Private vs Public Opinion

What we believe and what we say we believe are often not the same.

Two seemingly unrelated stories flagged by memeorandum came together.

Axios (“Study: What Americans really think“):

“Self-silencing” — people saying what they think others want to hear rather than what they truly feel — is skewing our understanding of how Americans really feel about abortion, COVID-19 precautions, what children are taught in school and other hot-button issues, a new study finds.

Why it matters: The best predictor of private behavior is private opinion. People’s actual views are far more likely than their stated views to drive consumer and social behavior — and voting.

“When we’re misreading what we all think, it actually causes false polarization,” said Todd Rose, co-founder and president of Populace, the Massachusetts-based firm that undertook the study. “It actually destroys social trust. And it tends to historically make social progress all but impossible.”

The big picture: People are often more moderate than they’ll readily admit when “being pulled toward a vocal fringe,” whether left or right, Rose said.

But in some cases, he said, people reshape their privately held views to conform to what they think their group believes, even if that assessment is inaccurate.

The gap between real and stated views can have a generational impact, he said, because media amplifies perceptions that then cue young adults: “This generation’s illusions tend to become next generation’s private opinion.”

None of this is new, of course. We’ve long known that people tell pollsters things they don’t believe in order to conform to social expectations. The classic example is the Bradley/Wilder effect, wherein white folks tell pollsters they plan to vote for a Black candidate and then vote for the vote guy. It’s also why polling in authoritarian countries is likely unreliable.

Interestingly to me, most of the trends in this particular poll are going the other direction. Here’s the graphic:

In particular, I’d have bet heavily that the public/private gap went the other way in the two “schools” questions.

The methodology seems sound enough:

How it works: Respondents were provided a mix of traditional polling questions and other questions using a list experiment method, or item-count technique, that provides them with a greater sense of anonymity. This process allows researchers to find the gap between what people say versus how they privately feel.

As to the results:

By the numbers: On abortion, the study found men are much less likely to privately agree with the idea that the choice to have an abortion should be left solely to a woman and her doctor (45%) than would say so publicly (60%).

Republicans, meanwhile, were less likely to privately say Roe v. Wade should be overturned (51%) than publicly (64%).

(Remember: the survey was taken weeks ago.)

On COVID-19, only 44% of women privately feel wearing masks was effective at stopping COVID-19 spread, though 63% felt they should say they did.

Honestly, because we mostly wore bad masks poorly, I’m not sure the private opinion isn’t more right. But, if that’s an accurate representation of the question, it was worded poorly. Nothing was effective at stopping COVID-19 spread, after all, since it keeps spreading.

An astonishing four times as many Democrats say CEOs should take a public stand on social issues (44%) than actually care (11%).

Ironically, the public stand CEOs take on an issue are certainly calibrated to their intended audience, regardless of their own private opinion.

On education, Americans overall are privately more supportive of parents having more influence over curriculum (60%) than proclaim this publicly (52%).

That may help explain why GOP Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s messaging on schools appealed to swing voters in Virginia last year, and why GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) championed “parents’ rights” in signing prohibitions on classroom instruction about sexual orientation and gender identity.

One in three Democrats think parents should have more influence over public school curriculum — even though only one in four say so publicly. Among independents, 71% agree privately agree, though only 55% say so when asked in a more direct polling format; 85% of Republicans privately feel that way.

Yes, but: Americans are actually less concerned about teachers talking about gender identity or how much public schools focus on racism than they say publicly.

Only about half of Americans actually think it is inappropriate for schools to discuss gender identity in kindergarten through 3rd grade, compared to the 63% who say so publicly.

This misconception is particularly stark among independents. Just 42% privately have an issue with discussions about gender identity in K-3rd, despite 67% saying they take an issue with it publicly.

Even though 63% of Republicans privately said they believed racism was too much of a focus in public schools — far more than Democrats or independents— the number is a lot lower than the 80% who felt compelled to say so publicly.

Honestly, this is just a complex issue. School boards are often elected yahoos who have no business making curricular decisions. Alas, our schoolteachers aren’t chosen from the ranks of elite philosophers, either. And parents, well, vary widely.

The intrigue: The study found the biggest disparities among Hispanic respondents and political independents. On 14 out of 25 topics, these groups had double-digit gaps between what they say and believe.

I’d need to know more to have any opinion on that whatsoever. Still, it’s interesting given that the report’s thesis is that the tension is between private opinion and those of one’s peer group. For independents, one would think that tension less than for Democrats or Republicans.

I had seen the Axios headline and opened a tab to read it later but read Jonathan V. Last‘s “The Anti-Anti-Trump Theory of Liz Cheney’s Loss” first. He highlights an idea that I’d seen noted in a couple of the reports on her primary loss yesterday morning: that Cheney lost, not because of her vehement rejection of the Big Lie that Democrats stole the election but because she’d stopped doing the work of representing Wyoming in Congress.

Just as an objective matter, this worldview is wrong. The voters of Wyoming rejected Liz Cheney purely because of her refusal to accept Trump’s lie about the 2020 election. That’s it. You can dress this up however you want and say that they see Cheney’s refusal to accept Trump’s lie as a betrayal of them rather than a betrayal of Trump. But that line doesn’t even rise to the level of semantic difference.

What’s more important here is the meta question:

Why would anyone feel the need to pretend that Wyoming Republicans didn’t reject Cheney because of Trump?

The answer is that for some percentage of Republicans/conservatives, they are intent on pretending that the Republican party / conservatism is something other than it is.

They insist that, (1) Whatever the party and its members are doing or saying right now, there is some True Conservatism or Real Republican Party also operating—either beneath the surface or off to the side. The unstated corollary is that (2) Eventually the unpleasant aspects of the current conservatism / Republicanism will prove transient and the world will return to the prior order.

After some opining (that I happen to agree with) on why this is wrong, he asks

So why are some people compelled to play make believe? Why can’t they accept the current reality for what it is?

Alas, the rest of the post is paywalled and I’m not interested enough in the Bulwark‘s content to pay more than I do for the New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal combined.

I’m not absolutely sure the two phenomena are related. It’s quite possible, perhaps even likely, that huge numbers of Republicans, especially those who are a bit older and have adult memories that predate the rise of the Tea Party, actually believe things will snap back to normal.

Regardless, the larger idea that we hold different private and public opinions is interesting. Even more so in periods like the present with seemingly revolutionary changes in the zeitgeist upending longstanding cultural norms and beliefs.

FILED UNDER: *FEATURED, Public Opinion Polls, Society, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Furthermore, what we want others to think we believe, what we want to think that we believe, what we actually believe, and what we want pollsters to think we believe may all be quite different.

    5
  2. Tony W says:

    I have noticed in conversations with very conservative people that when you get them in a room they are much less crazy than they portray themselves online.

    This website notwithstanding, people of conscience who want to improve the national dialogue would do well to minimize online interactions and debate and get people talking to each other.

    4
  3. Jen says:

    @Tony W: I’ve had both that type of interaction (not as crazy/obstinate as they are online) and the reverse (normal-seeming people making bat-guano-nuts statements).

    People are complex, and yes many if not all of us present ourselves through filtered lenses. I think that the disconnects are becoming more pronounced, which is why incessant polling seems off sometimes.

    5
  4. gVOR08 says:

    Last says,

    So why are some people compelled to play make believe? Why can’t they accept the current reality for what it is?

    I’ve said for years that conservatism is a giant game of make-believe. Trickle down econ. Cutting taxes lowers the deficit. W. Bush is somehow presidential. Donald Trump isn’t the ignorant churl he appears to be. The schools are a hotbed of CRT. There’s been no racism since Republicans passed the Civil Rights Act. Her emails were important. And the evergreen – the Civil War was about something other than what everyone at the time said it was about.

    Of course conservatives pretend conservatism is something more noble than it is. They’re not trying to fool the pollsters, they’re trying to fool themselves.

    17
  5. Kathy says:

    @gVOR08:

    They’re not trying to fool the pollsters, they’re trying to fool themselves.

    And they’re very successful at it.

    4
  6. Scott says:

    The other well known phenomenon about schools is that, in general, parents may have negative views about public schools in general but the school their kids go to is great.

    3
  7. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    I am quite sure most Republicans say one thing to your face and something else behind your back. It’s pretty much their MO, and is certainly Standard Operating Procedure for Trump.

    2
  8. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Scott:
    The same with Congress…Congress sucks but they love their Congressperson.

