Dave Rubin Thinks the Answer to the Left's Intolerance Is to Turn Right. He's Wrong.



Liberal-tarians. All the cool kids are into it.


Ironic coming from a lifelong republican


Dave Rubin sounds like a total cunt, please ‘scuse my use of a technical British term.


Sorry, Katie. You haven't given me any reason to give a shit about anything this guy -- who I never heard of before reading this -- has to say. Are you so really so bereft of real news to cover?


A big reason Obama was elected was that he explicitly rejected identity politics (and played against stereotype in the process).

If the next democratic presidential candidate doesn't do the same, he/she will lose, just as Hillary did.


That was very well written and thoughtful. I'll be sorry to see you leave The Stranger, but look forward to following your career in the legitimate press.


@5 This is important to Katie because much like with Rubin, people have held her accountable to stupid shit and bad positions she has taken and she really does not like that.


"The purity politics of the American left are driving people towards the right"

Citation? I get that people on twitter insist they've been alienated from liberal politics but 1) there is no way to verify these anecdotes, and 2) they are anecdotes. If this is a significant event, you would see it reflected in population-level data.

Party ID is probably the best proxy for trends in political movement over time. Republican ID has declined several percentage points in the Trump era, with most of them apparently switching to independent. Democratic party ID has remained mostly flat over the same period (it actually ticks up 1 percentage point). If liberals were fleeing the left for the right because they're more, uh, tolerant, you would expect to see democratic party ID decline. You don't.


In conclusion, I would suggest not believing everything you read on twitter. Also, the "intellectual" "dark" web sells its own flavor of groupthink and it appears to be quite a profitable grift for them. You should probably not take anything they say at face value either.


@7: Katie is leaving the Stranger?


also I find it fascinating that the left and only the left is hectored for alienating potential voters with their rhetoric but I guess we all just accept it as a given that republicans say awful and dehumanizing things about queers, women, muslims and brown-skinned minorities because no one even bothers trying to shame conservatives for turning off potential voters


I would be reluctant to make such a statement as 'progressives believe in a good deal of personal freedom'. It seems to me that the trend of many on the left to re-brand themselves as 'progressives' instead of liberals has synced rather conspicuously with the trend towards a leftist version of authoritarianism: this zeal to ban things, shut down opposing views, get people fired for various (often trivial) transgressions, and so on. A commitment to civil liberties is very much central to traditional liberalism in this country. It doesn't seem like it is very central to 'progressivism'.


I get as tired as anyone of the constant liberal circular firing squads, but that would never cause me to vote Republican. Republicans are horrible people.


Are you sure that's not a picture of Reich Hard Spencer?


It's called post hoc rationalization. Republican crazy has finally gotten around to pushing Dave Rubin's pleasure buttons and he can actually vote for mainstream candidates who espouse it. He'd rather not put it that way, of course. There's some crazy on the left, to be sure. It's nowhere near mainstream and you won't find any Democratic candidates embracing it with both arms, but hey, rationalization is all about weak reeds.


@6 Another bullshit argument is that identity politics is an invention of the left. Identity politics were explicitly encoded into the American experience in Article I of the Constitution and has remained a tool of reactionary America ever since. Marginalized people are fucking tired of identity politics but have had it forced upon them on this continent since the first smallpox laden blankets were passed out. You want to get rid of identity politics? Start fucking fighting against all the systems, both formal and informal, that work to keep marginalized people from partaking in the full rights and benefits of being Americans. Or keep talking out your ass and learn to deal with the fact that people aren't going to stop speaking out when shit ain't right. Those days are over.


I assume so... There is no room for well written and thoughtful pieces here. Especially ones that question the orthodoxy of leftist identity politics.


@9 said: "Citation? I get that people on twitter insist they've been alienated from liberal politics but 1) there is no way to verify these anecdotes, and 2) they are anecdotes. If this is a significant event, you would see it reflected in population-level data."

First, note that Katie said purity politics, not liberal politics. Purity tests are in direct opposition to liberal thinking.

