Morning Ed: Politics {2018.02.28.W}

Will Truman

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

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105 Responses

  1. LeeEsq says:

    Po1: How wholesome. At least, it wasn’t a game of twister.

    Po2: I agree with Mr. Cooper that getting rid of the Constitution and replacing it with a parliamentary system and a different federally run election system would be preferable. I also agree with you that this is impossible. We are fished.

    Po3: Equal opportunity grift.

    Po5: The British historian Dominic Sandbrook pointed out that most British people were opposed to the liberalization of laws that led to the permissive society during the 1960s and that the liberalization was really a top down affair. Socially conservative beliefs might be more widespread in European countries than we think. Its just that their political and social systems make it easier to enforce a degree of social liberalism that isn’t possible in the United States.Report

  2. LeeEsq says:

    Po6: Somehow, I don’t think the Left is going to follow this advice. My side is increasingly going towards patriotism is inherently suspect tribalism and Western patriotism most of all. That isn’t really effective politics because most people are patriotic. I’ve gotten into fights on LGM on how denouncing the American Revolution, Declaration of Independence, and Constitution as not really revolutionary is not a good idea even if it might be true in a Marxist sense.

    Mr. Gidron gets some of the history wrong though. Sweden’s Social Democratic Party originally rejected patriotism and only pivoted towards it as an electoral strategy.Report

  3. Road Scholar says:

    Po2: Reworking the Constitution seems like a heavy lift and dangerous as hell. But his second suggestion re the House could be implemented via simple legislation and is one I heartedly endorse.Report

  4. Oscar Gordon says:

    Po2: I think our founding fathers would be a bit aghast at how resistant we are to altering the Constitution as of late. Part of the whole point of the thing was that there’s a peaceful way to change it as needs evolve.Report

  5. Damon says:

    [Po1] Surely we need a #himtoo movement for this. Equality demands that shitty behavior by women get the same attention, condemnation, unofficial list makings, and consequences that have beset shitty behavior by men.

    [Po2] And yet, the scope of gov’t into the daily lives of americans continues to grow–but he claims “nothing can be done”. Not seeing a reconciliation of these two assertions.

    [Po3] God, I wish I’d come up with something like this.Report

    • dragonfrog in reply to Damon says:

      [Po1] There is a movement for male victims of sexual assault, abuse, and harassment. It’s called #metoo.

      Several of my friends who have written of their own experiences under the #metoo banner have been men.Report

  6. Marchmaine says:

    [Po2] Cooper has 5 proposals, two are fine, two are debatable, the last unnecessary, and undermines 1-4.

    1&2… sure kill filibuster, it is merely a norm (I say with only partial irony); experiment with different election methods? Sure, some states already have “weird” congressional elections… let’s abandon first-past-the-post, but be sure to avoid Will’s hated plurality winners.

    3&4… Nuke the Senate? That’s why we have a Senate… so things don’t get nuked. But a Senate with no filibuster is a Senate that doesn’t need nuking – 95% of our frustrations with the Senate is the non-constitutional super-majority. President elected from Congress… this one’s complicated… No, if we leave Presidential powers as-is… Maybe, if Congress pulls-back Presidential powers (or reasserts co-equal powers, if you prefer)… but if Congress pulls-back Presidential powers, then a separately elected President is a feature not a bug.

    5… That the constitution is hard to change is only partially true; it is hard, but it has been changed. I’d like to see us more in the habit of making incremental constitutional changes, and maybe that’s the place to start. Let’s get in the habit of making small changes that are bounded by the minority; those are good governance practices that we’ve lost; let’s start practicing again. Finally, sometimes the solution of excessive centralization is simply decentralization; the 10th amendment is just for wacko’s anymore.Report

    • PD Shaw in reply to Marchmaine says:

      Cooper gets a failing grade for using slavery as the frontpiece of his argument. Blatantly emotional nonsense that disguises his premise. He wants a vigorous federal government. No problem with that, though some Democrats might question his timing.Report

      • Marchmaine in reply to PD Shaw says:

        I’m not sure how he precisely self-identifies politically… but on the timing thing I think he’s looking past Trump to the time the liberal team has the ball and is trying to clear the way. Or at least that’s the impression I get from his writings. Unless that’s exactly what you mean by timing. In which case, bully to you.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Marchmaine says:

      #5 is tied into one of the evolutions of the democratic party. Once upon a time, there were regional democrats. You could tell the difference between a Democrat from the Northeast and the Deep South and the Mountain West.

