Slapping Ben Shapiro down

Little Ben Shapiro made this request of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Miss Ocasio-Cortez, I’m really excited that you’ve been elevated to that position and I would love to have a real conversation with you about the issues. You’ve noted that you think Republicans are afraid to debate you or talk to you or discuss the issues with you. Not only am I eager to discuss the issues with you, I’m willing to offer $10,000 to your campaign today for you to come on our Sunday special.

Before getting into Ocasio-Cortez’s reply, just think about that statement. It’s so patronizing — he is rich enough (why?) that he’ll pay her a substantial fee to appear on his show so he can argue with her. He is making the implicit assumption that he has something to contribute to a “discussion”. He is confident that he can debate her.

I’m just thinking that Ocasio-Cortez can and will discuss the issues without having to engage a twerp like Ben Shapiro. I don’t know what he would add to the discussion. It’s like all the creationists who want to debate me on evolution, and while my first thought is usually “ugh, debate”, I’m also wondering what makes these clueless ignoramuses think they’re even competent to talk about the subject.

Ocasio-Cortez made an excellent response.

Among the key words there are “entitled”: Shapiro certainly is feeling entitled. He thinks he’s negotiating from a position of strength, when the fact is that he has nothing to bring to the table. Except his money.

Others are “bad intentions”: Ocasio-Cortez can see right through him. Shapiro is not interested in an honest discussion. He thinks he’s found a chew toy he can bat around for the entertainment of the dull reactionaries that constitute his audience. The faux sincerity is an obvious ploy.

That tweet is a response to badgering from Shapiro fanboys. She had appropriately ignored Shapiro altogether, and here she’s responding to the hectoring crowd by telling them she doesn’t “owe a response”. She doesn’t. Shapiro is a nobody who plays no role in government, isn’t a political ally or opponent, isn’t a constituent, and is just a guy who babbles propaganda into a microphone. Guys who have an adoring fanbase of regressive men are dime-a-dozen nowadays. Yes, let’s start ignoring them instead of thinking they have some authority.

The comparison to cat-calling is apt. That’s what guys with an unwarranted, inflated conceit in their worth do.


  1. secondtofirstworld says

    First is a little bit off topic Mr. Myers but after having noticed you’re a member on Skepchick… am I the only who has trouble registering there? Their contact form doesn’t work either.

    On topic: okay so here comes my Cassandra whining as usual. It might appear to you rightfully that Ben Shapiro does not have much to contribute to the table, except there’s one large thing creeping up on you that for some reason you choose to ignore. Just this week the illiberal democracy in Central Europe has practically banned gender studies. The official reason is that such studies are not up to code with the needs of the labor market. Just so that you know, thanks to Far Eastern culture, a lot of college kids went on to learn Japanese and Korean without a practical use on the labor market.

    What does this have to do with Ben Shapiro? In regions captivated by populism that rejects Western values and embraces Christianity, Ben Shapiro has become the go-to guy on economics. Nobody cares he thinks the Earth is 6 thousand years old, for two reasons: a) in previously faith deprived regions, religious nuts from America seem like the salt of the Earth Christians (why else do you think has Romania invited Kim Davis to talk on family issues?) b) everybody who is under attack by liberals and progressives is by default a good person.

    After capturing predominantly Caucasian societies, The 700 Club, Fox News, and Breitbart are not far behind to report it back to white America how true strongholds are holding out. They don’t have to win your America, just those who think Charlottesville had some good Nazis. Of course, he can afford to be patronizing when the progressive camp is as fractured as it is.

    You know, in 2014 I had truly believed after the massive failures in keeping up the separation of powers, voters would realize that the old-new regime isn’t the solution, they doubled down. I hope I will be wrong and Ocasio-Cortez will be the flagship, not the exception to the rule. I wish Ohio wouldn’t call it so close when the GOP candidate can’t even distance himself from a pedophilia enabler, and yet it does.

    I’ve been saying this for years, what Gingrich has begun in ’94 is nothing short of promoting the idea civil rights were temporary so that minorities don’t rise up and create a socialist republic. They never stopped and the financial crisis came in their favor with accelerating job relocation from poorer white neighborhoods to somewhere else. This gave them the Tea Party and that gave them Trump.

    History is many times being taught so compressed that for many the only weak leader is Neville Chamberlain. The only bad thing though that before the actual war Germany was busy disintegrating the feeble democracies around them by pinning them down in infighting. In other words, I think the time knock Shapiro down has passed, he only has to count who listens to him, and that’s a scary lot of people.

  2. says

    Also, it’s illegal to donate $10,000 to a campaign is it not?

    (Yes, I know it’s just a minor point but I agree with the rest of what you or AOC said)

  3. redwood says

    I’m really impressed with the political acumen Ocasio-Cortez has shown so far. I keep hoping there aren’t any skeletons rattling around in her closet and what a shame that’s what it comes down to–is there anything pols have done in the past that would disqualify them for office, a la Al Franken (and what seems to be the entire GOPee, although it doesn’t count for them).

  4. zenlike says

    Of course, the rightwing loons are already crying hypocrisy, because Ocasio-Cortez has called out her opponent who tries to avoid debating her. Because a debate between two politicians vying for the same seat is of course exactly the same as a debate between a politician and some random pundit.

  5. gijoel says

    Oh Glob, it’s like those morons who insist on you debating Sam Harris. They’re never going to argue in good faith, and if they lose the argument they’ll just claim the recording was “boring” and refuse to publish it.

  6. Holms says

    The curse laid upon Cassandra was that she was never believed, no matter what she said. You take that name upon yourself, but you forgot the vital detail: Cassandra spoke the truth, while you speak bollocks. Now I know you’re going to say that my characterisation just then only proves your comparison correct – “see! I’m being disbelieved!” – but you give the game away up front with your prediction that you will be dismissed as full of shit. You are well aware that you have a well established pattern.

    Your whole thesis is that Shapiro needs to be rebutted because otherwise he will win over the Americans that things there were good people among the Charlottesvill Nazis. But this thesis is utter bilge, for one simple reason: those that look up to Shapiro and those that side with the Nazis are one and the same people. The venn diagram of those two groups is a single circle.

  7. Holms says

    Also, I have not seen any indication that Shapiro is a young earth creationist.

    I more than half expect Ocasio-Cortez’s opponent to grant the request to a debate… and then bring along Shapiro, both as an attempted gotcha to stymie OC, and also as a way to burnish his conservative cred and fire up his voting base.

  8. secondtofirstworld says

    Wow Holms, whatever happened to ad hominem? You also don’t really refute any of what I’m saying, nor do you disprove as not factual.

    The conservative right in America, especially the Christian conservatives have created and operate lobby groups that help write laws (if they don’t write it themselves) forming the world of other countries to their liking. The alt-right and the Trump administration only hitch a ride on that mechanism, with great success.

    It’s all about tribalism. Those Caucasian nations disappointed in not reaching the freedom and wealth of their Western counterparts are quick and eager for any validation that it wasn’t their fault, but that of Western liberals. Which is why Ben Shapiro is a massive star.

    That’s not saying Ocasio-Cortez should debate him, it only means don’t judge Shapiro’s confidence by his acceptance in America. For goodness sake, the ones washed out of the Trump administration are now touring Europe on how to be a champion of the alt-right.

    You might dislike me as much as you want and bellitle my arguments, but the fact remains, Gingrich started the snowball. That started the bogus case before SCOTUS on that girl not getting into the college of her choice because of Title IX, it reaffirmed Scalia and Thomas as judges hellbent on rolling back civil rights, pushed voter registration laws.

    What happens here is that an ever-growing echo chamber expands over right-leaning voters with the sole purpose of them seeing other white people winning over the ideas of 1968 that encourages them to do the same in America.

    There are two bloody good reasons the Nazis agreed to Vichy France. The first that they supported it militarily, but the second is scarier: the same people, who in 1934 was utterly convinced Germany would quickly lose changed their opinion in 5 years. They started thinking and saying maybe nonconfrontation is better. The cohesion in the society crumbled way before the Maginot Line was circumvented.

    It’s your right to believe that can’t happen in America (if you don’t count what people call the civil war), but it is dangerous to accept Shapiro is by his lonesome, he isn’t. Every authoritarian regime and illiberal democracy turns to him for soundbites. I likened the scenario to Cassandra because of the divide you live in, I experienced it for years, except 5 years ago, after relative peace it was followed up by the majority of left-leaning people joining the government conga drums in chanting their slogans, completely abandoning Western values.