To your question (as if November 8, 2016, didn't suffice) there is this: The Atlantic (and other sources) recently reported on a study called "Hidden Tribes: A Study of America’s Polarized Landscape." The study sliced the American electorate into seven tribes. On the left wing of the tribal spectrum, they found the "Progressive Activist" tribe (8%). On the right wing, they found "Traditional Conservatives" (19%) and "Devoted Conservatives" (6%). In the middle, they identified four tribes that comprise the "Exhausted Majority" (67%).

How many across the tribal spectrum believe "political correctness is a problem in our country?" 80%! And the sentiment carries across racial demographics. Among American Indians? 88%. Hispanics? 87%. Asians? 82%. Whites? 79%. African Americans? 75%.

Do you see a trend yet? In light of this, how do you think obnoxiously woke candidates will perform at the national level when they insistent on purity politics?


Read the Atlantic article here: https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2018/10/large-majorities-dislike-political-correctness/572581/

An excerpt about the demographics of the "Progressive Activist" tribe:

Progressive activists are the only group that strongly backs political correctness: Only 30 percent see it as a problem...So what does this group look like? Compared with the rest of the (nationally representative) polling sample, progressive activists are much more likely to be rich, highly educated—and white. They are nearly twice as likely as the average to make more than $100,000 a year. They are nearly three times as likely to have a postgraduate degree. And while 12 percent of the overall sample in the study is African American, only 3 percent of progressive activists are. With the exception of the small tribe of devoted conservatives, progressive activists are the most racially homogeneous group in the country.


Conservatism has some worthwhile ideas: Conserve what you have and be frugal instead of wasteful. Try not to live beyond your means. Consider staying with what you know works instead of trying to build a better mousetrap.

Too bad the modern republican party has none of those characteristics.

A liberal saying the democrats are too intolerant so they're going to vote republican is like saying you don't like how slow people are driving on the highway so you're going to drive the wrong way on the other side.


@blip: "Also, the "intellectual" "dark" web sells its own flavor of groupthink"

Let me guess - you've never actually listened to any of these people, but you've read plenty about them in your media bubble.

Do yourself a favor and listen to Sam Harris' podcast. Sam will tell you exactly what he is selling - a rejection of tribalism in favor of open conversations among differing perspectives that are rooted in science and reason.


@18 i don’t see the point of splitting hairs over “purity” vs “liberal” politics when what matters most is how people’s political identities shape the way they vote.

Besides, how people feel about the term “political correctness” only differs on the extreme left, based on what’s you’re citing here. The bulk of people who don’t like “PC” are spread across the spectrum, which means people like dave rubin are an anomaly: most people don’t rewire their entire worldview because they are annoyed by some of the people in their tribe.

And your concern about candidates is self-correcting. If voters don’t like “pc” candidates, as your citation suggests, they won’t vote for them.


Sam Harris is an Islamphobe. No science there! Read PZ Myers at Pharyngula for more detail. He also has biases against women in science - which he refuses to examine in himself. He talks a lot, but doesn't actually do the hard work of science.


@Urgutha Forka: "Conservatism has some worthwhile ideas"

It's also worthwhile as a check on liberal folly. None of us is always right about everything. We need a diversity of viewpoints to ensure ideas are properly vetted and their consequences properly evaluated.

The moment this country becomes completely dominated by a single political party, whether left or right, it's status as a democracy is doomed.


What about the purity politics of the American Right, where qualified candidates must be: White, late middle-aged or older, rich as fuck, and (preferably, albeit not exclusively if they meet numbers 1 - 3) male?


@19 - Have you ever, in your entire life, heard any one say "I'm for Political Correctness!"? Of course you haven't - because "Political Correctness" is programming content developed by right wing crank media over the past 25 or 30 years - and its been a HUGE hit!.

Since nobody is "for" political correctness, its going to be super-easy to get a poll to tell you everybody is against it.

Nobody can even define it, though they know it when they see it. Anti-P.C. sentiments are just another manifestation of reactionary aesthetics.


