An article in Mother Jones smears Dave Rubin; he fights back

Here’s Dave Rubin describing how he was characterized by a piece in Mother Jones magazine as being “alt-right”, and how he pushed back against that. The piece was “Cashing in on the rise of the Alt-Right” by Josh Harkinson  (see his other articles here). Harkinson appears to be on the Control Left (“Ctrl-Left”), a great new term for Authoritarian Leftists.

Harkinson’s article indicts a number of people as “alt-right”ers, including Rubin, and maintains that they’re doing this to gain fame and make money:

[Kule] Chapman was vilified but arguably also romanticized in a New York Times story, which dubbed his group an “alt-right Fight Club.” He is emblematic of an ascendant cohort of bloggers, livestreamers, meme jockeys, and Twitter trolls who have seized on right-wing extremism in the age of Trump—perhaps out of political passion or ideology, but perhaps also for what they see as an increasingly viable money-making opportunity.

. . . The crowdfunding model is also increasingly popular among the right’s independent media personalities, especially as advertisers have fled YouTube over concerns about appearing alongside offensive content. Among the most successful is former Young Turks personality Dave Rubin, who raises $30,000 a month from more than 4,000 patrons for the Rubin Report, a YouTube show that has featured guests such as Cernovich, Southern, and Yiannopoulos, who tend to be shunned by more mainstream outlets. Cernovich claims he uses the $10,000 that he earns each month from 260 recurring donors to pay a staff of researchers. “The media doesn’t get to pick and choose who is going to have a platform,” he told me. Crowdfunding “has now allowed the people to do it.”

Harkinson also implies that Patreon itself, a crowdfunding site that has supported a number of Leftists, is somehow sympathetic to the perceived “alt-right”:

The rival crowdfunding site Patreon has been more welcoming to these voices; it now hosts Rubin, Cernovich, Southern, Baked Alaska, and a number of lesser-known figures such alt-right sci-fi novelist and video blogger Brittany Pettibone, who, like Chapman, was booted from GoFundMe for violating its terms of service.* [JAC: note the asterisk.] But even Patreon has limits: In December, it kicked off the animator Emily Youcis, a self-identified white nationalist.’

This is just an attempt to smear Rubin—and Patreon. I know some readers don’t like Rubin, as he often hosts right-wing guests and is seen to throw them softball questions, thus missing the chance to dismantle them. But Rubin also hosts lots of Leftists and Progressives, and his interviewing style is more in the nature of getting them to air their views (as does Larry King and Steve Paikin), rather than engaging them in argument. And, as Rubin argues in his response below to the Mother Jones smear, he holds a number of decidedly un-“alt-right” views. Have a listen to his 7-minute response to Mother Jones’s “Thinkquisition”:

Rubin complained to Mother Jones, and got them to slightly change bits of the article. Here’s one change, which appears as an asterisked remark at the bottom of the original article:

The rival crowdfunding site Patreon has been more welcoming to these voices; it now hosts Rubin, Cernovich, Southern, Baked Alaska, and a number of lesser-known figures such alt-right sci-fi novelist and video blogger Brittany Pettibone, who, like Chapman, was booted from GoFundMe for violating its terms of service.*

*We revised this sentence to better reflect the range of voices discussed; the story has also been updated with responses from Rubin and Pettibone.

And, the conservative National Review wennt to bat for Rubin. You may say that’s only because it’s a conservative site, but even conservatives can be right!:

While the term “farright” probably does not merit the legal label of libel, its use in this context was at best lacking in intellectual honesty, and at worst a shoddy, malicious attempt to slime Rubin. Rubin is married to a man and favors marijuana legalization, pro-choice policies, and single-payer health care. He has publicly challenged the regressive Left’s increasingly illiberal attitude toward speech it finds objectionable, but that doesn’t mean he can be characterized as “further to the right than Breitbart” in good faith. And Harkinson seems to know as much. After Rubin called the piece libelous and demanded a retraction on Twitter, the author backpedaled, claiming that Rubin merely “host[s] softball interviews with lots of people who” are “to the right of Breitbart.” Meanwhile, Mother Jones changed the sentence in question to remove the term “farright,” added Rubin’s response in parentheses, and highlighted both changes in a vague editorial note at the bottom of the page. In digital journalism, such errors and retractions are inevitable.

But the conflation of Rubin with literal white supremacists and separatists and the subsequent half-hearted retraction were no accident. Evidently, Mother Jones intended to equate Rubin — who interviews and challenges personalities ranging from Margaret Cho and Hilary Rosen to Yiannopoulos and Paul Joseph Watson — with the Internet’s most prominent alt-right extremists.

. . . This is obviously quite problematic. Reasonable people can, of course, disagree about the propriety of giving a platform to those with views that engender wide, bipartisan disgust. But Harkinson isn’t interested in having such a good-faith debate; his aim is to silence and de-legitimize those who attempt to air and understand extremist views. Indeed, when confronted with criticism from the likes of Ben Shapiro and Joe Rogan, he doubled down on his attack, retweeting clips of Rubin (rightly) arguing that non-mainstream voices are worth engaging with in part due to the failures of the media but also because entities with audiences as wide and engaged as, say, Infowars’ Alex Jones, should be unpacked and understood.

. . . One wonders where this game ends. Back when the term “alt-right” was exclusively reserved for white supremacists with no regard for conservatism as it has traditionally been understood, it maintained a sort of incriminating implication. But every time the Left attempts to tar non-leftists with the same brush, it dilutes the label, just as it has done with every other pejorative that came before. The difference now, thankfully, is that the Internet gives victims such as Rubin a chance to fight back.

156 Comments

  1. Mark Reaume
    Posted June 21, 2017 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    sub

  2. thompjs
    Posted June 21, 2017 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    I’ve had a hard time listening to his show lately, he has developed a way to make really odious people sound nice.

    I don’t think he going alt-right, he seems to be moving more libertarian.

    • Mack
      Posted June 21, 2017 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

      I have to agree – Rubin has drifted Libertarian and conflates that with “Classical Liberal” – itself an all too ill defined term. Sometimes it feels as though Rubin uses claims of being a liberal as cover for what I do think has become a self-serving lineup of guests popular with the more genteel cohort on the alt(ish)-right. However, this doesn’t make it fair to smear him.

  3. TJR
    Posted June 21, 2017 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    It would be great if we could delete both the ctrl left and the alt right.

    If only there was a nice term or mnemonic for that…..

    • Stephen Barnard
      Posted June 21, 2017 at 11:17 am | Permalink

      Simple. Hold all four keys down at once, power up, and boot into safe mode.

    • Diane G.
      Posted June 24, 2017 at 2:47 am | Permalink

      Giving new meaning to ctrl/alt/delete…

  4. Alric
    Posted June 21, 2017 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    In the interest of free speech here is another perspective on Dave Rubin by Nice Mangos and Alex Katz.

    Dave Rubin just wants to muddle things to make the right appear reasonable. Nothing else.

    • BJ
      Posted June 21, 2017 at 11:14 am | Permalink

      You were arguing against free speech in the thread about it yesterday. I know you think this is clever, but you’re clearly just mocking all the people who believe in free speech and posed about a dozen good arguments against your superficial comments, to which you completely failed to respond.

      • Craw
        Posted June 21, 2017 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

        Here’s one that I don’t think was made: You should treat people with respect. “Shut up we don’t care what you think” fails that test. (I think I know Alric’s response though.)

        • Alric
          Posted June 21, 2017 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

          It’s not “shut up”, it’s recognizing that Rubin’s work is not helpful and is probably harmful.

