Moore: Most White People Are “Not Good People” And Are Dangerous If Encountered On The Street

Filmmaker Michael Moore recently showed how polarizing our national dialogue has become over race. Moore declared that the vast majority of whites in this country “are not good people” and that others should “be afraid” of them in an interview on The Rolling Stone podcast “Useful Idiot.”

Moore’s rant itself would seem the very definition of racism. His view of the danger presented by white people appears entirely due to the fact that many voted for President Donald Trump:

“I refuse to participate in post-racial America. I refuse to say because we elected Obama that suddenly that means everything is okay, white people have changed. White people have not changed. Two-thirds of all white guys voted for Trump. That means anytime you see three white guys walking at you, down the street toward you, two of them voted for Trump. You need to move over to the other sidewalk because these are not good people that are walking toward you. You should be afraid of them.”

There are apparently a minority of white who are not raging racists who present imminent threats of physical harm. Those are whites “like him.” He noted that one of the three white people in his hypothetical group are like him and voted against Trump. He then added “We’re traitors to our race, that’s how they see us.”

Actually, most would view Moore as simply a racist as opposed to a traitor to race. Yet, Moore’s comments have not been denounced by The Rolling Stone or the media as racist. They are still part of the mainstream dialogue because they are directed at Trump supporters — much like Chuck Todd’s recent comments about Trump supporters wanting to be lied to are considered perfectly appropriate for a journalist.

Like Moore, I voted against Trump in 2016 but I find Moore’s comments deeply offensive and troubling. It is part of a view of roughly half of this country as simply borderline psychotic racists that someone has become a casual talking point in our media.

339 thoughts on “Moore: Most White People Are “Not Good People” And Are Dangerous If Encountered On The Street”

  1. 5/5

    “How so? As I understand the focus of our conversation,”

    I’m not sure what you mean. Textbook generalities don’t always work in the real world and the psychiatric/ psychologic world is filled with soft science and contradictions. What is true today is necessarily true tomorrow.

    Perhaps you can demonstrate a more direct and scientific approach for the specific cases under discussion. Calling Anonymous the Stupid what he is, Stupid, might actually help others not be so stupid. I am not saying it will. I am saying we don’t know and you don’t either so it is up to you to provide specific evidence that in the specific cases under discussion civility is better than “rudeness” where one is using the language of the original offender.
    —————————-

    “The election was very complicated.”

    Yes, everything is very complicated and that is why your generalities don’t hit the targets intended. Yes, you over-simplify the discussion at hand. We all have to remember correlation is not causation.
    ——————————–

    “Why do you say civility doesn’t work?”

    When did I ever say that? Civility doesn’t always work.

  2. 4/5

    “Am I correctly conveying your perspective?”

    No. Civility doesn’t always seem to work on this type of blog. I agree with the definition of insanity believing it to be a type of insanity ‘to repeat making the same errors over and over again’. I believe trying other methods is appropriate and am not afraid of failure or walking the path alone. I am only afraid of not trying.

    Mirroring what is said can potentially work if not for the individual but for anyone else thinking along the same path as that individual. In other words if they call you a deplorable, racist or stupid it might be worthwhile to call them racists and stupid while demonstrating that to be true.
    —————————-

    ” I see that you are trying to make an Anonymous “distinct”. However, there is no sure way to know anything about the individual or even for sure whether it is a distinct individual”

    Yes, Anonymous the Stupid is distinct from others that call themselves anonymous and they have the opportunity to change their alias to a distinct name. However, in Anonymous the Stupid’s case he is Stupid so the name fits and is generally accurately utilized. It is not my job to worry about who is being incorrectly labeled when people choose not to pick a distinct alias and defend it.
    ——————–

    I am not asking you to be the Cheshire Cat. I am asking you for real life examples where comments made on a list of this nature caused the ” risk of life and limb in the wider world by the way such comments “

    ” I am not convinced” That is another way of saying you don’t know. You think it might hurt. I think it might help. That is how Donald Trump came into the picture. His so called incivility helped bring to light the corruption in our intelligence communities and the rest of government along with the lack of concern for American citizens. Without this so-called incivility we would probably have a different administration where the corruption would continue unnoticed.

    1. Allan,
      “In other words if they call you a deplorable, racist or stupid it might be worthwhile to call them racists and stupid while demonstrating that to be true.”

      What makes it worthwhile?

      Using ad hominems is a way to shut down the discussion and not deal with the issue at hand. Pointing out the logical fallacy or how what they say is racist (etc) demonstrates their major error (in accuracy and in behavior) while remaining focused on the idea.

      —————————-

      ” I see that you are trying to make an Anonymous “distinct”. However, there is no sure way to know anything about the individual or even for sure whether it is a distinct individual”

      “It is not my job to worry about who is being incorrectly labeled when people choose not to pick a distinct alias and defend it.”

      While I have already expressed my concern regarding using ad hominems on ‘anonymous’ people, I do see that potentially a distinction could be made for those who wish to be an “Anonymous” versus those who use a pseuonym.

      What are you thoughts on such a distinction? Different tactics might be necessary for a nameless, faceless anonymous versus someone like me who uses a particular pseudonym to protect my identity. I am wary though due to the potential fall-out.
      ——————–

      “I am not asking you to be the Cheshire Cat. I am asking you for real life examples where comments made on a list of this nature caused the ” risk of life and limb in the wider world by the way such comments “

      I want such real life examples to be prevented. Tensions are rising and the chasm between right and left perspectives appears to be widening, too, though, I am willing to consider that the media is emphasizing the extremes for some motive of its own (or the CIAs). I do not want those internal tensions to explode into the physical world. There are already problems at the extremes with Antifa and white supremacists. If tensions and dehumanizing talk continues to get reinforced, then the potential for violence spreading from the extremes increases.

      Both the extreme right and the extreme left have sites on which comments there do risk life and limb for people in the real world.

      1. “What makes it worthwhile?”

        What makes it worthwhile to post anything in the comment section?

        “Using ad hominems is a way to shut down the discussion and not deal with the issue at hand. “

        We see plenty of initiating comments calling people and respective groups stupid, racist and deplorable. That hasn’t seemed to shut down discussion though the level of discussion is low tending in the direction of Anonymous the Stupid and YNOT.

        I agree. It would be better to have a higher level of discussion but in the sandbox one has to play by sandbox rules. You are at liberty to comment to all of those like Anonymous the Stupid and YNOT being quite proper. If you get somewhere, ask yourself why and if you don’t then tell me what makes the discussion worthwhile. Did you ever play in a sandbox when you were a child?

        “What are you thoughts on such a distinction? … I am wary though due to the potential fall-out.”

        I am not wary at all. The problem is with those that choose not to adopt a distinct persona no matter what ideas they may have. They willingly choose to hide like cowards and make it difficult for the rest.

        “I want such real life examples to be prevented.”

        This blog according to you should be producing loads of real life examples so “I am asking you for real life examples where comments made on a list of this nature caused the ” risk of life and limb in the wider world by the way such comments “ “

        You are worried that “Tensions are rising and …”

        Perhaps this is a result of overabundant avoidance of confrontation and fear of not being PC or polite. The Republicans have been terrible in the way they have responded to Democratic aggression. (I don’t like either party). Much of the conservative right preferred to stay aloof and write eloquent papers that no one reads or is only read by followers.

        “Both the extreme right and the extreme left have sites on which comments there do risk life and limb for people in the real world.”

        You are again expanding the scope of this discussion. I will repeat what I said before. ““I am not asking you to be the Cheshire Cat. I am asking you for real life examples where comments made on a list of this nature caused the ” risk of life and limb in the wider world by the way such comments “

        1. Allan,
          Sorry, tournaments have delayed me.

          “This blog according to you should be producing loads of real life examples so “I am asking you for real life examples where comments made on a list of this nature caused the ” risk of life and limb in the wider world by the way such comments “ “

          No, I have not said this blog should be producing loads of real-life violence due to online conflict. That’s not how it works. It is like piling tinder and then sticks, building up fuel ready for a fire. All it needs is a spark.

          Do you see a match?

          “Allan says: January 19, 2020 at 10:01 AM
          Important to note: When figures of authority or advanced knowledge tell the public what to do many in the public follow what they say even if it is against what they would normally do or morally do. Authority figures can be dangerous and to many O’Donnell and people like him are authority figures. That can bode badly in the coming years.

          If one has never read the Milgram Experiment one should do so in order to realize how easy it is for a good people to turn bad.”

          1. “It is like piling tinder and then sticks, “

            OK, then when you were discussing the impact this comment section has on the world you were being hyperbolic. Instead of a direct impact you were talking of Lorenz’s butterfly effect and chaos theory using the theory to demonstrate this comment section has leverage. It doesn’t. I think you misapply the theory. One cannot determine what type of an effect these small seemingly insignificant things have.

            I am not sure of how you utilized the quotes at the end of the posting. Figures of authority don’t relate to the comment section or your claim that the comment section of this blog has great impact on the world outside.

            1. Allan,
              ““It is like piling tinder and then sticks, “

              OK, then when you were discussing the impact this comment section has on the world you were being hyperbolic. Instead of a direct impact you were talking of Lorenz’s butterfly effect and chaos theory using the theory to demonstrate this comment section has leverage.”

              No, it is not like Lorenz’s butterfly effect or chaos theory (despite the rising tensions potentially ending in chaos) and neither am I being hyperbolic (I wish it was).

