What Ta-Nehisi Says

Ta-Nehisi Coates brings the hammer of truth down on the papier maché skulls of the nil nisi bonum crowd singing Andrew Breitbart’s private excellences.
I have heard it said by some fellow liberals that Breitbart was in fact a good person, that his public persona was not the same as his private. This kind of praise is so broadly true of most controversial public figures as to be meaningless. And it is irrelevant. Breitbart may well have been an excellent father and a great friend but that is not why we are talking about him. We are noting his death because of the impact he had on our politics and our conversation. It must be said that that impact was for the worse. Any talk of his private life, is an attempt to change the subject and avoid discomfiting truths.
Let me divert for a moment to the frame through which I see such matters.
I am, as you probably know by now, an atheist who remains committed to Jewish identity by education, culture, and deeply flawed attempts to live by the creed of Micah.  The key to that commitment comes from the teaching I was given from very early on about the idea of religion made real by deeds, not faith.  In the congregation I attend, on Yom Kippur — the Day of Atonement — it is the custom before services begin to ask forgiveness for any wrong done to anyone amongst us.
The service itself provides atonement for our deeds; forgiveness is predicated on an actual act in this world, a public one, a transaction in which both parties to that which may have caused harm engage with each other.  More generally, the broad obligation of my tradition, as it was taught to me, is tikkun olam — the duty to “heal the world.”  This world, and not the world to come.
Hence, what Ta-Nehisi says.  We do not need to rejoice at Breitbart’s death.  But honoring this world requires that we assess his life clearly, now more than ever.  Ta-Nehisi brings that life into sharp focus looking just at the viciousness of Breitbart’s attack on Shirley Sherrod.
Not by his heart, but by his deeds shall you know him.
PS: Bonus Ta-Nehisi on the moral crater that is Rush Limbaugh and –my interpolation — the GOP that continues to embrace him.  Here, TNC limns Limbaugh’s grotesque attack on Sandra Fluke:
It is worth calling this what is is–the normalization of cruelty–and asserting, no matter how redundant, that is wrong and evidence of the lowest aspects of humanity.
Ta-Nehisi is just right, IMHO.  If so, then the next step in the chain of reasoning follows: those who do not explicitly repudiate Limbaugh’s remarks — I’m looking at you, John Boehner — share in both the normalization of cruelty and in solidarity with “the lowest aspects of humanity.”
Hey, GOP:  you broke it; you bought it.
Image: Willem de Poorter, Joseph and his Brothers, before 1668

97 replies
  1. 1
    Brachiator says:

    The service itself provides atonement for our deeds; forgiveness is predicated on an actual act in this world, a public one, a transaction in which both parties to that which may have caused harm engage with each other. More generally, the broad obligation of my tradition, as it was taught to me, is tikkun olam—the duty to “heal the world.” This world, and not the world to come.

    Very well said. Thank you for this.

  2. 2
    The Crafty Trilobite says:

    Boehner doesn’t sponsor Limbaugh, so he needn’t repudiate any particular comment by him. But he ought to stop associating with him or praising him.

  3. 3
    jibeaux says:

    I love TNC.

    Boehner’s “repudiation” was that it was “inappropriate.” I guess that’s the word that came up from the random draw of the card deck instead of “his choice of words was regrettable.”

  4. 4
    Poopyman says:

    I’m a cynic by nature, but I don’t think it’s a stretch to assert that Republicans see “the normalization of cruelty and solidarity with ‘the lowest aspects of humanity'” as a feature and not a bug. The evidence from the past decade + is overwhelmingly in my favor, I think.

    So don’t expect any repudiation. Carly Fiorina got out there early, but it seems like she was shut down.

  5. 5
    gwangung says:

    I think Coates writes very graceful commentary. Grace is a quality that is unfortunately undervalued in the blogosphere.

  6. 6

    Thank you for posting this as I just came over from reading that piece. I loved that last paragraph:

    It is wholly appropriate to be sorry that Andrew Breitbart died. But in the relevant business, it is right to be sorry for how he lived.

    I wish I had written that.

  7. 7
    Zifnab says:

    It is worth calling this what is is—the normalization of cruelty—and asserting, no matter how redundant, that is wrong and evidence of the lowest aspects of humanity.

