You Know Folks, Tom Is Very Clearly Right

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Jason Kuznicki

Jason Kuznicki is a research fellow at the Cato Institute and contributor of Cato Unbound. He's on twitter as JasonKuznicki. His interests include political theory and history.

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  1. Avatar BenjaminJB
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    says:

    I don’t defend name-calling, but I love the weird out-of-balance nature of the complaint here: some top Republican politicians and the top spokespeople make a habit of saying “Democrat”; and on the other side, who says “The Party of Stupid and Evil”? Some commenters and bloggers? Oh, clearly both sides do it equally.Report

    • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to BenjaminJB
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      says:

      Is that really how you read me? Because I find that amusing. I nowhere implied an equivalence. On the contrary, I was very clear that the blog commenters are behaving much worse.

      To restate what should have been obvious: Lots of high-level Republicans use a very petty and exceedingly minor way to insult Democratic politicians. Several of blog commenters in these parts (and, to be fair, in many, many others) decry them for it while simultaneously using vastly harsher invective.

      Now, can you answer the question?Report

      • Avatar BenjaminJB in reply to Jason Kuznicki
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        says:

        No I can’t answer your question, because, as stated, I don’t defend the name-calling. In that, I agree with you. (Yay!)

        I just wanted to point out the distinct difference between a) powerful people engaging in petty tactics and b) weaker people engaging in petty tactics.

        We may agree that the tactics are petty; but I think we may disagree on this: I think the differing status of the disputants in these cases makes a serious difference in the results (more people hear Limbaugh say Democrat than hear the blogger say “Party of Stupid and Evil”).

        Although I guess this gets to the whole “do you want your political representatives to be exemplary (the best) or representative (just as petty as the rest of us)?”Report

        • Avatar Will Truman in reply to BenjaminJB
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          says:

          I think the “who is saying it” loses salience when the discussion was initiated by a bunch of commenters piling not on a GOP spokesperson, but… a commenter, who used the phrase “Democrat politician.”Report

          • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Will Truman
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            says:

            Oh, I think that’s precisely Jason’s point. If you’re gonna call out other individuals for using disparaging language, then you can’t turn around and use it yourself. That’s an entirely fair criticism.

            The difference emerges, it seems to me, when we conflate an idiosyncratic use of language with an institutionalized one. The GOP has officially and unilaterally decided to change the name of the Democratic party and the designator used to refer to its members. It’s not merely a slur: it’s an attempt to codify a slur. I think there’s a difference there.Report

            • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Stillwater
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              says:

              I mention as much below. I think it’s a loose hook to hang the argument hat (that they are completely different) on, but it is a difference.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Will Truman
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                says:

                What’s the better hook, Will? I mean, I don’t want this to sound as contentious as it will (because I’ve reached a level of exhaustion in trying to reason with you about this), but what is the significant, tangible, univocal (!!) argument affirming the term “Democrat politician” is anything other than a slur? All you’ve been able to say so far is that it’s not impossible that “Democrat” and “politician” can be combined to create a compound noun (something I’ve rejected), and that people actually speak that way. But the fact that people speak that way doesn’t decide the issue of whether it’s a) grammatically unsound or b) that it’s a pejorative.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                That maybe we shouldn’t view calling the other side “The Party of Stupid and/or Evil” as a-okay? That maybe what the two things have in common – being disrespectful of our ideological opponents – is more relevant than how they are different?

                I’ve never disagreed that “Democrat politician” is a pejorative. I haven’t defended use of the term*. I’ve only said that objecting to it on grammatical grounds is grating.

                * – The closest I have come is saying that I am “less concerned” about Democrat politician than Democrat Party, but I also said that when I think it might be an issue (that people will take it as a slur) I will avoid using it.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Will Truman
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                says:

                Forgive me a moment of exasperation about this, but now it seems you’re arguing that propriety and civility ought to be part of political discourse. That’s wonderful? And it gets back to the initial complaint, no? Isn’t the issue motivating all this virtual ink that critics of Democrats take civil liberties (see how that works?) when referring to them by something other than their actual name?Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                And it gets back to the initial complaint, no? Isn’t the issue motivating all this virtual ink that critics of Democrats take civil liberties (see how that works?) when referring to them by something other than their actual name?

                Could you rephrase this? I don’t want to respond to something I am not sure you are saying.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                Will, the whole point of all this virtual ink is that you, and Tom, and Duck, and Ward apparently, and the GOP (ugh) … all seem to think that the phrase “Democrat politician” is grammatically correct, it’s how people talk, it’s not pejorative, etc.

                However, now you’re saying that civility is an essential part of political discourse. But if civility is essential, then why don’t the complaints of liberals, Democrats, and even independents regarding the incivility of the term “Democrat politicians” sway you to abandon the phrase?Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                Will, the whole point of all this virtual ink is that you, and Tom, and Duck, and Ward apparently, and the GOP (ugh) … all seem to think that the phrase “Democrat politician” is grammatically correct, it’s how people talk, it’s not pejorative, etc.

                Exactly how many times would you like me to say that I do not approve of using Democrat Something (if it bothers the people) you are in the conversation with? I’ll do it. I’m wicked with cut and paste.

                “I’m with you on the pejorative part”

                “If it’s something that’s going to disrupt the conversation, I’ll stick with Democratic.”

                “I get the “Stop being a jerk” bit.”

                “disagree with [Tom] on the nonpejorative part”

                “I’ve never disagreed that “Democrat politician” is a pejorative.”

                These are things I have said. I am generally of the mind that if the person you are talking to says “don’t call us that” then it should be honored whenever it is likely to offend. I am not sure where you are getting the idea that I think the incivility of “Democrat Blank” is a-okay? Our main disagreement on the last thread was about grammar (and the importance thereof).Report

              • Avatar Pierre Corneille in reply to Stillwater
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                I’m sure Will can respond for himself, but I will point out that above, in this very thread, he mentioned he wouldn’t use “Democrat politician” if his interlocutor found it off-putting. So, apparently he has been “swayed” to abandon the phrase.

                Also, I refuse to lump him in with the others you mention. If I had realized that this brouhaha emerged over Will saying “Democrat politician,” I wouldn’t have even expressed my mild disapproval below. In my experience, Will has consistently discussed things with such good faith and civility that an incidental, or even repeated, use of the phrase “Democrat politician” doesn’t really bother me.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                Pierre, I appreciate it. I actually have not used the phrase “Democrat politician”, so this isn’t over me. I have defended it on grammatical grounds, and said that I might conceivably use it if I did not think it would offend. I was vaguely recalling having been “called out” on using “Democrat” instead of “Democratic.” I finally tracked it down last night and I had actually said “(most family members on my father’s side) vote Democrat.” I don’t know if that is more acceptable or less acceptable than “Democrat politician,” but I was told it was unacceptable. I personally think it sounds better than “vote Democratic” or “vote for Democrats”, but if it was an issue, I’d change wording immediately. Or I’d remember not to use the phrase in the first place on the possibility that somebody might think I am alluding to the “Democrat Party.”Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater
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                “I’ve never disagreed that “Democrat politician” is a pejorative.”

                Hmmmm. I didn’t get the earlier. Somehow I thought your saying it’s a legitimate construction was evidence to the contrary. Sorry about that.Report

          • Avatar Jeff in reply to Will Truman
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            says:

            I got it from Slacktivist, who has probably never heard of TVD.Report

        • Avatar Will H. in reply to BenjaminJB
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          A variant of the appeal to authority?Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Jason Kuznicki
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        says:

        Let’s take Stupid first, it’s easier to prove. The GOP is the Anti-Science Party. Are the Democrats trying to defund climate research or denying AGW or cuddling up to Creationists?

        Evil is Rick Perry saying climate scientists are jiggering the numbers. Evil is invading Iraq on the basis of a simple lie. Now, I’m not sure if deregulating the risk markets was stupid or evil but it might be both.

        And now, mirabile dictu, news reaches me that North Carolina intends to force people to ignore their own eyes.

        Now, Jason, there really is no reason for anyone to believe these things are equally true of Democrats. We’re not trying to ram our morals down your throat. So maybe, when we of the Democratic Party observe the GOP is the enemy of science and promulgates lies that get thousands of Americans killed, we might just have our reasons.Report

        • Avatar Stillwater in reply to BlaiseP
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          Dude, don’t you know the answer to that by now: both sides equally to blame for what one side ought to blamed for. That the new truism!Report

          • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Stillwater
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            says:

            For all their opposition to Affirmative Action, the GOP sure has capitalised on Equal Opportunity for their own low standards. Be they the most Unscientific of Morons or Warmongering Liars, we must always afford them respect. If they appeal to fear and ignorance and we to facts and hope, well, the O in GOP stands for Outrage. Respect, you see, is not earned, with them it’s a right. That they have none for us, well, to paraphrase Hillary Clinton, it takes a village to raise an idiot.Report

        • Avatar dand in reply to BlaiseP
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          [I]Let’s take Stupid first, it’s easier to prove. The GOP is the Anti-Science Party. Are the Democrats trying to defund climate research or denying AGW or cuddling up to Creationists? [/I]

          There is more to science than global warming. The Obama administration caved to the EU on their anti-scientific ban a genetically modified food. NYC and San Francisco continue keep rent control in place despite a consensus amount economists that it is bad policy.

          [I]Now, Jason, there really is no reason for anyone to believe these things are equally true of Democrats. We’re not trying to ram our morals down your throat[/I]

          Yes you are how else do you explain all the cities passing foie gras bans or California’s Proposition 2 in 2008?Report

          • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to dand
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            says:

            I now live in farm country in rural Wisconsin. As we speak, Monsanto’s snoops and lawyers are going around this country, trying to shut down soybean and corn farmers whose seed might have been cross-pollinated by their patented genetically-modified plants. Roundup Ready corn has lead to superweeds, glyphosate-resistant weeds. Big problem around here. Monsanto is not loved.

            Did Obama cave to the EU? Last I heard, the USA does not have sovereignty in Europe.

            As for foie gras, it’s a disgusting process. If force-feeding geese is not cruelty, that’s your call to make. I’m not much on cutting the beaks off chickens either. I find cruelty to animals repugnant. You might not.

            I would only repeat myself in saying the O in GOP stands for Outrage. Since we’ve already established the GOP denies the impact of AGW and you, by your own admission, disagree with farmers now plagued by superweeds and seem to be an advocate for animal cruelty, I can only observe it is a free country. But maybe it’s not so free after all, considering we must accommodate every unscientific and sadistic advocate for force feeding animals.Report

            • Avatar dand in reply to BlaiseP
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              [I]As we speak, Monsanto’s snoops and lawyers are going around this country, trying to shut down soybean and corn farmers whose seed might have been cross-pollinated by their patented genetically-modified plants. [I]

              In order to be in violation of the Patent the farmers need to have intentionally planted GMO seed, it’s not illegal to plant seed that was inadvertently cross pollinated.

              [I]Roundup Ready corn has lead to superweeds, glyphosate-resistant weeds. Big problem around here.[I]

              There are other forms of GMOs besides roundup ready the EU ban effects them all.

              [I]Did Obama cave to the EU? Last I heard, the USA does not have sovereignty in Europe.[I]

              The WTO found that the EU ban on GMO was illegal and authorized retialitory tariffs, the Obama administration caved by dropping those tariffs.

              [I]As for foie gras, it’s a disgusting process. If force-feeding geese is not cruelty, that’s your call to make. I’m not much on cutting the beaks off chickens either. I find cruelty to animals repugnant. You might not.[I]

              You find them morally objectionable just as many people find abortion morally objectionable how is your attempt to ban what you find different than theirs?Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to dand
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                says:

                ROFL. What do they teach kids these days in school? Certainly not rhetoric or logic. You’re the one who said there’s more to science than Global Warming.

