Ratigan still in a different universe

Micha believes a news story about the protests yesterday vindicates Dylan Ratigan's view that the Tea Party contains a significant number of people who say, "I want to kill blacks and Jews and women."

There's a clear difference between an insult, even a very ugly one, and a death threat. I've been called all sorts of names during my life, but the only time I've been shaken is by a death threat. Saying, "I want to kill you" is very different from saying, "You are a ______."

The first thing I noticed about that particular story was the fact that the "witnesses" were three politicians and a writer for the Huffington Post. Call it my tinfoil helmet sense, but I get a distinct tingle about the timing and setting of these accusations.

Where are the other witnesses? In the age of ubiquitous camera technology, why is there no video of the chants? The only video I can find remotely close to the incident was this one:

I don't hear any slurs. You'll notice the caption was added later which reads, "This footage was taken about 5 minutes after Lewis was initially accosted by the angry mob." So maybe the slurs came before the time the footage was recorded. Could very well be, but as I said, where are the other witnesses? Is it a conspiracy to stay silent?

Edit: In the comments below, Andrew Ian Dodge linked to another site with a different video which looks to take place earlier than the above footage.

Ann Althouse writes,

A member of Congress said he was spit on? Guards were right there. Was no one detained? Show me the person who was arrested. Otherwise, I'm assuming it's a lie.

I have a friend who attended the rally and took 417 pictures. I looked at every single one. Not a single racist, anti-gay, anti-woman sign in them.

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Now let us suppose, for a moment, that these accusations are indeed true. Maybe some evidence will come out, some video footage, or some witness will corroborate the accusations. Does that mean that the sentiment represents the essence of the Tea Party protesters? I think we can all agree it doesn't. Does it represent a significant number of the protesters? There were anywhere from 20,000 to 30,000 protesters. Three politicians and a Huffington Post reporter heard the accusations. Can we not surmise that the number of such epithet hurlers can probably be counted on a pair of hands? Can we not all agree that this number is not significant and represents neither the essence or even a meaningful part of the Tea Party?

Get 10 people in a room, you'll have at least one idiot. Get a 100 people in a room, you'll have a few that believe the moon landing was faked. Get 20,000 people together, and you will have some who believe Elvis is alive, Xenu brought his minions to Earth millions of years ago, and yes, some racists. It does not mean they represent any meaningful part of the whole.

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Why does this burn me so much? Because it is an effort by mainstream politicians and media to paint the only populist libertarian movement in the world as a bunch of racists, when it's clearly not true. As Randy Barnett says,

Now the political consciousness of an enormous number Americans is entirely focused on government and the political class. There is a genuinely grassroots "liberty movement" in this country that has not existed in my lifetime - perhaps not in a century or more. And they are not interested forming in a third party.

Micha- a few years ago, you began to see yourself as allied with the "left". I think that's a big mistake, not because it's the wrong side, but because there's no need to pick any side. Picking sides is at best, a fixed-sum worldview, and at worst, a fashion statement. It leads to purges and schisms. And I think you're being very unfair to the Tea Party because you see them as being on the "right", and therefore, you believe have to be against them. They are "the other" that you must distance yourself from, if not purge outright.

I don't believe that to be true. I don't agree with everything the Tea Party says, but I don't have to. If a movement sprouted on the left that was skeptical of the government and supported free markets, I'd be blogging about them daily. Left and right doesn't matter to me.

There was another march that took place this weekend, an antiwar protest made up largely of leftists. This is one picture:

Why is there no media outrage about this pic? Why aren't you arguing that the antiwar left includes a significant number of people who say, "I want to kill Jews!" Would you be so credulous if such a story was reported in the news?

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Picking sides is at best, a

Picking sides is at best, a fixed-sum worldview, and at worst, a fashion statement.

Where is the positive-sum in electoral politics? I view the right as a tapped market. They already agree with libertarians on economics, or at least talk a good game even if they don't actually follow through on their rhetoric. If you want to influence those who don't already agree with you on economics, your focus should be on the left, speaking in language that appeals to left wing ideals and pointing out the contradictions in their ideology, not merely to win an argument, but to persuade.

As it happens, during the run up to the invasion of Iraq, I was very critical of the antiwar left for allowing the A.N.S.W.E.R. types to set the agenda, and not distancing themselves from the crazies. This was despite the fact that I never supported the invasion of Iraq.

Where is the positive-sum in

Where is the positive-sum in electoral politics?

Haven't you disavowed electoral politics? As you state below, you and I are not in the election business, but rather, the idea business. The idea business is positive-sum.

