What’s Politics For, Anyway?
Capitol Hill Republicans are turning the concept on its head.
Way back in 1936, the political scientist Harold Lasswell defined politics as the process for deciding “who gets what, when, how.” Increasingly, at least at the national level, it has become something else entirely in the American system. A series of overlapping fights on Capitol Hill going on right now illustrates what I mean.
CNN (“Internal GOP tension rises as McConnell’s deal-making puts him at odds with McCarthy“):
Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell had such a reputation for stopping Democratic legislation and keeping his conference together that he earned the nickname “the grim reaper.”
But now he’s helped push through a string of major bipartisan victories that Democrats in particular are touting, splintering his own conference and leaving some House Republicans fuming.
“Of course there was big frustration” with those Senate Republican votes, said Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, an ally of House GOP leadership and co-founder of the hardline House Freedom Caucus. “I thought that was totally wrong.”
The divide is most pronounced between McConnell and House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy, who has whipped his members to oppose some of the big-ticket items that McConnell has backed, raising concerns among some Republicans about how the two will function in a potential GOP majority next year.
“Too often we’re seeing Republicans in the Senate losing fights because they’re not sticking together,” a Republican House member told CNN. “In the majority, we would hope that the Senate would be a partner, rather than an obstacle.”
McCarthy, who meets regularly with McConnell when both chambers are in session, said he has directly complained to McConnell about mandatory spending levels in bills that the Senate has sent to the House.
“They go too big,” McCarthy said.
Over the past year, McConnell and some of his deputies have supported bipartisan deals on infrastructure, gun violence and the global chip shortage — all of which the majority of Senate Republicans opposed, putting McConnell in the minority of his own party. What angered some conservatives most recently: McConnell’s threat to hold up a broader version of the chips bill because Democrats were pursuing their own party-line economic package.
Some of this seems to be legitimate disagreement over public policy. I have no issue with small government conservatives arguing that, for example, the infrastructure bill is too expensive. Or for libertarian types to argue against more restrictive gun legislation or mercantilist economic policy. Indeed, I’m more than a bit skeptical of the latter.
Most of it, though, seems to be about whether the opposition party can tout a “win.” Republicans are, in some cases, voting in lockstep to defeat legislation they strongly support!
POLITICO (“Splitsville: McConnell and McCarthy break on big votes“):
Congress’ two GOP leaders split yet again this week on a bill intended to stoke domestic microchip manufacturing, on top of a bevy of past fissures that include infrastructure, gun safety and whether to embrace former President Donald Trump after the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.
McConnell and 16 other Senate Republicans voted for the microchips bill mere hours before Democrats struck a deal on a party-line climate, tax and health care package that Republican leaders were trying to kill — and thought was dead. It raised suspicions among some lawmakers in both chambers that the Senate GOP got played.
“We got our ass kicked. It’s just that simple,” said Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.). “Looks to me like we got rinky-doo’d. That’s a Louisiana word for ‘screwed.’ And we got our ass kicked. That’s the way my people back home see it.”
So, they got screwed into voting for a piece of legislation . . . . they all supported?
Look, if they had a tacit understanding with Joe Manchin that they would vote for this if and only if he continued blocking the Build Back Better deal and then he turned around and agreed to support BBB the second this bill passed, I get why they’re angry at that. (Manchin and other Democrats deny any such bargain was made, even implicitly. Yet their supporters are relishing their giving Republicans a taste of their own medicine.) But this isn’t how governing is supposed to work. Typically, a compromise is that each side agrees to support something they don’t want in order to get something they do want. Here, Republicans are agreeing to support something that they want in order to stop Democrats from doing something they want. Where’s the tradeoff in that?
As the GOP heads into the midterms, McCarthy and McConnell are operating in different galaxies. While the House GOP leader navigates a tricky path as he tries to take the speaker’s gavel next year, voting against all those big bipartisan deals to avoid losing any edge with his conference’s conservatives, the Senate minority leader has offered surprising support for a decent portion of President Joe Biden’s agenda.
The dynamic could pose serious challenges, given the two men hope to lead a Republican Congress together next year. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said simply that any Senate Republicans who work with Democrats on Biden-backed legislation are “wrong. I wish they wouldn’t.”
While he didn’t criticize McConnell directly, Jordan praised McCarthy as being “on the side of the American people” and claimed that voters detest the Senate’s recent bipartisan legislation: “Look at all the pushback.”
But across the Capitol, GOP senators have their own concerns about McCarthy’s approach. Some worry he’s reflexively rejecting good bills — ones that help the broader GOP combat Democrats’ push to paint it as obstructionist.
“I wish [McCarthy] would take a deeper policy look at some of these issues that we’ve come together on, understanding they may want to make changes,” said Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), who has supported much of the Senate’s bipartisan agenda. “Just unilaterally being against? I’d rather get things done, put it that way.”
Again, I’m perfectly fine with policy disagreement. It’s often been the case that House Republicans are simply more conservative than their Senate counterparts given the structural differences in those bodies.* But it seems that the objections are mostly strategic: House Republicans simply don’t want to vote for anything that the Democrats can claim as a “win.”
I get that politicians make strategic votes with an eye to how it impacts the next election. But, at the end of the day, the point of getting elected to Congress is to pass legislation that benefits your constituents. To have a say in “who gets what, when, how.” So, rather obviously, it makes sense to vote for bills you and your constituents actually support.
*Representing smallish districts versus entire states; 2-year terms versus 6-year terms; the fact that half of the Senate seems to be running for President at any given moment, etc.
You are talking about people who fought against the Covid vaccine. That was the simplest, most elegant benefit imaginable, and the GOP ran that to the ground in order to own the Democrats. McConnell is seeing the possibility of the Democrats holding onto the Senate and he’s trying to figure out how to stop that. That’s all he’s doing.
And he should be worried. McConnell’s not an idiot. The Democrats might hold onto the Senate. Right now, they are winning, fwiw, the generic ballot. The Democrats holding the Senate, losing the House, but getting more votes overall for their candidates in this election would be an absolute nightmare scenario for the GOP leadership which Trump will use against the GOP–even though the Trumpiest candidates in the Senate are going to lose, probably.
