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Imagining Post-Trump Nationalism | Emma Green | The Atlantic
[Reno has spent his life as a traveler. Like Neuhaus, the magazine’s founder, he converted from a liberal Protestant tradition to Roman Catholicism as an adult. Although he is a devout Christian, he married a Jewish woman, Juliana, whom he met while in graduate school at Yale. The couple raised their children as Jews and discovered the challenges of interfaith marriage: In a 2007 essay, Reno described his daughter’s anger and frustration, and his pain, when he was barred from standing beside her as she read from the Torah during her Bat Mitzvah.] - Did not know that about RR Reno.

..The writers and editors at First Things are part of a group attempting to create scaffolding for a nationalist movement that will outlast Trump’s presidency: Later this summer, Reno will join figures including Tucker Carlson, the libertarian entrepreneur Peter Thiel, and the freshman senator from Missouri, Josh Hawley, in speaking at a summit on nationalism in Washington, D.C. In the event’s promotional materials, the organizers explicitly state their desire to develop a conservative, nationalist movement “in stark opposition to political theories grounded in race.”

And yet, this remains the greatest challenge to the nascent conservative-nationalist revival. The reality remains that Trump’s movement, and the discontent behind it, cannot easily be untangled from racism. “It’s very easy for intellectuals in general, and the ones we’re talking about in particular, to sort of live in castles in their minds that are very elegant and beautiful, and not fully grasp that the real-world analogue to what you’re talking about is actually a kind of white-supremacist political order,” Linker said. “You have to bridge that, somehow, and face the consequences."

..This has become a major line of contention among conservatives: whether those who oppose Trump on the grounds of his uncouthness are really just looking down at uncivilized America. This was one question raised during the recent First Things fight over “Frenchism” (a truly clunky and unfortunate coinage referring to David French, the National Review writer): whether conservatives should prize civility in discourse and continue playing by gentlemen’s rules of politics, or whether they should embrace the kind of no-holds-barred rhetoric that won over Trump voters. “When niceness … is elevated in this way, I don’t really like the result,” Yost said. “It becomes a way of stigmatizing the contributions of people who don’t have elite manners. And those people have been, perhaps, neglected and stigmatized for long enough.”

..And so the challenge stands, for First Things as for post-Trump America: whether those who decry the politics of grievance can get beyond grievance-churning themselves. First Things fashions itself as a defender of the common good against a vindictive elite that wishes to erase its kind from society. But power, as it happens, often serves as a mirror. “We’re not going to get out of our current situation just by being nice to each other,” Reno told me as he leaned back in his chair, regarding me with equal parts amusement and skepticism. “Some people are going to have to lose.”
America  Conservatism  Nationality  Discourse 
2 days ago by AfroMaestro
Belief by means of disavowal Or: Belief about 'belief' in the days of twitter & Beyoncé's baby's name | Daniel Silliman
..There are only three kinds of statements here:

The first, the most common, is the report. I.e., "people are saying." "People" always being generic, always "other people." Or it's phrased like, "There's a crazy theory," the theory being located "out there," somewhere, free floating without attribution. In none of these reports is it attributed to anyone, but neither is it owned. When there's a link, it's a link to the sites also reporting on gullible people. It's always "someone," but never actually anyone.

In most cases it's only implicit that the report is a report. They're framed and phrased as reports, though, not statements of belief. Explicitly or implicitly, the tweeting and retweeting about what people believe about Blue Ivy's name is done in journalistic terms: we report and you decide, or, "Jst to let u know!"

They're shared exactly in the spirit of "you won't believe this!", whether or not that's actually said.

Ironically (yes, that is the word) -- and this is also exactly my point -- that phrase, "you won't believe this!" is used, if you think about it, to mean that you actually will. "You won't believe this!" means that you will believe this. And it's more believe exactly because there's this disavowal of belief concealing the believing.

This is what's happening in this whole first category of tweets, the largest category by far. It's "you won't believe this!" and "I can't believe this!," though the "I" does and "you" will, without even being particularly skeptical about it, since the skeptical frame of disbelief actually allows for and elicits belief. I.e., "those crazy people, I can't believe how gullible they are."

The second most common category is the correction. That is, tweeting people who believe the reporters' believe, or anyway that the reporters are reporting about people who believe, and are now themselves only responding to other people's belief, calling bullshit. "Total bullshit!" "that shit cray!" "some people will believe anything ... smh" (shake my head).

A good-sized sub category of these are tweets with little Latin lessons, which is very strange in and of itself but beside the point.

The third category of tweets is this tiny fraction where there's some ambiguity. Maybe it's belief. Maybe there's some credulity. Someone being naive. Even in the cases of apparent suckers to the internet rumor, though, it's not just as simple as "I think this is true." Instead it's more like, "for a minute there I thought it was true," or the question, does anybody know if this thing I heard is true?

The true believer here is a fiction. A virtual reality. A hypothesized person to whom belief can be assumed to belong. The believer, the one who holds and confesses to the idea that Beyonce and Jay-Z's baby girl is the spawn of Satan, named the Latin phrase for Lucifer's daughter spelled (for some reason) backwards, is only imagined.

Even if you could roll this twitter flood back to person zero -- the one who started this, who thought this first, who tweeted a moment after the moment of Blue Ivy's birth -- you still wouldn't have the person who "really believers." That person too would be hypothesizing, or reporting a rumor, or making a joke.

The effect, however, is the same. It not necessary for anyone to actually believe, anymore than anyone actually has to laugh at the stupid sitcom of Zizek's example.

Virtual belief is enough to engender belief. To elicit belief without belief, which is, nevertheless, still an experience of believing. It's enough, for believing comes, actually, in the form of believing by means of disavowal of belief.

Because, look, despite appearances of skepticism, this is gushing credulity.

