Comments

  1. blf says

    (This is a slightly-edited cross-post from the Political Madness All the Time thread.)

    White supremacist Richard Spencer faces barrage of protest at Florida speech:

    ● Majority of audience stands and chants throughout white nationalist’s talk
    ● Spencer: You are trying to shut down a dissident intellectual

    [… M]inutes after he began to talk, the majority of the crowd of hundreds in the auditorium stood together, raised their fists, and started chanting “Go home Spencer! Go home Spencer!”

    For the next hour, most of the crowd stayed standing, booing and chanting over Spencer’s remarks as he angrily compared the crowd to a mob and to immature preschoolers who aren’t ready for ideas that might get a bit challenging.

    “You can’t hide,” the audience chanted back at him, “You support genocide!”

    Over the screams and boos, Spencer answered a series of audience questions but spent much of his time berating the crowd, many of them University of Florida students, for heckling him.

    […] He reproached them for not appreciating the most important free speech event of your lifetime.

    […]

    Spencer did have supporters in the auditorium […]. The front two rows of the auditorium were filled with two lines of white men in white shirts, some with Nazi-era “fashy” haircuts that are popular among the alt-right.

    Along with this group of about 20 supporters, who repeatedly stood to give Spencer a standing ovation, there were a few other scattered pockets of Spencer backers in the crowd who cheered him and his fellow white nationalists onstage.

    But these dozens of supporters were probably outnumbered by the media in the room to cover the event, and far outnumbered by hundreds protesting inside and outside the auditorium.

    […]

    You think you shut me down, but you didn’t, Spencer told them before he left the stage. The world is not going to be proud of you.

    […]

    In a phone interview after his speech, Spencer called the event “certainly frustrating”.

    And also, Anti-racists rally against Richard Spencer (Al Jazeera edits in {curly braces}):

    Chanting “No Trump, no KKK, no fascist USA”, protesters marched on the University of Florida’s (UF) Gainesville campus to rally against a speech by white supremacist Richard Spencer.

    […]

    Inside the auditorium, the audience booed as Spencer took to the podium […].

    [… A] flustered Spencer replied: Y’all aren’t tolerant. Y’all aren’t anything! Y’all are full of s**t. You all are acting like animals and the communist antifa that you are.

    […]

    Mitch Emerson, a community organiser who was involved in planning the “No Nazis at UF” rally, said protesters were voicing their opposition to “a group that poses imminent threat of violence”.

    “I’ve seen a lot of controversial speakers,” he told Al Jazeera.

    “To me, that is an important part of the campus experience.”

    “But there is a big difference between someone {holding controversial views} and saying we need to ethnically cleanse the country.”

    […]

    Emerson criticised [UF’s] decision to spend the large sum of money [$600,000] on security for Spencer and his followers.

    “I understand the need for security. But why are the students’ tuition dollars and Florida’s tax dollars going toward subsidising this?” he told Al Jazeera […].

    Instead, Emerson argued that UF should have denied a permit for Spencer and used the funds for legal protection against a potential lawsuit.

    […]

    Inside the auditorium, Spencer was joined by well-known white supremacists Mike Enoch, a podcaster who is also known as Mike Penovich, and Eli Mosley, leader of Identity Evropa.

    […]

    “They have been trying to have Charlottesville 2.0 and 3.0 since {August},” said [the outreach director of the SPLC, Lecia] Brooks, “and now they are trying to regroup because they received bad media with the death of Heather Heyer.”

  2. Saad says

    Ugh, that photo!

    In the Book of Enlightenment Values, the atheist deity Martin Luther Gandhi Voltaire has clearly said white people promoting genocide have the right to encourage ethnic cleansing safely. We must happily sacrifice the welfare of our families for their freedom of expression.

    The person with the green-shirted arm is equivalent to Hitler!

  3. vucodlak says

    To expand on my first comment:
    The person who posts explicit threats to kill you and your family after you post “fuck Nazis” is a Nazi. The people who say “don’t call Nazis Nazis!” are centrists, who are, as we all know, the smartest people in the room.

    When the Nazis show up to make good on their threats, the people who do the killing are the Nazis. The people who hold your arms and say “remember, if you hit them back then you’re just as bad as they are, and then where does it stop” while the Nazis do it are centrists, who are, as we all know, the smartest people in the room.

    When the Nazis finish with everyone else and turn on the centrists, the ones screaming “hey, wait a minute, they really are Nazis!” will be the centrists, who will finally be the smartest people in the room. Briefly.

  4. StonedRanger says

    I read your comment, saw the picture and thought ’nuff said there’. Then I kept going and I was all ‘but wait, there’s more’? Well said all around.

