Sunday’s Forum

FILED UNDER: Open 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

Comments

  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    I love this shit:

    Missouri is investing at least $400 million to increase broadband across the state, Gov. Mike Parson announced from the Missouri State Fair Thursday.

    The funds, pending appropriations approval by the legislature, will come from the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Additionally, the Department of Economic Development (DED) has applied for an additional $56 million from the federal government to support nearly two dozen projects supporting more than 17,000 businesses, residences, and other institutions.

    “Investing in our broadband infrastructure is critical to unlocking our full economic potential in this state and will serve Missourians for generations to come,” Parson said. “We expect this investment to increase broadband internet connectivity and access in every corner of the state for hundreds of thousands of Missourians. Quality internet supports learning, health care, business, and agriculture in today’s economy, and we are excited to capitalize on this opportunity to truly make a difference and improve lives.”

    Parson said the investment was the “largest in our state history.”

    “If you can get infrastructure right and workforce development right, everything feeds off those two things,” Parson said.

    The Governor’s Office said the broadband plan was a multi-agency effort that will impact hundreds of thousands of Missourians. It was presented at the Missouri State Fair with Senator Roy Blunt; Congressmen Billy Long, Blaine Luetkemeyer, and Jason Smith; and Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler in addition to Parson and the Missouri Farm Bureau.

    Huh. I could’ve swore every Republican in DC voted against the ARPA. I must be misremembering because here they are celebrating it at the state fair.

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  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    “Half the plate is mine; your job as the hitter is to figure out which half.”

    -Bob Gibson

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  3. Teve says:

    @leslie007

    I’m not watching the #TrumpRally, but I’m comforted to know the audience has been dewormed.

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  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Vivien Louise
    19 3/4″
    6 lbs 5 oz

    5ish am
    Aug 22, 2021

    MawMaw is a happy Mawmaw even if she was checking her phone every hour all night long. Pawpaw is ready for a nap.

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  5. OzarkHillbilly says:
  6. CSK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    Congratulations!

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  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Understanding the variability in responses to COVID-19 illness in older adults

    This unique study explains a new mechanism that accounts for some of the variability in COVID-19 illness. The research has found that autoantibodies—antibodies that mistakenly target and react with a person’s own tissues or organs—block a key mechanism in the antiviral immune response; the type 1 interferon response.

    The type 1 interferon response is an immune mediator involved in antiviral protection and is a critical response in the body’s ability to fight viral infections. This new research shows that the autoantibodies that neutralize the interferon response, sharply increase in prevalence in patients over 60 years of age and underlie about 20% of all fatal COVID cases. Researchers believe that this may explain some of the variability that we see in COVID-19 illness in older people.

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  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: I’ve probably said this already but as the father of 2 boys I’d always wanted to have a little girl to wrap me around her finger. Now I have 4. Serves me right.

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  9. Teve says:
  10. CSK says:

    Trump got booed at his Alabama rally last night when he suggested to the crowd that they might want to consider getting vaccinated.

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  11. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Researchers at MIT have proven Leonardo da Vinci correct yet again, this time involving his design for what would have been at the time a revolutionary bridge design. Although clients rejected da Vinci’s work at the time, over 500 years later, the researchers have proven that his bridge would have worked.
    …………………….
    Da Vinci’s proposal was radically different than the standard bridge at the time. As described by the MIT group, it was approximately 918 feet long (218 meters, though neither system of measurement had been developed yet) and would have consisted of a flattened arch “tall enough to allow a sailboat to pass underneath with its mast in place…but that would cross the wide span with a single enormous arch,” according to an MIT press statement. It would have been the longest bridge in the world at the time by a significant measure, using an unheard of style of design.

    It wasn’t just length or style that set da Vinci’s bridge apart. It also had safety features unheard of at the time. One of the biggest challenges facing any bridge design is that it has to exist in nature no matter the conditions, including wind.
    ……………………..
    He does not specify what materials he would need, but the team assumed that da Vinci was talking about stone—neither wood or brick would have been able to sustain a bridge of that size at the time. The word “masonry” also tipped off the team to a design strategy. Like the classic masonry bridges of ancient Rome, with which da Vinci would have been familiar, it would stand solely through the forces of physics and gravity with no need for fasteners or mortar.
    ……………………………..
    The crucial moment came, as it does in projects like these, with the adding of the keystone. “When we put it in, we had to squeeze it in. That was the critical moment when we first put the bridge together. I had a lot of doubts,” Bast recalls. But “when I put the keystone in, I thought, ‘this is going to work.’ And after that, we took the scaffolding out, and it stood up.”

    “It’s the power of geometry” that makes it work, she says. “This is a strong concept. It was well thought out.” Further tests showed that the bridge could have even stood its own against earthquakes to an extent far beyond other bridges at the time.

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  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Proof that there is a god and she really enjoys twisting the knife.

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  13. Teve says:

    @CSK: I asked a few days ago, how many Republicans are the complete morons they get stereotyped as. Nobody could provide a good answer, including me.

    But I can confidently say that if there’s a safe an effective vaccine for a disease that’s killing 1,000 of your unvaxxed buddies every day, and you Boo it….

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  14. CSK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    Yeah. I wonder if he’ll cease his demands to be given credit for inventing the vaccine, since the shots aren’t exactly beloved by his base.

    He also coined the sentence “everything woke turns to shit,” which his fans seem to think is the most brilliant aphorism since The Maxims of La Rochefoucauld.

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  15. Sleeping Dog says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Ah the joys of being a grandparent await you. Congrats!

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  16. CSK says:

    @Teve:
    Hey, refusing the vax is a great way to own the libs. Right?

    Seriously, I don’t know how many of them are just being perverse and how many actually believe the vax will sterilize you, cause you to spontaneously abort, implant a tracking chip in you, alter your DNA, or what.

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  17. Teve says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: my latest book purchase was a used copy of a selection of his notebooks.

    For peeps who want to disengage from amazon, let me recommend thriftbooks.com and hpb.com

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  18. Sleeping Dog says:

    @CSK:

    Makes you wonder if TFG is losing control of his movement.

