Morning Ed: Society {2017.06.14.W}

[S1] The burden of stuff. Well, of having too much stuff.

[S2] It’s… pretty logical that people with socially unacceptable views would be anxious about society coming down too hard on the expression of unacceptable views.

[S3] Freddie offers some good advice to young writers.

[S4] Bert Gambini explains why we root for villains.

[S5] A Cowboy Bebop live action TV show could be amazing, atrocious, or anywhere in between… all with roughly equal probability.

[S6] Everything you ever wanted to know about being Barney. I have aggressively steered Lain away from Barney, with some success. Fortunately, there is a lot of other really good stuff out there.

[S7] The old CleanFlicks debate was an illuminating experience for me, as I learned sometimes politics is more about who is on what side rather than the issues at stake. Those that wanted the studios to be able to shut CleanFlicks down have less of an argument here, though, though unlike CleanFlicks there are actual contracts with the creators to consider.

[S8] RIP Adam West, who wrote a pretty great op-ed on video games back in 1983.


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Will Truman is a former professional gearhead who is presently a stay-at-home father in the Mountain East. He has moved around frequently, having lived in six places since 2003, ranging from rural outposts to major metropolitan areas. He also writes fiction, when he finds the time. ...more →

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463 thoughts on “Morning Ed: Society {2017.06.14.W}

  1. [S1] The horror! We had a lot of stuff prior to divorce. I still had a lot several years later. I finally got rid of it. (made some decent cash too selling it and donating it for tax deductions) But I don’t have kids, so that’s one big issue removed. I also don’t surf the internet or such while watching tv, so I don’t need a laptop/tablet. Contrast this to my coworker, a fashion doll collector, who has over 500 of them in boxes in her townhouse. Buying shit doesn’t make you happy for long.

    [S2] Meh. There’s always been a big element of “burn the witch” to those who are unconventional. As I grow older, and wiser, I’m becoming less and less included to listen to the group.

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    • Benefit of owning a small house – gotta purge often. Like, quarterly.

      And I can see saving a few things for grandchildren, but come on! That isn’t being prudent, that is needing professional help.

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      • Well, when I had the “marital estate” we bought the house with 4 bedrooms, although we only needed 2, because of resale ease. I didn’t mind that, but the house came with a unfinished basement that only served as a place to chuck shit we were given by my parents, unloading their own crap. Boy did it add up. And it was out of sight and mind, until the divorce.

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        • Our last house had a 2.5 car garage with a loft that was huge pain to use (vehicle access via narrow alley, and a hard turn to get in). So easy to just cram it full of crap…

          When we moved, the purge was magnificent in all it’s materialistic horror.

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  2. S4: I think this article dumps villians & anti-heroes into the same category. Also, rooting for a competent bad guy usually just means you’ve got a well written bad guy.

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    • I’d guess the article was written about 4-5 different studies, and didn’t bother distinguishing them.

      I find the concept of rooting for villains interesting because it’s not something I do. The one exception I can think of is Agent Smith in the first Matrix movie, and I didn’t root for him on the first viewing. But after watching it a few times, the acting and the writing just won me over. He is so purely disgusted by it all. I picture that you could cut Hugo Weaving off in traffic and he’d smile at you happily, because he worked through every bit of malice against his fellow human beings in that one role.

      I’ve never seen Breaking Bad, but I’ve seen The Shield and a good amount of The Sopranos, and those guys are just swine.

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      • Pinky,
        in a well written story, there aren’t villains, often times enough. I mean, look at GRRM’s A Song of Ice and Fire… You’re sitting there rooting for Tywin Lannister, at some points, and at other points for his son… or his daughter. You see both sides of people, and it’s the tapestry, the weave and the weft, that makes the story sing.

        Besides, the heros are the people willing to let billions die rather than trying to do anything more than Fix Bad Guys. At least the villains BUILD something! Yeah, it may cost. But America itself runs on slavery, and I’m not going to cast stones at a villain unless he’s into torture (that’s just Pointless and Wrong).

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      • Hugo Weaving was fantastic, but he wasn’t the villain, just the main antagonist. Cypher was the villain.

        And I don’t think people so much as root for a well crafted villain as they find something to empathize with. Wilson Fisk in the first season of Netflix’s Daredevil had a great depth (helped by Vincent D’Onofrio, in large part) that made him understandable. What he was doing was wrong, but I could grok why he was doing it, & what the driving pain and need where born from, and I could wish, in a way, he could find a less destructive way to deal with it.

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      • I’d say there’s a difference between amused by and rooting for.

        It’s a very interesting task to get an audience to root for someone they aren’t amused by.

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  3. S2:

    it does seem like some folks are using this finding to buttress the idea that free-speech defenses of problematic speech should be seen as inherently suspect.

    Because the radical left needed another club to beat people into silence with.

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    • The Far Left viewed free speech and related freedoms as bourgeoise freedoms used to cobble the powerless since the time of Karl Marx. To them all these freedoms are useless if your starving to death and always unevenly applied, unions were attacked as criminal conspiracies rather than protected as free associations of like-minded people.

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      • That provides understanding, not justification or support for their position. The fact that they are more than willing to apply free speech rights as unevenly as the bourgeois they claim to fight against makes them just as wrong.

        ETA: the article does make the distinction between free speech as cover & free speech as a principled stand, and explains that the study says nothing about the latter. But that won’t matter to the hot headed types. Nuance doesn’t tend to be an area of proficiency with them.

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        • I have my own issue with the study. I am a supporter of the right to free speech, but I also support the right of people to choose who they associate with. Since the question regarded an employer/employee relationship, I would not consider either of the mentioned situations to be violations of the individual’s free speech rights.

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        • The fact that they are more than willing to apply free speech rights as unevenly as the bourgeois they claim to fight against makes them just as wrong

          The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.

          Don’t assume there is only one set of principles available for principled defence of free speech, or that any defence that differs in contours from your own is less privileged. The principles I hold may be different from the ones you hold, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t principles. It does mean that a consistent application of them is going to yield different results at times.

          You all run your own legal system, but I much prefer Canada’s hate speech laws over the USA’s lack of them. My preference on that front is based on principles about which rights supercede which other rights. These principles align more closely to Canadian law than American law. Doesn’t make me less principled.

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              • That depends on how they choose to express that opinion. There is a hell of a gap between saying she is insufferable, and telling her that her insufferable nature is actually grounds for criminal prosecution.

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            • I would trust AG Sessions to do a wonderful job enforcing laws against hate speech. He seems like the kind of guy who really wants to stand up and defend progressive principles against dangerous right-wing extremism.

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            • Yeah, that little Salon piece was not written by someone who had taken even a few minutes to learn about Canada’s hate crime laws.

              Like, they almost certainly didn’t read sections 318 and 319 of the criminal code

              They almost certainly didn’t take a few minutes to google terms such as “Canada hate speech jurisprudence”

              As far as “I’ll know it when I see it” – any law related to any expressive matter is going to have to contain some degree of that. Just off the top of my head, that would cover laws against death threats, child pornography, fraud, false advertising, blackmail, extortion, harassment, and obstruction of justice.

              That’s not much of an argument for scrapping those laws. Or at least if you’re demanding rigorous principle, you’re going to need a rigorously principled justification of why those laws are different from hate speech laws in being justified despite their inherent know-it-when-I-see it-ness

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                • Yes, it requires judgement to interpret. A certain “I’ll know it when I see it” you could almost say.

                  Kind of like death threats, child pornography, fraud, false advertising, blackmail, extortion, harassment, and obstruction of justice all do.

                  Should we allow those things despite the need for subjectivity in determining whether they have happened? If not, why not?

                  If you feel you have a good argument against allowing those things, why does that argument not apply to hate speech?

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                  • Kind of like death threats, child pornography, fraud, false advertising, blackmail, extortion, harassment, and obstruction of justice all do.

                    I invite our legal eagles to correct me if I am wrong, but Death Threats are pretty objective (Popehat has a pretty healthy post on the topic), child porn is absolutely problematic and lots of people will tell you so, and all the rest of your examples are pretty objectively defined in US law.

                    Your section 318 doesn’t appear problematic, but 319 gives me pause at the key definition, that of what constitutes “hateful”. Awful lot of grey in that term, very subjective depending on the audience.

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                  • Kind of like death threats, child pornography, fraud, false advertising, blackmail, extortion, harassment, and obstruction of justice all do.

                    The main difference is that all of those things do actual immediate harm as opposed to making people feel bad or leading to somebody else somewhere down the line maybe deciding to do harm. If you’re literally inciting violence or action against a minority, that’s one thing. Saying things that might be construed as leading others to dislike a protected minority seems like quite another.

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                • Ooh, how topical – local news right now, a charge under section 319(2) has been laid against a blogger in my own city. These are apparently very rare (and note that that’s the lowest level of criminal severity of the three described).

                  I don’t know what exactly the alleged hate material was. It will provide an interesting case to observe though,to get a feel for what it it takes to rise to the lowest level of criminal hate speech in Canada in 2016-2017.

                  http://edmontonjournal.com/news/local-news/edmonton-man-charged-after-hateful-content-published-on-websites

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                    • It is potentially chilling, absolutely. I understand your reservations.

                      It’s also potentially chilling to a different set of people, to lack hate speech laws protecting people from marginalized communities who might try to enter politics.

                      There are two different chilling effect risks that need to be balanced. I think Canadian law has mostly done a decent job of that, and that US law overweights one of those risks somewhat, and underweights the other.

                      Like, here’s a quote from the man (his charges arise from hate speech against gay people, but it’s perhaps an illustrative example of the kinds of things that might be backing the charge (?) Hard to tell because his site is now gone, maybe the wayback machine has something. Note that this is something he wrote that didn’t even rise to the lowest level of criminality, or at least didn’t result in charges)

                      The Muslim and self described “palestinian” immigrants aren’t Canadians or fit in here as real Canadians. Lets give them, Fatima and the kiddies ten minutes to clear out of Canada, and then start shooting the under-evolved animals.

                      If this kind of speech became widespread with impunity, you don’t reckon that would start to have a chilling effect?

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                      • No, because this guy can not legally take such action. I mean, sure, he could go ahead and do it, but the government would stop him ASAP.

                        However, if I have to constantly be careful about what I say lest someone reports me to the government and I catch the attention of an eager and ambitious prosecutor looking to make their bones, that will have a chilling effect on speech.

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                        • No, because this guy can not legally take such action. I mean, sure, he could go ahead and do it, but the government would stop him ASAP.

                          I’m sure that would be a great comfort to your widow and orphans.

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                          • At least as much comfort as having some prosecutor burn through all your savings and bankrupt you in legal fees over something you said online, thanks to a subjective definition of ‘hateful’.

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                    • An editorial from today with a bit more background, by someone who waded through a bunch of his filth so we wouldn’t have to.

                      The editorial opinion aligns more with yours than mine, I think.

                      Also the link right in the last line of the editorial is interesting – their take is that prosecuting hate speech laws could lead to more groups like the 3%. I’m not sure if it’s the prosecution, or the failure to prosecute, that are more likely to encourage them.

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                        • I fully believe that it is a can of worms. I don’t know if you believe that I understand how much of one, but I do believe that it is one.

                          And I also support opening that can, probably more strongly than the author of the op-ed does.

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                          • I don’t know if you believe that I understand how much of one, but I do believe that it is one.

                            I do know, and for what it is worth, that gives me some measure of peace.

                            And I also support opening that can, probably more strongly than the author of the op-ed does.

                            Then perhaps we should just leave it there and walk away in understanding.

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                      • Two thoughts:

                        1. Wow that guy is an astonishing asshole.
                        2. IANAL, but he seems to have crossed numerous lines that would at least open him up to being sued.

                        In particular, baseless accusations that someone molested their daughter sound a lot like defamation, and threats to post nudes of a minor (Rehteah Parsons was 17 when she died) sounds like many, many things, but “legal” ain’t one of them.

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          • There are about four or five distinct principles or traditions that underlie the American tradition of free speech. None of them cover the whole thing, but they all overlap, and more importantly, weakening or ignoring one has an alarming tendency to send the whole edifice tumbling to the ground leaving you with an authoritarian mess.

            As for the Canadian approach, I can’t say I’m terribly impressed. It seems like Canadian courts usually come down on the right side, but only after the various government authorities have heaped a lot of inconvenience, stress, and expense on people who’ve dared step out of line. One thing the US absolutely gets right IMO is the notion that we have to avoid “chilling effects” on speech that come from having to go through a costly legal process, even if you’re ultimately vindicated.

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            • Those can be rather sketchy at times, though as with anything the cases that make the news are the egregious examples. If you picked at random a case from the Alberta human rights tribunal, you’d not likely find much to be outraged about.

              Mostly they handle stuff that is too small-stakes to call for a full court trial – sexual harassment at the workplace, or failure to accommodate injured employees’ return to work, with awards when they do find violations in the four to low-five digit ranges.

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              • The question I have there is, is it possible to eliminate most of the egregious cases while keeping the median cases by eliminating nebulous “hate speech” type restrictions and keeping more obvious concrete rules like workplace harassment? I mean, the middle of the road cases you mention don’t seem like anything that isn’t handled by the US system.

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                • First you’d have to be sure that the hate speech laws are heavily over-represented in the egregious cases, and that the remaining non-egregious instances of application of hate speech cases can safely be ditched.

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                  • I’m still looking for an example of a case that is bot non-egregious and also not inciting violence. Basically, I’m looking for a time when something beyond, “You can’t incite violence against people,” has solved an important problem.

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          • df,
            I continue to raise a jaunty glass to the people currently banned from First World Nations for exercising their fundamental Right To Free Speech.
            You may not like them very much, but at least they Stand On Their Principles.