  5. Pierce R. Butler says

    The closest the event came to violence happened shortly after the attendees left the Phillips Center and returned to the streets. On the outskirts of the crowd, I couldn’t tell what specifically was happening except that a large knot of people had formed around some purported Spencerite, and suddenly the chant changed from “Our Streets!” to “No Violence!”

    The nearby line of beige-clad state troopers “Quick Response Force” made no move to intervene, so the threat must not have looked too bad from up close; things calmed down thereafter. Part of the crowd chased off after another Nazi, and I decided it was time to hike the mile-plus back to my truck in the nearest available parking lot (lots of streets and businesses closed in G’ville today). Fortunately, most of the day stayed cloudy, since water bottles were part of the extensive list of items forbidden by law enforcement in the protest area.

    Only one arrest was reported, of some fool that a media organization had hired for “security” who tried to bring a firearm through the overwhelming police presence (at least 500, including five helicopters, at least two drones, officers from cities and campuses across the state, Fla Nat’l Guard [reported, but not seen by me], and the state Fish and Wildlife Commission). Overall costs certainly exceeded the $600K reported in local media.

  6. kaleberg says

    I liked the take on this over at the Eschaton blog:

    http://www.eschatonblog.com/2017/10/the-bigger-issue.html

    —-

    Is over the past several decades, our discourse progressed something like this:

    Guys, the’re racists.

    Sensible Center: No, they just believe the very important science that suggests that black people are stupid. Also, crime and poverty. Black people are poor and get arrested a lot and stop&frisk is not racist so stop saying that. QED

    Guys, they’re white supremacists.

    Sensible center: No, they’re just celebrating the very important heritage of the Confederacy, which is their history, even in places like Pennsylvania and Ohio, which were very important Confederate states. I don’t see any actual Klan hoods. Maybe they are white nationalists, which just means they want to preserve their culture. QED

    Guys, they’re Nazis.

    Sensible center: Actually, I don’t see much evidence (some, but not too much) of anti-Semitism, which seems to be an important feature of Nazism, right? I mean, the obsession with George Soros and the word globalist is simply political. Obviously they have some views about race which liberals don’t support, but it isn’t racism, and it certainly isn’t Nazism.

    Nazis: hey, uh we’re Nazis.

    Sensible center: No, I really don’t think you are.

    Nazis: No, really, we’re fucking Nazis. Heil Hitler! Check out my Nazi tattoos! We’re Nazis!

    Sensible center: This is disturbing, but Stalin was bad, too, so, really, both sides.

  7. unclefrogy says

    no one in the year 2017 can claim they do not know what the Nazi party is or what it advocates there are grave yards all over euorpe that are a testament to what they advocate. It is not just the obvious antisemitism and racism but world domination and annihilation of any and all who stand in there way. They have had their day and have been convicted by history so fuck them and their free speech bull shit.
    Spencer should be billed for the added security costs incurred for his safety.
    His very appearance to speak in such a venue in 2017 is an incitement to violence
    uncle frogy

  8. hemidactylus says

    I have identified as left of center. I hate Nazis. The alt-whiteward slant of the Dumspter
    Fire makes me a raving Marxist by contrast, but casting centrists as jackboot thugs is disgusting. At this point when Dubya is trashing xenophobes and nationalists and Skidmark keeps tweeting crazycrap from his Oval Orifice I am all upside down about everything.

  9. militantagnostic says

    Saad @4

    The person with the green-shirted arm is equivalent to Hitler!

    Well, he does have his arm extended in front of him.

  10. hemidactylus says

    Burn bridges or seek consensus? Outgrouping people who still have points of agreement with your cause even lukewarm is politically defeatist. Perfect agreement necessity reduces effectiveness. Honey versus vinegar. Seriously folks that is a thing. Trashing or shaming centrists and demanding lockstep absolute purity is doom.

  11. Pierce R. Butler says

    Correction to my # 7, via a Reuters report at Raw Story:

    … there were a few scuffles that left five people with minor injuries, the university said in a statement.

    Two people were arrested, including a man hired as security for media for illegally carrying a firearm on campus, the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office said. Another man wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with swastikas emerged from a crowd of protesters with a bloody lip. …He appeared to have few supporters in the crowd. About 15 white men, all dressed in white shirts and khaki pants, raised their hands when Spencer asked who identified with the alt-right … One Spencer supporter appeared to have been sprayed in the face with an irritant.

  12. unclefrogy says

    @13
    no!
    not in 2017
    not in regards with anything nazis have say
    they do not have any points to make that have not been said before and have been found wanting and have been proven time and again to be fabrications.
    no one is seriously asking for flat earthers to be given equal time.
    there are too many grave yards full already.
    uncle frogy

  13. emergence says

    blf @3

    Wow… there’s a disturbingly large amount of bullshit just in those brief snippets of quotes from Spencer.

