January 23, 2019

"But isn't a virtual mob much less damaging than a real one? I've suggested as much myself, most recently in a column titled 'If you think another civil war is imminent, get off Twitter.'"

"Yet more and more the venom has been bleeding into the real world, with boycotts, doxings, firings, death threats, and groveling apologies offered to placate mobs wielding digital pitchforks. It increasingly feels like it's just a matter of time before real-world violence breaks out in response to an online conflagration. But that's not the only, or even the most far-reaching, threat that Twitter poses to our civic life. As Andrew Sullivan noted nearly three years ago in an important essay on America's slow drift toward tyranny, Plato believed that political regimes and the souls of their citizens mirror each other. A change in political form can lead to a change in the character of citizens, and vice versa. Tyrannies emerge in many ways, but sometimes they arise when the citizens of a democratic political community develop tyrannical souls. What Twitter shows us is a real-time ultrasound of the souls of America's cultural and intellectual elite and its most committed activists — the people in charge of disseminating knowledge and who take the lead in organizing political action in our society...."

From "How Twitter could be the death of liberal democracy" by Damon Linker at The Week.

88 comments:

rhhardin said...

It's all driven by the news business model. Audience at all costs.

They'll find whatever normal flaw normal people have and use it to get massive clicks.

rhhardin said...

What normal people have are not flaws in a neighborhood-sized social area but are fatal organized nationwide.

zipity said...

Sorry, but it appears that Liberals/Democrats and the LameStream Media© (but I repeat myself) seem intent on fomenting another civil war.

Remind me again. Which side has more guns and knows how to use them again....?

rhhardin said...

Hitler started by fighting for normal human decencies, just organized nationwide.

Hannah Arendt's banality of evil.

traditionalguy said...

Warning: If this is a civil war, it's rigged. Twitter is in the hands of the Deep State Propagandists. Twitter presents itself as a forum, but then weeds out all effective pro-MAGA commenters.

tim maguire said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
tim maguire said...

I still think the social media mob is a small minority; I am unafraid for America's soul. But that small minority is a nuisance far exceeding its actual representation among the populace and we are approaching the time when we can no longer ignore them.

Henry said...

This is one of the best essays I've read on the incident, not least because Linker totally avoids any "what really happened" speculation.

He is right to place the eye of this vortex on vanity. He explains further by using the word ego, but vanity is better. Ego presumes cause and effect. Vanity is a constant.

Hagar said...

Not all that small.
The present "left" actually starts with the educational establishment. Long ago John Dewey said "Give me the children of a generation, and I will change the world."
No one voted to give John Dewey their children, but his words had resonance with the teachers, and they have worked ever since to get control of the children and have largely succeeded.
It is "Brave New World" we are facing; not so much "1984."

Omaha1 said...

A quote from the linked article:

"And that madness, when combined with the rising extremism of the populist right, is pushing the country toward a dangerously illiberal forms of politics."

Of course the populist right is to blame. No mention of the totally sensible leftists who suggested that a group of minor children should be doxxed, denied educational and employment opportunities, and subject to various fantasies of physical violence, including burning their school, killing their parents, and being pushed in to a woodchipper.

gilbar said...

Omaha1 said...Of course the populist right is to blame.

It's totally true! if we would just all think with one mind, then there would be NO conflict.
If that group of minor children had all been wearing pussy hats, and carrying signs that said 'impeach that mother f*cker!' then there would have been NO problem!!

Lloyd W. Robertson said...

I don't tweet, but:
1. Why do people rush to tweet before there is much evidence, or before they have had much time to think? There must be a desire to prove how cool you are--the sooner you get in, the more solid your credentials as a person on the right side.
2. One hopes that many of them don't think their fantasies of hurting their victims will actually be carried out. Even if they think "doxxing" will actually happen, they probably think this is the perfect punishment for someone who has gone public in the "wrong" way: you will be forced to be more public, in a way you don't like. Still well short of violence.
3. Mr. Phillips says some of the staff at the school should be fired, and he wants to re-consider whether some of the boys should be expelled. Would either so-called smirking or so-called mocking be enough to justify these results, or was it necessary to see both at the same time?
3. Are we approaching the point where people who continue to express hate for the Covington kids actually want violence? Could it be that if they were presented with a picture of some of the boys after they have taken a beating, they would say "good, they got what they deserve"? Would violence against any privileged white males, of any age, be just as good?
4. I tried to tell my son, who was pretty well instantly anti-Covington, that if a bagpiper walks up to you and keeps on piping loudly, right in your face, you are well within your rights to say "God I hate that shit." Rude, but not illegal, and not a violation of any real norm. If you walk up to the piper, it is obviously a bit different--you are the one provoking a confrontation. The boys acted with great restraint.