              It is not just this comment section; the rancor builds upon itself. Multiply the attitudes of bitterness, rancor, and demeaning arrogance across platforms. Perhaps those people in New York you mentioned have ranted online and with their friends about ‘despicable’ Trump supporters. They then felt emboldened to act like bullies in real life. There are those on the right that despise people on the left, too. Suppose then it gets worse:

              “When figures of authority or advanced knowledge tell the public what to do many in the public follow what they say even if it is against what they would normally do or morally do. Authority figures can be dangerous and to many O’Donnell and people like him are authority figures. That can bode badly in the coming years. If one has never read the Milgram Experiment one should do so in order to realize how easy it is for a good people to turn bad.””

              Will people back away or will it feed their hate? This isn’t just a one-sided concern. The emotions on both sides are getting riled.

              Online, people too easily lose their individuality. Identity politics can swallow individuality, subsuming it by a group identity. Individuality helps you stand on your own two feet; it helps you have your own mind about things. Authority figures are less able to manipulate people who have their own mind about them.

              Straw men, ad hominems, all the nasty, disrespectful little ways people twist and distort people’s perspectives–snarls emotions and builds animosity. It can build and build until it “can bode badly in the coming years.” Yes, it most certainly can, especially if the heated, uncivil rhetoric persists or worsens.

              The animosity should be untangled rather than added to. There is already so much anger. Why add to and create in people’s minds more reasons to push the shock button.

        2. Allan,
          ““Both the extreme right and the extreme left have sites on which comments there do risk life and limb for people in the real world.”

          You are again expanding the scope of this discussion.“

          I am not meaning to expand the discussion. I am trying to provide examples of when online activity has sparked real-world violence.

          “You are worried that “Tensions are rising and …”

          Perhaps this is a result of overabundant avoidance of confrontation and fear of not being PC or polite.”

          Perhaps so. However, being civil does not equal being PC or being polite; it also does not mean avoiding confrontation.

          “The Republicans have been terrible in the way they have responded to Democratic aggression.”

          Heh. I think you mean how ‘they have [not] responded’. 😉

          (I don’t like either party).

          I am an Independent, so I, too, am frustrated with the lot of them.

          1. “I am not meaning to expand the discussion. I am trying to provide examples of when online activity has sparked real-world violence.”

            You are expanding the discussion outside of the sandbox we were dealing with. You were trying to tie in my uncivil comments (though warranted) to violence in the real world. You can’t so you rely on expansion of the discussion until you find what you are looking for even though it doesn’t pertain.

            “Perhaps so. However, being civil does not equal being PC or being polite; it also does not mean avoiding confrontation.”

            But in an attempt to be civil people can altogether avoid confrontation and act in a PC way.

            “I am an Independent, so I, too, am frustrated with the lot of them.”

            The behavior of Democrats today is so bad to our society that I changed my voting habits. Today, even on a local level, I find it too dangerous to support Democrats that I would have previously supported. In that way I am not an independent but one that disdains the Democratic Party of today and therefore will vote to defeat them. This does not mean that I support the other party though I do support Trump.

  3. 3/3

    “I can speak privately to someone about my concerns and retain my anonymity. The blog does not work that way. “

    That demonstrates why these blog comments don’t fit into normal discourse and perhaps why attitudes might be different here than elsewhere. In a way it invalidates much of what you have brought to the table about “rudeness”.
    ————————————-

    “My initial comment was in regards to another poster being uncivil by unfairly characterizing the beliefs of conservatives, a straw man. You did the same thing in reverse. Online incivility.”

    Actually we did have this type of discussion early on and I discussed the difference between left, liberal and Democrat. At the time I remember you thanking me for straightening out the definitions I was using or something like that and then recognizing that Dennis Prager had discussed these things in a complementary way.

    When people take a position they have to understand what position they are taking. If they are mistaken it is their fault when a reply might sound a bit “rude” to them. It is not “rude” to correct what appears to be error. They have a chance to correct the record, but if they do not take that opportunity one cannot say it is “rude” if the other individual repeats his claim.

    1. Allan,
      ““I can speak privately to someone about my concerns and retain my anonymity. The blog does not work that way. “

      That demonstrates why these blog comments don’t fit into normal discourse and perhaps why attitudes might be different here than elsewhere. In a way it invalidates much of what you have brought to the table about “rudeness”.”

      I disagree. That should mean discussion and word choice should be handled even more thoughtfully and carefully. Ideas and words that are merely thought carry hardly any weight. Spoken words and ideas become ‘real’ but are not solid and heavy until they are written down. Written words, particularly on the internet where they cannot easily be destroyed, have a hardness to them, a weight that affects our thinking and perceptions more deeply. Thus, even greater caution and consideration should be taken, especially in light of the concerns regarding online anonymity and subsequent deindividuation and all the other associated problems that I have already highlighted.
      ————————————-

      “My initial comment was in regards to another poster being uncivil by unfairly characterizing the beliefs of conservatives, a straw man. You did the same thing in reverse. Online incivility.”

      Actually we did have this type of discussion early on and I discussed the difference between left, liberal and Democrat. At the time I remember you thanking me for straightening out the definitions I was using or something like that and then recognizing that Dennis Prager had discussed these things in a complementary way.”

      Yes. I only wanted to note what initiated our discussion.
      ————————–
      “It is not “rude” to correct what appears to be error.”

      We are in agreement.

      1. ” That should mean discussion and word choice should be handled even more thoughtfully and carefully. “

        Once again you are basing your ideas on how you would like people to act even when you recognize that many people are irresponsible. This is made even more complex when there is no fixed persona and a person can change what he says at will by simply changing aliases or by lying. We see plenty of both on this blog. Not only that but when they lie about what they said like Jan F. did they simply change their names leading to the succession of names Anon, bythebook, etc.

        Most people recognize this so trust in what is said is limited and therefore the effects are limited and generally disappear as the page is turned.

        1. Allan,
          “” That should mean discussion and word choice should be handled even more thoughtfully and carefully. “

          Once again you are basing your ideas on how you would like people to act even when you recognize that many people are irresponsible.”

          These words are said with concern for those who are responsible but who get caught up in the moment and choose to engage in conversation that is beneath their level and very well may be exacerbating the rancor.

          “This is made even more complex when there is no fixed persona and a person can change what he says at will by simply changing aliases or by lying. We see plenty of both on this blog. Not only that but when they lie about what they said like Jan F. did they simply change their names leading to the succession of names Anon, bythebook, etc.

          Most people recognize this so trust in what is said is limited and therefore the effects are limited and generally disappear as the page is turned.”

          It does not follow that because trust in what is said is limited, therefore the effects are limited. Why would the effects be limited?

          1. “These words are said with concern for those who are responsible but who get caught up in the moment and choose to engage in conversation that is beneath their level and very well may be exacerbating the rancor.”

            That is an excuse. In reality you are “basing your ideas on how you would like people to act even when you recognize that many people are irresponsible.” Your claims concern specific issues where you generalize to provide credence to the claims you are trying to prove.

            “Most people recognize this so trust in what is said is limited “

            That would mean that this box is not the tinder you claim in another response. But you say “It does not follow that because trust in what is said is limited, therefore the effects are limited.” If trust is limited, then the statement for the most part cancels itself out as far as the outside world is concerned.

  4. 2/5

    “Incivility is not part of one’s nature; it is a choice.”

    That leads to a very long discussion as to what “choice” really is and how to draw the line on what is or is not “choice”. A surgeon can use both hands but chooses one for one task and another for another task because it feels better that way. Sometimes the non dominant hand is used where the dominant hand would normally be used because things don’t always work out the way we want. Again, I think you are trying to explain things away.

    1. Allan – anyone who has had an oppositionally defiant student knows that incivility can be part of one’s nature.

      1. “Incivility is not part of one’s nature; it is a choice”

        Paul, those were Prairie’s words. I’ll leave it to the two of you to figure out what you both mean.

      2. Paul,
        I know it seems to be part of one’s nature, but had that child been raised with other people, it is likely they would not be ODD.

        “The etiology of ODD is multifactorial with a cumulative nature. Biologic factors associated with ODD may include nicotine use by parents, prenatal nutritional deficiencies, and developmental delay.6–9 Familial clustering suggests an underlying genetic component, but hereditary connections are variable. Psychological factors associated with ODD may include insecure attachment and unresponsive parents.6 Parental psychopathology, including maternal aggression, is associated with ODD; abuse, harsh punishment, and inconsistent discipline are common correlates.10 Newer studies confirm that parental behavior is likely causal rather than a response to the child’s symptoms.11 Additional social factors that may contribute to ODD include poverty, lack of structure, peer rejection, and community violence.6”

        American Family Physician. https://www.aafp.org/afp/2016/0401/p586.html#sec-1

        “Newer studies confirm that parental behavior is likely causal rather than a response to the child’s symptoms.”

        I think the ‘familial clustering’ has less to do with genetics (and the studies indicate that is not a strong component) and more to do with families repeating and reinforcing problematic parenting and other detrimental choices/experiences (e.g., poor nutrition).

        1. Prairie Rose – although I agree that ODD and ADHD are often comorbid, I am not sure I can agree with your original premise. If they had different parents, they would have been different people. However, the authors of the article are going on a nurture not nature attack. ADHD has a genetic component, so there is no reason OOD could not have it, too.