    First, he’s not an “intellectual”. Spencer’s ideology is built on cherry-picked bullshit and unsupported opinions, not actual research or scholarship.

    Second, his ideas aren’t “challenging”. Racism is a simple-minded, self-serving belief system that ruins the lives of anyone who isn’t part of the favored group. The audience is smart enough to understand that, and Spencer isn’t.

    Third, enough with using “free speech” as a shield. Nazi fuckheads love to try to shut down the speech of people they disagree with, including college professors who oppose racism, so it’s hypocritical as hell to whine about how white supremacist speakers aren’t welcome. Also, the audience members were using their own speech to counter Spencer’s. Apparently free speech means not being criticized for what you say. Also also, shitheads being able to barge onto college campuses and shit on the students and faculty isn’t nearly as important a free speech issue as the press being free to print stories about those in power without being subject to libel suits, or academics being able to teach what the current body of research in a particular field says without being fired for upsetting racists or creationists.

    The world is going to be plenty proud of the people in that audience a few years down the line when/if the white supremacists try to put their beliefs into action. Opposing creeping fascism is a noble cause to undertake.

    And of course he ends it by whining about tolerance, even though tolerating bigotry defeats the purpose of being tolerant.

    The thing is, we’ve seen what fascists like Spencer actually want, and we’ve seen what they’re capable of. We know that fascist ideology has to be opposed, because they’ll murder and oppress everyone else if they’re given power.

  14. says

    @#16, Daz: Uffish, yet slightly frabjous

    On questions where there’s a spectrum or range of possible courses of action, sure. Where is the centre, though, between “let’s commit genocide” and “let’s not commit genocide”?

    How often is there really a spectrum in any meaningful sense, though? On climate change, for instance, there’s really only “let’s stop climate change by drastically cutting carbon emissions and/or do sequestration” and “let’s do nothing”. There are very few issues where there are really a range of options which are distinct; at best there’s usually a bunch of people who want the status quo, and a bunch of people who broadly speaking want the same changes but may disagree a bit on the details of how to go about doing that. People who want tiny amounts of “incremental change” basically want the status quo, and they are usually in the wrong.

  15. says

    Outgrouping people who still have points of agreement with your cause even lukewarm is politically defeatist.

    If they’re lukewarm about resisting genocide, I’m not sure we have any significant points of agreement.

  16. methuseus says

    @emergence #17:

    First, he’s not an “intellectual”.
    Second, his ideas aren’t “challenging”.
    Third, enough with using “free speech” as a shield.

    To be fair, he was enrolled in a PhD program. That can qualify him as an intellectual in a way, with the caveat that being an intellectual means jack shit except that you’ve been able to afford higher schooling than a BA or BS.
    His ideas are challenging in the sense that it’s challenging to many to not want to punch him.
    Your comments on the “Free Speech” bit are spot on. He only wants his speech to matter, not actual free speech. He actually tried to get security to remove anyone that tried a heckler’s veto. One story I saw said they announced that people would be removed, but nobody actually was.

  17. says

    @ blf
    “He reproached them for not appreciating ‘the most important free speech event of your lifetime’.”

    Ignoring the hyperbole at the end, surely appreciating free speech was exactly what they were doing!

  18. says

    The Vicar (via Freethoughtblogs) #18:

    How often is there really a spectrum in any meaningful sense, though? On climate change, for instance, there’s really only “let’s stop climate change by drastically cutting carbon emissions and/or do sequestration” and “let’s do nothing”.

    You defined both a false, status-quo-maintaining centre and a legitimate centre, in your own example. You’re right; there is no meaningful centre position between “do something” and “do nothing.” There may be, and often is, however, a legitimate centre inside the “do something” camp. Your own phrase, “cutting carbon emissions and/or do sequestration,” quite obviously presents a range of options (three basic, the middle one of which may be expanded into a ratio-based spectrum), rather than a binary choice.

    Back on the topic of Nazis; I assume we agree that “do/don’t do genocide” is a binary with no true centre position?

  19. Saad says

    hemidactylus, #10

    Trashing or shaming centrists and demanding lockstep absolute purity is doom.

    So you think expecting unconditional condemnation of white supremacy and ethnic cleansing is too much.

    Thanks for demonstrating exactly what’s wrong with centrists.

  20. Saad says

    I’ve noticed a trend here. I’ve noticed you folks seem to leave out the actual subject when telling us about purity and reaching across the aisle, etc etc.

