The lazy imagination of the witch-hunter

If we can find someone worse to compare ourselves to, then we can feel better about ourselves without having to change anything we’re doing or anything we’re becoming. Alas, however, this technique only works briefly before it begins producing diminishing returns. So we will need to identify some person or group who are even worse, and then worse still. This is a process of slothful imagination and it always ends up in the same way, with the same lazy stock character of the Very Worst People we can imagine. Yes, that’s right, say it with me: Satanic baby-killers. [Read more…]

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Bad faith in witch hunts and moral panics

“If something wasn’t happening, why do so many intelligent, well-educated professionals believe it is?” Lanning says. “Regardless of intelligence and education, and often despite common sense and evidence to the contrary, adults tend to believe what they want or need to believe; the greater the need, the greater the tendency. There was a need to believe.” [Read more…]

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Smart people saying smart things (8.30)

Glenn Greenwald on “journalists” against journalism. Jeet Heer and Sarah Posner on Donald Trump. Eric Foner on pseudo-politics and psycho-politics. And a Martin Luther King Jr. speech that revisionist fantasists like to pretend doesn’t exist because they’re too busy attributing out-of-context W.E.B. DuBois quotes to Margaret Sanger so they can play-act like they’re Bonhoeffer fighting Hitler. [Read more…]

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The culture war has always been about race

Before the Reagan years, the culture wars were an anti-civil-rights struggle focused on race (“states’ rights,” busing, etc.), which drew support from white evangelical voters. After the Reagan years, the culture wars became an anti-feminist struggle focused on sex (abortion, LGBT rights, etc.), which solidified that white evangelical support into the GOP’s largest and most reliable voting bloc. That was a huge change. Or, maybe, it wasn’t. [Read more…]

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Smart people saying smart things (8.22)

From GeekAesthete, an analogy explaining why “All lives matter” is a dishonest response. Samantha Allen on the fragility of conservative gender ideology. David Roberts picks 10 false statements from Carly Fiorina’s cornucopia of climate lies. Margo Kaplan on the revealingly inconsistent regard for IVF. And Rebecca Traister on “The Big Secret of Abortion.” [Read more…]

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The Satan-selling con-men are boring. Their Satan-buying audience is fascinating.

I read Sarah Zagorski’s article on Zachary King at LifeNew.com and I am, frankly, bored by Zack King. But I am fascinated by Zagorski, and by her bosses at LifeNews.com, and by the huge audience of “pro-lifers” who create the demand-driven market for clichéd con-men like Zack King. King is only telling Zagorski and her audience what they want to hear. And what they want to hear — what they want, they desire, they wish for and hope for — is a horror story. [Read more…]

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Back to the ’80s: ‘I Performed Satanic Rituals Inside Abortion Clinics’ says ‘former Satanist’ at LifeNews.com

Huge, if true: “Just after I turned 14, the coven members came to me and said that I was going to be involved in an abortion in about nine months. There was a sex party with all the male members between 12 and 15 and a female member over 18 and her purpose was to get pregnant, and then she was going to have an abortion in nine months.” [Read more…]

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Would Mike Huckabee send the FBI to protect the personhood of this 40-year-old unborn twin?

I wouldn’t guess that either Rubio or Huckabee — or most of their fellow anti-abortion, “personhood begins at conception” proponents — would want to extend this claim of full personhood and full citizenship to this unviable unborn twin. The problem, for them, is that they haven’t got any clear rationale for exempting that fetus in fetu from the categorical, absolute claim they are making about human personhood from the moment of fertilization. [Read more…]

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