Register a SA Forums Account here!
JOINING THE SA FORUMS WILL REMOVE THIS BIG AD, THE ANNOYING UNDERLINED ADS, AND STUPID INTERSTITIAL ADS!!!

You can: log in, read the tech support FAQ, or request your lost password. This dumb message (and those ads) will appear on every screen until you register! Get rid of this crap by registering your own SA Forums Account and joining roughly 150,000 Goons, for the one-time price of $9.95! We charge money because it costs us $3,400 per month for bandwidth bills alone, and since we don't believe in shoving popup ads to our registered users, we try to make the money back through forum registrations.
«106 »
  • Locked thread
Geokinesis
Jan 22, 2012

*snort*


icantfindaname posted:

british MP is not a meaningful position of power. see Brexit for example

You say that like he didn't actively campaign for brexit.

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

TheDeadlyShoe
Feb 14, 2014

pretense is my co-pilot

Uh....Fly tipping?

Geokinesis
Jan 22, 2012

*snort*


TheDeadlyShoe posted:

Uh....Fly tipping?

Like cow tipping but smaller.

Selachian
Oct 9, 2012

This avatar brought to you by the Lowtax Bonitis Fund.


TheDeadlyShoe posted:

Uh....Fly tipping?

Illegal trash dumping. Our British cousins refer to a waste dump as a "tip," and the "fly" refers to running away after you perform the act.

The Dark One
Aug 19, 2005

I'm your friend and I'm not going to just stand by and let you do this!


some libertopian posted:

Growing up in the seventies and eighties I heard the liberal mantra like a synthetic drumbeat. “The ends don’t justify the means.”

From every drippy Norman Lear sitcom to every self-important episode of “Hill Street Blues,” Hollywood lectured us that superior people held to their principles, even if they didn’t like the outcome.

Groups like the American Civil Liberties Union walked the walk by fighting for people’s right to freely associate and express themselves, even when they despised those very same people, like neo-Nazis in the famed Skokie, Ill., case. These liberals fought oppression so we may have relationships of our choosing, assemble, contract with each other, speak freely, live together, or love one another openly. Liberals fought institutionalized oppression designed to keep free people separated. They called it the civil rights movement. And we rightly celebrate it.

So, what the hell happened to all those honorable liberals?

Today’s progressive force epitomizes just the opposite — the ends justify everything — from campus speech codes, to using a “phone and pen” to bypass lawmakers, to mandating relationships with health insurance companies against our will. And now a push to raise the minimum wage. Conservatives squawk against the minimum wage because it increases unemployment, stifles economic growth, promotes inflation, hurts small businesses and denies needed experience for those trying to improve their lives. All true by the way.

But, honorable liberals should stand up to minimum wage laws because it infringes on our innate right to freely associate. It prevents us from having relationships we choose to enter into; associations we desire for reasons that satisfy ourselves, not others. If past slavery and involuntary servitude laws forcing people to work for another were abhorrent, current laws that prevent free people from working for one another must at some level also be repugnant (yes, angry letter writers, not nearly to the same degree).

Let’s take up a thought experiment. Ginger is building her small, home-based accounting company. A neighbor, Maryanne, is a stay-at-home mom whose children are entering school, meaning she finally has some time to devote to developing new skills. Ginger can afford, say, only $5 an hour for the help she absolutely needs to grow her fledgling business. Maryanne wants to learn accounting, and for her a flexible schedule and no work commute are more important than a higher wage. While important, money is not the sole factor or even first in our employment decisions. Minimum wage laws are based on the absurdity that money is the one and only thing that every single one of us value most from our job.

Like all other consensual relationships, Ginger and Maryanne want to be together for reasons that satisfy them individually, or else they wouldn’t agree to it. Others might not understand their “perverse” values, needs or desires. But should that stop Ginger and Maryanne from being together? So, if Ginger and Maryanne wanted to have sex, there’s a literal parade to celebrate them. If they wanted to sell videos of their sex act, the ACLU would defend them. If they wanted to cohabitate, or marry, or start a business, or buy property together, they now can, thanks to generations of civil-rights warriors.