I view the right as a tapped market. They already agree with libertarians on economics, or at least talk a good game even if they don't actually follow through on their rhetoric. If you want to influence those who don't already agree with you on economics, your focus should be on the left, speaking in language that appeals to left wing ideals and pointing out the contradictions in their ideology, not merely to win an argument, but to persuade.

That's a respectable argument. But it seems to me you're doing more than just trying to convince leftists. You're trashing people on the right when they don't deserve it (example: Tea Party activists are racists) and defending leftists when they don't deserve it. I target leftists too, on other forums, but I don't feel the need to "put on their uniform", if you will--to think of myself as one of them, and make war with the right.

How about, what seems to me, a better approach? Target the left like you're doing, and praise them when they're wise. But also praise the right when they're wise. Love the lovable parts of all factions, and be proud of their wisdom. Don't hate anyone.

The idea business is

The idea business is positive-sum.

I'm not so sure it is, at least not in the way economic transactions are positive sum. Either someone already believes what is true or they don't. They may believe what is false, or they may be agnostic or totally unaware of the issue. But in either case, they either hold true beliefs or they don't. Where is the positive-sum?

You're trashing people on the right when they don't deserve it (example: Tea Party activists are racists)

I certainly think there have been many instances of racism and other idiocy well documented in the Tea Party movement, just as there is in other movements like the anti-war movement. It's unfortunate that those with greater influence in the movement have not yet fully distanced themselves from those elements.

I don't hate anyone; I just don't find the right at all appealing or useful for liberty. I have more in common with the left in terms of what I want the end goals to look like; I just disagree with their means for achieving those ends. With the right, I don't even share their ends.

I'm not so sure it is, at

I'm not so sure it is, at least not in the way economic transactions are positive sum. Either someone already believes what is true or they don't. They may believe what is false, or they may be agnostic or totally unaware of the issue. But in either case, they either hold true beliefs or they don't. Where is the positive-sum?

A good idea can be spread limitlessly. A libertarian can "win" by converting anyone on any "side". This is in contrast to election outcomes, in which libertarians probably do need to pick one side or the other to gain power.

I certainly think there have been many instances of racism and other idiocy well documented in the Tea Party movement, just as there is in other movements like the anti-war movement. It's unfortunate that those with greater influence in the movement have not yet fully distanced themselves from those elements.

There is a difference between a group containing a significant portion of idiocy vs a group having a few idiots (which every group does). If you truly and honestly believe that some meaningful part of the Tea Party is racist, then I'm disappointed, because you've bought the establishment's lies against the only populist libertarian movement around. You probably don't believe they're your people, which is a shame, but I do believe they're my people--my friends, my family members, my coworkers--and there's been a concerted effort by the powerful to destroy them.

I don't hate anyone; I just don't find the right at all appealing or useful for liberty. I have more in common with the left in terms of what I want the end goals to look like; I just disagree with their means for achieving those ends. With the right, I don't even share their ends.

There's a phenomenon in people with Borderline Personality Disorder called "splitting" in which others are seen all good or all bad. Artificial all-or-nothing qualities are created. I think extremist politics has the same effect: whatever side one is on, the other side is seen as completely different, and evil. I've hung out in the dark corners of the internet enough to see this phenomenon play out enough times, especially on Objectivist sites. They're so convinced of the righteousness of their beliefs that they see the bulk of society as being fundamentally rotten. They're usually very unhappy people.

You really don't share the ends of "the right"? I simply don't believe that. Sure, you may not share all of their ends, but none?

I've lived in two very Red states now--Virginia during the 80s and 90s and Arizona today, and Massachusetts and New York in the 00s--and the people are pretty much the same everywhere. Sure, they may think they're "liberal" or "conservative", but their goals in life, aspirations for their children, wants for their community, etc are the same. I'm not sure why the Red ones end up Red and the Blue ones Blue, but my guess is it's some combination of randomness, our minds' susceptibility to tribalism, and social proof. It has nothing to do with their ends. Point of all this is--I seriously doubt you have nothing in common with "the right"'s ends. People, overall, are very similar.

I view the right as a tapped

I view the right as a tapped market. They already agree with libertarians on economics, or at least talk a good game even if they don't actually follow through on their rhetoric.

So you attack them because they already agree with you. Meanwhile you make nice with leftists because they disagree with you. Remind me to kick you in the balls when we meet so you'll be nice to me.

My previous comment

My previous comment may have been better placed here.

Here's a longer related video I saw of the event--still no sign of racial abuse: