December 1, 2009

Do we need to try to understand Charles Johnson?

"[Johnson's] explanation is a little thin. It’s more an illustration of how he’s flipped out, from right to left. But apparently it works like this: If you disagree with any element of half of the American body politic, you disagree with the whole thing. This makes you saner, more compassionate, more embracing of diversity. Probably smarter, too. And if you agree with any element of half the American body politic, you agree with the whole thing, and you are a crazy hater. But the whole thing is crazy and hateful...."

Personally, I don't need to go through the exercise of figuring out what happened to Johnson. I've avoided him all these years because he seemed too extreme and hateful. Now, he's fired up about other people being extreme and hateful? And he's fired up in a way that seems extreme and hateful? I do not need to go there. That was never my scene.

136 comments:

Fred4Pres said...

Charles Johnson is mentally unhinged. He is a sad pathetic sort of person.

Ace had a great take down of him today.

Fred4Pres said...

Ann, you are ten times the photographer that Charles Johnson is. CJ's basic talent appears limited to focusing his camera and keeping the horizon roughly level in the shot.

And I am sorry, the only older guy who could get away with a pony tail (without being laughed at) is Jerry Goldsmith and even he cut it off before he passed away.

vbspurs said...

Is it true that the Blogosphere was composed in the earliest days of Steven Den Beste, Boing Boing, Glenn Reynolds, and Charles Johnson?

One doesn't blog anymore, the other changed his political stripes (twice), Boing Boing is still at it, but often irrelevant in a mass of tech sites, whilst Instapundit is the voice of liberatarian civility even today?

I think blogs are like rock bands. They rarely survive without one day imploding.

Jim said...

Been reading LGF for years, still do.

But his lurching distaste for for anyone who doesn't fit under his umbrella of "correct" thought makes his an awfully small tent.

Montagne Montaigne said...

Why would you post about it and not link to the actual LGF post that everyone is talking about? Is it a way to punish LGF? That Crittincritter post is incoherent nonsense.

Here is the LGF post, "Why I parted ways with the right." As you shall see, it is so hateful it blew my dress up. What hatefultudinousness!

Jim said...

Another thing:
Has anyone ever seen Charles Johnson and Andrew Sullivan in the same room?

Andy said...

Althouse wants to make sure we know that extremism and hate "was never my scene."

But if that really were really true, then why would you need to tell us? Wouldn't it be obvious? Indeed, why would you even think to say it?

You proteseth too much, Ann "the kettle is black!" Althouse.

Paul Zrimsek said...

This raises again the question raised by the earlier apostasies of David Horowitz, David Brock, and Andrew Sullivan: How far can you go in the way of calling a group of people you used to belong to a bunch of bastards, without calling yourself a bastard in the process? The smart money continues to be on "Not very."

Kirk Parker said...

What's all this "rightist" business? Johnson is a long-time leftist, who was mugged by 9/11 and temporarily moved into the realist foreign-policy camp--along with other leftists like Paul Berman (who was sane even before that, wrote a compelling book about the subject, and as far as I can tell remains sane) and Jim Wallis (whose sojourn into foreign-policy was even briefer then Johnson's.)

Please don't tar the memories of former-left-moved-right folks like Irving Kristol and Ronald Reagan by calling C.J. right-wing.

former law student said...

Bloggers analyzing bloggers is too meta for me.

downtownlad said...

Never your scene? Yet you link to La Shawn Barber, who has said that if a gay person ever stepped on her property, she would shoot them.

Maguro said...

Dennis the Peasant has a goodanalysis of CJ's conversion. What a dork.

bagoh20 said...

Stop reading him a few years ago, although he was my first read everyday before that. That post does not even sound like the same guy from back then. His ten points are just far left propaganda crap that college sophomores spout. It's the kinda stuff you hear from people who never really thought anything through or have read much variety of opinion. Conservatives like he is describing are caricatures. A really lame and steep descent off the other cliff.

dwbh said...

Right on. I'm a liberal who remembers the screeds he wrote back in the earlier part of the decade about anyone who dared speak ill of the Glorious Iraq War. He apparently doesn't realize he is a progenitor to the teabaggers he detests.

What's telling is, in comment #190 of his post, a reader asks Johnson for an explanation of how he feels about the left, the people who are actually running the country, and Johnson replies in #195 "You can't always get what you want." I mean, have some balls, for chrissakes.

bagoh20 said...

You can see the "walking on eggshells" by commenters in their comments. They know that one wrong word and they are banned. I simply respectfully disagreed with him once and got deleted and stripped out.

I probably ride past him often on the coastal bike path, but I don't know what he looks like. I'm a little scared now. He may go postal any day by the sound of things.

Joe said...

I never found LFG that coherent, so I don't know what all the fuss is about. If I had to guess it's that people saw in Charles Johnson what they wanted to see and ignored the rest. That seems to be the modus operandi of this century.

Beth said...

I find this hoopla all pretty funny. Dennis' "takedown" is pretty much "he's stupid, he's a failure" and what I read at the Ace place was no less an inarticulate raspberry of a response, either, so I'm not impressed with that. LGF's manifesto is pretty much broad swipe as well, so that's not too eloquent, either.

But I think LGF plays a role these days in pointing to some important things that are true - and have been true on the right for a long, long time. The right wing has for many years been just fine with weird Southern neo-Confederates in their midst, along with a bunch of other fringe nationalists, homophobes and just all around distasteful folks. There's a role for someone to keep pointing a finger at that. Likewise, some left-leaning blog probably ought to find a niche to point to the fringies on that side of the fence, and if that happens, expect the same "he's an idiot!" responses.

wv: defece - ha! de feces is flying.

miller said...

Why add oxygen to this self-immolation?

datechguy said...

Ann there is a point that you are missing.

You have received 119 Instalances since Charles last one. You have had just under 400 in the last year. That's a lot of traffic.

Over the last 9 years Charles used to avg one every 12 days. He hasn't had one since August. (yes I counted them)

This is all about the attention, as a person who as someone to love and is happy your primary need isn't attention from readers, I think Charles' is.

This is his play for attention and with luck an entry into the left that his feuds didn't automatically grant him. He wants that seat next to Rachel Maddow or Chris Matthews and I think he needs it.

Pretty sad actually.

EDH said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paul Zrimsek said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paul Zrimsek said...

Likewise, some left-leaning blog probably ought to find a niche to point to the fringies on that side of the fence, and if that happens, expect the same "he's an idiot!" responses.

The people saying "he's an idiot" would be a bit harder to dismiss if the idiot in question were to say that the mere presence of the fringies was forcing him to leave the Left, wouldn't they?

bagoh20 said...

Beth, Of course, those extreme people are on both sides. Unfortunately, I think they are pointed out too much. They are not really any further marginalized by the exposure, but the nature and motivations of the other side are always misrepresented by association with them in an attempt to malign the the other side.

The political discussion would be much more productive if the extremist were ignored, unless they get power like a czar position in government. Even then, my idea of an extremist and yours would probably be quite different. We all are more comfortable with people who take our position too far and shriek at the same on the other side. We can improve that with a little benefit of the doubt to our political opposites. They probably don't like their nuts either.

EDH said...

It's my understanding that Johnson insists on programming the kludgy LGF website himself, which only increases my association of Johnson and LGF with Seth Brundle and his telepod in The Fly.

Here, Charles came out the other end of LGF as BrundleJohnson.

BrundleJohnson: You have to leave now, and never come back here. Have you ever heard of insect politics? Neither have I. Insects... don't have politics. They're very... brutal. No compassion, no compromise. We can't trust the insect. I'd like to become the first... insect politician. Y'see, I'd like to, but... I'm afraid, uh...

J Lee said...

The Kilgore Trout/Hot Air incident a couple of months back was a pretty defining moment in Charles' ability to see only what he wants to see, and simply 'tut-tutting' away bad behavior by those syncopates on his side (it was Kilgore's planting 'evidence' in the middle of the night and then running back to Officer Johnson's comments thread to file his charges that led Allahpundit to move LGF over to the "Left Channels" site, a move that was pretty much a fait accompli at least 4-5 months earlier).

Photog714 said...

Cromwell comes to mind: "You have tarried here too long for the good that you do. For the love of God, go!"

Let the left have him, and welcome.

Photog714 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Scott said...

Didn't Johnson always claim to be a Democrat, even back when he was posting things that got the anti-Islamofascist types all horny?

LonewackoDotCom said...

What's funny about his Arianna-style reawakening is that almost no one has heard of RSMcCain, the religious right isn't that much of a player nowadays, only about 0.0001% of Republicans would know who LewRockwell is and he has no power whatsoever, etc. etc. etc.

It would be like not liking WI because you don't like Althouse and she lives there.

And, he isn't bright enough to figure out what's really wrong with some of the things he mentions, such as the tea parties. And, regarding the "Birthers", see this.

Richard Dolan said...

"Do we need to try to understand Charles Johnson?"

What an odd question. But given the question-poser, it may be worth pausing a minute.

No one here is married to him and he doesn't wield any kind of authority over our lives. So what could be the source of any such "need"? He's just one of a million other guys who post blogs. But he got some prominence in debunking Rather's story about GWB in 2004. Perhaps the "need" arises from his having once achieved a degree of bloggy-based fame, putting him in the same category as, say, Sully and other blog-based oddballs.

And what about "understand" him? Is that an invitation to pigeon-hole him in one of the DSM's latest categories? The "mentally unhinged" meme is heading that way, and seems to be popular. But it's also a cheap shot. Or is it just a way of trying to sort out his political or intellectual wanderings down life's paths? The latter treatment is usually reserved for writers we actually care about, and I don't think Johnson qualifies.

As I said, it's a really odd question. But the subtext is all about the importance of widely read internet posts and the prominent place in the public square that blogging has achieved in just a few years, in many ways coming to dominate the way we speak to each other.

rollingdivision said...

I wasted a little time trying to understand what had happened to Charles Johnson but quickly gave up. I concluded there is just something inexplicably wrong.

jayne_cobb said...

I read LGF somewhat regularly back in the fall of 2004 for rather obvious reasons but it never took and I stopped shortly thereafter (I just never really enjoyed its style). So my concern over his opinions and dictatorial policies is practically non-existent.

However, his attempt to smear one of my favorite sites (hotair) pretty much cemented my dislike and distrust for the man.

To those now embracing him: You're free to have him, but I'd watch my comment section if I were you.

Scott said...

"But the subtext is all about the importance of widely read internet posts and the prominent place in the public square that blogging has achieved in just a few years, in many ways coming to dominate the way we speak to each other."

OMFG, I am SO trying to resist posting something snotty!

I need to get to a Snottyholics Anonymous meeting.

garage mahal said...

He just went totally cuckoo after he started criticizing people on the right. Nuts! Unhinged.

Dave S. said...

I'm proud to say that back when he was a righty, I read LGF from a link and thought, "Well, that's a bit much", and never returned.

Kind of like Beck. There's some reasonable content there, but the nutty vibe doesn't inspire trust.

Scott said...

Garage, even when Johnson was posting stuff I sort of agreed with, I never liked him because he loved the ad hominem attack, especially when it was directed at the average Muslim.

Johnson's tack was that because what he called "The Religion of Peace" incited people to violence, your Muslim neighbor or coworker was culpable when a Palestinian mother strapped a bomb to her kid and sent him into an Israeli market.

Ad hominem attacks encourage the listener to deny the victim their humanity. It's troll rhetoric -- condescending, repugnant, and stupid.

Cedarford said...

LGF is all so yesterday. Hot in 2004, got old & predictable fast.

9/11 made Johnson hate all Muslims and love all things Zionist. He veered between his other hatreds. Little positive redeeming value, and he attracted right-wing, Likud extremists like flies to shit...much as Jihadi blogs attract their (more dangerous) breed of shitflies.

m00se said...

Well, Sully's jumped the shark too, so to speak:

http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2009/12/leaving-the-right.html

It's odd that he's leaving a political movement that he was never part of anyway...

Scott said...

@m00se: Solipsists always have a hard time with movements.

Anyway, he probably still thinks he has a chance at citizenship; and if he ingratiates himself to Obama, he might get some special dispensation when the POTUS is a lame duck in 2012.

Alex said...

downtownlad said...