  9. Stormy Dragon says:

    What does “parents having more influence over curriculum” even mean? The thousands of parents in a district can’t each have individually more control over it unless we’re going to have a one to one student to teacher ratio where every kid has their own specific curriculum

    6
  10. gVOR08 says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Indeed. But we’re having a primary election this month and the GOPs running for school board are running on “parental rights”. Hell, the GOPs running for the board of the public hospital are running on patient rights. You want hydro chloroquine, who are those uppity doctors to say different? No, that’s not exaggeration, that’s the platform.

    3
  11. KM says:

    @Stormy Dragon:
    American parents generally respond well to pandering that they know best, not the professional actually doing the work. The sense of ownership cannot be underestimated and they don’t want *their* children to be exposed to things they don’t want even if that’s not how the world works.
    Combine that with “libs are indoctrinating your kids” and the latest conservative panic and you get parents pushing to control every aspect of their child’s education. We also get nonsense like letting vets and spouses of vets be teachers in FL with zero training and taking Anne Frank’s diary out of all schools in a district because one parent objected.

    Parental rights over education is just an extension of the concept of parental control – the child is not a person with a right to knowledge and wellbeing but property over which the owner has final say in all cases. Its not surprising people would hold that view privately in higher numbers then they report as it does sound terrible when voiced aloud.

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  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Nothing was effective at stopping COVID-19 spread, after all, since it keeps spreading.

    Head? Meet desk. James, you know damn well that not being 100% effective at stopping the spread of covid is not the same as “nothing was effective”. Especially considering the large numbers of idiotic, “I’m not afraid…” plague rats wandering about this country.

    Masks, when worn properly, were effective at lowering the transmission rate.
    Social distancing was effective at lowering the transmission rate.
    Vaccinations were effective at lowering the transmission rate.

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  13. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Regardless, the larger idea that we hold different private and public opinions is interesting.

    I am reminded of an article I read sometime back about known “pro-life” protestors showing up at abortion clinics for… You guessed it, abortions. Either for them or their daughters. I remember one particular person, totally lacking in self awareness, handing out anti abortion literature to other patients in the waiting room while awaiting her turn.

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  14. DK says:

    I mean, it’s not really shocking or groundbreaking that our public and private narratives don’t always match. Peer pressure and social pressure aren’t really new concepts.

    I’d argue what’s most revealing is our actions. What we actually do hold the ultimate importance. As the adage goes, talk is cheap.

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  15. Kylopod says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I remember reading a book discussing cases like that back in the ‘80s. The people at abortion clinics were totally used to it.

  16. Michael Cain says:

    Ironically, the public stand CEOs take on an issue are certainly calibrated to their intended audience, regardless of their own private opinion.

    Of course it is. I wasn’t anywhere near the CEO level, but Michael Cain, Distinguished Member of Technical Staff spoke in the interests of the giant corporation. To avoid problems, there were a few technical subjects on which Michael Cain, private citizen did not speak.

  17. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Scott: And that Congress is a cesspool of corruption and self-serving a-holes, but their own district’s representative is very good at representing the district.

    1
  18. Jen says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: A former coworker of mine volunteered as a clinic escort for a number of years. She had several stories like that–out in front protesting one day, into the clinic, and then back to protesting a week later. It goes back to my observation that for some (many?) in the “pro-life” movement, abortion isn’t about a procedure, it’s about intent. This is how that one pro-lifer who was testifying before a congressional committee with a straight face said that the 10-year old from Ohio who had to travel to Indiana wasn’t an abortion or some such thing.

    It’s weird and dishonest but that’s how they mentally dice things.

    1
  19. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kylopod: Another thing in the 80s was making an appointment/whatever at a clinic specifically so you could leaflet the other patients while waiting as opposed to being an actual patient. I don’t know how frequent it was, but it was part of the game for some.

    1
  20. @KM:

    Parental rights over education is just an extension of the concept of parental control – the child is not a person with a right to knowledge and wellbeing but property over which the owner has final say in all cases.

    Keeping mind that I think that a lot of this “parental control of curriculum” is highly problematic, but I would suggest that the issue is not, in the main, one of ownership, but of deep caring. Parents are responsible for getting their children to adulthood and most feel directly responsible for their children’s long-term success in life and see schooling (indeed, have been taught that schooling) as THE gateway to that long-term life-level success. That they often get emotionally invested is not a surprise.

    This is not to defend stuff like the CRT mania (but I can see how politicians are able to weaponize it).

    But if you want to understand why parents are concerned about their children’s development and long-term happiness in life it not necessary to go to an “ownership” frame.

