Are all conservatives this cute?

drummerboy said:

concerning that last point, you have to consider someone's age in terms of their perception of that decline.

Someone under 50, let's say, will not have seen much of a decline, because that decline was already in full swing or maybe even in place for the last 30 years. (numbers are ballpark, but you get the point) So to them, there was no real decline. They've just been living in the post-decline status quo.

Older workers will have more of a chance of actually seeing the decline

I'm under 50. I make a lot more money than my dad ever did, which let's me live at, what feels to me, roughly the same standard of living as I had growing up. Hard to compare apples-to-apples as NJ is a much denser, more populated state than where I grew up, but even though I'm making what's objectively a good income I'm not living in a huge house or driving a fancy car. Until about six months ago I was still renting.

If that's my experience, with a college degree and being successful in a well paying sector of the economy, what's it like for most Americans?


PVW said:

drummerboy said:

concerning that last point, you have to consider someone's age in terms of their perception of that decline.

Someone under 50, let's say, will not have seen much of a decline, because that decline was already in full swing or maybe even in place for the last 30 years. (numbers are ballpark, but you get the point) So to them, there was no real decline. They've just been living in the post-decline status quo.

Older workers will have more of a chance of actually seeing the decline

I'm under 50. I make a lot more money than my dad ever did, which let's me live at, what feels to me, roughly the same standard of living as I had growing up. Hard to compare apples-to-apples as NJ is a much denser, more populated state than where I grew up, but even though I'm making what's objectively a good income I'm not living in a huge house or driving a fancy car. Until about six months ago I was still renting.

If that's my experience, with a college degree and being successful in a well paying sector of the economy, what's it like for most Americans?

I wasn't thinking in terms of comparing yourself to your parents - but that's fine.

Polling seems to be slim on the subject, but from what I've found, most people seem to think they're doing better than their parents, so this effect seems to be small at best

Anyway, for the "decline" I was thinking more along the lines of living through the shuttering of our manufacturing sector, and things like the birth of The Rust Belt. Rather than comparing to the prior generation, this was something that you actually experienced during your lifetime. But in terms of sheer numbers of people, how large is that really at this point in time? I have no idea, but I think we should be careful about overestimating that population and the concomitant effects on a person's politics.

While I do certainly think that many 10's of millions of people are just treading water, I wonder how they translate that frustration politically? I think that's a complex question.

If you ask me, the reason so many are struggling is simply a function of our meager welfare state. They're swamped with costs from medical expenses, world-high drug costs, child-care, higher-education and low-wages. And while they can identify these costs, how many blame their government for not paying for them, like the rest of the first world does? And how many Republican voters think that? I'd say just about zero. They don't even consider the only solution that's available to them. (if there's another, I'm all ears)

My point here is that yes, there are people with economic struggles, but that most people are misidentifying causes and solutions. Lacking the welfare state solution as a possibility, they then have no solution. If you don't see any way out, you're gonna get pretty frustrated, but those frustrations get vented out in different ways politically, rather than getting expressed as simply pushing your politicians to fix the problem.

And because the economic anxieties do not get expressed as pushing for economic solutions, the notion of economic anxiety as being a driving force here would be very hard to prove, which is why I think this whole line of thinking faded away a few years after the election.

I think jim mentioned earlier that this effect should be a worldwide one. Maybe, but don't ignore the mitigating effects of both stronger welfare states and union protections in Europe.  We get hit a lot harder because we lack those protections.


I think "economic struggles" is different and narrower than "economic anxiety," which is itself different than what I said, "economic agency."

We're somewhat in agreement and somewhat not. For instance, if we look at medical care, the fact that it's tied to your employer can be a source of anxiety since losing your job means losing your health insurance, but it's also a trimming of agency as it means even your choice of job is now also constrained by questions of insurance, and this is true even for people working in sectors where the pay is high enough that they are definitely not economically struggling. I think we agree on that, but I'm making a point I think a lot of people either miss or don't agree with, which is that I think it's the loss/lack of agency that actually tends to drive anger. This is why someone with decent pay and benefits can still be angry and open to populist politicians playing on that anger.