    I have to disagree. Cruelty was normalized ages ago. Have we forgotten Rush’s “Look at me, I’ve got Parkinson’s” routine? Or his rant about how Gitmo prisoners have it too good, with their fancy chicken dinners? Or the crusade against the Children’s Health Insurance Program that left him verbally assaulting 12-year-old children because they dared to stand too close to Nancy Pelosi on camera?

    This is just the latest in a long, long, long history of cruelty.

    The public push back is a bit new, though.

  8. 8
    Clone12 says:

    I’m pretty sure that Boehner will apologize to Rush 3 days from now. But that he’s forced denounce him, even with the butthurt-but-Democrats-are-mean-too! whinging, is an indication that the GOP knows that they’re playing a losing hand on this one.

  9. 9
    Ben Franklin says:

    thinking of something charitable to say

    Goebbels, purportedly, was an excellent Father.

  10. 10
    jl says:

    @Zifnab: True. I think in this case, the cruelty is personally offensive to many people who understand the importance of comprehensive health insurance, and who understand, from personal experience, or from those very close to them, of the importance of good reproductive health care.

  11. 11
    Brachiator says:

    @Poopyman:

    Carly Fiorina got out there early, but it seems like she was shut down.

    Rush, falling in line with Rick Santorum and the nuttier conservatives, is being pulled into a war against women that he cannnot possibly win. Republican women like Carly Fiorina, is also a college educated professional, who can easily identify with Sandra Fluke. I wonder how many other conservative women are quietly fuming while Santorum suggests that college is for snobs and that women should STFU, be simpering chaste maidens, and take whatever slurs that men want to hurl at them.

    They aren’t just insulting Obama or the Democrats, or invisible, unnamed liberals. They are attempting to shame all women, even their own supporters. Their arrogance and stupidity are amazing.

  12. 12
    Trentrunner says:

    Some of the anal cyst’s greatest hits:

    Chelsea Clinton is the White House dog.

    Michael J. Fox purposefully stopped taking his meds to exacerbate his Parkinson’s symptoms during his public testimony.

    “Feminazis.”

    That’s off the top of my head. Limbaugh normalized sadistic cruelty a long, long time ago. He should be hung round the neck of every Republican.

  13. 13
    MoeLarryAndJesus says:

    @Ben Franklin:

    Goebbels, purportedly, was an excellent Father.

    Well, he did give his kids morphine before killing them with cyanide.

    Watching the video of Breitbart screaming at Occupy protesters makes me think that his kids will have a better chance at becoming decent human beings without his hulking, angry presence in their lives.

  14. 14
    Cain says:

    reminds me of this quote from the Joker from the tim burton batman movie:
    “The Joker: Now you fellas have said some pretty mean things. Some of which *were* true under that fiend, Boss Grissom. He *was* a thief, and a terrorist. On the other hand he had a tremendous singing voice. “

  15. 15
    Elizabelle says:

    The past few weeks have been astonishing.

    The right and its allies have been prying up their own rocks and exposing the ugliness that usually lives underneath.

    They don’t realize how ugly, until the blowback.

    It disturbs me that right now there’s an advertisement in a Northern Virginia Metrorail station that says “Go to hell Barack”, but maybe it’s inspiring commuters to get out and vote for him this fall.

    (Once again, the Metro ad relates to Obamacare.)

  16. 16
    Poopyman says:

    @MoeLarryAndJesus:

    Watching the video of Breitbart screaming at Occupy protesters makes me think that his kids will have a better chance at becoming decent human beings without his hulking, angry presence in their lives.

    Yes! You! Staaand still, laddie!

    has been running through my head since he died. Since the Occupy video actually, come to think of it.

  17. 17
    scav says:

    WT OT F? NFL Saints running a bounty program for injuries? Circuses but no fekking Bread? !

  18. 18
    jl says:

    @Trentrunner:

    Also, the absurd counter historical smear/fantasy Rush peddled that black QBs in the NFL were given an unfair advantage, because of liberal sports journalists.