    My disagreements with you don’t phase me as much because at least you have the decency of not threatening me or assaulting me for having a different opinion. I’m fearful that days like one under Nixon return, and cops and the national guards will rough up people to “preserve” the “productive society”. I’d be glad if it turns out to be bollocks, but it rarely does. I hate that.

  9. says

    I fully encourage Shapiro to run along to any country where he’s considered the “go-to guy on economics” to proposition people with his $10,000 (just as long as he doesn’t presume he’s owed a response to his smarmy, unsolicited offer there any more than he is here).

  10. lotharloo says

    Shapiro is also blatantly dishonest. What’s the point of a debate with a dishonest hack with no morals? He will simply repeat the same old memorized zingers, talk fast and with confidence which for his illiterate base is the same as competence. To be honest, debating Jordan fucking Peterson is a more useful waste if time than that.

    But I love her response. It is so goddamned good and strong. Finally a Democrat who we can be happy to support as opposed to the usual weak and useless ones.

  11. mirrorfield says

    @2: The Offer was to “a charity of your choice”, not “PAC or campaign of your choice”.

    My personal view is that Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s views are very much the same old communism that is currently inflicting “Maduro Diet” on people of Venezuela and deserve a thorough, public debunking. Slamming Shapiro is the equivalent of shooting the messenger. Gender, race and sexist catcalls are simple red herrings on her refusal.

    Thus, let us remove at least some of those:

  12. consciousness razor says

    Ocasio-Cortez isn’t running against Shapiro. Anthony Pappas is the Republican candidate for the NY 14th district. It seems he almost certainly won’t win, by the way, although I’m not sure if this is actually your concern.

    What would be the purpose of debating some other dude who, if I’m not mistaken, still resides in California and has nothing to do with it? Does it really sound to you like this is letting the Nazis win or some shit? And if so … what the fuck?

    I guess you think there’s some other discussion to be had, somehow involving both Newt Gingrich and Neville Chamberlain, among others. No offense intended, but your writing style is usually a little bewildering to me…. Try to express the main point in a few relatively short, simple statements or questions. If possible, leave the disorienting kaleidoscope of perspectives and reflections and interpolations for another time, when it won’t interrupt or confuse the basic issue that you wanted to address. That may help to overcome the apparent language barrier.

  13. hunter says

    Sort of an aside, as far as debating creationists or the likes of Ben Shapiro: I remember once reading on TalkOrigins about not debating creationists, because they can pack more BS into five minutes than you can unpack in an hour.

    Same here.

  14. laurian says

    Of course no one with iota of integrity would appear anywhere near Mr. Shapiro but the fact he brazenly suggested he would commit a crime is the real issue here. It sums up the grifter cabal squatting in the White House.

  15. ck, the Irate Lump says

    Holms wrote:

    But this thesis is utter bilge, for one simple reason: those that look up to Shapiro and those that side with the Nazis are one and the same people. The venn diagram of those two groups is a single circle.

    Not quite. I believe Shapiro is Jewish, so plenty of Nazis hate him (plenty of antisemitism was aimed at him from the Charlottesville participants). That doesn’t mean the rest of his followers aren’t fascists or proto-fascists, though.

    secondtofirstworld wrote:

    That’s not saying Ocasio-Cortez should debate him, it only means don’t judge Shapiro’s confidence by his acceptance in America.

    What could AOC possibly gain by debating Shapiro? Nothing. There is nothing she could gain from it — his listeners aren’t interested in hearing what she has to say, only in hearing Shapiro destroy her on air. Furthermore, Shapiro’s dishonest method of “debate” involves a Gish Gallop which is enhanced by his rapid method of speaking (i.e. before you can process what he’s said in his last talking point, he’s already moved onto his next one).

    What could Shapiro gain by debating AOC? Plenty. It not only promotes his own brand as a legitimate source of newstainment, but also increases his level of influence on the right. In the established Republican circles, he’s still little more than an internet weirdo. This would help elevate him out of that.

    I’m fearful that days like one under Nixon return, and cops and the national guards will rough up people to “preserve” the “productive society”.

    You don’t need to call in the national guard these days — the police have been granted enough toys that they can do it with far fewer qualms. Just look at how many relatively peaceful public demonstrations turned into riots after the police decided to forcefully break them up with tear gas grenades.

  16. unclefrogy says

    She is running in the 14’th district of N.Y correct why should she want to engage with someone who is not in her district? Especially one of his character and reputation.
    She has granted some interviews with the news and spoken at events for other candidates. She does have a message and principles and aims and seems focused on delivering them to those who might be able to respond to them in a positive way. She is trying to accomplish things she is not just looking for a fight with the assholes of the right.
    That was the best response to a bullshit “offer” I ever remember hearing. Brief clear and to the point without any unnecessary spin or euphemisms.
    She is just the beginning!
    uncle frogy

  17. msm16 says


    This statement in and of itself proves you have no knowledge of the Soviet Union, or what AOC is calling for. You could take that comment and replace all the proper nouns with different fruit and it would have the same meaning. Like really… Saying social democracy is equivalent to Venezuela… That is quite possibly one if the dumbest fucking things I have heard in a long time; and we live in the Trump era.

  18. jefrir says


    Just this week the illiberal democracy in Central Europe has practically banned gender studies. The official reason is that such studies are not up to code with the needs of the labor market. Just so that you know, thanks to Far Eastern culture, a lot of college kids went on to learn Japanese and Korean without a practical use on the labor market.

    Which illiberal democracy in Central Europe? What, exactly, are you talking about? What has people learning Japanese and Korean got to do with anything, and why would that not be useful on the labour market?
    What do you mean by “faith-deprived regions”? When you refer to “Caucasian nations” in #8, do you mean the actual Caucasus, or a euphemism for white?

    There are two bloody good reasons the Nazis agreed to Vichy France. The first that they supported it militarily, but the second is scarier: the same people, who in 1934 was utterly convinced Germany would quickly lose changed their opinion in 5 years.

    I… do you mean the French Nazis, here? Because I’d assume it was fairly obvious that the actual Nazi party didn’t think Germany was going to quickly lose by 1939.

    Trumpetting yourself as a Cassandra would be more effective if you made it clear what the fuck you’re talking about.

  19. jefrir says

    Also, please avoid the term “tribalism” when what you mean is, say, “political infighting” or “xenophobia” – it has pretty racist implications for people who are still members of actual tribes, such as American Indians.

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

    Wow Holms, whatever happened to ad hominem?

    It started to be habitually abused in an intellectually and regular dishonest fashion as a term of abuse aimed at any rebuttal whose tone one doesn’t like, as you’re doing here, and thus lost all meaning?

    You also don’t really refute any of what I’m saying, nor do you disprove as not factual.

    You haven’t supported your claims. It is not others’ responsibility to disprove your unsupported claims, it is yours to support them in the first place.

  21. petesh says

    @1: Ben Shapiro has become the go-to guy on economics.

    Uh, no. Not for anyone with two brain cells to rub together. Even fascists.

  22. secondtofirstworld says

    @consciousness razor #12:

    Actually, if you “check the tape”, int the 18th and 19th century it was quite common for financial backers to debate candidates, for one simple reason: before Bust that trust, they represented the hybrid of democracy and capitalism with what is called networking today. It was of course also an audition for the candidate why he should have been chosen instead. Of course a lot of times that was charade, an Italian or Irish Catholic never had a fair shake in WASP land, much less minorities.

    No, it’s not a language barrier, but an empirical one. The point I’m making here is that we’re yet again in the 1930s. Local bozos stir up trouble who ignore until it becomes revealed they accept favors for a quick access to power. For example, Pétain felt slighted after WWI and his bitterness could be fueled to the point he sold out his country. Your troublemakers and ours have the same favor granters with an aversion to sushi. The discussion to be had is that we can’t ignore Guernica anymore. I’m not implying liberals and progressives should globalize, our local issues should be solved first, but that they don’t act independently.

    In short, there are some economically powerful but socially underdeveloped countries so behind in civil rights they believe Western values to be a distraction derived from the time-consuming democratic process. So these countries, in essence, do the same thing the Germans have done in the ’30s, seed distrust and destabilize. Shapiro is just one piece on the board.