      The Republicans still have a bit of differentiation. You can tell the difference between one from the South and one from the Northeast and one from the Mountain West and, sure, they all hate each other but they can sometimes caucus together despite their obvious differences.

      But how different is a California democrat from a New York democrat from a Michigan democrat anymore? Guns, maybe… for the ones from the South.Report

      • Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird says:

        That’s where whatever scheme we look to adopt for #2 I’d like to see something that breaks the National Parties Brand ™… on that I agree with Cooper; I’d like to see fissures and factions… lets off a lot more steam and allows for issue coalitions vs. issue identity.Report

        • North in reply to Marchmaine says:

          Look, I already checked with Her Majesty and the Commonwealth is full up. If you want a Westminster parliamentary system you’ll have to crib it yourself. Ya colonials missed the boat on the original brand back in ’83 (1783 that is).Report

          • Marchmaine in reply to North says:

            Heh… We’re talking to the young princes and it seems we have leverage… so when we’re ready to pull the trigger on absorbing Canada, I’d watch your back.

            But I’m not particularly sold on 6-yr parliamentary dictatorships either {c.f. Lee’s first comment above about [Po5]}Report

            • North in reply to Marchmaine says:

              Hell, do your worst. I’m dual citizen so I already treat the two countries as one. Adding the Canadian sensible market liberal electorate would be salutary medicine for the US (though I am dubious Canada would benefit from the transaction). An extra 10-14 mostly liberal sensible senators would do wonders for the American political scene.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Marchmaine says:

          Well, I’d first point to the differences between Huckabee, Romney, and Cheney.

          You’ve got the SocCon wing, the Fiscon wing (popular in the Northeast), and the Hawk.Report

          • North in reply to Jaybird says:

            How’s that any more diverse than the Class based Liberal wing, the Identity politics Liberal wing and the Neoliberal wings in the Democratic Party?Report

          • Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird says:

            …in 1976.

            I’m not sure the brandification of National Parties hasn’t completely overtaken both. Which makes the struggle for the levers of power all the worse and feels like a zero-sum game – which contra trite observations, it might actually now be.Report

            • Jaybird in reply to Marchmaine says:

              At the very least we can point to the Jeb! wing vs. the Trump wing.Report

              • Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird says:

                Perhaps, but I’m not sure Jeb! rates a body part anymore, or if he does, it would be more appendix, less wing*.

                From my perspective, I have no issue with the Republican party realigning as some sort of Trumpian party… if Jeb! has/had a consituency, he and Romney$ and Rubio^ should coalesce around a new party. Maybe Utah Republicans should just call themselves something different for a while, see how that feels.

                It would mean Democratic victories in the short term (and that would be ouchy from my perspective), but the Democratic party is wide open for poaching once you ditch the Republican brand… so there’s that.

                {*wait, do birds have appendices? What if they are totally critical for birds… this is why you should never mix species in your metaphors}Report

              • North in reply to Marchmaine says:

                Agreed. The whole Trump election was functionally a demonstration of the shallow irrelevance of the republitarian façade the GOP has been, increasingly thinly, wearing since the turn of the century. So the Trump/Romney/Rubio faction, at this point, appears to be a cast of skin if we were analogizing it to a body part. There’s a lot of money tied up in it tho, whatever else you can say about your skin that’s the body part that wears the pants where you keep the wallet.Report

              • Marchmaine in reply to North says:

                Yes. That’s the weird conundrum… in theory there’s no money for a Economic Liberal/Social Conservative party… The lonely quadrant in our 4-quadrant political diagram.

