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.

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177 thoughts on “A Nonconformist Among Nonconformists

  1. So no, I rather doubt I will be screwed.

    You will be. You just don’t realize it yet. It will no doubt come as a great shock to you.

  2. @Aaron, why should I believe you.

    @Jayn, as I worked in politics I had to keep my views on Trump very. very. very private. I can though provide evidence of my correctly predicting the winner of every statewide primary race in Missouri and general (never predicted the Dem primary races because I knew they wouldn’t win the general), thus proving I know what I’m talking about. Unless you would prefer to make a snide asinine comment and drop the issue.

  3. Why should I believe you.

    Maybe you should believe what virtually every economist says about Trump’s policy proposals. Come back in two years and let us know how you are doing.

    As I worked in politics I had to keep my views on Trump very. very. very private.

    So you’re lying then. Good to know.

  4. Rico, I was more referring to the lack of any explanation of how you would escape being screwed while a man who’s made a career out of screwing people and has had to pay a 25 million settlement to prove it becomes president.

  5. Unless you would prefer to make a snide asinine comment and drop the issue.

    That’s a lot of attitude from somebody who only showed up to gloat.

    Nobody cares who you are or what you claim you predicted.

  6. @Mike Glyer Thank you for clarifying that.

    @Aaron I suppose I will show back up in two years to mock you when GDP is up, average wages adjusted for inflation is up, unemployment is down, and consumer confidence is high. I’m setting a reminder on my calendar.

  7. if, in two years, I’m better off than I am now so far as income, healthcare, environment, etc etc (and these things are directly attributable to DT’s policies) …

    then I will happily and gladly accept your gloating “I told you so”

    Sadly, I’m quite confident that I have nothing to worry about.

    On the other hand … even should we all find ourselves worse off, you will never ever accept a gloating “I told you so” from me.

    difference between conservatives and liberals right there in a nutshell.

  8. I suppose I will show back up in two years to mock you when GDP is up, average wages adjusted for inflation is up, unemployment is down, and consumer confidence is high.

    Unemployment is currently 4.6%. Push it much lower and you’ll have inflation. Trump’s policies won’t push it lower, but they do seem likely to cause inflation.

    The GDP per capita in 2015 (the last year for which data is available) was $52,549, up from $48,557 in 2009 in adjusted by purchasing power parity. Adjusted GDP per capita will have to be $53.689 just to continue to current trend. Anything less than that is a fall.

    The most recent consumer confidence figure was just slightly over 107. Anything short of that will be failure. Given Trump’s seeming love of protectionism, this is likely to drop, because of the resulting inflation.

    Real wages were $10.68 an hour in November 2016, $387.50 a week. To do better than current trends, those real wages will have to rise by more than 2% in the next two years. None of Trump’s proposed policies are likely to have any positive effect on real wages.

  9. @Mike: Thanks for explaining 🙂

    Yeah, politics have never been verboten here 😛
    A straight-out politics post with no genre connection is new; so I see why you describe it as an experiment.

    Thanks, and happy experimenting 🙂

  10. @Rico

    I suppose I will show back up in two years to mock you when GDP is up, average wages adjusted for inflation is up, unemployment is down, and consumer confidence is high.

    Seeing as all that is already happening right now, before President Littlehands is even sworn in, there’s no use wasting your time.

  11. rico: I think Clif meant he would not be gloating in “I told you so” fashion at that point, rather than attempting to predict your future reactions to his doing so.

    I figure there’s enough heat in the topic without misunderstanding adding it.

  12. So, I always have a measure of sympathy to sentiments like those of original post here, because I do see a lot of cases where some left-wing commenter isn’t nearly as clever or persuasive as they think they are, and their anger, dismisiveness, and mockery towards the right wing produces nothing but backlash. And it’s easy to think “Oh, they don’t see what they’re doing,” and “Oh, Our Side should be better then this.”