          • BJ
            Posted June 21, 2017 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

            According to whom? Alric, naturally.

            • Alric
              Posted June 21, 2017 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

              Do you trust any expert opinion?

              • BJ
                Posted June 21, 2017 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

                To decide what type of speech is and isn’t harmful? No, I would never trust a single expert or team of them to do so. And are you portraying yourself as an expert on this issue?

              • Craw
                Posted June 21, 2017 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

                Your expert opinion? I’ll say no.

      • flmvdvsrg
        Posted June 21, 2017 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

        No idea what you’re referring to with “yesterday’s post”, I don’t know the guy you’re replying to. But this is the furthest from anti free speech. Rubin is threatening to sue for libel, over political name calling. That’s an absolute abuse of libel, it’s censoring free speech. Rubin has become notorious for blocking people on Twitter, which is nowhere as bad as the suing threat, but it’s quite ironic considering the status of free speech warrior Rubin has given to himself.
        If you still insist in defending Rubin, and try to dismiss opposing arguments by saying “but you posted this other different thing the other day so your argument is invalid,” you’re an enemy to free speech.

        • BJ
          Posted June 21, 2017 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

          “If you still insist in defending Rubin, and try to dismiss opposing arguments by saying “but you posted this other different thing the other day so your argument is invalid,” you’re an enemy to free speech.”

          Haha ok. That’s pretty funny.

          If he does sue for libel, maybe you’ll have an argument then. Right now, what you have is “but Dave Rubin blocks people on Twitter, and you’re referring to views the guy you’re debating expressed yesterday about the issue of free speech.”

    • Posted June 21, 2017 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

      I have learned from experience not to listen to what Alex Katz says. A veneer of reasonability lies above a bottomless ocean of stupidity.

      • Zach
        Posted June 21, 2017 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

        I couldn’t help noticing that as Eiynah referred to “respectable, left-leaning people,” a still of PCC himself was on screen.

        Katz replied that those people either “don’t know or they’re willfully ignorant about what Rubin is doing on his show” and that he finds it “infuriating” that Rubin gets respect for hosting them.

        I’m not familiar with Katz, so I can’t speak to his stupidity. But from that bit he certainly seems overly invested in the “culture war” metaphor (not unlike Dennis “Trump is our general” Prager), and sees those who try to straddle its front as traitors to the cause.

        • Posted June 22, 2017 at 11:56 am | Permalink

          Is that a little like the famous Mao document, “Stalin is our Commander”?

  5. BJ
    Posted June 21, 2017 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    I don’t like a lot of the people Dave Rubin interviews, but I do want to hear what they have to say (if only to hone my own arguments, and for the insignificant chance that my mind may be changed about something). That’s what the exchange of ideas does. It’s very clear that Rubin is not “alt-right,” and anyone who does a modicum of research beyond “look at all these names of people I don’t like! He must be alt-right” knows this. Moreover, he interviews people from both side.

    This was a disgusting hit job, and Mother Jones and the author of the original piece have only doubled down.

    • Posted June 21, 2017 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

      “I don’t like a lot of the people Dave Rubin interviews, but I do want to hear what they have to say (if only to hone my own arguments, and for the insignificant chance that my mind may be changed about something).”

      You, and many on this site, and in skeptic circles in general, seem to have a much higher degree of confidence in the “free marketplace of ideas” idea than I do. That might work in a head to head debate setting, but IMO if you give people with odious ideas a large respected unchallenged platform, those ideas will only be reinforced in the minds of those who already have them, and very possibly appeal to those on the fence.

      • BJ
        Posted June 21, 2017 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

        That’s your opinion. Good thing you have the right to express it.

      • BJ
        Posted June 21, 2017 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

        By the way, as has been asked of you many, many times, how are you going to define “odious opinions” and how are you going to make sure this power isn’t co-opted by anyone else? Are odious opinions any opinions with which Mike Paps vehemently disagrees? You’ve previously admonished Brett Weinstein for having the temerity to talk to Fox News and the (complete not right wing or alt-right) Joe Rogan and Dave Rubin. You said he was talking to the “bad side,” and he deserved to be criticized for this. Implicit in this claim was that, if liberal outlets wouldn’t talk about his story, he should simply shut his mouth and suffer in silence. So are we also just not supposed to talk to anyone or any media that’s you even consider right wing (even when they’re not)? How does all of this work?

        • Mark Reaume
          Posted June 21, 2017 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

          I like to think that politics is on a spectrum exactly because people are on a spectrum. What makes the most sense to me for a particular topic may seem odious to someone on the other end of the spectrum. The art of politics is to find common ground so that we can all live with the decisions that get made. Vilifying the other side gets you exactly nowhere most of the time.

          A lot of people on this site may not like this but I think conservatives are a requirement for a healthy democracy just as much as liberals. As long as we can work together, which is increasingly difficult to do these days.

          • Somite
            Posted June 21, 2017 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

            What exactly is healthy about climate change denialism and a theocracy?

            • Mark Reaume
              Posted June 21, 2017 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

              What is conservative about climate change denial and theocracy? I think you are conflating the current instantiation of the Republican party with the ideology of conservatism.

              • Somite
                Posted June 21, 2017 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

                That’s the modern reality of conservatism.

            • BJ
              Posted June 21, 2017 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

              What is healthy about vaccine denialism, sexual dimorphism denialism, obsession with homeopathy and “alternative medicine,” etc?

              We can play this game with both sides. That’s why Mark’s point makes sense. Both sides have extremes, most people fall somewhere in between those extremes, and thos extreme parts need to be kept in check.

              • Alric
                Posted June 21, 2017 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

                The few people on the left and right that cares about these are far off from electing any politician.

              • BJ
                Posted June 21, 2017 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

                Either you believe in shutting down certain forms of speech or you don’t, Alric. Make up your mind, because right now it seems like your argument is “just ignore when the people I like do it.”

        • Posted June 21, 2017 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

          Frequently asking “well, who gets to define ‘odious’; you?” doesn’t mean there aren’t bad ideas.

          Do you think there are bad ideas?

          • BJ
            Posted June 22, 2017 at 8:51 am | Permalink

            Of course. Doesn’t mean I want to shut it down. The whole point of the quote you made is that nobody should be given the power to decide. What you said is not in any way a sufficient answer to the question.

            • neanderthalhead
              Posted June 22, 2017 at 8:53 am | Permalink

              I’m all for getting rid of bad ideas. But it’s got to be in the context of the free exchange of ideas, doesn’t it?

              • BJ
                Posted June 22, 2017 at 10:22 am | Permalink

                Exactly. The way to get rid of bad ideas is to win the argument against them.

            • Posted June 22, 2017 at 10:02 am | Permalink

              I wasn’t trying to answer it. I only wanted to know if you thought bad ideas existed, because insisting no one has the authority to define them is inconsistent with thinking they exist, in a practical sense.

              I’m on your side wrt free speech. I don’t think censorship is an effective way of fighting bad ideas. But I don’t think supporting free speech entails insisting noöone has the authority to define bad ideas.

              • BJ
                Posted June 22, 2017 at 10:24 am | Permalink

                That makes more sense.

                Of course, one person’s “bad idea” is another person’s “great idea,” but what you said does make sense. Everyone has a duty to argue against ideas they think are bad, and if their argument is good enough, their idea will eventually win out.

