A reformicon gets woke

Not so long ago Avik Roy was a rising star on the right. A graduate of MIT and the Yale School of Medicine, Roy wrote the only credible conservative counter-proposal to the Affordable Care Act. Along with Reihan Salam, Yuval Levin, and Josh Barro he was among the party’s “reformicons,” younger thinkers working to craft reality-based conservative policy proposals.

In that capacity Roy has advised three Republican Presidential contenders. He wrote policy proposals for the Manhattan Institute and maintained an influential blog at Forbes. Now, he has a dire message for the Republican Party.

In an interview with Vox this week he expressed his conviction that the party will probably disintegrate, torn apart by its attachment to white nationalism. His is the most candid assessment of the party’s condition that has yet been issued by an insider. Expect others to follow soon.

Needless to say, Roy’s new posture comes as a welcome relief. It’s worth looking at his assessments and comparing them to some of the ideas that have appeared here at GOPLifer over recent years. Let’s walk through some of the high points from the Vox piece and their companions from the GOPLifer blog.

“I don’t think the Republican Party and the conservative movement are capable of reforming themselves in an incremental and gradual way,” he said. “There’s going to be a disruption.”

How to End a Party

“the Republican Party has lost its right to govern, because it is driven by white nationalism rather than a true commitment to equality for all Americans.”

Can the GOP Survive as a White Nationalist Party?

“Goldwater’s nomination in 1964 was a historical disaster for the conservative movement,” Roy tells me, “because for the ensuing decades, it identified Democrats as the party of civil rights and Republicans as the party opposed to civil rights.”

Libertarianism Failed African-Americans

“The fact is, today, the Republican coalition has inherited the people who opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 — the Southern Democrats who are now Republicans,” Roy says. “Conservatives and Republicans have not come to terms with that problem.”

The Myth of the Southern Strategy

This, Roy believes, is where the conservative intellectual class went astray. By refusing to admit the truth about their own party, they were powerless to stop the forces that led to Donald Trump’s rise.

Why Republican Criticism of Trump Fails

Trump’s politics of aggrieved white nationalism — labeling black people criminals, Latinos rapists, and Muslims terrorists — succeeded because the party’s voting base was made up of the people who once opposed civil rights.

How the GOP is Winning Among the Poor

Sympathy for the (Blue-Eyed) Devil

“Either the disruption will come from the Republican Party representing cranky old white people and a new right-of-center party emerging in its place, or a third party will emerge, à la the Republicans emerging from the Whigs in the [1850s].”

Libertarianism for the Reality-Based Community

And finally this disturbing excerpt:

For the entire history of modern conservatism, its ideals have been wedded to and marred by white supremacism. That’s Roy’s own diagnosis, and I think it’s correct. As a result, we have literally no experience in America of a politically viable conservative movement unmoored from white supremacy

For those puzzled by the inability of American conservatives to evolve in a manner similar to the British Tories, that final quote hits home. There is no conservative movement in the US beyond a few wonky academics and their small fanbase. No such movement of any size or power has existed in the US since the Great Depression. “Conservatism” was coopted by America’s racial dead-enders, primarily in the South.

Hardly anyone alive in the US has any memory of conservatism or its concerns. That intellectual vacuum on the right is an enormous obstacle to any credible reform.

What is Conservatism?

Roy is right. The seeds of Goldwater’s bad judgment have ripened. No force remains with the power to halt the Republican Party’s descent into regional status as a party of white men. Americans interested in markets, commerce, trade, and personal liberty must look elsewhere for an organization to represent and promote our concerns.

The Missing Story of the 2014 Election

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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373 comments on “A reformicon gets woke
  1. DFC says:

    Chris, I don’t think Roy is looking deep enough. White nationalism is a symptom, not the illness.

    The foundation of conservatism is falling apart, so everything on top of it must fall too, and at the foundation, it’s now nothing more than a political right to anti-empiricism, and the right to nullify facts as one wishes as the ultimate expression of freedom. You can’t have white nationalism without denying the fact of fact itself, which permits the denial of the facts of Black humanity and personhood. Stevens had to address this in the Cornerstone Speech. Stevens knew that after the Founders (he blamed Jefferson) had set the equality of man as a self-evident truth, that he couldn’t just dismiss that–he had to attack the idea of self-evidence on its own terms, and say that Jefferson and the founders had to have been wrong at the bedrock. The Confederacy was founded on a different truth, he said–which is to say, that there is no self-evident truth in any way, time or place that wasn’t subject to reversal based on power alone, which is what they were doing.

    They were doomed to lose because they had a culture that was fundamentally against the kind of empirical thinking upon which science, industrialization and urban cultures thrive, permitting mass manufacturing, economic might and the kind of rapid evolution of technology that created so many wartime inventions in the North while the South was starving and importing muskets. The CSA embodied Conservatism–they attacked progress because it tested them. That was impermissible. They tried to isolate themselves–it’s telling, isn’t it, that the Confederacy couldn’t reconcile themselves with the fact that the whole Union and the world had repudiated slavery; they had to feel they were somehow the only sane and noble civilization on the planet and that everything else was so plainly wrong and corrupted that they were above it per se, by Divine judgement, so they weren’t subject to quotidian tests and rules. Deo vindice.

    They faced the same crisis in 1964 with TV documenting their disease, with the nation seeing people getting firehosed and bombed, with their murderers being arrested and prosecuted after decades of lynchings; and they face it again now–they’re being tested and measured in ways that threaten all of Kirk’s presuppositions and ambiguous bullshit. It’s not just white nationalism that’s under siege, it’s their foundational anti-empiricism, anti-vaccination, anti-global warming, anti-science and education, their blinder laws attempting to cultivate doubt and prevent measurement of gun data and pollution data, their insistence that they are still entitled to their truths as their freedom just because they want to believe them so badly, even when their truths spread measles and waste and bigotry. They’re facing the same onslaught of measurement and empiricism that the South faced 150 years ago from publishing and photography in its day, documenting slavery’s brutality in photos and books, infiltrating their strongholds with Darwin and Uncle Tom’s Cabin and Alexander Gardner; and from the greatest logician ever to hold the office in the White House. Now the hard-core Trumpists own Conservatism, and they hate that same infiltration by elitist empiricists who judge the facts, not their presuppositions, in permitting gay marriage and traffic cameras and vaccinations and eradicating teleologies in their laws, Creationism in classrooms and Ten Commandments monuments in the public square. They can’t make up and defend their own facts anymore. They can’t lynch reality and nullify thermodynamics. They see companies like Microsoft in the NC Research Triangle and Dell in Round Rock and they see it–they’re occupied by the enemy already. The war’s over.

    They’re outraged by it. What worries me most is that this situation has to evolve. What we’re seeing now a death rattle of anti-empiricism and a perverse resurrection of the Lost Cause, and this is where the real danger lies, in the last gasp of narrative and self-mythologizing in the Right. It’s 300 years in the making, and in the modern era it’s been fed and managed like a fire by the likes of the GOP under Gingrich and his minions. Now it’s of control. They can’t manage a candidate who Tweets like a sniper while they deliberate. They can’t take their own playbook back from someone who uses it better than they do. And Trump is laying the groundwork for discrediting the whole election. He’s going to go down hard, stoke raw rage where he can, attack the GOP from the Right in its own districts, and take them out.  Trump’s trolls like Stone and the Breitbart crowd are already breaking ground for their last act, when this anger stops trying to achieve power and descends into raw nihilism. The Times and the Post and the outlets that still pride themselves on putative civility seem oblivious to the threat. They’re still diagnosing Trump’s lunacy like it’s quirky and amazing, and they’re making cocktail party conversation with amused can-you-belive-this naivete. I think they greatly underestimate the danger he’s ready to pose, and how far he’ll go. Roy, Douthat, Dreher, Brooks–they don’t get it yet. They’re as much the Vichy GOP as Ryan and McConnell and McCain. And none of them sees what has to come next after this all collapses.

    • Sara Robinson says:

      This may be the best comment I’ve ever seen at this site, period, end of story. It’s all there.

      Who ARE you, anyway?

    • 1mime says:

      Very interesting thesis, DFC. I think we’re all coming to the realization that White Nationalism is the symptom, not the cause – although the consequences follow hard on reality. Lifer suggested in an earlier post that he believes there is a very strong possibility of anarchy resulting from the collapse of the hard right conservative movement. Ruby Ridges, militias, etc. So, I think you are correct when you predict that the end will be “loud” and possibly, violent. The thing I think about is how hard and loud it’s been for those who have been bearing the brunt of White Nationalism for over a century now. Their endurance and suffering has been clamped down by dominant forces, but we see that changing. Black Lives Matter and other groups who are forming on the fringes are unable and unwilling to “stuff it” anymore.

      As healthy as the collapse of White Nationalism will be for those who have used it for their own personal gain, and despite the new problems that may emerge, equality is worth it. We have enemies without America, but within America, it is us. And, we can fix this because it can no longer be suppressed or ignored. And, that is a good thing.

  2. Creigh says:

    Great article by David Frum in The Atlantic, paraphrasing arguments he is hearing from Trump supporters (“You Acela Corridor elites just don’t get it – the things you think disqualify Trump are exactly what we like.”) Charles Pierce said, after the RNC “These are people who aren’t interested in governing or even in being governed; they want to be ruled.”

    What Trump seems to be demonstrating is that if you don’t want to have a dictatorship, you’d better make sure you have a good democracy. Unfortunately, the Republican Party seems to be determined to wreck democracy if they can’t have things their way. But of course having democracy and also having things your way is a contradiction.

    • RobA says:

      I’m reminded of the Bible story if Samuel. Basically, Samuel was the judge of Israel (kind of like a non King head of state) and his sons were judges too, but they were corrupt. So the ppl if Israel demanded from Samuel that God appoint a king. Samuel talked to God and here’s what he said:

      ” So Samuel spoke all the words of the Lord to the people who had asked of him a king. 11 He said, “This will be the [d]procedure of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and place them for himself in his chariots and among his horsemen and they will run before his chariots. 12 He will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and of fifties, and some to [e]do his plowing and to reap his harvest and to make his weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. 13 He will also take your daughters for perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14 He will take the best of your fields and your vineyards and your olive groves and give them to his servants. 15 He will take a tenth of your seed and of your vineyards and give to his officers and to his servants. 16 He will also take your male servants and your female servants and your best young men and your donkeys and [f]use them for his work. 17 He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his servants. 18 Then you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.”

      19 Nevertheless, the people refused to listen to the voice of Samuel, and they said, “No, but there shall be a king over us, 20 that we also may be like all the nations, that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.” 21 Now after Samuel had heard all the words of the people, he repeated them in the Lord’s hearing. 22 The Lord said to Samuel, “Listen to their voice and [g]appoint them a king.” So Samuel said to the men of Israel, “Go every man to his city.”

      God himself told them that a king would enslave and oppress them. That he would take their lands and their daughters. And still, they demanded to be ruled.

      Now obviously, the Bible is not a historical document and I’m not saying this exact exchange happened. But it’s a book, written by real living humans. The very fact that they even KNEW about this phenomenon (the desire sometimes of ppl to be ruled by an iron fist) suggests this is deeply ingrained in human nature. That doesn’t make it good of course. Violence is also deeply ingrained in human nature and sobwe have developed institutions and practices to keep those base urges in check.

    • formdib says:

      From the Mark Manson Medium article I posted below:

      “Or as one Reddit comment sadly put it recently, ‘It seems like people don’t actually want democracy anymore, they want a dictator who agrees with them.'”

      • RobA says:

        I would go aittke further and say it’s that ppl want a dictator who hates the same ppl they hate.

        And that’s pretty scary.

  3. tuttabellamia says:

    I got a chuckle this morning from something I heard on BBC Radio:

    A TALE OF TWO CONVENTIONS:

    “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

  4. RobA says:

    Mime, I know you think Trump would never skip debates. I really don’t think we’ll see any Trump/HRC debates. Trumps ego and bombast isn’t indicative of a man brimming with confidence, rather it’s a man trying to cover up severe insecurities, and that’s why he won’t do it. He knows he’s way out of his league in a 1on1 debate against HRC.

    To me, this sounds like he’s already laying groundwork for it:

    http://www.politico.com/story/2016/07/donald-trump-hillary-clinton-debate-schedule-226464

    • Much as part of me wants to say that there’s no way Trump’s ego would allow him to back out, Rob makes a good point and this is where things get complicated.

      Essentially, the question is which voice is the loudest in the cheap, gold-plated ripoff that was purchased from some guy wearing a monocle with a cheap Russian hat made of rat that is Trump’s ego. Does he have no choice to do it because he can’t stand the thought of being upstaged by Clinton or does he back out for, really, that very same reason?

      Let’s not try to analyze Trump’s mind and instead looking to the outside for the answer. Could he get away with it from his own rabid supporters? These are the people who were shouting “Lock her up!” at the RNC after all. Are they really going to come down on the guy for stiffing Clinton at a debate? It could well play into his supposed tough guy demeanor, If Trump tries to go that route.

      • RobA says:

        Indeed Ryan. And remember: debates have only been a regular feature sinc ethw 60’s. Around the same time as tax returns. Donald is already showing no worries about breaking the tax return tradition. I see nobreason why he would be too worried about breaking this one.

        Also, Trump THRIVES on vagueness and innuendo and never getting pinned down on an particular topic. I don’t see how much upside for him in a 1 on 1 debate.

      • 1mime says:

        The moderators HAVE to DO their jobs! They cannot let T equivocate or deflect.

    • vikinghou says:

      Hillary is an excellent debater and would no doubt own Trump, exposing once and for all his lack of discipline and knowledge of the issues. If Trump were to refuse to attend the debates, some of his followers would see this as a plus. However, the Presidential debates are such a tradition that a cowardly refusal would be a net negative in the eyes of the general voting population.

      • RobA says:

        I agree, but the same would’ve been said about not releasing taxes before this cycle.

        Now, I agree with you that this will be different. I think not debating will be far more politically damaging then not releasing taxes. But I think the calculation for Trump will be (and he’s probably right) is that whatever damage IS done by skipping the debates, it will probably be less then actually attending.

      • 1mime says:

        Anyone who supports Trump will be filled with so much Hillary – hate and Donald – oblivium that I doubt they’ll learn anything from the debates. It’s a lost cause. Those who “may” benefit from seeing the two engage over substantive issues, are the undecideds. Of course, many of the male undecideds will watch the NFL instead of watching the DJT vs HRC match up (-; Not realizing, of course, that professional football is no match for the debates…

      • flypusher says:

        Trump’s already been exposed, multiple times. His fans won’t care . But this can make the GOPe squirm even more.

    • 1mime says:

      I don’t guess it occurs to the man with empty space between his ears, that there is a little button on one’s remote – it’s called, “record”…..Not saying your tv won’t explode from the exchange, but, really?

    • Titanium Dragon says:

      The main danger of him backing out of the debates is A) being called a coward and B) the fact that it would play badly with the people who matter.

      I mean, let’s face it, there’s a chunk of people who will vote Trump no matter what. But they’re kind of irrelevant, not in the sense that their votes don’t count, but that they aren’t enough.

      • 1mime says:

        With the first debate schedule Sept. 26, we should know pretty soon….altho he skipped out on the primary debate with little notice. He’s such a pitiful person.

  5. Any one following North Carolina? The court ruled the changes in their voting ID laws unconstitutional! But the law was even worse than i thought:

    “In particular, the court found that North Carolina lawmakers requested data on racial differences in voting behaviors in the state. “This data showed that African Americans disproportionately lacked the most common kind of photo ID, those issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV),” the judges wrote.

    So the legislators made it so that the only acceptable forms of voter identification were the ones disproportionately used by white people. “With race data in hand, the legislature amended the bill to exclude many of the alternative photo IDs used by African Americans,” the judges wrote. “The bill retained only the kinds of IDs that white North Carolinians were more likely to possess.”

    • 1mime says:

      The law was terrible, but imagine the fact that the NC Legislature and Governor thought they could get away with this heinous piece of legislation. If you look further into the original court challenge to the law, the list of other prominent Republicans who signed on to defend it is pretty sad, as well.

    • vikinghou says:

      My favorite line in the ruling was that the law was obviously designed to “target African-Americans with almost surgical precision.”

      Once again the judicial branch rescued us from the dysfunctional executive and legislative branches. As I’ve been saying, in this Presidential election, choosing who will appoint new Supreme Court justices is the crucial issue. Sorry to harp on this, but…

  6. Griffin says:

    Wow it seems like every blogger I regularly read is coming to the same conclusion about this election (yes yes I know spotlight fallacy and all that). From David Brin:

    “Seriously. Many of the decisions we face are not about “left” or “right” in any traditional political way. It is largely about facts and science versus believers in ‘truthy” incantations.

    It is about sanity. And survival. And at some point you are going to have to ponder whether your favorite, comfy incantation-magical-spells (of either left or right) are really worth risking the planet and your children.”

    http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2016/07/yes-this-really-matters.html

    And he talks about you too Chris! Calling you a “sane conservative”, of course.

    • 1mime says:

      It appears that Chris’ message is resonating and expanding to wider audiences. Well deserved and proud of ya! (Sorry for the reason, though.)

      Another fine article. You guys are putting some really fine reading out there! Thank you!

  7. formdib says:

    https://markmanson.net/crazy-world

    “In the attention economy, people are rewarded for extremism. They are rewarded for indulging their worst biases and stoking other people’s worst fears. They are rewarded for portraying the world as a place that is burning to the ground, whether it’s because of gay marriage, or police violence, or Islamic terrorism, or low interest rates. The internet has generated a platform where apocalyptic beliefs are celebrated and spread, and moderation and reason is something that becomes too arduous and boring to stand.

    And this constant awareness of every fault and flaw of our humanity, combined with an inundation of doomsayers and narcissistic nihilists commanding our attention space, is what is causing this constant feeling of a chaotic and insecure world that doesn’t actually exist.

    And then: it’s this feeling that is the cause of the renewed xenophobia and nationalism across the western world. It’s this feeling of insecurity and chaos that is igniting the platforms of divisive strong-men like Trump, Erdogan, and Putin. It’s this feeling that has consumed the consciousness of millions of people, and caused them to look at their country through the lens of a fun-house mirror: exaggerating all that is wrong and minimizing all that is right.”

    • tuttabella says:

      Excellent article. I TOLD you social media and internet news were to blame for all our ills. 🙂

      That’s why I’ve gone back to reading print journalism. It’s more quiet and thoughtful

      • tuttabellamia says:

        The funniest line was about how it’s touted and celebrated that starving kids in Africa have free iPads.

        I would read his book but the F word in the title is a turnoff for me, a suggestion of an overall lack of seriousness in his approach.

