Morning Ed: World Politics {2016.09.08.Th}


Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

Related Post Roulette

217 Responses

  1. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    Trump and Paleo-libertarianism: The past matters in politics. The current Democratic Party is no longer the Democratic Party of the Confederacy, segregation, and Jim Crow but Republicans and other people who hate the Democratic Party still throw these facts in the face of the Democratic Party when it suits them. Most modern libertarians are people who sincerely believe in free market economics and civil liberties. Some might be a bit on the strange side but they are generally well-meaning people. The early stages of the Libertarian movement had some very unsavory characters that had a strong tendency to side with social conservatives for a variety of reasons.

    Venezuela: Considering the situation in Venezuela, an informal solution to ending the Presidency might have been called for but that could also make matters worse.Report

    • Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

      I find it difficult to generalize about self-identified “libertarians” because the word as they use it is virtually meaningless. I can be reasonably confident that anyone who self-identifies this way wishes he had lower taxes, but that is about it. “No true Scotsman” arguments follow, at which point I tune out.

      It is clear that not everyone who self-identifies as libertarian is racist, but libertarianism, inasmuch as it means anything other than wanting lower taxes, is congenial to racism. The racist will often be attracted to libertarianism as it provides cover for him: because Freedom! don’t you know?

      Typically at this point the self-identified libertarian will indignantly proclaim that racism has nothing to do with libertarianism and it is totally unfair to observe that many racists also self-identify as libertarian. The history of Ron Paul shows pretty conclusively that as a matter of recent history, the two have in fact been closely intertwined. History is not destiny. The Democratic Party disavowed Jim Crow. Libertarianism can disavow racism. But this requires more than indignant huffing and puffing in response to any observation of the connection between the two.

      On a linguistic note, I commend the Michael Moorcock essay Starship Stormtroopers as an example of past usage of the word “libertarian” in a way entirely unlike its modern use.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        I agree that certain types of libertarianism are very congenial to racism, see Avik Roy’s realization that many people embraced small government conservatism because they thought it would hurt people of color. Most of the current crop seems to have gotten beyond libertarianism bad roots though and deserve credit as the Washington Post article noted.

        Libertarianism was first used by left anarchists.Report

        • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

          Its more than the roots.

          If your view of society is that outcomes are better left to the invisible hand and spontaneous order, that leaves unchallenged the power of nonstate actors.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        Eh. I’d say that racism is orthogonal to libertarianism. Here’s my best attempt at an argument for the sake of argument:

        People will self-segregate and should not be prevented from self-segregating. The government should not segregate people deliberately, but if someone wants to say “I want a dorm that only has African-Americans in it (or Latino or Native American)” at a college, they should not be prevented from creating one.

        Is racism bad? Sure. But whether a thing is bad is orthogonal to the question of what we should have our government policy be.

        Much like with Prohibition of Alcohol, it’s not that libertarians who opposed Prohibition were big supporters of the Irish beating their wives after tying one on. It’s that they argue that the cure was worse than the disease and, besides, you’re not going to eliminate what you’re trying to eliminate by the methods you’re using anyway because people are going to drink alcohol.

        So too with racism. It should never be government policy to segregate people (and people ought to be integrated). But if people want to self-segregate, you can’t prevent them from doing so.

        And the evidence that they will do so contains, but is not limited to, gentrified urban centers that have even more so-called “apartheid schools” than the deep South.Report

        • Avatar pillsy says:

          But whether a thing is bad is orthogonal to the question of what we should have our government policy be.

          This is bananas. Whether something is bad is not the only thing to consider when determining what government policy should be, but the idea that it’s irrelevant to what policy should be is just silly.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird says:

            I didn’t say irrelevant.Report

            • Avatar pillsy says:

              Yeah, you really kinda did, since you said picking government policy is completely independent of the goodness and badness of things.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                May I paraphrase?

                “Yes, you said this thing that you said you didn’t say, since you said another thing you didn’t say.”

                Did I get that more or less right?Report

              • Avatar pillsy says:

                Did I get that more or less right?

                No. What is “orthogonal” supposed to mean in this context, if not completely independent?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                What is “orthogonal” supposed to mean in this context, if not completely independent?

                Now, do you see how someone might read this sentence and say “huh, he went from using the word ‘irrelevant’ to using ‘independent’ without acknowledging that he did so”?

                I’m not asking you to agree that they would necessarily do this, just that it’s possible for someone to read this sentence and reasonably conclude that that sort of thing happened?Report

              • Avatar pillsy says:

                …No? I mean, why would that be something someone would acknowledge, given the obvious equivalence of the two statements in this context?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Because it feels like you’re playing the game where you’re trying to get me to defend a position I don’t hold by accusing me of having said words I didn’t use.

                For the record, if your original statement said:

                This is bananas. Whether something is bad is not the only thing to consider when determining what government policy should be, but the idea that it’s independent of what policy should be is just silly.

                I’m pretty sure that our conversation would have gone a different direction.

                Indeed it is my deep suspicion that if you used the phrase “independent of” rather than “irrelevant to” in that comment, you would have erased what you had written and written something else because my point would have been more apparent.Report

              • Avatar pillsy says:

                Suspect what you want, however deeply you wish, but the two statements look equivalent (and equivalently daft) to me.

                Say the question of whether we should implement government policy is independent of the badness of racism, and imagine that we have a set of government policies that we know will increase racism [1]. Your argument implies we needn’t consider whether racism is bad when we decide to implement those policies.

                That’s very strange.

                [1] We certainly know those can work, right?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                I’m not sure what you mean by “increase racism” (because you you go on to say “we know those can work”). What kind of law do you think can increase racism?

                Do you mean segregation?Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck says:

                “What kind of law do you think can increase racism?”

                To many, racism is a fungus that spreads and grows whenever it isn’t actively checked. Even doing nothing is not enough; anything that does not actively work to ratchet up the punishments for racism and the efforts to ferret it out is, obviously, supportive of racism’s flourishing and strengthening.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                I mean, there’s the racism that exists in the human heart.
                There’s structural racism that can exist even in a society that no longer has individuals that hold the racism that exists in the human heart.

                And laws can be passed to increase structural racism.

                The problem is that these laws that increase or strengthen structural racism are never really sold as being “hey! Let’s strengthen structural racism!” but they’re instead sold as “let’s provide stronger guidelines for how we judge whether our school districts and municipal lines overlap”.

                And, next thing you know, you have school districts like the ones found in San Francisco.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                So I’m guessing that he’s using “racism” to mean “structural racism” and not “human heart racism”… and I was using the word racism to mean “human heart racism” and it’s in that context that I read the original exchange.Report

              • Avatar pillsy says:

                And to others, racism is such a marginal force that it can be expected to wither away when it isn’t protected, like a hothouse flower, by the machinations of the state. Once you have eliminated de jure racial discrimination, racism, if it doesn’t disappear entirely, will at least become a quirk, a curiosity, or an individual character flaw to shake your head over.

                The two described groups of people would agree on very little, but they would agree that government policy can sustain and exacerbate racism.Report

              • Avatar pillsy says:

                I was actually thinking of slavery, but segregation would be another example.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Ah, gotcha. No wonder we were talking past each other.

                For what it’s worth, I think that it’s possible for laws to meaningfully address structural racism.

                I’m not sure how much of the easy stuff to do is left for us to do… and I’m not certain how much of the preliminary work for the hard stuff can be done from a distance nor am I confident that we have set a good example enough to inspire others to follow in our footsteps.Report

              • Avatar pillsy says:

                I think accomplishing meaningful progress towards public policy goals is virtually never easy. The consensus that racism is a bad thing, and getting rid of it is even a reasonable aspirational goal, is a relative novelty in American history. Getting things to that point was heinously difficult, by every account I’ve read.

