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White Supremacist Protest Violence

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21 hours ago, Grames said:

But he did.  The "problem" was that he did not take sides on this essentially leftist vs. leftist battle because he condemned both sides equally.

One thing that drives the Dem's bat-shit crazy about Trump is that he keeps setting their agenda for them.  By his taking the position that both sides are equally reprehensible and equally responsible for the violence (which is true) he is forcing the Left to defend and champion the Antifa thugs as "victims."  The only thing this will serve is to drive even more centrist Democrats and Independents into Trump's camp.

This is what happened in the general election last year.  He forced the Left to adopt such an extreme level of identity politics that it drove many on the Left and Center away - either they voted for him or they stayed home.  It drove Hillary nuts that she couldn't pivot back to the Center in the general election.  Hillary is as corrupt as they come, but she is not part of the "far Left" like Bernie or Pocahontas.

Edited by New Buddha

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4 hours ago, New Buddha said:

One thing that drives the Dem's bat-shit crazy about Trump is that he keeps setting their agenda for them.  By his taking the position that both sides are equally reprehensible and equally responsible for the violence (which is true) he is forcing the Left to defend and champion the Antifa thugs as "victims."  The only thing this will serve is to drive even more centrist Democrats and Independents into Trump's camp.

Equally responsible, not really. Unite the Right was a hate rally where many attendees were PLANNING to fight rather than appeal to law enforcement. That takes the edge for responsibility.

Or just leave that part aside. They are not equally reprehensible. Is  antifa reprehensible? Yes. Are identitarians like Robert Spencer reprehensible? Yes, and a little worse. Are neo-Nazis reprehensible? Yes, and A LOT MORE than both. There is no moral equivalence of them, as the prior two are decidedly racist. 

Are you suggesting that antifa is equally as bad as the KKK? On moral grounds, racism requires an even more depraved view of man than antifa.

Not all immoral action is equally reprehensible.

"He forced the Left to adopt such an extreme level of identity politics"

...and the right.

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20 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

Are you suggesting that antifa is equally as bad as the KKK? On moral grounds, racism requires an even more depraved view of man than antifa.

I'm having trouble believing that someone who claims to be an Objectivist would make such a nonsensical claim that there is a difference between the two.  I suppose you also think that Stalin was morally superior to Hitler.

Edit:  I really cannot believe that you would make such statement.  It probably explains why you were attracted to Antifa.

Edited by New Buddha

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6 hours ago, New Buddha said:

He forced the Left to adopt such an extreme level of identity politics that it drove many on the Left and Center away - either they voted for him or they stayed home.  It drove Hillary nuts that she couldn't pivot back to the Center in the general election.  Hillary is as corrupt as they come, but she is not part of the "far Left" like Bernie or Pocahontas.

I found the following article after I made the above post.  It supports exactly what I said.

http://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/347012-centrist-dems-push-back-on-warren

Excerpts:

Moderate Democrats are pushing back at Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-Mass.) [Pocahontas, for those who don't keep up with politics] view that progressives have taken control of the party. 

“We can't win the House back with progressives running in swing states,” said former Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-Calif.), a surrogate for 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton who is leading the Fight Back California super PAC aimed at winning back seven House seats in the Golden State.

[....]

Warren’s remarks at the conference in Atlanta last weekend sparked an instant headline from The New York Times saying she was taking aim at moderates. And while she didn’t mention either of the Clintons by name, the Times wrote: “Ms. Warren sent an unambiguous message that she believes the Clinton effort to push Democrats toward the political center should be relegated to history.”

 

Edited by New Buddha

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1 hour ago, New Buddha said:

I'm having trouble believing that someone who claims to be an Objectivist would make such a nonsensical claim that there is a difference between the two.  I suppose you also think that Stalin was morally superior to Hitler.

Edit:  I really cannot believe that you would make such statement.  It probably explains why you were attracted to Antifa.

 Marginally better. Not much though.

The issue, here, is racism. I find the violence by antifa to be irrational, to be sure, but it doesn't necessarily seek the extermination of capitalists. Antifa is not Stalinism, there's a difference. Nazis and the KKK seek a purification of society for the sake of race. I find that belief to be worse than seeking the end of capitalism by dismantling racism. Besides, identitarians and white nationalists do intend to end capitalism for good by fascist measures. They supported literal Nazis as well. In other words, at Unite the Right, the organizers were worse by going beyond anti-capitalism with their racism.

