Monday, July 24, 2017

The "race" delusion in American politics and society.

Ron Unz has produced two pieces of statistical analysis on ethnicity and crime in the US providing evidence that there is no distinctive tendency among Hispanics to have a higher crime rate, once other factors are controlled for, while there is clearly a much higher crime rate among African-Americans.

This being an American piece, anything to do with African-Americans is treated as a "race" issue, a "black" and "white" issue. Which is precisely where the whole debate goes wrong right from the beginning.

African-Americans are not, in any useful sense, a "racial" group. They are a cultural group: better labelled in a more distinctive way, such as Ebonic-Americans, so as to be distinguished from recent African migrants or even Afro-Caribbean migrants, who are culturally distinct groups with distinctively different histories and cultural legacies. Ebonic-Americans are group born out of the experience of mass slavery and the consequent trajectory of the descendants of those slaves in the US. That is precisely the distinctive social trajectory that creates an ethnic group and identity.

Those called "white" Americans are, in fact, European-Americans or Euro-Americans, an amalgam of ethnic groups who can reasonably be identified as a series of separate "American nations", as was famously done by historian David Hackett Fisher in Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America and more broadly by journalist Colin Woodward in American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America. (See summary article here.) The wave of European settlement created an amalgam population distinct from the indigenous inhabitants and those imported from Africa as slaves. The obvious way to distinguish them was by skin colour, hence the "white" and "black" appellations.

But skin colour does not act in social affairs (though reactions to skin colour can do so). It is an easy marker of (entirely unearned) status (for good or ill), but not an analytically useful term. Thus the contemporary use of "white" in academic and progressivist circles is typically a misdirecting technique wiping out any notion of cultural heritage or civilisational achievement.

Humans are primed to notice ethnic cues. Small children will generally befriend someone of a different race who speaks the same dialect before they will do so (pdf) to someone of the same race who speaks a different dialect. This is hardly surprising: our hominid ancestors were forming ethnic groups deep in our prehistory: it allowed us, the cultural species, to cooperate beyond the foraging band (the Biblical story of shibboleth is all about ethnic cues.)

We began to systematically interact across the continent-wide groups we call races much more recently: far too recently and intermittently for it to be "hard-wired" into our cognitive architecture. Attempts to use implicit bias to show some deep racist cognitive programming suffers from the problem that the Implicit Association Test (IAT) has consistently failed to show the reliability (consistency across measurement) or the validity (connection to behaviour/social outcomes) to justify such use. Other attempts to make much of similarity bias have also failed to reach those benchmarks. Evidence suggests it is also relatively easy to (pdf) make other group markers trump race among adults.

Origins of racism
Due to our evolutionary history, we do have a deep tendency to tribalism or groupism. But this is a potentially "free-floating" tendency which can attach itself to all sorts of groups (such as, for example, political parties).

Racism as such was originally a product of the combination of mass slavery and universalising morality. In all its forms, racism originated as a justificatory explanation for what people were doing for other reasons. So, the first racist discourses grew up in the context of the mass slaving of sub-Saharan Africans and only appeared after the development of universalising morality (specifically, Christianity and Islam) because only a universalising morality is likely to have any problem with the systematic enslaving of others.

There was no moral problem about slavery for Romans--slaves were losers, Romans were winners, slavery was just a mark of losing. Indeed, there was so little problem that Romans ran one of the most open slave systems (pdf) in history, as freed slaves became full citizens. So much so, that people would sometimes use slavery as a path to Roman citizenship. Aristotle's attempt to provide a moral justification for slavery (as his ethical system did have a universalising tendency: hence its later incorporation into monotheist thought) just struck the Romans as Greek nonsense.

