Is The Right Mocking Victim Culture, Or Adopting It?

For years, I've been criticizing the trope that the American Right (for want of a better term) is victimized by the mean rhetoric of the American Left (ditto). I ridiculed a rightie blogger when he said that accusations of racism are inherently tyrannical and silencing, I dissented when Clint Eastwood complained he should be able to tell ethnic jokes without being criticized, and I scoffed when Kirk Cameron said that he should be able to say homosexuality destroys civilizations without people being mean to him about it. I've discussed how both the "Left" and the "Right" have stretched the term "bullying" beyond recognition.

It's time for me to confess: I'm not entirely sure what some conservatives are up to.

Have they immersed themselves in "victim of speech" culture, accepted its premises, and become part of it? Are they making fun of it subtly? Are they acting to discredit it by overusing it? Are they illustrating how it can be abused, and how it is unprincipled?

Hell if I know.

Take Dennis Prager. I've criticized Prager before for suggesting that mean liberal rhetoric bullies conservatives into changing political positions. In his most recent foray into the issue, Prager portrays himself as the victim of a leftist mob based on angry reactions to comments he made about national dialogue over campus sexual assault. He said:

One in five women are sexually assaulted on campuses? You know what sexual assault means? Did you ever look at what counts? An “unwanted kiss” is considered sexual assault. I’m stunned it’s only one in five. Four out of five women have not gotten an unwanted kiss? My wife gets unwanted kisses every so often!

Prager then nails himself to a cross, citing incendiary comments at places like Huffington Post and Wonkette. He complains:

Second, mockery — indeed cruel mockery — is the norm on the left. I urge readers to visit any of the liberal websites cited and read the comments after the articles. No significant American group hates like the Left does. If you differ with them — on global warming, race relations, same-sex marriage, the extent of rape on college campuses, and any number of other things — they will humiliate, defame, libel, and try to economically crush you.

Look, I know this will provoke a few dozen comments making the empirical claim "the Left just is meaner than the Right." I don't buy it. I think we're hardwired to take more offense at attacks on "our side," and disregard attacks made by "our side." Take a look at the comments on Prager's own column — or on any column on NRO — if you doubt me. I guess that "their commenters fairly represent them, but ours don't represent us" is an argument, but it's not a persuasive one.

So what are Prager and his ilk up to? Do they genuinely see themselves as victimized by rough criticism? Do they actually think that social pressure directed at their speech is different from the social pressure they seek to direct? Or is this an elaborate pantomime, designed to illustrate that "bullying" rhetoric is unprincipled and can be used by anyone against anyone?

Whatever the answer, it's a misstep. If conservatives have fallen prey to the speech-victim ethos, it's a failure of character; if they think they are teaching a lesson, they are too optimistic about their audience. As I said recently in the context of "GamerGate," when you use rhetorical tropes and techniques, you normalize them, so they can be more easily used against you.

Bullshit should be identified as such. Complete lack of proportion should be commented upon. True threats should be reported and their makers stomped. Genuine harassment should be called out. But "we can't endure the unique rhetorical meanness of the other team" does not convey "our ideas are right and we deserve to lead." Instead, it insidiously promotes the very worst and most un-American of ideas: that we have a right not to be offended, that we have a right not to be ridiculed or disagreed with, and that speech might be as bad as action, and therefore a proper subject for regulation.

Cowboy up, Dennis Prager.

Last 5 posts by Ken White

Comments

  1. Lagaya1 says

    Unfortunately, it's the jerks on both sides who get heard.

    I assume you meant to say "fallen prey" rather than "fallen pray", but when talking about the right, you never know.

  2. Chris Rhodes says

    Look, I know this will provoke a few dozen comments making the empirical claim "the Left just is meaner than the Right."

    Anecdotally, I get meaner comments from communities on the right, but I think that's because communities on the left are more likely to just ban people who disagree.

  3. asdf says

    @Ken,

    Since members of both the american left and the american right play victim in order to gain support, it is impossible that one side has a more legitimate case.

    Does Truth have any value wrt this issue? Dennis is pointing out being attacked for claiming the "1 in 5" statistic is a lie, which it is.

    This is not a matter of sympathy for the harassment victim, here Dennis.
    It is a matter of foolishness of the attackers.

    Dennis is not asking for sympathy. He is demonstrating foolishness.

    Would that every victim of foolish attack demonstrate the foolishness of their detractors!

  4. Jenny says

    The right has spent the last 10 years coming to terms with the fact that the 60's cultural revolution won, and that they're now the Counter Culture.

    The old guard has spent a quarter century or more playing just the role you describe- cowboy up.
    Tut-tut the sillier tactics (when surrogates aren't doing them for you, of course).. but generally at least at the top level tried to play the role of the mature, grounded, traditional reasonable person.

    Which has failed for them disastrously. They've been successfully typecast as MrsGrundyChurchLady and SelfishOldWhiteMan – and lost, and lost, and lost.

    The new generation – Shapiro, Veritas, etc are much more aggressive. Right or wrong, they're not the "genteelly give up a little more ground each decade" types their fathers and grandfathers were. They're actually on offense now – and the snarky faux-victim claims you're seeing all over are one symptom of a broader culture shift.

    Long term, I think we're seeing the same kind of counterculture wave that hit us in the late 60's.
    I'm not entirely certain I want to see what the far side of the pendulum swing looks like – but nonetheless, the winds are shifting.

  5. asdf says

    Incidentally, if Dennis were asking for sympathy or calling for squelching of speech, I would agree with you fully.

    I think you missed the mark here.

  6. says

    @asdf: I'm not saying that he's explicitly calling for the squelching of speech. I'm saying that he's playing into a cultural norm that makes censorship easier to contemplate.

    As to whether he's asking for sympathy: well, I am content to leave that to the judgment of anyone reading his column.

  7. BruceB says

    I pretty much agree with all of this – too many "victims" all around, along with far too many people who are just plain rude. But:

    True threats should be reported and their makers stomped. Genuine harassment should be called out.

    how do you define "true threats" and "genuine harassment"? "I know it when I see it?" When your blog post or comment attracts dozens of threats along the lines of "I'm going to kill you" or "You're going to choke on my c*ck and I will rape and kill your children" these sound like true threats but you can be sure that in almost every case these are empty words… until someday one nut tries to follow through. Cops don't have the resources to follow up on each and every one of these.

  8. jdgalt says

    Look, I know this will provoke a few dozen comments making the empirical claim "the Left just is meaner than the Right." I don't buy it. I think we're hardwired to take more offense at attacks on "our side," and disregard attacks made by "our side." Take a look at the comments on Prager's own column — or on any column on NRO — if you doubt me. I guess that "their commenters fairly represent them, but ours don't represent us" is an argument, but it's not a persuasive one.

    I don't buy this.

    While you can certainly find extreme comments (and extreme sites) on both sides, the Left has gone farther, not only by criminalizing certain kinds of speech (for instance "sexual harassment", a law which is far broader than harassment and amounts to cultural warfare against straight men), but also by so perverting the legal system that some accusations (not only of domestic violence or child abuse, but also such vague things as racism) are as effective as convictions at destroying the target's life. The IRS also has doubled down and continues its scandal, which effectively criminalizes political speech but only if it's on the right.

    There are no comparable menaces (in the western world) against the Left. The Right is above using them.

    And of course, when someone on the Left does get caught in scandalous behavior, the media they control will never beat it to death, if they even mention it at all. (The Clinton-Lewinsky affair was an exception only because Bill Clinton never had the good sense to shut up about it.)

  9. Someone says

    I'd say that most are complaining of a double-standard, but you raise a good point that all such complaints get ignored.

  10. Xmas says

    I think you're just seeing one side adopt and adapt the tactics of the other. Playing the victim presents your philosophical opponent with a dilemma. They can continue their argument and come across as a bully, or they will attempt to reframe their argument and lose tactical ground to you. The problem for those on the right is when all you have are moral complaints within a debate, such as abortion and gay marriage, you're very limited in the tactical ground you can give. You end up fighting a losing battle as the "victims" of discrimination or incest/rape/medical calamity claim the moral high ground.

    So, playing the victim has worked for the left for some issues, so they try to apply it to other issues, such as pay equality, education access, welfare, immigration, etc. But in those arguments, there are more fact-based arguments to make, and the playing the victim doesn't gain as much.

    So, this is where things get a little bit meta. Those arguing from the right are getting sick of the "playing the victim" tactic. So they're attacking those who are calling them bullies for continuing arguments against those who've played the victim card. They're attacking the tactic with the same tactic. I think it's the political equivalent to a parent getting down on the ground with a child having a tantrum and crying right along with them. The child gets perplexed because their tactic has produced a result they never anticipated. The idea may be that now that everyone agrees that emotional blackmail is terrible, maybe we can begin discussing these issues like rational adults.

  11. Matt says

    I think it's time we shun people on both sides of the aisle making these claims appropriately, and fight bad speech with free speech as some people do/continue to. Unfortunately that won't fix the fact that extremists on both sides tend to get more viewers.

    I have seen this in some form of societal decline becoming much more prominent again since around late 90s. I suspect this may have happened before that, however.

  12. says

    We see this all the time–white men complaining about hurt fee fees and complaining that "others" are complaining about the white men. Sheesh. Cowboy up indeed.

  13. says

    "Have they immersed themselves in "victim of speech" culture, accepted its premises, and become part of it? Are they making fun of it subtly? Are they acting to discredit it by overusing it? Are they illustrating how it can be abused, and how it is unprincipled?"

    "Have they immersed themselves in "victim of speech" culture"? Only David Horowitz.

    "Are they making fun of it subtly?" Yes.

    "Are they acting to discredit it by overusing it?" Yes.

    " Are they illustrating how it can be abused, and how it is unprincipled?" Maybe.

    But I think what they're usually up to is calling out hypocrisy. They often do this explicitly. Roughly every time Ann Coulter appears in public, for example, someone says something that the Left would normally cite as evidence that women who speak out in public are quickly silenced by the Patriarchy(tm). You can usually find a right-wing pundit responding to this with a column that says "Look, here's this person on the Left saying something about a woman that the Left would not tolerate if I said it." But of course it doesn't apply to Ann Coulter because the Left is – surprise! – hypocritical.

