A Polish Joke

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  1. Thanks for writing this in a gentle and thoughtful way.Report

  2. Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

    I enjoyed this post Pillsy. This quote from Kirstin:

    “In short, liberals believe they believe they are not only good, but immune from evil. Because they believe they ARE good – not just a person who is good, but that they actually ARE Good, that liberal people are the human embodiment of Good Itself. They believe their vision of the future represents what an ideal human culture should look like, they believe that they know how to get to that ideal culture that they envision and they believe that I am standing in their way. Liberals believe that I AM Evil and they are not only immune from evil, but that they are Good.”

    I don’t think ALL liberals feel this way, but maybe they do. The SJ Left absolutely feels this way though. It’s the core of their beliefs. Read any of Sam’s political-adjacent posts in the last couple of years and you will see them dripping with this sense of Good vs. Evil. It’s why the comparison to a secular religion is being made so frequently these days.

    More broadly though, I can’t think of a single movie that paints conservatives as the good guys. Can you? There are lots of movies that paint liberals as silly goofballs (I’ve seen PCU enough times that I still quote it to my fellow GenXers) but never really as the Bad Guys. And I know I have said that before but it’s truly the dynamic that I have seen for the last 25 years. Liberals see conservatives as mean old men. Conservatives see liberals as well-intentioned but naive children. That difference is important.

    I also think you mean what you are saying here…

    “…but doesn’t she realize that we’re still interested in tolerance, that we still want people to find their own ways to flourish, that we still value compassion, and empathy and understanding?.”

    …but I think there’s a lot of room between that opinion and what is actually happening on the Left today. I think the question is sure, you all are still interested in those things, but do you want them for everyone, or just the people you see as worthy of your salvation?Report

    • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

      “I can’t think of a single movie that paints conservatives as the good guys.”

      Well, we had this discussion before, although you weren’t a reader then.

      My feeling then (and now) is that people don’t accept that there can be such a thing as Conservative Values, because anything that conservatives point to and say “that’s a conservative value” immediately gets A) an explanation of how it’s either EVERYONE’S value not just CONSERVATIVES’ value, B) an explanation of how ACTUALLY it’s NOT a value, or C) “you’re lying, you don’t REALLY believe that”.Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to DensityDuck says:

        Or vice versa.
        I have always felt that movies the majority of Hollywood movies show conservatism in a good light.
        Correct that- they show the professed values of conservatives in a good light.

        Think of action movies depiction of patriotism- Top Gun, any Clancy movie;

        Or the entire Ron Howard, Spielberg or Rob Reiner catalogue- movies like Parenthood, ET, and The Princess Bride and their loving depiction of the traditional family structure;

        The conservative values like hard work, self reliance and individualism are everywhere lauded by Hollywood.

        But few conservatives really stress this point.

        I suspect it is because those values are presented as just universal values, nonpartisan and unchallenged.

        They don’t wear the label, and so its hard to claim ownership of them.

        Or maybe its because the Unconservative values are not demonized for comparison.
        There aren’t unpatriotic hippies that need to be punched by Jack Ryan, and nontraditional families aren’t shown as immoral perverts.

        Which makes me think of Cleek’s Law, and how a very large part of modern conservatism is rooted in opposition rather than advocacy.Report

        • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Chip Daniels says:

          @chip

          “The conservative values like hard work, self reliance and individualism are everywhere lauded by Hollywood.

          But few conservatives really stress this point.

          I suspect it is because those values are presented as just universal values, nonpartisan and unchallenged.

          They don’t wear the label, and so its hard to claim ownership of them.”

          Every time I have ever seen a conservative try to claim those values they are told by the Left that those are indeed universal values and they have no right to claim them. If you want to cede them to the Right, I am sure that would be appreciated.Report

          • Avatar pillsy in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

            My belief is that they are common values that are particularly prized by conservatives.Report

            • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to pillsy says:

              Which kind of proves my point, which is to say that conservatives don’t really get to claim those values.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                Do liberals get to claim nonconformity, creativity, or cooperation as values?

                Because sometimes I get the impression that coding movies as liberal is done on exactly those grounds: some rebel rebels against some old fuddy duddies and triumphs, without any explicit invocation of liberalism.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to pillsy says:

                There’s also the problem where anti-conservative isn’t really “liberal”, but conservatives might see it as being so. (And vice-versa.)

                But was Footloose liberal? It sure as hell was anti-conservative.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Jaybird says:

                But was Footloose liberal? It sure as hell was anti-conservative.

                I dunno, I always kind of guessed it was one the chief examples of a “liberal movie” that isn’t actually some grindingly annoying message.

                And if it is a liberal movie, I think there are a ton of conservative movies by that standard.

                If not I think we’re kind of stuck with actual message movies, and I will readily concede that liberals have the edge on those.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to pillsy says:

                Well, I don’t think it’s particularly liberal. (Is dancing liberal?)

                But look at its enemies! John Lithgow’s preacher is second only in evil to the guy he played on Dexter. You could see *EXACTLY* who the target was. It was a particular version of conservative culture. Is being opposed to that kind of conservative culture particularly “liberal”? (My answer is “no”.)

                (Personally, I think that the world is ready for a Footloose where the bad guy is an Imam. Would that be a liberal movie? A conservative one? Let’s face it, the script writes itself.)Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                which is to say that conservatives don’t really get to claim those values.

                Who’s stopping them? Or do they lack agency in this context?

                On the other hand, I can totally see the problem for a person committed to defining conservatism as not-liberal. They’d be driven to embracing values like white nationalism against their will.Report

          • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

            Sometimes people make claims that seem so obvious and unassailable that no reasonable person could possibly dispute it.

            Usually that is true, because no one actually is.

            Which is to say that the professed values of conservatism really are unobjectionable, and no one is actually objecting to them.

            Like, for example lesbians really do place a very high value on Family and Community. Progressives like Jerry Brown and Barack Obama really do balance budgets and spend prudently.
            And Hillary really did kick ass as a Murican warrior hawk as Secretary of State.

            So maybe conservatives should ask, what do they REALLY believe in and hold as values that would lead them to oppose those people.

            If a lesbian Episcopal minister heading up a PTA meeting is distasteful to Erick Erickson, maybe he should ask if it is really FAMILY AND GAWD that he holds dear.Report

            • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Chip Daniels says:

              “So maybe conservatives should ask, what do they REALLY believe in and hold as values that would lead them to oppose those people.”

              The value of conservatism, as I see it, is really just pumping the brakes on liberal exuberance. It’s the husband that tries to convince his wife not to get involved with the MLM company her best friend Susie is so excited about. It’s the mother that has to tell her son that he’s not really a great singer and maybe auditioning for American Idol isn’t the best idea. It’s the manager who has to tell his enthusiastic employee that their idea to give every employee 12 weeks of vacation sounds like a morale booster, but in the long run it will hurt the company financially.

              Conservatism is the wet blanket on idealism…and while there is value there, it means that they also get painted as the bad guys.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                I actually that it is good to have conservatives to slow down liberal exuberance. The sticky point though is that many conservatives aren’t carefully applying brakes but either have their own utopia or want to do a 180. That is of course fine for them to want that, but it leads to the conflict. Lots of libs need to be slowed down on some things or at least prudently think through the potential problems. I’m thinking of health care reform here, libs could use some hard nosed conservative actuary types to work with. But we arne’t getting some slick ABS keeping us on the road. We’re getting a giant mug full of nothing.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to greginak says:

                @greg

                I agree. The analogy I have always made is that conservatives start out as the dad just trying to get the family to Disney World; they get the tires rotated and the oil changed before they leave, drive a reasonable 5-10 mph over the speed limit and make sure the kids eat a few vegetables while they are there. At some point they become the old guy that drives 10 under the speed limit and wants to be in bed by 9pm every night and sits on the front porch shaking their fist at the world.

                The problem is that the GOP has too many old guys and not enough dads these days.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                The problem is that the GOP has too many old guys and not enough dads these days.

                No. Except, yes, but you’ve missed the point. The problem isn’t the dads got old. That isn’t how it works.

                The ‘dads’ are the center-right. Moderate change, but slow. The center-left is basically the same, except a bit faster. The, uh, scattered mom in this analogy? Who packs at the last minute and screws up the schedule because she keeps wanting to do things not on it. She’s a lot more fun, but she sometimes completely screws things so badly the family isn’t able to do something, and once she made them miss their flight. OTOH, they aren’t eating every meal at McDonalds, and dad’s schedule was overly-strict. (This analogy is weird.)

                Each generation of dads is then replaced by a new generation, who plan things a bit differently based on new and exciting things discovered by moms. (Weirder and weirder analogy.) ‘Oh, we discovered we can do that, let’s actually _plan_ it this year and fit it in better.’ It was an iteration.

                The old guys were just dads who got left behind. Just like on the other side, by analogy, there are babies who try to do a lot of dumb crap, who say dumb things, but they aren’t doing anything either. (Only female babies? Hmm.)

                To stop talking in this increasingly silly analogy, basically conservatives lagged maybe ten years behind the average population, and progressives were ten years ahead. Or, to put it another way, in the balance between conservatives and progressives, change takes place over 20 years in the population, and the leading half we called one thing, and the back half we called another (Which wasn’t the same as the parties, even.), and, on average, we did things roughly when an average amount of people wanted them.

                The problem is that this ended two and a half decades ago, thanks to the right-wing media that basically asserted the point of the Republican party was to be as hard right as conceivable, and any sort of evolution or change made them RINOs and they had to be removed via primary. And, thanks to gerrymandering, we’re stuck with them.

                That’s where all these ‘old guys’ came from. From decades of being trained that literally the thing that the media would consider a failure was them not being far enough right. Eventually, the mainstream media sorta caught on to that, but by that time the right-wing media had fully disconnected from it and taken the voters with it.

                It’s not just something that randomly happened, and it’s not something that can be solved just by wishing hard.

                And before anyone says ‘The left has become the same way’…no, it hasn’t. The American people have continued to move, and have gotten increasingly annoyed at politics refusing to do so. Getting annoyed at things being broken for decades is not the same as breaking things for decades. The stuff the ‘moms’ want (As opposed to the ‘babies’ making random suggestions), is supported by astonishing percentages of the population and is only ‘extreme’ because we’re literally a quarter of a century behind where the average American wants to be.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to DavidTC says:

                @davidtc

                I don’t disagree with this:

                “The problem is that this ended two and a half decades ago, thanks to the right-wing media that basically asserted the point of the Republican party was to be as hard right as conceivable, and any sort of evolution or change made them RINOs and they had to be removed via primary.”

                But I do think there is also resistance to change on the Left. For example, the black community in general has a lot of internal problems that have nothing to do with racism, but we aren’t allowed to talk about that. I don’t think they are doing enough to drive people towards the trades. I think they are responsible for college being so expensive and they aren’t really suggesting better alternatives. Etc, etc.

                But I do think most of our lack of progress can be laid at the feet of the Right.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                But I do think there is also resistance to change on the Left.

                Is it ‘resistance’ or flat-out inability thanks to the right? In this explanation of how the parties work, (Which is really only somewhat true but let’s roll with it.), the right also has the job of _fixing_ things the left broke.

                Let’s say there was some specific problem the left had created in the late 90s. They tried something new, as is their ‘job’, and it didn’t work out great.

                Let’s go with…Affirmative action in education, which I agree is fairly broken as a concept at this point. The center-left tried out a seemingly reasonable idea, and it worked at the start, it was a good first step in the 70s and 80s, but getting into the 90s it became somewhat counterproductive and there were other things that should have been tried, with AA scaled back or at least not taking center stage. For example, disallowing all legacy admissions to Ivy Leagues (Or no loans to them) would have been a nice start, and cracking down on the unpaid internship which filtered a lot of high-end careers from people who can’t afford to spend a year of their life working for free.

                Now, what is supposed to happen is the reasonable people in the center, both the center-right _and_ the center-left, got together and tried another way. Not undo it totally…by that point it’s clear the general population would like more equality in educational opportunities. Just not _that way_, or at least not only that way.

                So center Democrats, in the late 90s or early 00s, would hypothetically start talking to center Republicans, or vis versa, and say ‘Okay, we have a few ideas how to fix this. How about we starting doing some of this other stuff instead?’. I don’t have any evidence of this happening, but it’s not just wishful thinking, Clinton did welfare reform, after all.

                And…the Republicans run away screaming because working on anything even vaguely like that, putting their name on anything to do with affirmative action or helping the poor in any manner besides pointing at their own bootstraps, means they are primaried to death by Fox News. So…nothing ever changed. Not even to _undo_ the stuff the left originally wanted, and now want to fix because it wasn’t a great idea! Because Republicans aren’t allowed to take anything but the farthest right position imaginable, so can’t operate in the center. And the left isn’t burning the entire damn thing down.

                It’s the same with fixing the ACA, except at that point Democrats aren’t even trying to get Republicans on board. Not only is it not safe for Republicans to ‘fix’ Democratic legislation, it’s not even safe for the Republicans to not attempt to light it on fire every chance they get.

                People call it an inability to compromise, and, I don’t know, maybe Republicans have been trained so much they now see it that way. Hell, maybe Democrats have forgotten how to do it now, also. But it’s not even _compromise_ we used to have…it used to be there was a group of sorta average people in the center that did sorta average things. Occasionally something progressive would happen too soon or in the wrong way, occasionally a thing wouldn’t happen for too long due to conservative inertia, but they averaged out. And when things did happen, they weren’t ‘compromise’, it was just what people generally wanted, with maybe some horse-trading over the details, and a few bomb throwers on the left and old men yelling at clouds on the right.

                But the half of that center group with a R after their name vanished between 1990 and 2000, making it really hard for the rest of that center group to do anything. They did manage to collect enough people with the ACA, at which point everyone pretended it was some far left thing instead of a lesser version of the reform that the American people had mostly wanted at the time of the election of Bill Clinton….a frickin decade and a half ago.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to DavidTC says:

                I don’t really disagree with any of your timeline. If I recall, Pittman-Robertson passed with all but one vote (and they voted against because they didn’t think it went far enough). That kind of stuff doesn’t happen much anymore.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                But I do think there is also resistance to change on the Left.

                A resistance to changing into … what, exactly? The far-left, progressive wing of society is (I’d say) conventionally defined by their advocacy for changing the status quo. In what sense are they supposed to change? And why? To please the people who don’t want change??? ????

                Adding: Ahh, I misunderstood the point being made, primarily I think because you conflated communities with political ideology. Ie., that because black people predominantly vote Dem they’re “leftist” communities.Report

          • Avatar Sam Wilkinson in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

            That’s because “hard work, self reliance and individualism” aren’t conservative values. Conservatives aren’t working harder than anybody else, they’re not more self reliant than anybody else, and they’re certainly not more individualistic than anybody else. This is evidenced entirely by what is done though, rather than by being a big enough sucker to believe what is claimed.Report

            • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Sam Wilkinson says:

              hey it took a while but someone finally did exactly the thing I said would happenReport

            • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Sam Wilkinson says:

              @sam

              As I said, I’m pretty okay with the Right functioning as a check on the Left. If they simply slow down progressive impulses to a speed that society can handle, then job well-done. Do I believe that conservatives are generally more self-reliant? Yes, but I’m willing to share that claim with liberals who prove themselves otherwise.Report

              • Avatar Sam Wilkinson in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                @mike Self-reliance is in the eye of the beholder, of course, but I’m always going to trend toward to those who are having a harder time making it through, and that isn’t conservatives. America is structured to nurture and take care of them, to excuse them and to tolerate them. Look at the absolute meltdown that occurs whenever conservatives do not get EXACTLY what they want from whatever it is that they are mad about now.

                But the bigger tell is the idea of conservative individualism, which isn’t a thing. Conservatism is cultural communitarianism, with the idea being that everybody needs to be exactly the same, and that anybody trending away from that needs to be made to suffer. It isn’t by accident that conservatives have sought constantly to – as you put it – “slow down progressive impulses” because that’s how to ensure that out groups suffer: by denying them the equality that conservatives believe are owed only to them, and those willing to adhere to their cultural worldview.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Sam Wilkinson says:

                “Conservatism is cultural communitarianism, with the idea being that everybody needs to be exactly the same, and that anybody trending away from that needs to be made to suffer.”

                Sounds like a manifesto for social justice victimhood.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                Actually, let me revise that. Your comment above is exactly what I was talking about when I said that you see everything in terms of good and evil. It’s a religious thing for you. I don’t get it, but you’re certainly not the only one that feels that way.Report

              • There’s nothing at all religious about recognizing both the entirety of the conservative movement (which predicated upon crushing individuals who stray from its cultural worldview) and American history.

                Or, to put that another way, what’s more religious: venerating racist terrorists with statues so that their alleged sacrifices can be celebrated publicly forever or thinking that those statues are a stain upon the modern public square?Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Sam Wilkinson says:

                @sam

                “…crushing individuals who stray from its cultural worldview…”

                I don’t know if you are self-aware enough to understand this, but that has basically been your operating style on this site for the last several years.Report

        • Believe it or not, there are other conservative values rather than miltarism and family. I know it’s hard to believe, but it’s true.

          I don’t see stories about families being conservative or liberal, they’re universal.

          And as a non-militaristic conservative who opposed the Iraq War, “militarism” in movies seems to have a lot more to do with Hollywood liking to blow stuff up and not so much about my personal values.Report

    • Avatar pillsy in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

      The SJ Left absolutely feels this way though. It’s the core of their beliefs.

      I know you’re mistaken.

      I know because I actually see a lot of sides to the SJ Left you don’t.

      There’s a ton of self-criticism in the SJ Left. And yeah I know that term is just a bit freighted when we’re talking about any slice of the Left but it was chosen deliberately.

      More broadly though, I can’t think of a single movie that paints conservatives as the good guys. Can you?

      Like explicit conservative activists or just generally speaking conservative people? Because movies generally portray law enforcement and the military in a very positive light, and those are coded pretty conservative in the broader culture.

      There are lots of movies that paint liberals as silly goofballs (I’ve seen PCU enough times that I still quote it to my fellow GenXers) but never really as the Bad Guys.

      Check out a little movie called The Dark Knight Rises some time. It’s pretty good.

      Conservatives see liberals as well-intentioned but naive children.

      This may be what conservatives believe, by and large, but it’s not what the conservative movement projects through its elected officials, prominent activists, and loudest media outlets.

      I think the question is sure, you all are still interested in those things, but do you want them for everyone, or just the people you see as worthy of your salvation?

      I try to want them for everyone. Sometimes it’s hard. The thing is that empathy and understanding are not, in fact, terribly easy.

      Especially when someone is not only wrong, but being a huge jackass about it.

      As for Sam, I like him and I like his writing, but he’s just one guy with one perspective. I don’t think you’re going to be able to perceive other Leftwards here (let alone in the whole world) if you all view us as basically just like him.

      Look I actually really get the urge to get focused on one person as an avatar of an entire political movement, and I do it a lot more than I should, but it’s not conducive to understanding.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to pillsy says:

        I do this too. Like, the guy they elected president.Report

        • Avatar pillsy in reply to Mike Schilling says:

          Like, the guy they elected president.

          That’s half the stuff I post here.

          But it doesn’t end there. Hell, just like Mike is, to be blunt, kind of weirdly fixated on Sam, I can’t deny that there are a handful of Rightward OT commenters (or really former commenters) that have had a real impact on my political perceptions, and not in a good way.Report

          • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to pillsy says:

            I would not say Sam is the focus of my entire perception of the Left. He’s only been doing his holier-than-thou schtick for a couple of years now. I’ve been arguing with People on the Internet for two decades now. I just used him as an example because 1) I do think he is representative of a certain kind of SJW but also 2) It’s an example everyone here should be familiar with.

            (And just to be clear many of my problems with Sam were meta and they spilled over into the comment section. That is no longer an issue.)Report

            • Avatar pillsy in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

              I do think he may be representative.

              Like I said, I like his writing and my interactions with him here and on Twitter have been positive.

              But I like his writing in part because he has a specific perspective that isn’t universal, and is often different from mine. He takes his particular views and expresses them well.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to pillsy says:

                Yeah, that’s really credible from someone who goes apeshit from a citation of Peter Brimelow.Report

              • Avatar Maribou in reply to Koz says:

                Peter Brimelow regularly publishes, by his own acknowledgement, white nationalist articles in his no-I-swear-we’re-not-white-nationalist-we-just-publish-them-and-are-so-very-often-functionally-indistinguishable-from-them rag.

                A person can be interested in learning from a wide variety of perspectives without being so interested in broadening their viewpoint that they veer all the way to embracing white nationalism as a credible and worthwhile arena from which to draw information.

                I mean, I know *you* know all that, @Koz, but just in case anyone else wasn’t quite clear on why a person might be so bothered by Peter Brimelow.

                And, to be clear, pillsy is not the only one who is so bothered.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Maribou says:

                { REDACTED by pillsy. I don’t find Koz’ act any less tiresome
                and offensive than I did before, and I’m not going to pretend
                otherwise. }Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Koz says:

                @Koz,

                I’m going to delete any further comments you make on this article without notice. Just to be clear.Report

  3. Avatar LTL FTC says:

    I too was a little put off by the focus on Soviet and Maoist atrocities, just as much as I’m annoyed by Weimar Germany comparisons made by the left. Every dystopia is special and unique and the threat of violence beyond some scuffles from the modern left is equal parts hilarious and … well, hilarious. That said, I really liked the article and this reply piece.

    The Long March Through the Institutions happened quietly precisely because it was harmless students and faculty bothering administrators and mostly stamping out heterodoxy and dissent among their own.

    Now that this stuff is showing up in HR, folks are worried. Rod Dreher may wet his pants because a reader had to sign some mindless “diversity statement” allegedly contradicting Leviticus or whatever, but the oaths are probably going to get more involved as time goes on.

    Now Facebook wants to implement some sort of content court. And who will be on that court to the “Help! Help! Your speech is violence-ing me!” faction? You don’t need to be a Fox News zombie to assume probably nobody representing the vast non-woke majority. And that’s justifiably concerning.Report

    • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to LTL FTC says:

      Now Facebook wants to implement some sort of content court. And who will be on that court

      It’s facebook. It will be staffed by underpaid call centre-style workers who are given a performance metric where if they give each case even 1/4 the thought it deserves, they will be fired for missing quota, who will have a rapid turnover because they face trauma from all the horrible stuff they look at daily, and who will get no support whatsoever when they quit with PTSD in four months’ time.

      The staff will not be given a place to put case notes, nor will there be a way of routing your question to the person you dealt with previously, so if you appeal a decision there will be no way for the person who sees your request to see who made the decision or on what basis. The staff will be limited to selecting one of the canned responses from a drop-down menu, so they can’t actually communicate anything useful to you.

      Their instructions will be vague, contradictory, and change frequently, and their supervisors will be just as confused as the workers, and nobody will have the authority to contact someone who can give a straight answer (and the instructions will issue from a level of facebook’s structure that has years of training in evasive non-answers anyway, so if someone does accidentally communicate with them it won’t help).

      They will come from the “vast non-woke majority” though, because that’s who takes barely-above-minimum-wage burnout-inducing call centre jobs.Report

  4. Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

    Doesn’t she know that we’re committed to the same values we always were? That we’re just so angry, and so scared, and…

    9/11 was, for so many in this country, a pivotal moment that, in far too many ways, we as a society failed to deal with. That is not to say we didn’t try to deal with it, only that much of what we did failed. OBL may be dead, but damn if he didn’t strike a blow against us that the likes of Hitler or Stalin could only dream of. Hell, those two could have bombed the shit out of us, back in the day, and they wouldn’t have done as much damage as OBL managed by knocking a few buildings over.

    Sure, we mustered our might and attacked, but in a lot of ways, I felt like we were some wannabe gang tough getting in a shootout. Here we are wildly shooting behind ourselves as we madly run for cover, and the other guy has a pellet gun.

    Our political class (damn near all of them at the time) gave in to fear, and many of us went right along with that, and we are angry that it’s infected us as a people ever since.Report

    • Avatar pillsy in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

      9/11 was, for so many in this country, a pivotal moment that, in far too many ways, we as a society failed to deal with.

      After writing this, I actually spent a long time trying to figure out when I noticed folks on the Left really being afraid of the Right, and I think it was the post-9/11 W years. Some of it may have been the generally frightened and angry climate, but a lot of it was what seemed like barely controlled, vengeful fury that was leading the whole country lash out almost blindly.

      That kind of fury is often driven by fear. “Let’s hit them so hard they can never hurt us again like that.”Report

      • Avatar LTL FTC in reply to pillsy says:

        It does seem like something broke during 9/11. Our politics was as unprepared for asymmetrical warfare as our war planners. Soon, the left started feeling like the flags were being waved AT them and stuff like the Dixie Chicks ban only made it worse. Add in the rise of blog snark culture in ‘02-‘04 and its co-opting by the mainstream outlets from ‘05-‘08 and everybody now takes the United States of Canada v. Jesusland attitude of derision and conflict.

        However, the rise of pop Intersectionality among the twentysomething elite college grads who make most of our cheap clickbait has changed something. Now victimhood is currency to be cashed out to shut down bad opinions. You don’t even have to get to saying “you’re wrong” when “this opinion erases me” can be used first.Report

        • Avatar pillsy in reply to LTL FTC says:

          However, the rise of pop Intersectionality among the twentysomething elite college grads who make most of our cheap clickbait has changed something. Now victimhood is currency to be cashed out to shut down bad opinions.

          Maybe to dismiss them, but shut them down?

          I think, outside of a few weird cases (which may include some college campuses) the “shutting down” part seems to rarely happen. Hell, one of the reasons everybody knows about this cheap clickbait is that they’re such good clickbait because so many people just hate them and spread them to mock them.

          I know this sometimes seems to break out into the offline world in unpleasant ways, but I’m not sure how much of this is a real problem and how much is ordinary stuff that just happens to fit a popular narrative.

          It’s really hard to see how much of what you hear as complaints in the political arena is a reaction to something you’re really doing, and how much is a response to some funhouse mirror reflection.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to pillsy says:

            Maybe to dismiss them, but shut them down?

            I can find a handful of books that weren’t published because of this sort of thing.

            The fact that we don’t hear more about people who were shut down is one of those things that ought to be unsurprising. If we hear about them, after all, they weren’t shut down. If we don’t hear about them, then they were (and we’d never hear about them).Report

            • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

              “That we never here about people being censored is proof that people are being censored.”Report

            • Avatar pillsy in reply to Jaybird says:

              I don’t think, “The lack of evidence is actually evidence,” is a terribly useful line of argument.

              But yeah, there were a handful of books canceled. That’s not great, but a lot of that was self-inflicted.

              And I think if you want people to be resilient in the face of disapproval from the SJ Left, that hugely overestimating the degree of power the SJ Left has is likely to be the last thing you want.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to pillsy says:

                “That’s not great, but a lot of that was self-inflicted.”

                ah-heh. “any decision to self-cancel means that there was DEFINITELY something wrong, because NOBODY would confess to a crime simply to make the torture stop!”Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to DensityDuck says:

                Not my intended meaning at all.

                In both cases I’ve heard recently, it sounds like the complaints about the book were, at best, extremely overblown, but the authors were plugged into SJ Left online communities in ways that made them especially susceptible to pressure from it, and in at least one case the author had already bought into standards that his book couldn’t meet (and I wonder if any book could).Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

              I’m not arguing that this is proof that it’s happening.

              I *AM* arguing that not hearing about it isn’t proof that it’s not.Report

          • Avatar LTL FTC in reply to pillsy says:

            Yeah, it’s the usual suspects in academia that unpublish wrongthink and them fall over themselves with pathetic servile apologies. All the research that reaches “wrong” conclusions goes straight to the bin before we know about it, but how many of us are researchers?

            But this era of unpublishing as just academics going after one another is drawing to a close:
            https://www.thestranger.com/slog/2019/04/18/39941044/the-government-doesnt-need-to-erase-history-the-media-is-doing-it-for-them

            Eventually the low-hanging fruit won’t be enough for the culture warriors. They don’t have the numbers to shut down Fox News, but bend the right ear at a couple of major streaming services and you could put something down the memory hole without anyone even noticing before it’s gone.Report

            • Avatar pillsy in reply to LTL FTC says:

              Maybe this is just a small and not terribly powerful group, and much of the power the do have is due to an overinflated estimation of their numbers and influence?Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to pillsy says:

                Perhaps, but small, not terribly powerful groups have managed to terrorize vastly larger populations throughout history.

                Just look what a handful of poorly educated hill folk did the United States almost 20 years ago.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                Sure. But this particularly small group seems to have the strongly worded letter (or email, or Tweet) as their weapon of choice.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to pillsy says:

                And yet somehow they still manage to strike fear into the hearts of people who aren’t even remotely in the designated target area. Perhaps the pen is mightier than the sword?

                But still, back to my original comment, as a people we are now afraid of people who aren’t targeting us, just because they might target us, if the winds that blow them about change. And once targeted, instead of getting support from your community against the bullies/terrorists/whatever, the community shies away, or joins in the fun.Report

              • He may have acted like a poorly educated hillbilly, but he actually attended both Yale and Harvard Business School.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                If the college admissions scandal has taught us anything, ‘attending’ a college and getting an education from one are potentially two separate things.Report

          • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to pillsy says:

            I go back and forth on this. My real concern is that it becomes normalized in a manner similar to how you fear that racism and all that is Trump will become normalized.Report

      • Avatar InMD in reply to pillsy says:

        When the popular face of conservatism went from Ned Flanders to Dick Cheney v.2.0 a whole bunch of our political dynamics changed.Report

  5. Here’s a joke for which you can fill in the nationality:

    Two people from _____ get lost during a hike in the wilderness. One studies the map, and then says, pointing, “See that mountain over there? We’re on top of it.”

