The Art Imbroglio, Cont.

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Patrick

Patrick is a mid-40 year old geek with an undergraduate degree in mathematics and a master's degree in Information Systems. Nothing he says here has anything to do with the official position of his employer or any other institution.

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288 Responses

  1. Avatar Tod Kelly says:

    Excellent, and I realize now the end point I have been feeling my way toward in these discussions.Report

  2. Avatar Kim says:

    Cranky liberals are not conservatives. They’re simply liberals who have been burnt a couple of times on someone’s interesting ideas.

    Conservatives long for the ancien regime. The Illuminati may be quite a bit less than a paper tiger these days, but those conservatives ought not to be underestimated.

    To debate a true conservative, one must find a true conservative. They don’t like the hoi polloi you see.Report

    • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Kim says:

      Conservatives long for the ancient regime.

      If by “ancient” you mean “the 1950s” and if by “conservatives” you mean “those baby boomers who identify as conservative but almost nobody else who identifies as conservative”, then okay.

      Otherwise, I just don’t think this is true.  Oh, sure, there are nuts who may attract the attention of 10% of the population who actually long for the ancient regime, but there are also nuts who attract 10% of the population on the other side, too.

      I’m talking about the 80% of  the people in the middle, which includes most average folks.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

        Average folks delude themselves to thinking they’re on the right, as they tear down valuable things, trampling on stuff in their ignorance to “get what’s comin to me” and “make sure they don’t take mine.”

        But they don’t have any real power, so long as they absorb THAT crew’s propaganda, and do that crew’s bidding.Report

        • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Kim says:

          Kim, when I read stuff like this I say to myself, “…the girl’s starting to get it,” but then I know you’d give your soul for a Pirmanti smammich.Report

          • Avatar Kim in reply to Robert Cheeks says:

            Thing is? you’re one of the deluded ones, I wager. Most of the people beating on Lee’s Old War Horse are, after all. One thing about certain folks is that they can’t be bothered to ever have an enemy beat them. Always gotta come from within.

            Actually never ate at Primantis. But I’ve got a yen for some O-fries, and I am going to hit Tessaro’s sometime this month.

            [Pittsburgh: where even upscale is hotdogs and fries, gyros and burgers.]Report

      • Avatar Dan Miller in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

        Really? I’m with Corey Robin, that one of the defining features of the conservative movement is its affection for those who are already powerful.  This is obviously a tendency, not an organized conspiracy or anything.  But it is a real impulse, and one that exists in more than 10% of the population.Report

        • Avatar Kim in reply to Dan Miller says:

          bootlicking peasants, ya? Born and bred to cringe and fawn and brownnose to survive.

          And I don’t have MUCH against them (frivolous lawsuits aside). I have something against some of the people they’re fawning over.Report

        • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Dan Miller says:

          I’m with Corey Robin

          Corey Robin is a Liberal, I’m guessing.Report

          • Yeah. The liberal who gives liberals an intellectual foundation to believe that conservatives are objectively terrible and dangerous people.

            A very helpful contributor to the conversation.Report

            • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Will Truman says:

              Well, it’s certainly an exemplar for what I’m talking about, I guess.Report

            • Avatar Kim in reply to Will Truman says:

              … an… intellectuall… foundation?

              Fuck, man! If you read the news and don’t get that impression, you got somethin’ wrong witcha that intellectual foundations ain’t gonna fix.

              [am still using the definition provided upthread by myself on conservatives, and it’s worth reminding that a Republican coughed it up.]Report

            • Avatar Dan Miller in reply to Will Truman says:

              I think that’s a reductive and overly hostile summary.  What I take Robin to be saying is that conservatism–a tendency that is expressed, to varying degrees, in almost all people at one time or another–can, when expressed excessively, lead to some morally unacceptable outcomes.  I don’t see why disagreeing with someone, or even believing that their preferences are deeply wrong, is automatically destructive of the conversation.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Dan Miller says:

                What I take Robin to be saying is that conservatism–a tendency that is expressed, to varying degrees, in almost all people at one time or another–can, when expressed excessively, lead to some morally unacceptable outcomes.

                You can say the same thing about liberalism. That’s not a terribly profound insight.

                That said, Robin may have something to say, I haven’t read his stuff.

                However!  It’s probably a better idea, generally, for people who are of a particular bent to talk about the drawbacks in their own philosophy.  When talking about the other philosophy, it’s probably better to be talking about the advantages of that philosophy.

                It’s the best way to screw yourself the least with confirmation bias.  If you’re doing it the other way around, it’s awful easy to trick yourself.Report

              • Avatar Dan Miller in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

                That might be true, if politics was a parlor game with no real consequences.  But this is emphatically untrue.  It actually matters whether people identify as liberals or conservatives or libertarians.  One main goal of political writing is to convince other people that your views are correct.  I respect the people here enough to assume that they actually believe the things they write, whether or not I agree with them.  You shouldn’t try to convince others of something you don’t actually believe.  If I spent all my time talking about the flaws of liberalism, and little or none talking about why conservatism is wrong, I’d be giving a misleading impression and undermining what I actually believe.  No thanks.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Dan Miller says:

                You shouldn’t try to convince others of something you don’t actually believe.

                You probably also ought not to convince others of something you don’t actually understand.  And I really, really doubt that most people who are not Liberal understand liberalism except in an inaccurate way… and I really, really doubt that most people who are not Conservative understand conservativism except in an inaccurate way.

                It shows, even around here.

                If I can convince you to believe something I don’t believe, then it should be pretty trivial for me to convince you of the reverse. If I just convinced you of something that I don’t believe, at that point all I should have to do is say, “See, that’s the argument for that side, and it sounds pretty compelling, right?  Well, I don’t actually believe that, and here’s why I *don’t* find it compelling.”

                If I can’t convince you to believe something I don’t believe, either I can’t convince you of anything because I’m a bad convincer, or I don’t understand the think I don’t believe, or the thing I don’t believe is wrong.

                Far, far, too often we assume the last, and neither of the previous two.  Far, far too often we assume that the person we’re trying to convince is a fool, instead of even contemplating the idea that we might be, like, totally stupid.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

                Pat,

                yeah, but in my opinion, most conservatives don’t understand Conservatism. Because the American Right is always about who is in charge. Whatever they say and do, is nearly immaterial (as most of what is said and done is about things the people in charge doesnt’ care about)Report

              • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

                 It’s probably a better idea, generally, for people who are of a particular bent to talk about the drawbacks in their own philosophy.  When talking about the other philosophy, it’s probably better to be talking about the advantages of that philosophy.

                I have to agree that this is hopelessly naive and ultimately completely undesirable. We should all try to talk about any and all ideas that we feel are influencing the world around us, including critiquing ideas with which we don’t agree which we feel are influencing the world for the worse; it’s all our world, after all.  We should try to get it right when we do, is all.  Maybe Robin does, maybe he doesn’t: whether he does or doesn’t, maybe he’s made a good-faith effort to get conservatism right (even if he’s put what he’s concluded in the harshest terms), or maybe he hasn’t.  Only if he’s done the latter has he really transgressed in terms of how we should interact with the ideas we encounter in the world.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Michael Drew says:

                So you like listening to conservatives tell you what liberalism is?

                Just for the record.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Dan Miller says:

                I cannot speak to the actual content of the book, but rather how it is used in discussions. Namely, that conservatism leads not only to bad outcomes, but is fundamentally wrong in intent and spirit.

                The Amazon description suggested to me that their interpretation is not off-base: Tracing conservatism back to its roots in the reaction against the French Revolution, Robin argues that the right is fundamentally inspired by a hostility to emancipating the lower orders. Some conservatives endorse the free market, others oppose it. Some criticize the state, others celebrate it. Underlying these differences is the impulse to defend power and privilege against movements demanding freedom and equality.

                So, in order for a conversation to occur, anybody who identifies as conservative would need to demonstrate that they are not fundamentally inspired by a hostility to emancipating the lower orders. Because who wants to discuss stuff with (and more to the point, listen to) a guy or gal who is inspired by that?

                It’s a non-falsifiable allegation that shifts any discussion from the issues at hand to the comparative moral indefensibility of one side of its participants.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Will Truman says:

                Lord knows, the only reasons you’d want to criticize the French Revolution have to do with peasants not knowing their place.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Will Truman says:

                Will,

                most people who claim they’re conservatives.

                You seem to think that having a profitable discussion is similar to having a pleasant discussion. I disagree. Some of the best discussions come from dealing with your enemies.

                And the people who defend and attempt to propagate the Ancien Regime are not our friends.

                You might enjoy Brin’s characterization — which, instead of using “Liberal” (that amorphous, overused term), uses Modernist. Conservative is still the right word for Koch and other fools like him, of course. But call TVD or DD a Modernist, and you’ll get less howling.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to Kim says:

                Actually, the conservative argument is that shortly after classical liberalism, modernity went mad.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                *eyebrow* is that before or after Social Darwinism?Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                I’ll put you down as “pro arranged marriage” then.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                That’s a fair summary of some Marxist arguments too, strangely enough. I suspect that the definitions of “mad” differ substantially, however.Report

              • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                *eyebrow* is that before or after Social Darwinism?

                After.  Puting evolution and abortion on the same side as Social Darwinism and Eugenics (with themselves being on the opposite side of all that) is a well worn trope in many conservative circles.Report

              • Avatar Pierre Corneille in reply to Kim says:

                You seem to think that having a profitable discussion is similar to having a pleasant discussion. I disagree. Some of the best discussions come from dealing with your enemies.

                I disagree.  When someone is an enemy, conversation has been foreclosed, and it’s time to do battle, either (hopefully not) with violence or with the ballot box, the courts, etc.

                I think a profitable discussion is very similar, although not identical, to a pleasant discussion.  There’s some common ground, some shared desire to arrive a the truth or at least a mutual understanding with one’s opponent, not enemy.Report

              • Thanks for putting into words what I was trying to figure out how to. Conversations are for understanding and resolution. When there is no room for either, then it’s off to the battlefields (or ballot box).Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Pierre Corneille says:

                conversations with opponents/enemies (perhaps I was a bit too harsh, yes?) tend to revolve around “here’s what we’re both going to do, which is in both of our best interests. For Now.”Report

        • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Dan Miller says:

          “…one of the defining features of the conservative movement is its affection for those who are already powerful.”

          I guess that explains the conservative nostalgia for the Kennedy Presidency.Report

  3. Avatar James Hanley says:

    But there’s actually… nothing inherently wrong with trying to preserve the best parts of the past while simultaneously trying to change the worst parts of the present

    Well, that’s what I do.  But what “you” do is to try to change the best parts of the past while simultaneously trying to preserve the worst parts of the present.Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to James Hanley says:

      while this is true, I find my tent is generally big enough to accommodate most people who actively advocate their own positions, rather than using stalking horses to steal things.Report

      • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Kim says:

        Kimmie, did you make it to “Occupy Picksburgh?”Report

        • Avatar Kim in reply to Robert Cheeks says:

          If by “make it to” you mean walk by it every day after and before work, yup. Donated some miso too. Seemed like good people there — and unlike Oakland, the kids went home without much of a fuss.

          The anti-fracking signs (and pro-public transit) were cute. Alongside the typical steelers black and gold. Buncha local kids.

          Now my old poetry prof is running some sort of Spoken Word gettogether each month, with the Occupy Folks. I wish him the best.Report

    • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to James Hanley says:

      But what “you” do is to try to change the best parts of the past while simultaneously trying to preserve the worst parts of the present.

      That’s one of the claims, yeah.

      Doesn’t it just seem absurd on its face, when stated in those terms?Report

      • Avatar karl in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

        Didn’t he mean “change the best parts of the present while simultaneously trying to preserve the worst parts of the past”?

        Doesn’t sound so absurd now, it sounds like party platform.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

        Doesn’t it just seem absurd on its face, when stated in those terms?

        Honestly, no, because values differ.  Robert Cheeks is sincere, but I don’t want his world.  Jesse Ewiak is sincere, but I don’t his world, either.  And neither of them wants each other’s world.  And neither of them wants my world. Sure, we don’t disagree on every point, and there are surely points where all three of us agree, but our disagreements are sincere.Report

        • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to James Hanley says:

          But that’s not a claim against conservativism or liberalism, it’s a claim against an individual.

          We *all* (well, almost all) want to preserve some things about the past, and change some things about the present.  We’re *all* conservative about some things, and liberal about others.

          Rather than saying, “Those people who want to change this and that and keep the other and the other other are CONSERVATIVES!” I’m a LIBERAL!” and then arguing about whether Conservativism or Liberalism is the right way to go… maybe it would be more productive to tell each other to shut up about blanket statements and stick to talking about the this, or the that, or the other, or the other other on cases.Report

          • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

            But to the extent we can make sensible groupings, those who can be classified meaningfully as conservatives will–on average–want to preserve/change different things than will–on average–that group that can be meaningfully classified as liberals, and those who can be meaningfully classified as libertarians will have a different set–on average–of things to preserve/change.

            And Karl’s restatement seems a little clearer than my original. Thanks for making me look bad, Karl. 😉Report

            • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to James Hanley says:

              That’s not my problem, James.

              My problem is that we (not you and I we, but The American Public “we”) are currently allowing a relatively small set of people tell us what Conservatives Are, and a different set of people tell us what Liberals Are.  And to the extent that we identify as Liberal, we’re letting the Democrats tell us who the Conservatives Are, and to the extent that we identify as Conservative, we’re letting the GOP tell us who the Liberals Are.

              So when a Liberal, (who has been told by the Democrats who Conservatives Are), tries to talk to a Conservative, (who has been told by the GOP who Liberals Are), they’re talking about how this show is yours, and that show is not mine.

              Real dialogue happens when someone says, “Hey, this show/piece of art?  This show I’d like to think of as mine, because it says these things to me that I find compelling.  Do you find those things compelling, too?”Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

                I’d say conversation starts when we talk to individuals and not to labels. At best C and L are vague although useful terms so you can’t really talk to a person based on those labels. At least when we talk about R and D we can refer to votes and platforms and they are orgs with leaders.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

                Patrick,

                yeah, and what does it say about me that my referenced “what conservatives are” above comes from a card-carrying Republican?

                ;-PReport

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Kim says:

                I can pick one statement by one member of one political party and thus make all sorts of really interesting class structures.

                I don’t know that it’s a terribly accurate class structure, though.Report

              • Avatar wardsmith in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

                Not to mention that Kim is a thoroughly unreliable source for virtually anything related to facts.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to wardsmith says:

                this one I can cite, if you’re really interested, which I doubt.Report

              • Avatar wardsmith in reply to wardsmith says:

                Kim, I’m with Jason on you, at best performance art. Cheeks does it better however for sheer volume and insipidity your posts win. Unfortunately that isn’t a prize much sought after. By all means if you have a link post it, I’m guessing as usual, no link or it doesn’t say what you think it does, but I’m willing to be surprised.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to wardsmith says:

                http://www.davidbrin.com/realculturewar1.htm

                (and my memory’s as usual more than a bit fuzzy on the details. let me know if you think that his description of Romantics is not what fits for conservatism).

