Seeing Through the Unseen

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Adrian Rutt

Life is like one of those sand art thingies that gets destroyed after it's completed.

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  1. Avatar Saul Degraw
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    Welcome to OT Adrian.

    I agree with you that people have ways of stretching words to become totally subjective and mean anything. I have noted this before in my liberal criticisms of the Republican Party and the right. It seems that since the Great Depression, if not earlier, the right wing has attempted to say that they are the sole defenders of freedom and liberty. F.D.R. dealt with big business interests calling themselves the “Liberty League.” Today’s far-right congresscritters are in the House Freedom Caucus. Conservative writers at publicans from the Federalist to the American Spectator talk about how discuss how the GOP can have a “pro-Freedom” agenda or how the GOP can be the Party of Choice.

    My problem is that I don’t see how the right wing is pro-Liberty and pro-Freedom. They are almost exclusively focus on business and economics and the freedoms of those with Capital. At best the side-step and ignore social liberty from civil rights to ssm to marijuana legalization because they know they can’t ditch the social cons yet or at worse because they don’t really care about social liberty.

    Also words change over time. The change from Classical Liberalism to Modern Liberalism is not one of living memory. It started in the late 19th century/early 20th century with people like John Stuart Mill and David Lloyd George realizing that private charity could not solve all societal problems. So something seems odd about the classical liberals complaining about something that happened long before they were born.

    The truth is that the current Republican Party is not a conservative party but a radical party. A conservative party would not discuss or entertain wanting to end programs that are 50-80 years old like Medicare, the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, and Social Security. Leeesq has pointed this out before but the European Right largely made peace with the welfare state and various social changes that happened in the mid-20th century even if they were uneasy about them. The American Right still thinks that they can turn back the clock and overturn Griswold v. Connecticut and get rid of birth control.

    Now it is an interesting question about why the American right-wing has not learned to make peace with the social and economic changes of the mid 20th century.Report

    • Avatar Damon in reply to Saul Degraw
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      “My problem is that I don’t see how the right wing is pro-Liberty and pro-Freedom”

      Bingo. Now, if you’re agree that the left is the same way, you’re much closer to Libertarianism than you thought 🙂Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw
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      Many people on the Right see a strong link between private property and freedom. To them, private property is the core of freedom because it forms a sort of private kingdom where they owner may do as he or she pleases. Another way to put this is “a man’s home is his castle.” This is a very patriarchal and old way of seeing liberty but it could be theoretically expanded. Most Americans were renters before 1950 and we have a majority of home owners now. If you see private property at the root of freedom than your going to see economic liberties and a maximalist right of association as the most important freedoms.Report

      • Avatar Will H. in reply to LeeEsq
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        This is much closer to my own criticisms.
        I would substitute “the preeminence of estate” for “very patriarchal,” as I believe this is more of an issue with hierarchy than genderism in particular; i.e., more women holding private property is ill-advised as any form of solution (though, granted, it would be a necessary result of deterioration of the hierarchical structure).

        Perhaps more properly, were women the majority property holders, the hierarchical structure and conceptualization of estate would remain untouched.
        Hence, there is something more than mere patriarchy at play here.Report

  2. Avatar Saul Degraw
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    says:

    @damon

    I believe in the Welfare State. The role of government is to protect people from the whimsical chaos and anarchy of unrestrained Capitalism. I don’t believe in Caveat Emptor and Social Darwinist world. A lot of libertarians seem to have a Calvinist dislike of the Welfare State.Report

    • Avatar Damon in reply to Saul Degraw
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      Perhaps you can tell me how the liberal side is pro freedom and pro liberty then? Because I can’t see how either party is.Report

    • Avatar greginak in reply to Saul Degraw
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      says:

      Saul, dealing with puritans never leads to good conversations.Report

      • Avatar Damon in reply to greginak
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        I’m not so rigid in my thinking that I can’t understand someone else’s perspective even though I might not agree with it greg.

        And it seems fair that if Saul doesn’t see how the repubs view/advance freedom and liberty, but thinks the liberals do, that he explain it to me, since I don’t see how either party does. Maybe I’ll come around. He’s very articulate and I’d really like to know the answer to my question.Report

        • Avatar InMD in reply to Damon
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          Can’t speak for Saul but, despite my own libertarian tendencies, I’ve come to make peace with the welfare state (or at least some type of social safety net) as necessary for a small ‘r’ republican form of government to survive in the modern world. I don’t think we can let the bottom drop out in a highly specialized post industrial economy and not expect a populist reaction. We’re already seeing a form of it in the Trump campaign, and to a lesser extent the Sanders campaign. I also don’t think we can let economic inequality become so extreme that equality before the law is actually or perceived to have been eliminated, and still have something lIke a free society where the state adheres to the rule of law.

          The idea of positive rights as proposed by some left wingers are intellectually juvenile but too many libertarians fail to identify how fragile the old school civics class style of government is. It requires a certain level of shared and widespread prosperity. We let that die in the name of intellectual purity at our own peril.Report

          • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to InMD
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            Exactly so. I think negative liberties are important but so are positive liberties including the right to know that the goods and services you purchase are reasonably safe and for their intended use.

            Where I am more libertarian is in free speech and the idea that sex work should be legal.Report

            • Avatar InMD in reply to Saul Degraw
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              Well the difference would be I’m skeptical of seeing those types of state guarantees as rights. I see them as benefits we can chose to create or not through the state using the democratic process. From my perspective no one has a right to a pension but I find the argument for social security convincing, or at least more convincing than any politically plausible proposed reforms of which I am aware.Report

          • Avatar Damon in reply to InMD
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            says:

            You make a good point, and @saul-degraw I do agree with you on your last comment. I certainly am not advocating that we trash 200 years of history and opt for some anachro-capitalist pure structure. Hell, I’d be happy with a roll back of some programs as a start in moving to a more thoughtful administration of gov’t. But make no doubt about, the use of gov’t is backed by the use of violence / force. It’s a concept that the left and the right seem to ignore, something I fail to understand. We do well to remember that that and work to mitigate the use where really necessary, not for frivolous things.Report

            • Avatar pillsy in reply to Damon
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              It’s backed by force, and (I’d argue) the most basic functions are the ones that depend most strongly on force, and that has a lot to do with why I object to the common libertarian and, for that matter, conservative contention that there’s some connection between the scope of services a government provides and the danger it poses. The powers a government has that allow it to enforce the basic laws necessary to maintain order and defend itself from being overthrown are really the ones that make it possible for it to round people up and kill them.

              The additional amount of force and potential violence that a government needs to, say, administer a robust welfare state, is pretty small. I’d argue that applies to many regulations. I do agree with many folks of a more libertarian bent than myself that the actual regulatory structures we have in the US tend to rely on criminalization gratuitously, making our governments in particular more violent than they should be.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to pillsy
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                Good comment. I agree even tho I tend to think about this stuff along a slightly different axis: that a functioning democratic government based on rights and fairness must hold enough pure power to prevent overthrow by private interests. And that’s a lot of power!Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Stillwater
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                It isn’t the amount of power that matters, it’s the application of it.

                A nuclear reaction can power a city, or level it.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to pillsy
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                It’s backed by force, and (I’d argue) the most basic functions are the ones that depend most strongly on force, and that has a lot to do with why I object to the common libertarian and, for that matter, conservative contention that there’s some connection between the scope of services a government provides and the danger it poses. The powers a government has that allow it to enforce the basic laws necessary to maintain order and defend itself from being overthrown are really the ones that make it possible for it to round people up and kill them.

                Exactly. There is a minimum level of government that must exist to be a government, and that level includes ‘the ability to arrest and harm them if they don’t comply’. I.e., if you’re trying to do ‘math’, you instantly run into infinities…it’s not possible to design a government that does not have the right to do the worst possible thing (aka kill them) to people. Because that is, literally, the definition of a government.

                And the annoying thing about libertarians is they seem to think government action exists in a vacuum. And thus it’s always ‘Do you want the government to be able to use force to pay you pay a tiny amount of money for this?’.

                Well, no, if we didn’t *have* taxes, giving the government the right to demand I pay $0.25 a year or go to jail would be stupid, and I would hesitate to give that power out. But we *do* have taxes.

                The additional amount of force and potential violence that a government needs to, say, administer a robust welfare state, is pretty small.

                There’s not really any ‘additional’ force at all. The amount of force of the government demanding X dollars a year and 2X dollars are a year in taxes are *exactly the same amount of force*.

                I’d argue that applies to many regulations. I do agree with many folks of a more libertarian bent than myself that the actual regulatory structures we have in the US tend to rely on criminalization gratuitously, making our governments in particular more violent than they should be.

                I’m not quite sure why you think that. When it comes to regulating *corporations*, that regulation is almost entirely via fines, and that almost never turns into any force at all.

                If you’re talking about people, yes.

                As I’ve pointed out a few times here, there is almost no reason whatsoever to arrest *anyone* for a crime that has a punishment of less than three months in prison. Probably not for any non-felony at all, and perhaps not even for any of those!

                The amount of people who actually flee from justice (As opposed to those who ignore their court date, or don’t even know about their court date.) is shrinking more and more in this modern world where you need credit histories and college degrees and there’s social media and whatnot. No one is going to throw their entire life away and go on the lamb because they’re charged with marijuana possession and face a few months in prison.

                So why do we arrest them and require them to post bail? Well, because it mostly hurts poor people, and we don’t care about them.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to DavidTC
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                DavidTC:
                There’s not really any ‘additional’ force at all. The amount of force of the government demanding X dollars a year and 2X dollars are a year in taxes are *exactly the same amount of force*.

                In practice, you may have to deal with more tax evasion with higher taxes, and you often raise revenue with different kinds of taxes that need to be enforced. None of this is limited to robust welfare spending, of course; any kind of government spending will tend to require it.

                There’s also a possible need to prevent people fraudulently collecting payments from the welfare state. A lot this is penny-ante bullshit that isn’t worth the effort of dealing with, but there have been some eye-wateringly huge Medicare scams, for instance.

                In both cases it’s a small increment beyond what you have already.

                I’d argue that applies to many regulations. I do agree with many folks of a more libertarian bent than myself that the actual regulatory structures we have in the US tend to rely on criminalization gratuitously, making our governments in particular more violent than they should be.

                I’m not quite sure why you think that. When it comes to regulating *corporations*, that regulation is almost entirely via fines, and that almost never turns into any force at all.

                Sure. And a lot of the criminal laws are rarely if ever used, but I’m not a big fan of having a bunch of rarely or never-enforced laws just hanging around on the books. It seems (and I could be mistaken as IANAL) that there are a lot of laws, especially federal laws, that serve a regulatory purpose and are like that.

                I’m much less concerned by corporate regulation from that angle, though obviously some of it is dumb or inefficient or just there to help incumbent interests in a given market, just like some of it is woefully inadequate or riddled with loopholes.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to pillsy
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                In practice, you may have to deal with more tax evasion with higher taxes, and you often raise revenue with different kinds of taxes that need to be enforced. None of this is limited to robust welfare spending, of course; any kind of government spending will tend to require it.

                I’m not actually convinced you *do* get more tax evasion with higher taxes.

                Yes, go low enough, and obviously no one cares enough to do it deliberately, but I think the idea it scales is one of those things, like the Laffer curve, where we’ve drawn three data points using logic (instead of any sort of evidence), and then *decided* it’s a smoothly drawn curve. I’d like to see some evidence of tax evasion being due to the amount, as opposed to enforcement and culture.

                However, this doesn’t really change my point. My point is the government saying ‘Give me X dollars’ and the government saying ‘Give me 2X dollars’ is the exactly same amount of *backed* force, regardless of if the second results in 10% more people saying ‘No.’

                I mean, I see what you’re saying, in that with more lawbreakers, more force will actually get used…but if we’re talking about *actual* force, then the *actual* force used in collecting taxes is really quite low, and we shouldn’t worry about it anyway. Often, monies are taken electronically, and tax evaders usually peacefully surrender.

