An Hypothesis About 2018: Collapse And Replace

by John Holbo on June 4, 2017

What’s going to sink Republicans is not some scandal, let alone errant Trump tweet, but healthcare. It’s us-vs-them fun and games, but if you don’t have your health, and you can’t afford a doctor, how fun is that? The Republicans are not going to repeal-and-replace. The Trump administration is doing its bit to undermine Obamacare. “Collapse and replace” is it. Minus ‘replace’. Democrats should run on that. If Republicans collapse health care, you should replace them. Democrats should start using ‘collapse’ in a transitive sense. The Republican plan is to ‘collapse the system’ and they have no replace plan. Let Republicans talk their way out of that one. They for sure aren’t going to legislate themselves out of that being the way of it.

Kevin Drum has a post up: 71% of Republicans say continued funding of the Medicaid expansion is important. (Not Medicare. Medicaid.)

The most suicidal thing Republicans have done is not nominate Trump. (Unless he gets bored and starts a war.) The most suicidal thing Republicans have done is win control of all three branches of government at a time when they can’t get themselves to budget or even dream of anything but Medicaid cuts to fund tax cuts for the wealthy. (Visions of the young Paul Ryan. Reminds me of that line from “Homer’s Barbershop Quartet”: “And that little boy who nobody liked grew up to be Roy Cohn!”)

There’s no mere, real scandal that can’t be covered up by the sheer spectacle of liberals losing their collective shit over the scandal. But healthcare matters to people’s lives.

{ 155 comments }

1

Dr. Hilarius 06.04.17 at 4:12 am

If Democrats want to re-gain relevancy and pick up votes they should sponsor legislation to allow for re-importation of FDA-approved drugs and/or allow Medicare/Medicaid to negotiate prices with drug companies. Passage of such a bill would translate into immediate, tangible benefits to individuals across the political spectrum. If the Republicans prevented passage it would hurt them badly in the mid-term elections.

So why hasn’t such a simple strategy been tried? I’ve asked my two senators, Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell but without response. Both voted against a drug re-importation bill, citing unspecified safety concerns. Patty is one of the top recipients of drug company campaign contributions. If either senator thought the Sanders bill was flawed, they are free to sponsor a better bill. Still waiting.

2

CDT 06.04.17 at 4:32 am

Collapse without replacement is certainly the plan, but I’m not sure they won’t do it anyway, blame it on Obama, and nevertheless retain their Calvinist-nihilist base. It’s not that much of a stretch to go from demonizing the poor to demonizing the sick. God’s will being what it is.

3

William Berry 06.04.17 at 4:45 am

“An hypothesis”

John: as a classical scholar, you should know better! The English “h” translates the rough breathing before the upsilon (sorry; no Greek character set handy) in the original. Its value is consonantal. It should be, therefore, “a hypothesis”, not “an hypothesis” (Cf., “a historian”, not “an historian”).

Yes, it’s a non-prescriptivist world we live in, but this is one of those rare cases when one can say that a given usage is just plain wrong (unless, of course, you actually don’t pronounce the “h”; in which case: weird, but carry on).

Hope you can find it in your heart to forgive a little light pedantry trolling!

To the subject of the OP: I honestly despair. The USA will go through an era of fascism and chaos and the world will burn.

Don’t expect too much and you won’t be disappointed. *

*No: don’t expect too much and you will be right, but very disappointed.

4

CDT 06.04.17 at 5:28 am

Doc, you’re going to have a long wait. I know a lot of Democratic congress people, and they all remain in thrall to neoliberal economics and the defensive crouch of the post-Monica Bill Clinton years. There is power lying in the street in the form of bills that would actually help voters and themselves. But they stand by idly.

5

kidneystones 06.04.17 at 5:47 am

What Republican’s are running on right now are clips of ordinary Americans dressed-up in black costumes smashing windows and burning cars – juxtaposed with images of Kathy Griffin holding a bloody image of a knife and the decapitated head (not real*) of the American president. You wrote eloquently of cognitive dissonance post election. The actions at Evergreen college and Griffin suggest the problem is getting worse, not better.

I like Kevin Drum, but he’s lost a step. The infamous right-wing rag Salon has this to say about 2018 http://www.salon.com/2017/05/27/wake-up-liberals-there-will-be-no-2018-blue-wave-no-democratic-majority-and-no-impeachment/

For those who can’t bring themselves to click through – “There’s no quick fix for Trump or our damaged democracy — and the Democrats still look hopeless”

With all due respect John, a slogan isn’t going to do the job of doing the job. The Democratic party needs Sanders just to start the debate about where to go from here. As you and Kevin note, most Republicans couldn’t care less about healthcare. They care about getting re-elected. And until Democrats start to for something they’re sunk.

TAP has a more hopeful piece in their series on that foreign species (to some) known as the white working-class: http://prospect.org/article/absent-more-progressive-economics-democrats-will-lose

6

Joseph Brenner 06.04.17 at 7:33 am

kidneystones@5:

I read through the Andrew O’Hehir at salon, and find it
rather heavy on sneering at “fantasists”, and weak on making a
political case. The substantive claims are (1) gerrymandering
makes it hard to win the House back, (2) a lot of the Senate
seats up for grabs are Democrats, and a bunch of those are in
Trump country.

Then there’s something about how the Democratic party is too
listless, has no message, and he makes a rather odd move in the
direction of both-siderism that has Hillarites and Bernistas
equally guilty of something.

The advance polls for 2018 show increases in popular approval in
voting Democrats into Congress, with an average gain of 7
points:

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/other/2018_generic_congressional_vote-6185.html#!

If you read through this write-up of each of the upcoming Senate
races, it does not sound like many of the 10 Democrats-in-Trump
country are really in trouble. Picking up 2-3 seats does not
strike me as an impossible dream:

http://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2017/Senate/senate_races.html

(If you’d like to get involved with The Resistance, instead of
just riding an armchair on the sidelines, I’d suggest picking one
of those races to get involved with… I’ll probably be kicking
some money to Tammy Baldwin again, myself.)

And this piece strikes me as “95 percent” more likely to be worth
something than that salon article:

http://act.boldprogressives.org/survey/2018polling/

7

kidneystones 06.04.17 at 12:30 pm

@ Joseph Brenner. Anything is possible. But I’d caution against reading too much into the polls for reasons that are all too obvious, I’m sure. As for getting involved, you’re reading it. I’m not American and regard both parties with a great deal of skepticism. I’d like to see sanity prevail. What that actually might look like is anyone’s guess.

What you call the resistance seems to me like a bad joke, I’m afraid.
That said, I applaud your enthusiasm and wish you well.

8

Mario 06.04.17 at 12:55 pm

Matt Taibbi has an interesting article on the electoral strategies of the Democrats, and how they could be improved. It doesn’t look easy. Quote:

[…]enormous numbers of voters would rather elect an openly corrupt or mentally deranged Republican than vote for a Democrat.

The numbers in Brenner’s last link above do not seem to translate to an actual advantage at the polls, and I fear that, by extension, health care probably couldn’t, either.

I sometimes wonder if the Social Justice Movement and the fact that the Democratic party is associated with it is part of the problem. The Evergreen college meltdown mentioned by Kindeystones is only one in a long series of events that could move people to declare: I’d rather vote for the devil than for this.

9

Marc 06.04.17 at 1:17 pm

My concern is that Democrats have, far too often, acted as if their own future success is a mathematical certainty. Demographic changes mean that team D has a lock on the White House, and that there will be a wave of states changing from red to blue as the good people get more numerous and the bad people die off. Instead, the Democrats are at a 100 year low in the House and the states.

Instead of stepping back and thinking about how to connect with groups that we’ve lost, the Dems appear to be arguing that they didn’t really lose the presidential election (because of Russia, the media, the FBI, heretics on the left…anyone except Clinton and her campaign.) There is an obsession with conspiracy theories, and a lot of apocalyptic rhetoric that is leading to disastrously counterproductive things like violent riots on college campuses. What doesn’t seem to be happening is the development of any sort of alternate plan (besides “trump is evil”.) And the other dangerous development is that the Democrats need to figure out how to reach disaffected voters, and the current mood of the party is far closer to demonizing them.

I do agree that an imploding health care system – or any other crisis that crops up, because this administration and Congress seems incapable of accomplishing anything – could give the Dems an opening. Gerrymandering actual works against a party if the opposing tide is high enough, e.g. with a high enough wave all of those 54-46 districts flip at the same time. The Senate, unfortunately, looks extremely grim. 25 D seats to defend, 8 R seats. 10 of the Dems represent states that Trump won. One Repub represents a Clinton state. Unless you count Texas as a swing state, there are only 2 seats (AZ and NV) where Dems can even make a case that they’re competitive (others: wyoming, nebraska, mississippi, tennesse,utah..some of the most republican states in the nation.)

But we’ve already established that “trump is the devil” is not a winning strategy by itself.

10

Belle Waring 06.04.17 at 1:24 pm

Kidneystones: the white working class was more foreign to people before we read our 798th thousand article explaining why we should do everything they want, even if they don’t know what that is.

11

Sebastian H 06.04.17 at 2:52 pm

I disagree with kidneystones about almost everything. But I’ll say that the idea that the we’ve developed an understanding of them by reading articles about them is probably just as wrong as someone saying they understand foreign countries because they have read travelogues.

The problem is that we have let them become a foreign country–a country that our best claim for understanding is that we have read about it (in things written by foreigners).

12

Omega Centauri 06.04.17 at 3:01 pm

Seconding CDT, the plan is collapse and blame it on the fatally flawed Obamacare (the fatal flaw being that the R’s were always determined to make it fail). So the blame will be put on the Democrats for passing a flawed plan, and for not working with the R’s. Will the rubes, buy into the obvious misdirection? That is the 64 million dollar question.

13

CDT 06.04.17 at 3:13 pm

Even here in very red Arizona, there is resistance everywhere. It is coming from the grassroots and not the Democratic Party. That’s obviously preferable for actually achieving policy goals, but it’s odd that the Democratic Party is so sluggish about taking advantage. Seems like that is the case nationally as well.

14

Pavel A 06.04.17 at 4:23 pm

For everyone opposed to identity politics (kidneystones, Mario), how exactly do you propose fighting the ideas of welfare chauvinism (economically progressive policies for whites but not PoCs) that have sprouted in the WWC? The WWC isn’t going to accept progressive policies that benefit all lower class people. The WWC believe they are perfectly deserving of welfare, but inner city PoCs are not. That’s not a class problem, that’s an identity problem.

15

soullite 06.04.17 at 4:29 pm

Math is math. And unless Democrats can do a lot better in the rust belt, none of this is likely to matter.

The economy: Fix it, instead of pretending that it’s already fixed.

16

alfredlordbleep 06.04.17 at 4:36 pm

After the House passage of “Trumpcare” Andrew Sullivan had this:

. . . Its gutting of Medicaid will force millions of the poor to lose health care almost altogether. It will bankrupt the struggling members of the working and middle classes who find themselves in a serious health crisis. It could hurt Republicans in the midterms —though that will be cold comfort for the countless forced into penury or sickness because of Trump’s desire for a “win.” But it’s clarifying for me. It forces me to back a Democratic Party I don’t particularly care for. And it destroys any notion I might have had that American conservatism gives a damn about the vulnerable. It really is a deal-breaker for me. I hope many others feel exactly the same way.

May 5 2017 NYmagazine

Sullivan, of course, is the exception that proves the rule about Republicans. The vast majority rationalize as they please by looking elsewhere to invoke, “the other side is worse”.

Bertrand Russell in “Eastern and Western Ideals of Happiness” wrote that Confucian ethics, “unlike those of Christianity, are not too exalted for ordinary men to practise.”

17

kidneystones 06.04.17 at 4:43 pm

Hi Belle, I think the point Sanders and the TAP authors are trying to make is that folks looking to get the boot of the rich off our necks need to be a little less picky about our allies, cause whatever ‘liberals’ are doing so far has resulted in Republican victories at the local, state, and now national levels. Marc is right – coastal elites who run the party and suck up to the rich for funds consider the white working class to be the problem, not part of the solution, especially when these folks keep voting Republican. All indications are that the wwc know exactly how little liberals think of them.
I teach anyone who’ll listen that the world is a much easier place to enjoy and thrive in if we can find something to like in everyone, silly as that may sound.

And with that I’ll wish you all well.

18

Heliopause 06.04.17 at 5:02 pm

Before anybody starts writing the umpteenth obituary for the GOP please keep in mind that US midterm turnout is a joke and the demo most likely to vote is old white people. The general pattern for Republicans in midterms is to either win or suffer minimal losses. 2006 was their biggest loss in recent memory and even Trump will have a hard time wrecking everything as badly as it was wrecked in the runup to that election.

19

Glen Tomkins 06.04.17 at 5:35 pm

The point is well-taken that Ds should turn away from scandal and focus on public policy as the way to win in 2018 and beyond.

For starters, our side’s loss of collective shit over Trump-Russia is going to become even more of a drag as it becomes increasingly clear that he’s just covering up embarrassing stuff, nothing criminal. The cover-up is what we have him dead to rights on, but it’s no one’s idea of impeachable to cover up stuff that’s just embarrassing, rather than illegal. Trump does more embarrassing stuff every day in the open, whenever he opens his mouth or pecks away on his Twitter account, than we are going to find at the end of Trump-Russia. Our side looks more and more foolish the more we try tp paint this demented old man as some sort of criminal mastermind.

