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Member since: Sun Jul 4, 2004, 02:07 PM
Number of posts: 22,336

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Those who can make you believe absurdities, can get you to commit atrocities

The Comet Pizza gunman is a good example of this. This kind of thing scares me. How can people believe something so ridiculous and absurd? Are these just people with really low IQs? We have a bunch of very well armed people who are willing to believe really out-there, ridiculous stories. And we have people very willing to make up ridiculous absurd stories and feed them to their well armed fans.

There isn't any way to hold people responsible if they make up some stupid fake story and people kill people because of it, is there? Or is this along the lines of yelling "fire" in a crowded theater? I can see this going somewhere horrible. What if people made up a story that people with some attribute or another were sent by the devil and needed to be immediately killed? Or that a whole group of people with some attribute were running a pedophile ring out of their homes, or places of worship, or restaurants, or whatever? We have a group of people with tons of weapons who would believe that and potentially kill lots of people based on something someone made up and put on the internet.

You can't untangle race from class in America


Ibram X. Kendi's Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, which won this year's National Book Award for nonfiction, is an altogether remarkable thesis on history, but, in ways that are both moving and immediately painful, it also reverberates with the post-election autopsy we're all conducting right now. Kendi is reading Thursday, December 1, at University Book Store.

Donald Trump just hired a neo-Nazi, Jim Crow Paleo-conservative as his right-hand man, and he's stuffing his staff with a slew of violent nativists. Meanwhile, countless numbers of white liberals are venting their spleen with theories that the left will gain traction when all the outsiders pipe down about "identity politics" (I'm looking at you, Mark Lilla) and plead their humanity, pre-civil-rights style, to the masses who elected a monster (I'm looking at you, Jonathan Pie).

Now when I come across a breathless sentence from a populist liberal arguing that the fearful masses voted for the most frightening tyrant this nation has ever seen because a handful of students and activists on social media hurt their feelings, this quote from Stamped from the Beginning comes to my head:

"Uplift suasion [Kendi's term for respectability politics] is not only racist but impossible for Blacks to execute. Free Blacks were unable to always display positive characteristics for the same reasons poor immigrants and rich planters were unable to do so: Free blacks were human and humanly flawed. Uplift suasion assumed, moreover, that racist ideas were sensible and could be undone by appealing to sensibilities. But the common desire to justify racial inequities produced racist ideas, not logic."
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