    And I’m reminded of another one, which I first saw as a Nasrudin joke in a book by Idries Shah. Nasrudin goes to a bank to cash a check. He’s asked, “Can you identify yourself?” Taking out a small mirror, he looks in it and affirms, “Yes – it’s me, alright.”

    Fine metaphors abound – maps, mirrors, contextualization, self-recognition, to get to where you want to go you have to start from where you are, and so on.Report

  6. Avatar J_A says:

    Mike Dwyer asks:

    “More broadly though, I can’t think of a single movie that paints conservatives as the good guys. Can you?”

    And it baffles me, because I can’t really understand what does it mean “the conservatives are the good guys” in a way that’s different from “the liberals are the good guys”.

    Bear with me for a minute

    Let’s take Juno, for instance. Juno is a very pro-life sweet movie. Is it a conservative or a liberal movie? A lot of (fo purposes of this discussion let’s call them) conservatives would object to a movie where the protagonists are teenagers who are engaging in sex before marriage, where the prospective adoptive father dumps his family to fulfill his adolescent dreams, where the baby is raised by a single mother (I can hear the Rod Dreher commentaries about babies as fashion objects), and lets ignore that the lead actress (actor) is LGBT. So, again, is Juno a conservative movie?

    What’s a conservative good guy? One that sacrifices a lot for his family? Father of the Bride qualifies. Or is it a liberal movie because we make fun of the patriarchy? I’ll argue The Good Place is a very religious TV show, laser focused on moral and ethical growth. Many conservatives would hate it because, at best, it ingnores the Christian description of final reality.

    So at the end of the day, I don’t really know if the good guys are conservative or not. Not having watched a single Die Hard movie, I don’t know if John McClane would have voted for or against gay marriage in his state of residency. Would a vote for gay marriage make him a liberal hero, and a vote against, a conservative one?

    Do I agree there are “conservative” cartoon villains. Yes, plenty. The “Philadelphia” partners come as an example. There are also conservative cartoon cartoons, like Ned Flanders. There are also liberal cartoonish characters. Andre, in black-ish is way over the top, to the point even his black family points it out (another disrespected paterfamilias, so liberal)

    But I’m really failing to understand what makes a good guy “good” in a conservative way. Does he have to decline to contribute to a collection for a gay colleague marriage present? Does she have to defer to her husband in all decisions? Do they need to say out loud at some point “all lives matter”? Does he have to fight his coworkers that want to unionize the work place (a reverse Norma Rae, male, because women should not be in the shop floor). Will the good guy still be a conservative good guy if he fails in one of the above tests? What about two? How many times can he do something mainstream liberal before he’s no longer a conservative good guy.

    So this is an honest question. What is the self image of a conservative? What inner characteristics and external signs make you a conservative and not a liberal. I don’t believe conservatives are per se cartoon villains or jokes, but if I take your question seriously, it seems that not a single good guy in the movies meets your definition of a conservative. And I wonder if the issue is that your definition of conservative might be too restricting.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to J_A says:

      This is a very good comment, J_A.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to J_A says:

      I would say that there are *TONS* of “conservative” movies out there and tons of “conservative” good guys.

      That said, the phenomenon that Duck points out above where someone argues “that’s not conservative, that’s universal!” is a real one.

      The example that I used in the comments he linked to was “Up” being a deeply conservative movie. The one I would probably use today is Netflix’s The Highwaymen. It’s a show about the two middle-aged cops who finally got Bonnie and Clyde.

      What makes it “conservative”? It’s a period piece about two white guys who are good at their job.

      I haven’t seen it so I don’t know if they crowbar weird anachronisms into their mouths (“I don’t care that Bonnie is a woman! She deserves to be treated exactly like Clyde and her gender doesn’t enter into it!”) but twitter had a tempest in a teapot where teapot tempestors were complaining that Netflix made a movie about two cis-het white dudes.

      So, now, I’d say that if you want a conservative movie with conservative heroes, a period piece dealing with something other than racism that has a white guy as the hero protagonist and he accomplishes his goal.

      And, yeah, that doesn’t sound particularly conservative to me either. But, for some reason, opposition to such a thing is, apparently, liberal.Report

      • Avatar pillsy in reply to Jaybird says:

        I think there are tons and tons of implicitly conservative movies [1], and very few explicitly political conservative message movies.

        There are quite a few implicitly liberal movies [2], but there are also a non-trivial number of explicitly political liberal message movies.

        [1] I’ll have to read the piece to decide if I think Up is one of them but it sounds like a plausible suggestion.

        [2] My gut feeling is that there are fewer implicitly liberal movies than implicitly conservative movies, but it’s not something I can really back up.Report

        • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to pillsy says:

          There are explicitly political conservative message movies. Take An American Carol; 4.3 on IMDB. The Atlas Shrugged Trilogy: 5.7, 5.5, and 4.4. Obama’s America 5.1

          But that’s no doubt due to IMDB’s well-known liberal bias.Report

        • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to pillsy says:

          I think the question is not about “implicitly” conservative, but explicit–like, someone says straight-out “I’m able to achieve these heroic feats as an individual because I’m a masculine-presenting male in a monogamous relationship whose charitable works are grounded in a religious tradition, and I believe that people who follow those ideals will also achieve success and are worthy of my assistance, and people who deny them will deservedly fail.” That seems odd because the point is very seldom made in that way.

          On the other hand, if your story is “I believe that collective action will always produce a better outcome than even well-meant individual effort and that such action should always work to reduce inequities in the distribution of wealth and comfort,” we wouldn’t say “wow that’s a weird and extremely liberal position”, we’d say “oh, you mean like Robin Hood”.

          Or, to quote myself: it depends on how much slack the audience is willing to give particular viewpoints. i.e. when we’re presented with rebellious youth as the heroes of the piece, do we insist that there’s a political message being passed the way we would if the rebellious youth were the antagonists and the clean-cut straight-edge athletes were the heroes?Report

          • Avatar pillsy in reply to DensityDuck says:

            Yeah, I think what may be true is that religious motivations and characters are given short shrift.

            But if that masculine, monogamously attached dude succeeded in private enterprise due to his self-reliance and industriousness, that wouldn’t be terribly unusual.

            If he succeeded in upholding legitimate authority due to self-reliance and physical courage, that would be, like, half the movies they make.

            Sure we like plucky rebels, but we also love cops and soldiers.Report

            • Avatar InMD in reply to pillsy says:

              Not a movie but I think you could look at Hank Hill as a conservative hero, or at least a not-too-far off caricature of how I think most conservatives see themselves.

              Respectful of tradition, hard working, doing the right thing to the letter regardless of popularity. Not always thrilled about emerging social trends but not necessarily mean-spiritedly hostile to them either, provided he is left alone.

              Imperfect and obviously his personality has a lot of exaggerations for purposes of the comedy, but I don’t think it’s that far off and I don’t think many actual conservatives would take offense at the comparison.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to InMD says:

                For TV, one example I see cited a lot, quite reasonably, is Friday Night Lights. It was a great show, too.

                OK, the first season was really good and then the second season opener totally lost me.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to pillsy says:

                The second season was awful: some terrible choices turned incoherent by the writers’ strike. Feel free to slip it, but don’t miss 3-5. For one thing, the young Michael B. Jordan was terrific.

                Anyway, I’d use FNL as an example too. Eric Taylor is a happily married, churchgoing man, who cares deeply and sincerely about old-fashioned values and does his best to install them in his players, generally successfully.Report

            • Avatar DavidTC in reply to pillsy says:

              Yeah, I think what may be true is that religious motivations and characters are given short shrift.

              That’s because Christian groups idiotically attack such things, usually because the Christian isn’t some weird perfect entity, but a normal person who happens to be Christian. So you get glurge like Seventh Heaven or other nonsense, or no openly Christian characters.

              There’s a cycle, in popular media, of when minority characters were introduced, they were all perfect examples of people, and then later you could have a bad example as long as there were good examples, then, eventually, minorities get at the point where they’re treated as normal characters. It’s happened with race, it’s happened with sexual orientation, and we’re still at the first stage for trans people…we’ll know they’ve reached acceptance when there’s a trans villain that’s treated as…just the villain.

              Christians are basically the only group I’ve seen that went _backwards_ on that list, because various extremely vocal ‘representatives’ started complaining about their representation. “Gasp, that supposed Christian on TV came to conclusions about what they think God wants that the group didn’t like. If someone starts talking about basing anything they do on God, it better be some sort of extremely conservative, anti-abortion, anti-gay position they come up with, or there are going to be problems. That’s the only sort of Christian that exists!”

              As I’ve said before here, it’s rather telling that the only example of a normal Christian I can think of on TV, who has faith as part of her life and openly tells people about it, but isn’t a moralistic scold, is Ella Lopez on _Lucifer_. Presumably because that show is so ‘blasphemous’ that the heads of the people who would complain about her depiction have already exploded.

              I’m sure there are others characters like that, but they are pretty rare.Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to DavidTC says:

                Daredevil?

                He certainly centered his faith, but he wasn’t a scold.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to veronica d says:

                Heh. Yup. And that’s yet another show that the sort of people who would complain would automatically not be watching because of the name and imagery.

                Edit: Also, just in case people are thinking of more examples…NetFlix doesn’t give a damn about those complaint, for various reasons, and I’m sure there are others shows on there. When I said ‘TV’, I meant the broadcast stuff, where complaints about characters might, in theory, matter to advertisers and ratings.Report

          • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to DensityDuck says:

            Scene:
            Medieval England; A group of peasants are digging potatoes from the earth when a nobleman rides by and asks them what they are doing;

            PEASANT (Michael Palin):
            “I’m able to achieve these heroic feats as an individual because I’m a masculine-presenting male in a monogamous relationship whose charitable works are grounded in a religious tradition, and I believe that people who follow those ideals will also achieve success and are worthy of my assistance, and people who deny them will deservedly fail.”Report

          • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to DensityDuck says:

            There are lots of assumptions here. You seem to think that anyone who is a “masculine-presenting male in a monogamous relationship..blah blah blah.” Defaults as conservative and that is just not true. It is false enough to be a Ben Garrison cartoon.

            I’m male-presenting male, heterosexual, in a monogamous relationship. I’ve never felt any desire to identify as anything but a guy. But I’m pretty liberal and don’t see how being a masculine-presenting male in a monogamous relationship is default conservatism.Report

            • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Saul Degraw says:

              Scene:
              Capitol Building steps, January 20, 2009; A handsome man is being sworn in to the Presidency; He turns to smile at the camera:

              BARACK OBAMA:
              “I’m able to achieve these heroic feats as an individual because I’m a masculine-presenting male in a monogamous relationship whose charitable works are grounded in a religious tradition, and I believe that people who follow those ideals will also achieve success and are worthy of my assistance, and people who deny them will deservedly fail.”Report

            • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Saul Degraw says:

              and we circle back to “oh those aren’t CONSERVATIVE values they’re UNIVERSAL values”

              There aren’t “conservative movies” because the only characteristic anyone will let you say is “conservative” is “super fucking crazy insanely Southern Baptist racist homophobic misogynist dogmatic Christian”.Report

              • Avatar bookdragon in reply to DensityDuck says:

                The thing is that I would reject the idea that “Conservative” is defined by “super fucking crazy insanely Southern Baptist racist homophobic misogynist dogmatic Christian”.

                My dad is conservative. He’s currently massively disillusioned with the GOP, maybe he doesn’t count in a *political* sense, but he’s fiscally conservative, prone to want to slow down and think things through rather than rushing into big changes, and in general someone who looks at stuff and thinks about how it could go wrong and plans for that. Of course he’s okay with LGBTQ+ and thinks pouring money into ammo and a big personal arsenal instead of putting it into savings and interest earning funds is kind of stupid, so maybe the people claiming to speak for “conservatives” now would disown him?Report

              • Avatar J_A in reply to bookdragon says:

                so maybe the people claiming to speak for “conservatives” now would disown him?

                The problem we are having in this conversation is that “conservatives”(scare quotes intentional) themselves have difficulties in expressing what is conservative.

                They are quite good at putting long lists of what is not “conservative” being OK with LBGTQ+ is, for instance, not conservative; being working class is conservative, but only if you wear a hard hat: nurses, janitors. mailmen, are not conservative; being in a long-term monogamous relationship is conservative, but it’s not if you are of a high socioeconomic status; being promiscuous is not conservative, but it is if you are rural working class or Evangelical, but not urban working class or Pentecostal; and so on. But at the end of the day, it seems that being “conservative”is defined by the absence of any liberal trait. Being “conservative” means not being liberal, at all.

                Since Obama, as pointed here, is hard working, in a long-term monogamous relationship, of a moral disposition AND a liberal, “conservatives”, reasonably, have a difficulty describing conservatism as “being promiscuous, lazy, and amoral”.

                Instead, “conservatives” have created this archetype of a liberal that is “a totalitarian, freedom hating, abortion loving, atheist, genderfluid, promiscuous, Marxist (cultural and otherwise) uberrich Ivy League educated professor of female African studies that lives in her parent’s basement in Park Slope and develops software to spy on whether people sign or don’t sign peans to inclusivity in the workforce”. That, ladies and gentlemen, is a “liberal” (TM) . Being “conservative” is not being a “liberal”. The scare quotes are there to tell you that you are supposed to be scared. To be very, very, scared of “liberals”.

                Since many people identify as liberal, and the scare quotes of “liberal”are silent in normal conversation, when liberal (no scare quotes) people ask conservatives (no scare quotes) “what is you are concerned about?” the communication is broken. Conservatives are scared of “totalitarian, etc.etc.” I would to. Why would we need to ask. This is probably the belittling and dismissal that conservatives perceive, and resent.

                But we liberals are not “totalitarian, etc.etc.”. We’ve never encountered one of those and, honest to Atheistic Goddess, we don’t believe such a thing as a “liberal” (TM) exists. We are mostly regular people (SJW asides), just like conservatives are (right wing extremists aside). We value the same universal values of decency, hard work, honesty, family, etc. We do value the harm/care and injustice/fairness axis of morality more than the purity and authority ones, but our pursuit of healthcare availability for all and acceptance of LGBTQ+ in society does not a monster make.

                Tl/dr: liberals are almost like conservatives, I’m sad that conservatives like Rod Dreher are afraid of us, even when we are trying to make sure he and his family enjoy access to healthcare if he ever loses his current (and very elitist among journalists) gigReport

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to J_A says:

                So… conservatives are right about there being a dearth of conservatives shown on television?Report

              • Avatar J_A in reply to Jaybird says:

                There’s a dearth of “conservative signalling” good characters in TV. Not even Roseanne would agree with Rod Dreher about gender non conforming children

                There’s plenty that carry what used to be deemed conservative values: justice, temperance, love of family, hard work, patriotism, morality, even religiosity. But I’m afraid they all miss one or other of the “conservative” must-havesReport

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to J_A says:

                J_A, I think your list above is very accurate, in that in order to be welcome in the conservative circles it isn’t enough to embrace or live the values that are professed.

                I think the real litmus test for conservative tribal identity is anger and resentment.

                Milo for example, checks off exactly none of the conservative professed values. But he became a conservative hero for one single reason, was his seething hatred of feminists.

                Trump himself violates any number of conservative principles either by word or deed, but his sputtering rage at the world at large is like some pheromone attracting insecure white males.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to J_A says:

                @JA

                Disraeli explained conservatism in 1867.

                That’s still (roughly) the definition some of us still operate under.Report

              • Avatar J_A in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                @Mike Dwyer

                “Disraeli explained conservatism in 1867.

                That’s still (roughly) the definition some of us still operate under.”

                Mike, respectfully, you have to make up your mind if conservative means Disraeli or if it means USA 2010’s Republicans.

                Two days ago I said to you that _Father or the Bride_ or _The Good Place_ were examples of conservative in spirit movies or shows. You eventually responded (time stamp 1:51 pm) with, I quote:

                I think I am talking specifically about movies that touch on politics. Can you think of one that paints the Republicans as the good guys in the story?

                I like Disraeli very much. I’ve visited his house and looked at his memorabilia. Rest assured I’m not planning to pay the same homage to Mitch McConnell’s abode.

                Again, we are lacking definition here. A Schroedinger Conservative, who is both Disraeli and McConnell depending on the circumstances.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to J_A says:

                J_A

                In the US, a movie maker probably isn’t going to make a movie about a small c conservative (unless we’re talking about the vague linkage with patriarchal types people referenced in various comments). So when they are making movies about politics it’s going to be R vs. D.

                For me personally, someone who left the GOP 11 years ago, conservatism means the Disraeli definition. And to be consistent, I was referencing Disraeli and Progressive Conservatism long before I officially left the party.

                So your criticism is fair in that I am oscillating a bit between referencing the GOP and small c conservatism in the political science sense. Typically I try really hard not to blur the line between the two because I don’t want the stink of the Republican party on my ideal of what it means to be right-of-center. I will try harder next time.Report

              • Avatar J_A in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                @Mike Dwyer

                In the US, a movie maker probably isn’t going to make a movie about a small c conservative

                I keep telling you that one of today’s most successful TV shows, going on for a fourth season, is a show whose whole premise is about morality and ethics, about personal responsibility, about owning your mistakes, about the duties we have towards others, about family and friendship, about whether doing good deeds for selfish reasons counts as “good”, about justice, reward, and punishment, and, finally, about whether souls in purgatory can grow, mature, and still redeem themselves.

                This show is like The Divine Comedy: completely failed people reflect on their mistakes, and with the help of supernatural beings, but mostly through their own efforts and personal growth, improve themselves continuously in an effort to be worthy of eternal reward.

                If this is not a small-c conservative show, I can’t imagine what counts (and if you haven’t seen it, go, binge it, and come back, and tell me). It’s name is _The Good Place_

                But I’m afraid many small-c conservatives would disapprove of the show. Why? Because it is not an explicit Christian Heaven and Hell what is depicted. They want Left Behind. They want Angels and Demons (well, there are demons in The Good Place. Thank Atheistic Goddess for small mercies)

                So, would you agree @Mike Dwyer, that there are small c conservative successful movies and shows galore being made today, or would you agree that a non explicitly Judeo-Christian Heaven cannot be conservative?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to J_A says:

                Personally, I think that the definition we use is not “is the protagonist on the show liberal or conservative” but “are the enemies of the show liberal or conservative”?

                A show might not be particularly “liberal” at all. But if the bad guys are conservative, then what?

                Hell, the show can even have conservative themes but if the bad guys are conservatives, then what?

                Elmer Gantry was a conservative book. Kinda. That’s why the puritans in Boston banned it.

                Kinda.Report

              • Avatar Maribou in reply to J_A says:

                I would note, also, that the demons in the bad place are progressive-ish (they’re constantly trying out new things and innovating) and the angels in the good place are conservative-ish (they get stuck in endless committee meetings because every change should be thought through perfectly, and are hesitant to change anything because they’ve always played by the rules). small p and small c, obviously.

                So even by “who are the bad guys?” rules…Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Maribou says:

                Yeah, I watched the first 2(?) seasons of The Good Place and while cute, if I had to score it Liberal/Conservative… I’d call it Subversive to Conservatism (broadly defined).

                The funny thing (I suppose) was that the subversion was kinda gentle and tongue in cheek so given that, it almost “feels” conservative. Small mercies and all that.

                Maybe Season 3 would make me change my mind… but I doubt it… the use of philosophical/moral terms was consistent in 1 & 2 and that’s the foundation. But hey, tell me they rigorously course corrected and I’ll give that season a look.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Maribou says:

                I think the easiest thing is to ask: What sort of shows are conservatives even imagining? Because a lot of what they are seeing a liberal is one of two things.

                It’s either stuff like ‘actually being inclusive’, which is signaling the right themselves have invented and can easily refute if they want. Nothing is stopping them from that.

                Or it’s just a fundamental issue of story structure, in that heroes have to be _changing_ things. Almost no genres are ‘stoically refusing to ever change and winning by being unchanged at the end of the story’.

                About the only genre that works in is _horror_, and the outside force has to be inhuman. Which…society doesn’t really write stories using ‘monstrous entity’ as a metaphor for ‘foreigners’ anymore. (Unlike how horror was basically created.) And…we don’t really do a lot of horror TV shows anyway.

                Some Westerns are the same, which is why they often get considered conservative. The hero is entirely happy with his circumstances and is forced into changing by some outside force, and his entire plot is fighting the change. (I think this is less common now, but it’s why Westerns have the reputation they have. It’s also why Firefly is sometimes considered conservative. Even though it was, at most, just anti-government.)

                But…those are outliers. Generally, heroes want things to happen. They are fighting a status quo, even if the status quo is ‘This crime is unsolved’ or ‘Someone is being mugged’. In the absence of _other_ signals, that gets read as ‘progressive’.

                It’s only when some signals get added, like ‘The status quo is the overly-regulatory government’, that it gets seen as conservative.

                That’s just how the art form of narrative fiction works.

                So, let me repeat the question: Can someone describe what a conservative show would look like? A show that is actually _realistic_ as a TV show?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to DavidTC says:

                I think the easiest thing is to ask: What sort of shows are conservatives even imagining?

                “I think that a conservative show would have X, Y, and Z.”

                “THOSE AREN’T CONSERVATIVE THOSE ARE UNIVERSAL VALUES! Friggin’ snowflakes. Why don’t you like The Simpsons? They go to church every week.”Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Jaybird says:

                “THOSE AREN’T CONSERVATIVE THOSE ARE UNIVERSAL VALUES! Friggin’ snowflakes. Why don’t you like The Simpsons? They go to church every week.”

                Uh, that objection makes no sense to that question.

                Specifically, if there are shows that have X, Y, and Z, and conservatives think X, Y, and Z are what conservative shows would have, and these values are so universal that everyone has them, what the hell are conservatives complaining about? There’s apparently a lot of the conservative shows, according to them!

                Your hypothetical conversation is very silly.

                So, again, I ask the question: What sort of shows would be ‘conservative’ ? Let’s have the list, with the understanding that they are vague guidelines not hard and fast rules.

                Because there’s three only options: a) Shows with those things do actually exist, and conservatives ignore them because of other signaling, b) shows with those things do not exist because those things can’t make a good TV show or would cause problems(1), or c) conservatives are right and there are workable shows that people are not making, either deliberately or accidentally.

                I say it’s a combination of a and b. Someone give me a list to prove it’s c.

                1) Incidentally, if one of the criteria for a show to be conservative is ‘has characters go to church and are openly religious’, I already address that in my point above…namely, that _Christian_ groups complain when any sort of character who is a Christian and states their beliefs exists, unless they’re some sort of weird cookie-cutter Seventh Heaven piece of cardboard. Hence, it’s safest to shy away from them entirely.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to DavidTC says:

                “Or it’s just a fundamental issue of story structure, in that heroes have to be _changing_ things.”

                I have this idea for a show about nothing…Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to DavidTC says:

                Can someone describe what a conservative show would look like? A show that is actually _realistic_ as a TV show?

                Okay. I think I’ll try.

                If a family drama/comedy thing, the center of the show is a multi-generational family. The family at the center is vaguely stable. Like, not likely to be divorced, not likely to cheat, not likely to have emotional affairs. If the focus is drama, the relationships are strong and the banter is minimized to the episodes where dad plays cribbage with grandpa and he makes jokes about how “you don’t know how to count!” or mom and gramma go out to the craft store and joke about how gramma is buying stuff from the holiday before at 70% off prices while mom is buying stuff for next holiday at full price or something like that. For *SERIOUS* things, there’s no banter, everybody upholds everybody. Lessons are handed down from grampa to dad, from dad to son (and from gramma to mom, from mom to daughter). Everybody likes each other. They may get on each others’ nerves, but there is a lot of time spent on maintenance of the relationship. Dad does little things for mom. Mom does little things for dad. Maybe the kids don’t get their way but mom and dad have reasons and the kids accept the reasons (and maybe there’s even a lesson for why the reasons were actually good).

                For comedies, there can be more banter but the only reason that there might be a show about divorce or cheating or emotional affairs is because of misunderstandings. Everybody learns to communicate by the end of the episode, everybody hugs. Lessons handed down. A gag would be something like this:

                Comedy moments could come from discussions of whether that was a violation of the rules.

                The foils on the show, either drama or comedy, would be “liberals”. Stereotypes, really. Minds so open that their brains fall out. Oh, and stuff like small liberal hypocrisies as well. You know the thing where Samantha Bee and her husband wanted to keep low-income kids out of their kids’ school? Stuff like that.

                The core families would occasionally do stuff against their own interests in service to higher principles and the “liberals” would usually flip to hypocrisies in order to fight for their own interests, every time. And sometimes they’d win and sometimes they’d lose.

                But it ends with a hug and bonds strengthening in the core family, every episode. And the “liberal” foils would demonstrate envy of the tightness of the bonds that the core family has and not understand it.

                If I had to put together what such a show would look like, it’d be that.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

                It’d be easy to come up with conservative cop shows, or courtroom shows, or any show with a government/society/system. Show the people who are working with the system as being the protagonists and the people working to game the system as being the bad guys *AND*, and this is important, show the system as being strong enough to withstand someone trying to game it. Bad actors are caught in the act, and dissuaded from doing it again. Good guys might make mistakes… but the system is strong enough to catch when mistakes are made with enough time to prevent disaster.

                The system works. Stick with the system. The system works.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Jaybird says:

                @Jaybird
                Gah, you had to pick a hard one, didn’t you? I don’t actually _watch_ family dramas, so am going to have problems addressing what already exists in that space.

                I do know that demanding that there basically not be any conflict _within_ the core characters is inherently dubious as a premise for any TV show. So I’m pretty sure this part falls under (b) as this part isn’t particularly workable. You’ve managed to describe something even the _Waltons_ didn’t do. (Yes, I’ve watched enough of the Waltons to know that. Don’t ask.) This is like…Christmas sing-a-long special level of TV show. The fact there is no ‘perfect-family TV drama’ or even ‘perfect-group-of-people TV drama’ at all, conservitive or liberal or anything, and really have never been, should tell you that such a thing isn’t that workable as a TV show.

                That said, there are plenty of TV shows with familes where there is very little conflict, and everything comes out okay by the end. Not as little as described, where small annoyances are barely allowed. But small amounts.

                So…I have to claim a mix of (a) and (b) here. No one is ever going to make a TV show about a non-conflict family. But there are plenty of completely functional families on TV that have somewhat trivial levels of conflict generally, that mostly have different family members fighting outside forces and their family supporting them, but with minor levels of disagreement and conflict, and then once a season have some moderate sized blowup or a kid sneaks out to see a party and get grounded or something. In fact, these sort of families are more common than the absurdly dysfunctional families.

                As for wanting the enemies to be wrong with liberal beliefs…okay, but all you’ve described is liberal hypocrisy. Which is…weirdly backward if that is the message you want to put across. Are the heroes of this show supposed to be fighting _for_ a low-income student to attend their school? How exactly does this play out without making our protagonists look like they’re really taking the positions that the hypocritical liberals are just pretending at…which are presumably liberal positions?

                So how about an example of a non-hypocrite plot. Like where the liberals take an actual liberal position, and follow it through, and it’s shown to be harmful or bad or something?

                I’m not just asking that to be argumentative, BTW. Such plots exist. I could come with such a plot. I could do maybe half a dozen or so. Someone in the family is assumed to be racist. Someone in the family gets passed over thanks to some dubious affirmative action. Gun regulations lead to increased violence as criminals are emboldened. Now let’s steal one from King of the Hill about low-flow toilets. Someone…uh…yells at someone on twitter? Now you do one.

                The problem is that after about half a season of this it sorta just descends into parody. I guess you could just outright go PCU and totally disconnect it from reality, but at that point it’s a lot more comedic than I think you’re saying.

                Or you could dole these plots out slowly, do them twice a season or so, or have it as a multi-episode background arc, but the problem is, without allowing any sort of internal conflict either…what…is the story of the episodes?

                I’m not a writer for a TV show. I assume you’re also not a writer for a TV show. (I secretly hope you are.) So I’m not saying ‘If you can’t write this show it can’t exist’. I’d lay good odds that _neither_ of us can write even a single episode of a TV show.

                But I’m saying normal TV dramas and dramedies and even sitcoms have all sorts of conflict built into the main characters, and the writer can come up with conflicts fairly easily, by having a character do a certain type of thing, and others dealing with it. You sorta excluded that from the main characters, and then additionally added some other restrictions like the outside villains are all liberals. So…you need a _lot_ of conflict from the liberals.

                And you might think ‘the villains don’t always have to be liberals’…I remind you the second the show wanders over and attacks some sort of conservative sacred cow, it’s going to stop being ‘a conservative show’.

                And…an observation: The entirety of your ‘conservative’ checklist is basically types of characters, with one sorta plot that isn’t even really anti-liberal, just anti-hypocrite. So you basically want a show with good-guy conservatives and bad-guy liberals. Except TV shows are not just a list of characters. Or even that plus the nominal plot.

