A Nonconformist Among Nonconformists

by John Hertz: (reprinted from Vanamonde 1228)  May I, who voted for Trump’s opponent in the Presidential election, speak against the notion Trump’s supporters were “people … scared silly by the progress we’ve been making for the non-Christians, the blacks…. [who thus] don’t know their place anymore”?  I hear that often.  In an objection we on the Left are quick to raise in our defense, it’s dismissive.  It waves away any possibility that Trump’s supporters have any creditable basis for their opinions – which unsurprisingly those folk maintain we lack.  I think we on the Left have long been smug, self-righteous, arrogant about our opinions.  That isn’t good argument.  It isn’t good politics.  It isn’t neighborly.  It violates our own principles.  Trump cried Aren’t you tired of all those left-wing people’s telling you what to think?  Had we been better preachers, teachers, reachers, that would have been laughed down.  A well-known man in November 1963 was wrong, I believe, to say “The chickens are coming home to roost”, but perhaps that’s a lesson for us now.

177 thoughts on “A Nonconformist Among Nonconformists

  1. I think this was still somewhat to the right of Clinton’s proposals, in which she seemed to be advocating for citizenship for anyone who wanted it (at least, she doesn’t mention any limitations).

    Yes, it is slightly to the right of Clinton’s proposal, but not substantially so. Reagan’s proposed North American free movement zone would have been to the left of any proposal put forward by Clinton.

    Reagan would not have granted federal social benefits, but Clinton wanted to allow everyone to participate in the ACA.

    Legal residents were eligible to participate in more federal programs when Reagan was President than they are now. That was changed in 1996 when eligibility for such programs was restricted (although in some cases, eligibility has since been restored).

  2. @Cheryl:

    Jumping off of Standback’s very good post, it seems like confirmation bias to me.

    @Hampus:

    There was a conversation yesterday at my home about Kinder Surprise and how they were illegal in the States. The gallows humour punchline was that Kinder Surprise (hollow chocolate egg with a plastic capsule containing a small toy inside) are unsafe for children and therefore contraband, but guns are legal and perfectly safe for children.

    Now even gallows today after the news from rural Nova Scotia of a triple-murder/suicide by a veteran with a firearm.

    Stop the planet please I would like to disembark.

  3. @Lis Carey
    “@Bill . . . difficult as you may find this to grasp,”
    “@Bill . . . however much you’d like it to be.”

    That’s twice you’ve made assumptions about my thoughts that I don’t believe are borne out by the posts I’ve made.

  4. @Lis

    Insofar as we are talking about events that are accurately described by your limitations, I don’t think there is any meaningful difference in our opinion. I’m not sure that those limitations describe the totality of late-term abortions are as accurately as you and I would hope.

    They choose to associate themselves, in name and argument, with some very scary, dangerous people without attempting to separate themselves from that movement in any way.

    Well alrighty. So now it’s fair to equate student groups advocating against littering and for recycling with the terrorist elements of the Animal Liberation Front and the Earth Liberation Front?

    Yes, the equivalency isn’t perfect. Yes, I’m jerking your chain….somewhat.

    @Dawn

    Thanks for your thoughts regarding my use of the term “fabrication”. You were correct.

    There was a conversation yesterday at my home about Kinder Surprise and how they were illegal in the States.

    Welcome to the conservative/libertarian camp where bashing excessive and overreaching government intrusions in the market are what we do for breakfast!

    One small caveat….no one in the gun rights movement thinks that a 3-year-old is ready for a firearm. No one in the gun rights movement thinks that young children should be given unsupervised access to firearms.

    @Standback

    I agree that people have widely divergent interpretations of the world. I disagree when people dismiss my experiences in the world out of hand. I imperfectly try to avoid making similar mistakes.

    @Cheryl S.

    Media bias takes many different forms. A couple of quick examples from outside the leftist echo chamber.

    1. When a politician is involved in committing a crime, the story will indicate that their political predilections in a prominent way early in the story if they are a Republican. Such indications will be much deeper in the story (if they appear at all) when they are Democrats. It isn’t a perfect model, but the trend is there, IMHO.

