January 31, 2008

I just noticed that Dan Drezner called something "the Ann Althouse" idea.

In this segment of a Bloggingheads episode. [NOTE: You have to click on the segment titled "The dark side of libertarianism."] I don't think he gets it quite right, and I don't know why they talk about me by name but don't include anything I wrote in the sidebar list of links. But they're talking about Ron Paul's racist newsletter, and they refer back to the dispute I had with Reason Magazine libertarians. Drezner characterizes me as saying that if you believe in something — like libertarianism — that in the past was associated with something repugnant — like racism — you remain tainted by it.

I think my point is finer: If you believe in something that was once associated with something repugnant, you ought to care about demonstrating to people that your profession of belief in the idea is not a cover for something repugnant. A Reason Magazine editor subjected me to a haughty show of indignation because I wanted to see that demonstration: How dare I demand that anyone prove he's not a racist! But I'm saying that the fact that you don't care about disaggregating your philosophy from racism says something that matters.

By the way, Dan Drezner was quite disrespectful to me in the past about this, so I'm surprised to see that he remembers. Frankly, I'm surprised he even credits me with the capacity to have something he would call an "idea."

ADDED: Actually, I think he calls it the "the Ann Althouse question" — not idea. And, as reader_iam points out in the comments, Drezner isn't the one who brings up my name, his diavlog partner Henry Farrell does (at about 5:04). I should add that there is an old Bloggingheads — which I'm not going to dig up now — where Farrell and Drezner talk about me and Farrell is insulting — saying that he doesn't like my blog and doesn't get any ideas from it. That insult was over a year ago, I think, as was his encounter with the idea of mine that he still remembers!

AND: Here's the thing I wasn't able to dig up before. The exact clip of Henry Farrel saying he doesn't like my blog.

71 comments:

reader_iam said...

Drezner refers to the "Ann Althouse idea" (at 11:08), but I took that as reference back to Henry Farrell's bringing it up (around 5:04) and discussing more explicitly your experience at the conference you attended, and then, near the end of his extended comment, using the "if you lie down with dogs, you get fleas" phrase.

former law student said...

If you believe in limited federal government, saying you favor "states' rights" is going to turn some people off right away.

Trumpit said...

Why do you think Drezner was denied tenure at the University of Chicago? Because they recognized that he's not as brilliant as he thinks he is.

Simon said...

As I said at the time, I thought that the "Ann Althouse idea" in that fracas wasn't that "she wanted ostentatious disclaimers and displays of loyalty to the principle of desegregation ... [but rather] that if you have a political philosophy which has been used in the past to justify a morally repugnant result, you need to explain why that principle is misapplied if it is taken to reach that result. That is, that you need to explain why that theory doesn't demand (and preferably, that it structurally forecloses) that unacceptable result."

Balfegor said...

A Reason Magazine editor subjected me to a haughty show of indignation because I wanted to see that demonstration: How dare I demand that anyone prove he's not a racist! But I'm saying that the fact that you don't care about disaggregating your philosophy from racism says something that matters.

The accusation, even indirect, of racism is extraordinarily poisonous in our society, and it's one that people are perfectly in their rights to take umbrage at. That said, life isn't fair -- something libertarians should know as well as anyone -- so regardless of how unfair it may be, one really is stuck in a position where one has to get out in front and explain that no, one is not a racist, and one's political philosophy is not, in fact, an arcane code for genteel racism.

reader_iam said...

Drezner's exact words were "..and this goes back to the Ann Althouse question..." starting at more like 11:06 (it's sort of an interjection within a longer sentence).

Simon said...

FLS - right, but usually (albeit not always, see Althouse, Why Talking about States Rights Cannot Avoid the Need for Normative Federalism Analysis, 51 Duke L. J. 363 (2001)) "states' rights" is used as a pejorative synonym for federalism by people who oppose it, not by people who believe in and advance federalism, subsidiarity and the like. They use it precisely because of its negative connotations, to falsely imply that those who believe states ought to play the role left them by the federal Constitution are motivated by the same racist intentions as the jim crow troglodytes. But as many authors have explained, federalism isn't necessarily about "states' rights" as anything other than a shorthand.

reader_iam said...

I thought Drezner did a pretty decent job of identifying the problem.

I hope that people reading here are actually listening to the Blogging Heads section in question.

reader_iam said...

