Someone actually gets it


I’ve had people describe me as a far-left radical, which makes me blush…I’m honestly not that far our there. And I know a lot of university people, they tend not to be extremists. This comment is accurate.

You have to have drunk deeply of the wackaloon-right kool-aid to think university faculties are hot-beds of radicalism. Our students tend to be more pissed off at the system than we are.

Comments

  1. microraptor says

    I was really disappointed when I went to college and found that it wasn’t a bed of radical liberalism.

  2. nomdeplume says

    The media makes the same mistake. The Right have convinced the media that being on the Right is the natural state of affairs, so that what would have once been seen as centrist is now portrayed as wild-eyed radicalism. And as te Republicans have been happily dragged ever further Right by Tea Party, neo-nazis, and Trump, the “center” is now somewhere to the right of, say Eisenhower.American lack of knowledge of the world outside its borders means that what in other western countries is seen as social democrat would in America be seen as communist.

  3. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I always have to laugh how someone, like myself, who is simply progressive and nowhere near a socialist or authoritarian, is considered both by RW True Authoritarians™ like Faux News.
    I was an undergraduate during the ‘Nam war and the radicalization of campuses. Nothing PZ is for is communist or socialist by the rhetoric of those times. More populist in sense of people helping those fortunate than themselves. That is what I call that progressive.

  4. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Yikes, my#3, next to last last sentence, helping those less fortunate than themselves. Mea culpa.

  5. Snarki, child of Loki says

    Liberal Fascism

    From the point of view of RWNJ conservatives, Fascism is liberal. Those liberal campus types, even moreso.

    It all makes sense if you have a brain the size of a walnut.

  6. says

    You can technically substitute “The Democratic Party” for “Universities” in that statement, but only because it doesn’t talk about foreign or economic policy, where the Democratic Party is very definitely right of center (and has been since at least the point when Bill Clinton was nominated in 1992).

  7. unclefrogy says

    well if you look back to the student unrest on campuses in the 60’s it will show that the active leadership was primarily students and not the faculty so at least in living memory the premise that colleges and universities are hot beds of radical left-wing (what ever that is supposed to mean) led by radical left wing faculty is false. What all levels of education helps generally to teach is literacy and the ability to think for yourself.
    that is a big problem for the conservative who it would seem like obedience, authority and tradition as they interpret it, and judging from their reaction to Trump what ever their leader says regardless of any of his personal transgressions against previous declared norms and moral standards.
    america has always been rather centrist sometimes right sometimes left of center.
    next few of weeks should be fun to watch.
    uncle frogy

  8. says

    @unclefrogy:

    all levels of education helps … the ability to think for yourself.
    that is a big problem for the conservative who it would seem like obedience, authority and tradition

    This.

    This is all you need to see why the right wing thinks of universities as hotbeds of far-left political thought: universities contain thought.

    Thought is deeply suspicious to those on the far right, and even too many on what we would now call the “moderate right” in this era of the right-canted Overton Window.

  9. microraptor says

    Just out of curiosity, when was the last time the US had a president who’s foreign policy could be called left of center? Have we ever?

  10. John Morales says

    <pointless grammar>
    microraptor,

    … a president who’s foreign policy …

    Whose. Not who is or who has, but whose.

    (Or: you’re using the contractive when you should be using the possessive)

  11. says

    when was the last time the US had a president who’s foreign policy could be called left of center? Have we ever?

    Aside from the grammar nitpick more than adequately covered by our Mr. Morales, I think that Wilson as well as FDR and Truman were all probably left-of-center in their particular days.

    FDR entered into a war, yes, and even before Pearl Harbor advocated US involvement in the European war. However, he was confronting an isolationism that seems to my uneducated perspective on history to be a fellow traveler to the anti-immigrant & anti-communist Coughlinism of the time. (Recall that although Father Coughlin’s radio show began as a weird sort of left-wing anti-communism, he had become quite right wing, authoritarian, and anti-democratic by 1940.) I think that he saw himself as advocating a form of positive engagement with the world that included going to war in a good cause when necessary (and he thought of WW2 as necessary).

    Wilson’s foreign policy, with it’s focus on Moral Diplomacy would be progressive even today. Certainly nowadays we all pay lip service to the rhetoric, but there’s been no democratic president in my lifetime that didn’t support anti-democratic dictators. There was probably some of that under Wilson as well, but the very concept of Moral Diplomacy was promoted because he had seen too much support of anti-democratic dictators and wanted that to change. If there was some of that under Wilson, I still don’t think it would have been enough to make his foreign policy anything to the right of center. He was genuinely progressive in the foreign policy arena.

    Truman’s foreign policy was weird AF because of the post-war environment and the deep-seated anti-communism that was ramping up into the Cold War. Still, I think that he was left of center on foreign policy as well. The UN itself as well as the Hague’s war crimes trials and the UNCSR were all promoted heavily by the Truman administration. Though, again, I’m pretty historically ignorant, this sort of progressive and positive engagement is exactly the kind of thing that our modern conception of the “right wing” of the US body politic would oppose. Shoot-him-in-the-head,-dump-his-body-from-the-plane is much more the right wing mood towards those they deem enemies of the US than, give-him-a-fair-trial-with-as-many-protections-as-due-process-can-afford-without-causing-even-greater-problems-through-denial-of-justice as seemed to be the agenda of the Hague.

  12. bernardj says

    One of my colleagues (a ‘manager’, not an academic) is married to the chief-of-staff for one of the state’s conservative government ministers. They both refer to the university as a “socialist Utopia”, when any rational and objective analysis of most staff’s political leanings would put them in the centrist-to-mildly conservative category. Of course given the galloping of most Australian conservative politicians to the far right this absurd impression of theirs is unsurprising, but the meme permeates far beyond this cloistered part of our society.

    In particular I’ve never fathomed why the media have this impression of tertiary and research institutions. There is certainly a slight skew to ‘left’ politics compared to the general population, but that’s because reality has a demonstrable left-wing bias, and most academics have a better understanding of impartial assessment than do many Joe and Jane Publics responding Pavlovian-style to the dog-whistling of the media. Of course the rabid, far-right fulminators from Fox fervently believe that anyone left of Hitler is bites the heads off kittens, but that so many other people who should know better still think that universities are populated with card-carrying communists is a constant source of bemusement to me.

  13. lotharloo says

    @Crip Dyke:

    Carter was right-of-center on foreign policy given where the center was in his day,

    Hmm, I’m actually curious about this. My impression is very opposite but I also don’t know too much about Carter foreign policy.

  14. Ed Seedhouse says

    @7: “Carter was right-of-center on foreign policy given where the center was in his day”

    Are you kidding? He was a far left pinko, after all he didn’t start even a single exciting new war.

  15. lanir says

    You have to have drunk deeply of the wackaloon-right kool-aid to think university faculties are hot-beds of radicalism.

    Ah, but there are a great many kool-aid stands in this country and a great volume of kool-aid to dispense. Forget drinking, sometimes you have to swim really hard to keep from drowning in it.

  16. hemidactylus says

    Carter began the indirect anti-Soviet intervention into Afghanistan. His NSA advisor was “progressive” in the trilateral technocratic sense of the word. Carter also green lit a bold, but disastrous covert operation to rescue the hostages in Iran, which was an embryonic harbinger of future special operations ventures in the future. Carter was hamstrung by the malaise of Vietnam syndrome, so…Reagan fixed that, but it took the Gulf War to undo the damage that held back US interventionism.

    Wilson’s progressivism and self-determination sounds good but has its drawbacks. What benefit to lesser third world regions under the yoke of colonial oppression (eg- Indochina)? The mandate system after WWI was not exactly a shining success, even though not really true self-determinism it would parcel the region into troublesome chunks later Arab nationalists would inherit. Eventually India would free itself from the UK, but partition into India and Pakistan has had its drawbacks. Globalism is no utopian panacea but the particularism of regional nationalisms helped foment conflict, while sweeping the concerns of even more particular minorities under the rug. And though Wilson wasn’t responsible for all this, even given his idealism he had his own rug sweeping going on domestically (Jim Crow). Didn’t he screen Birth of a Nation?