Plenty of reasons:
Power for its own sake. To be stronger (and better) than your inferiors. Confirmation of your worldview (libs, females, deviants, atheists, etc. ought to have less power than white males).
Sort of like why poor whites fought for the Confederacy. No matter their own circumstances, they would always have n*ers to look down on.
A common mistake we tend to make is that politics is (generally) about policy. Often it just isn’t.
What keeps bothering me, though, is that the media consistently fail to point this out.
I absolutely hate it when actual, even if imperfect policy proposals and emotional gratification (“MAGA”) get the “both sides” treatment.
Power for its own sake is basically fascism. I don’t think there are many places in America–outside of the worst of the Jim Crow South and the worst company-owned towns in the 19th century and up to the New Deal–where power for its own sake was the guiding principle.
What’s happened is the GOP is the party of pure nihilism. Any kind of positive belief is terrifying for these people: cities, pronouns, being considerate of the blind, sharing (most likely in the next election). It’s allowed fascism to take root, because what else is there when you hate everything? But it’s also thrown a wrench into government. You have to some liking for humans to govern, and you can’t play both sides of the table when it comes to agree/disagree about something being considerate of the blind. You can try but it will do you in.
I can imagine Hawley, Cruz, Jordan, McCarthy et al voting against the PACT Act just because the Democrats brought it up. Besides, they don’t want anyone to remember there was another Biden sibling who died from cancer possibly resulting from exposure to burn pits in Iraq. It spoils their narrative about the vileness of Hunter, who is a stand-in for the entire Biden family.
It’s not nihilism, it’s sadism. Republicans do not believe nothing, they have a large number of horrifying things they actively believe in.
Can anyone explain to me why the Republicans, when they got mad about this, decided it was a political win to vote against the burn pit legislation. What is the upside there?
“To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of their women.”
Conan the Republican 🙂
The entire structure of the Republican belief system is in ruins. The intellectual collapse preceded MAGA, but MAGA cemented the turn away from ideals, from beliefs, from goals, from anything but rage and spite. What is the Republican plan for. . . anything? It’s pure reactionism, they’re nothing but angry toddlers throwing their toys around in a fit. The party is brain dead and has been for a very long time.
“Power for its own sake.”
Or a Clausewitz put it, “War is a continuation of policy by other means.”
I’ve been wondering what made Manchin change his mind in such a dramatic fashion. I suspect Schumer and Biden went to him and said, “Joe, we’ve got a sweetener that you won’t be able to resist: we are going to outmaneuver McConnell so bad he’ll be running through the streets screaming about betrayal”
I think nihilism and sadism are at least somewhat related. Nihilism isn’t “believing nothing.” Rather, it’s believing that no moral imperative should prevent the strong from freely exercising their will.
This easily leads to “the cruelty is the point,” “fuck your feelings,” etc.
More generally, I think that a lot of GOP voters are motivated by a sense that they are losing their existing privileges.
One way to affirm privilege, is to exercise it, especially if it’s done casually and wantonly and to the detriment of others.
I think we see a lot of that.
@Stormy Dragon: No it is neither of those things, although the pure demonisation of the Republicans (to reduce the usual Lefty ideological reaction, yes, they are rather more the drivers of this) in your two comments is illustrative of the real underlying issue: break down in socio-political understanding of doing deals “within the group / family” – which is a shared identity of a common Group and a dangerous evolution for a country.
I am most reminded of the venomous patterns I see in working in post-colonial developing countries where there is not a real genuine We of identity of nation, but in fact feuding sub-national identity groups who do not really genuinely see a shared common We, and a fundamental and generally mutual denial of legitimacy in interests. I am sure the political scientists have a term for this. But it is from afar more and more evident.
@Michael Reynolds: eh. In Ruins? This is inscribing an outside perception. More your own emotional take than analytical reality (although they are indeed now the party of Reaction, in ways similar to I would say the particular flavour of quasi or outright fascism as emerged in end-colonial world, like that neo-Vichyism of the pieds noirs).
It rather more seems to me that the infection of the Southern Strategy opened up a takeover of South US racial-white-supremacist political identity for the entire party and that the uncomfortable driver in MAGA is not a lack of “ideals, beliefs” but rather reaction based on racial identarian politics, latching on to the sense of threat that any majority will feel when it is in decline. Which I do not think the US Left with its own foolish buy in to identarian politics focused on populatoin minorities has rendered itself unable to successfully respond to, responding by lecturing, hectoring, mocking, or pushing into the arms of the supremacists, rather than dividing and reassuring.
The weak and insecure need to dominate others in order to feel strong. The strong have the confidence and ease to focus on helping others.
Given that it was McConnell who made complete and total obstruction the preferred Republican approach on everything during the Obama administration, increasing the usage of the filibuster by orders of magnitude when they were in the minority then, forgive me as I shed no tears that the monster he created is starting to consume even him.
Of course it’s wrong, but they have really become the nihilistic “Party of No” with no interest in actual governance.
Some of the kindest people I know are nihilist, because they believe if the universe isn’t imposing any sort of moral order, it falls to them personally to make things better then they are
I can almost understand the twisted logic which results in “We had to burn down the village in order to save it.” But burning down the village to save it while you’re inside is just stupid.
Not to be a pedant, but you’re describing existentialism rather than nihilism, I think.
So they have ideals but dare not speak their name? Maybe a creature like Josh Hawley. But, I don’t think most Republicans even think as far as embracing authoritarianism or fascism. It’s pure, unhinged emotion, driven by fear.
I agree race is a big part of it, but an even larger part IMO is threatened men. I don’t mean ‘the patriarchy’ because that is some weary feminist bullshit out of the 1970’s. I mean that men feel displaced, dispossessed, deprived of status. The giveaway is the LARPing as soldiers with their ‘tactical gear’ and their body armor and the rest. Displays of what passes for masculinity among the social losers.