This was not a smear at Althouse. In fact, I think her "idea" was being taken seriously and discussed respectfully.

But listen for yourselves and make up your own minds.

Ann Althouse said...

Reader, yes, I know they are taking my idea seriously now. I'm saying that in the past Drezner did not take this idea seriously -- and also that he misstates the idea to some extent in a way that make me look less subtle and opens a false opportunity for him to distinguish his thinking from mine.

Sheriff Cobb said...

I don't know about this theory. You can still believe in Celine Dion and not be responsible for her taint.

Howard said...

This line of reasoning is absurd. To actually follow it: all Catholics are guilty of the Inquisition, Italians guilty of the Roman persecution of Christians, all Russians guilty of the excesses of Ivan the Terrible, and so on. I do NOT have to go through life apologizing for any past horrors of whatever group(s) I belong to. I mean, just because I'm a Nazi doesn't mean I have to feel guilty about Hitler, does it? Another way of saying we always have to look at situations carefully before making judgments.

Sheriff Cobb said...

Now camel toe was what brother Ed Cobb was referencing when he wrote his hit song "Taint-ed love." But he wrote it long before Celine was popular.

Chip Ahoy said...

Yay for being talked about.

Better to have your name attached to an idea or a question, to have an idea first ignored and then later recognized, than to have it attached to, say, some kind of malady.

This post resonated because similar things happened to me; I have a discussion that forces me to contrive some unique way to express something. I find that a bit hard so I remember it. To an outside observer I lose the argument because I'm out-blustered and my idea discredited or dismissed. Then later, sometimes much later, here it comes again, the same subject, except now I recognize my own vocabulary, the bits that were trial to come up with back there the first time, as if what I said back there really did have an impact beyond what my interlocutor was willing to acknowledge at the time.

I'm convinced it's a Western thing. Almost entirely a male thing.

Simon said...

Howard, you have almost completely misapprehended the point that was made.

Chip Ahoy said...

As to unique expressions. Thread jack. Ann posted about this a long time ago. Here's a unique expression, currently 0 google hits.

"free american citizenship test questions"

apologies.

Roger said...

Trooper, Neff and now sheriff Cobb--hope you have changed your damned socks, TNSC :)

Balfegor said...

I'm convinced it's a Western thing. Almost entirely a male thing.

Why?

Roger said...

Sheriff Cobb = Silverado--had to think about that one for a bit.

Doyle said...

Such a nutjob.

Dan said...

There is a problem with the finer point (i.e. if you believe in something that was once associated with something repugnant, you ought to care about demonstrating to people that your profession of belief in the idea is not a cover for something repugnant). Our history of ideas is so vast that almost everything, at some point, is likely associated with something repugnant. For example, social critical theory -- which has supplied some progressive and important modes of thought -- has been associated with Nazism. Does that mean that all people who apply methods rooted in social critical theory (e.g. race critial theorists, gender studies, etc..) must now disclaim the potential affiliation with something repugnant?

Perhaps the better choice is to judge ideas based on current application by the speaker. If there are repugnant associations lurking under the surface, they are sure to be exposed soon enough.

However, demanding an initial defense before the idea is fully developed inhibits, rather than encourages, the exploration of ideas.

Bissage said...

If I may be so presumptuous, I suspect the Althouse point is even finer than that: "If you [advocate a system of belief] that [may be reasonably considered to prescribe] something repugnant, you [would do well] to care about demonstrating to people that your profession of belief in the idea is not a cover for something repugnant."

It would, of course, be reasonable to consider whether that idea has produced something repugnant in the past.

But what the heck do I know?

rcocean said...

Couldn't find the Althouse quote. and I'm not going to slog through 60 minutes with these 2 dullards to find it. However, I did listen to part of the coded speech segment and it was total BS.

"Code words" are simply a way for MSM liberals and the elites to smear conservatives (or anyone else they dislike) with charges of 'racism' 'sexism' "homophobia', etc. For example, If they can't find anything overtly racist by a Conservative they don't like, they fall back on code word trick. "Republican So-so uses "code words" which means he dislikes Jews, Gays, women, etc."

In the past it was used to smear anyone who wanted crime controlled. The phrase "law and order" was supposed to be "code words" for "I don't like blacks".

Its impossible have a rationale response to this type of attack since there is no "code book". Almost always the attacker has simply made the whole thing up.

knoxwhirled said...