                That said, I doubt that there’s really such a clear distinction between structural racism and “of the heart” racism. It’s structural racism that gives “of the heart” racism the teeth it still has [1], but structural racism is going to do a lot to make “of the heart” racism appealing. It creates winners and losers, and for the winners, it provides many opportunities for future losses should it go away. People, as we know, hate losing things, love rationalizations, and have a tendency to believe things all the more fiercely if believing those things cements them to their communities.

                [1] And is mostly what distinguishes racial bigotry from a weird, idiosyncratic jerkassery.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck says:

                Maybe when someone explains to you that a word has a different than what you originally thought, you should say “oh, okay” instead of doubling down on your misunderstanding.Report

              • Avatar Pillsy says:

                I will bear your advice in mind should it ever become relevant. It wasn’t in this thread, but you go with your bad, free-associating self.Report

        • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

          You don’t think this sounds a bit glib?

          As in, you clearly see a purpose for government to do the sorts of things you think should be done.

          However, the massive injustice of millions of people’s lives, the thing that permeates every aspect of our society is dismissed rather breezily as something “orthogonal” or irrelevant to the workings of government policy.

          “Yes, Mrs. Smith, its unfortunate what happened to your son. But how do you feel about the capital gains tax rate, and legal marijuana?”Report

          • Avatar Jaybird says:

            To say that I think that a thing should be done does not say that I think that, therefore, the government would do a bang up job of doing it.

            I could think that, for example, in this particular case the government would make things worse or, more likely, that they wouldn’t really change anything but make one side of the culture war feel better about not having really changed anything while accusing the other side of the culture war for being racist for not being on board with not really having changed much.Report

            • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

              That’s probably in line with your experience, and mine as well.

              But its safe to say isn’t it, that it is directly contradictory to the actual lived experience, and eyewitness testimony, of millions of other people, who can say honestly that government power- hard brutal coercive power- was a tool to liberate them from a terrible injustice?

              I mean, the Civil Rights Act did something more than just make northern Yankees feel righteous about themselves?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Sure it did. And now we can discuss the extent to which 2nd Order Effects and 3rd Order Effects can be blamed on an event even though the 1st Order Effects were really, really good.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

                Well certainly.
                But again, whether those effects are good or bad, and whether they are worth the initial benefits, will depend largely on our experiences.

                And for a lot of people even those side effects have been pretty damn good.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                I’m one of the people for whom the side effects have been great.

                The system works.

                Though when we look at things like that Atlantic article I mentioned (and keep mentioning), we see lines like this one:

                Indeed, in some ways all-black schools today are worse than Druid High was back in the 1950s, when poor black students mixed with affluent and middle-class ones, and when many of the most talented black residents of Tuscaloosa taught there.

                In some ways, we’ve made things worse.

                I guess it depends on our experiences.Report

              • Avatar PD Shaw says:

                Very good Atlantic article. My children attend schools desegregated by court order with poor blacks being bused to the the white(*) side of town. My observations had been that it was no longer working or helping and it might be causing serious harm, which I still think is true, but stopping might be worse. The most haunting line for me was the Judge who suffered under Jim Crow and removed the desegregation order: “The answer cannot be ‘The only way to get good schools is to have white people in them.’ ”

                (*) White meaning non African-American. African immigrants won’t live on the non-white side of town.Report

              • Avatar J_A says:

                Another apparent example of th expansion of the definition of White to incorporate everyone but African AmericansReport

        • Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

          I am at a loss about what part of this you think is inconsistent with my observation. I will grant that you are not yourself a libertarian because you think it your last best hope for dealing with (or not dealing with, as it were) Those People. But you then went on to justify why someone so motivated would be attracted to libertarianism.

          Here is a similar situation. There is a strand of conservative Christianity that is very concerned about wives submitting to their husbands’ authority. Some men within this strand are conflicted by this. Their nature is not to boss their wives around, but they have come to a theological conclusion that they are supposed to. I have read essays by some of these guys, and I completely accept that they are sincere, albeit theologically misguided. But you know who else is attracted to this strand of theology? Wife beaters. Go figure. Were I myself a member of this strand, I would be extremely concerned with condemning the wife beaters: not merely distancing myself from them, and certainly not consorting with them.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird says:

            It’s not that it’s inconsistent, it’s that it’s saying that you’re focusing on the wrong dynamic to explain this.

            De facto segregation is overdetermined and universal. Is (very progressive city) or (other very progressive city) or (holy crap progressive city) segregated because of racism? It seems to me that they’ve inoculated themselves against charges of racism and done so perfectly.

            Something else is going on here as well and that something else is as interesting, if not more interesting, than the fact that paleolibertarianism is attractive to racists who have thought about it for a few minutes first.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Yeah, there was also an article that we discussed way back when that used some very deliberate phrasing as it made its arguments about what was going on in the South.

                Here’s the sentence that got me to raise my eyebrow:

                In recent years, a new term, apartheid schools—meaning schools whose white population is 1 percent or less, schools like Central—has entered the scholarly lexicon. While most of these schools are in the Northeast and Midwest, some 12 percent of black students in the South now attend such schools—a figure likely to rise as court oversight continues to wane.


              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                Ah, yes, the implication that it’s only REALLY a problem because it’s starting to happen in the south.Report

              • Avatar Don Zeko says:

                Color me extremely unconvinced that residential and de facto school segregation is the result of excessive government efforts to remedy past discrimination. That’s a fight that liberals lost to conservatives and libertarians decades ago.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                Be that as it may (and I don’t disagree, insofar as I believe there are many causes and that’s not especially high on the list), this piece on busing is worth a read.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:


                I’m not saying it is. As a matter of fact, segregation today is (IMHO) more Big Sort and less Redline. My comment was rather toward the idea that segregation in the NE & MW is unfortunate, but in the south it’s a real problem, even though it hasn’t yet approached the levels that the NE & MW are experiencing.Report

              • Avatar Don Zeko says:

                Sure. I meant my comment more as a response to @jaybird . I’d go further than you, I think, and say that a lot of people think about racism and segregation entirely differently in the South as they do in the rest of the country, usually in ways designed to comfort and absolve themselves.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                I’d go further than you, I think, and say that a lot of people think about racism and segregation entirely differently in the South as they do in the rest of the country, usually in ways designed to comfort and absolve themselves.

                Well, by one line of thinking, the fundamental problem of racism is that a dominant power-holding group oppresses a minority and it’s the minorities JOB to inform the oppressors – or anyone, really – of the ad hoc institutionally derived power-differentials which continue to oppress them.

                By this reasoning, southern whites are clearly the victims of institutional oppression (imposed by The North, natch) which cries out to be rectified.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                I agree 100% with this.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq says:

                Most of the liberals I know via blogosphere complain about segregation in the rest of the country to.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                They do, but often in the context of a southern problem that has spread.

                I’ve had this debate on police shootings, too. Tamir Rice being a case of a northern police department taking its cues from southerners.

