"Fear of Authoritarian Regimes Is Pushing the Film Industry to Self-Censor"

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

A very interesting article in Foreign Affairs by my UCLA School of Law colleague Kal Raustiala; here's an excerpt:

What sets the United States apart from the rest of the world is and has always been its soft power. The Soviets may have equaled the Americans in nuclear capability, but they could never rival the appeal of the "American way of life." And even as China tries to spread its culture across the globe, its rise tends to inspire more trepidation than admiration.

Many ingredients combine to give U.S. soft power its strength and reach, but entertainment and culture have always been central to the mix. Film and television have shaped how the world sees the United States—and how it perceives the country's adversaries. Yet that unique advantage seems to be slipping away. When it comes to some of the great questions of global power politics today, Hollywood has become remarkably timid. On some issues, it has gone silent altogether.

The most glaring example is the growing wariness of U.S. studios to do anything that might imperil their standing with the Chinese government. China's box office is as large as the American one, and entertainment is above all a business. So Hollywood sanitizes or censors topics that Beijing doesn't like. But the phenomenon is not limited to China, nor is it all about revenue. Studios, writers, and producers increasingly fear they will be hacked or harmed if they portray any foreign autocrats in a negative light, be it Russian President Vladimir Putin or North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

It wasn't always this way. In the 1930s, Charlie Chaplin's The Great Dictator took on Adolf Hitler. Later, Martin Scorsese's Kundun shone a light on the fate of Tibet, and The Unbearable Lightness of Being and The Hunt for Red October made the Cold War come alive. Today, the market power of China—and the cyberpower of some rogue states—is making studios and creatives think twice about producing such daring, overtly political films. And as the retreat from the kind of films that once bolstered American soft power accelerates, Hollywood is running out of real-life antagonists….

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  1. I mean, that’s capitalism, ain’t it?

    The unfree demand unfree products. We freely provide supply to meet demand.

    Now, I personally am no foe of regulated markets, though I also like free trade, and don’t see how one could regulate our way out of this one, other than
    1) subsidizing films with messages we like, or
    2) mandating that our films are only for Western eyes.

    Both cures seem worse than the disease.

    1. You have an example already, anti-foreign bribery laws. Make it illegal to cooperate with foreign censorship laws. Make it ilegal to discriminate [like removing black characters from Chinese posters] or censor dialogue for political reasons.

      1. Unenforceable. Way too vague to define. Way too many alternative explanations.

        1. Studios are parts of big companies. Such companies fear DOJ investigations.

          China [and others] requires pre-approval. Studio submits film, if actual shown film differs, there is your violation.

          Not saying it will be perfect but it can be done I think.

          1. “Not saying it will be perfect but it can be done I think.”

            Maybe stick to recording residential deeds in Can’t-Keep-Up, Ohio.

            1. Hmm. So you think we SHOULD suck CCP dick so they’ll buy our shit. Okay, got it.

              1. Disaffected, authoritarian, simplistic right-wing hypocrites are among my favorite culture war casualties.

                It appears Conspiracy fans are roughly as selective in supporting freedom of expression as the Conspiracy’s proprietor is.

                1. So you are an enemy of freedom? Seems odd, given all the screetching about it you do.

                  Why do you want an authoritarian domination of the future of humanity? You are so close in your culture war final victory, only to see it slip away.

                  The same Hollywood that boycotts US states, reasonably, for such violations, does not do so for China, doing worse by far, by magnitudes.

              2. People like the good Rev. enjoy the taste of boot leather.

      2. Such overt edits are the rarity. The far bigger consequence is the stuff that never gets green-lighted in the first place.

        Who do you prosecute for that? The financiers for not financing “diverse” movies that they think would be unprofitable? The directors who don’t take jobs they think could harm their careers? The casting director who makes choices based on what they think the audience will like? The scriptwriters who write what they think will sell?

        There’s a reason Free Speech fights have always been concerned with the non-enumerated consequences of “chilling effects”, because most such decisions aren’t starkly obvious.

        1. But the overt edits are in fact becoming more commonplace, cases where the edit came in, where we know what the original script was, or what screens were shot. The covert cases, exclusions by inaction, are of course harder. But just because they are hard doesn’t mean you can’t begin to address the easy stuff.

          1. So, if the U.S. government doesn’t like a particular regime, but a particular director is sympathetic to that regime, the director/screenwriter may not exercise his/her own judgment as to the artistic message they are trying to convey in consultation with anyone with whom they want to consult?

            Where is the director’s free speech?

            I don’t see a workable standard that respects the director/writer/studio’s free speech rights while punishing people who unwillingly or reluctantly or whatever gave into a repressive regimes censorship.

            I mean, I think it is disgusting, franky, that US companies of all sorts accommodate the anti-liberal, anti-freedom tendencies and actions of the Chinese government (to name the most powerful at this point). But I don’t see any remotely workable solution that doesn’t just create, essentially, our own office of censorship, which is not only not a cure, it’s just more of the same disease.