As a historian of the racial civil rights campaign, and a participant in the LGBT civil rights campaign, I have seen all too often the counter strategy of accusing those who fight for their rights of not being perfect.

In this instance, Katie and her bag of compatriots get angry over "the left's intolerance." As examples, they point to individuals expressing ideas. Mostly it is "comments on the internet," but sometimes it rises to actual articles in print, or a talking head on TV.

Set against that, what we have are actual politicians enacting actual laws that affect actual people's lives. There have been state initiatives that actually enact intolerance into law.

This sort of imbalance between the various sides has gone on for centuries. Cromwell used it against the Irish. The French Catholic League used it against the Huguenots. It was used by Reagan during the AIDS crisis. The application here, of course, is far more subtle and sophisticated, but the strategy is the same. Whatever depravity committed by the conservatives is ignored, while the slight outrages of the oppressed are brutally exaggerated. It's almost comic, if people's lives weren't on the line here. I mean, I'd love to laugh at Katie's pearl clutching over "the left's intolerance," if I didn't know how much she is aiding and abetting the sick agenda of our current president and the party behind him.

I have no worries for her. There is plenty of money to be made by castigating "the left". I'm calling it now: She'll be a guest star on Fox news within 6 months, dismissing people like me as being "intolerant."


@23: "Sam Harris is an Islamphobe. No science there!"

Sam Harris thinks religious belief in general is problematic, and he makes no exception for Islam.

"Read PZ Myers at Pharyngula for more detail"

I listen to directly to Harris' podcast, so I don't need the help of propagandists to determine what I should think about him.

"He talks a lot, but doesn't actually do the hard work of science."

He is doing the even harder work of (re)connecting science to current events and politics.


@22: “If voters don’t like “pc” candidates, as your citation suggests, they won’t vote for them.”

Yep. As I said, see November 8, 2016. So it appears you already had the citation you requested @9, doesn’t it? The bulk of people who dislike political correctness isn’t just spread across the political spectrum; it is the political spectrum.

And you are demonstrating why it is important to “split hairs” about purity politics vs. liberal politics. Liberal people are open to the ideas and arguments of others. When presented with convincing evidence that they might be wrong, they are more likely to change their mind.

You aren’t liberal; you’re exhibiting a kind of idealogical blindness and orthodoxy that is commonly found on the far right. If you think you’re liberal, you might consider the idea that your purity politics aren’t helping.

That is, if you’re interested in winning elections and making the national discourse a little less toxic. But maybe you are just interested in bending the will of the electorate to the 8% of people that think as you do?


@26: "Have you ever, in your entire life, heard any one say "I'm for Political Correctness!""

Yes, all the time.


@25: “What about the purity politics of the American Right?”

Also stupid and hateful. And LOL at your literal whataboutism.


@26: "Have you ever, in your entire life, heard any one say "I'm for Political Correctness!""

Uh, I live on Capitol Hill in Seattle.

Yes, all the time.


When one starts considering Vox writers as the "Intolerant Left", one has wandered into Far Right-ville. Ezra & co may be many things, but they are certainly not ideologues. They have a podcast called "The Weeds" because they love wonky policy detail. One segment is "The White Paper of the Week". They did an entire episode about the pros and cons of a VAT. They think All Payer Rate Setting is the best thing since sliced bread. If Rubin isn't inviting them onto his show, he doesn't want to engage thoughtful left-centrists, let alone liberals.


So he’s an intellectually bankrupt tool, I mean I agree with about 80% of this but I don’t see why he merits an article.


@29 voters don’t like hillary clinton for a whole bunch of reasons but i’ve never heard anyone say she is too pc

@26 yes that too


Never heard of him. Sounds like I'm not missing much, though.


Pretty thin rebuttal, @35. Of course there were many reasons that people didn’t vote for Clinton, but if you think weariness over purity politics didn’t play into it, you’re kidding yourself.

Look, I get that you’re coming from a good place. And if you lived next door to me, I’d bet our cast ballots would be damn near identical.