                TV shows have some sort of inherent core struggle, or multiple ones, interspersed with other episodic struggles. Even sitcoms have it. And a lot of family sitcoms (And even drama and whatnot) have as the struggle ‘This family is somewhat different from each other and generate minor conflict all the time’, so you trying to remove that just makes things even less workable. What is the core struggle of this show? Have the liberals just decided to pick on them?

                I think maybe the left thinking of TV shows as ‘What is the theme of this show?’ and the right thinking of TV shows as ‘What are the stated positions of the people in the show and who is proven correct?’ are maybe why the left is baffled by the idea there are’t conservative TV shows.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to DavidTC says:

                I do know that demanding that there basically not be any conflict _within_ the core characters is inherently dubious as a premise for any TV show.

                Oh, I’m not demanding that there not be conflict within the core characters! There can be. They will disagree. They will sometimes disagree strongly. But the emphasis is on how the disagreement creates stress and the stress creates a need for maintenance and the maintenance is then done. Maybe they come to an accord. Maybe Grampa figures out a compromise and takes everybody out for ice cream to celebrate and then the person who won switches opinions and lets the other person win. Maybe gramma gives a good speech about how there is important stuff and unimportant stuff and you can disagree about unimportant stuff all day and that’s okay.

                But conflict is just as likely, if not more likely, to come from outside of the core characters.

                And everybody sticks together. Because they’re core characters.

                They’re not “perfect”. But they’re *LOYAL*.

                As for wanting the enemies to be wrong with liberal beliefs…okay, but all you’ve described is liberal hypocrisy. Which is…weirdly backward if that is the message you want to put across. Are the heroes of this show supposed to be fighting _for_ a low-income student to attend their school? How exactly does this play out without making our protagonists look like they’re really taking the positions that the hypocritical liberals are just pretending at…which are presumably liberal positions?

                Sure. The low-income student can be someone the kids know from church, someone who the parents know from church too. The kid’s a good kid. The parents (or parent, whatever) is a good parent. (If we play our cards right, we can get people in real life to scream that the low-income kid is just a token!)

                So how about an example of a non-hypocrite plot. Like where the liberals take an actual liberal position, and follow it through, and it’s shown to be harmful or bad or something?

                Why do I need one of those?

                The problem is that after about half a season of this it sorta just descends into parody.

                To whom?

                But I’m saying normal TV dramas and dramedies and even sitcoms have all sorts of conflict built into the main characters, and the writer can come up with conflicts fairly easily, by having a character do a certain type of thing, and others dealing with it.

                Roddenberry famously wanted no conflict among the crew during the first season of TNG. We all know that that season sucked… and yet…

                And you might think ‘the villains don’t always have to be liberals’…I remind you the second the show wanders over and attacks some sort of conservative sacred cow, it’s going to stop being ‘a conservative show’.

                Surely there are sacred cows that are neither liberal nor conservative. Perhaps it could gore a universal sacred cow.

                The entirety of your ‘conservative’ checklist is basically types of characters, with one sorta plot that isn’t even really anti-liberal, just anti-hypocrite. So you basically want a show with good-guy conservatives and bad-guy liberals. Except TV shows are not just a list of characters. Or even that plus the nominal plot.

                The entirety of my checklist is basically types of *RELATIONSHIPS*. The characters are intended to be role models of sorts. Kids might wish that mom were more like Momma Buckler. Women might wish that their husband was more like Hubby Buckler. The intention is to get people who watch the show to think some variant of “I should be like that”.

                When it comes to the liberal foils on the show, the point would be to provide a vocabulary for people watching and get them to say “Jeez. Mr. Dagger is *EXACTLY* like that guy at work…” or “the lady who writes Ms. Thorn must have been roommates with my next-door neighbor.”

                Perhaps the liberals who watch the show would say “THAT’S A STRAWMAN!” when they see Mr. Glaive talk about the importance of pinkwashing when it comes to PR and how it allows him to get away with hiring illegal immigrants without anybody saying a peep.

                At the core of the show would be the core characters who have each other. And they build each other up and maintain their relationships with each other.

                What is the core struggle of this show? Have the liberals just decided to pick on them?

                It’s important to do the right thing and to build your core relationships and keep them strong, even in the face of people who are gaming the system. And at the end of the day, they have each other. Even when everything else in the world is topsy-turvy, the world will spin and stab each other in the back for a millimeter of advancement in the line for positional goods. “The true goods are found at home” or some crap like that.

                Hey, you wanted me to throw together the foundation for a conservative show, there you go. Maybe the foundation isn’t “conservative” but is, instead, “universal”. Much like Footloose, the movie isn’t one thing or another because of the protagonists, it’s one thing or another due to what the bad guy is.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Jaybird says:

                Maybe gramma gives a good speech about how there is important stuff and unimportant stuff and you can disagree about unimportant stuff all day and that’s okay.

                It…weirdly sounds like you just described Community, except Jeff Winger is gramma. Wait….Community also took a lot of shots at liberal-y college stuff. _Is_ Community a conservative show? Or do ‘found families’ not count?

                But conflict is just as likely, if not more likely, to come from outside of the core characters.

                Having a core group of characters that sometimes disagree, but generally work together to fight external conflicts sounds like basically every ‘standard’ TV show that exists, from police procedurals to superhero shows to hospital dramas to…well, everything except Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad and shows that explicitly throw the formula out the window.

                It really sounds like the only qualification you want is that they’re an actual family. Which…there are plenty of shows like that. Speechless, for example. Malcolm in the Middle. Gilmore Girls. Like…most of the stuff classified as ‘family dramas’, again barring the weird formula-breaking stuff like Shameless.

                So…is Gilmore Girls a conservative show?

                Roddenberry famously wanted no conflict among the crew during the first season of TNG. We all know that that season sucked… and yet…

                And yet…what? The show sucked when there wasn’t conflict between the characters. Then that was dropped, and the show got better. In fact, some of the best Star Trek ever made is about conflict between the ‘good guys’. Later shows very deliberately introduced characters to cause conflict at the very start. (DS9 with not just Quark, but Odo and Kira, products of an entirely different society, and Voyager had Tom Paris and the Marquis, Enterprise had T’Pol, etc.)

                The entirety of my checklist is basically types of *RELATIONSHIPS*. The characters are intended to be role models of sorts. Kids might wish that mom were more like Momma Buckler. Women might wish that their husband was more like Hubby Buckler. The intention is to get people who watch the show to think some variant of “I should be like that”.

                Again, we circle back to the ‘Characters who do not make mistakes are not interesting’.

                And if you’re about to say they do make mistakes but own up to them…that’s a hell of a lot of family dramas already. Again, I don’t watch family dramas generally, but I have seen enough of them to basically think that you’re describing almost all of them. Like, how are you not describing One Day at a Time, for example? How would the character interactions be different in a conservative version of that show?

                When it comes to the liberal foils on the show, the point would be to provide a vocabulary for people watching and get them to say “Jeez. Mr. Dagger is *EXACTLY* like that guy at work…” or “the lady who writes Ms. Thorn must have been roommates with my next-door neighbor.”

                Ah, okay. Having liberals foils is not really the same thing as having liberal enemies, I didn’t really understand where you were going there. You can have completely random problems on the show, unrelated to politics or anything, and the foil just…is annoying, or makes things harder….or sometimes even helps a bit where there’s a serious problem, because that’s how it works.

                You’re right, I’m finding it hard to come up with a TV show that has a liberal foil. Except, again, weirdly, Community, with the Dean. Are we _sure_ Community isn’t a conservative show?

                That said, I’m not really sure that I can think of any current show with a conservative foil, either. (Except Faking It, but that show had basically every sort of foil you could find. The show was entirely foil-based.)

                I don’t watch family dramas, but surely there are some with…ex-hippies or something that are the foils.

                Hey, I just remembered, That 70s Show had a liberal foil in Bob and Midge. Actually, That 70s Show had a lot of what you’re describing, with the exception of the parents only being right some of the time. And their ‘wrongness’ was mostly due to the fact they were from decades ago, so…

                …is that what we’re talking about? A modern-day That 70s Show?

                It’s important to do the right thing and to build your core relationships and keep them strong, even in the face of people who are gaming the system. And at the end of the day, they have each other. Even when everything else in the world is topsy-turvy, the world will spin and stab each other in the back for a millimeter of advancement in the line for positional goods. “The true goods are found at home” or some crap like that.

                That’s…almost every family drama there is, except the deliberately subversive ones.

                Much like Footloose, the movie isn’t one thing or another because of the protagonists, it’s one thing or another due to what the bad guy is.

                I think, in the end, you have a point here. There have been a bunch of shows with ‘conservative-ism’ foils. Not explicitly conservative per se, but who read as conservative because they are moralistic scolds. This is, uh, mostly the fault _of_ conservatives who push forward moralistic scolds as examples of them.

                Whereas liberals generally don’t. But there are, indeed, forms of scolding that could read as liberal, and those tend to not show up on TV as jokes. I can think of a few very specific example. (There’s an example on Monk, for example, where he shakes the hand of a white woman, and then a black man, and then uses a wipe to sterilize his hand, and gets accused of racism…when of course he does that after every handshake and just didn’t have time between the two handshakes.)

                The problem is…unless you make it really clear the scold is _wrong_ on facts, it’s not funny. And the scold has to be _understandable_ to the audience at large, which a lot of the ‘SJW’ stuff wouldn’t work for. Someone starts talking about something being a microaggression that isn’t, and the audience is going to be confused.

                But there probably is some actual bias there. It would be easy enough to have next-door neighbor ex-hippy foil who, I dunno, sunbathes naked and claims the protagonists are destroying the planet by operating their car. And we don’t get that.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to DavidTC says:

                Again, we circle back to the ‘Characters who do not make mistakes are not interesting’.

                I’m not saying that they don’t make mistakes. What I am saying is that their circle of relationships is robust enough to not only withstand the occasional mistake, it helps right wrongs and reorient characters after their compasses have gone temporarily wonky.

                And if you’re about to say they do make mistakes but own up to them…that’s a hell of a lot of family dramas already. Again, I don’t watch family dramas generally, but I have seen enough of them to basically think that you’re describing almost all of them. Like, how are you not describing One Day at a Time, for example? How would the character interactions be different in a conservative version of that show?

                I haven’t watched the show so I can’t say, but part of what I said would be on the show would be the cautionary examples too.

                We all agree that “people who like each other” is not conservative nor liberal but universal.

                So make the foils “liberal”.

                Ah, okay. Having liberals foils is not really the same thing as having liberal enemies, I didn’t really understand where you were going there. You can have completely random problems on the show, unrelated to politics or anything, and the foil just…is annoying, or makes things harder….or sometimes even helps a bit where there’s a serious problem, because that’s how it works.

                You’re right, I’m finding it hard to come up with a TV show that has a liberal foil. Except, again, weirdly, Community, with the Dean. Are we _sure_ Community isn’t a conservative show?

                I don’t know. That’s yet another show I haven’t watched. I did see the gif of Señor Chang yelling “GAAAAAAAAY” for a while there. That’s conservative, right?

                That said, I’m not really sure that I can think of any current show with a conservative foil, either. (Except Faking It, but that show had basically every sort of foil you could find. The show was entirely foil-based.)

                If we’re allowed to mine the past, I suppose we could look at All in the Family, Maude, Good Times, and such.

                …is that what we’re talking about? A modern-day That 70s Show?

                I was asked to create a show. That is what I have done. If you’d like to argue that the show sucks, go nuts. I wouldn’t watch it either.

                People were saying that they couldn’t imagine such a thing and I found that odd. I mean, we could easily imagine a liberal show, right? But we can’t imagine a conservative one?

                So we’ve got two flavors of show… liberal values shows and universal values shows?

                The problem is…unless you make it really clear the scold is _wrong_ on facts, it’s not funny.

                You’re writing television. Put your thumb on the scales. Hell, choose a charismatic actor who oozes “wrong on facts”. Oooh! Have them have an overlarge opinion of themself!

                Or have it be a drama lifted from the newspapers. (With some tweaking.)Report

              • Avatar J_A in reply to DavidTC says:

                For what is worth, black-ish, one of the most liberal shows ever, has Andre, the main character, be an SJW scold a lot, and becomes the lightning rod of criticism from his own black, liberal, family.

                @jaybird, @DavidTC

                Of course, besides being about black, extremely liberal, very elitist, quite SJW characters with the father (and sometimes the mother) being wrong a lot by being more SJW than needed, the rest of the show is very much exactly what Jaybird describedReport

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to Jaybird says:

                @jaybird — Sounds pretty “Goodnight John-Boy,” except perhaps drifting into caricature.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to veronica d says:

                So long as we’ve moved from criticisms like “but nobody can even describe a conservative tv show!” to “Well, *I* wouldn’t watch that!”, I’m good.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to DavidTC says:

                Thought of another good example: You’ve Got Mail. The rich guy that owns a successful bookstore explains economics to the idealistic lit major.

                https://youtu.be/sAQogHJ529g?t=157Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to J_A says:

                “But I’m afraid many small-c conservatives would disapprove of the show. Why? Because it is not an explicit Christian Heaven and Hell what is depicted.”

                As someone who is not a practicing Christian, I’m not even remotely concerned about depictions of the afterlife.

                With that said, I just recalled one show that did it right. When The Good Wife was on, one of the main lawyers in the firm was a card-carrying liberal Democrat (they had several real Democrats on the show, playing themselves and meeting with her about her involvement in the party). In the later seasons she became engaged to and married a Republican who was also a gun guy (he testified as a ballistics expert in one of her trials). The show actually did a really good job of showing him to be a good human being who just had a difference of opinion with her. They would argue and then make up and she didn’t feel the need to cast him as evil. To the contrary. she thought he was dreamy and a good husband. The wonders never cease…Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                Also, Mad Men:

                Report

              • This idea that all conservatives are evangelical Christians needs to go.Report

              • Avatar J_A in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                @Mike Dwyer

                So when they are making movies about politics it’s going to be R vs. D.

                So what would a movie about politics look like. Let’s be specific. Otherwise yours is just a whine.

                Movies about politics come in two flavors: They are movies about historical events, or they are movies about live controversies. Both normally focus on turning points, just because movies where little of importance happen tend to be boring.

                What XXth century events would be worthy of a movie, and what party was in power then:

                – The end of the Gilded Age (T. Roosevelt – R)
                – WWI, Versailles Peace and Wilson’s Fourteen Points (W. Wilson – D)
                – The start of the Great Depression (H. Hoover – R)
                – The New Deal and the end of the Great Depression: (FDR – D)
                – WWII (FDR – D)
                – The Manhattan Project (FDR / H. Truman- D)
                – The Korean War (D Eisenhower – R)
                – The Beginning of the Cold War (D Eisenhower – R)
                – The Cuban Missiles and the escalation of the Cold War ( JFK- L Johnson -D)
                – The Civil Rights (L – Johnson – D)
                – The Start of the Vietnam War ( JFK- L Johnson -D)
                – The end of the Vietnam War (R. Nixon – R)
                – The Regulatory State: EPA, Clean Air act, etc. (R, Nixon – R)
                – Watergate (R. Nixon – R)
                – The Iran Hostages (J. Carter – D/ R. Reagan – R)
                – The Reagan Revolution (R. Reagan – R)
                – The End of the Cold War (R. Reagan – R; G.H.W. Bush – R)
                – The fall of the Berlin Wall and the End of Communism (G.H.W. Bush – R)
                – The First Gulf War (G.H.W. Bush – R)

                So, which of this stories could be turned into a Republican as good guy movie? I think it’s very possible to make a great movie about Bush the Elder. I’d enjoy a movie about Theodore Roosevelt, who I personally admire. There’s already been plenty of movies about the Korean War and about Eisenhower (including, of course, in the Republicans are Bad column, M.A.S.H.). There’s plenty of material for a movie where Nixon would be the hero, except that he poisoned his own well with Watergate. A Reagan is the hero movie would be interesting, but would likely polarize most people by being too hagiographic, or not hagiographic enough.

                But, regretfully for Republicans, by an accident of history, most of the XXth century “good” pivotal moments in America happened under a Democratic Administration. We can debate if they were just bystanders or active creators of those moments, but they happened in their watch.

                If we think of a movie about live controversies, right now, the problem is that is most live controversies, the Republicans today are actively playing the role of No Pasarán. No matter the issue: immigration, LGBT rights, #MeToo, abortion, police militarization, middle east wars, gerrymandering, the Republicans of today represent the ugly position. It’s difficult to make a movie where the hero is the one separating children from their parents and deporting Dreamers to a country they left as toddlers twenty years ago. If you think it can be done, please tell us how. I promise I’ll read with attentionReport

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to pillsy says:

          Well, we’d argue for a while over what counts as a movie (how’s about those made-for-cable movies starring that chick who cheated to get her kid into college?) and whether a movie is satirizing the phenomenon it’s exploring (is Starship Troopers conservative? Is Fight Club? Is Glengary Glen Ross?) but I’m comfortable just looking at the big grossers.

          2018’s top movies by box office according to the internet:

          10. Venom U.S. total: $213.2 million
          9. Solo: A Star Wars Story U.S. total: $213.77 million
          8. Ant-Man and the Wasp U.S. total: $216.65 million
          7. Mission: Impossible — Fallout U.S. total: $220.16 million
          6. The Grinch U.S. total: $265.5 million
          5. Deadpool 2 U.S. total: $318.49 million
          4. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom U.S. total: $416.77 million
          3. Incredibles 2 U.S. total: $608.58 million
          2. Avengers: Infinity War U.S. total: $678.82 million
          1. Black Panther U.S. total: $700.06 million

          Are Superhero movies liberal or conservative?Report

          • Avatar pillsy in reply to Jaybird says:

            Of the ones I’ve seen on that list, only Black Panther had a clear political aspect.

            It actually struck me as a pretty conservative one, but I suspect I’d be the outlier on that one.Report

          • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Jaybird says:

            None? Both? Depends on the creator and the cultural zeitgeist. There are three basic elements to comic book stories it seems (blatantly stolen from LGM’s comment section:)

            1. There are elements that should horrify us if we were to think about them in real life. Everyone thinks it would be cool to have superpowers, no one wonders what it would be like to be an ordinary human being in a world where superpowers exist and only a few have them. Especially if these people decide to take law into their own hands. Also no one realizes that insurance would be off the roof in any comic book universe with the amount of destruction done. Some of these elements are close to fascist or fascist (taking law into your own hands as a superhero.);

            2. These are stories for the powerless (normally geeky kids) having an outlet for feeling powerless and/or bullied. No side has a monopoly on nerdiness. There are right wing nerds and left wing nerds;

            3. The superhero can be an allegory and/or metaphor for broader social points. Captain America stands for New Deal Liberalism possibly. The X-Men stand for the civil rights struggles and the absurdity of prosecution.

            So everyone is claiming comic books as their own.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw says:

              “Vaguely Fascist” is the answer I came to in my own head.

              Six! Six superhero movies in the top ten grossing movies! The only movie that isn’t an “action” movie is The Grinch!Report

            • Avatar J_A in reply to Saul Degraw says:

              Everyone thinks it would be cool to have superpowers, no one wonders what it would be like to be an ordinary human being in a world where superpowers exist and only a few have them.

              Which, of course, is the whole premise of The Incredibles.

              Making The Incredibles a very conservative movie, even if it’s not made clear that Bob and Helen Parr vote RepublicanReport

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to J_A says:

                What’s our goal in this little subconversation? To prove that some movies have “conservative” values?

                What are conservative values? I mean, what are they really?

                What that’s a rabbit hole if I ever saw one. After all, most pro-social conservative values (such as hard work or family) are things that many liberals share — and many real life conservatives only value as empty public display. So those don’t really distinguish a movie as being “conservative.” Why would they?

                Of course, there is the “social war” stuff. A movie could express conservative values by hating gay people.

                Which of course fuck that. On the other hand, it would be honest.

                Conservatives have a basic philosophical problem. If they are essentially bigoted, then we are right to despise them, and indeed no conservative movies should be made. If on the other hand they are not essentially bigoted, then what the fuck is actually happening with the conservatives these day? Can’t you all just stop supporting bigots?

                I don’t think any of this matters, actually. I think what people are looking for is conservative signalling. They want movies that “code” as conservative, that give lip service to cultural signifiers, such as flags or NRA stickers or some shit. In other words, it’s not about content. It’s certainly not about values. It’s about identity expression. Conservatives want to have a “cool” identity too.

                But why should they? They aren’t cool. They just aren’t. At best they’re “church lady” and mall cops. At worst — well, Trump and the trumpaloos. We dislike them for a good reason, because they hitched their wagons to bigotry and hate.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to veronica d says:

                don’t think any of this matters, actually. I think what people are looking for is conservative signalling.

                This. I watched a TV show last night (Minor spoilers for Legends of Tomorrow.) where a couple, Lance and Ava, who’d been together about a year but recently broke up, had a experience where they were forced to confont their problems and whether or not they wanted a future together.

                He had a sorta party-action lifestyle with a lot of travel, think somewhat James Bond, including a lot of previous womanizing, and she was very focused on her government career where was in a leadership position, which theoretically put her over him. Which was actually was what they had clashed over to start with, in that he had actively worked against her orders at their workplace. They talked not only that, but whether they can handle the day-to-day life of just…living together, being normal people, doing dishes and just being there. Whether or not they (mostly he) could adapt to living in the suburbs. And where did they see this going, and brought up marriage for the first time. And they decided to try to make it work…and ended with ‘And we probably need to talk about children at some point, buuuut… maybe not today’.

                Conservative? Sure. Or, at least, it could be. You can easily imagine that plot.

                Oh, wait, I was lying in exactly one aspect: Lance is Sara Lance, a bisexual woman, not a man. (And Ava is a lesbian.) Everything else was true. _Now_, of course, it’s not conservative at all, somehow. Because gay people are a big flashing liberal indicator.

                But…who made gay people that? Who _keeps_ them as that?

                As conservatives have discovered, they can’t actually keep ‘their’ signals against the wishes of society. The stuff like ‘family values’ they invented…they don’t get to own that, the rest of society goes ‘Uh, we value families also.’. (If they want to live in denial, they can always pretend they _won_ and convinced everyone else, but no, that’s not what really happened.)

                If conservatives wanted to stop letting the left have ‘gay people’ as a signal, they could do it tomorrow.Report

              • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to DavidTC says:

                My big arguments with conservatives and libertarians is that they try to own and define certain things which they don’t have the authority to do.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw says:

                Yeah, it’s always a pain in the butt when people claim jurisdiction that obviously shouldn’t be theirs.Report

              • Avatar J_A in reply to Jaybird says:

                @Jaybird

                Yeah, it’s always a pain in the butt when people claim jurisdiction that obviously shouldn’t be theirs

                Your statement above is a generic truism that absolutely no one in this site would object to or dispute. It also adds nothing to the conversation and is therefore a waste of photons, pixels, and time.

                The question to the room was, and is, if “truth, beauty, goodness, virtue, courage, duty, patriotism” (*) belong exclusively to conservatives, or if liberals also share them. This is a factual yes or no question about which you perhaps have something to contribute.

                Otherwise, Yeah, it’s always a pain in the butt when people answer questions of fact with generic platitudes under the guise of “I’m just asking questions, dude”

                (*) the list comes from a Rod Dreher post, quoting his latest favorite thinker, Ryszard Legutko.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to J_A says:

                The comment was in response to a complaint about libertarians, let me copy and paste this, “try to own and define certain things which they don’t have the authority to do”.

                Who does have the authority to own and define certain things?

                It seems to me that if the answer is “this trait is in the public domain and it should be available to everyone”, then I agree… but that’s kinda the libertarian position in the first place. If we want to get into language theory for who gets to define terms (and whether common usage gets to redefine them), I suppose we can. But there’s a lot of wiggle room in there and I’d like to see an answer that avoids the libertarian position without also a blatant attempt “to own and define certain things which they don’t have the authority to do”.

                I’m not “just asking questions”. If anything, you should yell at me for being a goddamn know-it-all.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird says:

                “I’m not “just asking questions”. If anything, you should yell at me for being a goddamn know-it-all.”

                Hold-on, updating the user profile spreadsheet.

                But, more seriously, this *is* the actual post-modern question/problem… especially as it relates to living in community. It might be the only thing worth talking about… but boy would that get boring quickly.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Marchmaine says:

                Yeah, I agree. What do we do when we don’t recognize another’s jurisdiction over us (let alone their moral authority)?

                I suppose “sputtering in indignation” is on the table…Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird says:

                Divorce, Separation, War, or Twitter?

                I think there really is a structural defect in Democracy which prevents it from becoming Mass Democracy; where exactly the line between Democracy and Mass Democracy lies? I’m not sure. But we’re not getting *more* Democracy in Mass Democracy, we’re getting Post-Democracy.

                But, as I said… the discussion quickly gets boring.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Marchmaine says:

                Whenever I bring up “Federalism For Real This Time”, I always get told that such a concept is as immoral as allowing Saddam Hussein to remain in power (or some variant thereof).Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird says:

                As Aristotle teaches, sometimes we have to re-market old ideas.

                I’m suggesting Artisanal Regionality or Local Curated Governance Experience… still focus testing.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

                Immoral? I think people tell you that the number of people who believe in FFR could fill the banquet space at an airport Holiday Inn in a mid sized city. And that just saying FFR doesn’t answer about million questions about how it actually works, trade offs, radical changes, etc.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

                “How does it actually work?”

                Local people would be holding the whip instead of far-away people.

                “but that’s bad”

                yes.

                “nobody should hold the whip”

                Sure, I guess.

                “What if they whip people who don’t deserve it?”

                Oh, they definitely will.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

                Impressively simplistic description of how it works. Then bad faith arguments. Thanks. How could anybody not be convinced.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

                That was actually me being serious and honest about the proposed policy. *MY* proposed policy, might I add.Report

              • Avatar J_A in reply to Jaybird says:

                I’m all for Federalism For Real, if we can make it that the city/county is the locality that holds the whip.

                When I ask I’m told that the Constitution does not recognize cities or countries. That Federalism starts and ends with the states.

                When I ask what do we do with Houston, Austin, San Antonio, Dallas, El Paso, what do we do with Charlotte and Raleigh/Durham, what do we do with Salt lake City, with Las Vegas, I’m told that those places have no relevance. The state is supreme and it holds the whip.

                When I ask what’s the difference between states are supreme, and what we have now, I’m don’t get an answer, but it’s implied that the difference is who actually gets the whip, not whether it is near or remote.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to J_A says:

                I’d be willing to put the concept of City-States on the table…

                Should my people call your people?Report

              • Avatar Maribou in reply to Marchmaine says:

                @marchmaine @j_a Y’all are reminding me of ye olden days of the late 20th century when Quebec threatened to secede and both the Cree nation (northern Quebec one) and Montreal were like “oh, you just TRY it, mister…” and threatened to counter-secede…

                City states would not be the worst thing that could happen to America. I’m not saying it *should*, but there are worse things.Report

              • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Maribou says:

                You and I live in a state where more than one of the rural legislators have literally said that the Front Range counties have “declared war” on rural Colorado.

                After I had left the legislative staff and was at a meeting where this came up, I made a point of telling one such legislator, “Oh, you have no idea how things would be if the Front Range really declared war.”Report

              • I still have family in Nebraska. Interestingly, the rural legislators there are *very* concerned that following redistricting after the 2020 census, 25 of the 49 members of the Unicameral will come from just three urban/suburban counties.Report

              • Avatar Maribou in reply to Michael Cain says:

                @michael-cain No kidding, eh?

                Imagine Montreal as the Front Range in this scenario.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Maribou says:

                “and threatened to counter-secede”

                Worst threat ever.

                Its a wonder some other country, any country, Iceland even, hasn’t just annexed you all.Report

              • Avatar Maribou in reply to Marchmaine says:

                @marchmaine I suspect if Iceland tried, they’d be happily waving the Maple Leaf within a decade… and think it was all their own idea.

                If the US falls apart, the Maritimes have Designs on Vermont and Maine…Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Maribou says:

                Aha, the genius of Canadian diplomacy… Iceland Annexes, Canada politely threatens to speed up the Annexation, whereupon Iceland decides that such reasonable people ought not be Annexed, but joined.

                Sun Tzu never contemplated such deviousness.Report

              • Avatar Maribou in reply to Marchmaine says:

                @marchmaine

                I once took a “what type of evil” quiz are you and got back “you’re a fluffy bunny and not evil at all… I think? or you’re secretly more evil than all the rest of us and have us all fooled.”

                I was pleased enough by this result that I’ve remembered it for 20 years.

                National-character-wise, summatively, it’s a fairly good description of Canadian foreign policy.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to J_A says:

                Well I say, why should bureaucrats all the way across town hold the whip?

                Sovereign Neighborhood Councils, or GTFO.

                P.S. I am not a crank.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

                Well flesh it out with a whole of details and maybe there is something to talk about. Three words at much of a plan. All this “whipping” talk, do you mean democracy and self government…Then then the tradeoffs start and choices have to be made. Oxs gored, etc.

                But for reals, you have said it before and i have no idea what, even in the vaguest sense, it would actually look like. Switzerland, the EU, a thousand Sinapore’s…..beats me.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

                It deals with the concept of “jurisdiction” and the concept of ease of exit.

                If you don’t like Nebraska, move.

                If you don’t like California, move.

                Except, this time, you won’t have to move to Somalia. We’ll have 50 different states you could move to and you can pick which set of people you want holding the whip from a list of 50, instead of a list of two (alternating every 4 years with an option to extend for 4 years).Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

                I’m honestly curious-
                How would this be different than what we have right now?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Well, it would involve a radical re-reading of the 10th Amendment.

