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Both side of both sides, a DoubleTweet

[ by Charles Cameron — didn’t i post this? okay, it’s a few days old, but i’ll post it ]




Both forms of both / and:

What interests me here is that Trump’s tweet and Obama’s both represent “both / and” positions.

Obama sees our common humanity cutting across whatever borders of skin color or whatever might be thought to separate us.

Trump shares the blame equally between the alt-right folk and the folk who were protesting them, when at least arguably the protesters came with (largely) peaceable intent, while the alt-right folk were trying for provocation:

Note, however, that Trump sees things in exactly the reverse manner — another enantiodromia? From Amy Davidson Sorkin in the New Yorker — Donald Trump, from His Tower, Rages at “the Other Side” in Charlottesville:

You had a group on one side that was bad and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent. And nobody wants to say that. But I’ll say that right now.” The bad group was the white nationalists; the “very violent” group was those who had come to object. In case anyone missed his point, he continued, “You had a group on the other side that came charging in—without a permit—and they were very, very violent.” Trump wasn’t putting the two sides on the same level; he was saying that the counter-protesters were worse.


There’s a very different feel to the two kinds of “both / and” IMO — Trump’s actually favoring one side in a conflict and protecting it by shifting some of the blame away from it, while Obama’s is neutral as to sides (though in the case of racists vs non-racists, he’d presumably favor the non-racists.

My head buzzes: an interesting little logical knot, I think.

5 Responses to “Both side of both sides, a DoubleTweet”

  1. Scott Says:

    Not to nitpick, but that quote is originally from Nelson Mandela, not Obama.

  2. Charles Cameron Says:

    Nit or not, my grateful thanks.

  3. carl Says:

    Judgement is formed by perception. Perception in the Cville incidents is shaped in this case by news coverage, or more precisely the news coverage that has the widest audience which is the mainstream media. The mainstream media of course can be expected to slant its coverage of just about everything to include the incidents at Cville. With this in mind I would be cautious about coming to a conclusion such as “… when at least arguably the protesters came with (largely) peaceable intent, while the alt-right folk were trying for provocation:” if that conclusion is based solely upon the most widely promulgated reports and photos. If you do a little digging things were much less black and white than they would have you believe.
    The issue isn’t favoring “racists vs. non-racists”, the issue is propensity to crime doing and propensity to shut down undesired speech. Saying somebody favors racist over non-racists is an attempt to grab the moral high ground but it is akin to saying “I’m for prosperity over penury.” and then expecting a pat on the back.

  4. Charles Cameron Says:

    My reading on the alt-left and antifa included What the “alt-left” was actually doing in Charlottesville, and The Rise of the Violent Left.
    Oops, gotta go.

  5. carl Says:

    Charles: I read both of the articles and was struck by something: neither group of people, the ‘peacefully inclined Cville residents’ nor the anarchists had any problem with using physical force to deny people they disagree with the right of assembly and the right to speak at that assembly. One group revered themselves for linking arms and blocking stairways and the other group crowed about blasting faces with pepper spray but they both saw their application of physical force to prevent expression of ideas they disagree with as legitimate, even admirable. This is not a good thing. Mark Steyn’s view is that it puts them on a continuum at the other end of which lie such jolly fellows such as your local jihadi killer. No, that is not a good thing at all.

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