62% of Americans Afraid to Share Political Views
An interesting if frustrating new survey from Cato.
In light of recent debates over “cancel culture” versus marginalized voices finally being heard, a new survey from a libertarian think tank both illuminates and obfuscates.
Emily Ekins, the Cato Institute (“Poll: 62% of Americans Say They Have Political Views They’re Afraid to Share“):
A new Cato national survey finds that self‐censorship is on the rise in the United States. Nearly two-thirds—62%—of Americans say the political climate these days prevents them from saying things they believe because others might find them offensive. The share of Americans who self‐censor has risen several points since 2017 when 58% of Americans agreed with this statement.
These fears cross partisan lines. Majorities of Democrats (52%), independents (59%) and Republicans (77%) all agree they have political opinions they are afraid to share.
So far, so good.
Strong liberals stand out, however, as the only political group who feel they can express themselves. Nearly 6 in 10 (58%) of staunch liberals feel they can say what they believe. However, centrist liberals feel differently. A slim majority (52%) of liberals feel they have to self‐censor, as do 64% of moderates, and 77% of conservatives. This demonstrates that political expression is an issue that divides the Democratic coalition between centrist Democrats and their left flank.
While I think this divide exists, I’m not sure that this data point provides any evidence once way or the other.
The trendlines do, however, suggest that, the further left one’s views, the more one believes they’re protected. But, of course, that may well be because people further to the right of the spectrum have views that are more offensive. Still, while the chart doesn’t give breakdowns of what percentage of those surveyed fit into each cohort, it would be odd for the vast majority of respondents to feel they’re outside the mainstream.
What’s changed? In 2017 most centrist liberals felt confident (54%) they could express their views. However today, slightly less than half (48%) feel the same. The share who feel they cannot be open increased 7 points from 45% in 2017 to 52% today. In fact, there have been shifts across the board, where more people among all political groups feel they are walking on eggshells.
That all groups have moved in the same direction and, with the exception of “Strong Conservative,” by a substantial margin is indeed interesting. Offhand, the only issues where the needle has moved substantially since 2017 are LGBTQ rights, and especially trans rights. Certainly #MeTwo, #BlackLivesMatter and various associated events have changed the conversation on sex and race as well, although only at the margins.
Self‐censorship is widespread across demographic groups as well. Nearly two‐thirds of Latino Americans (65%) and White Americans (64%) and nearly half of African Americans (49%) have political views they are afraid to share. Majorities of men (65%) and women (59%), people with incomes over $100,000 (60%) and people with incomes less than $20,000 (58%), people under 35 (55%) and over 65 (66%), religious (71%) and non‐religious (56%) all agree that the political climate prevents them from expressing their true beliefs.
Again, without something more concrete than “true beliefs,” we’re led to speculate as to which issues are of concern. That the elderly, religious, and males are the most fearful isn’t surprising. Nor that whites are more uncomfortable than blacks. That Hispanics are more fearful (although, well within the margin of error) than whites is. (Although, again, that invites conjecture. Hispanics are likely even more “conservative” on LGBTQ issues than whites.)
The survey, at least in Cato’s own write-up, never really answers those obvious questions. As a general rule, I want people to feel free to have open dialog on all but the most extreme views. I’m less concerned with people being afraid to say “Hitler was right” and “God hates fags” than to weigh in on open debates.
Instead of drilling down on what views people are afraid to express, they instead go in the completely opposite direction: what views they’re happy to punish others for having.
The survey found that many Americans think a person’s private political donations should impact their employment. Nearly a quarter (22%) of Americans would support firing a business executive who personally donates to Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s campaign. Even more, 31% support firing a business executive who donates to Donald Trump’s re‐election campaign.
That strikes me as plainly nuts. That liberals hate Trump more than conservatives hate Biden doesn’t surprise me. But the number of Americans who should support firing individuals for who they support politically should be vanishingly small; it’s not.
The breakdown of those who do isn’t hugely surprising, however:
Support rises among political subgroups. Support increases to 50% of strong liberals who support firing executives who personally donate to Trump. And more than a third (36%) of strong conservatives support firing an executive for donating to Biden’s presidential campaign.
Young Americans are also more likely than older Americans to support punishing people at work for personal donations to Trump. Forty‐four percent (44%) of Americans under 30 support firing executives if they donate to Trump. This share declines to 22% among those over 55 years old—a 20‐point difference. An age gap also exists for Biden donors, but is less pronounced. Twenty‐seven percent (27%) of Americans under 30 support firing executives who donate to Biden compared to 20% of those over 55—a 7‐point difference.
Given that, though, perhaps this isn’t surprising, either:
Nearly a third (32%) of employed Americans say they personally are worried about missing out on career opportunities or losing their job if their political opinions became known. These results are particularly notable given that most personal campaign contributions to political candidates are public knowledge and can easily be found online.
And it’s not just one side of the political spectrum: 31% of liberals, 30% of moderates and 34% of conservatives are worried their political views could get them fired or harm their career trajectory. This suggests that it’s not necessarily just one particular set of views that has moved outside of acceptable public discourse. Instead these results are more consistent with a “walking on eggshells” thesis that people increasingly fear a wide range of political views could offend others or could negatively impact themselves.
These concerns are also cross‐partisan, although more Republicans are worried: 28% of Democrats, 31% of independents, and 38% of Republicans are worried about how their political opinions could impact their career trajectories.
Americans with diverse backgrounds share this concern that their employment could be adversely affected if their political views were discovered: 38% of Hispanic Americans, 22% of African Americans, 31% of White Americans, 35% of men, 27% of women, 36% of households earning less than $20,000 a year, and 33% of households earning more than $100,000 a year agree.
