People I now dislike that I once felt the opposite, making me kind of a hypocrite

Richard Dawkins has gone from anti-religious to obliviously prejudiced. I know I know, he’s always been dismissive of religion, and I still agree with much of his attitude, but after this tweet:

He leaves me with a certain ickyness. And you can’t ignore the seemingly clueless ending question. His response to criticism of that tweet contained further cluelessness:

Sam Harris has always been problematic for me. I liked some of his writing at the time of the New (Angry) Atheist movement that came into being 5-or-so years ago, but even then he had–like Dawkins–a little too specific an anger for Islam as opposed to Islam’s cruelly manic adherents. And I unfortunately was introduced to his podcast via his Jordan Peterson interview [ed. blech]. Needless to say etc., it didn’t hook me.

Glenn Greenwald’s interviews with Snowden and release of documents outlining the craaaazy overreach of our intelligence agencies’ molesting of citizen’s rights were and are to be praised. The “liberated” documents most likely weakened our intelligence community’s power and even safety around the world, but that result must be viewed against the level of their abuses against privacy. Extreme, unchecked power may need a certain lawlessness to be corrected.

Still, his recent whataboutism towards anything America is erratically out-of-balance with reality. His argument that Trump’s position against Germany getting oil from Russia exonerates Trump from any collusion-adjacent crimes is… batshit.

Julian Assange. I had defended him, to a point, when the sexual assault allegations came out. There were many facts around the case that suggested innocence as much as guilt. I haven’t revisited that since and really don’t have the intellectual energy to care. I respect his founding of Wikileaks and, like Snowden’s document leak, believe there’s a need for such David/Goliath levelings of playing fields. Now, both he and Wikileaks are likely being manipulated by Russia to serve their ends. Are there truths in the releases? Certainly. Was there manipulation before? Most likely. And yet today the releases are used to attack considerably lesser evils with a laser-guided adherence to the media cycle and in support of a barbarous regime. To a certain degree, David has become Goliath.

Still, I’m a little bit hypocritical.


The 1st anniversary of the murder of Heather Heyer in Charlottesville, VA was last weekend. Best take was by Wonkette reminding us that it was “[the] time when [Nazis] marched and then killed a young woman with a car.” No need to mince about.

Nazi Punks Fuck Off (from the movie Green Room)

There have been several retrospectives of white supremacist beliefs in the news (because we don’t already know or understand what they believe in?). The most egregious was NPR’s interview with the organizer of the Unite the Right’s racist remembrance–presented as a spurious “both sides” segment–followed by the Black Lives’ spokesman responding. The former’s statement that “Ashkenazi Jews rate the highest in intelligence, then Asians, then white people, then Hispanic people and black people” is not one that can be presented on equal footing to anything. As The Washington Post opinion piece points out, succinctly: “Black Lives Matter [is not] the ideological counterpart to white supremacists.” Flat Earthers take note: you are as respected as centuries of science. Fuck you NPR. You did the same thing prior to W’s Iraq invasion–uncritically parrot the party line–and you deserve the worst that can happen to you because of these.

A recent study by the Institute for Family Studies analyzed data from the 2016 American National Election Survey to determine, as best as possible, what drives white supremacists. This research summary deserves to be read a few times. The data was based on the respondents’ answers to three questions regarding white racial identity, racial solidarity, and feelings of discrimination. The short answer is that white supremacists are more likely to be low income, low education, unemployed, and either Independent or Republican. The longer answer includes interesting contradictions to several assumptions: the researchers found no-or-little connection to the individual’s feelings on changing gender and family norms, no connection to rising secularism in society, and no prevalence in any one age group. So even though there are, surprisingly, young supremacists to replace the older generation, their beliefs are still in the minority. Cold comfort.

Looking at this group’s influence, an editorial in The Atlantic cautions that no matter how fringe this group remains, the blessings on them by the president along with tacit support by most Republicans gives their minority beliefs a majority of power. Last weekend’s Unite the Right 2 rally had 30-at-the-most supporters and, hearteningly, thousands of counter-protesters. Another Atlantic article closed with the observation that “[after] the protesters were ushered away quietly by their police escort, the counterprotesters didn’t even notice they had left.” And at least we can laugh at the Unite the Right’s 34-year-old organizer living at home and being berated by his father during a live stream while he praises Nazis and denounces “orthodox Israelis”. How long before this shit passes?