Here's another observation that may or may not work for you -- maybe it'll make sense to at least one person reading this. I've observed that many political and cultural conservatives will complain about taxes, but donate a lot to their church. Some are even pretty regular and strict about it (eg those who talk about "tithing."). But if you think about it, that's basically a tax. I went to parochial schools supported by tithes, for instance. Why would people who can be motivated to go out and vote based on their hatred of taxes be willing to voluntarily pay taxes to a private organization? I think the key here is the voluntary nature of it. Even when in some cases the "tithe" is more than they pay in taxes, it's money they've chosen to pay, not been required to pay. Agency matters.

So this is where I think the political left has a bit of a blind spot. I think welfare programs can be incredibly empowering -- I don't need to argue the case here on this board of how freeing it would be to not have to worry about health insurance when choosing where to work, or what kind of work to do. But welfare programs can also be disempowering -- if their opponents can frame them as charity, or can force applying for benefits to be a humiliating and onerous set of bureaucratic steps.

Fox news is successful, and dangerous, because it sells cheap anger. Anger sells because its powerful. To counter that, a narrow focus on material benefits isn't enough, you need to offer true empowerment.


(covered better by PVW, and i see that drummerboy didn't mean people's economic issues have no effect)


(per my post, that's btw why I'm really disappointed by the failure to make the expanded child tax credit permanent. It's the kind of welfare we need more of -- simple, automatic, providing real material benefits without excessive bureaucracy and universal enough to avoid receiving it be a source of cultural stigma or shame. I also think Biden really ought to cancel most student debt, no questions asked -- and I say this as someone who just paid off a bunch of mine and so theoretically should be upset at others not having to pay).


(what's with all the parentheses?)


WRT student loan debt, it's really a decision that needs to be made soon. Either it's going to happen or it isn't, because otherwise there are young people who could be paying it off faster but making minimum payments right now in case it does get canceled. They see it as a waste of money if the government will cancel it eventually to try to pay it down faster, and if it never happens then they're going to lose money in the long run on all those interest payments.


drummerboy said:

(what's with all the parentheses?)

Was meant as a short aside to my previous post, hence parentheses felt appropriate. But I kept on writing, so it got longer. And by then I couldn't be bothered to remove the parentheses.


ridski said:

WRT student loan debt, it's really a decision that needs to be made soon. Either it's going to happen or it isn't, because otherwise there are young people who could be paying it off faster but making minimum payments right now in case it does get canceled. They see it as a waste of money if the government will cancel it eventually to try to pay it down faster, and if it never happens then they're going to lose money in the long run on all those interest payments.

I really thought he was going to announce it at the SOTU -- not because I'd read anything suggesting he was going to, but because if I were in charge of Democratic political strategy I thought the SOTU would be the best time to kick off a rebranding, and announcing debt cancellation then would have a lot of real and symbolic impact.

I don't think I was wrong about the timing, which I think means Biden doesn't want to do it, so is unlikely to happen. Maybe he'll be convinced to do something at some point, but it will be too late, and probably done in some weirdly restrictive way.


You know, from a strategic point of view, there is probably something to be said for coddling conservatives, pretending that their viewpoints deserve consideration and so on and so forth but, here, amongst ourselves, I think we should all be honest and address the elephant in the room, that being the fact that these people are, by and large, morons.

Just saying.


PVW said:

drummerboy said:

(what's with all the parentheses?)

Was meant as a short aside to my previous post, hence parentheses felt appropriate. But I kept on writing, so it got longer. And by then I couldn't be bothered to remove the parentheses.

Two parentheses were the perfect total in all three posts.


GoSlugs said:

You know, from a strategic point of view, there is probably something to be said for coddling conservatives, pretending that their viewpoints deserve consideration and so on and so forth but, here, amongst ourselves, I think we should all be honest and address the elephant in the room, that being the fact that these people are, by and large, morons.

Just saying.

Speaking of rooms, I’m most comfortable when I’m the dumbest person in one.

Hearing other people called morons makes me uncomfortable.


DaveSchmidt said:

Speaking of rooms, I’m most comfortable when I’m the dumbest person in one.

