Saturday, November 29, 2014

The American Nazi Partywants socialism

As someone with the opinion that the evidence clearly shows that the Nazis were indeed socialists in thought and pracitse, I've often wondered if their silly cousins in the American Nazi Party are also socialists.

Having stumbled across an unintentionally funny Twitter post from the American Nazi Party, I've spent a little bit of time looking over their blog and Twitter feed and it's pretty clear they are rabid anti-capitalists who want a smothering nanny state. It's possible that they may not see that as a direct form of socialism, where the workers control the means of production, but it's indecipherable from the far left today.

For example, look at these ramblings from the blog:

The USA has the most billionaires in the world. How much is enough? Why do people need billions of dollars, rather then mere millions? There is so much want, in this country, and so many who have nothing. To allow this kind of situation, shows this country's value system is messed up, to say the least. 
The USA is number one in corporate profits. A corporation is an organization, not a human being. They get "rights" by law. Yet their purpose is to make profits, NOT help people or end misery. Giving carte blanche to corporate entities is just asking for trouble. Which in time comes, as witness the Great Depression/Great Recession. 
The USA is number one when it comes to CEO salaries. The Great Recession, showed this group of people make unholy amounts of money, and in many cases, it was wholly undeserved as their job performance wasn't just subpar, but downright horrendous. Again, how much is enough? I don't think anyone deserves to be paid a king's ransom as a salary, no matter how great a job they do.

It goes on and on, and every word of it is indistinguishable from an Occupy Wall Street protest flyer. That is, until capitalism comes up and Judaism is tacked onto it.

People constantly ask why National Socialism opposes Judeo-Capitalism. Good question. The Jews are smart. This intelligence is used to raise their lot in life. A normal practice. Unfortunately, they get too powerful, and end up with undue influence.

Calling capitalism a Jewish institution was a Nazi talking point as well, for what it's worth.

I understand fulling that the American Nazi Party is merely an interpretation of the Third Reich, and it's possible that their beliefs could have diverged on some issues. This isn't a slam dunk for the debate over how socialist the Nazis were, but it does answer my question as to how socialist the American clubhouse is.


Thursday, November 27, 2014

Just a matter of time until someone upped the ante

In case you thought affirmative consent was the end of watering down the definition of rape, a New Jersey lawmaker has submitted a bill that would count sex as rape if one partner lied to the other one to get them in bed.

Please note this is a single bill submitted by a single state representative in New Jersey. There is no reason to assume it has support from any group, and even unthinking feminist reactionaries like Amanda Marcotte have spoken against it.

However, I still have a feeling this will come up again and it needs to be addressed. Over at his Simple Justice blog, Scott H. Greenfield discusses the problematic nature of this approach:

Consider the potential universe of actionable lies that would invalidate consent, and give rise to rape: 
I love you. 
Push-up bras. 
I work for the CIA. 
Your eyes are like pearls gleaming in the moonlight. 
I’m on the pill. 
I was checked for STDs and I’m clean. 
Well, you get the idea. Our world is replete with lies, some small and some not so small. Would the potential for absurdity be salvaged by the maxim, de minimis non curat lex? Care to bet your freedom on what some prosecutor or judge thinks is de minimis? But the exercise of prosecutorial discretion will spare us from such ridiculous extremes? Experience has proven otherwise. Worse still, experience has proven that laws open to abuse will be deliberately used to get a person the government believes “needs getting,” and a law like this is ripe for abuse.

From my own experience, I had an ex inform me (but to my knowledge she never went to the police) that I was a rapist because I went to bed with her two weeks before I broke up with her and failed to inform her that I had my doubts about the future of the relationship.

Just as my issue with consent in general, the law takes a real issue - scumbag liars who trick people into having sex with them - and responds by nuking the planet from orbit. Something can be wrong, shameful and immoral without being illegal as well.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Ferguson reminders

Following the grand jury decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson for the shooting of Michael Brown, and the subsequent riots, I ask people to keep the following things in mind:

The rioters and looters do not speak for all Ferguson protesters, and likewise, criticism of rioters and looters is not criticism of all protesters.

