21 Mar 2019

Trump’s “Very Fine People” Redux

All Posts, Scott Adams, Trump 59 Comments

For some reason, this is a hot topic again. (It partly has to do with Scott Adams on Twitter. I think it’s because somebody tried to edit the Wikipedia article to merely add actual quotations from Trump–and then had them taken down within minutes–and he passed along the story to Scott Adams. But, for all I know the reason the guy did that, was that Scott Adams had first talked about it again.)

(UPDATE: It might be a hot topic again because of this article, talking about an exchange where CNN’s Erin Burnett hilariously says some guy’s defense of Trump was something he made up on the spot. Awwwkward.)

Anyway, even though I knew from Day One that Trump was NOT praising neo-Nazis, I never watched the full context of the discussion to see how OBVIOUSLY NOT. So just take a deep breath, and watch the first three minutes and 25 seconds of this video. Even if you think “I already know this Bob, the media lied,” I encourage you to watch it. As you’ll see, not only is Trump crystal clear, but a reporter (in confusion) asks him specifically if he was talking about the white nationalists, and he says emphatically no.

So again, just watch this from the beginning through the 3:25 mark:

Pretty clear, right? Now contrast that video of what actually happened, with Paul Krugman’s casual statement (and I just grabbed this as an example, he said this more than once):

I wanted to use a screenshot to capture the font of a Krugman column, but if you want the link here is the “news” story from the NYT to “document” that Trump called neo-Nazis very fine people. As you will see, the article by Glenn Thrush and Maggie Haberman not only fails to mention the times when Trump explicitly said he was NOT praising neo-Nazis, but the title of their piece says his support of white supremacists was “unambiguous.”

What’s amazing about this, is that when Russ Roberts (of EconTalk fame) today tweeted this out, saying he hadn’t realized the media had misled him about what Trump said, half the people in the comments were like, “Yeah Russ, what’s your point? Trump loves neo-Nazis and hates black people, and that’s what the media reported?”

59 Responses to “Trump’s “Very Fine People” Redux”

  1. David R Henderson says:

    Wow! Thanks, Bob. I had never seen this. Not only did Trump not say the things that Krugman et al said he did, but also, beyond that, I also found him impressive in absolute terms. I rarely think or say that.

    • Bob Murphy says:

      Yeah David I agree, I thought at the time that this is what you’d want the “grown up” to do: say both sides acted improperly, it was a national tragedy, etc. One guy in the crowd in the beginning literally said, “But the neo-Nazis started it!” which isn’t acceptable in 3rd grade.

      • Transformer says:

        As far as I can see the rally was mostly white nationalists and neo-nazis, while the counter-demonstration was decent people who oppose these things plus some extremist antifa.

        I do not see the “moral equivalence.”.

        To get to ‘moral equivalence’ and ‘fine people’ on both sides you have to move away from the rally to the background of opposition to the removal of Confederacy symbolism that Trump mentions. I am sure there may be ‘fine people’ in the camp that opposes the removal of such Confederacy symbolism.

        However after a rally of the extreme right-wing where they kill a person who is part of a more generalized opposition to their politics I am not getting why both Bob and David (both of who I greatly admire) are seeing Trump as being ‘ impressive in absolute terms’. Actually I find it a bit scary.

        • Transformer says:

          Missed a key clause:
          I am not getting why both Bob and David (both of who I greatly admire) are seeing Trump as being ‘ impressive in absolute terms’ FOR MAKING THE MORAL EQUIVALENCE CLAIM

        • Tel says:

          The rally wasn’t entirely “extreme right-wing”, people like the Traditionalist Worker’s Party are a variation of left wing ideology. They are essentially closed-shop unionism combined with closed-borders nationalism, which makes economic sense when you consider that the purpose of a union is to drive up wages, and the purpose of open borders is to drive down wages. There were of course many other groups, and probably more than a few provocateurs.

          The girl who was killed was NOT killed at the rally. Indeed the “Anfita” and associated groups left the rally and took over completely separate parts of the town, quite some distance from the park and away from the designated protest area. They had no permits, they had no police supervision, they broke the rules, they simply wanted to take over the middle of town, including running out onto roads and stopping traffic (yeah, it’s a thing, some university professor no doubt thought that one up).

          Although no one is entitled to run people over, just because they are running out on the road … it’s still plumb stupid to run out into traffic. Tell you daughters not to do that, because it’s dangerous. You can’t say that the rally organizers deliberately tried to make this situation happen. They did their best to plan for a peaceful rally. The police did an appallingly bad job of supervising … quite possible intentionally.

          Trump never once supported running people over … not even the remotest suggestion. However he did support a fair hearing for people who believe that the destruction (and inevitable rewriting) of history is fundamentally wrong.

          I should also point out that trying to organize any kind of peaceful rally is incredibly difficult these days. You can guarantee that someone will come along and start something, then try to make it your fault. The media are consistently dishonest and will frame the story to construct their narrative. We have lost that means of political expression, thanks to semi-professional troublemakers.

          • Transformer says:

            The Traditionalist Worker’s Party seem like a bad example of ‘fine people’

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traditionalist_Worker_Party

            • Tel says:

              So now you operate by twisting what I said?

              Your comment:

              However after a rally of the extreme right-wing where they kill a person who is part of a more generalized opposition to their politics I am not getting why both Bob and David (both of who I greatly admire) are seeing Trump as being ‘ impressive in absolute terms’. Actually I find it a bit scary.

              My comment:

              The rally wasn’t entirely “extreme right-wing”, people like the Traditionalist Worker’s Party are a variation of left wing ideology.

              Seems pretty clear, unless you wanted to somehow pretend I was talking about something else.