Once folk are all "children of God", then slavery causes a moral problem--why are you treating children of God as property? While there are some glimmers of racist discourse in the Roman Empire after the adoption of Christianity, the first significant racist discourse (that is, a systematic denigration by race) comes out of Islam. For example, in a C11th book of geography by geographer Said al-Andalusi (1029-1070) Al‐tarif bi-tabaqat al-umam (Book of the Categories of Nations): 
Chapter 3: Nations having no interest in science 
The rest of this [category], which showed no interest in science, resembles animals more than human beings. Those among them who live in the extreme North, between the last of the seven regions and the end of the populated world to the north, suffered from being too far from the sun; their air is cold and their skies are cloudy. As a result, their temperament is cool and their behavior is rude. Consequently, their bodies become enormous, their color turned white, and their hair drooped down. They have lost keenness of understanding and sharpness of perception. They were overcome by ignorance and laziness, infested by fatigue and stupidity. Such as the Slavonians, Bulgarians and neighboring people.
Also in this category are the people who live close to the equinoctial line and behind it to the populated world to the south. Because the sun remain close to their heads for long periods, their air and their climate has become hot: they are of hot temperament and fiery behavior. Their color turned black and their hair turned kinky. As a result, they have lost the value of patience and firmness of perception. They are overcome by foolishness and ignorance. These are the people of Sudan who inhabited the far reaches of Ethiopia, Nubia, the Zini, and others. 
Chapter 5: Science in India 
The Indians, as known to all nations for many centuries, are the metal [essence] of wisdom, the source of fairness and objectivity. They are peoples of sublime pensiveness, universal apologues, and useful and rare inventions. In spite of the fact that their colour is in the first stage of blackness, which puts them in the same category as the blacks, Allah in His glory, did not give them the low characters, the poor manners, or the inferior principles, associated with this group and ranked them above a large number of white and brown peoples.
Why were Slavs and sub-Saharan Africans being systematically enslaved rather than being conquered and/or converted to Islam (which would make them no longer able to be enslaved)? Because, the explanatory justification of racism went, slavery was what they were fit for.

Catholics were not supposed to enslave folk: so said Pope Paul III (r.1534-1549) in his 1537 encyclical Sublimus Dei. But they (and Christians generally) could trade and own slaves that other people had enslaved, so there was still a moral problem of owning fellow children of God. Add in Enlightenment notions about the rights of man and an even more serious moral dilemma was created, leading to a fairly intense racist discourse of explanation and justification--hence the Antebellum South running one of the most closed systems of slavery in human history: especially as freeing the slaves en masse would, in system based on citizen election of officials, create a serious political issue for the existing voters. Hence also the Constitution of the Confederate States of America absolutely entrenched slavery while the Jim Crow system tried to insulate Euro-Americans in the South from the political and employment implications of the end of slavery. 

Western racist discourses also arose out of the cleanliness of the blood laws in Reconquista Spain, blocking the children of Jewish converts from various positions and social benefits, creating a social cartel for the "Old Christians" and their descendants in Iberia and then in Spain and Portugal's American colonies. This language of inherited contempt, independent of religion, was then extended elsewhere in Europe to create specifically anti-Jewish (rather than anti-Judaic) discourses as a response to the disturbing social flux of modernisation and the creation of mass nationalisms.  

Maximum extents of European imperialism.
The last source of Western racism grew out of noticing that by the C19th Europeans dominated the globe, and trying to find language to both justify and explain it. It is not the case that racism caused slavery or imperialism or social cartelisation: racism was created to justify and explain the slavery, imperialism and social cartelisation that people were already doing for other reasons. (It is worth noting that the problem with Jim Crow was not that it was racist, but that it was oppressive--"race" was simply the dimension across which oppression was organised.)

As any sort of explanation for any of this, race is truly awful. Imperialism was just what states do when they can and when there is a return in it. Europe created particularly effective states, so particularly effective imperialism (much of which was directed against fellow Europeans).

Slavery is a response to control of people being more valuable than control of land (see economist Evsey Domar's classic essay on the subject) and there not being sufficient local population to bind to the land (if there is, some form of serfdom typically arises).

People can form social cartels on all sort of bases. (The current debates about the increasing lack of cognitive diversity in Western academe is precisely about a form of social cartelisation.)

As a way of creating unearned status and effortless virtue, and justifying treating other people badly, however, racism works very well. The modern innovation is to discover that discourses of anti-racism can work just as well as techniques for moral and political exclusion: we can ignore and despise them, they're racists! (Or even a basket of deplorables.)

Illusions of race
But racist discourses of justificatory explanation left a legacy of seeing people, and talking of people, in terms of race rather than ethnicity or meta-ethnicity. Such race-talk turns out to be very useful if you want to strip away any notion of cultural heritage or civilisational achievement. Which is really useful if you want to maximise your despite of fellow citizens--you just "explain" any bad social outcome on the basis of the presumption of malice: default explanation of differentiated social outcomes in terms of the malice (i.e., racism, misogyny, various phobic views) of fellow citizens (or civilisation members). It is an excellent basis for assertion of superior status: though much less useful for serious analysis as it relies on ignoring, explaining away or otherwise discounting differences between groups that lead to variable social outcomes.