            Or do people like Bob suddenly believe that the government is going to competent and efficient at drawing these lines and the anti-censoring-censuring office will not be captured by special interests who will be less interested in the goals we all think it should have and more interested in promoting particular ideologies and favoring friends over their economic rivals? Seriously? No. Just no.

            1. Foreign governments have no right to speak in the US, at least without notification as to who they are.

              A disclaimer at the beginning of movies, that this movie has been altered to meet the demands of a foreign dictatorship, is a reasonable thing. The US people have every right to know they are being fed foreign dictator propaganda.

              It is because the studios censor on the behalf of foreign dictatorships that they are not engaged in free speech.

              1. How can you determine that a film has been altered?

                Sometimes there are things that suck and it’s not a ‘there outta be a law’ situation.

              2. It is because the studios censor on the behalf of foreign dictatorships that they are not engaged in free speech.

                That’s not how free speech works.

              3. The US people have every right to know they are being fed foreign dictator propaganda.

                I don’t mean to alarm you, but you’re on Reason.com. That view won’t get you very far here.

    2. No that is not capitalism.

      1. LOL, just because you don’t like it doesn’t mean it’s not capitalism.

        1. This provides a window into why a certain type of “conservative” (by which I mean Trump supporter) calls everything they don’t like socialism. They don’t know or care what the words mean, they just use the term “capitalism” to mean “things I like” and “socialism” to mean “things I don’t like.”

          Sorry Jimmy. The studios are practicing capitalism. Capitalist entities have always been responsive to illiberal demands/incentives.

        2. No, this situation is not capitalism/freemarket in the relevant sense of the word because would not exist without the unprecedented level of authoritarian pressure exerted by the Communist party on all levels of society.

          Your retort would be like me becoming King of the World and fining every company that dared to sell a product to you 1 billion dollars and then saying ‘lol capitalism, freemarket lol’ when you came to complain.

          1. Do you think I was calling China capitalist? I was talking about Hollywood, chief.

            A capitalist organization does not become communist by selling things to communists.

            1. the companies might be part of a semicapitalist /freemarket system. but the relevant part of the system we’re discussing here ie a gigantic authoritarian government intimidating companies to do what it wants is not what most people would classify as a capitalist/freemarket thing. You were saying it was so you are wrong.

              1. No, China is not the relevant part of the system under discussion here.

                And no, the companies are not being intimidated, they are being paid.

              2. Just responding to customer wishes, Amos.

        3. Or it just is not capitalism. Sometimes stupid statements like yours don’t require much of a refutation.

          1. Capitalism is impressive, but it is not your friend.

        4. Capitalism relies on freedom. It is a derivative corollary of it, and arises naturally from freedom. Dictators and other thugling kleptocrats get wealth by getting in the way of it.

          This is why they seize power.

          What Hollywood is doing isn’t capitalism. It is capitulation with dictatorship, and therefore, support of it.

          We are in this situation because of a policy of engagement with China, which will hopefully liberalize (in the Reverand’s overtaxed sense) life there. This has somewhat happened, but unexpected technological developments (social credit systems denying loans and rentals and bus rides) and long-expected ones (panopticons) have derailed this process.

          It is up to our leaders, whoever they are, or whoever they might shortly be, to alter this policy at this point.

          1. Just because you don’t like it doesn’t mean it’s not capitalism.

            Free market capitalism includes doing business with dictatorships. Oh, boy does it include that. Just take a glance at history.

            Government policies regarding China engagement are to let the market operate freely.

            Sounds like you want a regulated market, but want to call it free. That says something about your worldview being too black-and-white. Not everything free markets bring is good.

            1. Y’all might not like it…but Sarcastro is right. Capitalism is many things, but moral ain’t one of them.

              They are seeking to maximize profits. No different than not having young kids murdered in movies as a general rule.

              Perhaps splitting up these massive multimedia corporations might be an idea worth considering (libertarianism should be one of the biggest supporters of atomizing businesses out there), but to say it is not capitalism is false.

              Nobody is FORCING Hollywood to cater to China. They could choose to ignore them if they so wish to. But they make lots of money there. So, best you can do is, any time anybody involved in entertainment discusses civil rights, throw China back in their face relentlessly.

            2. i mean, i agree with you to some extent, insofar as this really is expected market operation in this situation. But that doesn’t make it capitalism, because capitalism is more than just ‘markets!’

              The very presence of a dictatorship in this story means it’s not “free market capitalism”, because the market isn’t free. (Even the US doesn’t really have capitalism either – far too much market regulation. We’re a mixed economy, not a capitalist one).

              Capitalism is about individuals making decisions independent of coercion or threat, especially government coercion or threat. A government getting to decide which films individuals can choose to see is not capitalism. (Governments picking and choosing winners in the market place is the very antithesis of capitalism).

              I’m not saying there’s a good regulatory solution or the government can fix this.