Maybe this is reasonable in the hypercharged political environment we’re living in.
Given that liberals overwhelmingly believe that Trump supporters are white nationalists, one would imagine that Trump supporters living in major metropolitan areas or in certain industries would be very leery of divulging their support. And, apparently, a not insignificant number of liberals think supporting Trump should be a firing offense.
While the numbers are smaller in the other direction, one would similarly expect that Biden supporters—and, certainly, those with very liberal social views—would be cautious about expressing them in the Deep South or in industries dominated by conservatives. Or if the CEO is a Trump donor who has somehow been spared being fired.
Some are more worried about losing their jobs or missing out on job opportunities because of political views. Those with the highest levels of education are most concerned. Almost half (44%) of Americans with post‐graduate degrees say they are worried their careers could be harmed if others discovered their political opinions, compared to 34% of college graduates, 28% of those with some college experience, and 25% of high school graduates.
Given that “Americans with post-graduate degrees” are concentrated in a handful of high profile professions, it’s perhaps not shocking that we’re most worried about the consequences of free expression. Indeed, much of the “cancel culture” debate is among those in the academy, media, and other public-facing vocations.
But this educational divide appears largely driven by partisanship. Democrats with graduate degrees (25%) are about as likely as high school graduates (23%) to be worried their political views could harm their employment. However, a major shift occurs among Republicans who attend college and graduate school. About a quarter of Republicans with high school degrees (27%) or some college (26%) worry their political opinions could harm them at work—but this number increases to 40% among Republican college graduates and 60% of those with post‐graduate degrees. A similar trend is observed among independents. The share of independents who have these concerns increases from 18% among high school graduates, to 35% among those with some college, 41% of college graduates, and 49% of post‐graduates.
Again, this raises more questions than it answers. Conservatives in the academy—especially in more elite institutions—are naturally going to feel unsafe speaking out against the orthodoxy. But are they simply worried that they’ll be ostracized for professing, say, belief in the divinity of Jesus Christ or that they’re members of the Republican Party? Or are they feeling hamstrung in expressing views that many deem racist or LGBTQ-phobic?
A more surprising—and seemingly contradictory—finding:
Younger people are also more concerned than older people, irrespective of political viewpoint. Examining all Americans under 65, 37% of those under 30 are worried their political opinions could harm their career trajectories, compared to 30% of 30-54 year‐olds and 24% of 55-64 year‐olds. But the age gap is more striking taking into account political views. A slim majority (51%) of Republicans under 30 fear their views could harm their career prospects compared to 39% of 30-44 year‐olds, 34% of 45-54 year‐olds, and 28% of 55-64 year‐old Republicans. Democrats reflect a similar but less pronounced pattern. A third (33%) of Democrats under 30 worry they have views that could harm their current and future jobs, compared to 27% of 30-54 year‐olds, and 19% of 55-64 year‐old Democrats.
Given that younger cohorts are always more liberal, it’s odd that young folks feel threatened while liberals don’t. My guess here is that this is simply a function of younger people—battered first by the Great Recession and now by the COVID meltdown—are simply more fearful for their employment, period.
Ekin sees it differently:
These data suggest that a significant minority of Americans from all political persuasions and backgrounds—particularly younger people who have spent more time in America’s universities—are most likely to hide their views for fear of financial penalty.
It’s been nearly two decades since I taught undergraduates but this strikes me as unlikely. With the possible exception of the most elite universities, there’s hardly a more conducive environment for consequence-free speech than a college campus.
Taking these results together indicates that a significant majority of Americans with diverse political views and backgrounds self‐censor their political opinions. This large number from across demographic groups suggests withheld opinions may not simply be radical or fringe perspectives in the process of being socially marginalized. Instead many of these opinions may be shared by a large number of people. Opinions so widely shared are likely shaping how people think about salient policy issues and ultimately impacting how they vote. But if people feel they cannot discuss these important policy matters, such views will not have an opportunity to be scrutinized, understood, or reformed.
I reflexively and instinctively agree with that sentiment. But, again, it would be more instructive if we understood what issues and what viewpoints it is people are afraid to share.
Given that there is documented history of people losing their jobs due having the wrong bumper sticker on their car or joining the wrong, mainline political group of Facebook, it is no surprise that people would stifle expressions of political speech.
I would suspect that on the extremes people feel freer expressing themselves because as a society has sorted itself to the point that individuals with views on the margin have surrounded themselves with a social circle that holds similar views. For those of us who are closer to the center, we may have friends, who we value, who hold different views and it is easier to not talk about politics (or religion) than introduce conflict, though all may privately acknowledge that they disagree with their friends political view.
Another day ending in “Y”. What is the rule at family gatherings? “No religion, no politics.”
I share my liberal politics out loud and proud here in the deep red heart of Ozarkistan. It’s all over my truck and my clothes. At the same point I don’t feel the need to argue with every MAGA head I see at Wally World. And they don’t feel the need to do so with this libtard. (that is what they call me, it’s all over their trucks)
Maybe it’s because we both have better things to do than get our blood pressure up yelling at each other?
Your logic makes some sense but it’s not what the surveys are showing.
Kevin Drum had the same reaction you did, basically “Huh?”. He’s having trouble seeing this going from 58% to 62 as a national emergency, especially given the lack of definition as to what “this” is. Given how divisive Trump is, I’m surprised it’s not higher. In my new FL neighborhood I’m certainly not about to put out a Biden sign. But no one seems shy about Trump and Blue Line flags.
Being afraid to publicly state your views is not new. Try promoting socialism in 1950. Speaking of losing your job for your political views.