                And in discussions about Trumpism, wherein it is explained it can’t win in the north because we know where the racists live. (Terms and conditions apply, offer not valid for the governorship of Wisconsin.)Report

              • Avatar Don Zeko says:

                I hate this mode of thinking. Racism/white supremacy/whatever you want to call it is an American problem that has found its most severe and dramatic expression in the South.Report

              • Avatar Kolohe says:

                Because that’s where most of the African Americans have always been. Like, the Illinois in which Lincoln started his political career had a constituional provision prohibiting any black people from living in the state at all.Report

              • Avatar Don Zeko says:

                Sure, although after the Great Migration the South was substantially less peculiar than before. Mostly what bugs me is a thing that Jon Stewart used to do from time to time, wherein you use Alabama or West Virginia or whatever as kind of a shorthand for political conservatism, cultural conservatism, racism and general backwardness. It’s just like how liberals would joke about the blue states seceding during the Bush administration, and it’s a very inaccurate view of the South and the rest of the country, in which we pretend that Boston and Chicago and LA didn’t also need a civil rights movement.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:


                I worry less about segregation itself, than the why of it happening. Are minorities coming together because they enjoy being a community with a strong sense of ethnic identity, or are they being pushed together through legal or economic means in order to deny them access to other areas?

                It’s actually kind of important to understand that distinction.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi says:

                Minorities are coming together because corporations can make profit!!!
                (no, seriously. There’s racism, and then there’s corporate racism that you can’t prove on anything like a normal budget.)Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Brief aside: this article showed up in my timeline again and it perfectly captures the nature of the problem (though not the solution):

                I am not an education policy wonk: I’m just judgmental. But it seems to me that if every single parent sent every single child to public school, public schools would improve. This would not happen immediately. It could take generations. Your children and grandchildren might get mediocre educations in the meantime, but it will be worth it, for the eventual common good.


              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                I remember that one…Report

          • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

            I agree with @leeesq that there are plenty of conservatives who find the GOP unappealing who like to cloak themselves in libertarianism thanks to a shallow understanding, or by latching on to one aspect of the philosophy. And there are plenty of other libertarians who distance themselves and speak against such persons.

            That said, one of the reasons bigots think there is shelter in the libertarian camp is precisely because most libertarians won’t make a huge deal about an individual’s preferences, as that really does run counter to the philosophy[1]. The Vernon Major’s of the world can be as racist as they want as long as they don’t A) act upon such in a way that conflicts with the rights of another[2] or B) try to codify such things into law[3].

            [1] Ostracizing people with unpopular opinions has a very bad record of winning converts. What it does have a good record of doing is encouraging Big Sort kind of behavior.

            [2] Which is why Affirmative Action & Public Accommodation are sticking points, because of some pretty significant rights conflicts. I am totally onboard that minorities should have equal access & opportunity, and gay people should be able to get a wedding cake, but such things do represent a conflict of rights. I tend to lean just left enough that I find the right to discriminate for (what is to me) aesthetic reasons has less import than the right to equal access, etc. Ideally, I would totally be on board with @davidtc idea that such persons should own that desire to discriminate, loud & proud on the front door & in every advertisement, except for [1] above leading to…

            [3] Allow enough bigots to sort themselves into a large enough community, and sure as the sun fuses hydrogen into helium, they’ll try to codify their attitudes into law, or just allow it to be an unwritten social order, and that just can not be tolerated under a libertarian philosophy as now you are depriving others of their rights under color of law (-ish).Report

          • Avatar DensityDuck says:

            “you know who else is attracted to this strand of theology? Wife beaters.”

            Child pornographers are big fans of strong privacy protections.Report

            • Avatar pillsy says:

              I’ve found that advocates of strong privacy protections spend a lot of time dealing with arguments that those protections will facilitate all sorts of wrong-doers engaging in all sorts of wrong-doing. So, um, yeah.Report

        • Eh. I’d say that racism is orthogonal to libertarianism.

          I’ll consider that a concession. Most (self-professed) libertarians I’ve had the conversation with insist that a libertarian could never be racist, because racism is a kind of collectivism.Report

          • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

            For racism to have power, it needs the collective.

            The crazy old racist is just a crazy old racist, but a county full of racists, that is an actual concern.Report

            • If a country full of racists marginalizes people through the social system rather than through state power, is that incompatible with libertarianism?Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck says:

                Based on your statements elsewhere, I’d have thought you entirely on board with undesirable persons being marginalized through the social system.Report

              • Fuck off.

                (You consider that a comment that should cause no negative consequences, right?)Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                In my understanding it is, at least philosophically.

                The problem is that such marginalization is, again, one of those sticky rights conflicts.

                Let’s say you have Bigot County, and they don’t like colored folk or sodomites, but they are in the US, so they can’t openly discriminate. Doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen, only that if they are even a little bit smart, it just gets driven out of sight[1]. A black person can sit at the lunch counter, but the service they get is certainly not on par with the white folk. A black man can start a business, but none of the locals will spend their money there, etc.

                Crap like that happens all the time in the US. It runs counter to the libertarian philosophy in the sense that people should not be marginalized like that, but at the same time, trying to use the force of government to alter such behavior isn’t going to end well. The best we can hope for is that, especially given how quickly information flows, that word will get out and everyone else will avoid the place, such that it falls into economic stagnation or ruin. The worst is that word gets out and it becomes Bigot central with enough clout to keep the old economic engine humming right along[2].

                [1] As I’ve said before, the mistake made by the various public accommodation cases was that the people involved just had to get up on their soap box about it.

                [2] Luckily, invariably if the worst happens, the highly discriminatory social mores will somehow make it into law (usually because rights activists will get in there and start causing trouble), and then it’s game on.Report

        • Avatar Stillwater says:

          Not to pile on here, but it seems me that the claim “racism is orthogonal to ibertarianism” is equivalent to saying “unintended consequences are orthogonal to (conventional US) liberalism”. In both cases, it’s possible to tease out relevant ism-based principles/policy proposals that make no contact with either racism or unintended consequences. In practice, tho, they may and often do, which implies – to me anyway – that a simplistic conception of ideologies as abstract collections of principles divorced from real world effects and individual motives is likely to be pretty dang useless. (Except at the academic level. 🙂Report

          • Avatar Jaybird says:

            Well, much of the problem with libertarianism is that it never, ever, leaves the academic level.

            When you stop working with spherical cows in a vacuum, you find yourself wrestling with different problems entirely. And those problems are a lot uglier to wrestle with.Report

          • Avatar Joe Sal says:

            It depends on where ‘unintended consequences’ are coming from. Libertarianism requires few social constructs, US liberalism requires vast arrays of constructs. If the unintended consequences are coming from social constructs that signifies something useful.Report

            • Avatar Stillwater says:

              Libertarianism requires few social constructs, US liberalism requires vast arrays of constructs.

              (Granting the distinction 🙂 what if our world requires what you call “social constructs” to adequately, if not optimally, function?

              Look, I totally get the type of thinking which motivates certain strains of radical individualism, which in turn (in my view) emotionally undergirds the intellectual development of those underlying sentiments into libertarian Theories of Political Economy. I get it. I just think they are so counterfactual, idealizedly fantastical, and practically impossible that I cannot help the reflexive tendency to reduce their advocacy to mere expressions of irrational pissed-offness that the world is different than they wold prefer.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck says:

                You’d be surprised how much less intellectual effort you need to justify your philosophy when you just accept the truth that some people will be assholes and all you can do about it is not have them in your life.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                I love that you’re here, DD!Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                what if our world requires what you call “social constructs” to adequately, if not optimally, function?

                Let me add a qualifier:

                what if our world requires what you call “social constructs” to adequately, if not optimally, function in a way that appeals to my preferences?

                There is no universal optimum, just prefered states that vary from tribe to tribe.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                There is no universal optimum, just prefered states that vary from tribe to tribe.

                Are radical individualists a tribe? 🙂Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal says:

                Can a tribe exist of only one member?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Can a tribe exist of only one member?