                I was talking about the *hypothetical* force behind taxes, which, as in all laws by the government, is near infinite. Aka, the question is not, as libertarians often claim, ‘When adding taxes, ask yourself if you want the government to have the right to capture by force and imprison people for this amount of taxes?’, because the government…already has the right to do that for the current tax rate. Infinity times two is not double infinity.

                There’s also a possible need to prevent people fraudulently collecting payments from the welfare state. A lot this is penny-ante bullshit that isn’t worth the effort of dealing with, but there have been some eye-wateringly huge Medicare scams, for instance.

                Well, part of that is because instead of setting up standard government contracting, where the government hires a corporation to provide services, or a civil service where the government hires people to provide services, both of which the government is pretty good at routing out fraud…

                …we instead set up a government operated *insurance company*. (And the same for Medicaid, which also has had some amazing fraud in it.) Something we were *not* good at seeing fraud in.

                So you can guess where *I* think the mistake was. Aka, how much fraud does the VA commit? (Granted, the VA has *other* problems, so perhaps is a bad example, but actually owning the provider and employing salaried doctors removes any reimbursement fraud.)

                Sure. And a lot of the criminal laws are rarely if ever used, but I’m not a big fan of having a bunch of rarely or never-enforced laws just hanging around on the books. It seems (and I could be mistaken as IANAL) that there are a lot of laws, especially federal laws, that serve a regulatory purpose and are like that.

                I really don’t quite know what you’re talking about. The difference between laws and regulations is who writes them, not their purpose per se. Laws are written by Congress, and regulations happen when Congress says, in the law, that some government agency ‘Should figure out how implement this law’. (Although, technically, that’s true of *all* laws…regulations are just when the leeway is purposefully given.)

                For an easy example, the existence of speed limits is due to a law, but each speed limit *itself* can be considered a regulation. The law says ‘Give each road a reasonable speed limit following this set of rules: ‘ and some committee does that.

                Because of how legislatures see themselves, they often deal with the *huge* crimes via themselves, and stuff they don’t see as important (like individual speed limits, or building code, or other safety things) they hand off to regulators, so regulations are, generally, for lesser crimes. But that’s not any sort of rule or anything.

                We actually already have a way to distinguish criminal act levels already, though, and it’s probably best to just talk about that. Misdemeanors generally are classified as less than a year in jail, and, as I said, we do not actually need to require bail for them, which would result in a *lot* less arrests. And additionally mean we couldn’t arrest people for things like ‘selling loose cigarettes’, which is, I think, what you’re getting at.

                The odd thing is…who gets arrested is not actually any sort of law (Except that people can’t get arrested for citations, aka, things like parking tickets.), as far as I know. Nothing is *requiring* the police to arrest people for misdemeanors they see, vs just writing a police report them and sending them on their way. (They do have to arrest people if an *arrest warrant* has been issued, but that’s not how misdemeanors generally work.) I mean, I could be wrong about that, but I don’t see any such requirement. I don’t even see a requirement the police assert people for *felonies* they witness, or upon probable cause the person has committed a felony. Just that they *can*.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to DavidTC
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                What I’m trying to get it is that, evidently, a lot of federal laws aimed at, say, protecting the environment[1] actually include the potential of lengthy prison terms for individuals, while lacking the need for intent that usually goes along with the sorts of laws that get you sent up for a long time if you break them. I’m much more comfortable with fines in such instances.

                This is, IMO, a fixable flaw with how our particular form of regulatory state, not an inherent shortcoming of the basic idea of regulation.

                [1] One of the most defensible goals of regulation, IMO!Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to DavidTC
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                Granted, the VA has *other* problems, so perhaps is a bad example,

                VA problems seem to be less about fraud and more about an unwillingness or inability to fire people who seriously need to be fired.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                While that does look bad (1), that really isn’t what the problem was.

                Granted, I’m not sure what the problem *was*! But that probably wasn’t it.

                The ‘scandal’ at the VA was the fact that VA had horrifically long waits, so long there had been legislation passed about them giving reporting requirements…and the VA dodged those requirements, thus breaking the law.

                Of course, the only real reason to dodge ‘incompetence reporting requirements’ like that is if they thought they’re fail them (Which they would have) and they would be *blamed* for that…but we don’t know if this hypothetical blame would be *correctly* placed, or if such a blame would end up on people doing the best they can in a system that cannot possible afford to function, dealing with a sudden influx of wounded soldiers that no one bothered to allocate more money or resources to.

                This raises all sorts of questions, like ‘When originally faced with evidence of long wait times at the VA, why on earth did the legislators apparently setup some sort of system where hospitals wanted to *hide* that wait time (Presumable to keep from being punished.), instead of setting up a system where hospitals wanted to *report* that wait time and presumably get more resources’.

                This is, of course, not to say that you just should just provide infinite money. But in this case, the obvious solution might be to, you know, to assume any problems are lack of resources.

                And if there actually is enough money, and it’s just being used poorly, that should be tracked down *regardless* of whether or not it’s causing long waits.

                1) Although not fraud, and I’m a little tired of over-zealous legislators trying to make government waste into fraud. Was there any sort of policy, rule, or law they broke?

                No? Then *it’s not fraud*. Fraud is a crime. It’s not ‘My employers have lax policies’.Report

            • Avatar CJColucci in reply to Damon
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              People “ignore” the idea that government is backed by force for the same reason that they “ignore” gravity. It’s obvious and doesn’t tell you much more than not to piss off the cops without good reason or walk out of tenth-story windows.Report

              • Avatar Damon in reply to CJColucci
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                They ignore it because they don’t think it’s theft, either for real, or as a justification that “society” wants it. Curious that “society” always agrees with them. Doesn’t change the reality though. These people wouldn’t do their own stealing, they prefer to hire it out.Report

              • Avatar CJColucci in reply to Damon
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                So you say. I say otherwise. Is there some way of finding out who is right? Perhaps if we asked a bunch of people whether all government was based, ultimately, on force, and, when we got “Huh?” as a response, unpacked the notion and got a more nuanced response? Short of spending money on such a survey, maybe we can ask if anyone here is the least bit surprised by the assertion that all government is, ultimately, based on force.And then ask what they make of it if they’re not surprised.Report

          • Avatar El Muneco in reply to InMD
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            I’m largely in agreement. We need to take care not to stifle the innovation that drives the economy forward. But at the same time, there’s a lot we can do to work on providing freedom from want for the worst off among us without doing that.

            We don’t need full equality of outcome, either. But there’s a lot we can do to equalize opportunity. And this is where a lot of libertarians lose the thread – the state is not the only institution that oppresses (hell, de facto institutions that are never formally organized can do the job quite well indeed).

            Sometimes the state really is a nanny. But sometimes it’s Mommy making sure you play fair with your little brother. I have become convinced that scrapping the latter is wrong for a society.Report

          • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to InMD
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            This. I’ll go slightly farther, and say that any stable modern society, not just a republic, has to be built on the axioms that (a) there has to be a floor on outcomes (not just opportunity), and (b) it’s possible to set the floor on outcomes too high.Report

  3. Avatar DavidTC
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    Instead, Republicans should not focus on the “potential harm” but rather the potential middle ground between what is (inevitably) being put forth by progressives and while taking into account those very real “unseens.” In other words, seeing that change is inevitable, Republicans should confront this change not with fervent reactionary doom-and-gloom, but principled prudence and compromise. Furthermore, if those “unseens” are really the issue, what does it matter how they get accounted for. That is, if progressives are asking for Z, it would be better that conservatives allow for M rather than entrenching themselves in a stubborn and unflinching defense of A.

    Except, at this point, progressives about basically asking for G, and conservatives are asking for negative P.

    You know when the time was for principled prudence and compromise in health care was, for example? 1993.

    I don’t even understand what’s going with these posts of what conservatives ‘should’ do.

    Guys, the people who are in charge of ‘conservatives’ do not care. Half the movement is a ratings scam, and the other half is a fundraising scam. It turns out a good portion of the base don’t even care about the fabled conservative three-legged stool…you know, the stuff the base was supposed to care about, which *also* wasn’t what you are describing. Nope, it turns out the entire conservative movement was so damn shallow that Trump could easily walk on top of it.

    There were a lot of people talking about conservative principles and philosophy and it turns out neither your leaders *nor* the mass of people who called themselves conservative actually cared *at all* about any of that.

    Write the thing off as a waste and come up with some new name. How about the Prudence movement? Or the Careful movement?

    Or, you know, you could just admit you basically are moderate Democrats.

    Circling back to Obergefell, one can, I think, reasonably see a solution to the issue. If governmental overreach is indeed the issue, then conservatives could have said either ‘we will revoke the benefits the state confers upon heterosexual unions’ or ‘we will work to pass state legislation giving homosexuals the same rights as heterosexuals as long as you don’t take this to the Fed.’

    Oh, sure, the critics of conservatives are always clear what the right ‘should have done’ after they finally lose. Hindsight is easy.

    So tell, what *current* issues should conservatives compromise on? Expanding Medicaid, but only to people with odd social security numbers? Barring transgender people from only *some* restrooms? Only *halfway* shutting down the government?

    You seem to be operating on the idea that the left is proposing outlandish ideas, and the right is digging in and refusing to moderate those idea, so when they lose, they lose completely. That…is not even vaguely in the same solar system as what is going on. It’s an interesting hypothetical situation, but it bears no resemblance to current reality.Report

    • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to DavidTC
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      @davidtc

      I don’t disagree with any of this critique, however I don’t know how a right-leaning party acts as a moderating influence on liberal over-reach without always being the bad guys. And that’s a lot of the problem. The Left sees any opposition to their plans as obstructionism, and their rhetoric ramps up. Conservatives respond in kind and eventually everyone hates each other so much that you just get the parties of Yes and No.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Mike Dwyer
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        One way to deal with opposing someone is to offer a set of solutions that meet the other sides goals while protecting what you think is important. The meet in the middle and find common solutions thing. Meanwhile the R’s are up over 50 votes on repealing Ocare.

        If you are worried about being seen as the bad guy that is telegraphing a lot. It suggests you know your view is unpopular, which is a problem, but you are sticking with it. Well if you want to stick with an unpopular view, then you sort of have to deal with being unpopular. Is there a way of moderating the unpopular view to make it more palatable so it is more popular. Maybe it is unpopular because things have changed for the better?Report

        • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to greginak
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          I’ll suggest the same analogy I always do: I don’t know anyone who liked their dad’s rules when they were 20. So he was the bad guy when it came to curfews and other things, even though he believed he was protecting them. Should dads all moderate or compromise just to make junior like them more?Report

          • Avatar greginak in reply to Mike Dwyer
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            Dads, and moms, should sure as hell be considering what their 20 year olds think and their capabilities. Trying to restrict a 20 year often leads to over reactions by the child. They need room to grow and explore and find themselves. Mistakes happen and kids need to make some to learn.

            But gov, and definitely not conservatives, are our dad or mom. That is a terrible metaphor. It implies the Dad/ conservatives are more mature, have control over purse strings and far more life knowledge. If you go into a meeting to try to find common ground, starting with the presumption you are the adult in the room and know far more then the wild impetuous teen on the other side of the table is not a good start.Report

            • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to greginak
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              Greg,

              We’ve all worked with that guy that has tons of ideas and someone always has to be the wet blanket that dials him back. Unfortunately a lot of liberal policies start out that way. If Sanders was elected, someone would have to do a lot of that from the Right. And no one that voted for Bernie would want to hear it. So, again, imperfections of the GOP aside, you cannot be the moderating voice in America without pissing people off. And I don’t think it’s as easy as some people are suggesting, that all you have to do is suggest an alternative. That assumes the Left is willing to listen.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Mike Dwyer
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                “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if (high collaboration outcome)?”