There was a time of growing anonymity as people moved away from villages where everyone knew your business, into a more urbanized and suburbanized world where you didn’t even know your neighbor’s name, let alone his politics. Social media has reversed that. People sitting in saunas in Iceland can condemn the opinions of a person feeding pigs in Arkansas, who in turn can condemn someone slicing fish in Kyoto. We’re reverting to a sort of attenuated village life. Privacy is gone. We are losing anonymity.
20 years ago if you expressed an outré opinion the guy sitting next to you at the bar might move a few stools away. Now, that opinion can travel from bar to your boss’s social feed in a minute. It could end up in the mainstream media. You could become a pariah for a half-drunk, slurred opinion made during a post-divorce depression. It’s an unforgiving environment. People are right to be leery, they have correctly assessed the risk.
I miss anonymity.
@gVOR08: I missed Drum’s piece. Great minds think alike, apparently.
@Michael Reynolds: “Being afraid to publicly state your views is not new. Try promoting socialism in 1950.”
Or put a “Union Yes” bumpersticker on your car and park in the company lot if you work in the south today.
I’m not afraid of expressing my opinion. However, I also don’t feel the need to share my opinion with anyone unless I’m in an actual conversation with them. I don’t face my book. I don’t gram instantly. I don’t chat via snap. I don’t Link In. I’ve had a twitter account since 2009, but have less than 30 tweets in 11 years. Frankly, I don’t understand the love of social media. I’d say it’s an age thing, but Reynolds is older that me, and he rocks twitter and good on him. But for me, not so much. I know that in my professional field, having an active twitter or Instagram following would be helpful, but…meh. I’m too lazy, too emotional, and too strident for social media.
I’m still amazed how many people don’t know how to read a room both online and in real life. That “Karens” online are still a thing after this many years shows why we can’t have nice things.
IMO, this is pretty worthless without knowing the opinions involved.
Are people afraid to state they favor legalizing all drugs, defunding the police, imposing death sentences for protests, for harming statues of dead traitors? The list of possibilities is endless.
Perhaps the real problem here is that this country so privileges the interests of capital over everything else that employers here, unlike in most civilized countries, can fire any worker for any reason at any time.
I have to be on Twitter. Publishers insist. I deleted Facebook and have a low-key Instagram account with no followers just so I could get some advice on a plot from a pilot. Twitter is sort of the least I could get away with. I use it to attack Trump, schmooze with fans and occasionally use it as a way to let people know I’m not happy about something to do with business and am in a position to say so publicly.
But honestly, if I didn’t have to have some sort of presence, I wouldn’t. I don’t like being ‘known.’ And I really don’t like being ‘accessible.’ That’s why I deleted Facebook – people from my past were talking to me, apparently unaware that I was glad to be rid of them. I hate that shit, the old girlfriend, old co-worker stuff. The pseudonym helps.
Yeah, I get it. One of the kids on the series I work on has over 5M followers on Instagram. This kid posts at least 5 times per day, with at least one of them being a video. He’s really, really good at connecting with his followers, and it’s now a side business for him. But, literally, every day of his life is public. I can’t imagine that. I just can’t. I like going to the gym in ratty sweats and not worried about someone snapping a photo of me and posting it online. I like being able to go hang out at the coffee shop, reading news and posting to OTB. I like my anonymity, despite the business I’m in valuing and monetizing fame.
Americans have this weird idea where debate trumps everything–like if Hitler had just been debated properly, it would have all been good. And the fascination with the purity of moments in the Civil Rights movement completely erases how much good work impure violent protest did for the labor movement. The genesis of this idea is the logic of management and industry and HR, where dialogue is the key to keeping employees happy.
But I think this is all collapsing. The protests of the late 60s were undercut by the extreme class divide. There was a legit reason to punch hippies who received draft deferments. It was unfair that college kids got to protest, get high, and get laid while working class kids were sent to die in a war nobody wanted. Right now, there’s none of that. America is being divided: one side is management plus scabs and the other is everybody else.
There’s nothing wrong with being afraid to share your political views if your views are tied to something larger than the utility of debate.
I was always taught “No religion, no politics, and no college football.”
This isn’t what I’ve been seeing in reports. Take some time to read through the cases that FIRE is working on. And (if you can stomach the bad writing and right-wing whining) dig through some of the stuff at Campus Reform and look at the nuggets of truth buried beneath.
Even young liberals are running into roadblocks on campus because they’re not professing the “right” form of liberal thought.
Yeah, I wonder what exactly they mean by “afraid.” Most of my clients tend to be far more conservative than me. When I am in a group of my clients, it is not uncommon that they will discuss their very conservative political opinions and, between them, they tend to nod and agree. As a rule, I don’t discuss my politics around them, not because I am “afraid” but because it would create a lot of unnecessary awkwardness. I doubt they would fire me, but I would be the skunk at their garden party and they certainly didn’t hire me to be that. But to me that’s just reading the room.
I think the word “politically” is doing too much work here. How many people feel they can’t express views about whether the Federal government should run a deficit, or their state government should float a bond to expand a highway? I suspect what people are reluctant to express falls into a range, from “We all know that gay people just want to seduce young children” and “Anyone who is a member of organized religion is an idiot” to more troubling cases: “I don’t think that women who accuse men of sexual assault should be automatically believed” or “I’m not comfortable with large numbers of immigrants from cultures where males have absolute control over females”.
I think it’s a sign of progress that people are increasingly reluctant to express opinions on the first half of that spectrum. I think it is troubling when people feel they can’t express legitimate concerns or doubts. As I mentioned here before, I think this cancel culture is represented by my daughter’s comment that she will no longer support a WSL team because it’s star player isn’t kneeling during the national anthem, this despite the fact she is wearing a “Black Lives Matter” T-shirt and armband, and stands next to a black teammate who has her arm around the white player’s waist.