Worse than foolish, we give the appearance of having nothing better to offer when we ignore public policy to concentrate on scandal. How can we except the voters to put their faith in our public policy prescriptions if we don’t have enough faith in them to prioritize them over some nothing burger scandal?

Unfortunately, the other end of this sound advice to concentrate on policy over scandal, has its own problems. The Ds have been in headlong retreat from advocating for any public policy for so long that they don’t even know what that would look like. You can’t run a political campaign on the ACA because the ACA is the commodified-to-death zombie that’s all that’s left of what might have been an actual public policy on paying for the nation’s health care. Even being for single payer is inadequate, because it is the undead fallback from the actual public policy, social insurance as the way to pay for health care.

If and when we sort that out, and start being openly for socialized medicine, and amnesty for the undocumented, and ending the war on drugs — and all the other actual public policy we can and should stand for — only then do we get a politics in which some poor demented old man can’t be mistaken for a truth-teller by enough of he voters to become president. Don’t give up on those voters until and unless we start telling some actual, non-alternate reality, truths, and they still vote for the demented guy over us.

20

Layman 06.04.17 at 6:41 pm

kidneystones: “I teach anyone who’ll listen that the world is a much easier place to enjoy and thrive in if we can find something to like in everyone, silly as that may sound.”

Aren’t you the guy who posts comments which include childish insulting names for politicians you don’t like? As one example, didn’t you habitually call Obama ‘President Drone Strike’? So maybe sanctimony isn’t your best play here?

21

LFC 06.04.17 at 7:00 pm

Wm Berry @3

Your point seems to assume that correct or proper English usage — here and presumably elsewhere — is based on the (Greek, Latin, or whatever) original and specifically its pronunciation, but what is the basis for that assumption? I think either “an” or “a” is acceptable here.

22

Chet Murthy 06.04.17 at 7:12 pm

Sebastian H: To echo Belle, we sure do seem to have 798 articles-and-counting on the WWC. Oh, none on the black and latino working class, gosh I wonder why. But let that pass. If you want to know what they’re like, it’s really easy. Just talk to anybody who grew up there and fled. For a coastal elite city. AKA a safe place where you can be brown, black, pink, or what-have-you, without fearing for your life and safety. You can learn a ton.

23

steven t johnson 06.04.17 at 7:41 pm

William Berry @3 “The English ‘h’translates the rough breathing before the upsilon… Its value is consonantal….given usage is just plain wrong (unless, of course, you actually don’t pronounce the ‘h’; in which case: weird, but carry on).”

Actual usage also includes pronunciation where the consonantal value of the initial “h” before a vowel is muted. Maybe it’s only Cockneys who drop an aitch, but there are many who don’t give it full value. That has the same awkwardness as pronouncing the “h” in “vehicle.” An historian sounds smoother, more liquid, than a historian. To be sure, the spelling implies the rough breathing, hissing sound, just like it does in “hour” or “honest” or “heir.”

But prescriptivism is still with us. So I think the tendency to correct to a historian or a hypothesis is very much like correcting to pronounce “often” with the “t” clearly articulated. That too is becoming more common.

24

Suzanne 06.04.17 at 8:49 pm

@19: “You can’t run a political campaign on the ACA because the ACA is the commodified-to-death zombie that’s all that’s left of what might have been an actual public policy on paying for the nation’s health care. “

A lot of people crowding into congresspersons’ town halls to express support for the law and stories of how their families have benefited from it will likely disagree with you.
Much of the recent grassroots energy has been stimulated by the realization that the ACA may actually go away. People like the law better now they understand there is a strong chance they’ll lose the real gains made because of it. You can certainly run a campaign on the benefits of the ACA and the genuinely zombie “health care reform” that the GOP are trying, and so far failing, to pass. The ACA has problems, which would normally be dealt with by tinkering after due Congressional debate, which is impossible because the Republicans have made it so.

I also don’t see any reason for the Democrats to “turn away from scandal.” It’s not an either-or choice and also there are multiple actual scandals going on that pose a real threat to the general welfare and the norms under which the country is governed. As a purely partisan matter, the pressure is a thorn in Trump’s side and causing major distractions for the GOP, which contributes to the trouble they are having turning their ghastly wish list into law. All to the good.

@2: They’d like to do that, but the law will not collapse without sabotage, and the Republicans are in power. It’s risky.

25

BBA 06.04.17 at 9:28 pm

After the 2012 election, I began to despair that the House wouldn’t go Democratic again in my lifetime. There’s been nothing since to suggest my despair is unfounded.

26

Mario 06.04.17 at 9:47 pm

@Pavel A,

I’m not against identity politics per se. But there are many ways to do identity politics, and there is a segment of the SJ movement that seems to have perfected techniques for going about that that makes them look like something out of a twilight zone episode. My point was that if the democrats get routinely associated to such behavior, they may lose a significant number of votes for this reason alone. And I think that is part of the story. Milo Y. ran a very successful campaign almost exclusively on the back of that segment of the SJ movement.

I’m just trying to understand. After all, the data is puzzling indeed. And it’s urgent.

27

Kiwanda 06.04.17 at 10:30 pm

Glen Tompkins:

…if we don’t have enough faith in them to prioritize them over some nothing burger scandal?

Trump has brazenly allowed his personal business interests to take priority over the the national interest, in clear violation of the emoluments clause; he’s allowed Jared Kushner to remain in the White House; he’s obstructed justice by firing the head of the FBI to order to stop an investigation of his malfeasance; he’s declared his intent to *not* carry out the law of the land (the ACA); he’s destroying the bedrock alliances the US has had for decades, clearly in line with Russian goals. These are grounds for impeachment several times over, not “nothing burger” scandals.

28

Kiwanda 06.04.17 at 10:38 pm

Pavel A:

For everyone opposed to identity politics (kidneystones, Mario), how exactly do you propose fighting the ideas of welfare chauvinism (economically progressive policies for whites but not PoCs) that have sprouted in the WWC? …. The WWC believe they are perfectly deserving of welfare, but inner city PoCs are not. That’s not a class problem, that’s an identity problem.

I’m not following you here; it’s possible to oppose both “white identity politics” and the more commonly referenced sort. It’s possible to favor both progressive policies (e.g. the ACA, or better; reform of the criminal justice system; protection of voting rights) and also free speech and due process.

29

js. 06.04.17 at 11:30 pm

What William Berry said (about a hypothesis).

30

Marc 06.04.17 at 11:58 pm

@14: I think that the chauvinism that you speak of is real and springs directly from resentment – but I think that the tactics of identity politics have been a massive contributor to generating that resentment. By contrast, universal policies (e.g. increasing the minimum wage) still have strong appeal.

As a concrete example, in another thread here we’re seeing a discussion on racial segregation. Barriers erected to keep low income people out – like minimum lot sizes for houses, restrictions on apartments and so on – are being cast as a racial issue. This erases from consideration the poor whites impacted by the same thing. (The excuse – that there really was explicit racial discrimination – relies on covenants that were ruled moot 70 years ago and redlining made illegal 50 years ago.) It’s not surprising at all that they’ll react extremely negatively to this tactic, but that they might be persuaded by tactics like “the people who work in this city should be able to live here.”

31

Pavel A 06.05.17 at 12:41 am

@soullite
“The economy: Fix it, instead of pretending that it’s already fixed.”

I really hope you’re actually interested in the answer, because I don’t think you’re going to like it (I don’t like it either).

Nothing and no one can “fix” the economy in the coming decades. Automation will basically break classical economics forever. Sure, we can try to stop the outflowing of jobs, but corporations will work towards automation even faster. We can deport all illegal immigrants, cut the minimum wage, reduce all taxation and still we’d be fighting a losing battle to gain low-pay jobs. We can attempt to prevent automation (sinking Google barges instead of smashing Spinning Jennys like in the 18th century), but in the context of multiple state actors and multinationals, any corporation that is able to solve its primary business case through automation first will win (automated trucking for example). Without some form of social restructuring, we’re going to end up with large swathes of low-pay, short-contract work (i.e. the virtual assistant/fiverr economy). A small number relative to the total working population will have creative/R&D/scientific/engineering/medical work, but those require decades of training and certainly won’t have enough openings to accommodate people from the entire categories of jobs that will be eliminated.

The best we can do to fix it in the short-term is begin the redistributionist project. Either automation and the significant wealth it will bring for the corporations that are able to cut their employee rolls will work for the people, or you’ll see bread lines that make the Great Depression look enviable. The corporations that benefit from this aren’t going to give a shit about you or me, so it basically falls on us to do it. Restructure society so that automation provides for all, first through taxation and the UBI, then through actually giving people the tools to produce their own goods.

I guess some of this is in the abstract. Automation isn’t quite here yet (although Uber is trying), but good jobs aren’t going to really come back no matter how hard we try. Globalism took them away and automation is just going to put the final nail in that coffin. The biggest irony to me is that we’re all kind of in this shit together, pretty much regardless of our outlook. It doesn’t matter if you’re a coastal elite, a suburban business owner, an inner city activist or a rural rancher, you’re still going to be stripped of your work, your dignity and your livelihood.

32

anonymousse 06.05.17 at 12:56 am

Are any of you on Obamacare? Do any of you know anybody on Obamacare?

33

Pavel A 06.05.17 at 2:19 am

@Mario
I agree that the Democratic party isn’t really covering itself with glory. As everyone here has mentioned, the absence of clear and distinct policies is sort of the biggest problem. I feel like at this point if they just picked three (say, minimum wage, single payer and immigration reform) and sold those over and over, they’d have better conversions than “we’ll pretend to be the adult in the room until the other side gets too odious to stay in power”.

@Kiwanda
“… free speech and due process” sort of implies that current SJWs oppose both of these. It’s a long debate, but free speech isn’t neutral in nature. The free speech of one party typically undermines the free speech of another party (usually through intimidation). Recognizing this and attempting to rectify it by giving marginalized groups an attempt to exercise speech without intimidation isn’t suppression of speech. As for no-platforming, that’s an even longer debate. Suffice it to say that the current libertarian defenders of neutral free speech are really quickly being co-opted by the alt right and won’t deliver the kind of social project that you’d like.

As for rule of law… if the legal system in inherently racist and sexist, isn’t blindly hewing to the rule of law kind of like venerating Atticus Finch? Legal changes by and large follow on the heels of cultural change, and cultural change happens in an extrajudicial context that sometimes requires people to march, yell, block traffic, and maybe even break shit. I’d like to have rule of law as well (it’s one of the foundations of stable society), but not when it benefits people like me exclusively.

@Marc
Universal policies may have strong appeal, and I don’t deny the suffering of the abandoned class left to rot in the rust belt as corporations took their livelihoods elsewhere. However, even universal economic policies of the past (like unions) still left entire swathes of the US (PoCs, women) destitute and unable to have any social mobility whatsoever. The housing policies that you mentioned basically devastated PoC communities for decades after they were outlawed (again, I urge you to watch the Freddie Gray video I posted in the other thread). They may have had an impact on poor whites as well, but while the WWC experience in mainly unemployment, the PoCWC experience is all that and unremitting racism and judicial violence. I think they’re kind of tired of waiting around for the good times and I don’t blame them. Given that they’re also the D’s primary voting block, I wouldn’t really distance yourself too much. I guess the main argument against classical “universal” policies is that they tend to be policies that focus on the median, and that lets far too many groups fall through the gaps.

34

J-D 06.05.17 at 2:34 am

Joseph Brenner

I read through the Andrew O’Hehir at salon, and find it
rather heavy on sneering …

That would be why kidneystones likes it. Perhaps you haven’t detected the pattern yet.

35

Omega Centauri 06.05.17 at 2:39 am

Suzanne at 24. The sabotage need only be sufficiently obscure that the average low information voter rejects the connection is disingenuous propaganda. That’s a fairly low bar. Initially it was a hunt for loopholes, such as the individual mandate, which can be posed as a freedom issue, that could
be challenged in court. And of course the refusal to fix any problems that require tweaking. Then there is FUD, aimed at insurance managers. Those managers want stability, and with all the attempts to repeal and/or attack certain provisions that’s not what they see. If enough companies drop out of the market that can kill the ACA. And the indirectness is enough to fool voters.

36

F. Foundling 06.05.17 at 2:55 am

Re ‘an ypothesis’: this is a relic of the French mute pronunciation of ‘h’, found in words borrowed from French, and extended to borrowings from the classical languages, many of which were originally borrowed through French (words that have stress on a non-initial syllable are normally such). The impression that such realisations create nowadays is, as one source puts it, ‘somewhat stilted and academic’ – which may well accord with the image that the speaker/writer wants to project and with a certain understanding of his/her social role.

Re the WWC: the idea that the WWC as a whole would rather die and starve than see black people healthy and well-fed is a clear instance of demonisation. The fact is that the mainstream ‘left’ has largely chosen to abandon economic populism and to become a tool of the plutocracy. The suggestion that this is just a reaction to the WWC’s abandoning of the mainstream ‘left’ due to racism and other ‘social issues’ is, to me, disproved, among other reasons, by the fact that I’ve seen the exact same betrayal play out in country after country, where racism and these other ‘social issues’ were far less significant political factors, if at all. The reason why mainstream ‘left’ politicians love the rich is not that the poor are racists. The reason why mainstream ‘left’ politicians love the rich is that the rich have money.