                “Well, (high collaboration outcome) requires (high trust prerequisite) and we don’t have that so we can’t have (high collaboration outcome).”

                “Why do you oppose (high collaboration outcome)?”Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                Sounds about right. My operations guys always suggest ideas they think are great. Then I tell them that while yes, it will solve their short term problem, here’s the bigger problems it will cause 6 months from now. Then they tell me I’m not a good partner and all we say is No.Report

              • Avatar Will H. in reply to Mike Dwyer
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                Two thoughts:

                1) GRIT

                2) Changes in position occurring during negotiations are most often due to new information.
                The current information apparatus is ineffectual in producing characteristics conducive to position-shifting.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Will H.
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                What I usually do is offer 2 alternatives. The first is what I want them to do. The second is a slightly worse option that I can still live with. 95% of the time they take the first option but still grumble about it.Report

              • Avatar Will H. in reply to Mike Dwyer
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                Sorry, Mike, but it looks like we were talking past each other.
                I was referring to the current political climate.
                As for your own set-up, you apparently have a certain amount of trust built-in, so as an unpalatable option (to your opposition) would be acceptable (to them).
                Also, it looks like you have control over your framing.

                Both of these aspects– trust and framing– are absent (or at least severely diminished) in the political realm.
                The odd thing is we now look on compromise as being a pleasant alternative, whereas when it was really occurring on the ground it pissed off a lot of people.
                Perhaps it’s a cyclical thing.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Will H.
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                One of the biggest complaints people used to make about Arlen Specter was that he triangulated all of his positions.Report

              • Avatar Will H. in reply to Mike Dwyer
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                I remember that.
                I also remember people (on the Left) complaining about Sen. Ben Nelson voting as his constituents wanted him to. And I remember a number of people (self included) saying the Dems would lose the seat if they sought out someone with views more toward the national party.
                I feel exonerated.

                Really though, as far as compromise is concerned, it seems to have arisen to the level of a virtue these days.
                But the truth is that compromise is a failing strategy, as it still falls far short of an integrative solution.
                That is, compromise is more about cutting the apple into equal parts. An integrative solution would be more along the lines of teaming up to find another apple.
                The central issue is one of value. Compromise is an apportionment of existing value, while an integrative approach is about creating value. This typically requires bringing more issues to the table for consideration.
                In the current climate, this is difficult to do, because so many issues have entrenched positions.
                Re-thinking things would be hard, because we have to climb out of our boxes first. Not many are willing to do that, Right or Left. Politicians tend to show significant increases in risk-aversion when treading close to pet projects of large donors.

                Affirmative action is the one that gets me.
                By any standard you can think of, it is a failed policy producing only marginal results, having no effect on substantive causes.
                Seriously, what would it look like if we were ready to do away with AA? What conditions need first be met?
                I believe seizing the initiative in cultivating conditions amenable to doing away with AA would be an area where conservatives might excel. It fits more with the rugged individualist model to give a guy a fighting chance.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Mike Dwyer
                Ignored
                says:

                Well Bernie isnt’ going to be elected so you don’t’ have to worry about that. You can’t do anything without pissing some people off. We could talk examples like the ACA. O and the D’s kept negotiating and offering changes to a plan that was similar to Romneycare. In the end the best R’s offered was to refuse anything but the things they have always been for and nothing more.

                For my money libs have often been willing to negotiate and find middle ground. YMMV.Report

          • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Mike Dwyer
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            says:

            I don’t know anyone who liked their dad’s rules when they were 20. So he was the bad guy when it came to curfews and other things, even though he believed he was protecting them. Should dads all moderate or compromise just to make junior like them more?

            Telling a bunch of adults to sit down and take their medicine (even if you are right) is rarely popular. So you don’t get to complain about being popular.

            Unfortunately for modern conservatives, what we’ve actually got isn’t people saying “Shut up and take your medicine to deal with this sickness”. It’s people who have only one medicine, and they’re determined to feed it to you no matter WHAT your illness is — or whether you’re sick at all.

            And people have started thinking “You seem to be interested in selling a lot of medicine, yet we never get healthy. I think this thing is a scam”.

            The problem with the GOP is forty years of selling tax cuts and deregulation as a panacea. With the occasional booster shot of minority-bashing, just to stir the blood.

            That doesn’t even get into trying to square the circle of, say, the ‘conservative’ ideas on SS. Killing, gutting, or fundamentally altering a program that’s been in place 70 years isn’t conservative — it’s radical. Or mulling over returning labor rules to the status quo of 100+ years ago.

            I’m sure there are conservative voters. There simply IS no conservative party. There’s a radical party that wants to turn the clock back a 100 years or so, and an incrementalist pragmatic party with a vigorous, but small, progressive wing.Report

            • Avatar Will H. in reply to Morat20
              Ignored
              says:

              There simply IS no conservative party.

              First gobsmacked by the Tea Party, and now Trump.
              At least, we’re actually talking about Trump as if something might be wrong.

              Nonetheless, it is voters who are voting that gives Trump his momentum.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Will H.
                Ignored
                says:

                The GOP clearly represents someone — lots of them. And so does Trump.

                But I don’t think “conservative” in any traditional sense is an accurate label. Radically reactionary, yes.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Morat20
                Ignored
                says:

                But I don’t think “conservative” in any traditional sense is an accurate label. Radically reactionary, yes.

                ‘Radically reactionary’ is LOG speak would appear to be:

                1. Enforcing extant immigration laws and not inciting illegal immigration.

                2. Ballot security

                3. Tentative plans to adjust retirement benefits in line with demographic shifts.

                4. Maintaining common and garden matrimonial law

                5. Not cutting a blank check to the purveyors of (chuckles) ‘higher education’ and an ever expanding financial pipeline to various Democratic Party clients.

                6. Having common standards of conduct on the streets and in the schools, in lieu of race patronage schemes.

                7. Resisting campaigns to impugn the character of police officers and damage the morale of police forces.

                8. Resisting the use of the military as a toy theatre for the social fantasies of liberals.

                9. Resisting the intrusion of extraneous matter into school curricula, most notably the promotion of the social fantasies of liberals.

                10. Resisting the seizure of discretion over public policy by cadres, especially lawyers.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Mike Dwyer
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        says:

        How is privatizing Medicare and Social Security a moderating influence on liberals?Report

        • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to Saul Degraw
          Ignored
          says:

          You make me feel guilty here, @saul-degraw , for I see in this question a j’accuse of right-wing radicalism. One aimed at people who, like me in my youth, fell for the charisma and enthusiasm of Jack Kemp. Kemp was a big would-be privatizer, and had the messianic zeal of a religious convert that the world and everyone in it would be much, much better off if these things were privatized. What made it convincing ing was Kemp’s ability to explain the utility of his policies to the least well-off in society, how he conveyed sincere concern for the little guy.

          I drank of this kool-aid myself in my twenties and thus bear some guilt for taking that which was actually radical and labeling it “conservative” and thus “good.”

          Older and thanks to burns from government and the private sector alike more universally wary, I’d not re-preach the Gospel of Kemp today. But I see that I too laid at least one brick of the foundation for today’s state of affairs, which I now deplore.Report

          • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Burt Likko
            Ignored
            says:

            True story- I wrote in Jack Kemp’s name In the 1992 election, so taken by his messianic zeal.

            His conservatism was very much of the “uplifting all of society” type.
            Honestly, it was my last gasp at clinging to the verities of my Reagan youth.

            I was sort of the mirror image of the adage about if you aren’t a radical in your youth you have no heart, and if not a conservative in your maturity you have no brain.

            Even the current holder of that messianic zeal, Paul Ryan, shows how apt the conservative caution is- the carnage and misery that would be caused by privatizing SS and Medicare would be on a Great Leap Forward scale.Report

          • Avatar pillsy in reply to Burt Likko
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            says:

            This seems as good a place as any to bring up my biggest complaint about Bernie Sanders, which is that he’s the Jack Kemp of the left. I get the same sense of sincerity and, yes, messianic zeal from him. I remember Dole’s choice of Kemp as a VP really turned me off in ’96, to the extent that I decided there was little value in replacing the marginally acceptable Clinton and sat out the first Presidential election where I was eligible to vote.

            My policy preferences have changed a lot since I was in my late teens, but I still worry about that kind of zeal. Suffice it to say that, liberal as I may be, I am distinctly not feeling the Bern.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Mike Dwyer
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        says:

        Charges of obstructionism started getting leveled only after the right refused to do *anything*, at all, about things that were obvious problems.

        Actually presenting compromises, or some other method of solving a problem, *even ones presented in bad faith*, tend to not be called obstructionism.

        The problem is the Republican party decided that actually solving problems was not something it wanted to do anymore.Report

        • Avatar Art Deco in reply to DavidTC
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          says:

          The problem is the Republican party decided that actually solving problems was not something it wanted to do anymore.

          With a more vivid imagination and a capacity to listen, it might just occur to you that what you define as a ‘problem’ is not defined as such by others and what you define as a ‘solution’ is understood by others as exacerbating extant problems.Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Mike Dwyer
        Ignored
        says:

        @mike-dwyer
        acts as a moderating influence on liberal over-reach

        But what “overreach” is in play that would need moderating?
        What is a contemporary liberal proposal, that could be described as “overreach”?

        Aside from cultural issues like SSM, I just can’t think of one. The biggest fondest “out there” dream of liberals is single payer, which is the status quo in most of our peer nations.

        Aside from that, most of the liberal wish list is to defend and preserve, dare I say “conserve the status quo”

        Report

        • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Chip Daniels
          Ignored
          says:

          @chip-daniels

          There are a million small liberal proposals that don’t make the front pages. Someone has to discuss those too.Report

          • Avatar rmass in reply to Mike Dwyer
            Ignored
            says:

            We would, but for some reason those proposals just dont seem to have any moving force behind them. Its almost like they dont really exist.Report

            • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to rmass
              Ignored
              says:

              The best example I can think of immediately is the proposed increase in the minimum wage to $15/hr.
              It has all sorts of potential unseen and side effects.

              How should a conservative view this?
              Here’s my suggested “conservative” posture:

              Well first what are our overall societal goals and how does this advance them?

              Has it been tried elsewhere, and what empirical evidence do have?

              Is the potential benefit greater than the expected benefit?

              Could we undo it if it doesn’t work?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Could we undo it if it doesn’t work?

                This is the huge question.

                I don’t know of that many examples of stuff being turned around and stopped after we said “okay, that didn’t work.”

                The most egregious example is Daylight Freaking Saving Time. The argument was that extending it would save energy. They extended it. As it turns out, extending it made people use more energy because the AC got turned on earlier.

                Did this policy get a quick “whoops, our bad!” followed by the policy being reversed?

                No. No it did not.

                If we were able to quickly and efficiently *UNDO* changes, I think that the biggest counter-argument Conservatives had would evaporate.

                As it is, I can’t really see “if it doesn’t work, we can always stop doing it” as having any real persuasive power. What are the big examples of us stopping doing something that doesn’t work?

                Prohibition?

                Are there ones that don’t involve the government poisoning citizens?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                I can think of Glass Steagal, various reductions in tax rates, reductions in social welfare benefits “welfare as we know it”, just off the top of my head.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Glass Steagal was instituted in 1932. You’re using the 2010 modifications to the law as your counter-example?

                Reductions in tax rates is “tweaking”, not undoing. If we’re going from 32% to 33.5% or whatever it is and then going back to 32%, that strikes me as fine-tuning rather than anything else.

                How many decades were there between the social welfare benefits and the undoing were there? If we’re talking about Johnson’s War On Poverty, we’re talking 1964-1965. Clinton ended Welfare As We Know It in 1996.

                So that’s more than 30 years.

                These are the examples of us saying “okay, that didn’t work, we should change it”?

