The Atlantic discovers the Politics of Crazy


Something important happened this week. No, not that other thing. Jonathan Rauch at The Atlantic published an extraordinary essay on the disintegration of our political system. This may be the first instance in which a first-tier commentator has addressed the concepts described in the Politics of Crazy. The results were promising in the sense that our commentariat may finally be waking to this trend. It was frustrating in the narrowness of its scope. It was downright disturbing in the reforms it suggested.

The community around the Lifer blog will immediately recognize this warning from Rauch about the potential lunacy of the 2020 election:

As the presidential primaries unfold, Kanye West is leading a fractured field of Democrats. The Republican front-runner is Phil Robertson, of Duck Dynasty fame. Elected governor of Louisiana only a few months ago, he is promising to defy the Washington establishment by never trimming his beard. Party elders have given up all pretense of being more than spectators, and most of the candidates have given up all pretense of party loyalty. On the debate stages, and everywhere else, anything goes.

Rauch’s greatest contribution in this fantastic article is his observation that Democrats face the same forces of insanity as Republicans. To my knowledge, no prominent writers in mainstream media have acknowledged this deeply distressing reality and no one in mainstream politics has begun preparing for its implications. This sentence from Rausch is probably already ringing in the ears of the community around this blog:

Trump, Sanders, and Ted Cruz have in common that they are political sociopaths—meaning not that they are crazy, but that they don’t care what other politicians think about their behavior and they don’t need to care.

Needless to say, your author saw this as a vindication. Rausch is recognizing a phenomenon bigger than “anti-establishment anger” or a supposed reaction from an overlooked, disenfranchised class. He acknowledges that we are experiencing a form of systemic political dysfunction that demands a thoughtful response.

Rauch’s diagnosis of this problem represents a break from the Politics of Crazy:

Our intricate, informal system of political intermediation, which took many decades to build, did not commit suicide or die of old age; we reformed it to death.

Rauch attributes our previous democratic stability to a class of “intermediaries,” political insiders who greased the wheels of the system. Their competitive interaction, undemocratic as it generally was, balanced the extremes of individual ambition and steered the system toward relatively practical outcomes. Rauch organizes his essay around as series of poorly conceived reforms. Paragraphs are laid out as “we reformed pork” and “we reformed closed-door negotiations,” on the way to attributing our present mess to those steps.

We disagree on the essential character of this phenomenon. He sees the collapse of the middlemen as a policy mistake to be remedied at a policy level. By zooming out a bit further, the Politics of Crazy sees the death of the middleman as a necessary evolutionary step, one consistent with an emerging environment in which people are freer, more prosperous, and generally more competent than ever before to handle a wider range of self-government. Instead of trying to cram ourselves back into a historical model, we need to evolve new institutions to serve changing needs. Bury the middlemen with dignity and move on toward a brighter future.

In describing the impact of what Rauch calls “chaos syndrome” he accomplishes something that seems to have eluded my previous posts on the Politics of Crazy. He has explained very convincingly why “this time is different.” It isn’t just the accelerating speed of technology or the end of the Cold War, factors described in the Politics of Crazy, which make this situation unique. What makes this disruption more potentially lethal is the way it has crushed the channels through which our political system reforms itself.

Where Rauch’s “chaos syndrome” better describes our situation than the Politics of Crazy is its illumination of the impact of these transformations on our political machinery. Rauch’s piece is a masterly description of the processes that derail competent policy making in the present climate. It only fails in its limited scope. What we see unfolding in our political system is a consequence, not a root, of our challenge. No response can be effective without an awareness of these wider evolutionary forces.

With its limited focus on Washington politics, Rauch’s near-term prescription for chaos syndrome is firmly at odds with the recommendations in the Politics of Crazy. Rausch summarizes his diagnosis as follows:

Our most pressing political problem today is that the country abandoned the establishment, not the other way around.

Rauch suggests measures to strengthen the existing buffers against democracy in the current system. Insulate his class of middlemen from external meddling, give political parties a freer hand to operate, give party insiders more say over the nominating process, and so on.

Viewed through the lens of the Politics of Crazy, the danger of these measures becomes apparent. If we got to this point via a series of ill-conceived or poorly implemented reforms, then it makes sense to simply step back from those policy decisions. If we got here via an evolutionary shift in our economy, culture, and politics, then trying to cram a lid on that massive transformation is beyond futile. A prescription that seeks to preserve an antiquated model of government by insulating it from feedback could lead to an explosion.

In contrast to Rauch’s diagnosis, the Politics of Crazy sees our situation as global, evolutionary, and on the whole a positive human development. Reforms should not seek to halt this devolution of power, but adapt around its demands.

Governing people who are better informed, wealthier, more educated, and freer than any generation in human history does not call for a thicker layer of middlemen, but a more nimble style of government. On the policy side, this means crafting legislation that relies less on centralized, expert oversight for its effectiveness. Instead of issuing thousands of pages of new gun regulations, impose licensing and insurance requirements. Rather than more heavily regulating energy, implement a carbon tax with trading options. A byzantine tangle of social services could be replaced with a universal basic income. Using libertarian-influenced, market-driven policy tools we can continue to accomplish the goals of central government without needing the level of professionalism or oversight of 20th century, Weberian bureaucracy.

At the social level we can constrain the Politics of Crazy by leveraging the same technical developments that are demolishing our existing social capital institutions. New social institutions already evolving from communications innovation offer to fill some of the gaps left by the death of social capital. These new institutions will never be a one-for-one replacement of older institutions and will not support the same style of politics we experienced in the past. They can, however, allow us to retain feedback mechanisms critical for representative government. Social capital derived from new media will not save our old institutions, but they could allow us to build new ones, better suited for an emerging environment.

Contrasting Rauch’s chaos syndrome with the Politics of Crazy points to one concern above all others – the brightest minds of our commentariat have grown disturbingly disconnected from larger social trends. Rauch’s piece is outstanding; far better conceived, written, and assembled than the Politics of Crazy. Yet it fails to recognize a wider social picture which should be immediately apparent beyond the coastal northeast.

Nevermind trying to grasp events in such incomprehensible backwaters as Kansas or Alabama, a political figure with a passing exposure to commerce in the Bay Area should be able to recognize the enormous scope of devolution unfolding around us. One ride with Uber should allow a Washington or New York-based political commentator to recognize that his death of middlemen is a global social phenomenon rather than a consequence of specific political reforms. Reforms did not destroy the middlemen. Wider evolutionary forces rendered them less relevant and valuable, making those reforms possible in the first place.

Events are overtaking our existing institutions, threatening tremors far more disruptive than Donald Trump or Brexit. Like Rauch’s middlemen, our finest writers and thinkers have a critical role to play in our adaptation to these trends. They are trailing these trends badly, and even the earthquakes shaking their own journalistic institutions have not yet been enough to wake them up.

Rauch’s piece is exciting because it might point to a much-needed awakening of interest in these wider forces, but it is only a start. Hopefully others will look beyond the symptoms Rauch identified in pursuit of their wider social causes. Perceiving that larger picture, we may recognize a far more hopeful reality and begin reckoning with the impressive demands it places on our system.

Chris Ladd is a Texan living in the Chicago area. He has been involved in grassroots Republican politics for most of his life. He was a Republican precinct committeeman in suburban Chicago until he resigned from the party and his position after the 2016 Republican Convention. He can be reached at gopliferchicago at gmail dot com.

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255 comments on “The Atlantic discovers the Politics of Crazy
  1. […] via The Atlantic discovers the Politics of Crazy — GOPLifer […]

  2. Rob Ambrose says:

    Looks like Exxon is lobbying for a carbon tax in Washington. Now why, oh why, would the largest oil company in the world be LOBBYING for a tax on its major product? Sounds odd. Unless, of course, they understand the systemic risk to society overall and thus, their business (as well as every business) risk by climate change.

    Unless, of course, one wants to think that Exxon is simply kowtowing to PC culture. And if you believe that, I’ve got a bridge in New York I want to sell ya (might not be there for long tho 😉 )

    In all seriousness, I wonder where this leaves the many politicians and regular ppl duped by this? The oil companies have been bankrolling the “research” and propoaganda which has provided moral and intellectual cover for CC deniers. If THEY bail out, where does that leave all those ppl in the lurch? Are they too far in to turn back?

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      Shot, meant to post this in the current thread

    • Titanium Dragon says:

      A much more plausible reason for it:

      A carbon tax is a tax not just on them, but on any potential competitors.

      If Exxon feels that they can deal with the tax better than their competitors can, or that it would help choke out competition, then increasing taxes on themselves makes sense.

      Putting a greater regulatory burden on your industry is a common way of discouraging competition.

      • 1mime says:

        TD, That’s a valid possibility. I have wondered as well but chalked it up to a PR effort to counter the damage from lying about their climate warming research. Frankly, this is what needs to happen regardless which company/entity leads the way. The other majors are equally diversified but they haven’t stepped up. Exxon stands out. Isn’t it possible that they are also trying to appear more responsible in the face of the lawsuits they’re defending?

  3. Pseudoperson Randomian says:

    Okay then. 😦

    Also read the comments on that article.

  4. Ryan Ashfyre says:

    Getting off politics for a moment, CRISPR, the world’s latest and perhaps more successful genetic remodeling tool, is ready to start taking on heart disease and, potentially, eliminate diseases from the face of humankind altogether.

    This is an amazing accomplishment, one that, hopefully, we can all look back on years from now as one of the key turning points in our fight against disease, but it’s also terrifying in a way. When one thinks about genetic engineering a human, one of the first things that comes to mind are what people call “designer babies”, which references the idea of making a baby, more or less, however you want. Want a kid with blue eyes and blonde hair? No problem. Want one more apt to athletics and music? You got it. On and on it goes.

    Now, in all fairness, those involved with CRISPR readily acknowledge these potentials and speak out strongly against them, but someday the technology’s going to be there and, inevitably, there will be some who will campaign and actively demand for this kind of god-like power. And if a person with enough influence, money and power were to skirt moral reasoning and obligations, do we begin descending down a very dark road?

    And what kind of enforceable regulations should we enact to see that we don’t ever get there?

    • 1mime says:

      We could hardly deal with the question of a free and open internet, and you want to make rules for genetics? Let us hope that we have scientists, not politicians making the recommendations. As for the rich abusing the system…what’s new? It’s a fascinating possibility and you are commended for thinking ahead. While we’re at it, maybe we could tackle global warming or it won’t matter what color hair and eyes we have……

    • antimule says:

      If The rich try to to make themselves superior using CRISPR, the thing is that genetic is fundamentally digital. I can see someone bootlegging it very fast. Pirate Bay for genes.

      • 1mime says:

        BTW antimule, if you are interested in how legal decisions are reached in the U.S., I highly recommend It’s a fine compendium of thought, opinions, calendar, etc. Check it out.

    • Pseudoperson Randomian says:

      Good, as a transhumanist, this is exciting.

      Now to keep the patent trolls away, and make everything open source – we can’t have people patenting desirable body parts.

      Also, when talking about designer babies, why on earth does no one talk about big boobs and big penises? Isn’t this like the first thing people are going to try and do? 😀

      • antimule says:

        I think women care more about the height, so we might see more really tall people (I am 196 cm). Which might end up bad if we get to an arms race in height until everyone is a giant.

      • Pseudoperson Randomian says:

        That is true – it’s not an uncommon thing for women to look for. I wonder why those traits were chosen though.

        do suppose some people will try to modify instinctive fertility and fitness indicators so that traits such as intelligence are more attractive – and I also suppose this kind of tinkering with “love” will terrify a lot of people…

      • Pseudoperson Randomian says:

        But I also suppose this kind of fine tuning is a long way off.

        I’m also very interested if people will try and edit out or maybe reinforce stuff that leads to tribal identity – and I wonder what effects something like that on cooperative instinct. Is our instinct to cooperate tied to our instinct to identify with “our” tribe? Will removing tribal identity – the same stuff that leads to xenophobia, institutional discrimination and corrupt political backscratching – also mess up the drive to cooperate and build – the same stuff that has led to human civilization as we know it?

        Gene editing is fascinating, and shows immense promise of reaching that prosperous, peaceful and plentiful world of tomorrow – but simultaneously is incredibly terrifying and dangerous.

        Still, the edits I just talked about are a really really long way off. Still, the process we’re going to use to deal with the laws around this is important – and in this case, I don’t trust the Democratic method at all. The whims of public option will deal very poorly with the powerful choices that will be opened up technologies such as this….

      • 1mime says:

        Let the scientists and the FDA/NIH (or whatever entity like them exist at this time) develop the rules. Politicians can’t be trusted with this stuff.

    • flypusher says:

      I don’t doubt that if designer babies become possible, it will happen. The biggest roadblock right know is that we don’t yet precisely know where and how to edit to make a child a better athlete, musician, etc. But we will eventually figure these things out, and scientific knowledge is public. I would expect laws to be passed and scientists/MDs to adopt their own rules about which edits are allowed (like correcting sickle cell anemia and type I diabetes) and which ones are right out. But if there’s enough money and desire for a designer baby, someday someone will try it.

    • Stephen says:

      When I was about 16 years old I asked my Parish Priest (Catholic) if it would be morally correct to at least fix genetic defects in humans when the Technology was developed. His opinion was yes but not artificial evolution. That is when he gave me the nickname Thomas Aquinas. The surprise to me is that it has took so long to develop this technology. We have as a species always had to confront tough philosophical questions.

  5. formdib says:

    Un-fucking-real. Complete with a website featuring the White House covered in Confederate flags and everything.

    “the ‘Leave It to Beaver,’ ‘Ozzie and Harriet,’ ‘Mayberry’ America of old was vastly superior to what we are experiencing today.”

    This too is surreal, being that in media studies, ‘Leave It To Beaver’ is the most common example of how media representation can shape a false perception, even if that perception is built out of benevolent intentions. “Leave It To Beaver” was pleasant BECAUSE America at the time wasn’t; it showcased a lifestyle people aspired to BECAUSE they didn’t necessarily have it.

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      White supremacists weren’t kidding when they said Trump’s ascendancy made them feel more comfortable about being out and in the open. Time to slam this lid shut loud and clear in November.

    • 1mime says:

      Keep noticing which side of the aisle these nut jobs are coming from………it ain’t from the left….

      • Sir Magpie De Crow says:

        One of the chief leaders of this event or kkk/neo-nazi/white supremacist mega pride parade in California is Matthew Heinbach. A leader of the Traditional Workers Party whose slogan is “Seperation not Mongrelization”.

        Cute, huh?

        So far his efforts have helped produced 7 stabbing casualities (and counting), and a buttload of bloody press coverage.

        Background on Matthew Heinbach:

        Matthew Heinback is a graduate of Townson University in Baltimore. Which I imagine is a spectacular place to live openly as a white supremacist.

        He even went to South Carolina to express his beliefs… after the church massacre by Dylan Roof. He naturally called Dylan Roof a victim and said his pathway into white supremacy was his love of the history of the Confederacy, like Dylan’s.


