Brief Aside

Can I tell you how much it cracks me up to see conservatives tell themselves this little fairy tale where liberals used to be so reasonable before the radicals ruined it?

Listen to good ole Ned:

But one interesting angle on this thesis is that the much-touted “southern strategy” was less a factor in Democrats losing their political grip than was their Left-wing radicalism.

See, what tickles me is how it’s like he is faced with a connect-the-dot with three dots and he connects the first two, throws up his hands in victory, and declares himself done.  So, he follows along–“Oh, yes, it wasn’t the ‘southern strategy’ that ruined it for Democrats in the South”  and “Oh, yes, it was their Left-wing radicalism.”–but he never (and I’m sorry to pick on you, Ned, but it drives me crazy that you don’t ask critical questions of what you read because you are too smart for this nonsense) asks himself “What did Left-wing radicals want?”

Racial equality.  Gender equality.  An end to the hegemony of the military-industrial complex.  To send a big ‘fuck you’ to the ugliness of the 50s.  To not have to go to war.  But most of all, radicals wanted equality for everyone.

So, in essense, what you’re saying is that one interesting angle on this thesis is that the much-touted “southern strategy” (of Republicans appealing to racist whites who used to be Democracts) was less a factor in Democrats losing their political grip than their insistance on racial and other forms of equality.

Those are not two different things.  They’re two sides of the same coin.

And, duh!  Of course you can now be a Southern member of the GOP and not be a racist asshat.

But let’s not rewrite history here.  Y’all got where you are when you did by certain means that now that a younger group with the good sense to be embarrassed by it is coming into power and trying to understand where they are and how they got there wishes weren’t true.

It’s as simple as that.

36 thoughts on “Brief Aside

  1. You’d think conservatives might want to read the groundswell of research on the rise of the Right from 1950-1990 (it’s only where the most exciting research in the field of 20th C US is right now) before they endorsed a book that is so generally unsupportable in its main argument.

    Did anyone reading stop and think “hey, how is this guy going to prove that huge masses of people did or didn’t do something because the Kennedy assassination was “misidentified” (according to whom? the author?)” The whole argument starts from an unproveable premise because it rests on a counterfactual assumption that is untestable — if the Kennedy assassination had been “correctly” identified as part of the Cold War, liberals and progressives would have behaved differently. Well…uh….that might be. How are we to know? And who says that it wasn’t conceptualized as part of the Cold War? Any casual reader of primary documents or anyone old enought to remember knows that much was made of Oswald’s Communist connections, for heaven’s sake. At the end of the book, We have only the author’s ideas about what might have happened, which Ned then twists into a “and SEE? That’s why we’re not really racists!” non sequiter. What can I say? Weak reasoning from a dubious foundational premise leads to erroneous conclusions.

    On the other hand, I think there’s profit in discussing what DID actually happen and why. You know, things like the GI Bill and the growth of the college-educated middle class that embraced a vision of a powerfully reformist post-WWII US as a leader in the world. And Barry Goldwater’s longlasting ideological effects on the Right. And the the organizing efforts of conservative women in living rooms across America. And the Civil Rights Movement in its long sweep from the 1930s through the 1970s. And Watts And the Dixiecrats. And the Vietnam. And the draft. All those polarizing radicalizing things that suggest that the mere “misidentification” of one event (if that did, in fact, happen) probably wasn’t determinative. Multicausal analysis based on research into what really happened is a beautiful thing, people.

    Monocausal assertion based on counterfactuals, on the other hand, is crap. That’s why the book in question was published by Encounter — which is basically the place where Freepers publish books that pretend to be history but don’t pass muster in any peer-reviewed academic press. They aren’t being shunned in historical circles for their conclusions, incidentally (although that’s always the paranoid lead that National Review authors make). It’s because of their shoddy research methods and their obdurate unwillingness to acknowledge the complexity of the past. It’s kind of hilarious that they want to “take back the university” while producing the kind of ill-conceived junk that would get a freshman failed for lack of scholarly rigor.

  2. I have a grown-married-man crush on Bridgett. Does the line form here?

    Monocausal assertion based on counterfactuals, on the other hand, is crap.

    Yes, Bridgett, but the beauty of such monocausal assertions is that when those liberals with their pesky facts debunk one of your crackpot assertions, you can quickly rotate to another one. Just make sure it is built on a right-wing social scapegoat (e.g. gays, negroes, uppity females, etc.).

