To be alive and online in our time is to feel at once incensed and stultified by the onrush of information, helpless against the rising tide of bad news and worse opinions.
Mark O’Connell, The Deliberate Awfulness of Social Media.
Is anyone really surprised by New York governor Andrew Cuomo saying, “We’re not going to make America great again. It was never that great.” The Left has been saying that, if not quite so bluntly, for decades. The only difference is that many more Americans now hold that view, including a disconcerting number of putative “conservatives.”
Dani Lever, a spokeswoman for Governor Cuomo, added that President Donald Trump’s Bull Moose patriotism “ignores the pain so many endured and that we suffered from slavery, discrimination, segregation, sexism and marginalized women’s contributions.”
Yes, we’ve heard that before too, but the crescendo of hysteria is reaching fever pitch. The Left now asserts that Robert E. Lee’s soldiers in gray were proto-Nazis; that Ulysses S. Grant’s soldiers in blue were genocidal Indian-killers; that America’s women still struggle against a colonial, patriarchal legacy of plantation owners in powdered wigs who kept their wives in comfortable confinement and their slaves as exploitable chattel; and that President Trump, far from being “a very stable genius,” which should be pretty obvious to everyone by now, …
And that is where I stopped reading this Townhall “worse opinions” that the Imaginative Conservative beslimed itself by re-printing.
“How likely are you to recommend quip to a friend or colleague?”
On a scale of zero to 10, about 0.1.
I simply cannot recall a friend or colleague asking me for a toothbrush referral, and volunteering it would feel about like announcing to an elevator full of strangers that I’m wearing new socks (or one of these other choices).
So that’s my quip quip.
For Ed Whelan — a former Supreme Court clerk, no less — to spout off on Twitter yesterday, actually naming some other dude who’s a middle-school teacher as the “real” assailant, because of a floor plan, is mind-bogglingly reckless and wicked. You first argue that no one should be accused of attempted rape without proof because it forever tarnishes his reputation — and then you go and actually name someone else as the culprit while simultaneously saying you can’t prove anything. This is how tribalism destroys minds.
More from Sullivan:
Mobs and tribes have always been with us, as the Founders well understood. But Haidt and Lukianoff suggest a variety of specific reasons for the sudden upsurge in toxicity. There is a serious disconnect between the winners and losers of globalization, and this has been exploited by demagogues. Social media has given massive virtual crowds instant mobilization, constant inflammation, and — above all — anonymity. Give a street mob masks, Haidt and Lukianoff note, so they can hide their identity and their capacity for violent and aggressive conduct suddenly soars.
… Our entire society, they argue, needs a good cognitive-behavioral therapy session, to get some kind of grip on our emotions — and not a constant ratcheting up of tribal fever.
Update: Mr. Whelan deleted those Tweets and apologized, apparently sincerely and what I’d call “profusely.”
Seriously: between a nationalist who posts photos of IS atrocities and authoritarian progressives who order her to a shrink therefor, I think I’d take the nationalist.
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