Why I’ve Been Quiet

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Mark of New Jersey

Mark is a Founding Editor of The League of Ordinary Gentlemen, the predecessor of Ordinary Times.

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25 Responses

  1. Avatar Jaybird
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    says:

    You have been missed.Report

  2. Avatar Mike Schilling
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    says:

    I don’t particularly sympathize. He could have avoided talking politics with a simple “That’s nice. What do you think about Jayson Werth?”Report

    • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Mike Schilling
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      says:

      My point wasn’t so much that I sympathize with him being stormed off on once he started discussing politics, but rather with his discomfort around talking politics and being involved in politics in the first place. In other words, my sympathy was with this statement: “That’s why I retired a few years ago. To get away from it all and try not to talk about it.” When identifying oneself as having once worked for a political tribe or holding the beliefs of a political tribe is sufficient to send a large number of people into a huff (whether that huff involves storming off or, worse, a berating), then there’s not really much sense in discussing anything related to politics in any circumstances.Report

  3. Avatar BlaiseP
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    says:

    The interesting thing about that surreal little dialogue at the Dairy Godmother was how little understanding of the process MiC and WiC exhibited. So here they have someone who might give them some insight into the process. If they’d had any sense, they would have said “Oh how interesting, the Senate Finance Committee, eh? You must come round to our home for dinner some evening and give us some pointers about how to approach these issues and what to expect, us being so new to town and all.”Report

    • Avatar Simon K in reply to BlaiseP
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      says:

      You’ve probably been to a meeting of single issue campaigning group dominated by Democrats in your life, Blaise. I go to several every year, thanks to the nature of Mrs K’s work. Wouldn’t you agree that MiC and WiC are fairly typical? I say this as a Liberal, albeit a fairly eccentric one – sophisticated understanding of tradoffs and costs is not the typical Democratic activist’s thing.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Simon K
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        says:

        This may surprise you, but no. Most of my friends are from within the context of church and NGOs. I’m one of the few Liberals I know in real life. I don’t have the option of stomping off when I encounter someone I don’t agree with in real life.

        The Democrats I do know from Cook and Kane County politics and to a limited extent Illinois politics are realists. Illinois’ few Blue patches stand out in an otherwise Red state.

        This I will say: I used to write on DailyKos. It’s an echo chamber over there: I did quite well there and went up the Rec List with some regularity while I wrote there. Insofar as I got about as many people angry as agreed with me, I figure I did okay, but that’s not really Democratic politics so much as it is Progressive.

        The Democratic Party doesn’t really appear in the blogosphere per se: it’s amazingly secretive. A few think tanks tend to dominate internal discussions but since the recent demise of the DLC, it’s unclear who’s formulating party policy anymore, much less promulgating any fresh policy from the outside.Report

  4. Avatar Michael Drew
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    says:

    Yes, you were missed. No doubt.Report

    • Avatar North in reply to Michael Drew
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      says:

      I missed him, the tears of joy at his return are still wet on my cheeks.Report

      • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to North
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        says:

        Have things really been that bad in my absence?

        And while I’m here, would anyone care to recommend something for me to write about? Because I don’t have anything in the hopper right now.Report

        • Avatar greginak in reply to Mark Thompson
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          says:

          Meh. Lots of lame threads with name calling, logical fallacies and low insight posts. Mostly incoherent shout fests.

          No great ideas for you to post on, at least none that i can remember. However there is a new blog Bleeding Heart Libertarians, that has had some interesting stuff. I’d be interested in hearing your take on social justice and libertarianism.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak
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            says:

            I don’t know. They were fairly coherent shout fests…Report

          • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to greginak
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            says:

            Thanks for the pointer – there are some great names on that list of contributors and I’ll have to immediately make it a regular read. Sorry that things seem to have taken a turn for the worse around here lately, though.Report

            • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Mark Thompson
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              says:

              Though please forgive me if I don’t put anything good together on “social justice” and libertarianism anytime soon. I’ve had some things going on professionally the last few weeks that have made me a tad short-tempered at anything involving the words “social justice.” I’d rather not get into exactly what those things are right now for fairly obvious reasons.

              This feeling will pass eventually, no doubt. One thing that may help me would be if I could get a working and consistent definition of what the term means. As applied, it seems like the phrase often winds up cloaking a rather specific set of normative values in the language of universality.

              In other words, without any baggage, no decent human being could openly proclaim themselves to be an opponent of “social justice,” since no decent human (and probably not even many indecent humans) would ever openly argue for what they admit to be “injust” and the phrase itself suggests that we are talking about a mere subset of what is “just.” So without baggage, the phrase is basically meaningless shorthand for “justice as defined by the speaker.” I say this is meaningless because of the fact that, without baggage, 1,000,000 people will provide 1,000,000 different definitions of what they deem to be “social justice.” IOW, without something else, the use of the phrase will communicate nothing since speaker and listener will have different – but unspoken – definitions of the term.

              So….what is that something else which gives the term an accepted meaning and makes it possible to form a testable hypothesis as to whether social justice or some particular facet thereof is increased or decreased in a given instance?Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Mark Thompson
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                says:

                I think your points about defining social justice are reasonable although i would add they apply to all the grand terms people love to use like Freedom.Report

              • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to greginak
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                says:

                Certainly. But I think it applies far more with “social justice” than with “freedom,” which at least contains a clear core, non-normative, meaning – the ability to do something without interference from another. The big problem with “freedom” as one’s touchstone is that it provides no guidance on how to resolve the inevitable and frequent conflicts between individuals’ freedoms. “Freedom” sort of winds up with the opposite problem of “social justice”: in a vacuum, “freedom” means the same thing to most people, but in practice it means a million different things.

                Probably a better analogy would be between “social justice” and “moral values.” In a vacuum, they both mean nothing more than “that which I believe is good.” In practice, they seem to mean, respectively, “the values shared by liberals in good standing,” and “the values shared by conservatives in good standing.”Report

              • Avatar Rufus F. in reply to Mark Thompson
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                says:

                It’s 6:00 and I am nearly asleep and have never thought about defining “social justice” before, so this will likely suck, however- how about we first distinguish between needs and wants and say that the basic needs of a human being just in terms of survival are probably fairly small, and then quantify them, and say that a just society is one in which those needs are met for all people, even if they can’t provide for themselves.

                Yeah, I know- that opens up a huge can of worms. But it was worth a shot.Report

              • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Rufus F.
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                If that is all it means, then sign me up, even if there is inherently going to be a wide range of opinion as to how to distinguish between needs and wants.

                Alas, the form of “social justice” I am dealing with professionally seems to be of a different form entirely.Report

              • Avatar Rufus F. in reply to Rufus F.
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                says:

                Ah, but in a consumer culture, it’s not possible to distinguish between needs and wants. That’s one of the problems.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Rufus F.
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                Not possible for whom? Anybody?

                It’d explain a lot!Report

              • Avatar Rufus F. in reply to Rufus F.
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                says:

                Hey, I can distinguish for myself. But, if you try to distinguish for me, I’ll kill you.Report

        • Avatar Heidegger in reply to Mark Thompson
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          says:

          Yes Mark–things really been that bad in your absence. Sort of looking like the ending of the movie, “Lord of the Flies”, only much, much, bloodier!Report

        • Avatar kyle in reply to Mark Thompson
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          says:

          A late suggestion but this whole prosecutorial immunity business coming out of NOLA and scotusReport

      • Avatar Heidegger in reply to North
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        says:

        Northie, relax–I’ve only gone for a day! Actually, less than..Report

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