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  1. Probably not. Well, for starters, the picture is always more complicated than one would like to paint. Plus, I'm far more knowledgeable about the Republicans. I have a slightly different narrative, and I'm not sure where to fit the Civil Rights in mine. The story I have is that starting with Taft-Hartley, the Republicans started attacking the unions, which were originally the main source of financial support for the Democratic Party. And while union membership steadily declined from the 1950s to the 1980s, it plummeted under Reagan. This is one of the factors that eventually forced the Democrats to move away from their usual causes, because they started relying on private corporations for their financing instead. Plus, the stagflation in the 60s slowly drew politicians away from Keynes (though, ironically, not Reagan, but let's not get into that 'cause @OldGimletEye can talk about this shit way better than I can), which started slowly eroding support for New Deal policies in the Democratic Party around the end of the 1960s. Anyway, in my narrative, the movement to the right did start around the end of the 1960s, but only reached fruition sometime at the end of the 1980s. I'm curious to know more about your narrative. What role did the Civil Rights play in the internal movements of the Democratic Party?
  2. You're conveniently forgetting that no one expected a Democrat to win in 1992, which is what allowed Clinton to get the nomination in the first place. And even Clinton had to pledge to expand health coverage and invest in education and infrastructure to appeal to Democratic base voters. Certainly, Clinton was the end product of movements within the Democratic Party, but the outcome was not as foregone as you make it out to be. Mondale had still won the nomination over Hart in 1984, and even Dukakis in 1988 still called himself a "proud liberal." I guess it's over-simplifying a bit to say that "Clinton moved the party to the right" because it's always possible to see his victory as a consequence rather than a cause -it then becomes a chicken or egg thing. But whatever the words you want to use, the fact remains that Clinton's victory meant that the Democratic Party moved away from some of the principles it had been defending for over fifty years. The fact that it was probably going to happen with or without Clinton doesn't change that at all. If it's the "true democrat" thing that bothers you, simply replace it by "new deal democrat." Well of course, if you don't want to talk about what happened before Nixon it's going to be awfully difficult to argue that the Democrats were ever genuinely on the left. Though I guess you may be right to point out that the party system was very different back in the day. As Chomsky said, "Nixon would be considered a dangerous radical by today's standard."
  3. Well yeah, if you forget that Clinton moved his party to the right. I believe he was the first Democratic president to say that big government was a problem, taking a leaf straight out of Reagan's book and it is generally believed that he got elected because he was more of a "centrist" than a true democrat. Clinton also had no problem signing a number of laws that no true progressive could have supported.
  4. But what status quo is that exactly? Without quota or point systems, I'm not sure "affirmative action" really exists anymore in the US. The way the admission system works in most US universities is that race is one of many factors that are considered. It's not a case of one individual's achievement on one side and their race on the other, thus automatically lowering the bar for minorities. This is still the popular perception of affirmation action, and yet it's exactly what Supreme Court decisions have eliminated. Today you have something like at least a dozen factors (random number for my demonstration, it may be far more than that) to be admitted to university and race is only one of them, so it's really not clear whether the bar is at all lower for minorities. According to my readings, "diversity" these days means that universities are looking for different profiles. Which means that race doesn't matter so much as having an original profile. So you might say that hard-working white students from poor or middle-class backgrounds are at a disadvantage because supposedly there will be a lot of applicants with such a profile... But then, you might also have a similar tough competition between deserving black or latino students from poor backgrounds, because there may be an equally important number of such applicants as well. Ironically, perhaps a student from a very small minority (like, I dunno, someone whose parents emigrated from Mongolia or Vanuatu) will have an edge over most applicants because they will have original skills and activities. The common assertion is that poor minority students have an edge over poor white students, and that this is because of race. But hey, what if that's not true? What if, in fact, most poor applicants come from minorities? Would that be surprising? Or wouldn't it be logical? My point is... With such a process there's absolutely no way to