How Big Is the Big Tent?

Avatar

Mike Dwyer

Mike Dwyer is a former writer and contributor at Ordinary Times.

Related Post Roulette

249 Responses

  1. Avatar Kazzy
    Ignored
    says:

    “…I struggle with accepting a woman’s right to choose simply because a pregnancy is inconvenient.”

    Can you define what you mean by this?

    I’ll be honest and say that my initial inclination was to push back firmly but given that you might have meant something considerably different than what I interpreted from it, I thought it better to request clarification. Specifically, can you explain what you mean by “inconvenient?”

    I may still push back, but at least I’ll be pushing back against the right position.Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to Kazzy
      Ignored
      says:

      Also interesting to see how much work “simply” is doing there.Report

    • Avatar Richard Hershberger in reply to Kazzy
      Ignored
      says:

      Me, too. I was going to ask the same question, but Kazzy got there first.

      To expand on it a bit, the standard “pro-life” stance is that a zygote has all the moral weight of a human being. Abortion, therefore, is the intentional killing of a human being. If one actually believes this, then there is a whole panoply of implications. Some are accepted by the “pro-life” bloc, while many are not, or at least not consistently.

      The standard “pro-choice” stance is that a zygote does not have all the moral weight of a human being. At what point the fetus attains this status is open for discussion (though this discussion is difficult to hear, what with all the shouting), but this point clearly is well past the zygote phase. Abortion, therefore, is merely a medical procedure to be undertaken at the woman’s option.

      Where is the middle ground here? I don’t see it. Yet many people want to find one, and then pat themselves on the back for their moderation. Rape and incest? If you believe that a zygote is a human being, rape and incest simply don’t enter into it. Similarly with the mother’s motivation. If the zygote is a human being, the mother’s motivation is irrelevant. This is also true, it seems to me, if the zygote is not.

      My impression is that most people who oppose abortion do so for cultural reasons than out of considered principles. Someone who identifies as conservative and votes Republican opposes abortions because that’s what people who identify as conservative and vote Republican do. This person might get a bit queasy about it when, for example, rape or incest enter the issue, and pull back a bit. This tends to confirm the suspicion that this person doesn’t actually believe the stated reasons for opposing abortion.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Richard Hershberger
        Ignored
        says:

        @richard-hershberger

        The most principled opponents of abortion seem to be in the Catholic Church. The Daniel Berrigan types who are anti-war, anti-death penalty, anti-poverty, and anti-abortion. This is the truest pro-life position one can have.

        Anyway, Mike brought up the point and in the provocative way that he did that implies lots of sexism and willingness to control others despite Republican love for freedom. I see no reason why he should not be challenged on his view or phrasing.Report

        • Avatar Richard Hershberger in reply to Saul Degraw
          Ignored
          says:

          I agree that the Catholic Church is far more consistent and thoughtful about such issues than is Evangelical Protestantism. That being said, I am less sanguine about how this is actually applied. Show me a bishop refusing communion to a politician because of his war vote and we will talk.Report

      • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to Richard Hershberger
        Ignored
        says:

        “My impression is that most people who oppose abortion do so for cultural reasons than out of considered principles. Someone who identifies as conservative and votes Republican opposes abortions because that’s what people who identify as conservative and vote Republican do.”

        I don’t necessarily buy this and think a lot of folks dismiss the oppose abortion folks under this criteria. Religion is somewhat a driver and principle is an underpinning.Report

        • Avatar Richard Hershberger in reply to Joe Sal
          Ignored
          says:

          To expand on my thoughts, what I don’t buy is that most people who oppose abortion do so out of a sincere principled belief that a zygote is fully human. I don’t believe that they believe this because they do not follow through on the implications of the argument.

          The parts that many do tend to follow through on are the parts that are also consistent with punishing a slutty slut for her slutty sluttiness. Hence the sometimes exception for victims of rape. If she is absolved of being a slutty slut, then it makes no sense to punish her, even though it would make no sense at all to condone murdering a baby because it was conceived in a rape.

          Note also the strong correlation between opposition to abortion and opposition to contraception. This has been latent in Evangelical Protestantism all along, and has been growing more overt in recent years.Report

          • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to Richard Hershberger
            Ignored
            says:

            I understand the slutty slut/punisher angle you mention and say it is one of many moral alignments out there. The bigger problem I find is dismissing other moral alignments on that basis. In this world there are as many different moral alignments as there are people, and to broad stroke dismiss a significant quantity of them is bad practice IMO.Report

          • Avatar Kim in reply to Richard Hershberger
            Ignored
            says:

            I believe that the zygote is “fully human” (it’s not fully alive, however, as like a virus, it can’t survive outside its mother). I don’t believe that gives it much special consideration, though. (A bit more than humans with obvious ethical deficiencies, granted. But I’m all for considering murdering them before they commit crimes they don’t understand, instead of waiting till afters.)Report

          • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Richard Hershberger
            Ignored
            says:

            I think there is also some chicken-and-egg going on.

            Essentially, we are looking at the balance of rights between a fertilized egg/zygote/fetus/unborn baby/whatever and a pregnant woman. How you balance those will be impacted by which of those first terms you use and whether you think of the pregnant woman as a slut or something else.

            It is easier to choose the rights of an unborn baby over those of a slut. And it is easier to choose the rights of a woman over those of a mass of cells.

            Conversely, it is easier to call a woman a slut if you’ve already determined her rights are subservient to unborn baby. And it is easier to call the whatever-it-is a mass of cells if you’ve already determined its rights are subservient to a pregnant woman.Report

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

              Frankly, I believe promiscuity is about as relevant as sexual position to the argument.
              There is that strain of thought out there, granted; but to paint with a broad brush is outlandish.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Richard Hershberger
            Ignored
            says:

            There seems to be a fundamental disagreement between the pro-choicers and the anti-women’s-right-to-control-her-own-sexual-destiny-misogynists over whether abortion is an act that contains any moral content at all.

            The pro-choice argument, at one extreme, argues that it’s similar to having a skin tag removed. Maybe similar to having a parasite excised from the body. Above and beyond it being “none of your business”, it’s a question of whether even if it was your business, how you wouldn’t have a leg to stand on when it came to judging it because it’s like arguing that a woman shouldn’t have her bangs trimmed when they get too long and the act contains about as much moral content.

            So when there are somewhat unpleasant examples like “abortion for sex selection” or something similarly icky, the discussion has to turn to topics of cultures needing to hold women in higher esteem or some other similarly high level discussion because the ground assumption is that the act of aborting a baby, er, fetus because it’s female is an act that contains no moral content in and of itself.

            Meanwhile, over in “no, I think it does contain moral content” land on the anti-women’s-right-to-control-her-own-sexual-destiny-misogynists side of the fence, distinctions are made between types of abortion. We all know the “What about rapeincestormotherslifeindanger?” question that usually precedes a triumphant “THEN YOU’RE PRO-CHOICE TOO!” mic drop, but that question does get into the whole tradeoffs between competing moral calculi. Do we agree that there is something icky about the use of abortion as birth control in theory? Is there something icky about sex-selective abortion?

            The attitude that says “you shouldn’t get an abortion just because a baby would be inconvenient!” is one that sees that abortion contains moral content. And while the tradeoff in the case of rapeincestormotherslifeindanger is one way, the balance can tilt back if that thumb isn’t on the scale.

            The argument that you pretty much have to never, ever, make tradeoffs between different calculi lest you be a hypocrite doesn’t seem to acknowledge the whole moral intuition that abortion is an act that contains moral content.

            Part of me wonders what strides could be made if the pro-choice side was willing to acknowledge that abortion is an act that contains moral content before arguing that forcing women to carry fetuses to term is an evil act in and of itself.

            Of course, acknowledging that sort of thing requires that tradeoffs be made. And if a background assumption is that tradeoffs are indicative of hypocrisy, then you pretty much have to argue that an abortion contains as much moral content as clipping one’s toenails. If you have that as a premise, then you don’t have to make any tradeoffs at all.Report

            • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Jaybird
              Ignored
              says:

              “Part of me wonders what strides could be made if the pro-choice side was willing to acknowledge that abortion is an act that contains moral content before arguing that forcing women to carry fetuses to term is an evil act in and of itself.”

              Above you acknowledge that it is “the extreme” that analogizes abortion to skin tag removal. And here (and elsewhere in this comment) you seem to be painting with broad strokes and declaring that everyone who supports legal access to abortion denies the moral content of the act. That seems unfair to me.

              I consider myself to be pro-choice for two primary reasons:
              1.) Independent of the rightness or wrongness of abortions, it is my belief — and history bears this out — that women will seek abortions regardless of legality. And that illegal abortions are dangerous to both the mother and the fetus. And while I’m not always sympathetic to “People will do it anyway so just make it legal”-type arguments, I am in this case. So this position is, at “worst”, ambivalent to the question of the moral content of an abortion. Instead, it engages with the moral content of prohibition and its effects. It essentially says that, “Maybe abortion is immoral, but outlawing safe access to abortion is more immoral.”
              2.) And that last point dovetails with my next argument, which is that safe, legal abortion strikes me as the least bad option. Ideally, there would be zero abortions because zero women would find themselves in position to want or need an abortion. That is not reality. So when I look at abortion, I do think it is far more than skin tag removal and carries with it moral content. However, I think that outlawing abortion — even if it meant no woman ever got an abortion and we could ignore all the realities of #1 above — is more immoral than abortion itself.

              Now, what of your question about sex-selective abortion? That is a tricky one. I will confess to not having a fully formed opinion on it. But would it be impermissible… would it be hypocritical to “rank” the moral content of the acts individually.

              Could I say that abortion is bad but better than prohibition but abortion for sex-selection is worse than both and that I’d support a law outlawing sex-selection abortion but allowing others (even recognizing the infeasibility of enforcement)?

              Or do I need to draw very hard and fast lines and either say all abortion, all the time or no abortion none of the time?

              To boil this down to a simple question: Why do you assume that everyone who falls under the pro-choice umbrella denies the moral content of abortion?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                And here (and elsewhere in this comment) you seem to be painting with broad strokes and declaring that everyone who supports legal access to abortion denies the moral content of the act.

                No, not at all.

                Just the people who analogize abortion with skin tag removal deny the moral content of the act.

                Above you acknowledge that it is “the extreme” that analogizes abortion to skin tag removal.

                I suppose that there are people further away who argue that abortion is itself a good thing in and of itself and that women should get pregnant for the purpose of aborting the fetus.

                That feels like a strawman, though.

                Why do you assume that everyone who falls under the pro-choice umbrella denies the moral content of abortion?

                I don’t.

                The people who compare it to removing a skin tag do so, though.

                (Out of curiosity, do I need to signal here? If so, I hereby state that I support women’s rights to control their own sexual destinies and think that abortion should be legal up to and including the moment of crowning for reasons as trivial as eye color selection.)Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                @jaybird

                It wasn’t clear to me that your comment was limited to the extreme pro-choice segment. As such, I withdraw the bulk of my objection.

                FWIW, I put “the extreme” in quotes not to act as scare quotes or to indicate that they weren’t extreme. Rather, I wanted to make clear I was using your language in identifying them as such. T’is all.

                No need to signal.Report

              • Avatar Fortytwo in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                I’ve left this here before.
                http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/172081

                I’ve been pro-choice, but squishy on it, since about the age of 21. Recently, someone close to me made the courageous decision to carry her baby to term while knowing it had no chance of life. She carried her baby for close to 3 months and birthed knowing it would die within minutes. I was there and it was powerfully emotional. That makes me think, should she have a right to abort? Of course she should, because she was in more physical danger from carrying him (I almost said it) to term. So if she has a right to abort, why should she have to explain why? Late term abortions, I believe, are almost always a soul wrenching decision for the mother. Why should she have to answer to anyone for her reasons why. About 1% of abortions are third trimester, and it’s simply none of my business.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Fortytwo
                Ignored
                says:

                @fortytwo

                To be clear, I am supportive of women’s right to choose and take a similar approach to you.

                That said, and in response to Jaybird’s query, I don’t think an abortion is similar to a pedicure or skin tag removal. But that cuts both ways… the harm done to a woman denied an abortion is far greater than the harm done to someone denied a skin tag removal.Report

              • Avatar Fortytwo in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                I don’t think I know anyone who thinks it’s a skin tag. But I live in a conservative area, and almost all of my friends are middle aged and older men. But, so what if some benighted women look on their babies as parasites? That is the way it will be. Far better to have freedom which some small percentage abuse than too cut off the vast majority who are truly making a very difficult decision.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Fortytwo
                Ignored
                says:

                I agree. I was largely pushing back against JB’s implication that the “skin tag” position represents the pro-choice position.

