Racism in Trump’s America - another take on the subject

 
unsmoked
 
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unsmoked
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28 January 2019 10:46
 

http://time.com/5428184/joseph-ellis-founding-fathers-trump/

quote: 
“America has always had people who vehemently disagree. Are we that different now compared with in Jefferson’s time?

Joseph Ellis:  “It’s a size problem. There’s a difference between 4 million people gathered on the Atlantic Coast and 325 million people across the nation. The single most important difference is that we are attempting to do something that nobody has ever done before: create a fully and genuinely multiracial society in a huge nation.”

What is the biggest failing of the Founders that still haunts us today?

Ellis:  “When the Founders talked about “we the people,” they were not talking about black people. They weren’t talking about women, and they weren’t talking about Native Americans. Whenever race enters the question, the Founders are going to end up disappointing you.” ^

Can the constitutional system they created solve our problems?

Ellis:  “The Founders would want us to recognize that it’s a living Constitution. So the originalists who want us to go back to the original meaning have it dead wrong. We have to make adaptations. The Electoral College has got to go.”

In the early 1960s, nearly 80% of Americans said they trusted their government. By the mid-1970s, that number had dropped to around 20%, and it’s never completely recovered. What happened?

Ellis:  “The Vietnam War, which undermined the credibility of the government* for a whole generation of Americans. The second thing was the civil rights movement. That alienated whites in the Confederacy.^  The third thing was Roe v. Wade. That alienates all the evangelicals.”

What will finally unite Americans?

Ellis:  “A great crisis that leaves us no choice but to come together. When the coastal areas have to be evacuated, when the real implications of climate change begin to hit, we’re going to be forced to come together.”

(other questions and responses in article - http://time.com/5428184/joseph-ellis-founding-fathers-trump/  )

https://www.brookings.edu/blog/the-avenue/2018/03/14/the-us-will-become-minority-white-in-2045-census-projects/

*  (the Vietnam War also undermined Ellis’ credibility - but reading this page in the October 29, 2018 TIME Magazine, decide for yourself if it impaired his ‘insight’ as a historian)

^  (in 1860 there were about 8 million whites in the South, and about 4 million black slaves)

 

[ Edited: 28 January 2019 11:42 by unsmoked]
 
 
Jefe
 
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Jefe
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30 January 2019 19:27
 

Racism is alive and well in ‘murica. 

 
 
Brick Bungalow
 
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Brick Bungalow
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30 January 2019 21:42
 

It’s a point well taken. The American experiment is fairly unique and very successful on a number of fronts.

I could not say whether racism is more prevalent in the U.S. than in other nations of comparable average wealth. I suspect it is not. I suspect that our social ills are often more pronounced because of our diversity and how our community intersects with the world community to such an extraordinary degree.

I do believe that the worst bigotry is often the bigotry we don’t see. I think there are communities that appear superficially serene but only because their oppressed contingent is so successfully suppressed that they never speak. If that’s true than I think we can actually celebrate our public discord and dirty laundry as a step toward something more just. I think protest and dissidence are symptoms of liberty striving to breathe.

 
Jan_CAN
 
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31 January 2019 05:13
 
Brick Bungalow - 30 January 2019 09:42 PM

It’s a point well taken. The American experiment is fairly unique and very successful on a number of fronts.

I could not say whether racism is more prevalent in the U.S. than in other nations of comparable average wealth. I suspect it is not. I suspect that our social ills are often more pronounced because of our diversity and how our community intersects with the world community to such an extraordinary degree.

I do believe that the worst bigotry is often the bigotry we don’t see. I think there are communities that appear superficially serene but only because their oppressed contingent is so successfully suppressed that they never speak. If that’s true than I think we can actually celebrate our public discord and dirty laundry as a step toward something more just. I think protest and dissidence are symptoms of liberty striving to breathe.

Sadly, racism exists everywhere there are humans.