    And “progressivism” in the Wilson era had its domestic downsides. Eugenics was a technocratic masterpiece of state intervention not to be conflated with laissez faire Gilded Age apathy under the meaningless umbrella of “social Darwinism”, whatever that ever really meant.

  17. says

    @hemidactylus:

    I’m sure you’re right about Wilson: i’m not a historian in any sense, not even a lay-historian. But I would point out that we were discussing Wilson solely in the arena of foreign policy, and whatever his failings I think it’s pretty clear that he was left-of-center there.

    It is interesting that there seems to be so much less diversity in foreign policy approaches between administrations than economic policy. I guess other than launching a war and/or requiring a draft, since foreign policy’s effects on domestic voters are indirect and frequently concealed, it’s unlikely that they’re going to change their vote much for FP reasons.

    Does that mean that the constraints on foreign policy diversity reflects a true agreement on how (most of) FP should be formulated between elite Republicans and elite Dems?

  18. says

    @lotharloo: remember that I said my perspective wasn’t reliable.

    Oddly, Carter for me is in that gap where I was just old enough to remember Carter’s presidency and events during it which gathered significant media attention (gas prices, the sweater message, the embassy hostage-taking, etc.) but young enough that my world was rather constrained. If the people around me when I was growing up were even farther to the left that I would think, then my perception of Carter as being to the right of them wouldn’t count for much.

    Also, because I actually lived through Carter, I haven’t been motivated to read retrospective history of the period, but because I was young I wasn’t reading many contemporaneous accounts. This is unlike my perspective on some other past periods where – though I’m not widely read – my professional interest in the development of feminist ethics over time caused me to learn something about the social and political contexts of different periods considered significant in the history of feminism, feminist “waves”, and feminist ethics. (Thus I know a tiny bit about Wilson, as he featured during the climax of enfranchisement activism.)

  19. Curt Sampson says

    Americans not having a clue what left-wing is, and confusing somewhat-right-of-centre for it, is not a new thing. This was, more than fifty years ago, a subject of comment in Beyond the Fringe:

    Miller: Of course they have inherited our two-party system.
    Bennett: How does that work?
    Miller: Well, let me see now. They’ve got the Republican party, you see, which is the equivalent of our Conservative party. And then there’s the Democratic party, which is the equivalent of our Conservative party.
    And then of course there are the liberals, in the shape of people like, um…well…. [trails off]
    All: Mmm, yeeeesss.

  20. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    WRT FDR and Woodie Wilson, I am of two minds wrt their status as progressives even for their time. Wilson did pass some important progressive legislation early in his first term. He reformed politics in New Jersey. He was at least a tepid supporter of women’s suffrage, and his support warmed over time. However, on racial issues he was a huge step backwards–never even speaking out against lynching of black soldiers returning from the war. And then there is his utter evisceration of the first, fourth and fifth amendments against dissidents to the war. His attitude towards Latin America was patriarchal; he was tremendously naive about European politics. And because of his pride, he let the League of Nations be strangled in its crib.

    FDR has a better claim. The New Deal was progressive even for its time. However, much of it was seen necessary to answer the promises Communism and even fascism were making at the time. Also,but his treatment of US citizens of Japanese descent and his use of government agencies to spy on citizens was a problem. I suspect that most of his bona fides in terms of true progressivism really derived from Eleanor. Without Eleanor, Franklin might have merely been a playboy lightweight–though probably still President. And of course, he treated Eleanor dismally.

  21. hemidactylus says

    @19- Crip Dyke

    I am around 8 years removed from serious reading on Wilson so could be very mistaken. I am not a historian, just regurgitate stuff from my nethers.

    I was quite young under Carter. I recall visiting Plains, GA with my parents when he was president. His involvement in getting Israel and Egypt further from saber rattling was commendable.

  22. firsttimelongtime says

    My first thought upon reading this post was, ‘you’ve got to be fucking kidding me, PZ.’ But then I realized you are perhaps the least self-aware writer I’ve ever come across. I believe you actually believe this. But it’s a joke.

    It’s funny, someone who actually wants his audience to believe he isn’t X, but is Y instead, would include some examples of where X and Y differ. You prefer, as is your wont, to simply assert without evidence. You’re a liberal centrist because you say so, and you’ll redefine the word centrist if you have to to prove your point.

    Here’s a thought experiment: name one issue in which you dissent from the ‘radical leftist’ orthodoxy, then explain where it is you differ. Or better yet, name an issue with which you agree (heaven forbid) with the right. A liberal centrist should be able to do that. I think you’d rather cut off an appendage before admitting agreement with anyone or anything even remotely related to the right.

    I describe myself as moderately right of center. I agree with the right on size and purpose of government issues but disagree with them on most social issues, including LGBTQ rights and abortion. But I have never, in all the years I’ve been reading your blog, seen you take a political position I can fully support. I define a ‘centrist’ as someone with the capability to cross the aisles. You, in my estimation, are incapable of that.

    If I may speculate, I think this is what happens when you live in the academic bubble and write a blog populated with like minded people where you quash all dissent at the earliest opportunity. All/most of the people you encounter are clustered somewhere around you politically because that’s the world you’ve created for yourself. You read/listen to people on the right when they say something with which you want to take issue, but you don’t really want to take any of their arguments seriously because that would change who you are, and you’re too damn old to go around changing.

    Exihibit A that university faculties are hot-beds of radicalism: Peter Boghossian & James Lindsay. You wrote a post tearing them apart a couple months ago but you never really understood what they had done in the first place. They were able to write award-winning (!) fake papers because the radical academics running those journals and the radical academics who peer-reviewed those papers are NOT liberal centrists. And a liberal centrist would have celebrated what they’d done – exposing horrifically fake scholarship – instead of pillorying them like you did.

  23. says

    @firsttimelongtime:

    You make a pretty pathetic case for avoiding assumptions. Let’s just look at this one:

    They were able to write award-winning (!) fake papers because the radical academics running those journals and the radical academics who peer-reviewed those papers are NOT liberal centrists.

    How do you know that? How do you know that “liberal centrists” wouldn’t publish those papers? Frankly, right-wingers whose only priority is money would happily publish any ol’ academic bullshit if they could do so via that pay-to-publish model so prevalent these days.

    So … how do you know that the papers were accepted for publication because of the political opinions of the journal editors. You’re not merely (re)asserting facts that are known and on which we agree – that some papers were accepted for publication. You’re asserting that you know the motivations of the editors when choosing to accept the papers, and then that you can use those motivations to deduce the political outlook(s) of those editors.

    And yet, even if you did know the motivations (and how do you know that? From where do you get that information), you can’t conclude that wanting to publish these papers, which happen to be falsified bullshit, proves that the editors have a pronounced left-wing point-of-view. Are you really of the opinion that right-of-center people don’t spew bullshit? Because Fox News and Trump would seem to make fine Exhibits A & B against that proposition.

    And so here you are, arguing that assumptions are wrong and bullshit is proof of left-wing politics and using as proof … your assumptions and your right-of-center outlook.

    Fascinating.

  24. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Firsttimelongtime: “Here’s a thought experiment: name one issue in which you dissent from the ‘radical leftist’ orthodoxy, then explain where it is you differ.”

    Awwww! Isn’t it cute. Rightwing nutjob thinks it can read! Let’s just call you “Waste-of-time”.

    The point, Waste-of-time is that one must define what it means to be “radical left”. Does it mean that one is out there throwing molotov cocktails at police cruisers or dies it merely mean that you don’t think it’s right that people should be declaring bankruptcy over healthcare costs? Until you come up with a definition, it is pointless to try to define where one differs with that definition, is it not?

    Interestingly, this is not the case with today’s rightists–their racism and support of the patrimony define them without their even having to bother. At the very least, you are willing to support a racist, clueless, ignorant sexual predator if it helps you achieve some of your agenda. That’s who YOU are.

  25. Jazzlet says

    It’s always funny when a right-wing American accuses pretty much any other American of being a ‘radical leftist’, you guys don’t have a left wing in anything other than American terms, to the rest of us you are all centre to right-wing.