      • 1mime says:

        Tutta, I thought of you when I read the Manson piece. You have stated your concerns many times. The use of vulgarity doesn’t bother me (one of six kids after all), because it is presented within making a point. Could he do without it? Probably, but it’s how a lot of people speak and I slide right over it when it’s done in the context of honest expression. Heck, sometimes I wish I was that honest in my commentary, because I surely feel that way (-;

      • formdib says:

        I was asked to choose a focus for my degree, and working with my department advisor we came up with ‘epistemology of mass communication’, as in addition to studying production and theory, I also took a lot of communication and journalism, art and literature criticism, and especially media criticism classes.

        Sometimes I feel like I should double-down on the idea of ‘epistemology of mass communication’ and blog about the shifts and changes I see in how and why we communicate with each other;

        but so many other bloggers already do that and so much of ‘media criticism’ as its practiced is either wingnut blogs using words like ‘disinformation’ (which to be fair, exists) or social justice warrior blogs complaining about Matt Damon leading the largest budgeted Chinese movie (which to be fair, is dumb).

        Partially the real need I see is to somehow draw people out of their strange anti-journalism and remind them that the media works more often than it doesn’t.

        Which, of course, is like reminding people that the government works more often than it doesn’t, or corporations work more often than they don’t. People just don’t want to believe it.

      • 1mime says:

        Formdib, you make total sense to me. You would be an excellent blogger but I suspect Chris will agree that it does interfere with the “day” job. If you decide to go that route, let us know so we can follow.

    • 1mime says:

      This is what I love about this blog and all who post here! Terrific article, great thinking. I am looking forward to following more of Mark Manson. I’ve subscribed. He gets it!

      Regarding the excerpt you posted from Manson. I think we are all guilty of a Half-empty posture. It’s too easy and too quick to throw thoughts and comments out there without sufficient reflection. This article has really been helpful to me because it clearly supports what is happening and why. Imagine if we had to go to the trouble of writing this out (by hand), putting it in an envelope, stamping it and dropping it in the mail. Would any of us fire off as many missives as we do online? The point, of course, is not that we should avail ourselves of the incredible power of the internet, but that we need to be more careful with what we say, what we believe, and how we filter the information we absorb. It matters.

      I am reminded of Tutta’s many concerns about just this problem. Too much information from people we don’t know, with too little verification from personal association. It is both incredibly exciting and dangerous at the same time.

      Really, really important thinking here. I’m going to share it and try to inculcate it in my own world. Thanks, Formdib!

  8. Griffin says:

    Foreign policy experts react to the Donald’s appeals to Russia.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/29/world/europe/russia-trump-clinton-email-hacking.html

    I’m trying to imagine the Donald’s foreign policy if he gets elected… would he have enough influence to keep the US out of NATO affairs? Would NATO, without US backing, even try to fend off Russian agression against the Baltics? Would Russia absorbing the Ukraine and Baltic states be nearly enough gains for them to return to a quasi-superpower status? How willing would Republican senators be willing to go along with this? So many questions, and I hope we never discover the answers.

    • RobA says:

      I honestly think he would delegate almost everything. Be doesn’t ha e the intellectual curiosity to learn about things that don’t personally affect him, and apparently an incredibly short attention span. I truly think he’s going to delegate almost everything, and then spend most of his time running his business.

      • Shiro17 says:

        I had an intellectual debate with a friend about whether this could be in some ways a positive. I.e., if you are worried that the Executive has too much power, Trump would actually curb it in some ways since he would either delegate things and wouldn’t use it himself, or everyone instead would be far more concerned with limiting the President’s power if it’s Trump at the helm rather than someone measured and rational like Obama or Clinton. The other side is that this same hands-off style is what W used to run things, to his great detriment.

      • 1mime says:

        “to his great detriment….”, and, our country’s.

      • 1mime says:

        Tonight, Lawrence O’Donnell (MSNBC) had an exceptional program. Guests were: the Khans (Muslim father who spoke at DNC Convention); Tony Schwartz – author who “ghosted” the autobiography of Donald Trump’s book, The Art of the Deal; and finally, the dean of legal scholars, Laurence Tribe. They spoke about Donald Trump. It was a powerful message from all three. The Khans basically re-stated their concern for Trump’s attacks on the Constitutional rights of immigrants and service to country; Schwartz described his intense worry about the “dark hole” in Trump; and Tribe spoke to the potential laws broken with Trump’s invitation to Russia to hack state servers. He described Trump as “unfit”, having the mentality of a 4 year old, and not being in any way, shape or form stable enough to be President. Tribe is often referred to as the “dean” of lawyers in America. He is highly respected and this is the first time I have ever heard him speak out personally like this. It was a triple damning of Trump. Watch it on re-run if you can.

        Is anyone listening?

      • Griffin says:

        Don’t worry Mime I’m listening. I do plan on at least watching the Muslim father’s speech as you recommended.

        Also about delegating… I’m not sure. Even if he does most of his closest foreign policy advisors are pro-Russia, so how much influence they would have in his administration it’s tough to tell. Also paleoconservatives seem to generally be pro-Putin and they would get a seat at the table in his administration as his “ideology” is closest to paleoconservatism if anything (albeit an inconsistant form).

      • 1mime says:

        Do you need a link to the Mr. Khan’s presentation? If so, this is complete – some aren’t. And, as pointed out earlier, FOX cut this from their coverage….conveniently, which with their large viewership and the “need” of its viewers to have seen a moral, quiet couple speak on loss and patriotism, is too bad. Here’s the cnn link. It’s not long but it is quietly powerful. Everyone should view this.

        http://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2016/07/29/dnc-convention-khizr-khan-father-of-us-muslim-soldier-entire-speech-sot.cnn

      • Griffin says:

        Wow that was a great speech hopefully it inspires more people to vote, and it’s tough for Trump to denigrate the parents of a fallen marine. Unfortunately I don’t think it’ll get through to the white nationalist crowd though, ala Ann Coulter.

      • 1mime says:

        Especially when the television station of preference for most right wingers is FOX who cut the Khan’s presentation!!!! Man, do they need to be called out for doing that. I assume this clip is circulating without FOX’s help. Let us hope so because there are a lot of people who need to see this.

      • vikinghou says:

        Speaking of Ann Coulter, she was slammed by several prominent conservatives after making insulting remarks concerning Mr. Khan’s speech.

        http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/289754-conservative-writer-slams-ann-coulter-for-attack-on-war-heros

    • 1mime says:

      From the conservative journal, The National Review, this take down of Donald Trump.

      http://www.nationalreview.com/article/430137/donald-trump-conservative-movement-menace

  9. formdib says:

    Abject curiosity drove me to check out the reddit AMA for Donald Trump featured on /r/The_Donald.

    A note that Obama also had a reddit AMA… on /r/AMA. What that means is that Obama took questions from ALL of reddit, whereas Trump took questions only from his specific dedicated subreddit.

    Which was heavily moderated and curated.

    Guys, I’d actually recommend it, provided you can get past the fact that it’s disturbing. For one thing, it’s a perfect closed system test case example of echo chamber, since all dissenting opinion and anything that could be taken as dissenting opinion is completely deleted. Not just downvoted, but outright deleted.

    Because of that, it actually gives good insight in how Donald Trump can live in his own mind, and how his followers can live in their own world. All of the questions and answers make sense, provided you live in a world without any counter-factuals.

    • 1mime says:

      That’s enlightening. It’ s also scary to think how totally unaware this isolation makes a man who is seeking the presidency. Especially when he purports to care about the working man/woman.

  10. Stephen says:

    Don’t get complacent. There is a real chance Trump could win. We need to be working till election night. It is hard for me to understand the appeal of a ignorant bully con artist? But many people will vote for Trump.

    • 1mime says:

      You can really, really make a difference in your home state – FL. Winning FL is crucial. Winning TX is impossible for Dems, but we might win some down ticket spots. Work hard, Stephen. Make a difference!

      • RobA says:

        If HRC takes FL, Trump is realistically finished.

      • 1mime says:

        No, he’s not. I posted (from 538) a set of alternative routes for Trump and/or Hillary to win. OH, PA, NC are huge electoral states too. FL is crucial and it would make it easier, but not a slam dunk.

      • @1mime: Trump loses Florida and he’s cooked, mime. No way he loses my home state and wins in the Rust Belt (Michigan, Wisconsin, etc).

        Without Pennsylvania but including New Hampshire, that’s 260 EV for Clinton with all remaining so-called battleground states; four of which (Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia and North Carolina) push her over the top. Win any two of the remaining three (Iowa, Colorado and Nevada) and it’s the same result.

        Yes, we must be as vigilant and energized as humanly possible going into November. Agree with you 100%, but any path to a Trump presidency goes through Florida.

      • 1mime says:

        Now might be a good time to give up cable, Ryan (-; The next 100 days are going to be one ad after another and they are going to be ugly. Trump hasn’t started his ad program yet, which is interesting. He’s husbanding his campaign money to spend in crunch time…which many pundits think is smart. (especially if you have less $ than your opponent).

        FL has always been important and is critical now. GOTV!

      • @1mime: Not really, mime. The Olympics are going to be starting soon and politics is going to be the last thing on people’s mind, even less what they want to hear about after going through the conventions. Afterwards, Labor Day will be right around the corner, which is where people’s opinions start getting cemented in.

        Now is the time to be getting your message out, as far and to as many people as possible.

      • 1mime says:

        I’m being too subtle with my humor again……I was referring to the campaign ad blitz that we can expect from here on….non-stop phone calls. Now is exactly the time to be quietly talking with neighbors and getting hooked up with your local Dem/HRC campaign effort. There is a lot of assembly of yard signs, canvassing for yards, setting up phone banks, setting up a door to door network….These things are important and they don’t happen without preparation.

        For anyone who has ever been actively involved in a campaign, it’s fun, work, and exciting. Try it!

      • RobA says:

        What Ryan said. Obviously, mathematically, losing FL doesn’t cook him.

        It’s just that if he can’t win in FL, he’s not going to win in other keybstates either.

        FL should be the easiest battleground for an R to take.

      • formdib says:

        From that article:

        “Contrary to what some might expect, women make up nearly the same share of Trump’s large donors — those who gave more than $200 to his campaign committee — as they did for the past two Republican presidential nominees.”

        Sounds bad. Then:

        “Women accounted for 27.2 percent of Trump’s large donors as of June 30, just a little lower than 2012 nominee Mitt Romney’s 28.3 percent and 2008 nominee John McCain’s 28 percent.”

        I’m under the impression that Trump is driving far fewer donations than Romney or McCain. However I don’t have good data on hand and my Google fu is failing me.

      • 1mime says:

        The female wild card are the millennials. Older women typically support H.

      • formdib says:

        Can’t speak for female Millennials. Don’t have data either. Only guess I have is anecdotal, and I don’t know any women who have stated intent to vote for Trump or Johnson. It’s all Jill versus Hill in their Facebook posts.

  11. tuttabellamia says:

    I am struck and saddened by these words of Lifer in his reply to one of my comments:

    “It’s over now. Now we’ve lost our chance to shape a government that will have a light footprint. Instead we’re about to see a doubling down on the age of big government. Maybe something better will emerge on the right in the next few years. More likely we’re done for a generation.”
    *******************************
    After reading those words I think I finally understand Lifer’s sadness expressed in his letter of resignation. “Resignation” doesn’t just mean he resigned from the Republican Party. He is also resigned to his belief that there’s little hope for the future.. He will not be comforted by the words of consolation and encouragement of the mostly progressive people who post here. He has no interest in accepting invitations to join the Democratic Party.

    I would say that in this age of fast-developing technology, inventions, and ideas that he himself is so fond of describing, it is totally possible that the chance to shape government as he would like will happen a lot sooner than he thinks.

    • 1mime says:

      I don’t agree, Tutta. I think Lifer is very proud of the family he’s created here on GOPlifer. I think he appreciates and respects people for the quality and honesty of their comments and that empathy matters deeply to him. He has stated many times that he will not become a Democrat. That doesn’t matter to me. What matters is that he is fair, intelligent, accurate and considerate in his posts. He also writes extremely well. When I am sad, what helps is honest concern. I think he received an outpouring of that sentiment. He may have hoped for more validation and understanding from his GOP brethren, but he waited for that for a long time and it didn’t happen. He finally did what he had to do to live with himself. That, I respect.

    • Surely no one knew what was going to happen when the Whigs collapsed in the mid-1800s either.

      I wouldn’t venture to know what’s going on in Lifer’s mind, but sometimes it’s good to wander around in the wilderness for a while. It can help open your eyes and see possibilities that you couldn’t before.

  12. RobA says:

    Another loss for voter suppression. Starting to turn into a rout.

    Not only the decision, but the rhetoric in the decisions themselves suggest that judges are getting sick of this bs

    • tuttabellamia says:

      Is there a link missing here?

      • RobA says:

        D’oh!…….of course there is Tutta. I wouldnt be me if i hadnt forgotten to post it.

        http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/07/29/courts-smash-voter-suppression-just-in-time-for-election-day.html

      • 1mime says:

        I love it (-;

      • 1mime says:

        Re-reading the Daily Beast article on appellate courts rejection of voter suppression laws. I note that there are 3 other states with pending appeals on the same issue: OH, KS, VA. I don’t know the docket numbers or the plaintiff’s names to track these cases, but it would seem that they have a clear path to overturn the voter suppression laws by using today’s action as well as the 5th circuit’s action in TX. OH is a big, big deal as it has a ton of electors. KS, well, what can you say about KS…except that their state supreme court told the governor and state Legislature to take a hike when they cut funding for public schools and colleges….Let us hope justice prevails for all those who are deprived of their access to voting more so than any political gain that Dems would accrue….altho, to be honest, I wouldn’t be too unhappy about that either (-;

    • Wisconsin and North Carolina’s ID laws struck down in the same day. Clinton sure didn’t waste time cashing in all that good karma from the convention. ;‑)

  13. Bobo Amerigo says:

    Workhorse listens, then acts. Not a problem.

    One of the speakers at the DNC described Hillary as a workhorse. Perhaps he even added “not a show horse.”

    The gist of that is obvious, I suppose, but most of us are far removed from what surely must be the rural source of that saying.

    I actually remember a farmer near my Ohio home town who farmed with workhorses long after tractors displaced them on most other farms.

    He had four tan horses with white manes and tails. They were a team; none pulled ahead of the others as they moved equipment across the fields. They were beautiful.

    When the corn came up, locals would comment on the straightness of the rows and wonder if their eyes were playing tricks on them: Were the corn plants actually growing in neat diagonal lines as well? Could workhorse-powered farming be that precise?

    Show horses are different. They, too, have beauty. They prance, they float and It’s hard to take your eyes off their self-generated sparks in the ring. But getting four of them to work together could be more like a rodeo than a farming event.

    Hillary has also been described as someone who listens, then acts. Well, isn’t that refreshing. In Texas, I cringe as I think about all the Republican politicians who start yammering their points of view before any situation is fully understood. I’m with Hillary on this approach to addressing problems we need solved.

    As a woman in Clinton’s age group, with 50 years of work experience in organizations large and small, my inner voice often called me a workhorse.

    It’s the kind of thing that happens when you realize sometimes the quality of your work might only be acknowledged when someone else takes credit for it. After awhile, a zen-like while, anger goes, ambitions change and you realize that doing the work can be pleasurable in itself.

    Professional commenters say we don’t really know Hillary. I say they are unfamiliar with leaders who don’t act like show horses.

    Vote for Hillary.

    • 1mime says:

      I’m with Her!

    • flypusher says:

      I’ve been reading-listening-watching a bunch of things, so the source escapes me at the moment, but someone said all the speech giving everyone sees is a very small portion of being President. The real work of President-ing is lots and lots of little meetings with lots and lots of different people.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        I would think that time alone is important as well, to get your thoughts together. I read that President Obama needs his time alone, is very protective of it, and that many on his staff were taken aback at first, they were not used to that approach.

        President Bill Clinton reportedly liked to be surrounded by people. Their presence energized him.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        I’m an introvert, so for me, the presence of other people is draining.

      • 1mime says:

        You can go to whitehouse.gov and view the Pres’s daily schedule….Whether it’s complete or not, I can’t say, but meetings, meetings….Being POTUS is WORK. It requires a great deal of energy and personal discipline. Sounds just perfect for the don.

  14. RobA says:

    Sigh. Such classic Trump. The man is a caricature of himself.

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/trump-not-responsible-differences-rnc-dnc

    This is a leader? This is his MO: brag, brag, brag about how great, how amazing, how wonderful everything he does will be (and only him) and if it is, that’s great. He told us!

    If not, it’s always going to be someone else’s fault, someone else who did this, or didn’t do that. I’m sure we all know children who behave like this . ever thinknwed see a major nominee?

    Can you imagine if he actually won? He would destroy the GOP even quicker. Within 6 months, once it became clear his admin would be a disaster, out come the long knives.

    • flypusher says:

      David Brin had an interesting take that the GOP is already planning on impeaching him. If the GOP ticket wins they don’t need him anymore, and his crazy act would be a liability even in a figurehead.

      • Sara Robinson says:

        And then we get Mike Pence, who is hands-down the worst politician in America where family issues are concerned. It would be a total repudiation of everything Hillary’s running on.

        He’s also wayyy too inexperienced for the job. They’d have to give him a veep who had some real governing depth.

      • 1mime says:

        Just posted the same thought! Sigh, it doesn’t get better, does it, unless Trump loses. I continue to maintain this is going to be a very close election. Boy I’d like to be wrong, but I don’t think so. The medical community – educated and financially secure (although probably not making as much money now that insurance companies are being held to stricter accountability under the ACA), are into the whole “hate hillary” mantra….I know, have 3 siblings who feel this way. I don’t want to know who they will support….If they said Trump, being as well educated, born on 3rd base, financially successful, I’d never forgive them….

      • 1mime says:

        In that case, Pence steps up…..that may comfort the GOPe, but not me.

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        Yes, Pence is scary.

      • flypusher says:

        I think that if Hillary cannot pull away in the polls, the absolutely best thing that could happen is for Trump to melt down and quit a week or two before the election. I think he’s starting to realize that the general election is a completely different game. He’s getting called on his bullshit now, and he’s not happy. But if the line about the Russians hacking Hillary’s e-mails is a now a joke, then about the wall? That’s just as absurd. Can we take anything he says seriously? Let him die the rhetorical death of a billion tweets.

      • RobA says:

        Fly, I too think he’s starting to realize he’s in over his head. I’m under no illusions that his bluster equals real confidence. I think deep down he knows he is utterly mediocre.

        That’s why I really don’t think he’s going to participate in the debates. I think he’ll make the same calculation he is with his taxes: he’ll take a political hit by not debating, but not nearly as much as he would if he actually attended. Likewise, not releasing his taxes will hurt him. But not nearly as much as releasing them.

      • 1mime says:

        I emphatically disagree. Trump is so fixated on his image he would never pull out of the debates. Remember, he “vanquished” far more capable GOP candidates, why worry about Hillary? Plus, his ego is so grandiose that he knows he would be dead image wise for the rest of his life. I think T is in this to win and he will go all the way. Let us hope he loses.

