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Yes, something like this is going on in the leftist algorithm. But similar algorithms are running in right wing worldviews - for that matter, almost any ideology based concept of social relations.

Generally, its a rejection of universalist morality - a single standard based on the equality of souls, or human rights or whatever - in favor of a double or multiple standards based on affinity groups and "friend/enemy" morality. This kind of thinking is left/right agnostic.

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Sometimes things are used a lot because they are effective.

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deletedApr 17, 2023·edited Apr 17, 2023
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I don't think the writing here is either clumsy or tired.

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Remember, the point is to get to the final payoff--that killer last paragraph.

To reach there in a logical fashion you have to demonstrate the numerous inconsistencies and insanities of this world view. The set up is showing all the internal contradictions and that has to happen so that the reader (essentially) asks, even unconsciously, how could anyone believe this garbage?

But the problem is for a significant segment of the readership is that they are familiar with the garbage. You're not educating anybody about the insane contradictions in woke thought--almost everyone is going to be familiar with that now. So any rehashing of those fallacies (which again, is necessary for that final payoff) is going to invariably feel tired to some because the underlying subject matter is at this point very familiar.

It's not an easy conundrum to overcome, especially on deadline.

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Apr 17, 2023·edited Apr 17, 2023

When the PMC say "Defund The Police!" what they mean is "take money away from the undeserving (blue-collar collar unionized cops, most of whom do not have Serious College Degrees and are famously unwoke, besides) and give to the deserving (white collar non-unionized degreed social workers who can be counted on to uphold the most up to the minute tenets of Political Correctness).

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Apr 17, 2023·edited Apr 17, 2023

I didn't say anti-union, I said non-unionized.

Most PMC types will pay lip service to unions, workers' rights and all that, but that is all.

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Firefighters, guards and police were in different and better supported unions. They had much better retirement, and I think health care. It may have changed, or be different in different parts of the country.

I agree about the social worker analogy. Those that worked for government were in PERS...maybe STRS if they worked in schools.

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No, you are reading into my statement something that I did not write.

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Look at it as a class issue. I've explained previously.

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Surprisingly, the three cops I know all have bachelors in Criminal Justice. One earned it in the 70s, one in the 80s, one two years ago.

But that doesn't fit into the mindset.

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My words: "most of whom do not have Serious College Degrees...."

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I'm rather of the opinion that CJ is a fairly serious degree. Studying the US Penal Code is serious work. I've sat in the library whilst students were studying for finals in intro to CJ. They were reciting the letter of the law on the definition of crimes.

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Either way only about 30% of police (from what I can find) have a four year degree.

Right after Trump got elected there was an editorial going around from the HBR that pointed out that policing offered a way for blue collar workers to achieve financial stability. For that reason a job in law enforcement isn't viewed by blue collar families in the same negative light as among the woke, college educated crowd. See for example the Texas border counties that are both overwhelmingly Hispanic and overwhelmingly pro-law enforcement because CBP is one of the biggest employers in that part of the country.

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For better or worse, rightly or wrongly, CJ isn't seen as serious. It's like majoring in phys. ed..

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Personally not a fan of sock-puppet theater. Hard for dialogues not to end up this way; after all the author invariably is on one particular side of the issue. But when it shakes out this way it's hard to see what's gained from it, writing wise, over simply presenting your argument the ordinary way. At the risk of offering unwanted advice, had I written this, I would have started out making the defunder a bit more nuanced and the reformer a bit less. The former could take much more seriously just how brutal the American criminal justice system is, the latter could be much more dismissive of that aspect. That would be a fairly realistic conversation in my experience. You could still take it to where you want to take it but could better highlight the moral instincts at work and end up with something that would be IMO much more persuasive. Otherwise you might as well just write a straight polemic; that would be better even just from an entertainment point of view.

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I didn't write this to be an evenhanded demonstration of the other side's perspective; the point is to satirize and mock. The fact that you commented literally five minutes after this hits your inbox, with no time at all for reflection, suggests that perhaps the person who needs to think more deeply is you. Go play white knight someplace else.

