Don’t Be a “Kids These Days” Conservative

Avi Woolf

3rd class Elder of Zion. Wilderness conservative/traditionalist. Buckley Club alum. Chief editor of @conpathways.

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  1. LeeEsq
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    Young conservatives seem mainly attracted to conservatism because it offers them an opportunity to engage in some really mean and outright destructive impulses. Its why the most prominent young conservatives are basically semi-famous trolls who like being aggressive towards things they do not like. The continual inability for American conservatism to offer anything remotely positive or inclusive, and the current obsession over transpeople existing and kid’s literature teaching acceptance over LGBTQ people, is a big reason why young people are not conservatives. Even the main post can’t articulate what conservatism can give to young people to preserve or conserve because the offer is basically nothing but the demand for complete and absolute support is forever.Report

    • Philip H in reply to LeeEsq
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      I think this is an important point, and it points out that older conservatives, like the OP, simply can’t grapple with having a political party which claims to be conservative, but is run by a bunch of “Burn it all down” grieved white males. Rereading his original Letter to a Young Conservative post, I am struck by both his inability to grapple with the real world and with the refusal of the conservatives in the comments to acknowledge the logs in their own eyes.Report

      • LeeEsq in reply to Philip H
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        People generally stick with the political ideology that they were first attached to. They remain loyal even as the chosen ideology is seen as having some big problems or even being entirely bankrupt. Its why you have a lot of old-school leftists that can’t quite admit that Putin’s Russia is a reactionary nationalist country playing footsie with the Russian Orthodox Church and still believe it is the USSR. Conservatives are the same. Even if not personally Trumpists, they can’t admit to themselves that the main purpose of American conservatism at least is be a pure id movement of mean and vile behavior.Report

    • Chip Daniels in reply to LeeEsq
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      I’ve come to see that in this political moment, the primary pathway to conservatism is misogyny.

      Because in 2022 conservatism has nothing to do with any economic theory, or desire to avoid change or preserve existing institutions.

      As currently practiced by figures like the Republican chaos caucus, or pundits like Ben Shapiro or Jesse Kelly or Jack Prosobiec, conservatism is a revolutionary faction dedicated to overthrowing the existing culture of feminism and tolerance for LGBTQ people.

      On Instagram I follow a lot of artists and accounts which post about traditional art and rchitecture, and for a while they will be posting pictures of lovely old manor houses or cottages, then suddenly the mask slips off and there will some enraged rant about trans people and loss of masculinity.

      Beneath the smiling face of “trad” piety and benign respect for tradition is a seething inchoate rage at gender roles. And it seems deeply personal, intimate to these people like it strikes at the very core of their identity and understanding of themselves.Report

  2. Jaybird
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    The whole question of “what have you conserved?!?” is one that conservatives still can’t answer. It seems like the current version of “what do conservatives want *IN PRACTICE*?” gets something like “The New Deal” for the Silents, Kennedy’s vision for the Boomers, Clintonism for the Xers, Obamaism for the Millennials.

    “I want the liberalism of my adolescence!” is a perpetually adolescent attitude.

    I mean, if you’re going to have to change things to build the society you want, you’re just going to be accused of “tearing things down” when you get rid of the bad stuff or “going backwards” when you want to turn things around.

    As it stands, I don’t know what modern conservatives have as a foundation. Deontology? Well, they don’t know how to communicate that. Utilitarianism? Anything that’s even close to clear-eyed will never be able to promise better outcomes than the “Woke” will be able to promise (“FREE COLLEGE!”). Virtue Ethics? Heh. I can’t even come up with a joke for that one.

    Now, I don’t know a way forward beyond pointing out that the golden plans aren’t working and establishing that a lot of what they see as a problem with “Capitalism” is actually a criticism of “Entropy” and that sort of thing.

    But, for that, you have to get people to be willing to notice that things aren’t working. Oh, and hope that they are willing to acknowledge that maybe there’s more to it not working than the fact that people like you are just not clapping loudly enough.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
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      I think that one of the things that conservativism might have going for it, maybe, is that it has picked up the cachet of saying unpleasant true things.

      The whole censorious tendency of the Religious Right in the 80’s has been picked up by the new and improved religion that is doing its thing right now.

      Just disagreeing with the dominant paradigm on anything is coded “Conservative”.

      Hey, how do you feel about gas stoves? “I’m a foodie and, let me tell you, you make better sauces, better meats, and better veggies when you’re cooking with gas.”

      Eventually, one of the things asserted by the dominant paradigm with be obviously false. Like, *SERIOUSLY* obviously false. “The sky is green!”

      And there will be people who are on board with smiling and nodding and saying “Yep! Green like a Christmas tree!” and people who say “uh, yeah, green” and people who say stuff like “WHAT THE HELL IT’S BLUE!” and really evil people who say “let’s go outside and look at it and then, you know, figure it out”.

      And that last group of really evil people will appeal to a particular flavor of person out there. Young people who are this particular flavor of person will get really turned off by the “hypocrisy” of the “uh, yeah, green” people and have very, very strong opinions of the Christmas tree folks.

      The go-along-to-get-along people will find themselves in a pickle, eventually.

      If this maps to the Religious Right in the 80’s, it’ll probably resolve itself over a handful of years.Report

      • Pinky in reply to Jaybird
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        says:

        This is what I was touching on below with my reference to Swing Kids. First, it’s not at all obvious that the “the personal is political” left has any limiting principles holding them back from anything. Second, by seeing everything that’s been a success as an abuse of power, there’s no inclination to consider whether something is a good idea or not. The worse an idea’s outcome, the more it needs to be protected. A lack of restraint and an espousal of failure is a bad combination.Report

        • Chip Daniels in reply to Pinky
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          What are liberals doing that causes you to accuse them of a lack of limiting principles?
          From what I can see, the most radical thing liberals want to force you to do is to do nothing, while a woman gets an abortion or teen chooses their gender identity.Report

        • Philip H in reply to Pinky
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          says:

          I don’t buy the lack of limiting principles either – and I don’t see any on the Right except the pursuit of power. Limiting principles keep government out of people’s bedrooms, doctor’s offices, and identities. They also don’t actively shield upper economic echelons rom taxation while forcing the middle and lower rungs to pick up the tab.Report

          • Chip Daniels in reply to Philip H
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            All political ideologies balance Order and Liberty according to some set of values which inform when Liberty takes precedence over Order or vice versa.

            So they all have limits beyond which the harm from one outweighs the harm from the other.

            What’s striking about modern conservatism is how high a priority they place their desired Order versus Liberty.

            Like, men wearing dresses is seen as so existential a threat to Order that they are willing to use the fist of state violence to stop it.Report

        • Greg In Ak in reply to Pinky
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          Good or bad but almost nobody goes around formally developing their ideas including limiting principles. Here’s an oldie but a goodie from me. This just a slippery slope argument. “If this happens we will inevitably end up in The Bad Place”. It’s a terrible argument that can used by anybody to poorly attack someone else argument.

          Ex. Libertarian gov will not lead to Somalia. Of course it will lead to Libertarians becoming red meat aggressive social con’s.Report

          • Pinky in reply to Greg In Ak
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            Conservatism does. Whether it’s the constitutional conservative with his defense of rights and checks and balances, the religious conservative understanding the tension between society and the individual conscience, the market conservative’s passion for the role of charitable giving…heck, Avi Woolf’s brand of intellectual conservatism is in its core nothing but a balancing of limiting principles.Report

            • Greg In Ak in reply to Pinky
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              Where does conservatism stop? To mean something this needs to be specific i think.

              I’m not even sure what it means to say wide often vague terms like conservativeism or liberalism stop.Report

              • Pinky in reply to Greg In Ak
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                I’m sure glad I didn’t say that conservatism or liberalism stop, then. Also, you might want to debate the guy below who’s talking about how movements stop, because he seems to take the contrary position.Report

          • Pinky in reply to Greg In Ak
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            says:

            I didn’t follow what you said about slippery slope arguments. They only make sense with an understanding of limiting principles, though. If an idea can lead to the conclusions A and B, and there’s no additional idea needed to lead to B, and there’s no limiting principle to accepting B, then the embrace of A will inevitably lead to the embrace of B.Report

            • Greg In Ak in reply to Pinky
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              It sounds like a slippery slope argument is that “no limiting principle” sounds like things wll just keep going forever. But that almost never actually happens. Movements stop for various reasons. One of which is the hardcore alienate the rest of people so movements dont’ get everything.Report

          • Jaybird in reply to Greg In Ak
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            says:

            “If P Then Q. P. Therefore Q.”
            “Slippery slope!”