The American experiment is successful to some degree, but it is not unique.  And due to its wealth, the U.S. should be held to an even higher standard as it can afford to provide for all its citizens.  It too often fails to do so.  Greed and apathy among the majority, and reluctance towards ‘socialism’, means that there is not enough incentive or action taken to provide everyone with quality education, access to health care, affordable housing, a more fair justice system, etc.  When actions (e.g. affirmative action) are proposed or taken to rectify inequalities, they are met with strong resistance.  Those who suffer from injustices should be listened to more carefully and not dismissed or excuses made by and for the majority.  It seems that in the U.S., liberty is often only for those who can afford it. 

 

 
 
Garret
 
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31 January 2019 08:57
 
Brick Bungalow - 30 January 2019 09:42 PM

It’s a point well taken. The American experiment is fairly unique and very successful on a number of fronts.

I could not say whether racism is more prevalent in the U.S. than in other nations of comparable average wealth. I suspect it is not. I suspect that our social ills are often more pronounced because of our diversity and how our community intersects with the world community to such an extraordinary degree.

I do believe that the worst bigotry is often the bigotry we don’t see. I think there are communities that appear superficially serene but only because their oppressed contingent is so successfully suppressed that they never speak. If that’s true than I think we can actually celebrate our public discord and dirty laundry as a step toward something more just. I think protest and dissidence are symptoms of liberty striving to breathe.

Something cannot be “fairly” unique.  It either is unique or not.  The US is no more an experiment than the rest of the world.  The War of Independence, the Declaration, Constitution, and Bill of Rights certainly have their place in history, but even within the US they have been surpassed in their ability to recognize the humanity of all people.

US racism is distinct to the US (though it shares some significant commonalities with South Africa).  Bigotry is present everywhere, but it’s expression changes not just with location, but also time.  Things like racism in the US have changed dramatically over time, and not always in a “positive” direction.

I disagree that the worst bigotry is that which we don’t see.  While I don’t deny the “soft bigotry of lowered expectations”, which is often hard to diagnose, I do not think that that is worse than lynching someone.  Also, I would hesitate to claim that any specific form of bigotry is “unseen”.  It may be unseen by some, but the targets of bigotry are usually pretty aware of it.  Consider it like the language of Columbus “discovering” America.  Sure, he was the first European to find these lands, but he was hardly the first human to do so.  Just because you (or I, or someone else) is not aware of specific bigotry does not mean it is invisible to everyone.

I will agree that a public airing of grievances is a good thing.  Problems can only be spoken about once people feel safe enough to do so.  Think of it like a boss telling a bad joke, and employees laughing at it in order to maintain their jobs.  Only when those employees feel secure will they feel free to not laugh, or point out that the joke is bad.  Imagine how little those employees would speak up if they felt their very lives might be threatened.

When we think about how bad some of the things were in the past, remember that they weren’t actually that long ago.  The woman who accused Emmet Till of sexual advances is still alive (last I checked, she could have died in the past year or so).

 
unsmoked
 
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31 January 2019 11:28
 
Garret - 31 January 2019 08:57 AM

When we think about how bad some of the things were in the past, remember that they weren’t actually that long ago.  The woman who accused Emmet Till of sexual advances is still alive (last I checked, she could have died in the past year or so).

When my father was born, there were still countless people in the U.S. who had been born into slavery.  There were about 3,000,000 in 1870.

 
 
Quadrewple
 
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18 February 2019 15:57
 
unsmoked - 28 January 2019 10:46 AM

Joseph Ellis:  “It’s a size problem. There’s a difference between 4 million people gathered on the Atlantic Coast and 325 million people across the nation. The single most important difference is that we are attempting to do something that nobody has ever done before: create a fully and genuinely multiracial society in a huge nation.”

True and valid, but incomplete.  A society with an unstable and widely varied population base, with little to no restrictions on sex, very few minimum expectations of behavior.

It’s a society without boundaries and without an identity.  There is no boundary between politics and news.  No boundary between people and their sexual desires.  No boundary between genders.  No boundary between what people say in private and what is everyone’s business.  No boundary between art and political views.  No boundary between children and the government.  Etc, etc, etc

In a society where an unspoken agreement exists that we have no boundaries and no identity, the people who establish the harshest boundaries and embrace identity win (over time).  You can’t possibly stop that human instinct.  Order will come out of this chaos, but what are the incentives which govern WHO gets to establish that order?

unsmoked - 28 January 2019 10:46 AM

What is the biggest failing of the Founders that still haunts us today?