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          • The reason Canadians need more protection from hate speech is that, by and large, they are a hated gaggle of seal-clubbing gay lumberjacks with no front teeth because of all the hockey violence. Of course they’d pass laws to keep people from pointing that out.

            In contrast, Americans are great and wonderful people who aren’t going to be hated by anybody. Thus, they need no strong hate speech laws.

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      • To them all these freedoms are useless if your starving to death and always unevenly applied

        Then the far left took power, and the people had neither food nor freedom of speech.

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      • The Far Left viewed free speech and related freedoms as bourgeoise freedoms used to cobble the powerless since the time of Karl Marx. To them all these freedoms are useless if your starving to death…

        Not sure how true that is. Charles Schenk of Schenk v US was a member of the Socialist Party who passed prosecuted for distributing anti-trade/anti-war materials.

        The whole idea that freedom and free association norms are bourgois conceits really only develop in situations when the left has effectively achieved a level of authority capable of enforcing prohibitions against speech and free association. In the US, that time is fairly recent. The earliest far left movements in the US were decidedly in favor of free speech, which makes sense since their speech was being prosecuted at the time. The fact that a movement can go from being in favor of free speech to being wary of it is instructive. It shows is that despite the original claim, it’s the anti-free speech position that tends to be opportunistic.

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    • Oscar,
      There are some people you just can’t help.
      People who want “representation” don’t actually want representation. They want idealized characters without flaws. If you actually create a character, with a decent backstory and flaws, they bitch to holy high heaven.

      It’s to the point where creators are resorting to trolling them, because it just doesn’t bloody matter.
      (See Doctor Who and Sherlock, particularly)

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    • Following the Trump/Julius Caesar kerfuffle, twitter had a handful of arguments that this play should have been shut down because, ahem, “hate speech is not free speech”.

      Whenever I see “the radical left” saying “hey, let’s use this technique to silence opposition”, I feel the urge to Banepost rise.

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      • I suppose it is Ironic that Blasphemy laws are unconstitutional owing to the establishment clause; but Blasphemy laws are totally awesome when my non-established transcendental ideas are being protected. We’re just calibrating Blasphemy.

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      • Arguments over whether “X speech is free speech” strike me as deeply confused. “Free speech” describes a state of affairs under which speech is not legally restricted, or a policy of maintaining such a state of affairs. Individual acts or types of speech are not “free” or “unfree.” They’re just speech. The freedom or lack thereof is in the legal/political context, not the speech itself.

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    • So right now there is a video out there, where a bunch of Texas “patriot” types violently expel some “ironic reddit nazi” from their protest. (It’s unintentionally hilarious because he keeps shouting “what about the memes?” to a bunch of stout bearded fascists with assault rifles.)

      Anyway, free speech. Brendan Eich had a right to be a homophobic shit. Mozilla had a right to fire his repulsive ass. People had a right to disagree with Mozilla’s decision. I have a right to disagree with those people. Round and round it goes. That said, if I discover one of my coworkers is an aggressive bigot with fascistic tendencies, I’ll probably share that around the office. Should that affect his career in a bad way, well fucking A+ yay! Bigots can suck it.

      You’ll get your ass sued hard if you refuse to serve black people lunch because they are black. Likewise in MA, you can’t deny me use of a public restroom because I’m transgender. So it goes. I have a right to operate in the public space. I get to live my life in a fairly normal way. If you do business here, you have to respect that.

      I’m pretty sure you can refuse to serve some asshole wearing a swastika shirt or whatever.

      This seems like a good thing. There is nothing wrong with being black or LGBT. Bigots, on the other hand, suck hard. We’re allowed to shun them.

      People, of course, can disagree on free speech grounds. They are free to do so. They’re wrong tho. There is an obvious difference between me and the bigot.

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      • I have to agree with about the scenarios described. Getting fired for being a bigot, or getting kicked out of a private school, isn’t necessarily a violation of free speech. Although perhaps that is why they did not present scenarios of government action against speech, but private action, because if you are using free speech as cover, you’ll be equally offended by both.

        But that isn’t my big concern. I just got done watching videos of the protests at Evergreen where students were shouting down a professor because he disagreed with them on something. These are people who clearly view freedom of speech as highly contextual (as in, if your context doesn’t align well with mine, you don’t get to enjoy free speech). I am loathe to grant these children another excuse to pretend opinions they don’t like are somehow cover for some -ism.

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        • I worry a lot less about those children [1] than I do about the people who really are using “free speech” as a cloak for bigotry, and who themselves are at least as committed to illiberalism as a punch of kids losing their tempers. This has gone hand-in-hand with a nauseating tendency I’ve noticed among a lot of self-styled free speech advocates [2] who have decided that the old creed of, “While I may disagree with what you say, I will defend to the death your right to say it,” doesn’t really need the first clause any more.

          Think Milo are being censored? Sure, fine, say so. But if you invite him onto your show or podcast or whatever to spread their filth, seriously, GFY.

          The ACLU defended the right of Nazis to march through Skokie. They didn’t then invite the Nazis to edit an issue of their newsletter.

          Even implicitly sending the message that free speech includes providing people like Ann Coulter with politeness, respect, or access to private platforms to spread her poison is an incredibly corrosive message to send if you want free speech to continue to be a thing.

          [1] In part because they pretty much are children, behaving in a way that was not all that atypical in the past, but rarely spread beyond the front page of the college paper.

          [2] Not anyone here.

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          • Think Milo are being censored? Sure, fine, say so. But if you invite him onto your show or podcast or whatever to spread their filth, seriously, GFY.

            Don’t forget Alex Jones. It’s very important that we hear what he has to say.

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          • pillsy,
            True dedication to Free Speech includes getting banned from countries, not whining because some hippies won’t let you give a speech that they’ve already paid you for.

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          • The ACLU defended the right of Nazis to march through Skokie. They didn’t then invite the Nazis to edit an issue of their newsletter.

            +1
            Seriously, that encapsulates the required nuance perfectly!

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      • Sure there’s a difference, but neither the bigot’s offensive speech or your’s, should be restricted.

        Let’s do a little exercise: ” if I discover one of my coworkers is an aggressive Transgender with fascistic tendencies, I’ll probably share that around the office. Should that affect his career in a bad way, well fucking A+ yay! Transgender can suck it.”

        You totally support that don’t you?

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        • — There is nothing wrong with being transgeder. There is much wrong with being a bigot. Thus the symmetry you are introducing is clearly wrong.

          You’re argument is bad and you should feel bad.

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          • LOL

            And there’s nothing wrong with being a bigot. That’s you imposing your value judgement, not me. Although, some would argue that being trans IS wrong. I wouldn’t, but I’m apparently not as judgmental as you are :p

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        • I have a somewhat different response to ms. d. Go right ahead. Let’s see whose values are on the rise and whose are on the decline. And by being open about your feelings, at least you let your co-workers (and managers) know what kind of person you are.

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          • — I’m not sure what you’re point is, but I’ve often heard the “let bigots be loud and proud so we know they are bigots” thing before. The problem is, yes, once we know they are bigots we are justified in not liking them much. The point is, once we know, we know. That will color my perception.

            You might imagine some perfect world where everyone is perfectly professional. Sounds nice. It’s not realistic. If someone thinks I’m subhuman, well it’s not going to end well. If they get promoted, such that they are my manager — bzzt sorry. That doesn’t work. They cannot be my manager, nor anyone else’s. (So it goes for “team lead” nor “senior engineer,” etc.)

            Honestly I don’t care if some troglodyte in the server room is a racist. Whatevs, so long as he stays down in the server room.

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            • There are many people who it is inadvisable to promote to manager. A bigot, however, is probably not the worst person to put in a managerial position.

              I mind that some places use poison in the general goings-on of the office (to the point of hiring a taste tester because poisoning the competition is cheating). Puts the whole ‘poisonous atmosphere’ in perspective, doesn’t it?

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            • If they get promoted, such that they are my manager — bzzt sorry.

              I’ve seen that happen in real life, in the Navy. Our superiors did get it taken care of, but it took over a year before they could get rid of the guy, and in that year he made a lot of kids lives hell.

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          • Francis,
            Indeed. And when the lovey dovey place crashes and burns, well, we can all have a fine discussion of how the free market fixes problems.

            **This is not a hypothetical. Someone created an entire business (with security cameras for spying) to prove a point.

            [This was actually testing the theory that “women who go to all women’s colleges, and subsequently create an all – woman workforce can indeed create interesting and new workproduct” — instead, they created jack-all, broke their terms of contract… and you wouldn’t believe the security footage!]

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      • Was that at the Sam Houston thing? God, what a bunch of idiots.

        (Sam Houston is…a big figure in Texas history. Someone started a whole fake “Remove the Sam Houston statute because we’re against Confederate Statues” thing, which got a bunch of ‘patriots’ to come ‘defend our historical roots’. Which is where the stupid came in, because Sam Houston was *anti-Confederacy*. Resigning office when Texas decided to secede is like…the second or third most famous thing he did, right behind his actual war heroism during the fight for Texas Independence. So we’re talking Texans who fell for the Texas history equivalent of “We’re going to remove a statue of Grant or the Lincoln Memorial because we hate the Confederacy” while simultaneously praising the history they clearly didn’t know.

        And like I said, not obscure history. Every one of them that went to school in Texas learned, at length, about Sam Houston. Grade school stuff, on the level of “Who was President during WW2″”.)

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        • “Sherman? He had something to do with the Confederacy, right? Better get rid of him too, just to be sure that nobody thinks about the Confederacy anymore!”

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          • Did you miss the part where no one was coming for the statue?

            7th grade knowledge of Texas history would indicate that the very last famous Texan to be considered “a Confederate” was Sam Houston, which made it pretty unlikely that a story about “People coming to tear down Confederate statutes” would start with him.

            Which was what made all of it so idiotic. People fighting to protect their cultural heritage literally knew nothing of their cultural heritage, and were thus easily fooled.

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            • I don’t know, this is a country where we can get people to sign a petition banning Dihydrogen Monoxide, I wouldn’t trust to people’s HS knowledge to prevent them from doing something stupid.

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      • “If I discover one of my coworkers is an aggressive bigot with fascistic tendencies, I’ll probably share that around the office. Should that affect his career in a bad way, well fucking A+ yay! Bigots can suck it.”

        And if we discover that you’re engaging in cultural appropriation or erasing women of color, well, we can share that around, and if it affects your career in a bad way, well fucking A+ yay! Appropriators and erasers can suck it.

        [Rest of comment Redacted by Trumwill]

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      • I get this line of thinking but it makes me feel… uneasy.
        I mean, on the one hand it makes perfect sense. If someone is carrying on in a racist manner in public then their employer, if they get wind of it, probably doesn’t want to be associated with that person do they’re shown the door. That’s legal, it ain’t a free speech issue- it’s a freedom of (non)association issue.
        But now we have the internet. So it’s not just what people do out in public, it can be what people can root up about you online and then make public. So suddenly someone says or does something privately or semi-privately and suddenly it’s costing them their job? Ummm… Yay?
        Also-too there’s the whole awkward problem of the radically expanding universe of what is suddenly becoming shameful or offensive to an expanding universe of people. So someone says or does something privately or semi-privately and then it could cost them their job? Yeah not Yay.

        And then there’s the principle involved. Imagine if the internet had been a thing in the 50’s or 60’s or 70’s? A whole hell of a lot of gays, trans, etc.. folks would have been really suffering even more if that’d been the case. I mean I get it, bigots being deplored now isn’t like gays or minorities being deplored then. But I really don’t like the whole “It’s okay when WE do it” thing. It smacks of hypocrisy and I have lived to watch as the moral conservative edifice absolutely imploded in the public mind and one of the big things that rotted it out from the inside? Hypocrisy.

        And the devil whispers behind the leaves: you’re the minority, you will always numerically be the minority, that’s just biological fact. That means that all us assorted minorities are deeply dependent on the worm not turning again the way it turned over the past decades. And I could imagine some succeeding wide eyed generation watching the socially righteous of our time chasing after those bigots and religious folks etc… screaming our denunciations and I can imagine how that could make the worm turn. And then I tremble.

        So yeah, I mean big public figures and people romping around making a scene waving their hateful flags end up shunned and screwed? Yay… but where does it end?

        Because we always will be the minority.

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        • — Far more of my personal friends have been unfairly fired or repeatedly harassed on the job because they are transgender than “dudes who lost their job cuz dumb shit they said on Reddit” —

          — well, at least based on the cases I hear about. But darnit folks sure do scream when some Reddit shithead gets doxxed.

          So I dunno. I’m pretty sure if someone wore a geisha costume to our company costume party — well it probably wouldn’t go over that well. Whatevs. I doubt they’d be fired. I expect there would be a big-dumb flare up of stupidity and (I hope) they would be smart enough not to do that again.

          On the other hand, nerd social skills…

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          • Absolutely! Me too!!

            LGBTetc as a people have been scourged by our oppressors with society looking on and approving for decades. Now it looks like society is coming to the point where it takes the flail from our oppressors, hands it to us and says “okay it’s your turn to scourge them”. I hope that we have the strength and wisdom to say “Fish that, no one deserves to be scourged” rather than putting our back into the scourging.
            Also, there would be absolutely no greater revenge we as a people could have on the Christian right than to refuse to persecute them back and thus prove for all time that we truly are better than they are (not to mention denying them to chance to be martyrs which is like catnip to Christians).

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          • Nu. You forgot the classic: “Let’s Have a Gag Gift Party!”
            … What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

            (Yes, someone brought an actual gag, giftwrapped and everything. He was not from America.)

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        • And then there’s the principle involved. Imagine if the internet had been a thing in the 50’s or 60’s or 70’s? A whole hell of a lot of gays, trans, etc.. folks would have been really suffering even more if that’d been the case. I mean I get it, bigots being deplored now isn’t like gays or minorities being deplored then. But I really don’t like the whole “It’s okay when WE do it” thing. It smacks of hypocrisy and I have lived to watch as the moral conservative edifice absolutely imploded in the public mind and one of the big things that rotted it out from the inside?