Kiwanda @27

Although I find it hard to follow all of this, my impression is that everything mentioned is either highly disputable or not really illegal, let alone being grounds for impeachment. The ‘scandals’ mostly look like artificially amplified noise and storms in a teacup; the real scandal is the GOP and the ways in which Trump is typical of it, not the ways in which he isn’t.

Layman @20

>Kidneystones:
>Aren’t you the guy who posts comments which include childish insulting names for politicians you don’t like? As one example, didn’t you habitually call Obama ‘President Drone Strike’?

Apparently we are to understand that in America, only morons and children care about foreign civilians being killed (as many as 90 % of the casualties being accidental, and all military-age males in the area of the strike being counted as enemy combatants until the opposite is proven posthumously: https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/03/the-obama-administrations-drone-strike-dissembling/473541/), but fortunately the kids eventually grow out of this silliness. Poor little Obama was insulted! People are mean to him, they call him names! I hope I’ll be excused for assuming that each of the ‘four to five’ children that were killed by the drone strike he ordered on the third day of his presidency (https://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2016/01/12/reflecting-on-obamas-presidency/obamas-embrace-of-drone-strikes-will-be-a-lasting-legacy) would gladly have traded places with him, so that the child gets insulted and Obama gets droned, rather than the other way around.

37

William Berry 06.05.17 at 3:32 am

I was going to write a long reply to LFC and steven johnson but decided it’s not worth the trouble. Bit of a thread-jack anyway.

I’ll just say that the use of the “an” before words in which initial “h” is clearly pronounced strikes me as a kind of hyper-correction or bit of scholarly pretension. A casual search shows arguments both ways with the weight of usage authority rather on my side.

The analogies to spoken English, above, miss the mark. If you drop the “h” when pronouncing initial “h” words, then knock yourself out using “an”. My remarks are meant to refer to written English.

And it is not an issue of prescriptivism. There is such a thing as standard and non-standard written English.

Also, too, what js. said!

38

William Berry 06.05.17 at 3:39 am

And I said in my first comment that the usage was “just plain wrong”!

Far out. I made an hyperbolic statement on the Internet.

As you were.

39

Glen Tomkins 06.05.17 at 3:51 am

Kiwanda,

If you actually are interested in the argument, I suggest you pick any one of these things you imagine are crimes, and just write a sentence or two or three explaining exactly what the crime is. I suggest this because all of this sounds much worse the less you dig into it. The more you unpack them, the deeper you dig, the less convincing they become.

40

lurker 06.05.17 at 7:53 am

@kidneystones, 17
It’s all about whether you want to win or not. If you’re happy being the beatiful, pure losers, you never have to do anything hard, like convince people who do not already share all of your ideas, ideals and assumptions to vote for you.

41

MFB 06.05.17 at 8:03 am

It’s exceptionally unlikely that a Democratic victory in 2018 would be overwhelming. The Republican Party won in 2016, and everybody knew that one of their chief agendas was to crush Obamacare. Saying “Now we’re going to win, because those scum have dared to keep a promise to their electorate!” seems unlike a winning strategy to me. Trump is an embarrassment, and assuming he’s still around in 2018 might be enough of an embarrassment to drive away enough Republicans to win a slender Democratic majority, but that won’t be enough to push a significant agenda through, given the way in which minorities can block the passage of bills in the US Congress.

Maybe, rather, Democrats should look to 2020, and try to find a serious agenda around which to campaign, and a possible candidate who is likely to defeat the Republican candidate. Of course that doesn’t make it unimportant to campaign right now; however, promising to sort things out within a couple of years when there is no chance of sorting things out within a couple of years seems to me to be a strategy to disappoint one’s base.

42

casmilus 06.05.17 at 8:06 am

Experience in the UK shows that right-wing parties are quite good at throwing the blame on to liberals/the left/the PC elite etc, even for disasters that are their own making, as Brexit is shaping up to be. It is entirely conceivable that the Republicans wreck healthcare but suffer no fallout because they sell the story that the system was failing anyway because it was a socialistic blahdiblah. There are huge reservoirs of voters who do not follow politics in any detail, and they can be easily sold such messages if they are wrapped in anti-“elite” branding.

Right at this moment Theresa May is performing the startling manoeuvre of posing as the champion of the angry and frightened masses, demanding “enough is enough”, as if she were another angry pleb, rather than the person responsible for domestic security for the past 7 years and directly to blame for budget cuts, misallocation of resources, etc. And it looks as if she’s going to get away with it.

43

casmilus 06.05.17 at 8:12 am

For conservative politicians, “political correctness” is the gift that never stops giving. It is the source of all modern evil, and as such there is no policy failure that cannot be attributed to its malign interference, usually transmitted through alien agents and their traitorous allies either at home or in Brussels.

44

Collin Street 06.05.17 at 8:40 am

and there is a segment of the SJ movement that seems to have perfected techniques for going about that that makes them look like something out of a twilight zone episode.

It is a-priori impossible to straightforwardly communicate to a person that they are making a conceptual error.

45

J-D 06.05.17 at 9:17 am

Mario

I sometimes wonder if the Social Justice Movement and the fact that the Democratic party is associated with it is part of the problem. The Evergreen college meltdown mentioned by Kindeystones is only one in a long series of events that could move people to declare: I’d rather vote for the devil than for this.

If I have understood you correctly (and please set me straight if I haven’t), you are suggesting that there is a category of events, of which a recent incident at Evergreen college is just one example, which are deterring from voting Democratic people who might otherwise have done so. Unfortuately, I don’t know which incident at Evergreen college you’re referring to and therefore I also don’t know what category of events you might have in mind. So if your conclusion is what I think it is, I am curious to know on what basis you arrive at that conclusion.

46

kidneystones 06.05.17 at 10:06 am

“The WWC believe they are perfectly deserving of welfare, but inner city PoCs are not.”

In which Pavel A. explains that people of all creeds and colors come in many shapes and sizes except white working people who all think and act the same.

Is this pure bigotry and stereo-typing of the “loose-shoes” and a “warm toilet seat” variety, or a “necessary understanding of the facts?” If ‘The WWC believe’ isn’t hate speech in the purest form, I’d be curious to have someone explain why not. Personally, I’ve no doubt Pavel A is a good and worthy person and actually likes white, working-class people despite their uniform hostility towards others.

@ 20 I see no conflict in finding likeable attributes in those I mock – including former President Body-Bag. And in case you haven’t noticed there’s no moratorium on calling commenters here racist and worse.

Despite that I’m all in with the new program for decorum no matter the provocation. Have a nice day!

47

kidneystones 06.05.17 at 11:32 am

And whilst we’re on the subject, check out this review of “Rising Star” where as usual Counter-punch pulls none:

https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/06/02/obama-a-hollow-man-filled-with-ruling-class-ideas/

48

Layman 06.05.17 at 2:07 pm

F Foundling: “Apparently we are to understand that in America, only morons and children care about foreign civilians being killed…”

Apparently you didn’t understand. I don’t object to kidneystones deploring those deaths (I deplore them myself!). I don’t even object to him calling people silly names. What I object to is him doing so and then laying claim to, and taking pride in, his superior gentility, understanding, and love for his fellow man.

kidneystones: “I see no conflict in finding likeable attributes in those I mock…”

You see no conflict in anything you do. As self-reflection goes, that’s rather mundane. Try harder.

49

RD 06.05.17 at 2:41 pm

H:
A pedant is a man, who when told that his wife has been eaten by a crocodile,
replies,”There are no crocodiles here. It must have been an alligator.”

50

Dipper 06.05.17 at 3:02 pm

@Casimilus 42

“… for budget cuts, misallocation of resources. And it looks as if she’s going to get away with it.”

Post the Bombay attacks the UK strategy changed to having fewer armed officers but armed more heavily, and permanently on the streets ready for action. Result, 8 minutes to interception and instant termination of the terrorists.

There might be a case for querying Theresa May’s strategy on terrorism, but just after it has worked is probably not the best time, and getting someone who has spent their career standing on platforms with terrorist after terrorist and opposed most of the governments efforts to confront terrorism to lead the case against the government probably not the best choice. Looks like Corbyn won’t get away with it.

51

Heliopause 06.05.17 at 3:55 pm

@32
“Are any of you on Obamacare?”

Me. Won’t bore you with the details but we are in a transitional period and will probably be on it for another 9-12 months before going back to employer-based insurance.

I could talk pros and cons but I think your question was driving at something else. The vast majority of Americans are not on Obamacare and the percentage of people who would be screwed by its destruction is in the single digits. So the notion that the Obamacare repeal debacle is the final stake in the GOP’s heart, if anybody holds that view, is quite premature.

52

steven t johnson 06.05.17 at 4:22 pm

William Berry@37 “I’ll just say that the use of the “an” before words in which initial “h” is clearly pronounced strikes me as a kind of hyper-correction or bit of scholarly pretension. A casual search shows arguments both ways with the weight of usage authority rather on my side.”

Since my point was that the initial “h” is not always clearly pronounced it’s hard to understand why William Berry thinks he’s making a point against me. This does not justify correcting the OP’s grammar, written or not.

At first I dismissed a response pointing this out, since no one wants to see that I was right. But consider how much of commentary on the “WWC” parallels this apparent threadjack. Berry corrects the OP’s grammar on a arguable point of usage, presuming that he can prescribe standard written grammar. But he does so he, who is very likely a professor, on the grounds that he perceives this as pretentious! My bad grammar is I think uncomfortably like elite criticism of the bad moral attitudes of the WWC. I think the true understanding to come to here is that moralizing critiques are not good political analysis.

Unlike Berry I wouldn’t feel justified in correcting a historian to an historian just because I do muff the “h” sound when speaking. Nor would I correct a hypothesis to an hypothesis just because for no good reason I do pronounce the “h” completely when saying that word. Perhaps the only consistency is in matching writing to oral usage, but so be it. Yet, maybe this kind of inconsistency might be advisable in dealing with moral critiques of whole classes of people. And perhaps when we get reminded about our slips we might not double down, as natural as that reaction may feel.

F. Foundling @36 Impeachment is not a criminal charge per se. The clause authorizing the impeachment requires “high crimes and misdemeanors.” Many, like you, have understood this to mean that a specific felony must be charged and tried before conviction removes the office holder from their seat. But the very first impeachment was of a federal judge for unlawful rulings and drunkenness. The judge in question Timothy Pickering is generally believed to have been suffering mental problems. But absent demonstration of malicious intent or bribery, the corrective for unlawful rulings is reversal. And “drunkeness” was a condition, not an indictment on particulars.

Your version makes it unclear as to why there is no criminal penalty upon conviction for impeachment. Also, if violations of the criminal code are the criterion, aren’t impeachments for misdemeanors just as valid? Yet clearly that raises the specter of political prosecutions on indisputable trivialities.

Yet, although it may seem contradictory, trying to fasten on specific offenses, necessarily implies that impeachment is not a remedy even in the defense of democracy, or humanity. The most notorious example is Andrew Johnson. Johnson’s Presidential reconstruction used the executive power to carry out a policy that contradicted that supported by the majority of the parliament. And if you disapprove of parliamentary democracy, his policy contradicted the wills of the majority of the people too. The focus on specific offenses however led to emphasis on his “violation” of the Tenure of Office Act.

Similarly, Nixon’s activities such as the bombing of Cambodia, impoundment of funds and use of executive privilege to escape oversight in my opinion were deeply unconstitutional and highly reactionary. But the articles of impeachment against him were essentially limited to obstruction of justice. By the same insistence on specific felonies, things like Bush’s pardon of Libby (which likely spared him the revelation he committed a specific felony) or Obama’s drone murders are legal. (The al-Awlaki father and son were enemy combatants despite being US citizens, or being a boy in the son’s case.)

53

js. 06.05.17 at 5:15 pm

AP, Oxford Dict. of American Usage and Style, and Fowler all agree that it should be “a hypothesis,” not “an hypothesis” (link). You can use whatever you want, but “a hypothesis” is standard American usage (and I think British too), as William Berry noted.

54

Kiwanda 06.05.17 at 5:48 pm

Glen Tompkins:

If you actually are interested in the argument, I suggest you pick any one of these things you imagine are crimes, and just write a sentence or two or three explaining exactly what the crime is.

If you would like to engage in an informed discussion, I would in turn suggest that you read e.g. the wikipedia article on “high crimes and misdemeanors”, and just write a sentence or two explaining exactly why you think Trump’s corruption, obstruction of justice, and possible collusion with a foreign power don’t qualify.

55

Ogden Wernstrom 06.05.17 at 7:28 pm

In my version of our shared love for kindeystones, I can’t help but notice how J-D’s comment about pattern-detection is soon followed by some example posts – saving the reader from an horrendous amount of searching in other threads. It’s quite kind, as we have come to expect.

soulflake:

Math is math. And unless Democrats can do a lot better in the rust belt, none of this is likely to matter.

The economy: Fix it, instead of pretending that it’s already fixed.

Now that Republicans control the three branches of the Federal government, and most of the Rust-Belt and Coal-Mining states have Republican Governors (West Virginia and Pennsylvania are exceptions), and most of the R-B and C-M states have Republican-controlled legislatures (Illinois exception), the Democratic Party has very little opportunity to improve the lot of the people of those states. Or their math skills, for that matter.