                (and yes, he’s definitely got an essay around about why he’s a republican in SanDiego).Report

              • Avatar wardsmith in reply to wardsmith says:

                If your fuzzy memory can recall, I was the first to post Brin links around here, most recently concerning memes. Naturally I know the man, his thoughts and his leanings. As usual you don’t.Report

              • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

                This I agree with, because I take “a Liberal, (who has been told by the Democrats who Conservatives Are)” to have almost certainly been given a non-good faith caricature of what conservatism is.  So the problem is giving real effort to describing these ideas somewhat completely and vaguely fairly, even if unsympathetically. I’ve seen very unsympathetic descriptions by conservatives of liberalism that  nevertheless recognized as basically thorough and not grotesquely unfair.  I’ve also seen very unsympathetic descriptions by conservatives of liberalism that were little more than thumbnail epithets and of no analytic value.  It’s the latter that the problem; if you’re willing to do some significant work toward understanding the subject, then it’s okay to ultimately harshly critique it if that’s your aim.  We definitely need to vindicate that.  The problem is hackery, not criticism.Report

        • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to James Hanley says:

          I my world, James, no one will ask, “papers please,” and no one will feel you up at the airport where the sleek DC-7’s are lined up to take off.Report

          • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Robert Cheeks says:

            Will my kids have to pray in the public schools, and be told by their teachers that they are sick if they don’t believe in God?Report

            • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to James Hanley says:

              James, it hurts that you would even make that inquiry. I’m a true republican. The choices you and yourn make re: your psyche is personal and private, and I for one have no interest in interferring. I’m not a redistributist commie-Dem.Report

              • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Robert Cheeks says:

                Isn’t the correct response: What public schools?Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Robert Cheeks says:

                Robert,

                Sorry to hurt you, but a “real Republican” ain’t libertarian enough for my tastes.  It was Republicans (as well as conservative Dems) who have for decades pushed for prayer and flag adoration in the public schools.  Republicans have traditionally been about legislating morality.  If that ain’t you, I’m glad, but I’m dubious about whether your claim to being a “real” Republican holds up.

                The Republican Party has also been, since it’s founding, about manipulating economic policy for the benefit of certain businesses over others.  Only in recent decades did a significant strain of free marketism become prominent.

                So as a general rule, I’m quite skeptical that anyone who calls himself a “true Republican” and who openly scorns the unreligious, is going to be my kind of non-interventionist person.  Again, if you are, kudos.Report

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

                I get the feeling that the real republicans are telling the libertarians to go fish themselves with the Santorum vote.Report

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

                Of course, to be fair, the Democrats turned them away a long time ago. The weirdly ironic thing is that America has perhaps the strongest libertarian tradition in the world. It just doesn’t extend to the District of Columbia.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Rufus F. says:

                “Once again the Libertines demonstrate that all they care about is sodomy and marijuana.”Report

              • Avatar Rufus F. in reply to Jaybird says:

                No idea who said that. But it reminds me of something I’ve wanted to ask here before- I know we have some libertarians here- do we have any actual libertines? Serious question.Report

              • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Jaybird says:

                The “What I Think I Do” panel is full of win.Report

              • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Jaybird says:

                …Due to the self-awareness, I mean.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

                There’s a mod at Redstate who regularly said something to that effect.

                (The set of Libertines here does not include me. I’m almost as square as North.)Report

              • Avatar Rufus F. in reply to Jaybird says:

                Yeah, I think I’m pretty much closer to libertine than the rest of y’all. In my defense, I have the excuse that I sing the devil’s music in a couple  of bands.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Jaybird says:

                ACID
                AMNESTY
                ABORTION

                vote
                MCGOVERNReport

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Jaybird says:

                Plinko:  That chart is great, but the “Democrats” panel should be the KKK lynching someone.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Jaybird says:

                Somewhat hedonistic, but more in an Epicurean way than in a libertine fashion.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to James Hanley says:

                James, the point you’re missing is in the phrase ‘true republican.’ You’ll take note of my intent on using the small ‘r’. The point is critical to any analysis of political philosophy. Republicanism is the only system worth discussing, all other statist models fail simply because of the ground of those systems.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Robert Cheeks says:

                Robert,

                You’re correct. I missed the small “r.”  That does indeed make a big difference.

                Please forgive my confusion.  It’s exceedingly rare to meet a moralist who doesn’t seek to impose morality on others.

                And to be sure, classical republicans weren’t so loathe to do so, either, although I think being loathe really is a better fit for that approach.Report

              • Avatar wardsmith in reply to James Hanley says:

                The Republican Party In Power has also been, since it’s founding, about manipulating economic policy for the benefit of certain businesses over others.  Only in recent decades did a significant strain of free marketism become prominent.

                Not tu quoque, but pointing out the fact that political parties exist to gain and continue in power. Part of that modus operandi is to “bless” those on the party’s team with regulatory capture, contracts and other “favors”. Thus it ever was and thus it will ever be.

                I agree with Blaise that both parties are rat bastards. Politicians will say anything to gain power and then do whatever the hell they want once in power. Chavez said he was going to make life better for the Venezuelans, my friends there know otherwise.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to wardsmith says:

                Oh, I didn’t mention the Democrats because it’s so obvious they want to manipulate economic policy. Their only claim to superiority is that at least they’re honest enough not to claim otherwise, unlike so many Republicans.

                But of course it’s also the party out of power that wants to manipulate economic policy–it’s how they appeal to voters to try to get back into power.Report

    • Avatar MFarmer in reply to James Hanley says:

      I think we should start over from scratch, each one of us with 50 acres and a mule.Report

  4. Avatar Dan Miller says:

    Can we stop calling the West Wing a liberal show? It was a high Broderist wet dream that displayed a shallow commitment at best to any kind of substantive liberalism, and completely ignored the poor.  If conservatives get to disown 24, then I shouldn’t be burdened with defending the West Wing.

     Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to Dan Miller says:

      Can we just say who cares? I honestly pity the poor idiots who read or write at Big Hollywood, because for whatever reason they’ve been tricked into seeing entertainment as part of the political horse race. I could not care less whether 24 is liberal or conservative, and the same goes for the West Wing, Juno, and every damn other TV show, movie, play, and pop music song I’ve ever heard. I don’t even care whether the actors, directors, producers, or fishin’ key grips are liberal or conservative. Why the fuck (sorry, fish isn’t strong enough) would I?

      Oh, I know there are some poor, benighted souls who think that because Hollywood is too liberal, or too conservative, or too whatever, people are being indoctrinated or brain washed or only given one side of the story, but those people are friggin’ fools who’ve been sold a load of horse shit by manipulative asses who are using them for political and monetary gain. Those are the people I pity the most.Report

    • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Dan Miller says:

      Quiz, Dan:

      If we did a poll of people over 30 who identify as Democrat, do you think more than 65% of them would call The West Wing a “liberal” show?

      If we did a poll of people who identify as Democrat and who were registered to vote, do you think that number would go up or down?

      If we did a poll of people who identify as Democrat and who voted in the last election, up or down?

      Basically: maybe you, as a Liberal, want to disavow The West Wing.  Do most Liberals?  Not most Liberal intelligentsia, or most liberals-who-are-politically-aware-critters-who-read-political-blogs-and-thus-are-in-a-small-minority-of-liberals…  just most plain folks who would call themselves Liberals.

      Honest answer?Report

      • Avatar Dan Miller in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

        Well, you’ve probably got a fair point.  That show irks me, though.Report

      • Avatar Snarky McSnarkSnark in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

        I dunno.   This conversation seems to be getting a little reductive to me.

        I don’t think that The West Wing was a “liberal” show, per se.   It was a show about liberal people, but what were its real themes:   professionalism, trying to do right in a complex world, and  our virtual families.   Given where it took place, its protagonists had to believe in something, but I never saw the show as particularly programmatic in the same way that a David E. Kelly show (Boston Legal, Harry’s Law) is.

        In fact, there is very little on TV that is explicitly political (i.e. in which the central focus of the show is ideological  / political in nature).   Sure there are plenty of shows in people are liberal or conservative, but this is all stuffed into the interstices.   (And I will grant that there are more liberals than conservatives in those interstices).

        The explicitly “political” shows I can think of are:  the Wire,  Boss, the Daily Show and Colbert.   And all of those are kind of complex, and contradictory and non-programmatic in what they have to say.

        We’ve had a lot of silliness in which anything that has necrophilia, hunting, or military protagonists is “conservative,” and anything with gays, city dwellers or necrophiliacs (really!   read the comments!) is liberal.

        Liberalism and conservativsm are really postures towards the world.   David E. Kelly’s shows are tiresome because they are polemics, and about issues more than ideas.

        If we’re really talking about art, here, it is seldom programmatic enough to be cleanly characterized as “liberal” or “conservative.”    The Wire‘s sympathies are clearly in sympathy with the underclass (liberal!), but its themes are about the self-defeating nature of human institutions to deal with problems (conservative).   Juno was about a girl that decided to bear her baby after an inadvertant pregnancy (conservative!), but that was wiling to consider abortion as an option, and made a freely-taken choice (liberal!).     24 was a mess, in which it’s hero tortured information from the bad guys (conservative!), but the US was under threat from a cabal of shadowy businessmen (liberal).

        Shows of this type are at their best when they illustrate the ineffable clashes between world views.   The programmatic ones don’t generally succeed as well as art OR entertainment.Report

      • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

        I went to  jail with Martin Sheen!Report

  5. Avatar wardsmith says:

    Here is the reductio ad absurdum of this argument. If the Right is so wrong, how is it the right did such a great job of rescuing for instance England from her doldrums of the 70’s? If the left is so right, how did its policies lead to the doldrums of the 70’s? I think most if not all will agree with me that Margaret Thatcher (the Iron Lady) was the epitome of conservative thinking no?

    Many if not most of you reading this were simply not alive or were too young to remember how bad things were then. This article (and snippets from the “art form” of the movie) serve to remind those who weren’t there of the definition of bad. Yes there was politics, and yes those politics often got in the way of good ideas, as politics always does. The telling quote from the article is this:

    Mrs. Thatcher came with her own script, a framework provided by free-market economists who, even a few years earlier, had been regarded as fringe figures. One telling moment that “The Iron Lady” misses is when a Conservative staffer called for a middle way between left and right and the prime minister shut him down mid-comment. Slapping a copy of Friedrich Hayek’s “The Constitution of Liberty” on the table, she declared: “This is what we believe.”

    Years later, when I interviewed her in London, Mrs. Thatcher was no less firm. “It started with ideas, with beliefs,” she said. “You must start with beliefs. Yes, always with beliefs.”

    Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to wardsmith says:

      The right is dancing on the grave of America and England as you speak. The liberals keep on trying to open the coffin — as the money flows, in inexorable glacier green water, towards China.

      Your point was unsound from the first, but now it just seems pathetic.Report

      • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Kim says:

        Kimmie, tell me you weren’t edumacated in Catholic schools! Tell me you’re an atheist?Report

        • Avatar Kim in reply to Robert Cheeks says:

          FIRE burns and cancer grows. it’s just what they do. But I don’t forget that Summers and the right loosed the locusts.

          The religion’s Jewish on this end. Squirrel Hill, too.Report

          • Avatar wardsmith in reply to Kim says:

            Robert this is pointless. This is what Kim is. The human comes in periodically but the blogs are too much of a pattern to be wholly human generated. When they look like complete nonsense it is because they ARE complete nonsense as only a robot can accomplish.Report

            • Avatar Kim in reply to wardsmith says:

              humans are the pattern-generators, ward. Or haven’t you ever asked someone to make a random drawing? It is never, ever random (unless the person actually bothers to think first, and that’s rare).

              The truth of the matter is that I’m not nearly as insightful as the computerized bloggers. It’s not me getting interviewed in the NYT, after all.Report

              • Avatar wardsmith in reply to Kim says:

                Humans are not pattern generators, we are pattern seekers. Your pattern is obvious, except when it isn’t. Either you’re schizophrenic or the human steps in for the AI blogging agent periodically. I prefer the latter explanation. One day you can publish and say, “See, I was able to fool all these erstwhile intelligent bloggers!”

                 Report

          • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Kim says:

            Interesting, I have an old HS classmate, Silverman by maiden name, who owns a clothing store and a cruise bidness up there. And, my dear friend, Hanita, in Tel Aviv just got her phd in philosophy! Jews and hillbillys, it works!

             Report

      • Avatar wardsmith in reply to Kim says:

        Kim when were you born again? Do you have the first idea of the shithole that England had become when coal miners and everyone else were constantly on strike? It wasn’t even about wages, benefits or working conditions. It was all about  raw unadulterated power. The road to hell is paved with good intentions and the Liberals know how to pave roads to hell like no one else. Pointing out to Liberals how EVERY road they’ve paved has ended up with a hellish bent is of no use of course, they deny the existence of an almighty and certainly of a hell. Pointing out that their utopian society has turned decidedly dystopian is likewise of no use. Blaming the conservative for trying to put the house back in order and screaming bloody murder at having to swallow the necessary medicine has also been done – repeatedly. As long as liberals get to tell the tale, the conservative is always the villain, always the one who has to be the adult in the conversation, the one who must play the guilty party (remember the Racist Democrats? cause I sure the hell do).Report

        • Avatar Kim in reply to wardsmith says:

          Byrd’s dead, but right up until his deathbed, he kept right on apologizin’. Because it was the right thing to do.

          When liberals make mistakes (and not reactionaries on the liberals’ side), you’ll grant me the floor to apologize in their stead, if they be dead.

          Yes, sir, allow me to apologize for the deaths of thousands, from the loopholes cut in a Clean Air Act. Gotta make sausage — and saved a lotta people. But those folks? Still Dead. Still Dying. Today, thirty years later.

          Yeah, we done tried something. It didn’t fix everything. And I’m sorry.

          (because I’m really not trying to be snarky here…) I’ll apologize for the projects — those white elephants of urban decay. They meant well, but mixed neighborhoods were a much better solution.

          Oh, and tell me, sir, when’s the next Great Midwestern Flood? (ref the one in the 1990’s) That’s right. Liberals did something right, and it really isn’t coming back. Permanent fix, and fairly cheap too.

          I’ve walked through East Liberty. I know when a liberal plan makes a hash of things, something that can’t be repaired. You aren’t always the villain, trust me.