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  19. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Esoteric Geoff
    @agraybee

    ·
    Aug 19
    “Aside from yesterday’s interview.” That’s all the public demands. They want to hear the president address a series of questions. No one cares about every reporter getting their little moment in the spotlight.
    Quote Tweet

    Kathryn Watson
    @kathrynw5
    · Aug 19
    Today would be a great day for journalists to be able to ask the president of the United States questions about Afghanistan. Aside from yesterday’s ABC interview, he hasn’t taken questions on Afghanistan (or anything else) since last Tuesday.

    Esoteric Geoff
    @agraybee
    ·
    Aug 19
    Also last Tuesday was 2 days ago. The public doesn’t need to hear from him every hour, that’s just you guys.

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  20. Teve says:

    There was a joke on yesterday’s Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe podcast about how the global computer chip shortage was affecting our ability to produce cars, PCs, vaccines… 😀

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  21. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Sleeping Dog: This is granddaughter #4. 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 and I’m spoilin’ ’em all rotten.

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  22. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Teve: I thought vaccines were the cause of the shortage.

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  23. OzarkHillbilly says:

    U.S. FDA
    @US_FDA

    You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y’all. Stop it.

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  24. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    I’d like to believe Trump is losing his base, but I don’t know. It seems a massive crowd did turn up to hear him last night. It’s been reported that some people left after the booing.

    I think it’s safe to predict he won’t be promoting the vaccines much any more.

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  25. CSK says:

    Don, the older of the Everly Brothers, has died. Phil Everly predeceased him in 2014. RIP, guys.

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  26. Sleeping Dog says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Good for you. This is your reward for being a parent. Spoil em rotten and then send them home with their parents.

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  27. Stormy Dragon says:

    @CSK:

    Seriously, I don’t know how many of them are just being perverse and how many actually believe the vax will sterilize you, cause you to spontaneously abort, implant a tracking chip in you, alter your DNA, or what.

    Fast forward 20 years to a future where vaccine resistant resulted in the pandemic taking a harder toll on Republicans than Democrats ends up being what breaks the 50-50 stalemate in DC in favor of the Democrats and it’s become “common knowledge” among Republicans that they were for vaccines the whole time, but that Democrats tricked them into not taking it.

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  28. OzarkHillbilly says:

    “Doing easily what others find difficult is talent; doing what is impossible with talent is genius.”

    Watch to the end, it’s only 1:11 and you don’t want to miss a second of it.

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  29. Teve says:

    @Stormy Dragon: i see, every day, on the social media pages of friends, rando commenters saying things like “I thought you said King Biden was going to fix all this but it was never this bad when Trump was in charge!” “Im not takeing your DemoKKKrap vacine!” Etc.

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  30. Mister Bluster says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:..granddaughter #4…
    May she live to see the dawn of the 22nd century!

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  31. Teve says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: keyyyyyyyrist.

    If i tried any of that, limbs would simply shatter.

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  32. Teve says:

    Just FWIW i was listening to a doctor yesterday and he said the consensus among his colleagues is that the opportunity to vaccinate enough Americans to stop Covid from becoming endemic closed many weeks ago, and this is probably going to cause outbreaks from here on.

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  33. gVOR08 says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Makes you wonder if TFG is losing control of his movement.

    I expect it to work like a Republican primary, there’s always gonna be someone on your right. Trump is now anchored to a record, he didn’t electrify his border “wall”, he didn’t eliminate the income tax, he didn’t nuke Afghanistan, he didn’t outlaw vaccination, he didn’t arm the 1/6 guys before sending them to the Capitol. Crazy has no limits. There’ll be quite a fight in 2024 over Trump’s mantle.

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  34. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Sleeping Dog: I’m gonna teach them to do all things my boys did to me that drove me crazy.

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  35. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Teve: She is …. …. ….. Amazing. That’s the word.

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  36. Teve says:

    @gVOR08: Stefanik was on FB the other day pushing a meme that said FINISH TRUMP’S WALL and half the comments were like You’re embarrassing yourself.

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  37. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Teve: She can start with repairing the walls he already put up and are now falling down. Her, personally, with hammer, shovel, wheelbarrow, cement, block and tackle, etc.

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  38. Stormy Dragon says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Unfortunately I find myself wondering what that child was forced to endure to get to that point when they should have been playing with their friends.

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  39. Sleeping Dog says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    That hurts me just watching it.

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  40. Kathy says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Many years ago, when I still listened to news on the car radio, there was some major incident of water contamination at a gas station. The station’s owner wouldn’t talk to the news reporter. The anchorman at the studio then said, “Fine, If you won’t talk to the media you’ll talk to the police.”

    I found that very arrogant. One does not have to talk to the news media. Also, it’s not as though the incident wouldn’t be investigated if the owner gave an interview to a radio station. Lastly, it was not a criminal matter at all.

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  41. Michael Reynolds says:

    Congrats @OzarkHillbilly: .

    I dread grandkids, personally.

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  42. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Kathy:

    Years ago in Mpls, there was a TV news reporter on the crime beat named Tom Gasporolie (sp?), he was considered by co-workers, cops and other reporters to be a flagrant a-hole. While I don’t remember the details, there was a gruesome murder or perhaps a string of business killings that got the city’s attention. Tom was his usual a-hole self and the cops decided to set him up by feeding him a lot of misinformation and some stuff that he was told on back ground, which of course he used. At the same time they were being truthful with other reporters and the discrepancy was very noticeable. Not long after that he was forced out. There were a raft of Tom stories, some more despicable than others.

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  43. CSK says:

    @Kathy: @Sleeping Dog:
    I have had dealings with a few reporters like that: nasty, self-infatuated. Most don’t fall into that category.

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  44. CSK says:

    Henri Update:

    Here in extreme northeastern Mass., it’s rainy and somewhat windy.

    How are the rest of you in the N.E. doing? I see Connecticut, Rhode Island, and western Mass. will get hammered.

