The ANSWER Question – God of the Machine
Jan 202003

ANSWER, of the pro-Milosevic, pro-Kim-Jong-il, pro-socialist, pro-mass-murder agenda, organizes a rally against war on Iraq. If you march, how much ancillary support do you give to ANSWER?

Oliver Willis and others who say “none” are surely wrong. The point of a rally is the crowd. When you join a crowd you become of the crowd; you put away individual things. Careful intellectual discriminations are not included with the package. Bigger crowds mean more publicity for ANSWER, and all publicity, as bloggers know better than anyone, is good publicity.

Tacitus says “complete” and Megan McArdle almost agrees. They’re wrong too. More accurately, you support the views for which the organizers are widely known. You can hardly be held responsible for their secret (or at least obscure) views. This is why the analogy Megan gives, of a KKK-sponsored rally for abandoned puppies, is tendentious. The Klan is properly associated in the minds of most of us with white supremacism, not animal welfare.

If you attend a rally, you don’t support, in any significant way, the views the organizers hold. What you do support, besides the views for which they’re already known, is the views that they express that day. And if you marched at the anti-war rally you supported various nasty strains of loopy anti-Americanism. Jim Henley can wave his “PEACE NOW SOCIALISM NEVER” sign as vigorously as he likes, but this weekend he, and all the others of similar convictions who marched, gave aid and comfort to the people that they profess to despise, just the same.

  6 Responses to “The ANSWER Question”

  1. I find it unspeakably sad that Jim Henley, a good poet and wonderful guy, would march with ANSWER.

  2. I disagree. In fact, I don’t think you even believe what you wrote.

    Almost everyone who marched did so because they do not want (more) US military action in Iraq. That is clear.

    To suggest that because an anti-war rally is sponsored by an organization that holds some radical views means that anyone participating is in favor of (e.g.) mass-murder is, how shall I put this, fucking idiotic. You are clever with words, but you are also intelligent enough to know that most people marching against war are not in favor of genocide.

    You do yourself a disservice when you post these sorts of reflections. You’d be better off remarking upon the irony than pretending to interpret the principles of a large number of people.

    It’s rhetoric. Common political rhetoric, where any opinion/action that one disagrees with must therefore be linked to another behavior that everyone can safely despise.

    Misrepresenting the emotions and opinions of those you disagree with is a shitty thing to do. Using your excellent writing ability to do so is even worse. Just say you disagree with those who feel a war is wrong, and lay out your reasons why.

    BTW, it wasn’t an anti-Iraq rally. You may want to correct that.

    – Itea

  3. I corrected anti-Iraq to anti-war, which is what I intended to write; thanks for pointing it out.

    The rest of your post relies on an equivocation on the word "support." You mean it in the sense of "agree with" while I mean it in the sense of "help to advance." Jim Henley and Justin Raimondo obviously don’t agree with the reflexive anti-Americanism that was expressed by many of the speakers at the rally, let alone with ANSWER’s communist agenda. However, when they march, they do help advance it — in a small way, but nonetheless. Henley himself conceded this but argued that it was worthwhile in service of the greater good of helping to stop the war.

    It would indeed be "fucking idiotic" to suggest that everyone who marched was in favor of mass murder but I did nothing of the kind. In fact, unlike some of my fellow bloggers, I carefully absolved the marchers of even ancillary support for ANSWER’s full agenda.

  4. If someone uses a rally to advance other agendas, as ANSWER clearly did, then by participating in the rally you aid those other agendas whether you believe in them or not. I don’t think most of the protestors subscribed to most of the agenda of the speakers at the rally. I said this in the piece, I repeated it in my first comment, I reiterate it here. That’s not what’s at issue.

    But that agenda was loopy, and it was anti-American. The phrase, in my piece, was linked to someone who watched the speakers at the DC rally on CSPAN. If you read what she writes I think you will agree that the characterization is accurate.

  5. Yes, I read the Bitch Girls commentary.

    I went to school at UCSC, which I’ll safely estimate is one of the top ten universities in the country when it comes to underthought "liberal" agendas. I’ve heard illogical conclusions, impractical solutions, disconnected rants and drug-induced delusions.

    That’s a sidelight. Great, so the Bitch Girl fulfilled her CSPAN-watching role – they used the footage that they thought would generate the most visceral response, and she obliged.

    Is her characterization of what she viewed correct? Probably. The speakers were ill-informed, had illogical arguments, and in some cases said things that simply weren’t true. So what? Congratulations, a few paragraphs that could have been pruned from an episode of Daria.

    I’ll go back to my original post. Mock the speakers if you feel the need. Point out the ironic contrast between your interpretation of ANSWER’s agenda and the intent of most of the marchers. Or lay out your reasons why you disagree with the anti-war marchers.

    And if you marched at the anti-war rally you supported various nasty strains of loopy anti-Americanism.

    Those are your words. You can play with the semantics of the word "support", but it doesn’t change the obvious tone and implication of that statement.

    And yes, I understand that you don’t really believe the marchers advocate genocide. Thus the second line I wrote in my original response.

    – Itea

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