                As I said elsewhere — perhaps not in so many words — I tend to think that an abortion is the least bad option in most situations. Taking that away yields only worse options.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                Not *THE* pro-choice position.

                *A* pro-choice position.

                (Out of curiosity, is the general take that the Pro-Life position is something like “no abortions, no exceptions” and everything else is a pro-choice variant?)Report

              • Avatar El Muneco in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Not the anti-choice position, but an anti-choice position

                Anti-choice advocates in the US are notorious for coupling (heh) their abortion politics with anti-contraception and anti-sex-education positions, but opposing e.g. AFDC/TANF support for post-birth babies, or the death penalty for capital crimes, or … Also, exceptions for rape/incest are being rolled back, worldwide. Miscarriages are becoming prosecutable offenses. Both with the enthusiastic support of US anti-choice advocates.

                So, yeah. “No abortions, no exceptions, in fact, no sex” might not be the median view, but it is definitely mainstream.

                And in fact might be underestimating the push. Absolute opposition to abortion has been the defining cultural characteristic of the majority of US evangelical/fundamentalist (I know they’re not the same, but this is a polemic, not an academic study) culture for 30 years. That’s 100 million people, at a minimum.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to El Muneco
                Ignored
                says:

                Well, if we can agree that the anti-women’s-right-to-control-her-own-sexual-destiny-misogynists have room to allow for some abortions, that’s something, I guess.Report

              • Avatar J_A in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Do they have room to allow for some abortions, or do they strategically and grudgingly accept some loopholes that they fully expect to close as soon as possible?

                Likewise, do they really believe that “women should not be punished for having an abortion, only doctors should”? If so, why these new laws or law projects coming around about investigating miscarriages or prosecuting self induced abortions?Report

            • Avatar Francis in reply to Jaybird
              Ignored
              says:

              “what strides could be made if the pro-choice side was willing to acknowledge that abortion is an act that contains moral content”. Strides with whom? To what end?

              If the head of Texas NARAL were to testify before the legislature that abortion is an act that contains moral content, but still the State should have a limited role in regulating abortion, would she move a single legislator? Or would the Texas pro-life advocates take her statement out of context and scream to the high heavens about her statement being an admission that fetuses are persons deserving protection?Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Francis
                Ignored
                says:

                It strikes me, @jaybird , that a section like the part quoted here by Francis is part of why I was confused. You shift from talking about the extreme segment of pro-choicers to “the pro-choice side” as if they are one in the same.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                The pro-choice side, as far as I can tell, runs on a continuum from “the act contains no moral content” to “let’s not talk about it”.

                There’s a small vocal community in the Religious Left that, more in sadness than anger, thinks that abortion is morally wrong but preventing abortion is even more morally wrong and so is stuck making a tradeoff.

                But they’re a minority (or so it seems to me).Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                @jaybird

                So is it your position that no one on the pro-choice side believes there is and is willing to talk about the moral content of abortion?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                On a national level or down here in the trenches of an internet messageboard comments level?Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                On the pro choice side.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                Well, *I* am on the pro-choice side and *I* am willing to argue about the moral content of abortion.

                So… obviously.

                But I’ve found more people on the pro-choice side who disagree with me and want to argue about it than people who want to agree on that particular point (and the people who agree on that particular point are pretty much all part of the religious left).Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Got it.

                A question I have about determining the moral content (by which I assume we mean morality, but please correct me if I’m wrong!) of abortion is how thin do we want to slice the various components of the process? Is it possible to determine the “net morality” of something by weighing the morality of individual component parts? Is that how morality/moral content works?

                These are genuine questions, mind you. And, I’m realizing, are probably not specific to abortion.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                My interest is not in whether it’s a 3 on a scale of 1 to 10 or a 4 or a 7, but whether it has the same moral content as clipping toenails (presumably a 0).

                If we can agree that it’s non-zero, then, I suppose, we could argue about whether a first trimester rapeincestormotherslifeindanger would be lower on the scale than a third trimester “I found out that the father is insufficiently racially pure” or whether they would be more or less the same number.

                As for “net morality”… eh. I’m not sure how to measure such things once we get past zero vs. non-zero. It’s qualitative, not quantitative.

                Assuming morality, of course.Report

              • Avatar nevermoor in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Assume non-zero.

                Now assume the specific number is difficult to reach.

                Why draw bright-line laws across what should be hashed out between a woman, her god (or whatever), and her doctor.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to nevermoor
                Ignored
                says:

                Again, I hereby state that I support women’s rights to control their own sexual destinies and think that abortion should be legal up to and including the moment of crowning for reasons as trivial as eye color selection.Report

              • Avatar nevermoor in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                So what, exactly, is the discussion you want to have?Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to nevermoor
                Ignored
                says:

                I’m with @nevermoor here. I think it is few and far between the person who equates abortion with a toenail clipping. I think it may seem that way because of how each side tends to frame their arguments, with a weird sort of arms race that is forcing each side further and further towards the extreme.

                If your point is that pro-choicers are reluctant to discuss the moral content they recognize as present because it gives pro-lifers the chance to say, “See?! You’re wrong! We win!” I’m sure there is some truth there.

                At the same time, I think the inverse is true: pro-lifers reluctant to discuss the moral content of restricting a woman’s agency and autonomy over her body because it gives pro-choicers the chance to say, “See?! You’re wrong! We win!”

                None of which has anything to do with whether abortion is actually right or wrong or moral or immoral or amoral or whatever.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to nevermoor
                Ignored
                says:

                On a national level or down here in the trenches of an internet messageboard comments level?Report

              • Avatar Autolukos in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                YesReport

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Autolukos
                Ignored
                says:

                We seem to be doing fairly well down here in the comments of an internet website.Report

              • Avatar J_A in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Isn’t Hillary Clinton’s “safe, rare, and legal” recognizing the moral content of abortion?

                Being a guy who would be extremely conflicted about having a baby of mine being aborted, and yet supporting the pro choice position fully, I always understood the “rare” bit to be carrying that part of the message.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to J_A
                Ignored
                says:

                I might agree that “rare” is a dogwhistle but “rare” is not, in itself, a term that indicates moral judgment. It’s a term that needs to be unpacked and it’s just as easy to unpack it as not having moral content and it having such.Report

              • Avatar Autolukos in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                The motte-and-baileying is rather impressive.

                The most likely result of a vocal effort by pro-choice voices to say the Right Things about how much moral content abortion contains is a combination of accusations of hypocrisy with the amplification of whatever pro-choice voices don’t fall in line by their opponents, who know well how valuable it is to be standing up to Extremists.

                Which, come to think of it, seems to describe the abortion debate of at least the last 20 years pretty well.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Autolukos
                Ignored
                says:

                I think I understood like every third word of this, @autolukos . Can you break that down for the simple minded folks like myself? Thanks!Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Autolukos
                Ignored
                says:

                Which, come to think of it, seems to describe the abortion debate of at least the last 20 years pretty well.

                Well, both sides have arguments that work really well for them..
                The pro-choice has the whole rapeincestormotherslifeindanger argument that gets everybody except the hardest of the hardcore anti-women’s-right-to-control-her-own-sexual-destiny-misogynists. Above and beyond that is the pragmatics argument. It’s all well and good to have a sentiment that abortion is sub-optimal, but getting the cops involved will be even more sub-optimal. So the choice is between sub-optimal and sub-sub-optimal and, it sucks, but there you go.

                The strength of the pro-life argument relies on, among other things, “ick”. While most people are more than happy enough to agree that the whole rapeincestormotherslifeindanger is valid, there’s an uneasiness when you look at numbers like this. New York (#1) hit 29.9% in 2010. All of the top 10 are above 20%. There’s a general feeling like this could have been avoided, maybe. It’s not that it should be illegal, it’s that it should be safe, legal, and *RARE*.

                20% isn’t rare.

                And so you’ve got that sentiment running headlong into the pragmatic issue (along with the rapeincestormotherslifeindanger sentiment) and the end result is this weird, stupid equilibrium we’ve found ourselves in for the last 20 years. Or more.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                @jaybird

                What do you think is the best way to get the number of abortions down?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                Over-the-counter birth control, maybe? More emphasis on oral sex?Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Full agreement here! But I’d add anal.

                (Insert joke here about how Kazzy would ALWAYS add anal.)Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                And the people who are diligently working to ban abortion, they are working diligently on expanding birth control?

                Think of the strides they could make, were this the case!Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                I believe that Cory Gardner is trying to add legislation that would make many forms of prescription birth control into over-the-counter bc. National Review gives their side of it here. Does that count?

                (Planned Parenthood opposes it.)Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Yeah, no.

                The concept of OTC birth control is enthusiastically supported by PP.
                What they don’t support is making it OTC unless there is a simultaneous requirement that it be covered, which Garner did not do.

                I mean, if you are serious about making the case that there are conservatives sincerely trying to expand access to birth control, please make the case- this thing by Gardner was a stunt.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                So what’s the bare minimum for “expanding”?

                Expanded access and expanded coverage, not merely expanded access?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                It depends on what the meaning of “is” , is.

                FFS, Jay.
                Make your case or not.

                The social conservative wing doesn’t want to end up with more contraception, they want less unmarried sex.

                If you disagree, say so.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Well, the problem with that is that they do pull these stunts that push for stuff like “expanded access”.

                So when someone asks for evidence that conservatives are “working diligently on expanding birth control” you can point to these stunts.

                And then when people say THAT DOESN’T COUNT! IT’S A STUNT!, you’re stuck wondering if there isn’t something to the whole True Scotsman thing.

                For the record, I don’t disagree about the whole “social conservatives want less unmarried sex”.

                But I wasn’t asked about that. I was asked about the expansion of birth control.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Francis
                Ignored
                says:

                Strides with whom?

                I imagine that it would make strides against the people who are so offended by the concept of abortion being the equivalent of skin tag removal. It’d allow for a change in the discussion from whether it’s a moral issue to the pragmatics involved with “so what do we do now?”

                I’m sure you’ve seen the numbers about how we’re a pro-choice country because most people support the idea of abortion in the first trimester but we’re a pro-life party because most people opposed the idea of abortion in the third trimester (rapeincestormotherslifeindanger exceptions abound, though).

                That squishy, perhaps even hypocritical!, middle third that changes its opinions as the pregnancy progresses is the one that is most likely to be swayed.

                To what end?

                Well, perhaps a more European abortion policy is possible with a more European stability of the debate.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Thing is Jay, the pro-choicers would take the European deal in a heartbeat so long as that was the end of it. Their counterparts would not accept that deal, wouldn’t even consider it.

                But I do agree with your analysis of the squishes. I’d submit, however, that their support for pro-life sides is inversely proportional to how much they perceive the pro-lifers to be winning.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to North
                Ignored
                says:

                @north

                What is the European deal?Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                Basically everywhere in the industrialized west that isn’t the USA the policy is basically this:
                -Abortion is regulated, either moderately to strictly in the third trimester with exemptions for the health of the mother. There is little to no movement among pro-choicers to try and change this.
                -Abortion is legal and broadly available with no to some assistance for low income folks in the first trimester. There is little to no movement (or less charitably traction) among pro-lifers to try and change this.
                -The second trimester is kind of a muddle but is more legal than not.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to North
                Ignored
                says:

                And there’s no constant stream of laws requiring lectures, sonograms, Star Trek-level medical technology, etc. in order to make abortion unavailable even though technically legal.Report

              • Avatar Damon in reply to Mike Schilling
                Ignored
                says:

                But…..but

                DEMOCRACY!Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Damon
                Ignored
                says:

                Someone needs to bronze this post. Damon is all for regulation so long as it’s enacted democratically.Report

              • Avatar Damon in reply to Damon
                Ignored
                says:

                Now now North, that’s not what I’m saying at all. I’ve said it before. I don’t understand how folks can reconcile “democracy has spoken” when they get what they want from the political process and “it’s a travesty of democracy” when they don’t get what they want.