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  45. Sleeping Dog says:

    @CSK:

    I know that, Tom was particularly egregious and got his just deserves. Most are folks doing a job.

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  46. CSK says:

    Matt Gaetz married his fiancee, Ginger (un)Luckey, yesterday.

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  47. Sleeping Dog says:

    @CSK:

    She’ll never be able to claim she didn’t know what kind of person she was marrying.

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  48. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    Well, what’s amusing is that if Gaetz married her in the hope that she can’t therefore testify against him, he’s wrong. Spousal privilege doesn’t extend to crimes committed before the marriage.

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  49. Teve says:

    @CSK: you just made my day.

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  50. Jim Brown 32 says:

    I am well familiar with the power of group think to cause people to identify and fight the WRONG enemy. Do you know who the enemy is that can close the door on America as the place to be and the Partner of choice for International Affairs?

    The rise of anti-intellectualism.

    Not Republicans, not antivaxxers, not gun nuts, not Evangelicals, not Trump, not racists, and not Proud Boys. All of these bad actors are driven fundamentally by anti-intellectualism where fear and feelings reign over observation and exploration.

    The Dark Ages we read so much about and the transition into the Renaissance? Nothing but the difference but anti-intellectual driven culture vs a culture which values intellect. There will always be this tension in human cultures and there is always the complexity of each of them having their own unique dark side which can be oppressive. So its never as simple as good vs bad. Elon Musk is clearly an intellectual. Don’t all raise your hands at once–but who would want to live in his King-for-a-day society?

    The zombie closest to the safe room right now is clearly the oppressive brand of anti-intellectuals. Its very insidious and crosses Party lines, religions, ethnicity, and tax brackets. This is the battle for the Soul of America which as a country is fundamentally an intellectual exercise in the way it was set up to function. The easy button would have been to establish a tribal-friendly Monarchy.

    This is why Democracy doesn’t travel well and goes through ups and downs even in places where it’s taken root. Democracy is in trouble in many places today because its not providing the basic expectation of people–Order. Try using a computer that has an unstable Operating System. Think you’ll stick with it because its Linux and your cyber life was founded on Linux? Right now every button citizens are clicking gets the blue screen of death or an hour glass that spins for months. Years of that and people want to try a new operating system.

    Once we understand the actual enemy–we then understand that anti-intellectuals and intellectuals cannot “come together” or compromise. They either have to physically eliminate the other to reduce their numbers and break their stalemate (which btw anti-intellectuals have historically been prone to try) OR they can recruit others to their ranks (the usual intellectual strategy). Its a lot easier to make people act dumb than it is to make them act smart–so its sufficient to say intellectuals are at a disadvantage when the ranks of anti-intellectuals meets a critical mass.

    Thats a long way to set up the imperative that we do something about mis-information in this country. The anti-intellectuals were normally constrained to having to jail or kill their rivals but have perfected using social media as a recruitment tool and beat intellectuals at their own game. They own the high ground at this point in time with a distinct advantage. We can’t sip chai tea and debate this away–it requires confrontation (something intellectuals struggle with) and action.

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  51. CSK says:

    @Teve:
    That makes me happy. 🙂

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  52. CSK says:

    @Jim Brown 32:
    You’re absolutely right. I can only add that there’s always been a strain of anti-intellectualism in American life. It’s been a particularly aggressive strain ever since Pat Buchanan and his “peasants with pitchforks” speech, which led to Sarah Palin, which led to Trump.

    Rush Limbaugh used to pronounce the word “intellectual” as if it were a synonym for “child molester.”

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  53. Jen says:

    @CSK: Just intermittent light rain here, with some heavier showers. Nothing too notable as far as wind goes either. It looks like most of the heavier stuff will stay to the western part of southern NH.

    We have friends in CT and RI, waiting to hear from them but my guess is that there will be power outages at very least.

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  54. Mu Yixiao says:

    @MarkedMan:

    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.

    And yet… Gay marriage is supported by a majority of the public, and has been codified as law by SCOTUS.

    Democrat, Independent (et. al.), Republican are party affiliations.

    Liberal, Moderate, Conservative are approaches to life.

    Stop conflating them.

    Opposition to gay marriage isn’t “conservative”. it’s Evangelical Christian by force, Christian by inertia, and Republican because they think it will win them votes. All three of those factions have lost the war.

    Not to mention the fact that there are openly gay conservatives, gay Christians, and gay Republicans. Who knows how many there are that are still in the closet.

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  55. CSK says:

    @Jen:
    Some reporter (for CNN, I think) observed that “New England isn’t used to powerful storms like Henri,” and I laughed out loud. In the time I’ve lived here we’ve had more blizzards than I can count, floods, and killer tornadoes. Not to speak of some truly operatic thunderstorms.

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  56. Mu Yixiao says:

    Breakfast: Shakshuka

    Tomato
    Onion
    (Red) pepper (I used bell and ancho from the garden)
    Garlic
    Parsley
    Paprika
    Cumin
    Chili powder
    (I added Fenugreek seed this time–definitely recommend)
    Parsley
    Eggs.

    Chop everything up (except the eggs), put it in a sauce pan and simmer until thick. Scoop holes in the sauce, crack an egg in it. 6 eggs is typical.

    Cover and let the eggs poach.

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  57. Jen says:

    @CSK: That’s hysterical. Good grief. The 2008 ice storm was pretty bad, and the Mother’s Day flooding in 2006 was awful. Irene made a mess of much of Vermont.

    Every time I roll my eyes at people on TV, my husband reminds me that these people have to keep talking…they’re bound to say something bonkers every once in a while.

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  58. Teve says:

    @Mu Yixiao: i make a very thick stew with those same ingredients minus the eggs and plus pork and lentils and fish sauce and soy sauce.

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  59. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Jim Brown 32:
    2.2% of humans have an IQ of 130 or above. So just shy of 98% of the human race is excluded from this particular club. Intellectuals are a tiny minority holding disproportionate wealth and power, a tiny minority that is notably secular, critical, condescending, gloomy and divorced almost entirely from the lives of the common herd. This is a class which is rich, powerful and exclusive, with membership based largely on a lucky shuffling of chromosomes, rather than effort or virtue.

