How I Changed My Mind about Conservatism, Part II

I knew my side had problems. The dogmatism, the self-righteousness, the condescension. But the truth was on our side and we weren’t driven by blind, bigoted hate.

And then the Kavanaugh hearings happened. I cannot overstate how big that was for me. I had been an unpopular kid at school, and to me an ululating, smug crowd hounding a person is disgusting by default. I also had to wonder if such egregious, ridiculous, obvious lies are manufactured and spread so easily, is there other stuff I had been lied to about?

After the hearings, it only got worse. There was a Kavanaugh a month, then a week, then every other day. People – often very sincerely leftist – hounded and destroyed, with incredible viciousness, by what I still considered my side. I have no idea how to describe what happened to Joseph Massey or Sarah Braasch or so many other people if not as hateful bigotry.

In a somewhat pathetic attempt to persuade myself that the other side was still worse, I did the unthinkable and turned on Fox News. I settled down comfortably and awaited a huge dose of reassuring bigotry. It never came but I didn’t give up. I started reading every author and following every online personality my side held to be an exemplar of bigotry. All I wanted was to be reassured that things were worse among my side’s political opponents.

While I was scouring these books and articles in search of bigotry, I couldn’t avoid discovering that “the other side” actually had a coherent, logical and intelligent narrative of history, politics, current events. Before, I was certain that all “they” had was “boo, let’s form a mob and go beat up some marginalized people!” And now I discovered that not only did they have an explanation for their views but that their explanation actually made more sense than ours. It was more nuanced and had fewer holes that needed to be tapped by “if this story doesn’t make sense it’s because the other guys are hateful bigots and nothing they do makes sense.”

Do you know, for instance, the conservative explanation of why leftism (liberalism, whatever) exists? It isn’t based on ad hominem attacks at all. Leftists in this narrative aren’t uniquely evil, bigoted, of hateful. They have a different understanding of the relationship between human nature and human collectivity. Different as in mistaken, not as in “they deny the humanity of everybody else.”

Actually, this thing about erasing people or denying their humanity or words being equivalent to physical violence isn’t part of conservative thinking at all. You hear a lot of, “look at the dumb stuff these leftists say, they are so stupid” but never “look at the dumb stuff they say, it’s just like murder.”

Overall, the interest in analogies (God, how I detest analogies) is much weaker among conservatives. The death metaphors, while not completely absent, are not nearly as central as they are to the Left. If a conservative starts on with “you just want to murder…” you know that what’s coming is “babies” and they are talking about abortion. (And it’s a dumb argument that will never win until it’s proponents figure that out). But with leftists, “you just want to murder” invariably means “you departed from some minor point of orthodoxy in some utterly trivial way.”

The love of hyperbole overall is much stronger on the Left. The apocalyptic thinking, the negativity, the sky-high anxiety. When was anything ever good? When was anything a positive moment? A victory? In 1968? And the guilt! To be a good leftist you constantly have to feel guilt and perform rites of abject self-flagellation. If you are male, you have to post or pretend not to mind articles and discussions about how men suck. If you are white, you learn or pretend not to mind when “white” is used as a stand-in for “bad.” If you are healthy, educated, not on anti-psychotics, not hideous, not starving, and not hating your body, you have to feel constantly, suffocatingly apologetic.

So in the end, I had to go with the movement that is more intellectually solid and goes less against my sense of self and psychological makeup.

P.S. As I write this, I got an email from my union informing me that it will try to force the administration to fire a worker who had a workplace spat with another worker who is black. And, of course, we have to assume that he’s racist because there’s no other reason coworkers can be upset with each other. I could have spared myself the trouble of writing these gigantic posts and simply posted this. I don’t know how anybody can justify being on the side of… this. And I’m ashamed I ever was.

55 thoughts on “How I Changed My Mind about Conservatism, Part II”

  1. I like it! That’s interesting, that the turning point was identifying with Kavanaugh’s experience of being bullied. Was that really the first time you saw a conservative person as a sympathetic character?