    Lush Bimbaugh is an equal opportunity offense machine. I think he has offended every group at one time or another, except maybe filthy rich fat drug addled old white radio jockey hate mongers.

    Edit: I will bet the proverbial ten thousand dollars on it, in genuine Rmoneys.

  19. 19
    dr. bloor says:

    Not by his heart, but by his deeds shall you know him.

    This. A thousand times this.

    Of course, “buying a liberal a beer after the show” and “destroying the lives of innocent others” are undoubtedly seen as alike in the Land of False Equivalences.

  20. 20
    jayboat says:

    Man, oh, man… Ta-Nehisi just has a way with words. Love the way that dude puts it together.

    Also, too, I realize it ain’t right to wish ill on another, but I will make an exception here and say that I hope rushbo dies a very painful death, and the sooner, the better.

  21. 21
    trollhattan says:

    @scav:

    Ugh. Somewhere warm, done welcoming Breitbart, Al Davis is asking, “Why didn’t I think of that?”

  22. 22
  23. 23
    David Koch says:

    Kenyan usurper calls Sandra Fluke.

    http://youtu.be/oVQra9fS5dI

    “He encouraged me and supported me and thanked me for speaking out about the concerns of American women. What was really personal for me was that he said to tell my parents that they should be proud and that meant a lot because Rush Limbaugh questioned whether or not my family would be proud of me.”

  24. 24
    Nemo_N says:

    If a person doesn’t care about keeping a good reputation I don’t know why should anyone else be expected to clean the shit-stain of that person’s life.

  25. 25
    What's your vector victor says:

    I have a Rush Limbaugh question. Rush is basically saying paying for contraception is paying for sex. Employers should be able to have a moral exception to this.

    Would the proposed law allow a moral exception to unmarried motherhood? Would the law allow them to exclude maternity costs?

  26. 26
    kindness says:

    Republicans can never admit to being wrong. Their scripture tells them they can never be so and they will fight and kill you to protect their scripture.

  27. 27
    revrick says:

    They just can’t help themselves, can they? The ugly nastiness of today’s GOP just jumps out every chance it gets.

    But then, this is nothing new. Their 19th century progenitors in Dixie regularly plyed this trade.

  28. 28
    Mike P says:

    It really is sad that Chunky Bobo still has his spot at the NY Times and they only let TNC guest on the op-ed page for awhile. I know they need (rather, want) conservative commentary, but TNC is easily one of the best American political commentators of any stripe under age 40 and we would be in a much better place if his thinking and writing was available to a larger audience.

  29. 29
    lamh35 says:

    ot, now this is 11th dimensional chess, but it also happens to be the right thing to do!

    Obama Backs GOP Into Limbaugh-Shaped Corner

    With one phone call, President Obama has forced the Republican candidates for president into a Sophie’s Choice with potentially far-reaching implications: Do they stand up to Rush Limbaugh, who made divisive comments about a law student this week, or do they stand up for a highly influential conservative leader who’s embarrassed the Republicans who’ve crossed him in the past…

  30. 30
    MattR says:

    @What’s your vector victor: I thought Jon Stewart had an interesting question. Why is it OK for Catholic employers to pay for contraception via the salary they pay their employees?

  31. 31
    Tokyokie says:

    @Ben Franklin: Right up until feeding his kids cyanide.

  32. 32
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    @gwangung:

    Grace is a quality that is unfortunately undervalued in the blogosphere.

    Absolutely. TNC also has a humane generosity that almost feels out of place in the medium of online commentary, especially among some of his colleagues. An absolute treasure of a writer.

  33. 33
    David Koch says:

    @Mike P:

    It really is sad that Chunky Bobo still has his spot at the NY Times

    They do that to placate their rich advertisers. It’s a version of wingnut-welfare.

  34. 34
    jl says:

    @Poopyman: Never a wrong thread for an example of this cycle’s GOP presidential candidates acting obnoxiously in public, and bringing shame on themselves.

  35. 35
    bemused says:

    Rush is an oozing pustule. I have a really hard time imagining any amount of money being worth prostituting yourself as Rush has his whole life.