Violence and property damage is not a legitimate response to a judicial decision.

The grand jury was presented with more evidence than you were.

But all that evidence is now available to the public. If you insist on having an opinion on this subject, read in its entirety, or read several summaries of it from neutral and opposing ideological positions.

The riots were not a conspiracy orchestrated by the government.

President Obama and Eric Holder pleaded with people not to riot. Let that sink in.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Dystopian bias

Writing for The Guardian about modern young adult dystopian novels, Ewan Morrison complains kids are being exposed to right-wing propaganda when really, they should be exposed to left-wing propaganda.

You might say, wait, they're all about freedom and truth and oppressive societies, but the kind of freedom that's being advocated in The Hunger Games and Divergent is, as Salon magazine recently pointed out, more like "agit-prop for capitalism". 
What marks these dystopias out from previous ones is that, almost without exception, the bad guys are not the corporations but the state and those well-meaning liberal leftists who want to make the world a better place. Books such as The Giver, Divergent and the Hunger Games trilogy are, whether intentionally or not, substantial attacks on many of the foundational projects and aims of the left: big government, the welfare state, progress, social planning and equality.

See what I mean? Morrison gives a cherry-picked history of dystopian novels to try to present them as being woven with left-wing messages, focusing on The Handmaid's Tale and some of the work of Philip K. Dick.

The science fiction of William Gibson was also championed by the Marxist critic Fredric Jameson. In this period the capitalist dystopia was a respected left wing "cultural strategy" and its dominance endured till around 1993 which, coincidentally or not, was the time of the fall of the old left and the rise of neoliberalism.

Please note that his examples are fiction, not young adult fiction. Also note his open support for a propagandist "cultural strategy" to encourage political ideas through works of fiction.

What Morrison left out is the long history of dystopian novels that take place in left-wing societies, including socialist ones. There are the major two dystopian novels of the 20th century, 1984 and Brave New World. There's also the trailblazing We, Kurt Vonnegut's Harrison Bergeron and some of the work of Philip K. Dick.

Face it, there have always been dystopian novels about overarching left-wing governments. Plus, any argument that gives a poing credit for being published by is setting itself up for failure.

Check out the creepy way he starts his concluding parapgrah:

If you see yourself as a left-leaning progressive parent, you might want to exercise some of that oppressive parental control and limit your kids exposure to the "freedom" expressed in YA dystopian fiction.

Spoken like a true hack. Ewan Morrison only hates propaganda when it gores his ox.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Everyone gets death threats online: Bill Cosby edition

In September I warned the human race that the Internet is a place where casual, death threats happen to everyone, and that someone who receives them has not been vindicated or elevated. Online threats are a bad thing, but they are a near-universal bad thing and they don't "prove" who is on the right side of an argument.

But foolishly, many of you didn't listen and just went about your lives. Students continued to attend classed, fishmongers still went about hawking their wares and silly blogger kept trying to conjure up outrage posts by dredging the Internet for death threats.

Enter Gawker media's Jezebel blog.

The writer decided to present Rose Eveleth as a victim for the backlash she received for a series of Tweets she made criticizing scientist Matt Taylor's glossy pin-up girl shirt that he wore in an interview. But, despite the headline and lede paragraph claiming Eveleth received death threats, the only examples the writer could cobble together that made any reference to death were "Please kill yourself" and a "Jump off a cliff. Please", which was directed at one of her supporters and Eveleth was merely tagged in it.

The rest of the people named-and-shamed were critics. Some of their remarks were rude and uncalled for, but not threatening. Others were downright meek, such as "Why are you objectifying a man by basing your opinion solely on his appearance, and not his contribution to society?" and it is "just a shirt, mi lady". Also note that not one example came from the same day as the original remarks: The writer had to dredge through a lot of posts to find these.

