Friday’s Forum

Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. MarkedMan says:

    Yesterday we were debating what it means to be “conservative” and I contended that the way it is used today renders it useless, as you can’t impute any political philosophy to it. I thought of an interesting example. In much of Europe it is illegal to express “hate speech”. Language that we protect constitutionally here is a jailable offense there. Is that a liberal or conservative position? And, whatever your answer, what makes it so?

  2. Kathy says:

    I’ve been having what I think are sequential lucid dreams, like two or three in one night. I recall a great deal of each, and they are all dialogues between either me and someone else, or between two other people but I speak for one of them (it’s weird).

    In one, there was a Greek God named Theia (not that one, more like a comic book version with a different origin story), discussing with Batwoman the need for superheroes to maintain a secret identity and a double life.

    I was talking for Theia. Batwoman made very good arguments for her position, and rather convinced me the gods cannot live openly among mortals.

    The next night it was me talking with Theia, this time she spoke her mind (or whatever part of my subconscious is her mind), and I got her to change back to her original position. One point I made was that the gods couldn’t understand the problems of mortals while observing them only from a distance.

    Yesterday’s dream had me discussing with a class of college students whether people enjoy the things they are good at because they are good at them, or whether they get good at them because they enjoy them?

  3. Jen says:

    @MarkedMan: Maybe I need another cup of coffee, but I can’t discern what you are asking is a liberal or conservative position–the European position or the US standard?

  4. CSK says:

    If you’re saying that the terms “liberal” and “conservative” have come to mean whatever an individual wants them to mean in this country, I agree. And it works both ways. I had a self-described liberal acquaintance who referred to anyone who expressed mild sentiments inclining toward fiscal restraint as “a right-wing extremist bastard.” Granted, this person was an idiot, but the example is illustrative.

  5. Jen says:

    @MarkedMan: Okay, after re-reading and a second cup of coffee, I’m assuming you are asking if the restriction/jailing of those who engage in hate speech is a liberal or conservative position.

    I can argue either side.

    Jailing those who engage in hate speech is a liberal position because it prioritizes peace in society and the rights of the oppressed over the rights of an individual to speak and denigrate others.

    Jailing those who engage in hate speech is a conservative position because it is prioritizing order over the freedom to speak and convey ideas, no matter how disturbing and hateful.

    In the case of Europe, it’s important–of course–to bear in mind the history that underpins these laws.

    So the answer is of course, it’s complicated.

  6. Mister Bluster says:

    The Days of Cheap Oil are Gone!
    Ever since I bought my 2013 Ford Fusion new in February of that year I have taken it to the dealer I bought it from for service. The Works oil change as they call it including 5 quarts of synthetic oil, oil filter, tire rotation and Multi Point Inspection…$39.95 +tax. I could do it myself jacking up the car so I can lay on my back under it in my gravel driveway in the heat and humidity of summer or the January freeze like I did with my other rides 30 years ago. Might even save a dollar or two but then I can’t throw the old oil in the ditch to kill the weeds anymore. Besides the arthritis in my knees would likely cause my return to standing upright take an extra half hour. Screw that. I’ll wait at the Dunkin’ next door drinking my senior discount coffee and dining on my free donut compliments of my AARP card while someone else changes the oil.

    $39.95+tax was the price in 2013 and has remained the same for 8 years. Until this week.
    There’s a new sign in the garage that I did not notice until I got the bill yesterday. The Works Oil-Filter-Inspection and Tire Rotation $59.95 + Tax. Yikes! That’s a 50% increase!
    The car has 199104 miles on it. I wonder how much an oil change will be when it’s closing in on 300000 miles?

  7. Mimai says:

    Interesting discussions yesterday – what is a “conservative,” what is the nature of “debate” on this forum, why do people drop in and out, etc. I have thoughts on all of these, but I’ll focus on one for now.

    Several folks noted that the term “conservative” (and its kissing cousins) changes over time. I think this is a reasonable position to hold. Though it does get tricky when we get into the weeds of who gets to define to the term, who gets labeled with it, etc. Eg, is it appropriate to call Trump loyalists conservative? (hypothetical question)

    Nevertheless, this (ie, changing definitions) often becomes problematic when such terms are used in debate/discussion. Eg, the point is often made around here that “there are no [thoughtful, non-evil, etc] conservatives anymore.” How does one engage this point if “conservative” is an ever-evolving term that applies to different people and political positions/temperament?

    One might cite “conservative” (or conservative adjacent) writers/commentators who are indeed thoughtful, non-evil, etc. But then the interlocutor might dismiss them as “not true conservatives” in today’s context.

    My experience is that this quickly descends into a tautological exercise that shuts down debate/discussion so that one’s priors are safely preserved.

    To be clear, I don’t necessarily have a problem with the evolution of political labels – this is how language works. I have a problem with the inconsistency and how it is often “used” (not necessarily with intent) to score points, win debates, etc.

    Final point: I am guilty of this too….as a general matter, less so for politics because I’m not a regular commenter on such things. I try to do better, and have done better, and have relapsed.

  8. JohnSF says:

    Partly due to historical contingency: in the USA (and the UK) there were damn few former Nazi or Vichy supporters in the post-war period.
    In Germany and France there were millions.

    In Germany a lot of is traceable back to the provisionsbans on “anti-democratic” parties in the post-1945 Basic Law.
    Both the neo-Nazi Socialist Reich Party, and the Communist Party of Germany were banned.

    National Socialism is banned outright in Germany as anti-constitutional; it is illegal to found or belong to a Nazi party. Any party considered to be National Socialist can be banned by the Bundesverfassungsgericht, Germany’s highest court. Likewise, publications in support of such groups are automatically placed on the Index, and some may be banned altogether.

    A related concept of “democratic self-defence” allowed the prohibition of pro-Nazi propaganda.
    And in both Germany and France the far right had a tradition of blatant Holocaust denial that has little parallel in America.

    Hence German Law:

    He who, publicly or in assembly, approves, denies, or trivializes genocide committed under the regime of National Socialism in a way that is suitable to disturb the public peace, is subject to imprisonment up to 5 years or a monetary fine

    Meanwhile in UK, the political history is different, but unlike US English law has always limited speech liable to caused breach of peace, or “offensive language”. So no big jump.

  9. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @Mister Bluster:
    60 bucks??? What a deal
    5 quart and a filter will cost you about 90 to 100 at Jiffy or Valvoline.

  10. KM says:

    I would go further in that it’s a conservative view in that it originates from the need to suppress a social and politically damaging ideology and keep existing social structures intact. Remember, “hate speech” in Europe when first envisioned would had a heavy connotation of Nazism and so was meant to stop the resurgences of something that had just caused them to lose a war and see the nations be burnt out. The intent is to preserve current law and order at the expense of any ahistorical romanticization similar to the Lost Cause; conservatively, Nazism would be the aberration in history and thus not worth preserving. That it’s expanded outwards from it’s original intent to encompass a more traditionally understand liberal bent doesn’t mean it didn’t start life as a conservative measure and ultimately remains ones.

  11. Jen says:


    I should also add that there’s a nuance/difference between US-defined liberal and conservative vs. European-defined liberal and conservative, further obfuscating the ability to answer this question outright.

  12. CSK says:

    You make extremely interesting points.

    I wouldn’t call Trump loyalists true conservatives, but as far as I can tell, they themselves would be the first to tell you that they, just like their god and savior, are the only true conservatives. The execrable Steve Bannon may have been correct when he referred to them as “populist nationalists.”

    As an aside, I have to mention yet again how appreciative I am of the fact that virtually everyone who comments here is literate, sane, and well-informed.

  13. CSK says:

    Yes. This is a very significant distinction.

  14. KM says:

    It’s hard to discuss a term wherein the claimant is using it to mean their preferred definition and not a common parlance – we’re not mindreaders and don’t know that when you say/think/live X, in your heart it means Y. On the internet, we have to take you at face value. Most of our traditionally conservative-leaning commentators are indeed thoughtful and non-evil but they are also not conservatives as recognized today. Instead they’re center-right or moderate but for some reason do not wish to self-identify as such, leaving a terminology gap and it’s associated misunderstandings. I understand attachment to a label’s connotation but words don’t just mean what you want to them to mean – if “zerlayts” means “red” to you and “popcorn kernels” to me, we ain’t getting far.

