52 Albums, Week 33: The Harrow and The Harvest (Gillian Welch)
52 Albums, Week 34: Tranceport (Paul Okenfold)

Sunday Night Journal, August 20, 2017

After the disturbance and the murder in Charlottesville, I saw more than one demand that anyone who considers himself a conservative or in any way on the political right make a public denunciation of the Klan, the Nazis, and all others of their ilk. I have not done this, although I do detest their views and was shocked by the murder. There is something in me that resists making such public announcements, and I've been asking myself what it is. It would cost me nothing, really, so why not do it?I think my reluctance has two components.

The first, and strongest, is that it is a bullying accusation, saying, in effect, "You resemble certain people whom I consider to be monsters, and so I suspect that you may be a monster, too. I'm generously giving you an opportunity to prove to me that you are not." (Not very generously at all, actually, because the demand tends to come from those who already consider conservatism to be next door to fascism. I know someone who seems to believe very sincerely that the Republican Party is the political arm of the Ku Klux Klan.) The demand for a public statement of correct opinion is not made of those who are not already suspect. It's a variant on the ancient rhetorical trap of the loaded question: when did you stop beating your wife? Most people who recognize the game refuse to play it. I do.

Not very long ago at all a progressive activist took a rifle and a pistol and plenty of ammunition to a softball field where a group of Republicans were practicing for a game. It seems that he would have killed them all if he had not been himself killed by police. As it was, he only managed to injure gravely one congressman, and give a police woman, Crystal Granger, an ankle wound. It didn't occur to me to demand that my friends or anyone else on the left prove their good faith by formally denouncing the shooting. I assumed that at the very least they did not approve of it, even though this fellow apparently is generally of the same mind as they on politics, which is not the case with me and the Charlottesville demonstrators. Probably I could with a few minutes' searching turn up some leftists who did approve, but I would not take those as evidence that all did.

I expect the same courtesy to be extended to me. And if that's naive, there's not much point in my trying to demonstrate my good faith; it's already presumed bad, and the burden on me to prove otherwise, and what argument will succeed in that? I deny that my political views bear any resemblance at all to those of Nazis and Klansmen, and do not deign even to argue the point because arguing with a loaded question is a losing game, and meant to be.

But there's another and more fundamental reason that I tend not to make public statements of grief or outrage about events like the Charlotte mess. This is mainly a matter of personal temperament, but I generally find such statements a little unconvincing when made by other people, and in making one would feel whatever I said to be unconvincing. The reason is that any words I might come up with would be so vastly inadequate to the thing. What, for instance, can I say to what happened a few days ago in Barcelona, which as of right now has killed fourteen times as many people as the Charlottesville attack? To write a few words expressing shock and horror, perhaps to add, on Facebook, a few emojis signifying weeping and/or prayers, would feel absurd, almost offensive in its triviality as compared to the horror. 

I don't mean to mock or belittle anyone who is in the habit of making such statements. If you do, I assume that you are expressing what you actually feel, and that you are not merely engaging in pro forma gestures. But it feels that way to me when I do it. And so I generally don't. If that makes me seem indifferent or callous, I regret it, but don't intend to do differently. Person to person, in the face of someone's grief, I'll say words that I know are inadequate, because I know that as a rule in those situations any gesture of sympathy is worth something; it is truly the gesture that matters. But publicly, in a matter that has nothing directly to do with me, and addressed to the world at large rather than to those who are actually suffering, it feels insincere. It feels like cant. 

Samuel Johnson's "Clear your mind of cant" was said in a somewhat different context, but it's relevant:

BOSWELL: “Perhaps, sir, I should be the less happy for being in Parliament. I never would sell my vote, and I should be vexed if things went wrong.”—JOHNSON: “That’s cant, sir. It would not vex you more in the House than in the gallery: public affairs vex no man.”—BOSWELL: “Have not they vexed yourself a little, sir? Have not you been vexed by all the turbulence of this reign, and by that absurd vote of the House of Commons, ‘That the influence of the Crown has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished’?”—JOHNSON: “Sir, I have never slept an hour less, nor ate an ounce less meat. I would have knocked the factious dog on the head, to be sure; but I was not vexed.”—BOSWELL: “Sir, upon my honour, I did imagine I was vexed, and took a pride in it; but it was, perhaps, cant; for I own I neither ate less, nor slept less.”—JOHNSON: “My dear friend, clear your mind of cant. You may talk as other people do: you may say to a man, ‘Sir, I am your most humble servant.’ You are not his most humble servant. You may say, ‘These are bad times; it is a melancholy thing to be reserved to such times.’ You don’t mind the times. You tell a man, ‘I am sorry you had such bad weather the last day of your journey, and were so much wet.’ You don’t care sixpence whether he is wet or dry. You may talk in this manner; it is a mode of talking in society: but don’t think foolishly.”

