Two Different Americas

The degree to which the country is divided is truly shocking.

This morning’s edition of the NYT’s The Daily podcast, “Two Different Worlds,” is worth a listen on this election day. The premise:

At the heart of one race for the Wisconsin State Assembly are some of the same political cracks splitting the U.S. as a whole. Some believe keeping businesses running is a priority during the coronavirus pandemic; others think keeping people safe and healthy should be given precedence.

Rob Swearingen is a four-time Republican assemblyman and owner of a local restaurant. He challenged the lockdown imposed by Wisconsin’s governor and, since reopening his business, has taken a loose interpretation of the mask mandate.

His Democratic challenger, Kirk Bangstad, has strictly followed statewide edicts, opening his restaurant outdoors in the summer and, when there were coronavirus infections among his staff, closing down until all could be tested.

Given my disdain for Trumpers and visceral anger at those who refuse to wear masks in public, you’d think my sympathies would lie toward Bangstad. But Swearingen came across as a decent man struggling to keep his business running whereas Bangstad came off as a self-important jackass. Swearingen isn’t an in-your-face anti-masker but rather something of a libertarian who thinks people ought to be trusted to make choices. He says he respects the wishes of business owners who ask customers to wear their masks and he has his staff wear them, but makes exceptions for two elderly women who have respiratory issues. Bangstad, meanwhile, is a Harvard grad and failed opera singer who’s openly disdainful of the community he seeks to represent, seeing them as morons who lack critical thinking skills who ought to be more grateful that he’s deigning to offer them his brilliance and culture.

As interesting as the contrast between the two restaurant-owning candidates is, though, what’s really illuminating is the interviews with customers and waitstaff. Their views about the virus, Trump and Biden, Swearingen and Bangstad, and other issues are one hundred eighty degrees out. It’s not that they disagree on how to prioritize hard choices. They literally see the world differently. They have not only different opinions but different facts.

I honestly don’t know how we reconcile a country where that’s the case.

FILED UNDER: *FEATURED, Campaign 2020, Society, US Politics
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. Scott F. says:

    They have not only different opinions but different facts.
    I honestly don’t know how we reconcile a country where that’s the case.

    I think you start by valuing the arrogant jackass’s facts over the chummy guy’s opinion, as hard as it might be to do that sometimes. Facts don’t pick the messenger.

    ReplyReply
    26
  2. Not the IT Dept. says:

    No, James, it’s the guy you don’t like who has the facts on his side. Your “libertarian” guy has only strongly felt opinions. And it’s not opinions that will keep his fellow citizens out of the hospital or sickroom.

    ReplyReply
    16
  3. James Joyner says:

    @Scott F.: @Not the IT Dept.: I just voted a straight Democratic ticket precisely because I want to be governed on the basis of facts. But one doesn’t get elected by telling the electorate that they’re morons but rather by persuading them of what the facts are and why it’s necessary.

    And, frankly, while I definitely want waitstaff and back-of-restaurant folks masked and following other hygienic measures, Swearingen is right that there’s not really a way to run a pub that’s all that safe. You’ve got to take the mask off to eat and drink.

    ReplyReply
    16
  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @James Joyner: Swearingen is right that there’s not really a way to run a pub that’s all that safe. You’ve got to take the mask off to eat and drink.

    Not a pub in America anyway.

    ReplyReply
    4
  5. Not the IT Dept. says:

    James: please. Many restaurants have gone all-in on take-out and delivery, postal dropping menus and increasing their hours to accommodate the demand. You don’t have to go into a restaurant and sit down at a table.

    As for “persuading” people: this pandemic is now almost 8 months old and there’s been plenty of persuasion if people are open to hear it. If at this point in 2020 people still need persuading then maybe it’s time to entertain the possibility that, yes, they might just be morons.

    ReplyReply
    6
  6. Kingdaddy says:

    @James Joyner:

    Swearingen isn’t an in-your-face anti-masker but rather something of a libertarian who thinks people ought to be trusted to make choices.

    All these months into a pandemic, and people still don’t understand the basic principle here: You are not making a choice for yourself, when you don’t wear a mask. You are endangering other people. It’s the same as saying, “I don’t think I’m too drunk to drive.”

    ReplyReply
    37
  7. J. Foobar says:

    @James Joyner: And, frankly, while I definitely want waitstaff and back-of-restaurant folks masked and following other hygienic measures, Swearingen is right that there’s not really a way to run a pub that’s all that safe. You’ve got to take the mask off to eat and drink.

    My wife and I took a weekend trip with the kiddo several months back to the Shenandoah Valley. On two occasions on that trip we dined in a restaurant, the first times we had done that since the pandemic started. Once was outdoor dining and the other was indoors but with lots of space between tables. On both occasions, I felt that the restaurant was doing a pretty solid job at following safety guidelines. But then I noticed something in the second place in particular. The waiter, who was very good, was leaning very close to me to clear plates, put my meal down, give me my beer, etc. In those moments, his masked face was within 18 inches of my own unmasked face, even just fleetingly. I was suddenly very concerned for his safety, frankly. How many more times had he been similarly exposed both before and after my family visited the restaurant? Seems a little silly when I type it but it really was a bit of an epiphany for me.

    This was back in June. Those two restaurant trips were the first and last for me since the pandemic began. I simply will not dine in another restaurant, indoors or out, until this is over. There is just no reasonably safe way to do it for the patrons or the staff. Takeout is much safer for everyone.

    ReplyReply
    6
  8. James Joyner says:

    @Not the IT Dept.: But he’s not running a big-city or suburban eatery but rather a small-town pub and grub. The lifeblood of the business, outside tourist season, is locals getting together and communing. A takeout model wouldn’t work.

    ReplyReply
    2
  9. James Joyner says:

    @Kingdaddy:

    All these months into a pandemic, and people still don’t understand the basic principle here: You are not making a choice for yourself, when you don’t wear a mask. You are endangering other people.

    Oh, absolutely. That was what was so frustrating about the interviews with the townsfolk. I think Swearingen gets that; his argument is really just that people ought to be able to make choices in going out to eat rather than having the government decide. I think that’s wrong given second order effects but I don’t think it’s a looney-tunes argument.

    ReplyReply
    2
  10. Jay L Gischer says:

    I’m pretty much with James on at least one thing here. I have made a personal choice to never call anyone a moron. There are times, to be sure, when internally, I think, “Wow!” when someone says something that flagrantly and/or aggressively ignorant. But I really don’t want to fill my own life up with contempt.

    Nor do I think that you can persuade someone with contempt. It doesn’t work on me, why should it work on someone else?

    The thinking these days is that nobody is persuadable. But we’re having this discussion on a blog a that challenges that. It’s slow, hard, unrewarding work. People change very slowly. But they do change.

    I think it’s easy to think in terms of just letting of steam, venting one’s anger on social media or whatever. It’s easy to think that nobody is listening, or that the most important thing is for people to know how upset and angry you are. I disagree with both of these premises, even though they are present with me as feelings.