I wanted to show you how useless this type of argument is, so I collected Twitter remarks with threats against Bill Cosby, who has been accused of rape in the media but has not been charged with any crime. Here's a few I found:

We've seen plenty of viral posts where people did this, such as as saying a major earthquake in Japan was justice for Pearl Harbor. All they really prove is that there are indeed some stupid people online. Please note that my Cosby image, and the Pearl Harbor one, has emboldened key words. That reveals that I had to use the search tool to find them using combinations like "Kill Cosby" and "Stab Cosby." This implies that view isn't mainstream, but is something someone has to go out of their way to find.

Under Kevin Drum's Law, that means we are essentially disproving our own position when we have to idiot hunt examples. When I searched for "Kill Cosby" most of the results were Cosby defenders saying the stress will kill him, and a few others predicted he would die from suicide. I had to search a lot to find my five examples, and "shoot Cosby" failed to return any legitimate examples.

It's clear that there is no real trend where Bill Cosby is receiving death threats, but if someone wants to play the death threat victim game, they will have to add Bill Cosby to the roster of cherished snowflakes deserving of our support because of what people wrote online.


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Legislative noisemakers can never be satisfied

Some protesters like to go to house and senate sessions to make a ruckus, either to draw attention to their cause or to make it impossible for the elected officials to vote. I find them obnoxious in all contexts, but this new one on the Keystone Pipeline has me confused.

The American Indian singing and childish chanting were from people who approved of the vote, so why make a negative spectacle and force Elizabeth Warren to get you ejected? Did they think the pipeline was going to pass so they prepared sore loser antics, but loved them so much that they didn't want them to go to waste? This is like sports fans rioting whether their team wins or loses.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

George McGovern's brush with regulation

Do yourself a favor and read Marc Andreessen's excellent interview with New York Magazine. That's excellent in term of the answers, not the questions per se, which got rather tedious and were bogged down with Rousseaun opinionated counters.

The Netscape co-founder turned venture capitalist mentioned a decades-old Wall Street Journal piece written by former Democrat congressman George McGovern that is worth reading. Andressen's summary is more pointed and straightforward than the actual piece, so first here's his summary:

In 1992 he wrote a column for The Wall Street Journal which told the story of his life after he left politics, when he bought an inn in Connecticut. And he said, “Oh my God, I didn’t realize.” And the “Oh my God, I didn’t realize” was: I did not realize what a layered impact 50 or 100 years of regulations and laws applied on small-­business owners actually meant.

The article is still available online. Here's a snippet:

My own business perspective has been limited to that small hotel and restaurant in Stratford, Conn., with an especially difficult lease and a severe recession. But my business associates and I also lived with federal, state and local rules that were all passed with the objective of helping employees, protecting the environment, raising tax dollars for schools, protecting our customers from fire hazards, etc. While I never have doubted the worthiness of any of these goals, the concept that most often eludes legislators is: "Can we make consumers pay the higher prices for the increased operating costs that accompany public regulation and government reporting requirements with reams of red tape." It is a simple concern that is nonetheless often ignored by legislators...

Today, despite bankruptcy, we are still dealing with litigation from individuals who fell in or near our restaurant. Despite these injuries, not every misstep is the fault of someone else. Not every such incident should be viewed as a lawsuit instead of an unfortunate accident. And while the business owner may prevail in the end, the endless exposure to frivolous claims and high legal fees is frightening.

Our Connecticut hotel, along with many others, went bankrupt for a variety of reasons, the general economy in the Northeast being a significant cause. But that reason masks the variety of other challenges we faced that drive operating costs and financing charges beyond what a small business can handle.

There's always a market for political traitors, people who fought for years for one side and then lamented it all. Lee Atwater comes to mind, as does Alan Greenspan. Keep in mind, McGovern, Atwater and Greenspan did not shift entirely to the other party, but did provide their opposition ammunition to pound one issue that they had worked for.