know whether whites are actually at a serious disadvantage. In fact, remove the race factor, and minority students may well turn out to have far more original backgrounds and activities than middle-class whites. I mean, as crazy as such a proposition may sound, how do you know this is not, in fact, the case? At the end of the day, it probably depends on each specific admission commission. There may be times when a specific commission on a given year does put whites at a disadvantage... And other years when they don't... This whole discussion about affirmative action seems to me to be an excuse not to talk about the real element preventing people from going to university in the US... And that is, of course, the price of higher education. Compared to the class divide, the racial divide is almost insignificant. What I mean by that is that you shouldn't have an edge because you are black or latino, but because being black or latino probably means you're not part of the wealthier section of the US population. I'm not going to pretend I know anything about corporate America as a whole, because I don't. But again, how can you be certain? I'm sure some companies do make huge efforts to have a diverse workforce, and that may hurt white applicants. But then, the reverse will probably be true as well (i.e. racist employers preferably hiring WASPs). How can you be certain that the whites are the ones at a disadvantage in the end? Even claiming this is the case is rather bizarre. Do you have any numbers or studies to back this odd propositon? Then there's also other factors that mitigate this "white victimization" trend, which is that in some fields, most skilled applicants are no longer white. In some very specialised fields, most students in American universities are massively immigrants. Not because of affirmative action, but because some fields are very attractive to foreign students. Like, if you take a random Silicon Valley company, chances are that you don't need any specific program to have a diverse workforce, because for some positions you won't even have any white applicants in the first place... Not sure what your point is. Mine is that affirmative action was always supposed to be about social engineering, to compensate for the fact that members of minorities are more likely to have had serious obstacles to their secondary education, and that thus, "straight-A" students from disadvantaged backgrounds were probably more deserving than others. I think you would have a point if the racial composition of the poorest section of the US population was the same as that of the population as a whole. In which case, there might be no reason for affirmative action (i.e., taking race into account) at all. But that's not the case. Everyone knows that. So again, take away the race factor and replace it with a quota of applicants from a poor background instead, and you'll probably end up with affirmative action in all but name. Holy f***, I've almost convinced myself that affirmative action is actually a bad idea. But in actuality, it isn't. Because Americans are more comfortable talking about the racial divide than the class divide, even when the two are pretty much the same thing. Would the US be ready to make university free for all people from poor backgrounds? I don't think so. I think this would be too "socialist" for most Americans. It's way easier and safer to pit the poor WASPs against everyone else. Deportations, maybe. What about arrests? Also, what about the type of people arrested? Did the ICE go after immigrants who had been living in the US for years or decades under Obama? I'm honestly curious, because Trumpists claim that Trump is far more efficient at hunting the "bad guys" than Obama, so... Of course they'll do it. This has been the main purpose of the Republican Party for the last thirty years. You know it, and I know it. Don't play the fool. Point is, Trump actively supported such policy, as well as the deregulating of finance, which very clearly makes him a neo-liberal. I have no idea why you would want to delude yourself on that point.
  5. That's one way of looking at it. I personally find it difficult to believe affirmative action has much impact these days. In my opinion, the Supreme Court decisions have gutted it at university levelf for instance. Depends what we're talking about. It's very easy to show that schools in predominantly black neighborhoods are underfunded for instance. Of course, you might say that there are numerous factors leading to that, but those are exactly what affirmative action is supposed to compensate for. Yeah, that's really worrying because it might prevent the current polarization from subsiding. I think the easy answer is that the European media and those who own them are not afraid of the far-right. In fact, they have no reason to be. Otoh, they have reasons to be afraid of socialists. It's different in the US because the Democrats are harmless to corporate interests (unlike some European socialists). Uh. Deportations have affected a huge number of Americans. Really? You haven't heard about the US currently renegotiating NAFTA with Canada? Uh. How about cutting taxes for the wealthy -again?