                So you’re either good with democracy even if it turns out stuff you don’t like or you’re not good with democracy. Can’t have it both ways.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Damon
                Ignored
                says:

                I somehow suspected that wasn’t what you meant, I must be psychic!Report

              • Avatar Damon in reply to North
                Ignored
                says:

                I support this statement!Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Mike Schilling
                Ignored
                says:

                Oh well yes, I felt that I covered that element in my second sentences about the lack of movement by opponents to impede it.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to North
                Ignored
                says:

                @north, the reason why this works in Europe is that there’s an understanding that if somebody needs an abortion past the 12 or 16 week mark, they’ll still get. In other words, the default is to approve the abortion, instead of making it as difficult as possible. Which is why when I see anti-choice folks saying “why won’t Democrat’s just accept the European compromise,” my response is always, “you won’t actually except the reality of the European compromise.”

                Also, of course, you can basically walk into any hospital and get an abortion without question (and the State pays a lot of the time!).Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Jesse Ewiak
                Ignored
                says:

                Well yes Jesse, when American Pro-lifers wail “Why won’t pro-choicers just accept the European compromise” they mean “Why won’t pro-choicers let us roll them back to Europe and fight them from that position for the rest” which is, of course, a question that answers itself.Report

              • Avatar Fortytwo in reply to North
                Ignored
                says:

                Industrialized Europe, now not containg Ireland, Italy, and Spain. Is anyone seriously contending that these three countries don’t belong. Y’all may be thinking Protestant, post-religious countries rather than eliding the differences between western, industrialized nations.Report

              • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Jesse Ewiak
                Ignored
                says:

                @jesse-ewiak @north

                Here it is important to note something that Lee has noted in the past. The conservatives of Europe have made peace with the various social and political changes that happened in post-WWII Western Europe from 1945 to the 1970s. The American right-wing/conservatives never made peace with any of these changes. They are still trying to undo the New Deal and also arguing that Griswold v. Connecticut was wrongly decided and invalid.

                There is something about the right-wing in the United States that exists in a Never Die, Never Surrender, and Never Compromise kind of heat. Sometimes you hear the smallest of suggestions that “Maybe we should talk about Uber instead of homosexuals and abortion” but it always amounts to nothing. Cory Gardener might be the only person in the GOP who acknowledges that you are not going to turn back the clock on people having pre-marital sex.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to North
                Ignored
                says:

                This gets at what I think the real issue is, that being that our baseline legal norm is established by the Supreme Court as opposed to legislative debate and compromise. Pro-choicers don’t feel they can sufficiently trust pro-lifers because of the suspicion that the real goal is prohibition or extreme curtailment of the ability to obtain an abortion. There’s a similar dynamic in the debate over gun restrictions. All concessions are a stepping stone to your side’s eventual defeat.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to InMD
                Ignored
                says:

                I can see the argument being made that Roe was a problematic decision on those grounds. It has also allowed an annoying subset of free riders in the persons in the mushy middle who happily publicly revile abortion while secure in the knowledge that they can access it if they ever need it.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to North
                Ignored
                says:

                I think it was probably the worst type of victory the pro-choice side could have won, in that by attaching the right to votes on the Supreme Court it’s made it virtually impossible for the country to reach a compromise most people can live with. That said I don’t want to criticize taking the path of the courts universally. There are times like Brown v. Board where, after an initial cultural and political battle, support for racial segregation was removed from the political mainstream. Roe on the other hand resulted in total war and entrenched positions. There’s a good book to be written on why that is.

                I will cop to being in the position @el-muneco describes below. I’m pro-choice in the sense that I think it’s better policy for abortion to be legal and generally available but have serious misgivings about the morality of the practice. I’d prefer it happened less often and am on board with expanded access to education, birth control, and whatever else makes women feel less like they have no other choice. Nevertheless I’m uncomfortable with the state determining whether a woman can terminate a pregnancy and even more uncomfortable with the foreseeable results of making it a criminal matter.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to InMD
                Ignored
                says:

                “There are times like Brown v. Board where, after an initial cultural and political battle, support for racial segregation was removed from the political mainstream.”

                Aheh. Plenty of people would say that it only got worse from there, and is worse now than it’s ever been.Report

              • Avatar Fortytwo in reply to DensityDuck
                Ignored
                says:

                Density, I almost posted the same thing, but upon reflection there is very broad societal support for desegregation. There are other issues, however, that have arisen. There are very few, as a percentage, Americans that believe, or will admit they believe, in racial segregation.Report

              • Avatar j r in reply to Fortytwo
                Ignored
                says:

                There are very few, as a percentage, Americans that believe, or will admit they believe, in racial segregation.

                That entirely depends on whether you’re counting based on what people say or what they do.Report

              • Avatar Fortytwo in reply to j r
                Ignored
                says:

                Ouch. Good point. Although, things have changed for the better. I have a friend who spent summers in Georgia in the 1960s. He can now sit wherever he wants in the theater.Report

              • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to j r
                Ignored
                says:

                An excellent, if depressing point. In all too many cases, one can do many of the same things to black people you could do in 1950, it’s just that now you have to insist that it’s not because they’re black.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to Fortytwo
                Ignored
                says:

                @densityduck I think youre wrong. It would be accurate to say that it’s gotten more complicated from there. What you’re referring to is a lack of support and in some instances resistance to policies which would force integration. Thats not the same as mainstream political parties advocating for a return to separate but equal.

                While we have become more racially segregated than we were immediately post Brown due to a mix of socioeconomic and cultural factors (of which I’m sure racism plays a part) its absurd to say that its worse than when we had de jure segregation. I mean, do you really think it’s worse now than when black people had to use separate bathrooms and couldn’t eat at the same restaurants as white people? If so I think you lack perspective.

                My point was the the prohibition on discrimination based on race is well established in numerous federal and state laws and legal precedent and I’m not aware of any realistic effort to change that. On the other hand, if Roe were overturned quite a few states would establish burdensome restrictions on aborion. The challenge we have now with race is tougher because it comes mostly from things like disparate impact, the cycle of poverty, and choices freely made about association. Thats a much harder nut to crack.Report

              • Avatar El Muneco in reply to InMD
                Ignored
                says:

                That’s specifically why you never see public mention of any potential moral issues coming from the pro-choice side. When the lodge is tyled, there’s a lot of such discussion (e.g. on progressive Christian blogs, certain feminist blogs). But always, always, it is necessary for someone to make a general reminder to never make such statements in public or in an open forum – because it will inevitably not lead to freer discussion, but be used as a wedge.Report

              • Avatar aaron david in reply to InMD
                Ignored
                says:

                I absolultey agree with this @inmd and would simply add that these are issues that have not been settled in the political/ social arena and therefore are still areas to wage war in. The supreme court simply being used to push the other side outside the ring.Report

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

              Definitely.
              This is very much the case.

              Personally, I fear the pro-choice, through their choice of framing, may well be laying the groundwork for forced abortions by the end of the century.

              It’s why I give a sh!t that I can’t explain.Report

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

                As we socialize more and more things like medical care, I think we’ll see more and more people arguing for some light eugenics.

                Hey, I don’t mind paying for a *REAL* kid to go to school or get a checkup. Why in the hell should I pay for someone who won’t have a decent ROI?Report

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

                I think it will be more a matter of famine than overload of social programs.
                The latter is a far better scenario, though much more unlikely wrt the first.Report

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

                The planning for genocide is already starting. (not in America, thank G-d, but in other first world countries).

                I don’t precisely consider the Trail of Tears to be “famine” but it does run into “we couldn’t pay for you” territory.Report

              • Avatar Damon in reply to Kim
                Ignored
                says:

                Care to specify which countries and to whom? I’m really curious.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Damon
                Ignored
                says:

                Australia has the whole “trail of tears” idea for dealing with climate refugees. [you can feel free to take this as “sour grapes” from planners who spent the time coming up with better plans, only to be told they “cost too much”, but it’s still the truth.]

                As for eugenics based genocide (mentioned upthread), we’re talking the more fascist firstworld governments — Israel and Japan. They’re convinced that if they make genocide “humane” and “nice enough” they can get away with it (and apartheid, which goes part and parcel with it).Report

              • Avatar Damon in reply to Kim
                Ignored
                says:

                Hmm. I’m still a bit unclear.

                Trail of tears in relations to climate refugees. So, I’m assuming you’re talking about illegal immigrants coming to Oz fleeing rising oceans from Indonesia or such and being what, forced to march to camps / reservations where they are housed in the outback? Or perhaps Oz is not allowing those climate refugees in? Please explain.

                Japan and Israel: I could see an argument about Israel and it’s non jewish population, but what is japan doing?Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Damon
                Ignored
                says:

                Oh, definitely not illegal immigrants. Climate refugees that the UN (presumably) forces Australia to take in (because they’ve got land, and other places won’t pretty soon).

                Rising oceans, sure, but think storm surge rather than “we went up another foot” (which is ALSO bad, but differently so).

                Oz (Australia) setting up deliberately defunded places in the outback to house people who are unused to deserts, to put it mildly.

                Japan is suffering a population issue — too many old people, too few babies. The more liberal governments had some FUN ideas that included supporting more child pornography in television (No, Not Kidding), in order to stimulate Japanese people having more babies. The current “conservative” government is more thinking “import an underclass that we can use apartheid to discriminate against, and then perform forced sterilization”.Report

              • Avatar Damon in reply to Kim
                Ignored
                says:

                “Climate refugees that the UN (presumably) forces Australia to take in (because they’ve got land, and other places won’t pretty soon).” So how many divisions does the UN have? Because they can’t “force” any gov’t to do anything.

                “Oz (Australia) setting up deliberately defunded places in the outback to house people who are unused to deserts, to put it mildly.” I suppose one can argue that “you’re damn lucky we took you in. Don’t like it, move back home. I wasn’t aware that refugees need to be housed in 4 star accommodations.

                Japan: just who is being considered for “importation” and “sterilization”? Gotta link?Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Damon
                Ignored
                says:

                Damon,
                China has rather a lot of divisions. Assume the UN will provide enough lubrication that we will not allow entire countries to die of massive pestilence caused by storms. (If this is too optimistic for you, consider it a contingency plan)

                http://www.smh.com.au/comment/climate-change-will-trigger-greatest-refugee-crisis-ever-20151123-gl5z7e.html

                I don’t mind the “move back home” argument when we’re talking about people who will still have homes. (and, of course, adults. Costa Rican children ought not to be expected to “go home if they don’t like it”).

                http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2014/05/18/national/success-abenomics-hinges-immigration-policy/#.Vw0FOeIrKM8

                That’s roughly “anyone who shows up” gaijin. Judging from how this normally works, it’ll be mostly East Asians, with some africans (these are the closest third world countries, after all).Report

              • Avatar Damon in reply to Kim
                Ignored
                says:

                I think China can handle itself. And I really doubt that China will deploy their military to force Oz to admit climate refugees. China may use their military to prevent refugees from washing up / prevent them from on their own borders though. Given the first links comments about internal displacement in Oz, I’d think the Australians would be focused on that effort and want to keep from adding to the burden by preventing more refugees from coming.

                Japan: the article you quoted said nothing about forced sterilization. I’d agree, partially, about the claim of importing an underclass, but I think there’d also be a higher class of imported people. Also, I wouldn’t expect these imports to have voting rights or anything like that. They aren’t citizens.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Damon
                Ignored
                says:

                Without voting rights, it is child’s play to get to apartheid.
                Without voting rights, it is fairly easy to get to genocide (that’s not being mentioned publically for obvious reasons of the PR foundations haven’t been laid yet).

                Oz has space free, and they’re closer to micronesia than most places (Japan, for example, does not have space free). Britain and America and a lot of the “Free World” may very well push(or pull) Australia into accepting people rather than letting large scale pandemics start (and us having to watch devastation on television).Report

              • Avatar Damon in reply to Kim
                Ignored
                says:

                It’s fairly easy to get to genocide with voting rights too.

                But if these migrants know the deal, and they will, I’m not sure what the problem is. Japan doesn’t want them staying more than a few years anyway. I don’t really see the japanese deciding to enslave a bunch of migrants and keeping them from breeding. They will still have the same population/economic problems.Report

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

                Can you tell me how big my neighbor’s squash will grow next year?
                I’m sorta curious about that.

                Right now, I’m thinking that, though particulars of size, blight, and insect damage might remain unknown, the fact that the things are very likely to grow remains unchanged.Report

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

                Will, that’s a little obtuse for this simple country boy. Perhaps you could ask the question again more simply?Report

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

                A rhetorical question, actually.
                It’s showing a function of the law of large numbers; i.e., that statistical certainties often shed no light on individual peculiarities.

