among friends… and then I come on to nit-pick. Like I said, don’t want to do that.

Not that you get the big say so……… but figured I’d ask for input.

In the meantime, I can promise that everything I write is written with absolute integrity and honesty (as best I humanly can) about how I see things. Try my best to be respectful, whether you see that or not. And give enough of a damn to give my opinion directly. To do otherwise would be insulting to the group.

Scildfreja Unnýðnes
Scildfreja Unnýðnes
4 years ago

@MAWG,

I’ll consider that “generalization detector” comment of yours… of course, it’s how people talk, but I find any “All X people think Y and are Z” comment to be offensive and threatening to open dialogue and communication.

Your rest, about compassion and etc.

Again, we are very similar in our views, at least as I understand what you have written. Should the statement have been “Conservative principles and politics are effectively discompassionate to other people’s lives” or “have the effect of being cruel”….. I would not argue.

“… the Right revels in watching people suffer” was the statement I objected to. Do you find that statement to be true?

The Right does revel in the suffering of others. Go look at a Trump rally, fer Thor’s sake. Is there a spectrum? Sure! Is there nuance that Dali wasn’t talking about? Also sure! There’s a gradation of horror there. But that in no way invalidates her point, and arguing that instead of being horrified at the cruelty and hatred is being concerned about the colour of the drapes while the house is burning down.

Anyone who considers themselves a Conservative should be horrified right now, and should utterly recoil from the very label they put upon themselves. So too with Republicans – especially Republicans, the spineless quislings and greedy vultures that they are.

Anyone of moral character is outraged by the rise of fascism in America, and anyone who isn’t is being willfully ignorant.

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

Maybe it’s different in Canada, but in the US, that’s definitely what I see.

Scildfreja Unnýðnes
Scildfreja Unnýðnes
4 years ago

@WWTH, it’s different up here. We have conservatives who are fighting to build women’s shelters and provide better support for LGBT teens, stuff like that. Ain’t perfect for sure, plenty of awful conservatives too, but a good sight better. Much more of a mixed-bag.

Policy of Madness
Policy of Madness
4 years ago

Are my comments pain in the ass, or disruptive, or whatever enough that it’d really be better if I went away? Like in “No, I really mean it, go away!”?

Cause it’s pretty lousy for people to be talking, and you just invite yourself into the party… I don’t want to that. Maybe sometimes what people write is just getting stuff off their chest among friends… and then I come on to nit-pick. Like I said, don’t want to do that.

Not sure what you’re looking for here, dude, but it looks like validation to me. Nothing wrong with wanting validation, but usually one gets that by being a little vulnerable and honest, not by pulling a backhand. This?

Maybe sometimes what people write is just getting stuff off their chest among friends

If I taught English, I would use this in a hand out for an exercise in learning how to pull a coded insult out of the code and make it explicit. This was an insulting thing to say, and and trying to code it in solicitous language makes it even more insulting.

Laugher at Bigots, Mincing Betaboy

And now, O @MAWG, this message is for thee. I am a white guy who used to listen obsessively to conservative talk radio, so I know whereof I speak, when I speak of conservatism. Trigger warning for explicit discussion and enumeration of xenophobia, transphobia, and generally abhorrent opinions.

The conservatism I speak of is that which the average American conservative will be familiar with from listening to conservative talk radio; the average American conservative is not considered to have thought his ideology through very deeply.

Fascism is anti-human. Fascism prioritizes borders, nationality, sovereignty, and power over humans. Conservatives (especially American conservatives) hate government spending, except on the military, where they can’t spend enough. American conservatives are fanatically obsessed with patriotism. They talk incessantly of “securing the border”. American conservatives are rather racist; when they speak of securing the border, they mean the Mexican border. They’re not quite as bothered about the Canadian border for whatever reason, despite the fact that it’s much, much longer and much, much less secure than the Mexican border. Fascistic racism is well-known and does not need reiteration here.

