Citizenship at Leisure In The Ball Pit Republic

Andrew Donaldson

Andrew Donaldson

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

Related Post Roulette

150 Responses

  1. Avatar Mike Schilling
    Ignored
    says:

    TR often used the bally pull pit.Report

  2. Avatar veronica d
    Ignored
    says:

    I was expecting a Dashcon thread.Report

  3. Avatar Ozzzzy!
    Ignored
    says:

    Thanks Andrew. I liked this.Report

  4. Avatar Bill Blake
    Ignored
    says:

    We are a nation of people devoted to profiting *at the expense of* our fellow citizens and anyone else who gets in the way. Thus we have our federal government, which morphed from one which was supposed to protect rights into one that taxes, regulates, and criminalizes in order to advantage one group over another. There are few good citizens left, fewer still who have any allegiance to the principles of limited government and individual rights upon which this country was founded. There is no realistic hope of avoiding the catastrophe our national greed for the unearned will bring; we should be looking to survive the coming tyranny, not wasting ourselves on efforts at changing our fellow man.Report

    • Avatar Slade the Leveller in reply to Bill Blake
      Ignored
      says:

      The very first sentence of the Constitution contains the words “promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity”. There is not a first person pronoun in the bunch.Report

      • Avatar Bill Blake in reply to Slade the Leveller
        Ignored
        says:

        I have no idea what your point is. 🙂Report

        • Avatar Slade the Leveller in reply to Bill Blake
          Ignored
          says:

          The rugged individualism that some think is written into the Constitution is a figment of someone’s imagination.Report

          • Avatar JS in reply to Slade the Leveller
            Ignored
            says:

            It’s important to know that the few good citizens left are all, of course, people who agree with my politics. Which aren’t even politics, they’re just common sense things smart people believe.

            Whatever nonsense you’ve cooked up is politics, and you’re very un-American for believing it.

            Anyways, while you’re parsing that I’m gonna go watch the party of small government and individual liberty focus on their new social agenda, which appears to be….making sure sports events are legally required to play the national anthem.

            I’m a little confused by that, but surely forcing private citizens to sit through an act of enforced patriotism before a private event is….more freedom, like how it’s done in good old American North Korea.Report

            • Avatar Slade the Leveller in reply to JS
              Ignored
              says:

              A comment truly worthy of OT. As for me, I have to go out and fill in some potholes left by the recent thaw since my local government is loath to do it. Maybe Mr. Blake has a point.Report

          • Avatar Bill Blake in reply to Slade the Leveller
            Ignored
            says:

            I take it, then, that you haven’t read the Declaration of Independence, the Federalist papers, or much of anything else pertaining to the writing of the Constitution, that you don’t know why there is a Bill of Rights, and that your knowledge of American history has more than a few holes in it. I’m sorry for your ignorance, but I don’t intend to make it my life’s work to cure it. Good day.Report

            • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Bill Blake
              Ignored
              says:

              I know how well those things were honored in the past, which saves me from thinking of today as a huge departure.

              Other than riots to prevent vote-counting, That has been peculiar to 2000 and 2020.Report

              • Avatar Bill Blake in reply to Mike Schilling
                Ignored
                says:

                But today *is* a huge departure.

                As you note, America’s principles have routinely been more aspirational than actualized. Yet over time they *have* resulted in a broadening of who has rights and of the rights each person has.

                What we have today is something contrary to that arc. We’re abandoning even the *aspirations* of individual rights and limited government. And without even that, there is nothing to move our society toward recognition of further rights–and nothing to keep it from slipping into authoritarianism and tyranny.

                Those riots? Those aren’t a mere peculiarity–they’re a sign of the delegitimization of the processes that maintain and advance our rights. They’re a warning of what’s to come.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Bill Blake
                Ignored
                says:

                The rioters have been the people who claim to stand for constitutional, limited government, which is interesting, no?Report

              • Avatar Bill Blake in reply to Mike Schilling
                Ignored
                says:

                Interesting only in the sense that their actions demonstrate that they have no idea what a republic is nor why, in a republic, you simply *don’t* use violence to reverse an election *even if it has been stolen*. These are fundamentally ignorant people, self-deluded by their need to believe in their messiah and self-deluded as to the meanings of the words they usurp. Except, of course, for the many grifters who batten on the corpse of the Republican party, who certainly know the truths they wish their marks to not see.Report

            • Avatar Philip H in reply to Bill Blake
              Ignored
              says:

              well aside from the fact that the Declaration of Independence was superseded by the Constitution and the Federalist Papers were written to encourage the adoption of Constitution . . . . They are really not the ruling documents. Hell it took over 230 years to get the Supreme COurt to declare there MIGHT be an individual right to bear arms under the Second Amendment – an amusing position written by an “originalist” who seems to have forgotten that “bearing arms” at the time of the writing was a distinctly military act.Report

              • Avatar Bill Blake in reply to Philip H
                Ignored
                says:

                I don’t argue with people who make up their own facts. Good day.Report

              • Avatar JS in reply to Bill Blake
                Ignored
                says:

                I mean unless you think the Declaration of Independence came after our current Constitution, it appears you’re the one who can’t handle basic facts.

                Hint: The current US government is not even the FIRST US government that happened after the Declaration, as we set up the Articles of Confederation first and then adopted the current US Constitution considerably later, and with quite a bit of horse trading and lessons learned.Report

              • Avatar Bill Blake in reply to JS
                Ignored
                says:

                I don’t argue with the uncivil. Good day.Report

  5. Avatar Oscar Gordon
    Ignored
    says:

    I read things like this and I think, birthright citizenship is not a good thing. One should not automatically gain all the rights and privileges of a citizen upon turning 18 simply because mom & dad were in the country at the time. One should have to make a conscious effort to gain citizenship. There is something about doing the work, and taking that oath, that adds value to the role.

    Not for everyone, obviously, but for a lot of people…Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Oscar Gordon
      Ignored
      says:

      UNLESS you are the right kinda white, right?

      Kidding. I know that isn’t at all what you mean.

      You have me thinking that an all-or-nothing approach to attaining citizenship may be best.

      Like, a country needs to either embrace what you discuss here, wherein EVERYONE has to earn their citizenship OR citizenship is automatic for everyone within the borders of the nation at any time. The system we currently employ where there are 9000 different sets of rules and exceptions to rules and exceptions to exceptions just seems real cockamamie.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kazzy
        Ignored
        says:

        We need to figure out a particular line where you pay more in taxes than you take in services.

        Like, everybody (even libertarians!) benefits from the roads. So everybody gets $3k worth of benefits from living in a state that has roads. Everybody gets this and that and the other. So take that amount and hold it up to the amount paid in taxes.