    It's fair to say that both the Left and Right are hypocritical in their own ways. Since the Left is the originator of – or at least the side associated with – "victim of speech" culture, it's not surprising that you can find plenty examples of people on the Right complaining about Leftist abuses of victim of speech culture. It's the same reason you can find lots of people on the Left complaining (rightly) that Conservatives are all for social engineering when it's putting people in jail for smoking marijuana, but flip out when they want to regulate smoking or soda. It's hypocritical, and so it's right for people to call them out on it. Let's say that it turns out that you're empirically correct that the Left and the Right do equal (metaphorical) violence with their speech. In fact, I assume this is the case. It will still seem to objective bystanders as though the Left does more of it, simply because they make a bigger political issue out of the supposed harms of it, and hypocrisy about one of your signature issues tends to stand out. It also makes it prima facie likely that the Left indulges in more anti-conservative hate speech than vice versa, simply because it's also human nature to excuse your own moral transgressions. Since the Left sees itself as the side fighting the good fight about harmful speech, they're ironically more likely to give themselves a pass on it.

    Speaking of hypocrisy, it's interesting to note that your own standards for when someone is allowed to complain about these things are a bit selective. In your GamerGate post, you wrote that:

    "Whether or not more women are threatened than men, numerically or as a percentage, being a woman and articulating a viewpoint seems like a very reliable way to get threatened. You may not be happy that it is an element of gaming culture, but it is.."

    Prager could make that statement about conservatives and articulating a viewpoint, and it's interesting that you would not accept it. Leftist speech against conservatives is a "thing" only then when conservatives do not respond in kind. Threatening women online, by contrast, is a "thing" whether or not people threaten men online more. This seems inconsistent.

  14. stillnotking says

    when you use rhetorical tropes and techniques, you normalize them, so they can be more easily used against you

    I think you answered your own question right here. Claiming to be a persecuted underdog to tap into people's sympathies is a powerful rhetorical tactic; the more it's used, the less reasonable the claims start to become. If Prager is the nadir on the right, Tumblr is the nadir on the left.

    Both sides do this, and my guess is both sides have pretty much always done it. It generally fits better into leftist narratives, but one could argue that represents a true underlying distinction — that the left actually is about championing the underdog, more often than the right. Conservative rhetorical flourishes are more often about sacred values, but they don't hesitate to play the victim when it suits them.

  15. Stevie says

    Xmas

    It isn't just the child who is perplexed when the parent joins in the tantrum on the pavement; other adults get pretty confused as well. They may well question the sanity of the adult lying there sobbing, rather than immediately prostrating themselves and joining in…

  16. Khaim says

    @jdgalt

    There are no comparable menaces (in the western world) against the Left. The Right is above using them.

    Sure, if you ignore centuries of government-sanctioned racism, misogyny, and homophobia.

    Wait, I'm sorry, those weren't True Scotsmen doing the oppressing. Also something about Democrats and slavery and how we all switched pants a while back.

  17. Raucous Indignation says

    Instead, it insidiously promotes the very worst and most un-American of ideas: that we have a right not to be offended, that we have a right not to be ridiculed or disagreed with, and that speech might be as bad as action, and therefore a proper subject for regulation.

    This is brilliantly well said.

  18. sinij says

    Ken, I felt deeply victimized by your latest column. It is highly insensitive of you to post such material without appropriate trigger warnings. Also, why won't you think of the chil^h^h^h sexual assault victims!

  19. PonyAdvocate says

    I'm not entirely sure what some conservatives are up to.

    Not sure why you're not sure.

    From what I can tell, much (most?) of this right-wing "I'm a victim" crap comes from white males. If you review your history, you'll see that privilege was for a long time conferred on those lucky enough to be white and male, simply because they were white and male, at the expense of those who had the misfortune of not sharing both these characteristics. Over the past several decades, the playing field has been gradually becoming more level (though not fast enough, and not yet level enough, in the opinion of many), partly because non-whites and non-males have vocally and justifiably and truthfully pointed out the inequities of which they were the victims. White males, naturally, resent that their accustomed but undeserved privilege is gradually leaching away, so they have taken to aping the complaints that seemed to work for genuine victims. That such complaints from white males have little valid basis, if any, enters into the equation not at all.

    I think few right-wingers are engaging in mockery. Among conservatives, those who are stupid (much the larger contingent) actually believe this "I am a victim" bullshit. Smart conservatives peddle the victimization trope as a rhetorical tool in their quest to shore up and perpetuate white male privilege.

    Hope this helps.

  20. Brown says

    Someone November 6, 2014 at 10:16 am
    "I'd say that most are complaining of a double-standard…"

    Joshua Herring November 6, 2014 at 10:38 am
    "…I think what they're usually up to is calling out hypocrisy."

    Bingo. The point they're trying to make is that some of the same people who demand politically correct speech are also lobbing in a few firebombs. Can you have it both ways?

    Their complaining because they thought "the left" was all about peace, love and understanding. What they don't realize is that the formerly disenfranchised left now has enough power that they can put down the flowers and go for the jugular without reprisal.

  21. TM says

    There are no comparable menaces (in the western world) against the Left. The Right is above using them.

    It's not that the Right is above using these things, it's that they're largely not in a position to. With the "Right" people in power you would likely see the same tactics just with different kickers. Where the left would see someone hanged for being accused of harrassment, the right would see someone hanged for being a communist or not showing proper respect to various icons. No, the right would just as quickly and easily use the same tactics if they were largely in power because these tactics are the tactics of those that would seek to control others. It's the playbook of the ages. Declare a victimhood, seek popular support, divide and conquer, as you obtain power declare any thoughts or behaviors contrary to supporting your power as a continuation of aforementioned victimhood and heresy, enforce by any means necessary (up to and including violence) actual oppression of heretical thought and actions. If you want to see the most recent nation wide "right wing" attempt at this play, look at the "with us or against us" rhetoric during the Bush presidency.

  22. sinij says

    @PonyAdvocate

    Hope this helps.

    Consider that a large number of above-mentioned group, who represent a wide level of unequal socioeconomic circumstances and are not a monolithic entity, do not agree with your side's premise that white-ness and male-ness is something that one has to constantly apologize for.

    Also, consider that your baseline assumption that all members of non-whites and non-males group are necessary underprivileged to be antiquated and not reflecting the reality of modern society.

    Hope this helps.

  23. Marzipan says

    Ingroup-outgroup dynamics are ever prevalent, particularly in zero-sum scenarios. Though ingroup love need not necessarily translate to outgroup hate, the comments sections of articles seem to be particularly pernicious dens of iniquity against the hated outgroup. Indeed, it seems easy to determine what a person's online political stands might be based on those they demonize the most strongly.

    Nevertheless, both the left and right need to remember that the antidote to bad speech is more speech, not censorship. Self-tone policing can help promote more civil discourse, but insisting that others quit their terrible, awful, no-good talky ways is just creating another offering for ridicule.

  24. TM says

    As an example of the hypocrisy some people are pointing out, take PonyAdvocate's screed above and replace references to "white male" with "black urbanite" and references to "privilege" with "entitlements" and decide which would be better received as an editorial on CNN.

  25. GuestPoster says

    Well, it's an interesting question really, and one I'd answer in the opposite – the American left is pretty routinely able to demonstrate that it IS a victim. It points to lower pay for equal work from women. It points to how inflation has gone up faster than minimum wage (one of the single most effective poverty-reduction programs ever created, which conservatives constantly try to gut). It points to how SOME people are allowed to enjoy marriage rights, while others are not. It points to the huge number of hate-crimes in the US every year, which pretty constantly target those who associate with the left: gays, women, racial minorities, transgender individuals, etc. Yes, many on the left use incredible rhetoric while talking, but for all that, on your average left-leaning board, things tend to be reasonably respectful, and arguments tend to be reasonably well presented.

    The right, on the other hand, complains primarily about how their 'speech' is now illegal, and about 'thought crimes' but doesn't seem to be able to provide any instances of this actually being true. So far as I know, not even the most radical leftwinger on earth has yet assembled a police corp to arrest people based upon their thoughts. And consider above: someone complains about 'sexual harassment laws' which now make it illegal to, you know… harass a person sexually (Something you'd think wouldn't show up in the very same comment thread as the Prager critique, but so it goes). But not a limit that prevents one to think or say whatever one wants. You just can't harass a person sexually – this is not an unreasonable thing, and is not an infringement of rights beyond the age old concept that your right to swing a fist ends where somebody else's nose begins. Similarly, the average right-wing board is mostly a gabble of slurs and whatnot – 'libtard', 'demorat', 'demoncrat', etc. seems to be the high-point of reasoned debate in your average Fox News article commentary, for example (and easily outnumber, by a substantial margin, usages of 'repugnantcan' or 'conservatwit' or the like on average left-wing boards). Religious persecution is a big one too – so far, following the same laws as everyone else and not being allowed to discriminate against clients at your for-profit business asking for things you'd do for other clients seems to be the best the religious right can muster to demonstrate discrimination against them. This compares (in their minds) to, say, Muslims, who've had their mosques bombed, their building permits denied, and their members violently driven out of one town after the next.

    Essentially: for the right, they seem to feel that they are victims if they are forced to follow the same unbiased laws as everybody else. For the left, they feel that they are victims if they are not allowed to participate in society the same as anybody else would be. The left wants equal rights. The right wants equal appreciation for the speeches it makes in favor of denying equal rights to others. These things are not equivalent in terms of victimhood.

    I'd say that the right isn't just as bad as the left – it's demonstrably worse. All you need to do to see that is open your eyes, and view the world. The left aren't saints, but the right sure makes them look that way.

  26. Mercury says

    I’m not sure what “conservatives” think they’re conserving anymore. Clark’s correct, the culture war is over and The Left has won.

    What Pager is probably trying to articulate is that The Left’s rhetorical martial arts are based around turning specific counter-arguments into general arguments against the dominant cultural ethos. (Wah! that's the perogative of Conservatives!) Notice how the Left rarely screams “McCarthyism!!” anymore. Well, they sit on the top of the hill now and that kind of behavior is now their prerogative. In other words, they are the conservatives now.

    Yesterday’s authority figures could often end an argument by saying: “Well that means you’re communist/homosexual/un-American/effeminate/un-Godly” because they knew that by openly embracing those things their opponent would lose broad-based appeal. Everyone knew that RFK was against the Vietnam War in 1968 but he never actually came out and directly said so while running for president. Now, if they possibly can, The Left will accuse anyone who presents a well-reasoned argument against providing free ponies to every child in America as being a racist/climate change denier/homophobic/greedy capitalist etc. because they know they have the wind of the Cultural Ethos at their back. Such tactics may be stupid, intellectually lazy or mean but they’re effective.