          Suppose I might as well apologize for suburbs, too, those glorious waste of space idiotic, waste of resources and Blasted Expensive things! Liberals thought they were doing something right! [bear in mind, my ideal city has plenty of single family dwellings. It’s mostly the density of living that I object too — and the density of government!]Report

        • Avatar Snarky McSnarkSnark in reply to wardsmith says:

          I don’t know quite how the conversation devolved into this, but I would like to share the following observations.

          1.  Your constant goading and contempt towards Kim is bringing down the entire level of this blog.   This has been an interesting and far-ranging discussion;  and while I don’t expect (or want) to agree with everyone, I”ve gotten something from everybody here, except you.

          2.   While I enjoy partisan rah-rah as much as anyone, what you are doing here amounts, really, to little more than trolling and baiting.

          3.   These discussions (liberals are eeeeevil, and conservatives wise) are tiresome and useless.   I’m sure the world looks black and white to you, but try to keep in mind that the “liberal” period between 1932 and 1972 produced the longest and largest economic expansion in the history of the world,  the creation of an almost universal middle class, 40 years of increasing social stability, and zero financial crises.      The 40 years that followed that (you could say that it was the Republican era that started with Nixon) resulted in stagnant growth, three major financial crises, and inreased social conflict and inequality.

          I’m sure the reasons are multfarous and complex–I’d just like to say that you seem to be commenting on the wrong blog:  maybe a more partisan outlet would be more suitable for you.

          4.   Your parting crack (remember the Racist Democrats? cause I sure the hell do) is a little beneath you.    For the record, those “racist Democrats” are now Republcans (google “Nixon’s southern strategy).    I think the proudest moment in our recent political history was when Johnson and the Democrats  wrote and passed the Civil Rights acts of 1965 and 1966, even understanding that it would probably lead to a political re-alignment towards the Republicans.    This was politics used for its best and highest purposes, and it makes me proud.Report

          • Avatar wardsmith in reply to Snarky McSnarkSnark says:

            Ahem, when someone named Snarky McSnarkSnark puts me down, I am compelled to take it with some grainloads of salt. Kim and I have quite a history going back on this blog, she’s 86’d from certain commenters including respected front-pagers and for good reasons. I’m her biggest fan when she’s lucid, but am sticking to my bot theory until a better one comes along. This post was so unlike her previous hundred or so that you’d have to concede my point.

            That said, I’ll address your points in order
            1) You haven’t gotten /anything/ from me? Have you tried clicking on the links?
            2) I’ve seen plenty from the other side especially the baiting, guess it is only apparent when it pinches your sensibilities. Obviously it doesn’t pinch yours, so like when LeBron commits a flagrant foul, but you’re /rooting/ for Lebron, well clearly there was no foul at all.
            3) We can discuss economics another time. To call the bottom of a worldwide depression as your starting point is less than disingenuous.It can also take some time for certain disastrous policies to reach critical mass, evidence Greece. Certain policies are prima facia unsustainable to anyone who has a working understanding of math.
            Perhaps I am being partisan, because certainly there is a dearth of voices representing the conservative side of things here, and I’ve seen plenty of voices recommending banishment for the few who remain. SO
            perhaps it is YOU who prefer a more partisan blog and wish to make this one so?

            4) The “southern strategy” is a myth. There I said it. Republicans voted overwhelmingly in FAVOR of the legislation you’re touting and as I’ve discussed elsewhere on this site, the millstone around the neck of the Republicans for something that amounts to minor political expediency is nothing short of brilliant liberal public relations spin. I’m not saying it hasn’t largely succeeded but I am saying it is largely unfair. There have been Republicans in states NOT from the south who have worked tirelessly for legitimate racial equality. Likewise there have been Democrats who have succeeded in nothing beyond keeping the black man down, while pretending the opposite.

            Your nom de guerre notwithstanding, I’ll happily engage in earnest with you. Kim purposely responded immediately to my posts “goading” me into dealing with her (or her bot). If you’re reasonable I’m reasonable. Simple rule.Report

            • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to wardsmith says:

              Which Republicans were working so assiduously on civil rights?   I have no clear idea how old you are but I remember things quite differently.    This I do remember, the Dixiecrats went Republican in a very big way and remain so to this day.

              As for rescuing the UK from itself in the era of the coal miners, I remember things quite differently in those times as well.

              But then, memory is a great deceiver.   Incipient Alzheimer’s Disease may be carving up my brain:  I should get myself checked out.   In the mean time, feel free to refresh my memory on these brave souls in the GOP who worked so hard beating down discriminatory practices, then or now.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Everett Dirksen, Blaise.  And of the filibustering Dixiecrat senators, Strom Thurmond was the only defector to the GOP.  Men like Byrd and Gore Sr. remained Democrats in good standing.

                I don’t mean to take advantage of your principled allowance that perhaps memory has failed you, but it has.  I don’t blame your memory, however, as much as the nearly 50 years of revisionism that has obscured the facts of that era.

                Sen.  Everett Dirksen’s [R-IL] not-famous-enough speech–“An Idea Whose Time Has Come”—that broke the Dixiecrat filibuster of the Civil Rights Act of 1964;

                It is said on the night he died, Victor Hugo made this closing entry in his diary: “There is one thing stronger than all the armies in the world, and that is an idea whose time has come.” Later it was put in more dramatic form: “Greater than the tread of mighty armies is an idea whose hour has come.” This is the issue with which we have been wrestling for months. There will be continued resistance for one reason or another. There will in some quarters be a steadfast refusal to come to grips with what seems an inevitable challenge which must be met. The idea of equal opportunity to vote, to secure schooling, to have public funds equitably spent, to have public parks and playgrounds equally accessible, to have an equal opportunity for a livelihood without discrimination, to be equal before the law—the hour for this idea has come and it will not be denied or resisted.

                Not that these facts will make a damn bit of difference in this discussion about “art.”

                 

                 Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                Everett Dirksen?   That McCarthy-ite jackass?   Who got us ass-deep into Vietnam?   Let me tell you something about Everett Fucking Dirksen and the Civil Rights Bill of 1964 for I remember it well.   Dirksen took out the provisions which might have made discrimination in the workplace illegal.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to BlaiseP says:

                A discussion on art ends up in the “Republicans are racist” gutter.  As if the gentlepersons of the right didn’t see this coming from miles away, and so largely avoided this travesty.  Rock on.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                Resorting to Straw Man Quote Marks won’t save your argument.   Frankly, it’s a cheap shot.   The Republican Party benefited hugely from the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act.   They’re still furiously blowing the Dog Whistle of State’s Rights, as they did back then.   JFK wanted some civil rights legislation of his own but Mansfield and Dirksen and the Muddling Middle got that all watered down, too.   LBJ did the best he could in the House but the Senate wanted to water it down to nothing as they’d done with Kennedy and Truman too.

                Well, 1968 saw the outcome of all their muddling when the cities went up in flames.    Tricky Dick got awfully cozy with Strom Thurmond in those days and the GOP carried the day with all their new racist buddies.   It would make a buzzard puke to recount how Nixon won that election.

                These things really happened.   Everett Dirksen sized up the GOP, worked out how much of the House bill he could get through and workplace equality was not possible and even LBJ knew it.

                The GOP is the party of Lincoln but like Lincoln, it’s never given a damn about liberty or equality, only unity.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Dirksen was trying to get a bill passed.  Half a loaf is better than nothing, incrementalism, politics is the art of compromise, etc., etc.  It does no damn good to leave something wonderful in a bill if it helps to get the bill killed.  Some people take comfort in contemplating their unsullied purity when they lose–political winners don’t.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Bp, stop using the “F” word. Your vocabulary is big enough for you to exclude the “F” word. The only reason the League leadership doesn’t bitch slap you is that you’re a flaming librul, too! I hate to say it, but we have a DOUBLE standard here.

                Vietnam was the commie-Dem’s war. And, the commie-Dems were a bunch of racist’s bastards, and you know it! Like that moron, Algore’s father.

                 Report

              • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Robert Cheeks says:

                What’s the double standard, Bob?  Let’s hear all about it. Has anyone ever gotten smacked for using the f word in full around here?  The fish thing is an informal, and as far as I am concerned, optional alternative to keep the place relatively clean.  But when the feeling is there, my sense is, you let fly.  Someone can let me know if I’m wrong.

                But I bet that’s not what the double standard you have in mind is about at all.  So let’s hear all about it!Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to BlaiseP says:

                A few of the classic New England style Republicans supported civil rights–the type that tended to be fiscally conservative but socially moderate to liberal.  The type that is almost extinct now.

                And there’s the problem with this discussion about whether Democrats or Republicans supported civil rights–both parties have changed so much, largely as a consequence of the civil rights act, that they are not the same parties anymore.  The Democrats lost their conservative wing (the wing that opposed civil rights) and the Republicans lost their liberal wing (the wing that supported civil rights).

                The only sensible way to talk about this in relation to today’s political parties is to drop the mention of the parties all together, and to note that social liberals supported civil rights–regardless of party–and social conservatives opposed civil rights–regardless of party.  And today, for better or ill, the old socially conservative southern Democrats, the boll weevils, are all but gone, and nearly all social conservatives have joined the Republicans.  So it is today’s Republicans who are the political descendants of the opponents of civil rights, and today’s Democrats who are the political descendants of the supporters of civil rights.  E.g., it’s the same groups that today tend to oppose or support same-sex marriage.

                Not that Democrats haven’t done plenty of damage to African-Americans through supposedly well-intentioned but egregiously foolish policies, so I’m not claim any innocence for them.  Any party that supported concentrated public housing complexes and inter-generational welfare programs, and opposes school vouchers even when desired by inner-city African-Americans needs to recognize that its best civil rights days came in one shining moment during the LBJ administration, with the Civil Rights and Voting Rights acts, and most of their actions since have been based on their claim to moral superiority, not to their actual beneficial effects.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to James Hanley says:

                To add on, here are the vote totals on the Civil Rights Act.

                The original House version:

                • Southern Democrats: 7–87   (7%–93%)
                • Southern Republicans: 0–10   (0%–100%)
                • Northern Democrats: 145-9   (94%–6%)
                • Northern Republicans: 138-24   (85%–15%)

                The Senate version:

                • Southern Democrats: 1–20   (5%–95%)
                • Southern Republicans: 0–1   (0%–100%)
                • Northern Democrats: 45-1   (98%–2%)
                • Northern Republicans: 27-5   (84%–16%)

                So looking at this we see that a larger proportion of Democrats than Republicans supported civil rights, whether we are looking at the North or the South.  But that difference between parties is swamped by the inter-regional differences, with large majorities of northerners of each party voting for civil rights and large majorities of southerners–the most conservative folks in the country–voting against civil rights.

                Now can we please stop the contending but mutually inaccurate claims that a) the Republicans did nothing to support civil rights,and b) it was really the Democrats that opposed civil rights?Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to James Hanley says:

                … just had to add, in the interest of fairness. Remember who was passing this act? LBJ, that armtwister of note — the last Senate Majority Leader worth a hill of beans. One might be able to argue that he twisted some arms around the margins, and made sure this got passed.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Kim says:

                Indeed, but not in the way most people might think.  LBJ didn’t need to twist arms to get enough votes for a civil rights bill, he just needed to twist some arms to get enough votes to impose cloture and forestall yet another filibuster (Strom Thurmond’s record 24 hours + filibuster was against a previous civil rights bill).  Once they voted to end debate he was happy to let them vote against the bill itself.  He knew that a vote on the bill was too much to ask them, and persuaded them that the folks back home would be satisfied with a vote against and wouldn’t understand the significance of the cloture vote. He also threatened to block any legislation they wanted if they didn’t vote for cloture and to air their dirty laundry, and to support other legislation they wanted if they did vote for cloture. Pretty savvy political strategist, he was.Report

              • Avatar wardsmith in reply to Kim says:

                Was enjoying St Valentine’s day out with my wife so didn’t stay here but have been thinking about these numbers and how they square up with my memory. Interestingly there is quite a bit of “gerrymandering” going on with the Wiki article. I guess that’s what Democrat staffers do during their working hours, there was a name for that in 1984.

                Your same source without the gerrymandering, this during a period of overwhelming Democrat majority (surpassed only by the class of 2008) when lots of R’s had their own reasons to oppose anything with a D in front of it:

                By party
                The original House version:[13]
                • Democratic Party: 152-96   (61%-39%)
                • Republican Party: 138-34   (80%-20%)
                Cloture in the Senate:[14]
                • Democratic Party: 44-23   (66%–34%)
                • Republican Party: 27-6   (82%–18%)
                The Senate version:[13]
                • Democratic Party: 46-21   (69%–31%)
                • Republican Party: 27-6   (82%–18%)
                The Senate version, voted on by the House:[13]
                • Democratic Party: 153-91   (63%–37%)
                • Republican Party: 136-35   (80%–20%)

                I still see this as 80% + Republican support and 60%+ D support. This with all the famous LBJ arm-twisting, granted on a bill that was originally the brainchild of Kennedy. I also grant without a shadow of doubt that Kennedy could /never/ have passed the bill.Report

            • Avatar Snarky McSnarksnark in reply to wardsmith says:

              I don’t want to turn this into a pissing contest, so this will be my last response in this dialog, but to respond:

              1.  Your sudden tone of injured reasonableness now seems a little odd, given that every other one of your postings was bitter, vitriolic, sarcastic, withering and disdainful.

              2.   I don’t object to conservative points of view–in fact, I welcome them.   It is your niasty, community-destroying tone that I wish you would pack up and move to Free Republic.

              3.  I really, really enjoy the community on this blog.   And you seem determined to destroy it.   You are trolling, spilling bile from your keyboard for your own amusement, and to provoke attention and reactions from others.   This and the previous blog posting have generated some very interesting conversation here;  and with the exception of you, the conversation has been civil and insightful.   I really don’t think that we need a guy standing on a box with a megaphone yelling “fire.”

              4.;  I fully realize that I’m not going to convince you that liberalism is not eeeeevil:  I’m not particularly liberal myself.   But the kind of stark, polarized, and dismissive posture you take towards others is just poison, and–speaking only for myself–I’d prefer that you stash it, or take it elswhere.

              5.   Revisionist thinking is revisionist thinking:   the Republican party explicity pursued the “southern strategy,” it was devised largely by Pat Buchannan in 1968, and the chairman of the national Republican Party, Ken Mehlman, apologized publicly for it in 2005.    Blaise has adequately treated the provenance of the modern Democratic and Republican parties from the time of the civil rights act:  and the assertions that “Democats” kept the black man down is ahistorical and–dare I say–dishonest.

              If you read about the history of the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1965, you’ll see that the bill had to be modified substantially to bring in sufficient Republican votes to break the Dixiecrat filibuster.   That is not to dishonor the Democrats and Republicans both who put their own electoral prospects at risk to help ensure its passage.   But it’s historical fiction to pretend that the Civil Rights Acts were Republican initiatives, or even that the Republican Party of that era was deeply committed to its passage.