            Given the last couple of decades, I’m not sure that slippery slope officially qualifies as a fallacy anymore.

            “You’re making an inductive argument. Not a deductive one.”Report

            • Greg In Ak in reply to Jaybird
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              You know its a fallacy. If A then ZZZ will automatically happen is crap. It’s incessant and a tool of fear mongering. If A (anodyne thing occurs) then ZZZ ( horror will inevitably follow) is bad logic and fallacy.

              So this limiting principle thing. The idea is that since lib’s or whoever doesnt’ have a limiting principle ( which almost no one actually has) then they will inevitably end up with what , communism? Its the same crap forever. Do liberal things end up with communism. Or easily flip it like i did with Somalia. Do things libertarians like will not end up with us being Somalia.

              Movements are limited by many things way before whatever their limiting principle is. But since maybe i’m missing something what are the hard line limiting principles for conservatives or old fashioned libertarians?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Greg In Ak
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                If A then ZZZ can be crap.

                But
                P -> Q
                Q -> R
                R -> S
                Therefore
                P -> S

                Is called Argument by Implication. And it’s not a fallacy.

                If someone is arguing by implication, accusing them of going down a slippery slope is an unfair mischaracterization of their argument.

                But since maybe i’m missing something what are the hard line limiting principles for conservatives or old fashioned libertarians?

                In theory? “Leave me alone and I’ll leave you alone” is, itself, a limiting principle.Report

              • Pinky in reply to Greg In Ak
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                I already addressed this.Report

              • Pinky in reply to Greg In Ak
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                says:

                No reply? OK, let me give two real-world examples.

                “If we allow civil unions, we’ll end up with gay marriages.” Technically, this is a fallacy, in that it doesn’t clearly state the assumption that over time humans tend towards consistency. But the argument is this: if society grants the assumptions that underlie civil unions, there are no assumptions that need to be added to grant gay marriage. So we can expect that, over time, gay marriage policy will be adopted.

                I admit it was a surprise to me that people tend toward consistency. At any given point, there are so many inconsistencies in common thought that I never expected to see them fade. But the older you get, the more you see it happen. Common thought changes, so broad inconsistencies remain, but individual ones move toward resolution.

                “If we allow civil unions, we’ll end up with the government requiring churches to perform gay marriages.” This is a real fallacy. A person can grant all the assumptions that are necessary to accept civil unions, but he’d need to add assumptions about the church/state relationship in order to arrive at churches being required to perform gay marriages. It’s foreseeable that we could move that way, but it’s not implicit.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Pinky
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                says:

                I would have made the argument that “if we adopt 99.9% effective birth control, we’ll end up with gay marriages”.

                “If we allow civil unions, we’ll end up with the government requiring churches to perform gay marriages.” This is a real fallacy.

                Sure.

                But then we get into “nobody is arguing that we should remove the tax-exempt status of churches that discriminate against gay people” arguments and that turns into “you’re nutpicking” arguments and *THAT* turns into “but would it be so bad if we asked Christians to act Christian?” arguments.

                This has happened before.
                It will happen again.Report

              • Pinky in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                I understand. I chose those examples on purpose, because we’ve seen these things predicted and come to pass. But the argument is fallacious in that it reaches a conclusion beyond its assumptions. I mean, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but the game is iterated. One can look at patterns and make reasonable projections of course. But even if your predictions prove to be 100% true, there was still a logical fallacy.

                I’d love to tie this back to Greg’s original point, but I still don’t understand it. The idea of a limiting principle is important in understanding the inductive slippery slope argument, but I don’t think it does so in the way that Greg implied.Report

    • Pinky in reply to Jaybird
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      says:

      re: “what have you conserved?”

      I think it’s pretty universally agreed that the most boring online conversations are about definitions of labels. Is the modern liberal illiberal? Is the modern progressive regressive? Is the modern conservative a radical? These are the words we’ve been given, and as long as they’re not as offensive as “field”, we have to live with them. So I’m not as interested in defending the conservative label as the modern American conservative movement. You can get to modern American conservatism through a few different routes.

      One way is through the idea that we’re conserving America’s founding principles, as laid out by Jefferson and realized by Lincoln. Have we done a perfect job of it? Not at all. But that’s where “what have you conserved?” becomes a playground taunt over our failures.Report

      • Philip H in reply to Pinky
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        One of America’s founding ideals was that slavery was morally necessary. I remain great full we didn’t conserve that ideal and yet conservatives want us to go back to not talking about it in schools. Which ideals are you conserving by actively denying this horror of our past?Report

        • Pinky in reply to Philip H
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          says:

          I can’t tell if this is intended as an attack on the founding ideals or an attack on conservatives for not wanting to talk about slavery in schools.

          First, I did say “as laid out by Jefferson and realized by Lincoln”. But that’s not a criticism of Jefferson and his generation. Slavery was hotly debated; or, rather, the appropriate means of getting rid of slavery, which was recognized as in opposition to those founding principles. Unfortunately, the Haitian slave rebellion and the invention of the cotton gin both derailed the program until Lincoln set things back on the right track.

          As for not wanting to teach about slavery in schools, this strikes me as one of those things that I’ll say never happened, then you’ll cite a school district that took the idea of “stop blaming all white people” and turned it into “deny the truth”. So we’ll skip those steps, and I’ll say that under 1% of all conservatives deny that slavery happened. Can we agree on that?Report

    • Slade the Leveller in reply to Jaybird
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      Perhaps pointing out things (whatever those things are) aren’t working, then offering an actual plan that is demonstrably a better solution for those things? Who can forget the whole repeal and replace Obamacare fiasco? All that was brought to the table was the repeal part.

      Even the OP admits 21st century conservative are scolds who have nothing to offer. I already have a mother who’s more than happy to point out where I’ve gone wrong.

      At least from what I’ve seen and heard, what we on the right almost exclusively offer today is critiques of all that. Some of these are fun, some are serious and intellectual, some are truly cringeworthy. But even when they all hit the mark 100%, they miss the point by not offering anything concrete and better.

      Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Slade the Leveller
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        Eh, my plan for improving health care involved stuff like “Northern Exposure but, like, everywhere” and lowering standards for some kinds of health care (mostly the solved problems stuff) in an effort to allow more doctors to practice.

        Heck, if you want to have a fun flashback, here is the thread that got kicked off by the comment:

        I read a very interesting comment somewhere the other day and wish I could attribute it to its author but I can’t find it and so I’ll just paraphrase it.

        It said something to the effect of:

        Both sides are going to have to compromise to make this work.
        Republicans/Conservatives are going to have to reconcile themselves to there being Socialized Medicine
        Democrats/Progressives are going to have to reconcile themselves to there being two tiers of medical care

        For the record, I still see “Socialized Medicine” as inevitable… but covid was one heck of a black swan.

        The big mistake I made with regards to the last sentence is that I assumed that there would be two tiers of medical care.

        I now realize that there are going to be a couple dozen. Maybe more. Probably more.Report

  3. Pinky
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    I don’t recognize the conservatism described in this article. First off, conservatives are obsessed with the young. They’re always looking for the glimmer of hope, and throw a party every time a young person “gets it”. A lot of what a conservative seeks to conserve doesn’t have to be articulated, just recognized when it’s under attack, so intergenerational communication isn’t as big a barrier as it may seem. Among young, mid, and old, the dividing line between the conservative and the liberal is the family. Beyond that, conservatism is funny, and liberalism is uptight. As old-timer Andrew Klavan says, liberals can’t be cool when they’re not cool. Progressivism isn’t subversive; it’s obedient and afraid to laugh at anything. Young people are more aware that the institutions are liberal and aren’t working, whereas older people remember when the institutions carried authority and were perceived as conservative.Report

  4. Damon
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    This is one reason why I gave up on Conservatism/Republicans. I was always libertarian-ish, but some parts of conservatism made sense: keep the budget low, don’t over spend. Keep taxes moderate. Individual freedom, limited gov’t power. Watching the congress that came into power during the “contract with america” and burning down all their “promises”, I walked away. You lost me. The left? Many elements I agree with, but implementation but your fringe is just as cringe inducing as the far right. Screw it all. I have no kids to worry about their future. To quote Conan the Barbarian “let them all drown in lakes of blood”. I don’t care anymore. All empires fail eventually. The american empire will too. Maybe the survivors will learn from their errors.Report

  5. Lee E
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    https://www.theamericanconservative.com/a-defense-of-barstool-conservatives/

    This article encapsulates a section of the conservative-leaning male who is just “tired of all the PC crap and wants to chase short skirts”. They don’t want to listen to their parents’ generation about how conservatives need to have a certain set of values or believe a certain way, they just want to do whatever feels right without being talked down to. There is an only marginal interest in politics and the social causes motivating the average Fox News/New York Post consumer. Hustle, make some money, live your life without thinking too hard about anything, and if some feelings get hurt in the process, that’s just life.