The skepticism itself is a form of naive believing, since in every case the skeptical statement assumes the belief of other people. I.e., once removed and thus safe belief about belief.

Look: Every internet writer knew -- just knew -- that there were people who thought this was true, even though they couldn't quite say who those people actually were. The twittering people all, universally, accepted without even a trace of skepticism that other people accept things without a trace of skepticism. It's exactly the same as how, when someone says "there's a sucker born every minute," everyone knows it's true, but no one ever identifies themselves as the sucker, which is exactly what makes it possible to sucker them.

The structure of disavowal and displacement is exactly such that it makes the disavowed and displaced thing possible, by hiding it.

This can even be seen just in the structure of the statements of skepticism. Statements that, while on one level are disavowals, so we say, e.g., "some people believe (but I don't)," are, in another way actually structured as statements of belief. The third person statements about other people also necessarily involve implied first person statements.

That is: "(I believe) some people believe but I don't."

This second-degree belief allows for and enables intense belief. Unquestioned belief, totally unsupported, hidden in the frame of skepticism.

People are gullible, but gullible specifically in the way they can read that phrase "people are gullible" and agree with it and imagine it not to be about them. In accepting that phrase in the third person: as "people," "other people," "people out there" but of course never, never "you," and certainly definitely not me. It's so easy to assent, and in that exactly prove the point about gullibility.

This idea about belief by disavowal sounds, I know, ridiculous and ridiculously complicated. I think, though, that it's complicated because of how simplistically we conceive of belief, and how systematically we hide our own believing even from ourselves, and how complicated that actually makes actually doing it in practice today.
Discourse  Epistemology 
12 days ago by AfroMaestro
Every NIMBY’s Speech At a Public Hearing - McSweeney’s Internet Tendency
I am grateful for the opportunity to speak tonight, and I look forward to contributing to our robust debate by making claims that are floating in an ether of confusion, prejudice, and unearned authority. But for those of you who may not know me, let me introduce myself. I’m a retired professional who rose through the ranks because competition in my field was minimized due to systemic discrimination against women and people of color. My job was well paid, did not punish me for my lack of soft skills, and convinced me that I know what’s best for other people, even if it seems like what’s worst for other people. I grew up here and, after leaving for a time to go to college and start my career, returned to this town, my true home, in order to raise a family and stop time from progressing. I’ve lived in the same house in the Elm Heights neighborhood for the past twenty years, and I just love everything about this town except for the problems that my politics have directly created.
public_process  discourse  humor 
4 weeks ago by shannon_mattern
YouTube -- Freedomain Radio: "The Making of a YouTube Radical" - The New York Times Rebutted!
'Stefan Molyneux of Freedomain Radio responds to the New York Times article attacking YouTubers for making arguments on the internet.' -- The New York Times: The Making of a YouTube Radical: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/06/08/technology/youtube-radical.html: '...Mr. Cain also found videos by Natalie Wynn, a former academic philosopher who goes by the name ContraPoints [https://www.youtube.com/user/ContraPoints/videos]. Ms. Wynn wore elaborate costumes and did drag-style performances in which she explained why Western culture wasn’t under attack from immigrants, or why race was a social construct. -- Unlike most progressives Mr. Cain had seen take on the right, Mr. Bonnell and Ms. Wynn were funny and engaging. They spoke the native language of YouTube, and they didn’t get outraged by far-right ideas. Instead, they rolled their eyes at them, and made them seem shallow and unsophisticated. -- “I noticed that right-wing people were taking these old-fashioned, knee-jerk, reactionary politics and packing them as edgy punk rock,” Ms. Wynn told me. “One of my goals was to take the excitement out of it.”' -- Are you now or have you ever been... young and impressionable?
discourse  minitrue  journalism  illiberalism  hysteria  twominuteshate  StefanMolyneux 
5 weeks ago by adamcrowe
What Are Conservatives Actually Debating? | Ross Douthat | The New York Times
..In the last week Ahmari has roiled the conservative intellectual world with a critique of something he calls David French-ism, after David French of National Review, another prominent conservative writer. This controversy, like the debate over Tucker Carlson and capitalism earlier this year, has been a full-employment bill for conservative pundits. But it probably seems impossibly opaque from the outside, since superficially Ahmari and French belong to the same faction on the right — both religious conservatives, both strongly anti-abortion, both deeply engaged in battles over religious liberty (where French is a longtime litigator). Indeed it is somewhat opaque even from the inside, prompting conservatives engaging with the dispute to wonder, “What are we debating?”

I’m going to try to answer that question here. We’ll see how it goes.

Basically the best way to understand the Ahmari-French split is in light of the old fusion, the old consensus, that the First Things manifesto attacked. French is a religious conservative who thinks that the pre-Trump conservative vision still makes sense.
..Ahmari, on the other hand, speaks for cultural conservatives who believe that the old conservative fusion mostly failed their part of the movement — winning victories for tax cutters and business interests while marriage rates declined, birthrates plummeted and religious affiliation waned; and appeasing social conservatives with judges who never actually got around to overturning Roe v. Wade.

..Still, you can see three broad demands at work in their arguments. First, they want social conservatives to exercise more explicit power within the conservative coalition.

..But a more assertive social conservatism would also pursue the second thing that the post-fusionist conservatives seem to want — namely, stronger state interventions in the economy on behalf of socially conservative ends.

..Then alongside these practical power plays and policy moves, the post-fusionists want something bigger: A philosophical reconsideration of where the liberal order has ended up.


"I think @DouthatNYT on Ahmari v. French is good. However, what I wish he mentioned is the reason fusionism works/ed is because social conservatives do actually tend to also value smaller government and more aggressive foreign policy than the median voter.

Conservatism  Discourse 
5 weeks ago by AfroMaestro

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