                You know how people read the 2nd and come to the conclusion that it means that it’s talking about guns rather than militias?

                Read the 10th like that. Changes the reading completely. And the concept of the Federal Government’s jurisdiction.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

                OK, but that doesn’t really clarify anything.
                Especially since the 10th gives power to “the States, or the people”, which would have a radically different meaning depending on which word of the clause you want to stress.

                I’m struggling to imagine an example of what would change.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Go for the more radical one.

                (And I’m almost pleased that you can’t imagine something this time. Most people immediately jump to something like “you want to bring slavery back!”)Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

                And I realize I need to immediately clarify: I am *NOT* calling for a return to slavery. A radical reading of the 10th doesn’t entail getting rid of the 13th.

                It means that different states will see themselves as different jurisdictions that are not under the jurisdiction of other states. So, for example, Nebraska could have laws for Nebraska that are not laws for Colorado (and vice-versa).

                Like, the easiest example up front would be: the whole CSA (Controlled Substances Act)? That wouldn’t apply to the States. Only Washington DC.Report

              • Avatar J_A in reply to Jaybird says:

                So your FFR stops at the states. The cities and their inhabitants are the subjects of the states and have no right to order their affairs the way they prefer.

                You are just replacing one low heat civil war with 50.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

                You are doing an epic job of not really specifying what you mean. As Chip chipped in, how does this differ from now. We got the easy exit thing pretty good. Yeah we can infer you wanted states to be more unique but that doesn’t really say much more what we could have already guessed.

                Fwiw: what makes exit from one state really easy. Having some services, like health care, be national not state based. Same with a social welfare net and retirement. If you can take them wherever you go, moving just gets easier.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

                You are just replacing one low heat civil war with 50.

                This is why I also emphasize “exit”.

                As Chip chipped in, how does this differ from now.

                How does not having Federal Legislation like the CSA differ from now?

                Well, for one thing, we wouldn’t have the CSA. Like we have now.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Jaybird says:

                All this talk of a civil war and the CSA really needs to spell out that the CSA was not written by Jefferson Davis.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to greginak says:

                Fwiw: what makes exit from one state really easy.

                One thing that makes it hard right now is occupational and professional licensure requirements differing from one state to another, meaning that if you’ move you may well have a much harder time getting a job.

                And in general moving is harder for people who are poor and/or marginalized. It’s kind of high risk for everybody, but it’s higher risk if the law enforcement officers along the way are hostile.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to pillsy says:

                I’m not saying that we wouldn’t have the state-level problems that we have right now. We’d still have those.

                We just wouldn’t have the federal-level problems that we have right now.

                The problems that we have of things being harder for poor people than they are for rich people wouldn’t be solved by this solution either.

                We just wouldn’t have the federal-level problems that we have right now.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Jaybird says:

                @Jaybird,

                Yeah, but the state level problems might well become worse. Indeed, there are a lot of plausible mechanisms by which they will become worse.

                What makes you so confident that the trade off will be a good one?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to pillsy says:

                The state level problems in some places would become worse. The problems in others would become better.

                After this iterates for a while, I think that just the ebb and flow of immigrants/emigrants and seeing what works and what does not would result in an equilibrium that is preferable to the unstable equilibrium that we have now. (Though, I’ll grant, it won’t be better off for everybody in the early part of the transition.)

                What makes you so confident that the trade off will be a good one?

                Because I have more faith in local control than I do in far-away technocratic control.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Jaybird says:

                Though, I’ll grant, it won’t be better off for everybody in the early part of the transition.

                OK, but I believe that the people who it will be worst for are people who already have a bad time of it, and a lot of the reason it will be worse is the commitment of some of the newly empowered local governments to deliberately make their lives worse out of malice.

                While most of the benefits will flow to the people who maliciously want to punish that first group of people.

                This (a) makes me skeptical that the long run equilibrium will, on net be better for those people, and (b) even if it is, discounting future benefits at a reasonable rate may well mean the costs (near term) are outweighed by the benefits (long term).

                Because I have more faith in local control than I do in far-away technocratic control.

                Spoken like a man who’s never lived in New JerseyReport

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to pillsy says:

                I admit: I’m not familiar with how much the feds have done to prevent New Jersey from being even more like New Jersey.

                (But part of me can’t help but note that a lot of organized crime arose out of stuff like Prohibition.)Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

                @Jaybird-
                “So, for example, Nebraska could have laws for Nebraska that are not laws for Colorado…”

                But…we already do.

                See, when you can’t paint a picture of what your proposal would look like, it kind of drains it of any persuasive power.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Oh good! I was worried that the arguments would be something like “that’s so much scarier than what we have now!”Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Jaybird says:

                @Jaybird,

                The feds frequently investigate our politicians for corruption, find that our politicians are corrupt, and prosecute our politicians for that corruption.

                Sometimes it even works and they get a conviction.

                Now, do you think you could maybe address either of the concerns I raised?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to pillsy says:

                Re: your other concerns

                While I appreciate assuming that the government is malicious, I think that the maliciousness of the federal government lifting would outweigh the small pockets of locally increased maliciousness.

                There *ARE* pockets that would be worse than they were before. I don’t mean to diminish that by saying that, overall, there would be less applied maliciousness in the system.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to greginak says:

                In some ways, and to Chip’s point, that’s because the framework exists we have some (atrophied) instincts in this direction and in a real sense, changing some newer habits might seem more like doing things like we’ve always done them.

                What would be different? Being the good Catholic theorist I am, I’d say we’re looking more for a reorientation to Subsidiarity on a Federal Model rather than full throated Sovereign State Federalism.

                What that means in a concrete practical sense is the assumption that every challenge should be addressed at the smallest unit possible… that’s the governing and philosophical starting point. It isn’t the end point because lots of challenges/projects rightly ought to be moved up to larger units… all the way up to the largest unit of all.

                So in a combox sized diagnosis, the goal is to re-orient our politics from *first* looking to the Federal Government to decide agenda/policies and implementation to smaller units… It could (probably should) also re-evaluate how Federal Funds are disbursed and granted to lower entities. A subsidarist approach to Federalism limits the Federal Government not in the things the Federal Govt should or has been delegated to do, but in making sure it doesn’t accrue authority over areas best managed at subsidiary institutions.

                So if this sounds like what we’ve got, that’s good news… my critique, then, would be that we’re moving far too many projects UP the subsidarist ladder and too feww projects DOWN the suubsidarist ladder.

                We may then argue about what should go UP and what should go DOWN… but then I’d consider that the healthy functioning of a Subsidarist Federal system.

                Right now, the system is failing by treating (nearly) all problems/challenges as Federal Govt. problems. A failure of properly aligning challennges (and solutions) with subsidiary institutions.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Marchmaine says:

                One of the most powerful motivations for diminishing state differences was to facilitate commerce.

                Making it as easy for a Nebraska farmer to purchase a stove from Sears Roebuck in Chicago as from his local town, making the legal framework for interstate commerce and banking the same in Florida as California went hand in hand with a national telephone exchange and interstate highway system.

                Subsidiarity does move up the ladder as well as down.
                Asking why we don’t have 50 different sets of banking structures is like asking why we don’t have 50 different operating systems or 50 different word processing software; there is an efficiency “sometimes” in having one standard approach.

                But this is why I keep asking for specifics.
                This isn’t a question that can be solved at the abstract conceptual level, because the word “sometimes” is doing all the work here.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                If turn about is fair play, let me ask you for your preferred list of things that are done at the Fed Govt. level that oughtn’t.

                If that’s a null-set, then I think I’ve at least illustrated my point… if there are things that we can agree are too high up the ladder, then I think I’ve started us down a path.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Marchmaine says:

                What are the possible choices which could be put in this set?

                Lets assume that under FFR, the Constitution and entire SCOTUS rulings are applicable across all 50 states.

                OK, so the possible list of state level actions are things which don’t violate any Constitutional rights.

                But, as we’ve seen with everything from gun laws (Heller) to business taxation (Citizens United), the set of non-rights-related government action is really just petty regulation like professional credentials and land use laws.

                And most of those are already handled at the state level. I will stipulate that with a bit of thought I could come up with examples to the contrary.

                But the point here is that the opening premise of this discussion was that FFR would be a “radical re-imagining”.

                I think the real null set here, is the set of things that are both “radical” and non-rights-related.Report

              • Avatar Jesse in reply to Marchmaine says:

                If I could trust half the state governments not to be filled with corrupt right wing morons who want to cut to ribbons every bit of the social welfare state, I’d feel a lot better about moving things down to the states.

                I could see an argument about handing control over health care to the states (as they basically do in Canada – the feds tax everybody, then hand money over to the provinces) if that didn’t involve the Alabama and Idaho state legislatures having even more power.Report

      • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Jaybird says:

        Having recently watched that movie, every bit of this comment is spot-on.

        “And, yeah, that doesn’t sound particularly conservative to me either. But, for some reason, opposition to such a thing is, apparently, liberal.”

        One wonders how much of the agenda is being set by the SJ Left today, when it was Tipper Gore and the Religious Right 30 years ago.Report

      • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird says:

        Now you made me go back and re-watch Bella

        Critics: 42% Rotten “Critics labeled Bella as a simplistic and mostly pedestrian”

        Normies: 81% Tomato
        * Bella took the “People’s Choice Award” at the 2006 Toronto International Film Festival.
        * Bella won the Heartland Film Festival’s Grand Prize Award Winner for Best Dramatic Feature &
        * Crystal Heart Awards for Monteverde as writer/director/producer
        * It was the top-rated movie on The New York Times Readers’ PollReport

      • The Highwaymen is actually one of the movies I have on my list to review because it is entirely conservative in values. It is not because they’re white cis het, either. You could make that movie starring any people of any race and orientation and it would still be conservative in values.Report

    • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to J_A says:

      @J_A

      I think I am talking specifically about movies that touch on politics. Can you think of one that paints the Republicans as the good guys in the story? Even in PCU, which was hard on the social justice crowd, at the end of the movie the anarchist and the libs gang up on the Republican kid and the dean that allied with him and run them off of campus.

      And to be honest, I am 100% okay with being on Team Bad Guy and have been for a long time. Someone has to do it.Report

      • Avatar J_A in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

        “I think I am talking specifically about movies that touch on politics. Can you think of one that paints the Republicans as the good guys in the story? “

        Again, are we talking about Republicans, like, Republicans, like explicitly political Republicans that run for office as Republicans?

        Or are we counting elected conservative politicians, like Angela Merkel, or Margaret Thatcher, or Charles de Gaulle?

        If the former, I agree that probably no Republican official has been part of the Good Guys team in Hollywood since at least The West Wing? (*)

        But, at the same time, reducing conservative to merely Republican is like speaking the quiet parts out loud. It moves the discussion from one of worldview and disposition to one of raw politics. I don’t think that’s where we should go.

        (*) On the other side, I can name a lot of conservative positions I can support (and that I personally live, having been called a fascist by a college girlfriend). But there aren’t that many things in the Republican Party platform that I can stand behind.Report

      • Can you think of one that paints the Republicans as the good guys in the story?

        Lincoln.Report

      • Avatar Zac Black in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

        “And to be honest, I am 100% okay with being on Team Bad Guy and have been for a long time. Someone has to do it.”

        Upvoted for avatar/comment synergy.Report

    • Avatar Kristin Devine in reply to J_A says:

      Juno is IMO a conservative movie because it’s critical of Jason Bateman’s character, it’s positive towards people acting responsibly and trying to do the right thing, and it does it without romanticizing or sentimentalizing – or even really demonizing any of the characters.

      A lot of this is beyond the scope of a comment on a site but I hope to provide some reviews of shows I consider to be conservative in message over the next several weeks. Because while I know it’s hard for you guys to wrap your heads around, it doesn’t have to do with Christianity, it doesn’t have to do with tractor pulls, and it doesn’t have to be Top Gun to be conservative in theme to be representative of conservative values.Report

  7. Avatar Chip Daniels says:

    Imagine if Kristin’s essay and this conversation were taking place between rival political factions in, say, Iran or Venezuela, places where Americans believe there is an easily identifiable “Evil” side.
    Or maybe between different American factions in other times, like between supporters and opponents of the Revolution or Civil War.

    Was there anything in her piece that couldn’t be truly said about opponents of those governments and movements?

    Do American conservatives think about themselves any differently than supporters of other governments do? Do liberals say anything about their opponents that wasn’t said by others in other times?

    There is this recurring refrain among conservatives, not just here but elsewhere, that conservatives are tired of being told they are bad people.

    What do you really want from us?
    To pat you on the head and tell you everything you do is fine, that you are special, and that none of what we want is important enough to cause you pain?

    Political change is painful because it always involves power shifting from one hand to another. It involves some sort of privilege or status being lost or gained.

    And mostly, it involves some sort of injustice that demands righting. There isn’t any way to do this that doesn’t involve someone feeling bad about themselves.Report

    • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Chip Daniels says:

      “There is this recurring refrain among conservatives, not just here but elsewhere, that conservatives are tired of being told they are bad people. What do you really want from us?”

      How about…don’t do that?

      Like, when you say “Political change is painful because it always involves power shifting from one hand to another. It involves some sort of privilege or status being lost or gained”, you actually act like you recognize this? Act like you actually realize that there is pain, that there is loss with visible gain to another, that there is apparent unjust transfer of wealth and status and the opportunity for self-actualization within a peer community?

      And yeah, yeah, I’m sure you don’t act that way, you’re one of the good ones, but you asked the question and this is the answer. What do conservatives want? For people to act like they give a shit. To not get dunked on when they ask why things that used to be easy are suddenly hard.Report

      • Avatar CJColucci in reply to DensityDuck says:

        What do conservatives want? For people to act like they give a shit. To not get dunked on when they ask why things that used to be easy are suddenly hard.

        As far as I can tell, everyone wants this. And nobody — nobody — has ever been good about it. The only difference now is that the people who used to be in a position to do it all the time have seen the tables turned ever so slightly.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to DensityDuck says:

        Good comment DD. I agree with you that conservatives rebel against the delight some members of the left take in knocking down entrenched privilege, but the source of their anger isn’t the left’s glee at their loss but instead the threat of losing those existing privileges.Report

        • Avatar LTL FTC in reply to Stillwater says:

          But they don’t really knock down “entrenched privilege,” do they? They’re picking off people one by one. Deplatforming, Twitter Mobbing, unpublishing, etc. – it’s all intensely personal and looks absolutely frightening to be on the wrong side of. The best you can hope for is that another flavor of the week distracts them.

          And as for privilege, your average white guy sees the actually privileged get off scott-free by repeating the right shibboleths and absorbing the elite manners that have subsumed pocketbook issues across the loudest swaths of the left.Report

          • Avatar pillsy in reply to LTL FTC says:

            Is your average white guy getting unpublished, de-platformed, or even Twitter mobbed?

            I’m not saying that they aren’t scared by it, but it seems like there’s a missed step here.Report

            • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to pillsy says:

              Your average white guy isn’t getting Twitter mobbed because your average white guy has paid attention and learned that he better keep his damn mouth shut if he doesn’t want the mob to come after him.

              Like, we live in a world where “my wife doesn’t look like a skinny underwear model but that’s OK because I love her and I love the way she looks” is a controversial statement that gets you Twitter mobbed. Why participate in a conversation where that’s what happens?Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to DensityDuck says:

        “What do conservatives want? For people to act like they give a shit. To not get dunked on when they ask why things that used to be easy are suddenly hard.”

        Why, and to what end?

        If I stopped criticizing Trump and those who support him, would there be more justice in the world?
        Would cops stop beating and shooting innocent people?
        Would immigrant children be reunited with their families?
        Would those who are suffering have their suffering relieved?
        Would those who are fleeing persecution find safe haven?

        It is a weakness of people like us- that is, people who are educated and gainfully employed, middle class and in the dominant ethnic group- to think of politics as an abstraction, detached from consequences.

        So therefore we can discuss it with a objective indifference, politely in quiet rooms in reasonable tones. And end things with a smile and hearty handshake.

        But of course millions of people are suffering. Not the pain of feeling bad about themselves, but actual pain of violence and persecution and sometimes death.

        I don’t know what your feelings about yourself have to do with any of this or why it should be a priority.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

          I don’t know what your feelings about yourself have to do with any of this or why it should be a priority.

          This argument from not knowing things is *WEIRD*.

          Anyway, you asked a question and DD answered it and you are saying that you don’t like his answer.

          Which is fine!

          But you should at least notice that he was answering a question that you asked before you made a statement about how you don’t know things related to the answer to the question that you asked.Report

        • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Chip Daniels says:

          @chip

          If I stopped criticizing Trump and those who support him, would there be more justice in the world?
          Would cops stop beating and shooting innocent people?
          Would immigrant children be reunited with their families?
          Would those who are suffering have their suffering relieved?
          Would those who are fleeing persecution find safe haven?

          The problem is that you are under the impression that you criticizing Trump and his supporters gets you closer to those goals.

          “It is a weakness of people like us- that is, people who are educated and gainfully employed, middle class and in the dominant ethnic group- to think of politics as an abstraction, detached from consequences.”

          Participating here IS an abstraction, but it has real consequences. If I could prove to you that railing away against conservatives never swung anyone towards you politically but it did make several of them swing farther rightward and become more politically engaged in that direction…would you regret the way you interacted with them? It’s the whole idea that if someone has a good experience they will tell one person but if they had a bad experience they will tell five people. Are you creating more good experiences or bad ones?Report

          • Avatar Slade the Leveller in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

            If I could prove to you that railing away against conservatives…

            It seems that the liberal internet sees as affirmation, though. Railing away is the nature of the beast here on the interweb, especially as Americans refuse to even be around anyone with a differing viewpoint.

            But, how do you engage someone like that? I wish I knew.Report

          • Avatar George Turner in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

            Well, that touches on the left being stuck in a purity spiral, where to prove that they’re the wokest, they have to turn on a cast out ever more of their own.

            It’s one of the main reasons that Trump is President. The coastal elites kept viciously castigating deplorables in fly over country, and huge swaths of Democrats in the heartland realized “Hey, they’re talking about me, dang it!”Report

            • Avatar Slade the Leveller in reply to George Turner says:

              The coastal elites kept viciously castigating deplorables in fly over country…

              Who then turn around and elect a New York real estate magnate as president. He was just the guy, who had the backing of a national party, who had the balls to give voice to the thoughts the “deplorables” had been repressing all those years.Report

          • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

            All great political battles are fought this way.

            The Vietnam war was fought in bars and PTA meetings, over coffee and at the water cooler at work.

            As a consequence of millions of ruined dinner parties and heated arguments, public opinion slowly shifted.

            I can’t predict how which way American political opinions will turn, and I don’t have any control over how conservatives react to my criticism and I don’t have any magic words that will convert them. I’m not the Deplorable Whisperer.

            But I can speak the truth as I see it.Report

            • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Chip Daniels says:

              “As a consequence of millions of ruined dinner parties and heated arguments, public opinion slowly shifted”

              Or the cumulative effect of thousands of Americans coming home in flag-draped coffins.Report

      • “I’m OK with children being kidnapped because I don’t feel heard” is not as sympathetic a story as you might have imagined.Report

        • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Mike Schilling says:

          Thank you, sir, for assuming that I’m “okay with children being kidnapped”. If I didn’t already know what you were, that would certainly tell me.Report

          • Yeah, unfortunately Mike has a real knack lately for saying things like that lately.

            On the one hand, I see Chip playing dumb with a dedication that astounds me, and on the other, I have my dearest friend on this site implying I’m ok with kidnapping children (and not for the first time either BTW) by virtue of political affiliation.

            To paraphrase my original piece, use your famed liberal empathy, guys. This one-two punch of demonization and befuddlement about what on earth any conservatives could possibly have to complain about is really quite terrifying. Because on the one hand you appear to think that I am Actually Evil and at the same time you’re so completely removed from anything approaching my reality – whether accidentally or by design – it ensures that nothing I can say or do could ever convince you otherwise.

            You put me in a box and leave me no way to get out of the box you’re putting me in. The box you’re putting me in isn’t even the right box, and yet you’re so convinced you know what I’m all about – tractor pulls and Top Gun and Fox News I guess – that even some folks who I’m really pretty good friends with are not even willing to actually grant me the smallest benefit of the doubt. Is it really that hard to take a step back and think “is there anything to what she’s saying?” I suppose it is, because as I knew you would (which is why I published my original piece on my blog instead of here) you just fell all over yourselves trying to prove me wrong instead.

            Welp.Report

          • I’m someone who sees children being kidnapped and no criticism of that from the ruling party or its media apparatus. But, you know, people feel slighted, and attention must be paid.Report

            • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Mike Schilling says:

              We could talk about how many innocent people were killed by Obama’s drone strikes. Where was the outrage? Everyone has their priorities I suppose.Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                Indeed, let’s talk about that. In fact, without fail, if anyone in my Twitter “network” said something nice about Obama, someone surely would point out that he’s as much an agent of colonialism as any Republican.

                So yeah, if you want to attack Obama from that angle, I encourage you to do so.Report

    • Avatar pillsy in reply to Chip Daniels says:

      Was there anything in her piece that couldn’t be truly said about opponents of those governments and movements?

      Is there anything in her piece that couldn’t truthfully be said, by you, with a few tweaks, about conservatives?

      And mostly, it involves some sort of injustice that demands righting. There isn’t any way to do this that doesn’t involve someone feeling bad about themselves.

      This is true. But… humans worry a lot about feeling bad about themselves, and I think that at least part of the reason we have such worries is that we fear that being shamed or humiliated precedes more material harms.

      I have made no secret of the fact that I hold many conservative beliefs in contempt. Does this mean I hold the people holding them in contempt?

      To be honest, sometimes it does.

      Does this mean I want anything more than to occasionally say that I think they’re real assholes?

      No.

      Do I entirely blame the people I hold in contempt, or people who just see those people I hold in contempt as friends, family members, neighbors, and the like, when they worry that I’d do more than say they’re real assholes if I had the power to?

      Also no.Report

  8. Avatar greginak says:

    This is weird. It has always been crystal clear what conservatives fear in liberals. I’ve listened to enough conservative media to know that. Lib’s are evil, hateful traitors who hate America. Well that is the nice version.And it sure ain’t hard to hear what liberals fear in conservatives.

    What is hard is moving beyond media or social media driven caricatures, That is of course where empathy comes in. It also is clear in Kristin’s examples of what she thinks liberals are that in some ways she has imbibed to heavily of conservative media. Everything that was good about liberals 30 years ago is still present and abundant. Same is true of conservatives for that matter.

    Groups or people thinking they are good has to be the least surprising thing ever. Oh yeah some people are self righteous about it, that is for sure. But every belief group thinks they are the bee’s knees. Liberals aren’t any different from any other group even leaving aside it is super impossible to generalize about all liberals. But generalizing about entire groups is part of the problem people fall intoReport

    • Avatar CJColucci in reply to greginak says:

      Now greginak, no fair bringing facts into the discussion.Report

      • What facts? What facts did he even say?

        Because it sounded a lot to me like “Fox News herp de derp”.

        Those of you who know me know I do quite a lot of heavy lifting to encourage all of us to move beyond any stereotypes of liberals and conservatives.

        And those who don’t, stay tuned.Report

    • I have never ever ever in my life imbibed conservative media.

      Again, your opinions are based on dust in the wind and nothing real.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Kristin Devine says:

        @Kristen Devine Huh….You have never watched any conservative media? Really? Is imbibing different from watching?

        I’m pointing out hateful stereotypes i’ve seen and heard for decades. It is greet to be against hateful stereotypes. But be against all of them. There are good thoughtful people all over the X and Y axis’s of our politics. I assume you agree with that.

        Moving past vicious stereotypes means not just arguing against those aimed at you but being against those aimed at those you agree with. And i know exactly where i can i can find sleazebag stereotypes of liberals pretty much 24/7. So i know why C’s fear L’s because i have actually listened to the media that many C’s tell me they listen to and find to be good. Maybe you have different fears or don’t’ agree with stuff in a lot of C media. Fine. That same point goes for everybody. But i see the fears of C’s i’m related to on Facebook or can see it here or everywhere else.Report

        • Avatar veronica d in reply to greginak says:

          Exactly. Sure, I’m happy that there exist conservatives who don’t hate gay people. However, my concern is what happens when conservatives win elections. My concern is what happens when I’m in a conservative part of the country and need to use the restroom.

          I care about what happens.Report

        • Well, actually, I think the word “imbibed” has a far different connotation and implication than “watched occasionally in passing”. And I’m quite sure that your intent was to use that connotation.

          But I get 99% of all my media from mainstream sources.Report

  9. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    There is a lot to unpack here.

    One of the thoughts that has been going through my head lately is that humans by nature are emotional/social creatures but a lot of the policies which we/our leaders say are best would make more sense if humans were Vulcans instead of humans.

    I think at-will employment/getting laid off works here. There might be very good policy reasons for at-will employment but I’ve been laid off twice and I can tell you it fucking sucks. Both times, it came out of the blue. Both times involved me having perfectly normal work-related discussions with my supervisors/bosses the way before. For whatever reason, our nation decided on at-will employment a long time ago (well before anyone reading this blog was born) and this is the world we are in and can seemingly never get out of even though lots of people have been through my situation and feel like it violates some fundamental (possibly inchoate) sense of justice/fairness. The defenders of at-will employment would seemingly rather us be Vulcans though who say “Well I got laid off and this is unfortunate but at-will employment plays a dynamic and important role in our economy and ultimately the decision was for the greater good of the economy.” No normal human does this though.

    The other part of being a social/emotional creature is that humans tend to look for narrative and causation when complete random chaos might be a better answer or they look for simple narratives when the factors governing the world/their situation are quite complex.

    As far as I can tell, Kristen grew up and still lives in a world of the white-working class inhabiting/living near small to medium sized towns across the United States. Most of the people who live in these towns have trade jobs or less. Lots of these towns have been under severe economic decline and pressure for many decades. The reasons for this are wide-ranging and often in an unbreakable cycle. They don’t necessarily have many lefties/Democrats in these towns and the way people from these areas meet the left is through the Extremely Online. This is unfortunate.

    There does seem to be a general consensus that there are maybe 20-40 metro areas in the United States that command the overwhelming majority of well-paying, modern economy jobs. There is another consensus that this might not be optimal. Where things break down is in the solutions (if there are any) because that is when people fall back on their tropes and comforts and biases.Report

    • This would have been a better comment had you not speculated about my background and stuck to your point.

      It’s a really weird dichotomy when talking to you because I don’t think you’re a bad guy and often agree with your larger points, but you seem to go out of your way to try to make me feel less.

      Unfortunate.

      If your point is that somehow my background has warped or blinded me to some things, I’d say back atcha, man.

      The question is, why are you so convinced that my limited background has made me dumb and wrong, and your limited background has made you smart and wise?Report

  10. Avatar jason says:

    Good post. Partisanship will be the end of us all, and it won’t really matter if it’s the left or right doing it.

    I mean, you can almost turn this into a game. Conservatives: We’re tired of being told we’re bad people.
    Also conservatives: Liberals are mentally ill. Liberals are sore losers. Liberals are fascists. Liberals are [Stalinist] communists.
    Conservatives could do the same with liberal statements, right? (That’s kind of the point of Kristin’s post.) People have chosen teams, and they’ll stick with their teams no matter what. Kind of. They’ll say, “I’m not a Trump supporter” or “I don’t support splitting families at the border” but then go right back to owning libs in their comments. My liberal friends, when I would remind them of Obama’s shitty education policies would say, “Well, I don’t like that” but then continue praising the chosen one. Seeing the other side as people does not a good partisan make. I’ll steal some terms from Wayne Booth and say that most political discussions these days are a mix of rhetrickery or win-rhetoric.

    Somewhere in there insert the surprised Pikachu meme. I often want to say, “we’re doomed” but not because of specific politician or one side, but the level of partisanship these days. Maybe it’s always been this bad. I’m probably just engaging in the same hyperbole that partisans use to push their agendas.Report

  11. Avatar pillsy says:

    OK, I’m just going to say it because it comes up a lot and I find it actually kind of baffling.

    Where on Earth do people get the idea that conservatives don’t say liberals are evil all the freaking time? It’s been an extremely common part of conservative rhetoric for (at least) as long as I’ve been aware of conservative rhetoric, and it certainly hasn’t gotten less common over the years.Report

    • Avatar KenB in reply to pillsy says:

      I think part of it is the overloads on “conservative” — socialcons think liberals are depraved & godless, libcons think liberals are stupid.Report

      • Avatar KenB in reply to KenB says:

        And of course a big problem with the dialogue here and elsewhere is the whole “blind men and the elephant” problem — there’s a ton of diversity with both the “liberal” and “conservative” labels, and mostly we associate our side with the best aspects and the other side with the worst.Report

        • Avatar pillsy in reply to KenB says:

          Yeah, I associate the “evil” rhetoric from the Right with social cons, “border hawks”, and FP hawks [1].

          But both the liberals and conservatives around here tend to have something of a libertarian streak.

          [1] That was the big uptick following 9/11, as liberals went from misguidedly naive about FP to being actually sympathetic to al Qaeda (and then ISIS) in a lot of tellings.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to pillsy says:

      Cognitive dissonance and triabalism are a hell of a drug combination.