  36. 36
    David Koch says:

    Some hack from Politico says Obama’s 10 point lead in Politico’s own poll “isn’t great, but he’s doing better”.

    baby steps. baby steps. 4 years ago, she would have said Obama’s 10 point lead was Great News for McCain.

  37. 37
    GregB says:

    The grotesque clown that is Limbaugh has lost Scott Brown. Now we get to see if this starts the terror recriminations against Brown by the Limbaugh-bots.

    Link to TPM.

  38. 38
    El Cid says:

    I never gave a damn about Andrew Breitbart’s life in the first place.

    The important thing was that his existence in the public sphere was evil and harmful. I wanted his absence from the public sphere.

    That’s now the case. So, that’s a good thing.

    As a person, he could be whatever type person he was, and have whatever types of relationships to the people close to him that he did, and they in turn with him. Fine.

    It’s almost always difficult for people to comprehend how someone who seems nice and good in the personal and interpersonal ways can do evil in other environments, and I think people seek to reconcile that.

    And to think of the feelings and perspectives of people who were close to that publicly malevolent figure and try to avoid hurting them.

    But his existence is irrelevant to me, and clearly it’s a good thing to have one fewer person actively spreading evil and harm and lies and damage not just to individuals (such as Shirley Sherrod & others) but to the wider world.

  39. 39
    wrb says:

    @GregB:

    Be interesting how Limbaugh reacts.

    Is he really willing to hand a Senate seat to Warren because Brown dared
    criticize the mighty Rush?

    Ego v. results.

  40. 40
    bemused says:

    @lamh35: @GregB:

    Oooh, this looks like fun. Republicans keep starting fires that don’t go in the right direction and then have a hell of time putting them out.

  41. 41
    tomvox1 says:

    There is a great old phrase (and the title of a pretty good Eels song) “They’re not fit to lick your boots.” So it is with Breitbart and a true person of character like Shirley Sherrod. Death and its instant whitewashing of an individual’s flaws cannot remove the stain that was Breitbart’s misbegotten life. If I believed in hell, I would hope he was rotting in it.

    Awesome essay by TNC.

  42. 42
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Any talk of his private life, is an attempt to change the subject and avoid discomfiting truths.

    Hitler loved dogs.

    I rest my fucking case.

    Breitbart was a shitstain. Pure and simple. The world is a better place without him.

  43. 43
    tomvox1 says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Hitler was also a vegetarian. Go figure.

  44. 44
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Trentrunner: The Anal Cyst that kept me out of Vietnam story reminds me of something I read on another site from a comentator. Since the woman in Ms. Fluke’s anecdote needed the birth control pill to prevent the formation of cysts, Rush should at the very least understand how debilitating cysts can be.

  45. 45
    dr. bloor says:

    @GregB:

    Thursday: Vote for Blunt.
    Friday: Trash Rush.

    Yep, everything is checked off on The Inept Politician’s To-Do List.

  46. 46
    David Koch says:

    @tomvox1:
    Exactly. Why won’t people let Hitler rest in peace?

    Hitler was an artist, decorated solider, and loved dogs.

    Why does everyone always focus on his flaws.

  47. 47
    Suffern ACE says:

    @What’s your vector victor: Yes. Seriously. I read an account from a commentator who worked for a catholic healthcare organization in Georgia and the religious exemption covered the exclusion of prenatal for unwed mothers.

  48. 48
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @tomvox1:

    Hitler claimed to be a vegetarian, but some experts on Hitler dispute that. I mean, it’s not like he was spotted with a Big Mac on his breath, but there’s some evidence he wasn’t strict about it.

    Now, we do know he was strung out on a bunch of drugs after ’43, though.

    He did love those dogs. This aspect of his private life means that he was at least a pleasant and reasonable a guy, in private, as say John Cole.

  49. 49
    Mark S. says:

    OT I learned today that Ayn Rand hated libertarians. Does anyone know why? I’d research it myself but Ayn Rand fan sites creep me the fuck out.

  50. 50
    debg says:

    Loved both of TNC’s pieces, as always. What a beautiful soul.

    But why is nobody mentioning that Limbaugh LIED about what Sandra Fluke said? His misrepresentation of her testimony is as vile as Breitbart’s mangling.

  51. 51
    Tom Q says:

    @David Koch: It’s going to be increasingly hard — but essential — for all of the DC press corps to keep pretending this election is neck-and-neck (because of which, we can’t turn our sets off for even a minute!, lest we miss the key meaningless event that swings it all).

  52. 52
    les says:

    @MattR:

    I thought Jon Stewart had an interesting question. Why is it OK for Catholic employers to pay for contraception via the salary they pay their employees?

    this is what teh “religious tolerance” bullshit is supposed to keep you from asking. Or, things like “Can a Mormon employer pay employees in scrip, that is not accepted at liquor stores?”
    The truth that our noble media will never say: IT’S NOT THEIR (the employer) FUCKING MONEY.

  53. 53
    David Koch says:

    To bad too many Democrats are retards.

    When Move-on.org ran that silly ad on Petraeus (general betraeus), the Republicans forced everyone to vote on a condemnation resolution.

    If there was one smart senator in the Democratic caucus they would do the same thing on Limbaugh’s statements. Force all republicans on the record.

    Sadly, not even Bernie Sanders or Al Franken think in these terms.

  54. 54
    delosgatos says:

    I made the mistake of reading the comments on the ABC news page TNC linked to in the “bonus” piece.

    Ugh. A mountain of dumbstupid slathered in santorum.

    I’m going to go take a shower now…

  55. 55
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @David Koch:

    I have often said that those who compare George W. Bush to Hitler are being very unfair.

    To Hitler, who was a decorated, wounded in combat war veteran.

  56. 56
    Mark S. says:

    I don’t care much about baseball, but a one-game playoff series is just stupid. I think a five game series is too flukey, let alone one game.

  57. 57
    theturtlemoves says:

    I am currently working with a customer who is a raging asshole in a vast majority of his communications with our team. He also apparently spends his free time in charity work in Africa, etc., building houses and schools. I don’t care. Being an asshole is a binary state of existence. If you are an asshole to all your co-workers, an asshole to wait staff at restaurants, then build houses on the weekend, you are an asshole. And a hypocrite. Isn’t the quote regarding first dates, “If he/she is nice to you and an asshole to the waitress, he/she is an asshole.”

  58. 58
    MikeJ says:

    @Mark S.: Call me wacky, but I like the 160ish game series they play. I don’t see the need for more playoffs.

  59. 59
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Mark S.:

    Well, there have been one game tiebreakers in the past, to determine who got to represent a division in the playoffs.

  60. 60
    Steve in DC says:

    Not a fan of TNC at all, and this doesn’t change that, however he is correct here. Being nice in person doesn’t excuse other jackass behavior. Furthermore being nice in public doesn’t excuse private jackass behavior.

    But this is a line nobody follows. People will excuse negative behavior if they can see positive. And as it’s a personal reaction, I can’t expect anybody that knew Brietbart personally and found him to be pleasant to forget that.

    @Mark S

    Libertarianism doesn’t always mix with hardcore capitalism, and it never truly has. Libertarianism is at core, tolerant anarchism. It’s about the individual and their rights. And as such any sort of “massive collective” is a threat. Be it the government or super sized corporations. Libertarianism in it’s extreme see’s a bunch of individuals engaging each other.

    As such, the kind of hardcore capitalism many Randian’s love is just as much a threat to honest Libertarian ideals as a massive state is.

    Most libertarians today are no such actual thing. The majority are the Von-Mises types who just want government out of their life so they can get their bigot on and are probably rich assholes as well trying to get the government out of social security and out of their way dumping chemicals in the river.

    These types have co-opted the movement.

    The other half of the movement is the reason.org and CATO types. Who are honestly concerned about civil liberties, the drug war, and the co-option of state power by massive industrial corporations to screw over small business.

    It’s important to note the difference. The former are pretty much generic Republicans that call themselves libertarians to claim “see I don’t care about gay marriage I’m an OK guy”. The latter are genuine classical liberals that often have far more in common with progressives than the Democratic party we continue to pray does the right thing.

    Just be aware of which sort of libertarian you are talking to before you run down the rabbit hole. You’ll either end up with a great conversation on corporate control of the government and trying to get our civil liberties back via activism and punk rock…. or a lecture on the gold standard, Austrian economics, and the horror of the civil rights act.

  61. 61
    Steve in DC says:

    @les

    This is why we need employers out of the insurance game. They should never have been involved to start with. Insurance should be handled by the government.

    Trying to solve insurance issues at the employer level is like slapping a giant Dora the Explora bandaid on a sucking chest wound. It’s not addressing the actual problem and doesn’t solve shit.

  62. 62
    Mike Furlan says:

    TNC has defended AS as “a good person.”
    Somehow his wisdom and courage fails when
    expressing his true opinions might affect
    his paycheck.

  63. 63
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Mike Furlan:

    That is, as they say, a discomfiting fact.

  64. 64
    Brachiator says:

    @theturtlemoves:

    I am currently working with a customer who is a raging asshole in a vast majority of his communications with our team. He also apparently spends his free time in charity work in Africa, etc., building houses and schools. I don’t care.

    So, he’s an asshole who does charity work. And so, what charity work do you do? Just curious.

    Also, building houses and being an asshole is not quite the same thing as being a hypocrite.

    Isn’t the quote regarding first dates, “If he/she is nice to you and an asshole to the waitress, he/she is an asshole.”

    Some people are nasty to people who they think are lower than them on the social scale, but may act better towards those who they respect or need. And yeah, this is pretty crappy, but indicates more complexity than you perhaps allow for.

  65. 65
    Steve in DC says:

    @Brachiator

    I know a fair amount of people that do charity for the sheer sake of bragging about it and getting holier than thou over it. I’ve seen enough of this that “I do charity” instantly sets off my jackass alarms.

  66. 66
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Steve in DC:

    Well, it’s a bit like those who are very public in their praying. Jesus had specific instructions about that, which are ignored, because being conspicuous is what these folks are all about, lest anyone miss it.

  67. 67
    AA+ Bonds says:

    I just don’t understand why one would treat Breitbart in a gentlemanly fashion upon his death – do you think he expected that? Or wanted it?

    Clearly not….he got into that business to be notorious, to build up narcissistic supply

    He wasn’t engaged in some sort of statesmanship, he was engaged in an egotistical enterprise of personal destruction since his college days – destruction by him, of his victims, for political motives that went no deeper than team spirit – he fell in with a group, they paid him to do it, so he kept doing it for both love (of self) and money

    The only people pouring out for him are fucks like me who like to do what he does for our own teams and for far less money, and ask anyone here – I’m fucking crazy and no one here who pimps my comments would trust me with their daughter or dog for an hour

    But yeah, I shed a tear for Breitbart, and I’ll shed a tear for Gingrich and Rove when they’re gone, because they’re pros, but then again, when they’re in boxes the world will be a better place – because their team is wrong and my team is right

  68. 68
    Jenn says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: ok, that right there? Offensive as hell. Bush II was a lot of (crappy) things, and deserves the piles of opprobrium he has received – he still doesn’t deserve that.

  69. 69
    AA+ Bonds says:

    @Steve in DC:

    It’s really hard to see a difference between the Kochs and CATO, because CATO is a Koch monkey-wrench

    I think the proper term for your “principled libertarian” group is “useful idiots” – their beliefs, however genuine and heartfelt, are social suicide, they would kill millions and bring us back to the 19th century, and they will never be implemented “consistently”, but they provide great cover for the billionaires seeking to destroy the state (who are merely incidentally okay with the death of millions)

  70. 70
    Cassidy says:

    Hitler loved dogs.

    Children are born every day and dog love is replenished.

  71. 71
    Cassidy says:

    @AA+ Bonds: Yo dude. You went a little “brick oven” on us. Bring it back.

  72. 72
    AA+ Bonds says:

    @Cassidy:

    I don’t know what that means

  73. 73
    maus says:

    Hiitler was not a vegetarian, i believe he had gut issues and to some extent to remedy this, attempted to eat more vegetables but as far as i remember still ate meat fairly regularly.

  74. 74
    Brachiator says:

    @Steve in DC:

    I know a fair amount of people that do charity for the sheer sake of bragging about it and getting holier than thou over it. I’ve seen enough of this that “I do charity” instantly sets off my jackass alarms.