  3. I haven’t read the book, but I know that the “sexual revolution” was not perceived (by residents in the Bible Belt) as an issue of “gender equality” And “the military industrial complex” was not a bogeyman to a majority of 60s southerners.

    Gosh, grandiose book theses are a Conservative phenomenon? Thanks for that heads up.

    Again, I haven’t read the book, but I see a number of testable assertions judging from the overview I read . . . were there extraordinary conflicts within the Democratic Party following JFK’s assassination? what were the bases of these extraordinary conflicts? what did polling data demonstrate as the bases for people leaving the Democratic Party (and “we libs just KNOW that white southerners hated black people” isn’t sufficient)?

    If someone doesn’t think that the modern-day Democratic Party is “radical” enough, sure they’re going to balk at any suggestion that at some point “radicals” within the party took it over. If a modern-day Democrat thinks that they’re one of two peas in a pod with JFK, then of course s/he would balk at the book’s thesis. Such historians may be “dispassionate” about their research or discussion of the subject but that’s a far cry from unbiased or objective.

  4. Ned, ask yourself this. If race wasn’t the basis for people (read “white people”) leaving the Democratic party, why aren’t there more Southern Christian Black Republicans?

    This is a demographic your party should own–they’re very religious, very politically active, and very, very socially conservative. They, in general, share your views on abortion and gay marriage. And they tend to share your views on proper gender roles. None of this is any surprise as they are, too, conservative Southern Christians. Of course they share a great deal in common with you. And they also are exceedingly uncomfortable with the “radical” Left in the Democratic party.

    So, when the Democratic party splintered and socially conservative Southerners fled, why was it only the whites?

    Where are the Southern Black Republicans?

    Even now, why haven’t you guys been able to peel away this portion of our base?

    Because they know what you know in your heart–that white Southerners fled the Democratic party when the Democrats embraced, kind of, Civil Rights.

    Take a look at everything that was happening in 1963 that was splintering the Democratic party. In January, Wallace gives his “Segregation Forever” speech and Harvey Gant desegregates higher ed in South Carolina. In April, King, Abernathy, and Shuttlesworth are arrested and King issues his “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” In May, dogs and firehoses are used against peaceful Civil Rights protesters. June, Wallace stands in the door of the University of Alabama in order to protest its desegregation and Kennedy speaks out in support of Civil Rights; Medgar Evers is murdered and the Supreme Court rules against manditory Bible reading in public schools. In August, James Meridith graduates from Ole Miss and King gives his “I Have a Dream” Speech in Washington. In September, four little girls are killed in a church bombing in Birmingham.

    It’s in November that Kennedy is killed.

    In December, the Beatles release “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” and “I Saw Her Standing There.”

    I mention them only to remind you that this was not the end of the 60s, when free love was in full effect. There was really only one thing going on in the South for Democrats to be upset by. And, in fact, Southerners started voting Republican in 1964 after the passage of the Civil Rights Act (which, Johnson predicted y’all would do).

    As for your notion that the happenings in the 60s were not perceived by residents of the Bible Belt as an issue of “gender equality,” I ask you sit down and listen to some Loretta Lynne albums. Southern women have been telling you all what’s what for a long time (I don’t think it’s any mistake that “Single Girl” is a traditional Southern song), but they’ve just been doing it in a way you can dance to.

  5. It’s a wise practice not to review books that you haven’t read. You wind up endorsing what you might not otherwise support and then you get stuck defending weak material. Some books are just bad methodologically, even if they reach conclusions that one finds fortunate.

    A counterfactual is contrary to fact. One can use counterfactuals to speculate, but not to explain what happened — because (just to connect that final dot) one’s starting premise didn’t happen. Monocausalism is bad. Mono-non-causalism (because that cause didn’t happen, right?) is even worse.

    To put that in layman’s terms, it’s the equivalent of concluding at the end of the season that the Titans would have definitely won the Superbowl if Haynesworth hadn’t gotten hurt. It’s pretty to think so, but even the most partisan Titans fan realizes that such a statement neglects the ten thousand other things that influence and change a season’s outcome. Fanboy counterfactuals might be ok over beer and chips or on talk radio, but they don’t have any historical explanatory power.