                Do you see how someone might say “30 years to say that this didn’t work is too many years of something not working for us to risk changing”? Someone risk-adverse, anyway?Report

              • Avatar Fortytwo in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Glass-Steagal was repealed in 1998, if I remember correctly. Clinton signed the bill.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Fortytwo
                Ignored
                says:

                66 Years.

                As God is my witness, I thought I was weak-manning when I gave Prohibition/Repeal as an example of saying “whoops, let’s stop doing that” after 13 years.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                This is the huge question.

                No. The question is not ‘Can we undo it?’.

                The question is, ‘Have progressives, at any point, refused to undo non-working things they set up?’

                The answer is…no. At least, it’s no if you ignore all the stuff that the right currently *says* doesn’t work and needs removing, like social security and whatnot.

                A bunch of Fair Deal stuff got dismantled because it didn’t work. Prohibition got dismantled. Welfare got rebuilt, and, hell, that actually was working pretty well.

                Progressives are not the mirror of conservatives. Aka, they are not holding on to broken and discredited ideas long after everyone sees they don’t work.

                What are the big examples of us stopping doing something that doesn’t work?

                The biggest thing that obviously Doesn’t Work that we’re still idiotically doing is something that mostly *conservatives* are stopping us from undoing…the War on Drugs.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to DavidTC
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                says:

                And we’re back to making distinctions between progressives and democrats.

                http://youtu.be/vg95RiBPsRM

                Looking at the examples that you gave: what’s the average amount of time between instituting a thing and saying “okay, let’s stop doing that thing”?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Additional question: Is there a period of time past which we move from “we’re undoing X!” to “We’re trying something new instead of X!”Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                @jaybird

                Serious question: Can any conservative policy, if it is meant to make the country better, be considered ‘progressive’? I ask this because, if progressive is defined as seeking change for the betterment of society, isn’t that what conservatives are trying to do when they are actually suggesting new policies? A good example would be No Child Left Behind. It was meant to create progress towards better schools i.e. a Progressive Conservative policy, but I doubt many on the Left would consider it truly Progressive. It feels to me like they believe a policy can only be Progressive if it takes the country in a Leftward direction.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Mike Dwyer
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                says:

                Well i’ll answer. Of course conservative policies can be considered progressive if we use sort of weird definitions. Conservatives seem to have gone all in with their role being “stop change” which is ridiculously self-limiting. C’s should be for slow measured change that respects where we have been. I’m all for that kind of conservative party since progressives/liberals will always be pushing for faster change. It is good to have a tension between groups moving faster and slower.

                The problem is C’s say, although aren’t in practice, they just want to be careful about change. In some cases they just are against any change and very possibly not just for general “conservative” reasons. Context exists so for some things, gay marriage comes to mind, they are just against it but want to phrase it as being conservative instead of just being against gay marriage.

                Of progressive polices can be conservative in the way they support traditional structures.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to greginak
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                says:

                Disraeli would say what we need is a Liberal Progressive party and a Conservative Progressive party. The friction still remains when those on the Right simply say No. That is the one answer the Left cannot abide. But if we take No off the table, we will always end up with a Centrist solution, which is also not always the right one. Sometimes I think it’s okay for those on the far end of the spectrum to be correct.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Mike Dwyer
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                says:

                I agree. I think Disraeli would say we need the right Gears. Both faster and slower or even back. ( a little classic rock mention for the old folks in the crowd)

                There isn’t always a centrist solution or even best direction. Sometimes the best answer lies to one end of the spectrum. I think that is where talking in the most general conservative/progressive terms is a dead end.

                If an answer is correct it isn’t’ because it’s “progress” or because it “conserves” it depends on the merits of the case. Falling back on progress or conserving is ignoring the context.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to greginak
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                says:

                Context exists so for some things, gay marriage comes to mind, they are just against it but want to phrase it as being conservative instead of just being against gay marriage.

                As I’ve said before, let’s hop in the old time machine back to 1995, and pretend to be conservatives back then to try to figure out what the conservative position *should* have been:

                Well, marriage is a net good for society, creating stable living conditions and mutual support.

                And in the *classic* liberal sense, in the requirement of equality before the law, if we’re going to let men marry women, we should let women marry women. (And same for men marrying men.) This isn’t any sort of special privilege or bogus discrimination claim that liberal often invents, not some sort of affirmative action…it’s literally the law itself forbidden one gender from doing what the other can do, and not even in some possibly justifiable way like military service. The current law is just blatant legal discrimination, and people like us who demand *equality*, not special privileges, can’t support it.

                And, of course, there’s the unseen consequence of *not* supporting it. If we don’t support it, it seems likely that young people, many of whom see nothing wrong with being gay and will grow up with gay friends, will see marriage denied to an entire group of people, which will then *normalize* people living together outside of marriage. Perhaps they will invent terms like ‘partner’ and ‘significant other’ to describe the person they should rightly be calling their ‘spouse’. Who knows *what* that could do to the marriage rate? By the year 2015, as much as 1/5th of all adults might have never been married, double what it was in 1980!

                Ergo, conservatives should support gay marriage. Not at the Federal level, marriage is a state-by-state thing, but when it comes to our state we should make reasoned arguments in favor of it.

                However, what we *don’t* know is how children will deal with that, so perhaps not gay *adoption*. Children might need parents of both genders. But thanks to the vagaries of human relationships, even without adoption, there already will be plenty of children raised by gay couples, and we can check back in a decade or so to see how that’s working out.

                A decade later:

                Yeah, kids raised by gay couples seem fine to us. Also, we failed to notice that denying parental rights to a kid from a previous relationship to the other half of a married couple causes all sorts of problems. Oops. So gay adoption it is.

                …that, right there, would have been a *conservative* position.

                This is, of course, pretending we had a population made up of actual, Abba-yodeling stilt-wearing conservatives, instead of what we actually have, which is a bunch of people who call themselves conservative to justify a random set of beliefs.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                You sound like Andrew Sullivan. We shouldn’t forget that SSM was a conservative project at its inception. The liberal gay rights activists were not exactly fans.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to North
                Ignored
                says:

                SSM could have been a project of the LGBT right but still way radical from majority perspective.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to North
                Ignored
                says:

                You sound like Andrew Sullivan. We shouldn’t forget that SSM was a conservative project at its inception.

                You should forget that, because it is not true. It was a personal shtick of Andrew Sullivan promoted when he was a staff editor at The New Republic. Another promoter was Ninia Baehr, who was and is a standard-issue social justice warrior.Report

              • Avatar J_A in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                As much as I support everything you has said above, you just rewrote Anrew Sullivan’s contemporary arguments.

                Which is fine with me, I think Andrew is a cool guy and I’m proud to be friends with a guy that knows him.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                A conservative compromise would have been, decades ago, to set up some sort of cost-of-living increase for min wage.

                While I’m in favor of raising it, even *I* think $15 an hour immediately is a bit too much, too fast.

                But, and this is an important political lesson that the right *refuses to learn*, when they hold the line *forever* on something, never budging a bit…the left is forced to take *as much victory as possible* whenever it gets it, instead of reasonable increments.

                $15 an hour is too much now…will it be too much in *2030*? Probably not. Will conservatives agree to raise it before then? Also probably not. Ergo, we’re going to feel stupid in 2030 if we could have gotten $15 now but only tried for $10.

                Or think of it like earthquakes. Earthquakes don’t happen because the ground moves. The ground always moves. Earthquakes happen where something *stops the ground from moving*…until it can’t stop it anymore, and then it moves rather a lot, really really quickly.

                A huge obstacle, perhaps the biggest obstacle, to politics advancing slowly (aka, what conservatives supposedly want) *is* conservatives! They keep standing athwart history, yelling stop, forever. Instead of, I dunno, yelling ‘yield’ or ‘slow, children at play’ to try to get people to slow down…nope, they expect people to sit there waiting, forever. And those people sit there and honk and scream and eventually *drive right over them* in a free-for-all.

                And then everyone posts big rambling discussions about the traffic is moving too quickly and chaotically and it’s the job of conservatives to ask it to line up and slow down.Report

              • Avatar Adrian Rutt in reply to DavidTC
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                says:

                They keep standing athwart history, yelling stop, forever. Instead of, I dunno, yelling ‘yield’ or ‘slow, children at play’ to try to get people to slow down…nope, they expect people to sit there waiting, forever.

                This is only true if one takes as their foundation the fact that the Left has always been asking for moderate, incremental change, and the Right was always that nasty other side yelling stop. To me, the extreme Right (those yelling stop) developed coevally with the extreme Left (those yelling go). Conservatives, as I tried to develop it here, do not yell stop nor are trying to stop change – it is merely an attitude toward change.

                Again, there is not a single conservative person in the Republican party at this point. Libertarians on the other hand are conservatives but they are fundamentalist in that they act on a universal – a universal they think can be applied across all times and circumstances without regard.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Adrian Rutt
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                says:

                This is only true if one takes as their foundation the fact that the Left has always been asking for moderate, incremental change, and the Right was always that nasty other side yelling stop.

                I don’t know where you get ‘always’ in there. The right has frozen any changes for *two decades*, not ‘always’. Nixon created the EPA, for heaven’s sake.

                Meanwhile, the actual people *in office* on the left have pretty much asked for moderate, incremental change. If you want to argue, I dunno, that the 60s weren’t that… Well, I dispute that, because the sixties actually happened because the change *didn’t* happen slowly and peacefully in the *50s*, because the *actual* causes of the civil rights movement were rooted in WWII and middle-class prosperity that was causing women and blacks both to rethink their station and purpose in life. So it’s a decade of tensions simmering and no movement as society changed, and then an explosion. Again.

                But disagree with that if you want. What you can’t disagree with is that the sixties were 50 years ago. And if they still somehow have relevance to the conservative movement, that is the conservative movement’s hangup.

                Where the conservatives stopped all forward movement, meanwhile, was the *90s*.

                It was clear that health care, for example, was a hugely broken system in *the early 90s*. It had been clear that banks were out of control since the *S&L* crisis, which, being slightly before this, sorta got fixed, and then was completely unfixed. It was clear that NAFTA and other free trade things were job killers pretty much the second they were signed.

                Can the people elect anyone to do anything about those things? Apparently not. For two decades.

                Seriously. Name a single non-moderate, non-incremental change the left has even *asked* for since the early 90s.

                The ACA? Except the ACA…was pretty much the most moderate, incremental change possible to do *anything* with health insurance, keeping almost everything intact. (Now, ‘Hillarycare’ was *not* an incremental change, although it was fairly ‘moderate’. And that was the last time the left ever tried something like *that*.)

                And then name a moderate, incremental change the left *got* with the support of conservatives? A *progressive* change, I mean.

                To me, the extreme Right (those yelling stop) developed coevally with the extreme Left (those yelling go). Conservatives, as I tried to develop it here, do not yell stop nor are trying to stop change – it is merely an attitude toward change.

                Uh, no, as the extreme right conservativism (Or, rather, *politicians listening to* and eventually being part of that) was really created under Clinton. Or possibly created under Reagan but not *activated* until Clinton.

                This is Clinton, who the terms ‘extreme left’ and ‘yelling go’ cannot *possibly* describe.

                Whether or not to include Reagan in this span is an interesting question. It’s his rhetoric and reframing of the issues that conservatives use to justify everything, and yet his administration didn’t particularly operate that way…and the problem isn’t as much conservatives ‘not voting for things’ as it is ‘opposing the left accomplishing anything at all’, which didn’t *start* to happen until Clinton. (And even then, it was just *some* of the Republican party. It took until Obama until they had the science down.)

                This behavior is probably due to the ‘conservative litmus tests’ that started showing up post-Reagan…or maybe we should blame those on George H. W. Bush, because he sorta ‘failed’ the tests, creating them. Or on Fox News, which was standing-by, ready to attack any Republican that would work with a Democrat.

                Again, there is not a single conservative person in the Republican party at this point.

                And, yes, we somehow keep *talking* about conservatives.