Such talk has the great virtue of simplicity—you do not have to know the details, merely what are the correct signals. (And there is no more powerful contemporary signal than hostility to racism, defined so as to function as a social signal, not for careful analysis.) In an information-dense society, where displaying cognitive competence is at a premium, such virtue-signalling [piety display] allows massive economising on information as well as providing reputation protection and expectation convergence. Hence its particular importance for participants in transnational networks and workers in areas with a premium on cognitive competence. It has the wider disadvantage of committing people to social narratives that support such signals and so blocking consideration of contrary facts or concerns.

The two unspeakable truths of "race" in the US are:
(1) If African-Americans had the same average IQ and the same crime rates as other Americans, the "race" issue would disappear (as the experience of Asian-Americans and recent African immigrants demonstrates); and
(2) it is not a "race" issue but an ethnic one--Ebonic-Americans are a distinct ethnic group while "white" Americans are Euro-Americans, an amalgam of ethnic groups.

IQ but not genes
The moment one talks of differences in average IQ between groups, the automatic assumption is that one is "really" talking about genes (and so "race"). Not so, as the evidence strongly suggests that the role of genes in inter-group differences in IQ is relatively small. For example, urbanisation had its normal effect (after a lag) in significantly raising (pdf) the average IQ of Ebonic-Americans. Moreover, children of an Ebonic-American father and Euro-American mother have significantly higher average IQ than Ebonic-Americans generally and are not significantly distinguishable in average social outcomes (pdf) than other Americans while, in the case of reverse pairings, children of an Euro-American father and Ebonic-American mothers have much the same patterns as Ebonic-Americans in average IQ and social outcomes.

It is very unlikely that these results have a genetic explanation: it is very likely that there is a cultural-experiential explanation for the first result and a cultural explanation for the last two results--likely due to the experience of slavery being highly adverse to the development of social or human capital, or mechanisms for generating the same, as well as mothering practices, given that sub-Saharan parenting patterns are very distinctive (pdf).

Indeed, sub-Saharan parenting patterns, particularly the reliance on siblings to raise younger siblings and the very limited role of fathers in parenting and the unusually low levels of maternal attention, seems somewhat programmed to, in the right circumstances, generate gang culture, which fulfil a somewhat similar role (albeit rather pathologically) to that ritual societies perform in their origin cultures.

So, Barack Hussein Obama is not Ebonic-American (his father was a, temporary, Kenyan immigrant, his mother was Euro-American). Indeed, culturally, he had a Euro-American upbringing. Hence, the US has not yet had an Ebonic-American President. Instead, from 2009-2017, the US had a two-term culturally Euro-American President of partly African descent; which fits right in with the results from the studies cited above.

If the social outcomes of African-Americans continue to be discussed in racial terms, then the debate will continue to be deeply dysfunctional, as it will direct attention to all the wrong places.

Culture as a basis for friendship and social combination, or social friction, is much more rational than skin colour. The “it’s all about race” presumes “people are identical except for race” (that being only skin deep). But they are not culturally identical, with all the implications of that.

A comment by Malcolm Gladwell is apposite:
Well, yeah, there is something — well, I hesitate to say under-theorized, but there is something under-theorized about the differences between West Indian and American black culture, the psychological difference between what it means to come from those two places. I think only when you look very closely at that difference do you understand the heavy weight that particular American heritage places on African-Americans. What’s funny about West Indians is, they can always spot another West Indian. And at a certain point you wonder, “How do they always know?” It’s because after a while you get good at spotting the absence of that weight.
And it explains as well the well-known phenomenon of how disproportionately successful West Indians are when they come to the United States because they seem to be better equipped to deal with the particular pathologies attached to race in this country — my mother being a very good example. But of course there are a million examples.
Gladwell is talking here of people of common African descent, but who come from very different experiences because of distinct historical legacies that go with, and help create, culture. For good or ill.