                Didn’t mean to get you all excited about some squash.
                Not even going to mention okra . . .Report

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

                That actually depends on the crop. No cherries from Michigan this year I suspect, with the current freezes.Report

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

                I’d kill for some good fresh okra!Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Yeah, see this is the sort of conservatism that I can’t sign on to.

                Fears of forced abortions and eugenics…these aren’t prudent precautions, these are baseless fear-mongering.

                There isn’t any attempt made at empirical observation and drawing of conclusions.

                Wouldn’t a prudent person look at other developed nations that have both accessible abortion and socialized health care, and draw a conclusion from that?

                To the extent that eugenics is in any way an issue, does it seem reasonable that the people who get mocked as the party of “free stuff for everybody” and “everybody gets a trophy for participation” would be the ones wanting to snuff out the disabled?

                Why leap immediately into the imaginary realm of Obama’s Baby Death panels?

                The problem with this sort of groundless fear is that it is the social version of the Security State argument – the opponents have to prove a negative, that something awful CAN’T happen.Report

              • Avatar Will H. in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                I’m not mongering anything.
                I’m merely stating a belief.
                And I am wholly unconcerned whether even one other person subscribes to or rejects my belief.

                The facts are these:
                There are more people alive right now than there have been at all other points in history combined.
                There has never been a 100-year period within written history where there has not been a significant famine somewhere in the world.
                The chemical make-up of the planet has altered substantially since the Industrial Revolution.

                I do not believe in infinite consumption.
                That simple.

                Either our resources are limitless, or they are not.

                Even though I’m the guy that typically takes the position that subsequent technological development will answer many of the problems that beset us, I also understand that our technology has its limits.
                We still do not know how steel is formed.
                There are many aspects of refining petroleum into fossil fuels that is not well-understood.
                We have yet to identify all of the chemicals in beer foam, for crying in the night.

                We like to think of ourselves as civilized and advanced.
                By these lights, that carries a lot of self-aggrandizement.

                And you are welcome to believe otherwise.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Will H.
                Ignored
                says:

                I don’t believe in infinite consumption either.

                How putting women in charge of their own reproduction leads to eugenics is an argument I’m just not grasping.Report

              • Avatar Will H. in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                That makes two of us.

                That’s not an argument that I’m making.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                “Wouldn’t a prudent person look at other developed nations that have both accessible abortion and socialized health care, and draw a conclusion from that?”

                Ahem.

                “the opponents have to prove a negative, that something awful CAN’T happen.”

                Well, one way to keep something awful from happening is to make it so that the people in charge are explicitly prevented from causing that particular thing to happen. And, um, Jaybird is not exactly making up eugenics out of paranoid fantasy, and it wasn’t really the right wing of America that was excited about Improving The Race Through Proper Breeding.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to DensityDuck
                Ignored
                says:

                Yes, did you know that the Democrats were the party of the Klan?

                True fact, you can look it up.Report

              • Avatar El Muneco in reply to DensityDuck
                Ignored
                says:

                Even more appropriate, to my mind, is that one of the major subheadings of The Law of Unintended Consequences is “The law that is passed by one party is still in force and can be used by the opposition when they take over power”.

                I was going to point at the guys who show their populist street cred tonsorially, but I deleted it when I thought of an even better example…

                RFRAs.

                Brought into being to defend minority groups from the majority wielding the power of the system against them, now they’re all too often used by the majority to do an end-around when the system prevents them from wielding power against a minority.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to El Muneco
                Ignored
                says:

                RFRA: Exactly. I’m utterly certain that if, in the 1990s, you had said “hey wait, if ever we pass a law saying that employers are legally required to provide a certain list of healthcare coverages, devout Christian employers could cite the RFRA and refuse to do so on the basis that it includes birth control which is against their religion”, you would have been told that was ridiculous slippery-slope reasoning and nobody could PROVE that something so silly would ever happen.Report

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

                Gee accusations of potential forced abortions and a little light eugenics. I guess the only response is This is why we can’t have nice things.

                Not that this point will matter i’m guessing but care for old people and poor children in this country is paid for mostly by the government. Have we been pushing lots of old folks out onto ice flows or ditching expensive and ill children?Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to greginak
                Ignored
                says:

                greg,
                When countries are planning on eugenics based genocide, it’s not a strawman anymore.

                Have we been? No, but we will, just a matter of time. And they’ll be “retirement homes” that we put Boomers in via forced relocation.Report

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

                potential forced abortions and a little light eugenics. I guess the only response is This is why we can’t have nice things.

                I find the interesting part of this statement the fact that such things would make you feel as if your position is threatened.

                Let us take as a given that some of the darker aspects of human nature suggest that whatever thing is on hand, and is readily available, will be misused in some way.
                For example, A 12-year old Nicaraguan immigrant has her second child by her step-father and throws the baby down the trash chute of the high-rise where they live.
                Nothing wrong with that, is there?

                Hmmm.
                Let’s take another look.
                Does killing a newborn negate the concept of motherhood categorically?
                Does having children naturally lead to incest as a direct consequence?

                So then, having established that both childbirth and parenting are categorically evil, let us examine the matter of eugenics.

                Eugenics is a certainty. Full stop.
                Whatever method it might take is up for grabs.
                Directed stillbirth seems like a good option for anyone who wishes to use it.

                People being who and what they are, some form of preferences will develop.
                Some of these people will have really strong preferences.
                Some of these will have preferences so strong that they outweigh ordinary moral concerns.

                Q: Know how to stop bankrobbers from robbing banks?
                A: Do away with banks.
                Otherwise, someone’s going to come along and rob the place sooner or later.

                I call that an extreme position, under a charitable reading.

                Now, wrt abortion specifically, there appear to be two distinct views, and the variance seems derived from a directional aspect of time.
                Let us accept as a given that life begins at conception. Whatever it is in there is has some form of irritability to stimuli.
                Whereas the one side wishes to read the timeline in sequence from youngest to oldest, the other side can read the timeline in either direction and hold those observations to be valid.

                That is, beginning the inquiry from where life begins is simply the wrong starting point for achieving understanding.
                Try stepping through the timeline in the other direction.

                Now, functionally, throwing the baby down the trash chute provides a woman with the very same liberty interests as abortion.
                Unless you want to add that “Pregnancy causes discomfort” aspect.
                Granted, I am very sympathetic to throwing up every morning. Sounds like a drag.
                Throwing the baby down the trash chute provides a woman with the same economic freedoms as abortion.

                So, if the liberty interests are the same, the economic interests are the same, what, if any, is the difference between abortion and throwing the baby down the trash chute?
                Because throwing the baby down the trash chute is either a problem or a solution.
                We don’t know just yet.Report

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

                The assumption that a child is worth keeping, morally speaking, rests on the idea that the child will eventually be able to make moral decisions.

                That’s not always the case, and is getting worse with the latest epidemic.

                Personally, I say that killing children up until they’re about age two is okay (basing this partly on the mental development, and partly on the “you put this much effort into it, just finish the job already”), provided you do it painlessly. Of course, I have a fondness for looking at worst cases… Which really means that I’m saying “yes, if they’re three, we ought to all die rather than killing them.”

                Morally speaking, it’s pretty wrong to bring a baby into this world and then neglect them (note: offering them for a good adoption is not neglect, that’s passing on the responsibility). Ideally, one uses contraception and avoids the moral squick of “I killed a maybe-baby” — but if that’s impossible, well, I’d rather infanticide than people stuck with babies they don’t want. Because that’s a surefire method to see abuse.Report

      • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Richard Hershberger
        Ignored
        says:

        @richard-hershberger

        The line in the OP about abortion was not intended to be a point of focus, but commenting being what it is I’m glad the conversation happened and everyone has been extraordinarily polite to each other in discussing.

        What I meant is that (the last time I checked) something like 60% of all abortions are women who have previously had an abortion. There’s also supporting data that they weren’t using birth control or not using it correctly. Now, a lot of this could be blamed on a lack of proper education or access to birth control, and I’m extremely okay with the government trying to improve on both fronts, but it still means a lot of abortions are being used not for the health of the mother, not due to rape or incest, but because the mother can’t handle a baby at that time. My personal preference in dealing with this, other than the items mentioned above, is to overhaul the adoption system in the U.S., which is deeply flawed, and encourage these women to bring their children to term whenever possible. (Note: That would also mean supporting them through the pregnancy and afterwards as necessary).

        While in the past I have been a fierce proponent of overturning Roe v. Wade, I have moderated my position in recent years. While I never articulated my current feelings nearly as well as what Jaybird said in his description of legislating ‘sentiments’ I had (mostly) arrived at the same conclusion that I was letting my heart get in the way of reason. Today, if I was going to propose any changes to current abortion laws it would mainly be to move towards a more European model, which generally makes access to abortion in the first trimester very easy and makes it increasingly harder in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters. Where I would hesitate with even those changes is in recognizing that, as people have pointed out in this comment thread, women are going to seek abortions no matter what the law says. One of my great aunts likely died from an illegal abortion in the 1950s, orphaning her other children, so I am acutely aware of this sad fact. Again, if we improve 1) education 2) access to birth control and 3) the adoption system I think we get closer to the goal of significantly reducing abortion than we would by making it illegal.Report

        • Avatar J_A in reply to Mike Dwyer
          Ignored
          says:

          But that brings you to a policy based on what works (or it’s likely to work) versus a policy based on following first principles

          Policy of First Principles: Abortion is wrong, we should forbid abortion. Abortion goes underground. Abortions continue, but are less safe. People die. People goes to jail. First principles are duly satisfied.

          Policy of it might probably work, first principles be damned: high quality compulsory sex education to reduce unplanned pregnancies. Free or subsidized prenatal medical care and financial support for poor women. Streamlined adoption procedures with open/closed adoption options available. Abortion remains legal, but demand of abortions decreases. We are trading less aborted babies for the lack of a clear message about the wickedness of non marital sex and abortion.

          My preference is option two. But I’m of the opinion that the Rod Drehers of the world value sending a moral message based on their own first principles more than they would value the actual results of a policy that provides more of their desired results but ignores the messageReport

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to J_A
            Ignored
            says:

            When one’s opponents are deontologists, one should attack them for not being utilitarian.

            When one’s opponents are utilitarian, one should attack them for being unprincipled.Report

            • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird
              Ignored
              says:

              Well, you got deontology out there as an apriori set of actual principles; you got utilitarianism as a method for determining right action or policy; and you got reality which doesn’t really give a rats ass about either one.

              Utilitarianism seems more likely to lead to a good justification for right action given reality than deontology will. Well, except for folks inclined to lead “principled” lives and all that *that* entails.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                But the point is to always have a philosophical argument to attack your opponent. Because if its all philosophical and stuff that sounds smart and always attacking is an obvious strategy. The actual real world results are irrelevant.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak
                Ignored
                says:

                “The only reason the real world results were not as good as I originally promised was because people were too selfish. We need to double down.”Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Ahhh, if the reason deontology failed was because people were too selfish, we’d have a really functional, utilitarian, theory on our hands.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                The only reason the real world results failed is because we didn’t adhere strictly enough to Principle and Ideology. Must double down.

                Or of course we need moderate amounts of both principle and practical application. But of course doing that violates Principle, so must triple down on Ideology.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to greginak
                Ignored
                says:

                triple down on Ideology.

                The ole triple threat, yeah? No known defense can stop that.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak
                Ignored
                says:

                A utilitarianism that points out that its intentions were good is a utilitarianism that deserves criticism.

                (A deontology that defends its failings by pointing out that everything turned out for the best should similarly have it pointed out that it doesn’t quite understand what it is.)Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                My intentions were good…just dont’ let me be misunderstood.

                Really, everybody has good intentions. D’s, R’s, libertarians, centrists, whack a doodles, everybody has them.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak
                Ignored
                says:

                In thinking about this some more, it’s *NOT* that you can’t criticize Deontology. Deontology is very criticizable. But if you criticize deontology because it is not more utilitarian, it’s not a particularly trenchant observation that you’re making.

                It’s like criticizing utilitarianism for not being deontological enough. Utilitarianism has buckets of criticisms worth leveling at it. Buckets! Criticizing it because it changes when it gets new information about inputs and outputs is to misunderstand it.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                I admit to being an anti-Dentite but i’ve tried to get over that. The happy gas helps with that. Honestly both concepts are important and necessary.Report

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

            Textbook use of a false dichotomy:
            Policy of First Principles: Abortion is wrong, we should forbid abortion.