                No. We have a different word for that: “Individual”.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                Yes! Absolutely yes! There are thousands of us, maybe millions! But, umm, we’re not entirely sure exactly how many because, well, we don’t REALLY like each other, and if more than 20 of us gather in a room, we get all anxious, and start to bickering, so getting a head count is kinda tricky, and about the ONLY thing we agree on is that we really just want to be left the hell alone…

                But yeah, totally a tribe.Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal says:

                If we are a tribe then take me to our leader. Ha!Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                I wish I could, but he’s hole up in his bunker out in rural [REDACTED].Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal says:

                Rural? So the urban ones didn’t let you in on the secret? Huh.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                But yeah, totally a tribe.

                So all the normal criticisms and meta-analyses of conservative/liberal tribalistic thinking invoked by radical individualists apply to you guys as well, then, yes?

                Good to know. 🙂Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                Absolutely! Except, you know, we’ll disagree with all of it.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                So, it’s a “member of the set of all group-think sets which are not members of themselves” sorta thing.Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal says:

                -“(Granting the distinction 🙂 what if our world requires what you call “social constructs” to adequately, if not optimally, function?”

                This is a pretty good question, and one I have been struggling with. I don’t think social constructs are required, but they certainly appear to be a strong preference for a large portion of the population.Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq says:

          People might self-segregate but many acts of individual self-segregation could end up as a mass injustice and something like de facto official segregation. Even absent state enforced segregation, a self-segregating society might end up as one were minorities are punished more harshly under the law or can not build up wealth.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater says:

            but many acts of individual self-segregation could end up as a mass injustice

            Question Lee: do you think Jews self-segregate, here in the US or in Israel?Report

            • Avatar Kimmi says:

              self-segregate” is rather rich.
              Please see the article in the Forward about the deliberate fostering of an environment that encourages future segregation.
              [It should go without saying why this is being done. What does not go without a small explanation is why Israel considers this part of National Defense].Report

            • Avatar LeeEsq says:

              You can make a good faith argument that Jews engage in some very clannish behavior in every country. There may or may not be good reasons for this.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Not all Jews. I have a co-worker who is an African-American convert to Messianic Judaism and both he and his synagogue are very welcoming to any and all.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi says:

                Are those the Jews that believe in Jesus?
                Because those people aren’t Jews…
                (they believe in jesus christ, and that they’re descendants of a lost tribe of israel. which? whatever. I don’t care, don’t harass me. But not Jews).

                “very welcoming” is different from being clannish. Clannish is a state that Jews live in — because otherwise they die out.

                Christians live in a state of ubiquity, and thus the question is “everyone goes to church, why don’t you?”Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal says:

                “because otherwise they die out”

                Where does that part come from?Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                So sometimes clannish behavior is okay and sometimes not?Report

          • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

            So it’s always bad, even if it is the demonstrated preference.

            So how do you decide which people to yank out of a self segregated community for their own good?Report

            • Avatar LeeEsq says:

              What I meant is something like, the government doesn’t have any policy against giving mortgages to group X but all the banks decide to enact such a policy anyway.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                You need to draw the line from “This subgroup enjoys living near other members of the subgroup and self-segregates into such communities” and “Banks collude to deny financing to members of this subgroup”.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                (I’d also appreciate a breakdown of “There may or may not be good reasons for this” and whether the good reasons that there may or may not be apply to any and all or whether they are specific solely to people who meet certain criteria.)Report

        • For what it’s worth, I looked up “orthogonal,” and while the only definitions (of the two I looked at) only said something about right angles, what I originally took the metaphorical meaning of the term to be still seems correct:

          “Something that has something to do with something else, but not in a direct way.”

          I don’t see Jaybird as saying anything other than “there’s a relationship between libertarians and racism and libertarianism and racism, but racism doesn’t follow easily or obviously from libertarianism.”Report

          • Avatar DavidTC says:

            That isn’t what orthogonal means in the figurative sense.

            Orthogonal, in geometry, means two things that are at right angles to each other, yes, but it *doesn’t* mean they intersect. (It doesn’t mean they don’t, either, but the point is that they don’t have to intersect.)

            Figuratively, the implication is that they are lines going in completely different directions and will never interact with each other.

            So things that are ‘orthogonal’ are completely independent of each other.

            It’s a term of art in statistics, meaning two things that are statistically independent. It doesn’t matter what the one of them is set at, you can change the other and get the same variation in output.

            I.e., how far a car moves when *you* drive a car is orthogonal to how far someone else drives the same car. You drive for one minute at 60mph, the car has moved a mile. They drive for a mile, first, then you drive for one minute, you have moved the car a mile. They drive the car backwards a mile, you drive for a minute…car still moved a mile by you.

            None of *their* car-moving input has any bearing how how far the car moves when *you* drive it. A minute at 60mph is one mile, period. It doesn’t matter if the AC is on, or the windows are down, or anything. There are no other variables to account for. (Erm, in the crazy ideal world I’ve constructed, there are no other variables.)

            Not this doesn’t mean there can’t be other variables that change the same thing. It just means those other variables *don’t change how that variable operates*.

            Or, for a better example: There are all sorts of things that determine height. Genes, diet, other environmental stuff…and whether or not they are wearing six-inch lifts. All the other stuff that determines height interacts with each other in weird ways…but you put someone in six-inch lifts or take them out of them, they will always gain or lose six inches, completely orthogonal to any other height input.

            And it’s also jargon used by computer programmers, with the same meaning, although it tends to be a bit fuzzier there

            I.e., if someone says that they need to get a faster video card because levels are taking too long to load, we might point out that video game *loading* is orthogonal to video speed and is mostly due to main memory, video memory, bus speed, and disk speed…even though, strictly speaking, it’s not *impossible* that a faster video card would make things slightly faster, but it’s not where you want to look.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird says:

              Yeah, what I was going for was:

              It’s a term of art in statistics, meaning two things that are statistically independent. It doesn’t matter what the one of them is set at, you can change the other and get the same variation in output.

              But, of course, that’s in spherical cow vacuum world. In real life you end up in weird places.

              But ending up in weird places is one of those criticisms that can be dismissed by pointing out that, no matter what we do (even if it’s not libertarian in the least), we’re going to end up there anyway.Report

      • Avatar DensityDuck says:

        “I find it difficult to generalize about self-identified “libertarians” because the word as they use it is virtually meaningless. ”

        That’s a pretty sweet deal for you, because you get to complain about how libertarians are all totally OK with racism and sexism and all the rest of the BAD STUFF, but then when any individual libertarian replies that they don’t support those things you can tell them that you obviously didn’t mean them personally because libertarians are so inconsistent that no two of them think the same thing.Report

        • Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

          It is pretty sweet for me in that I am not forced to conclude that any individual who self-identifies as libertarian is therefore racist. This allows me to treat with said individual as a non-asshat. Sadly, however, the institutional history of libertarianism suggests that said individual is willing to lie in bed with racists. The remaining question is whether he is actively seeking them out or passively welcoming them.Report

        • Avatar Kimmi says:

          I restrict my criticism of libertarians to them being okay with slavery.
          Money talks more than “schmart guys” online.Report

  2. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    News source: As Jonathan Bernstein points out, if you read about politics a lot than you are a freak.

    Chait recently pointed out that the problem with most people getting their news from relatively centrist mainstream news sources is that these centrist news sources are unwilling to call a spade a spadein the name of ratings and money even when it is really appropriate to do so.Report

  3. From the Sympathy for the Devil/Anthony Weiner article:

    We are supposed to find it shocking that Weiner can’t quit this vice, especially because he has been caught and embarrassed by it so often. But why? Don’t we all know people who have trouble controlling their vices, no matter how much havoc it wreaks on their lives and on the people who surround them?