The Left loves to talk about race but for ideological reasons cannot even contemplate the idea that men – let alone White men – could have legitimate fears and concerns that society should address. Instead we paint men generally as villains. It’s not Black women who are drifting away from the Democrats, it’s Black men. Consistently across all demos it’s males who power MAGA.
Sex, race, religion are the main factors, exacerbated by economics as all things are. From the perspective of a random goober in Nebraska, we liberals have allied ourselves with groups that attack or subvert maleness, Whiteness and Christianity. And they aren’t wrong.
“Say what you like about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at least it’s an ethos.”
@Michael Reynolds: I read a piece on Yahoo (???) earlier today where some Senators seemed to be saying that the message of the kill was directed to Mitch as an expression of their…???
… disappointment at his support of some chip regulation (that Republicans would support if they were in charge) and that the crumbs from BBB will be passed now (which they also blame Mitch for, citing the ever popular “reasons, that’s why”).
@MarkedMan: I wish that Manchin would be petty enough that a pitch like that would incentivize him, but I doubt he is. (Not that he isn’t petty, just that triggering Mitch won’t link to his pettiness. He’s not that loyal to party.)
@Stormy Dragon: “Some of the kindest people I know are nihilist, because they believe if the universe isn’t imposing any sort of moral order, it falls to them personally to make things better then they are”
Okay. But why? What’s the point? If the universe is truly random and we’re ultimately just the most sophisticated accident ever, then “the person who dies with the most toys IS the winner.” Giving up your chance to have toys simply to make a better chaos doesn’t seem reasonable to me. Give me a hand understanding.
@Just nutha ignint cracker: It is possible to care about someone other than yourself. Weird, but true.
And just from a utilitarian reason, if you create a pleasant world, it’s pleasant to be in that world.
And no one wants to actually see suffering. You either have to reduce the suffering, or get a privacy fence.
(Did you believe every atheist is a libertarian?)
I don’t think the relationship between existentialism and nihilism is as disjoint as you suggest, and indeed there’s probably differing schools of thought on what that relationship is. My point is your “nihilists are all amoral psychos” portrayal is rather reductive, and that actual nihilists are a lot more diverse than you suggest.
Of course, one of the ironies of the movie is the “The Nihilists” were the only characters in the entire thing that WEREN’T nihilists. The whole thing was just showing how different types of people deal with nihilism, from Walter’s fetishizing rules to Donny’s obliviousness to Maude’s art.
@Just nutha ignint cracker:
Because they want to? There certainly are nihilists who go the “the person who dies with the most toys IS the winner” route, but from the standpoint of nihilism, that’s ultimately just as arbitrary a personal motivation as wanting to make other people happy.
I’m not disagreeing, but could you get more specific because this general statement isn’t very helpful to me. Can you name a fear that is unique to White men that is legitimate that society should address? I see a lot of things that White men uniquely fear that are realistic – loss of status, loss of privilege, a weakening of their social dominance – and I can be mindful of that fear without believing society needs to address that fear as legitimate. Society doesn’t own White men status or privilege or dominance, does it? What am I missing?
I can’t really tell you the reason, but human beings care about justice. Justice does not come from Nature, it comes from humans.
If you are religious, you might say that God bestowed a love of Justice upon humanity. You might point out that is necessary for humans to take collective action, which has been a hallmark of the species.
But nature in the raw doesn’t really promote justice. Lightning strike the wicked and the beloved. Fires, earthquakes, famine – it’s hard to see justice in their operation.
So if one is religious, one can offer thoughts and prayers, or one can decide that the primary agents of God’s love and justice on this earth are people and get to work.
Likewise, if one is not religious, one can recognize that, assuming one loves justice, it isn’t going to happen unless one works to make it happen.
Consequently, I don’t think the religious beliefs are determinative, either way. Everyone likes to think they are though.
If your political thesis is that “Democrats are Evil, and everything they touch is tainted by that Evil”, then yes, you should stop them from doing even things you like. Because getting power is the most important thing. The Evil must be stopped.
Michael’s from the “if you vote to unionize your company, you can harass a few LGTBQ people back into the closet as a treat” school of liberalism.
@Just nutha ignint cracker:
Don’t know about Stormy, but my answer would be that some early philosophers had some ideas.
(A lot of “pagan” philosophy was based on an ethically meaningless universe: you didn’t look to e.g. the gods of Olympus for much in the way of exemplary morality or rational purpose)
And ethical/aesthetic existentialism is a modern variant of that approach.
Individuals are free to be an utter arsehole, in such a universe.
(But any more so than in a “meaningful” universe? Room for doubt.)
But will that really make a person happy?
Especially given the likelihood of your fellows tiring of such nonsense and getting a bit pagan themselves.
Various arguments can be made that in a meaning-free universe, love, beauty, truth, duty etc can nonetheless have self-valorising, and mutually reciprocal effectiveness.
In that situation, the task of politics is to construct a social space in which such freely chosen self-actualization can occur, including it’s economic underpinnings.
And to constrain the anti-social activity of the arseholes.
The divide might perhaps be between “democratic optimists” who believe that an effective majority can be assembled to sustain such a system.
And “elitist pessimists”, who think that the tendency of the average person to be a damn fool every so often requires institutional constraints, and effectively empowered elites for such an order to endure.
I’d describe myself as an absurdist, ala Camus, just to add a third amorphous philosophical concept to the existentialism-nihilism ball.
Meanwhile, I am smiling in my tea at the mention of Republican office holders publicly squabbling with one another.
Oh, don’t mind me, I was thinking about something funny my cat did. (I don’t have a cat).
How may nihilists does it take to change a lightbulb?
– I don’t know and it doesn’t matter…
How many existentialists does it take to change a lightbulb?
– Three: one to bemoan the darkness;
the second to act in the hope that inserting a lightbulb is act of self-realization;
the third to observe how it symbolizes a beacon of subjectivity in a meaningless universe
-How many absurdists does it take to change a lightbulb:
– An infinity of flourescent dreaming lobsters!
@Michael Reynolds: “So they have ideals but dare not speak their name?”
BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! 😀 😀 😀
That idea was where I stopped reading Lounsbury’s comment. (Actually I stopped when I saw the “you lefties” rant was starting. And BTW, he’s one of our “reasoned conservative voices”–no really–just sayin’…)
For the record, I stopped reading MRs comment at sentence one, also. Following this particular argument in a vacuum has lost its appeal.
What can society do about male insecurity? Not much. Some lip service, some sympathy, maybe less piling on. But society has evolved, moved on, so yeah some soft soap is about it.
The truth is that male privilege cannot survive in the modern world without Taliban-style violence to enforce it because there is no rational basis for it. Only men can be doctors? Nope. Only men can be truckers? Nope. Only men can be CEO’s? Nope. Only men can be soldiers, firemen, cops? Nope. We’re down to only men can be in the NFL and only men can pee standing up.
It is what it is. Males as rent-seekers, looking for unearned status and privilege. It’s pathetic.
This is one of the reasons I reject group identity. I’m me, not a man, not a White person, not a cis person, not this group, that group. That kind of identity is building your house on sand. (Bible!) Identity is individual and internal. Imagine yourself in solitary confinement, entirely cut off, alone. Who you are then is who you are. The individual is irreducible.
Care to provide some factual basis for that idiotic remark?
@Gustopher: I certainly agree that it is if one holds an essentially Christian/religious ethos, but for me, being concerned for others apart from such an ethos makes no sense. I guess it must be the NPD. (At least that’s what I’m trying to depress by holding to a Christian ethos.)
I don’t think its NECESSARY to be libertarian to be atheist. It may only be EASIER.
@Just nutha ignint cracker:
Actually I believe Lounsbury is a classical liberal. So am I. But recognizing that would require some political/philosophical understanding and historical context. Perhaps not your forte.
@Stormy Dragon: I see “because they want to” as “no particular reason.” Fair enough (and YMMV). But not, then, a rational decision. Also fair enough (and YMMV).
The fact that basically every time a conflict between the rights of LGBTQ people and the whims of homophobic and transphobic people comes up, you want the LGBTQ people to just accept that it’s their lot in life to be harassed, because you’re more worried that the -phobes might feel bad if there’s any attempt to push back on them.
Again: basis in fact?
Spoiler: as usual, you got nuthin’ kid. Show me any time I ever said or even implied that LGBTQ+ people had to take shit from anyone.
You actually believe my position is that my daughter should accept abuse? My daughter goes out in the street to confront cops and right-wing assholes wearing the protective gear I bought her, and with the knowledge that I have her bail money and my lawyers in my back pocket. You know nothing and understand nothing. I hope you’re young, because that’s the only excuse I can find to justify your combination of arrogance and cluelessness.
TFW when MR has turned into Stephen Colbert’s “I don’t believe in racism because I can’t see color” schtick. News flash: you are a man, you are white, you are a cis person. But seeing yourself as a raceless, sexless, genderless default person sure is comfortable because it means you never have to think any uncomfortable thoughts about what that means.
@JohnSF: “And “elitist pessimists”, who think that the tendency of the average person to be a damn fool every so often requires institutional constraints, and effectively empowered elites for such an order to endure.”
Okay. But at the core, even the “democratic optimists” impose institutional constraints by the nature of a social contract stipulating that people surrender freedoms they don’t value for securities that they do. It just seems to me that some random species having the varieties of cognitive thought and vision that our random species has as a result of biochemical and biophysical happenstance is implausible. And yet, here we are.
@Just nutha ignint cracker (@JohnSF): And the elitist pessimists certainly have their point. (Isn’t that problem at root one of the things conservatism is about?)
Job loss. And no, I don’t me to “them darned immigrants”. Men make up approximately 85% of the blue-collar work force (it varies heavily by industry). As more and more jobs are being replaced by robots, they’re losing their livelihood. The jobs that are coming back from overseas are generally in the high-tech fields (e.g., chip manufacturing) where skills in machining, construction, and assembly aren’t needed.
Farmers are primarily rural white men (the wives commonly get office jobs somewhere so that they have insurance and other benefits). Farms take huge hits when immigration is restricted*, or when logistics get backlogged (fruit can’t sit in a warehouse until things get sorted out).
There’s disparity in sentencing for criminal cases, and bias in family court matters.
Men are twice as likely to have heart attacks, and 3 times as likely for those heart attacks to be severe.
Men are 40% more likely to die of cancer.
I think all of those are legitimate fears that society would benefit from addressing.
* There’s a bipartisan bill in Congress right now that will allow greater legal immigration for agricultural workers, and fast-track green cards if they work a minimum number of days in Ag each year.
I have a serious question… I’m struggling with how to connect these two streams of thought:
On the one hand:
and on the other hand:
I feel like something got missed between the two. Because on the one side it sounds like you are saying that white men have real grievances that must be addressed.
And on the other side that those fears are insecurity and that men (in particular white men) are losing power and privilege in general and only artificial and oppressive means will sustain it.
Can you unpack this a bit further?
No, you insufferable child, I have never said anything like I don’t see color.
So, you start off with a slander accusing me of being anti-gay. Then I lay the facts on you, and now rather than show a shred of honor and apologize, you move the goalposts so that now, what, I’m a racist?
Are you now asserting that identity can only be imposed from without? Are you denying my right to define myself? Clearly you are anti-trans if you claim that only society can define you and you have no right to define yourself. OMG, you’re also anti-choice, which makes you a sexist! Is there anything in your brain besides a list of ‘ists?’
Oh, Daddy, of course you think you’re a special snowflake with an irreducible individual identity. That’s because so many of your identities are held up as THE MOST IMPORTANT EVER, Man, White Man, Straight White Man, Straight White Man Father. It’s easy to presume that your identity is built on stone instead of sand. Especially since you also get the identity of “Wealthy”.
I think this idea that you are without identity is something that you share with the core of Republican men. That both you and them are sui generis. The idea that someone might have to examine their own identities is terrifying for most and I don’t think most men do it (they need therapy).