Saturday, November 15, 2014

Looks like the Satanists won

I've been trying to figure out exactly what the Satanic Temple is, and as far as I can tell it started from left-wing atheists who donned the mantle of a fictional Satanic church to push Christian displays out of government buildings and public institutions, but its members stay in character and won't admit it is satire. To complicate it further, the organization has attracted real satanists, who were allowed to join.

Village Voice writer Anna Merlan did a great investigation on the organization. She reveals that the group started as a film project where actors pretending to be satanists gave a public demonstration in January 2013 to thank Florida Governor Rick Scott for allowing students to lead prayers in school assemblies. This idea was to make christians wince and realize it opened the door for satanic prayers as well.

This May the group unveiled a statue of a goat-headed figure it threatened to install in the Oklahoma Statehouse to accompany a Ten Commandments sculpture. Satanic Temple spokesman Doug Mesner, under the assumed name of Lucien Greaves, said they didn't really want to put it there, but if there's going to be a Christian statue than the law demands all religions be able to place their own statue there.

Get it? They are forcing Christian lawmakers to chose between having Satanic images in public, or banning all religious displays.

So enter a school district in Florida that allowed people to pass out Bible. The Satanic Temple created a coloring book to pass out in the same school district, and Mesner/Greaves spelled out their motivation clearly in a press release.

We would never seek to establish a precedent of disseminating our religious materials in public schools because we believe our constitutional values are better served by respecting a strong separation of Church and State. However, if a public school board is going to allow religious pamphlets and full Bibles to be distributed to students – as is the case in Orange County, Florida – we think the responsible thing to do is to ensure that these students are given access to a variety of differing religious opinions, as opposed to standing idly by while one religious voice dominates the discourse and delivers propaganda to our youth.

Well, the school board just caved and declared that they won't let anyone on campus to distribute religious materials. I do have to hand it to them, the Satanic Temple set it up so they win either way. If they get to install their religious statue or pass out satanic coloring books, christians who support the Ten Commandment sculpture or Bible  distribution will be exposed as hypocrites and forced to comply by a court. Their only alternative is to prevent the religious materials altogether, like the Florida school district just did.

I think their parody church is being dishonest when they deny being a farce and feign sincerity as a secular satanist group, but then again, they pretty much have to. If they revealed that they are only pretending to be Satanists, opponents could use that against them when they try to pull their next stunt and argue that they aren't espousing actual religious views.


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Bernie Sanders logic

Here's a real argument Vermont's socialist U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders is making. See if you can follow along with his creative interpretation of logic. From his official Facebook page.

If you're not able to view the imagine, it reads:

Here is the defnition of greed: The Koch brothers - worth $85 billion - now want the Republican candidates they funded to cut Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and nutrition programs.

I wasn't sure where he was getting these specific claims that the Koch brothers want to cut Medicare in particular. I couldn't see a confirming link anywhere, but looking through other statements from Sanders turned up a similar social media graphic created by Sanders' office: It read:

Want to know why the Koch brothers are spending hundreds of millions to elect right-wing candidates? Read David Koch's 1980 Libeterarian Party platform. It calls for the elimination of of Social Security Medicare, Medicaid, public eduation and the EPA. Surprise, it also calls for more tax breaks for the rich

There are more related images made by his office to share on social media from his office, but you get the idea. In addition, his official website has a post on this topic detailing his position. Sanders' basic argument is that in 1980 the Libertarian Party as a whole drafted a set of policy positions and chose David Koch as their vice-president candidate, so he much agree with each and everyone one of those views 34 years later, and by extension, so must his older brother.

If that were true, that we should assume all people never change their political views over the course of several decades and political candidates agree 100 percent with their party's stated platforms, than how does he explain his separation Liberty Union Party? That is the Vermont socialist anti-war party Sanders belonged to when he ran for governor in 1976 and in several other elections.