 (I copied and pasted that directly from Bartleby.com.) As often with Johnson, you have to remember that he delighted in verbal combat, and not take everything he says as the last word on the subject. I believe we all these days sometimes experience real anxiety caused by the times, and may in fact sleep less, or eat less. But for the most part it is our private joys and sorrows that really affect us, for better and for worse. As Johnson also said:

How small, of all that human hearts endure,
That part which laws or kings can cause or cure.


In Barcelona, a heartening rejection of Islamophobia : that's a Washington Post headline. It's a pretty disheartening contrast to the wild cries of "This is Trump's America!" that have been the progressive reaction to Charlottesville. Guilt by association is forbidden where Islam is concerned, but required toward Trump-supporting Americans.


Something else that I've seen more than once since the election: anti-Trumpers declaring their intention to cut Trump supporters entirely out of their lives. This really rather shocks me. Political differences, and even more so religious differences, can certainly, and in fact have, come between me and people I know, to the point that we don't much enjoy each other's company, and so have little to do with each other. But it's certainly not, on my side and I hope not on theirs, a deliberate act of rejection or excommunication, just a sad consequence of having too little in common to sustain the relationship. But to those for whom politics has taken the place of religion, Trump is a blasphemy, a sacrilege, the abomination of desolation standing where it ought not. I suppose the effect is especially brutal since he succeeds a man who was a sort of saint to them, the philosopher-king Barack the Good. 

I was at a gathering of my wife's family on Friday night. There were twenty or thirty people there, and I never heard a single word about politics. I know there was at least one avid Trump supporter there, and at least a couple who oppose him, though maybe not passionately. I think this is more typical of Americans as a whole than the obsession with politics that results in the sort of animosity I described.


Yesterday afternoon I was browsing the news and, naturally, found myself thinking "How can people be so stupid?" Then I went outside and mowed the lawn in flip-flops.


I don't understand the coloring of this picture. It's the late afternoon sun a few weeks ago, but where are the colors? It does have some hints of color, so I didn't just change it to black-and-white. I use the now-obsolete photo editing tool Picasa to fiddle around with pictures, but it saves a history all modifications, and there's no record of any change to this one. Some quirk of the no doubt overwhelmed iPhone camera, I guess.




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I wish all of the NRA members would stop these people before they do harm, whether it be in Charlottesville, or outside D.C. where the senators were getting ready for their softball game. Give those open-carry morons in Texas something positive to do besides walk in restaurants with their weapons and antagonize people.

Sorry, my comment is inappropriate as usual. I think about things that are wrong in this country and guns always comes to mind immediately, I suppose your mention of the congressional softball game turned it on in my head. I'm so tired of seeing in the news that some idiot is shooting anyone. That doesn't really address the Charlottesville unhappiness at all. I guess I just watch the news and think, "what is wrong with all of these people?" Whether they are marching for racism, shooting at people, or just making dumb comments defending the indefensible.

Or posting sad emojis to address tragedies.

I am not a lawyer obviously, but I would think it would be well within the rights of a city government to forbid the carrying of guns in a political demonstration as a condition of granting the permit. I can't see how that could possibly be considered an infringement of 2nd amendment rights, although the fanatics would probably consider it to be. I'm really glad none of those in Charlottesville actually used their guns.

I dont agree with your first point. I could not care less if leftists or liberals are urging me to disavow. One dusavows simply because Nazism is a vile ideology and kne that is often confused ir conflated with consrrvatism. To me thats 101, basic common sense.

Isnt it weird that Trump cant disavow these people? If it is then disavowing is a no brainer in my opinion.

It's not the disavowing in itself. You'll notice that I did do it in the first paragraph. It's the implication that I'm obliged to prove I'm not a white supremacist or whatever. I admit it's somewhat contrariness on my part but it's mainly the everlasting presumption that the burden is on conservatives to prove they aren't racist etc. No matter what you say you'll be convicted

Trump did disavow them, in his typically very clumsy way, or at least not defend them, as he's being accused of doing. Not that I think he handled it well, because he didn't.