Another trait common to fascists and conservatives is the glorification of the past — in the case of Nazi Germany, Frederick the Great and Otto von Bismarck; in the case of the United States, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Ronald Reagan — and the casting of the same as a better time than the present.

I said earlier that humans are a low priority of fascism. I shall now explain how they are also a low priority of conservatism.

Conservatives in the United States, as has hitherto been said, are fanatical in their wish for a secure southern border. To drum up popular support for it, they will promulgate a stereotype of Mexican immigrants as poor (and therefore lazy and filthy), identity-thieving drug-dealers who want to enrich Mexico at America’s expense (this also plays into patriotism). They also claim that there are millions of these criminal “illegal aliens”, and they ought to be deported. There are definitely not millions of lazy, identity-thieving drug-dealers in the American South, so this is a Big Lie, used to foment xenophobia against millions of innocent Hispanic immigrants.

Their attitude toward all that are not straight white upper-class men is one of revulsion or contempt. They never acknowledge the trans-gendered, claiming that trans women and girls are just excessively effeminate men who weren’t raised correctly, or (as in the bathroom debate) they are perverts looking to molest (cis) women in the bathroom. Trans men are unthinkable to them, as are gender-fluidity and the non-binary.

They are invariably against reproductive rights: not abortion only, but contraception as well. They are against any sex education beyond “Hold off until marriage!” Being mostly Christians, they are also opposed to any sex that is not heterosexual; some even oppose sex that is not to reproductive ends. The consequence of all this is large families, which are expensive and hurt the poor the most. Conservatives are also opposed to most social safety nets, meaning that these large families are abjected, while the rich grow richer (which is entirely just, for to the conservative, all rich people became rich by hard work and not by inheritance or other means).

Conservatism, in light of all this, does appear to be a milder version of fascism. There are few differences between them. One difference is that in conservatism, the suffering of people not in the conservatives’ favoured category is barely considered, whereas in fascism (especially as practised by the Nazis), anyone not in their favoured category is thoroughly considered — considered a pest to be exterminated. Another is that conservatives affect a greater respect for civil liberties than do fascists. In light of all this, I conclude that @Dali is very justified in comparing conservatism to fascism.

Trigger warning for explicit discussion and enumeration of xenophobia, transphobia, and generally abhorrent opinions.

EJ (Marxist Jazz Weasel)
EJ (Marxist Jazz Weasel)
4 years ago

a) Why do you consider it offensive? That’s an interesting word to use.

b) Why do you consider it as offensive? That seems an interesting equivalence to use.

Middle Aged White Guy
4 years ago

@EJ

Kinda figured I should kinda let things go, but you asked a direct question, so the only right thing is to answer.

“offensive” because my single greatest personal value is that each and every human being should be treated with compassion and respect, and not be prejudiced by any “group” affiliation.
“As” offensive because there aren’t shades to what I stated above. Shades to the words, the actions of course, are totally different.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
4 years ago

@ MAWG

prejudiced by any “group” affiliation.

Prejudice is by definition making a judgement not based on evidence or any relevant factor. Group affiliation can however be highly relevant evidence to take into account when making a judgement on how to deal with someone.

If someone is a member of the local squash club it may be inappropriate to make any moral judgement about them based on that. If they help run a soup kitchen then we might form a favourable opinion of them.

But if they’re part of a group that not only causes suffering but also revels in that fact then I think it’s not only permissable to dislike them, but that treating them in a neutral fashion is to give succour and comfort to them and thus makes one complicit in their actions.

‘good men doing nothing = evil triumphing’; ‘neutral = siding with the oppressor’ and all that.

Ooglyboggles
4 years ago

@ Middle Aged White Guy
The problem is that you’re giving too much neutral/facilitating ground to these fascists, who have already demonstrated that they aren’t interested in negotiating.