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  21. @OzarkHillbilly:

    James, you know damn well that not being 100% effective at stopping the spread of covid is not the same as “nothing was effective”.

    But when interpreting a poll response, you have to take into account how people might interpret the question, and some people might think “effective at stopping” meant actually, fully, stopping.

    (Really, this applies to a lot of the questions above).

    2
  22. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Tony W:

    The problem is they keep voting for people who do believe it for real as representatives in government, so it doesn’t really matter if they actually believe or not, the end effect of their actions is the same as if they did

  23. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: What can I say, “people are stupid.” James isn’t.

    eta: My comment was in direct reference to James’ words, not the study’s.

    2
  24. Michael Reynolds says:

    I’ve made a version of this point many times. People say they believe what they don’t really believe. Starting with belief in God or belief in an afterlife.

    People believe in gravity. They absolutely believe in it, not the slightest question, as you see when you place a person at the edge of a cliff. Belief in God or an afterlife is not 10% as real as belief in gravity. People constantly disregard their god’s instructions. People claiming to believe in a heavenly afterlife fight like hell, bankrupting their families, just to forestall that eternal bliss for another few days.

    There are the things we wish we believed, and then there are the things we actually believe. The gap is much wider than what we see in the data above. People are full of shit.

    4
  25. Jon says:

    @Michael Reynolds: The thing about gravity is that it doesn’t need you to believe in it in order for it to affect you. Gods, however …

    3
  26. al Ameda says:

    Honestly, because we mostly wore bad masks poorly, I’m not sure the private opinion isn’t more right. But, if that’s an accurate representation of the question, it was worded poorly. Nothing was effective at stopping COVID-19 spread, after all, since it keeps spreading.

    Gee .. so people shouldn’t have gooten vaccinated and boosted, because Covid is still around? Much like there is no value to getting flu shots, or measle shots becuse they’re stillaround?

    2
  27. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    Fox News appears to have been covering this same story on their morning chat-circle show. Their headline: “People are afraid to say what they really believe.”

  28. @OzarkHillbilly: @al Ameda: I think you are ignoring his basic point, which is what the word “stop” means.

    He clearly isn’t anti-mask, anti-vax, etc. I think he is owed a bit more charity given what he has written on this topic (as well as a precise reading of what he is saying and how poll wording matters).

    1
  29. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    But if you want to understand why parents are concerned about their children’s development and long-term happiness in life it not necessary to go to an “ownership” frame.

    “I just wanted what was best for you” has been a perennial excuse for abusive behavior. While you’re right most parents are concerned their children’s development and long-term happiness, too many think that means forcing the child into the parent’s idea of what they should be as an adult rather than helping the child figure out and pursue the child’s idea of what they want to be as an adult.

    As a specific example, every year between 300,000 – 400,000 LGBT teens are kicked out of their homes. If you’ve ever seen the way their parents talk about it, they invariable describe themselves as loving their children and only doing what’s necessary to have them grow into “moral” adults.

    3
  30. Jon says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Ah, “tough love.” The mating cry of the abuser.

    1
  31. Gustopher says:

    I’d be more interested in a longitudinal study that tracks whether individuals begin to believe the things that they claim to believe.

    I’m nearly 100% positive that they do, but I don’t know of any studies that confirm it.

    2
  32. Gustopher says:

    @Stormy Dragon: it’s a well known fact that the most likely outcome for a homeless queer kid is a “come to Jesus” moment.

    We need to be teaching these kids how to commit arson, so their families will get that same tough love.

    1
  33. Steve Fetter says:

    I find it somewhat ironic that anonymous people on a message board heavily tilted to Liberal group-think opinion weigh in on a subject like private versus public intention.

    As a person that generally votes straight Republican, I never get the pushback in actual conversations with my Democratic friends versus the venom I receive posting in a forum similar to this blog. In a real conversation, chinks in the blue/red walls of belief (school curriculums, lock downs, undocumented, green, etc) are expressed by both parties in their positions before moving onto the more important matters of red versus white wine.

    Maybe we all need a bar, like Cheers, where everyone knows our name, to sort out our true positions. The alcohol doesn’t hurt either.

    1
  34. Matt Bernius says:

    @Steve Fetter:

    Maybe we all need a bar, like Cheers, where everyone knows our name, to sort out our true positions. The alcohol doesn’t hurt either.