Hm. Well, I've always avoided commenting on this issue because I'm a huge Althouse fan and I didn't want to pile on when there was already a lot of that going on. It did make me leave this blog for a long time, though.

Here's the deal: as someone who identifies mainly as a libertarian--albeit small L I guess--I have to be counted as one of the people who found your attitude insulting and presumptuous. And typical of the kind of arrogance I normally hear from stupider lefties.

I made a slow transition in my late 20s/early 30s from liberal to conservative, and realized with horror at a certain point that I was now going to be considered racist, homophobic, etc. by default in the eyes of a lot of liberals. Certainly my attitudes toward any minorities had not changed a whit... but there it was.

So is it not understandable that libertarians and conservatives (many of whom have made that same transition from liberalism) bristle that they are forced to face charges of hatred, and to "prove they are not racist" on a pretty regular basis?

All of this is to say that, when this happened, coming from you, it was really kind of a shock and pretty insulting. I realize there are legal nuances that I probably don't fully understand. But the whole "you need to explain..." attitude you're coming from is too much.

Respectfully, I don't need to explain jack shit. Especially to liberals, who, as far as I can tell, are guiltier for using their politics as a cover for hate than any other group. As I've said before here: just check the comments on any lefty blog regarding Condi Rice or Michelle Malkin. Liberals regularly indulge in hate-filled rants because they consider themselves immune from charges of sexism, racism, etc. (See all the reactions from supposed feminists on the whole breast blogging affair.)

Still a huge Althouse fan! ... but not so much on this topic.

Smilin' Jack said...

If you believe in something that was once associated with something repugnant, you ought to care about demonstrating to people that your profession of belief in the idea is not a cover for something repugnant.

Since you have devoted your professional life to analyzing and teaching the Constitution, a document written by racists and actual slave owners, I assume you begin your courses by demonstrating that this is not a cover for "something repugnant." Maybe if you told us what form that demonstration takes, it could serve as an example for those nasty libertarians.

Balfegor said...

Re: Bissage:

If I may be so presumptuous, I suspect the Althouse point is even finer than that: "If you [advocate a system of belief] that [may be reasonably considered to prescribe] something repugnant, you [would do well] to care about demonstrating to people that your profession of belief in the idea is not a cover for something repugnant."

The standard for "reasonably" is pretty low, though, and has less to do with history, fact, or reason, as far as I can see, and more to do with the passions and prejudices of the moment, e.g. how much people beat their breasts about racism. After all, it's hard to see how a libertarian belief prescribes anything repugnant. Certainly it leaves people free to engage in repugnant ways. But so does freedom of speech. That's kind of the point.

former law student said...

knoxwhirled: I agree libertarians are misunderstood by the left. If I had a nickel for every time I read the Cato Institute described as a conservative think tank, or Judge Kozinski asked to represent a conservative point of view, I'd have a pickle jar full of nickels.

Roger said...

Knoxgirl: well said; moreover, what we might consider repugnant now, might not have been so repugnant 50 years ago. Historical context is important.

Bruce Hayden said...

Part of my problem here is that the standard is so one sided. For example, of the Democratic Party's 200 or so years of existence, some 80% of it (roughly 160 years) were closely associated with overt and pernicious racism. And their current Senate leader was a Klan leader. Yet, it is the party founded to abolish slavery and passed the 1964 Civil Rights Act that is constantly being called to prove that they aren't racist.

And, in a similar vein, socialists aren't called to explain why Hayek wasn't right about socialism, and why Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini, and Mao were not a direct result of attempts to implement socialism.

Indeed, I would suggest that federalism and/or states rights are far easier to distinguish from Jim Crow and slavery than those notables from socialism.

Sheriff Cobb said...

In English slang, gooch is a code word for taint. It was derived from the nickname of a famous cricketer, Gooch Gossage, who was famous for the size of his perineum.

Ann Althouse said...

Speaking of Nazis... which I've heard is a great way to really get the conversation humming... let's say you wanted to advocate eugenics... don't you think you'd have to proactively disassociate yourself from Nazis? If you don't, you lack basic skills in diplomacy, persuasion, and PR. But fine. You'll fail. Good.

Bissage said...

Balfegor, better I should have used the word “promote.” That’s a -1 for me. Duh.

