Ordinary World for 22 Oct 2018

Ordinary World for 22 Oct 2018

“But in the meantime all the life you have or ever will have is today, tonight, tomorrow, today, tonight, tomorrow, over and over again (I hope), …”
– Ernest Hemingway, For Whom the Bell Tolls

Ordinary World
22 Oct 2018

Civility:

[Ci1] Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, and Why Civility Can’t Return To Politics By Nick Gillespie & Todd Krainin: “If politics these days seem especially ugly, that’s because they are. Not even counting actual physical attacks on Sen. Rand Paul (R–Ky.) and the shooting of Rep. Steve Scalise (R–La.) during a congressional baseball practice, politics are more heated, divisive, and physically charged than they have been in years. And for good reason: The people who control politics insist that every piece of legislation, every Supreme Court nomination, every midterm election, every minor rule change is bringing the world one step closer to the apocalypse.”

[Ci2] What people don’t like about civility By Elizabeth Bruenig: “What people don’t like about both civility and political correctness is also – not just coincidentally – the very same thing: the obligation to translate what one really thinks into language someone else will not be offended by. For many, this burdensome process feels a lot like lying, and the resulting “common ground” created in the process seems artificial.”

[Ci3] We Are Trapped In An Escalating Spiral of Incivility by Julian Adorney: “The escalating conflict between Democrats and Republicans erodes the fabric of American society. Civil, democratic society only works as long as we can overcome our fear of the other side and unify as a nation. But for the past two decades, partisan hatred has been on the rise. Social psychologist Jonathan Haidt and political scientist Sam Abrams point to one cause: “rule changes and culture changes in Congress made it harder to maintain cross-party friendships.” With the decline of these friendships, civility in Washington has frayed.”

[Ci4] Civility is Dead, Hallelujah! by Noah Meyer: “The mask of civility has slipped off, and now there is nothing hiding the ugly reality of politics. For centuries, civility has been the guise hiding the relentless assault on working people from those insulated from reality. There is nothing left to hide behind now. The ruling class has already felt the effects. Protesters occupy their offices, harass them out of restaurants, and shut down the freeways. The most important thing is that they no longer feel safe—a privilege the elite have always had over the rest of us.”

[Ci5] Incivility Isn’t What’s Wrong With American Politics by Sarah Jones:”We do not suffer problems that can be solved with better etiquette. Euphemisms, whether the term is “incivility” or “racially tinged,” have a veiling effect. Viewed through the lens of euphemism, problems don’t look like structural injustice, but like impolitic language. Won’t you be my neighbor? Say no, and suddenly you’re the problem. You’ve forgone dialogue, which is disrespectful, which is the one cardinal sin that the civility framework admits.”

[Ci6] New GOP Message: Your Democratic Neighbors Just Might Kill You! by Elizabeth Picciuto: “Usually, fear-based campaigning constitutes one side accusing elected officials on the other side of posing a danger. If you elect my opponent, she’ll take away your guns/health care/police protections/environmental protections, etc. It’s one thing to accuse representatives of being dangerous. Accusing the citizens who hold opposing political viewpoints is something else entirely. The “angry mob” argument is not only suggesting that voters are in danger of the other side’s policies. It’s suggesting that they are also endangered by their fellow citizens, their neighbors, further increasing the recent bitter divisiveness.”

[Ci7] Civility and Non-Violence by Jennifer Ellen : “The Latin civilas means ‘relating to citizens.’ It’s about citizenship, and citizenship is about where the power and privilege in a society lies. Citizenship is at the heart of what divides us today?—?the legal technicalities of citizenship, yes, but also the full privileges of citizenship?—?both formal and informal. We disagree on who should have that standing, and we disagree on what it means to be a good citizen of America. In this deeper sense of ‘civility,’ it is about what constitutes civility itself that we disagree.”

[Ci8] The Odd Couple by Kristin Devine :”In this climate – two sides at war and both of them convinced that they’re not only right, but are actually God’s/the universe’s Chosen People, where every issue you encounter, no matter how small or silly, looks like a fine spot for a skirmish – why expend valuable energy scrutinizing your own behavior? For surely all behavior, no matter how odious, no matter how divisive, is justified if this is Perpetual War and you are on the side of the angels! If Beloved Tribe has been sanctified by the Holy Forces of Righteousness, surely everything one does and says in its name, no matter how counterproductive or awful or mean-spirited, is justified in the name of the greater good. You may be just a lowly tribesman with a Twitter account, but you are on a sacred mission. You aren’t being an a-hole, heaven forfend! You’re giving witness, testifying your faith, proselytizing to the heathens.”


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Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire.

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190 thoughts on “Ordinary World for 22 Oct 2018

  1. I admit my concern about the “incivility” and the idea that it’s OK to “hound” your political opponents in public is that, it will, in the way that everything seems to go, wind up with it becoming OK to hound private citizens in public.

    Your kid got in trouble in school, but you think he’s a little angel? Just scream at his teacher when you see her in the grocery store.

    College biology prof teaches evolution and you think that’s wrong? Scream at them when you see them in the doctor’s waiting room, tell them they’re going to Hell for what they’re doing.

    Dissatisfied with the job the housepainter did? Why does that a-hole deserve a nice meal out with his family? Scream at him at the restaurant.

    Hell, why not go to the person’s HOUSE, stand out on the street (so: not trespassing) and scare their spouse and kids? Should be effective.

    Look, I’m already 85% a hermit. You want me to go the other 15%? Have screaming fights, regularly, in public spaces. I suspect I’m not the only one who would refuse to leave her house into that kind of a world.

    Yes, Bad Politicians are Bad, but isn’t it worse making everyone else be a bystander to your attacking them when they just happen to be in the same space? And isn’t it worse making other people feel like “hey, maybe I can get what I want from (random small local businessperson) if I’m really abusive towards them when I see them in public”

    I dunno. As someone who was bullied as a kid, I don’t see this going anywhere good, even if the people being currently attacked are the ones seen as “bullies.”

    I suppose the one spot of good news is that at least right now this mainly seems to be confined to DC and maybe a few large cities, and perhaps those of us out in the sticks have more sense, I don’t know.

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  2. Ci1: Of course Reason’s solution to the problem is their radical brand of anti-politics, which is in itself a form of politics, that only a few people believe in. They believe that you can create this fantasy society where different groups live separately but in peace and equality with each other and the magic market will provide for all. The number of people who want this or are buying this can be counted on one hand. Humans are social and political animals. This means that every aspect of human life is a political decision no matter how some market oriented intellectuals want otherwise.

    Ci2: Bruening gets it right about why people do not like incivility. It comes across as false and hypocritical. I’d further argue that the alleged civil post-war consensus was not really that civil. You had massive fights over civil rights and the welfare state with the Right fighting against both as communist while liberals were for them. The Democratic Party was attacked as being soft on communism and crime just like we are soft on terror now. The 1960s was not a very civil time in American life.

    Ci3: This is a prime example of Murc’s law, only Democrats have agency. The author does not answer the question about the Republican assault on democracy and minority rights. He just believes that Democrats and liberals need to perform the civility rituals and somehow this will return the Republicans to normal. There is no evidence for this what so ever. Democrats attempted to deal with Republicans civilly throughout the Obama administration. What we got are even more outrageous, offensive, and bizarre comments, continued attempts at voter suppression, and wild, crazy, and out of control authoritarian behavior.

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    • Whomever this “Murc” is, they are a straight up, weapons-grade moron. The situation at this current time, this current place, is that there are to paradigms of politics. Stasis and change. If you are the party wanting change than you are going to be at a certain amount of disadvantage. Change is hard, Stasis not so much. Change asks things of you, Stasis doesn’t. And flowing from that, you have to make change easier, better, friendly, approachable. In short, polite.