    There’s no doubt that online tends to bring out and encourage more extreme takes (if for no other reason then talk… or rather text… is really cheap). And you don’t have to deal with the immediate reaction of what you write on others. And especially in politics where things tend to boil down to binaries–most people like you tend to vote straight party regardless if they agree on all policies–that leads to a lot of quick sorting.

    I suspect that to your point in real life things would be more nuanced (at a minimum it’s harder to troll IRL because there’s a lot more social stigma to it). That said, the group make-up can also really influence what people are willing to outwardly concede (for the sake of peace or moving off a topic and onto something else).

    As for alcohol, that can help… but too much and not so much.

    1
  35. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Steve Fetter:
    Of course things are different in reality, because in reality even MAGAs have to acknowledge the existence of, you know, reality.

    Online MAGAs live in an alternate reality, like political flat-earthers. Rational people find very little common ground with people who believe Hillary Clinton ran a pedophile cult out of a pizza parlor, or that Trump won in 2020. Stop being crazy and we’ll be happy to find common ground.

    3
  36. Gustopher says:

    @Steve Fetter: Do you refer to them as Liberal group-think in person?

    Because that might be a difference…

    10
  37. KM says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Parents are responsible for getting their children to adulthood and most feel directly responsible for their children’s long-term success in life and see schooling

    Yes, they are because they are caring for future adults and citizens. Meaning the kid comes first – did any of these parents ask the kid in question their preference? It’s supposed to be for them and be in their actual best interest, not what you personally might think it is. It means you are their advocate, not their boss. This point gets lost on a lot of parents who cannot set aside their ego and understand that they might have to make a decision against their own personal logic, beliefs or feelings. The doctor does know more than you about medicine; this doesn’t mean you don’t do your research on an issue, speak up for the minor and fight back again poor decisions but in the end, the doctor should be the one who’s knowledge gets held up instead of the person who’s authority in the situation is derived from having reproduced. Same for the teacher and any other professional you and your child.

    This isn’t an snipe at parents in general but rather the tendency parents get to go “MY child” and emphasis their control. It’s a perfectly understandable human impulse that gets twisted far too often. “For the children!!” and “not MY child!!” are quite often used as justification for bad behavior. Mistaking caring about your child and micromanaging their lives to the tune of parental beliefs instead of facts is how we get anti-vaxxxers, book-banning and other parental overreach or abuse.

    A good test of if it’s promotion or possession is if you’d let them do something harmless and safe you completely and utterly disapprove of if it meant they’d benefit immensely and improve their future. Does the child have permission or do your wishes take precedence since your word is law? #NotAllParents but @Steven, a lot more and often then you’d like.

    3
  38. Jen says:

    All of this discussion about schools and what kids are taught makes me think back to a situation in my school when I was in high school, and how my parents handled it. We were living overseas, and I was attending the US school–so, Department of Defense Overseas schools (acronym: DODOS).

    My father about hit the ceiling when he saw some of my homework from one class. The teacher was supposed to be teaching a course in ancient history. Most of the handouts were her own, with some published materials. She was instructing us in Intelligent Design. Living overseas, there weren’t many options. Basically, my father said something along the lines of “well, here’s a life lesson in going along.” I did the work she assigned, got decent grades, but also got a crash course in what was wrong with what she was teaching alongside at home.

    It never would have occurred to my parents to protest the school and raise hell. They knew it was one segment of one section, and that there weren’t any other options.

    1
  39. Jen says:

    Maybe we all need a bar, like Cheers, where everyone knows our name, to sort out our true positions. The alcohol doesn’t hurt either.

    Having worked in politics back in the 1990s, I noticed a FAST deterioration in the ways in which members of Congress interacted with one another when backroom discussions and earmarks disappeared. These were situations where members were out of the public eye and the interacted in a less formal setting, usually over food, alcohol, and some cigars.

    When people actually know one another, and aren’t constantly grandstanding, they are more likely to adjust, work together, and compromise.

    There was also far less name-calling and over-generalizations.

    1
  40. Mimai says:

    @Gustopher:

    Your priors are bang on. There is a lot of research (cross sectional and longitudinal) that speaks to this. Self persuasion theory is one umbrella that captures it. Vonnegut too (and succinctly): “We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.”

    Adjacently, this is something that makes me despair about online discourse. People condition themselves to coarseness, spite, etc. Just look at the words that are deliberately written. There is your self-programming. And while this may originate online, it quickly infects and spreads.

