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Erik Kain

Erik writes about video games at Forbes and politics at Mother Jones. He's the contributor of The League though he hasn't written much here lately. He can be found occasionally composing 140 character cultural analysis on Twitter.

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21 Responses

  1. Avatar Jaybird says:

    For the record, I find it thrilling.

    Let the bums know who is in charge and who is the servant.Report

  2. Avatar Jason Arvak says:

    Are the protest chants inane? Yes.

    But the faux rage on the left is hilarious. The exact same tactics that they are condemning now were invented by left-wing protesters in the 1960s and continually refined by leftist protest groups ever since. The use of the exact same tactics to harass and harangue Republicans during the last 8 years received few complaints and much applause from the exact same folks who complain now about the “mob” on the other side.

    They wrote the script and now they are distressed to learn that they don’t have exclusive rights.Report

  3. Avatar mike farmer says:

    Before you know it the liberals will be calling the protesters nattering nabobs of negativity. My, how times change.Report

  4. Avatar E.D. Kain says:

    It’s not that there are protests, it’s how the protesters conduct themselves that bothers me. It bespeaks the misinformation they’ve been fed rather than any real grasp of the proposals, the alternatives, etc. It feels too much like they’re being manipulated. The anger is too unwarranted. I just don’t like it. It’s not my style. I don’t like it when lefties do it either, no doubt about it. I think mobs are a bad thing, an ugly extension of democracy that really is not only unnecessary but makes everyone look bad. Even if the media is overplaying this, at some point doesn’t it have to come down to conservative leaders demanding better?Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      So long as there ain’t violence, it’s a bunch of nutballs peacefully assembling and petitioning their government for redress of grievances whilst engaging in their freedom of speech.

      Brings a tear to my eye, it does.Report

      • Avatar E.D. Kain says:

        Yeah, but it’s also just getting to the point of silliness. The message is all wrong. It’s too much heat, too much anger, not enough light. Maybe it’s all style. I don’t know. I just cringe when I watch it. I feel like so many people don’t understand what it is that they’re actually upset about.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          I will say what I said about the war protests:

          When you make it look like you’re engaging in little more than primal scream therapy, it will piss people off and turn people off to what you are trying to achieve. If you have a “puke-in” on the capitol steps and get some folks together to eat some chili dogs and then BLARGHHHHH all over touristy areas, if you lower people from bridges to create traffic jams to help create awareness, if the giant puppets show up, well… folks won’t take you seriously and it’ll actually hinder that thing that you want to have happen.

          Same for these protests. When they look like a bunch of hippies engaging in primal scream therapy, they are actually undercutting the cause that they’re fighting for… which should please those who support health care reform, if you ask me.

          For my part, I just like it when people start yelling at politicians in public.Report

  5. Avatar Jason Arvak says:

    Don’t get me wrong. I find the inane slogan-chanting of protests to be stupid and pointless across the board. Slogans never accurately capture the nuances of a policy debate. And protest chants always serve the function of shouting down dissenting views. I’m just saying that this particular model of protest is the adoption by a few conservatives of long-standing left-wing tactics about which the exact same people now complaining have never had anything except kind words for until now.Report

  6. Avatar Jason Arvak says:

    Scary “mob” protesters can be seen here.Report

  7. Avatar Jason Arvak says:

    I’ve never liked the “he did it first” or “he is worse”, either, E.D. As a matter of fact, I’ve condemned the (frequent) use of that argument in the liberal blogosphere as a “subject changing” tactic that is dishonest and disingenuous.

    But my point here is not to excuse the triviality and inanity of the conservative protests. As I said, I agree that they are stupid and counterproductive in that form. But I also want to point out the idiocy of the faux rage among liberals — they are the ones that wrote the scripts for the chant/shout-down mode of protest in the first place. I don’t think they should be allowed to get away with pretending that this is some whole new thing invented by conservative “angry mobs”.Report

  8. Avatar Katherine says:

    Maybe, Jason, the liberal anger isn’t “faux,” but because they don’t comprehend what the protesters are so angry about. I live in a country with single-payer health care, and whatever you think of it it’s not a tyranny.