    2. Acts of violence that could plausibly be committed by someone of a stereotypically “anti-government/right-wing” bent are immediately reported in ways that presume precisely that sort of political motivation. Acts of violence that could plausibly be committed by someone with radical jihadist motivations are reported with cautions against assuming any specific motivation by the unknown (at that time) perpetrator.

    [FWIW, my advice is to wait and see in both cases.]

    3. Reporting on the story referenced in the link above. It was completely unreported for several weeks until a significant Twitter campaign forced the NYT and WaPo to finally report on the issue.

    Given that the mainstream media is dominated by people that view the world from a left of center perspective, it isn’t terribly unusual to see that perspective reflected in the decisions about what gets reported and how it gets reported. I get news from many of those sources (NYTimes, WaPo, NPR). I cross check against other sources from time to time when necessary.

    Regards to all,
    Dann

  5. Dann: So now it’s fair to equate student groups advocating against littering and for recycling with the terrorist elements of the Animal Liberation Front and the Earth Liberation Front? Yes, the equivalency isn’t perfect.

    Not perfect? It’s not even an equivalency. 🙄

    Really, Dann, are you wanting to be taken seriously in discussions here? Or do you want to be dismissed as merely a troll? Because every time you post ridiculous arguments like this, I come closer to writing your posts off entirely — not that I expect you care about my opinion, but I suspect that I’m far from the only one.

  6. When a politician is involved in committing a crime, the story will indicate that their political predilections in a prominent way early in the story if they are a Republican. Such indications will be much deeper in the story (if they appear at all) when they are Democrats.

    Citation needed. Just your “gut feel” isn’t enough.

    Acts of violence that could plausibly be committed by someone of a stereotypically “anti-government/right-wing” bent are immediately reported in ways that presume precisely that sort of political motivation.

    This is bullshit. Right wing violence is one of the most under reported issues right now. Cite a source showing this is an actual trend or I’m going to have to conclude you’re just making things up.

  7. Dann:

    “One small caveat….no one in the gun rights movement thinks that a 3-year-old is ready for a firearm. No one in the gun rights movement thinks that young children should be given unsupervised access to firearms.”

    That is why it is illegal in most countries to let firearms be in reach of people below 18 and require that the weapons are kept locked up.

    If the gun rights movement will not work towards such laws, it means that they find it acceptable that children can get their hands on firearms.

  8. @Dann–

    Well alrighty. So now it’s fair to equate student groups advocating against littering and for recycling with the terrorist elements of the Animal Liberation Front and the Earth Liberation Front?

    I do thank you for bringing in ALF and ELF.

    I’m more actively involved in animal welfare than environmental issues. Among animal issues people there are two phraes that the less informed tend to think are equivalent but which people involved in animal regard as representing very different things: Animal Rights and Animal Welfare. ALF and PETA are animal rights organizations. Reducing them to a single line description, they think humans should have no contact with or make any use of animals. ALF are pretty openly terrorists. PETA maintains a prettier public face most of the time, but they’ve been proven to have funded at least some of ALF’s activities. They are rumored with varying degrees of evidence to have done various things themsrlves, but they been proven to have stolen and killed much-loved pets, and they brag about handing lurid comics to young children telling them their parents are evil murderers because they eat meat.

    Animal welfare people and organizations, reduced to a single sentence, want to make sure animals however we use them are treated humanely and killed humanely.

    The two factions tend not to like each other very much.

    I’ve not seen any similar divisions between pro-life on campus and pro-life off campus. I could have missed them, though, just as the media often mistakenly calls PETA an animal welfare organization and treats them as a good source on animal welfare issues.

    Can you enlighten me on such divisions?

  9. @Dann

    One small caveat….no one in the gun rights movement thinks that a 3-year-old is ready for a firearm.

    Maybe not at 3 but I recall a passage in The Probability Broach where L. Neil Smith makes approving statements about children as young as 5 or 6 carrying firearms unsupervised as part of their normal daily life. I also remember some anarcho-capitalist sites with similar notions.