      I’m serious. Plus this site’s MO is that it wants to be a place of open debate between sides/ideologies. The Powers that Be don’t want this place to be LGM or the Free Republic/Town Hall. Sadly this often means letting conservative voices have more slack. I’ve been kind of shocked at some of the essays that have been posted over the past few weeks in the name of free and open dialogue.

      My general thought is that there are a lot of people who are pretty ashamed of what the GOP has become and this has only increased since Trump has taken over. The problem is that these people are not quite liberal (in the American sense of the word) and dislike that the Democratic Party is the main opposition party to Trump. Some of them think the Democratic Party is too far to the left (especially on social/racial/cultural politics). Others think it is not far enough to the left.

      I also think that the GOP has a lot more single-issue voters who just won’t move for that issue. The common ones are abortion and guns.

      So lots of people know the GOP is bad but they still see it as their team and the Democrats/liberals are the “crap team.”Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to pillsy says:

      Ya, me too. Contra the Krauthammer quote Jaybird linked above, the prevailing dynamic I’m familiar with is that liberals believe conservatives are stupid (because the vast majority of them consistently vote against their self-interest) and that conservatives believe liberals are evil (that they’re neo-Marxists intent on secretly* destroying our democracy and traditional values from within).

      *8 Secretly, that is, until folks like Rush, Hannity, Alex Jones, etc. broke the code and exposed the sinister conspiratorial plots – orchestrated by a handful of powerful Jews in the UN, apparently – to take our Freedom!!Report

    • Avatar veronica d in reply to pillsy says:

      According to (a fair number of) conservatives, I am literally a demon. That’s not a metaphor. They think I am literally a manifestation of otherworldly, malevolent forces, something akin to Voldermort or Sauron.

      That is perhaps hard to grasp if you are not the sort of person who believes such things, but they believe it. They believe it about me, unambiguously and full measure.

      Anyone who pretends otherwise can fuck off.Report

    • Avatar Pinky in reply to pillsy says:

      Pillsy, I think you’re conflating two things that are different, or used to be. Religiously devout people have always said that irreligious ideas and movements are evil. During the Carter/Reagan eras, religiously devout people sorted to the political right, but there were still plenty of religiously devout people on the political left. During the Bush II era, which coincided with the birth of the New Atheist movement, the political left became the voice of irreligion (leaving the libertarians out of the equation, because they’ve never risen to a significant voice in US politics). All in all, I think the commonplace labeling as evil of individual people based on their politics is a fairly new phenomenon.Report

      • Avatar CJColucci in reply to Pinky says:

        All in all, I think the commonplace labeling as evil of individual people based on their politics is a fairly new phenomenon.
        It must be wonderful to be so young. I remember it as an already old story 50 years ago.Report

        • Avatar Pinky in reply to CJColucci says:

          My political memories go back at least 40 years.Report

        • Avatar JoeSal in reply to CJColucci says:

          Meh, more than 50 years:
          “In this long, degrading travesty of the democratic process, McCarthy has shown himself to be evil and unmatched in malice.”
          Just depends on the religion.Report

        • Avatar Pinky in reply to CJColucci says:

          McCarthy was hated for his personal character, not his politics. It’s common to hate people you see as bad. It’s fairly new to judge people’s character based on their politics – at least, to judge large swathes of the population on that basis.Report

          • Avatar JoeSal in reply to Pinky says:

            The writers of history put a -ism after the guys name. That looks a little impersonal, even by the church of needs standards.Report

          • Avatar greginak in reply to Pinky says:

            It wasn’t McCarthy’s deeds that lead him to be hated?!?! I don’t’ think is correct. He became an “ism” and hated for his actual behavior.Report

            • Avatar Pinky in reply to greginak says:

              Fair enough. I’m associating his character with his deeds. My point is, there were a small number of communists who would have hated any anti-communist, and there were a considerable number of people who wouldn’t have voted for anyone with his political orientation, but he wasn’t hated by a large group of people merely for his politics.Report

      • Avatar bookdragon in reply to Pinky says:

        I seem to recall a little incident called the Civil War that involved widespread labeling of individuals as evil because of pro- or anti-slavery (depending on which side you were on) politics…Report

  12. Avatar KenB says:

    This is awesome. To me, across-the-aisle rapprochement is the best purpose & goal of a website such as this one, but I’d become pretty negative about the prospects of that over the last few years, and also about the utility of even trying — nice to see a bit of mutual understanding happening. Thanks to both of you.Report

  13. Avatar GeoffA says:

    The bit I struggled with was this:

    Funny thing is, speaking as an Actual Poor Person, I don’t care about “fair.” I don’t care about “inequality” and nor should you.

    Because if this is meant to be literally true, it seems like an abdication of any kind of participation in political economy. And it denies the existence of any shades of grey, of nuance, of trade-off. Of complexity, really. And it’s hard to wrap ones head around such a position without asking about specifics and consequences – but we’re not permitted to do that.Report

    • Avatar Kristin Devine in reply to GeoffA says:

      You completely took that out of context, that utterly misrepresents what I said and anyone who reads this post without reading my actual piece, I urge you to do so because in isolation that quote says something entirely different than what the piece actually states.

      My point was that as an Actual Poor Person I do not feel helped in any way by people trying to fix equality.Report

  14. Avatar pillsy says:

    @Oscar:

    And yet somehow they still manage to strike fear into the hearts of people who aren’t even remotely in the designated target area. Perhaps the pen is mightier than the sword?

    Yeah. I asked the same question of LTL FTC, and I found myself wondering something similar when Mike was talking about his apolitical buddies feeling attacks by the SJ Left last week.

    Where’s the fear coming from? Outside of academia, YA writing, journalism [1], and a few other professions, I’m just not sure what makes people think they’re a likely target of this kind of outrage beyond being Extremely Online? Most of the remaining cases I know of are people who got caught up in this kind of backlash were exposed to it because they were active participants in some sort of Leftist community.

    And it really sucks for them, as for quite a few other people who were exposed due to their research and the like. I’m not trying to say it’s OK, and I’m also not saying that it’s their fault just for choosing the wrong career paths or communities.

    What I am asking is how so many people got it into their heads that they’re next.

    In Kristin’s original article, she told the story of her Ukrainian friend, which is definitely the kind of thing I can imagine leaves a lasting impression. Are those sentiments a lot more common then I realize? Is it a media consumption thing?

    Because all in all, I don’t think it’s particularly helpful for people to be scared of, and angry at, the liberals. Sometimes, as @Chip notes, it’s unavoidable, but not always. And if it’s avoidable I don’t think it’s likely to help advance our goals, and last but not least I’d really prefer that people were not angry and frightened because being angry and frightened makes people’s lives worse and I don’t want that for people just because their politics are bad.

    [1] And the journalism thing definitely has people taking fire from all sides.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to pillsy says:

      Again, I go back to our response from 9/11. What was the messaging? That terrorists can strike anywhere, that they hate us and want us all to burn, and they have no regard for non-combatants.

      Yes, all true, but the likelihood that Bumfish, NB is a terrorist target is pretty slim, despite what people tell themselves about the potential value/harm such an attack would have.

      Not a stretch for such attitudes to infiltrate other conflicts and color how such conflicts are perceived. Especially when there are tons of shit-stirrers and associated trolls out there making sure such perceptions take hold. But 9/11 laid the roots for those perceptions.Report

    • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to pillsy says:

      @pillsy

      “Because all in all, I don’t think it’s particularly helpful for people to be scared of, and angry at, the liberals. Sometimes, as @Chip notes, it’s unavoidable, but not always. And if it’s avoidable I don’t think it’s likely to help advance our goals, and last but not least I’d really prefer that people were not angry and frightened because being angry and frightened makes people’s lives worse and I don’t want that for people just because their politics are bad.”

      How many people have actually been harmed by President Trump? Most people can’t point to actual harm done by him but they rightly point to how he is affecting culture and the political climate. I could tell them that it isn’t particularly helpful for them to be scared of, and angry at, Trump…but do you think they should listen and that I am right? Obama’s administration only really did one thing that negatively affected me personally in his 8 years and that was a change to the healthcare laws that costed my family about $20K. So I tried to remember to remember that he was mostly harmless to me when I was judging him as a president.

      If I apply the same logic to the Left, I don’t know that I can be so forgiving. I have to ask myself what is the waterfall effect of their actions and do they ultimately make the country worse? I can tell you that SJ overreach is absolutely affecting my workplace today. Other bad policies might affect my kids or my nephews and nieces. It’s the slow PC-ization of the country that is getting people like my friends fired up and the reality is that nothing can happen without it being turned into a special interest complaint. Notre Dame burns and American Indians use it as an opportunity to complain about their plight. We take the first photos of a black hole and it is used as an opportunity to complain that the woman who helped make it possible wasn’t given appropriate credit. These little moments are a death by a thousand cuts.Report

      • Avatar Geoff Arnold in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

        How many people? Thousands of farmers, for starters. Hundreds of thousands of people in Puerto Rico. Children in cages….

        https://newrepublic.com/article/153604/work-suicidal-farmers-its-becoming-much-bearReport

        • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Geoff Arnold says:

          @geoff

          I’m talking primarily about the Pillsy’s reference to, “…Outside of academia, YA writing, journalism [1], and a few other professions, I’m just not sure what makes people think they’re a likely target of this kind of outrage beyond being Extremely Online?”

          When he is talking about how people are sort of being dramatic about the effects of SJ policies…aren’t most of the people complaining online about Trump also pretty insulated from the effects of his policies? If it’s okay for the Left to be outraged on behalf of the people of Puerto Rico, why can’t I be outraged on behalf of academia, YA writing, journalism and a few other professions?Report

          • Avatar pillsy in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

            Outrage is one thing.

            Fear is another.

            I’m outraged by what’s happened in Puerto Rico, and the family separation policy, and the way ICE has been functioning within the US. But I’m not really scared of any of them, because I’m unlikely to suffer any direct effects.

            It’s the fear I find puzzling much more than the outrage.Report

            • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to pillsy says:

              I think fear of losing one’s job because you violate some PC rule (written or unwritten) is a very real thing these days. I’ve already spoken about the lengths many of my coworkers are going to to avoid having their own #metoo moment.

              But there’s also a lot of outrage. My friend that is an engineer isn’t scared of what people might think about him not having any female engineers on his team, but he is outraged that they think the absence of women reflects poorly on him.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                I think fear of losing one’s job because you violate some PC rule (written or unwritten) is a very real thing these days.

                Why do they think this is going to happen? Do they know a bunch of people who’ve lost their jobs for such reasons personally?

                Because I don’t think I know anyone personally who’s had trouble with this. And I know more than enough people to know some who’ve been fired for bullshit reasons.

                Who doesn’t?Report

              • Avatar CJColucci in reply to pillsy says:

                If people are going to “lengths” to avoid having #metoo moments at work, they’re doing it wrong. It’s not that hard.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to CJColucci says:

                I go to great lengths because I like my job, don’t trust some of my coworkers and don’t want to have to try to convince HR (and my wife) that I didn’t do the naughty thing I was accused of. So I don’t EVER let myself be alone with a woman. Not in an office, not in a car and I will not go on a business trip with a woman unless someone else goes with us. It’s just smart in 2019.Report

              • Avatar CJColucci in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                Most of the rest of us don’t feel the need — and more to the point, don’t have the need — to do anything like this. There must be something you’re not telling us.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to CJColucci says:

                I work for a very conservative company and the guys I work with a very pragmatic. Most of them are also really good drivers, but also wear their seatbelts every day. You can’t always predict what other drivers will do.Report

              • Avatar Maribou in reply to CJColucci says:

                “There must be something you’re not telling us.”

                Don’t do that. That’s a really cheap move.Report

              • Avatar Cjcolucci in reply to Maribou says:

                Every accusation is a confession? What he isn’t telling us might be something about the possibly toxic culture of his employer, an actual experience, either his own or a co-worker”s, with a false accusation, or some other tangible fact that might explain what seems otherwise seems like an extremely exaggerated fear.
                Nothing cheap about any of that.

                co-worker’s, with a false accusationReport

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Cjcolucci says:

                @CJ

                I don’t know how many different ways I can say this, so if you are going to keep asking for more (or speculating that something nefarious is secretly going on) then this is probably going to be my last comment on this subthread…

                One of the core differences I see between liberals and conservatives is that liberals often seem to think there will never be collateral damage from their latest crusade. I think it has already been proven that innocent people have been caught up in #metoo. When you have a career and a family it just makes sense to protect yourself.

                As I already noted, conservatives in general are risk averse. My company tends to select management employees that are exceptionally risk averse. I work in Quality, so we are probably the most risk averse of a bunch of risk averse people. I’m never going to be the person that just assumes if I keep my nose clean the witch hunt will never arrive at my front door.Report

              • Avatar CJColucci in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                This happens all the time when I examine witnesses. They think I am aiming for X, they vigorously deny it, and, in the process, give me Y, which is what I was after all the time.
                The last thing I thought was that there was anything nefarious going on, yet both you and Maribou jumped on the assumption that that was where I was going. To be clear and explicit, I did not and do not think there is anything nefarious behind your self-described precautions. What I thought was that there was nothing behind them. And that, it seems, is the case.
                Your witness.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to CJColucci says:

                I would suggest then just being more transparent about what you are after. Nothing had to happen at my company specifically for us to see risk. It’s more than nothing so we proceed thusly.Report

              • Avatar CJColucci in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                If I were transparent about what I was after, I wouldn’t get it.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to CJColucci says:

                I mean, you can tell yourself that, but I think I’ve got a pretty good track record of being transparent. If you had asked a direct question you might have been surprised with a direct answer. But hey, you got to show off your fancy lawyer tricks, so good for you.Report

              • Avatar Maribou in reply to CJColucci says:

                “This happens all the time when I examine witnesses”

                @CJColucci

                THAT was the cheap move I was complaining about. Treating each other like witnesses under cross-examination. Making vague assertions bespoke to provoke defensiveness. (And if you think I have some motive to defend Mike, you really haven’t been paying attention…)

                You’re usually much more humane than that.Report

              • “there must be something you’re not telling us”

                Well golly gee whillikers why are conservatives always bitching about being demonized? It’s such a puzzlement?Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to Kristin Devine says:

                That’s not what demonization looks like. Not all criticism is demonization, nor is all skepticism.Report

          • Avatar Geoff Arnold in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

            I was replying to this:

            How many people have actually been harmed by President Trump? Most people can’t point to actual harm done by him but they rightly point to how he is affecting culture and the political climate.

            There seems to be plenty of “actual harm” out there.Report

      • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

        “We take the first photos of a black hole and it is used as an opportunity to complain that the woman who helped make it possible wasn’t given appropriate credit.”

        I don’t recall seeing many posts claiming that, actually.

        I do recall seeing many posts claiming that actually she was given too much credit and it was some dude who actually did most of the work.

        And I also recall a post by the dude in question saying that actually, no, the whole team worked equally hard, and that simply counting commits on GitHub didn’t give an accurate picture of who did how much work.

        So, y’know, I agree with you that focusing on simple by-the-numbers representation is a problem because it reduces people to simple meta-tags and considers a larger number of tags to be preferable, but that wasn’t really the best example of it.

        I’d think you’d do better to talk about the Toronto Pride Parade.Report

      • Avatar pillsy in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

        I could tell them that it isn’t particularly helpful for them to be scared of, and angry at, Trump…but do you think they should listen and that I am right?

        No, and I don’t think if I just told people not to be scared and angry of the Left it would work at all. Do you?

        I can tell you that SJ overreach is absolutely affecting my workplace today.

        Why?

        Not, “What things is the SJ Left doing that you think are bad or overreaching?” but, “How is it those things are actually affecting the atmosphere at your work?”

        For that matter, why is something like this…

        Notre Dame burns and American Indians use it as an opportunity to complain about their plight.

        …worth anything more than a mildly annoyed shrug before you forget about it?

        I’m not saying you shouldn’t be more than momentarily irritated.

        I just don’t really get why you are.Report

        • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to pillsy says:

          “’m not saying you shouldn’t be more than momentarily irritated.”

          As I said, it’s a death of a thousand cuts. Every time someone sees another one of these moments it nudges them just a little bit. These things do not each happen in a vacuum.Report

          • Avatar pillsy in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

            But why is it a cut?

            People have been saying foolish things and inappropriately leveraging tragedies to grind political axes for ages.

            What are you afraid is actually going to happen? Just… more annoying comments?Report

            • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to pillsy says:

              @pillsy

              If I’m being honest, your angle feels a bit like gaslighting. You have not just conservatives, but apolitical and Centrist voices that are expressing fear, anger and frustration with the SJ Left and saying that it IS affecting them, their workplaces, etc and you keep hand-waving it away as people being dramatic.

              There were a couple of reasons why I left the site for several months over the holidays but YOU were one of them. You were bringing up racism on every.single.thread and it exhausted me to the point where that and a few other items all meant that I needed a break. And although you have sounded very level-headed lately, to your credit, you appeared to be one of the loudest SJ voices on the site not very long ago.

              So yeah, SJ shenanigans do have consequences and they aren’t just annoying. When I see my non-political friends complaining about this stuff I know it isn’t just me overreacting because I’m in the weeds with liberals like yourself.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                Well if you think I’m gaslighting you I really can’t imagine a way forward for this particular conversation.

                Have a good evening.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to pillsy says:

                Pillsy,

                Read back through your comments on this thread. Several people are pointing out how this stuff is spilling out into the real world and every time you hand-wave it away. And then compare that to your compulsive use of ‘racist’ not very long ago to describe 90% of the positions conservatives took…I don’t think you are just gaslighting me, I think you are gaslighting all of us. You are saying, “I will peer into your head and decide you are racist, but all of those examples you are giving me about SJ influence on the real world? That’s just much ado about nothing.”Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                Sorry Mike.

                Not being snarky or anything. I asked some probing questions and then acted a lot more dismissively than I should have once you answered. That’s a shitty thing to do and it’s no wonder it pissed you off.

                If you’d like to pick this up some other time I’m game. But let’s leave it be for a while if you don’t mind.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                I will suggest the same thing to you that I suggest to pillsy: Why do people fear terrorist attacks so much? Very few people (as a % of population) have experienced a Muslim extremist terror attack in the US, or personally know someone who has, yet people fear the idea, and fear Muslims (or Sikhs, because turbans and ignorance).

                We are all being told to be afraid, and certain interests are taking advantage of that fear, both left and right.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

            As I said, it’s a death of a thousand cuts. Every time someone sees another one of these moments it nudges them just a little bit. These things do not each happen in a vacuum.

            The exact same reasoning, Mike, is what drives the SJW left to taking position you view as “terrifying”. They view each act apologetics, obfuscation and outright denial of racism, misogyny, history, facts, etc by the right as death by a thousand cuts. Their views, just like yours, don’t exist in a vacuum.Report

            • Avatar veronica d in reply to Stillwater says:

              Exactly this. If the really fucking minor hardships that white folks face because of “SJWs” justify their bullshit — what am I, a trans woman, justified in doing?

              Because I promise you, there is no reasonable measure where I don’t get more bullshit in life, never mind my friends, those who lack my advantages.

              I’m not talking about random tragedy. We are all at risk for cancer and auto accidents. I’m talking about hardship that is caused by others in positions of power, who act with callous prejudice.

              White guy: “OMG my career might suffer because I’m a white dude!”

              What a fucking clueless dipshit. It’s just — not even wrong.

              I have a friend who let her boss rape her because she couldn’t afford to lose the job and getting another job as a poor trans woman is beyond hard and the next boss would probably abuse her also — because poor trans women are easy to abuse and the authorities seldom believe them. So my friend had to suck it up.

              To be clear, this happened in the past. It’s not ongoing.

              And this offends you, just understand there was never any real possibility of justice here. Unless we took care of it ourselves.

              (We didn’t. Soooo not worth it.)

              So some upper middle class techbro dipshit is worried about METOO. OMFG. Just treat women with respect you clueless asshole. Read something besides Quillette and Roosh.

              Please for the love of god GROW UP! Stop being spoiled little boys. The world is bigger than you and you actually don’t know very much.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to pillsy says:

          The politically active probably see a lot more of the stuff due to such things as, oh, Al Franken and Harvey Weinstein.

          I suppose we could also write a paragraph about gamergate…Report

          • Avatar pillsy in reply to Jaybird says:

            Yeah I understand it being a big deal to partisans, and partisan media always love culture war stories.

            I’m always given a bit of pause when I hear about apolitical folk having their jimmies rustled, though.

            Not so much over why they get annoyed, as how they even come across it.Report

      • Avatar veronica d in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

        How many people have actually been harmed by President Trump?

        That’s a complicated question, and I doubt it is being offered in good faith.

        Directly harmed? As in, Trump kicked down my door and shouted at me?

        Harmed by policy?

        I don’t know. How do I measure that? Plus, are we talking about actual Trump-sponsored-legislation, or are we talking about Republican legislation in the age of Trump?

        Or are we talking about “culture stuff”?

        Again, I don’t know how to measure that. It doesn’t work that way. However, the “angry white guy” who threatened to cut my throat — well he did this immediately after verbally abusing a brown-skinned couple, accusing them of being Muslim. (They were, in fact, not Muslim, if that matters.)

        Did Trump hit him with a mind control ray and force him to abuse people?

        Of course not. And yet…

        I live in a pretty “blue” state, but even here transphobia is widespread. In general, public policy is on our side, but I still have to deal with the hate.

        I have friends who live in “red” states. They are harmed.

        “But how?” you might ask.

        Because they live in a region governed by bigots who hate them. It doesn’t take too much empathy to understand how this harms people.

        From an article on (the poorly named) “sensitivity readers”:

        Berry went on to explain how in another scene, Hiller helped her understand how a black character would respond to a nasty comment by a white soldier to a group of black soldiers in the mess hall of an army training camp. “Kyle made clear how the character would have learned to be conditioned to this kind of malice, and how it affects you in the body. It doesn’t just hit at a cognitive level of emotional pain or wounded feelings, but in an actual visceral way. And it stays with you. And you feel it again and again—it’s a wound that doesn’t resolve itself immediately. I was so struck and moved by that. Any experience I’ve had—it’s a partial analogy but inadequate as a basis for comparison, never having grown up being taught that the world would respond to me in this way because of what I looked like.”

        Should we blame Trump directly for this?

        That’s not the fucking point, and we’ve said this many times. Trump is a canker sore, but the problem is not Trump in the sense of that one asshole. The problem is a nation who would elect that one asshole.

        Trump is a symptom of a malign culture. He is a reflection of something terrible. He expresses America’s dark underbelly of violence and hate.Report

      • The woman who helped make it possible was accused of taking credit she didn’t deserve. Would it have been better if no one had set the record straight? Was doing so “PC”?Report

    • Avatar InMD in reply to pillsy says:

      The extremely online by nature of the medium are documenting what they say and do. Legacy media is lazily sympathetic but where it really gets amplified is the conservative media ecosystem.

      I’m on record here as finding the online stuff really annoying but if I turn off Facebook or take a break from the internet it’s completely gone. I also have the added reality check that I live and work in an extremely blue part of the country and none of the wild woke PoMo intersectionality stuff that’s so popular online is remotely present. Even my friends from college who go off the rails online never seem to mention it in person and are much more tactful about their politics.

      But I can see how someone who didn’t have this perspective could find it really threatening, or get stuck in an echo chamber of voices who want them to percieve it as really threatening, and all those voices have an endless supply of statements, tweets, posts, whatever that are easy to paint as threatening.Report

      • Avatar pillsy in reply to InMD says:

        Yeah this is roughly my theory too.

        I do know some people who are big into SJ Left politics, but they literally live in New York City and it seems to be as much about informal support groups and self-help as it is about politics. Out here in the suburbs it has virtually no penetration.Report

        • Avatar pillsy in reply to pillsy says:

          This is why I bristle a bit at some of the swipes at SJWs. They’re people in my life who I’m friends with, play D&D with, et c., and while they do tend to be a bit eccentric (as am I [1]) they’re really just completely un-frightening.

          [1] “Quirky” is an adjective that has appeared more than once in my performance evaluations at work.Report

          • Avatar InMD in reply to pillsy says:

            It’s the same for me. I have a lot of social connections to the local theater scene, and to a lesser extent, some experimental artsy types. This is where about 95% of what I see comes from, with my MIL filling out the remainder.

            The idea of them attempting ‘white genocide’ or carrying out reprisals against Trump supporters or what have you is just beyond ridiculous.Report

          • Avatar Kristin Devine in reply to pillsy says:

            Consider this.

            Now, just let me preface this by saying I don’t have any friends that I know of who are RW cranks but my husband has encountered a couple coworkers over the years. I’m not saying this to diminish what pieces of shit they are. I’m trying to explain something here.

            So imagine you’re Bizzaro Pillsy, the Pillsy that somehow ended up as a Republican. You’re still the entirely decent and cool guy you are now, you’re just a Republican. You don’t want kids getting kidnapped or Trump for President. But on the whole you’re conservative Pillsy.

            Imagine your D and D buddies. They’re weirdos. A little nutty. You know they have some beliefs you disagree with. You don’t like some of the stuff they say now and then but you tell em to shut up or step off and they do. You don’t really interact with them in that way at all. They’re really just completely unfrightening becuase you know their opinions are archaic and weird and are at no risk of being embraced by people any time soon.

            They don’t seem that harmful to you. But imagine how harmful they seem to Veronica. Probably very harmful and understandably so. But Bizzaro Pillsy rarely, if ever sees that stuff just like you don’t see the SJW weirdness from the friends you have now. It hardly ever comes up and when it does you quickly shut it down and move back to the areas you’re comfortable with.

            There are really scary extremists on both sides and one of the things that is scary to me is that you look at the Right and think “these people are harboring monsters” and then look at your SJW buds and think “hey that dude’s just a little eccentric, he’s totally unfrightening, no one is ever going to take these views seriously, etc etc etc.

            It’s the acting like one side is monsters and the other side is populated with kooky weirdos. Both sides have a (hopefully small) number of actual monsters and then a larger segment of kooky weirdos and the trouble is, telling who is who.

            Conservatives don’t have it right, admittedly. But it scares me that you guys won’t acknowledge that some of your kooky weirdos are actual monsters.Report

            • Avatar pillsy in reply to Kristin Devine says:

              On the one hand it’s actually not that hard for me to acknowledge there are some pepole among the SJW crowd who are Bad News. I don’t think SJWs are any less likely than anybody else to be Bad News, and I don’t just mean that some of them are pieces of shit in ways that have nothing to do with their politics. For example, former MU prof Melissa Click is pretty obviously somewhere on the Bad News spectrum.

              I don’t really think of Al Sharpton is an SJW, but he is an awful person, and was pretty damn dangerous when he was at his most powerful.

              Anyway, they’re out there on the Left. Won’t deny it.

              But that’s kind of across the board. I guess there aren’t a lot of moderates who are dangerous extremists, but there certainly are a lot of them who are mean-spirited authoritarian bullies, and unlike the wack-jobs those bullies often find themselves in positions of conventional political power.

              So I don’t see the SJ Left as particularly dangerous. Just the normal mix of good, bad, and indifferent, with about the expected number of dangerous people in the mix.Report

            • Avatar Maribou in reply to Kristin Devine says:

              @kristin_devine I struggled to understand this comment because at first I assumed Pillsy’s D&D buddies were still SJWs….

              my D&D group is a pretty broad spectrum, politically, including at least one Trump voter. I mean, obviously it’s not *that* broad because in some ways my presence is a litmus test about certain conservative believes – there are plenty of people who just plain won’t associate with me because I’m not secretive about my gender identity or sexuality….. but, I don’t think anyone at the table would vote the same way on any given ballot as anyone else.

              I think the problem I have with wrapping my head around this argument is that I don’t think of the kooky weirdos as *MY* kooky weirdos (I mean, I guess to some people I’m the kooky weirdo, but not, I think, in the sense you mean here). I guess in some sense I think of all kooky weirdos whatever their opinion as “my people,” but overall if people believe really weird shit I don’t think of them as “on my political team”. (One of my beloved uncles has taken up with conspiracy theorists *hard* and I just… try not to think about his politics. At all. For example. I don’t even *know* if they’re left or right, they’re just really weird.) So, anyway, I don’t think of the monsters as my monsters either. Nor would I vote for them, nor would I campaign for them, etc.

              But then, I don’t think of your sides’ kooky weirdos as monsters either (some would argue I married one of ’em, some would argue he’s a kooky weirdo on my side in the first place…). And I do my best not to think of “your” monsters as your monsters. I mean, I don’t. Even my friend who voted for Trump, I don’t think of Trump as “his” in any meaningful way because how could one? (There are worse monsters than Trump, just using the obvious example.)

              What worries me is that there are so many people I am *sure* are kooky weirdos, on both sides, that everyone seems so invested in seeing as monsters… and meanwhile the real monsters just wander around monstering with little intervention and often outright enthusiasm from people who aren’t even kooky weirdos….

              Which. I think is not a point in contradiction with your point at all. Just sort of rambling around it in a circle I guess :).Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to pillsy says:

          Thing is, the conservatives I know who are very comfortable with their politics aren’t even remotely afraid of SJ attacks, because no one in their ecosystem is going to take such attacks seriously, and are more likely to mock or strike back. They recognize it as the far left working hard to alienate their own, and others who might be sympathetic.

          But talk about Muslim extremists, and we are all going to die.Report

    • Avatar LTL FTC in reply to pillsy says:

      Pillsy, you’re right that It’s someone else’s problem… for now.