                You are, quite simply, lying about what Monsanto does and doesn’t do. It does prosecute.Report

              • Avatar dand in reply to BlaiseP
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                says:

                Information from an anti-gmo advocacy group isn’t evidence.

                Do you have source for your information that isn’t an advocacy group? In the lawsuits I’m aware of Monsanto has claimed the farmers intentionally selected for GMOs while the farmers have claimed they didn’t. Monsanto wasn’t suing them for planting seeds that were accidently cross contaminated.

                Why didn’t you respond to the rest of my post or my point up-thread about rent control, because you’re unable to?Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to dand
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                says:

                Are you saying CBS News isn’t legit? I’m here to discuss why it is okay to call the right-of-center party “The Party of Stupid and Evil”. I made my point. Now I must contend with a few ankle biters, a task I’m able to manage because the facts are all on my side and I couldn’t give a damn if I hurts some folks’ feewings.Report

              • Avatar dand in reply to BlaiseP
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                says:

                You didn’t link to CBS news. How come you’ve ignored most of my point?Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to BlaiseP
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                says:

                You didn’t actually look at the link.

                Watch a CBS News report about Monsanto’s history of accusing farmers who were contaminated by its genetically modified seed with patent infringement:Report

              • Avatar dand in reply to BlaiseP
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                says:

                I don’t read propaganda pieces, if you provide a direct link to CBS news (although I’d prefer something from the print media) and I’ll read itReport

              • Avatar Kimmi in reply to dand
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                says:

                dand,
                sorry, pal, but the anti-gmo groups ain’t anti-gmo. they’re anti-monstersanto, and the world ending via an arms race on our food supply.
                How do i know this shit? Simple. I know a guy what runs a fairly large anti-gmo group. He personally called them off the “yellow rice” folks in India, where some good men are trying to fucking save lives.
                Monstersanto is not your friend.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to BlaiseP
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                says:

                Here’s my story about Monsanto. There’s a magazine called The Organic Farmer which refused to take advertisements for Round Up and other Monsanto products because those products aren’t consistent with the idea of organic farming. Monsanto took them to court, almost bankrupted the company publishing the rag. They were actually reduced to soliciting donations from their subscribers to pay for the legal bills incurred. I don’t know if they’re still solvent.

                But it’s a nice story about US style capitalism, no?Report

              • Avatar dand in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                What were they sued over? Who won the lawsuit? If the magazine won the lawsuit but still ended up in bankruptcy it sound like yet another reason to favor a loser pays legal system (something I favor).Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to dand
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                says:

                When I stopped paying attention it was like this: Monsanto had enough artillery to bankrupt them in court, independent of the settlement (that’s what the publisher wrote in a letter to subscribers). They (Monsanto) felt they had a legitimate case of discrimination (or whatever the legal niceties are at that point), pursued the case, litigated, and forced a shoestring mon&pop company to lawyer-up to compete with a multi-national with the best lawyers in the country on retainer. I don’t know what statute or legal term covers the complaint, but it was that the mag unfairly discriminated against Monsanto by rejecting their ads even tho they were paying a competitive price.

                I don’t know if they’re still in business.Report

              • Avatar dand in reply to dand
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                says:

                That seems like a problem with the tort system. Not an issue related to GMOs.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to dand
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                says:

                That seems like a problem with the tort system. Not an issue related to GMOs.

                Oh! I’ll keep that in mind.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to BlaiseP
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              Last I heard, the USA does not have sovereignty in Europe.

              I’m pretty sure we have air superiority, though.Report

        • Avatar Will H. in reply to BlaiseP
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          says:

          The one about the Right being anti-science really is an obfuscation of the matter.Report

          • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Will H.
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            I have furnished the link about North Carolina’s GOP. Care to dispute that? As for Barton Hinkle, the man is completely innumerate. He’s also been barking about how we’ll never run out of oil. He’s a perpetual motion machine of lunacy. It’s the height of irony to see him writing for “Reason” magazine.Report

            • Avatar Will H. in reply to BlaiseP
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              I don’t dispute climate change personally; but with the number of academic scandals surrounding the science, it would be prudent to be skeptical. I can’t think of any other area of scientific research (and notably in a field as dull as meteorology) that would draw such activism in the falsification of data on the level of researchers.
              Well, except for the idea that vaccinations cause autism, etc.

              While I agree that it is unfortunate that NC has taken such a hard stand, nevertheless I see where they’re coming from.

              Also unfortunate is that attacking the author leaves his idea intact. (see definition of “finite of its own kind,” B. Spinoza, Ethica)
              This is true regardless of how well-placed your criticisms of the author may be.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Will H.
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                Prudence? Would you care to dispute the rising CO2 levels in both the atmosphere and the ocean?

                I’d choose another adjective than “unfortunate”. You see where they’re coming from, all right. So do I. It has been seen before, when Galileo was put under house arrest and Giordano Bruno was burned at the stake.

                As for Spinoza, I will go with this little quote: “For the truth is the index of itself and of what is false.” I will not be told of Finiteness of its own Kind. I will not reason with idiots.Report

              • Avatar Will H. in reply to BlaiseP
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                says:

                Now that’s the sort of stridency that is uncalled for.
                It sort of goes back to the point that I was making:
                If the data is good enough, then stick with the data.
                As far as climate change goes, we know for certain that particulate pollution alters evaporation rates and rain frequency and intensity. But for some reason, no one seems concerned with that.
                We hear a lot about how CO2 is ruining the planet, but all of the dire pronouncements are over-wrought.
                There’s still a lot that we don’t know.
                And there’s been a lot of jiggling the numbers.

                I doubt seriously that the people of No. Carolina are considering the house arrest or public (or private!) burnings of the various entities involved in Climategate, installments I or II.

                I really expected better from you.
                You’re down from your A-game.
                Take a nap, old man.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Will H.
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                You have managed to insinuate academic scandals might be a factor, the data notwithstanding. Those unhelpful aspersions sound a whole lot like Creation Science. There is a lot we do know.

                Now I will tell you something about dynamical systems, a subject with which I’m pretty well acquainted: when you fuck with them, the only part you don’t know is just how seriously it’s going to spin out of control. The part we do know is that it is fucking up.

                As for soft pedalling what’s going on in North Carolina, it’s manifest the GOP does not like the numbers from the climatologists. The ocean is rising. Now you can sit there like Canute and command those waves. I’ll go with the data and I’ll call anyone who doesn’t an unscientific jackass.Report

              • Avatar Will H. in reply to BlaiseP
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                I believe it was determined recently that something like 40% of the ocean rise is attributable to the depletion of groundwater for use in irrigation.
                There has been water rationing for farm purposes from the Ogallala aquifer in the dependent northern states for several years now.
                That’s what the big uproar around the proposed Sunflower plant outside of Hays, Kans. is about– pulling out water for irrigation to produce power to send into Colorado. Tighter rationing for farmers.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi in reply to BlaiseP
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                link on that, will?
                We got the rains to prove it here, we lost the lake effect snow fifty years ago.
                Global warming ain’t new. it’s been going on since the industrial revolution.

                And there have NOT been real academic scandals, here. You wanna see what a real scandal is? Someone fucks up a variable in an applet everyone uses for a conversion. Takes TWENTY FUCKING YEARS to notice. Everyone’s papers within that period are WRONG (by an easily determinable correction). Fucking embarrassing.

                What you had was some cranky researchers, who lacked an IRB to provide cover for “are you really a scientist, why do you want my 1 terabyte raw data???”Report

              • Avatar dand in reply to Will H.
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                Perhaps people wouldn’t be so skeptical about climate change of the environmentalist hadn’t push “The Population Bomb” 40 years ago. What’s amazing is how many of them still believe it.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to dand
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                The Population Bomb went off, all right. It’s still going off, in poor countries where girls aren’t educated. The Ehrlichs changed the way the world thought about the population problem.

                One in seven people in the world suffers from hunger. The proportion of hungry children is higher. The world has cleanly divided, leaving the poor of Africa and India to their fates, in perfect silence. Over 40% of India does not receive sufficient food, though Americans grow fat as hogs.

                I am currently planning to send six people to Niger Republic to do famine relief work. We have raised several hundred thousand dollars to that end. The very fucking idea, that somehow the world isn’t overburdened with people and people aren’t starving. You need to open your eyes.Report

              • Avatar dand in reply to BlaiseP
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                To people who a starving are starving because of lack of economic development not because to a lack of food. A smaller percentage of the world population if staring now than ever before.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to dand
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                I’ve been doing refugee work pretty much all my life and my parents before me. I have seen starving people and one of my earliest memories was watching my father bury children who’d starved to death. Children my age.

                You are, therefore, cordially invited to get a fucking clue. Children don’t get kwashiorikor because they don’t have a shopping mall down the street. Niger Republic is starving and you think that isn’t a problem.Report

              • Avatar dand in reply to dand
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                Where did I say that wasn’t a problem moron?

                What I said was that they aren’t starving due to lack a resources as the “Population Bomb” claimed, they are starving because they cannot afford to buy food. If you aren’t going to be civil to me I won’t be civil toward you, pompous asshole.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to dand
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                Um, this is where: To people who a starving are starving because of lack of economic development not because to a lack of food.

                That’s where. Now you just run ‘long now and find someone who’s likely to spoon feed you facts in a manner you like. I only take people seriously when they can provide facts to support their positions. Yammering little myrmidons with a bad attitude and no facts shall be squashed.Report

              • Avatar dand in reply to dand
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                How on earth does disagree about why they are starving equal not caring about the fact that they are starveling? Are your reasoning skills really that bad?

                Don’t you talk about my bad attitude; you’re the one that started the name calling not me.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to dand
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                I’m not here to explain the logic of the English language. In Niger Republic, two terrible situations have gotten worse.

                The Tuareg of the Sahara were once the allies of Muhammar Khadafy. Now that he has been murdered, his allies are also being murdered. They are fleeing south into Niger and Mali. They are armed mobs, robbing people of what little they have, their food.

                The rains failed this year. Niger Republic is the poorest nation in the world by most estimates. The people are subsistence farmers. The only meaningful industry is uranium mining. It’s mined at a loss to fuel the reactors of Europe. It has no impact on the ordinary people of Niger.

                I spent much of my childhood in Niger Republic. There is no economic development because there’s nothing up there but sand. There are no natural resources beyond uranium to exploit and none of that money goes to the ordinary nigerois anyway. Poor people reproduce faster than rich people, the Hausa and Tuareg populations have grown.

                It’s obvious you don’t care. If you did, you’d do something about it. What we do see from you is some mean-spirited bullshit about how it’s not a food problem. It is a food problem. And you’re telling us things are getting better! I’m so glad to hear it!

                Tell that to the people of Niger Republic.Report

              • Avatar dand in reply to dand
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                You are quite clearly incapable of thinking logically if you weren’t you would understand the difference between disagreeing about the cause of a problem and not caring about a problem.

                How many natural recourses do Japan and South Korea have? In modern economies native natural recourses are only a minor factor in economic output. There is no food grown in Manhattan yet there is no mass starvation. If the economy of Niger were as developed as the economy of Japan is there would be no mass starvation. I care about third world poverty that one reason why I support free trade. Why is it that the same people who claim to care about starving people in the third world throw a hissy fit whenever a company moves it operations to the third world thereby raising the living standards in the country that it relocates to?Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to dand
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                Niger Republic is a landlocked country, a leftover from the French empire. It is mostly desert. It has never known a democratically-elected government. It is not much different than Mali or Burkina Faso or Chad, all of which suffer from the same problems.

                Manhattan Island was once covered with farms. When it was fully settled, it was fed from New Jersey and Long Island, to a very considerable extent it still is.