Today members of that part consider Sanders a traitor to their views and refer to him as Bernie the Bomber for his votes to mobilizing the American military on multiple occasion. Clearly, he has changed some of his positions over time and is not in tune with his party's old platform. Fair enough, but why does he wants us to think that David Koch can't change his mind too?


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Being a contrarian conscious consummer

Today I was about to by some roasted red pepper hummus at the grocery story. There were four different brands and for the first time I spotted a little voluntary label on the front of the container from my normal brand, boasting that the contents did not contain any genetically-modified ingredients.

I am a steadfast supporter of GMO technology. The basic idea is that human beings can use science to improve the foods we eat instead of blindly following what nature has provided us. Opposition to GMO's is a hysterical pseuoscientific cultlike movment akin to creationism and alternative medicine. The anti-GMO crowd is the left wing equivalent of global warming denialists.

Suddenly, I didn't want to buy that brand of hummus anymore. It's not that it's dangerous or unhealthy to eat foods that lack genetic modification, but that I was concerned about the message I would be sending as a consumer. I pictured a marketing team combing through sales data and trying to figure out if the GMO-free label brought in more sales.

Sadly, I imagine it does. Looking through the display, I could only find one brand of hummus that didn't declare itself to be GMO-free, and that was Sabra.

Sabra was a little cheaper than the other brands, which could mean it's by a lower-quality product. It could also mean the company isn't wasting money on overpriced organic, GMO-free ingredients, so that issue was a wash.

What did stay my hand was that there were no roasted red pepper containers from Sabra, while the other brands still had them in stock. I contemplated buying one of of the GMO-free brands to get my preferred flavor, but opted not to. I didn't want any market researchers to falsely conclude that I was encourage to buy their product because of the GMO-free label.

I ended up buying Sabra's roasted pine nut hummus instead. I wasn't sure what pine nuts tasted like, but it turned out to be superb.

So tell me, doesn't that make me an ethical consumer? Usually, that label refers to people who buy products with flower power mission statements, such as Seventh Generation Dish Detergent, but why shouldn't the same logic apply to the other end of the spectrum?

For years I've boycotted organic products. That's because organic food production is wasteful, cruel to animals, environmentally damaging and provides no health benefits. That is to say, I consider it entirely unethical to give my money to organic companies and farmers. The higher prices organic merchants charge are just the whip cream on the sundae.

Being a contrarian doesn't mean one lacks principals, it just means that they have a different perspective. I can't see any reason that the banner of "ethical consumers" shouldn't include contrarians like me who oppose the very products mainstream ethical consumers champion.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Steven Pinker on free speech

Last month I made myself a hot fudge sundae. The fudge was legitimately hot, the whip cream was homemade and there were broken candy bar pieces to mix in.

In a similar triple-enjoyment experience, this week a video was released showing Steven Pinker talk about free speech for the 15th Anniversary of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. Just like the sundae, each of those three things was a winner on its own, but when combined made someone exponentially more tempting.

Not to give away the ending, but this section really resonated with me:

On top of this knowledge, a liberal education should make certain habits of rationality second nature. Educated people should be able to express complex ideas in clear writing and speech. They should appreciate that objective knowledge is a precious commodity, and know how to distinguish vetted fact from superstition, rumor, and unexamined conventional wisdom. They should know how to reason logically and statistically, avoiding the fallacies and biases to which the untutored human mind is vulnerable. They should think causally rather than magically, and know what it takes to distinguish causation from correlation and coincidence. They should be acutely aware of human fallibility, most notably their own, and appreciate that people who disagree with them are not necessarily stupid or evil. Accordingly, they should appreciate the value of trying to change minds by persuasion rather than intimidation or demagoguery.

Absolutely brilliant. The people we disagree with and the people we love and respect can indeed be the same people.