    Try to say this exact same thing, but this time include the terms genocide, white supremacy and ethnic cleansing in each of the sentences:

    Burn bridges or seek consensus? Outgrouping people who still have points of agreement with your cause even lukewarm is politically defeatist. Perfect agreement necessity reduces effectiveness. Honey versus vinegar. Seriously folks that is a thing. Trashing or shaming centrists and demanding lockstep absolute purity is doom.

    See how you feel about your position then.

  21. rayceeya says

    I’m reminded of the character Rick from the Young Ones. Portrayed by Rik Mayall, may he rest in peace, Rick would accuse everyone he disagreed with of fascism. My favorite was an episode called Bomb. He goes to the DHS office instead of the post office and accuses the lady of being a fascist because she wouldn’t send his telegram.

    It’s a great caricature of the anarchist left. I’ve known a few screwballs like that over the years, unfortunately that’s how they are trying desperately to compare the “alt-right” and the Antifa movements. That comparison is unjust in my mind. There might be a few rabble-rousers, but there are actual nazis in the right and they are mainstreaming hard right now.

    I am not OK with that.

  22. rietpluim says

    Could someone explain why centrists are called centrists, please? Appeasing Nazi’s doesn’t sound quite centrist to me.

  23. says

    rietpluim #26:

    Could someone explain why centrists are called centrists, please? Appeasing Nazi’s doesn’t sound quite centrist to me.

    The centrist is the person who tries to act as the fulcrum in the false balance—”Well, there’s something to be said for both sides”; that kind of thing—when in fact all they’re doing is maintaining the status quo.

    Personally, I think faux-centrism would be a better term. Less easily misused or misinterpreted.

  24. Saad says

    Siobhan, #29

    Haha, yup. You have to decipher their code and leave it out in the open for all to see.

  25. consciousness razor says

    The Vicar:

    How often is there really a spectrum in any meaningful sense, though?

    It’s literally never true that any two people do (or should do) precisely the same thing, because they are never (meaningfully) in the same situation. We’re always accepting of a range of options (sometimes more broad, sometimes more narrow, with meaningful reasons why that is so), not just a single true/perfect course of action which we all must take in order to do what is acceptable. I wouldn’t recognize a human society which didn’t have features like that.

    On climate change, for instance, there’s really only “let’s stop climate change by drastically cutting carbon emissions and/or do sequestration” and “let’s do nothing”.

    That’s very simplistic. (And as Daz said, you just implied multiple options anyway.) How do we go about accomplishing the former? That type of question isn’t answered by your proposals as quoted, and we need to come up with answers of that sort. As long as people are doing something with the appropriate effects, pluralism is perfectly appropriate. Even “do nothing” implicitly summarizes a large number of different activities, although of course they’re not acceptable, so we don’t need to worry too much about them.

    What’s perfectly clear is that hemidactylus is just bullshitting with this talk of “demanding lockstep absolute purity.” That kind of all-or-nothing thinking isn’t implied by simply having some definite standards which rule out crap like Nazism.

  26. Ogvorbis: Swimming without a parachute. says

    rietplum@26:

    Could someone explain why centrists are called centrists, please? Appeasing Nazi’s doesn’t sound quite centrist to me.

    Near as I can make out, here in the US, anyone who is willing to condemn the left and appease the right is a centrist. Anyone who is willing to claim that both sides are just as bad is a centrist. Anyone who doesn’t register as Republican because they don’t go far enough is considered an undecided voter and thus a centrist. Anyone who says that Nazis may be bad but look at what the teacher’s unions do is a centrist. Anyone who considers the terms white supremacist, nazi, MRA or rapist to be unacceptable insults rather than accurate descriptions is a centrist. Anyone who considers the terms feminazi, pinko, or liberal elite to be actual accurate descriptions and not nonsense insults is considered a centrist. Basically, in the US, if a phrase is an accurate description of right wing authoritarianism, it is and insult, but any insult, no matter how untruthful, tossed to left is an accurate description. And it is the result of a half-century of incredibly effective propaganda by the wealthiest Americans and their stooges: corporate media, evangelical ministers, and right wing politicians.

    The Overton window has gone so far to the right that anyone who is even a shade to the left of Nazis but is still far right is a centrist. The moderate right is the new left wing of America. And there really is no left wing in the United States that has any actual political power. Anywhere.

    So, my cynical view is that a centrist in America is a racist, bigoted, anempathic asshole who’s only concerns are keeping what they have, keeping the have-nots down, and making sure their children still get to play the game in easy mode. They are only centrists to opportunistic politicians and bought-and-paid-for media. And are used to make the radical right more palatable.

  27. rietpluim says

    Daz and Ogvorbis
    Since we agree that so-called centrists aren’t really in the center, perhaps we should stop calling them centrists. Faux-centrist is a possibility. How about “Nazi appeaser”?