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    1. I guess so. I guess I identify with him a lot and it’s easier to see somebody sympathetically then.

      But at the same time, the only place I actually saw conservative people would be on stage in the presidential primaries. There was really no other place. So it was hard to develop an opinion.

      It sounds crazy, I know, but it’s how it was.

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      1. The thing with Kavanaugh is… even if 100% of mouse lady’s accusations were true…. so what? And is this the image of women that leftists really want to put forward – devastated for decades by what amounted to awkward teenage barnyard fumbling?
        My current problem with liberals (despite a fair amount of liberal leanings) is they can’t deal with the smallest of disagreements which is incredibly infantile…

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        1. “The thing with Kavanaugh is… even if 100% of mouse lady’s accusations were true…. so what?”

          That’s what I couldn’t begin to fathom. It was all so completely insane, so beyond any reason. . . but nobody seemed to be noticing how idiotic the whole thing was.

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          1. “nobody seemed to be noticing how idiotic the whole thing was”

            That’s the modern all or nothing philosophy of liberals… if you haven’t been 100% perfect always then your irredeemable. So age doesn’t matter, intentions don’t matter, time frame doesn’t matter, the only thing that matters is your complete conformity to current dogma (and when I say ‘current’ I mean ‘formed three seconds ago’).

            And again, what do feminists have to gain from idolizing women who seem to lack the emotional resilience of a two year old? (unless you agree with me informal theory that at the present moment feminism is preparing women for a future as scatterbrained housewives since their usefulness to capital is running down).

            Look at the uber intersectional feminist and Hillary stan from Shakesville…. she’s essentially become a stay at home housewife…

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      2. That’s such a peculiar thing! My parents are very conservative, and we grew up mostly with conservative people, but we were also friends with a bunch of liberals, ranging from garden-variety conscientious hikers who care about the environment and vote Democrat, all the way over to raving loony socialists. My parents tolerated them all: they’d been through the 70s and smoked a lot of weed together, I guess. They roll their eyes at each other’s politics, but they’re still friends. As they get old and ill, we go to the funerals.

        It is hard to imagine not knowing anyone from the other side. But I know it happens, particularly around universities, because it is difficult to have a social life if you are publicly conservative in a university town.

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        1. Conservatives is another matter, but it’s very easy to never meet a Republican or Trump supporter in many big cities. 80% of people in my city voted for Hillary. These people aren’t all liberals (we’re actually known to be relatively conservative for a major city), but moderates and even many conservatives are Democrats. As a result, there are a number of local Democratic politicians who are pro-life, or moderate in other ways. Though sadly, the county party is trying to push people like us out.

          I’m very open to being friends with Republicans and Trump supporters, but I just never encounter any. And my social circle is much more conservative than Clarissa’s. I’ve known plenty of Republicans from when I lived in a different area though.

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          1. eh, I live in a very “red” area, where there is no meaningful difference between conservative, Trump supporter, and Republican. My parents were hippies back in the day, but by the 80s they’d transformed into church members and Republicans (Dad had some kind of religious experience and became an enthusiastic Catholic convert. Mom went back to the Protestant church she grew up in, out of self-defense). But they didn’t ditch all their old hippie friends when they rejoined polite society, so we grew up around their new friends and their old friends.

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            1. You’ll see the distinction between all these if you spend time in a racially diverse Midwestern city. Hell, pre-Trump you would’ve been able to see it in many rural areas of Ohio. My grandpa is NOT a liberal, but he was a lifelong Democrat until Trump came along. Even in 2020 the Ohio Democratic party is more open to moderates and conservatives than most state Democratic parties. Our 2018 Dem nominee for governor was opposed to AWB bans, for example.

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              1. I think I know a little of what you’re talking about. My Dad, despite being quite conservative, remained a registered Democrat for a very long time, because that was the only way to vote in most of the local elections, which got decided in the primaries. Sometime in the 90s, all the “I’ve always been a democrat” conservatives finished making the transition to Republican. I understand it hasn’t happened at the same rate everywhere.