"I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists, because they should be condemned totally."


For what it is worth I have many friends who voted for the Beast. I have never unfriended them or blocked them on Facebook. However many have blocked or unfriended me because I assume of my criticism of Trump.

Good for you (no irony). As far as I know have only been unfriended by two people on Facebook, and I think, though I don't know, it was politics in both cases--one a Trump fanatic, one a Trump hater.

I assumed it was politics because we had not exchanged any harsh words, but in the one case it was right after I'd posted something saying Trump was an idiot, and the other after I'd posted something saying he wasn't a Nazi.

Trump likes to handle things his own way, which seems to be to intentionally and agressively act hostile towards the decorum expected of his office. But that's fine, because unless the Dems run Hillary again I think he will only be a one-termer if he can last that long. The man is a moron.

I had a post here back during the campaign called something like "Donald Trump Is Not Right in the Head." I haven't seen any reason to change my mind.

The big difference between me and the intense anti-Trumpers, I guess, is that I have a lot of sympathy for Trump supporters and most of them are unfairly maligned. Some fairly, though, alas.

For instance, his daughter and son-in-law are Jewish (along with any children they have), so you think he might be interested in clearing up the misconception that he is on the side of the neo-Nazis. Not too much really...let it ride, anything the press says is fake news!

I have no clue what goes on in his head, except that he obviously has a huge ego. Maybe he doesn't take the Nazi thing very seriously. I don't, in the sense of thinking that it is a serious danger. That could change.

Isn't the main reason Trump's been pushed to disavow the Nazi types the fact that his campaign for the nomination was connected with Bannon's Breitbart.com? And also because he played dumb back then about even knowing who David Duke was.

Yes, I think that's the main reason. I actually have never read Breitbart very much, for the simple reason that it's so loaded with ads and other junk that it tends to hang up my browser and just generally be a pain. So I'm kind of ignorant of whether the neo-Nazi etc. charges against it are justified.

Some instances of the sort of thing that leads me to refuse to play the game:



Mac I dont think Trump really disavowed, given that he fudged it a day later. He felt compelled to claim there were fine people marching amongst the Nazi flags. Thats not disavowal.

I haven't read everything he said, so I'm willing to be corrected. But in the statement that Neo-neocon quotes, he distinguishes people who were simply there to protest the removal of the statue from the Klan/Nazi types. (N-ncon is another anti-Trump conservative.) Maybe he's factually wrong about the existence of the former (I don't know), but it plainly denounces the latter. Of course you could argue that anybody who participated in the same rally as the creeps is de facto also a creep. Still, at least in that statement, there's no sympathy for the Nazis. Like I said, I certainly don't think he handled it well, but I haven't seen the Nazi-sympathizing that he's been charged with.

I think Mitt Romney has it right: "Whether he intended to or not, what he communicated caused racists to rejoice, minorities to weep, and the vast heart of America to mourn."

It is the unwillingness on his part to ever admit any fault that is the problem. Most people would have had a follow-up statement after all of the upset, "let me be clear, I do not support neo-Nazis or the KKK". Instead, his follow-up seemed to disavow the idea that he might condemn them.

Perhaps they were not intended to, but the posts so far on Trump prove Maclin's point. Even Maclin's tepid defense of Trump proves his point.

Frankly, I was pleased that Trump didn't come out with the typical attack the one side while giving a pass to the other. Far from being stupid as he has been said to be here, Trump has proved far better at being able to make simple distinction than virtually every member of the press and political establishment. And has done better than the posts here.

I appreciate Trump's decency to recognize that there were people there with a good reason to protest the removal of the statue as compared to the typical smears.

I thought the follow-up was the thing that I quoted above. If so that does condemn them. But I think your first sentence is correct.

Re Romney's statement: I think his first two points are clearly true, but not necessarily his third. I guess that was in reference to his first "violence on both sides" statement? A whole lot of people just shrugged. A whole lot are so locked into the tribal responses that they tended to fall into a similar rhetoric. I can't say I "mourned." I just thought, "well, that was a pretty poor response" and didn't think a whole lot more about it.

Oops I was replying to Stu. And Marianne.