        This fearless leader was not present to help his white supremacist brothers against the overwhelming number of ethnically diverse counter protesters in California.

        Safety first!

        Even the venerable Southern Poverty Law Center has called him the face of a new generation of white nationalists…

        Now for the Trump connection:

        Matthew is also seen at a 2015 Trump rally shoving and yelling expletives into the face of a relatively peaceful protester… a young black woman while wearing the trademark Donald Trump baseball cap “Make America Great Again”. The go-to fashion statement for white nationalists this political season.

        The video of that vile spectacle is available at this link.

        I have a message for Paul Ryan and all the other sorta-supporters of Trump in the GOP… this is a taste of things to come, especially as the date for the party convention in Cleveland approaches.

        Paul and the half hearted Trumpettes may think they did not order this total sh*tsandwich election but they need to accept to eat every bite and also expect more than a little heartburn from the experience in the years to come.

        The chicken will come home to roost, you have opened Pandora’s Box, one cannot escape karma… yadda, yadda, yadda.

        Do these delusional Trump optimists really want those fine blue collar supporters of Trump (like the switch blade weilding biker fascists of the Traditional Worker’s Party)?

        Well you got’em.
        Bon Appetit c***suckers.

      • 1mime says:

        Well done, Sir Magpie.

      • flypusher says:

        It’s time for the press to step up and do its duty for our republic. They need to be as relentless as the Furies of Greek mythology and go after these weasels like Ryan and Rubio and McConnell who think we are stupid enough to buy their total bullshit about how they can endorse the short-fingered, thin-skinned vulgarian for President, but they don’t own any of the racist garbage he spews. Here’s McConnell trying to play that game:

        Every day, the press needs to hound them for their hypocrisy. Do not let up on them. Anytime these people who put short term gain for party above country are in a public space, demand answers. No not accept anything other than a rescinding of the endorsement, or a full ownership of everything he says.

      • 1mime says:

        Conservatives are throwing everything but the kitchen sink at Hillary….and Trump is questioning “her” faith? Really? And calling her an “enabler” for Willy? I want American media to interview like the Brits – hard, relentless, pointed. The media reminds of me of Obama during his first year in the presidency when he believed he could make friends with the Republicans. The media’s job is not to be friends with any politician, it is to hold them accountable.

      • Sir Magpie De Crow says:

        I have thought about the minority outreach and economic agenda Paul Ryan has sought to pursue in realtion to struggling urban communities. He calls it “A Better Way”. My conclusion is that this hypothetical legislative agenda is the political equivilant of a scheduled abortion.

        Yeah, I said that.

        Not to beat a dead horse here, but his idea that a “President Trump” can somehow be a vehicle for his “altruistic” designs has made me realize just how far gone and insulated from reality he has truly become.

        Vain, futile and self-masterbatory are the only terms I can ascribe such an effort. “Trickle Down 2.0” or “Operation Tame The Negroes” or perhaps “Contract on the American Takers” might be more appropriate names than his rather opaque and unimaginative “Better Way”.

        But my harsh terminology still seems pale in comparison to the words people in those communities would use.

        Even by the many examples of aloofness found in wonkish/technocratic politicians like him, he currently stands as a singular marvel in today’s conservative political landscape.

        In other words, someone really needs to wake Paul Ryan the f*** up.

        I don’t know how many people here know this about Chris Ladd, but he has contributed content in the past to an interesting site called “HipHopRepublican”.

        That site is how I intially found out about him and his work, so as fate would have it I recently encountered a young, creative musical artist who reminded me of that part of Chris’s legacy.

        This artist happens to be politically engaged more than alot of youth his age. I found him genuinely interesting because despite our age disparity we seemed to be on a similar wavelength in regard to our opinions of this election.

        If Paul Ryan and his ilk were genuinely interested in how young minorities in the cities view the GOP and its current nominee… maybe, just maybe they should watch his music video…

        Because the Speaker of The House needs to seriously adjust his talking points (and perception of reality) if he wants to connect with such a unjustly marginalized demographic.

    • Stephen says:

      In the early sixties when I was about 8 years old I remember that our neighbour three houses down one night had someone walk in her house, the front door was unlocked went pass her 18 year old son sleeping on her living room couch to her bed room, and knocked the heck out of her with a baseball bat stealing her purse. People were fearful of crime for good reason. The homes were much smaller than today’s homes and the everyday life was pretty gritty for working class whites like us. Little security and most jobs were hard manual labour. This was in Jacksonville Florida. But the homes blacks lived in separated by a large fence between our neighbourhoods were shacks. This was the real life style of working class whites and blacks. This is what reality was, not the Leave it to Beaver fantasy. I do not want to go back to that time any more than my Black buddies do. We can do far better than this.

  6. Rob Ambrose says:

    This Dem platform is starting to take a serious Progressive edge to it, and unabashedly so.

    It’s refreshing to see ppl witb progresaive and liberal values stop being afraid of the dreaded “L” word.

    Everywhere I look, I see movement conservativism fading in its political power and social acceptance, and that’s a great thing for America.

    Frankly, even though it seems like society is coming apart at the seams, I’ve never been more optimistic about the future then I do now. I see it as the inevitable desperate gasp of conservatism, and all the moral failings theyve come to embody.

      • 1mime says:

        Spine. Democrats needed to find one. What I want to happen is to force these social issues out into the open like never before. I want conservatives to have to explain to their daughters why they oppose contraception, and all the other crapola surrounding women’s rights – equal pay for equal work; paid maternity leave; seats on corporate boards; advancement. Then I want to hear an open discussion on reasonable gun laws, and so many other areas whose content has been controlled by conservatives and spun to their constituents. Mostly, I want average people to be independent thinkers and actors.

    • antimule says:

      I am not so optimistic. Although I agree with reproductive rights and it is good it is in the platform, there is scant evidence (that I see) that they are standing up to corporate interests at all. In fact, now that Democrats are seen as default choice for sane people, what is to prevent them from using social issues as a smokescreen to pass maximally corporate-friendly policies? (Like the right was doing with evangelicals for ages?)

      Hilary is infinitely better than Trump (or from anyone currently on the right) but that doesn’t make her *good*.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        “there is scant evidence (that I see) that they are standing up to corporate interests at all.”

        Disagree. I think that’s exactly what the gun control sit in was. Not on the surface (on the surface it was, obviously, about guns). But I think there’s a large component of that baked in.

        Of all the issues across all the debates in America, If you had to pick just one poster child for “corporate patronage” over the will of The People, it would probably be the NRA.

        Now, is it possible they could win this battle and stop at just guj control? Of course. But I also think there’s a really good chance that if you fight (and win) against the #1 corrupt lobby in America (at least, by perception) there’s a good chance that momentum could spiral over into more explicit legislation designed to attack money in politics.

      • 1mime says:

        Another very real tool would be to achieve greater balance in the courts where case law can establish corporate boundaries. I’m not asking for liberals to dominate, but for reason and fairness to prevail. Don’t pervert case law; don’t legislate from the bench. From SCOTUS on down, what Republicans have been unable to successfully legislate, they have used the courts to accomplish. This is wrong.

      • 1mime says:

        What would make Hillary “good” in your view, antimule?

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      I understand where you’re coming from (part of me can’t help but relish the sight of Republicans coming apart at the seams), but it’s important to remember that liberalism needs a strong, coherent conservatism to keep itself balanced and from going out of control. While Democrats kept an almost ironclad lock on the Congress from FDR’s time, they eventually started running out of ideas and that vacuum is, in part, what gave an opening to the likes of Nixon and Reagan.

      Think of a time in the not so distant future in which reinvigorated Republicans start proposing ideas like a UBI and minority voters that have been voting so staunchly Democratic start giving them a serious look? What would Democrats have to offer by contrast? Frankly, I don’t think there is anything that could equal it; the only solution being for Democrats to get out ahead of their own otherwise inevitable political defeat and propose and pass it on their own.

  7. Rob Ambrose says:

    I am optimistic when I see things like this that the scourge of conservative extremism that has dominated the GOP since Reagan is dying.

    The past four KS guvs (two Dems and two GOP) all joined together to excoriate Brownback and save Kansas.

    That’s significant.

    • 1mime says:

      Wow. That is a big deal. Maybe the former GA, MS and AL governors can get together to deal with their govs. Gov. Edwards (John Bel), Democrat, is trying his best to put the pieces back together again in LA following Jindal. He was a disaster but thankfully, he’s not in the state capitol anymore.

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      Also something to keep an eye on is that Democrats are running candidates in every Kansas state Senate race. We’ll see whether Brownback has run his state far enough into the ground for the voters to say enough.

      • 1mime says:

        Why isn’t there an impeachment process underway?

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        Even if there were, Brownback’s supporters are too many in the state House and Senate. They would never get anywhere close to the numbers they needed to oust him.

      • 1mime says:

        One has to wonder how Brownback’s supporters can look at themselves in the mirror….sorry, they know what’s happening and are doing nothing to hold Brownback accountable. What that says to me is that they are benefiting and those who aren’t, aren’t voting in sufficient numbers. What will it take? As Fly said eons ago, if the people of KS return BB as governor, they deserve what they get……some more than others, obviously.

  8. 1mime says:

    Looking ahead, The Hill prepares us for the closing of the current SCOTUS term tomorrow. There are 3 rulings expected. Big ones. The Hill article does a pretty fair job of explaining the difficult situation the current SC is operating under – which not only impacts this session’s rulings but weighs on the cases they have accepted for the next session. Eight is the new Nine; orange is the new black…..and the nation’s business be damned!

    • antimule says:

      I am not American. What is a procedure for revisiting all those rulings when/if Hilary wins and appoints additional liberal judge? If that is easy to do, then those rulings don’t really matter so much now, do they?

      • 1mime says:

        I’m not an attorney, but I imagine that it depends upon the ruling. If it is remanded back to the originating appellate court as a result of a tied vote, refused, narrowly interpreted, all sorts of possibilities here…..One of the legal eagles here will need to help you there. First, though, there is no guarantee that Clinton will be elected, nor, that the Senate (which is necessary to approve her recommendations) will lose its Republican majority, nor, that there will be sufficient votes in Senate to approve nominee. Lots of “ifs” at this juncture politically.

        I do not think it is easy to reverse a SC decision, but again, someone with legal experience is better able to definitively answer that very good question.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        If it’s a tie, the ruling reverts to the lower court decision, but is not considered “settled law” and as such can be revisted as easily as it was brought up in the first place.

        And my guess is, a full SCOTUS would revisit many of these issues. They were brought up for a reason, and generally those reasons are still in effect. Basically, the SCOTUS may consider many of these tie decisions as “unfinished business”

      • 1mime says:

        Yes, I knew that but other decision that didn’t tie but did reflect the former 5/4 conservative majority are going to be much more difficult. Also, the court is evidently limiting the number of cases it will consider – that may be a worse problem especially if, as the article suggested, they punt on cases that they can see would result in more 4/4 decisions. Roberts’ legacy is in the toilet.

  9. Rob Ambrose says:

    Back to Brexit, it’s becoming more and more clear that the two main reasons that motivated the leave side are not really valid.

    1. The £300 million per week scam that Farage promised would go to the NHS (Brits single payer health care, so no “Big Gub’mint” motivators here, as many American conservatives want to think). Farage admitted as much on Friday, in an uncomfortable moment for him where he just said, flatly, it’s not going to happen. No reason or excuse. Just that “that should have never been put out there, that isnt true”.


    2. Ability to restrict migrants. To be clear, this IS possible. The caveat of course, that the leave side was never told, is that if the UK controls it’s own borders, it cannot access the common market that is the lifeblood to its economy.

    So yes, of course Brits are allowed tobset their own immigration policy now. But that should have never been the claim. It should have been ” we can set our own immigration policy but WE WILL NOT enjoy the same access to the common market as we do now”. That likely would have changed everything. Most of the leave voters were told they could have it both ways: they could control their own borders AND continue to sell to the EU as they were.

    I’m a firm believer in the right of a people to choose their own destiny. But any vote that requires lies and obfuscations to get one side to pass is not in any real sense “the will of the people”

    This is a disaster for the UK, but may just be a lifeline for the rest of the Western world, too eager and willing to believe comfortable lies that confirm their existing opinions. Maybe the UK can be the canary in the coal mine about the danger of the low finfornation viter combined with social/economic anxiety. Trump isn’t smart enough to know yet that his support for Brexit will become an anchor around his neck in the next few weeks. But he will soon enough.

    On a related (and optimistic note) the new WaPo poll has Trump down 12 points nationally, and is also showing a strong move from Sanders supporters to HRC

    • 1mime says:

      The saddest part of the immigration backlash is that these people would prefer to return to their native country if Assad were turned out. The world powers have been unable or unwilling to restore Syria to safety and now it is so devastated that nothing short of a major investment will be able to resurrect the country’s infrastructure. The best and brightest who left may not come back. The rest of the population has no one to help them. This is why they flee and this is the shame of our world that these people have no where to go where they are wanted. Country after country are closing borders…and, they have a legitimate reason – they cannot manage the level of need these exiles present. It’s a humanitarian crisis. Libya is another source of migration.

      • antimule says:

        Destabilizing middle east turned out to be a terrible for everyone. Bush had no idea what he was doing, was he?

      • 1mime says:

        One might say that, but the fact that the war was so misrepresented as to justification, and the Bush advisors were focused on waging war. I don’t think anyone advising him was thinking about destabilization…..Many historians believe that the decision to abandon the elite palace troops was the beginning of the organization of the jihadist movement resulting in ISIL. The war was ill advised and poorly executed with no end plan ready. IOW, a master F**up.

    • 1mime says:

      Here’s a comprehensive survey of 17 leading economists, historians and foreign policy experts on the consequences of BREXIT in 5 months and 5 years. Lots to digest there.

    • 1mime says:

      Here’s an interesting BREXIT article from The Economist. What happens in a monarch/parliamentary form of government when people resign? Lots of people, it turns out.

  10. 1mime says:

    Ahem, not to “change the subject”, but, let’s (-;

    Before the infamous Democratic “sit in” fades from your memories, I’d encourage you to think about why it was important. I noted at the time that even though it was disruptive, broke rules, and was obviously a partisan issue (sadly) – I was happy to see it. Why? Because for too long Democrats have been too quiet, submissive, and lacked passion to back up their beliefs. Or, at least, they failed to display them. With their decision to: walk out of the House chamber during the bogus “moment of silence” for the Orlando victims, and, second, follow up with their “sit in” to capture public attention to the dismissal of their simple request to hold votes on two amendments – “hold votes” – for which their minority status in the House gives them no procedural avenue – the Democrats have accomplished something big. They have learned and demonstrated that they CAN speak out and they WILL achieve more by active, public action than by passive acceptance.

    Regardless where one stands on the gun issue, it is absolute chicken shit to deny a vote to the minority party on issues that matter so much to them and, frankly, the American public. It was certain to fail, but what it would have done was to put people “on the record”. Frankly, that is their job.