          Having moral and ethical standards over which behavior is worthy of social sanction isn’t hypocrisy, though. It’s just pretty much definitionally what standards of behavior are.

          And if some shitbird with a Pepe avatar has his life blighted after people figure out that he’s been outing trans people or sending pictures of ovens to Jewish reporters, good. People like that deserve the bare minimum required by the law and not one iota more, and they’ve demonstrated over and over again, really throughout the entire course of human history, that they will not be bound by anybody else’s sense of restraint and respect for privacy.

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          • Yes. This.

            I’m actually not too worried about witch hunts applied to “average white dudes with average white dude opinions,” because quite clearly average white dudes will continue to run things. What I expect is, the truly toxic haters will get exposed and pay a price for being terrible.

            Which good.

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            • If by Average White Dudes, you mean the psychopathic, paranoid, sadistic people who actually do control things. I think the Average White Dudes should be offended.

              If you don’t mean the Powers that Be, well, I have news for you. It’s hard to run anything when you’re sinking underwater. Less than a third of American households have $1000 in the bank.

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            • “I’m actually not too worried about witch hunts applied to “average white dudes with average white dude opinions”…”

              Once witch hunts are normalized you’ll be surprised how many people turn out to be average white dudes with average white dude opinions.

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              • Wishing I didn’t sound like fecking Yoda here, but yes. Once it’s OK to hate on the haters, the cycle will perpetuate. It’s a narrow path between appreciating some Karmic justice and deciding Karma needs some serious help getting on the ball.

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                • Call me when Canada starts catastrophically sliding down the slippery slope of totalitarian something something it’s been all casually standing at the top of in totally inadequate footwear since 1985. I’ll keep my sense of alarm in the back of the sock drawer, ready for the occasion.

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                  • Well, the United States hasn’t exactly slid into a totalitarian state because DAs go after dumb kids sharing nekkid pics of each other via their phones*, but that doesn’t mean I want DAs to have that power, because some day it may be my kid, or the kid of a friend or family member, or it’ll be some kid who is a good kid doing something stupid who doesn’t deserve, but the law is an ass, so there.

                    No, it isn’t a slide into tyranny, but it is an injustice, and

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            • What I expect is, the truly toxic haters will get exposed and pay a price for being terrible.

              What will also happen is this tool will instantly be used for power rather than justice. The definition of “truly toxic” will be dumbed down so it can be used more often.

              And yes, it will be used against lots of people just because it’s hard to defend against and they’re in the way or because the mob needs something to do.

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          • Sure, right now. But we’ve seen the edges pushed and the scope widened a lot. Are we absolutely sure it’s not going to start sweeping up more than the unabashed deplorables?

            If so then well and good. So long as it’ll only ever be used on the truly outrageously horrible people then truly all is well with the world and there’s naught to worry about.

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            • Are we absolutely sure it’s not going to start sweeping up more than the unabashed deplorables?

              OK, say we aren’t sure.

              What’s the alternative? Because it sure looks like the alternative is saying, “If you’re a Nazi, your privacy and employment are sacrosanct, but if you’re someone Nazis want to fuck with for any of their billion Nazi reasons, well, tough shit.”

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              • And how are these Nazi’s fucking with people? Are they just being absolute fuckers online? Are they doxxing people and encouraging harassment &/or violence? Are they calling them, calling their work, showing up at work? What?

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                • Doxxing, outing LGBT folks, sending “joking” almost-but-not-quite threats[1], contacting their employers in attempts to get them fired.

                  Stuff that is, as far as I know, legal but also absolutely shitty and grotesque, and stuff that is clearly outside of any of the norms that “Keep it out of IRL,” and, “Don’t join outrage mobs,” are intended to encode.

                  They’ve also been doing it roughly forever. One of them tried to get me kicked out of college for daring to be pro-choice and Jewish in the ’90s. That particular attempt was inept enough to be funny, but it sure as hell wasn’t cool. And since then, they’ve gotten much more numerous [2] and much worse.

                  [1] I.e., the ubiquitous ever-charming pictures of ovens sent to Jewish reporters/pundits/et c.

                  [2] Perhaps not in absolute numbers, but as with everyone else, they’re much more of a presence online.

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                  • pillsy,
                    “My First Online Death Threat”…
                    yeah, those make great stories, don’t they just?

                    Thing of it is, after the first 100, you stop pretty much caring about the ones that are ineffectual.

                    DON’T get Anonymous pissed at you (they will and have found people in hiding), and don’t even annoy the Kochs.

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                  • @dragonfrog

                    All of which is not something hate speech laws will combat in any meaningful way.

                    And this is the problem with policing speech, rather than action – it always becomes about policing tone. People have been figuring out ways to dodge censors and other language police for millennia. Either they figure out where the line is and openly operate right up against it, or they take it underground, and develop new language to talk about what they want (because language can evolve so much faster than laws can, especially these days), and what happens is the law catches the low hanging fruit, those who are too stupid or naive to know how to dress up their language.

                    That guy in your example, from Edmonton, is in trouble because he was crass, and blunt, and loud. He was easy to identify and the evidence is easy to present. He’s also probably just some angry guy, he isn’t some silver tongued bastard who can be very polite, and eloquent, and say exactly the same damn thing, but nicely, so as to not gather the notice of censors.

                    And finally, perhaps up there in Canada, all your prosecutors are upstanding, moral, and just public servants who would never exercise the power of their office for personal or political gain, but down here in the states, I guarantee you such a hate law would be turned against minorities in a hot minute (because there are some minorities who like to loudly talk about killing whitey, etc.). So no thank you, I’ll take a principled stand against hate speech laws.

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                    • I’m not advocating hate speech laws at all, or anything similar. I think they’re a bad idea anywhere, and would work out particularly terribly given the nature (and rather degraded state of) our governmental institutions, it would be a rolling disaster in the United States.

                      But without them (and probably with them) a lot of people are going to engage in a lot of actually harmful, revolting behavior that almost all falls under the rubric of Constitutionally-protected speech. That doesn’t obligate us to do nothing, though.

                      The cure for bad speech is more speech.

                      I believe using lawful means to pierce the (often completely imaginary) veil of anonymity separating someone from their repulsive, just barely legal speech very much counts as more speech, and a valid tool for people living in a free society to defend themselves from those who would turn freedom against itself.

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                      • I believe using lawful means to pierce the (often completely imaginary) veil of anonymity separating someone from their repulsive, just barely legal speech very much counts as more speech, and a valid tool for people living in a free society to defend themselves from those who would turn freedom against itself.

                        Go for it, knock yourself out. But you are not the police, you don’t get to enjoy qualified immunity (and we know how I feel about that for the police). If you want to pierce the veil and expose a troll, go right ahead.

                        But you better be 100% Fucking-A certain you got the right guy, and you aren’t messing up some poor bastard who had his identity stolen last year and he hasn’t noticed yet. Because as much as I think you are just fine in going after trolls, I think anyone who suffers as collateral damage from a careless troll hunt gets to sue your ass into oblivion.

                        So tread carefully.

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                      • — Exactly. In fact, this was the solution that libertarian types used to promise us, back when I was a young’un and attracted to simplistic politics (she says with a kindly grin). But yeah, it seems as if fewer and fewer notable libertarians still hew to this model, with the exception of Ken White/Popehat. (Does he count as a libertarian? Whatever he is, I kinda like him.)

                        Nowadays there is a weird overlap between “principled libertarians” and the edges of the manosphere and “angry online white dude” culture, and so on. In turn, they’ve realized that they too might pay a social cost to being a douche, and suddenly they wanna talk about “chilling effects” of explicitly non-governmental social power.

                        It’s interesting.

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              • pillsy,
                You have choices. They included flat out murder, doxxing the person, and calling in the Law.

                Does a Nazi “death threater” mean that much to you? Do you care about potentially going to prison?

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            • I think North’s instincts are correct. No it isn’t the same as the type of discrimination or exclusion faced by LGBT people but these periodic explosions about failures to use proper pronouns or be sufficiently versed in the latest flavor of intersectionality are counter productive. The gay rights movement has succeeded on things like same sex marriage because their tactics generate empathy and cause people to question what it is they’re so worried about in the first place. It’s much more likely to prevail than hunting apostates with an ever widening net.

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              • What if they’re a straight-up Holocaust denier who intentionally trolls through trans people’s media feeds to try to find evidence to out them? There’s at least one subreddit devoted to just doing the latter!

                This idea that all the bigots in the world just didn’t get the memo on the latest sort of cultural appropriation and would be totally chill if everybody was just nice to them is false. A lot of them are supremely horrible people who deserve neither civility, nor the basic sort of trust one places in a colleague or employee.

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                • I guess what to do depends on what your goals are, and what it’s worth giving up to accomplish them. Once you start playing their game you’ve conceded that these sorts of activities are acceptable. Maybe I’m wrong and it would be limited to policing the worst of the worst but if not.. well what a big price to pay to get back at some weirdos and trolls online.

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                  • I don’t see refraining from “playing their game” keeps the tactics unacceptable, since, well, people use them all the time. The trolls and weirdos sure, but it’s hardly just them.

                    But somehow it’s only a problem or a threat to broader society if folks on the left use the tactics against Nazis.

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                    • pillsy,
                      *Yawn* Really.
                      You aren’t going on a crusade against parents selling their children as sex slaves to the highest bidder, over and over, and then murdering them to keep quiet.

                      You’re going against stupid people saying stupid shit on the internet.

                      You are advocating that Something Must Be Done.

                      You think the left hasn’t had people stab site owners through the heart? Or, in one case, the site owner’s mother?

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                    • So shouldn’t the crusade be “No one should be able to harass or dox or out or torment or try and kill the job of someone else” rather than “Doing all that is the privilege of the in vogue social group of the current time”? Damn it we all said no one should have to suffer this kind of harassment when it was back in the dark ol’ days and we were the targets. Now suddenly it’s not only okay but righteous? How the hell is that not hypocrisy? How the hell are the left wing crusaders so absolutely sure this isn’t going to be turned against them.

                      I’m reminded of all the innumerable animes where the giant robot/monster rampages through the city under the villains control while the mousy scientist in the foreground frets and pleads “You have to understand, I created Mega-X to do GOOD. I never imagined some villain would get control of it!”
                      Or as Freddie put it (paraphrasing): the authorities have always seized every available weapon to put their boot down on the face of liberals and minorities. Do we really believe that in approving these methods that the authority won’t use them on liberals and minorities? Really??

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                      • So shouldn’t the crusade be “No one should be able to harass or dox or out or torment or try and kill the job of someone else” rather than “Doing all that is the privilege of the in vogue social group of the current time”?

                        No, that crusade would be infinitely more dangerous, for just this reason:

                        Or as Freddie put it (paraphrasing): the authorities have always seized every available weapon to put their boot down on the face of liberals and minorities.

                        The stuff we’re talking about here is, AIUI, all lawful exercise of free speech rights.[1] Making it so people can’t do it anymore is handing tools to the authorities in exactly the way FdB warned about, and yes, I’m sure it will be used in exactly the way we wouldn’t want it to be used.

                        So we’re basically stuck with this stuff. Given that, why should the only ones who don’t have to live with the consequences of it be the Nazis? Why would you play by Marquess of Queensbury rules with people who idolize perhaps the worst war criminals in history?

                        Isn’t that… kind of foolish?

                        Also, I dunno about you, but I never signed up with the left because I felt like I should be obligated to sit down for a polite lunch with people who publicly advocate that I be murdered along with my family.

                        Maybe that’s just a weird quirk of mine.

                        [1] I think it would be bad to make reports like the one on Violentacrez or the Red Pill weirdo in the NH lege illegal, myself.

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                    • I guess in order to have the discussion beyond this point I’d have to understand how prevalent the conduct in question really is, and maybe even more tightly define what types of actions we’re talking about. For the record I don’t think anyone should take it upon themselves to call other people’s employers, make what the law would call true threats, or disseminate another person’s personal information. To the extent this is the kind of thing we’re talking about its absolutely wrong, and there are (admittedly imperfect) laws on the books.

                      On the other hand, to the extent we’re talking about anonymous people posting nasty or crazy things on the internet I’m just not sure I see the point. I know it’s fashionable to ‘punch nazi’s’ right now in some corners. My suspicion is that this attitude is creating a mix of a Streisand effect (i.e. giving a platform to people few would have ever heard of otherwise) and drawing the left al-Qaeda style into escalations they can’t win and that make them look equally stupid and/or crazy.

                      I’m also not so sure that people use these tactics as often as you’re saying, at least when it comes to private individuals. This forum is about as civil and thoughtful as any place on the internet but I’m not really sure I’d want everyone knowing the substance of some of my views I’ve expressed here. The fact that most of us use aliases and pseudonyms I think shows I’m not alone in that, yet we all still post because we know our anonymity is most likely going to remain intact. It would take a lot more convincing for me to risk that norm in order to punish what i suspect aren’t more than a handful of really bad actors, the worst of which the law already provides recourse against.

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                      • In addition to everything says, I’ll say this:

                        The reason ‘your side’ (as it were) catches flack for doxxing & harassing people is the same reason the US gets international condemnation when we bomb a wedding to kill an AQ lieutenant, but AQ is just fine lighting off a car bomb outside a police station. A whole lot of collateral damage to people who are innocent. Your side can not afford to target a false positive, while their side pays very little penalty for a false positive.

                        ETA Yeah, I know, it sucks claiming to be the good guys, because you have to actually, you know, be good.

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                        • Let’s take a concrete example, then. When Adrian Chen did his report on who Violentacrez really was, was that out-of-bounds?