But the Republicans should have the economy all fixed in short order, right? With Republicans in control, the fix must be in…the pipeline.

56

Lee A. Arnold 06.05.17 at 8:24 pm

Great new piece (filed May 25) on Trump, Russia, politics and what is impeachable (hint: it doesn’t have to be criminal), by the legendary Elizabeth Drew.
http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2017/06/22/trump-presidency-in-peril/

57

Patrick 06.05.17 at 8:42 pm

Anonymouse asked if anyone was on the ACA. I am not now, but was for a period of time in the past, on an insurance policy purchased through the ACA exchange. Why? Do you have any questions?

I had a very nice job for a while, but was downsized in an industry wide contraction. My health insurance at that job was great. Cobra offered me the chance to continue that coverage while essentially paying for it out of pocket while unemployed. I had the savings to do so, but the sheer expense was terrifying. So we used the ACA to handle coverage and prevent a gap while I sought new work. It performed as expected, and was an order of magnitude less expensive. It’s benefits were lower, but I did knowingly opt for a cheap and lower benefit plan. There was some bureaucratic obnoxiousness when we moved, and the insurance company screwed up our paperwork at one point and tried to bill us incorrectly. But that was plainly the insurance company. Had I been buying insurance from them through a different consumer portal I’m sure they would have been just as dumb.

The lesson I drew from it was pretty simple. Buying insurance on your own sucks. The exchange probably makes it suck slightly less. If subsidies were assisting with the policy (I had it for only a brief time and don’t know for sure but given that I had it for exactly long as I it took me to find a new job I imagine I might have been getting a subsidy during my period of zero income) then I’m grateful because the cost of insurance is terrifyingly high and tat policy was actually a plausible expense.

When I found work I canceled it as soon as my new jobs benefits kicked in, like most people would.

It was neither the devil nor my personal salvation, but it was useful. And I imagine that my opinions of the ACA would be much higher if I weren’t a healthy and reasonably young male.

58

J-D 06.05.17 at 8:43 pm

Marc

My concern is that Democrats have, far too often, acted as if their own future success is a mathematical certainty. … There is an obsession with conspiracy theories, and a lot of apocalyptic rhetoric that is leading to disastrously counterproductive things like violent riots on college campuses.

Are these the things that are happening? If so, they’ve passed me by. That could easily be because I’m on the other side of the world. I’d appreciate more details.

59

J-D 06.05.17 at 8:46 pm

alfredlordbleep

Bertrand Russell in “Eastern and Western Ideals of Happiness” wrote that Confucian ethics, “unlike those of Christianity, are not too exalted for ordinary men to practise.”

That’s an intriguing comment. I don’t grasp its connection with this discussion, but I would love more explanation.

60

mpowell 06.05.17 at 9:05 pm

I think it would be perfectly possible to run on both healthcare and foreign policy in an election. Trump did really badly for a Republican among wealthy voters – Democrats should continue to try to capitalize on that and there are plenty of statewide elections not held in the rust belt where it can help. But healthcare represents an opportunity to peal away a lot of of the working class support Trump was able to steal from the Democratic party. Any given politician can try one or both based on a given election. While it is still possible for Democrats to drum up misdirected criticism of Trump (for example, pulling out of the Paris Agreement is bog standard Republicanism and may only encourage marginal voters to continue voting for Republicans if you campaign on it), it is really hard to overstate the degree to which the Trump administration is a disaster and deserves to be criticized for it.

61

Kiwanda 06.05.17 at 9:19 pm

Pavel A:

“… free speech and due process” sort of implies that current SJWs oppose both of these.

Of course SJWs demand that speech they disagree with should be stifled. Of course they believe that “accused==guilty”, for some crimes at least. These are uncontroversial characterizations, if more bluntly stated than usual.

As for no-platforming, that’s an even longer debate. Suffice it to say that the current libertarian defenders of neutral free speech are really quickly being co-opted by the alt right and won’t deliver the kind of social project that you’d like.

Ah, defense of free speech is just being a tool of the alt-right. Sorry, but no.

62

Omega Centauri 06.06.17 at 3:56 am

The ACA question. I’m sitting next to my 27yo son, who is on it. I aged out of employer insurance, and have two dependents that now have private insurance (I should have tried the ACA exchanges would have saved some money). We have to much income to get the subsidies, but might still have saved.

Even for someone who isn’t on it, it is reassuring that there is a plan B that won’t bankrupt one, should the plan arise. Also note that the future of medicare and social security is also cloudy, because Republicans have floated plans for gutting both programs. So the future of medical care, and the cost of it are now very much uncertain for a very significant part of the electorate and their families.

63

Sebastian H 06.06.17 at 4:00 am

” I don’t know which incident at Evergreen college you’re referring to and therefore…”

LMGTFY

64

Sebastian H 06.06.17 at 4:05 am

I’m on the California version of Obamacare. Other than the fact that every year they weirdly try to put me on Medi-Cal, it seems good.

If you’re suggesting that most people won’t be bothered by its demise, you’d be mathematically correct with ‘most’, but 22% of people losing their coverage might still be electorally noticeable.

If you’re wondering other things about it, I’d be happy to answer.

65

J-D 06.06.17 at 4:56 am

BBA

After the 2012 election, I began to despair that the House wouldn’t go Democratic again in my lifetime. There’s been nothing since to suggest my despair is unfounded.

There has been nothing to suggest on what your despair is founded. (How long your lifetime is likely to be makes a big difference to this, of course.)

66

J-D 06.06.17 at 5:04 am

Mario

But there are many ways to do identity politics, and there is a segment of the SJ movement that seems to have perfected techniques for going about that that makes them look like something out of a twilight zone episode.

I do not know what you are referring to. Would it be possible to provide a few illustrative examples for clarification?

67

mark 06.06.17 at 5:22 am

@32: What do you mean “on Obamacare?” There’s unfortunately not a public option. If you just mean insurance you found on a state exchange, then yes I know someone. If you mean “people who didn’t have employer provided health care until the ACA passed” I know more.

68

Val 06.06.17 at 9:01 am

@61
Oh for gods sake I don’t know what is wrong with people like you.

‘Mummy I want the freedom to be as nasty as I like about anyone and no-one should ever complain’

Doesn’t work that way, sweetheart.

69

casmilus 06.06.17 at 11:55 am

@50

“Post the Bombay attacks the UK strategy changed to having fewer armed officers but armed more heavily, and permanently on the streets ready for action. Result, 8 minutes to interception and instant termination of the terrorists.”

Jolly good. However, the Mumbai (that’s its name) attacks were in 2008. Theresa May was not Home Secretary until 2010, so unless it took 2 years for the Home Office to have this thought under her influence, she doesn’t get much credit for it. She does however get credit for the budget cuts which took place under her watch. Cuts which came in for plenty of criticism from senior police officers. But they all count as public sector workers, so can be tuned out when necessary by a certain sort of mindset.

How do you feel about David Davis’s stance against the Counter-Terrorism Bill, which caused him to call a pointless by-election? It was also in 2008, so I expect you’re blurry on those details as well:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Davis_by-election_campaign,_2008

A politician who expresses himself through futile gestures like that is just the right chap to be in charge of Brexit.

70

Layman 06.06.17 at 12:18 pm

Heliopause: “The vast majority of Americans are not on Obamacare and the percentage of people who would be screwed by its destruction is in the single digits.”

As a practical matter, I think this is wrong. Virtually anyone who is covered either by private health insurance or by Medicaid is effectively ‘on Obamacare’, because the ACA did more than create exchanges and offer subsidies. It established nationwide standards for what an insurance product is; and it established a funding mechanism for a broad expansion of Medicaid services to low income and poor people.

The AHCA does not simply concern itself with killing exchanges and subsidies, or with ending supplemental funding for Medicaid expansion. It effectively repeals minimum standards for health insurance products, and this repeal impacts not just private insurance bought directly by the consumer, but also employer-provided insurance. The CBO notes that 20+ million will lose their health insurance, but many more will hold policies that don’t actually cover essential health services. Beyond that, the ‘repeal’ bill changes the funding mechanism for Medicaid to state block grants, with funding reduced over time; and funding is capped on a per-capita basis, which in turn caps potential health care services for those on Medicaid (can you say ‘death panels’?). The bill also gives states the latitude to use those block grants for something other than actually providing health care to poor people, which in practice means it will be siphoned off by grifters offering spurious wellness education programs, etc, on a contract basis to the state.

You see, the Republicans aren’t content to just return to the status quo ante that existed before the ACA. They’re actually intent on rolling back Federal funding and involvement in health care to a state which is even worse than the pre-ACA state. A lot of people will be impacted, and elected Republicans certainly know it, as evidenced by the difficulty they had in getting the bill through the house, and the fact that Republicans in the Senate all but pronounced the bill dead on arrival.

71

Marc 06.06.17 at 12:37 pm

@58: I’m really not going to engage with passive-aggressive game-playing. These tactics of yours – refusing to say what you stand for and feigning ignorance – got old many threads ago. Not that it matters, of course, but you can google “the emerging democratic majority” to see an example of the genre.

72

Jerry Vinokurov 06.06.17 at 1:03 pm

An impeachable offense is whatever half plus one of the House and two thirds of the Senate believes it is.

73

JimV 06.06.17 at 1:21 pm

Re: “on the ACA”: as I understand it (haven’t read up on it recently), it affects everyone who has health insurance in the USA, albeit somewhat transparently in many cases. Companies have incentives and subsidies to provide HI benefits to their employees via the ACA. Insurance companies get subsidies to cover high-risk patients. (Trump has threatened to withhold these payments which will cause major premium increases.)

As for signing up via the government system, I did that recently to select a Medicare Advantage policy with prescription drug coverage. I typed in all my prescriptions, then got a long list of providers, ranked by total yearly cost (premiums plus prescription costs) and customer satisfaction. Clicked on Univera, and with a bit more paper work from Univera, was enrolled. One prescription went from $318 per month to $44 (the insurance premium is $122/month). People without insurance here are at the mercy (which isn’t much) of drug companies. The ACA didn’t fix that, because capitalism, but makes it more livable.

Before the election, I over-heard an elderly woman at the grocery tell her companion, “My insurance premium is going up. Damn that Obamacare!”

74

CDT 06.06.17 at 2:05 pm

It’s not rocket science. Thomas Frank has written extensively about how Democrats can win. The problem is the Democrats have stopped trying to boldly and visibly improve the economic prospects of the working class – of all races and ethnicities. The bigoted subset of the WWC is just that: a subset. No need to cater to bigots or abandon the social justice agenda; just need to add economic justice to it. The answer is not to bend in the culture wars. It is to simultaneously fight for economic justice as well.

75

Marc 06.06.17 at 2:35 pm

@68: Who decides what is nasty and what you’re not allowed to say? I don’t understand the conviction that speech restrictions are tools that will only be applied by the left to opponents, not things that we’ll find applied to us. Campus identity politics is intensely unpopular in the broader public, for instance.

76

Layman 06.06.17 at 2:57 pm

“Are any of you on Obamacare? Do any of you know anybody on Obamacare?”

Also, too: Yes, I’m on Obamacare, and many of the people I know are. In my case, I mean I have a health insurance policy I bought on an exchange, a policy created to comply with the ACA. If you’re forced out of your chosen profession at the age of 54, as I was, you’re too young for Medicare and (in my case) too wealthy for Medicaid, and your only option is private insurance. Before the ACA, there were basically three kinds of private insurance policies available: Gold-plated private policies targeted at the massively wealthy; catastrophic care policies that provided no routine health care access; and deliberate scams that collected premiums while excluding virtually all coverage. And none of these were actually available to people with pre-existing conditions.

77

Heliopause 06.06.17 at 3:45 pm

@70
No bill that has the remotest chance of passing will have a noticeable effect, at least as far as the overwhelming majority of the population are able to detect at any given moment in their lives. Even I, currently on ACA, am under no threat given the timelines and state where I live. Having said that, I will reiterate that screwing even just a few percent of people is a very bad thing, my point was whether it is electorally survivable.

Look at it this way; whites make up 72.4% of the U.S. population. Republicans have at best been ignoring, at worst actively antagonizing 27.6% of the population since forever. Now add in white women of childbearing age and the latter number gets even bigger. And yet, here we are.

Furthermore, look at it this way; in 2008 Republicans had just got done destroying the entire world. A large land war that was grossly immoral and expensive, a failed response to a huge natural catastrophe, a botched attempt at Social Security privatization, well-publicized stories of multiple party members involved in corruption, dirty tricks, and sex scandals, and the entire economy in free-fall. And all that did was set them back a couple of years. You’re going to need a pretty big stake to kill this vampire.

78

marku52 06.06.17 at 4:05 pm

The ACA. Our experience, price-wise.
Year 1 -8%
Year 2 +24%
Year 3 +28%
We got out as soon as Trump was elected, but this year would have been another 20-30% increase. Its as much as a 30 year mortgage on a $300K house for me and spouse. Oh, and coverage was less and less each year.

The ACA was not looking like something with a long term survival prospect. Especially if you live in a rural region where in many cases you have either one or (in some counties) no insurers. Our own insurance commissioner had to threaten to withhold the profitable markets in our state to get insurers to participate in our more rural county.