But “reasonably” was the word I meant because I took Althouse’s meaning to be more of a well-intended, public-relations, word-to-the-wise, kind of thing rather than a shrill condemnation kind of thing.

It’s usually worthwhile to address broadly reasonable concerns, even if inaccurate.

Bissage said...

If you don't, you lack basic skills in diplomacy, persuasion, and PR.

Cool!

Sheriff Cobb said...

Does that mean I have to deny my volkswagon three times before the cock crows.

Smilin' Jack said...

let's say you wanted to advocate eugenics... don't you think you'd have to proactively disassociate yourself from Nazis?

And if you want the trains to run on time, you should have to proactively disassociate yourself from Mussolini.

If you don't, you lack basic skills in diplomacy, persuasion, and PR.

You won't persuade people who can't judge an argument on its merits. That such people are a majority is the tragic flaw of democracy.

Roger said...

I am honestly not following this diassociation idea: Planned Parenthood was founded by Margaret Sanger who was an early proponent of eugenics; Should planned parenthood disassociate itself with Nazis? Is the disassociation requirement a function of what occurs in temporal order? Or is eugenics itself so closely allied with Nazis that any discussion of the concept of eugenics need some kind of disclaimer. I think it is a simple thing to separate the misuse of a concept with the concept itself. YMMV.

Sheriff Cobb said...

Eugenic McCarthyism was first espoused in a serious way by the followers of Senator Eugene McCarthy in the primary election in New Hampshire in 1968. They postulated that only extreme liberals would be able to vote and participate in the political process. They went on to disrupt the Democratic convention in Chicago and have been slashing tires and tearing down signs ever since. However Eugenic McCarthyism now is only popular in the groves of academia, so I call on the Professor to denounce this process toot sweet.

Balfegor said...

Re: Bissage

It’s usually worthwhile to address broadly reasonable concerns, even if inaccurate.

My broader point though, which isn't really invalidated by the change from "prescribe" to "promote" is that the "reasonableness" bar is not applied in a "reasonable man" fashion, but in a fairly arbitrary way. For example, building on the Professor's mention of eugenics, people can express respect for legal luminaries like Harlan Fiske Stone and Louis Brandeis, without having to go out of their way to state that unlike the aforementioned gentlemen, they do not, in fact, support compulsory sterilization of the mentally retarded for eugenics ("Three generations of idiots" and all that). Members of Planned Parenthood are not expected to engage in ritual denunciations of their founder, Margaret Atwood, even though her support of abortion rights seems to have been of a piece with her belief in "race hygiene" and her desire to promote the eugenic development of the human race by encouraging Black people and the mentally retarded to have abortions. Modern progressives can call themselves "progressive" without having to disavow all the icky bits of the original Progressive agenda.

I think part of the concern, particularly with accusations of racism, is that allowing the characterisation of the concerns as "reasonable" is a flagrant example of "beat your wife" base-stealing. The concern is the usual concern about dignifying total non sequiturs with a response -- will it make people think there's something there?

Now, once your ideological opponents have managed to frame the debate so you even have to make the racism defense . . . well, yes, you have to. Even though you've pretty much already lost. But I think the entirely natural and correct umbrage that they feel is a result of their reluctance to admit that they have been framed in exactly those terms. To admit that they have is to admit, essentially, that they are no longer up against reason, but against the gut revulsion people feel when they think something might be tainted by racism. And that's awfully hard to overcome.

reader_iam said...

Oh, Lord. Eugenics. Here we go.

Yep. this is all about Althouse doin' the vortex thing.

reader_iam said...

We have seen more than once that the public welfare may call upon the best citizens for their lives. It would be strange if it could not call upon those who already sap the strength of the State for these lesser sacrifices, often not felt to be such by those concerned, in order to prevent our being swamped with incompetence. It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind. The principle that sustains compulsory vaccination is broad enough to cover cutting the Fallopian tubes.

God, it's enough to make you wonder about anyone who could cite Holmes or his judicial philosophy approvingly in any context.

Randy (Internet Ronin) said...

Godwins Law has been invoked, I see.

Anyway, pretending that it hasn't, I do remember their original conversation and, yes, it was an insulting reference at that time. With reader's admonition in mind, I'll refrain from commenting on the latest without listening to it, which I am loathe to do, given Farrell's track record of failing to say anything novel or worth remembering. There's a first time for everything, I guess, but I doubt this is it.