      The mentality got its start in education, now it covers literature and a lot of corporate HR. From what I’ve heard, it’s also roiling the world of open source software. I suppose the difference in perspective is between people who say that it isn’t Joe Lunchpail’s problem and those who can’t identify a limiting principle that prevents it from ever being so.Report

      • Avatar pillsy in reply to LTL FTC says:

        As you noticed, it’s already hitting up against limits in academia.

        I don’t know if there’s a limiting principle, but it tends to have a centrifugal effect on the activist communities that embrace it, it is actually kind of draining to deal with, and it stresses people in those communities out far more than it does people outside of them.

        IME it’s all quite brittle.

        And for most people it’s also quite optional.

        As for the corporate HR angle, I expect it will turn into the same anodyne time-wasting glurge that every previous corporate HR fad has turned into.Report

        • Avatar LTL FTC in reply to pillsy says:

          Can you name an industry that has come back from the woke brink?Report

          • Avatar pillsy in reply to LTL FTC says:

            No, but so far the only industry I know of that is plausibly “at the woke brink” seems to be YA publishing. It remains to be seen whether it will spring back. It’s been, what, a year or two?Report

            • Avatar LTL FTC in reply to pillsy says:

              What university, after decades of this, retrenched before some elected official or court interceded? Has any institution voluntarily cast off the bureaucracy that enforces this stuff? Are there academic departments that cast off the censorious doctrinaire lefties in favor of a wider range of views?

              Honestly, I’m curious, since there’s no roadmap to keeping the wokeists from going wild in your field that doesn’t involve flying under the radar.

              How do you accept reasonable critiques about inequality and bias without letting in the entire enforcement apparatus that seems to make itself permanently comfortable?Report

    • Avatar Kristin Devine in reply to pillsy says:

      Pillsy, outside of academia, writing (and it’s not just YA), journalism, Hollywood, and now the tech industry, what else IS there??

      I mean you’re describing a pretty wide swath of human interaction there! Feeling attacked by “those guys” is not exactly this minor and easily ignored annoyance.

      These sentiments ARE more common than you realize.Report

      • Avatar pillsy in reply to Kristin Devine says:

        Health care, the military (still the largest employer in the country), law enforcement, construction, transportation… really the vast majority of the economy and employment in this country is outside of those fields?Report

        • Avatar pillsy in reply to pillsy says:

          I’m not saying people don’t feel attacked; obviously I can’t debunk a feeling. But most people aren’t working in those listed fields so I don’t really get how liberal (or SJW or Leftist or…) domination leads to fears of getting fired.

          If it’s just that liberals have outsized influence in some very visible and culturally influential sectors of the economy, maybe that’s a different kettle of fish.Report

          • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to pillsy says:

            @pillsy

            Re: academics

            Those problematic SJWs are all over college campuses in a variety of fields. That bleeds over onto their students and those students go on to dozens of industries and types of jobs. THAT is the problem we fear.Report

            • Avatar pillsy in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

              I guess you fear what you fear, but in my experience, college students mostly don’t just slavishly pick up the politics of their instructors.

              They have some influence, but it’s complicated. And, of course, for better or worse, a lot of the time it’s student SJ activists objecting to professors!

              I assume you’ve heard about the 19th iteration of the Camille Paglia Fight that just happened?

              BTW, just because it’s come up when we’ve discussed this in the past, while I usually disagree with him for obvious reasons, I take Conor Friedersdorf pretty seriously.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to pillsy says:

                @pillsy

                But you do realize that using college campuses as progressive factories was the stated goal of the Port Huron Statement…right? And when we see campuses becoming these little laboratories where SJ causes are nurtured and then projected outward, I think there’s reason to be concerned.

                And to be clear, it’s not just in colleges either. My wife works for our school system and we have a bunch of friends that are teachers. Progressive outrage mobs are becoming a thing there too.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                But you do realize that using college campuses as progressive factories was the stated goal of the Port Huron Statement…right?

                I do but I just… don’t care?

                Like, I think it’s fine for progressives to try to do that.

                I think it’s fine for conservatives to try to do the same from the other direction.

                Actually, when you get right down to it, I wish conservatives would maybe try to do more of it, and more effectively.

                EDIT: Oh, and “try” is the operative word. People have all sorts of political agendas. They rarely turn out as intended.

                Conservatives usually have a lot to say about that.Report

  15. Avatar Jaybird says:

    I will say that almost all of the Social Justice Calvinist stuff I see is online. (Jeez louise, I can’t even log into Facebook anymore…)

    That said, I live near a small liberal arts college and, lemme tell ya, that stuff spills over into the little local diner. The kids behind the counter are being radicalized (in the wrong direction).Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

      They’re outnumbered by the college kids pretty substantially, though.

      They’re also service-sector kinda people and not SLAC kinda people.Report

      • Avatar pillsy in reply to Jaybird says:

        Yeah that is one place I could see it causing real friction.

        Though I would wonder a bit if it causes more friction than other forms of town-gown conflict. I’m guessing maybe yes from what you’re saying.Report

    • Avatar North in reply to Jaybird says:

      That’s what frustrates me about the whole debate. Conservatives lob accusations at the SJW left and vice versa meanwhile the base gets plumb stolen with regards to the SJW left representing the ENTIRE left.
      Honest to God(ess?) it is infuriating. How many congresscritters does the SJW left actually have? Mid to low single digits seems about right. How many policies has the SJW left gotten pushed into law when Dems and the left controlled government? I mean Obama pushed the envelope on Title X supposedly by saying Trans people were allowed to go to the bathroom but that’s about it. How many presidential candidates did the SJW left get nominated? So far zero.

      I mean dear ol’ Dreher who makes a living off warning people that the SJW left is coming to get them mostly has to go to the fetid well of twitter; the deranged cluckings of marginal ivory tower academics or idiot students who’re just doing what idiot students do to put grist in his “the sky is faling” mill. It’s a calendar day for him when he can get a leftward political actor or more mainstream media figure saying something somewhat radically SJW.

      But somehow the SJW dominates the entire political left. How? It seems cynically obvious: the conservatives say it is so because the SJW left is easy for them to fear and fight; the SJW left says it’s so because they want it to be so; the media says it’s so because that lets them do their BSDI bullshit dance.
      Hidden Tribes pretty definitively demonstrated that the SJW left is still a pretty numerically small cohort of the left (albeit a noisy one).

      So why does the entire left get to be painted with this brush? And the corollary: why, after they have elected a caricature of right wing hatefulness as leader of their party and the country, does the right get to constantly claim to a credulous audience that they’re not in any way represented by the political figures they elect and the rotted out policies those figures push?Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to North says:

        Because the latest game is, “that which you are politically apathetic about, you must tacitly endorse.”

        Thus conservatives who are apathetic about racism, et. al. must approve of it; and liberals who are not terribly concerned with SJ bullying are happy with it.Report

        • Avatar North in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

          Yes but conservatives are actively electing and embracing race baiters whereas SJW’s have marginal pull in the liberals political party currently *knocks on wood and eyes the primary warily* so far…Report

          • Avatar pillsy in reply to North says:

            I just don’t see any of the primary candidates as SJWish.Report

            • Avatar North in reply to pillsy says:

              None of them have struck me as particularly SJW dominated yet- agreed. But any one of them could easily double down on that manner and language so long as they tick the necessary boxes. Of course I think they’d get flattened in the debates and the primary if they did; or at least I hope they would.Report

            • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to pillsy says:

              Depends on how loud the SJW contingent can make themselves. I never thought GOP voters would allow Trump to ascend to the top of the ticket, but I was wrong.Report

            • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to pillsy says:

              – Harris has given a lot of lip-service to the BLM agenda. She also says she wants new gun laws.
              – Warren wants to forgive student debt.
              – Booker has talked about reparations.
              – Sanders is, well, Sanders.

              I haven’t gotten a chance to dig into the other folks yet, but I am assuming most of them have similar stuff on their list.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                I will also add that the DNC website reads as a wishlist for identity groups. I do think that reflects the SJ influence on the party.Report

              • Avatar Sam Wilkinson in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                Terms like “identity groups” are always SUCH a tell.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Sam Wilkinson says:

                Would you prefer, “Social Justice Priority List for White Saviorism” ?

                or

                “Planned Beneficiaries of Social Justice Magnanimity”Report

              • Avatar Sam Wilkinson in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                It’s always neat whenever the people most concerned with identity dismiss anybody else’s interest in pursuing equality.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Sam Wilkinson says:

                @sam

                You can’t possibly think you have convinced me you actually want equality do you? If you actually achieved equality who would you be angry at?

                We both know that this is much more about signaling your woke status that actually achieving a real goal.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                OK, see here is why the term “SJW” is so meaningless.

                Unlike the Tea Party, which very consciously tried to make itself an identifiable group, “SJW” is so loose and amorphous a label, and inevitably applied from outside by those hostile, that virtually anyone to the left of trump is an “SJW”.

                The term functions as an all-purpose motte and bailey where even the most modest liberal position becomes equated with rabid intolerance.

                You think racism is real? Welp, you’re an SJW.
                You think banks are too powerful? Yep, you’re an SJW.

                Should tech companies be broken up? Now you’re drinking the SJW koolaid.

                Gun control? Reform of marijuana laws? Obamacare? SJW, SJW, SJW.Report

              • Avatar Dave in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Unlike the Tea Party, which very consciously tried to make itself an identifiable group, “SJW” is so loose and amorphous a label, and inevitably applied from outside by those hostile, that virtually anyone to the left of trump is an “SJW”.

                Pillsy and I had a good conversation about this and I was very clear about what could constitute a SJW while not using that specific term.

                I’ll let you go find them, but the only person making the designation meaningless is you either out of ignorance or willful distortion.

                Pot meet kettle on the motte and bailey, as you seem to do it so well.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Dave says:

                Pillsy and I had a good conversation about this and I was very clear about what could constitute a SJW while not using that specific term.

                Just noticed this, and because it may come up again, I think @Dave’s focus on intersectionality and critical race theory as essential components of what makes SJWs SJWs is correct.[1]

                There are lots of liberals and leftists who are lukewarm or even outright hostile to those theories.

                Some of them are, at least arguably, far left, while others are a lot more moderate.

                [1] Sometimes I try to avoid the “SJW” label as being to pejorative, and sometimes I roll with it. Today I’m rolling with it.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                “…where even the most modest liberal position becomes equated with rabid intolerance.”

                Welcome to my world Chip.Report

              • Avatar JoeSal in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                @MikeD
                Reparations and Disarmament were two parameters that contributed heavily to WW2.

                The right is thought to be worried about college kids chanting racism and such.

                Hell, the mainstream left has probably passed the threshold on parameters to start the next war and doesn’t even know it yet. All the time thinking the REAL problem is going to come from a tiny percentage to the left of them.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to JoeSal says:

                Wow, people get mad at me when I compare he Right to Nazis.Report

      • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to North says:

        @north

        I can’t speak for everyone that is complaining about the SJ Left but I will share my three primary reasons for concern. I’ll even rank them in order of seriousness.

        #3 – Online debate. This one is trivial but I have been doing this a long time. IMO the Progressive end of the spectrum has become fairly unhinged, especially since Trump’s election. I think that has made dialogue much harder and actually pushed some people rightward.

        #2 – College campuses. I am hoping to retire from my current job in 11 years. My plan has always been to go back to college and get my masters and PhD. I am genuinely concerned what the university and the History department will look like by then and if I will be able to do the work I want to do.

        #1 – Yes, the SJ Left is pretty small (8% of the electorate per Hidden Tribes). But how big was the Tea Party? I’ve made this point before but for those of us who were moderate-to-centrist who saw the Tea Party seize the GOP and could do nothing to stop it…we’re raising the alarm bells now about the SJ Left, because we see them going in the same direction. And despite claims to the contrary, there are also a lot of LIBERALS who are equally concerned about them, so this isn’t just conservatives trying to stir up discord.

        I believe next year will tell us everything. If a Hickenlooper or Biden gets the nomination, maybe I was wrong. If it’s a Warren or Harris, then you should also be concerned.

        I keep seeing liberals minimizing concern over the SJ Left because they are small and have questionable influence on the party, but their influence is growing and their voice is getting louder. I have never known you to be someone who sticks their head in the sand and I would urge you not to now.Report

        • Avatar greginak in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

          I don’t’ think SJW influence is growing much or at all but maybe i’m just not seeing it. From long experience i’ve seen a lot of strident leftie movements burn out. I think SJW’s have a lot of inherent contradictions and fractures that will prevent them from ever growing seriously. Sure some of their stuff will continue, but then again i think SJW’s are right and fine on some things.

          We hear the loud abrasive ones but not the much from the more thoughtful and all round better SJW people. It’s sort of the same thing with public preachers. It would be easy to see nothing but franklin “death to gays” graham and falwell and prosperity gospel grifters. Is that all of Christianity, Gosh no. There are plenty of better Christians ( personal judgement warning) out there who dont’ get as much press.Report

        • Avatar North in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

          That’s all well and good Mike and a pretty fair set of complaints. But Kristine and all the regular suspects don’t say “we don’t like the Dems because they’re in danger of being captured by the SJW left.” they say “The Dems are, root to stem, the SJW left and nothing else.” If anything that HELPS the SJW left gain influence rather than hinders them. It’s like the perverted symbiotic relationship between Hamas and Likud in Israel. The extremists feed each other.

          I will, happily, grant the Tea Party example. The Tea Party also serves as a good comparison. I’m an unabashed Liberal, I don’t think the SJW left should be permitted to dominate the Democratic Party of the left either. How many politicians scalps have the SJW left collected? What level of fear do Democratic politicians operate on that they’ll be primaried or pilloried from the SJW left? I submit that both are a pretty low number and yet I constantly hear online that the battle is already lost.

          Finally there’s the take away. All these independent former Republicans (who often vote pretty reliably for the GOP anyhow) spend plenty of time saying the Dems are the same as the GOP. What incentive, then, is there for the Democratic party to hew center-ward? The message seems to be “The Dems are captured by the SJW left so all the liberals should vote like conservatives (not real conservatives but rather like the republitarian conservatives that exist in the conservative elites dreams).”Report

          • Avatar pillsy in reply to North says:

            But Kristine and all the regular suspects don’t say “we don’t like the Dems because they’re in danger of being captured by the SJW left.” they say “The Dems are, root to stem, the SJW left and nothing else.”

            The two messages are hard to distinguish, both when receiving them and, believe it or not, when sending them.

            And I am pretty damn sure that Kristin’s beliefs are much closer to worrying that the Dems will be captured (or perhaps have been captured already) by the Far Left than that is what we are root-and-branch.

            But I know my belief is that the GOP has been captured by the Far Right much more than it is the Far Right. Sometimes I manage to say that.

            Sometimes, though, especially when I’m angry and or scared, well, what comes out is, “Trump is an obvious racist and anybody who supports or even doesn’t condemn him just loves racism and thinks racism is good and wants a lot more racism.”Report

            • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to pillsy says:

              Sometimes, though, especially when I’m angry and or scared, well, what comes out is, “Trump is an obvious racist and anybody who supports or even doesn’t condemn him just loves racism and thinks racism is good and wants a lot more racism.”

              Hence my comment to @North. It’s important to remember that apathy is not the same as approval. People can only care about so many things at the end of the day.

              ETA: This is why I worry about extremists, regardless of the flavor, because they do care about something way more than everyone else, and if they can convince a candidate that they will use that energy to their benefit…

              Relatedly, this is why our fixation on the Presidency bothers me so, because extremists only have to capture one office to have a significant impact. Granted it’s a hell of a lift, but hey, Trump…Report

            • Avatar Kristin Devine in reply to pillsy says:

              Yep. If I thought the Dems were beyond saving I wouldn’t keep writing these things that say “I don’t think most of you are going to like where this ends up” and begging Democrats to wake up and pick a candidate I can support. I very very far from believe that the SJW sector is in any way indicative of the views of Democrats as a whole.

              BUT that having been said, just want to point out that you guys acknowledge that Trump’s rhetoric can spread and inspire ugliness. It would be nice if you could also acknowledge my fear that the far left rhetoric might be having something of a negative effect as well.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Kristin Devine says:

                Acknowledge it? Granted! Most of the liberals on this site will readily acknowledge that the moonbat SJW left go overboard pretty routinely. Additionally there’re tons of liberals and liberal moderates periodically writing articles slamming the SJW sector. They are NOT hard to find.

                And in case you missed it, the left wing radicals have FAILED repeatedly to elect their preferred candidates to positions of power within the Democratic party including as recently as 2016.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to North says:

                @north

                Just like many of the left-leaning folks on the site have accused the rest of us of giving lip service to the worst impulses of the Far Right over the years, I think it’s fair to say most (not all) of the left-leaning folks on this site dabble in SJ thinking on a regular basis. Just six months ago it got so bad on the site that I walked away for three months. Luckily, I think the ship is righting itself.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                I dunno about “most”, but I definitely do dabble in it.

                I also dabble in libertarian thinking, Marxist thinking, and a bunch of other types of thinking, which I think is somewhat useful while having all sorts of tremendous limitations that prevent it from being a comprehensive description of the world.

                Hell, one of the reasons I come to this site at all is because of that opportunity to dabble.

                And frankly, this is one of the few places where I can dabble in that kind of thinking and find people who will engage with it in ways I find useful and informative, even though those specific ways are all over the map.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to pillsy says:

                Perhaps dabbling is a bad word to use. That sounds like an innocent hobby. What I saw last year was an SJ cancer that had taken over the site. I think it’s in remission at the moment, but I don’t think we can announce the patient is cured, especially with an election year next year.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                I remember some things from around that time, too, Mike.

                We can litigate them or not.

                But that reaction absolutely didn’t come from nowhere.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to pillsy says:

                And the counter-reaction you are seeing now didn’t happen in a vacuum either, which is sort of my point.Report

          • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to North says:

            “Finally there’s the take away. All these independent former Republicans (who often vote pretty reliably for the GOP anyhow) spend plenty of time saying the Dems are the same as the GOP. What incentive, then, is there for the Democratic party to hew center-ward? The message seems to be “The Dems are captured by the SJW left so all the liberals should vote like conservatives (not real conservatives but rather like the republitarian conservatives that exist in the conservative elites dreams).”

            Since I pretty closely resemble that description I will say that at least for me, I don’t want to pull Democrats towards conservatism, I just want to see them dial back some of their worse SJ impulses so maybe I can vote for some of them. For me the GOP is lost. Trump’s team literally runs the RNC (which is new territory). So what hope do I have to find candidates that I can vote for except looking across the aisle? So yeah, I’m going to be selfish and remind them that they have this very large group of Centrists up for grabs, but playing cozy with Progressives is not the way to get those votes.Report

            • Avatar North in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

              For sure, which is why the right spends so much time saying “The Dems are completely owned by the SJW left!” because of course they don’t want centrists voting for Dems. And thus I point out that the SJW control of the Democratic Party is pretty damned marginal if you look at the actual numbers, votes, elections etc.

              If you want the Democratic Party to start denouncing their own base or to start refusing to pay lip service to their wingers before you are willing to consider voting for them then what is the point? No party in this country can survive by affirmatively alienating a significant element of their own base in hopes of pursuing centrists and the Dems neither can nor will do that.

              But if you want the Democratic Party to be primarily governed and run by centrists who pay lip service to their wingers while substantively hewing to the center? News flash! That is the Democratic Party this country has right now. It is the party that was present under Obama and it certainly was the party that was present under Clinton.

              And if you point out that the party is edging left? Well of course it is. Because they nominated a centrist candidate over a socialist last time and they lost (though I submit for many reasons specific to HRC and to the electoral environment than her centrism) and so now a lot of people are pretty persuasively saying “maybe it’s time to write off the centrists and go with a turnout and winger recruitment strategy.

              Democrats have, so far, been centrist and the GOP has entirely been captured by their winger loons. You want to encourage centrism? Electorally devastate the latter and electorally reward the former.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to North says:

                I hope you are right. Like I said, next year’s Democratic nominee will tell me everything I need to know.Report

              • Avatar CJColucci in reply to North says:

                This makes good sense, but it won’t prevent still more posts and comments that boil down to: “Yes, Trump is deplorable, and we’re eager to vote against him as long as the Democrats nominate a Republican.” And no fair asking what, specifically, they think actual Democrats will actually do that is so horrible.Report

              • It’s not “no fair” it’s that I know the people on this site will simply use anything I say to debunk and devalue my opinion.

                I don’t think it’s hitting below the belt AT ALL to ask that you guys look in your hearts and see if there’s anything in your movement that might appear at all troubling to someone like me.Report

              • Avatar JoeSal in reply to Kristin Devine says:

                You have to have some thick skin around these parts.
                You have to see your opposition as perfectly fine with ideologies that would forcibly take from one person to give to another, and see it as ‘good’.

                That forcible taking is applied up to actually murdering people for their property.

                So stealing and murdering is their social norm. It is not a parameter of ‘troubling’. It is the way they want to build their social construct.

                It is no different than saying the sky is blue, or the water is wet. It’s just a set parameter that will not change.Report

        • Avatar InMD in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

          @Mike Dwyer

          I’m going to ask a question at the bottom of this post, but first I’m going to lay out my priors as someone who is to the left of you but probably a bit to the right of pillsy. I don’t like the PoMo identitarian stuff. I see it as a stunted ideology, which, while having some kernals of truth to it, is in practice pernicious and a profoundly incomplete way to look at the world. It reminds me of certain vulgar strains of libertarianism where no matter the question there is always only one answer.

          I also think that all of the offense archaology and expectation that people constantly cop to unfalsifiable accusations of various isms sussed out by the woke makes coalition building and common cause impossible. I even think the constant application of those standards to our current president misses the mark of what’s actually wrong with his administration. It’s fighting post truth with more post truth. I would love nothing more than if the broader left walked away from this stuff, or made a consolidated effort to keep it out on the margins of dumb things college kids do between bong rips and biology class.

          But part of rapprochement is trust building. I think a sizeable portion of the broader left would be less tolerant of the movement you’ve identified if the conservative movement was willing to walk away from things like Fox News, talk radio, and similar inflammatory corners that hoist up the worst and most divisive. A lot of liberals spent the early aughts being told they weren’t ‘Real Americans’, that they were a 5th column in the war on terror, etc.

          My point isn’t to get into an argument over who started it (spoiler alert, the founding fathers did), but to say that de-escalation takes two sides. So what’s the conservative responsibility with respect to this? Who can they walk away from as a sign of good faith?Report

          • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to InMD says:

            “We’re certainly willing to agree with you if only you’d stop acting like you have opinions that are different than ours!”Report

            • Avatar InMD in reply to DensityDuck says:

              What a boring response.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to InMD says:

                Though thinking about it for a few minutes I’m actually glad you said it because it’s such a great illustration of what decent and open minded people are up against.

                It sucks that Mike feels like he can’t ask some good faith questions of people to his left without a bunch of fanatics derailing the conversation with silly intersectional purity tests.

                It also sucks that folks to his left can’t ask a good faith question without conservative trolls jumping in who can’t even address a respectful question on its merits.

                Here is Exhibit A as to why we can’t have nice things.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to InMD says:

                “I hate how you people have to turn everything into an intellectual purity test! Maybe we could have a conversation about this if you didn’t listen to Fox News!”Report

              • Avatar Dave in reply to DensityDuck says:

                Need a tissue?Report

              • Avatar Dave in reply to InMD says:

                And intellectually dishonest, the kind I’ve deal with from the butthurt triggered Trumpster set. Speaking of which, where’s Koz tell me I have to submit?Report

          • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to InMD says:

            So what’s the conservative responsibility with respect to this?

            Since not one conservative commenter to the post has conceded that Trump is ever part of the problem, that would be “no one”.Report

            • Avatar JoeSal in reply to Mike Schilling says:

              Is anyone on OT a conservative?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to JoeSal says:

                We’ve got quite a few “not liberals”.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

                Well would a “True Conservative” really chat here?Report

              • Avatar JoeSal in reply to greginak says:

                Then do statements like this even make since:
                “Since not one conservative commenter to the post has conceded”

                It’s like you run your data out of the room and then want to yell at the data. It’s just a weird dynamic.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to JoeSal says:

                Is anyone at OT a liberal?Report

              • Avatar JoeSal in reply to Stillwater says:

                There are many that self identify as that, there are two I know that go with neo-liberal.

                There is some that are somewhat classic liberal.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to JoeSal says:

                So what you’re really asking is “are there any people at OT who self-identify as conservative?”

                That’s a different question, than you asked, yes?Report

              • Avatar JoeSal in reply to Stillwater says:

                I guess we could open it up to that if it helps. I don’t really know if that adds a lot. I guess what I would be asking is if there are any conservatives who first identify as Conservative and then something else.

                (ETA as opposed to Libertarians that have conservative leanings, or Independents that have conservative leanings, or something along those lines where conservatism is not the primary)Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to JoeSal says:

                On one level, I’m one of the most conservative people on the board.

                On another level, that says more about the board than it says about me.Report

              • The… other people on the board?Report

              • In that case, of course. Some people here are more conservative than others. Are they conservative in some absolute sense? Beats the hell out of me.Report

              • I suppose I could have gotten into my bona fides and talked about how I’ve been registered Dem since age 18, atheist, talk about various affiliations and so on… (And, thus, invite conversations about how those aren’t *REALLY* bona fides…)

                And I am one of the most conservative people on the board.

                Conservative in the absolute sense of what?
                Like, their political views would have been middle of the road in 2000? In 1980? In 1960? In 1800? In 1200?

                If all we’re doing is curating arguments between people whose views will be middle of the road in 2028 and people whose views were middle of the road in 2004, that’s pretty cool, I guess.

                But it certainly colors the whole “moral authority” thing for me.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird says:

                I suppose I might claim to be sooo conservative some of my views wrap right around to Liberal… but not for any of the right reasons.

                But I’ve never voted for a Republican (or Democrat)…and my political/economic views are, at best, idiosyncratic.

                So… like @Pinky below says… when it comes to partisan Pie fights… I’m usually out. And when it comes to Trump… I’m against him, but probably for the wrong reasons (compared to folks here).

                I have some friends who are rock ribbed Republicans (a couple of whom have even appeared on Fox!)… I doubt they’d hang here.

                Not sure this adds a jot to the thread… but happy to chime in 🙂Report

              • Avatar JoeSal in reply to Marchmaine says:

                I thought of you, but i didn’t remember how far into libertarian you might have been.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to JoeSal says:

                Who me? None far into Libertarian. 🙂Report

              • Avatar Pinky in reply to Jaybird says:

                I’m way outside the 1200 AD mainstream. 1270, 1280, closer to the middle.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Pinky says:

                Heh… good vintages in the 1270s.

                I’m not, however, a golden age sort of conservative… we’ve never gotten it right; just wrong in lots of different ways.Report

              • It’s JoeSal’s question, not mine.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                Which question?

                For the Admins… I wonder if there’s a configuration setting in the discussion that would show who the Reply was to?

                Particularly when we get to the max nesting?Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Marchmaine says:

                @marchmaine

                I try to use the @johndoe on every reply I make, but occasionally I forget.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                @mike

                Sure, a good practice… but sometimes that @ can be heavy with implied meaning.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Marchmaine says:

                Hmmmm……. What if it was a simple:

                Dear Marchmaine,

                It would surely elevate things, for a brief moment, before shots are fired.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                My Dear Brother in Comments, Mike,

                usual gibberish

                Respectfully, your obedient interlocutor, March

                Should work just fine… don’t see how I missed that.Report

              • @ Marchmaine

                Re yours of the 10:43

                The original question “Is anyone on OT a conservative?” came from JoeSal. While certainly some commenters are more conservative than others and some self-identify as conservative, the question is ultimately unanswerable, since we lack a consensus definition of “conservative”.

                Love to Aloysius,
                MikeReport

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                I suspect if we could somehow create a Left to Right scale that would include every American, you would find about 99% of the commenters are on the left side of that scale (ex. when I take the Hidden Tribes quiz it lists me as a liberal). IMO, we’re mostly just arguing about degrees of liberalism here.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                @ Gracious Mr. Schilling

                In re ult, much obliged.
                In re Aloysius, much distressed. Taken up with Italian bears.

                yrs, etc.
                MarchReport

              • @marchmaine :
                I wonder if there’s a configuration setting in the discussion that would show who the Reply was to?

                IIRC from poking around for something else, there’s not a configuration setting but there is a hook that would allow adding a bit of custom code. I’ll look at the details, but the final call is up to @will-truman.

                State of the Discussion, of course, already shows that information :^)Report

              • Avatar Pinky in reply to JoeSal says:

                I’m a conservative. I have limited time right now, so I made a side point and a few replies to it, but I didn’t get into the whole thread. Generally, if a thread is set up to be side versus side, my only contributions will be analytical rather than partisan. If there’s some point that clearly isn’t being made, or some claim that needs to be challenged, I’ll toss in my 2 cents, but I’d rather not get bogged down in the partisan stuff.Report

              • Avatar JoeSal in reply to Pinky says:

                Good to know, although we probably just painted a big target on ya.Report

          • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to InMD says:

            Here’s another answer: You’re presenting this as “we’ll reject our extremists if you reject yours” and sure, that sounds great, but there’s also a loooooooot of comments to the effect that the people you’re talking about rejecting aren’t extremists really and if they are then it’s other people’s fault and we certainly can’t expect them to drop their entirely reasonable and valid concerns based mostly in personal safety and we can’t really reject them right now while they still need our help to overcome the generations of repression and erasure and blah, blah, blah.Report

            • Avatar InMD in reply to DensityDuck says:

              My opinion is that everyone has a responsibility to reject it. I’m not offering to reject extremists on my own nominal side because I already do reject them. I spend most of my time here arguing against people to my left and I think more people with liberal sympathies are sick of the kinds of tactics you’re describing than you realize. By their very nature they burn their own more than anyone else.

