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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Promoting right-wing garbage

Last week, one of the contributors to the popular right-wing blog Instapunk posted a fascinating little essay on what's wrong with black people. The author's critique, including racist epithets, featured the following insights:

Last week, one of the contributors to the popular right-wing blog Instapunk posted a fascinating little essay on what’s wrong with black people.

The author’s critique, including racist epithets, featured the following insights:

— He is “sick to death of black people as a group.” His main objections are that some black people are, in his word, “(expletive),” but white people aren’t permitted to say this. Meanwhile, black people, who have the freedom to point out that some of their brethren are “(expletive),” abuse this freedom by engaging in a “clannish, tribalist, irrational defense of every low act committed by any black person.”

— He then demands that all black people acknowledge that persons such as O.J. Simpson and Allen Iverson are, in fact, “(expletive).” Only then, the author suggests, can the wounds caused by racial discord in America begin to heal.

— He goes on to lecture his African-American brothers and sisters about how their ongoing shiftlessness in regard to condemning the sins of black folk is making (some) white people very nervous: “You’ve given life to the suspicion that black people in America are, and have long been, a fifth column … We’re teetering at the edge of believing that you’re a secret society, a massive collection of sleeper cells just waiting for your chance to do serious harm to the rest of us. You’ve made it possible for us to believe that. Because you’re never outraged by what the worst black people do. Because you continue to make excuses for what should be inexcusable to everyone.”

There is much, much more in a similar vein, including claims that black parents have no aspirations for their children beyond trying to turn them into professional athletes, and that black people might be doing better in America if, like other minorities, they sometimes worked after 5 p.m.

Many things could be noted about this utterly insane rant. Consider, for example, the way in which the current paranoia about an America full of Islamic terrorist sleeper cells merges seamlessly with the equally unhinged beliefs that have always fueled racism, or the bizarre world in which the moral status of a man who almost certainly murdered the mother of his own children is indistinguishable from that of basketball star Allen Iverson (a quick review of Iverson’s biography does suggest some evidence of an uppity attitude).

But the most interesting aspect of this disgusting filth is that the blog on which it was published is often promoted (via valuable hyperlinks) by the extremely popular Instapundit, from which Instapunk derived its own name.

Instapundit is the work of University of Tennessee law professor Glen Reynolds. He’s linked to Instapunk dozens of times, and indeed he linked to the site just a day or so after it published the despicable essay I quote above.

And what is Reynolds’ reaction when he’s criticized for giving publicity to purveyors of the worst sort of racist garbage? He merely notes that while the piece in question is “kind of ugly” (!), he doesn’t necessarily endorse everything published on the blogs to which he links (imagine if someone who often linked to a site that sometimes featured child pornography employed a similar defense).

As Glenn Greenwald points out, “respectable” right-wing bloggers such as Reynolds give precious publicity to virulent racists, express mild distaste for such “excesses” when they’re confronted with the evidence — and then promote more genteel versions of the same ideas. (See, for example, Reynolds’ recent musings about whether even Oprah Winfrey might also be a Scary Black Radical in disguise.)

Nazi analogies can be overused, but this attitude is more than a little reminiscent of all those respectable German generals and industrialists in the 1930s who considered the Nazis distasteful vulgarians, but who decided to ignore their “excesses,” given the larger issues at stake.

How did that work out?

(Paul Campos is a professor of law at the University of Colorado. He can be reached at paul.campos(at)

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