      So, as the Dems are currently the party of Change – it even said so on the campaign literature, Hope and Change! – they need to embody this simple fact. And that makes it more difficult, as that makes you the party that is trying to persuade people to do something different. And what is the best way to do this? Yell at people? Chase them out of restaurants?

      Merk and Gleek and every other one of these idiots who says something like this childish “law” are doing a disservice as they are the ones removing agency from the left, telling them that it isn’t their fault that the other half of the country politically is exercising their political beliefs, that there is some law that defines this. No, the reality is that the other half of the country has there own wants, needs, and desires, and they have the bonus as being perceived as the status quo.

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      • Trump and Trumpism do not represent the status quo. Full stop.

        Anyone who claims to perceive them as representing the status quo is either lying or willfully blind because their movement, which like it or not currently defines the GOP, has been breaking every norm and standard they touch and so doing so loudly and aggressively. In fact, I seem to recall after the election that virtually every Trump voter interviewed was proclaiming how what they wanted to do was throw tables, grenades, burn the whole system down…. not exactly exemplars of stasis, eh?

        Also not exemplars of politely persuading people to try something different.

        So, given their success why should Dems be meekly polite in getting across that their (slightly more than) half of the country has their own wants, needs, and desires? Nothing succeeds like success and conservatives have shown that loud angry confrontational politics succeeds. So why would anyone be surprised if others adopt it and turn it against them?

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        • “Nothing succeeds like success and conservatives have shown that loud angry confrontational politics succeeds. So why would anyone be surprised if others adopt it and turn it against them?”

          So we’re going with ‘two wrongs make a right’ ?

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          • No. Personally I’d prefer that chest-thumping theatrical Alex Jones rage wasn’t the way we did politics.

            However, since it seems to work, you pretty much have to expect it to be widely adopted. I’m not advocating, only observing. If you don’t want this to be the way both sides operate, then don’t reward your side for doing it and don’t excuse with it with some blather about people wanting to be treated equally, or even merely justly, as one side forcing things on the other. (Sure, point out excesses that are stupid – I do, and I’ll probably agree with a lot of the cases where you do too – but don’t tell me that demanding equal rights before the law is wrong and offensive because it disturbs the status quo).

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      • Aaron has a point. The left has been much more eager to ram change down everyone’s throats. They seem to be tired of having to sell the ideas to the majority. I see this a lot in essays from folks on the left, who are so utterly enthralled with their own arguments that they fail to understand how or why others might not be so impressed. They then assume the failure is due to poor intellect, poor character, power dynamics, or straight up evilness of the opposition. When usually it’s just the fact that they utterly suck at presenting their ideas because they couldn’t pass an ideological Turing to save their own lives. They do not grok their target audience*.

        And This is where Aaron is right. They need to convince enough people that they are right and things need to change, and a lot of those people are not interested in change, because it involves work, or a cost, or it just makes them uncomfortable, and they don’t wanna. And yes, that last reason is stupid, but it is what it is. Eventually those people will die and stop voting (except in Chicago).

        *Or they do, and their target audience is like minded, and it’s an exercise in mental masturbation, and not an actual attempt to change hearts and minds.

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        • I’m not really seeing the throat ramming. But what might convince me the left is doing that if they were engaged in all sorts of voter suppression trying to prevent the other side from voting. Not really seeing that. I’m seeing a lot more very suspicious behavior by republican’s trying to prevent people from voting. It seems like D’s want more people to vote and R’s want less.

          In any case a couple disturbed dinners, which isn’t’ my style, doesn’t exactly equate to The Left.

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          • I’m not really seeing the throat ramming.

            Me either. But if you think liberals are all poorly disguised Leninists just itching to use state power to send their political opponents to the gulags then advocating for gay rights constitutes a serious threat conservatives ignore at your own peril.*

            * “Reasonable” conservative commenters here at the OT have expressed this very concern by saying that liberals want to make their way of thinking illegal.

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          • I didn’t mention anything about disturbed diners. I said essays. I read a lot more from the left than the right (mostly because what the right puts out isn’t even trying to be original anymore), and I see an awful lot of what is basically whining from the left about how they can’t enact their wish list.

            What it boils down to is this: The party that claims to not be intellectually bankrupt[1] seems unable to figure out how to sell their ideas to anyone not already in their tent. And I can see how, when your tent is plastered with signs that say stuff like “Reality has a strong liberal bias”, and “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”, one can forget that you still have to get inside the other persons actual head[2] enough to be able to present your ideas to them in an appealing way when you want them to change, especially if that change will incur an actual or perceived cost.

            I’ll go back to (paraphrase) one of my favorite quotes: Never appeal to a persons better nature, they may not have one, or it’s being over-ridden by more material concerns. Appeal to their self-interest, you get a lot more leverage.

            As for voter suppression, anyone got an unbiased of who is doing what? My Google Fu only returned the hyper-partisan stuff. And the ACLU’s page was all about the high level actions, not a state-by-state list of what is active, what is proposed, etc.

            [1] A claim I find sustainable, but I lean left, I would.
            [2] Not the straw head that is all evil and racist and greedy, etc.

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            • I didn’t mention anything about disturbed diners. I said essays. I read a lot more from the left than the right (mostly because what the right puts out isn’t even trying to be original anymore), and I see an awful lot of what is basically whining from the left about how they can’t enact their wish list.

              Oscar,

              It appears neither one of them want to take you seriously. Their comments show they give a shit more about partisan blinders than serious analysis.

              When even the commenters I like a lot start pulling this shit, it’s a bad world out there.

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        • “The left has been much more eager to ram change down everyone’s throats. They seem to be tired of having to sell the ideas to the majority. I see this a lot in essays from folks on the left, who are so utterly enthralled with their own arguments that they fail to understand how or why others might not be so impressed. They then assume the failure is due to poor intellect, poor character, power dynamics, or straight up evilness of the opposition.”

          This. This. This. It was one of the points I was trying to make in this post. My belief in science, my love of Great Big WPA projects from the New Deal, my love of emerging technologies and my fondness for out-of-the-box thinking is why I still support many liberal positions…but being able to explain your ideas AND persuade your audience is just not something liberals are often good at. Biggest problem is that they don’t anticipate objections, assume good intent and prepare to address those concerns. I used to say all of the time that if liberals would just pitch alternative energy solutions as a cost-savings item instead of the end to global warming, they would get more support from the Right. The problem is that they seem to need conservatives to admit that Global Warming is real first. So nothing gets done.

          “They then assume the failure is due to …poor character…or straight up evilness of the opposition.”

          And this is why civility goes out the window on that side of the aisle. On the Right, I think it’s curmudgeonly cynicism and the troublesome influence of religion.

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          • Wow. You are willing to overlook are *whole lot* of evidence that the Right is every bit as prone to assuming

            poor intellect, poor character, power dynamics, or straight up evilness of the opposition.

            Heck it doesn’t take a lot of running back through past threads here to see all of that from conservative writers directed at liberal writers or just Liberals as a whole. And on a national level? I am hard pressed to think of an example of a prominent conservative in media or political office assuming good intent, let alone addressing concerns on the other side.

            Again, not excusing it on either side. Just pointing out that you are doing exactly what you are accusing liberals of here: assuming and assigning the worst character to the opposition.

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            • yes–his own piece was part of several articles (by different authors) here that were “let’s all look at the other side and be respectful” which sound good except for a blatantly partisan “especially you fuckers” tone to them. The irony was rich.

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            • “…poor intellect, poor character, power dynamics, or straight up evilness of the opposition.”

              I was on a ferry over to Martha’s Vineyard in 2004, the day after Bush beat Kerry. I overheard a person say, “How can the rest of the country be so stupid.” That attitude has been pervasive from my perspective for the last 10 years. With that said, I don’t consider people like Sam to be the norm on the Left. He’s a particularly angry dude. But I’ve never assumed poor intent on the part of liberals. They have their heart in the right place. I just disagree with their some of their ideas and I think they misread the country a lot.