Never your scene? Yet you link to La Shawn Barber, who has said that if a gay person ever stepped on her property, she would shoot them.


Well Althouse, do you care to explain this one?

Freeman Hunt said...

Ha. I've been reading blogs for a long time now, and my first thought at seeing this post was, "Who is Charles Johnson?"

I know why people get exercised about Sully; he had a huge following, and people loved him. His leap into crazy left an actual void in conservative commentary, and I think he used to be good enough that people sort of mourn the loss of his old, rational voice.

But Charles Johnson? I know LGF was popular. I know there have been some very notable stories out of that blog. But was it ever really that big? Seems like a lot of press over very little.

Alex said...

Beth:

But I think LGF plays a role these days in pointing to some important things that are true - and have been true on the right for a long, long time. The right wing has for many years been just fine with weird Southern neo-Confederates in their midst, along with a bunch of other fringe nationalists, homophobes and just all around distasteful folks. There's a role for someone to keep pointing a finger at that. Likewise, some left-leaning blog probably ought to find a niche to point to the fringies on that side of the fence, and if that happens, expect the same "he's an idiot!" responses.

Maybe we need to also have bloggers that point out the crazies tolerated for WAY TOO LONG in the Democrat party? Or are you going to tell me the Democrats represent moderation?

Alex said...

Beth - tell me which left-wing blog is pointing out the crazies on the left. Yeah, the blind leading the blind.

Freeman Hunt said...

La Shawn Barber, who has said that if a gay person ever stepped on her property, she would shoot them.

I am so sure.

Freeman Hunt said...

If LGF does what Beth says it does, (I don't know because I don't read it.) that's pretty good. However, I think some conservatives are probably pretty sensitive to that because the MSM does the same thing pretty much all the time.

Pundit Joe said...

The thing that always concerned me about LGF was the angry tone in many of the posts. How long can one person stay that pissed off? Heh heh - Perhaps he is different in person and not so vitriolic.

A big reason why I enjoy blogs like Althouse and Instapundit has to do with their tone. Both are generally friendly and informative. Conversely, while LGF may be informative at times, it feels decidedly unfriendly.

Hmm… This has got me wondering how my own blog (not updated in ages) came across to folks. Heh heh. I sure as heck never wanted to come across as angry all the time.

JackOfClubs said...

I'm a right-wing extremist but I like to think I am a civilized one. I have never seen the connection between having views that are on one end of a spectrum and being rude toward or wishing ill to people on the other end. Some of my most enjoyable conversations have been with friends with whom I almost never agree.

I never felt any need to understand Charles Johnson when he was on the right. It was enough to know that very few of his posts were noteworthy for their insight and the comments section was a morass of irrationality and nastiness.

Although it is difficult to completely blame the blogger for his commentors, it is obvious that some blogs foster a more civil climate than others. In November of 2005 (which seems ages ago in blog-years) I had this to say when devising my own comments policy:

"But let me say, by way of guidelines, that I want thoughtful comments along the lines of those at Althouse or the Volokh Conspiracy. I don't want the sort on Little Green Footballs. If you can't tell the difference, you probably shouldn't be commenting."

I still think the difference is obvious if difficult to define rigorously.

OldGrouchy Doug Wright said...

Charles is OK as far as I'm concerned. I stopped commenting on LGF about 7-months ago because I generally disagreed with the new tenor of Charles' postings. However, he's done some very good things in the past and for that he deserves my respect. Charles exposed RatherGate for the foolish affair is was and he's been a staunch supporter of our troops. So, if he's perhaps reverted to his Liberal Roots, that's his business, not mine.

Jeremy said...

Ann - "I do not need to go there. That was never my scene."

But you think Rush Limbaugh and Matt Drudge are worth your time?

They both spew and disseminate the same racist bigoted garbage as the people Johnson calls out.

Alex said...

But you think Rush Limbaugh and Matt Drudge are worth your time?

They both spew and disseminate the same racist bigoted garbage as the people Johnson calls out.


The racist charges against Rush have been proven fabrications. Matt Drudge has never uttered a racist word in his life.

John Lynch said...

Charles Johnson was liberal by default before 9/11. Then, he really got mad at Muslims. Later, I think he just reverted to type, while keeping the style he picked up while leading a one man crusade against radical Islam.

Fighting extremism is like staring into the abyss. It can rub off. Look at SPLC and Morris Dees. They're willing to toss away our First Amendment rights because of a few hundred people talking on the internet.

Extremism is style, not content. You can be an extremist for moderate views, if you are extreme enough in how you express them.

I don't have much use for political extremists. I think the modern fad of street protest is silly. It just blocks traffic and gives people the illusion of importance. But it isn't worth the time and effort to try to limit the nutballs. They're always there, always have been, always will be. It's more important to have a system that tolerates the reality challenged community than one that limits everyone's freedom.

Eric said...

Is it true that the Blogosphere was composed in the earliest days of Steven Den Beste, Boing Boing, Glenn Reynolds, and Charles Johnson?

And, if you can believe it, Oliver Willis. There was definitely a first-mover advantage only a few were able to capitalize on.

John Lynch said...

Andrew Sullivan was big back then, too.

Eric said...

Charles Johnson was never "on the right". He's was always sort of center-left with the addition of a visceral hatred for all things Islam. As part of that he did some pretty good work on Rathergate, but since then it's kind of gone to his head.

He's taken to banning anyone who disagrees with him, no matter how civilly. In fact, if you post something he doesn't like on another blog using the same distinctive name you use on LGF he'll ban you from LGF.

If you criticize one of his posts on your own blog he'll block your IP address so you can't read LGF any more without some extra effort.

This is not a man who likes to hear opinions that don't align closely with his own.

John Lynch said...

Extremists, when they switch sides, tend to be just as extreme with their new ideology.

For example, my grandmother was a Communist before she became a Jehova's Witness.

It's style, not substance.

David Baker said...

It seems Johnson was ripped from the liberal closet by the Birthers, that is, the "Nirthers." This is the issue where all logic finally escaped him, when he became clinically unballanced.

A shame, too, such a bright, talented guy, left wandering the beach in search of bicycles and gear-shifters. Or one true thing he could believe in, like a child, eyes wide, listening to a seashell.