              • Posted June 22, 2017 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

                Well, this is where you and I differ, I think. I’m not as sanguine as you and Craw seem to be about the ability of the market to solve problems. If that were so, why are we still awash in so much woo, much of it fatal? You’d think the fact that something results in death would be the best argument against it, yet here we are, living in an increasingly anti-vax world, for example.

                I don’t think we can afford to be so relativistic wrt bad ideas and simply wait for everyone to get on the same page of their own accord. I think we humans need the assistance of law in order for everyone to have the best possible life experience. As I wrote, I don’t support censorship. Homophobes should be able to give their lectures, etc, but we need the law to ensure that LGBT individuals aren’t denied the rights the rest of us enjoy. Without the force of law, you can bet your bippy many minorities would be having a much worse experience right now.

                Is it fair to ask minorities, or those of us who want our descendants to have somewhere to live, to wait until the Kim Davises and the Donald Trumps of the world take a walk down the road to Damascus?

              • BJ
                Posted June 22, 2017 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

                So are you saying that we should try to censor certain speech? Whether or not the marketplace will always sort the good ideas from the bad, history has shown over and over and over again what such policies lead to, and it is never pretty. The points regarding where this leads and the problems with it have been made repeatedly, so I’m not going to repeat them.

              • BJ
                Posted June 22, 2017 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

                And the reason I ask you if you believe we should censor certain ideas is because, while you say you don’t support censorship, that statement is immediately preceded by this one:

                “I don’t think we can afford to be so relativistic wrt bad ideas and simply wait for everyone to get on the same page of their own accord. I think we humans need the assistance of law in order for everyone to have the best possible life experience.:

                So what is this law, if not censorship? What other laws could you possibly put in place, short of censorship, that are not already in place?

              • Posted June 22, 2017 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

                “Homophobes should be able to give their lectures, etc, but we need the law to ensure that LGBT individuals aren’t denied the rights the rest of us enjoy.”

                I support free *speech*. I don’t support the censorship of *speech*. Unfortunately, humans have a very hard time treating each other fairly, so we need laws to enforce equitable *actions*. Kim Davis being required by law to issue marriage licenses to gay couples is not a violation of her speech. She is free to speak out against marriage equality.

      • Craw
        Posted June 21, 2017 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

        “You, and many on this site, and in skeptic circles in general, seem to have a much higher degree of confidence in the “free marketplace of ideas” idea than I do.”

        Or perhaps I just have less faith in you than you do? Because that’s your alternative: you decide. That’s the stance of every advocate of censorship in every age: trust me. Well even if I trusted you I wouldn’t trust your successor. It’s not a sustainable arrangement even if you get it right at first (which probably you won’t).

        • Kiwi Dave
          Posted June 21, 2017 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

          Very well said – reasoned and succinct.

          My own response is somewhat more emotional and angry – how utterly patronising for someone else to treat me as a child to be protected from ‘odious’ ideas I am incapable of intelligently responding to.

      • Posted June 21, 2017 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

        Overall I agree with you, Mike and I am certain many here do as well.

        What makes your argument fall off the rails, however, is embodied here; “…if you give people with odious ideas a large respected unchallenged platform…”. You conflate two issues; “giving” people a forum to express their ideas and that they are “unchallenged”.

        The former touches on fundamental rights that, I think, you are willing to undermine because of a -sometimes real and sometimes perceived- lack of the latter. You are suggesting that the best thing to do would be to silence some voices because they might go unchallenged.

        What should be happening is that NO voice goes unchallenged, not silencing the ones we fear. MORE speech -not less- is the way to undermine bad ideas “in the minds of those who already have them, and very possibly appeal to those on the fence”.

        Attempting to silence voices has never worked for good in the history of the world and I am astonished so many still think new forms of it are a good idea.

        • Somite
          Posted June 21, 2017 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

          Eddie Izzard said it best “You can have all the free speech you want until you stop showing basic decency towards other people”.

          I would extend this to promoting clearly false ideas to achieve political or economic gain.

          It will be hard to do sometimes but that doesn’t mean you need to avoid exposing people as hateful or deceitful.

          • Posted June 21, 2017 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

            Oh quotes from know-nothing celebs? I got a better one;

            Jello Biafra (better than Izzard); “What they’re trying to do with radio, with this, uh, McCarron-Walter Act and a lot of other ways, is start by saying that they’re protecting the public from wicked rock bands, or girlie magazines, or whatever. But, if you follow the chain of dominoes that falls down, what they’re really trying to do is shut off our access to information itself. If they can’t do it by law they know there’s other ways to do it.”

            You, Somite, should look down. There’s ice under your feet and you will have to work hard to keep your feet on that slope.

          • Taz
            Posted June 22, 2017 at 8:32 am | Permalink

            You mean until you start being indecent? Like Lenny Bruce?

            • neanderthalhead
              Posted June 22, 2017 at 8:43 am | Permalink

              What does the law say about free speech in terms of instigating violence or public disorder – that is, hate speech? I assume it’s illegal, e.g. to yell ‘fire in a movie house’. What about calling somebody a racial epithet?

              I guess I’m asking a big question: What are the limits of free speech?

              (I can’t see how Izzard can be write about ‘basic decency’. Too subjective on the face of it. It at least requires more rigorous definition.)

              • neanderthalhead
                Posted June 22, 2017 at 8:44 am | Permalink

                write ‘right’ right

              • BJ
                Posted June 22, 2017 at 8:56 am | Permalink

                “What does the law say about free speech in terms of instigating violence or public disorder – that is, hate speech? I assume it’s illegal, e.g. to yell ‘fire in a movie house’. What about calling somebody a racial epithet?”

                “Hate speech” is not only ill-defined and constantly conflated by the “restrict hate speech crowd” with any speech that disagrees with them, but is also protected by the 1st Amendment. In addition, it is not, as you try to claim, an instigation of violence (another conflation, this time on your part). The limit in the cases you’re talking about is speech that is likely to produce an imminent threat of violence or lawlessness.

                Also, look up the issue with the canard of “yelling fire in a crowded theater.” This is a discredited concept.

              • neanderthalhead
                Posted June 22, 2017 at 8:57 am | Permalink

                I wasn’t ‘claiming’ anything, but asking a question.

                So, from a Constitutional standpoint are there no limits to free speech?

              • neanderthalhead
                Posted June 22, 2017 at 9:01 am | Permalink

                This looks like a decent primer:
                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_free_speech_exceptions#Obscenity

              • BJ
                Posted June 22, 2017 at 10:27 am | Permalink

                I just told you what the limit on speech is from a Constitutional standpoint with regard to the type of speech you brought up.

      • Eric Grobler
        Posted June 21, 2017 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

        In respect to Rublin can you enumerate some odious ideas that concerns you?

        • Somite
          Posted June 21, 2017 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

          A puff interview with a climate change denialist/fossil fuel shill for starters.

          Or white supremacists like Lauren Southern.

          I suggest you watch the video above.

          • BJ
            Posted June 21, 2017 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

            Ah, so people like Lauren Southern are “white supremacists” now.

            I know she’s very conservative, but people like you constantly equate that with words like racist, white supremacist, and we know all the various others. This is another example of redefining and conflating words to shut down any and all opponents who don’t agree with your political beliefs.

            I also notice that none of these ideas are actually Rubin’s.

          • Posted June 21, 2017 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

            There’s an asymmetry in what people are paying attention re: Rubin. He’s interviewed Roseanne Barr, Margaret Cho, Mark Duplass etc. These chats almost certainly contain some howlers but few people think to pounce on them.

          • Posted June 21, 2017 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

            What specifically has Lauren Southern said that makes her a white supremacist? Can you please link a few quotes in context?