But if one is willing to work for the other at a wage some people think is unreasonable, or even obscene, they can’t, thanks to the bigoted Left. Imagine if Republicans abolished the minimum wage when they had the chance, and oh did they have the chance. Today liberals would have to make the odd argument that government has a role preventing adults from consensual relationships in the workplace while also protecting it in the bedroom.

Let’s call the minimum wage what it is: an un-American attack on our personal relationships and a violation of our civil liberties — an institutionalized hate. Apparently, liberals only care about protecting consensual relationships when people are naked.

100 degrees Calcium
Jan 22, 2011



The real treasure in that editorial is found in the comments and replies from "John Galt" a self-described "Individual Human Rights Activisit" who equates slave labor with principles and describes minimum wage as slavery (protip: it's not how low the wage is that makes him think it's slavery)

Deptfordx
Dec 23, 2013


Selachian posted:

Illegal trash dumping. Our British cousins refer to a waste dump as a "tip," and the "fly" refers to running away after you perform the act.

As in https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=meOCdyS7ORE

Bryter
Nov 6, 2011

but since we are small we may-
uh, we may be the losers



Imagine being the kind of person who thinks the golden age of the ACLU was when they were defending Nazis, Ollie North, and tobacco companies...

MaxxBot
Oct 6, 2003

you could have clapped

you should have clapped!!


This is my least favorite type of person, people who wrap themselves in a cloak of progressivism to spout bigoted opinions. She cites racism and sexism over and over and repeatedly plays the victim, all in defense of terrible anti-LGBT views.

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices...r-a7403016.html
How can Juno Dawson call herself a feminist when she's labelling women as TERFs?

quote:

There were furrowed brows last week, in response to a column by author Juno Dawson in Glamour magazine. Dawson identifies as a transgender woman. In a column entitled, “Call yourself a feminist?”, she refers to feminist academic Germaine Greer as a “TERF” explaining that the acronym means, “trans-exclusionary radical feminist.”

Dawson tells readers that TERFs are: “A subgroup of feminists who steadfastly believe me – and other trans women – are not women.” Explaining how this is an issue, Dawson says: “The key battle ground between TERFs and trans women is the issue of toilets. Yes, my right to do a little wee or poo is, apparently, major political battleground.”

In saying this, Dawson makes light of some women’s concerns, while at the same time suggesting that such concerns are only held by an extremist minority. In fact, many women are uneasy about the presence of people who were born in male bodies appearing in spaces previously reserved for biological females, for a variety of reasons. The majority of these women would not identify as radical feminists, and not one would label themselves a “TERF.”

The term is actually an exonym – a term used to describe a third party that the third party neither recognises, nor uses itself. It’s generally seen as a slur, and since the publication of Dawson’s column, women have objected to the label via social media, and in personal blogs. The controversy should be no surprise to Dawson or Glamour, as the term has been contentious since it was coined.

Deborah Cameron, a sociolinguistics professor, explains that we can reasonably decide if a word is a slur by asking certain questions such as, “Is the word commonly understood to convey hatred or contempt?” and, “What other words does the word tend to co-occur with?”

Cameron looked at a collection of tweets in which the term TERF is used and noted, that it, “quite often shows up in the same tweet as other words whose status as slurs is not disputed, like ‘b*tch’ and ‘c**t’. Other words that occur more than once or twice in these tweets include ‘disgusting’, ‘ugly’, ‘scum’ and a cluster of words implying uncleanness (‘smell’, ‘stink’, ‘garbage’, ‘filth’)—which is also a well-worn theme in racist and anti-Semitic discourse.”

It’s unsurprising then, that women object to the term. The negative connotations mean that those with similar views and concerns to those labelled “TERF” will be reluctant to speak up, for fear of being similarly tarnished. Women who are maligned by this label are also then isolated by it.