    Not offered so much as refutation but as an oddity of a very small segment of people you may not have encountered.

  10. Dawn Incognito: There was a conversation yesterday at my home about Kinder Surprise and how they were illegal in the States. The gallows humour punchline was that Kinder Surprise (hollow chocolate egg with a plastic capsule containing a small toy inside) are unsafe for children and therefore contraband, but guns are legal and perfectly safe for children.

    Dann: Welcome to the conservative/libertarian camp where bashing excessive and overreaching government intrusions in the market are what we do for breakfast!

    Whooooosh!

    I think you totally missed Dawn’s point, which is that Americans can manage to recognize when toys are unsafe and inappropriate to have anywhere around children, but can not manage to recognize this about guns.

  11. @Aaron“When a politician is involved in committing a crime, the story will indicate that their political predilections in a prominent way early in the story if they are a Republican. Such indications will be much deeper in the story (if they appear at all) when they are Democrats.”

    Citation needed. Just your “gut feel” isn’t enough.

    This article names in the second paragraph five NJ politicians who were arrested, but only names the party affiliation of one — a Republican.

    Multiple examples, with links.

  12. @Bill

    The mention in the first link is likely just a matter of style. For state and federal legislators normal practice is to list party affiliation and district after their name as was done here. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen that done for non-legislative positions as held by the others mentioned. The article also cites one of the others involved as having narrowly won their Democratic primary contest which seems like a good indication of affiliation.

    To be fair I only skimmed the second link and didn’t click through to the cited articles. Low energy for link chasing tonight…

  13. I’m trying to find the source for the Washington Examiner about Anthony Weiner, but they only link to a some organisation called “newsbuster” which talks to a study, but only links to another newsbuster article and that article also talks about a study, but links to a new newsbuster article and that article talks about an article from a colleague which is not a study at all, but only a another newsbuster article without a source.

    So it seems to be mostly a circle jerk in the right wing echo chamber.

  14. @ Bill and also
    @Stoic Cynic and @Hampus:

    @Bill: Multiple examples, with links.

    I am avoiding doing more class prep, so went and looked at the article Bill provided, and also clicked links. Ninja’d by Hampus, but I’m posting anyway because it expands on what he said.

    If “multple” means more than two-three, OK, yeah, it’s multiple. And there are links, but it’s just a handful of examples, and a number of unsubstantiated claims.

    Democratic mayor, rape: 1 example not identifying Democrat
    Hastert: 1 example, identifying Republican

    Adulterous Republicans 1 named example, claim of multiple others being identified, no links/evidence.

    Spitzer: Link to MRC NewsBusters which has more links about
    AP not listing Spitzer’s Democratic affiliation
    LA Times no affiliation l
    NY Times does list party affiliation in the third paragraph

    Fox does list; MSNBC and CNN do not

    Wiener, ditto MRC NewsBuster

    There was a link to a so-called MRC study which never materialized. I kept opening up links but just got more individual articles—all on this site—no actual data that I could look at. Lots of “all the morning shows” claims, and a few scattered specifics, but not really what I consider “data.”

    Is there a bias in reporting party affiliation—maybe so, but I’m not seeing sufficient data to prove it: it’s more a handful of examples, a few papers, and a few news shows.

    Now here’s a link to a story about a study that found liberal bias in the media:

    http://newsroom.ucla.edu/releases/Media-Bias-Is-Real-Finds-UCLA-6664

    Of course this is from 2005. And the question is how “liberal bias” was defined (I don’t care enough to track down the study through my university, plus I couldn’t evaluate its methodology anyway since I lack any training in statistics).

    But then there’s this story about a study of media coverage of the recent election, calling it “biased and non-substantive,” but it seems to be biased toward Trump.

    http://www.mediafiledc.com/harvard-study-finds-biased-non-substantive-media-coverage-election-2016/

    And voila, they link to the study so its methodology can be reviewed.

    https://shorensteincenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Pre-Primary-News-Coverage-Trump-Sanders-Clinton-2016.pdf

    The MRC never links to its study (or, well, after clicking six links and not finding anything I’d consider data or a study, I gave up).