      • @1mime: “I emphatically disagree. Trump is so fixated on his image he would never pull out of the debates. Remember, he “vanquished” far more capable GOP candidates, why worry about Hillary? Plus, his ego is so grandiose that he knows he would be dead image wise for the rest of his life. I think T is in this to win and he will go all the way. Let us hope he loses.

        Don’t forget Trump did pull out of a GOP debate when he felt he could get away it. I don’t think he’d do that now and I agree with you that a lot of it’s purely ego, but who knows?

        Still, I can’t imagine he’s looking forward to this. This is going to be the very first time he’s ever had to debate in a general election format. There’s no playing to the far-right base here or throwing red meat out there purely for the applause.

        My impression is that Clinton’s going to take the high road, careful to never get caught up in Trump’s erratic rhythm. If she can walk that fine line of calm and cool, shooting him down where it counts and always keeping her focus on the audience at home, she’ll win these debates hands down.

        @Sara Robinson: “And then we get Mike Pence, who is hands-down the worst politician in America where family issues are concerned. It would be a total repudiation of everything Hillary’s running on.

        Bruce Bartlett put it best. Mike Pence is a man of below average intelligence who’s built a political career by convincing people that he’s a man of average intelligence.

      • 1mime says:

        Ryan, I LOVE the Bartlett quote! Plan to share….Actually, I know many people like this – in politics and in the big, bad world we share…

    • 1mime says:

      I’m frankly not worried about Trump destroying the GOP, they’re doing fine on their own. What I am worried about is Trump destroying America.

  15. vikinghou says:

    Well, I’m shocked. My 92-year old father who has been a staunch Republican since voting for Eisenhower in 1952, finally threw in the towel and told me he’s voting for Hillary. This from a man who defended Nixon during Watergate, as well as W throughout his terms. Dad is addicted to Fox News and has generally swallowed all their propaganda hook, line and sinker. He had already been upset with Trump’s supposedly sarcastic plea for Putin to hack into US government servers. But, after watching the DNC last evening he was finally convinced that, despite her flaws, Hillary is the only sane choice. When he told me this you could have knocked me over with a feather!

  16. flypusher says:

    I think that one of the most damning indictments of Trump came from VP Joe Biden, about Trump’s catchphrase. His defenders will say it’s all an act, but IMO, at best he is playing an exaggerated version (if that is even possible!) of himself. He does not have Meryl Streep caliber acting chops, so I’m convinced that he does take some degree of delight in saying “You’re Fired!”

    Now I have never been in a position to fire anyone. I’ve had to eval people under me, and on a few occasions give a handful of them a stern talking-to about things they were doing (or failing to do) that were not acceptable. I did not enjoy that one bit. A grad school friend once had an HR position at Arthur Anderson. Those who remember the fall of Enron may also recall that when it imploded, it dragged AA down with it. My friend had the unenviable task of telling a long list of people they were losing their jobs, while knowing that hers would be eventually on the block too. I expressed my condolences over beer at Valhalla, and asked how she was coping with it. She chose to be optimistic- she could work to lessen the pain as much as possible, and this tough experience would look good on her CV. No delight in saying “You’re Fired!”

    Happy ending, she started her own business and judging from LinkedIn, is doing very well.

  17. vikinghou says:

    Oops, forgot to show the message.

    Chris Ladd is requesting to be added to your Address Book. If you allow this sender, any message(s) still in the Suspect Email folder sent by this address and all further email will be sent to your Inbox.
    Sender: Chris Ladd
    Email Addresses: gopliferchicago@gmail.com
    Message: From the GOPLifer blog
    To View the suspect message, click this link.
    Subject: A successor to the GOPLifer blog

  18. objv says:

    Best solution so far.

  19. Ken Rhodes says:

    Chris, this thread of about 200 comments has addressed some important issues, but nobody has commented on your final point, which I think is crucial. You wrote:

    “There is no conservative movement in the US beyond a few wonky academics and their small fanbase. No such movement of any size or power has existed in the US since the Great Depression. “Conservatism” was coopted by America’s racial dead-enders, primarily in the South.

    “Hardly anyone alive in the US has any memory of conservatism or its concerns. That intellectual vacuum on the right is an enormous obstacle to any credible reform.”

    While I agree with the last sentence of that, I strongly disagree with the one leading up to it. “Hardly anyone alive?” I’m 73, which makes me an “old timer” but not “extremely old” in terms of either our political leaders or our writers, thinkers, and our politically-aware electorate (of which I hope there are still some out there). And here are some things I remember clearly:

    The 1952 Republican contest for the nomination, between Ike and Taft.
    The 1952 Presidential election between Ike and Stevenson.

    There were far-right conservatives (cf. Taft) and middle-of-the-road conservatives (cf. Ike), and somehow they were able to debate issues without resorting to name calling and b.s. false framing of their opponents’ positions. I surely don’t remember any Taft supporters labeling Ike as a “RINO.”

    So I don’t agree that there hasn’t been a conservative movement in eighty years. I think conservatism was coopted fifty years ago, and there are plenty of us still living (and caring) who can remember before that. What’s happened to the memories of Senators Mitch McConnell and John McCain. They’re in my age group, but slightly older, and they have been in a position to influence the party in recent years. What’s their excuse for selling out?

    What about some of the other “old timer” Republican senators who are not from the South–Orrin Hatch, Mike Enzi, Jim Inhofe, Pat Roberts, Chuck Grassley, Dan Coates, Jim Risch? Why have all these Republicans, all of whom can remember Ike and Taft without having to refer to a history book, given up their party to the Dixiecrats?

    Chris, it’s so terribly depressing to me (a lifetime Dem, by the way) that even such a rational person as yourself can see as fait accompli the abandonment of principle by the ones who ought to be out front guiding the party back onto the track after the derailment by the Dixiecrats. We’ve got ten years or so while there are still a lot of Americans who can remember Ike and Taft. What does it take to galvanize them into action, to get them to recapture control of their party?

  20. texan5142 says:

    When ever one ask a Trump supporter what his appeal is and the say “he speaks his mind”, the reply should always be, “so does Charles Manson”.

  21. Bobo Amerigo says:

    A nice moment in Hillary’s speech:

    http://gizmodo.com/hillary-clinton-believes-in-science-1784496044

    She believes in science!

  22. Stephen says:

    Many good speakers last night. For me the best was the Black preacher. He spoke elegant about how some warp Christianity’s message to support their own agenda.
    .

    • 1mime says:

      He was eloquent, Stephen. And, in the roundup following the convention, many of the pundits talked about Rev. Berry’s work for the poor. One interesting comment was about his work in NC to try to help keep open a critical small hospital which primarily serves the poor. He has actually been assisted by many White people and they have formed White NAACP organizations to assist him in his various social/political outreach efforts. I need to do more research on him. He’s extremely well know in the Black community but I was not familiar with him. What is special is that the Dem Party helped make good people like this better known to the country at large. There are a lot of heroes out there doing wonderful work that we simply don’t know about because they don’t seek fame, they seek help for others.

  23. flypusher says:

    I’ve brought this up before, and in light of Trump’s recent behavior, I’ll ask again, could there be an underlying medical issue? I recall his doctor’s report being strangely worded. What if he’s showing signs of Alzheimer’s or a brain tumor or something else scrambling the judgment centers of his brain? Is there any mechanism to demand an independent medical screening? The 25th Amendment only applies to someone who’s already elected.

    The guy’s always been a jerk, but he’s ramped it up.

    • texan5142 says:

      Yes he has ramped it up.

      http://www.rawstory.com/2016/07/dnc-sends-trump-into-toddler-rage-i-wanted-to-hit-a-couple-of-those-speakers-so-hard/

      “You know what I wanted to. I wanted to hit a couple of those speakers so hard,” Trump said. “I would have hit them. No, no. I was going to hit them, I was all set and then I got a call from a highly respected governor.”

      “I was gonna hit one guy in particular, a very little guy,” Trump said. “I was gonna hit this guy so hard his head would spin and he wouldn’t know what the hell happened.”

    • Bobo Amerigo says:

      David Brooks today says Rump “appears haunted by multiple personality disorders”.

      http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/29/opinion/the-democrats-win-the-summer.html

    • RobA says:

      I don’t think it’s new Fly. I think he’s got a legit personality disorder (which isn’t really considered mental illness clinically, but does tend to manifest itself as such sometimes.

      This is what happens when a bullying narcissist whose never heard no in his life and surrounds himself with sycophants acts like when they realize that a) they’re losing control of the situation and (most importantly) B) their humiliation is public.

      They lash out and appear increasingly unhinged . Alzheimer’s is far too kind a diagnosis for Trump.

    • 1mime says:

      I watched a comparative video clip of T and C with T stating “I, alone, can make this happen”…or some such verbage. He was actually sneering while he stated this. It was both repugnant and frightening to see. Contrasting that was HRC’s rebuttal that “we will do solve these problems together”. But the T clip – which I am absolutely certain we will see played over and over, is horrible to see. I simply cannot understand why anyone who hates HRC and doesn’t like T but plan to vote for him can live with themselves. For god sakes, at least vote third party for your own conscience. I agree that T has a serious mental and emotional disorder. I cannot imagine him in control of a crisis situation, much less day to day management of the nation’s business.

      Presidents do have a thorough annual physical but I remind you that Reagan was allowed to function as POTUS long after he was known by his colleagues to have Alzheimer’s. That should give one pause about Trump who is not only demented, he’s mean and small.

      • 1mime says:

        Speaking of mental disorders and pure crassness, here’s one of the best practitioners, Ann Coulter. She is seriously mean and ugly and has been caught going way over the edge of decency with this captured tweet…..for which she FINALLY got some blow-back. That is what’s missing. Holding people accountable for remarks like these. They throw them out there like throwing meat to lions and there is no criticism from their base or their party leadership. That has to change.

        http://leftwingnation.org/ann-coulter-finally-goes-too-far-gets-slapped-down-by-fellow-conservatives-tweets/

      • flypusher says:

        That link is awesome 1mime. It brightens my day and gives my some hope. Criticizing your opposition is easy. The real test of moral courage is are you willing to smack one of your own when they go too far?? A big reason that the GOP has Trump as their leader is because not enough people in the GOP/ RW pundit-sphere spoke out when he dishonored Sen. McCain’s service, or called Mexicans criminals and racists, or said any of a very long list of mean, ignorant, spiteful, untrue, bigoted things. It’s hard to stand up to the people in your own tribe. That’s why Chris’ letter got the response it did- people who want moral courage take heart and applauded, and those who lack it troll.

      • flypusher says:

        “Presidents do have a thorough annual physical but I remind you that Reagan was allowed to function as POTUS long after he was known by his colleagues to have Alzheimer’s.”

        Given the advances in diagnostics, perhaps periodic brain scans should be required. Somebody in the inner circle who wants to grab a bit more power (Ollie North, anyone?) would have no interest in reporting any suspected impairment. Even less devious people could hesitate- politics is very tribal. Cat scans/MRIs are non partisan.

      • 1mime says:

        Let us hope that the size of Trump’s brain exceeds that of his fingers (-;

      • Shiro17 says:

        EVERYBODY I know who has any involvement in the military is pissed at dear old Ann right now. She finally reached the McCarthy point: go after the military and their families, and you are dead.

      • 1mime says:

        It’s about time she gets smacled down.

    • There are lots of people in the world with Alzheimers. Most of them manage not to be contemptible pusillanimous buffoons who are lodged deeper in Putin’s pocket than dryer lint. As such, I’d suggest that his behaviour can be adequately explained by him being obnoxious and desperately insecure, rather than resorting to internet diagnoses.

      As for why his doctor’s report is strange: perhaps they were trying to avoid words like “male-pattern baldness” and “tiny hands.”

      • 1mime says:

        Oooh, don’t mess with EJ!

      • flypusher says:

        Nice zingers! Trump’s jerkiness goes back decades. IIRC it first made the news in the early 70s when the Trump family business was sued for racial discrimination in their rental properties. But the way he is contradicting himself on his relationship with Putin is making me wonder whether his memory is going. Being a ginormous liar is another explation, but most liars give up and move on to the next lie when video/e-mail/ twitter is produced that proves that yes, you did say that.

      • 1mime says:

        Trump is a pathological liar, and his ego boundless. Put those two together with an attention span of a gnat, and a total lack of principle, and you have a person who cannot perceive reality much less recall or acknowledge what he said.

      • 1mime says:

        More documentation of Trump’s pathological lying. What does it say about those who support him with mounting evidence like this affirming his complete lack of personal responsibility and mental stability?

    • flypusher says:

      Here’s a new catch phrase: “Twitter never forgets, and Trump never remembers”.

      This was tweeted in response to another childish Trump tweet about Bloomberg being a horrible mayor. Of course someone found an old tweet from Trump about Bloomberg being a great mayor.

      Question to anyone who does Twitter- can you totally delete all your old tweets? Or are they still on file somewhere? Trump’s file should be a gold mine.

      • Pre-2009, you could retrieve deleted tweets using certain APIs. Twitter got a lot of complaints about this and fixed it. Nowadays if a tweet is deleted it’s gone.

        A lot of people will take screenshots of embarrassing tweets made by people they dislike, so that even if they’re deleted the world will not forget. Given how many people Trump has alienated, I am relatively sure that someone has taken it upon themselves to do this.

        In fact, after a quick Google, I found that the Sunlight Foundation had done it here:
        http://politwoops.sunlightfoundation.com/user/realDonaldTrump

        Thanks, Sunlight Foundation!

      • 1mime says:

        Good find, EJ, but I’m going to save it until after I digest my breakfast (-; I will read it, tho!

    • JK74 says:

      I think that, as far as possible, one should avoid personal insults, name calling etc. in political discourse; it’s juvenile and does nothing to convince your opponents. Just this once, however, I’ll just refer you to Dr. Peter Silberman in the original Terminator (1984); “In technical terminology: he’s a loon.” Sorry, couldn’t help myself (and sorry I can’t find a Youtube clip of it).

  24. I heard that liquor stores in Republican districts were selling out last night:-)))!

    • 1mime says:

      A fun piece of trivia about convention drinking from Michael Steele, former RNC chair. Around midnight, he noted that Dems were breaking out the booze following the finale speech. When Matthews asked him didn’t Repubs drink at the convention? He said sure, but it was for a different reason (-;

  25. RobA says:

    A comparison to how other countries tend to treat police shootings

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/editorials/the-sammy-yatim-case-when-policing-goes-wrong/article31174172/

    Note the nuance and attention to detail. The suspect had a knife and was threatening the cop, the cop shot three times and then suspect went down. Six seconds went by and the cop then fired six more times.

    The first three shots were deemed justified. The last six were not, as the suspect was down and didn’t pose a threat. For those last six shots, the cop got six years.

    Somehow, I doubt in America, the police would be held accountable for every round they fire, as they should be.

  26. Sir Magpie De Crow says:

    I read Chris’s post on the “possibility” of a reformicon restoration of the GOP and then I find this word salad article by an author named Wayne Allyn Root. He seems almost like a prefabricated parody of the kind of activists Chris’s has identified as making the political upheaval in the party worse.

    It amazes me what passes for conservatism these days…

    http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2016/07/22/donald-trump-and-ted-cruzs-deadly-and-unforgiveable-sin.html

    Check out this book if you want to know what would happen if the satirical publication “The Onion” had direct control over the fabric of reality. It even has a forward by Donald Trump’s odious political brain Roger Stone.

    I guess liberals are not the only ones playing identity politics or the victimhood game.
    All of it seems pretty absurd to me.

    This is what mainstream Walmart-styled white nationalism/supremacy apparently looks like.

    “The mainstream media and ultra-liberal Democrats can’t understand why white voters, especially white men, are so angry. Wayne Allyn Root is an angry white male, and he knows why. This is his story, his testimony, and a look at what’s happening to an entire group of good people: law-abiding, tax-paying, hard-working, middle-class people. They’re being targeted, silenced, intimidated, persecuted — virtually wiped off the planet — in order to make guilty, politically correct white liberals feel better about themselves. It’s open season on white males.”

    • RobA says:

      “Why, you wanna know how great I am? How humble and ego free? I gave up the chance to be VICE PRESIDENT on a third party ticket. We were polling at 0.5%!!!!!!!! And I walked away, for love of God and country. Truly, the ultimate sacrifice”

    • 1mime says:

      Does the self-delusion get any worse? Here’s a little related reading on the calibre of journalism spawned from the top by FOX. When a man with this little character controls the agenda, the speakers, and actions within the network, it is no wonder FOX has become such a source of vitriol. Roger Ailes is a despicable man. He was also extremely capable in his professional skills which he confused with being correct in all his values and actions.

      http://money.cnn.com/2016/07/28/media/roger-ailes-language/index.html

  27. RobA says:

    An awful lot of high profile conservatives think Trump and the GOP are in a lot of trouble

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/conservatives-agree-dnc-was-disaster-for-gop

    • flypusher says:

      This one is especially spot on:

      “Why this convention is better: It’s about loving America. GOP convention was about loving Trump. If you didn’t love Trump, it offered nada.”

      “Cult of Personality” is today’s earworm.

  28. Chris L says:

    If, by unfathomable chance, a bolt of lightning were to strike your cabin in the woods and set it on fire, there is no shame in seeking the disagreeable and moldy log for shelter for a time. It would more be foolish to stand in stubborn protest, to spite of the log, as your house burns around you. Just as morning always comes, no storm lasts forever.

    What we cannot do right now is believe that American exceptionalism renders us immune to history and stay silent. We have to carefully consider what it means for a Trump presidency. The ramifications range not only to damage to the Republican party, but how the rewrite of the conventions of running for public office ends, or the long-term international repercussions of having a reality-show ‘villain’ running a country (or pretending to).

    The country needs two parties. No one side has a monopoly on good ideas, and we are seeing what happens when a party becomes consumed with bad ones. The center ground I personally prefer currently has no table, fewer chairs, and even less attendees. Maybe an influx of wet and confused Republicans can spark those conversations again in that ‘disagreeable and moldy log’ the Democrats call ‘The cabin next door’.

    • 1mime says:

      Nicely stated, Chris L. To which I add, that the greatest danger of a Trump ascendancy to the venerable position of POTUS, includes all the dangers you stated plus one more critical one: validation of the values and behaviors that have allowed someone of his temperament to be able to even aspire to candidacy, much less become president. That, to me, is harder to “fix” than institutional adjustments. The Repub Party has been cultivating this mindset for a long time. It has come to fruition in DJT. It has to die along with the candidacy of Trump. America loses far more by affirming the values Trump represents than even the damage he might do if elected.

      • Chris L says:

        Trumpism can’t be fixed, but it can be marginalized. Unfortunately, this spike has occurred at an inopportune time. They’re running against an opponent that the Party had prepared for the Republican Party candidate (literally anyone other than Trump), thanks to four years of sustained political prosecution against Clinton, regardless of facts. The continuous parade of congressional hearings for the purpose of crippling a Clinton candidacy has seen measurable success.

        So we’re in a situation where Trumpism cannot be quickly marginalized, because they can’t be isolated from the bolstered ranks of four years of anti-Hillary conditioning, whether you believe it artificial or not. A narrow loss is as bad for the Party as a victory, as these values remain ingrained as a Boasting Majority to whom their future candidates must appeal.

        Even if we get rid of Cheeto Jesus, we may instead find ourselves confronted with a devil of more silver tongue and orange-powdered fingers.

      • 1mime says:

        I disagree with your final deduction, Chris L, even as I recognize it is clearly representative of a carefully fomented, sustained effort to deny HRC the chance to “prove” she is a capable, good person and will be a fine leader. There is simply no way in hell that HRC is not light years better than DJT. I’m willing to bet my vote on that.

      • Chris L says:

        Or a parade of Cheeto Puffs for lower office.

      • 1mime says:

        Ivanka, for sure. She seems the pick of the lot. She “could” be involved in a serious position “if” she could temper her feelings for the big cheeto…which would be difficult.

  29. Griffin says:

    At the risk of sounding like a “Captain Obvious” here’s a reminder from Ezra Klein that this election is not about left vs right but abnormal vs normal.

    http://www.vox.com/2016/7/28/12281222/trump-clinton-conventions

    Klein actually makes a somewhat conservative case for Clinton.

    “We are a nation protected by norms, not just by laws. Our political parties should be held to certain standards in terms of the candidates they nominate, the behaviors they accept, the ideas they mainstream. Trump violates those standards. By indulging him, the Republican Party is normalizing him and his behavior, and making itself abnormal.”

    • RobA says:

      Reading the reactions from conservative bloggers, it really feels like the awful truth and enormity is sinking in about how truly f’d they are.

      I think HRC is going to get a huge convention bump. That convention put the RNC to Absolute shame, objectively.

      • Griffin says:

        Yes but… wait a second why am I checking this blog at three in the morning? Why are you posting at five in the morning?! Oh God I think I’m addicted to this blog. I need to get sleep.

        But um, yes, RNC was a disaster. While conservative “intellectuals” are fleeing the party it’ll be interesting to see if the Paul Ryan’s and the Marco Rubio’s of the GOP, the “respectable” politicians, will denounce Trump before November. I suspect that if they don’t and Trump loses in November their careers may die with him, but as usual I’m just speculating.

      • 1mime says:

        I am certain Lifer would agree with you. When John McCain swallowed his pride and “took one for the party”, something died in the grand old party. Trump could still win and I would be horrified, but the GOP would deserve exactly what they’d have to live with. I wouldn’t.

      • 1mime says:

        You might be interested in this bit of information about the organizers of the DNC. A class act.
        I have no idea how much it cost to hire this team, but they earned every penny. A big shout out too to the speech writers and selection of speakers and their order. This 2016 DNC Convention will be a model for all future conventions to aspire to.

        https://www.demconvention.com/press-releases/dncc-names-executive-producers-for-2016-democratic-national-convention-in-philadelphia/

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        Conventions are a heavy dose of manipulation, but I really admired how they built the convention from day to day.

        From ever-changing appropriate vertical signs starting on day one to the final day’s more-flags-than-you-can count, it was a treat.

        Michelle’s dark dress presaged and contrasted with Hillary’s white suit, which bounced the light and made her glow.

        I don’t know about that card trick at the end, though. It seemed too complex to most of us at the county watch party. It was late and I was driving home when it was supposed to be performed. Did the card trick work? Does anybody know?

      • 1mime says:

        Loving art as expression of message as well as creativity, I agree that all elements of the DNC Convention were thoughtfully, creatively coordinated. It was seamless (except that Pelosi forgot her glasses and couldn’t read the teleprompter, shame on her!). The colors, the timing, the choreography of it all was perfect. I hope the duo who designed and coordinated it all get lots more DNC business! (Hope they had to sign a non-compete clause (-; )

        Since you noticed the finer points, you may have enjoyed this bit of satire:

        http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_579ab937e4b0693164c0aeb7

    • 1mime says:

      Trumpism – That was the focus of Obama’s subtle attack on what DJT stands for. The late night pundits thought that was brilliant because it struck at the heart of the problem – going well beyond Trump to all the outrageous, far right behavior the Republ Party has been fomenting. They did not feel HRC did a good enough job expanding upon this theme; rather, she went directly at Trump which makes it “personal failure” rather than “systemic failure”. As good a job as she did, I agree with this assessment.

  30. RobA says:

    PA not showing a Trump convention bump either. HRC up by 9, same as last month.

    Trump might not even get a convention bunp that EVERYbkdy does. Sad!

    • 1mime says:

      Rob, it depends upon which source you check. CNN gave Trump a big bump – 538 a modest one. Check out 538 for today’s post on polls about convention bumps.

    • Pennsylvania = Republicans’ Fools Gold.

      What happens every four years:

      1.) Early polls show Republicans might be competitive in Pennsylvania.

      2.) Media goes nuts.

      3.) Polls show Republicans aren’t competitive in Pennsylvania.

      4.) Republicans lose Pennsylvania.

      • 1mime says:

        I want to see Dems take back NC. For lots of reasons. It won’t be easy but outstanding voter turnout could make Dems competitive.

      • @1mime: All for that, but let’s keep in mind that while having a Democratically-controlled legislature since Reconstruction before 2010, aside from 2008, the last time Democrats won North Carolina was waaaaaaaaaaay back in 1976.

        If Democrats want to regain their footing in the Carolinas, not just the North, they need to start putting in serious resources and an extended effort to build a real, credible organization there.

      • 1mime says:

        It’s called grassroots politics. They have to get people elected to office. NC is so gerrymandered that it will also involve some challenges to their voter districts (more of as they have sued and there is a pending case) so they can have a shot.

        I simply believe NC “should” be a blue state and hope it can be.

      • Griffin says:

        Ah but the Donald said he would take California after the stupid “experts” insisted all he would do is waste campaign resources in a state he had no chance of winning, so really getting Pennsylvania should be easy in comparison after he inevitably accomplishes that feat.

      • johngalt says:

        James Carville described Pennsylvania as “Philadelphia and Pittsburgh separated by Alabama.” The problem for the GOP is that Philly and Pittsburgh are growing and the Alabama parts are shrinking.

      • @Griffin: President Obama beat Mitt Romney by a little more than 20 point in Cali in 2012. I’m placing my bet that Clinton cleans Trump’s clock by more than no less than 25, at the very least, and probably around 30.

      • Griffin says:

        @Ryan. I was trying to be sarcastic but then I realized you probably thought I was talking about him taking California in the primary. No, Donald Trump actually believes he’ll win California in the general election. That’s how crazy he is.

      • Armchair Philosopher says:

        Good Lord I hope you’re correct. I live in a Southwestern Pennsylvania county and work just north in Pittsburgh. Where I live is coal country, and more recently, fracking country, and I am surrounded by white collar (yes, white) college educated people who are crazy for Trump.

        These are people who have absolutely nothing to be mad about. They are gainfully employed, make very good money, and live lives rarely inconvenienced by poor people or immigrants.

        I’ve yet to meet a Trump supporter in Pittsburgh, of course, but there are enough at home to really make me worry.

      • 1mime says:

        We have a few people here like that Armchair. I think if you look deeply enough, you will find what is motivating them to support Trump. It’s “all about them”…..and, sadly enough, there are many just like them throughout America. Despite seeing, knowing what T stands for, despite their personal success, they choose to put self before country. It’s sad.

      • flypusher says:

        “These are people who have absolutely nothing to be mad about. They are gainfully employed, make very good money, and live lives rarely inconvenienced by poor people or immigrants.”

        Tax cuts? I’m hearing similar stories in chatting up people online. Engineers for Trump. Often it’s more anti-Hilliary than it is pro-Trump. I can understand why a laid off coal miner or auto-worker finds Trump appealing. They’re wrong if they think he’s going to bring back all those jobs, and upsetting the cart is more likely to make things worse, but I can see why. But how are these educated people justifying Hillary being so much worse when Trump is acting ever more unhinged??

      • 1mime says:

        There is an issue there, lurking, and it is rotting America from within. There is no way that anyone of sound mind can support a DJT over HRC if they are putting country first. You don’t have to like her and you don’t have to believe she’s without fault to understand the danger of electing someone like T as POTUS. I feel sorry for those people who fall into this group and I will feel sorrier for our country should this group prevail in the election. America will survive but something important will be lost.

      • Armchair Philosopher says:

        FlyPusher, tax cuts may be part of the equation. I’m doing my best to try and understand these Trump supporters, especially since I have members of my immediate family who are voting for him. But I have a hard time getting specifics out of any of them.

        I think I’ve distilled their thoughts down to this:

        “I did what I was supposed to do, followed the rules all my life, and it got me to a good place. I’m tired of giving my money to people who don’t follow the rules and are thus less better off than me.”

        They see Trump as rewarding the rule followers and Clinton as rewarding the rule breakers. Hence, it literally doesn’t matter what Trump does or says. He’s still on their side as they see it.

      • 1mime says:

        And the Clinton Team ignores this at their peril. The late night pundits MSNBC spoke to this repeatedly. Dems must give voice to these people. They are not participating in the great America Clinton et al are touting. They are sullen and angry about this and the only way they can express this is through their vote for Trump. It is not rational thinking, it is selfish, but that won’t matter if enough of them feel that way and vote that way.

      • Armchair Philosopher says:

        And I should add that the concept of being born on third base does NOT resonate with them. In fact, they resent the idea. The talk of white privilege makes them visibly angry.

      • 1mime says:

        They.want.MORE. They.deserve.MORE. They have no clue how privileged they are relative to many others. Very sad. Very self-serving, but, that’s exactly the emotion T has cultivated.

      • 1mime says:

        Well, hallelujah! The long road to taking back NC has opened. All it took was the Justice process to work as it is intended.

        http://www.politico.com/story/2016/07/court-strikes-down-north-carolina-voter-id-law-226438

      • 1mime says:

        Here’s another more detailed explanation of the NC voting rights decision. How anyone here who supports the Repub Party can live with the deliberate suppression of anyone’s right to vote, is beyond me. That is the most basic right of all citizens.

        https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/appeals-court-strikes-down-north-carolinas-voter-id-law/2016/07/29/810b5844-4f72-11e6-aa14-e0c1087f7583_story.html?wpisrc=al_alert-COMBO-politics%252Bnation

      • Griffin says:

        “These are people who have absolutely nothing to be mad about. They are gainfully employed, make very good money, and live lives rarely inconvenienced by poor people or immigrants.”

        Wow this is odd for you to bring up now because I just had the same experience with some of my family members. I have family who are suburbanites and pull in six figures and are voting for Trump, as are many of their suburbanite friends. These are good earners and they’re still willing to nuke the economy they rely on to get Trump elected. While it’s easy to dismiss as being motivated by racism I don’t think that’s really the case either. I think there are at least two forms of radical rightism in the US (excluding more “pure” religious fundamentalists for a second), the Neo-confederate cause which is for a decentralized but racist authoritarian form of government, and the pseudo-conservative cause, which has fewer in numbers but has a highly paranoid, “doomsdayer” view of politics and is more influential among wealthier people. It’s easy to make parallels between pseudo-conservatives and religious fundamentalists in how irrational and paranoid their worldview can be.

        I think the second phenomenon was explained pretty well about 60 years ago by Richard Hofstader: https://theamericanscholar.org/the-pseudo-conservative-revolt/

      • duncancairncross says:

        Hi Griffin

        Re- people who have nothing to be mad about

        I am comfortably off – retired early with a nice house

        BUT
        I am NOT where I expected to be back in the 70’s when I was at university –
        back then I could read the numbers and I expected
        (assuming we didn’t blow ourselves to hell in WW3)
        The trends to continue and that by now we would be in the UBI position with most people doing a 20 hour week
        I expected us all to be much much richer

        Instead the Thatcher/Reagan experiment directed 99% of that increased wealth to the top 0.1%

        I can understand people being “Mad as Hell” – we wus robbed!
        Not of what we had – but of what we (reasonably) expected

      • Armchair Philosopher says:

        @Griffin,

        Thank you for posting the pseudo-conservative link by Richard Hofstader. The article is so prescient I actually thought it was fake at first, or at least written much more recently than the 1950s. There’s so much in it that I’m going to have to read it more closely, but here are a few of my favorite excerpts (I’ll post them separately) that EXACTLY describe the Trump supporters in my family:

        “The restlessness, suspicion and fear manifested in various phases of the pseudo-conservative revolt give evidence of the real suffering which the pseudo-conservative experiences in his capacity as a citizen. He believes himself to be living in a world in which he is spied upon, plotted against, betrayed, and very likely destined for total ruin. He feels that his liberties have been arbitrarily and outrageously invaded. He is opposed to almost everything that has happened in American politics for the past twenty years.”

        My friends and family who are voting for Trump think that Obama has been an unmitigated disaster for our country, literally calling him the worst president ever. And almost to a one, they are conspiracy theorists and science deniers. My mother, a former chemistry teacher(!), doesn’t believe in global warming. My guitar teacher doesn’t even believe we landed on the moon!

        Their suspicions, while misguided, give them something to latch onto, I think.

      • Armchair Philosopher says:

        @Griffin,

        “He is disturbed deeply by American participation in the United Nations, which he can see only as a sinister organization. He sees his own country as being so weak that it is constantly about to fall victim to subversion; and yet he feels that it is so all-powerful that any failure it may experience in getting its way in the world — for instance, in the Orient — cannot possibly be due to its limitations but must be attributed to its having been betrayed.”

        My sister in law actually said once, and I quote, “What this country needs is another war.”

      • Armchair Philosopher says:

        @Griffin,

        And finally…

        “What I wish to suggest — and I do so in the spirit of one setting forth nothing more than a speculative hypothesis — is that pseudo-conservatism is in good part a product of the rootlessness and heterogeneity of American life, and above all, of its peculiar scramble for status and its peculiar search for secure identity. Normally there is a world of difference between one’s sense of national identity or cultural belonging and one’s social status. However, in American historical development, these two things, so easily distinguishable in analysis, have been jumbled together in reality, and it is precisely this that has given such a special poignancy and urgency to our status-strivings. In this country a person’s status — that is, his relative place in the prestige hierarchy of his community — and his rudimentary sense of belonging to the community — that is, what we call his “Americanism” — have been intimately joined. Because, as a people extremely democratic in our social institutions, we have had no clear, consistent and recognizable system of status, our person status problems have an unusual intensity. Because we no longer have the relative ethnic homogeneity we had up to about eighty years ago, our sense of belonging has long had about it a high degree of uncertainty. We boast of “the melting pot,” but we are not quite sure what it is that will remain when we have been melted down.”

        This one paragraph could lead to an entire semester’s worth of discussion. At its root it is touching on the lack of common identity that I think Trump supporters feel.

        Again, thank you for posting this article. I can’t wait to share it.

  31. Creigh says:

    To get back to the original topic… John Kenneth Galbraith once wrote “The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.” Racism could be seen as a powerful justification for selfishness, although not moral in any way I’d agree with. I’ve never connected those two things before, but the idea has been running through my head today. Any thoughts?

    No reference meant to our host here, who, whatever kind of conservative he is, is certainly not a modern conservative.

    • 1mime says:

      Nor a racist, nor someone who needs to seek justification for selfishness. Now that we’ve got that out of the way ! …. I am brain-dead after watching the Dem Convention since about 6pm. I couldn’t give you a cogent response to your nice question if I tried…Tomorrow? Bear with me, I’m “old” (-;

    • Bobo Amerigo says:

      Moralists are moralists because they want to control others. I suppose that could be considered a kind of selfishness.

      That’s my take after dipping into early philosophers and their rhetoric for the past few years.

      Everyone knows Plato’s name, but for me everything he is credited with writing is diminished by his slaves. Just how much noble thought is possible when one’s needs are attended to by slaves?

      Even the enlightenment of the 1700s had its moralists. A guy named Blair was a popular lecturer on art and art criticism. His standards for ‘good’ art were moralistic in nature; for example: art should never inspire lascivious thoughts; humans should always be depicted in a respectful manner.

      Initially it seemed he simply wanted to welcome all comers to the pleasures of art. Deeper in his writings it is clear he didn’t like the actions of those he considered uncivilized and hoped exposure to his preferred type art would change their ways. In short, he wanted them to act differently.

      I think moralistic behavior can be a burden for both conservative and progressive political philosophies.

      Here’s a link to a blog about how both the north and the south used the bible in our country’s dispute about slavery.

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/04/12/how-the-bible-was-used-to-justify-slavery-abolitionism/

    • johngalt says:

      Perhaps this is the residual Ayn Randism in me but I am not opposed to selfishness. Maybe it is informed by being a biologist, which makes me take the long term view of this. My current wealth, social position, possessions definitely make me comfortable. They also afford me a degree of confidence that my offspring will succeed. This is all standard self-interest, of course.

      The long-range view, though, is that nothing I do for my family means a hill of beans if society collapses. Even if it does not, but inequity worsens, this inevitably reduces the potential of society at large, and my potential in particular. I realize this seems naive (clearly I could game whatever system to improve my Darwinian fitness), but in the long run, my selfish interests are closely aligned with with the sustainable success of my ecosystem.

      • Creigh says:

        I don’t think the perniciousness of short-term thinking can be exaggerated. Laziness and short-term thinking just might be the root of all evil.

      • 1mime says:

        Add to these insidious choices, putting self before country.

      • 1mime says:

        A very honest self assessment, JG. I have read that even love is a selfish act. When you boil it down every choice we make is selfish in that we have a choice. Those who don’t have pretty dismal lives. And, those personal achievements weren’t given to you, you worked for them and having attained success for your efforts, you have my permission to be proud, very proud (-;

        I know what you’re saying, and I agree. I think where things become more self-serving rather than selfish (in a good way), is when we hurt others to achieve our goals.

    • unarmedandunafraid says:

      I’ve been thinking about conservatism also. Defining conservatism seems to be difficult, at least to get widespread agreement on it’s meaning. And conservatism’s definition definitely changes from era to era. There is always someone defining it, possibly tuning it’s definition to suit the political times.

      I found a more complete Russell Kirk quote that Lifer uses in his “What is Conservatism”. . A careful reading of Kirk’s words, gives me pause. For example, his conservatism is certainly more suited to a man of means, positioned high in the class ladder than a working man of today that says he is worried about big government.

      http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/830703-there-are-six-canons-of-conservative-thought-1-belief-in

      Kirk says, “3) Conviction that civilized society requires orders and classes, as against the notion of a “classless society.” With reason, conservatives have been called “the party of order.” If natural distinctions are effaced among men, oligarchs fill the vacuum. Ultimate equality in the judgment of God, and equality before courts of law, are recognized by conservatives; but equality of condition, they think, means equality in servitude and boredom.”

      There is a lot that could be read into that quote. It could mean equality of opportunity but not of result, which I’m sure a conservative would say, but to me the first and last sentences say much more.

      Small Print. This does not imply any qualities to the owner of this blog.

