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Mindful Resistance Newsletter, Issue #50: Post-Midterms Edition - ernie.bornheimer@gmail.com - Gmail
I’m far from alone in worrying about escalating civil conflict. A poll this summer found that 31 percent of likely voters think we’ll probably have a civil war within 5 years. And an interview this week on Terry Gross’s Fresh Air gave a bit of support to such fears.

The interview was with the scholar Andrew Delbanco, author of The War Before the War, about the run-up to the Civil War. Gross asked Delbanco about the possibility of civil conflict between America’s ideological camps today.

On the one hand, he replied, when you look at the 1850s and 1860s—the “complete breakdown of the federal government, the secession of almost half the country,” followed by a huge war—what’s happening today looks “like peanuts. And that’s one approach which I’m trying to cling to—you know, that something like this couldn’t happen again.”

But, he added, “the other way to think about the story” is that “institutions that seemed durable and seemed unlikely to fail turned out to be extremely fragile.” And one contributing factor was the intemperance of “public language on both sides.” Radical abolitionists “were extremely belligerent and extremely insulting” and so were slave owners. And “the anger just started to feed on itself. And the viciousness of the politics sort of becomes an engine of its own perpetuation. And some of that feels like what’s going on right now.”
Delbanco worries that we’ve forgotten that “civility and a modicum of respect for the other side—even if we think that the issues that divide us are so fundamental that we could never come to an agreement about them—that some measure of respect for the other side is critically important… By looking at the past, one is reminded that things that we take for granted as stable can suddenly go up in smoke. And we want to be really careful about that, I think.”

I agree. Which is why I’ve decided to become a permanent, card carrying member of the much-maligned “civility police.”

So, for example, I join in the condemnation of the dozen or so people who walked up to the house of Fox News star Tucker Carlson at night, while his wife was home alone, and chanted, “Tucker Carlson, we will fight. We know where you sleep at night.”

Even aside from the inherent creepiness of this kind of behavior, there’s the danger that this kind of thing could escalate in tit-for-tat fashion. What if, say, some liberal pundit responded insensitively to the fears expressed by Carlson’s wife, and then one of Carlson’s defenders publicized that pundit’s home address so that people could go harass his family? Oh, wait, that actually happened. Hmmm…

Self-appointed Twitter scold: I know it’s obnoxious to go around slapping people’s wrists for arguably ill-considered tweets, but I’m afraid that’s part of my duty as a civility police officer. This week’s scolding is directed at Anand Giridharadas, someone I like a lot (and whose very worthwhile book I recently discussed with him) but whose viral election-night tweet I didn’t like. It read, “Whatever happens tonight, the results suggest a country that is on a knife’s edge —basically 50-50—on the acceptability of racism, nativism, demagogy, lies, chauvinism, abuse of power, cruelty, and corruption.”

So the idea is that everyone who voted for any Republican congressional candidate finds all those things—racism, cruelty, nativism, corruption, etc.—acceptable? We’re not even allowing for single-issue voters—you know, like, Joe is pro-racism but has doubts about corruption, while Mary abhors racism but is totally on board the pro-corruption bandwagon? Or, more seriously: Joe and Mary are deeply religious evangelicals who hate racism but think abortion is unacceptable?

Now, granted: (1) The tweet came in the heat of battle, as the outcome of the election seemed in doubt, and after two years of deep frustration for Trump opponents; (2) Maybe, even then, it wasn’t meant as literally as I’m taking it.

Still:
(1) I think tweets like this feed a kind “essentializing” of people in the other tribe—who are in fact a diverse array of people with diverse motivations—and that this impedes comprehension of them. However tempting it may be to dismiss Trump supporters as racists, nativists, and so on, that doesn’t shed much light on, and in fact discourages exploration of, the question of how they came to hold the views they hold.

(2) I think it’s important to ask ourselves how our messages sound to the other tribe (even if I sometimes fail to do this myself). And this kind of tweet, I think, feeds a force that helped get Trump elected in the first place: the feeling among many of his followers that coastal liberal elites hold them in contempt.

And what’s the upside of a tweet like this? Well, it got 2,500 retweets.

I’m not saying getting retweets and new followers was the conscious motivation here. But retweets and new followers feel good, and so encourage repetition. That’s what drives a non-trivial amount of the deepening polarization we’re seeing: The way to get status within your tribe is to deepen antagonism between the tribes. And the more antagonism there is, the truer that is. This is a positive feedback dynamic of a very negative kind.
10 days ago by ernie.bornheimer
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RT : Solange Nazis in der Opposition sind, werden sie lautstark 'Meinungsfreiheit!!1!' jammern. Sobald sie an der Macht…
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10 days ago by hyperfekt
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was in Culver getting a haircut, (sepulveda and sawtelle)... Happened to stumble into a hardware st…
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RT : So Florida's sitting Governor and U.S. Senate candidate currently facing a mandatory recount just announced he was…
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10 days ago by gaelicWizard
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おはようございます🐾
和室の猫ハンモックは撤去され新しくカーテンがつきました👏いい感じ~❤早速パン君がレースカーテンの向こう側へ入ってました🤗✨
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10 days ago by kumiab
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Democrats are *still* picking up seats that were too close to call last Tuesday, including the California 48th (hel…
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10 days ago by cranston
Ifrit
Ifrit, also spelled as efreet, efrite, ifreet, afreet, afrite and afrit (Arabic: ʻIfrīt: عفريت, pl ʻAfārīt: عفاريت) are supernatural creatures in some Middle Eastern stories. In Islam, this term refers to the most powerful and dangerous Jinn.
vampirethemasquerade 
10 days ago by josephaleo
Twitter
RT : Sometimes I even *play* Hearthstone instead of watching other people play and telling you about it. I'm playing my…
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10 days ago by WickedGood
Twitter
Cutest thing ever ❤️

📽️ig: romanne_c
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10 days ago by zen4ever
Twitter
RT : Donald Trump complained about having to stand in the rain, to speak about the massacre in Pittsburgh, because it me…
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10 days ago by sjenkins
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This is amazing and sad and wonderful and just one moment in a million moments where the women and men fighting the…
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10 days ago by patrickmeast
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RT : In the Paris rain, May 1961, JFK and de Gaulle honor soldiers who gave their lives:
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10 days ago by sjenkins
www.washingtonpost.com
via Washington Post: Breaking News, World, US, DC News & Analysis https://wapo.st/2FHX347
NEWS 
10 days ago by aebraddy
Twitter
i keep wondering if this kid understands any of what they're saying, because i sure don't
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10 days ago by hyperfekt
Access Denied
Massachusetts City Cancels Veterans Day Parade https://t.co/Zu83cKgT4V
nfn  nofeenews 
10 days ago by nofeenews
Twitter
RT : Just a friendly reminder that marbled polecats exist
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10 days ago by kukkurovaca
Twitter
Profit will always identify and sell to the most horrible among us. If you want to know how ugly people really get,…
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Michigan's so much better at contesting shots, especially inside, than they used to be. Teske and Livers are except…
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Beilein had a rotation of 7 guys tonight.. mostly due to the slow pace of the game, but these are the games you’d l…
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I don’t think you can ever be truly “ready” for a teen birthday party, but we do have this pro karaoke setup, so.
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10 days ago by xcv58
Twitter
Celebrating ⁦⁩ annual journey around the sun. Good friends. Bubbles. Smiles. Gratitude. ⁦
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10 days ago by Fallingbadgers
Twitter
Success at what, you might ask? Well, depending on the shortage, it might be a success at:

(a) Avoiding pay raise…
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10 days ago by bobpoekert
ChkDsk or Check Disk runs at every startup in Windows
The Check Disk Utility or Chkdsk.exe in Windows 10/8/7 and Windows Vista is used to check for errors in the disk media and in the file system. If you face problems ranging from blue screens to inability to open, save files or folders, you should run chkdsk.exe. via Pocket
IFTTT  Pocket 
10 days ago by themagicteeth
Twitter
Photos Show Scores of Uncounted Ballots in Mail Center … via…
Opalocka  from twitter_favs
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pick me my start up is Ikea but unionized
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RT : When you realize your “privileged account multifactor authentication” phone numbers are synced from your on-premise…
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10 days ago by gaelicWizard
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Must be super fun to work on these teams at Facebook. Really get to use the company’s near endless resources to pus…
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10 days ago by arainert
Twitter
RT : Hey - pass

1. Sensible gun control bills
2. Sensible healthcare bills
3. Sensible spending bills
4…
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10 days ago by gaelicWizard
Twitter
$MDXG I would be remiss if I failed to point out that Pete serves on the audit committee of the board of directors…
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10 days ago by aheilbut
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RT : I pray this a ironing board and not a giant roach staring at me
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Sir, there's a flower in my drink
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Let's talk about startup costs
In startup land, there is a ton of "common wisdom" that gets repeated. But how do you know if it's the right advice for you? Last year, I tweeted that I was…
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10 days ago by divigation
Twitter
ガルパンの公式アンソロのお仕事いただきました。(数ページですが)このネタをまま引き継ぐかは未定です。
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10 days ago by kumiab
Twitter
RT : dear lord it's not just that some Vegas shooting survivors happened to be at the Borderline, it was where they'd me…
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10 days ago by gaelicWizard
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Trump supporters are picketing the office of Broward County Election Supervisor Brenda Snipes with signs that read,…
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EMU is Big Ten West Transitive Champion
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10 days ago by colintj
Twitter
3/3 One more, since I think Trump’s absence was really unfortunate.
I *don’t* know what happened. But as so…
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10 days ago by userX
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