I wasn't attracted to them, I said sympathetic. It was only when I first heard and thought about the term late last year. I could grasp how they felt only from remembering how I felt in high school. You're wrong about why. The main reason was weakness of my support for freedom of speech. It's not weak anymore.

Either way, as far as danger to society today, the Unite the Right people are a greater threat. Antifa are not as well organized by their nature as anarchists. They'd be squashed so fast. They are politically weak even.

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56 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

Marginally better. Not much though.

Antifa and White Supremacists are, as Rand would put it, "Opposite sides of the same fraudulent coin."

If both groups are wrong, then how is it even remotely possible that one can be "marginally" better than the other?  For you to think so is to destroy the entire idea that there exists an objective "right" and and objective "wrong."  Neither group represents an ethics predicated on Individual Rights in the vein of Locke, Jefferson or Rand.

You are playing right into the hands of moral relativism - which is the foundation upon which identity politics rests.

Your view is completely indefensible.

 

Edited by New Buddha

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55 minutes ago, New Buddha said:

Antifa and White Supremacists are, as Rand would put it, "Opposite sides of the same fraudulent coin."

If both groups are wrong, then how is it even remotely possible that one can be "marginally" better than the other?  For you to think so is to destroy the entire idea that there exists an objective "right" and and objective "wrong."  Neither group represents an ethics predicated on Individual Rights in the vein of Locke, Jefferson or Rand.

You are playing right into the hands of moral relativism - which is the foundation upon which identity politics rests.

Your view is completely indefensible.

What view is "completely indefensible"? This?

3 hours ago, Eiuol said:

Not all immoral action is equally reprehensible.

If that's what you're referring to, Buddha, then it is completely defensible.

Shoplifiting and murder are both immoral actions -- they are both wrong -- but they are not equally reprehensible. Immoral actions are united in kind, but they may vary in degree. Immoral groups, too. All religions are mistaken and wrong and immoral (to the extent that they are irrational and preach that which is contrary to man and man's life), but not all religions are morally equal. Islamic extremists are not morally equivalent to Methodists.

Are Antifa and white supremacists morally equivalent? I don't know enough about Antifa to say with any conviction, but it is my understanding that they advocate for the violent suppression of fascists. Assuming this to be true, then they are wrong, and short-sided, to seek to deny anyone their civil rights, even Nazis. It is a view that is fundamentally contradictory to liberty, and therefore ultimately destructive of their own cause. But no, that is not the same as an ideology rooted in fascism and racism, and with direct ties (in our none-too-distant past) to slavery and genocide. Shouting down speakers, while repellent, is not morally equivalent to driving one's car into a crowd of protestors.

Do you sincerely believe otherwise?

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13 minutes ago, DonAthos said:

I don't know enough about Antifa to say with any conviction,

Then why did you even bother making a post?  Do some research first and then defend them (if you dare).

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11 minutes ago, New Buddha said:

Then why did you even bother making a post?  Do some research first and then defend them (if you dare).

I have no current interest in either defending Antifa or in researching them further. But I bothered to make a post because, even without knowing the specifics of Antifa, I recognized that what you were saying was wrong.

"If both groups are wrong, then how is it even remotely possible that one can be 'marginally' better than the other?"

Well, I demonstrated how it is remotely possible. That's why I bothered making a post. Because your post warranted correction.

Edited by DonAthos

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1 hour ago, New Buddha said:

Antifa and White Supremacists are, as Rand would put it, "Opposite sides of the same fraudulent coin."

If both groups are wrong, then how is it even remotely possible that one can be "marginally" better than the other? 

It's like ranking of values on a hierarchy. Some antivalues are more destructive than others. This isn't a controversial claim.

Moral relativism would be to say no morality is better than another. That's more like moral subjectivism actually.

Edited by Eiuol

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2 minutes ago, DonAthos said:

I have no current interest in either defending Antifa or in researching them further. But I bothered to make a post because, even without knowing the specifics of Antifa, I recognized that what you were saying was wrong.

"If both groups are wrong, then how is it even remotely possible that one can be 'marginally' better than the other?"

Well, I demonstrated how it is remotely possible. That's why I bothered making a post. Because your post warranted correction.

Both groups are the opposite side of the same fraudulent coin.

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Just now, Eiuol said:

It's ranking of values on a hierarchy. Some antivalues are more destructive than others. This isn't a controversial claim.

Moral relativism would be to say no morality is better than another. That's more like moral subjectivism actually.

You are demonstrating a complete lack of understanding of Rand's greatest achievement in philosophy - the creation of an objective foundation for ethics.

I can hear Rand rolling over in her grave...