    Yes, any of those propositions are testable. None of them have a damn thing to do, of necessity, with the “misidentification” (assumes that there is a single knowable correct identification that is the author’s privilege to reveal) of Kennedy’s assassination. (As I said before, I think he’s off-base on this anyhow.)

    Other historians, whom the author in question does not cite (and thus leaves himself open to the charge of shunning contrary evidence rather than engaging it) are doing really fine work on the rise of conservatism, especially southern conservatism. They’re concluding, by looking both at local and state organizations/issues/events and by looking at national strategy sessions, that race was highly significant as a moblizer of whites. Appeals to the reinstitution of a white supremacist racial order were repeatedly and deliberately used to great effect as a shorthand to suggest the remedy to a wide sweep of other social changes that social conservatives found distressing. Thus, the bulk of research concludes that conservatism in the south got a good deal of its juice from white responses to the erosion of white supremacy.

  6. I didn’t review the book. I read a mention of its thesis and asked you Libs what you thought about it. I’m intrigued by the Progressive v. Liberal issue, and I bristle at glib “Southern Strategy” moralism, so I was intrigued by the thesis.

    AuntB, most all of the prejudiced people I’ve ever seen are Democrats–southern and northern ones, so what does that demonstrate? Are you saying that Southern Christian Blacks wouldn’t be welcome in the GOP?

    And how do you explain that Democrats still held majorities across most of the south until the late 90s? How much white mobilizing (in the 30 long years of the “Southern Strategy”) does that demonstrate?

  7. most all of the prejudiced people I’ve ever seen are Democrats–southern and northern ones, so what does that demonstrate?

    it’s a tossup, i think. it either demonstrates that you haven’t met very many people, or that you have a selective blind spot for different kinds of prejudices.

    more likely the latter. one of my first impressions of this country, which i’ve only ever seen reinforced through my years here, is that hypocrisy — certainly not baseball — is the American national pastime.

  8. No, Ned. My point is that here you have two groups–the GOP and Black Southern Christians–which appear to share many of the same goals and have a great deal in common and yet they don’t join up, in spite of the GOP doing a great deal to try to signal to Black Southern Christians that they’d be welcome.

    Why is that?

    It’s not a mystery. It’s because they haven’t forgotten.

  9. Well, Nomen, I don’t have a blindspot–not as far as I can see, anyway :)

    And Bridgett, obviously anecdote is a poor form of data, but sometimes anecdote is supported by data. I’ve observed that prejudice tracks pretty closely with education, generally. Now some people may not be educated but have another influence on them that short-circuits the character flaw of prejudice.

    They haven’t forgotten what? Abraham Lincoln? The greater proportion (vs. Dems) of pre-“Southern Strategy” Republicans that supported Civil Rights reforms?

    No; they will have a difficult time “forgetting” as long as some entities have an interest in stoking the fear/concern that the GOP’s policies are rooted in racism/prejudice.

  10. And Bridgett, obviously anecdote is a poor form of data, but sometimes anecdote is supported by data.

    Er… that’s exactly backwards. Anecdote cannot be supported by data. Anecdotes are what they are on their own, and the presence or absence of patterned explanatory data doesn’t change that.

    Data can be backed up (conversationally) by anecdote(s), yes. You can say “Gravity makes things fall toward the earth. Blah blah numbers blah blah,” and then follow that up with “You know, I think I saw that the other day! I walked past a tree and a bunch of fruit fell down.” In that case, the anecdote is functioning as a concrete example of the theory and data presented, and serves to either a) provide an easy illustration of what is going on or b) convince the listener by appeal to shared experience.

    Similarly, one can conversationally use data and theories to explain anecdotes. “I saw a tree fall down after a hurricane!” “Well, a lot of trees fall down during hurricanes. The wind weakens them, and the extra weight of water tends to make them fall down.” The anecdote isn’t any more or less true for being put in context – it’s still an anecdote. It is still functioning conversationally to convince the listener by what it is (a story that’s easy to relate to and pick out themes in)… and what it is is an anecdote, not data.

  11. Ned, I’d suggest that one blind spot that you have is in underestimating the intelligence/rationality/information of black voters. Or perhaps it’s the blind spot that keeps you from understanding that the “entities” that influence their voting patterns are pretty much the same as the entities that influence your own voting. The idea that people would agree with you if only someone else weren’t deluding them is a common blind spot, but it’s a huge one.