79

Layman 06.06.17 at 4:38 pm

CDT: “Thomas Frank has written extensively about how Democrats can win.”

That’s news to me. My take on Frank is that he’s long on descriptions and short on actual prescriptions. So, do tell.

80

Layman 06.06.17 at 4:39 pm

@marku52, what insurance did you have before the ACA?

81

patiniowa 06.06.17 at 5:18 pm

I’m not on the ACA, but the ACA contains provisions that allow my son to stay on our insurance until he’s 26.

So, no, I don’t stand to lose anything personal. OTOH, they’re screwing with my kid.

Because, guess what? If he had to buy private insurance today, with the ACHA not the ACA, he couldn’t. We live in a state where his preexisting condition would price him out of the market, after the bastards took the waiver.

And people with his preexisting condition, do, in fact, die in the street.

It’s really too bad the Democrats utterly fail to recognize and harness this rage.

82

BBA 06.06.17 at 5:35 pm

@J-D: A self-perpetuating vicious (or virtuous, depending on your perspective) cycle of Democrats don’t vote downballot or in off-year elections + Republican control of “purple” state governments + making it more difficult to vote + gerrymandering +etc.

I think this can hold for 50 years or more.

83

William Berry 06.06.17 at 6:37 pm

@steven johnson #52::

Is it even possible that you could do a better job of tying yourself in knots while torturing an analogy!?

And I’m a pedant for calling attention to a pedantic usage!

Got it.

84

Val 06.06.17 at 7:07 pm

Marc @ 75
I don’t quite understand what you’re saying, but then my own comment was pretty cryptic I guess.

I have spent quite a bit of time on CT trying to explain to people why labelling people as “SJWs” or labelling ideas as “identity politics” isn’t a substitute for trying to understand them, and I’m tired of it.

Labelling people as SJWs or labelling ideas as identity politics operates as ‘othering’ for some commenters on CT. It’s a device that allows those commenters (in their own minds) to say prejudicial things unsupported by evidence, because those so labelled are ‘obviously’ in the wrong. It’s stupid.

Basically it annoys me that space on a so-called progressive blog gets taken up with stuff like this. I wish people could lift their game.

85

JimV 06.06.17 at 7:21 pm

“The ACA was not looking like something with a long term survival prospect.”

That depends on what it is compared to. According to this source:

http://time.com/money/4503325/obama-health-care-costs-obamacare/

“The Kaiser study shows that average family premiums rose 20% from 2011 to 2016. That rate of increase is actually much lower than the previous five years (up 31% from 2006 to 2011) and the five years before that (up 63% from 2001 to 2006).”

Also, 20 million more people are insured under it – although not all of those 20 million appreciate having insurance (yet).

This is not to disagree with your personal story, of course. The above are broad averages. Also, your statement may be true even if the ACA is better than nothing because Trump will make it true. However as I see it our health insurance problem is not being caused by the ACA but by continually-evolving medical technology driven by profit-making corporations, and by the difficulties of designing insurance policies for different state-and-local conditions, again on a for-profit basis.

86

Layman 06.06.17 at 8:37 pm

patiniowa: “It’s really too bad the Democrats utterly fail to recognize and harness this rage.”

Where does this nonsense come from? The Democrats just ran an election on this very subject, the predictable behavior of the Republicans on the ACA if the voters put them in power. They lost, and now they’ve campaigned for months against the Republican’s efforts to kill the ACA, and they’ve tried to rally opposition to it, and they’ve rallied protest action in the wake of the house bill. Still, you say they ‘fail to recognize’ its importance. Do they need tattoos or something? Good grief.

87

patiniowa 06.06.17 at 10:39 pm

Layman, from where I sat (Iowa, duh), the Democratics ran on “Donald Trump is a horrible person.” I watched the Democratic National Convention and marveled at how beloved Ronald Reagan was. I’m old, but my memory of that racist, willfully ignorant, old warmonger (sound familiar?) can’t be that far off.

I though it was a mistake then. I haven’t changed my mind.

I believe (it’s a counterfactual, of course I could be wrong) that if they had run a well articulated campaign that laid out exactly how they’d accomplish universal healthcare (despite Hillary Clinton’s well-documented opposition to taking that position), targeting all communities who struggle to afford coverage, and hitting it hard over and over, they’d have gotten more young people and people of color out on election day, especially in the midwest. Heck, they may have picked off a few more of the affluent suburban white women they saw as the people who’d get them over the top.

You’re right: the case is there to be made. It’s in the platform. But people aren’t stupid. They remember President Obama taking the public option off the table, before he had to. And they remember the contortions the Democrats have done to keep the insurance companies in the picture.

Just to be clear. I voted for Secretary Clinton, primarily because of healthcare and the Supreme Court. But that vote was not, “this will make things better,” it was, “lord, it could be a lot worse.”

88

Keith 06.06.17 at 11:18 pm

At 42 “Experience in the UK shows that right-wing parties are quite good at throwing the blame on to liberals/the left/the PC elite etc, even for disasters that are their own making, as Brexit is shaping up to be. ” Well the Tory hack dipper certainly earns full marks for spreading the fears and smears for the tory ruling class. Every tory government starting with Willie whitelaw was negotiating with sinn fein in secret while mr corby was openly working for peace. Sincere socialism is always preferable to two faced tory sanctimony about the evils of terrorism. May our two faced PM is selling arms to the saudi dictaorship and covering up their funding of terrorism.

remember to VOTE LABOUR on thursday to see the back of the two faced creeps.

89

PatinIowa 06.06.17 at 11:27 pm

L’esprit d’escalier.

I have four tattoos. Each one of them took considerable commitment, a fair amount of money and required enduring some pain. So, yeah, I’d like to see that kind of effort on the part of Democrats.

If I got a healthcare tattoo, it would say, “Healthcare is everybody’s f#$%ing right; it’s everybody’s f#$%ing responsibility.”

On my despondent days I believe that the Democratic Party’s version would be a full sleeve in ten point Courier, thoroughly vetted by the insurance and pharmaceutical industries. (That’s the party. Most actual Dems I know don’t have ink, and if they do, it’s really tasteful. No sleeves.)

90

Layman 06.06.17 at 11:52 pm

patiniowa: ‘Layman, from where I sat (Iowa, duh), the Democratics ran on “Donald Trump is a horrible person.” I watched the Democratic National Convention and marveled at how beloved Ronald Reagan was. I’m old, but my memory of that racist, willfully ignorant, old warmonger (sound familiar?) can’t be that far off.’

I repeat, good grief. A simple google search for ‘2016 Democratic National Convention Affordable Care Act’ turns up plenty of evidence that they campaigned on it. That aside, do you expect me to believe that you didn’t know the Republicans would destroy it, while the Democrats would protect it? Or is it that you’re saying you’re smart enough to figure that out, but everyone else was too stupid?

91

J-D 06.07.17 at 2:30 am

Sebastian H
When I wrote my earlier comment, it was in the interests of brevity that I failed to mention that I did a Google search for Evergreen College. As far as I remember, the first link I looked at described how the campus had been temporarily shut down because somebody had phoned in an anonymous threat to come in with a gun and start shooting people. That doesn’t seem likely to be the incident Mario was referring to. I suppose I could have read through more links and found descriptions of more incidents, but how would I tell which one was the one Mario was referring to? There wasn’t enough information in Mario’s comment to narrow it down. I still don’t know what Mario was referring to.

92

J-D 06.07.17 at 2:58 am

Marc
If you want to know what I stand for, you only have to ask. (You are probably going to have make the question more specific than ‘What do you stand for?’)

People ask me questions less frequently than I pose questions to others; when people ask me questions, I always respond, but when I ask other people questions, they frequently make no response. (That’s not a complaint; I’m sure people mostly have better things to do with their time than answer my questions. The observation interests me, all the same.) When I do get responses, sometimes they suggest that I already know exactly what my interlocutor means and that my question is disingenuous; sometimes they suggest that if I don’t already know exactly what my interlocutor means, I must be a fool. I don’t complain that this gets old, because it wouldn’t help. Asking questions is one of the best ways I know of obtaining clarification, so even though it doesn’t always work it’s a habit I expect to persist with.

I did Google ’emerging democratic majority’. I didn’t know it was a book; I’m not sure whether you expected me to have been aware of it already; if you did, I don’t understand why. Of course I couldn’t find the whole text of the book online, but I did find this article written in 2012 by one of the two co-authors, ten years after the book. I now understand that the authors identified a combination of demographic trends as being potentially highly favourable to the Democratic Party. However, your assertion that ‘Democrats have, far too often, acted as if their own future success is a mathematical certainty’ is not supported. The author ends the article by explicitly disavowing the idea that future Democratic success is a mathematical certainty; on the contrary, he insists that the potential advantage can only be translated into actual advantage by continuing active effort on the part of the Democrats.

I can’t find any way the book supports your other assertions relating to apocalyptic rhetoric, conspiracy theories, or violent riots.

93

herme 06.07.17 at 3:01 am

I’m not so sure healthcare will sink the Republicans. I don’t know what it is about Democrats, but seem to have a very peculiar problem. The problem is that they simply will not listen. And it’s not that they just don’t hear, but nothing, not any fact, will move them to do something different. For many years they have gone on about the right’s “echo chamber”, and how nothing penetrates into their closed system. But the Republicans have absolutely nothing on the Democrats, where the bubble is so thick simply nothing gets through.

It is hard to fathom that Democrats can look at the polls, such as this Washington Post/ABC poll, that states Democrats are more “out of touch” than Trump is, and instead of scrambling to find a way to reverse those numbers, declare there is going to be a Democratic sweep in 2018, and “people are happy with the way things are”, as Pelosi said recently.

It’s like this Russian thing. People in the blue state love-love-love the Russian thing. It was Russia, they hacked the election and stole it for Trump, whom the Russians control like a puppet. It make perfect sense, because who couldn’t love the Democrats, and how in touch they are with the citizens of this great nation, and it is obvious to the point of laughter that the only way they could lose was through the intervention of a foreign power. People elsewhere, however, would like to hear more about how Democrats are going to solve the opioid epidemic plaguing their hometown.

But instead of addressing the pressing needs of the citizens, they claim they just aren’t being heard and double down on the Russian thing. It’s incredible! What are they doing there? Why don’t they simply listen to what the citizens of the country want, and act accordingly? I don’t see how the Democrats can reverse their decline until that start actually listening to what the citizens care about.

94

Marc 06.07.17 at 3:08 am

@90: It is a documented fact that Hillary Clinton ran, by a wide margin, the most negative political campaign in US history. It is also, in fact, true that Donald Trump is an awful human being. If people did not see that after negative ad#10, they probably were not going to be convinced by negative ad#2,819. I live in Ohio, and we were swamped with negative Hillary Clinton ads. There was virtually nothing about her actual program, and she lost a state that Obama won by a wide margin. Watching your own party pointlessly light piles of money on fire is incredibly depressing.

95

J-D 06.07.17 at 5:12 am

BBA
As far as I know, lower turnout in off-year and down-ballot elections, gerrymandering, and voter suppression are none of them recent phenomena; I think they’ve all been around for a long time. And yet, the longest one party has held a majority in the House of Representatives (continuously) is forty years. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible for one party to hold a House majority for fifty years (or longer). Historical patterns don’t last forever and records do get broken. But it’s still worth noting that what you’re suggesting is unprecedented. The fact that historical patterns don’t last forever also means that voter suppression, gerrymandering, and lower turnout in off-year and down-ballot elections can’t last forever. (Admittedly, the logic of my argument forces me to concede that it’s possible that they’ll last as long as the House of Representatives does, since the House itself can’t last forever — nothing does.)

So I conclude that what you’re suggesting is possible, but it needs a stronger case to show that it’s likely, and the fact that a disastrous outcome is possible is not enough by itself to justify despair.

96

Pavel A 06.07.17 at 5:50 am

@46
“If ‘The WWC believe’ isn’t hate speech in the purest form, I’d be curious to have someone explain why not.”

Calling a bunch of people who are happy to identify as racist or at least are deeply concerned when told that they may no longer be the dominant race in the next few decades as racists is… hate speech?

Here is the thing, I’m pretty aware of the fact that the WWC voted for Trump for a variety of different reasons: economic anxiety, xenophobia, sexism, political apathy, evangelism (abortions), lack of formal education, hopelessness, etc. But at least half of these issues are idpol rather than classpol. Those issues aren’t going to be solved by giving the WWC some handouts (some WWC don’t want handouts anyway, they’d like good manufacturing jobs again… which are never coming back).

In all of these conversations there is also a kind of stripping of agency and responsibility from the WWC. Why do we assume that if the Dems made a right turn that the working class “naturally” swung towards the alt-right? Why wasn’t the white working class defending it’s own damn unions/pensions/health-care/job security? The WWC swung towards fundamentalist religion and alt-right politics pretty well on its own during the Reagan years and should eat some of the responsibility for it as well. However, being frustrated with people for making terrible decisions isn’t the same thing as condemning them to a brutal life of paying for their mistakes.

@61
I like how you sidestepped my discussion about how the rule of law is meaningless when the legal system is systematically flawed. Yeah, maybe rape accusations do need different standards of evidence. The Jian Ghomeshi trial proved that if you’re not a “good victim”, no matter how obviously guilty your alleged attacker is, the case is over. Calling for different standards of evidence isn’t “accusation===guilt” (for type checking).