If we talked about race a lot less, and talked about social capital, human capital, family formation, parenting practices, and other features of culture, much more, there might actually be some progress. But the story would also become more complex, and not create an easy basis for despising fellow citizens or setting up linguistic trip-wires (micro-aggressions anyone?) in the service of moralised status games. Moreover, a people who wait for others to redeem them will wait forever. But the primary role of the modern secular religion of antiracism is not to solve problems, it is to been seen to care and play the consequent games of moralised status and despite. 

Note that nothing I write above implies that oppression is not a key part of that historical trajectory of Ebonic-American culture: on the contrary, it is crucial to understanding that legacy—hence “the weight” that Gladwell speaks of. But a legacy where the multi-dimensional burden of slavery and the social exclusions of Jim Crow are crucial, with racism as justificatory overlay.

[Also posted at Skepticlawyer.]


  1. "By both race and gender, a higher percentage of black women (9.7 percent) are enrolled in college than any other group, topping Asian women (8.7 percent), white women (7.1 percent) and white men (6.1 percent).

    Unfortunately, while black women may be the most highly educated, a recent study found that black women make up just 8 percent of private sector jobs and less than 2 percent of leadership roles.

    And as of 2013, black women earned just 64 cents to the white man’s dollar, while white women earned 78 cents, black men 75 cents, Hispanic men 67 cents and Hispanic women 54 cents.

    The National Committee on Pay Equity’s research predicts that white women won’t receive equal pay until 2059—and they are ahead of black and Hispanic men and women. So where does that leave us?"

    What do you make of that, I wonder?

  2. The percentage of a population that is enrolled in college is not exactly the same thing as that population's level of education. It's very important to be careful when attempting to interpret the meaning of statistics. Simple measures do not often translate cleanly and directly into intelligible meanings like the one you're citing here.

    There is no doubt that some of the income disparity that you are looking at comes from either ethnic or gender prejudice, but it is not simple to determine how much. In the case of white women, for example, it can be shown very convincingly that all of the income disparity can be attributed to personal choices and preferences of the white female work force. Controlling for such factors results in the finding that white women are actually paid somewhat more than white men for equivalent work.

    This makes perfect sense, to the point of being blatantly obvious, to anyone who has been involved in recruiting and hiring personnel in male-dominated fields. I'm an engineer and have been involved in hiring other engineers; I've seen first hand that significant (sometimes *very* significant) salary incentives are offered to attract employees that will improve a firm's gender balance.

    Aggressive recruitment of women in an attempt to remediate the still large gender imbalance of STEM fields begins all the way back in middle school to early high school students. Similar efforts are made to address imbalances related to ethnic minority status.

    Another way to put it: Black women earn 64 cents to the white man's dollar, as you point out above. Black women with a degree in Chemical Engineering, a college GPA of 3.0 or above, and 5 years of experience earn about $1.66 to the dollar of a white man with the exact same qualifications.

    1. Thank you for your input. The problem is, the college-educated are always the minority in every ethnic group, which means that for the overwhelming majority of black women, for instance, 64 cents to the white man's dollar is exactly the reality for most of them. The same, needless to say, goes for every other non-white male group, which begs the question, doesn't it? Why do these other groups who are even more disadvantaged than white working-class men never seem to gravitate towards Trump-like figures when they plainly have more cause for rage, from the wage gap to voter suppression (virtually every swing state that Hillary lost suffers from it, from Wisconsin in the Midwest to North Carolina in the Deep South to Florida in the Sun Belt), from anti-choice legislation to plain old prejudice? Isn't the greater "race delusion in American politics," therefore, precisely that of white people, specifically Trump's much vaunted white-working class base?

  3. What do you mean by the "race delusion in American politics" of white people? From what I can tell of the motivations of Trump's working class base, there is virtually no racial component at all, and there is a much greater number of non-white people in his working class base than is generally accredited.

    Also, are you suggesting that among black women, there is any tier, college educated or not, where they are at an earnings disadvantage compared to white men of *equivalent qualifications*? I'm open to the possibility that that may be the case but I've never seen any evidence of it.