    But it’s a mistake to look at that one aspect, and stop there. You have to recognize the larger dynamic. I’ve linked CGP Grey’s This Video Will Make You Angry many times before, which talks about how outrage-inducing thought memes are the ones that thrive. Similar, but IMHO even more on point for this, is Scott Alexander’s The Toxoplasma of Rage. In his piece, he discusses how anybody trying to gain traction and attention needs to choose – between being sensible and moderate and probably within broad consensus, but generally being mostly ignored, vs. focusing on controversy and argument — which keeps you in the center of attention. By describing choice, agency, a tradeoff — and how when lots of people make the choice, someone rises to the center of attention — I think Alexander really brings this point home.

    (Fair warning for “Toxoplasma of Rage”:
    (1) I do not endorse all of Scott Alexander’s opinions in general, although I think this particular essay is quite good,
    (2) He touches on ‘signalling,’ which can be a sore point, but here he’s actually using it in context, explaining what he means by it, and he isn’t tying it into any particular stream or camp,
    (3) He talks about some specific news items which have been controversial; you may see them as clear-cut, but it’s hard to dispute that they were controversial at the scope of the public at large.)

    I feel like this last election was a horrible, horrible demonstration of this concept. The way anything substantial, or moderate, or remotely bipartisan, was always drowned out by whatever would best provoke an argument. Even within, say, the left wing, there was always a sense that conversation kept clustering around outrageous minutiae, rather then concrete topics of immense importance that were just a little too boring.

    And you can see it as awful and detestable that someone like Trump should be controversial; that he not just be out-and-out rejected and shunned. But one of the reasons he wasn’t, is that Republicans and right-wingers now feel like being right-wing, or being religious, has become controversial; it’s no surprise that when you put it like that, they’ll fight tooth and nail.

    All of which is going to say: Trying to zero in on smug self-righteousness on the left is understandable, but insufficient. Because it doesn’t matter how little of it there is; if there’s any, anywhere, it’s going to go right in the spotlight, and it’s going to keep the snowball rolling. And the precise same is true if you flip the sides.

    The question is what can we do, that might be capable of winning hearts, building bridges, and spreading.

  13. I’m not worried about the economy under Trump. The things he proposes to do will, for the most part, take more than two years to take effect anyway. I think the effects will be bad, but I think two years is a bit too soon to see much impact.

    My fear is that within eight years, we’ll be in the world described by Loser, by Matthew Hughes. Compared to that, worrying about his economic policies seems beside the point.

    Note that I don’t think it likely, but I do think it possible. I had never thought it even remotely possible before, but that was before watching this election. The worst part about 2016, for me, is that it destroyed my faith in the basic decency of the American people. Now I’m not sure I can rule anything out about the future.

  14. But one of the reasons he wasn’t, is that Republicans and right-wingers now feel like being right-wing, or being religious, has become controversial

    One thing to note about the modern conservative movement is that it has shifted so far to the right, that this may be an appropriate sentiment. When one compares the current crop of conservatives in power to, for example, Ronald Reagan, one finds that Reagan would have been denounced as a dangerous leftist by many of those currently holding the levers of conservative power. In many ways, the modern conservative movement has become hostile to the very foundational aspects of American civic society.

    The irony is, of course, that as the conservative movement has done this, they have become louder and louder at condemning their political opponents as “leftist extremists” and “socialists”, when the reality is that, at least in American politics, the political “left” is generally on the territory that the conservatives quite recently abandoned.

  15. @Aaron: I agree entirely.

    That just doesn’t contradict anything.

    The consequence of polarization is real, immediate difficulties coexisting together.

  16. I think there are two other important factors, and they might offer opportunities to change people’s minds.

    The first is the belief that hard problems have simple solutions which so-called experts keep obstructing. So they think crime would be solved by putting more black people in jail. Immigration problems would be solved by mass deportation. The Middle East would be fixed if we just bombed them hard enough. Etc. These ideas are terribly wrong, but that’s not obvious to a lot of people. Just telling them “that’s stupid” doesn’t work. This touches on the arguments in the original post, in that part of how we got here is alienating ordinary people by ridiculing and/or demonizing them when they talked about the simple solutions they believed in. Taking the time to explain things in ways that aren’t condescending or insulting probably would have had better results.