Henry said...

Omaha1, the mention you're looking for came in the sentence directly preceding the one you quoted:

Extreme partisan polarization is combining with the technology of social media, and especially Twitter, to provoke a form of recurrent political madness among members of the country's cultural and intellectual elite. And that madness, when combined with the rising extremism of the populist right, is pushing the country toward a dangerously illiberal forms of politics.

My emphasis.

There's a great deal of vanity in being angry.

rhhardin said...

Argument is what peace looks like. If you start firing from jobs that ends peace. Blame human resources departments and their staff of clueless women.

Omaha1 said...

So Henry, the "cultural and intellectual elite" are all on the left? Funny how the word "left" does not appear in that sentence.

Char Char Binks said...

I've started a list of people to kill, and a list of other who won't be so lucky.

rhhardin said...

The House Oversight Committee looks great. All the bomb throwers are on it.

Henry said...

@Omaha1 -- I'd say the "left" is very very strongly implied. Linker is basically saying "the MSM" but with more finesse.

That said, the phrase "rising extremism" is clumsy boilerplate. He could have said more, and been sharper in his criticism, with a better descriptive.

alienation
adamancy

Either of these words would have created a more interesting contrast to the "madness" of the preceding sentence.

Lucid-Ideas said...

No.

I was an intelligence officer for 10 years. Psy ops are real. They have effects in the real world. They sometimes work. When they work they are effective. If they weren't people wouldn't use them.

People have killed themselves over these digital dog-piles. People have lost jobs and families and friends. Pushing the false narrative that leads to a digital mob is just as dangerous as pushing a false narrative that leads to villagers carrying torches and pitchforks.

It is not less dangerous. These are psy ops. Next question.

Gahrie said...

The old "both sides do it" canard. Where is the Rightwing equivalent of what happened to these boys? Where is the Rightwing equivalent to what happened to Kavanaugh? Where are the Rightwingers hounding the Left out of public spaces?

Lucid-Ideas said...

Also, Twitter it is not an accident that twitter is a tool of these psy ops. It is quite deliberate. A better tool for iterative development and amplification of a false narrative has never existed.

Twitter as currently developed (heavier weight on virality of content) was custom designed for this. It has graduated from a psy op kiloton tool to the megaton range.

Kay said...

I like the phrase, “If you think another civil war is imminent, get off Twitter,” even though I haven’t read the column. I think leaving it at just Twitter doesn’t go far enough.

Qwinn said...

I do think a civil war is coming. I think the Left has been gaslighting and deliberately goading the Right for decades, desperate to make us fire the first shot so they can claim an excuse to go full totalitarian, and is entirely frustrated that they haven't been able to troll us successfully enough yet.

I don't and have never used Twitter.

chuck said...

"How [Liberals] could be the death of liberal democracy" would be a better title.

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

Look around.
We have democratic advocacy media. Everywhere. All the time. That leads to the complete and utter abandonment of rational thinking by those on the left. It's never leftwing enough. And people must obey.

buwaya said...

It is already a caste war, and it is because of that that the relative cost of speech for both sides us so disproportionate. The proud masters can speak, and rage, with little to fear, and the peasantry must take it in silence, or else.

Sydney said...

I still think the social media mob is a small minority

I just read an article in The Journal of the American Medicine Association that said 68% of the US population uses Facebook daily and 76% of those spend an hour or more on it a day. Here is the source of that info. Looks like Twitter is only used by 25% of adults, but what is concerning is how many of those are journalists who then get the stuff repeated in other media outlets to reach a far wider audience. I would not under-estimate its influence.

Virgil Hilts said...