Balfegor said...

God, it's enough to make you wonder about anyone who could cite Holmes or his judicial philosophy approvingly in any context.

Holmes was by no means unique in that his judicial philosophy produced such a result. The only justice at the time (1927) whose judicial philosophy produced a different result was Pierce Butler, who distinguished himself in a different context as one of the "Four Horsemen" on the Supreme Court who dared to tell Roosevelt II, "No." I mentioned Brandeis and Stone specifically for that reason -- when you sign on to an opinion, your supporters can't weasel out of it just because someone else wrote the particular words.

reader_iam said...

Balfegor, I know that.

reader_iam said...

You're missing the significance of my comment after the quote and how I phrased it.

Ron said...

I don't read your blog for ideas either; rather I like watching you intelligently, patiently destroy half-baked ideas from people who naively think that just having ideas -- even bad ones! -- puts them above the hoi polloi.

reader_iam said...

As for eugenics, which is better used as the horse, not the cart, I could provide an unbelievably long list of people who in one way or another supported, promoted or the very least tolerated one or another of its various forms. If we were to start asking people to prove they're not in favor of eugenics, or at least forms of it, because they like some ideas contained in a philosphy or held by a particular person, we'd have to start at least with Plato.

So, where to draw the line?

I say it's at making assumptions based on personal prejudices and then demanding that individuals prove a negative.

I realize I'm in a minority here among Althouse fans, of which it'd be pretty hard to argue that I'm not.

But, like Knoxwhirled, not in this particular area.

reader_iam said...

pretty hard to argue that I'm not one.

Revenant said...

Should we demand that anyone calling themselves a Democrat prove they're not in favor of Jim Crow laws? After all, the Democrats were the party of Jim Crow.

But wait, you may say, that was a long time ago. Yeah -- about as long ago as the time when a significant number of people were using the libertarian ideas in question to defend racism.

"You need to prove you're not a racist, because thirty or forty years ago most of the people who talked like you were racists" is... well, silly. In my opinion Ann needs to live in the present, not the past, where this issue is concerned.

Tell Sackett said...

Sometimes the professor let's the mask slip and she has to stop pretending to agree with a lot of her conservative commenters. She is as she has claimed, a die-in-the-wool leftist college professor who manages to hide her most of her Stalinist tendencies from her readers. But every once in a while the mask slips, and we see the commie within. A holier than thou attitude is a pre-requisite for a college professor. So you have to prove you are not a racist before she lowers herself to educate you in your abject ignorance.

Pogo said...

And that's awfully hard to overcome.

Especially when it's a lie.
It simply cannot be done.

People have stereotypes about others that contain general accuracies and inaccuracies. These prejudices may be useful or not.

But they are not proof, and they are not standards.

Demanding proof of disobesience to a past in which you had no part is impossible to comply with. In such matters, the sons should not bear the sins of their fathers. Else, we are left starting each conversation with a meaningless and massive disavowal of All Bad Things.

knoxwhirled said...

every once in a while the mask slips, and we see the commie within

oh please.

Tell Sackett said...

Don't be upset. The prefessor likes the martyr role. She draws stigmata on her hands with eyebrow pencil.

Donald Douglas said...

Well, those political scientists can do that to you!

Go get 'em, Althouse!

Accidental translator said...

Bloggers should be free! Free to express their feelings! Whatever strikes their fancy!

But if you don't like my blog, if you don't think it's amazing and fascinating, then you are an insulting meany!!!

rcocean said...

OK, I finally found the comment. In case anyone else has the same problem its in the Segment called:

" The Dark Side of Libertarianism"

Althouse is mentioned at the 5:04 mark by Farrell and Drenzer makes his comment at 11:08.

BTW, both these guys are tools

Randy (Internet Ronin) said...

FWIW, I think Reader, Revenant and Knoxwhirled make good points.(I'm sure others did, too, along those lines but those 3 stuck in my mind.) It seems to me that the context of Althouse's original dismay has been ignored by all of us, including our hostess.

My memory is hazy, and I'm being lazy about this, I admit, but IIRC, Ann attended a symposium celebrating the life and works of someone who was being held up as a great man, a great thinker, whose invaluable contributions significantly advanced the cause. It turned out that this great man had some pretty significant baggage that by no stretch of the imagination could be described as a "skeleton in the closet." It was out there for anyone to see, and always had been.

When someone attempted to point at this large stinking corpse of an elephant reposing in their midst, the response varied from "What elephant?" to "So?" to "Ancient history." Well, as the problems of the Paul campaign prove, it is not ancient history. And a significant number of like-minded people are still to be found within that movement. Paul's extreme reluctance to disassociate himself from those people, and the grudging method of his disassociation brought him no honor nor did it do the movement any favors. (It didn't help Reason magazine's reputation any either, given that they were aware of it but failed to say anything about it until well after it was exposed.)

Ger said...

saying that he doesn't like my blog and doesn't get any ideas from it. That insult was over a year ago

Ahhhh...there's the paper-thin skinned AA we all know and love!!

Can you say..."she can dish it out but she can't take it"...yes, I knew that you could.

Randy (Internet Ronin) said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
knoxwhirled said...

randy,

This was an intellectual conference, doubtless full of a bunch of uptight pencilnecks who have their nose buried in books too much, blah blah. I am SURE that some of them were cluelessly and boorishly married to their ideology.

But Althouse went in there and baldly accused them of being racist. That is a heavy, heavy charge. Not much worse you can accuse someone of in our society, short of child molestation. There had to have been better--more polite, more sophisticated, and certainly more appropriate--ways to object.

Most liberals have never been on the receiving end of the odious racist charge. They are too busy accusing everyone else of it. What was the likelihood that a bunch of those "pencilnecks" were actually immersing themselves in their heady theories... merely to shore up their underlying rabid racism? Pretty unlikely. It's absurd.

Your points about Ron Paul are totally valid. But again: in my view the monkey on the back of libertarians 's no bigger than it is for lily-white Madison Wisconsinites with heroes like Strom Thurmond or the rabidly anti-semitic Louis Farrakhan. Althouse could easily be stereotyped as part of that group, and I'm sure she would agree that it's unfair and disrespectful.

knoxwhirled said...

dur... strom thurmond = robt byrd. The two are always easily confused for me.

Revenant said...

Randy,

With all due respect to Ann, she was entirely in the wrong.

Say a group of people are discussing fundamentals of legal philosophy, and argue that accused rapists are entitled to a fair trial, a competent attorney, and presumption of innocence. Would it be reasonable of you to insist that they spend time proving they think rape is bad? Would it be reasonable of you to assume they thought rape was good, if they did not spend that time? Of course not. Even though it is an objective fact that those legal principles, when followed, cause more rape and allow more rapists to go free, even though basically every rapist in the world supports those things, reasonable people recognize that the fact that rapists support an idea doesn't make it fair to presume that everyone who supports it is a rapist. In fact, if you were to ask "are you saying you think more rape is a good thing?" the person you're asking would have every right to be offended, or at least to wonder about your intelligence.

Ann couldn't get past the fact that Meyer's ideas had been used to defend racism, and that Meyer himself wasn't concerned with racism. What of it? Neither was Thomas Jefferson. Do we assume that people who praise the Declaration of Independence favor the subservience of blacks? Or do we evaluate an idea on its own merits, rather than on the merits of the man who proposed it?

Trumpit said...

One can be for or against affirmative action or bilingual education or oppose poor Mexican immigrants, but one's justifications should be pure and not tainted by racial prejudice. It's often hard to tell what drives people on particular issues without really knowing them as a person. People can fool themselves as well. Someone says they think an influx of poor, uneducated Mexicans is bad for the U.S. Maybe they hate poor people or uneducated people or brown people who speak what sounds like gibberish to them. Maybe their being swarthy is just the coup de grace. Isn't negative stereotyping a precursor to full-blown racial animus?

Why is it important to not be tainted by bigotry, hatred, narrow-mindedness in one's judgments and opinions on controversial issues? Because it can eventually lead to mass murder, breakdown of civil society, totalitarianism, etc. Call your travel agent today for a one-way trip to Nairobi, Kenya to go on a safari, and witness the human blood flowing down the streets. I dare you to go there now.

Revenant, you are a intolerant anti-gay bigot and should go fly a kite. You have absolutely no credibility on ANY issue because of the hatred you've spewed around here. I don't believe a word you say about anything because I'm not listening to you. You lose every debate before you begin because you are who you are. Lousy stinker!

Randy (Internet Ronin) said...

knoxwhirled: We were wondering.... Actually I guessed what you meant after figuring the number of Strom supporters in Madison could fit inside a telephone booth if there is one left there.

I agree with what you are saying, Revenant, and as I say, my recollection of the episode is hazy (I couldn't even recall Meyers name while I was writing). As I said originally, I think you three hit the right notes in your responses, as your follow-up (as well as knoxwhirled's) does.

Having said all this (and too much, at that) I do remember that my initial reaction to the post was that Ann was much more politically naive than I expected. I also remember thinking the furor in response to her criticism was over-the-top.

Blake said...

Gotta say, my perception of the event was akin to that of knox, reader, and rev's: Basically, I put myself in those libertarian shoes and said, "Hey, she's saying if I think the government shouldn't have the authority to reach into people's lives, I must be a racist." (And, really, is there any adequate defense against that charge?)

Tell is over the top, but there is a germ of truth in what he says. Althouse is still sorta a groovy hippie and really very liberal, despite the shrill cries from the anti-war trolls.

So I'm not sure, Knox & Reader, that you are in a minority.

Randy (Internet Ronin) said...

Revenant: I went back and read the original posts. Most of it was about the reactions to a private dinner conversation and one particularly obnoxious guest. (I imagine some might contend that the Prof. was the obnoxious guest, but whatever). Some of it was about Meyer, but not as much as I expected to find. The reactions were, as I recalled, over-the-top. Some have disappeared completely - Jacob T. Levy's comments for example.

Revenant said...

Revenant, you are a intolerant anti-gay bigot and should go fly a kite.

Get a life, DTL. The few people here who actually care what I think about anything already know I'm socially liberal and pro-gay. :)

Revenant said...

Randy,

I read a number of different accounts by people who had been present at the dinner, and they were generally in agreement that Ann was out of line. Ron Bailey isn't some crazy Ron-Paulite libertarian nutcase, he's an extremely reasonable and intelligent writer about politics and technology.

In any case, Ann's own account of the event indicates that she was wildly out of line, in my opinion anyway:

"I heard way too many people say they wanted to stay on the abstract level and then flatter themselves by saying this made them intellectuals. This did not unleash waves of admiration from me, however. It made me begin to entertain the thought that some of these seemingly normal, nice enough people really were racists. How could you tell?"

This is Ann's blog, so I won't express my opinion of that attitude in the terms I normally would. I'll just call it "extremely silly and unjustified".

She further went on to note:

My point, which is quite clear, is that federalism has been associated with the evils of racism historically and that this presents a problem for those who would portray it as good thing today. There are many people who simply experience "federalism" as a code-word for racism.

That's nothing more than a guilt by association fallacy. If Ann hears "federalism" and thinks "racism", Ann is the one who needs to overcome her bigotry. Her attitude makes no more sense than assuming that any white man from the South must be a racist because white Southern men led the pro-segregation bloc. There is absolutely nothing racist about federalism. There is absolutely nothing racist about believing that people have a natural right to BE racist. Period, end of story, no question about it. "Murderers use guns" doesn't imply "anyone with a gun is a presumptive murderer", and it doesn't imply that everyone who believes in owning a gun is obligated to explicitly disavow and apologize for handgun murders.

Tell Sackett said...

I have lurked here for a long time and have only just had time to post. But I have been reading this blog for quite a while. If you want to see the ultra-liberal Stalinist side of Ms. Althouse, read the posts about the Teddy Bear teacher. All of the conservative people were beating her up as she showed her ultra-lefty side. She can pretend to be reasonable but her nasty lib side is there for you to see. Just watch out if you are a working person such as a ticket counter person, or a coffee shop clerk you have a good chance of getting hit over the head by an umbrella. What a nutjob.

Tell Sackett said...

Revenant, I am not a troll. I am not a character in any of your stupid video games. I am a cowboy.

Ann Althouse said...

When have I abused service providers? That's not how I act in the real world. You're just making that up based on the way I write about things here. I may be critical, but I keep it to myself and don't give ordinary workers a hard time.

Randy (Internet Ronin) said...

Revenant: I started to write that I didn't mean to ignore your last reply, but that's not true. I did. It was a fine one and I appreciated it, but we're inevitably veering into territory that I prefer not commenting upon. It sounds like you feel the same way. Thanks for the follow-ups.