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Yeah, there’s something a bit more concrete in the last two little thesis paragraphs, but the rest seems ... cheap. Whatever, I’m just used to better quality arguments on the same point here. I’m not pulling my sub or anything, it’s just a thumbs down on this one.

I get that the professionalized nopro police abolitionist crowd is especially frustrating. Iunno, I’ll look forward to tomorrow’s entry ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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Fair enough. But again, my critique's mainly literary, not political. I think from a writing perspective you'd have gotten more laughs out of straight polemic. Read that last block of text from A and tell me seriously that you think that lands humor writing-wise. I don't think there's anything heroic about offering criticism of someone's writing in their comments section, so I'm not sure how it's playing white knight especially, but I'll keep in mind you're not into that sort of feedback in the future. As you were.

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Apr 17, 2023·edited Apr 17, 2023

"Liberal Currents guy feels seen and targeted by a satirical post and goes on to show his ass by replying with a 'literary critique' in which he insists that his own humiliation is actually not funny" LMFAO

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I'm not a defund guy :) But I can see why someone who has to project sock-puppets to argue with would enjoy the above dialogue.

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"So my politics have been bolted together in a horribly awkward process of absorbing which opinions are least likely to get me screamed at…" remind you of anyone??

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Does it give you great satisfaction to assume this is me you're describing? Perhaps you ought not to bolt your assumptions about a person together based on whether or not they have enjoyed 100% of the same writings that you enjoy.

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For an alternate perspective I thought the whole thing was delicious and the final confession doubly so. The idiocy we are seeing right now is what happens when you take unserious people seriously.

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Did you have some point that you were trying to make? Or were you trying (and failing miserably) to be witty?

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Is that last block of text supposed to be humorous though?

I would say that the fundamental tragedy of our times is that deeply unserious people need to be viewed as thoughtful to maintain a certain level of social prestige. Understandably their internal framework, to the extent that it exists at all, is a mess and there is no sense of proportionality or consistency to constrain them from adopting one ludicrous position after another.

Is that funny, or tragic? I suppose it's comic if your tastes run dark enough.

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I see what you mean. Lots of other pieces are basically "I wish other leftists didn't act as though their point were so obviously right that they could just mock and sneer the other viewpoints from on high", and this one is just a straightforward "lol, look at the dumb defunders with obviously wrong views to be mocked".

Today's post is some good old fashioned sneering does remind me of the old atheism "debunk theology with fictional conversations, ending with an epic slam dunk" days, and I don't think I would have reflected on the inconsistency without your comment.

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Could you share some of your humor writing that demonstrates the proper way to get laughs?

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For what it’s worth, the dialogue form is not dead, and may even be due for a comeback. I think you pull it off well.

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If you were to live in a city like Boston and follow the musings of its political leadership you would see this as dead on accurate. Happy to engage in another forum.

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Can confirm, sadly.

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Not that I doubt it, but could I trouble you for a link to a particularly representative/cringey example?

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Apr 17, 2023·edited Apr 17, 2023

I have many but this topic was one good example. Motorcycle and ATV riders were running roughshod across urban neighborhoods (common in a lot of cities) and yet they had some electeds step up to defend them even though those most impacted were black and brown and disadvantaged. https://commonwealthmagazine.org/criminal-justice/holmes-says-residents-surrounding-franklin-park-deserve-respect-and-quiet/

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The plague of illegal dirtbike and ATV joyriding is a longstanding problem in Providence, too, and of course, the city government has gone all in on the inane PMC talking points about crime and punishment, which naturally, simply led to more brazen crimes committed with impunity.

Same response as in Boston: "this situation is terrible, we should do SOMETHING ... unless it looks like we're enforcing laws, or something"

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Take a look at yesterday's comments from Chicago's mayor-elect in the wake of a night of downtown mayhem. Apparently, we may not demonize the offenders as they are young and bored and the victims of a lifetime of oppression. No doubt doubling-down on "youth programs" and empty community centers (paid for with the fruits of police defunding) will do the trick. Problem solved.