  28. Doubting Thomas says

    Ironic footnote, the Phillips Center is named for the man who donated $2M so he could have his name on it. That man was a raving racist bigot asshole who would have supported Trump and been pleased to have Spencer at “his” Center. I knew him very well, sadly.

  29. hemidactylus says

    There are people right of center who despise Nazis. Are they appeasers? When Dubya starts sounding sensible calling out nonsense going on today I realize on some issues people across the aisle have some humanity left. But go ahead and inkblot what I said above in the frame of your own narrative and characterize me as appeaser if that works for you.

  30. says

    @24, Saad

    I’ve noticed a trend here. I’ve noticed you folks seem to leave out the actual subject when telling us about purity and reaching across the aisle, etc etc.

    Yup, and one of the things I want from everyone is clear concrete examples to work with (like you gave by actually quoting hemidactylus), rather than only talking in abstract terms (like hemidactylus did). That would make everyone face the realities, and also prevent people from talking past each other.

  31. blgmnts says

    @32 Ogvorbis

    Exactly the problem.

    By extension anyone promoting classical social-democratic core values is considered a left wing radical (or at best an fantasist).

  32. says

    hemidactylus #37:

    And whereabouts did I go condoning genocide, climate change denialism or a flat earth?

    The centrism under discussion is the faux-centrism I discuss in #27. You made a comment which, on the face of it, appears to defend such faux-centrism. If such was not your intent, you may want to make it clear what you are defending, and point out where it is being attacked.

  33. Siobhan says

    @33 rietplum

    Daz and Ogvorbis
    Since we agree that so-called centrists aren’t really in the center, perhaps we should stop calling them centrists. Faux-centrist is a possibility. How about “Nazi appeaser”?

    I’m quite fond of “collaborator” myself. The fact that it makes centrists nervous is a feature, not a bug.

  34. KG says

    Where is the centre, though, between “let’s commit genocide” and “let’s not commit genocide”? – Daz@16

    Duh! It’s: “Let’s have a rational and amicable conversation about whether to commit genocide”.

  35. KG says

    When Dubya starts sounding sensible calling out nonsense going on today I realize on some issues people across the aisle have some humanity left. – hemidactylus@36

    When a mass-murdering war criminal starts sounding sensible, he’s still a mass-murdering war criminal.

  36. fernando says

    How about we call people that are not assumed Nazis, but seem to suport them, more or less openly, “quislings” or “lavals”?

  37. Ogvorbis: Swimming without a parachute. says

    hemidactylus #36:

    There are people right of center who despise Nazis. Are they appeasers? When Dubya starts sounding sensible calling out nonsense going on today I realize on some issues people across the aisle have some humanity left. But go ahead and inkblot what I said above in the frame of your own narrative and characterize me as appeaser if that works for you.

    It is very possible for someone to be a conservative and still be anti-fascist. It is very possible for someone to be conservative and still work towards effective government and democracy. The centrists being referred to here are not centrists. They use the idea of being a centrist in order to promote ideas and ideals that are beyond the pale of democracy and human rights. They use the idea of being a centrist to support the unsupportable (Oh, I don’t agree with killing all the Jews, but we have to let the nazis have unlimited access to platforms and must uncritically report what they say). They use the idea of being a centrist to oppose anything that expands the franchise, or opens the door of economic, educational, and social opportunity to all because they are afraid that if others do well, they will do less well (I like the idea of a union, but those damn labour unions are making it impossible for businesses to make money and the companies are leaving. I think that teachers should have a union but how dare the labour union expect management to actually do what they agreed to do?).

    In this thread, the centrists being discussed are those who support the status quo no matter how evil the status quo may be.

  38. springa73 says

    In the past I’ve tried (probably poorly) to defend centrism, but I have to agree that on some questions there really isn’t any viable middle ground. Either you believe in treating everyone as a full human being, or you don’t. You either oppose discrimination, or support it.

    Major public institutions really should not be giving people who support discrimination and worse a forum for announcing their views. It’s one thing to allow a person to stand on their soapbox and shout whatever they want, but it’s another thing to provide them with the soapbox.

  39. blf says

    My initial reaction on “centralist”, as construed in this thread, is someone who insists the gravity might attract, might repeal, might not exist, and is either an Illuminati or Reptilian conspiracy.

  40. says

    In this thread, the centrists being discussed are those who support the status quo no matter how evil the status quo may be.

    From that, maybe call them “status quo defenders”. It’s an accurate descriptions and less susceptible to being dismissed as a slur.