I've been seeing this C.S.Lewis excerpt a lot (sorry if it's already been posted hereand I missed it); the "(about your enemy)" has been added by someone, but it's accurate in context.
"The real test is this. Suppose one reads a story of filthy atrocities (about your enemy) in the paper. Then suppose that something turns up suggesting that the story might not be quite true, or not quite so bad as it was made out. Is one's first feeling, 'Thank God, even they aren't quite so bad as that,' or is it a feeling of disappointment, and even a determination to cling to the first story for the sheer pleasure of thinking your enemies as bad as possible? If it is the second then it is, I am afraid, the first step in a process which, if followed to the end, will make us into devils. You see, one is beginning to wish that black was a little blacker."

Henry said...

@Virgil Hilts -- That's very good.

Omaha1 said...

Henry I agree that it is "strongly implied". But the author could not bring himself to use the word "left" or "liberal" in spite of using the term "populist right." So I'm not giving him a pass on this.

buwaya said...

The virtual mob would matter much less if there were a counter-mob permitted to exist, and if institutions werent so prone to follow the bidding of the mob.

Both conditions, of the unanimity and influence of the mob, are the result of the real-life power imbalance outside the virtual world, and of overwhelmingly powerful interests at work, not just of the existence of the technology.

Quaestor said...

Damon Linker. Interesting name given the context.

tcrosse said...

"Who steals my purse steals trash; ’tis something, nothing;
’twas mine, ’tis his, and has been slave to thousands;
But he that filches from me my good name
Robs me of that which not enriches him,
And makes me poor indeed.”

Michael Brand said...

Machiavelli: Wars begin when you will, but do not end when you please

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

The leftwing Brownshirt mobs on twitter are the problem.

Twitter is owned and run by a LEFTISTs.

Any push-back against the leftists, on twitter, are banned. Funny- tho, the leftist mobs who harass and make threats on some teens on the National Mall, they are magically blameless.

Neat-o trick if you can manage it.

Virgil Hilts said...

One idea that does not get discussed enough (probably because it's not helpful) is the idea that human societies need external enemies to remain cohesive. When there are none, the psychological need to have an enemy, to have someone to hate, drives tribalism and the creation of internal enemies, which of course breaks down social cohesion and creates a vicious cycle. Looking into myself, I know that I enjoy finding someone on the left that I can really hate. Kamala Harris is, by any objective standard, a person of low integrity and few accomplishments. But I really want to think of her as truly evil and to hate her. But I know, that if I got stranded on a deserted island with her, we would probably become good friends as we joined forces to combat both the elements and neighboring cannibals.

mockturtle said...

Mob rule begins with groupthink and these social media expand, exponentially, the scope and increase the intensity of what amounts to a mass hysteria. While I agree with tim maguire that the mob is a minority that often overplays its hand, our failed educational system and its revisionist teaching of history provide no strong defense.

Greg Hlatky said...

So what happens if you're a victim of a social-media mob but you never read social media?

CWJ said...

Seems to me that Twitter is a window into people's true natures rather more than an active agent transforming otherwise good liberals into a mob. Perhaps this deep analysis is no more than the old excuse that the devil made me do it.

Fen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
CWJ said...

Greg Hlatky,

Your comment made me think of "Has Justine landed yet."

mockturtle said...

Virgil Hilts, what you write would be true in most cases and I am a big fan of C.S Lewis. But the hatred in this case comes from the Left and, based on my personal experience, they are the ones who are ending friendships and dividing families, not the Right.

Regarding your desert island scenario: Consider that, when Kamala finds out you voted for Trump, she might try to kill you. ;-)

Fen said...

False Righteousness of being "above the fray" is just another Vanity.

Covingtom is just the most recent example. And I hear decent but naiive conservatives claim that "if only we could get the Left to see our perspective, if only the Media could be shamed into reporting the truth"... Fools. They know EXACTLY what they are doing, its not a problem of communication, perspective or unconscious hias - THEY ARE DOING THIS DELIBERATELY. They are at war with us and tbeir ends is justified by ANY means.

How many more Congressmen have to be shot, how many more conservatives have to get their skulls cracked open witb bike locks before we realize tbis Cold Civil War has already gone hot?