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My wife and I were staying at a hotel a block from Millennium Park in downtown Chicago Saturday night when, out of the blue, hundreds of teenagers and lots of cops showed up. We were wondering what was up.

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In addition to the comment below look at the insanity in Chicago. A similar occurrence took place in Austin recently and a city council member waited online for half an hour after calling 911.

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So rather than address the points Mr. deBoer makes, which are wholly legitimate by the way, you attack his style of making them. Interesting.

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I more or less agree with his points, but given that he chose to make them in a particular literary style, I thought there might be some value in commenting on that. Apparently not! :)

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I don't know how much of Freddie deBoer's work you read. I don't read everything because I'm more here because his political philosophy is completely outside my bubble, yet I found him uncommonly well grounded, so I pick and choose among his articles. He has tried the nuanced approach, and it hasn't gotten him anywhere that I can see. I think he thought he would just try clubbing them with satire and see if that wakes them up, whoever the "them" is in his mind.

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I've read a good deal. I wasn't really commenting on potential outcomes influence wise (though I recognize I mentioned it would be "more persuasive" but I don't really mean by that that he'll win over a ton of hearts and minds, just that it's stronger from a rhetoric perspective) so much as I was just trying to talk about the quality of the writing craft-wise.

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Adam no one has ever in their lives fell in love with your writing

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Well given that I am deeply experienced at mediocre writing, you ought to take my expert advice seriously :)

There's no question which of the two of us is the more compelling writer on a regular basis. Forgive me for presuming that I might have a point of view that had some value, or that you'd be open to stylistic criticism from people who were less than brilliant writers themselves.

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You come off so small in these replies.

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Apr 17, 2023·edited Apr 17, 2023

I think he has a very popular substack, so his current approach has gotten him somewhere. And he has a reach to folks with conservative principles, like me. On a side note, I am not sure how to feel when he says he won't even engage with conservatives...but here I am.

I have always been conservative, and wondered if more progressive politics was my thing after Republicans became Trumpists, but I kept finding the sort of logic that Freddie describes in this piece and I just could not do it. I found Freddie while searching for progressive 'thinkers'. He is thoughtful and challenges my conservative instincts, with occasional all in mockery of far left politics that just hits home. I have since found a few more progressive authors who seem to use their brains, but in order to get clicks, they sometimes dive into the nonsensical rabbit hole.

FDB for president!

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He doesn't interact with much of anybody. It's not because you're conservative. I just read him because he does seem to have a lot of common sense and he espouses socialism but he isn't like the self-labelled socialists one usually runs across.

I'd love to hear what progressive authors you've found that "use their brains." I don't think deBoer can be the only one.

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But he accused you of pandering, not literary criticism.

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If you know a good steelman version of A, seriously, tell me where I can find it.

I've tried. "I must be missing something. An idea that seems this stupid has to have some more nuanced, thoughtful version I'm missing, or it wouldn't have spread this far... right?" But every time, it always seems to boil down to "cops, but we don't call them that" or "if everyone just embraces anarchist ideology cops won't be necessary".

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Apr 17, 2023·edited Apr 17, 2023Liked by Freddie deBoer

There’s a Father Brown short story by G. K. Chesterton I’ve always enjoyed- the series is basically Sherlock Holmes, but with a priest as a detective and more focused on theology than deduction.

Two aristocratic brothers were having a feud in a village way back in the day. One was a stand up guy beloved by all, the other was a universally reviled prick. They fought a duel; the prick died; the golden child ran to escape the law.

Fast forward to the present day, and the golden child has returned. The townspeople rejoice to have him back and insist that the crime is water under the bridge. All except Father Brown, who insists that the murderer must stand trial to uphold the law, and on a spiritual level offers God’s forgiveness only after repentance is offered. The townspeople chide the priest for being so cruel and hardhearted and remind him of Christian mercy.