    I don’t have a good read on what the female young conservative is subscribing to, but it can’t be much further from this ethos, such as it is.Report

    • LeeEsq in reply to Lee E
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      This is about as best you can do to put the American conservative ethos in a positive formation. It still comes across really bad because it twists what liberals and progressives want out of all proportion, just go to noted radical blog LGM and see how many liberals and leftist men love them some sports, but because it has to show selfish behavior as a defense of tradition. It is way too grandiose.

      When Yellowstone first came under examination of liberal journalists, because we really do live in separate media systems now, Vox observed that it acknowledged the injustice suffered by Native Americans but took a what can you do about it attitude and a belief that any sort of reparations would be also unjust. Your statement about “if some feelings get hurt in the process” pretty much sums up the modern conservative system. Life is tough and should be tough, gentleness is a sign of weakness (and I get somewhat annoyed by the gentle-cooing people as unrealistic at times but they have a positive vision), and I want to do what I want to do damn the consequences for others.Report

    • Pinky in reply to Lee E
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      Interesting article about sports politicization and the stock market. Not a word about skirt-chasing, so I don’t know where you got that.

      Have you seen the movie Swing Kids? It’s an underrated film, about 30 years old now, about non-political kids in Nazi Germany who wanted to dance to swing music. A theme is that sooner or later the authoritarian comes after everyone. Portnoy seems to be in that position.Report

    • Slade the Leveller in reply to Lee E
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      “Once a cherished prequel of every sporting event, the national anthem has been supplanted by the so-called black national anthem at NFL games.”

      It’s like the writer is holding a gun permanently aimed at his foot.Report

  6. Greg In Ak
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    The Yutes are both a pain in the butt and the future. The future part is obvious and a good reason for us to listen to them. The PITA thing well that is the product of the arrogance of youth and our youth orienteted consumer culture.

    First thing conservatives need to learn is that tastes change AND THAT IS NOT A SYMPTOM OF DECLINE you blithering dopes. Hip Hop or EDM or whatever different cartoons are all fine and change is expected. In fact the Conservative inability to handle simple changes in entertainment and taste is at the root of a lot of what Avi is struggling with. If C’s were able to focus on the truly important things to conserve, like free speech to note a drum i’ve been banging, that would be great. But instead in MO there is dress code for female pols or the Stop Woke bs.Report

    • LeeEsq in reply to Greg In Ak
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      The Yutes sounds like a tribe of barbarians that should sweep down from the Canadian steppe to raid the American Empire.Report

    • Saul Degraw in reply to Greg In Ak
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      One of the interesting and I think understudied things about the post-2016 Republican Party and conservative movement is the decline of the “moral majority” and the rise of the party hard Republican. The evangelicals are still around but are declining and largely trying to cement power where they can.

      The real moving force in the GOP these days is what I call “party hard conservatives” and they are exactly as you state. Some may make some gestures towards calling themselves Christian but they are not the Ralph Reed/Ned Flanders types of yesteryear. Most do not go to church that often and really just want to be able to tell crude jokes without pushback like it is an episode of Mad Men.Report

    • Burt Likko in reply to Greg In Ak
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      Distinguishing transcendent matters of enduring importance from the pressures of the day or matters of fashion and taste is more difficult than it would seem. This difficulty may be particular to conservatives and middle-aged to senior-aged people, but it is not exclusive to them, either.Report

  7. Saul Degraw
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    As others have pointed out, the most recognizable young or youngish conservatives do not have much to offer beyond “own the libz” especially as it relates to sexism, homophobia, transphobia, anti-Semtism, and other bigotries. No offense but you seem to be one of the few remaining Burkeans of “small government” conservatism that does not seem able to recognize this. The defiants at Charlottsvile were not marching on the banner of small government, they were chanting “the Jews will not replace us.”

    What kind of philosophy does Ben Shapiro have? What is his positive vision? As far as I can tell, he has none. His main role in life appears to be affinity scams supported by “owning the libz” and being smug and insufferable. When someone lands a zinger and point on him, he shuts down or moves on and ignores.

    People under 45 (and especially under 40) generally are suspicious of conservatism and conservatives offer them not much. The younger conservatives seem mainly isolated from their peers and/or to be propped up by older people who hate that their children dislike their social politics. “So what if my son thinks I am homophobic, Ben Shapiro and Lauren Boebert support my priors.”Report

    • Philip H in reply to Saul Degraw
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      No offense but you seem to be one of the few remaining Burkeans of “small government” conservatism that does not seem able to recognize this.

      This is true of a lot of our conservative commenters here though. Judging by the size of the deficit run up under GOP led governments, “conservative” politicians have failed miserably ta the small government approach. I suspect that acknowledging this means the Burkeans would have to grapple with all the other ways conservatism has failed in the US. Its an intellectual road too far.Report

  8. Rufus F.
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    Yeah, I don’t know. When I was a kid, eons and eons ago, the Republican elders in my family were rallying against Prince songs and Stephen King novels and D&D and, well, looking back, I don’t regret thinking they were the morons.Report

    • Mike Schilling in reply to Rufus F.
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      The current ones are banning Stephen King from libraries.Report

      • CJColucci in reply to Mike Schilling
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        There are perfectly sound, non-ideological theories that would justify banning Stephen King from school libraries. For example, one could plausibly have a theory that school libraries shouldn’t contain books that kids might want to read on their own, just Books They Ought To Read. (If it weren’t for schools, would The Scarlet Letter even be in print now?) But nobody runs a library on theories like that.Report

  9. Chris
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    I wonder if this is a discussion that takes place with every generation. That is, I wonder if, for all its conserving, conservatism changes pretty extensively over the decades, so that the old guard (currently, Boomers) will want to conserve very different things than young people, or in fact than the people who were the old guard when they were young.

    I think a lot about my youth, during which the Old Guard was mostly the World War II generation, the generation of my grandparents, all four of whom were very conservative, though in different ways (my mother’s parents were upper middle class Catholics, the children of poor immigrants; my father’s parents were working class Southerners, the children of poor and working class Southerners). The older conservatives I know now look very different from those conservatives, culturally (e.g., most of the conservatives I know now love classic rock, whereas my grandparents all thought rock was evil), economically (unsurprisingly, given that my grandparents grew up in the Depression, and most Boomers grew up in one of the most economically prosperous times and places in the history of our species), hell, even spiritually. The WWII generation’s wanted a world in which the sacrifices they made in the 30s and 40s were still possible; Boomers want a world in which the prosperity, and perhaps, socio-cultural hierarchy, of their youth is possible. Those two worlds look very different, as the few remaining members of the WWII generation will no doubt tell you. The one place where I see the two groups aligned (and this is perhaps a historical universal) is in the belief that it is the cultural changes that are responsible for the loss of the world’s they want to go back to.

    Looking at the yutes today, then, those two worlds — the world of the WWII generation’s youth, and the world of Boomers’ youth — are completely alien. They’ve never experienced the post-war economic boom, with its cheap education, relatively easily obtained high-paying jobs that could raise a worker on the factory floor into the middle class, with all its trappings, etc, and they’ve definitely never experienced the world of the Depression and WWII (thankfully). For older Millennials, the golden age might be the brief economic boom of the 90s, an for younger Millennials and Zoomers, there probably isn’t a real golden age, which would explain the seeming groundlessness of so many young conservatives (as discussed elsewhere in this thread).

    Anyway, the takeaway is: older conservatives looking for clones among young people will never find them, or at least not in any number. Whether younger generations are less conservative, in some abstract sense, than previous generations is something I simply can’t judge, but in the concrete, their conservatism will look pretty different from those of older generations, just as the conservatism of older generations looks different from the conservatism of the older conservatives of their youth.Report

  10. InMD
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    I think it’s important to note that the oldest millennials are now over 40 years old. Calling them young isn’t really accurate, certainly not from the historical perspective.

    The problem with conservatism is that it no longer tries to address the kind of day to day, kitchen table economic issues faced by regular working people and their families. It can come up with some cogent (and not so cogent) critiques of the dumbest forms of progressive culture being institutionalized, and of the shortcomings of technocratic government, but it simply has no positivist vision for how people are supposed to get basic things like healthcare, education, childcare, housing, and jobs in a 21st century economy. So even where conservatives might have a point about this or that, there’s never really a reason to vote for them.