Still, Charles must be credited for exposing Marx's soul-mates, chiefly Dan Rather. Also for mastering arcane code, linguistics, and apparently... fractal geometry.

MrBuddwing said...

Althouse wants to make sure we know that extremism and hate "was never my scene."
But if that really were really true, then why would you need to tell us? Wouldn't it be obvious? Indeed, why would you even think to say it?
You proteseth too much, Ann "the kettle is black!" Althouse.


So the perfesser is an extremist? Er, in what way?

Neil' said...

I think many of you are confused about Charles Johnson. He is basically saying, he is giving up on "The Right" - meaning the movement, the people in it. He doesn't AFAICT mean he's giving up on "conservative philosophy" and becoming a liberal. Can you get that, or are many of you so sure the people involved are inseparable from the concept and can do it no wrong?

BTW, what do you think of that whole "more authentic Right" (e.g. strict constructionists bothered by undeclared war and the costs - like Ron Paul, American Conservative mag, libertarians etc? Isn't there a very interesting debate to be had there, and they should be part of it.

Alex said...

Neil - you doeth protest too much about Charles Johnson. Face it, he's a loony leftist pig.

Jeremy said...

Alex said..."The racist charges against Rush have been proven fabrications. Matt Drudge has never uttered a racist word in his life."

And you base this on what? YOU know Matt Drudge? You've spent time with him? Drudge is nothing more than an uneducated muckraker who uses half-truths, bullshit headlines, and innuendo to spread his brand of garbage.

As for...

Rush: "Look, let me put it to you this way: the NFL all too often looks like a game between the Bloods and the Crips without any weapons. There, I said it."

"They're 12 percent of the population. Who the hell cares?"

"Have you ever noticed how all composite pictures of wanted criminals resemble Jesse Jackson?"
"Take that bone out of your nose and call me back."

"I think the media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well. They're interested in black coaches and black quarterbacks doing well. I think there's a little hope invested in McNabb and he got a lot of credit for the performance of his team that he really didn't deserve."
(The controversy generated by the remark prompted Limbaugh's resignation from his position as a commentator on that show.)

John Lynch said...

Neil-

There's plenty of conservatives who deal with the Buchanan/Paul types by simply ignoring them. They get crushed in the Republican primaries every 4-8 years because they don't matter electorally.

They make a lot of noise on the internet but that's not the same as votes. It's easy to make a mountain out of a molehill when looking at the extremes of each party. They're different so they attract more attention.

Alex said...

Jeremy - the "bone in the nose" comment is a fabrication. "Bloods and Crips" comment is highly accurate of the current state of affairs and hardly racist.

John Lynch said...

I think of extremism like this.

Half of a thread can be dominated by one troll. However, it's still just one guy.

In elections everyone gets one votes. On the internet extremists can vote as many times as they want.

Yeah, they're loud, but they don't matter.

Neil' said...

"Loony leftist pig"? Him? I think that comment and so many like it proves Johnson's point. Before he criticized his own kind, his points were popular among conservatives and it was a favorite hangout. It that, isn't it, the criticism of the people, and not his opinions about issues.

Alex said...

John Lynch - funny thing that Chucky claims to be anti-extremist but spends 100% of his time only going after Birthers and righties. He never issues an anti-lefty post ever. I can only conclude he agrees with them.

Jeremy said...

Alex - Charles Johnson is suddenly a "leftist?"

Alex said...

Neil - I agree that Birthers & Creationists are idiots. But I also think AGWers are idiots too, but Chucky is an AGWist. So he's no better then a Birther.

Alex said...

Jeremy - yeah Chucky has always been a leftist. His last year turn to full AGWist is proof positive of that.

Neil' said...

Alex, how do you know the bone in the nose comment is a fabrication? I've seen it attested all over, I don't know who is right - but Rush denying he said it isn't a rebuttal. (BTW I don't think he's a racist, and the football comments were about the media and not the players themselves.)

There has to be a better way to check on whether someone ever said something, anyone have a good tip? Any links to audio?

As for Buchannan, Ron Paul etc - I am more interested in their opinions than in their electability.

kent said...

DTL, when quoting someone like that, it would be wonderful to post a link so we can see exactly what she said.

He won't. And can't.

vbspurs said...

Neil, I don't think Charles can give up what he never was. Just like people put Nazis on the right-side of the political spectrum because they were anti-Communists and hyper nationalists (ignoring that they were pagan totalitarian Statists), which for them translates as conservative, some people mistake all those who put the heat on Islamic extremism after 9/11 as "Right-wing". This is why someone like Christopher Hitchens was, for a time, said to be conservative, which is ludicrous. He's a socialist. That has not changed.

We need to get past putting people in neatly described boxes. I personally can tell you I am right-wing. But Charles Johnson was always a mugged-by-reality liberal. He describes his blog that way, after all.

I think he did great work, though the anti-Muslim angle was always discomfitting to me personally. But hey, I go to blogs because of the commentariat, rarely for the host or hostess (with apologies to ours).

Let's hope he finds a measure of peace with his new blogging trajectory. It's the least anyone can wish him.

Cheers,
Victoria

Jeremy said...

John Lynch said..."Half of a thread can be dominated by one troll. However, it's still just one guy."

Oh...right.

When someone enters the fray and offers a contrary opinion, disagrees/ argues/ debates with the locals, you feel that's a form of..."extremism?"

But if 99% of the people on the thread spend the entire day, agreeing with each other on all points...that's good?

If it weren't for contrary points offered up by people who don't feel like they need to suck up to be liked by the "pack" (trolls as you like to call them)...sites like this would wither and die.

But don't let me stop you: Keep on suckin'.

Jeremy said...

Neil' said..."Alex, how do you know the bone in the nose comment is a fabrication?"

According to Snopes...Rush himself acknowlwdges saying it to a caller.

Alex is full of shit.

Neil' said...

Alex, belief in an effect of CO2 is not supposed to be a political concept. It is a known fact since the 1800s that CO2 absorbs infrared and must warm up the air to some extent. The only argument is about how much. The scientific skeptics like Lubos Motl (see his blog The Reference Frame) freely admit that CO2 and others are greenhouse gases, and more of them stimulate warming the air. They don't think it's by as much as the "AGW proponents", and the skeptics emphasize *adding* other causes to the mix.