    That’s a good point, and I think it’s even more generalizable, as the author himself suggests later:

    Many of us keep a journal in which we record personal struggles with our conscience. What is the pattern that emerges there? Either you struggle for years to conquer or manage your faults, or you try to burn away your sense of guilt and declare your faults to be eradicable parts of your character.


    • Avatar dhex says:

      i am genuinely baffled at this piece. there are so many people who struggle with all sorts of compulsive things who aren’t also inflicting those compulsions upon third parties AND repeatedly seeking power over the lives of millions of their fellow citizens via political office.

      edit to add: the reason it’s more shocking, contra the position of the author, is because he (was) a politician, people for whom avoiding scandal is genuinely important for life and limb. it’s like a singer punching themselves in the throat – counterproductive.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        The second part — that he was a politician — certainly tells us why we care at all, but I think the first part is really important. We should have sympathy for people whose compulsive behaviors are self-destructive, but his do involve making strong, unsolicited sexual advances to women on the internet, and that’s a problem not just for him but for us.Report

        • Avatar Kazzy says:

          If Weiner wants to engage in the consensual exchange of solicited dick pics, I really couldn’t care. Even if he does this outside the bounds of his marriage, that is troubling but relationships are tricky beasts and I’m loathe to wade into the waters of someone else’s.

          But as you say, that isn’t what he’s doing. He is harming people. And that is wrong.

          He isn’t the drunk who is slowly wasting away in his arm chair. He is the drunk grabbing women’s asses in the bar.Report

          • Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

            This. Yes, many people have their demons. They need to reach some sort of accommodation with them. There is an excellent history of early Cooperstown (unrelated to its supposed baseball history). It tells how William Cooper, (father of James Fenimore Cooper) had a man on a personal services contract. This man clearly was an alcoholic, so the contract included a provision that he got one day a month off for the explicit purpose of getting drunk. That struck me as a good example of an accommodation with one’s demon. If a definite, foreseeable opportunity to tie one on will let you get through the day, then so be it. In Weiner’s case, if a dick pic buddy would do the trick, then go with that. If that doesn’t do it, find something else. But find something.Report

            • “Last Thursday was my day, sir, but I didn’t feel the urge Which worried me, because I was sure the craving would come back to me and I wouldn’t be able to hold it off until next month. I needed something to make me want to be drunk. Fortunately, it occurred to me to try to read your son’s book, The Deerslayer.”Report

        • Avatar Will Truman says:

          I haven’t followed the story closely, but I’ve always been less than clear on whether the directed pictures were unsolicited. I have seen assumptions that they were, and accusations that they were honeytraps, but not confirmation either way. But as stated, I haven’t followed it closely.Report

          • I haven’t followed it closely, either, but I assumed (perhaps wrongly) the pictures were solicited or could be understood in the context of whatever relationship Weiner has with the recipients.

            After reading a lot of the comments here, I realize how important that question is. Obviously, if he’s sending to the pictures unsolicitedly, then that’s different and deserves less sympathy.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        The dynamic that I can’t quite wipe off is the whole issue of remembering what the debate was about the first time we heard about the scandal.

        Here, we heard that the Weiner scandal was evidence of the hypocrisy of libertarians because they should be fans of consensual sex between consenting adults.

        I also remember the strange arguments over whether we ought to judge because we didn’t know what Anthony and Huma’s relationship was like (I can’t find a link in a few seconds, let me know if you need me to dig it up) and, my favorite, the argument that people sending pictures of their penis to strangers is something that happens all the time now (it’s in comments).

        We’ve now reached the point where we need to pity him his demons?


        • Avatar Kazzy says:

          I’m on board with adults doing adult things together.
          I’m on board with adults deciding the terms of their relationships.
          I’m not on board with unsolicited dickpics.

          I do think much of the outrage about Weiner is wrapped up in our still-puritanical views on sex. I think even if we learned that Huma was totes on board with what he was doing and that the recipient was totes on board and that the only reason we even knew was because he was hacked, people would still find a reason to be angry because we just aren’t collectively comfortable with sex.Report

        • Avatar PD Shaw says:

          I think the initial coverage had to do with making fun of his name and laughing at how personally demeaning his conduct was perceived. I think it tagged closer to public exposure than affair.Report

        • Avatar veronica d says:

          The pics were either unsolicited or they were not. That is the key. That is the fact we must evaluate in order to judge his behavior. That alone.

          This is obvious, right?Report

          • Avatar veronica d says:

            For the record, my recent ex (with whom I’m still in a “sort of” relationship) often sends me nudes. I don’t send her nudes, mostly because I don’t look as good as she does. But whatever. She sends me nudes. I like when she sends me nudes. She is very beautiful. Soon enough, I will fly her here and we’ll spend sometime together. That will be nice.

            This is consensual. That is the key. She is not some random sending me nudes out of the blue. She is a person in my life, with whom I have agreed to have a sexualized relationship (and oh my stars yes).

            Sending random people nudes — that is not okay. Don’t do that. It might even cross the bounds into criminal.Report

          • Avatar Will Truman says:

            That’s not the only question (since there is a wife and kid involved) but it’s by far the most important.Report

            • Avatar veronica d says:

              @will-truman — Well, his family can deal with this as they choose, including divorce court if it comes to that. But that is not my business.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird says:

            I agree that that’s key, but I’m not sure that “that alone” is all we’re allowed to use to evaluate.

            Discretion is important and even if two people are in an open relationship, one of them being openly in an open relationship that makes the other person in the open relationship look like a chump, reflects poorly on the person who is making zher partner look chumpy.Report

          • Avatar LeeEsq says:

            Consent is the most important factor but I think evaluating people in charge of public policy or people of public importance by their impulse control on aspects of their personal lives or hypocrisy isn’t necessarily unwarranted. You want politicians that are at least somewhat able to control their worst impulses and behavior because of the nature of their office. Politicians, civil servants, judges, and business people have a great deal of power over other people and you want them not to let certain things effect their judgment.Report

            • Avatar veronica d says:

              @leeesq — I dunno. If he was chatting with these women, and they were totally down with a sexual relationship, and if they agreed to see some hawt pics, and if he send them the D, then what’s the problem?

              Like I said, my kinda-ex sends me some hawt-as-fuck pics. Now, she’s unlikely to run for office, for a variety of reasons, but whatevs. The fact that she sent me some entirely welcome nudes is absolutely not anything that should disqualify her.

              Consensual dick pics = totally fine and no one’s business but the people involved.

              Non-consensual dick pics = completely awful, run the creep out of town.

              I don’t really see any gray area here.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq says:

                That might be your ethical system. My ethical system is that consent is only the first step in judging the ethics of a sexual action. I accept consent between adults as the sole factor for determining legality but not ethics.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                So why is sending a desired dick pic unethical?Report

          • Avatar DavidTC says:

            That is the fact we must evaluate in order to judge his behavior. That alone.

            Well, not really.

            From my POV, even if this sort of behavior was entirely consensual, it’s still behavior I don’t want in an elected official. Especially not three times at this point. And including his kid in his picture is really creepy.

            Whether or not they was unsolicited, he’s already well across the threshold I’m comfortable with in an elected official, and obviously across the threshold of his wife also.

            That said…I haven’t read anything that said they were unsolicited. The article says he sent them to a ‘stranger’, but the idea that he just texted them to a random phone number is nonsense…so by ‘stranger’, the article almost certainly means ‘Someone didn’t know beforehand that he hooked up with on some dating site and was sexting’, not some person selected literally randomly.