    Also adjacently, how we direct our attention is self-programming too. Pay attention to what you pay attention to.

    4
  41. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Stormy Dragon: As a specific example, every year between 300,000 – 400,000 LGBT teens are kicked out of their homes. If you’ve ever seen the way their parents talk about it, they invariable describe themselves as loving their children and only doing what’s necessary to have them grow into “moral” adults.

    I highly recommend the movie Joe Bell, an unflinching and sometimes brutal look at a father’s coming to grips with all the ways he didn’t support his son when it was needed the most, and how that contributed to his son’s suicide.

    I know a lot of people don’t like Wahlberg, but he is really good in this one.

    2
  42. Steve Fetter says:

    @Gustopher- The group think reference was an observation of this particular message board. It was not intended as being either positive or negative. It just appears to me in a 50/50 country, this board is Democratic leaning. No shade meant to be thrown your way.

  43. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Steve Fetter: In person, people tend to be non confrontational. The first time I meet anybody, I am likely to let things slide. The 17th time? Not so much.

    1
  44. Jen says:

    @Steve Fetter: While most of us tend to lean left, there’s a pretty wide range here, and our hosts are generally/previously more right-leaning. There’s a diversity of opinion and a wide range of backgrounds (if you’ve been around for a while you’ll likely know that I worked in Republican politics). There’s a fair amount of give and take here. But most of us don’t suffer fools or the hit-and-run commenters who post drivel from Zero Hedge or similar outlets and then disappear.

    2
  45. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Steve Fetter: I just gotta say, this commentariot is fairly tolerable of conservative point’s of view, in fact we welcome them. Which is not to say we will agree with them. We will argue with them, tell them how they are wrong and why. And then listen to why we are wrong and why. And then reply why we are right and they are all wrong… If one can’t deal with that back and forth, marshal arguments in opposition to our positions, than this isn’t the right place for you.

    1
  46. Gustopher says:

    @Steve Fetter:

    The group think reference was an observation of this particular message board. It was not intended as being either positive or negative.

    I think you will be hard pressed to find a lot of folks who don’t interpret “group think” as a pejorative.

    Maybe on the right it is considered a positive (that whole Rush Limbaugh ditto-head things from decades ago comes to mind), but it definitely isn’t considered positive to most people.

    “Good morning, neighbor. I took a shit on your lawn, but meant it in neither a positive or negative manner! How are you?”

    Dude, you meant it as an insult, just own up to it. Perhaps ask yourself why you would start with that, and whether it was reflexive habit, a twisted fear of rejection (can’t be rejected if you reject first!), some victimhood thing, or whether you just want to start an argument.

    I expect you wouldn’t do that in person. Just as I expect that when entering someone’s home, you would take a quick glance for a shoe rack or your hosts’ feet to determine footwear etiquette.

    5
  47. Modulo Myself says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Keeping mind that I think that a lot of this “parental control of curriculum” is highly problematic, but I would suggest that the issue is not, in the main, one of ownership, but of deep caring. Parents are responsible for getting their children to adulthood and most feel directly responsible for their children’s long-term success in life and see schooling (indeed, have been taught that schooling) as THE gateway to that long-term life-level success. That they often get emotionally invested is not a surprise.

    This is not to defend stuff like the CRT mania (but I can see how politicians are able to weaponize it).

    The actual problems kids face are things like body dysmorphia, abuse, bullying, boredom, sadness. Being told a few mean (most likely accurate) things about white people is just not an issue. Likewise, kids are turning onto opiates not because of being taught gender identities in 5th grade but because drugs are a necessary component to how unbearable life can be. (I.e. just ask any elite college grad on a late Friday evening who did everything ‘right’ but is looking for their guy who has some coke.)

    I do think that there’s a serious, serious change about to hit politically. The old people who know little about everything and the religious who are clinging to their mantras about sex are dying off. These gaps in public vs private about school ‘issues’ are reflective of a wider rift which is about to blow open.

    2
  48. Modulo Myself says:

    @Gustopher:

    There is a subset of people for whom affect is all wrong all the time. And people who habitually insult you and your intelligence while saying relax are definitely classed amongst them.

    1
  49. al Ameda says:

    @Steve Fetter:

    As a person that generally votes straight Republican, I never get the pushback in actual conversations with my Democratic friends versus the venom I receive posting in a forum similar to this blog.

