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A Pizza Lesson

A number of people commented on my blog entry earlier this week [1] in which I expressed sympathy for the two men at the CVS in Chicago who lost their jobs after a black customer took video of one of them calling the cops on her after she refused their request to leave the store. The clip went viral, and CVS canned the two employees, who are white. In my post, I said that it’s possible that the men deserved to be fired, but we can’t know for sure because we only have her side of the story, and a brief clip of the white manager on the phone with the police. We only have her version of what happened leading up to that point. The message I was trying to get out was that social media has a way of destroying the careers of people, because the super-righteous make a massive case out of things that can be handled in ways that can get justice for those who feel aggrieved, without destroying people’s livelihoods. Once it goes on social media, and the righteous mob is turned onto the scapegoat, it’s over.

I think this is a bad thing. Unsurprisingly, though depressingly, a number of progressive commenters saw it as me defending mighty whitey, straight up, and ignored that I clearly said these guys might have deserved their fate, and also noted in my post that Morry Matson, the white manager in the video, had a record of fraudulently signing petitions. The more subtle and important point I was trying to make was lost. That’s how it goes with the mob: either you are a Paladin Of Righteousness, or you are a Toady To Evil.

Well, I thought about that when I was out driving around town today, and passed a Pizza Hut near my house. I remembered being in that store in late spring, and having a very unpleasant encounter. I had called in a pizza order by phone, and told them I would pick it up. When I arrived, there was no pizza for me. The manager, who was working the cash register, called the pizza cook from the back and asked him what happened to my pizza.

“He called back and cancelled the order,” said the cook. A straight-up lie that was. He was lying to cover up his own incompetence.

I told the manager that was not true. The cook insisted that it was.

I had no interest in getting into a confrontation with these two in the Pizza Hut, nor did I have any interest in waiting for more Pizza Hut pizza. I walked out, determined never again to go to Pizza Hut, ever. I went to Papa John’s for pizza, and when I got home, sent out this tweet:

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To their credit, Pizza Hut contacted me personally about it. I gave them the information about the store where this happened. The man who contacted me said they wanted to take care of it. I balked, though, when he followed up a day or so later to ask me to call him. I didn’t have anything else to add, but it was also the case that I had thought about whether or not I really wanted to cost that cook and/or that manager their jobs.  They work at a take-out pizza joint. The work is hot, and the pay can’t be great. Yes, the cook insulted me by lying repeatedly about me to his manager. Pizza Hut lost a customer for good. That said, I had cooled off by then. Repairing my injured dignity didn’t seem worth maybe costing a guy his job, even if he had failed me, and called me a liar to my face.

You know what did not figure into my equation? The fact that both of these men are black.

I thought today that if I had handled this situation like the black woman in Chicago handled the CVS conflict, I would have whipped my phone out as soon as the cook called me a liar, and started filming as I escalated the clash. Had the manager asked me to leave, I would have refused, and filmed him calling the cops. Then I would have gone on social media and made a big to-do about how these two black guys screwed up my order, then one of them called me a liar to cover up his incompetence — and now, look, they’re calling the police on me, the victimized customer!

I would have been a malicious fool to have done that. I put a single tweet up, not identifying the particular location or showing video of the cook or the manager, but alerting Pizza Hut corporate of what happened. Later, I regretted even doing that; it was impulsive, done in the heat of anger. I could have let Pizza Hut corporate know what happened privately. I believe they would have handled the situation. If not, maybe then I could have tweeted about it, if I thought that was necessary.

Anyway, I’m glad that my anger at that moment didn’t drive me to take out my smartphone, escalate the conflict, film the men, and distribute it on social media. I don’t know what kind of lives they have, or how much they need those jobs. The manager didn’t do anything wrong; it was the cook who was the liar and false accuser. But had I been provocative, maybe the manager would have been drawn into it.

Was my insulted dignity worth one, maybe two, men losing their job? Would it have been worth riling up anti-black racists who are looking for an excuse to hate black people, and to think that black people are always out to get them? Of course not.

By the way, I stand with Reason‘s Robby Soave in denouncing the conservative media who trashed Guardians Of The Galaxy director James Gunn over vulgar and offensive tweets he sent out years ago [5], and for which he has since apologized. They got him fired by Disney today. Soave writes, quoting Gunn:

“I viewed myself as a provocateur, making movies and telling jokes that were outrageous and taboo,” he said in a statement. “In the past, I have apologized for humor of mine that hurt people. I truly felt sorry and meant every word of my apologies.”

This really ought to have been enough. But we live in an era where both the left and the right are eager to collect the scalps of people who offend them. Conservatives who participated in the lynch mob against Gunn are hypocrites, since they have often scolded the left for doing this exact same thing.

On Twitter, I see the right-wing personalities insisting that they are merely forcing the left to abide by its own standards: if Roseanne had to lose her job, then Gunn should, too. This is exactly the kind of escalation I warned about when I criticized the knee-jerk cancellation of Roseanne [6]. What a dull and unforgiving world the P.C. outrage mobs are creating for us.

Great job, you conservative jerks. Join the liberal jerks too in creating a world that is anxious, spiteful, and merciless … and dull.

UPDATE: Ouch. Sauce for the goose…

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144 Comments (Open | Close)

144 Comments To "A Pizza Lesson"

#1 Comment By midtown On July 21, 2018 @ 3:07 pm

I don’t know, Rod. I worked in a pizza place some years back and it is possible someone else canceled their order and he thought it was yours. Phone calls come in hot and heavy and if someone calls in and says cancel my pepperoni pizza and hangs up, it can be a simple error. I never heard of a pizza maker simply not making a pizza because they didn’t feel like it — especially if they knew the customer was going to show up in person in 10 minutes. I would be more inclined to chalk it up as an honest mistake.

#2 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On July 21, 2018 @ 4:01 pm

I once observed a check out clerk who was obviously new in the job, not very well educated, not much of a vocabulary, BUT she handled a difficult situation with the customer in front of me very well, taking relatively little time, so she wasn’t holding up the rest of us either, and kept her cool the whole time. So, I mentioned what a great job she had done on the store’s “Tell us how we did” web site. I got a call from the manager asking with a tone of disbelief for confirmation of everything I had said. I had the impression he assumed the young lady must have set up a friend to give her a good report, because he couldn’t believe a customer would do so. I felt extra good about it after that.