“offensive” because my single greatest personal value is that each and every human being should be treated with compassion and respect, and not be prejudiced by any “group” affiliation.

They are fascists whose sole desire is suffering at the cost of everything else. By your values since they only with do discriminate against every other human being, they should not be given respect and a well meaning gesture.

Dalillama: Shepherd of Demonic Crocodiles.
Dalillama: Shepherd of Demonic Crocodiles.
4 years ago

@MAWGA
Thank you for clarifying that you value the well-being of nazis over me and mine.

guest
guest
4 years ago

@ALW Thanks for sharing that story—to be honest, I’ve pretty much given up hope that the ‘MAWGs’ of the world will ever be able to see what happens right in front of them, but your story is making me rethink that. I currently work in a very toxic environment for women—in the year I’ve been with my current employer I’ve seen more straight-up Mad Men shit than in the previous 30-odd years of my career. Several people, for various reasons, have asked my opinion on how we can address this, and I really don’t have any original ideas, but one thing I wonder–and this is why I’m writing this comment–is why the ‘MAWGs’ should change their behaviour. I mean, what’s in it for them? Things are great for them as they are—they don’t have to compete with non-MAWGs for work, they can do what they want, they’re comfortable in their work environment. Any change for them would be for the worse. There are (alleged) collective answers—companies with diverse boards are more profitable, diverse groups make better decisions, and the ever-popular ‘we need to reach out to desperately needed and underused talent’—and, as we know, some individual men become fiercely feminist when they see how badly their daughters are treated (very rarely their wives, though I do know of one situation where a man suddenly understood how bad sexual harassment was when his wife was subjected to it)–but what, actually, is in it for them? If we’re completely honest with them, we might say ‘including previously unwelcome people is likely to have a negative effect on you personally, but it’s the right thing to do’, but instead we say ‘diversity benefits everyone’, and they can detect that this is a lie as regards them personally. How do we handle this?

Re heartless right-wingers—the examples youall have cited are appalling, but I think the kicker for me is the crazy rules about subsidised food (you can have these kinds of beans but not those kinds of beans wtf) and the fact that things like diapers, tampons and toilet paper are ‘luxuries’ that ‘we’ shouldn’t have to pay for ‘them’ to have (also I hate my computer because it apparently doesn’t know the word ‘tampon’).

And finally, let me talk a little here about the ‘invisible hand’. The Wealth of Nations was published in 1776—at that time corporations were rare, and only authorised individually by Parliament in specific cases for specific purposes to benefit the public (if you’re interested, Smith wrote that corporations should only be authorised for banking, insurance, municipal water supply and transport infrastructure). They were looked at suspiciously by Smith, Parliament, and everyone else because at the time business and economics was all about personal character, and corporations can hide personal character behind collective anonymous ownership. When Adam Smith argued that people acting selfishly are guided by an ‘invisible hand’ to promote the public good, what he meant was that because, in order to gain access to the marketplace, economic actors had to, I guess we would now say, ‘virtue signal’ to demonstrate their trustworthiness as business partners, the stock of actual virtue in society would increase. At the time Adam Smith was writing, to riff on Scildfreja’s point, the economic and the social were not and could not be separated—Adam Smith, whose other book is ‘The Theory of Moral Sentiments’, would have been puzzled at the idea that they could.

Middle Aged White Guy
4 years ago
Reply to  guest

If we’re completely honest with them, we might say ‘including previously unwelcome people is likely to have a negative effect on you personally, but it’s the right thing to do’, but instead we say ‘diversity benefits everyone’, and they can detect that this is a lie as regards them personally. How do we handle this?

I think “It’s the right thing to do” is a much more powerful approach.

It challenges someone to consider their core morality at a personal, private level, and is less subject to outside influence and rhetorical games.

PaganReader
4 years ago

@MAWG

Are my comments pain in the ass, or disruptive, or whatever enough that it’d really be better if I went away? Like in “No, I really mean it, go away!”?