  41. ragdish says

    Do folks here agree that there is a covert alliance between the alt right and evangelical christians? Or that there is alignment with certain issues e.g. homophobia, anti-immigrant, etc? I think this is reminiscent of German christians and Nazis in the 1930s. Both were anti-Semitic, anti-communist, homophobic etc. Even if they disliked the Nazis, they disliked Jews, blacks, LGBTQ even more and turned a blind eye when the Holocaust occurred.

  42. Azkyroth, B*Cos[F(u)]==Y says

    Do folks here agree that there is a covert alliance between the alt right and evangelical christians?

    No.

    What the hell is “covert” about it?

  43. unclefrogy says

    I also like Quisling and collaborator because in this context and some others according to the definition it is collaborating with the enemy
    That is paramount if you can support democracy and have some respect for the equality and dignity of all people, the right of all people to a voice in how they will be governed then OK. If you can not do that you are an enemy of democracy, if you have some reservations with that you might be an enemy of democracy, you might be a collaborator, a quisling.
    uncle frogy

  44. consciousness razor says

    Appeaser, collaborator, sycophant, apologist … they all work fine in different contexts. For an umbrella term, I recommend muddle-headed shit dispensarist.

  45. zibble says

    A centrist is someone who sees a Nazi takeover of America and an egalitarian society as equivalent horrors. Because both are an equivalent threat to the current system from which they personally profit.

    So a centrist is someone who opposes big changes to the status quo. In other words, a *conservative*. Conservatives define themselves as the middle of our political spectrum, which then makes the regressive right-wing mainstream conservatism. The completely undeserved respect and prominence we give to these centrists is exactly what pushes the Overton window so far right that now idiots are talking about how sensible Dubya sounds.

  46. hemidactylus says

    And idiot me thought the term centrist captured mildly left Gore, the Clintons, and Obama. Centrists seek compromise, consensus, getting things done. Such things require dealing with folks you disagree with on some issues. And centric voters can sway back and forth between election cycles. Persuading them to tilt leftward involves coddling not divisive keelhauling. Well if you prefer alienating others from a narrowcasted bubble, keelhaul away. Just don’t expect much success in your endeavors.

    And centrists as I use the term aren’t the Nazi enabling type. Hence my reaction upthread. #1 vocudlak led off with disparagement of centrists and it went downhill from there.

    From another Pharyngula thread I thought emotion was a good thing and also empathizing with other (ahem NOT Nazi) POVs. Guess only so on digital paper. But maybe that is me protecting the sacred status quo that has served me so very well (sarcasm). That is why I find myself leftward of center. Also because I thing the lives of others would improve in a more socialist set up.

  47. ck, the Irate Lump says

    Seems like many centrists often toe the South Park line where those who demand change are the greatest threat of all. The right often asks that centrists change little to nothing, especially if that centrist is a white, middle-class and male. The left (or what passes for the left in America) is usually far more demanding.

  48. hemidactylus says

    58- ck
    That is a very apt criticism of centrism. Disappointingly I think Obama went weak on public option, but could ACA have passed with it? Obamacare was something of a sad mess, but the best sad mess we had so far. Health care availability in the US has a very long way to go.

  49. consciousness razor says

    hemidactylus:

    Does “left of center” mean the same thing to you as “center,” or does it not?

    If you equivocate about it, is that our problem?

    Centrists seek compromise, consensus, getting things done.

    And I seek leprechauns and unicorns. If someone is a centrists who, as PZ defined them in #2, supports Nazis, there’s no fucking compromise or consensus to reach about it. Getting that shit done is not what we ought do.

    Such things require dealing with folks you disagree with on some issues.

    Yet I still don’t give a shit about hurting someone’s feelings if they in any way support Nazis. I won’t be violent, but holding back on criticism is just not happening.

    Think about this…. These are people who you claim are all about finding ways to work together with people critical of them, those who do not agree and consequently may have harsh words to say about the bullshit “positions” centrists are apt to take. They can take it, according to you, and still muster the strength to get some manner of worthwhile shit done, since that is what they purportedly seek. (And not just, say, a comfy chair.) They are adults, who presumably know a single fucking thing about the persistent conflicts throughout our society’s history, so they understand this sort of thing just comes with the territory. They must know that when they dip their precious little toes in, they’re doing it in shark-infested waters.

    So, “alienating” them with criticism will mean either that they do not actually understand what such things “require,” according to you, or else they do not actually care about it enough to do what is required. Maybe you don’t actually care about it, assuming you consider yourself one of them, if this whole argument is just a bullshit defensive maneuver and not to be taken seriously.

    It’s still a mystery what exactly made you take offense at the notion that (1) some people somewhere are non-Nazis, (2) brand themselves as “centrists” while giving support to Nazis, and (3) thus we ought to unequivocally ridicule and denounce them just as do with card-carrying Nazis. If you don’t think that describes you or your positions, then what the fuck are you going on about? Maybe you should tell those fuckers not to use your word, since they’re doing it all wrong, but don’t fucking blame us. Then again, your use of the word might not mean much of anything in the first place — off to the left or to the right or anywhere in between — so maybe that’s where you should begin.