    And this stance often marks me to many as their enemy or part of the opposition. Because I won’t call the other side names, I’m a “sympathizer” and suspect as disloyal. That’s all too human.

    Oddly, this very dynamic plays out in my personal life as well, but I’ll say no more on that.

    ReplyReply
    10
  11. EddieInCA says:

    @James Joyner:

    I think that’s wrong given second order effects but I don’t think it’s a looney-tunes argument.

    It is wrong. And, given what we know, it is looney-tunes.

    Once again, Dr. Joyner, you’re allowing your own biases to cloud your otherwise rational thinking.

    ReplyReply
    2
  12. MarkedMan says:

    I didn’t look at the source material, but agree in general with James that a candidate who comes across as arrogant or patronizing is going to have a tough time regardless of where they stand on the issues. I view that truth as self evident.

    On to the title point of James’ post – how divided we are as a country.

    We SHOULD be divided.
    The Trumpers reject facts and reality. The Trumpers are racists. The Trumpers are dangerous, letting themselves become infected and then braying their contamination all over people trying to stay safe.

    The answer isn’t to try to meet them half way. It’s to use our votes to make sure they can’t inflict their poor life choices on everyone else.

    ReplyReply
    7
  13. Scott F. says:

    @James Joyner:

    ReplyReply
  14. James Joyner says:

    @EddieInCA:

    Once again, Dr. Joyner, you’re allowing your own biases to cloud your otherwise rational thinking.

    My biases really should have pointed in the other direction here. The Harvard-educated, pro-mask evangelist is much more aligned with me politically and socially. But the other guy came across as a perfectly decent guy trying to balance competing interests while he came across as an obnoxious jerk.

    ReplyReply
    2
  15. Scott F. says:

    But one doesn’t get elected by telling the electorate that they’re morons but rather by persuading them of what the facts are and why it’s necessary.

    There’s the rub, isn’t it? Political cravenness and commercialized lie-mongering has made it necessary for people to need to be persuaded of facts.

    Expertise is dismissed, data is manipulated, evidence is ignored – all so that we don’t make some people uncomfortable about their beliefs. This is broken and we should call it out as broken.

    ReplyReply
    9
  16. drj says:

    But Swearingen came across as a decent man struggling to keep his business running whereas Bangstad came off as a self-important jackass.

    Actions speak louder than words.

    It’s really not that hard to figure out who the self-important jackass is.

    ReplyReply
    7
  17. MarkedMan says:

    I don’t get the pushback against James. He said that one of the candidates came across as more sympathetic than the other, and he was frustrated because it was the candidate he disagreed with. The fact that “correctness” and “likability” are not automatically the same thing shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone.

    ReplyReply
    14
  18. Gustopher says:

    @James Joyner:

    But he’s not running a big-city or suburban eatery but rather a small-town pub and grub. The lifeblood of the business, outside tourist season, is locals getting together and communing. A takeout model wouldn’t work.

    This is entirely right.

    And that’s why we really need to support these businesses and their employees. Opening bars and restaurants was a terrible decision from a “contain the virus” standpoint, but the only decision from an economic standpoint if you don’t believe in “handouts” and “socialism”.

    Toss in a federal government deliberately muddling the messaging, and confronted with two sets of facts, people will choose the one that allows them to keep their livelihoods and worldview as intact as possible.

    This is why I don’t have a lot of hope on global warming, by the way. It’s the exact same societal forces at play, right down to jobs now vs minimizing future horror.

    ReplyReply
    10
  19. Teve says:

    It’s weird to me that some people can’t figure out how blockquotes work.

    ReplyReply
  20. Andy says:

    Personally, I don’t think America is as divided as is often alleged by elites those who are unnaturally interested in politics (I include myself in both groups), who are a small minority of the country’s population. We live in a bubble and hence make a lot of wrong assumptions about America generally and “normal” people specifically. We assume we’re smarter, that our interpretation of the facts is always correct and that any deviation from what we believe is a sign of stupidity, corruption, or evil.

    As far as masks go, a good friend of mine is an airline pilot. The Captain on a recent flight where my friend was the first officer told my friend he had to wear a mask in the cockpit. My friend naturally refused. A supervisor was called and the Captain was removed from the flight and was replaced – as he should have been. This isn’t an isolated incident. Pilots are not required to wear masks in the cockpit. This may seem outrageous to those who don’t understand the job and the context of flight safety, but it’s absolutely the right decision.

    Masks are an important tool to be sure but too many seem to reflexively assume that anyone seen not wearing one or people making exceptions in certain contexts must be stupid or bad. The context in which masks are or are not worn matters a great deal. “Facts” don’t speak for themselves. There are always tradeoffs and an analysis of actual risks should be considered.

    There’s the question of what is the most effective way to achieve compliance or to convince others that masks should be worn in a certain context. In my experience, a lot of “masktivists” are too self-righteous to bother with considerations about effective action.

    As another example, earlier this year we had a guy on Nextdoor in my neighborhood berating neighbors for not wearing a mask while walking their dogs. His methods created the opposite reaction and us dog walkers simply concluded he was both an asshole and a nut.

    Just personally I’ve always found that being polite, friendly, and nice works better 95% of the time compared to being a self-righteous asshole. Those who actually want to get people to consider their view on masks or any other topic should keep that in mind.

    ReplyReply
    8
  21. Andy says:

    @Teve:

    It’s weird to me that some people can’t figure out how blockquotes work.

    Not sure if it’s me or the website, but the formatting buttons often do no appear for me until I force-reload the webpage. I’ve noticed this behavior since returning to OTB.

    ReplyReply
    1
  22. Teve says:

    @Andy: yeah that’s not it.

    ReplyReply
    2
  23. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    Nor do I think that you can persuade someone with contempt. It doesn’t work on me, why should it work on someone else?

    It’s not meant to convince the morons, the intended argument generally is fence-sitters listening in.

    ReplyReply
    2
  24. Michael Reynolds says:

    Audience not argument.

    Edit function!

    ReplyReply
    1
  25. Michael Reynolds says:

    Incidentally, ridicule does actually work.

    When I was maybe 14 I had an argument with my friend Kenneth over evolution. I won the argument – my skills were greater than his. But I knew that if you set aside debating skills, I had actually lost. His eye-rolling stuck with me.

    Two years later I was a confirmed atheist.

    Everyone claims to be immune to ridicule, very few actually are. The first reaction is always, ‘fuck you.’ It just takes a little time for things to work their way through your system. Compare the number of Nickelback fans to the number of Nickleback fans after the band became an object of ridicule.

    ReplyReply
    3
  26. drj says:

    @Andy:

    We assume we’re smarter, that our interpretation of the facts is always correct

    Well, perhaps. But I don’t assume that I am so much smarter that only I and my fellow eggheads are capable of understanding that running a restaurant in the midst of an epidemic is going to get people killed.

    As @Gustopher wrote:

    people will choose the one that allows them to keep their livelihoods and worldview as intact as possible.