                Tell you what, prove to me you care. Go to Redcross.org and make a donation for famine relief. I would understand if you don’t. After all, as you say, things are getting so much better!Report

              • Avatar dand in reply to dand
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                Those are reasons why economic development in Niger will be difficult, they have nothing to do with the reasons that the residents of Niger are starving or the claims made in “The Population Bomb”. I don’t think I’ve ever claimed that things are getting better in Niger or anywhere in Africa, on the other hand things are getting much better in Asia and the fact that Africa is now an outlier is a significant improvement, 65 years ago Asia was as bad as Africa.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to dand
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                I see. Nothing at all to do with lack of food. A drought killed all the millet. Still no problem with food, as you say. Invasions of well-armed nomads from Libya, stealing all the food and killing the cattle. No problem with a lack of food.

                Why don’t you just shut the fuck up and make a donation to Red Cross so these people don’t starve to death in the here and now?Report

              • Avatar dand in reply to dand
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                says:

                The issue isn’t that global food production is insufficient to feed the global population (that was the central claim of the population bomb) if they had a per capita GDP comparable to Japan they wouldn’t be starving.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to dand
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                says:

                if they had a per capita GDP comparable to Japan they wouldn’t be starving

                Granted. But they don’t, right? So what do we do given that?

                Let them starve?Report

              • Avatar dand in reply to dand
                Ignored
                says:

                This subthread started with accuracy of “The Population Bomb”, the fact that there is local starvation in no way proves the central claim the world would not be able to produce enough food to meet global needs. Somehow this got tuned into a discussion about how much I care about people starving in Africa rather than the cause of that starvation.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to dand
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                says:

                You don’t understand anything. The problem is logistics and capital. Niger has nothing to sell and therefore has no capital. Its people live in the abjectest poverty in the world. Its people are subsistence farmers.

                Gosh, yanno, I’ve been in and out of Niger Republic pretty much all my life. But thanks to you, dand, (clutching my head) it’s all suddenly coming into focus. These people don’t need food. They need folks like you to do the economic development! So go your dumb ass to Niger Republic. Untold riches await you as you leverage this vast supply of cheap labour to productive ends! Why didn’t I think of this?

                So off you go, you brave soul. Air France flies into Niamey.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to dand
                Ignored
                says:

                Thread winner: “If you aren’t going to be civil to me I won’t be civil toward you, pompous asshole.”Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to dand
                Ignored
                says:

                I put no stock in civility. I put my money on the facts. Civility is the homage virtue pays to vice.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to dand
                Ignored
                says:

                Somehow this got tuned into a discussion about how much I care about people starving in Africa rather than the cause of that starvation.

                How are those distinguishable?Report

              • Avatar dand in reply to dand
                Ignored
                says:

                stillwater,

                Arguing that X rather than Y caused Z is not the same as not caring about Z.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to dand
                Ignored
                says:

                I don’t know what that means. Starvation isn’t a political issue in and of itself. It’s a moral issue insofar as people care about it. It becomes a political issue when people disagree about how to ameliorate it. Eg, whether I should have to inconvenience myself to ameliorate other </ipeoples suffering.

                Fair enough. But let’s not kid ourselves about the dynamic in play.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to dand
                Ignored
                says:

                Dand is saying that the disagreement is not over whether something should be done about it, or what should be done about it, but rather what is causing it. Saying that vaccinations do not cause autism is not the same as dismissing the existence of or seriousness of autism.

                (Now, whether population is the cause of Africa’s woes as Blaise asserts, or not, as Dand asserts, I do not know. I do agree with Dand, though, if I understand him correctly, that disagreeing about the root cause is not the same thing as being indifferent to its effects, which he is being accused of.)Report

              • Avatar dand in reply to dand
                Ignored
                says:

                The original dispute was about the cause not about the solution.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to dand
                Ignored
                says:

                Oh bullshit. You said the problems of Niger were not due to a lack of food. I have thus far encouraged you to give to famine relief (which you won’t do, though you say you care) and to fly to Niamey to take advantage of this lack of economic development. Surely Niger needs economic development but it won’t change the food situation.

                This is a landlocked country at the edge of the Sahara Desert. Others have tried economic development. I tried. It hasn’t worked. There’s no capital and even the few things they might do there cost more to transport to the outside world than they’re worth. Two thirds of this mission to Niger is eaten up in transportation costs.

                Niger shouldn’t even be a country. It’s a wretched, cobbled-up leftover bit of gristle from the Europeans carving up West Africa. It’s the most fucked-up country on the planet, bar none. Nobody’s going to do business there, there’s no good reason. Anything worth doing in the Third World needs a good port and a railway to feed it. Roads? Don’t make me laugh.

                Niger is a mess. Education is a joke. Sometimes I wonder if I haven’t been cursed, to care for this fucked up country.Report

              • Avatar Will H. in reply to dand
                Ignored
                says:

                Someone sounds cranky.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi in reply to dand
                Ignored
                says:

                dand,
                know how long it takes a computer to break? TRY IT AGAIN with 70% humidity.
                Now what was little ignorance saying about Japan and South Korea?
                There’s a REASON NORTH gets rich, and South Stays Poor.
                Tech is designed for North, adn not for south (or arctic circle).

                natural resources of Japan/SK: temperature and humidity.

                You’re welcome.Report

              • Avatar dand in reply to dand
                Ignored
                says:

                Of course a lack of food is the reason for starvation the question is why is there a lack of food. This tangent got going because you claimed that the problem in Niger were proof that “The Population Bomb” was accurate, I said that the problems in Niger were not due to a lack of global food production but rather about a lack of economic development that makes it impossible for them to purchase enough food to meet their needs.

                It seems that you don’t understand that disagreeing about the root cause of a problem is different than not caring about a problem.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to dand
                Ignored
                says:

                So, let’s see. The Ehrlichs predicted exactly what’s now happening in Niger Republic. Too many people, not enough food. If the world is better fed, that’s because the world took the Ehrlichs seriously. More land is now under cultivation, yields are higher because we’re fertilizing those fields with nitrates now flushing down our streams and rivers and wreaking havoc just offshore. We’ve only put off the problem for a few decades.Report

              • Avatar dand in reply to BlaiseP
                Ignored
                says:

                [I]So, let’s see. The Ehrlichs predicted exactly what’s now happening in Niger Republic. Too many people, not enough food. [I]

                Global food production is more than enough to feed the global population the problem that some areas lack the economic means to acquire to food needed to feed their population.

                [I]. We’ve only put off the problem for a few decades.[I]

                Ah yes the cry of every Doomsday Prophet after their dire warnings didn’t pan out “I was right I just got the date wrong”. Maybe you should give Harold Camping a call.Report

              • Avatar Will H. in reply to dand
                Ignored
                says:

                IIRC, there has been a lot of oil found in Niger. The Chinese have bought up the contracts for it, but very little development has taken place as of yet.
                But they’re not going to pay good money to sit on those leases forever.
                Things will be different there in years to come. Time will tell.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Will H.
                Ignored
                says:

                Oh, those Tenere fields are not going into production any time soon. Where will the pipelines go? Through some other country, like Nigeria maybe.

                Not. Nigeria is ultra-corrupt. They can’t even manage their own oil.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Will H.
                Ignored
                says:

                I don’t dispute climate change personally; but with the number of academic scandals surrounding the science, it would be prudent to be skeptical.

                That’s the type A/type B distinction mentioned earlier wrt Birtherism. What you’re saying here is that *you* *personally* don’t *reject* climate science outright, like the anti crowd does. But you still think it’s an open question.

                That view places you firmly in the global warming skeptic camp.Report

              • Avatar Will H. in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Not exactly.
                I am a skeptic, granted; but on a quantitative basis, and not a qualitative one.Report

              • Avatar M.A. in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                The A/B dichotomy reminds me of the cop-out of asking begged questions, then claiming “I’m just asking the questions, I’m not asserting anything” when challenged.

                There’s always the absurdist take on the matter. Or the ultra-absurdist take.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to M.A.
                Ignored
                says:

                I’m just asking questions, dammit!Report

            • Avatar M.A. in reply to BlaiseP
              Ignored
              says:

              The name of “Reason” magazine always reminds me of the nomenclature of the “Pravda” newspaper for some reason.Report

              • Avatar MikeSchilling in reply to M.A.
                Ignored
                says:

                Clearly they chose “Reason” because it has unjustifiably positive connotations, and we’re completely justified in calling it “Rejects” instead.Report

        • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to BlaiseP
          Ignored
          says:

          In point of fact, the least intelligent Americans tend to gravitate towards the Democratic Party. People of low intelligence tend to have low incomes, and thus have the most to gain and least to lose from the Democrats’ tax-and-spend policies.

          We’re not trying to ram our morals down your throat.

          Right. And I’m not wasting time on the Internet.Report

          • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Brandon Berg
            Ignored
            says:

            Well, perhaps not your throat. The GOP is trying to shove au ultrasound probe into every girl’s hoo-hoo before she gets an abortion. Curiously I can’t find an ICD-10 code for a Guiltoplasty.Report

            • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to BlaiseP
              Ignored
              says:

              I didn’t say the Republicans aren’t—just that it’s pretty absurd to claim that the Democrats aren’t trying to ram their own morals down our throats.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Brandon Berg
                Ignored
                says:

                Absurd? That crap won’t fly. The GOP gave us the Defense of Marriage Act. I’m amused by this discussion, as if I haven’t adequately made my case. You’re eating cheeze, Brandon. Tell us how the Democrats are trying to ram our morals down your throat, beyond the fact that we happen to think LGBT people deserve the same rights as everyone else.Report

              • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to BlaiseP
                Ignored
                says:

                Welfare. Minimum wage. Smoking bans. Laws against private discrimination. Food police. Helmet laws. Anti-globalization movement.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Brandon Berg
                Ignored
                says:

                Welfare: let’s have beggars in the streets. Works in India.

                Smoking bans: Curiously, I see cigarettes for sale in every gas station.

                Laws against private discrimination: Let’s return to Jim Crow tomorrow.

                Food Police: let’s take the sell dates off the chicken thighs in the store. That’s sure to encourage the merchants.

                Helmet Laws: Hell, why not just take down the speed limit signs, too? People get into accidents, that’s their problem.

                Anti-globalization movement: Don’t worry about the American worker. If his job is shipped overseas for some six year old child to do, smearing toxic glue on the bottom of some shoe, we’ll see the benefits when that shoe appears in Walmart.Report

              • Avatar dand in reply to BlaiseP
                Ignored
                says:

                It’s funny elsewhere in this thread you accuse me of not caring about starvation in the third world. Here you oppose you oppose something that has lifted millions in the third world out of poverty (globalization) because it makes a few Americans worse off.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to BlaiseP
                Ignored
                says:

                Mind over matter. I don’t mind. You don’t matter. I could care less what the Republicans call us. I’m past caring. Get that straight here and now. Globalization has not been entirely good for the world and there are more people in poverty now than ever. More children live in slums. In a world of plenty, Niger Republic is starving to death and you say food doesn’t matter. Fewer fish are caught and very summer a vast dead zone forms in the Gulf of Mexico, all the nitrates from all that fertilizer we’re dumping on our lawns and farm fields.

                Live in your little fantasy world. I do accuse you of not caring. If you cared, you’d do something. You’re not. So you don’t care.Report

              • Avatar dand in reply to BlaiseP
                Ignored
                says:

                You’re wrong moron global poverty is on the decline:

                http://www.economist.com/node/21548963Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to BlaiseP
                Ignored
                says:

                Bullshit. The price of food has risen by over 26%. China might pull a few of those global statistics up a bit but their engine has no oil in the crankcase, both literally and metaphorically.Report

              • Avatar Will H. in reply to BlaiseP
                Ignored
                says:

                @BlaiseP:
                Your relationship to the Republican Party reminds me very much of my own relationship to tattoos.
                Having had one in days past, I can’t stand them at all these days.Report

              • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to BlaiseP
                Ignored
                says:

                I assure you that Republicans have equally inane rebuttals to charges of how they’re trying to ram their morals down our throats.Report

              • Avatar Herb in reply to Brandon Berg
                Ignored
                says:

                “Welfare. Minimum wage. Smoking bans. Laws against private discrimination. Food police. Helmet laws. Anti-globalization movement.”