  26. Pierce R. Butler says

    Aw, c’mon y’all! Woodrow Wilson ordered the marines into Mexico, Haiti, Nicaragua, and other parts of Latin America, provided the tipping nudge that sent the US into World War One, and let his attorney general loose to impose severe censorship/propaganda and round up, imprison, &/or exile thousands of actual leftists.

    FDR counts as a genuinely mixed bag: hardcore anti-fascist (eventually), and anti-imperialist enough to alarm Winston Churchill, but a strong supporter of southern apartheid (“segregationism”) and the Catholic Church’s “moral authority” as well as anti-Japanese racism.

    And Truman? The Brits pushed hard to get genuine leftist Henry Wallace out of the vice-presidency and naive-country-boy Truman in (just in time for Roosevelt’s death), then – together with the US right – manipulated him into the opening of the Cold War, founding of the CIA and NSA (Harry & Bess passed out costume cloaks and wooden daggers at a White House celebration for the bill-signings), the Korean imbroglio, etc.

    Eisenhower may in some ways have been the leftmost in foreign policy among Cold War presidents: though a strong Cold War “containment” leader, he didn’t take the war bait offered by the US spooks and the Brits & French, respectively, in Hungary and the Suez crisis (though he did have the guts and wisdom to send the US army into Little Rock when needed). JFK’s creation of the Peace Corps should also count as one of the most progressive presidential foreign policy initiatives, though easily and bloodily outweighed by his successors’ Vietnam crimes.

    Carter seems likely to die without ever facing responsibility for fanning the then-tiny spark of pan-Islamic jihadism into the multi-continental blaze it is today, both through injecting it with steroidal billions of dollars in cash and weaponry to “give the Soviets their own Vietnam” and encouraging the Saudis to fund, organize, and recruit for extremist centers throughout the Sunni Muslim world. Of course, the Reaganistas couldn’t help but adopt, and persuade the public they’d invented, this catastrophic policy, so both parties had and have great incentive to just sort of forget that history when their creations turned out not to have an “off” switch once their Russia-wrecking mission was accomplished.

  27. hemidactylus says

    Eisenhower left-most? It wasn’t like Ike had anything to do with the ouster of Mossadegh, Arbenz, or the failed attempt against Castro that JFK would green light. Nor did he support the French before Dien Bien Phu or the Diem regime after.

  28. Pierce R. Butler says

    hemidactylus @ # 30: Eisenhower left-most?

    Your examples each make a strong case (though I’d say the Mossadegh coup was mostly just getting sucked into assisting a British initiative in Iran) – but can you name any other US president or politician who could’ve/would’ve resisted the pressures to intervene in Central Europe or the Middle East as Ike did? Measuring policies by the roads not taken gets even fuzzier than analyzing actual actions – but while I may have overspoken, I still feel Eisenhower doesn’t get credit deserved for disasters avoided.

    If only he’d found some way to sabotage Nixon during the latter’s vice-presidency…

  29. hemidactylus says

    My foggy memory is that Ike wasn’t happy with the Sevres Protocol shenanigans in Suez, where Israel initiated hostilities (countering the typical pro-Israel narrative coupled with the 1967 preemptive attack on Egypt). US foreign policy hadn’t quite yet entered Israeli orbit. Ike probably didn’t feel quite the pressure future presidents would and could act more neutrally toward the Levant.

    Ike launched the huge infrastructure project resulting in the Interstate road system. And he signed civil rights legislation into law.

  30. Onamission5 says

    @25:
    Wait. You said you disagree with the right on LGBT rights and abortion, then in the next breath claim PZ has expressed no opinions you fully support, and claim that’s because he’s not centrist enough?

    What if that shoe is actually on the other foot? What if.. bear with me here… you’re actually solidly right wing (rather than part of the blathering far right on all issues, you align with them on matters of economics) and thus not center-right as you claim? Maybe the issue here isn’t the blogger himself, but your perception of the political spectrum?

  31. lotharloo says

    Didn’t Carter support the Shaw of Iran until he was overthrown?

    Nope, that’s not accurate. The reality was much more complicated. In fact, one of the reasons the Iranian revolution succeeded was due to Carter implicitly telling Khomeini that it’s all right to go back to Iran.

    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-36431160

    To this day, former Carter administration officials maintain that Washington – despite being sharply divided over the course of action – stood firm behind the Shah and his government.

    But the documents show more nuanced US behaviour behind the scenes. Only two days after the Shah departed Tehran, the US told a Khomeini envoy that they were – in principle – open to the idea of changing the Iranian constitution, effectively abolishing the monarchy. And they gave the ayatollah a key piece of information – Iranian military leaders were flexible about their political future.

    What transpired four decades ago between America and Khomeini is not just diplomatic history. The US desire to make deals with what it considers pragmatic elements within the Islamic Republic continues to this day. So does the staunchly anti-American legacy that Khomeini left for Iran.

    Besides, the Iranian revolution was not actually democratic. It is understandable that Carter did not really want to support the theocracy and in fact as you will note above, he might have been tricked by Khoeimi’s blatant lies and deception who tried to put on a more moderate mask. Once Khomeini realized he could seize power, he did that quickly and then declared it ‘the true way of Islam’ ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guardianship_of_the_Islamic_Jurist )

  32. firsttimelongtime says

    “how do you know that the papers were accepted for publication because of the political opinions of the journal editors.”

    Because I listened to them when they spoke about their experiences. They did Joe Rogan’s podcast, have a listen for yourself. Everything they did was open and transparent and documented by a filmmaker who is planning a documentary feature. What they did was a big deal – they wrote fake papers for a field in which they had no expertise by coming up with the conclusion first and working backwards to write a paper which, in many cases was accepted and in one case won an award. Listen to them describe the process and then come back and tell me professors (the ones they dealt with anyway) aren’t radical leftists. Students didn’t start up those journals. Students weren’t peer reviewing those papers. Students weren’t handing out awards.

    This brings me to a part of PZ’s initial post I forgot to comment on. He writes: “Our students tend to be more pissed off at the system than we are.”

    PZ – YOU ARE THE SYSTEM! I can’t believe – check that, I can believe it – you think you’re still a 60’s radical, fighting the man. You are the fucking man now, at least within the confines of the university system. You’re playing by the rules you and other people like you set up. The counter-culture, such as it is, exists on the alt-right nowadays. The left, almost universally in academia and the media, are firmly entrenched in power.

    Finally – I notice not one person has come to PZ’s defense here. No one, including himself, has cited a position he holds which dissents from the radical leftists orthodoxy. And no one has shown me an example of an issue where he’s crossed the aisle. Which is entirely consistent coming from a man who famously left skepticism because it was insufficiently leftist. I remember that debate with Steve Novella, who I would consider a centrist liberal.

    You’re a radical leftist, PZ. Own it. You haven’t pretended to be objective or centrist for as long as I’ve read your stuff. Why start now?
    On another note, I can’t

  33. John Morales says

    firsttimelongtime:

    Finally – I notice not one person has come to PZ’s defense here. No one, including himself, has cited a position he holds which dissents from the radical leftists orthodoxy.

    <snicker>

    What’s to defend?

    This?
    If I may speculate, I think this is what happens when you live in the academic bubble and write a blog populated with like minded people where you quash all dissent at the earliest opportunity. All/most of the people you encounter are clustered somewhere around you politically because that’s the world you’ve created for yourself. You read/listen to people on the right when they say something with which you want to take issue, but you don’t really want to take any of their arguments seriously because that would change who you are, and you’re too damn old to go around changing.

    Heh. Speculate away.

    PS

    PZ – YOU ARE THE SYSTEM!
    […]
    You’re a radical leftist, PZ. Own it.

    So, radical leftism is THE SYSTEM! — personified by a mild-mannered liberal arts college professor in rural America.

    (OOohhhh… scary!)

  34. says

    @firsttimelongtime:
    I love how completely ignorant and confused you prove yourself when you say:

    Because I listened to them when they spoke about their experiences.

