"The cruelty is the point." What does it mean?
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May 07, 2021, 05:39:55 PM

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  "The cruelty is the point." What does it mean?
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Author Topic: "The cruelty is the point." What does it mean?  (Read 305 times)
AverroŽs Nix
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« on: May 04, 2021, 03:22:07 PM »

Popular online talking point, usually but not exclusively used by social justice activists in reference to conservatives.

My impression is that it's one of those phrases used more for cadence than for communicating, but maybe someone here can tell me more about what it means and how it became popular.

My earliest reference point is this 2018 essay from Adam Serwer in The Atlantic, which argues that Trump supporters enjoy his cruelty because they find community in shared acts of bullying. There is a comparison to smiles in lynching photos. He makes additional observations about the popularity of the phrase nearly a year later in this interview.

I'm not sure that I understand the argument, because it seems to indicate that the cruelty is not the point and that the outgroups targeted by Trumpist bullying are almost incidental to the act of bonding through outwardly-focused aggression. Whatever the case, the phrase makes a clear and powerful demarcation between Us and Them and that seems like the basis of its appeal.
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Scott
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« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2021, 05:27:33 PM »

If I recall, this phrase first started popping up at the time of Stephen Miller's family separation policy and cruelty at border facilities which was intended, at least in part, to discourage further illegal immigration by intentionally making life miserable for every person involved, including those such as young children who had no choice in the matter at all.

Less than two years later, into the 2019 government shutdown, one Trump supporter blamed the shutdown on him because he wasn't "hurting the people he needs to be hurting".

And of course, most of these people do not know or care if they are hurt by orthodox Republican economic policies, which Trump still followed despite rhetoric implying otherwise. If you are a suffering person among people who suffer more, you still feel better off by comparison.
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John Dule
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« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2021, 06:19:13 PM »

If I recall, this phrase first started popping up at the time of Stephen Miller's family separation policy and cruelty at border facilities which was intended, at least in part, to discourage further illegal immigration by intentionally making life miserable for every person involved, including those such as young children who had no choice in the matter at all.

Less than two years later, into the 2019 government shutdown, one Trump supporter blamed the shutdown on him because he wasn't "hurting the people he needs to be hurting".

And of course, most of these people do not know or care if they are hurt by orthodox Republican economic policies, which Trump still followed despite rhetoric implying otherwise. If you are a suffering person among people who suffer more, you still feel better off by comparison.

Republicans like to inflict pain and Democrats like being victims. Perhaps this symbiosis is the key to our mutual survival.
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America Needs Kali
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« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2021, 12:38:15 AM »

If I recall, this phrase first started popping up at the time of Stephen Miller's family separation policy and cruelty at border facilities which was intended, at least in part, to discourage further illegal immigration by intentionally making life miserable for every person involved, including those such as young children who had no choice in the matter at all.

Less than two years later, into the 2019 government shutdown, one Trump supporter blamed the shutdown on him because he wasn't "hurting the people he needs to be hurting".

And of course, most of these people do not know or care if they are hurt by orthodox Republican economic policies, which Trump still followed despite rhetoric implying otherwise. If you are a suffering person among people who suffer more, you still feel better off by comparison.

Republicans like to inflict pain and Democrats like being victims. Perhaps this symbiosis is the key to our mutual survival.

No, Democrats like being the liberators rescuing the victims (refugees included) from Republican oppression.  
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TimTurner
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« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2021, 12:42:27 AM »

If I recall, this phrase first started popping up at the time of Stephen Miller's family separation policy and cruelty at border facilities which was intended, at least in part, to discourage further illegal immigration by intentionally making life miserable for every person involved, including those such as young children who had no choice in the matter at all.

Less than two years later, into the 2019 government shutdown, one Trump supporter blamed the shutdown on him because he wasn't "hurting the people he needs to be hurting".

And of course, most of these people do not know or care if they are hurt by orthodox Republican economic policies, which Trump still followed despite rhetoric implying otherwise. If you are a suffering person among people who suffer more, you still feel better off by comparison.

Republicans like to inflict pain and Democrats like being victims. Perhaps this symbiosis is the key to our mutual survival.

No, Democrats like being the liberators rescuing the victims (refugees included) from Republican oppression.  

You are both wrong. Democrats and Republicans alike want to feel as though they are victims, no matter how true that is in practice.
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Ferguson97
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« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2021, 08:35:50 AM »

Republicans arenít interested in making the world a better place. They want to cause suffering in those who arenít rich white men.
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CELTICEMPIRE
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« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2021, 08:45:42 AM »

Republicans arenít interested in making the world a better place. They want to cause suffering in those who arenít rich white men.

Does that include the Republicans who aren't rich white men?
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HisGrace
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« Reply #7 on: May 05, 2021, 05:46:22 PM »

If I recall, this phrase first started popping up at the time of Stephen Miller's family separation policy and cruelty at border facilities which was intended, at least in part, to discourage further illegal immigration by intentionally making life miserable for every person involved, including those such as young children who had no choice in the matter at all.

Less than two years later, into the 2019 government shutdown, one Trump supporter blamed the shutdown on him because he wasn't "hurting the people he needs to be hurting".

And of course, most of these people do not know or care if they are hurt by orthodox Republican economic policies, which Trump still followed despite rhetoric implying otherwise. If you are a suffering person among people who suffer more, you still feel better off by comparison.

Republicans like to inflict pain and Democrats like being victims. Perhaps this symbiosis is the key to our mutual survival.

No, Democrats like being the liberators rescuing the victims (refugees included) from Republican oppression.  


No, they would complain and say that was a "white savior narrative". Legit all the millennial left wants to do is sulk and wallow in pity for themselves and others. Maybe throw in the occasional riot for a performative tantrum.
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AverroŽs Nix
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« Reply #8 on: May 06, 2021, 07:46:55 AM »

I appreciate the thoughtful response from Scott, but everything from Frodo's post onward may as well be Pavlov's dogs salivating at the ringing of a bell. It's a Facebook-tier exchange of partisan cliches.

I'm locking this thread and probably avoiding the Political Debate board for a while. My expectations had been higher.
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