“Nobody cares about what’s happening to the Uyghurs. I’m telling you a very hard, ugly truth, okay. Of all the things I care about, yes, it is below my line.” That was Chamath Palihapitiya (billionaire and part owner of the Golden State Warriors) on a podcast last month. Predictably, outrage followed. The Warriors issued a statement. Palihapitiya rolled back his comments. But the only part of Palihapitiya’s statement that seemed at odds with reality was the phrase, “hard, ugly truth.” Ugly, yes. But it hardly seems hard for the rest of us to peacefully coexist with the words that Palihapitiya spoke. The harder part for most people is not being more outraged by public comments about genocide than genocide itself. George Packer in The Atlantic: “Of course, Palihapitiya was telling the truth the first time. He doesn’t care about the Uyghurs. Nor does Golden State, which didn’t mention them in the team’s statement. Nor does the NBA, which avoids and even suppresses criticism of China because of the billions of dollars that the league makes from Chinese contracts. Nor do most NBA players, whose silence is bought by lucrative endorsement deals with companies doing business in China, including ones whose sportswear is made with cotton produced by Uyghur slave labor.” We Are All Realists Now. (And reality bites. And kicks, and punches, and tortures, and bombs, and enslaves…It’s not personal. It’s strictly business.)

A bit more from Packer: “In the past decade or so, human rights have pretty much disappeared from our politics. Throughout the 9/11 wars, the grotesque contradiction between the rhetoric of freedom and the reality of tortured prisoners, civilian casualties, and grinding conflict corrupted the cause beyond remedy. After Iraq and Afghanistan, no president can send young men and women to war by invoking human rights. When Barack Obama refrained from punishing Bashar al-Assad of Syria for murdering thousands of innocent people with poison gas, there was no outcry from the general public. Privately, Obama told his aide Ben Rhodes that not even the 1994 Rwandan genocide merited a strong U.S. response. Without announcing a new era of foreign-policy ‘realism,’ Obama brought it into being. Donald Trump made a point of showing utter indifference to the suffering of Syrians, Afghans, Chinese, or anyone else, and his callousness never cost him a thing. With the eclipse of U.S. prestige and power, the decay of liberal democracy, and the rising appeal of authoritarian regimes, there’s no longer any mechanism—neither military force nor threat of sanctions and isolation, nor global pressure campaigns by civil-society groups—to make the world’s dictators hesitate before they throw people into concentration camps. What’s striking is how the demise of these mechanisms has soured Americans on the idea of human rights itself.” (These days we’re more interested in our own human right to the latest iPhone, the cheapest cobalt for our battery-powered cars, the fastest delivery of fast fashion, and, of course, our right to proclaim moral outrage when we all know our official policy is, Shit Happens…)