    If you don’t like America’s dominant cultural norms do what the post-WWII Left did and make transgression cool again.

  27. sinij says

    You just can't harass a person sexually – this is not an unreasonable thing

    You just can't take away person's life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness – this is not an unreasonable thing.

    Both statements would be gross mischaracterization of the opposition's motives and objections.

    I dare you to find anyone on the right, even among most radical fringe, stating something along the lines "Sexual harassment of women is unalienable right!" or "You can pry sexual harassment of women from my cold dead hands!".

    Most objections focus ether on definition of harassment, that now includes a wide range of activities that traditionally were not considered as such, or lack of due process where "innocent until proven guilty" is demonstrably violated.

    But you already know that, and instead chose to get involved in tribalism and labeling.

  28. mud man says

    Why would you have to choose? The point about boundaries is that they are asymmetrical as well as discriminatory.

  29. Daublin says

    I wouldn't say Righties are "victims", but certainly my impression is that the Left is huge on mockery and on career destruction for anyone that violates the church of the Left. Righties, in my experience, tend to be softer spoken and to say things like "love one another".

    To name one example, Lefties say they are "reality based". Is there anything comparable on the Right?

    I am not even really a Conservative on all topics, but I have lost colleagues and had friendships cool when I challenge something that everyone on Daily KOS just knows to be the truth. Lefties I know have openly cut people off of their online communications and made new circles that are only for progressives. To contrast, when I challenge a Conservative, the vibe I get tends to be, oh, I'm talking to someone who has a different perspective than me.

  30. Lucas says

    There is no way they are parodying it, they are adopting it wholly which is sad to me. I used to consider myself right-leaning, and for a while even when I began to disagree with them, I still respected them out of the belief that they (or at least the parts of the right that I identified with) steered clear of asinine ploys such as playing the victim. This is by far one of the most annoying trends in human culture, acting like playing the victim of a sensitive issue gives you the floor, and that anyone who does not bend to everything you say thereafter is in flagrant support of the thing that you claim to be victim to.

  31. sinij says

    @Randall
    Scanned linked article, nowhere did I see him advocate for sexual harassment in specific or even general terms. Please provide direct quotes in case I overlooked. I am not eager to dig through that filth myself.

  32. Wyrm says

    To sum this whole article: Poe's law.
    "Without a blatant display of humor, it is impossible to create a parody of extremism or fundamentalism that someone won't mistake for the real thing."

    Whether they embrace Victim culture or try to mock it can't be determined without them taking a more obvious stance.
    But as you say, they fail either way. One way because they genuinely adopt the exact attitude they criticize, or the other way because we can't tell they are not serious about it.

  33. jackn says

    I'd say they're adopting it ala entrism. (??)

    In general, the right depends on fallacies more often.

    For instance, here are some sentences related to a topic, but the sum of the paragraph = 0

    One in five women are sexually assaulted on campuses? You know what sexual assault means? Did you ever look at what counts? An “unwanted kiss” is considered sexual assault. I’m stunned it’s only one in five. Four out of five women have not gotten an unwanted kiss? My wife gets unwanted kisses every so often!
    I guess the meaning is its ok to abuse your wife?

    And now, the left projecting:

    Second, mockery — indeed cruel mockery — is the norm on the left. I urge readers to visit any of the liberal websites cited and read the comments after the articles. No significant American group hates like the Left does. If you differ with them — on global warming, race relations, same-sex marriage, the extent of rape on college campuses, and any number of other things — they will humiliate, defame, libel, and try to economically crush you

  34. paigehi says

    @Daublin,
    I think both "sides" are guilty of "mockery and on career destruction for anyone who violates the church". It's just, for the Right, it's an actual CHURCH. You can still get fired in 19 states for being gay. I, personally, got in trouble at work for being an outspoken atheist. "The imaginary sky man says" is as ridiculous as any other rationale, if you don't subscribe to it.

  35. Matthew Cline says

    Are they making fun of it subtly? Are they acting to discredit it by overusing it? Are they illustrating how it can be abused, and how it is unprincipled?

    Personally, I feel that attacking a tactic/strategy by subtly mocking it and/or discrediting it by overusing it is too much like having your cake and eating it too: among people on your side, some will think that you're being straightforward and agree with the straightforward interpretation, while others will think that you're not being straightforward and agree that interpretation. Also, if you really do mean it in a straightforward manner, you can always later claim that you didn't.

  36. Castaigne says

    @Sinjj:

    I dare you to find anyone on the right, even among most radical fringe, stating something along the lines "Sexual harassment of women is unalienable right!" or "You can pry sexual harassment of women from my cold dead hands!".

    *shakes head*
    Never dare. You will be disappointed.

    I can point you to such luminaries as Paul Elam (A Voice For Men), W. F. Price (The Spearhead), and Daryush "Roosh" Valizadeh who have stated such an inalienable right; but then, these people don't view what they do as sexual harassment.

    Let's give a more stark example that will help to clarify what I mean. Take, for example, Julien Blanc, a PUA 'master' that teaches “Make Girls BEG To Sleep With You After SHORT-CIRCUITING Their Emotional And Logical Mind”. One of his particular techniques is coming up to a random woman, putting them in a headlock, and pushing their head to his crotch. Actual quote: "If you’re a white male, you can do what you want. … I’m just romping through the streets,just grabbing girls’ heads, just like, head, pfft on the dick."

    Now, you or I would see this as sexual harassment, probably even assault. If we did this at our workplace, we would expect sanctions, yes? Mr. Julien Blanc does not see this as sexual harassment. He believes he has a right to do this, part of the whole "alpha male" schtick. His techniques, and I quote, "DEVELOP PANTY-DROPPING MASCULINITY WITH THIS ROCK-SOLID STRUCTURE TO SELF-GENERATE THE POWERFUL EMOTIONS GIRLS CRAVE". He simply sees nothing wrong with it. This is what Real Men do, brah.

    So, really, your statement that no one will claim that sexual harassment of women is an unalienable right is truly dependent on how one defines sexual harassment itself. Is a titty-grab or an ass-slap sexual harassment? How about calling women at work "Toots" or "Babe". How about leering? How about a requirement from a boss that women only wear miniskirts? How about making constant references to "climbing on the BANG BUS!" to your female co-workers? What about the statement "Properly owned women appreciate a man's pimp hand.", often touted at certain expat sites?

    Unless a specific standard is set, it all devolves on what is offensive to the person being offended and whether that offense is 'reasonable', which is also subjective opinion.

  37. Castaigne says

    Have they immersed themselves in "victim of speech" culture, accepted its premises, and become part of it? Are they making fun of it subtly? Are they acting to discredit it by overusing it? Are they illustrating how it can be abused, and how it is unprincipled?

    As a part of the conservative wing, no, we're actually quite serious about it, and yes, it's all quite silly. When you see conservatives engaging in this, it's a combination of two things:

    1) Intent is magical. I didn't intend to be offensive, therefore it's OK that I tell offensive things, and you have no right to be offended due to my intention.

    2) How dare you criticize the creators of civilization and Western culture?

    Combine the two, and you get the Clint Eastwood situation. Add in "What I say is holy, and therefore is not to be criticized, you blasphemer.", and you get Kirk Cameron.

    I personally attribute it to conservatism today forgetting everything that Russell Kirk ever taught or wrote. These days, it's all Von Mises and the John Birchers. You're either an anarcho-cap or one of the GodLaw bunch.

  38. Castaigne says

    @asdf:

    Does Truth have any value wrt this issue?

    FACT has a value, but "truth" does not, since truth is a purely philosophical value that varies in accordance with what you believe in. If the 1 in 5 statistic is incorrect, is not a fact, then that can be proven – which Prager does not do. He disagrees with the standards used to derive the data, but that's a different argument altogether than whether the statistic is a lie.

    =====

    @Matt:

    and fight bad speech with free speech as some people do/continue to.

    I would argue that bad speech IS free speech and that by promoting free speech, we are promoting all speech, good and bad, as equivalent. Because free speech is completely value neutral.

    =====

    @Khaim:

    Also something about Democrats and slavery and how we all switched pants a while back.

    I'm always amused by that claim and it gets remarkably uncomfortable when I point out that those same "Democrats" here in the South are today solid Republicans. I mean, we're only talking about people in my father's generation. If David Perdue, Nathan Deal, or Jody Hice (to name some of my state politicians) were campaigning in 1984 instead of 2014, they'd all have (D) after their name.

    =====

    @Mercury:

    I’m not sure what “conservatives” think they’re conserving anymore.

    Most of the current crop wants a return to the Golden Age of the 1950s. No, seriously. I can refer you to the appropriate threads of nostalgia.

    =====

    @Daublin:

    To contrast, when I challenge a Conservative, the vibe I get tends to be, oh, I'm talking to someone who has a different perspective than me.

    Never, ever go to Free Republic.

  39. Tarrou says

    Well, I'm not really on the right, at least not one that would be recognizable to any objective observer, but I am a frequent opponent of the left. And about ten years back, when I learned the flexibility of terms like "rape" and "racism", I started using them all the time, especially when I critique leftist positions. Construct a narrative in which by any imaginable tortuous route, the subject is the person with "privilege", then denounce, declare victory and refuse to deal with the issue. It's hilarious because it works.

    Case in point, someone on Facebook linked over a charity spokespersoned by Ricky Gervais opposed to the industrial farming of dogs for meat in Thailand. I reframed as "racist rich white celebrity attempts cultural hegemony over impoverished third-worlders". Not so liberal now, is it? There is no substance in this form of argumentation, but it is idiotically simple, and carries cachet no matter the ridiculous lengths you push it with leftists. If honest argumentation has no purpose (people don't change their minds), and one side is permanently in character-attack mode, there is no reason not to do so first, and often.

    Rules for Radicals: Make them live up to their own standards. If noticing that a disproportionate number of certain criminal classes come from the same culture is racist, what is making a video in which only members of certain racial groups harass a woman? Hollaback is basically trying to recreate Emmet Till.

  40. En Passant says

    Whatever the answer, it's a misstep. If conservatives have fallen prey to the speech-victim ethos, it's a failure of character; if they think they are teaching a lesson, they are too optimistic about their audience. As I said recently in the context of "GamerGate," when you use rhetorical tropes and techniques, you normalize them, so they can be more easily used against you.