  50. hemidactylus says

    #60-
    Quoting myself- “And idiot me thought the term centrist captured mildly left Gore, the Clintons, and Obama…And centrists as I use the term aren’t the Nazi enabling type.”

    Have fun with yourself.

  51. Rob Grigjanis says

    cr @60:

    If someone is a centrists who, as PZ defined them in #2, supports Nazis…

    Well, that’s certainly how a lot of people in the thread are using the term, which is a weird redefinition*, but PZ in #2 wrote

    Centrists who support Nazis, Nazis. It’s half a dozen of one, six of the other.

    If he’d put a comma after the first word, you’d be right. Who knows, maybe he just forgot the comma. But assuming no typos, PZ uses “centrists” as a group which contains nazi supporters as a subgroup (although not necessarily all nazi supporters). Presumably these supporters call themselves centrists, but so what? Using “centrist” as synonymous with, or implying, “nazi supporter” is a waste of a perfectly good word. I suggest “vichyssoise”.

    *I’m guessing it comes from Atrios’ sarcastic use of “Sensible Center”, but I could be wrong.

  52. Azkyroth, B*Cos[F(u)]==Y says

    #60-
    Quoting myself- “And idiot me thought the term centrist captured mildly left Gore, the Clintons, and Obama…And centrists as I use the term aren’t the Nazi enabling type.”

    It happens. :)

    Oh, wait, you haven’t actually learned from that mistake, have you?

    Back on the topic of Nazis; I assume we agree that “do/don’t do genocide” is a binary with no true centre position?

    No, you and The Vicar don’t.

    The Vicar has made it clear that as far as he (I infer) is concerned “do genocide” and “don’t genocide” are exactly the same, except in the very special case of “don’t genocide, exactly as dictated by The Vicar.” If not as dictated, then The Vicar will march to the gas chambers loudly insisting that the genocide would have happened anyway and his active embrace of it on the grounds that he couldn’t be guaranteed that “don’t genocide” would happen exactly as he dictated it shouldn’t be used to draw any moral conclusions.

  53. consciousness razor says

    Rob Grigjanis:

    If he’d put a comma after the first word, you’d be right. Who knows, maybe he just forgot the comma.

    I read “centrists who do X, [they are Y]” as equivalent to this:
    “For that set of centrists in which it’s true that they do X, [they are Y].”

    It would be a very different statement without the word “who,” claiming flatly that “centrists support Nazis, [they are] Nazis.” That would be all of them, without qualification, as they are to be understood as morally equivalent by virtue of their support.

    But it’s not all centrists™, only the ones who do. It makes no implicit or explicit claim about those who don’t. That’s what the “who” does, specifies the ones who do and not those who don’t, and no comma is necessary for it to function that way.

    But assuming no typos, PZ uses “centrists” as a group which contains nazi supporters as a subgroup (although not necessarily all nazi supporters). Presumably these supporters call themselves centrists, but so what? Using “centrist” as synonymous with, or implying, “nazi supporter” is a waste of a perfectly good word. I suggest “vichyssoise”.

    Hold on, you just said two different things. The claim is that they contain a subset which matches the description. That doesn’t mean it’s the trivial subset consisting of the entire set, which is what I would take to be “synonymous with” that set or “implying” it (trivially).

    So what? Well, since there exists such a subset, we can describe it adequately as “centrists who support Nazis,” without wasting any perfectly good words.

  54. Rob Grigjanis says

    cr @64: What you wrote was

    If someone is a centrists who, as PZ defined them [who’s the “them” being defined?] in #2, supports Nazis…

    which clearly, if not elegantly, says that PZ defines centrists as nazi supporters. Now you’re saying that’s not what you meant? OK.

    Hold on, you just said two different things.

    I read PZ as saying that some of those who identify as centrists are nazi supporters.

    Using “centrist” as meaning or implying “nazi supporter” (i.e. not what PZ said) is a poor use of “centrist”.

    Yes, those are two different statements.

  55. davidc1 says

    On Mano Singhams page there is a video clip that shows the guy who was punched being hugged by a big black man .
    He asks if this is the way to treat neo nazis?

  56. consciousness razor says

    [who’s the “them” being defined?]

    The same as “someone,” the subject of the sentence — namely, any person satisfying that condition. If they support Nazis, then they qualify. If not, then not.