Ltg: "I appreciate Trump's decency to recognize that there were people there with a good reason to protest..."

My question is whether that was actually the case or not. Was it a Klan-Nazi show from the beginning, or a more conventional demonstration that was hijacked? In any case the fact that one side killed somebody and the other did not makes the "both sides did it" tack look very wrong-headed.

Regarding Trump's statements, I have to say that it feels a bit silly to be analyzing them as if they had been carefully crafted.

Regarding Romney and other Republicans: if Romney had been elected, he would still have been Nazi-racist-homophobe-etc. And if something like this had happened while he was in office the same basic "This is Romney's America" sort of rhetoric would have been flying around. It really is a fool's game to try to defend oneself against that stuff, which is the exasperation that partially prompted this post in the first place. Which doesn't mean that one shouldn't, if one feels drawn to do so, denounce the Nazis and the Klan. But if you're on the political right it won't affect the public image of your cause or yourself.

And now I have to get to work.

More reasons not to play the game:

"It is easy to denounce Nazis. Republican lawmakers, if you truly repudiate this march and this violence, then repudiate voter-ID laws. Repudiate gerrymandering. Repudiate police brutality. Repudiate mass incarceration and private prisons. Repudiate the war on drugs. Repudiate the fact that black Americans have still not been compensated for the unpaid forced labor that was foundational to white financial stability. Repudiate gun control obstructionism. Repudiate the Muslim ban. Repudiate the wall. Repudiate anti-abortion legislation. Repudiate abstinence-only education. Repudiate environmental deregulation. Repudiate birtherism. Repudiate homophobia and transphobia. Repudiate your own health care bill, which would have led to the deaths of thousands more people than a Dodge Challenger driven into a crowd. Repudiate your president."


So do you agree with this writer, or not? I pretty much agree with all of that, and also like Trump's body described as "his meaty torso"!

One of my Missouri relations used to tell us all to "repudiate" this or that (more in a Biblical sense than political). One day my stepfather (this was his sister) said, "Why don't you repudiate your smoking?" and she apparently became very unhappy at the suggestion. Sadly, I was not there to witness it.

One is one side that killed someone, or one person. I hesitate to blame all of one group for one person killing someone. Someone this weekend condemned the pro-life movement because they shoot abortionists. Same thing.


Darn it. That is supposed to begin with, Is it one side . . . ?


I had a conversation on Facebook a few weeks ago that was so "interesting" that I captured a screen shot of it, thinking I might use it in a post here. Probably won't, but it was a good example of the group condemnation. Someone posted a link to a piece by Damon Linker that counseled Democrats not to paint all Trump supporters as bigots, or something to that effect. I chimed in with my fairly usual "that's a form of bigotry too" remark. Someone replied that the argument didn't apply to Stalinists. And as an example of Stalinists he gave the people who support the repeal of Obamacare, which, he said, amounts to supporting mass murder.

The person who said that is a Catholic of some small fame in certain circles. Some of you would recognize his name. He's not even a usual Democrat, but one of those Catholic Social Teaching advocates who seem to dislike Democrats but really hate Republicans. Anyway, another instance of "what's the point in even talking?"

Stu, I first laughed at your question (do I agree?), but actually, in a sense, I do. She says that nothing short of embracing 100% of the progressive agenda can absolve Republicans of the Nazi taint, and she's right about that. Again, what's the point of even talking?

One can, perhaps, still dialog with individuals, though I can think of several people I know with whom it's probably impossible. But public dialog seems pretty much dead.

Repudiate your poor attitude, Mac! :)

Repudiate your eating at Chic'Fil'A, Repudiate your consumption of non fair-trade coffee. Repudiate your somewhat lackadaisical attitude towards recycling.


Or more succinctly, convert or die. Politically speaking.

I think I've quoted this before, but it's funny: "If you were *really* pro-life, you'd use low-flow showerheads."

With respect to repudiating stuff, let's pause for a moment of appreciation for Sarah Palin's coining of "refudiate." I love that word.

I thought it sounded funny - REBUKE is the word I was looking for that my aunt would say.

Free Speech and Firearms in Commonweal:


I pretty much agree with that. Aren't there laws against "menacing"? Those guys were surely doing that.