                But then, Trumpism talks one way, and acts another… so maybe money is good with that. We’ve just exchanged the type of lies the establishment tells the base, not the lying. And maybe that’s the essence of Trumpism. New lies for a new age.

                But its still weird to think that the old lies are the thing we need to recover out of all this mess.Report

              • North in reply to Marchmaine says:

                That is a great insight and yeah, the thing that has kept the whole thing from turning into a fiasco is that Trump has so little clue what he wants beyond being popular that he’s subcontracted the entire policy apparatus to the GOP in congress (with a weak de facto veto point being his more nativist staff elements). So Trump may have burst from the skin of the old GOP but the old GOP just crawled inside him and is still calling the shots from within… ugh, well that analogy went gross fast.Report

              • Mike Schilling in reply to Marchmaine says:

                Jeb does rate a body part. It’s not one I’ll name here, but it’s limp.Report

      • North in reply to Jaybird says:

        So what is the differentiation between the republicans from those regions? I mean maybe they mouth slightly different pieties but they generally vote the same way and embrace the same conservative hypocrisies.Report

        • LeeEsq in reply to North says:

          Seconding North here. I see no differences between Republicans from different parts of the country. They support the same policies and speak the same lingo.Report

          • Michael Cain in reply to LeeEsq says:

            I think you have to look at the state-level Republicans doing state-level policy to see the differences. The Republican-controlled states that hit on all of the big three state-level policies — egregious abortion restrictions, refighting Reconstruction, not expanding Medicaid — get almost all the publicity. Republican-controlled states where some or all of those are not happening get very little.

            Similarly for the Democrats, of course. Rebuilding blighted urban cores where the population is largely black is a thing for Democrats throughout the Greater Rust Belt. Outside of that region, not nearly so much.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird says:

        You’re really asking how Doug Jones differs from Chuck Schumer?Report

        • Marchmaine in reply to Mike Schilling says:

          I’m curious?

          I said at the time (was it that long ago) that the Democrats got lucky with Jones (probably we all did, but that’s not the point), and missed an oppty to run a candidate that would be an “Alabama Democrat” for long-term success. We’ll see in 6-yrs.

          * Everyone has the right to quality, affordable health care.
          * We must restore Alabama’s trust for its elected leaders.
          * I will defend a woman’s right to choose and stand with Planned Parenthood.
          * All children deserve a first-class education regardless of where they live.
          * College must be affordable without burdening a student with overwhelming debt.
          * I believe in science and will work to slow or reverse the impact of climate change.
          * It is past time we raise the minimum wage to a livable wage.
          * Women must be paid an equal wage for equal work at all levels.
          * Voter suppression is unAmerican – we must protect voting rights.
          * Discrimination cannot be tolerated or protected. America is best when it builds on diversity and is welcoming of the contributions of all.

          The only thing that I heard anyone suggest was 2nd amendment, about which Jones says:

          We’ve got limitations on all constitutional amendments in one form or another,” Jones said. “I want to enforce the laws that we have right now. The biggest issue, I think, that’s facing the Second Amendment right now is that we need to make sure we shore up the National Crime Information System, the NCIC system for background checks, to both keep guns out of the hands of criminals, but at the same time, cut down on error so that law-abiding citizens can get those.

          Which doesn’t strike me as outside a democratic window?

          BUT… yeah, to your point about Republicans… I’m not quite sure I see the regional differentiation that he’s suggesting, which is why I suggest both parties are rather constrained by National Issues and not sufficiently differentiated.Report

    • Marchmaine in reply to Marchmaine says:

      Well, well, well… Sens. Sanders (I), Lee (R) and Murphy (D) have introduced a Senate joint resolution under the War Powers Act to halt actions in Yemen.