Dawson’s description of TERFs as a “subgroup” of feminists compounds the idea that these are the views of a few hardline zealots, and therefore unrepresentative of women generally. In reality, many women are afraid of men following them into women’s toilets. There’s no way of knowing if the man identifies as a woman, and just needs a wee – or if he’s about to sexually assault them.

This fear stems from the numerous times women have been assaulted. In May this year, a man was sentenced to two years in prison for sexually assaulting a woman in the female changing rooms of a leisure centre in Cork. In November last year, an 18-year-old girl was sexually assaulted in a nightclub toilet in Watford, and in March last year, a woman was sexually assaulted by two men in public toilets in Staffordshire. In September this year, a man was given a suspended prison sentence for filming a nine-year-old girl on the toilet, in a McDonald’s in Birmingham. Of course, these were men, rather than transgender women – but the source of some so-called "TERF"'s fear has to be acknowledged if it is to be assuaged.

But it’s not just about toilets. Expanding the entry criteria so those who identify as women can access women’s surprise sex crisis centres, domestic abuse shelters, and other spaces where women may be vulnerable, means an increased risk of assault, because men – not just transgender women – will have easier access, being able to walk into these spaces unchallenged.

Getting too aggressive with the term "TERF" can inhibit personal conversations between women about subjects such as periods, pregnancy, childbirth, the menopause, miscarriages and stillbirth. Already, women are finding themselves censored and corrected when recounting their own experiences. Breastfeeding becomes “chest feeding,” vaginas become “front holes,” and there are no pregnant women, but, “pregnant people.” Instead of talking freely among themselves, women’s language can sometimes end up policed, even though the source of women's oppression often has everything to do with their bodies and their reproductive systems. It's easy to see why many women kick back when they're told to relabel their own bodies, especially if they have been victims of vaginal surprise sex, traumatic birth or other oppressions which rely on that person having been born in a female body.

Suggesting that such concerns are exclusive to a subgroup of feminist fanatics is disingenuous and shuts down the potential for open conversation and understanding. Dawson’s assertion that women are simply upset about “my right to do a little wee or poo” deliberately undermines the validity of women’s concerns, mocking their genuine fears.

In writing this column, Dawson continues the age-old tradition of dismissing women’s fears as hysteria. The title even questions women’s credibility as feminists. “Call yourself a feminist?” it asks. I’d like to ask the same question of her.

The Vosgian Beast
Aug 13, 2011

Business is slow

http://www.theblaze.com/contributio...ving-like-this/

Via something my stepmom posted on facebook

SMILLENNIALSMILLEN
Jun 26, 2009





MaxxBot posted:

This is my least favorite type of person, people who wrap themselves in a cloak of progressivism to spout bigoted opinions. She cites racism and sexism over and over and repeatedly plays the victim, all in defense of terrible anti-LGBT views.

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices...r-a7403016.html
How can Juno Dawson call herself a feminist when she's labelling women as TERFs?
Breastfeeding becomes “chest feeding,” vaginas become “front holes,” and there are no pregnant women,

Abandoned Toaster
Jun 4, 2008


quote:

Many undergraduates, their fawn-like eyes wide with astonishment, are wondering: Why didn’t the dean of students prevent the election from disrupting the serenity to which my school has taught me that I am entitled?

Campuses create “safe spaces” where students can shelter from discombobulating thoughts and receive spiritual balm for the trauma of microaggressions. Yet the presidential election came without trigger warnings?

The morning after the election, normal people rose — some elated, some despondent — and went off to actual work. But at Yale, that incubator of late-adolescent infants, a professor responded to “heartfelt notes” from students “in shock” by making that day’s exam optional.

Academia should consider how it contributed to, and reflects Americans’ judgments pertinent to, Donald Trump’s election. The compound of childishness and condescension radiating from campuses is a constant reminder to normal Americans of the decay of protected classes — in this case, tenured faculty and cosseted students.