    The second is toxic forms of political correctness used as a way to shut down discussion. Things like trigger warnings and safe spaces sound like ideas meant to prevent certain topics from ever being discussed. Or arguing that in a he-said, she-said dispute, you should always believe her. Or that no one should be allowed to say “illegal alien.” Or even arguing that “race/gender is a cultural construct.” All of these ideas were well-meaning and are defensible in the right context, but to ordinary people, they sound like something out of 1984. Millions cheered Trump for his promise to kick all those PC people in the teeth. Many of them people who actually believe in our core principles.

    So we need to firmly reject the PC slogans that piss people off. Stick to the core principles. For example, racism and sexism are wrong, whether race/gender is a cultural construct or not. It was a fight we didn’t need to have. We need to stop wasting energy and losing allies over fights we didn’t need to have.

  17. Aaron:

    “Unemployment is currently 4.6%. Push it much lower and you’ll have inflation. “

    That is only the official unemployment, a figure that is created to hide how bad the unemployment really is. There are several definitions, but I do think U5 or U6 better captures the real unemployment rate and they are at 6 and 10 percent respetively. So there is still a good margin to go down without inflation.

    Also, you say inflation as it is a bad thing. It doesn’t have to be. Most people don’t have a fortune that will be affected, instead they have loans that inflation will help them to pay off. The important thing is that the salaries keep level with the inflation.

  18. Greg Hullender:

    “So we need to firmly reject the PC slogans that piss people off. Stick to the core principles. For example, racism and sexism are wrong, whether race/gender is a cultural construct or not.”

    You do that. Me? I will not throw people under the bus or start lying just to adjust to fascism. I live with those that are deeply affected by this discussion. They are my friends. I will not abandon them.

  19. I mainly come here because occasionally Mike’s scroll posts will link to something interesting. A secondary reason is because the comments are hilarious (I find smug self satisfaction, preening moral superiority, and absolutly impenetrable educated ignorance hilarious).

    I rarely however comment except to troll because the commentors here aren’t worth it. But I sincerely want to thank all of you, and all those like you on the left for guaranteeing Trump’s victory. Please keep it up. Please keep chanting “racist”, “sexist”, and “homophobic” like they are a mute spell from an RPG. Please keep coming up with more moronic definitions of each like “manspreading”, “mansplaining” and “microagressions”. Please keep pushing your dyscivic, dystopian, ideas about sex, race, and culture on people who just want to be left alone. Please keep agitating for ever increasing hordes of third world barbarians to be imported at the cost of everyone else. Please keep refusing to understand why communist is a dirty word and deserves to be. Please keep supporting those who wish to disarm law abiding citizens whilst at the same time pushing empathy for violent criminals. Please keep telling the rest of us we are racist because we believe that we, and noone else has the right to decide who may and may not enter our home. Please keep supporting the nullification of some laws while telling us others require us to give up our rights to free association. I beg you, keep it up. Because we truly couldnt have gotten this far without you.

    I and many, many, others dont give a damn what sob stories immigrants have. We care about only two things. Did they follow our rules when they entered our home? What benefit does allowing them in provide us as a nation? Everything else is noise. I dont care how bad things are in their country. Thats their problem. Mine is making sure we dont import the same ideas, habits, and cultures that caused those problems in the first place.

    I dont care how bad you think you have it as a woman in America. The truth is you are more “priveleged” than 99% of all people on earth. I dont care about your LGBTQZYXMYT sob story. Try being openly gay in Saudi Arabia, Syria, Maylasia, or Africa. Think you got it bad as a “person of color” in the US? Try being on in Africa, The Middle east or fucking Venezuela.

    You think Im afraid to take responsibillty for my vote? ? Im proud of it. You think I care that by your bizarro world definition Im a sexist? You’re delusional. You think I care that by your racist definition Im a racist? You’re a fool.

    Keep up the idiotic protests. Keep creating new definitions of sexism. Keep on lecturing us about how evil we are because of the color of our skin and our sex. All your doing is convincing those who held their nose to vote for Trump that they did the right thing, and convincing those who didn’t that they didnt.

