Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Symbiotic Relationship Of Enabled Lies And Hate Politics And The Republican History Which Gave Us Trump

Donald Trump's anti-transgender tweet storm of yesterday has been surprisingly unenthusiastically accepted by even the old far-right of the Republican Party, the "far right" before it took the plunge into actual fascist politics in the Trump era.  When Orrin Hatch speaks up for transgender military people to a Republican president, you know that the Earth has moved.  It has, decidedly, moved backward for groups of people who are not largely and, inaccurately, presented and believed to be white.  That is something which is as obvious, that only to the extent that LGBT people are identified as white are their rights enhanced on an accelerated basis. That's something I've written about before.

I am sure that Donald Trump is, as has been said, trying to throw red meat to his fascist base by sacrificing active soldiers, marines, etc. some of them serving in war zones on active duty, is trying to get himself cover for his attempts to dump Jeff Sessions,  Trump's neo-Confederate Attorney General who would probably love to execute everyone of the LGBT community but who has the priority of reinstalling voter suppression, Jim Crow, prissily going after pot smokers and other measures, first. I'm sure Trump believes he, as Republican politicians, presidential candidates going back to Barry Goldwater*  and Presidents such as Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, can rally the Republican base around some hate issue to his benefit.  Republican politics has made maximum use of hate, increasingly, and you can count on its bright young boys and girls coming up with ever more people to hate and fear for the FOX audience, every election cycle.

I don't think we think enough about the relationship between the Age of Lies and the regime of hate politics but those are intimately related, the regime of hate politics depends, absolutely, on the media being permitted to tell lies with impunity.  I've compared the ACLU's sporatic efforts against the legal results of hate politics to the little boy who tried to hold back the sea by putting his finger into a hole in the dyke, but the ACLU and other "civil liberties" groups are like a little boy who does that even as he drills more holes into the dyke.  Their long standing practice of enabling lies and the liars who tell them is as intimately enabling of hate speech as the billionaires who finance hate-talk politics.  It was the very same "civil libertarian" groups and individual lawyers who supported Buckley v. Valeo and other rulings that made things steadily worse under their first novel, now standard interpretation of the First Amendment.

That the worst of our political figures, the worst of our media titans and the super-rich they serve have benefitted from the monumentally irresponsible and totally idiotic policy of permitting lies and hate talk is proven beyond any rational doubt.  If you want to find out the answer to how, unimaginably, we have a Donald Trump regime in power, that is how it happened.  Anyone who expected what the courts have ruled in that area would produce anything else was a gullible boob. The idea that egalitarian democracy was not properly involved with the suppression of lies and bigotry, that the law and government of a supposed egalitarian democracy was not rightly  smack dab in the business of  promoting the truth and opposing the politics of discrimination and hate and inequality is to totally and fundamentally not understand the reality of the situation.

An egalitarian democracy that does not suppress lies, that does not suppress the kind of hatred that has enabled Donald Trump and which he continues to use as a tool of political advancement and advantage will die in fascism.  Much as the Weimar government and its free wheeling culture in Germany gave rise to Nazism.

I really, truly,  mean that lies and hate-talk have to be disempowered, to be disadvantaged, to be suppressed.   In the case of lies, that can be done by allowing people lied about to sue those who lie about them and to collect damages large enough to discourage the billionaire media owners to lie.  Suppressing both lies and hate-talk propaganda can be done through removing broadcast licenses and making other mass media subject to the same kind of regulatory regime.  I really don't think paper-based, print media would much matter for regulation but, given the supermarket tabloids influence with the stupidest and most sensation seeking of people, largely supporters of Trumpian fascism, they should certainly be subject to libel laws with an interest in suppressing and disempowering lies.  I would rather take my chances on that kind of an effort to protect egalitarian democracy than to rely on the "civil libertarian" theory which has failed and brought us Trump as well as the goon squad that runs the House and Senate and holds a majority on the Supreme Court.  I have become convinced in the last year that there is no choice but to take a chance on that because the theory which has brought us here has such catastrophic results.

