"An Elite Progressive LISTSERV Melts Down Over a Bogus Racism Charge"

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

An interesting article by Jonathan Chait (New York Magazine):

On May 28, progressive election data analyst David Shor tweeted about a new paper by Princeton professor Omar Wasow, showing that peaceful civil-rights protests moved public opinion toward protesters while violent protests had the opposite effect. The tweet violated a taboo in some left-wing quarters against criticizing violent protest and led within days to his firing.

What happened after that was even more bizarre. On June 11, I wrote an article briefly describing Shor's tweet and firing. Four days later, "Progressphiles," a LISTSERV for left-of-center data analysts, kicked Shor off. In a message to the group, the moderators described his tweet as "racist" and further accused him of having "encouraged harassment" of another member of the list: …

Much worth reading.

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  1. In a message to the group, the moderators described his tweet as “racist” and further accused him of having “encouraged harassment” of another member of the list: …
    Much worth reading.

    Sorry, nothing worth reading.

    1. I did read it; it did tell me nothing new; but it did tell me that the nuts are still eating their own. I suppose if anything surprised me, it is that the author seems surprised at the cannibalism. I even wonder, a little, if that surprise is just a fake to try to get back in their good graces.

    2. We have to purge society of racism by firing every single white person!

    3. At least Joe McCarthy was drunk….

  2. If you hold yourself out as a “progressive” then you should know what the movement is about and comply with the taboos of the movement. So you should know JK Rowling has a very thoughtful and reasonable position on transgender people but progressives still think she is a purveyor of bigotry. Btw, why don’t we get rid of man/woman and male/female and just refer to people as XX or XY?

    1. They’ve already divorced chromosome types and “gender identity” from each other.

      1. I had to listen to a progressive public health expert waste over a minute to finally just say she was talking about people with two X chromosomes because she didn’t want to offend anyone on the Left. And I had to read a column in the NYTimes in which the writer couldn’t use the word “woman” when discussing abortion rights!?! So it is more important to not offend progressives than to convey important public health information!?! So let’s cut to the chase and call biological women double Xes and do away with other words.

        1. So let’s cut to the chase and call biological women double Xes and do away with other words.
          For brevity, you can use just X or Y.

          1. And then the trans advocates will jump on you.

            1. I and V? + and -? I don’t know. Perhaps just S for Schrodinger.

              1. They’ve made race (and a bunch of other identities) into this untouchable subject matter where you have to listen to what a select group of elites say and there are no acceptable counter-opinions because to express one would be to “do violence” to a “community”.

                (They of course, would not say that, they would say that we are to listen to members of the oppressed group, but in practice, nobody’s actually talking to members of those groups who are have lower socio-economic status; “listen to black people” always in practice means “listen to black Harvard students” or similar. Trans activists aren’t the habit of talking to streetwalking trans sex workers. Etc.)

                And in the end, that’s folly. It isn’t that you have to be wedded to the old ways; it’s healthy, for instance, to get more black and Hispanic and gay and trans and female voices into the conversation. But you need norms of free speech and discourse. You need the ability to have debates and arguments without people worrying that anything they say might be denounced as racist or sexist or ___ist.

                1. Well said. I have had reasoned discussions with friends that changed my mind. I’ve never been swayed by someone who limited the discussion to approved topics and words.

                2. “nobody’s actually talking to members of those groups who are have lower socio-economic status; “listen to black people” always in practice means “listen to black Harvard students” or similar.”

                  But even then, its only those who stay on message. There are very few calls from the “listen to black people” types asking people to pay more attention to what Clarence Thomas has to say.

                  1. Right. And I say that as someone who isn’t a fan of Clarence Thomas; nonetheless the accusations he faces that he is not an “authentic” black voice are outrageous.

  3. For those trying to follow along at home:

    Silence = violence.
    Criticizing violence = racism.

    1. Been there — lived it.

  4. Of course the revolution eats its own. The question is not what’s on the menu, but how it is cooked. There is a certain Louisiana style of cooking fish, dragged in pepper, the term for which is obviously too racist to name here.