                I demand we talk about how the invisible vampire ghosts feel about politics! It seems just as relevant!Report

              • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                @davidtc

                Nixon created the EPA because he needed to work with a liberal congress. He also torpedoed universal pre-school because the Fundies hated it and placed Rehinauist and Powell on the Court. Blackmun was a fluke. Nixon moved the judiciary significantly to the right-wing.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Saul Degraw
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                says:

                Congress and only Congress initiates legislation. The President can negotiate and can accede to it. As for ‘universal pre-school’, that’s not a federal function nor does it carry any property which would render the central government the preferred provider. One innovation the Nixon Administration did attempt was a retreat from prescriptive grants-in-aid in favor of bloc grants and general revenue sharing. The Nixon Administration had a taxonomy of functions according to the preferred locus of provision and one of the differentiating criteria was how labor intensive a function was. Labor intensive programs were slated for state and local provision.

                The notion that ‘fundies’ were an influential lobby in 1971 is anachronistic. Nixon was something of a friend of Billy Graham (who was an adherent to notions of biblical inerrancy), but Graham was not one to manifest an intense interest in policy questions.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Saul Degraw
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                says:

                My point was not that Nixon was liberal, he was not.

                My point was, at that point in time, conservativism had not stopped all progressive movement. And it was perfectly acceptable for a Republican president to sign something like the EPA, especially when dealing with a liberal congress.Report

        • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Chip Daniels
          Ignored
          says:

          The biggest fondest “out there” dream of liberals is single payer, which is the status quo in most of our peer nations.

          Name five.Report

          • Avatar pillsy in reply to Brandon Berg
            Ignored
            says:

            I would argue the UK, South Korea, Canada, Australia and Japan all qualify as single-payer systems, though there’s room for debate about exactly where the boundaries are.

            Nonetheless, my biggest, fondest dream is not a single-payer health care system. Multi-payer systems work well in many countries.Report

            • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to pillsy
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              says:

              Nearly half of all medical spending in South Korea is out-of-pocket. Japan’s health care system is neither single-payer nor universal. Australia has private insurance as well. The UK does too, so it’s not strictly single-payer, but less than 10% of the population uses it, so I guess it’s close enough for government work. Even in Canada, a quarter of health care expenses are paid for privately.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Brandon Berg
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                says:

                Yeah, I totally missed the boat on Japan (don’t know which other system I was confusing it).

                In any event, this is why I was acknowledging up front that there’s debate about where the boundaries are. Supplemental insurance is very common, as is substantial out-of-pocket cost. Medicare–which is often what progressives use as a starting point for single payer–has coinsurance and copays, too, and that reflects the fact that they are usually arguing for the government to act as a really big insurance company.

                The Sanders plan purports to eliminate out-of-pocket costs entirely while keeping many other features of that model. I don’t think doing so is necessary for a plan to be any of universal, single-payer or, well, good. Indeed, I think having modest out-of-pocket costs at the point of service is probably for the best.Report

      • Avatar El Muneco in reply to Mike Dwyer
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        says:

        I thought about this in Dan Scotto’s thread. True conservatives can never be justified by history.

        If they correctly stop progressive overreach, nothing bad happens.

        If they fail to stop progressive overreach, the progressives look bad, but who was it who was too impotent to stop them?

        When they do give way and accept a progressive incremental gain, hey, the progressives got something right and the conservatives are grudgingly shuffling their feet as they catch up – again.

        When they block a progressive incremental gain, there are pictures in textbooks for generations of them blocking the stairs of the school or bringing out the fire hoses.

        Conservatives will always be the bad guy – it’s definitional.Report

        • Avatar aaron david in reply to El Muneco
          Ignored
          says:

          Much truth here @el-munecoReport

        • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to El Muneco
          Ignored
          says:

          Note, though, that this buys into the myth of Our Appalling Ancestors (thanks for that, @richard-hershberger) or, to use an Enlightenment Era term, “Progress.” Is this myth a reality or just a fable? YMMV, I’m simply calling out that it is the lens through which you’re viewing history.Report

          • Avatar El Muneco in reply to Burt Likko
            Ignored
            says:

            I’m not sure exactly what you’re getting at, so I’ll clarify a bit.

            I wasn’t attempting to make a moral judgement, my argument was entirely about perception. It’s not that conservatives are wrong, or not in some sense a useful (even possibly necessary) part of the workings of society. Just that it’s inherently a thankless job.

            Analogous to prophets. The only useful prophets in history were either stoned to death as charlatans or died in obscurity. Because their prophecy caused someone to take action to forestall the doom they foresaw. The famous ones, the ones we all remember? No one ever listened to them, so they had no effect on the world. Useless.Report

  4. Avatar dragonfrog
    Ignored
    says:

    These unintended consequences, or invisible risks, are best mitigated by acknowledging the importance of limits: limited human knowledge and limited human capacity suggest that we should limit our exercises of political power in these complex domains, choosing instead to work with and improve existing structures that have proven their effectiveness over time.

    Which is why conservatives are all over abolishing the death penalty and liberals are the ones who want to keep it – because conservatives see that the justice system is an inherently imperfect human construct, full of fallible and corruptible people, so a death penalty will inevitably result in mistakes that can’t ever be made right…Report

    • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to dragonfrog
      Ignored
      says:

      Sarcasm heard and point taken — conservative political types are up-front that they lurves them a strong dose of Retribution! baked into their Justice.

      But this ignores that there really is a conservative movement to reform the criminal justice system, one motivated by seemingly good faith motives, percolating policies even as we speak. Koch Brothers money funding it and everything.Report

      • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Burt Likko
        Ignored
        says:

        I didn’t know that. If anything substantive comes of it, I’ll eat my metaphorical hat.

        I can’t imagine that all the Koch brothers’ money would be enough to get elected officials of the tougher-on-crime-than-thou party to stand up and say “Yes, during my last term in office I fought for measures that will reduce America’s incarceration rate, provide meaningful rehabilitation to the convicted, and ensure that those accused of crimes really do get the strongest possible defence.” They’d sooner give a national televised address at Burning Man wearing lingerie and a unicorn horn and standing behind a podium that is actually three naked people in wood-grain body paint.Report

        • Avatar Art Deco in reply to dragonfrog
          Ignored
          says:

          “Yes, during my last term in office I fought for measures that will reduce America’s incarceration rate, provide meaningful rehabilitation to the convicted, and ensure that those accused of crimes really do get the strongest possible defence.”

          They’re not going to say that because there is nothing wrong with the ‘incarceration rate’ per se, ‘rehabilitation’ is yet another excuse to provide state employment for people with MSW degrees, and replacing assigned counsel plans with public defenders is the business of the Oklahoma legislature.Report

          • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to Art Deco
            Ignored
            says:

            There’s nothing inherently wrong with the incarceration rate? To my mind, sending somebody to prison means that deterrence has failed; every party involved would be better off if neither the crime nor the punishment had occurred. Other things being equal, a high incarceration rate is absolutely a bad thing, and that’s without even delving into how incarceration makes ex-cons less able to reintegrate into legitimate society or avoid re-offending. Incarceration is something that has to be justified as a less-bad alternative, because prison means having the government spend a considerable sum of money to ruin a citizen’s life. It takes a special set of priorities to look at our sky-high incarceration rate (and the incredibly thin evidence that all of it has had a crime-suppressing effect) and say that it’s all A-OK.Report

            • Avatar Will H. in reply to Don Zeko
              Ignored
              says:

              As early as 1973, there was talk about doing away with prisons altogether in the US, because it was known at that time that incarceration is an ineffective means of controlling crime. Many of the barriers to re-entry were championed either initially or predominantly by those unions populated by criminal justice professionals; i.e., police officers, correctional officers, probation officers, etc. Source
              There really is no justification for the incarceration rates.
              It really is a public employee unions issue.
              State use of matrices similar to the federal system would at least assure some degree of consistency.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Will H.
                Ignored
                says:

                As early as 1973, there was talk about doing away with prisons altogether in the US, because it was known at that time that incarceration is an ineffective means of controlling crime.

                It was not ‘known at that time’ and is not known at this time. You’ve been reading polemical literature by Jerome Miller. Unlike someone of sense, you believed it.Report

            • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Don Zeko
              Ignored
              says:

              There’s nothing inherently wrong with the incarceration rate?

              No, there is nothing wrong with it. The problem is elevated crime rates. Attacking that problem does not dictate any given incarceration rate. Reaching a theoretical optimum positing a given index crime rate would require that the marginal effect of expenditures on police services and expenditure on prison services be the same. You can argue that New York’s experience shows other states have had the wrong balance – invested too much in prisons and not enough in police (New York still trebled its prison census, btw). People kvetching about ‘mass incarceration’ not named ‘Mark Kleiman’ do not make that argument. Their complaint is that foreign countries have lower imprisonment rates, something which is a matter of no concern unless you’re hoping to sell your interlocutor on some speculative social work exercise or welfare program. (Though people dedicating to aping the silliest components of public discourse in the 1970s maintain that ‘prison is not a deterrent’, see Mr. Will H. below).Report

              • Avatar Will H. in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                Crime statistics are jimmied to show what is needed to get more money for law enforcement, or to make management look good.
                That’s something they teach in CJ classes.

                More police officers on the streets does not have an effect on the crime rate. In fact, there is evidence that it has the opposite effect. That is why Geo. W. Bush declined to re-authorize the Byrne grants.

                The information cited above is from The Toughest Beat by Joshua Page, required reading in my Public Policy class.
                That’s how I know about the “victims’ rights groups” organized by the CCPOA, the police unions, and other law enforcement groups. They are really more about victim exploitation than victims’ rights; just the PR wing of public employee unions.

                And I’m the conservative guy around here, mind you.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Will H.
                Ignored
                says:

                Crime statistics are jimmied to show what is needed to get more money for law enforcement, or to make management look good.

                Make the numbers up if it helps you feel better. Just quit bothering anyone who’s interested in a serious conversation.Report

  5. Avatar greginak
    Ignored
    says:

    Part of the problem with Dan’s essay which is embedded in one of the giant blind spots of those on the right is this “Scotto’s comment that “the Republicans are the only party that is even rhetorically committed to limited government and constitutionalism.” Nonsense. It is has become so much part of Conservative DNA that they are only ones who want limited government they see everything proposed by D’s or liberals as all government all the time. They are incapable, seemingly, of judging any proposal on it’s merits or judging if it is an actual place where gov has a role. Because almost all conservatives believe government has a role in many things. D’s and liberals believe in limits to gov, always have, always will. That doesn’t mean there are big differences between where we see the role, sure, big differences. But limits…hell yeah, we all believe in that.

    Dan, i believe, said conservatives shouldn’t’ just be seen as opposing any improvement or progress. That would be nice, but his formulation, as you point out, sort of leads to that. To much of C talk are fancy justifications for trying to stop progress for groups they don’t care about. Sure unseen dangers are possible, but not an automatic end to the debate which is how they seem to present it.

    Oh yeah. Lots of us have read the constitution. We know we are wrong and conservatives have the One True View. But humor us a little.Report

    • Avatar Damon in reply to greginak
      Ignored
      says:

      “the Republicans are the only party that claim they are committed to limited government and constitutionalism.””

      I fixed that for you.

      “and liberals believe in limits to gov, always have, always will.” I can’t think of one instance in recent memory where this is the case. Perhaps you’d care to list out those issues where liberals and the left are for limiting gov?Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Damon
        Ignored
        says:

        How about not sending the FBI to break up mennonite prayer meetings?Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Damon
        Ignored
        says:

        Thanks for proving my point. I owe you a solid. When have liberals or D’s proposed no limits on gov. Where are are complete gov controls on everything? Where are the gov cheese food centers you must get your food from? Are libs for 100% taxes or what? Where are the five year plans to control all output?

        I certainly don’t deny libs see more of a role for gov then conservatives. Does anyone deny that?

