Saturday, 26 January 2019

The MAGA hat and the digital lynching of blameless boys

A student from Covington Catholic High School stands in front of Native American Vietnam veteran Nathan Phillips in Washington DC, 18 January 2019

I was completely baffled by the appalling treatment dished out, even by their Catholic bishop, to those admirable young men who marched against abortion recently at Washington D.C., because I didn't notice the MAGA hat that the allegedly smirking young man wore. For this he was accused of racism.

Actually it looked like a polite, nervous smile to me but it was directed at a tiresome American Indian who came up to him banging a drum.

On knowing further and better particulars the boys were largely cleared, even by liberals who had attacked them without pausing for evidence, except in the eyes of some very bigoted liberals.

Hatred is a grave sin, inhuman but part of human nature. We normally repress the urge to hate, but hatred is fun and we feel good hating people when we think it justified: hating people who torture animals and hating the few surviving Nazi concentration camp guards. For half of America, and most opinion formers, people wearing  MAGA hats are the moral equivalent of the latter.

America has been here before of course in the 1960s and early 1970s. But now the liberals are in power and anxious not to cede it.

Anti racists tend to hate just as pacifists are often full of anger.

Vegetarians are sometimes bloodthirsty and murderous. 

Conservatives rarely hate. Racists (there are lots in Romania) usually hate much less than anti racists hate them.

Anti-racists tend to hate fascists but, as Douglas Murray said, the supply of fascists falls far short of the demand. This is because fascism was defeated and became very unfashionable by 1945. 

Racists too are pretty few these days in the Western world and while plentiful are becoming rarer in Eastern Europe. I do not mean by racists people who dislike or regret immigration. I mean people who dislike other people because of their race.

Yes, Mr. Trump has deliberately created this atmosphere in which hatred flourishes, but morbid anti-racism and identity politics brought him to power and he greatly benefits from it. I hope he puts this anger that he has stirred up to productive purposes.

The treatment handed out by the American elite to the boys was very bad indeed and symptomatic of an elite with very false values but still I admire American politics for being so 18th century and vituperative. Much better that than consensual European politicians sitting in semi-circular chambers arguing over things already decided by panjandrums in the EU.

The Covington story is great fun, especially as the baddies had their fox shot. It might slightly impede the descent of America into unreason, when Donald Trump plays it for all it is worth.

But it's terribly depressing too.

I hate to speak ill of a Catholic bishop. Protestant bishops are fair game. But fun aside, the villains are the boys' school and their bishop. They had a duty of care to the boys and yet roundly attacked them, on no evidence but a photograph of a boy in a MAGA hat smiling at someone who wasn't white.  What betrayal.

One of the two bishops who condemned the boys without evidence finally yesterday made the boys an apology, but he still shamefully leaves me suspecting that he thinks that supporting Donald Trump is a sin. I wonder how many Americans and how many Americans in holy orders do think this. 

  1. The American Episcopalian Church has moved far to the left since the 1960s and so has the Catholic Church in America.


  1. That smile? That is the smile that white people use when accosted by latino, blacks sjw types. It means we're too polite to walk away from you. Pls go away.

  2. The Bishop has finally retracted his condemnation of the boys.

  3. You are baffled that the Catholic Church reflexively throws it’s own people under the bus in its willingness bow down before the crazed anti-American mob? I’m not. That’s exactly the feeble unprincipled behaviour you always get from Christians.

    “Hatred is a grave, ugly sin, inhuman but part of human nature.”

    Inhuman but part of human nature. Can’t you see what a moronic contradiction that is? What is inhuman are the dogmas of the cult to which you belong and which has partly lobotomised the reasoning part if your brain.

    The rational, philisophical man:

    “Baseless hate, is destructive but legitimate hate is good and useful. Everything in moderation, everything in its proper context.”

    The Christian idiot:

    “Hate is wrongthink. Wrongthink is sin! I know cus it’s here written in muh baabble.”

    1. Anger can be justified but not hatred.

    2. You have no evidence for that statement. Hate is not some useless organ like the appendix. It’s exists for a reason. It’s necessary for aggression which is necessary for survival. If your ancestors couldn’t hate then you wouldn’t exist now.

      What cannot be justified is Christianity which is simply an organised delusion. So whereas there’s evidence that hate is a necessary and functional drive there’s no evidence that the Christian God you believe in exists or that even Jesus was a historical figure. So just as you cannot say that fairies at the bottom of your garden say that eating carbs is unjustified you are unable to say that hate is unjustified.