                I guess I’m just tired of ignorant people complaining about long-accepted norms in our society. For instance, my brother was shocked –SHOCKED– when I told him that non-union coal miners in the early 20th Century were not paid for “dead work.”

                He too believes in the redemptive power of the free market and it was inconceivable that the industrialists of the era would exploit their workers so. After all, the workers could go get other jobs and if the company kept it up, no one would work for them…you know, the whole “this is how it works in my head” stuff.

                But no, being paid for the work you do is NOT the natural state of the world. In fact, it’s best enforced with some legal apparatus. If we have to rely on the Democrats for that….well, sorry. Get over it. We’re not going back.Report

              • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Herb
                Ignored
                says:

                I guess I’m just tired of ignorant people….

                Physician, heal thyself.Report

              • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Herb
                Ignored
                says:

                Eh…I guess I should point out where you’re wrong, even though your comment was dickish enough that you don’t really deserve it.

                First, you’re conflating the effects of living in a low-capital economy with the effects of the absence of left-wing policies. Living in a low-capital economy sucks, no matter how you slice it. Even if you were to take all the wealth in the country circa 1900 and redistribute it equally, everyone would still be really poor. The dramatic improvements in typical living standards over the past century have been due overwhelmingly to the increase in the capital stock and to technological advances, not to unionization or to the institution of left-wing labor laws.

                Second, the idea that not being directly paid for dead work is “exploitation” (an emotionalism that has no place in reasoned discourse) is nonsense. Do you think mine owners got paid for dead work? Of course not. They got paid if and only if they were able to extract and sell enough coal to cover their expenses. Do you think they were being exploited? Are industrialists exploited when they’re not paid for building their factories? Are venture capitalists exploited when they don’t get paid for bad investments? Are pharmaceutical companies exploited when they’re not paid for drugs that don’t get FDA approval?Get

                And of course, miners were paid indirectly for dead work—it’s just what they had to do to get access to paying work. Getting paid directly for dead work is a common perquisite of work for hire, and probably better than the alternative, but its absence is not inherently exploitative.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Brandon Berg
            Ignored
            says:

            the least intelligent Americans tend to gravitate towards the Democratic Party.

            Cite.

            People of low intelligence tend to have low incomes, and thus have the most to gain and least to lose from the Democrats’ tax-and-spend policies.

            Cite.

            This is – sorry about the emotionalism BB – shocking. How’d you come to these conclusions?Report

            • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Stillwater
              Ignored
              says:

              Someone tole him, Stillwater. Intelligent people believe in Creationism and Suppressin’ them Homos from Marryin’.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to dand
                Ignored
                says:

                Same study: post graduate:

                Obama: 58%
                McCain: 40%Report

              • Avatar dand in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                The claim was about how the least intelligent people vote not how the most intelligent vote.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to dand
                Ignored
                says:

                The claim still holds. For the statistically innumerate, you are talking about 4% of the voting population, the smallest sector. At every other sector, they also sided with Obama. Which goes to show even stupid people know to vote for the Democrat, but the smart people know better than to vote for the Republican.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to dand
                Ignored
                says:

                So what do we make of the data suggesting that the most intelligent people voted for Obama?

                Do we disregard it as statistical anomaly?Report

              • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                I’m not entirely sure what to make of it. I suspect that a breakdown by field of study and party affiliation would help in making sense of it. My sense is that lawyers, teachers, and academics lean left, whereas doctors and MBAs lean right.Report

              • Avatar dand in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Here’s a chart showing how different occupations have voted over time:

                http://themonkeycage.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Screen-shot-2012-02-17-at-6.41.53-AM.png

                I believe most doctors now vote democratic although I don’t have any evidence at the moment.Report

              • Avatar Will H. in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                I think that’s a false equivalence myself.
                I’ve known a lot of really stupid people that were highly educated.
                Level of education infers nothing as to the intelligence of a person, but rather that their education is limited to a specialized body of knowledge.
                Even so, knowledge comes and goes, even within one field.
                I used to know an awful lot about certain radioactive isotopes, because those were peculiar to my work; and I knew a lot about radiation in general.
                These days, the alloys I work with tend to exhibit little to negligible radioactivity (with thorium as the notable exception), and so I’ve forgotten most of what I know about specific radioactive isotopes.
                But I know a lot more about metallurgic properties in specific applications.

                Bottom line: Education is no measure of intelligence.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to dand
                Ignored
                says:

                What a shocker! A quick look at your results reveal at every class of educated person, Obama beat McCain, by increasing percentages.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to BlaiseP
                Ignored
                says:

                Obama wins among every education classification, but by decreasing amounts with the exception of post-grads.Report

              • Avatar dand in reply to Will Truman
                Ignored
                says:

                That pattern basically holds after adjusting for age and race:

                http://andrewgelman.com/2011/04/democrats_do_be_1/Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to dand
                Ignored
                says:

                You’re the guy who brought in this lame-ass statistic. Hold still while we beat your sorry ass with your own poll numbers.Report

              • Avatar dand in reply to dand
                Ignored
                says:

                Sorry for bringing facts into this my claim shows that Brandon is correct about the least educated voting for democrats, that’s what Stillwater, asked for.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to dand
                Ignored
                says:

                Except the 18-29 whites, which is interesting.

                It’s my general perception* that Democrats tend to do well at the higher highs, middle-lows, and lower lows while Republicans do better at the middle and middle-highs. On education and (to a lesser extent) income, I mean. This seems to bear that out, sort of. Sort of.

                * – I’ve seen the numbers, but can never seem to recall them when they come up. Maybe I should bookmark these and start bookmarking them more generally. If anyone has more links, please share.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to dand
                Ignored
                says:

                Dand, Brandon’s actual comment was on the least intelligent, not least educated. There are limits to how well you can use education as a proxy. Unfortunately, getting data with intelligence itself is harder and more contestable.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to dand
                Ignored
                says:

                Well, I hate to nitpick, cuz I generally agree with your point here, but…

                as anyone who’s ever been in advanced education will tell you, intelligence isn’t a necessary component of academic success. It isn’t even sufficient. Nevertheless, I agree with the loose and ambiguous point you’re making here.Report

              • Avatar dand in reply to dand
                Ignored
                says:

                Will, I agree it’s far from perfect however it’s the closest anyone’s going to get. I also think (from personal experience I don’t have any hard evidence to back me up) that lacking a high school diploma or GED correlates better with intelligence than any other level of education.Report

              • Avatar Will H. in reply to dand
                Ignored
                says:

                Hold still while we beat your sorry ass with your own poll numbers.

                That one made me laugh out loud three times and counting.
                Four.
                Five.
                Six.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Will Truman
                Ignored
                says:

                Yeah, you’re right.Report

            • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Stillwater
              Ignored
              says:

              I’m a bit puzzled that you consider this even to be nonobvious, much less shockingly implausible. Could you elaborate?Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Brandon Berg
                Ignored
                says:

                You’re puzzled that your prejudices aren’t universally held?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Mike Schilling
                Ignored
                says:

                The simplest explanation is that those who don’t share them are stupid and evil. The terrifying thing is that they’re organized enough to have a political party.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                This is a country where about half the people do not believe in evolution. It is also a country with serious gaps in historical education, especially regarding the suffering and systematic discrimination against minorities. Now, when one party makes such ignorance into a virtue and parlays fear of progress into votes, we don’t blame the individual in this case, we blame the party.

                I would not for all the world turn this into a Godwin Terminus, but the fascist regimes arose in hard times because they found convenient villains for society’s problems. The truth was, Germany had been treated unfairly after WW1. The vindictive French took every locomotive engine and piece of rolling stock out of Germany and saddled them with huge war reparation debts. That’s not the American Way of doing things. When we go in search of villains, in the immortal words of Walt Kelly’s Pogo “we have met the enemy and he is us.”

                An individual can be quite charming, decent, reasonable. We all evolve these skills reasonably early in life, mostly. We learn to hate somewhat later. And we hate in groups, not individually. Them and Us can only take on any meaning when there’s an Us to start with and a clear discriminant to identify the Thems.

                Evil doesn’t take on much power without a group to support it, spokesmen to give it a rationale. True, we see individuals doing horrible things but when it comes to evil on a larger scale, one which might pass a law, that’s not within the power of the individual. That requires mandate. In point of fact, it’s hard to get an individual to do much evil. An individual might ask “what beef do I have with this victim?” But put that man in a uniform, give him a political or a tribal identity, he has justification for such evil from his superiors.

                The GOP is indeed the party of both Stupidity and Evil: Evil because it fosters Stupidity and loyalty to it. Within a decade, watch and see, the GOP will tell us it was never really against the Stupidity it now insists is Moral Virtue. It will revert to the argument of Individual Evildoers.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to BlaiseP
                Ignored
                says:

                This is one of those things where I say “sure, that’s accurate enough, as far as it goes” but there’s this weird feeling I get that we’re going to turn into “and *THAT* is why we need to vote for the DEMOCRATS!!!!” at which point I feel we’ve veered back into crazytown.

                The two political parties are pretty much neck and neck when it comes the whole stupid/evil thing. Though perhaps not co-extensively stupid/evil, the choice they offer is “what kind of stupid/evil do you want?”

                My objection is not to anything you’ve said… it’s to the implication that I see lurking behind the statement that says “therefore, we should vote for the other guy.”

                (And when it comes to evolution, I put that in the same category as the number of planets we have. If the person is arguing on behalf of evolution by rote as a cultural signalling mechanism, I don’t see that as that much better than arguing on behalf of creationism by rote as a cultural signalling mechanism. My *DOCTOR*? Yes. I’d like him to be pretty well versed in biology, thanks. The guy who pours concrete? I don’t see how the creation/evolution belief has any more impact on his day to day life than, say, whether there are eight or nine planets.)Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to BlaiseP
                Ignored
                says:

                Yes, it is more important for us smart people to get good educations than for some guy who’s just a manual laborer.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to BlaiseP
                Ignored
                says:

                I work with a couple of coders who are young earth creationists.

                One is an absolutely amazing musician. The other is a whiz with home theater electronics.

                It seems odd to me to say that they haven’t had good educations… for me, hearing that they’re young earth creationists is on par with hearing that they’ve never seen Lear performed.

                To what extent is what I consider to be “a good education” really “mastery of trivia”?Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to BlaiseP
                Ignored
                says:

                The Democrats have no lock on sanity or comity. I came here, increasingly disgusted with the Democratic Party’s pandering and promise-breaking. Classical Liberalism is still a viable option in politics, if not especially popular. Hoping to see the Libertarians at close range, I came a-pilgrimin’ in this direction. If only the Libertarian understood the need for forming up a scrum to push back against the many infringements upon our liberties (and evolved beyond Austrian economics) we should have a true Liberal Party to strike a blow for Liberty in this nation. Sadly, as I have said before, they suffer from Marxist Disease: they won’t hang together and will therefore hang separately. Their unseemly and terribly public frottage with corporate interests disgusts me greatly.

                Anyone may believe what he wishes, deep in his heart. Jefferson said it neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg whether a man believes in one or many gods. It does matter when appeals to ignorance become the order of the day. Mark my words, the GOP will be terribly embarrassed when the future renders its verdict on trying to run on such issues. It is a legacy of the Dixiecrat Invasion during the civil rights struggle. The Dixiecrats went Democrat because Lincoln and the Reconstructionists had been Republican.

                Earlier, I was berated with a bit of Spinoza and responded in kind. The truth is the index of itself and of what is false. I do not ask for anyone to vote contrary to their own lights. The question before us, the Apple of Discord, was this: is it okay to call the right-of-center party “The Party of Stupid and Evil”?