    True dat. Both left and right often "fall prey" to the impulse to engage remarkably stupid rhetorical tropes and techniques in pursuit of their agenda. Each falls prey like a drunk falls prey to the impulse to have just one drink.

    Which camp is worse depends on imponderable variables, the particular issue, the social milieu when and where the discussion occurs, the greater context of current politics when the discussion occurs, etc.

    Anyone who wasn't born yesterday can recall widespread epidemics of popular inanity blooming into insanity across the political spectrum, eg: "Bush derangement syndrome" and "Obama derangement syndrome". For every political or public figure, for every political issue, it's derangement syndromes all the way down.

    What each enraged and deranged side fails to recognize is that any stupidly propounded law, policy or political trope that they believe will benefit them today, will be used against them tomorrow. Today, laws to regulate "hate speech" may smite your enemies. Tomorrow the same regulation will smite you.

    I blame empirical facts: half the population have IQs less than 100. Half the population have more stuff than the other half. Half the population has worse judgment than the other half. For anyone to sell a stupid idea, somebody has to buy the stupid idea.

    Prager just noticed that adopting stupid victim postures can sell in political Kabuki theatre. So he's test marketing.

  41. asdf says

    @Ken

    Dennis buried the lede, but his major point is that he is upset with the Sarasota GOP for caving to pressure and denouncing Dennis's truthful and important speech.

    Finally, a sad coda. The head of the Sarasota Republican party sided with the hysterical reactions and dissociated the Republican party from my remarks.
    The hysterics of the Left regularly lead to Republican surrender. He should have said something like, “What exactly did Prager say that was wrong? The Democratic party owes women and America an apology for trivializing rape, for libeling our universities, and for dividing Americans by gender. Sexual assault matters a great deal. And so does truth.

    This is speech about speech about speech about speech. [Isn't that great?]
    But, one could jump in at any point and attack the attack on speech from the other side.
    But it sure does seem like there are two sides, doesn't it?
    .
    @Clark or someone should write a post trying to delineate that.

  42. sinij says

    One of his particular techniques is coming up to a random woman, putting them in a headlock, and pushing their head to his crotch. Actual quote: "If you’re a white male, you can do what you want. … I’m just romping through the streets,just grabbing girls’ heads, just like, head, pfft on the d**k."

    I call BS on this, or this man is long since deservingly dropping the soap in the PMITA Penitentiary.

    Plus you are likely conflating two things you don't like – PUA *shudder* and Conservative Right.

    Unless a specific standard is set, it all devolves on what is offensive to the person being offended and whether that offense is 'reasonable', which is also subjective opinion.

    You don't have to convince me of this. Still, the "should this be considered a sexual harassment or not" is a valid line on inquiry. One that is often mis-characterized by the left as pro-harassment stand.

  43. says

    @sinij

    I call BS on this, or this man is long since deservingly dropping the soap in the PMITA Penitentiary.

    And yet it's not BS after all. I suppose the Daily Mail isn't the most…um…prestigious of sources, but they do have those draconian UK libel laws to worry about, so the article's probably accurate.

  44. GuestPoster says

    @Daublin:

    The left does claim to be reality based, yes. This is in no small part to distinguish itself from the right, which demonstrates and claims to NOT be reality based. See, for example, the Bush Jr. whitehouse, which mocked people who believed that facts and reality mattered. Or see the rather large set of conservative 'discussions' about 'Ivory tower elite' (ie: people who dedicate their lives to discovering facts that will increase the sum total of human knowledge).

    The most vocal modern American conservatives, on average, have made clear that their position is that intelligence is bad, facts are not important, and that reality is a malleable substance that does whatever you need it to do for the rhetorical point you which to make. The left does claim to be reality based – it's a simple way to set themselves apart, by action and deed, from those on the other side of the cultural divide. In either case, these are labels that the tribes have chosen to use themselves, and actions that they have taken to support those labels. I don't mind using them as such.

    @Sinjj:

    I only have to go to the original post to find an example of a person, on one side of the debate or another, who considers sexual harassment to be an 'inalienable right'. Granted, he doesn't use your exact words, and that may be the goal-post you are setting. In that case, I will probably fail to find such a person – very few people come right out and say what they feel in the over-the-top way those who want to ignore it demand as proof. However, Prager does make fairly clear that he feels that an 'unwanted kiss' should be his right to present, and that women should not be able to make legal claims regarding this. That his 'right' to touch them is more important than their right to be touched. You can certainly argue that he's merely stating things – that he never actually comes out and says that he should be allowed to kiss whomever he wants. But he certainly sounds like he's driving at a point, even in that brief quote, and that it's not just a point about statistics of sexual assault. He certainly sounds offended that merely touching a woman against her will counts as sexual assault. It is perhaps also worth mentioning that he STARTED by complaining that the culture of rape on US campuses (in which if a female is raped and reports this to the campus, very rarely will charges be brought against the rapist, and in a non-zero number of cases the woman will be expelled from the school, sometimes on charges such as 'having sex') is an imaginary thing (despite, again, ample evidence to the contrary). The quote is followed by him complaining about the 'redefinition' of rape (demonstrating that he feels that unwanted touching is not sufficiently rape-y to count as rape). He finishes by mocking the many, many studies that show how wrong he is, glossing over what they said and turning them into straw-man soundbites – easy to defend, as they lack the substance of the original finding.

    Yes, this is a change in culture, calling an unwanted kiss a sexual assault, or even a rape. It is a change that considers women to be people, rather than sub-people. It extends to them equal rights, rather than some inferior subset of rights enjoyed by men. Your right to swing a fist ends where another person's face starts. Your right to kiss ends there too. This, of course, changes if the other person WANTS to be punched or kissed. Otherwise, this is just one of the many ways that our personal rights are reasonably limited in order that the more fundamental rights of others can be respected.

    100 years ago, it was fine to kiss a woman who didn't want to be kissed. 200 years ago, it was fine to own a person who didn't want to be owned. The way things used to be isn't always a very good indicator for whether the way things are now is unreasonable or not.

  45. sinij says

    If honest argumentation has no purpose (people don't change their minds), and one side is permanently in character-attack mode, there is no reason not to do so first, and often.

    I very much agree with you. Individual people rarely change their minds over a single issue. Even when you resoundingly discredit their position. They only entrench this positions.

    At the same time it is possible, through the use of repetition and propaganda, to influence opinions of groups of people.

    This is truly fascinating, whole group and social identity dynamics.

    For example, it is harder to convince any given partisan that politically charged issue X than to convince all partisans of that specific type that they ought to support issue X.

    This has to do with often subconscious choice – can I believe X and still identify as Republican/Democrat/Conservative/Libertarian/Progressive…. people tend to value such identities more than intellectual honesty and contort themselves to rationalize it away.

    For example, if I were to show definitive scientific proof that Free Speech causes cancer and global warming, I highly doubt that anyone on this blog would change their position.

  46. Dion Starfire says

    It's more about peoples ability a universal double-standard, than it is about strategy or any principle about victim-culture/bullying.

    when my group is mean and nasty to the other side it's abuse that's due for [insert litany of crimes/injustices here] For a lot of people, those crimes are a historical trend that's long overdue for correction/punishment.

    When somebody is mean to my group it's an unprovoked assault on innocent people (including the ones who were/are spewing hate the other way).

  47. Caroline says

    Daublin:

    To name one example, Lefties say they are "reality based". Is there anything comparable on the Right?

    "Reality-based" is a direct quotation from Karl Rove, characterizing the left. It was not intended as a compliment. The left has adopted it ironically. Here is the full quotation, from Ron Suskind's article "Faith, Certainty, and the Presidency of George W. Bush" in the New York Times magazine. "The aide" is Rove.

    The aide said that guys like me were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. "That's not the way the world really works anymore." He continued "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors … and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."

    I don't think this implies anything about whose rhetoric is meaner. (Frankly, I agree with Ken that everyone will see the "other side" as being obviously meaner, so I see no point in trying to argue one way or another.) However, I did want to clarify the origins of the phrase "reality-based."

  48. says

    I question the blog-worthiness of this topic, while humbly deferring to our great and wise hosts.

    The ultimate answer is: Victim culture won. People who argue in bad-faith and prefer to silence their opponents rather than defeat their opinions are remarkably successful these days, and the arsenal available to such people is vast. You don't need to rationally dismantle an opinion when you can simply label the owner of that opinion as racist, sexist, homophobic, etc., etc.

    So the politics of victimization won, and allowed the practitioners of said politics to win a lot of arguments by tarring their opponents with the label of an oppressing class. It's only natural that a polemicist like Prager would in some way acknowledge the reality of our intellectual battlefield, or the space in which our debate takes place. Whether he's trying to co-opt that narrative for himself, or trying to armor himself against attacks, or just trying to introduce some kind of noise to confuse the signal, he is a product of time and place. Oppressor/oppressed relationships and various -isms are the lingua franca of our political discourse, as anyone who turned on a television in the past month could attest (war on women, war on coal, war on… etc.)

  49. A.Nagy says

    "The tl;dr version is that both sides in a polarized conflict tend to think that their opponents are motivated by hate instead of by reasoned principles." – Ketchup

    Yep, this is the thing that annoys me more then any political issue. In general the answer is to know more people with differing viewpoints then yourself and to talk to them. Like I can tell pretty quickly if your viewpoint has never really been challenged both right and left by how quickly you just try to shut me up.

    I find that pretty much everyone is awful at telling me what the other side really believes…like please stop doing this both right and left. Like even if you are trying to be fair it's normally still a strawman especially because people can hold the same viewpoint for differing reasons, so catagorizing all of them as the same as the reason a few idiots had is poor sportsmanship.

    The Rs/Ds flipped sides has some merit too but if you really think that Woodrow Wilson who loved the KKK would be an R you would be nuts. Same with FDR who you know the japanese interment camp thing. How about people realize that you can be a racist on the right or on the left. For every person on the right that complains about black culture I can find you someone who complains about white imperialism. I contend there is a difference between attacking someones culture and saying they are literally inferior because of their race.

  50. David C says

    I think half the problem here is that:

    1) This tactic is ordinarily invalid.
    2) However, it's valid to use the same tactics as your opponents.
    3) Your opponents are not a homogenous group. Some use this tactic and some do not.
    4) Therefore, when you use this tactic, it is therefore simultaneously valid and invalid.