#3 Comment By In My Humble Opinion On July 21, 2018 @ 4:45 pm

I miss the good old days when poor customer service would simply lead to the writing of a strongly worded letter.

#4 Comment By Thomas Hobbes On July 21, 2018 @ 5:39 pm

Matt in VA says:
It is not so much that things are cracking up, as you know. It is that enough people have already decided not only that the time to shore up the imperium has passed, but that the goal and aim ought to be to tear it down. Neither Burke nor Chesterton nor any of the founding fathers thought it was wrong to ever have any kind of revolution. And if you think that all this means you had better join the Left… Have fun! In a decadent and dying world a certain number of men will seek out a crisis simply to give their lives a moment of significance, a choice with irrevocable consequences–see Orwell’s famous remarks on capitalism and socialism vs. fascism. Here is a truth about the world that is true whether you like it or not. Nature is red in tooth and claw and those men who always side with the authorities over the pirates will always at some level be despised by other men and by women, too. And if your choice is not to make a choice because you see it from a Christian point of view as a false choice, and your goal is strategic retreat so that you can die for Christ instead, Godspeed… Good luck!

Sorry, not sure which Orwell remarks your talking about. The rejection of hedonism and explanation of Hitler’s rise as offering the German people a deeper meaning in his perception of the world as a giant cultural power struggle between the different ethnocultures he divided the world into?

Do you see only a choice is between purposely burning society down so we can continue that great ethnocultural struggle that Hitler wanted to trigger vs allowing leftist totalitarianism or corporate subjugation to take over?

I doubt Burke, Chesterton, or the founding fathers would be particularly fond of such a revolution. Most revolutions end with the installation of a dictator. We were incredibly lucky to have founding fathers that actually had clear
(and liberal) ideas about how to set up a country (not that they all agreed with each other). I don’t get the idea that anybody on the left or right that thinks we should actively be trying to tear down the imperium has anything to offer in that regard currently, they seem to be envisioning something like the French Revolution that will magically be peaceful and end in unicorns and butterflies.

#5 Comment By mojrim On July 21, 2018 @ 5:48 pm

As Ann put it Rod, consider a time-series graph of things like this. For you it was a one-off, the sort of thing you rarely suffer. For the woman at CVS it was one more indignity, possibly the third that day, certainly a daily event. Accused of fraud, ejected from a store without her medication, publicly humiliated by having the police brought in.

And in that she is not special. The rest of us black and brown people side with her reflexively because we have all had to put up with this every day of our lives. Suspended from school rather than a day of detention. Police summoned when a bunch of us are playing in a public park. Ejected from a private pool because someone assumes we don’t belong there. Resumes shredded because of our name. Having the police called to starbucks because you haven’t ordered anything yet. These are common occurrences for us and they are not for you. Let that sink in for a minute.

In 1987, on leave between duty stations, I took an early evening run in my step-mother’s neighborhood. I had a high-reg haircut, the little silky red shorts we used to wear, and a shirt with “USMC” in 4″ letters. About half a mile out I was pulled over by a county cop who blocked me with his car. His questions began with “What are you doing?” and only got more absurd from there. When he got back to the first question for the third time I asked his name and unit number, saying I’d have my command get in touch if he needed more information. He spat a few words (starting with F, N, and A) that I won’t repeat here and peeled out down the street, throwing gravel and leaving rubber on the road.

Was he just a bad apple, or a guy having a bad day, or… something? When this kind of thing happens to you repeatedly you connect the dots.

[NFR: Projection, projection, projection. You don’t know what my life is like, or that woman’s. All you know is that I am white and she is black. That, it seems, is all you think you need to know. And she didn’t go in for medication; she went in for an adult diaper or maxi-pads. She was asked to leave the store because she was making a scene. And for all that, I **still** say it is possible that the two white men deserved to be fired for the way they treated the woman and handled the situation. You, however, appear to hold to the position that that woman cannot possibly have been wrong, as she was black and the others were white, and You Know How White People Are. The entire point of me bringing it up was not to defend them, but to post a reflection about how social media makes the messy business of being human much worse. I do hope you can learn to see people as people, not just as blank screens onto which we project our ideological prejudices. And I hope you can learn to show the same kind of patience and mercy that you may one day need yourself. — RD]

#6 Comment By aaron On July 21, 2018 @ 7:46 pm

“I walked out, determined never again to go to Pizza Hut, ever. ”

This is a silly overreaction. It’s just bad life-optimization, really. To the extent that you enjoy eating at Pizza Hut, you’re hurting yourself more than you’re hurting the giant restaurant chain. Do you really think that the bad encounter you had with one lowly worker at Pizza Hut is in any way predictive of how your service will be in the future at Pizza Hut restaurants compared to [say] Papa John’s?

More to the point, the rest of your article appeared to be saying that you think it’s better *not* to try to get the worker fired. But what then, is the purpose of your personal boycott? Why would you enforce a norm of a one-strike-and-you’re-out boycott policy holding large chains responsible for the behavior of a single employee if *not* to specifically endorse corporate cultures where employees are fired for any service mistake or unhappy (even if unreasonable and entitled) customer?

[NFR: I don’t enjoy eating at Pizza Hut, so it’s not much of a sacrifice for me. I don’t eat pizza often, and when I do, it’s at one of the local joints, not a big chain. That particular store is a take-out only Pizza Hut. It’s closer than Papa John’s or Little Caesar’s, but not that much closer. I only buy pizza from those places to feed kids when we have a crowd here. Choosing to take my custom to a place where I have not been called a liar to my face by an employee to cover up for his mistake is not the same thing as wishing that employee fired, or wishing Pizza Hut to go out of business. If that Chicago woman had chosen never to go to CVS again, I wouldn’t blame her. That’s not the same thing as setting a social media mob on service people, and getting them fired, even if they were jerks to her. — RD]

#7 Comment By Fran Macadam On July 21, 2018 @ 8:18 pm

“We all believe in peace and noviolence, but we needed to nuke Japan to win the war.”