I like to laugh at overly-sensitive teens too but this guy seems to have a real hate-boner for those elitist wussy youth of today.

http://nypost.com/2016/11/20/colleg...g-trumps-point/

business hammocks
Aug 20, 2006



Total Clam

Abandoned Toaster posted:

I like to laugh at overly-sensitive teens too but this guy seems to have a real hate-boner for those elitist wussy youth of today.

http://nypost.com/2016/11/20/colleg...g-trumps-point/

Much like knowledge of Nixon's relationship to Harvard, the knowledge that 18-year-old George Will was declined admission to Yale describes much of the adult man's peculiar obsessions and petty grudges.

He is a total stinkyhole who the world passed by sometime between 2004 and 2008, but there he is writing to his nonexistent Connecticut blue-blood audience like it's 1973.

Nick_326
Nov 2, 2011

History's Latest Monster


"How one 31-year-old paid off $220,000 in student loans in 3 years"


quote:

Back home in Joliet, Illinois, Horton took a job as an operations manager at the nonprofit her mother runs. The salary was comparable to what she made in DC, but the cost of living was drastically less. She increased her student-loan payments, setting the lofty goal of paying them off entirely in a year.

Horton and her boyfriend tied the knot soon after the move. Horton's mother gave the couple a condo that she had purchased at an auction for $13,000 as a wedding gift. It became crucial in wiping away the hefty student-loan tab.

Horton and her husband lived in the condo for three months, but then they decided to move in with her grandparents down the street and started renting out the condo to bring in extra income.

quote:

To anyone who feels overwhelmed by the prospect of taking on student loans — or paying back any debt they've incurred — Horton has a simple message: "I just want them to feel empowered that they can pay if off. If I can do it, anybody can."

It's that easy!

World Famous W
May 25, 2007

The sheep "Baaaas" balefully.

Grimey Drawer

Well poo poo, that's where we hosed up. Should have known ya just needed a condo you received for free to rent out. Also a good paying job from nepotism. Seems so simple now.

Edit: can't figure out how to copy from this phone (ha), but love the part where they mention they were only making the low payment each month of 10K. Such an easy and obvious solution really.

World Famous W fucked around with this message at Mar 20, 2017 around 05:19

Teriyaki Hairpiece
Dec 29, 2006
leading helpless teens astray

Why did they have any student debt at all when they could've just paid for school with a summer job and maybe a few shifts at the dining hall?

Ytlaya
Nov 13, 2005



This sort of thing is one of the few things that makes me genuinely angry and disgusted. Like, I can't even begin to comprehend the mindset that would lead to someone thinking that article and its conclusions are reasonable, especially if the person involved isn't rich (though I imagine they usually are pretty well off if they believe stuff like this is reasonable). Like, I can sort of understand someone coming to that conclusion without the details, but the article specifically lists all these huge advantages this girl had that normal people don't have access to.

This reminds me of my friend from college who got this really nice internship with JPMorgan Chase after his junior year and told me that he believed it was because of how bold he was during his interview. I asked him if he had prior work experience. He said "not much" and I asked him to elaborate and he mentioned doing an internship at some hedge fund that he got through a connection of his (ultra rich) father's. I said "well I imagine having a really good internship after your sophomore year probably gave you a bit of an advantage there" and he said "maybe but I don't think it was that important."

I believe that the biggest cause of this sort of thinking is that wealthy people are afraid that acknowledging their huge advantages will diminish their accomplishments.

edit: loving lol, check out this other article by the same author: http://www.businessinsider.com/teac...r-saving-2017-1

Anyone could become a millionaire as long as they have enough money to buy and sell real estate aside from their own house/apartment! Also, does it even make sense to refer to teaching as their main job if they're obviously make way more money through real estate?

Ytlaya fucked around with this message at Mar 20, 2017 around 06:25

ErIog
Jul 11, 2001



Ytlaya posted:

I believe that the biggest cause of this sort of thinking is that wealthy people are afraid that acknowledging their huge advantages will diminish their accomplishments.