          1. Paul,
            I did not say that the child would have different parents, but that had the child been raised with different parents (e.g., given up for adoption at birth) then the ODD would very likely not have manifested.

            The environment can adversely affect the genetics of a person, especially when chronic stress is involved.

            You are right, there are underlying potential genetic components; however, I disagree that they are the primary driving factor in the development in ODD. How terrible chronic stress can affect the developing brains of young children is pretty well established. The prefrontal cortex, and consequently executive function which is involved in planning and impulse control, is affected.

            “TTS [traumatic toxic stress] has been shown to lead to changes, especially in the more susceptible young brain, which can lead to long-term effects on both physiology and behavior (2,14,15). The genes that determine how the body responds to stress are highly subject to epigenetic modifications (16). Epigenetic changes may occur via DNA methylation and histone acetylation that modify gene expression. While some of these modifications are transient, others are programmed early in life and will remain embedded throughout the child’s lifetime with the potential to be passed on to the next generation (16). It was also shown that the three regions of the brain that are most prominently affected by TTS are laden with glucocorticoid receptors. These regions are the hippocampus, the prefrontal cortex, and the amygdala (10,11,13,14).”

            https://www.nature.com/articles/pr2015197

  5. 1/5

    ” Seems to me you are wishing to discuss something other than issues of online incivility.”

    Prairie, that is not so. The discussion involved civility both in general and in online incivility. The discussion of each has bounced back and forth. Your examples are not focused on online incivility especially since for many of your “experts” online incivility didn’t exist. Online civility gathers a lot of different things together. If you wish to limit the topic then you have to limit it to a blog that is mostly unmoderated and permits respondents to use multiple aliases where the identities can be hidden.

    The origin of this lengthy discussion I believe was based on my approach to a few individuals who were particularly “rude”. Anonymous the Stupid is the first to come to mind. You objected to my returning such “rudeness” believing civility should be the only response. I differed in that I believed some did not understand civility so I mirrored their rudeness, what they said, against them. They continuously called others deplorables, stupid, racists etc. Why can one not call them the same especially when directing those statements at them is more likely to be true?

    You tried to make your case with generalized answers that were not specific to the question. When asked why one shouldn’t be “rude” in these specific cases you answered ‘because man was made in God’s image’ (paraphrased). I questioned the absolute position you seemed to take and the nature of your proof. I stated that though I could not prove my position regarding the use of limited “rudeness” it was worth a try. Trump’s “rudeness” was brought into the discussion because that appears to have coincided with a drastic improvement in America’s future. I stressed over and over again that I believed in being civil but that there were times that it didn’t work and incivility was worth a try.

    This is an unmoderated list. Elsewhere such comments would not be permitted and all engaging in such comments would be thrown off the list permanently. However, the owner believes in free speech even on his property. That is both good and bad, but that is the environment we are dealing with so that is the environment where you have to prove your case even though it appears to fall apart elsewhere.

    I am breaking this response up to make it easier to deal with.

    1. Allan,
      “” Seems to me you are wishing to discuss something other than issues of online incivility.”

      Prairie, that is not so.”

      I noted that because it seemed you wanted to redirect the conversation towards President Trump and incivility. I suppose that’s fine, but I did want to keep the focus on the issue of acrimony and incivility online.

      “since for many of your “experts” online incivility didn’t exist.”

      I doubt that. The research paper didn’t cover it specifically; that does not mean the authors do not think ‘online incivility’ doesn’t exist.

      “Online civility gathers a lot of different things together. If you wish to limit the topic then you have to limit it to a blog that is mostly unmoderated and permits respondents to use multiple aliases where the identities can be hidden.”

      Why? Online incivility is practically endemic on the internet.

      “When asked why one shouldn’t be “rude” in these specific cases you answered ‘because man was made in God’s image’ (paraphrased). I questioned the absolute position you seemed to take and the nature of your proof.”

      That was an answer, in part, regarding my personal values. However, it does answer, as well, the concept that we are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights. Viewing someone as having the freedom of speech, and that we will give them enough respect to allow them to speak, even defend their right to say the most reprehensible things, we are indicating that even they have some value as an individual.

      That is not to say we will not protest and argue against their position, however. Of course that is needed. If they who say reprehensible things have some value as a person, an individual with rights the same as ours, then the individual should not be demonized, rather it is the ideas, the words or the actions that should be disputed. —This respect for the individual is evident in other elements of the Bill of Rights.
      ————————
      “Trump’s “rudeness” was brought into the discussion because that appears to have coincided with a drastic improvement in America’s future.”

      I have tried to convey that his rudeness does not seem to be the causal element.

      I was up very late having to do other things, so I went to bed without finishing. Now I need to be up doing other things, too. I will try to finishing answering as time permits today.

      1. “I noted that because it seemed you wanted to redirect the conversation towards President Trump and incivility. I suppose that’s fine, but I did want to keep the focus on the issue of acrimony and incivility online.”

        Not at all Prairie. One of my contentions is that different circumstances lead to different ways of handling situations. Your evidence led to generalizations and topic expansion so I used Trump to demonstrate that in other situations unusual ways of handling things or “rudeness” seemed to work well. I have stated time after time that I believe in civility but on this particular blog things are different and I see no harm in calling Anonymous the Stupid exactly what he is, Stupid. It could even be enlightening to others.

        “The research paper didn’t cover it specifically; that does not mean the authors do not think ‘online incivility’ doesn’t exist.”

        The discussion does not involve whether or not online incivility exists, it does even though we both agree that on average it is not a good thing. However, we are not talking about averages rather we are talking about specific situations such as throwing back words that uncivil folk throw at others such as Racist, Stupid, Deplorables.

        “Why? Online incivility is practically endemic on the internet.”

        That is what the subject is about. A lack of responsibility creates some of that and when people can use the same alias or choose multiple aliases their persona has no responsibility attached. That is a circumstance that is new and different.

        “That was an answer, in part, regarding my personal values.”

        That is OK but your personal values might not be the best solution and those personal values appear to be what generates your side of the discussion.

        ” then the individual should not be demonized,”

        That is a broad sweeping statement. Hitler and Stalin should not be demonized?

        ———————
        Allan: “Trump’s “rudeness” was brought into the discussion because that appears to have coincided with a drastic improvement in America’s future.”

        Prairie: “I have tried to convey that his rudeness does not seem to be the causal element.”
        ———————
        “Rudeness” is subjective. His tweets in general were considered rude. Calling the news Fake News was considered rude. Without that he likely IMO would not have won. Twitter IMO was instrumental in his election and his “rude” behavior made the news media carry his side of the story.

        1. Allan,
          “I believed some did not understand civility so I mirrored their rudeness”

          To help them understand civility, perhaps modeling civility would be helpful.

          “Why can one not call them the same especially when directing those statements at them is more likely to be true?”

          That is a good question. I answered ‘why not’ several ways.

          *It stymies discussion because the conversation is no longer about the topic, it is is about the people and what they think of each other.
          *It can reinforce partisanship.
          *It can decrease trust, between people in general, and, in our political institutions.
          *It can decrease people’s willingness to hear other points of view.
          *it can be contagious and can be adopted by other people (and potentially get ensnared in a positive feedback loop).

          I am curious. Giving incivility a try was not a decision on a whim, or a flip of a coin. Were you aiming for ‘tactical incivility’?

          “It’s a cultural matter,” [Susan] Herbst said. “If we want to become a nation based on stability and substantive argument, we have to enforce a higher level of sophistication in political argument, toughen up at the same time and learn to live with some instability and negativity but not be blinded by it.” This, she said, “would be more consistent with what the founders had in mind when they established the nation.””

          https://annenberg.usc.edu/dr-susan-herbst-discusses-role-incivility-democracy-walt-fisher-lecture

          I have not yet read her book. What strikes me, though, is her emphasis on “enforcing a higher level of sophistication in political argument”. By enforcing, I think she means a persistent engagement in good argument, one that avoids logical fallacies just to ‘score points’. That takes patience and persistence to redirect arguments back on track.

          As a nation, that is not where we are at. Based on the little bit I have read of her, it sounds like she, too, recognizes that incivility, in too large or too frequent of doses, can spiral out of control. Perhaps I am sensitive to the potential repercussions of unchecked incivility. My parents divorced, so there was plenty of incivility, and, I have witnessed the destructiveness of incivility without any constructive mutual rebuilding in other families, too.

          1. “To help them understand civility, perhaps modeling civility would be helpful.”

            Prairie, you missed the point completely. Civility was tried and didn’t work. Do you believe that repeating a failed solution over and over again is the proper way to solve problems? Schooling and intellect might end up dictating that approach but wisdom tells another story.

            Why are people so afraid of thinking out of the box?

            “That is a good question. I answered ‘why not’ several ways.”

            That is true, but you didn’t answer “why?”. If your door key doesn’t open the door do you endlessly keep trying while listing all the reasons you shouldn’t try another way of getting in?

            “Were you aiming for ‘tactical incivility’?”

            I am not sure what you mean by the phrase ’tactical incivility’.

            I start out being civil and even intermittently test the waters for civility. If none exists I might try incivility in return frequently returning their own words such as stupid, racist, deplorable etc.

            Herbst’s generalization (again this strays from the specific discussion) is fine until it doesn’t work. If what she said was always true there would be no violence and no war. Unfortunately it is human nature to try to take advantage of situations and other people.

            “Prairie, do you believe doing the same thing that does not work over and over again is the way to solve problems? Intellect and schooling might tell you so but wisdom tells another story.”

            It strikes me that those similar to Anonymous the Stupid and his other half are far from willing or capable of such sophistication. Take a look at TDS and how it has overtaken so many in this nation. I am waiting for Medicare/ Medicaid to give TDS a coding number.

            It was very impolite for the child to say ‘Look, the King has no clothing.’

            “My parents divorced, so there was plenty of incivility, and, I have witnessed the destructiveness of incivility without any constructive mutual rebuilding in other families, too.”

            People get married for a reason and divorced for a reason. There is no reason to have incivility in divorce but that is frequently the case. I’ve had friends who were getting divorced that asked for advice and I tell them if needed to aim for divorce but to remain friends. I never take sides so if they get back together I haven’t ruined a relationship with the other half.

            1. Allan,
              “Action on your part is what would make Olly’s sharing great.”

              You asked this earlier. What ‘action’ are you wishing I’d take beyond my work to help effect positive change in my school district?
              ————————-
              ““Do you believe that repeating a failed solution over and over again is the proper way to solve problems?”

              I think civility is a long-term solution; it is not a quick fix. Also, civility is not the same as being ‘polite’. The child was not uncivil to point out that the Emperor had no clothes.

              You said neither solution seems to work. I cannot find your exact comment, but I thought you noted that incivility was also ineffective. However, I wonder if our goals are cross-wise to one another. You said somewhere that ‘whatever works’ should be how to solve a problem. Is incivility effecting the change you desire, or at least solving a problem?
              ———————
              “while listing all the reasons you shouldn’t try another way of getting in?”

              What is the best way to “get in” to people’s minds to get them to see other perspectives, to ‘get in’ so they really ‘hear’ what you’re saying rather than what they want to think you’re saying?
              ———————-
              “Were you aiming for ‘tactical incivility’?”

              I am not sure what you mean by the phrase ’tactical incivility’.”

              Susan Herbst researches tactical incivility, as in the tactical or strategic use of incivility to garner attention or to get people to act (etc).
              ——————–
              “Take a look at TDS and how it has overtaken so many in this nation. I am waiting for Medicare/ Medicaid to give TDS a coding number.”

              What is the remedy?

              On a related note, the executive branch has gotten too powerful, as Professor Turley has noted on many occasions. I think people are fearing the rise of another Hitler or Stalin.
              ——————-
              “I never take sides so if they get back together I haven’t ruined a relationship with the other half.”

              How might we not ruin a relationship with our other half, politically-speaking?

              1. ““I never take sides so if they get back together I haven’t ruined a relationship with the other half.”

                How might we not ruin a relationship with our other half, politically-speaking?” Broadly-speaking, As in, those on the Right and those on the Left.

              2. Question number one seems to be out of the blue, old and not strictly related to where the present discussion is now. I would need better context and where it comes from along with what you think I mean.
                ——

                Prairie, it appears you keep missing the point. Civility was tried and didn’t work. We have seen this long term on this blog and others. Your answer now is that it is not “a quick fix”. Another excuse but though true in some cases it may not be a fix at all. Why are you so reluctant to let others turn the tables on rude people that say stupid things and throw out insults like racist, stupid and deplorable? Maybe your reliance solely on civility is what the child was talking about when he said the emperor had no clothes. Maybe no one will listen to the truth coming from the child’s mouth because they are so afraid of change and being confrontational to those that should be confronted.

                I said in the uncommon case where civility doesn’t work one might try to do something different. I also said there was no guarantee of success no matter what one does. Are people so afraid of failure when thinking out of the box and doing something different? Is failure when thinking out of the box worse than failure when thinking within the box? I am having trouble getting these answers from you.

                Lets look at this long dialogue between the two of us. It is over something very simple. I was called names directly or indirectly. I was courteous but nothing changed. I took the same names and turned the tables calling one Anonymous the Stupid which is pretty close to the truth and a simple return of an insult. To another I called him a racist because he calls anyone on the right a racist and makes up stories to prove right wing racism. What do you find so obscene with that type of response?

                You think that is being uncivil and shouldn’t be done. I’ve told you why I do it with certain people and you can’t provide me good reasons why it shouldn’t be done except by stating why civility can be good which we both agree on. I’m not telling you how to act but you are telling me and aside from questions mostly unrelated along with evidence that is not targeted to the specific cases you continue to feel righteous telling another basically intelligent and polite individual that he shouldn’t be impolite to those that are most insulting to him. That type of attitude is insulting as well but I don’t think you see that. Don’t get me wrong I don’t take offense to that type of insult and only point it out so that you recognize that you can be guilty of the same thing you are complaining about.

                It appears that you have had some training in psychology, That might help you get to an answer but it isn’t helping you in this case because you are dealing in a textbook world instead of a real world.

                “How might we not ruin a relationship with our other half, politically-speaking?”

                You assume that you have a choice and that it is up to you not to ruin the relationship forgetting that it takes two people not just one. There are some nasty people that are nasty whatever you do so you have to accept that nastyness and if you wish highlight it to them and others. Andy Ngo was beaten up by violent people but it seems you want to know what he can do to prevent such violence and in a way blaming him. To me that is being totally unreasonable.

                1. Allan,
                  Yes, that first question is a bit from left-field in regards to the current conversation. I meant to ask you about it earlier and didn’t, so I hoped we could briefly return to it.

                  The context:
                  “Allan says: January 9, 2020 at 9:31 AM
                  “Which is why Olly is a great person to be sharing Bastiat’s works.”

                  Prairie, I hate to start a completely different subject and I certainly like what Olly brings to the table but his sharing doesn’t mean action on your part. Action on your part is what would make Olly’s sharing great.”

                  This is likely starting a completely different subject, so, if the discussion needs to wait, that is fine. It did intrigue me, though, as to what you intend by ‘action on your part’.

                  1. Action is in the eyes of the beholder. No actions on this blog IMO have any great meaning in the outside world. As I just said, this comment section is a sandbox.

                2. Allan,
                  “Prairie, it appears you keep missing the point.”

                  Sorry. I’m not trying to be obtuse.

                  “Civility was tried and didn’t work.”

                  I do not think it has been particularly tried. Nothing works 100% of the time. I recognize that you are trying to ascertain what the appropriate response should be for the minority of times it doesn’t seem to work. My typical response is to not feed the trolls. You disagree?

                  “Your answer now is that it is not “a quick fix”. Another excuse but though true in some cases it may not be a fix at all.”

                  I don’t see how it is ‘an excuse’. Civil conversation, is not quick, as we know. 🙂 Why might it not be a fix at all? Why would using incivility, then, be a fix?

                  1. “I do not think it has been particularly tried. “

                    That is your opinion. Tell us precisely what is an adequate trial.

                    Take note of Karen’s discussions with one individual Jan F., Anon, bythebook, etc. …all one person who has acted in the worst possible way and is abusive. Count up the number of statements since Jan F. arrived and the number of words involved where she has been mostly polite if not completely polite. When will that trial period be over? In another 5 years, 10 years? Provide a number.

                    “My typical response is to not feed the trolls. You disagree?”

                    It depends. The blog comment section was beset with problems when I came and probably long before I came. Take note how the number of anonymous responders seem to be increasing and the number of names assumed by the same individuals likewise. I look at this comment section as a sandbox.

                    “I don’t see how it is ‘an excuse’.”

                    Of course it is an excuse. Set specific parameters. Then one might say it is not an excuse.

                3. Allan,
                  “Why are you so reluctant to let others turn the tables on rude people that say stupid things and throw out insults like racist, stupid and deplorable?”

                  It depends upon how the tables are turned.
                  ————————-
                  “Maybe your reliance solely on civility is what the child was talking about when he said the emperor had no clothes. Maybe no one will listen to the truth coming from the child’s mouth because they are so afraid of change”

                  I disagree that civility is the emperor who had no clothes. People have backed off from defending truth, save for a few brave souls, for far too long for fear of being called unfairly some kind of ‘-ism’, so the issue does not get discussed together. People snarl over the issues with their echo chamber, reinforcing misconceptions of other people’s positions, reinforcing stereotypes, all the while. People are afraid of change, which is why they don’t really talk with people of other perspectives, because then, heaven forbid, their axioms might get poked and they might have to change, as Jordan Peterson has pointed out.

                  1. Allan: “Why are you so reluctant to let others turn the tables on rude people that say stupid things and throw out insults like racist, stupid and deplorable?”

                    Prairie: It depends upon how the tables are turned.
                    —————–

                    Prairie, you do realize that your response was a repetition of answers you previously provided. Why don’t you answer in the specific since that is what the discussion is all about?

                    “I disagree that civility is the emperor who had no clothes”

                    I agree with you but you are looking at the statement in the wrong way. The statement made by the child is not noted by the child alone but by a lot of people who are inhibited and scared to confront the reality. Civil discourse is thus created which leads to the statement of truth to be assumed (by societal conventions) to be uncivil.

                    Peterson is great!

                4. Allan,
                  “confrontational to those that should be confronted.”

                  Civility does not mean being non-confrontational. Civilly confronting someone is challenging and sometimes time-consuming, especially if you want them to ‘hear’ you, but it can be done. I am not saying civility works 100% of the time; some people are prideful and will not listen to reason.
                  ——————-
                  “I said in the uncommon case where civility doesn’t work one might try to do something different.”