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              • Should I list all of the comments about how liberals are degenerate, depraved, pointy-headed ivy tower elitists (which seems to be conservative-speak for stupid), unAmerican, etc. etc?

                Those attitudes have been pervasive from my perspective for the last 20+ years. And don’t BS me that you’ve never assumed poor intent on the part of liberals. I was here to read your comments during the Kavanaugh hearing.

                But I’ll tell you what, if you really want things to change, then maybe try the old adage about ‘Be the change you want to see in the world’ and stop going on about and/or agreeing with anything anybody says about how awful liberals are, and acknowledge that your side isn’t just being ‘curmudgeonly’ when they attack liberals (or anyone slightly to the left of them).

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                • When I say ‘never assume bad intent’ on the part of liberals I am talking about liberals generically. There are a few commenters here who I am very skeptical about, after reading their comments for years. And even then, with the exception of maybe one person, I don’t really think they have bad intent, I just think they are motivated by the wrong things. I’m pretty open about my dislike of the way Sam does things, but I know he means well. That’s assuming good intent, even from someone who I disagree with completely.

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                  • The key word in “never assume bad intent” is assume, which means to take something without it being demonstrated. Even so, it’s tricky. We are all probably too quick to take a passing comment as a demonstration of bad intent. And we’ve all wasted time talking to trolls. I’d rather do the latter, all other things being equal, because a third person gets something out of a good-faith response to a troll, but nothing from a “false positive” on a troll test.

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                  • Then you should probably change your passwords or something because someone posting as you has been talking a lot about liberals generally – everything from conspiracy theory-level bad intent wrt Kavanaugh, to seconding another poster’s contention that liberalism may be caused by mental illness, to really dumb stuff like the one posted here yesterday:

                    Liberals are not going to give up protesting. It’s baked into the soul of the Left because they believe it creates change. Mainline conservatives typically think that kind of stuff is silly.

                    It must be a kid who hacked you, because I’m pretty sure you are old enough to remember the Tea Party protests – complete with people in tricorn hats , women weaing tea bags for earrings and dudes strapped with long guns carrying Gadsen flags – that paraded around after 2009, and I don’t recall any mainline conservatives who chided them as silly. (Nope, the Tea Party was due to righteous outrage, so even its excesses were excusable).

                    But you know all that, so clearly you couldn’t have written anything that clueless. It must have been someone trying to make you look like a total partisan or a troll.

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                    • “…everything from conspiracy theory-level bad intent wrt Kavanaugh…”

                      I don’t think it was ‘conspiracy-level’ to assume that Democrats cared much more about politics than justice for Ford. It seems very naive to believe otherwise.

                      “…to seconding another poster’s contention that liberalism may be caused by mental illness…”

                      I have no idea what you are talking about.

                      “I’m pretty sure you are old enough to remember the Tea Party protests…and I don’t recall any mainline conservatives who chided them as silly.”

                      I guess you weren’t in the bars with my conservative buddies when we were sitting around laughing about them.

                      “It must have been someone trying to make you look like a total partisan or a troll.”

                      And…now you are just being gross.

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                • Those attitudes have been pervasive from my perspective for the last 20+ years.

                  bookdragon, you must be young. I remember it from 50 years ago. It is true, however, that Newt Gingrich famously systematized it in the ’80s.

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                  • No, I’m old, but I grew up in a Republican family, so I guess I started noticing them once I gave up on the GOP – which was pretty much around the time of Newt’s rise as the new face of the party (and quite honestly had a lot to do with why I gave up on them).

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          • if liberals would just pitch alternative energy solutions as a cost-savings item instead of the end to global warming, they would get more support from the Right.

            Why?
            What does it say about conservatives, that we have to treat them like toddlers who need the spinach hidden under candy?

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            • Chip, that’s not fair. And there are plenty of issues where I’m sure conservatives could say the same.

              My skepticism wrt pitching alternative energy is that pitching the cost-savings angle and pitching the fact that solar panel installation both pays more and is less hazardous than coal mining, was tried (during the last campaign in fact) and rejected. Why? As far as I can tell, because the pitch was being made by liberals and therefore *had* to rejected because it must be ….I don’t know, part of a bigger plan to destroy the American way of life or something?

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            • Because I* live paycheck to paycheck and I got bills to pay. I can’t care about global warming, etc. when I’m suffering decision fatigue and struggling to make ends meet. Tell me how this green initiative is going to fight global warming, and I don’t care. Tell me how it’s going to save me money every month, starting NOW, and you have my attention.

              *Rhetorical ‘I’, not me personally.

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                • Because power and money. People do all manner of crap if they think it’ll let them capture or keep power or money.

                  Listen, I am not trying to defend the GOP here. Far from it. I just filled out my ballot and for the first time ever, I didn’t even bother voting for a GOP candidate.

                  I’m trying to drive home the message that you can’t win on good ideas alone. There are A LOT of people whose vote swings based on messages they can understand from names they recognize, and the party affiliation or more abstract platform issues are largely meaningless. These are the people who voted for Obama twice, then voted for Trump.

                  Trying to win their vote through insults and shame is a really bad idea. Telling them they are racist or idiots who are killing the planet is not going to win their vote.

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                  • Poor Democrats don’t care about global warming any more than poor Republicans do.

                    But they follow and place trust in a party leadership that does, and takes prudent steps to avoid the damage.

                    The party leadership in the GOP knows better, but chooses to prioritize short term profit and power over long term health.

                    The derision and shame is not directed at the poor voters, but those who lead them.

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                    • The derision and shame is not directed at the poor voters, but those who lead them.

                      I’m gonna give you three guesses how the average voter who voted for said leaders interprets that derision.

                      This is like talking to people who don’t understand how a thug like Putin can be so crazy popular back in Russia.

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                  • Ya know what, I’m gonna walk this back a touch. Your educated politicians and pundits? It’s not all about money or power. I’m sure for some it is. For them it’s just a con. But man, I’ve run across an awful lot of well educated True Believers out there. People with degrees from Not-Bob Jones University, who somehow managed to resist the liberal brainwashing on every college campus, and who truly believe in whatever they are selling.

                    We all know education is not the panacea folks like to pretend it is (nor are liberal faculty even remotely effective at ‘brainwashing teh youth’), so you can have highly educated people who really believe $DEITY tells them LGBTQ are not to be treated as equals, or that black people really are inferior, or that police should be allowed whatever force they deem necessary to handle whatever crime is on the news. Etc.

                    And guess what, these folks are educated, and silver tongues and convincing rhetoric are not the exclusive domain of people left of center (hell, my whole point here is that the folks to the left are sucking at selling their ideas). They know their audience and they know how to deliver their message. And they got good at it (IMHO) probably by arguing with people in college, because they didn’t get stuck in an echo chamber.

                    And my machine is about to reboot. I’ll try and finish these thoughts later.

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            • I work in Quality and (unfortunately) our Ops guys control the budget. My team likes big ideas and the notion of running a model operation that is safe, productive and error-free. We’re sort of liberal in that way. Our Ops guys want to make a profit and want to make service and they are very realistic and pragmatic. They don’t like change or spending money on unproven ideas. They are sort of like conservatives. For years we beat our heads against the wall trying to convince the Ops guys that longterm our ideas would make them more profitable because good quality equals efficiency and less money spent fixing mistakes.

              We eventually figured out that changing our strategy, settling for micro improvements, cycling Ops guys through a Quality training program that we facilitated for free, etc…paid off in the longrun. Half of those guys don’t even realize we improved their Quality. I don’t care how it was accomplished, I’m just glad it happened and ultimately my life less stressful.

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        • It is impossible to sell equality to bigots. The conservative goal is denied equality to despised out-groups. It was advocated in marriage, it is advocating in voting access, it is advocated in policing, it is advocated in immigration, it is advocated in policy. The goal is a two-tiered system: one for conservatives, and another for everybody else. The idea that there is a way to argue against this without observing the disparity or its origins hamstrings people advocating for that equality. How, in other words, can one advocate for a better, fairer world without getting at where the problem is coming from?