        Libs have been wanting a end to the WOD and less incarceration for decades. Does that count? Most libs have wanted less foreign intervention. Does that count?Report

        • Avatar Damon in reply to greginak
          Ignored
          says:

          I guess you could say that I’m hearing a lot of talk about limits on gov’t, but not really seeing it.

          “Libs have been wanting a end to the WOD and less incarceration for decades. Does that count? Most libs have wanted less foreign intervention. Does that count?” Well, I seem to recall that the left had a majority of congress some years back. They didn’t end the WOD. I seem to recall liberal support for destabilizing syria, libya, ukraine. I’m not seeing HRC or Bernie talk about massing pull outs of current foreign entanglements, pulling troops out of euroland.

          Saying that liberals haven’t proposed total gov’t control is kinda like say the repubs haven’t proposed nazism.

          It seems to me that both parties want the gov’t to control our lives. The areas of control may be different, or the methods, but they both end up at nearly the same point. Which is why I don’t support either side.Report

          • Avatar greginak in reply to Damon
            Ignored
            says:

            And what i’m saying is that conservatories of all stripes throw around hyperbole so much there has been a loss of contact with reality. Libs have never pushed for no limits on gov. Sure we want more gov then you but that is gigantically different from no limits. Life isn’t’ black and white.

            Libs didn’t’ control any part of the gov sadly. D’s did. Much of the WOD is state level so there is that. There has been some very slow, to slow, movement towards legalizing pot. Where has that occurred? The D’s had control of the prez and both houses for a few months. What has happened since then? Are D’s the same as libs; urr no.

            O’s policy, not that he is a lib, has been far less interventionist then the R’s and many hawkish D’s fwiw.

            Again there is no “control all” thing going on. It’s to much of the sky is falling and slippery slopes and black and white thinking. Not saying that means you agree with lib policies, just that you have let hyperbole get in the way of accurate vision.Report

          • Avatar pillsy in reply to Damon
            Ignored
            says:

            Saying that liberals haven’t proposed total gov’t control is kinda like say the repubs haven’t proposed nazism.

            No it isn’t, if the charge is that liberals want no limits on government. The charge that conservatives want no limits on government wouldn’t be correct, either, although as a liberal, I think conservatives often try to limit government in ways that are pointless or counterproductive, while removing limits on government that really should be there.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak
          Ignored
          says:

          Libs have been wanting a end to the WOD and less incarceration for decades. Does that count? Most libs have wanted less foreign intervention. Does that count?

          I appreciate that Libs are about as well-represented in government as Cons.

          That said, if it’s fair to point to the Republicans when we talk about what Conservatives, in practice, are like, I’d like to know why we can’t point to the Dems when we talk about what Liberals, in practice, are like?Report

          • Avatar Kim in reply to Jaybird
            Ignored
            says:

            This assumes governmental solutions to governmental problems.
            If, as I mentioned, I suggest a problem that we aren’t going to use government to solve, It’s fair to say “liberals want this!” — provided they’ve made decent strides towards it.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kim
              Ignored
              says:

              The number one problem that I see with Conservatives is that they want to pass laws that express sentiments. People shouldn’t do drugs. People shouldn’t have abortions. People shouldn’t be gay.

              If you ask “well, if someone breaks this law, should the police kick down doors and start shooting dogs?” and, for the most part, the answer is not only “no” but “that’s an offensive question, this conversation is over”. They do *NOT* want women who have abortions to get arrested (Trump notwithstanding). They do not agree with the idea of the cops arresting two consenting adults who have sex with each other (Lawrence v Texas notwithstanding). Some of them approve of drug users being thrown in jail, but it’s far more likely that they think that *DEALERS* should go to jail and users should go to some sort of 12 Step Program where they can overcome their addiction to marijuana or whatever.

              When pressed, they admit that the whole “rule of law” thing gets a bit fuzzy when it comes to making something illegal *BUT* they think it very important that we, as a society, pass a law signaling disapproval of socially bad things.

              But they don’t understand the difference between the cart and the horse here.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                When pressed, they admit that the whole “rule of law” thing gets a bit fuzzy when it comes to making something illegal *BUT* they think it very important that we, as a society, pass a law signaling disapproval of socially bad things.

                That doesn’t seem quite right to me.

                I can’t quite explain it, but it seems to me that the left and right both pass laws indicating approval or disapproval of things.

                But what I think is, for a weird analogy, that it’s almost the prescriptive vs. descriptive divide in grammar.

                The right thinks the law *creates* how people behave. And that people who do not follow the law are doing so out of…spite? Moral failing? Something? And are just wrong.

                Whereas the left think the law *describes* how people behave. And the reason we have punishments is to protect others from people operating outside that description.

                It’s like how we were talking the other day about marriage licenses, and how marriage had become fairly unpopular. I, as someone on the left, started talking about how the laws need to work if people are not getting married. Whereas other people didn’t seem to think that was important, and what was more important was getting more people married.

                If tomorrow, everyone started breaking a specific law, how would each side respond? Like collectively, as a society, everyone just started ignoring trespassing laws. Wandering into each other’s houses, watching TV, whatever. Like, say, 80% of us started doing that.

                Should we attempt to do something about this horrific spate of lawbreaking? Should we attempt to force everything back to how it was? Or should we just sorta accept that’s how it works now, and have laws based on *that* reality, like no stealing stuff from the houses you’re wandering in? (And, yes, I deliberately picked a dumb example, as that sort of world has all sorts of problems…and we’d need to deal with the actual problems instead of just arresting everyone for trespassing.)Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                Let’s use a *FUN* example: Smoking Weed.

                How do “the left” and “the right” deal with this sort of thing when it comes to lawbreakers?

                Does Colorado, Oregon, Warshington, and Alaska count as “left” or “right”?

                Do the cops in NYC count as “left” or “right”?Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Let’s use a *FUN* example: Smoking Weed.

                This assumes that smoking weed has ever *actually* been illegal for a certain section of the population.

                It hasn’t.

                Most laws about drugs have always been, very specifically, targeted at specific groups of people, and everyone else is basically free to use them with minimal harassment.

                Does Colorado, Oregon, Warshington, and Alaska count as “left” or “right”?

                I don’t think Alaska is what you think it is. It’s the Alaskan *constitution* that is keeping pot legal there…the *voters* tried to make illegal back in 1990! (Which is well past the point anyone thought it was dangerous!)

                Likewise, the polling shows that it was Colorado’s *liberals* that caused the legalization to pass. People who called themselves ‘very liberal’ were 79% for, 19% against, and people who called themselves ‘very conservative’ were 29% for, 68% against, and the ‘somewhat’ liberal vs. conservatives were 69%/24% vs. 42%/50%. Yes, I’m sure there was *some* libertarian thought there, it’s probably what made conservatives not like drug laws quite as much as liberal hate them…but the change in the laws was *mostly* liberals finally outnumbering conservatives. (People forget Colorado voted for Obama also!)

                Do the cops in NYC count as “left” or “right”?

                Cops are almost *always* prescriptive. Or, at least, pro-law. The amount of cops willing to come forward and say ‘This law does not actually work’ is very small.

                That said, as I said, what you have seemingly actually proven is that places *with* black people are all for enforcing drugs laws against those people (Yes, even liberal places), whereas places *without* black people have decided such laws are silly. Weird.Report

              • Avatar El Muneco in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                In fairness, we want cops to be prescriptive, at least while they’re on duty. Cops, and pro sports officials. It’s tough enough to fully understand and evenhandedly enforce the complete rulebook as it is. The last thing we want is to institutionalize scope for interpreting and filtering during application of the rules. That can only lead to hesitation, and inconsistency across both time and space.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to El Muneco
                Ignored
                says:

                In fairness, we want cops to be prescriptive, at least while they’re on duty.

                Prescriptive is not the same thing as ‘enforce the law’. It’s an idea about what purpose the law serves.Report

              • Avatar El Muneco in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                The right thinks the law *creates* how people behave. And that people who do not follow the law are doing so out of…spite? Moral failing? Something? And are just wrong.

                I think you have something there, since this is exactly what they think about religion v. atheism.Report

              • Avatar J_A in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                This

                If you read Rod Dreher, and his faithful commentariat, and their observations about culture and society, you see that, in the end, their main concern is not about actual societal outputs, but about the message

                You can explain to RD and his team that sexual education in school delays the age of first intercourse, reduces STDs unwanted pregnancies, and, of course, abortions. Those are seen, measurable effects. They will still be against it because implicit in teaching Sex Ed to teenagers is the message that teenagers engage in sex. Of course, they have taught THEIR teenagers about chastity and morality. THEIR teenagers will never engage sexually. They don’t need Sex Ed and exposing THEIR teenagers to it will counter their parents’ message. Other people’s teenagers? Well, if they can’t keep their knees closed, it’s because they are tarts.

                Similarly, RD’s problem with SSM is that SSM sends the message that homosexuality is no different than lefthandedness. His opposition to SSM is, in the end, because he needs to convey his moral disapproval of homosexuality. He claims he is against discrimination towards gays in many spheres,and never would want a gay person to go to jail, but he is against Lawrence, because never-enforced sodomy laws sent a societal message of disapproval, a message that the Supreme Court took away from him. Even now he would oppose taking the old sodomy laws from the books, because of their symbolic value.

                His most recent Religious Freedom and BenOp writing is essentially the same. Small-o orthodoxs, who disagree about almost anything else (he welcomes Catholics, Protestants, Orthodox Christians, Orthodox Jews, Mormons, devout Muslims, all sharing the condensed symbol of opposing sexual license), should band together To create communities where they and their morality message won’t be disrespected, ignored, or laughed at.

                In the end, I truly believe that RD would rather be eaten by lions sent by his persecutors rather than he and his message be ignored as a quaint eccentricity, like we would ignore the innocent racism of an 80 year old sweet lady.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to J_A
                Ignored
                says:

                You can explain to RD and his team that sexual education in school delays the age of first intercourse, reduces STDs unwanted pregnancies, and, of course, abortions. Those are seen, measurable effects.

                On the authority of the Alan Guttmacher Institute, no doubt. Cannot imagine why someone might want them to show their work.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                This is one of the best and most reasonable critiques of conservatives I have read in quite a while.Report

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

              I suggest a problem that we aren’t going to use government to solve

              I suggest hiccups.
              Discuss.Report

              • Avatar El Muneco in reply to Will H.
                Ignored
                says:

                According to QI, there’s only one proven way to stop hiccups.

                I do not want government, at the local, state, or Federal level, implementing any policies to provide it.Report

          • Avatar InMD in reply to Jaybird
            Ignored
            says:

            As we all know, raising that question is strictly prohibited. Even considering it results in expulsion from the league of the politically serious.Report

          • Avatar pillsy in reply to Jaybird
            Ignored
            says:

            Jaybird:
            I appreciate that Libs are about as well-represented in government as Cons.

            That said, if it’s fair to point to the Republicans when we talk about what Conservatives, in practice, are like, I’d like to know why we can’t point to the Dems when we talk about what Liberals, in practice, are like?

            Because the Democrats are not a liberal party in the same way that the Republicans are a conservative party.

            We’re part of a coalition that includes a large number of self-described moderates and not a few self-described conservatives, as shown by polls like this one. The Democratic Party is more liberal than it was, but we’re not even a majority, just a plurality. In the GOP, on the other hand, conservatives outnumber moderates and the tiny sliver of liberals by two to one.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to pillsy
              Ignored
              says:

              So we can say that, conservatives, in practice, are Republicans and moderates, in practice, are Democrats and that’s the political overton window?Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                That’s one way of looking at it. Another way is simply that the identification between “conservative” and “Republican” is much stronger than the identification between “liberal” and “Democrat”. I’m not sure I’d go so far as to say the Democratic Party is a “moderate” party, either–more that there’s a lot more internal tension between the two than there is among Republicans.