      Bernie is rather good in the press conference

      See, baby steps.Report

  7. Slade the Leveller says:

    [Po7] It seems to me that the Voting Rights Act requires a bit of gerrymandering to satisfy its requirements. I wonder if this sets an artificially high bar to start at for correcting the gerrymandering problem. If we allow it for one thing does that open the door to allowing it for all purposes?Report

  8. Saul Degraw says:

    “Free Speech” as a Republican-only weapon in light of the fact that the Supreme Court is likely to kill agency-fees and kneecap public sector unions:

    In a new book called Politics at Work, political scientist Alex Hertel-Fernandez explores another form of coerced speech: in which employers prod workers to engage in political speech that benefits their company. Hertel-Fernandez documented the ways in which corporate managers can tell workers to attend protests, write to members of Congress, and even donate to company political-action campaigns. During the final leg of the 2012 campaign, when Mitt Romney visited an Ohio coal mine, the mine owners told workers that attendance was mandatory (and that workers would not be compensated). Workers told local reporters that “they showed up to the rally out of fear of losing their jobs or being disciplined in some other way.” One woman said that she felt her husband’s boss was “pushing the Republican choice on him and he felt intimidated.” To add insult to injury, the workers were forced to give up the day’s pay. The owner of the mine, Murray Energy, is among the largest corporate donors to the Republican Party. Robert Murray, the CEO, has pressured employees to contribute to Republicans and his company internally tracks who does and does not donate. Journalist Alec MacGillis documented that individuals who don’t donate to Republican candidates risk being demoted or even fired.

    Koch Industries sends all employees pro-Republican mailers, and employees who post liberal items on social media risk firing or demotion. The Koch brothers also tightly manage whether employees can run for local office, and one employee said he was afraid to express his support for Obama by wearing a pin to work.


    • LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Conservatives have been doing this for over a century. Republican business owners leaned on their workers to vote for McKinley over Bryan during the 1896 Presidential election.Report

  9. Saul Degraw says:

    Speaking of Janus, a ruling can successfully kneecap the Democratic Party:

    While the legal theory upon which Janus is based is specious at best, the political theory is brilliant. The Republican Party has done an excellent job persuading the court’s conservative appointees that the thrust of the First Amendment is that constituencies who do not support the Republican Party should not have political power. In Shelby County v. Holder, the court paved the way for massive voter suppression throughout the South by gutting the Voting Rights Act; Republican legislatures quickly passed voter suppression laws, and black turnout dropped dramatically. In Citizens United v. FEC, the court unleashed hundreds of millions of dollars in “super PAC” spending, paving the way for Republican electoral victories. That decision claimed to benefit both corporations and unions—but ever since, the court has further empowered corporations while continually hobbling unions.

    Republicans have long acknowledged that they see public-sector unions as a key threat to their political agenda. The conservative American Legislative Exchange Council has seen teachers unions as a major impediment to their agenda for nearly half a century, complaining that the “most effective lobby in the state legislatures … was the National Education Association.” ALEC has worked to undermine teachers unions with “paycheck protection” laws, which require unions to keep separate funds for political activities. ALEC’s model governor, Scott Walker, famously worked to limit collective bargaining, and as soon as Republicans gain political power in statehouses, unions come under fire. Recent research on ALEC’s war on public-sector unions suggests that it has indeed been effective. The onslaught of conservative attacks has reduced union dues, demobilized public-sector union workers, and even led to lower expenditures on education.


  10. Chip Daniels says:

    The idea of a Constitutional Convention has some appeal for me, in that one problem I see in America is a sense of hopelessness and learned infantilization of us as a people.

    We were told that the pardon of Nixon was to spare us from the trauma of a trial of a President, and several times since have been told we must “look forward, never back”, to avoid the trauma of holding our leaders to account. Polls tell us that people have become accustomed to having their wishes overriden by government, and having special interest lobbyists write laws which our representatives rubber stamp.

    Having said that, I have to wonder who these people are, that Cooper imagines would re-write the Constitution. The same people who hold power now?

    I think we have a bit of cultural work to do first, to rebuild our sense of unity and purpose first, to create a fearless body of engaged citizens.Report

    • LeeEsq in reply to Chip Daniels says:

      A constitutional convention is going to include a lot of people whose politics you really disagree with. Besides people who want to turn America into a social democratic parliamentary republic with a ceremonial president, there are going to be Super Madisonians that want to enshrine small-government right-leaning policy preferences into the new Constitution and Evangelical Theocrats.Report

  11. Saul Degraw says:

    Chait on Trump being America’s most conservative President:

    It would certainly be a huge exaggeration, and a slander against conservatism, to depict Trump as representing nothing but a natural outgrowth of his party. His personal qualities — the gross, corrupt, ignorant, bullying, lazy solipsism — are sui generis. If Trump had never been born, conservatives would not have needed to invent him. In these characterological respects, he is a freak and a historical accident.
    But the conservative movement’s willingness to embrace Trump is not an accident. The traits that endeared him to the movement have clear historical antecedents. He follows in the path of other right-wing heroes in American history: Charles Coughlin, Joseph McCarthy, Rush Limbaugh. The founding texts of the conservative movement, None Dare Call It Treason and A Choice, Not an Echo, are conspiracy theories.
    Trump’s base within the party lies on its right, not its left. The Republicans who most adore him are the most conservative ones, and those most alienated from him are the most moderate:


    • pillsy in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Chait’s piece is (bizarrely) echoed by one that Michael B. Dougherty wrote for NRO, that even goes so far as to invoke Coughin. Someone on the Twitters even remarked that most conservatives would howl with outrage:

      Back in the halcyon days, you didn’t have Ann Coulter. True, you had Westbrook Pegler. Back in the halcyon days, you didn’t have Sean Hannity, you had Bob Grant, and before him, good gawd, you had Father Coughlin.

      Is Donald Trump the great fall? Perhaps. But he’s not the first media star with dubious political credentials to win over sufficient, or enthusiastic, support from the American Right to win high office. Hannity promoted known philanderer Arnold Schwarzenegger for the governorship of California, over the more ideologically solid Tom McClintock. This was after Schwarzenegger was credibly reported to have defended his extramarital activity with the phrase “Eating’s not cheating.” I’m not sure where to file that aphorism among the eternal verities.

      And of course there was Ronald Reagan, too. He was also an actor, or what conservatives in another set of halcyon days would have called “a whore.” Reagan still functions almost like a saint or apostle in the conservative movement, even though his marital status would have disqualified him among conservatives, back in yet further halcyon days, as a bigamist. Then there’s his wife. Before it lost its standards, the moral majority of the halcyon days even further removed would have seen the reports of her séances and recognized her for what she was, even in the White House: a practicing witch.

      I’m not amazed that someone would write a piece like this. After all, such pieces are Jonathan Chait’s stock in trade [1], but I’m rather amazed that someone would write such a piece and present it as a defense of conservatism. The whole thing comes off as a confession, but the unwitting sort of confession that Patrick McGoohan would make after Lt. Columbo got under his skin.

      [1] I have some ambivalence about Chait. He has this annoying anti-PC tick that bedevils so many mid- to top-tier pundits, and when he’s not indulging that, he’s a vituperatively mean-spirited Team Blue partisan. If I’m looking for the latter, well, I know where to find a mirror.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to pillsy says:

        Has Chait’s tenor and tone changed over the years? I used to really enjoy his stuff, found it insightful and sometimes deeply compelling, but now he more often than not reads like a deranged aging hack trying to reclaim lost relevance.Report

        • pillsy in reply to Stillwater says:

          I can’t really tell.

          I find him less interesting, but if he has tilted more decisively and angrily against the right, well, I can hardly blame him.Report

        • North in reply to Stillwater says:

          Chait’s gotten sharper in tone and, frankly, I think he dwells too much on Trump minutia but I think he’s as sharp as he ever was and he’s always been pretty sharp. I do think he over does it on his anti-PC stuff but more that the problems he worries about aren’t as real as he implies they are rather than that he’s wrong about how those problems should be addressed were they real. He’s still a go to for me but then I am an unabashed partisan and Chat can shred the GOP (an easy easy target now days I know) very well. Also I like his writing voice*.