    The wish for the return of sane conservatives is not a plea for them to step up as they are some already here at OTB. It’s instead a badly worded nostalgic lament akin to “kids these days” – it’s meaningless without context and even in context is usually just grumbling about change. It should be phrased as a wish for rational debate from someone on the other side of the spectrum, emphasis on rational. I can go talk to a conservative nurse right now about how she thinks COVID is a hoax, refuses to get vaxxed even though she lives with vulnerable people and complains masks are a liberal government tool of oppression while she takes care of dying plague victims…… but that’s not going to be a rational conversation. We’d be discussing reality vs fantasy, not conservativism vs liberalism. What’s being wished for is a return to sanity from an ideology undergoing a plague of stupidity but refusing any treatment.

  15. JohnSF says:

    I’ve mentioned before I think my occasional tendency to tease US “conservatives” on the basis thet they are, in fact, liberal (free speech, democracy, constitutions, republic, legal equality, militia arms, etc)

    Though to be serious, the US conservative variant has also wanted to uphold the extant order and traditions; just it’s a rather different order, traditions and methodology.
    Also, Republican conservtism during the later 19th century was heavily influenced by Spencerian/Sumnerian “social fitness” derivations of liberalism, and a blatant interest group approach to business.
    So internal free market but external protective tariff, legal favouritism for property over other rights etc.

    And then the massive change from the mid-1960’s on: Democrats embrace Civil Rights, “Dixiecrats” abandon party, Republican embrace “Southern Strategy” and the Evangelical/Republican alliance takes shape.

    So now the Republican party is just a knot of contradictory attitudes and concepts, more cultural than political.
    And along comes Trump…

  16. Neil J Hudelson says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    To be fair to your oil place, going 8 years (or longer? I assume you didn’t have handy just when it is that the $39.95 price point was set, only that it was current in 2013) is a long time without a price increase. Just counting for inflation, $39.95 in 2013 would be about $42 today. If that price point was set in, say, 2010, then in today’s dollars it’s $50.

  17. Mister Bluster says:

    @Bob@Youngstown:..What a deal

    The real bite in the ass about all this is that the coffee at Dunkin’ increased 21¢ this week due to a new city tax!

  18. Sleeping Dog says:

    Who Has the Cure for America’s Declining Birthrate? Canada.

    The US faces a population growth problem that will likely lead to an economic growth problem.

    The most expeditious way out might be if the federal government gave up its monopoly on immigration and allowed states to bring in workers from anywhere in the world, based on their own labor needs, without being held to federal quotas.

    There is a certain amount of irony in the thought of the Feds stepping back on some immigration issues and allowing the states to determine their own path forward, it would sure create some strange bedfellows. It would me much harder for grandstanding R governors like Abbott and DeSantis fulminating over immigration if they needed to deal with requests, demands and threats from the state’s business community.

    It should be noted, that Canada’s immigration policy is structured to meet the skills needs of Canada, a focus that US immigration advocates have downplayed.

  19. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    At the bottom of yesterday’s forum, SC_Birdflight suggested

    The retired educator in me would like to give them a three-question exam: “Define in two sentences or less, the meaning of ‘Socialist,’ ‘Marxist’, and ‘Marxist-Leninist’. Your responses will be checked against standard historical reference works.” [emphasis added]

    The curmudgeon in me wonders is that going to be the “standard historical reference works” in the minds of the test takers or those that appear in the library. If the second, I will just say that I never gave “gotcha” tests–as I used to explain to my students, “I don’t need to ask you questions that you don’t know the answers to; I already know I can do that.” (But I had several teachers in uni who either didn’t know that or got off on doing it anyway. YMMV.)

  20. Sleeping Dog says:


    The liberal-conservative dichotomy in the US reflects the fact that we are a two political party nation, while in Europe the definition of the terms liberal and conservative today. are more consistent with the historical definitions of the terms. Socialist and Nationalist parties in Europe capture the political extremes and provide a pigeon hole for identifying views and placing them on a continuum.

  21. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mister Bluster: I’ve paid just under $50 for that service for my 2015 Spark, but I get a discount because I pay for the services in blocks of 3 ($137 every 3rd time). Maybe you should check to see if your service department offers a similar deal. (And Bob in Youngstown is right about Jiffy and Valvoline. In my area, synthetic oil is something like a $25 upcharge. And the base price for the service is still $59.95–before tax, and 10.3% sales tax raises the total pretty quickly.)

  22. JohnSF says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    Socialist and Nationalist parties in Europe capture the political extremes
    Wouldn’t say that, exactly.
    The socialist parties are pretty mainstream: Labour at least was avowedly a socialist party albeit not by name; actual parties-named-socialist in government quite often eg President Mitterand in France.

    And not really much difference between “social democrat” and “socialist” these days.

    Even “nationalist” not always, necessarily, extreme.
    See Scottish National Party, generally known as the Nationalists in Scotland.

  23. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @KM: “The wish for the return of sane conservatives is not a plea for them to step up as they are some already here at OTB. It’s instead a badly worded nostalgic lament akin to “kids these days” – it’s meaningless without context and even in context is usually just grumbling about change.”

    As my coworker George Poindexter used to say “It’s not like it was in the old days–and it wasn’t like that then either.” (In that way, I think nostalgia is to history the same way that the Constitution in his mind is to the dog eared one Ammon Bundy carries in his shirt pocket.)

  24. JohnSF says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    Also, in both Italy and Germany the “Liberals” were/are in some respects more “right wing” re. free markets, anti-union etc than the conservatives.

    The liberals in Europe that are closest to the US definition, I think, are the UK Liberal Democrats, who could almost be US liberal Democrats.

  25. Mister Bluster says:

    @Neil J Hudelson:..To be fair
    It was earlier than 2013 as I used to bring in my ’03 F-150 that I bought used in ‘o6 from the same dealer for oil changes when I found out about the $39.95 price. I still have that ride and I suspect that the tickets for the the oil changes are in a box in the cabin of the truck but I’m too lazy to look for them.
    The other angle on all this is that I got 4 new tires along with the oil change. Installed the rubber cost me $442 including labor, taxes and disposal fees. This is about the same price for the last two sets of tires going back several years. No 50% increase on tires. Not to mention a $70 rebate. Aren’t tires made of a petroleum product?
    The hit that I am taking at Dunkin’ for the coffee reminds me of when the price of Zig-Zags went up from a nickel a pack to a dime a pack 50 years ago. Damn near broke me!

  26. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    The new host of Jeopardy has resigned…already.
    Apparently a history of sexist remarks, past discrimination lawsuits, and the questionable optics of his ascension to host, have become a scandal he could not survive.
    Answer: “Ha!”
    Question: What is the correct pronunciation of “Karma”.

  27. Teve says:

    Abstract comparisons about terminology aren’t as interesting to me as facts. A question I’m curious about is:

    Is the typical Republican voter a “racially aggrieved”, sexist, rural white person who thinks the covid vaccine is dangerous, global warming is a hoax perpetrated by millions of scientists, tax cuts are always great, a quarter of our tax dollars go to foreign aid, the Real racism is against white people, we’re being overrun by welfare-thieving immigrants, investments in infrastructure is Marxist-Leninism, Trump was elected thanks to Jesus…


    Is that just nut-picking?

  28. Mimai says:

    @CSK: Too generous but I accept.

    @KM: I think it’s important to make a distinction. What happens when one is engaging with a “conservative” vs. what happens when one is referring to “conservatives.”

    I see very little of the former around here, because, as has been noted, there aren’t many (any?) self-identified Cs who regularly comment.

    I see a lot of the later, particularly in the form of “there are no [thoughtful, non-evil, etc] conservatives anymore.” Two points about this: (1) I suspect that this refrain is partly responsible for the lack of high-quality C commenters. (2) As noted in my initial comment, this assertion does not facilitate productive discussion.

    It would be like saying: The term “comedian” has evolved to mean “a boring and tedious jackass.” And then going on to lament that there are no more funny comedians anymore. I guess that’s true, but it doesn’t mean there are no funny people who make funny jokes anymore.

    When I see the assertion of no thoughtful/non-evil conservatives anymore, the implicit (but high volume) assumption is that there are no thoughtful/non-evil people who hold political opinions on the opposite side of the political spectrum. [Note: I realize that no one has made this specific assertion; rather, I’m expressing what I think is the implicit assumption of the “no thoughtful/non-evil conservatives anymore” assertion.]