    LoL: No you didn’t. By your own admissions you listened to the people who made up the fake papers, NOT the editors of the journals.

    my question was:

    how do you know that the papers were accepted for publication because of the political opinions of the journal editors?

    Note that the authors are entirely irrelevant to my question. It’s not about what motivated them or what they think. It’s about what the journal editors think. And yet you are so deluded and confused you can’t even admit that the authors were irrelevant to my question and it’s the thoughts of the journal editors that are at issue.

    And why are they at issue? Because you’ve asserted that you know the thoughts and motivations of the journal editors. But you don’t. You haven’t talked to them. You haven’t listened to them. In most cases, we don’t even know who the peer reviewers (if any) were. That funky journal about incorporating poetry into therapeutic counseling sounds exactly like the kind of super-small journal where the editors are the peer reviewers, there’s nothing independent, and they seem unlikely to be getting many more submissions than they can publish. It’s entirely possible that they publish almost anything that comes their way – not because they’re liberal, but because they’re desperate. But I don’t know that. You can’t know it either, nor can you refute it, because you’re simply entirely ignorant of the thoughts of the people involved in the decisions to accept these papers.

    It takes a special kind of arrogance to assume that you know the thoughts of another person, assert that knowledge publicly, and then use that anecdote to back up your argument that

    You [PZ] prefer, as is your wont, to simply assert without evidence.

    and that such assertions are bad. What can one do, but laugh at how utterly ridiculous you are?

    ——————moving on:

    No one, including himself, has cited a position he holds which dissents from the radical leftists orthodoxy

    First, that’s true.
    Second, no one takes you seriously.
    Third, no one takes your assertion that PZ is a radical leftist seriously.
    Thus, no one feels the need to defend PZ at all: an unserious accusation needs no serious refutation.

    But here’s the thing; even if we were going to respond, we’d have to know what positions you think characterize

    the radical leftists [sic] orthodoxy

    If you had a list of such positions, we might be able to articulate individual or collective opposition or agreement. But without such a list, it’s impossible even to begin.

    Of course, you won’t produce such a list, because your ignorance of social dynamics is so profound that you’re not even aware that radical leftists frequently disagree with radical leftists: the UU Reverend and musician Fred Small would almost certainly be considered a “radical leftist” by you, but I’ve met him and talked to him, and while we agree on a number of things, we radically differ in our approaches to pro-queer activism, to the constitution, to criminal justice reform, and other issues. Moreover, I know that I agree with other people on those issues, and that some of those people are also radical leftists – or at least would likely be under your classification. So I have first hand knowledge of positions where multiple “radical leftists” disagree with each other, whether you count me as a radical leftist of not. What will you do with that? Are all of our positions “orthodox” even when they are contradictory? If not, how do you decide which “radical leftist” positions are the orthodox ones?

    I’m reasonably confident that you have no coherent answers to such questions, so I’ll just enjoy imagining that you’re Rudy Giuliani, given that you’re as an effective arguer here as Giuliani is in the media.

  35. Jazzlet says

    @firsttimelongtime
    Do, as CD asks, define what you mean by ‘radical leftist’. I’ve not been reading PZ that long, but so far he hasn’t written anything that would count as ‘radical leftist’ in world terms.

  36. firsttimelongtime says

    “Because you’ve asserted that you know the thoughts and motivations of the journal editors. But you don’t.”
    Listen to the podcast Crip – listen to the authors’ story, then get back to me. Unless either the authors or the journal editors were lying, their thoughts and motivations were quite clear.

    For the record, you and Jazzlet are trying to do what I predicted PZ would do – redefine the term radical leftist to mean whatever you want it to mean. But as long as we’re on the subject, here’s what I mean. My prediction now is neither you nor Jazzlet will offer a definition of your own, you won’t agree even in principle with the one I’ve offered, and you still won’t provide even one example of an issue where PZ dissented from the radical leftist orthodoxy (as described below) or better yet an example where he crossed the aisle and agreed with the right. You won’t do it because – among other reasons – such an example doesn’t exist.

    Here we go: the political platforms of both Democrats and Republicans are a matter of public record. About half of the population votes Republican and about half votes Democrat (no need to get too specific about numbers here, and I understand there are more Republicans than Democrats in office across all state and federal branches of government. There’s no need to get into that semantic debate, the presidency and the house and the senate all flip from one party to another from time to time).

    There are people in the middle – let’s call them forty percent – who could vote for either side during any given election. These are the vaunted ‘independents’ each side is always trying to play to during a general election.

    There are people solidly on either side – say twenty percent each – who are secure in their ideology. Think readers of The New Republic and National Review. They are highly unlikely to vote for the other side but can have a debate about where those issues of disagreement lie. There are some attempts, in this group, to reach across the aisle, especially when practical lawmaking is the consideration. Given the rules of the Senate, nothing really can pass without some support from the other side.

    Then there are the people – say nine percent each – who are semi-fanatic about their tribe. These are the radical leftists and the reactionary republicans. They are in open warfare with each other (and often the more moderate elements of their own side). These are the people desperately trying to pull their parties to the left/right, and there is no way on earth they would consider endorsing an idea or bill or candidate from the other side. PZ falls firmly and openly into this category.

    The remaining two percent are the nut jobs – think neo-nazis on the right and antifa on the left (who actually have more in common than either group think.

    Now, if you’re trying to differentiate PZ from the nut jobs on the far, far left, then that’s all well and good but in relative terms, given the rudimentary framework I’ve outlined, he’s still a radical leftist. And even in that case, I don’t think PZ actually disagrees with much of anything the Antifa/BLM movement says, while disagreeing perhaps on their tactics. Again, illustrate an area where he has some distance between his views and truly oddball leftist views, and we can have a discussion. But this “I’m a centrist because I say so” shit doesn’t fly.

  37. Jazzlet says

    I did say I was thinking in world terms, I know it can be difficult to remember that there is more to the world than the USA and the countries it invades. You haven’t actually given us any policies that you consider to be ‘radical leftist’, merely defined a percentage of the US population in those terms, which makes it a bit difficult to assess whether PZ ever disagrees with those people’s policies.

    Personally I wouldn’t define someones policies as just left or right, it’s far too simplistic, but at the very least a ‘radical leftist’ would need the workers to own the means of production …

  38. jefrir says

    Wait, you think antifa and BLM are nut-jobs, equivalent to neo-nazis? Wow, you really don’t have a clue about politics – or are being deliberately disingenuous.

  39. John Morales says

    firsttimelongtime, you think PZ is a radical leftist but pretends to be a centrist.

    (And I think you think that’s supposed to be damning, which amuses me)

    I quote PZ’s opening sentence:

    I’ve had people describe me as a far-left radical, which makes me blush…I’m honestly not that far our there.

    Pretty clearly, he’s describing himself as a leftist, not a centrist.

    How do you reconcile that with your claim?

  40. says

    How do you reconcile that with your claim?

    (Raises hand)

    “By repeating it at greater and greater length!” Did I get it right?

  41. says

    For the record, you and Jazzlet are trying to do what I predicted PZ would do – redefine the term radical leftist to mean whatever you want it to mean.

    You’re weird. We very carefully did not define the term “radical leftist” at all. Instead we asked you what you meant by it because it was your term. We’re trying to understand your critique, because “radical leftist” is such a vague and loaded term we had no idea what, specifically, you meant by “radical leftist orthodoxy”.

    Which, by the way, is the term we really need defined: “radical leftist orthodoxy”. You say that “radical leftists” would never agree with any idea put forward by republicans, but you don’t say anything about what the ideas – much less “orthodoxies” of those radical leftists are.

    I find it frustrating that you’re asking us to determine whether PZ (and we in the commentariat) disagree/s with any specific ideas and/or policy positions (“orthodoxies”), but you listed a total of, let me count them, zero ideas and/or policy positions.

    If you’re actually engaged in honest discussion, why the fuck would you do that?

    My prediction now is neither you nor Jazzlet will offer a definition of your own, you won’t agree even in principle with the one I’ve offered

    We’re trying to figure out what the fuck you meant when you used the term. Our definitions are completely irrelevant. We’re just waiting to see how many posts it takes you to make your own past writings coherent and intelligible outside the confines of your own skull.