              As far as ‘capitalism isn’t moral’ (@damikesc) – any real theory of capitalism (as opposed to some strawman anti-capitalist advocates construct in order to attack capitalism) is a moral theory. Capitalism is fundamentally about non-aggression, which is most certainly a moral framework. It has an embedded theory of justice (probably best exemplified by Nozick’s Wilt Chamberlain pay argument from Anarchy, State, and Utopia). To say that capitalism isn’t a moral theory is to ignore most of classical liberalism and a fair amount of political philosophy.

              Markets aren’t moral, but capitalism is more than markets.

              1. capitalism is more than just ‘markets!’
                Explain

                The very presence of a dictatorship in this story means it’s not “free market capitalism”,
                This is wrong. Dictatorships can decide what their demand signal is internally, but Hollywood’s response to that is pure capitalism.

                As for Capitalism is definitionally moral, the OP is a counterexample to that.

                1. I’m not sure how I didn’t explain. Non-aggression is the core of Capitalism, and that is inarguably a moral principle.

                  Market behavior is inevitable in any system; capitalism is the assertion that market behavior (like all other non-aggression) should be unconstrained. (Note: ‘market behavior’ necessarily excludes force, fraud, or threat of same by the actor, although it can be responding to those things in systems which permit them).

                  Hollywood’s response to China is market behavior, no contest. But it’s not a free choice – it’s a coerced choice, and thereby definitionally not capitalism. Your construction here is basically ‘everything is capitalism’, because it doesn’t matter what government regulates or how much it regulates, the logical market responses to that are ‘pure capitalism’. Where governments pick winners and losers in a marketplace, it is not and cannot be capitalism.

                  (Nor can dictatorships, or any government, really decide what their demand is – they can punish people who act against dictat, and ban goods which they find undesirable backed by the threat of state force. The US’s war on drugs proves governments can’t actually decide what demand is.)

                  If you’d like a fuller moral treatment, I might start with Jason Brennan’s “Why Not Capitalism?” Nozick’s “Anarcy, State, and Utopia” is pretty good on a number of points as well (including on the practical limits of pure Capitalism, which is necessarily anarchist – hence most advocates of capitalism are minarchists).

                  1. Hollywood is ‘coerced’ by fat sacks of cash money. That’s capitalism.

                    1. That’s not coercion (I’m willing to accept they’re voluntarily making the changes). (That’s also not capitalism – fat sacks of cash money have existed long before capitalism, as have markets, and state attempts to control them. You’re confusing markets with capitalism again).

                      And the use of force here is China refusing to allow distribution of movies it doesn’t pre-approve. If China was an individual buying movies, fine, it can not spend its money on movies it dislikes. But it’s not China who is the relevant actor, it’s the individual people who live in China, and China is preventing them from making that choice at all. All government action is force. To the extent that force is defensive or in retribution for the initiation of force by others, it is (or at least can be) legitimate. Refusing to allow distribution of movies isn’t defensive or retributive – and therefor morally wrong and impermissible if there was capitalism.

                    2. Also, the Chinese government is not the customer — the 1.3 billion (give or take) Chinese consumers are the customers. The Chinese government is putting severe restrictions on the ability of Hollywood to deal with their desired customers, and that is the antithesis of free market capitalism.

                    3. Ridgeway – China is not capitalist; no one is arguing that it is.

                      But Hollywood doing business with China is acting purely capitalist, and acting like it.

                    4. Sarcastr0: Capitalism is a value system, not an individual decision or motivation. China is not part of that system, so no deal with China is ‘capitalism’. You are, once again, confusing market behavior with capitalism.

    3. Shame the HELL out of them. Pro-Hong Kong protests at every Hollywood event, every NBA event. Sometimes, I believe some people only respond when their own weapons are used against them.

      The cure for bad speech (censorship) is BETTER speech.

      1. Yeah, that’s legit.

        I don’t know that protest is either Hollywood or the NBA’s chosen ‘weapon’ but your last paragraph is spot on.

        1. Heard a Oscar speech lately? Read NBA Twitter?

          These people breath sanctimony. Self-righteousness is a hell of a drug.

          1. I propose a deal: Right-wingers ditch the bigotry and everyone else shelves the self-righteousness.

            Otherwise, the wages of backwardness and bigotry should be unpleasant and severe. Accountability is overdue.

          2. So you equate organizations that contain lots of liberals with activists on the left.

            That’s quite a gulf your contempt is welding together there.

            Lots of Hollywood movies are plenty right-leaning. Pro war, overtly nationalist, extremely white, etc. Because capitalism will out.

            Similarly, if you think the NBA twitter feed is indicative of the NBA owners’ actual attitudes, you may want to do some research.

            1. The leftist tilt of Hollywood is undeniable and I really wish you would take the partisan blinders off — you are much too smart not to see what we all see. (And before you say it, me being PROUDLY anti-Democrat is much different than being the opposite as a pro-Republican. The GOP is mostly useless (but sadly the only possible home for abolitionists such as I.)

              As for leftists/Democrats being “anti-war” — CITATION NEEDED!!!!