    Indeed. All too often, it is simply a choice.

    And sometimes, choices have moral consequences.

    We – and I include Swearingen – are not children. One doesn’t need a college degree to be an adult.

    ReplyReply
    1
  27. Teve says:

    @Michael Reynolds: years ago I was sitting in a Starbucks and the music puzzled me. “this isn’t Nickelback, but it sucks in exactly the same way that Nickelback songs suck.” I looked it up, and it was a Chris Daughtry song that was written by Nickelback.

    ReplyReply
    2
  28. Hal_10000 says:

    James, I think you hit the nail on the head. Both sides have given up on persuading anyone. One of the problems the Dems have had is that, even when they’re right, they can be so condescending about it, they don’t convince anyone. Telling Trump supporters that they’re evil racist monsters may feel good. But it doesn’t move a single vote. That’s true even if you think (and I don’t) that they actually are evil racist monsters.

    The thing we’ve forgotten is that people can be persuaded. We’ve gone from a country where the vast majority of people opposed gay marriage to where the vast majority support it. Gays did that by persuasion, not “calling out”. They showed that they were decent people who deserved to have their relationships recognized and convinced millions of people. We’ve gone from the vast majority of Americans wanting to keep marijuana illegal to a majority wanting it decriminalized. We didn’t do that be demonizing Drug Warriors, we did that by prominent people admitting they smoked pot and illustrating the devastating effects criminalization was having.

    Calling your supporters ignorant rubes isn’t going to persuade them. Even if … no, especially if they are. People will listen. People can be convinced. But that doesn’t happen by cajoling, condescending to and humiliating them.

    ReplyReply
    6
  29. Teve says:

    No Surprise was the song, in case anyone was wondering. 😀

    ReplyReply
  30. Not the IT Dept. says:

    @James Joyner: “But he’s not running a big-city or suburban eatery but rather a small-town pub and grub. The lifeblood of the business, outside tourist season, is locals getting together and communing. A takeout model wouldn’t work.”

    Well, if his staff and customers aren’t wearing masks, then the town might become even smaller in the months ahead, won’t it? Not sure how that’s going to help his business.

    And if you can put a meal on a plate, you can put it in a cardboard/styrofoam container and put it in a plastic or paper bag. Presumably he’s made doggy-bags for his patrons over the years, same thing would apply to take-out.

    The idea that small town eateries can’t deliver or prepare food to go doesn’t sound very entrepreneurial to me. I’ll ask the restaurant owners in the small town I live in (population: 8,943 at last count) and see what they say; I’ve ordered meals from three of them regularly since the spring.

    ReplyReply
    1
  31. Andy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    It’s not meant to convince the morons, the intended argument generally is fence-sitters listening in.

    The evidence that such tactics convince fence-sitters is thin.

    Everyone claims to be immune to ridicule, very few actually are.

    The question isn’t whether people are immune to ridicule, it’s whether ridicule causes people to change their minds or adopt whatever belief or viewpoint you want them to adopt. Ridicule doesn’t do that.

    And it’s the same with Nickelback. Hating them is a meme, but I bet most of them are humming along when a song comes on while they’re alone in the car. Plus there’s this

    I think if your thesis were correct the sales profession would be much different. I’ve yet to have any salesperson ridicule me for considering another brand. And research on cognition and motivation psychology also clearly shows that insult and ridicule are not effective except in very specific and narrow contexts.

    ReplyReply
    7
  32. grumpy realist says:

    @Not the IT Dept.: This is why our local Thai place doesn’t seem to have suffered at all. They were already huge on take-out and it’s now just gone to 100% rather than 90%.

    ReplyReply
    2
  33. KM says:

    @Not the IT Dept.:
    Agree – there’s very few restaurants that can’t be adapted to a take-out model. Things like Korean hotpots and hibachi and the like. Everyone else has figured things out. I’ve worked in the food industry – it’s really not that hard to switch at all. It may not be as profitable and a right pain in the ass but some money is better than complete bankruptcy. Most of these whiny owners don’t want to convert to takeout because they rightly assume they can pressure the government into making stupid decisions rather than do the capitalistic thing and meet market demands.

    Capitalism, baby – learn to adapt to consumer needs or die. Consumers want takeout options in a pandemic, you give it. Even without lockdowns, restaurants would struggle in this kind of environment. You don’t pressure the government to get your way – that’s not how the Great Chain works!

    ReplyReply
    4
  34. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Not the IT Dept.:

    And if you can put a meal on a plate, you can put it in a cardboard/styrofoam container and put it in a plastic or paper bag.
    The idea that small town eateries can’t deliver or prepare food to go doesn’t sound very entrepreneurial to me.

    I think most people here are failing to understand the role of the bar & grille in small town Wisconsin.

    It’s not “a place to get food”. It’s the social center of the town. It’s where farmers sit down and talk about their business. It’s where you learn about what’s going on with local government, schools, and social services. It’s where you hear who’s gotten married, who’s had children, and who’s died.

    It’s the news center for the area. The “local” newspapers don’t exist anymore. They’ve all been bought out by national chains and don’t publish anything of value.

    It’s where the volunteer fire department or ambulance crew has their “feast and raffle”–which makes up a large portion of their operating budget. It where you discuss politics–most often in a polite (if passionate) manner.

    You can’t “put that in styrofoam for curbside pick-up”.

    ReplyReply
    2
  35. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Andy:
    Reasoned argument and ridicule aren’t mutually exclusive. I made the arguments, so to speak, in books read by a million kids who are now in their 20’s and 30’s.

    Ridicule is a tool intended to divide and alienate. It acts as a reminder: don’t be like these idiots.

    As you’ll see if you scroll down this thread, our mutual acquaintance Drew is impervious to reason. Most people are. In fact I’d guess the percentage of people amenable to rational argument is smaller than the number of people susceptible to ridicule.

    Ridiculing Drew, in addition to being fun, sends a message to the casual lurker that what he says should be viewed with suspicion. The effectiveness of any communication is a function of the intended audience. Drew isn’t my intended audience.

    There are two reasons why Giuliani’s October surprise flopped. One, it was a weak effort full of holes. Two, Giuliani’s various lies have earned ridicule and he is no longer even listened to by most people because he’s a liar, yes, but also because he’s been successfully ridiculed as a fool. The messenger had been discredited by facts and by ridicule, rendering him impotent.

    Or, if you prefer, look at Trump’s success with ‘fake news.’ He doesn’t make rational arguments, he ridicules reporters and renders them powerless to communicate to his cult members.

    ReplyReply
    5
  36. MarkedMan says:

    @Hal_10000: You are 100% right, and I am quite circumspect in how I talk to friends, relatives, coworkers, etc. But I come here to blow off steam. I’m not trying to convince anyone. Wait, that’s not quite right. I enjoy some of the debates I’ve had on here, even ones where we are diametrically opposed. But that assumes a thinking mind on the other side. The Trumpers who come here may be thoughtful in other parts of their lives but they are just coming here to act the fool. They are monkeys who have wandered into a bookstore and start hooting and jumping on the counters and ripping the books up and throwing them around. Engaging in discussion with our Trumpers is like arguing the merits of Shakespeare vs. Danielle Steel with the monkeys.