No fine person would march alongside people carrying Swastica flags shouting 'the Jews will not replace us.' Theres an interesting interview with the Unite the Right group, carried out in Cville that weekend. None of them mentioned the statues once. The statues were an empty pretext for a Unite the Right rally. Any Confederate supporter who found himself in their lines was not just not a fine petson, hes a person lacking any brain whatsoever

Just show me where anyone mentions the statues. Explain to me how fine people could be walking with these people


Yes, that's certainly a fair point. Like I said, I don't know whether Trump's assertion about these non-Nazis-etc is factually accurate. I don't actually know much about the rally itself, to tell you the truth. But even if his "fine people" are completely fictitious, he was clear that he was excluding "the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists" from "fine people." The bigger problem I think was that he said that in his second (?--not first anyway) remarks, and he should have made it clear from the start.

Richard Spencer on Twitter

Trump has never denounced the Alt-Right. Nor will he.


Oops, cross-posted--I was replying to your first (10:45) comment only. Again, I'm not saying that Trump was right about the allegedly fine people (too late for me to read your link now, will read it tomorrow), only that he did say the Nazis-etc should be "totally condemned." So if "alt-right" = "neo-Nazis and white nationalists," Spencer is wrong.

"Trump has never denounced the Alt-Right. Nor will he."

The alt-right isn't monolithic, although it has grown to be more so than it originally was. At some point several years ago I considered my self to be somewhat alt-right, because I was neither a neocon nor a paleocon, and was unable to be otherwise pigeonholed. This was well before the term took on its current negative connotations.

"No fine person would march alongside people carrying Swastica flags shouting 'the Jews will not replace us.'"

True, and I would argue from the other side that no fine person would join in a march on Washington alongside people notably pro-perversion and pro-abortion.

What bothers me is the religious conservatives of the never-Trump persuasion who seem to be far more bothered by 500 racist meatheads in Virginia than they were by the 1.5 million perverts and pro-aborts who descended on the nation's capital back in January.

Not that anyone here fits that bill, mind you, but the outrage among some seems disproportionate, and is being channeled into anti-Trump rhetoric that I never heard among the same people when it came to Obama and his many egregious errors. As I said to a few friends who fall into this category of the never-Trump Catholic conservative, they've complained more about Trump in the last eight months than they complained about Obama in his entire eight years.

"they've complained more about Trump in the last eight months than they complained about Obama in his entire eight years."

Don't you think a lot of that is deportment, so to speak? However you may have disagreed with his policy, Obama carried himself in a respectful manner. A huge (yoooge) amount of my issue with Trump goes beyond politics.

"A huge (yoooge) amount of my issue with Trump goes beyond politics."

Me, too.

I wouldn't really care that much about his "deportment" (haven't heard that word for a long time! it's a good one) if he seemed to have some kind of solid good sense. I see mainly a gigantic and somewhat fragile ego. Narcissist is the word I guess. Which is kind of funny because I thought Obama was pretty narcissitic, too, just in a very different way.

I consider the liberal fainting over the famous "grab" remark to be fairly ridiculous in light of the way they defended Bill Clinton for far worse behavior.

Clinton was already president. Trump was elected president on the "grab" ticket.

re: the deportment thing. That's part of it, but not a major piece. The people I'm describing really believe that Trump is some sort of fascist to a degree that Obama's cultural leftism seems to pale in comparison. And these are socially conservative Catholics, for the most part.

~~I consider the liberal fainting over the famous "grab" remark to be fairly ridiculous in light of the way they defended Bill Clinton for far worse behavior.~~

Mac, you forget. The Clinton thing was CONSENSUAL!

Rawls covers a multitude of sins.

What-about-ism does not do it for me. Its quite simple: two wrongs do not make a right.

What is in question is the future of conservativism. Is it going to be Trumpian or not. Under Obama, there was little a conservative could say that made any difference. Under Trump the future of conservativism is at stake. Is it going to be alt-right/neo-nazi, paleocon, economic nationalism? Then it won't be conservativism as I recognize the term. Prolifers won't like what conservativism becomes if Trumpianism becomes equivalent to 'conservatism' in America.

Replying to Rob: "...the never-Trump Catholic conservative, they've complained more about Trump in the last eight months than they complained about Obama in his entire eight years."

I haven't seen much of that. Are you thinking of public voices or people you know personally? Most Catholic conservatives I can think of were pretty vocal about Obama. The first person I thought of when I read that was David French of National Review, who is Protestant, but who has been about as passionately never-Trump as anybody and was also very vocal about Obama. His never-Trumpism got him and his wife targeted by some alt-righters with the most vile abuse you can imagine. Actually I find that more disturbing and scary than the "500 meatheads".