    3. You can fight wars without hatred and without cruelty.

    4. You provide no evidence that hatred of what is harmful or hatred of an enemy in a war, or those trying to kill you and your family is a handicap. It’s like saying an artist can create a beautiful sculpture without having pride in it. The question is why shouldn’t he have pride in it if it’s a good sculpture? To this you have no answer.

      All you are saying is that men claiming to speak for your imaginary father wrote somewhere once that it was a “sin”. Just like authors unknown invented Adam and Eve’s “sin” of desiring knowledge rather than ignorance.

      Why then did God make you with this involuntary emotions like curiosity and hatred? Why didn’t he just make you with the ability not to crime-think? Honestly ask yourself these questions and your religious delusion will fizzle away.

    5. What Christians and Jews call sins can be understood as psychological issues. Gluttony, pride, hatred, lust, vanity. Condemning these things is an attempt to offer teaching about how to live in a psychologically healthy way.
      Why are you so in favour of hatred?

    6. Your question is nonsensical like “why are you so in favour of love?”. Moderation in all things. Context in all things. That's Greek advice for your personal life. It’s solid and it works. Some anount of greed is necessary. Some amount of love and lust is necessary. There is no need to be a libertine or a prude. Lust in its proper place is absolutely fine. Some amount of pride and vanity is good. That’s how men who think for themselves, think. You don't need the drama-queenery that Christianity offers. Blind hate like blind love (which Christianity teaches) is destructive. Hate and love in their proper context are not.

      You provide no reason for why hating someone who has raped and murdered your daughter is harmful. The opposite would be psychologically unhealthy and maladaptive in evolutionary terms since you would not be motivated enough to kill those who are destroying your offspring. Therefore your genetic line would go extinct. Loving your enemy = death. So your cult’s teachings are bogus.

      You believe hate is some emotional appendix but are unable to justify this without appealing to religious dogma. Christianity has the effect of making one a permanent mental child, always appealing to some nonexistent parent for your moral guide, rather than your reasoning mind


    Jessica Valenti

    Verified account

    Jan 20

    I honestly haven't stopped thinking about that MAGA kid all day - in part because I think so many of us have been on the receiving end of the face he was making: a smug, untouchable, entitled 'fuck you'.

    1,588 replies 1,134 retweets 8,423 likes
    Reply 1.6K Retweet 1.1K Like 8.4K

    Jessica Valenti

    Verified account

    Jan 20

    And let's please not forget that this group of teens who crowded around to mock & harass Nathan Phillips were there for the March for Life: There is an inextricable link between control over women's bodies, white supremacy & young white male entitlement.


  5. An academic historian who specializes in the Middle Ages (particularly in Jewish studies) writes to me about the Covington Catholic incident:

    The dynamics involved here remind me of some aspects of medieval anti-Jewish violence, which is something I know quite a bit about: “You are a member of a group that has nothing but contempt for everything our community believes in, you mock our creed, you desecrate things that make our lives meaningful. Your ancestors committed horrible crimes against our community and you, simply by virtue of being who you are, show that you are unwilling to dissociate themselves from their hatred. Your obstinacy is a proof that you are incapable of transformation. Hence, even your appearance, your facial expressions, expose your guilt. You might not have committed the horrible crimes we accuse you of, maybe there is even evidence you did not — but that is not the point. Your guilt make sense, oh such perfect sense. You must be guilty, because that is the nature of the universe we live in.”

    I hate it when people are being anachronistic. Of course there are differences between the two phenomena. We don’t see medieval mechanisms of group separation and systematic persecution (and I don’t think we will). But that does not make the parallels in dynamic less scary, less threatening.

    I think people (more clever people than I am) should give some thought to the structural parallels between the theological/teleological relationship of Judaism and Christianity on the one hand and of Christianity and post-modern liberalism on the other (maybe they have and I am just ignorant). The latter is born out of the former, supersedes it, casts away the old yoke, liberates the believer — but the supersessionist dynamic also creates a specific form of intolerance. Seeing the parallel between the two also helps to understand the liberal motivations much better.

    Taking the analogy even further in time: are we going to see further splits, a confessionalization of post-modern liberalism?