    1. Some people are more equal than others – “Oregon county issues face mask order that exempts non-white people”

  5. Also, anyone who can type something like this…

    David Shor, a member of this community, knowingly harassed and bullied another member of this space. In response to a well-deserved call in over a racist tweet, he encouraged harassment that led to death threats instead of choosing to learn and grow from his mistake. We as the Progressphiles Moderators, professionals in this industry, and as people, absolutely condemn this behavior. It is unacceptable to make people on this list and in this community feel unsafe for calling out wrongdoings. We cannot begin to decolonize our minds if we do not create safety for those fighting against white supremacy. It is on all of us to do this work, but especially to show up for those already doing it and make sure they are safe. By not acting, we are perpetuating the racism and sexism we know exists on this list and in our community at large. As such, we have removed David Shor from Progressphiles.

    …unironically is clearly mentally ill.

    1. Except they are the ones with the psych licenses….

      1. There are plenty of science fiction dystopias that warn against this exact kind of thing.

        1. And at least one large state university where the dystopia is reality.

    2. Good to know that we can add another voice, David Shor, to the chorus that is singing out in opposition to the elitist bourgeoisie that imagine they are the vanguard of the proletariat.

  6. Can’t decide if I should laugh or cry.

    1. You can do both.

  7. I can’t believe that I’m in a world where is normal to lose your mind over a door pull or exercise equipment. Did 99.9% of people’s brains just fall out of their head last week?

    1. Yes. Yes they did.

    2. No. 50% of people’s brains fell out back in Nov 2016.

      1. Well yes, obviously. That’s how we ended up with President Trump.

        1. “We”?

          Also, that was only 46%.

  8. It’s like people learn nothing from “progressive” revolutions throughout history.

    France, Russia, China, Cambodia, Venezuela, etc. are examples to be learned from, not aspired to.

    1. Speak for yourself. I plan on forming my own BlackLivesMatter group to show loyalty to the party. Naturally, I’ll keep most of the donations for myself, in the form of a generous but legal salary.

    2. There is one bright spot: these clowns are so intolerant of each other, and probably hate themselves just as much, that they can never put together a political regime. I honestly don’t think they could ever tolerate each other long enough to organize any kind of armed rebellion; they’d be shooting each other long before they found any outsiders to shoot.

      1. *checks Free Capital Hill/CHAZ/CHOP*

        Ding ding ding !

        1. How is BHAZ doing? I was ahead of the movement when I started WFHAZ months ago.

  9. You guys just don’t get it. They’re playing 10-dimensional chess. If all the progressives get each other fired and make each other unemployable, they’ll have no choice but to take to the streets and demand progressive policies like guaranteed income, universal health care, and other forms of free stuff that don’t require you to actually be able to earn a living.

  10. Mockery is fine, but essentializing this as how the left is doesn’t really seem in keeping with the great threat y’all have been claiming the protest and autonomous zone, and indeed liberals generally are.

    The enemy is both strong and weak. By a continuous shifting of rhetorical focus, the enemies are at the same time too strong and too weak.

    1. God you’re still in denial. Just a few years ago you were claiming the campus bullshit would stay on campus, how it wasnt representative of the left. Yet here we are.

      How are you so in denial?

      1. There’s another thread on envcryption that may be making its way to the Supreme Court.

        I really don’t want to have to choose which party to vote for based on whether their judges will allow outlawing of hard encryption, or allowing the escape of anti-harrassment laws into the wilds from the contained domains of campus and business.

        1. Future dictators cheer either ruling. Evidence? Billions around the world right now.

      2. Yeah, I’m in denial that the left is an existential threat to the Republic.
        I also think the right isn’t.

        What IS a threat are the people who insist their opposition isn’t just wrong, but evil and enemies of the Republic.

        Say what you will about Biden, but he’s not saying the GOP are an existential threat.
        Trump, on the other hand, talks about enemies of the people and Democrats wanting an end to laws a lot.
        So do you.

        Quit it.

        1. “Yeah, I’m in denial that the left is an existential threat to the Republic.”

          Yes, you’re in denial about it even as they riot, loot, and burn, and warlords take over portions of cities. You’ll be in denial about it even as you’re shoved against a wall and shot.

          1. Jesus, Brett, your melodrama problem is getting worse.

            1. {Kevin Bacon}

              “All is well!!!!”

              {/Kevin Bacon}

        2. “What IS a threat are the people who insist their opposition isn’t just wrong, but evil and enemies of the Republic.”

          “Four years of Donald Trump would be an aberration in American history. Eight years will fundamentally change who we are as a nation,” Biden said. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/biden-trump-existential-threat-to-us/

          1. I refer you to Brett above, Bob.

            Not quite the same as your low bar.

            1. “low bar.”

              I gave you a Biden quote that insists his opposition isn’t just wrong, but evil and an enemy of the Republic.

              1. Fundamentally transform isn’t existential.

                Didn’t Obama talk about fundamentally transforming America? Do you think he was making an existential threat?

                1. “Do you think he was making an existential threat?”

                  Of course.

                  But you said “people who insist their opposition isn’t just wrong, but evil and enemies of the Republic” are a threat. Biden is saying Trump is evil and an enemy of the Republic that exists today.

                  1. Bob, if you can’t see the two different standards that you’re holding up between the Biden quote and what Brett’s going on about, or what Trump says…

                    1. Jesus…Gene Kelly had nothing on you when it comes to song-and-dance routines.

        3. Biden and Trump and this or that? Anything but the specific topic and issue on hand. There’s always an excuse with you to overlook something from the left. Someone needs to quit something alright but it’s not others.
          Prior to Trump you were dismissing complaints about this behavior as fragile “fainting spells”. You mocked and ridiculed the concerns. Meanwhile that Covington teenager who “smirked”? You wanted him tossed out of polite society (metaphorically speaking).
          Try this: condemn *both* excesses. When there’s a post on Trump’s appalling acts – and Trump is, as John McWhorter says, a “repulsive moron” – then condemn him. When there’s a post on this “woke” extremism, condemn it.
          Why is that so difficult?

          1. What is the issue at hand? That liberals are sometimes silly with their purity tests? Or that y’all really like having the left be ‘both strong and weak’. Which is a reference, btw; look it up.

            I said the Covington kid ‘looked like an asshole’ but also that he didn’t do anything criminal. Y’all questioned how anyone can know anyone looks like anything because we’re not telepathic. Which is silly as hell.

            Being into infighting is not unique to the left, nor is it some threat.

            1. I said the Covington kid ‘looked like an asshole

              Yeah, he kept his cool and didn’t respond at all to an old, lying sack of shit who should have been the adult, but who got in his face…not to mention the other racist shitheads hurling epithets at the kids. Yeah, that kid looked like a real asshole.

    2. “essentializing this as HOW THE LEFT IS doesn’t really seem in keeping with the great threat Y’ALL HAVE BEEN CLAIMING the protest and autonomous zone, and indeed liberals generally are.”

      Do you think he sees the irony?

      1. Y’all != everyone, but nice try.

  11. It seems the Klu Klux Klan has attempted to modernize itself. It’s now into technology – although these days a listserv is pretty lame – and not only that, data.

    It’s also tried to make its vocabulary hipper and more flesh, although it really does seem to be exactly the same old shit. Segregation is now “safe spaces.” Lynching is now “violence” (or “violence for racial justice.”) The old trope that the “colored” people really like segregation (and before that, slavery) is now expressed as insisting that this reflects the black point of view. Lynching? Maybe it’s not so surprising. If the Klan of old could convince itself that “colored” people really wanted slavery, and it most definitely did, maybe it’s not so surprising that today’s Klansmen can convince themselves that black people really, really want to be lynched, err, “violence.”

    Not only that, but these folks openly associate themselves with the late 19th and early 19th century movement whose principal achievement was to make segregation (sorry, “safe spaces,” gotta be hip) and lynching (sorry, “violence”) into a big thing.

    So what’s the hubbub about? Klan supporters, advocates of racial segregation and the segregationist Progressive movement, advocates of lynching, have a listserv. And it seems they’ve kicked a guy off it.