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          • Your failure is assuming any of that matters to people, except in the abstract. Sure, for people who like to make noise, you are probably right. They don’t want equality, they don’t want to lose their power or privilege. And they have a damn good message, because the opposition wants to improve the opportunities of other people, which enacts an opportunity cost on everyone else.

            Most people probably don’t care if others have equal rights or not, they care if the effort to enable those equal rights forces them to pay a cost.

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            • A bully being barred from bullying is not suffering the same cost as a bullied person being bullied. Those opposed to gay marriage did not suffer as a result of gay marriage’s legality; they only suffered because they were not able to live under a law which hurt the people they hated. That isn’t suffering.

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              • It was perceived as a cost to them, and that perception remained until enough people were convinced that the ‘cost’ to them was not real, or it was insignificant compared to the ‘cost’ gay people suffered under.

                I mean, gay marriage is a great example. It’s a prime demonstration of how the left got the right argument and managed to keep it going until they hit the tipping point. The people who are still upset about it are probably always going to be upset about it, but for everyone else, they realized the cost they were told they’d suffer was not real, and it’s unlikely they will be swayed back[1]. If gay marriage costs me nothing, then I have no reason to spend energy opposing it.

                [1] This is why the baker/florist/photographer cases are dangerous, because they can be used to show that the ‘cost’ was real. That people can get in trouble for exercising the ‘right to refuse service’. The tipping point for gay marriage isn’t so far past that I am comfortable challenging it.

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              • Oscar Gordon: Most people probably don’t care if others have equal rights or not, they care if the effort to enable those equal rights forces them to pay a cost.

                Sam Wilkinson: A bully being barred from bullying is not suffering the same cost as a bullied person being bullied. Those opposed to gay marriage did not suffer as a result of gay marriage’s legality; they only suffered because they were not able to live under a law which hurt the people they hated. That isn’t suffering.

                That’s one example. Let’s look at some others.

                The solution for “racial equality” is to take my high functioning kids and bus them into a failing school so they can be an example to others. It’s good for the collective even if it’s not good for my kids. This can be imposed by people who have life terms and are immune to voter outrage.

                The solution for other people having kids out of wedlock is to encourage my kids to not get married and have kids out of wedlock. Ditto for various other examples of dysfunctional behavior.

                The solution for all sorts of problems (which I often don’t care about) is to raise my taxes. All sorts of examples here, everything from global warming to various groups that “need” bailouts because of self inflicted problems (gov unions’ pension funds).

                It also makes me nervous to watch foreign socialists burn down their country’s economy and remember just a few years ago our local socialists were pointing to that and say it’s the way to run things.

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                  • greginak: If teachers in your kids schools are telling them to get prego and not get married then that is one hell of a school district you got there.

                    I have had four relatives NOT get married to their boy/girl-friend while pregnant because they get more gov benefits that way. Three of the four eventually did get married anyway, each was open to the family on what they were doing any why.

                    The most recent one (2 years ago) is the most damning because he’s as much of a math guy as I am and I respect his judgement and calculations when he threw out numbers which he’d clearly min-maxed.

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                    • Oh so no one is encouraging your children to do anything…got it. I see people get married all the time because they get pregnant ( i work in a court) Like everyday people are doing that.

                      There are all sorts of financial advantages to getting married especially around health insurance. So i don’t’ know the state you are in which certainly effects benefits. But the +/- to getting married is far more complex then you are laying it out especially without knowing the benefits they are talking about.

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                      • Oh so no one is encouraging your children to do anything…

                        No more than money ever does.

                        getting married is far more complex then you are laying it out

                        I get that “anecdote is not evidence”, but I find the number of times it’s come up disturbing.

                        It suggests we have misaligned incentives.

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                • “The solution for “racial equality” is to take my high functioning kids and bus them into a failing school so they can be an example to others. It’s good for the collective even if it’s not good for my kids. This can be imposed by people who have life terms and are immune to voter outrage.”

                  This. When people like Sam talk about how conservatives are all biggoted and want to see people suffer, he seems to be unable to understand that liberal policies can often lead to negative outcomes, as though good intentions are the only things that matter.

                  School desegregation plans are very, very well-intentioned but have cascading negative effects and have also been mostly proven not to really work. But hey, our heart was in the right place!

                  Someone has to stand guard against well-intentioned-bad-policies. It’s certainly not fun being the wet blankets at an optimism party, but this is what conservatives sign up for.

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                  • Everybody is the wet blanket at the other guys optimism party. Remember back in the Bush days when he wanted to move lots of SS into the market. That would have worked out that well when the crash hit.

                    Everybody has good intentions though some of their premises may a bit twisted. Liberal policy types can and have been wrong. That is for sure. But it is not a case of just sprinkling some optimism dust and assuming everything will work.

                    Also, how much is busing a suggestion now? Maybe i’m not hearing it. I hear lots of liberal solutions to school problems but i don’t’ seem to hear about busing. Where is this being suggested? I did a quick google, but didnt’ find anything current but maybe i missed it.

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                      • Well huh….i had no idea. I mostly hear talk about changing the way schools are funded so that schools in poor areas can get more dough and trying to alleviate the worst effects of poverty which harm school performance.

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                        • I mostly hear talk about changing the way schools are funded so that schools in poor areas can get more dough and trying to alleviate the worst effects of poverty which harm school performance.

                          Detroit’s schools are better funded than us, or at least they were the last time (years ago) I spent an hour digging into the numbers.

                          If memory serves the big difference was their extra money wasn’t making it’s way into the classroom. We have two thirds of an non-teacher employee for every teacher. They had something like 3 non-teacher employees for every teacher.

                          What that means I have no clue, but it didn’t seem good and it also didn’t seem like throwing money at the system would change much.

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                        • Busing here in Louisville is a big deal. The school system is heavily invested in it…

                          As for mitigating the effects of poverty, I’m a huge believer in public education but I am also increasingly convinced performance is almost entirely tied to the child’s home, family, etc and schools simply can’t close that gap. That’s why most of my Progressivism is tied to ending the Drug War and work programs.

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                          • I agree that a lot of school performance is tied to home and the environment outside of school. Ending the WOD would be a good start along with various social support programs ( free lunch, breakfast, health insurance, tutoring, after school programs and much more).

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                            • Even those programs aren’t super succesful, which is a bummer because they seem like a great idea. I’d rather see more focus on the home itself. Shorter work days, better transit to get parents home faster, more high speed internet, more rssources for parents. Unfortunately when you have poorly educated ancestors that can take generations to work itself out.

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                                • “I’d add free post HS education….”

                                  I like the idea of free education in principle, but how does that work in practice? Do you still limit enrollment in the best state schools? I mean, we can’t all go to Penn State or UNC. Right?

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                                  • I’m not sure Penn State is the best state school in Penn if we discount sports. Zing take that Penn State.

                                    There is a role for all the mid range state schools or trade schools. Most big states have that level of school. That is fine for most people in general. It was for me and lots of other people i went to school with.

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                                • Affirmative action, lightening rod that it is, has opened up college to many POC allowing them to improve their lives.

                                  We now have a Black middle/upper class which captures the bulk of the benefits of AA (as well as African immigrants who tend to be much higher educated than normal). Giving Obama’s kids Affirmative Action in addition to their other advantages does nothing to fix overall economic racial inequality… and Obama’s kids are the rule, not the exception.

                                  I’m also not sure why Asians aren’t considered POC.

                                  I’d add free post HS education.

                                  My hoard of children would thank you. However, how much of this benefit would be captured by people like me and mine?

                                  I think free post HS education helps the kids who can’t pull in merit based scholarships but it probably helps my kids even more. If money isn’t an issue then my kids are still a lot more desirable to colleges than most. So instead of going to local-U (an OK college but not great), they go to great-U (U of Michigan Engineering, MIT, etc).

