42 thoughts on “Emily Bazelon”

  1. Ugh, video. Call me a luddite if you will, but the Internet has become significantly worse off as a medium for the exchange of ideas since video became cheap and easy to distribute. Some things, like sporting events or fashion shows, can only be really be conveyed with video, but for anything approaching academic discussion the written word really is superior.

    Plus, search engines.

  2. Plus, search engines.

    I wonder how long it will be until we have search engines that can search for words spoken in a video?

  3. Scanning text is a lot faster than scanning a video. They could probably scan words in video now if you want the entire internet to come to a grinding halt.

  4. I wonder how long it will be until we have search engines that can search for words spoken in a video?

    YouTube has a feature that provides auto-captioning. (I don’t know if it is standard or because I performed fiddling to be part of testing HTML5 stuff.)

    Auto-captioning isn’t very far from associating the text to the video.

  5. No they create a periodic index, and a video may only needed to be scanned once. So, probably it wouldn’t be such a problem. Well, except now we’ve magnified the amount of non specific hits.

  6. I’ll now make the first on-topic comment:

    Rand, that was excellent! Thank you for the link. I rarely agree with Ann Althouse, but I certainly do this time. I hit “continue this video” to hear the rest of the conversation as well, although I didn’t go back to beginning and watch the whole long conversation from the beginning (I only mention this because I figure Althouse said something I would rabidly disagree with prior to the excellent segment.)

    What I thought was important about the clip was not Bazelon’s bigotry, but Althouse’s diagnosis of it as a mushy thinking that pushed lots of different subjects into one ideological template. In particular, Althouse points out that this leads to treating people unfairly and with prejudice, and it leads to oversimplifying complex social situations. There wasn’t anything especially original about Althouse’s critique, but she explained it well (much better than I’m doing here), and it was a very effective rebuttal.

    I think you and many of your commenters would greatly benefit from thinking about Althouse’s comment regarding mushy thinking and ill-fitting idelogical templates whenever you or they are tempted to post about “leftists”, “liberals”, and “Democrat voters and politicians”.

  7. Oh, and Muslims! Especially consider Althouse’s diagnosis when commenting on the world’s one billion Muslims.

  8. Unfortunately Althouse overlooks the biggest (and nastiest) oversimplification in what Bazelon says, which is that as far as I know a Christian fundamentalist doesn’t condemn a man for being gay but for acting on his impulses. That is, the fundie doesn’t think you are evil because you want to have sex with other men, any more than he condemns you as a married man for wanting to have sex with your neighbor’s unbelievably hot 19-year-old daughter. But in both cases he does condemn you for acting on the impulses — for actually having sex with other men, or for fornicating with your neighbor’s daughter.

    Nor would the fundie seek to prohibit a man from loving another man — indeed, he would applaud it, as implementing Christ’s own command. Cherish him, uphold him, make him your beneficiary and heir, spend all your free time fishing with him. You’re just not supposed to f**k him.

    I suppose Bazelon would respond that it is cruel to deny a person any outlet for his sexual urges, but the fundie is unimpressed with this line of argument — he would say that this is no different than the alcoholic who must forever restrain himself from having even one drink, the father of a retarded child who must care for him all his life and not just have him stuck in a home or euthanized, or the woman who married a man now stricken with impotence who must still not cheat on her marriage. Life occasionally hands out gross injustice, and we’re not expected to change our morality just because it’s very painful or inconvenient. (Also, Althouse does observe that even when judgment is called for, it supposed to be tempered with Christian charity, in that a good fundie could condemn his beloved gay friend’s visits to bathhouses, while still remaining his friend, and even keeping the visits secret from his friend’s wife.)

    Of course, all that is theoretical, and I doubt any one individual fundie adheres religiously (ha) to all of it, any more than every greenie never leaves the lights on or fails to recycle.

    I’m not sure how sympathetic I am to any of it, either, in that it’s unclear to me why God gives a damn (literally) about where among consenting adults you put your stick. But it’s very clear the left has, as usual, grossly mischaracterized, if not objectified and dehumanized, their opposition.