    Are they illustrating how it can be abused, and how it is unprincipled?

    Generally no, unless they're explicitly saying so.

  51. HamOnRye says

    The ultimate answer is: Victim culture won. People who argue in bad-faith and prefer to silence their opponents rather than defeat their opinions are remarkably successful these days, and the arsenal available to such people is vast. You don't need to rationally dismantle an opinion when you can simply label the owner of that opinion as racist, sexist, homophobic, etc., etc.

    This has a very interesting intersection with Gamergate. We see these tactics being used by both sides of the equation.

  52. jdgalt says

    @Khaim:

    @jdgalt
    There are no comparable menaces (in the western world) against the Left. The Right is above using them.

    Sure, if you ignore centuries of government-sanctioned racism, misogyny, and homophobia.

    Government sanctioned racism ended with the Civil Rights Act in 1964 (and began again with the later so-called Civil Rights Acts which use the bogus idea of "disparate impact", but I don't think you meant to own up to that one). Thus, no white person born after about 1946 did it or owes anyone anything for it (and the "disparate impact" laws are unconstitutional on their face, and evil and racist to boot, since their effect is to protect bad-behavers from their just deserts).

    Women achieved true equal rights about 1970. All their "gains" since then are unfair misandry, based on bogus victim status, and need to be undone immediately.

    As for gays, the menace to them ended with Lawrence v. Texas. There are still plenty of people around today who did that harmful behavior before it was stopped, but I'm not accepting any blame for them, either.

    Strike three, you're out.

  53. James Hanley says

    Jdgalt write,
    sexual harassment", a law which is far broader than harassment and amounts to cultural warfare against straight men

    As a libertarian, a straight man, and the father of three daughters, I'd like to take a moment to call you an idiot and an asshole. If you can't control yourself around women and refrain from groping, grabbing, kissing, or breathing heavily on them, the war is against your social ineptness and inability to treat others with basic respect. There's no war on straight men like me, who manage to behave with civility toward women, but I damn surehope there's a war against anyone who harasses my daughters.

  54. Patrick says

    The left has successfully created a language of victimization. They've also established norms surrounding that language. The right opposes those norms, but norms being what they are, can be expected to make use of them when able.

    Example- when that reddit moderator on the gamergate forum turned out to be the moderator of a sub-reddit about fetishizing the violent sexual humiliation of feminists in order to "teach them their place," the left objected. The response on the right was to claim that the left was "fetish-shaming." Tactically, it's brilliant, if your goal is to reassure your base. The left will sputter to explain the difference between kink shaming and shaming this particular kink (there is, in fact, a difference), the base will find it unconvincing, and will simultaneously be convinced that the left's victimhood terminology is a shallow cover for their politically motivated agenda, AND will be convinced that someone on their side was immorally fetish-shamed.

    No one on the left is going to be convinced, obviously. But that's not the goal.

  55. Castaigne says

    @jdgalt:

    All their "gains" since then are unfair misandry, based on bogus victim status, and need to be undone immediately.

    Okedoke, totes mcgotes. So, you won't have a problem if I dictate that the women at my business get paid, say, half what a man would get paid, due to inferiority. And they can't complain or sue me about my ass slaps and titty grabs, because they have equal rights and can just go find another job. Do I have this correct? Will you agree with me on this?

    I mean, hey, I'll be perfectly down with your suppositions so long as I'm legally protected.

  56. jdgalt says

    @James Hanley: My objection to the "sexual harassment" law is mostly about its cultural effects. Men should be free to have pinups and/or "locker room atmospheres" in workplaces, and to fire or not hire anyone uncomfortable with that. It's funny how the Left's notions of tolerance and multiculturalism don't extend to anybody they disagree with.

  57. Castaigne says

    @sinjj:

    I call BS on this, or this man is long since deservingly dropping the soap in the PMITA Penitentiary.

    Nah, dead serious. He's got videos on YouTube showing him doing it. Go search, if you want, well, I'll call it 'entertainment'.

    Plus you are likely conflating two things you don't like – PUA *shudder* and Conservative Right.

    No, the PUA/MRA bunch (yes, they are one and the same, them and the 'incels') have firmly allied themselves with the American Conservative Right. They are opposed to the Left and see the Right as being their ally. Most the Right will admit that they can be a useful bunch, so long as one holds one nose.

    Still, the "should this be considered a sexual harassment or not" is a valid line on inquiry. One that is often mis-characterized by the left as pro-harassment stand.

    Look at who most brings up that line of inquiry and it becomes completely understandable. How many leering oglers and "How YOU doin'?!?!?" types claim that their actions should not be considered sexual harassment? They're the loudest, and so they get the labeling. That's just how it works.

    =====

    @jdgalt:

    Men should be free to have pinups and/or "locker room atmospheres" in workplaces, and to fire or not hire anyone uncomfortable with that.

    I am curious to know what you would consider "locker room atmosphere". I consider a locker room atmosphere to be "you need to provide me with sexual favors at least once a month to keep your job", which epitomizes true Alpha Male dominance. No, it does not matter if the woman is married – if the woman is married, she shouldn't be working anyway.

  58. jdgalt says

    @Castaigne: Your strawman doesn't stand up. Women had equal pay for equal work in 1970, and still do (and where they don't earn as much as men it's because they choose less valuable jobs, and/or because they are more likely than men to quit for family reasons, a fact employers have every right to consider in making hiring decisions).

    Since 1970, besides the "harassment" law, they've gained the so-called "right" to have a man thrown out of his home and stripped of his civil rights without him even being accused of laying a finger on her, just by saying "I'm afraid of him." That's the opposite of due process, and is abused routinely. I'm not saying that unjust domestic violence doesn't happen or shouldn't be stopped, but violence should be judged according to what provoked it, just as in other situations; and if the lady decides it's better not to prosecute it, that decision should be allowed to stand. The present overreaction is unacceptable nanny-statism.

    Similarly the present overreaction to (nearly always bogus) accusations of child abuse.

    Oh, and "locker room atmosphere" means what the women who've complained about it usually mean: a place where the men talk and joke about women from a typical male point of view (and thus, in her opinion, sexist).

  59. James Hanley says

    jdgalt,

    Women can't do it, either, nor can gay people, male or female. So your claim of war on straight men either ignores that we're talking about a law of general applicability or assumes that only straight men are affected, which would mean only straight men act like emotionally retarded adolescents.

    If you think business owners shouldn't be constrained in how they run their businesses, that's one thing. That just makes you sound libertarian, or possibly conservative. Phrasing it as a war on straight men is another. That makes you sound like a dumbass.

  60. Stevie says

    Sinij/Michael Kohlhaas

    The Daily Mail has excellent libel lawyers and is not exactly noted for its feminist tendencies; quite the reverse. If the Mail runs a story like this then it's solid.

    More generally, to expand on Ken's point about the failure of such rhetoric to demonstrate that 'our ideas are right and we deserve to lead', it seems worth noting that the audience goes far beyond the boundaries of USA. On the whole, politicians sobbing about people saying nasty things about them is not conducive to trusting them to lead the world; that applies to the view from other countries, but it also applies to entities which are truly international.

    The global financial markets have already been too close to the death spiral; the fact that the Republican Party was prepared to dance on the cliff edge of the US defaulting means that, to use the technical terms employed in the markets, they're stark raving bonkers. Actually, the terms are a great deal ruder than that, but I don't want to upset the easily shocked.

    The financial markets are not driven by 'the Left'; it's money all the way down, and we take it seriously when people who purport to be the ones who understand this are having tantrums on the pavement along with their screaming toddlers. This is not a strategy which inspires confidence, and claiming that the other side started it really doesn't help; no one cares who started it. This is not a school playground…

  61. Castaigne says

    @jdgalt:

    Your strawman doesn't stand up. Women had equal pay for equal work in 1970, and still do

    I'm not strawmanning. I'm asking you, will you support me if I pay women in my department 50% of what men are paid, simply due to my statement of the fact of the inferiority of the gender. I'm asking you if you will OK me doing that. It's just a question; yes or no. I'm not trying to trick you or anything.

    I am also asking, yes or no, if you will OK my ass slaps and titty grabs, and if you will support my legal immunity to suit due to the fact that women have equal rights and can just get another job. It's also a fair question; no tricks.

    No, I will not condemn you or go on a tirade or some shit; I just want a yes or no answer to those questions. You don't even have to explain why if you don't want to.

    they've gained the so-called "right" to have a man thrown out of his home and stripped of his civil rights without him even being accused of laying a finger on her, just by saying "I'm afraid of him."

    I've known men to use the domestic abuse law the same way, having the wife thrown out of the home and so on. I frankly do not see the problem with it, as the only other legal solution is to take the complaining spouse and throw them in a shelter without any civil rights. Your choice, amigo. Everything else is impractical.

    but violence should be judged according to what provoked it, just as in other situations; and if the lady decides it's better not to prosecute it, that decision should be allowed to stand.

    No, no, that's not how it works.

    First, if a man embezzles from a business and the owner of the business goes to the police, and the police build a case and send it to the prosecutor, the prosecutor does not stop because the owner changed his mind and doesn't want to do it anymore. You call the police in, PERIOD, you have left it in their hands, for them to dispose of as they wish. This isn't the Victorian Age anymore and the Right Honorable Blah McBlah doesn't get to throw money, influence, or other weight around to "keep this matter out of the courts". I don't hold with that.

    Secondly, deciding what actually provoked violence isn't the function of the police; it's the function of being proven in court. You don't establish motive when you show up to a domestic abuse call, just as you don't decide that it was premeditated on the spot at the murder scene. You have to gather evidence for the case and as to what charges are appropriate. Again, the job of the police and prosecutor to do that in the course of an investigation. But I'm getting ahead of myself…

    Similarly the present overreaction to (nearly always bogus) accusations of child abuse.

    You see, I'm seeing you throw a lot of shade around about bogus this and misandry that, and that's fine, you're allowed a personal opinion. But do you have statistics, facts, evidence….? Some citations for me? Or should I accept this as you spouting your opinion over a beer in the local bar? I'm fine with that, by the way – it just means that I'm not going to accept what you say as true.

  62. jackn says

    My objection to the "sexual harassment" law is mostly about its cultural effects. Men should be free to have pinups and/or "locker room atmospheres" in workplaces, and to fire or not hire anyone uncomfortable with that. It's funny how the Left's notions of tolerance and multiculturalism don't extend to anybody they disagree with

    another fine example of the lack of logic I mentioned earlier.