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              2. The “I’ve always been a Democrat” changeover happened much later in Ohio. In fact, I don’t think it’s over yet. Many changed over in 2016, but many of us are taking a little longer to let go. I’d bet there’s a lot of people like me who were relatively ok with the pre-Trump Democratic party but are gradually becoming horrified. Also worth noting that there are many split ticket voters who support Republicans nationally and Democrats locally, though this phenomenon is sadly beginning to fade.

                However, many moderate to conservative voters aren’t likely to make the change soon, if ever. Older black voters are the prime example of this.

                Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for your perspective. As an immigrant to the US, my story is similar to yours. For me, it was COVID and the surrounding anti-science fear-mongering that changed my mind about conservatism, and made me realize that things are much more complicated than the usual racist/sexist trope.

    I still can’t bring myself to vote Republican. I personally think we are all doomed if Trump wins. It is not his fault — but he does not have the leadership capability to get us out of this mess. The career bureaucrats are truly out of his control, and will not obey him even if he wins by a landslide. Our only hope of reopening may be if Biden wins? I don’t know at this point.

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    1. ” For me, it was COVID and the surrounding anti-science fear-mongering that changed my mind about conservatism, and made me realize that things are much more complicated than the usual racist/sexist trope.”

      Totally. I’m really glad I parted ways with liberalism before COVID or I would have gone crazy. I’m looking at the absolutely overwrought, hysterical reaction, and I’m seeing that there is a 100% overlap between the most unhinged COVID panickers and the most rabid BLMers.

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  3. If you write a post about Trump, will you refer to Trump’s offer to postphone an election?

    Rod Dreher asked “How can anyone see him as fit to hold the office after something like this? This is not just one more crazy thing he’s done. The man is trying to delegitimize the entire constitutional democracy to shield himself from the disgrace of losing re-election. Stephen Calabresi, a law professor who is a co-founder of the conservative Federalist Society, is scandalized by it. “

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    1. No, I will not be referring to tweets because… they are tweets. They mean nothing. People who react to them in any way are, in my opinion. . . OK, how do I put it respectfully? . . . not fully aware of what Twitter is.

      Note how the only objections to Trump that anybody makes any more include the word “tweet.” It’s ludicrous. A good official is the one who sends good tweets and the bad one is the one who sends bad tweets. As I keep saying, it’s the death of the political.

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  4. Do you think it’s a small thing and Rod pays too much attention to it?

    I checked and Trump is pathetically eager to present the election as ‘unfair’ in numerous Tweets. How many more he’ll send till the election day? Since even conservatives are sick of this, Trump acts foolishly.

    And then Tweets again:

    “Must know Election results on the night of the Election, not days, months, or even years later!”

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    1. Again, tweets, tweets, tweets. Who the bleep cares about the tweets? They have never translated into any action ever not once ever at all.

      In the meanwhile, why is nobody talking about the trajectory of the US dollar, which has a much greater impact on all of us than “tweets”? Or any economic issues?

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    2. Brett Weinstein makes a salient point about this. He notes that at this point, in American politics, the Left has so many automated responses that they can be played like a puppet. All someone on the right would have to do, is make a public statement that they support “the nuclear family” and pronounce it “NOO-kyoo-ler”, and they’d win. Because college-educated lefties have an automated response to that pronunciation of “nuclear” and they immediately jump in and go “It’s NOO-KLEE-ER! OMG he’s so stupid he doesn’t even know how to say nuclear! Bwaaa haha!” And as soon as they respond that way, they A) look like jerks, B) Signal their disgust with the working class, and C) Make it look like they are in fact AGAINST the nuclear family.

      This is the game Trump plays on Twitter every day. And he is winning. If you can’t see what’s going on there, because you’ve got your hackles up over his tweets, you probably also don’t realize you’re being played.