          *Possibly due to having grown up reading in on TNR.Report

          • Stillwater in reply to North says:

            I’m with you on the sharpness in tone and overstated-ness (which always sounds like harping). Mixed up in that are some biases I formed during the beatdown TNC handed him a few years ago. It changed how I view his writing, for sure.Report

            • North in reply to Stillwater says:

              I winced just now at remembering it. Especially since I like racial optimism and wonder if TNC is, maybe, a bit overwrought on the subject; but there’s no question Chait did get the better of that clash at all.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to pillsy says:

        I’m a Chait fan. I think you are right on MBD. The whole thing reads like a confession/mea culpa of “Alright you liberals, we are hypocrites and just want power and now how to get it using tactics. So sue us.”

        I do think that the right-wing (especially the Evangelical right) are much better at voting as a tactic than the left generally. The left seems more prone to purity ponyism generally and not being able to vote for a candidate that they disagree with 10 percent of the time because it would sully their pure souls.

        But “Democrats fall in love, Republicans fall in line” is an old and probably true enough saw in American politics. Falling in love comes with strong chances of being betrayed and heartbroken by realpolitik. Falling in line means knowing when to fall on a sword for the team.Report

      • LeeEsq in reply to pillsy says:

        I found MBD’s line about liberals in America and Europe embracing capitalism because its a better solvent for Christianity than communism amusing on several levels. It shows that conservatives really still can’t tell the difference between anything but full throttled capitalism and full throttled communism. The idea of regulating the rough edges off capitalism and having some state involvement is nothing less than full communism to them. Its also a bit interesting to see that MBD is agreeing that conservative economics is deeply opposed to conservative social and religious preferences.Report

    • Stillwater in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      The thesis may be overstated but I agree that a paranoid, anti-empirical facts-to-fit-the-theory worldview has always been a core part of US conservatism, one which Trump both embodies and exploits. The topic seems to me more appropriately addressed in a purely academic setting, tho. Fwtw.Report

      • LeeEsq in reply to Stillwater says:

        Kurt Andersen’s Fantasyland makes the case that besides African-Americans, America has long been settled by people predisposed to believe in advertising and that the national character has a big strain of “Your not the boss of me, I’m going to do what I want.” He would argue that even liberal Americans are prone to anti-empirical facts to fit the theory worldview, they just express it differently. Andersen does agree that anti-empiricism helps the Right more than the Left in American politics.Report

    • Marchmaine in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      None Dare Call It Treason” and “A Choice, Not an Echo“*

      Those aren’t founding texts and the “reference” Chait makes to make us think there’s some sort of back-up to his claim is a circular link to himself writing the same column (or nearly the same) in August 2017. So he’s effectively citing himself as the definer of founding Conservative Texts.

      Chait is an opinionist, so I won’t yell at him for breaking journalistic standards by citing himself and posting nonsense links… Look, if you literally google “founding texts of the conservative movement” The top hits will give you lists of books that conservatives consider foundational… they aren’t even necessarily good lists… they are just lists that give lie to the nonsense that Chait usually writes about them.

      * That Schlafly was a movement conservative warrior is not in doubt… and influential in her own way too.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Marchmaine says:

        So he’s effectively citing himself as the definer of founding Conservative Texts.

        Yes, exactly. Chait defines “conservatism” in his own terms, finds evidence of that definition realized thru US history and reaching an apotheosis under Trump, and concludes that Trump as President and in practice is an expression of *pure* conservatism. It’s silly.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Marchmaine says:

        Or this: the degree to which Trump’s support derives from claims like “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive”, Chait is correct in saying Trump represents the paranoid, conspiracy-theory-as-wordview faction of conservatism. But those folks and those beliefs aren’t the entirety of conservativism.Report

  12. pillsy says:

    I guess this is politics, of a sort.

    At Gossip NY strip club — or “place for gentlemen,” as the purple neon sign outside would have it — you can smoke indoors, something I haven’t done in New York in years. Everywhere there are fat, stubby cigars, and fat, stubby men smoking them. The light is dim; the air is thick; the room is filled with journalists and sex workers, the former group mingling uneasily with the latter; and all of us have been waiting for hours for Stormy Daniels to appear.