I can buy considering that, but none of that invalidates the basic theory. CO2 is to climate sort of how things like interest rates affect an economy: the degree is hard to predict, many factors are in play etc.

BTW those intercepted emails show weaknesses of the AGW proponents, their rigidity, and willingness to suppress dissent. Plenty of people are are correct anyway do that out of personal weakness, such as to suppress alternate theories of relativity that are probably wrong anyway.

What scientific argument do you base your disbelief on?

Eric said...

Alex, how do you know the bone in the nose comment is a fabrication? I've seen it attested all over,

Yes, by a giant circle of comments that reference each other. Nobody's ever been able to come up with an audio clip, or even a transcript attributed to a specific show. If someone with millions of listeners said something that incendiary, don't you think somebody would have a clip?

John Lynch said...

Well, it's too bad about Charles Johnson. I think most people can feel grateful that he was a voice against political correctness when we needed it, and that he did good work with the Rathergate memo mess. That's what he'll be remembered for.

Sometimes a writer's best days are behind him.

I'd like to be wrong, but I haven't been to LGF in a very long time and it sounds like it's not a very nice place anymore.

Jeremy said...

Alex said..."Jeremy - yeah Chucky has always been a leftist."

The Little Green Footballs site has always been a liberal site?

What are you smoking?

Jeremy said...

Eric - Try Snopes.

Neil' said...

"We need to get past putting people in neatly described boxes."
Good point, Victoria. I don't fit in them myself. But be careful, many of the true believers like those neat boxes.

vbspurs said...

Hey Old Grouchy! I remember you. ;)

I agree, and today someone asked Charles if had he known he would definitively have parted with the right-wing today, would he have unmasked the Throbbing Memo for what it was, knowing that liberals consider that a reason of why Bush was re-elected. To his infinite credit, he replied, "Yes. Fraud is fraud."

Good on him.

Cheers,
Victoria

vbspurs said...

Good point, Victoria. I don't fit in them myself. But be careful, many of the true believers like those neat boxes.

Well, Neil, a lot of people like to know where they stand. That's okay, it's natural. I suppose the problem is trying to put square pegs into round holes. That was always Charles to the right-wing. I mean, Michelle Malkin will always be a conservative. She will never "switch". We all know that. But today, well, you could see this coming, you know?

Cheers,
Victoria

John Lynch said...

Neil-

What I think about the Paul and Buchanan wing of the GOP is that they are isolationist know-nothings who feel that the US is a country built by white Europeans and should remain that way. They want to remain in the 1950s, or maybe even the 1890s, when government was small and the world was far away. They espouse a Jacksonian fear of central banks and government institutions. There's almost always skepticism of Israel and often overt anti-semitism. When liberals talk about "code words" for racism, these guys tend to be the source.

WFB was right to oppose all this when conservativism remade itself in the 60s and 70s. It's all still out there, and it's wishful thinking. The world moved on, the US is a world-spanning empire, and there's not enough gold on the planet to back our currency.

vbspurs said...

When liberals talk about "code words" for racism, these guys tend to be the source.

In the oft-silly terminology of post-9/11 politics, these particular kinds of right-wingers were called by the newer breed of conservatives as "paleocons".

I can't speak for any other conservative when I say this, but I prefer liberals to paleocons any day. Pat Buchanan and Ron Paul are beyond the pale.

Eric said...

Eric - Try Snopes.

Well, okay, I stand corrected. However, Snopes also says Limbaugh made the comment as an "insult DJ" on a top-40 music radio program under the name "Jeff Christie". In the early 1970s.

Alex said...

Neil - the burden of proof is on you AGWists to show that CO2 will cause the sky to fall. This "climate science" is being used as a weapon against Western capitalism and you and I both know it.

Alex said...

And you base this on what? YOU know Matt Drudge? You've spent time with him? Drudge is nothing more than an uneducated muckraker who uses half-truths, bullshit headlines, and innuendo to spread his brand of garbage.

Maybe but you can't show evidence of any racism.

Neil' said...

AGW - maybe some people are motivated to repress capitalism, but material facts can't be proved or disproved by appeals to motivations of proponents (basic logical hygiene.) The scientific arguments are out there, you can look as for example on Realclimate.org In any case, we going to be better off switching away from carbon fuels. There isn't enough here to prevent our having to use Arab sources, so are you happy with that? Imagine a nation powered by solar, wind, etc, and yes nuclear (OK with me, a former "radcon" tech) - no need to kiss up to Islamic nations for oil access, no need to pay outsiders at all. We should all work towards that, whatever would happen to the climate.

Scott said...

"Drudge is nothing more than an uneducated muckraker who uses half-truths, bullshit headlines, and innuendo to spread his brand of garbage."

That's the tired liberal meme. But the truth is that he doesn't author 99% of the content of the Drudge Report. The site is an aggregate of links to mostly "mainstream media"-sourced news articles.

As for racism: It would be fairly easy to come up with a list of two dozen quotes by "mainstream" leftists, liberals, and Democrat politicians within the past ten years that are racist.

vbspurs said...

no need to kiss up to Islamic nations for oil access, no need to pay outsiders at all.

Neil, I don't think you will find one conservative who would disagree with what you wrote above. The problem arises when people deny Americans their own right to sustain themselves with their own abundant resources.

But we're significantly OT, now.

Alex said...

Neil - it will take decades to switch over from carbon fuels to renewables + nuclear. You can't pretend otherwise. Even then, you still need oil for plastics.

vbspurs said...

It would be fairly easy to come up with a list of two dozen quotes by "mainstream" leftists, liberals, and Democrat politicians within the past ten years that are racist.

This one should top any Top 10 list. To this day, I gasp. Hillary is like that clueless racist white lady in the skit show, In Living Colour.

Mahatma Gandhi's previous line of work

Eric said...

Does anyone remember Teresa Heinz Kerry's "African-American Africans" comment?

Eric said...

Neil - it will take decades to switch over from carbon fuels to renewables + nuclear. You can't pretend otherwise. Even then, you still need oil for plastics.

Does plastic production produce much CO2? Not being snarky, here, I'm curious.

Neil' said...