*  If I had the funding and time I would like to look at the timeline of Barry Goldwater's campaign use of semi-covert racism in the year 1964 to see if there was any change after the Sullivan decision came down in March of that year.   Luckily, in the wake of the assassination of John Kennedy, it was never really likely that Goldwater would have won the election but he did push the use of veiled racism and an appeal to racists farther.

The Sullivan Decision could have been decided by pointing out that the ad which was sued over didn't mention Sullivan by name so he had no standing to sue, it could have been decided to require that the Times and or those who wrote the ad issue a retraction of the minor errors of fact in the ad or any of a number of other ways that didn't empower the age of lies it started.

Also, about the 1964 Goldwater campaign and what it started, From Jackie Robinson's Memoir

I will never forget the fantastic scene of Governor Rockefeller’s ordeal as he endured what must have been three minutes of hysterical abuse and booing which interrupted his fighting statement which the convention managers had managed to delay until the wee hours of the morning.  Since the telecast was coming from the West Coast, that meant that many people in other sections of the country, because of the time differential, would be in their beds.  I don’t think he has ever stood taller than that night when he refused to be silenced until he had had his say.

It was a terrible hour for the relatively few black delegates who were present.  Distinguished in their communities, identified with the cause of Republicanism, an extremely unpopular cause among blacks, they had been served notice that the party they had fought for considered them just another bunch of “niggers”.  They had no real standing in the convention, no clout.  They were unimportant and ignored.  One bigot from one of the Deep South states actually threw acid on a black delegate’s suit jacket and burned it.  Another one, from the Alabama delegation where I was standing at the time of the Rockefeller speech, turned on me menacingly while I was shouting “C’mon Rocky” as the governor stood his ground.  He started up in his seat as if to come after me.  His wife grabbed his arm and pulled him back.

“Turn him loose, lady, turn him loose,” I shouted.

I was ready for him.  I wanted him badly, but luckily for him he obeyed his wife.

I had been very active on that convention floor.  I was one of those trying to help bring about a united front among the black delegates in the hope of thwarting the Goldwater drive.  George Parker had courageously challenged Goldwater in vain and Edward Brooke had lent his uncompromising sincerity to the convention.  I sat in with them after the nomination as they agonized about what they should do.  Some were for walking out of the convention and even out of the party.  Others felt that, as gloomy as things looked, the wisest idea was to remain within the party and fight.  Throughout the convention, I had been interviewed several times on network television.  When I was asked my opinion of Barry Goldwater, I gave it.  I said I thought he was a bigot.  I added that he was not as important as the forces behind him.  I was genuinely concerned, for instance, about Republican National Committee Chairman William Miller, slated to become the Vice Presidential candidate.  Bill Miller could have become the Agnew of his day if he had been elected.  He was a man who apparently believed you never said a decent thing in political campaigning if you could think of a way to be nasty, insinuating, and abrasive.  What with the columns I had written about Goldwater, The Saturday Evening Post article, and the television and radio interview, I had achieved a great deal of publicity about the way I felt about Goldwater.

Although I know it is the way of politicians to forget their differences and unify around the victor, it disgusted me to see how quickly the various anti-Goldwater GOP kingpins got converted.  Richard Nixon, who hadn’t really fought Goldwater and had in fact been an ally, naturally became one of his most staunch supporters.  You could expect that.  Governor Romney, who had fought the Goldwater concept so vigorously, got religion.  The convert who around the most cynical feelings in my mind was Governor William Scranton.  When Governor Rockefeller had withdrawn from the race, during the primaries, Rockefeller supporters turned to Scranton because he had become the governor’s choice.  At the request of the governor I had a meeting with Scranton in his beautiful home in Pennsylvania.