              Neither party is always right or always wrong;  and I firmly believe that it’s the dialectic between the two that has been most instrumental to the political culture we as a nation shared until the mid-90s.   But now that the parties have polarized, and the right is engaging in eliminationist fantasies about the left, we have arrived at a political system that is frankly not up to the historical moment.

              So please:  I have no desire to “engage” with you.   But I hope you will reconsider whether hijacking collegial discussions with bile, partisan bluster, and contempt really serve any purpose other than your own amusement.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to Snarky McSnarksnark says:

                Mr. McSnark, what you perceive as a “sense of community” is nothing of the sort; it’s that the rightpersons and other principled observers @ the LoOG decline to participate in the same old garbage attacks on the right, the ritual recitation of the revisionist condemnations of the past 50 years, the GOP’s racism and unreasonableness and blahblahblah.

                We’ve seen this movie before, and no doubt will see it again within the fortnight.

                This started out to be a discussion of art, you know.  But some people just can’t help themselves and revert to the script.  Anytime you think such people are “getting along,” it’s because the sane people are getting out of the way of their mutual high-fives, with the hope they’ll be gone in the morning.

                http://www.claremont.org/publications/crb/id.928/article_detail.aspReport

              • Snark- Disengage from this line of dialogue if you want or need.

                But please stick around and keep contributing, says I.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to Tod Kelly says:

                Well, he did disengage, RTod, just as soon as WSmith provided pushback on the banal roster of “racism” slanders.

                http://www.claremont.org/publications/crb/id.928/article_detail.asp

                Not that PatC’s OP should have been taken down into that gutter, but as noted above, it was inevitable, things being what they are.

                I’m willing to give Mr. McSnark bigtime slack as a newbie, going with the flow; the veterans not so much.  This ritual scapegoating of the right choreographed down to the appearance of the Dixiecrats reigns across the internet, and it infects the LoOG once or twice a month for a day or a week.

                Y’d think someone besides the goat would have noticed by now, Tod. It’s not all that subtle or anything.Report

              • Avatar BSK in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                It is important to note that it was Ward who put on the table the notion of racist Democrats, which is ow the whole ball of wax got started. I believe there is something about stones and glass houses that is applicable here.Report

              • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                Tom, I’m not seeing where anyone but Ward that brought up racism; unless I am missing something Snark merely responded to an accusation that liberals are racist. And he does not seem to have responded that conservatives are racist so much as brought up the Southern Strategy.

                Maybe this is a continuation of a Ward-Snark conversation elsewhere, but otherwise I am not seeing how you got the race card pulled on you here.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to Tod Kelly says:

                Tod, it was an inevitable conclusion of the conservatives-on-trial chum thrown in the water, which brought up Corey Robin, “male-dominated hierarchy of society” and the like.  I appreciate some of the half-hearted defenses of conservatives against the least principled attacks, but this was a day the LoOG should write off.  What the hell did this have to do with art?

                There was very little said here that could pass an ideological Turing test, that is, not generated by a cynical enough computer program.  Perhaps we have it all out of our system now.  For a month.  Or a week, anyway.  😉Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Tod Kelly says:

                TVD,

                no, it damn well wasn’t. Ward was responding to me, who was in a different subthread than the “conservatives on trial.”

                All due respect to conservative commenters around here, but can we please subsitute “concentrated public housing–the projects” for “DixieDemocrats”????

                1) All the liberals on the board can agree that that Liberal Program failed.

                2) It’s a LIBERAL program.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                This ritual scapegoating of the right

                99.Report

    • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to wardsmith says:

      Here is the reductio ad absurdum of this argument. If the Right is so wrong, how is it the right did such a great job of rescuing for instance England from her doldrums of the 70?s? If the left is so right, how did its policies lead to the doldrums of the 70?s?

      Seriously, Ward… can you not think of a single policy proposed by Conservatives that had bad outcomes?  Can you not think of a single policy proposed by Liberals that had good ones?  Gotta always be wagons circling?

      Don’t you find it at least… partially… illuminating that you and Kim appear to be two most strongly rejecting the premise of the post?  For essentially the same reasons?  Neither of you can give up defining the other.

      Just… can’t… let… it… go.Report

  6. Avatar BSK says:

    “The conservative doesn’t seek to *prevent* social change, just preserve the better parts of the past.  The liberal doesn’t seek to change *everything* *right* *now*, but instead try to change the worst parts of the present.  On the face of it, aren’t these both pretty laudable goals?”

    The problem is identifying the best of the past and the worst of the present.  The goals are laudable… but if you think the 50’s were grand in all their “Leave it to Beaver”-ness and I bristle at the segregation required to make that world… or I believe that modern income inequality is immoral and is best cured by communism and you believe that the free market reigns supreme… suddenly the specifics of our goals become a lot more troublesome.Report

    • Avatar wardsmith in reply to BSK says:

      In the OP I’m never going to finish, wherein I attempted to define Liberals, Conservatives and Libertarians I used this as a reference for the conservative side.

      The word conservatism came into general use after the French Revolution of 1789, its first and most eloquent spokesman being Edmund Burke in his Reflections on the Revolution in France. Burke argued for the traditional liberties of the English against the “abstract” Rights of Man advocated by the revolutionaries, predicting correctly that such abstract rights, with no force of custom behind them, would perish in a reign of terror. The revolutionaries, he said, were so obsessed with man’s rights that they had forgotten man’s nature

      Here I think we should keep in mind Burke’s distinction between “the abstract rights of man” and man’s actual nature. Conservatives tend to believe in Original Sin, or something like it, that will forever prevent man from achieving perfection. This attitude produces a disposition that tends to be both skeptical and tolerant, deeply dubious about overhauling society. Societies and traditions can’t be built from scratch; as Burke said, we must build out of existing materials — that is, real human beings and their habits, rooted in history. Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to wardsmith says:

        …. my god, this makes me want to rip my hair out. And howl. (and It’s not even my side!)

        Do the words “The Decline of Generations” mean anything to you? (note how legalistic it is, and how much it reminds of stare decisis).

        Anyone got the Islamic perspective?Report

  7. Avatar joey jo jo says:

    i got my recommended monthly allowance of tu quoque by reading this one post and comments.  yay tribalism!!!Report

  8. Avatar John Howard Griffin says:

    Liberal and Conservative are instead just inclinations towards ongoing social change. Only reactionaries and nuts want everything to stay the same, forever. The conservative doesn’t seek to *prevent* social change, just preserve the better parts of the past. The liberal doesn’t seek to change *everything* *right* *now*, but instead try to change the worst parts of the present. On the face of it, aren’t these both pretty laudable goals?

    The trouble is that, more often than not, the “better parts of the past” that conservatives try to preserve are considered the “worst parts of the past” by the liberals. And, the “worst parts of the present” that liberals try to change are often considered the “best parts of the present” by the conservatives.Report

    • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to John Howard Griffin says:

      Offer six examples.  Make them your best possible case.  Submit a guest post.Report

      • Avatar BSK in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

        A lot of it comes down to framing.

        Few conservatives would cop to being in favor of restricting the rights and freedoms of women.  Yet many liberals (inclduing some here on these very pages) argue that abortion or contraception restrictions are explicitly designed to do that.

        Liberals, generally, oppose restricting the rights and freedoms of women.

        Conservatives, generally, oppose abortion and, slightly less generally, contraception.

        If you believe the former and the latter are one in the same, then you have an example that sums up JHG’s theory.

        It goes both ways.

        Few liberals would cop to being in favor of racial discrimination.  Yet many conservatives (including some here on these very pages) argue that affirmative action is explicitly designed to do that.

        Conservatives, generally, oppose affirmative action.

        Liberals, generally, oppose racial discrimination.

        Etc, etc, etc.

        And, the problem is, it doesn’t much matter what the truth is.  Many conservatives oppose abortion AND believe in full rights and freedoms to women and DON’T view that as a contradictory position because they don’t see abortion as a restriction on women but instead as a protection of life.  Many liberals favor affirmative action AND oppose racial discrimination and DON’T view that as a contridictory position because they don’t see affirmative action as discriminatory but, instead, intended to combat discrimination.

        Whose perspective is right?  Depends on who you ask..

         

        And round and round and round we go…Report

        • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to BSK says:

          Many conservatives oppose abortion AND believe in full rights and freedoms to women and DON’T view that as a contradictory position because they don’t see abortion as a restriction on women but instead as a protection of life.  Many liberals favor affirmative action AND oppose racial discrimination and DON’T view that as a contradictory position because they don’t see affirmative action as discriminatory but, instead, intended to combat discrimination.

          Whose perspective is right?  Depends on who you ask..

          My $0.02?  They’re both wrong.  They are taking a rights conflict, and deciding in a particular case that they’re going to prefer one result to another… which in and of itself is fine.  It’s just that they’re also bullshitting themselves by waving their hands and pretending the rights conflict isn’t there, because to admit the rights conflict was there would be to admit that the other side has a point that must be engaged.Report

          • Avatar Plinko in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

            All my +1s are belong to you.Report

          • Your two cents has a lot of buying power. It’s is worth both Plinko’s +1’s and mine.Report

          • Avatar John Howard Griffin in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

            “We all live in the protection of certain cowardices which we call our principles.”

            – Mark TwainReport

          • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

            The problem is that some positions are only supportable when it isn’t a rights conflict.Report

            • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to DensityDuck says:

              I’m losing my brain.  Example?Report

              • Avatar karl in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

                Isn’t his example your quote from BSK?  Unless I misunderstand DD (quite the possibility), one must sometimes refuse to acknowledge competing rights from the opposition in order to fully support one’s own position (the dismissal of fetal rights, for instance).Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to karl says:

                Exactly.  If abortion is just a rights conflict then it isn’t a conflict anymore, because there’s roughly two centuries of judicial action supporting the idea that it’s not prima facie illegal to exercise your rights in a way that someone else finds odious.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to DensityDuck says:

                Wow, way to miss the rights claim involved. My right to fart on a public bus is something people find odious.  My right to kill a human life is on rather a different scale.  It’s because abortion is understood as a rights conflict that there sure as hell is still a conflict.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to James Hanley says:

                I may not agree with what you say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.Report

          • Avatar BSK in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

            PC-

            I don’t disagree with a thing you’ve said.

            But I think the larger point still stands… when looking at the very same issue, because of the lenses through which conservatives and liberals tend to view things, they can both simultaneously look at the exact same event and disagree wildly on whether it is worth preserving or demands changing.

            I am of the general belief that few people will support and defend a position they believe to be wrong.  It takes a truly stubborn arse to fall on that sword.  So when conservative and liberals view the same coin and one sees heads and the other tails, both denying that the other one could possibly be seeing what they claim to be seeing, they are not acting in anyway disingenuous.  They are simply looking at only one side of the issue or looking at it through only one lense.  Neither one is “wrong” except insofar as they deny the plausability of the other person being right.Report

            • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to BSK says:

              But I think the larger point still stands… when looking at the very same issue, because of the lenses through which conservatives and liberals tend to view things, they can both simultaneously look at the exact same event and disagree wildly on whether it is worth preserving or demands changing.

              Oh, sure.

              So when conservative and liberals view the same coin and one sees heads and the other tails, both denying that the other one could possibly be seeing what they claim to be seeing, they are not acting in anyway disingenuous.

              Sure, it’s not disingenuous.  It’s clearly effin’ stupid, though.

              Perhaps that’s a little too strong.

              It seems to me to be… ah… intellectually suspect to approach a point of public policy debate… while listening to people on your side tell you that people on the other side are clearly wrong and evil… and not actually ask those people on the other side to describe their framework.  And then sit there and listen to it.

              You may still be at an impasse.  I might think, in the case of abortion (just to pick one out of a hat), that there is a reason to come down on one side of the rights conflict from another.  I might have a very subtle and nuanced reason for coming down on one side, rather than the other. If you can understand my subtle and nuanced reason, you might not agree with it.  On the other hand, you may actually find that you and I agree on lots of principles and particulars, but I have something to say that may change your mind.

              Calling me a “babykiller” or a “patriarchal fascist” is probably not going to get us anywhere, though.  Heck, if that’s all you want, knock yourselfth outeth.Report

              • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

                So what is it you want, Patrick?Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Michael Drew says:

                A sanity bomb.Report

              • Avatar BSK in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

                Check below… hopefully I dropped one.  Or at least fired a bullet.  A tiny, singular bullet, likely lost in a maelstrom of insanity.Report

              • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

                See, I think everyone you’re lamenting here is pretty much sane.  They  just hold different beliefs, maybe even wrong ones!  It doesn’t mean they’re insane.  We are the ones who need to learn to deal with it.  Sometimes, as with the commenter who left a crude comment on Burt’s contraception post, the important thing is hearing the perspective, not whether or not it conforms to our preferred modalities.  I was shocked and slightly dismayed that there was any negative response to that comment whatsoever, given that it was clearly from someone we weren’t expecting to stick around, so valuable did I think the perspective ought to have been to us, to give you an idea where I’m coming from.  Indeed, I think we should have asked her to stick around, (saying that generally we ask for civility from regular commenters). Perhaps that puts me out of step with this website, but there it is.Report

            • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to BSK says:

              It strikes me that the discussants are missing or avoiding the question of the ground of ‘true order.’ While younz blather on about ‘conservatives’ and ‘libruls’ the question of the ground of that order is studiously avoided, almost as if it would be an embarrassing revelation, or you have no idea what that may be. Really kids, when you obliterate the meaning of the tension of existence, it’s really, really hard to have these conversations. They end up sounding silly.Report

          • Avatar BSK in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

            And I should clarify… when I say “Whose perspective is right?” I do not mean “Which position is right?” Rather, I mean, “Is abortion a restriction on the rights and freedom of religion? Is affirmative action racial discrimination?” Because the fact is, you can answer “Yes” to both questions and still defend either practice. But that is generally not the case because the perspectives are framed differently because of the lenses that people are interpreting them through.Report

            • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to BSK says:

              But that is generally not the case because the perspectives are framed differently because of the lenses that people are interpreting them through.

              I would say that those lenses have in some cases been carefully chosen, and polished, and put in frames, and sold to people (on both sides) with the intention of making it difficult to see things.

              This, I think, is bad.  Your lenses may be the right prescription, sure.  But if you can’t at least imagine yourself to be wearing some other set of sunglasses occasionally, that seems to be a frightful admission of bias and a woeful lack of fallibility recognition.Report

              • Avatar BSK in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

                I don’t disagree with anything you’ve said in either of your replies.

                I think we might be talking past each other a bit.

                My point is largely about perception.  Liberals SEE abortion as a positive change to something bad about the status quo.  Conservatives SEE abortion as an abandonment of a desirable part of the past.  As such, they can look at the same issue and see very, very different things.