            In fact, Chris above is the first person I’ve ever seen that suggested that any of the pics were unsolicited. Although technically Chris just said his *advances* were unsolicited, which is not anywhere near as bad….and also not anything I’ve read anywhere!

            I.e., before we start making Weiner out to be a sexual predator who spans the internet with unwanted pics of his junk, perhaps we could find some actual collaborating evidence of that instead a guy saying something that also doesn’t have evidence, and people misreading it to be even worse?Report

            • Avatar veronica d says:

              Wait, this is the pic:

              He’s not even naked. Good grief people. I thought he sent a literal dick pic.

              Oh heavens. These people have the most boring “sexting” I’ve ever seen.

              (I should teach them about video chat.)

              (The things I’ve seen!)

              Anyway, I’ve had conversations waaaaaay racier than that. I’ve been shown images (and video) waaaay-waaaay-waaaaay more interesting than that.


              I’ll agree, the marital infidelity is another issue entirely. But like, that’s categorically different from “dick pics” as an isolated thing. In other words, even if he hadn’t sent any pics, the fact he’s trying to get another women to hook up, well you get to decide for yourself. Evidently his wife has decided. Good for her.

              In other words, a conversation about marital infidelity is one topic. A conversation about unsolicited dick pics is another. I am focusing on the latter.

              Unsolicited dick pics = gross.

              This = quite unsexy but whatever. str8 people.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC says:

                What the hell is wrong with the media calling that a dick pic?

                Pssst, guys? Guys? If you cannot see a dick, it is not a dick pic. I was not aware I needed to *explain* that, but apparently I do.

                I just got back from Dragon Con, where there were many people walking about with much less clothing than this guy is, and none of the guys in spandex seem to know about dance belts.

                The actual problem is that this guy can’t stop having affairs with literal strangers.(1) I have no idea why the media keeps harping on their idiotic premise of ‘dick pics’.

                1) I know it doesn’t might not matter much to the spouse, but I’m much less sympathetic to his sort of affairs. Of someone in a relationship who starts flirting with *random people*, vs. someone who finds themselves getting more and more attracted to a person they *regularly interact with* and eventually cheating with them.

                The latter is, in my mind, ‘yielding to temptation’, or at least it *could* be, in theory. I can’t demand people don’t fall in love with a different person than they one they married, and the actual problem there is they handled that poorly. (Although I won’t have much compassion if the reason for ‘falling in love’ appears to be ‘She’s exactly like my wife, but younger and with lower expectations of me’.)

                Whereas the first one, what Weiner did, repeatedly, is just blatantly ‘looking to have an affair’. Just flat out ‘Who can cheat on my spouse with?’. No compassion from me at all there.Report

            • Avatar veronica d says:

              BTW, men really do send unsolicited dick pics to random women on the internet. It’s happened to me. It’s just, you open your inbox (on whatever service) and BAM! there it is.

              I honestly don’t get it.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC says:

                BTW, men really do send unsolicited dick pics to random women on the internet. It’s happened to me. It’s just, you open your inbox (on whatever service) and BAM! there it is.

                Oh, I am aware of that. I have a friend who used to post on Facebook the most insane conversations she had on dating sites, and half of them were just random dick pics that she replied to in very surreal ways. (Often she would send dick pics back.)

                I was just saying that we shouldn’t assume that because the article said ‘stranger’ in it. That we were making an awful lot of assumptions because Chris phrased something in a certain way, and now we’ve gone down a rabbit hole without any evidence at all.

                And it turns out I was right, in that regard…he was have an long-term affair with that woman, and it seems like there were many pictures, in both directions.

                OTOH, Jaybird just posted a link saying that one of the women who got a picture in 2013 *didn’t* consent to it.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                We’ve got evidence he did, evidence he didn’t… we just can’t say.

                Newt Gingrich regularly cheated on his multiple ex-wives.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                It was out of over-exuberant patriotism, though. So it’s all good.

                Seriously, though, there is a non-trivial chance that it cost him the ’12 nomination. If not the infidelity, the manner in which it occurred.

                Which is kind of funny in light of Trump.Report

              • Avatar veronica d says:

                Next time I get a dick pic, maybe I’ll respond with a picture of my outlandish junk. That’d show ’em.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird says:

              There was a lot of discussion about how the pictures weren’t solicited back in 2013.

              Here’s shakesville, here’s the Jezebel comments section (not the story, read the comments). Here’s slate wondering if unsolicited dick picks aren’t more like flashing than infidelity.

              There’s a lot of “we don’t know whether the pictures were unsolicited or not!” discussion but I can’t find any saying “we interviewed so-and-so and she admitted to requesting the dong picture”. Or “we interviewed so-and-so and she admitted that the picture was not, in fact, solicited.”

              Just a bunch of people talking about how the only thing that matters is whether they were solicited or not and we just don’t know whether they were.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                And, wouldn’t you know it, *NOW* I find it.

                According to AlterNet, they talked to one of the young women and the pictures were unsolicited.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                “Could the context be loose enough to permit…”/


              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                This is where being a repressed right-wing nutbar is clarifying.Report

              • Avatar veronica d says:

                Honestly I have no idea if Alternet is dependable or not.


                Anonymous appears to consider herself a victim, whose naivety Weiner had no problem using his privilege to exploit. Worse, it’s clear she already feels shame for their relationship, and does not need Buzzfeed adding insult to injury. “The part that’s most annoying is that I was 22 and in a bad place,” she told The Dirty, “but if anyone asked him he would say the same thing about himself, yet he’s an adult. This was a bad situation for me because I really admired him. Even post scandal, I thought he was misunderstood. Until I got to know him. I thought I loved him. Pretty pathetic.” The Dirty also reported that, “like a true sex predator,” Weiner “promised Anonymous many things like a job at Politico and a condo in Chicago.”

                Last I checked, a 22-year-old is an adult. On the other hand, there are predators in the world, people who home in on the emotionally vulnerable. She is suggesting he is such a man, and that he used his political position to manipulate.

                Seems plausible.

                Right now I’m not-quite-dating a woman much younger than me. The thing is, we’ve set up really solid boundaries. I give her no money, except I’m going to buy her airline tickets to come visit here. That seems reasonable. We’re “just friends,” since an actual relationship was too hard, given the distance and the differences in our lives. It works. She has rather limited emotional availability. I have a fuckton of emotional insecurity. Long story short, I’m now dating other people, but in a poly way. She still loves me. I still love her. So basically, she’s gonna come here for a week and we’ll have lots of sex (and grilled cheese). It’s a cool deal.

                After that, who knows. She has her own career goals, which involve getting her own place in a faraway city. These goals do not involve me at all. It sounds really cool. I expect we’ll have some fun and then drift apart. It’ll be a fond memory.

                I’ll probably cry a lot when she leaves. She’ll tell me it’s okay. Time will pass. We’ll move on.

                So, what is the power dynamic in my thing, versus the power dynamic in his thing? Was he actually a “predator”?


                This is about a different woman:

                At least once, the target of Weiner’s provocative message did not consent, making him no better than a flasher. Weiner’s Twit pic boner recipient, Gennette Cordova, said she “did not send him any suggestive messages.” Weiner said he was just kidding, but Cordova said she “still didn’t get the joke part of it.”

                If true, yeah this sinks him. Indeed, if true, he is no better than a flasher.

                Is it true?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                We just can’t say.