    To put a finer point on it, the solution to wokeness run amok isn’t to start kicking poor people off of their health insurance or cut taxes for millionaires again. There is no interest in investment in new energy sources that could create the economy of the future (or investment in anything for that matter), or how we could build a better education or healthcare system that people and their kids can rely on.

    The culture war stuff is just a side show for the fact that conservatives, and the politicians who represent them, are fundamentally not solutions oriented, and show no signs of becoming so. So if you want people to vote for you come up with some good ideas and implement them when you have the power to do so.Report

    • Philip H in reply to InMD
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      The problem with conservatism is that it no longer tries to address the kind of day to day, kitchen table economic issues faced by regular working people and their families.

      Do note the House GOP’s first bill this Congress is rescind funding for the IRS.Report

    • Pinky in reply to InMD
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      says:

      I don’t understand this comment. If I had to characterize your politics, I’d say that you were economically liberal, and socially inclined toward liberalism but very much against its modern excesses. I’d think that a conservatism that confronts the culture war stuff is the only kind that would interest you. We’re not going to get you on the economics, right? One could make a case that the economy isn’t an issue right now, outside of inflation which most of us agree the government can’t do much against except balancing the budget. So I’m just baffled.Report

      • Philip H in reply to Pinky
        Ignored
        says:

        the solution to wokeness run amok isn’t to start kicking poor people off of their health insurance or cut taxes for millionaires again. There is no interest in investment in new energy sources that could create the economy of the future (or investment in anything for that matter), or how we could build a better education or healthcare system that people and their kids can rely on.

        We have seen multiple policy and legislative proposals from GOP politicians over the last few years trying to do all these things as a way of stopping whatever “wokeness” is. Seems pretty straight up to me.Report

      • Chip Daniels in reply to Pinky
        Ignored
        says:

        One could make a case that the economy isn’t an issue right now…

        Which I think is the point. The American conservatives in 2023 don’t really have anything useful to say about kitchen table economic issues.

        Housing costs, college costs, wages, working conditions- there isn’t any “conservative” idea that has much appeal beyond extremely attuned political ideologues like those of us here.

        Whether conservatives support or oppose an idea generally is determined by which social issue it is connected to.

        For example, look at all these “trads” running around Twitter yammering on about how important it is that society support families, presumably by having government intervene and command the economy to do so.

        Call it “Welfare for ghetto women with 4 kids by different fathers” and you’d have a Reagan speech about how evil it is. Call it “Support for traditional women who want to stay home and raise blonde haired Aryan children” and you’d get lucrative Youtube channel and a spot on Tucker Carlson.Report

      • InMD in reply to Pinky
        Ignored
        says:

        One informs the other for me. I’m in the left tent because there are ideas about the future, and in particular what the role of the state ought to be in setting up the playing field to our national betterment, some I agree with, some I don’t. And I’m also just generally a live and let live kind of guy and I haven’t been thrown out for that, not yet anyway.

        So if conservatives want me they need to have a vision that addresses those kinds of things. Then if it gets bad enough in the left tent maybe I could come over to the right tent and support the best conservative ideas on healthcare or college tuition or public schools. And I’d fight with the conservatives who think it’s a good idea to try to legislate reproductive health back to norms that haven’t existed for decades or believe they look cute instead of like buffoons when they pose with AR 15s in the Christmas photos. Same way I argue with progressives who think it’s a great idea to exchange testing and advanced math for racial gerrymandering or to tell young children there’s something called ‘gender identity’ that’s unrelated to sex.

        But at the end of the day there’s still plenty of liberals like me so I feel good about where I’m standing. Conservatives don’t seem to understand how to make a pitch.Report

        • Pinky in reply to InMD
          Ignored
          says:

          It seems to me like the pitch for economic conservatism is against your views. And I’ll admit that telling people “we can’t do this for you” isn’t going to be popular. But the biggest failure of economic conservatism is fiscal. I think even the left would respect us if we balanced a budget.

          So there’s going to be a tension between your position and the conservative one on economic issues. What I don’t get is your saying that the culture war is a sideshow, when it’s the thing you seem to care about most in politics. Are we using the term “culture war” differently, maybe?

          ETA: I’m rereading this comment and I hate it, not for its content but its flow. So please treat the first paragraph as ramblings on the subject of economic conservatism. The second is where I’m making my point in reply to you.Report

          • InMD in reply to Pinky
            Ignored
            says:

            Fair points, and let me try to break down where I come at this (and I should reiterate I claim to speak for no one but myself). Long comment coming.

            Point 1, is that side show is probably the wrong word, and I do care more about it than my previous comment implied. However it is probably easy and totally understandable for someone to mistake what we argue about most at OT for what any of us cares about most. We mostly argue culture war, and between that and the alignment of the regulars, that serves to really highlight the differences I have with what could broadly be called online progressive culture.

            Point 2, is about my priorities and how I look at the world. At heart I am a classical liberal. But in adolescence I was more of a libertarian, or like a libertarian that didn’t really buy the Road to Serfdom, Atlas Shrugged stuff. After all my mom immigrated here from France, and France with its much more interventionist state was obviously not some kind of hell hole. So I was more a libertarian because I was really scared by stuff written by Alexander Solzhenitsyn, and then during the Bush II years and GWOT all of those concerns seemed more relevant than ever.

            Point 3, was my mind being broadened again by the various crisis in the wake of the financial collapse. Among the many lessons I took from that is that our whole liberal system is vulnerable to economic instability. Extreme inequality, the appearance (or actuality) of different rules for different people based on wealth, etc. leads to highly illiberal demands, and in a democracy, there’s nothing that can stop those demands from being met if enough people want them.

            Point 4, is my ultimate conclusion which is that the classical liberalism I believe in is dependent on some degree of shared prosperity. In fact I’d say it’s contingent on that. So while I have all kinds of disagreements with illiberal leftism and various faddish progressive ideas, the Democratic party, with all its warts and infighting, actually has people and ideas and positions for shared prosperity. The GOP has none.

            So if the GOP wins too decisively it won’t matter that they also reject some of the things from progressives that I also reject. They will set the conditions for illiberalism because they don’t care about shared prosperity. Any win they have against the woke will be pyrrhic for me. And so I stay with the group that wants shared prosperity and try to make the case that people in that coalition should be more populist and focused on the interests of Normies and avoid ideologies that destroy the institutions that actually could work, not to mention alienate regular people.

            Hopefully that explains. But the TLDR is culture war flash points will come and go but if we don’t have shared prosperity we won’t have the small-l liberalism I support.Report

            • Pinky in reply to InMD
              Ignored
              says:

              Just under 500 words. I’ve seen worse.

              I believe that there’s a difference between the parties on economic matters, but it seems to me that in current years the biggest policy shifts have been on the social side. We’re not likely to see a bill that would radically favor your economic vision or mine in the next two years, but there are a bunch of fights in the meantime and we’re on the same side in most of them.

              I understand your point about shared prosperity. I look at the US (for that matter, most all of the world) and I see remarkable progress. I’ve got one of those smallpox vaccine scars on my arm, and today we’re able to crunch out a viral vaccine in under a year. That’s remarkable. There’s no one in the world starving because of crop failures, only bad policies and practices or individual mistakes in judgment. Within the US, we’ve never had it better. I know how this sounds within the context of “don’t be a ‘kids these days’ conservative”, but we really don’t realize how good we have it.

              If we have a decent level of shared prosperity, the big concern to me is that we be aware of it. We need an educated and moral population, which is something the founders believed as well. I think some of the Enlightenment was naive, but this is where we are and I’m riding this thing ’til the wheels fall off. Historically, a good people can survive periods of shared hardship, but I’m not sure if a selfish people can hold together even if prosperous. So that’s the concern for me. I see a lot of the social problems as failings of education and morals as well.Report

              • InMD in reply to Pinky
                Ignored
                says:

                The only two things I maybe disagree with you about is the Enlightenment (I think it may well be the best we can do) and I think I am more skeptical of the state’s ability to mold morality. I see it as an amoral institution or series of institutions that are more likely to reflect human (im)morality than be a source of it.

                But other than that I’m with you. I try to spend a little time every day thinking of how lucky I am to live in a climate controlled home with all the food I need and if that wasn’t enough I have all kinds of toys and entertainment to boot. Compared to all of human history and plenty of contemporaneous societies this is amazing. I am not desperate for 21st century space communism nor do I go around looking for injustice in every societal shortcoming. There are real trade offs and we have to deal with them like adults, while still putting them in perspective of just how good we have it.