Anyone could become a millionaire as long as they have enough money to buy and sell real estate aside from their own house/apartment! Also, does it even make sense to refer to teaching as their main job if they're obviously make way more money through real estate?

In my experience it's less that people are afraid of diminishing their accomplishments and more worried about being perceived as not having worked hard enough.

You'll hear this really often from well off people. "Oh, these people, they act like rich people don't have to work for anything, but that just isn't true.." because they willfully misunderstand the points being made about privilege in America. The same thing happens with white privilege. You can find zillions of comments like, "Lol, yeah white privilege exists, like I'm not busting my rear end every day."

There's a very very deep belief in American culture that if you work hard then you deserve however much you make, and people who "don't work hard," deserve to lie down in the street and die. This is how the middle class justifies their meager economic security, and how the very rich justify ridiculous wealth. Just like everybody believes they're an "above average driver," or "smarter than most people," everybody also tends to believe, "I work harder than most people so... " and it results in them not feeling bad for whatever classes are beneath them.

At the very top you'll get a lot of them to actually acknowledge some measure of privilege like, "yeah, I'll admit I got into <insert Ivy> because of my family, but that's a tough school. I had to work hard. I've had to work hard at Goldman Sachs."

It's all "just so" stories and Just World fallacies because otherwise they'd have to come to terms with the fact that pretty much everybody works hard, and the people who work the hardest are the ones that are starving. If they were to realize that they might realize the inherent problems of capitalism, but that kind of thinking is very much "Here be dragons," territory in terms of political discourse. The idea that starvation, in a world that produces a surplus of food and that is ruled by fiat currency, is simply a problem of distribution rather than a lack of available capital never occurs to them.

ErIog fucked around with this message at Mar 20, 2017 around 08:31

BarbarianElephant
Feb 12, 2015
The fairy of forgiveness has removed your red text.

Privileged people often ignore their privilege because they are not comparing themselves to people who had to work three jobs while putting themselves through community college. They are comparing themselves to their peers - other privileged people. If you work hard to get that Goldman Sachs job while your childhood buddy with an even richer father just lazes through life smoking pot and leeching off his parents, you naturally congratulate yourself on being a hard worker. You don't realize that your "intense" working day (plus business lunch) is an afternoon at the spa compared to how the poor have to work because you don't really know any poor people.

People are pretty blind outside their own little social circle. Actual struggling people included - Trump got a lot of votes from people who naively thought he was incorruptible because he was already so incredibly rich that he could not be tempted by more money. They had no more idea of how actual rich people think than rich people know how poor people think.

Ytlaya
Nov 13, 2005


BarbarianElephant posted:

Privileged people often ignore their privilege because they are not comparing themselves to people who had to work three jobs while putting themselves through community college. They are comparing themselves to their peers - other privileged people. If you work hard to get that Goldman Sachs job while your childhood buddy with an even richer father just lazes through life smoking pot and leeching off his parents, you naturally congratulate yourself on being a hard worker. You don't realize that your "intense" working day (plus business lunch) is an afternoon at the spa compared to how the poor have to work because you don't really know any poor people.

People are pretty blind outside their own little social circle. Actual struggling people included - Trump got a lot of votes from people who naively thought he was incorruptible because he was already so incredibly rich that he could not be tempted by more money. They had no more idea of how actual rich people think than rich people know how poor people think.

Yeah, this is a major element. A large portion, if not most, of wealthy people literally don't have a single person in their social circles who isn't also either wealthy or at least financially secure*. In college I remember some of my friends legitimately being confused that I couldn't hang out with them at restaurants/bars due to the cost (which could easily run 50+ dollars since we were in NYC), and in the case of the friend I mentioned I think he just assumed that getting help from relatives in finding internships/jobs is the norm.

