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Confusing human universals for the inventions of white people

About three weeks ago Michael Powell of The New York Times wrote a piece about the Dorian Abbot situation, M.I.T.’s Choice of Lecturer Ignited Criticism. So Did Its Decision to Cancel. I admire Powell a great deal, and I am obviously sympathetic to Abbot. But let me highlight this section of the piece, which went viral on Twitter:

Phoebe A. Cohen is a geosciences professor and department chair at Williams College and one of many who expressed anger on Twitter at M.I.T.’s decision to invite Dr. Abbot to speak, given that he has spoken against affirmative action in the past.

Dr. Cohen agreed that Dr. Abbot’s views reflect a broad current in American society. Ideally, she said, a university should not invite speakers who do not share its values on diversity and affirmative action. Nor was she enamored of M.I.T.’s offer to let him speak at a later date to the M.I.T. professors. “Honestly, I don’t know that I agree with that choice,” she said. “To me, the professional consequences are extremely minimal.”

What, she was asked, of the effect on academic debate? Should the academy serve as a bastion of unfettered speech?

“This idea of intellectual debate and rigor as the pinnacle of intellectualism comes from a world in which white men dominated,” she replied.

Dr. Cohen has now put out her side of the story, Becoming Clickbait for Speaking Out. First:

By the time Michael Powell from The New York Times reached out to me, however, I was already wary, feeling unsettled by questions that a reporter from The Boston Globe had asked me. When Powell asked me to talk to him, I responded, “If you’re serious about nuance then I am willing to talk. But if you’re just looking for a pull quote about liberal cancel culture, I’m not your person.” Powell assured me he was indeed seeking nuanced conversation and “not looking to insert Quote A into Space B.” Feeling somewhat reassured, I agreed to talk with him.

A moment of sympathy for the devil: if a reporter approaches you always be wary, and don’t trust them. They want their story. You are just a means to an end. They don’t see you as human, you are a source. The good reporters won’t lie about what you say, but the bad ones will. Even the good reporters though will strip you out of your preferred context into their own narrative. I like Powell quite a bit, and I’m aligned with him. But if he asked to talk to me, I would still record it (I’m in a one-party consent state). Generally, I refuse to talk to reporters though. That’s bad for society, but good for me. The media has brought this distrust on themselves, and only fools or total friendlies will talk to them. Be a fool, you’ll learn the hard way that the scorpion always stings you in the end.

Second, she elaborates her viewpoint in detail:

Intellectual debate and the concept of “rigor” are often seen as the pinnacle — that is, the most ideal form — of intellectualism today in American higher education, a type of discourse that is prioritized and prized in a system that was created by and for white men. There are many other forms of intellectual discourse and knowledge building that don’t center on conflict. “Intellectual debate” is often cited as an ideal for finding truth, but in reality, it is a framework that gives equal weight to two ideas that often are not, in fact, equally worthy of platforming. Some things, such as the humanity of any group of people or the roundness of the Earth, are simply not up for debate.

Further, the idea that two people standing behind wooden podiums pummeling each other in front of a rapt audience is the only way to engage in discourse is exclusionary, outdated and ignores the many ways that knowledge is generated, reshaped and discussed. For example, calls to decolonize higher education and academic disciplines ask those of us in dominant groups not only to update and change our curriculum and syllabi but also require us to ensure our classrooms are spaces where students feel accepted and engaged, as well as active and equal partners with the professor in their learning. And outside the classroom, my most productive and engaging intellectual conversations — the ones that have actually moved my science forward — have not been based in conflict, but instead in collaboration and a shared spirit of curiosity.

Beyond the concept of “debate,” critiques that center on rigor are equally problematic. Rigor according to whom? What standards are we using, and who is setting those standards? For centuries, a very thin slice of our society — primarily white, Christian, wealthy, non-disabled, cisgender men — has defined rigor in Western education systems.

That is not to say that debate or rigor are inherently wrong, useless or lack a place in academic discourse. But they do carry with them their own contexts and biases, and they are not neutral. For example, many metrics that academe has historically used to evaluate merit, such as standardized testing, are poorly designed and better reflect variables like family income rather than intellectual ability or even success in graduate school. Thus, using them as the standard by which we judge all people and all discourse is inherently flawed.

