There Are No Refs

nobody cares, work harder

Like I said yesterday, liberals have been hopping from one foot to the other on CRT for months - it’s an advanced academic subject that could never leave the ivory tower, but it’s also just the idea that slavery and racism are bad, as needed. Tom Scocca is going for the “it’s just a ginned-up controversy that no liberals have been pushing for.” Scocca obviously knows that thousands of liberals have in fact gone to war for CRT in that span, arguing that CRT is good actually and every student should be taught it. But that’s not rhetorically convenient, so let’s pretend nobody, not a single Democrat, has been playing into the frame. That will be constructive.

Of course if Scocca is right it means that liberals got rolled by Christopher Rufo, in which case they deserve to lose and should never speak in public again.

The bigger question for the entirety of American progressivism is this: who is Scocca talking to? To whom is he making this appeal? This is something liberals do relentlessly, appealing to some shadowy and vague arbiter of what’s fair. Hey, Republicans are pulling dirty tricks!, they complain again and again. But who is listening? What tribunal of wise judges does Scocca think is reading his tweets? What arbiter is ready to dispense justice? Too many in the left-of-center intelligentsia in this country grew up in contexts where fairness matters, where you could always count on mom or the teacher or the HR department to mete out justice. But life doesn’t work that way. There are no refs. “Republicans only won because of racism.” Yes, it’s impossible to imagine voters rejecting the party of Andrew Cuomo and Kyrsten Sinema and Gavin Newsome for any reason other than racism, agreed. So what? Who do you think is going to come and correct that injustice for you? The only opinion that matters is that of the voters, and they think your whining about unfairness makes you look weak.

Of course, the answer to the question is at the bottom, those likes, those retweets. That is the only authority educated liberals ever appeal to. Not Twitter - well, yes, Twitter, but more the opinion of other educated liberals. That is their godhead, their el shaddai el yonna Adonai. They get more out of being a sighing chorus of other liberals than they do from winning, so winning doesn’t concern them much. Meanwhile one person tries to add an ounce of critical thinking into Scocca’s utterly self-exonerating narrative, and of course he’s ratio’d, dunked on, bodied. Because the people who liked Scocca’s tweet don’t do introspection, they don’t do self-criticism, they never look within. They appeal to nonexistent refs and ask the universe, “why?”