                          If it was, is this really a norm we want to bind ourselves to, where everybody goes out of their way to let shitty people abuse others behind a cloak of anonymity?

                          If it wasn’t, what sets it apart from what you’re worried about?

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                          • pillsy,
                            This was just words. Words Words Words, signifying nothing. Yes, that article was idiotic, a violation of norms and shouldn’t have been done. (Doing the same, without publishing names, would have been way, way more okay).

                            If you abuse a particular person to the point of them killing themselves, well, now you’ve (I think?) committed a infraction that might deserve punishment. And you can be sued accordingly.

                            With gamergate, we had a trannie deliberately falsifying pleas for help in order to get a sex change operation. That’s real money, and that’s a real crime — fraud. Reporting on real crimes is fine.

                            What about Quinn? When her former boyfriend posts her professional-quality nudie pics online? Is that harrassment? Or are we okay with that, as he had them and wanted to post them?

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                          • My point went right by you, didn’t it?

                            No, the Chen story was legit (I had to look it up, I have no idea who any of these people are). That guy was violentacrez, he was bad, kicking over his rock and letting him see the sun is a solid hit. To go back to my analogy, when we kill an AQ leader and a handful of his AQ comrades, life is good.

                            It’s when we also kill half of the local village who have nothing to do with AQ just because the leader was at a friend or distant cousins wedding; that is when we get the bad press and condemnation.

                            So yes, what Chen did was good, because he did his homework, and verified his intelligence, and he nailed his target, and only his target.

                            When the mob descends on some hapless schmuck who said the wrong thing, or pissed off the wrong person, and does it in the name of Justice… well, everyone else working in the name of Justice gets to wear that egg on their face as well. And yes, the bad guys get to be shitty and hide under cover, etc., because they are the bad guys. You don’t get to stoop to their tactics and adopt their disregard and still claim you ride with angels. I mean, this isn’t some new struggle, it’s a problem that has plagued LEAs forever, dealing with organized crime/drug gangs/etc.

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                            • My point went right by you, didn’t it?

                              Probably. Maybe I’m confusing your position with the positions of other people I’m arguing with.

                              But if your point is that we should be really careful about picking our targets when we use tactics like this, than I agree. I just don’t think the tactics themselves are inherently illegitimate, and I get the impression that and do.

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                              • I’m pretty close to the position that they’re illegitimate though not absolutely there. I think that liberals and leftists should view those tactics with reflexive suspicion and skepticism, not reflexive congratulation and support.

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                                • I don’t know enough about the Chen situation to comment on it (will absolutely read up after work though). I guess I could grudgingly see the necessity when we’re talking about really major episodes of criminal conduct or of serious public interest. Still I have no faith in anonymous online mobs to enforce that (which is who we are relying on) in a way I’m comfortable with. The most I couod compromise is signing on to ‘s skeptical approach.

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                              • pillsy,
                                Yeah, I’ll cosign that doxxing child molestors isn’t such a bad thing. Ditto the snuff porn people, and the … actually, I’ma just stop talking here.

                                Thing is? Those people are committing crimes.

                                Do you REALLY think it’s okay to doxx Chris-chan????
                                [Note: This was done with one picture posted to 4chan. Props to the detective work, folks!]
                                If so, where does it stop? I stand up at a party holding a Stupid Sign (because it’s stupid sign day). Someone (unbeknownst to me) takes a picture.

                                Next thing I know, I’m losing my job …

                                Izzat bad? Worse than losing my job because of my sexual preferences and pecadillos?

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                      • I’m also not so sure that people use these tactics as often as you’re saying, at least when it comes to private individuals.

                        I… am. A lot of Jews, including myself, from across the political spectrum,[1] have been subjected to them. I was way luckier than most because my incident happened before the fucking Pepes came along and actually got good at it. So no, I don’t see it as being a rare problem.

                        It’s hardly limited to Jewish folks. That’s just where it hits closest to home for me.

                        [1] Jewish anti-Trump conservatives seem to get the absolute worst of it these days.

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                        • I remember hearing about someone getting death threats for trying to sell kosher Jews fake bacon.

                          This was a LONG time ago, mind.

                          Now the Orthodox generally stick to biological warfare.

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                        • I’m not talking about laws here, I’m talking about norms. We the lefties have an element that is beginning to appropriate (gasp) the tools of the troglodyte right and do all these things to people we disagree with. Absolutely some of them are horrible people and some are just people we disagree with and in a lot of cases they’re our own fishing people (because no one care more about the opinions of a virtual lefty mob than another lefty). To defend this some are saying “This gets done to some horrible people so it’s righteous” and I cannot agree. When we say “this is okay when we do it” that’s a really weak stance as compared to saying “this isn’t okay- whoever does it.” The former is not only principled; it’s coherent and it’s strong in the long run. The latter is hypocritical and it’s weak in the long run.
                          So yeah, I think when a person outs or doxes or gets fired etc.. someone I think we the liberals should denounce it; not celebrate it. If said person did it because they’re a Pepe douchebag then we should denounce them for that too. But if said person did it because they’re one of us going after a Pepe douchebag or just a religious believer or simply someone they disagree with we should be denouncing them too because they’re hurting us all. They’re not only enabling the means by which we can be persecuted but they’re also creating the energy that could turn the zeitgeist back upon us. For God(ess?)’s sake we are minorities! The good will of the masses and the righteousness of our principles is pretty much everything we have. If we lose the latter then eventually we run a danger of losing the former and then we’ll have lost everything.
                          I don’t want to be in my fishing 70’s sitting in some besieged ghetto musing about how history came in a full circle and watching my indignant peers in their 40’s and 50’s snarling about how the fishing kids all turned out to be Nazis and what the hell is wrong with kids these days.

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                          • So a Pepe douchebag outs someone and gets them fired.

                            They broke the norm you’re advocating, right?

                            What is the appropriate social sanction for enforcing that norm?

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                        • I’m not in a position to debate your or anyone else’s personal experience. We don’t seem to have raw numbers of any kind we can rely on to get better understanding of how prevalent the harm is, and how to quantify it (happy to consider it if we do have something like that).

                          I guess my question is, in light of your experience are you comfortable putting someone else through it who was misunderstood and/or misidentified? Or even someone who did say something wrong or ignorant at a weak moment but who is hardly Richard Spencer? If so is it also worth the understanding that retaliation might involve things like calling the Catholic hospital a nurse works for to report something she wrote online favoring federal funding for planned parenthood? Or telling Lockheed about an employee who criticized our military adventurism in a comments section?

                          The reason I caution the left about it isn’t because I think right wing crazies are good or correct but because there’s a good chance total war results in defeat for everyone.

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                          • I prefer not making mistakes to making mistakes, and telling the truth to telling lies. I absolutely think these tactics are sufficiently serious business that they should be used with care, and not against people who are run-of-the-mill idiots. I just know that even being careful and conservative about employing them, you can’t ever absolutely guarantee that you won’t pick the wrong target for sanction, whether social or legal. I just think there’s nothing particularly magical about this particular set of sanctions that means any possibility of a false positive completely invalidates them. That’s the sort of argument you use when the consequence is death penalty.

                            But setting that aside, I don’t believe for a second that refraining from using the tactics against Pepe douchebags will deter anyone else. Not anti-abortion activists going after nurses at Catholic hospitals, certainly not homophobes getting people fired from their jobs for being gay, and not even woke-as-fuck morons who want to bring the hammer of justice down on people who dare to culturally appropriate nachos.

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                            • I’m not in the position to tell the victims of these things how to respond. You’re probably right that the truly committed bigots of the world aren’t deterred by much. What I think you and are forgetting is they aren’t the only witnesses, and there could be consequences for that. Maybe I’m totally wrong and the hardline tactics championed at some of these colleges and online spaces really are good for the left. My perception is they are not.

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                              • — I’m not suggesting an unchecked free for all, although I suspect that’s what we have whether we want it or not. Instead, I’m merely saying that targeted doxxing has to be “on the table,” because of the toxic nature of internet communication.

                                That said, remember that woman who made the dumb AIDS joke before her flight to Africa. Remember the big flare up and how she lost her job and all of that. Okay, when was the last time something like that happened?

                                I mean, a lot of other shit has happened, but something like that hasn’t happened in a while.

                                I think we got a bit tired of the endless Twitter pile-ons. Certainly there are still “call outs,” but it feels like they happen less, that they are more measured. There is probably more “direct action on college campuses” stuff, and a lot of rioting on the west coast, but less than in the 1960’s. Plus, it hasn’t spread much to the east coast. (And honestly, the cops on the west coast are often the instigators, so don’t act like this is all from the “left.”)

                                That said, the best way to handle creeps taking “up skirt” photos is to catch them doing it, film them doing it, expose them. Sure, they’ll probably lose their jobs, because the women in HR kinda don’t like the pervy jerks who creep on them in public. Certainly they don’t want to share an office with “that guy.” Likewise the dudes will have some -splaining to do to their wives/girlfriends (if they have wives or girlfriend). But again, fucking-A right they will. Creeps.

                                “But veronica, if you expose the up-skirt guy, that makes you just as bad as him!”

                                Uh, no it doesn’t.

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                                • The up-skirt issue I think is a bit of a different thing, and I’m fully comfortable with criminal and civil penalties for it. I don’t see it as much different than hiding a camera in a shower or bathroom and I think both laws and social norms can adequately account for it without being way overbroad. My primary worry is about sanctioning people with unpopular or unpolished opinions (or just stupid people for being stupid) writ large without much reflection. Of course I also think you’re probably right that we are all living in a free for all for the foreseeable future whether I like it or not.

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                                • That said, remember that woman who made the dumb AIDS joke before her flight to Africa. Remember the big flare up and how she lost her job and all of that. Okay, when was the last time something like that happened?

                                  From what I hear, the number of incidents is still a thing, but the media has lost interest in reporting that such things happen. Which is still a better state of affairs that when the media did care (because reputations remain largely intact IRL), but still.

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                                • “remember that woman who made the dumb AIDS joke before her flight to Africa. Remember the big flare up and how she lost her job and all of that. Okay, when was the last time something like that happened?”

                                  Donglegate?

                                  And if that’s still too far back, there was Kathy Lee Griffin just last week.

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                                  • Donglegate sure.

                                    Griffin is really different, IMO. A minor celebrity either let her anger get the best of her or trolled way too hard. Either way she screwed up badly at her job and suffered predictable professional consequences for it. Fair or not, it wasn’t weirdly arbitrary.

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                                    • I’m with you on Griffin (even if I also rolled my eyes just as hard at the faux outrage). But she makes her living off this stuff, live by the sword die by the sword. It’s the ‘weirdly arbitrary’ part that bugs me.

                                      I looked up the Violentecrez thing and I get the argument for that. But there are a lot of vagaries in what goes viral. Slow news day and some boob 10 beers in gets caught on a cell phone saying something asinine or a parent having a bad moment becomes public enemy #1.

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                                    • Again, minor celebrity says something in public that offends, and his employer things it’s too much trouble to keep up with him. I think the Aslan thing was a very silly overreaction on the part of CNN, much more clearly so than what went down with Griffin.[1] Still, it’s all within the realm of normal employer-employee relationships.

                                      You know a good example? Woke Gator Lady. That’s a good example.

                                      [1] Is this based on my own opinion that calling the President a “piece of shit” is totally, but being stupidly provocative about assassination is actually pretty offensive? Probably!

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                        • Yeah, I think a lot of people are very ignorant of the “truth on the ground.”

                          First, whose complaints do we actually hear? The week that one poor guy was fired of “donglegate,” how many LGBT people were either fired or forced to quit their jobs because of persistent harassment?

                          Probably dozens, but we heard about him.

                          Of course, it was all stupid. He shouldn’t have been fired. Whatever. By all accounts he found another job. So life goes on. A small injustice — which we all had to hear about and weigh in on, instead of a metric-fuckton of other injustices we get to ignore.

                          Admit it: a lot of you all cared about “donglegate” guy because he looks like you. He could be you.

                          blah blah blah

                          I wish he hadn’t been fired. It did no good for anyone.

                          There are entire websites setup to expose and harass transgender people, particularly trans women. The people who run them are anonymous. Should we respect their privacy? They do not respect ours.

                          Violentacrz, in addition to being a snide “offense-giver,” also loved to post “upskirt” picture and other “creepshots” garbage. But his privacy is sacred?

                          Fuck that.

                          Look, “doxxing” is not a singular thing, and we cannot build a simple moral principle around sacred anonymity. Certainly an elected representative has no moral claim protecting his secret identity as a crass online misogynist. Likewise for that alt-right guy who was recently exposed by other alt-right fucks in some dumb internal conflict, along with his Jewish wife, who evidently participated in some of the online anti-Semitism.

                          (I expect her social life took a hit. Cry me a river.)

                          They will dox LGBT people They will dox women, in the sense of releasing our home addresses on Reddit and the -chans, along with the ensuing rape threats and general terror campaigns.

                          But their anonymity is sacred?

                          “Well no one should dox anyone ever!” is lovely, but unrealistic. They already dox us. They always have. They’ll never stop.

                          #####

                          There is this thing, where sometimes some creeper will start messaging a random woman with his hateful rape fantasies or whatever, with his “real name” FB account. Like really. There are people that dumb. So she then goes to his FB account, finds out who his friends and relatives are, and sends them screenshots.

                          Ha! Let the fucker burn.

                          “But Veronica!” you cry out, “privacy is sacred!”

                          Which was so important to the creep when he started abusing a random women. I guess to (some of) you the dignity of women doesn’t mean shit. Like, jesus fucknuggets you can’t be serious. Expose the fuckers. Kick over the rocks. Let shine the bright light of day.

                          “But they’ll do it to us.”

                          Of course they will. That’s a given.