                  Which is why I asked you about strategic/tactical incivility.
                  ——————-
                  “Are people so afraid of failure when thinking out of the box and doing something different? Is failure when thinking out of the box worse than failure when thinking within the box?”

                  What constitutes failure in your eyes?

                  1. “Civility does not mean being non-confrontational”

                    It doesn’t but many people hide behind civility in order to avoid confrontation where confrontation should occur.

                    “I am not saying civility works 100% of the time”

                    That is correct and I am working with the less than 1%, not the 99%.

                    “Which is why I asked you about strategic/tactical incivility.”

                    Which is why I responded and said you would have to define the terms and provide exactly what you want to know.

                    “What constitutes failure in your eyes?”

                    Not reaching one’s goals. A goal should be set higher than one expects but not so high that it is totally unachievable.

                    1. Allan,
                      ““Civility does not mean being non-confrontational”

                      It doesn’t but many people hide behind civility in order to avoid confrontation where confrontation should occur.”

                      Then civility is not the problem. Cowardice and fear is.

                      “I am not saying civility works 100% of the time”
                      That is correct and I am working with the less than 1%, not the 99%.”

                      Those d@mn 1%’s causing problems! 😉

                      Sorry to cut short. I will continue tomorrow. It is late and I am tired.

                    2. “Then civility is not the problem. Cowardice and fear is.”

                      Maybe. It depends on place and circumstance.

                      “Those d@mn 1%’s causing problems! “

                      No, the entire 100% are causing problems. I am just dealing with the 1% where civility doesn’t seem to work at all.

                5. Allan,
                  “I am having trouble getting these answers from you.”

                  Sorry. I am not meaning to be difficult.
                  ——————-
                  “Lets look at this long dialogue between the two of us. It is over something very simple. I was called names directly or indirectly. I was courteous but nothing changed. I took the same names and turned the tables calling one Anonymous the Stupid which is pretty close to the truth and a simple return of an insult. To another I called him a racist because he calls anyone on the right a racist and makes up stories to prove right wing racism. What do you find so obscene with that type of response?”

                  I have looked back over our conversation, including what precipitated it. I did notice I made a mistake in labeling the logical fallacy I was bothered by. I perceived both you and Grung_e_Gene as misconstruing the perceptions of the Constitution and America of the Left and of the Right, respectively. I described it as an ad hominem. That is not quite right.

                  I actually ignore most of the ad hominems out there because, one, they are used so often (they are still tiresome, nonetheless), and, two, while problematic, are not as problematic as the unfair misconstruing of an argument or of someone’s perspective. That really breaks down the sorting out of the truth of the matter, and, it is a double-whammy in terms of rudeness since it attacks what people actually believe (causing undue defensiveness), and, it insults the argument itself, treating it as unworthy of serious discussion.

                  Yes, we sorted out the definitions of the terms. After that, however, the conversation morphed into discussing the problems surrounding other forms of incivility, mainly focusing on ad hominems (which, in some ways, is less of a concern than the misconstruing of other people’s perceptions–straw man, I think–or other unfair logical fallacies).
                  ———————-
                  “You think that is being uncivil and shouldn’t be done. I’ve told you why I do it with certain people and you can’t provide me good reasons why it shouldn’t be done except by stating why civility can be good which we both agree on.”

                  I have gone over why incivility shouldn’t be done. I actually suspect I haven’t adequately expressed why civility can be good. We both agree that it is good, but neither of us have said why.

                  1. “while problematic, are not as problematic as the unfair misconstruing of an argument or of someone’s perspective.”

                    That is a good point that I agree because such actions destroy the value of a blog of this nature. (I don’t know who Grung_e_Gene is)

                    “I have gone over why incivility shouldn’t be done. “

                    No. You stated many times and even in list form why civility is good and I agreed with you and your list, but you didn’t state why the incivility under discussion is bad. Some of the rational reasons for civility that you mentioned were already destroyed and not likely to return so the question is why the incivility in question is bad.

                6. Allan,
                  “I’m not telling you how to act but you are telling me”

                  I’m not telling you. I have not used an interrogative statement. I have pointed out when I thought you were being unfair and why. Wouldn’t you rather I honestly express my concerns?

                  “telling another basically intelligent and polite individual that he shouldn’t be impolite to those that are most insulting to him.”

                  Again, I’m not telling you. While I don’t think you should speak that way and I have shared why as kindly as I can, you are free to disagree with me and do as you please. However, if there are ways to improve the level of discourse on this blog (and hopefully elsewhere), isn’t that a good aim? How can we improve without considering even gentle criticism? I really like to hear what you (and others) have to say and I want your (and others’) good points to be heard above all, and sometimes it seems like the racket of incivility and deliberate use of logical fallacies in general drowns out what is good and interferes with the progression of discussion on this blog. Again, in real life, I’d have expressed my concerns in private, sharing why I thought such discourse was detrimental in both the short and the long term.

                  I am willing to hear your arguments in support of incivility. There may be elements of strategic/tactical incivility that I am over-looking. Why do you think returning insults is beneficial? What is to be gained and lost? Where does the balance fall?

                  1. “I’m not telling you. I have not used an interrogative statement. I have pointed out when I thought you were being unfair and why. Wouldn’t you rather I honestly express my concerns?”

                    But you have and that is clear no matter how you think your words were written and whether or not a question mark appeared at the end of any specific statement. I already made sure to let you know that “I don’t take offense” in order to make the point mute so you weren’t required to respond. I also told you why I brought the issue up, to expand the realm of your thoughts on this particular situation.

                    What comes to mind is the way you used the word “unfair”, “when I thought you were being unfair”. Since so many different things can be attached to what you meant by that word I will let you explain it. I suppose at times Andy Ngo was “unfair”. Shall we blame Andy or the ones that nearly killed him?

                    ” I really like to hear what you (and others) have to say “

                    Why don’t you ask some people like Anonymous the Stupid or YNOT and work your way up the chain. That might be interesting and in line with some of my own questions.

                    “I am willing to hear your arguments in support of incivility”

                    I have provided them over and over again. Try finishing the sentence: If something doesn’t work: a) keep repeating what you are doing over and over again b) try something different.

                    1. Allan,
                      “I have not used an interrogative statement.”

                      “and whether or not a question mark appeared at the end of any specific statement.”

                      Dang-it! I meant imperative.

                      It is imperative I get more sleep.

                7. Allan,
                  “How might we not ruin a relationship with our other half, politically-speaking?”

                  “you have to accept that nastyness and if you wish highlight it to them and others.”

                  Yes, such things should be pointed out, depends on how that is done.
                  ———————-
                  “Andy Ngo was beaten up by violent people but it seems you want to know what he can do to prevent such violence and in a way blaming him. To me that is being totally unreasonable.”

                  I have not blamed him.

                  It is good to try to prevent such violence. If violence comes to you, you can choose how to respond. He chose to respond non-violently and I support his decision. I also hope he sues the pants off the mayor and the police department for not only not doing their job but even violating their oaths of office.

                  1. “I have not blamed him.” [Andy Ngo]

                    I didn’t say you blamed him. I said ” in a way blaming him”. It is true that you might yell loud and clear when someone is physically attacked but there seems to be a distinct line drawn before that action takes place.You are admonishing civil people for throwing back insults and repressing their energies until the violence occurs. Two sides are necessary for civility to thrive and you seem to concentrate only on the side that is already civil.

  6. “Yes, actually, I do sometimes comment on some people’s driving–generally if life and limb is at risk.”

    Donald Trump is being “rude” but moving the nation in a positive direction.

    Prairie, what comments have I make that puts at risk life and limb?

    1. Allan,
      ““Yes, actually, I do sometimes comment on some people’s driving–generally if life and limb is at risk.”

      Donald Trump is being “rude” but moving the nation in a positive direction.

      Prairie, what comments have I make that puts at risk life and limb?”

      I do not see evidence that President Trump’s rudeness in tweets and in the media is what is moving the nation in a positive direction. I already noted that those seem to be a magician’s distraction technique. They are separate from whatever discussions and negotiations are happening behind closed doors.

      His insults and rudeness are specific and designed to initiate argument–either as a way to distract from the real work he and Congress are doing, and/or, to prompt debate about the subject nestled within the insult/rude comment (e.g., illegal immigration). He does not generally use, from what I have seen, basic ad hominems (and, granted, I am not reading tweets or poring over the news). Calling an Anonymous ‘Mindless and Stupid’ isn’t branding because of the complete anonymity.
      _________________________

      The comments you make do not imminently put at risk life and limb. For one, we are online, mostly anonymous or using pseudonyms, and scattered over the whole United States (or more), so physical threat is extremely unlikely ever.

      The comments you make, however, could very potentially indirectly lead to the risk of life and limb in the wider world by the way such comments influence attitudes. Incivility all by itself is enough of a problem, as it leads to decreased trust, diminished collaboration, and causes people to become less likely to discuss errors, problems, or to ask for help (How Rudeness Stops People From Working Together, Harvard Business Review, 1/20/17).

      The online element worsens the negative attitudes because of the anonymity. The anonymity is a component of deindividuation, or the “a state of decreased self‐evaluation, and depersonalization in which others are perceived to represent broader social groups that are salient during interaction” (“Incivility and Political Identity on the Internet: Intergroup Factors as Predictors of Incivility in Discussions of News Online”). Online communication also tends to be more impulsive and more aggressive. It, too, is capable of decreasing interpersonal trust (“Civility vs. Incivility in Online Social Interactions: An Evolutionary Approach”; PlosOne, Nov. 1, 2016).