              Also your phrase “where they kill a person” is inaccurate. The only person killed was killed by an individual decision, not by any “they”, and this happened after the rally, and away from the area where the rally took place and was not directly related to any action of the rally organizers.

              • Harold says:

                Just in case anyone didn’t bother to follow the wikipedia link, this is how it describes them.

                The Traditionalist Worker Party (TWP) was a neo-Nazi, white nationalist group based in the United States. Established in 2013 by Matthew Heimbach under the name Traditionalist Youth Network (TYN), the group promotes white separatism and a white supremacist view of Christianity. Part of the neo-Nazi Nationalist Front, the TWP has held a number of protests and other local events. Since 2015, the group also operated as a political party to run in elections for local office.

                If you want to say that the rally wasn’t extreme right wing because of these jokers I think you are missing the point.

              • Transformer says:

                I wasn’t really intentionally twisting your words – if your point was that white supremacists and Neo-Nazis have an ideology that is a much left as right wing – then that is a fair point that I maybe missed.

                However I think when an avowed white supremacist deliberately kills someone in or around a white supremacists rally I think it correct to say that “they” (meaning the collective grouping of white supremacists) killed that person.

                My main point is that while the video Bob posts gets Trump off the hook for saying “white supremacists are fine people” the view that he was in fact ‘impressive in absolute terms’ seems very indefensible to me – no ‘fine people’ would have been at the white supremacists rally, so his words that there were actually ‘fine people on both side’ is utter nonsense.

              • Tel says:

                The “Traditionalist Workers” make it very clear they are a working class group. I know that the Karl Marx thing is kind of old hat and forgotten, but he wrote this Communist Manifesto separating the Proletariat from the Bourgeois. If you haven’t heard of it, worth a read because it’s been influential.

                No… that does not mean I agree with it. I should not have to include the disclaimer.

                Generally speaking, parties defining themselves around the working class have some element of Marxism about them. You can see it in their name “Worker’s Party” and in their symbolism … the gear wheel and the rake (not quite a hammer and sickle but still representing the same groups of people: factory workers and agricultural workers).

                This particular group of socialists also have some element of nationalism about them, but actually not a whole lot … they prefer Southern paraphernalia and they are not loyal to Washington. They put forward a local identitarian movement, in no way attached to the corporations, nor to big business, nor do they represent wealthy people.

                They see mass immigration of low skilled labour as a threat to their jobs (probably correctly). They are anti-globalist because their communities were hard hit by globalism. They are religious Christians, in the “strict family values” mold and they have a belief in putting their own “folk” first, which is a form of ethnic tribalism.

                So there’s some overlap with other “right wing” groups, but most of what they stand for is small nation socialism and solidarity amongst poor working class white families. They are not “white supremacist” by any means, they only want to have some sort of cultural identity to call their own (which is something every other ethnic group gets given to them for free).

                This doesn’t mean I’m a supporter of unionism, nor of jobs protected from international competition … but if you don’t at least understand where they are coming from then the whole discussion is a load of B.S.

                That’s just ONE particular group who are regularly misrepresented. The purpose of lumping all “right wingers” together is because then they can say “hard right” and then when there’s no pushback they can say “extreme right” and then go for “ultra nationalism” and any other whacky term you want.

                The rally called “unite the right” didn’t hardly include any mainstream people who would be normally be called “right” but it did provide an awfully good excuse to smear right wing people, even groups who weren’t there at all.

                Mostly it was a motley crew of fringe groups … who also deserve their free speech just like everyone else. Some of them actually very left wing.

                As for whether real Nazis are right or left, that’s another discussion. Just for reference, I say that National Socialists are indeed socialist, exactly as the name suggests. They are not free market people, nor supporters of individual rights. I think the very early National Socialist Worker’s Party symbolism included a gear wheel to represent industrial workers. There’s some overlap, and both groups had a concept of “folk” but then again, all tribalist groups have similar concepts including black identitarian groups, and other clannish ethnic groups. It’s natural human instinct to stick together … if that in itself makes you evil then there must be a heck of a lot of evil people in the world.

                My point is not to start sympathizing with these people (although it’s amazing how the “Progressives” can bang away about “Empathy” while having none whatsoever) but IMHO miscategorizing is bad because it’s part of a deliberate campaign to create confusion, and we don’t want to add to that.

              • Harold says:

                ” I say that National Socialists are indeed socialist,”

                So for you the original Nazis in Germany were left wing and the TWP is left wing in the same way.

              • guest says:

                “So for you the original Nazis in Germany were left wing and the TWP is left wing in the same way.”

                Based on Tel’s description, they seem socialist to me.

                The only reason they’re nationalists is because they believe that foreign workers hurt them, economically.

                But that belief is the same socialist economic fallacy that leads them to demonize rich capitalist citizens of their own country, and to favor, say, farmers over industrialists.

                Free trade, as such, hurts no one because no one was ever entitled to the patronage they received when people were willing to trade with them.

                We see this kind of mistake in Trump supporters, today. Consider that Trump seems right wing when he wants to use state power to force companies to allow freedom of speech on their sociali platforms.

                But forcing companies to do anything at all with their property is socialist-leaning.

                See, the problem the right is having being heard on left-wing social platforms is not because real freedom has problems.

                Right-wingers are being silenced because previous government interventions enforce socialist-leaning laws that hinder competition among utility companies (the ultimate gate-keepers of the internet, at the moment, and heavily regulated), and among other would-be users of machines that would interfere with the currently dominant companies’ use of radio waves.

                If my device interfere’s with your intended use of how radio waves work, too bad so sad – I have a right to use my device any way I see fit on my own property, or on unowned property.