            Suppose there were a number of other positions in there other than “Whole hog!” and “Not at all!”
            Suppose there were other principles as well that were unrelated to abortion at all, but rather the position on abortion was entirely derivative of this other principle or principles.
            And now suppose that religion had not one thing under the sun to do with it at all.

            Do you have any idea what that might look like?

            Let me try this here, because I would like to illustrate how untrustworthy extreme positions can be; and generally due to the inability to conceive of a non-extreme position, much less to assimilate additional information.
            Here goes:

            Policy of Secondary Principles: Abortion is generally undesirable, and we should avoid it when possible, rather than indiscriminately encourage it.
            – – – grounded on – – –
            Policy of First Principles: A preference for the least intrusive means.

            NOTE:
            No religion here. Completely palatable to atheists (in theory, at any rate).

            But, there is an opposing position.
            This position states that going up into the innards of a woman is much less intrusive than, say, using reason to exercise persuasion.
            But these are the type of people who have no issue with jamming dildo-shaped medical instruments for the sake of an ultrasound prior to any abortive procedure.

            And, incidentally, these are the same type of people that would rather finger a granny at the airport, supposedly looking for “volatile chemicals,” when really a little sign reading “No Volatile Chemicals Aboard the Aircraft” should prove sufficient for most people.

            Fancy that.
            There are other views out there and available.Report

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

              I’m sorry, I’m lost

              If abortion is always wrong, then it should be forbidden.

              If abortion is not always wrong, but “it depends”, then what we are doing is weighting the different (not always necessarily contrarian) interests of the parties involved: mother, zygote, fetus, pre crown baby, and ancillary actors like the father, the grandparents, or society having to take care of the baby the next 18 years.

              Then we can go and find different first principles to weight all these disparate interests. But the first principle, that abortion is wrong, is now out of the window.

              My second question is about your Propossed First Principle of Least Intrusive Means. Your link, to a definition in criminal trials, didn’t tell me much, but generalizing. (Hey, it’s a first principle), least intrusive to whom? Abortion is very intrusive both to the zygote and to the pre crowned baby. But carrying a baby is very intrusive to the mother. What if the baby has a deformity and she cannot care for him for the rest of her or his life, whichever is shorter? Well that’s very intrusive, too. What if she is working two fast food jobs and already has two children, and thinks she can’t feed this third? Less intrusive but still a lot. What if she is in the middle of her PhD dissertation and really doesn’t ant to incur on student loans? Well perhaps not tha intrusive, but then we are talking about a zygot. Or about a pre crowns baby? Do the zygote and the baby have the same rank vs the PhD?

              Well, it all depends, you might say.

              First principles scare me because they have no feedback mechanism from actual results. If results can modify first principles, then they weren’t first or that principled.

              I’d rather set a quantifiable goal (reduce abortions) than a first principle (end abortions). I can measure abortions and see if tweaks of the policies increase or decrease the abortions. But fist principled people will tell you that reducing abortions is not the goal because one abortion is too many. That’s why you rarely get a Red State increasing access to contraception.

              We are picking on on abortions because it’s a fairly clear utilitarian vs deontological case. But it’s no different than urban crime, mass transit, war on drugs, immigration, or many other subjects.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to J_A
                Ignored
                says:

                If X is always wrong, then it should be forbidden

                This intuition is not obvious to me.Report

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

                You’re still locked in an extreme position.
                Let me see if I can make this more plain by demonstrating the structural error:

                If abortion is always wrong, then it should be forbidden [ because ] . . .

                With that form (i.e., delete “always,” add “because”), you should be able to come into contact with first principles.

                Ok, then. To the best of your ability, choose the least intrusive (more on this later) from the following:
                1) Jamming a bowling pin in a woman’s crotch; or
                2) Speaking to her in a calm, reasoned voice.

                Granted, the two are not mutually exclusive.
                But one is less intrusive than the other, generally.

                re: Least intrusive means
                First, it is not related to criminal law, nor privileged communications.
                In fact, you see this with protocol proposals for electronic discovery all the time, though intrusiveness is weighed against cost, value of accidentally disclosed information, time restrictions on clawback, etc.
                The medical profession also uses this a lot. This is why I had an in-grown toenail cut out rather than having a toe removed.
                Not sure if they offer toe removal as an elective surgery anyway.
                Weeding a garden typically involves application of the principle of least intrusive means. This is why I don’t have a monster truck come over and grind out the dandelions from my yard by shooting a rooster tail 40′. That might be a bit intrusive.

                But the least intrusive means thing is only an example, so let’s not get caught up too much in sniffing the glue for the model kit.
                Conservation of effort gets you into roughly the same territory.

                I’d rather set a quantifiable goal
                Pure consequentialism; i.e., value-less, in the purest sense of the word.
                I seem to remember having this conversation with @saul-degraw just down-thread.
                To be clear, that some reject all manner of virtue categorically, rather believing the ends justify the means no matter the means (cf. NE Patriots), should be taken as no indication that everyone should properly likewise reject any form of virtue solely for the sake of arriving at the same end-point.
                And what is utterly ridiculous about this idea that such a thing is preferable is that this is the argument of those claiming the mantle of Inclusiveness. It is this phenomenon I refer to when I say that the Left is generally concerned with homogeneity of thought, and enforcing undeviating adherence thereto.
                It is unsurprising I would find some other group than the one most concerned with some stray unapproved thought appearing as having greater generative capacity in acceptance of variation of belief and crafting of solutions.
                One sad fact in this arrangement is that the creative class is trapped by its own blindness, and is one group most resistant to any form of creativity within that sphere.

                Now, let us reconsider the above:

                Please choose, as best you can, which of the following acts demonstrates a greater degree of misogyny:
                1) Jamming a bowling pin in a woman’s crotch; or
                2) Speaking to her in a calm, reasoned voice.

                Now, compare your answer to the inquiry above where the same answer choices were given.
                What is this saying to you?Report

        • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Mike Dwyer
          Ignored
          says:

          but it still means a lot of abortions are being used not for the health of the mother, not due to rape or incest, but because the mother can’t handle a baby at that time.

          “can’t handle a baby at that time.”

          What exactly does that mean, Mike? The presumption is that a woman should be able to handle a pregnancy except for her psychological defects. Or something? Preventable happenstance?

          I must be a spiritual defective since I just can’t seem to get worked up about people (women in this case!) making these types of choices. I’m especially spiritually defective with regards to thinking men have anything important to say in the matter.Report

          • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Stillwater
            Ignored
            says:

            @stillwater

            “The presumption is that a woman should be able to handle a pregnancy except for her psychological defects.”

            I was talking about having the necessary resources (financial, support from the father, etc) to properly parent a child. Assuming I was talking about psychological defects is a pretty uncharitable reading and a little too dark for my taste.Report

  2. Avatar j r
    Ignored
    says:

    Maybe this question is too meta, but it is an obvious one to me. Why do I need to be in anyone’s tent?

    I understand why politicians and political partisans want there to be political parties and want us to declare our allegiance to those parties; it makes corralling votes and donations and media coverage much easier if we are all wearing our identities on our sleeves. But what’s the benefit to the individual?

    I used to call myself a Republican. That changed about a decade ago. Around that time I started calling myself a libertarian, but never felt the need to become a Libertarian. That is, I am happy just to engage with politics on my terms and try to let my political identity form a posteriori from the sum of my beliefs rather than using identity to posit a priori positions. I’m not always successful, but I try. So I guess my question is: is there any good reason that I should stop and join a team?Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to j r
      Ignored
      says:

      One reason is that if you become an active member of a team, you can (try to) influence the direction(s) the team takes. Of course, none of us here is likely to influence any teams at a national level, but at the local level (which might include state legislature), we can have some influence.

      Granted, most people join a team just to join, and never do anything to actually influence the team whatsoever.Report

      • Avatar Richard Hershberger in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        This is why I am registered as a Republican. I am in fact a real, true RINO. I consistently vote Democratic in national and state elections, but I live in a strongly Republican county. The Republican primary is the relevant election for local offices, and I figure that my vote there is more important than it would be for nominating Democratic candidates.

        The local Republicans are split roughly three ways, between the local Main Street Republicans who want to maintain the status quo, the pro-growth Republicans who want to cover the county with asphalt and make a lot of money along the way, and the barking mad Tea Party Republicans. I have no problem with the first group, and will happily vote for them in the general election. The issues where I disagree with them don’t really matter on the local level. The Tea Party crowd is actively destructive of things that are important, like schools and infrastructure. I am registered Republican largely so that I can vote against them in the primary.Report

        • Avatar Kim in reply to Richard Hershberger
          Ignored
          says:

          Thank you for your principles.
          I’m registered Democratic for roughly the same reasons. There are conservatives and liberals in the party, and I’d actually like a say in who gets elected.Report

        • Avatar Damon in reply to Richard Hershberger
          Ignored
          says:

          My local republicans are essentially all RINOs. They are generally concentrated into certain counties, and are effectively neutered at the state level. Yet they campaign on “bringing back fiscal responsibility to the statehouse”, while simultaneously triumphing bringing in some small portion of the last massive tax increase to the county to improve a road or two.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        Any entity that needs votes or money is influenced by those without as well as those within, though.

        Chik-Fil-A does the things it does not just to please current Chik-Fil-A customers, but to try to gain new ones. Any entity that thinks it already has you, doesn’t need to try to please you.Report

        • Avatar Chris in reply to Glyph
          Ignored
          says:

          Oh certainly, there are other ways to influence parties. Sadly, I and most of the people I know don’t have the money to influence political parties, even at the local level, through individual donations. However, if you join the party and become active in it, you will have more direct influence through things like determination of local party leadership, influence on platform, etc.

          Here in Austin, I’ve found the best way to do that given my interests is not within a party, but within advocacy groups. However, the local Republican party (which has made national news recently) has a fair amount of influence over its candidates.Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to j r
      Ignored
      says:

      Why not just join ALL the teams? Fix what you can, burn what you can’t.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to j r
      Ignored
      says:

      @j-r

      Even the terminology used here is interesting.

      As you said, you called yourself “a Republican.” Then you called yourself “a Libertarian”. Nouns. Proper nouns. Identities. Not characteristics. Not adjectives. We even see this with other terms. People seem just as likely to call themselves a conservative or a liberal as conservative or liberal.

      Why do we tend to this type of thinking (in politics and elsewhere)?Report

      • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Kazzy
        Ignored
        says:

        because “against the State being involved in people’s personal decisions for themselves and also skeptical of a bureaucratic and amoral State managing every and all transactions between individuals and organizations, even those of mostly an economic nature and especially those where there’s more or less symmetry of information” is much harder to type on a phone or tablet than “libertarian”.Report

  3. Avatar North
    Ignored
    says:

    I don’t know that Democrats have an exclusive claim to moderates but, as you reluctantly concede, the GOP has virtually no claim on them so in our binary system that leaves…

    I do suspect that the GOP’s decades long descent into barking lunacy has put some curious pressures on the Dems as moderates have (to an even greater extent) migrated into their party. You can see it in how unhappy and restive the left is though the Democratic party has ever rested its weight more firmly on its center foot than it’s left foot (whereas the GOP has generally been the opposite).

    It sounds like what you need, Mike, is for the GOP to implode and then rise anew from the ashes as something new, or something old I suppose.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to North
      Ignored
      says:

      I think the Democratic left has the same feelings of the hardcore social conservatives. We are a big enough block that we can’t be ignored but we are not big enough to really exert any influence over policy. This ends up making a lot of people on the left feel like they are condescended to. Just like social conservatives feel like they are courted and then ignored.

      I am not as opposed to Bill Clinton as my other friends on the left. I realize that he needed to do some of the things that he did but it is clear that his protegees are taking Triangulating a bit too far and some don’t seem very Democratic. Why is DWS defending the pay-day loan industry as being a way to get credit to poor people? Surely the Democratic Party should be able to realize that payday loans are usurious and damaging to the poor. And then you have Rahm who seems to be managing Chicago for the suburbanites and tourists instead of the actual people who voted for him.

      There is a difference between being moderate and picking a pro-Corporate/business policy and declaring it moderate. Moderate is ultimately a meaningless term in politics anyway. How do you find a moderate position on abortion or same-sex marriage or whether free and consenting adults have rights to use narcotics and hire sex workers? There are none.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        Why is DWS defending the pay-day loan industry as being a way to get credit to poor people?

