Links and Comments 12 April 21

Anti-vaxxers and Stop the Steal; Historical animus against Italians, and Irish; Racial replacement theory; Conservatives against democracy.

New York Times, 26 March 2021, Neil MacFarquhar: Far-Right Extremists Move From ‘Stop the Steal’ to Stop the Vaccine, subtitled, “Extremist organizations are now bashing the safety and efficacy of coronavirus vaccines in an effort to try to undermine the government.”

It’s official! Anti-vaxxers are of the same mindset as conspiracy theories like QAnon and Stop the Steal. And of course, racism. Not a surprise, of course. How else to understand this?

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Not sure if this Facebook post from John O’Neill is visible to the public, but here’s the link:

No Italians Allowed

The post has a photo of an 1888 newspaper article, that begins:

On May 28, 1888, council passed a resolution to the effect that parties receiving the contract for paving E. Washington St. shall bind themselves not to employ any Italian labor.

And of course there was a similar, earlier period in which the Irish “need not apply.” Standards (by conservatives) for who are acceptable American citizens, or even fully fledged human beings, change over the decades and centuries, but conservative animus is always there.

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As here.

Salon, 12 April 2021, Heather Digby Parton: Tucker Carlson’s insecurity and the “great replacement” theory, subtitled, “Tucker Carlson and his white supremacist allies are going to be replaced by a generation repelled by his ideology”

Carlson and his minions forget, or disregard, how Europeans came to the North American continent some centuries ago and staged a replacement of their own. Things change; conservatives think they never should, once they’re in the advantage.

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The two most intellectual magazines of the left and right are The New Republic and National Review, respectively. (I don’t subscribe or often read on the web either one; I remember to distinguish the two because “new” suggests progress and “review” suggests favoring the past.)

Slate, 9 April, Ben Mathis-Lilley: National Review Comes Out Against Democracy, Explicitly.

Slate’s essay quotes several of NR’s authors, e.g.

Voters — individually and in majorities — are as apt to be wrong about things as right about them, often vote from low motives such as bigotry and spite, and very often are contentedly ignorant.

It seems to me that this passage characterizes cultish Trump voters, which I’m sure isn’t what the author meant.

But I’ll mention a fantasy of my own, which isn’t “democratic” either. That would be that, in order to vote, a person should be able to pass a basic test about civics and about the real world. How many branches of government are there? Is the world flat? Is New Mexico a state? Is Finland real? Is the government run by lizard-people? And so on and on. Limit the vote to those who pass such a basic test about reality.

But that would never pass, because, well, all those people.

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Related to the last, a general principle: Don’t think you need to have an opinion about everything, even those things you know nothing about.

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