                                  Big picture, HS used to be a big signal and guaranteed success so we gave everyone a HS education and now we’re finding there’s no signal if everyone does it. Give everyone a college education and the signal will move somewhere else.

                                  Bottom line for the equality problem is my kids have two functional adults backing them who care a great deal about their education and such. We step in to deal with various educational problems while they’re small. People like me are the big source of inequality in the system, and afaict no one has a clue what to do about it.

                                  On some level my kids are competing with everyone else’s, and “fixing” inequality implies… what?

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                                  • Upper middle class/affluent kids capture the bulk of benefits of affirmative action? Citation needed. Obama’s kids are the rule? Huh? No not really.

                                    Yeah i know that signals are thing. But it is also only one factor and not the entire explanation re: education. Education is actually, you know, about learning stuff to work in a field. You wanna be a nurse, you need some knowledge. Call the degree a signal and it’s a difference without a distinction.

                                    Your last two paragraphs suggest you see this as a zero sum game so if poor kids get more your kids will get less. What does that imply about your ideas about policy? That others must be kept down?

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                                    • (Splitting this in two)

                                      Upper middle class/affluent kids capture the bulk of benefits of affirmative action? Citation needed.

                                      No problem.

                                      The documents brought to light in the case show that the school [Harvard] admits more than twice as many nondisadvantaged as disadvantaged blacks, with the latter getting no preference over the former. This shows, the SFFA claims, that Harvard’s racial preferences are not primarily designed to help the black students most affected by our legacy of slavery and segregation. There is also ample public evidence that at selective schools generally, large admissions preferences catapult relatively well-off blacks and Latinos over less well-off and academically better qualified Asian Americans and whites. More than 25 percent of black students at selective schools are immigrants or children of immigrants, who on average are more socioeconomically advantaged than other blacks. Indeed, as Yale law professor emeritus Peter H. Schuck noted last year in One Nation Undecided, “most of the potential beneficiaries of [racial and ethnic preferences] are recent immigrants and their descendants,” who are -“competing with the descendants of black slaves whose families have been (and suffered) in America for centuries.”

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                                      • Yeah Harvard, it’s been in the news. However there are many many more colleges in the US. Harvard is just one. That Harvard did that doesn’t prove what you claim.

                                        Does AA get poor kids into NW SE State Tech U when they wouldn’t have? That kind of thing effects far more kids then all the elites at Harvard.

                                        The other thing about the Big H is the kids who don’t’ get in there, don’t end up a HVAC repair school. They end up at Yale or Stanford or Dartmouth. They do just fine. Doesn’t’ mean whatever discrimination H is doing is fine. But it isn’t addressing the actual lives of the other 99.9% of kids.

                                        Edit: The second bit of your quote discussed selective schools more generally. 25% of kids from recent immgrint family still leaves 75% from others. Again though the most selctive schools will always be taking from the highest performers. Few kids from poor areas will not ready for the Ivy’s. Getting them in typical schools is more pertinent to them.

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                                        • The other thing about the Big H is the kids who don’t’ get in there, don’t end up a HVAC repair school. They end up at Yale or Stanford or Dartmouth.

                                          Well doesn’t that argue that we should try to create more slots in HVAC schools so potentially large earners don’t end up someplace like Yale or Stanford?

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                                        • 25% of kids from recent immigrant families still leaves 75% from others.

                                          25% seems eye-wateringly high. High enough that the benefits of AA for fighting poverty might round to zero. Let’s check the math.

                                          First, not everyone goes to college.

                                          the percentage of students enrolling in college in the fall immediately following high school completion was 69.8 percent in 2016
                                          Google, https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=372

                                          So we cut off the bottom 30%. Only 75% of that remaining 69.8% are NOT recent immigrants. So now we’re down to 52.5% of native blacks (presumably the upper 52.5%) benefiting from AA.

                                          Poverty and race/ethnicity…
                                          The US Census declared that in 2014 14.8% of the general population lived in poverty:
                                          … 26.2% of all African American persons [live in poverty]
                                          … 46% of black children [live in poverty]

                                          wiki

                                          46% living in poverty is another way to say 54% do not. 54% is greater than 52.5%.

                                          After we subtract immigrants, the middle/upper class, and kids who don’t go to college, there doesn’t need for there to be ANY benefit left over for black children living in poverty. Ergo the concept that the bulk of the “benefits” of AA are captured by immigrants and the black middle/upper class seems reasonable.

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                                          • that doesn’t all address greg’s point that ” Getting them in typical schools is more pertinent to them.”

                                            now i have no idea what kind of not-illegally-AA-but-still-functionally-AA stuff typical schools do or do not have going on, but all your math is still based in the population greg said he doesn’t think is important to the issue.

                                            So you’re not really addressing his argument at all.

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                                            • Say, I’m not seeing update (new post) emails from OT. Is this just me?

                                              ….all your math is still based in the population greg said he doesn’t think is important to the issue.

                                              That 25% figure was for “selective” schools (which is basically all of them) as opposed to “highly selective” schools (which is a few dozen). “Non-selective” colleges already take everyone, I’m not sure what AA even means for a school like that.

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                                          • That is a mish mash of numbers that doesn’t prove anything. For one, a child could be in a family that is slightly above poverty line and still have few to no advantages and come from an area with many problems. Being above poverty line does not mean they are set or, even more importantly might not be disadvantaged by discrimination.

                                            The numbers re: Harvard are just about Harvard. There are about 2500 four year colleges/ uni’s in the US according to Wikipedia. I’m guessing, but feel very safe in that guess, that the 25% number is different in a typical uni.

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                                            • greginak That is a mish mash of numbers that doesn’t prove anything.

                                              That math shows that (excluding immigrants) the number of Blacks “helped” by AA is smaller than the number of Middle+Upper Class Black students for selective schools.

                                              greginak: The numbers re: Harvard are just about Harvard. There are about 2500 four year colleges/ uni’s in the US according to Wikipedia. I’m guessing, but feel very safe in that guess, that the 25% number is different in a typical uni.

                                              To be fair, 25% seemed crazy high to me too and I wondered how typical that could be. I found there are a LOT more immigrants than I intuitively thought (14% or so of the country are immigrants), and their economic performance is MUCH better than home-grown African Americans. This is support for inequality mostly being a cultural thing than a racist thing but that’s beyond the scope of this conversation.

                                              But since that 25% is for “selective” colleges as opposed to “highly selective”, and isn’t something I’m pulling out of the air, you really should back up your gut feel with some other than you not liking my links.

                                              greginak …a child could be in a family that is slightly above poverty line and still have few to no advantages and come from an area with many problems. Being above poverty line does not mean they are set or, even more importantly might not be disadvantaged by discrimination.

                                              Yes, it’s possible to envision people in some situation who are helped, and we could cherry pick data to zoom in on them. But now that we’ve got some idea on the upper limit on the benefits (as they are now as opposed to decades ago), let’s talk about the costs.

                                              AA deliberately “mismatches students”, i.e. sends minority students into colleges that they’re not ready for academically. Their failure rates are scary high, almost two of three (link and numbers below).

                                              And that’s just the failure numbers. There are other nasty effects which result from this.
                                              1) Presumably this is why there are fewer black engineers (engineering courses are normally the hardest on the campus, if you’re struggling then you transfer to a weaker major).
                                              2) Student debt is worse if you drop out and have nothing to show for it.
                                              3) Mismatch implies bad things for race relations.
                                              4) Mismatch puts the U in various awkward situations (do they dumb down courses or let people slide).

                                              One person out of three failing at college because of mismatch when they would have otherwise succeeded seems like a pretty big problem and imho could easily make the total impact of the program negative.

                                              So that fictional marginalized person you talked about further up who wouldn’t go to a selective college without AA? His real life equiv has really high odds of dropping out of college with student debt but no degree. He’s probably better off with a non-selective community college and/or finding a trade. A couple of classes (I think “two”) at the local community college and you can easily get a job as an apprentice Carpenter.