        –because she’s really out of date?

        Surely the Democratic Party should be able to realize that payday loans are usurious and damaging to the poor.

        –because you’re really out of date?Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        Saul, you keep bringing up Payday loans but I would submit that’s a terrible example to use. The bleak facts are that while payday lenders do turn profits they’re not enormous ones and when rules tamp down on such practices what generally happens is payday lending businesses simply vanish and the poor are left with black market lending(where they break your legs AND charge ursurious rates). Payday lending critics usually respond to this by saying “have the government do payday lending then” which, assuming it doesn’t charge ‘ursurious’ rates, will presumably lose money hand over fist. Once they do that we are, of course, talking about creating a wealth transfer to the poor and frankly if we’re talking about that how about we just give the poor money instead of wasting a ton of it setting up a new convoluted Government payday lending channel. And since convincing the electorate to transfer gobs of wealth to the poor is difficult maybe it’d be a good idea to let poor people have the imperfect payday lending options they have no in the interim?

        There’re plenty of examples to sling rocks at neolibs with without touching on payday lending. I’d agree Rahm offers plenty of targets. I’d just suggest leaving off the payday lending angle; it’s a losing one.Report

        • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to North
          Ignored
          says:

          @north

          I’ve noted before that politics is often a war between pragmatists and romantics. Romantics are stubborn in their insistence against seeing “politics in the art of the possible.” Erik Loomis on LGM is like this. He simply can’t abide that many Americans (including myself) believe in some basic tenants of the profit motive and Capitalism. On the other hand, pragmatists often accept the way of the world as it is without too much questioning about whether we can do things differently or better. I think pragmatists often fancy themselves as the presenters of “hard truths” and as the “adults in the room.” The problem of “hard truths” is that it often comes across as a variant of “FYIGM. This is your burden suckers!!!” Belt tightening is always what others need to do.

          You bring up good points about payday lending. It would be interesting to hear a politician say that. Maybe with a concession of trying to come up with a plan to lower the need of people to rely on payday lending. What DWS did is just say that payday lending provides an opportunity for credit.

          Bernie Bros can be very obnoxious. I dislike the HRC v. Bernie meme where Bernie is cool and with it on a trillion subjects but HRC is a clueless panderer. Yet HRC supporters can often be very condescending to Bernie supporters and treat them like little children.

          Jordan Weissman made an interesting observation that the campaign for 15 was winning because a 15 dollar an hour minimum wage is unreasonable. Sometimes you need to be firm for reform.Report

          • Avatar North in reply to Saul Degraw
            Ignored
            says:

            If it doesn’t fit into a fifteen second sound bite you aren’t going to hear politicians, including Bernie, saying it much. And what DWS said is “payday lending provides an opportunity for credit” which happens to be the bald unpleasant truth. That is the fifteen second encapsulation of what I pointed out.

            I can’t talk about the tone much, what people experience in tone from one side to another is entirely subjective and thus not really something one can easily debate nor do I think that there’s much to debate in it: every politician who isn’t an entire non-entity will have wonderful personable supporters and absolute douche nozzle supporters. That tells us basically nothing about the politician or cause said wonderful/douche people support.Report

            • Avatar Kim in reply to North
              Ignored
              says:

              So, if payday lending provides such good opportunities, why the hell did wall street shut it the fuck down?
              [This is actually an easy question, suckers]Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Kim
                Ignored
                says:

                Opportunities for poor credit seekers to obtain credit, Kimmie, not opportunities for profit.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to North
                Ignored
                says:

                Indeed. Now if the usurious interest the companies were charging was not enough of an opportunity…

                Where are the payday lenders now?

                {And there’s the actual riddle. Answer’s in WaPo, but you’ll have to look to find it– or I could tell you, but what’s the fun in that?}Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Kim
                Ignored
                says:

                Well it was enough to keep them interested. Where the rates have been outlawed the payday lenders are gone. Where they weren’t they’re continuing their unhappy trade.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to North
                Ignored
                says:

                North,
                “Where the rates have been outlawed the payday lenders are gone”

                Flatly untrue. Switching targets does not equal gone. Same business model, just more profitable for the big banks. Sure, they’re not “payday loans” anymore, but the usury continues, and now they’ve found better targets — ones that people will skip food and critical medicine to keep.Report

          • Avatar Kim in reply to Saul Degraw
            Ignored
            says:

            HRC knows exactly whom to pander to.
            Bernie didn’t even get the memo saying that he wasn’t supposed to run.
            (The Democratic Party hates bernie, news at 11).Report

        • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to North
          Ignored
          says:

          @north

          Here is a non-pay and non-political (largely) way of people just accepting the way of the world.

          My girlfriend is one of the few people who did the big brass ring version of employment. She went from prestigious undergrad to big consulting company to MBA to big consulting company and now to big tech company. She once told me that she just sees it as the way of the world that people need to work lots of hours a week. Her current tech gig is fairly easy it goes. She has a friend in the same company but a different department that works much longer (and for lower pay) because the friend has a more demanding boss/supervisor who wants everything “Big Consulting Company Perfect” because the boss/supervisor came from Big Consulting Company and can’t let it go.

          I find it odd that my girlfriend just accepts long working hours as the way of the world. She will note that many people she knew did well in school, got those brass ring jobs, worked those long hours, and then just burnt out. I’ve never seen her question whether there was a connection between consistently working 70-100 hours a week and burning out sometime between 35 to 40.

          Meanwhile I am questioning why do so many companies like long hours for the sake of long hours, why do these people not realize the cause of their burn-out, why will they repeat the message to their kids, and why is there such a discrepancy in hours worked based on the sheer luck of who your supervisor is in the same companyReport

          • Avatar North in reply to Saul Degraw
            Ignored
            says:

            Yep, sounds like business culture to me. The managers and successful employees have “paid their dues” and would view the idea of any up and comers not having to do the same with understandable rejection and resentment. The up and comers could only challenge this culture through some kind of solidarity which would be a titanic collective action problem. Pretty sticky.Report

        • Avatar nevermoor in reply to North
          Ignored
          says:

          Here’s my big tax-and-spend-liberal solution:

          Let’s give every citizen a $1000 (or $500, or whatever) revolving line of credit at 0% tied to their passport. Or, better yet in my view, their national ID card. The mechanics are simple: no bills ever, but you can’t go over your line, so it’s either a free $1k with no lasting benefit or a powerful way to manage life expenses.

          That way even the unbanked have ready access to short-term credit. Other positives: it’s very cheap to administer (just cut a deal with one of the CC companies, should get a significant discount given bargaining power), relatively low cost (~$323B one-time face value for the $1,000 option with approximately 1% of that in births going forward, could also reduce by making available only when citizens turn 18), and very likely to have positive economic externalities as it’s essentially a massive giveaway to lower-income folks.

          It also sets the pieces in play a system that you could expand to cover online voting, electronic funds transfers for federal benefits programs, vehicle for distributing GMI, etc. that should have very high buy-in rates.

          But, like I said, no political viability as things stand now.Report

        • Avatar j r in reply to North
          Ignored
          says:

          I’m not fan if cracking down on payday lenders. They meet a need, if imperfectly. I would, however, support some public alternative, a Postal Bank for instance, that had a mandate to lend small sum to the poor and didn’t have to make a profit, only break even.

          The question is whether such an organization could break even and at what interest rates and howbaggresively they would have to be at collecting debts. At the very least it would be more information.

          I also find Nevermoor’s idea intriguing.Report

          • Avatar North in reply to j r
            Ignored
            says:

            I am sympathetic to the idea of postal banks. What I fear and what the numbers seem to suggest, however, is that either the postal bank lending would have to charge interest rates, penalties or fees that are very similar to those charged by payday lenders now or else they would not only not break even but lose great gobs of public, rather than private money. And that would be problematic for the liberal program in general.Report

            • Avatar El Muneco in reply to North
              Ignored
              says:

              The business model doesn’t work without usury. To break even they have to amortize a huge aggregate default risk, which means injurious rates or fees.

              And it’s necessary, a lot of people can’t survive without them. So if we wave a magic wand and make all the payday lenders go away, we create a vacuum. Into which the mob steps. Back.

              Either we keep the imperfect system we have now, or find a way to tie payday lending in a package with a population of lower risk loans, or run it at a loss as a public good. I don’t see any alternatives that are any good for anybody. It’s a dilemma.Report

            • Avatar j r in reply to North
              Ignored
              says:

              A postal banks most certainly wouldn’t be all the things that those who support it might want it to be, but it could be a a few of those things.

              And here is where we see the larger political/public choice problem. The USPS loses money. It could be making money, but it has to adhere to all manner of conditions set by Congress for political reasons and it has a pension issue. Any postal bank would likely face the same pressures.

              That said, it could be a place where those without bank accounts could cash checks without paying high fees. And it could be a place for borrowing relatively small amounts of money at reasonably interest. The problem with payday lending is that they need to make a profit and their business models is to give everyone a loan and make up for the defaults with high fees and high interest. A postal bank couldn’t operate like that. It would have to weed out the worst lenders, who would then be back in the same situation that they are in now. There is likely a population of poor, but responsible, borrowers that would benefit from a postal bank. I admit that I don’t know how large that population is, however.Report

            • Avatar nevermoor in reply to North
              Ignored
              says:

              Not all government services need to (or should!) be run as businesses. At least in the not-losing-money sense.

              The biggest unforced error of the last eight years the Feds have made is not borrowing more money for useful one-time costs (e.g. infrastructure repair).Report

              • Avatar North in reply to nevermoor
                Ignored
                says:

                Thing is if you’re going to lose money then it’s functionally just a wealth transfer and if you’re going for wealth transfers why channel it through the distortions and inefficiencies of a postal bank? Just cut out the crap and give the poor some money for fish’s sake, there’re tons of ways to do it that wouldn’t involve creating a new program.Report

              • Avatar nevermoor in reply to North
                Ignored
                says:

                I think checks (or, as Krugman would have it, helicopter drops) are the baseline against which to test wealth transfers. I certainly agree that creating an entire postal banking system to lend at low rates and lose money would fail that test.

                I (of course) see that as a false dichotomy, though, as my first instinct is that my proposal above would pass the test, since access to free revolving credit has a value over and above a $1,000 check. Not to mention the second-order benefits of having buy-in to that type of system.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to nevermoor
                Ignored
                says:

                Oh yes indeed but with regards to programs I believe in being forthright. Postal bank doing lending and check cashing implies that the service will break even at least. If it doesn’t then it’s dishonest and undermines trust in government and incentives for good government.

                Your entirely separate proposal is much more forthright and that’s why I like it.Report

              • Avatar nevermoor in reply to North
                Ignored
                says:

                Understood, makes sense.

                Also, thanks.Report

        • Avatar TrexPushups in reply to North
          Ignored
          says:

          Indeed.

          Universal Basic Income would be more effiecient at dealing with poverty than overly complicated exception ridden systems.

          Going to take a while for the argument to convince enough people though.Report

    • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to North
      Ignored
      says:

      It sounds like what you need, Mike, is for the GOP to implode and then rise anew from the ashes as something new, or something old I suppose.

      I’ve been wanting this since 2003, when it became clear that the modest good-stewardship agenda of George W. Bush (2000 election edition) had gone totally out the window and wartime policies were being pursued as inherently good by a hive-mind-on-autopilot that had, Borg-like, assimilated every consequential segment of the GOP. At that point, I had begun to fear that the contagion would spread to the Democrats, or equally unhelpfully, a counter-contagion would polarize them away, resulting in neither party doing much thinking at all.

      Abortions for some, small American flags for others.

      Gratefully, the Democrats (mostly but not unanimously) decided to take interest in governance after a while, so that left me in the then-uncomfortable position of respecting them more. Right around then I found myself, to borrow a linguistic model first proposed by my man @will-Truman, using the pronoun “they” to refer to Republicans, in situations where previously I’d have used the pronoun “we.”

      I’ve come round to thinking that a great many Trump supporters are the inhabitants of the long-neglected Moats! wing of a party that traditionally coalesces around the triad of Money!, Guns!, and Jesus!. Which helps me understand why not all Trump supporters are unintelligent, anti-intellectual, and some even have the good graces to be embarrassed by (some of) the wild things that pop out of their candidate’s mouth from time to time. The real problem comes when you say – intellectually correctly – that one can simultaneously advocate restricting immigration policy AND not be a racist at the same time – while also taking the “teller of blunt unpleasant truths” thing a bridge too far and say out loud that which previously had been carefully curated to be communicated only in code (e.g., “No Muslims allowed,” “Mexican immigrants are murderers and rapists.”). It exposes some astonishing ugliness in the beating heart of the GOP GOTV engine.