That being said, I still feel like you'd have to be a god drat moron to not realize that most people don't live like that. I can understand having a somewhat distorted view of the average person's finances (for example a lot of my peers thought that 60-70k was a normal starting salary in most professions/regions and didn't realize that only applied to a relatively elite minority of jobs), but it seems like you'd still have the sense to realize that your standards of living while making six figures are not the same as those of the average American.

I think in most cases it's not so much that they don't know other people live differently, but that they just choose not to think about it. It's easy to only think about the people you directly interact with and never let your mind wander to anything else.


* As a side note related to this, I actually found that the biggest differentiating factor wasn't so much the amount of money a person's family had as the sort of jobs they're involved with. I noticed that there wasn't much of a difference between the person whose parents were literal multi-millionaires and the person whose parents were both college economics/finance professors. While I'm sure the latter person was at least upper middle class, I think that the most important thing is that both of those people have a clear understanding of how to navigate within "well-paid professionals" (for lack of a better term) circles. I think that someone whose parents were born poor and made their money through owning a business wouldn't necessarily have the same benefit as someone who had less money but had parents involved in a field like finance, law, etc.

So I think there are a few important distinguishing factors when it comes to money/careers. In terms of importance, it's probably something like this:

1. People who primarily make their money through ownership of capital vs. Everyone else
2. Financially secure vs. Not financially secure (i.e. does the person ever have to reasonably worry about money, assuming they don't make excessively stupid decisions like buying multiple houses)
3. Involved in a "professional" career vs. Involved in a more "isolated" career that doesn't involve connections to a bunch of other well-off people

Ytlaya fucked around with this message at Mar 20, 2017 around 16:55

dont even fink about it
Oct 9, 2005

The right reading for this is the one I'm giving.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opin...461a1b#comments

quote:

It is apparently not enough for some of the liberal-minded to help those on Medicare and Social Security; now people must be guaranteed eligibility for heaven as well. Or at least be protected from those who believe in the other place.

At a contentious confirmation hearing last week for Russell Vought as deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget — generally not known as an institution with theological job requirements — Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) took vigorous exception to an online post Vought had written claiming that Muslims (and, presumably, others) who “have rejected Jesus Christ” therefore “stand condemned.”

...

In all the complexities of theology and metaphysics that this topic raises, I am utterly confident of one thing: No one has ever asked, “What is Bernie Sanders’s view on this?” But he has offered it. In justifying his opposition to Vought, Sanders said: “This country, since its inception, has struggled, sometimes with great pain, to overcome discrimination of all forms. . . . We must not go backwards.” Thus liberal fairness is applied on a cosmic scale. Ending theological bias is the final civil rights frontier. Equal salvation for all.

"Of the many evils of civil rights and equality, the ultimate is taking offense at a guy who hates all Muslims."

How in the sam-gently caress is this poo poo getting printed in the Post

Theris
Oct 9, 2007


dont even fink about it posted:

How in the sam-gently caress is this poo poo getting printed in the Post

This right here is why I don't have a subscription to Wapo or the NY Times. They do good and sometimes great journalism, but goddamn their op-ed pages are a wasteland of dipshittery and evil. Until they fix that they'll never see a dime from me.

Shalebridge Cradle
Apr 23, 2008




dont even fink about it posted:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opin...461a1b#comments


"Of the many evils of civil rights and equality, the ultimate is taking offense at a guy who hates all Muslims."

How in the sam-gently caress is this poo poo getting printed in the Post

I thought Bernie was Jewish and that Jews don't believe in hell.

I'm not a theologian but this seems pretty consistent.

fishmech
Jul 16, 2006

~death to capitalism~
Chrome OS is shit
Every DSA is a cop



Shalebridge Cradle posted:

I thought Bernie was Jewish and that Jews don't believe in hell.

I'm not a theologian but this seems pretty consistent.

Ehhh some Jews do, some Jews don't. The most orthodox absolutely don't, but Bernie would hardly be classed as Orthodox.

Shalebridge Cradle
Apr 23, 2008




fishmech posted:

Ehhh some Jews do, some Jews don't. The most orthodox absolutely don't, but Bernie would hardly be classed as Orthodox.