Ellis:  “When the Founders talked about “we the people,” they were not talking about black people. They weren’t talking about women, and they weren’t talking about Native Americans. Whenever race enters the question, the Founders are going to end up disappointing you.” ^

Pointless question, more so than a bad answer.  It’s pointless because looking to the past to place blame for the present is an exercise in futility.  The only question is what individuals are and should be doing now.  Every single human can give blame to their forefathers for their conditions, but that doesn’t solve anything - just spinning wheels.

unsmoked - 28 January 2019 10:46 AM

Can the constitutional system they created solve our problems?

Ellis:  “The Founders would want us to recognize that it’s a living Constitution. So the originalists who want us to go back to the original meaning have it dead wrong. We have to make adaptations. The Electoral College has got to go.”

Bit cringy for him to speak as if he knows what they would think.  And it’s another pointless question because it assumes the problems individuals in our society are dealing with are a result of our system of governance.

Asking a question which already presumes a conclusion which is up for debate, without acknowledging said presumption is just propaganda.

Getting rid of the electoral college does absolutely zero to improve the lives of any single American.

It’s only when society fails massively at the big things (like education) that it sets its eyes on little things (like nuances of the political system).

Same thing with people.  When they fail big, they look for a quick fix because they’re in denial.

unsmoked - 28 January 2019 10:46 AM

In the early 1960s, nearly 80% of Americans said they trusted their government. By the mid-1970s, that number had dropped to around 20%, and it’s never completely recovered. What happened?

Ellis:  “The Vietnam War, which undermined the credibility of the government* for a whole generation of Americans. The second thing was the civil rights movement. That alienated whites in the Confederacy.^  The third thing was Roe v. Wade. That alienates all the evangelicals.”

He’s probably right on this one.

But again, to ask this question begs the question “Is people trusting their government a result to aim for?”

My answer is “Who cares?!”  All that matters is whether things are improving for productive people who aren’t criminals, who make wise decisions and persevere.  I don’t need to “trust” people thousands of miles away who know and care nothing about me.  I just need them to not fuck up my life and take too much of my money. 

The less power they have, the less I care whether or not they’re trustworthy.

Also, if trusting the government (like they did in the 60s) led to the government making all these decisions which eroded said trust, how can trust in the government be a valid endpoint to aim for?

This idea of “trust in the government” being a good thing sounds a lot like “trust in God” to me.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

His last point about mandatory national service is quite valid.  IF we’re saying having a nation state is good thing, we can’t have this ideal without some sort of sacrifice having to be made.

If I give you a plant and say “Here, it’s your plant.  I’ll water it for you, fertilize it for you, and pick the fruit for you.  It’s your plant.”  are you REALLY going to feel that it’s your plant?  Any real sense of ownership?  Of course not.

Same thing is true with nation states.  If all you have to do is draw breath and you get to vote, you won’t value it because it was just given to you.  At a certain point, the citizenship means nothing.

That which is not valued is for all intents and purposes valueless.

[ Edited: 18 February 2019 16:25 by Quadrewple]
 
 
Quadrewple
 
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18 February 2019 16:48
 
Jan_CAN - 31 January 2019 05:13 AM

The American experiment is successful to some degree, but it is not unique.  And due to its wealth, the U.S. should be held to an even higher standard as it can afford to provide for all its citizens.  It too often fails to do so.

No reason to be abstract about it.  You, due to your wealth should be held to an even higher standard of generosity because you have some excess which means little to you, but would mean a lot to others.

When people make statements like the one you just made, it gives every individual an excuse to do NOTHING themselves - because it’s the government’s or “society’s” job as if society has arms, legs, and a brain.  This is irrespective of whether or not you personally give to charity or help those less fortunate….