    This is my problem with the collision of evolving labels, internal inconsistency, and debate.

  29. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:
    I’ll take; “You should have picked Levar Burton, for $200, Alex.”

  30. Stormy Dragon says:

    Mike Richards is out as the host of Jeopardy after an alt-right podcast he made years ago came to light.

    It’s not yet clear if Mike Richards quit or if Mike Richards fired Mike Richards.

  31. Kingdaddy says:

    Mark Levin’s book, American Marxism, is Amazon’s #1 non-fiction hardback. In it, he identifies the Marxist fountainhead of all reactionary dybbuks, such as Critical Race Theory, as…Wait for it…Here it comes…The Franklin School. Now, if you haven’t heard of that, it’s because it doesn’t exist. What he apparently meant was the Frankfurt School. Levin repeated this error in interviews.

    You could see this as funny, because it is. It’s also terrifying. This is exactly the function of the fascist pseudo-intellectual, someone who cares nothing about truth, just about penning a screed that fits particular, momentary needs for a reactionary movement. He doesn’t care about the error. His readers don’t care. The words are just grunts and howls that reinforce what they want to believe. When you are that unmoored from any obligation or desire to be accurate, you can say and do anything.

  32. MarkedMan says:

    @Jen: Let me simplify the question: Is the European practice of making hate speech a criminal act a conservative position or a liberal one? And why?

  33. clarkontheweekend says:

    Re the oil change I had the same sticker shock experience just last week. Recently bought a used 2005 Volvo wagon, great for my dog b/c I put the back seats down and then he can stand properly on a flat surface, move around a little and layabout quite comfortably. So I went to a Valvoline kiosk to get my oil changed and the guy said it would be $95. I almost fell out of my car, with the door closed, in a Fear and Loathing slithering drug induced manner, just slowly working my way over the door, thru the window and plopping down to the ground below. Needless to say I left. Did a little googling and found a Scrub “N Dub car wash/oil change joint, got the same thing for $32. Cost me $43 all total with an extra quart of oil, enviro fees, but man, how can there be such a price diff for the same service, kinda wild. it would be like having had cost $2/gal at one station and $3 at another and there really close to each other. That’s my oil change story and I’m sticking to it.

  34. MarkedMan says:

    @CSK: I agree that the terms “liberal” and “conservative” as broadly used in the US today mean nothing. I guess I’m just trying to see if even among this small group we could reach a consensus on meaning. Is there such a thing as conservative or liberal principles or are the terms just applicable to specific positions on an ad hoc basis?

  35. Teve says:

    @Bryan Cohen

    BREAKING: A couple from Florida has been arrested in Hawaii for using fake vaccination cards.

    And instead of getting a free shot, they’re getting an $8,000 fine. 😛

  36. MarkedMan says:


    Jailing those who engage in hate speech is a liberal position because it prioritizes peace in society and the rights of the oppressed over the rights of an individual to speak and denigrate others.

    Let me poke at that a bit. What prevents a hate speech law from being used against someone who denigrates a majority religion or racial group? Or a women expressing hatred towards men? As I understand the European hate speech laws, they could be applied that way, and I think in some cases have been applied that way.

  37. Jen says:

    @MarkedMan: My multiple responses up thread I think show how strangely complex this is to tease out.

    It’s very much an “airspeed velocity of a fully laden swallow” question.

  38. Teve says:

    BTW when’s Trump’s new reinstatement date?

  39. Teve says:

    9 of the top 10 stories at Lucianne are about how Biden personally caused the Kabul situation. The tenth is about how Government Healthcare Kills.

  40. CSK says:

    I know you’re joking, but God forbid you should reverse-emulate that jackass acquaintance of mine who labeled every fiscal moderate a right wing extremist bastard.

    Yes, there are Republicans (it would be far more accurate to call them Trumpkins) such as you describe. Bear in mind that those people loathe almost all other Republicans on the grounds that they’re RINOs at best and Commie traitors at worst. Mitt Romney is a Commie to them.

    Also, the difference between New England Republicans and southern ones is HUGE.

  41. MarkedMan says:

    @JohnSF: So, one way to look at this is that the intent of these laws is to promote public order and peaceable interaction and value that higher then unfettered speech. So that strikes me as conservative.

    When such laws are used to defend oppressed minorities form attacks by the majority, we could say that is promoting a change in the power structure of society, so that strikes me as liberal.

    On the other hand similar laws in India and Pakistan and Mideastern countries (blasphemy laws) are explicitly designed and used to promote the majority and keep the minorities subjugated, i.e. to maintain the existing social order. That strikes me as conservative.

  42. Teve says:

    Do you need a video to make you feel good? Here you go.

    Dog takes itself sledding

  43. CSK says:

    Those people are semi-literate lunatics.

    There used to be a small but noticeable (they were distinguished by the fact that they were literate and well-informed) commenters at To a person, they got bounced for insufficient fealty to Trump. What’s left is people who don’t know the difference between “your” and “you’re.”

  44. MarkedMan says:


    are the only true conservatives

    FWIW, I think this is what I refer to as “self identified conservatives”. In no possible definition of the word are Trumpers conservative except one: “Conservative positions are ones that are held by the people who self identify as conservatives.”

  45. Teve says:

    @CSK: I’m wondering about the relative size of different groups of conservatives. How many hit those stereotypes? How many are more reasonable? How many think Mark Levin is an intellectual, or that Tucker really understands what’s going on? How many are in other groups?

  46. KM says:

    At this point it’s almost approaching pronoun levels of self-identification and all the cultural baggage with it. “Conservative” as a pronoun – what traits does it denote, what does it mean to you and what does it mean to a stranger when you insist others use it in deference to you? If someone challenges you that you’re “using it incorrectly”, how do you respond? Have you created your own off-beat unique interpretation of it and get frustrated daily when others just don’t seem to get it when it should be “obvious”? If you don’t tell people ahead of time, how are they supposed to know they’re offending you or using the wrong appellation?

    Concepts have a cultural context outside of self-identification. If someone states a preference, then must like with pronouns I will refer to them by their chosen designation. But if you are expecting me to guess based off the text on my screen? We don’t have any modern conservatives here (well, except for drive-by trolls). We have several semi-frequent center-right commentators and a host as well as some regular posters with occasional moderate to center-right leanings. It baffles me that for some reason those more accurate terms are rejected in favor of the more controversial, changeable and imprecise one but hey, it’s your political pronoun dude.

  47. CSK says:

    Ask Mike Lindell.

  48. MarkedMan says:


    Abstract comparisons about terminology aren’t as interesting to me as facts. A question I’m curious about is:

    Is the typical Republican voter a …

    Am I reading too much into this or does it mean you define “conservative” to mean “Republican”? If so, I’m wondering why?

  49. Teve says:

    @MarkedMan: because I’m way not interested in the abstract terminology debate.

  50. JohnSF says:

    Yes, agreed; I’d default to viewing free spech as the liberal position, constraints on it as conservative.

    BUT sometimes conservative methods, defending a liberal order; the German post-war order was intended to be “liberal”, and arguably not traditional, but nonetheless was to be upheld by traditionally conservative means of restrictive law.
    While, in America, constitutional and traditional liberties may work to conserve an established order.

    History twists political philosophy into pretzels. 🙂

  51. JohnSF says:


    …the relative size of different groups of conservatives…

    Well, some libertarians are quite skinny dudes. While most Trump supporters definitely look they’ve been having second helpings of pie and cake.

  52. MarkedMan says:


    the implicit (but high volume) assumption is that there are no thoughtful/non-evil people who hold political opinions on the opposite side of the political spectrum.

    I’m curious. I hear this posed in the abstract quite a bit. But what about a specific instance? What is a position that is “conservative” wherein “liberals” say that people who think differently than them are evil or idiots?

    You could reply with something like “abortion”, but I question whether the abortion issue is actually a liberal/conservative one in principle, or whether it is more of a minor issue that has become a political maguffin. Remember, prior to Roe v. Wade and even for some years after it, voices that we identified as conservative were in favor of abortion rights. The Southern Baptist Convention national newsletter had an editorial praising the Roe v. Wade decision after it came out, and didn’t address it as a significant issue until nearly twenty years later. And the Southern Baptists are about as conservative as you can get. They were explicitly formed to preserve the existing order in the South.