  12. Thanks, NM. Exactly.

    Ned, what I mean is that they’ve not forgotten how, when the Democrats began to support Civil Rights, racist Southern Whites bolted for the Republican party.

    Ned, just consider this. One of the frontrunner GOP candidates belongs to a religion that, until 1978, wouldn’t let Black people hold high level church positions and which still has in its sacred stories the story of how black people are black because they refused to take sides in the War in Heaven and so God punished them with black skin.

    Why would conservative blacks feel comfortable voting for a party that finds a person who believes that okay to run for president?

  13. B, that’s not even what I mean. What I mean is that a black middle-class or working-class voter may feel some solidarity with official Republican positions on abortion and gay rights, but may also feel that the Democrats are talking more sense in the long term about the war, the economy, the role of government in communal life, or even the role of gov’t in legislating morality (even a morality they agree with). The point isn’t remembering an historic betrayal or however one wants to characterize it; the point is that as a result of changes that started in the 1960s, the Republican Party isn’t a good fit for how most African-Americans today see the world, the country, and their personal place.

    It’s the same for many middle-class and working class whites: putting the Democrats in power would make more sense for them, economically or in terms of international relations, than voting Republican, but the way they view the world, the country, and their personal place, other issues are more important. Their choice is just as valid (and influenced by just as wide a range of “entities”) as the opposite.

  14. AuntB, I’m assuming that is Romney? I doubt that is motivating them because most people don’t know that about Mormonism. Is it causing them angst knowing that Harry Reid is a devout Mormon?

    nm, don’t freak out about the word “entities” . . . and I can assure you that the Al Sharptons or Jesse Jacksons, and the Howard Deans or Nancy Pelosis, aren’t influencing my vote. When you throw into the mix that the Democratic Party is so dependent on a near monopoly on support from Black Americans, then other “entities” have an increased stake in keeping them at “home” . . . MSM, Liberal special interests, etc. etc.

    I may be misperceiving the motivations for black votes, but I doubt it, frankly. I don’t think it is foreign policy that has hurt the GOP re. black Americans . . . I know it isn’t “social” issues . . . it is pretty much the closeted-racist accusations and “hot-button” litmus issues like affirmative action. Who can rationally say that affirmative action DECREASES racism or prejudice?

  15. Ned, as usual you miss the point, which is that it’s no different to be influenced by Nancy Pelosi than by Trent Lott, no different to be influenced by Al Sharpton than by Anne Coulter. And if you don’t get it that many African-Americans (among others) simply disagree with you about what role gov’t is supposed to play in our society, whether or not they perceive any personal or group advantage to that role, you are missing something very, very important about, oh, half the population of this country. Racism (ar anti-racism, or the suspicion of racism, or the rejection of racism) need not enter into individuals’ political equations in the least to make them prefer one party to another.

  16. nm,
    As usual, you think I’m missing your point.

    Certainly the “entities” doing the influencing matter . . . some entities are credible; some not. Some are demagogic; some not. Some have legit motives; some not. But the issue is whether you can discern which entity is which.

    And no, I don’t think that 98% of Black Americans are in lockstep with the Social Sciences faculty at Cal-Berkeley on “what role gov’t is supposed to play in our society” for substantive reasons . . . sorry.

    And, though racism (and all the variations you listed) need not enter into individual political equations, it is hard to ignore the overwhelming racial aspect of Black Americans’ devotion to the Democrats. There’s simply no comparison (maybe Cuban Americans, but even that seems unrelated to race . . .)

  17. You might make a better case if you could at least pretend to put your own prejudices aside, Ned. But since you can’t get far enough out of your own mindset, you have to claim that those who disagree with you “are in lockstep” and have no “credible reasons” but those who agree with you have made “substantive” decisions based on “credible entities.” And the credibility/substance or demagoguery/illegitimacy of entities is judged based on how closely they agree with your own position. Wow. It must be great to be so sure that everyone who disagrees with you is not only wrong, but thinking/acting in bad faith.