      • Creigh says:

        Yes, those Kirk conditions gave a few people pause. Nor do I see them as a good match for Lifer’s view of ideal Republicanism as “the party of commerce.” There’s more than a whiff of JKG’s criticism in that they look a lot like justification for the status quo.

      • 1mime says:

        When I look at what has been happening deliberately within the GOPe leadership – exploitation of others, promotion of self – this iteration of conservatism offends me. Yet, I also hold each individual personally responsible for their choices, and, especially those who have been gifted with intelligence and security and still choose self-serving ends. I don’t know how civilization would function were it not for classes. That leadership can be kind or despotic and undeserving of the responsibility, but it is natural order for leaders to assume control.

        What I am wandering all over the place and not saying succinctly is this: I agree that civilized society requires classes. Where I find fault is with how those who have privileged leadership conduct themselves. If one is going to assume leadership, you must also accept responsibility for those whose lives you impact. THAT is where morality comes in, Creigh, and that is where the modern Conservatives have largely failed.

      • Creigh says:

        I think what the Founders were trying to prevent was “classes” in the sense that they saw in Britain at the time. Article 1 Sec. 9, “No title of nobility” etc. I don’t think they were trying to get rid of hierarchies, where they’re appropriate for an organizational structure.

    • marciecallan says:

      I’ve always thought of the two sides of the political spectrum as representing the two ideas in this question:

      How much individual liberty (conservative side) are we willing to sacrifice in order to maintain a civil society (liberal side)?

      The Don’t Tread on Me side isn’t inherently racist, but it’s easy to imagine one of that bent feeling aggrieved that he must support “others” by giving up things (2nd amendment rights, taxes).

      It’s much harder to imagine The Chicken in Every Pot side feeling put upon by “others” since they lean towards valuing what’s good for civilization as a whole.

      Too much of either side is a bad thing. Still, it doesn’t seem surprising that racists more frequently end up being the Individual LIberty type.

      Fascinating question. Thanks for posting.

      • Armchair Philosopher says:

        Side note: I’m still figuring out how to use this comment section. I’d prefer my name not to be listed and have tried to go under the pseudonym Armchair Philosopher. Is there a way for me to edit the above post and replace my name with my pseudonym?

      • 1mime says:

        If you post here using wordpress, go back to the home site and see what options are available to “manage” site. Possibly others with more technology skills than me can offer better advice.

      • 1mime says:

        And very good analysis, Marcie.

  32. RobA says:

    One thing dawns on me about Hillary Clinton. It seems like we’re seeing in real time the harvest of a career doing well in politics. When I see 9/11 widows come forward with stories about HRC personally visiting them and fighting for more benefits, or a MoH winner talking about Hillary saw him in 2006 and put all her weight behind increasing funding for Wounded Warriors, or all the work she did BEHIND the scenes, it seems like Hillary did a lot of good things in her role as a politician and now, shes finally,finally reaping the fruits of that labor.

    I know my feelings about her have certainly changed this week. I don’t think she’s without flaws, some serious. But she’s been humanized. Bill was right when he said there’s the character thats been created and the real Hillarythat he described. I’m sure the truth is somewhere near the middle, but I see her in an undeniably more favorable light.

    I’m pretty cynical and I’m trying to assess my own motivations. I dont feel like I’m falling for some propiganda puff piece. I expect Bill to say what he did, and Obama to say what he did. I don’t think you can fake the “little ppl” though. The 9/11 widows and the moms of murdered sons.

    There’s a reason nobody like that showed up for Trump. Because he doesn’t have anybody not related to him or on his payroll willing to vouch for her character. And that means something.

    • 1mime says:

      None of us who had put ourselves in the circle of fire as HRC has done for 40 years would be without mistakes. None of us could handle the intense, bitter and frequently ugly attacks she has endured and kept on. She will be a fine President and she will not disappoint us.

    • 1mime says:

      Chelsea Clinton is knocking it out of the park!

    • Bobo Amerigo says:

      I feel like I’ve learned a lot about Hillary, too.

      • 1mime says:

        Me, too, Bobo, and I like what I’ve learned. Flaws and mistakes happen in life especially if you “risk”…. put yourself in the center of controversy. I’ve had some life experiences in activism and you always end up with critics and fans, which shouldn’t matter and I don’t think it mattered to HRC. Because – that’s not why most sincere activists pursue their objective. Frankly, it amazes me that she has been doing this for so long, and always, it seems, for issues, problems, situations that required a lot of hard work, confrontation (with men) and persistence. Some of her achievements took years to achieve. What’s important is what she’s done that has survived. Looking at the most significant achievements – changing federal law to mandate access to education for disabled people, check. CHIP – check. 9/11 challenge of EPA with benefits for the first responders, check. Even though her health care initiative failed, it led to CHIP and it offered a platform for the ACA.

        All in all, I’d say she will do a an even better job than I’d hoped. Now we need to GOTV and share our support for her to help inform others.

  33. RobA says:

    Wow. If tonight’s overall display doesn’t absolutely bury Trump, everything I know about life is wrong.

    • RobA says:

      Jesus Christ. Can you imagine what Giukianni, and Christie and Pence et al are feeling g right now after Allen’s dynamite speech?

      I wonder if the slow, sinking realization is dawning on them that “holy shit……have we been the bad guys this entire time?”

      Yes, GOP establishment.

      You have.

      • 1mime says:

        I agree with the statement by Chris Matthews – Trump has been better for the Democratic Party than he will be for the Republicans….He has unified the party, reminded the party of what it stands for, and has provided an incentive for working for Hillary Clinton that might not have been as enthusiastic or energetic.

      • Griffin says:

        You’re giving those guys way too much credit Rob. They clrealy only care about preserving their power for a little longer, I don’t think “good” or “bad” has or ever will factor into it.

      • RobA says:

        I think you’re probably right Griffin. Still, I wonder if watching this, they might have the sinking realization that maybe no everybody ELSE is going to realize they’re the bad guys in this (those of us who didn’t already know)

      • 1mime says:

        More positively, the Spanish speaking reps are important.

      • Have Democrats always had those kind of military men speak at their conventions or is this something new? I honestly can’t remember. Seems like the kind you’d expect to hear at a Republican convention.

      • 1mime says:

        For all the “night owls”, you might enjoy Nate Silver’s DNC Convention blog post. Here’s a link. I gave up about half way through but it was good stuff. Smart comments/people.

        http://fivethirtyeight.com/live-blog/democratic-convention-day-four-2016-election/

    • 1mime says:

      The Muslim father and the Medal of Honor vet are my picks.

    • Bobo Amerigo says:

      Indeed.

    • 1mime says:

      The Muslim father of the fallen soldier was most inspiring. And, he went right at the animus of Trump for Muslims but with great dignity. Loved him offering to loan Trump his copy of the US Constitution.

      • RobA says:

        On some of the comments sectuons, I’m reading that Fox News didn’t even show that speech. They cut away until it was done.

        If true, what a disgusting pack of worms. They couldn’t show that patriotic Muslims actually exist could they? That would ruin the whole narrative.

      • 1mime says:

        Disgusting. Gives new meaning to “fair and balanced”.

      • Look no further for a more perfect encapsulation of all that is wrong in the Republican media bubble of today.

      • 1mime says:

        Exactly. A total, justified smack down of many more than just Donald Trump. What a class act Mr. Khan is. For me, his presentation stands out along with the young disabled girl. The MSNBC team of both Dems and Repubs (Nicole Wallace/Michael Steele – both of whom I really like), all agreed that this personal story should humiliate the Repub Party. What are we doing to our Muslim neighbors in the name of safety. I harken back to the Japanese internment. An ugly time in history. Surely the Muslim community has been outstanding in their efforts to speak against terrorism. Yet there is a verbal terrorism being effected against this group of American citizens that is inexcusable and ugly.

  34. Griffin says:

    “Americans interested in markets, commerce, trade, and personal liberty must look elsewhere for an organization to represent and promote our concerns.”

    I don’t think a party that represents these values would be exclusively conservative. It seems more likely that if an entity emerged representing primarily these values we would return to a system when both parties had conservative and progressive wings, ala the 1910’s-1940’s.

    For instance if the Democratic Party continues to uphold current government models of social security in opposition to proposals like the basic income and negative income tax it would essentially be “conservative” in terms of upholding the status quo. It’s very easy to see blue-collar union members and some businessmen who rely on a more paternalistic system being members of the conservative wing of the Democratic Party with others making up a more “progressive” wing that wants to not just preserve but expand these programs as is, or perhaps support more radical interpretations of identity politics but work within the Democratic Party by continuing to support these economic models in return for rhetorical support from party members on those issues.

    A party devoted to commerce would be in favor of creative destruction and major technological advancements and thus could pretty easily have people who support it for either progressive or conservative (or centrist) reasons. I think the political parties of the future are not going to be (as Sara Robinson notes) left vs right or conservative vs progressive so much as they’re going to be “labor oriented” vs “capital oriented”.

  35. Bobo Amerigo says:

    Republicans endorsing Hillary at the convention — nice!

  36. 1mime says:

    Lifer, is this the Avik Roy interview you reference in your post?

    http://www.vox.com/2016/7/25/12256510/republican-party-trump-avik-roy

  37. tmerritt15 says:

    I found this column quite interesting and have not yet read the link regarding the Affordable Care Act. Nevertheless, there are two other issues beyond white nationalism where the modern GOP is totally out of touch with the modern world. That is their attachment to “Ayn Randism” and their seeming desire for the US to be a global hegemon, with all other nations in obeisance to the dictates from Washington. The first precludes the Government from taking a proactive role to resolve any societal issues and insists on the Government aiding the wealthy with essentially the entire tax burden resting on what they define as “the takers”, which would include the “99%”. The second results in unnecessary wars and an over reliance on military actions, to achieve the national policy goals of the US. Both Afghanistan and Iraq are examples of this. For Afghanistan, the initial invasion may have been justified, but then de-emphasizing the Afghan campaign to focus on the Iraq war was a serious error. Afghanistan was more properly handled as a policing situation with a diplomatic push to get Pakistan to stop aiding the Taliban. Iraq should never have been invaded. Rather Hussein should have been kept in the box in which we had him.

    Now the geopolitical situation is entirely different. The US led world order of internationally recognized rules is being challenged by two revanchist great powers, Russia and China. Russia wants to establish the third Russian Empire and China wants to completely dominate East Asia. They will readily use military force to accomplish their goals, if required. This would completely upset this second attempt at globalization – the first was the 19th Century from the Napoleonic Wars to WWI – and development of a system of rules based international relations. Regardless, we still need to be careful of over reliance on military action, though ultimately military action may be required, if the challenges are not managed well. Hillary Clinton, I believe, would be cautious, but would be willing to stand up to the challenges. Trump on the other hand, essentially wants to withdraw into fortress America and rely on bluster and braggadocio.

    • Fair Economist says:

      “That is their attachment to “Ayn Randism” and their seeming desire for the US to be a global hegemon,”
      Indeed, and one of the many weird things about that was that she was a die-hard isolationist.

  38. Houston-Stay-At-Homer says:

    UBI versus liberty: Sorry to pull this to the top, but I got lost in the replies.

    I think I get where Tutt is coming from. We have a long history of people in this country questioning how people spend their government assistance.

    We’ve created byzantine rules regarding what can and cannot be purchased with food stamps, and (mostly) conservatives love to tell stories of the people they see in the grocery store buying filet mignon with food stamps and always, always getting in a Cadillac to drive off.

    We have states that have put forth drug testing in order to receive assistance.

    We talk about seniors blowing the SS checks on trips to the casinos in Louisiana.

    Arguably, these things go away when the assistance is universal, because it is hard to mock someone when you yourself are getting the same assistance. However, you will find many people on assistance who assure you they really need it while “others” are gaming the system.

    As the number of producers gets smaller, and the number of people with lots of free time on their hands gets larger, our history suggests it is not unreasonable to wonder if at least some folks might look for ways “to help those people spend their money more wisely”.

    • Houston-Stay-At-Homer says:

      Maybe its not even how to help them spend their money more wisely.

      Given our overly stubborn “Protestant work ethic” and seemingly all-consuming fear that someone is getting something they don’t deserve, how long do you think it would be before someone suggests, “Well, if we have a UBI, you all should do at least a couple of hours of community service each week”?

    • RobA says:

      I really like the idea of paying the UBI daily, that way you cant ever really blow your wad, so to speak. Perhaps even have a system where most bills can be connected to a central account and paid from there.

      In other words, I can connect my UBI account to my cable provider who charges me $100/mo for cable and internet. Everyday, $3.33 goes directly to the cable company. What/how many bills you want to pay is up to you. And of course, you can just pay it monthly on your own if you want. But that would be a pretty seamless system.

      • Sara Robinson says:

        Wow. Talk about your nanny state. “$3.33 a day. That’s all we can trust you with. If we give you any more, you might blow it.”

        If we give you any more, you might save it up to buy a house. Put a down payment on a car, or a deposit on a new apartment. Write a tuition check. Take a trip. You might decide to bag your cable altogether, and put the money toward your favorite hobby.

        This doesn’t seem completely thought-through.

      • texan5142 says:

        In politics of late, nothing seems to be thought through.

      • RobA says:

        No no, sorry,i wasnt clear. that would represent your cable bill, at a daily cost of $100 month. Obviously a UBI would be a lot more.

        Anyways, that was just me spitballing. I’m not saying the government would choose to pay your bills for you. Once it’s yours, it’s yours, spend it on whatever you want. Cocaine and strippers for all I would care. I was just coming up with hypothetical showing how convientnet things could be, whether it’s paying bills, setting aside a bit to go directly into your investment acct or what have you.

        The gov’t could issue you a UBI accnt number that merchants could link too at the point of sale. Like, let’s say you go buy a car, and the payment is $400/mo. Assuming you get a monthly payment of $800, you just swipe your card and $400 goes directly into your acct. Now, you get $400/mo. Then you go look at a new 4 wheeler you like for $250/mo. You say you’ll take it, the merchant checks with your UBI acct with amount and confirms you’re approved. Now you get $150/mo. You go tonthe boat store and see something for $200/mo. You go to buy, the dealer swipes your card, oops, sorry, you don’t have enough. You’ll have to come up with the difference on your own (which you could still do, of course. The UBI is just a supplement. Most ppl would still have jobs and make their own money).

        One thing I like about this idea is merchants would love it, and credit would not be necessary. EVERY citivizen would have the full faith and credit of the US (or at least for that $800. Any credit above that would be dependent on personal credit worthiness, like now). Think about how life changing that could be. Even the poorest hobo would have at least $800 of AAA credit. Even HE could buy a home as long as the mortgage was less then the amount on his account.

        Note, I understand the UBI would not be $800/mo if ever implemented. It would still be pretty significant if every poor person had $100/mo in AAA credit every month.

      • 1mime says:

        Cocaine and strippers?!!! I think I got your point, Rob! (-; Thanks for the laugh.

    • Bobo Amerigo says:

      We have a long history of people in this country questioning how people spend their government assistance.

      Only if they’re poor or minority or women.

      Corporations? We don’t give a flip.

      (And thanks for moving to the top…)

    • formdib says:

      I want to step in on this UBI discussion. I’m a UBI skeptic.

      First off, I have heard the Western morality reasons for work and there are the ways in which activity improves health. But I don’t know where people get the idea that people in general ‘want to work’ and, if given more leisure and leverage, will work in directional or effective manners. Whoever has that idea needs to study behavior. And for that matter, if you’re gonna argue against me here, why are you spending your free time procrastinating on a political blog instead of using this moment, right now, where you’re reading this, to take the first steps to achieve your goal?

      Motivational literature exists for two reasons: 1) to motivate people because they need it; 2) because being motivated also feels like an achievement in and of itself, so some people get addicted to the motivational literature itself without actually doing anything with it. This is another example of how people lie to themselves about how productive they are, even when recognizing an industry about how unproductive they are.

      Or, in just general physical terms, bodies want food, shelter, sleep, and sex. They don’t want ‘work’. They work to get those things. A full-bellied post-coitus body’s natural state is to sleep. We all want ‘rest.’ It’s entropy.

      It’s important for bodies to be active, both for their own health and mental health. But activity can be self-gratifying without being economically productive. Exercise is an example of a good or service performed for the self. Yes, there can be some gym trainers, but the vast majority of exercise, and to be fair truly ‘efficient’ exercise requires neither trainers nor equipment. So that is one way to use leisure time in a manner self-enriching where the UBI does no service to the economy.

      UBI tests applied to various small communities are largely poor communities with NO opportunity. The UBI test there becomes their first opportunity. Of course they take it. But if they had more opportunity, in general, would they necessarily need it to be productive? Not really. In the tests they show UBI recipients doing things like fixing the roof of their house, not inventing machines to fix the roofs of everyone’s houses.

      So that’s my argument against the ‘People will just naturally become tinkerer-inventor-artists.’ I’m a professional artist. I’m surrounded by ‘artists’. There are those who work hard to make art, and then there’s a whole lotta people who say they would do it ‘if they had the time’ — while engaging with me during their leisure time. I will get to this in a moment.

      There’s always the argument that people won’t be satisfied with just a base level of living and pick up extra shifts or do tinkerer-inventor-artist things on the side for a bit of extra income. But is it worth the extreme costs giving it to every billionaire owner?

      Last example: Candy Crush, Minecraft, and other such engines (even the Internet itself) are huge distractants to many otherwise productive people. The constantly novelty engine that refreshes and sparkles at every touch is addictive. It’s an addiction I have a hard time overcoming (hence why I’m here talking to you rather than working on a music video I’m doing on the side, as per my previous point).

      In that case I could see UBI operating only if the economy is gamified:

      I don’t consider that ideal. Pokemon Go is a good step forward toward a community activity ritual that will draw consumers to stores, and by making purchases improve their chances in the game itself, but despite it’s popularity eventually people just won’t want to go out searching for digital tokens to compete against other digital token searchers. Eventually there will be more games than Pokemon Go and we’ll see if ‘market saturation’ ever happens. For that matter I could be wrong and gamification becomes the most elegant way of getting consumers to spend money to increase this whole UBI transactional value.

      But for what? Why would gamifying the economy help us invent further and better technologies for society? The whole concept of UBI’s technoutopic tinkerer-inventor-artist concept is that people given opportunities to direct their minds to their own interests without fear of existential threat will expend their energy doing productive things that they otherwise never would have had the chance to having to perform a ‘day job’. But if they’re spending all day playing Pokemon Go instead, then no, I would argue the day job is more productive to society as a whole even if it feels more threatening to the individual.

      Gamification is out.

      So that just leaves finding some way to incentivize tinkerer-inventor-artist productivity and transactions. And that’s where my “I’m an artist but I don’t have time” friends come in.

      The fact is that without the necessity to sell, many coders / developers / artists and other IP-oriented white collar workers just do projects for themselves, still useful to society and productive and transactional, *but they don’t sell them.* How many artists do you know who make their own stuff on the side and then just give it away? Probably a lot. Without a market for art art is still created; and art is still created without a market for art.