                The answer is Yes. Of course it is. There is no comparison. Considering the issues before us in this election, which party represents retrograde and atavistic thinking, warrior-worshipping and cheap talk about American Exceptionalism? The Democrats or the Republicans? You see, Jaybird, nobody actually confronts me on the points I’m making. They know it’s all true. It’s all so much handwaving and eye-rolling about my civility or lack thereof.

                These are serious issues I have raised. They have an impact on the future of our country. We shall either raise up a generation of well-educated children who just might get to learn that natural selection has guided the rise of all the life forms on this planet or we shall run little madrassa schools where the Controversy is Taught. We shall either teach these children than homosexuality is no more a discriminant than any other natural characteristic. These children ought to put a bit of marble and cement into some titrated vinegar and see how acid rain dissolves stone, then put a pH strip into a sample of the local creek water. Maybe the guy who runs the local water and sewage plant might stop by to explain the microbiology of such places work. Get the Fish and Wildlife guy in to explain how they have to dump limestone into the lakes to alter the pH.

                These aren’t abstractions. These are brutally obvious problems, affecting us all on a daily basis. The concrete guy, he might be the very best show-n-tell guy: he gets to explain why the bridges flake off concrete.Report

              • Avatar Kolohe in reply to BlaiseP
                Ignored
                says:

                “Hoping to see the Libertarians at close range, I came a-pilgrimin’ in this direction”

                And instead of like being Paul to the Corinthians, you mock and insult, when you don’t otherwise dismiss. (or maybe Paul did that to, I don’t read the Bible all that much)Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to BlaiseP
                Ignored
                says:

                And, honestly, we’ve got a lot more well-intentioned technocrats than Libertarians.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to BlaiseP
                Ignored
                says:

                I’ve said plenty of nice things about Libertarians. If I’m an equal-opportunity asshole, I call ’em like I see ’em. As for St Paul to the Corinthians, you will find that metaphor does not work in your favour. Allow me to point you in the general direction of 2 Corinthians 10.Report

              • Avatar Kolohe in reply to BlaiseP
                Ignored
                says:

                Ain’t no one goin’ accuse you of being timid, true that.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to BlaiseP
                Ignored
                says:

                I don’t consider a basic understanding of one of the most fundamental principles of biology “trivia”.Report

              • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Mike Schilling
                Ignored
                says:

                Oh, for fish’s sake. It’s well established that intelligence is positively correlated with income and wealth, and negatively correlated with things like single motherhood, criminality, and chronic unemployment. The Democratic Party is very vocal about being the party of the poor, of the chronically unemployed, and of single mothers. They’re also the ones behind the push to restore voting rights to convicted felons, and there’s a reason for that.

                Now, it’s one thing to say that this isn’t strong enough proof for my claim, but another to write it off as mere prejudice or say that it’s “shocking.”

                But here’s stronger proof: a tabulation of AFQT test scores with party identification using the NLSY79 data. I excluded those who declined to state a party identification or gave some party identification other than Republican or Democrat. Note that Democrats outnumbered Republicans by about 2:1 overall. Decile 0 is 0-9.99th percentile, Decile 1 is 10-19.99th percentile, etc.

                Decile 0: 83.2% Democrat
                Decile 1: 84.5% Democrat
                Decile 2: 80.2% Democrat
                Decile 3: 73.2% Democrat
                Decile 4: 63.8% Democrat
                Decile 5: 55.1% Democrat
                Decile 6: 52.5% Democrat
                Decile 7: 44.1% Democrat
                Decile 8: 44.0% Democrat
                Decile 9: 45.3% DemocratReport

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Brandon Berg
                Ignored
                says:

                > It’s well established that intelligence is positively
                > correlated with income and wealth, and negatively
                > correlated with things like single motherhood,
                > criminality, and chronic unemployment.

                Er, an important quibble: IQ, as a measure, is indeed correlated as you say in this sentence. IQ != intelligence.Report

              • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Patrick Cahalan
                Ignored
                says:

                IQ is the best measure of intelligence we have, and appears to be a pretty good one, given its predictive power for performance over a wide range of cognitive tasks. It’s very clearly measuring some sort of cognitive ability—to say that this is not “intelligence” strikes me as little more than semantic quibbling.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Patrick Cahalan
                Ignored
                says:

                Read one recent study of the many, many flaws with the IQ test, please.Report

              • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Patrick Cahalan
                Ignored
                says:

                Can you point me to one you think is good, Kazzy? Most of the criticisms I’ve seen have been pretty weak.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Patrick Cahalan
                Ignored
                says:

                Brandon,
                Someone I know who writes climate models and does fluid dynamics work (among other things), is regarded by the IQ test as an idiot. (This was taken during college, while he was taking Quantum Mechanics. And getting better grades in it than I was!)

                Anecdotal evidence, but striking.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Brandon Berg
                Ignored
                says:

                Its really easy to overstate the uses and value of IQ tests. Really easy. They likely measure something but that something has always been at issue. That IQ correlates with income and wealth does not show there is causation or , even if there is causation, whether it is nature or nurture. ( of course nature and nurture likely both have a strong effect) IQ was never meant to be one single number to determine some global measure of smartypantness. The concept of multiple intelligences has been around for decades now and any discussion of intelligence is pointless without that.Report

              • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to greginak
                Ignored
                says:

                The extent to which genetics and environment respectively influence IQ is entirely orthogonal to the question of whether it’s a good measure of intelligence.

                The concept of multiple intelligences has been around for decades now and any discussion of intelligence is pointless without that.

                As far as I can tell, the MI hypothesis is at best untested. Gardner’s FAQ on the topic doesn’t do much to reassure me. That doesn’t speak well of a hypothesis that’s enjoyed the popularity it has for thirty years. Here’s a study finding substantial g-loading for four of Gardner’s proposed intelligences, which supports the general intelligence hypothesis.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi in reply to greginak
                Ignored
                says:

                Brandon,
                I think iq is a good measure of learning disabilities, at least when it flags positive for them.
                I think this is an indication that there are multiple Intelligences.
                Would you like me to point you to the literature about the segregation of different tasks to different portions of the brain? If it’s possible to miswire, or to devote part of your brain to a different task (blind people visual cortex), then it should certainly be possible to have different levels of intelligence on different scales.Report

  2. Avatar Pierre Corneille
    Ignored
    says:

    I don’t really know the context this question comes from, so I apologize if I’m one of those who “thinks the question is addressed at people like me but who is wrong because the question is addressed at people who brought this issue up in a blog thread that I either didn’t read or stopped reading before it got to that point.”

    So, I will say the following. I have heard “Democrat party” and think it operates as a (minor) slur. It rankles me, and raises a (small) red flag that this person might not be worth engaging, although I’m willing to suspend this conclusion until I have further evidence.

    I wouldn’t go so far as to say that the Republican party is “the party of stupid and evil,” both because I don’t believe it is and because calling it such is probably guaranteed to close off discussion from people whose opinions I value. Not only would I not go so far, I would add that it’s not okay to call the GOP that. Neither would I say that the pettiness of calling the party “the Democrat party” justifies calling the GOP the party of “stupid and evil,” nor would I say that it would justify calling the GOP a more equivalent slur, although I’m not sure what that would be.Report

  3. Avatar Mike Schilling
    Ignored
    says:

    On the very slight chance that anyone either notices or cares, I call them Bush pere and fils because

    1. They’re both named George
    2. Calling them 41 and 43 smacks of royalism
    3. It amuses me

    It’s not meant as an insult, one of my favorite writers in the world is often styled pere, and I hear good things about The Lady of the Camellias too.Report

  4. Avatar Will Truman
    Ignored
    says:

    In my view, a commenter who calls the GOP The Party of Stupid and/or Evil simply has no room to complain about a commenter using the phrase “Democrat politicians.”

    Does complaining about or calling out one necessitate calling our or complaining about the other? Not necessarily. One can shrug off “Democrat politicians” as ungrammatical but harmless while considering associations with stupid and/or evil to be offensive. Likewise, though, you can see TPoSoE as being so over-the-top that it simply doesn’t warrant comment.

    For my own part, the truly smeary ones can sometimes fail to grab my attention except in such a way as to say that I should probably not engage with this person further. If you talk about Rethuglicans or Dummocrats, then chances are good you are not worth my time (especially if it’s said and intended as an actual critique*) and opening up a conversation about the nickname is almost certainly going to be fruitless. Ignore it and move on. I didn’t used to be this way, but I’m becoming moreso.

    * – Which is another difference between the two. TPoSoE is intended to be a critique (albeit an unenlightening one, except with regard to what it reveals about the person using it). Democrat Party is an attempt to redefine terminology. That is a difference.Report

    • Avatar M.A. in reply to Will Truman
      Ignored
      says:

      So that’s what TPoSoE stands for? I’ve been trying to figure that out since asking a while ago and not getting a straight answer.

      If it’s signaling, it’s not doing a very good job. I can’t be the only one who didn’t know what that acronym stood for.Report

    • Avatar Annelid Gustator in reply to Will Truman
      Ignored
      says:

      TPoSoE is intended to be a critique (albeit an unenlightening one, except with regard to what it reveals about the person using it). Democrat Party is an attempt to redefine terminology. That is a difference

      Actually, dropping the “ic” is an attempt at critique, too: 1) that the party doesn’t support Democratic process, and is full of activist-judges/mooslins 2) emphasizes the “untrustworthy” nature referring to “RATs.” At least that’s what I recall learning at Rush’s knee.Report

  5. Avatar Tod Kelly
    Ignored
    says:

    Whew. I was afraid we were done with this topic.Report

  6. Avatar Brandon Berg
    Ignored
    says:

    And even those who don’t call it “The Party of Stupid and Evil” refuse to refer to the Republicanic party by its proper name.Report

  7. Avatar Liberty60
    Ignored
    says:

    Actually, as a proud member of the “Democrat” Party, I have to smile at the use of the term. It is reminiscent of Mr. Cheeks and his use of “Commie-Dems” or “Demonrat” Party.

    If that is their A game, if thats the starting lineup of their argument, then I feel confidence bordering on smugness.

    As for Stupid and Evil, I think thats actually provable. In addition to Blaises argument above, I would offer up the their embrace of inequality, their welcoming of the Birchers, Neo-Confederates, the wild lusty applause for the death penalty and letting poor people die.Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Liberty60
      Ignored
      says:

      “In addition to Blaises argument above, I would offer up the their embrace of inequality…”

      This is funny, because every time I see someone objecting to inequality, full stop, I revise my mental estimate of his IQ downwards.Report

  8. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    Is “Republicrat” okay or should I say “Republicratic”?

    I’m asking for a friend.Report

  9. Avatar Michael Drew
    Ignored
    says:

    It’s not okay to do that, at least I wouldn’t argue that it is, and it is okay to call it the Democrat Party. But it’s still disrespectful and a slight. (I say it’s okay because, honestly, among those sympathetic to the Democratic Party here, is anyone honestly claiming it’s such a vicious insult that it’s “not okay” to do it?)

    The issue, however, was never whether one or the other is okay – the issue was whether the person making the intentional insult or slight was fessing up to making an intentional insult or slight. Even if it’s true you can’t call a party The Party of Evil And/Or Stupid without having it be an intentional insult, and for may part I had no impression that that’s not exactly what the person who did that intended. I don’t think he even would have argued it was “okay” – he just “did it, deal with it” kind of thing. On the other hand, there were denials up-and-down that the “Democrat Party” locution was any kind of slight. The problem is not that it’s “not okay” for people who don’t like the party to use that slight, it’s that they act like it’s not intended as a slight (which I actually think it started out to be years ago, but now it is absolutely intentionally used to get under people’s skin), or even that it’s somehow more correct than using the actual name of the party. (My sense is that they resent having to make any even nominal concession to the idea that that party is more democratic than any other.) Further, even after being called on it, they continue to do it, and continue claim that there is no slight, intended or otherwise. In other words, it’s the lying about the intent behind the slight, not the slight itself or even the intent behind it, that is “not okay” (though I wouldn’t even say it’s not okay, I’d just say it’s boorish and immature).Report

  10. Avatar Mike Schilling
    Ignored
    says:

    The most common disparaging name for Republicans is “Republicans”.Report

  11. Avatar James Hanley
    Ignored
    says:

    Ironic, how a call for civility turns into such an uncivil thread–with certain commenters (or at least one) boasting about their level of incivility.