    And Hampus has provided examples of the conservative bias in lying about party affiliation (as opposed to not mentioning it at all).

  15. Yeah, but those are children under the age of 18, not just the toddlin’ types.

    It was the idea of not giving guns to the under-threes that was being held up as a sign of responsible gun policy (or something; that’s doubtless an unfair liberal paraphrase) by whoever.

  16. @JJ

    Well “Whooooosh!” right back. My point is that the American government cannot manage to properly evaluate if a product is unsafe. Banning a product that is clearly labeled as being inappropriate for children 3 and under is government overreach. Of course, that may be different from your assertion that Americans can make such an evaluation. YMMV

    And I disagree. While the comparison is inexact, it is reasonable enough, IMHO.

    In one case, you have organizations that claim to support better treatment for animals. Yet a couple of those organizations patently violate that mission by killing animals along with other criminal acts.

    In the other case, you have organizations/groups that claim to be pro-life. Yet there are some individuals (loosely affiliated at best) that violate that mission by killing people along with other criminal acts.

    This is a wonderful diversion by the way. My original point is that universities do not afford non-leftist students consideration that is identical to that afforded to left-leaning students and organizations.

    A link for those interested in the “name that party” game. And a modest note. Sure, I am viewing this through my experiences/history. Every time that I looked at stories independently (i.e. Detroit News or Free Press), I found the general trend to be reasonably valid; GOP affiliation announced early in the story, Democrat affiliation announced late if at all. The phenomenon is less pronounced in smaller papers IME. By the same token, I don’t spend my days obsessing over it. It would be interesting for some media professor to take a more thorough look at it.

    @Kurt

    That was a fair reading of what I said. And a very fair criticism of data that mixes teenagers (more probably mixed up in other criminal activities) with that of toddlers.

    Regards,
    Dann

  17. Dann, I’m going to try really hard to not snark at you.

    I don’t even advocate a 3-year-old being left unsupervised with the Kinder Surprise, to be frank. If I had to choose between banning both Kinder Surprise eggs and guns, or banning neither, I would think it pretty extreme but err on the side of caution and ban both.

    (Point of order, Kinder Surprise ran afoul of an already existing law. So they weren’t actually “banned” as implied. We looked it up after the joke.)

    I think the key difference, however, is in proper usage of both items. When you use a Kinder Surprise as intended, you eat the delicious chocolate, open the plastic capsule, and assemble your little toy. When you use a gun as intended, you point it at something and pull the trigger, firing a piece of metal at it.

    I’m boggled that you could reply to Kurt without addressing his pointing out that toddlers in the USA have shot people at least once a week, every week, for two years straight.

    Finally, given my stance on gun control, I don’t think I’d feel particularly comfortable at Conservative/Libertarian Camp.

  18. Every time that I looked at stories independently (i.e. Detroit News or Free Press), I found the general trend to be reasonably valid; GOP affiliation announced early in the story, Democrat affiliation announced late if at all.

    This, taken with the other unsupported claims you’ve made here, indicates that you are likely experiencing confirmation bias.

    It would be interesting for some media professor to take a more thorough look at it.

    Unless this is done, all you are doing on this subject is talking out of your ass. It doesn’t really help your case when you do that.

  19. Hi Dawn,

    Thanks very much. I’ve been pulling the sarcasm trigger far too often and appreciate the consideration.

    My only resource on Kinder Surprise thus far is this from the ever-questionable Wikipedia.

    I’m boggled that you could reply to Kurt without addressing his pointing out that toddlers in the USA have shot people at least once a week, every week, for two years straight.

    Mostly I’m just trying to be nice and wind down my end of this. I’ve been to that rodeo before and it rarely ends well. We’ve already wandered pretty far afield from the starting point.

    I can see several areas where I think we generally agree in terms of locking up weapons that are not in use. Sussing those out and the trouble associated with disagreement mean that this probably isn’t the right place/time.

    Finally, given my stance on gun control, I don’t think I’d feel particularly comfortable at Conservative/Libertarian Camp.

