**THIS POST HAS BEEN UPDATED **
For folks who don't know him - Sean Haugh is the Libertarian candidate for US Senate in NC. I have interviewed him countless times during my career, moderated a debate with him earlier this year, and even voted for him at least once in the past.
But as a candidate for NC Senate, he's getting a lot more attention this time than he ever has before. He's got national media following him around and there are many national politicos who hope (or fear) he'll have an impact on the contest between Thom Tillis and Kay Hagan.
Yesterday he decided to take some shots at me via The Twitter Machine.
Here is my response to Mr. Haugh.
I just woke up and saw you sent me a flurry of tweets early this morning. I'll attempt to address your argument.
Yesterday before the show started I sent out this tweet:
See the blog that outraged the left in North Carolina: http://t.co/NvB5hXXok1— Pete Kaliner (@PeteKaliner) July 31, 2014
@PeteKaliner it makes me sad to see you so all-in on culture war.— sean haugh (@EmperorSean) July 31, 2014
The first thing that struck me was - "Wow! Sean, you read quite fast!" You responded within minutes. Then again, it wasn't a really long blog.
I was curious as to how you got "culture war" from a blog post about teacher pay raises potentially reducing enthusiasm among some of the Moral Monday protesters.
Did you read it?
In my mind, the "culture war" is about social issues - like abortion, gay marriage, decriminalization of drugs.
My blog post did not address any of that. It talked about teacher pay raises.
As you know.
And, as I discussed on the show Wednesday, the reaction from leftists was:
1. Don't read it
2. Claim I had no idea what I was talking about
3. Call me names
Given my obvious confusion about the term, I asked you to define "culture war."
@PeteKaliner i don't agree w/ a lot of moral monday stuff either but just dismissing them out of hand isn't working.— sean haugh (@EmperorSean) July 31, 2014
A new charge: That I dismiss the Moral Mondayers out of hand, and that doing so "isn't working."
I'm not sure what you mean by "working," here.
The tactics and arguments used by the Moral Monday leaders are very helpful in highlighting the bankruptcy of statist philosophy and command-control economic systems.
I've never said they don't have the right to demonstrate.
I've been dissecting and addressing their arguments since the protests began about two years ago. You don't live in Asheville and I understand that you "checked out" of politics for a while, so maybe that's why you haven't heard all the ways we've covered the demonstrations. (We do live stream on iHeartRadio or at WWNC.com).
On to your new assertion, that I am dismissing the protesters:
Who's dismissing them, @EmperorSean? I find their calls to be arrogant, disingenuous, and dangerous. Also, define culture war.— Pete Kaliner (@PeteKaliner) July 31, 2014
@PeteKaliner promoting division between people so they can be dismissed out of hand. like what you just said.— sean haugh (@EmperorSean) August 1, 2014
It is not "promoting division" to argue against a political network that begins the debate with "You're racist, sexist, homophobic, hate the poor, want old people to die, and want kids to be illiterate."
In the years of covering these protests and their leaders, I do, indeed, find them to be arrogant (claiming a morality not present in an opposing policy viewpoint), disingenuous (claiming they are apolitical, moderate, and non-divisive), and dangerous (an expansion of the state under the rubric of "justice" at the expense of individual liberty and responsibility).
I believe these are reasoned arguments. You seem to disagree.
You then offered:
@PeteKaliner here's how to avoid the protest. MM says, we demand AB&C. I say, no, I won't do that and why. They reply with their reasons....— sean haugh (@EmperorSean) August 1, 2014
@PeteKaliner I now can listen & maybe find common ground. I could say, I like XY&Z, answering yr concerns while keeping my principles....— sean haugh (@EmperorSean) August 1, 2014
Your argument is based on a false assumption that the Moral Monday protests would end, if they would just "be heard."
I suspect you've been deceived by their rhetoric.
I have heard their arguments. I disagree with them.
A majority of the NC legislators disagree with them.
Their demands are not new. They've been part of campaign cycles for years, Sean. You're giving credence to the lie that, "If only the legislative leaders had met with Rev. Barber, this never would've happened."