And the fact that we share identities doesn’t make us carbon copies of each other. I am a Bisexual, but I can guarantee that my Bisexuality is experienced differently that other Bisexuals in this group. I’m Trans, a Woman, a Mother, an Attorney, lol, a nascent member of a BSDM community (bonus points if you can guess which one Daddy.) I existentialist, share several of those identities with people here, but our experiences of them are RADICALLY different. But the things that effect the Cis women here as a group, effect me too.
It makes sense to me that White Men in a lower economic class would be terrified. On one hand, they are told they are the masters of the universe simply because they have the identities of “White Man” but their experiences tell them that they are decidedly not. This screws with peoples brains.
Can’t the existentialist choose to be all three?
@Michael Reynolds: If it helps you to understand me, when I first came to OtB, one of the things I admired about you was the thoughtful conservative viewpoints you brought to the discussions. As the Overton Window has shifted, “classically” liberal has shifted, too.
Not all that surprising, if you actually think about it. Not that I’d know; I’m just an ignint cracker.
I just wanted to say that I think I pretty much agree with you here. I just think that was important to note.
Much to my consternation, because of your daughter and my own self interest (plus I think you’re a genuinely interesting person), I have pushed back on you several times when you have either implied, or explicitly stated that in the conflict over LGBT rights, queer people should shut up and take half a loaf and be happy with it. You specifically said that Trans Girls should be excluded from athletics and we should be happy about that since it means we might not get murdered. Maybe I’m exaggerating a bit, but not much.
Trans women are real women, and some of them can pee standing up.
The term you were looking for is “people who use urinals.”
@Beth: “Can’t the existentialist choose to be all three?”
Sure, but that spoils the joke and then whoever’s inner nihilist/absurdist can’t make fun of someone else’s/their own inner existentialist.
@Just nutha ignint cracker:
Touche. Also, I am now guffawing.
Thank you for the thoughtful reply. It’s clarifying, especially if I dig into this…
I’m me as well – a man, White, cis, not at all concerned about my membership in any group. But, I don’t reject group identity for others. Group identity isn’t important to me, but I believe that’s due primarily to the unearned status and privilege that accrue to me as a white, cis male. Rejection of group identity is a luxury I can afford because I was born into the still dominant cohort in this country.
I believe this is also true –
– and I’d like to consider myself strong. So, I’m happy to let others lean into their group identities when there’s benefit to them. Solidarity, strength in union, common cause – these are good things. From my position of advantage, I should be willing to help others with that.
I am the walrus.
Sure. First of all, I was I thought pretty clearly talking about men generally. And yes, men have beef. Does that mean society can fix their problems? No. I acknowledge that the Palestinians have beef and no one is fixing that, either. Life rolls along and sometimes it rolls over people, and those people have real complaints. Doesn’t mean we can fix the problem, or should fix the problem, but if we are in the business of trying to understand the world we have to look at the intractable, because a lot of the world’s problems don’t have a fix.
It’s not a bad thing to admit, ‘Yep, you have some genuine issues, sorry about that, but life is what it is, your best path is to adjust.’
What can we do as a society for insecure males? Acknowledge that they have legit concerns, offer some patience as they evolve, and pat them on the head and tell them don’t worry, it’ll work out in the end. There’s no panacea. But we can and should admit that men raised in one world are experiencing some issues transitioning to a different world. Not everyone can just flip a switch.
For the record, I’m not one of those insecure males because my (admittedly oversized) ego does not rest on sex, race, religion, class, ethnicity, home town, home state, nationality, occupation, school tie, or any other external factor. The essential, irreducible fact of life as a human is that you are you, and you are not anyone else, and no one else is you. You have to find your strength in yourself, it can’t be borrowed.
This is personal experience, admittedly atypical experience but clarifying by virtue of being an edge case. I just saw what normal people never come up against. I remember being 24, trying to sleep on a concrete shelf beneath a freeway overpass, hiding from cops, no home, no money, no friends, no family, no job, not a single person in the entire world to turn to. But I was still me. I survived because I could do so alone.
@Michael Reynolds: I do not believe I said anything about “embracing” fascism – in my developing markets experience, excepting intellectuals and political activist fractions – tiny minorities, most people trend toward an “attitude” and fall into something, they don’t embrace a specific ideology.
The risk you have is not embracing fascisms, it a slide into quasi fascism (or effective fascism) on the right and Weimaresque ineffectualism on the Left side, with sterile circular firing squads and regarding those Not Pure in their Thinking as the real near or as much enemies (see this thread for the usual examples in their usual fashion for the usual sterile hysteric cosplying at crisis so very reminiscent to me of the 1930s Left).
@Michael Reynolds: As a general matter, in the international sense, yes, precisely. In American terms … I have no idea what shoe would fit in the present queer reconfiguration ongoing.
Can I probe this a little bit?
What does it mean for you to be a man. Not being part of a group that identifies as “man”, but for you, internally, what does it mean for you to have the identity “man”.
Does it mean “Man” like Sen. Hawley where you demonize people not like you, but then run away at the first whiff of danger? Is it like our friend Daddy Reynolds where “man” means irreducible individual? Is it like, say George Clooney a sort of self calm swagger. I don’t know, I’m trying to think of positive things or at least jokes but being “man” is very foreign to me.
Also, if you possess the “man” identity, how does your experience of “man” resonate with the things that @Mu Yixiao: brought up. How those things would effect your identity or understanding of yourself as a “man”.
I’m not trying to be snarky or sarcastic. My point is that having that particular identity allows one to belief that they have no identity and that their own individual-ness is of supreme importance. Which can decay into what we see with the Hawleys and Cruzs of the world. To be clear, I’m not comparing either you or Daddy Reynolds to those chuds.
@Just nutha ignint cracker:
That’s one of the reasons I sometimes describe myself as a conservative, of an odd sort.
But contemporary conservatism has developed a large number of tensions and contradictions; it’s why marxists love it so 🙂
The old suspicion of popular rule and popular projects as against inherited or attained place on the one hand.
But on the other the need to mobilize a mass support base, and (imported old-liberal) notions of an implausibly self-contained free-market capitalism incline towards a popular demotic approach.
See Disraeli’s reconstruction of Toryism in mid-Victorian England.