  63. sinij says

    I'm not strawmanning. I'm asking you, will you support me if I pay women in my department 50% of what men are paid, simply due to my statement of the fact of the inferiority of the gender.

    I am not jdgalt, but here is what I believe.

    If you are a private business, you should be free to pay anyone anything you want for any reason. Free market will correct any deviation from very close approximation of meritocracy. Now, this is in ideal world.

    I understand that some deviations are expected and a number of protections are reasonable. If you could be shown to systematically abuse some aspect, then it would be justified for government intervention.

    I am also asking, yes or no, if you will OK my ass slaps and titty grabs, and if you will support my legal immunity to suit due to the fact that women have equal rights and can just get another job. It's also a fair question; no tricks.

    If you do that to a human being of any gender or sexual orientation you deserve lawsuits and/or jail.

    Now a couple of questions for you. Do you differentiate equal opportunity from equal outcomes? How are they different?

  64. Tarrou says

    I'm asking you, will you support me if I pay women in my department 50% of what men are paid, simply due to my statement of the fact of the inferiority of the gender.

    Support you? There's that weasel word. I would not approve, but I wouldn't want you executed. It should be legal, if that's what you're asking. And I'd take that opportunity to offer those women you pay half what the men make a 100% raise to work for me.

  65. jdgalt says

    @James Hanley:

    Women can't do it, either, nor can gay people, male or female. So your claim of war on straight men either ignores that we're talking about a law of general applicability or assumes that only straight men are affected, which would mean only straight men act like emotionally retarded adolescents.

    Women and gays can't do what? Hold, and express, prejudiced views of other groups such as men and straights? They can and do, all the time. But the "harassment" law is never applied to them for the same reason blacks are never convicted of racism: only the "protected" (professional-victim) groups for whom the law was written are, in a practical sense, allowed to use it. And that's unfair.

  66. z says

    I think it is nothing more than a new approach of trying to sympathize with their supporters/audience and demonize their opposition. The left and possibly society in general have been progressively elevating minorities/victims from lower class citizens to being inherently more moral/special than the majority. Lots of people are resentful of this and things like political correctness. Those bloggers are simply playing on this and trying to make their supporters feel better and more hateful of the opposition. Victim proclaiming is just the newest tool of the trade. You can argue if they are using it effectively, but no need to make the reason behind it more complicated.

    Of course the comments get right into the morality and evils of both sides. Sigh.

  67. Stevie says

    Sinij

    I have no problem with your belief that a private business should be free to pay anyone anything it wants. It's a belief and your beliefs are entirely up to you.

    I do have a problem with you asserting, as a question of fact, that a free market will correct any deviation from a close approximation of meritocracy; that is a belief but if you want someone to accept it as a question of fact then you do have to support it with evidence.

    It has been my experience that understanding the difference between beliefs and facts can be tricky for people whose careers do not depend on knowing the difference, just as it has been my experience that people who have no hands on engagements with real markets tend to have all sorts of romantic notions about such markets.

    The paradox that free markets cannot exist without hefty amounts of regulation is one which most people never recognise since most people do not engage with markets up close and personal; nevertheless, as a question of fact, regulation is needed for there to be a free market. As Adam Smith recognised, combinations of masters and men will always arise unless they are restrained; for those of us who are not clergymen believing that God's invisible hand will take care of things the point is even more obvious…

  68. Castaigne says

    @sinjj:

    If you are a private business, you should be free to pay anyone anything you want for any reason.

    Well, you say "pay", but I see pay as being part of "I treat the employee however I want.". Your pay, your benefits, what names I call you, how I treat you personally – all part and parcel of the same thing. The Boss Commands, The Employee Obeys.

    So I don't differentiate pay from anything else. And that leads…

    If you do that to a human being of any gender or sexual orientation you deserve lawsuits and/or jail.

    And this is what I don't understand. If I can pay you what I want, why can't I treat you how I want.

    You buy a pet, you do what you want with the pet.
    You buy a car, you do what you want with the pet.
    You buy an employee – and that's what your salary is in the free market, your PRICE, and you what you want with employee.
    Since it's all morally equivalent, I don't see a problem here if what jdgalt says is true.

    Remember, in the ideal free market, EVERYTHING is for sale. Including people. Now, going back…

    I understand that some deviations are expected and a number of protections are reasonable.

    What protections would you consider reasonable and why?

    . Do you differentiate equal opportunity from equal outcomes? How are they different?

    I couldn't tell you; I have no opinion and have never thought about it. I don't believe in equal opportunity OR equal outcomes; the reality is that life is unfair and I see no reason why it should be fair. I personally use every trick in the White Privilege Handbook to one-up on anyone I can; I'd be stupid not to. (And that, by the by, is how I know White Privilege exists.)

    I don't really understand why you ask the question, though. Is there a reason?

    =====

    @Tarrou:

    Support you? There's that weasel word.

    *shrugs* If you don't like that one, fine. Will you ALLOW me?

    It should be legal, if that's what you're asking.

    Oh, ok. That's all I need to know. If it's legal, it's legit.

    And I'd take that opportunity to offer those women you pay half what the men make a 100% raise to work for me.

    If I allowed them to leave my employ.

  69. GuestPoster says

    @Castaigne,

    I'm reminded of one of the better descriptions of white privilege I've seen. Sort of took the old moral point – to make the best society, imagine yourself being born, but unable to control where in that society you would land, and make sure you wouldn't be miserable (not the original quote, but can never remember the source) – and looked at it backwards.

    If you asked every person on Earth what race and gender they would want to be reborn as – the great majority would say 'white' and 'male'. Not because there's even a tiny bit superior about white males, but because they currently sit on top of the heap. Others CAN make a lot of themselves, but it's a heck of a lot easier to do so if everything is stacked in your favor due to your skin and genetalia.

    White males, in too many cases, might not realize that they're playing life on 'easy' mode. But just about everybody else has figured it out. And they're not asking for superiority – they're just asking for a fair shot to play the game, with the same rules as the white males get to operate under.

  70. The Man in the Mask says

    When I read this sort of thing, I'm frequently reminded of earlier days on the Internet — well, actually, Usenet. (Usenet, if you want to skip the WIkipedia entry, was and is a very large mass communication mechanism that was built on top of and independent of underlying network links. Thus it migrated rather seamlessly from the days of dialup to T-1 to fiber. Think of it as mailing lists on steroids — uncensorable, global, scalable, and highly robust in the face of outages.)

    Anyway, all those many years ago, Usenet hosted innumerable flame wars. Arguments would break out over religion or politics or VMS vs. Unix or the correct indentation style for C or anything else…and they would rage for MONTHS.
    Some of the prose was truly creative and entertaining — well, as long as you
    were sympathetic with the author's point of view and not one of the targets.
    It is not an exaggeration to say that some of the discussion thread reached
    thousands of messages.

    And yet somehow we all survived. We argued, we flamed, we name-called,
    we reasoned, we rebutted, we used logic, we used sarcasm, we used CAPITAL
    LETTERS, we used profanity, we compared our opponents to psychotic hamsters
    and Cro-Magnon telemarketers…and we all survived. Nobody (actually: almost
    nobody, there were a handful of exceptions) felt it necessary to run to mommy
    or to the guv'mint or to the university chancellor because people were saying
    mean things online. We accepted it. One of the prices we paid for free speech
    is that someone could respond to our carefully-reasoned position on the merits
    of vi vs. emacs (vi, of course) by calling us a deranged kangaroo-molesting halfwit.
    So be it. Let a thousand voices flame.

    I'm not defending actual real live bullying. Flat-out threats are a problem and
    should be dealt with. But arguments/flames/screaming matches/whatever have
    happened since we evolved language skills and I'm reasonably sure that our
    species can handle them.

    TL;DR: stop whining about The Mean People on the Interwebs.

  71. Guesting says

    @Castaigne

    Maybe because you DO NOT buy an employee? You hire(pay) him/her to provide you with his/her skills. You don't own said employee. That employee can go work somewhere else where they are valued better if they want.

    Poor way to prove your point.

  72. Dan says

    I am also asking, yes or no, if you will OK my ass slaps and titty grabs, and if you will support my legal immunity to suit due to the fact that women have equal rights and can just get another job.

    The "ass slaps and titty grabs", as you like to call them, as well as unwanted kisses, already constitute both the crime and the tort of battery, and this hasn't changed in generations. To conflate them with rape and call the whole bundle "sexual assault" is intentionally deceptive. Of course, if you want to create the appearance of an "epidemic" of "sexual assault", that's what you need to do. Oh, and work on redefining "rape" too, which folks from the White House on down are also doing.

  73. King Squirrel says

    I think this piece spells out exactly how I feel whenever I try to parse the words "drive-by media".

  74. Stevie says

    Dan

    I don't understand why you believe that sexual assault is conflated with rape; from my admittedly brief foray around various States in the US I have yet to find one. Could you please tell me where this may be found?

  75. Sami says

    I had to stop reading the comments here, because there are way too many that I want to believe are also artful works of Swiftian satire, but I have a horrible fear a number of these dipshits are sincere.

    To address the actual blog post: I tend to assume that anyone who will actually point out the comments on any site as a sign of how horrible The Other Side is can readily be ignored as their opinions have no value. As a rule, we lefties aren't judging you by your commenters, any more than we're judging humanity as a whole by YouTube commenters. (I hope that everyone, across all axes of the political spectrum, can agree that if we judged humanity by YouTube commenters, we would have to conclude that it was time to nuke everything and let the cockroaches have a turn.)

    Yes, some of us also maintain the belief that the extreme right are "worse" than the extreme left, but that's kind of because on the extreme left what you find is "people who are really annoying and wrong", and on the extreme right what you currently find is "terrorists". Lefties don't like what Anne Coulter has to say, but no-one's getting her events cancelled by threatening a mass shooting at a college if she gives a lecture, despite the fact that Anne Coulter advocates social and economic policies that will actually affect people's lives, and Anita Sarkeesian talks about video games.

    The thing is, it's people who do that kind of thing, specifically, who are an actual problem. The ones who send abusive comments directly to the people they disagree with, they suck, and after a certain point, it's legit, at least, to complain about how much they suck, especially if you're not trying to get them shut down, you're just, you know, saying they suck.

