If you have a racial axe to grind, if you are kind of pissed off about minorities, stop posting on the subject. You are embarrassing yourselves, you are embarrassing me, you are embarrassing everyone else here.Ah, yes. The nudge-nudge, wink-wink. The experience of Michael Douglas's Falling Down character in that military surplus store, where the neo-Nazi says, "You're one of us!" and Douglas says, "No, I'm not!" (And kills the guy.)
If you think that I am secretly winking at you telling you I just hit the Racism Button and it's okay to start with the racial jibes, you are wrong.
If you think I am your secret racist buddy, who speaks in "code" but you "get" what I'm really saying, you are wrong. I hate you. I despise you. . . .
Last year I went to New York to cover Bob Barr's appearance on The Colbert Report. Afterwards, there was some kind of debate at the Lolita Bar. I didn't cover the debate, but filed my American Spectator report from the bar, which has free Wi-Fi.
There was this young guy who seemed fascinated that I was actually a real honest-to-God journalist, and he started talking to me, asking questions, which is annoying when I'm on deadline. Anyway, I tried to be polite, but there was a kind of stalker thing going on, which I couldn't figure out.
So finally, the debate ended, I hit my deadline and filed my story. Then we all got taxis and went to a cigar bar in Greenwich Village, where Barr and the Libertarian Party brain trust could relax and socialize.
The younger stalker guy was at the cigar bar, too, and started talking to me again. He engaged in the kind of nudge-nudge, wink-wink sort of talk that such people do -- trying to draw me out on some subject alien to my knowledge or interest -- until finally he satisfied my curiosity: He was a Jew-hater.
So I made a quick and diplomatic disengagement, and avoided the guy thereafter. You can't reason with people like that and there's no point talking to them. Because they are often mentally unstable, however, you have to be careful how you deal with them or they could flip out and make your life hell.
Kooks in the Office Lobby
This wasn't my first such encounter, BTW. Why do these anti-Semites tend to react this way when they are introduced to a real honest-to-God journalist? They're like the people who periodically show up in the lobbies of newspaper offices with axes to grind -- usually against their ex-wives -- claiming to be the victims of foul miscarriages of justice that they expect you, the newspaper staffer, to rectify by doing some of that "investigative journalism" stuff they've seen on TV.
For the past 16 hours, I've been effectively offline because of a computer glitch, so I haven't had time to figure out exactly what is happening in the blogosphere regarding the Patterico situation. Dafydd ab Hugh has written a couple of guest posts there, evidently engaged in my defense, and some of what he says in this post is worth considering.
Mike LaRoche at South Texian is also on the case, as are others whom I don't have time to link right now, since I'm on a borrowed computer and have other work to do. Let me quote a passage from my 1996 debate with white separatist Dennis Wheeler that I think is being overlooked or underemphasized:
To say that one wishes better racial relations in a real sense is not to endorse the prevailing view of "diversity through homogenization." I recently saw a young black woman that I had once knew when I was a smalltown sportswriter and she was a high school track star. She is originally from New York and had just gotten out of the Air Force a few months earlier and returned to Georgia. After some friendly banter, I asked her if she thought race relations were better or worse in the South than elsewhere in the country. About the same, she said, but then she immediately began a discussion of interracial relationships and how these are less accepted in the South.So you see that, rather than engaging in some hypothetical third-bong-hit-in-the-dorm-room discussion of an idealized utopia, I was citing a particular real-world example -- an actual conversation with a personal friend, whom I could name -- that seemed relative to the debate. And my young friend was talking in particular about black people in the South being less approving of interracial relationships.
This struck me as odd: Why should attitudes toward dating/marriage between the races be considered a litmus test of racial harmony? After all, as she later made clear, many blacks are extremely disapproving of such relationships. And yet an acceptance of "Jungle Fever" (Spike Lee movie about blackwhite dating, for those who've missed their multicultural sensitivity training sessions) is held out to us as the ultimate test of whether or not we're "racists."
That ought not be overlooked. I'm not trying to pull the "some of my best friends" defense, merely pointing out that I was trying to explain reality, rather than to express my own personal ideal.