(Albeit Dizzy was both very smart, and in his way, an idealist about his country.)
The current batch seem to think they can reconcile the contradictions by a media/cultural bandwagon safely driven by an elite that is either cynical or deluded.
Actually probably not a good recipe for long term success.
And believe, or affect to, that they can confine the populist dragon they ride to be satisfied with eating rhetorical rather than real sheep.
And that such real world impacts as populism has, will be confined to certain *ahem* minorities, and who really cares about that?
It’s been tried before, and seldom ended well.
The Victorian Tories were intelligent enough to sacrifice pure class self-interest, and to value stability over clinging to power.
Yet even so, the UK came close to political break-down in the near-forgotten crises of 1900-1914
My personal view is that universal suffrage democracy is essential as a transmission belt for complaint and remedy, to speed the wheels of justice, to give a necessary sense of participation and consent, and to align the interests of the representatives with the populace.
But not for rule by the people, given their propensity for tomfoolery.
Senator Gracchus in Gladiator:
@Michael Reynolds: The cosplaying drama llama fraction are of the orientation that the most important thing is the dramatic action and statement, dramatically declaring Kilometre No. 296 must be taken and/or defended, and by God if you do not agree you are a cowardly traitor with no fighitng spirit, no fighting élan to overcome the Maxim gun. It is battle by élan, by spirit, by emotion. It is of course how one spends blood and loses ground for a greater loss.
That’s a really unfair characterization of Michael.
White men are a major force in society. If they feel aggrieved because of eroding privilege, that’s going to be a problem for a lot of people, whether their complaints are fair or not.
I think Michael is wrong about what to do about that — but he’s not wrong that it’s a major problem we have to live with the realities of.
I would strike a different balance — don’t appease people using eliminationist rhetoric. But don’t attack people who are 90% your allies whether they are a bit to the left or the right either.
I think we need a microcancellation to go along with microaggressions. The “dude, you did a little light racism/homophobia/bigotry, be better” rather than “you’re part of the white supremacist patriarchy!”… leave off ramps so people don’t double down.
(Also, why have I not seen photos of the meeting with Kamala Harris, but with a Klansman photoshopped over her, saying “I am a white man, my pronouns are ‘kiss my ass’ and I’m wearing a white robe and hood”)
I agree those are all legitimate fears that society would benefit from addressing.
But Job Loss isn’t unique to whites or males, unless you filter to specific industries. Disparity in criminal sentencing and poor health outcomes aren’t unique to whites, unless you filter to specific types of crimes and medical indications. Society has ample opportunity to address inequities in outcomes without succumbing to a white male pity party.
As a self-actualizing individual in a meaningless universe, they necessarily have such freedom, if free of the bonds imposed by external oppression!
In practice, it tends to boil down to whoever is fed up sitting in the dark. 🙂
It’s certainly easy to club like a baby harp seal while being so like using lawyers as lab subjects that we might not miss it when it’s gone. I think it would be a mistake to kill it completely (nature abhors a vacuum and all that), but as it is, it’s pretty useless.
If you want an example, look right here. Every time a LGBTQ person pushes back against one of your pronouncements of what we need to be doing, you completely flip out and immediately start referring to them as a disobedient child.
I did nothing of the sort. I pointed out your frequent willingness to trade LGBTQ rights as a quid pro quo for other political goals. The fact that turned into “MR is anti-gay” is entirely inside your head, so if that bothers you, perhaps you should examine why YOU made that intuitive leap.
This fits the standard Republican pattern of a minority making a request for basic respect and a Republican immediately flipping out and going “HOW DARE YOU CALL ME X-IST!!”
@Scott F.: Some moral calculation of Legitimacy has rather fuck all to do with the issue and utterly the wrong question. Rather unless you find a way to divide and undercut the view of solidarity in sense of loss, the numbers in society are such that provoked to full reaction, you have disaster – disaster for the minority, disaster for the majority. Disaster. Airy debate of right or wrong is besides the point.
It is rather like the calculation of the reformists of late 19th century early 20th century Europe – it matters not if you consider the reclamations “legitimate” abstractly, without addressing politically the senitments, you have an explosion.
So rather less Lefty-Culturalism and rather more focus on finding appeals to split off.
(or you can follow a Weimar Left path, obviously what the commenariat here prefer)
Never said, ‘happy.’ Political tactics is not about happy, it’s about getting what you want and need, effectively. What I see is a world where my daughter was safer a few years go than she is now. Do you disagree? You want to win, or do you just want to demand? I want to win.
Progressives tend not to pay much mind to military history, but I’ll offer an analogy nevertheless. Hitler famously refused to let his army withdraw to more defensible lines at Stalingrad. Withdraw? Do you mean give up? Surrender? And be happy about it? Not an inch!
Wait, now my army has been captured and is being marched off to POW camps in Siberia? Duh?
Strategic withdrawal is not surrender. It’s what you do when it’s the best way to achieve your goal. The rigid branch is easy to snap, the flexible branch is not. Pick your fights, cover your flanks, engage your allies, find defensible positions. In North Africa the US Army ran from the Germans like scared rabbits. Had they not run, they’d have been annihilated. But they did run. And then they ejected the Germans from North Africa, and then from Sicily, and then finally, from Berlin.
Yes, or you can of course not do this, and play the late 1920s-1930s European Left game. It was brilliantlly successful after all.
This is more or less why I continue to tease him and engage with him. Maybe I can annoy him into a better frame of mind. At least I’ll enjoy myself. As opposed to someone like Mssr. Lounbury who seems to be interested in sniffing his own farts.
I also don’t think we are going to be able to get to the reality of some of these issues. It’s all well and good to say that men, particularly white men, have all these privileges and they should fear losing them. I think we need to ask the question, why do they they think they are entitled to these things in the first place and how do we fix that. I think Daddy Reynolds at least comes close to it when he describes himself as an “edge case”, but then seems to discount how that set of experiences forms the various identities that make him up. I am also an edge case, but my identity formation experience exploded me and forced me to deal with individual pieces of myself. I have to pick these things up, examine them, individually. It is tedious.