    ReplyReply
    4
  37. Just Another Ex-Republican says:

    @KM:

    Agree – there’s very few restaurants that can’t be adapted to a take-out model.

    I wish that was true. Certain styles of food (steaks, for example) simply don’t travel well. Pasta can be very hit and miss as it overcooks in transit. And that is before you get into the social element that drives a lot of bar/pub revenue going away with takeout, and small town economics (Uber Eats/Grubhub/Doordash drivers are NOT around every corner). I wish it wasn’t true, but a large proportion of restaurants are not so easily adapted to a takeout model.

    Of course, what Swearingen SHOULD be open to is some sort of temporary guaranteed income. But he can’t accept that, thanks to decades of propaganda and brainwashing. The result is far from it being a “personal choice”, people feel like they have NO choice–if they want to survive economically, they must open. And the country overall gets screwed.

    ReplyReply
    3
  38. Gustopher says:

    @Andy:

    The question isn’t whether people are immune to ridicule, it’s whether ridicule causes people to change their minds or adopt whatever belief or viewpoint you want them to adopt. Ridicule doesn’t do that.

    When it comes to masks, I don’t care what is in a person’s mind, just what’s on their face.

    If they wear a mask because they are convinced the weak atomic force of the threads prevents the virus from escaping, or whether they they think the virus is in droplets, or whether they just don’t want to deal with the consequences of not wearing a mask… It’s all the same to me.

    Let’s be clear about the real issue: People are generally ugly and should cover their faces as much as possible.

    ReplyReply
    3
  39. Andy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Ridiculing Drew, in addition to being fun, sends a message to the casual lurker that what he says should be viewed with suspicion. The effectiveness of any communication is a function of the intended audience. Drew isn’t my intended audience.

    The effectiveness of communication also depends on the one doing the communicating, what they are communicating, and how. All the regulars here are well aware of your opinion of Drew, so your continuous ridicule changes nothing. Everyone made up their minds about Drew long ago. While piling on I’m sure is fun for you, it’s not changing anyone’s mind, especially after the thousandth iteration. And, I’m not sure if you realize it or not, but Drew is having fun too, he’s trolling you and others here, and you eagerly rise to the bait. It’s a perfect yin and yang. While I’m sure it’s great fun for both of you, it’s not very enlightening for the rest of us.

    But what about someone new to OTB who doesn’t know you, doesn’t know Drew, or any of the history here? In that case, ridicule just makes you look like an asshole.

    One thing that’s been discussed here from time-to-time is why and how the commentariat has become almost uniformly left-leaning and quite narrow in terms of political views. Well, the reason seems pretty obvious to me – anyone who comes here with heterodox views usually gets roughly the same treatment that Drew does and they don’t last long. Why would they?

    “Lurkers” quickly discover the unwritten rules for acceptable discourse here, and those who are on the more conservative side of the spectrum conclude that attempted participation is a waste of their time.

    So in this case your tactics don’t change minds or get anyone to consider alternative points of view. They don’t build understanding or knowledge. All it does is enforce orthodoxy and the illusion of compliance which might be your actual goal? The message you are actually sending to the “casual lurker” is that this is your playground and anyone who wants to play here better play by your rules. It doesn’t convince anyone that you are right and Drew (or anyone else) is wrong.

    ReplyReply
    7
  40. Northerner says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    I’m pretty much with James on at least one thing here. I have made a personal choice to never call anyone a moron. There are times, to be sure, when internally, I think, “Wow!” when someone says something that flagrantly and/or aggressively ignorant. But I really don’t want to fill my own life up with contempt.

    Its interesting that its still generally okay to insult people based on their intelligence (ie no public figures are being forced to apologize for using terms like moron) — especially since people usually have very little control over their intelligence (both for genetic and childhood environmental reasons), and stupid people are generally the least powerful in society (with exceptions for a few who were born rich like Trump). Moreover, I suspect being good and being intelligent are independent variables, so its interesting how often being stupid takes on moral tones (ie they’re subhuman).

    ReplyReply
    2
  41. KM says:

    @Mu Yixiao:
    I’m guessing you didn’t intend that to sound dismissive towards city dwellers. It’s not like cities don’t have places like that. Barber shops where guys go to gather and shoot the shit. Favored bars or coffeehouses people go to for years and know the barista’s drama. Poor people who can’t afford wifi or TV may go to the bodega to get news and gossip. That’s not exclusive to small towns, you know. Just because cities have more people doesn’t mean they don’t break down into neighborhood and cliques that are essentially dozens of small towns smashed together with the same dynamics.

    Nobody is saying we didn’t lose social aspects of things during lockdown. We’re talking about the business side of it and if it can be adapted. Frankly a business that everybody knows and loves in a small town can survive via takeout a lot easier than the dozens of competing restaurants in bigger cities for the very reasons you cite. Everyone may want Joe’s Bar and Grill to stay open in rural WI but not many will care if Olive Garden #365745 goes down. People would be willing to support local even if it means missing hanging out with Bill or Joe. However if there’s dozens of chains in a town, somebody’s not going to care enough to keep the Burger King on 5th alive over the Subways down on Main.

    ReplyReply
    5
  42. Kari Q says:

    Our current political polarization has led us all to some strange places. I am convinced that one of my local elected officials is corrupt and rigged the bidding on a contract. There is significant evidence of this, and the contract has since been voided because of irregularities. Normally, I would never even think of voting for someone like him.

    But his opponent wants to reopen everything and opposes the county’s mask mandate. So I voted for the corrupt yahoo, because at least fewer people will die that way. I am really unhappy with wear we find ourselves.

    ReplyReply
    3
  43. Mu Yixiao says:

    @KM:

    Nobody is saying we didn’t lose social aspects of things during lockdown. We’re talking about the business side of it and if it can be adapted.

    You’re missing the point. These B&Gs don’t make their money off of the food. They make it off of the booze. I spent years working in these places (and have family that owned them). Margins on the food side are tiny. A lot of these places only serve “bar food”–things that can be dropped in the deep-fryer or plopped on a 3×6 flat grill. And many only serve the food because it allows the patrons to stay (and drink more) rather than go somewhere else.

    All that socializing? It comes with copious amounts of beer and brandy.*

    That’s not available for curb-side pick-up. If we’re going to pick it up to drink at home, we’re going to the liquor store (or liquor aisle of the grocery store).

    * I don’t know if it’s still true, but WI used to drink more beer and brandy (per capita) than anywhere else in the world. We outdrink Germany and Australia.