    But we’re not interested in disagreeing with you about the definition of “radical leftist orthodoxy”. You used the phrase, only you can even theoretically explain what you meant by it. Even if you meant “pool tables”, in this case there is an objectively correct definition (or set of constrained definitions): If it’s not actually what you meant, then it’s the wrong definition. Why the fuck would we even try to offer our own definitions? I would have to assume that I telepathically know more about what you think than you do. I’m not anywhere near that arrogant.

    I’m still waiting, however, to see if you can actually explain it to real world interlocutors, or even have the basic competence to realize that if you’re going to ask us if one of us disagrees with some specific ideas, you’re going to have to tell us what those ideas actually are before we can even begin to express dis/agreement.

    you still won’t provide even one example of an issue where PZ dissented

    List the issues.

    the radical leftist orthodoxy (as described below)

    You described “radical leftist”. You did not list or describe any “orthodoxies” – either above or below.

    you still won’t provide even one example of an issue where PZ dissented …[or]… crossed the aisle and agreed with the right. You won’t do it because – among other reasons – such an example doesn’t exist.

    The right believes that Nancy Pelosi was Speaker of the House under Obama. I’m sure PZ believes that as well.

    So are you going to continue to stupidly assert that an example of breaking non-existent orthodoxies doesn’t exist, or are you going to actually list some extant orthodoxies so we can discuss them? Because of course examples of breaking non-existent orthodoxies are themselves non-existent. Saying so is trivial. it’s stupid. It’s banal.

    You have to actually make an argument before anyone can disagree with it, and you’ve continued to leave the single most important part of that argument undefined.

    Do you see why we think you’re contributions here are worthless?

    Not yet?

    I’m sure that if I cared enough about your opinion, I could elaborate, but I think your utter failure to provide an example of even one single orthodoxy is sufficient.

  42. John Morales says

    Kip, since this is “a blog populated with like minded people where you [PZ] quash all dissent at the earliest opportunity.”, it follows that firsttimelongtime is not dissenting, meaning they must be like-minded.

    :)

  43. says

    That must be so, otherwise PZ is missing his chance to yell “IT’S QUASHIN’ TIME!!” and start repressing.

    On a related topic, I’d sure hate to see a blog with unlike-minded people in it. All that disagreeing!

  44. says

    Frisky Firsty just wants to earn his “I wuz banned by PZ” badge at whatever RWNJ shithole he hangs around in.

  45. msm16 says

    I am an anarcho-communist, pz is not a radical leftist, and the Democratic party is a center right capitalist party. In no way is any of that left, hell Obama was closer to Regan in his policies than say LBJ.

  46. firsttimelongtime says

    “I find it frustrating that you’re asking us to determine whether PZ (and we in the commentariat) disagree/s with any specific ideas and/or policy positions (“orthodoxies”), but you listed a total of, let me count them, zero ideas and/or policy positions.”

    No, no, no. You’ve got the script flipped exactly backwards. PZ asserted without evidence that he was a “liberal centrist.” I called bullshit, and asked for evidence to back up that assertion – evidence which neither he nor anyone else here has provided. Once again, please tell me a position PZ holds which dissents from the radical leftist orthodoxy. And I don’t care whose definitions you use – PZs, mine, yours – as long as a reasonable person would agree. CHOOSE SOMETHING and tell me how PZ’s opinions differ from the radical left. CHOOSE SOMETHING and tell me where he’s crossed the aisle and agreed with a Republican. But you won’t because you can’t. I don’t think that evidence exists, and it’s almost impossible to prove a negative. So the burden of proof is on PZ or you, Crip, and if it’s a slam-dunk, a no-brainer, something so obvious that it’s silly I would even question it, then it shouldn’t be too hard to find. Right?

    Right?

    I see orthodoxy is another word you’re having trouble with – mostly because you want to fuck with me and not really have a discussion – so let me give you an example. I used to listen to my father and my grandmother debate the finer points of Catholic doctrine for hours. They were often in semi-violent disagreement but a non-Catholic wouldn’t see that, all they would see are two highly religious believers. You want me to define leftist orthodoxy so you can snipe at it in the same way my father sniped at my grandmother, and I won’t do it. I will only define it as I have, in relation to the rest of the country (and Jazzlet, I’m sorry but these terms don’t mean anything outside of the US. A liberal centrist in Australia, for example, is a much different thing that what PZ claims to be. And I know how easy it is to stereotype, but I’ve lived in three different continents in the last five years and am fully aware of the great big world out there. Perhaps you could open your mind a bit to the great big world of ideological differences that also exists).

    “Wait, you think antifa and BLM are nut-jobs, equivalent to neo-nazis? Wow, you really don’t have a clue about politics – or are being deliberately disingenuous.”
    I didn’t say they were equivalent, I said they had more in common than each side would like to think. Antifa is an ironically named fascist organization who wear militaristic clothing and cover their faces before initiating/participating in violent confrontations with their perceived enemies. Neo-nazis are roughly the same thing. The target of each group differs, but if you listen to their rhetoric and reasoning I don’t think at the core they’re actually that far apart. Richard Spencer, for example, used to consider himself a leftist. But that’s an entirely different discussion.

    “I am an anarcho-communist, pz is not a radical leftist, and the Democratic party is a center right capitalist party. In no way is any of that left, hell Obama was closer to Regan in his policies than say LBJ.”
    I think if PZ disagrees with you about the Democratic Party / Obama, it’s only at the margins. Which is exactly my point.

  47. John Morales says

    firsttimelongtime:

    PZ asserted without evidence that he was a “liberal centrist.”

    Nah, he didn’t; he endorsed a claim about universities, not about himself, and noted that in his estimation the faculty was less radical than the students.

    I called bullshit, and asked for evidence to back up that assertion – evidence which neither he nor anyone else here has provided.

    There was no such assertion, as I’ve just noted.

    (Bluster is all you have, squeaky)

  48. firsttimelongtime says

    “Nah, he didn’t; he endorsed a claim about universities, not about himself”

    Come on – your reading comprehension can’t be that poor. PZ only wrote five sentences in this post, the first of which was: “I’ve had people describe me as a far-left radical, which makes me blush…I’m honestly not that far our there.”

    According to the English language I know, that’s certainly a claim about himself, not universities in general. And by implication, given his endorsement of the tweet embedded in the post, he’s claiming to be a liberal centrist. Not even Crip is trying to argue this point, and they don’t agree with me about anything.

    My point was and is: within the far-left culture of the university system and this blog, perhaps PZ’s claim is accurate, but when seen against the backdrop of the rest of the population, it is ludicrous.

    Also – since when is asking for evidence to back up a claim ‘bluster’? I know PZ left skepticism, but people around here still require evidence, right? Or is it assertions all the way down?

  49. John Morales says

    firsttimelongtime:

    Come on – your reading comprehension can’t be that poor. PZ only wrote five sentences in this post, the first of which was: “I’ve had people describe me as a far-left radical, which makes me blush…I’m honestly not that far our there.”

    According to the English language I know, that’s certainly a claim about himself, not universities in general.

    :)

    I refer you to my #45, which you’ve hitherto either missed or studiously ignored.

    Also – since when is asking for evidence to back up a claim ‘bluster’?

    When it’s only a putative claim, not an actual claim.

    (duh)

    I know PZ left skepticism, but people around here still require evidence, right? Or is it assertions all the way down?

    In this you are again mistaken.
    PZ has made it clear that hasn’t left skepticism itself, he’s left movement skepticism.

    What’s most amusing of all is that you imagine PZ is misrepresenting himself somehow, and that you are revealing that in his own blog to his doltish readership. Me, I think you’re trying to be controversial but failing.

  50. firsttimelongtime says

    John Morales:
    I did, in fact, miss your #45, but in my mind that doesn’t resolve what I believe to be your reading comprehension issues. PZ is clearly describing himself as a liberal centrist (contra your #54) and that is what I take issue with.
    I don’t find it damning, btw, but I think he does. I think PZ wants to portray himself as a science and reason-based centrist and not the ideologue he clearly is. In this respect I do think he grossly mis-represents himself, because he is nowhere near objective, fair, or honest when it comes to politics.