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      1. “This is the game Trump plays on Twitter every day. And he is winning. ”

        Exactly. Like trained poodles, he winks and they jump. Years of this and they have still learned nothing. Let’s say you hate the guy. Then thwart him by not paying attention to the tweeting! Don’t give them exactly what they want!

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  5. Interesting news:

    “As calls grow to defund police departments across the country, the largest police union in Florida now endorses a candidate for the first time in 8 years. It is Donald Trump over Joe Biden.”

    If anyone wants to watch the video in which PBA President John Kazanjian explains the decision:

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  6. To be fair, the Left is not what it was 10-15 years ago. For example, I used to read the New York Times regularly around 2001-2007. I thought the writing was amazing and the journalistic standard was unmet by any other publication. Then I sort of become busy with working, raising my family, learning new things for my job and I completely got disconnected from politics. I never bought into the social media craze, didn’t subscribe to any newspapers or TV channels and generally put anything politics on mute. I started following the news again during lock down. I feel like I’ve moved to a different country. For one thing, NYT is ruined. It reads like a party pamphlet, the opinion section is just trash and writing is just average.

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    1. “For one thing, NYT is ruined”

      It’s not even a news source anymore, I’m thinking maybe journalism is another casualty of the decline of the nation state. Capital doesn’t need accurate reporting about most things and absolutely does not need an informed public anymore (quite the opposite).
      Both my parents were involved in journalism to varying degrees back when it was a profession that required lots of skills (reading, writing, people skills, fact finding etc). Now all it seems to require are highly connected parents who can pay for a few years of unpaid internships and a small enough brain to not rebel at writing complete nonsense.

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      1. Journalism always dies when the power is in the hands of people who don’t know how to hang on to it. But then it resurrects. Lets hope we will live to see this glorious day.

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      2. “It’s not even a news source anymore…”

        Exactly. Don’t understand at all why so many educated Americans, even self-styled “conservatives,” are unwilling to let go of their emotional attachment to reading it – maybe it’s a class/status thing?

        For me, I first tumbled to the fact that the NYT was a woke joke when they wouldn’t reprint any of the Charlie Hebdo cartoons for fear of offending their readers. Paper of record, my fat a..

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  7. I have been following your blog for, well, before Kavanaugh.
    So if I may be so bold, I will say this:
    I follow your blog because you write clearly and express yourself very well.
    I follow your blog because your perspective is as an immigrant and in many ways similar to mine ( I am not an immigrant).
    I follow your blog, because you are (now were) an avowed Liberal, offering me a clear perspective into an educated and intelligent Liberal.
    But it became clear to me early on that you are more a liberal, in the way that the Mid-Western farmers I grew up as/around/worked for in my youth.
    Live/let live, stay true to the values expressed in the Golden Rule, in whichever religion or creed one finds this rule.
    Your more liberal values I see rooted in your “raising”, if you will, a past which had many risks to mind and overcome.
    Unstable income, fearful or dangerous or tenuous living conditions I see expressed in a favoring of unions, job security, etc.
    As we have matured, and you survived the travails you have shared here, and are enjoying the blessings you share here, you have grown to prefer stability, family, love, and community.
    I don’t see these as being Democrat or Republican, but conservative is all I know to say it with.
    At the same time, what you share has helped me to grow, to reflect, and to strengthen my preference for the “conservative” bent.
    Now, while I would prefer cool weather to hot, I doubt I will ever be comfortable standing in a snow bank barefoot, so there is that!
    Thank you, and have great weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Interesting what you would think of Israeli Right wing who are the vast majority among Israeli Jews … I still hope you’ll visit my country one summer with N and Klara, and form your own impressions.

    In America, I would’ve been a Democrat since I share many values with them rather than with the Republicans, even if I disagree with behavior of quite a few politicians.

    After reading the case below, I wanted to say at first it’s an example of unchecked by Democratic establishment activism going very wrong, but then thought those young people are playing a game instead of truly trying to help displaced families. (Btw, “just 41 of the roughly 635 families who’d been displaced at Clarksdale returned to the new development.”)