My sense is multiple things can be true at the same time:
(1) Social media and lack of anonymity, combined with a lack of protection on workers (especially in “at will” employment states) can have a chilling effect .
(2) The context of an environment and an organization’s leadership can shape what feels safe — I’ve worked in places that have had very liberal and very conservative bosses, and in both cases I’ve definitely regulated my speech on certain issues because of it.
(3) Cato appears to have been looking for specific results from this survey and designed it to get them (which gets to James’ point about the lack of critical contextual follow-up questions).
It’s also worth noting that part of this really comes down to shifts in power (real and perceived). The perceived part is critical because it involves concepts of “safety” and “harm.”
@Sleeping Dog: As a recovering extremist myself 😉 , I’m inclined to take a different tack on your observation and note that for people on the extremes of opinion, their familiarity with how their views are received may give them more latitude and less fear of consequences. Not always a good thing, indeed, but being shunned or whatever is familiar territory, and therefore less fear inducing.
(And I was just kidding about the “recovering” part–I’m not in recovery at all.)
@wr: Good point. On the other hand, union supporter, communist, antifa terrorist, child molester–pretty much all the same person. Right?
If I were a Trump supporter I’d be afraid to let it be known that I was dumb as rocks.
Because college football IS religion.
One of the ugly truths we don’t like talking about in our democracy is not all political beliefs are equal or worthy of polite respect. You do not have the right to express yourself without consequence and never have.
If someone tells you to your face they don’t believe you have basic rights or are an equal human being worthy of respect solely because they personally feel that way,, we are supposed to politely ignore them demeaning your humanity because “free speech”. That’s not what it means and the Founders didn’t expect citizens to just sit there and let people insult them – remember, this was a honor culture were dueling to the death over insults still happened on a fairly regular basis. The government wasn’t allowed to arrest you for unpopular opinions but the population was absolutely allowed to run you out of town on rail for being offensive AF. Back in the day, this was mostly used to enforce conformity and the type of society right-wing nuts would rejoice to get back. How many communists, abolitionists, union supports, suffragettes, atheists, hippies, and straight up non-conformists got the crap beaten out of them for daring to speak up over the centuries? How many people thought it was ok for LBGT individuals to live their lives freely or miscegenation to happen that kept their mouths shut or they’d be swinging the tree next to the unfortunate victims? The term redneck originally referred to miners fighting for union rights wearing red bandannas that made them targets for skull-breaking and other horrific violence. How’s that for expression a political view you’d be afraid could cause problems?
Americans of non-standard political views have ALWAYS had to keep their mouths shut in public or at work else very bad things would happen to them. The only difference is for the first time, conservatives and the right-wing are now on the wrong side of the equation and they HATE it.
@Daryl and his brother Darryl:
My wife, who is much more of a badass than I will ever be, and who has the luxury of being self-employed as a Therapist, has had signs printed, which she leaves on the windshields of any vehicle she sees parked with a “Trump” Bumpersticker or sign of any kind. She saw it online, copied it, then printed out signs on 8.5 x 11 paper. It reads:
“Wanted to let you know that someone vandalized your vehicle by putting a Trump sticker on it. It’s in the back, so you probably haven’t seen it yet but I wanted to make sure you knew it was there. I don’t think you want people thinking that you’re a hateful, racist, un-American person who actually supports Trump. Be safe. Wear your mask. You’re welcome.”
Ohmigod!!!!! Say it ain’t so.
Now I supposed that your gonna tell me that Roy really DID throw the game.
@KM: many of the people complaining about cancel culture are just finally facing consequences for the shit that comes out of their mouths, and they don’t like it.
20 years ago I was almost fired from a job in rural Georgia because rumor went around the building that I was an atheist. I had to deny it, and I kept my job. Some groups have always had to suppress their beliefs in public.
That’s awesome…I’m stealing that idea.
I’ve literally never seen anyone make that argument. Hitler came to power through force and established a totalitarian state. Debate isn’t possible in that scenario. It is, however, in a democracy.
That’s an interesting insight into the protests of the late 1960s and early 1970s. But it’s a weird view of the current clashes. Indeed, I’m not sure if it’s not basically the same groups out in the streets now as it was then. Certainly, the management class is a small, small part of it.
@MarkedMan: But the literal case at work here is people who think others should be fired for donating to the other major party’s nominee.
If I had an employee who donated to the campaign of David Duke when he ran for Senate or Governor in Lousiana, I would have sure as hell fired them. Depends on the candidate, no? Or do you believe employers should stay completely out of that realm?
Your comment reminded me immediately of this part of American History: The Battle of Blair Mountain. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Blair_Mountain
And people think there is violence today.
@Modulo Myself:..There was a legit reason to punch hippies who received draft deferments. It was unfair that college kids got to protest, get high, and get laid while working class kids were sent to die in a war nobody wanted.
If you had an employee who donated to the KKK, would you keep them on? How about if they donated to the American Nazi Party?
Now, can you explain the difference in opinion between the KKK, the American Nazi Party and Trump’s GOP?
Its worth noting that the origin of many organized State Police forces (in particular in the Northeastern US) are tied to trying to stop organized labor (and in particular strike busting).
@EddieInCA: @Michael Reynolds: Employers shouldn’t be in the business of vetting the partisan affiliation of their employees.
Duke is a really odd case, in that he had been a past Klan leader, but he was also the nominee of a major party. Trump isn’t quite Duke—and the GOP even today isn’ t the KKK or the Nazi Party—but I can understand why being an “out” Trumpist would have implications for a small company with minority employees. Still, he’s the sitting President of the United States. I don’t see how supporting him can constitute a firable offense.