    “In this you are again mistaken.
    PZ has made it clear that hasn’t left skepticism itself, he’s left movement skepticism.”
    This is fun, isn’t it? All the pedantic wordplay and sniping? The more time you spend on this the more you make my point: that there is no daylight between PZ and the radical left. If there was, you and Crip would be falling all over yourselves to cite the evidence to prove me wrong.

    But please, keep telling me how mistaken I am.

  51. John Morales says

    firsttimelongtime:

    But please, keep telling me how mistaken I am.

    Very much so, is how mistaken you are. About many things.

    (I shall keep your appeal in mind, henceforth, and may grant it at my whim)

    I don’t find it damning, btw, but I think he does. I think PZ wants to portray himself as a science and reason-based centrist and not the ideologue he clearly is. In this respect I do think he grossly mis-represents himself, because he is nowhere near objective, fair, or honest when it comes to politics.

    And you are telling this to his readership, many of whom are exceedingly familiar with his positions. So, you gotta admit, he’s pretty fucking tolerant.

    This is fun, isn’t it? All the pedantic wordplay and sniping?

    Well, I am smiling. How could I not, when you intimate you imagine categorical distinctions to be but pedantic word-play sniping?

    The more time you spend on this the more you make my point: that there is no daylight between PZ and the radical left.

    More bluster is still futile. I was not making any point about PZ’s purported left radicalism, I was noting you were wrong about PZ having left atheism thus no longer requiring evidence unlike the people around here.

    (Even your backhanded insults are cack-handed! Heh)

    If there was [sic], you and Crip would be falling all over yourselves to cite the evidence to prove me wrong.

    Guess what? Mistaken again.

    What we did is immediately point out the vacuity of your contentions.

    PS, I refer you to my #48 for another aspect you’ve carefully ignored.

    Oh yes, you were mistaken about that, too. Here you have been provided a platform in which to boringly repeat the same baseless claim interminably. And you keep claiming vindication, which would ring more genuine if you were not to keep repeating the claim.

    Got anything relevant to the topic at hand (that is, the relative level of radicalism between staff and faculty)?

  52. says

    @firsttimelongtime:

    No, no, no. You’ve got the script flipped exactly backwards. PZ asserted without evidence that he was a “liberal centrist.” I called bullshit, and asked for evidence to back up that assertion – evidence which neither he nor anyone else here has provided. Once again, please tell me a position PZ holds which dissents from the radical leftist orthodoxy. And I don’t care whose definitions you use … . CHOOSE SOMETHING and tell me how PZ’s opinions differ from the radical left.

    WTF? No you didn’t. Here is the challenge you presented in your exact words:

    Here’s a thought experiment: name one issue in which you dissent from the ‘radical leftist’ orthodoxy, then explain where it is you differ.

    But no matter whether you got things right, either “ask[ing] for evidence to back up [PZ’s] assertion” or demanding specific positions which dissent from the “radical leftist orthodoxy”, I cannot complete this thought experiment without knowing the “orthodoxies” to which you refer.

    Still, since you now don’t seem to give a shit whose definitions are used, I can at least complete this task using my own definitions.

    But before we get there, I have to point out that while asserting PZ’s claim lacks evidence, you’ve got PZ’s claim wrong. He NEVER used the phrase “liberal centrist”.

    PZ actually said:

    I’ve had people describe me as a far-left radical, which makes me blush…I’m honestly not that far our there.

    So. He doesn’t even have to be a “liberal centrist” to make his claim true. All he has to be is a “far left liberal” instead of a “far left radical”. The fact that you can’t comprehend elementary english language sufficiently to recognize that “not that far” includes “almost that far”. Being in the “center” is not the only way you can avoid being on the “far left edge” without being “on the right”. You do get that, right? No, of course not, or you never would have phrased your initial outrage at PZ’s self-description the way you did.

    However, now that we’ve conclusively proved that you didn’t bother to even understand what was being discussed before you started typing your outrage-filled first comment in this thread, let’s go ahead and define a single position of the “far left orthodoxy” with which I PZ has obviously disagreed.

    The “far-left radicals” frequently feel that democrats are too far towards the center and/or right and too corporatist to deserve electoral support. There are no far-right or right wing or centrist persons who believe that the Dems are too far to the center and/or right. To hold this position one must be on the far left. Therefore, this is a good example of a “far left orthodoxy”. Let’s examine this one.

    Lefties that aren’t that radical find plenty of democrats worth supporting, though some Dems may still not be supported by certain non-radical lefties if the candidate is deemed individually be too far right, too willing to kowtow to the rich, too willing to pass tax cuts when the country is running deficits, too spineless to oppose Trump or whatever. PZ would fit into this category of lefties who aren’t radicals if he easily finds Dems who are worth supporting rather than abandoning the Democratic party on principle or simply never finding any Dems worthy in practice. (The ones who don’t declare a principled separation but can’t ever seem to find any Dems worthy of their votes might be hard to separate from the “far left radicals” so we’ll have to find PZ to have openly supported at least 2 Dems to be absolutely sure he’s separated himself from the far left orthodoxy that the Dems are too far towards the right to support.)

    PZ has consistently supported reasonable democrats. He supported voting for Hillary Clinton. He’s supported Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken before his sexual harassment came to light. After Franken’s sexual harassment came to light he posted that he was disappointed that Franken would have to leave the Senate because he was, in PZ’s opinion, good on many issues. That’s 3. I’m sure I could find more if I actually searched the archive.

    To my knowledge, he’s never called for boycotting the Dems as a party as useless, too centrist, too corporatist, or too anything else. Even if he has, his support for specific Dems shows that he changed his mind afterwards and/or was engaging in cynical hyperbole to make a point or express emotion. He clearly does not support abandoning the Democratic party, even though he has on a number of occasions expressed his desire that the party would move farther left on a number of specific issues. He’s clearly a reformer rather than radical in relationship to the Democratic-Farmer-Laborer and the Democratic parties.

    Therefore, he’s “not that far out there” on at least one issue. I’m sure I could think of many others, but since you only wanted one, there you go.

    ================================

    Please remember, however, that my submission of this evidence does not in any way constitute a retreat from my previous position that your participation in this thread has been consistently incoherent. Your inability to remember the nature of PZ’s original assertion, that he’s “not that far out there” and not that he’s a “liberal centrist” is merely further proof.

    One thing you could do when trying to gather evidence to support or refute someone else’s claim is to, y’know, use your cursor to highlight the text, then hold down the “command” or “ctrl” button while pressing the “c” key. this will copy text. Then you can paste that text in your own comment. In this way, your inability to remember something you read 30 seconds previously will not actually impede your ability to accurately describe what people actually said.

    Fucking moron.

  53. says

    @firsttimelongtime:

    Separately:

    I see orthodoxy is another word you’re having trouble with – mostly because you want to fuck with me and not really have a discussion … You want me to define leftist orthodoxy so you can snipe at it in the same way my father sniped at my grandmother

    Unless you’re telepathic, you have no fucking clue what I want. You assert that other people are making evidence-free assertions, while you simultaneously assert that you actually, factually know the desires and motivations of persons you’ve never met.

    You’re not only wrong, but if you can presume to tell me what I want, your arrogance knows few bounds. It makes you not merely a careless reader, not merely unable to see when you’ve made your own assertions requiring that you take up your own burden of proof, but also an arrogant jerk. In case you were wondering why I feel justified in calling you a “fucking moron” instead of refraining from improprieties and let my dismantling of your arguments stand alone, that why.

    Fucking, jerkface moron.

  54. John Morales says

    CD, :) No, not really. Just a bit of playfulness with the gobbet of attempted condescension.

    (Chewy!)

    PS I do appreciate your more didactic approach, but it’s a bit too much like hard work.

  55. firsttimelongtime says

    “Please remember, however, that my submission of this evidence does not in any way constitute a retreat from my previous position that your participation in this thread has been consistently incoherent.”

