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Here’s the original post I was referencing at the start of the thread, from way back in 2015.

The right’s self-correction mechanisms are at this point so completely broken that it’s probably easier on the left to conclude it’s not a problem here, where they’re at least sort of functional by comparison.

Everyone is very good at spotting this dynamic on the other side, but most of us are reluctant to acknowledge that every really large group—however good & right—is going to attract grifters & people who go off the rails, including yours. And that requires internal correction.

…ended up ultimately lining up behind Trump & being totally unwilling to critique the grifters in his orbit, even when they’re shamelessly fleecing other conservatives.

Obviously you see the same dynamic on the right. If you break ranks, you’re helping the Left (and maybe even a secret Leftist, or at least angling for invites to semi-mythical Georgetown cocktail parties). Which is why a lot of people who manifestly knew better in 2016...

…who don’t even think those things are problems. But this creates a feedback loop: “those assholes” end up being the only people speaking up when someone invokes those values disingenuously or mistakenly, & you REALLY don’t want to be the outlier allying yourself with them...

So if you’re a decent person who recognizes that racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, etc are serious problems to be fought, you have very little incentive to speak up about abuses of those values. You don’t want to bolster (or be mistaken for!) “those assholes”...

The idea was that polarization, and the fear of either being mistaken for or lending support to the outgroup, undermines self-correction mechanisms that help protect groups from veering into extremism or being exploited by grifters.

A good & thoughtful piece that reminds me a little of something I wrote ages ago about what I called the “those assholes” problem… And should probably rechristen something more genteel, like “The Identity Feedback Loop Problem”

“I’ve never seen anything like this, people are coming out of the woodwork,” said the GOP chair in Polk County, FL who added 50 new committee members since Jan. “The most recent time we saw this type of thing was the tea party, & this is way beyond it.”

I want to hear exactly zero more lectures on ethics from a guy who made a conscious choice to be Typhoid Mary because he confusedly thought it might benefit him personally.

I thought “bugchasing” died out years ago, but I guess it’s time to resurrect the term.

As ever, many, many months too late, which is still better than never.

I think Biden's employer vaccine mandate is really dumb but government employees absolutely should have to be vaccinated. I do not have a choice in which police department I am forced to interact with.

Does anyone who’s an expert in executive privilege think this has a snowball’s chance in hell? Because on an untutored read it just seems absurd.

A cop who thinks like that is a bad cop, and has probably been a bad cop since long before COVID.

It’s dangerous because it’s exactly the same mindset that gets unarmed people shot in traffic stops. “If I perceive even the slightest risk to me, I’m justified in using lethal force. Better to shoot an innocent person than be the one in a million who gets shot.”

I find these guys so maddening because what they’re saying is: “I am so irrationally fearful that I will refuse to accept even the most negligible personal risk to protect the community I serve, who do not get a choice in whether to interact with me.” And that’s dangerous.

You are an agent of the state whose job is to come in close contact with people who have no real choice in the matter. You are a coward unfit to wear a badge, and the only pity here is that the state will pay you a pension you don’t deserve.