  18. some entities are credible; some not. Some are demagogic; some not. Some have legit motives; some not. But the issue is whether you can discern which entity is which.

    you speak as if those qualities were objectively knowable things. they are not. people can honestly disagree on whether or not a given “entity” sorts in one or the other pigeonhole, for each of them.

    if Joe Random Schmoe thinks Al Sharpton has credibility, and you do not, then basically neither of you can ever prove the other wrong. either one of you might convince some disinterested third party that you were right and the other wrong, but just as likely, you’ll simply convince that third party that s/he’s watching a couple of idiots debating. “credibility” is not a measurable quantity.

    though racism […] need not enter into individual political equations,

    yes. yes, in this country, it does need to.

    trust the disinterested outsider’s observation on this point; the USA is a deeply, profoundly racist society in ways most native-born americans (certainly the white-skinned ones) simply never realize. but when you can compare it to another, radically different, culture you have intimate knowledge of — as i have been privileged to do — it sticks out like a sore thumb. anyone who thinks the USA doesn’t have serious race-political problems is simply clueless.

  19. I agree Nomen, about racism in America, but I don’t agree if you’re asserting that racism isn’t an issue in countries that aren’t America. And of course credibility is subjective in many respects, but not in all respects.

    And you might make a better case if you didn’t assume that I was an idiot for not thinking yours is the final opinion on everything. And I try hard not to “pretend” at all. Just keepin’ real, sister.

    I didn’t say that every one of my influencers was credible or that everyone who disagrees with me was not credible. And I don’t think that I’m right anymore than you think you’re right . . .

    Re. the words I used: 98%+ is pretty “lock step” wouldn’t you say, especially when on so many issues (the “social” ones in particular and even immigration, increasingly) they disagree with the DNC platform. I just flatly reject that Black Americans–as a near monolithic voting bloc, are choosing to vote Democrat for the same reasons that hard core Liberal voters are choosing to vote Democrat.

    But this whole “credibility” issue is intriguing. I would say that there are objective aspects to credibility, just like there are in a courtroom. Whether Jesse or Al are acting in bad faith is difficult to prove, but I do know their record of advocacy (“demagoguery” implies “bad faith,” right?) is pretty hard to dispute.

  20. <blockquote< I just flatly reject that Black Americans–as a near monolithic voting bloc, are choosing to vote Democrat for the same reasons that hard core Liberal voters are choosing to vote Democrat.



    I’m out. Y’all are going to have to carry this one without me.

  21. Ned, I don’t assume that you’re an idiot, though I do conclude, based on remarks you have made in a number of conversations on a number of topics, that you are willing to ignore evidence when it conflicts with your preconceptions, and that you are not particularly self-reflective about your own motivations for holding those preconceptions (which is what I mean about not being able to put your prejudices aside). Moreover, I know that I don’t have the final opinion on anything — since my own opinions on a number of topics have changed over the years, based on evidence, experience, and the like.

    I don’t know how to argue with you, though, since when presented with evidence (elicited by every public opinion poll taken) that African-Americans in this country do share the core political values of liberals — that, in fact, the area of overlap in the “African-American ethnic group” and “liberal political group” Venn diagrams is, well, huge, you “just flatly reject” it.

  22. nm,
    You haven’t “presented [any] evidence . . . that African-Americans in this country share the core political values of liberals”; maybe “core” is the key word there?

    And if by “ignore evidence” you mean assertions rooted in the the view that “All persons who consider themselves Jewish agree with my interpretation of our sacred texts, and no Gentile can deign to say otherwise,” then, yes, I do tend to ignore “evidence”?

    I’m very upfront about and aware of my preconceptions . . . I presume that you believe if I actually were aware then I would reach your conclusions or be baffled about what to conclude? What are my purported prejudices on this matter that you believe I cannot put aside?

    . . . And I guess you’re too tired to offer any rebuttal?

    . . . No, I fear that your brilliant insight may be necessary in this discussion.

    Frankly, this is my issue with assertions that the dialogue at “tinycatpants” is some sort of model . . . sniffling, condescending, non-dialogue isn’t worth emulating. There are some exceptions, of course, but trolling is rather tempting when you’re “called out” in a post and then face such disingenuous “dialogue.”

  23. if i go look up “projection” in a dictionary of psychology, will it have a picture of mr. williams next to the definition?

    (really, is it honestly that damn hard to believe that, out of only two major parties to choose from, one of them might just be considerably better at representing black people’s concerns and issues, and black people know it? if said black people mostly decide to to vote for one party over the other, do they really have to be mistaken as to their reasons why? who’s being the racist here?)

  24. I don’t know Mr. Nescio, but I’m interested to see the pics next to “stupid rhetorical questions” in my dictionary.

    And Mr. Nescio, what exactly are “black people’s concerns”?