              “Extremely white…” — But enough about the leftist Oscar winners. And producers. And directors. And…

              1. So now it’s just a tilt. I see your backpeddaling. Remember, your original thesis is that protests are Hollywood’s ‘weapon.’ That remains quite silly.

                Being a negatively-based reactionary is not something to be proud of, you empty man.

                You think liberals were big fans of Obama’s adventuring? Don’t be silly. Certainly, they are against the overt militarism Hollywood loves to put out.

                Your final paragraph is irrelevant. Who cares how white Hollywood liberals are? Hollywood continues to make very white movies marketing to the very white American audience. Because $$$.

                1. As the self righteousness has turned to cancel culture … WEAPON.

                  There a very few people that are truly anti-war, but if those who claim the label abandon it the moment a Democrat is elected (and hates Trump because of his opposition to foreign entanglements, one of his few actual principles) they have shown themselves hypocrites.

                  As for the last paragraph — show me, don’t tell me. I am sure that those rich liberals appreciate their brown maids — or are sorry they treated dad’s housekeeper poorly. They take ALL the right positions I am sure …

                  1. ::eyeroll:: overheated rhetoric is not an argument.

                    You want to play semantic games about what anti-war means, go wild. This isn’t debate club; that’ll get you nowhere. I’m quite comfortable noting that the left doesn’t like troops or gun-porn, and yet Hollywood does.

                    Show you that you’re being irrelevant by pointing out how white liberals can be racist? I can’t – your all about trying to make collateral points with no regard for relevac Happy to talk about that later, but that has zero to do with my point about Hollywood’s very white products.

                    1. I am sure that there is a cogent argument in there somewhere, but I’ll be damned if I can figure out what it is????

                      Black people hate action/war flicks?

                    2. I’m quite comfortable noting that the left doesn’t like troops or gun-porn, and yet Hollywood does.

                      Thus Hollywood isn’t the cancel culture cabal you equate them with when you talk about ‘using their weapons against them’

                      Quit with your gish gallop nonsense and read something.

      2. YES.

        And burn the ChiCom flag — that’ll make the news.

    4. Make two versions of the film, one for the US and one for countries that despise the US. Wanna bet which version get smuggled into which countries?

    5. 3) do ‘something’ to help smaller, independent film companies, who may (will?) be less reliant on the Chinese market.

      Where ‘something’ might be anti-trust investigation to see why independent films have a tough time getting into theaters, exceptions from regulations, favorable tax treatment, etc. I’ll defer to industry insiders on what would be best…

  2. “In the 1930s, Charlie Chaplin’s The Great Dictator took on Adolf Hitler.”

    Oh, that sure stopped him.

    1. Actually, the more I look at this, almost all the examples are bad. By the time The Great Dictator came out, we were already openly supporting the British through Lend-Lease, and word was coming back to the Jewish diaspora about what the Nazis were doing. The Great Dictator was a film that Hollywood was excited about making.

      During World War II, when we were friendly with Stalin, Hollywood made Mission to Moscow. It didn’t make any movies about the purges.

      The Hunt for Red October came along at the very end of the Cold War, in 1990, even though the book was a bestseller years earlier.

      If there are good examples of Hollywood really rocking the boat, OP hasn’t provided them.

      1. Red Dawn and the Amerika tv mini-series are better examples than Hunt for Red October of anti-Soviet productions.

        “It didn’t make any movies about the purges.”

        Communists in Hollywood [including free speech hero Dalton Trumbo] actively obstructed such films.

        1. Bob, I was young at the time, but memory is that the USSR was *pissed* at Amerika and tried to bully the Carter Adm on it.

          1. Your grasp of facts is as impressive as always. Amerika came out towards the end of the Reagan administration.

            1. Indeed. February 1987.

              1. It was widely understood as a rebuttal of sorts to The Day After, which had been broadcast several years earlier.

        2. Dalton Trumbo obstructed politically incorrect films from being made? You remind me of the aspiring starlet who was so dumb she tried to get ahead by f*****g the writer

        3. And the remake of Red Dawn is great example of caving to China.

      2. The Cold War examples seem to have come from an alternate universe in which communism was very popular in the United States and almost no one spoke out against it or produced movies in which the communists were the bad guys. I’d also distinguish the Cold War from conditions behind the Iron Curtain.

        Also, show of hands: when you think of The Unbearable Lightness of Being do you actually think “Finally, the movie that showed the truth about the Prague Spring” or “Finally, the movie that showed Juliette Binoche’s ass”? I mean, I have this vague sense that the Prague Spring happens during the movie but it is mostly about Daniel Day Lewis cheating on Juliette Binoche with Lena Olin which improbably leads to a hot photo session between the two and maybe there is some other guy in it and I honestly had to look it up to realize they actually left Czechoslovakia for part of the move.

      3. There was an explicit Hollywood code prohibiting criticism of foreign leaders. By the time The Great Dictator came out, the administration and majority public opinion had turned enough against Hitler that the code was relaxed.

        Such a movie would not have been released a few years before.

