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Clarissa's Blog

An academic's opinions on feminism, politics, literature, philosophy, teaching, academia, and a lot more.

A Gloomy Prediction

The events in Charlottesville will have a very bad effect on the political Left in this country. I’m sure they will also have an effect on the Right but I don’t care because I don’t belong to it. 

On the Left, though, things are going to get bad. It’s already not amazing but it’s about to get worse because now one can mow down any dissent with “You disagree? What are you, a Nazi?”, “You want freedom of speech? What, like a Nazi?”, and “You don’t like what we are doing? The other side is worse. They are Nazis!”

And yes, it’s an unassailable argument because it’s true. Whatever you do, Nazis are worse. It’s the best carte blanche there is. 

And hey, it already started. See here:

I’m sure Heather Heyer’s family would be happy if she could trade places with James Damore.

It’s 100% true, of course. And it’s also true that this shouldn’t be the extent of our options. We shouldn’t have to choose only between traitorous neo-Nazis and self-righteous privilege-scratchers. Yes, the scratchers are better but only because they are competing against the most despicable people ever. 

Being better than torch-waving, Heil-Hitlering, goose-stepping, people-killing Nazis is a low bar to cross. But to a movement that is already addicted to self-righteousness, this feeling of being on high moral ground compared even to this kind of opponent will be irresistible. Like all addicts, it will desperately look for the next fix. And since there aren’t enough Nazi protests to feed the hunger, it will manufacture Nazis out of anybody who fails to be sufficiently loud and eager in their cheering and condemnation.

This is the trap that the Left has been incapable of avoiding since the 1930s. And it lost every single time because the potency of “But at least we are not Nazis” has an expiration date.

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33 thoughts on “A Gloomy Prediction

  1. Alex the Physicist on said:

    Yep. They just got reminded that they are better than the worst people ever. And they’ll never forget it.

    God help us, because they won’t.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Fie upon this quiet life on said:

    Oh yes. It is most certainly going to get worse before it gets better — if it will EVER get better in this climate.

    I just don’t know what to do. I’m kind of thinking about leaving FB for a while. People that I’m friends with aren’t interested in reaching out to people. They just want to call names. Look, it’s only going to give fuel to the fire if we don’t enter into dialogue with the “deplorables.” I don’t know that the worst of the worst will ever be able to change, but there are people who can — and would if they weren’t regularly being told how awful they are for being a white man.

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    • I’m with you 100%. I find that even some passionate Trump supporters are willing to talk and hear things if one doesn’t hector , call them names, or act supercilious. Now would be a great moment to capitalize on the repulsion so many people feel for the Nazis and reach out. But I don’t think there will be any reaching out.

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      • Fie upon this quiet life on said:

        To say that a certain group of human beings is completely lost to evil makes me very sad. I sort of foolishly believe that people are mostly good, but often some are misguided. What I’d really like to hope is that anyone can learn to become empathetic, self-aware, and educated out of their hatred. Have you seen the film American History X from the late 1990s? It was about a neo-Nazi who reforms and tries to save his brother from going down the same path. It’s a good movie — hard to watch at times, though.

        This country is so huge, and there are large swaths of rural landscape that has nothing for people to do, and little opportunity to grow beyond what is already known. I can see why that would be dispiriting and feel hopeless. I don’t really know what to do about it, but I’m tired of hand wringing. I’d like some solutions. As I said on my FB page, I have nothing to fight with but words.

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  3. I am very afraid that you are correct about the self-righteousness of the American left. So now we have the moral authority to deprive Nazis and racists and the Alt Right of freedom of assembly and freedom of speech? And some claiming to represent the left have now proved that they are willing and able to literally battle in the streets to prevent opponents from assembling and speaking? Does that advance us in the direction of peace and understanding? Or is it the first step in the direction of another civil war?

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    • Shakti on said:

      The First Amendment is about “peaceable assembly” If you think Charlottesville was “peaceable” I wonder what you think a “violent assembly” is when it comes to Nazis and alt right.

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      • Good point. I have no doubt that the racists, Nazis and Alt Right are armed and capable of violence. They probably even welcome it. However, even though many of them were armed in Charlottesville, no shots were fired. Interesting, no? I’m not naïve, but I think that they intended to hold a peaceable assembly. However, a more or less equal crowd of opponents, many armed with sticks, shields, and pepper spray, apparently believed they had the right to prevent that peaceable assembly, and they succeeded. Where do we go from here?

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        • Dreidel on said:

          The violence was started by left-wing goons who were stupid enough to bring sticks to a gun fight. The evil white supremacists were smart enough not to shoot at the anarchists, and the police were too cowardly to do anything — and now everybody is outraged because Trump condemned the violence “from many sides”? (Yes, I know that he bit his tongue for purely partisan reasons, but that’s not the point.)

          I have nothing but contempt for the “Nazis” — the WWII variety and the cretins parading around today carrying the flags of defeated would-be nations. But all this self-righteous political nonsense that “you must immediately disavow, and loudly, only the idiots on the fringe far right” is absurd.

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          • Just as I’m trying to make an argument that not all Republicans support neo Nazis, here comes Dreidel to make sure that anything I say in this direction will now sound ridiculous.

            Ok, I won’t say anything then. If it’s so important to Republicans to be firmly identified with neo Nazis, why should I get in the way?

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            • Stringer Bell on said:

              lol. You mean the guy you banned from your blog for racist tantrums would have a soft spot for nazis? Shocker!