For me, it means that I make more money for doing less, and that my attitude is referred to as “curmudgeonly” and accommodated, rather than “bitch”.
And I get these benefits whether I want them or not (and to be clear, of course I want them, they’re really nice!).
Toss in being tall, and having a full head of hair, and it’s really sweet. The fact that the hair is sparkly silver gray means people expect me to care about things I don’t, so I may have to dye it to avoid responsibilities.
I’m also queer, but completely lack swish*. I have to work at maintaining that as part of my perceived identity.
I’d be ok giving up a lot of that white male privilege because I’m generally doing fine and that difference isn’t going to be a make-it-or-break-it change.
If I was barely hanging on? I have no idea. I’d like to think I would be trying to unionize my workplace rather than trying to keep those people down so I have less competition…. But I’m really lazy, y’know?
*: slacker-chic is pretty much the opposite of fabulous. And with a 38” sleeve, clothing that fits tends to be more conservative. I look straight.
Debates of morally right or wrong are some of the many means available to split off people from the majority. Every bit as likely to be successful as pandering to their insecurities.
I actually do disagree, not to be difficult, but because I know that we weren't safe then and we're not safe now. I've been going to Trans Days of Remembrance since 2018. I think about Gwen Araujo constantly. We weren't safe then and we won't be safe now by making "tactical retreats" from our rights. One thing the Trans community has learned from the broader LGBT rights struggle is that Gay Men in particular will throw us under the bus, the tank and the aircraft carrier any chance they get if it means they can secure their rights. The lesson that Trans people have learned is that you never give an inch, ever. You will never get that inch back. I suspect that is a lesson the Black civil rights movement also learned at great cost.
Also, and I'm sure you're not discounting me in particular, I'm just pointing this out. I'm a Moderate, stuck with the Progressives, because I'm self aware enough to know that Moderates are going to get us all killed. Also, my undergrad major in College with British and Russian Imperial history. Talk about doomed military action. Stupid ass Crimean War. stupid ass me.
Take that half loaf when offered and secure it. And then fight for the next half.
We’re literally fighting an existential fight with neo-Nazis who want us gone and don’t really care how.
If excluding roughly 12 trans kids per state across the nation from sports will keep the uneducated normies from siding with the Nazis… I’d say go for it.
Meanwhile, Oklahoma is requiring any kid playing sports to have their birth certificate on file and the parents to sign a motorized statement of their kids’ birth gender. And Florida is Florida, where all parents will be notified if someone in their kids gym class might be queer.
Maybe they have achieved overreach. I doubt it.
I’d take “not able to play sports” over “cannot exist” any day.
The sports thing seems to resonate with normies in a “it’s not bigotry, it’s just about fairness” way (even though that’s false) and I’d rather move the playing field to somewhere you don’t need to educate so many people.
Not a smiley day, but this forced one. I’m reminded of Rothbard’s argument about the Soviets as an attempt to achieve Left-wing goals via Right-wing means.
Perhaps his mistake was not expanding that to every Left movement that achieved power. No movement can change a system without some sort of imposition.
I’ll go even more Daddy:
Job one for any intelligent person who has truth as a central concern, is to unlearn all they’ve learned. De-cathexis. Then carefully examine each now-discarded bit of knowledge, and see whether, upon close examination, it should be re-instated with, or without, modification. Take an equally close look at the interactions, the processes as well as the data. Epistemology is important. Garbage In, Garbage Out as they used to say.
Life should be a cycle of cathexis, de-cathexis, cathexis. This has to be done ruthlessly, no preconception spared, no set-asides. You want to reach a state of pre-suppositionlessness. Tear it all down to the ground, then rebuild carefully. By this I don’t mean to suggest that the end product is Mr. Spock, emotion is part of the equation. It’s what can be called ‘poetic data.’ Things which are true (my wife loves me) but cannot be demonstrated except by anecdote.
You start out in life being programmed by parents, DNA, environment, etc… At some point you start to program yourself. In car terms, you can drive yourself and for most people, that’s it. But you should be a mechanic, too, know why things work and when to change the oil.
That’s it for me, having delivered my impromptu sermon on epistemology, my pool is 88 degrees and the sun’s out.
It won’t keep the uneducated normies from siding with the Nazis, because the Nazis will just take THEIR half a load and move on to the next half. I’d rather be fighting them over sports than, say, reviving public cross-dressing laws or HRT bans.
And the sports fight is also important because it’s a way for trans kids to be visible in their communities which is the most important thing to getting those uneductated normies on board. Instead of the shadowy “trans kids” getting attacked, its your daughter’s best friend in the soccer rec league that’s getting attacked.
Yeah, you can already see this playing out in FL. The half loaf is medical transition for Trans Kids. I can patiently explain all day long about why we shouldn’t force Trans kids to go through terrible Cis puberty and the trauma that inflicts on them. For the bad faith actors, all they have to do is scream about sterilization, and how do kids know, and genital mutilation, blah blah blah.
The half loaf theory says, well, just let the kids go, and preserve transition medical care for adults. The normies can understand transitioning as an adult so, lets preserve that while we work to expand it. All well and good, except right behind the ban on medical transition for kids is an attempt to ban transition care for adults using medicare. This is important because, historically, insurance companies have used medicare/medicaid transition related care bans to deny care under their policies. We simply can’t give up half a loaf, cause they will take the whole thing next. Unfortunately, in civil rights, every single battle has to be fought.
To bring it back around to the topic, you can see this “every battle” mentality by the Republicans. Except they’ve perverted it so that anything this that can be viewed as a victory for Dems has to be fought, even if they support it.
I suppose I’ve modeled myself on my father – an Indiana gentleman who dropped out of chemical engineering in college to be a small town preacher. I listened to him preach every Sunday for 17 years and never heard a sermon that ventured too far away from The Beatitudes, or “do unto others”, or “whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” The tenets of Christian Nationalism are unrecognizable to this lapsing Methodist.