                Are those things the things they see?  As you say, no.  Shades of grey… shades of grey.  Unfortunately, as you also say, too many people make their hay insisting that we live in a black and white world and making the black blacker and the white whiter.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to BSK says:

                I don’t know that we’re talking past each other so much as agreeing with each other over and over.Report

              • Avatar BSK in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

                Ha!  Very well indeed!Report

              • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

                But if you can’t at least imagine yourself to be wearing some other set of sunglasses occasionally, that seems to be a frightful admission of bias and a woeful lack of fallibility recognition.

                See, and I think that, while if everyone could do this it would be great, I see thinking this is frightful in any way rather than commonplace to itself be frightfully unrealistic and unburdened by awareness of what people actually are like.  I guess I’m not one for the “commonplace reality is actually quite frightful” observation.  If that’s your experience, then what is the category “frightful” really doing for you?  It’s part and parcel of commonplace human frailty, as far as I’m concerned.  We absolutely have to learn to deal with it.  You don’t have a better machine than you have.Report

              • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Michael Drew says:

                …Isn’t this what unintended-consequences-minded libertatrians are always stressing to liberals?Report

          • Avatar Murali in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

            In my conceptual scheme of things, rights just cannot conflict. In any potential “conflict” at least one of the supposed rights just doesnt extend that far. (Of course, in order to make these kinds of claims, I need to have a single grand theory about how we get the rights we do have)Report

      • Avatar John Howard Griffin in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

        I wouldn’t want to inflict such punishment (a guest post by JHG) on anyone, for I am a gentle man in my nature.

        BSK shows some examples.

        Of course, all of this is generalizations about large groups of people with varying views, etc. With that disclaimer out of the way, these are neither the best examples, nor the only examples. They are just a couple of examples that I can think of at the moment (in addition to BSK’s examples):

        – cons seek to preserve the male-dominated hierarchy of society
        – this is anathema to the liberal view (a worst quality of the past)

        – libs want to change (increase) tax rates on the richer members of society
        – cons think the tax rates are just fine (actually, they could be a little lower)

        I think this concept is what people are referencing when they say that cons and libs (and libertarians) “talk past each other”.Report

        • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to John Howard Griffin says:

          – cons seek to preserve the male-dominated hierarchy of society

          I know a  lot of conservative people in my age bracket.  Not a single one of them gives a shit about the patriarchy (this may or may not be a feature of older conservatives).  Conservative people in my age bracket would prefer, for example, a parent to be home with the children during their formative years.  This could be the male parent, it could be the female parent, they don’t really care.  But in practical terms, for many of them, it is the female parent because the male parent makes more.  Is this them “preserving the male-dominated hierarchy of society” because they are seeking that as an end-goal?  If you concede that it is not, are they still beholden to choose to have the man stay home and the woman go to work as a message to the rest of the world?Report

          • Avatar John Howard Griffin in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

            The rabbit hole goes much deeper than that.

            Why does the man make more?

            How many conservatives work to get more women elected to office, compared to liberals?

            How many conservatives are on the “women’s side” in the contraception debate right now?

            Where do conservatives fall on women’s rights issues?

            questions ad nauseum…Report

            • “How many conservatives work to get more women elected to office, compared to liberals?

              How many conservatives are on the “women’s side” in the contraception debate right now?

              Where do conservatives fall on women’s rights issues?”

              I give up — what are the answers?

               Report

          • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

            One issue is that liberals (both sides?) frequently refuse to take professed aims as true aims, instead focusing on what actual outcomes actual actions lead to.  And I honestly think this is a really hard question: I think both are important to take not of and judge people by, and to some extent they often can’t really be reconciled.  I think it’s important to listen to people tell us what their values and aims are, but we also don’t just want to let their words override their actions, and indeed the effects of those actions, for which they need to be accountable, and indeed we need to judge the earnestness of their stated aims by reference to that accountability or lack thereof.  This is really, as I say, not easy to reconcile, and it ends up coming out sounding pretty unsolicitous at times.  But I regard the underlying tension as very legitimate, so i end up not having so much of a problem with a lot of the resulting mishegoss and misunderstanding (though I think people should try to resolve it and seek understanding) – it’s just that I think a good bit of it is inevitable and, some amount of it, even desirable.  Perfect understanding is impossible because there are real contradictions on both sides, and disengagement is not desirable.Report

            • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Michael Drew says:

              I think it’s important to listen to people tell us what their values and aims are, but we also don’t just want to let their words override their actions, and indeed the effects of those actions, for which they need to be accountable, and indeed we need to judge the earnestness of their stated aims by reference to that accountability or lack thereof.

              +1 to all that.  My only quibble would be that, at the moment, and in this day and age and political climate… I’m largely convinced that in most cases I really just don’t give a damn any more what your intentions are.

              I’ve been so consistently dismayed by the inability of either political party to come anywhere near the ballpark of what they spout as their intentions that I’m almost convinced everyone is on drugs.

              I want to see your results.  If your results consistently match up with your stated intentions, then we can start taking your intentions into account.

              Right now, I see either liars or incompetency or delusion at worst, and an ineffable political expediency at best.  None of the three is particularly compelling.  Even if you’re doing things you regard as disagreeable for other tradeoffs that you intend (and that I like), if I have no predictive ability for how well your rhetoric is going to translate into policies, it does me no good as far as informing this voter.

              But hey, that’s just me.Report

              • Avatar BSK in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

                Well, politicians are barely human, if that. My focus has primarily been on human to human interactions amongst the political laypeople.Report

              • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

                Then I’m not quite sure how it you blanch at the notion of feminists or others concluding that conservatives want to protect the patriarchy.  What they’re doing is just what you’re saying – looking at actions and results, and coming back around to aims.  Maybe it’s that last part that you have a problem with.  But the fact is, people have aims.  Feminists basically say, I don’t give a shit about your stated aims, I look at your actions and their results, and I make my conclusions about your aims.  I don’t quite see how you can have a problem with JHG’s invocation of patriarchy wrt to conservatism if you say that you yourself see lying and/or self-delusion with respect to stated aims everywhere.  It matters that you “know a  lot of conservative people in my age bracket,” but that,  “Not a single one of them gives a shit about the patriarchy” when you, “see either liars or incompetency or delusion at worst, and an ineffable political expediency at best” everywhere?

                I will respect a distinction between politicians and everyday people con/lib identifiers.  But you’ve helped yourself to judging conservatism by the common man, while there wan no indication JHG wasn’t referring to policy makers & shapers.  And yet you say that, “I want to see your results.  If your results consistently match up with your stated intentions, then we can start taking your intentions into account.”  I feel like you’re cherry-picking a bit here.

                For my part, while I do think we need to judge people’s earnestness on a given issue by their actions, I still think that from issue to issue we need to maintain a willingness to take individuals’ stated aims on board in a good-faith way at the outset (and certainly not judge them entirely by their parties, which, after all, are nothing but massive churning seas of orthogonal constituencies in unresolved tension), or else chances for good-faith interaction are killed in their crib.Report

  9. Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

    How many conservatives work to get more women elected to office, compared to liberals? How many conservatives are on the “women’s side” in the contraception debate right now? Where do conservatives fall on women’s rights issues?

    You realize that this framing could be taken as though you’re implicitly doing this.

    What are “women’s rights”?  Are they “the things liberals say are women’s rights, regardless of potential rights conflicts”?  Or are they “the things conservatives say are women’s rights, given potential rights conflicts”?  Or are they “human rights that apply to women, which are occasionally in rights conflicts in ways that men’s rights aren’t, and thus ought to be discussed on their own”?

    Realize that, yanno, a fairly equal proportion of women are conservative, and they have just as much of something to say about what constitutes “women’s rights” as liberal women (or men of any stripe, for that matter).Report

    • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

      The problem with Conservatives and Rights of any sort resolves to who gets to frame the debate.   You’d help your point along considerably by avoiding the Straw Man Quote Marks:  nobody’s actually said anything of the sort.

      But in fairness to what you’re trying to say — if the Liberals are the only people who see the problem, well, is it a problem?  Let us put this plainly: the Conservatives have not exactly distinguished themselves standing up for any civil rights but those embodied in the Second Amendment.

      And let’s not have any po’ mouthing about the Bad Old Days, as if it isn’t happening now with LGBT rights.   The Conservatives ought to be standing up for personal rights in accordance with the best principles of their belief structures, using the same rhetoric they’ve been using about the Second Amendment, applied to the LGBT community as surely as gun owners.  Rights require defending, all the time:  they’re constantly under assault by bigots and folks who just think they know better than us about how to run our own lives and are all too ready to pass laws to keep us from doing just that.

      The current crop of Conservatives will look as viciously stupid as their Dixiecrat forebears if they don’t lay off this DOMA crap.   They’re in thrall to certain religious entities.   We all know it.   It’s fundamentally un-Conservative.   You know it, too.

      I’ve grown to respect your opinions.   It would be condescending to say you’re not like other Conservatives, but you don’t fit the mold of the standard soi-disant Conservative, Patrick.   Yes there are Conservative women out there and yes they’re getting abortions.   I hate that phrase “Religious Right” because it conflates two different groups.   The larger question might be:  what makes them different?   By my lights, though he likes the idea of a strong government, the Conservative wants to preserve individual liberties of all sorts and would prefer to see small government to keep things in check.Report

      • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to BlaiseP says:

        Let me put it to you this way.

        The current crop of Conservatives will look as viciously stupid as their Dixiecrat forebears if they don’t lay off this DOMA crap.   They’re in thrall to certain religious entities.   We all know it.   It’s fundamentally un-Conservative.   You know it, too.

        I will submit, in the framework of this discussion, that today’s GOP is pretty bonkers.  To the extent that a bunch of people in the country still associate the GOP with conservativism, and themselves with the GOP, and thus themselves with conservativism… I’ll grant you as well that many people who carry the self-described label of “conservative” are likewise pretty bonkers, right now, today.

        I’m not really trying to defend otherwise, at the moment.  Acknowledged infra, as Tom would say, there are loonies running the GOP bin at the moment.  RINO ought not to be the charge, CINO instead.

        But the underlying principle of conservativism: “keep the best parts of the past”, isn’t lost on me.  In a way, I’m more pissed at the GOP in the present day for their inability to defend this principle without sounding like complete morons and trashing the principle by proxy than I am at any of their individual transgressions.

        To have a healthy republic, we need to try to get rid of the bad things of today and keep the good things of yesterday.  When the only side that makes even any muddle of sense is focused a bit too much on getting rid of the bad things of today, there’s babies going out with the bathwater.  And the Liberals (as embodied by the Democrats of the moment) are edging too close to slashing and burning to my taste.  Everybody sees all problems as nails, and the government as the only hammer, and they’re wrestling for control of the damn thing and they keep whacking me on the thumb.  Kinda pissin’ me off.

        There are, of course, Liberals who aren’t Democrats; we don’t need to go down into the weeds of the present day parties.  Conceptually, I find Liberalism plenty attractive, since I’m something of a technocrat (although I cop to a different charge than the one that’s usually levied) and I like change just fine.  I just find the whole exception scenario of “what happens when the other guy is in charge” to temper my enthusiasm for the project as currently implemented.Report

        • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

          +1.   I’m a self-described Liberal who backed away from movement Conservatism because it wasn’t conservative anymore.  It was perverse:  I never felt I was changing my mind about anything.   To me, Conservatism was always trying to say “No, let individuals do that sort of thing for themselves, the government isn’t the solution to this sort of problem.”

          To me, the old line conservatives like William F. Buckley were heroes.   They could write.   They could knit together disparate viewpoints.   They had the courage of their convictions.   They drove off the worst of the xenophobes and racists, though they did have their reservations about the civil rights movement, everyone did to a limited extent at the time and they’d be lying if they said they didn’t.

          But Jeebus, when I think about Nixon and Reagan and Bush43, and the contents of the current GOP clown car, I’m appalled.   Who let that mad dog Dick Cheney loose in the era of Bush43?   It was bad enough when Cheney was in the Reagan administration.

          When did Conservatives become statists?   The statists should have been run off the stage a long time ago.  The Tea Party arose in reaction to this statist madness and though most Liberals think they’re kooks, I do not.  They’re an allergic reaction to the GOP’s repudiation of fundamental Conservative principles.   I’d love to pin down Mitch McConnell and force feed him the works of Edmund Burke, page by page.   Do that old reptile a world of good.

          For what it’s worth, this Liberal is sick of what passes for Liberals among the Democratic Party.    Ted Kennedy’s dead and with him went any semblance of modern liberal thinking.   Bush43 copped his No Child Left Behind legislation and passed it off as his own, after he’d stripped the funding from it.   Nunc dimittis.   I’ve lived long enough to see the worst of both worlds, Liberal and Conservative, shout down any semblance of sound thinking in both political parties.Report

          • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to BlaiseP says:

            P.S. -> if you can find a mold I fit in, let me know.

            All the ones I’ve tried on chafe.Report

            • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

              A bit of Whitman:

              I celebrate myself, and sing myself,
              And what I assume you shall assume,
              For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.

              I loafe and invite my soul,
              I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass.

              My tongue, every atom of my blood, form’d from this soil, this air,
              Born here of parents born here from parents the same, and their
              parents the same,
              I, now thirty-seven years old in perfect health begin,
              Hoping to cease not till death.

              Creeds and schools in abeyance,
              Retiring back a while sufficed at what they are, but never forgotten,
              I harbor for good or bad, I permit to speak at every hazard,
              Nature without check with original energy.Report

          • Avatar Kim in reply to BlaiseP says:

            you mistake what the teaparty says, for who runs it. wager to say that most of the teaparty was for “economic terrorism” (to use O’Niel’s words).

            It’s not that they’re kooks. they’re propagandized fools, following what the propaganda says.

            Liberals don’t do the propaganda thing so well, because there are fewer authoritarians among them.

            That, and the conservatives only have one head.Report

          • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to BlaiseP says:

            But BlaiseP, anti-statism = racism, because only through the state’s iron grip can we keep (white) people from expressing their inherent inborn racism.Report

    • Avatar John Howard Griffin in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

      Ok. Fair enough. You’re getting lost in the nuance of the less black-and-white positions.

      Let’s stick with the first question: Why does the man make more money?

      Or, a better question(s): Does the fact that men make more money than women to perform the same work (as well as other factors: glass ceiling, women elected to office, women appointed to positions, et al) mean that we live in a male dominated society, and, if so, should anything be done about it?Report

      • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to John Howard Griffin says:

        Why does the man make more money?

        The man makes more money for a large number of socioeconomic factors, but in a nutshell: societal change takes a while, and men have been making more than women recently enough that men are going to continue to make more than women for a while, most likely.  There may be a number of contributory factors, but the biggest one (IMO) is inertia.  Generational shift will correct, it will take time.