…I spoke up because pushing back against flawed “free speech” and “meritocracy” narratives is vital…

I was wrong. In each article in which I was quoted, I seemed to be the lone dissenting voice. Me, a liberal arts professor and paleontologist — not an expert on campus free speech, not a scholar on the history of conservative thought, but a rather scientist who studies the early evolution of life on our planet.

Explicit and implicit biases, structural racism, and ableism contribute to not only few minoritized students entering the field but even fewer deciding to stick it out for the long run. Abbot’s views on meritocracy and affirmative action deny the real, lived experiences of these students, as well as ignore the numerous published qualitative and quantitative studies on diversity in the geosciences. Where is the merit in that?

Dr. Cohen admits she’s no historian. She’s a geologist and paleobiologist. But, she’s got sterling credentials and I think her views reflect much of the thought of many academics, and it is likely the future. To be entirely frank she has no idea what she’s talking about, but her views are also widely shared and will be promulgated as the truth on high from the podiums of many universities. Her views are wrong on the merits, as anyone who digs into intellectual history will know, but that doesn’t matter, academics can develop a group consensus fast in the age of social media, and anyone denying these assertions will be seen as “white supremacist” and “ignorant.”

There’s an irony here: the idea that rigor is fundamentally the patrimony of white men would be agreed to heartily by the white supremacists of yore. One of the bizarre things about the current elite discourse, which I started noticing around 2010, is that it recycles the ideas of early 20th century Nordic supremacism, though white men are depicted as devils and evil rather than the virtuous creators.

But I think these assertions are based on false history. There are two major threads to this, the contingent and the general. In a contingent sense “disputed questions”, the genealogical ancestor of the contemporary Western intellectual tradition, began under the scholastics. In The Warriors of the Cloisters Christopher Beckwith argues that this method was imported (and perfected) into the West from the Islamic world and that its ultimate origins go back to Turanian Buddhism. Ergo, its origins are not Western, but Central Asian.

There is also a more general issue about rigor and debate: is this not the common human inheritance? There were intellectual debates in ancient India, over 2,000 years ago. There were debates in ancient China. And of course, in ancient Greece. These traditions didn’t emerge from a common invention by a lone genius. Debate didn’t have to be invented, it is part of human nature. We argue, we dispute, and we criticize.

Dr. Cohen asserts that some questions are simply not up for debate, pointing out whether particular groups are human and if the earth is round as two examples. But the consensus in these cases arose only after debate and discussion. At some point, questions are closed, and that’s what Dr. Cohen wants to do with affirmative action. She and her colleagues get to decide which ideas should be platformed, or not. This is just empirically true. Even though the American public is skeptical of affirmative action, there is now a consensus among the liberals who dominate academia that skepticism is racism, so that’s that.

Though Dr. Cohen is a scientist, of course, she doesn’t know the field of psychometrics and just repeats falsehoods that I hear commonly among academics. She asserts that tests are poorly designed (they’re not!), and that family income, not intellectual ability predicts scores (this doesn’t even make sense, as the two are entirely different sorts of variables), and that they don’t predict success in graduate school (range restriction). If standardized testing were part of her intellectual domain she wouldn’t engage in such sloppy thinking. But it’s not, and the things she says are now held to be truths across broad sectors of academia, so I don’t mind that she’s repeating nonsense. That’s a feature, not a bug.

Finally, she asserts the “lived experiences of these students.” Which students are these? Those she and her fellow travelers deem worthy of counting and considering. Many nonwhite students feel that rigor is their inheritance, their birthright, and they oppose affirmative action. But their lived experiences don’t count, they are dismissed. They decide.

I appreciate Dr. Cohen’s piece because she articulates the dominant mode of thought that is on the march in the academy today. There are dissenters, like Abbot, but most are silent in the face of the new order. This is the future Americans pay for in their tax dollars and tuition.

But a bittersweet aspect of this all is that when you banish rigorous debate as the ultimate arbiter of intellectual discussions, what you have left is pure power. When Dr. Cohen says that her most “productive and engaging ” intellectual advances “have not been based in conflict, but instead in collaboration,” listen. This is the velvet glove of power. If you disagree deeply, you are not a collaborator. If you are not on her team, you are problematic. They come not to bring peace but a sword. They will burn these institutions to the ground, and we will stand and watch because the courage of men has failed. We have only ourselves to blame.