    I can’t say much, since I’ve done my share of that in the past here, but like some others I’m pretty sick of it. Those of us who do that aren’t making the League a better place. Let’s all try better to be decent, eh? I won’t name names–you should know if I’m talking to you.Report

    • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to James Hanley
      Ignored
      says:

      Not half as sick as I am of a collection of simpering effetes telling me they deserve what they won’t offer in the way of civility. I have gotten none and therefore offer none.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to BlaiseP
        Ignored
        says:

        I have gotten none and therefore offer none.

        Are you quite confident the reverse is not also true? My own experience seems to be that more civility I offer others, the more I receive from them–even from you. And of course regardless of what others deserve, there is always the question of what type of person each of us would like to be. I’m not always the kind of person I’d like to be, but I’m trying to keep my eye on the ball.

        And then there’s the effect we have on the League. One person being over-the-top obnoxious can have a really outsized effect, making things really unpleasant for a lot of other people. I’m not sure any of us can justify being that kind of person.

        We both have value to contribute, but the value gets lost when we don’t exercise restrain.Report

        • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to James Hanley
          Ignored
          says:

          Oh stop with the soft soap. Jason asked why is it okay to call the right-of-center party “The Party of Stupid and Evil”? His little insinuation that we knew who we were led me to some dark hilarity and I did explain myself, ever so kindly, in the comments section.

          The fundamentals of my thesis still stand. The GOP has proven itself to be a great enemy of science and scientists. It has stood foursquare against the rights of gay and lesbian persons to marry. It has made itself a great pest in the world at large, starting wars on the basis of lies which led to the deaths of thousands of American troops and untold thousands of Iraqis.

          And what do I get for my trouble, answering the questions asked? Well, you tell me.Report

          • Avatar James Hanley in reply to BlaiseP
            Ignored
            says:

            And what do I get for my trouble, answering the questions asked? Well, you tell me.

            Well, it appears to me that you got someone offering a differing view. It’s a bit late to say “welcome to the intertoobz,” to someone who’s been around as long as you, but that’s pretty much how things work in the blogosphere, no?

            Since it appears you object to people critiquing the answers you give, is it fair for others to ask that you not critique the answers they give? What are the rules you want to be in place for this blogging process?Report

            • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to James Hanley
              Ignored
              says:

              The GOP can go on calling us the “Democrat Party”, I don’t expect civility from them. So why should I give any? Anyone can have a Differing View. Facts don’t take sides and we may all have differing views about them. But deviate from what you can support with facts and start in on me, well, I’m all through with civility, right there. I’ve been out here long enough to observe Fairness is an existential viewpoint. It’s a fantasy. I will always give as good or as bad as I get.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to BlaiseP
                Ignored
                says:

                But dand wasn’t uncivil with you. You initiated the incivility in that subthread, so your justification for incivility isn’ really apropos.

                I’m not really interested in dragging this out further, so I’ll just conclude by noting that making justifications for bad behavior never improve a person’s reputation. I’ve been there, and know from sad experience.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                This began with the Party of Stupidity and Evil and a smarmy little invitation to make that point. I stretched out and fired a few rounds into that beast at point blank range, as Johnny Cash, just to watch him die. Oh the fussing from the schoolmarms which resulted! Watching you lot running around like so many flustered chickens was a Precious Moment. It was entirely apropos. Those who would summon up demons must be prepared to cope with them.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to BlaiseP
                Ignored
                says:

                Acting like an asshole isn’t excused by an invitation to act like one, particularly when there actually wasn’t such an invitation. “Yeah there was, there totally was and you know it!” Isn’t it remarkable how many justifications assholes have for acting the way that they do?Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to DensityDuck
                Ignored
                says:

                Guess what, Duck? I am an asshole. I’ve been an asshole all my adult life and I have made men cry like babies in formation while I was making soldiers out of them.

                If you think for one millisecond I give a shit what anyone here thinks about me or what I say, you can remove that thought from your tiny little mind forthwith, for I do not. I do not need any justification for what I say or do around here. I amuse myself and quite a few people around here in so doing. In having no shame or compunction, I am a bit remarkable. I do not indulge in fatuous little civilities. I write exactly what I think and wish more people did.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to DensityDuck
                Ignored
                says:

                Anyone see a connection between the surfing thread and this?Report

              • Avatar Kolohe in reply to DensityDuck
                Ignored
                says:

                “If you think for one millisecond I give a shit what anyone here thinks about me or what I say, you can remove that thought from your tiny little mind forthwith, for I do not” – June 3 at 4:34 pm

                “I’ve pretty well fucking had it with what passes for intelligentsia in these parts. I had planned to write a lot more about foreign policy around here. Periodically, a thread like this one reminds me of why I don’t.” – May 29 at 9:22 p.m.

                https://ordinary-times.com/eliasisquith/2012/05/29/barack-obama-drone-commander/#comment-16282Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to DensityDuck
                Ignored
                says:

                Just think of me as some pelagic shark or some other creature of that sort. Dangle flame bait in the water and watch what happens. I’m likely to say things people will remember for the rest of their lives.

                I see you have not forgotten what I had to say about my lack of a viable solution for Pakistan, Kolohe. That is understandable. China is deeply annoyed by Pakistan’s backing of the Uighur separatists. Pay no attention to Wen Jiabao’s glad handing or the window dressing. Neither of us is entitled to his own facts and neither of us should succumb to stupid thinking.

                Now that we’ve dispensed with the tinsel and photo ops, on to the facts of the matter. China built Pakistan a fine port down on the coast at a place called Gwadar. Nobody’s much using Gwadar because the security situation is completely out of hand. China has washed its hands of Gwadar. They know if they put Chinese workers in there, the PRC will be dragged into the Baluchistan mess.

                You see, China likes stability. They will deal with some rum and exceedingly nasty dictators but they do put them on a sliding scale of stability. Pakistan is corrupt, that doesn’t matter much. What does matter is that the Pakistani Army and its leadership are a bunch of pussies who can’t run their own show.Report

              • Avatar Kolohe in reply to DensityDuck
                Ignored
                says:

                I’m quite certain that the Chinese have already calculated in Pakistani perfidy as a cost of doing business.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to DensityDuck
                Ignored
                says:

                Don’t overestimate the Chinese. They’re greedy. The Gwadar investment did not pay off. The Chinese really did think they’d get a nice port at Gwadar. Nobody uses Gwadar, it’s yet another of China’s Planned City Boondoggles.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to BlaiseP
        Ignored
        says:

        “To people who a starving are starving because of lack of economic development not because to a lack of food. A smaller percentage of the world population if staring now than ever before.” -Dand 7:27pm [Whole comment]

        “… You are, therefore, cordially invited to get a fucking clue. …” -BlaiseP 7:47pm [Taken from response to 7:27 comment.]

        “I have gotten [no civility] and therefore offer none.” -BlaiseP 10:50pm [Here]Report

        • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Will Truman
          Ignored
          says:

          I’m all past caring, Will. I encourage anyone who has any ideas for economic development in Niger Republic to go there and do something. I did. If it angers me to see someone tell me these people don’t really need food, well, where are the great ideas for economic development? Do you have any? Excuse me, will not be civil, not when that sort of silliness is tossed out.Report

          • Avatar Will Truman in reply to BlaiseP
            Ignored
            says:

            I just found the posture of suggesting that your incivility is caused by incivility to be incongruous with telling someone to “get a fucking clue” when they say something (you believe to be) incorrect.Report

          • Avatar Kolohe in reply to BlaiseP
            Ignored
            says:

            “I encourage anyone who has any ideas for economic development in Niger Republic to go there and do something. ”

            Get them to do what the Chinese did. Perhaps even have the Chinese help them to do it.Report

            • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Kolohe
              Ignored
              says:

              The Chinese are having trouble developing their own desertified hinterlands. Kangbashi and Zhengzhou stand empty, for this reason.

              They will do no better in Niger.Report

            • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Kolohe
              Ignored
              says:

              See, here’s the problem in a nutshell. To do anything profitable these days, it’s a question of logistics. Niger is landlocked. Much of inland China is also landlocked. Anciently, China’s emperors were great builders of canals. These canals made Beijing possible.

              Look at where China has industrialised. It’s all along the coast, as it’s always been. Shanghai and Hong Kong emerged as the great colonialist cities: port cities both. Vietnam, same story, the Vietnamese have put in a new deep water port. But inland, away from the coasts, it gets pretty dismal. Transportation costs drive up the price of everything.

              Niger and Burkina Faso and Chad and Mali are all desperately poor countries. They’re landlocked, on the edge of the desert. Even if good railways and roads connected them to the coast, they’re still more expensive than putting the same business into a nation with a port city. I’ve looked at this problem for a long time. The only solution for Niger is to educate the people and they might be able to get their population up and running on a sounder economic model based on a value-add proposition.

              But don’t look to the Chinese to do anything but raw extraction on the colonialist model. Oh, they might help put in a dam or two so they can run big smelting electrodes so they don’t have to ship raw bauxite to the coast. They’ll connive with dictators, well, so did we in the day. It’s more efficient to deal with a dictator, no pesky legislatures to consider.Report

            • Avatar M.A. in reply to Kolohe
              Ignored
              says:

              Slave labor?
              Horrific poverty anywhere but the cities?
              The death penalty for moving out from your home village without government permission?
              Invade neighboring nations like Tibet?

              Destroy the state healthcare system and just leave the rural sick to die?

              What else do you mean by “what the Chinese did”? If you’re not within about 25 miles of the coast, you’re living in one of the worst 3rd world nations in the world, and the only way to get out of that is to sign up with a slave-labor company like Foxconn that’s as likely as not to drive you to suicide.

              And that leads to the next point: the Chinese have a large amount of coastline and ports. They could – if they chose to – actually afford to pay their rural laborers fair wages and reinstitute the state’s healthcare system. The reason they don’t extends not just to the greed of the communist system but the racial dynamics of Han vs non-Han and within the Han, the various subgroups whose birthplace is relatively easily identified by their dialect.

              Chinese culture proves the case of Henry Higgins quite well. Speak Mandarin with a southwestern accent, instead of Mandarin with a Jiao Lao or Ji Lu accent, and you’re pegged as a laborer instantly. Speak with a Beijing accent and you must be a Party Member.Report

              • Avatar Kolohe in reply to M.A.
                Ignored
                says:

                Or not. I suppose Niger could keep the status quo. I wonder what it would be like if China kept the status quo of the Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution?

                Sometimes you have to replace a fished up system with a not quite as but still fished up system. Not everyone, not anyone, can go from zero to Sweden in a generation.

                (and ” The reason they don’t extends not just to the greed of the communist system…” – That’s some irony. But very true)Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Kolohe
                Ignored
                says:

                Changing the status quo in Niger would be harder than changing the orbit of the moon. The French tried for years, never went anywhere. The missionaries tried, that never went anywhere. The various dictators have tried.

                Really, Niger can only support about a quarter of its current population. In a certain sense, it’s rather like Bangladesh. Bangladesh is mostly mud flats, as I’m sure you know. When the floods arrive, the Bangladeshis are forced inland, usually with tremendous loss of life.

