Part 9—Incomprehension and Us: Throughout the course of human history, tribal hatred and loathing have played a destructive role.
This has been true all over the world. Increasingly, experts and scholars have been making a surprising claim about this age-old phenomenon.
According to these academics, we the liberals have increasingly adopted a culture of hatred and loathing. Some of these scholars are even referring to 2015 as "the year of liberal loathing," a claim which must surely be wrong.
It gets worse! These scholars are tying this alleged liberal loathing to the process of liberal dumbnification, a process no one now really denies. If these experts can be believed, the dumbnification of us the liberals has spurred our growing desire to engage in stereotypical loathing of The Others—of the nation's many Trump voters, let's say.
Is it possible that these scholars could be right, if only to some minor degree? Increasingly, we're almost able to catch a fleeting glimpse of their point, thanks to an endless wave of presentations of the type we've sampled in the past few days.
According to these worried scholars, what happens with increasing frequency when we the liberals attempt to discuss and describe The Others? We "otherize" them, scholars say; we offer generalized denunciations of their alleged racism and their obvious bigotry.
Not to mention their xenophobia and of course their nativism!
On occasion, these scholars say, we even take things somewhat further. Increasingly, scholars point to the recent comments of Spike Lee, a smart and funny and decent person—except, that is, when perceptions of The Others are concerned.
Increasingly, worried scholars around the country are pointing to comments like these from Monday's New York Times:
BUCKLEY (2/1/16): There seems to be no common ground right now. Every time Obama talks about guns, sales spike."There seems to be no common ground right now," the Times' Cara Buckley sadly said. Some scholars are saying that Lee's response came close to proving her point!
LEE: Or there's a mass shooting. After San Bernardino, they went up.
It's called scare tactics. I don't think anything good comes out of people using fear, whether it be Mussolini or Hitler.
Trump too. What's his motto? ''Make America great again''? Those are code words. It's like, all right, let's put the blacks back in their place where they used to be. You know what, why not go all the way? Let's bomb churches, let's bring back Bull Connor, let's have water cannons, let's have German shepherds. You might as well. They want to rewind the clock. It's not just black folks; women too. Let's rewind when white men were in control.
Who exactly is the "they" to whom Spike Lee referred? Who wants to bomb black churches again and bring back the German shepherds?
According to an array of scholars, this is a coded, perhaps unconscious, reference to the nation's Trump voters. Some analysts say that Lee was exhibiting his puckish humor, using a literal reference to German shepherds as part of a liberal "dog whistle."
Is it possible that these analysts are right? If we squint our eyes and tilt our heads, we can almost imagine that we have begun to catch a brief glimpse of their apparently crazy point!
Increasingly, we the liberals make sweeping generalizations about the motives and values of those who refuse to vote the way we helpfully tell them to vote. We rarely turn to what philosophers have sometimes described as the "things-in-themselves." On our "cable news" shows, we rarely speak to actual Trump voters to see what they're actually like!
On Tuesday night, Chris Hayes broke from the pack. On the "cable news" program he hosts, he ever-so-briefly played videotape of a Trump voter at Monday night's Iowa caucuses.
In liberal homes across the land, cable subscribers covered their ears and aimed the sign of the cross at their screens. But so what? As his viewers engaged in these acts of self-protection, Hayes bravely broadcast the words which are shown below.
Trigger warning—voter for Trump! Also, brief "credit" expressed:
HAYES (2/2/16): While it's true that Trump fell short of his standing in recent polls, the last dozen of which showed him leading in Iowa, we here at "All In" would like to take a step back, and give the Donald a little credit.In fairness to Hayes, he cushioned the blow by referring to Trump as an "ethno-nationalist," even throwing in a degrading reference to "c*m."
Bear with me for a second. Not only did he finish second in a state that rewards grassroots organizing and evangelical outreach, neither of which are his strong suit. But yesterday, for the first time, American citizens got into their cars and drove to their caucus sites and stood in line and actually voted for Donald J. Trump, real estate mogul cum ethno-nationalist reality star, for president of the United States.
In fact, with last night's high turn-out, he earned more votes from Iowa Republicans than any other candidate in all of history except for one. That's Ted Cruz, last night.
At a caucus in Des Moines, I talked to one of those voters, who was caucusing for the first time:
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (videotape): I like Donald Trump. He's not bought and paid for, you know? I look at politicians. I might be radical here, but they're like wh*res, you know? They go out there, they show—they tell people what they want. The donors basically hire them for services. They do what the donors want. I like Trump because he's his own man.
But Hayes then presented an actual voter for Trump! He attributed his support for Trump to a non-racist motive—to a non-racist political motive which might even seem imaginably plausible, if only on the top of the surface and for the briefest of mini-moments.
At any rate, this Iowa voter attributed his support for Trump to a non-racist motive. According to the nation's increasingly worried scholars, many liberals now believe that such representations must be discarded on face. You can't believe the claims of these "vermin," the nation's liberal Hitler-haters will increasingly say.
Did the voter to whom Hayes that night spoke secretly want to bomb black churches? Tomorrow, in search of an answer, we'll expand our "N" by 200 percent! We'll look at two additional voters for Trump who spoke on cable by videotape, this time on the Maddow Show, all the way back on December 10.
Under prevailing tribal norms, we the liberals are rarely allowed to see what The Others are willing to say. For ourselves, we were struck by these voters in real time.
Tomorrow, we'll examine the rodent-like claims of these secret church bombers as our current award-winning series reaches its glorious end.
Was 2015 really the year of liberal dumbnification and loathing? Scholars and experts keep making this highly implausible claim.
Tomorrow, in a happy ending, we'll see that these scholars are just plain wrong. Historically, at times like these, such implausible claims by this effete class have always turned out to be wrong.
Tomorrow: On seeing through claims by The Others