      • Martin X
        Posted June 21, 2017 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

        A lot of people are criticizing Mike Paps’ comment as if he advocated censorship. He didn’t.

        • Posted June 21, 2017 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

          Mike has posted on this subject here before. I think the inference is warranted.

      • Sandy
        Posted June 21, 2017 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

        What you’re overlooking is that Rubin’s interviews generate a lot of healthy dialogue in the comments sections. Dave may fail to call out BS, but his viewers don’t.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted June 21, 2017 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

        Any society in which a majority of the population, given a free-market of information, cannot decipher the malign from the benignant is doomed anyway, beyond salvaging through censorship of the odious.

        • Posted June 21, 2017 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

          “Any society in which a majority of the population, given a free-market of information, cannot decipher the malign from the benignant is doomed anyway, beyond salvaging through censorship of the odious.”

          I agree, but I’m not suggesting censorship, I’m suggesting that people who claim to be on our side, not give an unchallenged platform to the other. I’ve seen people comparing Dave to Larry King many times. I have two observations to make about that. First of all Larry did ask tough question, he just asked them in a non-combative way, and that brings me to my second point, Larry never claimed to be on our side. Through decades of watching his show I couldn’t tell you where he stood on most issues.

          • BJ
            Posted June 22, 2017 at 6:22 am | Permalink

            ” on our side”

            “the other” side

            You see why people have called you and your ideas tribalist before, right?

            • Posted June 22, 2017 at 11:49 am | Permalink

              “You see why people have called you and your ideas tribalist before, right?”

              You do realize that arguments have sides right? And the word tribalism itself is pretty much neutral. The problem comes when you consider your side correct just because they agree with you on most things. I know your comment was essentially intended to be an ad hom, which they often are, but you need to do better.

              • BJ
                Posted June 22, 2017 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

                Arguments have sides. That’s not what we’re talking about, nor what you’re talking about. You have repeatedly said in the past that people on the left should not publicly talk to media figures on the right (even when those leftists have suffered grave wrongs and the people on the right are the only ones willing to air their stories) because they’re “on the wrong side,” and thus the leftist is “giving them ammunition.”

  6. Posted June 21, 2017 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    Is part of the problem here a question of what exactly Rubin’s format is? Is he a kind of neutral interviewer who keeps his personal views out of it, or is he someone with insights of his own to contribute? (Is he in Larry King mode, or Sam Harris mode?)

    If it’s the former, then there should be no great problem if he gets alt-righters on without challenging them; but then it seems to me in that case he should forfeit any claims of original content or political insight.

    In general there is a possible conflict of interest here, which all in the nedia face, but without an editorial board or journalistic guidelines to follow, it’s really up to each to police themselves, and for the audience to call them out if they think they smell a rat.

    (I thought Rubin’s interview he did with Jerry Coyne was good, because he simply asked about biology and let Jerry talk. Other interviews I thought were ok, he’s done that too, more or less, and only interjected to agree, more or less. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a point from him that struck me as original or interesting, or insightful, so I don’t especially seek him out as an interviewer.)

    • Mark Reaume
      Posted June 21, 2017 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

      He certainly does provide his views on various subjects, however during interviews he tends to let his guests speak their points of view without challenging them to much. I think he does this on purpose because he thinks of himself as someone that provides platforms for people that wouldn’t normally have one and perhaps partly because he isn’t good at thinking on the fly – not a good trait for a stand up comedian!

      In the end, I don’t really care what his personal politics are or if he has a hidden agenda. I’m interested in hearing the unvarnished views of his guests – at least some of them – and then I can make up my own mind about their views. Frankly I find this approach refreshing since most interviews on TV these days are set up to be combative, which to me is hard to watch and follow – my meager mind can only listen to one speaker at a time.

      • Ken Phelps
        Posted June 21, 2017 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

        “…I can make up my own mind about their views.”

        And therein lies the problem. The norm today is to find a bubble where never is heard a discouraging word. Not everyone wants to think, apparently.

        • Mark Reaume
          Posted June 21, 2017 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

          Bubbles are problematic. One of the reasons I started watching Rubin’s show was because it exposed me to people that I wouldn’t have otherwise heard of (plus some that I did). After watching some of his interviews I would then follow up on these guests to see what they were all about. Many of them I found to be not worth knowing about but some provided me with some challenging ideas / arguments that I had not considered before.

          I’m all about expanding my bubble where appropriate or solidifying it if I determine that it is better inside 🙂

          • BJ
            Posted June 21, 2017 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

            I remember watching the full interview with Tommy Robinson. Even if he has done bigoted things in the past, he made some extremely salient points about Islam and terror in the UK and the rest of Europe. He made some very good arguments, did so eloquently, and I was glad I watched the interview regardless of what I personally think about him.

            As I said above, listening to one’s opponents allows one not only to hone their own arguments, but possibly open their mind to new ideas as well. Just because someone is on the side with which you’re usually fighting doesn’t mean every single thing they will ever have to say will not be worth hearing to you.

        • Diane G.
          Posted June 24, 2017 at 3:19 am | Permalink

          “Not everyone wants to think, apparently.”

          Sadly, not everyone knows how to (critically) think! (Indeed, I think a good proportion of the populace is incapable of it; i.e., can not only not do it but can not even be taught how to.) Thus we end up with successful demagogues like Trump, voted in by all those he’s gonna screw the most.

          One of WEIT-the-website’s* greatest attractions is the caliber of commenters it attracts, but we represent only a small proportion of the audiences these vids attract. And the nature of the medium is to add emotional and visual elements that may be more persuasive than the substance of the arguments.

          For these reasons I appreciate Mike Paps’s and Musical Beef’s caveats.

          • Diane G.
            Posted June 24, 2017 at 3:21 am | Permalink

            That asterisk was intended to lead to a footnote about my anal compulsion (redundant?) to always remember that WEIT is also a damned good book…

  7. neanderthalhead
    Posted June 21, 2017 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    Dave Rubin’s “Thinkquisition” defense is pretty lame though. Linking that obviously disturbed D.C. shooter to Harkinson? Please. Logical fallacy anyone? And then the concluding smear against ‘them’ and some alleged ‘collectivist movement’? Beggars belief, honestly. We all know who’s running the game politically these days. It ain’t progressives or leftists…

    And as much as I like the hard-headedness of this blog, the easy dismissal of critical race theory in a recent post on the Evergreen debacle was totally unjustified. Really great work has come out of that field, much of which I’m sure Jerry Coyne would support. Ian Haney Lopez’s WHITE BY LAW, e.g.

    I get why this blog exists, and I support it. But there’s also a ‘reactionary’ element at times – I use this word advisedly – that fails to serve its cause.

    • BJ
      Posted June 21, 2017 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

      “We all know who’s running the game politically these days. It ain’t progressives or leftists”

      That depends entirely on where you look.

      • Diane G.
        Posted June 24, 2017 at 3:25 am | Permalink

        Yeah, if you ignore the House, Senate, Executive Branch, and most of SCOTUS, there’s gotta be a good progressive faction running something, somewhere…

        😉

  8. colnago80
    Posted June 21, 2017 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    Relative to Dave Rubin, here’s a commentary on an interview he presented with Dennis Prager in which Prager demonstrated his ignorance of evolution by citing a much debunked claim about the Cambrian explosion. According to the author, Rubin failed to challenge Prager on his demonstrated ignorance.

    http://www.chicagonow.com/an-atheist-in-illinois/2017/04/exposing-dennis-pragers-ignorance-of-science-and-secularism/

    • Alric
      Posted June 21, 2017 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

      Just imagine someone not knowledgeable in general science and listening to both PCC and Prager. How is she supposed to evaluate which are the valid claims, as opposed to misinformation.