More or less reflexive denunciations aside, at the moment I'm not sure how much significance to ascribe to the meatheads. I don't know to what extent they are really a growing and threatening phenomenon vs. the sort of clownish posers who have been around for a long time but never very numerous. I see the combat between them and the antifa guys as more disturbing than either alone--that's what really seems reminiscent of 1920s Germany to me--thugs beating each other in the street as representative of a society being ripped asunder.

"...the outrage among some seems disproportionate..." Yes, that's the basis of the gripe with which I started this post, and which brings out the stubborness in me. I want to say "Yes, the 500 meatheads are appalling. I hereby denounce them. Are you willing to denounce the Women's March's praise of a murderous would-be revolutionary?"


Wow, never even heard of that person, Mac. You all are way more "dialed-in" than I am, I fear. Nor have I heard of David French, but that is not a surprise and I certainly feel for he and his family.

"What is in question is the future of conservativism"

I plan to say something about that in the next SNJ.

Agreed, certainly, that two wrongs do not make a right. I'm certainly not excusing the Nazis. But I don't think it's "whataboutism" to note and be very frustrated by the one-sidedness of the pundit-class outrage. Goose and gander, gnats and camels, etc.

I pretty much think that the advent of the internet is a really bad thing, not to mention where cell phones have gone with becoming small conduits to the web. I spend a certain amount of time wishing my life had nothing to do with computers, the internet, cell phones, and most especially passwords. I have been off Facebook for a while now, and I don't even feel a mild tug in that direction to go back.

At this moment I have to stop participating in this particular bit of internetery and do some work. :-)

Grumpy, is it ok if I use some or all of your "future of conservatism" remark in the next SNJ? It's a good jumping-off point.

Oh, one more thing before I go: about Clinton, I wasn't thinking of the consensual stuff (Monica Lewinsky). I was thinking of the very credible allegations of decidedly non-consensual assault--actual actions vs Trump's bragging.

"I haven't seen much of that. Are you thinking of public voices or people you know personally?"

Both, actually. But maybe it just seems like a larger circle because of the personal connection, as a few of the people I know personally also have an online presence

Yes, heaven forbid that American conservatism becomes "Trumpian." That's one of the reasons I couldn't bring myself to vote for him -- he wasn't conservative in any true sense.

Patrick Deneen's my go-to when discussions come up about the future of conservatism. His recent book of essays Conserving America? is outstanding.

And I'm with Grumpy on the continuing subject of Cville.

Nazis and KKK members are about racism and wanting our society to be white.

The "pro perversion and pro abortion" group mentioned above are about their own rights.

I do realize this brings up the "rights of the fetus" subject in the case of "pro abortion".

~~The "pro perversion and pro abortion" group mentioned above are about their own rights.~~

The left's continual claiming of an ever-increasing list of rights infringes on the conservatives' right to object and to make those objections known politically, to express dissatisfaction with our tax money being used to support and propagate those rights, etc.

I.e., that long list of repudiations posted above involves a considerable number of rights needing to be given up by conservatives. Or do the rights of those on the right not matter? You're getting into Marcuse "repressive tolerance" territory there.

Those are of course valid point, Rob. I'm only stating that Nazis kill Jews (and others), and the KKK kills blacks (and probably others). Joining one of those groups, marching with them, seems to show support for their cause. That cause, the killing of people due to their ethnicity, seems to be a little harsher than the other side.

The "who's worse" argument is pretty sterile in the end. I will say that only twice (at least since the end of the '60s) have I personally encountered people who openly and with relish advocated killing their political enemies, specifically because they were political enemies, and they were both on the left. I'll maybe give some details later today.

Yes, my point wasn't so much "who's worse" as it was that to my mind the cultural left poses just as much of a threat to the polis as do those in the alt-right, even if the threat is perceived to be of a different type.

What is funny about this conversation is that we don't have to wait for it to devolve into "What about the Nazis?"

Yes, like those lines from The Detectorists where Lance says that something or other is the Holy Grail of detectoring, and Andy responds "No, the Holy Grail is the Holy Grail of detectoring."

I can't figure out what the word "conservative" means or what use it has in political discourse. It is kind of like the word "liberal." There are many positions on many issues. Some people cluster around some of them, others others. In any given issue those that cluster around it may not all cluster around another issue.

I'm not saying there aren't mega clusters, but I don't think there are only two such mega clusters.

I'm all over the place, although I probably cluster to more to issues that are considered conservative than liberal. On the other hand, I don't cluster with wall-builders or CP advocates--or white supremacy. I definitely cluster with anti-abortion cluster because I DO believe that abortion is every bit as evil as the desire to exterminate or enslave "inferior" post-born people.

the cultural left poses just as much of a threat to the polis as do those in the alt-right, even if the threat is perceived to be of a different type.

They will kill us with sophistication.


I keep coming back to Archbishop Chaput's comment on Charlottesville, which seems to capture best the reasons for any seemingly "disproportionate" outrage over it:

Racism is a poison of the soul. It’s the ugly, original sin of our country, an illness that has never fully healed. Blending it with the Nazi salute, the relic of a regime that murdered millions, compounds the obscenity. Thus the wave of public anger about white nationalist events in Charlottesville this weekend is well warranted.

I don't mean to be querrellous. I do ask myself given the tiny number of Nazis whether the outrage is disproportionate. But if you look at the video I posted (and its not an enjoyable experience) you can see that those Nazi folk are not hyper-conservatives of some kind or real very old fashioned Confederate types. Not even very ideological paleo-con types such as I have met amongst the egg heads. They are not 'off the charts', or on a spectrum with other conservatives. They are simply real nasties. They are about hatred and nothing else. They are people who are consumed with hatred.

I've never doubted that. I haven't intended to suggest otherwise though I guess in trying to very slightly defend Trump I may be coming off that way.

"Whatboutism" in my mind is an attempt to deflect attention from bad-thing-1 to just-as-bad-thing-2. That's not what I'm trying to do. Or to make oneself feel better about supporting or at least not opposing bad-thing-1. That's not what I intend to be doing.

I'm not sure whether Janet's "kill us with sophistication" means "kill us by means of sophistication" or "kill us in a sophisticated manner," but it seems apropos either way.

Grumpy writes : "They are simply real nasties. They are about hatred and nothing else."

They're not my cup of tea, nor me their's, but I very much appreciated their chanting "blood and soil" which is the exact opposite of hate. It's a chanting of love of one's own in opposition to the americanism of sacrificing our own for the good of strangers.

And before someone some stupid remark, I may not be Jewish enough for Right of Return, but I am Jewish enough for Dachau. And I do love my own.

"given the tiny number of Nazis." Maybe there aren't that many real neo-Nazis, but the cancer that Bp. Chaput mentions is very widespread and is institutionalized in our social structures. We need to be upset by all instances of racism, down to, for instance, black men being constantly pulled over by the cops because they are in the wrong neighborhood or are just because they are black (I've seen this firsthand, and my nephew is a cop). Or the fact that illegal drugs that are popular among blacks are more illegal than ones that are popular among whites (e.g. crack cocaine vs. powder). This doesn't even get into things like the officially sanctioned public display of the Confederate flag.

'"blood and soil" which is the exact opposite of hate. It's a chanting of love of one's own'

In the abstract, yes. But those words deployed in that manner by that sort of person are tainted, probably irremediably.

I meant both. They will be very suave and condescending and they will use the methods of sophists.


The connotation of 'blood and soil' is Nazism, because its a Nazi slogan.

Even for the Jews it is soil (eretz Israel) but not blood. Being a descendent of Abraham (which I am) doesn't make you a Jew (which I am not). I am also for for Dachau, though. The entry into the covenant is through circumcision no matter what your ethnic origin. I suppose that's blood for the guys.

There is a dispute in Judaism about how universal"love the neighbor" is. Not all Jews think it is just about "my own "

You can talk about family and land. Perfectly good healthy things. But if you say "blood and soil" instead...it will be a long time, if ever, before that phrase loses its Nazi associations.

Robert's 3:12 comment: the thing about that list of problems is that there's nothing at all I can do about them.

Here's an example, seen in someone's Facebook remark this morning, of what I object to in the way Trump's reaction has been characterized. The person states as fact that Trump is "sympathizing with Nazis who murdered a young woman".

