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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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4 Responses

  1. Avatar Trumwill
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    says:

    There seems to be an (unavoidable) impetus on people that fall on one side or the other to not only agree with them politically, but culturally as well. For liberals it’s often not enough to believe in universal healthcare, access to abortion, and so on… but to oppose those that don’t not only in the political realm but also the personal. There is a sense that, even if one believes that abortion should be legal, one is obligated to fight against the stigma against it lest one give quarter to the enemy. Likewise, even if a conservative believes that less government is better and that welfare is bad policy, one must express a real disdain for those that take advantage of the opportunities given to them lest one suggest that the benefits are deserved or required.

    I find the number of people that I can comfortably discuss politics or culture with, left or right, to be relatively few.Report

    • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to Trumwill
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      says:

      I find the number of people that I can comfortably discuss politics or culture with, left or right, to be relatively few.

      Ditto that. And thus – blogging. Nevertheless, it’s hard to beat sitting around drinking beers and talking politics.

      Good points about all-or-nothing, by the way. That’s something you find in politics, religion, etc. I wrote a while ago about “progressive traditionalism” trying to wend out some of those ideas.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Trumwill
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      says:

      I find the number of people that I can comfortably discuss politics or culture with, left or right, to be relatively few.

      Really?

      I find that I can pretty much talk to anybody. I’ve argued against people at Focus on the Family, I’ve argued against people in a Unitarian Church basement. The only time (the *ONLY* time) I’ve run into trouble is when the other person has assumed that I am not merely wrong, but evil.

      And neither side has a monopoly on that particular assumption.Report

  2. Avatar greginak
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    says:

    I certainly see that our political labels act as a gross short hand for many embedded values that are often left unspoken. But more then just liberal or conservative, I think moderate or bi-partisan are used in a similar fashion. Independent has great American sounding ring. Of course in the Twitter age it is difficult to ask people to expand and unpack their thoughts and biases.

    It does seem like Americans have a drive towards absolutism in many things. We have been a country of people looking for their own personal Utopia’s.

    In terms of liberals wanting to remove various stigma’s against things like abortion or women working outside the home, I think that is true. The rationale is that for people to be free to take an action, there should not be a oppressive society trying to restrict them. So if a woman is legally free to work outside the home, but society at large suggests she is a bad person for doing that, she is not really free. Her options will be limited in the work world, she will not be taught it is possible so she may not even see work as an option, there won’t be role models or mentors and doors for training will be closed. There was quite a bit this up until the 60’s. How many colleges and grad school programs freely admitted women unless they were far better then men or had numerous other advantages.

    While I think there is a lot to that argument I easily see how conservatives struggle with that and how to change societal morays is a conundrum. Nor is it the place of gov to do that. The use of the term “sex worker” is an example of liberal types trying to remove a stigma over certain kinds of work. While I can see that may be reasonable for an adult who freely chooses to work as a porn star, for the most part that term is an Orwellian euphemism for teen prostitutes and druggy strippers. I never shied away from the work prostitute or hooker or whatever when I was working with teen runaways.Report

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