        Is your number red? Not a citizen.
        Is your number green? Citizen!Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Jaybird
          Ignored
          says:

          Oh, yeah, I can see all sorts of ways that gets gamed…Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Oscar Gordon
            Ignored
            says:

            Maybe we can have tiers.

            Red.
            Orange.
            Yellow.
            Green.
            Blue.
            Indigo.
            Violet.Report

            • Avatar veronica d in reply to Jaybird
              Ignored
              says:

              Need to add infrared and ultraviolet.

              Trust no one. Keep your laser handy.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to veronica d
                Ignored
                says:

                Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk both being infrared, mocking Bill Gates for being yellow.Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Speaking of Paranoia, I once GM’ed a Paranoia game. Anyway, we were playing one of the main adventures in the text, and the party had crash landed in the ocean and were all treading water. One of them rolled poorly and drowned.

                Now, if you’ve ever played Paranoia, you’ll know that whenever a character dies, one of their clones is delivered to the location, thus the player can keep playing. It’s cool.

                In this case, however, the replacement clones were delivered in a barrel fired from a cannon back at main base. So after the character died, this happened:

                Me: You hear a loud boom far in the distance.

                Them: We look around.

                Me: A minute later you see a barrel descending toward you all. It must be {player A’s} clone.

                Them: …

                Me: It’s heading right toward you all, in fact toward {player B}.

                Player B: I swim away fast.

                Me: Roll.

                Player B: Rolls poorly.

                Me: The barrel lands smack on top of you, squishing you like a bug. Moments later {player A’s} clone emerges from the barrel, looking confused. Oh, and you all hear another boom in the distance.

                Them: Fuck!

                Paranoia — great game. Send in the clones.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to veronica d
                Ignored
                says:

                I will be in the X-Ray, or perhaps Gamma tierReport

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                I agree!

                (Note the higher frequencies are “better” in Paranoia.)Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to veronica d
                Ignored
                says:

                I like being associated with frequencies that can do real damage.Report

          • Avatar CJColucci in reply to Oscar Gordon
            Ignored
            says:

            Hard to do it with individuals. Maybe we can use states as a proxy. Your state’s representation in the national councils, above or below a certain, necessarily somewhat arbitrary starting point, is adjusted up or down depending on whether your state is a net contributor to or taker from the national fisc.Report

    • Andrew Donaldson Andrew Donaldson in reply to Oscar Gordon
      Ignored
      says:

      In the abstract I hear you but I doubt there is a practical way to do it any other way. What it does do for me, at least, is it really shapes how I view other issues. Such as immigration specifically, where among the other messes of that issue we cannot even get a good handle and reform on making citizens and what that means which should be central to a sane immigration policy and reform.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Andrew Donaldson
        Ignored
        says:

        I can hear folks now telling me I want to recreate Starship Troopers (the book, not the movie), and that isn’t exactly right, but it’s not exactly wrong either.

        But you are correct in that as a practical matter, it’s not going to happen. Nobody wants to end birthright citizenship as it applies to current citizens (we know damn well that a lot of people want to end it for anyone just visiting or who is residing here illegally).

        Even if we had a blank slate to start from, I’d have to think long and hard about how one would gain citizenship. Is it a test? Military/public service? An oath? combination thereof, or something else entirely?

        Still, when citizenship is cheap…Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Andrew Donaldson
        Ignored
        says:

        Wrapped in all of this is also a question of what it means to be a citizen/have citizenship? What rights, privileges, entitlements, duties, and responsibilities are reserved just for citizens?

        The thing about our birthright citizenship is that while it is cheap, it also has little in the way of duties and responsibilities, but quite a bit in the way of rights, privileges, and entitlements.

        Right now, about the only duty there is, is “Don’t be a felon.” Should we have other duties and responsibilities? I guess we have a responsibility to vote, for what it’s worth. And another to pay taxes, which is actually enforced.

        What about rights, privileges, and entitlements? Are there things that should be reserved to citizens, versus anyone who happens to live here? What if we had open borders and ended deportation? What would we limit to citizens versus residents? What if citizenship also meant you accepted a 90% marginal tax rate on all personal income and capital gains over and above a modest amount?Report

        • Avatar InMD in reply to Oscar Gordon
          Ignored
          says:

          I think institutionalization of a praetorian class is inherently a bad idea. The question isn’t when it becomes ossified and seizes power and privilege for itself but when. We would end up with a lot of the same problems we have now and fewer avenues to do anything about it. The entitled idiots we have now could well end up being the citizens.Report

          • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to InMD
            Ignored
            says:

            We already have something of a praetorian class that is institutionalized for all practical purposes.Report

            • Avatar InMD in reply to Oscar Gordon
              Ignored
              says:

              Agreed. My point is I don’t understand what giving them extra rights and privileges does to help us, even if there are theoretically extra responsibilities. I think the reality of that ends up looking more like George W. Bush in the TX air national guard than a more selfless and beneficent ruling class.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to InMD
                Ignored
                says:

                Don’t make the responsibilities theoretical. Make them *ACTUAL*.

                If you have met your responsibilities to the collective, you get a say. If you have not met your responsibilities, you enjoy freedom of speech in the freedom of speech zone.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                I get the idea but I doubt the efficacy. It’s all based on the assumption that the elites have the honor to enforce the responsibilities against the other elites. When has that ever proved right over any sustainable length of time? Self-policing is a sham.

                The whole idea sounds illiberal and authoritarian to me. I’m more of a bind them down with the constitution type than someone who wishes for supermen to lead us out of our decadent naval-gazing. And besides the tools are already there if people want to use them.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to InMD
                Ignored
                says:

                In my head, the extra rights and privileges come with a host of extra duties and responsibilities that currently don’t actually exist, or that can be weaseled out of.

                Think of it in our modern military context. Officers have a lot of power, but attached to that power are some serious duties and responsibilities. Fail to meet those duties and responsibilities, and you not only lose the power attached, you may face criminal charges.

                Our current praetorian class has all the powers, but no actual duties or responsibilities attached to it. We the people are expected to hold that class to account, but we very rarely can do it.

                This is all a thought experiment, obviously, because there is no way to get there from here without seriously re-writing the constitution.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                I hear you. For sake of the thought experiment though who holds the authority over the citizens? One of the features of the existing system is competing centers of power. They aren’t always good or consistent about holding each other accountable but they can, and they could do a lot more if we as citizens pushed them to.

                Our military is able to operate the way it does now due to being under civilian authority. I also think the fact that it has become an all volunteer force does a lot to sustain discipline.

                I also get the distinct impression that the discipline in the military is mostly reserved for the rank and file. I mean, how many people have had to fall on their swords over the last 20 years of failures in Iraq/GWoT? Maybe it’s happening in a way that isn’t cleaely visible to the larger public but you certainly don’t hear a lot about high ranking officers forced to resign or facing consequences.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to InMD
                Ignored
                says:

                Discipline in the military is maintained by JAG (they enforce the UCMJ), which top brass being held accountable by congress/POTUS.