    We tried to be polite. We tried to be nice. We marched in our tricorn hats, we held rallies, cleaned up after ourseleves, and stated our grievances. We tried to be reasonable and we were called racist, sexist homophobes anyway. So since polite didnt work we threw in behind the crass, outspoken, loudmouth. And if y’all are even one tenth as smart as you think you are you’ll pray, hope, and work to ensure he’s successful at adressing our issues. Because if hes not? You dont want to see what will come next.

  20. It’s not about abandoning anyone. It’s about abandoning slogans that don’t really help anyone but which alienate the general public. It comes down to whether we want to win or just to play games.

    As for lying, no one is asking you to do that either. But when you change the common meanings of words like “race” and “gender” so as to make a claim about them being cultural constructs meaningful, ordinary people just look at you like you’re nuts. When you make a big deal out of it, they’re disposed to not believe anything else you ever say. If you take the time to explain it, they think the whole thing was a set up to try to make them look stupid. It’s a lose, lose, lose and (again) it’s a slogan that doesn’t help anyone in the first place.

  21. Sorry, Hampus, but inflation, once it rises above a certain low level up to about 3 to 5%, is a very bad thing.

    It’s not my problem, if the “general public”, whoever they may be, has a problem with what they view as political correctness gone mad. In my experience, such people mostly complain about issues that don’t even affect them. For example, why are those most eagerly arguing against safe space and trigger warnings at universities people who haven’t seen the inside of a university campus in years, if not ever? I also don’t know why people take issue with others stating that race and gender are cultural constructs or that there are moves to recognise more than two gender identities. No one is forcing those who are satisfied with their gender identity to adopt another, it’s only for those who don’t fit into existing categories.

    Besides, attacks on gender studies departments, safe spaces and trigger warnings on university campuses are attacks against universities and therefore a symptom of the anti-intellectualism of some on the right.

  22. That is only the official unemployment, a figure that is created to hide how bad the unemployment really is.

    I know of the six measures of unemployment used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. U3 has been used as the measure of unemployment since 1948, when there would have been no reason to “hide how bad unemployment really is”.

    In any event, U6 is currently at 9.7%, down from a high of just over 17% at the end of 2009.

    Here’s the problem with the idea that there is “a lot of room” for unemployment to drop without pushing inflation up: This has been studied extensively. The data shows that when U3 goes substantially below 5%, there are substantial inflationary pressures in response. You can quibble all you want about what the “most accurate” measure of unemployment is, but the data shows that U3 dropping any notable amount below 5% starts to push prices up.

  23. Greg Hullender:

    It might not be about abandoning people for you. It is for me. And race is a cultural construct and that is when talking about the common meaning of the word. I will not lie to say it is not.

    Ever thought that it is you that make a bid deal about it? Because for me it is non-controversial. In Sweden and the rest of Europe, we don’t talk about race as Americans do. We think you are obsessed with trying to fit people into different races. We talk nationality, culture and ethnicity.

    The race thing was largely abandoned with the nazis.

  24. Ever thought that it is you that make a bid deal about it? Because for me it is non-controversial. In Sweden and the rest of Europe, we don’t talk about race as Americans do. We think you are obsessed with trying to fit people into different races. We talk nationality, culture and ethnicity.

    Yes, the intense focus on race is an American thing and very much a cultural construct. Not that nationality, culture and ethnicity aren’t, but at least most of us recognise that fact.

  25. Cora:

    “Sorry, Hampus, but inflation, once it rises above a certain low level up to about 3 to 5%, is a very bad thing.”

    Ever read up about latin-america? To see that most of the development and gain of wealth occured with a inflation of 30%. There are some really interesting discussion about it in the book Kicking Away The Ladder.

    A large part of Swedens development was done with a inflation of between 5 and 12 percent, from 1970 to 1990.

  26. Moderate inflation is excellent for everyone except creditors. Very high inflation hurts everyone. But where exactly the dividing line is can be as hard to pin down as the dividing line between science fiction and fantasy.