As for freedom of speech not being a tool of the alt-right, I guess you’re going to have to defend Twitter, Youtube and Reddit troll mobs shouting down and intimidating women and minorities. You may also have to defend the Daily Stormer/Kekistan squads as they go about their work intimidating anyone who isn’t… you know… in the alt-right. Technology and power imbalances make free speech a non-neutral proposition (in the exact same way that libertarian economic policies in an unjust world serve to just perpetuate those injustices). I guess you could also just look at some of the most illustrious defenders of consequence-free speech: Sargon of Akkad, Stefan Molenyeux, BPS, Paul Joseph Watson and their ilk… and ask yourself why they’re just dying to defend it. Are they true inheritors and upholders of the Enlightenment tradition? Or is it perhaps because they understand that consequence-free speech is the greatest friend of the alt-right?

97

Dipper 06.07.17 at 6:26 am

@ 88 – keith

I think a perfect example of why Labour is going to lose. I’m not a Tory hack. I’ve voted Labour frequently in the past, and would quite happily do so again, but the furious re-writing of Corbyn’s past to portray him as working for peace convinces no-one, not even his supporters. Every armed terrorist everywhere is working for peace – with them in power taken and maintained through violence.

Corbyn as leader is an irresponsible indulgence by a bunch of hobbyist leftists. It isn’t serious politics, as you will find out on Friday.

98

J-D 06.07.17 at 8:08 am

Marc

As a concrete example, in another thread here we’re seeing a discussion on racial segregation. Barriers erected to keep low income people out – like minimum lot sizes for houses, restrictions on apartments and so on – are being cast as a racial issue. This erases from consideration the poor whites impacted by the same thing.

I went over that thread again. I found references to explicitly race-based barriers. I found no references to minimum lot sizes for houses or restrictions on apartments being cast as racial issues, because I found no references at all to minimum lot sizes for houses or to restrictions on apartments. Maybe I missed those things, but I have to suspect, at least, that I’m looking at a misreading on your part. And if that is a misreading, then I also have to suspect that this —

I think that the chauvinism that you speak of is real and springs directly from resentment – but I think that the tactics of identity politics have been a massive contributor to generating that resentment.

— is also a misreading on your part.

99

Mario 06.07.17 at 8:46 am

J-D,

(i’ve tried to post an explanation before, but it somehow got swallowed by the system. I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m probably not banned but had fidgeted too much with the “Notify..” buttons down here.)

A good account of the type of behavior I mean is in a long interview Bret Weinstein (prof. from Evergreen) had with Joe Rogan (google will find it). There is footage around of the protests, but it gets deleted and uploaded again so links are unstable. You can also go to youtube and search for social justice warriors, which will find you two things at once: lots of embarrassing footage, as well as obvious documentation of the fact that the right absolutely loves such footage, because it discredits “liberals”.

100

Layman 06.07.17 at 9:55 am

Marc: “It is a documented fact that Hillary Clinton ran, by a wide margin, the most negative political campaign in US history.”

This is the sort of claim that cries out for a challenge, so I’ll answer the call: Produce the documentation of this fact.

101

J-D 06.07.17 at 10:01 am

Mario

A good account of the type of behavior I mean is in a long interview Bret Weinstein (prof. from Evergreen) had with Joe Rogan (google will find it).

Google finds a Youtube clip and you’re right, it’s long. Is there really no way I can get an indication of what you’re referring to without listening to a two and a half hour Youtube clip? I’m curious about what you mean, but I don’t think I’m curious to that degree.

You can also go to youtube and search for social justice warriors

When I do that, I get a series of clips in which people and their positions are being characterised by their opponents (this is obvious from the titles). It is true that seeing how people and their positions are described by their opponents can sometimes contribute to understanding them, but seldom or never when the tone of the opposition is (as the titles in this case also make clear) relentlessly mocking, jeering, and gloating. (I have noticed before the frequency with which Youtube video titles refer to somebody ‘destroying’ somebody else. I do not want to watch people being destroyed.) Is there really no way of finding accounts of the people you are criticising (whoever they are — that’s still not entirely clear to me) as presented by themselves, or, failing that, by analysts who are at least attempting some degree of dispassion?

102

J-D 06.07.17 at 10:11 am

Pavel A

As for rule of law… if the legal system in inherently racist and sexist, isn’t blindly hewing to the rule of law kind of like venerating Atticus Finch? Legal changes by and large follow on the heels of cultural change, and cultural change happens in an extrajudicial context that sometimes requires people to march, yell, block traffic, and maybe even break shit. I’d like to have rule of law as well (it’s one of the foundations of stable society), but not when it benefits people like me exclusively.

Unlike you, I don’t value the concept of ‘rule of law’. I suppose it’s true that in a sense it’s a foundation of stable society, but in this context ‘stability’ is not a neutral concept; the concept of ‘rule of law’ is tied to a particular kind of stability, and both to favouring the powerful over the powerless. I’d be happy to expand on my reasons for being suspicious of the concept if anybody is interested, but what I’m interested in is seeing whether anybody can explain to me the argument in favour of the concept.

103

Val 06.07.17 at 11:42 am

Mario @99
I took your advice and went to YouTube and searched for social justice warriors. First thing I found was this https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=SUhc3Kv4ieE

Are you seriously suggesting this stuff is “embarrassing” for the left rather than for the people who made it? They believe in this shit because they want to believe in it. That’s their problem.

104

Mario 06.07.17 at 12:59 pm

J-D,

I am afraid you will have to rely on oral accounts. The reality now is this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rK8JYhgkcSw

I even get far fewer news results now due to ‘data protection laws in europe’. Seems the college lawyered up.

Val,

believe what? That there is highly problematic, highly publicized cultlike behavior on the part of social justice activists is simply true.

Unfortunately, and that was my point, it is not only ‘their problem’ if it makes democrats unelectable for being associated with this kind of behavior. You may find the first link stupid, but others don’t. And there’s more than the first link.

I’ll not that it’s not the behavior itself. It’s the proposition of an allegedly just utopia that, to normal people, looks like a dystopia ugly enough to make healthcare a secondary issue.

I’ll leave this thread here.

105

Mario 06.07.17 at 1:20 pm

J-D,

here’s original footage.

You know, I’m not a philosopher, nor a feminism therist, etc. so all I can do is point in the general direction of intersectionality justice activism and say, it scares people at a level that not having health insurance doesn’t scare them. And it gets associated with the democratic party.

106

Pavel A 06.07.17 at 1:22 pm

@102

I interpret the rule of law and its benefits in Smithian terms. Rule of law implies that a large majority of the members of a state choose to outsource their conflict resolution to a third party system instead of themselves or their posse. In most western contexts, the third party system is the state, because it is the only body legally and ethically able to carry out violence on its citizens in the form of incarceration, punishment, etc.

There are a number of factors that are required to make rule of law functional, and certainly not all are met all of the time.
– The system must be internally consistent, roughly the same inputs must produce the same outputs
– By and large the system must codify mechanisms of conflict resolution which are seen as just by society
– The system must be malleable and amenable to change via stable and consistent means

I probably don’t have to tell you that every system of laws violates all three of these concepts to a certain extent, and in some cases to a very great extent. There are also problems with the subjective or majoritarian view of what is seen as just resolution. However, without some form of depersonalized conflict resolution, society basically ceases to function as conflict resolution and enforcement falls on individual subjectivity.

107

Donald Johnson 06.07.17 at 1:32 pm

I guess it is an example of how cloistered people are in general if the phrase ” Evergreen College” is met with immediate understanding by some and bewilderment by others. I read Rod Dreher, who gets overwrought on some subjects, but I am glad I do, because we all have our ideological blind spots. This is where I first hear about Evergreen.

Sebastian already answered this, but since it didn’t work, here is one very specific opinion piece that explains what people are referring to —

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/03/opinion/sunday/bruni-campus-inquisitions-evergreen-state.html

108

steven t johnson 06.07.17 at 1:50 pm

William Berry@83 “And I’m a pedant for calling attention to a pedantic usage!”

Torturing grammar in an effort to be polite hasn’t worked for me at all, I see. No, you’re a pedant because you’ve taken it upon yourself to correct people on usage—even when the usage is arguable!—and you’ve justified it on the grounds of your alleged superior ability to see into the minds of the lesser folk. I have never “corrected” the pedantic pronunciation of the “t” in “often,” and I never will. But again, the parallel between your obtuse malice and so very many pronouncements on the so-called WWC is striking.

To finish by commenting on the whole thread, all the discussion about WWC is really piss poor because WWC is very much like “middle class,” undefined, more or less incoherent non-concepts that serve to obscure reality.

109

casmilus 06.07.17 at 3:24 pm

@107

I used to read Rod Dreher but one of the reasons I don’t bother anymore is the endless cycle of Oh God What Are The SJWs Up To Now, in which Rod just copies & pastes the tiniest amount of detail into a now standard comment form. I recently tried to go back but I think the commentary on Mamchester and London is garbage as are the sort of approving comments that get left for him. Quite honestly I wouldn’t believe anything he says about Missouri or Louisiana these days seeing how he’s happy to shoe-horn anything from where I live into his usual ideological soft soap.

110

casmilus 06.07.17 at 3:33 pm

@97

“Corbyn as leader is an irresponsible indulgence by a bunch of hobbyist leftists. It isn’t serious politics, as you will find out on Friday.”

He’s not the candidate I would have, but since the party in power reckons Boris Johnson is good enough for Foreign Secretary, and has had Theresa May and Amber Rudd running the Home Office with malign neglect I think I have to take the least worse offer, like the Americans have had to do.

Yes, the Tories will win. And they will be in crisis in 6 months over their total incompetence in dealing with Brexit. I’ve been using this campaign to become at peace with the idea that my country is going to be greatly reduced in the world by a bunch of overpriviliged imbeciles.

111

casmilus 06.07.17 at 3:42 pm

After reading Seumas Milne’s book “The Enemy Within” I can quite easily believe that *everyone* in the British Left in the 80s had some sort of hook-up with the security services. My favourite novel by Kurt Vonnegut is “Mother Night” so I find it easy to believe he was actually playing a role when he was on all those platforms. Regardless, if I’d ever been a member of the Labour Party I wouldn’t have had him as leader precisely because of all that baggage he carries.

Whenever I see Corbyn I think of the British Labour MPs mentioned in the Spanish chapter of “The Case Of Comrade Tulayev” – an irritation to the actual hard Stalinists, both pathetically naive and admirably principled in their endless questioning about the whereabouts of Nin.

112

Cranky Observer 06.07.17 at 4:07 pm

Evergreen College is where brilliant but weird parents send their extremely brilliant but extremely weird children (or they send themselves). It is as far out of the mainstream as Liberty University and bans on men & women holding hands. Remind me when the screaming Radical Right types started calling out Liberty for its sexist and racist behavior? Oh, they not only didn’t but they defend Liberty U? Hmmmmm…

113

William Berry 06.07.17 at 4:49 pm

@steven johnson:

For the record, I am certainly no professor. As I have mentioned here before (in context of discussions of labor issues), I was an industrial lab-rat and Al smelter worker for forty years (now retired), during thirty years of which I served at various times as a steward, negotiating committeeman, safety committee chairman, president of USW Amalgamated Local 7686 (now virtually extinct, except for a rice mill sub-local, due to the collapse of Noranda Al) and as casual (part-time) business agent for the International. I do not have an official pedant’s badge; just one I cobbled together myself and only put on occasionally.

The tortured analogy I was referring to was the one in which you compared my “pedantry” with the evident obtuseness of those who just can’t understand how right you are. You must be very proud of it, since you cited it again in your last comment. Other commenters probably don’t appreciate being considered too stupid to appreciate your prowess when it comes to rhetoric and argument. This could be a clue as to why so few here bother to interact with you.

I originally made what was intended to be a relatively light-hearted effort at “pedantry trolling” (hell, I admitted it!), to which you responded with dead– and deadening– earnestness.

As to my correcting the OP’s grammar; not really. Only JH can do that, and he has apparently exercised his prerogative not to do so.

. . . no one wants to see that I was right.

Torturing grammar in an effort to be polite hasn’t worked for me at all, I see.

Those two statements are among the best examples of a lack of self-awareness– or over-inflated ego– I have seen in my sixty-six years.

Torturing grammar in an effort to be polite doesn’t work for anyone. The perceptive reader recognizes it immediately for what it is: the opposite of politeness.

obtuse malice“: Now that is some serious projection right there!

Anyway, I am done with this. I have noticed that in the threads you participate in you always insist on having the last word, so feel free, since you seem want it so badly.

114

Donald Johnson 06.07.17 at 4:58 pm

Casmilius–

I have mixed feelings about Dreher, sometimes literally mixed feelings from paragraph to paragraph. So I don’t want to get into that very much, but I agree with most of your criticisms of him and yet still find him worth reading.

And he is utterly obsessed with the SJW’s– for that reason I heard about Evergreen and the commotion at Yale and a few other places before I would have heard about them just reading my usual liberal to left wing sources.