Jan_CAN - 31 January 2019 05:13 AM

Greed and apathy among the majority, and reluctance towards ‘socialism’, means that there is not enough incentive or action taken to provide everyone with quality education, access to health care, affordable housing, a more fair justice system, etc.

Well, we’re unwilling to question the premise that the 18th century-style Prussian model of education is the way to go.  That much is due to laziness, apathy, and greed (on the part of both parents and the employees within the public school system).

If you have educational knowledge, share it for free.  If you have health care knowledge, share it for free.  There is nothing stopping anyone from doing this except their own laziness, greed, and apathy AND there is nothing stopping people from taking advantage of these free services and information except their own laziness and apathy.

As with any declining civilization, the standards of what one is held to to improve themselves and their situation continues to erode until everyone BUT the individual is responsible for helping the individual.

Jan_CAN - 31 January 2019 05:13 AM

When actions (e.g. affirmative action) are proposed or taken to rectify inequalities, they are met with strong resistance.  Those who suffer from injustices should be listened to more carefully and not dismissed or excuses made by and for the majority.  It seems that in the U.S., liberty is often only for those who can afford it.

“Rectify inequalities”?  Who decides which inequalities are just and which aren’t?  Is it fair that Asians make more than whites?  Is it fair that Jews are more successful than Hispanics?  Is it fair that Hispanics are more successful than blacks?

As for “liberty” - that’s a false concept to begin with.  Human beings never have been and never will be “free” - because there are in-built limitations that come with being a human animal.

If the definition of “freedom” keeps changing, it obviously has no objective basis whatsoever.  It used to be “freedom” meant you could keep what you earned.  Now “freedom” means the ability to slowly kill yourself with potato chips, soda, and a sedentary lifestyle and then get other people to pay for the health complications YOU KNOWINGLY CHOSE with said lifestyle.

We have about 10% of the mental toughness our great-grandparents had.  The new conventional wisdom (like what you’re saying) is an argument that we must adapt to said weakness, rather than become stronger.

This acceptance of adaptation to weakness is one of the most defining characteristics of the modern left.  The modern right has its own idiocies, but at least their vision for society is built around strength and discipline.

 
 
Garret
 
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19 February 2019 06:49
 

Ah yes, American Individualism… the “immutable truth”.

Except that it’s neither immutable, nor true.

 
Quadrewple
 
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19 February 2019 13:49
 
Garret - 19 February 2019 06:49 AM

Ah yes, American Individualism… the “immutable truth”.

Except that it’s neither immutable, nor true.

Way to take several complex points and condense it into a two word phrase you can dismiss.

 

 
 
Garret
 
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19 February 2019 18:49
 

The core of your assumptions is the ideology of American Individualism.  I don’t need to address specific points you make, because they are almost all based on the belief that Individualism is true.  Notice the capital “i” and the “ism” at the end.  It’s a specific ideology, though I’ll be mildly surprised if you even realize that it’s an ideology.  You’ll probably just tell me that it’s “reality” and consider me dumb of not agreeing to how rational you are for your belief in it.

Debating you on the finer points of “Individualism” would be like me debating a Muslim on what true Islamic beliefs are.  Since I’m an atheist and don’t believe any of it in the first place, there’s really not much point in dissecting which sect of Islam is “more correct”.

 
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19 February 2019 19:46
 
Garret - 19 February 2019 06:49 PM

The core of your assumptions is the ideology of American Individualism.  I don’t need to address specific points you make, because they are almost all based on the belief that Individualism is true.

Saying “individualism is true” is like saying “democracy is true” - it literally makes no sense…....which is why anyone who would say that is a stunning moron (which is why I didn’t say that or anything close to it).

Garret - 19 February 2019 06:49 PM

Debating you on the finer points of “Individualism” would be like me debating a Muslim on what true Islamic beliefs are.  Since I’m an atheist and don’t believe any of it in the first place, there’s really not much point in dissecting which sect of Islam is “more correct”.

The only person who used the word individualism here is you.  You seem confused.  Prescribing individual action for individuals who are complaining as opposed to excusing individual laziness in favor of a centralized collective of individuals taking action is not “individualism” - it’s just a prescription which either has merit or doesn’t and which you’ve just asserted is “false” (which means you don’t even understand the meaning of the word false).

I’m trying to be nice here, but this is not a conversation you are mentally equipped (at this time) to have.

 
 
Antisocialdarwinist
 
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20 February 2019 08:54
 

Here’s another another take on “racism in Trump’s America,” from the Times: Jussie Smollett and a Perfect Crime

Consider some of the “hate crimes” that have garnered tremendous attention in the past two years.

A week before the 2016 presidential vote, a historic black church in Mississippi was spray-painted with pro-Trump graffiti and set ablaze, prompting a national spasm of anxiety amid the prospect that the bad old days were back. The Republican Party was hounded for comment on the episode, and reporters attributed the event to the “tense” state of “American politics.” The person charged in this crime was, however, a parishioner, and an official said the arson was designed to appear “politically motivated,” but was not.

Shortly after Mr. Trump’s election, a woman in Ann Arbor, Mich., insisted that she was approached by a white man who threatened to set her on fire if she did not remove her hijab. A Michigan lawmaker tied the case to the president-elect, who he said empowered “devastating racism, sexism and xenophobia.” But the police came to the conclusion that the whole thing was a hoax.

A week after the election, an Episcopal church in Indiana gained national attention when it was painted with homophobic slurs, swastikas and pro-Trump language. The self-identified gay man who later confessed to the crime was the church’s organist. Investigators said he hoped to “mobilize a movement after being disappointed” by the election results.

A few weeks later, an 18-year-old Muslim woman alleged that a group of the president’s supporters attacked her at a New York City subway station and tried to rip her hijab off her head. New Yorkers rallied to her defense. Anti-racist demonstrations in Grand Central Station were organized, and significant police resources were devoted to investigating the case. She was later charged with misleading investigators.

All of these events occasioned deep dives by the press into the forces of racial animus Mr. Trump unleashed during his campaign. But there was no chastened soul-searching when the deceptions were exposed. And few entertain the possibility that the attention these allegations generate has created an incentive structure for prospective hoaxers.

On a slightly tangential note, I would argue that another incentive structure for prospective hoaxers is the #MeToo movement’s insistence that accusers should always be believed.

 
 
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20 February 2019 11:45
 
Antisocialdarwinist - 20 February 2019 08:54 AM

Here’s another another take on “racism in Trump’s America,” from the Times: Jussie Smollett and a Perfect Crime

Consider some of the “hate crimes” that have garnered tremendous attention in the past two years.

A week before the 2016 presidential vote, a historic black church in Mississippi was spray-painted with pro-Trump graffiti and set ablaze, prompting a national spasm of anxiety amid the prospect that the bad old days were back. The Republican Party was hounded for comment on the episode, and reporters attributed the event to the “tense” state of “American politics.” The person charged in this crime was, however, a parishioner, and an official said the arson was designed to appear “politically motivated,” but was not.

Shortly after Mr. Trump’s election, a woman in Ann Arbor, Mich., insisted that she was approached by a white man who threatened to set her on fire if she did not remove her hijab. A Michigan lawmaker tied the case to the president-elect, who he said empowered “devastating racism, sexism and xenophobia.” But the police came to the conclusion that the whole thing was a hoax.

A week after the election, an Episcopal church in Indiana gained national attention when it was painted with homophobic slurs, swastikas and pro-Trump language. The self-identified gay man who later confessed to the crime was the church’s organist. Investigators said he hoped to “mobilize a movement after being disappointed” by the election results.

A few weeks later, an 18-year-old Muslim woman alleged that a group of the president’s supporters attacked her at a New York City subway station and tried to rip her hijab off her head. New Yorkers rallied to her defense. Anti-racist demonstrations in Grand Central Station were organized, and significant police resources were devoted to investigating the case. She was later charged with misleading investigators.

All of these events occasioned deep dives by the press into the forces of racial animus Mr. Trump unleashed during his campaign. But there was no chastened soul-searching when the deceptions were exposed. And few entertain the possibility that the attention these allegations generate has created an incentive structure for prospective hoaxers.

On a slightly tangential note, I would argue that another incentive structure for prospective hoaxers is the #MeToo movement’s insistence that accusers should always be believed.

Hoaxers and Liars should be prosecuted for obstruction of justice.  At least something more stringent than defamation or slander.  The stats for false reporting remains very low and people are extremely wary of speaking out for fear of not being believed.  All the more reason to take them seriously when they do come forward.  And harshly punish those for diverting resources away from actual victims.

 
 
Garret
 
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20 February 2019 13:36
 
Quadrewple - 19 February 2019 07:46 PM
Garret - 19 February 2019 06:49 PM

The core of your assumptions is the ideology of American Individualism.  I don’t need to address specific points you make, because they are almost all based on the belief that Individualism is true.

Saying “individualism is true” is like saying “democracy is true” - it literally makes no sense…....which is why anyone who would say that is a stunning moron (which is why I didn’t say that or anything close to it).

Garret - 19 February 2019 06:49 PM

Debating you on the finer points of “Individualism” would be like me debating a Muslim on what true Islamic beliefs are.  Since I’m an atheist and don’t believe any of it in the first place, there’s really not much point in dissecting which sect of Islam is “more correct”.

The only person who used the word individualism here is you.  You seem confused.  Prescribing individual action for individuals who are complaining as opposed to excusing individual laziness in favor of a centralized collective of individuals taking action is not “individualism” - it’s just a prescription which either has merit or doesn’t and which you’ve just asserted is “false” (which means you don’t even understand the meaning of the word false).

I’m trying to be nice here, but this is not a conversation you are mentally equipped (at this time) to have.

You called me stupid, twice.  Your claim of trying to be nice doesn’t seem very honest.

Also, clearly I am prepared for this conversation, since I fully predicted your response to me.

 
Garret
 
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20 February 2019 13:39
 
Antisocialdarwinist - 20 February 2019 08:54 AM

Here’s another another take on “racism in Trump’s America,” from the Times: Jussie Smollett and a Perfect Crime

Consider some of the “hate crimes” that have garnered tremendous attention in the past two years.

A week before the 2016 presidential vote, a historic black church in Mississippi was spray-painted with pro-Trump graffiti and set ablaze, prompting a national spasm of anxiety amid the prospect that the bad old days were back. The Republican Party was hounded for comment on the episode, and reporters attributed the event to the “tense” state of “American politics.” The person charged in this crime was, however, a parishioner, and an official said the arson was designed to appear “politically motivated,” but was not.

Shortly after Mr. Trump’s election, a woman in Ann Arbor, Mich., insisted that she was approached by a white man who threatened to set her on fire if she did not remove her hijab. A Michigan lawmaker tied the case to the president-elect, who he said empowered “devastating racism, sexism and xenophobia.” But the police came to the conclusion that the whole thing was a hoax.

A week after the election, an Episcopal church in Indiana gained national attention when it was painted with homophobic slurs, swastikas and pro-Trump language. The self-identified gay man who later confessed to the crime was the church’s organist. Investigators said he hoped to “mobilize a movement after being disappointed” by the election results.

A few weeks later, an 18-year-old Muslim woman alleged that a group of the president’s supporters attacked her at a New York City subway station and tried to rip her hijab off her head. New Yorkers rallied to her defense. Anti-racist demonstrations in Grand Central Station were organized, and significant police resources were devoted to investigating the case. She was later charged with misleading investigators.

All of these events occasioned deep dives by the press into the forces of racial animus Mr. Trump unleashed during his campaign. But there was no chastened soul-searching when the deceptions were exposed. And few entertain the possibility that the attention these allegations generate has created an incentive structure for prospective hoaxers.

On a slightly tangential note, I would argue that another incentive structure for prospective hoaxers is the #MeToo movement’s insistence that accusers should always be believed.

Was the Jewish synagogue that was attacked by a gunman a hoax?