    And I know people who do charity work specifically so that they can soak up the gratitude of the “unworthy poor.”

    Still, I care less about what sets off your jackass alarms than I might care about what good you do in this world.

  75. 75
    AA+ Bonds says:

    The overall point was that if you really feel some sort of professional courtesy for Breitbart, then you’re like him in some off-kilter ways, and I feel that I am, so I do feel a bit of regret at his passing, but I don’t really feel he would have wanted that and especially not from me

    He had his in-group to flatter and his out-group to abuse and he should die as he lived, loved by them and hated by us and regarded with general distaste by people who don’t care a lot about party politics

  76. 76
    AA+ Bonds says:

    @Brachiator:

    We then begin to weigh the utility of charity work against the cost of personally or systematically abusing other people in your life outside of charitable settings

    It’s an interesting question

  77. 77
    AA+ Bonds says:

    If I react toward foreclosure on a homeowner who was screwed by their (supposed) mortgage holder with anger at the homeowner, and donate money accordingly to the corresponding party so that an organization can fuck that homeowner over,

    . . . and then go down to Habitat with my church group and build a house for someone because someone else has a wider POV on compassion than I do and built an organization to give me the opportunity to feel good about myself for helping. . .

    It would be one hell of an equation

  78. 78
    David Koch says:

    I can’t believe people are so low that they speak ill of Julius Streicher and Joseph Goebbels. They’re dead. Have respect for the dead, people!

  79. 79
    Steve in DC says:

    @AA+ Bonds

    Oh I’m aware that most are useful idiots. Thing is, I can say that about people who follow ANY political ideology.

    All I’m pointing out is that not all Libertarians are corporatist gold cooks. Just like not all Liberals are Obama/DNC “let’s just all get along, let the gays marry, and shared sacrifice social security” jerks either.

  80. 80
    El Tiburon says:

    Look, fuck Breitbart. Fuck him in the face.

    He did his best to destroy a lot of people. Do I wish him dead? Of course not. I wish him alive for the chance to see his sorry ass suffer in some form or fashion.

    And yes, ultimately, like Brock and Cole before him, I would like him to redeem himself by admitting his sins, cleansing his soul, and dropping dime on all the other right-wing douchebags. He didn’t get his Atwater moment.
    Maybe he never would.

  81. 81
    AA+ Bonds says:

    @Steve in DC:

    But what is the point of claiming that those libertarians are “close to” liberals, they’re not really close to anyone but themselves, because they think politics as though it’s happening in a flask somewhere in the 18th century – as though all breakthroughs in the field of political science/technology happened at some point before Thomas Paine put pen to paper

    They don’t use the market to find solutions, they seek impossible solutions to the fact that markets don’t solve everything

  82. 82
    AA+ Bonds says:

    I also very much like TNC, and will take the hammer on the head, but I don’t think he should underestimate one reading of the narrative in his story: Breitbart came across like a bigger asshole than other assholes because he doubled down impractically when he should have dropped the Shirley Sherrod issue and started working to distract everyone with something else

    Breitbart picked a loser, in other words, and couldn’t help polishing the turd in public

    It’s why I have minimal respect for Santorum’s people, because his net worth as a Fox seat-filler is going to be a lot more the longer he seems like a contender for the party’s nomination, but they appear to be running a national effort as though it were a R+10 Congressional campaign. Sloppy.

  83. 83
    samara morgan says:

    @Mike Furlan: agreed. TNC is friends with Douthat too.
    i think Douthat has done far greater damage than Breitbart.

  84. 84
    Tonal Crow says:

    Republicans are caught in a positive-feedback loop where they’re losing, so they vomit something vile hoping it’ll motivate their base, but it nauseates the general public, which makes Republicans lose even more ground; rinse and repeat.

    Step back, get some popcorn, and watch the thermal runaway.

  85. 85
    Brachiator says:

    @AA+ Bonds:

    . . . and then go down to Habitat with my church group and build a house for someone because someone else has a wider POV on compassion than I do and built an organization to give me the opportunity to feel good about myself for helping. . .
    __
    It would be one hell of an equation

    At the end of the day, a person who otherwise would go without has a house.