                With Niger, it’s droughts. When the rains fail, the desert advances. Subsistence farmers are often trapped in place: the nomadic Fulani can’t drive their cattle far enough to find water so their entire herds die in place. Even in good years, if the rains arrive, the people can just barely eke out a living growing millet. Population pressures force people into riskier territory, farther north. But the Sahel is like the mud flats. It doesn’t always look so bad. A few tamarisk trees and squint your eyes and you might think you could grow something there. You can, maybe one year in four.

                But what do you do with all those people who live in these flood plains and drought-prone regions at such risk in the first place? I don’t have a good answer. I would hope they’d get an education and build some sort of society which can cope with floods, and the nigerois can find some way of coping with drought. There is no status quo. The status quo is at best a miserable and maladaptive strategy of subsistence farming, punctuated by disasters.Report

              • Avatar Kolohe in reply to BlaiseP
                Ignored
                says:

                Or they can all move to North Dakota. (That’s basically what the Irish did, when faced with a similar plight, but New England is a lot more filled up now)Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Kolohe
                Ignored
                says:

                Heh. Tell you where they are moving: New York City. I swear, I’m speaking Hausa every time I get into a cab in NYC. Conversely, the Nigerian Yoruba form a large contingent of the cabbie racket (and heroin importation) in Chicago.Report

              • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to BlaiseP
                Ignored
                says:

                Have you read Why Nations Fail? It strikes me as the sort of book you would either love or hate, but I would value your opinion of it either way.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Jason Kuznicki
                Ignored
                says:

                I have read it. It’s very good but incomplete in many respects. I really should write up my own thoughts on the increasing irrelevance of the nation state.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Jason Kuznicki
                Ignored
                says:

                Tom Friedman reminds me a bit of Andy Warhol. I used to write a lot of snark on his forum at NYTimes.com. Made some good friends there. Lost one of them to cancer two years ago and still mourn him. His name was Bill Harrison, a fine student of history, the finest exemplar of conservative philosophy I ever knew.

                Now I’m weeping. Shit.

                Andy Warhol gloried in his superficiality. Unlike Friedman, Warhol knew he was a mile wide and an inch deep.Report

              • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to M.A.
                Ignored
                says:

                Calling BS on the Foxconn-suicide connection. There was a cluster of sucides, but even considering only the year during which that cluster occurred, the rate of suicide for Foxconn employees didn’t exceed the rate for the general population.

                My tentative conjecture is that it was related to Foxconn’s practice of issuing payments to the families of employees who committed suicide, i.e., that one employee committed suicide, and the lure of the payment tipped the balance for a handful of marginally suicidal employees.Report

  12. Avatar dand
    Ignored
    says:

    You’re the biggest asshole on this site what’s more despite a lack of reading comprehension or reasoning abilities you’re arrogantass hell. You think that your opinions are facts and that the only reason anyone disagrees with you is because they are stupid.Report

  13. Avatar dand
    Ignored
    says:

    I won’t be, I’ve been lurking here for some time but my schedule to this point hasn’t allowed me to post much that will be different this summer. I’m further to the left than I seem in this thread.Report

  14. Avatar Snarky McSnarksnark
    Ignored
    says:

    I nominate this for worst thread of the month.Report

    • It’s early yet. We’ll top it.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Snarky McSnarksnark
      Ignored
      says:

      You obvs don’t see it the same way s me, but this thread actually gets to the heart of why Libs and Repubs disagree. And why ‘centrist, non-partisans’ think both sides suck.

      So it’s actually pretty useful.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Stillwater
        Ignored
        says:

        In its own way, it thoroughly demonstrated the importance of civility. And what happens when people are more interested in Yelling It Like It Is than actually talking.

        So there’s that.Report

        • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Will Truman
          Ignored
          says:

          You’re referring to yourself there?

          I agree.Report

          • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Stillwater
            Ignored
            says:

            Okay, I’ll bite. Was my last comment to you to yelly? I was rather exasperated by point. I wasn’t sure how else to pierce through our misunderstanding without an emphasis that I guess could be construed as yelling. Beyond that, I think I’ve been pretty measured. By and large, I’d thought we were conversing more than yelling back and forth.Report

            • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Will Truman
              Ignored
              says:

              So who was doing the yelling? Duck said something; it was criticized (in measured tones); Tom defended Duck by calling his critic … something…; Jason K, James H, Mike S all commented that it’s grammatically unsound; I jumped in to say that no one refers to Democratic politicians as “Democrat politician” other than haters righties; you jumped in to defend Tom that it’s a grammatically sound construction even tho youlater admitted that civility reigns supreme on this issue and the term should be dropped (but only in conversational contexts where one of the participants thinks the term is offensive).

              I think the anti-“Democrat politician” crowd has been pretty measured throught all this. It’s the people who are defending it that haven’t been, accusing us ‘anti’s’ of stirring an empty pot.

              Is it an empty pot?Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                I didn’t “later admit”… my first comment yesterday said that I would not use “Democrat politician” as a courtesy to avoid offense. And I said multiple times that I agreed that it is considered a pejorative. I guess I wasn’t clear that meant that I don’t think people should use it.

                As for who is yelling, I was referring to BlaiseP and Dand and that thread, for the most part. There are a lot of words here and very little conversation. The Democrat vs Democratic thing was barely discussed, actually, and so I wasn’t referring to either side. Michael Drew’s thoughtful response and my own top-level each garnered a single response. You and I spent most of our time conversing, but talking past one another as much as not.

                No, it’s not an empty pot. If Democrats want the word Democratic used instead of Democrats, then I think that request should be honored. Democrats have made their preference clear (certainly as it pertains to Democrat Party, though I can pretty easily see why Democrat blank would fall into that category). You might be making more of the caveat than was intended. It wasn’t meant as “I’ll call them the slur behind their back!” More like, there are people I know that that know that using party label pejoratives isn’t my style, but around someone who might think otherwise, I’d be more careful about my language.

                The only reason I didn’t participate in the non-grammar part of the discussion is that Jeff said what I might have in his first comment and I had nothing to add to it.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Will Truman
                Ignored
                says:

                a courtesy to avoid offense

                I just realized that this is subject to misinterpretation. By this, I don’t mean “Oh, those lilly-livered Dems require eggshells and so I guess I’ll accommodate them.” Rather, it’s “They interpret this as a pejorative. When people say it, they more often than not mean it as one. I don’t understand the dynamics that make this the case, but I don’t actually have to understand them. Using ‘Democratic’ here is a reasonable request. I’ll try to make sure I get it right and correct myself if I don’t.”

                Meanwhile, if I’m talking to my wife, and “Democrat” sounds better and it comes out that way, I’m not going to sweat it. People who know me know what I don’t mean by it.Report

  15. Avatar DensityDuck
    Ignored
    says:

    Christ on a bike.

    To be honest I don’t even remember what my reason was for saying “Democrat” instead of “Democratic“. That said, the way people blew up about it, you’d think I’d just rolled in from Little Green Footballs and started talking about Dummycrats or Dhimmicrats or Dumbocraps.Report

  16. Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto
    Ignored
    says:

    It’s not okay, but the people doing the “Party of Stupid” shit don’t go on a faux outrage bender of being oh so offended when they’re told they’re being uncivil. It’s the pretense of innocent civility that’s oh so outraged that’s ridiculous.

    And of course we get ridiculous exchanges like this thread as a basis, too.Report

  17. Avatar Rod
    Ignored
    says:

    The issue with “Democrat Party” vs “Democratic Party” goes back to Frank Luntz, like so many obnoxious things from the Republicans do. It’s a mild form of backwards subliminal advertising.

    Say the word “Democrat” out loud. Notice the emphasis on the last syllable. Notice how “crat” rhymes with “rat”. Now say “Democratic” out loud. The primary emphasis is still on the the “crat” but it’s not as pronounced. Back a few election cycles the Repubs were running an ad that featured wording on the screen with an ominous voice-over. The last word up was “Democrats” and as it disappeared, for one or two frames it went from “Democrats” to ” rats”. I have no idea if that kind of crap really works or not, but they did it and got caught.

    Now? Seriously I think they just do it to be childish and annoying (and maybe get whatever tiny mileage they can from the “….rat” thing). What’s telling is how the Republican leadership embraces this shit. I think it says more about them than it does about us, but I’ll leave that judgement to the gentle reader.Report

    • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Rod
      Ignored
      says:

      “Say the word “Democrat” out loud. Notice the emphasis on the last syllable. Notice how “crat” rhymes with “rat”. ”

      Yes, it’s like how when people say “states’ rights” they really mean “I hate niggers”.Report

      • Avatar Rod in reply to DensityDuck
        Ignored
        says:

        I’m going to respond seriously even though you aren’t.

        No. It’s really not the same. The southern segregationists associated “state’s rights” with “I hate niggers” when they used it as an argument to justify hating niggers. It doesn’t get much more complicated than that. Blame George Wallace and his ilk; that was before I was even born. And it’s a shame because state’s rights can be a perfectly valid argument when it isn’t used inappropriately and for execrable purposes.

        What I’m talking about is more subtle and it’s of a piece with the fairly successful campaign of the last thirty years to turn the word “liberal” into a pejorative. It’s unfortunate and a little odd–to anyone with an education–since all of us–liberals, conservatives, and libertarians–are philosophical descendants of the Classical Liberal tradition, just with differing interpretations and emphasis on different aspects of it.

        Under the banner of “All’s Fair in Love and War” I have to admit it was a neat trick. Sucks to be me and all that. And I won’t presume to know what your intentions were, or if, indeed, you even had any intentions. It may have just been a habit you picked up from your favored news and opinion sources.

        My point here is that it’s not really a pejorative–at least not to me. But it had very intentional origins and apparently the Red Powers-that-Be must feel it still serves some purpose since both pundits and politicians on the Red Right insist upon using it. To me, it just serves as a signal that the speaker either doesn’t understand English grammar or is saying it as an intentional jibe. Stupid or Dickhead; take your pick.Report

        • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Rod
          Ignored
          says:

          Under the banner of “All’s Fair in Love and War” I have to admit it was a neat trick. Sucks to be me and all that.

          Given that the left stole the label from actual liberals, and then sullied it by association with illiberal economic policies, I can’t say I don’t derive a bit of schadenfreude from this.

          To me, it just serves as a signal that the speaker either doesn’t understand English grammar…

          No, it’s a perfectly valid grammatical construction. A noun may be used to modify another noun., forming a compound noun.Report

          • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Brandon Berg
            Ignored
            says:

            We’re talking about English, not German. The adjective is “democratic”. The only cases where you might get away with a noun modifier is in instances such as Salad Fork or Meat Market, where the noun is a qualifier, not a modifier.Report

            • Avatar Will Truman in reply to BlaiseP
              Ignored
              says:

              A noun modifier is a noun that modifies another noun. In other words, a noun is acting like or performing like an adjective. They are usually used to talk about a category or type of something. (English Spark)

              In English we can put two nouns together. The first noun (N1) is used as an adjective to modify the second noun (N2) and is called a NOUN ADJUNCT. (English Channel) (English Corner)

              Going out of your way to avoid using the adjective is lame, and it’s grammatically awkward, but it’s not clearly wrong (I cannot find any source discussing that some nouns are inappropriate noun adjucts, nor any differentiation between qualifiers and modifiers). The “call us by our name and don’t be an arse” argument is much better.Report

              • Avatar dand in reply to Will Truman
                Ignored
                says:

                how do you use html here?Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to dand
                Ignored
                says:

                The old-fashioned way: <a href=”sitename”>, <em>, and so on.

                Every attempt at buttons has been problematic.Report

              • Avatar dand in reply to Will Truman
                Ignored
                says:

                ok, thanks.

                nowadays i just assume a place has non-standard code.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to dand
                Ignored
                says:

                Ordinarily I try to go in and clean up code when somebody makes a mistake (it happened a lot when we had buttons, code vs WYSIWYG mismatch), but this thread… ugh… too much going on. 🙂Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to dand
                Ignored
                says:

                Badly.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to Will Truman
                Ignored
                says:

                You had it right from the first, Will. Talking to the wife—colloquially—Democrat senator, Democrat politician. Democrat hack.

