Monday, June 25, 2018

For the Record: The Race Card

Action figure by FCTRY of Brooklyn, via

This Dinesh-inspired thread touched what I think is an important point:

Sarah Jones's argument is about how the noise machine deals with discredited "intellectuals" like D'Souza, Charles Murray, Jordan Peterson, or Ann Coulter:

One way is to skirt the substance of their arguments and turn them into free speech warriors engaged in the fight against liberal intolerance. D’Souza is an example of this dynamic at its most extreme, a pure tribal totem, and his pardon is expected to play well with Trump’s base in the conservative media.
It's the Republican tribe Dinesh is a totem of, along with Coulter and Murray.

It's another case of wingers using what they imagine to be the logic of the left; D'Souza isn't white, so he figures the readers of Even-the-Liberal New Republic will be compelled to bow down if he cries "racism", just as others have thought they won the debate over the Huckabee Sanders gastronomic massacre when they said Sanders was being treated just like black kids trying to get served at a North Carolina Woolworth's lunch counter in 1960.

Of course in the latter case, race is a protected category under the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and being the obnoxious, trash-talking public representative of Donald Trump's campaigns against gay people, black people, and brown immigrants (but not Norwegians) is not a protected category of any kind. Not even in Seattle, or D.C., where political views are protected against discrimination in public accommodations, to my surprise—I think that's a silly constitutional error—it's not her views, but her public advocacy, and the distress she voluntarily causes to the diners and waitstaff because she's such a recognizable representative of it. I realize I'm committed here to the view that if a restaurant wanted to exclude Senator Elizabeth Warren because her presence was intimidating to the millionaires in the dining room, I'd have to accept that too. So be it.

In both cases, and indeed in Jones's case of wingers complaining about criticism as "liberal intolerance", what stands out is that the conservative isn't arguing from principle but scoring a debating point; it's a hypocritical, bad-faith argument, based on premises the debater noisily rejects everywhere else. Dinesh D'Souza won't suddenly start tolerating black people alleging they've been discriminated against on the basis of race, but continue to insist that no such thing exists. He'll only contradict himself in this case, for the pleasure of owning the libs.

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