  13. Pinky says:

    Po4 – I think that a group of bright, honest people on all sides of politics – say, us, for example – could compile a good list of fake or fluff or dishonest partisan websites. Even with that, though, I don’t know how you’d construct a study of the relative frequency of exchanging dumb links.Report

  14. Pinky says:

    Looks like no comments about Po9 yet, and I don’t have anything in particular to say about it either, but it was a good read. Thanks for posting it.Report

    • LeeEsq in reply to Pinky says:

      My main take away is that killing ideas is hard and that there will always be humans willing to try any thoroughly discredited idea on “this time will be different, we can make it work this time.” This also works with leftist ideas.Report

      • Pinky in reply to LeeEsq says:

        I don’t think you can really describe fascism as an idea, at least not Italian fascism. Like the article alludes to, it was pretty much Mussolini making it up as he went. There were a few fascist theoreticians, yes, but when your whole system is about complete obedience to what one guy says, then the ideology is bound only by what that one guy says. In the article, Iannone calls Mussolini the completion of the Italian unification, and I’d consider that statement noncontroversial: nationalist movements tend toward populist authoritarianism. Plato said that democracy leads to tyranny.Report

        • LeeEsq in reply to Pinky says:

          Fascism is an idea. The sum of fascism is that the nation-state is a thing in itself and every member of the nation-state should work for the greater glory of the nation-state.Report

  15. veronica d says:

    I’m not sure if this belongs here (politics) or the “society” morning edition, but I’ll put it here. This is a Twitter thread about how the alt-right is actively recruiting among young, depressed men. I think many of us already knew this was happening, at least organically, but this author gives first hand accounts of the actual approaches used on him:

    • Maribou in reply to veronica d says:

      @veronica-d That’s a damn powerful thread, and well worth reading in its entirety. I hope the guy makes it.Report

    • dragonfrog in reply to veronica d says:

      Huh. So Jordan Peterson is a sort of gateway drug to the alt-right.

      This makes perfect sense in light of the couple of conversations I’ve had with red pill folks. They were really disorienting conversations.Report

    • Pinky in reply to veronica d says:

      People who think they’ve found the key will always reach out to people who they think are looking for it. That’s not nefarious. As for Peterson, what’s with all this guilt by association?Report

      • Maribou in reply to Pinky says:

        @pinky Are you responding to the thread or what people have said here? If the former, I’d suggest that the cult tactics the thread described are hardly as simple as “reaching out”. If the latter, I urge you to read the thread first.Report

    • LeeEsq in reply to veronica d says:

      Its not surprising. Extremist movements always sought to find members among people on the dissatisfied. They provide the camaraderie, meaning, and most importantly alleged answers that people living that the recruits are looking. Depressed young men are wondering why they feel depressed in many cases, especially if their life is objectively not that bad or could be a lot worse, and along come the Alt-Righters with some very attractive sounding but erroneous theories.Report

  16. pillsy says:

    I’m not a Douthat hater, but I was still surprised at how good his latest is, in that, “I wish he didn’t have a point but he really does,” kind of way.Report

    • LeeEsq in reply to pillsy says:

      I agree. Douthat isn’t really the first one to make the connection. The “class not race” leftists like Freddie De Boer and other members of the anti-identity politics left along argued that corporations are adopting social liberalism as a way to reap benefits and seem more beneficent than they actually are. There was a BBC documentary on Machiavelli that made the point that Google’s official slogan of “don’t be evil” or something like that is very Machiavellian in spirit.