                Or I would have said that pre-Trump. But it seems that “conservative” was covering a lot of internal divisions, hence (among other things) Mr Rutt’s and Mr Scotto’s posts.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to pillsy
                Ignored
                says:

                I would disagree that you can fairly say most moderates are Democrats. I know tons of moderate Republicans. The problem is that right now the radicals on the Right have a very loud microphone, mostly because the media gives it to them. They drown out all of the more reasonable voices.

                I also think that if you took away unions as a major pillar of the Democratic party, you would see a sizable group of voters move to the GOP. There are a lot of blue-collar, white males that only vote blue because they are pro-union.Report

              • Avatar Will H. in reply to Mike Dwyer
                Ignored
                says:

                +1

                Media has an awful lot to do with it.
                The following is taken from correspondence with my polisci prof earlier this week regarding the framing of Gov. Rauner’s proposed “enterprise zones”:

                I heard an announcer on the radio the other day refer to Gov. Rauner’s “business friendly agenda.”
                But I realize this thing about “enterprise zones” is very much the same that the unions in the South are trying to get through as an organizing tool.
                It gets the organizer on job sites he would never be admitted to otherwise.
                It would be really easy to tweak it to make it palatable to the unions:
                1) Make the unions at the local level the enforcement mechanism;
                2) Require preferential hiring for union members, at reduced rates (say, 2nd- or 3rd-year apprentice scale), when unemployment at the local is over 10%;
                3) Require union foremen;
                4) etc.

                But they’re not going to consider asking for those types of considerations, because they’re already convinced that it’s “pro-business” rather than “an organizing tool.”

                Same thing. Different spin.Report

              • Avatar aaron david in reply to Mike Dwyer
                Ignored
                says:

                I think @mike-dwyer is mostly right here, with the proviso that ones own side always looks more moderate than the other side does. In other words, to many R’s, they are the moderate ones, while at the same time, to many D’s, they are the moderate ones.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to aaron david
                Ignored
                says:

                Yes, I agree: for any ideologue I, and in direct proportion to the extent of their commitment to I, folks who don’t agree with I-beliefs will be viewed as embracing non-obvious, false, and ideologically driven beliefs. ((That’s particularly true of libertarians, I might add!))Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Mike Dwyer
                Ignored
                says:

                The problem is that right now the radicals on the Right have a very loud microphone, mostly because the media gives it to them.

                Well, two things. 1) The “radicals” on the right are lots and lots of people who hold elective office and, given the political role they play, the media is kindasorta obligated to report the asinine things the say. 2) Blaming this on the media misses the cart for the horse, seems to me: the media only gives those folks a microphone because an eager audience wants to hear that stuff (however ass-inine it might be, one way or the other). And 3) – I can’t count! – suggesting that the media shouldn’t give those folks a microphone to say ridiculous things amounts advocating for the media to consciously and intentionally shape public opinion.

                I mean, I hear ya that certain types of folks and comments get a disproportionate amount of attention in the media. Maybe we disagree about the extent to which the GOP and conservatism is comprised of people who say/wanna hear those types of claims.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                I would clarify that the population eager to hear GOP politicians say crazy things has a significant amount of liberals in it.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                Oh sure. But that’s all meta stuff. At the first order level are the things people actually say. Surely there’s a liberal cottage industry cultivating resentment against conservatives, and vice versa. What I’m suggesting tho – and this sounds radical not only in today’s post-structuralism but also (apparently!) at this site as well – is that there is an reality below all the meta-analysis and in fact dependent upon it, one which supports the contention that the GOP has become radicalized while the Dems are effectively, in practice, “conservatives”.

                I say that while disagreeing with quite a bit of what each party advocates, implements and exemplifies, btw. I just happen to side with Dems on more issues than GOPers. (In my view, the GOP has collectively lost its mind while the Dems have only lost their way.)Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Mike Dwyer
                Ignored
                says:

                There are plenty of moderates in the Republican Party, but there are more in the Democratic Party, both as a fraction of the party and in absolute numbers. In intra-party debates over policy and priorities, moderates seem to have a lot more power in the Democratic Party, because you can’t even get a majority of the Democratic Party without them, and because you have a greater need of their support.

                This is my personal perception, but it’s also what you get out of polling data on self-identification, and it’s a pretty natural consequence of the fact that there are a lot more conservatives than liberals overall.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Mike Dwyer
                Ignored
                says:

                The problem is that the Radicals on the right disproportionately hold offline (local, state, and federal) and control the party apparatus (again, at all levels.) Should the media be refusing to report on, say, bills recently passed in North Carolina because they make other Republicans look bad?Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Mike Schilling
                Ignored
                says:

                When a bill passes the House of Representatives which provides for dissolving the Department of Housing and Urban Development and discontinuing its programs, I’ll believe that someone other than a claque of vacuous standpatters is in charge.

                I’m not going to worry about ‘radicals of the right’ until a bill of attainder passes Congress which provides for stripping Anthony Kennedy of his citizenship and booting him out of the country.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to pillsy
                Ignored
                says:

                Well, my original thought was to start playing “well, let’s *DEFINE* terms” and then I immediately went to talking about the difference between true Scotsmen and the fake ones.

                I mean, it’s all well and good to come up with definitions for what is and what is not “liberal” or “conservative” and then start applying it to other people but if you start saying “no, I disagree with how you categorize yourself!” to someone, you’re the one who is probably wrong.

                And if the majority of Republicans see themselves as Conservative and the majority of Democrats see themselves as moderate, who am I to disagree with them?

                But, at the same time, I work with people who consider me one of the most liberal people in the building. (Which I find somewhat amusing.)

                And, on here, I might be somewhere on the short list of most conservative. (Which is equally amusing.)Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Jaybird: And if the majority of Republicans see themselves as Conservative and the majority of Democrats see themselves as moderate, who am I to disagree with them?

                That’s my policy, too, but because this is an Internet forum, I feel compelled to be thoroughly pedantic about what it means. It’s just that there is no majority in the Democratic Party. A plurality are liberals, but there’s a big enough rump of conservative Democrats to make it so the median member is a moderate.

                Either way, I think this offers a much more useful answer as to why the Democratic Party doesn’t govern in a way that represents liberal priorities.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to pillsy
                Ignored
                says:

                But that makes the question of whether the Republican Party governs in a way that represents conservative priorities a fairly interesting one.

                From here, it seems like the answer is an overwhelming “Not just ‘No’ but ‘Hell No'”.

                (And, at this point, I don’t think we can avoid starting to play the definitions games.)Report

              • Avatar El Muneco in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                I think that this site is a field guide for one of the more counter-intuitive results coming from the study of polling: that there’s basically no such thing as an independent moderate, when defined as someone whose opinions basically all sit in the mid-range (the idea that Keith Laumer mocked back in the 60s as the “Statistical Average Party”). Or as someone with no strong beliefs whatsoever.

                What you have in practice are people who largely have strong sets of beliefs – some sets match a common template, and are defined by the name of the template (conservative, liberal, libertarian, communist…). Some don’t match any of the predefined templates, so we don’t have a convenient place to file them.

                A lot of commenters here, and a fair number of posters, are like this. They have an internal logic that’s unique to them, and it expresses in strange ways. Whether it’s different first principles and axioms, a difference in what considerations are truly important, …

                Depending on what group I’m with, I’m usually either the most athletic geek or the nerdiest jock. I think that the proportion of people reading this have similar experiences regarding their political beliefs – and it’s far greater than the proportion of the population as a whole who has seen it.Report

  6. Avatar Chip Daniels
    Ignored
    says:

    I like this essay, since it describes the aspect of conservatism that I still find very persuasive.
    That is, conservatism as an attitude and posture of general caution and preference for the tried and true.

    What makes this useful is that it allows positions to change as facts change, and allows the posture to be put in service to the larger goal which is universal, that is, the goal of increased prosperity, peace, and tranquility.

    So while a conservative may have rightfully been skeptical of Social Security in 1936, by 2016 a conservative can point to it as a tried and true program, a beneficial tradition that should be preserved and embraced.Report

    • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Chip Daniels
      Ignored
      says:

      And the Titanic was doing ok, for the majority of its planned transit time.Report

      • Avatar J_A in reply to Kolohe
        Ignored
        says:

        Let’s call this the Negative Thanksgiving Turkey Paradox:

        In the regular Thanksgiving Turkey Paradox, a classical Black Swan event, the turkey life is going great, and there’s no reason to believe things will change, until Thanksgiving Day.

        In the NTTP, nothing is worth anything, because, for all we know, tomorrow might be Thanksgiving, and all our efforts will be crushed.

        So better not to implement SS, and let our seniors rot in poverty, because of unseen risks. With that mentality, we would still be sitting on the treetops, because of the unseen risks that getting down in the savanna might bring.Report

        • Avatar Lyle in reply to J_A
          Ignored
          says:

          Essentially the precautionary principle don’t do anything if you can not be sure there are no bad results which many in the environmental movement espouse. I like to take their arguments and apply them to historical situations and see what happens. For example imagine you were required using todays methodology to construct an Environmental Impact statement for the first Transcontinental railroad. I contend because the precautionary principle does not include economic and other values and weigh the risk reward that the result would have been the no build case. Or to go back. take todays knowledge and apply it to Columbus, or John Cabot. (in particular the 2nd thru fourth voyages when it was clear that China was less likley to be reached). Again using modern methods the decision would be no sail.Report

          • Avatar J_A in reply to Lyle
            Ignored
            says:

            As a person that has commissioned, read, and litigated EIAs I have not seen any that did not include the positive economic impacts of the project.

            However, at some point, the foreseeable possible or probable costs, including economic costs, of certain projects are too big. Three Gorges is a classic example of a recent project that should have never been built.

            Assuan is another. Assuan destroyed the Nile’s inundations cycle, and the fertilizing yearly silt that made the cradle of civilization possible has now been replaced by massive tons of artificial fertilizer, the cost of which is bankrupting the country.Report

          • Avatar J_A in reply to Lyle
            Ignored
            says:

            On a completely unrelated issue, but it’s one of my pet peeves

            Notwithstanding what children learn in grade school, before 1492 people knew that the world was round, and the size of the world was estimated fairly accurately by Eratostenes in Ptolemaic Egypt, 1,800 years before

            Also before 1492, people had a fairly good idea of the land distance between Constantinople and China, and least in camel days.

            When Columbus was presenting his ideas in France, Portugal, and Spain, he was continuously rebuffed because people knew that the distance between Europe and China was roughly 2/3 of the globe, and no vessel of the time could carry the provisions needed for such a trip without replenishing. And they were all correct, and Columbus was wrong.

            Columbus had been in Iceland and had heard about Vineland, He based his calculations on where the Icelanders said the Vineland Coast was. However, no Icelander had been to Vineland in centuries. And of course no one in Southern Europe had heard of Vineland.

            Once Columbus arrived somewhere, and got back, it was clear that there was something else in the middle of the way (actually, about 1/3 or the way) and it was worth exploring and see what it was and how many riches it had. But not ten years after the first voyage it was very clear to all involved that there was no China or India anywhere around. Alexander VI (remember the Borgias? him) was already Pope when Columbus made his first trip, and was still pope when he partitioned the globe between Castille and Portugal, with India and China where all contained in the Portugal bit, because no one had any doubt about where they were, except, allegedly, Columbus, that died still claiming he had been to Asia.

            My inner pedant is now getting off his high horse and is being sent to bed without dessert for making all this fuss. My inner pedant says he is sorry, but he is still grounded.Report

          • Avatar El Muneco in reply to Lyle
            Ignored
            says:

            I want to be devil’s advocate and say that stopping Columbus actually would have been valid due to the immunological decimation that resulted. But thinking further on it, European diseases were always a loaded gun pointed directly at the Americas. Just like a certain political party was created by economic forces, social tensions, and a punitive Versailles treaty. The Great Man wasn’t the agent, just the point of a spear that already existed.Report

      • Avatar Adrian Rutt in reply to Kolohe
        Ignored
        says:

        Of course, but the problem is that no one knew what was going to happen next… it’s easy to look back on things retrospectively and say ‘well that was a disaster.’ Which is the conservative’s point.Report

    • Avatar Adrian Rutt in reply to Chip Daniels
      Ignored
      says:

      Thank you for the positive response. I too am (perhaps too easily) persuaded by the conservative disposition as illustrated by figures like Oakeshott and Berlin.