  23. secondtofirstworld says

    @ck, the Irate Lump #17:

    I can’t believe I’m agreeing with Holms, but Shapiro being Jewish is, unfortunately super irrelevant. If you have ever heard the term Birobidjan, that the nicest neo-Nazis and neofascists make themselves look nice. It’s a region in Russia where Stalin has resettled Jews in place of ethnic Koreans and Chinese in front of Manchukuo as a buffer zone. Due to the neutrality pact, collaborationist fascist Russians couldn’t venture into the USSR, so they burnt a huge swastika to intimidate them. Long story short, Birobidjan is about giving up Israel and resettling there, where they super promise would never touch them until the end of times. The only Hasidic Jewish group buying into this idea are the same ones who’re invited to every Holocaust denial conference. If you had seen Religolous, I’m talking about those guys.

    I will admit something here and now: I have a bigger experience with lackeys being appointed to positions of power than with ones elected. However, Trump’s administration is the first where positions are given by the strength of the vacuum (I’m guessing you know which motion I’m implying here). The more people like Shapiro is left to their own devices they might find themselves in a high position. Not because he deserves it but because they let people believe we’re elitist afraid of confronting them. Just for fun, why shouldn’t it be Wallace Shawn? For starters, he’s Grand Nagus Zek, so who better to represent predatory capitalism? He’s also the clown vending machine, so who better to represent broken a** libertarianism? Jokes aside, he’d be ideal.

    I was talking about the national guards as only they can be used in a statewide emergency (not that being out of jurisdiction has ever stopped cops from shooting a person).

  24. secondtofirstworld says

    @jefrir #21 and #22: Erm, tribalism has more than one meaning without racist implications. An example: A nation is surrounded by others but has a diaspora in the neighboring countries. That society can be both nationalist and tribalist because “erecting an umbrella above their diaspora” enters that country’s territory. The difference is, as can be seen now between Colombia and Venezuela, that nationalism may easily lead to expulsion or forced population exchange (despite both being war crimes. Offering protections for minorities abroad is just tribal, it does not seek population or territorial exchange.

    The secretary for the Ministry of Human Resources claimed the ùasters degree has been revoked because it doesn’t fit with the needs of the labor market. I countered that with college kids learning a language they won’t use for work. I’m talking about a handful companies being present and if you’re familiar with the Far East then you know that knowing the language alone is not enough, applicants must know the rigid societal and corporate cultural structure. Therefore, about 5 of 100 graduates find work that way. So if the flexible response had truly mattered, they’d revoked way more courses, but don’t, they’re being untruthful.

  25. secondtofirstworld says

    Azkyroth #23:

    Then I have a question for you too: does the term bollocks a) proof of unsubstantiated claims and b) a term to propel a conversation forwards? Holms actually likes to dismiss everything I say right out of the gate. It was an acknowledgment of that.

    Furthermore, it’s not a negative and positive statement. One can and should provide counterarguments, regardless how substantiated they are. Otherwise, every talk would boil down to “what you say is bollocks and I don’t like your face”. Just like when Holms says but you don”t quote “you know you have a well establish pattern”. Problem is, that has never been presented by anyone else, but him, otherwise known as a confirmation bias, you know when you don’t like someone.

    That’s why I didn’t like that tone, and conclusively you haven’t contributed much to it either. That’s not equal to “I have no interest of what you’re saying”. Civil tone doesn’t exist because you and I can’t have a sh*tty day. It exists to put such things aside and further the conversation so that we can reach a conclusion. What he disregarded are two things: one is something you’re free to disregard, I’m rarely wrong on predictions, provided of course sufficient info is present. The second, a lot of things you deal with now I’ve dealt with almost 2 decades ago. Neither Holms nor you can 100% claim, based on lack of precedent, that this current society will react just as democratically as it did 50 years ago.

    The people who most felt hurt and betrayed after the financial crisis weren’t ones who had their American Dreams fulfilled. The whites among them started to gravitate toward the Tea Party and their wacky candidates. Thanks to gerrymandering the districts the populations are large blocks of white people. So as much as the media was blasted for only ever interviewing them, most communities aren’t as diverse as cities. You can subscribe to the idea, that a progressive civil rights law is enough, but MLK didn’t think so, he knew that without exposure (preferably mutual) even the noblest of ideas can’t translate to human relations. Not being exposed to communities other than your own for a long time is something I know.

    Yes, lambast me for that too being confirmation bias, though I disagree. The members of the majority who felt cheated by the promised prosperity hate compassion for that reason. The alt-right tapped into this. The anger of being left out, that minorities are still being helped when they lose jobs left and right. I do not subscribe to the idea but I know the circumstances which create them. This is why they can accept Milo being gay and Shapiro being Jewish, they say what they want to hear, namely that Ocasio-Cortez will take their hard earned money to support a system with low to no return. It’s mostly not true, but it doesn’t need to be, it’s enough if Shapiro demonstrates it’s like that.

    Our mortal coil is that we believe by simply not listening to us radicals will be content. Just like 90 years ago, many left-leaning organizations only act locally and the right does nothing to counter the far right. That’s how Eris, a different character from that same myth won.

  26. jazzlet says

    Reading what you have written in the last three posts is like reading a book where someone has randomly removed words and sentences, and so removed the meaning. I have no idea what you are trying to say most of the time.

  27. secondtofirstworld says

    @jazzlet #29:

    Okay, that stings on several levels. For one, I’m a writer, fully aware that you can create entirely different texts by removing just one word. Two, I’ve conversed with a quite a few people who used ESL but never once did I think I should conclude it can’t have a meaning.

    You asked what learning exotic languages had to do with the justification gender studies can’t prepare anyone for a flexible labor market. It’s because way more people learned it to listen to K-Pop and watch anime than those learning it for a job and yet that isn’t a problem. That’s what called being both hypocritical and lazy to come up with a better excuse.

    Though one thing is true. I like to answer 4 to 5 things at once to avoid the predictable followup questions.

  28. jefrir says

    Okay, that was me, not jazzlet, that asked you what the connection was. And I still don’t know what country you’re talking about.
    Please, make your references clear. Proof-read what you’ve written. State, clearly and concisely, what your actual point is. At the moment you’re flitting all over the place, making vague references to a bunch of different things, and rarely actually stating what you think the connection is. And it’s not just a matter of being ESL – I’m a former language and translation student and a current language tutor. I’m well used to figuring out what people mean when they have difficulties with the language. I have rarely had so much difficulty as I do trying to work out what your posts are about.

  29. jazzlet says

    Perhaps you might consider taking a little longer to write a little less, but with more precision eg what country you are talking about for starters? I realise that this takes longer, but may ultimately save you time in needing less clarification.

    I didn’t ask that.

  30. anthrosciguy says

    You’re a writer? Pity your readers then.
    _obligatory great movie quote from pretty damned good movie
    Howard Pike (from the movie “Hearts of the West”): If a person saying he was something was all there was to it, this country’d be full of rich men and good-looking women. Kings and queens… you know what I mean? Too bad it isn’t that easy. In short, when someone else says you’re a writer, that’s when you’re a writer… not before.

    As just one example, you’ve now mentioned something about a degree being revoked several times and there’s nothing there other than an assertion. Did it happen? where did it happen? what, precisely, was the degree? who revoked it?

  31. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    For one, I’m a writer, fully aware that you can create entirely different texts by removing just one word.

    An incomprehensible writer, as I don’t understand your points either. Gibberish.
    Try simplicity. This is what I think, and this (link to supporting evidence) is why. Try the Political Madness thread for how it is done.
    No link, I’m not bothering with your gibberish again.

  32. Holms says

    My response to you was not an ad hominem fallacy. You are just one of the legions of people that believe a response containing any disparagement at all is an example of said fallacy. Also, this pouting, wounded affect is a bit overwrought doncha think?

    You still haven’t rebutted the point I made in my first reply to you.

  33. robro says

    When/where did Ocasio-Cortez say that conservatives don’t want to debate the issues? Everything I see is Shapiro claiming she said that, but no links to actual reports of her actual statement. I’m confident that like Creationists he doesn’t want to actually debate. I assume his position is there’s nothing to debate. But, the context of her statement would be interesting to read.

  34. consciousness razor says

    Actually, if you “check the tape”, int the 18th and 19th century it was quite common for financial backers to debate candidates

    More irrelevant crap. That doesn’t get us anywhere. It doesn’t matter what was quite common in the 18th and 19th century.