    Bob, you are such a Useful Idiot, and I mean that in the nicest possible way. Your humanity does you far more credit than your associations. I hope you are not forced to learn that your ideological fellow travelers are far more humane in theory than they are in practice. Do you believe me when I assert, on the basis of experience, that if you are ever personally really stuck — out on the highway, out of gas and money, or young and pregant or in trouble with the law, or booted out of your house by an irate wife, the tax collector, or natural disaster — you will be far luckier to be stumbled upon by a Christian fundamentalist than by Emily Bazelon? Emily gave at the office, you see. She’s already done God’s work by espousing the correct philosophy. It’s only the fundie that will see in you — particularly if you’re where you are by some folly or bad behaviour — himself, but for the grace of God.

  9. Carl, No, I don’t believe you at all. I’ve never been young and pregnant of course, but I’ve certainly needed help from people, and moreover, I’ve gotten to know all sorts of people. My experience is that helpfulness and political ideology don’t correlate — for the most part, I think people want to be helpful and are generally good, and this is true everywhere you look.

    I just deleted a long semi-autobiography detailing my experiences with rural conservatives and urban liberals (I was on the Board of Directors of a largely rural, conservative, white, christian enthusiast organization, despite my more urban liberal Jewish background) — too many anecdotes that most people won’t really care about or be convinced by, but the bottom line is that yes, everywhere you go you can find people who will cheat you, or who just won’t be helpful, but they are in the minority everywhere. It is also well-known that certain groups give more to private charities, but in my experience this doesn’t correlate at all with whether a person is personally charitable toward the person in front of them who needs help, or who simply expects them to behave decently.

    I surprised to hear that your life experiences have led you to conclude differently.

  10. Ken, I think you misunderstood me – because I wasn’t clear. Carl asked if I believed him when he said that I was more likely to get help from “fundies” than from someone like Emily Bazelon) and I replied that I don’t believe him at all regarding that. I certainly don’t think Carl is liar or otherwise someone who isn’t to be believed, and I’m very happy to communicate with him.

  11. Are you? Well, they have. In my experience the least truly helpful and truly kind people are precisely those who go on at length, in public, about their tip-top levels of human kindness. I find an excellent anti-correlation between someone who has a moralizing bumper sticker — Save the Whales! Visualize World Peace! Hate Is Not A Family Value! — and those who would actually stop to help you out on a lonely highway late at night. (Although maybe that’s because the redneck in the rattletrap pickup who does stop carries a shotgun in the back seat, har har.)

    I’ve known plenty of academic leftists who are passionate about helping the unfortunate victims of American hegemony in, say, Nicaragua — but who are cheap tippers and don’t even bother saying “thank you” to the bellboy — hell, they don’t even see him. Professors who pontificate about academic freedom — and cuttingly mock and suppress non-PC opinions in their actual classroom. Liberal feminists who donate gobs of money to Planned Parenthood or EMILY’s list — but can’t be bothered to raise their own children, and warehouse them in the daycare at age 2 for nine hours a day.

    I’ve lived in the coastal urban city — Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia — and the well-to-do liberal burbs (Boulder) and the weirdly religious burbs (OC) as well as out in the country (downstate Illinois) and the working poor city (Oakland). If I had to pick the place where I think my neighbors would be most likely to treat me as a brother, I’d go with out in the country or the working poor neighborhood. The coastal cities will cut your throat and rob you first, and the liberal well-to-do burbs will just step around you, muttering somebody ought to DO something about this or possibly this is all that bastard Bush’s fault. As I said, I think they feel they “gave at the office.” They vote for the right people, give money to the right causes, and that ends their moral obligation to their fellow man. It’s only the people who can really see themselves in your shoes who have the humanity to truly help out.

    Well, it could all be an accident. I could be peculiar. But let me note I started off in life just as liberal as you, perhaps even more so, and my attitudes have slowly changed over the decades from experience, and that, as Churchill and others have archly observed, to become more conservative with age is the rule, not the exception. I don’t think it’s that the milk o’ human kindness dries up. I think it’s long (and sometimes bitter) experience of the fact that, quite often, what people say is designed to distract you from what they do. A truly kind human being has no real need to make speeches about his kindness. So what should we conclude when we observe people who do make speeches about their kindness?

  12. This is an inadequate reply, but I don’t know anyone who makes speeches about how kind they are, nor do I know anyone who will cut someone else’s throat. I know lots of liberals who want to save the whales etc, but they are more like, say, frequent commenter Chris G. I’ve never met Chris, but I bet he seems like a normal guy who works at a bank(?), likes space exploration, and doesn’t give speeches about how nice he is, although I bet he is perfectly nice, just like most people regardless of where they live.

  13. Oh, I just remembered. I do know one family would cut someone’s throat. One of them cheated me in a business arrangement that went downhill (wouldn’t pay for what I supplied), and his mother owns a chain of predatory payday loan outfits. They do, indeed, make speeches about how nice they. They are scum, and I tend to forget about them. Want to guess their religion, politics, and locale type? Evangelical Christian, Republican, and Rural (population 900, 2 hours from Chicago). But I don’t think that indicates anything at all about others in that demographic.

  14. What’s funny is how smug Bob-1 is, and how unaware he is of it. I wonder how he manages to type so much while patting himself on the back at the same time.

    Also note his complete lack of awareness of Titus’s jibe. He thinks Titus was being serious! More proof that liberals have become the clueless squares they mocked in their youth.

  15. Andrea, why in the world would you think I took Titus seriously? Titus is pleasure to talk to, in part, because he has a sense of humor! And given that I really don’t think there is any correlation between political ideology and kindness, what am I supposed to say, and how am I supposed to say it? Liberals are clueless squares? Maybe you would benefit from listening to Ann Althouse.

  16. The traditional Christian doctrine on homosexuality is that the inclination is in itself morally disordered, but not sinful. Sin requires a knowing act of will. Therefore, only homosexual acts are sinful. This of course includes acts common to heterosexuals and homosexuals, e.g. lust (the objecification of a person), etc.

    More on this topic

  17. Bob, you obviously know that your one anecdote of a morally reprehensible rural Republican evangelical doesn’t mean squat, so I won’t task you with the Wikipedism the plural of anecdote is not data. For my part, I’ll mention I know leftist liberals, dyed in the wool, who are superb human beings. You seem like a very nice person, a man I’d be glad to call friend (and I have plenty of left liberal friends, and family members if it comes to that).

    But, you know, it’s all about the probabilities here, when we want to generate stereotypes. (And I’m all for allowing any individual the chance to demonstrate whether he is, or is not, different from the stereotype.) So to address the probabilities, the typical behaviour of large numbers of each type of person, I leave you with video shot of the Mall after a bunch of Tea Partiers march and after the lefty counter-protest. (I give you the video, although there are also print stories, because the video is direct evidence for your eyes to evaluate.)

    Doesn’t it say a something about the basic trade-off about which I’m speaking — “do” versus “say” — when you look at how these two crowds did something as elementary as cleaning up after themselves?

  18. Carl, I would say that Ann Althouse nicely sums up what is wrong with your argument. You’re mushing together two types behaviors and trying to fit them into one convenient ideological template that actually has nothing to do with either of those behaviors. First you were talking about being a good samaritan, now you are talking about cleaning up after yourself, and yet neither of those behaviors has anything to do with the left-vs-right divide.

    As Althouse points out, some people who describe themselves as Christian fundamentalists might bully and badger gay people, but Christian ideology calls for people to love one another, and certainly the majority of Christians try to do just that, and moreover, the circumstances that led certain gay teenagers to recently commit suicide after being bullied might have nothing to do with Christianity at all — the circumstances might have much more to do with teenage social dynamics (fitting in, etc). Trying to wedge a teenage bullying incident into a condemnation of fundamentalist Christians is just mushy thinking, as Althouse points out, and, as Rand points out, it is really just bigotry.

    Now look at this parallel:

    A person who describes himself as a greenie might be a litterbug, but Green ideology calls for people to not litter, and certainly many Greens do just that, and moreover, the circumstances that led certain lefties to litter the mall might ahve nothing to do with being Green at all – in fact, that particular rally wasn’t about being green – it was about labor unions, right? And the people at the rally weren’t representative of the Left as a whole, right? Trying to wedge a labor union rally which left some litter behind into a condemnation of all left-wingers, including Greens, is just mushy thinking and is really just bigotry. Trying to strech it further and suggest that a certain bunch of litterbugs aren’t likely to help you if your car breaks down (because they voted for Obama no less), well, that’s pretty darn mushy, and pretty darn bigoted.

    By the way, I don’t know whether the young people who show up for Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert’s upcoming rally on the mall will litter or not, but this is noteworthy:

    Finally: you seem like a very nice person too.

  19. Generalizations may fail in the particulars but that doesn’t invalidate them.

    One of them cheated me … They do, indeed, make speeches about how nice they [are].

    Bob, do you not find it interesting that your anecdote supports Carl’s observation?

  20. the circumstances that led certain gay teenagers to recently commit suicide after being bullied…might have much more to do with teenage social dynamics (fitting in, etc)

    Those dynamics tend to disfavor teenage evangelicals as well as teenage gays (and maybe more so in certain regions).

    I think one of the big myths out there is the notion that objections to homosexuality are primarily religious. A meme can’t spread unless someone is expressing it. Scarcely any religious conservatives talked about homosexuality until the 1970s, when gay activists were gaining visibility and thus forcing the issue. Attitudes don’t materialize out of thin air overnight.

  21. Ken, I think Carl might be quite correct about people who make a big deal about how nice they are, and I should have said that more explicitly, since it seems like a nice little gem of wisdom that he has shared with us.

    I just don’t think that the tendency to “make speeches about how nice you are” correlates with mainstream political ideologies or religious groups.

  22. Damn, I lost the rest of the comment. Tried to break it into two installments to get past the sp@m filter.

    People are naturally suspicious about a psychological orientation limited to 3% of the population. Some think that an orientation that makes impossible one of the greatest joys of humanity – bringing a life into the world with one’s mate – can’t be a good thing. Some believe that male homosexuality offers no option that is both as enjoyable and as safe as hetero s3x. Some are dissuaded by the opposition’s tendency to treat its claim as self-evident; people don’t change their beliefs without explanation.

    I’ll have to stop there. Night, all.

  23. Er…Bob, I’m just a simple empiricist. I don’t assume there’s a correlation between littering and the left-right divide. If I were new to this world, I’d assume no correlation at all. Why should there be?

    And yet: there’s that video. What that is, Bob, is a measurement. An observation. Observation is what says that when there’s 100,000 Tea Party righties on the Mall, they clean up after themselves, and when there’s 10,000 union lefties, they don’t. That’s not my theory suggesting there’s a correlation between your politics and your personal behaviour — that’s plain observation. Kind of undeniable stuff, you know. I mean, there it is, right there on the screen.

    Where theory comes in is when we try to explain those facts. In my case, I have a theory that leftist ideology, being so self-consciously “altruistic,” so focussed on caring for others, appears to satisfy for its adherents enough of their ordinary empathy that they then feel more free to actually be rude to actual real people around them. Id est, if you belong to a union and you march on D.C. demanding some right or benefit or other for unions — why, you’re self evidently a champion of the working man, and, with that happy thought embedded in your consciousness, you feel free to be a damn litterbug, creating all kinds of unpleasant work for actual real working people who have to clean up after you. On the other side, my theory is that if you’re a rightie, you don’t think it’s possible to be concerned with others through broad, collective actions, and your broad collective actions tend to have the message of leave us the hell alone (that’s why you’re in DC). But, concomitantly, this means the only way you can really be concerned with others is through direct personal action. So you’re aware of others, actual people near you, the people who’ll have to clean up your mess — and you don’t leave it.

    I realize you have a different theory. There were just a lot of litterbugs among the union marchers, by weird coincidence. Or a lot of neat freaks among the Tea Partiers. The videographer is lying. The wind blew the trash out of the barrels in one case. It was saboteurs and wreckers infiltrating the movement. Or, of course, the age-old soft bigotry that says the union folks are poor and minority folks whose poverty prevents them from having learned the moral code of their betters (that’s why we need affirmative action for them, after all).

    But whatever your theory, the connection between personal moral behaviour and direct concern for others, however minor the issue — in this case cleaning up behind you — and political ideology, at least with significant chunks of the “base” (I trust you do not argue that unions are a key left base, and Tea Partiers/talk radio listeners a key right base) — is not really arguable, I think. It’s there in the photos.

    And stop trying to evade the point by arguing only the extremes. I never said, nor would say, that every single lefty is a moral fraud, so you can’t disprove my assertions with one or two examples of sterling lefties. I’ve already agreed they exist. Nor have I asserted that every single rightie is a good Christian, so you can’t disprove my assertions with one or two examples of shithead righties. I agreed they exist, too.

    What I’m talking about is the general trend, the kind of stuff I do think is illuminated by how a fat chunk of 10,000 or 100,000 of the most committed behave themselves. I always watch the small stuff people do, because I think it shows their true colors. A man who wants to cut a deal with me who is rude to a waitress, because she isn’t (to him) an actual human being, or at least not nearly as important as his deal — I don’t like him, I don’t care how polite he is to me. You now what, for me, was the single most negative image I saw of Obama two years ago? It was when he patted that woman reporter on the head and told her just settle down, we’ll get to your question, sugar (I paraphrase). To me, that small act of utterly unnecessary discourtesy and contempt for that woman as a professional, and as a woman, said volumes to me — all bad.

    Want to know why I still like George Bush, despite his economic follies? Because I read in the paper how he and his wife still go down to DFW airport, without saying a word to anyone, no fuss, and stand there to shake the hand and say thank you to soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. That’s my kind of man. They used to have some among the Democrats, too, but the party seems infected by amoral parasites and Stalinists lately, I don’t know why.

  24. Leave a laptop behind in a church and in a university. Which one are you more likely to see again?

  25. Carl and Karl, both of you might be answered with the same explanation: demographics which are orthogonal to religion or political ideology. Karl, demographics definitely explains things in your case. Leave a laptop at a Unitarian Universalist church where the vast majority of congregants think Obama is too conservative, and half the congregants don’t really even believe in God, and that laptop will be right where you left it (or helpfully placed in the lost and found.)

    My answer to Carl would take more research about the rally, but here’s a quick stab at an informal answer: all of my liberal friends and relatives know about Beck’s rally and Jon Stewart’s counter-rally, even my liberal mother who doesn’t watch tv. I bet not one of them ever heard about the labor rally. I only heard about here, and demographics orthogonal to political ideology explains that. I would bet everything I own that not one of friends would litter – we grew up with Woodsy! I don’t *feel* like the rally represented the liberals I know, but I really need to learn more about the rally. I’m not saying demographics explains anything here, I’m just wondering.

    And yes, I also did wonder whether the video was simply showing what happened after a dumpster accidentally overturned and the wind took its course.

    Has anyone actually been a scientist about this? Has anyone looked at before and after photos of LOTS of rallies, and graded them according to political ideology and cleanliness? Sounds silly, but an organization like nationalmall.org might actually want to know the answer, and maybe they already do.

  26. But beyond that: I’m not at all convinced that a bunch of litterbugs wouldn’t be good samaritans for someone in need. Americans littered a lot more 40 years ago than they do today, but Americans were just as helpful back then as they are today.

  27. For Titus and Andrea:

    There once was a man so benighted
    that he never knew when he’d been slighted
    so he went to a party
    and ate just as hearty
    as if he’d been really invited.

  28. Emily comes across as one of those airhead college students who knows a lot less than she quite confidently thinks she does. I had to consult Wikipedia to find out she’s almost 40. Chalk it up to brainlessness and low-res YouTube to reverse the signs of aging.

  29. Bob, you’re reduced to well, none of MY friends would act like that, meaning you’re arguing Pauline Kael effect anecdotes again. Plus you’ve added hmm, we better study this more carefully to see if it maybe doesn’t mean what it obviously seems to mean. Maybe appoint a blue-ribbon bipartisan commission! Those are losing arguments, and you know it. You’re whipped, at least here and now. Admit it’s a good point, and move on. There are other battles in this war.

    But let me put this to you. I’ve already agreed that it’s possible for you to surround yourself with good and thoughtful and kind liberal lefties, each of whom exhibit the essence of humanity. Why not? A mere hundred men and women would easily supply all your friends and acquaintances. I’m certain there are that many, and more, men of quality on the left.

    SImilarly, I can surround myself with equally sterling men and women of the right. And, indeed, why don’t we just both, individually, surround ourselves with quality people of any philosophy that pleases us? Christian, Unitarian (“A Unitarians is someone who believes in at most one God”), Buddhists, Stoics, atheists, believers in this that and the other thing. Live and let live, eh?

    Well…almost. Because, you see, the problem is that at least some of us (or you, since I don’t subscribe to this philosophy) aren’t willing to live and let live — and there’s the rub. Some of you insist not only that I allow you to live your life surrounded by lovely liberal lefties, you want me to do so, too, in the sense that you want your philosophy of how people should and actually do interact to control what happens in my life. Your theory of what education should be used for controls what my kids learn, your theory of what economic activities are valuable and moral should control what I can buy, how I can spend my money, even how I must work — what kinds of jobs I can do, what kind of prices I can put on my labor.

    This is where things become a problem for me — and for the “Tea Party” Don’t Tread On Me crowd generally. We’re OK with you living your life as you please. By all means, donate your time and labor to the causes you love. Educate your children as you please. Start the businesses you believe are tomorrow’s. Et cetera.

    But do not attempt to force ANY of your choices on me. If you agree to this, then I’m happy to extend the same courtesy to you. I won’t try to force you to do stuff you hate, either.

    I will agree, however, that this is perhaps not so simple in the end, if your philosophy has as an ineradicable component that any massive intervention in my life — how I pay for my health care or old age, suppose — is A-OK provided it is supported by 50% of the voters plus 1. In that case, we truly do have incompatible philosophies, and there is no compromise possible — it’s extermination or at least profound frustration for one or the other.

  30. Bazelon understandably dislikes the Religious Right because they want to use the power of the State to force the rest of society into submission to their irrational dogma. Not like “liberals” at all.

  31. Hi Carl, despite your kind suggestion, I don’t want to give up (or just drop it) quite yet. I’ll post a reply for you later in the day.

  32. Carl, as usual, you raise lots of interesting points, and sometimes it is difficult to answer you because you’ve so efficiently packed so many opinions into one comment! This set of comments started with bigotry – Bazelon’s bigotry and Althouse’s diagnosis of it, and that’s what I’d like to stay focused on.

    I suggested that you were being a bigot toward the left-wing, and you answered by citing empiricism.

    To make this more fun to read (and write), lets consider two housewives chatting:

    Carla: “You can’t trust Black people, they’ll steal from you.”

    Bobbie: “I’m shocked! That’s a rather bigoted thing to say!”

    Carla: “If I was new to this world, I wouldn’t believe it, but I’m an empiricist. The prisons are full of black theives. There is a correlation between black people and thievery.”

    Bobbie: “Carla, I’m black! I wouldn’t steal from you! Or from anyone!”

    Carla: “Oh, well, of course not! I know that! You’re my best friend! And your old college friends – I met them when they visited – I know they wouldn’t ever steal from anyone either! But you can’t argue from the extremes. You have to look at the numbers. Do you realize how many black people are in prison. Besides, you’re Jewish! Jews almost never go to prison for theft. Well, maybe white collar theft, but you know what I mean.”

    Bobbie: ” I could argue with you with about the numbers and what they really mean forever, but at the end of the day, you shouldn’t be a bigot.”

    Carla: “I’m not a bigot! I’m an empiricist!”

    Bobbie: “If a black person walks into a room, do you expect him or her to be a theft? Do you give them a fair chance? Do you get to know them as a person before deciding what sort of person they are? If a black person walks into a room, do they have disadvantage with you right from the get go? If so, you’re a bigot.”