                Get rid of regulations on trade, on utility companies, and on radio waves (which cannot be owned anymore than the view from your balcony), and what you will see happen is closer to what has happened in the past.

                What happened in the past is that the Left were absolutely welcome to attempt to be heard on the radio (it doesn’t have to be radio waves, it could be advertising space), but because nobody wanted to listen to them, they had to close down their stations – it wasn’t profitable to continue.

                So the Left wanted “The Fairness Doctrine” to force radio stations to give them equal time.

                See anything familiar? This is exactly what Trump is doing to Left-wing companies. It is, in fact, a socialist-leaning policy, not a right-wing one.

                And then, later, the Left wanted Net Neutrality do have the same thing done on the internet that the Fairness Doctrine was supposed to do on the radio.

                Get the government out of the economy, and both sides can at least attempt to be heard.

                The right cannot be heard because of socialist-leaning government regulations of radio waves, utility companies (who are forced, by government, to allow internet companies to use their communication network), and internet companies; not because the Left-wing companies won’t let them speak on their sociali platforms.

                Let the Left wing companies discriminate against Right wingers to their hearts content – as is their right – and then let Right wingers set up their own competing social platforms to compete with Left wingers.

              • Harold says:

                Yet they chose to call this “Unite the Right” rather than “Unite the White Supremacists”, which actually seems to be the unifying factor.

          • Harold says:

            “The girl who was killed was NOT killed at the rally… they broke the rules, they simply wanted to take over the middle of town, including running out onto roads and stopping traffic …
            Although no one is entitled to run people over, just because they are running out on the road … it’s still plumb stupid to run out into traffic. Tell you daughters not to do that, because it’s dangerous.”

            That is not how Heather Heyer was killed. Fields deliberately drove his car into crowds. The street was supposed to be closed to traffic but a police mistake led to the barrier being removed. The victim was not at fault. 35 people were injured, many of them were critical for a time.

            I find your excusing this abhorrent behavior revealing. If murder can be dismissed like this, it is not surprising you can’t see bigotry.

            • Tel says:

              There’s a photograph easily available on Wikipedia.

              https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/0/0e/2017_Charlottesville%2C_Virginia_car_attack_seen_from_pole.jpg

              You will notice several cars on this thing called “a road” which is the place where cars normally go.

              Those cars are obstructed by many people who have run out on the road. Fields chose to attempt to barge through, which was his personal choice, and unlawful. That said, it’s still a stupid idea for pedestrians to run out in front of cars even when the drivers have a legal responsibility to not run down pedestrians. Am I making this too complicated?

              The street was supposed to be closed to traffic but a police mistake led to the barrier being removed.

              No one admitted to being the person who moved the barrier, but once the road is open to traffic, it is (like normal roads) open to traffic. At no stage was this a designated protest area. Drivers should be careful in these type of situations, pedestrians also should be careful. Several other drivers were also attempting to navigate this road, so it must have seemed like a normal road at the time.

              There’s also a map on Wikipedia showing that this incident happened approx 4 blocks away from the park where the rally was held (i.e. the officially designated area for the protest). Fields was on his way home, attempting to leave the area.

              I find your excusing this abhorrent behavior revealing. If murder can be dismissed like this, it is not surprising you can’t see bigotry.

              Do you have reading comprehension difficulty with my earlier statement “no one is entitled to run people over” or are you being deliberately dishonest here? Maybe that’s revealing you are not particularly interested in truth, and prefer point scoring.

              • Harold says:

                I stick to my original take. She was not killed by running out in front of anyone. He was convicted of first degree murder because he drove his car deliberately into a crowd.

                It did not look like a normal road because it was full of people, walking along a road they expected to be closed to traffic. These people Fields deliberately drove into.

                “That said, it’s still a stupid idea for pedestrians to run out in front of cars even when the drivers have a legal responsibility to not run down pedestrians. Am I making this too complicated?” Yes, way too comlicate by ontroducing something tht had nothing to do with the events. Nobody ran out in front of Field’s car.

                So why did you mention it at all? Either it is a total non sequitur – you might as well have said it is not a good idea to drink petrol. Yes, that is true but has nothing to do with the case.

                Or it is an attempt to make the perpetrator appear less culpable by suggesting something that did not happen.

                Now, you are reasonably clever, so I don’t see the non sequitur as a flyer. Maybe you are now going to admit to that.

              • Tel says:

                Just explain how all those people in the photo got in and amongst the cars that they are blocking on the road?

              • Harold says:

                Are you suggesting that hundreds of people simultaneously jumped out into the road in front of the car? that is a crazy.

                They got there by walking on what was supposed to be a closed road. Two groups of counter protesters happened to converge at the intersection.

                From the Hunton and Williams review:
                “The group of several hundred counter-protesters paused for a moment as they decided
                where to go. Some within the crowd started to move north up 4th Street SE, back towards Justice Park. They maneuvered around two cars that appeared to be stuck at the
                intersection after having driven south on 4th Street.”

                Fields was following behind these vehicles. He got stuck by the crowd, reversed and accelerated at high speed into the crowd. He did not attempt to barge through, he deliberately drove into them at speed.
                He passed over a big speed bump on the way.

                Nobody jumped in front of him. They were there before he arrived.

                There are several videos that show it quite clearly, and the Pulitzer prize winning still photo also, for those with strong stomachs.
                https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/2/2f/2017_Charlottesville%2C_Virginia_car_attack_photograph.jpg

              • guest says:

                “Are you suggesting that hundreds of people simultaneously jumped out into the road in front of the car? that is a crazy.

                “They got there by walking on what was supposed to be a closed road. Two groups of counter protesters happened to converge at the intersection.”