    QUOTE

    “In Louisville, Kentucky, a black social justice organization with the rather unsubtle name of BO$$ is threatening businesses in the NuLu district with public denunciation if they don’t conform to its demands, including making donations to black organizations.

    Some owners have embraced the requests, saying they recognize the area’s history and want to make their businesses more inclusive.

    But others, including restaurateur Fernando Martinez (el: a Cuban immigrant who escaped Cuba on a raft), say they take issue with how the demands were presented. Martinez dubbed them “mafia tactics” used to intimidate.”

    The story has a continuation:

    “The Louisville Cuban community and friends of the Louisville Cuban community will be gathering Sun. at 4pm at La Bodeguita De Mima in support of the local immigrant-owned business that has been subject to vandalism & extortion in recent days. ”

    Details at this link:

    https://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/bo-racial-shakedown-in-louisville/

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  9. Interesting development:

    Breonna Taylor warrant connected to Louisville gentrification plan, lawyers say

    https://www.courier-journal.com/story/news/crime/2020/07/05/lawyers-breonna-taylor-case-connected-gentrification-plan/5381352002/

    Since the article is not free, here is the relevant quote:

    // LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Breonna Taylor’s shooting was the result of a Louisville police department operation to clear out a block in western Louisville that was part of a major gentrification makeover, according to attorneys representing the slain 26-year-old’s family.

    Lawyers for Taylor’s family allege in court documents filed in Jefferson Circuit Court Sunday that a police squad — named Place-Based Investigations — had “deliberately misled” narcotics detectives to target a home on Elliott Avenue, leading them to believe they were after some of the city’s largest violent crime and drug rings.

    The complaint — which amends an earlier lawsuit filed by Taylor’s mother against the three Louisville officers who fired their weapons into Taylor’s home — claims Taylor was caught up in a case that was less about a drug house on Elliott Avenue and more about speeding up the city’s multi-million dollar Vision Russell development plan.

    Lawyer: Breonna Taylor’s death totally avoidable

    The warrants carried out in the narcotics investigation on March 13 were meant to target one of the “primary roadblocks” to the development: A man named Jamarcus Glover, according to the complaint.

    Glover rented a home in the 2400 block of Elliott Avenue in the Russell neighborhood, the filing alleges, placing it squarely in the area of the planned redevelopment.

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  10. To be fair, I grew up in a heavily conservative and Republican area, and I didn’t know how rich conservatism could be either. There’s a lot of great conservative thinking, but I rarely saw it from the people around me, or from conservative sites I read online (though I had slightly more luck with that.) The political motivations of most of the people I grew up around were an unpleasant combination of single issue abortion voting, homophobia, and Reaganomics. Fusionism was the order of the day back then. I do think I had a greater awareness that conservatives weren’t just “driven by hate” than you though. Most of the anti-abortion people I’ve known are very sincere (including my best friend, who’s otherwise pretty much an average Dem.) I had a good friend who was an intelligent religious conservative. Some conservatives are exactly the stereotype, of course (Ohio state rep John Becker is a great example), but that’s not a majority of people.

    Trump has created room for the better parts of the right to have more of a voice, but most of the “MAGA conservatives” unfortunately seem to pretty much be the Tea Party but with red hats. I really hope that the Republican party can be transformed into something better because I have no more use for the national Democratic party, but I’m not too hopeful.

    I have zero use for the current liberal movement, but I would not consider myself a conservative either, though occasionally I like to call myself “left-conservative.” If I’m a conservative, than so are 80% of people in America, and at that point the term becomes too broad. I think it’s most accurate to say I’m a moderate. Like most people, I don’t really fit in with either team.