    Carla: “I don’t agree with you. A bigot is someone who won’t change their mind, a bigot is someone who is unreasonable. I’m not unreasonable. I might be prejudiced, but I’m not bigot.”

    Bobbie: Huh. That’s interesting. You know, you shouldn’t be prejudiced either! It isn’t fair! If you want to talk about criminals who happen to be black, fine, but don’t assume that black people are criminals (and you know, the vast majority of black people aren’t criminals — they don’t even litter!) But you know, what you just said makes me wonder: using your definition, wouldn’t that mean that Emily Bazelon is prejudiced but not bigot?

    Carla: Sometimes I feel as though someone else is putting words in my mouth.

  33. Uh…you may have become too metaphorical for me, Bonobob. I am not entirely sure of your point. For the record, yes, I agree with Carla that being a bigot involves foolishly extrapolating from the average to the individual. Hey, men on average are taller than women, hence anyone who calls himself a “man” but is shorter than me must be a cross-dresser of transsexual. Yeah, that would be stupid. Most forms of social offence in my book involve, at base, a strong streak of stupidity.

    But I quite disagree that believing the probability his higher that a new man you meet has a criminal record if he’s black than if he’s white is in any sense “prejudiced.” That’s just common sense. That the contrary opinion is complete PC bullshit is easy to see: just recast it as between men and women. Is it OK for a woman to assume that any new man she meets is more capable of violence towards her than a woman? Of course! No solid NPR donor would deny that. That is the basis of all kinds of legal prejudice, shield laws, custody decisions, violence against women acts, instant restraining orders, et cetera.

    Well, if it’s not sexist garbage for a woman to assume a man has a higher probability of being dangerous to her than a woman, then it is, equally, not racist garbage for a white person in South Central to assume a black man on the street has a higher probability of being dangerous to him. It’s just facts. A woman might say to a man complaining of the “prejudice” he faces: Well, change the facts, then. Police your male culture. Stop treating rape jokes as just funny. Stop turning a blind eye when a man you know is abusive to his wife. And I think it’s perfectly reasonable to say to the black leaders crying racism: Well, change the facts. Police your black culture. Stop laughing at gangsta cop-shooting rap as cool and harmless. Stop turning a blind eye when a hoodie robs a stupid whitie who parks his car in the wrong place.

    Anyway, I don’t recall saying anything in particular about Bazelon personally. I just pointed out a few of her (or more precisely her fellow travelers’) bigger misleading oversimplifications of the nature of their ideological foes among the religious. I don’t thinks she qualifies as just using “the facts” as we’ve been discussed, because I do not agree “the facts” support a notion that the Christian right is more intolerant in any nontrivial, non-cartoon sense of the word. In fact — and this was my follow-on point — it’s my experience that it’s the people who talk about their “tolerance” and virtue, who make a big deal out of it, who do not see themselves as sad sinners in just as much need of redemption — and in my experience this happens more on the left — as the most intolerant of all in what they do.

    As I said, it might easily be the case that an evangelist says I think doing another man up the butt is against God’s will, and I condemn it where a lefty atheist says It’s all good! Whatever feels right, man!. But when it comes to which of them is going to treat his gay waiter with actual compassion and humanity, when he screws up the order because he’s just had a big fight with his boyfriend — my bet is on the Christian.

    In fact, take a listen here, an interesting show on NPR this morning. Guy who did a lot of research on religion in American, and notes with some interest that (1) religious people are generally considerably more “community involved” and “helping” than the non-religious; not only do they donate more money, they donate their time and effort more, too, and (2) he was struck himself in how integrated and tolerant the various evangelical churches he visited were. He speaks of being in some megachurch in Texas and sitting in the pew with a Korean, black, Hispanic and white family. Much more integrated than your local college faculty, or even NPR newsroom. I’m hardly suggesting these are islands of magnificent moral superiority — they are human beings, after all — but I am suggesting they have gotten a thoroughly undeserved demonization from the left.

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