              The point of my comment (and as best as I can tell the OP) is to explore ways de-escalation can happen on a broader scale, and to consider that more people, including on the opposing side, are motivated by fear than commitment to ideology.

              Of course one of the reasons de-escalation doesn’t happen that much is because anyone who reaches out a hand is rewarded with a 2 front war.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to InMD says:

                Yeah I have to say when I wrote this I was far, far more worried about the response I was going to get from my more Leftward friends than anything else. So far that hasn’t happened, which is a relief.Report

          • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to InMD says:

            @inmd

            If I understand you right, the Far Left and Far Right function as nukes and if the Right is going to have their nukes, then the Left can’t abandon theirs? Do I have that correct? Assuming I do, I think that’s why you need a big, loud Center telling both sides to back down. The reason I beat that drum so much is because I believe that if we can pull more dissatisfied liberals towards the center that might make some of the dissatisfied conservatives more willing to walk away from their side as well. We need to show them that there is a safe space where actual conversations are happening.

            I think of the Center as sort of like the river in this scene:

            Report

            • Avatar JoeSal in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

              I don’t think the center works for anything other than a metric. If you took the river out of that scene and plugged in a bunch of (rigid,principled) trees where the river was located then the two men would have walked right past the trees to engage. The flow of people moving positions back and forth will flow around whatever rigid structures that are in the center.

              Chip along with millions of his neighbors flowed from right to left without anyone in the center really proving a obstacle.

              I think this also happens on the y-axis. Many Libertarians flowed up the y-axis without much resistance, because they are autonomous humans and they choose to.Report

            • Avatar Maribou in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

              Perhaps if you weren’t so willing to toss people like Kamala Harris out of the equation as “too leftist”, people would see you as more of a drum-beating centrist, Mike.

              I mean, Marco frakkin’ *Rubio* has said supportive things about BLM for Pete’s sake.Report

  16. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    I’m wondering if the end of the Cold War has anything to do with this sudden impact. One of the big differences between some American and European conservatives is that certain American conservatives never made peace with either the welfare state or the social changes of the 1960s. They always thought they could undue the New Deal, Great Society, and everything they disliked about the Counter-Culture like feminism, the Sexual Revolution, and LGBT rights. European conservatives come from a tradition that is more comfortable with state action and they were also more willing to accept the social changes of the 1960s even though they might not really like them. So American conservatives tend to be people that like the concept of the night watch man state but want the enforcement of a particularly Protestant popular morality. European conservatives tend to be more willing to support state action and intervention in economic matters, although not to the extent that the European left is, but not that enthused about enforcing traditional morality anymore.

    What happened is that when the Cold War ended, both American liberals and American conservatives thought their side was entirely vindicated. The American conservatives saw in the defeat of Communism an ultimate repudiation of anything that isn’t complete laissez-faire capitalism and reason to roll back the social changes of the 1960s because the Godless, libertine centrally controlled command economy fell. Never mind that Communist countries could be very puritanical. Meanwhile, liberals still thought that social democracy worked because the European welfare states were doing fine.

    Another issue is that the political economy collapsed after the Cold War ended. There are many people who refer to themselves as liberals even though they are really far leftists. They talk about ending capitalism, which in my mind is a far left plank rather than a liberal plank. Even if you believe in more regulation of the economy and the welfare state, liberalism requires an acceptance of market economics. On the conservative side, the side leaning dangerously close to fascism has infiltrated the ranks of the more sensible conservatives and poisoned them.

    So both sides expected the end of the Cold War to play out differently than they did. Liberals got angry that the Democratic Party was going in a much more market oriented direction rather than standing up for the welfare state. At least some Conservatives were in rage because the social changes of the 1960s seem to have accelerated rather than being rolled backed to the 1950s. Despite DOMA and a bunch of other acts and policies, the LGBT movement seemed unstoppable. So did feminism.

    During the Cold War we at least had an external enemy to prevent us from fighting each other to death even though we disagreed with the severity of the threat. Now we really don’t have an external enemy so everything becomes an apocalyptical internal fight. American liberals are deeply opposed to making Islam into the next external enemy while a few conservatives are really into that idea.Report

  17. Avatar pillsy says:

    @Oscar:

    Because the latest game is, “that which you are politically apathetic about, you must tacitly endorse.”

    It makes some sense. One thing that political partisans worry a lot about is entryism, where extremists of one stripe or another infiltrate more mainstream activist groups or political parties and take them over. And one of the ways that seems to happen is apathy.

    You mentioned before how more centrist or moderate liberal folks are distrustful of their environment in ways that makes them more fearful of SJ outrage mobs and the like… and I wouldn’t be surprised if the observed apathy has a lot to do with it.

    “These people tell me not to worry about SJ outrage mobs and being ‘canceled’, but they don’t think it’s a big deal at all and also clearly the SJW hordes are part of their in-group. They won’t protect me.”

    Which I can understand intellectually, by reasoning from analogy with how I view the anti-anti-Trump Right in relation to the outright Trumpist Right.

    But when it comes time to actually, I dunno, offer reassurance it becomes very hard, because I don’t really think they have anything to worry about unless they go our of their way to rile people up. Everything they worry about can be avoided, I believe, by adhering to long-standing rules of etiquette and good sense, like, “Don’t get on your political bullshit at work,” and, “Don’t be persistently rude to people.”Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to pillsy says:

      I asked my boss “What would happen if you got a phone call complaining about me being a shitlord online?”

      He responded “what?”

      “Like, if you got a phone call saying that you needed to fire me because of my political positions.”

      He looked confused for a second and said “I’d probably laugh. Call them a tattle-tale.”

      “I’m going to put that in a comment.”

      I’d like more people here to ask their bosses that question and come back with the answer, but I also know that we’re not particularly representative of much of anything because not everybody has a boss that would be cool with being asked that and there are people on the other end of the spectrum who are their own boss (or don’t have one).Report

      • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Jaybird says:

        You didn’t ask your boss the right question. Ask him what he would do if he was told you said something offensive online and it was traced back to the company’s IP and demonstrated you made the offensive comment while on the clock.

        Years ago I angered the owner of a very liberal chatboard. Because he had access to the IP info and I was commenting from my work computer, he threatened to tell my employer that I was using their computers to say offensive things online. He also revealed my employer to the rest of the chatboard. One of the other commenters created a wikipedia page about me that he only took down when I agreed to leave the chatboard.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to pillsy says:

      like, “Don’t get on your political bullshit at work,” and, “Don’t be persistently rude to people.”

      And what do we say to people who weren’t doing either, who were just being glib in a careless manner, or who merely managed to become ‘famous’ because one of the SJWs got the Twitter mob riled up? They do real, tangible harm when they get it wrong.

      I used to worry about this kind of stuff back when the Moral Majority was ascendant, but at least they were limited to acting locally. It was a lot harder for them to get true believers from across the country to join in the fun.Report

      • Avatar veronica d in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

        Probably the same thing will happen as happened to some personal friends of mine when Milo Y published their names and online handles in order to rile up his hate mob.

        Social media mobs suck.

        (By the way, this included real life, face to face, friends who I actually know and care about. This wasn’t just about “someone I know on Twitter” — although plenty of similar things happen to “people I know on Twitter,” too many to easily count actually.)

        An explicit, stated goal from the gamergate chat logs was to organize a harassment strategy specifically meant to drive Zoe Q—- to suicide.

        Or course, Zoe Q didn’t kill herself, because GG was full of inept dipshits. Instead she quietly (and with help from friends) infiltrated their chat servers and recorded them saying all this shit, so that sounds like fun.

        I believe it was the -chan crowds who invented “swatting.” If they didn’t invent it, they sure made it “a thing.”

        My point, online hate mobs are not a feature of “the left.” They are a feature of the internet. If you’re treating them as principally a left-wing phenomenon, then you’re being inaccurate and unfair.Report

        • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to veronica d says:

          “online hate mobs are not a feature of “the left.””

          yeah, it’s definitely right-wingers who… (checks notes) read…YA fiction a whole lot and… (checks notes again) get mad about improper presentation of minority issues?Report

          • Avatar North in reply to DensityDuck says:

            No, they form mobs over nonsense like Gamer Gate or whether Dems use the term Islamic Terrorism or “Some People” or the flavor du jour “Easter worshipers”; and those’re just the main stream popular issues. Veronica is right on this, internet mobbing is not inherent to the left or right; it’s inherent to the internet.Report

          • Avatar veronica d in reply to DensityDuck says:

            I literally gave concrete examples, all of which are fairly well known. You’re being a sloppy thinker.Report

          • Avatar pillsy in reply to DensityDuck says:

            It was definitely Right-wingers who doxxed two of my mutuals for being too critical of The Federalist and its editors.Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to veronica d says:

          They are a feature of the internet. If you’re treating them as principally a left-wing phenomenon, then you’re being inaccurate and unfair.

          Except I’m not. What I am doing is staying on point and not playing a game of ‘Whataboutism”.

          Pillsy is making an argument that SJWs aren’t really a problem. I’m saying they are specifically because they cause real harm.

          Now if we were having a conversation about how Alt-right trolls aren’t really a problem, THEN you’r points are perfectly relevant.

          But we aren’t having that conversation.Report

          • Avatar pillsy in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

            My knee jerk is that Twitter outrage mobs are definitely in the “optional risk” bin. If someone stresses about this sort of thing, well, Twitter is going to be very stressful, not because some SJWs are like that on Twitter, but because some of everybody is like that on Twitter.

            But Twitter, relative to other social media platforms, isn’t tremendously popular because… well, partly because some of everybody is like that on Twitter and it makes Twitter kind of suck.Report

            • Avatar pillsy in reply to pillsy says:

              Just to be extremely clear, this isn’t a, “Haha they deserve it for sucking!” response.

              It’s very much a, “If you suffer from anxiety over being targeted by outrage mobs, or just unfair or mass criticism in general, Twitter is going to play on that anxiety like a motherfucker and you’re gonna have a bad time.”

              It’s not justice, it’s a bad environment for people who worry a lot about that sort of thing.Report

            • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to pillsy says:

              If it would stay confined to Twitter, I wouldn’t care. Much like I don’t care what happens on places like 4Chan.

              It’s when whatever it is spills out of Twitter, or 4Chan, and people get doxxed, or employers get called, or whatever. It’s when it’s not simply enough to push a person out of that community, but to be attacking them in other arenas as well.

              And yes, I know the various alt-right groups do similar crap, and it’s a problem, and the moderate right needs to acknowledge that it’s a problem and, at the very least, disown it.

              The moderate left needs to do the same. It’s kinda like those eco-terrorists who destroy animal testing labs and threaten researchers. Maybe you don’t like animal testing and what not, but you also can’t condone those kinds of acts.

              And no, I don’t expect either side can really do something about it, since extremists are going to be extreme. But they can deny such acts any kind of legitimacy. They can refuse to let such people influence the narrative, or have a place at the table. They can offer a hand to those who suffer from the extremist acts.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                It’s when whatever it is spills out of Twitter, or 4Chan, and people get doxxed, or employers get called, or whatever. It’s when it’s not simply enough to push a person out of that community, but to be attacking them in other arenas as well.

                Yeah, I definitely agree that this is absolute bullshit. Hell, I wrote a guest post about how it was bullshit when it happened to Scott Alexander.

                If it’s just condemnation you want, you absolutely have it.

                But I don’t think that’s necessarily enough to assuage people’s fears. I want people to be not-stressed about it, for both altruistic reasons (being scared sucks) and self-serving political reasons (having people scared of my team is hard for my team).

                I’m happy to do the virtue signaling [1], but honestly I think a big part of making the political world easier on everyone is for people to engage less if it makes them upset.

                Another is to be more reluctant to rebroadcast the outrage du jour, but that’s a different story. I’ve been trying to back off on doing that myself, though.

                [1] Remember I’m one of those weirdos who thinks virtue signaling is Good, Actually.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to pillsy says:

                Condemnation is good, refusing to boost the signal is better, and so is reaching out to those who are unjustly attacked, or pushing back against those who attack.Report

          • Avatar veronica d in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

            Fair enough. However, there is a broader context to this conversation, which argues that SJWs are in particular a problem, which stands out against the general political backdrop. Except Trump is the president, and militia groups have guns.

            Plus, we should ask how widespread a problem it is. How likely is it to actually affect any particular person? That is a relevant question. My second point is, if you apply the same standards of evidence and weights to “SJWs” that you apply in general, do we really stand out?

            “But some white tech guy lost his job!”

            That sucks, but he found a new job. My friend accepted repeated rape because she couldn’t.

            How common is that?

            I don’t know. It happened to one friend, although I’ve heard many similar (but not as bad) stories from other friends. It’s complicated.

            It turns out my friends circle contains a certain selection bias–

            –but the same applies to everyone here. Again, I’m asking for consistent standards.

            If we are to accept the Fox-narrative about how common “SJW overreach” is, shall we also accept the Feministing-narrative about how common sexual abuse is?

            How do you measure these things? Can they even really be measured?

            (The belief that everything important can be captured through studies and statistics generates it’s own kind of ignorance, perhaps just as bad as when one only think in terms of anecdote. The point: it’s both, kinda.)

            I’m not calling you out. Actually, I respect you a lot. I’m just asking that we do better than some Quillette smear job.

            None of us see the real world in its fullness. We have a “hyperreal” image of the world generated by agenda driven media.

            My friend still got raped. That isn’t “hyperreal.” It’s just real.

            Social justice matters a lot.Report

      • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

        “what do we say to people who weren’t doing either, who were just being glib in a careless manner, or who merely managed to become ‘famous’ because one of the SJWs got the Twitter mob riled up? ”

        Well, if they hadn’t been RACIST SHITLORDS then they wouldn’t have GOT IN TROUBLE, right? I mean, nobody who wasn’t a RACIST SHITLORD ever got mobbed, right? It’s sort of like how innocent people don’t get shot by cops, right?Report

      • Avatar pillsy in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

        And what do we say to people who weren’t doing either, who were just being glib in a careless manner, or who merely managed to become ‘famous’ because one of the SJWs got the Twitter mob riled up? They do real, tangible harm when they get it wrong.

        “That sucks. Sorry, dude.”

        I’m not saying that’s adequate, I’m saying that unless you’re Extremely Online, the chances of this happening to you are very small. Not zero, but very small. At a certain point it really is starting to look like the way people get worried about shark attacks, where the exotic, unpredictable nature of the danger makes it scary far out of proportion with the expected risk.

        If you are Extremely Online and you stress about this sort of thing, don’t be Extremely Online, because your problem neither begins nor end with the Left.Report

        • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to pillsy says:

          @PILLSY

          Forget Twitter for a moment. Let’s say a teacher accidentally uses the wrong pronoun for a kid in their class and social media is used to make their life miserable. SnapChat, FB, whatever. Or the example I gave the other day of a teacher who crossed the line towards Creationism in my daughter’s biology class. I handled it in private but what if I had taken to the internet?

          Because the PC rules are changing every day, and because social media gives everyone a megaphone, these kinds of things happen. That Hidden Tribes report actually talks about that, and Yascha Mounk also wrote about it here:

          https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2018/10/large-majorities-dislike-political-correctness/572581/

          No one would be asking about this stuff if it wasn’t a problem.Report

          • Avatar pillsy in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

            Let’s say a teacher accidentally uses the wrong pronoun for a kid in their class and social media is used to make their life miserable.

            EDITted.

            My previous response was not super great.

            But look. I’m not sure how I can react to this without expressing skepticism that this is something that is at all likely to happen.Report

            • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to pillsy says:

              @pillsy

              Do you have kids middle school age or older? Because if so, I don’t know how you could make that comment. Teens are pretty mean. My daughters were constantly complaining about their teachers for minor things that we mostly just chuckled about, but their classmates made life much more difficult for those teachers for any number of reasons. It’s not a big logical leap to see kids (and their parents) using social media to blast a teacher for the wrong pronouns, especially given the patchwork of laws, rules and political correctness we have around gender identity now.

              And maybe I’m being an alarmist by bringing this up, but given how many cases I am reading about where people get fired, deplatformed, doxxed, etc for this issue, I don’t think it’s a stretch to see a bunch of teens mimicking that behavior. I also get paid to consider worst case scenarios, so this just sort of fits that description as well. Anytime I hear someone say, “Well that bad thing is probably not going to happen,” it usually tells me they are being willfully ignorant so they don’t have to consider how to handle the situation when it inevitably does happen.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                And maybe I’m being an alarmist by bringing this up, but given how many cases I am reading about where people get fired, deplatformed, doxxed, etc for this issue, I don’t think it’s a stretch to see a bunch of teens mimicking that behavior.

                For which issue? Accidentally using the wrong pronouns?

                Because I don’t think I’ve ever heard of that happening. Have you?Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to pillsy says:

                It’s a classic motte and bailey. There certainly are people who are openly trasphobic and outwardly hostile to trans people, who want to express this hostility without consequence. Those are the people he means to defend. In order to defend them, he will bring up a more far fetched case — which given there are seven billion people on the planet, will probably happen somewhere, at some point, because everything happens, but not to any degree we should worry about — compared to the looming threat that you might be killed by pee-ice falling from airplanes.

                He might find a case were some hapless person was fired for “accidentally” misgendering someone. That could happen. It shouldn’t, but people get fired for all kinds of dumb reasons that we cannot prevent.

                The fact that kids might lie about this — sure, but if they want to lie to get a teacher fired, they can choose among many lies. Why single out this lie? Why is it salient? After all, malicious kids could create a fake social media profile that paints the teacher as a pedophile? That would work too.

                Obviously if a teacher misgenders a student, the school should investigate. If it was an accident, an apology is sufficient. No one feels otherwise.

                (Except I’m certain he can find someone on Twitter who feels otherwise. Of course he can. I can find people on Twitter who worry about lizard people.)

                #####

                I can only assume he doesn’t give a shit about cases such as this, despite the fact they are pretty commonplace for trans kids: http://time.com/5369746/oklahoma-transgender-teen-family-moving/

                Such cases are not fever dreams. They’re real. They happen. They’ll keep happening, because transphobia is in vogue, and our haters don’t care about our actual behavior, only the fake narratives they can create.

                It’s all bullshit, and obviously so. I wish he’d get some perspective, but Quillette exists to scratch a certain itch. It’s very ugly.Report

          • Avatar veronica d in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

            People accidentally get my pronouns wrong quite often. I correct them. They apologize. We move on.

            Dude, you don’t live in the real world. You live in a fake world constructed by the crypto alt-right. Stop reading Quillette, seriously.Report

  18. Avatar CJColucci says:

    Ask him what he would do if he was told you said something offensive online and it was traced back to the company’s IP and demonstrated you made the offensive comment while on the clock.

    The boss would probably say “What the fuck are you doing making a public ass of yourself on my dime?” And he would be right, regardless of whether your public assholery was alt-right or SJW style. Anyone have a problem with that?Report

    • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to CJColucci says:

      With my company you might get fired. We’re very big on protecting our brand. I specifically keep coming back to OT because while I might not agree with all of the management decisions on the site, I do know trust that no one here would ever do something like that, so it’s a safe space for me to comment when yeah, I’m on a work computer (usually stuck on a conference call that I never should have been invited to in the first place).Report

  19. Avatar pillsy says:

    @JoeSal:

    Also the concept of requiring provisioning with freedom is something I only find here with a few liberals.

    I’m curious what you mean by “requiring provisioning with freedom”. Is this along the lines of New Deal Liberalism’s freedoms like “freedom from want”?Report

    • Avatar JoeSal in reply to pillsy says:

      Yes, I think I recall it coming from NY, which if I’m guessing is to the south of you. The conversation involved this quote:

      “Necessitous men are not free men.” by FDR

      Which would require the social norm to provide men with what they want, before a condition of freedom is achieved. This is somewhat a time when there became a division in what the meaning of freedom meant, leading to what I call the two freedoms problem. Most people think freedom as freedom, not some entangled version that requires forcibly taking from one person to provision another.

      In my own view, it was a point in time where modern liberalism diverged from classical liberalism.

      (Location is a ongoing thing Stillwater and I discuss from time to time. He had a alternative to the Leviathan model, The Stationary Bandit. I have a alternative that has to do with Geography.)Report

      • Avatar JoeSal in reply to JoeSal says:

        I would suggest it is also the point in time that individual sovereignty was no longer achievable within the concept of liberalism. That tool was taken out of the toolbox and is no longer available to liberalism in frameworks which adopted that type of provisioning freedom.

        There are two issues that modern liberalism will face on that path. The first is since its freedom is bound to need, and attracts the needy, the construct will buckle every time because the focus is on need/want and not on ability.

        The second: if subjective value is the driver in the long term, then individual sovereignty becomes the inevitable framework of choice. You may build voluntary social constructs with it, but that is where the foundation is.

        The opposition to a ‘needs’ social construct is individual constructs of ability. So those of ability will want to diverge from a opposition of (infinite) need.Report

        • Avatar pillsy in reply to JoeSal says:

          I think modern liberalism was in the cards as soon as JS Mill invented utilitarianism. Once you set your sights on maximizing of wellbeing across society, some kind of welfare state redistribution (along with many other state interventions) start being hard to resist.

          Because there are definitely a lot of situations where taking by force increases overall wellbeing.

          And of course if you have a state there already, even a much more limited one, it’s hard to say you aren’t already taking stuff by force from some people to give to others (you have to pay the cops and the soldiers or you’re gonna have a bad time).

          I don’t particularly try to resist them, being a modern liberal, of course.Report

          • Avatar JoeSal in reply to pillsy says:

            In about the same era as JS Mills, Josiah Warren was writing/warning about the problems with social entanglements, after actually attempting to ‘live the dream’. It’s unfortunate that schools didn’t teach that part of his work.

            A lot of other nations have attempted to ‘live the dream of no needs’. Typically it has less than a hundred year life cycle. The last time I looked at it I think we were 70 or 80 years down the road.

            You know we will be close when the queues start getting a little longer than they used to be, and then there are queues where there weren’t ones before.

            That slow grinding down of things that used to work, but reach a point they don’t work anymore. That’s what people are afraid of, things not working anymore.

            Kristin should not be afraid or have fear, she is a individual of ability. Her children I would wager are children of ability.Report

  20. Avatar J_A says:

    @JoeSal

    You know we will be close when the queues start getting a little longer than they used to be, and then there are queues where there weren’t ones before.

    You mean like when I go to work in the morning, and the commute gets longer because there are more cars (vegetative growth and all that, people having kids) and no one was expanded the freeways?

    That slow grinding down of things that used to work, but reach a point they don’t work anymore. That’s what people are afraid of, things not working anymore

    You mean like when a flood blows out all the bridges 100 miles around because no one in Nebraska was willing to pay the taxes needed to reinforce them, or even willing to believe in climate change (of course, blue states that pay tons of taxes will foot the bill, eventually)?

    So what are people willing to do today to make sure things will continue working in the future? Asking for a friendReport

    • Avatar JoeSal in reply to J_A says:

      The Super-moochers? They will do what they always do.

      Next time maybe don’t erase important pieces of the operating system and expect stuff to work out.

      Tell your friend it’s diy time.Report

  21. Avatar pillsy says:

    @Oscar:

    Condemnation is good, refusing to boost the signal is better, and so is reaching out to those who are unjustly attacked, or pushing back against those who attack.

    All of this is sensible.

    But at the same time, we want to know what we’re committing to before we actually commit. We want to read the social contract before signing on the dotted line, if you will.

    Because we’re worried that we’re being told this is about one kind thing, like people having their lives ruined for being a bit too glib or failing to understand new norms, when it’s actually about another thing, like people being criticized for being intransigent buttholes because they think doing otherwise is letting the Enemy score a victory in the Culture War.

    This is why I share @veronica’s suspicion that there’s a motte-and-bailey situation with the “what if they accidentally mess up pronouns” worry. People definitely argue for the “Be rude and abusive to your coworkers because you can’t get off your political bullshit!” position, as this NRO author did [CW: blatant transphobia, rampant stupidity].

    And people routinely use the same language to defend both. The same people who defend the one often defend the other. You’ve argued in the past that we need a common vocabulary, and you’re not wrong, but I don’t think we can actually have one if we don’t see some of the people concerned about the power of the SJ Left make some concessions on this front.

    And this isn’t about you, personally, as Oscar, so much as the general impasse we’re dealing with.Report

    • Avatar veronica d in reply to pillsy says:

      I’ll add my vote supporting @Oscar. He has never given me even the slightest reason to doubt his good faith.

      #####

      I think I’ll try an analogy. Imagine if you had a teenage daughter. (Some of you probably do.) Now imagine she came to you, saying that she was sexually assaulted by a teacher. Furthermore, she has talked to several of her friends, and they were also sexually assaulted by this teacher.

      You would be furious — I hope. You would probably demand accountability from the school and law enforcement.

      Okay, fine. Obviously there needs to be an investigation. It’s possible the girls are lying, but probably not. The investigators definitely need to dig into the issue.

      Now imagine this: the school officials don’t actually seem to care. Law enforcement brushes you off. When you object, they point out that a teacher might accidentally touch a student’s breast, and they certainly shouldn’t be fired for that. Every time you try to shift the conversation to the actual abuse, the authorities side-track the conversation to be about hypotheticals.

      Does that seem like an over-the-top example?

      (And yes I’m aware that I’m using a hypothetical to argue about hypotheticals. Fine.)

      No reasonable person wants to see a teacher fired for accidentally misgendering a trans person. Of course not.

      “But it could happen!” shouts the Quillette techbro.

      Consider this, my employer has rules against misgendering trans people. Sometimes my coworkers accidentally misgender me. None of them have been fired.

      How does this happen, in the dystopian hellscape of Quillette fever dreams? They all should have been fired, right?

      What if a coworker accidentally touches my breast in the elevator? Should they be fired?

      What if a coworker comes up behind me at my desk, reaches around, grabs my breasts, all while whispering in my ear about how much they like my ass?

      Can you tell the difference between those scenarios? I can. So can HR.

      The “accidentally fired” thing isn’t real, which doesn’t mean it will never happen, to someone, somewhere. Everything happens. But we cannot worry about everything, nor scrutinize every possible public policy to that degree. Applied consistently, this would lead to no laws, no regulations, no policies, nothing but the war of all against all.

      So why are some people worried about it? I mean, these are smart, “data driven” types. They know this isn’t an actual problem.

      By contrast, trans kids being literally fucking traumatized by malicious bigots is real, well documented, and ongoing.

      Why the disparity in concern?

      The answer seems obvious. This is not about facts. It’s about something else.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to veronica d says:

        First of all, I’m not griping about ‘messing up pronouns’, or other slights that reasonable people can handle as reasonable people.

        I’m talking about (just what pops into my head, without Googling things) Justine Sacco, the Portland Taco Truck, the professor at Evergreen, the artist who got piled on for drawing Rose Quartz as (IIRC) less buxom. I’m sure if I got on Google, I could find more examples. Stuff where the mob grabs it and runs with it before anyone even has a chance to try and be reasonable.

        In a way, it’s the online version of the DA using the press to destroy a suspect before they’ve even had a chance to review the case and formulate a defense.

        Yes, one could hand wave at each case and say, “well, that’s not really a good example because…”, but isn’t that exactly what law enforcement defenders do every time LE steps over the line?

        And to flip @veronica’s example about, we get stuff like this.

        If I am being honest, do I think we can stop these kinds of things? No, it’s going to happen, because life isn’t fair. What I’d like is maybe some humanity at the other side of the event chain. If you care enough about something to get outraged when you think you see it happen, then you should care enough to follow it through to the end, and if, at the end, it turns out the mob, or the DA, was wrong, then we should care about that too.

        And since victims can’t reliably extract a pound of flesh in return for what they went through, it might be nice for the rest of us to show that we are sorry they had to go through that, and to try and make things better for them. Maybe that means just letting them know we care, or maybe it means standing up to bullies and giving that person a chance to get their life back on track.Report

        • Avatar veronica d in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

          And to flip @veronica’s example about, we get stuff like this [link in above post].

          Yeah, cases like that are fucking infuriating and grotesque. They’re deeply offensive. However, I really don’t think this stems for “SJW” stuff. Instead, it’s far more pervasive and general. After all, we can roll back the film to the “satanic abuse” panics of the 1980’s and hear pretty much the same stories. It has been going on a long time and hardly splits on a left/right axis. For example, do you think you can find any “tough on crime” Republicans who back policy that would allow law enforcement to overreact when kids are involved?

          The “Rose Quartz” example I’ll grant you. I was posting a lot on Tumblr when that all went down. It was not good. That said, it’s not the same thing as men with guns breaking up your family.

          That is unthinkable. I can’t even.

          As an aside, I have transgender friends who have had to defend themselves during custody hearings, facing openly conservative and transphobic judges, with opposing council eager to use their (so called) “perversion” as justification for taking their kids. What can they say? To quote Theoden, “What can [people] do against such reckless hate?”