    All I have done in this thread is (1) call bullshit on PZ’s assertion and (2) ask for evidence to back up that assertion. (Aside from the fake paper tangent. Speaking of which, I sincerely hope you listen to the podcast/hear what the authors have to say and at least are open to the idea I might be right.)

    That’s it.

    If that is what you call incoherent, then perhaps I’ve been away from here so long I literally can’t understand what anyone here is talking about anymore (and vice versa).

    Until your #60, btw, no one, including you, had provided any evidence that PZ is a liberal centrist.

    And if the only piece of evidence you can come up with is that PZ is a pragmatist when it comes to voting, then I’ll consider my point mostly validated. There are similar debates on the right about voting for libertarian candidates, which are normally resolved by answering the question, ‘who would be worse?’, then voting accordingly (although I think that sentiment is changing, on both sides). But this is a practical issue and says little to nothing about someone’s ideology. In fact, there is a radical leftist/rightist argument FOR voting for the most viable centrist liberal/conservative candidate. I believe it’s called the Buckley Rule on the right and if there is a name for it on the left I’ve not heard of it.

    What’s telling, in my mind, is that you didn’t choose, you know, an actual issue like guns or health care or foreign policy. When I made my criticism of PZ’s assertion it was these sort of issues I had in mind. And I don’t think even you would call PZ or anyone else a full-blown liberal centrist simply based on their pragmatist stance on voting.

    But having said that, you did, finally, present some evidence and make an argument. For that, I applaud you.

  56. zenlike says

    No one has claimed PZ is a liberal centrist. Not PZ. Nor any of the commenters in this thread.
    This has been repeatedly pointed out.

    And still firsttimelongtime repeats this bit of idiocity.

    I honestly don’t know if he is dumber than a bag of rocks, or is merely pretending to be one to be a contrarian jackass.

    Either way, thanks Crip Dyke and John Morales for your comments, you have way more patience to suffer the fools than I have (and provide insightful comments to boot, so your words are not just waisted on a jackass who is intend on not getting it).

  57. says

    @firsttimelongtime

    Hmm…

    I don’t care whose definitions you use

    Hmm…

    What’s telling, in my mind, is that you didn’t choose, you know, an actual issue like guns or health care or foreign policy. When I made my criticism of PZ’s assertion it was these sort of issues I had in mind.

    Personally, I felt, “The Democratic Party is too far to the right to redeem or support” would fit the bill of a “radical leftist orthodoxy”, but it seems like, despite your protestations to the contrary, I caught you caring. I also caught you not having the faintest clue that there might be a difference between the definition of the word “issue” and the definition of the word “orthodoxy”.

    Maybe now, if you want to have a serious discussion about whether or not PZ dissents from any “radical leftist orthodoxies”, you might actually specify one or more radical leftist orthodoxies. That might be a prelude to a useful conversation. But you’d have to be competent to have a useful conversation for that, which is a proposition of which I, for one, am skeptical.

    As for whether or not PZ is a centrist, perhaps you should ask for evidence of that proposition from someone who has actually asserted that PZ is a centrist. As zenlike sums up:

    No one has claimed PZ is a liberal centrist. Not PZ. Nor any of the commenters in this thread.
    This has been repeatedly pointed out.

    If you can’t stop harping on about PZ being a centrist, maybe you should fuck off to somewhere people are actually labeling him one.

  58. firsttimelongtime says

    “I also caught you not having the faintest clue that there might be a difference between the definition of the word “issue” and the definition of the word “orthodoxy”.”

    You caught me. I just googled both words, though, so I’m good now.

    Here’s the deal: you’ve been trying to play pedantic games with this since my first comment. Or you’re gaslighting me just to fuck with me. Either way, you look silly. You can claim you don’t know what PZ was trying to say in this post, and you can claim you don’t know what he means by the word ‘liberal’ or the word ‘centrist’, or by the phrase ‘not too far out there,’ but all of that beggars belief. You can make a number of well founded assumptions about what he was saying and come to the same conclusion I did: he’s trying to portray himself as a liberal centrist. And to someone on the radical left – of which I assume you and many others here call yourself a member – that might seem like a reasonable claim. But to someone with a different perspective on things, it’s a ludicrous claim.

    Which brings me to this: “As for whether or not PZ is a centrist, perhaps you should ask for evidence of that proposition from someone who has actually asserted that PZ is a centrist.” (I did ask PZ, but he’s not talking)

    If you had said much earlier that you agree with me in describing PZ as a radical leftist, then we could have saved ourselves a lot of trouble. This is my point, that PZ is not a liberal centrist. Like I said in my last comment – thank you for validating my point.

  59. Jazzlet says

    zenlike said

    No one has claimed PZ is a liberal centrist. Not PZ. Nor any of the commenters in this thread.

    Crip Dyke quoted it.

    Yet still he blathers on about it.

    And he doesn’t understand that there are positions between being a ‘radical leftist’ and ‘liberal centrist’ despite Crip Dyke carefully explaining this.

    Fucking moron indeed.

  60. says

    Here’s the deal: you’ve been trying to play pedantic games with this since my first comment.

    What? I’ve said that your language was loaded and that I would happily take up your challenge if you provided either a list of “orthodoxies” and/or a definition of “radical leftist orthodoxies” sufficient for me to determine on my own exactly which “orthodoxies” you’re attempting to identify.

    I’m trying to actually have a conversation, but you refuse to actually pin yourself down and say, “I believe that if PZ holds position X that it falsifies his self-assertion about being ‘not that far out there’.”

    Give me something specific to talk about. If you don’t, all I can say (again) is that no one has identified PZ as a centrist. I don’t identify PZ as a centrist. “Not that far out there” clearly implies that he is “out there” to some degree, but not to the fullest degree required to make one a “far-left radical”.

    This is basic english reading comprehension. If I ask you if you’re moderate enough to ever vote for a Democrat and you say, “I’m not that far out there” it doesn’t automatically mean you’re a Franco fascist. It just means you’re not quite far enough left to ever vote for a democrat. That’s all. If I ask you if you’re a Franco Fascist and you say, “I’m not that far out there,” it doesn’t automatically mean that you’re far enough left of the fascists to vote for a democrat. It just means you’re not quite a full-on Franco fascist. Of course, you could be using litotes and insist you’re “not as far out there” as a Franco fascist when you’re every bit as left-wing as Bernie Sanders. “Not as far out there” includes a vast, vast range. In this case, I think PZ wasn’t using litotes and is in fact a lefty, but nowhere near a radical one.

    Language. Learn it.

    You can claim you don’t know what PZ was trying to say in this post

    But I don’t claim that. I feel like I know what PZ was trying to say. He was trying to say that he’s not as far left as the “far-left radicals”.

    you can claim you don’t know what he means by the word ‘liberal’ or the word ‘centrist’

    My dog, are you still so stupidly attached to your lies that you really believe that PZ used the word “centrist”. I can’t know what he means by his use of the word “centrist” in this thread, because he has NEVER ONCE used “centrist” in this thread.

    Seriously. Use the find function. It’s fairly easy, and actual conversation is impossible if you cling to ideas that are completely, provably, and previously proven false.

    If you had said much earlier that you agree with me in describing PZ as a radical leftist, then we could have saved ourselves a lot of trouble.

    But I don’t agree with that. I think he’s a lefty – leftist if you must – but not a radical one. You seem utterly unable to distinguish between the two concepts. One, “lefty” or “leftist” is broader; the other qualifies that first term in order to reduce it to a subset, “radical leftists”. PZ said he was “not that far out there” – distinguishing himself from “far-left radicals” (to use the term he actually specified). He did not use “not that far out there” to distinguish himself from left-wing politics more generally. Your consistent inability to understand that has been noted repeatedly, and by many.

    You can make a number of well founded assumptions about what he was saying and come to the same conclusion I did: he’s trying to portray himself as a liberal centrist. And to someone on the radical left – of which I assume you and many others here call yourself a member – that might seem like a reasonable claim.

    And everyone here is telling you to stop assuming. It’s a great way to be wrong, and it also, by-the-by, makes productive conversation impossible.