Friday, November 7, 2014

Announced minutiae is not sexy

When I was a kid I was occasionally targeted by various national campaigns intended to encourage high school graduation percentages and educational engagement. A lot of them incorporated the hackneyed rhyming phrase "School is cool" which was always, always presented in a manner incompatible with actual coolness.

Did they think if they said it enough times it would become true? Was the person who invented the phrase told that they had done something honest, profound and effective? Did anyone ever believe it?

In a parallel campaign, college feminists push the phrase "Consent is sexy" by which they mean asking verbal permission and meeting a specific set of standards dictated by a third party makes a sexual encounter hotter. Even social justice warriors don't buy that claim.

Without a hint of irony or self-awareness, the patronizing "Feminism for Bros" YouTube series showed just how incredibly un-sexy it is to ask for verbal permission before every step during a sexual encounter, including mood-killers like "Can I kiss you" and crawling escalations like "Can I kiss your neck."

Conversation during a sexual encounter can be a great thing and when done right, will enhance the mood and build trust. However, mandatory formalities and announcing every tiny thing you do before it happens are not stimulating and it shows a complete lack of trust and intimacy.

See the video for yourself but be warned, your resulting nausea will be more arousing than anything you're about to see.

The flashing messages at the end are right out of 1984. Imagine if Orwell had opened with "War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength, Consent is Sexy."


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Election results summarized with two headlines

Today at work these two headlines came up back-to-back on a Google search. Democratic Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick, who did not seek re-election and steps down in January, did a nice job of summarizing yesterday's election through these two remarks quoted in MassLive headlines:

January 3:

Gov. Deval Patrick rallies Democrats for Martha Coakley: 'I feel like kicking a little Republican ass'

January 5:

Gov. Deval Patrick: 'We stand ready to help with a smooth transition'

See yeah later Deval.

Monday, November 3, 2014

It's good to be friends with political rivals

Stanford Political Science professor Shanto Iyengar is the lead author of several recent papers on "partyism," where people feel hostility towards members of rival political parties and respond with blind prejudice. 

For example, one study gave subjects a pile of resumes of high school students and asked them to choose the most qualified candidate. The resumes contained demographic clues, like claiming the applicant was a member of a black student group or a young Republicans group. Cass Sunstein summed up the results:

Race mattered. African-American participants preferred the African-American candidates 73 percent to 27 percent. Whites showed a modest preference for African-American candidates, as well, though by a significantly smaller margin. But partisanship made a much bigger difference. Both Democrats and Republicans selected their in-party candidate about 80 percent of the time. 
Even when a candidate from the opposing party had better credentials, most people chose the candidate from their own party. With respect to race, in contrast, merit prevailed.

And that's just one of the studies. Most observers saw these results as a significant problem, including Iyengar and his varied co-authors, because not only are people experiencing discrimination in their professional lives, but their social lives are being cheapened. With that second issue in mind, David Brooks wrote:

Most of the time, politics is a battle between competing interests or an attempt to balance partial truths. But in this fervent state, it turns into a Manichaean struggle of light and darkness. To compromise is to betray your very identity. When schools, community groups and workplaces get defined by political membership, when speakers get disinvited from campus because they are beyond the pale, then every community gets dumber because they can’t reap the benefits of diverging viewpoints and competing thought. 
This mentality also ruins human interaction. There is a tremendous variety of human beings within each political party. To judge human beings on political labels is to deny and ignore what is most important about them. It is to profoundly devalue them. That is the core sin of prejudice, whether it is racism or partyism.
However, Jenée Desmond-Harris of the left-wing explainer site saw the social discrimination aspect as acceptable, and in some cases preferrable. After she explained that yes, job political discrimination is a real and illogical problem, she defended political self-segregation.