Governor Scranton welcomed me graciously, introduced me to his family, and conducted me to a veranda where we sat and sipped iced tea.  The governor pledged that he was going to put up a terrific fight against Goldwater.  He expressed his gratitude for Governor Rockefeller’s support and for my agreeing to come to see him.  For at least ten minutes he orated about Barry Goldwater, what a threat Goldwaterism is to the country and the party.  I didn’t ask him for it, but he gave his solemn oath that even if Goldwater won the nomination, he, Bill Scranton, could never conceivably, under any circumstances, support him.  Even if he wanted to, which he said he didn’t, it would be political suicide in his state for him to join a Goldwater bandwagon.  He was unequivocal about this, and months later, when I saw on television how quickly Governor Scranton pledged his loyalty to nominee Goldwater, how eagerly he engaged in some of the most revolting high-level white Uncle Tomism I’ve ever seen – fawning on Goldwater and vigorously campaigning for him around the country – I had to wonder if this was, indeed, the same man who had nearly sworn on the Bible that he could never do what he was doing.

I wish I could find video of the appearance on the Les Crane show where Robinson and Shelley Winters ganged up on William F. Buckley, which Robinson described at the end of that chapter.  It sounds like it was probably a lot more interesting than Buckley's set to with Vidal a few years later.

Update:  Here's a description of the show.

#694: LES CRANE SHOW, THE NEW
1964-08-04, WABC, 22 min.
Jackie Robinson, Les Crane, Barry Goldwater, Shelley Winters, William F. Buckley Jr., Lyndon B. Johnson

It's a heated discussion about Presidential Candidate Barry Goldwater with guests Jackie Robinson, Shelley Winters and William F. Buckley Jr. The program is interrupted for 8 minutes by an ABC News Bulletin from the White House. President Lyndon B. Johnson talks to the American People concerning the Gulf of Tonkin attack and USA intervention. Prior to resuming "The Les Crane Show," the network plays "The National Anthem," a patriotic gesture of the era.

14 comments:

  1. "Much as the Weimar government and its free
    wheeling culture in Germany gave rise to Nazism."

    Absolutely. It was all the fault of the real life slut who Isherwood based Sally Bowles on.

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  2. Simelsism on display, distort something that someone says into a form that the simple mind of Simels can process in a predictable way.

    You really don't get how time happens, do you, Simps, things that come after were the result of what happened before, especially when they happen in the same place and among the same people. Just how permissive were they in your first-grade years? They must have pioneered social promotion to an extreme, something Trump benefitted from at about the same time and in the same area.

    I think Eschaton has devolved into a sort of sheltered workshop of people who can't process such relationships with the occasional three sentence post complaining about the obvious, such as that self-driving cars are likely going to be the South Sea Bubble or Tulip Mania of our time. Though I now see Duncan is writing blurby book reports. Nice to see the once promising young blogger is busying himself with something. I used to think he showed some promise, now I see him as a preening narcissist. Probably why he likes you or at least isn't annoyed with you.

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    1. What can only be described now as a Trumpian sensibility.

      Or maybe Moochian; although that's just a derivative of Trump.

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  3. Funny how there was no mention of centuries of Christian European anti-Semitism in your explanation for the rise of the Nazis.

    Actually, it's not funny at all -- it's pathologically bigoted.

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    1. The funny thing is, Simps, that the Nazis were overtly anti-Christian, they had to try to turn Jesus from the Jew he was into an Aryan (I'll post a video which is going to be too long to hold your attention, so I don't expect you'll watch it).

      And, like it or not Simps, the Berlin night-life milieu which was supposed to be such a great expression of freedom was also an anti-Christian manifestation. They certainly weren't following the commandments of Jesus, the teachings of the Prophets or the Mosaic Law.

      And, dopey, whatever connection there is between "centuries of Christian European anti-Semitism" would have had to have gotten to 1933 through the Weimar years. That's how time works, dopey.

      Have you ever done any more than watch Cabaret and skim through Berlin Diary? I know you didn't actually read Shirer's book because you have misrepresented it so often, I don't recall you ever citing anything else on the topic. You really should have read something after your last high school study hall.