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Not an argument here, but this is where I'm coming from:

"For instance, a moral code is a system of teleological measurement which grades the choices and actions open to man, according to the degree to which they achieve or frustrate the code’s standard of value. The standard is the end, to which man’s actions are the means."

Context: http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/teleological_measurement.html

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45 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

Not an argument here, but this is where I'm coming from:

And here is where I'm coming from:

Values

It is only a [Individual] living organism that faces a constant alternative: the issue of life or death. Life is a process of self-sustaining and self-generated action. If an organism fails in that action, it dies; its chemical elements remain, but its life goes out of existence. It is only the concept of ‘Life’ that makes the concept of ‘Value’ possible. It is only to a living entity that things can be good or evil.”

Roughly speaking, Locke based his Theory of Natural Rights and Value (and Individualism) on his Protestant religious views while  Jefferson derived them largely from his Epicurean ideas viz. the Unalienable Right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.  Rand provided a biological basis for her Theory of Value and Ethical Individualism.  Rand's work in Ethics did not invalidate the ideas of either Locke or Jefferson - it expanded upon them.

But in order for Rand to validate her Theory of Value (Ethics), she had to develop and integrate it into both Epistemology and Metaphysics.  Her monumental work in Epistemology is (largely speaking) the foundation of her Ethics and her Theory of Value.

I think that you and I can both agree that Antifa is a far-Left, anti-Capitalist, quasi-Anarchist group.  They have no systemic philosophy from which they derive their Values (or, what they have is some pastiche of Hegelian/Marxist/Anarchist nonsense).  And the same can be said for Fascists/White Supremacists.  Saying that Antifa is "right" in that they are against Fascism is like saying that a broken clock is "right" twice a day.  The fact that Antifa and Objectivism both reject Fascism does not make them fellow travelers.  If it did, then the Fascist/White Supremisticst would also be "fellow travelers" because they are against the far-Left Antifa.

Antifa is on the "Left" and Fascists/White Supremisticst are on the "Right" only in the sense that they are on "Opposite sides of the same fraudulent coin."  This is something that few, other than Objectivists, truly understand.  By the standards of the Leftist MSM and the far-Left, Objectivists are on the far-Right near the Fascists.  This is, of course, not the case.

Edited by New Buddha

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36 minutes ago, New Buddha said:

Both groups are the opposite side of the same fraudulent coin.

Okay. Let's talk about that "fraudulent coin," then.

Here is an article from CNN. Per this article, "many [Antifa] members support oppressed populations and protest the amassing of wealth by corporations and elites. Some employ radical or militant tactics to get their message across."

"Supporting oppressed populations" is too vague to comment on, and protesting "the amassing of wealth by corporations and elites" is socialist claptrap, but not too different than the mainstream left. Rubber meets the road with "radical or militant tactics" -- that's what seems to differentiate them from the left, more generally; and that's what I'd meant with "they advocate for the violent suppression of fascists."

The article goes on to say that Antifa "is known for causing damage to property during protests. In Berkeley, black-clad protesters wearing masks threw Molotov cocktails and smashed windows at the student union center where the Yiannopoulos event was to be held."

That's bad, no question about it. They're wrong.

Now let's look at white supremacists, also per CNN: "The term white nationalism originated as a euphemism for white supremacy, the belief that white people are superior to all other races and should therefore dominate society..."

I don't know that this is entirely accurate -- I'm open to the idea that there might be a difference between a "white nationalist" and a "white supremacist" ("a white ethno-state where each race lives in a separate nation," the goal attributed to white nationalists in this article, does not seem to rely upon a believe in white superiority) -- but it seems clear to me that the thinking is racist in any event, and further that the only means to achieve their ends is through totalitarian force.

The article goes on to quote someone from the SPLC, saying, "some white supremacists advocate genocide and ethnic cleansing. [...] All civil rights for nonwhites would be removed."

That's bad, no question about it. They're wrong.

Can we tell any difference between the two groups, morally? I think so. Perhaps Antifa is so wide-ranging and nebulous that it's hard to pin down precisely (I don't think they have the same degree of organization as the alt-right), but we can maybe get an idea of what we're talking about by observing the events of Charlottesville and etc. They seem to put on masks and throw rocks and such, protesting what they see as "fascism."

In the case of Charlottesville, specifically, the "fascism" they were protesting against took the form of people adopting the symbols of the Confederacy and the Third Reich, carrying torches and weapons and chanting anti-Semitic slogans. So while throwing rocks is not right, is not moral, there's no question that this particular target (as opposed to Capitalism, for instance) is at least worthy of protest.