    ReplyReply
  44. KM says:

    @Andy:
    To be fair, most of the non “uniformly left-leaning and quite narrow in terms of political views” poster here like Drew are clearly here to troll or argue in bad faith. When all the “conservative” posters that post are doing so to be asshats, you end up with a left-leaning group. Most of us *weren’t* left-leaning or liberals originally – like our hosts, Trump has made the conservative brand so toxic, leftward drift was inevitable for a lot of folks. It’s really hard to debate your principles when the prime example of them is…. well, Donald J Trump and QAnon. I imagine it was like being in Penn State during the Paterno scandal – you’re soooo proud of your school but BAM! Here’s this guy that’s ruined it for you and you can’t talk about what you think is worthwhile without him tainting the whole damn thing. All around you the thing you valued is now has it’s rot exposed and guilt by association makes you shuffle away. Eventually you have to decide if it’s really worth it and was the thing you loved ever actually worth your esteem.

    We *WANT* conservatives back – real, honest god conservatives like @James. We need them for debate and discussions. We challenge him but he challenges us right back. That what debate is.
    We don’t need shit stirrers who have no intention of talking about things but like to shart in the elevator and run away giggling. Anyone who’s lurking (like I did for so long) sees them come and go and realizes they’re no different than any other internet troll. Troll culture is now embraced by the GOP so a drive-by “LOL libs, bad faith, QAnon lie, BYE!!” post is going to get the treatment it deserves.

    ReplyReply
    6
  45. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Andy:
    You have no data to support your position. Neither do I.

    But Trump sure thinks ridicule works, doesn’t he? In fact, has he ever advanced a rational argument for anything? Anything at all? No, it’s been 99% ridicule. Has it been effective? Yes, at keeping his culties in line and siloing them against facts.

    Have you been as sure that his ridicule is ineffective? Can you point me to a remark along those lines? Four years of scorn and ridicule, have you made the argument that it doesn’t work?

    ReplyReply
    2
  46. Michael Reynolds says:

    @KM:

    We *WANT* conservatives back – real, honest god conservatives like @James.

    Indeed. The problem is that the few principled Republicans are now Biden voters. The Lincoln Project is what principled Republicans support now.

    Someday maybe we can get back to discussing conservative principles, if any remain. But the core problem is that those principles are nonsense, unsupported by evidence. And that’s why people like Drew don’t argue policy, conservative ideas are non-starters. And it’s why Republicans are desperate to suppress voting. If they thought they had something they’d want people to vote.

    Old school conservatism is an intellectual dry hole. They got nuthin’. They’re political flat-earthers.

    ReplyReply
    2
  47. KM says:

    @Mu Yixiao :
    So how is that different for a small town restaurant vs a city one? What, nobody socializes and drinks in city bars and restaurants? Are you kidding me right now or just moving the goal post?

    You said:

    I think most people here are failing to understand the role of the bar & grille in small town Wisconsin.

    You emphasized the social aspects of it for why we’re missing the value of these places and I replied with the equivalent areas that would also have been affected by the shutdown (barbershops as social centers is a *big* thing for urban minorities). Now we’re back to business and liquor? So unless I’m missing some implications here, you are just trying to insist that small town restaurants are just different somehow and shouldn’t be treated the same as those elsewhere who’ve had to convert to survive. If the clientele is just there to drink – like at any other bar and grill in the country – location doesn’t matter, it’s lost revenue on drinks vs money made from takeout. Any restaurant of that type will have the same problem and thus being small town isn’t the issue. My local dive bar will have the same struggle as the only bar and grill in IDKville, WI.

    Sell the beer to the guys sitting in their trucks and let them chat out the windows – that’s “takeout”. Set up a tent outside or add beer to the takeout menu (if local laws allow). If they really want to gather and chat like you say, they’ll do it outside in crappy weather for crap beer and food because the value’s in the socialization, not the drink. My point still stands – the business needs to convert in order to survive as it can’t run on it’s previous model anymore. Be it plastic containers for pickup or some wings and Bud dropped off to your car over a few hours, a restaurant needs to be able to be flexible in order to thrive in these times. Noting it’s a social center and thus special misses out of the other businesses that serve that function like hair salons and coffeehouses who also have to adapt.

    ReplyReply
    4
  48. MarkedMan says:

    @Andy: I pretty much agree with what Andy said. And it made me realize something: I no longer have any idea what “Conservative” means. In many ways I think of myself as having a small “c” conservative bent, but I am most definitely not a Republican. By effectively co-opting the Conservative label the Republicans have rendered it meaningless. So – a question: Given that some of us have expressed an interest in engaging with “principled conservatives”, how would you define such a creature?

    ReplyReply
    5
  49. Northerner says:

    @Andy:

    The question isn’t whether people are immune to ridicule, it’s whether ridicule causes people to change their minds or adopt whatever belief or viewpoint you want them to adopt. Ridicule doesn’t do that.

    I don’t know what its like in America, but in Canada ridiculing an opposing candidate is more likely to give them sympathy votes than anything else. You don’t see a lot of personal ridicule (as opposed to attacking their policies) for that reason.

    In fact, I’ve noticed that after reading a right-wing web site I feel more left-wing, and vice-versa. That might be just because I’m contrarian by nature, but many people I’ve talked to say the same. And I suspect it has more to do with the personal attacks (and ridicule) of the other wing than the ideas presented. However, this too may be more a Canadian than an American thing — it fits in with a population who overwhelming want public healthcare and a strong welfare safety net.

    ReplyReply
    3
  50. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Mu Yixiao:
    We’re going to lose a lot of restaurants. But, speaking as a former waiter and restaurant manager, I’d be happier staying home and getting enough of a check to survive until he get a vaccine or a cure. Waiters don’t want to die for tips.

    The trend toward consolidation will be accelerated by Covid. The chain stores with deep pockets will hang on and then expand. A lot of under-capitalized little guys may go broke, but I’ve actually been surprised by how few have done so here in LA. I order delivery six nights a week, and I keep expecting to find that this or that place is dead. And yet, Tacos tu Madre, Michelangelos, The Messhall, the oddly-named It’s Thai Hometaurant, Pine and Crane, Astro’s Diner, Dune and many more, all seem to still be there. To date none of the dozen or so places we order from has gone under.

    In restaurants there are fixed expenses (rent) and controllables like labor costs, food costs. Typically labor is a third – and now, with all take-out you can cut staff to the bone. Food costs may drop as fewer waiters and cooks are around to steal steaks, and also as you trim your menu. Utilities, down. Advertising, down. Insurance without customers? Down, if not immediately then eventually.

    I’m not being pollyanna, you’re dead right that the highest margins are on booze. We’ll eventually have fewer restaurants. The strong and the lucky will survive.

    ReplyReply
    3
  51. MarkedMan says:

    @KM: I don’t really have an opinion on whether this pandemic is harder on small town bars and restaurants or big city ones, but I have no doubt that it is tough on all of them. It is not easy to switch to a new business model and the ones I’ve talked to have laid off all but the core staff and are not offsetting their drop in eat and drink in business with takeout, by any stretch. That’s a reality and, no matter their politics, even if they are Trump supporters, I feel for them. If a business that you’ve built up on your own is going under it’s easy to latch onto easy answers. The Republican answers are easy and lazy. They are also wrong. But that’s why people try crank doctors for cancer or start taking supplements to “cure” diabetes. The reality is harsh.