                Some food for thought:

                14 Mistakes Charlottesville Police Made During The White Nationalist Rally, According To A New Report
                [www]https://www.bustle.com/p/14-mistakes-charlottesville-police-made-during-the-white-nationalist-rally-according-to-a-new-report-6764301

                “14. An Officer Was Pulled From The Intersection Where Heather Heyer Was Killed …”

                “… A school resource officer stationed at the intersection of 4th Street NE and Market Street was reassigned after she radioed for assistance when “violent skirmishes” broke out causing her to feel unsafe.

                “However, the officer was not replaced and the intersection was left without a police presence. According to the report, “unknown persons” moved a sawhorse barricade set up to block traffic from moving down 4th Street, which enabled James Fields to drive his car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing Heyer and injuring others.”

                So violent skirmishes broke out *before* the hit-and-run, and – not that this will matter to my main point, but – it happened on a road that was supposed to be closed.

                Here’s my point: Does anyone remember what happened when Reginal Denny stopped his semi in the middle of a protest crowd?

                You don’t stop your car in crowds. You don’t have to be a racist to reason that you’re in danger in such a crowd, and better someone else than you.

              • Harold says:

                Yeah, but he backed away from the crowd before accelerating into it, then backed away in the same direction afterwards.

              • guest says:

                “… then backed away in the same direction afterwards.”

                OK, I’ll check it out.

              • guest says:

                “OK, I’ll check it out.”

                I did some cursory research, and what I’ve seen is a video in which he plows through people in the road at high speed, then the crowd starts to attack the car, at which point he backs through the crowd again at high speed.

                Here’s the video I saw (GRAPHIC):

                Charlottesville Rally car attack
                [www]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QWSXAyybcV8

                (I didn’t watch the whole thing, just snippets. It was hard to watch.)

                A couple of things worth considering are:

                1) Whether or not he premeditatedly attempted to kill or maim people (as opposed to also attempting to get through the crowd in fear of his own life), his car was being attacked after he ran over people going forward.

                2) In that situation, no matter who you are, you’re going to back through whatever is in your way to get away from the crowd.

                I don’t know what occurred before this video, but I did come across another video that suggests that his car was attacked prior to his hit-and-run.

                Here’s that video:

                Making a Murderer Charlottesville: Car Attacked Minutes Before Crash
                [www]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YwjJrA8tWN4

                In this video, his car has some damage on his back bumper that appears, from a video made 7 minutes prior to the hit-and-run, to not be present.

                It may be that Fields perceived the crowd as a threat, tried to plow through them to safety (there happened to be a car on the other side of the crowd that stopped his advance), realized that he was a sitting duck as the crowd started to attack his car, and then backed out through whatever was in his way.

                Try not to immediately jump to “racism” as a motive. Try and see things from another’s perspective.

                I’ve done this kind of analysis with police brutality videos, as well. You don’t have to be evil to engage in a lot of what comes across as police brutality. Police shouldn’t be in those situations to begin with, but since they are, their actions make a lot of sense in their context.)

              • Tel says:

                Are you suggesting that hundreds of people simultaneously jumped out into the road in front of the car? that is a crazy.

                I asked a short and specific question, and your response does not even remotely match what I was saying. Clearly right there in the photo are several cars. More than one car, you can see that, so can I.

                There are people all around the cars (plural) so how did they get there?

                No one is suggesting it was some “simultaneous” action … where the heck did you pull that from? My point is that you narrative of a crowd that just happened to be walking down a street which was closed to traffic does NOT MATCH the visual evidence of street which clearly does contain traffic, and with people in and amongst the cars. Give me a narrative that fits the available evidence.

                What’s more, we know that the crowd had also blocked the intersection further down so almost certainly additional cars were also involved (not visible in the photo but consistent with reports).

              • Tel says:

                I did some cursory research, and what I’ve seen is a video in which he plows through people in the road at high speed, then the crowd starts to attack the car, at which point he backs through the crowd again at high speed.

                That fits my understanding as well. Look, Fields had no legal or moral reason to run people down, even if a crowd was forming in the street. Fields clearly did the wrong thing. That does not automatically mean all the other people did the right thing. Harold wants to pretend the whole discussion is about Fields while everyone else acted like angels.

                Crowds that push in and amongst traffic are knowingly creating a dangerous situation … we teach our kids never to do this. They had the choice to do the right thing and keep the road clear, staying on the sidewalk. The police are at least partly also morally to blame for allowing that situation to happen and more to blame for shrugging and walking away from a crowd that was turning violent. Legally though, police have absolutely no duty of care, while drivers do.

                This area where the crowd was forming was well away from any designated protest assembly area. It was four blocks from the park. The crowd had no permit to be there. They had no justification for stopping traffic.

              • guest says:

                “Look, Fields had no legal or moral reason to run people down, even if a crowd was forming in the street.”

                I don’t know whether or not Fields had a good reason. I’ve heard of stories and seen videos where people deliberately stand in the way of cars or even deliberately throw themselves against cars to make it seem like they’re victims of a hit-and-run to get someone in trouble.

                What are you supposed to do in that situation? You’re not safe. So there is, in theory, *some* justification for plowing through what seems to be a hostile crowd out of fear for one’s safety.

                I am much more afraid of socialists implementing their top-down policies than the occasional race-based violence because, historically and repeatedtly, socialists haven’t hurt or killed just the amount of people ran over by fields, or the amount of people gunned down in public school victim-disarmament-zones.

                Socialists have starved and killed in the millions in the name of equality and egalitarianism.

                If you value your freedom, you have to defend the rights of even racists to hold their views, peacefully, and to have the final say with what they do with their own property – even to refuse service to those they hate.

                It is far worse to let government decide what, and whether, “classes” are protected from discrimination, et al.