      Furthermore, for the producer-owners of the world who are supposed to make the billions of dollars that gets taxed and redistributed for UBI, their IP has to be protected. It can’t be free, or else it can’t be taxed.

      Therefore, the government would have to create a system of procedures through which transactions of IP products must NECESSARILY be affixed some economic value, which has troubling and dystopian relevance with regard to what that means for things like blogs, Internet comments, news, and other free discourse. I’m not saying it couldn’t be worked out between the extremes, but then we get a bureaucratic nightmare like we currently have regarding taxes, only it doesn’t apply to the taxes, it applies to the sales — what can and should be sold, and how, for how much, for which values determined by the public sector.

      That undermines the whole simplicity argument of the UBI as well as makes the IP vs. libertarian debate something much more existentially threatening to the well being of society. IP versus freedom becomes much more relevant there.

      So you can’t motivate through gamification or through transactional oversight. You can’t expect people to work in direct and disciplined manners toward achieving special goals useful to society at large, and you have to expect distraction and aimlessness will have some significant amount of drag on productivity. How do you overcome this?

      That’s why I’m more interested in a NIT – negative income tax – which is closer to what some people have mentioned on this board, and is what Chris seems to describe when he describes a UBI. But it has to be stated that a NIT is not a UBI, as a UBI is truly UNIVERSAL. It means a billionaire makes the same amount as a homeless man. A NIT means someone earning over a certain income is no longer getting money from the government, because they have enough income to overcome the requirements for survival.

      Next issue issue with NITs as they’re typically discussed is that people tend to go down arguing ‘What amount of income is enough for survival, but not apathy?’ I think that is still too simple of a structure to account for the fact that if the NIT is, for instance, Chris’ preferred $15,000 / year, it still means working at a restaurant — ANY non-fine dining establishment — is a waste of your time. Considering no longer need for tips and the low pay of those establishments in general, it’s easy to work at a minimum wage gig restaurant or otherwise and not make more than $15,000 / year. So you’re working for nothing, because for each dollar you earn, it gets taken off the NIT.

      Which then most UBI or NIT enthusiasts say, “Well that’ll just raise wages!” which also means the service is more expensive, which also means that the $15,000 doesn’t go as far due to inflation, which also means it has to be raised by the government, and none of that is good.

      So, MY proposal so far is,

      that the NIT rolls off, rather than equivalently decreases, like any progressive tax rate. Something like, for the first $60,000 amount in income, each dollar you earn, you only get $0.75 of NIT, at which point the NIT runs out. Then your tax rate begins at 25% and holds until $100k, at which point everything over $100k to $200k is 35%, so on and so forth up to $5million at 45%.

      That way every dollar you earn in real work is actually 25cents more income than you would get without working, and every little bit counts. Yeah I could give you this painting for free, but I’d rather do more with my life than merely eke by at $15k a year, I’d like to save and buy a house, so I’d prefer if you could buy it for $300 please.

      Yeah, to a degree that is still met by UBI: “Oh, I’m fine but I’m not comfortable ENOUGH. Better pick up a gig.” But with a staggered NIT you get a lot more value dedicating yourself to consistent work, because you know each step forward has a multiplier effect and puts in what you take out. It’s a gamification of the earning system, rather than the purchasing system, while cutting costs on the Universal aspect of UBI.

      Now why is it important for people to do consistent work?

      Because careers are more productive than gigs. The libertarian ideal of the individualistic tinkerer-inventor-artist is actually just bullshit. Corporations can command economies of scale because they have labor of scale. Collaborations matter, but for ideas and communication and progress. People have to truly be involved with each other in some directional, productive goal.

      But even then I’m skeptical. From there I defer my stance to smarter people than me, who would have to start doing the real actual number crunching on:

      1) How much should the NIT be,

      2) at what staggered rate,

      3) delivered to whom,

      4) at what rate,

      5) pegged to what societal benchmarks?

      While also dealing with the grand old issues of immigrants coming in for the NIT and emigrants leaving to avoid paying the taxes associated to it, and the political capital required to pass it without bureaucratizing it too much.

      So, alls I’m saying here is,

      I’m not sold on this yet.

      • 1mime says:

        Formdib, that was a mouthful! You made a good argument for a means tested NIT, but I’m too tired to discuss this. You are evidently a night owl….not me…fixing to turn into a pumpkin in CST. What I do find very interesting is your discussion on art as productive and/or creative. I’m really into art – as a consumer who sees art as a reflection of the creative spirit and the social environment that nurtures it. Love indigenous art, outsider art. Not a proper subject for Lifer’s blog but it is a subject that warms my soul. Keep thinking on your NIT theory. I’m interested. As for people “wanting” to work – I can speak for myself – when I’ve worked – not my entire life but about 25 years or so, I really enjoyed it. Personal satisfaction for me was not only the financial reward but the process.

        Anywho, more for another time.

      • formdib says:

        “a means tested NIT”

        The only means tested is the income. That’s it. If you make less than $60,000 this year, you gain part of the NIT, no matter if you made a million dollars last year or have never earned income.

      • duncancairncross says:

        Hi formdib

        (1) – you don’t believe that people want to work – OK fine
        But ALL of the data from studies says that you are wrong!!
        People work – you may not like what they do but the percentage of wasters is small

        (2) I don’t see the advantages of a complicated kludge like a NIT
        To me it is simple
        Give EVERYBODY a simple UBI – enough to survive simply
        Then simply make the income tax slightly more progressive so that by the time you are on a decent wage (or a very good one) the extra tax cancels out
        dead simple

        The two are actually identical in how they work
        BUT the UBI becomes an actual universal – everybody gets it simply because they are citizens and it is their share of the common heritage of that society

        NIT would smack of “charity” – and you would have people begrudging it

      • 1mime says:

        After all, wealthy persons could always give their UBI back to the government (-;

      • formdib says:

        1) All right, I’ll walk back my skepticism of people’s desire to work. What I’m trying to say is that people desire to be active — but ‘work’ is something different. People need incentives to join on group endeavors, and sometimes mere income is a good motivation for lesser liked labor. Income can direct endeavor in a manner, I feel, than the tinkerer-inventor-artist myth doesn’t account for. Everyone thinks they’re Edison, not Edison company workers.

        Example: by all rights, enough information is available on MOOCs to compete with degree-holding studies. Look at the ‘ALL of the data from studies’ that show that without the degree requirements, most people don’t follow through with the MOOCs to the point of being as educated or organized in their education as a traditional degree program. Now as much as people claim to ‘pay to learn’ as their primary motivation for the degree, they don’t have to if the only outcome they’re looking for is to learn, since there are free options they don’t take. It’s the degree that drives completion.

        2) I don’t see how the NIT is complicated. It’s just a progressive tax with an income floor that all ‘citizens are guaranteed as their share of the common heritage of society.’

        I’m not following how they would be considered charity and the UBI wouldn’t.

        Furthermore, costs dude. If you give every current American $15,000 and then take it back due to high taxes, you’re spending $4.8trillion upfront and then collecting some of it back. Or you can reduce that upfront number and keep up the collections for roughly the same administrative costs.

      • 1mime says:

        I still say you start with universal health care and build from there.

      • RobA says:

        “why are you spending your free time procrastinating on a political blog instead of using this moment, right now, where you’re reading this, to take the first steps to achieve your goal?”

        Because most of us work, either at a job or as caretaker, and this is how we choose to spend some of our leisure time. It’s entirely inaccurate to extrapolate from that that if we didn’t work, Wed spend ALL of our time on this blog.

        People like to be productive, for the most part. That’s human behaviour.

  39. Chris –
    Several years ago I asked you if you thought that the uglier wing of the Republican party would resort to organised violence when they realised they couldn’t win at the ballot box. At the time that uglier wing was merely Tea Partiers and neoconfederates. You said (IIRC) that you thought that the relative old age of many of the most ideologically pure members would make such an insurgency a nonstarter.

    Since then things have gotten much worse.

    I’ll ask again since times have changed: do you believe that when Trump loses, there will be violence?

    • goplifer says:

      Yes. It probably won’t start until we get one step farther – a wave of new, more liberal legislation being passed. But yes. It is inevitable. And that this point you even have high level political leadership like Texas’ Governor who would probably stoke it and defend it when it arrives.

      • 1mime says:

        And that, my friend, is when I finally leave Texas.

      • Fair Economist says:

        What kind of legislation do you think would cause this? Hillary’s platform is pretty liberal by recent American standards but it doesn’t have much that I’d expect major violence from. Minimum wage laws and medical marijuana aren’t normally shooting issues.

        I also don’t see an imminent wave of major legislation. If the Democrats win the House it could happen in 2017 but most likely they won’t (odds of about 14% on PredictIt). Otherwise I think it’s unlikely there would be a Democratic trifecta prior to 2024.

      • 1mime says:

        What about these (off top of head): repeal of Citizens United; repeal of changes to Voting Rights Act (that removed federal supervision over 9 states); expansion of gun control; re-installation of Glass-Steagall; increase taxes on wealthiest Americans; eliminate carried interest; eliminate gerrymandering …note – many of these will require SCOTUS action, but not all.

      • Sara Robinson says:

        We are already in that shooting war, on several fronts.

        The big front is reproductive rights, where culture warriors have quite the record. Since Roe, there have been 15 murders, 17 attempted murders, 13 wounded, 383 death threats, 153 incidents of assault or battery, 100 butyric acid attacks, 373 physical invasions, 41 bombings, 655 anthrax threats, and 3 kidnappings committed against abortion providers. One-fifth of all clinics have been targeted with violence. And 2015 was the worst year in history — this stuff is accelerating.

        Another is the emergent conflict over policing of the black community. We heard a lot of rhetoric around the RNC about patriots coming to protect the event. Thank God that didn’t happen — but those guys have already shown up in Malheur and at the Bundy Ranch, so we’re not wrong to take them deadly seriously. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see gays become special targets, too.

        We’ve got plenty of issues on which the loony right has already been armed, drilled, and given license to shoot — and on occasion, has actually exercised that license.

        There were 19 right-wing political murders in the five months after Obama took office. (Tiller and the Holocaust Museum shooting were the final two.) I will be pleasantly surprised if we don’t see something similar in the wake of Hillary’s inauguration. Given that she’s a woman, women-related targets like clinics may be particular targets. The lingering agita over Obergefell may also increase the emphasis on gay targets as well.

        This stuff happens, and shouldn’t be dismissed.

      • 1mime says:

        How’s the weather in Seattle, Sara (-;

      • Sara Robinson says:

        Mid-80s, with a rare cloudless sky. We don’t often get real summer days — the kind that makes you wish people here had AC in their houses. (Only 17% of Seattle homes do.)

        Why do you ask?

      • 1mime says:

        I figure if there’s going to be a stand-off, it will happen in TX….Been thinking about a move when I can…son also considering the Fortuna, CA area but WA state looks interesting as well.

      • Sara Robinson says:

        Fortuna is gorgeous, and a lovely old hippie enclave that would be an awesome place to retire. But there are a lot of places up here that answer as well — check out Port Townsend/Sequim/Port Angeles on the north shore of the Olympic Peninsula for one example.

      • 1mime says:

        I would definitely qualify for entry to the old hippy cave (-; I’ll make note of the other suggestions. I can’t really “go” anywhere yet but I am putting a list together. One day….
        Thanks.

      • RobA says:

        I think it’ll happen sporadically and it’ll mostly be looked at as lunatics, kinda like how McVeigh and Nichols were for the Okc bombing. I was in 6th grade and I remember it vividly, my father was very political and he found it to be very interesting.

        That said, although McVeigh was rightly acknowledged as a terrorist then, the word terrorism feels different today then it was then. I could be wrong here since I was so young, but I feel like it was thought of mainly as a crime. A horrible, terrible crime, but it didn’t feel like there was the feeling that a concerted group of terrorists were operating in the US.

        Interesting to think about.

      • antimule says:

        > It probably won’t start until we get one step farther – a wave of new, more liberal legislation being passed.

        What liberal legislation are you thinking of? There are already gay and trans rights. Obamacare has passed. What is the next level in your opinion?

      • duncancairncross says:

        Well we can wish
        Blocking corporate tax loopholes
        Returning to a more sensible top tax rate (70%+)
        Carbon Tax
        Legislation to make it easier to form unions
        Legislation to make collecting police data mandatory
        Legislation on immigration
        Legislation on merging police departments – the USA has 18,000! – Scotland has 1

      • 1mime says:

        Our lists overlap, but aggressively pursuing expanded background checks and other mega data collection and other legislation surrounding the gun violence issue is sure to bring out those who are singularly focused on their individual rights. The egos of this sector are easily pricked even when their gun rights are still protected.

  40. Sara Robinson says:

    Chris, have you read Jane Mayer’s “Dark Money” yet? She provides what I think is a potent answer to the question of how this two-layered conservatism got set up, and why the conservative leadership is so loathe to admit the true motivations of most of its base.

    The Kochs have put up far and away most of the money that shaped conservatism since the early 1970s — tens of billions, all added up. And they have not fallen for this illusion; in fact, they fostered it. On one hand: they were funding Heritage and AEI and the rest of the think tanks, and building stable infrastructure to support generations of policy people and elected. This piece of the enterprise was responsible for generating the intellectual edifice of conservatism, refining and telling the economic story that’s been cherished by educated Republicans like you. And it wasn’t cynical; the Kochs themselves actually believe this, too, and these are the ideas they see themselves as being in business to promote.

    But at the same time, they also knew that they couldn’t implement their economic ideas without a reliable voting base. And the racists — gathered carefully from the ranks of the white working and middle classes, some Evangelical, some Catholic, all of them aggrieved by fair housing and school desegregation laws — provided that base. So they cultivated them, too, most recently by funding things like Americans for Prosperity and through it, the Tea Party.

    Both branches of this conflict have been carefully nurtured and pruned by the hand of the same gardener. The fact that so many conservative intellectuals have been in denial about the motivations of the base is tied directly to the denial they have about the names and motivations of the people signing their paychecks.

    • Doesn’t that seem reprehensibly stupid in retrospect though? Did the Kochs honestly believe they could control the beast they’d nurtured? Their interests were obviously fundamentally different, so either they were ignorant of this or just supremely confident, in a supremely misplaced way.

      • 1mime says:

        The Kochs play a long, long game. You don’t actually think they would invite any of these people to dinner, do you? Look at how they changed The Heritage Foundation from a respected organization to a hard right oppressive tool for primaring recalcitrant members of Congress to drafting odious legislation, lobbying pressure, etc. And, that’s just one concrete example of their long reach. I wouldn’t be surprised to find that they also support Grover Norquist’s operation, although I have no proof as such. They just seem like such a natural pairing.

      • Of course they wouldn’t invite them over to dinner, but that’s actually reflective of exactly the problem. They were just using the base as tools to meet their own ends, not having any real commonality in what they were pursuing. It reminds me of Biden’s speech last night about having support when you understand your constituents’ problems.

        How was this long game of the Kochs ever destined for anything but failure without that understanding and commonality? All the money in the world can’t make up for a deficit of trust.

      • 1mime says:

        Ryan, I think you have to reflect upon how much money they have and the successes they’ve brought about. As much as we may dislike the TP, look at the devastation these members of Congress have had on our political process. The political arm, ironically a 501c3 organization (go figure!) is very powerful. http://www.factcheck.org/2014/02/americans-for-prosperity-3/

        Those of us who believe and support truth in politics find it difficult to understand the blatant and covert activity that the Kochs have pursued. Read the book, Dark Money. I purchased it on Sara’s recommendation but havent’ gotten too far along as I’m too engaged in the campaign to do lengthy (it’s a big book) reading on substantive, serious issues. My brain is filled to overflowing right now (-;

      • Sara Robinson says:

        I don’t think it’s that cynical. Remember: Fred Koch was one of the founders of the John Birch Society. So I think there’s a degree of true-believerism on the social conservative front as well. It’s why they’re as credible motivating the social cons as they are funding the intellectual and policy infrastructure.

        But Mayer does make it clear that they are incredible snobs — not the kind of people who make the barest effort to learn the names of the household help, for example. Populists, they are not.

      • @1mime: “Ryan, I think you have to reflect upon how much money they have and the successes they’ve brought about. As much as we may dislike the TP, look at the devastation these members of Congress have had on our political process.

        They’ve certainly had success, but again it’s riding the back of the dragon; winning some battles, but never having an honest vision of what it takes to win the war. If Hillary Clinton wins the presidency, flips the Supreme Court and Citizens United is overturned, all the Kochs’ efforts in freeing up spending will have been for naught and, not to be morbid, but they probably won’t live long enough to have a chance to do anything more about it.

        That’s just one example, but there are others. They’ve been fighting against clean energy tooth and nail,. but what’s happened? Output has more than doubled since President Obama took office and Republicans in Congress conceded a renewal of green tax credits last year.

        And the Republican Party, despite their election victories, are in disarray and on the cusp of fading as a national political party. The dragon has sunk its teeth in and it’s about to bite down.

    • 1mime says:

      Isn’t David Frum a prime example of this conflict of principle vs income? And, many others unnamed here. Your historical synopsis of the Koch plan is most interesting and concerning. For a long time, they have succeeded in their covert mission. I am hopeful that this election will seriously erode the political empire they have so carefully nurtured. We will see in November.

    • 1mime says:

      Correction: Americans for Prosperity is a 501-c4, not a 501-c3 as I stated in the post above. My error. How political organizations utilize the 501-c4 status is hotly debated. Here’s more FYI:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/501(c)_organization#501.28c.29.284.29

  41. flypusher says:

    The GOP badly needs a twitter tutorial:

    http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_57998278e4b01180b531bfd6

    I understand the lure of the epic “GOTCHA ” tweet, but a bit of fact checking prevents the epic fail.

  42. tuttabellamia says:

    Lifer wrote: “Americans interested in markets, commerce, trade, and personal liberty must look elsewhere for an organization to represent and promote our concerns.”
    **************************
    I still have trouble seeing how the UBI fits in with these concerns (markets, commerce, trade). I understand your view that personal liberty would come from the security of a UBI, but whether you can receive a UBI and still be have personal liberty is debatable.

    I see the UBI more as a liberal, Democratic principle, not a conservative one.

    • tuttabellamia says:

      Disclaimer: Not that there’s anything wrong with being liberal or Democratic.

      • Fair Economist says:

        I expect Chris will chip in, but I think the point is that due to ongoing technological changes, it’s no longer possible to expect people to “stand on their own two feet”. We are looking at a society in the near future in which only a smallish minority, mostly entertainers, will be able to usefully contribute and otherwise everything will be done by algorithms and robots. So the government (or something indistinguishable from one) will have to step in to ensure most people get to live.

        Given that, it’s preferable to have a UBI than a nanny state which scrutinizes every transaction to determine who’s “deserving” and who already has enough, and piles on conditions on its programs to determine exactly which candies recipients are allowed to buy and how often. Society will be more free with a UBI than with everybody having to fill out income forms at the dentist to determine if they’re eligible for some Saving Smiles program.