                Not Democratic senator, Democratic hack. Geez.

                Chris Matthews is just another “Democratic” hack? That doesn’t work. Surely we all agree he’s a Democrat hack.

                Did Brother Duck mean ill with “Democrat politician?” Sure, why not. And he was winning the argument fair and square until he ducked it up. Word of caution to all [and I include meself here, my lesson for today].

                LoOG don’t cotton to embellishments, gilding the lily. Show your lily. Folks ’round here know what a lily is.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Tom Van Dyke
                Ignored
                says:

                I am relatively certain I have heard “Democrat [gov/sen/politician]” informally said in a way that is not a smear (I may have said it, unintentionally – I speak funny sometimes). People talk in ways differently than they type. Google “Democrat politician”, though, and you will get links primarily of one of two things: (1) A reference to a member of the Liberal Democrats (their official name) or (2) something said by somebody who is hostile to the Democratic Party. So I understand where the Democrats here are coming from. My insertion into this whole mess started when all I was trying to say is “Don’t make this about grammar, dude,” especially when I don’t think that the grammar is actually, technically, wrong, and the threshold for acceptable grammar on a blog/forum should not be so high as to be correcting ambiguities.

                (I have a knack for getting myself into larger arguments when all I am trying to address is a smaller issue.)Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to Will Truman
                Ignored
                says:

                Point of order:

                Will, is Chris Matthews a Democratic hack or a Democrat hack? Surely he is one or the other. I ask for a clarification here, since nobody in his right mind @ this here LoOG is going to deny he’s a hack.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Tom Van Dyke
                Ignored
                says:

                He’s a Democratic “hack” because that’s the name of member of the party he belongs too.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Tom Van Dyke
                Ignored
                says:

                is Chris Matthews a Democratic hack or a Democrat hack?

                I will not fall for that trick question. What he is is a terrible hack.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Tom Van Dyke
                Ignored
                says:

                Well, Democratic Hack is more polite. But it has a rather inelegant sound. So, too, does Democrat Hack. The former both ending with a K sound, the previous having an AHH just prior to the ending.

                Since the subjects hackery is considered to be universally agreed upon, you could probably get away with “partisan hack” without much confusion as to which party he is a hack for.

                If I were forced to go with one or the other, I’d go with Democratic hack, as the more grammatically fluid option and the one least likely to cause controversy.Report

            • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to BlaiseP
              Ignored
              says:

              To give a historical example, the predecessor of the Republican Party was the Whig Party, not the Whiggish Party. There’s also the Constitution (not Constitutional) Party and an Independence (not Independent) Party. The UK has the Labour Party, of course, not the Laborious Party.Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Rod
      Ignored
      says:

      It goes back to 1940, and it wasn’t because it rhymed with “rat,” but rather to emphasize the undemocratic nature of the Democratic Party at that time.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Brandon Berg
        Ignored
        says:

        Which confirms that it denies something as basic and key to respect as self-identification.Report

        • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Kazzy
          Ignored
          says:

          The problem is that the term “democratic” has highly positive connotations in the popular imagination. I want a term to refer to the Democratic Party that doesn’t invoke those connotations. I’m not a big fan of “Democrat Party,” though. I usually just refer to them as “Democrats” or “the Democrats.” You don’t really have the same problem with “Republican,” which is not typically used as a synonym for “fair” or “equitable.” If the Republicans decided to officially rebrand themselves as the Space Awesome Party, you would probably rightly object, even though it’s not really all that much less descriptive than “Democratic Party.”Report

          • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Brandon Berg
            Ignored
            says:

            I’d call them what they wanted while noting my objection without resorting to perjoratives. It should also be noted that the name “Democratic Party” goes back a long time and was not specifically chosen to take advantage of the current connotation of the word.

            Would you be okay with me referring to Romney’s SuperPAC as “Destroy our Future” because I don’t like him being associated with a positive word like “restore”? Would you take me seriously? Would you consider me a sincere person looking for honest engagement?Report

            • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Kazzy
              Ignored
              says:

              “Destroy our Future” sounds like something a fourth-grader would come up with. So no, I wouldn’t take you seriously. But I wouldn’t object to calling it something more neutral, like “Romney’s SuperPAC.” In fact, that’s probably what I’d call it myself.

              It’s worth noting that “Democrat Party” isn’t inherently pejorative in the way that “The Party of Stupid and Evil” is. It’s a perfectly valid description of a party whose members are Democrats. It’s perceived as pejorative solely because it’s historically been used by said party’s opponents. In fact, I had to look it up because it wasn’t immediately obvious to me why this would be a term one might wish to use to offend.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Brandon Berg
                Ignored
                says:

                But the opponenets deliberately used it in an attempt to manipulate the language. They said, “We are not going to use the term you have chosen for yourselfs because we consider it unfairly positive. Instead, we’ll use this other term, deliberately intended as a slight.” I’d have no problem with you or anyone else using a neutral term. I have a problem with folks deliberately using an insulting term. I agree that PoSaE is worse. But, as I said below, even worse is deliberately isong an insulting term and then saying, “Who…me?” If you genuinely didn’t know a term was insulting… Accidents happen. But upon learning of the impact of that term, basic decency encourages to cease using it.Report

          • Avatar Rod in reply to Brandon Berg
            Ignored
            says:

            The problem is that the term “democratic” has highly positive connotations in the popular imagination.

            Which is precisely why the Republicans decided to resort to this kind of tactic.

            I want a term to refer to the Democratic Party that doesn’t invoke those connotations.

            Too bad. Sucks to be you.

            I’m not a big fan of “Democrat Party,” though. I usually just refer to them as “Democrats” or “the Democrats.”

            Which is fair enough. And grammatically correct to boot. (i.e., you don’t look like a fool or an asshole that way)

            You don’t really have the same problem with “Republican,” which is not typically used as a synonym for “fair” or “equitable.”

            Gee. I wonder why that would be…Report

            • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to Rod
              Ignored
              says:

              Democratic Party hereby stipulated as a closed non-issue issue. DensityDuck never wrote “Democrat Party.”

              What was Density Duck arguing before this bit of wankery? Nobody remembers, do they? Wankery accomplished. Good or ill, he must have had a point in there somewheres. Forgotten, buried beneath a hundred or two comments.

              The coming election will not be so easily shouted down.

              😉Report

          • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Brandon Berg
            Ignored
            says:

            I want a term to refer to the Democratic Party that doesn’t invoke those connotations.

            “Christian” connotes charity and good will. That’s why I think they should be called “Christ-ers” instead.Report

            • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to Mike Schilling
              Ignored
              says:

              I want a term to refer to the Democratic Party that doesn’t invoke those connotations.

              —“Christian” connotes charity and good will. That’s why I think they should be called “Christ-ers” instead.

              Christian Democrats, Europe. The LoOG’s Irony Meter just broke.Report

            • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Mike Schilling
              Ignored
              says:

              Heh. Greek, Xristianos, Christ-ers.

              Makarioi este otan oneidisosin humas kai dioxosin kai eiposin pan poneron rema kath humon pseudomenoi heneken emou.

              Chairete kai agalliasthe hoti o misthos humon polus en tois ouranois houtos gar edioxan tous prophetas tous pro humon.

              Happy are you whenever they might be reproaching you and hunting you and saying every wicked declaration down at you and lying on account of me.

              Be joyful and exult for your wages will be great in the heavens for thus did they hunt the prophets before you.

              Matthew 5, my own translation.Report

  18. Avatar Kolohe
    Ignored
    says:

    Ya know, I thought it was The Party of Stupid *OR* Evil. As in ‘My party is the Stupid party but their party is the Evil party’, for any given value of ‘my’ (and ‘their’). Wasn’t it McArdle who came up with a construction somewhat like this? (or maybe hers was “The Party in power is Stupid (Evil?), the Party out of power is Insane”)Report

    • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Kolohe
      Ignored
      says:

      Ah ok, noReport

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kolohe
      Ignored
      says:

      There is an old joke.

      A tour guide is walking a group of tourists from (wherever) around the Capitol Building. He gives a small speech: “We have two parties here in Washington. The Stupid Party and The Evil Party. Sometimes they work together to do something both Stupid and Evil. This is called bipartisanship.”

      While I want to say that the joke dates back to the 60’s (and the tourists are Russians) I am googling for confirmation, and finding little of that. John Stuart Mill, however, has a quote where he calls the Tories “The Stupid Party”, so that takes us back to the 19th Century…Report

  19. Avatar Kazzy
    Ignored
    says:

    I leave for one night and THIS is what happens? SRSLY?

    Folks, generally speaking, shouldn’t call folks things that which they know will offend. If they opt to, then own it.

    If there is a difference between what played out with “Democrat Politician” (I’m pretty sure this, not “Democrat Party” was the term in question) and “Party of Stupid and Evil” or whatever nonsense, it is that there seemed to be a “Who… Me?” response when the former was called out, while those indulging in the latter generally don’t pretend that their remark is not meant to offend, largely because they really can’t.

    For what it is worth, anyone who uses terms like “Party of Stupid and Evil” willingly sacrifice their right to be taken seriously.Report

  20. Avatar Rufus F.
    Ignored
    says:

    Are you a mod or a rocker?

    Neither. I’m a mocker.Report

  21. Avatar Ryan Noonan
    Ignored
    says:

    Wow. This is what I miss when I tune this place out on the weekends.

    Can’t say I regret that even a little.Report

  22. Avatar Jeff
    Ignored
    says:

    AS one of the foremost (if not the only) user of TPoSoE, I feel bad that I missed this thread.

    For me, it goes to the Republican Party’s use of out-and-out lies, lies which are easily discernible. I feel that anyone who echoes those lies is either Evil (bearing false witness) or Stupid (not bothering to do basic research). It’s worse in the Republican side since party members **seem**to swallow whole whatever their leaders tell them. (Is there a “Right equivalent” of Balloon Juice vs FireDogLake?)

    1) “Death panels” — a very slight amount of thought would make it clear that before ObamaCare, there were death panels — unelected insurance employees who decided who would get benefiys and live, and who would not, and often die. ObamaCare removes rescission and “pre-existing conditions”, taking these out of the hands of the real death panels. Claiming that ObamaCare would lead to “death panels” was either Evil — especially since rescission leads to preventable death, or Stupid. So which was Sarah Palin?

    2) John McCain repeated lines like this several times: “[Barack Obama] voted for nearly a billion dollars in pork-barrel earmark projects, including, by the way, $3 million for an overhead projector at a planetarium in Chicago, Illinois.” I believe that McCain actually believed this, making him pretty stupid. Whoever fed him that line of crap was down-right Evil — they had to know that what a planetarium uses might be thought of as an “overhead projector” (that’s technically what it is), but such a machine is definitely going to cost $3 million.

    3) Take the various efforts by state governors and legislatures to close Planned Parenthood. At some level, they know that they are not concerned with abortion, since state money is not used for abortion. What they are doing is removing aid to the poor — mammograms, family planning, nutrition and other programs for expectant and nursing mothers. Cutting off that aid is Evil. Claiming that they’re doing it for the babies is Stupid.

    The Republican Party, since the days of Lee Attwater, has sought out the title “The Party od Stupid or Evil”. I say we let them rejoice in their triumph.

    =================================

    I almost always reserve TPoSoE for the leadership of the Republican Party. However, if certain people go out of their way to justify the actions, especially the vile and harmful, of the party, I will not deny them the label they seek.Report

  23. Avatar Chris
    Ignored
    says:

    I just came across that thread. I worry that I may have lost more brain cells than I would on a night of heavy drinking.Report

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