    This article from The Hill taps into the pulse of the politics behind the vote issue(it does its job to keep daily topics before us – an Atlantic it’s not, but it is not a crap information source, IMO).
    I think the Democratic Party is finding its “MOJO” and just in time. See what you think.

    “Sometimes, you’ve got to get in the way,” Representative John Lewis. Indeed.
    Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), one of the handful of Democrats who launched the sit-in Wednesday morning, said the protest brought the caucus together in a way he’s never seen.

    “The group came to the floor and really spoke from their hearts about gun violence and what it meant in their own personal lives, in their communities, in a way that I think taught us a lot about each other,” Cicilline said.

    It’s about damn time that there was some public honesty in the halls of Congress.

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      “Decorum” be damned, anytime ANY party finally says “enough” on an issue that isnt even taken upnfor a vote, that has the support of 90% of the population, I just consider that Democracy working as it should.

      • 1mime says:

        AMEN! Let the light of day shine forth……

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        This really is a losing issue for the GOP. Nobody is holding a sit in to force the bill to PASS. That would be undemocratic under any circumstances. But to not even hold a VOTE on an issue that 90% of the population supports? That’s as undeomcratix as you can get.

        And, frankly, most of us realize the reason they won’t even hold a vote on the issue is because they KNOW it’s so popular, and they don’t want to have to choose on the record between their constituents and their special interest masters.

      • 1mime says:

        Yep, and to be clear, I understand all the reasons the Dems fought so hard to get a vote – while knowing full well it had a minuscule chance of passage. They wanted members of the House to have to make a public commitment. They want to use this vote as a campaign issue in November. This is entirely legitimate and worthy. Those who stand against gun violence legislation could exercise their right and responsibility to state so. But, they also have to shoulder the consequences when, as you noted Rob, the vast majority of America supports common sense gun legislation.

  11. flypusher says:

    So it looks like voters in Cornwall are just as ignorant as voters in Kentucky:

    Elections have consequences you dumbasses.

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      They have no leverage and not even a real moral nor practical standing by which to continue asking for funds. Best of luck with that, Cornwall, you dumb f***s.

    • 1mime says:

      Paying attention American voters?

      • lomamonster says:

        Sadly, the UK populace is asking, “What’s the EU?” Some Americans might be asking, “What’s all that abbreviation about?” Idiocy reigns when you least expect it!

    • formdib says:

      ” as voters in Kentucky: ”

      What’s going on in Kentucky?

      • flypusher says:

        “To be honest with you, a lot of folks in Owsley County went to the polls and voted against gay marriage and abortion, and as a result, I’m afraid they voted away their health insurance,” Turner said. “Which was their right to do, I guess. But it’s sad. Many people here signed up with Kynect, and it’s helped them, it’s been an absolute blessing.”

        And of course the nice big ignorant cherry on the top of the stupid sundae is the fact that there is nothing a state Governor can do to overturn a SCOTUS ruling.

        We’ve had the debate over whether certain groups of people are voting in their self interests on this blog many times. There is the counter claim that you may not understand what other people’s best interests are. But I wonder if at times they don’t know either.

      • formdib says:

        “”I’m just a die-hard Republican,” she said.”

        Well then she may very well die, and it’s probably going to be hard on her. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

      • 1mime says:

        A large percentage of KY have benefited from their state version of the ACA….which the current GOP governor campaigned that he would eliminate, there was a quality Dem opponent, GOP Guv elected, healthcare program savaged. Now people there are upset about that when the man clearly said he would eliminate it……

        There may be another issue as well but this is the one that comes to my mind.

    • formdib says:

      I fully expect something like this to happen in the US in my lifetime, if not soon.

      One day somebody from Smalltown Everyday America (R)(TM)(C) is going to ask, “Wait, where’s my check?” and when explained the situation, will say, “What?! I wanted them to end welfare, not my disability!”

      • goplifer says:

        Fight Socialism! Hands off my Medicare!

      • 1mime says:

        It’s already happening, formdib. REad the details of Ryan’s plan on entitlement reform. The details he is providing, that is. All of his plans that have been released are so lacking in specifics that the CBO can’t even score them. Accidental? No way.

      • flypusher says:

        One of our problems is that too many people have this over-romanticized, idealistic, and completely unrealistic notion of rugged individualism, I suspect.

      • 1mime says:

        I agree,Fly. It’s important to recognize both the strengths and weaknesses of our government structure and those who run it – whether they are elected or hired to help make the system run. Unchecked cynicism and lack of appreciation for the good our government does is destructive. Don’t like it? Think there’s more bad than good? Move. Find a better place. We are all guilty of criticism, I, as well – but each of us should endeavor to look as objectively as possible at not only how our government works, but what we are contributing. As Lifer said, lambast the ACA, but “hell no to touching my Medicare”! Such cherry picking is of no value other than to pump one’s ego. Try thinking instead.

      • 1mime says:

        The old “saw” applies, Formdib: “Don’t tax me; don’t tax you; tax the man behind the tree!”

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Formndlib, it would be hilarious if it didn’t have such bad real world implications for the people who need the most help.

        It’s the same idiotic mindset that had Kentuckians hating Obamacare, but liking Kynect (the name for Obamacare in KY).

        When they voted for Bevin who campaigned ON ENDING O’CARE (I.e. Kynect) and then found out they’re getting rid of Kynect, they were pissed.

  12. Griffin says:

    Thought you would like this piece Lifer. Ezra Klein is also talking about the breakdown of our political norms, but doesn’t go into much detail.

    “On some level, we’re all good Bayesians: We’re skeptical of data that baldly contradicts how we know the world to work. But in politics right now, the world isn’t working the way we think it does. Polling is proving a much more reliable guide to political outcomes than the “does-this-seem-insane?” test most people use to guide their predictions.”

    • 1mime says:

      Which polls are considered the most reliable?

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        I don’t think it matters Mime. The polls clearly showed a Brexit vote. This was clearly impossible (at least until Thursday night). I think the authornis saying, polls (as long as they are done scientifically) are a much better predictor then what we “feel” to be right or wrong.

      • 1mime says:

        Sorry, I wasn’t specific. I am interested in what the group thinks are the most reliable political polls in the U.S.

      • formdib says:

        FiveThirtyEight has a pollster ratings page if you think that’ll be helpful:

        I believe this only focuses on American polls though. Would be a good idea to read about their process of assigning ratings just so that you know the difference between an A- rating with a steep bias and a A- rating without a steep bias.

      • 1mime says:

        Thanks, formdib. I’ll check it out. I really don’t pay much attention to polls this far out, but as others have stated, “trends” matter. One thing I have learned from reading polls is to always look in the detail to see exactly what the questions were (slanted or not) and what the polling sample consisted of….by political affiliation, race, gender, age. Sometimes that’s enough to diss the entire poll.

  13. Griffin says:

    I don’t know if most of you guys care about this stuff but at least 1,600 people on Donald Trump’s subreddit upvoted a harcore anti-Semitic, white supremacist, holocaust denying meme.

    What makes this weird/scary is that most of the people on that subreddit are not older, poor, rural Southerners but are more like me, spoiled middle-classish younger white guys who live in urban areas and have a decent education. I imagine most have dysfunctional personalities but it’s still odd so many nihilistic crazies exist where they are already pretty well-off. It may suggest wealth and education are not most of what is needed to act as a barrier against the “Politics of Crazy” as I would have thought before (even if those things help immensely).

    • tuttabellamia says:

      This reminds me of the young, white, male video game nerds who viciously harrass women in the gaming community, both online and off, revealing their personal information, and the mob frenzies that ensue. Talk about a war on women.

      • Pseudoperson Randomian says:

        “That reminds me of young brown Muslim immigrants who viciously harass women”

        @tutta: There is literally no functional difference between what you said, and my statement above. So, yes, I’m offended – not that I particularly care, but I’m one of many who simply refuse to identify as feminist, or associate with feminists even though there really isn’t much difference when it comes to actual policy positions.

        There are nutty misogynists everywhere but some power hungry “feminists” decided to go make it apply to very broad groups like “video game nerds” and “white people”. Also, where the fuck did this become racist too? Do you honestly think black/brown/whatever people can’t be misogynist?

        So, yeah. Thank you for ruining feminism and making me think twice before supporting any “feminist” cause.

      • antimule says:

        Seconding everything that Pseudoperson Randomian said. I am young, white, male video game nerd. No, I don’t harass women. What you heard about video games being sexist is largely (althouh admittedly not entirely) propaganda. Because some power brokers in nuttier parts of feminism need a scapegoat. If 4chan proves that all video game nerds are sexist, then ISIS proves all Muslims are rapists.

      • Griffin says:

        The Alt-Right guys are a definite minority of “young, white, male video game nerds”, (I suppose that would include me) they just happen to be very noisy and very, um, “active” in the online community. You’re confusing the inverse. Most Alt-right crazies fall under that category but most people in that category are not Alt-Right crazies.

        I was just pointing out how weird it is that there are still so many (though still a definite minority by percentage) in that demographic who are willing to burn everything to the ground and install a psychopathic government in its place considering many of them are already fairly well off and don’t have as much reason to be as radical or nihilistic as, say, someone who grew up in abject poverty in a war-torn country.

      • 1mime says:

        Maybe the young men you are describing are simply unappreciative and lack empathy and humility. Don’t worry – as they mature, there will be plenty of life challenges to teach them how important these traits are. Part of being young is thinking you have all of the answers and that all things are possible. That is both a good thing and a bad thing, but, happily, most grow out of it. The ones who don’t become Donald Trumps.

      • Pseudoperson Randomian says:

        @1mime, uh, no. This is the left’s version of generalization and double standards.

        Those terrorists and the islamists? They’re the “alt-right” of the Muslim community.
        Those young white harassers? They’re the “alt-right” we’re familiar with.

        Only difference is, the modern right will happily use generalizations of the nature “Brown Muslim immigrants suck” and the modern left will happily use generalizations of the nature “White video game nerds suck”.

        It’s stupid tribal nature. Both the left and the right have their protected classes which they’ll protect against all odds, ignoring and suppressing any possible negative news regarding their protected classes. It’s hard to read salon, jezebel and the like on the left and stuff like breitbart on the right and not see this happen.

        “Politics is an extension of war by other means. Arguments are soldiers. Once you know which side you’re on, you must support all arguments of that side, and attack all arguments that appear to favor the enemy side; otherwise it’s like stabbing your soldiers in the back—providing aid and comfort to the enemy.”

        Yup. That about explains it.

      • 1mime says:

        This sounds pretty convoluted to me. Frankly, it seems to be making “a mountain out of a mole hill”…..Leave these gamers be.

      • Houston-Stay-At-Homer says:

        Pseudo…(and Anti to some extent)

        “Thank you for ruining feminism and making me think twice before supporting any “feminist” cause.”

        Yeah, get your fee-fees hurt and someone ruins feminism for you? Get a grip man.

        Not going to support equal pay because someone said something bad about gamers? Oh please.

        “Hey, you know, I was going to support abortion rights, but you know, someone said gamers were misogynistic, so I just can’t support that any longer.”

        Clearly, women’s issues are so very important to you.

        To suggest you are not going to stumble into some pretty dark misogyny pretty quickly in the gaming world is naive at best and willfully ignoring it at worst.

        This is akin to conservatives screaming about “the real racists are the ones that talk about racism”.

        I might also suggest that if you want folks to engage with your side of this issue, you might want to tone down the, “this is just like racism/sexism/bigotry” comparisons.

        When you need to march in the streets, get beat up, or get killed to vote, eat in a restaurant, or marry the person you love, feel free to make those comparisons. Until then, everyone is just going to eye-roll so hard that we have to go back and pick them up off the floor.

        Get a freaking grip.

      • antimule says:

        >Not going to support equal pay because someone said something bad about gamers? Oh please.

        I DO support equal pay. I just don’t feel like identifying like feminist while doing that. My understanding is that Pseudo does, too.

        >“Hey, you know, I was going to support abortion rights, but you know, someone said gamers were misogynistic, so I just can’t support that any longer.”

        >Clearly, women’s issues are so very important to you.

        Well, I am afraid that this is something of a straw man. Because my support of Abortion hasn’t wavered at all.

        The difference is that now when I hear about some new cause I wonder to what extent is it real and to what extend is it some activist cooking the numbers to make it look worse. But being skeptical of causes and activists is nothing new. Activists exist to make everything look as bad as possible so you’ll give money.

        >To suggest you are not going to stumble into some pretty dark misogyny pretty quickly in the gaming world is naive at best and willfully ignoring it at worst.

        4Chan has been anti-women, anti-religious, anti-atheist, ant-everything from the dawning of time. And there is no proof that they are really any worse than, say, football fans. What is new is that some enterprising activists have recently decided to take a big spoon and stir that pot, so they can buttress their wider (and largely batty) agenda.


        “To suggest you are not going to stumble into some pretty dark misogyny pretty quickly in the ISLAMIC world is naive at best and willfully ignoring it at worst.”

      • Houston-Stay-At-Homer says:

        Anti –


        “To suggest you are not going to stumble into some pretty dark misogyny pretty quickly in the ISLAMIC world is naive at best and willfully ignoring it at worst.”

        Well no fucking shit. Are you sure this is what you want to compare gamers to?

        Not poorly put: “Someone saying mean things about a thing you like is not an assault on your liberties. Nobody is about to haul you off to the Misandrist Re-Education Camps because they caught you playing Assassin’s Creed.”

        So, football fans are misogynistic, so it is OK the gamers are too? While this may be true, gamers tend to be more willing to post their rape threats online.

        Unbunch your panties and realize we have political leaders (in Congress and running for President) in this country calling for a ban on Muslim immigrants and calling for increased “monitoring” of Muslim citizens.

        Millions of gay folks just were allowed to get married this freaking year.

        Your feelings got hurt.

        If you want to make your case about the unfair allegations of misogyny in gaming, you are doing a piss poor job of it.

      • Pseudoperson Randomian says:


        Abortion rights? Gay equality? No problemo. I’ve got no qualms with any of that – and feminists being utter assholes doesn’t change my positions.

        But pardon me if I couldn’t care less about the feminist movement or want to associate with it when it goes out its way to make some groups feel unwelcome. Feelings got hurt? Congratulations on proving my point and coming full circle and using right wing talking points when people complain that parts of the right are racist and/or sexist or whatever.

        This is the same thing that causes someone like lifer to quit the GOP. You can happily agree with the mercantilism, free markets, trade and wealth and prosperity that the GOP stood for, and the fact that some of the GOP are utter assholes doesn’t change your positions on those issues, but when some GOPers are complete assholes and make some groups feel completely unwelcome, you sure as hell would think twice about associating with them. “Feminists” are no different.

        It’s just another tribe.

      • Houston-Stay-At-Homer says:

        Pseudo and Anti –

        Doubling down on a previous double down rarely works.

        But first, I might point out that Tutt is way, way, way away from being part of “the left”.

        She may not like Trump, but that is probably the extent to which her politics overlap with “the left”.

