Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 9/15/17: Lafayette, Harvard, Manning, And “Shut Up And Give Us The Score!” [Updated]

Good Morning!

1 Commenter Other Bill had to ruin my evening by posting this defense of Jamele Hill from a Sports Illustrated writer, which would be enough for me to cancel my subscription if I had one.

“I was going to give this a pass. Truly, I was. Jamele Hill, the gifted young woman who co-hosts ESPN’s The Six every night with my old Morrissey Boulevard running buddy Michael Smith, got on her electric Twitter machine and tweeted out her unremarkable—and damned near irrefutable—opinion that the current president of the United States is a racist and a white supremacist. This drew the usual screams from the political flying monkeys of the American Right. ESPN responded with a craven corporate response that I’ll get to in a minute, but let me just say right now that you will not believe that the response was written by anyone who ever came within a light-year of any newsgathering operation. OK, so I thought that was pretty much it. I agreed with everything Hill tweeted. I thought what she said should be obvious to everyone in America at this point. She delivered her opinion. There was the customary cyber-bullying pushback, and we all move on.”

This is a perfect example of why sports writers should be seen and not read or listened to on non-sports topics. Let’s see:

a) The fact that she is “gifted”—a matter of opinion: a smart ESPN broadcaster wouldn’t do something this stupid—is irrelevant to the controversy. So a bad sports journalist  would be less justified in attacking the President like this?

b) A journalist calling the President of the United States a racist is in fact quite remarkable, and if an ESPN employee had called Barack Obama equivalent things, he or she would have been fired so fast her hair would have combusted.

c) OK, asshole, give me your closing argument about how President Trump is irrefutably a white supremacist. You can’t use the fact that he believes in enforcing immigration laws, or the fact that white supremacists tend to support him, when his political opponents are addicted to saying and writing things like “the whole white race is a virus.” You can’t use the fact that he doesn’t believe that tearing down statues of Civil War heroes is smart or valid, because I agree with him, and I am not a white supremacist. The fact that he implicitly defended the right of white nationalists to exercise their First Amendment rights makes him a supporter of the Constitution, as his oath of office requires, and not a nascent totalitarian like the hate-speech banning politicians you probably support.

So what have you got? I’d say nothing. It’s “irrefutable” to you because your left-wing friends say it is….

d) …not that whether Hill was right or not is the least bit relevant to whether ESPN is sending the message that gratuitous public anti-Trump, race-baiting grandstanding from employees is acceptable, but anti-Democrat/Muslim/Trans statements are not. It is sending that message, and that’s a double standard and obvious bias.

e) ESPN’s response was craven all right, but for the opposite reason that this guy says.

f) The fact that mostly conservatives correctly condemn Hill and ESPN only proves that the Left has lost its ethics alarms and professional compass, or broken them while stomping and screaming during their post 2016 election tantrum. It’s not a partisan or political verdict, except that “the resistance” would defend the Zodiac killer if he attacked the President. That’s their flaw, not ours.

2. Today’s “I was going to post on it but the story is so stupid that I don’t want to give it the prominence” note is this one. 

Cumberland County Interim School Superintendent Tim Kinlaw cancelled an environmental program used the Marquis de Lafayette as its symbol. He said he was trying to be sensitive to the minority population, because he heard somewhere, or read somewhere, or somebody told him that Lafayette was a slaveholder. Well, technically: the French general and American ally bought slaves to free them. He was an abolitionist, not that he deserved to be disrespected this way even if he had held slaves in the 18th Century. Slavery is irrelevant to why we honor Lafayette, who played a large role in allowing the United States to exist at all, just as it is irrelevant to why we honor Washington, Jefferson, and Madison. Using his name in connection with an environmental program would trouble minority students? Too bad. Teach them something. Teach them that great historical figures often have great flaws. Teach them that if they are going to be upset at who past generations chose to honor, they need to get some perspective, stop playing victim, and grow up.