                To take us back to the partisan politics component of this though, I really don’t think what I’m looking for from conservatives is a big stretch. I’m not even sure it requires abandoning a neoliberal (sorry to use that word, just the best shorthand I can think of) economic position, to the extent movement conservatism even still supports that. What I see is a willingness to attack or undermine the New Deal/Great Society systems, but without any alternative in mind or that conservatives would be willing to implement. I think it’s just a reality that in first world democracies the state is going to be asked to step in on risks that individual humans are bad at fortifying themselves against, with healthcare being the obvious one but also housing and education as a necessity for functioning in an advanced society.

                And I’m not blind to concerns about moral hazzard. Maybe the conservative pitch looks like Singapore’s version of health insurance, and k-12 education looks more like a harder nosed version of Germany, or any number of ideas. Right now though what I hear is let’s destroy it without any thought to why it exists in the first place.

                Now as I read your comments you draw a distinction in politics between social and economic issues in a way that maybe I don’t. But even taking that framing, and your core concern about morality, and helping people be better people, I’m not sure how that kind of nihilism gets us there. Hell, my most basic gripe with the parts of progressive culture I have issues with is just how nihilistic it is! All of which is to say I’m more interested in building something good, than I am in destroying something imperfect.Report

              • Pinky in reply to InMD
                Ignored
                says:

                Thanks – quick comments on my part – too busy to punctuate properly –

                The English, American, and Scottish Enlightenments were largely great movements. The French went down some bad roads, and those who were most inspired by the French said some things I disagree with. I don’t think reason gets you to virtue, and I don’t see education as a guarantee of good democracy. That’s where my concerns are. I’m not a pessimist about democracy.

                Also, I don’t think the state molds morality, at least not much. It can encourage good behaviour by punishing bad behaviour, but when I say we need good people for democracy to function, I’m not thinking primarily about the government being the force that moves us toward goodness. Remember, ultimately conservatives really don’t care about government, and don’t look to government for leadership. We’re all about the institutions that exist on the level bigger than the individual and smaller than the state.Report

              • InMD in reply to Pinky
                Ignored
                says:

                Fair enough. And I certainly don’t support the idea of an overbearing state involved in all aspects of peoples lives and well-being or as the only source of support. Maybe that is the fundamental difference, that I think it is the only thing capable of certain functions or of creating the structure necessary for those functions to work properly. A conservatism that made peace with that would make more sense to me, and maybe have a fighting chance of being appealing.Report

    • LeeEsq in reply to InMD
      Ignored
      says:

      It is hard for conservatism to address kitchen table issues when they believe government can’t really do anything. Conservatives do believe in the police power and law enforcement as a proper function of government. They can still wage the culture war by criminalizing any social development that they don’t want. However, they can’t address something like say transportation issue because they hate EV, mass transit, and really anything that isn’t a standard gas power car and a freeway. The loathsome Joe Kent even tried to invoke the light rail is “loot rail” canard in his campaign.Report

      • Philip H in reply to LeeEsq
        Ignored
        says:

        However, they can’t address something like say transportation issue because they hate EV, mass transit, and really anything that isn’t a standard gas power car and a freeway.

        Not completely true – they dislike versions of these that are public services, not private profit centers. And when EVs are more profitable then ICE cars and trucks they will fully embrace them.Report

      • Pinky in reply to LeeEsq
        Ignored
        says:

        But that begs the question, how many things can government do well? If you’re going into the discussion assuming that centralized government is effective in a lot of areas, then you’ll think they’re unnecessarily riding the brakes, but that doesn’t constitute a proof that they’re wrong. As Greg Gutfeld says, liberalism is like herpes, and conservatism is like Valtrex. No one’s happy about having to take it, but it stops the occasional flare-up.Report

        • Chip Daniels in reply to Pinky
          Ignored
          says:

          Even when just presented with ordinary mundane problems, conservatives become incoherent and tongue tied.

          Like the recent collapse of the FAA system. They didn’t seem to have anything useful or cogent to offer.
          Or the problems of fisheries collapse, aquifer depletion, or any other environmental or infrastructure problems, they have nothing interesting to say.Report

        • LeeEsq in reply to Pinky
          Ignored
          says:

          There are plenty of things that government does well when the citizens want it to perform. Just look at other developed democracies.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to LeeEsq
        Ignored
        says:

        You’d think that they’d look at California’s High Speed Rail and see how feasible it actually would be to connect major population centers in practice.

        Get from Chicago to Philly in four hours!Report

        • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
          Ignored
          says:

          Exhibit AReport

          • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
            Ignored
            says:

            Chip, if you got rid of every single critic on the planet, California High-Speed Rail would still be over budget and behind schedule.

            The critics are, at best, Exhibit B.Report

            • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
              Ignored
              says:

              And if you are the average voter, what is the elevator pitch from conservatives for solving problems?

              Transportation, utility infrastructure, homelessness, water supplies, pandemic response, emergency response, etc are all things that real voters want addressed.

              What are you or any other conservative offering them?
              Laws criminalizing transgender people, laws banning electric vehicles, laws punishing businesses that criticize the government, laws allowing them to fire teachers who teach accurate history, and of course laws criminalizing abortion.

              Seriously, I don’t think you or Pinky or any of the other conservatives on this site have ever offered a serious set of thoughts on any of these issues, and you guy are the reasonable ones.

              In American politics, the Democrats are the adults in the room solving problems, and the Republicans are the kids in the back making fart noises.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Seriously, I don’t think you or Pinky or any of the other conservatives on this site have ever offered a serious set of thoughts on any of these issues, and you guy are the reasonable ones.

                Eh, I’ve done stuff like written essays about stuff like health care, and immigration, and police reform and, get this, when you offer stuff like “we need to bust up police unions, jurisdictions with police unions result in more police violence than ones without”, that gets weird responses like “I haven’t seen any proof of that!” and, when evidence of that sort of thing is offered, excuses are given as to why people can’t look at the evidence!

                Seriously, you’d think that that sort of thing cannot be true but it is.

                It’s not something that really engenders some ideas for a big thoughtful essay about how California should open a desalination plant.Report

              • Greg In Ak in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                One of the things about solutions is there are A) here’s my great idea solution which is all find and good. Then there is the B) solutions which can actually get votes and works. There is often a really big difference.

                As noted Ocare vs Repub smoke and mirrors. The R’s might have “plans” but nothing that they can even vote for. D’s have plans which they actually put in place.

                Which leads to the endless “its flawed, its bad, it could be better”. Well yeah but it has done good things and it got something. It’s always easy to have plans and ideas when you never have to compromise to get them or then implement them.

                Somewhat random historical observation: It’s even harder for D’s to make plans work when you have Napolitano ready to really screw up at a key junction. (shakes fist in her direction)Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Greg In Ak
                Ignored
                says:

                Well, when stuff like “instead of your grand sweeping solution to do X, here’s a set of small, discrete changes that would incrementally make things better” gets shot down, it makes one that much more skeptical of “here’s some grand sweeping solution!”Report

              • DensityDuck in reply to Greg In Ak
                Ignored
                says:

                “D’s have plans which they actually put in place.”

                so the plan to build more student housing in Berkeley, the one that didn’t work out, was that an “R’s” plan or a “D’s” planReport

              • DensityDuck in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                “I don’t think you or Pinky or any of the other conservatives on this site have ever offered a serious set of thoughts on any of these issues, and you guy are the reasonable ones.”

                to the extent that he’s ever done that, his serious set of thoughts has been “maybe Democrats should start actually doing the things they say you want to do and plan to do and definitely would do if they ran the place” and the response is invariably that he’s a goddamn idiot for suggesting it.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to DensityDuck
                Ignored
                says:

                Conservatives have unfettered control over about half the states in America.

                Can we study them for how they have solved healthcare, transportation, education, or anything else?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Do we have a definition of “solved”?

                “Have they solved entropy?”

                It feels like there are multiple category errors happening all at once.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                The conservative experiment has been running for decades.
                Can we learn anything from studying them?

                Or do I need to define “learn” or “study”?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                If you can’t define what “success” or “failure” looks like, I’m pretty sure that it doesn’t matter what your outcome is going to be.

                But when it comes to healthcare, we could look at stuff like “health care outcomes”, when it comes to transportation, we can look at stuff like “car accidents” and “time spent in traffic jams”, when it comes to education, we can look at test scores.