                We also know that women can be pretty psycho, so we have to take that into consideration whenever we hear an allegation like this one.Report

            • Avatar Kazzy says:


              This seems to imply that sexual preferences should be a factor in someone’s fit for elected office. Do I have your position right there?Report

              • Avatar DavidTC says:

                This seems to imply that sexual preferences should be a factor in someone’s fit for elected office. Do I have your position right there?

                I don’t even slightly understand what this means.

                I do not think that someone makes extremely poor decisions like marrying one person and carrying on an affair with someone else is particularly fit for elected office.

                If the guy wants to live his dream chatting up people online, well, that’s what explaining this to his wife and, presumably, getting divorced is for. Or not getting married in the first place.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:


                Thanks for clarifying. Your issue isn’t with exchanging sexy pics with strangers on the internet but with doing so while married and without his wife’s consent. That makes much more sense.Report

              • Avatar veronica d says:

                Yeah, cheating shows a lack of character. Cheating one time, one screw up — well a lot of folks will let that slide. Life is a complicated path. But cheating again and again — that shows a lack of character.

                I’m poly. It works for me. If someone wants to judge me for that, well they can fuck off sideways. But the point is, I’m honest. My partners know the deal. We all walk into it eyes-open.

                The point being, I’m not a fucking liar.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                I will say that real life has taught me these situations are usually — not always, but usually — much more complicated and much less black-and-white then they typically seem from the outside looking in. Does that justify lying or infidelity? No. But it can offer an important context. And one we almost never actually get to consider.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC says:

                Like I said somewhere above, I’m slightly sympathetic to someone who falls in love with someone else they know while married, and has an affair. They handled the problem incorrectly by cheating, but the problem itself wasn’t their fault. You can’t stop yourself from falling in love.

                But I’m not sympathetic at all to people like Weiner, who apparently just like to peruse dating sites and sexting with women he’s never met. Seems like it would be pretty easy to stop *that* behavior. Just, you know, don’t *do* that. (If he can’t stop sexting, he *does* have a wife! Well, had. Had he considered, you know, sexting with *her*?)

                Relationships can cross thresholds they are not supposed to cross, and I can’t see inside people’s head, and have no idea when they realized it was inappropriate…but that’s entirely different from *starting* an online relationship *for* that purpose.

                I’m even less sympathetic now that I’ve learned he apparently used his position to try to sext with idealistic women who looked up to him, even when they showed no interest in him. I won’t say that *all* relationships with power imbalances (between adults) should be disallowed, but the very first thing needs to be some sort of adult discussion about boundaries, not…pictures of your crotch and then, haha, j/k.Report

  4. Avatar notme says:

    Obama Twice Suggests Americans Are Too ‘Lazy’ in Overseas Town Hall

    Nice, the president insults his own people overseas.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy says:

      Because there is only one possible meaning of the word lazy and it is exactly the one you are thinking of: the worst possible one.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe says:

        Though if anyone were to call President Obama lazy it would have the exact connotation everyone thinks it does and no others.Report

        • Avatar Kazzy says:

          I do think there is a difference between calling an individual lazy and a group’s mindset lazy.

          Obama’s comments essentially were saying we can be better and can do better. That our struggles are not because of lack of ability but lack of application. That doesn’t make them beyond reproach but it does make them rather different than they were framed in that article.Report

      • Avatar notme says:

        I wasn’t aware that lazy was ever a compliment. You must be desperate to defend him if you are twisting lazy to be a compliment.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        To be quite honest, if I had to pick a side to defend, I’d much rather be defending the argument that the President shouldn’t criticize the American people overseas than the one that we didn’t know what the President meant when he said “lazy”.Report

        • Avatar Hoosegow Flask says:

          What’s funny is nobody has yet said Obama was incorrect.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird says:

            There are quite a few things that are true that are impolitic.

            The argument then becomes whether it’s more important that they’re true or more important that they’re impolitic.Report

            • Avatar pillsy says:

              Given the context, I rate “important” above “impolitic”. Others will doubtless disagree.

              On the other hand, the idea that he wasn’t disparaging the American public is farcical.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                I would say it was critical of the American public in the way that admonishing someone for failing to realize their potential is critical.Report

          • Avatar notme says:

            Of course some folks are lazy, duh. I just expect the president to not trash his own people in front of a crowd of foreigners.Report

          • Avatar PD Shaw says:

            There is a kernel of truth in his explanation that Laotians have an interest in learning about cultures in nearby countries, but it was not a good analogy to the U.S. unless his point was that Laos is simply a distant, unimportant country. Which was off-message from his assertion that the U.S. is and can be a force for good in the world.

            Closer to the reality, there are more Laotians in the United than any other country in the world other than Laos, and very likely in academia, the U.S. probably has some of the best, if not the best, resources on Laotian culture, politics, history, etc. in the world. No need to apologize or rationalize.Report

  5. Avatar Kimmi says:

    It’s a conservative message. You object because he’s a democrat?
    He’s also told black guys (in a black church no less) that they need to be better fathers.Report

    • Avatar notme says:

      How is telling foreigners that Americans are “lazy” a “conservative” message? I can’t see a republican ever doing the same thing.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi says:

        Conservatives tend to believe that everyone is less virtuous than themselves.
        (And tell me you can’t see that ol’ closet racist Biden saying “you blacks here work so much harder than ours at home”. And then getting sent to reeducation camp. Again.).Report

      • “People are lazy” is a very conservative doctrine. It’s one of the main arguments against the welfare state.Report

        • Avatar Stillwater says:

          Agreed. For example, the terms “welfare dependence” and “culture of dependency” are used in political contexts almost exclusively by conservatives even they both refer to non-political concepts. From Wiki:

          It is important to note that while the term “welfare dependence” in and of itself is politically neutral and merely describes a state of drawing benefits, in conventional usage it has taken on a very negative meaning that blames welfare recipients for social ills and insinuates they are morally deficient.

          Eg., lazy.Report

        • Avatar notme says:

          Wrong again. The argument against the welfare, etc is that it isn’t the gov’t’s job to provide folks with jobs, food, housing etc.Report

  6. Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

    Political science: trying to get Hanley to comment?Report

  7. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Matt Lauer had a really rough night.

    I suppose this is related to the media story. Most people want media as a neutral reporter. Neutral in this case seems to be close to what Isiah Berlin called “amoral objectivity.” (Stole this observation from an LGM commentator.)Report

  8. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Hey! Hey guys! Gary Johnson had an interview and he didn’t know what Aleppo was! WHAT A RUBE!

    The best part of that article mocking Gary Johnson for not knowing what Aleppo was are these corrections at the bottom:

    Correction: September 8, 2016

    An earlier version of this article misidentified the de facto capital of the Islamic State. It is Raqqa, in northern Syria, not Aleppo.

    Correction: September 8, 2016

    An earlier version of the above correction misidentified the Syrian capital as Aleppo. It is Damascus.

    Also, an arrest warrant has been issued for Jill Stein.Report

    • Aleppo was the sixth Marx brother.Report

    • Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

      Gary Johnson being a rube and the New York Times being incompetent are not incompatible. Indeed, I would say they are both self-evidently true.Report

    • The second one is dumb, but the first might have been true (or somewhat true) at some point. “De facto” covers a lot of sins.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy says:

      If you don’t know what aleppo is, you are missing out.Report

    • Avatar PD Shaw says:

      The NYTimes was being understandably lazy, there really was little reason to know anything about Aleppo until it touched on a political horse race. Certainly Morning Joe had no reason to cover the subject while they had Donald Trump on a line.Report

    • Avatar DavidTC says:

      Yeah, that was a bit insane.