Alex, yes it will take years to switch but I'm just talking the advantages, not how fast. Plastics - I don't think much CO2. BTW that reminds me, some Repubs (Kyl IIRC) gripe that Obama is taking too slow to get troops to Afghanistan (the surge, not to be confused with the length of deciding) - well, it is logistically very hard to do that fast, and those complaints are mostly posturing. (Obama actually exceeds McChrystal's expectations on time if not numbers.) You guys gonna give him credit on that?

As for OT, Ann says it's OK if funny/interesting so I hope this is. A side riff is not all that OT anyway, and CJ was talking about AGW.

Anton said...

Charles Johnson and Andrew Sullivan; 2 lads cut from the same mold: both were once sane, both started rubbing testosterone cream into their chests, both lost their minds.

Quite simple, really...

Penny said...

"Do we need to try to understand Charles Johnson?"

Personally, I'd LOVE to understand Charles Johnson. Not all that long ago, LGF was considered a very influential conservative blog, and now? A somewhat influential liberal blog?

Both then and now, the site has had a fascist tone, autocratic or dictatorial, if one wants to put it more politely. So at least that has remained the same.

Johnson was a strong leader, and I believe he still is one. The real question is, "Where would he have us go, and what would he have us know?"

miller said...

I'm not attempting to talk smack about CJ, but (a) he was very influential in the dextrosphere for a while and (b) he never claimed to be "right wing" or "conservative." He claimed to be what he was, a liberal or progressive deeply affected by 9-11.

He has been more and more unenamored of the right, and finally made a break from them. I don't agree with the way he runs his site and I don't know what new demons drive his way of thinking, but it's not a bad or terrible thing to say "enough is enough."

No sarcasm intended, but he never hid his flag; he's never been a "rightie" even though for convenience he sailed with them for a while.

However, he might be disappointed to discover that there are also crazies on the left. Now he sails with such luminaries as Gleenwald the Sockpuppet.

Maybe he has a pre-ban list in place. Just to save some time.

Anyway, here's how I handle the change in CJ's website: I don't go there. I don't have enough time in my busy day to browse a website that, to me, no longer offers interesting or witty observations.

You don't have to disparage him. You can, you know, simply move on.

Let him handle the monsters under his own bed.

rcocean said...

Charles Johnson was never a Conservative - he was just a liberal who hated Muslims. I'm glad he's gone left. He was an embarrassment to the Conservative side. Charles Johnson is an intellectually dishonest smear-merchant and hates anyone who disagrees with him.

Not a writer or a thinker. Good at finding stuff to link to and attracting a fanatical, rather odd, small group of people who comment on his site.

That he was ever considered "one of us" shows our weakness.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

John Lynch wins the thread for Althousians and non-Althousians alike by coming up with a simple observation that both conservatives and "half the American body politic" can agree with:

There's plenty of conservatives who deal with the Buchanan/Paul types by simply ignoring them. They get crushed in the Republican primaries every 4-8 years because they don't matter electorally.

They make a lot of noise on the internet but that's not the same as votes. It's easy to make a mountain out of a molehill when looking at the extremes of each party. They're different so they attract more attention.

(...)

I think of extremism like this.

Half of a thread can be dominated by one troll. However, it's still just one guy.

In elections everyone gets one votes. On the internet extremists can vote as many times as they want.

Yeah, they're loud, but they don't matter.


If conservatives would only take this thought to its logical conclusion then perhaps they could see why it's possible and sometimes right for them to lose both elections and the war of ideas. If the extremists are promoted, or if appealing to the base is seen as more important than adapting conservative ideals to fit the current needs of the electorate, then the mainstream of that movement becomes unworthy of serious attention by moderates and independents, as Johnson and Sullivan point out.

Not every problem under the sun can be solved by a partisan agenda or an ideological principle. If you don't want to engage American politics or meet the electorate at the point where it's at, then you really don't have much standing to complain about those who do. Unless you want to change your name to Don Quixote.

Problems change. Policies are crafted to meet them. Whether the policies that are chosen turn out to be conservative or liberal or whatever probably depends less on how successfully the ideology was articulated than on how well the ideology met the moment and accommodated itself to it.

If you guys don't need Johnson and Sullivan then just admit that you've lost the standard conservative boilerplate offering on foreign policy, its entire characterization of a "War on Terror" and the policy assumptions that accompanied it.

And once the electoral sky of the free world ends up not falling after the health care bill you guys can start getting used to a similar series of defeats on domestic policy. If unemployment doesn't turn around by next November you can get your jollies off of modest gains in the House and perhaps Senate. But any honest Althousian knows that by 2012 that meme won't fly.

Keep it up and after a while, you may yet come to appreciate the idea of foresight and how to put America's long-term interests above short-term political gains.

rcocean said...

More Ritmo spam. Aren't you LOS or DTL?

Eric said...

And once the electoral sky of the free world ends up not falling after the health care bill you guys can start getting used to a similar series of defeats on domestic policy.

That's one possibility, of course. Another other possibility is, like Hillarycare, Obama's initiative goes down in flames as public support continues to drain away, Congressional Democrats take a serious mauling in eleven months, and conservatives don't need to get used to defeats that don't happen because Democrats in Congress are leery of the consequences.

Another possibility is Obama's health care initiative does pass, and young people leave the party in droves after their health insurance costs double or triple. The Democrats get mauled next year and again conservatives have nothing to worry about.

From my perspective both scenarios are more likely than yours.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Spam is composed of short, mysterious advertisements and not thought. Rather like the other comments. And yours.

Should I direct you to an NYT thread to educate you on the matter at hand instead? Or does your interest in thanking others for educating you end when it comes to politics?

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

The first scenario won't happen because, unlike last time, the insurance industry doesn't have a bunch of Republican whores in the majority to do their bidding and kill the bill.

The second scenario won't happen because, as Republicans are so happy to point out, the public option will incentivize the private sector to behave decently in how it prices and structures the products their monopoly offers us.

If you believe the opposite then you are going against the Republican narrative. However, I tend to think they're the ones who are right, since they are the ones who would be invested in making sure their talking points make enough sense to at least be plausible in the short term.

And it shows that they're scared.

They'll just lose more power. And legitimacy.

Obama's on the right track for the country and his party.

Eric said...