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            • Shakti on said:

              A better question is why Trump et al was so slow to condemn this.

              He took his own sweet time in issuing a statement, which was very bad. He had no such delays when it came to Scalise. He still hasn’t said anything about the mosque bombing in Minnesota. When that attack in Olathe happened, my relatives were wondering why the fuck he wasn’t saying anything about it. I reminded them that several other leaders at the national, local and congressional level were issuing statements so they didn’t think that absolutely nobody cared. He took an entire week to say something. This reads as “I don’t give a fuck.”

              He was endorsed by several white supremacist, Nazi adjacent parties (and before you say the crazy loons will endorse whatever party in the center is closest to the fringe, Mitt Romney and previous Republican candidates did not have these endorsements).

              Further if you look at Gorka, Bannon, Miller, Sessions, these are not people you appoint if you want to avoid being identified with alt right/Neo Nazis/white supremacists.

              On rehabilitating Nazis: https://twitter.com/cpicciolini/status/897474614703529984

              Appalled by the fact the one dude ran over 19 people? Republicans in state legislatures trying to make it legal to hit protesters with your car: The Charlottesville Car Attack Might Have Been Legal Under These Republican Proposals

              https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-extremists-program-exclusiv-idUSKBN15G5VO

              The Trump administration wants to revamp and rename a U.S. government program designed to counter all violent ideologies so that it focuses solely on Islamist extremism, five people briefed on the matter told Reuters.

              The program, “Countering Violent Extremism,” or CVE, would be changed to “Countering Islamic Extremism” or “Countering Radical Islamic Extremism,” the sources said, and would no longer target groups such as white supremacists who have also carried out bombings and shootings in the United States.

              Really, saying, “Neo Nazis are bad” is a very easy call to quickly make. What constituency is he appealing to by “both sides” nonsense in this case?

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              • “When that attack in Olathe happened, my relatives were wondering why the fuck he wasn’t saying anything about it. I reminded them that several other leaders at the national, local and congressional level were issuing statements so they didn’t think that absolutely nobody cared. He took an entire week to say something. This reads as “I don’t give a fuck.””

                • OR, it means “These are my people, my base, I don’t disagree with them, so why should I condemn?” If it walks like a duck, you know. . .

                “Really, saying, “Neo Nazis are bad” is a very easy call to quickly make. What constituency is he appealing to by “both sides” nonsense in this case?”

                • That’s exactly what I’m saying. His constituency is the folks who marched with torches and raised their arms in the Nazi salute in Charlotesville. I’m very very interested in how the post-Soviet Jews are managing to normalize this to themselves. Yes, I know they are meaningless in terms of voting patterns. But I’m desperate for a way not to detest and hate my own people. It matters to me. If this isn’t a wake up call, nothing will be.

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            • Dreidel on said:

              Clarissa, show me one word of support for Nazis in my comment. How is calling them “contemptible” and “cretins parading around today carrying around flags of defeated would-be nations” support in ANY sense of the word??

              I merely agreed with Editor (Retired) that the armed Alt Right and Nazi protesters had “intended to hold a peaceful assembly”, and that it was the Anti-Fa anarchists that started the rioting. Obviously, both groups deserve condemnation in the strongest terms — but only the Nazis were singled out for all the loud political outcries over the weekend.

              You’re equating condemning the Anti-Fa thugs as support for the Nazis. That’s a total misinterpretation of what I said.

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              • Contemptible cretins aren’t scary. This way of describing them infantilizes them. Of course, they are not scary to you. But I’m half-Jewish. To me it’s very scary.

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  4. Stringer Bell on said:

    “Contemptible cretins aren’t scary. This way of describing them infantilizes them.”

    Oh come on, Clarissa. No need to be afraid of these rascals and scamps looking for some Saturday night fun. Boys will be boys, ya know…

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    • From Dreidel’s description, somebody who hasn’t seen the footage would infer that a group of silly little neo-Nazi boys came out for an innocent little prank when a crowd of thugs, armed to their teeth and with no sense of humor for this innocent childish entertainment attacked them violently, ramming a car into them, killing somebody and wounding a bunch of people.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Stringer Bell on said:

        You know, I think it would be a mark of shame for a country if a group of nazis marched on the streets, and nobody came out to protest them.

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      • Dreidel on said:

        I fully agree that Nazis should be protested — but deliberately turning the protest into a violent riot is counter-productive, and such action only hurts the cause of the left.

        You’ve said that yourself repeatedly on this website, Clarissa, so you shouldn’t be twisting my words now.

        Like

  5. “it’s very scary.”

    Fear is the mind killer. What’s called for is clarity.

    Like

  6. Stringer Bell on said:

    lol did you catch his meltdown at the press conference? Went back to ‘both sides’, actually defended the rally the night before (‘The jew will not replace us’ torch rally), equated george washington with stonewall jackson and robert e. lee.

    Just lol.

    The dog returned to its vomit.

    Like

    • Yeah, I missed it. What a piece of trash. But hey, once again, this is his base, these are his unqualified, enthusiastic supporters. Why would he betray them?

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      • Stringer Bell on said:

        One more thing. Centrist liberals coined the term ‘alt-left’ to smear the bernie wing of the party, and now Trump just repeated that.

        Hope they’re proud of themselves.

        Like

  7. Stringer Bell on said:

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  8. Stringer Bell on said:

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  9. Stringer Bell on said:

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