      Hilariously, I knew of Aleppo in a completely unrelated context, because I am nerd that once read a lot of Wikipedia on the topic of ‘very old constantly-inhabited cities’. And that was it. That was all I knew about Aleppo. I had actually forgotten it was in Syria.

      So when I read that Gary Johnson didn’t know what it was, I was completely baffled as to why he *should*.

      Moreover, while I’m not sure of Johnson’s position on the war, as he’s a libertarian, I suspect that his position is something close to ‘We should stay out of Syria’, and thus he doesn’t actually *need* to know anything about the ground conditions there. Calling him out for not knowing that is like calling someone out for not knowing how long it takes to get to Mars when their policy is to dismantle NASA.

      You know what presidential candidate that probably *does* need to know about Aleppo based on his foreign policy, and probably knows nothing about it, that the media *isn’t* asking the question of?Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        Foreign policy isn’t my bag, but Aleppo got on my radar a few weeks ago because of this.

        The thing about having a small kid is that when you’re introduced to a small kid that’s about a kid your age… it kind of sears your brain.

        Both the kid that died on the beath and this one are in the ballpark of Lain’s age.


      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        Also related, I thought this was funny:

        (Obama’s former ambassador to Iraq, making fun of Johnson for not knowing Aleppo, then getting Aleppo wrong as the Times did.)Report

        • Avatar Autolukos says:

          What do you expect from DU?Report

        • Avatar PD Shaw says:

          There was another awkward moment on Morning Joe today where Joe ridiculed Johnson’s follow-up that he would cut a deal with Putin to resolve the Syria crisis and Joe ridiculed this idea and turned to the panel’s expert (Spencer Ackerman I believe) to confirm how insane this idea was, and the expert laughed and politely pointed out that cutting a deal with Putin is what the Obama administration is currently trying to do.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      CNN now reporting that this might be the “biggest gaffe” of the election season.

      Johnson has "the biggest gaffe" of the 2016 election?!?! Jesus, it's like CNN has been sleeping since June 2015.— Andrew Kirell (@AndrewKirell) September 8, 2016


      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        Crikey. Donald Trump suggested that we needed military courts last night.Report

        • Avatar Don Zeko says:

          Even if it somehow topped everything Trump has said, its “biggest of the campaign” status would have a half-life of about six hours.Report

          • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

            Honestly, how many fence sitters is that gonna sway? Oh man, he didn’t know what Aleppo is, too bad, gonna have to vote for Trump now…Report

            • Avatar Jaybird says:

              I think that it knocks fence-sitters off who were begging for a reason. “Man, I was going to be voting for either (real candidate) or Gary Johnson and… jeez. I just can’t take fake candidates seriously.”

              It’s not a real reason. It is a lifeline to people who wanted a real reason.

              (Which is too damn bad because that question betrays how good a candidate Johnson is. I don’t know what that is. What are you talking about? OH! Syria! Here is my opinion on Syria…)Report

            • Avatar pillsy says:

              I could see it maybe causing someone to reconsider voting Johnson over Clinton. If Johnson were a major party candidate in a normal election, it would look pretty bad… which mostly makes me wonder again why we’re judging the LP candidate by major party standards and we’re judging the GOP candidate by Breitbart comment section standards.

              And I don’t even like Johnson.Report

        • Avatar DavidTC says:

          Are you talking about the ‘we can solve military rapes by making the trials faster’ thing, or something else entirely? (It is, at this point, literally impossible to keep track of all the dumbass things he’s said.)Report

  9. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    The reaction to her candidacy, however, has been unconventional. The percentage of Americans who hold a “strongly unfavorable” view of her substantially exceeds the percentage for any other Democratic nominee since 1980, when pollsters began asking the question. Antipathy to her among white men is even more unprecedented. According to the Public Religion Research Institute, 52 percent of white men hold a “very unfavorable” view of Clinton. That’s a whopping 20 points higher than the percentage who viewed Barack Obama very unfavorably in 2012, 32 points higher than the percentage who viewed Obama very unfavorably in 2008, and 28 points higher than the percentage who viewed John Kerry very unfavorably in 2004.


    To understand this reaction, start with what social psychologists call “precarious manhood” theory. The theory posits that while womanhood is typically viewed as natural and permanent, manhood must be “earned and maintained.” Because it is won, it can also be lost. Scholars at the University of South Florida and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign reported that when asked how someone might lose his manhood, college students rattled off social failures like “losing a job.” When asked how someone might lose her womanhood, by contrast, they mostly came up with physical examples like “a sex-change operation” or “having a hysterectomy.”


    • Avatar Kimmi says:

      Being a woman is about being ogled.
      Being a man is about the right to ogle others.

      This has little to do with Hillary clinton.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq says:

      The pernicious manhood theory makes a great deal of sense and it’s a giant problem. I think we are getting better. There are more ways to safely express manhood now but it is still limited.Report

  10. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Matt Y argues that Trump fatigue is real and we are no longer shocked by him:

    When Hillary Clinton gets pressed on her somewhat slippery answers about why exactly she decided to use an off-label email server, she ends up looking evasive. She looks and acts like a normal human being who’s been caught out in an embarrassing situation. She’s admitted that she did the wrong thing, but she also doesn’t think she should suffer any consequences for it. It’s not a great look.

    Trump, by contrast, is shameless. What’s his plan for ISIS? It’s a secret. If the generals are so dumb, why would he ask for their plan? He’ll get different generals.

    Trump hasn’t learned. He doesn’t know basic facts about the world and he doesn’t care. The question now is whether the American people will.


    • Avatar Kimmi says:

      One of clinton’s tells when she gets called on a lie is to tilt her head back, laugh maniacally, and continue to insist that her lie is the truth.

      This is not NORMAL. It is not what normal people do.Report

      • Hmm? Pointing and laughing when someone else does something stupid (in this case it’s repeating the warhorse GOP propaganda) is a pretty standard thing. Just laughing is the sort of restraint you’d expect from a career politician.Report

        • Avatar Gaelen says:

          I have a source close to the Clinton campaign who tells me it’s because her alien handlers are shocking her to prevent her from admitting to the lies and, probably, exposing the conspiracy!Report

          • Avatar Stillwater says:

            My own source (friend of a friend’s cousin who knows a guy who reads the NYT) said she only maniacally laughs when her Igor tells her that lightning is about to strike.Report

    • Avatar DensityDuck says:

      As someone on Twitter put it, we care more about Clinton’s perfidy than Trump’s, and we ought to, because barring an actual FBI indictment Clinton will be the next President.Report

  11. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Okay, we’ve been in too much of a good mood today.

    Fentanyl Maker Donates Big to Campaign Opposing Pot Legalization

    From the article:

    Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid significantly more potent than heroin that can cause overdoses, especially when it’s used to cut the supply of illegally sourced drugs. The musician Prince died from an accidental fentanyl overdose in April.


    • Avatar LeeEsq says:

      Drug dealers are business people and aren’t above using government to eliminate competition.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        That explanation would be a great defense of the “folks should be able to use government to eliminate market competition” crowd. But outside of Latin America* I don’t know anyone who holds such a view.

        *OK, in addition to latin america throw in south america, most african countries, a large part of eurasia, and perhaps even europe.Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq says:

          I was joking for the most part by comparing a pharmaceutical company to a drug dealer. You really don’t think American business people are above using government to reduce the competition?Report

          • Avatar Stillwater says:

            Ahh, I get the joke, which makes a good point.

            You really don’t think American business people are above using government to reduce the competition?

            Wutchoo talkin bout Willis.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        Yes, solid hit. Golf clap.Report

  12. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Jet Fuel Can’t Beat Our Prices.