115

novakant 06.07.17 at 5:36 pm

Layman, here’s documentation for the fact that Clinton ran a historically unprecedented negative campaign:

https://mobile.nytimes.com/2016/11/23/upshot/this-election-was-not-about-the-issues-blame-the-candidates.html

116

Kiwanda 06.07.17 at 5:51 pm

Val:

@61
Oh for gods sake I don’t know what is wrong with people like you.

‘Mummy I want the freedom to be as nasty as I like about anyone and no-one should ever complain’

Doesn’t work that way, sweetheart.

I personally am fine with seeing comments like this occasionally, but the comments policy seems to be drifting a bit from “Specifically, commenters should abjure ostentatious displays of contempt towards other participants in the thread…”

117

Heliopause 06.07.17 at 8:23 pm

118

Val 06.07.17 at 9:05 pm

Donald Johnson @ 107

There is something about the lofty moral posturing in Rod Dreher’s piece that makes me roll my eyes and think ‘only in America’. It just seems so uniquely hypocritical.

It may not matter to you, of course, but you could reflect on why people (I don’t think it’s just me, or the phrase wouldn’t be so popular) have this ‘turning away’ reaction to some aspects of American culture.

God knows in my own country (Australia) there is plenty of idiocy about race. There are plenty of white racists and some of them (like Andrew Bolt, a well known right wing commenter here in Melbourne) are sanctimonious racists. But we don’t seem to get these lofty white ‘liberal’ commenters telling people of colour how they should behave.

Can’t you understand how infuriating that must be? In that Rod Dreher column, Dreher and most of the white people he was talking about were basically saying ‘excuse me, coloured folk, let me tell you how you should behave”.

The depths of denial and moral hypocrisy underneath that position are what makes people like me roll our eyes and think ‘only in America’.

Excuse my ignorance, but has America ever had anything like a National Sorry Day, or formal apology, or Truth and Reconciliation Commission (in your case it would be to both former slaves and Indigenous peoples)?

119

Suzanne 06.07.17 at 9:10 pm

@87: Young people tend not to be unduly concerned about health care coverage, which is why they do not bother to get it and are often resentful when people tell them they have to get it. The notion that this issue above all others would have made those disinclined to vote get off the sofa to do so seems questionable.

Also, HRC campaigned on the expansion of coverage, with particular focus on rural areas.

120

J-D 06.07.17 at 10:03 pm

Mario
Mario
Donald Johnson

I get the impression (although I may be mistaken, and I hope you’ll correct me if I am) that you’re trying to tell me that people on US college campuses are shouting at other people and calling them abusive names and refusing to listen to them and trying to get them to shut up, and that this is a major factor in deterring people from voting Democratic.

If I have misunderstood you, is it possible for you to explain to me what it is that is happening on US college campuses apart from people shouting at other people and calling them abusive names and refusing to listen to them and trying to get them to shut up?

If I have understood you correctly, it seems on the face of it unlikely to me that events of the kind described are a significant factor in deterring people from voting Democratic. I suppose it’s possible that they have some effect on some people, but the idea that they’re a significant factor seems hard to reconcile with the actual election results in the State in which Evergreen College is actually located, where one would naturally expect any effects to be greatest. Indeed, that last point applies with much the same force even if I have misunderstood what kind of events at Evergreen College you are referring to.

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J-D 06.07.17 at 10:14 pm

Kiwanda

Of course SJWs demand that speech they disagree with should be stifled. Of course they believe that “accused==guilty”, for some crimes at least. These are uncontroversial characterizations, if more bluntly stated than usual.

Since people emphatically disagree with them, it is apparent on the face of it that they are not uncontroversial characterisations.

122

patiniowa 06.07.17 at 10:48 pm

@Layman

Yes, they campaigned on “Donald Trump will end the ACA.” They didn’t campaign on “We will make sure that every resident of the United States will have access to high quality healthcare.” (And education. And childcare. And on and on.)

And they certainly didn’t do it with television, the radio and internet advertising. If I was looking at Trump’s face with the sound off, I couldn’t tell if it was a Clinton or a Trump ad. (How much did these things vary state by state?)

My belief is that if the Democrats had energized the younger part of their base better, they would have got more of the kind of people who voted for President Obama in 2012 to come out in 2016.

I was born Canadian. You’ll forgive me, I hope, if I don’t swoon at the progressive wonder that is ACA and flutter with delight at a party that says, “that’s the best we can offer.” (You can google too, I think.)

I reflected the other day that this analogy may be relevant. In 1968, the Democratic Party would have won if the antiwar left had voted in large numbers for Lyndon Johnson’s former vice president. And, in truth, we would all have been better off if Hubert Humphrey had won. But, “If you’re antiwar, you’re stupid if you don’t vote for the people who put us where we are today,” doesn’t really stir the soul, does it? Especially after the cops in Democratic Chicago beat the shit of the dirty hippies, which is pretty much the party’s go to in times of crisis.

123

patiniowa 06.07.17 at 11:11 pm

Suzanne @ 119

Take a look at the links upthread for people sitting down with Secretary Clinton’s ads, listening to what they said, and tabulating. You’ll find that she campaigned on no such thing.

It may have been in the platform. But that differs from “campaigned on” in significant ways. And it’s my understanding that the more lefty phrases in the platform were sops to the Bernistas that Secretary Clinton wouldn’t have included if she’d had her druthers.

I don’t where your information about young voters comes from, but my reading of the students on the campus where I teach, together with some of the statistical postmortems, is that they are, in fact, motivated by social justice/equity issues and they can be convinced to come out. The enthusiasm for Obama in 2008 was a real surprise to me, not least because I read him as ever so slightly to the right of Clinton. (Remember, we’re not talking about millions of voters needed to change the results. It’s more like tens of thousands.)

Whatever else is true, the strategy that the Clinton campaign employed didn’t work. There’s plenty of blame to go around, and we’re all suffering from the results.

124

F. Foundling 06.07.17 at 11:36 pm

Layman @48
>I don’t object to kidneystones deploring those deaths (I deplore them myself!). I don’t even object to him calling people silly names. What I object to is him doing so and then laying claim to, and taking pride in, his superior gentility, understanding, and love for his fellow man.

And what I object to is the suggestion that calling Obama an insulting name that highlights his killing of foreign civilians is silly and incompatible with gentility, understanding and love for one’s fellow man. On the contrary, I think that gentility, understanding and love for one’s fellow man who may happen to be a foreign civilian actually entails sharply criticising people who kill said fellow man, even if said criticism might accidentally feel a little ‘insulting’ to the little dearies who kill him. And I agree with 47 that there is no necessary contradiction between considering it as a priority to highlight such a thing and a general principle of ‘finding something to like in everyone’, although I don’t necessarily subscribe to the latter credo myself.

Stephen Johnson @52
>Impeachment is not a criminal charge per se.
>Jerry Vinokurov @72
>An impeachable offense is whatever half plus one of the House and two thirds of the Senate believes it is.

Fine, I amend my statement that ‘my impression is that X is not grounds for impeachment’ to ‘my impression is that X is not something that half plus one of the House and two thirds of the Senate would *usually* consider to be grounds for impeachment’, while acknowledging that anything is possible in principle.

Re @ 118:

>But we don’t seem to get these lofty white ‘liberal’ commenters telling people of colour how they should behave.
>In that Rod Dreher column, Dreher and most of the white people he was talking about were basically saying ‘excuse me, coloured folk, let me tell you how you should behave”

People tell other people how they should behave all the time. It’s an absolutely essential part of human communication and human society, and comment 118 is no exception, nor is the present one. Nobody, regardless of race, gender, ethnicity or any other characteristics, is exempt from being told by other people how they think s/he should behave. That said, I don’t know what Dreher column is being referred to; it would be most unfortunate, albeit not unprecedented, if it is the Frank Bruni column about Evergreen in the NYT, where some people are telling other people not to attempt to banish other people from campus based on their race, and where some people are telling other people not to demand the firing of people who disagree with such a banishment, and where some people are telling other people not to refuse to listen to what the people they accuse have to say in their defence. Dismissing these calls by pointing to the race of the respective groups of people, if this is what is going on in comment 118, would not be typically Australian, or characteristically non-American; on the contrary, it would be a typically American SJW move, in which some (fortunately not all) Australians here seem to excel.

125

Layman 06.08.17 at 1:14 am

novakant: “Layman, here’s documentation for the fact that Clinton ran a historically unprecedented negative campaign:”

I’ll get back to you when I’ve finished laughing. While I’m doing that, start looking for something which address the ‘historically’ part.

126

J-D 06.08.17 at 1:36 am

Pavel A

Rule of law implies that a large majority of the members of a state choose to outsource their conflict resolution to a third party system instead of themselves or their posse.

Can you give me any examples of where that has actually happened? I can’t think of any.

However, without some form of depersonalized conflict resolution, society basically ceases to function as conflict resolution and enforcement falls on individual subjectivity.

Enforcement can never be separated from individual subjectivity; there is no enforcement without agent-enforcers, and no agent without subjectivity.

127

Donald Johnson 06.08.17 at 1:53 am

Val–

Well, again, there are frequently posts by Dreher that make me want to toss my iPad across the room, and then there are other times where he really does seem self aware and self critical and extremely critical of his fellow righties. I started out screaming at him in his comment threads, sometimes not seeing my posts go up.

What has happened though is that I find I have the same feelings about almost everybody from time to time, depending on the issue. I irritate myself even, though not as much. Once I realized that, Dreher at his worst reminds me of some liberals or far lefties at their worst.

There are limits though. Some people are never worth reading except as bad examples. Some of Rod’s commenters fit that category. But even there, it is educational to see the sheer nastiness of some people.

128

Donald Johnson 06.08.17 at 2:08 am

I didn’t respond to your questions about race in America. And I am not going to, not in a few paragraphs, so will limit myself to the actions of college kids.

I approve of people protesting the appearance of racists like Charles Murray. I disapprove of violent protests. A woman was injured in the demonstration against Murray at Middlebury. One thing I don’t like about Rod is that when he gets into one of his emotional states, which is fairly often, he doesn’t make distinctions. So at Middlebury there was a picture of students turning their back on Murray as a protest. That’s fine. It is not at all the same thing as attacking the female (liberal) professor who was Murray’s debate opponent. But when Dreher writes about this stuff he will show a picture of the nonviolent protestors and talk about the violence and everything that happened gets lumped together.

129

lurker 06.08.17 at 6:45 am

‘As for freedom of speech not being a tool of the alt-right’ (Pavel A, 96)
As Freddy keeps trying to tell you guys, any restrictions on freedom of speech will be enforced by the police. You think it will be you deciding who gets investigated, charged and sentenced under the different standards of evidence? And not officer Darren Wilson?

130

floopmeister 06.08.17 at 6:50 am

But healthcare matters to people’s lives.

Yeah, and even more when you don’t have it.

:)

It may not matter to you, of course, but you could reflect on why people (I don’t think it’s just me, or the phrase wouldn’t be so popular) have this ‘turning away’ reaction to some aspects of American culture.

I’ll second that .

131

Kiwanda 06.08.17 at 6:53 am

Pavel A:

I like how you sidestepped my discussion about how the rule of law is meaningless when the legal system is systematically flawed.

Eh? Did I make some claim about “rule of law” that you addressed? I was ignoring what seemed a nonsequitur.

Yeah, maybe rape accusations do need different standards of evidence. The Jian Ghomeshi trial proved that if you’re not a “good victim”, no matter how obviously guilty your alleged attacker is, the case is over.

If you can read the judge’s decision and somehow think that those were merely not “good victims”, there’s not much to discuss.

As for freedom of speech not being a tool of the alt-right, I guess you’re going to have to defend Twitter, Youtube and Reddit troll mobs shouting down and intimidating women and minorities. You may also have to defend the Daily Stormer/Kekistan squads as they go about their work intimidating anyone who isn’t… you know… in the alt-right.

These are, maybe, public forums, but clearly under private control; I don’t know if free speech standards have been established in that setting. People who make real threats are committing crimes, and should be prosecuted. People who are vigorously criticizing others are only doing just that. If you don’t want to see any criticism, don’t broadcast your thoughts in a medium with a wide distribution.

Just as the people criticizing Rebecca Tuvel shouldn’t be held responsible for those who are sending her hate mail, so also those sending threats to Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor are not the responsibility of those who criticize her.

Technology and power imbalances make free speech a non-neutral proposition (in the exact same way that libertarian economic policies in an unjust world serve to just perpetuate those injustices). I guess you could also just look at some of the most illustrious defenders of consequence-free speech: Sargon of Akkad, Stefan Molenyeux, BPS, Paul Joseph Watson and their ilk… and ask yourself why they’re just dying to defend it.

If they want threats to be “consequence-free”, that’s bad. If they are defending open discussion, that’s good. And those conditions don’t depend on who they are or what their motives might be. If free speech is a tool of the “alt right”, so is it also for everyone else.

132

Val 06.08.17 at 10:12 am

@ 124

Can I set you a question? Work out what it is about your comment that makes me go ‘Ewwrrk’ and roll my eyes.
I’ll give you a clue: ‘we’re all just individuals’ (Ewwrrk roll my eyes)

(There is no history. There’s another clue.)

Working things out for yourself is better than someone telling you them.

DJ @ 127 and 128

Actually the weird thing is I think my own comment was quite sanctimonious, and I thought Dreher was a (US style) ‘liberal’ rather than a ‘rightie’ (shows the problems of commenting on a culture you don’t know well). But you should answer my question.