  53. Mu Yixiao says:


    I agree that the terms “liberal” and “conservative” as broadly used in the US today mean nothing. […] Is there such a thing as conservative or liberal principles or are the terms just applicable to specific positions on an ad hoc basis?

    I think you’re fencing yourself in when trying to find this answer. It seems to me that you’re tightly linking the two terms with the two parties. So… “Liberal Republican” and “Conservative Democrat” get left by the wayside.

    I would say that liberal and conservative are about approaches, not policies. My way of looking at it?

    Conservative: Prefers slow, incremental, organic change. Feels that market forces should have a strong (though not unfettered) voice in those changes. Feels that, on average, people make better choices for themselves than governments do. Feels that governments should stay out of private transactions–except to assure that they are fair and safe.

    Liberal: Prefers progressive, sweeping, top-down change which purposefully steers towards a defined goal. Feels that market forces should take a back seat to mandates that support the common good. Feels that governments are better at making choices for the public (thereby individuals) than people are. Feels that it is the role of government to protect society through a hands-on approach.

    Neither of these speak directly to any specific policies, and both can be used to push the same specific policies for different reasons (see the above “hate speech” discussion).

    Now I’m off to spend the rest of my morning sitting in a doctor’s office while my mother has her appointment. I’m bringing along Robots of Dawn, so I’ve got something to keep me occupied. 🙂

  54. CSK says:

    I’d kill myself if I made an error of that magnitude.

  55. KM says:

    Nursing Homes Face Dilemma: Vaccinate Staff or Don’t Get Paid

    As it should be. You do not have the legal, ethical or Constitutional right to risk someone else’s health with your choice. You do not have a right to a job wherein you take care of the vulnerable and choose to put them at risk with your misinformation or beliefs. Frankly, you don’t have the right to a job at all in America and thanks to decades of legal tinkering by the GOP, we can now say “don’t like, go down the street and apply there” as the employee has less rights then the employer. I hear the restaurant industry is hiring?

    Nursing home staff is threatening to quit over being forced to not be plague carriers to the physically frail? You shouldn’t be employed there in the first place. Go out and try to find another job but understand the window’s closing fast – soon most places are going to be expecting this since insurance is going to start placing premiums on the unvaxxed. As an employer, if you let your staff wander around unvaxxed, you are killing your paying customers, losing money left and right and will see cost skyrocket (especially if you get sued). From a sheer capitalistic perspective, you’re taking yourself out of the competitive market by not mandating vaccination.

  56. CSK says:

    That’s a good distinction you make between the self-identified and the actual.

  57. CSK says:

    Well, if you go over to, you’ll see liberals constantly described as mentally ill, or downright evil. There is no specific instance or policy to be cited, because liberals are wrong about everything.

    And I gave you the example of my acquaintance who reflexively termed all Republicans/conservatives wrong about everything. Not just wrong, but evil. What’s amusing is that this is someone who consistently cheated on his taxes while consistently agitating for higher taxes.

  58. MarkedMan says:

    @Teve: Why should Republicans get to earn the term “conservative”?

  59. MarkedMan says:

    @JohnSF: It seems to me that for any actually useful definition of “liberal” and “conservative” people on the left or right of any issue would sometimes promote conservative principles to achieve their goals and, at other times, liberal positions.

    For example, I recently heard a self described conservative public official say that it is not the place of government to promote public health. Given that this has been a major concern of governance in an unbroken line back to the Egyptians and farther, this amounts to a radical and abrupt change in a fundamental purpose of government, embraced only because they don’t want to wear a mask. Throwing out millennia of governmental purpose in order to achieve a short term goal? That strikes me as extreme and dangerous liberalism.

  60. Michael Reynolds says:

    Conservatism is dead. It died of exposure. The veneer was stripped away and we all saw the termite-eaten mess beneath.

    Walk it back to Reagan, see what he believed, see how much of it is even remotely credible now. Anti-choice, anti-gay, anti-Black, trickle-down economics, small government, tax cuts for the rich, anti-environment, anti-welfare, shining city on a hill? What’s left of any of that so-called conservatism?

    We can’t figure out what ‘conservative’ means because it doesn’t mean anything beyond its components: bigotry, white supremacy, male dominance, anti-intellectualism and greed. There’s no system of thought there. There’s no grand theory. There’s no William F. Buckley to disguise contempt for the other and fear of change with polysyllabic verbiage. American conservatism was never anything but bullshit, and now conservatives have dispensed with the bullshit and we can see what they are and know what they always were.

    MAGA conservatism is just Reagan’s id with all the super-ego veneer stripped away. Reaganism – Bullshit = MAGA.

    You want to know why there are no more thoughtful conservatives? Because they were never more than pimps for white supremacists and oligarchs. Some conservatives recognized this, were appalled, and are now known as ex-conservatives. Other conservatives delighted in their new freedom to be cruel, ignorant bigots and those people are MAGAts. Who exactly are we supposed to debate issues with? The shamefaced penitents or the assholes?

  61. Teve says:



    More than half of all US Covid hospitalizations are in eight states: Florida (16,280), Texas (12,199), Georgia (4,811), Alabama (2,702), Louisiana (2,671), Mississippi (1,647), South Carolina (1,542) and Arkansas (1,421).

  62. senyordave says:

    I’d love to take credit for this comment, but I saw it on a thread about Levin’s “Franklin School” error:
    Does he think Marxism got its name from Groucho too?

  63. gVOR08 says:

    @Kingdaddy: Someone elsewhere asked if this means:
    – Levin doesn’t know any better?
    – Levin’s ghostwriter doesn’t know any better?
    – Levin’s ghostwriter does know better and sabotaged Levin?

  64. senyordave says:

    @senyordave: Some more:
    At graduation, you are handed a kite, a key, and a spool of string.

    “Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and willing to recognize that Western rationality is simply a blending of social domination and instrumental rationality!”

    Benjamin Franklin School of Critical Theory

    But this person gets to the heart of it:
    The joke is on all of us of course, as these ghouls don’t have to be correct or factual about anything and they know it.

  65. MarkedMan says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    Feels that governments are better at making choices for the public (thereby individuals) than people are.

    FWIW, my definitions probably match yours pretty closely, and I most definitely do not equate parties with conservatism or liberalism. I think a policy can be conserving or liberalizing but a party cannot be predominantly either and remain relevant. I don’t think the modern Republican Party is conservative in any useful definition of the word, while I think the modern Democratic Party promote both liberal and conservative policies (and many that don’t fit those categories).

    I will take issue with one thing you said, “(A Liberal) Feels that governments are better at making choices for the public (thereby individuals) than people are.” I don’t see this at all. People use governmental policy to try to achieve both liberal and conservative principles. Banning gay marriage is certainly a conservative policy (because, traditionally, we have only recognized marriages between men and women), but people who promoted this used the government to impose this on everyone. I cold come up with a long list. Bottom line, using government to enact your policies is universal, and has nothing to do with liberalism or conservatism.

  66. Teve says:

    The governor of Texas gets a breakthrough infection and the state decides within days, okay, fine, we’ll stop enforcing the ban on mask mandates.

    It’s bizarre how often these guys do the obviously wrong thing until the instant it personally affects them.

  67. Mimai says:


    What is a position that is “conservative” wherein “liberals” say that people who think differently than them are evil or idiots?

    Is this (@Michael Reynolds🙂 an instance or are you asking a different question?

  68. Scott says:

    @Mu Yixiao: I’ve missed most of this discussion (actually been away from computer doing other stuff). However, by these definitions, I tend to be a conservative. However, I, at least for the last 20 years, vote Democratic which is presumably liberal.

    I think the conflict, at least with me, is that while I have a conservative temperament (prefer gradual change, tradition, etc.) the values on the right don’t line up with my values. It is almost a multi dimensional definitional problem of values, temperament, policy, politics, and whatever else can’t be put into the equation.

    A multidimensional world simply can’t be projected to two dimensions without losing meaning.

  69. JohnSF says:

    This deserves a hundred upticks!
    Exactly my problem with some breeds of modern conservative.
    Salus populi suprema lex esto is one foundation of conservatism; along with caution about reconstructive projects.
    While liberalism is based on a similar pair: concern for not subordinating individual rights to the collective; but also progressive reform to correct injustice.

  70. Mimai says:

    @Mimai: Haha! I meant to close the parenthetical, and it produced a smiley face instead. I kinda like it. Well played wordpress.

  71. Kylopod says:

    @JohnSF: In this whole discussion it’s important to keep in mind that the words “conservative” and “liberal” existed in the 19th century but weren’t used the way they are today. You had the split in the early Republican Party between Conservative Republicans and Radical Republicans, and then you had the Liberal Republican Party of Horace Greeley, which is a bit odd given that “liberal” at the time usually suggested someone who supported free markets, whereas Greeley was a socialist.

    In any case, there wasn’t any general convention of referring to the Democratic Party as a party of liberals and the Republican Party as a party of conservatives–and in fact that was pretty much the case until well into the 20th century; it took the departure of the Dixiecrats till we fully reach the modern construct. And as late as the 1980s you still had prominent Republicans like Lowell Weicker who were routinely described as liberals.

    Once when I was in college where we were covering Chomskyan linguistics, the instructor commented offhandedly that Chomsky had a second career as a “liberal commentator.” That struck me as somewhat less than accurate, as Chomsky to me is very much an example of an anti-liberal leftist. But “liberal” to a lot of people denotes anyone on the left side of the aisle, from center-left to far-left. This is, again, very much a modern construct.

  72. CSK says:

    Good questions. Another possibility is that one of Levin’s “researchers” made the mistake, and the ghost just incorporated wholesale what the “researcher submitted.

  73. Sleeping Dog says:

    There’s privilege and then there is privilege.

    First they came for the divers. Now they’re coming for the whole beach

    What’s happening at Back Beach, though, is extraordinary even by Massachusetts standards. That’s because a small group of residents who live along this public beach in the heart of the touristy downtown are now claiming that they own it. All of it — the public beach, the public street, and the land that holds the Legion hall and the bandstand.

    The group, which calls itself the Back Beach Neighbors Committee and lists just six members, has been at war with the scuba divers for the last several years, insisting they are loud and out of control, blocking the street and residents’ driveways, clanging tanks together at all hours, and stripping off their wetsuits for all to see.

    The neighbors sued the town over the issue, and mostly lost (only two of the nine original claims are still pending). They also seem to have lost — decisively — in the court of public opinion. All over Rockport, especially in the Back Beach neighborhood, there are red lawn signs proclaiming: “All are welcome, including divers.”

    Undeterred, the group’s attorney, Michael Walsh, has crafted a more radical argument, cobbling together deeds dating to the Colonial era to claim that the beach is private property. Additionally, he argues that the surrounding land should revert to private property because it was given to the town under stipulations that have not been followed, according to the complaint filed in Land Court.

    The article goes on to mention that these are summer people, which figures. I’m familiar with that beach and saw the red signs when I was in Rockport in the spring. If they win, I hope the town sues for back taxes.

  74. Scott says:

    @Teve: No, Greg Abbott didn’t suddenly get religion. It is that he has basically instigated open rebellion from the local level. He is losing in the courts and public opinion. His own public health appointees and employees are one step from openly denouncing him and his party. It doesn’t help that the COVID numbers are continually going in the wrong direction.

  75. Kathy says:


    Don’t you think it’s worse when they double down on the obviously wrong even after it affects them? See Donnie, Jair, Manuel Andres, etc.

  76. Teve says:

    @Scott: I’m hoping that happens here in Fla. DeSantis figured he could kill as many citizens as he wanted for Freedom, but several big school districts replied with 2 fingers.

  77. Just Another Ex-Republican says:

    Like a lot of other words (at least in English), the dictionary and historical definitions do not necessarily have anything to do with how they are used. In the modern vernacular, “liberal” and “conservative” are simply pejoratives and insults, nothing more. They serve as another way to identify, exclude, and insult the “other” tribe.

  78. Teve says:

    Nikki Haley now says Biden’s wrong to negotiate with the Taliban.

  79. Kylopod says:

    @Just Another Ex-Republican:

    In the modern vernacular, “liberal” and “conservative” are simply pejoratives and insults, nothing more.

    Huh? Almost all Republicans today proudly identify as conservative, and despite the bashing it has taken over the past half-century, there are still plenty of people today who proudly self-ID as liberals.

  80. gVOR08 says:

    As the meaning of “conservative” has been something of a hobby horse of mine in these threads, allow me to repeat myself, with perhaps a few additions:

    I often use “conservative” in scare quotes intended to mean that I know I’m not using the word per dictionary definition, but you all know what I mean in current context.

    As Dr. T has made abundantly clear, we have two, and only two major parties. One of them defines itself as the “conservative” party. I try to be an amateur American Pragmatist, and pragmatically, in American politics, “conservative” means Republican. A flawed definition, but as good as it gets.

    Republicans are confusing because they’re schizoid. When speaking of Republicans we must differentiate between pols, funders, and voters. And recognize that each contains a wide range of behaviors. GOP pols largely don’t have an ideology, they have a business plan. They get lots of money from funders and use it to pay for negative ads, the modern method for buying votes. At the fringe the Boeberts and MTGs and Louis Gohmerts may actually believe their nonsense as well as finding it useful. But they all have to lie a lot, for which see Romney, Mitt. But lying is a sin and they believe they’re the good guys, the makers, they cannot be sinning, so they come to believe their lies. Most of the funders are purely transactional, buying some specific order or regulatory relief or whatever. The Billionaire Boys Club want tax cuts and regulatory relief for themselves and hold some loose glibertarian ideology that they should be allowed to do whatever they want. Most voters are hereditary Rs, voting R because they always have, but we tend to talk about the Tea Party types NYT looks for in midwestern diners as though they were the whole GOP electorate. To keep their voters on board with the glibertarian program they have to create a faux populism based on the prejudices of the people, not the benefit of the people. This is where FOX “News” et al come in.

    Some years ago somebody did a survey and found that if they asked liberals and conservatives where they stand on a list of issues, then asked them to say how the other would stand, conservatives got it more right than liberals. Everyone took it to mean that conservatives understand liberals better than vice versa. Wrong. It means conservatives don’t know where they stand day to day, how am I supposed to? Are they backing the blue this week or not? Is Russia an enemy or an ally in the fight for the “West”? Is Pence a hero or a villain this week? Are Afghan immigrants welcome? Are they for or against deficits? They don’t know what they’re for, how the hell am I supposed to? The three best books I’ve read on “conservatism” are George Lakoff’s Whose Freedom in which he argues “conservatives” are basically people who see the world through a “strict father” framing; Corey Robin’s The Reactionary Mind which is a dive into history concluding basically what Cleek said, “ Today’s conservatism is the opposite of what liberals want today, updated daily.”; and the inspiration for Robin’s title, Russell Kirk’s The Conservative Mind, which is very instructive in ways Kirk never intended. He keeps saying so-and-so was the only one of his time wise enough to understand the great truth, which Kirk never quite states, because it’s that everyone must believe, same message as Brother Dreher. But in the 50s Kirk knew that to say so out loud would be on the wrong corner of State and Church. However, psychology aside, political conservatism in practice protects the status quo.

    Conservatism makes a lot more sense if you view it as a psychological disposition rather than a political stance. My understanding is that psychologists who study such things struggled to come up with a definition of “conservative”. They could find no consistent political position that held over time and space. They reluctantly settled on a circular definition that “conservatives” are people who say they’re “conservative”. Dr. Joyner is too rational and honest to be a modern Republican, but you can see his conservative leanings.

    Conservative” as defined by Webster and as used in other contexts is largely divorced from it’s political usage. Where is it written that words have clear, universally recognized meanings? Over the years I’ve found it a common characteristic of conservatives to have trouble with ambiguous meanings. The clearest example being that if Dems were once the party of slavers they must still be. We’uns are supposed to be better able to deal with nuance and ambiguity.

    I fear we must accept a lot of ambiguity in using the word “conservative”

  81. Kingdaddy says:
  82. CSK says:

    The e’er-enchanting Marjorie Taylor Greene has made a 17-second video for GETTR in which she calls Joe Biden “a piece of shit.” As always, a lady to her fingertips.

    The guys at want to marry her and make babies with her. I fear she’s a bit past the age for successful procreation.

  83. Sleeping Dog says:


    Nursing home operators do have a point, all healthcare providers should mandate vax or risk loss of Fed reimbursement.