        To some extent, this is already a concern, because some people can’t earn their way in society now (disabled, mentally ill, elderly, etc.) But soon it may be most of us.

      • Sara Robinson says:

        For long stretches in our lives, all of us are already dependent on others for support. Our parents (for a large fraction — 30%? — of today’s kids, with considerable help from the state) support us as kids; and we all get UBI when we turn 65. If your household is fortunate enough to be able to support a stay-at-home parent, that partner will be dependent on the other for the 5-10 years s/he is at home. And many of us will be on temporary or permanent disability due to injury or illness at some point in our adult lives.

        Seeing dependence as some kind of exception is typical of Americans, who all like to believe we’re “self-made” and self-sustaining. We have a producerist ethic going back to John Smith that says that those who don’t work are unworthy of support. Getting to UBI is going to mean getting over a fantasy view of our economy that goes back to the earliest European settlements, and embracing a new view of what we owe each other as Americans that is far more expansive than we’ve usually been capable of in the past.

      • 1mime says:

        It is long past time that America had this discussion. What are the priorities of the American people? (That is opposed to what Congress is telling us our priorities will be.) If, as polls support, health care, retirement security, access to quality educational opportunities lead the list, we have to budget accordingly. There is, after all, only so much money to spend. The real question is: what are the priorities that make our nation a better place to live? That conversation has been missing in political circles and in our social intercourse.

    • tuttabellamia says:

      Also, if we take the White supremacist influence out of the equation, do you think the Republican Party could steal minorities away from the Democrats? In other words, if the Republicans became strictly the party of “markets, commerce, trade, and personal liberty,” do you really think you could entice a significant number of minorities away from the party of big government spending? Is the party of big government spending more accommodating to minorities? Can we change that mindset?

      • Fair Economist says:

        If you just mean the Republicans not playing footsie with the racists, they could certainly get more (W did) but still a minority. If you mean a society where people with black-sounding names don’t get a letter grade lower on average for the same work, they could get anything potentially, and ethnicity would not be a major determinant of politics. But that’s a long way off.

      • That’s an interesting point. People have argued that the GOP could possibly have pivoted to being a Spanish-speaking party, but missed their chance when the Tea Party rose. It’s easy to see how social conservatism and deep religiosity would play well in that demographic, but the Republican party might find its past to be too much of an albatross for that to work.

      • 1mime says:

        Tutta, undoubtedly, if you removed the White Nationalist focus from the GOP, it would help the party attract more people. Here’s the problem with your “big government” reference as it relates to minority support. Democrats have a clear record of support for a safety net for the uninsured, seniors, disabled, veterans, and unemployed. If you pull economic performance in America by party, the economy is clearly more robust under Democratic leadership and that is “with” spending on social programs. The real question is not if government support is a valid expenditure for government, but what value the people of America place on the importance of such programs. Study after study affirm support for health access, retirement security, and welfare to help people get through hard times. If this is the priority that polls affirm, then we have to budget accordingly. We can have smaller, smarter government, and we can have better educated people who are given opportunities to participate in and contribute to our country’s economy. It won’t happen if we exclude classes of people and denigrate them in the process. That never works.

      • Creigh says:

        I understand the appeal of calling the Democratic Party “the party of big government spending,” but who spends just for the sake of spending? I’m not suggesting that all government spending is optimal or even defensible, but if spending benefits people, why is the level of spending an issue? Why is this a pejorative? Not to even bring up the point that it’s the other guys who tend to run up big deficits.

    • goplifer says:

      In assessing how the post-Cold War Republican future ended in ashes, your comment is particularly instructive. Probably the single most powerful generational obstacle to this agenda is the following sentence:

      “whether you can receive a UBI and still be have personal liberty is debatable”

      Rather than jump ahead to make assumptions about what you mean, let me first ask – what is “personal liberty” in this context and how does a minimum income guarantee undermine that liberty?

      • tuttabellamia says:

        First of all, when I say it’s debatable, I means simply that — that it’s open to question — not that it’s a complete impossibility. Perhaps it is possible.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        I had never heard of the UBI until I read about it here on this blog, so for me it’s a relatively new concept, and I am simply having trouble seeing how it would work. My reservations about it are not a knee-jerk reaction about how it will automatically lead to dependency or laziness, etc.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        From what I’ve read about the UBI, even though it’s supposed to be “universal,” it would be funded by an elite group of people who would be the only ones generating income — the few who have succeeded in the knowledge economy — so I can’t imagine that small group of people at some point not wanting to have some say in how their money is being used by those of us who would be the recipients, and that’s when our personal freedom would be compromised.

        If EVERYONE were contributing to the UBI fund to a certain degree, then maybe we would all feel we had a stake in it, and that would be an equalizing factor, so no one group would feel it was owed something by the others, if not money, then a certain behavior in accordance with the beliefs of the givers.

      • flypusher says:

        “whether you can receive a UBI and still be have personal liberty is debatable”

        I have a couple reservations about UBI, but this isn’t one if them. Getting that check wouldn’t stop me from getting an education, learning a skill, finding a job, doing gig work, starting my own business, and/or bartering goods and services. I suspect the objectors are thinking that UBI= dependence = loss of personal liberty. Of course they could always not take the $ on principle if they find it so corrupting.

      • 1mime says:

        Had to post this somewhere (-; , Trump is now calling to raise the minimum wage to $10/hr. He continues to “make it up as he goes along”. The king of flip flop is on record saying the following: “At a GOP debate last fall, Trump responded to a question on the minimum wage by saying wages were already “too high.”

        “Sometimes he says one thing, and sometimes he says another about this, so I’m not exactly sure where he’s at on this,” said Moore.

        Silly old me, I wonder how he plans to pay for it (-; I guess this is another instance where we will just have to “trust him”.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        I do understand there has to be a balance between security and personal liberty. (By personal liberty, I mean the freedom to live life on your own terms, with minimal intrusion, as long as you don’t hurt others.) If you don’t have a secure foundation, it’s hard to exercise your personal liberty, because then you’re a slave to poverty. But even if the money you receive is a gift, you’re still somehow indebted to that person or group of people.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        LIfer, and I don’t see how respecting people’s personal liberty and honestly questioning how a UBI might compromise it, I don’t see how that general attitude should be blamed for the Republican Party being in such disarray, as long as the respect for personal liberty is honest and not a disguise for something more sinister, in which case, what’s to blame for the party’s troubles is that more-sinister-something.

      • @tuttabellamia: >] “But even if the money you receive is a gift, you’re still somehow indebted to that person or group of people.”

        How?

        There are only two ways in which that’s true. Either the giver extracts concessions from the receiver in exchange for the money or if they make you feel morally compelled to do what he/she says, which defeats the purpose of it being a ‘gift’ quite beautifully in that case.

        Look to Social Security. Aside from a few caveats, your benefits are yours to spend however you want. Now some might argue that that’s because it’s your money and you know that you earned it, but that’s missing the forest for the trees and being just a short step away from how child labor activists argued for the pride and dignity of work in it.

        Now, of course I’m neither suggesting nor inferring that you believe anything of the sort. That’s ridiculous, but it lends to the larger point that you have to look at things in their appropriate context.

        Do you believe that people should have a minimum level of financial security that no one fall through? If there is any obligation there (which I don’t believe there is, but for the sake of argument) it’s that they use those means to acquire the security, which is exactly the point.

        Can we please stop talking about this now?

      • goplifer says:

        “My reservations about it are not a knee-jerk reaction about how it will automatically lead to dependency or laziness, etc.”

        That’s what I was looking for. Here’s how I feel about that.

        Going all the way back to Goldwater’s mistaken stand against the Civil Rights Acts, we’ve been assuming that liberty can be measured by an equation that is zero-sum and entirely subtractive. In other words, a human being starts out free, then along comes government. Everything government does, good or bad, is subtracted from my total liberty.

        The more government does, the less free I am.

        We can test this equation pretty easily. Afterall, without government we would have no highways. Have highways made me freer, or less free? Government made child labor illegal, stripping away the rights of children to seek employment. Did that make children freer or less free? A minimum wage has eliminated my right to work for $2.50 a hour. Did it make me freer or am I now oppressed?

        Particularly in the Cold War coalition it was attractive, at least from a rhetorical perspective, to pretend that more government always equals less freedom. It formed a fine contrast to the Soviet model. As a marketing campaign against Communism maybe it’s not so bad. As a unwavering assumption about how the world always works, it is dangerously flawed.

        Our rigid attachment to this concept, which it turns out has some dark roots in uglier elements of our history, has made it impossible for the Jack Kemp vision for the Republican future to spread and take root. Basically, Republicans were never willing to invest in smart government because we turned out to be hostile to government at every turn, except when we could use it to enforce our bigotries.

        It’s over now. Now we’ve lost our chance to shape a government that will have a light footprint. Instead we’re about to see a doubling down on the age of big government. Maybe something better will emerge on the right in the next few years. More likely we’re done for a generation.

      • 1mime says:

        “We’re about to see a doubling down on big government…” Lifer, let’s explore that particular comment more, if you will. By what measure do you believe this will happen? The past 8 years? Ascendency of the Democratic Party who have greater interest in helping people? I’d love more detail to support the assertion.

      • Isn’t the whole point of a Basic Income that because you receive it automatically as a consequence of citizenship, you are *not* beholden to anyone?

        It’s like being protected by the army: everyone in the country gets it without exception and without needing to do anything to deserve it.

        I’m with flypusher: I don’t see how, unless “personal liberty” is defined in an way I don’t understand, this would interfere with it.

      • flypusher says:

        “But even if the money you receive is a gift, you’re still somehow indebted to that person or group of people.”

        The way I see it, you’re as indebted as you choose to be. One the gift is given, the giver has no say in what the recipient does with it. There are certain attitudes that will die hard, like that and the need to work. But unless you can come up with a full employment system, I can’t see a fair and peaceful alternative.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Ryan asked: Can we please stop talking about this now?
        *************************
        I’d never heard of the UBI until I read about it here on this blog, so I rather enjoy talking about it, and I think it’s a useful discussion. It sure beats going into hysterics about the latest thing uttered by Mr. Trump, which I consider an absolute waste of time.

      • flypusher says:

        ” A minimum wage has eliminated my right to work for $2.50 a hour. Did it make me freer or am I now oppressed?”

        Only if you were wanting to make $ on a business plan that shafted people. I suspect there are still some people out there who would see it as a lost freedom.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        LIfer wrote: That’s what I was looking for. Here’s how I feel about that.
        *************************
        I don’t get it. Was it a trap to get me to say something compromising? Or were you just looking for the opportunity to discuss the meaning of personal liberty? Just wondering.

      • 1mime says:

        Tutta, Lifer wouldn’t trap you into taking a position. He was simply giving you the time and space to think through your position so that he could respond.

      • @tuttabellamia: >] “I’d never heard of the UBI until I read about it here on this blog, so I rather enjoy talking about it, and I think it’s a useful discussion. It sure beats going into hysterics about the latest thing uttered by Mr. Trump, which I consider an absolute waste of time.

        I’m as happy to talk about a UBI as you are, just not this idea that it somehow interferes or even could interfere with personal liberty. That’s nothing but noise that political adversaries are inevitably going to bring up when it comes to an actual vote in Congress.

      • 1mime says:

        Ask any SS recipient if they feel their personal liberty is hampered when their checks are deposited. Let me know if you find a single one. There really isn’t much difference between the two (if they were to even co-exist), as both essentially have a combination of personal contribution vis a vis taxes of some kind, and personal income. I don’t see the big deal, frankly. Not to get too far astray, but I’ve read interesting proposals about funding entitlements (UBI would be one) with sales taxes which all people would contribute to. We simply need to have an honest discussion about what we think is important in America and what is needed given the trending reduction in workforce relative to technological and digital expansion.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Ryan wrote: this idea that it somehow interferes or even could interfere with personal liberty. That’s nothing but noise
        ***********************
        I disagree. It’s an honest question that should be addressed.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Mime, you’re right. Lifer is not the “gotcha” type.

      • RobA says:

        Do we feel “indebted” to the policeman who stops the assault on our person? He is, after all, putting themselves at risk for our safety.

        No, we don’t. We’ll feel personal gratitude to that specific cop, but we feel indebted to the police force in general, because we (rightly) consider it it a service that our tax dollars pay for. I don’t see how the UBI is any different.

      • RobA says:

        “I disagree. It’s an honest question that should be addressed.”

        I don’t think it’s crazy question to ask Tutta, but specifically, how could it affect personally liberty? Like, what’s a semi plausible real world situation?

      • 1mime says:

        I think that it is difficult for people who grow up in an environment where minority status is denigrated, welfare is denigrated, and a strong work ethic exalted, to accept the UBI concept as a “no strings” one. For many people, receiving any type public assistance is stigmatized even as it is offered. Thus, it is more difficult to accept the freedom inherent in a UBI as one that is freely given, and hence the drag on personal liberty….whether it is overt or subtle.

        Think about SNAP recipients, medicaid, meals on wheels, etc and it is easy to find a wealth of criticism from the “producers” in our society who resent those who partake. Gratitude is accompanied by guilt for many recipients. To this day, seniors are constantly reminded of the deficits in SS and Medicare and what a drain these programs are to society. And they are costs, but not drains, although many do not feel that way.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Lifer wrote: “We’ve been assuming that liberty can be measured by an equation that is zero-sum and entirely subtractive”
        ********************************
        That assumption would only be made by an anarchist. I don’t think Republicans have called for totally dissolving government, nor have Democrats called for complete control by government. The line is somewhere in between, with the line for more limited government more toward the Republican side. And as you rightly point out, less government doesn’t necessarily mean more personal freedom, if it means less protection from other entities who would rob you of that freedom. The government is not the only entity capable of curtailing your freedom.

      • 1mime says:

        That’s very thoughtful, Tutta.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Mime, thank you. You put into words what I’ve been thinking. As a minority I’ve seen some of the “strings” that come with offers of help, so I don’t believe in money without strings.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        So, the question is — Would the UBI be like Social Security, which is for people who’ve contributed to the pot; or like SSI, which is for low income people who have not contributed (usually through no fault of their own).

        I would think the UBI would be more like SSI, since most of the recipients would be “NO income” – also through no fault of their own, since jobs would be scarce.

        So, SOMEBODY would have to contribute to the UBI fund, otherwise how could it work, and that SOMEBODY might very well have expectations about how their hard-earned money should be spent, and how dare you fritter away all MY money studying something as useless as underwater basket weaving??

      • johngalt says:

        “without government we would have no highways. Have highways made me freer, or less free? Government made child labor illegal, stripping away the rights of children to seek employment. Did that make children freer or less free? A minimum wage has eliminated my right to work for $2.50 a hour. Did it make me freer or am I now oppressed?”

        And yet there are people on the libertarian and tea party wings who would argue that minimum wages, child labor laws, etc., have made us less free, that any government intrusion is unacceptable tyranny no matter how legitimate it sounds to the rest of us. I believe Tutt knows someone who thinks like this.

      • goplifer says:

        “Was it a trap to get me to say something compromising? ”

        No, I just didn’t want to assume.

      • @tuttabellamia: >] “So, SOMEBODY would have to contribute to the UBI fund, otherwise how could it work, and that SOMEBODY might very well have expectations about how their hard-earned money should be spent, and how dare you fritter away all MY money studying something as useless as underwater basket weaving??

        Just because someone feels like there might be expectations doesn’t mean there actually are any though. As I’ve said, if there were one, it’s that they use it to establish a base of security for themselves, help to pay the bills and put food on the table; hardly anything that would make people go white in the face.

        With all respect, tutta, it almost seems like you’re conflating a UBI with generations’ worth of government programs like SNAP and others that required whatever money they gave to be used for certain things.

        Sure, a decent chunk of people might have your kind of mindset at first, but I genuinely believe that would fade pretty quickly.

      • @tutta:
        “So, SOMEBODY would have to contribute to the UBI fund, otherwise how could it work, and that SOMEBODY might very well have expectations about how their hard-earned money should be spent, and how dare you fritter away all MY money studying something as useless as underwater basket weaving??”

        I earn more than the average in my country, and so would presumably be that somebody. I can’t speak for everyone else, but I would be happy to pay taxes to ensure that you can spend some time on underwater basket weaving, if that’s your true dream.

        Not only does it make one of my fellow human beings happier, but it also keeps the SCUBA hire shop in business. That creates jobs and pays taxes. It also gets you out of your home and helps to form a community of underwater basket weavers, which builds social capital and helps to counteract some of the issues that Ladd wrote about in The Politics of Crazy.

      • 1mime says:

        You’re a nice person, EJ. I’ll weave my baskets pool-side, please (-;

    • All depends on how you look at it. I could argue that Social Security is more grounded in the conservative belief of personal responsibility since it, broadly speaking, only gives what’s put into it.

      Conversely, a UBI can be said to embody the conservative tent of respect for human existence because, beyond its obvious age requirement, it doesn’t target any specific group or class of people. It respects the inherent complexities in people’s lives and works to give them the means to work through them, but only the means, not the end in and of itself.

      Honestly, I’m not much for ideology. I find commonality in FDR’s thinking in going with what works and sticking with it. As Bill Clinton once said, slap whatever label you want on it.

      • 1mime says:

        Actually, with life expectancy getting ever greater, without changes to the SS format, practically everyone receives more than they contribute.

      • Expanded benefits without the technical expansion of benefits, which people overwhelmingly support. Curious how that works.

      • Fair Economist says:

        Except that lifespan is increasing mostly for the upper half of the income distribution and not for the lower. The high school educated are not getting the boost the college educated are.

      • 1mime says:

        The more affluent, better educated are enjoying the greatest bump in life expectancy, which those who work in manual trades do not; however, they are benefiting some and if we can find a way to offer universal health insurance, I think the gap will narrow. It would be interesting to critically analyze the impact that lifetime access to quality health vs white collar/blue collar employment. I’m sure some, but access to health care is a major factor.

      • Sara Robinson says:

        The effects of equalized access to health care are striking in Canada (where I lived for seven years, and my daughter still lives). You can see it walking down the street. Working-class folks get the same care from the same providers. When they’re injured (on the job or off), they get everything they need, including enough time to fully heal up before returning to work. Incipient illnesses and chronic conditions are spotted and treated at very early stages, while they’re cheap and easy to fix. The upshot is that the old folks you see on the street are in really good physical shape, regardless of what they did before they retired.

        What wears Americans out is deferred maintenance. The diseases of aging start in our 40s and 50s — high BP, arthritis, bad backs, diabetes. Since we don’t get Medicare until 65 — and, before Obamacare, were largely uninsurable during those middle decades — a lot of people in those years aren’t getting the kind of proper early-stage care that will keep their conditions from worsening.

        By the time their sorry carcasses turn 65, they’ll be in far worse shape, and far more expensive to treat. The OMB has run the numbers: the cost of this deferred care is so high that we’d be much better off granting free treatment for these particular conditions to people once they hit 55.

        You don’t need research to prove Mime’s point. You just have to walk down any city street in our neighbor to the north.