  6. Sure, if white men were truly discriminated against they would have a point. But I'm sure you realize that such victimisation on their part is hiding the true reaons of their economic woes. In other words, blaming affirmative action instead of political, governmental, and financial decisions taken these last decades is highly ridiculous. You and I know why inequality has risen in the past fifty years in the West, and we know affirmative action is certainly not to blame for anything in this story. Also, in order to see affirmative action as "discrimination" you have to pretty much deny the fact that there is discrimination against minorities or women in the first place. So it's all coherent: the folks over at Breitbart adamantly deny that there is a class war or racism and instead argue that "leftist" policies are what have created the class or racial divides. From a purely argumentative perspective it works... If you have absolutely no historical knowledge. Like, seriously, to think that, you need to be laughably ignorant. Of course, racism also plays a role since white supremacists otoh do believe in a racial divide and see it as normal and desirable. I really don't think I need to tell you all this Altherion. IIRC you're not even white, are you? Anyway, you might argue that some whites are "victims" of affirmative action if they are indeed more qualified than the members of minorities who take their place. It may happen, at the margins. But it's far less frequent than you might think. I believe it's even irrelevant. Take Abigail Fisher for instance. You remember Fisher v. University of Texas perhaps? This young very white young woman saying that colored people with lower grades than hers had been admitted to uni at her expense? If my sources are correct, turns out she was wrong. Long story short she understimated just how good her competitors were. And because of that she presented herself as a victim of discrimination when, in fact, she was simply not good enough. It still ended up in a 4-3 SCOTUS decision, but it shouldn't even have. The whole case was horseshit. To sum up: many white people in the US are victimizing themselves because they vastly overestimate the effects of affirmative action while vastly underestimating the class and racial divides that exist in the US. If you listen to the neo-nazis, they genuinely think they are victims. And maybe they are, but certainly not of affirmative action. I think the media isn't doing their job of truly showing why such ideas should be rejected. Of course, it they did, in the US they would no doubt be accused of being biased. But in Europe at least, the journalists have done a pisspoor job of criticizing right-wing populism. But we know why don't we? In France, Le Pen had to be threatening enough to get Macron elected. Else something really bad could have happened... Like an actual socialist being elected president. And god forbid we should go back to a genuinely progressive tax system... Come on, what are the numbers? What percentage of the population are we talking about? Or even of the college population? You can't seriously think this is statistically relevant. I beg to differ. I think neoliberalism is fine with some mild versions of neo-fascism and that it even encourages them. Worse case scenario, the rise of the neo-fascists is very useful to neo-liberals to prevent socialism from rising again. Also, Trump is ridiculously neo-liberal. National neo-liberalism and international neo-liberalism are two sides of a coin. Or do you seriously believe that things will be better if NAFTA is renegociated to screw the Canadians? Like, do you seriously believe that poverty in the US is due to the Canadians?
  7. You don't necessarily need to be actively disagreeable. Fifteen years ago one of my cousins told me he voted National Front. That was the last time I had a conversation with him. I only say "hi" and "goodbye" to him when I see him now. And before you think that's extreme, bear in mind that fifteen years ago, Le Pen the elder was very clearly a neo-fascist piece of filth. When my aunt adopted a little girl from Madagascar, she told that cousin that if she ever heard him say something even remotely racist in her daughter's presence that he could consider himself forever removed from the family. I've never heard him talk politics again. Is that better or worse than actually discussing things in a civilized manner? I dunno. But we must all draw the line in the sand somewhere. I don't envy all of you Americans who have to decide where to draw it these days, and I hope to god I won't have to do that in five years.
  8. I'm talking about the most simple and logical of philosophical axioms: that one can only expect to be treated as well as they treat others. Hence, any group or movement seeking to deny another group its humanity, or some of its basic rights, can expect to be seen as less human by others. And this does, in fact, work perfectly for religious extremisms: it is precisely because of the way women are treated due to some traditions and religions that these traditions and religions are then criticized as primitive or barbarian. Actually, I would tend to believe the very opposite: that the more acceptable some nauseating ideas become, the easier it is to persuade the most extreme believers to commit atrocities. Assuming these are actually a problem (I'd have to do some research to form an opinion on them), they are still politically irrelevant and I'm fully confident that the over-legalized American society will sort this out (it has already started). Or they be the only ones with the balls to stand up for what's right, who knows? But again, I'm talking about politics, not violence. Violence is scary, but without political support it's not hard to either avoid or confront. There are lots of things one can do to fight against a dangerous political movement, and even against a dangerous government. And if all else fails, it's always useful to know when to pack your bags and leave your country. My grandparents on my father's side fled two authoritarian governments in their lifetime.
  9. It's not about numbers, it's about political influence. The neo-fascists, even with very limited numbers, have been able to exert significant influence in several Western countries. Their ideas have become more acceptable and more popular. Conversely, Islam has very little political influence in the West ; on the contrary, the rise of right-wing populism has reversed whatever gains political Islam may have made in the past decades or so. As far as I'm concerned, violent events such as Charlottesville or terrorist attacks are close to irrelevant. They are scary for one's personal safety, but by themselves they don't threaten an entire society. It's political trends and movements that ultimately have the capacity to change everyone's life for the worse. Similarly I don't give a damn about "culture." Culture, by definition, is ever-changing and can take care of itself. But politics... That's what one has to pay attention to. Lest you want to wake up living in a 4th reich some day. In fact, if islamists developed a credible political party in my country I'd be worried too (like in Houellebecq's shitty novel Submission). But since right now it's the neo-fascists who are getting 20% of votes, I'm worried about them first and foremost.
  10. I think the question is whether one can be friends with an alt-right bigot, or someone embracing the ideas coming from the alt-right. (I guess it would be an extreme SJW or an antifa for conservatives, though, I don't think this is equivalent, as I'll explain) It's not that easy to answer, as I've recently been reminded by Mrs Life. About a week ago I met a childhood friend of my GF's on the beach. Nice guy, very smart and educated, charming. We had quite a few drinks and -dare I say- some good times. At some point he said some odd things about getting into nasty fights as a student, and had a weird opinion on the bombing of Dresde (thinking it had shortened WWII like Hiroshima & Nagasaki), and I guessed he was an odd cookie, but there weren't any genuine red flags. Then, just before we left, another childhood friend of my GF's expressed her surprise at us hanging out with that guy and asked whether we knew what he did for a living. We didn't. Turns out he is a parliamentary assistant for the National Front, and the brother-in-law of the founder of the GUD, an ultra-violent far-right students' association that was known for assaulting members of minorities a few decades back -among other things. He also is involved in the current accusations of embezzlement levelled at the National Front by the European Union (though I doubt he'll go to jail over that). That same day I watched the vice video about Charlotesville and realized that some of the people surrounding him had the same haircuts, tatoos, and general behavior as the American neo-nazis. Which of course, makes sense, since the GUD was a neo-fascist organization. The thing about ideas, is that they may very well be distinct from one's persnality. One can be charming, kind, and generous, and still think that all Jews (or Blacks, or Muslims, or whatever) are subhumans that should be deported or exterminated. The question then becomes whether you can ignore the violence of someone's ideas. Not his current actions, or his past, but merely his ideas, I can't, and I don't think anyone should. Ideas don't exist in a void. They aren't mere abstractions. Ideas have consequences. They influence people, actions, and elections. You can't easily dismiss the fact that someone deeply believes that "Hitler was right" for instance. Breitbart writers call this "creating the crime of wrongthink." They thing "leftists" are intolerant because they don't respect other people's ideas, that the 1st amendment and the US Constitution means everyone is entitled to their opinions, however vile. Well, I don't think that's true. I think there's an unwritten compact for anyone living in a human society to actually respect other human beings, regardless of their origins, ethnicity, religion, sex... etc. Respect must be given before respect is owed. If you refuse to abide by that compact, then you lose the right to expect the respect of others. Or their friendship. I understand that one wouldn't want to pass moral judgment on others, or break friendships over political ideas. But some ideas are too abhorrent to be tolerated. We all know what some ideas lead to, and no decent human being should pretend not to know. "Social justice warriors" may seem extreme at times, but ultimately they are politically harmless ; even if they had power their ideas wouldn't hurt people. As for antifas, they generally hold a very diverse set of ideas, only some of whom may be dangerous. I think that's why this bullshit false equivalency has to stop. If you think SJWs are comparable to neo-nazis, then you're already very much on the right, whatever you may say or think. It means you're pretending not to know or understand the violence of ideas. Which means when shit hits the fan, you are part of the problem. You are one of those who will stay at home if there is ever a coup, one of those who will watch by as others are deported and murdered. Not because you are morally weak, mind you, but because you won't see it coming.