    Not really important to any of this, but it always amuses me that while we’re quite similar politically, you were so affected by the Kavanaugh hearings while I just couldn’t care less. They bored me even while they were going on. And they don’t inspire any emotion now either. I tried to care, but I never could. For me, the only recent politically cataclysmic event has been the riots. Beyond that, I’ve just been trying to read and listen to more conservatives since 2015 (though what I found early on was awful stuff; your guidance here has been valuable), and I’ve gradually seen how awful liberals have become. While in many ways it was a big waste of time, I’m glad I’ve followed politics and elections so heavily and became involved in online Democratic communities. Many normal Dem voters like me are not tuned in and they don’t realize how much things have changed. Maybe they see how nutty the liberal media is, but they don’t realize also that the most committed Democratic party activists have a politics totally alien to theirs (I’m not just talking extremists here, but the more moderate people too.) The national party no longer has any use for working class people.

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    1. // I’ve just been trying to read and listen to more conservatives since 2015

      May you share a couple of your favorite sites, please?

      I know about Tucker on TV and Rod Dreher’s blog, but I already know what Rod’ll say before opening his webpage.

      Where can one find “great conservative thinking” on the web (not behind a paywall)?

      Actually, I would love to find more great thinking, period. 🙂

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      1. Tbh I don’t read many articles anymore apart from local news. And when I do, I find smart articles scattered around, not necessarily concentrated on any specific website (I’ve seen great stuff in the most unexpected places, and most websites are a mixed bag.) Not a conservative site (though some idiots think it is), but American Affairs is generally good. I was reading National Review for a while but I rarely do anymore so I don’t know how they are now. NYPost and Washington Examiner have good stuff sometimes (as well as dreck.) Douthat in NYT seems to have gotten smarter than he used to be (paywalled though, so I don’t read him much.) The Federalist is just about the only relatively mainstream website that covers surrogacy, and I’ve found their articles on that topic to be quite good (but I have no desire to read that site on a regular basis beyond that.) There’s a website I’ve been seeing links to lately called Unherd that looks intriguing, but I don’t know much about it.

        I do remember seeing a lot of good articles by conservatives about the post-George Floyd stuff (statues, etc.) Don’t have any links handy but it would be easy to look some of them up again if you were interested.

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        1. Thank you for the links, Demotrash.

          American Affairs looks excellent, but unfortunately permits only 1 free article per month. One of the latest articles on their site is “Neo-Feudalism in California” by Joel Kotkin which already looks promising. 🙂

          Checking The Federalist and Unherd. Thanks again!

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        2. The first name that came to mind when I saw the question about conservative thinkers was Matt Taibbi. Which shows how crazy things have become. Taibbi hasn’t really changed. The world around him did.

          But he’s been indispensable.

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          1. There are a great many left leaning and even socialist writers who I enjoy. These people are exiles among so-called “Marxists,” but they’re certainly not conservatives.

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            1. // There are a great many left leaning and even socialist writers who I enjoy. These people are exiles among so-called “Marxists,” but they’re certainly not conservatives.

              Socialist but not “Marxists”? Could you share a few good ones (that aren’t behind paywalls), please? I mean, just a few names I can google, don’t ask you to invest into another long informative comment like you gave about the conservative ones .

              I already read Matt Taibbi, don’t know others.

              Among the site I recently discovered,

              https://areomagazine.com/

              is good.

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              1. Oh, I mean the modern left rejects them, not that they are not Marxist (most self-identified Marxists are actually deeply neoliberal.) There are absolutely no good leftist websites so far as I know, but Angela Nagle and Amber A’Lee Frost often write good stuff. Frost even had a good article in Jacobin, one of the worst publications in existence: https://jacobinmag.com/2019/09/andrew-yang-universal-basic-income-ubi-betty-friedan-feminine-mystique

                Angela Nagle has a book, but do NOT read it, it’s garbage. Many of her articles are quite good though. And do not listen to the podcast Frost is on; it’s broadly awful. Personally I dislike podcasts, but if you like them, I hear this one is good: soundcloud.com/whatisleftpod. I followed Aimee Terese on twitter until she was banned and she’s much better than the average socialist. Funnily enough, I mostly follow leftists on twitter despite not being one myself.

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              2. Oh, I forgot, I am hearing some good things about a website called “The Bellows.” So maybe there is ONE good left wing website.

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    2. Riots are definitely a watershed moment. I have several people at work who used to be completely normal, sweet people. But they have become completely fanatical, both about lockdowns and the riots. Their eyes are glassy, it’s very scary. Tyey have banded together to get somebody fired and it’s scary.

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      1. Some members of my own family seem to have gone crazy 🙂 Other people, the unhinged hatred for America was already there, but now I’m no longer able to ignore it. I’m thankful for my coworkers, all of whom have remained sane.

        At this point I’m just trying to figure out what will happen if Biden wins (not that I’m voting for him) and what will happen if Trump wins. It’s hard to predict.

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        1. For my money (and I know nothing, really), these are the scenarios I see playing out:

          1) Trump wins. The left tries out revolution for real, instead of just LARPing it like they’re doing now– there’s foreign funding involved (hey turnabout is fair play, right?). Nat. Guard or other military squashes it (it’s still mosty urban hot spots), and things resume some semblance of normal functioning by the end of January. There are rumors that the current little swipes and pokes by federal agents in Portland are a dry run for this possibility.

          2) Biden wins. This could go a couple of ways.

          2a) The vote fraud that made it happen is so nakedly obvious, or appears so, that the whole country goes up like a torch. I’m told by people who know, that gun and ammo sales during the current unrest have been so brisk you can hardly buy ammo anywhere, gun shops are picked clean, and if not a single person bought another gun or bullet until manufacture and shipping caught up… inventory wouldn’t recover until July 2021. That is a hell of a lot of kindling and matches out there. I am relieved that the faction in possession of it has been quiet while the left pitches a collective adult tantrum out there. But if they think the Dems stole an election? (whistles) Remember that ground-level military is drawn largely from the working classes. And right now the Democrats are the party of the managerial elite.

          2b) The election seems to be legit. There’s a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth and possibly some localized unrest, which dies down fairly quickly. Left takes this as a cue to zoom right ahead on all the things they were doing that got Trump elected in the first place, and by 2024 the country is basically ready to elect Mussolini. Anything to throw off the suffocating yoke of rule by self-righteous bureaucrats. If we’re very very lucky, Mussolini won’t be running.

          In any case, I’ll be topping up household supplies right before the election, and plan to stay home for at least a couple of weeks, until I have some idea how things will shake out, and what the scene looks like locally.

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          1. Do you think that Trump has the interest/ capacity/ desire to shut down the riots?

            I’m starting to think the riots will remain in place for the foreseeable future. They’ll fluctuate in intensity but never fully go away.

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            1. I don’t know. I think it’s a bluffing game right now, where the cities are refusing to do anything about the riots (they could shut them all down tomorrow, if they wanted– the mayors etc are encouraging it though), because they want Trump to roll into town with the big guns and look like the Terrible Fascist Tyrant Enemy they keep telling us he is. So far, he’s not taking the bait. Meanwhile, the general public is getting restless, and slowly converting from “oh, protests are very American, it’ll die down soon” to “Holy cow isn’t someone going to do something about this?!” I assume Trump & Co. are waiting for the balance of public opinion to tip far enough over to the “STOP THIS ALREADY” side. I hope. I don’t think we’d see any of that hesitation after the election. Everything up to November is about the election.

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        2. I’m lucky that in my family everybody has an experience of living in a totalitarian regime.

          OK, this sounded very weird.

          But at least, the moment it starts looking like totalitarianism, we all feel identically repelled by it.

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          1. My parents have not been taken in by the madness, luckily. I don’t think they really get what’s going on, but they aren’t the “tear down statues of Lincoln to combat racism!” kinda people. They’re normal middle aged liberals. And despite what twitter and the media would have you think, my parents are more typical of liberals than the nutty activists are. And liberals they are; they hate Trump, they like Michael Moore, my dad even cares about all the Russiagate stuff.

            Unfortunately, I can’t say the same of all my siblings. I think being older and not considering yourself a “progressive” are protective factors.

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      2. While I don’t share all of your opinions about coronavirus, the riots did turn me firmly anti-lockdown. I’m sure lockdown does reduce the spread of coronavirus (exactly how helpful it is I’ll leave for epidemiologists to debate among themselves; it’s certainly not the most helpful or the most practical measure to take.) But scientists tend to focus very narrowly on one issue, and then fail to take other effects of what they’re proposing into account. Lockdown clearly had disastrous effects on the social fabric and must never be attempted again.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Clarissa, since you are an educator and have a small daughter, may be you’ll be interested in:

    “While a world without textbooks or homework and where getting the wrong answer is celebrated may sound like an elementary student’s fantasy, that becoming reality would damage a generation of young minds. However, that is exactly what is happening in public elementary schools.

    I recently spoke with a fourth grade teacher from the midwest, who shared her experiences of curriculum shifting from history and science and towards political indoctrination, to the detriment of students’ learning. For this person’s privacy, she will remain nameless.”

    https://thefederalist.com/2020/08/01/fourth-grade-teacher-details-how-schools-push-ban-history-and-leftist-agendas/

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    1. Imagine how useful this is for social stratification. There will be not just a gap but an abyss between the parents who are able to provide an actual education alongside this crap and those who can’t.

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  12. Clarissa, we talked a few days ago about policing developing with a nation state.

    Now thanks to Demotrash recs, I checked The Federalist and turns out a lawyer has written well on the origins of policing. (My way of choosing whom to read was going to “Contributors” page and then checking the education and the experience of the staff.)

    // We’ll Never Have Criminal Justice Reform If We Rewrite Policing History As Racist
    If the entire concept of policing were no more than slave patrolling with badges, fixing it would be impossible. But modern police departments are a product of 1829, not 1619.

    The first modern police department was formed in London, a city with zero slaves.

    Boston and New York followed London by creating the first American police forces in 1838 and 1845, respectively. As in London, race was not the issue motivating the change. New York’s population in 1840 was 94.7 percent white, and Boston’s was similar. The issue was, instead, industrialization and an increasingly dense population (class tensions and anti-Catholic sentiment were likely also a factor as the cities’ leaders feared the growing mass of urban poor.) The old policing was meant for smaller towns and was ineffective at addressing the needs of a large metropolis. But the new systems had no more to do with race or slavery than the old.

    Compare these high-minded ideals to the reality of slave patrols in the American South. In “Slave Patrols: Law and Violence in Virginia and the Carolinas,” author Sally Hadden notes that these patrols had their roots in older Anglo-American traditions, but not the modern Metropolitan Police. Instead, they harken back to an older, informal method of law enforcement, adapted for the slave-holding society

    https://thefederalist.com/2020/06/08/well-never-have-criminal-justice-reform-if-we-rewrite-policing-history-as-racist/

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    1. Exactly. Modern policing was born alongside the nation-state in France and Britain. Then it spread out. Connecting it to slavery is as ignorant as saying that milk comes from grinding stones. It’s delusional.

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      1. // Exactly. Modern policing was born alongside the nation-state in France and Britain. Then it spread out. Connecting it to slavery is as ignorant as saying that milk comes from grinding stones. It’s delusional.

        I cannot blame people for being ignorant when they have never been exposed to the information.

        I heard about modern policing being born in France and Britain right now from you. (The article mentioned London but not France.)

        I learnt about Zionism being born in Europe together with other national movements during the Springtime of the Peoples. However, nowhere there was accessible explanation of the difference between a nation state and what came before (an ancient Jewish history in Israel which I imagined as a modern nation state composed of 12 tribes).

        We live in nation states like fish in water, and it is very hard to imagine anything else. Real teaching of history would’ve made this info accessible. I feel like being taught pieces of a large picture without receiving true understanding, partly since true understanding wasn’t the point in school history lessons from pov of the system.

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