In his own introduction to the debate, Wheeler notes that "several people adopt a Libertarian view on race," and in response to the same long post I've just excerpted, Wheeler says:
Reduced to its essence, this was another manifestation of the Libertarian argument of "get the government out of the issue."What Wheeler says, intending "Libertarian" as a pejorative, certainly ought to serve as a stout defense to any accusation that I am a "white supremacist." The two accusations are fundamentally incompatible.
Harshing a Utopian's Mellow
What Wheeler couldn't get past, really, was the problem that racial reality -- life as it is actually lived -- does not conform to his own theoretical ideal. Only by extremely coercive government measures could Wheeler's racialist utopia be obtained; even if one endorsed such coercion, there is nothing like a political consensus to pursue such a policy; and if there ever were an effective majority in favor of a racial-separatist policy, this would lead us straight to the conundrum of minority rights in a democratic society.
Wheeler's programme -- and Daffyd ab Hugh notices I used the British spelling, as I'd been immersed in reading Winston Churchill in 1996 -- was a non-starter, and whatever anyone thinks of Wheeler's racial opinions, his argument amounted to an attempt to persuade people to follow him in a lemming march off the cliff into the abyss of an irrelevant fringe.
Labels like "libertarian" and "pragmatic" are used as epithets by some conservatives, who insist that a particular ideal (and always their own ideal, of course) must be the object of conservative thought and that no practical considerations should prevent the pursuit of that object. Rod Dreher's "Crunchy Cons" nonsense was one form of this idealistic conservatism, a philosophy that tended toward a disengagement with real-world politics, even as it made foolish concessions to liberalism. (See Jonah Goldberg's lengthy response to Dreher's book or my own brief review.)
If by "pragmatic," you mean that we are seeking to deal with actual problems with realistic measures, who would argue against pragmatism? It does not mean we are unprincipled, only that we aren't engaged in mere academic speculation about rainbow-and-unicorn utopias. And if you say we are "libertarian," does this mean that we have no ideals beyond the limitation of government? Of course not.
So you've seen how I dealt with Wheeler's white separatism, and his accusation that my "Libertarian view on race" was an apostasy. Now, more than a dozen years later, I find myself dealing with an entirely opposite accusation, that I am some kind of hateful bigot -- based in large measure on the arguments I made against Wheeler!
Damned if you do, and damned if you don't. Ace isn't "your secret racist buddy." There seem to be some people who want you think I am. My cosmic point, however, is that it doesn't matter whether you're "racist" or not, or whether you think I'm "racist" or not. Your opinions are your own, and even a fool has a right to his folly. (There's that libertarian thing again, see?)
The Road to Johnsonism
Patterico's liberal troll TimB said I should "be separated from the mainstream dialogue" -- that is to say, TimB has appointed himself Mainstream Dialogue Czar.
What part of "fuck you" is so hard to understand, Tim?
A commitment to free debate doesn't require Ace to let his comment field fill up with noxious stuff. He has one of the most wide-open comment fields on the Internet, and whatever caused him to brandish the banhammer, it must have been pretty bad.
The comments here are moderated. I don't ban people. There are just some comments I don't approve. And maybe I approve some that I shouldn't. Pixels are free, but I am proprietor of this particular slice of bandwidth, and trolls -- who try to hijack discussions for their own purposes, including efforts to disparage the very purpose of the blog -- are not welcome.
TimB can log into Blogger and have his own blog (call it "TimB's Dishonest Liberal Troll Blog") in a matter of minutes. Alas, Charles Johnson has already cornered the market on that.
Patterico, as blog aficionados are aware, is an assistant D.A. in California, and he seems to display a prosecutorial zeal toward me. Hell, the only time I ever set foot in his jurisdiction was when I changed planes at LAX. What's his beef?
My readers are hitting the tip jar to send me to Pasadena, so if the D.A.'s got a warrant, maybe he'll send some detectives to get tough with me next month on my way to the BCS championship. Which is why I'm thinking of bringing my Samoan attorney along for the ride . . .
THE DISCUSSION CONTINUES . . .