First off, the war was already won. The bombs were dropped knowingly on civilians and did not alter the course, except to make sure that Japan surrendered to the United States alone, rather than to the Soviet Union as well. It was also a real world test of what would happen to cities and their populations, a cynically callous moral calculation for evil. And it was an example “pour les autres,” to display what could happen to them at the hands of those solely possessing the ultimate weapon of mass destruction. That started the nuclear arms race.

Finally, I don’t believe for the nanosecond that it would to vaporize human beings by its use, that we all believe in peace and nonviolence. That group represents a tiny slice of humanity. It is true, of course, that most robbers, tyrants and governments believe in non-violence to the extent that they like to commit their crimes by doing it the easy way rather than the hard way. But if the other does not peacefully surrender whatever it is that’s wanted, then violence it is.

#8 Comment By Locksley On July 21, 2018 @ 8:45 pm

I remember Pizza Hut’s having tolerably good pizza in its sit-down ristorante days, but I can’t vouch for it now. Don’t much care for Papa John’s. But the owner of Domino’s is a pro-life Catholic who gives a lot of money to the cause, and the pizza there is as good as most pizza chains serve, and better than many (see Imo’s).

[NFR: That guy, Tom Monaghan, hasn’t owned Domino’s in 20 years. In 1998, he sold 93 percent of it to Bain Capital. I think the quality of Domino’s Pizza has suffered. I ate it a lot in high school and college, but when my kids have ordered it in recent years, I really haven’t liked it much. Maybe my taste has changed, but I don’t think it has changed that much. — RD]

#9 Comment By Fran Macadam On July 21, 2018 @ 8:46 pm

I’ve never had a social media account, except for the fake impersonation one I was doxxed and slandered with. The social media company wouldn’t take it down, either, though it violated their terms of service, because their woke employee felt I deserved it, on the basis of its content!

#10 Comment By Jeffersonian On July 21, 2018 @ 9:42 pm

Rod’s pizza dilemma is why the Little Caesar’s $5.00 Hot N Ready pizza is among the greatest features of contemporary American life. Yeah, it’s not *great* pizza but for those times when you just want an 18″ wheel of dough, cheese and tomato sauce, and you don’t want to pay more than $5.00, (or wait more than 5 minutes) Little Caesar’s is there.

This what I threaten my children with when they are unruly in the back seat. Works better than grounding.

#11 Comment By Adam Loumeau On July 21, 2018 @ 9:57 pm

@Matt in VA

You make an excellent point that I generally agree with wholeheartedly. But isn’t there something particularly distasteful about digging up nearly decade old tweets to get someone fired? I guess that hard and fast rule probably has exceptions as well. What should the standard be for old tweets? Depends on the content? Depends on how old? I struggle with this.

#12 Comment By David J. White On July 21, 2018 @ 10:51 pm

I assure you that when I was a cash strapped student I have met many horrible pizzas around Europe – too raw or too cooked, too flabby, too tough, soaked in oil or dressed with seed oil, fried, made with horrible tomato sauce or fake mozzarella…

One the deep dark secrets that I tend not to voice too loudly around my colleagues is that pizza is by far my least favorite thing to eat in Italy. I love Italian food, but when it comes to pizza, I’ll always take American pizza over any pizza I’ve had in Italy—though I do prefer local shops (usually called something like Luigi’s) over chains. But then, my main test for pizza is whether it’s good cold for breakfast.

[NFR: David, last summer, when Lucas and I saw you in Siena, we had spent most of that week eating pizza. It’s one of the only things there I could get an American boy on his first trip to Italy to eat, because it was familiar. We ate the fairly expensive pizza in a central place on the main street in town. Meh. There was a fairly crummy-looking joint run by Albanians near our hotel, closer to the edge of town, and OH MY GOSH, was their pizza great. I couldn’t believe how good it was — and only one euro per slice. — RD]

#13 Comment By catbird On July 21, 2018 @ 10:52 pm

Not much to comment on the content of the post, but it’s funny how often people say things like some post is “beneath you” and “you can do better” — that is, you could if you weren’t such a right-wing, Christian, racist Rod.

Reminds me of “with all due respect” which pretty much always mean what will follow will not be respectful, or “I don’t mean to be rude” which always precedes a rude comment

#14 Comment By Thomas Hobbes On July 22, 2018 @ 12:41 am

Giuseppe Scalas says:
That’s probably because you haven’t traveled across Europe in the late 80s/early 90s.
I assure you that when I was a cash strapped student I have met many horrible pizzas around Europe – too raw or too cooked, too flabby, too tough, soaked in oil or dressed with seed oil, fried, made with horrible tomato sauce or fake mozzarella…

Never went to Europe till the late 90s, but I have never had pizza outside of Italy and the US. I’m pretty sure other European countries would try to impose their own culinary quirks on pizza, often to the detriment of any foolish enough to try it.

David J. White says:
One the deep dark secrets that I tend not to voice too loudly around my colleagues is that pizza is by far my least favorite thing to eat in Italy. I love Italian food, but when it comes to pizza, I’ll always take American pizza over any pizza I’ve had in Italy—though I do prefer local shops (usually called something like Luigi’s) over chains. But then, my main test for pizza is whether it’s good cold for breakfast.

I also hardly ate pizza when I was in Italy, largely because all the other food was much more exciting. I did have to try a few iterations of each regional variation though. I was not terribly impressed by classic cracker like pizzas from Naples, but really liked the generally looked down upon Roman pizzas (perhaps I just had friends with better restaurant knowledge in Rome than Naples).

[NFR: David, last summer, when Lucas and I saw you in Siena, we had spent most of that week eating pizza. It’s one of the only things there I could get an American boy on his first trip to Italy to eat, because it was familiar… –RD]

That’s terrible! A week in Siena eating just pizza… I never had a bad pizza, but that is still a tragically lost opportunity.

I understand though, one of my kids is an incredibly finicky eater and another has a weird sensory thing and basically didn’t eat solid food till she was 3.

#15 Comment By David J. White On July 22, 2018 @ 5:22 am

Rod’s pizza dilemma is why the Little Caesar’s $5.00 Hot N Ready pizza is among the greatest features of contemporary American life. Yeah, it’s not *great* pizza but for those times when you just want an 18″ wheel of dough, cheese and tomato sauce, and you don’t want to pay more than $5.00, (or wait more than 5 minutes) Little Caesar’s is there.

This what I threaten my children with when they are unruly in the back seat. Works better than grounding.

My wife went through a rough period before we were married when she didn’t have much money coming in. Little Caesar’s $5 pizza was one of the few occasional indulgences she allowed herself. She still calls it “poverty pizza.” 😉

Rod, I’m not surprised that the pizza at the little Albanian place in Siena was terrific. I always prefer to patronize a local Tony’s or Luigi’s; I figure that if they are competing successfully with the chains, they must be pretty good.

I seem to recall that Calvin Trillin once wrote about asking people what the best restaurant was in their home town. He said that they would generally mention some flashy place of a sort that he called “House of Maison de la Casa.” But when he asked them where they would want to go for their first meal upon returning to their home town after many years away, almost invariably they mentioned someplace other than the House of Maison de la Casa.

#16 Comment By artsandcrafts On July 22, 2018 @ 5:41 am

Since I’m the Chicagoan who defended the CVS managers, I guess I’ll comment again; I know I am getting to this late, and there have already been some good comments. On the Pizza Hut incident: inconclusive. It could have been a genuine mix-up or a cancelled order by another customer. Or the employee could have been dishonest. In a hectic, high-volume food business, I would imagine mistakes do get made. People misunderstand, people mis-hear (especially with loud music playing in the background), and people do lie. Maybe my expectations about all these kinds of things aren’t very high to begin with. Mr. Dreher had every right to walk out of the Pizza Hut, though.

Suggestion on the pizza: how about Whole Foods in Baton Rouge. I would suggest Amy’s frozen (vegetarian) pizzas, but they are small, and it seems that this was a big order. (Minor quibble: I understand the need to use stock photos, but I agree with everyone who has said that this pizza doesn’t look right for this post.)

mdc: I agree completely. My mind doesn’t work like that either (the “I’m gonna get you fired!” mentality).

EngineerScotty: excellent comments about some people’s expectations of customer service. As I say, I was never taught that the customer is always right. I had no idea this was quite so rampant.

#17 Comment By Dave G. On July 22, 2018 @ 6:15 am

OK, not to belabor this, but I’m still not seeing evidence that Gunn was fired because of some right wing puritanical pitchfork brigade. From all I’m finding, it appears more the result of the current ‘#MeToo’ sensitivities; that Gunn’s tweets offended because they were inappropriate in their dealing with sexual assault and other sex based crimes such as pedophilia. I’m just not finding evidence that it was all the conservatives because he said dirty things. Some might be pointing out that what is good for the goose is good for the gander. But I’m just not see those [other] rascally conservatives as being why this went down. I’ve found no story about it that suggests as much. Given the harsh ‘jerks’ label, I wish I could see some links or articles that show they were the mischief.

#18 Comment By MikeCLT On July 22, 2018 @ 10:50 am

You consider what happened an insult and injury to your dignity? Really? And you were still so insulted and injured after picking up another pizza and bringing it home that you tweeted about it?

Perhaps someone was taking himself a little too seriously?

[NFR: You may be right. I couldn’t possibly comment. — RD]

#19 Comment By aaron On July 22, 2018 @ 12:04 pm

“Given the harsh ‘jerks’ label, I wish I could see some links or articles that show they were the mischief.”

I strongly suspect Disney knew about his old tweets and overlooked them as Gunn had apologized privately. It wasn’t until Cernovich called a lot of public attention to them that they fired Gunn.

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#20 Comment By EngineerScotty On July 22, 2018 @ 12:23 pm

Dave G.

Many in the “men’s rights” crowd, eager for a “liberal” trophy, were the ones who rooted out and publicized Gunn’s tweets.

Rather few liberals seem to be defending him, however.

#21 Comment By no comment On July 22, 2018 @ 1:20 pm

I don’t get the idea that anybody on the left or right that thinks we should actively be trying to tear down the imperium has anything to offer in that regard currently, they seem to be envisioning something like the French Revolution that will magically be peaceful and end in unicorns and butterflies.

Thomas Hobbes, I personally have a hard time believing your remarks on this topic across multiple threads are being offered in good faith. Your shamelessly fallacious reasoning on this subject suggests dishonesty.

What are you trying to do? Scare the gentle conservative readers on this blog who look to Burke, Chesterton, and the American founders into supporting the existing social order by lacing your remarks with frightening references to the French Revolution and Hitler?

The only alternative to supporting the existing order, which is what you really mean when you argue that it is inadvisable to work to tear it down, is NOT continue Hitler’s project (lol) or start a French Revolution. That is false alternative if there ever was one.

The American founders carried out an extremely intellectually radical revolution against the existing order without knowing for sure what would come next. What they thought would come next, a confederation of states, actually did come next, but it did not last, which was an eventuality they could not have anticipated.

Accordingly, there never would have been a United States if Washington, etc. had been paralyzed into inaction by conservative instead of revolutionary tendencies.

In addition, the Soviet Revolution of 1989 did not result in the rise of “dictators.” The post-Soviet nations that made up the former Soviet Union are not governed by dictators. So you are also wrong on the facts in regard to that revolution. And beyond that, democracy as a form of government also often ends in dictatorship (See, for example, Aristotle’s comments on democracy).

We are definitely in a situation at this time in the United States where revolutionary destruction of the existing social order is necessary to have any any chance of a future with the kind of world conservatives have traditionally sought to create.

#22 Comment By sara On July 22, 2018 @ 1:39 pm

It is not just a left phenomena. There are people on the right doing this stuff also and here is a guy who makes it his mission to get other people fired:

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#23 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On July 22, 2018 @ 3:22 pm

Thomas Hobbes, I personally have a hard time believing your remarks on this topic across multiple threads are being offered in good faith. Your shamelessly fallacious reasoning on this subject suggests dishonesty.

“no comment” offers a series of denial and ad hominem fallacies that add up to just about nothing. I often disagree with Thomas Hobbes, but he is right that there are people blithely talking what they conceive of as “revolution” without thinking through the prices and implications. Serious revolutionaries take what it might cost very seriously, and recognize that ends are present in the means from the very beginning.

That guy, Tom Monaghan, hasn’t owned Domino’s in 20 years. In 1998, he sold 93 percent of it to Bain Capital.

Ah, so now its Mitt Romney’s fault!

#24 Comment By Stephen Hall On July 22, 2018 @ 5:32 pm

“It is not just a left phenomena. There are people on the right doing this stuff also and here is a guy who makes it his mission to get other people fired”

From what I recall about Cernovich, his pretext is to force the left to live under the same rules that they are forcing everybody else to live under. Hence the doxing of James Gunn is revenge for the mob actions against the right.

#25 Comment By Thomas Hobbes On July 22, 2018 @ 6:05 pm

no comment says:
Thomas Hobbes, I personally have a hard time believing your remarks on this topic across multiple threads are being offered in good faith. Your shamelessly fallacious reasoning on this subject suggests dishonesty.

What are you trying to do? Scare the gentle conservative readers on this blog who look to Burke, Chesterton, and the American founders into supporting the existing social order by lacing your remarks with frightening references to the French Revolution and Hitler?

The only alternative to supporting the existing order, which is what you really mean when you argue that it is inadvisable to work to tear it down, is NOT continue Hitler’s project (lol) or start a French Revolution. That is false alternative if there ever was one.

Dude, I was asking Matt in VA if he was suggesting that he thought the only alternative to supporting the existing order was violent revolution (since my reading of his statement certainly implied that) and whether the Orwell quote he referred to was this one: [Hitler] has grasped the falsity of the hedonistic attitude to life. Nearly all western thought since the last war, certainly all “progressive” thought, has assumed tacitly that human beings desire nothing beyond ease, security, and avoidance of pain. In such a view of life there is no room, for instance, for patriotism and the military virtues. The Socialist who finds his children playing with soldiers is usually upset, but he is never able to think of a substitute for the tin soldiers; tin pacifists somehow won’t do. Hitler, because in his own joyless mind he feels it with exceptional strength, knows that human beings don’t only want comfort, safety, short working-hours, hygiene, birth-control and, in general, common sense; they also, at least intermittently, want struggle and self-sacrifice, not to mention drums, flag and loyalty-parades. However they may be as economic theories, Fascism and Nazism are psychologically far sounder than any hedonistic conception of life. The same is probably true of Stalin’s militarised version of Socialism. All three of the great dictators have enhanced their power by imposing intolerable burdens on their peoples. Whereas Socialism, and even capitalism in a grudging way, have said to people “I offer you a good time,” Hitler has said to them “I offer you struggle, danger and death,” and as a result a whole nation flings itself at his feet.

For what it is worth, I have no particular interest in supporting the current social order, but yes I would like to scare gentle conservatives away from the idea of tearing down the imperium (so to speak) without articulating a viable alternative. Given our polarization, any actual revolution in the US will probably be bloodier than the last (failed one). Also, no matter how much people in Texas or California day dream about an “amicable divorce”, that is not a thing that can happen in the real world.

The American founders carried out an extremely intellectually radical revolution against the existing order without knowing for sure what would come next. What they thought would come next, a confederation of states, actually did come next, but it did not last, which was an eventuality they could not have anticipated.

Accordingly, there never would have been a United States if Washington, etc. had been paralyzed into inaction by conservative instead of revolutionary tendencies.

In addition, the Soviet Revolution of 1989 did not result in the rise of “dictators.” The post-Soviet nations that made up the former Soviet Union are not governed by dictators. So you are also wrong on the facts in regard to that revolution. And beyond that, democracy as a form of government also often ends in dictatorship (See, for example, Aristotle’s comments on democracy).

We are definitely in a situation at this time in the United States where revolutionary destruction of the existing social order is necessary to have any any chance of a future with the kind of world conservatives have traditionally sought to create.

I don’t really think the collapse of the eastern block really counts a revolution – that was the culmination of 40+ years of cold war struggle between outside actors. There are plenty of examples of revolutions that didn’t end in dictatorship though, they are just a heavy minority. Not sure the relevance of Aristotle’s (or Plato’s) comments on Democracy, we never had one of those. If you are arguing we should be vigilant in trying to prevent populism from driving us into the arms of a tyrant (The Republic), well I agree.

The founders, who were certainly radicals (mostly liberal aristocrats btw), had the Declaration of Independence to point to when they started their revolution. In addition to its embrace of liberal values cribbed from Locke, it include this statement: Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. That seems pretty sensible to me, and when the alt-right and/or ctr-left have a statement that shows we meet that criteria and 1/3 or more of the populace agrees with it, I’m sure we will have our bloody revolution.

#26 Comment By Erin M. On July 22, 2018 @ 6:11 pm

Rod, please reconsider your reactions to multiple commenters here, which are riddled with defensiveness and unfounded assumptions about your readers’ views. You are seeing phantom anti-white feelings in all kinds of places they don’t exist.

mojrim says: “The rest of us black and brown people side with her reflexively because we have all had to put up with this every day of our lives.”

You respond: “You, however, appear to hold to the position that that woman cannot possibly have been wrong, as she was black and the others were white, and You Know How White People Are.”

Do you see the difference between “side with reflexively” and “she cannot possibly be wrong”? Do you see the difference between, “this is the treatment I and every person of color I and every person of color I know has experienced every day of my life” vs “You Know How White People Are”? It doesn’t take a huge percentage of racist white people in order to make the lives of people of color pretty miserable.

Your over-reactions to peoples’ comments are just…unprofessional frankly. I won’t go into the rest of your response to this commenter except to say that it is chockfull of condescention and bizarre implicit assessments/assumptions. And that you lecturing people on showing people mercy and grace is pretty rich given the way you use this blog as a bully pulpit for ragging on people you find distasteful.

————-

So here’s the big question I have for you. Do you believe that people of color–on average, not every single last individual–have a different experience than white people–again, on average–in terms of how they are treated day to day in this country? Do you think that they are viewed with greater suspicion by white people, have the cops called on them more, have to undergo far more tiny little humiliations than white people do?

If you don’t believe that then you’re being willfully ignorant, but your analysis would then make sense. But if you do believe that, then why don’t you think that context matters? You get your nose so bent out of shape by a pizza mishap that you go post about it on social media (and are so ready to be insulted that it never even crosses your mind that it could be a mixup, not a lie), and yet people of color are expected to just accept these little indignities as a part of their everyday life? Forget the CVS lady, let’s just talk about the commenters who have commented here in your combox, on this article and others, about their first-hand experiences of life in America as person of color. It’s rarely possible to prove that any one incident is a result of race, and yet when black people have to deal with a frequent pattern of behavior that white people don’t, well then, it’s clearly racially motivated.

So I’d really like to know if you think racism exists in the US outside of teeny tiny fringe pockets, and if people of color are treated differently than white people. And if not, why on earth do you not believe that?

#27 Comment By Mia On July 22, 2018 @ 6:27 pm

“And that’s the problem. If an alleged perp shot by a white cop is white, it’s not considered newsworthy. If the perp is black, it’s front-page news and fodder for the media.”

Yes, that is the problem, but not for the reason you think it is. In the former case, you assume it’s not newsworthy because the white community has the default position that the person shot deserves it, even if it’s egregious that the police were in the wrong. In the black community, it is the default position that the person shot was likely to be innocent. So it’s not entirely a media bias in that case. The community’s have different agendas in what they want to hear about, and that’s not something to brag about regarding the white on white shootings. I know because I’m white and have been dealing with a police brutality case for years, and the dynamic on the white side is quite shockingly horrible. It’s bad because on the white side, nobody cares even if they should.

#28 Comment By mojrim On July 22, 2018 @ 6:35 pm

At what point, Rod, are you going to acknowledge that we are also members of groups, which membership follows us with or without our agreement, affecting our every interaction?

#29 Comment By DRK On July 22, 2018 @ 7:02 pm

I’m pretty sure other European countries would try to impose their own culinary quirks on pizza, often to the detriment of any foolish enough to try it.

And sometimes it is just a delightful twist. I give you flammkuchen (as they call it in Germany) or tartes flambée (as they call it in Alsace; and they say they invented it). Take a thin pizza crust, but instead of tomato sauce, spread it with a mixture of triple cream and creme fraiche. Sprinkle it with lardons and thinly sliced onion, then broil it in a wood-fired oven. It may not be pizza but I am here to tell you it is delicious.

#30 Comment By no comment On July 22, 2018 @ 7:13 pm

sara says:
July 22, 2018 at 1:39 pm

Based on that HuffPo hit piece, it sounds like Cernovich is doing an excellent job.

#31 Comment By EngineerScotty On July 23, 2018 @ 2:44 am

What are you trying to do? Scare the gentle conservative readers on this blog who look to Burke, Chesterton, and the American founders into supporting the existing social order by lacing your remarks with frightening references to the French Revolution and Hitler?

I’ll admit; comparing conservatives and the right to the Jacobins is a bit unusual–usually it’s the left that gets compared to the likes of Robespierre, not to mention Stalin and Mao.

But if you’re arguing that mainstream politicians and movements often get compared too much to history’s great monsters, I’ll agree with you. Just don’t pretend such habits are limited to liberals. Flight 93 election, remember?

#32 Comment By JonF On July 23, 2018 @ 8:25 am

Re: I think the quality of Domino’s Pizza has suffered.

Not sure I agree. Dominos is where I order pizza these days, since the only other alternative where I live in Papa Johns and I don’t care for that brand. The closest Pizza Hut (which is the large corp brand I prefer) is in Glen Burnie, too far for delivery, though I occasionally bring one home from there when I’m down that way shopping. As far as I can tell Dominos is more or less the same I remember from years gone by.
As for old Tom Monaghan– the guy was a self-entitled jerk. He opened his first Dominos in my home town in Michigan way back when. Gossip claimed more drugs were sold out the back door than pizzas out the front– though that was the sketchy employees, not Monaghan himself. The guy struck it rich and since he lived in some gated community just outside Ann Arbor for a while he decided he had a natural right to meddle incessantly in our local politics, throwing good money after bad in attempts to get his own pet ordinances passed– and anything worker friendly down at the local level repealed. Mostly, he was not successful, but during that era his name was practically a curse word where I lived.

#33 Comment By Ben H On July 23, 2018 @ 10:45 am

“Join the liberal jerks too in creating a world that is anxious, spiteful, and merciless … and dull.”

To be fair it is anything but dull!

#34 Comment By Thomas Hobbes On July 23, 2018 @ 11:59 am

DRK says:
And sometimes it is just a delightful twist. I give you flammkuchen (as they call it in Germany) or tartes flambée (as they call it in Alsace; and they say they invented it). Take a thin pizza crust, but instead of tomato sauce, spread it with a mixture of triple cream and creme fraiche. Sprinkle it with lardons and thinly sliced onion, then broil it in a wood-fired oven. It may not be pizza but I am here to tell you it is delicious.

This is actually my favorite type of pizza these days, but I’ve only had American versions of it. I also really like many other of the tomato sauce free pizza variations in vogue on the west coast [to the disgust of my Chicago friends). The French claim to have invented every culinary wonder, even gelato. Usually if you press them they will admit that while it may have been made elsewhere first, they “perfected” it (this is often harder to dispute).

#35 Comment By Geoffrey Trowbridge On July 23, 2018 @ 12:19 pm

I wanted to comment on what “Mojrim” was saying, and on Rod’s response to them.

I hear what Rod is saying about the potential ridiculousness of this case in the CVS with the black woman getting these two white employees fired, and a worrying trend of the United States, which is still for all our crimes and troubled history the most successful multiracial democracy in the world, becoming more like the Balkans or an older country with entrenched and hardened ethnic divisions where “never the twain shall meet” between them (Malaysia comes to mind). For a couple hundred years, in a blunt coloquiall fashion it could be said that we were a country where white men had the ability to whoop on everybody else, and the worst case scenarios is that now we’ll be a country where everybody gets to whoop on everybody, with equal opportunity whooping. I never want to live in a country like that, whether it’s helped along by the Left or the Right.