79 thoughts on “Confusing human universals for the inventions of white people

  1. In these troubled times, I continuously re-evaluate cherished precepts and ideas. Such as: Was it really a “good thing” for us to have made dueling illegal?

  2. @twinkie, I guess these arguments around guessing mental states could be meandering. (Is it really not “mind reading” to imply that someone in a discussion is too frightened to continue a discussion, while it is “mind reading” to suggest that someone might be angered rather than disappointed?). I’m surprised that you have a strong disappointment in a fairly mild (I thought) bit of poking during a discussion of course, but so it goes.

    I do genuinely appreciate the facts that you’ve presented me with around Korean military history – I learned a fair bit here that exceeded my limited and stereotyped grasp (and I hopefully will not forget it). Whether I say I don’t perhaps really believe what I see you to be arguing for here, it’s not on the facts that I don’t believe you, or your personal experience (which may be coloured by your own biases in perception or recounting, but which I can’t contest as they’re simply your own). I don’t either really disbelieve that American Jews tend to be less employed than we’d expect in the military (even allowing for the relatively great levels of compensation their talents would find in other fields).

    But I think if this subthread of discussion still comes down to whether Jews in the diaspora are limited in the US military, or have an anti-military character, because of their deep diasporic experience over the centuries and a lack of military heroes during that time, I’m still not that persuaded that the deep diasporic experience matters much compared to other things that are more recent and just historically a bit of a crapshoot. (Not of an inherent anti-militaristic “national character” to the Jewish diaspora outside Israel, though I don’t think you argue this way). I think you’ve made the case yourself that military traditions and culture were to a large degree created in the wake of the need for mass military mobilization in the wake of the French Revolution, and that it was not really a lot deeper for most citizens of most nations than for the Jews of the post Emancipation period? If this is a valid source – – then it mentions things like “In 1855 there were 157 Jewish officers in the Hapsburg army and by 1893 this number had risen to 2,179 or 8% of all the officers in the Hapsburg army”. Perhaps this is my bias talking! Again if that is what we’re still discussing, or even disagreeing on, at this point! (It becomes a bit unclear over time in conversations like this…)

    iffen, is that a meta on this comment thread? (If so I feel disappointed that you would implicitly want to see twinkie shoot me dead or otherwise to shuffle me off the mortal coil, as I’d flatly stand zero chance in a duel with him of any sort!).

  3. Is it really not “mind reading” to imply that someone in a discussion is too frightened to continue a discussion, while it is “mind reading” to suggest that someone might be angered rather than disappointed?

    Fella, you really don’t get it, do you? I do NOT think Mr. Sobchak is “too frightened.” Stop playing this rhetorical game. To the extent I speculate about his state of mind, I think that he does not want to admit he wrote too hastily and does not want to retract anything he has written. As I wrote very clearly, I think he is being intellectually cowardly (and I also made it plain that I do not know anyone who is intellectually cowardly who is, at the same time, physically brave). But I surely hope he is not a bizarre human being who gets “too frightened” of someone on the internet. That’s not a snowflake – that’d be someone who needs a serious psych eval.

    I am not angry with you – frankly because I do NOT know you enough to get angry. In point of fact, I do not know you at all. It’s frustrating, sure, that I have to explain this to this extent. I have been pretty patient and indulgent up to this point, but I don’t have so much invested in internet conversations that I am willing to go on like this ad infinitum. I also think it’s odd that you keep picking at my arguments when you haven’t made a peep about someone who throws about “Jew hater” remark so carelessly and unthinkingly.

    Are you Jewish?

    “In 1855 there were 157 Jewish officers in the Hapsburg army and by 1893 this number had risen to 2,179 or 8% of all the officers in the Hapsburg army”.

    Did you read what I quoted up-thread about fencing and Hungarian Jews? Austro-Hungary was unusual in that it took an enlightened view toward its Jewish subjects earlier than other European states (I personally view the the destruction of the liberal dual monarchy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire as a great historical catastrophe in Europe).

    There is a very good movie starring Ralph Fiennes called “Sunshine” (from Jewish surname Sonnenschein) that chronicles the history of a Hungarian Jewish family over three generations (all played by Fiennes), in which some of the themes I discuss here are covered – Jewish assimilation, being military officers as Jews, fencing excellence, etc.

    That said, we can’t measure how representative Jews were in the officer corps unless we also know the size of the educated population in Austro-Hungary at the time. In most modern European armies, university degrees equated to officer status upon mobilization, so Jews, who were on average highly educated, were bound to be represented well in the officer corps in times a high degree of mobilization such as the period right before World War I. Likewise, Jews were overrepresented in the U.S. officer corps during World War II – which fact is included in the link I posted above and also led me to rebut Mr. Sobchak’s claims (“martial prowess… easy for elites”) by stating that American Jews were more militarily-oriented when there was greater prejudice against the Jewish minority.

    Van Creveld’s thesis, by the way (to which I clearly subscribe), isn’t that Jews became somehow naturally unwarlike due to the diaspora regardless of circumstances. He posits that a lengthy historical period lasting thousands of years, during which the Jewish diaspora lacked the right to bear arms, deprived them of a persistent martial mythology to draw upon in modern times… That whereas Jews could be clearly quite valorous where there was necessity, such as national survival in Israel (he persists throughout the discussion about Israeli military culture in using the Hebrew term en brera, meaning “no choice”), in times without such a necessity, Jews tended to fall back to their mode of life during the diaspora, that is, a culture without martial romance, of being “men without chests.”

    This is particularly pronounced in the diaspora, but even in Israel itself, he claims, this trend has emerged. Whereas the exigencies of national survival meant Israelis fought like fanatical warriors in past wars, their performances in expeditionary wars (that is to say, wars of choice), starting with the Lebanon invasion in 1982 have become decidedly unheroic at least in parts. In other words, it is difficult to maintain a high degree of “warlike-ness” (for lack of a better term) in more tranquil times without a persistent history of a martial culture that lasts through generations.

    Again, this manifests in the U.S. too – where military service is and has been entirely voluntary for decades – where something like 80% of military recruits have a family member with a history of military service. If interested, look up “The Rise of a Warrior Caste” on the internet for research into this phenomenon in America (I won’t provide links here, because I think the inclusion of links raises the chance of automatic moderation).

  4. If so I feel disappointed that you would implicitly want to see twinkie shoot me dead or otherwise to shuffle me off the mortal coil, as I’d flatly stand zero chance in a duel with him of any sort!

    Though there were occasional deaths, most European duels were not fought to the death, but to the first cut or first blood. Duels in which “no quarters asked and no quarters given” were rare.

    We could fight hand-to-hand. I’ll do my best to throw you softly and strangle you to a gentle, gentle sleep for a few seconds. 😉 I’ve experienced that many times during training – you are none worse for the wear afterwards (though it is an odd sensation to “lose time” thusly).

  5. @Matt
    I was just thinking out loud about the substance of the post and Razib’s point that intellectual debate has been around for some time. And it occurred to me that this occasion, when there is little disagreement about the facts, and there is little agreement as to the resolution to be debated, might, as in times past, be settled by dueling.

    I should amend my comment to say that the generational churn as a how seems plausible to me. That still does not get at the reasons why this particular dogma would be picked up and enforced. There must be many “intellectual” currents available to each generation. Consider your example of Marxism. There were numerous socialist and utopian ideas in the milieu, but Marxism and its adaptations by Lenin, Stalin, and Mao and their followers won out over all the others.

  6. @twinkie, no not Jewish. That does become the inevitable question in these discussions, but in fairness I probably invited by talking of my biases. (So I definitely won’t quote the Tolkien response at you… and I’m not quite that pretentious). Just some mix of English, Scottish, Irish and some people from Southeast Asia who were probably mostly Chinese traders but I’ve never really found out.

    OK, if we’ve got to the point where we’ve fleshed out what “Men Without Chests” means, and it means a lack of a long term culture of military ideals that creates war readiness – possibly by actually creating people who create wars? – then that is more interesting than where we started I think. And actually quite relevant in its way to the topic post (how much of culture are human universals, or inventions of particular people at certain times, and whether it matters). “Thousands of years” sounds a bit long given the period between the founding of the Ashkenazis (and I’m presuming he refers only to the Ashkenazis here) and I would guess Van Crevald may have an interest in selling a more military culture to his countrymen, but it’s not generally like it’s not a human truism that very few people maintain a culture of war beyond it being necessary, and that may be at a higher pitch in some groups at some times (or really more accurately perhaps some family lineages, even). (When it comes to performance in wars, of the performance of Brits and Americans in our recent expeditionary wars, I think, perhaps the less we say the better…)

    @iffen, was just joking tbc. I get the musing.