“It appears that by trying to be sensitive to part of the community, I was insensitive to another part,” Kinlaw said in apologizing to the School board. No, it appears that you are a political correctness-addled idiot, who couldn’t even be trusted to check your facts before embarrassing yourself, the school and the community by pronouncing Lafayette a racist. In the news report, School board Chairman Greg West says, fatuously and alarmingly, that Kinlaw’s action was excusable because he was trying to be sensitive. No, it was inexcusable because it was incompetent, and disgraceful for an educator, acting on ignorance and emotion without knowing the facts. Good intentions are not an excuse.

Oh! I almost forgot the best part!

This occurred in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

The town is named for Lafayette.

3. When I wrote last night’s post about Harvard’s convoluted approach to the graduate school application of a released killer-mom, I was not aware that Harvard’s Kennedy School Institute of Politics had invited Chelsea Manning to be a fellow this year. KABOOM!

Manning is a disturbed and unstable individual (Would it be unfair to suggest that switching genders strongly suggest instability?), who was diagnosed in her trial as suffering from fetal alcohol syndrome.  She has a high school degree, but no training in government. To cite, as the Kennedy School does, her work as a security analyst as a qualification to be a Visiting Fellow is like citing Typhoid Mary’s experience as a nurse. On its website, the Kennedy School promotes that fact that Manning is its first transgender Visiting Fellow. Whoop-de-doo. So what, and who cares? Why not Caitlin Jenner? Why are irrelevant physical characteristics and medical history enhancements for a teacher at the Kennedy School?

In response to this ridiculous move, Michael J. Morel , the former deputy and acting director of the Central Intelligence Agency announced that he is resigning as a non-resident senior fellow from Harvard’s Kennedy School. Good for him. Morel wrote in his resignation letter that  he “cannot be part of an organization” that “honors a convicted felon and leaker of classified information.”

No, he can’t, or at least shouldn’t.

“Ms. Manning was found guilty of 17 serious crimes, including six counts of espionage, for leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents to Wikileaks, an entity that CIA Director Mike Pompeo says operates like an adversarial foreign intelligence service,”  Morell wrote. “Senior leaders in the military have stated publicly that the leaks by Ms. Manning put the lives of US soldiers at risk….”

The Kennedy School’s invitation, Morel wrote further, will “assist Ms. Manning in her long-standing effort to legitimize the criminal path that she took to prominence” and “may encourage others to leak classified information as well.”

While he fully supports “Ms. Manning’s rights as a transgender American, including the right to serve our country in the US military,” Morel emphasized that “…it is my right, indeed my duty, to argue that the School’s decision is wholly inappropriate and to protest it by resigning from the Kennedy School – in order to make the fundamental point that leaking classified information is disgraceful and damaging to our nation.”


UPDATE: Now Harvard is withdrawing the fellowship invitation!

Kennedy School dean Douglas Elmendorf said in a statement.

“I now think that designating Chelsea Manning as a visiting fellow was a mistake, for which I accept responsibility.I see more clearly now that many people view a visiting fellow title as an honorific, so we should weigh that consideration when offering invitations.”

What an embarrassment.

70 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 9/15/17: Lafayette, Harvard, Manning, And “Shut Up And Give Us The Score!” [Updated]

    • I saw that article and others. It would seem than most of the folks writing on don’t see anything wrong with what she posted. I assume as well that most of the broadcasters on ESPN think similarly.

      I listen to a lot of sports talk radio and I read several sports web sites. I do not want to listen to this sort of stuff when I tune in. If I did I could listen to MSNBC or FOX News.

      I have, in fact, heard Hill a number of times as a guest on one of the shows I listen to, and connected to her as a fellow Michigan State alum. Having her insert her personal political statements into the sports arena damages that for me.

      If ESPN was being consistent in handling this sort of thing, they would have suspended her for a few days — as they have do with others in the past for similar offenses. That might, possibly, still happen but I doubt it.

      • There is a report that ESPN was going to pull her, but other black on-air employees threatened to walk.
        Which I would call a motivationn to stop making a special effort to hire blacks, if they are going to interfere with professional operations by acting as a bloc.

        • I got to reading more articles and discovered that ESPN had suspended Linda Cohn for a bit of honest analysis of ESPN’s declining subscriber numbers.