Fair enough, like I said not a theologian.

Pikavangelist
Nov 9, 2016

There is no God but Arceus
And Pikachu is His prophet



Shalebridge Cradle posted:

I thought Bernie was Jewish and that Jews don't believe in hell.

I'm not a theologian but this seems pretty consistent.

The only thing I know about afterlife beliefs in Judaism is "do you really think God would make a world THIS lovely be the only world?".

dont even fink about it
Oct 9, 2005

The right reading for this is the one I'm giving.


It's bad enough being lectured on left and right-wing extremism by a right-winger from an apartheid state, but the main problem is that he doesn't even have his facts right.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/outl...m=.056d25fa4501

President Trump, in part, was right. There is blame to go around for the unrest in Charlottesville. There is fear, intolerance, demonization and growing hatred on both the extreme left and the extreme right. But despite what Trump has claimed, repeatedly, in his public statements since the tragic events there, the willingness to employ organized violence to achieve political goals remains a signature quality of only one side. And it’s not the left.

Extremism on the left is real. It can be seen in attempts to stifle the free speech of conservative speakers on university campuses (as at Middlebury and Berkeley); in the belligerent attitudes toward corporations and capitalism expressed, for instance, by some fringes of the Occupy Wall Street crowd and anti-globalization protesters; and among anti-Zionist movements that peddle conspiracy theories (such as the contention that Jews control U.S. foreign policy) to delegitimize Israel. Yet all of this falls well short of the methodical, organized and strategic violence and incitement embraced by right-wing extremists, whose leaders profess faith in the necessity of the fight. Nothing the left can do today even comes close to that — and hasn’t for decades.

Although the American left was never as fully at ease with revolutionary violence as were its European counterparts (who were reared on Robespierre and Marx), it often took up arms. Labor unions battled constantly with railroad barons, industrial tycoons and mining bosses during the Gilded Age. Even while outnumbered and outgunned, usually by private armies that enjoyed the backing of law enforcement and state militias, workers fought in bloody clashes that left dozens dead on battlefields such as Chicago’s Haymarket Square (1886) and West Virginia’s Blair Mountain (1921).

The New Deal helped calm labor-management tensions, but for many younger activists who came of age in the postwar era, violence remained a key strategy — even a way of life. Inspired by the Black Panthers’ embrace of violence for self-defense, and enraged by the escalating war in Vietnam, antiwar protesters from New Left organizations such as Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) sought to “bring the war home” to end the fighting abroad. This concept culminated in the rioting during the 1968 Democratic convention and on university campuses. Radical offshoots including the Weather Underground and the Symbionese Liberation Army took things even further: The former bombed government buildings, and the latter committed homicide, robbery and, famously, kidnapping.

But since the 1960s, left-wing movements in the United States (and in the West writ large) have gradually turned away from violence. There are three main reasons for this.

The first is practical: It backfired terribly. The Vietnam War protesters initially believed that their country was beyond redemption, so a revolution was imperative. This alienated the general public, helped unify a deeply divided conservative movement and emboldened Richard Nixon’s “silent majority.” Violence proved counterproductive to ending the war; if anything, it helped prolong it. The leaders of the New Left, who consciously distinguished themselves from the “liberal center” through their obstinate allegiance to a romantic revolutionary spirit, eventually admitted this. Tom Hayden, a founder of SDS and a lifelong social justice crusader, later expressed regret over his uncompromising positions. And Mark Rudd, a leader of the Weather Underground, sounded an unequivocal mea culpa. “Much of what the Weathermen did had the opposite effect of what we intended,” he conceded. “. . . We isolated ourselves from our friends and allies as we helped split the larger antiwar movement around the issue of violence. In general, we played into the hands of the FBI. . . . We might as well have been on their payroll.”