  3. In the 1930s, Charlie Chaplin’s The Great Dictator took on Adolf Hitler.

    All the meanwhile kowtowing to the Hays Code and US morality censors.

    IOW, this new self-censorship is just more of the same for different censors.

    What they can’t self-censor, and what the authoritarians can’t sensor either, is the general movie itself — background, house interiors, cars all over, kids with cars and video games, supermarkets, daily life. Khrushchev (sp?) tried pretending everything he saw was just a Potemkin village expressly for him. That’s what they should censor, and yet the only way to do is, by banning American movies and TV shows, won’t work now, what with the Internet and USB sticks. Remember all those reports of North Koreans smuggling American shows around on USB sticks? If North Korea can’t stop it, no one can.

    1. All the meanwhile kowtowing to the Hays Code and US morality censors.

      Correct.

      Remember when TV shows routinely had married couples sleeping in separate beds?

      And while we glory in the free expression of Hollywood’s past, let’s not forget the blacklists and so on.

      The entertainment industry has generally been willing to submit to political bullying more or less forever.

      1. “Remember when TV shows routinely had married couples sleeping in separate beds?”

        You mean the “good old days” conservatives pine for?

        Don’t forget the ‘one foot on the floor’ rule.

        Or ‘no horizontal kisses.’ And ‘no implying sexual relationships between the white and black races.’

        ‘No girl enjoying kissing a bad guy.’

        ‘No blasphemy.’ ‘No making fun of religion.’ ‘A clergyman can’t be a bad guy.’

        It was the Hays Code . . . named for the former head of the Republican National Committee. Still revered by the Focus On The Family boycott department.

        It appears the Chinese have learned something from our Republicans, although a little slow on the uptake.

        1. Do you have similar hatred for the Media Matters Department of Political Correctness and Censorship?

          1. When Media Matters engages in voter suppression and torture, facilitates abusive and bigoted policing, and embraces gay-bashing and immigrant-bashing, I will view Media Matters and the Republican Party similarly.

        2. What was wrong with married couples sleeping in separate beds?
          Children didn’t know about “consummation of a marriage” but adults did, and they actually had to have dialogue, not just body parts for the script.

          Most married couples had children — where did people presume those came from???

          1. LOL, Ed defending the Hays Code.

            1. No, Sarcast0, ANSWER THE DAMN QUESTION!!!

              What’s wrong with keeping children innocent?
              Or do you honestly think that adults didn’t realize that both adults would be in the SAME bed at times?!?

              1. Sometimes kids need to understand that the world is a cruel place.

              2. What’s wrong with keeping children innocent?
                Or do you honestly think that adults didn’t realize that both adults would be in the SAME bed at times?!?

                How stupid do you think kids are, exactly? Their own parents, one presumes, slept in one bed. Do you think those kids didn’t notice that?

                1. Agreed, that’s pretty silly. How sheltered would a kid have to be to not know that his parents slept in the same bed? In fact, I’ve heard that it’s actually bad for a child’s social development if they don’t see their parents being affectionate with each other. Affectionate parents make a child feel secure.

                  Doesn’t mean they have to see everything, but the Hays code went to absurd extremes. (Just as modern movies often just go to the opposite extreme, using sex to substitute for plot.)

    2. Yeah, Hollywood has been pretty great for American exceptionalism worldwide.

  4. Interesting he mentions “Kundun” as a success. Michael Eisner at Disney did everything he could not to release that once he found out how the PRC felt about it. Eventually, Disney decided it had no choice (the film was already in the can and they were getting PR blowback), but it was well understood that this would have a chilling effect on any new films about that subject matter.

  5. Fear, envy, who can tell?

  6. The difference was that there was no Soviet market — and maybe we should impose export taxes on stuff sent to China.

    1. Right, that’s how you prove your libertarian / individualistic bona fides — by interfering with people’s personal individual choices.

      1. No, I am an “America Firster.”

        1. …who has never read the constitution.

  7. Well, let us analyze recent history:

    * Communist kills JFK — the Democrat party is now socialist
    * Pro-Palastinian kills RFK — the Democrat party is rising in anti- Semitism/Israel
    * BLM/Antifa riots and Democrats start capitulating

    I am sensing a pattern, and not a good one …

    1. You found some witty tweet you just had to post, regardless of how off-topic it was?

      1. Really?

        Authoritarianism (and its propaganda/censorship) is as Democrat as slavery/Jim Crow/ the Klan.

        1. You are making it more difficult for Democrats to be magnanimous toward Republicans as the culture war winds down.

        2. The Democratic Party is not socialist, though there are Scandinavia-type socialist (which are readily distinguishable from Soviet/Chinese/Venezuelan style socialists, though I don’t particularly like either flavor, it is unserious to claim they are the same).

          To the extent there is increasing anti-semitism on the left (and there is), it has a way to go before, as is the case with their right wing counterparts, they are marching out in the open chanting “Jews will not replace us” and getting called “very fine people” by the leader of their party.

          BLM and antifa are not the same. At all.