        To your point about “feminists” are making the left like the GOP, I would nicely point out that the assholes in the GOP were and are actively trying to roll back rights of gay people, block access to abortion services, trying to make life so difficult in the US that immigrants “self deport”, and continually looked for real and imagined reasons to bomb folks in the Middle East.

        There are assholes on “the left”, and plenty of those assholes may also be feminists, but the next time one of those assholes blocks your constitutional rights, requires a ultrasound wand up your ass to take your blood pressure, or drops a bomb on your house will be the first time one on those things happen.

        An asshole who says mean things to you is not an infringement on your life and civil liberties.

        If you don’t want to join their party, don’t join their party, but if these assholes can make you take your ball and go home, you are going to struggle to find a political movement that you can support on the right, left, or in the middle.

      • Pseudoperson Randomian says:


        You know what?

        “Unbunch your panties and realize we have political leaders (in Congress and running for President) in this country calling for a ban on Muslim immigrants and calling for increased “monitoring” of Muslim citizens.”

        This is the patronizing bullshit that makes people hate the left. Yeah – that’s fucked up, but sure, ignore/suppress the crazy in the agendas that the blue pushes, just because the red lizards are so much worse. And demand loyalty to the cause along the way too – and ridicule any deviance from the orthodoxy as “fee-fees that got hurt”?

        I totally understand why some people are sick of the “PC” culture – it’s because of associations with this nonsense. It’s also part of the answer to those wondering why >60% of white males vote for the right. Not all of them are sexist/misogynist/Islamophobic/homophobic or whatever, but some just happen to care about themselves a bit more than abstract high level issues such as Muslim immigration – and when it comes to that, the SJW crowd is constantly pushing the narrative that all white males are “privileged oppressors”, not unlike the narrative that all Muslims are “crazy death cultists”. It’s like wondering why conservative Muslims don’t vote for the right, even though they are much closer to the right on issues like gay rights and evolution.

      • Pseudoperson Randomian says:


        “An asshole who says mean things to you is not an infringement on your life and civil liberties.”

        Precisely. I’m being no different. Your problem is that I’m saying mean things. Note that I’ve already said I support abortion rights, gay rights, and I’m against police brutality, the surveillance state, and so on. Nor will you see me claim that black or hispanic people get a fair deal in our current system, nor will I claim that our justice system treats everyone equally. I’m pretty libertarian when it comes to civil liberties.

        Our disagreement here is not that I’m antithetical to liberty – it’s that I’m antithetical to some of the groups that promote liberty on those issues – on the basis that they drive and promote a narrative of scapegoating large sections of the populace – which eventually trickles down into “young, white, male video game nerds who viciously harrass women”.

      • antimule says:

        >Well no fucking shit. Are you sure this is what you want to compare gamers to?

        My wider point is that the Left tends to maximally gloss over problems in Islamic world, while emphasizing problems in white males (the Right, of course, does the inverse). White males are the only people on the Left who you are allowed to criticize freely, as everyone else is protected class to some extent. So you naturally get a distorted picture.

        Think of that cat-calling video in New York where it suddenly turned out that majority of offenders were Hispanic. Suddenly feminists stopped talking about it, because they unwittingly made a protected minority look bad. (Just to make this clear, I think that cat-calling is wrong regardless of who does it)

        The clearest illustration of the massive bias is the way a flawed study can gain enormous traction as this link explains in detail:
        At first it looked like GitHub is biased against female programmers, so the study circulated everywhere. On closer inspection, someone just did statistics completely wrong and there is virtually no bias. But it fit the narrative so it was posted everywhere. Of course, no one retracted it. Does that count as an “unfair allegation” to you?

        I think this it all ties up in the whole “politics of crazy” thing. You get various “free agents” accountable to no one, attacking acceptable targets to score clicks and points while tearing apart faith and good will of society as a whole. That happens on both sides, even if the Right is much more destructive for now.

        > So, football fans are misogynistic, so it is OK the gamers are too? While this may be true, gamers tend to be more willing to post their rape threats online.

        No I said 4chaners are misogynistic. And I don’t think that is okay. My point is that people are conflating what is basically the butthole of the internet with a much wider group. And even that butthole is no worse than some other places. And don’t think I don’t have links of SJWs threatening people.

        > If you want to make your case about the unfair allegations of misogyny in gaming, you are doing a piss poor job of it.

        I am not feeling like victim in the least. I don’t really care. I am trying to explain to you why I no longer see feminism as an unbiased movement and why I don’t implicitly trust them to do the right thing. For me, they are now just another interest group, most of the time right, sometimes very wrong. I still agree with most of their goals, though.

        One possible damage that can happen to me is that someone can use “studies” like the one above to make a hiring decision that is unfavorable to me as a male programmer. But I think that the chance of that is small.

      • Houston-Stay-At-Homer says:

        Yes, the “PC culture” is so very tough to deal with.

        I mean, I can’t joke about rape/gays/Blacks/etc. without someone getting pissed.

        What happens when a racist tells a racist joke? What happens when a sexist cat-calls and follows a women in his car? What happens when someone goes on TV and says Mexicans are rapists and Muslims are terrorists?

        Nothing freaking happens to those people. They are not hauled off to jail. They are not fined. Nothing happens to them. In fact, they often get invited back on TV to say it again.

        The “PC culture” is so far down the list of problems in this country that I’m sad for you that you are bringing it up.

      • duncancairncross says:

        I’m going to partially agree with Houston

        The “PC” culture is way way down the list of problems

        BUT – a lot of people do overreact – There is a significant backlash in the USA against the sort of thing that the rest of us (not the USA) think of as normal

        Sometimes Americans come over as real weeds – fainting at the slightest hint of a bosom or bad language

        On the other hand you guys were a bit late doing things like giving women and “non whites” the vote so maybe you should be a little more sensitive

      • Pseudoperson Randomian says:

        “The “PC culture” is so far down the list of problems in this country that I’m sad for you that you are bringing it up.”

        Why? Why does it bother you that I brought it up? Is it a bigger problem in the big scheme of things than, say, whatever Trump is up to? No. But it is a problem, all the same. I don’t care enough to vote differently because of it…yet, but I don’t see any reason why I should shut about it.

        I brought it up because of the statement “young, white, male video game nerds who viciously harrass women”. It was appropriate.

        And I will happily continue to criticize and condemn problematic groups, ideologies and narratives – even if some of the goals of those groups and ideologies are goals that I share and agree with. I don’t need to belong to a tribe and pledge my loyalty to the tribe to share its goals.

      • Griffin says:

        “It’s stupid tribal nature. Both the left and the right have their protected classes which they’ll protect against all odds, ignoring and suppressing any possible negative news regarding their protected classes. It’s hard to read salon, jezebel and the like on the left and stuff like breitbart on the right and not see this happen.”

        And by swearing off politics Less Wrong and the other transhumanists have had great success in, um, accomplishing what exactly? Standing on the sidelines and just saying how much smarter they are than everyone else?

        According to this logic all political parties should be equally as nutty. Yet anyone who can compare the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama objectively should be able to come to the obvious conclusion that some political groups are more fit than others. Saying that as of THIS election the Democrats are clearly better for the country and helping them win should be a goal is not (just) partisan tribalness, it’s a perfectly reasonable statement because by any measure they really are more capable of governing. There’s a spectrum of how partisan one is, at least a bit of which is neccessary to run a political party with specific goals. Less Wrong and other transhumanists refusing to accept any degree of it has left them totally ineffectual when it comes to public policy which has given ANTI-science crazies more power than them, which is in its own way pretty irrational.

      • 1mime says:

        So true, Griffen. Yet those who say they “can’t/won’t” vote for HRC but will vote for Trump – and think of themselves as smart people……….It’s really a matter of reaction rather than action. Ego vs doing exactly what you assert: vote for the candidate/party that even though flawed, is by far the most competent At This Time of governing responsibly.

        I can remember being in this situation when Gore and Bush competed. Let me simply say that I felt both were awful choices. I ended up voting Gore not because “he” was a good candidate, but because I felt the Democratic Party At That Time was more responsible. As it turned out, I was correct.

      • antimule says:


        I agree with you. Sides aren’t equivalent. Whatever my misgivings with some sections of feminism, Left looks a lot better for now. If I lived in america, I would vote against Trump, that is certain. Still given institutional collapse, I am not certain for how long will it all last.

      • Pseudoperson Randomian says:

        “And by swearing off politics Less Wrong and the other transhumanists have had great success in, um, accomplishing what exactly? Standing on the sidelines and just saying how much smarter they are than everyone else?”

        Whatever made you think I swore off politics? 😛 I am posting long comments on a political blog after all…

        “According to this logic all political parties should be equally as nutty.”

        If you’re a completely disinterested observer, say a highly advanced alien of some sort with some sort of variant of the prime directive – then all political parties really are equally as nutty. Same goes for culture or whatever division we have.

        But I’m not a disinterested observer. I do have interests in the whole political business – and all of those lead me to NOT vote for Trump, because the xenophobia, racism, nationalism, authoritarianism and anti-intellectualism he represents are far worse from my perspective for me, my friends and family, community, country and humanity as a whole than anything the left is doing currently.

        However, that doesn’t mean the left is perfect. There are several issues I have with today’s left – and the statement “young, white, male video game nerds who viciously harrass women” is a direct symptom of one of those issues.

        All I did was to observe that that statement was the generalization, condemnation and demonization of a very large group of people, and that it was akin to what the right does to people it doesn’t like (example – Muslims). The left might not be proposing any nastiness based on that demonization as of today, (excepting a few nutters among the SJW crowd who have bullied, harassed, doxxed and tried to get people fired, but the prevalence is miniscule enough that we can ignore that) but that does not mean that my observation is any less true.

        However, the reaction that followed the original statement followed the typical lines of political tribalism. Here, let me list them out

        1. “Yeah, get your fee-fees hurt and someone ruins feminism for you? Get a grip man.”

        We see the very same lines from the right when they attack college students in particular, but also often more generally about their opponents – or anyone who deviates from the orthodoxy. It’s a means to trivialize what original statement was.

        2. “Not going to support equal pay because someone said something bad about gamers? Oh please.
        “Hey, you know, I was going to support abortion rights, but you know, someone said gamers were misogynistic, so I just can’t support that any longer.””

        Strawman. Note that I actually said the opposite. I never claimed to have stopped supporting the goals of feminism. But unfortunately, I criticized the blue team, and hence, I was helping the enemy.

        3. “Millions of gay folks just were allowed to get married this freaking year.”

        Why does this matter? Has anyone in this discussion even brought up the topic? But it was a way of saying “the blue team is right, and it’s helping, why are you NOT 100% behind the blue team?”.

        4. “When you need to march in the streets, get beat up, or get killed to vote, eat in a restaurant, or marry the person you love, feel free to make those comparisons. Until then, everyone is just going to eye-roll so hard that we have to go back and pick them up off the floor.”

        This just says “the problems that are being fought for by the blue team are bigger and more important. Corollary: All other problems are unimportant, especially those brought forth by the other side are to be ridiculed”. Again, at no point did I say this that problems brought forth by the blue team weren’t bigger or more important. I simply pointed out that some of the tactics that are being employed by the modern feminists are awfully close to those of the right, but in reverse and that I disagree with those tactics and that I find it sad that I now think twice about IDing as one. But, unfortunately, since I’m not 100% badge carrying behind the cause, I’m either useless or helping the enemy and everything I say is to be ignored and suppressed.

        5. “Yes, the “PC culture” is so very tough to deal with.

        I mean, I can’t joke about rape/gays/Blacks/etc. without someone getting pissed.”

        No one has said the problem was jokes about rape/gays/Blacks. I simply claimed that painting white males as “privileged oppressors” which is a part of PC culture and really isn’t that uncommon among the Salon and Jezebel circles is beginning to have a backlash even among people who aren’t sexist/homophobic/racist. Admittedly, my claim was anecdotal, but do note that my hypothesis was that this was *decreasing* support for the blue team. For crying out loud – turn 5% of white people to the left and you’ve permanently shut the right out of govt for the next decade or so. My statement showed intent to strengthen the team – but criticism of the team helps the enemy, apparently.

        6. “An asshole who says mean things to you is not an infringement on your life and civil liberties.

        If you don’t want to join their party, don’t join their party, but if these assholes can make you take your ball and go home, you are going to struggle to find a political movement that you can support on the right, left, or in the middle.”

        Sigh, “are you with us or against us? If you are with us, you must accept all of the movement, including the assholes. Pledge loyalty now.”

        7. “If you want to make your case about the unfair allegations of misogyny in gaming, you are doing a piss poor job of it.”

        No one has tried to make that case. It’s another strawman. There are plenty of instances of misogyny in gaming. There are instances of misogyny everywhere. I simply said that the allegations of misogyny in gaming have demonized a large section of society – not unlike how the right uses instances misogyny by Muslims to demonize all Muslims.

        8. “What happens when a racist tells a racist joke? What happens when a sexist cat-calls and follows a women in his car? What happens when someone goes on TV and says Mexicans are rapists and Muslims are terrorists?”

        No one’s claimed the damage caused by both sides is equal. But that doesn’t change the fact demonizing a certain section of the population as misogynists is wrong.

      • Houston-Stay-At-Homer says:

        Pseudo – not sure why I’m a glutton for this, but whatever.

        It is only a tribe if you want it to be a tribe, and your rant really doesn’t resonate with the folks inhabiting this blog.

        Everyone on “the left” here happily points out the idiocy on the left. I can think of no one here blindly endorsing all that is “left”, blissfully ignoring potential problems. We may disagree about what those problems are, but no one seems to be shy about pointing them out.

        Almost no one here is a “love us or leave us” kind of person. Heck, many of us would happily vote for a traditional Republican who happens to endorse gay rights, support (or ignore) abortion, and not completely deny science.

        There is nothing wrong with pointing out that there are way too many young, male, nerd gamers that are horribly misogynistic and that the gaming industry as a whole has a very piss-poor history (carrying happily forward today) with its portrayal of women. That is a problem.

        Similarly, there is nothing wrong with pointing out that Black folks commit a very disproportionate amount of crime or that Muslims seem to disproportionately account for large-scale terrorist activity in today’s world (Timothy McVeigh aside).

        Pointing these things out is not a problem. Some of the proposed causes and/or remedies can be problematic.

        You seem to be grasping for something of a strawperson argument that folks on “the left” universally target and scapegoat White males as the fount of all problems. When people react that way, you should rightly call it out. I, respectfully, would note that it is not a large percentage that do that.

        Also, speaking as an older White male, we have been and continue to be the fount of a whole lot of problems. Fortunately, we are working to do better.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        “But it is a problem, all the same. ”

        But… How does this “PC culture” affect anyone in the real world other then being annoyed at your FB feed?

        Everyone is free to condemn whatever they want. And everyone else is free to disassociate with anyone for whatever reason THEY want.

        If someone is “too PC” and loves to catch ppl in meaningless social faux pas, chances are they’ll alienate themselves. Just like if somebody loves to be rude and put ppl down to make themselves feel better, they too will likely find themselves alienatsd. Nobody likes being around these types.