  7. That does become the inevitable question in these discussions

    Considering the disproportionate influence of Jews in so many fields (MSM, Hollywood, finance, government, foreign policy, academia, etc, is it really a good idea to wish that they should come in and take over the military as well? I mean, we can’t all be Reivers; somebody needs to hold down the civilized parts.

  8. @iffen, I suppose the idea would be “instead of”, rather than “as well as”! Even their talent pool has some limits. Some substitution out of being what Richard Perle and Henry Kissinger were into being generals might not be bad, might have checked some tendencies in a way that was more for the “general” good. (Or it might have been bad. I don’t know!).

  9. it occurred to me that this occasion, when there is little disagreement about the facts, and there is little agreement as to the resolution to be debated, might, as in times past, be settled by dueling.

    Had that option been available, I might have been tempted to resort to that when you called me “a lying sack of shit” on Unz.

  10. “Thousands of years” sounds a bit long

    How would you characterize the timespan between those of Samson, King David, and Masada and now?Masada was about two thousand years ago, David about three thousand, and I wouldn’t even venture to guess about Samson.

    Men Without Chests

    Of course, it’s not purely about military service. A persistent culture of martial romance also produces related and/or ancillary cultural traits that prize things like “valor in the ring,” a “sporting” culture for the lack of a better term. In the geographical recruiting belts of the U.S. (the Midwest and the South), football and wrestling are very popular. Indeed there seems to be a strong correlations and perhaps even a feedback loop between physically rough (especially combat) sports and military service.

    In that regard, I find it notable that I run into lots of combat sports practitioners in the U.S. with Muslim surnames. My (and my children’s) Judo club, for example, has Afghans and Central Asians (and though not Muslim also Mongolians). BJJ and mixed martial arts also feature many Muslims (the most famous being Khabib Nurmagomedov of Dagestan, Russia who recently retired as an undefeated UFC lightweight champion). Dagestanis are enormously overrepresented in the dominant Russian national wrestling team… though I think some of this has to do more with being Caucasians than being Muslims (Georgians, though not Muslims, have numerous notable and champion Judoka internationally, their folk wrestling style, Chidaoba, being a pathway for Judo). My (and my children’s) BJJ club is pretty explicitly Christian and we still have Muslim students!

    In a similar vein, I don’t think it’s coincidence that the top Olympic medal-garnering sports for the South Koreans have been:

    1. Archery (27 gold, 43 all medals total)
    2. Tae Kwon Do (12 gold, 22 total)
    3. Judo (11 gold, 46 total)
    4. Wrestling (11 gold, 36 total)
    5. Shooting (7 gold, 17 total)
    6. Badminton (6 gold, 20 total)
    7. Fencing (5 gold, 16 total)
    8. Boxing (3 gold, 20 total)

    Except badminton, these are all derived from some form of combat. Koreans also have a folk wrestling style of ancient origin called Ssireum. In the old days, every village and town had its own champion and such champions competed one another for the national title (the prizes always being cattle). It is still practiced today:

    Also of note was the observation from early Western visitors to Korea about how neighboring rural villagers settled arguments (e.g. over boundaries, wells, etc.) in the late Joseon period – the men of the villages in dispute would line up in a chosen time and place and engage in rock-throwing fights (!) and the dispute would be settled in favor of those still standing.

    So, the Squid Game thing is not all that new, eh? 😉

  11. Considering the disproportionate influence of Jews in so many fields (MSM, Hollywood, finance, government, foreign policy, academia, etc, is it really a good idea to wish that they should come in and take over the military as well? I mean, we can’t all be Reivers; somebody needs to hold down the civilized parts.

    Yes, but perhaps you are not considering the possibility that the alternate-reality “domination” of the military by Jews in America might have also changed the culture of American Jews in general and altered their trajectories in other avenues of American life, with the result that non-Jews would perceive them quite differently.