    It was given that we were also talking about centrists, but then we have to say something extra about that specific group of centrists which does satisfy this additional condition of supporting Nazis, since not all of them do. (It’s rather obvious that not all do, and I think that’s where a charitable reading should’ve lead you in the first place. But in my experience, you’re not usually reading my comments charitably, for reasons I don’t understand.)

    I would’ve said the same things about rodeo clowns who support Nazis, but we weren’t talking about rodeo clowns. And for the record, there is no comma preceding the word “who” in a phrase like “rodeo clowns who support Nazis” which isn’t claiming it about all rodeo clowns. If a comma were there, then it would do the opposite of what you claimed, since it would form an appositive phrase.

    For example, “atheists, who eat babies, will burn in hell” informs you that they all eat babies and will all burn in hell. Just like “Bob, who teaches me yoga, eats babies” — Bob is identified as my yoga instructor; likewise, atheists as a class would all be identified as baby-eaters in the previous case. In contrast, “atheists who eat babies will burn in hell” specifies only the baby-eating type of atheist and tells us those atheists will burn in hell, while telling us nothing about anybody or anything else.

    which clearly, if not elegantly, says that PZ defines centrists as nazi supporters.

    No, I’m sorry the use of “them” was ambiguous, but then of course it’s not the case that it was clear, as evidenced by the fact that you asked for clarification. If I had said “PZ defines all centrists as Nazi supporters,” that would’ve been clear but also wrong.

  57. Azkyroth, B*Cos[F(u)]==Y says

    Quoting myself- “And idiot me thought the term centrist captured mildly left Gore, the Clintons, and Obama…And centrists as I use the term aren’t the Nazi enabling type.”

    That would be true were that use of the term “centrist” not in the process of being superseded by its use by people who “I’m a CENTRIST!” as a fig leaf for not taking sides between those advocating genocide and those telling the genocide-advocaters to sit down and shut up, which isn’t actually all that different in effect from explicitly supporting the genocide-advocaters.

    Have you really failed to notice this phenomenon? Or are you just being willfully obtuse?

    In either case, what you’re doing here is as ridiculous as trying to shout down every criticism of “Libertarian” policies and attitudes with “WHAT DO YOU HAVE AGAINST LIBERTY?!”

  58. hemidactylus says

    #68-
    I see the preloaded characterizations abound in “obtuse” and “ridiculous”. Nonetheless I have not been aware of such superseding misappropriation of “centrist”. Such usage is wrong just as people shelter their biases behind “liberal”. I’m not about to abandon that term either. Centrist and liberal are perfectly good terms and I will continue to use them both unapologetically.

    The genocide binary isn’t exactly a topic for debate I would expect to come up in a policy debate amongst healthy minded individuals. So I didn’t expect this strange association with what I have long thought to be centrism. Any nutcase proposing such a binary should be shouted down, censured, and ostracized. I wouldn’t expect the binary of do/don’t do political re-education camp either for loony propositions that have absolutely nothing to do with the centrism I defend here. YMMV.

  59. Rob Grigjanis says

    Azkyroth @68:

    That would be true were that use of the term “centrist” not in the process of being superseded by its use by people who “I’m a CENTRIST!” as a fig leaf for not taking sides between those advocating genocide and those telling the genocide-advocaters to sit down and shut up, which isn’t actually all that different in effect from explicitly supporting the genocide-advocaters.

    Gosh, I wasn’t aware there was a process, other than the one I’ve seen here, which simply consisted of a bunch of folk using “centrist” as a synonym for “nazi supporter”. Name a dozen people who use “I’m a CENTRIST!” as a fig leaf. Until now, apparently, millions have been using it as a descriptor for, say, the Clintons, Obama, etc.

    Have you really failed to notice this phenomenon?

    Ah, first a “process”, now a “phenomenon”. And if you don’t notice it, there’s summat wrong with you. Do fuck off, sunshine.

  60. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @hemidactylus: Many people have been told to fuck off over the course of years here at Pharyngula. That on its own doesn’t cross a line (though it might be evidence of crossing a line if someone were, for example, to tell people to “fuck off” for claiming sexism exists).

  61. hemidactylus says

    #72- Crip Dyke
    Fair enough. I thought it detracted from the larger points he was making. I admit to venting frustration a bit offline. But I struggled to keep it there.

  62. Azkyroth, B*Cos[F(u)]==Y says

    though it might be evidence of crossing a line if someone were, for example, to tell people to “fuck off” for claiming sexism exists

    Or in this case, where the little armpit stain decided to jump down my throat for explaining to hemidactylus how he (I infer) and most of the rest of the thread were talking past each other instead of just berating him.

  63. Rob Grigjanis says

    “little armpit stain”. Priceless! And almost as charming as you apparently thinking people can’t read what you actually wrote six comments ago.

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