        And if someone says something offensive, and they get fired for it, and they think that’s “PC culture” then maybe they aren’t really up to date on what is or is not acceptable in society.

        Everyone has the right to say whatever they want. They don’t have the right to represent their employer AND say whatever they want though. Employment is not a basic civil right in the way that speech is.

        It seems like the whole “PC culture” meme is most bothersome to ppl who want to be free of consequences for their free speech.

        I mean, really. We all can point to an individual case of a professor beibg fired or something because of some ridiculous student protest or something. But please, can someone point out even one example of broad, societal harm that is happening in America today because of this oppressive “PC culture”?

        I dislike idiotic lines of thinking regardless ofbwhat side they come from. The reason so many of us are exasperated by the mere term ” PC culture” is because it has almost completely become a code word for racists/bigots/misogynists/sexists etc to complain about losing their ability to say/do/act in previously acceptable racist/bigoted/misogynist waya.

        And they haven’t even lost the ABILITY to say or do these things. They don’t go to jail or anything. What HAS changed is that the broader society no longer feels these comments are socially acceptable in the public square, and taking that cue from the public, businesses do not want these types of ppl repreenting their brand.

      • duncancairncross says:

        Hi Rob

        I think you underestimate the costs of the “PC Culture” – when I was working in the USA I found that there was an overall “blanket” on all discussions any any decisions
        We always had to be incredibly careful – this was because the standard that HR used in deciding to sack somebody was

        Was somebody OFFENDED
        NOT was somebody being offensive
        And that included somebody who overheard part of a conversation that was not directed at him/her

        And this was not just worrying about a tiny chance – I regularly heard of people being sacked for this type of offence

        I found this incredibly exhausting – you had to watch every word

        It was a great relief to move to NZ where something has to actually BE OFFENSIVE to cause a problem
        And where we understand that different language is used on the shop floor or in the office
        (and engineers use different language than accountants or administrators)

      • Creigh says:

        Griffin, is that formulation you used, “confusing the inverse” a thing that people use instead of “correlation is not causation”?

        Because “correlation is not causation” is a dumb formulation (correlation always implies causation of some kind) but I like “confusing the inverse.”

      • Griffin says:

        I’ve heard it used before and under some circumstances it can replace “correlation is not causation” but I think “confusing the inverse” is more specific than “correlation is not causation”. It’s literally flipping the categories. Correlation does not equal causation would be something like “Much of the Alt-Right community is made up of gamers, therefor video games cause people to be Alt-right,” while confusion of the inverse is more like “Much of the Alt-right community is made up of gamers, therefor most gamers are Alt-Right”. They’re pretty close to each other in most sitautions it’s just a bit more specific I guess.

      • antimule says:

        “the gaming industry as a whole has a very piss-poor history (carrying happily forward today) with its portrayal of women. That is a problem.”

        Especially when you get to rewrite history. I have seen old games interpreted in completely batshit ways. Some now claim that e.g. System Shock 1 and 2 were misogynistic, which anyone who played them knows is laughable. Are there bad examples? Yeah, and you won’t hear me defend Red Alert series, but the narrative is very exaggerated.

      • antimule says:

        And finally Homer, I think you really should keep this in mind:

    • 1mime says:

      I spoke to this point the other day regarding the need for intelligence and education to cast a vote. Common sense, decency, and respect for others trumps intelligence and education, Every Time.

      I can’t abide anyone making comments like these….

      • tuttabellamia says:

        I once stumbled upon an anti-semitic blog and came across the most vile comments I’ve ever read on the internet. I left the site after a few minutes and immediately deleted my internet history so that site would never pop up again.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        I prefer not to spend hours reading ugly comments, wallowing in them, not because I seek to deny that there are people saying these things, but because it’s toxic and poisons the soul. Life’s too short.

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      Reddit is a known cesspool of misogyny, bigotry, and racism. That goes double for the Trump Reddit.

      If you went to a KKK rally, you’d expect to find a really high percentage of racists. Same thing here.

      • antimule says:

        To be fair, it depends on a community you frequent. AskHistorians is excellent, and there are plenty good technical places. the_donald seems to be an outgrowth of 4chan /pol/ board, hence the terribleness.

      • 1mime says:

        Wow! I must really function in a different world. I don’t know these sites or these problems. I can’t engage in this conversation because I don’t know what you are even talking about. What I do know is It’s sad when anyone uses an anonymous medium like the internet to hurt others – of whatever stripe.

      • Pseudoperson Randomian says:

        Eh, what subreddits do you frequent? It’s not hard to avoid the ones you can’t stand – whatever sensibilities you might have. Most of the larger and more popular subreddits happily self censor offensive stuff. It’s just that reddit lets those offensive people go somewhere else and create their own subreddit where they can be white supremacists/islamists/neonazis or whatever in peace.

        Personally, I’m fine with that arrangement. I have no desire to censor offensive speech – and those nuttier subreddits are very useful when you’re trying to understand where those people are coming from, the intricacies of their ideologies, the science they rely on (generally bad science but that’s a topic for another day and it’s utterly impossible to deal with racial science without everyone going completely mad at the mere mention of it), biases, and truths and so on. Censoring just forces that off of normally visible forums, making it much harder to study, understand and refute.

      • 1mime says:

        Lifer applies a very “light” touch to censoring, but the majority of his regular commentators appreciate having a high quality discussion forum. He puts a great deal of effort into his posts and that deserves a corresponding effort on the part of the commentators. It’s interesting to have intellectual discussions with many points of view. Just stick to the issues and let ‘er rip….

    • Pseudoperson Randomian says:

      At some point in the future, I’ll start a blog talking about why it’s not a good idea to marginalize large groups like “video game nerds”, and how demonizing entire groups like that leads to problems with harassment and reverse harassment of completely innocent people, how further marginalizing a group that’s already not accepted by the mainstream (seriously, video game nerd is almost a derogatory term in itself) just makes everything worse, and then document the many many instances of online harassment (not a joke), doxxing, tracking down real names and addresses and workplaces (person is NOT representing company), and hitting people with false accusations and trying to get people fired and so on that was actually conducted by the SJW types. And all for disagreeing no more forcefully than I did. I’ll have to go back into the archives of all the stuff I’ve saved from my old accounts, and we’ll see.

      For now though, just understand that statement from tutta painted me and a lot of my friends – some who aren’t male and some who aren’t white as racist and misogynist, and this narrative has been happily parrotted by most left wing media. Continued demonization of entire groups like this changes perceptions and that’s not good – just like what’s been happening with the right and Muslims and Mexicans. Nothing major has happened yet in terms of law or anything, but the entire frame of discussion of video gamers has already shifted from “those weird pimply nerds in the basement” to “those weird pimply sexist and racist white men in the basement” – anything gaming related in the mainstream media is about “sexism in video games and sexist video gamers” half the time now.

      Or, let me draw a parallel. It’s why so many Bernie Sanders supporters were so offended and furious when they were painted as “BernieBros”. It shifted the frame of discussion, and caused a lasting effect on the perception of Sanders’ supporters by everyone else.

    • antimule says:

      “What makes this weird/scary is that most of the people on that subreddit are not older, poor, rural Southerners but are more like me, spoiled middle-classish younger white guys who live in urban areas and have a decent education. I imagine most have dysfunctional personalities but it’s still odd so many nihilistic crazies exist where they are already pretty well-off. It may suggest wealth and education are not most of what is needed to act as a barrier against the “Politics of Crazy” as I would have thought before (even if those things help immensely).”

      Well, I think that is obvious. As a wise man once said, conservatives go where liberals fear to tread. Liberals have always been ambivalent towards religion (some were, after all, Marxists). Conservatives embraced religion, and now most religious people are conservative. Now, the left is kinda ambivalent about the whole Silicon Valley culture and nerds due to allegations of sexism and (I suspect) Silicon Valley’s tendency to value meritocracy (however imperfectly) over victimhood and credentialism. So, some conservatives (think Milo) are embracing nerds and some nerds are responding to that. People go where they feel welcomed, not in service to some abstract truth.

      All in all, terrible but predictable outcome.

      • 1mime says:

        When you state that the Left is ambivalent about the whole Silicon Valley culture and nerds, I am not sure “who” on the left you think feels this way? Establishment leadership? Bundlers for campaigns? PACs? What I do think, speaking personally, is that this is a super smart group of people who fundamentally achieved their success through their own creativity and intelligence, and to some degree, timing and good fortune. Doubtless, they don’t march to a crowd mentality, nor feel as much need to “fit in” to any larger class or political group because they are such individual performers…..which, IMO, is very good if it doesn’t result in isolation from interacting with the bigger world.

        That can be dangerous – for any subset really. There has to be connectivity between classes within a country that is healthy. Given the nature of those whose lives are totally wrapped up in digital experiences, it would be real easy for them to isolate themselves to the point that they could no longer relate to people outside their circle. Make sense?

    • 1mime says:

      Privatization is the golden haired child of the conservative movement. Anything can be done better by private business than government….When private entities got involved in prisons, that was the first warning bell for me although I was late in recognizing how pervasive this shift was becoming. All those who think that government is always worse – wake up. Some public services simply should not have a profit motive.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        If you want to destroy the political convenience of “big government”, you’ve got to reform the political system itself. Politicians, and particularly Republicans, have become too enamored with the idea of campaigning against the oxymoron of “big government”, because that’s exactly what it is, and there is nothing that the federal government can do that can’t be considered comparatively big.

        President Clinton signing the biggest tax increase in American history during his first year as president? Big government.

        President Reagan signing a tax cut during his years in office? Yup.

        Reagan giving amnesty to millions of people? Ditto.

        FDR signing Social Security into law? Oh yeah.

        Johnson forcing Medicare through Congress and signing it into law? YUUUUUUUUUUGE!

        When you get past all the nonsense, when people and politicians rail against so-called “big government”, what they’re really complaining about is the idea of government itself. It’s a distressing sentiment rooted in division and disbelief that strikes at the heart of what this country was founded on.

        To fix that, we need to get more and more people involved in the political process. What we have today is an absolutely pathetic level of participation that has to end.

      • 1mime says:

        And there is the irony of members of the Republican Party who are in Congress “railing” against big government…..have they forgotten they are part of the government structure? I don’t see any interest in downsizing Congress….Now, there’s a thought……

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t have any particular interest in downsizing the Congress; just make it more accountable. Look at term limits for Representatives and Senators and their staffers (important caveat). Institute provisions that allow for emergency elections in cases of extreme gridlock and have independent commissions draw congressional lines for every state in the country.

      • 1mime says:

        Just messin’ around, Ryan……I’m not quite ready to tackle downsizing Congress, as enticing as that prospect is (-;

    • Ryan,

      i am not sure of the numbers but I think it was Reagan who signed the biggest tax increase in history. In 1983, the social security tax increase which carried over for decades. Increased both the tax rate and the amount on which that tax was calculated. he also was the first president to actually impose a federal income tax on social security. Up to that point, all social security payments to recipients were income tax free. Reagan imposed an income tax, based on a formula, on 50% of social security received by the recipients. Clinton increased the % amount but Ronnie was the first!

      The above realized huge amounts, dwarfing any increase by Clinton!

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        My broader point remains the same, but thanks for the input.

      • 1mime says:

        From the NYT link: a point with which I deeply agree. From a Boston contributor….

        “Government, by its very nature, cannot be run like a business. It provides services for “low probability, high risk” events, like fires and heart attacks. There is no margin to made by spending the majority of your time in training and standing by, but that is what the fire service, EMS and, until W, the military do. The market is wonderful for many things, but public safety services are not among those things. This is basic and has been willfully ignored by folks who stand to profit by doing so. It is indeed time for a wholesale change in governmental leadership. It is also time to restore the teaching of civics in public schools, starting with the elementary grades. Then maybe people will understand how this works…and, more importantly, how it doesn’t work.”

        Following this line of thought is the frequent criticism of those who work “for” government as being lazy, leeching off the taxpayers, less qualified….etc. I have interacted with bureaucrats, aka “public employees” in government for years through activism and elected responsibility. Yes, there were some who definitely fit this negative mold, but there were far more who were incredibly caring, hard working people who did their jobs. In any workplace, including government, there will always be slackers. It’s easy to take pot-shots at government employees because it’s become “accepted thinking”. I take exception to that broad brush approach and challenge each of you to make a more honest assessment of this claim. Sometimes, those making the criticism are the ones who are at fault.

      • duncancairncross says:

        Hi 1mime
        I see this all the time
        Private business is more efficient!
        And the reason? – Private business is spending it’s own money so it is more careful!

        Unfortunately for everything except the very smallest of businesses that is simply nonsense!
        In anything except a privately owned small business directly run by the owner an employee is making all of the spending decisions –
        In a medium sized privately owned business the owner may be deciding about the size of the budget but an employee is doing the actual spending
        Just like in a state operated business!
        So why should I care more about spending the money that belongs to Mr Fat Cat than my brother who does the same job for a state owned company?
        In fact the employee of the state owned company IS spending his own money – so HE will take MORE care than the other guy who is spending the money that belongs to somebody he probably dislikes

        That is a purely theoretical argument – but the experiment has been tried many many times all around the world
        And it has FAILED many many times – privatisation almost always leads to higher costs and worse service

    • Bobo Amerigo says:

      Hey. It’s a market solution. We should all be good with that.

      That article certainly got my blood boiling./****

  14. formdib says:


    “A lot people do not view their country the way some elites do: as though the nation were something like a rental apartment — a nice place to live, but if there are problems, or you just fancy a change, you’ll happily swap it for a new one.

    “In many ways, members of the global professional class have started to identify more with each other than they have with the fellow residents of their own countries. Witness the emotional meltdown many American journalists have been having over Brexit.”


    “Surrendering traditional powers and liberties to a distant state is a lot easier if you think of that state as run by “people like me,” not “strangers from another place,” and particularly if that surrender is done in the name of empowering “people who are like me” in our collective dealings with other, farther “strangers who aren’t.”

    “The EU never did this work. When asked “Where are you from?” almost no one would answer “Europe,” because after 50 years of assiduous labor by the eurocrats, Europe remains a continent, not an identity.”


    “Trying to build the state without the nation has led to the mess that is the current EU. And to Thursday’s election results.

    Elites missed this because they’re the exception — the one group that has a transnational identity. And in fact the arguments for the EU look a lot like the old arguments for national states: a project that will empower people like us against the scary people who aren’t.

    “Unhappily for the elites, there is no “Transnationalprofessionalistan” to which they can move.”

    Reminds me of a thing I saw on Facebook I’m not going to track down where a Black Lives Matter activist stated his frustration with white liberals who promised to ‘move to Canada’ if Trump got elected: “I wish I had your privilege, income, and mobility to just be able to opt out of political situations that you don’t like.”