          That is just unbelievable. I can remember watching Cohn decades ago, back when Australian rules football was one of ESPN’s major attractions. It is hard to imagine anyone with more credibility, more integrity, who succeeded in sports broadcasting when it was almost impossible for a woman to do so.

          Talk about biting the hand that feeds you…….

  1. Wait.
    The Dean at the Kennedy School at Harvard is only now realizing that “many people” (there are exceptions?) think a fellowship is an honorific?

    As for Mr. Kinlaw… I need to get writing again. This guy is begging for a Curmie nomination.

  2. “… he heard somewhere, or read somewhere, or somebody told him that Lafayette was a slaveholder.”

    It would be really funny if someone told him that Lafayette was a slaveholder, knowing that he wouldn’t look it up and couldn’t resist grandstanding.

    • I was wondering why the Marquis de Lafayette was being used to promote an environmental program in the first place. What did the Marquis de Lafayette do to gain status as the precursor to Al Gore? I get that he was an abolitionist and had attained near-hero status for his military acumen, but does being an abolitionist accord him the honor of environmental protectionist? What does that mean, that he wanted to abolish the environment along with slavery? The mind numbs at the lunacy.


      • I would suppose for the same reason many schools are named for people who were never educators and places for people who had never been there: a wish to honor them for their accomplishments.

  3. #2. This is yet another example of actual FEAR of the increasing power social justice warriors; in this case fear made them STUPID, this is exactly what the social justice warriors want! Social justice warriors are being empowered by these fearful reactions to their increasing social power; this is going to get much, much worse!

    It’s much like many other choices that institutions, companies, and a lot of people are making these days; fear of social justice warriors, fear of anti social justice warriors, fear of social media, fear of being judged by the court of public opinion, fear of illogical smears, fear of the unknown, fear of ginned up partisan hyperbole, fear of racists, fear of misogynists, fear…, fear…, fear…, etc, etc. etc.

    The United States and much of the world is on the verge of wide spread Panophobia; a significant number of the political left crossed the line to Panophobia the morning of Wednesday, November 9, 2016.

    Fear has some pretty nasty physiological side effects but the one we as a society need to watch out for is the violent reactions to what they “think” is making them fearful. At some point fear will drive psychologically unstable people to do irrational things.

  4. I read Elmendorf’s explanation of why Harvard is withdrawing the fellowship designation and I thought it was quite cowardly, not the least because I read it as a random Twitter link before I knew it revoked the fellowship. It starts with a background explanation of what the Harvard fellowship program is, and what exactly it means to be a Fellow (not much, as it turns out). It explains Harvard’s policy of engaging with people of wildly different and controversial world views. It explained that speakers are not shielded from challenging questions. I thought it was a pretty good defense of a policy intended to support a spirit of free inquiry. And then it spinelessly withdrew the fellowship offer — while still allowing Manning to come speak if she wanted to.

    On the other hand, the pretense that designating someone a Fellow was not any kind of honor is embarrassing. They do it so that the visitors can put it on their speaker’s resumes.

    • Having controversial world views is useful for debate. I’m not sure if it’s beneficial however to encourage and promote treason and espionage against one’s own nation that endangers agents of the nation worldwide.

      Which any promotion of Manning does. Manning might make a great burger flipper somewhere when not posting among the world’s most inane tweets.

    • Bingo. Horribly disingenuous and cowardly statement. If it’s not an honor, why was the website patting itself on the back for having its first transgender “fellow”? I was a fellow for an ethics institute once. I sure assumed it was an honor and a credential.

      The Kennedy Institute is Harvard-lite, and has been since it was founded. Bill O’Reilly kept saying he was a Harvard grad, which confused me until I found out that he had graduated from the Kennedy school. Then it made sense.

      • I agree with Wndypundit, Tex and Jack on this one. Having offered the confounding honor to Manning, Harvard should have had the integrity to stick to its invitation, rather than cave to the outrage. The Dean’s statement shows cowardice and ignorance of Harvard’s own traditions. This, though, seems in line with rejecting a prison-reformed-history-scholar-outstanding-applicant to its Ph.D. program. Knowing this, now I don’t feel so badly about Harvard rejecting my college application all those years ago.


