Off The Wall: Chuck Atkins, Redux

Chuck writes…

“Well, I shouldn’t have used the term White Nationalist, when I really meant conservative jagg-off’s. But in the vast social media, the squeaky wheel gets the grease. I knew Mike would never respond if I just said “Republicans…”

Mike: Welcome back, Chuck. You’re right – I wouldn’t have responded if you’d accused my supporters of being Republicans (or Democrats, for that matter,) as there is no great insult in being either. Nor would I have responded if you called them “conservative jagg-offs,” (or “ass-hats,” or “douchebags.” Sticks and stones, etc.) However, when you call the people on this page white nationalists, you do indeed, “squeak” in a way that requires lubrication. So, since I’m never too far from a vat of grease, I was happy to apply a few dabs to your argument. And since you’re still squeaking, I’m happy to apply a few more…

Chuck: Everything I said is true and has been vindicated by the responses. I have been threatened and called the most vile names. People have even called me a Nazi. These are the kind of people who follow Mike, and put a White Nationalist in the White House.

Mike: Hmm…Here’s another explanation. Maybe the angry responses to your comments are a logical reaction to being insulted? It was you after all, who came to this page to criticize a lot of good people who support a foundation that helps men and women of all races. Are you really surprised to learn that those people don’t like to be called “white nationalists?” More to the point, do you not see the irony of complaining about name-calling, moments after calling my supporters “conservative jagg-offs?”

Obviously, you have every right to publicly insult me on my own page. You have every right to publicly insult the people who support me. And you have every right to publicly whine about the backlash. But doing so makes you seem like a guy who can dish it out, but can’t take it.

Chuck: The number of hate crimes has risen dramatically. None of this ugliness is being perpetrated by liberals. It is not educated, Ivy League, elitists that are waving confederate flags at hillbilly rallies. It’s rural working class people that know they are being left behind by a world that demands higher education.

Mike: Think about what you’re saying here. Do you really want to suggest that people who don’t go to college go on to become racists? Do you really want to equate all racist behavior with the rural working class? Can you not see how that kind of generalization will insult millions of hard working people who didn’t graduate from The Ivy League, but nevertheless managed to earn an honest living, provide for their families, obey the law, and be kind to people of all races?

Besides – David Duke went to college, along with many other noted bigots, felons, wife-beaters, tax-cheats, and serial killers. So what?

Chuck: The militias are all conservative, scared, white people. Those people love Mike. So their responses were somewhat predictable.

Mike: As comforting as it might be to conclude that everyone who disagrees with you is a “frightened white person serving in a militia,” I’m afraid you are once again mistaken. Take me, for instance. I don’t belong to a militia. Nor am I frightened. I’m just a white guy who happens to find your comments offensive. Obviously, I’m not alone. But tell me this, Chuck – what would you say to one of those “scared, white nationalist militia members” who make the same argument about Muslim terrorists, that you make about them? You know the one – it goes like this:

“The terrorists on 9/11 were all Muslims from Saudi Arabia. Those people all worshiped Mohammed. Ergo, all people who worship Mohammed are predictably, terrorists.”

I bet you and I would agree that such an argument is absurd, right? But how could you possibly hope to refute it, when your own reasoning is identical?

Chuck: I hit a nerve with Mike. His response proves it. On the surface it appeared civil. But in fact it was vindictive and disingenuous.

Mike: Of course you hit a nerve! You called my supporters and my friends white nationalists! I thought I was pretty clear in my original reply. I rejected what you said, I rejected what you implied, and I said your inability to reason logically is a serious problem shared by conservatives and liberals alike.

I’ll admit – I have no sympathy for the blowback you’re experiencing, but why would I? You wanted to be the squeaky wheel, right? You wanted the attention, right? You waltzed in here like the world was desperate for your opinion, and casually accused a lot of good people of being aligned with white nationalists. What would you have me do? Ignore you? Challenge you to a duel? I’m simply pointing out the fallacy of your argument, and giving you an opportunity to make a better one.

Chuck: He knew what might happen to me. In fact, he made sure all his goons in the right wing media published the thread.

Mike: With respect, Chuck, you sound an awful lot like a victim. I can’t control what the media writes about, any more than I can control what you write about. But you do make a fair point – our exchange reached many millions of people, and you caught a lot of criticism as a result. Honestly, I think you a deserve a chance to respond to the response. That’s why I’m responding to your most recent post. But look, whatever happens next, try to remember that I am not your enemy. Facebook is not your enemy. Republicans are not your enemy. “Conservative jagg-offs” are not your enemy, and neither are the imaginary “goons” you believe I employ. Your enemy is your own hot mess of an argument. Nothing more.

Chuck: They misrepresented what I said……and they were too dumb to spell my name right – I would have gotten far more threats if they had, I’m sure.

Mike: I’m afraid there’s not much I can do about the way other people spell your name, except provide you with a public place to set the record straight. As for “misrepresentations,” I agree that some outlets wrote headlines that were needlessly inflammatory. Others wrote about our exchange in a way that made me sound a lot more combative than I actually was. But I’m not bitching about it, so why are you? Every outlet – even the ones that spelled your name wrong – reprinted your own words exactly as you wrote them. Really – what else can you ask for?