Also, given that floopmeister is encouraging me, I’ll add another insult: any country that still has first past the post voting has a citizenry that is either ignorant or apathetic, or both. There’s no excuse.

(That applies to UK and US)

133

Val 06.08.17 at 10:18 am

lurker @ 129

I don’t quite get what you’re saying here, but just in case you don’t realise this, anti-discrimination law is usually civil rather than criminal. That means it’s not enforced by police, but involves complaints by citizens, which are settled (or not) in the first instance through civil courts.

This has been said before, probably quite a few times.

134

Lynne 06.08.17 at 12:53 pm

Val: ” any country that still has first past the post voting has a citizenry that is either ignorant or apathetic, or both. There’s no excuse.

(That applies to UK and US)”

And Canada. Trudeau campaigned on changing this, but his govt changed its mind due to lack of citizen interest. I think that was because people had no idea what was being proposed.

135

Sebastian H 06.08.17 at 3:22 pm

“If I have understood you correctly, it seems on the face of it unlikely to me that events of the kind described are a significant factor in deterring people from voting Democratic….”

People who don’t understand how much of politics is tribal as opposed to rational part #537

136

subdoxastic 06.08.17 at 3:31 pm

@ Lynne Re:Trudeau changing his mind

That the government changed its mind is true– but it being a result of a lack of citizen interest seems very contestable.

137

lurker 06.08.17 at 4:03 pm

@Val, 133
I wasn’t commenting on discrimination lawsuits but curtailment of the freedom of speech and the suggestion that the standards of evidence for rape should be changed (i.e. lowered).
The people who would get to decide if e.g. pro-Palestine activism was a hate crime against Israel (Google ‘Lellouche law’) and who would choose which people to hit with the reduced standards of evidence, are not my friends.

138

Val 06.08.17 at 5:03 pm

@ 136
Why do you think the Trudeau government changed its mind then? Presumably they must have felt that the citizens didn’t care very much, at least?

Polly Toynbee has an article on proportional representation in the Guardian https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jun/08/electoral-reform-grotesque-first-past-post-system-votes

I will post it in the British election thread too. Seems the Tories want to enforce FPTP on all their elections at all levels, to make it even worse.

139

Val 06.08.17 at 5:04 pm

@ 137
Oh I see – don’t know if I want to google it though, sounds depressing. Will take your word for it.

140

Lynne 06.08.17 at 5:20 pm

subdoxastic: I agree. I don’t think there was enough education done–most people, myself included, did not understand what was under discussion.

141

Lynne 06.08.17 at 5:36 pm

To finish my thought…we needed widespread public education about how proportional representation works. I believe there are various ways to implement it, so these should have been explained. As it is, the only one I’m familiar with is the one the Conservatives just used to pick their leader, and I wasn’t aware of that method a year ago. People are understandably nervous about changing the way we vote—I think this was a missed opportunity.

142

subdoxastic 06.08.17 at 6:25 pm

I think they changed their mind because it didn’t suit the Liberal Party’s interests.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/wherry-trudeau-electoral-reform-promise-betrayal-1.3962386

The link above is the most even handed description of what happened that I can find. Think it’s likely a little too fair to the Liberals, but that’s my bias as a very disenchanted Canadian who was hoping for electoral reform.

And if the level of the ‘people’s care’ is the standard used by the Liberals to determine which policies/actions they will continue on with, then someone will have to explain JT’s Kinder Morgan decision.

143

subdoxastic 06.08.17 at 6:32 pm

Hi Lynne: I agree that more education would have been helpful. As it was the, the MyDemocracy survey was an interesting but vague exercise.

Though given JT’s failure to really address another referendum issue when debating with Mulcair during the election, I can’t say I’m surprised that he failed to understand the need for a clear question :)

144

F. Foundling 06.08.17 at 6:49 pm

@ 132
>Can I set you a question? Work out what it is about your comment that makes me go ‘Ewwrrk’ and roll my eyes.
>I’ll give you a clue: ‘we’re all just individuals’ (Ewwrrk roll my eyes)
>(There is no history. There’s another clue.)

We are all aware of the existence of human groups and history. The problem is that the conclusions that you and others of your tendency draw from that fact are completely unwarranted.

BTW, in a recent thread, people said that suicide bombers are wicked. They are not. It’s just that their ethical system, being of a type which has been dominant all over the world until recently, is a bit different from that of their critics. The difference has to do with the question to what extent, when determining the ethical acceptability of an action, humans should be viewed as individuals or as mere elements of a group (one embedded in history, too).

145

Mario 06.08.17 at 6:52 pm

I didn’t expect my point to be so subtle, so maybe I should clarify.

When people take a decision, they tend to follow a vision. The buyer of a Harley-Davidson to some extent imagines himself pop-pop-popping down the road in a leather jacket, looking like coolness himself / herself.

Trump made a very careful effort to frame his message in a fairly specific way. He provided a set of visions (with imagery of concrete outcomes!) of the US under him. c.f. MAGA.

What vision of America do the democrats convey? There’s something about justice and equality, but not only the are the details vague, the imagery seems to be vague, too. How does it look like? How does it sound, taste? The point I’m trying to make is that the right has made a wonderful job of making sure that to some extent the optics of the democrat vision were original footage of rioting SJWs spewing absurdities and doing things like harassing Prof. Bridges. And nobody did nor is doing anything about it. What do the Democrats want?I don’t know how many votes it did cost in the end – it’s just a theory. But my guess is 3%-10%.

(And of course the recent events at Evergreen could not have influenced elections preceding them)

146

Val 06.08.17 at 7:28 pm

I read the linked article and some of the others linked in it – interesting. My favourite comment was ‘proportional representation has been tried elsewhere and failed’. Thanks Canada! We’ll stop doing it now, we didn’t realise it was a total failure.

Here in oz we have preferential one member electorates in the lower house and a sort of hybrid preferential-proportional in the upper house (it still uses preferences but there are six members for each state). If you want to get into technicalities it is complicated but at the level of voting it’s not too bad.

There were problems with very long lists of candidates in the upper house and with preference deals, which did lead to a small number of candidates with a tiny number of votes being elected at times. There have recently been reforms that have sorted that a bit

Generally though it works ok and although there are right wing minority parties in the upper house, there are also left ones (the Greens). I certainly think that compared to FPTP, it’s a lot more representative. I’d hate to be in a FPTP system.

It’s a shame that the Trudeau government didn’t try a bit harder. It does make one wonder why.

147

Orange Watch 06.08.17 at 9:26 pm

Seb@135:

People who don’t understand how much of politics is tribal as opposed to rational part #537

On this subject, I’ve always gotten a rather strong impression that “SJW depravities” are something that are used to cement tribal alliance rather than create it. Associating Democrats and whatever a speaker deems to be abusive SJW behavior is something to fire up the choir moreso than recruiting converts to the tribe – not least because the conflation involved requires not a little dismissive malice in re: assumptions about what centerist pro-capital liberal adults stand for.

148

J-D 06.09.17 at 12:00 am

Sebastian H

“If I have understood you correctly, it seems on the face of it unlikely to me that events of the kind described are a significant factor in deterring people from voting Democratic….”

People who don’t understand how much of politics is tribal as opposed to rational part #537

If one person is trying to make a point, and another person does not understand, there are several options open to the first person.

One is simply to disregard; after all, making sure that other people understand your meaning is not generally compulsory.

A second option is to mock the other person for feeble-mindedness, because what but feeble-mindedness could explain inability to understand the first person?

A third option is to acknowledge that perhaps the point wasn’t explained as clearly as it could be and attempt further explanation.

Personally I never choose the second option and often choose the third, but maybe that’s just me.

149

J-D 06.09.17 at 1:40 am

Mario

The point I’m trying to make is that the right has made a wonderful job of making sure that to some extent the optics of the democrat vision were original footage of rioting SJWs spewing absurdities and doing things like harassing Prof. Bridges. And nobody did nor is doing anything about it.

I have seen that there are lots of videos on Youtube in which the presenters mock people whom they refer to as SJWs and attempt to portray them as absurd and appalling. I don’t perceive any basis for concluding that those Youtube videos (and/or similar mockery elsewhere on the Web) have a significant effect on people’s attitudes to the Democratic Party, and in any case I’m not clear what it is you think the Democrats could do about this mockery.

150

Val 06.09.17 at 2:29 am

@144
“We are all aware of the existence of human groups and history. The problem is that the conclusions that you and others of your tendency draw from that fact are completely unwarranted.”

It seems though that some of us aren’t aware of the concept of power, or why members of an historically privileged group telling members of an historically oppressed group might be particularly infuriating.

However as it appears that I and my tendency are wrong about everything, it may be fruitless talking to you. Why did I waste all those years studying history, if I was simply going to be wrong about everything?

151

PatinIowa 06.09.17 at 4:49 am

Layman @ 70

Since we’ve bickered a little, I’d like to point out that you’re spot on here. Well said.

152

Kiwanda 06.09.17 at 7:01 pm

J-D:

I have seen that there are lots of videos on Youtube in which the presenters mock people whom they refer to as SJWs and attempt to portray them as absurd and appalling.

Since material about e.g. Evergreen seems hard for some to find:
Bret Weinstein is a biology professor at The Evergreen State College. The college has had for some time an annual “day of absence” when PoC faculty, staff, and students would stay away from campus. This year the organizers decided to run the day differently, and have all white faculty, staff, and students stay away. Weinstein objected. The result was some labeling him as racist, and calls for him to be fired. The college president told the local police to stay away, and the local police told Weinstein that for his safety and that of his students, he should not hold classes on campus. See also.</a.

This video shows some of the interactions; *mostly* a kind of open debate (one session with many students and Weinstein, one session with many students and college president George Bridges at about 8:31), but with the group shouting down Weinstein occasionally. (Somewhat reminiscent of that session that Yale Prof. Nicholas Christakis had regarding his wife’s email concerning Halloween costume policy. Bridges was apparently later held by the students in a situation where he was not allowed to go to the bathroom without student monitors.) An excerpt of that long interview with Joe Rogan is included also. Weinstein has been condemned by other faculty, but supported by one other biology professor. This is not Weinstein’s first lone stand for his beliefs.

153

alfredlordbleep 06.09.17 at 10:42 pm

It should have occurred to some here that the eruption of newsworthy events would be an ideal cover for the blitz completion of Senate rework of Trumpcare leaving the sticky issue of reconciling House and Senate versions for a final lightning strike in the night.

There have been a few of stories in recent hours of the current status of Mitch McConnell’s posse on its way to stealthy modifications of the outrageous House bill (which miraculously emerged after heavy downplaying of its chances of being hatched in the first place). These were the components to Republican strategy in that case that are mirrored to date in the Senate plot:

*Silence
*Speed

The primary emerging difference between the Senate health bill and the House appears to be that the Senate is phasing in its cuts to health-care subsidies more slowly. Rather than a three-year phase-out, they may go for five years or even seven. That is the “moderate” wing of the Republican party in its essence: They will complain loudly and then ultimately do the same thing the far right wants, only not quite as fast.

The slower phase-out is designed to insulate incumbent Republican elected officials from the public backlash that is sure to ensue. By the time the cuts take effect, the vote to enact them will have been long past. Indeed, Republicans may not even control government at that point.

J. Chait NY Magazine June 9 2017

154

F. Foundling 06.10.17 at 1:34 am

(re-posting a vanished comment while changing a few wordings which I imagine might have been deemed impolite by the moderator)

@150
>It seems though that some of us aren’t aware of the concept of power, or why members of an historically privileged group telling members of an historically oppressed group might be particularly infuriating.

Question: Assume that person A kills person B for having an ugly hairstyle. Is this act just or is it unjust?

Abstract humanist: It is unjust.

Identity- and history-conscious thinker: I can’t possibly answer before I know what race, gender, religion, sexuality and health status the two persons involved have. If person A belongs to an underprivileged group relative to myself (and possibly to person B), then I can’t presume to express any opinion about how s/he should behave. Expressing such an opinion would be ‘particularly infuriating’.

>Why did I waste all those years studying history, if I was simply going to be wrong about everything?

It is extremely common for different people to spend many years studying history (or other subjects) and to manage to draw widely different and incompatible conclusions, some of which are completely unwarranted. That’s why we need reasoned discussion and can’t allow appeals to authority to override it. Just like we can’t allow appeals to underprivileged status to override it – in general, discussing the person instead of the argument is a distraction.

@118
>you could reflect on why people (I don’t think it’s just me, or the phrase wouldn’t be so popular) have this ‘turning away’ reaction to some aspects of American culture.

There are many things that irritate me about American culture – for starters, it’s everywhere for no good reason, and it often appeals to the lowest and stupidest aspects of humanity. However, people’s disagreeing with SJW radicalism is not one of them; SJW radicalism is. It’s typical precisely of America (and some Americanised circles in some more or less Americanised countries), whereas its absence is just a matter of common sense in the rest of the world (which has plenty of absurd follies of its own).

155

Layman 06.10.17 at 11:43 am

Yes, Trump quite cleverly met with Comey in January and February and
March to obstruct justice, and then fired him, in order to give Republican Senators cover to rush through a shitty law in June. How diabolical! Or, just maybe, two shitty things are happening at the same time not because they’re coordinated but because they’re all shits. I’m guessing the latter myself.

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