    Whoopedee doo. If this guy is really a reasonable person, as Professor Volokh indicates (I don’t know myself), then they’ve just done him the biggest favor I could imagine anyone doing. What professional would want to be known as being affiliated with a listserv whose members not only openly advocate segregation (“safe spaces”) and lynching (“violence”), they kick people out for being even suspect moderates on these issues.

    Imagine what they’d do to a suspect integrationist or Civil Rights person. This guy is much safer, and will undoubtedly be much saner, being out of there. It’s a cult.

    1. It’s interesting to learn that the Klan, in its effort to appear hip, has incorporated civil rights vocabulary into its message. Anti-segregationists and anti-lynching people are now “racists.” Looking at someone the wrong way or saying the wrong thing is now “harassment” (And can get you lynched, same as before. The Klan’s advocacy of violence wasn’t abstract.) And so on.

      It seems very much like the 19th century effort to appear hip by incorporating scientific terminology into the rhetoric. Guess they gotta keep up with the times somehow.

      1. Surely you recognize that the world has been allowed to be changed by fiat of redefinition: by virtue of a judge’s imprimatur, Harvard’s racist admissions policies are not racist (despite all of the, you know bias against descendants of half the worlds population); lynching now only refers to murders of POC people by racist mobs (in spite of it actually being named after the “Lynch law” of punishing loyalists during the revolution); being as racialist (in their own way) as Pik Botha is a veritable marker of accomplishment for the latest incarnation of “liberal” legislator.

        Did you think only the fun-loving academics and jurists would take their turn at change through the lie of changing the definition of words, and of meanings? No, the very worst people will join in on all of the good work at hand, continuing the furrow being plowed by the “well-meaning”.

        Once you allow that first set of lies and distortions because of social/political need, the rest are hard to defend against aren’t they? Probably better to reject the first, preserve the principle, and call Harvard institutionally racist, mention the white people who were lynched, and declare that laws made with race as any kind of meter are evil.

        Probably too late though. Principles are anti-meme inoculations, and we don’t have very much immunity left.

  12. “left-of-center data analysts” seems like an oxymoron. If they reject data that does not align with left-of-center values, they aren’t data analysts.

  13. Ok, now I understand about Civis Analytics. How could people in the Democratic Party do with business with a company that so aligns itself with lynching, massacres, and other forms of racial violence that it would fire an employee who fails to advocate these things?

  14. Its not news to anyone that the progressive leftists can be every bit as ugly, violent, and intolerant as the far right. What this means For the democrats though, if they want to win, is that Joe Biden, who has already committed to picking a woman VP, will have to find one who isn’t angry and crazy and also a woman of color. The list is pretty short, in fact it’s zero.

    1. All Democratic politicians who are also women of color are ‘angry and crazy?’

      Zounds!

      1. I guess NoVaNick will have no choice but to vote for another white guy in November…

        1. There are 2 white guys running. Where have you been?

          1. ::That’s the joke::

      2. Such racism and misogyny are unfortunately always on display here in the VC comments.

  15. Remember the 72-hour rule?

    No Republican ever criticized Rush Limbaugh without having to walk it back within 72 hours.

    We now see that no national Republican dare criticize Trump except in the mildest terms. Otherwise they get “primaried” — a phenomenon you don’t see on the other side. Lots and lots of Democrats criticized Obama with no fear for their careers.

    Chait points out how this stuff happens on the left, but it’s always been worse on the right.

    1. “Lots and lots of Democrats criticized Obama ”

      Citation needed.

      1. Wow, Bob, your bubble is impressive.

        Hillary, Tulsi Gabbard…

        https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/02/congressional-democrats-are-angry-at-obama-again/272844/

        Who can forget Obama crapping on the ‘Professional left?’

        1. Off the record grumbling is not what capt was talking about. You can’t primary someone if you don’t know who they all.

          Hillary was running against him! Of course she criticized him.

          Your research skills are eroding. Time to leave cozy government work.

          1. The extent to which Democratic Congresspersons voted against Obama proposals is a matter of public record.

            To get an idea of how fractious the Democratic caucus was (unlike the lockstep Republicans), look up what he had to do to get 60 votes for Obamacare during that four-month window when there were, at least nominally, 60 Democratic Senators.

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