Meanwhile, a white nationalist committed vehicular homicide in the style of ISIS, mowing down protestors (who were not necessarily black mask-clad Antifa).

Both of these groups are wrong. Both are immoral. But no, they are not immoral to the same degree.

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19 minutes ago, DonAthos said:

Both of these groups are wrong. Both are immoral. But no, they are not immoral to the same degree.

See my post above.  They are only "right" in the sense that a broken clock is "right" twice a day....

Neither group has a systemic objective philosophy integrating epistemology, metaphysics, ethics and politics.  Absent a systemic objective philosophy, it's ludicrous to validate the ideas and/or actions of either group.  They are just ignorant little children lashing out violently.  Rand would be disgusted with both of them.

Edited by New Buddha

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2 minutes ago, New Buddha said:

See my post above.  They are only "right" in the sense that a broken clock is "right" twice a day....

See the quote of mine that you've quoted. I said that "both of these groups are wrong. Both are immoral. But they are not immoral to the same degree."

Do you disagree with that?

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Just now, DonAthos said:

Do you disagree with that?

Absolutely.  Do you seriously believe that the fools on either side swinging baseball bats at each other are philosophical revolutionaries?

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Don,

Do you really believe that if you were to pull one of them aside, from each group, that they could provide you with an articulate, well-reasoned statement of their philosophical ideas?

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Just now, New Buddha said:

Absolutely.  Do you seriously believe that the fools on either side swinging baseball bats at each other are philosophical revolutionaries?

Can you point out where I said that one of these two sides are "philosophical revolutionaries"? Did you accidentally get that from me saying that both sides are wrong and immoral?

2 minutes ago, New Buddha said:

Do you really believe that if you were to pull one of them aside, from each group, that they could provide you with an articulate, well-reasoned statement of their philosophical ideas?

Of course not.*

That does not make them equally immoral. Like I'd said, both Methodists and Jihadists are wrong and immoral in their religious beliefs. But they aren't immoral to the same degree.

_______________________________

*But then, I don't expect that many people could provide me with an "articulate, well-reasoned statement of their philosophical ideals." I guess it's worth asking: do you think that someone who cannot provide such an "articulate, well-reasoned statement" is 1) immoral, and 2) immoral to the degree of a neo-Nazi?

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33 minutes ago, DonAthos said:

That does not make them equally immoral. Like I'd said, both Methodists and Jihadists are wrong and immoral in their religious beliefs. But they aren't immoral to the same degree.

Comparing Methodists (or, more generally, the ideas of the Dissenting/Nonconformist/Puritan British Protestants that formed the U.S. - and whose ideas influenced Rand) with Jihadists is comparing apples to oranges.  The two sides of the conflict that took place in Charlottesville are apples and apples.  The philosophical ideas of the Left'ist Antifa and the Right'ist Fascists are both derived from Kant/Hegel.  They are, philosophically, "Opposite sides of the same fraudulent coin." 

Edited by New Buddha

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There's a meta aspect to this White Supremacist vs. BLM argument, which one sees repeatedly in similar fights across time and geography: Protestant vs. Catholic in Ireland, Hindu vs. Muslim along the Indo-Pakistan border, and many other such conflicts. The aspect is this: the more extreme elements are a small minority around which there is a larger set of people who identify with them to some extent. 

If one considers the larger group, people on both sides have different ideas, but would likely move closer toward each other's position if they would talk, would probably be willing to talk, and would likely be able to find a workable solution even while disagreeing. However, the extremes are the loudest voices, and this keeps the (larger) group around them polarized, rather than listening and attempting to understand the situation rationally. 

Often, there will be some specific issue that the larger groups disagree on: it could be confederacy statues in this case, it could be cows and pigs in another case, it could be religious affirmative action in another. The more extreme elements will take an all-or-nothing position, and that's the loudest position. If members of the larger group around them say anything else, they're branded as traitors to the cause.

On top of this, the extreme elements on both sides will try to provoke physical violations: perhaps using police to enforce what they want, perhaps using private thugs, or perhaps using violence against members of the "enemy" group. This is further polarizing. Once the battle reaches a certain point where people think dialog isn't going to get them anywhere -- because the opposition will use violence in response -- then they do the "rational thing" by cheering on when their own side uses violence.