        3. And the Democrats repudiated slavery / Jim Crow / the Klan. Those people who didn’t repudiate each of those, found a home in the welcoming arms of the GOP (google Southern Strategy). And suppression of minority votes, the new Jim Crow, and the Klan are, in 2020, all exclusively Republican endeavors. History didn’t stop in 1955.

          1. Google the Senators/Congressmen/Governors that opposed the 64/65 bills and then provide me a list of those who retired/died Republicans.

            Sell that community college term paper history somewhere else.

            1. Your need to deny the Southern Strategy is telling. As is your ignoring NOVA’s comment about voter suppression and who the Klan votes for today.

              1. There is no fucking Klan today and the idea that there is any organized white supremacist organization with any semblance of power (or even numerical significance) is delusional to the point of Bircher territory.

                Racial discrimination has NEVER been a plank of the Republican party … EVER and I challenge you to find a governing document that states otherwise. The GOP is DAMN imperfect in its execution of its principles, but it is BETTER that you and BETTER than NOVA lawyer’s and BETTER that the Democrat party’s.

                Prove me wrong … show me the Democrats that switched compared to those who stayed. EVERYBODY knows it happened, it should be EASY!

                1. There is a KKK, and they vote Republican.

                  I didn’t say anything about an organized white supremacist organization (other than GOP voter suppression).

                  Official planks of the party is a hilariously off-topic metric for anything we’re talking about. Par for the course, since you prefer to argue irrelevancies you think you can win.

                  And then you go for moral preening.
                  You want some proof? Just look at the realignment of Southern votes.
                  Also, too: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/21565503.2012.758593

                  1. Realignment of Southern votes, like Virginia and North Carolina (and soon Georgia?) turning blue?

                    Despite the stupid Stars and Bars, patriotism runs quite high down south, hard to imagine them negatively reacting to the anti-American bent of the Democrat party since the 60’s, huh?

                    Being in the Bible-belt, strange to see them react negatively to the anti-Christian bent of the Democrat party, huh?

                    Rise above your prejudice.

                    Undeniable fact: As the south has become more Republican, it has also became less racist.

                    The Democrat party is STILL openly racist … they have just switch who they hate. I reject hate and so should you.

                    1. These are your people, Conspirators.

                      This is why strong law schools tend not to hire many movement conservatives . . . unless they wish to become weak law schools.

                    2. You don’t think the realignment of states like Virginia and sometimes North Carolina and soon Georgia has to do with demographic changes (i.e., native born southern whites having less and less power in those states)?

                      Southern black voters are just as Christian as Southern white voters and yet they predominantly vote Democratic. So religion is not the differentiator.

                      Are you suggesting southern black voters are less patriotic than southern white voters? I assume you are not a racist and so your answer is no. So that’s not the reason.

                      Undeniable fact: As the south has become more Republican, it has also became less racist. And, yet, North Carolina Republicans were caught explicitly targeting black voters for efforts at voter suppression. In which party do current-day white racists find a home?

                      I reject hate and so should you.

                      I am glad to hear that, so I assume you are against the vilification of Muslims, undocumented immigrants, and support rigorous defense of the VRA (particularly in light of abuses like those with which the NC GOP tried to get away). I am definitely against hate, which is precisely why I notice when GOP supporters walk around chanting “Jews will not replace us” and the GOP President calls them very fine people.

                    3. “Undeniable fact: As the south has become more Republican, it has also became less racist.”

                      Whereas the Republican party has become more racist. It’s an interesting conundrum.

                  2. The Klan was a DEM outfit — right on down to Robert Byrd, D-WV.

                    1. It was. And now they are Republicans. As you know, Byrd repudiated those views. He wouldn’t have survived in the Democratic Party if he did not. Meanwhile, Jesse Helms……

                  3. Even the Southern Poverty Libel Center concedes there is little active Klan and the people out there who identify as “Klan” are just a mishmash of splinter groups.

                    The kool-aid must be really good tonight Sarc.

                    1. It’s not Democrats who are defending the Confederate flag.

                      It’s not Democrats who are trying to suppress the black vote.

                      It’s not Democrats who were chanting “Jews will not replace us” in Charlottesville.

                      It’s not a Democratic President calling those chanters “very fine people.”

                      Steve King is not a Democrat.

                      Nor, beginning around the 70s, were Jesse Helms or Strom Thurmond.

                      While certainly not all Republicans are racist, very nearly all white racists are Republicans. That’s just a fact.

                      Maybe Republicans should be less welcoming to the racists? You know, repudiate the Southern Strategy.

                    2. “It’s not Democrats who are defending the Confederate flag.”

                      No, but at least some of them actually know what a Confederate flag actually looks like.

                  4. “There is a KKK, and they vote Republican.”

                    More significantly, there are people who honor and respect the KKK, and they ARE Republican.

                2. There is no fucking Klan today and the idea that there is any organized white supremacist organization with any semblance of power

                  You mean, other than the Trump administration?