                As to your larger question, that depends on what permits one to become a citizen? Let’s make it simple:

                -There are two classes, citizens and residents.

                -Borders are open, no deportations.

                -Citizenship is achievable through a variety of paths (service, education, etc.), but they all require some element of intention. You do not simply become a citizen, you have to work for it in some fashion.

                -Citizenship is earnable only once. If you lose it, or relinquish it, you don’t get it back.

                -Only Citizens can vote or hold public office (public office being elected or appointed officials, including police chief, etc.). With one exception (see below).

                -Citizens are subjected to a much higher tax bracket, such that while citizens can earn enough to be comfortable, they can never be wealthy (I’d have to think about where that line is).

                -Citizens have specific public duties they must attend to. Nothing onerous, but also not things that can be ignored (have to think about that as well).

                -Citizens can not exclude themselves from laws, and are obligated to cooperate with public investigations (if the FBI knocks on your door, you can not tell them to piss off or evade questions whose answers won’t violate the 5th amendment).

                -There is a broad swath of protective negative rights that covers anyone inside the borders (free speech, privacy, habeus corpus, etc.). Welfare benefits are also available. Being a resident does not mean you are simply a serf.

                -Residents can petition for a vote of no confidence against any public official. If the vote clears 50+%, the official is removed from office. If the vote hits a super majority (66+%), the official loses citizenship.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                I dunno man. Maybe we can try it when we colonize Mars. I have concerns about anything that would effectively disenfranchise so many. As many crappy sides as there can be to democracy it’s hard for me not to see it as an achievement of long, historical struggle.

                Take your second to last bullet. If only citizens can vote, couldn’t they decide to eliminate the rights the residents enjoy without consulting said residents on the matter? Does the plan for taxation greatly exacerbate the situation we have now, where the costs of attaining power and obtaining rights is such that the already wealthy or subsidized enjoy enormous advantage in achieving it? Even eliminating the 4th amendment for citizens as suggested by bullet 8 seems like it would over empower law enforcement bureaucracies against leaders they don’t like for arbitrary or self-interested reasons.

                Maybe I’d be more open to it if it was a requirement of everyone like military service is in some countries. Though even then I wonder if that sort of policy is more reflection of solidarity rather than cause.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to InMD
                Ignored
                says:

                Like I said, this isn’t something you can implement late in the game. It’s a clean slate kinda thing. And it would have to be installed as a very clearly written, foundational thing and very hard to change, or your point holds that a slim majority can alter the system to game advantage. I would hope that enough people from all walks of life would seek the franchise so as to avoid cohesive voting blocks from forming (which is why I said there would be multiple paths).

                To your other two points, I’d have to flesh those out a bit more for you (I can if you’d like, but I was trying to keep it short).Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Oscar Gordon
      Ignored
      says:

      Just to expand a bit, I think, in the US, we’ve replaced “citizenship” with “patriotism”. If you love your country*, or your government*, enough, you are a good citizen, regardless of how you interact with your country or government.

      Patriotism is easy to do, and easy to indoctrinate. Good citizenship is much harder to teach and perform.

      *For various values of country/government.Report

    • Avatar veronica d in reply to Oscar Gordon
      Ignored
      says:

      It’s really hard for me to imagine how that would work in a way that doesn’t turn out horrible. I fear very much we’d entrench a kind of two-tiered society, both de facto and de jure. Whatever system you put in place, what happens to ninth generation Americans who fail to make the cut? What about the developmentally disabled? Moreover, even if you make special provisions for the latter, where is the cut off line, and what happens to those who in practice fail to meet the standards, but who are not impaired enough to get the exemption?

      Note, any argument made about how this could be done fairly and rationally — indeed perhaps it could. However, notice how we don’t allow any qualification tests for voting. There is a solid historical reason why. I fear any similar “citizenship requirements” would suffer the same fate, namely that those in power would design the test to ensure that “people like them” are valid citizens and “people unlike them” are not.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to veronica d
        Ignored
        says:

        Yep. Like I said, a long and hard think, and even then, I would expect people to try and game and capture it for their own ends. Guarding against that would be challenging.

        But then, as we’ve seen, even the easy system of birthright citizenship is not free from attack. And our naturalization process is such a complete mess for the very reasons you point out above.

        Yet the problem of cheap citizenship remains.Report

      • Andrew Donaldson Andrew Donaldson in reply to veronica d
        Ignored
        says:

        I agree there is not way to gatekeep birthright citizenship that doesn’t end badly, or at least far worse than issues that come from birthright citizenship. I believe that is why you have to have a sane and viable citizenship path for immigrants, to keep a fresh stream coming into the country of folks passionate about being an American.Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Andrew Donaldson
          Ignored
          says:

          It definitely has a whiff of, “This works great as long as only the ideological pure people are in charge all the time.”

          I can certainly recognize when something I want has potentially fatal flaws.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Oscar Gordon
      Ignored
      says:

      Maybe require federal service?Report

    • Avatar JS in reply to Oscar Gordon
      Ignored
      says:

      “I read things like this and I think, birthright citizenship is not a good thing. One should not automatically gain all the rights and privileges of a citizen upon turning 18 simply because mom & dad were in the country at the time”

      Well, for starters, if we’re gonna go down that little path we should probably figure out a way to avoid ending up with a lot of default stateless people who are living here. I mean…what to do with them? Kick them out? To where? Do they just live here with no rights at all?

      it’d be like the homeless problem on steroids.Report

      • Avatar InMD in reply to JS
        Ignored
        says:

        You’re right and it’s a fundamentally bad idea in a big country with our particular history. Yes birthright has challenges but I prefer it to something like the Gastarbeiter situation in Germany. You end up with generations of people who can’t quite assimilate but who you can’t quite expel because they have nowhere to go.Report

    • Avatar Pinky in reply to Oscar Gordon
      Ignored
      says:

      Voting literacy tests: a great idea whose time will never come in the US.Report

      • Avatar InMD in reply to Pinky
        Ignored
        says:

        It wouldn’t change anything in a situation where so few contests are competitive to begin with.Report

        • Avatar Pinky in reply to InMD
          Ignored
          says:

          My comment wasn’t based on expected results, but as a reply to Oscar and the original article about the rights and responsibilities of citizenship. Voting is the right of citizenship that we’re discussing, isn’t it? The responsible citizen’s most apparent responsibility is voting. If we can talk about standards for birthright citizenship, standards for voting seem more reasonable.Report

        • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to InMD
          Ignored
          says:

          The most important effect would be in primaries, which are still contested in one-party districts.Report

      • Avatar Philip H in reply to Pinky
        Ignored
        says:

        Voting Literacy Tests – an idea used widely to disenfranchise freed black slaves during Jim Crow.

