Russia Used Identity Politics Against Us

Interesting angle with some valid points by Greenwald on this vulnerability:

Here’s a newsflash for progressives who think the Russians undermined the 2016 election via social media: Your obsession with identity politics did a lot of the work.

Judging from new (and old) reports about Russia’s propaganda campaign, it seems that Moscow put the most effort into stoking discontent among identity-mad leftists in hopes that they would turn away from the political process and not vote. Progressives divided. Moscow conquered.

Source: Russia Used Identity Politics Against Us

The ‘Intersectionality’ Trap: Rothman | Commentary

While Noah Rothman mischaracterizes intersectionality – it can be used in an ideological or non-ideological manner – there is some merit is his critique of how the left, just as the right, overlooks the ‘sins’ of some of their supporters or advocates:

Republicans didn’t always scoff dismissively at the self-destructive, reactionary, fractious collection of malcontents who call themselves The Resistance. The hundreds of thousands who marched in the streets following Donald Trump’s election once honestly unnerved the GOP. This grassroots energy culminated in January’s Women’s March, a multi-day event in which nearly two million people mobilized peacefully and, most importantly, sympathetically in opposition to the president. It was the perfect antidote to the violent anti-Trump demonstrations that typified Inauguration Day, and it might have formed the nucleus of a politically potent movement. The fall of the Women’s March exposes the blight weakening the left and crippling the Democratic Party.

The fever sapping Trump’s opposition was evident in microcosm on Monday in the meltdown of the Women’s March’s social-media presence on Twitter. “Happy birthday to the revolutionary #AssataShakur,” the organization wrote, dedicating the day’s resistance-related activities in her “honor.” Shakur is perhaps better known as Joanne Chesimard, the name that appeared on the court documents in connection with her being tried and convicted of eight felonies, including the execution-style murder of a New Jersey State Trooper. She currently resides in communist Cuba, a fugitive from American justice.

The outrage that followed the Women’s March’s endorsement of a cop-killer, exile, and unrepentant black nationalist was such that the organization was compelled to explain itself. “[T]his is not to say that #AssataShakur has never committed a crime, and not to endorse all of her actions,” the group flailed. “We say this to demonstrate the ongoing history of government [and] right-wing attempts to criminalize and discredit political activists.” This fanatical display of befuddlement perfectly encapsulates the logic of “intersectionality.” It demonstrates why this vogue ideology shackles its devotees to doomed causes and sinking ships.

“Intersectionality,” the beast born in liberal hothouses on college campuses, slouches now toward the halls of power. It is a Marxist notion that all discrimination is linked because it is rooted in the unjust power structures that facilitate inequality. Therefore, there are no distinct struggles against prejudice. Class, race, gender, sexual identity; these and other signifiers are bound together by the fact that oppression is institutional and systemic. The problem with this ideology is it compels its adherents to abandon discretion. To sacrifice anyone with a claim to oppression is to forsake every victim of prejudice. So, sure, Assata Shakur robbed, assaulted, incited violence, and killed a cop. But she also hates capitalism and white supremacy. Therefore, she’s one of us.

It is this logic that has rendered the “Sister Souljah moment” a relic of the past, and The Resistance is drowning in Sister Souljahs.

One of the March organizers, Linda Sarsour, has enjoyed newfound popularity and legitimacy in the age of Trump. She is a self-styled organizer for civil rights and the Muslim-American community of which she is a part, and she’s been acclaimed by organizations like the ACLU and Demos. Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand described Sarsour and her colleagues as “the suffragists of our time.” In return for this lavish praise, Sarsour has only forced her defenders into awkward positions.

Sarsour has praised Saudi Arabia’s social welfare state as appropriate compensation for stripping women of privileges such as driving a car. “I wish I could take their vaginas away,” she wroteof women like the Somali-born Dutch-American activist and genital-mutilation victim Ayaan Hirsi Ali. “You’ll know when you’re living under Sharia Law if suddenly all your loans [and] credit cards become interest-free. Sound nice, doesn’t it?” she asked. While delivering the keynote address to a Muslim-American conference, Sarsour advocated “jihad” against Donald Trump, defining the term to mean only speaking truth to power. Rather than admonish their political ally for this obvious indiscretion, the American left went to the mattresses to explain that only they understand the true meaning of the word “jihad.”

For some on the left, advocating violence is not only justified but fashionable. Misanthropic so-called “anti-Fascist” activists like Shanta Driver and Yvette Felarca have become a ubiquitous presence in pro-Resistance mythology. People like Driver advocate for “militant actions” while Felarca appears at the head of armed mobs “resisting” the white supremacist alt-right “by any means necessary” (which happens to be the name of the organization to which she belongs). For this “activism,” these and other “anti-fa” organizers are feted by left-wing magazines like Mother Jones and The Huffington Post.

Amid the celebration of left-wing political violence, a man who had been radicalized by liberal politics attempted the mass assassination of Republican members of Congress. Far from dwelling on this potentially generation-defining attack, the event passed through the national consciousness like an apparition. We don’t talk about that now. Perhaps we don’t want to think about what it might portend.