                  1. How many Republicans or conservatives have been in blackface?

                    Far fewer than Dems or progressives…

                    1. And how many have been in purpleface? redface? blueface? These !are all equally relevant.

                      And you guys positively OWN orangeface!

            2. You need to and see which ones lived past 1975 and yet remained Republicans. And the segregationists that stayed viable in politics are nearly exclusively Republican and include Senators Strom Thurmond (who had the decency to admit he was wrong, though Trent Lott thought maybe not) and Jesse Helms who never withdrew his overt, passionate support of segregation. He just became less vocal about it, but he never said he was wrong or regretted his pro-segregation posturing.

              Then revise your middle school book report accordingly.

              1. WOOSH … goal posts moving!!!!

                I accept your admission that they remained Democrats for the rest of their lives. You will also note the the states they came from did not START becoming controlled by the GOP until those old folks started dying in the 1990s.

                Funny how when Thurmond became a Republican, he started voting to renew the CRA each time, eh?

                PS: FUCK Jesse Helms the racist POS. Yet, he did more to fight slavery in Africa than Barak Obama did … just damn!

                1. DWB,

                  You set the goalposts, which I reject as irrelevant to the question of whether the actual voters as well as the type of voters who supported racist Southern Democrats in 1964 changed parties due to the Republicans actively courting them and the Democratic Party repudiating segregation and embracing equality.

                  Most of the signatories were dead by the end of the 70s, during a time the parties were changing. What party they died in is irrelevant, except to the extent they lived to a time when the parties realigned. Those that did and did not repudiate their view (and new Senators who were segregationists like Helms) changed their party (Helms prior to becoming a Senator, but the switch was for an obvious reason).

                  And let’s review:

                  You admit party-switching GOP Senator Helms was a racist POS, yet he was embraced by the GOP and very powerful within it.

                  Strom Thurmond never fully renounced his views and (Dixiecrat and all) was one of the most prominent pro-segregation Senators and he switched parties.

                  That’s two pro-segregation Senators who remained unrepentant re segregation into the 90s and they switched from Democrat to Republican.

                  Meanwhile, Robert Byrd stayed in the Democratic Party, but (unlike Thurmond) repudiated his former views in the 1970s when the realignment was occurring.

                  And for good measure, Harry Byrd became an Independent and voted against reauthorization of the 1965 Voting Rights Act (in the early 80s).

                  For your theory to work, you have to believe that southern white voters had a major racial reawakening such that they suddenly became non-racist and pro-equal voting rights and pro-equal opportunity and that’s why the southern white voters switched parties.

                  While holding on to that fanciful belief, you also have to hold an explicitly racist view that southern black voters are dumber than the newly non-racist southern white voters because they consistently vote for the new Democrats and against the new Republicans. So do you hold that racist view or do you admit your theory does not account for the fact of black voting patterns?

                  And, on top of that, you make much of Strom voting to renew the CRA, I think you mean the VRA. He did vote for reauthorization of the VRA in the early 80s, but only on the final vote. Also, who voted against it: The admittedly racist GOP Senator Helms, Independent Harry Byrd (why did he leave the Democratic Party in the 70s/early 80s and become Independent while still opposing equal voting rights?), and six other Republicans….including two more Southern Republican Senators. Why did only Republicans oppose the VRA in 1983? Do you even entertain the possibility that the GOP had become the preferred party of racists (like Helms)?

                  If not, why not? Because Lincoln was a Republican in 1865? Really?

              2. NOVA — can you say “Robert Byrd”?

                1. Robert Byrd remained a Democrat and fully renounced his segregationist views as well as his former KKK membership.

                  Meanwhile, Harry Byrd did not and became an Independent.

                  Strom Thurmond did not repudiate his segregationist views and became a Republican.

                  Jesse Helms did not repudiate his segregationist views and became a Republican.

                  I am not going to defend Byrd as a fully changed and enlightened man (feel free to think whatever you want), but don’t you find it significant that, at a bare minimum, he had to pretend to be a repentant and fully reformed man to remain in good standing the Democratic Party in the 80s, 90s, and 00s, whereas Thurmond and Helms didn’t have to repudiate their segregationist views to maintain senior leadership positions in the GOP?

                  And, Ed, what is your non-racist explanation for the fact that southern black voters became reliable Democratic voters in the 1960s and 1970s? You don’t think they noticed which party supported racial equality and which stood against it (or at least welcomed those who did, like Thurmond and Helms)?

          2. NOVA, the South didn’t turn Republican until the 80’s; The Dixicrats didn’t move to the Republican party, they died off and their *children* became Republicans.

            And just because the DNC hires KKK cosplayers to show up at Republican events doesn’t make the KKK Republican.

            You want the real truth? The Democratic party never abandoned racism. You just swapped client races.

            Maybe you really did try to change your stripes, but when you’ve only got a hammer, everything looks like a nail, and the Democratic party’s “hammer” is racial discrimination.

            So instead of embracing equal rights for blacks, you decided you’d us racial discrimination to help them, instead of hurt them. And now you think racial discrimination isn’t really racism if it’s well intended.