    On the other hand, if you are full of good intention, and seethe against the hypocrites and assholes, and do nothing yourself, other than navel gaze in the reflection of your own glory, then, as Stevie Wonder sang, you haven’t done nothing.

    We are amazed, but not amused
    By all the things you say you’ll do

  86. 86
    Tokyokie says:

    @David Koch: Hitler… there was a painter! He could paint an entire apartment in ONE afternoon! TWO coats!

  87. 87
    Svensker says:

    @Mark S.:

    OT I learned today that Ayn Rand hated libertarians. Does anyone know why? I’d research it myself but Ayn Rand fan sites creep me the fuck out.

    Trying to remember from back in the day when I were one…

    Rand dabbled in politics in the 40s and then felt like she got completely burned. Therefore, anyone who dabbled in politics was a) a fool; and b) evil, because they had not learned from St. Ayn’s mistakes. Because Libertarians were involved in politics and were ignoring St. Ayn’s express wishes they were, ipso facto, evil fools.

  88. 88
    j says:

    Like the old joke goes when a mass murderer is finally arrested…

    “He was always nice to me, and he was quiet and didn’t cause any trouble.”

    Breitbart MAY have been “nice” and “funny” with his personal dealings, but he was a sociopath and user who took special glee in destroying other people just for fun.

    May he rot in Hell.

  89. 89
    Joel says:

    Coates is a goddamn treasure. I don’t get why some people here bag on him. If he was full-on attack dog all the time, pieces like this wouldn’t carry the same heft.

  90. 90
    AA+ Bonds says:

    @Brachiator:

    Well that’s the very problem with what you’re saying, at the end of the day, someone has a house, and then at the end of the 180th day, the Republicans get elected

    One is not better than the other because that Super PAC bundler got a splinter in his hand, His Very! Own! Hand!

    In fact, many people may lose their homes, compared to that one guy who got one

    Or, you know, boss-man got dumped by his adultery-girlfriend and rage-fired someone over poor print quality on the report or something and that guy lost his house

    How much charity makes up for sadistic and vigorous participation in the pain of others, and I am talking about the evildoer as well

  91. 91
    AA+ Bonds says:

    @Mark S.:

    Objectivists used to be their own purist political alignment because they believed that Rand’s body of work reinvented political economy on the basis of ontology. Libertarians, as they will tell you ad nauseum, fancy themselves “classical liberals”, and the Objectivists in their heyday believed that liberalism was founded on factual error

    They also had political problems with stuff like quantum mechanics, “Jewish math” as Hitler would have called it I guess, things that seemed to undermine their simplistic caricature of determinism

    I suppose on a more social level, the Objectivists were iconoclastic, narcissistic intellectuals, while the Libertarian Party was your standard agrarian-fantasy reactionary alignment and drew that sort of weirdo. They’ve converged since then.

  92. 92
    AA+ Bonds says:

    The best way to look at it is

    Ayn Rand:Objectivism::Robert Heinlein:Libertarianism

    The Libertarians drew a different flavor of freak, the kind who was more likely to have been born in the South and served in the armed forces

  93. 93
    eco2geek says:

    Having seen a lot of recommended diaries over at the GOS of the “We have to be civil about Breitbart’s death” variety, and a lot of the same kind of posts here, I must say I don’t understand the hand-wringing.

    The guy was an asshole. I’m not sad he died. I’m not going to keep mum for a few days about his being an asshole just because his family and friends might get their feelings hurt. Welcome to reality. That’s who and what Breitbart was, and quite loudly, too.

    TNC is much nicer than I am.

    Now can we move on.

  94. 94
    Arclite says:

    TNC FTW

  95. 95
    Diana says:

    BTW for all these people who call Breitbart “a family man,” just because he was married with four small children, has anyone noticed that he spent his last night on earth in a bar talking to strangers and texting people?

    A good family man is home with his family. Especially on a weeknight.

  96. 96
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Jenn:

    Yes, he does.

    He’s a fucking deserter from the fucking Air National Guard.

    He’s beneath contempt for that alone.

  97. 97
    barbra says:

    why are you so antisemitic? breitbart was raised by jews.

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