    Well, we enjoy nice folks. The welcome mat is always out, there’s good eats [including veggies for those with dietary considerations] on the grill, and tasty beverages in the cooler.

    Regards,
    Dann

  20. Dann,

    Awww, I was going to make a comment here about the sarcasm button being really big and shiny and tempting when emotions are high. Then I looked at your wording again and you said “sarcasm trigger”. And I feel that makes my joke crash back into gallows territory again. This makes me sad.

    That being said, we’re all readers here, and I for one love a pretty turn of phrase. Plus I want to appear clever and witty. But my so-called wit has impeded a serious discussion before on File 770. I’m trying to save it for talking about books or TV.

    Well, we enjoy nice folks. The welcome mat is always out, there’s good eats [including veggies for those with dietary considerations] on the grill, and tasty beverages in the cooler.

    I will thank you for the spirit in which this is meant, . However, I don’t feel the welcome mat is entirely trustworthy. To illustrate why, I’m going to go to socialized medicine and the social safety net. It’s pretty personal, CW for suicide, rot-13 ahoy:

    N srj lrnef ntb, V jnf va n eryngvbafuvc jvgu n zna jub V fhccbegrq sbe znal lrnef juvyr ur unq ab vapbzr. Zl zragny urnygu qrgrevbengrq gb gur cbvag jurer V jnf hanoyr gb jbex. Sbeghangryl V jnf va gur flfgrz naq jnf noyr gb hgvyvmr inevbhf urnygu naq fbpvny cebtenzf, naq riraghnyyl trg ba qvfnovyvgl. (Naq, jvgu uryc, ybfr gur qrnq jrvtug.)

    V jnf ehzvangvat nobhg zl pbafreingvir/yvoregnevna pnzc erznex sbe n ybat gvzr. V jebgr naq qryrgrq n fanexl pbzzrag ynfg avtug. Naq bar bs zl pehryrfg zragny erznexf jnf “gurl jbhyq engure V unat zlfrys jvgu zl obbgfgencf”.

    Harsh? You bet? Tarring with a broad brush? Sure, probably. It felt really truthy to me. Which I think brings us back to the original thrust and argument around this post.

    No need to reply if you don’t want to. Just wanted to try to expand on my perspective for you.

  21. @Dawn: First of all, ::hugs:: and comfort. I’m so glad you were able to get the help you needed, and that you’re in a better place now.

    Not to put words in Dann’s mouth here, but: I think what the conservative/libertarian camp would want, and stand by, would be for you (and others in comparable situations) to pull yourself together and do whatever it takes to get yourself somewhere healthy.

    The problem, of course, is one of assessment. They’re assessing that as a reasonable thing to expect people to be capable of. Encouraging capability is fundamental to them, because capability begets capability; strength begets strength. That’s not unreasonable.
    But your assessment is the exact opposite. You see that people in spirals of depression and dysfunction cannot make good choices for themselves. Perhaps some manage, but the dynamic itself is one that sinks a person deeper and deeper into dysfunction.

    So, when a conservative person tells you “I’m against you getting government aid,” the best version of their argument (IMHO) is along the lines of: “I believe in you; you are capable of overcoming this.” Whereas, from your vantage point, where you have no faith in that capability whatsoever, “I’m against you getting government aid” is tantamount to a death sentence.

    Now… I set a lot more stock in your experience, and the experience of many others, who have coped with these situations firsthand, then I do in those who give well-intended advice from the sidelines. That’s why I place myself where I am.

    But I do sincerely believe that that is the spirit in which it’s intended. Not always; there are trolls and cruel people and people locked into moments of hatred and mockery — but, nonetheless, mostly that.

  22. @Dawn,

    Sorry. Play time has been limited over the last few days.

    It seems like things are pointed in a positive direction for you. I’m glad that is the case.

    @Standback

    You reasonably covered the motivation behind a lot of folks in the conservative-to-libertarian end of the political pool. Thanks very much.

    Lacking the time to unpack properly, I’ll only add that stories like Dawn’s keep me from being the sort of radical libertarian that people frequently use as convenient persons of hay.

    Regards,
    Dann

Leave a Reply

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