Yes.

Ooglyboggles
4 years ago

@MAWG
These people literally wish nothing but pain and death. You answer may work with on the fence people, but we’re not talking about those people. We’re talking about people who actively wish for genocide and discrimination on all non WASPs. And coming from personal experience, that approach did dick for me.

Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
4 years ago

Are my comments pain in the ass, or disruptive, or whatever enough that it’d really be better if I went away? Like in “No, I really mean it, go away!”?

Isn’t that what we told you after your first pearl-clutching WATM meltdown?

So much for “I’m totes listening, really.”

Policy of Madness
Policy of Madness
4 years ago

and not be prejudiced by any “group” affiliation.

Excellent point. So you get zero consideration from now on for your alleged “liberal” group affiliation. There was no point in you even bringing it up, so I’m not sure why you did it.

You get zero consideration for your group affiliation as a war protester. That means nothing really. I don’t even know why you bothered to mention that in your initial post. Not sure what you intended by it, since you clearly don’t want to prejudice us with regards to yourself, right?

You deserve nothing based on your group affiliation as a middle-aged person, so the age card you pulled out is meaningless. Why did you pull it out again?

In fact, your entire initial #notallwhitemen rant makes zero sense in this new light.

Wow, it’s almost like you don’t actually believe this nonsense statement, and you’re only using it as a bludgeon against a member of a vulnerable demographic for reasons known only to you!

Croquembouche of patriarchy
Croquembouche of patriarchy
4 years ago

MAWG, if* you really feel you are learning things here, I strongly encourage you to keep reading here.
Just not commenting, until you have learnt enough to understand that the way you are currently behaving is not respectful, and many of the tactics you have used here are regularly used in the comments here by trolls.
*As you said regarding the word “if”

I wrote that “if” specifically to state that I DIDN’T assume to know your objectives or what you thought important…

Once you understand how disrespectful you have been, you may want to apologise. For, for example,

Uh, like that one? I’ll have to learn to filter the difference (if any) between you making a serious, literal point… or you kind of just letting off stream.

attempting to dismiss Dalillama’s position so rudely, as a minor example. Or comparing her to the KKK.

Scildfreja Unnýðnes
Scildfreja Unnýðnes
4 years ago

Well this thread has certainly gone places.

@Laugher at Bigots, that was a fantastic post, thank you for writing it. You keep mincing, you glorious betaboy!

You too @guest. Thank you for expanding on the nature of corporations and the context of Smith’s writing – I had always known that was the case at the time but hadn’t ever really put two-and-two together I guess. Sheds a very different light on it. It’s very interesting to see how the rich and powerful have twisted that original context to suit their own ends. Smith was talking about what could largely be considered public corporations!

@MAWG, you’re labouring under a common progressive-guy (*not* brogressive) idea – that gentleness and appeals to better nature or to reason are always the best approach. This is inherently an approach that only privileged people can take, because they have the luxury of being able to just shrug their shoulders and get on with life if the opposing side refuses.

Many of the people here don’t have that luxury – they’re the direct targets of the hate and violence and oppression that the “other side” are pouring out onto society like gasoline right now. Something stronger than an appeal to compassion is needed in order to stop them. It’s the liberal’s dilemma, really – holding compassion close while realizing that it is insufficient to get the harder work done. You can’t be compassionate to both when compassion to one is oppression to another.

If you denounce any action that isn’t an appeal to compassion or reason, you’re denouncing those who are more vulnerable than you. You have to choose who gets your compassion – the vulnerable, or your ideological opponents. That’s why we’re in the streets, and that’s why we’re happy to say that Nazi’s just need punchin’ sometime. When they make it so that I have to choose where my compassion goes – to the vulnerable or to the predator – my compassion goes to the vulnerable, every-single-time.