    I will admit that a lot of what is happening in the world around me is making me reconsider my positions on a few issues. One internal debate I’ve been grappling with is the conflict between ‘The Better Angels of Our Nature’ (the idea that as the world gets bigger and more intertwined, institutions must get bigger to support them — and this leads to historical trends toward liberal democracy [see also Fukuyama] and away from poverty, war, violence, infant mortality, disease, hunger, and other suffering worldwide), and some of what I know about organizational behavior, the fact that human cognition and behavior is ill-equipped — potentially even incapable — of understanding phenomena past a certain level of complexity.

    A Malcolm Gladwell piece on this latter issue is illustrative (advance caveat: Malcolm Gladwell pieces are so effective BECAUSE they engage good writing to clearly illustrate certain ideas. The truthiness or accuracy of those ideas themselves….. … …. ). Gladwell talks about Dunbar’s Number:'s_number this idea that individuals can only really know and trust an average of about 250 people, so organizations larger than 250 people become tenuous — unless they break groups into 250 or so subsets of people (so for instance Wal-Mart, which employs several thousand people, can’t have any one store run by more than 250).

    This raises one of the fundamental questions underlining how to go about building coherent quote-unquote ‘global’ communities.

    Personally I think a lot of the infrastructure is already there, it’s just miscommunicated. It frustrates me to no end (and often to the point of losing my shit) when people say they’re not going to vote in the general elections because “Both candidates are the same people anyway.” Whatever has to happen to inform everyday citizens that there are more things on a ballot than a checkmark for Other Lizards, and that there are more ballots than merely general election ones, needs to happen. Town halls need to exist and they need better advertising. Civic engagement needs to increase. Individual ‘citizens’ need more engagement with local community politics somehow or another. And I’m barely even 30 and have spent over a decade of my life telling people that there’s more to civic engagement than the POTUS vote AND THEY DO NOT LISTEN. So I’m at a loss as to what to do, but maybe someone with better skill at persuasion and better charisma than me can get started on this.

    I see representative democracy as fractal. You want your neighborhood to look a certain way, you have a neighborhood association. You want that NA to be given a say in how the district looks, you have a town hall. You want the town hall to be given a say in how the city looks, you have districting for city council. You have city councils to talk to counties, counties to talk to state governments, and state governments to go to DC and represent you nationally. The people in DC then go to other countries and represent your interests globally.

    That’s ALREADY THERE. But people are just not connecting their engagement on the city, or even down to the neighborhood association, level as decisions that affect how these strange unknown people in DC make decisions that affect their lives.

    That’s before we even get to whether the system works or accurately reflects your interests, either proportional to the global whole or as a compromise; or if you’re idea is wrong in the first place, and shouldn’t be represented.

    Instead we’re ending up with some sort of ‘onion of wrongness’: where not only do people seem to have terrible ideas that are disproportionately affecting entire communities, but the incorrect underlying assumptions of how representation is supposed to work is amplifying the problem. It’s not only that the solutions are dumb, they’re for the wrong problems, and the process to do them is also wrong. Any aspect of arguing problem, process, and solution is a separate issue of ‘wrongness’ that of course would lead to a sort of interpersonal social gridlock: you can’t even talk to your friends about it because it’ll take too much energy just to sort through the layers of fractal wrongness, less actually falsify any level of it, LESS actually convince them to change their mind.


    I’m still pondering what to do about this.

    • 1mime says:

      I believe ordinary people have stopped believing they can “make a difference”. It’s why they are so easily duped by people like Trump and so reluctant to even step up.

    • tuttabellamia says:

      And of course, when Americans move to Canada or anywhere else, for however long, they are called EXPATS, whereas anyone who comes to the US to live is an IMMIGRANT, or a MIGRANT if your stay is temporary, unless you’re a White person from an Anglophone country, in which case you are also an EXPAT, whether your stay is permament or temporary.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Sorry for my customary EXPAT rant. That’s a major pet peeve of mine. I dust off that comment and post it whenever the need arises.

        In any case, I will say that it’s common and easy for people from Mexico to go back when things get uncomfortable here. During the Vietnam War a couple of my aunts seriously considered sending their sons to Mexico to live with my grandfather to evade the draft, although it never reached that point. And I’ve heard some fellow Hispanics saying now that if Trump wins they will return to Mexico. I hope they don’t give him that satisfaction.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        So, you either need to have money or roots close by if you want to flee.

      • formdib says:

        “when Americans move to Canada or anywhere else, for however long, they are called EXPATS, whereas anyone who comes to the US to live is an IMMIGRANT”

        Oh I know, I have first hand experience with that. From 2010-2012 I worked in the United Arab Emirates with American, British, Australian, and South African ‘expats’.

        In my office was hired two Indians and a Syrian who operated under the same contract as me. Originally our company boss — who was American, mind you — tried to give them a lower rate of pay. My direct boss fought for them to get the same pay for the same skills utilized under the same contract. Company boss sez, “These are third world nationals, they don’t really need to get paid as much. That’s the advantage of hiring them.”

        In the end we won the argument and got the ‘third world nationals’ the same contract we got. But even my coworkers said they would have taken the reduced pay contract, particularly because they ‘wanted to work with Americans.’

        The National and Gulf News both semantically use the word ‘expat’ for Westerners and white workers, ‘migrants’ for Filipinos, Indians, Pakistanis, and other non-Westerners.

        This is all before you get to the difference between how the Emiratis treated us ‘expats’ versus our ‘migrant’ coworkers.

      • Pseudoperson Randomian says:

        Racism in those middle eastern countries is not trivial. It just isn’t talked about that much. It doesn’t even matter if those south asian/african people are Muslim – they are not treated well, and I’ve heard anecdotes of how the local term for “slave” is colloquially used for black people.

        Then again, racism is a real thing all over asia. “Fairness” is a beauty attribute in India – and there’s an entire industry built around it.

  15. flypusher says:

    Check it out, George Will has left the GOP:

    Although no word on whether he’s voting for Hillary Clinton or Gary Johnson.

  16. texan5142 says:

    Make America grate again, ban shredded cheese.

    Somebody had that on their marquee….words to live by.

  17. Stephen says:

    Just read the piece in the Atlantic. It is a good sign your paradigm is correct when someone else independently comes up with the same thing. It seems to me according to the article that a certain amount of corruption is needed for government to function. Probably true and a little sad. But chaos which is on full display in the Middle East is far , far worst.

    • flypusher says:

      There was an Gubernatorial election in Louisiana a while back, when Edwards ran against Duke. There was a very to the point slogan: “Vote for the crook! It’s important!!” I value honesty. But I value competence even more, and in the real world I’m never going to get the candidate who never lies and has no skeletons in his/her political closet. Especially when it comes to offices like President or Congress. To get to that point, somewhere along your political journey you will have done favors/ owed people favors that can look questionable. It is what it is. What I can hope for is the more intelligent crook who understands that it’s bad to get too greedy, and a functioning government is a good thing.

      • 1mime says:

        Richard North Patterson has been contributing opinion pieces to Huffington Post on politics. His latest, posted June 21, deals with the possibility of Donald Trump handling a nuclear threat. This topic may seem “far-fetched” in light of all the economic and terrorism that is dominating the news, but people like Patterson, who think far more deeply, offer another area of concern that should inform us in our political choices.

        In his current piece, he states: “As debilitating as the mass slaughters we have suffered can be, only terrorism by nuclear means has the potential to destroy our economy, our security, our system of civil liberties, our commitment to democratic ideals, and our very trust in each other. In short those things which, at our best, make us who we are.”


        All of his Huffington Post political commentary is posted at:

    • 1mime says:

      Surely, our nation can reach higher than to require “a little corruption” to function effectively. I found that theory the most troubling of Rauch’s points. Those who favor “states rights” advocate bringing the majority of government function to the local level. When one looks at the quality of people at the state level who would assume this responsibility, that’s disheartening. We see states passing laws that abridge rights and favor special groups and think the same leaders would be more responsible than those in D.C.?

      What would a leaner, better system of American governance look like? WHO would design it?

    • unarmedandunafraid says:

      I looked for a link to something I heard many years ago but could not find it. Truman was asked about supporting a politician that had used public funds to build a road to his private property. When asked, ” Can you support such a person?” Truman answered, “Sure, he already has his road.”

  18. My apologies if this has already been posted. Google’s most popular searches after the Brexit vote was over! These people had no idea what they were doing! Sort of like here:-))!

  19. Ryan Ashfyre says:

    Alright, one of the questions that a lot of political pundits and others have raised in Brexit’s wake is whether Trump could replicate a lot of the nationalist and anti-immigrant fervor that probably tilted the “Leave” side to a victory in the States. It’s a fair question, though not without its problems…

    First, Britons are a good deal more white than Americans are, so immigrant rhetoric isn’t going to get you near as far (some, myself included, argue that Trump’s deficit among Hispanics guarantees him a loss in November, virtually by default).

    Secondly, Brexit was a vote based on a referendum, a question. They weren’t voting on a person, least of all a xenophobic, racist asshat like Trump, so trying to extrapolate results from one scenario and effectively jamming it into presumptions about another is comparing apples and oranges, to put it gently.

    So, in the face of all that, we have a new poll out, one conducted with likely voters from all 50 states, showing Hillary Clinton up 14 points over Donald Trump.

    And yes, as always, it’s still early and this is just one more poll. Still though, one point of virtually widespread agreement is that while the speculators and the markets were wrong about Brexit, the polls themselves were more or less spot on. So take this one with a grain of salt if you will. Maybe Trump will erase that lead in the coming days and weeks as the reality of the European Union’s breaking sinks in. Or, maybe this will be a wake-up call to more Americans that we can’t let ourselves fall into the same trap that our brethren across the ocean did. Keeps your eyes open.

    • formdib says:

      You guys post The Hill a lot, could somebody speak to its relative bias, quality, and reputation?

      • goplifer says:

        I hate the Hill. It’s like the student paper for the Capitol. Never any insight. No followup. No journalism. No investigation. They hear sometime and slap it on the website. Rollcall isn’t much better.

      • 1mime says:

        If you “hate” The Hill, what sources do you “like”?

      • 1mime says:

        Their columnists are pretty balanced, and I have found that they are accurate in reporting without a slant one way or the other. The Hill is widely read both in D.C. by lawmakers and others and has a wide following by the general public. You can google each of their columnists to learn more about their background.

        I trust the site, but I also read several news sources: (WaPo, NYT, LATimes, Politico, Huffpost, New Yorker, Houston Chronicle, The Atlantic, Brookings News, VOX…) where the focus is more liberal than conservative, so that is “my” bias. Stopped the WSJ years ago when it was sold (out), and don’t read any others unless there is a sensational article that crosses my email. MassDem introduced me to the Boston Globe and I like it a lot but since I don’t subscribe (like I do with some others), I am limited on number of articles I can read each month. That’s why it’s helpful to have so many people link their views and info….it expands one’s reach.

    • Houston-Stay-At-Homer says:

      Just because I like to bring rain to a parade:

      “The Quinnipiac University poll, released Tuesday, found Clinton and Trump tied at 40 percent.

      The university conducted the new poll between June 8 and June 19, with live interviewers calling a mix of land lines and cell phones.

      The Pennsylvania results were similar to the university’s polling last month — showing Clinton leading 42 percent to 41 percent,”
      So, two battleground states, with current polling, are showing ties between Trump and Hillary.

      Hillary may win California by 70% to 30%, but that doesn’t help if she loses Pennsylvania and Ohio 51%-49%

      Hey, there’s one chicken, two chickens, three chickens, four….oh wait, those are just eggs, and I probably shouldn’t count them until they hatch.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Quinipiac seems off their game lately. I mean, maybe their right and they’re able to cut through the trees better then anyone else. But they also have HRC up 9 points in Fla.

        I don’t buy that one either.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        Who’s counting chickens? I’m looking for trend lines here. x__x

        Speaking of Pennsylvania, conventional wisdom says that Republicans will campaign there for a couple of months and then see its blue hue on a state level as we get closer to November, but an argument I’ve been hearing says that the state, particularly the western half is getting more and more Republican-leaning in recent years. FiveThirtyEight describes them as essentially disaffected Democrats; white, “working-class” voters who’ve switched parties (sounds to me like a comparative version of what we see in Kentucky).

        Is this just the last gasp of a declining electorate like we’re seeing on a national scale and the trend will begin to reverse itself in coming years or is this worrisome for Democrats in November?

    • JeffAtWolfcreek says:

      I’m a little worried about Ohio. I really hope the election does not end up turning on our vote. Not as white as Britain but in the ball park at 80%. And Trump’s message (oxymoron, I know) is ringing here. The people I’ve talked to don’t really know or care about Trump’s policy they just want to burn the establishment down. And HRC is the establishment.

    • 1mime says:

      I dunno, Ryan, if some of the bright eagles on this blog can’t be convinced, do you really think the masses will vote logically?

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        Nope, I don’t think that at all. I expect people to do certain things all the time surely enough, but do I ever even place a modicum of trust in them to actually do those things? F*** no. I don’t like being disappointed like that.

  20. formdib says:

    Chris, your counterargument to Rauch’s article is that we don’t need middlemen, and by counter-example you claim technology and new processes.

    But who develops the technology and executes the processes?

    Take your example of licensing and insurance to deter gun violence. I like that idea and feel it has strong potential to be successful, without violating the 2nd Amendment. So I’m not arguing that it isn’t going to work.

    But how do you make it happen?

    You have to get such disparate groups as private insurance companies and the NRA to agree to it. Approaching either is political suicide on one or both of the parties. Getting the two to talk together in the first place is a bitch in itself. But you have to do it or else this doesn’t work.

    Congrats, you got the insurance companies and NRA to agree to mutually beneficial project in the name of gun rights and protection from lone wolfs. Sweet. Now you have to write the damn thing and make sure it doesn’t violate previously existing laws and regulations, especially prevailing readings of the Constitution. Y’all motherfuckers need lawyers, wonks, advisors, and technical writers, who need interns, researchers, and sandwich breaks. Who else does the average American hate more than all that bureaucracy? And on their tax-payer dollars!

    Then you have a reasonable, rational bill that can actually work and you have to whip up support. You need to do this across party lines and with people who know that the wrong checkmark on the wrong vote roll will get them Cantored. The NRA and insurance companies may be helping out a little bit, but that’s detestible anti-democratic fraud in the minds of the voters. Oh, and at least half the other politicians hate you, either because you’re the Other Lizard (, or because you’re not a true Scotsman. You need House Majority Leaders and whips, internecine coalitions and friendships with strange bedfellows. All of these influencers are elitist oligarchs, sez ZeroHedge and USUncut. Wikileaks dumps transcripts of your negotiations, proving to conservatives that the US federal government is profiting off of the 2nd Amendment and to liberals that the US government is absolutely sutured at the hip to the NSA.

    You pass the Senate and the House some fucking how, better hope you have a friendly POTUS, as all angry red-eyed red-blooded Americans are watching his move via media pre-printing “VETO!” “PASSES!” immediate releases Citizen Kane style, ready to post on the Internet the second before the stamp dries. Hell, AJ+ and NowThis already have subtitled video rants about it and Buzzfeed features many hilarious gifs of your face making awkward expressions, because the only reason you could possibly do this to Americans is because you’re an ugly lonely old white man that nobody loves.