    Race as cultural construct: There was a time when my Irish ancestors in America didn’t fit the then-current definition of white. They paid the price in serious discrimination until, with time and the influx of even more upsetting immigrants, they became white.

    Those more upsetting immigrants included my maternal grandparents, from Sicily. Even in my childhood, they still weren’t quite white. And our food was weird.

    And today people would stare at you like you’d grown a second head if you said Italians (and my grandmother is spinning in her grave and threatening to come back and haunt me when I suggest she’s Italian) aren’t white.

    Heck, my grandparents were as shocked at one of their sons bringing home a girl from a Neapolitan family as his fiancée as many middle class white families of the time would have been at their son bringing home a black girl. But my grandmother decided that they wanted to know their grandchildren, and explained this to my grandfather, rather firmly.

    The definitions of who is “just like us” and who is Weird and Foreign are always cultural.

  27. Rico:

    “All this salt is delicious.

    I thank you for the wonderful meal.

    The next 8 years are going to be a joy.”

    I missed this one, but I think this is an important part of the puzzle as it shows what kind of people most actively supports Trump. People who are happy and feel joy when others are sad and depressed. Nothing new that trolls are sadists.

    And this shows very much how futile it is to adjust to these people, because they look forward to making you sad and see how depressed they can make you.

    No neighbourly feelings there.

  28. Here John is advocating the radical and shocking idea that he thinks there’s a way Democrats could get more votes.

    I disagree emphatically with both the premise and the conclusion of that statement. First, John is merely regurgitating, yet again, a narrative which I have seen more times than I can count — both before the election and after it. It is neither radical nor shocking, but monotonously old. boring, and predictable.

    Second, I am FUCKING SICK AND TIRED of this narrative, which I have taken to calling the “Lucy and the football” theory of progressive politics. Conservatives keep saying that it’s the responsibility of progressives to “reach out”, to “understand”, to “extend an olive branch”, to make concession after concession after concession, and then maybe, just maybe, a few more Fox-hole Republicans might be willing to vote for them; maybe, just maybe, the Republicans in Congress might be willing to make a minor concession in return. And so we do, and what happens? The Congressional Republicans yank the football away, the Fox-hole Republicans continue voting their hate and greed, lather, rinse, repeat — and the cycle starts all over again.

    FUCK. THAT. SHIT. What we need to do is admit that we’re being cast in the Charlie Brown role, and remember that the definition of insanity is continuing to do the same thing while expecting different results, and do something different. Which, in this case, I firmly believe means stopping our attempts to placate the lowest common denominator and instead working to implement changes which will improve the standard of living for everyone… including said lowest common denominator. We can’t give them back the fantasy 1950s life they crave, but we can help them to a better present right along with everyone else.

  29. The Dangerous Myth That Hillary Clinton Ignored the Working Class

    Perhaps the clearest takeaway from the November election for many liberals is that Hillary Clinton lost because she ignored the working class.

    In the days after her shocking loss, Democrats complained that Clinton had no jobs agenda. A widely shared essay in The Nation blamed Clinton’s “neoliberalism” for abandoning the voters who swung the election. “I come from the white working class,” Bernie Sanders said on CBS This Morning, “and I am deeply humiliated that the Democratic Party cannot talk to where I came from.”

    But here is the troubling reality for civically minded liberals looking to justify their preferred strategies: Hillary Clinton talked about the working class, middle class jobs, and the dignity of work constantly. And she still lost.

    She detailed plans to help coal miners and steel workers. She had decades of ideas to help parents, particularly working moms, and their children. She had plans to help young men who were getting out of prison and old men who were getting into new careers. She talked about the dignity of manufacturing jobs, the promise of clean-energy jobs, and the Obama administration’s record of creating private-sector jobs for a record-breaking number of consecutive months. She said the word “job” more in the Democratic National Convention speech than Trump did in the RNC acceptance speech; she mentioned the word “jobs” more during the first presidential debate than Trump did. She offered the most comprehensively progressive economic platform of any presidential candidate in history—one specifically tailored to an economy powered by an educated workforce.

    NOTE: multiple links in the source text to back up the claims about HRC’s focus on jobs and the working class: the problem was, it wasn’t just the WHITE working class.