      • I’m surprised you would recommend it, unless you mean that it is worth reading because it illustrates numerous distortions and rationalizations. Geez, Charlie.

        Robert McNamara served his country the best he could at the time. He was not indicted for war crimes nor tries, and an old man’s retrospective conclusions that what he did was wrong are not even remotely like a premeditated criminal breaking laws and pledges she was bound to follow. What is a “war crime” in the prosecution of a war is an ethical morass and a dilemma for government. Of course McNamara’s views on it were valid and of great educational value.
        And as a man who placed himself on the line to make hard choices for which he knew he might be hated for life, he was worthy of that honor.

        That the Kennedy School’s choice of fellows is based on non-ethical and non-educational considerations seems increasingly clear: that doesn’t justify any bad fellowship choices, whoever they are. I’m not in a position to scour the rationalizations list, but there are about 20 that this piece uses, begining with the very first: “They always do it” is the equivalent of “Everybody does it.” Then there’s “They’re just as bad” and “it’s not the worst thing” as well as others.

        And to address your next comment on the link: How in the world does the FP argument that a prestigious university hands out fellowships that it publicizes, that its honorees use as credentials,and that the public at large sees as legitimate and made with integrity when they are not, mean to you that “this has nothing about ethics”? Lies, false credentials, double standards, misrepresentation, abuse of influence, betrayal of trust: seriously? You call that a “this isn’t an ethics issue” case?

        The article itself is a badly argued, blatant political, anti-Vietnam war, anti-military, anti-Harvard screed that reminds me why I stopped reading Foreign Policy years ago.

        • I didn’t “recommend” it, I said it was an interesting take. Which I still think it is.

          Listen, I’m a little over my head on this one, but here’s what it said to me.

          It says that a “fellowship” – while it indeed appears to be an honorific that benefits both parties, and which therefore gets embroiled in ethics discussions like this, has another angle to it.

          That angle is to expose Kennedy School students – hopefully people studying statecraft – to a variety of kinds of people they might not ordinarily meet, but who frequently inhabit important positions in society. Hence the Jesse Ventura example (who despite being a bit of a wack job was also a governor).

          In that vein, it’s very valuable for future diplomats to be in direct contact with out-of-range people like Manning. Whether or not you believe Manning is disturbed individual, she played an outsized role in some pretty critical world events. Why should students of the world be denied the chance to talk to her?

          The same could be said of Kim Jong Un, in the (admittedly absurd) event he were to be offered a fellowship. Or maybe (a tad more realistic) Steve Bannon; or a Sinn Fein leader, or Father Berrigan (back in the day).

          I think there’s a fair case to be made that using the be-robed name of “fellow” to legitimize conversations may wrongly trade on reputation (and you made that case). But it also seems parallel to the debates on campus these days – with the student left wildly insisting they shouldn’t be forced to listen to people who disagree with them or “frighten them.” I think you (rightfully) condemn that viewpoint.

          To me the issue is whether there’s a way to encourage dialogue with world-important people without calling them “fellows.” That’s a fair discussion. But let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater; it’s important that people who are going to doing the business of statecraft not be ideologically shielded from those who may (or may not) be wackjobs, nor those who experienced prison from the inside.

          • One more parallel.

            In Alcoholics Anonymous, alcoholism is referred to as a disease. This is a mutually agreeable fiction.

            It has no virus, nor bacterial, cause. It is not contagious. It is not treated successfully by any known drug. In AA, it’s called a “spiritual disease,” a term that shows up in no medical texts to my knowledge.

            Yet it is an extremely socially beneficial lie. It allows alcoholics, and society alike, to de-stigmatize a condition previously considered a moral failure. It permits insurance companies and healthcare institutions to make a diagnosis and offer treatment.

            This is the similar sort of wink-wink nod-nod nomenclature that I think the Harvard Fellows program provides. It allows for civilized conversations between students and people who have great effect on the world, by neatly skirting the debate about whether those people are socially or morally acceptable.