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                          • v,
                            Yeah, and we HEARD all about the guy forced to marry the trannie to stay in this country (they even put him on House of Cards!). Privilege, now not just for dudez.

                            Now, I’m a bit confused — you wish the guy hadn’t been fired. But you do wish to hurt people’s employment if they’re bigots?? How much, do you say, should someone be docked for being a bigot? Dollars and cents.

                            Mostly, all I’m asking for is for you to not MURDER them. But apparently that’s too much to ask for.

                            I can at least understand the “everyone should understand that things can be made public” vibe. It is real. 4chan, at least, would helpfully explain to people how to make sure that you couldn’t be doxxed.

                            I can understand the philosophy that says “u an idiot, u deserve it.” But then you don’t get to cry when Quinn gets doxxed (whether or not she did it to herself).

                            Seriously, either you Make A DoxxingIsBad Rule and stick by it, or you say Stupid People Deserve It, and you stick by it. Don’t be a hypocrite.

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                              • — Would you do me a favor? If you’re going to quote some repulsive garbage that Kim said, please edit out any transphobic slurs.

                                I mean, I’m a big girl. I can handle on occasion hearing someone saying some repulsive garbage, but I blocked Kim because (among other reasons) she is transphobic and the moderators seem to make no effort toward stopping her from using slurs. I just don’t want to waste my mental energy on bigots.

                                And to the moderators ( , ), “tranny” is a slur, even when you spell it wrong. I blocked her. I don’t see it. Thus I cannot “report” her posts. However, if someone routinely used the “n-word” on the forum, you would probably stop them. This should be treated the same way for similar reasons. Please.

                                (If you question whether “tranny” is a slur, turn off “safe search” and then do a google image search for “tranny.” Then do one for “trans woman.” Note the difference.)

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                                • @will-truman

                                  For the record agreeing with on that point in this context. This is a good conversation and I don’t think Kim’s outbursts are doing anything for the discussion.

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                                • v (although I know you aren’t reading this),
                                  If you consider the word trannie a slur, I apologize for offending you. I do not, however, consider the word a slur (although I’m certainly willing to be proven wrong), and would appreciate some guidance from the mods. A friend of mine, who has a mentor that is trans, uses the word constantly. It’s not meant as a slur, I don’t think.

                                  If it IS a slur, ought we to shun TV Shows that use it?

                                  It’s not like it is “furfag” (I mean, that’s pretty clearly NOT kosher, right? I don’t even need to tell you what it’s referring to, to have you understand Not Okay, right?)

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                          • Yeah I agree, more of “Us” get wrecked by these behaviors than “them”. Which means if we succeed is making those behaviors universally not ok more of “Us” get spared than “them”. We win! And we remain the righteous which makes it more likely that we’ll continue to grow and gain allies while they’ll continue to dwindle and look pathetic.
                            But if instead we just descend to their level then it becomes a game of numbers- there’s more of those douches right now and descending to their level makes it more likely that there’ll always be more of those douches or worse yet there’ll be even greater numbers of them. So why do we want to descend to their level? We should fight them were we’re strong and they’re weak in a way that makes us stronger and them weaker. Do we need to become them to fight them? No.

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                                • How?

                                  By saying, “Stop doing that because it’s bad and not OK?”

                                  I don’t think I’m going too far out on a limb when I say I doubt a dude with a swastika in his avatar is likely to be convinced.

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                                  • The same we always have: by being right, by convincing the convincible that we are right and getting them on our side, by being righteous so the newcomers are overwhelmingly inclined to be on our side and by letting our enemies continue to be the douchebag aggressors who aren’t worth emulating so, as the current ones get bored or shuffle off this mortal coil, they aren’t replaced.
                                    We have come this far doing that. It boggles my imagination to see the far left saying “Okay we whupped the social cons, now we’re strong enough to adopt their manners, tone and behavior for ourselves!”

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                                    • And I’m shocked that people are arguing that being a neo-Nazi who harasses innocent people is morally equivalent to being gay.

                                      So there’s a whole lot of shocking going on I guess.

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                                      • How many Nazis do we have in the US? 300 or so?

                                        Whatever you want the rules to be set at in terms of what is acceptable, it’s going to affect a lot more gays than Nazis.

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                                        • I think your Fermi estimate is way too low, but it’s also largely beside the point because I don’t think such rules exist, and I am very skeptical that we can somehow create them. I think (almost surely inadvertently) provided the strongest argument for my case by listing a sampling of ideologues who will be sure to flout any such rules for reasons of their own.

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                            • This sounds a lot like don’t jail the kidnappers, because its stooping to their level.

                              Would you ever expect that to work? To rid the world of kidnappers?

                              Some evil needs to pushed back against, constantly. It is the type of evil that has always been and always will be. So Im certainly willing to hear arguments that in this or that particular context, its not a good idea. Or a general, its being used too much when it shouldn’t be. But I have a hard time with a nearly universal “its not a good idea”

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                              • switters,
                                I’m willing to doxx people if they’re committing crimes. Anything more than that is getting really really touchy in a hurry.

                                After all, it’s just words. And words can be faked.

                                Remember during gamergate when people showed that someone was claiming to have been doxxed when they were really doxxing themselves? Imagine if, because of that, someone ELSE lost their job?

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                              • Just so we’re clear here we’re talking about people who say things that are horrible and in some cases violate other people’s privacy. Included in their number are also people who say things that are problematic and also people who say things that are not problematic that people find offensive. The response we are talking about is forming an internet mob, getting riled up and wrecking their lives in any way possible. The assertion I am disagreeing with is that doing these things is righteous if done on behalf of oppressed minorities. I also disagree with the idea that doing so will improve the lot of oppressed minorities in the near or long term future.

                                Kidnapping is the, usually violent, act of physically abducting someone and depriving them of their freedom of movement. We as a collective society have deemed that unconscionable and have set up a system of law enforcement, justice and a penal system to prevent and punish such behavior if it occurs.

                                I think the difference between the two is rather clear.

                                Some evil does indeed need to be pushed back against. I disagree that turning into the same people that do this to us is a productive path. I don’t think it’ll prevent much pain and I don’t think it’ll advance our causes. I do not have an absolute abhorrence for it but I think the default assumption should be that this is generally a really bad idea and even in the scenarios where it turns out to be a productive thing to do it should be viewed as regrettable rather then worthy of celebration.

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                                • On behalf of oppressed minorities? I agree.

                                  I was focused on a situation where an individual member of that minority was sticking up for themselves, by outing the aggressor to their bookface friends, or their place of employment, family, etc., for behavior that reasonably made the victim feel preyed upon. So maybe we were talking past each other.

                                  But at that point, I’m not too concerned with whether society finds that unconscionable or not, or that they’ve failed to criminalize it. I’m cool with the victim responding to that threat. And I’m gonna give a lot of latitude when judging their response.

                                  But for just saying mean things on the internet? Probably not a properly calibrated response.

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                                  • We’re talking more specifically about liberals and leftists rather than society in general. Society in general ain’t my direct concern, but the tendency* towards illiberalism, witch hunting and the like within liberalism is a significant concern of mine.

                                    As for individuals getting agressed and outing their persecutors? Entirely not what I’m talking about. If someone’s screwing with you then I’d say you should have a lot of understanding for what you do in response. But there’s a lot of third party piling on that doesn’t have that defense.

                                    *Happily mostly confined (for now) to students, the academies, and the especially esoteric sections of the arts where such idiocy can flourish.

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                          • “Admit it: a lot of you all cared about “donglegate” guy because he looks like you. He could be you.”

                            The F I did. The guy’s a nerd, but I’m a cooler nerd since I’m less of a nerd. Yes, he could be me, but that’s not why I cared. I cared because some stupid comment (which I’ve been known to make) can result in my ass getting fired due to overly sensitive or agenda driving idiots and an all to willing business culture to cut it’s losses and fire me. Frankly the symmetry that the woman who reported this got shitcanned was satisfaction enough.

                            “There is this thing, where sometimes some creeper will start messaging a random woman with his hateful rape fantasies or whatever, with his “real name” FB account. Like really. There are people that dumb. So she then goes to his FB account, finds out who his friends and relatives are, and sends them screenshots” This I totally support.

                            I remember when “upskirt” pics were considered legal since it was in public and people had no expectation of privacy.

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  4. S1: They give some interesting reasons, like “bulk stores.” I briefly had a Sam’s Club membership (my dad paid for it – he had one. And we don’t have a Costco anywhere near). I told him not to renew it because buying in bulk makes no sense if you’re single and live in a small house – the only things I still buy in bulk are tp and paper towels, but even Target has big packs of those. And I only do that because it’s nice to be able to go a whole year before I have to buy tp again, and never having to worry, “I hope there’s another loo roll in the closet and I don’t have to run to the wal-mart today”

    The kids with “too many toys they never play with” – do their parents not do the “Okay, we’re gonna round up 10 things you’ve outgrown or don’t want any more and donate or throw them away”? That sort of thing seems really common among my friends who have kids – some go so far as to do pre-Christmas and pre-birthday toy purges, on the grounds that “you’re going to get new stuff.”

    (Though I should talk: I have about 30 1980s-era My Little Ponies lined up on top of my bookcases. But they do make me happy and I like having them.)

    I’ve also heard the argument that “decluttering is a mark of privilege” because people who have less don’t get rid of stuff because if your new shower curtain tears, and you don’t have money at the moment to buy a new one, it’s good to have the old one folded up somewhere. Though it seems like it’s “middle class” families (as claimed in the article) who are hoarding stuff. Maybe it’s indicative of the middle-class feeling more precarious than they once did?

    The biggest thing for me is books. I have to get better at purging books – there is no shortage of places that’s happy to take them around here (the librarian at the public library even said, “Oh, we’re gonna take some of these and put them in our circulating collection” when I took in a bunch of books for their used-book sale).

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    • As Bug ages, we go through his toys regularly and anything he hasn’t played with recently gets boxed up & put in the garage. If after 6 months he hasn’t asked about the toys in the garage (like, “where are my Lincoln Logs?”), it gets donated or tossed.

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    • I recently deacquisitioned multiple tubs of books on heraldry, this being my previous hobby that I clearly am not returning to. I still have contacts within the hobby. I probably could have come up with an inventory with prices and sold a bunch of them. Instead I passed them to a friend who is still active in the hobby to distribute where he thought they would be the most useful. I got some of the books from a previous hobby who did this, and it seemed like the best thing, in a ‘pass it forward’ sort of way. Also, it passed the hassle forward as well. I am going to use the freed-up shelf space to move my wife’s books from tubs in the basement to actual bookshelves. I don’t buy many paper books anymore, so I don’t anticipate this being a recurring problem.

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  5. Another random thought on S1: lots of people I know roll their eyes about “Depression babies” (people who grew up in the 1930s) and how they hung on to everything – my parents were born at the very tail-end but they do stuff like saving string “because we might need it.” Presumably that grew out of bad economic times (and perhaps, WWII era rationing). Couldn’t this hoarding be in part a response to all the bad economic news in recent years? I admit at times having wondered, “If things get much worse at my uni, how will I manage” and the temptation to “stock up now, because the future might be even leaner” hits….

    For that matter, lots of us in our 40s and 50s experienced not-great economic times in the 1970s. I remember a certain amount of “we can’t afford that right now” from my parents, and I KNOW I am much more prone to “buy ahead, because who knows what tomorrow may bring” than some of my younger peers. (E.g. I have to rotate canned goods v. carefully because I’ve had some on the shelf so long they went bad)

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    • Kinda depends on what is being saved. Necessities I can see, but how many extra lamps do you need? People often overestimate the utility of an item saved “just in case”*, especially if the item winds up buried & forgotten.

      *I’m not a saint here, my garage is full of extra hardware, because you never know. I have to make the effort to purge that stuff as well, which can be hard, since it’s small stuff. But it gets tossed in a bin, and lost & forgotten, and when I need it, the effort to remember & locate will eclipse the effort to go to the hardware store.

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      • A lot of the stuff I haven’t gone through and purged is “out of sight, out of mind” – extra nails and screws in the garage, for example. My bookshelves confront me daily so I think of “I really need to go through and get rid of the books I’ll never re-read, or the ones I bought that I won’t ever read.”

        I’m bad about paperwork. I never know how far back you can shred old tax returns, because someone once told me, “Well, the IRS can go back 7 years, but if they find something wrong in one of those, that resets the clock and they can go back 7 MORE years from the date of that return” Probably not likely, and I’ve never cheated on my taxes, but still…

        I suppose buying a scanner and saving them to an external hard drive would fix that but again, that would mean buying another THING.

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        • filly,
          Oh, my goodness gracious. Tax returns should be short, anyway, but please don’t be so scared of the IRS. Unless they really think you’re TRYING to cheat the system, they’re not going to assess much of a penalty (basically, just enough to keep you from playing stocks with the money and Coming Out Ahead when Caught).

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    • So my wife’s grandmother would have been a young adult in the depression era. Fast-forward to some time in the eighties my wife was picking through some of her stuff with her and came across a plastic bag full of those tear-off strips from the edges of fan-fold computer paper.

      “Grandma, what are you doing with these?”

      “Oh, you never know when you might need some holes!”

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      • I’m told when my great grandmother died they found huge stashes of canned goods and other supplies. We suspect it was because she lived through the German occupation of France and at times had to rely on black market goods for her and my grandmother.

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    • I didn’t get the feeling that the article was talking about hoarding, just buying unnecessary stuff and keeping it. It wasn’t like the families were inundated with pizza boxes and empty cans. They had too many toys for the kids, and maybe for the adults too.