I’m only suggesting that the left should not sink to the same intolerant, despicable rhetoric that has characterized the right for so long. Liberalism is valuable and worth preserving.


@27 Love your comment. Agonizing over Dave Rubin is a backdoor way to shush marginalized people and promise white people will make it better, but only if there can be civility. For Dave Rubin to occupy your mind, you just need to ignore the voter suppression, family separation, dehumanizing of refugees, white power rallies, violence against reporters, shooting of unarmed black kids, racist robocalls. Once you ignore all of that, then you convince yourself that we’re having a silly fight over a Starbucks holiday coffee cup design.


@blip: "i’ve never heard anyone say she is too pc"

You are the victim of algorithms designed to present information that pleases you and hide information that does not.


@brucehs: "Ezra & co may be many things, but they are certainly not ideologues."

He certainly is. You just can't see it because you've also drank the Kool-Aid.

For a more intelligent and truly liberal discussion on taxes, see Sam Harris' discussion with Andrew Yang about universal basic income. Why democrats aren't running with this is beyond me.



Agreed. One of the greatest strengths of this country, at its founding, was its ability to compromise. There were fights, to be sure, but compromise was almost always the end goal. And it's a good goal to have. I fear that strength is leaving this country.

Also to your comment @21, Sam Harris' Waking Up podcast is one of the few I listen to religiously (pun intended). I think he gets interesting and challenging guests and isn't afraid to dive into controversial topics (sometimes... some of his podcasts are creampuffs though). Only thing I dislike about Harris is his soft and often monotone voice. Reminds me of Ben Stein's performance as the droning teacher in Ferris Bueller's Day Off occasionally.


@armchair: "Agonizing over Dave Rubin is a backdoor way to shush marginalized people"

There are millions of voters considering the same choice as Rubin. If you want to help "marginalized people", you'd be wise to pull your head out of your privileged ass and focus on real as opposed to symbolic oppression so that helpful people can be elected to office.



Also, two of the only other podcasts I listen to regularly are Dan Carlin's. One of them, the more famous one, is Hardcore History. It is spectacular! If you're a history buff, you will love them. Even if you're not a history buff, they're worth listening to one or two. His history podcasts are without equal, imho.
He also does (or did... he hasn't updated in a while) one called "Common Sense." It's not exactly political but it's not far from it. Carlin's not a conservative per se, and not a liberal either. He's kinda a pragmatic, skeptical, humanist... is maybe the best way to put it? He says his political affiliation is "Martian." Anyway, both casts are definitely worth a listen if you've never tuned in before. Highly recommended.


@Urgutha Fork: "Only thing I dislike about Harris is his soft and often monotone voice."

Yeah, I can see that. Personally, I find it soothing (I sometimes fall asleep to it), and it seems consistent with his goal of promoting civilized conversation about controversial topics (kind of the antithesis of the Crossfire show that used to air on CNN).

I've assumed his calm affect is somehow the product of meditation (which I've always dismissed, along with yoga, as a waste of time, but he actually has me rethinking my skepticism).


@43: Thanks, I love history and will check them out.


My eyes started bleeding before she ever got to her point, if there ever was one—I didn’t finish. I just can’t trust someone who can’t do simple fractions. She says “the Democratic Socialists of America has just 50,000 members—out of a country of with over 235 million people eligible to vote. That’s about .0002 percent.” No, it’s .02 percent. But that’s not even the point. The head of the Democratic National Committee, Tom Perez, has stated that Alexandria Occasional Cortex is “the future of the Democratic Party,” so this isn’t some fever dream of conservatives.


Anti-PC liberals are the chef kisses fingers of hypocrisy. There are no PC laws and no PC militia. The only way political correctness is expressed is through speech; protests, advertiser boycotts, twitter mobs, mean facebook posts. That's it. And anti-PC people are a minority on the left. If they were the majority of the left, who would they be complaining to? Who would they be threatening with defecting to the Republicans? So, their stated goal is really to police liberal speech so that it doesn't offend the delicate sensibilities of their marginalized minority. That's why they can suck it. Now I better go get a head start being offended by next year's Halloween costumes because, as we all know, it's a full-time job!