  25. Ned, this thread has around 30 comments. You haven’t exactly been ignored. We talked at length about a bad book with bad methodology that you wanted to talk about but actually hadn’t read. Then you wanted to move to the history of black voting in the South and their multiple motivations, but it turns out that you don’t actually have a solid empirical handle on that either. Your lack of substantive preparation on the topics you introduce is not the fault of TCP readers.

  26. And Mr. Nescio, what exactly are “black people’s concerns”?

    Jesus H. Christ on a pogo stick, Ned. You are worse than a dog with a bone. You’ve been gently moved toward a more enlightened position, you have been firmly nudged away from your beloved strawman, and finally, you’ve been bitch-slapped hard by practically everyone here and still you behave like a stubborn child chanting no no no and sticking his fingers in his ears.

    I go over to MCB, there you are, still arguing on a two week old thread. Its beginning to look a tad desperate, son.

    The Civil Rights Movement happened not only in my lifetime, but much of it right down the street from me. Think about that. I’m only 50, and i remember when Dr. King was assassinated, and I remember the Watts riots. That is not so long ago. In fact, in the grand scheme of things, it is like 5 seconds ago. Lets turn it around. If white people had been enslaved, then oppressed for around 100 years, and lynched and burned along the way, wouldn’t they have a few “concerns” that perhaps black people wouldn’t have? That maybe, just maybe, they had better stay vigilant lest they see any slippage in those hard won rights they passed to their children. Do Jews have concerns? I’m willing to say, hell yes they do, and rightly so. I’m Hispanic, do you want to know what my concerns are? If you can’t guess correctly, you aren’t trying. Your Party finally made some inroads into the Hispanic Community and then, in classic Republican style, asked themto serve the food when they arrived at your party!

    Why is it so hard for some guys to just shut up, and listen to what is being offered by people who know, because they have livedit? (Feel free to add my pic in the stupid rhetorical question category now)

  27. And if by “ignore evidence” you mean assertions rooted in the the view that “All persons who consider themselves Jewish agree with my interpretation of our sacred texts, and no Gentile can deign to say otherwise,” then, yes, I do tend to ignore “evidence”?

    If you believe that I ever said that, I’d say that your problem is not being able to read correctly. Please, let’s not rehash that. I know that you hate to be told that Jews, despite (or because of) our varieties of beliefs, don’t generally believe what you personally say that we do. And I know that you don’t accept that anyone can accurately characterize beliefs similar to but not identical to their own, and we are all painfully aware that you can’t do it yourself. But if you are still having your feelings hurt because you got told you don’t know what you’re talking about, I see two possible solutions for you: suck it up, or go do some reading and learn something. Don’t come crying to me.

    I was thinking more of the evidence of public opinion polls asking questions about people’s core political beliefs, taken repeatedly, over many decades, by groups with a number of different (even conflicting) agendas — which show, with a great deal of consistency, what the core values of Group X or Group Y happen to be.

    I presume that you believe if I actually were aware then I would reach your conclusions or be baffled about what to conclude?

    Well, QED that Ned doesn’t get it. No, I don’t think that everyone self-aware agrees with me. Plenty of completely self-aware people disagree with me about all sorts of political, social, religious, historical questions. I’m gonna go out on a limb here and suggest that, based on the evidence that about half of the country disagrees with me about a major cluster of political issues, about half of the self-aware people disagree with me. I just mean that since you aren’t able to separate your own beliefs from your reasons for holding them, you aren’t able to understand that your reasons are separate from your conclusions, and that those with different ideas might have gotten to them in legitimate ways.

  28. ned’s sounding desperate now. moreover, he’s contradicting himself. he already agreed with me that racism is a serious problem in America; that being so, he can’t rationally pooh-pooh the notion of non-whites having political issues which whites do not, because such issues are of course the natural and predictable result of widespread racism.

    (i went to school on the other side of the planet. even so, we learned about Dr. Martin Luther King and his life’s work. i clearly remember being flabbergasted at learning a country like America could have had institutionalized apartheid within living memory; it completely clashed with my naive idea of a civilized country. it still does.

    even twenty years ago, an idealistic high school kid an ocean and half a continent removed from the U.S. could put two plus two together and figure out, gee, the USA must still be reeling in the aftershocks of that moronic practice. so why can’t ned?)

  29. even twenty years ago, an idealistic high school kid an ocean and half a continent removed from the U.S. could put two plus two together and figure out, gee, the USA must still be reeling in the aftershocks of that moronic practice. so why can’t ned?)

    Not to mention those of us who still deal with it on a daily basis. I haven’t for a minute been fooled by this “but they’re illegal!” argument in which so many try to frame the immigration debate. When offered solutions that include penalties for that infraction, they still clamor on about amnesty. The issue is rife with racism no matter how much they protest that fact. I get so sick of the “protect our culture” mantra i could scream.

  30. Ned, I don’t know what to say to you. On the one hand, I commend you for continuing to come over here and fight. On the other hand, I cannot tell if you simply cannot imagine things from other people’s perspectives or if you refuse to. I’d put my money on “refuse to,” but I’m starting to think I’m wrong, in which case, it is mean of me to keep provoking you and I apologize.

    Believe it or not, I do like the back and forth that comes from disagreeing with someone in good faith. I disagree a great deal with Coble and Say Uncle and Kleinheider and so on, but I trust that they get what I’m saying (for the most part) and just disagree with me. I learn a lot from that. I think they do, too.

    And only very rarely are minds changed.

    But this discussion has been bizarre. You made a post that I, as a lefty, took to posit that Southern Whites left the Democratic party after 1963 not because of the changing stance towards white supremacy of the Democratic party, but because radical lefties scared them off. And you thought this seemed plausible because you’re not racist.

    I have pointed out that, in 1963, the “radical” part of the Democratic party was the part aggitating for racial equality and so the argument put forth in that book is clearly wrong and right. Southern whites might have been unhappy with radical elements in the Democratic party, but those radical elements were the Civil Rights elements.

    I gave you further proof of this by pointing out that, if the defection of Southern whites from the Democratic party were merely linked to their attachment to certain conservative social mores, then conservative Southern blacks would have left the party at that time as well.

    And yet, they did not.

    It can be perfectly true that you are not racist and that you don’t believe the GOP to be any more racist than the Democrats anymore. I would disagree with you, but it would be a claim one could make.

    But what’s got us shaking our heads at you is your willingness to rewrite history in order to reflect present conditions instead of past actualities.

    You can think that’s mean of us, but it’s like you’re arguing that the sky is plaid.

  31. AuntB,
    As I said above, I haven’t read the book and never claimed I did.

    The thesis sounded plausible and still does.

    I certainly didn’t mean to assert that racism was not the reason that the GOP was increasing its membership based on the fact that racism is not the reason that I am a Republican. I will say, however, that I would never (and do not) tolerate racism and would not want to be associated with a political party that did.

    If the GOP swelled in numbers in 1963, your assertions might be more valid, but the thesis–as I understood it (from one freaking, two-page interview) was that the Kennedy assassination presented a dilemma in the Democratic Party from which it has not ever really recovered. “Radicals” scared off many Democrats by their views on the military, on sexual mores, on how to view Communism–all of which I would assert were relevant in the years soon after ’63. And yes, I flatly reject that the reason the Democratic Party hasn’t won every election since 1963 was because Republicans used racist policies to woo all the racist Democrats.

    And I think I have said this in a couple of different ways here, but Black Americans’ attitudes about the GOP-inasmuch as they are rooted in racist demagoguery of the GOP, do not prove the “Southern Strategy.” As I posted about on my blog yesterday, I believe the Democratic Party has used its own “Southern Strategy” to keep Black voters in the fold. Assuming that Nixon, et al used a Southern Strategy, I guess two wrongs make a right?

    “Mean”? Naaah. I was mocking the “mean-spirited” slur used by the Left; close-minded and smug would probably be better terms. I whole-heartedly believe in good faith discussions and seeing things from others’ perspectives and agreeing to disagree. But I also don’t reflexively attribute nefarious motives or flawed reasoning to a person holding a different view than me. And I see that it is a problem engaging in “debate” with someone who clings to relativism in an absolutist way.

    I “get it” that others have different presuppositions than me and that those different presuppositions lead to different conclusions. It advances the conversation to move beyond posturing, acknowledge good-faith differences, and focus on the issues. That’s the tension between dialoguing and talking past each other. I guess it is easier to talk past each other until you get to 51% and then you don’t have to worry about “the other’s” viewpoint.

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