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  6. S6: We managed to dodge the Barney bullet pretty nearly entirely. The appeal of Barney is to the toddler set, and it is very good at this. It makes no attempt, however, to also appeal to the parents, which is why it is unbearable to adults. Fortunately, the toddler set is still largely within the parents’ control, at least so far as viewing habits go, and there are other, less horrifying shows out there. PBS Kids is pretty uniformly terrific. Toddlers can handle Sesame Street just fine, and the parents can enjoy it too. For a little older, I was very impressed with Word World. My older daughter entered kindergarten already a proficient reader. I ascribe the combination of reading books to her giving her incentive to read, and Word World helping her decode the written word.

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    • Not to sound like I approve, but if someone is going to shoot people, I’d rather they target people who enjoy the protection power & privilege provide, instead of defenseless people.

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    • Part of me wants to call this just another mass shooting and move on because I just don’t have the stamina to freak out about mass shootings anymore, and part of me wants to be particularly disturbed because it’s political violence.

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        • I kinda said to myself, when it first came out in the news, “Do people want martial law? ‘Cos this is how we get martial law.”

          At this point it looks more like “random nutcase who made a horrible life choice” than something deeply calculated and part of a bigger plot, but still.

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        • More so than shooting kids? Or churchs?

          It doesn’t matter. It’s some ax to grind and often a mental illness, and some person or group he’s decided is to blame.

          Politicians, clerics, children, police — who doesn’t even matter. We’ve decided we’re not doing a damn thing about it (no resources for mental health screenings, mental health treatment, no attempts at any sort of gun control, nothing) so this is the America we choose.

          Everyone gets to roll the dice and see if a madman and his gun come knocking today.

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          • More so than shooting kids? Or churchs?

            Absolutely. Democratic governmental institutions are an essential buffer against political (and other) acts of violence. They not only represent, but actually are, the mechanism by which contentious disagreements are resolved without violence. Disregarding their legitimacy effectively equates to adopting violence as the operative mechanism to resolve social issues.

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            • I disagree. I think the idea of holding “shooting politicians” as the bridge too far, when we’ve already accepted a certain number of massacred school children a year, is very counter-productive.

              This is America, land of equality.

              I think the very last thing we need is to believe that politicians should be immune or above the problems facing the rest of us. They should suck it up and live with the risk like the rest of us. They’re the ones who chose this after all.

              So by all means, if we’re gonna sacrifice children on the altar of the 2nd Amendment, they should be joined with representatives of every other element of America. Black, white, politicians, doctors, engineers, plumbers….

              All are equal before the almighty gun. That’s practically history — Colt made us all equal, right?

              (Just to be clear — I am absolutely against violence. I just don’t see shooting politicians to be any more tragic than shooting kids, and that’s something we’ve accepted as a society. So yeah, we live in a society where there’s a gun massacre every day. Doesn’t matter who, it’s just gonna happen. Go Team USA).

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              • I feel like I’m entering bizarro-land. In response to my comment rejecting violence as an antidote to anger with our democratic institutions, you – a bleeding heart liberal – are justifying violence against elected politicians who support the second amendment. What the fuck?? We’ve officially entered whacko land, dude.

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                  • Before you add full weight to the pile on, are you sure you know, what you think you know, that Morat is advocating?

                    My take is he is advocating equality of outcomes more than violence is a good thing.

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                    • My take is he is advocating equality of outcomes more than violence is a good thing.

                      Yes, sorry.

                      I really didn’t think I’d have to emphasize that shooting people is a bad thing.. Rest assured, I am resolutely against people getting shot.

                      I am also resolutely against acting like a shot politician means more to society than a shot toddler, a shot police officer, or frankly a guy who got shot because he decided to eat at the wrong Denny’s that day.

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                      • How much you want to bet that the media and the politicians will disagree with you, and this story will be WAY more important than what happens to people in bad neighborhoods?

                        I mean, only the shooter died here, everyone else was just wounded, it wasn’t even mass murder (only attempted). Bet it gets treated like it though.

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                        • Why do you think I find the idea irksome enough to push back so hard?

                          At least they have excellent health care, armed security guards, and priority access to the best cops in the United States. Oh yeah, and they’re the ones who have decided that mass shootings are just like lightning strikes — tragedies to pray over, but no action possible.

                          c’est la vie, right?

                          A tragedy, we’ll fly some flags at half mast, and do nothing. Oh, maybe we’ll make a special gun-free zone around Congressmen. The only such exemption in the 2nd Amendment ever, I’m sure.

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                • Then you’ve utterly misread me.

                  I don’t think we should condemn shooting politicians with any more fervor than we condemn shooting children, police, or anyone else. That doesn’t mean it’s not to be condemned, it means that I don’t see any reason shot politicians should be somehow more special than shot children.

                  Mass shootings are a fact of daily life in America. This is the American we’ve chosen — and our politicians have, in fact, decided there is nothing they can do about it.

                  Fair enough. I’m just saying that if they feel there’s nothing to be done (and maybe there isn’t), then I don’t see why they should be on an pedestal, where their death is somehow deeper or more meaningful than a shot toddler.

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                  • …have we suffered from a lack of people condemning shooting children or police?

                    If anything, I’d say that we’ve got a difference of “kind” here.

                    Someone shoots a child, we know “this person is likely crazy”. Someone shoots a cop, we know “this person is likely a criminal”.

                    Someone shoots Archduke Ferdinand? We’re in a new conceptual space and people saying “I don’t see what the difference is between shooting children, cops, and Archdukes” is making a point about the worth of the individual in the eyes of God, I suppose, but, on a purely political level, the shooting of politicians is some “hey, let’s have a *WAR*” shit that a school shooting or police shooting does not indicate.

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                    • I was pointing out singling out politicians as special victims.

                      You don’t get more special than a dead kid. And frankly enough kids have been shot in the last decade to fill a large school. So saying shooting a politician is somehow worse is…

                      Dubious at best. Bluntly put, politicians were getting shot before shooting up schools was cool.

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                      • If all we’re talking about is whether we’re children of the Lord, I agree with you 100%.

                        Assuming a deity, we are all His (or Her, I suppose) children and He (or She) probably loves all of us with the infinite love of God.

                        I’m down with that interpretation.

                        But when I look at this sort of thing, I also see the whole “are there implications that follow from this sort of thing” and we’ve reached the point where people are engaging in 2nd Amendment Solutions to Ballot Box Problems and that tells me that that whole “Divorce or War” thing is closer today than it was yesterday and it was closer yesterday than it was the day before that.

                        But if we’re just talking about individuals, yes. God loves us.

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                        • and we’ve reached the point where people are engaging in 2nd Amendment Solutions to Ballot Box Problems and that tells me that that whole “Divorce or War” thing is closer today than it was yesterday and it was closer yesterday than it was the day before that.

                          Are we though?

                          I’m afraid I’m not seeing any new ground broken here. There have been numerous assassination attempts on US politicians throughout the years. How is this different than Giffords in 2011? Or Reagan in the 80s? Or JFK?

                          Or frankly any number of outright attempts, from mailing them bioweapons to bombs to plots that never got anywhere before the FBI or the Secret Service intervened?

                          Or let’s be honest — anti-government violence in general. Bombing IRS buildings, for instance.

                          Unless you actually think this is the first time any American has tried a 2nd Amendment solution to a ballot box problem, in which case I suggest a history class.

                          Nope. This is just the political class getting their mass shooting cherry popped. I’m surprised it happened after elementary school, really.

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                          • Good questions here:

                            I’m afraid I’m not seeing any new ground broken here. There have been numerous assassination attempts on US politicians throughout the years. How is this different than Giffords in 2011? Or Reagan in the 80s? Or JFK?

                            How is this different from Giffords?

                            For one, it’s not immediately obvious that this shooter is (redacted) insane. Here’s a story from NPR talking about Loughner.

                            As for Reagan, I understand that John Hinckley Jr. was also (redacted) insane. We even changed laws dealing with what the definition of “legally insane” means due to this guy. As far as I can tell, the shooter of the Congressman was not an attempt to gain the approval of a Hollywood starlet. (Or star, for that matter. Shouldn’t assume sexual preferences.)

                            As for JFK, there are a lot of things that we could talk about with regards to the motives of the mafia-affiliated gentlemen who shot JFK due to his cover-up of the Roswell UFO crash, but if we go back to assuming that Lee Harvey Oswald was not the patsy, I think there’s something about his affiliation with the Communist Party that has attracted theories about his motivations from time to time.

                            Or frankly any number of outright attempts, from mailing them bioweapons to bombs to plots that never got anywhere before the FBI or the Secret Service intervened?

                            I suppose it’s not particularly different from those examples.

                            Well, except that we’ve got a suicide shooter willing to shoot politicians to the point where he’s willing to kill himself so long as he takes some politicians out on the way.

                            That’s kind of a new development.

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                            • I take it all the guys involved in the militia movements were insane? The Bundy’s are insane? Trump’s insane, when he talked about “Second Amendment Solutions”?

                              Rand Paul’s is insane, when he tweeted ” Why do we have a Second Amendment? It’s not to shoot deer. It’s to shoot at the government when it becomes tyrannical!” last year?

                              I’m afraid you might be politicizing this tragedy. You’re taking Yet Another Mass Shooting and forcing it into the political framework the way you want. And hey, maybe you’re right — but I’m a bit skeptical about how “this time it’s different than all the other times” supported by the slender reed of “Guy we know nothing about is probably sane, unlike all the other similar examples”.

                              Because if this guy is insane, America is littered with insane people — including a Senator and the President himself, who flat-out stated that assassinating politicians was as American as it gets.

                              Meanwhile, I’ll just say….yet another mass shooting. We have one every other day or so. Who cares who the target was? It’s not like it matters. There’ll be a new target tomorrow….oh wait, I think there was another mass shooting today..

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                              • I take it all the guys involved in the militia movements were insane? The Bundy’s are insane? Trump’s insane, when he talked about “Second Amendment Solutions”?

                                Some of them, I presume, are nuts but I imagine that most are not. The Bundys? Probably not insane. Trump? Crazy like a fox!

                                Please keep in mind, my accusation against the guy who shot the congressman today is *NOT* that he is crazy and that is what makes him different from the other shooters that you asked me about. By name.

                                Rand Paul’s is insane, when he tweeted ” Why do we have a Second Amendment? It’s not to shoot deer. It’s to shoot at the government when it becomes tyrannical!” last year?

                                Nope. Not crazy.

                                Because if this guy is insane, America is littered with insane people — including a Senator and the President himself, who flat-out stated that assassinating politicians was as American as it gets.

                                Morat, I’m saying that he’s *NOT* crazy.

                                You asked me what the difference is between this guy and two crazy guys and a communist guy.

                                I said that this guy isn’t obviously crazy. I mean, he *MIGHT* be. Maybe. Stories are popping up about how he’s had a number of domestic incidents and that kind of indicates that he’s got a handful of issues.

                                Could be “toxic masculinity” trying to find an outlet in a society that doesn’t reward masculine support of someone like Bernie.

                                Meanwhile, I’ll just say….yet another mass shooting. We have one every other day or so. Who cares who the target was? It’s not like it matters. There’ll be a new target tomorrow….oh wait, I think there was another mass shooting today..

                                Because there is a difference between the set of “workplace violence” and “mental illness” and “domestic violence” and the set of “let’s get Civil War II rolling”.

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                            • From the limited amount I have found about the shooter he sounds like he plots in the high authoritarian left area. It is really rare for those guys to go lone wolf. It is even more rare for them to do so for politics. I don’t think this is any more than one of those rare events. If it happens again in a couple months we may have something else, maybe.

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                              • It is really rare that those guys to go lone wolf. It is even more rare for them to do so for politics. I don’t think this is any more than one of those rare events.

                                I hope you’re right.

                                It confirmed a handful of priors I have about the whole “war or divorce” thing that I think, though.

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                                • It confirmed a handful of priors I have about the whole “war or divorce” thing that I think, though.

                                  Which is a rather big sign you might be forcing your interpretation of events to fit your theory, rather than the other way around.

                                  As noted, you’re treating shooting a politician as some sort of Rubicon that’s never been crossed in America (“Second Amendment remedies to ballot box problems”) despite the rather lengthy and large groups dedicated to such (the militia movements, for instance) and the existence of sitting politicians advocating for such.

                                  In fact, the only real difference between this guy and the standard attempts on politicians is the left wing hasn’t been very violent since the 70s or so. Violent rhetoric and action has been more common on the right the last thirty or forty years.

                                  That puts an interesting spin on it. “There was still hope until the battered wife hit back” kind of vibe. Pretty sure you don’t mean that, but you might check your priors.

                                  It’s not the first time you’ve been “deeply concerned” when you see something pop up on the left that’s been common on the right.

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                                  • Which is a rather big sign you might be forcing your interpretation of events to fit your theory, rather than the other way around.

                                    There are ways to test this sort of thing though.

                                    Like to argue against someone who asks about the difference between this and Giffords and Reagan and Kennedy.

                                    For what it’s worth, it seems to me that there’s the most overlap between this and Kennedy.

                                    As noted, you’re treating shooting a politician as some sort of Rubicon that’s never been crossed in America (“Second Amendment remedies to ballot box problems”) despite the rather lengthy and large groups dedicated to such (the militia movements, for instance) and the existence of sitting politicians advocating for such.

                                    Please understand, I’m not treating this as if it were some Rubicon that has never been crossed.

                                    I believe that this is a Rubicon we’ve seen crossed a handful of times before.

                                    That’s why I see this as different from Giffords and Reagan and brought up Archduke Ferdinand.

                                    In fact, the only real difference between this guy and the standard attempts on politicians is the left wing hasn’t been very violent since the 70s or so. Violent rhetoric and action has been more common on the right the last thirty or forty years.

                                    Oh, is that the only point you wanted me to make?

                                    That both sides do it?

                                    Cheerfully conceded.

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                                    • For what it’s worth, it seems to me that there’s the most overlap between this and Kennedy.