    ReplyReply
    2
  52. KM says:

    @KM
    Damn missing edit…

    I’m not trying to be confrontal here. I’m from a small town and know exactly of what you’re talking about. The kinda place you go to for hours because you are there to see people and it’s -10 outside with nothing better to do. My hometown restaurant got snow yesterday but was still going around, pushing the wings to all the guys talking politics and sports in their trucks with the heaters blasting. My young cousin had a grand ole’ time because he’s normally too young to be taken with but he could be in the car with dad! His mom came to get him when it was too cold and he got bored. She got a takeout order of wings for the kids and a fishfry for herself.

    It can work. The restaurant just needs to be able to *want* to make it work. Screaming at the government isn’t the solution – being creative and having a loyal clientele is.

    ReplyReply
    3
  53. grumpy realist says:

    Also I wonder how many of these places, if they remained open to everyone sans masks, would continue to do so if one of said individuals turns out to come down with a serious case of COVID.

    I suspect a lot of the hissing and snarling is from people who think “oh, it can’t happen to me.”

    ReplyReply
    2
  54. Matt says:

    @KM: Moving from a very small very rural town to a big city I noticed what you’re talking about. When it comes to stuff like that cities feel like a bunch of small towns smashed together.

    It’s always amazing how dismissive of cities some people can be. They never quite realize that people are people…

    ReplyReply
    3
  55. J. Foobar says:

    @Just Another Ex-Republican:

    I wish that was true. Certain styles of food (steaks, for example) simply don’t travel well. Pasta can be very hit and miss as it overcooks in transit. And that is before you get into the social element that drives a lot of bar/pub revenue going away with takeout

    Yup. I was discussing Friendly’s most recent bankruptcy declaration on another site. How many people would actually order takeout from Friendly’s? Damn few. It’s a place to take your pack of rugrats for cheap, family-friendly dining, not a place to get takeout. How about the array of ubiquitous “American Bistro” chains like TGIF, Applebee’s, etc.? Sure, they do some business from takeout but there is no way a chain like that the depends on a well-honed dine-in experience (to include all the TVs and bar revenue) is ever going to make up for more than a small slice of their normal revenue with takeout. And things are only going to get worse the more wintery the weather gets since outdoor dining (which many still consider safe-ish) becomes less and less tenable.

    ReplyReply
    2
  56. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Just Another Ex-Republican:
    I order steaks from Morton’s. They’re not 100% but they’re 90%. In fact if you train cooks not to rest the meat on the line but push it out to delivery right off the grill, it should be fine. Delivered pastas unfortunately do hurt homemade pastas, but dried pasta isn’t a problem.

    It all depends on distance. We don’t go beyond 3 miles from the house, less if the path is likely to be congested. Fish is a problem. The worst are burgers or sandwiches, the bread/bun is disintegrating by the time it gets here.

    ReplyReply
    1
  57. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Matt:

    It’s always amazing how dismissive of cities some people can be. They never quite realize that people are people…

    In case you haven’t been following the open thread, and the convo between myself and Marked Man: I lived in a “small city” in China–only about 2 million people. It borders on Shanghai–which depending on how you count it* is arguably the biggest city in the world.

    I half a year of my life in a different metropolitan area in the US and Canada every week (never going home in between). I’m fully aware of what cities are like. And I’m not saying anything about what the people are like.

    My arguments have been about the difference in social structures and the differences in economy that can have a serious impact on small towns. People will drive 10 miles through the middle of nowhere to sit and have drinks for an entire evening. They’re not going to do that for take-out. And there’s no delivery services in these small towns.

    Your big cities may operate in some ways like a lot of little towns put together, but there’s an economy of scale and density that allows for options that aren’t available in a lot of these small towns.

    It’s important to understand that a lot of the small towns around here depend on tourism. Around here it’s the rich Chicago folks coming up to summer cabins. Businesses can live or die based on the Flatlander dollars. We haven’t been seeing those dollars this year. And…. I’m not sure any of them would drive 6 hours for Friday fish-fry take-out. It’s good, but… I don’t think it’s that good. 🙂

    Door county has a “full time” population of 28,000. In the summer that becomes 250,000. Almost an order of magnitude larger. That’s money that locals depend on.

    I’m wearing my mask (as are most around here), I’m doing my social distancing, I’m doing all the things I’m supposed to do. But even I–a hermit–need some social interaction. And I’m seeing the dark windows on Main St.

    Things around here are complicated. And people are starting to really hurt–in more ways than one.

    * Some county by city limits, some by “metropolitan area”, some by “greater metropolitan area.”.

    ReplyReply
    1
  58. Andy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    But Trump sure thinks ridicule works, doesn’t he? In fact, has he ever advanced a rational argument for anything? Anything at all? No, it’s been 99% ridicule. Has it been effective? Yes, at keeping his culties in line and siloing them against facts.

    If Trump thinks ridicule works to change minds, then I guess both of you have something in common. Presumably you’ve noticed his support during his term has shrunk, not expanded. Trump’s tactics have worked on no one except those who are already his die-hard supporters which just reinforces everything I’ve said in this thread.

    Have you been as sure that his ridicule is ineffective? Can you point me to a remark along those lines? Four years of scorn and ridicule, have you made the argument that it doesn’t work?

    Yeah, I’ve been sure it’s been ineffective. And I’m on record here and at Dave’s place that I think Biden is going to crush Trump in the election today and a big reason for that is what we’re discussing now.

    Also, if there’s one thing I’ve been consistent on for many years Michael, which you should well know, is that I’ve always thought these tactics are both ineffective and wrong – it’s long been one of my soap-boxes here at OTB.

    @KM:

    To be fair, most of the non “uniformly left-leaning and quite narrow in terms of political views” poster here like Drew are clearly here to troll or argue in bad faith.

    I think that’s true, but that raises the question of why people who do want to argue in good faith either don’t bother or don’t last. I admit I’ve been largely absent from OTB for several months, but over recent years I’ve seen a number of instances of someone new coming in, getting dogpiled on, and then never commenting again.

    But that’s not really unique to OTB and it’s is a lot worse at most other places. I don’t really expect things to change and I don’t really want to necessarily blame anyone for the culture here or anywhere else. It is what it is. But it should be obvious that utilizing ridicule as a tactic, in general terms, doesn’t invite good-faith dialog.

    ReplyReply
    2
  59. DrDaveT says:

    Their views about the virus, Trump and Biden, Swearingen and Bangstad, and other issues are one hundred eighty degrees out. It’s not that they disagree on how to prioritize hard choices. They literally see the world differently. They have not only different opinions but different facts.

    This.

    Every interview I have read or heard with someone explaining why they are voting for Trump cites a litany of fantasies. They are voting for Trump because he rescued the economy, brought jobs back to America, fixed healthcare (including protecting existing condition rights), kicked out the illegals, got North Korea to disarm, established lasting peace in the Middle East, etc. It is no more reality based than if they were voting for him because he made Diet Coke free, annexed Canada, and invented the cure for COVID-19.