            And after all, the world is not or made solely by people who confirm to our preferred notions of civil society. The real world is nasty, and unless we make it OK for future statesmen to talk to nasty people, they’ll be pollyannas when they get out.

            • Charlesgreen, considering the current inability of campuses to tolerate any kind of real “diversity,” any invitee who didn’t echo the cant of the Left would be choked to death with pies in the face. It’s an intriguing educational idea though …. maybe in a generation or two.

              However, I have to take issue with your blanket re-definition of alcoholism, which is an extremely large and varied subject without any one empirical solution. I am not a fan of the 12-step method myself, either personally or professionally, but the AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) did not invent any “mutually agreeable fiction,” as controversial as that may be. On the other hand, I do support the AMA (the American Medical Association) in their declaring alcoholism an illness … way back in 1956. Twenty-six years ago, Alcoholism was entered into the International Classification of Diseases in both the psychiatric and the medical sections, a disease of the brain characterized by altered brain structure and function. This is not disputed. It went a long way to removing some of the stigma that caused the addicted person to continue or even increase drinking and to not seek treatment. Once diagnosed, new drugs, like naltrexone, have been effective, especially in combination with anti-depressants and psychological care.

              As you pointed out, the AA offers a treatment method that can encourage dependency. Harm reduction is another treatment model that concentrates on the opposite, the practical combined with the individual’s commitment, finding strategies to reduce negative consequences associated with the disease/addiction, including abstention. (It does not help that there is so much public misunderstanding about “addiction” as well.) At the same time, both the medical and psychological (depression and behavioral) therapy have their successes and failures as well. Genetics has its place, still being explored. The disease model is gaining in currency (no Big Pharma puns please!) as the research and testing continues.

              Meanwhile, the treatments are all about equally effective (or not), more so in combination, and the beat goes on. Sorry, it’s not a good parallel for you, Charlesgreen. Now, if Kim Jon-Un were to turn out to be an alcoholic transgender abortionist . . . .

              • Pennagain, I don’t think we’re much in disagreement here. I take no exception to the vast bulk of what you have to say here, perhaps except to underscore that alcoholism is quite unlike any other “disease” as is commonly understood. Agree with everything you have to say about the social value of it being declared such by the various medical authorities; ditto to the low success rate of all treatments, and to them being more effective in combination.

        • This struck a chord in me that has boiled for a long time…

          …a prestigious university hands out fellowships that it publicizes, that its honorees use as credentials,and that the public at large sees as legitimate and made with integrity when they are not, mean to you that “this has nothing about ethics”? Lies, false credentials, double standards, misrepresentation, abuse of influence, betrayal of trust: seriously?

          Like the Nobel Peace Prize? Like Time’s Man of the Year? Like the Academy Awards, or the Emmys?

          Just a comment on how we as a society have devolved from the intent of prestigious awards into slobbering after political agendas.

          • As I noted before, the REAL question should perhaps be: How do you get future statesmen exposure to real-world influencers, many of whom may not be palatable?

            Is there another way to get them to talk? Invite them in the back door to unpublicized private meetings? That risks making it look secretive, which invites reporters, which makes it look sleazier yet.

            Strikes me that the Kennedy School has come up with an interesting way to entice such people and validate such critical conversations – which again I would argue are key to the education of people whom we (hopefully) will look to for pragmatic roles in politics.

            I’m all for another way to accomplish the goal – but what would that way be?

  5. The first time I saw a picture of Bradley Manning and read about the mess he’d created, I said to myself, “Uh oh, that guy looks like a closeted gay person who doesn’t appear to be handling it very well.” I also thought, “Is that the kind of person the intelligence people want handling classified information?” This was months or years before Chelsea Manning made her appearance.

    As Lyle Lovett would ask, “Does that make me a bad person?”

    • “As Lyle Lovett would ask, “Does that make me a bad person?””

      That depends, are you going to use your power for good or evil? Good has more job security, but evil throws the best parties.

      • Well, I suppose keeping Bradley Manning away from intelligence would be good for the country but bad for his career path and therefore a rallying point for social justice warriors. “Unstable people are people too!” Which is true but should they be given unfettered access to information deemed critical to the nation’s security?