    It’s hardly surprising that the 98% does not love the 2%. The positive things intellectuals are meant to do – produce science and art – are tainted by having been co-opted by business, monetized, so that even the most useful or popular products of the intelligentsia – everything from music to software – is a money-making opportunity. Of course intellectuals have usually charged for their work – DaVinci wasn’t working for free – but at no other time in history have intellectuals been so high up on the societal totem pole, while being so far removed from the beliefs of regular folks. In my lifetime (long, but still. . .) we’ve gone from nerds as victims to nerds as rulers.

    Answer: Jobs, Gates, Musk, Bezos. Question: Name four famous billionaire nerds who, between them, probably have more wealth than the entire bottom half of the IQ curve.

    I’d argue that mRNA vaccines are a hell of a useful intellectual product, but from the POV of the non-geniuses it looks like yet another lecture delivered by their betters. The fact that the smart kids are right – again – just compounds the resentment. And let’s face it, vaccines are great but they’re a break-even, at best they maintain the status quo ante. They aren’t exactly airplanes and cell phones.

    The message from intellectuals to the hoi polloi is: you’re wrong about God, you’re wrong about sex and gender, you’re wrong about race, you have terrible taste, and by the way, you have no chance of rising to our exalted heights because we’re smart and you’re stupid, so shut up and believe what we tell you to believe.

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  60. Gustopher says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    Thats a long way to set up the imperative that we do something about mis-information in this country. The anti-intellectuals were normally constrained to having to jail or kill their rivals but have perfected using social media as a recruitment tool and beat intellectuals at their own game. They own the high ground at this point in time with a distinct advantage. We can’t sip chai tea and debate this away–it requires confrontation (something intellectuals struggle with) and action.

    On my better days I think we need to tighten our free speech laws, to require major influencers only report “news” and “newstainment” that meets a standard of plausibility. Find the minimum effective restrictions.

    On my worse days, I see us collectively pissing in the wind instead of dealing with climate change — which is basically somewhere between orders of magnitude worse that the Holocaust up to an extinction level event — and think we might be better off with a left wing dictatorship that will actually make the changes needed.

    On my very worst days, I figure that even that won’t be enough, and we might as well just focus on hyperlocal issues and make sure the next few decades are as comfortable for me as possible. I’m 50. This shit only has to hold together for about 30 more years.

    Those very worst days might also be the very best days — I have a lot more control over the hyper-local. Much more empowered.

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  61. DrDaveT says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Makes you wonder if TFG is losing control of his movement.

    Nah, that never happens, right?

    (Currently not caring because I’m drinking Troegenator and it’s impossible to be unhappy under those circumstances.)

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  62. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    The message from intellectuals to the hoi polloi is: you’re wrong about God

    I wonder if there is any intellectual we know who goes off on a regular basis about how stupid religion and religious people are?

    Be the change you want to see in the world, Michael.

    (I guess I should start recruiting an army for my left wing dictatorship…)

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  63. DrDaveT says:

    @CSK:

    Don, the older of the Everly Brothers, has died.

    Harmony is hard. I sang in close harmony groups for much of my life, and I studied every well-known group I could get a recording of. A few duos and groups stand out as the all-time elite in terms of the quality of their blend: Simon & Garfunkel, The Manhattan Transfer, Pentatonix, The Mills Brothers, Take 6, The Drifters, Peter Paul and Mary, The Hilliard Ensemble… the Everly Brothers certainly belong on that list.

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  64. DrDaveT says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: That is stunning, but I can’t help being a little queasy, knowing the history of how contortionists and acrobats are traditionally produced…

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  65. Teve says:

    (I guess I should start recruiting an army for my left wing dictatorship…)

    Over on the creationist sites you find quite a few Dominionists. One guy, who goes by the nom de blog Silver Asiatic, is particularly aggressive. He argues that the Framers erred by taking half-measures against Democracy like the Senate. This is an error, because Democracy is evil. Democracy is evil, because under our Democracy, people are allowed to have pornography, be gay, and get Trans surgery. Therefore the preference is for a Christian monarch who will rule with Biblical Principles and prohibit those 3 evil things.

    What we’ve wondered is, how the fuck do you plan to make that happen dude? Armed Revolt? Ok presumably you’d have to plan that online over at least a few months. And if you’re planning armed revolt against the US Government and talking to thousands of people online about what and when and how and so forth, Imma see you on the News!

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  66. Gustopher says:

    Yesterday, I was lying on the couch reading and my smaller cat came over, so I pushed her into me and started rubbing her under the chin, and then I realized that I had done that. There was no conscious thought, it just happened. Fully automatic.

    Similarly, when learning a musical instrument, it’s slow and painful until elements of technique move out of conscious thought into some entirely different process in the brain. Conversely, meditation and mindfulness based stress reduction is all about moving reactions from the automatic to the conscious.

    So much of our lives are run without conscious thought. It would be exhausting if we didn’t.

    I kind of think that religion moves some of the moral decisions from conscious thought to automatic through repetition of the lessons and stories. The same with partisanship.

    There’s more to it, tying moral decisions to emotions and the pure addictive powers of anger and self-righteousness, but overall, it’s setting things out of careful, considered, conscious thought. What conscious thought is expended is used to justify what we believe rather than decide what to believe.

    Our friend Michael disparages religion as anti-intellectual, and as a thought-worker (writing is a very conscious act, unless he has somehow broken that) I suspect he fails to see how much of his life is run on automatic.

    Thich Nhat Hanh can write essays about washing dishes and the importance of really being there as you wash the dishes, but to the rest of us, we don’t put a lot of importance on washing dishes, so we do it on automatic.

    Politics and religion is like washing dishes for most people. Unexamined.

    On the other hand, there is one political movement that encourages people to do their own research — Q Anon. People are pretty shitty at doing their own research.

    Not sure what the point of this comment is.