Well, a few deductions later, the priest proves that the returned exile is in fact the prick brother- turns out the golden child is the one who died all those years ago and cunning disguises and the weight of years allowed the prick to take his hated brother’s place.

The townspeople are outraged and insist that he must hang for the murder. All except Father Brown, who insists that the murderer must stand trial to uphold the law, and on a spiritual level offers God’s forgiveness only after repentance is offered.

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Apr 17, 2023·edited Apr 17, 2023

In other words, it's all middle school, over and over and over again.

The cool kids can do no wrong. The uncool kids can do no right, even when they do exactly what the cool kids do, it's somehow not cool when they do it.

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It's bad enough when it's a bullshit popularity contest. But when the same principle is applied to the criminal justice system what's the effect on social trust and cohesion?

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Treating everyone in society according to a single standard was always a bizarre and radical proposition - certainly in tension with our tribal tendencies. We’re both seeing more and more people lose faith that a single standard ever made any moral sense, or that it was always a scam of the privileged, and less people defending the idea of a single standard as an imperfect alternative to social devolution and war.

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The great flaw is that who gets to decide which standard applies? If the idea is that somehow unequal application of the law will ever benefit the less privileged I just find that to be laughably naïve.

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This was a beautiful story which reminds me of rabbinical wisdom: When an unjust person is unjust to a just person, God weeps for the just person. When a just person is unjust to an unjust person, God weeps for the unjust person.

In both Chesterton’s story and the lesson from the rabbis, the point is not what you ARE, but what you DO. Thank you for sharing the Chesterton story!

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"Violence Interrupters" has got to be one of the looniest terms they've come up with so far. How can anyone take that seriously?

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It's from a documentary that's great, The Interruptors, but it then got picked up as a panacea for all crime, which it can't possibly be. It's a very specific tool to stop the spread of gang violence.

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Apr 17, 2023·edited Apr 17, 2023

Yeah I've seen a few references to it. I'm not really knocking what it does, I have no idea if it works or not. It's the odd vocabulary that rubs me the wrong way I guess. Like this excerpt from their website:

"The Violence Interrupters Model relies on five components that work together to anticipate and interrupt the transmission of high risk events and change the social norms and behaviors that perpetuate violence."

Minority Report dystopia aside, it's the wording that is just plain annoying, "...interrupt the transmission of high risk events..." Translation: calm down someone who is so angry they might hurt someone else. I mean, who talks like that? Well...academics do, that's who. They kind of have their own language these days.

One might ask - who cares if they are using this niche vocabulary? Well...they should care. Because one of the first things that turns off 'normies' like us is that same high-falutin language itself. I don't know about you, but when I start to hear words like intersectionality and problematic and inclusivity my eyes just roll out of my sockets because I know the word-salad sermon is soon to follow.

Hard-core Progressives don't seem to understand (or they do and don't care) that when they talk down to people using academic-speak, they aren't doing themselves any favors and are actually making it much harder for anyone to stand listening to them. Anyone that isn't already an 'ally' of course. It doesn't make them seem smart and enlightened, it just comes off as arrogant.

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They have to talk that way to get funding. If you see the documentaries though, one called The Interruptors, and another one, more recent, the people who do the work, certainly don't talk this way, and neither does the U of Chicago scientist who started the study, whose background is in contagious disease and saw violence as a contagion. Be mad at the people who fling the term around without knowing the context, but don't be mad at them. I know it's not an insta-cure, but people changing their cultures starting with themselves, and helping each other, I don't know how anything's going to work otherwise.

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That's a real thing? I thought Freddie made that name up. wow.

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The next time I have to go to court, I think I'm going to try using the Gini coefficient defense. I'll let everyone know if it works.

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Whenever police reform comes up I think of a guy I met in Denmark who’s an ambulance driver. He became an ambulance driver after training to be a policeman and being rejected because he was too short-tempered (something he himself admitted). I think about the implications about that a lot. The police force there is professionalized, well trained, and well staffed enough that they can reject people who may be too impulsive in a tense situation. I hope we can get to that place.

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The city where I live is down about 100 cops due to retirements and police quitting the force. What has the natural response been? Lowering hiring standards, naturally.

I don't think this is a simple issue.

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Apr 17, 2023·edited Apr 17, 2023

The cognitive dissonance of leftists who brush off most violent crime as inconsequential but think men (especially straight white guys) should get the death penalty if accused of sexual misconduct is one of the dumbest phenomena of the last decade. I can only speak for myself but it is profoundly alienating when the loudest self-proclaimed leftists online hold steadfast to demented takes like this.

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Apr 17, 2023·edited Apr 17, 2023

I find it especially amusing when crimes and criminals are either excused or excoriated or even praised, all depending solely on the relative Wokemon status of the alleged perp and victim.

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I was "A" for a while.

From the inside though, at least for me, it didn't quite feel like that. I'm a bit autistic, so my experience with it was: "okay none of this seems to make sense. But a lot of people I admire are all saying the same thing, so maybe I'm just not getting it. Plus I'm a cis straight white dude and know for a fact I'm extremely privileged, so my job is really just to listen and let others speak."

In kindergarten I was the left-handed kid who got an F in arts & crafts because nobody explained to me the scissors were all made for right-handed people. I had just accepted that scissors don't work for me for some reason, and this was probably my fault. I feel like the same thing happened to my politics over time.

The struggle for me is to remember that I'm still actually a progressive. Like, I want to make the world a better, kinder, gentler place. I want to end poverty. I want to help people. None of that has changed. I don't want to become some grumpy curmudgeon reactionary who constantly whines about wokeness or whatever. But it's so much work. I'm constantly at edge when politics gets brought up, regardless of who does it, because I know my only options are to keep my mouth shut or start a huge fight over something stupid.

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I really get feeling on edge whenever hot button topics come up. No one seems to have any principles or coherent beliefs anymore. It’s just this game of Motte and Baileys, or they listing for specific trigger words or phrases they have been told that only “Bad People” use. As soon as you trip over one, BAM! You’re labeled. You’re a bad person and they can stop listening. Commence the screaming and or physical violence.

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I highly recommend the People Who Read People podcast by Zach Elwood. He talks a lot about these issues and how the anger they engender is like an oil slick. It spread and contaminates everything it touches.

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One thing I especially love is when people claim to be maximally supportive of all forms of neurodivergence, but then melt down when they have to deal with basic autistic behavior like taking statements literally and trying to get them to make sense.

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"I'm constantly at edge when politics gets brought up, regardless of who does it, because I know my only options are to keep my mouth shut or start a huge fight over something stupid.."

It sounds like the people that you hang out with are.morons.

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"I'm a bit autistic"

There's one thing I want to be clear on. Are you saying "I'm a bit autistic" the way that some people say "I'm a bit OCD" when they don't literally mean they have obsessive-compulsive disorder, or do you literally mean that you're on the spectrum?

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I'm probably the type that could have been diagnosed as Asperger's back when that was more fashionable. I've never sought out a diagnosis but I expect I could get one without having to lie.

The nature of a spectrum though is that everyone is on the spectrum, just at different points along it. Any cutoff is essentially arbitrary and more of a social question than a scientific one.

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"okay none of this seems to make sense. But a lot of people I admire are all saying the same thing, so maybe I'm just not getting it. Plus I'm a cis straight white dude and know for a fact I'm extremely privileged, so my job is really just to listen and let others speak."

This dynamic explains 90% of why things are they way they are on the left. And it’s not necessarily that privilege and authority are inversely related in left spaces. It’s that the desires of the people who have the greatest claim to moral authority are least likely to be concerned with making sense to outsiders or compromising their authority/position for some instrumental goal.

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Excellent!

I remember being in a party in L.A. back in the late 90s having a similar conversation with two people. Very nice, earnest people. Educated, one was an attorney, the other a paralegal. And they were essentially A. We were at a party, so I didn't want to argue with them in order to be polite to the host. I'm sure that if I did decide to argue with them, I would have become B and the argument would have sounded a lot like this.

Their argument struck me as really, really out there back then. Now that it's mainstream, I don't know what to do except for mock it, and I probably wouldn't be polite about it.

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Give up the ghost. At this point in history progressives aren’t capable of building anything or succeeding in any complex technocratic undertaking.

The job of progressives is to manage decline with *correct* ideological aesthetics.

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Oh, yeah. They convinced half of the country’s teenagers they were gay in the span of a single generation, but they’re totally incompetent. The real serious people are the ones whining about how there arent enough nine year olds giving birth.

Dear fucking god, man. Get a hold of yourself.

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"A: It’s not my job to educate you."

"B: How do they stop the school shooter? Throw copies of White Fragility at him?"

Thanks. I needed some good laughs this morning.

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That last paragraph was just brutal.

Excellent writing as always.

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Freddie I really enjoy when you do stuff like this but I also feel that it's weird when you find it shocking that most leftists who claim the various labels you claim actually haven't done the reading. Most have no ethical model whatsoever. You gotta understand that most PEOPLE have no ethical model beyond just what their society tells them. It's like, all Sartre ever wrote about, it's the whole moral problem of the 20th century. Yes, people will not do their homework. This is why you have to capture the various nodes of social control that they use to shortcut doing their homework and just tell them what to believe. Yes this is evil to do. Yes we are all fucked either way.

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No one thinks this way. Who are you talking to in your head? A high schooler with an anarchy sticker on their math folder?

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Hey it's a free country! (unless you're caught up in the criminal justice system).

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Yeah like poor Derek Chauvin, who's caught up in the criminal justice system.

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Yes. They do. I have met multiple people who think exactly this way. None of them were high-schoolers. Several of them had somehow graduated from college with this nonsense in their heads.

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I interact with people just this stupid on a daily basis. This is no exaggeration at all.

You have to learn the difference between "this is not how I would put it" and "nobody says this."

Why don't you be constructive and write a piece where you answer some of these questions? Why are sexual assault and domestic violence treated so differently from other crimes by progressives? How do you enforce hate speech laws of you don't want legal enforcement? How do you deal with the fact that before policing societies were rife with coercion and violence and sexual aggression? Those questions aren't going to just go away. Answer them!

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I think your entry on Michael Hobbes in your bestiary of Good White Men basically explains how the American left got here: doing politics is, like, hard and stuff, and besides, isn't the actual goal to simply BE "one of the good ones" at the end of the day?

Recite brainless slogans and embrace nonsensical incoherent talking points, or actual do a lot of hard work that will, in the end, possibly fail? Pretty easy choice for the Professional Managerial Class!

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Ok ok jeez. Just thinking that even my most progressive friends roll their eyes when I start screaming at them about defund and abolish. I guess I don't interact with many people who think we need NO state power to protect lives and property or somewhere to keep Derik Chauvin

It's just that, we don't have jails and prisons—Norway has jails and prisons. We have torture factories.

As per your smart questions:

Why are sexual assault and domestic violence treated so differently from other crimes by progressives? Are they treated differently by progressives? Or are you talking about carceral feminists here?

A counter question I'd pose is, why do police have absolutely abysmal clearance rates for reported rapes (the victim is like right there telling them who raped them).

Domestic violence is literally the only crime where you're likely to go from a misdemeanor to a homicide, so yes, I think it should be treated differently than shoplifting.

I am full libertarian on hate speech laws, I don't think they make any sense. And it's already super easy for prosecutors to stack charges to get long sentences, you don't need hate speech laws.

Policing societies are still filled with coercion and violence and sexual aggression, some of it perpetrated by police and a lot of it taking place in jails and prisons. I guess my position is, if "defund" and "abolish" are hopelessly utopian fantasies... I mean at this point, so is "reform" when there's literally no incentive for it.

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Norway also has Norwegians.

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Alaska does a damn fine impression of some!

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"I am full libertarian on hate speech laws, I don't think they make any sense. And it's already super easy for prosecutors to stack charges to get long sentences, you don't need hate speech laws."

Maybe you don't think they make sense, but then Freddie can righly point out he wasn't talking about you. Yes this essay is a thin parody, but even still do you not think that the commonly held progressive positions on hate speech are incoherent especially with regards to the common position regarding theft/robbery/assault etc.?

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I think support for hate crimes legislation is a basic value for centrist Democrats but not so much progressives? I think most progressives see them as wrong... and yes it's incoherent to believe in hate crime laws but support defund/abolition.

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Hate crimes also allow you to change venues from local to federal. I'm not saying whether that's good or bad, but it's a fact and it's why some people want the distinction maintained. Lawyers spend tons of time trying to shift venue to benefit their clients.

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I really don't think tacking on federal hate crime charges is a very smart way to do that?

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Apr 17, 2023·edited Apr 17, 2023

Trying, though I don't particularly hold these principles and the older I get the more I embrace 'do I contradict myself? Okay,' as a motto.

I think they would implicitly split crimes into six categories:

Crimes of lust [sexual assault/harassment]: There's no excuse for this.

Crimes of hate [hate crimes]: There's no excuse for this.

Crimes of greed [white collar crimes]: There's no excuse for this.

Crimes of need [most non-white collar theft]: There's lots of excuses for this.

Crimes of addiction [drug crimes]: There's one universal excuse for these.

Crimes of impulse [unneeded shoplifting/speeding/bar fight]: There's some excuses for these, or not, depending on circumstance.

I tend to think that for a group that historically took the view 'intent is not magic' this total focus on the intent of the person committing the crime is a mistake.

I've got no answer on enforcement. The NYT opinion piece on this (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/12/opinion/sunday/floyd-abolish-defund-police.html) basically waved it away (in a manner very reminiscent of 'the state will wither away') though I'll note even that piece seemed to be envisioning a slightly more gradual process, starting with shrinking the police and reallocating funds to other means of reducing crimes of need.

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This strikes me as true and the way to reconcile some coherence into A's beliefs. Of course a progressive would see accountability for crime as mitigated by structural circumstances. And of course, those degrees of mitigation would conform to more general ideas of how structural advantages/disadvantages increase or reduce individual agency. I think your rubric of imagining which crimes can be "excused" through circumstance and which cannot helps explain a lot of this. Even on sex crimes, there's a strong liberal/progressive blind spot/double standard on how misogyny coming from cultures with Privilege is to be condemned uniformly, while the same or worse in cultures of oppressed or marginalized groups is awkwardly sidestepped. Does this excuse making really hold up to scrutiny? No, (especially for critics and reformers within and native to those groups) but the general position of holding victims of oppression to lower behavioral standards is enough to smooth over the cracks in the edifice.

But this piece also raises the inconvenience of the counterfactual that for every crime to be excused by oppression, there are many more people who live under the same conditions and don't commit the crime. There's no good account for that, because that might invite questions about the validity of other personal factors or, god forbid, moral judgements across people operating under similar conditions but behaving differently. It might also relocate the discussion to the interplay between criminals and their actual victims, rather than how outside observers, with little skin in the game, want to keep the discourse limited to sociological concerns, and area where they think they can speak with moral authority.

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I don't even think it's always stupid.

My ex-girlfriend said the line once - for her all crime was due to poverty and mental health. But she's intelligent, such that I remember being shocked to hear such a dumb thing from her. Seemed more like a received religious belief.

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"No one thinks this way."

Oh my God, what? I have years of my life I'll never get back interacting with people in activist spaces who think precisely like this.

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