From one perspective, white supremacists almost do not exist; from another, millions of white supremacists are out there. If we're speaking of people who want to get rid of blacks, they're a tiny minority. If we threw them all in jail, we'd still have disproportionately more black folk in jails. However, if we expand the definition to include people who think there's probably something biological/genetic about black people that makes them inferior, we now have a slightly bigger set. If we expand this further to include people who think there's probably something cultural about many black people that makes them inferior (in effect, even if not inevitably), then we have a pretty big set: many millions across all states.

Similarly, the set of people who think these statues should stay up is far larger than the racist hard-core. If nobody addresses their views and their arguments with words, it is no surprise they will give a secret, guilty thumbs up to the thugs enforcing their wishes with force. It is also no surprise that they will point to the thugs on the other side as their primary argument. 

Edited by softwareNerd

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9 hours ago, New Buddha said:

Comparing Methodists (or, more generally, the ideas of the Dissenting/Nonconformist/Puritan British Protestants that formed the U.S. - and whose ideas influenced Rand) with Jihadists is comparing apples to oranges.

No, my comparison is fine.

I mean, I'm willing to entertain an argument for just about anything... but that's what it requires: actual argumentation. Not mere assertion. Perhaps you wish to dismiss my comparison of Methodists to Jihadists because it does not suit your argument? I completely understand, if so. But you're wrong to do it, and sabotaging your own ability to understand my point.

Quote

The two sides of the conflict that took place in Charlottesville are apples and apples.  The philosophical ideas of the Left'ist Antifa and the Right'ist Fascists are both derived from Kant/Hegel.  They are, philosophically, "Opposite sides of the same fraudulent coin." 

You keep using that phrase, so I decided to cast around a moment. Perhaps it is easily accessible elsewhere, and you can direct me for the sake of context? But I found it referenced as an Ayn Rand quote by a reader of Dr. Hurd:

Quote

As Ayn Rand herself pointed out, “Liberals and Conservatives are opposite sides of the same fraudulent coin.”

Whatever that means in terms of evaluating their philosophical premises, you'll note that the majority of Dr. Hurd's response is directed towards why he believes that the current right is morally superior to the left. This, for instance, is his conclusion:

Quote

Although I can’t “side” with the Republicans, I cannot even think of supporting Democrats under these circumstances. The Republicans promise not to be evil, even though you can better believe they’ll stray from that if they win. The Democrats promise to be evil, and are evil in every single instance, at least every instance involving economic freedom/growth and national security. What choice does anyone have other than to oppose that?

He's comparing Republicans to Democrats and finds that -- at writing -- the Republicans are morally superior (if slightly) to the Democrats. He also references Rand supporting some candidate or another at various times. Because again, however we evaluate their philosophical premises in some abstracted sense, in reality we can (and must) also compare the degree to which they put those premises into action.

You tried to attack Eiuol earlier, suggesting that he might find Stalin morally superior to Hitler. Both men were so utterly evil that the idea of trying to assess their particular shade of black seems appropriately ridiculous. And yet, western countries did have to take sides, for a time. Actual calculations had to be made, in the real world. It's arguable that they were wrong to ally themselves with Stalin in any event, and certainly that argument was made at the time, too. It's also arguable that the war should have been continued after the fall of Germany and Japan, pressed on to Moscow -- and that argument was also made at the time.

But when we make decisions -- when we commit ourselves to actions, according to some ethics -- we must strive to do so in the fullest context we can, using as much information as possible. Whether we're assessing states like Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, or religious groups like Methodists and Jihadists, or political parties like the Republicans and Democrats, or political candidates within those parties, or groups like the KKK and Antifa, we cannot only look at their premises and say, "well, they're all irrational!" We also have to be able to assess the degree to which they act on their anti-life views, because if our decisions are meant to support our own lives, that matters. These groups are not all the same, morally speaking or in any other way. They are different and we must recognize those differences and act accordingly.

9 hours ago, 2046 said:

One thing is certain, don't let your kids or friends join these groups, and don't go to these protests. Just stay away.

I absolutely agree.

But may I explore this a bit more? When you say that you linked up with Antifa a bit, thinking that they might be onto something, my initial reaction is that you were quite foolish to do so. I don't need that kind of experience to learn what you now know... as thankful as I am that you survived it, grew from it, and are here reporting back. But I can also understand how you might be attracted to some of the causes you mention, "anti racism, anti sexism, anti bigotry" and -- above all -- "anti fascism." And I agree with you that these are best found, in reality, within Objectivism. It's not a mistake I would have made, but I can sympathize to some degree with your having made it.

However, my reaction would be quite different if you had said that you'd shaved your head and joined a group of neo-Nazis for a time, thinking that maybe they're onto something...

Edited by DonAthos

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