    After all, it must have been pretty hard to see Daniel Inouye as a dirty, unpatriotic Jap, when he came back from the ETO without an arm, after having given up his medical studies and volunteered to fight on behalf of the country that imprisoned many of his co-ethnics (who then formed the most decorated American military unit of its size in history):

  12. @Matt
    Even their talent pool has some limits

    No doubt. It really is uneven. We can look at the disastrous leadership and input of the last quarter of the 20th Century in politics, finance and government, especially foreign policy, and place that up against their sterling accomplishments in science, Hollywood, and academia. A fine grain comparison would be their forgettable fiction as opposed to their superlative non-fiction such as historiography. (I am not a “full-time find and name the Jews type” so my perspective is limited.)


    with the result that non-Jews would perceive them quite differently

    Possibly, but it might only apply to someone with the same assimilation criteria as yourself. It didn’t seem to help the Jews in Europe, especially Germany, after their service in WWI. You have to remember that Jews are a unique minority. Although, I speculate that honorable service by many black Americans in WWII did much to change the trajectory for them with regard to de jure discrimination in the U. S.

  13. @Twinkie
    Had that option been available

    At least it meets my first stipulation that the facts are not in dispute.

    Colonial Twinkie, “Don’t worry Mr. Hamilton, go ahead and waste your first shot for show. It’s not like Aaron Burr intends to kill you.”

  14. Possibly, but it might only apply to someone with the same assimilation criteria as yourself. It didn’t seem to help the Jews in Europe, especially Germany, after their service in WWI.

    1. America isn’t Europe.

    2. It certainly helped the Japanese-Americans after World War II (though of course, the Japanese weren’t “dominant” in the army, merely extremely courageous and highly decorated for valor).

    3. Jewish service for Germany and Austro-Hungary in World War I was widespread, but military service was widespread and mandatory in World War I, period. The whole point of this discussion about “Men without Chests” is about persistence, or lack thereof, of martial culture through generations among some groups of people.

    One ancillary point to note is that the killings of Jews in the Holocaust were extremely widespread in Nazi occupied Eastern Europe (Poland alone accounted for 3 million Jewish deaths), but were comparative far fewer in Germany (150,000-200,000) itself where Jews were much smaller in number and well-assimilated (and much the same story in other Central and Western European countries such as France, Italy, Denmark, Austria, etc.).

    And those German/Austrian Jews with prior military service were frequently spared from the Holocaust and some even served in the Wehrmacht:

    Indeed, Hitler was quite sentimental and refused Heinrich Himmler’s request to expel his erstwhile comrade and driver, Emil Maurice (who was descended from Jews), from the SS (Maurice was SS member no. 2 after Hitler himself). This despite the fact that Maurice had cuckolded Hitler with the reputed only love of Hitler’s life and half-niece, Geli Raubal. That’s right, a Jew/Mischling biblically “knew” the girl Hitler had declared “his only love” and managed to, not only stay alive, but continue to stay on as a high-ranking SS member along with the rest of his family (!). Another little known odd fact from World War II.

    4. Military service has been long and widely considered an important part of assimilation of out-groups. Even Robert Putnam (of “Bowling Alone” fame), who concluded that diversity decreases social trust, found that there were two factors that counteracted such a trend – shared military service and a common religion.

    Although, I speculate that honorable service by many black Americans in WWII did much to change the trajectory for them with regard to de jure discrimination in the U. S.

    Although the U.S. government did much to publicize the contribution of the black soldiers in World War II, they had trouble shaking the reputation for poor performance in battle and for engaging in wanton criminal acts such as rapes of civilians in Europe.

    Colonial Twinkie, “Don’t worry Mr. Hamilton, go ahead and waste your first shot for show. It’s not like Aaron Burr intends to kill you.”

    What’s “colonial” here?

    I was thinking more along the lines of whispering “Sheeeeeeee…” into your ears as I gently nursed you to slumber with a Hadaka Jime. It’s the right solution for cretins who say things like “lying sack of shit” in a polite conversation.

  15. What’s “colonial” here?

    My bad, should have been early American, not colonial. See how easy that was. Doesn’t require enlarged gonads at all.

    Keep working on your Nazi Apologetics Vol. I, you wear it well.

    Speaking of enlarged gonads, why don’t you get a pair and stop with the coy Franco adulation and just go ahead and say what type of leader we really need.

  16. Do you still maintain that [iffen] is a “WN,” for example?

    The manly thing would be to admit honestly you were uninformed, that you presumed what you shouldn’t have, apologize for calling names, and either move on or engage in further exchange (sharp or cordial) of information, analysis, and opinions.