The enemy is the Post Modernist Global Marxists. And we are going to have to kill every last one of them, or resign ourselves to a lifetime of turning routs into orderly retreats.

If the idea of that has you clutching your pearls, if you aren't willing to shed blood for Liberty's sake, then have a shot of Solzhenitsyn:

"And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?... The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin's thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt! If...if...We didn't love freedom enough. And even more – we had no awareness of the real situation.... We purely and simply deserved everything that happened afterward." - The Gulag Archipelago

Chuck said...

Drudge has linked to this short, concise, admirably-crafted editorial in the Wall Street Journal:

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-high-school-deplorables-11548202058

My only gripe is with the glorification of “the Deplorables.” That was the Journal’s headline, and featured prominently on the Drudge home page. But unless I missed it in a reading and then a re-reading to locate that term, the editorial never used the word “deplorables.”

Char Char Binks said...

I got kicked off Twitter and Facebook, and I've never felt better.

mockturtle said...

Fen, IMO, The Gulag Archipelago should be required reading in high school. I would also recommend Life and Death in Shanghai, a journal of the Chinese Cultural Revolution, because I don't think young people today have any notion of what totalitarianism involves.

Fernandistein said...

I think the MSM is a bigger problem than the social media because some people still consider it authoritative, for some weird reason, and the MSM legitimizes the bullshit and excuses the mobs.

MayBee said...

One idea that does not get discussed enough (probably because it's not helpful) is the idea that human societies need external enemies to remain cohesive.

Isn't that what sports are for? And nations?

Omaha1 said...

Virgil Hilts, you said " Looking into myself, I know that I enjoy finding someone on the left that I can really hate." I understand where this impulse comes from but I try to resist it. "That is not who we are" LOL.

I try to refrain from commenting until I am in possession of actual, documented, undisputed facts. Even then I only do criticism and I don't call people evil or enemies. Because otherwise members of my own family would be enemies. Being right is not worth losing touch with my family.

Kevin said...

The media shapes a story, but so do your peers. It is an endless loop of back and forth, not for truth, but acceptance.

Here is a typical Tweet today: Anyone, including myself, who has experienced the Covington boy’s same face knows exactly what this face is about and how it makes us feel.

The fact that anyone denies exactly what the privilege and attitude of this face represents tells me exactly who they are.


The message is: we must condone this boy based on what other people have felt about other boys with similar looks and similar behaviors to those I recall. And if you don't, you are one of them.

It's no different than saying we must lynch this black man because other black men have raped white women and he made me afraid he was about to rape me.

It's the worst kind of uninformed hatred based on outward appearances. It's an appeal to the very racism they pretend they're out to end.

rhhardin said...

How many more Congressmen have to be shot,

Not a good lede.

MayBee said...

It would be a great service to see inside the real news media. Not the heroic side, but more of a House of Cards treatment. But in documentary form.
I want to see who the PR firms are who push these videos out into the public, and how they get the reporters to jump on board. I want to know who is behind the Trayvon Martin/Michael Brown media narratives. I want to see how Hillary Clinton pushed the Miss Universe narrative out to the press, or how her people convinced reporters to say that questioning her health was a conspiracy.
I want to know who creates the mobs that protest outside of Trump Tower during the primaries and how the press knows it's happening and what story to give it.
I want to know how Fusion GPS works. I want to know who told Anna Wintour to publish a glowing story about Assad's wife just months before a terrible crackdown in Syria.

I want to see who was behind the fake accounts on the first Anthony Weiner scandal. I want to know who was behind the account for this Covington scandal, and who pushed the narrative out to the media and who in the media decided to run with it.

I think it would be fascinating. And important right now. Why are we supposed to pretend we are just getting straight news that some gumshoe reporter finds important?

Kevin said...

"But isn't a virtual mob much less damaging than a real one?

A virtual mob reaches far more people and can be maintained for far longer than a physical one.

It creates the mindset over time that a real mob might find hard to create.

buwaya said...

Kamala Harris us a dangerous person, or rather, the clique she will bring with her is dangerous. The incredible prosecution of David Daleiden by the State of California is a telling indicator of what you can expect, if that gang is given the (all too willing, as we have seen) institutions of the Federal DOJ.

