Thursday, February 23, 2017

- Jonah Goldberg's Leftist Appeasement

In regard to the Milo dis-invitation from CPAC, and his tendency to use identity politics as cover to say things that are ‘racist’ and ‘ant-Semitic’, Jonah Goldberg yesterday wrote:

These are the kinds of arguments a coalition accepts when it has lost its moral moorings and cares only about “winning.”

We didn’t lose our moral moorings Jonah, we threw away the words we use to describe them when it became clear that those words had lost their meaning. When you say racist you mean one thing, and when liberals say it (and they say it a lot more than you so they are the ones who define it’s common meaning) it means something else entirely. For some reason, you simply refuse to see that your audience thinks you mean something completely different than I think you intend.

When a liberal calls something racist, they mean white or conservative, depending on whom they say it to. The charges of racism and sexism have continually morphed from an indictment of acts, to an indictment of intentions, to a steady state phenomenon possessed by all white people who refuse to prostrate themselves before the altar of liberalism. Even a liberal can be a racist now if he won’t ‘declare his privilege’ up front like the defendant in a perverse kangaroo court. And when you lob that accusation, particularly when you do so without specifics cited, you do nothing but accidentally carry their water for them.

This is very disturbing to me because I’m a great admirer of your writing and more broadly, your thinking. I believe you’re a highly intelligent man with a genuine wit – a potentially devastating combination in the culture war. But to me when you complain of racism, sexism, or anti-Semitism, I don’t get the message I think you mean to send. I get the one that liberals intend for those words – just like everyone else does.

Culture is upstream of politics right Jonah? Well you’re much further down stream than you think. You’re down here in the lowlands with the swamps and the bayous, and the animals down here can be nasty and poisonous. This is no clear mountain spring or babbling brook anymore. The left has pushed all of us into a political world of personal attack, personal invective, and personal assassination of character.

But you keep acting like you can take the high road and persuade through reason and rationality. That isn’t what persuades Americans anymore. We gave up on it when our Academics gave up thinking for feeling, and chose indoctrination over the free exchange of ideas. Milton Friedman, who has long been a hero of mine, in “Free to choose said: “We are all a product of the thinking of the day”. Well what are our academics thinking now Jonah? And when you look right and talk about 'racism' 'sexism' and 'anti-semitism', what exactly are you really saying?

I get the impression that you think you’re writing to some future audience instead of your readers for today. You’re complaining about ‘Racism” for the readers of 2060 who you imagine will look back on your work and praise your wisdom for keeping your wits about you while all around are losing theirs. They’ll see you as a beacon of sanity in an insane time. But to detach yourself from your audience that way… is to detach yourself from your audience. Instead of making America better now, you are leaving the field. And if you’re leaving the field, why should I bother reading you?

And forgive me Jonah, but I don’t think the future you imagine is ever going to happen unless we engage in the arguments of today. The academic world needs to be changed. And it isn’t going to change so long as the self appointed paragons of conservative thinking refuse to change it because they’re worried about their audience of the future. In that regard and as offensive as you find him, Milo got it right and you are getting it very, very wrong.

With regard to anti-Semitism, I’m not anti-Semitic. I have thousands of posts here, millions of words, and I defy you or anyone else to find something I’ve said that meets that criteria, that wasn’t an extremely obvious joke. Humor in my mind can be offensive, but it has to be funny enough to be clear otherwise you can give genuine offense and do more damage than you intend. A great number of the alt-right 4channers and Milo himself, may not be very funny, and I’m not thrilled about that personally. But the serious thinkers of the alt-right have no antipathy for the Jews. And beyond some online nastiness, there is no “there”, there in the alt-right.

So please – recognize that the world of today is different than you would prefer. Recognize that the common meaning of the words you use has changed. Recognize that the rules of cultural engagement have been changed by the left. And if you can’t accept and embrace that fact, at least stop beating us on the head for it.

There is something to be said for positive cultural outcomes, even if you don’t like the means by which they’re made. Call it cultural sausage making. You’re going to eat the sausage if you live in this culture, so if you won’t help stir, then at least get out of the kitchen and leave the hard work to others.

I’m convinced that the changes the alt-right seeks will lead to a better, safer, more stable and less confrontational world for everyone, than the one we live in now. And by everyone I mean black, white, red, brown, Jew, Gentile, and Muslim. But for right now, today, I’m convinced that emotional shock, emotional attack, and emotional appeal is the only thing that can push back on modern leftism with any effectiveness. They’ve stopped listening to reason, so giving them more of it only feeds the alligator.

And look, I know I'm an amateur. I know I don't write as well as you professionals and that you can slice and dice this to take me apart if you want to. But I also know enough about communication to know when my broader message is getting across and when it isn't. And I think it would be a wonderful thing if you NR folks would begin to at least try to do the same.

2 comments:

MikeCLT said...

I can understand Conservative or Republican opposition to Trump in the primaries and maybe even up to the election. Trump is not my ideal of a president and I think he has many glaring faults. The boys at NR were right to point them out.

But once he was elected I cannot understand Conservative opposition to him. Don't they realize that in the public mind, GOP and Conservative are the same? If Trump fails they will be tarred with his failure by the media and the public as surely as if they had carried his banner since he announced for the presidency. Go figure.

Tom said...

And I can completely understand the argument that CPAC shouldn't have Milo as a speaker with or without the big deep state 'reveal'.

But I'm sick to death of having people who should be my allies in every respect as far as policy and outcomes, call me something that no more applies to me than them, and carrying water for leftists in the process. You want to call me a racist? Fucking fine, tell me what a racist is then. If all it means is that I haven't knelt before you and disavowed my white privilege, then you're goddamned right I'm a racist, and fuck you for saying so. If it means I dream of camps and ovens with crying jewish children being helplessly loaded into the gas chambers, then I'm no goddamned racist, and fuck you for saying so.

Either way if you're calling me a racist, explain what you mean or leave me alone about it.