    No, it’s not a language barrier, but an empirical one.

    I still can’t interpret your garbled comments. Is that a little surprising to you, just what you had expected, not the sort of thing that concerns you, or what?

  35. Danny Husar says

    The comparison to cat-calling is apt.

    No it’s not. She essentially argued he called her out for a debate or a discussion only because she’s a woman – which is so weak. She’s a national political figure with major national exposure – she should be a little smarter next time. Ignoring the request would have been a better move. Actually having a debate or discussion with Shapiro would have been best.

  36. says

    No it’s not. She essentially argued he called her out for a debate or a discussion only because she’s a woman – which is so weak.

    No, you idiot, she called attention – in response to his internet goons – to the fact that he’s an entitled douche who believes a congressional nominee owes him an answer/debate. It was a brilliant response, which you fail to recognize for reasons that are obvious to many of us.

  37. says

    @Danny Husar

    Ignoring the request would have been a better move.

    She did ignore the request. She responded to the online trolls who insisted that ignoring the request wrong. It’s not wrong. She owes nothing to Ben Shapiro.
    I can’t believe I have to repeat this, but Shapiro isn’t running against her. He’s not a constituent of the district she seeks to represent. He’s not asserting that he owns a business located in her district that will be affected by her policies. She owes him literally nothing.

    When men on the street accost me and demand information about my genitals, it speaks of an arrogant privilege. Shapiro isn’t doing the same thing in that the request itself is for something different, but the arrogant entitlement is exactly the same. That’s the comparison Ocasio-Cortez made when people started hounding her about how she was ignoring his proffered debate. And she was dead on.

    Actually having a debate or discussion with Shapiro would have been best

    Accepting a visible offer to engage in a conspiracy to violate campaign finance law would have been the best response? You have a bizarre definition of “best”.

    Perhaps you should should stop selling death sticks and go home and rethink your life.

  38. says

    One can and should provide counterarguments, regardless how substantiated they are.

    Not when the arguments and counterarguments have already been made, the counterarguments are easily accessible to the person repeating the arguments, and the arguments clearly don’t stand up to the counterarguments.

    When someone argues the earth is flat, there is no need to present counterarguments. If you’re feeling generous, you can provide a link to the counterarguments, but they should be able to google them anyway. Otherwise pointing and laughing is a fine response.

    There’s a name for the phenomenon of people insisting on making the same tired argument long after it’s been debunked: PRATT. It stands for Point Refuted A Thousand Times.

    To put it plainly, there’s no need to give a PRATT the time of day.

  39. ck, the Irate Lump says

    secondtofirstworld wrote:

    I can’t believe I’m agreeing with Holms, but Shapiro being Jewish is, unfortunately super irrelevant. If you have ever heard the term Birobidjan, that the nicest neo-Nazis and neofascists make themselves look nice. […]

    Well, that’s a nice story and all, but I fail to see how it addresses what I said. There are plenty of varieties of fascist that don’t simply devolve down to Nazi. This is not a defense of Shapiro. He still attracts fascists and proto-fascists and deserves to be criticised for it, but calling them Nazis give them an easy defense that they don’t deserve.

    The more people like Shapiro is left to their own devices they might find themselves in a high position. Not because he deserves it but because they let people believe we’re elitist afraid of confronting them.

    I fail to see how giving Shapiro what he’s demanding will stop his trip on the wingnut welfare gravy train. In fact, the opposite is likely to be true. If Occasio-Cortez wants to reach out to conservative-leaning voters, there’s much better venues for that (like perhaps a debate with her actual electoral opponent). This debate against Shapiro is meant to be a perk on his resume when he goes looking for a better job in the conservative media.

    There is some wisdom in the phrase “Don’t feed the trolls,” even if I disagree with the way it’s often used to insist that you should simply ignore them. The important part of not feeding the trolls is to not engage with them in the way they desire. So, when a gadfly like Shapiro screams “Debate me!”, it’s wise not to engage him the way he’s demanding. That doesn’t mean it’s necessarily wise to simply ignore him, but there’s plenty of ways to engage in that without giving him what he wants. To use something I’ve seen elsewhere, when Rick & Morty’s (I know) Scary Terry says, “You can run but you can’t hide, b****!”, you should ask yourself why you’re taking your advice from him when he has an interest in seeing you fail.

  40. ck, the Irate Lump says

    SC (Salty Current) wrote:

    No, you idiot, she called attention – in response to his internet goons – to the fact that he’s an entitled douche who believes a congressional nominee owes him an answer/debate.

    And Shapiro seems intent on reinforcing Occasio-Cortez’s point given the fact he’s spend his entire time since that tweet complaining and whining about it to anyone who will listen. Someone counted over 40 tweets from him on the topic so far.

  41. Saad says

    Danny Husar, #39

    Actually having a debate or discussion with Shapiro would have been best.

    Any reason at all why it would have been best?

    White sort of popular atheist men seem to have this delusion that they own a debate card that they can raise up and people are obliged to stop and debate them.

  42. Saad says

    What. I seem to have confused Ben Shapiro and Sam Harris…

    They certainly do have the debate/”come discuss with me” fetish in common.

  43. microraptor says

    Saad @48:

    They also think that debate is an important activity that everyone should want to participate in all the time.

  44. Danny Husar says

    Saad @48:

    Any reason at all why it would have been best?

    Why not? She’s a political figure with a big national profile, and self describes as some form of (democratic) socialist and a progressive. I wouldn’t mind seeing how she responds when those positions are challenged. I’m not sure a debate format is best (being a good debator is a particular skill that not everybody has), I think a discussion would be better. Shapiro tends to match the energy of the individual he interviews or debates. If the person comes in with respect and good intentions, then that will be the tone of the discussion. If they come out swinging, then Shapiro will match that. Shapiro interviewed Harris recently, and it was a pleasant conversation (not a debate) though they agreed on nothing.

    There is also this particular weird thing that people on this blog have about debates. I know PZ is against debates with those he deems inferior … But debates are another modality for reaching future potential constituencies. If you want to reach a young evangelical kid with a message of science, humanism and atheism, then one way you do that is to debate WLC – not because you can beat him (nobody ever wins debates, it’s all rhetorical style), but to let Joey and Jane, two evangelical teens sitting in the back row listening to you both talk what your position is in your own words (and not distorted by, say, WLC).

    White sort of popular atheist men

    Let me guess, if I tell you the skin colour and gender of the individual you can tell me all about them. Like a racist horoscope. Thanks for insight.

    By the way, Shapiro isn’t atheist. He’s an Orthodox Jew.

    I seem to have confused Ben Shapiro and Sam Harris…

    Heh. Why am I not surprised?

  45. consciousness razor says

    Danny Husar:
    Nothing in #51 explains why “having a debate or discussion with Shapiro would have been best.” You might think that you were doing that, but you failed.

    According to Conan, what’s best is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of the women. If this claim were questioned, he could rhetorically ask “why not?” followed by a bunch of crap, just like you, and it would accomplish just as much (i.e., nothing).

    So now what are we to do? Assuming they’re not both the best, then which one is and which isn’t? If we’re to believe it’s your claim and not his, then what reason is there to disbelieve Conan? And for that matter, how about any other conceivable thing that anyone else might say? Some explicit examples are in this very thread, if you’re having trouble with this concept.

    Alternatively, you might’ve replied with something like “I don’t want to say reasonable things; I just expect people to eat up whatever bullshit I’m serving at any particular moment.” That kind of statement would’ve required a bit of self-awareness, of course, but it is something you might’ve said. In that case, you wouldn’t have bothered to pretend as if your inane assertions were supported by some kind of reasoning. But the troubling thing here is that you seem to have the mistaken impression that you actually are giving reasons, not that you don’t need to do so.

  46. Danny Husar says

    Re: consciousness razor

    Nothing in #51 explains why “having a debate or discussion with Shapiro would have been best.” You might think that you were doing that, but you failed.

    It’s possible to overthink and overanalyze things.

    I wasn’t providing an objective proof. I just think it would be interesting to see that discussion (again, I don’t think a debate format would work in this case). There are some downsides and upsides to this for her. The upside is that she would get her message out to a constituency that is more friendly to her message than she realizes (there was a weird overlap between Bernie and Trump people during the 2016 election). The downside is that the progressive left considers Shapiro to be a racist Nazi so she would be seen as endorsing nazisism by talking to him and of course, she could come out looking like Sarah Palin when challenged on her positions.

  47. screechymonkey says

    Activist Cenk Uygur issued an identical challenge to Ted Cruz, who obviously declined.

  48. KG says

    It’s possible to overthink and overanalyze things. – Danny Husar@54

    Well you certainly don’t need to worry that you might do that.

    she could come out looking like Sarah Palin when challenged on her positions.

    No, it’s only ignorant fuckwits like you who risk that.

  49. jefrir says

    Danny Hussar

    there was a weird overlap between Bernie and Trump people during the 2016 election

    It wasn’t all that weird, and was overwhelmingly not occupied by people likely to be won over by Ocasio-Cortez

  50. says


    There were a large number of people who feel an attraction to Bernie’s european-esque social-democratic take on health care policy and certain other areas. But there were also a large number who fell into the “anyone-but-Hillary” camp, and since Hillary really did serve fairly well in the Senate, as our standards for high-profile politicians go, and since she garnered important foreign policy experience as Secretary of State, and as Hillary really wasn’t responsible for Bill’s affairs or his lies, and as the original complaints leading to the special prosecutor regarding Whitewater turned out to be (as expected) complete bullshit, the largest source for the “anyone-but-Hillary” sentiment is pure sexism.

    So you have some sexist bullshitters who supported Sanders because they historically voted Democratic, but once the nomination fight ended, the place to go for sexist voters was Trump.

    It really is no surprise at all that there was significant overlap between Sanders’ supporters and Trump’s.

  51. jefrir says

    Don’t worry, Crip Dyke, I took your meaning :)
    I’d say the overlap was basically sexism, with some racism and other bigotries thrown in, because Sanders offered a style of economic left-wing politics that seemed designed to appeal to straight white men.
    People who were excited by the radical left-wingness are likely to already support Ocasio-Cortez (or have more nuanced objections to her). People who switched to Trump aren’t going to support a Latina woman.

  52. consciousness razor says

    I wasn’t providing an objective proof.

    I wasn’t asking for proof. It’s not asking for much, that you be reasonable/rational, in the sense that you tell us what reasons you have for thinking specific things, so that we’d have something to think about. Perhaps we’d even be persuaded to agree with you, or it may be that your reasons (or ours) for thinking certain things are faulty or inadequate. We could have a rational discussion, in which we may thoughtfully consider different ideas that various people have and evaluate them logically. This may result in somebody changing their mind about something, so as to develop a view that is more in accord with reality.

    If that’s not the sort of thing you wanted to do, then okay, whatever, duly noted, etc. But that is what I wanted to do.

    I just think it would be interesting to see that discussion (again, I don’t think a debate format would work in this case).

    That may be what you think, but you claimed it (that is, “discussion” not necessarily “debate”) would have been best, which is not even remotely the same thing as “I just think it would be interesting.”

    The former definitely sounds like a claim that (by rejecting Shapiro) she’s not doing the best thing, that one may rightfully criticize her for not doing the best thing. You should have no trouble understanding why people might not agree and can reasonably think that you should have to substantiate this sort of claim. But then it turns out that you had no reason to say any such thing. So, you offer a different statement, which is about what you personally would find interesting. Nobody cares about that, first of all. That also isn’t what you said originally, and it isn’t a way of justifying your original statement. The obvious and honest thing to do at this point is just to say that you misspoke. That’s not a big deal; just try to appreciate that this is what is going on, then move on with your life.

    I’ll make a claim: Say what you actually fucking mean. Doing that would be best. When I say this, I don’t mean it would merely be interesting to me personally if you act this way, that it would tickle some exciting part of my naughty bits, or whatever the fuck. I mean it’s what you should do, that doing anything else would be problematic or undesirable in some way. That is more or less how the italicized phrase above will be interpreted in English.

  53. consciousness razor says

    gah, sorry. My italics tag at the end of #63 should have closed after “Doing that would be best.”

  54. Ichthyic says

    I interpreted the italics as you beating him over the head with your keyboard.

    which, after reading this thread, is so very well deserved.

  55. secondtofirstworld says

    @jefrir #31 and jazzlet #32:

    Finally some civility I can deal with. I’m not talking about here, I just got fed up with a different site’s more feral approach to civil discourse.

    I was talking about two different points, one of which is part of the other. To recap: Breitbart of all medium’s criticized the decision to ban the master’s degree course in gender studies under the pretext it doesn’t prepare anyone for the flexibility of the labor force. I countered that with the same university having language courses declining applicants due to a limited number of places, even though that interest was generated after indirect exposure to Japanese and Korean entertainment. In other words, if flexibility and adaptability to the labor market were that much of an issue, they would have let foreign universities hold such courses there, as they do with the CEU and will do with the Notre Dame.

    Sure, I could name that I’m talking about Hungary, except a) that’s not really relevant since I’m talking about methods and reasons readily available elsewhere and b) it’s connected to the larger point.

    I don’t want to get bogged down analyzing one country when my larger point is Shapiro being a slice of huge mixed fruit and nut pie. 30 years ago, still under Reagan, going into Bush senior, the far right close to the White House was in decline. Their effervescent hatred for communists was in little need not just because of Glasnost but because of their misstep convincing Reagan to support the apartheid. Many people are keen to forget South Africa gained its freedom around the same time as countries from communism did.

    That of course also meant huge cuts in funding, and they spiraled out of control, as seen with the Oklahoma City bombing and the bombing of ’96 Olympics. Unfortunately, 9/11 happened and reinvigorated xenophobia. That gave a huge boost to antisemitism as well. Of course, the thing for them to jump the threshold was the financial crisis. Finally, they had found the crowd desperate enough to listen to their siren song.

    Which brings me to my two problems with the American left: one, no wavering from purely logical assessments. This sounds absolutely reasonable… if the world hasn’t changed, but it did. It has changed so much in fact that nowadays spinsters have it so easy that they only need the dog whistle of elitist to label eloquent speech and reasoning. The consumer society trains people into wanting things now, and populists have turned that into political slogans.

    That’s my problem 2. I’m an expat so fortunately, I don’t have to suffer the ego trip that jeopardizes the economy, except America, goes through the same thing as well. Much like killing gender studies on the assumption I mentioned, America has a global trade war because her leader has no strong-willed advisors being able to say no. Here’s what’s mostly not in AP history (as it’s usually subject of specialized research): many of the Nazi sympathizers before the war has successfully denied being that by claiming and not verifying their opponents are secret Bolsheviks. It helped greatly that as then as just like now, the right wing played the silent game.

    I’m flabbergasted when the response to white supremacists rallying is still reaching out to religious leaders as that’s an antiquated response and shows Democrats don’t get what changed, like not all people of color being religious. The reason the far right found perpetrators in the mid-’90s is simple. Nobody should forget, for every cultural paradigm shift supported by the majority there’s always a radical minority who raises their kids in the “old ways” to “combat what they oppress on us”. Today, their kids are the incels, the neo-confederates, etc.

    This is why seeing Shapiro as an individual actor has a lot of dangerous applications in a war which we’re losing for reason. I’m saying, accept, that if most of your communities are not racially diverse, people going online from there will be more prone to buy into radical ideas than listen to reason and open up. The most prominent online and offline version of this Tommi Lahren. Russia could tap into Republican disdain, because, as surprising it may sound, the GOP holds close to its values at any cost, and that’s even more visible in the Tea Party. It doesn’t matter where validation comes from so long as it sings their praises. What we might see as collusion they see as mere survival.

  56. secondtofirstworld says

    @anthrosciguy #33:

    A disclaimer: I don’t read them, ever. I’ve gained knowledge about their article through more reputable media outlets. The point was, that this could happen for 2 reasons: one, the powers that be loathe any idea that opposes theirs and two, for that reason they have restructured the committee that allows starting and ending courses by having 13 members of the 20 member committee their political appointees.

    Such egregious decisions are more visible there as there’s a less mountable will to fight back for democracy. Yet, two years after Trump winning I find it a luxury to treat his win as if only the electoral college had supported it. His winning the votes of white women showed that there’s an already apparent internalized misogyny in America.

    Shapiro, Coulter, and Ingraham don’t need to publicly act in concert as thanks to Ariana Huffington’s success they found their niche in news aggregation, wit sites like Breitbart forwarding and praising their content. Attacking Ocasio-Cortez doesn’t happen because she’s a Democrat and young. It happens because it fulfills the racist fantasy of “owning a Latina”, the sexist fantasy of denigrating a woman and for the fulfillment of the anger that people believe she will realize her ideas by taking away their unemployment benefits.

  57. secondtofirstworld says

    @Holms #36:

    Sure you made a statement about Cassandra and then followed it up by your premise that what I’m saying is all bollocks. So, yes, as no part of it was actually addressing anything, it’s but a distraction.

    However, as I like to focus more on your counterargument, I will address it. First, the reason why people like Shapiro need to be tackled isn’t that he has great insights on the matter. Take the Republican candidate from Ohio who, when asked about the accused possible future House speaker, if he endorses him, he scurried into his local HQ without facing the interviewer or answering the question. This is what populism looks like if you have to talk about what they stand for and not against.

    The luxury of ignoring such things has passed around 3 years ago. I call it a luxury, because many people, while rightfully assessing that there are things not worth the time, ignore that voters don’t think that way. It has been 3 years and some are still like “how can’t we beat them if they bumble all the time?” Because of desperate voters supporting populists.

    This has gotten so far that as much as I hate to say it, Bannon is right to focus only on the economy. I wasn’t kidding when I offered Wallace Shawn should debate him. The intricacies of the economy are boring to many so Shapiro has it enough to offer his truncated version that amounts to Democrats stealing every penny from hard-working communities and give it to people of color. Sure, the logical thing is to call racism, except voters won’t care. Thanks to a more violent racism of past America, communities settling there from the poorer parts of Europe not only lived separately due to lending policies but also because they brought their baggage with them. If such communities isolate themselves and they often do, the voices they listen to are that of their leaders, and they, in turn, listen to those who claim their misfortune is somebody else’s fault. That’s something I know sadly very well.

    I’m not implying appeasement either. Just picture this: there’s an out of job Polish American miner who still understands his second language. What he hears from there is, that just like some religious leaders in America, they too say Christianity need to be protected before national identity is lost (translation: they become less white). They also act on it and cut out the middlemen some know as the democratic process. He then reads about it on national news outlets and gets behind a candidate who stands for similar values. In the past 3 years, some (genuine and not Russian troll) Americans have become very active on social media on issues not directly affecting them, like European refugee crisis, or what constitutes as Western values. They usually praise autocratic leaders and that can be one reason they went for Trump.

    Only, you can see where this leads if you look at Turkey now. As usual, populists can only point out problems and lack the wherewithal to find solutions. I’m guessing you noticed too that every time Trump talks about the deficit toward China, he never once mentions that it has largely happened not because China produces cheap, but to reduce the huge loans they have taken out to finance the unnecessary Iraq war. Had that never happened, not only there wouldn’t be a Daesh, but America would have a fairer balance.

    So, fans of Shapiro and in this, we agree, won’t listen to Ocasio-Cortez. Yet the issue itself does need to be tackled, in my opinion concentrating on 2 fronts: bringing the point home that as taxpayers they foot the bill of Trump’s tariff war adventures which doesn’t create jobs and two, but all so more important: supporting civil rights doesn’t mean they’re less of a human. People should share stories in person if possible how their background was equally mistreated. This is because the fictional Polish American miner has a very old tradition: making themselves believe that their misfortune is part of a conspiracy to pin them down. Strange, Erdogan believes the same thing.

  58. secondtofirstworld says

    @consciousness razor #38 and @Crip Dyke #43:

    As both are somewhat similar, I answer them collectively: from where I’m coming or standing is a system that’s a mixture of weakly accepting your points and strongly rejecting it through the wisdom of the crowd.

    Yes, I accepted that you do PRATT, and I’ve seen people do PINE, Point Infinitely Neglected Equally. The people in other places I usually debate are convinced of never scrutinized tenets, like losing WWI happened because of a conspiracy, the same one that invoked WWII, or that a 130-year-old murder happened because of evil Jewish rituals.

    What are academically accepted facts when the powers that be control the narrative of history, the media, the entertainment and generally the public discourse? Why does common sense as most people conceive it fails? Because in real life it’s not enough you being right and being substantiated with facts that prove you correct beyond a reasonable doubt, people not believe and accept it too. I’m not implying you don’t take the real world into account, but that you build the premise on a reasonable one. When and where populists win, reason gets put on ice.

    Currently, you already start from a defensive position because of such logical attachment to reason is being labeled as elitist, living in the ivory tower or a bubble. It’s good if you’ve never encountered it. The fringe only needs to line up arguments that feel and sound right. It seems to be working because being a humanist doesn’t translate to votes, the Democrats are in decline. The threshold needs to be seen before the fringe completely takes over the narrative.

  59. secondtofirstworld says

    @chris #44:

    I’ve talked about this in the Jenny McCarthy topic, but I say it again: the radical prime minister of Italy, Matteo Salvini is an anti-vaxxer. In protest of their Academy (as in, scientists) he has stopped compulsory vaccinations for 10 diseases, the ones anti-vaxxers hate. There was no debate and there can be no appeal.

    Also, I seem to recall that in America vaccination isn’t regulated federally so thanks to anti-vaxxers long thought to be eradicated diseases could make a comeback. So, to these anti-vaxxers, a person in power is the validation they need. Turkey could very easily go bankrupt and probably will because Erdogan is convinced the country is a victim of a conspiracy and not his failed policies led by people having no or little competence to do so.

    The question isn’t fringe could happen in America, it already does, since to Obama’s winning the response was electing people who stop him at every turn, rather to what extent. It’s a fact that it gave America a president who’s willing to believe anything if the info they get comes with a huge dose of praise.

    Here’s one thing to consider: the ones pulling the strings behind this are people who genuinely despise the ideas of 1968. A half-century ago kids rebelled and rioted in West Germany demanding clean slate on who did what in Nazi Germany. Their parents were silent because openly criticizing the regime, to them, equals to scrutinizing their own lives. Populists get two kinds of votes: that of hypocrites who already believe it’s always somebody else’s fault, and the simply hurt and undecided. They’re the ones lying with pigs because they at least pretend to care.

    So, again, I’m not suggesting Ocasio-Cortez should debate him. My proposal of Wallace Shawn comes from knowing of the economist and philosopher, not merely the actor-comedian, and Occupy Wall Street liked him too (that also a crowd lost, by the way). The ones hurled into their hands can still be reasoned with but it can’t be done by ignoring that the world has changed.

  60. secondtofirstworld says

    @WMDKitty #62:

    Mock that if you like, but I didn’t claim, nor will claim I’m an established one until such time that happens. I did get the education for it, I also do write, but I don’t plug myself, I loathe self-promotion.

    @Crip Dyke #45: I do concede, it’s not a good thing to give them an easy defense. I’ve overlooked this comment during my previous one, hence the separate reply.

    That being said, you still have to take into account how the wisdom of the crowd (something you have experience with since in the ’50s everybody opposing McCarthy was a commie and under Nixon every draft dodger was a hippie coward) easily overwrites facts. Roy Moore’s view denied being an antisemite on the virtue of their lawyer being Jewish.

    See, here in the West, we can laugh about that as that also counts as antisemitic. Much like Key and Peele, I too have a switch between cultures, except mine isn’t based on skin color, but accepting or rejecting majority opinion. Had I never left for here, I wouldn’t even understand what the problem is. That’s because the idea rests on the knowledge antisemites killed Jews in the war, therefore if you never killed anyone nor helped cover it up, you’re not a bigot.

    Such blindness gets to the point of nonrecognition as to what bigotry is. Thus it’s very possible and based on comments after Charlottesville very probable, that neo-Nazis attacking Antifa was a public service in their interpretation.

    I’m not being driven by a blanket libertarianism that everybody should be heard publicly on any subject, rather I wish to avoid the Niemöller poem from becoming reality again, where people can ignore what happens only because we don’t have things in common. Well, other than a mutual respect for the democratic process.

    Kofi Annan said if a person dies in Africa, a knowledge that’d fill a library dies with them (noting how oral tradition can stand in for literacy). I’m angry at the media for suggesting that what we have now is new. It’s not, humanity had this after ’33. Local, national leaders tackled the emerging populism independently, but seeing that back then the right wing supported Hitler against Mussolini, whom they had seen as a bigger threat, the Abwehr had the easy job of supporting local fascists who convinced the populace, enemies of Hitler are commies and it worked. It worked so well they had become the collaborationists after the occupation.