Derek Kite said...

This weekend was an illustration of what James Lindsay, Helen Pluckrose and Peter Boghossian did in the grievance studies.

This situation came up with something that ticks off all the right things; white kid, Catholic school, native indian with drum. Everything else is filled in by the reader. The women who overreacted said that it reminded them of some kid who taunted them at school. The smile made people want to slap the kid. It was an illustration of the prejudices and deep hatreds of many people. What actually occurred was not important; their feelings were triggered and someone must pay.

Fine. We all react to things badly.

Then you get permission to express your feelings to the full measure by the mob communication software. You are not alone, and as the intelligence of a crowd is the inverse of it's count (100 people are collectively as smart as 1/100) the more people pile on the less inhibition to give full expression of your blithering stupidity.

Yes it is dangerous. One of these situations is going to wake up the slumbering giant of ordinary people who will dig out their 12 guage shotguns and blow the head off someone who goes after the kids. And as we see in France, once aroused it isn't easily settled.

Every person I personally reacted to with disgust was someone in a position of influence. I'm a high school educated guy who works with his hands and I've figured out how to handle these issues; wait 3 days before even considering the issue. I'm the dumb hick in this situation.

The US and much of the West to some degree is a meritocracy. That is what makes it work as well as it does. These people don't deserve their position of influence. People made decisions based on what they said and it was not only wrong, it is likely to cost serious money as the libel suits start rolling in. One person was fired already, and I suspect more will come.

That eventuality makes me happy, very happy.

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

Non leftwingers are the New Jews of 1930's Germany.

gadfly said...

So who would believe that a guy by the name of Linker doesn't like Twitter?

Unknown said...


We are the ants.
Social media is the magnifying glass
Humanity's worst instincts is the sun.

robother said...

This event has every aspect of the SJW left on display.

The totemic status of minorities: regardless of their provocative actions, racist and homophobic chants, the Black Israelites and Phillips are the eternal victims. Nothing their acolytes may do, up to including threats and actual physical violence against the Catholic boys and their families will be held up to public scrutiny. (See Dallas BLM shooter, the Scalise shooter--erased from MSM within a day of the event.)

The evil privileged White male. Any action (or inaction) or facial expression on his part betrays the seething evil in his heart. Even when the initial narrative falls apart, and the MSM scurries to defend from potential libel suits, the Left always mutters, "well, something must have happened, otherwise why was he accused?"

The message is delivered, even where the hoax is exposed. White men, this could happen to you--better cowtow.

Nonapod said...

I only see this getting worse. I don't think most people who are guilty of being virtual mobsters are ever going to modify their behavior and suddenly become more thoughtful. The risk versus reward ratio is too much in favor of continuing to behave badly.

The reward is that sweet dopemine hit from dealing what feels like righteous vengence. There are few short term feelings that are as internally satisfying as dealing out a percieved comeuppance.

There is virtually no personal risk at all if you're just another anonymous member of a mob who has jumped to the wrong conclusion. You'll continue to be free to do and say whatever you want. You don't even have to apologize. Sure, it's possible you may lose the trust of a few people, but not likely. It's not like you have to wear a scarlet letter that indicates you were wrong.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

A virtual mob is easier to join--it has a lower barrier to entry and a lower cost of joining.

M Jordan said...

Sorry but I can’t read Damon Linker any more. His Trump hatred has driven him mad.

(Feel free to steal that line: it can be applied indiscriminately to the entire pundit class.)

Qwinn said...

The Left's biggest weakness is their impatience. They frequently attack before they're really ready. They're like Kzin that way.

Right now they are successfully moving the Overton window for their true believers to the point where it is acceptable to attack children perceived to be right wing. Physically.

How long do you think it'll take before they think they are ready, and they fire up the camps? All they're waiting for is for a conservative to defend themselves.

Yancey Ward said...

Yeats said it best:

"The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity".

Saint Croix said...

I still think the social media mob is a small minority

The mainstream media is part of that social media mob. They amplify and circulate vile untruths.

CJinPA said...

How many people do you know who are on Twitter?

Twitter is much different from Facebook because you can be anonymous on Twitter. I notice that most of my "We're heading to Civil Wall II" thoughts happen while reading Twitter.

It's not the technology itself. Pre-social media gave use partisan blogs and websites that pushed ideological division. The difference with social media is this: It coincides with the Left coming to the conclusion that they have the power to steamroll opposition. "Conservatives" think we're having "debates," or ideological "battle." Progressives think it's target practice.

The current social media problem is Vast Communication Platform + Dominant Progressive Ideology with Nothing to Fear.

Think I'm wrong? Let's see if anyone pays a social price for trying to destroy the Covington kids.

Yancey Ward said...

As I like to remind people, the audiences for MSNBC, FoxNews, and CNN are about 5 million people combined. I imagine the Twitterverse is probably similar in size in the US- even if you actively follow someone, you probably don't read more than 1% of a person's tweets in a given year.

Saint Croix said...

There is virtually no personal risk at all if you're just another anonymous member of a mob who has jumped to the wrong conclusion.

There is a career (and industry-risk) to people in the media who are part of that mob and relying upon that mob for their journalism.

Saint Croix said...

As I like to remind people, the audiences for MSNBC, FoxNews, and CNN are about 5 million people combined.

This Sandmann kid is applying to universities right now. I feel a lot of sympathy for him.

Yancey Ward said...

Saint Croix,

It will be interesting to see what happens to his college admissions process- I do suspect he will be blackballed.

Fen said...

"As I like to remind people, the audiences for MSNBC, FoxNews, and CNN are about 5 million"

"The peaceful majority is irrelevant"

https://youtu.be/YnOF7y-KuHE

It is the vocal minority that have always controlled our direction.

Fen said...

"I would also recommend Life and Death in Shanghai, a journal of the Chinese Cultural Revolution"

Thanks MockTurtle, was not aware of it, adding it to my read list.

Nonapod said...

There is a career (and industry-risk) to people in the media who are part of that mob and relying upon that mob for their journalism.

Perhaps, and I understand that at least one person has been fired over this. But I'm still unconvinced that there's much of a lasting penalty for many media personalities who encourage and engage in mob behavior. Some of them have yet to even apologize. Only time will tell if this will hurt them where it counts (money), but I remain skeptical.

It's not just the mob behavior either. Many of these media personalities have been pushing false narratives for so long without any apparent negative repercussions. In fact, it seems like they're being rewarded for bad behavior in some cases. There's clearly an appetite for false content that confirms biases. And even when such content is later demonstrated to be untrue, many people still continue to want more of it. If it weren't so, many outlets would be suffering more clear financial consequences.

Leland said...

It increasingly feels like it's just a matter of time before real-world violence breaks out in response to an online conflagration.

Lucid-Ideas said...

"Life and Death in Shanghai, a journal of the Chinese Cultural Revolution"

This is a very good book.

Another very good work is "First They Killed My Father" about Pol Pot's killing fields.

The striking thing to me is always how much these human tragedies are "Wait, now speed up". Everything seems to be on hold, like a 1000 foot tidal wave that just hovers in the air, and then the deluge. The author recalls how her and her family's life were one way one day and then another way - forever - the next. Within 48 hours she had lost 2 close relatives, several friends, and found herself living 100 miles away.

These kids never think that "that's not me. I wouldn't do that." Then they suddenly find themselves bayonetting their uncle.

wendybar said...

I wonder if Harvard will accept these kids if their grade point average is lower than average??

Sebastian said...

"it seems like they're being rewarded for bad behavior in some cases. There's clearly an appetite for false content that confirms biases"

Yes. Progs control the MSM and the ancillary propaganda apparatus--higher ed, major social media. They reward narrative- pushers. Only stuff that undermines the narrative counts as bad behavior. There is an appetite among prog diehards and soap opera women, an audience still large enough to keep them in business, though billionaires are standing by to prop up the major outlet or have already done so.

The most interesting group is the bystanders, and this is where Althouse comes in. Feminist women who in principle favor the pro-abortion side can be gulled by stuff involving women's bodies or bad male behavior--witness her falling for CBF, crying at the boys in the Gillette ad, or treating the Indian propagandists as the epitome of charity. But when progs lie too obviously, or fail to provoke their "sympathy," some can still be swayed. Not us deplorables but Althouse and her sisters will determine the outcome of the culture war.

buwaya said...

Lucid-Ideas,

You are right. These things can break open in a rush, a flood, with little or no warning.

How they break is culturally determined and contingent.

I saw this happen, myself, in a massive physical form, and it was a wonder to see. A miracle it seemed. We all were lucky, in the culture and circumstances of the time, that it all broke so peacefully. That was at the funeral procession for the assassinated Senator Aquino in 1983. It was at first the usual traditional thing, but then people started coming out, and joining it, trickles and then masses, until it filled streets with millions.

It set the tone for all the political struggles of the following three years, and indeed of the mostly peaceful endgame.

The other way is, perhaps, like what the Hutus did to the Tutsis.

Lucid-Ideas said...

@Buwaya

I saw very much the same thing in Baghdad in April of '03. It was almost mystical. There was this solid week - a solid 7 days - where everything seemed possible. I think for most Iraqis it was a kind of shell-shock - they had never NOT KNOWN a world without the regime. They genuinely didn't know what to do. They looked to us as to what to do next and in my opinion, we flubbed it - massively. As soon as the sectarian leaders understood what had occurred - and what was possible for them - it was all over. But for 7 days it seemed like anything was possible.

Like I said, "wait, now speed up".

ken in tx said...

The political content of social media looks a lot like newspaper content in the 1850s. A Unionist newspaper editor was killed in a duel with a Secessionist editor in South Carolina. Some may be surprised to learn that there were Unionist papers in the South, but there were. At least until the North invaded.

BUMBLE BEE said...

Virtual mobs? Who says angry black lady isn't some deviant a-hole seeing how far he can take it? You've all been shown black hebrew isrealites and their M.O. Gets those ads in front of wapo and nyt faces. Clearly that's all that counts to these "newsrags". What does it tell any half rational person with this "activist" ranting against the totalitaria, fascist, nazi Trump who hasn't sent them off to Bergen-Belsen? Terribly incomplete personalities kept at a feverish pitch are very dangerous. Rodney King riots that newsrags used to shame law enforcement, were the vehicle used to clear out gun shops by crips and bloods. Baltimore riots enabled hundreds of thousands of opioids looted from drugstores while cops (similarly) stood down. At $10 a tab that's millions. This ain't serendipity it is planned and promoted.

Dad29 said...

A change in political form can lead to a change in the character of citizens, and vice versa. Tyrannies emerge in many ways, but sometimes they arise when the citizens of a democratic political community develop tyrannical souls.

Back before SCOTUS became a tyranny of decisions contrary to Nature and Nature's God, the nation was reasonably peaceful. The JFK/LBJ adventure in Viet Nam was almost as much a factor, along with the growing snowball of Fed regs on every damn thing we do, Bush's inane democracy campaign in the desert and Clinton's giveaway of US industry to China (et al)....

And now someone comes along who wants to undo ALL OF IT, and we have rebellions threatened at every moment.

Huh.

BUMBLE BEE said...

buwaya's been hittin in on the noggin for some time now, people. Newspaper people been blatantly wrong for how long now? If you were calling a vehicle a Cadillac Mustang in private employ, you'd be toast. Newsies are beyond reproach. Untouchable. The oscars are loaded with Riefenstahl clones. White and Waiting for a bus puts a target on your back. This is America?

Big Mike said...

@ken in texas, in 1837 abolitionist newspaper editor was murdered by a pro-slavery mob in Alton, Illinois.

Big Mike said...

3. Are we approaching the point where people who continue to express hate for the Covington kids actually want violence? Could it be that if they were presented with a picture of some of the boys after they have taken a beating, they would say "good, they got what they deserve"? Would violence against any privileged white males, of any age, be just as good?

@Lloyd W. Robertson, may I have a go at answering? Yes. Hell yes! And probably.

Big Mike said...

This is America?

@BUMBLE BEE, true, alas.

Static Ping said...

What I find most disturbing is not that we had another Twitter mob, but that the media was part of it. There's really no escaping the fact that the media was part of the mob. That kind of media is worse than useless.

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