      This decrease in trust due to online incivility is especially problematic–whom will you lose trust in? A majority of people online are anonymous, so, could people lose trust in the faceless blur of humanity? Or worse, redirect that loss of trust into blame of “outgroup” members.

      This is very dangerous: trust is crucial to a healthy democratic republic.

      The deindividuation is dangerous, as well, because of the mob-thinking it can engender (https://www.sagepub.com/sites/default/files/upm-binaries/17424_Chapter_8.pdf). Mobs are mindless, in some ways, capable of inflicting terrible destruction. That deindividuation, as it takes away individual identity, it enhances people’s associations with ‘group identities’, which, unless individuals actively try to fight it, plays right into the problems of identity politics.

      “People can communicate in ways designed to consolidate their identity or seek acceptance as an ingroup member, as well as to mobilize those around them and enhance the standing of their ingroup. Consolidating identity includes communication behaviors such as conforming to group norms, expressing prototypical group opinions, and rendering oneself identifiable as a group member. Mobilizing identity includes behaviors such as “we” talk (explicitly invoking the group), statements concerning resistance against the outgroup, or outgroup denigration.” (Incivility and Political Identity on the Internet: Intergroup Factors as Predictors of Incivility in Discussions of News Online)

      ‘Denigration of the outgroup’. Denigration of people means they are being denied their humanity as individuals; they are being dehumanized.

      As the depersonalization of deindividuation consumes people, that very potentially can lead to very dark places–to further dehumanization of one’s opponents and all the attendant dark and violent thoughts and feelings as people begin to despise others, completely unnecessarily, I might add, since the amped-up online rhetoric is an excuse to not really deal with the hardness and complexities of life. Easier to make excuses (it’s those nasty _______ who are causing all the problems!) than to look at one’s own participation in the strife and to then try to cooperate to not only untangle problems but to also work to overcome them, or at least manage them as best as possible.

      What then if the online insults, rudeness, stereotyping, bitterness, and resentment bleed into physical realities as restraints on people’s behavior get eroded? Isn’t that when life and limb are put at risk?

      1. “I do not see evidence that President Trump’s rudeness in tweets and in the media is what is moving the nation in a positive direction.”

        Firstly Trump would never have been elected without tweeting. Instead you would have ‘Lyin Hillary’with movement in the reverse direction. Think about it.

        When you get Trump you get both him and his tweets, even the awful ones. I think your point of view is not much different than telling a left handed surgeon to operate using his right hand. You are telling others to adjust themselves to your behavior and telling them how to act. That in itself is frequently considered rude and another thing one should think about. Do you think tying Trumps hands permits him to be more effective or less effective?

        ” I already noted that those seem to be a magician’s distraction technique.”

        Again you are carving out portions of an individual so that you don’t have to deal with with a solution that is incomplete and likely unworkable at least in regard to the question at hand.

        “He does not generally use, from what I have seen, basic ad hominems”

        Think of pencil neck Schiff or Sleepy Creepy Joe.

        “Calling an Anonymous ‘Mindless and Stupid’ isn’t branding because of the complete anonymity.”

        Another carve out. You seem to take a position and then carve out all those things don’t fit your position.

        A name is branding and that is what Trump does good or bad. They describe the person in question just like Anonymous the Stupid describes that anonymous blogger.

        “The comments you make, however, could very potentially indirectly lead to the risk of life and limb in the wider world by the way such comments “

        Provide examples but remember you likely will have to carve out yet another part of your argument.

        ” Incivility all by itself is enough of a problem, as it leads to decreased trust, diminished collaboration,”

        Where is the civility when those supporting Trump are called deplorables, stupid or racists? You were absent. I won’t deal in the generalities that follow because they do not respond to the question we are dealing with. We both believe in civility and in general will agree to what was said, but that is not the question in this case where we are dealing with outliers in a very limited and specific environment.

        1. Allan,
          “When you get Trump you get both him and his tweets, even the awful ones.”
          ” Do you think tying Trumps hands permits him to be more effective or less effective?”

          We are not discussing Trump at present. We were discussing online civil discourse in Comment sections. We could certainly have a very interesting conversation about Trump and how he engages with the world at a later time.

          ————————-

          “I think your point of view is not much different than telling a left handed surgeon to operate using his right hand.”

          You are not a left-handed surgeon. Incivility is not a part of one’s nature; it is part of how a person chooses to use language to communicate.

          “That in itself is frequently considered rude and another thing one should think about.”

          I do not choose lightly to speak up. I spoke up when I thought you (and another) were particularly out-of-line by unfairly mischaracterizing how people on the right or the left view the Constitution and America. People have a responsibility to speak up when they see or hear injustice.

          If we were in the real world, I would probably also try to speak to you in private about my concerns. It is unfair to talk in public about concerns you have regarding someone’s speech or behavior. I do not have that option online, unfortunately. I try to keep my comments focused on the issue rather than unnecessarily allude to a person’s identity, as they are completely separate. Staying civil is also an attempt to keep any already heightened emotions about an issue to a minimum so they don’t cloud an already contentious topic.

          —————–

          ” I already noted that those seem to be a magician’s distraction technique.”

          Again you are carving out portions of an individual so that you don’t have to deal with with a solution that is incomplete and likely unworkable at least in regard to the question at hand.”

          “carving out portions of an individual” ???? I am not sure what you mean here. I am especially not sure what you are saying considering the sentence of mine that you quoted. I am not following you; I am sorry.

          ——————–

          “Calling an Anonymous ‘Mindless and Stupid’ isn’t branding because of the complete anonymity.”

          Another carve out. You seem to take a position and then carve out all those things don’t fit your position. A name is branding and that is what Trump does good or bad. They describe the person in question just like Anonymous the Stupid describes that anonymous blogger.”

          No. Distinctions need to be made. It cannot describe the person in question because of the anonymity. You might make a good guess it is the same person but not necessarily. Mistakes happen. The anonymity, especially in light of the tendency of people to resort to social or group identity online, means that people will try to apply those characterizations to whatever group to which they think a “Mindless and Stupid” Anonymous belongs. An Anonymous is not exactly an individual. An anonymous can become a faceless representation of a larger group.

          ———————–

          “The comments you make, however, could very potentially indirectly lead to the risk of life and limb in the wider world by the way such comments “

          Provide examples but remember you likely will have to carve out yet another part of your argument.”

          For clarity:
          “The comments you make, however, could very potentially indirectly lead to the risk of life and limb in the wider world by the way such comments influence attitudes.”

          Uncivil comments influence attitudes and behaviors by [citations above]:
          *decreasing trust,
          *diminishing collaboration, and
          *causing people to become less likely to discuss errors, problems, or to ask for help

          Online comments influence attitudes and behaviors by [citations above]:
          *deindividuation which decreases individual identity
          *the anonymity which decreases self-evaluation
          *the anonymity which depersonalizes interactions
          *people tending to treat others as representative of broader social groups
          *people tending to conform to in-group norms and in-group opinions
          *people too often denigrating others not in ‘their’ in-group
          *being more impulsive and aggressive
          *decreasing interpersonal trust

          History is riddled with examples of where contempt for others leads, particularly for others not in the ‘in-group’. This rising contempt for others violates the tolerant and far more accepting goal of E. pluribus unum.

          —————————

          ” Incivility all by itself is enough of a problem, as it leads to decreased trust, diminished collaboration,”

          Where is the civility when those supporting Trump are called deplorables, stupid or racists?”

          You are right, that is extremely uncivil and part of the reason Hillary lost. It most certainly decreased people’s trust that she could lead the whole nation and most certainly indicated it was unlikely there would be any collaboration with people of other perspectives (which, to an extent, is the function of Congress–to collaborate on ways to better the nation at the Federal level, while balancing the needs of citizens as individuals and as districts with the needs of states, taking into consideration disparate viewpoints such that a middle ground, a moderate pathway is forged.

          “We both believe in civility and in general will agree to what was said, but that is not the question in this case where we are dealing with outliers in a very limited and specific environment.”

          The question is whether or not to respond to incivility with persistent civility.

          1. “We are not discussing Trump at present. We were discussing online civil discourse in Comment sections.”

            Prairie, that is right, but Trump has been accused of incivility in his dialogue. Are you again trying to carve out another smaller area to aid in your attempt to prove your case in a smaller world? If we are discussing civil discourse solely in the Comment section then much if not all of what you used as evidence does not apply to such comments.

            ” Incivility is not a part of one’s nature; it is part of how a person chooses to use language to communicate.”

            That is another conclusion that you draw and carve out to meet the requirements of your argument. Which hand a surgeon uses can be thought of as a tool and so can language.

            “I do not have that option online, unfortunately. “

            Suddenly, Prairie, you are thinking of what options are available, weighing them and then choosing from them. You are not trapped into one option. There were many.

            “I try to keep my comments focused on the issue”

            Do you? You started with a much larger issue (refer to initial statements) and have continuously whittled them down. When reality strikes you ax part of the argument.

            ” I am not sure what you mean here?”

            Carving out: We started with a very generalized discussion but when your Explanations didn’t fit you carved out those things that were left unexplained.

            “. Distinctions need to be made.”