    There are other kinds of qualifications besides college education, and it is very frustrating sometimes when people indiscriminately lump together everyone who doesn't have a college degree as if they all had equivalent prospects. For example, in the USA (particularly NYC area where I live), a license in one of the major trades (plumbing, electric, HVAC) is considerably more valuable than the *average* Bachelor's degree. If you average all college graduates, there are enough of them having lackluster careers to cancel out the nurses, engineers, and accountants, and they average quite a bit less earnings than licensed air conditioner repair technicians. (As it should be... fixing air conditioners is difficult and complicated!). The whole "qualifications" question is far more complicated than it is sometimes made out to be, but it is crucial to at least attempt to sort it out if you are going to use group statistics as evidence of race and gender discrimination.

    And then finally, voter ID controls in any part of the USA are much looser than they are in virtually all other democratic governments in the world. I'm afraid the "voter suppression" meme is just a complete falsehood. Look into how elections are conducted in Europe, and you'll see that our election rules are kept shockingly relaxed, in an effort to avoid the perception of "voter suppression". It's a BS excuse for lost elections right up there with bad weather and "media bias".

    " Why do these other groups who are even more disadvantaged than white working-class men never seem to gravitate towards Trump-like figures when they plainly have more cause for rage..."

    Al Sharpton? Louis Farrakhan? LaRaza?

  4. Al Sharpton was president? Louis Farrakhan was president? Please. And enough already with the economic anxiety BS. It's almost August. We should all know better by now.

    "In the wake of Trump’s surprise win, some journalists, scholars, and political strategists argued that economic anxiety drove these Americans to Trump. But new analysis of post-election survey data conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute and The Atlantic found something different: Evidence suggests financially troubled voters in the white working class were more likely to prefer Clinton over Trump. Besides partisan affiliation, it was cultural anxiety—feeling like a stranger in America, supporting the deportation of immigrants, and hesitating about educational investment—that best predicted support for Trump."

    "I'm afraid the "voter suppression" meme is just a complete falsehood."

    And that is where you lost me.


    North Carolina:


    I could go on, but I won't. Denying voter suppression is like denying man-made climate change to me. It's where I draw the line.

  5. From the very first article:

    "Under the Wisconsin law, voters must present a driver's license, state ID, passport, military ID, naturalization papers or tribal ID to vote. A student ID is acceptable only if it has a signature and a two-year expiration date. Those who do not have their ID can cast a provisional ballot that will be counted only if they return with the proper ID within a few days of the election."

    That set of rules constitutes voter suppression to you? So almost every democracy in the world practices "vote suppression" even more than the United States? Not surprising you're unwilling to discuss it further.

    Yes, of course Al Sharpton isn't president; but most of his fans are called "minorities" because they are in fact, from a minority group. You said that they would not gravitate towards a Trump-like figure, but if Sharpton's fans had sufficient numbers they would be happy to elect Sharpton or someone like him. Luckily for us, even if only African-Americans voted in the election they *still* wouldn't likely elect Sharpton, but still, plenty of people "gravitate" towards him, and did long before Trump came on the scene.

    The motivation of Trump voters? Surveys have been conducted on the exact same topic that showed the opposite result. It's almost as if constructing a political survey study, if done carefully, can be made to yield any result you want! Who knew!

    As long as you stick with "my opponents are all bigoted racist evil...." you wreck your own ability to develop anything like effective counterarguments. It may feel good, but clinging to delusions about the political opposition's motives means you can't understand where they are really coming from and you'll never be able to persuade any of them to change their minds.

    Lazily branding the political opposition as racists rather than actually understanding their real motives resulted in both Brexit and Trump. What matters to you, feeling superior to them or actually getting a majority to vote for your political preferences?

    1. Dude, I grew up in Milwaukee, went to UW-Madison, and currently work in Bradford, PA, a solid Republican district. I know the Rust Belt like the back of my hand. The things I heard so many white people around me said last year were vastly about cultural resentment and racial humiliation. They were hardly hardcore racist, to be sure, but they were resentful: the sort that would get offended by the slightest mention of "Black Lives Matter" or transgender bathroom. Many of them knew the economy does better under Democrats. That's why 40% of them -- the highest in almost half a century -- voted for Obama in '08: the recession. That is also why only 24% of them -- the lowest in 92 years; n-i-n-e-t-y t-w-o y-e-a-r-s -- voted for Hillary last year: because of Trump, 2016 was deplorables galore. Now, that fact does not make me feel superior; just sad. These are my friends and neighbors. I like them. I love them. I see them every day. So, no, I will not be lectured about my domain by someone who lives in NYC who thinks he knows what folks in McKean County, PA talked about at the grocery store last year.