    Yes, I am calling your behavior out as unmanly.

    PS When you know something is untrue, but you keep repeating it in public, that, friendo, is not only unmanly, it is called lying.

  17. stop with the coy Franco adulation

    What’s coy about admiring Franco? Franco found a country divided by ideology and civil war, emerged victorious, adroitly navigated the fraught period of global warfare between the Axis and the Allies, outlived all his rivals and competitors, and, on his deathbed, left his country richer and more orderly than he found it. And he is my co-religionist, to boot.

    Keep working on your Nazi Apologetics

    Yawn. Boring and stupid reductio ad hitlerum. It doesn’t work when hysterical Wokesters employ it or when you do it. The Nazis were weird anti-Christian occult-believing losers who, despite the suffering and courageous and superb fighting qualities of their citizens, brought nothing but ruin and desolation upon their own country (complete with mass rapes of their womenfolk by their enemies). Who but clowns, LARPers, and straw men-opposition side with that insanity?* You must be confusing me with Richard Spencer.

    No response to my four substantive points? Is it back to hysterics-only again?

    *I will give the Nazis due for their snappy, Hugo Boss-made uniforms. They might have been genocidal incompetents, but they did have a sense of style (or, to sound more pretentious, “aesthetics”).

  18. Do you still maintain that [iffen] is a “WN,” for example?

    Oh, are we playing the “let’s put words into other people’s mouths” game again?

    Do link to where I called you a white nationalist. What I wrote – years ago – was that you seemed to be unduly preoccupied with “race wars” in some future America and that I found those who were “concerned” about race wars to be often those who wanted one to happen. And apparently you listened to me, because you stopped writing about your race war concern and I stopped commenting about it in response. See how easy THAT was?

    What’s going to be next? Some inane comment about “yellow pussy” again? Unlike you, I can link to that comment. Would you like me to? I can also link to the “lying sack of shit” comment, too.

    Here is a little tip: before you try to make your interlocutor sound like the bad guy (by, of all things, invoking the Nazi menace), clean up your own act and don’t come off like a guy who writes – to phrase quite generously – weird stuff.

  19. Iffen, I am terribly sorry. I was wrong about what you said. You did not call me “a lying sack of shit.”

    Ron Unz called you a “a (rather mediocre) pro-Israel activist” and I defended you despite my dislike of you (“I never thought he was a ‘pro-Israel activist,’ and I exchanged sharp words with him [in the past]…”) and asked for evidence. What you actually wrote in response to this fair-mindedness on my part was “You are a lying, slant-eyed asshole and your nickname is shit!” So sorry I did not quote you accurately. I regret the error.

    And in an ever-so-manly manner, you put a line across it to indicate you didn’t really mean it, right? Is that what you mean by “coy”?

  20. So sorry again, Iffen, I was wrong again. You did call me “a lying sack of shit” a few comments down from the one I quoted above.

    I did become curious about the exact wording of how I characterized you on Unz, so I checked and found the following:

    Earlier on that thread, I made a plea to various rightists to set aside their small differences and unite, and “Rosie,” a self-declared white nationalist, wrote that she wouldn’t unite with the likes of me (a nonwhite), to which I replied:

    I wasn’t referring to you. I was talking to iffen. I may disagree with him on somethings. He may have animosity toward me online and can’t control his temper, but I suspect that upon reflection in real life, he won’t disqualify my children as peers and citizens because of their genetics. At least, he claims so.

    Hmmm, it appears I wrote that you were not a white nationalist.

    Gee, it seems that, given your recurrent mischaracterizations of me and other outbursts, I really should stop sticking up for you to others.

  21. Since nobody is paying attention and we are not imposing on anyone, I’ll do my part to keep this drivel going, at least until Razib threatens to ban us.

    Do link to where I called you a white nationalist.

    How about you link to examples that show my “obsessive” interest in a race war?

    What’s going to be next? Some inane comment about “yellow pussy” again?

    Yes, do link to that. I’m going to go out on limb here and say that it doesn’t exist. You might find my comment where I used the term “tight little pussy”. But as we all know, Europe is not America, so yellow pussy is not the same as tight little pussy even if some white men think that.

