Sunday, March 10, 2019

Puritopian Centrists Unite!

Maurice "Snoopy" Miller: You got a problem over there, Foley?
Jack Foley: Yeah, I got a problem: this is the dumbest fuckin' shakedown in the history of dumb shakedowns.
--Out of Sight
Back in my early days on Twitter the No Labels account followed me, and I followed back. It's now and they unfollowed me at some point (probably after the first or third or twentieth time I mocked the shit out of them), but I'm still following them--maybe for the lulz, maybe out of sheer inertia, maybe a little of both.

Their schtick is about what you'd expect: a lot of both-sidesing, debt panic, and delusions about the popularity of their ideology (hint: "independent" is not synonymous with "moderate"), with the occasional expression of disgust at Trump--though it clearly pains them whenever they have to do so without also condemning the Democrats. But recently they have acquired a new distinction: they are the only Twitter account I have ever seen tweeting positively about Howard Schultz.

They really like Howard Schultz.

Of course they like Howard Schultz: he sounds just like them. (Craven defense of illegality on one side. Policy debates on the other. What a sad spectacle!) (One side is caging children, enacting white supremacist policies, and using the Presidency as a money-making scheme. The other side proposes a return to pre-Reagan marginal tax rates. Both sides extreme!) (Paging Yastreblyansky...)

There's a tremendous amount of illogic underlying this worldview, starting with the fallacy of the middle ground (what is the middle ground between dealing with climate change and denying it? between recognizing pregnant women as fully human and treating zygotes as "persons"? between governing for the common good and kleptocratic oligarchy?) and continuing with their identification of ideological centrism with "pragmatism". They really like to self-identify as pragmatists, but in reality these people are as rigid and ideology-bound as any Jill Stein voter. And so, when neither party meets every one of their ideological demands, rather than acting pragmatically (by supporting the party closer to their principles) they lean toward backing a no-hope vanity candidate (which can only disadvantage the party closer to their beliefs). (Any of that sound at all familiar?)

And so like Nader voters in 2000, like Stein voters in 2016, they're prepared to act out of puritopian petulance and throw the election to Trump if they can't get their way. With all due respect to Jack Foley, this the dumbest fuckin shakedown in the history of dumb shakedowns.

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