    It passes! The Other Lizards immediately sue, sending it to the Supreme Court, even the ones that voted for the bill, because just when they thought maybe this was all good to go some wild-haired zealot from Buttfuck Nowhere, Their District has gained the required signatures to run against you in the upcoming primary, and he’s already gotten 500k Twitter followers liking his every description of their and your unspeakable orifices.

    The Supreme Court manages to break a tie and keeps the bill, minus a few lines or two, on the same commerce clause stated for the ACA, because required insurance and licensing for gun purchases constitutes a tax, really, right?

    So the takeaway from all of this to the American People (r)(tm)(c 2016) is that you and all your corporate oligarchic elitist 1%er crony Illuminati have just:

    – Violated the 2nd Amendment
    – prevented any reasonable change to gun laws for the near-to-mid-term future
    – and taxed them for the effort of all of it,

    and THIS was a technocratic solution to an issue that 90% of American voters stated they wanted.

    I know you know this and I know you know more about politics than me. But the short answer to your post is that you’ve already argued the same thing Rauch is arguing when he invokes ‘middlemen’. The terms you use, however, is political institutions and political capital. That’s all he’s talking about.

    We currently lack the political capital in our political institutions to pass your common sense solutions.

    • 1mime says:

      “We currently lack the political capital…” To do much of anything, Formdib

    • goplifer says:

      It’s not a binary matter, middlemen or no middlemen. It’s a question of weight.

      Today, our system relies too heavily on our bureaucracy and a layer of political intermediaries. They aren’t bad, they just aren’t AS necessary or useful as they once were.

      It will take hundreds of smart bureaucrats to write the rules for a gun insurance program. It will take relatively few of them to enforce it. It would take thousands to write new rules in the current mode limiting guns around size of ammo clip, length of barrel, velocity and on and on and on and then an enormous enforcement burden that just wouldn’t be carried out because it’s too onerous.

      How do you get something like that through the legislative process. Step 1 – Try. No one has ever tried. And it will take a raging sumbitch in the mold of the old John McCain to start that ball rolling, but that character, if he sticks to his guns so to speak, would become a national hero. Look at what’s happened to Ben Sasse just for stating the obvious about Donald Trump.

      This system is a House of Cards. All we need is one reasonably intelligent figure with some balls to blow it down and start building something smarter.

      • flypusher says:

        Damn, what John McCain could have been, if he hadn’t sold his soul. We need to borrow Obama’s time machine and bring 2000McCain to the present.

      • 1mime says:

        Ben Sasse is a “poster-“perfect, squeaky clean” conservative” – anti ACA, anti abortion, traditional marriage supporter, home schooled ‘children, a G.W. Bush appointee, handsome…what’s not to like? He gets points for speaking out early and directly on Trump and staying above the rhetorical insanity of his peers. One has to wonder if someone with his resume could reach across the aisle to lead a revolution….Or, maybe he is exactly the purist who could…don’t know. I’m sure he got lots of gold stars from the GOPe for his courageous break from the fold on Trump.

      • 1mime says:

        Reading the New Yorker this morning and it draws interesting parallels between Trump’s candidacy and BREXIT and touches upon Lifer’s thoughts for a paradigm change in direction for our system of governance. There’s also a video below the article that you might enjoy hearing.

        “A lesson for Americans is that fortified idealistic structures can be torn down, by means of some of the same wrecking tools Trump has been willing to deploy, even if those who are considered the serious people, in a country that reminds us of our own, warn against doing so. One pattern seen in the Brexit results was a disconnect between party leaders—in all of the major parties—and their bases. Sneering is not going to save the republic.”

      • formdib says:

        “Step 1 – Try. No one has ever tried. And it will take a raging sumbitch in the mold of the old John McCain to start that ball rolling, but that character, if he sticks to his guns so to speak, would become a national hero. Look at what’s happened to Ben Sasse just for stating the obvious about Donald Trump.

        This system is a House of Cards. All we need is one reasonably intelligent figure with some balls to blow it down and start building something smarter. ”


        Dude, but that’s word for word what like 30% of the GOP think Trump is and what my progressive friends I’m complaining about are saying Bernie Sanders is. They’re ‘raging sumbitch’es who ‘stick to their guns’ with ‘balls to blow it down’ to ‘build something smarter.’ You just disagree with whether that raging sumbitch is the right rage delivered from the right bitch.

        The problem with that sort of thinking as I see it is that it relies on the ‘Great Man’ theory of history (or just heroism in general), the one leader of merit that goes in and does things right. And in the case of what ‘right’ is, is largely what you personally think should be done. Certainly there are great leaders throughout history, but it takes more than just one trailblazing sumbitch to create coalitions and consensus.

        Despite the contemporary negative debate around parties, I’m not really interested in knowing what PERSON I should vote for, I’m interested in knowing what PLATFORMS are available and how to influence them to include my position. It’s not enough for me to wait for some dude/tte to just appear and ‘fix things’. I’m looking for an organization willing to work with various interest groups to create a network of represented feedback.

      • formdib says:

        “I’m looking for an organization willing to work with various interest groups to create a network of represented feedback.”

        Note that somewhere in your writing I see you as having the sort of necessary conversations about how to do just that. That’s why I come here. So this isn’t entirely a disagreement with your point of view.

  21. flypusher says:

    A bit of levity, scrawled tonight on the white board behind the bar at Valhalla: “Brexit Special- buy an English beer, then leave the bar.”

  22. Ryan Ashfyre says:

    Just for perspective, today alone has seen 2.1 TRILLION dollars wiped from the global financial markets. Here in the US, we’ve seen over 800 BILLION dollars wiped out in a single day.

    Thanks a lot, Brits.

    • 1mime says:

      I spent a few hours today with some former high school classmates. I was probably the only liberal in the bunch. Hey, it’s Texas, I’m used to it. They kept talking about how BREXIT was no surprise to them….that people were tired of illegal immigration and budget deficits. Why, they exclaimed, doesn’t the US government not operate like Texas’?

      Knowing it wouldn’t do any good to debate how Texas runs its government, I kept quiet. In a different setting, with a more attentive group of women, I would have at least tried to have the discussion challenging their Texas bravado. There is much to admire in TX, but its governance is not on my short list of most admirable.

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        I was thinking the same thing earlier today, mime. Texas govt harms women and children. It is embarrassing on the national stage.

      • 1mime says:

        Not only that but look at how the TX Legislature “balances” their books….taking dedicated tax revenue and holding it instead of sending it to the appropriate cost centers as was constitutionally dedicated by TX voters….what is it that they say about convenient Constitutional priority? These were nice ladies but they couldn’t begin to hold a substantive discussion on specifics…just repeat the old truisms they hear ad nauseum. I totally respect those with opposing viewpoints who can defend them – even if they fail to convince me of their position. At least they’ve thought deeply on the subject.

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        Y up. Gimme the data.

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      Can they take the Deep South with them? Everyone wins!

      • 1mime says:

        Gotta give me time to bail, Rob….I’m not going down with this ship!

      • MassDem says:

        I think talk of Texas secession is a classic case of “all hat, no cattle”, so no worries Mime- you’re safe!

        We have our own insurrections up here too–Martha’s Vineyard & Nantucket tried to secede from MA in the 70s when they got lumped into a state district with Cape Cod. They had a flag and an anthem too, just in case they left not only MA, but the US. It didn’t pan out, but they got a lot of publicity for it at the time.

      • 1mime says:

        Safe? I won’t feel safe until I’m out of Texas!

  23. rightonrush says:

    “The whole world is reeling after a milestone referendum in Britain to leave the European Union. And although leaders of the campaign to exit Europe are crowing over their victory, it seems many Britons may not even know what they had actually voted for.

    Awakening to a stock market plunge and a precipitous decline in the value of the pound that Britain hasn’t seen in more than 30 years, voters now face a series of economic shocks that analysts say will only worsen before they improve. The consequences of the leave vote will be felt worldwide, even here in the United States, and some British voters say they now regret casting a ballot in favor of Brexit”

    • flypusher says:

      Dumbasses. So if enough of you do have buyer’s remorse, how long does it take to put together another referendum to overturn the results of this referendum?

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Sounds like the EU wants them out ASAP. They need to be brutal, they can’t afford to let other countries get any ideas. Not that they would, after we all see what happens to the UK over the next few months.

        There is no manufacturing base in the UK. There aren’t many natural resources. What they DO have, and this really is theorbbread and butter, is a world class finance industry. The finance industry is inherently global though, and it needs access to the EU. It needs to BE in the EU. They’ll all move to Scotland/Germany and the UK will have nothing but bitter old ppl who wonder where all the youngsters went (hint: Scotland) and wonder wtf they got themselves into.

      • 1mime says:

        England could send all the old white bitter people to the US. They’d fit right in (-;

        One of the interviews I heard on BBC was with Alan Greenspan. He commented on the strength of the Finance industry in England and seemed to think that would be a major stabilizing force for the country as they adjust to the loss of jobs and trade agreements. He pointed out that the U.S. will see the dollar strengthen which will impact our export capability. He didn’t have any comment on the Trump relevance but he’s a sly old political beast so I didn’t expect he would.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        I saw the same interview, Mime. Greenspan is the literal personification of everything wrong with the system. That disgraced clown isn’t fit to give advice on what socks to wear. This is a guy who swore up and down until the day the world collapsed that deregulation was an inherent and moral good, that the 1% are always going to act in ways that are good for everyone else. This is aguy who literally hung out with Ayn Rand and her phony ideologies.

        Did you catch his prescription at the end? His “solution” to all the populist uprisings? “Cutting entitlements” I shit you not.

      • 1mime says:

        You saw more than I heard, Rob. I did not hear his RX. I lost respect for Greenspan years ago when he was testifying before Congress. You couldn’t understand anything he was saying. He was deliberately obtuse and no one dared challenge him. Plus, he was on board when all the mortage shenanigans went on and was “clueless” about it…Really? He was more measured and certainly more articulate in the BBC interview (NPR), but I just don’t like the man.

      • lomamonster says:

        I fully expect the UK to be overrun with a Rasta Invasion in the wake of Brexit.

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      F-ing morons…

    • 1mime says:

      Schwab has an interesting advisory out for its clients relative to BREXIT. Patience – stay the course. There is some interesting data on a global perspective. I’m sure all brokers are offering such advice, but thought I’d share. (Note: Schwab did not offer to give me back the money we lost today (-: just tried to ease my pain….)

      • lomamonster says:

        1mime – One note of caution. It is of ultimate importance to keep your eye on the quarterly advisor fees that you might be subject to. In a lot of cases, rather than losing the account altogether, advisors will be open to a renegotiation of the fee percentage during times such as these. They perceive that you (and they) might be in a real bind during a length of such uncertainty and would rather have a contractual agreement to cover at least some future period of time with the account. If you don’t at least explore that option, you might be subject to a financial bleed (in real dollars) that might even precipitate their having to sell your existing stock to cover the advisory fee. So watch it like a hawk, eh?

      • 1mime says:

        Thanks, Loma. Good advice…I don’t panic in situations like this – even in ’08. It is difficult when you are retired to make up the losses without becoming more aggressive, but I let’s hope that the US becomes an even more attractive investment haven given the potential of uncertainty in Europe. I will keep your suggestion in mind though. Not too many options for geezers.

  24. flypusher says:

    A young Brit’s reaction to Brexit:

    Expanding on what I posted below, here’s the sentiment that makes me want to smack a bunch of people very hard upside their heads: Micheal Gove saying “Britain has had enough of experts.” He and Trump are like twins separated at birth. This anti-intellectualism is going to be the death of Western Civilization if we don’t squash it like the loathesome disease-carrying vermin it is.

    You want to argue for Brexit based on issues with unaccountable bureaucrats? Fair enough, there is some substance there. But comparing experts to Nazis? Then you’re an idiot and I wish that there was a fair and just and impossible-to-abuse mechanism of keeping you from voting.

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      One wonders if this kind of crap will turn entire generations off of democracy. The People can no longer be trusted to not be complete goddamn idiots.

      Man, that Baby Boom generation. What a disaster they’ve been for the rest of us.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        Important to keep in mind that the Founding Fathers weren’t particularly fond of democracy. Recognizing the proverbial poison that could spew from populism and effective mob rule (hello, Donald Trump), the only direct elections they gave to the people were to the House of Representatives. Senate elections were dictated by state legislatures and the presidency was also decided by a select few.

        Frankly, one can’t help but think they would feel vindicated if they saw what’s happening today. The ideal of democracy sounds well and good, but only insofar as there’s a well-educated and intelligent electorate behind it.

      • 1mime says:

        I know what you mean Ryan, but I don’t think one has to be well educated or intelligent to make a good vote – what they have to do is care, and try to understand what they are voting for or against. Common sense and conviction are pretty significant contributors to good voting.

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      Fly, there is gonna be some major, major buyers remorse because of this in the UK, and I think it’s going to have reverberations around the world. I think it may actually be positive.

      Hopefully this will cause a resurgance in yhe value of facts, and an increased recognition (and rejection of) fear mongering scare tactics. And it needs to start with the media. Today.

      In the coming weeks, I think polls in the UK are going to show that ppl realize theyve been duped.

  25. Rob Ambrose says:

    Hmmmm. Didn’t take long for one of the major pieces of propaganda for Brexit to fall by the wayside.

    This guy is cut from the same cloth as Trump. Ignore any semblance of facts, never ask yourself “is this good for the country”, make up falsehoods to spread fear, and pitch impossible ” solutions” that will never happen.

    All that matters to these ppl is winning. What happens after? Who cares? Once you’ve “won” that’s all that matters I guess.

  26. “By zooming out a bit further, ‘The Politics of Crazy’ sees the death of the middleman as a necessary evolutionary step, one consistent with an emerging environment in which people are freer, more prosperous, and generally more competent than ever before to handle a wider range of self-government.”

    Bingo. And yet, as recent events so poignantly demonstrate, the tendency of the political class (Rauch included), on both sides of the aisle is *always* more cow bell. Orlando? More restriction, less freedom, more oversight. Bill of Rights? Who needs ’em, when we can have rule by unelected, nameless, faceless bureaucrats instead. It’s beyond disturbing.

    The thing is, people prefer liberty. Take Brexit, for instance. Those on the left who seem to *like* rule by unelected, nameless, faceless bureaucrats, are only too happy to ascribe it all to racism triggered by immigration from the Middle East. Perhaps there is an element of that, but I view it as only the seed crystal dropped into an already supersaturated solution. People who partake of our shared western cultural heritage (particularly the Scottish Enlightenment) *like* self determination. They *like* accountable, representational government. The EU provides neither, and the intrusion of the EU bureaucracy into the daily lives of the citizens living under its yoke has been ever increasing. Something like Brexit was utterly inevitable, and if it didn’t happen with this vote, it would have just happened later. Nor was it all surprising that the Brits led the charge, and you can bet your shorts others will follow. The Dutch won’t be far behind. And just wait for it: Texit. (Not that it will happen, but if I don’t hear somebody utter, “Texit,” by the end of the day, I’ll be amazed.)