    But it is a start.

  84. gVOR08 says:

    @Kingdaddy: That takes me back. I loved Firesign Theatre.

    Read a serious history book years back in which the author couldn’t resist a little joke. Talked about some diplomat visiting Russia in the thirties. He spoke to Lenin and met Marx. About the time the reader is going “huh? Marx? 30s? Moscow? What?” he adds it was Harpo Marx, on an extended tour of Europe.

  85. Sleeping Dog says:


    Oh and it has been leaked that in North Texas if they run out of ICU beds that vaccination status will be a consideration in the triage.

  86. gVOR08 says:

    @KM: There are cops threatening to quit over being told to vaccinate. Somebody’s reaction was that we struggle to find a way to identify the bad cops and find a way to get rid of them. And here they are volunteering.

  87. gVOR08 says:

    @Sleeping Dog: I’m not sure it’s ethical to triage on vax status, and I wonder if they actually will, but I sure hope they stick to their story and get Texans to believe they will.

  88. Teve says:

    @Sleeping Dog: putting unvaxxed people lower on the list for triage makes sense.

  89. Jen says:

    @Sleeping Dog: I saw this earlier and they are apparently backing off of that, saying it’s not a consideration.

    I’m wondering why on earth not. That’s exactly the point of triage, isn’t it? To prioritize the ones who have the best chance of recovering?

  90. Teve says:

    Texas Lt. Gov Dan Patrick says it’s unvaxxed Black Democrats who are spreading the Covid. Which is not numerically possible.

  91. Stormy Dragon says:


    That’s exactly the point of triage, isn’t it? To prioritize the ones who have the best chance of recovering?

    In Texas, the point of triage is to own the libs, duh.

  92. Scott says:

    @gVOR08: That was Catherine Rampell of the Washington Post:

    Opinion: Good riddance to all the anti-vax police officers

  93. gVOR08 says:


    Texas Lt. Gov Dan Patrick says it’s unvaxxed Black Democrats who are spreading the Covid. Which is not numerically possible.

    An example of a point I try to make above, @gVOR08: If you’d asked me who Texas GOPs think is spreading the virus I’d have said illegal immigrants. I just can’t keep up.

  94. JohnSF says:

    It’s not just the ways they’re used now ; they are used in very different ways in different parts of the world.

    As I continual harp on, European conservatives are a very different breed of cat to the US variety.
    Angela Merkel ain’t no socialist, baby.

    And UK Conservatives sort of split the difference.

    Part of the UK problem IYAM is the memetic infection of the UK Cons (especially their more “enthusiastic” base) with Republican hoo-haa.
    Perils of a common language.
    And the trans-Atlantic links of some of the actors involved.

    Thing is IMO some leading UK Cons are heading down a blind alley: they keep trying to rev the base with “culture war” tropes, but the only cultwar thing that really works in UK is immigration.
    Don’t have much else: abortion, guns, health care, voting, evangelical nitwittery, etc all non-issues.
    And a lot of conservative inclined voters really dislike the vulgar populism and the incompetence of Johnson and the Brexiloons.
    See by-election loss Chesham and Amersham.

    So, point: basic difference is that US has a “conservative” culture that appeals to about 20%? of population, and has very little to do with any political philosophy.
    It’s a mash-up of Evangelical resentment of dominant liberal-secular culture, a large helping of racism, nostalgia for the “good old days”, an amazing capacity to combine cynicism and credulity, and just enough pro-biz/anti-tax remnants to make it appealing to the donor class.
    Plus, to be fair, enough genuine social problems and dysfunctions to generate some justifiable grievances.

  95. MarkedMan says:

    @Mimai: Hah! Got me there. Although in this case Michael is clearly referring to “self identified conservatives” and is further picking out the most repulsive of the breed and generalizing that to everyone. I was looking for something that is actually conservative.

  96. JohnSF says:

    Boy, is she going to be shocked when someone tells her who negotiated and signed the deal.
    And who dismissed the protests of the Afghan government.
    Oh dear.

  97. Teve says:

    @JohnSF: oh she knows better. She just also knows she’s talking to Trumpers and doesn’t even need a plausible lie.

  98. Kylopod says:


    It’s not just the ways they’re used now ; they are used in very different ways in different parts of the world.

    I totally agree, and in case I wasn’t clear, I was focusing in my post strictly on the way these terms have evolved in the US; I don’t know much about their evolution elsewhere. Take, for instance, the word “progressive.” A lot of American political junkies look back on the early-20th c. capital-P “Progressive Movement” and treat it as the precursor to today’s progressives. This has some basis, as the old Progressives were interested in using government to tamp down on the power of big corporations. But it’s not so cut-and-dry. Many of them were pretty culturally conservative. Prohibition was part of their legacy. And even if you focus strictly on their economic views, some of them who lived into the 1930s ended up opposing the New Deal.

    And that brings me to one of the central problems in describing political ideologies over time: liberalism/progressivism vs. conservatism is always going to be relative to a certain baseline, and not everyone agrees what that baseline is. Many conservatives today claim to have little or no problem with the New Deal, and think that things started going off the rails with LBJ’s Great Society. (This seems to be the view of a lot of the original neocons of the ’70s.) “Conservatives” always seem to look back to some point in the past when liberals or progressives first lost their way, and they aren’t all in agreement on when that point was. Progressivism is an ever-expanding project of reforming society in various ways, and there are many people who accept the reform up to a certain point but don’t want to take it further.

  99. Gustopher says:

    In America, I think conservative just means “opposed to multi-ethnic democracy.”

    Some of them are more bothered by the multi-ethnic part, some the democracy part, and some both.

    Everything flows from that. And the reasons for opposition vary from racism to “if we let the oppressed people have a say, they might want me to pay my fair share or to be paid more.”

    They cover it with a tapestry of lies, excuses and rationalizations, and some people believe those rather than the underlying truth.

    Looking at our hosts, as convenient examples, only Dr. Joyner was ever really conservative, and that was less a personal animus than a buying of the lies — a matter of privilege and lack of reflection. And I don’t think he’s conservative at all now.

    (For instance, I’m 95% sure he originally was in favor of voter ids, and then realized that they were being implemented to suppress minority votes…)

  100. Mu Yixiao says:


    I tend to be a conservative. However, I, at least for the last 20 years, vote Democratic which is presumably liberal.

    This, again, falls into the trap of thinking “R=Conservative, D=Liberal”. There is such a thing as a conservative Democrat.

    In your case, I would guess that you agree with Democratic goals, but prefer a conservative approach to attaining them.

    A perfect example: Gay rights (now LGBTQ+ rights) are something that Democrats have been behind for a long time. But the acceptance of homosexuality, bisexuality, and gay marriage didn’t come about through government mandates. It was through “market forces”. It’s something who’s time had come, so things started changing.

  101. gVOR08 says:

    I believe the “Progressive” thing came more from Frank Luntz. GOPs set out to demonize Democrats and make “liberal” a pejorative. And largely succeeded. And Ds, as they always do, caved. A lot, like Bill Clinton, claimed to be squishy centrists and many started using “progressive” to avoid using the word “liberal”. They should have gone, “Damn straight we’re liberals, and proud of it.” Now many Ds have reclaimed ‘liberal” and somehow “progressive” has come to mean extreme liberal. “Conservative” is far from the only political term that has drifted.

  102. gVOR08 says:

    @gVOR08: No edit. @gVOR08: is a reply to @Kylopod:’s comment on progressive v liberal.

  103. MarkedMan says:

    @gVOR08: For what it’s worth, I view “progressive” as distinct from liberal. Progressivism is about the assumption that society is improbable, and that we should improve it, and further defines that improvement as being towards the values espoused by The Enlightenment: reducing class barriers, promoting the common good, universal education, etc, etc

  104. Mu Yixiao says:


    Banning gay marriage is certainly a conservative policy (because, traditionally, we have only recognized marriages between men and women), but people who promoted this used the government to impose this on everyone. I cold come up with a long list. Bottom line, using government to enact your policies is universal, and has nothing to do with liberalism or conservatism.

    First, separate policies from goals. It’s a tangle, but it can be done to some extent. Banning homosexuality isn’t a goal. Acceptance of homosexuality is–because it’s about changing a mindset, not stopping an action.

    But to the point of “individuals vs. government, who should make the choices”, it’s not about the big-picture stuff, it’s about day-to-day interactions.