        No thanks.Report

        • Avatar Pinky in reply to Philip H
          Ignored
          says:

          So were ropes, but we still use those because there’s nothing inherently evil about them and they serve a purpose better than anything comparable.Report

        • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Philip H
          Ignored
          says:

          This is largely a myth. They didn’t use actual literacy tests, but rather extremely complicated tests that only black people had to pass. The tests were shams used as a pretext to exclude black voters. This would not be an issue with a nationally-administered test given to every voter and designed by a bipartisan commission of subject-matter experts.

          Of course, due to the cognitive skills gap, any fair test would be failed disproportionately by black voters. Jason Brennan suggested race-norming, such that if x% of white voters pass, then the top x% of black voters and top x% of Latino voters are automatically passed. This is less than optimal, in that there would be white voters failing despite scoring higher than most passing black voters, but it would still be a huge improvement over the status quo.Report

          • Avatar Philip H in reply to Brandon Berg
            Ignored
            says:

            Of course, due to the cognitive skills gap, any fair test would be failed disproportionately by black voters.

            I doubt you will find agreement that a test is “Fair” if a significant portion of the population is automatically set up to fail. And the effort to create statistical normalization would be better spent on closing the skills gap.

            And frankly, IF we are going to begin discussing tests for voting, we get to discuss tests for gun ownership.Report

            • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Philip H
              Ignored
              says:

              What’s always amusing is to see the vehement insistence that “White people are more intelligent!” juxtaposed with “We hates those tricksy educated elite!”Report

              • Avatar Philip H in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Cognitive dissonance manReport

              • Avatar CJColucci in reply to Philip H
                Ignored
                says:

                Voting is not something “we” let people do because they are well-informed, smart, or otherwise likely to pick leaders and policies that are, by some standard, “good.” We let people vote because they are going to be subject to the leaders selected and the policies enacted, good or bad, and we have no other basis people consider broadly morally acceptable for subjecting people to such leaders and policies except that they had a say in picking them. People will not accept rule by an epistocracy, real or fake, and there is no reason they should. It is childishly easy to prove that large numbers of voters are ill-informed morons who will cheerfully select awful leaders. We have seen it done. So what? They, like those of us who like to think of themselves — possibly even rightly — as their intellectual or moral superiors, are adult citizens subject to the selected rulers and policies, so they get a say in selecting them, however infuriating their choices often are.Report

              • Avatar Philip H in reply to CJColucci
                Ignored
                says:

                I haven’t disagreed with any of that.Report

              • Avatar CJColucci in reply to Philip H
                Ignored
                says:

                That wasn’t addressed to you. Quite the opposite.Report

              • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to CJColucci
                Ignored
                says:

                It’s not that I haven’t seen this spiel a hundred times before; I just think that it’s very poorly reasoned. By this logic, children should be allowed to vote. Not just late adolescents, but 5-year-olds as well. “[B]ecause they are going to be subject to the leaders selected and the policies enacted, good or bad, and we have no other basis people consider broadly morally acceptable for subjecting [children] to such leaders and policies except that they had a say in picking them.”

                Of course, we don’t do that? Why not? Because children don’t have the critical thinking skills or knowledge needed to make informed choices about policies or even candidates. This is true of many/most adults, as well!

                If you conceptualize voting as an individual right, like the right not to be imprisoned without trial, then it makes sense to make it universal. But the consequences of voting in a federal election are 99.9999997% (229,999,999/230,000,000) external. When very nearly 100% of the consequences of an action are external, it makes no sense to treat it as an individual right.

                Consider driving. People have a right to move around, don’t they? So why do we require people to demonstrate the ability to drive competently before letting them exercise that right? Because of the negative externalities of irresponsible or incompetent driving. Incompetent drivers are a danger to themselves and others. So are incompetent voters.

                Fundamentally, people care about outcomes, not policy. Voters who lack the ability or knowledge needed to think intelligently about what outcomes policies will produce cannot make an informed choice in the voting booth. Furthermore, a shockingly high percentage of voters can’t even meet the much lower bar of matching policies with parties; in the linked survey, about a third of voters did not know that Republicans are the anti-abortion party.

                If people a) don’t know what outcomes policies will have, and b) don’t know which parties/candidates support which policies, then voting gives them no meaningful say in the kind of government they will have. You might as well give patients a say in their own medical treatment by letting them choose medicines based on the appearance of the pills.Report

              • Avatar CJColucci in reply to Brandon Berg
                Ignored
                says:

                The first rule for a method of selecting leadership is that the led find it broadly acceptable. Otherwise, out come the pitchforks and torches. In the modern west, no other system than broad-based election is broadly acceptable to the governed. The legitimacy of government, for us, rests on the consent of the governed, not on the expertise, information, wisdom, or virtue of the governed.
                Presented with the choice to live under an epistocracy, the people will reject it. Do you deny this? Canny politicians, who run against educated elites, pointy-headed intellectuals, and the like, know it perfectly well, and campaign on that knowledge.
                As for the votes for five-year-olds “argument,” it simply isn’t serious.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to CJColucci
                Ignored
                says:

                Why do the loudest yelps of elitism come from the drivers of Negro vote suppression?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                You’d think that the conservatives would realize that you can be as segregated as California and be *PRAISED* for it if you just talk about the right stuff and not the wrong stuff.

                BUT NOOOOOOReport

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Hey look over there!Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Let me get back to you complaining about the treatment of Black people in the… let me copy and paste your comment… oh my… maybe I won’t copy and paste it…Report

              • Avatar Slade the Leveller in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Is there a state in this Union where this situation doesn’t exist?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Slade the Leveller
                Ignored
                says:

                Are we asking “is perfection attainable in this veil of tears?” or are we asking “wait, what do you mean California is worse than Mississippi?”

                Because if it’s the former, I have to concede that nobody’s perfect.

                If it’s the latter, I can point you to this UCLA report on Brown at 60.

                Now I’ll let Chip get back to pointing out how much moral standing he has to make his accusations.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                The central core of Republicanism is hostility to ethnic minorities/ white male grievance.

                “B-but California is segregated!”

                True, but doesn’t change the fact that the central core of Republicanism is hostility to ethnic minorities/ white male grievance.

                “Some liberals only give lip service to racial justice!”

                True, but doesn’t change the fact that the central core of Republicanism is hostility to ethnic minorities/ white male grievance.

                It doesn’t matter how much Whattaboutism or Tu Quoque or deflection and distraction or smoke screens are deployed, nothing changes the bare fact that that the central core of Republicanism is hostility to ethnic minorities/ white male grievance.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                “Whataboutism” is a relatively new term and it’s interesting.

                Imagine if I told Chip that he doesn’t have moral standing to judge people because he’s a cis-het white dude.