                                      Why?

                                      That’s why I see this as different from Giffords and Reagan and brought up Archduke Ferdinand.

                                      How so? You left out the bits on “why”.

                                      Your only explanation is “I believe that this is a Rubicon we’ve seen crossed a handful of times before.” which does not explain why you see this as different, especially in the context of mass shootings in America.

                                      Why is this like Kennedy, but not like Giffords? Why is this like Ferdiand, but not Sandy Hook?

                                      I’m seeing lots of assertions, but no real reason to accept them. I get that you feel it’s different, but why?

                                      Oh, is that the only point you wanted me to make?

                                      Nope. I figured you knew that.

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                                      • Because, and I thought I said this above, the shooter of Giffords was (redacted) insane.

                                        The shooter of Reagan was (redacted) insane.

                                        The shooter of Kennedy, assuming it was Oswald, was not insane.

                                        This shooter does not strike me as obviously insane.

                                        This strikes me as an attempt at a political assassination. Similar to the guy who shot five cops in Dallas last year. A suicide shooter.

                                        I could see how Loughner and Hinckley were under the umbrella of “random violence” (or “random enough”).

                                        This was a deliberate political act. Performed by someone who was trying, deliberately, to assassinate political people and who didn’t care if he died so long as he did damage prior to his death.

                                        That’s what makes it different.

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                                        • But I pointed out that groups you classified as sane — including the President and a sitting Senator, classified political assassinations as the intent of the Second Amendment, which makes it really hard to believe this is some sudden watershed.

                                          I mean if the President and a Senator have both openly stated that assassinating politicians you disagree with is a totally valid and American thing, how is it some big departure that someone tried? (Big important thing here: Lots of people try. This guy came closer than many, but it’s not exactly like he’s alone).

                                          Not to mention the huge base you’re jumping –we know very little about the shooter, so calling him “sane” is…well, that’s bluntly an assumption. And when your key argument is predicated on an assumption, that’s yet another sign you’re twisting facts to fit your presuppositions.

                                          Seriously, what about his MO was any different than any other mass shooter? He picked a target, one he felt was responsible for his woes, and walked in with the intention of doing as much damage as possible before he died.

                                          Because it’s politicians, and not gays or schoolmates or Muslims or Christians or abortionists or coworkers?

                                          And the fact that he picked “politicians” does not make him unique. The goverment is a big target to folks like him — whether it’s in the form of IRS buildings or local police or politicians.

                                          Honestly, this read likes you want it to have some deep meaning. When it’s likely to be a pretty unstable guy with a gun, a grudge, and whatever target popped out of the roulette wheel of his mind. You know, the mass shooting/suicide thing that happens almost every day in America, on targets ranging from schools to nightclubs to workplaces?

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                                          • some sudden watershed

                                            It’s not some sudden watershed. It’s the next logical step in the evolution of where we’re going.

                                            how is it some big departure that someone tried?

                                            Big? Departure from what?

                                            I’m saying that this is a bad indicator but not that it’s some big departure. I’m saying it’s different from a crazy person shooting a congressperson.

                                            Not to mention the huge base you’re jumping –we know very little about the shooter, so calling him “sane” is…well, that’s bluntly an assumption. And when your key argument is predicated on an assumption, that’s yet another sign you’re twisting facts to fit your presuppositions.

                                            I’m more than open to hearing how the guy is crazy.

                                            But assuming that he must be because he did this begs the question. What’s your argument for why we should start from the assumption that he was crazy? Because he did something like this and only people who do things like this are necessarily crazy?

                                            Seriously, what about his MO was any different than any other mass shooter? He picked a target, one he felt was responsible for his woes, and walked in with the intention of doing as much damage as possible before he died.

                                            Is this an argument for how he must be crazy or making a case for how he isn’t?

                                            And the fact that he picked “politicians” does not make him unique. The goverment is a big target to folks like him — whether it’s in the form of IRS buildings or local police or politicians.

                                            I’m not saying he’s unique.

                                            Honestly, this read likes you want it to have some deep meaning. When it’s likely to be a pretty unstable guy with a gun, a grudge, and whatever target popped out of the roulette wheel of his mind. You know, the mass shooting/suicide thing that happens almost every day in America, on targets ranging from schools to nightclubs to workplaces?

                                            If it’s just another crazy person, great. Whew! We can say “both sides do it” and get back to arguing about the 2016 election.

                                            But deliberately shooting politicians as a political act is interesting above and beyond the shooting. As a shooting, it’s no different from, say, Tamir Rice getting shot. Hey, people get shot all the time. Have you heard about the shootings in Chicago and Baltimore? Tons of them.

                                            But as a political act?

                                            That’s a real interesting political act.

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                                • I suppose what you have to look for in the ‘messy divorce’ thing is for the anti-authoritarian left to start shooting. Not one at a time lone wolf, but in numbers.

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                              • “It is really rare for those guys to go lone wolf. ”

                                Citation needed.

                                It seems far more like this kind of thing is very lone wolf with, at most, being embedded in communities that love some righteous violence.

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            • Hey, I’ve accepted the reality. Mass shootings are as American as Apple Pie now.

              I just object strenuously to the idea that politicians should be exempt from the same dice roll as the rest of us.

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              • I just object strenuously to the idea that politicians should be exempt from the same dice roll as the rest of us.

                What the hell are you talking about? They’re not exempt from violence as events in DC this morning showed. You’re not making any sense.

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                • How many shots did the guy get off before the security detail was returning fire and putting him down? The very presence of such security details protect politicians from all but the most determined or delusional of violent offenders.

                  They may not be immune, but they are certainly far more actively insulated than the rest of us.

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                  • That’s for sure. Had this been any other game, there’d have been a lot more casualties. Even if half the crowd had been packing. (I have a low opinion of the trigger discipline and crisis decision making skills of the average CC holder, but then I’m in Texas where about the only qualification needed is a pulse.)

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                • I meant this:

                  but there’s something particularly insidious about shooting elected government officials for purely political reasons.

                  No there isn’t. No more than shooting children for fame. Or for no reason at all.

                  This is America. Mass shootings happen. I think it would be insidious if politicians were somehow the ones immune to catching a bullet for living here, or if we decided their shooting was somehow special in a way a room full of dead kids isn’t.

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                  • No there isn’t. No more than shooting children for fame. Or for no reason at all.

                    Yes, there is. And fundamentally so. But since you won’t concede the difference I won’t add more except to cosign what Jaybird wrote about it above.

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                    • Morat – for what its worth, I see as little in Still’s and Jaybird’s opinion to agree with as they see in yours. The idea NOW, we have to do something, because the politicians are at risk, is completely depraved to me. Or that NOW, we have a real sign that things have taken a turn for the worse, requires a type blindness to the past that I just can’t wrap my head around. .

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                      • Just for the record, that’s not my position at all. The view I expressed which started this subthread was that shooting elected politicians in an act of purely partisanly motivated political violence is more insidious than a mere random act of violence because the violence targets and is effectively an attack on democratic institutions of government. I haven’t seen any counter-argument to that view which holds up, other than bare assertion that it’s not. But that seems incorrect to me just as a matter of description: the attack was on the conservative office holder and only incidentally on the person who holds the office.

                        Also, I don’t think Jaybird is arguing that anyone needs to “do something” about this and in fact is arguing exactly the other direction: he’s arguing that this incident is a crossing of the Rubicon event signaling the inevitability of civil Divorce or War, and that nothing CAN be done. I don’t see it that way, myself. I also don’t see it as an event about which “something must be done”, either.

                        Normatively, tho, I concede that I’d like to see us, as a society, agree that shooting lots of innocent people without provocation counts as definitive evidence that a person is f***ing crazy in the head.

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                        • “I’d like to see us, as a society, agree that shooting lots of innocent people without provocation counts as definitive evidence that a person is f***ing crazy in the head.”

                          “Crazy” as something far from the mainstream yes. “Crazy” as mentally ill, not necessarily. I don’t think that Bernie bro was mentally ill.

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                          • I don’t think that Bernie bro was mentally ill.

                            Which gets back to my main point: seems to me anyone who opens fire on innocent people with intent to kill IS mentally ill. Ie., that the act itself is evidence of mental illness. And as I said up thread, I’d feel a lot better about our prospects going forward if we, as a society, held that view.

                            But obviously we don’t.

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                            • Yah, my point was I disagree. Your position doesn’t allow for anger, and that’s what the guy was experiencing. He was enraged that Trump won, his rep wan’t talking to him, or whatever. No way that even comes close to “mentally ill”. Poor impulse control and rage issues sure. But millions of people get pissed off and don’t decide to whack the politicians of the other side.

                              Frankly, I see a lot of “scariness” in labeling folks like this mentally ill”. That allows them to get out of responsibility for their actions.

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                              • He was enraged that Trump won, his rep wan’t talking to him, or whatever. No way that even comes close to “mentally ill”.

                                Being angry that Trump won isn’t a sign of mental illness. Shooting a bunch of innocent people because Trump won IS a sign of mental illness.

                                IMO anyway. And clearly so.

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                                • I don’t see anger or mental illness has to be part of it. A nation that is rule by law dictates freedom. The people who have a hand in creating the law or policy have a direct aggression against freedom of the individual. Politicians are a aggressor of sort when they work in the cogs of rule by law.

                                  Seeing politicians as agents against individual sovereignty is not irrational or outside of reason, I propose. Seeing a aggressor as non-innocent is also in need of semantic clarification.

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                            • Still:

                              The mental illness seen on a daily basis in (for example) Los Angeles County criminal courts is staggering. People range from floridly delusional to just plain mean.

                              I think that calling everyone who attacks an innocent person mentally ill isn’t helpful because it’s both over- and under- inclusive. There are very different kinds of mental illness out there, and most mentally ill people are not violent.

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                              • I get all that. What I’m saying is very limited and strikes me as so obvious as to be almost a truism, almost definitional of a social concept of mental illness: that the act of opening fire on innocent with intent to kill is evidence of mental illness. That a person who would do such a thing obviously has more than one screw loose. Call it a paradigmatic instance of being crazy in the head.

                                How courts, cops and psychiatrists define the term “being crazy” is tangential to how we as a society should view people who open fire on innocent people with intent to kill. Ie., that they’re crazy. That we don’t view them that way is what I’m objecting to.

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                                • “What I’m saying is very limited and strikes me as so obvious as to be almost a truism, almost definitional of a social concept of mental illness: that the act of opening fire on innocent with intent to kill is evidence of mental illness.”

                                  Most members of ISIS. Members of our own military who blow up wedding parties. Any bomber who did a bombing raid in WW2.

                                  Our society has massive carve outs for the military, presumably on both sides. Some gangs are ruthless enough to want the rep of being ruthless enough to open fire on innocents.

                                  Now take that a step further and assume you actually believe the country is in danger, just like various high level people have claimed at various times. Various Western govs (think of the Irish “troubles”) have had problems removing the gun from politics.

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                            • There’s a sliding scale of sanity.

                              It’s nuts to shoot the President to impress an actress you’ve never met, and if you’re that dysfunctional then you have lots of other problems. Political statements or suicide notes from people like that are incomprehensible and don’t spread.

                              But there’s a ton of rhetoric which people claim to believe, and even claim to build their lives on, but we expect them to live lives as though they don’t.

                              It’s less nuts to believe that rhetoric, and you can do so and be more functional. Add in anger, maybe from believing that rhetoric, and why shouldn’t you act on it? I don’t want to label everyone who claims to believe in ISIS, BLM, or God to be insane, so it’s weird that we might claim following through on the rhetoric would be nuts.

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                              • I don’t want to label everyone who claims to believe in ISIS, BLM, or God to be insane, so it’s weird that we might claim following through on the rhetoric would be nuts.

                                You may not want to but I can tell you’re feeling the pull.

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                                • Dark Matter: I don’t want to label everyone who claims to believe in ISIS, BLM, or God to be insane, so it’s weird that we might claim following through on the rhetoric would be nuts.

                                  Stillwater: You may not want to but I can tell you’re feeling the pull.

                                  What percentage of the population believes in God (or any of the other schools of magic including Marx)? 50%? 70%?

                                  I know very smart Engineers, Physicists, whatever who are included in that group. Worse, I think that this is an under count and whatever instincts are fueling this manifest in believe in other groups (Green, etc).

                                  If the logical+sane 1% needs to worry about the insane 99%, then to be sane is to be insane.

                                  And the weird part is almost every ideology has nasty holes in it somewhere. The Pro-Lifers, if they actually believe they’re in the middle of a nazi style genocide, should be killing the people committing it. If we have hundreds of for-real nazis then we should have lots of Roof style murders every year. If the Greens really believe the planet is in danger, then the rulebook should go out the window. If you believe the Bible is the literal word of god then slavery should be on the table, women’s rights should be off it, and it goes downhill from there.

                                  As a percentage ISIS is probably the worst offender, but these “I believe” style murders are really rare, especially compared to the numbers of people who think they’re believers. The nasty part is the “I believe” types can be really competent people who are only taking their belief system seriously… which is something in theory we’re OK with.

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                        • Hmmm. Im reading “more insidious” as causing greater harm. But harm to what. Could that be why were talking past each other? I mean, I can grant you that this shooting will be more insidious to DEM/RePub relationship and/or the state of partisanship country wide. But I’d also submit that children being shot indiscriminately and our failure to collectively respond in any meaningful way is much more insidious to our humanity.

                          And apologies for my gloss on your position. From the time I read your initial comment, then many response, and then my own, I’d lost focus on “insidious”.

                          And I’m too lazy to go back and reread all the comments to see if i did the same to Jaybird, but I’ll assume I did, as Im guessing he clued into “insidious” better than i did. Apologies if so JayBird

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                          • I think the issue is that political violence (including the kind sparked off by assassinations or assassination attempts) has a tendency to spiral out of control into series of responses and counter-responses that can even lead to civil war. Civil war is, really, just about the single worst cause of widespread humanitarian disasters out there.