    This blog (OTB) is, compared to many blogs, a relatively flame-thrower-free-zone.

    Maybe we all need a bar, like Cheers, where everyone knows our name, to sort out our true positions. The alcohol doesn’t hurt either.

    I’m from a very conservative law enforcement family. My parents and 8 of my siblings are now divided into 4 regular working class conservative Republican, and 6 as Trump Republicans. Many of our famly friends are public safety and law enforcement too and are very conservative. I’m the only liberal, and I’m quite used to hearing the viewpoints of people far more conservative than I am. Sometimes I don’t like what I’m hearing but I listen, and then I offer my opinion. They usually don’t agree but, that doesn’t matter much to me.

    That’s long-winded way of saying that, unlike many on the Right and Left, I am not isolated from the opinions of those whose opinions that I disagree with.

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  50. Kurtz says:

    @Steve Fetter:

    The group think reference was an observation of this particular message board. It was not intended as being either positive or negative. It just appears to me in a 50/50 country, this board is Democratic leaning. No shade meant to be thrown your way.

    My issue with your initial post is the notion of group think on this board. See @Jen‘s comment. There is a much broader range of opinion here than you give credit. Yes, most of us vote Dem, but we disagree on a lot. As a party, the Dems have an unwieldly coalition, so it’s a little odd to use the term group think.

    We live in a binary choice system. So I get that it looks like group think. But having two choices tends to obscure differences, especially when one looks at the other side. Having said that, the current iteration of the GOP is pretty monolithic. That’s not to say that every Republican voter is x or y, but it’s kind of hard to argue that the Republican coalition is a narrow slice compared to the galaxy of American opinion when one compares the two relevant parties.

    That said, most, if not all of us, would welcome a different perspective here. So I hope you continue to express your views here.

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  51. Chip Daniels says:

    A lot of Americans are like family members of an addict or abuser. They refuse to admit the problem, because that would compel them to take action, action which is too painful.
    So they continue to play make believe.

  52. Modulo Myself says:

    @Kurtz:

    This is from Dave Schuler’s blog:

    I am still forming my opinion on the matter. As I’ve said before I think searches of this sort of the private residences and offices of presidents leaving office should be so routine as to not draw comment. On the other hand I don’t think that either the FBI as an institution or AG Merrick Garland should just be trusted. And I find government and politics by official leak to the press objectionable. But so are threats of violence against public officials. I don’t know where to draw the line.

    What ‘group-think’ means is pretty much if Donald Trump does something you have to find a way to justify it. Leaks are bad so are threats of violence. Who can say where line is? Dave was not always this bad, but if Trump took power in a coup he would be going on in the same manner, and that’s what this guy wants. What he wants is endless rhetorical justification for the unjustifiable. They’re all, basically, Adolf Eichmann.

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  53. Franklin says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: If true, that’s hilarious. Maybe they made a deal with God: if I prevent some other person from having an abortion, it’s okay if I have one. Net zero baby murders

  54. john430 says:

    @Kathy: Spoken like a true fool. I am a conservative Republican who graduated from college, loves a beautiful Hispanic woman, served my country and have seen bullets fly and good men die. Those men were all-American: black, white, yellow, brown and red. Some were drafted, some volunteered. They were all good men. We valued our personal liberties and supported the country who gave them to us. Too many people who call themselves Democrats now seek to implement a one-party system where all the members MUST call each other “comrade”. So to that end, we stock our weapons just in case 1776 repeats itself.

  55. Michael Reynolds says:

    @john430:
    Bullshit.

    The GOP could have supported civil rights, instead it chose to try and co-opt Wallace’s racists. Since then the party has lived on cruelty and hate. Racists, misogynists, gun freaks, neanderthal men and unhinged women, all topped off by Q conspiracy madness and a literal attack on democracy.

    Have you seen Democrats attacking the Capitol? No? Then STFU.

    Democrats now seek to implement a one-party system where all the members MUST call each other “comrade”. So to that end, we stock our weapons just in case 1776 repeats itself.

    This is a perfect example. There is literally no truth in that statement. It is absurd. Id’ personally smack shit out of anyone who wanted me to call them comrade, but of course that has never happened. Not ever. You live in the fantasy world of your cult.

    You stock weapons you little toad because you want to recapture your macho past, and you get hard thinking about taking human life. You’re pathetic.

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