                “Aren’t you a cis-het white dude?”
                “That’s whataboutism!”

                And now we’re arguing about whether it’s notable that the cis-het white dude is loudly saying cis-het white dudes have to not say things *OR* if it’s a race to be the first cis-het white dude to the mic.

                If, in practice, the Democraticism we have (not the one we pretend to have) has discrimination IN PRACTICE that Republicanism can only dream of, suddenly we find ourselves wondering if the Democrats aren’t using the tactic that Chip outlined above:

                Hey look over there!

                We may have to start saying “No. Let’s look at the whole picture” instead of letting the first cis-het white dude to the mic be the one who defines what cis-het white dudes are allowed to notice.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                We can stipulate any point you want to make about Democrats, but the point remains that the central core of Republicanism is hostility to ethnic minorities/ white male grievance.

                If you aren’t able to concede that truth, then anything else is just a Gish Gallop.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                No, a Gish Gallop is “I have the following 12 questions…” and then rapid firing off 12 questions.

                This is a case where we have a trait that is surprisingly common not only among the Republicans but in Democratic Strongholds where being a Republican is seen as embarrassing.

                And you’re yelling “LOOK OVER THERE!” and when people say “is that a beam in your eye too?”, your response is to accuse them of noticing the beam in your eye.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                It occurred to me that you aren’t actually disagreeing with me.

                The thing about Whattaboutism is that it doesn’t refute or even address the assertion:

                “The sky is blue.”
                “But whattabout the sea! Its blue!”

                It has the look and feel of an argument, but it really isn’t one. It just repoints things in an entirely different and unrelated direction.

                In this case, you have implicitly conceded the point, that yes, the central core of Republicanism is hostility to ethnic minorities/ white male grievance.

                So ok, now that we have agreed on that, yes, lets talk about racism among Democrats and what we can do about it.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                “So you’re not denying the speck in your eye!”

                “No, I am not. But neither am I impressed by your moral insights, Doctor Plank. Physician, heal thyself.”Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Again its important to note that you and I are not disagreeing on much here.

                If, as we both agree, that racism exists in both parties in America, the logical conclusion of this is that racism is deeply embedded in all aspects of American society and culture, infecting all institutions, from government to the military , from schools to churches.

                So it also logically follows that race relations, and how to heal them should be a dominant part of any policy discussion, from healthcare to banking, from zoning and land use to immigration, from policing to foreign policy.

                News item:
                Victims rights advocates launch recall effort against newly elected L.A. Dist. Atty. George Gascón
                https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2021-02-27/group-plans-to-launch-recall-effort-against-newly-elected-l-a-dist-atty-george-gascon

                For those keeping track, Gascon is the newly elected district attorney for LA, whose victory was powered by the George Floyd protest groups and BLM.
                He has vowed to bring about change and redress many of the structurally racist policies of policing.

                Not surprisingly, he is fighting an uphill battle.

                His opponents include not just Republicans, but some Democrats as well.

                This issue connects to the struggle within the Democratic Party nationwide, between the progressive groups and mainline groups.

                But the mere fact that there is a struggle within the Democratic Party highlights the other fact, that there is no symmetrical struggle within the Republican Party.
                The Republican Party is 100% committed to maintaining the status quo of racial injustice which lead to the George Floyd protest.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                His opponents include not just Republicans, but some Democrats as well.

                In LA? I’m curious as to the ratio of Republicans vs. Democrats there.

                Are the LA Republicans that much of a threat?

                I sure hope the LA Democrats can overcome such a large number of opponents!

                The Republican Party is 100% committed to maintaining the status quo of racial injustice which lead to the George Floyd protest

                You should see what happens when people offer concrete reform proposals. Not just from Republicans, either!Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                The two leaders of the reform effort are Republicans from the outlying suburbs of LA.

                You should see what happens when people offer concrete reform proposals. Not just from Republicans, either!

                Uh..that was the whole point of my comment.

                Any reformer has to fight the 100% of Republicans, and some percentage of Democrats as well.

                That whole” racism is endemic to American society” thing.

                No reform can succeed unless it first grapples with racism.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Huh, so there are two Republicans, you say?

                I still don’t know the ratio of Republicans to Democrats in the area so I don’t know if that counts as insurmountable.

                Maybe there’s only one other politician.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Exercise your google fu and prepare to be stunned.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Gil Cedillo – Democrat
                Paul Krekorian – Democrat
                Bob Blumenfield – Democrat
                Nithya Raman – Democrat
                Paul Koretz – Democrat
                Nury Martinez – Democrat
                Monica Rodriguez – Democrat
                Marqueece Harris-Dawson – Democrat
                Curren D. Price, Jr. – Democrat
                Mark Ridley-Thomas – Democrat
                Mike Bonin – Democrat
                John Lee – Independent (Republican until 2020)
                Mitch O’Farrell – Democrat
                Kevin de León – Democrat
                Joe Buscaino – Democrat

                I got that from here and googled each name individually.

                Not particularly stunned, really.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                This is simple. You’ve made the claim, provide the evidence to support it. Link to the GOP platform(s) on their website that support your position.Report

              • Avatar Pinky in reply to CJColucci
                Ignored
                says:

                I for one have said right upfront that I don’t see literacy tests ever becoming law. So I think you’re right that we prioritize voting over informed voting. But I think it’s fair to reconsider it.

                I think you missed the point of Brandon’s argument about five-year-olds. You may find it unserious, but it’s the natural extension of your position. You should be able to state an intellectually consistent rule that covers your position but doesn’t include any obvious absurdities.

                Or you could just follow Chip and make ad hominem attacks “without even arguing the points”.Report

              • Avatar CJColucci in reply to Pinky
                Ignored
                says:

                Why do you think it is “fair” to disenfranchise people who have long had the vote, and are subject to the state’s laws and can be called upon to give money, labor, or other service to a state in which they have no voice, simply because someone doesn’t think they are well-enough informed?

                I didn’t miss Brandon’s point about five-year-old voters, I dismissed it. The point is too silly to argue over, and if that isn’t obvious to you, nothing anyone can say will persuade you. But if you insist, you can probably tease out an argument from the previous paragraph. Maybe when we tax or conscript or jail five-year-olds, we should consider giving them a vote.Report

            • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Philip H
              Ignored
              says:

              I doubt you will find agreement that a test is “Fair” if a significant portion of the population is automatically set up to fail.

              Firefighters have to meet certain physical fitness standards, because that’s what doing the job requires. Because there’s a large difference in physical strength between men and women, on the order of two standard deviations, women will fail the test at much higher rates than men. This isn’t unfair, and women aren’t being set up to fail; it’s just that a greater percentage of women than men lack the strength necessary to perform all of the job’s responsibilities.

              And the effort to create statistical normalization would be better spent on closing the skills gap.

              Huh? No effort is required to race-norm a test. It’s trivial. It’s basically what colleges already do with affirmative action. Meanwhile, tremendous amounts of effort and money have been poured into trying to close the cognitive skills gap over the past several decades. An intervention that can close the racial skills gap is the holy grail of educational research. “Why don’t we just close the skills gap?” is like asking “Why don’t we just use nuclear fusion?” We’d love to, but nobody knows how.Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Pinky
        Ignored
        says:

        Question #1: Who won the 2020 Presidential Election?
        A. Joe Biden
        B. Donald Trump

        Question #2: What is an effective treatment for Covid virus?
        A. Bleach and ultraviolet lights in the rectum;
        B. Fluids, rest, and medication prescribed by a physician

        Question #3: What causes hurricanes?
        A. Butt sex;
        B. Low pressure systems

        No Republican could ever vote again.Report

        • Avatar Pinky in reply to Chip Daniels
          Ignored
          says:

          If you had to guess, how many unarmed Black men were killed by police in 2019?

          A about 10
          B about 100
          C about 1000
          D about 10000
          E more than 10000Report

          • Avatar Philip H in reply to Pinky
            Ignored
            says:

            A. But everyone who has looked at it says the Post data base you allude to is flawed and likely undercounts.

            That aside I’m not sure what your question has to do with being a “good citizen” and therefore being allowed to vote.

            Never mind that the Constitution is pretty clear (beginning in Article 1 and continuing in the 14th and 15th Amendments) that citizens get to vote. Period. There’s no test after that, and the imposition of such tests during Jim Crow was not only immoral but unconstitutional.Report

            • Avatar Pinky in reply to Philip H
              Ignored
              says:

              It was a reference to the recent Skeptic survey. It’s been in the news. Chip wants to say that conservatives couldn’t pass a reasonable test, I’m citing a survey showing that liberals can’t.Report

            • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Philip H
              Ignored
              says:

              Never mind that the Constitution is pretty clear (beginning in Article 1 and continuing in the 14th and 15th Amendments) that citizens get to vote. Period.

              Literally none of this is true. Article I leaves voting eligibility up to the states. The 14th Amendment does not prohibit restrictions on voting, but does reduce population for apportionment purposes in proportion to the percentage of males over 21 who are denied the vote for reasons other than having committed a crime. On the other hand, the Supreme Court has ruled that literacy tests do not trigger that, though I’m not sure I follow the logic. The 15th Amendment only says that the right to vote may not be restricted on account of race. At that time, there was no Constitutional requirement that women be allowed to vote, which is why the 19th Amendment was needed for that.

              There is nothing in the Constitution that says that all citizens must be allowed to vote, the most obvious counterexample being minors; it also explicitly allows disenfranchisement of criminals. There are only prohibitions on specific reasons the right to vote can be denied (sex, race, and age requirements cannot be higher than 18).

              To this day, there’s nothing in the Constitution actually prohibiting literacy tests; those were upheld by the Supreme Court and then banned by legislation. The apportionment penalty might apply, although there might be a loophole there, if states passed a law that failing the test were a crime with no punishment other than losing the right to vote, maybe that would work.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Brandon Berg
                Ignored
                says:

                Without even arguing the points here, I just want to point out how well this illustrates the current state of the conservative soul.Report

              • Avatar Pinky in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                And you’re illustrating the current state of the liberal soul by not arguing the points.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Pinky
                Ignored
                says:

                I don’t know why conservatives get so angry at the people who point out that they don’t want people to vote.

                Direct your anger at the Republican legislatures all around the country who are trying to restrict voting.Report

              • Avatar Pinky in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                I don’t want low-information voters. Accuse me of that all day long.Report

              • Avatar Philip H in reply to Pinky
                Ignored
                says:

                thats funny. A conservative who doesn’t want low information voters . . . who tend to vote for Republican and conservative candidates . . . who won’t be barred from voting by any of the measures Republicans are seeking to impose in relation to the just completed election. I don’t have enough time to unpack all that cognitive dissonance.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Philip H
                Ignored
                says:

                Even taking the statement at face value, it perfectly illustrates the conservative ethos, that some people matter more than others.Report

              • Avatar Pinky in reply to Philip H
                Ignored
                says:

                Well, if you don’t have *time* to unpack the cognitive dissonance, I should just assume you could. Just like above (and once again here) where Chip is more interested in what he thinks a position says about a person, “without even arguing the points here”. From now on I should treat lack of rebuttal as proof of time constraint.Report

              • Avatar KenB in reply to Pinky
                Ignored
                says:

                “I have a truly marvelous demonstration of this proposition which this combox is too small to contain.”Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Pinky
                Ignored
                says:

                Like people who think the election was stolen? Me too, and there are some great proxies that make them easy to target.Report

              • Avatar Pinky in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                You couldn’t make it 24 hours with the assertion that liberals know facts better than conservatives. And why not? Because, bless Ben Shapiro’s little heart, the facts didn’t support your feelings.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Pinky
                Ignored
                says:

                It’s so funny that Ben Shapiro, of all the disingenuous, hyper-partisan pieces of garbage in the world, claims to worship facts.Report

              • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                I reported a couple of comments by Chip and Philip above, and I want to elaborate on why I did this: I think that this kind of content-free attack is profoundly toxic to the level of discourse.

                Philip made some claims that were patently false. I gave a detailed explanation of why they were wrong, and the response I got was self-righteous spaghetti-flinging.

                When I see something like this, I am, in the short-term, tempted to sink to their level and respond in kind. In the long term, I’m less inclined to do this kind of substantive analysis here in the future. Why throw pearls before swine?

                Lately I’ve been participating in a different forum that has much stricter rules about low-effort spaghetti-flinging, and the quality of discourse is much higher, even better than it was here in the old days.

                Not to say that I’ve never been part of the problem myself, I like to think I’ve been doing better recently, but this kind of thing makes it hard. I think we should all aspire to be better than this.

                I’m reporting this comment myself for mod visibility.Report

              • Avatar Pinky in reply to Brandon Berg
                Ignored
                says:

                Well, I hope you lower your standards and hang out here more. This thread has been fun.Report

              • Avatar Bill Blake in reply to Brandon Berg
                Ignored
                says:

                My regular hangout is twitter, which is notorious for the poor quality of its discourse. My solution to this problem is simple: Any person who can’t manage civility and basic rationality gets blocked. I don’t give second chances, and I don’t feel the slightest angst over the possibility that I might have missed something valuable because of my blocks. As I often put it: For every asshole or fool with an opinion worth hearing, there is a civil and sensible person with the same opinion. There’s a whole world of information out there and my basic problem is not getting to it, it’s how to avoid drowning in it.