      Rubin had an entire interview with climate change denier/fossil fuel shill Alex Epstein but also had an interview with Michael E. Mann. How is a non-scientifically inclined voter supposed to make an informed decision if both are presented as reasonable points of view.

      • Mark Reaume
        Posted June 21, 2017 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

        If they were a reasonably curious person they would then go out and educate themselves on the issue. If they do this then Rubin’s strategy would be deemed successful IMO.

        • Alric
          Posted June 21, 2017 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

          It is obvious that a large proportion of voters “educate themselves” and end up on the wrong side of the issue. This is what people like Rubin promote.

          • Craw
            Posted June 21, 2017 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

            Is that your criterion? Someone who ends up on “the wrong side” of an issue can/should/must be censored?

            (Careful! It’s a trap.)

            • Alric
              Posted June 21, 2017 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

              Not censorship but rejected, just like a peer-reviewed paper is rejected from publication.

              • BJ
                Posted June 21, 2017 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

                Speech does not have peer review, nor should it. And who would perform this review? You and your allies? I have the feeling half of us would be “rejected” (you’re really just playing semantics here, as you made clear in yesterday’s thread. You wish to censor).

              • Posted June 21, 2017 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

                And how does one reject someone’s ideas without first learning what it is they are on about?

                Essentially you are saying Rubin should do a better job doing his show the way you want him to do it. If you don’t like his show, don’t watch his approach if it bothers you so much. If you can stomach it, then by all means criticize him all you want too. That’s fair and appropriate.

                But I think you want to do more than criticize him. I think you’d like to use the force of government to shut him down. Because you don’t like the way he runs his show.

      • Kevin
        Posted June 21, 2017 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

        Integrate over time. That is the point of science. It takes time and patience.

        Maybe today I learn that combustion derived nanoparticles may be a significant risk for Alzheimer’s (*). It might be uncorrelated. I have to wait around for more evidence for this to be a fact (it’s not my field).

        If the general public is unwilling to be patient, then don’t be like the general public. Be an example to others and maybe you might get some of the general public to be a better scientist.

        (*) https://medicalxpress.com/news/2017-06-culprit-hidden-plain-sight-alzheimer.html

        • Diane G.
          Posted June 24, 2017 at 3:32 am | Permalink

          Interesting article!

      • BJ
        Posted June 21, 2017 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

        Would you say that a leftist who denies sexual dimorphism should not get a platform? Just curious.

        By the way, people will not magically drop the beliefs they hold that are rooted largely in religion because you take away the platforms of those who espouse them publicly. In fact, history has proved that they will only dig in further, and now you have also given them ammunition to say “see? People like Alric and his cronies don’t even want our voices to be heard! What are they so afraid of?”

        Not a great plan.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted June 21, 2017 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

        So you think you can create a nation of bien pensants by censoring bad ideas?

        Is that why you accept evolution — because someone prohibited you from hearing any opposing views? Or is it just other people who require such special protections?

    • Kevin
      Posted June 21, 2017 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

      One could spend a lifetime recognizing inconsistencies or hypocritical beliefs in people who have some good ideas.

      Rubin and Praeger have both demonstrated capability of thinking clearly about some issues. There is not always a point to form a battle where it may not need to be formed.

      Lemaître was a Catholic priest. It’s probably impossible to know exactly what nonsense he may have believed. But he gave us a lot. (*)

      I find Praeger aesthetically repellant, but I enjoy many of his ‘university’ videos.

      Be a diode in life. Live like Goethe: everything that is, is mine. If it’s knowledge let me know and then later I can decide if it pragmatic or BS.

      (*) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georges_Lemaître

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted June 21, 2017 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

        “I find Praeger aesthetically repellant …”

        Lookist! 🙂

  9. Posted June 21, 2017 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    One wonders where this game ends. Back when the term “alt-right” was exclusively reserved for white supremacists with no regard for conservatism as it has traditionally been understood, it maintained a sort of incriminating implication. But every time the Left attempts to tar non-leftists with the same brush, it dilutes the label, just as it has done with every other pejorative that came before. The difference now, thankfully, is that the Internet gives victims such as Rubin a chance to fight back.

    I call this the ‘dysphemism treadmill.’

    Where Pinker’s ‘euphemism treadmill’ concerns euphemisms gradually attracting the same negative connotations they were coined to avoid thus requiring the adoptation of another even more innocuous term (e.g. ‘negro’ becomes ‘black’, ‘black’ becomes ‘person of colour’) the dysphemism treadmill requires increasing hyperbole to replace epithets that have lost all power to insult: hence ‘sexist’ or ‘chauvinist’ become ‘misogynist’ or ‘rape apologist’ and ‘racist’ becomes ‘white supremacist’.

    • Zach
      Posted June 21, 2017 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

      While I’m sure there’s some truth to that, I think what’s going on with words like “sexist” and “racist” is actually more sinister. What’s going on is “concept creep.”

      On the euphemism treadmill, the phenomenon to which the words are referring remains the same, more or less. The “developmentally disabled” of today have the same issues, in specific instances, as the clinically “retarded” of yester-decades did. The words have changed; the phenomenon has not.

      With concept creep, the word remains the same but grows to encompass a wider and wider set of previously distinguishable ideas. “Racist,” for instance, now encompasses just about every kind of cultural bigotry, regardless of phenotypic expression, and has thus crossed the Rubicon separating “brains” from “the ideas which they hold” (which, incidentally, is actually racist). The most pernicious example, of course, is “anti-Islamic racism.”

      And “racist”‘s concepts are still creeping. The authoritarian left now applies it to anyone who has a problem with their narrow, oppression-obsessed ideology. Likewise, a “sexist” is now someone who thinks sexual dimorphism in humans is a real thing. These words aren’t sliding off the dysphemism treadmill though; they’re still searing indictments, when believed.

      We can hope that less people will believe them, or that more will at least get skeptical about their usage. But I don’t see that happening in the political quarters where it needs to, i.e. on the not-as-authoritarian far left. So where does this game end? Presumably, when we’re all racists. Only then will we get another word.

      • neanderthalhead
        Posted June 21, 2017 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

        It’s entirely reasonable to think that racism, e.g., is still deeply woven, materially and ideologically, in our society. Isn’t that a vastly more important problem than whether some undetermined number of people are using the concept of ‘racism’ too loosely? The sticks and stone of real racism are what hurt, and are thus more worth of our attention condemnation, would you agree?

        This notion of a euphemism treadmill seems more like a distraction than anything else.

        • BJ
          Posted June 22, 2017 at 6:28 am | Permalink

          “It’s entirely reasonable to think that racism, e.g., is still deeply woven, materially and ideologically, in our society. Isn’t that a vastly more important problem than whether some undetermined number of people are using the concept of ‘racism’ too loosely?”

          As I’ve said before: as someone who grew up with racism that caused me to live through a barrage of race-based insults every day, as well as the occasional physical assault (not as occasional as you might hope), my answer is no. I am more interested in protecting civil liberties than 1. constantly feeding into racist organizations’ hands by pulling this censorship BS (and look, now that a certain ever-growing group has been pushing it, white nationalism is on the rise for the first time in decades….huh…), and 2. using the nebulous, ever-redefined and conflated term of “racism” to label things that for censoring.

