The Dumbest Outrage

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Re: The Dumbest Outrage

Postby Crimson847 » Wed May 09, 2018 4:10 am

gisambards wrote:I'm really not seeing a difference. What was happening then that isn't also happening today?


Organized terrorism, as was committed by the third KKK and the Weather Underground.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ku_Klux_K ... %93present
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weather_U ... activities

Absentia wrote:Isolated, rogue crazy people who are tangentially motivated by politics aren't what I'm talking about (and it's not like nobody really famous and important got assassinated in, say, 1963). I'm talking about movements that bitterly divided sane, ordinary Americans. I don't think we're there yet, to the extent we were then.


Two questions:

1. What's your definition of "sane, ordinary Americans"?

2. How bitterly divided do you suppose "sane, ordinary Americans" were in the 50s, 60s, and 70s? Even at the height of the violence the overwhelming majority of the country was still more or less living their lives as normal, and the overwhelming majority of interactions between people with personal disagreements over the war or civil rights didn't result in violence or even significant acrimony. Even in Birmingham (aka "Bombingham") where the civil rights debate got hottest, the violence was overwhelmingly between two small minorities of the population: the police/KKK members and the civil rights activists. Most people didn't get involved in that, they just went about their lives. If it were otherwise, the city's economy would have totally collapsed with everyone busy fighting instead of producing.
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"If it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them; but the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?"
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Re: The Dumbest Outrage

Postby Absentia » Wed May 09, 2018 5:09 am

Crimson847 wrote:1. What's your definition of "sane, ordinary Americans"?


I'm not getting into a semantic argument, so just replace "sane, ordinary" with your choice of "average", "typical", etc. You get my meaning.

2. How bitterly divided do you suppose "sane, ordinary Americans" were in the 50s, 60s, and 70s? Even at the height of the violence the overwhelming majority of the country was still more or less living their lives as normal, and the overwhelming majority of interactions between people with personal disagreements over the war or civil rights didn't result in violence or even significant acrimony. Even in Birmingham (aka "Bombingham") where the civil rights debate got hottest, the violence was overwhelmingly between two small minorities of the population: the police/KKK members and the civil rights activists. Most people didn't get involved in that, they just went about their lives. If it were otherwise, the city's economy would have totally collapsed with everyone busy fighting instead of producing.


I'm not suggesting America was in a constant state of violent unrest for 30 years. I guess I should have made that clearer initially. There were incidents where tensions boiled over, and these incidents were distressingly frequent by normal standards, but of course the vast majority of people were never actively involved in violence nor directly affected by it (unless you count serving in Vietnam, I guess).

What I'm trying to get at are the psychological rifts of the time. The feeling that Americans weren't all on the same side, and trouble was brewing because the commies/blacks/hippies or the fascists/racists/warmongers weren't going to stop until America was destroyed. Or as sellers put it in the post I was responding to, half the people would see something as intolerably awful and the other half didn't understand what the problem was. In my (admittedly subjective, particularly since I wasn't alive back then) opinion, those deeply-held feelings of strife were stronger and more widespread than they are today.

And the point I was really trying to make is that unless you think the current situation is worse than it was in the late '60s you should take heart because we got through all of that strife more or less intact.
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Re: The Dumbest Outrage

Postby gisambards » Wed May 09, 2018 8:55 am

Absentia wrote:What I'm trying to get at are the psychological rifts of the time. The feeling that Americans weren't all on the same side, and trouble was brewing because the commies/blacks/hippies or the fascists/racists/warmongers weren't going to stop until America was destroyed. Or as sellers put it in the post I was responding to, half the people would see something as intolerably awful and the other half didn't understand what the problem was.

Replace "commies" with "socialists", "blacks" with "immigrants" and "hippies" with "liberals" and this sounds like a description of today's America. Obviously there are a lot of people in the middle ground today, but there's no reason to assume there weren't lots back then as well.
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Re: The Dumbest Outrage

Postby Aquila89 » Wed May 09, 2018 3:58 pm

gisambards wrote:I'm really not seeing a difference. What was happening then that isn't also happening today?


Riots are not on the level of the riots of the 1960s. Nobody died at the riots in Ferguson or Baltimore; one person died at the Unite the Right rally. In the 1960s, there were the Watts riots in 1964 (34 deaths) the Detroit riots (43 deaths) and the Newark riots (23 deaths), both in 1967, the the riots after MLK's assassination in 1968 (over 45 deaths in various cities)... and those are just the largest ones.
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