                We can get really granular too. Like, if there’s a blue state with bad test scores but the bad test scores are all clustered in the areas that consistently vote for Republicans, we can account for that. Do it at the county level! Heck, do it by school district. Do it by zip code!Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                To put a finer point on education:

                The level of success shouldn’t be something like “THIS SCHOOL DISTRICT DIDN’T ACHIEVE 100% PROFICIENCY! THEREFORE IT IS A FAILURE! TAKE THAT!” but something more like “School District A has a math proficiency of 72% and a reading proficiency of 78% and School District B has a math proficiency of 28% and a reading proficiency of 32%” and conclude that School District A is doing a better job than School District B, right?

                Anyway. Here’s a link to The Nation’s Report Card.

                The top 10 district areas are:
                DoDEA (what’s that? Oh. Department of Defense Education Activity. It’s Headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia.)
                Wyoming
                Massachusetts
                Nebraska
                Florida
                Wisconsin
                North Dakota
                Iowa
                Utah
                New Hampshire

                The bottom 10 district areas are:
                Puerto Rico
                New Mexico
                District of Columbia
                Delaware
                Alaska
                West Virginia
                New York
                Arkansas
                Oregon
                Louisiana

                Who’s winning?

                Do we want to go to a county level? I may not have time for that today.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                So do that, then come back here to give lectures to liberals.

                In the meantime, you will understand if we tune out the conservative carping.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                You asked “Can we learn anything from studying them?”

                My answer is “I think so, maybe.”

                I mean, if we want to look at outcomes, I could throw together something.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Why does it fall you though, to do homework and throw something together?

                Don’t conservative states like Alabama, Texas, Mississippi or Kansas have excellent conservative solutions for mentally ill homeless people, which are far superior and cheaper than California’s?Report

              • Michael Cain in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                I am recently in the market for a memory care home for my wife. She grew up in Kansas and left decades ago, but mentions from time to time “moving back home to Kansas.” Well-rated facilities in her part of Kansas have services and prices comparable to those here in Front Range Colorado.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Michael Cain
                Ignored
                says:

                As ever, my most sincere sympathies for your situation.

                It is at least a blessing that you two are not indigent.

                Even with the wealth of public options here, the fate of homeless mentally ill people can only be described as Dickensian.
                There is nowhere in America that I am aware of where mentally ill indigent people are treated with care and compassion.

                So any effort made to fight this, I think should be met with praise and encouragement.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Those weren’t in the list of states that I provided for Education.

                So if I want to start a conversation about “what can we learn from conservatives about education?”, should I be prepared to switch, immediately, to homelessness?

                Would asking you about the Uighur genocide provide sufficient counter-argument or would it be a transparent attempt to change the subject?Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                We can talk about pretty much anything you want because it will be the same.

                Can we look at those states for :
                Homelessness?
                Mental health?
                Education?
                Transportation?
                Poverty?
                Health care?
                Crime?

                Pick a metric, and show us how the conservative approach is superior.

                I mean, right here on this very blog in 2010 the conservatives here were wailing about Obamacare and why oh why wouldn’t he listen to conservatives, who had a much better, much more superior way of dealing with health care and they would tell us all about it you betcha, any day now, just you wait and see.
                And here we are, more than a decade later, with the Republican plan still in the “Coming Soon!” stage.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                If I post a report card of states and do a comparison of states for education, would that matter?

                Or would you do something like ask “what about homelessness, though? WHAT ABOUT EDUCATION?”

                I mean, can we even compare two states?

                What would “success” look like? Maybe states with more homeless are more successful because homeless people move there?

                I BET YOU NEVER THOUGHT OF THATReport

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Again, the conservative experiment has been running for decades, several generations in some cases.

                I would think the obvious superiority of conservative ideology would be easy to see, self evident to all who view it as obvious as East and West Berlin.

                Is it so mysterious that it requires complex spreadsheet analysis?

                Why can’t it be as simple as “Hey, look at Texas/ Alabama/ Mississippi/ Kansas and see how good/efficient/effective their government is at education/ health care/ homelessness/ etc!”

                Like, we should all be able to say “Yeah, you know you’re right, everyone who goes to Texas comes back and tells us how well they handle things- the the wonders of the free market ensure that the poor and disadvantaged have it better there than here in the miserable People’s Republic of California! ”
                And somebody else chimes in:
                “And businesses are allowed to ensure worker safety without the dead hand of Leviathan so you never hear about industrial accidents!
                And even the children chirp:
                “And the government is run like a business so the potholes get filled and the power stays on!”

                But…I’m not seeing that and neither are you.
                Instead what are you going to do, treat us to some set of charts&graphs&statistics to tell us that despite what our lying eyes might tell us, life under Republican rule is better comrade, just clap harder.Report

              • LeeEsq in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                File under “conservatism can’t fail, it can only be failed.” The only thing that can be expected is whataboutism.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                It depends on what you’re looking for.

                If you’re looking for stuff like “better than other states”, I’ve provided a report card.

                If you are, instead, wondering how to define “success”, we’re in a Lewis Carroll kinda situation:

                 “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
                 “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the [Cheshire] Cat.
                 “I don’t much care where—” said Alice.
                 “Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.

                Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                But that’s just the thing, I’m not looking for anything.
                Its you guys who are constantly telling us to listen to conservatives, that conservatives have a better answer.

                So if you can’t tell us what these conservative ideas are or show us how they produce better outcomes, then you will understand if we turn a deaf ear to your complaints about liberal ideas.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                But that’s just the thing, I’m not looking for anything.

                Well, we’re no longer in a “If you can’t define what “success” or “failure” looks like, I’m pretty sure that it doesn’t matter what your outcome is going to be” situation.

                We’re in a “If you don’t want to define what “success” or “failure” looks like, I’m pretty sure that it doesn’t matter what your outcome is going to be” situation.Report

              • CJColucci in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                No, he won’t understand.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to CJColucci
                Ignored
                says:

                Burkean conservatism now works in favor of liberalism.

                The New Deal framework of government guaranteed economic security is approaching its centennial, Medicare is itself old enough to qualify for Medicare, Obamacare is almost old enough to drive, and none of them show any signs of their long predicted collapse and the road to serfdom has instead led to widespread prosperity and freedom.

                We may not be at the end of history, but the epic struggle of the 20th century is over, and the system of regulated market economies with robust social safety nets and social liberalism has routed all other claimants and proven itself to be the most effective at providing both freedom and prosperity.

                Not that authoritarianism and illiberalism aren’t on the upswing.
                But there is and never will be a “Hungarian Miracle” or “Florida Model” which shows a different and convincing path to a better future.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                You may not have noticed that you went from “can we learn anything from the conservative states on Education?” to “we’re not getting rid of the New Deal!” but *I* did.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Because your linked answer to the question of “what can we learn from conservative states on Education?” was, “Nah, nothing really.”

                And if you scroll up my original question was :

                And if you are the average voter, what is the elevator pitch from conservatives for solving problems?

                Transportation, utility infrastructure, homelessness, water supplies, pandemic response, emergency response, etc are all things that real voters want addressed.

                What are you or any other conservative offering them?

                For a hundred years now, conservatives have been swearing up and down that there are real conservative answers to the problems of governance, but so far no one has ever put forward any.

                You may not be old enough to remember, but Goldwater and Reagan stood in opposition to the Eisenhower/ Rockefeller Republicans who were in support of the New Deal, but wanted to blunt its more extreme edges.

                Goldwater and Reagan promised a new paradigm, a new way of looking at things that didn’t merely soften the New Deal, but overturn it completely.

                This failed. Utterly, completely failed.
                By the end of the Reagan/ Bush era, the New Deal framework stood unchallenged, and still does today.

                The red states have no new ideas for the problems I listed, they just use liberal ideas but watered down, essentially the old Eisenhower/ Rockefeller approach.
                For example, Texas has public social welfare support like California, but not as much; Florida has public mass transit like New York, but not as much.

                The only new thing the red state governors have is a revival of ethnic/ cultural grievance.

                So I’ll say it again.
                We have nothing, absolutely nothing whatsoever to learn from conservatives.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                You went from (and I’m copying and pasting this): “Can we learn anything from studying them?” to mocking the very question of “what can we learn from conservative states on Education?”

                Did you notice that you did that? Were you hoping that I would not notice that you did that?

                Because you did that.

                Now here’s why it matters: If we compare states to other states, we see that some are doing better than others.

                It seems to follow that the states that are doing better are doing something right and the states that are in dead last are doing something wrong.

                So it’s important to answer the very first question you asked: “Can we learn anything from studying them?”

                If your primary assumption is “no, we can’t”, then you’re deliberately shutting your eyes before you even look at it.

                “We have nothing, absolutely nothing whatsoever to learn from conservatives.”

                This is because you are learning resistant.