              • Harold says:

                Tel, You clearly wish to hold your views and will continue to do so whatever the evidence.

                The crowd was not forming, it was there already. He reversed out of danger, then accelerated into the crowd. The charges were changed from second degree to first degree murder when the facts became clear.

                He was convicted of first degree murder. All the video evidence we can see supports this.

                The crowd had no duty to stay on the sidewalks. The traffic was pushing among the crowd, not the crowd among traffic. We see three cars which had passed the saw horse barrier, left unattended by the police and possibly moved out of the way.

                “My point is that you [sic] narrative of a crowd that just happened to be walking down a street which was closed to traffic does NOT MATCH the visual evidence of street which clearly does contain traffic,”

                It absolutely fits the narrative of a street that was supposed to be closed to traffic, which is what I said.
                The police messed up. That is why there are dozens of people and 3 cars.

                It absolutely does not fit a narrative of people jumping out in front of traffic, which is what you said.

                What I don’t get, and I have fallen for your distraction yet again, is why you think any of that even mattered?

                Here we are arguing about whether the pedestrians had a right to be where they were, when it doesn’t matter.

                This guy was a murderer. Yes, says Tel, but they were jaywalking! As though that mattered, whether true or not.

                You try to divert the conversation into whether one particular bunch of white supremacists are left or right wing. It doesn’t matter – they are hateful white supremacists and neo-Nazis.

                So enough about this from me.

              • Tel says:

                The crowd had no duty to stay on the sidewalks. The traffic was pushing among the crowd, not the crowd among traffic.

                The normal behaviour of people on a road, where there is traffic on that road, is to keep to the sidewalks. We teach our children this. You were taught this as a child.

                Putting yourself in and around traffic in that situation is intrinsically dangerous. Yes the drivers are obliged to stop … but it is always a dangerous thing to do. Those people in the crowd could see the dangerous situation, they decided that blocking traffic was a good thing to do, they could have decided to let the traffic through.

                What I don’t get, and I have fallen for your distraction yet again, is why you think any of that even mattered?

                Here we are arguing about whether the pedestrians had a right to be where they were, when it doesn’t matter.

                This guy was a murderer. Yes, says Tel, but they were jaywalking! As though that mattered, whether true or not.

                No you are the one creating the distraction. I never once supported what Fields did, you are pretending like I made this a discussion about Fields when it was you who made it about Fields.

                I repeat once more that it is unacceptable and wrong for any driver to run down pedestrians in any situation.

                I responded to the following comment (written right there above):

                However after a rally of the extreme right-wing where they kill a person who is part of a more generalized opposition to their politics …

                That makes it sound like right there at the rally, they just grabbed someone and killed them outright. As if every group who went to that rally was part and parcel to the killing … because right-wing bad.

                * The woman was not killed at the rally, it was a number of blocks away, in an area which was not supposed to be part of the rally at all.

                * The crowd that gathered had no permit to gather in that place, and it was not a designated part of the rally. Officially the rally was over at the time and people were supposed to be dispersing and going home.

                * Normal people, in normal traffic situations keep to the sidewalk, because of a well understood danger caused by putting yourself in and around vehicles. That is the socially expected way to conduct yourself on a road.

                * The fact that Fields got convicted of murder does not make everyone else magically doing the right thing on the day. Many people did the wrong thing, including police and Antifa, and the counter-protestors who started taking over roads and intersections. There was indeed violence on both sides, and the counter-protestors deliberately created dangerous situations in various ways on the day. The police deliberately funneled the two opposing groups together in a bloody minded way, then abdicated any management of the situation afterwards.

              • Tel says:

                I don’t know whether or not Fields had a good reason. I’ve heard of stories and seen videos where people deliberately stand in the way of cars or even deliberately throw themselves against cars to make it seem like they’re victims of a hit-and-run to get someone in trouble.

                It wasn’t like that, it was more like this situation.

                http://eventsintorontonow.blogspot.com/2018/12/protesters-just-blocked-major-downtown.html

                This is not unusual, do a search it’s now standard protest strategy to block intersections and roads. No the drivers are NOT allowed to run them down … however the point of the protest is causing maximum inconvenience so they cannot easily be ignored.

              • Tel says:

                This is the kind of thing that was going on.

                Although organized protests or marches can obtain permits to close streets, frequently protesters move from the permitted areas. When protesters block highways or streets that they are not permitted to be on, they do risk arrest. However, police are loathe to arrest peaceful protesters, even when they block traffic. The recent protest in Washington D.C. blocked a busy intersection for 7 minutes, and there were no arrests reported.

                They were nowhere near the permitted area.

              • guest says:

                I stand by my assessment.

                Passing a law cannot change the fact that It is not safe to stop your car in the middle of a protest crowd.

                And when you can be dragged out of your car and beaten to death, it absolutely makes sense to opt to drive through a crowd – into people – to safety.

                Reginald Denny likely wishes that he had not stopped his semi. He was almost murdered by people in a protest crowd that didn’t know him, personally.

  2. Josiah says:

    FWIW, my recollection (which is borne out in the NYT story Krugman linked to) is that initially most of the outrage was centered on the fact that Trump had said there were bad people on both sides of the confrontation (antifa and neonazis). This was considered to be “moral equivalence.” However, over the next few weeks it became untenable to deny that antifa was doing indefensible stuff, and so the outrage got retconned to be that Trump had praised neonazis (even though he hadn’t).

  3. Dan says:

    It’s so bizarre how they keep repeating this obvious lie. The more they tell it the more people see how little integrity they have. I don’t see what they think they are gaining.

    • Tel says:

      It’s a polarizing technique. People who believe it move one direction, people who don’t believe it move the other direction. There’s no workable space in the middle … is it possible to half believe this?