            It is the choice of the commenters as to whether or not they protect whatever identity they have on the blog. If they don’t protect their identity and use an identifiable alias they can be considered destructive and rude. Labelling them is perfectly fine and in fact constructive especially since context involves what we know about the individual.

            “Uncivil comments influence attitudes”

            I am not asking for the attitudes that might occur (that already exist on this comment section) but real life examples of comments that fulfill your criteria stated in the following comment you made: “The comments you make, however, could very potentially indirectly lead to the risk of life and limb in the wider world by the way such comments “

            Give examples of real life scenarios based on this comment section. I don’t think you have any. You keep forgetting that I too believe in civility.

            “Online comments influence attitudes and behaviors by [citations above]:
            *deindividuation which decreases individual identity
            *the anonymity which decreases self-evaluation….”

            Life in general influences these attitudes and behaviors. You are promoting a lot of ideas from the psychology community. I don’t have issue with them except for the generalized fashion you are using them. They do not target the basic question of our discussion so they are in the context presented mostly irrelevant.

            ——
            Allan: “Where is the civility when those supporting Trump are called deplorables, stupid or racists?”

            Prairie: “You are right, that is extremely uncivil and part of the reason Hillary lost.”
            —–
            Yet Trump was “uncivil” and he won. Using the logic you have been using you can say that all the good things we have seen to date are because of “incivility”. I don’t call it that but you seem to draw the line that fashion..

            “The question is whether or not to respond to incivility with persistent civility.”

            That is a good question and one that we do not presently have the answer for. So far neither method works. Anonymous the Stupid remains Stupid no matter who he converses with.

            1. Allan,
              ““Prairie, that is right, but Trump has been accused of incivility in his dialogue. Are you again trying to carve out another smaller area to aid in your attempt to prove your case in a smaller world? If we are discussing civil discourse solely in the Comment section then much if not all of what you used as evidence does not apply to such comments.”

              I am trying to keep us focused on the original point of discussion. I disagree that the evidence does not apply to such comment. It does, otherwise I would not have included it. Seems to me you are wishing to discuss something other than issues of online incivility.

              —————–

              ”Incivility is not a part of one’s nature; it is part of how a person chooses to use language to communicate.”

              That is another conclusion that you draw and carve out to meet the requirements of your argument. Which hand a surgeon uses can be thought of as a tool and so can language.”

              Hands are tools, but the dominance of a hand (the left-handed aspect of your argument) is not a choice. Hand dominance can be overridden, but with effort. Incivility is not part of one’s nature; it is a choice.
              ——————
              “I do not have that option online, unfortunately. “

              Suddenly, Prairie, you are thinking of what options are available, weighing them and then choosing from them. You are not trapped into one option. There were many.”

              You are using my comment out of context. I do not have a choice as to whether or not I can speak privately to someone about my concerns and retain my anonymity. The blog does not work that way. Also, I did bring this up with a poster named ‘Ken’ awhile ago and he thought it was better that our discussion was out in the open anyway. We had a very civil conversation, but I was very uncomfortable to be discussing things with him that I felt in real life would have best been discussed in private out of concern for his feelings.
              ——————
              “I try to keep my comments focused on the issue”

              Do you? You started with a much larger issue (refer to initial statements) and have continuously whittled them down. When reality strikes you ax part of the argument.”

              My initial comment was in regards to another poster being uncivil by unfairly characterizing the beliefs of conservatives, a straw man. You did the same thing in reverse. Online incivility.
              ——————
              Prairie Rose: ” I am not sure what you mean here?”

              Allan: Carving out: We started with a very generalized discussion but when your Explanations didn’t fit you carved out those things that were left unexplained.”

              Allan’s earlier response: “Again you are carving out portions of an individual so that you don’t have to deal with with a solution that is incomplete and likely unworkable at least in regard to the question at hand.”

              Exactly what question at hand? I am trying to aim at online incivility. I think you are sometimes trying to aim somewhere else.

              My explanations have focused on online incivility. There are things not yet discussed, but that is not due to me ‘carving out’. It is due to us not yet going to the myriad of other related issues that have not yet been discussed.

              Your view is that civility is an incomplete solution for online discourse, and, that it is unworkable for online discourse. Am I correctly conveying your perspective? Have I misunderstood you in any way?
              ——————–
              “. Distinctions need to be made.”

              It is the choice of the commenters as to whether or not they protect whatever identity they have on the blog. If they don’t protect their identity and use an identifiable alias they can be considered destructive and rude. Labelling them is perfectly fine and in fact constructive especially since context involves what we know about the individual.”

              Heh, nice play on the meanings of ‘distinctions’. I see that you are trying to make an Anonymous “distinct”. However, there is no sure way to know anything about the individual or even for sure whether it is a distinct individual (unless you are Professor Turley or Darren and have insider knowledge). Though ‘voice’ is sometimes apparent in people’s comments, it is not always clear, and, people can write in the style of others, so, that Anonymous could be 1 person, could be 10 people or more, all being Anonymous. Mistakes can be made.
              ——————–
              “Uncivil comments influence attitudes”

              I am not asking for the attitudes that might occur (that already exist on this comment section) but real life examples of comments that fulfill your criteria stated in the following comment you made: “The comments you make, however, could very potentially indirectly lead to the risk of life and limb in the wider world by the way such comments “

              Give examples of real life scenarios based on this comment section. I don’t think you have any. You keep forgetting that I too believe in civility.”

              I am reluctant to repeat insulting comments, as that is like the Cheshire Cat repeating all the terrible things Alice said, further enraging the Queen. It just adds to the problem. It is well-known the skewed ways people twist words like liberal, Republican, Democrat, Tea Partier or just all the other ways people invent to be rude.

              It is a systems problem, a problem in the atmosphere. What is said here or the tenor of the atmosphere here (of incivility, deindividuation, that demeaning ‘opposition’ is acceptable or maybe even ‘necessary’) can be carried over to other blogs, to water-cooler conversations, to conversation on phones or around the dinner table.

              We agree that you, too, believe in civility. I am not convinced that your reasons for engaging in incivility at all are psychologically sound/effective in the long-term, especially considering the competing goals of preserving E. pluribus unum and the ideals ensconced in our founding documents. A democratic republic needs civil debate to thrive. There are too many problems to try to manage, let alone fix than to waste time kicking sand at one another or worse.
              ———————
              “Online comments influence attitudes and behaviors by [citations above]:
              *deindividuation which decreases individual identity
              *the anonymity which decreases self-evaluation….”

              Life in general influences these attitudes and behaviors. You are promoting a lot of ideas from the psychology community. I don’t have issue with them except for the generalized fashion you are using them. They do not target the basic question of our discussion so they are in the context presented mostly irrelevant.”

              How so? As I understand the focus of our conversation, they most definitely apply. Life in general does not encourage anonymity since we live in communities–families, churches, schools, towns, etc. Our individuality is harder to obscure in real life. People-watching makes this quite apparent, and as a species we habitually people-watch.

              ——
              Allan: “Where is the civility when those supporting Trump are called deplorables, stupid or racists?”

              Prairie: “You are right, that is extremely uncivil and part of the reason Hillary lost.”

              Allan: Yet Trump was “uncivil” and he won. Using the logic you have been using you can say that all the good things we have seen to date are because of “incivility”. I don’t call it that but you seem to draw the line that fashion..”

              The election was very complicated. Boiling President Trump’s success down to ‘incivility’ over-simplifies the whole thing (makes it far less interesting, too). A few items to consider:

              *Hillary Clinton was a horrible candidate who was viewed with good reason as not trustworthy and had already disgraced herself in office on several occasions (Bleach Bit (etc etc etc).

              *People have been tired of ‘business as usual’ since Obama won on ‘Hope & Change’. They didn’t get it with him for sure.

              *DNC scandal that screwed over Bernie Sanders, among other things.

              *Worries that tensions would continue to rise against Russia and Syria

              *People erroneously associate Trump’s incivility with “being real” and “telling it like it is”–it sure gave him plenty of free media coverage, though. (Camille Paglia wrote an interesting article on his speech patterns, though, to be fair.) In between the incivility, he was bringing attention to issues that have long been ignored and that people are tired of being ignored. (This fits into the desire for change–it was a change that someone running for office would actually bring up elephants in the room.)

              *He ran a more strategic campaign than Clinton did.

              *The art of persuasion.

              ———————

              “The question is whether or not to respond to incivility with persistent civility.”

              That is a good question and one that we do not presently have the answer for. So far neither method works. Anonymous the Stupid remains Stupid no matter who he converses with.”

              Why do you say civility doesn’t work? What does civility mean to you?

    2. Darren,
      WordPress ate my comment twice. It only had one link and no cuss-words. Would you be able to free it?

  7. “Civil discourse is effective enough to preferentially use it, especially when other people are trying to get you to stoop to their level.”

    Yes, Prairie, but as we have discussed it doesn’t always work so though it might be considered preferential it is not necessarily the best modality of choice. Additionally sometimes the low level of discussion is the highest some people are able to achieve.