    We’re only marginally more contemplative than cats — basically wild animals who can train ourselves and each other to stop scratching the furniture, but we keep ending up scratching the furniture. Religion ends up being the scratching post you put in front of the good couch in hopes the cat scratches that instead.

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  67. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Gustopher:
    You’re assuming there’s a way to square the circle. There is not as far as I know.

    Besides, I’m not sure you can be an official intellectual with a GED.

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  68. CSK says:

    @Teve:
    “…the preference is for a Christian monarch…” What denomination? Methodist? Episcopalian? Lutheran? Roman Catholic? Presbyterian? Baptist? Or would they fight about that?

    @Michael Reynolds:
    Michael, you’re an autodidact.

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  69. Teve says:

    @Gustopher:

    On my worse days, I see us collectively pissing in the wind instead of dealing with climate change — which is basically somewhere between orders of magnitude worse that the Holocaust up to an extinction level event — and think we might be better off with a left wing dictatorship that will actually make the changes needed.

    Let me put your mind at ease. There is no way in heeeeeeeellllllllllllllll that we are going to significantly impede Climate Change. Humans don’t deal with big problems until we’re absolutely forced to. And when there’s a clear cause-and-effect. If you have a serious alcohol problem, that alcohol leads directly to the negative effects. Tracy left you because you wouldn’t stop drinking. Your kids won’t talk to you anymore because of the drinking. Your boss fired you because you came to work drunk. You’re evicted and you’re sleeping on your friend Ted’s couch and he’s getting kind of bitchy. Direct cause-and-effect, OK I’ve got to stop with the alcohol. Global warming? The actions that produce global warming couldn’t be more disconnected from the effects. “You’re telling me a million people died in Bangladesh because of my Lexus SUV? That’s ridiculous, Professor Dork. Now get outta my way, I’m going to Sam’s Club for a bigger flatscreen to watch The Avengers on. You’ll probably tell me that my new tv caused all those tornadoes in Argentina last month HAHAHAHA stupid dork.”

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  70. Teve says:

    We aren’t gonna do a fuckin’ thing.

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  71. Sleeping Dog says:

    @DrDaveT:

    As storm prep, we were encouraged to buy gasoline and stock up on non perishable food items. Well I topped off the camper, plugged it in to chill the fridge, Filled all my various gas can that gives me about 12 g, plus the 10 or so gallons in the motorcycles. Then it was off to my favorite brewski vendor to stock up on those non perishable food items. If Henri comes for me, I won’t feel any pain.

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  72. @CSK:

    Don, the older of the Everly Brothers, has died. Phil Everly predeceased him in 2014. RIP, guys.

    One of the first pop songs that I have a significant memory of was “Wake up, Little Suzy” which was one of my mother’s old 45s (also, “At the Hop” sticks in my head along with some misc Elvis tracks). The song just sounded amazing, even in mono.

    (But the actually lyrics are hilariously Victorian in their own way, and, of course, in a way that I did not understand when I was 5).

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  73. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Teve:

    The actions that produce global warming couldn’t be more disconnected from the effects. “You’re telling me a million people died in Bangladesh because of my Lexus SUV? That’s ridiculous, Professor Dork.”

    Exactly.

    It’s a story that requires a fairly advanced ability to link things not obviously connected. Maybe 10% of people can make those kinds of attenuated connections. It’s one of the reasons I harp on the need for forward-looking narratives, definitions of ourselves as a country and hopes for our individual prospects. You can move more people with a myth than you can with dry recitations of facts.

    The ‘story’ of climate change in particular has no happy ending to offer. Hey, if we work hard and sacrifice, our children will have tiny cars and tofu burgers. Yay. Now just let me turn off the AC and sweat like a pig in order to make a teeny, tiny contribution to what sounds like a miserable future. Rally ’round!

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  74. Kylopod says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    But the actually lyrics are hilariously Victorian in their own way, and, of course, in a way that I did not understand when I was 5.

    Speaking of which, call me crazy but am I the only person who thinks “All I Have to Do is Dream” is about jerking off?

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  75. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Stormy Dragon: One has to start young to get that kind of flexibility. My youngest was always flying around the house, jumping off this, jumping off that, trying to do cartwheels and flips etc. So I put him into gymnastics lessons when he was 5. Just once a week but when he showed innate talent and was invited to join the team, it was his choice. Unfortunately, just a few years later we had to stop due to life circumstances.

    I like to think that little girl is doing it because she wants to, but of course the chances are pretty good she’s getting a fair amount of pressure to do it.

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  76. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Michael Reynolds: It’s better than having children. All the fun with none of the headaches. Those belong to Mom and Dad.

    I’ll be honest and say I have a hard time relating to them until they get around about 2. About then they become little people as opposed to bags of whines and smiles and shitty diapers. You can have a conversation with them. Explore the world all over again, seeing it anew thru their eyes. You gotta make the most of the 2-5 years because once they start school, getting time with them becomes harder, and the teenage years? Fuhgedaboudit. They just want to hang with their friends and flirt with the boys.

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  77. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mu Yixiao: Damn, that sounds good. Too bad I’m the only one that will eat it in this house. Wait a minute, all the more reason to make it!

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  78. CSK says:

    It’s official!!!!! Mike Lindell has proclaimed that Donald Trump will be back in office by Dec. 31, 20212!!!!!!

    ‘m so excited.

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  79. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Gustopher: I wonder if there is any intellectual we know who goes off on a regular basis about how stupid religion and religious people are?

    Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and the late not so great Christopher Hitchens, all are/were particularly obnoxious in their atheism. And I’m an atheist.

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  80. Teve says:

    @CSK:

    It’s official!!!!! Mike Lindell has proclaimed that Donald Trump will be back in office by Dec. 31, 20212!!!!!!

    that makes less than zero sense. If he’s somehow reinstalled unconstitutionally, why wait so late? And if it’s electorally in November, he wouldn’t be inaugurated by December.

    I say this as a guy who has had Major Substance Abuse problems, but this guy sounds like a crackhead. 😛

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  81. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Slava Malamud
    @SlavaMalamud
    ·
    23h
    It all began when Hillary Clinton called racists, homophobes and sexists “deplorables”, and half the country and 100% of the media made a conscious decision to get offended.

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  82. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jim Brown 32: I take it you’re looking for a new war to fight?

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  83. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Gustopher: From behind his own blue line, Gustopher lets go a blistering slap shot… HE SCORES!!! [The crowd erupts in cheers]

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  84. Kurtz says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    Liberal, Moderate, Conservative are approaches to life.

    This is at worst, completely incorrect, or at best a simplification that serves to justify an individual’s political choices. One can live conservatively and vote for liberal candidates.

    A better way to put it: they are approaches to society and its direction; approaches to other people.

    As you point out, gay marriage is the law of the land. How long did that take? For how long did gay people have to fear various forms of violence? And are we now living in a society where everyone quietly accepts gay people?

    No. For some Americans, if Edward and Ellen get married and move into the house across the street, it’s just a new pair of neighbors. But if it’s Edward and Eddie or Ellen and Ellie, it’s a violation.

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  85. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Michael Reynolds: As I recall, you’re the one who set the definition in this thread as IQ of 130+ rather than “holds a degree of some sort.” Squaring the circle or not, the message is still the same–be the change you want to see, Michael.

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  86. Mimai says:

    Re anti-intellectualism, I think this needs more precision. It’s not clear to me how people are defining the term (problem).

    @Jim Brown 32: writes that “anti-intellectualism [is] where fear and feelings reign over observation and exploration.” It’s not clear if that is his working definition or if it is one symptom of anti-intellectualism.

    Elsewhere in this discussion, there is the conflation of intellectual, intellectualism, high IQ folks, elitism, and elite folks. These are related but conceptually and practically different. This is important for precision and is all the more so if the new enemy is the “anti” of one of them.

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  87. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: How would they possibly NOT fight about it? Christian sects fight about nearly everything. It’s why ecumenism became so important.

    On the other hand and in my experience, Dominionist leaning people are more attracted to splinter denominations and “independent” status congregations (which are usually politically-conservative Baptist–as opposed to “Conservative Baptist” [who are also politically conservative for the most part]), so they might have enough cohesion to not have to disagree with one another…

    …much.

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  88. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Besides, I’m not sure you can be an official intellectual with a GED.

    You have “No true Scotsman”Ed yourself out of being an intellectual?

    Say that to the angry crowds with pitchforks!

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  89. Gustopher says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and the late not so great Christopher Hitchens, all are/were particularly obnoxious in their atheism. And I’m an atheist.

    The Professional Atheists are kind of like the guys who want to make sure everyone knows they have a foot fetish, and thank women for wearing revealing footwear.

    I mean, a foot fetish is fine, but you don’t need to include everyone else in it.

    What happened to quietly enjoying your foot-fetish or smug-superiority?

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  90. Gustopher says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Christian sects fight about nearly everything. It’s why ecumenism became so important.

    This is why I kind of like the Unitarians. If you start from the notion that God’s mercy is infinite, you get to stances like “is belief in god really that important? Nah, He’ll forgive you, infinite mercy and all that.”

    I’m pretty sure the Unitarians haven’t led any genocide.

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  91. Kylopod says:

    @Kurtz: I’d add that conservatives have moved on from bashing gays to bashing trans. But they never really accepted gays–to this day most Republican politicians and most conservative commentators are anti-gay marriage, or at least haven’t explicitly renounced their prior opposition–they just recognized they were fighting a losing battle, and that they could get more mileage out of other issues the public was less decided upon.

    You see a similar trajectory with creationism. If you want to understand the evolution of creationism as a movement in America, you have to realize its different “stages” were essentially all responses to specific Supreme Court decisions. In 1968 SCOTUS declared that public schools could no longer ban the teaching of evolution. Creationists then modified their stance to say they weren’t opposing the teaching of evolution but advocating “equal time” for evolution and creation in the classroom. In 1987, SCOTUS struck that down and ruled that public schools could not teach creationism at all, on the grounds that it was bringing religious advocacy into government institutions. That’s when the “intelligent design” movement began, which attempted to downplay the religious elements of creationism. That was struck down by SCOTUS in 2005. Creationists and ID people still exist in large numbers, including among politicians, but it’s quieted down a lot since 2005, because even they seem to have realized there’s not much else left to do on the legal and political front.

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  92. Gustopher says:

    @Kurtz:

    For some Americans, if Edward and Ellen get married and move into the house across the street, it’s just a new pair of neighbors. But if it’s Edward and Eddie or Ellen and Ellie, it’s a violation.

    I don’t care what you’re excuse is, but if you’re calling out your own name during sex, something has gone wrong. Eds shouldn’t date Eds of any stripe, unless at least one of them is willing to go by a middle name or a nickname.

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  93. Mister Bluster says:

    @Gustopher:..if you’re calling out your own name during sex,..

    Masturbation is sex with somebody I love.
    Woody Allen

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  94. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    I’ve mentioned before that I wasn’t raised in any religion, so a lot of this is a mystery to me. I certainly know that there are denominations of Christianity, so I assume on the basis of my experience that practicing Christians belong to one or another of those denominations. Fairly recently, though, I’ve discovered that there are people who simply adhere to something they call “Christianity.”

    Example: Remember George Zimmerman, arrested for the murder of Trayvon Martin? When he was being interviewed by a detective he noticed she was wearing a necklace with a cross. He asked if she were a Roman Catholic, and she replied, “No; I’m a Christian.” I was under the impression that Catholics (Roman or Anglo) are Christians. The first ones, in fact.

    So…what is a Christian, exactly?

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  95. Kurtz says:

    @Gustopher:

    This is why I kind of like the Unitarians.

    This reminds me of an old joke:

    What do you get when your cross a Unitarian with a Jehovah’s Witness?

    A person who knocks on your door for no apparent reason.

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  96. Kurtz says:

    @Gustopher:

    I don’t care what you’re excuse is, but if you’re calling out your own name during sex, something has gone wrong. Eds shouldn’t date Eds of any stripe, unless at least one of them is willing to go by a middle name or a nickname.