                While the conservatives have a lot of problems, this particular problem is a you problem and not a them problem.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                This is where YOU tell US what it is that conservative states are doing and what we can learn from them.

                You’ve made like what, a dozen or more comments, and have yet to make a single statement about what conservatives are doing that is worth learning from.

                Until you can tell us, I stand by my statement that conservatives have nothing worthwhile to say about any of the items listed.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Chip, first I need you to say that, maybe, it’s possible for us to learn from people who are different from us and have different values.

                Until you do that, I won’t be able to get into what they are doing and what we can learn from them.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Yes.
                Now stop stalling, and answer the question.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Well, I’m not an education expert but I do believe that it is possible to educate well and it is also possible to educate poorly.

                There was a move away from Phonics to Whole Word Reading a while back. The argument, as I understood it, was that the best readers were whole word readers and, therefore, we should teach people to read the way that the best readers read.

                Well… apparently, it was a lot more complicated than that. (They mixed up their inputs and outputs again.)

                Recently, I read an article about how they’re now teaching Phonics in high school to make up for some of the lost time.

                So the conservative argument when it comes to reading would be something like “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” and *NOT* switch to Whole Word Reading.

                When it comes to the states that I listed above and what the “conservative” ones are doing right (and, presumably, the bottom ten are doing wrong), I’d say that I don’t know what they’re doing differently.

                But I betcha that they’re not identically teaching what’s being taught with the only difference being the students.

                So the boring answer is something like “see what they’re doing differently than the schools that are failing and change the schools that are failing to be more like the schools that are succeeding”.

                But to do that, you have to assume that it’s possible to learn from the schools that are doing a good job.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                So…aside from “lets teach phonics”, you don’t really know what conservatives are doing right and from which we can learn.

                See, part of the problem here might be that you think everyone just assumes that conservatives are just doing a bangup job at all those metrics I listed and please oh please would they only deign to tell us their magic secrets.

                But..no one thinks that. And no one cares.

                Everyone loves Social Security and Medicare and Obamacare and the whole framework where the government is the guarantor of economic security.
                And by everyone I mean conservatives especially.

                Like, when the airlines software crashes, conservatives start screaming for the government to come fix it, and when the city of Scottsdale turns off the water supply to a desert community conservatives immediately start demanding a government agency fix things. And when their hip needs replacement they want Medicare to give them a hoverround g*ddamit.

                This is why no one wants to hear the sooper sekrit conservative magic elixir recipe for freedom and prosperity because it doesn’t exist.

                Donald Trump, Ron DeSantis, Greg Abbot, and the entire Republican party has abandoned the Reagan Revolution and accepted the liberal economic framework. This is why they obsess over culture war because, well, what else they got.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                See, part of the problem here might be that you think everyone just assumes that conservatives are just doing a bangup job at all those metrics I listed and please oh please would they only deign to tell us their magic secrets.

                Well, when it comes to education, I could link to something like “The Nation’s Report Card” and we could see for ourselves whether the conservative states are at the bottom and the liberal ones are at the top.

                Or, of course, whether they’re all equal.

                If you deny that it’s possible to say whether one thing is better than another, it’s much easier to say that you’ve got nothing to learn from others.

                But you’d be wrong.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Well, first lets notice the amazing shrinking defense here.
                I gave a laundry list of governance issues and asked if anyone could give an elevator pitch for how conservatism was better at handling them.

                No on stepped up to make such a claim. You offered, but restricted the list to education.
                Further, you’re making this about yourself- You aren’t pointing to a leading conservative theorist like Russell Kirk or Wm. F. Buckley who could explain things, you aren’t referencing a leading official like DeSantis or Abbot as an exemplar of conservatism.
                Instead, you are taking it upon yourself, internet commenter Jaybird of Colorado to somehow shoulder the burden of claiming that conservatives are superior.
                And third, you’ve restricted the defense to education, and really just reading skills, since the only point you’ve offered is phonics.

                See how small this defense perimeter is?

                There is a concession of vast territory, an implicit admission that conservatism has nothing to teach us about national defense, or transportation, or economic security or health care or homelessness or mental health or crime or anything else.

                And the kicker here is I agree with you- I think phonics IS a superior way to teach reading.

                So I’m back to my claim that no one has provided any reason why we should listen to conservatives about anything. Other than phonics I guess.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                “I gave a laundry list of governance issues and asked if anyone could give an elevator pitch for how conservatism was better at handling them.”

                You gave a Gish Gallop and said that you had nothing to learn from Conservatives.

                My argument is not that Conservatives are capable of providing Utopia.

                My argument is merely “If you think you can’t learn something, you’re probably right.”

                You offered, but restricted the list to education.

                I answered one of the items in the Gish Gallop.

                If you want a short essay on health care, here’s something I wrote six years ago.

                When it comes to Police Reform, I can find you something that Oscar wrote, I suppose.

                Essentially demanding that other people write 10,000 word essays or you’re right is a fun tactic but if you come out and say beforehand that you have no intention of reading them or learning from them, it kind of undermines it.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                So you aren’t pointing to conservative elected officials who are exemplars of conservative thought.

                You aren’t referring us to conservative manifestos or theories which offer compelling ideas.

                You can’t point to examples of conservative ideas which are working in place, other than phonics.

                The best you can do is refer me to your own ideas on healthcare. The fact that apparently no one is articulating a conservative vision other than an internet commenter in Colorado is exactly my point, that I’ve stated many times.

                You can’t, or won’t, point to Trump, DeSantis, Abbot, Youngkin; MTG, Boebert; Fox News, Gateway Pundit, RedState; CatTurd2.0, Curtis Yarvin, Ben Shapiro;

                You aren’t willing or able to hold any of these up as exemplars or champions or visionaries of what conservatism should be.

                Which is understandable, a tacit admission that Reaganism is dead and the current conservative movement runs entirely on cultural grievance.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Wait, the goalposts used to be over there. Now they’re over here!

                You can’t point to examples of conservative ideas which are working in place, other than phonics.

                So we’ve moved from “there aren’t any” to “you’ve only named one”.

                The best you can do is refer me to your own ideas on healthcare.

                I can also link you to essays on police reform. Will that get me a “The best you can do is refer me to your own ideas on healthcare and someone else’s ideas on police reform”?

                This is the problem with the Gish Gallop. “You only answered three of my issues! You didn’t address the other 17!”

                As for Trump, DeSantis, Abbot, Youngkin; MTG, Boebert; Fox News, Gateway Pundit, RedState; CatTurd2.0, Curtis Yarvin, Ben Shapiro (we were just talking about Gish Galloping!), I’d say that Yarvin is an interesting conservative thinker and Shapiro is an uninteresting one and the rest are pretty straightforward Republican apparatchiks.

                If you want to argue that Republican apparatchiks are useless or captured, hey. I’d agree. It’s why I’m not a Republican.

                But to conflate that with Conservative theories on, say, Education is to make a mistake.

                Especially when evidence that there are a handful of “conservative” states doing things obviously better than their contemporaries on, say, Education.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Conservatism, once upon a time, was a way of looking at the world, a holistic set of ideas and values which encompassed economics, culture, and generally how society and governance should be organized.
                It was coherent and had an internal logic.

                What you are doing here is trying to offer microscopic targeted wonk. Police reform, or maybe phonics. Fragments of ideas disconnected from each other without any connective sinew.

                But no overarching ideas which can inform us on how other issues might be handled.

                Once again, this is my point. Conservatism is an exhausted movement, reduced to squabbling over the most narrow of issues, except when it is not grinding the ax of cultural grievance.
                Like socialism, it doesn’t have any existing working models.

                And to namecheck Curtis Yarvin as a “conservative thinker” proves my point, better than anything.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                What you are doing here is trying to offer microscopic targeted wonk.

                Because that’s what you were asking for. You asked for wonk. You asked for wonk on multiple subjects and now you’re complaining that that’s what you got.Report

              • DensityDuck in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                I think the funny part is when Chip complains that he hasn’t seen one single idea and when you provided one single idea he replied “yeah, but that’s just one single idea…”Report

              • Pinky in reply to DensityDuck
                Ignored
                says:

                At some point, it’s not moving the goalposts, it’s lying about the score.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to DensityDuck
                Ignored
                says:

                Yes.
                Conservatives have one idea.Report

              • Pinky in reply to DensityDuck
                Ignored
                says:

                I’d like to think there’s been more than that, and fortunately I’ve written thousands of comments here over more than a decade, so anyone can find out on their own.Report

        • InMD in reply to Jaybird
          Ignored
          says:

          I actually think this is a great example. A conservative that might interest me would look at a situation like that and say ‘wow, we used to build super highways and hoover dams and now we can’t even build a train connecting two major cities. What happened, and how can we make it so we can build things again?’ But ‘haw haw libs can’t make their choo choo train’? Even where the criticisms have merit there isn’t much of a vision.Report

          • Jaybird in reply to InMD
            Ignored
            says:

            There’s a phenomenon with the lottery for the people who “almost” won it.