    This is not a situation that can be resolved by persuasion, polite or otherwise. We can’t fix America until we neuter the disinformation machines. Even if the mainstream media were to suddenly grow spines and start reporting the facts about disinformation, I think it’s too late for mere truth to win out over the organized and well-funded lies. I welcome suggestions that can accommodate both a free press and some mechanism to de-program the brainwashed.

    ReplyReply
    2
  60. DrDaveT says:

    @MarkedMan:

    And it made me realize something: I no longer have any idea what “Conservative” means.

    I tried for about 5 years to get the local conservatives here (including the hosts) to explain conservatives principles to me. Invariably, the ones who would engage cited things like preferring incremental change over sudden change, preferring less government involvement in daily life* over more government involvement, and preferring local government over national government.

    The problem came when I tried to figure out whether those preferences are means to an end, or are goals in themselves. If they are means to an end, we can have reasoned evidence-based discourse about whether they are effective, and whether alternative policies would be more effective at achieving those ends. In the end, I concluded that these preferences are not seen as means to an end — they are preferred as ends unto themselves. Conservatives want less change, less government, and less interference by people far away, even if everyone would be better off if we had bigger government, higher taxes, and unified laws. These conservative principles are axioms; dogma. You cannot argue a conservative out of them by appeals to evidence or outcomes.

    *With the exceptions of police and military. This is a tell.

    ReplyReply
    3
  61. Kathy says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    It’s important to understand that a lot of the small towns around here depend on tourism.

    That’s hardly exclusive to small towns. Vegas, meaning Clark County, has a population of around 2.3 million, but gets much of its revenue from the over 40 million visitors per year.

    ReplyReply
  62. DrDaveT says:

    @DrDaveT: Cursed missing edit function…

    The alternative hypothesis is that these principles are a means to an end, but it’s an end the conservatives don’t want to admit to. Specifically, all of the principles cited act to preserve power structures, increase wealth disparity, perpetuate discrimination, punish local nonconformity, and enable political corruption. This is empirically verifiable (and verified). To be a conservative is either to think that you’re getting something worth the price in return, or to be aiming for those ends. I have yet to be able to elicit from a conservative any statement of what the “something worth the price” is that they are getting.

    ReplyReply
    1
  63. Just Another Ex-Republican says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Which is where it all comes down to location, location, location. Teriyaki and burgers (and Panera, thank goodness) are the only things I have within a few miles (I’ve been describing my residential area as a food “wasteland” for at least a decade), but it means I’ve given up on a lot of foods no matter how much I want to support the business. There is one Italian place nearby I’ve ordered so often from I’m getting a bit burned out 🙂 But most of the quality restaurants…delivery just takes too long. 15-20 minutes or more from pickup to my location, assuming someone isn’t making multiple stops.

    Have a bunch of breakfast places nearby but eggs, waffles and such just don’t seem to travel well even when it’s only 10 minutes and a few miles.

    ReplyReply
  64. MarkedMan says:

    @Matt:

    It’s always amazing how dismissive of cities some people can be.

    One of the most “small town” pub experiences I ever had was in the French Quarter in New Orleans – about as far from the typical small town crowd as you can imagine. I lived Uptown but had taken the streetcar and then walked into the Quarter on an errand one Saturday. It was in the winter and too early in the afternoon so no tourists about. I was coming back and basically had to walk from one end to the other. It started raining buckets and I walked into the first bar I saw and sat down for a beer. There were a half dozen of us in there, most for the same reason and we started talking and passing the time. Real characters. Then I finished my beer and there was a break in the rain and I headed out, only getting a block or so before the rain came in again and I dived into the closest tavern. Different cast of characters but same vibe. I think I did it a couple more times before I finally reached the streetcar line. I met a judge, a street performer, a couple of brick layers, a professor, musicians, an accountant, rich, poor, black, white, all united by the rain. No one was in a hurry and everyone just wanted a good story. It was magical.

    ReplyReply
    2
  65. Kathy says:

    Speaking of restaurants, I don’t go out to eat much. I like to cook.

    Still, I do like to get a coffee at Starbucks now and then, and to seat at a table and drink it while I surf the web. Now what I do instead, is get the coffee to go, get into my car, and drive a few kilometers to a quiet residential street, where I can drink my coffee while listening to an audio book (no free WiFi on residential streets).

    I like this better. There’s no ambient music, nor loud customers talking, nor the late middle age kiddies who get coffee before riding their bikes somewhere.

    ReplyReply
    1
  66. flat earth luddite says:

    @Kari Q:

    … one of my local elected officials is corrupt and rigged the bidding on a contract. There is significant evidence of this, and the contract has since been voided because of irregularities. Normally, I would never even think of voting for someone like him.

    But his opponent wants to reopen everything and opposes the county’s mask mandate. So I voted for the corrupt yahoo, because at least fewer people will die that way. I am really unhappy with wear we find ourselves.

    The examples I had growing up were “venal/corrupt” vs “reformers.” Based on evidence in Seattle in those days, venal/corrupt was preferable to reformer 9 times out of 10. Venal/corrupt at least stayed bought once they’d sold their vote; Roger Reformer would frequently go back and screw EVERYONE as soon as the wind direction changed. Because “REFORM!”

    Of course, YMMV.

    ReplyReply
  67. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @KM: I’m going to play the contrarian for this argument for a brief moment. I’ve eaten out a total of 3 or 4 times since my county reopened. Once by myself, twice with the same friend, and once with his daughter and her boyfriend making a party of 4. In each case, we ate at times when whatever rushes there might have been were over, we were the only customers at those times. But in general, I buy carry out if I’m not eating my own cooking.

    (And if dolsot bi bim bap was available for take out like it is in Korea, I might not ever go to a restaurant again during the pandemic. As it is, I work very hard at protecting both myself and others–even wearing a mask when I’m using a cardio machine at the gym with the next closest person 10+ feet away.)

    ReplyReply
  68. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mu Yixiao: Yeah, but that’s the part that I don’t do because of the pandemic. (It’s also the part that I didn’t do before the pandemic because I’ve only lived in my small town for the last 5 years and only lived there for 15 before I moved to Korea. I can count the number of local townsfolk that I hang with on one hand–with fingers left over. I wasn’t born here, therefore I am invisible.)

    ReplyReply
    2
  69. Mikey says:

    @DrDaveT:

    Specifically, all of the principles cited act to preserve power structures, increase wealth disparity, perpetuate discrimination, punish local nonconformity, and enable political corruption. This is empirically verifiable (and verified).

    The best definition of “conservatism” I’ve seen came from a blog comment:

    Conservatism consists of exactly one proposition, to wit: There must be in-groups whom the law protects but does not bind, alongside out-groups whom the law binds but does not protect.

    Which pretty well supports your alternative hypothesis above.