@James Joyner: Let’s take it farther though. Is it acceptable to fire someone for donating to the Klan? If yes, where is the line drawn?
I’m actually of the opinion that it is not okay to fire someone for donating to the Klan, unless they have authority or responsibility for minorities, or could have.
[Edit: Whoops,I see Eddie and Michael got here first]
I think we have to factor into this the past few decades where people who identify as conservatives have been going to court to gain the right to fire people, refuse them service, or bar them from venues based both on the beliefs or orientation of the victims, or the beliefs of the discriminators. After all, the Supreme Court just ruled you can literally fire some because they are too old or because they got cancer provided you say “Because Jesus” first.
Is it any wonder that more people think it is an acceptable way to deal with disagreements?
You’re right that Trump’s GOP is not quite the KKK – it’s far worse. The KKK is a small organization that has been knocked down before by the feds. Now it is being tacitly (at least) supported by the feds. Trump is a fascist, a racist, a misogynist and a traitor who has turned the DoJ into his personal brown shirts.
Would I rid myself of an employee who supported Trump? Without a moment’s hesitation. Why in God’s name would I voluntarily associate with someone that vile? You might as well ask me to hire a pedophile.
The political views that I’m most “afraid” of sharing, specially among Americans, are not Conservative views. They are views about age of consent and sexual activity among minors(I also have unpopular positions about domestic animals like cats and dogs). These positions are far more unpopular than anything that I could say about transpeople or minorities without being a bigot.
This goes beyond political correctness. And I don’t think that’s bad that Holocaust deniers are afraid of sharing their views.
@EddieInCA: “I like my anonymity, despite the business I’m in valuing and monetizing fame.”
There’s a reason they choose to become them and we choose to be us…
About 3 years ago, I interviewed for a job for a USA Limited Series that was close to getting a greenlight. The youngish showrunner’s first questions was “I can’t find you on Facebook or Instagram. Can you show me your pages?” When I told her that I had neither, it was as if I had told her I had leprosy. She couldn’t process it. She spent 10 minutes telling me how much I was missing, and that “It’s hard to be taken seriously without a social media presence.” I told her I didn’t take myself too seriously. The joke when over her head.
I didn’t get the job.
Two weeks later, I landed a job that has kept me employed for three years, and I love the group I work with. Her limited series never got produced.
You’re 100% correct.
I have also lived with “no politics and no religion”. At the smaller hospitals where I have worked at out in the sticks people tend to be pretty conservative and have always felt free to talk their politics, though no one talks religion. I made the mistake once of correcting them when they were saying that all current and former military officers were/are conservative and that W (this was in the early 2000s) was right about everything. As a reward for speaking up they tried to get me fired. So I guess things could be worse now, but Im not really sure about the baseline. ( I am also old enough to remember that in corps school they had a “blanket party” for a guy they just suspected of being gay, so again, what is the baseline?)
@Modulo Myself:.. There was a legit reason to punch hippies who received draft deferments.
Has the statute of limitations on that passed?
Asking for a friend.
But, are we a democracy?
I would say that at best we are a very flawed democracy, where the voters of empty states have far greater influence than the voters of more populated states, and the president does not even have a plurality of votes, and his administration is sending troops into cities.
As the country is lurching towards authoritarianism, is there really room to debate those who support it? Or does it legitimize them?
And Hitler’s rise to power had a lot more steps in legitimate government than simply seizing power through violence. In 1932, the Nazis won a plurality in the Reichstag for instance.
@Gustopher: To say nothing of the support of the Prussian aristocracy and Lutheran establishment.
I’d have said “Ask your mother.” But then, I’m an asshole.
@EddieInCA: Back in the 90’s when I was in the Peace Corps in Ghana, I lived in a fairly remote village, access wise, and I was often the first white person the children had ever seen. The kids, like all kids, got used to me pretty quickly, but one day I hiked over to the next village, Beposo, to catch a bus (which was never going to come, but that’s a different story). I sat down on a low wall in the center of the village and took out a book and quickly became engrossed in it. At some point the primary school let out for the day and all the children had come out and found this strange creature in their midst. I only gradually became aware that there were a lot more people around and when I finally looked up from my book I was in the middle of a crowd of a couple hundred children, all silent, all staring at me. One of my first thoughts was “My god, I never want to be Johnny Carson.” I actually consider myself lucky to discover at an early age I never wanted to be recognizably famous or to be out in public with those who are.
So, at one level, we’re in agreement. Our democracy is seriously flawed in its design in a way that makes it slightly less representative. And, yes, Trump and his enablers are creeping toward authoritarianism in very worrisome ways.
But it’s a bizarre form of autocracy, indeed, if the ones who can’t tolerate respectful debate with their opponents are the ones opposing the autocrats.
Yeah, capital obsession is absurd.
How many people who cite the importance of Adam Smith have actually read his work? I’ve noticed that many libertarians and FedSoc-style Republicans have taken to calling themselves Classical Liberals. Quiz them on the parts of Smith that aren’t taught in B School, and you’re likely to find they’re full of crap.
I stopped listening to The Majority Report when all three of the people in the studio claimed to have read The Bell Curve. They may be similar in ideology to me, but I get annoyed when their claims about themselves lack credibility, especially when it’s about something stupid like that.
Any white person who’s lived in China for any amount of time will be able to regale you with stories of being “the white monkey”.
I can’t count the number of times I’ve been stopped on the street (or in social situations) by complete strangers and had someone ask if they can take a picture with me–or to take a picture of me with their children. Depending on the situation, I would or wouldn’t (if kids were involved, I usually said okay).