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                                    • Dark Matter: Bottom line for the equality problem is my kids have two functional adults backing them who care a great deal about their education and such. We step in to deal with various educational problems while they’re small. People like me are the big source of inequality in the system, and afaict no one has a clue what to do about it.

                                      Dark Matter: On some level my kids are competing with everyone else’s, and “fixing” inequality implies… what?

                                      greginak: Your last two paragraphs suggest you see this as a zero sum game so if poor kids get more your kids will get less. What does that imply about your ideas about policy? That others must be kept down?

                                      Let’s try again with specifics. I work for a well known high level Fortune 500, we (selfishly) give out well paid internships. I say “selfish” because the purpose of these is to turn them into jobs and create real employees at some point. It’s painfully hard to find good software interns, HR calls them “the usual pain points”. There’s also a lot of competition for them because we’d be a ticket to basically anywhere.

                                      My oldest girl was a Freshman in college last year. I put her hat in the ring for a software internship. As a Freshman, she knew far more about software than Juniors I interviewed, spoke three languages, had three years of embedded software experience in High School because of First Robotics, had a 4.0/4.0 college GPA (admittedly with one semester), and a 4.9/4.0 (weighted) High School GPA. She’d done software coding competitions in HS for three years. She has won multiple state level awards and one national award (for HS students in engineering and/or software related). She’s also attractive, athletic, charismatic, a very quick thinker and an extrovert.

                                      That’s the competition l’m bringing to the table. How the heck is society supposed to “balance” things so some kid who doesn’t have two high functioning parents has an “equal opportunity” against her?

                                      It’s a process, not an event. She didn’t just magically appear, her killer advantage is her parents. At every step along the way, I’ve had my finger on the scale, whether that mean she was in challenging classes, or tutoring math/science, or driving her to enriching events. Most of that would have been simply impossible without another adult.

                                      And she’s just the oldest of my crew, the others are similar. I just sat down with girl #4’s math homework because there was something she was struggling with, this wasn’t the first time and it won’t be the last. Each of them have needed serious tutoring (by me) at some point.

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                    • Also, how much is busing a suggestion now?

                      It’s history to roughly the same degree that opposition to gay marriage is now history. If it’s fair to claim credit for the one then it’s fair to give you blame for the other.

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                      • I asked Mike how much busing is going on how and he says it still occurs. Is it happening to your kids? If it’s old history then did it affect your kids years ago? If not then …well….i don’t know. Again i don’t see liberal types pushing busing now. Maybe they are and i’m missing it. I see lots of other suggestions for fixing schools in poor areas.

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                        • I asked Mike how much busing is going on how and he says it still occurs. Is it happening to your kids?

                          I moved across city borders so it couldn’t. That would be… 15(ish) years ago.

                          Maybe 5 years (ish) before that I heard the incoming Super state for the public record his #1 priority was racial integration… as opposed to perhaps “test scores” or even “not having students rape each other in the stairways” (local news).

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          • “The goal is a two-tiered system: one for conservatives, and another for everybody else.”

            Yikes. We’re back to the point where Sam is arguing that he is a targeted minority. I mean, I disagree with much of this:

            “It was advocated in marriage, it is advocating in voting access, it is advocated in policing, it is advocated in immigration…”

            …but I understand why he believes that. Lumping himself in with those parties though. I wonder how those folks would actually feel about that?

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              • Read this again:

                “The goal is a two-tiered system: one for conservatives, and another for everybody else.”

                This is the second time that I have seen Sam use that language. The first time he said something like, “Conservative policy is designed to only benefit white conservatives.” Sam believes that conservatives specifically design policy to marginalize minorities…and liberals. So in effect, he believes he is also one of the parties being oppressed by the Right. I want to say that he’s gone native, but that would assume the natives agree with him. He doesn’t seem to understand that to many of the people he is trying to help, he’s just another white guy that doesn’t really get it.

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                • Sam believes that conservatives specifically design policy to marginalize minorities…and liberals.

                  Voter ID laws and the voter-registration purges occurring in lots of Red states suggest he’s correct about that, Mike.

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                • They specifically said they aimed to marginalize D/African American voters in North Carolina.

                  Key graf:

                  ““I think electing Republicans is better than electing Democrats,” said Rep. David Lewis, a Republican member of the North Carolina General Assembly, addressing fellow legislators when they passed the plan in 2016. “So I drew this map to help foster what I think is better for the country.”

                  He added: “I propose that we draw the maps to give a partisan advantage to 10 Republicans and three Democrats because I do not believe it’s possible to draw a map with 11 Republicans and two Democrats.”

                  https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/2018/08/27/fc04e066-aa46-11e8-b1da-ff7faa680710_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.5e82223736c1

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                  • That was the point I was going to make. The reason gerrymandering is usually possible is because minorities tend to cluster together in many places. So gerrymandering doesn’t specifically target liberals. It targets likely Democratic voters. Thus, I’m not sure you can say that conservative policies are targeted specifically against liberals. There just happens to be an overlap. There’s also the question that as a white male, is there still a net gain from conservative policies for yourself even if you don’t agree with those polices?

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              • You have to translate “everybody else” to mean “minority” to make this work. This is all part of a broader trolling shtick in which it is argued that it is out of bounds for anybody to be concerned about justice for anybody who is in anyway different than yourself.

                (So, for instance, you would not be allowed to be concerned for injustice endured by those making insufficient gains.)

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          • It is impossible to sell equality to bigots. … How, in other words, can one advocate for a better, fairer world without getting at where the problem is coming from?

            The problem is that to hold this position, you essentially already have to be coming from a position of privilege. The history of America is the history of people who have no standing fighting and clawing for position. Sometimes you fight head on, sometimes you resort to guerrilla tactics, and sometimes you simply don’t fight at all. Sometimes simply living your life to the best of your present ability is the right way to go.

            If converting every bigot or denying reactionaries any space in which they can feel comfortable is the metric for winning, then the cause is lost. Sometimes it’s just enough to clear out a space in which the marginalized can take a breath and get to work making a life for themselves. Endless culture war is probably the de facto condition of what it means to live in a place like the United States, but that doesn’t mean that we have to keep pouring ourselves into the breach like the clueless armies of the beginning of WWI.

            Sometimes live and let live is the right way to be.

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        • When any people declare that they have inalienable rights, that literally, IS ramming something down the throats of others.

          The Declaration of Independence was deliberately phrased as non-negotiable demands.

          “Don’t tread on me” is exactly, precisely, ramming something down someone’s throat, no different than “I AM A MAN” or “Call me by my proper gender noun”.

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          • Perception: Don’t tread on me demands nothing of anyone other than to leave me alone.

            Want me to perceive it otherwise, be my guest. You got 30 seconds to get my attention and no more than 5 minutes before I’ve run out of attention because I have to go to my second job, or take care of kids, or enjoy 15 minutes of TV to let my overtaxed brain relax, etc. Oh, and use smaller words, because I don’t have much of an education, and parsing ‘inalienable’ took more mental effort than you think.

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          • I think ‘inalienable’ is waaaay over-used on the Left. I remember during the SSM debates when they would marriage was a human right. No, it’s a civil right. Both important, but not the same thing. It’s that hyperbole that kind of makes the Right chuckle.

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          • The Declaration of Independence was deliberately phrased as non-negotiable demands.

            Non-negotiable demands for white men only and not women and slaves. That is, unless you need to use the DoI to strengthen your own argument and then no standards apply.

            Kind of like the Right and their “strict constructionism”, especially the insurrectionist interpretation of 2A. Talk about giving me a chuckle.

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          • “Don’t tread on me” is exactly, precisely, ramming something down someone’s throat

            Not if we bring law into it.

            “Marriage is between a MAN and a WOMAN” reinforced by a statewide ban on SSM is not the same as me speaking my opinion about marriage being between man and woman and you thinking I’m shoving it down your throat.

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          • “Call me by my proper gender noun” is not presented as an “inalienable right” – it’s a correction, like if someone mistakenly used the wrong gender pronoun for you, you would correct them. Same way you’d correct someone who had marriage relationships mixed up, thinking you and a friend were married to one another, and your two spouses were married to one another.

            If they then continued to misgender you or refer to your friend as your spouse, then once it became clear it was on purpose you wouldn’t consider them to be violating some sacrosanct right of yours – you’d consider them an asshole. And you’d be right.

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            • The common thread between civil rights, feminism, and gender inclusivity is “Treat Me With Dignity”.

              This is presented as something inalienable, something which is non-negotiable and which does not tolerate compromise.

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                  • We could say it, but we’d be wrong. A right is a thing that has legal protections built around it. If it’s just a social expectation, such that the person violating it suffers, at worst, being thought an asshole, it’s not a right.

                    Jackbooted thugs coming for ammosexuals’ gun collections are violating their right to own guns. You will find such a right in various court decisions surrounding the Second Amendment.

                    Keyboard-pounding thugs being assholes about ammosexuals on Twitter are not violating their right to universal approval of one’s gun collection, because no such right exists.

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                    • Of course, but this is circular. We declare something is a right, then enact governmental structures to protect it.

                      When people say “I demand to be treated with dignity” what they mean is “I demand legal protections” such as legislative action on racial integration and gender inclusive restrooms, and court decisions ratifying them.

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                      • Chip Daniels: When people say “I demand to be treated with dignity” what they mean is “I demand legal protections” such as legislative action on racial integration and gender inclusive restrooms, and court decisions ratifying them.

                        That’s right.

                        Every time a conservative speaker goes to a college campus, people whose views are likely going to make people feel like they’re shitting all over their dignity, make it a point to civilly point out that they deserve dignity and make structured arguments passionately arguing for their rights.

                        Just like the students that interrupted Christina Hoff Summers. That’s on YouTube – they had me at “microaggressions are real”.

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                        • The problem with dignity is the same problem with justice and fairness. Neither has an objective definition. Both can mean widely different things to different people.

                          It’s all well and good as a somewhat fuzzy goal, but not something I’d want encoded into something like law.

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                        • “City offices will remain open on Dec. 25. No employees may be excused.”

                          Legal matter, or social matter?

                          We erect all manner of legal structures that either show respect, or disrespect to various religions, orientations and points of view.

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                          • I understand the point of your example, but I don’t agree with the last sentence. I don’t believe that the Christmas government holiday conveys respect. It acknowledges tradition. I don’t feel more respected because of it. I don’t think my faith is more respected because of it.

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                            • What I’m doing is imagining all those laws and regulations that were an indignity to women, ethnic minorities and gays, then turning them in the opposite direction to see how ” legal” or “social” they are.
                              Like:
                              All persons of the white race must pass a literacy test on social justice concepts in order to vote.
                              Viagra is outlawed for unmarried men, and available for married men with permission of their wives.

                              And so on.

                              Dignity is the oxygen of civic life: invisible and undetectable until the moment you are deprived of it.

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                              • I can’t tell if we’re using the word “dignity” to mean different things or if we’re reflecting different world views. Dignity is something a person has in other people’s eyes. Government doesn’t confer dignity. The US government aims to treat each person equally without reference to any innate group of which he is a member, but that’s not the same thing as being treated with dignity. The DMV doesn’t treat anyone with dignity, but they treat everyone equally.

                                I asked you once before it you’d be ok with government treating everyone the same, but white people hurling racial epithets. That, to me, addresses the question of being treated with dignity. Maybe that’s what I’m trying to say. Dignity isn’t the opposite of legal discrimination, but you’re using the word as if it is.

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  3. Not sure if the national media picked this up but McConnell and his wife got confronted in a restaurant in Louisville last week. I believe someone yelled that he was going to kill people with his plans for social security. I also read Pelosi had a run in with some conservatives.

    I do think public attacks are slightly more of a liberal problem, protest being a time-honored item in the liberal toolbox, but conservatives are being just as nasty, they just do it more via the internet and other less public mediums.

    With all of that said, I recently commented here that I welcomed an end to the civility fetish this site has had for a long time, just to see people’s true selves. I think it’s time to walk that back because I don’t really believe any of us are presenting our ‘true selves’ here. I really don’t know how we change this dynamic in the country. Our kids are getting completely re-wired due to social media. We were interrogating some of the teens in the family at a birthday party yesterday. The girls have hundreds of ‘friends’ on social media and through Snapchat they can see where many of them are at any given moment. But they also admitted they rarely know many details about their real-life friends because social media doesn’t encourage that depth of interaction. If we ask how many siblings a friend has, where they went to middle school, whatever, the teens will tell us it’s ‘creepy’ to ask their friends those kinds of questions.

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    • There’s video!

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jj5GtXrzlwg

      That’s Pelosi.

      Here’s McConnell:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-AfYWg1t0R4

      The main thing I noticed about that second one is the restaurant patrons getting up and challenging the guy heckling McConnell. That’s the one that makes me think that this whole “challenge people in public!” will backfire badly. McConnell won by 16 points back in 2014. 56ish to 40ish.

      Did that protester not think that *MAYBE* McConnell would have some organic support in the restaurant?

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      • Louisville is a funny place with regards to that stuff. There are a LOT of people here who dislike McConnell and the way he is running the Senate (myself included) but like many politicians he has also done some good things locally and he is an institution here. I would defend just about any of our elected officials in this situation. There’s just no call for this kind of behavior.

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    • I’d say conservatives are nasty to *politicians* more over the internet than in public, but at the same time McConnell was being confronted by an angry constituent, in a VA restaurant a conservative decided to scream obscenities at a family (with a young child) for daring to speak Spanish in a public place.

      Nor is public harassment more common from liberals currently or in a historical sense. Just ask any woman who’s ever tried to go Planned Parenthood for a check up and run into scary screaming crowds whose politics are certainly well to the right. Or virtually anyone who’s dared to be openly gay or trans in redder areas of the country.

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  4. With most of the talk of civility, what doesn’t seem to be mentioned is where it comes from, or how it is created.

    In order to have a civil dialogue, people must first regard the other person with respect. The Trump movement considers anyone not part of their tribe to be a lesser being, unworthy of dignity respect or empowerment.

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    • Chip,

      I know you have become afflicted with this need to mention Trump and his supporters in every single post you comment on but geez man. If you are seriously pretending the Left has respect for the other side, c’mon. The polarization in this country has gotten terrible in the last 20 years. I blame the internet and I am definitely part of the problem. I think it’s safe to say that you are too.

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    • Jonathan Haidt highlighted a Pew Research study about liberals’ and conservatives’ hatred for each other. I have serious doubts that polls can measure intensity of feelings, but they do indicate people’s willingness to claim such feelings. According to the data, over the last 20 or so years, liberals hated conservatives more than vice versa, with two big explosions around 2001 and 2017 (IIRC). The conservatives lagged, then “rallied”, but never caught up either time.

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      • To be fair, Haidt was citing a citation (ugh) of the ANES feelings thermometer, which a.) doesn’t ask whether you hate anyone, just asks you to rate your feelings on a 0-100 scale (you can see the labels they give various values in this PDF). What’s more, they ask about politicians, not about conservatives and liberals in general, so that clouds the results a bit.

        That said, the reaction I saw among my conservative family and hometown friends in 2012 to Obama’s reelection, and the reaction I saw to Trump’s election in 2016, were very similar: dismay, feeling like there was something fishy going on, thinking the people of this country had made a horrible mistake, or that they had been brainwashed, etc., etc.

        I say this as someone who thinks American conservatism is built entirely on ressentiment, so… (also, my feelings thermometer for liberals would read a really cold temperature, but at least they’re completely morally bankrupt yet).