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  4. “Republican politics has made maximum use of hate”

    It’s unfortunate that the Democratic politics appears of late to feel it necessary to follow their lead. There is ample documentation of what can happen when people are encouraged to hate the haters, and coupling that with abuses that come with the inversion of power...

    "If you want to find out the answer to how, unimaginably, we have a Donald Trump regime in power, that is how it happened."

    Trump was elected for many reasons, but to deny the role extremist elements on the left played in that is to demonstrate that there are none so blind.

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    1. I'm not exactly sure of what you mean, if you mean that Democrats are as bad as Republicans, in general, I can't agree at all. There are no Democratic members of the house who can compete with the "freedom caucus" for extremist evil, there are no Democratic or Independent Senators who can compare with Mitch McConnell, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, or, until recently, Jeff Sessions.

      If you mean what I call the histrionic, dramatic play-left and its role in enabling the election of even some of the worst Republicans, I've certainly not held back in my criticism of them. If you mean just the would be intellectual elite and its snobbishness, I've been as hard on them.

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    2. But I think we'd disagree on what the "dramatic play-left" is.

      I would certainly put the SPLC and their decision to label the ADF a "hate group" as being a part of neither of the groups you mentioned but in that extremist element that encourages anyone except those who believe Bernie Sanders too conservative to hesitate before they pull the lever.

      I meet too many young people especially who seem to think '1984' is a book about a good system of government, just in the wrong hands.

      Ay caramba, indeed.

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    3. I certainly think the "Alliance Defending Freedom" is a hate group and that the SPLC is justified in listing them as one.

      Bernie Sanders unfortunately attracted a lot of the play-left around his campaign, I thought his candidacy would probably devolve into something like it did and thought his decision to run as a means of pushing the issues that are important was misguided from before he actually announced. I will say that the Sanders campaign and its support in the lefty magazines, blogs, etc. has only reinforced the criticism I've made of them for years, the insistence on the writers, editors, publishers, etc. who were generally white people, upper middle-class to affluent in their backgrounds, many who don't' have to worry about Medicaid or food stamps or what the Trump presidency will do to them on the basis of their race.

      And I've come to the conclusion that the kind of anti-democratic government all belongs in one category, fascist, Nazi, Marxist, Leninist, Stalinist, Maoist, etc. and that it is what any real left has to oppose. I think the real American left, the left that ever had any chance or right to win power, got duped by Marxists of various sorts and, over the past century, they have done more to prevent progress than the far right has. The discrediting of the egalitarian-democratic left is the only success of the Marxists and anarchists and other assorted members of the play left, that and the tragi-comic infighting among themselves, Swift's big-littlendian struggle come to life.

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  5. "I certainly think the 'Alliance Defending Freedom' is a hate group and that the SPLC is justified in listing them as one."

    ...and that is one reason why Trump won.

    Let me be clear. I, and virtually every reasonable-minded person I know, thinks a couple no matter the sex combination has the right to get married under the banner of the law. I know many Trump voters who feel this way.

    But, many of those same people are horrified (as was I, a Clinton-Kaine voter) to see those same people, now with the legal right to call their relationship a marriage, engage in unnecessary and wasteful litigation with people whose religious beliefs are not compatible with that when they refuse to bake their cake, or take their pictures, or arrange their flowers.

    Using social media to bring attention to persons like this? I have no objection. But I would argue many reasonable people do find the use of the courts over what are, and lets not pretty up such petty behavior, "hurt feelings" lawsuits to be a step in the wrong direction. These are not small claims filings for a few hundred dollars. People's livelihoods are being destroyed by this nonsense.

    So, no, I don't think offering those people a legal defense makes them a "hate group" anymore than I think (as many do in this milieu) that being of an oppressed group prevents you from ever being a narcissistic, vindictive bully.

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    1. The "Alliance Defending Freedom" is a vicious anti-LGBT group with extreme stands which promotes lying stereotypes. It is a hate group.

      I would bet you that at least 95% of Trump voters have never heard of the ADF. As we've been reminded in the last two days since his anti-Transgender tweets, during the campaign Trump posed as someone who supported LGBT rights.

      It's no more unreasonable for LGBT people to demand equal rights to public accommodations than it is for any other group, including those covered by the Civil Rights Act. People who conduct public business are engaged in commerce and are liable to coverage by civil rights laws. Just as people whose marriages were illegal under racist laws had a right to the equality of their committed relationships had a right to marriage equality. Personally, I would like to see the government, at all levels, out of the marriage business, recognizing only a civil union. Marriage, in so far as the state has any legitimate role is in the contractual aspects of it. The marriage act is personal and religious, it is not something the state should be involved in. But unless that distinction is made the state should not be able to discriminate against people in a committed relationship if their spouse happens to be of the same sex. I don't see any reason that a long-term, committed, faithful same-sex relationship should enjoy a lower status than a 9 day "marriage" dissolved in divorce or some other farce of a heterosexual marriage. I have made a criticism of gay men who claim that gay marriage shouldn't be expected to be faithful because they are claiming a status for gay marriages that is inferior to the best of heterosexual marriages.

      Unless you are LGBT, I think you're going to have to take my word for it when I say that when I read the statements and history of the ADF, it's obvious that it is a hate group.

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  6. "I would bet you that at least 95% of Trump voters have never heard of the ADF. As we've been reminded in the last two days since his anti-Transgender tweets, during the campaign Trump posed as someone who supported LGBT rights."

    And that five percent is enough to swing an election.

    "It's no more unreasonable for LGBT people to demand equal rights to public accommodations than it is for any other group, including those covered by the Civil Rights Act."

    I can promise you. Guarantee. Swear on every holy book imaginable, that there were other bakers, photographers and florists in those communities that would happily and painlessly provided that service to those couples. That was not what they wanted. They wanted blood, and used the courts to get it. Woe to those who call evil good and good evil.

    "Personally, I would like to see the government, at all levels, out of the marriage business, recognizing only a civil union."

    I concur.

    "I don't see any reason that a long-term, committed, faithful same-sex relationship should enjoy a lower status than a 9 day "marriage" dissolved in divorce or some other farce of a heterosexual marriage."

    If my friend, who is White, and his wife, who is Mexican/Indian, were not allowed to purchase a cake from a baker because they didn't believe in the races mixin', I can promise you they would have made a point about this on her Facebook. They would have taken their business to another and sent the denier a receipt of purchase. They would have sent them a list of all their wedding guests informing them of business they were losing because of their attitudes.

    They would NEVER have taken it to a court. Because time can change minds but judges just make rulings.

    "I have made a criticism of gay men who claim that gay marriage shouldn't be expected to be faithful because they are claiming a status for gay marriages that is inferior to the best of heterosexual marriages."

    Agreed. If you wish to have the same benefits you cannot ignore the responsibilities.

    "Unless you are LGBT, I think you're going to have to take my word for it when I say that when I read the statements and history of the ADF, it's obvious that it is a hate group."

    I will read for myself, but I will insist that don't believe people who views I might disagree with should be dismissed from their jobs for holding them, and I do know the ADF assists these people, who are not wealthy, but often engage in court with virtue-signaling, press hungry litigators who care as much as about reasoned discussion and fairness as I do Wimbledon. Behavior and thought are two different things, as conflating the two is an easy route to hell.

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    1. It doesn't matter if there were other bakers, etc. when someone offers a public accommodation - public service - for pay, they are obligated to offer those services on an equal basis. If we were discussing the rights of racial or religious minority group members you would not make that argument no matter how many other bakers, etc. were available. And, though city folk might find it hard to believe, there are places in the country where there is not a choice of more than one baker, etc. available.

      For professed Christians to make that distinction for same-sex marriages but to not make them, for example, in the case of divorced, remarried straight people is hypocritical because that is a marriage defined by Jesus as an adulterous one. As a gay man I am impressed at how relatively easily straight people decided that unambiguous scripture wasn't really something they needed to take seriously while pressing the far more ambiguous verses from Paul and Leviticus which don't imagine such a thing as a committed, faithful, same-sex relationship. Personally, I think the one in Leviticus was probably a prohibition on anal sex, the author of that verse probably being what in modern terms is a straight guy who didn't have any but an uninformed knowledge of how what is now now called gay men did and the range of those and the moral character of those. I take what is my understanding of a common Masorti view of that, and that is based on the physical pain and damage that is involved with the act. It is certainly unhygienic and a known vector of serious and fatal diseases. And, by far, on the basis of how many straight people as opposed to gay men in the world, the vast majority of anal sex is heterosexual.

      I would imagine your last part of this is an indication that you are concerned with academics who are dismissed on the basis of expressing opposition to LGBT equality or something. I have not written about that because I really haven't thought much about it. I would say it might depend on what is said and the degree and character of the opposition. I would wonder if you would say the same thing about an academic who promoted scientific racism, Nazi style antisemitism (I can think of a couple of evolutionary psychologists who certain have done that as science to little or no opposition of their colleagues). Some of the things said by the ADF and other American anti-LGBT groups are fully as depraved as anything any Nazi said. Some of them holding academic positions, some of them pretending what they said was a matter of science.

      I don't particularly have a positive view of a group which promotes a truly hateful agenda through seemingly sympathetic proxies.

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  7. I think you’re mistaking my opposition to using the courts in this manner as a show of support for their refusal to perform the service. If a racial or religious minority were subject to the same treatment it would not make me more supportive of their crusade. A squeaky wheel needs grease, not to be thrown away.

    I would also like to note myriad voices on the left insisted such situations, when presented hypothetically as a reason some of the right did not support same-sex marriage, were told that was never going to happen and such hysterical imaganing was nothing but a thinly veiled excuse for prejudice.

    Then, once it did happen, those same voices insisted, “Well, those people deserve to be sued!” Such a transition worried me.

    “And, though city folk might find it hard to believe, there are places in the country where there is not a choice of more than one baker, etc. available.”

    But was that the case here, or did they just have hurt feelings and want to exact some measure of revenge via the courts? Aquinas offers three ways to determine the morality of any act: 1) the act itself, 2) the context, and 3) the motivation. It is, to paraphrase Eliot, very easy to do the right thing for the wrong reason.

    “For professed Christians to make that distinction for same-sex marriages but to not make them, for example, in the case of divorced, remarried straight people is hypocritical because that is a marriage defined by Jesus as an adulterous one.”

    I’m not disagreeing with this. Nor would I exclude marriages to “trophy wives” that are much more business arrangements. If Trump got divorced and married Ivanka I doubt they’d turn down a huge offer from him to bake their cake. Though based on Trump’s reputation he probably wouldn’t pay.

    “As a gay man I am impressed at how relatively easily straight people decided that unambiguous scripture wasn't really something they needed to take seriously while pressing the far more ambiguous verses from Paul and Leviticus which don't imagine such a thing as a committed, faithful, same-sex relationship.”

    Again, we agree. I believe it was the late Peter Gomes who pointed out Jesus knew what made us uncomfortable because he talks so little about sex compared to how often he talks about money.

    And as a straight men, I can assure you I’ve committed fornication many times in my heart.

    “I would wonder if you would say the same thing about an academic who promoted scientific racism, Nazi style antisemitism (I can think of a couple of evolutionary psychologists who certain have done that as science to little or no opposition of their colleagues).”

    For the record, yes. I’m a librarian, and I believe that regulating and policing thought is to be avoided at all costs because “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?” The problem with “academics” promoting theories is that our culture encourages worship of intellects instead of encouraging people to use their own. I think this a much bigger problem than the details of their devilish proclamations.

    So, yes, Robert Faurisson had the right to offer an insanely uninformed and heartless perspective, but I think making a martyr of him promotes, rather than discourages, such behavior.

    You know how I feel about anti-Stratfordianism, but I certainly wouldn't prevent those materials from entering my library no matter how much I disagree with them.

    And it's a LOT.

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