                            Senseless atrocities don’t escalate the same way.

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                            • Has a tendency too? I wouldn’t put it like that.

                              Is more likely to? perhaps.

                              But, its also not that hard to argue that a society that lets kids get shot indiscriminately and continues to elect politicians who refuse to do a damn thing about it is proof we are already living in the humanitarian disaster you hope to avoid. Certainly for the friends and families of the fallen. I mean, you seem now to be comparing the potential for civil war with the pile of innocent kindergartners I see over there.

                              Bottom line for me is, I do not think we are any closer to a civil war now than we were monday? Not at all. Do you? And if you do, is your, or Still’s, or Jaybirds point that the Scalise shooting moved us closer to civil war than having to tell a bunch of parents of dead kindergartners that the government refuses to address their concerns in any meaningful way does? Valid opinion, and I disagree, but it sounds like either position is tough to back up in any meaningful way.

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                              • But, its also not that hard to argue that a society that lets kids get shot indiscriminately and continues to elect politicians who refuse to do a damn thing about it is proof we are already living in the humanitarian disaster you hope to avoid.

                                Depressingly enough, no. The humanitarian disaster I’d hope to avoid is Aleppo.

                                And if you do, is your, or Still’s, or Jaybirds point that the Scalise shooting moved us closer to civil war than having to tell a bunch of parents of dead kindergartners that the government refuses to address their concerns in any meaningful way does?

                                I think it’s the sort of thing that’s more likely to have that result. To the extent that this last shooting makes it more likely, it’s because it makes the risk of it happening again in the future just a tiny bit more.

                                I don’t see a mechanism for that sort of escalation with a mass school shooting. I can sort of see why it would be nice to believe there would be, and that such is the sort of thing we just can’t tolerate because it’s too awful to comprehend. But I think if anything it’s the other way around–the very incomprehensibility makes it that much easier to believe, or perhaps pretend, that the fact that it happens says nothing much about us or the society we live in.

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                              • …a society that lets kids get shot indiscriminately and continues to elect politicians who refuse to do a damn thing about it…

                                What is it that you suggest we do? BTW “collective” or “collectively” needs to be defined as “at best 80%” and not “100%”. With 100% you can just outlaw murder and call it a day.

                                Society once failed to get rid of alcohol. That’s something to consider before assuming unlimited power.

                                …you seem now to be comparing the potential for civil war with the pile of innocent kindergartners I see over there.

                                How many kindergartners are in that pile? Civil wars inflict death measured as a percentage of the population. A 2% civil war (like the last one) would be more than 6 million people, but we’re not an agrarian society any more so I doubt we’d get off that lightly (disrupt transportation and starvation is a problem for almost everyone).

                                Do the math on how evil those two are and “civil war” comes in at FAR worse.

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                          • It’s more insidious because it attacks the governmental structures by which peaceful resolution of political disagreements takes place. It constitutes a fundamental rejection of those process’s legitimacy and accepts the correlated elevation of violence as the operative mechanism to resolve social conflicts. That makes it different than a random act of violence (kids included).

                            You obviously disagree, of course, but the difference between killing kids and killing elected officials isn’t the innocence of the victims (in both cases the victims are innocent) but the acceptance that violence is a legitimate, or even preferred, tool to resolve political disputes.

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                            • “It’s more insidious because it attacks the governmental structures by which peaceful resolution of political disagreements takes place. It constitutes a fundamental rejection of those process’s legitimacy and accepts the correlated elevation of violence as the operative mechanism to resolve social conflicts.”

                              It does that on behalf of one person, though. The violent asshole who committed the act. Are our institutions that weak, that they can brought down by one lone nut? If so, did we ever have more than an illusion of a government structure to begin with? You really think this was a greater attack on governmental structures than the bundies not letting their cattle get rounded up by the feds? And our institutions standing idly by while children are gunned down and doing nothing. I supposed that is sign of their strength?

                              And who is accepting that violence is a legitimate, or even preferred, tool to resolve political disputes? Have I missed something. Are there people marching in support of the shooter?

                              BTW – headed away from computer for a bit….

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                              • I’m confused. My argument is that shooting innocent people is bad thing, no matter who gets killed, but that deliberately targeting politicians specifically as an act of political violence constitutes another bad thing, which makes what Hodgkinson did worse than (more insidious) than a random act of violence.

                                Your response was that our political institutions are strong enough to withstand such an attack. But by my lights you’re conceding that an attack on individuals in those institutions is categorically different than a random act of violence as well as that an attack on those institutions (via attacking the office holders as persons) is bad.

                                But that’s all I’m arguing here. (That the act of killing innocent people is a bad thing, and that targeting elected representatives of our government is a bad thing. Hence, that it’s more insidious than a random act of violence.)

                                Re: the Bundy thing: yeah, I think that constituted an attack on the legitimacy of government by violent means as well. And intentionally so. The Bundies were pretty clear about that themselves, so I don’t know why anyone would disagree.

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                                • Still, you appear to be weighting the agency of a politician or an agent of state to be different than a civilian.

                                  I mean in one way killing innocent people in and of itself is one thing. In the libertarian camp it is a pretty stong tenet to ‘not aggress against others’.

                                  I think what you are saying is because we have whatever social contract and that society is bound to not target the agents of state, because the agent of state is supposed to be the peaceful mechanism to resolve conflict.

                                  I can see someone wanting to elevate the weight of agency of a state agent above ‘regular’ people, but that becomes a problem in rule of law equality.

                                  How are you resolving the conflict created between rule by law and rule of law?

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                                  • Well, it only took us six months to go from “punch a Nazi in the face” to “assassinate a Congressman”. The line should have been drawn prior to punching a Nazi, but Democrat politicians cheered it on because it energized their supporters. They’re still going full-bore, pushing unhinged hatred and lunacy.

                                    Historically, targeting the other side’s leadership is how many wars start, because the leader represents the group as a whole, and so the group responds to the attack as a group.

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                                      • Pinky there is the non-authoritarian left, which should make up between 1/2 to 1/3 of the left population. It’s not a monolith no more than the right is a monolith.

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                                      • The Left has always been about violence. It’s not like they just discovered it six months ago. The whole concept of the Left is the use of force.

                                        Whew! I’m glad that’s settled. Now we can get back to talking about policy and stuff!

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                                            • Well, I’m being flippant, but if you go back to the French Revolution and the birth of the Left, and through the birth of communism, and the violence of the 1960’s to today, you’ll see a pattern. Particularly in America, the Right has been associated with small government (even if they don’t live up to the standard), and the Left is associated with amassing and centralizing power. And although Joe Sal overstates it a bit, government is collective action and relies on force. The Left, or socialism, or whatever you want to call it, has an appetite for violence.

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                                              • The right, going all the way back to the French Revolution, has been about small government? Seriously? The theocrats, the monarchists and the aristocrats are small government? That is a new one to me. Someone should let the libertarians know all their kvetching about losing the term “liberal” is pap.

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                                                • As I said, you see the distinction particularly strongly in America, where we don’t have a lot of theocrats, monarchists, or aristocrats. But you can see the consistency of the Left across the past 250-ish years.

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                                                  • If you’re restricting your conception of the right to a US context why not restrict your concept of the left accordingly?

                                                    Also, if you have an operational definition of the left as collective action to achieve X, why not adopt an operational definition of the right defined as collective action to prevent X? For example, like using the power of government (violently) to deny civil rights to non-white males?

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                                                    • Right. If we’re going to exclude monarchists from the right, fine! They were almost definitionally rendered irrelevant in US politics by the very founding of the US.

                                                      But if you do, you have to exclude Bolsheviks and Maoists from the left on the grounds that they were scarcely more important in the US than the monarchists were.

                                                      Given the ferocity with which state and non-state violence was used to defend white supremacy for at least the first ~180 years of our country’s history, and how enamored of white supremacy the right was throughout pretty much the entirety of that period… well, I think this contention doesn’t hold water.

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                                                      • The people supporting slavery were all Democrats. They eventually opened up their hearts and everybody’s wallets to get black votes, but they stayed Democrats. Racism was a leftist thought, putting people in groups and categorizing them. They still do that. All acts of racial genocide and advocacy for genocide have come from the left, because to even think about genocide you have to focus on grouping people instead of treating them as individuals, and as prospective customers or trading partners.

                                                        The relation between the right and nationalism, especially in Europe, is that they viewed their own country as a group that was potentially at war with other countries. But the left shared that view. The French revolution was both wildly left wing, and very, very nationalist.

                                                        The shift on the left came when Marx pushed the idea of wars between classes instead of countries, and the US left is no in a philosophical quandry because their decades long attempt to take over the elites, largely successful, conflicts with their belief in overthrowing the elites. Thus the Bernie/Hillary dust up.

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                                                    • I’m not trying to weave some great theorems here; I’m just describing reality as it’s played out. It’s not obvious to me why the Left falls into certain patterns, or why the French Revolution seems to be such a pivotal moment in history, but it’d be silly to pretend it’s not. As to Pillsy’s point, I can discount monarchists because they don’t have any predictive value in the US. (At least for now. We can watch what the alt-right turns into, and adjust our calculations accordingly.) Maoism does reflect an attitude toward uniformity that has been a staple of the American Left, and when you see college kids shouting down speakers in the name of free speech, it’s not hard to see the connection. As for the fight against racism, the Leftist impulse is not necessarily a bad thing. Some problems require collective force. But the Left just gets such a buzz off of it.

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                                                      • It’s a rather laughably skewed version of history. The non-US right is selectively edited out and all of the authoritarian, theocratic and aristocratic elements of the American right are likewise hand-waved away to try and scrunch the history of the right into this little small government box (a box their voters laughably don’t even accept as the past election blatantly demonstrated). Never mind that the original liberals were near identical to what we’d call libertarians now days. Never mind that the original right wing were quite literally water carriers for the privileges and centralized powers of the Monarchy and the Church. Never mind that the fusionism you’re trying to invoke wasn’t even invented by Buckley until the 1950’s. It’s nonsensical.
                                                        Absolutely the left will always live in the shadow of the guillotine and bears culpability for the horrors of communism and collectivism run amok. The right will always labor under the legacies of theocracy, authoritarianism and colonialism. That’s just history.

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                                                        • Except that the US right, which so reveres the Founding Fathers, reveres them as radical revolutionaries against the Tories and the Crown. We, the common people (No significant aristocrats were in the colonies), seized power and rejected the old British property system that could support an aristocracy.

                                                          See The Radicalism of the American Revolution

                                                          What most on the left don’t realize is that we’re living the dream. We didn’t seize the properties of the rich Americans because there wasn’t any of that here to seize. By standards of the British court, George Washington wasn’t rich enough to invite to a minor ball.

                                                          And what did the revolutionaries want? The right to be left alone to build farms and businesses, without having to pay constant bribes, taxes, fees, and legal fees, or go through tons of red tape at various ministries, while being regulated to death as they vainly try to get approval to do something.

                                                          What the US left wants to do is rebuild the court of Louis XIV, George III, or the king of Spain, so all those xenophobic bigoted deplorables have to get government approval for everything they do, on top of paying tons of fee, bribes, fines, and legal fees.

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                                      • …The whole concept of the Left is the use of force.

                                        This statement deserves expansion because most people aren’t going to understand why.

                                        Collectivist solutions normally require “something must be done” about the minority which disagrees.

                                        The power of the gov is the power of the force or the threat of force.

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                                      • I would say that politics is a replacement for violence.

                                        Europe went through a period where the people with money could afford the armor and horses, which peasant infantry couldn’t well counter, and thus the rich could do their will regardless of popular opinion, and their will was to claim more stuff for themselves.

                                        But the Swiss switched to massed pike tactics, where the only thing that matters is numbers, so whoever could field the most pikes would win any argument that devolved to the use of arms. So they went with a simple head count to decide issues, avoiding the need to fight battles whose outcome was predetermined, and thus they got democracy. The musket replaced the pike, but the same math applied, so we stuck with it.

                                        Going back to the original concept, the left should do a simple count of arms on hand, map positions, and guess how a civil war would end for them. I’m sure they’ll find they like the existing ballot system way better than the alternative.

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                                        • That’s part of the problem, often they have over 51% of the voting population. Voting population means nothing in terms of abilities to wage war or even civil war.

                                          It is also a poor indication of what people will tolerate as rule of law. They can by method and policy, lead people into a shooting war with rule by law, rationally to all parties involved.

                                          The comical part of it is, the rule by law folks always end up asking the question: “why are these people mad and shooting at us”.

                                          It is always going to be this. The two freedoms, and pistols at dawn.

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                            • Right. This all depends on what the extremists on each side take this event to mean. If they all take it as as senseless act by a crazy person, that’s good news. If they take it as the next step in escalating an ongoing battle between them, that’s not so good. That’s how we turn violence into a normal political tool.

                              Most people are obviously taking this the right way, and I don’t see a lot of evidence that it’s going off the rails. Hopefully that’s not just because we haven’t had enough of these yet.

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    • Can we have a big thing about how the left needs to take responsibility for its violent, hateful rhetoric? Preferably we should do it before any investigation is done into the shooter’s background, in case he turns out to be literally insane and motivated by apolitical paranoia like the guy who shot Gabby Giffords.

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      • Brandon,
        Sure, if you can point to some clear examples.
        As the left turns ever more parochial, it does not turn violent so much as segregationist.
        You can be sure the KKK cheers.

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      • The shooter was most likely mentally ill but if you want to go after the over the top rhetoric of the Left that is fine. It actually might be best if everybody chilled their over the top screaming though. I doubt people really want to hear that message.

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