  8. Putting aside things like morals, ethics, and decency, Moore’s comments are also just bad long-term strategy if the goal is to take power and politically “win” the culture war once and for all. An old white leftist suggesting that two-thirds of white people are KKK-adjacent, if not Kluckers themselves, does not play well long-term with non-woke white people under 40, especially those college-aged and younger, who guys like Michael Moore have spent the last 6 or 7 years telling that they are already a minority in their generation and that this is the kind of thing they need to get used to, and expect more of in degree and frequency, when white people overall are “finally” no longer a majority in 25 years or so (a questionable assumption given how racial/ethnic statistics are compiled, but again, long-term thinking isn’t a strong suit among Moore’s crowd). What good does the 2044 U.S. Presidential election demographics being in your favor do if by the 2030 mid-terms you have managed to definitively alienate nearly 60% of the electorate by declaring them irredeemable? This would be like the Soviet Union declaring to the US in 1946 that they are working on nuclear weapons which they then intend to immediately use against the US, and also that they expect to have finally developed them around 1950. At least the old left had some sense.

  9. I’m white, and I do see there is some truth to the argument about there being white people that are very dangerous, and that is because in general there are more white people in positions where they can easily do more harm and cause more death than any one person with any weapon they can possibly carry in their hands. This is not an issue how how violent they are or how likely someone will die if they are using weapons, as most whites are not anymore likely and many times less likely to harm others and themselves end up being killed. However when any group of people that gain their wealth off the efforts of other people are in power and they have little concern for the lives of the people in their own country, or in other countries those people are a real threat. This is the kind of people we have now and have had for a long time. Then we have others that are quite visibly a threat to others that prefer to enjoy getting along with others, and working with others for the benefit of all people. They are often the first to speak of dealing with terrorists, as they themselves are terrorists. It is wrong to judge any one person by the color of their skin, but as a group most any can be dangerous when they have near total control. Key thing to remember just how someone thinks and what kind of person they are is by how they view others that are different than them. If the first thing out of their mouth is they hate terrorists, they like terrorizing people, if their first words are keep your hands off my stuff or I will have to hurt you, it shows they are likely to steal things either through legal or illegal means. Bankers and others use the laws that they helped write to steal people property and get away with it. Also people that express fear they may be sodomized and have never had that happen to them are also more likely to commit rape. Reason for saying all this is because I am tired of evil winning in this world, and if everyone listens closely to what others are saying about you and other people, they come right out and tell you and others the things that they are likely to do to harm you and others and by what means. How i view the Iranian president is someone that has a doctorate degree, has written more books than many people will ever read, and is basically what people call a nerd. Our president is someone that has ran a number of companies, and for the most part never paid his bills. Also is someone that has not written much in the way of books ( I happen to even have one here he wrote, the only one that made the best sellers list) Also likes to cheat people out of things they were promised through any possible means, and that is WE THE PEOPLE who are being cheated this time just like people that were foolish enough to buy into Trump university. Also our president has more weapons and the means to use them against any country on the planet. So our president is a Pirate and a thug. taking on a nerd in another country many of them in fact. As for me I’m one of the many that failed to realize what I have wrote here soon enough to be able to help myself and my family, and have been taken advantage of by our systems and don’t know how much longer it will be till they finish me off with a number of you.

  10. “Moore declared that the vast majority of whites in this country “are not good people” and that others should “be afraid” of them in an interview on The Rolling Stone podcast “Useful Idiot.””

    The name of the show is apropos.

    Moore’s statement is racist. Unarguably so.

    1. Who should tell Moore that slavery still exists in Africa, and that European descended Americans fought and died to be at the forefront to end the global institution of slavery on their soil? Or perhaps he should acquaint himself with the Barbary pirates.

      I am sick of this ignorance of world history. The United States is not a racist country against minorities, although racism against white people is certainly growing. Studies have already proven this.

      Slavery was a global phenomenon that existed in all cultures throughout human history. Native American tribes practiced slavery, including sex slavery. The rule of the club inevitably led to slavery in all iterations of human society across the globe.

      The United States, along with Great Britain, were the vanguard of vanquishing this evil practice. Are people upset that this monumental step was not taken earlier? Millennial earlier? Do they not understand that slavery still exists, especially in Africa?

      It is so ignorant to make claims that the US is a racist country. This trope has been spread by Russian propaganda organizations, such as Dialog of Nations, with the express intent of weakening the country, along with Socialist leaning academics who hate the country. It’s ignorant, and it’s wrong, and it serves the interests of our nation’s enemies.

      Our species did not evolve to instantly attain its highest level of ethics, as such an accomplishment can only occur in a relatively safe and peaceful environment, in which individuals have strong rights. Without safety and individual rights, a society does not have the luxury to evolve to promote equal rights. It was Western civilizations that created such an environment, philosophy, and jurisprudence.

      That’s why in the Middle East, they still kill you for apostasy, homosexuality, or for women stepping out of line. None of them have strong individual rights, and therefore respecting those rights cannot occur.

    2. The part that makes what he wrote racist is that he groups all people together based on color. Also any person or small group of people of any color is a threat to others when they see themselves as better than other races based only on their color, or their religion, and other things that they use to express themselves as being better based on factors that are not related to how they treat others like them and others different than them. If they treat others fairly and for the most part equally and look out for others they are generally good people, but if they are always looking for nothing but faults they should be viewed with suspicion. Basically I’m getting at that racists come in all different forms and there are no groups that are immune from it, but at least many do try to work to be better people. As none of us are perfect, as such we are better off accepting of ourselves and others as we are as opposed to things that we can never achieve.

    1. Allan,
      Thank you for the article. I will look at it.

      While complacency may be an element, I think fear plays a bigger role.

      1. Prairie, watching people being killed with violent acts on the increase is a good reason to have fear. Not doing anything about the violence and killing is complacency.

        1. Allan,
          Not necessarily. It can be a fear response–freeze or flight. People do not know what to do that would make a complicated situation better, or, they may think they do not have the necessary strength or skills or knowledge to effect positive change so they get frozen.

          1. Freeze and fright generally are associated with immediate threats. We are talking about people that see threats distant to them and do nothing to end such threats. Trump seems to know what to do. No matter which policy Trump wishes to engage in I think it is a good thing to kill the Iranian architect for Iranian terrorism. He knows to deny terrorists funds. He knows we have to project strength not weakness.

            1. Allan,
              I wasn’t intending to make any excuses. It was an observation of how people often act–even if the threat isn’t imminent. People may want to help but don’t know how, so they freeze and do nothing. People don’t want to see reality quite often, so they will refuse to look at the terrible things in the world. That is a kind of flight.

              That is right, those responses don’t solve problems.

              Depending on the issue (e.g., is it international), people may view the problem as one for government to address, forgetting that there are international charitable organizations that might be able to help in some circumstances.

              I will grant you there is some element of complacency. Complacency is tied, somewhat, to the question of responsibility–whose? That is hard to determine sometimes when there is a competing expectation that some problems are the responsibility of the government or other leadership due to the authority we have granted them. Sometimes granting that authority is appropriate, but sometimes it is overdone as people lose focus on concepts like ‘am I my brother’s keeper’ and ‘who is my neighbor’.

              1. ——
                Allan: Good excuse Prairie, but what problems do those excuses solve?”

                Prairie: ” I wasn’t intending to make any excuses. It was an observation of how people often act–even if the threat isn’t imminent. People may want to help but don’t know how, so they freeze and do nothing. People don’t want to see reality quite often, so they will refuse to look at the terrible things in the world. That is a kind of flight. That is right, those responses don’t solve problems.”
                ———

                I think that answers the question.

  11. The author claims he “voted against Trump,” not who he voted for. I find this Freudian slip quite interesting.

  12. Listened up to the relevant point in the podcast (started at 8:15).

    Matt Taibbi has written some great pieces in the past, so this so-called interview was particularly disappointing. Taibbi not only didn’t push back against Moore’s racist mischaracterizations, he added to them! Taibbi chose to stay immersed in the leftist echo chamber and vilify Trump supporters as not just wrong but evil and dangerous (and I’m not even a Trump supporter!).

    Moore: “We’re traitors to our race. That’s how they see us, by the way.”
    Taibbi, nodding his head: “Right.”

    So much for him being an independent thinker with an ounce of curiosity about what people different from him actually think. His behavior in the podcast is part of the problem. Tolerance of prejudice, stereotyping, and logical fallacies (he even helped Moore with the straw man arguments) and a preference for maintaining the echo chamber. If Taibbi is actually concerned about the state of the country, he would do well to do some real soul-searching about what part he is playing in its deterioration.

    1. Rose, if you were to read the comments by Trump supporters on this very thread, just a little further down, you might realize Moore was pretty much in the ballpark.

      1. Seth Warner,
        “Rose, if you were to read the comments by Trump supporters on this very thread, just a little further down, you might realize Moore was pretty much in the ballpark.”

        While I grant you that there is some incivility by some Trump supporters, do not mistake a part for the whole. There are also plenty of Trump supporters who are quite civil.

        Moore prefers to stereotype people and to mischaracterize their beliefs. He has no idea what most Trump supporters believe about identity politics. Would people be pretty much in the ballpark if they viewed Moore as representative of most liberals? That would be unfair of me to treat them as though they are.

        That interview is part of the problem regarding discourse in America. It was an echo chamber, they were asserting unfair and unfounded stereotypes, they were mischaracterizing other people’s perspectives, and they were using straw men arguments instead of steel-manning them. They journalists tolerated the demonization of people and enabled it in the worst way–by participating in it and nodding along with him.

  13. Moore is living in fairy tale land. I do find it interesting….227 comments and growing on this one. Moore just baits ppl. There are many like Moore, who like baiting others, for some reason. He is liberal side, then you have conservative side from some, but its all the same shell game parlor trick.

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