These were HKonJ protests prior to Moral Monday.
Also, Rev. Barber was offered a meeting. He refused.
Further, all the people who demonstrate are able to speak directly with their legislative representatives in their offices, on the phone, via e-mail, etc.
The demonstrations are not about a refusal to hear their argument. It's about refusal to adopt their policies.
You're also ignoring the Blueprint NC network behind the efforts, as well as the Democratic Party cross-pollination, and the personal benefits enjoyed by Rev. Barber since his elevation of status from the 'Duke lacrosse case' days.
Telling me (and other limited government folks) to stop identifying these tactics, rhetoric, and methods for what they are, is not the way to get Rev. Barber to put down his bullhorn.
The starting position from the Moral Mondayers is "You're a racist." And despite two years of explaining and debating - they have not changed that position.
Because their purpose is not to engage in a debate, Sean.
For background on this, you can read the Eyes, Ears, Nose method of political organizing and action.
You then went on to say:
@PeteKaliner point is, as a legislator, I would have to have the conversation. we can continue to disagree but have to listen with respect.— sean haugh (@EmperorSean) August 1, 2014
@PeteKaliner frankly, as a radio host, I think you have a similar duty.— sean haugh (@EmperorSean) August 1, 2014
My phone lines are open. We take all callers. I am perfectly capable of engaging in civil discourse with people I disagree with.
However, I am also capable of engaging with partisan adversaries in a more incisive manner. I do apologize if that offends your sensibilities.
Also, I did watch your video.
@PeteKaliner twitter is terrible for this, but you deserve full considered response. 1 last point: look at results.— sean haugh (@EmperorSean) August 1, 2014
@PeteKaliner MM has proved if you just try to shut up & dismiss them they will only turn up the volume. What was 50 is now 1000 & growing.— sean haugh (@EmperorSean) August 1, 2014
@PeteKaliner This all could've been avoided if legislators did their jobs and had that respectful conversation.— sean haugh (@EmperorSean) August 1, 2014
Not only is it completely unknowable whether "this all could've been avoided" if they just got their meetings with GOP leaders, but it's not likely.
The disarray of the NC Democratic Party, a Raleigh media hungry for Monday "video-friendly" stories, a pundit class that agrees with greater state control, and a network of progressive activists and lawmakers seeking to return to power are all driving forces behind the movement.
I know this is long, but, as you said, I think you deserve a full response.
I happened to notice a couple other tweets you sent out early this morning:
(1/3) Finally figured out why people who want to end abortion or immigration don't even hear my solutions and just reject me out of hand.— sean haugh (@EmperorSean) July 31, 2014
(2/3) It's because the solutions I've offered require these people to think of women and Hispanics as actual human beings.— sean haugh (@EmperorSean) July 31, 2014
(3/3) So sick and tired of a bunch of white guys saying their high and mighty pontifications are an adequate solution for anything.— sean haugh (@EmperorSean) July 31, 2014
It appears you're not exactly "laying down your arms" in the culture war, either, Sean.
Also, I just received this e-mail.
I guess I understand your defense of the Moral Monday protests a little better now.
Best of luck on the campaign trail.
** UPDATE **
Mr. Haugh posted the following statement on his Facebook page and alerted me to it. It reads:
I would like to apologize for some, um, intemperate remarks made here last night. Here's my inner turmoil, and you may judge me anyway you like over it. One main issue for me is to end cultural war. As part of that, I have committed myself to listen to everybody and not demean whole groups of people. I want to stand up for a civility in politics that has been lost.
And yet, I cannot detach myself from my outrage over the increasing hate and violence in this world. I cannot easily set aside my frustration when people insist on more of the solutions we've already tried that have so obviously failed. I have reached a point where I have had more than enough of listening to nonsense and I really don't care who knows it. Sometimes, like last night, it gets the better of me.
I will continue to speak exactly what is on my mind. But I will try a little harder to do it in a manner that avoids demeaning other people.