                I regularly read two publications, Reason and this one. I don’t even look at the Reason comments; they’re a cesspool and there’s no practicable way to filter them. Here is another matter.

                I had hoped that the high quality of this publication would result in a high quality of comments. While it is true that the quality of comments here is better than average, I wouldn’t call it *high* quality. For that, I’m going to have to filter. Fortunately, I *can* filter because this site does email notifications. And I do.

                So, when Slade the Leveller and Philip H produced fact-challenged, uncivil responses, into the filter they went. When JS produced his uncivil snark, into the filter he went. I won’t see notifications of their comments or of replies to their comments, and I’m unlikely to simply run across their comments.

                Trouble is, of course, that though this leaves those three talking into their colons as far as I’m concerned, it leaves everyone else exposed to their toxicity and to reciprocal toxicity, with the attendant consequences for the quality of discourse here. And there are really only two solutions to that. Either the bulk of readers make a real effort to not engage them–as in, Do Not Feed The Trolls–or the owners of this site articulate a standard for discourse and take an active hand in enforcing it.

                I do not report inappropriate comments. The very presence of significant amounts toxic behavior implies that the owners of this site are willing to tolerate it. There’s no point in making reports that will just get ignored!

                Which means that it falls to us, the commenters, to police–not the toxic posters–but *ourselves*. If a Philip H posts something that is fact-free, *don’t engage*. You should, as I did, note the fact of the comment’s vacuity and, if it should prove that he has a pattern of valueless comments, note the pattern as well.

                And then, having put up your “Beware Of Troll” sign, *walk away*. Trolls and their brethren *exist* for feedback; their *need* is for the validation that comes from manipulating and abusing others. Take that away and they either learn better behavior or they go looking for better hunting grounds.

                Trolls and the like are at best borderline sociopaths. It really doesn’t bother them that their behavior pollutes the intellectual environment. They really don’t care about being respected. They enjoy the distress they induce in others. They regard those they interact with as *prey* and the forums they inhabit as their *feeding ground*. Understand this, and it becomes possible to minimize their impact. Ignore this, and the problem will just get worse.Report

              • Avatar Pinky in reply to Bill Blake
                Ignored
                says:

                Oddly enough, this comment goes back to the original subject of good citizenship. We may have freedom, but we need to exercise responsibility.Report

              • Avatar Bill Blake in reply to Pinky
                Ignored
                says:

                Indeed. It’s the same issue, just on a smaller scale.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Pinky
                Ignored
                says:

                Would exercising responsibility include not continuing the Big Lie that incited the riot at the Capitol and holding the liar-in-chief responsible?Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Oscar Gordon
      Ignored
      says:

      Let’s go kill giant bugs in space! Birthright citizenship works because anything else will devolve into less democracy and more aristocracy. Citizenship for all, based on birthright protects the most.Report

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

        There are lots of things to unpack here. First, by the time of this speech, the real centers of elite education would have been the ecole superiors. The idea that division among the classes is a disease is a nice concept but it can also be code for “know your place.”.

        There is a strange ideal in the US to have a society without ideology or politics. Everyone working for some very vaguely defined commongood. To me, this often seems like it is an attempt to make everyone good worker bees because strife is not good for the bottom line.Report

        • Avatar Philip H in reply to Saul Degraw
          Ignored
          says:

          To me, this often seems like it is an attempt to make everyone good worker bees because strife is not good for the bottom line.

          Oh I don’t know – strife among the lower classes seems to be quite profitable these days.Report

  6. Avatar JoeSal
    Ignored
    says:

    Citizenship matters less than the concept of a free state.

    Internet flamewars won’t change what happens when the church of ability picks up the blade and starts the harvest.Report

  7. Avatar Saul Degraw
    Ignored
    says:

    CPAC has decided to bring out a golden calf, er golden statute of Trump this year.Report

    • Avatar JS in reply to Saul Degraw
      Ignored
      says:

      I mean they played Fortunate Son for Trump rallies.

      Like….is this all performance art? Did someone lose a bet — or is trying to win one?

      I mean there’s tone deaf and then there’s….this.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to JS
        Ignored
        says:

        Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to JS
        Ignored
        says:

        There are some people who think/”joke” the NY Times Sunday Styles section is run by secret Marxists who are trying to act as catalysts for the revolution. I tend not to think this. In general, people seem to pay zero attention to song lyrics.

        The golden calf thing is sincere I think but it is also identical to a piece of performance art/satire that would be produced by a left-wing group. Poe’s law is a harsh mistress.Report

    • Avatar Brent F in reply to Saul Degraw
      Ignored
      says:

      The Biblical punishment for that is to wander in the political wilderness for 40 years, isn’t it?Report

    • Avatar North in reply to Saul Degraw
      Ignored
      says:

      And this is the social conservative Christian party… the mind boggles.Report

      • Avatar Pinky in reply to North
        Ignored
        says:

        There are about five different fallacies of composition and division in your comment. CPAC isn’t “the social conservative Christian” party. Actually it is a party, but more the STD kind.Report

        • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Pinky
          Ignored
          says:

          Right, no one at CPAC has ever blathered on about how the GOP are the ones defending the American Christian heritage, and there’s nothing laughably hypocritical about that idol to their god-king.Report

        • Avatar North in reply to Pinky
          Ignored
          says:

          If ya wanna try and make the case for substantial seperation between the Republican Party and the membership of CPAC go right ahead. I think it’d be a very challenging case to make.Report

          • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to North
            Ignored
            says:

            The GOP is a bunch of bootlicking hacks that censure anyone who dares criticize their golden god-king, while CPAC is a bunch of bootlicking hacks that simply don’t invite anyone who dares criticize him. Completely different.Report

          • Avatar Pinky in reply to North
            Ignored
            says:

            Hold it, do you think that people who eat, sleep, and breath politics think like the average person? That there isn’t a personality quirk or two in a guy who stays up all night drinking tequila and debating tax reform? I mean, is the average Netroots attendee like the average Democrat?Report

            • Avatar North in reply to Pinky
              Ignored
              says:

              I’m told that twits on twitter represent the left in its entirety. That doesn’t seem at all plausible to me.

              CPAC includes among its attendees’ huge numbers high ranking current and former, elected and appointed members of the GOP past and present including the party’s’ most recently elected President. To claim that CPAC is not representative of the GOP strikes me of as a much harder lift.Report

              • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to North
                Ignored
                says:

                I just read a piece that said one of the speakers at a CPAC session started in on a election fraud rant and the streaming service carrying the session broke in in some fashion and said there was no known evidence of fraud and people should consult other sources as well.

                I assume fear of Dominion and Smartmatic at work.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Michael Cain
                Ignored
                says:

                That is fascinating.Report

              • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to North
                Ignored
                says:

                My guess has been that CPAC got letters from the lawyers for both Dominion and Smartmatic, saying that CPAC should keep good records because the subpoenas will be coming.