    Liberals will ban bacon-wrapped street hot dogs* because they’re bad for your health, and it’s the job of the government to make sure you don’t make the bad decision of eating a bacon-wrapped street hot dog.

    Conservatives will say “That’s none of the government’s business, if two people want to exchange money for a bacon-wrapped street hot dog, that’s up to them”.

    Where this really gets funny is when it’s sex instead of food.

    *Known as “Danger Dogs”.

  105. JohnSF says:

    My thoughts are increasingly that American “conservatives” at the moment are more a cultural, almost tribal, movement than a political one.

    But moving on from there, what is going to happen when the Trumpian wave ebbs? When the culture of “No! Don’t LIKE it!” drains into the sands?
    US politics is very conducive to a two party system.
    And the Republican Party is not going to go away easily.
    What next?

    There may be conservative Democrats: but can they become a new right-of-centre party?
    And if not them, who? And how?

  106. Kathy says:


    I can’t see that Marx and not recall: Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.

  107. Kylopod says:


    I believe the “Progressive” thing came more from Frank Luntz. GOPs set out to demonize Democrats and make “liberal” a pejorative.

    I agree to a certain extent, though the demonization of the word “liberal” goes back at least to the late 1960s and is wrapped up in the politics of the South. There’s a quote I found interesting from Jimmy Carter in 1976 after he won the New Hampshire primary: he said it proved that “a progressive Southerner could win in the North.” The quote sounds a little strange by today’s standards given that Carter was no progressive by the modern definition, but I think it reflected the fact that the “liberal” designation was already toxic in the South, and by calling himself “progressive” I believe he was trying to signal that he was from the new generation of Southern Dems who rejected the old racist Dixiecrat legacy–which was relevant since his leading rival in the South at the time was none other than George Wallace.

    When you look at the word “progressive” prior to the 21st century, it seems to stand for a number of different things, and it doesn’t necessarily have any connection to the left. In the ’80s the ardently centrist DLC called its think tank the Progressive Policy Institute. In the early half of the 20th century there were three unrelated Progressive Parties to feature strong third-party presidential bids: TR in 1912, Robert LaFollette in 1924, and Henry Wallace in 1948. The first two came out of the Republican Party, whereas Henry Wallace’s was a left-wing challenge to Truman by a former Dem vp. I think also “progressive” has long been used to suggest a forward-thinking, anti-reactionary stance on social and cultural issues, as in a progressive Catholic. But it wasn’t really until the roll-around of the 21st century that it became a kind of semi-official designation for the left in general by people who might have previously identified as liberals (and who in some cases did). There’s a 1996 book I haven’t read by EJ Dionne with the subtitle “Why Progressives Will Dominate the Next Political Era,” and looking at excerpts and reviews, honestly I don’t think he’s using “progressive” in the modern sense at all, I think he’s calling for some kind of resurgence of the early 20th-century reform movement.

  108. Mu Yixiao says:


    Yesterday I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas, I’ll never know!

  109. Kylopod says:

    @Mu Yixiao: My favorite philosophers have always been Marx and Lennon.

  110. CSK says:

    @Mu Yixiao:
    Speaking of preventing people from eating bacon-wrapped hot dogs because they’re bad for one’s health, the self-proclaimed liberal tax cheat I’ve mentioned a few times on this thread used to regularly announce that “it’s the first duty of government to protect people from themselves.” Everyone in hearing distance, no matter her nor his politics, would shudder.

  111. JohnSF says:

    Political Economy 101:

    Minister: “We need to take up the tax”
    Groucho: “I’d like to take up the carpet.”
    Minister: “I still insist we take up the tax.”
    Groucho: “He’s right – you’ve gotta take up the tacks before you can take up the carpet.”

  112. Kylopod says:

    @JohnSF: You could also say the modern Republican Party adopts the Marxian philosophy whatever it is, I’m against it.

  113. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: virtually everyone who comments here is literate, sane, and well-informed.

    Ah, I love the caveat that acknowledges my existence here.

  114. flat earth luddite says:

    Actually, IIRC, Paris Tx school district announced a work-around several days ago. Yes, the state could have mask mandates, but the school district simply re-stated dress code to include mandatory masks for all students. Genius!

  115. Stormy Dragon says:


    For what it’s worth, I view “progressive” as distinct from liberal.

    “The difference between progressives and liberals is that the progressives think there is a difference”

  116. Jax says:

    Big thanks to all the folks who recommended the Ankarsrum mixer to me a couple months ago. I finally burned up the Kitchenaid and ordered it. What a wonderful machine! Triple batch, NO PROBLEM!!!!

    One question, though….is the dough roller better than the dough hook? I used the dough hook on this particular recipe because it’s what I’ve always used, but what’s the difference between the two? Are particular kinds of dough better with the roller?

  117. MarkedMan says:

    @Mu Yixiao: I’m not sure where you are coming from here. The conservative policy of banning gay marriage really happened and affected the whole country. Republicans literally ran on their success in banning gay marriage.

  118. Kylopod says:

    @Stormy Dragon: A while back the linguist Geoffrey Nunberg rounded up various pundit theories on the progressive/liberal distinction before observing, “none of them has much to do with with how the labels are actually used.” Then he offered his own understanding of the distinction:

    Far more than liberals, progressives see themselves in the line of the historical left. Not that America has much of a left to speak of anymore, at least by the standards of the leftists of the Vietnam era, who were a lot less eager than most modern-day progressives to identify themselves with the Democratic Party. But if modern progressives haven’t inherited the radicalism or ferocity of the movement left of the 60’s, they’re doing what they can to keep its tone and attitude alive.

  119. MarkedMan says:

    @Mu Yixiao: I recently called up the the “There is no Sanity Clause!” bit for my 21 year old son. “I know you don’t like old stuff because it is so slow moving, but here are some rapid fire gags.” We watched it and by today’s standards it is far from fast paced. I still enjoyed it. He felt it was about 25 jokes short given the length.

  120. CSK says:

    I was most assuredly not thinking of you when I said “virtually everyone.” 🙂

    I don’t know why you insist on being so self-deprecating.

  121. JohnSF says:


    Many conservatives today claim to have little or no problem with the New Deal, and think that things started going off the rails with LBJ’s Great Society.

    Reminds me of years back when some unkind soul pointed me in the direction of the witterings of Mencius Moldbug aka Curtis Yarvin.On grounds of being more consistent.

    Read some of it, my jaw excavating ever greater scoops from the floor.
    At least avoids the “only since LBJ” BS; instead, the US has been a on course toward nassty, horrid, collectivist, anti-property, yadda yadda since the Revolution.

    Most hilarious bit was him claiming that absolute monarchies are the best protectors of property!
    No “monarch”, however absolute, has ever ruled alone; Louis XIV didn’t build Versailles to grow tomatoes in.
    And nothing is as predatory to property as an unconstrained court or aristocracy.

    As I could feel brain cells losing the will to live, gave up at that point.

    And the “alt-right” still regard him as “edgy” and “profound”.
    Dear me.

  122. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: One should never take oneself too seriously. Besides, if I get insulted by some poke I make at my own expense, there’s nobody to blame but me.

    Also there is my innate humility. I am very humble. Have I told you how humble I am? Very very humble. Ask anyone.

  123. Kylopod says:

    @JohnSF: We liberals are accused of seeing racism in everything, but…. the FDR vs. LBJ criticism has a lot to do with that, I believe. FDR was very conscious of keeping the South on his side, and the New Deal was forged with that in mind–it’s why for instance the Social Security Act initially excluded domestic and agricultural laborers who just happened to make up the majority of the black work force. LBJ threw the Dixiecrats under the bus with the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act, and even though his social programs included a lot of stuff the whites should have liked, they never forgave him for that initial betrayal and it impacted their view of the entire Great Society which quickly became thought of as an attempt by the government to coddle “those people,” a critique that never really was made of the New Deal. It’s an attitude that lasts to this day. When Newt Gingrich referred to Obama as the “food stamp president” while campaigning in South Carolina in 2012, he knew which buttons he was pushing.

  124. Gustopher says:


    I don’t know why you insist on being so self-deprecating.

    It really is a little rude of him, as we all want to deprecate him, but he beats us to the punch. Ozark, buddy, give other people a chance first!

