Why Was the 20th Century Not a Chinese Century?: An Outtake from "Slouching Towards Utopia?: An Economic History of the Long 20th Century"

Cory Doctorow: I was naive: "I've been thinking of all those 'progressive' Senators who said that... Jeff Sessions was a gentleman, honorable, decent—just someone whose ideas they disagreed with. They approved Sessions for AG on that basis, and he architected this kids-in-cages moment...

...What if they hadn't been misled and instead had gone with "Well, he's fun to chat with in the cafeteria and I'd trust him to return a lost wallet, but you know what, f--- that, because he's also a Dominionist authoritarian who thinks that The Handmaid's Tale is a manual for statecraft. That guy would return your wallet and then rip your kids out of your arms and send them to broil in a prison camp. I wouldn't confirm him for AG if he was the last guy on earth, nice guy and returned wallets be damned."

As it happens, I know a couple of people who know Steve Bannon, and they all tell me that he is full of raw charisma—an exciting and interesting person to hang out with. I'm sure they're right (provided that you're not adverse to him at that moment) and I'm sure that this charisma is what's gotten him so far. I laughed when someone first introduced the idea of "charisma privilege" but I think it's time that we started separating the charisma—or even artistic talent—of people from their acceptance in our lives. Individually, a charming ass---- in our lives doesn't matter, but their collective normalization and acceptance has created this moment.

Contra is Quinn Norton's idea that if you're not talking to the racists in your family and friend group, you preclude the possibility of redeeming them, and you also miss the signals that they're gaining ascendancy and get caught flatfooted: https://medium.com/@quinnnorton/the-problem-with-white-shunning-56b67cc2d726