        Does the fact that men make more money than women to perform the same work (as well as other factors: glass ceiling, women elected to office, women appointed to positions, et al) mean that we live in a male dominated society

        To the extent that money dominates many aspects of society, yes.  Granted.  This isn’t quite the same thing as “a male dominated society”, but it’s close enough for practical purposes.

        Should anything be done about it?

        I am unable to formulate a policy that can positively affect generational change at a rate much higher than “the old people die off and the younger people have different norms”.  I’m willing to entertain the possibility that they exist, but I’m skeptical and thus would prefer, if someone is going to suggest one, that they have a built-in metric for failure that they’ll agree to abide by and drop the idea if it turns out not to be working by their own-prior-to-implementation standard.

        I’m perfectly willing to also entertain measures that don’t seek to drive the change as much as they do seek to redress measurable exception scenarios – pulling up the rear more rather than driving the front forward, so to speak.  I think these are less likely to suck and more likely to generally promote justice.  But again, you have to show me the thing and explain how and why it’s going to work and that you’re willing to drop it if it doesn’t.

        I, personally, don’t get equal pay for equal work.  Conceptually… I wouldn’t even want to get equal pay for equal work: as Blaise has mentioned elsewhere: stupid people have to work harder than smart ones; I’m not particularly keen on the idea of being paid less because I arrange my work so that I have less of it to do.Report

        • Avatar John Howard Griffin in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

          I don’t think it needs to start with formulating a policy to address it. It should start with talking about it as a priority, and, frankly, I just don’t see conservatives talking about it. Ditto for minority rights. It just isn’t a priority. Liberals do talk about it as a priority. Ditto for minority rights.

          Something I say often to myself is: If you just shut up and listen, people will tell you who they are and what they think is important. Conservatives tell me who they are and what they think is important all the time (as do Liberals), and they don’t think women’s rights or minority rights are important. In fact, they often talk about it in a negative fashion, leading me to think they want the opposite.

          Regarding this:

          I, personally, don’t get equal pay for equal work. Conceptually… I wouldn’t even want to get equal pay for equal work: as Blaise has mentioned elsewhere: stupid people have to work harder than smart ones; I’m not particularly keen on the idea of being paid less because I arrange my work so that I have less of it to do.

          you do realize that equal pay means getting paid the same as another person of equal skill, experience, and education would get paid, regardless of several factors, one of which is gender.

          From what you’ve written above, it seems that you would agree with another man, who was obviously inferior to you in several ways, getting paid more than you, perhaps quite more, for doing the same work that you do at the same company/in the same office/on the same team/et al.

          However, I don’t think this is what you are trying to say. I have shut up and listened to you and you have said that you’re smarter than others and can do your work quickly, and you don’t want your pay to be docked because of it. This is saying absolutely nothing about equal pay rights, but does let me know that you think very highly of yourself and your rugged individualism. Message received.Report

          • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to John Howard Griffin says:

            I don’t think it needs to start with formulating a policy to address it. It should start with talking about it as a priority

            This is a dodge, and a useless one at that.

            Okay, it’s a priority.  In fact, I’ll make it a top priority.  I’ll put it right at the top of the list of policies I’ll implement in the magic event I’m ever President.  You have my full and complete attention, and I’ll put this above any other policy issue.  This is not snark, let’s just say this is the case.  Then…

            I am unable to formulate a policy that can positively affect generational change at a rate much higher than “the old people die off and the younger people have different norms”.  I’m willing to entertain the possibility that they exist, but I’m skeptical and thus would prefer, if someone is going to suggest one, that they have a built-in metric for failure that they’ll agree to abide by and drop the idea if it turns out not to be working by their own-prior-to-implementation standard.

            Show me what you’ve got.  See, if you’ve got nothing, then what you’re telling me is that I should regard what people consider to be priorities as more important than what they actually want to do about it.

            I wrote a long, long post on how having priorities without a realistic plan gets you off my list of candidates and on my list of people I don’t take seriously.  (Hint: those links are not to a post about a Democrat).

            You do realize that equal pay means getting paid the same as another person of equal skill, experience, and education would get paid, regardless of several factors, one of which is gender.

            That’s what the ideal is, yes.  Attempting to encode this in policy is… shall we say… a challenge.  I can talk all I want about equal pay.  We don’t have equal pay.  We have decidedly unequal pay.  It’s true that the average woman, by and large, is at the short of the stick in comparison to the average Joe.  However, the pay disparity between the average Joe and the damn good Joe and the below average Joe is not reflective of reality either.  And that’s because rewarding people based upon their actual output is really hard to do.  Do independent studies, just men and just women.  Ignore the justice imbalance for a minute; I’m not saying it’s not important, that’s not what I’m talking about.

            I’m talking about trying to pay person A their actual true value to an institution.

            I think you will find that inside those two groups, the problem is still endemic and persists.  If I could correct equal pay for equal work I would do it in a heartbeat!  Bang on!  Rock out!

            Tell me how.

            I have shut up and listened to you and you have said that you’re smarter than others and can do your work quickly, and you don’t want your pay to be docked because of it.

            Do you find that proposition unreasonable?  Let’s say for the moment that I’m actually as smart as you think I think I am.

            This is saying absolutely nothing about equal pay rights, but does let me know that you think very highly of yourself and your rugged individualism. Message received.

            If you think I’m a rugged individualist type, I cheerfully submit that you need to read more of what I write and not jump to conclusions on this one post, in which I may have misled you.

            I also say, if that’s what you’re taking away from all of the above, it may be that you’re trying to stick me in a category that makes it easy for you to feel justified in ignoring what I have to say.

            Which, hey, is part of the point of the O.P., so there’s that.Report

            • Avatar John Howard Griffin in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

              If something is a priority to a person, group, or political affliation, then lots of people talk about it. They keep talking about how important it is. They ask think tanks to think about it and talk about it. Legislators get involved and make speeches about it. The media writes and talks about it. The public hears that this is a priority and decides if they think it is a priority too. During all this focus on the priority, policies are crafted, re-written, and crafted anew. Then, they are put forward to a legislature to try to get something enacted. (Of course, you know all this).

              You want to start on Step 27 of the process (policy). I want to start at Step 1 of the process (priorities). This is one of the differences between libs and cons. You don’t want priorities, you want action (Fire!, Ready!, Aim! is the classic con methodology, IMO). We libs are a little more thoughtful than that and include many more voices in the outcome. That’s why we’re always in disarray, listening to other perspectives within (and outside) our own tent and not always agreeing.

              Regarding your next point: trying to pay person A their actual true value to an institution.

              You have made the point that generational change is slow, yet you say that you want a policy that will address it in one fell swoop. If you could correct it, you’d do it in a heartbeat. But, you’ve already said that this won’t change quickly. You’re saying two diametrically opposite things. I’m confused as to which one you believe.

              If you think I’m a rugged individualist type, I cheerfully submit that you need to read more of what I write and not jump to conclusions on this one post, in which I may have misled you.

              I also say, if that’s what you’re taking away from all of the above, it may be that you’re trying to stick me in a category that makes it easy for you to feel justified in ignoring what I have to say.

              I’m just shutting up and listening to what you are saying. I talked about equal pay rights and your response was about how much smarter you were than others (“dumb people have to work harder” was your choice of words, I think) and how that means you should be paid as well as the dumb workers (though you don’t have to work as hard). You offered a (rugged individualism) response that had nothing to do with the subject matter being discussed.

              This is a basic dog whistle response. In listening to you, I hear you respond with “rugged individualism” when I mention equal pay and women. Sorry, but that’s a classic conservative response – I say “equal pay”, you say “meritocracy! personal responsibility!”. This is why it is clear to me that equal pay is not a priority to conservatives. All one has to do is shut up and listen.

              And, if I was putting you in a category of ignoring what you had to say, I would not have commented at all, or engaged with your responses. But, I think that’s pretty obvious.

              Which leads me to think you might want to think that I am jumping to conclusions. That way, you can stick me in a category that makes it easy for you to feel justified in ignoring what I have to say.

              See, that’s not getting us anywhere. We can both make that claim against the other, but it doesn’t move the discussion forward. Perhaps you don’t really want to move the discussion forward?Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to John Howard Griffin says:

                I’m not sure if we’re talking past each other, so allow me to clarify based on your last comment, here.

                If something is a priority to a person, group, or political affliation, then lots of people talk about it. They keep talking about how important it is. They ask think tanks to think about it and talk about it. Legislators get involved and make speeches about it. The media writes and talks about it. The public hears that this is a priority and decides if they think it is a priority too.

                If what you’re saying here is that the talking about the priority is itself something to do (and that the talking about the priority can raise awareness and thus begin to cause change), then sure, I agree.  I have no problem whatsoever with people talking about things that are important to them, and I’m not (quite) so cynical that I think it’s (all) about group identification over actually doing things.

                If you’re saying that the GOP doesn’t talk about any of this stuff except to summarily dismiss it as not relevant without really engaging with it at all, that’s a fair point.  I *did* mention that I think today’s GOP is bonkers, yes?

                However…

                During all this focus on the priority, policies are crafted, re-written, and crafted anew. Then, they are put forward to a legislature to try to get something enacted. (Of course, you know all this).

                I have not seen equal pay legislation that will (IMO) work.  I’m not talking about whether or not it will pass, mind you.

                You want to start on Step 27 of the process (policy). I want to start at Step 1 of the process (priorities).

                Here’s the thing, John.  I think we’re already past Step 1.  I think it is established in the public mind that women get paid less than men for the same work (I’m not going to tackle Dr. Hanley’s contention at this point, nor am I interested in debating whether or not women get paid less than they’re worth, let’s just agree that I grant it).  I think, as far as Democrats are concerned, there’s plenty of verbiage and lots of think tanks talking about this.  At some point, people agree: this is a problem.  Now, maybe the GOP doesn’t think it is a problem.  Maybe, still, enough people think it isn’t a problem that you don’t have enough public opinion to get something to pass (and maybe the GOP has been a part of that).

                However, people have certainly been talking about this for a while, and regardless of whether or not people think a policy proposal may pass (yet!), by now they ought to have one.  What is it?  What’s the plan?  When we get to Step 27, what are we going to do?  If the answer is “nothing, we’re skipping ahead to step 28 which is ‘drum up public support for a foundation that will work to get women better access to child care’, then hey, I like step 28.  I can think of a lot of different steps 28-100 that I like just fine.

                But implicitly at least, when you’re talking about political parties (as opposed to just groups of people with social policy inclinations), you’re usually stopping at Step 27: Pass A Law.

                I think lots of things are terrible, or unjust, or at least disagreeable.  Some of those things there really isn’t anything I can do anything about, using the tool of the law.  Some of those things we could do something about using the law, but really there’s a few better ways to tackle the problem.  Some of those things we can use the tool of the law, but the toolbox has already been reviewed and gone through and lots of different law tools have been tried and the only one left is, “Pass a Constitutional Amendment” (gun control, abortion, a few others) and there probably isn’t ever going to be the political will to do that.

                Finally, some of those things I  think we’re legitimately constrained from doing, using the tool of the law.  I think Fred Phelps is a jagoff, and if he ever picketed my son’s funeral I’d probably pop him in the nose and take my assault charge and the consequences that go with it, but the man has a constitutional right to be a jagoff and there is nothing – legislatively – that I can do about that.  Indeed, any law I can think of that would make it harder for Phelps to be a jagoff is going to curtail things that I don’t want curtailed – so even if they *could* pass constitutional muster, I wouldn’t vote for them anyway.

                Now that doesn’t mean that nothing can be done about Phelps, granted – we can still *talk* about how he’s a jagoff, and we can write letters to news reporters and ask them not to cover him so that he doesn’t get the vast undue amount of attention he gets now, but when it comes to the law, that tool is pretty much off (my) table.

                This is one of the differences between libs and cons. You don’t want priorities, you want action (Fire!, Ready!, Aim! is the classic con methodology, IMO).

                I’ve regularly been mistaken for a liberal, and occasionally been mistaken for a libertarian, but I think you’re the first person who has lumped me in the “you” with cons.Report

            • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

              The problem with “have a specific plan” is that no plan survives contact with reality.  George Bush had a specific plan; his specific plan was “no new taxes”.  His plan failed.

              Now, of course, it’s easy to say “oh well I meant a realistic specific plan”, at which point I wish you good luck finding some true Scots to do your planning.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to DensityDuck says:

                Clarke’d do it. Or really, any competent strategist.

                shave corners where you can, and drive doughnuts around the pickups (well, this is assuming you aren’t in the pickup’s natural habitat of “ford & dirt road”)Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to DensityDuck says:

                At this point, I’m not asking for a politically feasible plan.  Granted, in any public policy problem domain: there are politically untenable plans, there are politically tenable plans, there are plans that have a probability of success, and there are plans that have a probability of failure.  These all are on a continuum, they’re not discrete.

                Of course, if you take a plan that has a probability of success… that is also political unfeasible… your choices are (likely) to either spend a lot of time trying to bring about opinion change to *make* it feasible or adapting the plan to make it more likely to pass (and this might make it less likely to work!)

                Some problems may be worth scrapping a perfect plan for one less likely to work, because it’s much more likely to pass.  I’m not a political absolutist, I accept that making sausage is part of the deal.  My problem is, in this particular problem space, I don’t see a plan that can legitimately possibly work.

                Let’s assume – just for the sake of argument – that given enough time and effort you can convince N% of the American people to vote for any goddamn thing.  Maybe you’re not there today, maybe you’ll get there in 20 years.  I dunno.

                Still, there has to be some sort of idea about what you’re going to do and why you think it will work.  What is it, and why?

                If I know what it is, and why you think it will work, maybe I’ll help you start convincing the herd to go that way.  My problem is that I’ve thought about it and I can’t come up with one that I think will work (at least, not one that I think will work without consequences that I don’t like enough to not want to do the thing).  But hey, I’m not all that and a bag of chips: just because I can’t think of it doesn’t mean it’s not there.  I’m just as capable of making mistakes as anybody!

                What John seems to be saying is, “You’re arrogantly dismissing the subject because you’ve bought into the dog whistle!”

                But I’m not dismissing the subject; I don’t know where to go!  And nobody will tell me where to go, or why!  I’m asking, and I’m specifically being told: it’s not the plan that is important.  (This is one of those times when, if I were Jaybird, Jaybird grumps that apparently the problem is he doesn’t care enough, not that he’s not doing enough.)

                And JHG seems to be saying that I’m a bad guy because I’m not listening hard enough to people who tell me why it’s a problem!  I grant it’s a problem.  I don’t know what to do about it.Report

              • Avatar John Howard Griffin in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

                Well, if you recall, this particular discussion started because I made the claim that “cons seek to preserve the male-dominated hierarchy of society”. You adamantly denied any truth in that statement by saying that you didn’t know any conservatives your age who cared about the patriarchy.