          • BJ
            Posted June 22, 2017 at 6:30 am | Permalink

            Oh and 3. No, the “sticks and stones” of racism do not hurt in any way nearly as much as physical assaults. You’re purposefully using “sticks and stones” when those are the things that refer to physical assault in the nursery rhyme from which the term originates. Another horrid use of the canard that speech one doesn’t approve of can be violence.

        • Zach
          Posted June 22, 2017 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

          It’s entirely reasonable to think that racism, e.g., is still deeply woven, materially and ideologically, in our society.

          Is it, though? It’s hard to tell, given how elastic the term “racism” is. Which is what I was writing about above.

          Although, that’s not really what I was writing about. “Racist” was just an example. I was more trying to touch on the manner in which politically charged language, when used irresponsibly, undermines liberal norms. It is those liberal norms that, like BJ, I am ultimately concerned about.

          To that end, this recent post at Slate Star Codex seems almost providentially timely. It contains everything I would have liked to say, but put much better. Money paragraphs:

          People talk about “liberalism” as if it’s just another word for capitalism, or libertarianism, or vague center-left-Democratic Clintonism. Liberalism is none of these things. Liberalism is a technology for preventing civil war. It was forged in the fires of Hell – the horrors of the endless seventeenth century religious wars. For a hundred years, Europe tore itself apart in some of the most brutal ways imaginable – until finally, from the burning wreckage, we drew forth this amazing piece of alien machinery. A machine that, when tuned just right, let people live together peacefully without doing the “kill people for being Protestant” thing. Popular historical strategies for dealing with differences have included: brutally enforced conformity, brutally efficient genocide, and making sure to keep the alien machine tuned really really carefully.

          And when I see someone try to smash this machinery with a sledgehammer, it’s usually followed by an appeal to “but racists!”

  10. ajbrock88
    Posted June 21, 2017 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    Here’s the man himself saying being a progressive is a “mental disease” and that he’s a conservative. He’s definitely not far-right but he’s more than welcome to give a platform for far-right and alt-right people to spread their views unchallenged.

    • Posted June 21, 2017 at 11:57 am | Permalink

      He also says he’s a “classical liberal,” which you;ve ignored. And I think you misspoke: you don’t mean he’s “more than welcome to give a platform” but “glad to give a platform.” Finally, he also gives platforms to Leftists and Prigressives “to spread their views unchallenged.”

      • neanderthalhead
        Posted June 21, 2017 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

        Isn’t ‘classical liberal’ a euphemism anymore for ‘conservative’ – a believer in the primacy of the individual, capitalism, and all that?

        • ajbrock88
          Posted June 21, 2017 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

          Classical liberal is euphemism for libertarian.

          • Posted June 21, 2017 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

            Maybe in your book but not everyone’s: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classical_liberalism

            • Andy
              Posted June 21, 2017 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

              Although to be fair, quoting from that link:
              The phrase classical liberalism is also sometimes used to refer to all forms of liberalism before the 20th century, and some conservatives and libertarians, especially in the United States, use the term classical liberalism to describe their belief in the primacy of individual freedom and minimal government.

              • BJ
                Posted June 21, 2017 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

                But us actual classical liberals need a way to distinguish ourselves from the regressive/extreme left. We need a way to say, “we believe in free speech and other civil liberties, but we also believe in things like maintaining and often even expanding the social safety net,” as well as various other views that do not comport with the ever-growing regressive sect.

                Classical liberal means exactly what it says in most cases: someone who stands up for the values liberals were known and recognized to stand for until recently.

              • Diane G.
                Posted June 24, 2017 at 3:45 am | Permalink

                Twenty years ago or so I learned that because the word liberalism had been so besmirched and transformed, we were now “progressives.”

                Personally, I’m always for trying to hold on to traditional terms and fighting for them to retain or return to their original meanings (see esp., feminism) but this tends to be a losing battle…

            • Posted June 22, 2017 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

              A weird category, when Burke and Smith and Mill are all in it.

              (And the Lockean views are even more complicated – I’m not sure he even distinguished between “property” in the metaphysical sense from “property” in the economic sense!)

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted June 21, 2017 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

            The classical Classical Liberals run from Hobbes to Locke to Hume all the way through J.S. Mill. I don’t care if some on the Right want to claim them, too; I’m still proud to march under their banner.

      • flmvdvsrg
        Posted June 21, 2017 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

        Jerry, you need to read this. https://www.reddit.com/r/samharris/comments/6ip8zc/why_jerry_coyne_is_wrong_about_dave_rubin/

        I swear I’ve seen Libertarians who are more dedicated to socially Liberal causes than Rubin. Nick Gillespie interviewed Rubin and it’s interesting how Gillespie is the one pointing out the illiberal attitudes Rubin is ignoring in issues like gay rights.
        Whenever Rubin has a far-right guest, he not only doesn’t challenge them, he encourages them. When he had Cernovich on and he described himself as a centrist, he’s just like “yeah yeah, right!” When he has Liberal guests like Cathy Young or Lawrence Krauss, he very much ignores the points they make to move on. Cathy told him about the horrors of Russia, specifically Chechnya and Putin. Not long after he was claiming Russia was not a threat at all. When Krauss criticizes Trump he’s quiet, and it’s the only time he asks non-loaded questions like he does with his right wing guests whom he knows will agree with him. When he has left wing guests on, it feels like an interview, when he has right wing guests on it feels like a circlejerk.
        Yes, Jerry, Rubin isn’t far right. But he’s not a Liberal, I’d grant him the classical liberal label but only marginally.
        One of his defenses against the Mother Jones author was that he supports universal healthcare. Yet, when confronted with that idea this is what he says. https://twitter.com/rubinreport/status/839891662587359233
        Does that sound like someone who supports universal healthcare? He’s either stupid and doesn’t understand what it is or he’s a liar.
        And what’s even more worrying, he’s threatening to sue for libel over someone calling him a name he doesn’t like. Being a right winger is not a crime, it’s not inherently a bad thing, it’s not smearing his name, why is he suing for libel then? Jerry, do you not see how this could be abused to suppress free speech? Trump has warned about wanting to “open up” libel laws to silence anyone he doesn’t like. In this context, what couldn’t be used for grounds to sure for libel? Can I sue some random writer if he calls me, say, “evil” and I disagree with his assessment? Ridiculous.
        I adore your blog and I respect you a lot, Jerry, but you’re so wrong on this.

        • Posted June 21, 2017 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

          That Reddit link is pretty weird, flmvdvsrg. It goes to a subreddit with 3 posts in it, one of which links to an article by Alan Katz. That link was posted by you.

          But what does Sam Harris have to do with it?

    • ajbrock88
      Posted June 21, 2017 at 11:57 am | Permalink

      Whoops. I meant to say he’s more than happy to a give platform.

    • Posted June 21, 2017 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

      He gets confused sometimes. He says he’s for “single payer” health insurance, but he thinks “single payer” means, “private insurance companies, but the government should be facilitating the exchange around them.” I don’t know what the means, but it’s not single payer.

    • Posted June 21, 2017 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

      Even if he’s a ‘conservative’ how does it make him ‘far-right’ or ‘Alt-Right’? If these terms now encompass the entire right side of the spectrum what do the prefixes ‘far’ or ‘Alt’ mean? What are they ‘far’ from or ‘Alt’ to?

      • Anshul
        Posted June 21, 2017 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

        he was never called alt right. Stop making things up

        • Posted June 21, 2017 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

          They called him ‘far-right’ and accused him of cashing in on the alt-right. If you want to argue about a distinction that makes no difference go ahead but don’t accuse me of being a liar.

    • Martin X
      Posted June 21, 2017 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

      No, he doesn’t really define himself as “conservative”.

      You have to listen with a bit more charity, rather than grabbing a word or phrase that you can condemn.

      He says that he’s a classic liberal, which *he defines* as being actually conservative. This isn’t really what we consider conservative today.

    • neanderthalhead
      Posted June 21, 2017 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

      They use to say liberalism was a mental disorder, now it’s progressivism.

      Progress?

  11. Posted June 21, 2017 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    I agree with Harkinson. Rubin has said that Alex Jones does important work and that there is “a necessary space” for Alex Jones in the media. Alex Jones is a nasty conspiracy theorist who has encouraged his fans to harass the parents of children murdered in the Sandy Hook school shooting, claiming they are all actors and they should stop lying about having dead children. Rubin has called Glenn Beck part of the “New Center.” Rubin says he “greatly admires” a guy who goes by the name “Sargon of Akkad” who wrote after the French election of Macron that they had decided to “cuck for the Rothschilds,” instead of electing Le Pen. Rubin has never said a negative word about Donald Trump and never attacks Republicans on Twitter, but he does go after Democrats and was very anti-Clinton before the election.
    I think it is very telling that when Sam Harris asked on Twitter for suggestions for an intelligent Trump supporter to have on his podcast, the suggestions he got included Rubin and many of his recent guests. Sam responded by saying that he’s still looking for a suggestion since everyone who had been suggested to that point was an Alt-Right troll to whom he did not want to give a platform.

    • Posted June 21, 2017 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

      Blah blah blah I hate free speech because people say things I don’t like. How dare someone who doesn’t go along with my party line be given the opportunity to speak, because if people are allowed to think for themselves, I may lose control of the narrative.

      Alex Jones is repulsive, yes, but he is politically important, because he has a large readership. Knowing what he says, and how to counter it, is important for political discourse. He didn’t say Glenn Beck is the “New Center”, he said politics have moved so far left that an individual in the *right* like Glenn Beck can be seen as the center, and this is a result of extremist identity politics (which you clearly favor). Rubin has repeatedly stated that he did not like nor support Trump, so Sam Harris can’t ask Rubin to talk about being a Trump supporter, because Rubin *isn’t* a Trump supporter.

      This is why Rubin ,and others with a modicum of intellectual honesty, are so important; *someone* needs to maintain what liberalism is supposed to be about. This tribal garbage masquerading as liberalism will hopefully die out by alienating everyone who believes remotely in free thought soon enough.

  12. Andy
    Posted June 21, 2017 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    On the exact meaning of his sort of liberalism, I found this to be quite informative: https://medium.com/@Alex__Katz/dave-rubin-doesnt-understand-words-is-dishonest-1ef88d3edbd2

  13. DrBrdyon
    Posted June 21, 2017 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    “Thinkquisition” doesn’t really work for me. “Thin-quisition” on the other hand would be a great name for all those folks who want to control what we eat.

  14. Ken Kukec
    Posted June 21, 2017 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    It’s absolutely incorrect to include Dave Rubin on a list of far- or alt-right figures (although you can count me among those who think he gives such guests too fluffy a ride on his show). But I’ve read the linked Mother Jones article (mutatis mutandis, following Rubin’s complaints), and except for that list, and perhaps for the inference that Rubin and others might be cashing in on the alt-right phenomenon in search of the almighty dollar, there’s very little in it about Rubin or that seems prejudicially unfair to anyone else mentioned. And the article accurately points to a real problem with the recrudescence of an unsavory element on the far right that’s been lurking unseen for the past few decades.

    Also “Larry King and Steve Paikin”? — I dunno, boss, that’s twinning the yin and the yang of broadcast interviewing. Sure, both are non-confrontational. But Larry Paikin is always extremely well-prepared and asks probing questions. Any depth to ol’ Larry’s preparation, OTOH, is strictly a mirage. When he has an author on his show, the guest is lucky if Larry’s even cracked the dust-cover. 🙂

    • BJ
      Posted June 21, 2017 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

      I agree about much of the rest of the article. But, regarding Rubin, the author of the article has since doubled down on tw**ter, making it clear that a primary focus was labeling Rubin alt-right, and has managed to start a barrage of articles from similar outlets doing the same. It seems that they are indeed attempting to hurt his reputation.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted June 21, 2017 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

        Thanks for the heads-up, BJ. I don’t tw**t myself — never even encountered one yet in its natural habitat, only ex situ when quoted or linked to on a website such as this.

        • BJ
          Posted June 21, 2017 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

          Haha no problem. I don’t tw**t myself either, nor read tw**ter, but I do find links to particularly odious tw**ts when browsing other websites reporting on such things.

          • Craw
            Posted June 21, 2017 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

            My theory is that it’s aliens. Think about it. When they invade it will be helpful to them to be able to identify the idiots. Twitter is their tool to let the idiots identify themselves.
            I agree this sounds crazy, tinfoil hat stuff, but what else really could justify the existence of Twitter?

            • Diane G.
              Posted June 24, 2017 at 3:59 am | Permalink

              Our cringeworthy President’s propensity for shooting himself in the foot with it?

  15. rickflick
    Posted June 21, 2017 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    Rubin’s style reminds me that Bill Maher has quite often had controversial figures on the explain their point of view. But, of course, Bill argues with them any time he disagrees. But, still, Maher gets skewered for just having them on his show.

  16. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted June 21, 2017 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    Re: “The piece was “Cashing in on the rise of the Alt-Right” by Josh Harkinson (see his other articles here). Harkinson appears to be on the Control Left (“Ctrl-Left”), a great new term for Authoritarian Leftists.”

    In this vein, any fan of Christopher Hitchens’ book on the Clintons (“No One Left to Lie To”) would consider them “Shift-Middle”). 🙂

    • Anshul
      Posted June 21, 2017 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

      Harksinon IS NOT the cntrl left. He said he was horrified by what happened at Evergreen. A ctrl leftist wouldn’t say that. He’s not an sjw either,

  17. Posted June 21, 2017 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    I do wonder if those who criticize Rubin for talking to the wrong people want the country to become more sectarian.

    Looking around the world, highly sectarian societies seem to have more serious problems than open civil ones. I think bridge builders help hold diverse societies together. His critics seem to think it is dangerous and harmful. Think of Northern Ireland during the time of The Troubles. In a society like that it was not safe to be seen talking to wrong people. Is that the direction we want to head.

    Rubin’s show seems rather mild to me. If it were my show I might not have invited a few of his guests and I might have challenged a few things he let pass, but I don’t see this as that big of an issue. He is doing all the work, why shouldn’t he choose the guests and the format. I don’t watch him regularly, but sometimes he has had good guests that cover interesting topics so I am happy for those. I don’t expect to be pleased by everything he does and compared to much that of the political stuff I run into across on the internet, I find it hard to get particularly worked up over his show.

    I am much more concerned with how common it has become for writers in the media to cavalierly make false accusations and misrepresent the positions of those they write about. Someone who lets people speak for themselves doesn’t worry me nearly as much.

    • Craw
      Posted June 21, 2017 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

      +1

    • Craw
      Posted June 21, 2017 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

      Some here would condemn the bookshelf, for holding alike books of all kinds.

  18. Tomáš Janáček
    Posted June 21, 2017 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

    I mostly agree with and recommend Alex Katz’s answer to this: https://medium.com/@Alex__Katz/why-jerry-coyne-is-wrong-about-dave-rubin-ebd0d397bdc0
    Dave Rubin does hold at least several far right views (he is opposed to government enforcement of racial nondiscrimination by businesses, is ok with Roe v Wade being overturned), is very chummy with far righters such as Molyneux, Alex Jones or Dennis Prager. I would also like to note, that the term Ctrl-left sounds stupid.

    • Posted June 21, 2017 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

      I’m not sure I trust this. At one point it says “Ridiculously, Rubin is fairly agnostic about whether “PizzaGate” is a real story and mused with Far-Right British YouTuber “Sargon of Akkad” about whether Joe Biden is pedophile.”. It had a link to a short video clip. I watched the video clip and it didn’t mention Biden anywhere. I googled “Ruben Sargon Joe Biden” and nothing seemed to come up. I’m guessing Katz somehow extrapolated the part about Biden. This seems like a very dishonest summary to me.

      The video clip I saw showed Rubin saying he was waiting before commenting on pizzagate until he had some actual information about it.

      I’m not going to spend any more time looking at Katz’s claim about Ruben “musing” about Biden. If there is evidence that this actually happened, I might give Katz a second chance.

      • Rich Sanderson
        Posted June 21, 2017 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

        Ah.

        I’ve seen a few recommending Alex Katz’s “takedown” on Twitter.

        Turns out it is a bit dodgy. I’m not surprised.

      • Posted June 21, 2017 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

        The hyperlink is about Pizzagate, not Biden, and it supports what he wrote about Pizzagate. It would have been nice if he had a link about Biden, but he didn’t. It’s misleading to suggest the link doesn’t support the Pizzagate claim and it’s misleading to suggest the link is intended to support the Biden claim. That article is a bit harsh on our host, but it is a good article otherwise.

        • Posted June 21, 2017 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

          I realized afterward that only the first half of the sentence was hyperlinked. Is there any evidence for the second half of the sentence? It sounds unlikely so I was curious as to what was actually said.

          • Andy
            Posted June 21, 2017 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

            It seems that you didn’t watch the whole video? It takes about 5 minutes to find on youtube…
            Here’s my transcript (as best as I can hear) of the bit that immediately follows the clip that Katz linked to, following their discussion of Pizzagate:
            Akkad says, “… Well I would never let Biden near any of my kids.”
            Rubin replies: [Laughs] “Yeah, some some of those videos with Biden and the kids are really gross.”
            Admitedly, I couldn’t watch more of that crap. But it seems to me that Katz’s description is accurate.

            • Andy
              Posted June 21, 2017 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

              My transcript actually has a couple of typos (kids should be children and I don’t know why “some” is repeated, etc). But as that’s about as much as I can take, you should be able to get the idea.

              • Posted June 21, 2017 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

                Thanks, Andy. So Katz was not being dishonest at all there.

              • BJ
                Posted June 22, 2017 at 6:42 am | Permalink

                Really? How is he “agnostic on Pizzagate” when what he said was that he wasn’t even going to give it the time of day unless real information about it showed up?

  19. Rich Sanderson
    Posted June 21, 2017 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

    One of the common complaints from the obsessive group of far-left goons who really hate Rubin (is antisemitism at play, here???) is that he fails to “challenge” right wing guests.

    Well, he doesn’t “challenge” his left wing guests, either. But they are fussed by that!

    Harkinson is a hack, and his responses on Twitter clearly show he has an agenda. As does Mother Jones, another regressive rag.

    I agree there are valid criticisms of Rubin, and his selection of guests. It did gall me that Alex Jones got an easy ride. The Alex Jones who spread the Sandy Hook hoax, which is disgusting. However, the fact that too many lefties are chicken-s*** to go on the show, even after Dave invites them, is not Dave’s fault.

    What’s more, some of the far left goons love The Young Armenian Genocide Deniers. That tells you everything.

    PS – Take note of some of those leading the charge that Dave is some sort of Nazi – the bigot Dan Arel, the fraud C* W******n, antisemite Johnny “Israel Lobby” Spooner, Sacha “Seminal Work” Saaen, troll “Tom Bloke”, plus other assorted bigots and cretins inc. Talib Kweli. All of these really hate Muslim progressives and ex-Muslims as well. There is a pattern.

  20. Craw
    Posted June 21, 2017 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

    Related bad behavior

    http://www.nj.com/essex/index.ssf/2017/06/essex_county_college_professor_suspended_after_fox.html

    I hope she sues them into oblivion.

    I also think there’s a colorable case this is a conspiracy to deprive adjuncts like her of their civil rights, which would be a felony. Probably not, but it might fly.

  21. Posted June 21, 2017 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

    Also, it is incredibly funny, and not at all coincidental, that none other than Donald Trump Jr came running to Rubin’s defense on Twitter.

    • Michael
      Posted June 22, 2017 at 12:28 am | Permalink

      Seeing how Rubin reacts to Trump, not really surprising. Just look at how he responded yesterday in his ama on reddit:

      Question:
      “Thoughts on Sam Harris’ criticism of Trump?
      Dave”

      Dave: “I hold Sam is absolutely the highest regard I could another person. And he’s been generous with his time and words with me. I agree with some of his criticism and disagree with other parts but that’s what it’s all about. I think he felt what many Dems felt, which was that Hillary was deeply flawed but was a better choice. Maybe Trump will prove him wrong, which I think he’d be pleasantly surprised at. And he would gladly acknowledge, I bet.)”

      • BJ
        Posted June 22, 2017 at 6:38 am | Permalink

        Oh my gourd, he say maybe, just maybe, Trump will prove him wrong (not to mention that he posted a video during the election saying why he would never vote for Trump). Why, that could mean anything. Let’s interpret that single sentence in the most uncharitable way possible.

        And in an entirely separate issue, Trump, who is a person we don’t like, came to Rubin’s defense! This clearly means that Rubin is now tarnished by Trump, even if he clearly has absolutely nothing to do with what that idiot Tweets while sitting on his toilet at three in the morning. Guilt by association, just like every totalitarian regime has done it: we’ve finally achieved it!

  22. Tomáš Janáček
    Posted June 22, 2017 at 4:24 am | Permalink

    I would like to bring up that all of Rubin’s liberal bona fide comes from identity politics. He has never spent a second or a dollar to advance liberal causes and is in fact actively hostile to liberalism, but he is a gay man who is gay married, as he never fails to bring up when confronted on his ideas.

    • Paul S
      Posted June 22, 2017 at 11:48 am | Permalink

      “He has never spent a second or a dollar to advance liberal causes”

      How can you possibly know this to be true?

      • BJ
        Posted June 22, 2017 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

        He must have his tax returns!

        While you’re at it, Tomas, can you get Trump’s tax returns for us as well? You’re clearly very good at obtaining them.

  23. BJ
    Posted June 22, 2017 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    “I would like to bring up that all of Rubin’s liberal bona fide comes from identity politics. He has never spent a second or a dollar to advance liberal causes…”

    And how would you know this? Do you have his tax returns?

    So many completely unfounded accusations in one thread….

    Rubin really brings the fallacy-spouting and fact-fabricating crazies out of the woodwork.

    And no, he is not “hostile to liberalism,” he is hostile to regressivism. But I assume you haven’t actually seen just how many liberals he has had on his show because your only focus is those mean old conservatives.

    • BJ
      Posted June 22, 2017 at 8:52 am | Permalink

      This was a reply to Tomas in comment 22. Apologies for the misplacement.


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