    Theoretically, one could articulate your prior assumptions so that people know what they actually are, then we could at least identify precisely where we disagree with you. But you don’t do that. You don’t back up anything you have to say. You insist – repeatedly – that PZ has actually used “centrist” here. What’s actually going on is that PZ has done nothing of the kind, but that you assume that he’s portraying himself as a centrist.

    I’ve shown that “not that far out there” can mean a great many things, from a humorous use of understatement to make an implicit assertion that he’s a dedicated right-winger to a moderately use of understatement to assert a vague position that includes “centrist” as a possibility, to no use of understatement in which PZ literally means what he actually said, in which case he’d be asserting that he’s a lefty but not a radical one.

    You’re insisting that you know exactly which interpretation is correct, and that the correct interpretation is the false one. I see no reason to assume that the false interpretation is the intended interpretation. Unlike you, I’m willing to consider multiple possible interpretations and, given evidence and argument perhaps even adopt someone else’s interpretation as my new preferred interpretation.

    But I am not making any assumptions. I’m using the actual evidence. PZ asserts that he’s “not that far out there” and I believe that there’s easily room for that to be true. I think I know what PZ was saying, I’m not saying I was confused, but I admit a human capacity for error.

    In the meantime, you just assume. What the fuck is so wrong with you that you can’t give up your assumptions when they are proven wrong?

    BTW, this:

    to someone on the radical left – of which I assume you … call yourself a member

    Is completely wrong. You can’t go to an elite law school with the intention of participating in the existing systems of power and truly be a radical. You can’t help draft legislation and truly be a radical. If I was a real radical, I wouldn’t be participating in the ways I’m participating. But you wouldn’t know that I’m a friendly acquaintance of legislators and law professors and all sorts of other establishment types with whom I do all sorts of rather mundane work. It’s certainly true that I’m far enough left that some of my ideas are radical, but none of my methodologies are, and I have far more reformist ideas than radical ones.

    But again, you wouldn’t know that. You don’t know that I call myself a member of the radical left. You assume.

    And then, when I refuse to accept your unevidenced and frequently unarticulated assumptions and ask you to make clear exactly what you mean, you call me a pedant.

    Maybe I am. Maybe it’s pedantic of me to want to know exactly what you mean before arguing about it or critiquing it. Maybe a RealTranny™ would just assume all sorts of things about you and your thoughts and your motivations and then use that to conclude yet more things about your words or your argument.

    I’m just not inclined to base my conclusions on assumptions – especially not ones, like your assumptions about PZ’s use of “centrist”, that contradict the readily observable facts.

  61. firsttimelongtime says

    Who knew so much absolutely bat-shit craziness could come out of a five sentence blog post?

    “I’m trying to actually have a conversation, but you refuse to actually pin yourself down and say, “I believe that if PZ holds position X that it falsifies his self-assertion about being ‘not that far out there’.”

    Again, you’ve got it exactly backwards. I’m the only one in this debate who has pinned myself down to a specific position, i.e., PZ’s political opinions are indistinguishable from those of the radical left. You (finally!) countered with one example: he encouraged people to vote for Democrats. I said ‘cool, but I still think I’m right’ and then you pull this shit out of your ass.

    You’re not trying to have a conversation. You’re playing word games. But now that you’ve identified as a lawyer your games make a little more sense. I might think twice, however, about advertising your ‘elite’ law school pedigree since apparently you have plenty of time on your hands to pound away at your keyboard in an attempt to poke pedantic holes in blog comments left by an absolute nobody with no law degree from anywhere.

    “In this case, I think PZ wasn’t using litotes and is in fact a lefty, but nowhere near a radical one.”

    Thank the stars! It’s about fucking time you say what you think PZ meant by this post (and bonus! You’ve got the center square in Elite Law School Bingo for using the word ‘litotes’ in a sentence).

    You have added a third category to our taxonomy – radical, liberal centrist, and now ‘lefty’. I take it you’re trying to create some space in-between ‘liberal centrist’ and ‘radical leftist’ for PZ to occupy (I don’t think you don’t think he’s a centrist). Cool. Doesn’t matter.

    Because here’s the thing – and there’s really no getting around it – the only evidence you’ve offered this entire thread to distinguish PZ from the ‘radical left’ is his support of Democrats in an election. If that’s all you got, fine. Color me unconvinced. Years of his blog posts on every political topic imaginable tell me – and everyone else who hasn’t drank the Myers’ kool-aid – the opposite.

  62. John Morales says

    1tlt:

    I’m the only one in this debate who has pinned myself down to a specific position, i.e., PZ’s political opinions are indistinguishable from those of the radical left.

    You are mistaken.

    “I don’t identify PZ as a centrist.”
    “I think he’s a lefty – leftist if you must – but not a radical one.”

    CD has (to use your own idiom) “pinned” herself much more so than you, and with with no lesser specificity, given you did no more than appeal to your personal lack of ability to distinguish the distinctions she employed.

    (Appeal to obtuseness is not a winning move)

    Also,

    You’re not trying to have a conversation. You’re playing word games.

    Mistaken. Again. You are indeed conversing.

    Also, you imagine word games and conversations are mutually-exclusive? Heh.

    (Can’t counter cogency with bluster)

  63. John Morales says

    [can’t resist]

    You have added a third category to our taxonomy – radical, liberal centrist, and now ‘lefty’. I take it you’re trying to create some space in-between ‘liberal centrist’ and ‘radical leftist’ for PZ to occupy (I don’t think you don’t think he’s a centrist).

    It’s a political spectrum (and a one-dimensional axis is too simplistic), not a discrete set of low cardinality. Your conceptual space seems very cramped indeed.

  64. zenlike says

    This back and forth reminds me a bit of the book Flatland, and the inability therein described of one-dimensional beings to comprehend the world of the two-dimensional beings. To the monarch of Lineland, the world described by the Square must indeed have looked like bat-shit craziness, in the end, he even tries to kill off Square, unable to grasp what the latter is trying to convey.

    And that is basically what you get here. A binary mind, quite literally unable to comprehend what everyone else is talking about, and thinking his binary taxonomy is not only the correct one, but being unable to even imagine anyone else using a different one (literally calling it “our” taxonomy). This also explains, in a way, the stubborn huffing and puffing about having to explain what his taxonomy is. Because why should he? “Everyone” knows and uses this taxonomy, this binary dividing of the world in two boxes.

    This is quite literally beings of two different dimensions talking to each other, wherein the beings of the higher dimension recognize the other side is lacking a dimension to express themselves in, and thus being careful to understand what the other side exactly means when they say something, and the irate reaction of the other side, because they quite literally cannot understand the need of those questions.

  65. says

    @anyone who isn’t firsttime:

    I might think twice, however, about advertising your ‘elite’ law school pedigree since apparently you have plenty of time on your hands

    lol

    Having spare time on a couple weekends at the end of december/early january means I shouldn’t talk about my education? Wow. That’s pretty darn desperate.

    @zenlike:

    Yeah, probably true, and a good way of putting it. Though there is always use in combatting misinformation for readers that aren’t commenting, there may be nothing more that can be done here. If the readers are still with firsttime, nothing else I say will likely matter.

    @John Morales:

    CD has … “pinned” herself much more so than you

    And, more to the point, the challenge was

    Here’s a thought experiment: name one issue in which you dissent from the ‘radical leftist’ orthodoxy

    So I provide exactly one orthodoxy (the Dems are too far towards the right – however far that is – to support) from which PZ dissents, and firsttime complains that I only provided one.

    Interesting.

    “You couldn’t even tell me what color the sky is! Why don’t you tell me what the sky looks like right now? You can’t!”
    “It’s blue, though it is partly cloudy, with fairly white clouds. Not much grey today.”
    “What is wrong with you? Why aren’t you paying attention to my important points! Describing the sky instead of listening to me is proof that you never wanted a real conversation! You’re even inventing your own categories, trying to shoehorn in some “partly cloudy” category between sunny and cloudy. You’re just pedantically reading words and responding to them as if they had specific meanings instead of agreeing with me!”
    “…”

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