    ReplyReply
    2
  70. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Andy:

    Also, if there’s one thing I’ve been consistent on for many years Michael, which you should well know, is that I’ve always thought these tactics are both ineffective and wrong – it’s long been one of my soap-boxes here at OTB.

    And did those remarks specifically target Trump? Or did you just both sides it?

    I check in there from time to time. I don’t recall such remarks, which would be remarkable in itself, given four years of an unequaled cascade of presidential ridicule heaped on hundreds of individuals, including his own people. I’m surprised given the literally thousands of opportunities that presented themselves to you that I haven’t come across any. Of course I may have missed them.

    ReplyReply
    1
  71. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Mikey:
    I can reduce conservatism to one word: Me.

    ReplyReply
    3
  72. wr says:

    @Hal_10000: “Calling your supporters ignorant rubes isn’t going to persuade them

    Whereas calling them baby-killers and communists and tyrants always does.

    Oh, wait — it doesn’t? Then why are we constantly subjected to harping on how awful it is that liberals say — shudder — not nice things to Real Amurkins, but no one ever seems to worry about the tone coming from the other side?

    ReplyReply
    6
  73. DrDaveT says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I can reduce conservatism to one word: Me.

    Now, that’s not fair. I have seen lots of evidence that it’s actually “Us”. Which implies a “them”, and usually translates as “me, my family, and people who share X with me.” Popular values of X include religion, ethnicity, social caste, and geographic propinquity.

    Conservatives reversing their position on abortion/addiction/healthcare when Beloved Daughter becomes pregnant/addicted/ill is practically a trope. Conservatives wanting to impose their religion while suppressing others is another. As is treating people from Far Away or who look different as guilty until proven dead.

    ReplyReply
    1
  74. wr says:

    @Mu Yixiao: “These B&Gs don’t make their money off of the food. They make it off of the booze.”

    That’s really too bad. Terrible things are happening to businesses and people all over the world.

    And you know what? They’re going to keep happening at greater and greater rates until people start thinking that their personal interests are far more important than the common good.

    I do feel bad for the B&G owners, and for the customers. I feel bad for the owner of the Clover Deli here in NYC which, like a lot of other small businesses, has gone under during the pandemic.

    The answer, though, is not that they should get a hardship exemption to infect as many people as they want because we like their businesses. The answer is for a competent government to be supporting people and businesses adapt to these terrible times — including bailing them out.

    ReplyReply
    3
  75. wr says:

    @Mu Yixiao: As I recall, you spent many months telling us how your area should be exempt from all regulations because the virus was not there and was clearly never going to get there.

    How’s it going now?

    ReplyReply
    3
  76. Modulo Myself says:

    The thing we’ve forgotten is that people can be persuaded. We’ve gone from a country where the vast majority of people opposed gay marriage to where the vast majority support it. Gays did that by persuasion, not “calling out”. They showed that they were decent people who deserved to have their relationships recognized and convinced millions of people.

    Yeah, that’s not something gay people enjoyed. Having to prove to bigots that they were, in fact, decent might have fun for the bigots, but that’s not the case for gay people. Don’t call people out who think AIDS jokes are funny and the death of your friends a laugh riot by calling them vile bigots–show that you’re a decent person who won’t challenge their cruelty. That’s the lesson of American goodness. Come together and forgive white/straight/patriarchal brutality.

    Bottom line is that views are malleable. Being a bigot or a ‘heterodix’ thinker or whatever is malleable. Being gay, black, an immigrant, a woman–these are not. The GOP has taken the most spurious crap–being an outraged white person who suffers when harmlessly insulted–and made it the centerpiece of an entire movement while meanwhile being utterly indifferent to actual pain and suffering. Trump is–let’s hope–the final asshole in this routine.

    ReplyReply
    5
  77. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Old school conservatism is an intellectual dry hole. They got nuthin’. They’re political flat-earthers.

    Yeah. That’s what I concluded about 25 or so years ago. I wish there was something about conservatism that was worth holding on to, but I just don’t see it. Even something small, like the government should be able to pay for what it does from the tax base would be enough, but all they’ve got is “cut out the waste and abuse” and “taxes are too high.” They can’t even consistently define where the waste is, let alone cut any of it.

    It’s almost like that’s just some kind of an advertising come on…

    ReplyReply
    1
  78. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Michael Reynolds: I don’t find burgers to be a problem, but I usually do Burger King, sometimes Carl’s Jr. or DQ, so my palate may not be as refined as yours. Sandwiches are pretty much a non-starter for me. I’ve been able to make a better sandwich than a restaurant since I was about 7 years old. (And that was when we bought our bread at the day-old store for the bread factory. And even then, my dad didn’t buy the day-old bread because it was too expensive; he bought the 5 loaves for a dollar bread.)

    ReplyReply
    1
  79. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Andy: Most people on either side really want to want dialogue rather than wanting to have dialogue. Most of us are really most looking for validation as much as we are looking for alternative views. It may be that feature of human nature that makes the interwebs so unsuccessful at fostering debate.

    When my brother or my friend seriously disagrees with me, either he or I (with my brother, mostly I) shuts up about it and nods and says something innocuous but counter because the relationship is more important than the discussion. With some rando on a comment thread, there’s no relationship to preserve and we feel more strongly about guarding our own dignity by making sure that the other member(s) of the conversation know exactly what we think. The whole “I do it for the lurkers” dodge is also IMLTHO related to some unspoken need to evangelize people–and not all the evangelists in the world go to church, either.

    As always, YMMV, but that’s my ignint and crackeresque take.

    ReplyReply
    4
  80. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Just Another Ex-Republican: Delivery is another good point. I don’t do delivery. I prefer to order and pick up myself. Part of the not doing delivery is that I can’t be sure that I can get to the doorstep of my apartment building before a denizen of the street beats me to my order for “touchless delivery,” and (mostly) I don’t like paying delivery charges (though I do agree that people deserve to be paid for working). But mostly, I live by the maxim that I learned in the days when department stores still delivered:

    The packages you carry home arrive today.

    ReplyReply
    2
  81. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @flat earth luddite: Uhhh… yeah, I hear that. One of my Korean students made the comment about concerns that Lee Myung Bak was corrupt when he was running for president of Korea that everyone knew that he was corrupt. They just didn’t care because they were tired of government by progressives.

    ReplyReply
    1
  82. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @wr: Yeah. My county thought that too. Then we entered Phase Two reopening and our current case number went from about 25 to about 140 over one weekend. Fun times.

    (Oooh… bad news–27 new cases since Friday, 30 October, bringing our total back up to 170 active cases. 105,000 residents of which over half live in 4 towns all in about a 10 mile radius of each other.)

    ReplyReply
  83. Andy says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Those are great points – I agree that’s a huge consideration.

    @Michael Reynolds:

    And did those remarks specifically target Trump? Or did you just both sides it?

    Nope, not gonna play another game of that Michael, where you make up some BS and then expect me to disprove it.

    ReplyReply

Speak Your Mind

*