    Hey, at least they’re not shoving their narcissistic fetish in everyone’s faces like those people who thank strangers for wearing open-toed shoes.

    Be the change you want to see in the world, bruh.

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  97. Kylopod says:

    @CSK:

    Example: Remember George Zimmerman, arrested for the murder of Trayvon Martin? When he was being interviewed by a detective he noticed she was wearing a necklace with a cross. He asked if she were a Roman Catholic, and she replied, “No; I’m a Christian.” I was under the impression that Catholics (Roman or Anglo) are Christians. The first ones, in fact.

    I’ve mentioned the anecdote before: I was reading a forum where one of the commenters said she was a convert to Christianity, then in parentheses she added “I used to be RC.” I spent an entire minute trying to figure out what religion has the initials RC before I realized she meant Roman Catholic. She was treating it as distinct from Christianity rather than a sect of Christianity. This is a common attitude among evangelical Protestants.

    Also, many evangelicals consider themselves nondenominational.

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  98. Kurtz says:

    @Kylopod:

    Yeah, you see this in gay marriage too. Now the fight becomes about baking wedding cakes for Edward and Eddie/Ellen and Ellie.

    (Sorry, Gustopher. All my examples will now include people sexing up others with the same name.)

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  99. Kylopod says:

    @Kurtz: Maybe there can now be a movement against same-name marriages, and they can say it’s not homophobic since it’s also against hetero couples with the same names (e.g. Alex, Daryl, Chris, etc.).

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  100. CSK says:

    @Kylopod:
    But what do these people think Christianity means? Surely the basic tenets of all the denominations are pretty much the same.

    I should add that the issue has become slightly more personal for me: my oldest nephew (also raised in a non-religious milieu) has acquired a wife who constantly describes herself as “a Christian,” though none of us has the slightest idea of what her denomination might be.

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  101. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: …and I would have gotten away with it….if it wasn’t for that damned ignint cracker!

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  102. Mister Bluster says:

    @CSK:..Surely the basic tenets of all the denominations are pretty much the same.

    It’s been a long time since I had to go to Catechism Class as taught by the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.
    Let’s see what I remember about communion.
    Protestant churches teach that the wafer and the wine or grape juice represent the body and blood of Christ.
    The Roman Catholic Church teaches that the wafer and the wine turn into the body and blood of Christ.
    The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod teaches that the wafer and the wine ARE the body and blood of Christ.
    At least that’s how I remember it from some sixty years ago.

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  103. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Mimai: IQ is an abstraction so definitely not my working definition. For the purposes of evaluation–we really must constrain ourselves to what people are doing. And even then its hard– its only slightly beyond “know it when you see it” territory.

    The slam dunk behaviors? The trend that someone doing “research” between watching tik tok videos has an opinion on par with people that make a living studying and applying research. This is happening at every level of government and society directly contributing to the undermining of stable institutions. Institutions–as flawed as they are–are the only thing standing between and integrative society where large groups of people work together…and tribalism (aka crabs in a barrel)

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  104. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @CSK: The beef is with the RC position that Scripture AND Church Doctrine are authoritative. Protestants are “Sola Scriptura” people–so ONLY the Bible is authoritative.

    Now, the typical Protestant can’t even go as deep as my earlier 2 sentences about why RC’s aren’t Christians. You’d get a stream of consciousness about praying to Saints, the Pope being the “Beast”, and Revelation’s “Whore of Babylon”.

    Jim Brown acknowledges 2 groups of Believers: Christians and “Church-ians”. Churchians are written about in the Bible–its mostly about them. Idol worshiping, ungrateful people who war against their fellow Tribes who eventually turn their backs on Godly principles and are destroyed. Christians? There are a few of them–they genuinely understand the higher level message the Bible conveys and strive to practice it. Its isn’t all Ghandi and Dali-Llama– Its right approach at the right time. Jesus healed, whipped ass, cried, and took Peters sword. Same dude playing the right role at the right time. It takes incredible discipline to operate that way–something churchians rarely demonstrate

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  105. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @CSK:
    On a road trip (plenty of time to talk) with my brother (former Roman Catholic now describes himself as Baptist Evangelical) were discussed the difference between his current beliefs and his former beliefs,

    What he explained: As a Roman Catholic we were continuously asking for God’s forgiveness and mercy, because we were continuing to be sinful (e.g. not sharing our blessings with others less fortunate, telling lies, coveting a neighbors wife etc, offenses great and small). We asked for his forgiveness in sure hope that we would be in a heavenly kingdom after our mortal death.

    On the other hand, Baptist Evangelicalism teaches us that Jesus died for our redemption of our sinful ways, once and for all time. So, no need to ask for mercy or forgiveness for current and future offenses , all that is required is belief that we are “saved”.

    Anyway that was his explanation.

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  106. Kylopod says:

    @Bob@Youngstown: When I took an introductory English lit course in college, we were assigned to pick a journal article on Hamlet and do a paper on it. Being new to the process, I kind of botched it by picking an article that was way over my head in terms of my knowledge, making me struggle with the paper far more than I needed to. It had to do with whether the play adopted a Catholic or Anglican view of grace. Being a nice Jewish boy this was way outside my comfort zone, but I ended up doing a competent job of summing up what the paper said and received a good grade (maybe it helped that the instructor was a Catholic woman with a Jewish boyfriend).

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  107. Mimai says:

    @Jim Brown 32: Thanks for clarifying. One thing I’m still struggling with is the distinction between intellectualism/anti-intellectualism (as process) and intellectual/anti-intellectual (as being). You seem to switch between them but I can’t tell if it’s with intent……and if it is, I’m not following the thread.

    I’m of the opinion that we all have within us a tension of intellectualism vs. anti-intellectualism. Of course, some of us are more strongly weighted to one side or the other of this continuum, but we all move along it depending on the issue.

    One of the professional hats I wear is as a scientist. So I spend a lot of time toward the intellectualism side (at least I think I do). Indeed, because of this, I probably fancy myself an uber intellectual. And I know I tell myself the lie that I am inoculated to anti-intellectualism. Oftentimes I believe it. Did I mention that “I’m a scientist!!”