      • @Sara Robinson: Truly a diabolically devious plan, Sara. They lure us in with their bread crumbs of universal care and actually caring for people and what happens right before the election? They make it easier than ever to acquire Canadian citizenship.

        HOMEWRECKERS!! *Angry Fist*

    • tuttabellamia says:

      My favorite line: “Another 7 percent were unsure” (whether they would prefer a meteor over Hillary or Trump).

      • duncancairncross says:

        Hi tuttabellamia
        Your question about UBI – and how a number of people would “do all of the work” and a lot of others would simply “take”

        I’m an engineer (retired) when I was working I was always amazed at how much I was relying on work that had been done before I was born
        If I developed a new product (like Rand’s new metal) I would only be adding to the top of huge pyramid that supported my new invention
        The most incredibly original invention could only be about 2% of the actual knowledge required
        Everything else we do is similar – no matter what we do we rely on a mass of existing knowledge, technology and infrastructure to make it work

        So when I was “contributing” I was personally only providing a small percentage of “my contribution”
        The rest was from our “common heritage”

        At the moment our “common heritage” is not that common –
        like the enclosures in England that “common heritage” has been subverted by our monied classes

        I don’t think we should make the “winners” disgorge all of their ill gotten gains (the 98%) even though I would argue that that would be fair

        But I believe that it is entirely reasonable to make them disgorge enough for a UBI

    • 1mime says:

      Doesn’t surprise me a bit. We have commentators on this blog that wouldn’t see the light if it was two inches from their eyes. First – you have to get people to open their eyes.

  43. Truth says:

    You know why most of Americans don’t know what conservatism is? Because they don’t care about a damn thing happened in their towns, our country and around the world. For that reason, they don’t know who caused them. They are wasting time on stupid reality shows and social media crap.

    Don’t criticize republican label black, Latinos and Muslims. Yourself just labeled republicans as white nationalists. It’s not about nationalism but want to make our country strong again like used to be — other countries used to look up and respect us. Not anymore. Instead, we are being taking advantages by illegal immigrants and terrorists. Today, a lot of Americans are lazy, they have no ideas what this country were built upon. Instead of working hard to be success, they attacked well accomplished people — most of them are white of course. I am 1st generation Asian immigrant and I am proud of being a republican. In my almost 20 years here, repubilcans are respectful, responsible, reliable hard working people.

    You shouldn’t be here if you dislike your own party so much.

    • 1mime says:

      Truth – Since you’re lst gen Asian immigrant, you more than most, should be dismayed at the direction of “your” Republican Party. There ARE respectful, responsible reliable Republicans, the problem is, they haven’t spoke up or out against the vile elements within the party.

      As for “dis-inviting” Lifer to the Republicans, he’s been there, done that, if you read his resignation post. I suggest you read through his archives and I suspect, you’ll find a Republican message that will make sense to you. That a Donald Trump has emerged as the “mouthpiece and image” of the modern GOP speaks volumes. Dig deeper, Truth. You’ll hit a vein of pure toxic material. It’s there, it can’t be ignored, and it’s killing the Republican Party you think so much of.

    • RobA says:

      Sorry, but there’s a whole lot of bullshit here that just doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. Remember: just because you personally FEEL something doesn’t make it true. I’m gonna try to unpack some of this.

      “It’s not about nationalism but want to make our country strong again like used to be”

      You do, know, that for entire races of ppl, America has a very dark past that they have no desire to “return” too right? And that those people’s vote counts just as much as ppl who have an idylic view of the 1950’s? And that those people make upnan increasing share of the electorate?

      ” other countries used to look up and respect us. Not anymore.”

      Source please? This is entirely at odds with the actual facts on the ground. After taking an absolte nose dive due to George W’s disastrous policies, America has significantly higher respect from other countries now then it did in 2008. You’re entitled to you opinion, even when it’s wrong. You aren’t entitled to your own facts.

      “Instead, we are being taking advantages by illegal immigrants and terrorists.”

      Again, what do you mean? Just because Trumpbsays something, doesn’t mean you have to believe it. That’s why you have your own brain. How many Americans are affected by terrorism? Hint: about double the rate that gets killed by bees.

      Here is terrorism deaths compared to gun deaths.

      Now, obviously terrorism and gun deaths are not apples to apples comparison. But if you don’t think gun deaths is a problem, how can you say that terrorism is a problem and not expect to be laughed out of any serious conversation?

      And as for immigrants: please, post SPECIFICALLY how illegal immigrants are taking advantage of America? I’m not saying they aren’t. We just expect you to support your arguments here. You do know that more illegals LEAVE America then come here right?

      • RobA says:

        Sorry, I meant bees kill double the amount of ppl that terrorism does, at just over 54/yr for bee deaths, compared to almost half that for terrorism.

        What’s Trumps stand on bees I wonder? They are, factually, double the threat level.

        Not saying terrorism isn’t a problem, it is. But treating like it’s an existential threat is just flat out wrong. You’re letting your unjustified fear allow you to be manipulated by a con man like Trump.

        Thinknfoe yourself.

    • johngalt says:

      ” Instead of working hard to be success, they attacked well accomplished people”

      I take strong exception to this claim. Americans revere successful people – if they are seen to have achieved success honestly and through hard work and brilliant ideas. Warren Buffett is like everyone’s grandfather, Bill Gates is everyone’s nerdy friend, and Steve Jobs was the uber-cool guru. All of these guys have made billions and I sense utterly no jealously (because that is what you really mean) about them, or hundreds of other people who have achieved success (and wealth) in business, entertainment, or sports.

      In contrast, there is animosity towards people who have enriched themselves in ways that seem less than completely honest – hedge fund managers, personal injury lawyers, politicians (right and left) who sell themselves once out of office, CEOs who make thousands of times that of their average employee without being significantly better than average, etc. These are people largely gaming the system. While you can find examples in both parties of people like this, the GOP has actively pursued policies to further enrich, to further skew the playing field. Despite this, a large number of people support the GOP against their own economic interests because of calls to the white nationalism that Chris has long written about and others seem to be waking up to.

      • 1mime says:

        The tragedy, JG (and Truth) is that there are people who no longer can tell the difference between what they believe and what is.

      • flypusher says:

        If you’re born on 3rd base, be honest about it. Honest people aren’t going to resent good luck. We do resent those who falsely claim to be self made.

      • 1mime says:

        I also resent wealthy people who have hurt the people working for them while enhancing their bottom lines. There are many fine examples to the contrary, and then there is Trump – who stiffed many small contractors, used the bankruptcy system/aka taxpayer to game the system, and has lied repeatedly about his achievements. Look at his philanthropic record, for instance. Not only is it meager relative to his “purported” wealth, but he has reneged on promises. Having done a great deal of fundraising for non profits, this can be devastating to a grassroots organization whose budgets are razor thin.

        Then there are the Gates, and the Buffets, and so many others we probably don’t even know about because their philanthropy isn’t for image, it’s to help others.

  44. Vegas Native says:

    As a black man….I have been saying this for years. The Republican Party is not a party for black people after 1965. There is a reason why we don’t vote republican with the exception of a very tiny minority. While the Democrats lost the south for two generations (and for what is & will be quite a bit longer than Pres. Johnson thought after he signed the Civil Rights Act); I predicted two years ago to my family that 2016 will probably be the year that the Latino vote will be cemented into the Democratic party. My prediction on that was just because of the inaction & refusal on getting any type of sensible immigration reform worked out that doesn’t demonize and/or break up Latino families. And then Trump on his announcement of his candidacy managed to do that a year earlier with his hateful & racist words. I appreciate your post and intellectual heft you share on your blog since I stumbled upon this site early last year…..AND I always wondered how long your affiliate with your party would last. No matter what banner you fly your flag; keep up the good work creating a space where ideas can continued to be passed around to those who appreciate a good exchange.

    • flypusher says:

      One of the things where I give George W credit (and I’ve been a critic since he first got into politics) is that he tried to get immigration reform going. And he was thwarted by his own party. The hypocrisy over this issue is especially annoying. We have the “No Tresspassing” sign posted next to the “Help Wanted” sign. Trump denomizes the people who come in illegally, and his supporters cheer for the wall, but say nothing about all those who hire under-the-table illegally, and sometimes abuse those employees and commit wage theft. I understand the anger over 1986. We were lied to. But that’s no excuse to not deal humanely with the people who’ve been covertly invited here since. And yes, I said invited, because actions (or lack thereof) speak louder than words.

      And Vegas Native, welcome to the blog. The more the better.

      • Vegas Native says:

        Thanks…been observing for a while. Only one other time have I felt the need to comment.

      • 1mime says:

        I agree that W’s “Pathway to Citizenship” was a noble attempt to address the challenges and problems of immigration in America. Chalk up the denial of the legitimacy of this proposal and the ultimate decision by the Republican Party to actively “use” the issue as a bludgeon to generate anger and fear among their base, as one more despicable move by the Republican Party. If this were a chess game, it would represent a series of strategic and stupid moves that had only one possible outcome. Defeat.

      • flypusher says:

        One thing I think is important is to not allow twisting if the word “amnesty”. I would define amnesty as the abscence of any strings on a path to citizenship. Requiring people to pass a background check, learn English, and pay any applicable fines is not a free pass. The Dream Act isn’t either, although I think the bar on that needs to be raised. One of the best points I’ve read on this blog is JohnGalt’s take on how current immigration laws are a sham that were never meant to be enforced. They throw a bone or two to the law and order crowd, but they do nothing to realistically deal with illegal crossings and don’t address the needs of people who want to come in legally to work or seek residency/asylum.

        One of the best thing about Obama opening up contact with Cuba is the chance to get rid of a horrible double standard. I am no fan of the Castros, and I have no problem with the granting of asylum to people fleeing Cuba. But people in places like Honduras and Guatemala have it worse than the Cubans. I see no good reason to show favoritism to Cubans just because they’re fleeing Communism instead of Authoritarianism/cartel anarchy. Let’s get some consistency.

  45. RobA says:

    Chris, the urge to yell “I told you so!!!” from the top of your lungs must be almost overwhelming right now. I feel it myself, and I haven’t been writing about EXACTLY these issues for years the way you have.

    You have far greater willpower then I do 🙂

    • 1mime says:

      At some point in everyone’s lives, when they watch an ideal they’ve believed in and worked for disintegrate, first there is denial, then incredulity, then admission that things are not right. Finally, there is disgust and a need to absent oneself from a situation that is so hurtful and negative that it is permeating one’s ability to believe in a greater good. Lifer has traveled this road and he is now in a better place – total honesty, regret for what could have been, and acceptance that he must move on. That takes courage and it will be replicated throughout the ranks of rational conservatives who I predict will take the same path as Lifer.

      I will not be surprised, however, if there are still enough uninformed, totally brain-washed people to actually vote a Donald Trump into office. Horrified, yes. Surprised, no. They would rather vote “against” Hillary (you know who you are) and let an abomination like Trump ascend to power. Frightening.

    • goplifer says:

      Even David Frum dismissed many of these ideas when we talked about them years ago. Frankly, he’s still a little deluded about what motivates the monster he’s still trying to ride. It was a little maddening to experience that over the years. Hard not to feel a little relief at those insights being acknowledged.

      • Honestly, Frum’s always struck me as too smart to not realize what’s going on. I remember hearing him speak on a short radio interview about a week or two ago, talking about how the GOP’s problems only stretch back a few years.

        A complete load of crap obviously, but that strikes me as his way of trying to avoid the real problem. Somewhere inside, I think he already knows the truth, he just hasn’t worked through accepting it yet.

      • 1mime says:

        It doesn’t speak well for Frum that he hasn’t acknowledge the truth about a party he clearly knows so much about. Is his “self interest” getting in the way? Regardless, I believe you have been helped along the path of honest reflection by the research you’ve done to present your ideas/concerns, and, I believe, you have been “informed” and validated by your family of commentators. That doesn’t imply that you have switched parties – you clearly have not, rather, that you’ve been as open in your thinking as you’ve encouraged us to be in your writing. Surprisingly, you were able to find agreement with people who do not espouse a conservative ideology but through common sense and core values. There is a truth that has to be confronted. You did so and I don’t question why or when. The important thing is that you have spoken truth to power by being honest not only with yourself, but with the public with whom you interact. In doing so, you have stimulated others to think and hopefully, re-examine their beliefs and ideology. There will always be those whose single issue focus and lack of intellectual honesty will never allow them to expand their thinking. They are lost and I, for one, have lost patience and interest in their personal growth. Life is short, after all.

        Will there be criticism? Yes. Just look at Gingrich and Giulliani’s defense of Trump’s absurd “kidding about asking Russia to hack American email systems”. Or, even worse, the absolute dead silence from the GOPe on this and so many other serious divisive problems within the party. In 2012, the GOPe conducted a post-election survey which told them that the party needed to reach out to minorities and women, and be less narrow in their approach to issues. Ask yourself: what action did this survey prompt from the Republican Party? Instead, what they “did” during the ensuing years clearly illustrates how little effort was given to soul searching and respecting the findings of a report meant to serve as a guide for self-examination

        As President Obama said last night (I do hope you viewed the convention, Lifer, as it would have been a positive experience for you), Hillary Clinton has made mistakes. She has been an active advocate in addressing serious problems for over 40 years. When you challenge the system, you make enemies. Yet, she has percevered. She has put herself in the arena knowing she would be a target. She certainly hasn’t been disappointed in that regard. The more I learn about HRC, the more I find to respect. Is she imperfect? Has she made mistakes? Has she taken the wrong side of critical issues from time to time? Was she careless with protecting SD email information? YES, to all of the above. But, hands down, she has tried, she has made a difference through grit, effort, intelligent assessment, and persistence. Further, just as Tim Kaine stated last night, privately, many Republican Senators have told him that she was a hell of a Senator.

        So, take a victory lap, Lifer. You deserve it. Your circle of “friends and admirers” may change but that may not be a bad thing.

  46. Creigh says:

    “Maybe Roy and company will be able to solve this problem. I hope they do. America needs a viable, intellectually serious righ-of-center party.”

    Why does America need a right-of-center party? What it needs is to be told when it is doing something wrong ( or just non-optimal) and why, and to suggest a better path. I don’t understand this fetish for a right-left balance, totally arbitrary in my view.

    • RobA says:

      I think, when we consider the realities of what we know about human behaviors (especially in group settings) the left-right balance system works best.

      What you suggest sounds great, IN THEORY, but I don’t see it as realistic. Likewise, communism sounds good….IN THEORY, but it’s an academic model that completely falls apart when you try to implement it in realnlife., because it doesn’t reflect the realities of the real live human beings that are involved.

      Competition (if you’re feeling generous) or tribalism/nativism (if you aren’t) is deeply ingrained in human nature. The whole us against them dynamic is real and affects 100% of all humans to some degree. This isn’t necessarily destructive, but it is a fact of life (it’s what drives the power o professional sports) and any functioning government model needs to take this dynamic into consideration.

      • duncancairncross says:

        Hi Rob
        I suggest you read
        “Ultrasociety how 10 000 years of war made humans the greatest cooperators on earth”
        It’s $9 on Amazon (kindle)
        A superb explanation of how competition and cooperation work together

    • Creigh says:

      OK, after walking the dog I’m going to answer my own question. It’s not because “the truth lies in the center,” it’s because in politics, as in so many other things, organization is power. People with right-wing tendencies, misguided and deluded though they might be, need an organizational structure to effectuate their preferred policies.

    • Creigh says:

      Probably a good practice to walk the dog BEFORE posting.

      • 1mime says:

        Creigh – I think that walk cleared your mind (-; What’s not to like? The question needed to be asked and answered. You did achieve both. Thank you, pooch.

    • Sara Robinson says:

      This. The left-right spectrum as we understand it dates back to the French Revolution, though the range of views it represents came to describe industrial-age politics worldwide.

      But this ain’t the industrial age anymore. The basic metaphors for economics, cognition, religion, and politics in that age tended to be machine metaphors, reflecting the dominant technology of the time. We are now 50 years into the Information Age, and well into the shift toward digital metaphors. I’m not sure left/right is even an operative concept in a world we now see through the lens of dynamic, complex, interactive systems.

      I’m not prepared to suggest what’s going to replace this — that will take some thought, and might be fodder for discussion — but let’s not assume that we even need a left/right political spectrum as we’ve known it in this new age. There will be fractures, but they may very well fall according to different fault lines.

      • 1mime says:

        If I am understanding your reply to Creigh, it appears to me that you are in “basic” agreement. It’s clear that given the incredible impact that technological change is and will continue to force on social and economic forces, that our political institution(s) will be very different as well. How that will work out is, as you aptly noted, tbd.

      • Fair Economist says:

        The basis for the left-right struggle, though, has always been the well-being of the broader community (the left) vs. the well-being of the elite (the right). That split is as strong as ever. In order for the right to have a chance, it has to split off some substantive section of the general population, and the tools for that have always been religion, patriotism, and racism, in greatly varying proportions. That hasn’t changed either. So I think the division we’ve generally seen since the French Revolution is going to continue.

      • Sara Robinson says:

        I agree with the divide you describe, but think there’s room to quibble on how much it might change. Networked thinking makes it obvious to everyone that you are attached to the larger whole — there’s no denying your connections or dependence. As the generations raised with this as a native awareness (starting with the Millennials, who are the first true digital natives) age into power, I think we’ll see a marginalization of the idea that you can ever be truly disconnected.

        The ecological worldview was the first manifestation of this awareness — and it’s why the fight over climate change is so fraught. Accepting climate change means abandoning some cherished conservative ideals — self-sufficiency, independence, liberty to use your property as you see fit, not owing anything to anyone, limited government. The Kochs know this very explicitly, and it’s why so much of their money has gone into the denial campaign.

        Accepting the ecological premise that everything is connected to everything else, and we are all locked into dependency webs within a vast and unimaginably complex system, means that you need to let go of all of those lone-wolf conceits. You are dependent on the system. You have responsibilities to the system. We need some form of coordinated system for interacting wisely with that system in order to maintain it. The libertarian worldview can’t withstand this understanding; but it is the one that both our technology and our science has brought us to.

        This doesn’t bode well for any movement premised on individualism over the long term. Which is why, 30 or 40 years out, it’s not unthinkable that we may find ourselves on another political spectrum that’s defined by different parameters entirely.

      • 1mime says:

        That’s interesting, Sara. Especially the reference to the fact that individualism will diminish as we become ever more interconnected. Frankly, it could use a little “tamping down”. As I am 72, 30-40 years out may test my ability to participate in this new social order but it will not quash my interest in watching it evolve.

      • duncancairncross says:

        Hi Sara
        I think Jerry Pournelle has gone off the rails recently
        But his suggestion for political axes is bloody useful
        http://www.baen.com/chapters/Axes.htm

  47. flypusher says:

    It’s a bitter sweet “I told you so”, but hopefully these are the cracks in the damn that get wider. The more people who do stand up and speak out about this, the easier it gets for others. Keep doing your good work.

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