      Many months ago I changed my registration to “No Partisan Preference” and the liberals and Democrats out there will be disappointed to learn that I still have difficulty convincing myself that Hillary Clinton is a person of substantial integrity. But I’ve also long ago abandoned the idea that a President is going to possess substantial integrity, so maybe this doesn’t matter. Certainly she’s got the resume and the skill set for the job, and the least bad temperament of the three realistic choices still on the board. And I’ve sincerely come to respect my state’s Governor as a practical, knowledgeable, highly skilled technocrat with whom my policy differences and eyebrow-raises are generally at the “quibble” level (e.g., helmets mandatory for skateboarders but not for skiers?). So maybe I ought to go all the way and re-register as a Democrat. I haven’t yet, largely for irrational reasons of self-identification.

      Either way, the planet is doomed.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Burt Likko
        Ignored
        says:

        The people on the planet may be doomed. We are over carrying capacity, after all.

        Pretty hard to destroy the entire planet, though.

        GWB and Hillary Clinton? I see no difference.

        For you, personality and skills and resume may matter.

        For me, the only thing that matters is who signs the fucking paychecks.
        (And that goes doubly so for Hillary, who is mercenary by both trade and conviction).Report

        • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Kim
          Ignored
          says:

          “The people on the planet may be doomed. We are over carrying capacity, after all.”

          I’m sorry, I can’t read your post because I died ten years ago, during the nuclear exchanges that were spurred by population-pressure induced invasions.Report

          • Avatar Kim in reply to DensityDuck
            Ignored
            says:

            … you really don’t read anything the military has to say, do you?
            They’ve been preparing for resource wars for a while.

            And Gen’l Clarke said that global warming is the biggest national security issue of this century.

            Where the fuck ARE you going to put Miami, anyway???Report

            • Avatar Damon in reply to Kim
              Ignored
              says:

              Under 20 feet of water.

              Triage. It’ll become a manatee city.Report

            • Avatar El Muneco in reply to Kim
              Ignored
              says:

              It’s interesting how the people who think that the military is the one part of government that is competent and should be more broadly funded – never notice that the military is the most bearish part of the government re: climate change.

              But on the other hand, think about it: take groups of people with longstanding tribal, cultural, and religious grievances, throw arbitrary borders around them, watch dictators take control over some or all of the new nations, add in overt and covert funding from national and international entities fighting their own proxy wars — and then watch parts of that tableau become desertified on an unprecedentedly quick timescale. What could possibly go wrong?Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to El Muneco
                Ignored
                says:

                If you could actively get them to think (which I doubt, most authoritarians aren’t sentient), you’d have them say that “that branch of the military isn’t as smart as the rest is”.Report

              • Avatar El Muneco in reply to Kim
                Ignored
                says:

                Would never work… Just like belief in a literal Adam and Eve underlies a certain religious mindset like a wonky Jenga block, and can bring the whole thing tumbling down if even questioned – to a certain political mindset the military must be strong, competent, and just, otherwise it’s possible that every war we’ve fought since Vietnam has been wrong.

                That’s why John Rambo changed after “First Blood”.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to El Muneco
                Ignored
                says:

                It’s not as concrete a point as it feels like. If the policy outcome that involves “moar guns, less butter” was tied to AGW being a hoax I’m sure the military reports would read like an article out of National Review.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to North
                Ignored
                says:

                No,they wouldn’t, actually, as that would significantly affect our military readiness in ways that the Professionals in our military would rebel at.Report

              • Avatar notme in reply to El Muneco
                Ignored
                says:

                It’s interesting how the people who think that the military is the one part of government that is competent and should be more broadly funded – never notice that the military is the most bearish part of the government re: climate change.

                Do they actually believe it or are they parroting the new Obama party line b/c they want to get promoted someday?Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to notme
                Ignored
                says:

                They. Actually. Believe. It.
                (For the love of… I cited a RETIRED general, dammit!)
                And it’s not just our fucking military, God on a PogoStick!

                What makes you think that being part of a small department in the military is conducive to being promoted, anyway? This isn’t like the head of Medical gets promoted to being a four star General.

                In fact, I don’t think I know of a single general from that department of any note.Report

              • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to Kim
                Ignored
                says:

                Active duty military, particularly brass, have stern rules about commenting publicly concerning matters within active political debate. The military itself is careful not to take sides on politics for very good reasons. When raked by politicians to research and opine, it will do so, but generally active military try to limit their public statements on political issues to the needs, activities, and capabilities of the military itself.

                So I’d expect that within those ethical boundaries, resource shortages and climate change would be studied and assessed by the military autonomously to the extent that the military needs to know why wars happen, how wars might end, what will need to be done in those wars such as handling refugees and selection of targets for destruction or control.

                For example, “Wars of the future will likely involve political root causes of territorial control of sources of fresh water like rivers and lakes, competition for increasingly-scarce arable land, and displacement of urban populations from littoral areas. To deal with this, we will need large amounts of materiel such as water purifiers, canvas tents, and fencing.” But not, “Vice President Gore is more interested in selling books than telling the truth.”Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Burt Likko
                Ignored
                says:

                Of course. One of the things that concerns the military right now is our American food supply.

                We should not make the mistake of thinking that all wars are going to come from external foes…Report

              • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Burt Likko
                Ignored
                says:

                The periodic Joint Operating Environment documents are more specific than that. Where are water shortages likely to occur? Who gets hit hardest by $200/bbl oil (the US military is high on that list, which is one of the reasons they would like to spend research money on non-petroleum sources for JP-8 equivalents)? What are the chances of a failed Mexican state?Report

              • Avatar El Muneco in reply to notme
                Ignored
                says:

                As the others have said, judge them not by what they say, rather by what they do. And what they are doing is contingency planning on a massive scale for threats – both to the US itself, and which might require military or humanitarian intervention – triggered by economic or political instability in turned caused by climate change / severe weather events.Report

              • Avatar notme in reply to El Muneco
                Ignored
                says:

                The military does contingency planning for a lot of things but that doesn’t mean they actually believe in them.Report

              • Avatar El Muneco in reply to notme
                Ignored
                says:

                True, we did have the wargames responding to a proxy attack from the UK via Canada, after all…

                However, it’s quite a coincidence that the amount of contingency planning over the past 15-20 years correlates quite well with the strength of the science over that time. Almost as if they were paying attention and believing it.Report

              • Avatar Francis in reply to El Muneco
                Ignored
                says:

                I believe that the Navy is also quite concerned that its majors ports, including Norfolk, are exposed to significant risk.

                Oddly enough, ports appear to be at sea level and so is much of the major infrastructure associated therewith. Go figure.Report

              • Avatar El Muneco in reply to Francis
                Ignored
                says:

                I’m hip. In Seattle, the entire port, both major sports stadiums, the train station, the little club where Pearl Jam plays incognito shows, the former Rainier (feh) brewery(*), and the company I hopefully will be interviewing for soon are all built on landfill with no appreciable water table underneath, at a height of 6-8 feet above the tide.

                Sure, everything else is inconveniently on the slope of a steep hill, but huge portions of the civic identity are tremendously vulnerable.

                (*) Not so sure about this one – it’s no higher than the rest, but it’s very close to one of the seven hills.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Burt Likko
        Ignored
        says:

        I’ve been registered Independent since I could vote; I’ve voted pretty equally for Big Two candidates at local and state levels, but never before for either at the Presidential level, where I’ve voted third party or abstained, depending. Like you, I see Hillary as the very model of the venal, self-serving politician. Smart and experienced, sure; but to be trusted about as far as I can throw her.

        And yet, at this stage of the game (and assuming she gets the Dem nom), I can’t see myself doing anything other than holding my nose and pulling the lever for her in November.

        The mere possibility of a President Trump is too absurd, even for a noted fan of the absurd like myself.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Burt Likko
        Ignored
        says:

        “Either way, the planet is doomed.”

        @burt-likko BSDI: Both Sides Doomed It.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Burt Likko
        Ignored
        says:

        Eh, I don’t mind if you stay registered independent Burt; just vote Democratic and we’ll get along fine.

        And yes, I’m quite grateful to your state’s governor; he’s done yeoman’s work.Report

      • Avatar Francis in reply to Burt Likko
        Ignored
        says:

        “Since when do Democrats get to claim all of the moderates?”

        Parties don’t get to claim anything. They just make themselves available for coalition building.

        At the end of the day, the only relevant consideration is whose policies you hate more — then vote for the other party. One way to figure out whose policies you hate more — since we all have limited time and other interests — is to see what the leaders of the coalitions you choose to be a member of are saying.Report

      • Avatar Fortytwo in reply to Burt Likko
        Ignored
        says:

        Burt, when are you going to another long post? I so enjoy your articles.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to North
      Ignored
      says:

      the GOP has virtually no claim on them so in our binary system that leaves…

      Me wishing we didn’t have such a binary system.Report

  4. Avatar Kazzy
    Ignored
    says:

    “When my friends on the Left side of the aisle have suggested a home in the Democrat’s Big Tent, I asked them, “Since when do Democrats get to claim all of the moderates?””

    To be honest, this feels like playing right into the “picking sides” mentality.

    An invitation is not a claim to “ownership”. Further, if the Democrat’s big tent is indeed the best place for moderate conservatives, objecting to joining because it would allow the “Democrats […] to claim all of the moderates” seems like taking a sub-ideal path because of what it risks symbolizing.

    It may indeed be true that the Democrat tent is not big enough or accepting enough to accept moderate conservatives. But that should be determined on the merits and not on whether it would allow the Democrats to make a “claim” you’d rather they not.Report

  5. Avatar Kim
    Ignored
    says:

    Vote for Hillary, then you won’t need to decide whether you’re in the Democratic Tent or not.Report

    • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Kim
      Ignored
      says:

      From where I sit, I don’t know if I’d describe her as “moderate” in her conservatism.

      If Sanders becomes the Democratic nominee, I’ll have to slightly weaken my standard joke that in the USA the moderate right wing is known as the left wing of the Democratic party – at present it looks like there’s an actual sizable centrist group growing within the Democrats, leaving the moderate conservatives in the party startled to find someone to their left.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to dragonfrog
        Ignored
        says:

        She’s not conservative in the slightest, unless you’ve somehow mistaken shitslinging for conservative (which, I’ll grant, is easy enough to do). She’s working for the Powers that Be, and they’re not terribly conservative either.Report

        • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Kim
          Ignored
          says:

          Conservative in the classical “hold on, let’s take it easy and be cautious before we make any big changes” sense – no, probably not especially so, except that the Republicans mostly aren’t very conservative in that sense either.Report

  6. Avatar Will H.
    Ignored
    says:

    I would take either Sanders or Kasich.
    Absent either of those two, I would prefer to support Jill Stein and the Green Party, and may do so regardless.
    I would prefer to vote for someone who I actually want to be President, and Stein is the only one I see.

    Jumping from the D’s to the R’s around ’06, I can tell you that the Right is far more open to generating new ideas than the Left.
    I see the Left as concerned primarily with enforcing homogeneity of thought. I can’t go that route.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Will H.
      Ignored
      says:

      @will-h

      Do you mind me asking why would you take Sanders or Kaisch? They are ideologically opposed in so many ways. I can see having a preference for Sanders and then going to Jill Stein on ideological similarities but not going from Sanders to Kaisch.

      I also disagree that the Right is far more likely to generate new ideas but there might be issues of bias. I was born in 1980 just before Reagan was elected. In my mind and observations, the Republican Party has been spreading the same ideas largely since the day I was born. Tax cuts for the wealthy! Privatize Social Security and Medicare! Climate Change is Not Real! And more and more social conservatism.

      Meanwhile the Democratic Party went from nominating Walter Mondale (an unreconstructed New Dealer if there ever was one) to Bill Clinton to Al Gore to John Kerry to Obama and now a fight between Sanders and Clinton. Sanders will be the first Jewish American nominated for President. Clinton will be the first woman nominated for President by a major political party. The Democratic Party went from DOMA in 1996 to supporting LGBT rights quite strongly.