  30. Lee: Absolutely. And to think I might have missed your fucking point, which would have been a fucking shame.

    Because, I hadn’t realized John is trying to get you to modify all your views to suit Nazis, rather than just stop pissing off some of the people who four and eight years ago were happy to vote for Obama.

  31. @Hampus

    I’m German and we know very well how dangerous inflation can be due to the hyperinflation of the early 1920s, which even further depressed an economy already depressed by WWI, wiped out whatever savings people had left and probably contributed to the eventual fall of the Weimar Republic due to never letting it get off the ground in the first place.

    My grandparents still remembered the inflation of the 1920s first hand. They’re dead now like pretty much everybody who lived through the period. But the inflation of the 1920s still lives on in national memories, which is why the vast majority of Germans don’t consider any level of inflation as acceptable. Last summer, there was some concern about inflation, because the rate had risen to 0.9% (i.e. pretty much neglible), that’s how strongly many people here feel about inflation.

  32. Cora: My grandparents still remembered the inflation of the 1920s first hand.

    When I first collected stamps it was still easy to come by German stamps of that era with seemingly absurd face values in Deutschmarks.

  33. Cora:

    “I’m German and we know very well how dangerous inflation can be due to the hyperinflation of the early 1920s, which even further depressed an economy already depressed by WWI, wiped out whatever savings people had left and probably contributed to the eventual fall of the Weimar Republic due to never letting it get off the ground in the first place.”

    I’m not really sure it is helpful to argue that it is bad with inflation over 5% by using an example of how it was with over 1000%.

    Statistics over 145 countries during 2000 and 2009 showed that the countries with less than 3% inflation had lower growth than those with higher inflation. There seems to be a cap where high inflation is bad, but it is closer to 10-15%.

  34. I’m also really tired of the “moderates and liberals need to cater to conservatives” lectures, not least because they infantilize conservatives. The implication is that these people are too mentally deficient to be held accountable for their voting choices; that their pain and hardship are somehow more important and special than the pain and hardship of a whole lot of other people; that “listening to them” and “talking carefully and kindly to them” will somehow magically get them to see sense.

    As Camestros said: “That to reach out to the people who found frankness refreshing and who found people speaking without filters convincing, we should be MORE careful in how we speak? That the people who despised careful messaging will respond better to MORE precisely designed speech?”

    The lower- and middle-class people who voted for Trump don’t care about being listened to. They aren’t interested in being reasoned with. What they want, the only thing that matters to them, is that things go back to the way they liked them: women and minorities in the kitchen or the stables, with their mouths shut and not taking jobs away from white men; manufacturing and mining jobs all come back, with high pay and benefits; government and education and all aspects of everyday life catering specifically to Christians.

    Well, none of that is going to happen — but they voted for Trump because they wanted to believe his lies that it would, rather than face reality and try to work for better things going forward.

    These are people who want magical answers. They don’t want to have to think, or make an effort, they just want someone to give them what they want. I don’t think it’s possible to reason with people who aren’t interested in reason — and I’m really tired of being told that I need to keep trying to reason with them, but that they have no obligation whatsoever to start being reasonable.

  35. I’d like to throw a pair of links into the discussion. Vox has done some really great follow-up work after the election, including a series of interviews with strong Trump supporters who are by definition going to be badly hurt by Trump’s stated policies. People who are only alive because of their access to healthcare through the Affordable Care Act. People whose job it is to sign people up for the ACA. People employed through assistance programs that Trump has promised to gut.
    The Vox interviews are really worth the read.

    And just today I ran across some really spot-on-analysis of those interviews. The big thing that ties them together is that even if the Trump supporters were getting the assistance they needed, they also saw other people who they did not consider worthy getting assistance. And cutting off assistance and benefits for people they saw as being undeserving was more important than, in some cases, their own lives.

    There’s a quote that I ran across in the election, which I did not know the attribution of, that goes

    “The salient fact of American politics is that there are fifty to seventy million voters each of whom will volunteer to live, with his family, in a cardboard box under an overpass, and cook sparrows on an old curtain rod, if someone would only guarantee that the black, gay, Hispanic, liberal, whatever, in the next box over doesn’t even have a curtain rod, or a sparrow to put on it.”