    Russia didn’t really care much that #Walkaway was exposed as trolling as the message was only reinforcing what believers already believed that Democrats are money hungry schemers who for quick and easy votes care more for “unproductive” minorities then out of job hard workers. When fringe pundits talk about multiculturalism they talk about race. Only they do it in a way that lays heavy emphasis on traditions, local identity (or a national one in Europe) and failed policies of the left. Ways one doesn’t even register they turn them into a racist. Call them out on it and they slip further because by never being challenged on the wisdom of the crowd they believe it’s self-preservation, not racism.

    The still wavering should be convinced of the truth that something not being their fault doesn’t mean it’s somebody else’s. This is why Trump promised coal jobs back, he spread the false premise the jobs were stolen and not, as in reality terminated due to technical upgrades.

    I’m not saying you and others are not right in that unsubstantiated things shouldn’t be bothered with, but I do say consider the outcome too. 3 years ago an innumerable mass of people came to Europe fleeing various ails. Unchallenged, some governments, with not so little American help instantly cooked up a vast conspiracy, and they win elections just by dominating that single issue. The longer we ignore the fringe the more they control the narrative until they take over and there won’t be any debates. There won’t be because they already claim to refuse to debate doesn’t come from there is no substance, but because they’re liberal elitists who think they’re above listening to other people.

  61. bryanfeir says

    It doesn’t help your case that the tweet you quoted was from Candace Owens, the supposed ‘cyberbullying expert’ who, when told that her suggested approach would only make things worse, immediately started siding with GamerGate and assumed that the women who were trying to explain to her that she was going about this the wrong way must be the ‘real’ bullies.
    I’m not certain I would consider the woman who tried to sue a newspaper for libel for a story that they didn’t even print to be a reliable speaker for anything.

  62. secondtofirstworld says

    @petesh #24:

    I can only, if begrudgingly so, repeat myself: only because a fringe expert is scrutinized in America doesn’t mean he doesn’t draw followers elsewhere so long he reaffirms what they already believe.

    A different example. Remember Gorka? He boasted to be an anti-terrorism expert which he isn’t, got into hot water for wearing a bocskai which by that point got synonymous with the far right and wearing a lapel pin of questionable origin. He presumably got his job because he worked for Bannon and was fired after Bannon was let go. His wife still works for them, she defunded Life After Hate.

    Anyhow, on his own, he couldn’t win the mayorship of a 2 thousand soul small village and got into oblivion after that, and yet here we are, a bit over a decade later all of you know who is. In a similar fashion, Europe’s illiberal democracies support Shapiro as he says what they want to hear and in exchange, they provide what white supremacists love the most: almost exclusive whiteness and a Christian hegemony.

    If for the sake of argument, you can accept the thought that civil rights exist the best in areas with more benevolent power dynamics, the lack of that is the perfect breeding ground for ideas in no need of scrutiny (if they can help it) like Evangelism and xenophobia. They amount to the paranoia that lower birth rates don’t come, as in reality, from the better living condition and thus carrier options, but from a vast conspiracy in other continents (i.e. nonwhites) who outbreed us as they put it.

    I shouldn’t remind anyone, that America’s values are so Western she lost her sh*t when a half black person was elected president. A president Shapiro was all too quick to dismiss. There’s one uncomfortable thing, and I don’t speak for all of my white brethren, but based on what I’ve seen from internet atheist, they have a very convenient off switch when it comes between choosing being an atheist and being white. Suddenly systemic disadvantages don’t exist, it’s the choice of less advantaged people which is something we can’t help. The only problem is, that it’s coming from a left-leaning person as they parrot GOP slogans. Not that those opposed to it are different, where “I’m a leftie when convenient” talks about holding onto wealth provided by the dynamic, acknowledging but not saying that America isn’t as prosperous as she used to be, their critics also avoid acknowledging that the American Dream died under Carter, as the minute countries helped by the Marshall Plan got prosperous themselves, the need for import ceased.

    This is how the fringe won over young male Sanders supporters, they weren’t lying that riches are easy to get, they just peddled the idea it can remain longer if others are closed off. So they dumped Hillary and voted for Trump. It could be done because the ideals are so connected to demographics as anger over Trump’s policies is connected to votes for Democrats.

  63. jazzlet says

    secondtofirstworld@ far too numerous
    If you can’t take the time to write concisely I’m not going to take the time to read the screeds that you write in consequence and I suspect I won’t be the only one.

  64. KG says


    I understand that English is not your first language, but I’m afraid your comments are for the most part simply unintelligible. You jump from one point to another, often without providing sufficient information for readers to grasp either of them. Try saying less, and breaking up what you want to say into short, simple sentences. Make sure it’s clear what your pronouns refer to: for example, in the last paragraph of 74, the reference of “it” in the first sentence is completely obscure. And think about whether someone who doesn’t know what you are trying to say will find you easy to understand: in the last sentence of that paragraph, I have absolutely no idea what “ideals” you are talking about (or even if you actually mean ideals rather than say, ideas), or what demographics they are connected to by whom.

  65. secondtofirstworld says

    @KG #76:

    Okay, I have to clear up something first. My nick is a portmanteau. A complex allusion to a state where a person finds themselves, coming out a physical separation, entering into a mental one as one is accommodating to democracy and capitalism, which is why it’s incorrect grammatically on intention. That being said I never intend my comments to be as such. Maybe I developed, I forgot the name, the schizoid condition where I think what I’m writing is reasonable only for others to find it gibberish. Except of course that can’t be because a) that’s a psychotic state where I would aggressively attack you physically to prove I’m sane and b) your responses would be gibberish too. So that can’t be the case.

    Here’s what the last paragraph means: many liberals in America believe everyone having civil rights (minus the LGBT community) equals to being accepting, which is not the case. MLK was angry with Yankee liberals because as he saw it, civil rights came with the appendage of being still low paid household workers. In the last 50 years, the demographic makeup triggered by white flight did not change much (you like me but you wouldn’t wanna live around me). Sure, it’s not an exclusively white or American thing, such examples are known from Africa and Asia too. Therefore the ideal do onto others as you wish they’d onto you work as far as who surrounds you. If you had little to no minorities, chances are high, intolerance can win easily. It’s how that is connected to demographics. Which is also why disillusioned people don’t vote Democrat as they’re being led to believe, that party only helps those who’re not willing to help themselves.

    As for it in the other sentence: a general noun replacing riches to avoid repetition.

  66. KG says


    That response has much the same features making it hard to understand as your previous ones. The first paragraph is a complerte irrelevance, both paragraphs are full of the same tangled and clotted prose I was complaining about. Try again?

  67. says

    Of course Ocasio-Cortez should not “debate” Shapiro. This isn’t even a close call.

    The primary issue, just as PZ often describes when dealing with creationists, is that Shapiro is not a politician. Ocasio-Cortez in any debate has to carefully choose her words, be certain of her facts, and not even go so far as to inartfully state an idea because if she does, Republicans use it to pummel her until the sun goes nova. She has to keep the measured tone of a politician who can later be held responsible for what she has said or advocated.

    The Virgin Ben is under no such handicap. He can lie, obfuscate, talk about the “way things should be done”, etc. He can advocate for simplistic and impossible solutions to problems while citing dubious data and demanding Ocasio-Cortez meet his standards at every turn. There is no accountability for Shapiro: the Daily Show at this point has two decades worth of video of right-wing pundits lying, being wrong, and engaging in outright hypocrisy, and it hasn’t hurt those pundits one bit.

    A debate would be absurd because there is an enormous downside for Ocasio-Cortez, who is obligated to be the reality-based adult in the room. I’m glad her political instincts already seem sharp and her characterization of Shapiro’s smarmy come-on is perfect. Anyone who sees value in “debating” Shapiro simply doesn’t understand the power dynamic here.

    As many wise people have said before, the most enraging thing you can say to a white man is “I’m not listening to you.”

  68. secondtofirstworld says

    @KG #78:

    I try my utmost to not come off as either patronizing or condescending. I feel a bit like Sir Anthony Hopkins’s character in Proof (no, not because I’m even a smidge as brilliant as he was) when he was convinced he laid down the proof only to discover that not being the case. I refuted that with the reality of such a condition, in which case you wouldn’t call it a prose but a mess of words with no structure (and I’m still interested why the contact form on Skepchick doesn’t work).