                And, I only made that claim to show an example of things cons want to preserve that libs want to change (something you also challenged strongly).

                The “dog whistle” came when I said equal pay for women and you responded with “I’m smarter than others and my pay shouldn’t be docked because I can do my work faster”. Are you self-aware enough to see that your response was a classic (conservative) dog whistle response?

                You demand a solution, a policy, that will address this. Ok, great. We’ll do another post about women’s rights and what types of policies might address any inequality, do some taffy-pulling, and see what’s there. Based on the responses I’ve read here, I won’t hold my breath. Too many don’t think it’s a problem (or might even be a Myth(tm)!!!!!), so why find a solution to something that isn’t a problem? After all, it’s just women. They get really emotional about stuff, like being in control of their own bodies, sexuality, and reproductive health. But, those aren’t really “rights”, I hear the conservo-libertarians say.

                You think that such a policy doesn’t exist or can’t exist (or, at least, haven’t seen one that could work). Also great. It doesn’t mean that cons do not prefer a patriarchy. You have yet to address this in any way, other than anecdotal evidence (“None of my con friends think that!”) and continuing requests for a solution (“But where’s the policy!!1!”).Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to John Howard Griffin says:

                “Are you self-aware enough to see that your response was a classic (conservative) dog whistle response?”

                So a woman who was smarter than a man and did the work faster would be paid less?Report

              • Avatar John Howard Griffin in reply to DensityDuck says:

                Here’s the full quote from Patrick Callahan, from a comment above:

                “I, personally, don’t get equal pay for equal work. Conceptually… I wouldn’t even want to get equal pay for equal work: as Blaise has mentioned elsewhere: stupid people have to work harder than smart ones; I’m not particularly keen on the idea of being paid less because I arrange my work so that I have less of it to do.”Report

              • Avatar John Howard Griffin in reply to DensityDuck says:

                Mr. Cahalan, please accept my sincere apologies for misspelling your name. It is, of course, Patrick Cahalan. I will endeavor to spell it correctly from now on.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to DensityDuck says:

                Human pattern matching is not something to which I assign much in the way of offense.

                People have seen “Callahan”.  They haven’t seen “Cahalan”.  Thus, their brain swaps some letters for them.

                I stopped getting irritated about this before I knew that people mostly can’t help themselves unless they’re thinking actively about it ahead of time 🙂Report

              • Avatar John Howard Griffin in reply to DensityDuck says:

                It was not until I typed your full name for the first time that I realized that I had been “swapping some letters around” in your name, every time I (lazily) read it.

                It is as you say.

                Thanks for understanding.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to DensityDuck says:

                John, it is the height of racism for you to read “stupid people” and automatically assume the person was talking about black people.

                Do you often conflate “stupid” with “black” in your mind?Report

              • Avatar John Howard Griffin in reply to DensityDuck says:

                DensityDuck, what comment thread are you reading?

                There are no words I wrote that conflated “stupid people” with black people.

                Mr. Cahalan responded to a discussion about equal pay for women by talking about stupid people.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to John Howard Griffin says:

                It doesn’t mean that cons do not prefer a patriarchy. You have yet to address this in any way, other than anecdotal evidence

                Oh, I see.  Yes, we have been talking past each other.  Apologies.

                Are you talking about “cons” as in “people who are authentically conservative” or “cons” as in “people who self-identify as Conservative” or “cons” as in “people who vote GOP” or “cons” as in “people who set the party platform for the GOP”?

                I’ll agree with this: a good number of the public voices who are associated with the GOP and with conservativism espouse policies that would leave me to believe that they prefer a patriarchy.  I think you can imagine a list.

                I think some people who are of a conservative bent (my idea of conservativism, anyway) will choose to follow those policies because of a confluence of reasons.  They themselves don’t “prefer” the patriarchy, in the sense that they want to keep it.  They themselves are more concerned with those confluence of reasons.  They want to keep a number of different things in place for a number of different reasons and the end result of those things is that existing power structures have an advantage over newer ones.  This includes the patriarchy.  Further continuance of the patriarchy is an unintended consequence of those other things.  To convince these people that this needs to change, though, you’re going to have to dialogue with them.  Telling them that they want to preserve the patriarchy is probably not going to get you anywhere.  Telling them that a consequence of their policy preferences is continuation of the patriarchy might get you somewhere.Report

              • Avatar John Howard Griffin in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

                Are you talking about “cons” as in “people who are authentically conservative” or “cons” as in “people who self-identify as Conservative” or “cons” as in “people who vote GOP” or “cons” as in “people who set the party platform for the GOP”?

                Yes, isn’t that the question. These discussions always get down to a level of semantics (if the discussion reaches a certain point), so that we can make sure that what we’ve been arguing has the same meaning for both (or many) voices.

                When I generally refer to “libs” and “cons” I think of most of those, for those groups are what one can think of when mentioning those words (lib and con). I don’t know what “people who are authentically conservative” means. It would be an entire discussion in and of itself. Is it even possible for us to agree on a definition (perhaps parts, but not an entire definition). But, yes the other groups are what I think of, for they define conservatism. Though, I suppose those who are not conservative might also contribute to the definition of conservative in a more passive way.

                They want to keep a number of different things in place for a number of different reasons and the end result of those things is that existing power structures have an advantage over newer ones. This includes the patriarchy. Further continuance of the patriarchy is an unintended consequence of those other things.

                Yes, this is exactly true. Beyond the human condition, and the fact that everyone struggles in these ways, it is a particularly difficult thing for conservatives, whose predilection (generally) is to resist change.

                To convince these people that this needs to change, though, you’re going to have to dialogue with them. Telling them that they want to preserve the patriarchy is probably not going to get you anywhere. Telling them that a consequence of their policy preferences is continuation of the patriarchy might get you somewhere.

                This is probably true, in some respects, but I’m not trying to convince anyone, certainly not you. I was (originally) just showing a flaw in your statement about libs and cons (change bad parts of present, keep good parts of past, et al). You wanted examples. This was a simple example to show.

                Further, I doubt telling most conservatives that a consequence of their policy preferences is continuation of the patriarchy would get me anywhere either. As you say, this stuff is obvious and agreed upon by most everyone. They need me to point it out to them – gently – and then suddenly…..I don’t know…..profit, I guess?Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to John Howard Griffin says:

        Let’s stick with the first question: Why does the man make more money?

        Choices.  Men are more likely to train for higher paying technical jobs and are much more likely to take more dangerous jobs that are more risky.  In fact when you adjust for the greater likelihood of serious injury or early death from occupational hazards, much of the pay gap disappears.

        There are several reports that discuss these and other factors that explain almost (but not quite) all of the earnings gap, including this and this.Report

      • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to John Howard Griffin says:

        “Why does the man make more money?”

        Do you genuinely expect discussion of this issue?  Becuase the way you present it makes it sound like one of those “why will racism always exist in American society?” type of questions that we’re not actually supposed to try to answer.Report

        • Avatar Kim in reply to DensityDuck says:

          If you understand why the kipa-making factories in Palestine hire all women, then you’ll know part of the answer.

          Another part of the answer is far less nefarious — childbirth. When most women take some time off for kids, you get XYZ diminution of pay, as pay tends to be graded based on experience.

          The latter could/can be fixed reasonably easily (flextime, work from home,etc.)

          The former? could perhaps be fixed with some targeted lessons on bargaining.Report

          • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Kim says:

            Another part of the answer is far less nefarious — childbirth. When most women take some time off for kids, you get XYZ diminution of pay, as pay tends to be graded based on experience.

            This is a big factor, and it’s largely bunk.

            I mean, I know it’s a big factor, and it’s a real factor, it’s just stupid on a higher layer of abstraction.  Your pay shouldn’t be entirely a function of your experience, any more it should be entirely a function of your education or entirely a function of any other metric we currently use to measure pay.

            Your pay should be based upon your worth to an organization; and I’m not just talking about your direct productivity output, I’m also talking about how well you work with others, how well you learn – generally – if you’re in a position that requires new tasks, how easily you can adapt to change, whether or not you can handle additional responsibilities well outside your normal workload for a time, your replacement cost, how well you reduce others’ workloads, and a couple of dozen (even softer) factors.

            American corporations (especially) use “time in grade” as a measuring stick that they beat their employees with routinely… and from an organizational efficiency standpoint, it’s stupid.  It unnecessarily traps employees that have a much higher upside into a lock-step salary progression that is practically engineered to produce crappy social outcomes, as well.  I could rant on this for days.

            This is a management problem.  Management, generally, stinks on ice.Report

  10. Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

    Michael Drew sez above:

    It's the latter that the problem; if you're willing to do some significant work toward understanding the subject, then it's okay to ultimately harshly critique it if that's your aim.  We definitely need to vindicate that.  The problem is hackery, not criticism.

    That’s a fair point, and a good one.

    I submit, though, that it is extremely common to fail to do that significant work.  One of the harbingers of people who have not done the work, in my experience, is someone who starts off by ignoring the criticism of the other side (not engaging with their strong point) while restating their own side’s advantages (not acknowledging their weak point).  Which was what I was trying to say back up here, actually.Report

    • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

      It certainly is.  Not denying that.  But you went from pointing out that it all too rarely ever gets done (true) to writing out criticism of an opposing view as a thing we should even want to do well (if it’s not worth doing, it’s not worth doing well).  But I think you just went a bit further than you meant to, so I’m glad it was just a matter of clarification.Report

  11. Avatar BSK says:

    By the way, PC, I think your original thesis is spot on.  My comments here are not intended to dispute it, since I think your rough summary of the two positions is a great one and your ability to recognize the value in these positions shows that you are not simply submitting to tribalism.  My only point is that it is hard to get people to recognize and respect the laudable disposition of the other when they view that disposition as fundamentally opposed to their own.

    I’m a teacher.  I work with parents a lot.  There are often disagreements, sometimes stark and viscous ones.  What I try to always be mindful of is that the reason the two or three of us are sitting in a room together is because we all want what is best for the child.  We may disagree on that… but we want what is best for the child.  The better job we do of keeping that in the front of our mind, the more likely we are to come together on a plan that respects both of our positions and serves the interests of the child.

    I don’t like to label myself, but for most intents and purposes, I’m a liberal.  I don’t think conservatives are evil.  I don’t think they want to destroy America.  I don’t think they hate women or blacks or Arabs or freedom or the poor or whatever other caricature gets thrown up there.  They are good people who care deeply about our country and their values.  Just like me.  They want what is best for their family and their friends and their countrymen and the world.  Just like me.  Sometimes we differ on what is best or how to achieve it.  That’s cool.  Neither one of us has all the answers.  Coming together, we’ll probably come up with some pretty good ones.

    Unfortunately, for a whole host of reasons, most people buy into the caricatures and spend too much time focusing on everything else except the common goals, which are almost universally to do and seek what is right.Report

    • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to BSK says:

      I liked this comment a lot (and not just because you said you agreed with the OP).

      This part:

      The better job we do of keeping that in the front of our mind, the more likely we are to come together on a plan that respects both of our positions and serves the interests of the child.

      Yeah, that. More of that. That’s what we need.Report

      • Avatar BSK in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

        It seems easy.  But it is so remarkably hard to do.  When sometimes stands in the way of you pursuing what you think is right, it is easy to label them the enemy and treat them as such.  Which is why I say we have to remind ourselves and make a conscious effort to keep that shared vision, focus, goal in the front of our mind… because of how easy it is to let it slip to the back or lose it entirely.Report

        • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to BSK says:

          The problem is, not everyone agrees that these underlying aims are shared, and if they don’t, you can’t say they are acting in bad faith if they don’t act like they think they are shared.  So it becomes about assessing motivations, and attempting to actually persuade people to change basic worldviews, or else to convince them they aren’t actually divergent.  Perhaps this is more at the chattering-classes level than the parent-teacher conference level, but I think that’s what we’re really talking about here so…Report

          • Avatar BSK in reply to Michael Drew says:

            Talk to people enough and you’ll get at their underlying motivations.

            Two things to be mindful of…

            First, if you are going to make assumptions about someone’s intentions, assume positive intent.  Hard to do, but boy, what a world of difference it makes.  Assume the person you across from you is working with the best intentions.

            Second, ask why.  Again.  And again and again.  Odds are you will ultimately find out that the person is seeking values we can agree on… justice, fairness, doing the “right” thing.  They might disagree on what justice is or what fairness is or what “right” is… but it is unlikely they are making an active choice to do the wrong thing.  Few people say, “I think abortion is wrong, but I’m going to support it because, goddamnit, I just want to!”  Mind you, I’m not just talking about discussions.  Some people are argumentative for the sake of being argumentative and/or enjoy playing the devil’s advocate.  I mean getting at people’s core beliefs.

             Report

            • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to BSK says:

              I respect what you’re saying and the spirit in which you say it.  And I think a lot of times, this kind of discussion can lead people to realize their differences are less than fundamental.  But ultimately in the political realm, “We both want The Good but we don’t agree about what it is” doesn’t actully constitute common ground, rather it ends up just being a tautology, perhaps more revealing of difference than keeping things at a more superficial level.  It is a mistake to wish away fundamental differences in politics.

              Again, I don’t think the problem exists so much in the contexts where this kind of exchange is feasible (or granted, as you say, easy).  But the things is, this country has self-sorted.  You probably don’t actually have as deep of differences with the parents who come to your conferences as you do with people across the country you interact with on the internets, to say nothing of people who are talking against each other on satellite feeds on 6-minute cable segments, or in combative 30-second soundbites across from each other on debate stages.  And each of those is a fully institutionalized and legitimate part of the political communication that we do, about which Patrick has his valid complaints.  Much of this is about form as much as content, but some of it is also about content.  There is no talking through and reaching common grounds with respect to our differences with someone like Bob Cheeks, for example (whom I am glad to have around here), and we shouldn’t pretend otherwise.  Bob is not a performance artist, but part of what he is doing is consciously demonstrating for us the true implications of the idea of pluralism.  They are profound, and common ground is absolutely not assured in the deeply pluralistic fabric of American democracy.  And geography still matters – a lot – in ways that electronic communications can seem at first to minimize, but in fact can bring to the fore.Report

              • Avatar BSK in reply to Michael Drew says:

                Many great points here. Unfortunatley, too many for me to respond to on an iPad on Valentine’s Day. What I will say is that mutual ground or compromise isn’t always achievable, but understanding usually is. And even seeking that woud be a hige step in the right direction. But alas…Report

              • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to BSK says:

                Agreed on the seeking… we should try.  But it’s only going to help some… much of what you and Pat would like to overcome is unresolvable.Report

              • Avatar BSK in reply to Michael Drew says:

                A lot of what we are saying has to do with methodology, or form as you call it; ideology is harder. You may oppose abortion with little to zero chance of changing that position. However, that doesn’t mean you must understand my position as Babykiller, MD. If you think of me as a thoughtful person who cares deeply about doing the right thing, just like yourself, suddeny the need and justifcation for shouting, invectives, and spettle flicking start to seem silly. Perhaps we will never agree, but we can approach a legitimate point of agreeing to disagree, instead of the usually empty practice of saying we are agreeing to disagree but really are only saying we are going to stop arguing for the time being.Report

              • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to BSK says:

                I really think that is just window dressing, though window dressing can certainly be important to you – it’s not completely unimportant to me.  I want things to remain basically civil as much as the next guy.  But in a lot of areas, I think that’s the most we can hope for.  For example, I suppose if you are not an abortion provider, then i don’t strictly need to see you as a baby killer, but if I believe that a fetus or zygote is in fact a human person and ought to be a human person under the law, and you are for allowing women to choose to have an abortion provider end the life of such a person, then I actually do believe you are in favor of allowing legalized murder – that you’re in favor of killing of humans at the whim of women who don’t feel like being mothers.  If I see a zygote as a person, it’s not crazy for me to see it as a baby as well, and I don’t think it’s a stretch to see people who are for the legal killing of babies as baby killers. People regularly put the issue in such terms, saying that a functional holocaust occurs every year in this country.  When they say that, they are not just f*cking around; that is what they believe.  It’s not uncivil for them to put it in those terms, because that is what they believe.  If I believe that and I think that acting accordingly is how to do the right thing, I don’t see why spittle wouldn’t fly if you think that doing the right thing is allowing women to make that choice – that we both want to do the right thing is no help in resolving this difference, unless we just decide not to let our spittle get airborne.