    On this side of the pond, Bernie and Trump are symptomatic of the same rejection of the bureaucratic state/corporatist Leviathan. In our election, Hillary is the candidate of more cow bell. The left and all its media champions insists on portraying Hillary as inevitable. They keep on using that word, inevitable. Inevitable. Somehow, I don’t think it means what they think it means.

    • tuttabellamia says:

      I view the Donald versus Hillary contest more as as a case of risk versus safety, not just because of their political philosophies, but because we’re not really sure what we’ll get from Mr. Trump, based on his unpredictability, and we do know what to except from Mrs. Clinton, based on her past experience.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        I admit I fall under the “safety” category because I am not one to take major risks. As I posted just this morning on the previous thread, I am in favor of new ideas, alternative ways of doing things, thinking outside the box, and shaking things up occasionally, perhaps even gradually phasing out major programs, but these things and their potential consequences have to be considered and not just jumped on because they sound good.

        This goes for both sides, whether it be things like leaving the EU/abolishing the IRS (conservative); or calling for mandatory voting or restricting firearm access to anyone who happens to post an angry comment on a blog (liberal).

      • “a case of risk versus safety”

        Well, that’s just it, Tutta. People have been expecting their government to deliver safety, stability and security, and they haven’t been getting it, for a long time now. No job security, no economic security, no income stability, let alone growth, and increasingly, no physical security. In fact, people look at their government and, all too often, come away with the impression that their government is actively conspiring against them on these items. A vote for Hillary is a vote for more of the status quo, and the status quo is no good. And that’s how you get Bernie and Trump.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        @Tracy Thorleifson: No, the reason we have Trump is because the Republican Party has been taking advantage of white identity politics for decades now and it’s finally time for this devil to collect its due. Advances in our economy and its collective opportunity for all have left many elderly whites feeling as if the country doesn’t belong to them anymore and they’re pissed off. Trump is taking advantage of them and playing them all for suckers.

      • 1mime says:

        Generally, I agree with you, Ryan, but there are a whole lot of young people (granted, most all of which are white) who are Trump supporters….probably for better reasons than the older whites, but they’re out there. I’ve met them. Most are experiencing hard times due to economy, health, school loans, jobs…so the basic reasons are legitimate, but they are picking the wrong savior. On that point, we totally concur.

    • MassDem says:

      Texit? For the love of Pete, just go already! For those who are unhappy with that prospect, there is always the dual citizenship option.

      BTW, Scotland voted definitively to stay in the EU. So much for the “Scottish Enlightenment”. Or maybe there are no true Scotsmen left….

      • MassDem, I have little doubt that John Locke (though not a Scot) is spinning in his grave at rate which, were his mortal remains fitted with an armature, would provide clean energy for the planet indefinitely.

      • duncancairncross says:

        Scotland has always had a better education system than England – and the Scots are significantly LESS sheeplike than the English
        Historically this meant that they were difficult to rule – we went through a LOT of Kings!

        But I am not at all surprised that they voted more sensibly than the English

    • tuttabellamia says:

      Never fall for the trap that something is “inevitable,” and that you are therefore powerless to do anything about it. Nothing is inevitable.

      And new is not necessarily better. Modernity is overrated.

    • 1mime says:

      I am weary of reading that those on the left are clueless and undemanding of our government – that we want government to do everything for us, and can’t be bothered to challenge the status quo. We may have different priorities, true, but we care just as much as conservatives about efficiency and fairness. Might I also suggest that social issues are more challenging than fiscal policy. Just because we don’t want to “drown government in a bathtub” doesn’t mean poorly executed government is acceptable. What is true is that many on the left believe there is a solid role for government in our lives. What that government looks like is where the political process comes in.

      I believe the key message in Lifer’s post was this: adapt, simplify, make relevant. Anyone who can’t see how fast our world is changing better move back to the family farm. That goes for lots of issues, BTW. I was surprised by Rauch’s proposal to return many features (earmarks was one) of yesterday’s politics as a means of making leadership more effective. In my opinion, these “gadgets” are symbols of a time when buying votes was de rigeur. Even though it still goes on, we can hope that it is more often accomplished in the light of day. What is more interesting to me is how we make the transition from the old political structure/process to engage in our new economy, balanced with social order and still offer maximum opportunity for all participants – not just a select class. Mixing it all up on a world stage definitely makes it more challenging, but that is where we are. Once again, Lifer is looking at the big picture.

      Lifer. I’d love to see you collaborate with Mr. Rauch on the common areas of concern you share. I think the result would be fascinating. Granted, a book offers a larger template than does a long essay, but it would be most interesting to see the two of you put your heads together. You need to send Mr. Rauch a copy of your book, The Politics of Crazy, and see what happens.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        I do realize we are in the process of and/or on the verge of major change on a political and social scale, and I am optimistic that things will work out as long as we all use our voice and participate in the process to the extent that suits us, even if there are growing pains and the most assertive among us work to impose their beliefs on the rest of us, and the more retiring among us choose stubbornness and isolation as a coping mechanism. We all have different personalities and therefore different roles to play in the process, but we all need to participate in some way.

      • 1mime says:

        Tutta, those are nice thoughts but that method hasn’t worked for a long time in politics. That’s why unions came into being, and alternate parties, and major donors, and political Pacs….power is what’s been running things. When enough people begin to vote, THAT will change things, but, until then, people with your gentle spirit will continue to be disappointed.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Thanks, Mime.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Mime, I tend to march to the beat of my own drum but without calling attention to myself, so voting is the perfect way for me to express my views. It’s private and unobtrusive.

      • 1mime says:

        You are a consistently nice person, Tutta. Each of us has our own style. Not everyone can be a mouthy old broad (-;

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      >] “Bingo. And yet, as recent events so poignantly demonstrate, the tendency of the political class (Rauch included), on both sides of the aisle is *always* more cow bell. Orlando? More restriction, less freedom, more oversight. Bill of Rights? Who needs ’em, when we can have rule by unelected, nameless, faceless bureaucrats instead. It’s beyond disturbing.”

      Hey, I’m all for the Bill of Rights and more freedom. But, y’know, when you’ve got a country with more mass slaughters than any other on the face of the planet, it’s time to kick some rhetorical ass. So let’s ban weapons that are specifically designed for mass slaughter and institute the same kind of registration and licensing requirements that we have for automobiles with all the rest. People will still have plenty of freedom to either be responsible and keep their guns or be irresponsible and be financially ruined. Their choice. 🙂

      >] “The thing is, people prefer liberty.”

      People like liberty insofar as they’re able to take care of themselves, sustain and provide for their families and pursue their dreams. In order for that to happen however, government is required to keep order and provide resources for its respective people to thrive.

      >] ” Nor was it all surprising that the Brits led the charge, and you can bet your shorts others will follow.”

      Mhmm, tell that to all the people who voted “leave” who are suddenly having a change of heart now that they realize what they actually voted for:

      >] “On this side of the pond, Bernie and Trump are symptomatic of the same rejection of the bureaucratic state/corporatist Leviathan.”

      Ah, that’s such a nice, simplistic explanation you’ve got there. Of course the majority of people who voted for “leave”, who are largely elderly and white, couldn’t possibly have any other motivations, could they? It couldn’t POSSIBLY have had anything to do with racial animus, could it? Oh, wait…

      • 1mime says:

        A light response is needed….let the young lead the way when the adults crash…….

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        @1mime: All for that. Just gotta make sure the adults don’t bring down the world with them so there’s still something worth saving.

    • Houston-Stay-At-Homer says:


      “They *like* accountable, representational government. The EU provides neither, and the intrusion of the EU bureaucracy into the daily lives of the citizens living under its yoke has been ever increasing. Something like Brexit was utterly inevitable, and if it didn’t happen with this vote, it would have just happened later.”

      I think one could make a pretty convincing argument that people tend to kind of like coming together into larger and larger groups. I would argue that a global, interconnected economy with somewhat large bureaucracies at the nation-level is more “utterly inevitable” than Texas, California, and England going off on their own self-determined way.

      • antimule says:

        > I would argue that a global, interconnected economy with somewhat large bureaucracies at the nation-level is more “utterly inevitable” than Texas, California, and England going off on their own self-determined way.

        Possibly, but that doesn’t mean that over regulation is desirable.

        I think that there were three major reasons for brexit (which I think was a bad choice, by the way)

        1. immigration from Syria – not much to say here
        2. austerity measures – essentially, elites have decided that cutting their taxes is a good thing for everyone. Commoners have different ideas.
        3. bureaucracy – Brussels does tend to over regulate, and that annoys people.

      • duncancairncross says:

        Hi Antimule

        I am not convinced about (3)
        IMHO it is not so much “Brussels does tend to over regulate” as the fact that the media especially the tabloids keeps telling people that “Brussels does tend to over regulate”

        The power of the “Big Lie” is enormous!

        As a US example the GOP is considered to be best for the economy DESPITE the FACT that the US economy ALWAYS does better under the Dems

        Also security and the military
        These are GOP “strengths”
        BUT the biggest attack EVER on US home territory was under a GOP president and there are always MORE American deaths under the GOP

  27. Martin says:

    I read Rauch’s piece last night and found the most ‘interesting’ chapter to be the last one on prognosis and treatment: There isn’t much there. “i don’t have a quick solution to the current mess”. How do we incentivize the different stakeholders so that compromise and moderation is to their benefit? We are a very individualized society already and now our politics is going crazy because it can be hijacked by every individual who tries hard enough. Do we have to elect Trump and let him drive it over the cliff so that we can find a way back or is there a softer landing possible? Even if Rauch’s 2020 scenario unfolds, there still is no prescribed path to de-escalation. Do we need a war? A gun for everyone? An economic collapse? What else?

    • 1mime says:

      According to my friendly group today, we just need to go back to states’ rights. Yeah, allll the way back……Can’t wait to see how they would cope with a war, weather disaster, financial collapse…..Guess we’ll just send in the TX Rangers!

  28. MassDem says:

    To be fair, Rauch was writing a magazine article, not a book, so I didn’t have a problem with it being narrower in scope than “The Politics of Crazy”. And I did see many commonalities between the two–in my mind, I equated Rauch’s loss of political “middlemen” as part of the loss of social & political capital you wrote about.

    I’m probably showing my confusion here, but it seems that you and Rauch are talking about two different, but equally important, things–kind of a process vs. product argument. From what I can tell, you are writing about changes in what types of legislation are enacted: legislation that depends less on federal governmental regulatory oversight, and more on ‘market-based’ solutions, where oversight is transferred in part to some non-governmental entity. For example, in the case of guns, oversight would be provided by states via licensing and the insurance industry. This type of legislation is an example of a product that better reflects the realities of our modern society–BTW I would agree with that approach for this case (bipartisanship!).

    Legislation, no matter how wonderful it is, does not pass itself, and that is what I think Rauch is talking about. We have removed virtually all the levers that force politicians to act in a coherent and reasonable manner, and chaos and inaction have been the results. Rauch proposes that the parties be strengthened, I suppose because that is infrastructure that is already in place. If political parties can’t do this, than something else (“new social institutions already evolving from communications innovation”, what does this mean–rule by the Twittertariat?) will need to take their place to rein in the crazy. Either way, the process of governing needs to be rid of the chaos syndrome if it is to function–a process argument.

    I suspect that deep down, you agree with Rauch. Else, why be a GOPLifer? Parties do perform a vital function.

  29. kebesays says:

    One more thing, Brexit may do what years of IRA terrorism couldn’t: unify Ireland:

    (Also, if Irish unification actually happens, I’d LOVE to see the celebrations in Southie!)

  30. Kebe says:

    I first read this headline, and thought it was about The Politics of Crazy ACROSS the Atlantic (i.e. Brexit).

    The Rauch article struck me as a plea from the pundit & political classes that they (and only they) can fix things.

  31. flypusher says:

    Good call. I can only hope you are right about Trump losing big. That’s not the final victory over the crazy, but rather the first beating back of the forces of chaos that allows what’s left of the forces of sanity to regroup and start fixing the problems that feed the crazy.

    • goplifer says:

      Trump’s defeat is probably only the beginning. What happens when both parties nominate some version of Donald Trump? We got close this time. Unless something changes it’s a near certainty in the next few years.

      • flypusher says:

        You’re describing one of my worst nightmares. This is what we get when we neglect public education. Uniformed voters who fall for simple solutions that can’t fix complicated problems, and make ignorant choices at the polls. I can accept that a person who has paid attention to the issues could draw a different conclusion and vote for a different candidate than I would because 1) nobody had the same set of priorities, and 2) all oxen are not gored equally. We could agree to disagree. But the voter who choses on the basis of something that is just not true???? Even when you can easy prove it’s not true??Gahhhhhhhhh!!! Call me elitist, but I have zero respect for those people.

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      Brexit stands a startling wake-up call for Americans, particularly young Americans who, whether by a self-reinforcing bubble that tells them that Trump couldn’t possibly get elected or simply the stress of their own daily lives, may be on the fence about voting this November. Take it from their brethren across the ocean:

      A majority of old white people taking a younger generation down a path that they don’t want. Sound familiar?

  32. Rob Ambrose says:

    Be nice if you got some recognition for that. You were clearly ahead of the game.

    As for the “left is susceptible to craziness too” I think I buy that . however, I am adamant that the 2 party system NEEDS two sane, sensible, and reasonable parties to counterweight each other. When one party veers tonthe insane, the other party will also be susceptible to crazy.

    My point is, yes, the left has issues. But these issues are the inevitable reaction to the dipshittery started on the right the past 8 years.

    • n1cholas says:

      Name an elected Democratic politician in an office higher than local official who you deem even remotely as crazy as sitting Republican Senators, Representatives, Governors, and the Republican party nominee for President.

      Sure, there are lefties who are just as crazy as righties – of course, their lever of power typically resides as a commenter on some barely-read blog.

      BothSidesDoIt™ is the BigLie that allows the Republican party to go full-speed into lunatic land.

      The Democratic party is essentially a centrist, sane party, with a left wing that is gaining strength. As I’ve mentioned in multiple places, and here, sane Republicans should carpetbag the Democratic right-wing, and allow a small segment of the left wing of the Democratic party to do what left-wing parties have done throughout history – act as a minority party slowly pulling the conversation leftward, as the right-wing sane party implements change in a responsible manner.

      The Republican party has been unsalvageable since 2004.

      • 1mime says:

        I am aware that to many conservatives, Bernie Sanders is the Lefty equivalent of a Donald Trump. Needless to say, I don’t think there’s any comparison. That there could be crazy lefties in the future is best left for that time. From my perspective, I’m with you n1cholas and Rob, the Republican Party has pretty well got that category cornered – for the foreseeable future….

  33. 1mime says:

    Lifer, I thought of you the whole time I read that. I hope everyone here who hasn’t read the Rauch piece will, and those who haven’t read your “Politics of Crazy” will. Are you sure you and Mr. Rauch aren’t related (-:

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