      So while a conservative may have rightfully been skeptical of Social Security in 1936, by 2016 a conservative can point to it as a tried and true program, a beneficial tradition that should be preserved and embraced.

      This is precisely the point – thanks for stealing all my thunder by summing up my piece in a sentence.Report

  7. Avatar Chip Daniels
    Ignored
    says:

    I think it should also be pointed out that a main feature of the conservativism is respect for traditional ethical norms, essentially, religious norms.
    Most religious norms that I am aware of define the task of ethics as a dynamic , fluid mission, a continual enagement intent on improvement not just of the individual but of society as a whole.
    So while caution can be warranted, excessive resistance is actually a violation of norms.Report

    • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to Chip Daniels
      Ignored
      says:

      I’ve opined elsewhere that best writ, conservatism is about the deployment of norms and institutions towards a thriving community. Which is why changes to those norms and institutions are viewed with caution. Interestingly, we’ve come to adopt the color red as a visual signal of the “conservative” party. Red on the French tricolor symbolizes “brotherhood.”

      That which we call liberal may be defined as about empowering the disadvantaged that they may have a full place at the table of society. Which is why they see changes to norms and institutions as necessary, when those norms and institutions become bulwarks to the powerful rather than supports to equality. The French symbolize this virtue of equality with the color white, but we have settled on blue.

      Blue to the French symbolizes Liberty, the idea that individuals are possessed of a sphere of autonomy into which the government may not intrude, lacks power to intrude. Both our Right and our Left draw from this tradition as they find to their political advantage. True libertarians are rare in our system (though gratefully not wholly unknown).

      Our flag has red, white, and blue colors as well, and our nation was formed at roughly the same time and inspired by the same set of political philosophies as France. So I feel no less American by way of modeling our polity against the tricolor. And really, our government is at its best when all three principles (freedom, equality, and community) are taken meaningfully into account in our politics.Report

      • Avatar aaron david in reply to Burt Likko
        Ignored
        says:

        Very nicely put @burt-likko.Report

      • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Burt Likko
        Ignored
        says:

        And really, our government is at its best when all three principles (freedom, equality, and community) are taken meaningfully into account in our politics.

        In our politics, neither individuals, nor households, nor localities have the freedom to contravene the whimsies of the legal profession; persons with sensibilities in conflict with the prejudices of the professional-managerial bourgeoisie (especially the legal profession) are treated as a benighted caste and subject to various forms of legal harassment as well as contrived institutional shunning; and the discretion of communities is continually denied by court order. Thanks for the humbug.Report

        • Avatar Will H. in reply to Art Deco
          Ignored
          says:

          The main problem with this statement is that it treats “the legal profession” as a single, unified whole rather than made up of disparate, sometimes competing, interests; which renders the credibility of the observation overall quite similar to that were the term “Illuminati” substituted in its place.Report

          • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Will H.
            Ignored
            says:

            No it does not, to those not being mendacious or obtuse. The legal profession in this country has a dominant vector, which anyone not dedicated to assiduous lying can see. The Illuminati were a lodge which existed in 18th century Bavaria.Report

            • Avatar Will H. in reply to Art Deco
              Ignored
              says:

              “Dominant vector” sounds like a good album title, but does little to identify any group in particular.
              And having to explain to a career prosecutor, now with the AG’s Office, what a “Two Six Nineteen” is (hint: dismissal with prejudice), I sometimes have to work around (in more ways than one) notably distinct groups of attorneys.
              Lobbyists are completely different than the CJ types.Report

  8. Avatar aaron david
    Ignored
    says:

    As far as this:

    Adrian Rutt:
    Again, there is not a single conservative person in the Republican party at this point.

    That only works if you are on the outside of the movement, as say a liberal or someone dissatisfied with the conservative/Republican party and philosophy. In other words, while you might not like the current make up of the right, and the ideas and thoughts that go into what they belive, thinking them not conservative from your point of view, the problem is that it is only your point of view. I left the Democratic party because from where I stood, they had become the party of totalitarianism. But that is just me, as many of the commenters here, and indeed the pundits who favor the current makeup of the left, feel that they are on the right track.

    But to only put the views of someone who has left the party, or indeed was never in that party, as the decider of whether or not they are conservative or radical, much like wheter someone is liberal or totalitaran, is to invite the members of that party to totally disregard anything that the speaker feels or says.

    I have no real idea of what your politicas are @adrian-rutt, and that is OK. I don’t need to know that to read a well written peice, which this is. I would simply counsel against using the views of an unbeliver of a religion to fully understand what the beauty of that faith means, and I would follow the same prescription in politics.Report

  9. Avatar Oscar Gordon
    Ignored
    says:

    Damnit, I forgot to comment on this when I first read it so I could track the conversation. Oh well, at least I have something to read on the ferry home (60 minutes Bremerton to Seattle).

    Solid post, lots to unpack. I really enjoyed reading it.Report

  10. Avatar KatherineMW
    Ignored
    says:

    God knows what the end game for progressives is besides more progress

    Long-term? I’d say look at Star Trek, or at least its ideals. (Or for something more recent, the ideals – not the reality – of Zootopia.) The endgame is a society free of poverty and bigotry, where everyone has the opportunity to reach their full potential. Progressivism – as a catchall replacement term for liberalism/leftism, which is what it’s become in American parlance – doesn’t refer to be in favour of any/all government action, but in favour of actions that move society in that specific direction. (Xenophobia and border walls are, needless to say, in the opposite of that direction.) In Canada people would say “liberalism” or “social democracy” rather than “progressivism”.Report

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

      They favor every form of sex under the sun, up to and including a guy giving a monkey a handjob, but the one thing they cannot tolerate is man-on-top lights-out.
      That is, essentially, the end goal of second-wave progressivism.Report

    • Avatar Art Deco in reply to KatherineMW
      Ignored
      says:

      The endgame is a society free of poverty and bigotry, where everyone has the opportunity to reach their full potential.

      Which, in Gene Roddenberry’s case, meant banging any woman who caught his fancy (and providing her with employment on his sets).Report

      • Avatar J_A in reply to Art Deco
        Ignored
        says:

        Gene Roddenberry had other characteristics, you know, like saving people from plane crashes

        http://www.snopes.com/roddenberry-plane-crash/ (*)

        So not all liberals are just sex crazy redistributivists

        (*) I encourage people to look at the link. You probably didn’t know this about G. R.Report

        • Avatar Art Deco in reply to J_A
          Ignored
          says:

          That’s not a characteristic, but an incident in his personal history. In the account presented, he and two other crew had the good fortune to have only minor injuries from the crash, so could assist others. What’s your contention, that there is some functional relationship between surviving a plane crash and being a serial adulterer?Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Art Deco
            Ignored
            says:

            OOOH OOOH IS THIS ABOUT CLINTON KILLING RON BROWN?!?!?

            Sigh… no. It’s about Roddenberry.Report

          • Avatar J_A in reply to Art Deco
            Ignored
            says:

            Minor injuries included two broken ribs, and assisting included walking several times inside a plane in flames looking for more survivors, and then organizing the survivors and directing them towards where they could be rescued.

            And the point in not that there is no contradiction between being a serial adulterer and being a hero, as you point, exactly like being a serial adulterer means zilch with respect to having good ideas about the future of society.

            Focusing on the ad hominem says more about you than about G.R.

            Whether G.R. Was or was a serial adulterer I don’t know, I won’t research because I am a lazy sod, and I don’t care one way or the other. It definitely didn’t get in the way of either his ideas or his personal heroism.Report

            • Avatar Art Deco in reply to J_A
              Ignored
              says:

              He didn’t have any ‘good ideas’ about the ‘future of society’. More like recycled HG Wells.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                Yeah, how *dare* Roddenberry not invent gender and racial equality and a common brotherhood of all men united under one government! That thief!

                Why, if H.G. Wells knew that someone else was going to come along and advance his ideas after he died, he would closed up shop and gone home!

                OTOH, I guess I have to give you props for knowing about Wells and claiming *that* is where Roddenberry got his ideas from, instead of just ‘the left’.Report

  11. Avatar Brandon Berg
    Ignored
    says:

    Chip Daniels: reductions in social welfare benefits “welfare as we know it”

    That’s not a real thing that actually happened. Total means-tested spending has never been cut to any significant degree.Report

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

      To be clear, it’s valid to point out that welfare reform was a recognition that the current system was failing badly and a (presumably) good-faith attempt to correct it. And that was actually the important part, in this particular context. But just to correct the record, neither it nor any other post-War policy change has significantly cut means-tested spending in real terms.Report

      • Avatar J_A in reply to Brandon Berg
        Ignored
        says:

        Cut it in the aggregate, or in a per capita, inflation adjusted basis?

        Because we are more people now than then, and nominal dollars are not the same as real dollars

        I don’t know the answer, but I’d be surprised that the per capita, inflation adjusted number is not smaller, and would want to understand why. What are we covering now that we didn’t thenReport

        • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to J_A
          Ignored
          says:

          It says right at the top of the chart at the bottom of the article I linked to, 2008 dollars. It’s not adjusted for population, but the growth is very, very obviously much greater than the population growth we had over the same period of time. Real spending on means-tested programs doubled between ~1991 and 2008, while population increased a mere 20%. Real spending increased 40% from 1997 to 2008, while population increased 11%.

          And that’s even before the huge jump during the last recession. The chart ends at 2008, showing around $700B in 2008 dollars, but by the time Rector gave this testimony in 2011, it had already ballooned to $940B, or $900B in 2008 dollars, an inflation-adjusted increase of 29% in just three years. And that was before the Obamacare spending kicked in.

          I’d be surprised that the per capita, inflation adjusted number is not smaller, and would want to understand why.

          I suspect that the reason you’re surprised is that you’ve been profoundly misled by left-wing sources trying to downplay the inexorable increase in means-tested spending. Hopefully this will cause you to reconsider their credibility.Report

          • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Brandon Berg
            Ignored
            says:

            “Means tested” spending is a compound of Medicaid (which has drivers derived from technological shifts, demographic shifts, and cost disease), and a mess of other things (e.g. cash doles, SNAp, housing subsidies, utility subsidies, legal assistance, &c). I think the main driver nowadays is Medicaid. Medicaid is a vexed question. The BO administration has been notable for its efforts at gutting demands on TANF recipients in an effort to recreate AFDC and in relaxing eligibility requirements for SNAP. It’s the various subsidies to mundane expenditure which need to be cleared away and replaced with wage subsidies and the like. Fixing Medicaid is going to require meticulous design.Report

            • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Art Deco
              Ignored
              says:

              In the linked article, the charts at the bottom make it clear that fully half of what he is talking about is in fact Medicaid.

              Also, he makes the sleight of hand by combining all of federal, state, and local spending, then compares that to just federal Defense spending, (and omits Homeland Security) to get his eye popping “We spend more on welfare than defense! claim.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                Homeland Security is a collection of federal law enforcement agencies, of which all but the TSA and an intelligence clearinghouse existed prior to 2002. The functions of the TSA were not novel, either. Manufacturing an agency run by unionized federal employees was something the Democratic congressional caucus insisted upon. Other than the Coast Guard, none of the components are properly regarded as military (and the Coast Guard has long been detached from the military establishment in peacetime).

                There is no sleight of hand in combining federal, state , and local spending. All three levels of government commonly operate means-tested programs and many are financed by one level and delivered by another. The military budget is almost entirely federal. (In New York, the sum appropriated to the Division of Military and Naval Affairs out of state revenue is largely devoted to payments to localities; what goes to the Guard is state capitol sofa change).Report

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