But I also feel that Rod was being a little harsh and judgmental of “Mojrim”, who I thought had some really important things to say- and I take it from their comment that they are African-American? They volunteered to defend our country by joining the Marine Corps, it sounds like, which is about as patriotic as you can get, but this nation and it’s law enforcement officials didn’t always defend them, or treat them with the civility and basic respect that is all our due in a democratic society.

I’m generally inclined to believe a black person when they tell a story like this, whether it’s with the police or in a store or a restaurant or at a hotel or anywhere else. Before the 1960s, that kind of treatment, and far worse than what happens today, was the norm like 90% percent of time- we may not like it, but that’s American history and reality. Since the 1960s it’s become a lot more complicated, but there are clearly serious and entrenched problems still happening, and if we are ever going to evolve past them, we need to be able to look them in the face and deal with them honestly, not dismiss them and let our own frustrations with various extremists cloud the fact of those problems.

I also generally mistrust and am wary of “professional activist” types, whether black activists, conservative religious activists, left-wing “Revolutionaries”, or hyper-committed free market ideologues. I don’t trust people who view life through the lens of activism or as a struggle to be won- I trust ordinary people who are trying to get through their day, love their families and spouses, do a little good in their communities when they can, and so forth.

I’m from Knoxville, Tennessee, where for a southern city we don’t have a particularly large black population, but we’re still pretty racially diverse, with about 2/3 of us being European-American, and the other third being something else, with black folks being the largest minority group. I know a guy, a really good guy, who served our country in both the Army and the Air Force, was a Sheriff’s deputy locally for some time, and then became a state trooper in the Tennessee Highway Patrol. He is a black man. He got a degree from Liberty University and I believe considers himself a Republican- he is also a convert to Islam. He is the last person that could be conceivably said to be anti-authoritarian or against law and order- he WAS the law and order, and very proud of it from all accounts.

A couple years ago there was kerfuffle in the Highway Patrol when because he was the only Muslim on the force there was a lot of harassment against him, and some military liaison the state was using somehow thought he was involved in terrorist activities. Believe me, this guy is very patriotic, has a military manner and bearing- he is the last person who would ever be involved in subversive activity against the United States.

Nonetheless, the harassment and trumped up accusations got so bad he left the Highway Patrol (10 years into his career as a trooper), and sued the state for how it treated him. Eventually he settled in a civil lawsuit and got like $100,000 as recompense, which considering his career and reputation was ruined by the state he volunteered to protect and serve, is a pitiful and atrocious pittance of an apology.

I do not consider myself left-wing or even a “progressive” person- if I am being totally honest I would say I have the most dangerous and unorthodox politics of all, which is to say I don’t have any. I don’t view myself or the world or the society I’m part of through a political lens.

But if I do have a set of values, they start from the commandment that Jesus gave us “Love the Lord thy God with all your mind and all your heart and all your soul, and Love thy Neighbor as Thyself.” Black folks built the United States, they built this country- including the White House self- with an enormous amount of suffering, with untold amounts of blood and sweat and tears, and were able to come out of all that with an enormous amount of dignity and pride, having given our nation not just an awful lot of material wealth, but art and music and culture and a lot of what makes us “Americans” today.

So though I am- like I suspect many of you- increasingly frustrated, angered, and possibly terrified by the extremism, dogmatism, and racial essentialism of the contemporary American left, it’s important to know that that left does not exist in a vacuum. We know that Trump did not rise in a vacuum, so why should we not be able to recognize that the newly empowered hard-left, including perhaps a “Black Power”/black nationalist element, is coming from similar desires? I abhor and condemn a bunch of teenagers (and possibly criminal elements) burning down parts of Baltimore, and calling it justice- but I also haven’t lived those teenagers lives (I am white) and seen and felt all the things they’ve felt. I have black people in my life now and throughout my life that I love dearly, not because they’re black, but because they’re human and beautiful creations of God and wonderful people, and the idea that they could humiliated and abused, whether verbally, emotionally, or otherwise, is just an awful thing. Period. My favorite babysitter when I was a little kid was a black man (an ex-football player with a linebacker build) and he was kind and gentle and loving towards me when I was a pretty shy and uncertain child. I loved him.

So do I want Alicia Garza and a bunch of two-bit Stokely Carmichaels to march on Washington and take over the country in order for us to be “Woke”? Hell no. I don’t even want people like that to march on the City County Building here in Knoxville and take over our city council.

But I also want all people on here- and I hate to be making everything about race again but I’ll say especially white people- to maybe try to walk in somebody else’s shoes for a minute and consider that black Americans, and black folks in general, have some stories that need to be told and expressed, and not just dismissed because a small percentage of the usual race-baiters and full-time activists are going way off the deep end.

At times I find this blog and the way Rod runs it to be a haven of truly open-ended and open-minded, and more importantly open-hearted discussion and debate. The fact that a lot of things are up for grabs is what keeps this genuinely enlightening, even transformative. Don’t let it become a right-wing Daily Kos, on race or on anything else. (It’s bad enough we have a left-wing one)

in love and respect, Geoff

#36 Comment By EngineerScotty On July 23, 2018 @ 12:20 pm

From what I recall about Cernovich, his pretext is to force the left to live under the same rules that they are forcing everybody else to live under. Hence the doxing of James Gunn is revenge for the mob actions against the right.

More specifically, he’s an MRA-pig whose hobby horse is exposing and outing the pigs on the left.

Which is fine by me, actually; there are plenty to be found.

We just haven’t elected any of our pigs President this century. (We elected more than our share last century, obviously).

But these days is the GOP that doesn’t care if it’s standard-bearer shoots (or f*cks) someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue.

#37 Comment By Geoffrey Trowbridge On July 23, 2018 @ 12:22 pm

apologies for the typos contained in the comment I just wrote- I wrote it pretty fast and in a little state of frustration 🙂

#38 Comment By VikingLS On July 23, 2018 @ 9:01 pm

@Engineer Scotty

Barack Obama had people extrajudiciously murdered by drone strike and treated it as joke, funded people he knew were raping and selling people into slavery in Syria, allied with the neo-Nazi right sector in Ukraine, took us into a war in Libya that not only left the country in chaos but that chaos spread into other countries, and used the IRS to target political groups that oppossed him.