        And trust me, I’m not saying all non-heterosexuals are unstable. But you’d think the defense intelligence community could have washed ol’ Bradley out at some point well before he committed treason.

        • When I had my TSI many moons ago, they drew blood at least every other month. To test for HIV.

          The thinking was that only gays got HIV, and that being either gay or HIV infected made you susceptible to blackmail by the USSR. Such was the social stigma at that time.

          Seems so quaint now.

          • Did they, and do they, otherwise profile people for being susceptible to undue influence? Like having a tendency to be overly anxious to please other people, or get back at authority figures because of what your father did or didn’t do, or be swayed by propaganda on the internet? I hope so.

            • The biggest disqualifiers for the highest levels of security work are nation of birth, and also close relatives to people born in certain nations (I know someone who was disqualified in the CIA hiring process because her husband was born and partly raised in a certain country), and also level of debt and spending habits.

            • I assume you were asking me, Bill

              Did they, and do they, otherwise profile people for being susceptible to undue influence?

              No idea what they do now. See below for ‘did’

              Like having a tendency to be overly anxious to please other people, or get back at authority figures because of what your father did or didn’t do

              Counter Intel guys did profile, and had psychological training with which to do it. You had to be pretty stable (many batteries of tests, oral interviews, interviews with community members, and so forth) to have the job my unit did, and family history mattered. Remember, we REALLY did have spies running around at that time, and the Warsaw pact had threatened to nuke us on more than one occasion (we threatened to nuke them right back, which made it rhetoric, but still.

              be swayed by propaganda on the internet?

              Internet did not exist, as such. The World Wide Web was not even a glimmer in ARPANET’s eye.

              • Thanks, sw. I’ve always wondered how the heck Bradley Manning slipped through the screening process and got a clearance in the first place.

  6. Deflection, no replies necessary.

    In other recent news; “The elite US nuclear submarine USS Jimmy Carter flew the pirate flag, the Jolly Roger.”

    Has anyone else but me been suspecting that the North Koreans have been using their submarines to randomly intrude into US and Japan’s territorial waters in the Pacific in recent months?

  7. Despite being in her 4th decade as a sports reporter (25 with ESPN), Linda Cohn was suspended (secretly?) for stating the obvious.

    Her “offensive remarks?”

    “The network may be losing subscriber revenue not just because of cord-cutting, Cohn allowed, but because viewers are increasingly turned off by ESPN inserting politics into its sports coverage.

    “ ‘That is definitely a percentage of it,’ Cohn said … when asked whether certain social or political stances contributed to the stupor that resulted in roughly 100 employees getting the ax this week. ‘I don’t know how big a percentage, but if anyone wants to ignore that fact, they’re blind.’ ”

  8. Regarding item #1:

    I have been watching some Scott Adams lately. He has some interesting thoughts about how Americans are sitting in the same theater, but watching two different movies.

    It seems very clear that some proportion of society, very much including most of the national media organizations (MSNBC, CNN, CBS, NBC, WaPo, NYT etc…), will confirm that the President is in fact, unequivocally racist. When you ask for some sort of proof they will say something like: “He supports white supremacists”, when you ask them when he ever did that, they will say “He failed to condemn them [white supremacists] after Charlottesville” When you show them his words”

    “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides.”

    They say something like “Well we all know he meant…”

    I am not the biggest Tucker fan, but the point I am making is clearly shown in this clip from the other night

    The point I am making here is that there seems to be a cognitive dissonance occurring (at least on the left, maybe somewhat on the right). They are incapable of parsing plain English, and falling back on biases (as is clear in the above clip) instead of rational thought. Don’t mistake this for ignorance or stupidity, this is persuasion in action, and (at least) the people howling this type of thing are unable to see it.

  9. I used to read lots of ESPN articles (mostly NBA stuff.) Hill was by far their worst. I usually never noticed who the writer was but when an article was poorly written and made bizarre points, I would check the author and nearly every time, it was her. Comments after her articles consisted of one half people complaining about how stupid her articles were, and a second half calling the first half racist. If she wasn’t a diversity hire then there’s just no explaining it.