          As I said, unthinkable. I can’t even.Report

          • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to veronica d says:

            It boils down to, it’s bad enough when legitimate authority figures have crap target acquisition, we really can not tolerate it from the mob, and since I run center left, I worry abut the mob on my side of the divide making things worse, good intentions aside.

            As for your last paragraph, Bug’s legal Guardians, should anything happen to my wife and I, are his aunts (two wonderful old lesbians we all love to pieces). I have some rather conservative family members who, should the aunts find themselves with custody of Bug, might very well make a legal fuss about it. I worked with an estate lawyer to make sure our will was very clear about where Bug was to go, because of bullshit like that.Report

            • Avatar veronica d in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

              As for your last paragraph, Bug’s legal Guardians, should anything happen to my wife and I, are his aunts (two wonderful old lesbians we all love to pieces). I have some rather conservative family members who, should the aunts find themselves with custody of Bug, might very well make a legal fuss about it. I worked with an estate lawyer to make sure our will was very clear about where Bug was to go, because of bullshit like that.

              May it never become an issue.Report

  22. Avatar CJColucci says:

    The “accidentally fired” thing isn’t real, which doesn’t mean it will never happen, to someone, somewhere. Everything happens. But we cannot worry about everything, nor scrutinize every possible public policy to that degree. Applied consistently, this would lead to no laws, no regulations, no policies, nothing but the war of all against all.

    So why are some people worried about it? I mean, these are smart, “data driven” types. They know this isn’t an actual problem.

    I’ve wondered about this myself, and my attempts to tease it out sometimes raise hackles.
    I’ve driven over a half-million miles over the last 40-plus years and literally never been in a situation where it would have made a damned bit of difference whether I was wearing a seatbelt or not. But situations where it would be useful are far from uncommon, and strapping in is no big deal, so a risk-averse person is fully justified in buckling up and nobody thinks he or she is weird or misguided.
    I’ve wandered the streets of cities perpetually under construction or renovation for decades. People sometimes die after being hit in the head by falling tools or masonry. Not often. Still, it happens somewhere, because something always happens somewhere. But if I wear a football helmet every time I go outside, people will think I’m nuts, and rightly so. Saying I’m risk-averse and it sometimes happens wouldn’t wash as an explanation. Still, I’m not doing anyone else any harm, so who cares?
    I’ve worked many late nights when on trial with attractive female co-counsel and no one else in the office. Some woman somewhere has falsely accused a man of sexual misconduct. If, for that reason, I refuse to work with my co-counsel without witnesses present, am I simply risk-averse, or a paranoid asshole, or Mike Pence? And unlike my silly football helmet, which is a harmless eccentricity, this behavior hurts my clients and damages my co-counsel’s career prospects. But don’t dare call anyone on it, or ask for an explanation of why this is a reasonable response to the risk.Report

    • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to CJColucci says:

      @CJ

      A really simple question (no lawyer tricks here): Since #metoo, have any men been falsely charged with inappropriate behavior towards female coworkers? And assuming your answer is honest, and you say yes, what number of these incidents would you need to see before someone wasn’t just being a paranoid asshole?

      I am going to also assume you think #metoo was a good thing, so your thesis seems to be that while it’s good for abusive men to get their comeuppance, if non-abusive men take steps to make sure there is never an impression of bad behavior, then they are ridiculous. So basically, you want us to do nothing and hope for the best?

      And FTR, I had strict policies about work trips and just general socializing alone with women long before #metoo, not because the Bible told me to, but because I didn’t want to put my wife in a position where she might feel uncomfortable about what I was doing. She never asked me to do that, it just seemed like the right thing to do for my marriage. After #metoo and the avalanche of new HR training we received, it also became about my career. If that makes me an asshole, so be it.Report

      • Avatar pillsy in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

        And assuming your answer is honest, and you say yes, what number of these incidents would you need to see before someone wasn’t just being a paranoid asshole?

        About 20 per year.Report

        • Avatar Maribou in reply to pillsy says:

          One thing I wish didn’t get lost in this conversation about false positives is that women (and people perceived as women, and sometimes men too) go through this same internal debate about being alone with more powerful people (generally men) ALL the time. Like every time there’s a situation where two people might be alone together and a woman is not supremely confident that the person who has more power than her isn’t a lecherous abusive type of the kind that #metoo has come to designate… that woman is *full full full full* of worries about what that might mean and what she might have to do to keep both her career and her boundaries intact, or whether that’s even possible.

          And that worry and fear and complication has been baked into women in mostly-male workplaces for a very very long time.

          I keep hearing this framed as if #metoo has caused this new problem for men, or like they had to be SO CAREFUL about this new problem suddenly, and figure out ways to judge the risk vs the harm….

          when all it is is a flipside of the exact same problem women have been bearing for decades or centuries.

          And then (some) men wonder why women don’t have a lot of patience for the Mike Pences of the world… and why other women don’t have a lot of patience for people who get up on their high horse about how people try to solve the issue.

          Personally if I was one of Mike’s colleagues who didn’t know him well outside of work and I noticed him making an effort not to put me or himself into situations where we were alone together, whether or not I was pissed off would be really dependent on
          A) whether that effort was costing me opportunities he was affording male coworkers
          B) whether I had reasons to prefer, myself, not being alone with male coworkers in the first place.

          But men in this particular argument always seem to have the conversation as if the male avoiding being alone with females is the only person in the hypothetical room… regardless of what side of the argument they fall on.Report

        • Avatar cjcolucci in reply to pillsy says:

          I wouldn’t argue with that number — though I’m not sure we need to quantify the difference between what justifies buckling up your seat belt and what justifies walking around town constantly wearing a football helmet. What really matters is situational judgment. How likely, given the people you work with, your own behavior, your spouse’s trust in you, and other largely local factors, are you to become the target of a believable false accusation? Are you a movie producer? Then maybe someone should be in the room when you talk with starlets about casting. Are you a CPA working on a big company’s taxes late into the night in early April with an attractive assistant of whatever sex you’re into? Probably not, but that will depend on other local factors. Seat belts and football helmets. With the added complications that sometimes your precautions can hurt someone else. Good judgment can’t be reduced to a formula. But it has to be based on more than “it has happened somewhere and could happen to me.”Report

          • Avatar pillsy in reply to cjcolucci says:

            I picked the number to roughly match the number of working age American men who are killed by lightning every year. It’s probably a low estimate.Report

          • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to cjcolucci says:

            @CJ

            “Good judgment can’t be reduced to a formula. But it has to be based on more than “it has happened somewhere and could happen to me.”

            Why? Clearly you were not a Boy Scout. It’s a special kind of weird to have someone complaining about personal caution, but then again, caution is the mortal enemy of progressivism.Report

            • Avatar cjcolucci in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

              What makes you think I was not a Boy Scout other than whatever cultural stereotype you may assign to me? In fact I was, for several years. I enjoyed it immensely, wasn’t sexually abused, and live by the motto “Be Prepared” to this day. But I prepare for things based on an assessment of actual risks. Seat belts and football helmets. I know that requires judgment and judgment is a hard, adult skill, but I learned a lot about it in the Boy Scouts.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to cjcolucci says:

                If you were a Boy Scout, did you learn things like CPR? Advanced First Aid? How to navigate with a compass? How to start a fire with one match? Because I learned all of those things, feel a bit safer because I did, and have never needed to use any of those skills.

                When you talk about football helmets, why pick and example that would make you look silly? Is it because you think that taking steps to protect yourself from false charges is silly? Have you never represented a client accused of something they didn’t do?Report

              • Avatar CJColucci in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                The Boy Scouts didn’t teach CPR in my day, but the rest was standard stuff.
                I’ve had many clients accused of things they didn’t do. Adopting the Mike Pence policy wouldn’t have helped any of them. For a lot of them, hiring a videographer to follow them around all day, which would have been even sillier than wearing a football helmet, wouldn’t have helped either.Report

      • Avatar Dave in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

        “I am going to also assume you think #metoo was a good thing, so your thesis seems to be that while it’s good for abusive men to get their comeuppance, if non-abusive men take steps to make sure there is never an impression of bad behavior, then they are ridiculous. So basically, you want us to do nothing and hope for the best?”

        You asked Chris not to get lawyerly and you put this in front of him?

        Come on, you know that’s not what’s going on here. It’s risk assessment and the response to said assessment. Overstate the risk and set your responses accordingly, expect the pushback.

        “After #metoo and the avalanche of new HR training we received, it also became about my career. If that makes me an asshole, so be it”

        When did you enter the workforce? I entered in 1996. Policies governing workplace conduct and sexual harassment have always been a part of my work experience so it’s always “been about my career”. Twenty three years later, it’s still about my career. Nothing about metoo or HR training has ever changed that.

        I guess it’s no surprise that there are workplace cultures so fucked up that they’re taking metoo as a threat. I’m in real estate and finance so there’s plenty of that. Still, ignorance of risk doesn’t excuse it.Report

        • Avatar cjcolucci in reply to Dave says:

          It’s not “Chris,” Dave. Otherwise I agree entirely. As an aside, lawyer tricks work only when the witness is being evasive or tricky, or otherwise trying to pull something. It’s like the old saying: “You can’t cheat an honest man.” A bit of an overstatement, but there’s a lot to it.Report

        • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Dave says:

          @dave

          As I noted, I started taking steps to limit my risk when I got married (actually before concerning never going home with drunk girls).

          For me this one falls as Unlikely on the Risk Assessment Chart but high severity if was to occur, so it’s probably a Medium overall risk. I think not letting myself end up alone with a female coworker or subordinate is the right move to address Medium risk.Report

  23. Avatar GeoffA says:

    @maribou: +999 to thatReport

  24. Yay, I did it and it only took me half a blood pressure medicine to get through it.Report

  25. Avatar pillsy says:

    @Kristin:

    BUT that having been said, just want to point out that you guys acknowledge that Trump’s rhetoric can spread and inspire ugliness. It would be nice if you could also acknowledge my fear that the far left rhetoric might be having something of a negative effect as well.

    Yeah, but I think about 80% of the reason that Trump’s rhetoric can spread and inspire ugliness is that he’s President. If he weren’t, he’d just be another one of those quietly malignant assholes who blights the lives of people who have the misfortune to have personal or business relationships with him, while the rest of us rarely think of him except as the answer to a Trivial Pursuit question.

    Really, his nomination and election demonstrate that, whatever the ultimate motives of the people who voted for him were, every safeguard the conservative movement had which would keep one of the monsters from taking power were absolutely inadequate.

    Meanwhile, I think the safeguards on broad Left are likely to be adequate. This isn’t to say that we won’t fuck up, because we absolutely will[1], but we’ll fuck up for different reasons than the extremists setting the agenda. There are a lot more ways to fail than we are to succeed.

    I expect you will disagree on how good those safeguards really are, or how much power the extremists already hold. Maybe you’re right; I certainly expected the safeguards on the Right to hold up much better than they did.[2] But even there, they haven’t failed yet in that catastrophic way, and that makes a difference.

    [1] I remember a day or two after Obama was elected in 2008, which, by the way, was something I put a lot of time and (for me then, as a badly paid postdoc) money into, which was something I was relieved and genuinely happy about, I wrote a list of stuff I thought he was going to fuck up more or less badly. I wish I could find it now; a lot of my predictions were right on.

    [2] One of the key things I see as a safeguard is the people I know damn well do most of the work in the local Democratic Party, who are partisan as hell (of course) but not generally terribly far to the Left. Not only do they not go in for, say, the SJW stuff, for the most part they don’t even really know what to make of it. On those rare occasions where I’ve tried to explain some of the controversies around the social justice stuff to them, or other shenanigans involving the Extremely Online Left, they’ve sort of looked at me like I’m from Mars.

    All in all, I think that’s a good sign.Report

    • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to pillsy says:

      @pillsy

      My manager is a casual Trump supporter. He just got a huge tax return check (5 kids) and he actually thinks a lot of his other policies are necessary and good. And my boss is a smart guy and someone I like a lot and IMO a good person. So…how do you explain that?Report

      • Avatar pillsy in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

        He’s one of the failed safeguards.

        Seriously, those were the folks who were supposed to put the brakes on Trump and for one reason or another they either didn’t try, or after they failed they decided to acquiesce to someone who is blatantly unfit for the office, as well as a really open bigot, for whatever reason.

        I was going to cite the famous Edmund Burke quote about good men doing nothing, but I decided to check my facts first and it looks like he probably never said it.Report

        • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to pillsy says:

          But again, my boss thinks he is doing a good job overall…and he’s willing to ignore the bigoted stuff that gets progressives so cranked up. And that’s sort of my thesis is that the Left is going to have to do a lot better than just saying Trump is a horrible person. They are going to have to attack him on policy (and despite how much it matters to Schilling, ‘children in cages’ isn’t going to sway people).Report

          • Avatar pillsy in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

            But again, my boss thinks he is doing a good job overall…and he’s willing to ignore the bigoted stuff that gets progressives so cranked up.

            Sure, Mike. And that means that he’s culpable, in his small way, for Trump. The guy’s intelligence and decency don’t change that, and neither does his positive judgement on Trump’s job performance.

            And frankly, if the guy thinks Trump is doing a good job overall, I doubt any sort of Leftward messaging is likely to move him. We’ll have to find that vote somewhere else.Report

  26. Avatar pillsy says:

    @Mike:

    And the counter-reaction you are seeing now didn’t happen in a vacuum
    either, which is sort of my point.

    Look, I was kind of hoping I wouldn’t have to go down this route, on this post. I thought it would be redundant and out of the spirit of the exercise. But, you know, Kristen actually talked about reasons that liberals often frighten her, so I think I’m going to have to actually go into some of the issues with why the conservative movement has us so angry and, often, scared.

    I’m doing this because, like, we keep coming back around to this whole thing with the SJ Left and the reason it took off in recent years is clear as day to me, and I suspect many other folks on the Left, but I don’t know how much we talk about it. It serves a purpose.

    You talk a lot about that Hidden Tribes study, and point out that its group of Progressive Activists are a mostly white bunch. Have you ever really thought about what might be driving that? One time ISTR you said something like you thought it was guilt and penance, but I think your idea that it’s a religion is leading you seriously astray.

    It’s not a religion. It’s a theory. One that, if you were a kind of sheltered, kind of privileged, kind of young white liberal person between the end of 2015 or so and the beginning of 2017, you actually really needed.[1]

    Because you’d just learned America was much, much, much more racist than you thought. And the actual ideological content that motivates the SJ Left provides an extremely good set of answers why you, as a maybe kinda sheltered, maybe kinda privileged, white liberal had no fucking idea that America was racist enough that Donald Trump was able to become President.

    Tick off the various components there: privilege theory, standpoint epistemology, structural racism… and you have an answer. You have a theory that tells you how you didn’t see this coming.

    Most of this stuff long predates the modern Trump era, but it blew up around that time. And the reason isn’t just, “The kids today are jerks,” or the freaking Port Huron Statement.

    Also, on a more personal note, I have mentioned on multiple occasions that I am Jewish, and starting around 2014 or so I started seeing in my own life, first online, and then off, a lot more anti-semitism than I’d seen before, along with more open racism and (good lord) so much open misogyny.

    Besides some Nazi shitheads in high school and online Nazi shitheads in college, many years ago, I hadn’r really seen much, it was rarely terribly overt, and it was usually coming from the Left. It just exploded on the Right around 2014 or so, it was rancid and very overt, and often came with campaigns of harassment.

    And a lot of people who were tied up in it were affiliated with Trumpworld. Hell, Steve Bannon managed his campaign. And this shit crept into his campaign somewhat more subtly, and a lot of Great Replacement/”White Genocide” rhetoric and “Cultural Marxism” rhetoric, which were popular on the alt-right and had long associations with anti-semitic conspiracy theorizing, made the leap to more mainstream conservative outlets and even some centrist types.

    This was, to my mind, pretty fucking scary. And then, you know, those alt-right fuckers started walking into synagogues and fucking murdering people just for being Jewish.

    Like, I know this is statistically very unlikely to happen to me. My slower and more rational side recognizes that some of what’s going on is like what Oscar talked about with fears of terrorism.. But it’s still not some totally hypothetical scenario where I get Twitter-mobbed for fluffing a trans person’s pronoun, and the consequences are a lot more severe than a Twitter mob or even a lost job.

    And really, it’s not like there aren’t thousands of years of examples of shit turning so much worse due to anti-semitism.

    [1] I absolutely don’t want to speak for anybody else here on this one, but I somewhat fit the bill, and knew quite a few people who really fit it.Report

    • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to pillsy says:

      @Pillsy

      I have been seeing SJ flare-ups since at least 1994. It’s cyclical, but it gets a little worse every time. This isn’t about Trump, that’s just the latest excuse for outrage. The truth is that the Left made identity the central priority for liberalism at some point and that is just playing out. You all see racism everywhere because identity is such a driving force in progressivism these days i.e. if someone isn’t succeeding, it must be because of attacks on their identity.

      Since you are encouraging me not to think of it as a secular religion, I would encourage you to re-examine a lot of the problems you see in society and imagine if everyone was the same race, gender, sexual preference, etc and then see if you can think of any alternate reasons for those problems.Report

      • Avatar pillsy in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

        This isn’t about Trump, that’s just the latest excuse for outrage. The truth is that the Left made identity the central priority for liberalism at some point and that is just playing out. You all see racism everywhere because identity is such a driving force in progressivism these days i.e. if someone isn’t succeeding, it must be because of attacks on their identity.

        Dude this is why discussing this issue with you is basically an impossible waste of time.

        You refuse to consider whether anybody on the Left could ever possibly, ever, slightly, even a little bit, actually have a point about racism.

        On the one had you expect us to credit fears of SJWs run amok that, as far as I can tell, don’t exist outside of weird Quillette hypotheticals, and you expect us to just believe without question that an openly racist and categorically unfit candidate being elected President has nothing to do with racism.

        Sorry, at a certain point I’m just going to believe my lying eyes instead of you.

        You talk about religion, but you’re the one who takes it as a matter of faith that racism doesn’t exist and doesn’t influence anybody.

        EDIT: Oh yeah, and let’s go with this:

        Since you are encouraging me not to think of it as a secular religion, I would encourage you to re-examine a lot of the problems you see in society and imagine if everyone was the same race, gender, sexual preference, etc and then see if you can think of any alternate reasons for those problems.

        How do you expect me to explain anti-smeitism (you know, the specific problem that I was pointing to in my comment) in a world without religious minorities? How am I supposed to understand anti-semitism except as an attack on my identity?

        Not one that’s prevented me from being successful, by the way. Not one that explains some sort of disparate impact.

        But an attack nonetheless.Report

        • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to pillsy says:

          @pillsy

          I didn’t say racism doesn’t exist. I just think it’s a much, much smaller problem than you do. A big part of the reason I think racism is so hard for the SJ Left to move past is because the alternative is so distasteful i.e. some groups are doing worse because there are problems within their actual communities.

          It’s really about Amy Wax’s Parable of the Pedestrian for me. I’m happy to acknowledge the profound affects of slavery on blacks, but other races have also suffered greatly and they are doing much, much better. You talk about anti-semitism, but how are Jews doing in terms of social and financial success? Overall, pretty good.

          I just think you’re side can’t let go of racism because you need the crusade, you need to be able to blame someone else other than the actual people you want to help, but from my perspective that is just as racist because it denies them agency and it sets white progressives up as their saviors.Report

          • Avatar Jesse in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

            I’m surprised it took this long to get to the, “other minorities are successful, so why can’t the blacks get it together,” argument.Report

            • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Jesse says:

              Well at the end of the day I think we know that’s the only racial minority the SJ crowd is super concerned about.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                Dude this is dumb as hell.

                Like even if you actually pay direct attention to the worst and most frivolous SJW complaints you would know this is just wrong.

                Trump’s racist-ass border and immigration policies are, axiomatically, not targeted at African Americans.

                Come on.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to pillsy says:

                SJWs have a special relationship with blacks because I think it gives them a unique opportunity to play the white saviors.

                Yeah, but i also don’t think the Left is really that cranked up about immigration policies. Not very long ago you all were pretty opposed to Mexican immigration. But it’s the cause of the moment because Trump wants to build a wall. I mean, the pushback isn’t that you all want them all here, just that it’s a waste of money because people will still get through. Not exactly a ringing endorsement for illegal immigration.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                Do you mean “the Left” as in, “pretty much everybody in the Democratic Party,” or as in, “the SJ Left”?

                That argument against the Wall is one that we all (on the left, most of the center, and some of the right) can agree on. But it doesn’t capture the breadth of SJ Left’s views on the subject.

                Really, you didn’t notice this when you were reading about Progressive Activists in the Hidden Tribes survey?Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to pillsy says:

                @pillsy

                This is what the report says:

                “For the two liberal tribes (Progressive Activists and Traditional Liberals), the same immigration issues are perceived through the lens of racism, human rights, refugee protection, and the positive value of a diverse society. “

                So SJs look at immigration issues as another form of racism, abuse of human rights and a refugee crisis. Basically victimhood. The diversity thing is better I suppose, but I suspect that is more about identity politics than the reasons someone like myself might value diversity.Report

          • Avatar pillsy in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

            I’m happy to acknowledge the profound affects of slavery on blacks, but other races have also suffered greatly and they are doing much, much better.

            Members of other races and ethnic groups had very different experiences. I mean tons of American Jews have assimilated in much the same way as other immigrant groups did, but there’s lingering (and now increasing) anti-semitism that I don’t see equivalent to in the experience of other groups that came here around the same time.

            Where’s that come from? Your model doesn’t account for it.

            And the disagreement here is not just about past wrongs. Like, I haven’t read Parable of the Pedestrian, but I read McWhorter’s review… and I dunno. The part that would probably be interesting is the part where she argues that actual ongoing discrimination is not a serious obstacle, but the stuff I saw in McWhorter’s review didn’t really persuade me.

            I mean if the truck driver is periodically walking by that pedestrian and whacking him with a hammer, well, I think maybe it’s worth getting the truck driver to stop, even if that alone won’t get the pedestrian back on their feet.[1]

            But seriously, a lot of the time people on the Left see people on the Right argue, more or less explicitly, that those hammer hits are fine, and there’s nothing wrong with hitting someone who’s struggling to get back on their feet with a hammer once in a while, or even that hitting them that way is justified because they’re back up on their feet.

            I know I’ve said in the past that I believe the first line in improving racial equality are racially neutral programs and reforms that will, due to the disparity of outcomes, disproportionately help African Americans.

            And whether you agree or not, I think the reforms and programs I talk about are aligned with helping people get on their feet and figure out how to flourish on their own.

            I could be wrong about any or all of these beliefs. But I don’t see how any of them translate into anything that even remotely resembles your psychoanalysis of SJ Left beliefs.

            I mean yeah, at the end of the day I actually am a liberal and I’m probably not going to find more conservative arguments like McWhorter’s (or probably Wax’s) as convincing as you do.

            And yes, I understand that McWhorter identifies as a liberal Democrat, but when you get right down to it his arguments sound very conservative to me. I don’t intend this pejoratively, even. If I were to sketch out my conservative doppelganger for Kristen’s phantom liberal who disappointed her by disappearing, they’d sound a lot like McWhorter.

            And given what I know about the black conservative tradition (which is to be clear not a hell of a lot), McWhorter seems to articulate a lot of the same ideas.

            So one of the people who you say had that SJ cancer just doesn’t have the beliefs you have at all. And nothing I said here is new; this has been my opinion on the subject for years. Some stuff shifts back and forth at the edges, but the underlying story is the same.

            According to the SJW I’m most familiar with, your theory about what motivates SJWs is just wrong.

            [1] And hell maybe these particular hammers aren’t actually racist and afflict poor people in general or something. Still: stop hitting people with hammers.Report

            • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to pillsy says:

              I think it’s much like my views on abortion. I mean, i could tell you that I think it’s murder (I do) and i would make it 100% illegal if I was in charge, but I also don’t think that’s productive. And I do think the left was right to criticize pro-lifers for not supporting sex education, access to contraception, etc. So I picked my battles and focused on reducing the need for abortion. And numbers have actually dropped.

              On the other hand, to hear the average SJW talk, blacks have barely progressed from Jim Crow. There’s this hyper-focus on the specter of racism which means you all are sort of absolved from ever talking solutions. If I’m okay looking past murder, why can’t you all actually look beyond racism towards actually helping these communities fix the problems they have?Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                The abortion analogy seems way off point.

                I bet we substantially agree on how many abortions there are, and why they happen. We just have very different moral judgements on them. When you look past your moral objections, though, you see that the Left, despite mostly having very different moral views about abortion, is quite amenable to doing things that will reduce their number.

                But we basically agree that racism is bad; we disagree how much racism is out there, and how much it contributes to other problems. Given that we (axiomatically) believe that we’re right, you’re proposing a course of action that doesn’t make sense.

                It would be like if you told me abortion is terrible, and I answered, “Sure, it’s awful, but there are only three or four abortions a year in this country. Shouldn’t you worry about something else?”Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to pillsy says:

                @pillsy

                The point of the Parable of the Pedestrian is that it doesn’t matter how much systematic racism exists, it’s still up to those communities to move past the effects. I mean, do you have any ideas on how to eliminate or reduce racism? Assuming no, are there policies you could suggest that would help those communities move past it?

                (And I’m not talking about things like affirmative action which are arbitrary and ensure a minority group beholden to whites for any progress they have made).Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                The fact that it’s up to those communities to move past the effects of systemic racism is (almost vacuously) true, but that fact neither discharges the responsibility of society as a whole to get rid of that racism, nor does it obligate those communities to stop advocating against racism.

                As for assuming, “No,” why the hell are you doing that? I’ve probably written thousands of words in comments about things I think would ameliorate racism, and I outlined them briefly again here, and I’m pretty sure that I’ve never mentioned affirmative action as one of them [1], and am pretty lukewarm about it in general.

                Maybe you don’t like the things I believe will help, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think about them or discuss them.Report

          • Avatar Maribou in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

            “I just think it’s a much, much smaller problem than you do. ”

            When one person says they’re afraid because they’re Jewish and “those alt-right fuckers started walking into synagogues and fucking murdering people just for being Jewish” and the other person responds with ” The truth is that the Left made identity the central priority for liberalism at some point …”

            It’s hardly surprising that the first person sees racism as a bigger problem than the second person. So not surprising that remarking on it seems like a (perhaps not intentional) effort to avoid the painful truths at stake.Report

            • Avatar pillsy in reply to Maribou says:

              Yeah and one thing is that a lot of the SJ activists out there are Jewish, and that;s definitely true of my personal circle. This stuff looms large for a lot of us.

              Anyway I’m just going to cop to some frustration here because one of the reasons I wrote the OP is because of the tendency many of us have (definitely me included) to retreat back into our corners and start arguing with the imaginary liberals or conservatives [1] in our heads.

              And yet here we are.

              Again.

              [1] Kristin was definitely getting her share of that from Team Blue here, too.Report

  27. Avatar pillsy says:

    @Mike:

    First you said this:

    SJWs have a special relationship with blacks because I think it gives them a unique opportunity to play the white saviors.

    Yeah, but i also don’t think the Left is really that cranked up about immigration policies.

    …and then you immediately segued to this:

    So SJs look at immigration issues as another form of racism, abuse of human rights and a refugee crisis. Basically victimhood.

    I don’t know if you realize it, but you just moved the goal posts so fast there was a visible red shift. You immediately pivoted from, “They don’t really care,” to, “They don’t care for the right reasons.”

    To be blunt, that sucks.

    The OP went up over a week ago, and I’ve made a real, if decidedly imperfect, effort to engage with what you had to say. I screwed it up early on and was dismissive when you were trying to explain some things, and that was bullshit, and I apologized then and I’m gonna apologize again.

    I’ve also, you know, gone out to investigate what you’re talking about, cited sources I know you believe are legitimate because you’ve cited them in the past, and just written a lot of stuff. It’s taken hours.

    That said, I don’t think you’ve come even remotely close to meeting me half way here. We’ve gone around this literally for days now, and you keep dismissing what I’m actually saying, or constantly shifting the grounds of conversation without noting that you’re doing so, and it just makes me think I’m wasting my time with this.

    At this point I don’t know who you think you’re arguing with, but it sure as hell isn’t me.

    This will probably be 499th comment on this post. If you want to get in the last word by replying to it, that is entirely fair and feel free to say literally whatever you want; I will neither delete nor redact it.

    However, after that, we’ll have an even 500 comments, some of them (including some of yours) quite good, and I’m going to close it to future comments, or ask a staff member to do so.

    And as frustrated as I am, I do appreciate that you took the time to read my article, and your kind words about it.

    Have a great weekend.Report

    • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to pillsy says:

      @pillsy

      I think your criticisms are fair and I have probably just been drive-by commenting on this thread and not putting as much effort into it as I should have I’m going to make the lame excuse that it’s Derby Week here in Louisville and most of us are not very focused on serious pursuits.

      What I will also say is that it might just, in general, not be very productive to me to talk specifically about race issues with any of the Progressives on the site because it has been far-and-away the topic that makes me the most frustrated and also the issue that there is probably the least potential for any of us to move each other’s opinion on. Ideas around race in the United States are something I have spent a lot of personal, academic and professional time on so I get more angry than I probably should, but I also think that the two far wings of our political structure just get it wrong nearly all of the time.

      Appreciate you hanging with me and I concur it would be a good idea to put this one to bed.Report