      At least with polarized groups you can reliably sell a given story to one side. If that’s not enough market, simply start a different media website and sell the reverse story to the other side. Perhaps I am too cynical … but I think I’ve earned that over the years.

  4. Bob Roddis says:

    Not to beat a long dead horse to a pulp, but I’ve been saying (for almost a decade) that this is precisely how non-libertarians, socialists and Keynesians engage Austrian and free market analysis in general. They just lie.

    Where did Keynes ever engage the concept of economic calculation? Where has any Keynesian?

  5. Harold says:

    Are you aware that the fascists promote exactly this type of speech as “entry points” to their view? They know that being too openly racist puts off the “normies” as they call the rest of us.

    One thing is that this was not just a brawl – someone was murdered. That may make a “normie” think that perhaps we should be condemning the side that did that. It is a bit “curate’s egg.”

    Your justifications sound like accepting a sarcastic teenagers comment like “Oh, yes, I really respect you, sir” in a sneering tone because the words themselves are respectful.

    Put it this way, if a public figure were sympathetic to white nationalism, then what Trump said is exactly what I would expect them to say. If I wanted to attract sympathisers of fascists and white supremacists, that is exactly what I would say. I would have deniability, because the words are arguably factually true, but it conveys a very different message. Just as the stroppy teenager will say the right words to get some cred with the other students.

    Did it work? The fascists certainly thought so.

    Oh, and the “I come here to bury Caesar, not to praise him” approach. I am not putting anybody on a moral plane whilst doing exactly that. A normie might think that people who openly chant Nazi slogans and throw Nazi salutes deserve a bit of extra condemnation over those that try to stop them.

    Maybe you agree with everything I say and you only object to the specific accusation that Trump directly praised neo-Nazis. In which case I will get off your case.

    • Andrew in MD says:

      It wasn’t a “side” that murdered her. It was one guy. We shouldn’t condemn everyone on “his side” because of his actions, just him.

      • Harold says:

        Fields drove to the rally to support it. He was part of “unite the right”.

        • Andrew in MD says:

          Of course he was. What’s your point?

    • Rory says:

      “Are you aware that the fascists promote exactly this type of speech as ‘entry points’ to their view? They know that being too openly racist puts off the ‘normies’ as they call the rest of us.”

      Harold, gotta be honest this really bothers me. I’m not asking you to support Trump or his views – I certainly don’t – but the growing prevalence of this kind of reasoning is getting out of hand. I was going to call it “guilt by association” but it’s too tenuous for even that. Maybe my glasses are too rose tinted, but it seemed like once upon a time if you said something racist, it was called racist. Makes sense to me. Now anything less than a full-throated recitation of mainstream platitudes earns you a “racist” label, and sometimes that’s not even enough because – wouldn’t you know it – racism isn’t an acceptable view so *of course* they wouldn’t just say it! I mean, unless they totally do, which they do.

      What I mean by that is:

      Weatherman making verbal stumble on live TV, making “Martin Luther King Jr.” sound in part like “coon” = obviously racist because as we know racists announce this stuff purposefully.

      Gary goes to Terry and asks him if he’s racist. Terry, shocked, says “no of course not!” Gary comes away (at least) unconvinced, because of course racists wouldn’t just come out and say that.

      By every metric I’m aware of, racist attitudes are the dramatic minority, yet using this reasoning of “heads you’re racist, tails you’re a white supremacist” we’ve simultaneously made the null hypothesis to be “racist” which makes absolutely no sense to me.

      Again, let’s condemn the rally or Trump or whatever, but please use a different line of argumentation. This one just seems to say “once I’ve decided you’re racist, it is literally non-falsifiable”

      • Harold says:

        If you look at my reply to Josiah below you will see that I do not find this one example conclusive. One explanation is that Trump is pandering to racists. I am not quite sure what, but there may be other explanations. However, when we take all the evidence from all of Trumps statements the conclusion is inescapable.

        On racism, I was looking at youtube videos of TV programmes from the 1970’s, in particular a sitcom called “love thy neighbour.”

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mGesyvKfAOA

        The premise is a black couple moving in next door to a white racist man and not racist woman. The racist man always comes off worse, so the overall message is anti-racism. However, the depiction of the casual racism that was common at he time is quite shocking. It is usual for the white man to discuss the “nig nog” as not being capable of behaviour expected of the superior white man. The “black and white minster show” was broadcast until 1978. Imagine growing up in this society. it would be impossible not to absorb this message. It might appear culturally normal for a student in the 1980’s UK to wear blackface. That was family entertainment when they were a teenager. He would not have thought he was racist by doing so. Looking back now, he would probably think something like “my god, I can’t believe I did that!”

        None of us is immune from cultural influence, and if those influences are racist then we will probably have internalised some of them. We also have a genetic predisposition to be suspicous of outsiders.

        The point is that we are all probably racist to some extent. We cannot isolate ourselves from our upbringing. The only way we can behave in a non racist way is to acknowledge this and try to catch ourselves when it happens. We cannot do this if we do not accept it.

        Personally, I would not take the Martin Luther Coon as racist any more than our newsreader hilariously mis-pronouncing Jeremy Hunt as mysoginistic. I would not expect my colleague to admit to being racist, whether or not he was. Nor would I take his denial as evidence that he was racist. If he repeatedly said racist things, then I would consider him a racist.

        You think this sort of reasoning is getting out of hand, yet the racists themselves describe this as a tactic to recruit the normies. I am not making this up.