I'm amused at how Katie's ultimate point is that while the left can be annoyingly fixated on purity and needs to talk itself down, the right is unhinged and shouldn't be supported until their heads are forcibly removed from their asses. She's then called a rightist shill here.


@47, read my post @18. The only slice of the American electorate that supports PC culture is the extreme left; about 8%. 80% of the electorate see it as a problem in our culture. You’re totally and demonstrably wrong in your assertion.

Also: What planet are you living on? There are huge prices to be paid by anyone who even cordially disagrees with purity politics. Just last year, a professor at Evergreen State was literally hunted on campus by students with bats when he stated an unpopular opinion. The students also held administrators hostage and attacked others students (some of them minorities, if that makes it more abhorrent for you). The campus police? Too afraid to do their jobs.

That’s where purity politics are leading us.


Mr Rubin doesn't mention that he's GAY all that often, but that he's GAY-MARRIED. At least he did before I stopped following him regularly when he became too predictable. (I shouldn't be shocked if he ever revealed that the SSM was just a career move.) I was pleasantly surprised recently when he said he'd have to refuse to bake Mr Shapiro a wedding cake. I've given up becoming annoyed when gays sell out; we have to sooner or later for mainstream success in most fields, and I don't blame either Mr Rubin or Mr Savage for doing so. Mr S was just able to sell to buyers closer to his own beliefs.

Mr Rubin seems to have a case of what I could call Mary Cheney Syndrome. All the Republicans are being personally nice to him (although Mr Shapiro won't bake him a cake), and he trumpets how nice it is that they can disagree and still be friendly. He never points out that the disagreements are always deep in one territory, and that the jokes always run in one direction. I know a number of other gays who seem to be reacting similarly.

Ms Herzog has yet again set her sights on taking down another gay - is she annoyed that nobody wants her to sell out yet? When is the last time she said anything nice about a genuine G?


Right on Katie. I really admire your bravery. It is TOUGH being fundamentally liberal, but disgusted by the left's reactivity and purity tests. I'm not brave enough publicly, and I admire that you are. I voted straight lefty, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future, because while the left is misguided and overheated right now, the right is unhinged and (purposefully or not) propagating terrible wickedness. So, go Dems. (Whimper)


@49 - Here's a little part of your citation you don't mention "But since the survey question did not define political correctness for respondents, we cannot be sure what, exactly, the 80 percent of Americans who regard it as a problem have in mind." So, that's maybe not the strongest argument. As far as the evergreen students go, at Columbia, Bari Weiss tried to get professors fired for holding views she didn't agree with, and in 1993, my roommate in college got kicked out of our dorm for causing a scene disrupting a pro-gay-conversion speaker. This isn't whataboutism, it's just pointing out that there are a lot of data points in this graph. There is nothing unique to this time or this particular ideology that makes campus activism particularly out of control. I appreciate the hubris it takes to pin your argument on a dozen college kids - you could probably get a column in the NYT - but it's silly. Finally, you're not addressing my point, which is that you want to police speech and suppress views you disagree with. You are a hypocrite. Go vote Republican, they won't point out that your Halloween costume is racist, ask you to call people what they prefer to be called, or complain to your employer if you write an essay fantasizing about the slow, painful execution of women who have had abortions. Ahh, the freedom you will have once SJWs are no longer oppressing you!


@52, Political correctness is a concept that has existed for many decades now, and we all know exactly what is meant by the term. There is no need to "define" political correctness, unless you are seeking a trivial point to discount valid research undermining your opinion.

Your attempt to move the goalpost doesn't come as a surprise, though. Here are a few other surveys from recent years; the trend seems to show growing disapproval of PC culture.

From Rasmussen in 2015: 71% of American Adults think political correctness is a problem in America. http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/general_politics/august_2015/is_america_too_pc
From the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture (UVA) and Gallup in 2016: 73%
believe that “political correctness is a serious problem in our country,
making it hard for people to say what they really think.” https://iasculture.org/research/publications/vanishing-center

From the Knight Foundation/Gallup, based on data from 2017: 61%, up from 54% in 2016, say campus climate prevents people from speaking freely. (And this is a survey among college students, a group which is more inclined to censorship these days!)