                And that’s a different thing.  Simply imposing calm and civility on a discussion that if we were true to the feelings and beliefs involved ought to be spittle-flecked is not the same thing as realizing that it’s not an issue, once we delve down and find common ground in both wanting what’s right, that’s worth getting spittle-flecked over.   That’s why the bottom line of the abortion question is more commonly tabled or avoided than actually talked through in the way you describe. Some issues are like that, but many aren’t. This is a fundamental distinction, and why, while I’m all on board for a case in favor of civility for its own sake, I am resistant to the particular case you are making, which is for something else entirely (though I think perhaps that what you mean to do is make a case for civility full stop), something that I don’t think the facts of the plurality of personal belief in this country actually allows for.Report

              • Avatar BSK in reply to BSK says:

                MD-

                People may be well justified in thinking that support of abortion rights is tantamount to support of murder. That does not prevent or excuse them from stepping back and seeing that supporters of abortion rights might understand and frame the very same issue in very, very different terms. We are back to the coin and refusing to acknowledge the possibility that others might see heads where you see tails.

                Just look at the general terms we use to define positions… Pro-life and pro-choice. If an alien with no idea about abortion came to Earth and saw two camps of people with those stated positions, it would have no idea that those people were in direct opposition to one another, let alone even part of the same conversation.

                One group frames the issue around fetal rights. Another around women’s rights. Neither side is “wrong” in their framing. But if they insist that all people frame the issue as they do, we move away from mutual understanding.

                You may think I’m in support of a baby holocaust because I support abortion rights. Fine. But if you take that to mean I am an imherently evil,person, with no redeeming qualities and whose position is so unjustifiable as to completely eliminate me from the conversation… Well, where does that leave us? Even if you find my support of abortion rights* morally reprehensible, if you understand my rationale for that position, you are likely going to have a very different position of both my stance and me as an individual. We may be no closer to coming to an agreement, but we are that much better positioned to try to om this and, more importantly, other issues, where compromise might be more likely. It moves away from tribalism and petty labels that divide us and define us in inaccurate ways. Let’s move away from team lib and team con, teams red and blue, R and D, and instead recognize individuals who have a collection of believes, which may align with a broader ideology but which are no more a reason to completely disengage with each other than simpe aesthetic preferences are.

                I get that there is a certain pie-in-the-sky thinking here. But I’m a bit of an optimist like that. But do not mistake that for an assumption that all disagreements are solvable. As I tell my 5-year-olds, you share this world with a lot of people, many of whom are going to like and want things differently from you and who are well within their rights to pursue those ends. You can try to work with them to pursue the ends you prefer, butndon’t expect 100% compliance and be prepared to not like everything everyone else does. Such is life.

                *I’m specifically using the phrase abortion rights and not abortion because I think just about everyone agrees that the ideal number of abortions is zero… No one really WANTS abortions, but some do believe it an acceptable option; I think this is a point sometime lost on pro-lifers, for all of the reasons I’ve stated above. Again, I am pro-life, not pro-abortion or pro-death, in much the same way you are pro-life, not pro-restrictions-on-women or anti-choice. To use any of those labels is to be either disingenuous, willfully ignorant, or both.Report

              • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to BSK says:

                Very, very different… and wrong.  To deny or refuse to endorse people’s right to believe this is to deny their right to beliefs, or else to their expression, if you are calling on them to lie.  If you say they can hold whatever belief they want but say they have to allow for someone else’s view to be equally right, then you are really just denying them the right to believe as they will, or if you are saying they just need to mouth that allowance, then you are saying they don’t have the right to express their belief with all the conviction with which they hold it.  (Don’t read me wrong: I’m not advocating people adopt such certain beliefs, and of course in the case of abortion, I don’t think people should hold such unassailable beliefs, but people do, and to say that they must allow for a different view if they are so convicted on contrary ones is the same as sayhing that they may not be so convicted of them, and indeed, that is beyond our place to say.  And again, beyond whether we say they should, they do, and this is about understand the potentialities of political communication.  You are smuggling in substantive limits as to what people may believe in the guise of saying how they should comport themselves in conversation.  It’s fine to say you think they should hold back what they really think.  But you keep going beyond that to saying what they must not maintain as true.  It’s fine to say someone who has such a convicted view is likely wrong about it, but he has a right to be wrong.  And those are the cases we are talking about).  I don’t care what this means about where we’re headed wrt to tribalism, that’s an effect and it may be the case or not, but the above are just facts.

                And, you know, I’m not sure what you’re trying to prove with the coin thing. If I’m looking at a coin that I know well, say a quarter, sitting on a table and I see heads, then no, I don’t allow that someone else might see tails.  I’m not that delusional; perhaps they are, perhaps they don’t know American money from Argentine, whatever.  If it’s foreign coinage to me and I’m not 100% sure if it’s heads or tails, I’ll say so. But if it’s an American quarter and it’s sitting flat on a table, I’ll tell you 100% whether heads or tails is facing up, and if someone disagrees with me, they’re wrong.Report

              • Avatar BSK in reply to BSK says:

                In the coin analogy, I am imagining the coin held on edge, such that both sides are visible, but only one at a time.  Perhaps that clarifies.

                If I am understand you correctly, it seems that you are saying that acknowledging the possibility and legitimacy of other viewpoints means that someone is compromising the conviction of their own viewpoints.  I simply don’t feel this is a necessary truth.  You can believe absolutely in the moral wrongness of abortion without equivocation and yet still acknowledge that someone might believe otherwise and might do so for reasons other than wanting to kill as many babies as possible.  You may hold that their viewpoint is absolutely wrong and that yours is absolutely right and still acknowledge them as a thoughtful person with a reasoned defense of their perspective that, again, is not solely based on the eradication of babies, without conceding anything to the validity of those defenses.Report

              • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to BSK says:

                 You can believe absolutely in the moral wrongness of abortion without equivocation and yet still acknowledge that someone might believe otherwise and might do so for reasons other than wanting to kill as many babies as possible.

                This is distending your claim further than it had previously been stretched to try to get it outside of the bounds of necessity.  Yes, you can do that, but that’s not what we were talking about.  You can’t believe abortion is killing humans and think it’s okay unless you think killing humans is okay.  If all you care about is whether that person actually calls the interlocutor who disagrees a babykiller, then all you need to do is argue for civility and rule that term outside the bounds of civility.  You don’t have to insist on actually recognizing the legitimacy of viewpoints which the people we’re actually talking don’t, and will never, recognize.  Again, this is not about you showing that, darn it, they should recognize such legitimacy; it’s about recognizing that our pluralistic differences run deep enough on many issues that often people simply won’t so recognize, and that trying to plumb for such recognition will likely lead to the kind of incivility you actually want to constrain.  What you want to do is put constraints of civility on our dialogue, and I’m for that.  So just argue for it: argue for external (superego) constraints on what we say, don’t try to undo our differences or make people pretend to recognize legitimacy where they don’t remotely grant it.Report

              • Avatar BSK in reply to BSK says:

                Patrick- If people see one and only one acceptable or legitimate position on an issue, than there is no room for discussion or understanding.  I am not arguing for any constraints.  I am arguing on behalf of parameters that I feel help folks come to a better understanding of each other and way to work with and/or around their differences.

                This discussion began with an assertion that what conservatives what to preserve might be one in the same with what liberals want to change and vice versa, a point which you seemed to take issue with.  I proposed a framework that would help people who find themselves on different sides of the coin work towards agreement and, failing that, still maintaining a base level of respect and understanding that would prevent an issue where agreement cannot be reached to become so divisive as to divide folks entirely.Report

              • Avatar BSK in reply to BSK says:

                There is a stage that children go through called egocentrism.  During this stage, they literally believe that whatever they see or hear or understand about the world is what everyone else sees or hears or understands about the world.  Very young children operate under the belief that anything outside of their view ceases to exist… the entire world is what they see in front of them.  It is why a baby will not look for a toy that rolled under the couch.  It is no longer.  It is also why peek-a-boo is such an interesting game.  Hide your face from the baby and you have disappeared from existence only to return just as quickly.  As children grow, they begin to understand that a world exists beyond the limits of their five sense, but still believe that others interpret and understand the world in much the same way they do.  An experiment conducted with children in this age bears this out.  Show a child a cube with a different image on each face.  Show them two opposite faces of the cube, then place the cube such that one of those faces is pointed towards the child and the other towards you, seated across from them.  Ask what they are looking at.  Ask what you are looking at.  The child will say that you see the same image they see.  You can do the experiment 100 times and the response remains the same.  Again, the child will grow and grow and they will move beyond this stage, usually around 4 or 5.

                You seem to be advocating a return to this stage, a return or embracing of egocentricity such that people can’t acknowledge that two people can look at the exact same thing and see two very different things based on their angle.  If a staunchly pro-life person can’t accept or acknowledge that I don’t believe that a zygote is a baby or life or deserving of rights and, thus, my pro-choice stance is grounded in a completely different understanding of the issue, they are no different from the 3-year-old insisting we both see a train when a tree is staring me right in the face.Report

              • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to BSK says:

                BSK,

                See below, comment starting with, “I made clear…”Report

              • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to BSK says:

                I guess one more thing, BSK.  I can’t get you to see it, but to me it is clear that understanding and accepting what I am talking about here is necessary for the kind of understanding and acceptance I take you to be arguing for.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Michael Drew says:

                Much of what you and Pat would like to overcome is unresolvable.

                As I’ve said before, don’t confuse me with someone that thinks that all problems have a solution.

                However, I do think clarity as to what the problem is, and clarity as to what would possibly make the problem better (even if it is currently unachievable) saves a lot of time.

                If for no other reason, we don’t try solving it by other methods that are unlikely to work.Report

              • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

                I’m going to go to Jaybird here.  I think it’s important to point out problems of morality (I would perhaps put it, necessary problems) whether or not they have a solution.

                I think it’s less helpful to point out problems of taste (to say that you don’t like how things are because you would just prefer as a matter of aesthetics or general agreeability that they were different) if you don’t have in mind a pretty clear idea of how they could be made better, what you are asking of whom for it to happen, how much better they actually are going to get if that is done, and why others should agree with you that it would actually be better if things were that way.  I think it’s a bit trivial to push such problems of taste as general concerns unless those questions can be answered in a way that you will maintain should make them consider whether or indeed conclude that they agree and want to take the actions you counsel.

                I’m not going to insist that the problems we’re talking about here are of the latter category and not the former, but I need to be convinced that they’re of the former and not the latter.  Or I need it explained to me why I should be concerned with what you concede are matters of taste for you (but not for me, but maybe you can convince me) if that’s all they are.Report

              • As an aside, I find that there are generally three levels at work here.

                Matters of taste.

                Matters of Morality where it would be Immoral for me to intervene with your decision.

                Matters of Morality where it would be Immoral for me to *NOT* intervene with your decision.

                That last category? Pretty friggin’ small.

                That middle one? Easily confused for the first (well, as far as Jaybird and his ilk are concerned). Easily shoved into the third (as far as the busybodies are concerned).Report

              • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

                I defer to the proprietor.

                I think may I like “necessary problem” and “problem of preference.”Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

                don’t confuse me with someone that thinks that all problems have a solution.

                But do you think all solutions have a problem?Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

                But do you think all solutions have a problem?

                People make lots of money taking that approach so there’s empirical evidence in favor.  There’s Truth, and there’s truth, and…Report

              • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to BSK says:

                I made clear I was not advocating such positions.  I am just saying that people have them, we have to deal with that fact, with how they act as a result, and not expect them to admit what something that is excluded logically by the idea of what they believe to be possible is true unless we make a substantive case for it that convinces them.  To expect otherwise is actually to not allow them the latitude to actually believe, and to expect them to say they admit of such possibilities when they do not is to ask them to lie.

                In contrast, to simply ask for civility creates none of those problems.Report

              • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Michael Drew says:

                Ugh.  Threaded wrong.  In response to BSK.

                I’m going to leave off here, my initialed friend.  You may be happy to know,  am not as committed to this position as the number of replies I’ve made clarifying it suggest. 😉  (Though I am committed to it.)Report

              • Avatar BSK in reply to Michael Drew says:

                MD (who I incorrectly referred to as Patrick up above… my apologies)-  I will be the first to admit that I don’t know if I am truly understanding and grasping the full scope of your position here.  Insofar as this mis or lack of understanding has been frustrating to you, my apologies.  Good talk!  I’ll try to sift back through and make a greater sense of it.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Michael Drew says:

                Inherently, even moderns know there is but one TRUTH.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Robert Cheeks says:

                even if there is one truth, immutable, there is still schroedinger’s cat. We can’t know the one truth, because it changes as soon as we try to measure it.

                /empiricist out.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Robert Cheeks says:

                Except when they don’t.Report

  12. Avatar MFarmer says:

    I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m pissed at the conservatives who are giving Santorum a shot at the nomination. Santorum despises libertarians, but then half of the Right don’t even understand  libertarianism, so tight-asses like Santorum can spin the issues and make libertarians look like useless, libertine bums. Santorum can kiss my arse.Report

  13. Avatar Robert Cheeks says:

    In the end, the modern, as we see above, is incapable of recognizing his/her own personal disorder and perversion and, being a relativist, seeks to justify those things that are always wrapped in ‘rights’ and always worthy of damnation.Report