    I see the connections between the contents, and it’s not anything unnatural. For every turn where somebody asks the meaning, I still can only answer with this: I’m trying to prevent you making the same mistakes we did. Sure, it’s your liberty to make a mistake, but the outcome matters. Being a larger and more important country, America shan’t allow herself to become a fully failing democracy, a direction toward which she’s heading for a long time now.

    Three words (or four if you count the separate): reason, meet the internet. There’s a new alt left party in Germany, its leader has gotten a name for herself with quotes like “I agree with Trump that the NATO can’t protect people, so it should be disbanded and a new alliance with Russia be formed”. Gotta say I appreciate her honesty, even if I disagree with the content. Because that’s the reason for collusion, a tactical alliance with a power that enables them to be egocentric without needing to feel bad. That allows people who discredited themselves in America to be kingmakers abroad.

    These are quite simple points or at least to me they are. A movement only glued together by hate for the ideals of 1968 and whom it protects work indirectly with Russia together to reduce or destroy achievements, supported by a voter base disillusioned by the democratic process. Since they’re not engaged, voters only get to hear that the left is both elitist and selective as to who it helps. It’s known as the other side losing doesn’t mean you can win. The Democrats don’t win as their own base is apathetic to vote and the opponent can solely rely on criticizing them without actually standing for something.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m ecstatic that a person who just last year was a bartender can win a seat, but I don’t forget where she won. Being a Republican mostly isn’t simply being right wing, but a majority member not exposed to minorities and their issues. Not necessarily racist, but definitely indifferent (you know when you believe to be progressive but still think it’s completely normal you can just touch a person’s hair). That’s the attitude the Russians have tapped into for influencing.

    The craziest thing is that I’m not the only non-American who realizes there are times we know about the nation more than the people living there, as some of it is chosen ignorance, like the term flyby state (who got their revenge not only by electing Trump but also by him visiting them thanking them for it). The first step in my view is inspecting the rot the alt-right managed to push onto the left by emphasizing their privileges as such an internal fracture (something I experienced first hand) is the first step in neutralizing opposition.

  69. secondtofirstworld says

    @marcikesserich #79:

    I only agree with your first sentence in the sense that she shouldn’t do it. On the subject of nobody should… is exactly not understanding how power dynamics have shifted.

    Because, again, you only tackle the issue from one aspect how such a debate would go down as if we still lived in an America run by a reasonable president. We don’t and it may get worse. For starters, Ocasio-Cortez won in a demographically diverse region that isn’t so common in America. It wasn’t a universal win for reason, freedom or democracy, or at best a local version of it.

    I’m sure you paid attention to the suggestion of the status of legal immigrants should be reviewed as well. Not because they could vote, rather because some of their relatives can. Vote against me and I deport nana. One possibility to ensure new voters for the GOP. Sure, if proven it would be super illegal except by the time it can, nana is shipped off thanks to such courts being both extremely fast and governed by the executive, not judicial.

    For all intents and purposes on many fronts, the left is on the defensive in a losing battle for wavering voters. I could, and man I wish I would believe all freedoms are still the same after Don won, but that would be self-delusion. Hardcore, Incident in Ghostland style.

    Noble ideals have their time in peace. It is imperative to uncover why voters support selfish incentives and reject reason. Refusing to tackle it inevitably leads to such players controlling the narrative. One possible future of that is what I see now unfold is that loyal grunts of the party machine who helped build the system are now uprooted to be replaced by newer ones. The only thing is though, the opposition has in the meantime become dependent on the system so nobody can upset them, making it a lose-lose for everyone.

  70. says

    @secondtofirstworld Apologies, but nothing in your post remotely responds to mine. A serious politician “debating” a bloviating provocateur is a contradiction in terms. It is the same reason a serious biologist, who by their own professional ethics will always concede that science “doesn’t know everything”, cannot “debate” a creationist. The latter is not accountable to objective reality.

  71. Holms says

    #69 secondtofirstworld
    The luxury of ignoring such things has passed around 3 years ago.

    But she isn’t ignoring such things – meaning the current burning political issues – she is in fact in the process of tackling them. She is not ignoring the issue in general, just Ben Shapiro in particular. You need to make the case that a debate specifically with Shapiro is vital to her political efforts. It is my opinion, and hers too apparently, that her time is better spent going after bigger fish.

  72. Holms says

    sigh, that was supposed to be a blockquote. Always preview! Something I say often, but do rarely.

  73. secondtofirstworld says

    @Holms #83: If you figure it out you could remind me too as I’ve totally forgotten how to do it.

    Holms, I’ve made that case in this thread 4 times, specifically pointing out that it’s not her who should debate him. In some of them, I talked about Wallace Shawn is an ideal one, who, when he doesn’t act is a renowned economist and philosopher.

    @marcikesserich #82: This will be both my response to you and somewhat a continuation of my response to Holms. Here’s a scenario: the US is party to international accords outlawing child labor. Yet, the Creationist Museum circumvented that with successfully claiming they were just learning, not working on field trips. That’s just one example where your separation of church and state is pretty dead, lawmakers opt to enforce them à là carte. There’s also a summer camp this year that promotes kids will learn how to create, promote and market their products by using real money. Wonderful, except for any activity that is profitable in our real world is, again, a violation of child labor laws. The “super” thing about America is that as often she demands others to play by the rules they set up internationally within the UN, the federal level likes to ignore those international rules, and the state level likes to ignore federal.

    You’re not wrong claiming that a qualified scientist should not debate people who aren’t ones, but I still wished we lived in this world. If you haven’t heard about this, it’s this easy. To hell with scientific research and expert opinion, the word of parents will be enough. The prime minister will probably win a second term too unless the ban on Berlusconi ends earlier.

    So, ignoring such “offers” for debate only gravitates such people toward autocrats and populists. I implore you not to dismiss the perceived power of the link between white and Christian America has with predominantly white and Christian societies. As long as Bibi is in power in Israel, Judaism counts too. Many things they cannot yet do in America they do elsewhere which will then piggyback to America as it always does.

    Ingraham didn’t feel to think about what she said on air as the intent was to instill the thought “things are not as you’re used to remembering them”. In regions where Ocasio-Cortez is elected this obviously means white, but after living 4 decades in a predominantly white society, that doesn’t even come up. Again such isolationism can be seen in other majorly nonwhite societies too.

    Therefore my “beef” isn’t that she doesn’t want to debate him, but the nonacceptance of the strong possibility that for years Democrats will only win in regions with racial diversity. Remember, the Southern Strategy worked so well, Democrats only gave America 2 Dixiecrats. Reasonable behavior and its acceptance only work when things go well, which doesn’t happen here and now, at least for voters.

  74. chigau (違う) says

    HTML lesson

    Doing this
    <blockquote>paste copied text here</blockquote>
    Results in this

    paste copied text here



    <a href=”paste address here”>your cute linkname</a>
    your cutelinkname

  75. KG says


    OK, I give up. I won’t be reading any more of your bloviations, as I have several thousand more productive andor more enjoyable ways of spending the time.

  76. secondtofirstworld says

    @chigau #86: The region I lived in had very limited resources, so such a thing as a formal computer science education we had not. My sitch is usually made easier by having formatting tools in the reply box, so I never had to learn it, nonetheless, many thanks for reminding me.

    @KG #87: I can’t and won’t force you to read it. There’s one central point: stop ignoring that America isn’t as rich as she used to be, that during a big crisis and a few years after most people are reasonable (if they were they wouldn’t vote populist) and that American exceptionalism trumps similarities with other regions.

    American progressivism is fragile because most members of the majority never take in exposure to minority experiences. The so-called illiberal democracies, where Shapiro is a star, as is Bannon, Alex Jones and Milo defy everything that is considered liberal. One has to be multicultural (something they yet again despise) to realize it’s code for white, specifically the power structure.

    It is in that that white America has more in common with Eastern Europe and the Balkans, not the West. So, not addressing this fringe makes good politicians like Ocasio-Cortez, even more, an enemy for conservative voters than she already is. If I were a scientist, but I’m not, I would do comparative studies on the causes of xenophobia and the responses given to it, something that quite frankly America doesn’t do.

    We’ve gotten to the point where a G7 country banning compulsory vaccinations for kids is not a big story, nor is banning master’s degrees for gender studies. For some foolish reason, I thought to make the science the enemy abroad is just as important as making it one in America, which as of yet isn’t the case.