    Protesting a needless war that kills hundreds of thousands and protesting a health care policy that, from what they’re saying, most of the protesters don’t even understand, don’t seem equivalent.Report

    • Avatar Jason Arvak says:

      Sorry, Katherine, but your comment seems to me to boil down to “protests that I agree with are fine, but protests I disagree with are bad”. That’s not a valid standard except when preaching to the choir.

      And I don’t agree that there is great mystery about what people object to with regards to government-controlled health care. The U.S. simply can’t afford it without a truly massive tax increase that would devastate an already depressed economy. Furthermore, the problems of equipment underinvestment and doctor shortages that plague countries like Canada are not be addressed by reform proponents. Instead, proponents are trying to rush through a reform bill before anyone is allowed to read it, let alone debate it fully. I think that force-down-the-throat tactic is what the admittedly overwrought and hyperbolic protesters are calling “tyranny”.

      Their method is terrible, but their objections are not either mysterious or specious.Report

      • Avatar greginak says:

        Sorry Jason you have some outright falsehoods. Nobody was trying to push through a bill without debate or it being read. There is no need for a “massive tax increase” to fund what looks like will be the current plan. That is the same old smear conservitives use. Part of the struggle with the bills has been to find the money to pay for. there are no huge taxs involved. In any case if the economy was great, the argument would be that we can’t do health reform because it might mess up the economy. Would you support reform if the economy was great?Report

        • Avatar Jason Arvak says:

          I would actually support reform even with the bad economy. But I prefer reform that is carefully designed with due attention to the unintended consequences and “lessons learned” from other experiences instead of a purist system rammed through for ideological reasons and willfully ignorant of the difficult financial situation we are in right now.Report

  9. Avatar Katherine says:

    truly massive tax increase

    In Canada – which has a far more government-intensive system than what the US is proposing – the system can effectively be paid for with a 7% sales tax. The economy’s survived it fine; whether it’s massive is a matter of perspective, I suppose.

    And my argument is not about whether or not I agree with the protests, but whether the people protesting have any understanding of the thing they’re protesting. From the things they and the Republicans backing them have been saying, they don’t appear to.Report

  10. Avatar Jason Arvak says:

    Well, Canada enjoys a free-ride on American defense spending for generations, has a much smaller and less effective infrastructure of roads to maintain (even on a per capita level) and other advantages that make the comparison inapplicable.

    But more importantly, my point is about timing. A 7% national sales tax to fund health care (something that is a part of ZERO proposals currently active) would be piled on top of existing sales taxes (already averaging 7% or so) at a time when employment numbers and consumer demand are already deeply depressed. In short, doing such a tax increase right now would turn a severe recession into an almost certain persistent depression with no way out.Report

  11. Avatar Jason Arvak says:

    Oh, and you never even addressed the problems with shortages in equipment and doctors in the Canadian system. I live in Minnesota and we see first-hand the defects of the Canadian system when we see the large number of Canadian license plates in the parking lots of hospitals and clinics in Duluth and the Twin Cities.Report

  12. Avatar Katherine says:

    Well, Canada enjoys a free-ride on American defense spending for generations, has a much smaller and less effective infrastructure of roads to maintain (even on a per capita level) and other advantages that make the comparison inapplicable.

    Are you kidding?! Given that the country is far less populated and much larger than the US, per capita road costs should be higher; and I’ve seen nothing greatly wrong with our road system. Back it up with stats.

    The point on defense spending is irrelevant, even if it were true. As I said, the 7% GST (goods and services tax) has been roughly equivalent in revenues to the cost of health care in outlays.Report

  13. Avatar Jason Arvak says:

    Well, Katherine, if you are just going to ignore half of what I said and make demands, I think we’re done talking for now.Report