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  5. Ci1: This is obviously not relevant to the main point of the article, but it’s bizarre to me that people keep bringing up Rand Paul’s beating in the context of the civility debate. To my knowledge, there is no evidence that Rand Paul’s neighbor attacked him over a political dispute. Instead, it was a dispute over lawn care. Now, that is uncivil, but it’s unrelated to whatever conversation about political civility they’re trying to have. Iif someone is using that as an example of violence from incivility or whatever then my assumption is going to be that they either haven’t put a lot of thought and research into the topic or are not an honest dealer.

    https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/prosecutors-reveal-why-rand-paul-was-attacked-neighbor-n839366

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    • I think the Rand Paul thing was a case of conservatives linking the attack the the guy’s politics even though those two details were mutually exclusive. With that said, lawn care is serious business out here in the suburbs. I’m in the middle of a dispute with my neighbor over that very thing.

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    • The neighbor denied political motivation, which might be correct, but he had every incentive to deny or minimize a political motivation because he was being charged with a political crime (assault on a member of Congress). Instead, he said there was a longstanding dispute concerning yardwork.

      Paul’s victim impact statement filingdenied a longstanding dispute about yardwork, and stated that he “can only assume that (Boucher’s) deep-seated anger towards me co-mingles with his hatred of my political policies” and states that Boucher must be suffering from a “personality disorder, substance abuse, intense political hatred or all of the above.” So Paul cannot read his neighbor’s mind, but disputes the explanation given as genuine.

      Basically, if you are a Republican you agree with Paul; if a Democrat you agree with Boucher. I’m sure the lawyers will be aware of that when they impanel a jury.

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  6. This is your friendly reminder that Senators and Congressmen used to physically attack each other on a fairly regular basis.

    But it is very easy to notice how this debate on this blog is breaking down on partisan lines. Even people who claim to be in neither party have their biases or need to do some BSDI back flips to feel good about themselves.

    I think debating politics civilly is always a kind of noble idea in theory but hard to do in reality. Maybe it is possible to do for more abstract issues like marginal tax rates or nuclear profileration treaties but eventually you will get to social and/or moral issues and those are contentious and hard. The libertarian argument here seems very “Heads I win. Tails you lose.” The issues we are fighting about today are not issues that present themselves to settlement and/or compromise very easily.

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    • The libertarian argument here seems very “Heads I win. Tails you lose.” The issues we are fighting about today are not issues that present themselves to settlement and/or compromise very easily.

      So then one side has to win and the other side has to lose?

      Is this information that the other side has as well?

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      • I know all about creating compromises that leave everyone unhappy but everyone can live with. But just because it works for plenty of issues, doesn’t mean it works for all issues, and the issues that it doesn’t work for might be much more important to everyone than the issues where settlement and compromise are possible.

        The issue I have with all these pieces crying over the death of civility is that they seemingly think that reason is always possible. This is rather Pollyannaish in my view. There are lots of crazy people out there and they vote and they seemingly get their ideas and their bigotries out of thin air. The paranoid style is alive and well all over the world. Over on social media, a former OTer who is much more patient than I am had a post urging conservatives to be calm and compassionate.

        A bunch of people brought up the specter that this caravan was funded by Soros. How do you argue and/or compromise with people whom think like this? I think they are much more numerous than we would like to admit. They are bringing up an anti-Semitic troop that is older than the collective ages of the regular posters.

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        • I know the quip about compromises leaving everybody unhappy but that is really selling it short. The demands of ginning up supporters and ratings make it hard to admit a compromise is actually a good thing are a problem.

          Civility is a one of many good things to have but it is not the one and only thing. I agree there are people that any sort of discussion is impossible. The trick is to find those we can discuss with. Then be civil as much as possible. Civility only goes so far though especially when the stakes are high. Of course everybody always thinks the stakes are high. At some times, usually civil rights issues, the stakes have been high and calls for civility are more often calls for shutting others up.

          Civility without some sense of mutual respect and desire to listen is empty. Civility as a call to not note obvious bull spit ( stuff like soros funding invading caravans) is about covering up truth in the name of pretty words (ie political correctness).

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  7. Ci4 – a bit ahistorical, in that it hasn’t noticed this happened before. That last time period was called the ‘Civil Rights Era’. And it’s actually happened several times before that, in many ways. Union uprising, for example.

    The actual weird thing is that the elite have managed to manipulate things in weird ways both to delay the uprising and to…divide it, for lack of a better word.

    Ci1 – Claiming that everyone is seeing every piece of legislation as apocalyptic is nonsense. The left didn’t say that about, for example, the idiotic tax cut, the last big piece of legislation opposed. They pointed out it it was stupid, which it was, and increase the deficit, which it did, but no one said it would destroy the world, or even the US. They might have pointed out it’s yet another piece in the slow destruction of the middle class, but that’s about it.

    Meanwhile, the Trump administration just tried to roll back all protections for trans people in education. That is dangerous for people. Also, the US government itself has repeatedly come to the conclusion we need to do something about climate change now, and yet the Trump administration refuses to. That…actually is apocalyptic, or at least as apocalyptic as we’ll probably ever see…although the way the president has been interacting with NATO and Russia, maybe not. And the left has pointed those things out.

    Sometimes there are actual dangerous things being pushed by political parties, although in this case it appears to just be one political party, and it is entirely appropriate to treat those things as such.

    The right, meanwhile, had an entire election where Hillary Clinton was, for some reason, going to start WWIII. Just, sorta, extremely dangerous for no obvious reason. Remember the ‘Flight 93 election’? No possible reality-based observation of Hillary Clinton could come to the conclusion that her election could be apocalyptic, no matter _how_ venal or corrupt or whatever a person thinks she is. But this was the emergency ‘You have to vote for the lunatic Donald Trump’ election. (And, yes, the same arguments were made about Trump, that he’d get us in some apocalyptic war, but with almost two years of Trump now under our belts, I think we can all come to the conclusion of…maybe not? We’re still not really sure there.)

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  8. Another article for the civility/political correctness/tribal warfare argument – http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2018/10/polarization-tribalism-the-conservative-movement-gop-threat-to-democracy.html

    “Unfortunately, Mason’s framework leads her to prescribe something dangerously close to the latter.

    In her book’s penultimate chapter, Mason analyzes survey data on the attitudes and policy preferences of American political activists — and observes that even these “high-information” voters tend to be motivated less by rational policy commitments, than strong social identities. “Our actual opinions — the intensity of our attitudes — can’t compel the same sort of political activism that our simple sense of social connection can,” Mason writes. “We take political action, potentially making real political changes, because we feel close to particular groups of people and want them (and therefore ourselves) to be winners.”

    From this, Mason concludes that the recent uptick in political activism in the United States is undesirable, as it is motivated by blind tribal instincts, not rationality, and “an electorate that is emotionally engaged and politically activated on behalf of prejudice and misunderstanding is not an electorate that produces positive outcomes.” Therefore, a less-mobilized electorate — one that viewed politics with enough emotional detachment to shift its partisan allegiances in response to events — would produce better government.

    But the notion that politically ambidextrous voters are vital for responsive policymaking — while cognitively biased political activists are not — is both myopic and ahistorical. It ignores the political system’s innate bias toward serving elite interests, and thus, the inadequacy of competitive elections as a vehicle for realizing popular sovereignty. Cross-pressured voters did not break the stranglehold that big business held over American politics in the Gilded Age — mass, class-based political activism did. Without (cognitively biased) Americans mobilizing against their “outgroup” class enemy (or perhaps a caricatured and prejudicial image thereof), we would not have the weekend, or child labor laws, or what remains of the New Deal bargain.”

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  9. Mike Dwyer: With that said, lawn care is serious business out here in the suburbs. I’m in the middle of a dispute with my neighbor over that very thing.

    Now there’s a post I’d love to read!

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