Why would it be surprising that people "across party lines" would steer clear of each other in their personal lives? Who wants to sit across the dinner table from a person whose views about the issues of the day (like whether gay people should be allowed to get married, or what should happen to the immigrant children at the border, or whether the racism that justified the Voting Rights Act still exists) are, to them, incomprehensible, illogical, or morally bankrupt? 
Yes, it's healthy and intellectually important to understand all sides of an argument. But that doesn't mean you need to marry the other side of the argument. Or even force yourself to think warm and fuzzy thoughts about the person delivering the other side of the argument. Right or wrong, these beliefs are often core to who people are, or at least who they think themselves to be. It is not so strange that they would want a partner and friends who match them. 
...If we're now judging people more for their politics more than their race, then it means we're finally starting to understand what matters. Good for us.

She added that cries to increase collegiality with members of rival political parties is not a valid goal for the general public.

While I can certainly understand wanting to marry someone with similar views and values, she went overboard several times in her response and seems comfortable living in a world that is completely segregated along political lines. Why would we need to "force" ourselves to feel warm thoughts for someone who disagrees with our views on the income tax structure? Why should we let our view on the optimal energy source determine who we invite for an evening of Settlers of Catan?

I feel that Desmond-Harris just doesn't get it. This isn't just about having fun with one group over another; it's about blind, unjustified hatred, and I don't use the word "hatred" lightly here. Cass Sunstein, whom I've long respected despite working for my rival political party, summed up an extremely disturbing finding:

In 1960, 5 percent of Republicans and 4 percent of Democrats said that they would feel “displeased” if their son or daughter married outside their political party. By 2010, those numbers had reached 49 percent and 33 percent. Republicans have been found to like Democrats less than they like people on welfare or gays and lesbians. Democrats dislike Republicans more than they dislike big business.

This is far beyond simply preferring to spend ones own time with people who have similar views. It's an ugly prejudice, and stopping it needs to be a high priority.


Saturday, November 1, 2014

Bill Maher's natural experiment in hypersensitivty

Following good advice from Ken White, I try to avoid categorical thinking and tribalism, such as concluding that my intellectual and political opponents are guilty of more bad behavior than "my side," as it's very natural for people to wrongly make that assumption. He's right, and this post is not absolute proof of that effect.

But as an anecdote, it sure does raise eyebrows.

Bill Maher likes to say what he really believes, and last week he insulted the rabid fanatics who are dominating the discussion of the Michael Brown case. He called out people from both sides who are leaping to conclusions that compliment their own world views. In particular, he said:

You know what else I find disturbing is that everybody in America just sides with their own people and doesn’t look at the facts… The cops,I saw on the news a couple of weeks ago,were wearing bracelets or something that said, “I am Darren Wilson.”Why do you want to throw your lot in with this plain murderer? 
And Michael Brown’s people. I’m sorry, but Michael Brown’s people say he is a gentle giant. Well, we saw that video when he was in that 7-11. No, he wasn’t a gentle. He was committing a robbery and he pushed that guy. He was acting like a thug, not a gentle giant. He certainly didn’t deserve to be shot for it.

Notice that Bill Maher is reaching conclusions about an ongoing investigation and declaring that police officer Darren Wilson was not justified in the shooting, as opposed to my stance to withhold judgment until the trial is conducted and all the facts are presented. Still, he did cast a pox on both sides.

So which side had more freak-outs and calls for his head? The left, which was initially invested in presenting Brown as a law-abiding citizen. As Maher said, his crimes did not warrant a street execution, but that didn't stop the angry essays and calls for boycotts from the left.

I am not merely idiot hunting this and saying a few people on social media represent all of the left, like some critics have done. In fact, the majority of the left have said nothing about this issue, and it's important to separate the leftwing criticisms of Maher for the Michael Brown remarks and criticism of his recent remarks on violent Islamic extremists.

My point is not that the left as a whole has reacted foolishly to this, but that this anecdote brought out more hypersensitivity from the left than the right in this single case. It's not definitive, but it's not nothing.