The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Rudeness to Politicians

In the early days of the political blogosphere, we said fuck rather a lot.  We were making a point: that rudeness is not as great a sin as many others.  It is not so great a sin as lying. It is not so great a sin as killing people in the Iraq war.  And today, it is not so great a sin as denying people their rights.

To step back to Michele Obama, and her being heckled by an activist.  Mrs. Obama was raising money for the Democratic party.  She has her profile because of her husband, whose adjunct she was acting as.  The idea that you shouldn’t be rude to her because she’s the “first lady” is ludicrous: she’s not some nice, uninvolved lady, she is a participant in the political process, and one who will be very rich for the rest of her life because she married Barack Obama.

I believe that politeness is a good thing, but on the list of virtues it is ranks up there with flossing regularly. Give me a rude motherfucking asshole president, and his wife who is just as rude, if that President doesn’t spy on everyone, kill people without due process and deny people their rights.

And understand this, Michele Obama is NOT a bystander.  She does not get a free pass when she actively works on behalf of her husband, and actively benefits from his actions.

Modern elites, as a group, and Obama is a member, respond only to incentives: pain and gain.  That is how they have been trained.  The LGBT lobby has gotten what it got from Obama because of pressure.

Thinking that being rude to Mrs. Obama is ethically equivalent to Barack Obama denying people his rights is ethically abominable.

on edit: let me be more explicit.  If Mrs. Obama knows she can’t fundraise without being heckled, that costs Obama and the Democratic party money, and is unpleasant.  That’s something they’re willing to pay (legislatively or administratively) to make go away.


Yeah, rape < Hacking to out rapists


The Logic of the Surveillance State


  1. Everythings Jake

    I float back and forth – sometimes I think that showing up in a suit and a tie is the way to go, certainly less self-marginalizing. Other times I think certain language has power to convey real meaning. “Propagandist” is much weaker than “propagandist whore” which is much better than the equally lame “presstitute.” Throw in an f-ing on the front side and it turns into a snarl.

    On the other hand, I’ve been thinking recently that many of the most potent words tend to be degrading to women and there aren’t comparable words for men (except ones that tend to degrade gays).

    What is a language a legitimate rage that sufficiently strikes fear into the heart of a Paul Ryan, a Dianne Feinstein, a Chris Matthews or Wolf Blitzer?

    I keep searching for that post I think you put up on the senator or congresscritter who got booed in a restaurant, but couldn’t find it. My intertubes search skills are failing.

  2. Ian Welsh

    Different people on the same general team should do both. The radicals people in power hate and/or fear allow slightly more moderate people to say “I don’t know if I can control them. Perhaps we should give them some rights/jobs/food/whatever.”

    But you don’t throw them under the truck, at worst you say, “well, I understand where they’re coming from.”

  3. Mark Gisleson

    We don’t get to say fuck a lot any more?

    Well, shit. I guess I pulled the pin on my blog just in time.

  4. I actually think it was Mrs. Obama who was rude, and arrogamt to boot. “Free speech? Fuck free speech, only I have free speech.”

  5. But you don’t throw them under the truck, at worst you say, “well, I understand where they’re coming from.”

    Exactly. The social pressure against this kind of nuance is sometimes daunting, however.

    I remember the liberal backlash against “pie-ing” a few years ago. I remember epic battles at NORML conventions between the suit-and-tie crowd – opting for polite, legal approaches to decrim – and the DFH’s who insisted on lighting up on the steps of the police station. “Understanding where they’re coming from,” while at the same time opposing violence in principle, gets me in trouble both with reflexive Gandhians and with some of the Black Bloc crowd.

    In a similar vein, people have trouble with anti-war sentiments, conflating it with not “supporting our troops.” Malcolm vs. Martin. etc. etc.

    Of course the ideal is to negotiate in good faith, even politely, with those with whom you disagree. But for various reasons, ranging from personal skill set to the stubborness or violence of your opponent, it is important to let people express their displeasure in any way they can, not least to ensure that the numbers are on your side.

    Many people have trouble walking and chewing gum at the same time, or holding seemingly contradictory thoughts. On the plus side – when things get bad enough, such considerations usually fade into the background…

  6. Celsius 233

    Gandhi was not a pacifist.

  7. Feel free to substitute another term if it helps you to understand my overriding point.

  8. Bart

    Activists like Code Pink and this woman waste their time with “strongly worded letters” to politicians. If this is the only way to break the bubbles that our leaders live in, go for it.

  9. I don’t have a problem with the heckling or how Michelle Obama handled it. I do find it funny that the heckler complained. If you get in someones face, don’t complain if they get in yours.

  10. Neorealist

    I believe our modern elites respond primarily to GAIN. Heckling amounts to a minor and temporary irritant for the target. Heckler is ejected, end of problem and no gain. However, if a progressive group like NORML formed a pac or pacs to lobby (bribe?) congress to change the federal laws on pot, wouldn’t that be potentially more effective.

  11. Pastorization

    It seems all too obvious there is a fundamental asymmetry between a system that is running riot over privacy, individual rights and equal treatment under the law while demanding that the “little people” abstain from tacky displays of displeasure at all the outrages.

    While I still pepper my representatives with my views on the issues at hand through customary channels of communication–and do it with decorum–I am rapidly transitioning to the view that what we need to do is to start showing up at every public function they are at and shout the fuckers down.

    There needs to be a non-stop, broad and unrelenting public blitzkreig of sarcasm, vocal opposition and, if necessary, civil disobedience until these sub-morons come to the understanding WE’RE not going away…their indifference to our legitimate issues is.

    It is the height of arrogance and the sign of a thoroughly corrupt mentality to insist your opponent show be nice while you are in the process of beating him to a bloody pulp.

    Time to rebalance the asymmetric nature of our relations with those who are Too Big To Care.

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