None of these individuals have roots in Democratic politics so deep that they cannot be deracinated relatively painlessly. Indeed, their counterproductive behavior would compel any competent political operation to make an example or two—particularly an operation struggling to demonstrate that it can be trusted again to govern seriously and effectively. Yet the Democratic Party and the liberals who animate it have come under the spell of a philosophy that explicitly forbids the exorcism of its demons.

Republicans have their devils, too. The excision of which may not seem a terribly urgent project today, given the GOP’s political dominance. They will confront that crisis soon enough. In the interim, Democrats should be remaking themselves to appeal to the existing electorate; the one that delivered to the GOP near total control of state and federal government over just six years. Instead, Democrats are voluntarily yoking themselves to their most radical elements even as the number of Americans who describe the party as “too extreme” continues to climb.

Republicans may have their troubles, but a competent opposition is not among them. 

Source: The ‘Intersectionality’ Trap | commentary

The Times’ Idea of Lagging Diversity | commentary

Even though I value the reporting and commentary of the New York Times, valid to point out the contradiction:

In today’s New York Times, there is a front-page article on the new Chairman of Carnegie Hall, Robert F. Smith. Mr. Smith, who made his fortune in software, ranks #268 on the Forbes 400 list, is worth $2.5 billion, and is the country’s richest African-American after Oprah Winfrey.

The Times noted with characteristic snooty disapproval that, with his new appointment, Smith “became the first African-American to hold the post at a time when diversity at leading cultural organizations lags — a recent survey of New York’s cultural institutions found that nearly 78 percent of their board members were white.”

Given the fact that board members of major cultural institutions such as concert halls and museums are expected, along with performing their duties, to write major checks every year, 78 percent white doesn’t seem so disproportionate. However much racial diversity has improved in most of American life, the very, very rich are still mostly white. That can’t be changed by government fiat (although I hate to give the Obama administration any bright ideas). It will take a couple of generations before the Forbes 400 List “looks like America.”

I wondered what percentage of the New York Times editorial board was white, but have found its membership strangely hard to track down on the Internet (the Wall Street Journal editorial board is here). So I looked up the membership of the New York Times Board of Directors instead. It’s over 91 percent white. The top executive team is likewise more than 91 percent white.

As usual with the Times, it seems, it’s do as we say not as we do.

Source: The Times’ Idea of Lagging Diversity | commentary

“Because It’s 2015” | Commentary magazine

The neocons at Commentary fret over ‘because it’s 2015’.

Wonder what they would have said if Lincoln had stated when slavery was abolished ‘because it’s 1865’?

On Wednesday in Ottawa, Justin Trudeau was sworn in as Canadian prime minister. He wasted no time in announcing his newly chosen cabinet of exactly 15 men and 15 women, which fulfilled a campaign pledge he’d made about gender equality. One reporter asked Trudeau why the perfect male-female split was so important to him. The prime minster’s response: “Because it’s 2015.”

It sure is. Back in the pre-identity Dark Ages, leaders of representative democracies felt obliged to cite principles or aims in explaining policy to citizens. Today they cite trends.

One problem with trends is that they go as quickly as they come. As Trudeau is sure to find out, his 50-50-gender cabinet is already passé. Where does it leave those Canadians who don’t identify as either male or female? Tell the prime minister the 1990s called. It wants its social justice back.

That’s only a practical challenge. Trudeau can pick up a full-time gendermetrician to carve up the grievance pie and reconfigure his cabinet with each newly pronounced identity.

There are deeper problems. “Because it’s 2015” kills debate, which is the lifeblood of free societies and, ironically, of social evolution. “Because it’s 2015” is a witless claim to absolute prerogative. It dresses up dogma in the finery of historical truth and casts off inquiry as another freshly uncovered offense against progress.

Source: Because It’s 2015 | commentary

Anti-Semitism Should Not Be Criminalized « Commentary Magazine

Commentary magazine on the dangers of criminalizing hate-speech and antisemitism. It was always interesting to listen to the US delegation at the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance explain the US First Amendment, to general scepticism of the other countries, largely European but that like Canada, had hate speech laws or equivalent.

But in general, agree that antisemitism and other forms of racism and discrimination need to be defeated by society, and what is considered acceptable discourse, to have more widespread impact:

But those ideas–when they remain ideas, and not battlefield cries–should be defeated by a society, not outlawed by the government. Jailing anti-Semites for their opinions won’t reduce anti-Semitism. Incarceration can deter action, but it’s unlikely to alleviate grievance, and anyway it is an unjust method of changing minds. The same goes for the government banning “comedians” whose act offends basic notions of decency.

It’s also worth reminding the Jews of Europe that their religious beliefs contain ideas that the modern secular left consider offensive as well. They may find that a heavyhanded government enforcing a standard of righteous thought is on their side this time. If they think it will stay that way, then they, too, have unlearned the lessons of the past.

Anti-Semitism Should Not Be Criminalized « Commentary Magazine.

Don’t Strand the Holocaust in History « Commentary Magazine

One side of the debate on the proper place of the Holocaust in today’s context.

Don’t Strand the Holocaust in History « Commentary Magazine.