    But if it's just comments on articles on an entirely other site, then just shut up and stop whining, what are you even doing.

  76. Jaskologist says

    @Sami

    You've merely gotten good at overlooking bad things done by the left.

    The guy who tried to shoot up the FRC, and brought along a bucket of Chick-Fil-A so he could rub it in his victims' mouths as they died, do you think he was not a terrorist? Because he didn't merely threaten, he actually shot a man, and was only stopped by superior gunmanship.

    That's just to pull a fresh example. Bill Ayers is an obvious one that comes to mind. Has he been repudiated by the left, or given a cozy job passing on his values to the next generation?

    Shall we delve into the extreme leftist dictators of the last century?

  77. sinij says

    @Castaigne

    Well, you say "pay", but I see pay as being part of "I treat the employee however I want.".

    This is not charitable or even reasonable interpretation of what I said.

    Dear Sir! With that comment I believe you are besmirching my good name on the Internets! This is indeed cruel mockery and very clear attempt to humiliate, defame, libel!

    You should check your privilege!

  78. Daublin says

    Sami, you seem to be ignoring the lefties who called themselves communists. Whenever they have risen to absolute power, they nationalized everything, and it led to the death of tens of millions.

    That's worse than open warfare.

  79. paigehi says

    Jenny…and…now we have come full circle. Now we're going to discuss who has better "victim cred"?

  80. Zem says

    It's the new norm. Everyone wants to be a victim. It's OK though as it is balanced out by us all wanting to blame the victim.

  81. RaymondbyEllis says

    I agree with Ken that playing the victim card about speech is playing into a cultural norm (why did it ever become a norm?) "that makes censorship easier to contemplate". Sidney Hook roughly 30 years ago wrote of taking terms like racism, stripping them of any precise meaning, then using them as epithets of abuse in order to silence. That need to silence leads to censorship. We have an inverse with the label "victim", once victimhood is claimed moral authority is achieived, and anyone in anyway challenging that authority, that label, is "fill-in-the-blank" bad. And should be censored.

    Sinij hit the nail that the real issue isn't that Conservatives or Liberals, right-wingers or left-wingers, believe sexual harassment (or rape) is okay, but that they have different definitions. And, boy, do they. FIRE addresses some of the truly Victorian craziness seen as a result of those differences. Case in point: a woman intoxicated and a man intoxicated have sex; if a woman regrets it the next day she's a victim of rape, if the man regrets it he's still a rapist even if she doesn't regret it. In other words, a woman isn't a free agent nor is she a sexual being. Except other times.

    More to say, but a good time to leave it to others.

  82. Damon says

    I can't speak for all left leaning folks, but I live in a very liberal state and most of the left leaning folks I know and interact with are of the "shut up you are wrong, conversation over!" variety vs the "let's have a reasoned convo about this" type.

  83. James Hanley says

    JDGalt,
    Women and gays can't do what? Hold, and express, prejudiced views of other groups such as men and straights? They can and do, all the time.

    You just moved the goalposts. We were talking about pinups and locker room atmosphere. Women can't put up a bunch of pictures from Playgirl on the wall of the office anymore than men can put up pictures from Playboy.

    And straight men can and do "Hold, and express, prejudiced views of other groups … all the time" without getting into trouble for it. But when one group makes an office atmosphere nasty and unpleasant for members of another group, it's equally unlawful, regardless of sexual orientation, gender and color.

    I'm sure now you'll say "those people" can get away with it, but I'm equally sure you won't be able to provide any evidence to support your claims.

    blacks are never convicted of racism:
    Nobody's ever convicted of racism. You are astoundingly stupid, operating on fictions instead of facts, ideology instead of analysis.

  84. Kevin Horner says

    Thete's a lot of 'ink' being spilled here, this is typical of conservative and libertarian thinkers who enjoy blathering on about.nothing. I suppise quantity has a quality of its own.
    I think the answer to the original question is yhis: the Right really does think they are being persecuted because they can't do or say whatever they want to anymore, where the Left generally is just asking that people stop being assholes. Is that so difficult?

  85. asdf says

    @Kevin,

    Your post appears to be blathering on about nothing, typical of liberal and progressive thinkers.

    I think the answer to the original question is yhis: the Left really does think they are being persecuted because they can't do or say whatever they want anymore, where the Right generally is just asking that people stop being assholes.
    You're right. This is not so difficult

  86. says

    Look, everyone, I know that arguably I cast an empowered Summon Cocknozzle by writing this post, but let's not act like we're on fucking YouTube, ok?

  87. Ryan says

    I enjoyed Ken's video.

    More generally, this comment thread exemplifies all that is wrong in American political discourse: the assumption that there are two political sides, that people can be casually slotted into them based on some beliefs but not others, the arguing of one side versus the other instead of the merits of actual issues, and the inevitable result that such discussions tend to be dominated by binary contrast between the more extreme elements of each perceived 'side.' The way Americans, in particular, throw around the words liberal and conservative as near-epithets is particularly illustrative.

    Regardless – it's my belief that the American "Left" and American "Right" both abuse the notion of being victimized by the other (or by elements of themselves, should they care to do a little self-examination sometime) when it suits them, and occupy the moral high ground of refusal to be victimized when it suits them. In general, I think the Left and Right are merely two genders of the same batshit crazy/ignorant species, with the vast majority of people occupying political landscape described most easily as "The Middle." Most people have political views that are ideologically inconsistent with each other, depending on the subject material. To be completely politically consistent on one 'side' or the other (quotes because I don't for a second believe two sides actually exist, merely that the American political system has tended to make it look like they do inside the US) is to be either ignorant or mentally deficient in thought process because it defies free thinking to assume one person can have all the views publicly attributed to their supposed political 'side.'

  88. Burnside says

    Ken, you are at a higher caster level than I thought because this spell was not empowered. It was clearly maximized.

  89. asdf says

    @Ken White

    Hey, I know this is my fault, but cut it out!

    You appear quite the victim here.

    This post was intellectually sloppy and self-damning.
    Or you were purposely being a rabble rouser.

  90. sinij says

    @asdf

    You appear quite the victim here.

    Fetish-shaming Ken is simply not cool. If he is into Cocknozzle or Via Angus, it is his private business.

  91. Matthew Cline says

    Look, everyone, I know that arguably I cast an empowered Summon Cocknozzle by writing this post, but let's not act like we're on fucking YouTube, ok?

    Well then, you shouldn't have added the YouTube metamagic feat to the spell then, shouldn't you?

  92. babaganusz says

    People who argue in bad-faith and prefer to silence their opponents rather than defeat their opinions are remarkably successful these days,

    i too yearn for the alternate universe in which any society has ever been dominated by reasoned debate.

  93. Castaigne says

    @Guesting:

    You don't own said employee.

    If I pay your salary, I own your ass. Or you don't have a job.

    That employee can go work somewhere else where they are valued better if they want.

    Sure…if I let them. Remember, there is a reason why the vernacular for employee is "wageslave".

    =====

    @Dan:

    The "ass slaps and titty grabs", as you like to call them, as well as unwanted kisses, already constitute both the crime and the tort of battery, and this hasn't changed in generations.

    Really? Strange how it wasn't prosecuted previous to the arising of current sexual harassment definitions and jurisprudence. Why do you think that is?

    =====

    @Jaskologist:

    Shall we delve into the extreme leftist dictators of the last century?

    We're getting too far afield here – we're talking about the American Right and the American Left. Anything foreign is irrelevant, because fuck foreign. So a more cogent question would be, who do you think is worse, the extreme right of Free Republic, or the extreme left of Democratic Underground? That pretty much covers the whole spectrum of wingnuts and moonbats right there.

    =====

    @sinjj:

    This is not charitable or even reasonable interpretation of what I said.

    I'm not interpreting what YOU said, I'm telling you what I mean when I say "pay". If I am the boss and you are my employee and I pay your salary, then I own your ass. If YOU are the boss and I am the employee and YOU pay MY salary, then you own MY ass. See how it works there, cochise?

    Dear Sir! With that comment I believe you are besmirching my good name on the Internets! This is indeed cruel mockery and very clear attempt to humiliate, defame, libel! You should check your privilege!

    ….you must think I'm on the left or a social justice warrior or something, which means you have learned absolutely nothing about why I do things or why I have the opinions I hold. Let me hit the Wrong Buzzer for you.

    No, I won't check my privilege. I am due my privilege by right of blood.

    Christ, all this time and STILL no one gets what type of conservative I am! And it's really that simple!

  94. stakkalee says

    I think that the degree to which any particular conservative is adopting or mocking "victim culture" depends on whether they believe that conservatives (or white males, or straight people, or manly men, or whatever group they're claiming to represent) are a persecuted minority. If they believe their group is actually being wronged by whatever activity they're complaining about then they're definitely adopting the language of victimhood, not co-opting it.

  95. TM says

    Christ, all this time and STILL no one gets what type of conservative I am!

    To be fair, since strawmen aren't real, it's understandable why no one knows what you're on about.

  96. says

    Well, mixed feelings on the rhetoric around political bullying. In the context of the examples you're talking about, you're absolutely correct – there can and should be no special protection against hearing counterarguments or just plain rhetoric against your position, just because it happens to offend you. The problem is, a lot of political action goes way beyond that, and that definitely includes action from the political Left.

    For example, routine pressure for media outlets to drop stories one side or the other doesn't like. (For example, in the GamerGate controversy, both pro- and "leftist" anti- sides are quite guilty of this.) "Employer tattling" is a shameful tactic that too many "social justice" types seem to think is fair game. And, of course, outright doxing and clear harassment, which has gotten a huge amount of press when it's directed against feminists, but there are countless examples of feminists and other "social justice" types engaging in these tactics themselves when it suits them.

    There's enough beyond-the-pale crap taking place in current internet culture that anybody who wants to paint their side as the "victim" can give numerous examples. The real problem comes when the entire argument of one side or the other becomes conflated with harassment by its worst exponents, which is the narrative that's been painted around GamerGate, for example. I think some on the political Right are trying to do the same with to the Left in the examples you give, but from where I'm sitting, don't seem to be as good at controlling the narrative as the social justice Left has been.