    You don’t need to link to my calling you a liar. I called you a liar in this very thread. Do I really need to add the scatological descriptor?

    As I have told you before, you really do need to keep links and write things down because your memory is not that good. I suspect it comes from disorientation and discombobulation as a result of going to all those fancy dinner parties where celebrity WNs like Spencer are at one elbow, while a Supreme Court Justice is at the other, and all the while you are just trying to talk geopolitics across the table with your friend Martin. Or maybe it’s not that complicated, maybe you just hit your head too many times doing those Ninja Turtle routines on the middle school lunchroom table.

    Why is Walter a coward for not doing what Twinkie demands? Maybe he just heeded his wife’s advice to not argue with morons on the Internet.

    BTW, I’m not a rightist. I will give a liar the benefit of the doubt and assume that you meant for me to be in the disgruntled group rather than the rightist. But since you persist in your lie about me being a race war mongering WN go ahead and add that in. What’s the harm in one more lie?

    I made a plea to various rightists …

    I wasn’t referring to you. I was talking to iffen.

  22. So you don’t have a link where I call you a white nationalist, huh? In fact, you haven’t provided links of any kind.

    See ya later. I’m going to avert my “slant-eyes” from this now. I think the other commenters and readers have more than enough information on who called whom what.

    P.S. You are right – you didn’t write “yellow pussy” – you rambled some bizarre and crude stuff about Asian women having “tight little pussy.” That’s so much better. Sorry about my “lie.” It’s totally clear you are not a racist of any kind and I was right to defend you from the ad hominem of others.

  23. Is Milan a “Jew hater” too?

    I love how people who call others “Jew hater,” Nazi,” and “slant-eyed asshole” – all the while assiduously avoiding addressing the actual, substantive points – think they are the good guys.

    “Win” the internet indeed.

  24. Many (most?) times it is not a simple process to decide what beliefs or statements are indicative of the person being a Jew-hater or Nazi. FWIW I don’t believe that you are either. I also give a person the “right” to be a Jew-hater or Nazi. I don’t believe that it is rational or moral. It is not “a good thing”, especially for America, my country. I did think it a little unusual to see that set of facts about Hitler and the Nazis cited.

    Deciding whether a person is a racist can also be a conundrum. For some, the use of a racial slur, even one time, is enough to clinch the deal. FWIW that was the only time that I have used a racial slur since I saw the light, many, many years ago. If you want an apology, I will give you one and it will be a sincere one. It was used in one of my outbursts, as you call them, and was intended to strike at you. I do not use derogatory language regarding a person’s race or ethnicity. Except in this case when I wished to verbally strike at you, and I thought that a racial slur might do the trick.

  25. FWIW I don’t believe that you are either.

    Then what did you mean by “Nazi apologetics” you attributed to me?

    I do not use derogatory language regarding a person’s race or ethnicity. Except in this case when I wished to verbally strike at you, and I thought that a racial slur might do the trick.

    That’s quite juvenile and malicious, especially considering that I was sticking up for you to the owner of the site (Ron Unz) for characterizing you negatively.

    If you want an apology, I will give you one and it will be a sincere one.

    I don’t want or need an apology. And take this in any way you’d like, but here is my take on a sincere apology.

    My firm philosophy on apology is this: if I believed that I did wrong, I apologize whatever the emotional state or the condition of the person I wronged (or even if there is no specific wronged person). If, on the other hand, I didn’t believe I did any wrong, I would not apologize regardless of how “offended” the other person seemed.

    I find the modern, passive-aggressive, corporatist mode of apology – “If you were offended, then I am sorry” – extremely disingenuous and insincere. It’s designed to shift the burden to the person wronged rather than the wrongdoer. It’s no apology at all, but simply a device for the wrongdoer to escape the uncomfortable moment. And, yes, I find it utterly unmanly.

    So, apologize if you felt that you did wrong. Don’t if you felt that it was the right thing to do. It was your action – you are responsible for it one way or another. My feeling or “want” has nothing to do with it.

  26. I agree with your thoughts on apology.

    I regret and apologize to you for the racial slur. I further apologize to the community which deplores and condemns such language. I chasten myself for failing to live up to a just and honorable ideal.

    I realize what a stupid waste of time this has been.

    I no longer care what you write about me or whether you are a dishonest interlocutor or not.

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