Granted, that was probably not a carefully composed sentence. But it gives the clear impression that the person believes that Trump doesn't object to the murder. I really don't think that's fair, but more than that, I think it's just pouring gasoline on the flames of anger in this country.

Chaput on hate and anger.


Maclin, you might enjoy this podcast. I have only listened to the first 10 minutes or so, but I agree with it.


Antifa is the danger, not racists, who are a small minority of people,

Thanks, I'll check it out.

Antifa is a small minority, too, but they get more sympathy from the big media, if only in the form of downplaying their violent rhetoric and actions.

I see that as of this morning the hurricane is likely to cause more trouble for your area. I hope it isn't too bad.

"Antifa is a small minority, too"

Yes, but they are very destructive.

As for the hurricane, we are in some danger of tornados and flooding. Our street has flooded and is creeping up the driveway. I think our door is about a foot above the water level. We still have at least two days of rain to go, according to the forecasters. I feel mildly concerned, I admit. We are not in great danger of life and limb, just inconvenience and expense, but so far, quite a few people in Houston have died. Please pray for us.

Will do. Have done actually. One of the priests who alternates at our Ordinariate Mass lived in Houston for many years. His wife said some friends of theirs are in pretty much the same situation as you. I hope the rain doesn't keep going for as long as predicted. We came very close to having water in at least one room of our house during Katrina. It was literally lapping against the sliding glass door but didn't come through.

Duh. I left out the main thing I meant to say in that comment--that the Mass was offered for all those killed, injured, or in danger from the hurricane.

Thanks! Gee, I knew the water had got close to you, but didn't realise it was lapping against the sliding glass!

It was exciting. :-/ I think there's a picture of it somewhere on this blog, but it would be hard to find.

Louise, are you still there? Houston seems to be in serious trouble.


Houston is in bad shape, probably more than I realise, but we are a fair way north and copped a lot of rain, but not as much as Houston proper.

Nick is away at the moment, but I have very supportive and helpful neighbours, and the kids have been very good. Actually, Nick is in Australia and our two eldest children are there too - Eilidh for study, and Xavier until about January, most likely.

We are fine and dry - though the street was a small river and have both power and water. We are very lucky. I *think* we will be ok.

I see the blame game has already started, but I should say that Harvey escalated very quickly to a Category 4 Hurricane, and I don't see how anyone could have predicted that, really. Also, it would be very hard to evacuate Houston. The loss of life has been very lamentable, of course, but most of us are normally in more danger on the roads, imo. I hate to think what the overall damage will be though.

What an awful event. Yes, I can't imagine what would have happened had there been an evacuation order. Probably greater loss of life, and on the roadways.

I'm very glad to hear that you're ok, Louise. Since you'd said your street was flooded and the rains apparently haven't let up, I figured you probably would have water in the house by now. Glad you don't.

The blame game is annoying to say the least. The thing about this *#&* storm, besides the way it got worse so quickly, is the way it has just stopped and squatted for days on end. That's downright freakish. If an evacuation had been attempted, and the storm had acted like a normal hurricane, passing on inland and weakening, there would be tales of misery and perhaps death on the highways, and the mayor would be catching it for that, too.

Yikes -- watch for the fire ants, Louise! "Yes, That's a Huge Floating Mass of Live Fire Ants in Texas"

I don't know much about extreme weather events in the US, Maclin, but when you put it like that, yes it does seem freakish!

I know, Marianne -fire ants too!

Right now it's calm in our area, and fine enough for the boys to play outside for a bit. Our street has drained of water, but I did think, going to bed on the 27th, that the house could well flood, at least downstairs at ground level. Very glad that didn't happen.

Now we're bracing ourselves for Harvey Round 2, in which we will be battered by wind, I believe. :/

I think we may all sleep downstairs for that one!

I think I remember that photo, Maclin.

Also, I meant to say days ago that "refudiate" has been on my mind!


Normally hurricanes weaken dramatically once they get over land, which I guess Harvey did, but they also keep moving, so although they still dump a lot of rain it's not all in one place. We did have one in the late '90s that sat for a couple of days but it was still offshore and never got very big.

I saw that fire ant story somewhere else today with a caption "Nobody else is going to do it, so fire ants have to rescue themselves."

Glad to hear Louise has not been flooded out

Thanks, Grumpy.

Yes, Maclin, nobody else would rescue them!

"Glad to hear Louise has not been flooded out"


Thanks, Rob G

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