Thursday, April 11, 2019


I know I should be writing about Julian Assange, but I keep thinking about this thread:

Marcotte says that right-wingers know bigotry is real, but regard it as simply a weapon to be deployed. They don't think it's bad to be a bigot. They want to use bigotry accusations, and bigotry itself, as political weapons, and they want to neutralize liberals' ability to damage conservatives with bigotry charges.

I don't agree with all this. I think right-wingers do believe there's bad bigotry. But their examples of bad bigotry are our critiques of them.

See, for instance, this New York Times story about the response to Pete Buttigieg's criticisms of Mike Pence:
Mr. Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., has provoked a backlash from conservatives in the last few days after questioning the moral authority of evangelicals like Vice President Mike Pence who remain silent about President Trump’s personal conduct yet disapprove of same-sex marriages and oppose gay rights.

... A Fox News host, Todd Starnes, accused the mayor of wanting “to shove evangelical Christians into the closet.”

Erick Erickson, an evangelical blogger, said that Mr. Buttigieg’s comments about religious conservatives who support Mr. Trump suggest that he “would be O.K. with using the government to persecute Christians.”
There it is. Bigotry is real and bad, according to Starnes and Erickson -- but they mean Buttigieg's alleged bigotry against homophobes.

Marcotte is obviously right when she says that conservatives want to turn the weapon of bigotry accusations against liberals. But I don't think their ultimate goal is "to confuse the idea of what constitutes a legitimate accusation of bigotry, so that people just throw up their hands and assume all such accusations are false." They want people to regard only their accusations of bigotry as true -- and they've largely succeeded in this with their own base. Right-wingers legitimately believe that there's tremendous prejudice in America against whites, white men in particular, conservatives, and Christians. When it suits them, they're also upset about anti-Semitism. I don't think they're faking their concern about alleged persecution of the first four groups -- the self-pity seems all too real. Even if it is fake, they don't want their audience to think all accusations of bigotry are "politically correct" nonsense -- they want their audience hopping mad about how bad white Christians have it.

Note that Todd Starnes wants to be able to say that Christians are being forced "into the closet." Note that Clarence Thomas and other conservatives have claimed to be the victims of "lynchings." Note that Candace Owens insists that "it is more difficult today to come out as a conservative than it is to come out as gay" (emphasis added). Conservatives aren't just trying to seize our rhetorical weapons so all the weapons will be neutralized. They value the power of those weapons. They want a monopoly on trhe use of those weapons.

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