      As for your utterly bizarre voter suppression denial, I've been here before with the climate change deniers, hence my sheer reluctance. I know better. Maybe if you hear it from Republicans themselves?

      You know, I'm not a climate scientist/clever Republican, after all.

      If "Ex-GOP staffer says senators were 'giddy' over voter ID law" still couldn't enlighten you, what would, really? Maybe if you were an old black woman? (Now, here, I'm feeling superior.)

    2. How did climate science get involved in this discussion I wonder? And clever Republicans?

      Anyway...GOP staffers get giddy over voter ID laws because they believe that Democrats commit massive amounts of voter fraud. Many of them are committed to such a belief with the exact same zero level of evidence as you are to belief in vote suppression. Our elections would be decertified if they were watched by UN observers using standard metrics, but you think the controls are too tight. Frankly I have a tiny bit of sympathy for the Republicans here, since Democrats are constantly objecting to perfectly reasonable proposals for election controls. Democrats could help matters enormously by not *acting like* they are committing massive voter fraud. Either way, advocating reasonable voter ID rules is not equivalent to suppressing votes. What's bizarre is how you and so many others can manage to convince yourselves that such things are intended to turn away legitimate voters when they are clearly not. You are willfully choosing to interpret things that way. Citing articles by others who are also willfully choosing that is not convincing. Don’t you think it might be more productive to accept that elections don’t always go our way and figure out how to be more persuasive? Then you could be *justified* in feeling superior.

      "Not hardcore racist, but resentful..." sounds an awful lot like the way folks get when they are constantly being falsely accused of racism. For years and years now....disagree with some Obama policy, you're a racist, object to Black Lives Matter's rhetorical excesses, you're a racist. Strong arguments can be made that some affirmative action policies may be causing drastic harm to the groups they are meant to help, and are disrespectful towards them to boot... but no, if you make such arguments you're just a racist.

  6. It's a sign that I'm writing too much when I have to split the comment, I guess. Well, anyway...

    I think, and I really don't mean to be insulting, that you need to consider how you are twisting things through your own confirmation biases. It's important to always be on guard against it - "the easiest person to fool is yourself" (Richard Feynman). Objection to massive amounts of illegal immigration is possibly unfounded, but it is not often based on racism. It can indeed be tied to economic concerns, and it is even compatible with a very positive perception of the ethnic groups in question (i.e., people who admire and respect Mexicans but don't approve of largely uncontrolled borders). But, we'll continue to pretend that they make no distinction between legal and illegal immigrants. And, we'll keep ignoring the fair number of *legal* Mexican immigrants who share similar concerns. Nope, our opponents simply hate Mexicans. They are just evil and there's no need to argue with them. Stuff like this goes on and on. It doesn’t help.

    The Rust Belt working class people are not very different from the Brooklyn / Queens / New Jersey working class, so I don't accept the geographic disqualification. They talk about the exact same stuff in the grocery store as the folks in McKean county, PA. They may do it a little more quietly, as they are surrounded by a higher concentration of pious and smug clever people looking for another reason to sneer at them.

    Well-intentioned people with no malice towards ethnic minorities get tired of hearing that crap, and yes, they grow resentful. And, in recent years, plenty of them *have* slipped into more and more "deplorable" attitudes, but it is clear that it is often a reaction against the miasma of hate and contempt they feel projected towards them by the cultural elites. If you constantly call people racist for advocating any kind of immigration controls *at all*, a few of them will believe you and decide that they are indeed racists.

    Considering where I live, my vote was pretty meaningless and wasn't any help in preventing a Trump victory. I can, however, at least feel confident that I didn't do anything to promote it. Many who consider themselves Liberals or Progressives did plenty more to get this guy elected than they think.

    1. For the last time:

      1. "Citing articles by others who are also willfully choosing that is not convincing."

      The articles I cited use the Republicans' own admissions that their intent was to suppress Democratic votes. If "Hey, we've got to think about what this would mean for the neighborhoods around Milwaukee and the college campuses" or "now we have photo ID, and I think photo ID is gonna make a little bit of a difference as well" is not convincing enough to you, what will, really? Calling these laws Jim Crow 2.0 and passing them in KKK robes, perhaps?

      2. "Either way, advocating reasonable voter ID rules is not equivalent to suppressing votes."