The opposite side of that is: being white (or anything “non-Chinese”) means you’re the target of every panhandler and con artist within visual distance.
If you can walk around People’s Square in Shanghai for 30 minutes and NOT be asked if you’ve “seen the tea ceremony”, I’ll pay you a million dollars*.
99.44% of Americans (excluding immigrants) don’t understand what it’s like to be in a country or culture where you are *really* different.
Why are you so skeptical of a claim to have read the Bell Curve? I read it, albeit when it first came out. Millions of people read it.
As I recall, my biggest takeaway from the book was that even if you take the claims as gospel (I didn’t) it shows that if you take any individual, black, white, Asian, or anything else, there’s a better than 9 out of 10 chance that their intelligence (measured exclusively by the Stanford Binet test) falls under the area of overlap.
Moving away from intelligence, years ago while walking around Stockholm I got the impression that the average Swede is taller than the average American. But all the Swedes I knew pretty well fell within a space occupied by 90% of Americans and Swedes alike. They could buy their clothes at a regular store. They could sit comfortably on regular chairs. It doesn’t matter if Swedes are on average taller if you are a 5′ 6″ Swedish man. And it doesn’t matter if on average one group’s IQ is higher or lower on average. To an individual, if IQ has any significant meaning at all it’s their specific IQ that matters, not the collective average.
Just as I can find a group that is unusually tall (hello, NBA) by narrowing down my focus, when I get to vary large groups the differences are relatively small, and those average differences are unlikely to be heavily influenced by unchangeable genes. For height specifically, it turns out that not only does it matter what your nutrition was growing up, it matters what your maternal grandfather’s nutrition was (I know, weird, isn’t it?). Bottom line, when you get a large enough group of people I really doubt whether there is any significant mental acuity differences directly related to unchangeable genetics.
How does donating to a political campaign affect his work? Are all of your employees so high in public profile that their [edit: private] actions reflect on public perception of the industry in which they/you work? Would your action be based on the buzz you get wielding such power?
Show me the cause for termination and I’ll go along with you. Until then, you’re just the same as every other bigot.
I lived in Shanghai for 4 years and originally thought I had such a cool urban demeanor that scammers and hustlers rarely did more than call out to me halfheartedly as I walked past. When I was out with my friend Jack, also a white American, it was such a different experience. Peoples Square and the … (what’s the name of the pedestrian shopping district immediately east of the park?) … were suddenly swarming with charming friendly people who only wanted us to buy, to try, to take a look, to help with their English, etc.
“Man”, I used to think to myself, “I am so cool, and Jack is so gullible looking”. And then one day I dropped Jack off and decided to cut through the shopping area and a very tall, young and athletic woman with perfect English decided I just had to buy whatever laser pointer or radio controlled toy bicycle she was selling. She latched onto me and got her spiel going with incredible enthusiasm but after about 10-20 steps her face fell and she looked at me and said, “You walk too fast”, and dropped away. And I realized that it wasn’t some cool urban demeanor that had kept me relatively unbothered in China and other places, but simply that I walked fast. Poor Jack was older and shorter, and simply couldn’t get away from them.
In the sense you mean, we are becoming more like a village. However, I grew up in a village. There were 63 in my graduating high school class. In a village, you tend to know people in a less one-dimensional way. You often know them from multiple contexts. One of those contexts might put you off, but others might be quite positive.
Villages can be insular, but mine, situated on an interstate near the Canadian border, was not. It was an odd place, and even now, people in other parts of the county raise eyebrows at the mention of my origin (Blaine, WA, for the record). And that’s “county”. People in other parts of the “country” mostly have never heard of Blaine, and that’s just fine.
This is a core experience of tolerance for me.
I would not fire someone for donating to Trump. I would definitely fire someone if their support of Trump interfered with my ability to do business. If they were getting in people’s faces and making them uncomfortable in my place of business, yes.
The thing is, most of the Trump supporters I know (and I know them from the above context, generally) aren’t like that. They are very transactional in their support of Trump. They want to outlaw abortion, and Trump seems a vehicle for that. We don’t agree on that, but we do agree on many other things.
Whereas on the internet, we get to look only at a very narrow slice of a human being, and that can always be chosen to be highly unflattering.
It’s actually rather logical (in a twisted sort of way). Those who chose to see themselves as victims will always paint those in power as “autocrats” (or worse). They demonize the opposition, paint them as “less than human”. Obviously anyone who is a lower level of human doesn’t deserve to be debated. They deserve nothing more than ridicule.
You have to look no further than the commentariat of OTB. Just this morning, one of the regulars equated Republicans with pedophiles. A whole host of people here say they oppose autocracy (meaning they hate Trump, but would love it if a Democrat used the same authority), but reject an ridicule any political opinion that doesn’t agree with theirs.
On the other hand, I (an independent who “leans libertarian”) semi-frequently talk with a former co-worker and a family friend that does odd jobs for my mother–both of whom are far-left, socialist hippies–and have intelligent, respectful conversations about politics. We might disagree on the details, but we’re all pointed in somewhat the same direction. I can sit down at the end of the bar* with someone who supports Sanders, someone who supports Trump, and someone who doesn’t know who’s on the ballot and respectfully (though, probably, loudly) debate politics. And we’ll be buying each other rounds.
* Around these parts, “the end of the bar” is where the regulars gather. And they talk about politics, religion, and sports. It might get passionate, but it’s always respectful (despite the profanity–that’s just “common talk” around here).
@Just nutha ignint cracker:
If I have an employee whose behavior will negatively affect MY company, and MY livelihood, I will sure as hell fire them. If that makes me a bigot, so be it. I’ll own that. Just because someone has the right to do what they want under the first amendment, doesn’t mean the are free from consequences. So if you’re a Nazi, or a KKK member, or support the KKK, you don’t get to work for this latino. Full stop.