    That’s a great insight. In his great short book How Societies Remember, the social anthropologist Paul Connerton discusses how new social regimes make it their business to wipe out what came before it. This is a matter of effective social psychology. It’s why the Christians destroyed pagan shrines. It’s why the conquering Muslims did the same to non-Muslim sites. It’s why the first Protestants desecrated Catholic churches, and why the French revolutionaries (and all subsequent anticlericals) did the same. Whatever their stated rationale, when a new social order has been announced, its instantiation (we believe) requires tangible signs of defeat of the old. Writes Connerton, “To pass judgement on the practices of the old regime is the constitutive act of the new order.”

    Rod Dreher

  6. "Faith is always at a disadvantage; it is a perpetually defeated thing which survives all of its conquerors," G. K. Chesterton.

    "The world left to itself grows wilder than any creed. ...That is the only real question -- whether the Church is really madder than the world. Let the rationalists run their own race, and let us see where they end. If the world has some healthy balance other than God, let the world find it. Does the world find it? Cut the world loose; does the world stand on its own end? Does it stand, or does it stagger?" The Ball and the Cross, GKC

    1. A Christian is a man who’s afraid to laugh at what's stupid. Chesterton was a Christian who spent his life defending it. His mind was as flabby as his gut.

    2. Says some anonymous guy named Alan... remind us all of your literary accomplishments again mystery Alan?

      Ignore WHO made the quotes for a minute, anonymous guy, and refute his statements instead.

    3. “Faith is always at a disadvantage; it is a perpetually defeated thing which survives all of its conquerors,"

      But what does that say except that most people prefer fantasy to reality? Drink, drugs and religious delusion are popular escapes from reality.

      Simpletons love religion because there’s no end of debating it. Your god may be completely invisible and ineffectual but he can't be proved wrong as with maths or something real. Just like there’s never going to be a way to prove that there isn’t a piece of cheese at the centre of our universe.

      What is faith? Faith is the word someone uses when he doesn’t have enough evidence to justify holding a belief but he just goes ahead and believes it anyway.

      It’s pretending to know things you don’t know. Make believing.

      Force and make believe.

      “Make-believe is always at a disadvantage; it is a perpetually defeated thing which survives all of its conquerors,"

    4. “The world left to itself grows wilder than any creed. ...That is the only real question -- whether the Church is really madder than the world. Let the rationalists run their own race, and let us see where they end. If the world has some healthy balance other than God, let the world find it. Does the world find it? Cut the world loose; does the world stand on its own end? Does it stand, or does it stagger?" The Ball and the Cross, GKC

      The “world” left to itself is wilder than any creed? Like to know world he is describing which has been cut loose from religious delusion. It’s not this one clearly.

    5. Still no reply from newguy40 I see.

      Funny whenever Christians are called upon to defend “faith” 9 out of 10 of them conveniently disappear. Every last one of you Christian make-believers know your espistemology is indefensible.

  7. Having grown up in Los Angeles and spent my teen years exploring that fabled city of broken dreams on foot and by bus I can affirm that in the 70s there was a weirdo on every street corner, on nearly all the buses I took. They came in all colours, sexes, ages. Needless to say Jesus, Thor or Marilyn always approached me with their unconvincing claim and subsequent garbled account of their lives. It is safe to say that my expression whilst listening to Jesus recount his last supper was not dissimilar to that of Nick Sandmann with a banging drum in his face. American teenagers in.big cities have a built-in defence mechanism when it comes to dealing with the inevitable freaks and chanting Hare Krishnas who inhabit those urban jungles. And any guy, no matter his race or social station would be regarded as,a weirdo if he approached a total stranger and banged a drum in his face whilst chanting.

  8. I support the right of teenagers not to be harassed by racist religious freaks and an annoying activist banging a drum in their personal space.

  9. 'Yes, Mr. Trump has deliberately created this atmosphere in which hatred flourishes, but morbid anti-racism and identity politics brought him to power and he greatly benefits from it. I hope he puts this anger that he has stirred up to productive purposes.'
    Hmm... having lived through the Obama years in the US, I would say that the escalation of identity hatred has been accomplished under Obama; Trump only inherited this cancer. Most hatred, as illustrated by the incident comes from the other side, and it has been brought to life by Obama's tenure.
    Yes, Trump may be incapable to squelch it, but in fairness, who can. This is a monster that has no end, but eating itself up.