    I never even check ESPN these days, half of the time Zach Lowe, their only great NBA writer, is behind the pay wall anyway.

  10. Number 2 just has my head spinning. The situation is bad comendy, the leaders of the school cancel an environmental poster with a depiction of the man their city is named after due to their ignorance that he strongly opposed the practice they feared he supported, and the members of the community excuse and commend these school district executives!!!!!! If it was a movie I would criticize it for being too simplistic of a farce…

    Douglas Elmendorf was the CBO cheif during the Obama administration, and by all accounts a pretty decent academic economist. I suppose this is the peter principle at work…

  11. Hi Jack – I rarely have time to return emails these days so commenting on blogs is mostly out of the question but I do read yours everyday and I’ve said it before but I will say it again just so you don’t forget: Thank you. You and your commenters (especially the ones I don’t agree with) have become the wall of sanity between reasonable me and I-CANT-TAKE-THIS-ANYMORE-SO-I’M-GOING-TO-POST-EXACTLY-WHAT-I-THINK-ON-FACEBOOK-AND-LOSE-HALF-MY-FRIENDS-BUT-WHATEVER me. I was purposely irresponsibly apolitical until Trump ran for office and – due to an unhealthy interest in reality TV – I decided to start watching the news. It took me about fifteen minutes to realize that both CNN and Fox News were trying to brainwash me and that realization changed my life.

    For the better or worse? I’m not sure.

    But I’m “woke” now. I guess.

  12. Jack wrote: “OK, asshole, give me your closing argument about how President Trump is irrefutably a white supremacist. You can’t use the fact that he believes in enforcing immigration laws, or the fact that white supremacists tend to support him, when his political opponents are addicted to saying and writing things like “the whole white race is a virus.” You can’t use the fact that he doesn’t believe that tearing down statues of Civil War heroes is smart or valid, because I agree with him, and I am not a white supremacist. The fact that he implicitly defended the right of white nationalists to exercise their First Amendment rights makes him a supporter of the Constitution, as his oath of office requires, and not a nascent totalitarian like the hate-speech banning politicians you probably support.

    I am reading a semi-conservative (or she calls herself this) Black writer by the name of Carol M. Swain. Her book is called ‘The New White Nationalism in America’ and the date is 2002. In brief, she notices the developing movement of white nationalism and exponds on the original figures who put this movement into motion. Today, those people who preach white nationalism or separationism are more or less repeating the same arguments that were made in the 50s and 60s, and which of course have their deeper roots in the prevalent supremacism that was quite normal in American society between 1900-1930 (think Lothrop Stoddard and Madison Grant). There is simply no way for anyone to deny white American racial prejudice.

    The curious thing is to notice that the liberalization of race-policy, the creation of affirmative action policies, as well as the forced integration of the schools (and many other and various shifts and ‘progressive’ changes) were in fact instigated by whites — white *elites* overall — in the acadamy, in industries, et cetera. This does not imply that Blacks did not wish for inclusion, education and opportunity, but that most of the policy-decisions were implimented by whites. She claims that affirmative action is still (largely according to her) a ‘white elite project’.

    But I am not in a part of her book where she writes about the Wallace presidential run. She writes that Richard Nixon paid close attention to those 9 million voters who did vote for Wallace and identified in them the or a ‘silent majority’. Politicians are of course acutely aware of the hard facts of politics and I take this to mean that they cannot fool themselves. If Nixon was aware of these white Wallace voters — I think it is fair and accurate to say that they were likely overy racists who would gleefully have turned back the political and social clock — and identified a ‘silent majority’ in them, I would assume that all candidates would be aware of the same. Therefor it seems entirely reasonable to conclude that Trump is aware of who his ‘base’ is and what they think and feel. If this is true then it becomes imperative to understand what, in fact, they think and feel. Clearly they will not state it outrightly and I think this matter came up with Charles’ reference to the book by the Google statistician who discovered that people’s Google searches of racist terms, and perhaps the pages they visit, reveal a hidden domain of opinion.