Now, to be clear, I’m talking about MY company. If I’m working for a studio or network, and I am completely in charge of the crew, which includes some (many) KKK supporters, (which, while working in Georgia, I had the misfortune of doing – someTeamsters in Georgia aren’t very progressive), then it’s live and let live. Not my circus. Not my monkey.
@Jay L Gischer:
Ah.. Blaine!!! While working and living in Vancouver (1994-1995), I’d go every other weekend to the International Market in Blaine to grab cases of Marlboro for the cast of the series I was working on. You couldn’t by Marlboros in Canada at the time. No idea if you can now. One trip, I had 31 cases of Marlboros. I was terrified I was going to get searched. The next weekend, I didn’t get any cigarettes, and was stopped and searched. Luckily I had none on me. Never did that again. I’d still do my every other weekend run, but just stopped smuggling cigarettes.
@EddieInCA: And that is an absolutely perfect story about Blaine.
You maybe could have bought some of those cigarettes at a “border brokerage” you know. They have this deal where you go in the store (in Blaine) and pick out what you want, but they deliver it to you just over the border (in Peace Arch Park) but before you go through customs. So it’s all legal, but you aren’t subject to any US taxes, because the transaction didn’t take place on US soil.
Seriously, this is an important business in Blaine. As are PO Boxes for Canadians who want to get things from Amazon US.
This is where I am from. I had lunch with a fellow graduate (one of those 63) recently, and it helped me realize what a unique little corner of the world it really is. Small town, but cosmopolitan. I don’t live there now, it isn’t practical for me. But it’s part of me, and it always will be.
@EddieInCA: As I said, “show me the cause for termination…” Now all I have to do is figure out how you’re going TO KNOW WHO I GIVE MONEY TO. But yes, if you want to fire me for giving my money to people of whom you don’t approve–whether they be Klansmen, Lutherans, Progressives, or whoever–I’m cool with that. Put it in the employment contract so we don’t waste each others time, though.
Yeah, I don’t really like having a respectful debate with someone on the subject of whether I should be oppressed. I’m queer, my rights have been “up for respectful debate” all my life, and I say “fuck that, equal rights aren’t debatable.”
And, when it comes to white supremacists, I say “fuck that, the equal rights of my brown friends aren’t debatable.”
Even equal rights for women aren’t debatable.
There’s no reason to be tolerant of intolerance. The right response when a nazi wants to debate and pulls out their calipers and phrenology books to show how the lesser races are inferior is to punch them in the face.
And the right response for those to cheer on encroaching authoritarianism is in the same ballpark as the right response to the nazis and racists. Maybe not actually punching them, but shunning them and deplatforming them.
A respectful debate is only worthwhile when the other side has any interest in discussing things in good faith, and is open to change and willing to compromise. There’s a large chunk of the Republican party that this doesn’t qualify for.
When Mitch McConnell says that Democrats should think twice about eliminating the filibuster when they eventually take the Senate. do you think he is making an argument in good faith? What about when he said that a supreme court nomination just could not be considered in an election year?
Jim Jordan covers for pedophiles. Donald Trump has made lewd comments about 14 year olds. Dennis Hastert went to jail for structuring payments of hush money to kids he molested. Judge Moore in Alabama lost a Senate race when his pursuit of high school girls became public.
I’m not saying all pedophiles are Republicans, but… now that you make the comparison, I think you might be onto something.
Bullshit. Half of them would be calling the hypothetical Democrat a corporatist shill.
That’s a ridiculous, unsupported claim.
@Daryl and his brother Darryl:..If I were a Trump supporter I’d be afraid to let it be known that I was dumb as rocks.
If you were a Trump supporter you would not know that are as dumb as rocks.
@EddieInCA: Your wife’s signs reminds me of this line from the post…
Perhaps liberals wouldn’t believe that if the president himself wasn’t a white nationalist…
@Andre Kenji de Sousa: You’ve piqued my curiosity…I wonder what are those views you have that you think would be considered unpopular…
Has Mitch McConnell ever made an argument in good faith?
So you’d have no problem with a conservative business owner in a conservative market firing an employee because they donated to Bernie Sanders or the ACLU, or spoke in favor of BLM or gay marriage or equality for transgender people?
I’m off to sleep, but…
In the past month:
Point to three positive comments about libertarians that don’t come from me or James.
Point to three positive comments about republicans. From anyone.
If you’re actually able to do that, take a look at the responses.
Then tell me with a straight face that people here are open to honest debate with people of other political philosophies.
I find this interaction in this thread really ironic.
I’m a confident man, but I’m REALLY hesitant about speaking freely in this forum, because I know the shitstorm of holier-than-thou derision I’ll have to deal with. Why should I subject myself to that?
I haven’t seen a single person here to is honestly willing to debate realistic libertarian ideas–you all just jump to false stereotypes. And pretty much everyone here believes that Republicans are less than human.
We both decided early on it wasn’t going to be about fame, it wasn’t going to be about critical acclaim or the literary community, still less self-gratification. The metric we’d use was money. Fame belongs to other people to control. Money is mine.
Private company can hire and fire who they wish as long as they’re not breaking federal, state, or local laws. And, in case you haven’t paying attention, this has been happening for a long time. Often, against the law, unfortunately.
Yeah. I’m not going to have a Nazi working for me. Not gonna apologize for that.
@Mu Yixiao: I’m not going to do your assigned homework because I just don’t care enough to. You’re ranting like a loon, jumping to absurdities, and I don’t take you seriously when you’re like that.