  11. So you think it would have been better to have only white Romans, despite the fact that we know for a certainty that Roman legionaries came from all over the Roman empire and thus had all kinds of skin color? Despite the fact that there is physical evidence of African legionaries in ancient Britain. Because... It suits your vision of history better? See, the problem here isn't that you would be surprised, or that you wouldn't know about those historical facts. The problem here is that even after knowing what historians have to say about it, you still think that your vision of history is better. Because part of you is so much more confortable with an all-white past. Not just a predominantly-white past, but an all-white past in which minorities can't possibly have existed. Because, of course, if you start remembering that minorities have always existed in one form or the other, it becomes much harder to think Western civilization is under threat today. In fact, the very concept of "Western civilization" might seem slightly dodgy. Fun fact: after living in the US for a few years as a kid, other French kids asked me if I'd liked American cuisine. I said "yeah, I like the pizza." They laughed at me and thought I was a phony. Because of course, to these kids, it was so very obvious that pizza was Italian, and none of them could ever imagine that Americans could claim it as one of their specialties. You managed to say what I was thinking so much better than I had, thanks!
  12. People who think their country (or the West as a whole) has a glorious culture that is somehow being lost may not be nazis, but they certainly share with them a distorted view of history. I think the controversy surrounding the "Life in Roman Britain" BBC cartoon illustrates it well. For those who don't know, right-wingers were shocked by a cartoon showing a black Roman soldier in ancient Britain, and criticized it for "political correctness" running wild in the face of historical accuracy. As it turns out however, historians pointed out that Roman Britain was indeed rather ethnically diverse and that there had even been a Roman governor of Britain who was born in Algeria. This shows what may be the root of the problem: the shock at seeing a black Roman soldier came from a fantasized vision of the past in which one couldn't exist. And such fantasized visions of the past in turn create erroneous perspectives about the times we live in. It's the same story throughout the West. It's the same story in the US because of a completely fantasized version of the Civil war. As historians say: "the North won the war, but the South won the peace," which means the South got to write the completely erroneous narrative of a fight for "States' rights." Of course, it was about slavery, it was about racism, it was about white supremacy, and the South's cause was very wrong. Many people think it's important for nations to believe in "shared" history, even when such history is a lie ; they think these are "noble" lies, because pride brings people together. In French we call that the "national novel," the narrative upon which a nation is built. And I think this is where our problems today come from: such narratives are lies, fairy tales for the gullible. In truth, I don't think any nation has a history to be proud of. That is, unless you think wars, genocides and mass exploitation are stuff to be proud of. So yes, I do believe there is something wrong with people who are "concerned" about the "loss and replacement of their culture." They are ignorant and/or falling for right-wing propaganda. They are blaming the wrong people for their economic woes. And they tend to elect awful leaders. Because they still want to believe in the fairy tale that their nation is "great" and "unique," and that there is something about it that they can take pride in. I would find it funny, but I don't think these "concerns" are anything to laugh about anymore.
  13. She's not the maid yet. But she's got no purpose in Winterfell and is going through an identity crisis. She'll reappear in the south sooner or later. In order for this to be a surprise the viewers need a minor character above all suspicion. The maid is perfect precisely because we've been introduced to her while Arya was in the North. It'll take a few episodes though.
  14. Arya is the maid (the one who is asked to change the sheets by Cersei ).
  15. I'm showing that they have the same core definition and that even in the current sense(s) of the word they're supposed to be about the same things. That's the million dollar question. You can't really fight both at the same time, which is our problem right now.