So yeah, you're full of it. Also, keep in mind here that I'm the one in thread advocating free speech and civil poiltical discourse. You're on the side of people that think it's ok to deplatform and denigrate people who don't pass purity tests.

I support your right to say stupid shit, but you can't expect me to agree with it. In fact, most people on America don't agree with your illiberal, close-minded position... As multiple surveys show.


Also @52: "Go vote Republican, they won't point out that your Halloween costume is racist, ask you to call people what they prefer to be called, or complain to your employer if you write an essay fantasizing about the slow, painful execution of women who have had abortions."

Let's just note at this point, because I expressed an opinion you dislike, you have called me racist, intolerant of gender expression, anti-choice and a murder fantasist. And, even worse, you suggested I vote Republican.

Can you see why people don't like you?


@54 - Lol. I cited some common examples of political correctness run amok and you immediately took offense and acted like my words somehow caused you harm because you are a fragile hypocrite. The Halloween costume one is directly from the article above and, no, I'm not actually accusing you of writing an anti-choice screed in The Atlantic and getting fired. Sorry that wasn't clear. For the voting, i'm responding to the premise put forth in the article that liberals are going to vote republican to punish other liberals for being too PC. If you're not going to do that, great. I guess we both agree that liberals aren't too PC to vote for. What a relief. Now you don't have to get so upset over the way people are speaking incorrectly and expressing views you disagree with!


Conservatives - Ahhh, crazy liberals are censoring me and violating my freedom of speech because they cant handle what I'm, saying.

Me - Shit bro, that's crazy! Liberals don't want to hear about lower taxes and less government regulation.

Conservatives - Uhhh, those aren't the ideas I want to talk about....


Those on the left must stop fighting each other over political correctness and single, narrow issues, as well as stop undermining liberal candidates for whom they have a personal dislike.

All that energy and passion should be directed toward winning elections for candidates who have a wide appeal for all liberal voting blocks - not just for voters who are exactly like themselves. The echo chamber effect now appears to be stronger on the left.

Stop wasting votes as a protest against candidates you didn't support in the primaries or caucuses on people who have not even a snowball's chance in hell of winning any election, even the most inconsequential local ones. That's self-defeating and . . . being as stupid as a Trump supporter. In fact, it's being even stupider because nobody gives a shit about those non-starter candidates.

And if you refuse to vote because your favorite primary season candidate didn't get the nomination, you're brain dead. And any justification you try to give sounds like foolish gibberish to intelligent people outside your circle of me clones.


@55: "For the voting, i'm responding to the premise put forth in the article that liberals are going to vote republican to punish other liberals for being too PC"

Yes, we're all talking about the same thing. Good job keeping up! If you had read more carefully before you responded to me @47, you would have seen that my personal voting habits are not being affected. But that doesn't mean that the voting habits of others aren't being affected.

In this thread, I have provided evidence that there are (contra to what you said @47) a majority of liberals who are frustrated with purity politics. And, yes, it is quite likely affecting the voting habits of people who (unlike myself) are liberal but closer to the middle of the spectrum.

I hope that you have a better understanding of why this is an important issue now.


Even among the WalkAway people of my acquaintance, the trend is overwhelmingly to vote Libertarian rather than Republican. How to kill the Democratic party that is without giving the Republican party a permanent stranglehold on power is a question of some import in that circle.


@10 Not presently... but this can only last so long. The question is if she gets out before The Stranger goes under - It won't survive more than another decade. Honestly I assume Dan is effectively the only thing keeping editorial afloat - once he retires (he's 54) what's left that generating a positive cashflow? How are you going to sell weed and pussy ads to a publication without readers?


@43 @45 Dan Carlin retired 'Common Sense' essentially because the far left got too far left and there wasn't enough of a center left to talk to. Maybe it'll come back.