I do know that libertarians like Radley Balko have received praise regarding their views on police brutality, probably up to three times.
And people have said fine things about Governors Hogan, Baker and Kasich for covid response.
Nonsense. We just have a low opinion of humans. Sometimes we rise above ourselves, but… not always.
I don’t think anyone has heard of a realistic libertarian idea. Libertarianism tends to have problems when it hits reality. It’s like communism that way, assuming people are something other than they are.
And whoever compared hiring a Republican to hiring a pedophile was being unfair. No one chooses to be a pedophile, some people are just wired wrong, and so long as they recognize that this attraction cannot be acted upon and to avoid temptation because so many well-meaning people have eventually given into temptation… they really are better than Republicans.
@James Joyner: @Michael Reynolds:
Klan groups themselves have been pretty marginalized today. They’ve been eclipsed by newer white nationalist groups, some of which have found insidious ways of needling their way into the mainstream. Two notable examples of such groups are American Renaissance and VDARE, whose articles have been sent around extensively by senior Trump advisor Stephen Miller.
Then there’s FOX News host Tucker Carlson, who has spent the past several years promoting themes and ideas previously unheard of outside of white nationalist circles, such as the “white genocide” conspiracy theory–and that was before his top writer was discovered to be an out-and-out racist.
It’s true none of these people have lynched anyone, but then neither has David Duke, to my knowledge. On the other hand, Duke hasn’t exactly been putting children in cages.
If you, James, believe that the Trump Administration are in a fundamentally different category than someone like David Duke, then you have your blinders on. They may not be quite as explicitly racist as Duke (though Duke was among the first white nationalists to work on strategies for downplaying the Klan’s traditional racism in order to worm their way into the mainstream), but they are unquestionably led by people (including the president himself) with direct connections to white nationalists and who are sympathetic to many of their beliefs.
It’s easy to get seduced into the idea that there’s intrinsically some hard line separating the Republican Party from neo-Nazis and their ilk, and that any statements to the contrary are simply overheated rhetoric, similar to the way some Republicans called Obama a Marxist. If we were still in the Bush era, I would have agreed with you. But we aren’t. The line has broken down. We’re there, already, no matter how scary and surreal that may seem.
@Just nutha ignint cracker:
If it’s to a political party or political action committee, it’s public record.
Because this isn’t a freshmen dorm and 99% of us have figured out there’s no such thing as “realistic libertarian ideas”. They’re theoretical, not practical. We’re talking about the real world – you know, that thing that’s happening outside? There’s absolutely NOTHING Libertarian about Republicans right now, especially this Administration. Why should we be talking about your pet philosophy when it has nothing to do with the situation? What does Libertarianism have to do with this other then you equating it with conservative / rural / not-Liberal and getting mad you aren’t getting respect?
You’re mad nobody here is taking what you consider important seriously and you feel we’re dismissive towards Republicans “as human beings”. I’ve yet to hear you take them to task however for what we’ve pointed out on this thread – namely that THEY are dismissive towards others they don’t consider humans beings but are getting increasingly upset nobody’s tolerating that crap in public. So sad they can’t scream insults or ban “unacceptable” people from their business but we should care “cancel culture” means they’ve been boycotted into oblivion? A real Libertarian would understand that the marketplace of ideas is actively rejecting ideas such as white supremacy because they are unprofitable unless you into right-wing grift. You have the right to speak, you don’t have the right to demand people listen or care. You have the right to tell me you think I don’t deserve certain rights to my face and I have the right to not hire someone who clearly won’t follow instructions from a boss they despise. That’s how it’s supposed to work, right – go somewhere else like conservatives are always telling people? Whelp, the market is speaking VERY clearly and conservatives are on the losing side.
@Mu Yixiao: “I’m a confident man, but I’m REALLY hesitant about speaking freely in this forum,”
Except, of course, to post messages stating that everyone else here is a closed-minded bigot who refuses to engage honestly with opposing opinions. Somehow fire-hosing out insulting comments about everyone here, while taking plenty of time to describe what an open, honest and giving soul you are, doesn’t cause you a second’s hesitation out of fear of a shit-storm.
What would right-wing discourse look like if it wasn’t made up 90% of dishonest self-pity?
FWIW, my work has increasingly brought me into contact with people who are pragmatic and consistent libertarians. Those folks are doing some amazing work in the criminal justice spaces. So they can exist. And they are definitely different than the “engineering grad libertarian” who loves to quote the lit, but ultimately only cares about preserving their liberties (and is more than prepared to trample everyone else’s in order to do so).
The challenge pragmatic libertarians face is that, to your point, they don’t cleanly align with either party. And most of those folks with definitely agree that there is very little Libertarian about the current Administration/Trumpian construction of the party. But that doesn’t make the Democrats an easy fit for them either. And sadly for them, the two-party structure doesn’t allow a lot of room in-between.
Ironically, a lot of them are not particularly enamoured of the Libertarian party either (at least not at the national level).
I’m from a big public safety family (I’m the oldest of 8 siblings) and most family friends are police, fire or other working occupations, and … I know from various family conversations that only me and a brother did NOT support Trump.
I never attend a family occasion with political discussion in mind (in fact they say they’ll avoid it with me because I’m clearly liberal) BUT if my opinion on a policy or event of the day is solicited I will offer my take. I do NOT look to change minds, and quite often if I’m challenged on my opinion and I offer what I believe to be are objective facts in support, I’m countered with Fox Talking Points.
Most of my family is regularly dialed into FoxNews or radio shows with Mark Levin and Rush, etc. They are part of the Trump’s solid 38% and still strongly support him.
Yeah, I’m quite used to talking with Trump supporters – they’re my brothers and sisters.