Day 30: Alternative Facts/Alternative Reality

In the much more dangerous parallel universe in which the Bowling Green Massacre took place, there has apparently been another attack, in Sweden this time. Seemingly missing the adulatory crowds of the campaign, DJT had himself a nice little narcissist pep rally in Florida, where he casually referred to an attack ‘last night in Sweden’ as justification for his Muslim ban. Of course, back in our universe, such an attack never happened.

Meanwhile, returning to more general questions of whether we should be punching Nazis or allowing them a platform in the marketplace of ideas, On The Media has been doing some excellent work exploring the role of journalists, and by extension the rest of us, in addressing an aggressively intolerant administration. Of course, the tension between the civil libertarian left and the social justice left has a long history. I remember reading Herbert Marcuse’s 1965 essay Repressive Tolerance in college (long after it was published of course), but that was certainly not the first time it had come up. To completely oversimplify, Marcuse took more of a punching-Nazis approach: that intolerance of intolerant speech is justified. Still, personally I’ve generally been more idealistic about the ability of people to sort the good ideas from the bad, an idealism that is being critically tested recently.

If you need more evidence that taking the resistance to the statehouse is an important strategy, North Dakota lawmakers are proposing to indemnify motorists who run over protesters–as long as, you know, they don’t mean to do it. Speaking of North Dakota,  US GOP Rep Kevin Cramer will defy recent trends and make himself available at a town hall forum on February 23rd in Fargo. I know this because the Town Hall Project has graduated from a crowd sourced Google doc to a full website with a zip code search and clickable map. Check it out.

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