      Determining how much of this social liberalness is genuine and how much is cynical ploy to help the corporation make money is difficult to determine. I imagine that a lot of tech industries, with their younger and more hip workforces are more sincere about this than longer existed companies. Still, there is a big element of self-interest.Report

    • Pinky in reply to pillsy says:

      Two problems. One, corporate favors for left-wing entities aren’t a new thing at all. I’d have to see strong evidence that they’ve increased. Two, this sentence: “And the sin of Damore’s infamous memo on sex differences was to explicitly defend a reality — the nerdy-boys’-club culture of the tech world — that Silicon Valley’s mostly male bigwigs are quite happy to sustain, even as they use gender-diversity initiatives to toss some incense to egalitarianism.” displays so much ignorance and/or bad faith toward the subject that I have to assume bad faith on the part of the writer.Report

    • veronica d in reply to pillsy says:

      @pillsy — The risk in making these arguments is the shift from “these companies are not consistently onboard with the full leftist program” to “actually they care about the wrong things.” Which is to say, minority rights actually are important — very important — as are many social issues. Just because a company doesn’t dive full into “anarcho socialism” or whatever, in other words, because they follow the logic of capitalism, doesn’t mean we should not be darn glad they’re stepping up on social issues.

      I’ve read a number of these pieces, and quite often they do have a whiff of racism and homophobia (etcetera), something like, “Gosh I wish these companies were fighting for full socialism instead of wasting their time with the queers.”

      This is a real tension in the left these days. As a trans person who sees first hand the human cost of bigotry, and who has mixed feelings on market economics, I’m very glad companies are moving this direction. The simple fact is, my life depends on it.

      Serano talks a bit about this stuff here:

      • Saul Degraw in reply to veronica d says:


        I think you can split the difference in this case. Sometimes these politics might be sincere but there is still cause to hold the proverbial feet of corporations to the fire when it comes to economic issues and/or environmental issues. Stock buybacks to make investors happy is very stupid and so is the idea that corporation’s only exist to maximize shareholder value. Income inequality is still an issue.

        I just suppose it is a bit naive for liberals to cheer on Walmart and Dick’s Sporting Goods for their assault weapon policy changes.

        But we live in a strange moment where liberals are crushing it in the private sector even as Republicans control lots of levels of state and federal government and continue on with deep derp like the driving off a cliff.

        I’m with pillsy here. Ross D is normally an insufferable and pompous twit but he has a point here.Report

        • veronica d in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          @saul-degraw — It seems pretty straightforward to point out how companies fail in terms of economic justice, although often these arguments come down to “Following the incentives of capitalism can really suck.” So it goes. However, to present these points in opposition to other forms of social justice is troubling, precisely because so much lingering bigotry remains, even among leftists. In fact, there is often just as much bigotry among leftists, but in a form that is insidious rather than blatant. Witness discourse such as, “I can’t be racist because I’m gay” or “I’m a good pro-queer ally, but actually let me list all the reasons you should be suspicious of trans folks.” Perhaps you don’t notice how ubiquitous this stuff is, but I do.

          There are reasons articles take one structure instead of another. There is a reason to notice, “They are being good on social issues, but not economic ones,” instead of noting, “They used the color blue in their logo, but suck on economic justice issues.” The author is saying, “Sure, it’s great they are uplifting {minority group}, but let’s discount that focus on {other thing}.”

          No, I won’t discount that. It matters a lot. For good or bad we are a market economy and social justice matters. I refuse to see it in opposition to other forms of justice.

          We can talk about those other forms of justice on their own terms without suggesting my dignity is a disposable bargaining trip.Report

          • Oscar Gordon in reply to veronica d says:

            It’s the Copenhagen ethics game playing out. A company has to be good on all fronts that matter to the author, because allowing a firm to only be good on the fronts it cares about is insufficient.Report

            • veronica d in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

              @oscar-gordon — As I said, I have no problem with the author objecting to what companies do, according to their view of economic justice. In many cases I might agree. I dislike very much the idea that my dignity is some distraction from real justice. That’s nonsense, and deeply fucked. Human dignity is not a distraction.

              They can bring up economic justice without throwing minorities under the bus.Report

      • pillsy in reply to veronica d says:

        That is indeed a risk, though I think that Douthat navigated it better than most. Given his reactionary social views, I was somewhat surprised by that, but then again he’s not a socialist, so maybe he avoided Scylla because he was immune to the pull of Charybdis.Report