      Isn't it funny how these "reasonable voter ID rules" never seem to impact Republican voters? Isn't it just hilarious how Democratic-controlled state houses never try to pass these totally "reasonable voter ID rules"? It's almost as if Democrats actually believe that a democracy should encourage and thereby make it easier for its demos to vote. It's almost as if Democrats are actually, you know, democrats.

      3. "What's bizarre is how you and so many others can manage to convince yourselves that such things are intended to turn away legitimate voters when they are clearly not."

      Yes, yes, yes, I get it. Voter suppression is fake news. Voting Rights Act was utterly unnecessary. Martin Luther King Jr. marched and died for shits and giggles.

      4. "Democrats could help matters enormously by not *acting like* they are committing massive voter fraud."

      Translation: Black people "could help matters enormously by not *acting like* they are committing massive voter fraud."

      Logical extension: Black people "could help matters enormously by not *acting like* they are committing" crimes all the time. Police shootings of unarmed black people wouldn't be a thing if they didn't always act like criminals. Mass incarceration of black people wouldn't have happened if they had only used the right kind of drugs. Centuries of enslavement of black people... Oh, infinite regress, how I miss the singular madness of your fallacy.

      5. "people who admire and respect Mexicans but don't approve of largely uncontrolled borders"

      Is it a habit of yours to make demands to people you admire and respect to pay for something they don't even want?

      6. "Nope, our opponents simply hate Mexicans."

      Yep, they don't hate Mexicans at all. They just like the guy who launched his campaign with, "They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people."

      7. "But, we'll continue to pretend that they make no distinction between legal and illegal immigrants."

      Sigh... "Let me just tell you, I've had horrible rulings, I've been treated very unfairly by this judge. Now, this judge is of Mexican heritage. I'm building a wall, OK? I'm building a wall."

      8. "If you constantly call people racist for advocating any kind of immigration controls *at all*, a few of them will believe you and decide that they are indeed racists."

      ...So...Many...Strawmen... "As president, Hillary will: Enforce immigration laws humanely. Immigration enforcement must be humane, targeted, and effective. Hillary will focus resources on detaining and deporting those individuals who pose a violent threat to public safety, and ensure refugees who seek asylum in the U.S. have a fair chance to tell their stories."

    2. 9. "Stuff like this goes on and on. It doesn’t help."

      Ah, so reverse racism is the new racism. Antiracism is why racists are racists. Got it. Women wearing skimpy skirts and low plunging tops "did plenty more to get" raped "than they think." Gay men and transgender women "did plenty more to get" bashed "than they think." Jews "did plenty more to get" the Holocaust... Oy vey, infinite regress. Fancy seeing you here again. What is this? Fallacy Friday? You know what "goes on and on"? All those things I just mentioned here. And you know what "doesn't help"? 1,2,3,4, all that up there.

      10. "They are just evil and there's no need to argue with them."

      Banality of evil is still evil, you know? As Dante once put it, "Fama di loro il mondo esser non lassa;
      misericordia e giustizia li sdegna: non ragioniam di lor, ma guarda e passa."

      Hey, I am one of those "pious and smug clever people," after all. All the same, thank you for your time. Have a lovely weekend.

  7. Oh well. Enjoy your fantasies I guess. Whenever you decide it's more important to start winning elections again, I hope you won't have too much difficulty clawing your way back to reality.

    You're a regular straw man factory so I suppose you're an authority on that. Here I am, nowhere near a Republican, raising some concerns about some common liberal attitudes and perceptions that I consider counterproductive, and you've already got ME identified as racist, anti-semitic, homophobic, and I suppose maybe a climate denier as well? Yeah, that's a real persuasive technique. No doubt your attitude has won you many converts over there in McKean county.

    1. NoBorg — absolutely full points for authoritative and patient comments.

    2. Thanks but.... it's hard to be patient anymore. I wonder what percentage of the people who voted for Trump aren't really his supporters per se, but are just absolutely terrified of the Inquisition mentality that has taken hold of so many American progressives.

      That guy from Google got fired for *speculating* that the tech gender imbalance *might* be due to natural causes rather than misogyny. Fired from his job. (If you haven't heard about that one....if you read what he wrote it's astonishing. Nothing unreasonable at all.)

      How do they not see?

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