            Well, congratulations, you did manage to outbid the Republicans, who were only willing to offer equal rights, not actual discrimination in favor of blacks. So I guess it worked. But it’s poisoned race relations for a couple generations since.

            1. “And just because the DNC hires KKK cosplayers to show up at Republican events doesn’t make the KKK Republican.”

              No, it’s the ones who do it for free that do that.

          3. “And the Democrats repudiated slavery / Jim Crow / the Klan. Those people who didn’t repudiate each of those, found a home in the welcoming arms of the GOP (google Southern Strategy).”

            Of all the segregationists serving in Congress in the late 60’s, know how many became Republicans? Three. A grand total of 3. They repudiated nothing…they just claimed that they didn’t ever support it, it was always “conservatives” (meaning Republicans), who never once supported it. Ever.

            “And suppression of minority votes, the new Jim Crow, and the Klan are, in 2020, all exclusively Republican endeavors. History didn’t stop in 1955.”

            Literally zero of that is true. There is zero attempt to suppress minority votes (unless you’re one of those bigots who seem to think dark-skinned folks don’t know how to get ID), there is literally no “new Jim Crow”, and the best known Klan member, David Duke, is all about Omar right now.

            1. A North Carolina Court found that North Carolina’s voter-ID laws was deliberately discriminatory and “target[ed] African Americans with almost surgical precision.”

              In 2018, Brian Kemp’s office in Georgia was blocking 53,000 voter registrations in that state — 70 percent from African-Americans, 80 percent from people of color.

              Here’s a quote from the Ohio GOP: “I guess I really actually feel we shouldn’t contort the voting process to accommodate the urban — read African-American — voter-turnout machine.”

              The citizenship question on the census was a pretty blatant attempt to suppress minority representation, if not votes.

              The GOP hates blacks voting.

        4. “Authoritarianism (and its propaganda/censorship) is as Democrat as slavery/Jim Crow/ the Klan.”

          Fun fact: if you substitute the word “Republican” for the word “Democrat”, you don’t alter the truth of this sentence.

    2. Interesting, although I blame Castro for JFK.

      1. Are you sure it wasn’t Lyin’ Ted’s father?

        Why spend the days you have remaining before replacement in this manner, Dr. Ed? What precipitated your hatred for modern America?

  8. Well, the thin line between Hollywood ‘bowing’ to China, and Hollywood just being communist is getting thinner and thinner.

    1. Lucille Ball was a Commie, back in the day. AND she married a Cuban.

      1. Then she has some ‘splainin’ to do.

  9. But, of course, the film industry isn’t kowtowing to Progressives and Cancel Culture. Nope. Not at all. Nosiree.

    1. You think it is?

      You ever seen NCIS: Los Angeles? Or Jack Ryan? Or 24? Or The Man in the High Castle?

      Hollywood, for all it’s rhetoric, goes where the money is.

    2. It must be dizzyingly difficult for conservatives to understand how the liberal-libertarian mainstream has all of the good music, the best movies, the best comedians, the good television shows, the best directors, the best actors, the best . . . well, everything, unless your idea of entertainment heaven is Blue Bloods, Greg Gutfeld, the Left Behind films, Kenny Chesney, Walker Texas Ranger, Jeff Foxworthy, Hank Williams (the Lesser), Jim Gaffigan, Scott Baio, Kid Rock, Duck Dynasty, and Antonio Sabato Jr.

      1. Aside from our definition of “best” having deviated before you were born, the fact that you know what construes pseudo conservative entertainment is hilarious.

        That said I will take your estimation of entertainment for conservatives as a high water mark of your intelligence,

        1. Country music, faith-based films, third-rate comedians, Fox’s late-night comedic fare, a few old-timey television programs . . . which part of the conservative entertainment palette have I missed?

          Oh, I forgot . . . NASCAR. But if NASCAR sticks to the no-Confederate-flag sellout, clingers will abandon car races (Hot Wheels for ostensible adults) soon enough.

          1. Do you just play an ignorant liberal on the internet or are you actually one in real life too?

            1. Are you trying to out-twit the Rev?

      2. You left out Tim Allen. Remember the one time when he was funny? He thinks he still is.

        1. Tim Allen, sure. And Mel Gibson. And Antonio Sabato Jr. And Jon Voight. And likely others (beyond the dozens of drawling, twanging country music “stars”) . . . Conservatives have plenty of entertainment choices — the problem is that they are bad choices.

    3. “But, of course, the film industry isn’t kowtowing to Progressives and Cancel Culture. Nope.”

      Hollywood hasn’t made a single film with John Lennon in it since he said he was bigger than Jesus. Now that’s Cancel Culture.

  10. Re: comments im this thread…

    Emperor of China: Good…good. Let your paltry domestic politics of a mere 320 million people dominate your conversation so we can continue our growth. Argue relative trivialities as we extend our ability to silence you as we desire.

    1. U.S. inner party: Ditto.

  11. Gosh, it’s almost like selling American studios to foreign owners was a bad long-term approach.

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