    It stands to reason therefor that what is showing itself quite openly now in American politics and society is a maturing evolution of the original white nationalism that was noticed in the 80s and 90s. It is simply coming out into the open. And it comes out into the open as the demographics have shifted and, in many urban areas anyway, whites notice themselves becoming a minority. If once they felt anxiety about this — in the 20s or 30s and then again in 70s 80s and 90s — it stands to reason that these feelings will not abate.

    Obviously then I say that I completely understand the Black anxiety over the upsurge of white identity sentiments and ideas. It only stands to reason that they are trying to identify it and eliminate it by their severe condemnations even if these condemnations are overblown. It is in fact impossible to really and truly know where President Trump actually stands and what he desires in his heart. But the same is in fact true for 90% of white America. The ‘liberals’ often turn out to be the most untrustworthy since, when push comes to shove, they are as racist as anyone else but they cannot bear to 1) see themselves that way or 2) be seen by others as such. The white elites in the US, as far as I know, remain aloof. They give a great deal of lip-service to all liberal causes but many seem to say that they don’t really live it through.

    She also describes the situation in which many Whites feel that Blacks have been given so many and various opportunities and have not taken advantage of them. They seem not to desire to work as hard as Whites. It is not part of their social ethics. But at the same time, and if I am not mistaken in this, many Blacks today (and their white allies) are ‘playing the race-card’ to the absolute maximum. Yet it is a ‘card’ that has always worked so well. To make accusations against Whites and the ‘white system’, to complain and criticize endlessly, and to keep working those critical angles (as in ‘critical theory’!) of attempting to expose and undermine white privelage.

    In my view, once one has located and isolated the real power-dynamic, and once one has understood it and how it really works, one must understand that there is no solution here. If the Whites lose their majority position, and if this grows even worse, the end for them is like in South Africa. It is called dispossession. Its political, its demographic, and it is democratic! This is a trope in white nationalist literature. You can easily locate some videos on YouTube of white South Africans lamenting their fate (which is really getting bad and is largely unreported)(of course!) and councelling their White brothers and sisters in England and elsewhere.

    The actual reality is certainly more disconcerting and even terrifying … but it is also infinitely more interesting! What must happen though is that millions and millions of Whites who cannot or will not articulate their sentiments must fight to do so … and then to define a position with a great deal in common with so-called ‘white supremacism’. It has to do with power and the handling of power. It has to do with awareness and consciousness. And it has to do with morality and ethics.

    • It stands to reason therefor that what is showing itself quite openly now in American politics and society is a maturing evolution of the original white nationalism that was noticed in the 80s and 90s. It is simply coming out into the open.

      I have a different take: white ‘nationalism’ may be growing in response to the constant attacks upon whites because they are white. I do not believe that minority status alone will induce a response in common Americans without some sort of additional attack. This attack has devolved into the idea that because one is white per se one cannot comment upon certain issues, and must signal virtue with whatever the fad of the minute is for the pipers of the day.

      Before Obama, race was almost a dead issue in much of (red) Texas. There will always be bigots, but relations of the common folk were cordial and without suspicion based upon skin color alone. That is no longer the case. White are wrong because they are white. There is no way to remediate the sin of being white, and this frustrates good folks of all colors.

      Let me give an example: my brother lost his job at the same time his wife did. They quickly ran through savings and could not get another job during the Great Recession. Therefore, they applied to the Social Safety Net: welfare. They encountered great bigotry and racism due to their skin color in a government run program from progressive minorities employed there. Welfare was for minorities, and whites (even with legitimate, documented need) should not apply. It took some tree rattling to put a stop to this. (They found jobs eventually and have not returned to that level of need since.) However, their faith in the ‘level playing field’ the progressives are forever talking about was lost. Their eyes were opened as to how race politics treat whites. You cannot balance race relations by treating good folks as if they are responsible for the sins of their race in a previous generation. Injustice against minorities is wrong, but you do not right that situation by creating new victims, new grievances.

      Take such examples across America and working class whites begin to see that no one will stand up for them, so they must do so themselves. Trump’s election was the first breath of this awakening.

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