Hearing other people called morons makes me uncomfortable.

I’m not calling anyone anything, I am addressing a political problem. Far right hucksters and corporates hills have captured the small minds of our nations most vulnerable. It’s all fine and well to give everyone participation prizes but any strategy that ignores the simple facts of the matter is doomed to failure. 


people being morons makes me uncomfortable


especially when they vote.


Whether or not they are "morons", there are tens of millions of people who believe a whole array of things that are objectively untrue.  This is a problem. 

And yes, acknowledging it makes me uncomfortable. Because that more than anything is what's causing division in our country. And I don't know if there's a solution to it. 

Calling those people morons isn't going to help. But it's also kind of silly for anyone to think that doing so is in any way causing the problem. 


Do you think the percentage of the population believing flatly untrue things was greater, less, or about the same in the past? What about in other countries?

I'm unsure of the answers myself -- I vacillate between "there's always been a large number of people believing crazy and false things and the internet has just made this more visible" and "there's always been a large number of people vulnerable to believing crazy and false things, but in the past that vulnerability wasn't taken advantage of."


ml1 said:

Calling those people morons isn't going to help. 

I think honesty is (almost) always for the best.


PVW said:

Do you think the percentage of the population believing flatly untrue things was greater, less, or about the same in the past? What about in other countries?

I'm unsure of the answers myself -- I vacillate between "there's always been a large number of people believing crazy and false things and the internet has just made this more visible" and "there's always been a large number of people vulnerable to believing crazy and false things, but in the past that vulnerability wasn't taken advantage of."

It's probably less about the percentage of the population and more about what it is they believe. I think the "what" part has changed dramatically in the last 30 years. And has ramped up like crazy in the last 10 or 15 years - with the errant beliefs focusing more and more on politics.

And I think that comes down to quality of the media - which is why I think the problem is probably worse in the U.S. than in the EU. The First Amendment kills us.

And I again will go back to the 80's as the start of the current state of disinformation, with right-wing radio leading the charge, and then Fox News piling on in the 90's. Of course, they are both abetted by utterly feckless conservative politicians.


I should add that our profit-driven, corporate-owned MSM has an awful lot to do with this too.


PVW said:

Do you think the percentage of the population believing flatly untrue things was greater, less, or about the same in the past? What about in other countries?

I'm unsure of the answers myself -- I vacillate between "there's always been a large number of people believing crazy and false things and the internet has just made this more visible" and "there's always been a large number of people vulnerable to believing crazy and false things, but in the past that vulnerability wasn't taken advantage of."

I don't know if it's a larger percentage of the population now. But it seems like they are concentrated in enough of the country to have a substantial effect on how the federal government works. The so called "conservatives" have a base of roughly half of the Senate and nearly half of the House. This is a problem. Our country's federal government is beholden to an important bloc of voters who are not participating in objective reality. 


I’m scared that we reflect this now, too, and that our election result will demonstrate it.  question

ml1 said:

I don't know if it's a larger percentage of the population now. But it seems like they are concentrated in enough of the country to have a substantial effect on how the federal government works. The so called "conservatives" have a base of roughly half of the Senate and nearly half of the House. This is a problem. Our country's federal government is beholden to an important bloc of voters who are not participating in objective reality. 


ml1 said:

I don't know if it's a larger percentage of the population now. But it seems like they are concentrated in enough of the country to have a substantial effect on how the federal government works. The so called "conservatives" have a base of roughly half of the Senate and nearly half of the House. This is a problem. Our country's federal government is beholden to an important bloc of voters who are not participating in objective reality. 

It’s only going to get worse. Across the country, Republican state legislatures are changing their laws so that the local Secretary of State can ignore election results and appoint their own electors, so that Republicans always win the nationals. This is why you’re hearing more republicans telling you America is not a democracy, and that true democracy would be chaos.

https://www.heritage.org/american-founders/report/america-republic-not-democracy


ridski said:

ml1 said:

I don't know if it's a larger percentage of the population now. But it seems like they are concentrated in enough of the country to have a substantial effect on how the federal government works. The so called "conservatives" have a base of roughly half of the Senate and nearly half of the House. This is a problem. Our country's federal government is beholden to an important bloc of voters who are not participating in objective reality. 