The first scenario won't happen because, unlike last time, the insurance industry doesn't have a bunch of Republican whores in the majority to do their bidding and kill the bill.

Not as many, probably, but they do have a whole lot of Democratic whores on the payroll to make up the difference. In any event the polling and focus group numbers are more important than who's paying whom. All Congressmen, of both parties, put reelection above the noble political death. The ones who don't are only there for a single term.

The second scenario won't happen because, as Republicans are so happy to point out, the public option will incentivize the private sector to behave decently in how it prices and structures the products their monopoly offers us.

By "behave decently" what you mean is use money taken by law from less well off young people to subsidize older, wealthier people? Do you not see the political problem here for the Democrats? I'm not sure why you think any of this is the Republican position.

Rather than being scared, the Republicans are positively salivating over next year's election. If the Democrats don't manage to turn things around somehow the they are going to lose the House, and maybe even the Senate. Since Obamacare is causing the pain Democrats in purple districts are going to be looking for a way to kill it.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Neil' said...

By "behave decently" what you mean is use money taken by law from less well off young people to subsidize older, wealthier people? Do you not see the political problem here for the Democrats? I'm not sure why you think any of this is the Republican position.
I'm glad you're against poorer subsidizing richer, but then again the poorer are being subsidized too. If the rich subsidize the poor, then Repubs complain. I don't know what's best, but our current "system" sucks, despite propaganda about being "best in the world" (it isn't.) BTW, maybe take anti-trust protection away from the insurance industry?

PatCA said...

I think Charles was deeply affected by 9/11. As a lefty, he would have been more surprised than the average guy by the hatred directed at us, and the sense of imminent danger. Remember that? I remember being in tears, saying to a friend of mine during the anthrax scare, I'm not brave enough for this.

I think of the article making the rounds of the blogosphere last week, the one about politics being aspirational. CJ just can't be part of the club that he has temporarily found himself a part of. It's not cool at all. He's backpedaling furiously now and can't quite make sense of it all.

Eric said...

If you do not understand how bad the situation was that the Republicans created, then you might not be the most typical voter with whom to have this conversation. We are out of recession and it may take a while to return to the "happy days" of your bubble economy. Or not. But I hope you enjoy disingenuously selling the public the idea that the good old days of 2001 - 2008 were worth what you put them through by October of that year.

Delusional.


Well, one of us is delusional. That much is clear. First of all, we're only out of recession because GDP is a number you can game by borrowing a bunch of money and spreading it around. As soon as that money runs out we'll be right back in recession if they don't rush another stimulus package through.

And do you really think you can blame our current economic problems, which have roots going all the way back to the 1970s, on Republican policies from 2001-2008? I mean, leaving aside the fact that the Democrats regained control of Congress in 2006?

I don't think the voters are that stupid, but give it your best shot. They elected Obama, after all.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

They were right to elect Obama and they will be smart to understand that 6 years of the absolute control you guys pined away for, and accomplished, was long enough to do something about the housing bubble they sat on, events going all the way back to the 1970s notwithstanding.

Hate to break the news to you, man. But he who presides over a crisis takes the blame for it. Repealing Glass-Steagall was the worst undoing of Depression era protections, obvious at the time, and ideally, even more obvious to an administration more impressed by competence than by power.

And if we're not up to steam by 2011 there's still a lot left over in the original bill.

This is not working and you are only convincing me that you care more about power than the well-being of the country - as Rove did for everyone else.

Come on, Eric. Do something to at least pretend that your interest in politics doesn't come at the expense of caring for the country's interests. At least, try.

Do it for patriotism. Do it for Reagan.

rcocean said...

Looks like Ritmo's going to SPAM this thread to death - don't you have your own blog?

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

It's more fun arguing with people who fear that their brains would spill out of their heads if they opened their minds to the tiniest amount of sunshine.

Still not getting the definition of spam? Would a graphic novel be closer to your reading level?

You've never had a problem keeping quiet before. Go with that.

Eric said...

Ritmo, I'm beginning to doubt your ability to reason. The repeal of Glass-Steagall had nothing whatsoever to do with the credit bubble, and from what I can see there's pretty wide agreement on that point even on the left. Well, there would be, since Clinton was president at the time.

And the Rove stuff is, well, sort of pathetic. Rove was never the bogeyman Democrats built him up to be. The Emmanuel Goldstein routine on the left was necessary because they didn't want to admit the guy who was continually outmaneuvering them was the one in the oval office.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Rove is not a bogeyman. Rove represents the appeal that power and partisanship had, and continues to have, to Republicans. If anything, he now symbolizes the corruption of power that was repudiated one year ago and three years ago by our democratic system. The confusion of nationalism with partisanship. The confusion of tactics with strategy, short-term success with long-term security, and so on and on and on.

And yet, again you chime in with this "outmaneuvering" bit? It's really not becoming, Eric.

miller said...

You really are arguing with the equivalent of a radio broadcast. MUL/BSR/RB/ETC isn't really arguing as much as he's simply using a Word macro to post random gibberish.

I don't even bother reading his stuff - it goes straight to my killfile.

Eric said...

Ritmo, Rove is only a symbol to people with advanced BDS. For the rest of us he's a mediocre political strategist whose obsession with the Hispanic vote cost his party a lot of seats in Congress.

And yeah, Bush outmaneuvered the Democrats. On a regular basis. He got pretty much whatever he wanted out of Congress, and he didn't have a super-majority like Obama does.

rcocean said...

Ritmo,

More off-topic boring Left-wing drivel.

Are you using sock-puppets to pretend their a conversation going on?

rcocean said...

How boring can Ritmo get? We await the answer.

miller said...

I don't think MUL/BSR/RB/ETC is a sock puppet as much as he is someone whose mind is full of irrelevant details that he must assemble in brilliant refutation.

I quickly tired of him for shifting his name and for completely bizarre posts. Now his posts just get deleted by my killfile.

Some might say that he occasionally comes up with something good (ok, this is a pretend person for the sake of argument), but I say I have other things to do that wade through a bog to get to a stale candybar. And I don't even like chocolate.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

I, OTOH, always read everything posted by the boy with a little, crying baby avatar because it is chock full of well-posed arguments and incredible insights.