Where do you want your compassion going today?

guest
guest
4 years ago

@Scildfreja It really does infuriate me that without exception interpreters of Adam Smith are entirely ahistorical. We’re still learning to appreciate the intricacies of what I refer to as the cryptocapitalist economy of Georgian England, but that’s no excuse not to recognise that the ‘capitalism’ Adam Smith writes about in no way resembles the ‘capitalism’ of today. Interpreters are ahistorical in terms of technology as well–his description of the ‘division of labour’ in a pin factory was actually a thought experiment, as nothing like assembly line manufacture existed in England until the early nineteenth century (the Venice Arsenal had developed the technique a few hundred years earlier, but I’d be surprised if Smith knew much about that as it was a military secret–and in fact the first use of the technique in England was also military). Anyway.

And yes, in the first half of the nineteenth century corporations were called ‘public’ businesses, as (as now) they were created by the state, while sole proprietors and family businesses were referred to as ‘private enterprise’. How corporations managed to sneak into the ‘private enterprise’ tent, and thus gain ‘government should leave us alone’ points, is a question I’m still trying to answer (James Taylor, who has done a lot of insightful work in this field, has one answer, I have another, both may be true).

Shutting up now!

Middle Aged White Guy
4 years ago

@Scild

Many of the people here don’t have that luxury – they’re the direct targets of the hate and violence and oppression that the “other side” are pouring out onto society like gasoline right now.

Yeah, I get that now, that many of the people here are directly, personally experiencing attack, and literally afraid for their lives.

I was wrong to not have viscerally understood that sooner, and apologize for not being alert as to how my words might be perceived.

Hell… I’m gonna stop parsing words and just talk straight…. “I’M SORRY!!! I didn’t fucking know, I didn’t fucking get it! I’m REALLY REALLY sorry!!”

@Dali

I make a direct apology to you, especially. I’m nitpicking words about whether each and every single Republican in America is X, Y, Z… while your reality is people coming at you with billyclubs and guns. Fuck. I’M SORRY!
*****************************

I had a point to make, a concern to share, but was totally wrong to just barge in without checking how my doing so might effect other people.

I’m sorry it took me so long to figure that out. Nothing more I can say, really..

Last thing in the world I’d want to do is hurt people, and I’ve hurt a lot of people here. Nothing more I can do other than sincerely apologize, and go away.

Jesalin
Jesalin
4 years ago

@guest

Shutting up now!

Please don’t! I’m finding this fascinating! Especially since I’ve only ever encountered those ahistorical viewpoints you mentioned and never got around to doing any research of my own.

Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
4 years ago

@guest

Shutting up now!

Please, don’t. Your choice, obvs, but this is hella interesting 🙂

Edit: @Jes ninjad me by a few seconds 😀

@WASP

I was wrong to not have viscerally understood that sooner

It’s almost sad how you can’t help yourself from saying stupid shit. Almost. More tedious than anything else tho

Nothing more I can do other than sincerely apologize, and go away

MAWGGTOW

eli
eli
4 years ago

Shorter MAWG:

Me me me me me me me. Me me me me me me me me.

@Axe

You had him pegged from comment number 1.

@guest

I remember the old days, in the 90s, arguing with ‘libertarians’ about the same points. Good times :). They treated Adams as ‘wisdom of the ancients’ rather than ‘product of his time.’

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
4 years ago

@ guest

Shutting up now!

Oh please don’t. This is all really interesting and educational. I totally get where you’re coming from with your ‘ahistorical’ point. It’s like when we’re having discussions about the law. You do find yourself going “Yes; but you must remember, at that time…”

I’d be especially interested in what you were saying about how and when corporations became legal ‘persons’. In exchange I’ll swap you the tip that you might find Cornish ‘cost book companies’ a line of enquiry (I have no idea what the conclusions might be, that’s why I’m curious as to what you think).

ETA: ninja’d by jesalin and axe, word for word!