He WAS and IS a pig.

Luckily for him, he always ran against dogs.

#39 Comment By no comment On July 23, 2018 @ 10:29 pm

Barack Obama had people extrajudiciously murdered by drone strike and treated it as joke, funded people he knew were raping and selling people into slavery in Syria, allied with the neo-Nazi right sector in Ukraine, took us into a war in Libya that not only left the country in chaos but that chaos spread into other countries, and used the IRS to target political groups that oppossed him.

Given how easily and successfully the Deep State subverts President Trump, I have to wonder how many of those decisions by Obama were truly freely chosen and how many were the result of bullying by powerful, deadly forces within the US government that can’t be resisted by anyone, including the President.

One of Obama’s finest hours was when he turned back the bipartisan US establishment’s attempt to start a new war in Syria in 2014. As you might recall, the US intelligence community, deep state and Israel’s Mossad service fabricated evidence that Bashar Al Assad carried out a chemical weapons attack, and the US media then immediately began banging the drums of war for an American attack and invasion of Syria. At the last minute, Obama decided to seek authorization for from Congress for any attack on Syria, and Congress didn’t give it due only to pushback from the public. Thus, Obama was able to thwart the deep state’s plans for Syria at that time.

#40 Comment By EngineerScotty On July 24, 2018 @ 3:55 am

Barack Obama had people extrajudiciously murdered by drone strike and treated it as joke, funded people he knew were raping and selling people into slavery in Syria, allied with the neo-Nazi right sector in Ukraine, took us into a war in Libya that not only left the country in chaos but that chaos spread into other countries, and used the IRS to target political groups that oppossed him.

I was speaking of personal sexual morality here–Obama’s definitely not a pig on that score (as far as we know); nor was Jimmy Carter. Bill Clinton and JFK, OTOH, definitely were.

So your observation, while not entirely out of bounds, is changing the subject quite a bit. But I’ll bite.

If you want to discuss foreign policy–lots of Presidents have plenty of blood on their hands. I’ll take Obama over both his predecessor and his successor any day. That’s not an endorsement of Obama’s foreign policy, but merely a note that there has been far worse. Iraq was a far bigger clusterf*ck than Libya; and drone warfare has escalated under Trump.

At any rate, there seems to be this notion being peddled that there is a “right” way to kill foreigners and a “wrong” way, and that sending the Marines (or a cruise missile or a manned bomber) to blow something up is OK, but drones (a technology that became mature during Obama’s administration) are somehow out of bounds. There’s an interesting debate to be had here, about what Roger Waters once called the “bravery of being out of range”, but many other military technologies allow us to kill wholesale while remaining out of harms’ way.

(Actually, if I remember right a lot of the brouhaha was that on a few occasions, US citizens were targeted, albeit ones that were openly collaborating with foreign terrorists and well beyond the reach of civilian justice).

Reagan, for all his criticism as a warmonger, is the last US president to not have major military action occur during his administration. (The soldiers in Beirut were mainly there as peacekeepers, not as occupiers). Reagan did engage in all sorts of covert foolishness, but the fact that the Cold War and the Soviet Union were still around made any overt military action more risky; plus the country was still licking its wounds over Vietnam. Since the fall of the Soviet Union and the Iron Curtain, both Bushes, Clinton, Obama, and Trump have overseen significant combat operations while in office.

In the case of Trump–it seems that he can’t decide what the foreign policy of the US ought to be; if there is a silver lining in his wretched presidency so far, it is that–though the wardrums continue to beat for Iran, and even moreso than Russia, 45 seems to be willing to do the bidding of Israel and the Saudis.

#41 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On July 24, 2018 @ 11:28 am

Obama was a liberal, not a socialist, and carried all the weaknesses of that distinction. I don’t agree that he was a pig. He carried the functions of his office with grace, wit, intelligence, and without personal scandal. I would reserve “pig” for much more sordid circumstances.

Drone strikes are acts of war, and as far as I know, have been employed in active military conflict zones. The main “extrajudicial” argument is based on the fact that a few of those targeted or nearby have been American citizens. I don’t buy the argument. If an American citizen born to immigrant parents who later returned to Germany were serving in the Wehrmacht at the Battle of the Bulge, judicial permission would not have been needed before American forces could open fire on them.

I agree that President Obama was wise to pull back from going to war in Syria, even though he took some flak over not enforcing his “red line.” Deferring to congress was an excellent move — if the people aren’t behind the strategy, its probably not good to intervene.

#42 Comment By JonF On July 24, 2018 @ 1:00 pm

Re:…many other military technologies allow us to kill wholesale while remaining out of harms’ way.

Yes, shame on Henry V for having all those Welsh longbowmen turn the French into pincushions before they could come anywhere near the English.

Re: Reagan, for all his criticism as a warmonger, is the last US president to not have major military action occur during his administration.

Define “major”. Wasn’t Grenada at least as big (if briefer) than Clinton’s police actions in the Balkans?

#43 Comment By A. G. Phillbin On July 24, 2018 @ 5:19 pm

Maybe it’s time to start doxing members of the Twitter mobs that continually do this type of thing. I realize many of them post anonymously, but many of them don’t, and their info can be gleaned from the net. And I mean both the “left” and the “right” mobs that pull this crap. Accept no “they started it” excuses — both “sides” can make claim to that justification. Also, it may be time to start counter-tweeting at the companies that are being pressured to fire people over ancient verbal faux pas, and threaten to boycott them if they go along with the Twitter mobs in question. Maybe then, these “political” a**holes will be forced to sheath that weapon, which, while ostensibly and even avowedly directed at some “political” other “side,” is in fact directed against the general public.

#44 Comment By JohnInCA On July 26, 2018 @ 12:43 pm

If “corporate” had a better track record of handling local issues that *weren’t* public news, I think this “don’t publicly say anything, just notify corporate” stance would be a lot more reasonable.

But quite simply, American corporations have largely killed that trust, both with customers *and* employees.

So go ahead, “notify corporate” if it’ll make you feel better. But don’t lie to yourself that, absent public talk, it’ll amount to much.