If you don’t want to be “misrepresented,” represent yourself better. If you want to be better understood, write with more understanding. If you want to feel more loved, find a private chatroom where everyone shares your beliefs. But if you want to come to this page and cast aspersions, I suggest you stop with the excuses, put on your big-boy pants, and make a more persuasive argument.

Chuck: The tribe that attacked me are the same people that are changing curriculum in rural high schools all over the country. They promote creationism as science. Their theocratic, willful ignorance is making America less competitive in a global economy. Your iphone was not made in America because Steve jobs said there wasn’t anyone smart enough to make it here! The Republicans with an anti science agenda are predominately white people. Coincidentally, I haven’t seen one post on Mike’s thread from a person of color! NOT ONE! Maybe not a fair correlation.

Mike: Not only is it unfair, Chuck, it’s dead wrong. Look closer. My foundation is non-partisan, and this page is populated by people of all races – many of whom disagree with me on a variety of topics. Oftentimes, those disagreements get heated, but by and large, the vast majority of people here are respectful of opposing ideas. Sure – you may have heard from a few thousand white conservatives who were offended by your comments, but again – those were the people you insulted! What did you expect?

As for diversity on this page, there’s plenty. Look at the second comment under the original post. Ashley King wrote… “Thank you, Mike! I’m college educated, about to start Grad School, & ((gasps)) Mexican, female, and Republican…!” In that same thread, Chuck, you’ll find dozens of similar comments from all kinds of people who simply don’t fit with your characterization of my friends and supporters. But if you really want to make this about appearances, let’s consider yours for a moment.

Based on the pictures I just viewed on your own page, you appear to be a white man in his early fifties – an outdoorsman, by the looks of you. At a glance, it seems you enjoy fishing and shooting guns. Cool. I enjoy those things too. I see a photo of you standing in front of a target. The target is black, and shaped like a human being. You’re holding a pistol, and the black target is full of holes. I also see you have one of those horseshoe mustaches that curve all the way down to your chin. Nice! I used to have one of those myself. But here’s the thing, Chuck. You look, (if I may be so bold,) an awful lot like those men in Charlottesville, marching with their tiki torches and railing on about “the Jews.”

Obviously, your physical appearance is irrelevant to what you believe, but tell me something – if someone looked at these images and concluded from your age, your race, your gender, your love of fishing, your fondness for guns, and your Hulk Hogan-style mustache, that you were a white nationalist – simply because you like guns and look like the other white nationalists they’ve seen on the news – wouldn’t you find that…unfair? Wouldn’t you find that…insulting? Wouldn’t you dismiss their transparent stereotyping in the same way I’m dismissing yours?

Chuck: So Mike can promote trade labor but the real problem here is the lack of skilled labor and highly educated people who can compete with the Chinese and Indians. I think 2 years of civil service and two year of college….any college should be mandatory.

Mike: I don’t know about the Chinese and the Indians; I’m not an economist. The only thing I can say with absolute certainty is this: your stubborn belief that people who don’t graduate from college are by definition, “uneducated,” is absolute nonsense, and your insinuation that they’re also racist, is deeply offensive. Ironically, the process that allows you to arrive at such a hair-brained conclusion, is no different than the warped thinking of every closed-minded bigot I’ve ever had the pleasure to debate. The truth is Chuck, you can identify yourself in whatever way you choose, but you argue like an elitist, and your reasoning is no different from the white nationalists you claim to deplore.

Chuck: The thugs in Mike’s tribe can rejoice at the beating he gave me….but I am like Leonardo DeCaprio when he got mauled by a bear. Mike didn’t win….he got trolled by a f***in Honey badger!

Mike: You’re welcome to whatever metaphor suits you Chuck, and for what it’s worth, you could certainly do worse than the Honey Badger.

Believe it or not though, this really isn’t about you; you’re just the latest guy to argue that a college degree is the only way to become an “educated non-racist.” I push back against guys like you all the time, because my foundation gives hard-working individuals the skills they need by training them for jobs that don’t require a college degree. These people are not “uneducated,” and there is absolutely no logical reason to assume they’re harboring “white nationalist tendencies.” So far, we’ve helped over 1,000 such people, and I hope to help many more before you and the rest of the Honey Badgers bring me down. As for mandatory civil service or mandatory college, no thanks. I’m more enamored of free will, free markets, hard work, and an educational system that equally values and promotes all forms of enlightenment.

Chuck: I used to think Mike was a modern day Will Rogers….now I think he’s more like Elmer Gantry. Hey, the powerful guy gets the last word. Today I’m on FOX. I’m sure I’ll get even more threats from the fine Christians that love Mike so much! Bravo Mike…BRAVO!

Mike: Don’t mention it, Chuck. I’m happy to keep the conversation lively! I think it’s important. I also want to thank you for helping remind people that free speech is not a free pass to speak without consequences. The first amendment has allowed you to come here and say whatever you want without fear of imprisonment, and that’s a beautiful thing. But if you’re really dissatisfied with America’s reaction to your comments, don’t blame the country, or me, or Facebook, or the right wing media for reprinting your own words. Just look in the mirror. No matter how that guy spells his name, he’s the only one who’s making your life difficult.

Good Luck!

PS I can’t tell from your page if you’re the praying type, (nor would I assume one way or the other,) but if you are, keep Houston in your thoughts. It doesn’t look good down there…

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