ALW
ALW
4 years ago

@guest

You’re welcome! I should probably clarify that, for an event attended by over 1,000 people, only 7 guys approached me afterwards (although I hope that there were at least some others who just didn’t know me/feel the need to share). Of those 7, though, there were some common denominators: All of them were under 40 and all of them honestly appeared to have thought that we were past the sort of thing the speakers were talking about, and were genuinely horrified that it was still happening, on the basis that ‘it’s not right’. That, coupled with small examples I see around me every day, does give me some that at least some white men genuinely want to do what’s right and fair, even at some personal cost (one such example happened just today: I was having lunch and the ~11 year old boy at the next table looked up from his phone and asked his mother ‘what does toxic male corporate aggression mean?’. They had a calm discussion about it, with lots of ‘what do you think’ from the mother. The boy eventually came up with a pretty succinct explanation of the term, and concluded that it was not a good thing, for anyone. Just one incident and I live in a very liberal area, but nevertheless.)

The other thing I think we have to remember is that it’s not necessarily up to white men to give it up or not. Those of us non-white-men people are more and more willing to take it for ourselves, which I think is a big part of why we are now seeing the backlash in MRAs/Trump. From what I can see, progress tends to be two steps forward, one step back, which is painful and frustrating and not fair, but ultimately we *are* moving forward. For example, a couple of years into my corporate career, my aunt, who was in her 60’s at the time, took me aside and very seriously told me to never, ever be afraid to go for that promotion. I was perplexed because to me it was such a ‘duh’ thing. It wasn’t until my mother chimed in and said ‘they don’t even think about that anymore’ that I realised that, for their generation, it had not been a duh thing, it had been something they really needed to overcome, both in the world and in themselves. Their generation was fighting to be allowed to speak in meetings at all, my generation is building on that to make sure that, when we do speak, we get the same space as everyone else to do so, and this is analogous to the progress of most movements of marginalised peoples I can think of. Again, it completely sucks that it is that way, but I do honestly believe that we’ll get there in the end and that everyone will be the happier for it.

(Yes I am wilfully optimistic and naive.)

guest
guest
4 years ago

🙂 I usually think people are BS-ing me when they express interest in my work–srsly, who’s interested in eighteenth century English economic history? I used to TEACH economic history, I know it’s dull! But youall have no reason not to be sincere, so….

Also I know Adam Smith is a much bigger deal in the US than in England–the English have pretty much never heard of him. When I mention him in talks I typically get a sea of blank looks, so I usually say ‘Adam Smith, you know, THE DUDE ON THE £20 NOTE’ and I swear half the audience reaches for their wallets to look. (I’ve been told he’s on the £20 because he’s from Kirkaldy, which is where Gordon Brown is from.)

And I mean it when I say ‘without exception’–in preparation for giving a talk specifically about Smith’s work at a conference a few years ago I read pretty much everything written about him to date, and not one single author relates his economic work to the actual economy of the time, which is, of course, what Smith drew on to develop his theories.

So anyway, by popular demand I’ll write a little more about cryptocapitalism, the origins of the joint-stock company, and the detrimental effect of the latter on the former a little later, as well as provide some further reading (I’d love to cite my own stuff, but prefer to keep my anonymity–though tbh anyone who REALLY wanted to track me down could probably do it now).

Alan, I think you mentioned this before, and I did have the chance to look them up (I happened to be at Geevor last year, and talked to some of the folks there about it)–it looks like cost book companies were one of many ways groups of people attempted to form extralegal cooperative businesses during this unsettled period in English economic history (between the passage of and repeal of the Bubble Act)–another example is the traditional way to finance a ship in 1/64 shares. In the first quarter/half of the nineteenth century ‘corporate law’ seems to have been pretty random; it looks like a crap shoot whether a court would agree that you could transfer shares, have limited liability, act legally on behalf of a corporate body, etc. And just for Alan I’ll mention a case I’m currently writing about, Small and others v. Attwood:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Iron_Company#Corngreaves

More later 🙂