      What new ideas are the GOP generating? I see none. When I hear claims like this, I can’t but help of a bunch of white guys whining that the Democratic Party gives serious voices to people who are not white, heterosexual, nominally Christian men. It feels very off-putting to me. I think Janelle Bouie is on to something when he writes about Trump supporters hoping that Trump will restore an old racial hierarchy that was upset by Barack Obama’s election and easy re-election.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        I’m not Will, Saul, but I’d note that you just did a name switch in your protest replacing “left” with “Democrat”.

        I’d still agree generally with your protests but leftists and Democrats aren’t synonymous like it is with conservatives and the GOP. It’s amusing how both conservatives and liberals agree on writing moderate leftists out of the left but for opposite reasons.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        Getting both sides to start flinging shit at each other isn’t a new idea,Saul.
        It’s a very, very old idea, and you ought to be rather sick of it.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        Have you perhaps mistaken exxon for the republicans?
        Curious minds wish to know…Report

      • Avatar Will H. in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        @saul-degraw :
        Let me see if I can address your concerns:
        Are you, Saul Degraw, of the Left, a Democrat, or a progressive?
        Are you, Saul Degraw, an elected official?

        As a former trades journeyman, I understand very well that great disparities between the leadership and the rank-and-file often exists.
        In fact, many such relationships are defined by those disparities; c.f. John L. Lewis.Report

        • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Will H.
          Ignored
          says:

          1. I’m Democratic and pretty partisan about it. I’m probably fairly to the left of the nation overall but proudly Democratic. I will vote for Bernie with pride and I can vote for Hillary with pride. I have very little patience for people who practice “leftier than thou” politics and how they are too pure and good to vote for HRC. Quite simply, HRC and Sanders are heads and tails above the GOP and Libertarian alternatives to me.

          2. The closest I got to elected office was class rep in 8th grade. That was 22 years ago.Report

          • Avatar Will H. in reply to Saul Degraw
            Ignored
            says:

            That seems honest.
            Thank you for that.

            The real issue though, is that you are a dyed-in-the-wool big-D Democrat without being an elected official.
            The same is true of Republicans.
            And that’s where the action is.
            Elected officials make up only so much of the party.
            As I’ve stated before, R’s tend to be more principle-oriented, whereas D’s tend to be more position-oriented.
            That is, there are a wide range of positions anyone might take which are acceptable to the R’s (e.g., pro-needle exchange programs), so long as those positions can be traced back to certain principles. Conversely, any principle at all is fine with the D’s, so long as one ends up at their preferred position.

            To answer your first question:
            [W]hy would you take Sanders or Kaisch?

            Because where they fall in actual practice strays roughly the same distance from where I stand.
            It’s more about principles (remember: I’m an R).

            I think your confusion is caused by viewing things through that D-prescribed position lens.

            But, as I said, I like Stein better.Report

            • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Will H.
              Ignored
              says:

              @will-h

              I see what you are saying now. I broadly agree that Republicans and right-leaning libertarians are more into “first principles” than Democratic Party supporters are. The issue is that I think it is hypocritical. I’ve noted before that “limited government” merely seems to apply to business regulation and not social liberty issues. Or even if they have convinced themselves, the first principles are more about hype and/or held too stubbornly.

              I’m not sure why first principles are good or important. Hoover held unto first principles through out his Presidency as the Great Depression got worse and worse and more and more Americans lost their jobs and desperately needed relief, food, shelter, and water. Is it good to hold to first principles of limited government as people are going jobless by the millions and private charity is bursting at the seams? I personally don’t think so.

              There are also issues about how much issues of first principles are intertwined with issues of bias and stereotype.Report

              • Avatar Will H. in reply to Saul Degraw
                Ignored
                says:

                Thank you for this, @saul-degraw .
                There are some underlying assumptions here that I would like to unpack.
                First, I do believe in positive liberties.
                I believe in an efficient government.
                Oversight mechanisms tend to function better where overlapping governmental and private concerns are involved.
                Spending money doesn’t seem so much as the be-all end-all to me. Citizens United was wrongly decided. Spending money is no more speech than an obscene gesture is a blowjob. Unfortunately, this argument was not presented to the Court.
                Separation of church and state entails not legislating morality, whether for or against the church. Goodness is most evident when the option of evil is available.

                But then, I’m no elected official.
                I’m just some guy from the Right.Report

              • Avatar Damon in reply to Saul Degraw
                Ignored
                says:

                “The issue is that I think it is hypocritical. I’ve noted before that “limited government” merely seems to apply to business regulation and not social liberty issues. ”

                I find that hard to believe. There’s a lot libertarians that don’t think the drug war is a good idea, are pro open borders/freedom to travel, and are anti corporatism. Those seems like major social liberties.Report

          • Avatar Kim in reply to Saul Degraw
            Ignored
            says:

            If you can vote for Hillary with pride, you’re either just as much of a sellout as she is, too self-interested to do what’s right for the country (which I’ll admit, is a fair thing if you’re a trannie, but is an actively weird thing for a wealthy liberal), or you just haven’t been paying attention.

            Simply because she says she’s a Democrat doesn’t mean she is one. Remember Joe Lieberman?

            I’ll be looking forward to seeing you and the rest of the left squeeze themselves into ideological pretzels to “defend” Hillary, who needs no defense.Report

            • Avatar nevermoor in reply to Kim
              Ignored
              says:

              The only policy disagreements I have with her go to her relatively aggressive foreign policy stances (which are, at least, backed by a far deeper understanding of the world as it actually is than anyone else running).

              She’s smart, otherwise solidly liberal (which is something Bernie has helped with, to an extent), and exactly the right kind of person to identify/exploit small spaces for further policy improvement while protecting Obama’s progress. Also, like Obama but unlike anyone else running, she actually makes policy that adds up and can be presented honestly.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to nevermoor
                Ignored
                says:

                As if she’s going to put any of the “unpopular” positions out for public consumption.
                Like Lieberman, she’s sold out. This makes her future positions a lot more predictable, and a lot uglier than you’d think.Report

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

      Surprised to see Kasich on that list.

      Can you explain why you see him as someone with new ideas? To me he seems only “moderate” in the sense that he’s an actual politician (-Trump) who cooperates with his own party (-Cruz). His tax plan, for example, is just as hard-core conservative as any of the others.Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to nevermoor
        Ignored
        says:

        AFAICT, Kasich is not all that different on a policy level than Cruz. Make no mistake, he is politically conservative. The thing that really recommends Kasich IMO is temperament. Kasich will start from a conservative position and roll logs and trade horses in the traditional, political manner. He will compromise in places where he sees room to do so.

        Or at least, that’s the impression I get.Report

        • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Burt Likko
          Ignored
          says:

          Kasich will start from a conservative position and roll logs and trade horses in the traditional, political manner. He will compromise in places where he sees room to do so.

          Is this based on anything other than a personality assessment? Has he done this in the past?

          I’m really not familiar with his legislative history enough to know where you’re speculating or speaking from his actions.Report

          • Avatar El Muneco in reply to Morat20
            Ignored
            says:

            That’s broadly John Scalzi’s opinion, and he’s a centrist liberal who has lived under the Kasich regime.

            Basically, he’s too conservative to even hold nose and vote for – but wouldn’t be an existential threat to the institution if he did find a path to the Presidency. Just an old-school pol solidly in the right wing, albeit possibly squishy in relative terms on e.g. immigration.Report

          • Avatar nevermoor in reply to Morat20
            Ignored
            says:

            Well, in trying to be as fair as I can be, I think the real story of his balanced budget stuff (voting against the laws that actually caused the budget to balance, voting for the symbolic law later, claiming to be the “architect” of the whole thing now) suggests a willingness to be a traditional politician (contra Cruz).

            Sure doesn’t sound like a moderate presidential candidate though.Report

        • Avatar Will H. in reply to Burt Likko
          Ignored
          says:

          @burt-likko : Again, you have given a better answer than I would have.

          In a word, logrolling.

          The only thing I would add to Burt L.’s comment above is that I do not believe those positions Kasich is staking out in the nomination process are hard positions, but bargaining chips for the sake of obtaining the nomination.
          That is, I think he’s playing to his current electorate.

          One of the terrible shortcomings of politics:
          The bulk of its practitioners are politicians.

          As a presidential candidate, he would be somewhat different, IMHO.Report

  7. Avatar Michael Cain
    Ignored
    says:

    Which Democratic party are you complaining about here? The currently dominant wing that occupies the NE urban corridor and then west across the Rust Belt cities? The second-tier wing in the big metro areas of the West Coast? Or the third-tier in the rest of the country? The third-tier has to be more accepting of different viewpoints — eg, Mountain West Democrats can’t run on the policies of rebuilding Rust Belt cities.Report

  8. Avatar Chip Daniels
    Ignored
    says:

    Mike has written essentially the same essay I would have written, circa 2000.

    The idea that one could take a cautious and conservative approach to the project of uplifting and progressing society is a fine one. I just find that this spirit lives in my new home in the Democratic Party now.Report

  9. Avatar Art Deco
    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.

    All laws that proscribe certain sorts of human behavior express ‘sentiments’. You’re manufacturing a nonsense category.

    That aside, you’re mistaking the the salients of what such ordinances do say: people shouldn’t traffick in stupefacients, people should not kill the young in vitro, and people should not engage in sodomy.

    While we’re at it, it has been some time since anyone introduced an amendment to the penal code to make sodomy a criminal offense. Defending such a statute means merely that such matters are at the discretion of legislatures. Controversies over these matters in the last 35 years have concerned whether or not homosexuals should have a cause of action against someone who refuses to rent them an apartment, hire them, or retain them. Which is to say whether the law should hold that adhering to an unapproved sentiment should be regarded as a tort. Of late, at stake has been the freedom of service providers to not offer their services.Report

  10. Avatar aaron david
    Ignored
    says:

    Well, I want to thank you for writing this Mike, as it firms up my personal beliefs.

    That said, I think you, and all of the commenters that I have read so in this thread, are missing the realignment that has been happening for a while now. Namely that the two major parties are breaking up on class and geography lines and you (and for that matter I) are in that mushy middle ground inbetween the two goups. And while this does suck from a person identity standpoint, JR notwithstanding, it is unsuprising at this time of the Big Sort.

    Both parties have moderates, but what they don’t have are shared values. So what seems to be going off the deep end to you, is really signaling to the others in their class that they are not part of the class that is in charge right now, and are done with the leadership of that class. Hence Bernie and Trump. Hence different ideas on immigration, as the understanding of that issue breaks down on class lines, and what you precieve as good for you, and what you understand as harmful to others.

    Bear in mind that this is not economic class, but rather social class.Report

    • Avatar j r in reply to aaron david
      Ignored
      says:

      I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately. Partly because of the kind of work that I do and partly because I’ve just become an expat and have some perspective outside of the United States. I actually do think that people have lots of shared values, but the nature of the political conversation is changing in such a way that we are presented with a narrative that urges us to sublimate our values into an explicitly political identity.

      Not to say that politics was ever much different, but the relationship between politics and people’s individual lives is changing. I don’t think that this is a change for the better. Ideally, politics ought to be about facilitating change. If, however, we can convince ourselves that everything bad is somebody else’s fault, then we don’t have to change. Politics becomes about beating the bad guy instead. In other words, politics becomes a collective defense mechanism that allows not to face up to our own economic and cultural anxieties.Report

    • Avatar Will H. in reply to aaron david
      Ignored
      says:

      what they don’t have are shared values.
      People on both the Left and the Right get up and mow the yard on the weekend.
      Right or Left, they all want to put their kids through school.
      People on both the Left and the Right like to speak to other members of their families from time to time.
      People on both the Right and Left like to get a feeling of satisfaction from their work.

      For your own sake, please do not lose sight of the bigger picture.
      They are both pretty much the same.

      the realignment that has been happening for a while now. Namely that the two major parties are breaking up. . . signaling to the others in their class that they are not part of the class that is in charge right now, and are done with the leadership of that class. Hence Bernie and Trump.

      A lot of what you’re seeing here are the direct effects of the proliferation of digital media, and the breakdown of the gatekeeper function of the traditional gatekeepers.
      In this sense, Bernie & Trump are user-generated content.
      Expect more movement in the same directions.

      Those old gatekeepers still retain quite a bit of influence though.
      When the mantra of re-inventing themselves wears thin and they begin to feel themselves threatened, things will become very interesting for a time.Report

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *