My Appearance on Up With Chris Hayes

Here’s the video of my appearance on New Year’s Day on Up With Chris Hayes. I got to talk Reactionary Mind with Chris and a panel of guests that included Amanda Marcotte, feminist blogger extraordinaire; Noah Kristula-Green, managing editor of FrumForum; and Michael Brendan Dougherty, political editor of Business Insider. Amanda’s on the left, Noah and Michael are on the right. Politically speaking.

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  1. msobel January 2, 2012 at 12:35 pm | #

    I was disappointed in how little they let you and Amanda talk. For Amanda, I suspect paternalistic crap, for you, I suspect that you were presenting too much factual information that contradicted their world view. I did like the idea of not posting statutory rights as freedom.

    Some time you should write about the conservative inability to detect irony. e.g. Gingrich complaining about attack ads or Perry going to court about laws which make it harder to vote. I suspect there is a lot of worthwhile scope for study of conservative humor

  2. brenda January 2, 2012 at 1:05 pm | #

    I googled and found your blog as a result of the show. I’ve put your book on my Amazon wish list. It looks interesting. If Chris Hayes likes it enough to have you on it must be worth looking at. Now get yourself on the Daily Show. 😉

    I thought the show went very well. Up is a great show with a long format that allows them to discuss issues in depth that other formats can’t afford. Your exchange with Noah was an example of how to disagree without being disagreeable. Something that doesn’t always happen in today’s heated political atmosphere.

    Noah claimed that there is “genuine concern for the lower classes” among conservatives in the UK. Maybe, but I suspect (though I wouldn’t know living in Minnesota) that it doesn’t go so far as allowing into the halls of power. It is likely a paternalistic concern and not a genuine desire to empower them.

  3. McTavish January 2, 2012 at 4:28 pm | #

    I was disappointed with your appearance today as you didn’t have time to present your case in total. Chris is very civilized and has presentable, seemingly nonthreatening, representatives from the right on his shows. The actual history and behavior of the right makes their reasonableness suspect. You weren’t able to even mention the penchant for violence in theory and in practice of the right. I was disappointed in your book that you did not have the space or time to get into the weeds more, offering actual examples of your thesis with respect to today’s situation in greater detail You mention in one sentence on the last page the right’s opposition to workers’ and women’s rights in terms of the right’s emphases on them since attaining power. These are major issues. Women’s rights especially I believe are at the center of any movement toward a truly humane society, and for me that includes fairness in child rearing responsibilities, equality in education and in the workplace, abortion rights, medical care, and censoring pornography (I believe liberals have made a grave mistake in allowing pornography to grow into the hideous monster we have today which is distorting human relationships). The problem of good and evil can never be solved. Most, if not all, of us are capable of evil given certain circumstances and those who are on the right of the political spectrum are capable of decency in their personal lives, just as those on the left are known to depart from decency on many an occasion. This is a big subject and I am not equal to it, but it seems that we do evil on the basis of certain beliefs about ourselves and others (and we do good based on those beliefs as well). It seems to me that the aims of the right lead to evil outcomes (and those on the totalitarian left have also lead to evil outcomes) but, if you are correct, and I think you are, that conservatism is about loss, those experiencing that loss are endeavoring to limit and blight the lives of those seeking greater autonomy and equality and I believe this is a kind of evil. So, for me, conservatism has no redeeming qualities. Its adherents either lie about or are deluded into believing that it does because of deep seated psychological needs. It is the natural home of authoritarianism and inequality and although we need some authority in our lives it is a locus for a great deal of mischief. However, this brings up an additional thing I found lacking in the book and that is some discussion of the beliefs of liberalism, at least in precis form with regard to each of the points you make about conservatism. Yes, it is present in the book in places as the beliefs of liberalism are sometimes inherent in your discussion of the right. I know you have such a discussion in places but I was always wishing for more. In practice, liberalism has been guilty of supporting a number of bad things: war and empire and the national security state (and in practice there is violence in liberalism, is there not, unless you are saying the liberals when they support such things are really conservative), as well as a wrong turn with respect to pornography except as it relates to children and it can be argued there are others, but at least liberalism was at one time responsive to calls for equality and hence was a safety valve in the system against violence from below. With the rise of corporatism and conservatism especially liberals have rejected liberalism, both in the Democratic party and in our liberal institutions. It could be argued that they abandoned their beliefs well before the rise of conservatism, thereby opening the door to conservatism. Those calling themselves liberals or progressives now have no power to bring about liberal outcomes. Most Dems in leadership do not approach the level of authoritarianism on the right, although some are making a pretty fair play for equality with the right as they are so busy rubber stamping the right if not proposing their own nightmare policies (Lieberman and Homeland Security, for example). Most are either by choice or because they are caught in the system supporters of corporatism, and corporatism is by nature authoritarian and unequal. Can you comment on this problem of good and evil or is it too broad and too difficult to tackle? Some scientists are making the claim that good and evil find their origin in the structure of the brain and together with life experiences are the cause of one or the other. I am not comfortable with the emphasis on biology as it sounds too much like biology is destiny (the argument against women and nonwhite races that continue to be made even today). I am thinking about the obvious evils that have emanated from religion, slavery, gender and race supremacy, economic oppression through time, and now corporatism which has resulted in the commodification of every aspect of our lives and the ruination of the environment so that we are now facing scarcity and global warming on an unprecedented scale. Some of these evils at least fall disproportionately in the conservatism column, but by no means all. Lastly, the problem of paranoia looms large: It is not eclusive to the right, but it is very common on the right, perhaps even key to their thinking. What can up say about all this that hasn’t been said before?

  4. McTavish January 2, 2012 at 5:02 pm | #

    McTavish here again. My previous comment was way too long so I will be brief. Just want to say that a post at is an excellent piece on the comments of Hazlitt in the early 19th century in Britain regarding the dirty ways conservatives fight and the unequal response of the liberals. It could have been written with today’s Republicans and Democrats in mind.

    And the above bears on the excellent comments of Jason Kosnoski in response to your earlier post that you were going to be on Chris Hayes. Liberals and Democrats are so damn civil in response to the right’s philosophy which is basically an uncivil and toxically selfish belief system.

  5. Paul Rosenberg January 2, 2012 at 6:42 pm | #

    I don’t want to be too negative. After all, it IS tv. But it only proves to underscore the enormous distance between what’s possible in the blogosphere vs tv. There were so many things said that I would have loved to hear you write about at length. You did about as well as possible given the setup, but honestly, the conservatives on UP just get in the way almost every time, and this was no exception.

    It’s far more instructive & interesting to have you engaging with liberals making the conservatives’ case. Even better to have an enlightening back & forth with others left of liberal. We obviously don’t all think alike & we think better when we engage over meaty stuff.

    Still, the ultimate test is how many people decide to pick up the book. So here’s hoping I’m proven dead wrong, and it was the greatest tv appearance evuh!

  6. Alice Dubiel (@odaraia) January 2, 2012 at 7:38 pm | #

    I saw Hayes’s Up with your appearance, delayed since it’s broadcast at an hour when PST dwellers are asleep. Agree with the not enough of you and Marcotte, especially the latter. However, I was impressed you were able to include as much of your perspective as you did, given the constant interruptions required by advertisers. Even with my d recorder and Hayes’s admirable ability to recapitulate, it’s a challenge; and yet, it is a real pleasure to hear everyone speak and converse. I learned a lot from your book about Fear, and am deeply grateful for your work. TV still has potential, and your particular appearance is the first in a long time I’ve noticed that potential.

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