  125. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @KM: Restaurants don’t work as an employment choice for anti-maskers. In all of the restaurants I’ve gone to since Covid-19 started, restaurant workers wear masks all day long. Even the restaurant that reopened in defiance of Washington State’s closure order in my little corner of Red State ‘Murka still required its employees to wear masks while customers didn’t.

    And while I’m here, the script doesn’t change much. Does it? The money quote:

    Patrick acknowledged that “covid is spreading” and that infections are largely among people who have not received the vaccine.

    “Democrats like to blame Republicans on that,” Patrick said. “Well, the biggest group in most states are African Americans who have not been vaccinated. The last time I checked, over 90% of them vote for Democrats in their major cities and major counties.”

    Two thoughts–1) Do they memorize these lines? Is there a real physical script for them to use? and 2) (to Teve) Nut picking or not, there seem to be a lot just laying on the ground to be scooped up. Sort of like chestnuts in Korea. Mothers say to their children, “let’s go out and gather chestnuts” even in small farming communities of 900,000. (It’s a part of a schtick I used to do here and other places about one of the university towns I worked in.)

  126. dazedandconfused says:


    Levin has the mind of a four year old boy..and I’ll bet he was glad to be rid of it.

  127. Teve says:

    Trump’s legal woes aren’t in the news at the moment, but that doesn’t mean they’re over.

  128. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Gustopher: I’m not sure what you’re waiting for, nobody else does. And it’s such a target rich environment.

    Ooopps… I just did it again, didn’t I?

  129. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @MarkedMan: I started noting that the whole “A liberal feels that government is better…” thing also seems exclusively limited to decisions that the person making the statement would rather not happen at all. (The same government that they don’t want to make healthcare decisions being one that they do trust to rebuild the government of a foreign nation, for an easy example.)

  130. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kylopod: “… then you had the Liberal Republican Party of Horace Greeley, which is a bit odd given that “liberal” at the time usually suggested someone who supported free markets, whereas Greeley was a socialist.”

    So, at the time of Horace Greeley, we already had people of influence choosing the names of their theories/cohorts by what would sound better rather than what was accurate. (Not surprised, you understand.)

  131. Teve says:

    FDA sources say full approval for Pfizer is happening Monday, according to the NYT.

  132. Stormy Dragon says:

    Apparently Orlando is about to run out of drinkable water because the liquid oxygen they need to treat their water supply is being diverted to hospitals to treat unvaccinated COVID19 patients:

    The city of Orlando is asking residents to reduce water consumption IMMEDIATELY. Liquid oxygen used to treat water is being diverted to the hospitals to treat COVID patients. They believe if water consumption doesn’t change, water treatment could hit a critical point in a week.— Dave Puglisi (@DavePuglisiTV) August 20, 2021

  133. CSK says:

    You’re starting to sound like Trump. He’s the most humble person there is. He’ll tell you so himself.
    He’s just trying to save us time and energy.

  134. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: The innertubes tell me she’s only 47 so beyond is only a maybe and fertility doctors are doing amazing things these days.

  135. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Sleeping Dog: “Oh and it has been leaked that in North Texas if they run out of ICU beds that vaccination status will be a consideration in the triage.”

    Fine, but in which direction?

  136. Teve says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: it’s Texas, so football players first, then whites, then who cares whatever.

  137. Stormy Dragon says:


    “There is perhaps no one of our natural passions so hard to subdue as pride. Beat it down, stifle it, mortify it as much as one pleases, it is still alive. Even if I could conceive that I had completely overcome it, I should probably be proud of my humility. ” — Ben Franklin

  138. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mu Yixiao: I’ve never been anyplace that had bacon wrapped street dogs. The closest that I’ve ever come was Korean food carts in Daegu that sold double dipped corn dogs with the batter studded with french fried potato cubes. I suspect that the problem is both that bacon is very expensive in Korea and also not what we mean when we say bacon. (In Daegu, my adult students used to refer to uncured/unsmoked pork belly as “bacon.”)

    Costco sold American bacon. A “Costco-sized” package in Korea is 2 twelve ounce packages taped together, and sold in 2010 for $7.95.

  139. Matt Bernius says:

    When the story first surfaced, I have to admit that I didn’t believe it. I read a lot of the founding Frankfurt School texts in grad school. It just seemed crazy to me that no one would catch such a big error (especially any editor as the Frankfurt School is a notable part of modern humanities). Then I read the excerpts and saw Levin use the term on his show.

    Oof… and he’s supposed to be the intellectual of the Fox News brain trust.

  140. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mu Yixiao: “Conservatives will say “That’s none of the government’s business, if two people want to exchange money for a bacon-wrapped street hot dog, that’s up to them”.”

    And yet, my faaaaaaaaaarrrrr more conservative brother, while agreeing that it’s none of the government’s business notes that one of the main reasons he was opposed to “socialized medicine” earlier in his life (as we think of it in the US, therefore marked with “”.) is because if the government is paying for “my bypass surgery” it needs to have a say in what I should eat so it can keep costs down.

    Is my brother a liberal? (And would he be offended if you called him one?)

  141. Kylopod says:

    @Matt Bernius:

    It just seemed crazy to me that no one would catch such a big error

    It’s because they started the 1917 flu.

  142. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @JohnSF: I thought the second Marx brother’s line in that one was spoken by Chico.

  143. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: He’s just trying to save us time and energy.

    Yeah, that’s what it is.

  144. JohnSF says:

    Remmember some reading re New Deal and the “grandmothers footsteps” FDR played re. racial issues. Then again even Lincoln was cautious about the same.
    Politicians will politic.

    But I’ve always thought LBJ has had an unfair press, because of Vietnam.
    OK, he screwed up massively there
    But the Voting Rights Act, and the Civil Rights Acts alone, plus all the others: Medicare, Medicaid etc etc, partial as they might be.
    And knowing the political cost, and still doing the right thing: “We lose the South for a generation.”
    Gets a lot of karma points in my book, at any rate.

  145. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Ben Franklin, a man after my own heart.

  146. Mimai says:


    Although in this case Michael is clearly referring to “self identified conservatives” and is further picking out the most repulsive of the breed and generalizing that to everyone. I was looking for something that is actually conservative.

    I don’t know that he is. I think he’s making a value judgment about people (self-identified or otherwise) who hold positions that are “actually conservative.” {open to being corrected here}

    Regardless, I see this labeling (ie, thoughtless, evil) most often when it comes to social issues. For example, when “conservatives” express (conservative) reservations about trans women athletes. I also see it for certain economic issues, such as minimum wage laws. {I realize social and economic are not orthogonal}

    In these cases, I see a lot of “you just hate trans people” and “you just hate poor people” and numerous variants. To be sure, such hate is often a/the driving factor. But it is not the only potential driver. There are actual thoughtful and non-evil considerations that might incline one toward the “conservative” position.

    Of course, you (or others) might object that there are no thoughtful and non-evil considerations, but that just takes us back to the starting point of this discussion.

    I think this addresses your question, but let me know if otherwise.

  147. JohnSF says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    Could well be; need to watch the film again.
    Also: What was the one where Groucho was a college administrator?
    It’s bugging me.
    Google time!

    Horse Feathers!
    Need to watch that again; not seen in 20 years or so, dear me.

  148. CSK says:

    I knew it.

  149. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    Only 47? I might buy 57. She’s a tad leathery, isn’t she?
    @Stormy Dragon:
    Marvelous quote.

  150. grumpy realist says:

    @Kingdaddy: You’re reminding me of when NR’s Jonah Goldberg decided out of his lil’ sweet mind that he was going to research and write that collection of steaming horseradish twining together socialism and fascism –with a cute little swastika on the front–supposedly a “well-researched book” in spite of the fact that Mr. Goldberg doesn’t know either German or Italian (guess which two languages the bulk of historical research of Naziism and fascism is written in).

    I would have yanked the idiot up in front of a full panel of historical scholars to “defend” his steaming crap and then dragged him out to a working guillotine for the lack of integrity in his research.

  151. Mimai says:

    @Jax: I was one of the folks who recommended the Ankarsrum, so I’m really pleased to hear you like it. I think the hook works best for most breads, though if you make higher fat/moisture varieties (eg, brioche) the roller might be better. Also, given that you make large batches, I think the hook is your workhorse. But you might experiment and see what you think – the stakes are very low after all.