    The more I see, the more I find it rings true. from the second article I linked

    Democrats don’t care if some “undeserving” folks cash in on, for example, a free lunch program, as long as not one child goes out to recess hungry. While Republicans don’t really care how many children starve as long as not one, single “undeserving” child gets a free meal.

  36. Germany though suffered hyperinflation. From an economic standpoint a small amount of inflation is good. It makes it more worthwhile to put your money to work through investment rather than just parking it. Up to a point anyways…


    There are folks that are a total write off, certainly. The internet also amplifies their voice. It’s a mistake though to believe the majority of Trump voters fall in that category just because the loudest do.

    I know about a dozen Trump voters. There are two I’d place in the write off category. Most of them though are Cinemax voters like in the Scalzi piece Jayn linked. Talk to them about specifics and there is room to salvage them.

    I do think most of them are in deep denial. Among our circle of people, for instance, is a flaming gay man and a couple more discreet lesbians. The Trump voters I know wouldn’t want them hurt. These are people they love and respect. Point out Trump and Pence’s positions and you’ll get the answer: ‘gay marriage is settled law. The courts and Congress won’t let those change’. Now I think that’s dangerously naive but it means there is hope for outrage if the administration moves to change it. Which means every reason to keep communications open.

  37. Unless the Dems can purge one faction or the other, I don’t think they’ll accomplish much.

    I think one issue is that the words ‘racist’; ‘homophobic’ and ‘sexist’ (among others) have been so cavalierly used that they’re on the way-if not already-to being as over-done as Nazi and fascist.

    You’ve got to give people a chance to save face if and when they realize that their vote for Trump was wrong. I just have the feeling that if someone says ‘you know, I was wrong to vote for Trump and I’m sorry” then what they’ll get back is haranging about how could they do it to begin with and what are they going to do to make up for their horrible, horrible past and even if they do whatever it is that someone says will make amends, it won’t be enough and the bar will just keep getting raised until they just say ‘Fuck it, why should I bother? They’ll never be satisfied”

    I do think that all this yakking about Trump and Trump-ites and so on is only deflecting people from keeping an eye on the man behind the curtain. people are so busy with Trump they’re ignoring Pence and that’s where the real trouble is. The people being nominated for posts in this administration are right out of the right-wing playbook that is Pence’s secret hard-on. As long as Trump can profit from it all, he’ll let Pence and his crew pick and stack and control to their heart’s desire.

  38. Harold Osler:

    “You’ve got to give people a chance to save face if and when they realize that their vote for Trump was wrong.”

    This. I very much agree with this. And yes, Pence and his cohorts are scary people.

  39. If someone says “I did vote for Trump and I realize now it was a mistake”, I WILL ask them what they plan to do to help. But I won’t ask more than that, and I won’t harangue.I won’t raise it again.

    And I bet there are those who would consider even asking (politely) to be haranguing and excessive. It’s the way of the world. Some people don’t accept anything – on both sides.

    But I think the numbers are exaggerated. I think there are more people who, when extended an olive branch, will at least try and give it a chance.

    What i resent is being ordered by the other side to extend the olive branch prematurely, while they are still hurting and insulting me or people I love.

  40. @Greg: I hear what you’re saying, and I agree with the observation that toxic use of liberal/leftist ideas is part of what keeps the problem going.

    I can’t agree with the conclusion that, therefore, anything PC-associated needs to be avoided.

    You’re forgetting two things. One is that these ideas and concepts have real, immense value, to many many people. You can’t just have everybody shut up about them from now on. The second is that any idea or concept growing sufficiently popular will, sooner or later, be abused (in addition to being used constructively), and be associated with various factions or causes.

    Your points are absolutely correct, in each case individually. Given any one individual, it’s much more effective to have a deep discussion, go into issues, be willing to cede ground and acknowledge tradeoffs. And given any one individual who rejects so-called “PC culture,” you’ll be much more effective if you can set aside that terminology, avoid the temptation to use an established taxonomy that already supports you instead of actually discussing the details, and rebuild the most important bits from first principles.