  97. Maltheos says

    Frankly everyone out there is a victim sometimes and a victor others. Anytime there is a conflict between individuals the possibility of asymetric outcomes arises. Both sides are right when they point out that the otherside is being an ass/repressing/ persecuting them. Both(all?) sides will find plenty of ingroup people to pile on in agreement, and will have outgroup individuals state that what is happening is just. Culturally we all need to act like adults and not go off half cocked based off gut feelings and un researched "facts". We need to fight confirmation bias and actually look at the facts on the ground before we jump in swinging or profess our victimhood.

    Sure there are abuses by the left to silence people in the name of hate speech.These range from assinine persecutions because person x made someone feel sad to cases with true threats, assault, and people driven to suicide as their percieved only way out. There is grayscale continum there and we need to be aware of that and act apropriaely, and not simplify it to a case of two absolutes. The nature of the law does neessitate some hard dividing points which may arguably be placed improperly, but the law is a blunt instrument and is best used far more sparingly than it is. A similar argument can be made from the right in re traditional values.

    Everyone out there looks at he rules differently, its our job to play by them , and if the suck to change them. We need to develop discipline and patience The law is is supposed to be a last resort, not a first response.

  98. jdgalt says

    @James Hanley:

    JDGalt,

    Women and gays can't do what? Hold, and express, prejudiced views of other groups such as men and straights? They can and do, all the time.

    You just moved the goalposts.

    That's a lie.

    We were talking about pinups and locker room atmosphere.

    And still are.

    Women can't put up a bunch of pictures from Playgirl on the wall of the office anymore than men can put up pictures from Playboy.

    Sure they can. Every office I've worked in, the rule applies only against men.

  99. Grifter says

    @jdgalt:

    Every office you've worked in has had women putting up pictures from playgirl, getting away with it, and men getting in trouble for posting playboy?

    Or is it that the rule had only applied to men because only men violated it such that it was applied?

    I find the former implausible.

  100. Irrelevant says

    My purely-anecdotal experience here is that women can and will decorate their office spaces with stuff like celebrity glamor shots that are obviously present because they find them hot, and I do find this makes their areas creepy and unwelcoming, though not to a degree where "deal with it" doesn't apply.

    I think the double standard in this case has less to do with the definition of harassment, however, and more to do with the complete lack of a culturally-agreed-on definition for what does and doesn't count as a sexualized presentation of a man.

  101. Pete D says

    "Have they immersed themselves in "victim of speech" culture, accepted its premises, and become part of it? Are they making fun of it subtly? Are they acting to discredit it by overusing it? Are they illustrating how it can be abused, and how it is unprincipled?"

    All of them, Katie.

  102. spinetingler says

    Government sanctioned racism ended with the Civil Rights Act in 1964

    Women achieved true equal rights about 1970. All their "gains" since then are unfair misandry, based on bogus victim status, and need to be undone immediately.

    As for gays, the menace to them ended with Lawrence v. Texas.
    .

    In what fantasy world are you living?

    jdgalt

    Ah, now I see which one.

  103. Guesting says

    At this point I'll just assume everything that Castaigne says is a bad joke or is a troll account. No reasonable person can think that an employer actually owns a person just because they pay you a salary or has the power to "not let you go" without some serious blackmail.

  104. jfb says

    Some of the grenade-throwers on the Right absolutely are adopting a culture of victimization without irony. See Pam Gellar and her failed attempt to trademark the phrase "Stop Islamation of America" for one of the more entertaining examples. Guess what – the USPTO can say "no" and not infringe on your free speech rights.

    I would caution Ken and others against lumping everyone into monolithic "Left" and "Right" groups; I consider myself a little-l liberal (just inside the libertarian-left quadrant of the 2-dimensional Political Compass), and I can't stand most "left-wing" writers and Web sites (Salon, HuffPo, Kos, etc.), because they have become mirror-images of Red State and Free Republic; all you need to do is switch some nouns around. I would add a third axis to the "left – right" / "authoritarian – libertarian" axes; for lack of better terms, I call it "empirical – dogmatic". Guess on which end the victum culture lives.

    Irrespective of political orienatation, there are people who legitimately believe that they should be able to say any damned fool thing they want to without anyone questioning them for any reason whatsoever. They're the ones who get all the airtime and column inches because the rest of us have real jobs.

  105. Castaigne says

    @TM:

    To be fair, since strawmen aren't real, it's understandable why no one knows what you're on about.

    Pre-Burkean Conservatism is very simple.

    =====

    @Guesting:

    No reasonable person can think that an employer actually owns a person just because they pay you a salary or has the power to "not let you go" without some serious blackmail.

    Just think of the relation of an employee to an employer as being the same as that of a craftsman to noble family in Renaissance Italy and there you go. When the employee seeks my patronage, I expect my due course.

  106. Harun says

    Set up a Victims Olympics as the system for allocating moral standing, and we're surprised that everyone wants to compete?

  107. GuestPoster says

    Hmm. I mean, sure, any employee can quit their job at any time. But can they get a new one?

    There's what is technically always possible – the quitting of a job – and what is possible in terms of real life – quitting one's job and getting a new job in rapid order. This is, of course, why so many people work terrible jobs – it's not that they can't quit from a paperwork sense, it's that they can't quit from a putting food on the table tomorrow sense.

    As has been said: it's referred to as wage slavery because it bears such a striking resemblance. Does it matter if you own a person, in a legal and contractual way, if you can set their schedule, pay them a small fraction of the value they bring to their business, and treat them terribly, knowing that they can't afford to walk away from you?

    Add to that the increasing need for recommendation letters from former employers, or the need to put their contact info on new job applications, and you get to the scenario we have today -the legal ability to leave a job, but not the real-world ability to leave the job without supremely punishing consequences.

  108. jfb says

    ==sigh===

    s/victum/victim/
    s/orienatation/orientation/

    Really, I can spell. Most of the time.

    @GuestPoster – This is true; just because the law says you are allowed to leave a job at will doesn't mean you actually can. I'm supremely lucky to be in a city and profession that affords me a lot of mobility, but I realize my circumstances are unusual.

    Just to lurch ever further off topic, we also have to be wary of things like "wellness initiatives"; it's a great idea on the surface (who doesn't want to be healthy?), but it gives your employer undue influence over your private life outside of work hours (smoking, diet, drinking habits, etc.).

  109. Pharniel says

    BBC article on the Assault PUA

    He has a 'thing' for Japanese women as well, women in Japan have been trying to get him banned from the country for being a threat to them. I really can't say that this is hyperbole based on his videos.

    As far as victim culture goes…Women in Detroit was shot for turning down the advances of a random guy. This is a fairly common occurrence. Well, not the shooting, but physical or social violence against a woman for saying no. The "Literally Who's" that gaters have a hate on for have fled their homes and have had family/friends lose jobs. Black dude was shot in a wallmart for having a toy gun, white dude wandered around kroger just fine. Both were in 'open carry' states.

    That's the 'victim' card that minorities are 'playing'. The same day that Michael Brown was shot for interacting with the police an old white dude in Arizona staged an ambush of law enforcement by setting a garbage dumpster on fire, called it in and then fired on the first responders from an ambush position – and the cops took great care to take him alive.

    The "right"'s primary complaint…that people call them homophobic when they say they hate homosexuals. Or that they get called racist when they say or do racist things. See "Net Neutrality is Obamacare for the internet"

    By the By Ken – I'm just gonna Goodwin this bitch up right now – The Victim/Glorious Hero motif is big in Fascist thought – the enemy must be cowardly, tiny and utterly destroyed when confronted by true virtue while at the same time infinite in strength, everywhere and constantly poised to win.

    So contrast….The Left says stuff like "The police beat the shit out of/murder black/poor people all the time and generally let white people (who are not poor) off." It's a 'victim' statement that you can check up on. The Left saying this are usually blogs.

    The Right says things like "There's a war against christians in this country!". That's a quote from a sitting fucking Senator.

    So yeah…'both sides' might engage in bad behavior, but only one side has entrenched power structures in government saying the craziest things.

  110. says

    1.) Are you looking for someone to defend the police? Right or left, this is probably not the right blog for that.

    2.) Comparing Obamacare to Net Neutrality, i.e., comparing two pieces of legislation/regulation championed by the president, is racist? Are you just providing a case-in-point for the people who believe the racism/sexism/*-ism narrative is overblown?

    3.) Yes, the idea of a war on Christmas is silly. So is the idea of a war on women. So are a lot of things. Take the partisan blinders off a second and Google "Cynthia McKinney."

    4.) Yes, I engaged a commenter who compared his interlocutors to Hitler. I'm sorry.

  111. Mich says

    Every time this subject comes up I see a whole lot of defensiveness from conservatives about how it's the Left that are the big meanie poopyheads. And yet the only truly awful hate-filled spew I see (and have at times received) overwhelmingly comes from the Right, and when I ask for specific examples of this vast Left-wing meany-poopyness I get a lot of vague generalizations that amount to "Well, it's true because it just IS!" I'd really like to see this vast Left-wing hate machine that is just so effective in making conservatives terrified to speak their minds. From where I sit conservatives have no trouble doing that; they just don't like to be told their ideas are stupid (even if they are) or that their words are awful (which they often are). Maybe if they weren't such awful people so much of the damn time they'd get a little better reception.

  112. Craig says

    Mich;

    that's an excellent parody of the way in which both sides can act hatefully while excoriating the other side for being hateful.

    It is a parody, right?

  113. G Joubert says

    Oh, okay, I get it. This is where the self-appointed 1st Amendment expert postures about being superior and above the fray. Kinda like Bill O'Reilly, in more ways than one.

  114. NeverGoFull says

    This thread has had a reverse-Grinch effect on me. Gazing out of my cave upon it has caused my heart to shrink three sizes. I would say I feel bad that you've been cursed with such a horrible thread, Ken, but in the words of Radiohead:
    You do it to yourself

  115. sinij says

    Net Neutrality is Obamacare for the internet, because building internet tubes isn't free and American small businesses deserve to recoup their investments! If your home uses more water, then you should pay more for water and sewage! It just like that. Only dirty hippies on the left, who don't ever shower, fail to realize this. Plus, sooner or later you run out of other people's money to spend on your fad intrawebs projects. Didn't you learn anything from dot.com?All you ever need is AOL and dial up. Instead they should put all this money to good use fixing my Part D gap!

  116. Conster says

    As someone from the Actual Left (not the Center Right that people in the USA call "Left"), I'd like to say that if you say "The Left/Right is meaner than the Right/Left" you are full of shit. Doesn't matter which you said. And yes, that includes talking about the Actual Left and Actual Right.