            The guy who bought a ticket at the same store an hour before? Almost won it. The guy who had every single number +1 on his ticket? Almost won it. The gal who had every single number -1 on her ticket? Almost won it. The person who bought their ticket at the same store an hour later? Almost won it.

            And so on down the line. I almost won it. This close.

            When it comes to how we aren’t able to build things anymore, it feels like we’re stuck with almost being able to build things.

            We would have accomplished it, but there was a committee that had problems with carbon offsets. We almost built it, but there were cost overruns. We almost built it, but we had to deal with an unrelated protest.

            It would have worked.Report

            • J_A in reply to Jaybird
              Ignored
              says:

              I don’t know in this example who is saying “It would have worked”

              Is it the liberal explaining why the solution they proposed failed to deliver the results expected?

              Or is it the conservative, explaining why they were unable to come with any proposal for a solution at all?

              Given that this is in response to a question about “what’s your elevator pitch about who to solve …”, I think it’s the latter. We almost have a proposal, but we all hate some (different) part of it, so, we have nothing. But it there was a proposal, it would have worked.

              But there’s no proposal.

              But it would have worked, not like the liberal proposal, that won’t ever work.

              We almost have a proposal. After all, after we repealed Obamacare 42 times, we almost got a replacement proposal that was going to be much better and everyone would have loved.

              We never proposed it, but if we had, it would have been better. So, in the meantime you are stuck with Obamacare. You can thank the liberals for having to settle for something as bad as that.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to J_A
                Ignored
                says:

                Well, this all comes down to “what’s the problem?”

                If you want to build a high-speed rail from here to there, what did they do elsewhere to build it?

                Then do that.

                I can’t say more as I am not an expert in trains or transportation, but I can say that if we try to emulate what was successful elsewhere, we have a better shot at achieving what is known to be possible than we would if we kept changing things and going in different directions than what worked elsewhere.

                “But what if we could improve on what was done elsewhere?”
                “I’m sure we could, but what you’ve done hasn’t.”

                And if you are unwilling to agree that what you are doing is not working… well, this criticism will just fall on deaf ears. You haven’t failed yet.

                Indeed. It’s almost working.Report

              • Philip H in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                A lot of what is successful elsewhere is either the government simply taking what it wants a building and doing regardless of price or popular sentiment or government not letting things go and then trying to bring them back later. We do neither of those here.Report

              • J_A in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Interesting. I have now learned that the “problem” that needed solving by conservatives and/or liberals was only “construction of high speed train systems in California”. The problem was not transportation, or pollution, or cost of housing, or congestion.

                If only the problem we had faced had been, I don’t know, congestion, the conservatives would have had a very good solution to propose.

                But, woe is us, congestion was not “the” problem. It was railways. And therefore there was no conservative proposal about congestion.

                Not that there was a conservative proposal about high speed railway construction. There almost was, but something something. But rest assured, had it existed, it would have been a magnificent solution to the high speed railway building problem.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to J_A
                Ignored
                says:

                Perhaps the problem of congestion could be solved by building dense housing in California. You know… walkable cities and that sort of thing.

                How difficult would it be for me to get new housing going in California?Report

              • J_A in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                You know, I would strongly support that. I would vote for a politician that would propose that.

                Please, can you point to me a Republican candidate that has proposed changes in regulations favoring higher density, walkable, neighborhoods? I’ve seen several railing against those things, but can’t think of one that has come out in favor of them.

                But I’m sure that if that’s a conservative proposal, one that coincidentally, I’m in favor of, then there must be several examples of conservative candidates proposals in that respect.

                Send them this way at your earliestReport

  11. Chip Daniels
    Ignored
    says:

    Brian Klaas, writing in The Atlantic:
    Until modern Republican politics stops systematically empowering crackpots, America’s democratic dysfunction cannot be considered equivalent to the mere polarization that exists in peer countries such as Britain. In Britain, the political system is broken in ways that are more easily fixed. When reality shifts, people change their minds—and someone as incompetent as Liz Truss gets booted from office in just 42 days.

    Unfortunately, loosening the grip of conspiratorial thinking in politics is extremely difficult; it means trying to make the storytelling animal give up on one hell of a story. But here is one nugget of wisdom for how to start, drawn from H. L. Mencken: “The way to deal with superstition,” he wrote, “is not to be polite to it, but to tackle it with all arms, and so rout it, cripple it, and make it forever infamous and ridiculous.”

    QAnon is crazy. The notion that vaccines cause spoons to stick to you is moronic. Anyone who tells you that a best-selling historian is part of a secret plot to turn you into a cyborg is, with insincere apologies to Mike Flynn, a complete idiot. In the battle for reality, ridicule is a powerful weapon.

    https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2023/01/conspiratorial-thinking-polarization-america-united-kingdom/672726/Report

  12. LeeEsq
    Ignored
    says:

    I’m just going to leave this here but if you don’t want to read, the TLDR movie is a Ben Shapiro movie starring Gino Carano is still deemed to be too woke:

    https://www.indiewire.com/2023/01/gina-caranos-new-ben-shapiro-produced-movie-is-somehow-still-too-woke-for-some-right-wingers-1234800153/?fbclid=IwAR3U-F47MR9WE_jT8j7LZUT-IzJfmo_a6EAzJFsUuNIpKCK-Ipszv5N8khQReport

    • Pinky in reply to LeeEsq
      Ignored
      says:

      I’ve been thinking about this one, and would it seem weird to you if the shoe were on the other foot? If TYT produced a movie with Amy Schumer and some liberals complained that it wasn’t woke enough? As for the failure in the theaters, I’d guess it’s more that they wanted to say that they produced a movie with a theatrical run. They make their money through online subscriptions (weird word, four consonants in a row, don’t stop typing it or you’ll get confused), so this wasn’t going to be a major revenue stream. It’s got to be like the Oscar contenders’ limited releases.Report

      • Burt Likko in reply to Pinky
        Ignored
        says:

        If TYT produced a movie with Amy Schumer and some liberals complained that it wasn’t woke enough?

        Actually, that would totally happen. At least in certain coffeeshops and taphouses I drop by in from time to time and can’t really help but overhear such complaints because I’m kind of meant to overhear them.

        I don’t think I need to drop my left-of-center bona fides to roll my eyes when I hear competitors in the Portland Woke Olympics complaining about relatively minor deviations from the Perfect Progressive Policy Platform. Just wait until they hear what I want to do with the homeless encampment out in front of my neighborhood’s grocery store (I want the city to house them, for the record).Report

        • Pinky in reply to Burt Likko
          Ignored
          says:

          That was my point. Lee was stunned by something that would look normal to him if the poles were reversed. Wouldn’t it be strange if all of your opponents thought the same way, given that they’re humans and we don’t do that? And if you’re surprised that your opponents have arguments, doesn’t that reflect a lack of familiarity on your part?Report

          • Burt Likko in reply to Pinky
            Ignored
            says:

            Assuming that people are your opponents because of a trivial disagreement when they’re actually quite willing to mostly be your friends on most things is a really good way to not have anyone by your side when an actual opponent shows up.

            Assuming that said opponent is dumb because they have a different opinion is a really really good way to get your ass handed to you, and that’s when you need friends to help you out the most.

            IOW Joe Manchin and Krysten Sinema are sometimes frustrating, but without them, Mitch McConnell would be running the Senate, so maybe if you don’t have as many blessings as you’d like, count the ones you do have, slowly.

            This concludes today’s episode of “Burt Likko venting about bizarrely short-sighted Portland progressives.” Thanks for tuning in.Report

    • Pinky in reply to LeeEsq
      Ignored
      says:

      Not much new here this morning, and I’m bored enough to troll, so: It’s Gina Carano, not “Gino”. She may not fit your standard of femininity but calling her a man’s name is an act of cruelty. Do you think she’s never been made fun of? She’s found success in a business where the slim female look is everything, and you go and spit on her for it. Terrible.Report

  13. DensityDuck
    Ignored
    says:

    “Don’t be a ‘Kids These Days’ conservative,” I read, and then I turn around and see someone claiming that “Guns, Germs, Steel” is a paean to racist colonizers.Report

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