                I admit to a certain amount of interest in what private citizen Trump says today. It seems inevitable that he will talk about stolen elections; I wonder if he will have the sense to not accuse Dominion and Smartmatic.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Michael Cain
                Ignored
                says:

                I agree. My money is on him not mentioning their names at all.Report

              • Avatar Pinky in reply to North
                Ignored
                says:

                CPAC traditionally holds a presidential straw poll each year. From 2013-2015, Rand Paul dominated it. In 2016, it was Cruz followed by Rubio (although admittedly there was some backlash against Trump because of his last-minute cancellation). Would you say that Rand Paul devotees match the center of the GOP?Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Pinky
                Ignored
                says:

                The center of the GOP median voter? No, I would say they don’t. The center of the GOP median leaders or policy makers? Yes, I’d say they do.

                If we look at what policies Trump actually substantively enacted in his term rather than the ones he bloviated about; a huge deficit funded tax cut heavily weighted to the wealthy; wholesale deregulation- especially environmental deregulation and ensconcing Heritage Foundation judges in the vacancies Mitch has been stoking for cycles; I don’t see any that wouldn’t suit CPAC Randians down to their toenails.Report

              • Avatar Pinky in reply to North
                Ignored
                says:

                On those three issues there would probably be a lot of agreement. But you left out foreign policy, trade, and immigration, where there would be a lot more tension. You left out the overall size of government and the imperial presidency, where they’d be completely opposed. They’d mostly support his confrontational rhetoric, but they’d be livid at his failure to do much of anything on education. Guns, drug legalization, and the surveillance state are huge issues to more than a handful of them.

                Were tax cuts, environmental deregulation, and originalist jurisprudence really his three biggest actions? I think his rhetoric, nationalism, and coronavirus policy will get bigger entries in the history books.

                Getting back to the point, CPAC actions, rhetoric, and attendees are consistently going to be different than the GOP. You have to realize that CPAC’ers are policy junkies who have strong opinions on all kinds of things. They’re also showmen who would probably sacrifice a goat in front of the golden Trump statue if they thought it would bug more liberals than it would alienate allies.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Pinky
                Ignored
                says:

                I left those policies out because I don’t consider them substantive and lasting. Trumps moves on immigration were entirely executive based and Biden is going to basically erase them like they never existed if he’s so inclined to do so. Likewise, on foreign policy Trump didn’t really change anything that Biden cannot reverse if he chooses to; a slightly more belligerent tone and a holding pattern on foreign adventurism (without much real drawdown). Same with trade. Nothing was changed that can’t be just as easily reversed with a stroke of the pen though on foreign policy I certainly hope Biden has enough wits to not indulge in any new messes.

                As to size of government and the imperial presidency the CPAC crowd has demonstrated by their actions and choices, when they were in a position to actually choose and act, that they consider those policies massively distant second or third tier concerns; policies they give lip service to at best but don’t spend any effort on. Frankly the only thing anyone should do when conservatives start talking about size of government, deficits or the imperial presidency is check their wallet (or maybe laugh).

                I’m certainly well aware CPAC are political junkies who are often in favor of something simply because it “triggers the libs”. The gap I think you’re overlooking in your analysis is demonstrating that the GOP differs from the CPAC crowd in that regard. If you exclude Judges, coddling plutocrats and triggering the libs what really is left in a summary of the GOP behavior in the last cycle in power or so?Report

              • Avatar Pinky in reply to North
                Ignored
                says:

                “the CPAC crowd has demonstrated by their actions and choices, when they were in a position to actually choose and act” – That’s begging the question. You’re saying the CPAC crowd is the same as the GOP, and you can prove it because the CPAC crowd was in power when the GOP was in power, because they’re the same people. Likewise, in your third paragraph you say that the GOP taunts libs because the CPAC crowd taunts libs and they’re the same people.

                You also say in your third paragraph that judges, coddling, and taunting are the only things that the GOP does, but that’s because you said in your first paragraph that you’re not counting things that can be undone easily. But we weren’t talking about whether something can be undone easily, we were talking about whether the policies *and attitude* espoused by CPAC matches the policies and attitude espoused by the mainstream GOP.

                You say “Frankly the only thing anyone should do when conservatives start talking about size of government, deficits or the imperial presidency is check their wallet (or maybe laugh).” But there you’re conflating conservatives and the GOP governance. But it’s exactly those think-tankers and activists who are the difference. They’re the ones who are out there talking about those issues. The leadership (or rather any elected official) isn’t acting on those things because they may fit a purity test, but they don’t get you reelected.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Pinky
                Ignored
                says:

                My point is that the only things the GOP, in power with a trifecta, enacted into durable policy are things that CPAC would agree with in lock step. All the things where CPAC and the voting masses of the GOP would disagree on, were given lip service at best but no political capital was spent on them to enact them into a policy position that couldn’t be erased the moment a new Democratic administration entered office. If the GOP in power only substantively does things that CPAC wants and sidelines things CPAC doesn’t like that is a pretty strong argument in favor of the assertion that CPAC is pretty representative of the GOP (at least on the leadership level).

                Conservatives have had 20+ years to prove they’d do something, anything, to pressure their party on size of government, deficit or imperial presidency matters. Instead, their party has gone in the opposite direction whenever they were in power and conservative thought and opinion on that matter has consisted of muted grumbles, at the most, and in many cases Laffer curve make believe or blatant “it’s ok so long as Republicans do it” hypocrisy. Who really thinks conservatives (as opposed to true believer libertarians) genuinely care about those things? It barely even looks like conservatives believe it, let alone anyone else. But I digress.

                The Republican Party has only stuck its neck out, in the past decades, for things that the CPAC crowd likes. CPAC is packed to the gills with Republican Party leaders both present and past. I still don’t see how one can seriously assert that there’s much space between the GOP and CPAC. That there’s space between the GOP/CPAC and the voting masses who empower them is inarguable- I dare say it’s one of the foundations of the remarkable political drama that exists in this country. But between the GOP and CPAC? I don’t really see it.Report

              • Avatar Pinky in reply to North
                Ignored
                says:

                “CPAC is packed to the gills with Republican Party leaders both present and past.”

                The thing is, you know that Mike Lee will be there and Mitt Romney won’t. You know that with certainty. I could rattle off 10 names that we both know and you’d be able to guess whether 9 of them were attending. Are there any surprises? Well, I would have guessed Nikki Haley attending. And Marco Rubio – wait, I just rechecked the list, and he’s going to be there. But you know the list: Scott Walker yes, Paul Ryan no, Kevin McCarthy yes, Mitch McConnell no, Josh Hawley yes, Thom Tillis no, Dan Bongino yes, Rod Dreyer no.Report

Leave a Reply

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