Miller is just a moron who can't even understand the concept of an argument. So he just labels it. It's as if he's attempting an ad hominem against the argument itself!

Miller might want to consider going into IT. He takes arguments personally and relates to them as if they were people. Perhaps to him, they are. Long lines of code might engage him in a way that people, apparently, cannot.

He should change his name to Agent Smith.

Alex said...

Rove is not a bogeyman. Rove represents the appeal that power and partisanship had, and continues to have, to Republicans.

I call bullshit. As if Democrats have no desire of power and partisanship. You fucking hypocrite asshole douchebag fucknut.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Well only an asshole doesn't like chocolate!

Responding to rcocean's grammatically outrageous bullshit (it's "they're", btw, dingbat) would deprive people like Eric, who still believes the right-wing fart noises have logic and reason on their side, to sound off more loudly. I can see why rcocean wouldn't want that, but it's not his choice to make.

I love the way you dodo birds care about me to want to change my mind without even challenging it! So quaint!

miller said...

Well, I wouldn't go so far as to call Rove names. He did help to re-elect Bush against a man who fought in Vietnam, and who has his Vietnam hat to this day.

miller said...

But part of the response of the left is to imply that they are completely without stain, even though they spent 8 years tearing down Bush, and now that their guy is in the White House, they demand the right just shut up.

It's awful to have such a fragile opinion that it can't withstand debate.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

"You fucking hypocrite asshole douchebag fucknut."

This is the funniest outburst of mental illness I've seen in a long while.

There it goes, Alex! Let it all out!

Like an alcoholic, Alex releases the bitter contents of what he's been swallowing after a long night of binge drinking.

Perhaps this is like the exciting non-drivel that rcocean waits for! Very evocative!

While the Democrats might have someone in place that understands power, he doesn't worship it (or fear it) for its own sake. Which would make him different from both Republicans like Miller and rcocean and liber-pretendarians like Alex.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

You drastically over-estimate the right's capacity for debate. The first sign is that you confuse a better argument or a response that makes you feel small as a way of "shut(ting) (the right) up."

Well, if they have no intelligent response - of course they'll feel impelled to STFU. That's what people do after being made to feel and look stupid.

If they had intelligent ideas, their response would be different.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Wow. Some accomplishment, that. Defeating a Vietnam veteran in the era of commanding the Iraq war.

Kerry was a weak candidate. For him to do as well as he did against an incumbent, war-time president who liked to run on just how scary those terrrrrists are, shows just how soon his incompetence and divisiveness was starting to show.

You can do better than this, Miller.

miller said...

I suppose Charles Johnson is just experiencing buyer's remorse.

But my hypothesis is this: CJ was initially turned off by the sniveling cowardice of the left after 9-11 that sought to "understand" an enemy that was out to destroy us.

For a while, only the right was resolute on opposing islamofascism.

Then the fear of islamofascism faded (coincidentally under the rule of George Bush, a moderate Republican slightly to the right of Bill Clinton, a moderate Democrat), and CJ's fears eased.

Now he had the luxury of examing the whole family that came with the defense of America, and that family has some screwy members as well as some members who hold beliefs in opposition to CJ's beliefs and values.

After a while, the tension of supporting the right's opposition to islamofascism while criticizing the other elements of the right CJ didn't like became too much, and he revert to his earlier, public support for the left.

Not much to see there. He's perfectly free to continue posting his own website. I just don't have to spend time reading it or wondering when my account would be closed due to a misreading of CJ's mind.

miller said...

I was always amazed how Bush got a Democratic Senate to pass his tax bills. And how he got his wars funded and expanded. And how he even got St. Edward Kennedy to co-sponsor NCLB (which might be a bad bill, but really - Edward Kennedy and Bush? It's like Satan and the Pope.)

Bush snookered the Democrats again and again. The Man-Child President has a supermajority in the Senate and House and still cannot get his bills passed.

I think BDS just hit CJ about 12 months too late. He would have been better off to have made this break when Bush was still the ruling President.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

It's a good point Miller just made that trusting Bush for the sake of the country was a bad idea on the Democrats' part.

The electorate learned from that, as well. It won't trust the Republicans either from now on.

flenser said...

Not all that long ago, LGF was considered a very influential conservative blog



Nah, it was never a conservative blog. It was a leader of the anti-jihad subsection of the blogosphere.

The anti-jihad movement is not a conservative one, though it has some conservatives in it. Pym Fortune and Geet Wilders are not "conservative", in the America sense. Or even the European sense.

Charles was a lefty before 9/11, a fact some liberals here seem unaware of. His move to "the right" afterwrards never involved absorbing the thought of Burke and Kirk and Hayek, and he never articulated any conservative ideals on his website.

flenser said...

It's a good point Miller just made that trusting Bush for the sake of the country was a bad idea on the Democrats' part.




Jog my memory here. When did the Democrats ever "trust Bush", for any reason?

flenser said...

Rove is not a bogeyman. Rove represents the appeal that power and partisanship had, and continues to have, to Republicans.



I guess we can't all resist the appeal of partisanship the way you do, Ritmo.

Why, by reading your comments, I can't even tell which party you belong to!

Honestly, isn't it sort of lame to combine an attack on partisanship with, you know, partisanship?

flenser said...

I love the way you dodo birds care about me to want to change my mind without even challenging it! So quaint!


I've read your comments here, Ritmo. When you show signs of having a mind, I'll worry about whether I can challenge it.

Anthony said...

I have always thought of Johnson as a liberal hawk. I like his website, but at times it gets tedious, especially when he gets on his anti-Creationist binge.

I think he is at his best though when he tries to both warn/worry about radical Islam while also warning/worrying about the fascist tendencies of some of those who consider themselves "anti-Jihad".

Pogo said...

The Dan Rather memo takedown was a seminal event in online reporting, the explosive debut of the Army-of-Davids approach that only blogs can do. No mere news organization would have been able to get a host of experts together that quickly (for free!) and examine the evidence, even if they were inclined to do so.

That was breathtaking.

Typical blog after that, but boy was that good.

traditionalguy said...

Johnson must have gotten offended by the easy slanders of other people with different thoughts done so often by wing nuts on the Conservative side. Life is full of strange people, but his attempt to distance himself is only silly.