    The problem is, that doesn’t scale.

    It doesn’t scale because intense, sincere conversations can be a good thing individually, but it gets less and less useful when you add just a few people. You can’t have attentive, in-depth, personalized conversation with lots of people at once. And the more people you add, the more likely that somebody is going to get on somebody else‘s nerves, which is entirely outside of any individual’s control, but will suck all the attention like a vampire.

    More and more, I feel like Left and Right need to be approached as two alien societies on a Star Trek episode. Except with the convenient single leader actually representing and controlling each side. And without the promise of a tidy plot resolution after the fourth ad break. And I don’t see a Federation diplomatic intervention anywhere on the horizon 🙁

  41. @Standback

    Indeed. As the philosopher Dathon of Tama said:

    “Shaka Khan, when the disco sucked”*

    (* loosely translated by some scholars as “My hovercraft is full of eels”)

  42. @Ryan, JJ:

    I can attest to this, from countless arguments I’ve had on Twitter, including one last night. This is anecdata of course, but it ties in with the worldview many conservatives have. I was arguing with someone about repealing the ACA.

    Me: Okay. Let’s put in the preexisting conditions law [the only law he wanted to take the place of ACA]. What’s to stop people from waiting to buy insurance until they get sick?

    DT [person I was arguing with]: Their choice. Why should I care? They want to play roulette, so be it. Insurance companies would weed them out.

    Me: U contradicted yourself.If there’s law requiring companies to sign them up even if they’re sick, they can’t weed them out.

    DT: No. If they choose to wait until they’re sick? Sorry, no help for them. I pay up front, you pay up front. Why not everyone.

    Me: Again, if some young person doesn’t buy ins. & comes down with a rare cancer or accident, you’re prepared to let them die?

    DT: They CHOSE to take that chance. Sorry, but yes.

    The conversation went on a bit longer than that, with him contradicting himself and making no sense on several levels, including this gem of an exchange:

    Me: Yeah! That’s how insurance works! I pay into the risk pool, you pull out, and vice versa.

    DT: I don’t. I don’t get sick and I don’t do stupid stuff.

    Me: So you’re going to be immortal? And never get, as you said, “run over by a bus”? Or have bad genes?

    DT: Listen, free choice. You make decisions everyday. You have the freedom to do that. I’m going to bed now. Free choice.


    I see this over and over and over again. Maybe it’s not every conservative, but if you keep talking to them and asking questions, sooner or later this sort of selfish “Why should I pay for anybody else’s anything ever” attitude usually comes out.

  43. @Bonnie: I don’t have the full context of your conversation, but it sounds to me like he misunderstood your question entirely. (And possibly had no idea what the Preexisting Conditions law is.)

    You were pointing out that the system he’s proposing would be trivially gameable (people buying insurance when they needed it, and no earlier), and he understood you as bemoaning that people might do something dangerous and foolhardy (not buying insurance) in the absence of a law reining them in.

    These excerpts certainly don’t speak highly of this Twitter conversationalist, but this seems to me a lot more like miscommunication and muddiness (which are endemic to Twitter), than self-contradiction. He literally did not understand what you were asking (and did not pause to ask for clarification), so obviously the conversation goes off the rails from there. :-/

  44. I do wish that there was less name-calling in political discourse.

    However, in my opinion, most voters in this election based their votes on the issues not on how insulted they felt. Looking at the candidates who switched from Obama to Trump, in 2008/12 there was no candidate running who wanted to reduce (legal) immigration or opposed free trade. So voters had to base their vote on other things, this time round Trump gave them the opportunity to vote on these issues.

    Talking more nicely to people isn’t going to get them to change their vote.

  45. @Bonnie–sounds to me like you were talking to someone with Ayn Rand Syndrome-the belief that a system put forth by a woman who physically leeched off her relatives and emotionally leeched off others is a sound belief system for a human being.
    Also known as Smug Asshole Syndrome

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