        If a group if people march chanting “jews will not replace us” and “blood and soil” it should not be hard to condemn them. This is what happened the night before that Trump specifically mentions. I These are the pictures that he saw – he points out that these are the same ones we all saw. It was the day before that he said there were fine people there. Yes, there could be another explanation.
        maybe Trump is so egalitarian that he would never accuse one side or group without looking for parallels with other groups to explain the context. maybe Trump would never condemn without a full and detailed picture of the whole context. There may be other explanations, but you have to really want to believe them for it to seem like the most probable to you.

        • Harold says:

          That is “black and whit minstrel show” Not minster.

    • Sean says:

      And, guess what, someone who honestly believed that there really were bad and good people on both sides would say this also. Your argument is a blatant example of affirming the consequent. It is practically the only manner in which people discuss allegations of racism and most other emotionally charge subjects these days.

      • Harold says:

        ” someone who honestly believed that there really were bad and good people on both sides would say this also.”

        That is one possibility. That person made that the central aspect of their claim. It was obvious that the alt right contained a lot of very bad people. It is really hard to find any evidence that there were fine people involved in the march the day before the rally, which Trump specifically mentioned as containing the fine people. It could be that there were some fine people there. The person that made this the central aspect of their comment would have to be a person who thought that looking for the good in groups that contain good and bad people was something that one ought to do, even in the face of compelling evidence that there were a lot of bad people there and little evidence of fine people. This is so far removed from Trumps other utterances that we can pretty much reject this out of hand in this case.

        Not absolutely conclusive, but very strong evidence because the other reasons for saying what he did simply don’t stack up.

  6. Transformer says:

    Maybe I’m missing something but wan’t the rally that kicked this off explicitly a white supremacists rally ?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unite_the_Right_rally

    If so, then why is saying ‘there are very fine people on both sides’ different from saying “some white supremacists are very fine people”.?

    • Transformer says:

      well, I guess the answer to my own question is that Trump explicitly differentiated between white supremacists and Neo-Nazis (who are to be condemned) and the ‘very fine people’ he remarks on.

      But all the footage of the rally shows it to be pretty hard core right extremist – so I am still left wondering who these ‘fine people’ were and what they were doing at the rally..

      • Andrew in MD says:

        It wasn’t “explicitly” white supremacist, although there were quite a lot of them there. Much of the footage from the rally was taken by left-wing sources who were seeking out the hard-core right-wing imagery, because of its shock value, and that gives the impression that it had a greater representation that it did in reality.

        But I agree with you that the “very fine people” (“on both sides”) would have been wise to avoid this event entirely.

        • Harold says:

          A lot of footage was from the right wing, who live streamed the event. James Allsup and Baked Alaska both took their their live streams down quite soon. Footage from these sources shows an inside view of the alt right. Including speakers saying “Hitler did nothing wrong” to apparently universal approval.

  7. Transformer says:

    well, I guess the answer to my own question is that Trump explicitly differentiated between white supremacists and Neo-Nazis (who are to be condemned) and the ‘very fine people’ he remarks on.

    But all the footage of the rally shows it to be pretty hard core right extremist – so I am still left wondering who these ‘fine people’ were and what they were doing at the rally..

  8. Josiah says:

    Harold,

    You said: “Put it this way, if a public figure were sympathetic to white nationalism, then what Trump said is exactly what I would expect them to say.”

    Before you draw any conclusions from this, I would recommend you read this article:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affirming_the_consequent

    • Harold says:

      The fallacy would require me to have said Trump must have been trying to appeal to fascists and Nazis.

      “If the lamp were broken, then the room would be dark,”) and invalidly inferring its converse (“The room is dark, so the lamp is broken,”) even though the converse may not be true. This arises when a consequent (“the room would be dark”) has one or more other antecedents (for example, “the lamp is not plugged in” or “the lamp is in working order, but is switched off”).

      Maybe the lamp is working but not plugged in. In either case the room is dark. So even if he did not intend it, he had that effect.

      Whilst this evidence is not conclusive in this one case alone, when we put it together with his other statements the alternative explanations become vanishingly unlikely.

      • guest says:

        Alternatively, maybe entertain the idea that blacks are told, from very young, that free markets are racist and they oppress people of color, and that socialism enforces all kinds of equality, including racial equality.

        Then consider that, were it the case, as free marketers claim, that free markets tend toward prosperity among those who embrace them, and that socialism makes people poorer, then it would follow that blacks, choosing, as individuals, to reject free markets, are actually the cause of their own poverty and lack of opportunities.

        Nobody needs to think of blacks as all alike in order to come to this conclusion.

        Further, those blacks who learn the lessons of free markets and of the failures of socialism are called race traitors by other blacks.

        The plight of blacks comes from economic ignorance, not from racism.

        White racist nationalists merely mistake the race of race-based socialism for the causes of black poverty, gang violence, etc.

        The race-centric nature of the black community, notwithstanding, the source of their plight has nothing to do with the color of their skin.

        • Harold says:

          When do you think racism stopped?

          • guest says:

            Racism is not responsible for the plight of colored people, so whether racism has stopped or not is irrelevant.

            Race and Economics
            by Walter Williams
            [www]https://www.lewrockwell.com/2011/08/walter-e-williams/race-and-economics/

            “Chapter 3 of “Race and Economics,” my most recent book, starts out, “Some might find it puzzling that during times of gross racial discrimination, black unemployment was lower and blacks were more active in the labor force than they are today.” …”

            “… I can’t imagine even the most harebrained professor, civil rights leader or media “expert” arguing that there was less discrimination a century ago and that explains why there was greater black labor market participation. Racial discrimination or low skills can explain low wages but not unemployment.”

            • Harold says:

              You think that racism against black people is alive and well, but it just has no effect on the lives of black people? It is OK to ignore it because it is an irrelevance?