It’s only going to get worse. Across the country, Republican state legislatures are changing their laws so that the local Secretary of State can ignore election results and appoint their own electors, so that Republicans always win the nationals. This is why you’re hearing more republicans telling you America is not a democracy, and that true democracy would be chaos.

https://www.heritage.org/american-founders/report/america-republic-not-democracy

I have philosophical differences with that article, and think a lot of its details and history are wrong, but even if we accept its premises it still makes the GOP look bad as they're not merely anti-democratic (small d), they're also anti-republican (small r). Republicanism still needs to have a claim to be representative, and throwing out votes when you don't like the result is the opposite of that. The modern GOP is neither democratic nor republican, it's just a straightforward power grab, and no amount of pious invocation of the founders can disguise that.


PVW said:

Do you think the percentage of the population believing flatly untrue things was greater, less, or about the same in the past? What about in other countries?

I'm unsure of the answers myself -- I vacillate between "there's always been a large number of people believing crazy and false things and the internet has just made this more visible" and "there's always been a large number of people vulnerable to believing crazy and false things, but in the past that vulnerability wasn't taken advantage of."

Believing "crazy and false things" is not limited to conservative viewpoints.

This is a "progressive" meme - 


nohero said:

PVW said:

Do you think the percentage of the population believing flatly untrue things was greater, less, or about the same in the past? What about in other countries?

I'm unsure of the answers myself -- I vacillate between "there's always been a large number of people believing crazy and false things and the internet has just made this more visible" and "there's always been a large number of people vulnerable to believing crazy and false things, but in the past that vulnerability wasn't taken advantage of."

Believing "crazy and false things" is not limited to conservative viewpoints.

This is a "progressive" meme - 

of course. But there are far fewer of them. And they don't control any parts of government. 


A very long time ago I heard a Republican, probably Barry Goldwater, say that we were a "Republic" not a "Democracy". So I looked up "Republic" in the dictionary and it was defined as a government without a hereditory leader, in other words, not a monarchy. So the Peoples Republic of China is a Republic as were the former Soviet Republics and the present day Russian Federation.

The UK, Norway, Sweden and Denmark are not Republics.

Jefferson's Party was called the "Democratic Republican" Party. Later Jackson dropped the Republican part, maybe because it was unnecessary or maybe because he imagined himself as King.

As to Eisenhower and the integration at Little Rock High School mentioned above the Supreme Court outlawed racially segregated schools in 1954 by a unanimous decision written by Chief Justice Warren who had been the Republican VP candidate in 1948. The Eisenhower Administration had no choice but to enforce it. At the same time "Impeach Earl Warren" billboards went up around the country. Maybe it was because of rulings on criminal defendants' rights or school prayer but I think Brown v. Bd. of Ed. played a big role.

In 1964 LBJ passes the Civil Rights Act with the important assistance of the Republican Senate Minority Leader, Everett Dirksen, of Lincoln's State of Illinois and "Liberal" Republicans. That summer the Republican Party nominated as its Presidential candidate  Barry Goldwater who had voted against the Civil Rights Act. Soon the southern segregationist Democrats migrated to the Republican Party.

The Right is fueled in this country by racism and in Europe by anti-migrant sentiment.

As a 76 year old educated White Male I contend that racism is at the heart of most things political. And now I will look for the LBJ quote that just about says it all.

As President Lyndon B. Johnson said in the 1960s to a young Bill Moyers: “If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.”



 


STANV said:

The Right is fueled in this country by racism and in Europe by anti-migrant sentiment.

As a 76 year old educated White Male I contend that racism is at the heart of most things political. And now I will look for the LBJ quote that just about says it all.

As President Lyndon B. Johnson said in the 1960s to a young Bill Moyers: “If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.”

 

I have always said that, always believed it. 
The “migrants” in Europe are non whites. Yes it’s basically a racial issue all around. 
I remember very well my grandfather saying that Sicilians were not really Italian…. They were just strong swimmers from Africa. 


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