The left’s second reason for rejecting violence was even simpler: There were better ways to get things done. The civil rights and feminist movements showed that nonviolent protest could achieve tangible political goals. When the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. made the case for civil disobedience in his Letter From Birmingham City Jail, it was not based only on ethical principles of Christian brotherly love but also on shrewd political calculations. “The purpose of our direct action program is to create a situation so crisis packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation,” King wrote. By provoking a crisis of conscience for ordinary Americans, civil rights leaders made the political system work for their cause, leading to the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act and other anti-discrimination laws. The lesson: There was no point in challenging the legitimacy of a government that enabled them to accomplish many, albeit not all, of their goals through the democratic process.

The third and most important reason for giving up violence can be found in the new makeup of the American left. Emerging out of the rubble of the 1960s, the modern left, which coalesced around George McGovern’s quixotic 1972 presidential run, effectively represented a gathering of fugitives. African Americans, Hispanics, women, gay men and lesbians, Native Americans, and workers: These long-ostracized groups, which came to replace the New Deal coalition anchored by the white working class, were the very peoples against whom violence had been done for so long. Their painful histories made them instinctively averse to, and intolerant of, political violence. Those who had survived lynchings, beatings, bombings, sexual violence, forced removals and economic exploitation were least disposed to employ them in return. In 1972, those groups were often on the far left, but they eventually became the spine of Barack Obama’s electoral coalition.

Although the American left’s transition away from violence was as much a strategic choice as a moral one, the seeds of violence are still embedded in its historical consciousness. That is why lone-wolf attackers like James T. Hodgkinson , who shot and critically wounded GOP Rep. Steve Scalise during a baseball practice in June, and occasionally violent groups such as antifa, which have clashed with right-wing protesters, are worrisome. But they are not the same as their counterparts on the right. Antifa is mostly anarchist in nature; its members are suspicious and dismissive of the left’s embrace of government institutions. More important, it is loosely banded, disorganized and low scale. Brawling on campuses, throwing rocks or vandalizing property is reprehensible and illegal. But it is incomparable to the scope and breadth of organized violence demonstrated by the extreme right.

While the far left has distanced itself in recent decades from political violence, the far right has headed in the opposite direction: The more activists have failed to preserve their waning political influence and achieve their goals through the democratic process, the more inclined they have become to take up arms and challenge it. The left has successfully integrated into most political, economic and cultural facets of the country, but members of the extreme right say they have been devastated by the economic effects of globalization, disempowered by multiculturalism and disenfranchised by the election of the nation’s first African American president. This sentiment has led to the rise of militia culture and violent resistance on unprecedented scales since the 1990s; it sparked the deadly standoff in Ruby Ridge, Idaho, 25 years ago, climaxed in the Oklahoma City bombing and has persisted, more recently, with the massacre of African American worshipers at a Charleston, S.C., church.

Organized militias that are well armed, well trained and well networked have seen a particular spike since the beginning of the Obama presidency. The Southern Poverty Law Center reported last year that 276 militias operate in the United States, a 37 percent increase from the previous year. Although they are not monolithic — the groups include white supremacists, Christian millenarians, Second Amendment champions and self-appointed border guards — they all revile the federal government. “Sovereign citizens” are armed to the teeth and willing to challenge officials, as they did in last year’s armed standoff at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon. Many such militiamen have killed or injured local police. They pose a greater threat than the Islamic State or al-Qaeda, according to a 2016 U.S. government report: “Of the 85 violent extremist incidents that resulted in death since September 12, 2001, far right wing violent extremist groups were responsible for 62 (73 percent) while radical Islamist violent extremists were responsible for 23 (27 percent).”

This doesn’t mean the left is inherently superior. But it has cleansed itself through a painful process of introspection. And if American democracy has any chance of convalescing from the fever of intolerance that has seized it since Trump’s election, people on the right must take a similarly long, hard look in the mirror. If not for their party’s sake, then at least for the country’s.

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

icantfindaname
Jul 1, 2008



Who needs facts when you can just snort a huge loving line of masturbatory Whig triumphalism and spray words on a page?

  • Locked thread
«106 »