    Of course this is ridiculous. I’m a human first and foremost. I’m susceptible to anti-intellectualism (as I fuzzily “define” it), even if it’s not of the tik-tok > scientific research flavor.

    So in my mind, it’s not about intellectuals (us) vs. anti-intellectuals (them). It’s about us vs. us. All of us. This is a collective action problem made especially difficult by [insert your favorite scapegoat, whipping boy, etc.].

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  108. DrDaveT says:

    @Gustopher:

    I’m pretty sure the Unitarians haven’t led any genocide.

    Hey, if Buddhists can be genocidal (and they can — see Myanmar) then anyone can do it! Beliefs schmeliefs!

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  109. DrDaveT says:

    @Kylopod:

    Creationists and ID people still exist in large numbers, including among politicians, but it’s quieted down a lot since 2005, because even they seem to have realized there’s not much else left to do on the legal and political front.

    Their new strategies are centered around Charter Schools and homeschooling. If the public schools can’t teach creationism, get as many kids as possible out of the public schools.

    I honestly think these people would see an end to public education as an overall good thing.

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  110. DrDaveT says:

    @CSK:

    But what do these people think Christianity means? Surely the basic tenets of all the denominations are pretty much the same.

    At least in the US, 80% of Christians couldn’t tell you what the doctrines of the church they attend actually are, or explain the ones they got right. Church membership for them is some combination of tradition, social club, tribalism, performative morality, an attempt to keep their kids from turning out like them, spiritualism, wishful thinking, fear of death, etc.

    The other 20% fight wars over whether the resurrection of the body will involve exactly the same atoms as the original physical body, and if so at what physical age, and what will God do about the atoms that were parts of different bodies at different times…

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  111. Gustopher says:

    @DrDaveT:

    Hey, if Buddhists can be genocidal (and they can — see Myanmar) then anyone can do it! Beliefs schmeliefs!

    I can kind of squint and see where Buddhism can get to genocide — there is the 8 fold path, with right speech, right thought and right action, and five other rights I can’t think of right now, and when the neighbors aren’t doing that right action thing, and are bringing down the property values… yeah, I can see the tension.

    Except the Unitarian religion literally is “Beliefs schmeliefs!” When the Unitarians commit genocide it will be for some other reason than religion. HOA gone wrong, plain old racism, something like that.

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  112. Gustopher says:

    @Kylopod:

    Maybe there can now be a movement against same-name marriages, and they can say it’s not homophobic since it’s also against hetero couples with the same names (e.g. Alex, Daryl, Chris, etc.).

    Exactly. You don’t want to have to deal with the Chrises being all cute and stuff. Just no.

    It’s bad enough that Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez scream “Bennifer!” together.

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  113. Gustopher says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod teaches that the wafer and the wine ARE the body and blood of Christ.

    And Gingerbread Men are demons sent to tempt us from his Holy Waferness?

    When a mortal man consumes the Body of Christ, is it a sin to shit?

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  114. Mister Bluster says:

    @CSK:..So…what is a Christian, exactly?..

    Exactly?…
    I think that belief in “virgin birth” and “resurrection of the dead” and “invisible angels” goes a long way in defining what a Christian is. Not to mention belief in the “Triune God”.

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  115. Kylopod says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    Not to mention belief in the “Triune God”.

    Then Mormons, Unitarians, and J.’s Witnesses aren’t Christians. Actually a lot of Christians would agree with that statement, though all those groups at least claim to be Christian.

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  116. Mister Bluster says:

    @Gustopher:..And Gingerbread Men are demons sent to tempt us from his Holy Waferness? When a mortal man consumes the Body of Christ, is it a sin to shit?

    I sure wish I would have been curious enough to ask the Pastor those questions in Catechism Class all those years ago. Truth be told at the age of twelve all I could think about during those months of instruction was what the Communion Wine would taste like. Years later when I was deep into the swill I found that cooking sherry took me back to my first communion.

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  117. Mister Bluster says:

    @Kylopod:..claim to be Christian.

    Does one have to really believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster and wear a colander on their head to be a Pastafarian?
    Judge not lest ye be judged…

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  118. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Mimai: Id agree, and as I noted, each mindset has its own dark side. I don’t think anyone of us is all one or the other at all time so Id push back on the concept as a manner of being. But as a scientist, its probable intellectualism is a guiding set of values for most of your endeavors. Likewise an anti-intellectual is going to have a vastly different set of guiding values more often than not and tap more frequently into a base set of human emotions to confirm those values.

    There is always the individual struggle but culture has the same tension which will reach a tipping point beyond which the losers are out of influence for a number of generations. It requires collective action but with the understanding that intellectuals are often an outmanned force. The first step in any plan to defeat a superior force is to eliminate or degrade their ability to use any force multiplers they have. In this case, social media. How many disinformation people were responsible for the majority of medical quakery on the web? 12? Incredible force enhancer. No telling how many people read stuff by one of these people and died of Covid. 10s of Thousands. Q was probably 7 or 8 people…responsible for untold misery and long term damage to the country.

    We cant afford to do what other once great nations did and let our Homers destroy a good thing. They aren’t even bad people (most of them). But certain approaches are typically good for nation building, culture, and governance…and some aren’t.

    The difference is as clear as Trump vs Obama

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  119. Jen says:

    @CSK:

    He asked if she were a Roman Catholic, and she replied, “No; I’m a Christian.” I was under the impression that Catholics (Roman or Anglo) are Christians.

    I was raised Catholic, and was on the receiving end of this sort of nonsense when I lived in Missouri. There are a lot of Christians who believe that Catholics are basically a cult of Mary. Praying to the intercession of Saints is worshiping those other than God, etc.

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  120. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Okay, we’ve lost one set of Everly Brothers. Here’s hoping the “Jewish Everly Brothers” (Neil Sedaka, Neil Diamond) stick around. IIRC, Neil Sedaka came up with that nickname.

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