              That is a bold position to take. I admire your courage and honesty.

              • guest says:

                And apparently, you think it is OK to ignore the effect that socialist-leaning policies have on the lives of black people.

                The actual results of free-market policies lift blacks out of their plight.

                So my heartless, greedy profit-motives do more for black lives than do your bleeding-heart race-centric policy wishes.

                Help others see that “black lives matter”, if you like; But until they embrace free markets, all they will ever see is racism everywhere.

                (Also, that article I quoted from was written by a black economist. Do you view his position as bold, too?)

              • Harold says:

                Well,
                “Williams marked “Caucasian” for race on his personnel form. When challenged on this, Williams replied wryly if he had marked “Black”, he would end up getting all the worst jobs.
                So back then he recognised racism as a problem that affected him directly.

                he is not here to ask, but you are. So do you think racism is still very much with us? Ok if you think socialism is the biggest threat, but surely, if it exists, racism is also bad and negatively affect the lives of those discriminated against. We can fight more than one ill at a time.

                So even if you think socialism hurts black people more than racism does, it it pretty unavoidable that racism also hurts black people and should be fought.

              • guest says:

                “So even if you think socialism hurts black people more than racism does, it it pretty unavoidable that racism also hurts black people and should be fought.”

                But you can’t fight racism with the very things that lead people to mistakenly reason that “bad results, therefore racism”.

                Want to help blacks get out of poverty, your proposed Minimum Wage hikes are causing their poverty.

                Want blacks to not end up in prison so often, then get out of the way of the free market – racist views included (thoughts are not, themselves crimes) – so that the profit motive will inadvertently give blacks increased skills over time (like it would do for anyone), and thereby increase the financial penalties for not hiring skilled black labor.

                Racism is not anywhere near the problem that the Left thinks it is. Focus on freeing markets, leave people to their racist thoughts (or homo thoughts, etc.), so long as they don’t engage in physical aggression or threats to that end, and everyone will be far more able to leverage the price system to their benefit.

  9. Tel says:

    There does appear to be a pattern of behaviour designed to shut down free speech and derail discussion. These are the techniques deployed:

    * Try to ignore the thrust of what the other guy is talking about.

    * Put forward an over-simplified, exaggerated and cartoonish misrepresentation of what people stand for.

    * Go for emotive power words like: “racist”, “sexist”, “white supremacist” and “Nazi”.

    * Focus on outrage, and confrontation instead of understanding the issue.

    * Whip up a mob if possible so they can all be outraged, each one exaggerating a bit more than the other guy.

    Normally I’m not cranky about such things, but here we are discussing Trump being misrepresented (repeatedly) by the media, so I’m on-topic for the page, and I see the same stuff happening all over the place these days. I can knock out a list of some of the worst examples very easily.

    Delingpole talks about the hit job done on Toby Young … this really clearly explains the whole strategy from start to finish.

    http://delingpoleworld.com/toby-young/

    You can then search out Lew Rockwell explaining how the NYT attacked anyone even slightly linked with Rand Paul back in 2014. Here’s a quote.

    What is to be done, then? Why, defame Rand directly of course, but also besmirch him not for anything he has done, but line up a bunch of people who could in any way be associated with him, attack them, and imply that Rand is somehow responsible for their actions. The not so hidden agenda here is that, really, Rand agrees with all of them, although he is too sneaky to come out and say this. The candidates for this operation? Ludwig von Mises, Murray Rothbard, Lysander Spooner, Hans Sennholz, Ayn Rand, Karl Hess, Ron Paul, Lew Rockwell, Tom Woods, Jack Hunter, Gary North, Alex Jones, and me. My only surprise is that Tanenhaus and Rutenberg, the authors of this disgraceful hit piece did not dig deeper. I am sure that if they had, they could have come up with some dirt on Rand’s plumber, or baby sitter, or gardener, or grocer, etc. Surely, one of them, or a family member or a friend of theirs, did something reprehensible that can be pinned on Rand, with just a little body English, for which the New York Times is justly famous.

    Walter Block started a libel case over that one and it was settled out of court … the details are confidential.

    Then check Tom Woods episode #1328 and a bunch of linked articles about the “Covington Kids” controversy.

    You can search the campaigns against comedian Owen Benjamin to keep him out of venues, block him from social media … because the unfunny “Progressive” comedians can’t stand the idea that a conservative tells a joke better than they do. Maybe repeating over and over “I hate Trump” wears a little thin with an audience … I dunno … not a comedy expert.

    The massive media pile-on against Kanye West when he made a few positive comments about Candice Owens and had the free thinking audacity to consider that Trump might be OK … suddenly he got reported as mentally ill, drug addicted. He literally got called the “token negro of the Trump administration”, you can look it up. Doesn’t that just prove Candice Owens is 100% right?

    Then there’s the way the SLPC will instantly turn you into a “hate group” if you happen to disagree with any part of the “Progressive” narrative. They have lawsuits flying at them from all over the place … there’s a heap of people who got maligned, I won’t start listing them but it’s worth listening to some of the stories. They even decided that any Christmas related hashtags or threads were hateful … that’s way over the top.

    Sir Tim Hunt made a fairly awkward joke about women in science, which was somewhat self-deprecating, and this guy is a full on Nobel Prize winning scientist but not only was he fired for being disrespectful but his wife Mary Collins also ended up getting kicked out. This is Political Correctness gone nuts, but the whole point is to enforce obedience and shut up anyone who speaks out in the slightest way. It’s a destruction of free speech … not so far removed from the Soviets.

    We have a free speech problem, and there’s so much similarity happening in these cases … it couldn’t be an accident. There’s a methodology at work here. There’s more of these, I’ve only scratched the surface.

Leave a Reply