I can also state with certainty that my father was heavily influenced by my mother. They were full partners and I never caught of whiff of my dad feeling minimized by that. My dad is short and bookish, not prototypically masculine, but I don’t remembering him ever backing down from a stand over something he saw as unjust. People who know him love him and respect him. He is the antithesis of the chuds you named. When he retired, hundreds of the congregants of the various churches he led showed up to celebrate his ministry.
So, I hope that speaks to your point about my male identity leading to my beliefs. It’s not that I don’t have any identity, or that my individuality is an identity of its own. Aristotle said “We are what we repeatedly do.” Internally, my identity comes from my behaviors, not my traits. That’s what my parents taught me and it’s always served me well.
I typed some additions and responses to the topic at hand tagging both you and Lounsbury, but I’m not happy with them. So they took their place on the digital clipboard to collect virtual dust among the other fragmented incompletes.
In lieu of that, I wanted to thank you for your response re: rationality in the other thread. Your formulation is pretty much identical to mine. But I see a key difference. To me, our shared perspective is only rational if we also recognize that an answer cannot be reached by any generally accepted description of rational process.
I would avoid your framing–existence of God hasn’t been proven–because it can appear to confuse process and outcome. But that’s just me. Maybe it sheds light on our thought processes and explains some of our differences politically. At the very least it seems you and I try to thread some really tiny needles.
TY for the follow up.
I think my question comes down to
I feel like there have been attempts to do that and the results have not been particularly well received. And further saying that “your ‘genuine issue’ is you had privilege that was to some degree or another unearned” has historically not been a great method (and something that has raised issues here in the past when I’ve tried to bring it up).
Or, others hearing that they are losing power tends to activate not so great reactions that start to trend more towards the talaban side of things.
So I guess that’s what I’m still struggling with–
@Scott F.: Among intellos…. it’s why over the decades one has been able to count on the delicious ineffectualism of the Left. Which were we in a different historical moment would be perfectly pleasing. But in the current historical moment, where I don’t actually want you to fail miserably as is your wont, it’s maddening…
Well, as you lot so very much want to play Weimar strategies… off you go.
@Kurtz: “the Soviets as an attempt to achieve Left-wing goals via Right-wing means.” that is amusing, I had never read this aphorism before.
The main problem is that trans people are trying to fit in and that makes idiots like Lounsbury enter a state of hysteria and ramble on about Weimar and interwar Germany. That would have some basis in reason if there were a Spartacist League trying to overthrow the government. But instead it’s a fucking child trying to play soccer or a person who asks you to use their pronouns when you write an email to them about last quarter’s P&L. And this is the connection with masculinity: telling a hysterical man whose eyes are twitching in rationality and reason that he’s being hysterical just makes him more hysterical (or worse). You can’t reason with the most reasonable hsysteric out there. It is 100% impossible.
You start out in life being programmed by parents, DNA, environment, etc… At some point you start to program yourself. In car terms, you can drive yourself and for most people, that’s it. But you should be a mechanic, too, know why things work and when to change the oil.
You just happened upon Scientology, minus the Thetans.
Very true. Even such benignly meliatory forms of leftism/refomism as the British Liberal Party in the 1900’s, or the Labour party 1945-51, had to impose their will upon the recalcitrant at times.
Hence post-1945 the tendency of Liberals in the centre, and Distributists (and some cooperativists on the left) to regard the Labour Party as too dogmatically statist and authoritarian.
Interestingly Distributivists (the Common-wealth Party) regarded Labour as both insufficiently radical in redistribution, and annoyingly paternalistic and bureaucratic in implementation.
While Labour generally regarded them as a bunch of frivolously impractical dreamers.
Perhaps the most critical factor for social peace, though, was that the British and European “conservative” parties accepted, and broadly still accept, at least some key parts of the post-War social reformation implemented by Labour or Social Democrats or Socialists.
Or indeed, in the cases of the Christian Democrats in Germany and Italy, Republicans in France, etc. conservatives themselves implemented reforms of social welfare, economic management and workers rights.
In Europe it seems only the British Conservative Party has seen a major, and arguably politically successful, insurrection against the post-War consensus.
And even they are not stupid enough (yet) to attempt a head-on assault on the NHS or social benefits.
Not surprising. His point, as I understand it, was that the goals of Marxism, Socialism, and Economics (read: “Capitalism” in modern American parlance) should all be considered left-wing, because they all were positioned against the traditional exercise of power. Meaning they shared a goal of liberation even if they differ in mechanics and emphasis of different concepts. Of course, appropriate means are another major obstacle.
In my view, this can be seen as a (possibly the primary) source of the peculiarities in the American conception of Left and Right. It doesn’t help that a seeming vast majority of Americans don’t distinguish between Marxism and Socialism. Nor do they look at the former as anything but a monolith. Those views can easily be shown as false if one were to spend five minutes reading. Of course, most Americans will giddily cite Animal Farm and ignore the fact that Orwell was a self-ID democratic socialist (“as he under[stood] the term.”)
But I recognize that you and I are highly unlikely to agree on some things. “All happy families…”, and all. So, YMMV.
I am missing the gene that makes sports in any way important, so I may not be valuing it as much as it should be valued. I also am missing the gene that makes babies look cute, but that’s probably a coincidence. (Eww, human larva…)
And I would say that Florida is a rather special case — the fight over trans kids in sports has already been lost, the normies bought the bad faith arguments, and now you’re fighting the neo-Nazis on existential issues.
Not giving kids the care they need (at the very least to delay puberty, if not change which puberty they will go through) is child abuse. That’s a fight worth having, under any circumstances.
I’m not convinced sports are the same way, but it’s not my fight. Sports are fundamentally not about kindness — they are about 27,524 rules, people pushing to their limit, crushing the opponents, champions, the best woman swimmer by 0.13 seconds, etc. I think it’s easier to make an argument about kindness than about testosterone levels and muscle mass. Sports feels like a trap.*
Anyone else remember James Joyner’s posts on trans folks in sports over the years? They were pretty bad. I don’t bring this up to pillory Dr. Joyner, he’s a fine enough man who simply never thought much about trans people and sports. He’s also willing to engage with people who disagree with him because he seems to have a lot of free time.
Take away his free time, keep shoving the issue at him, and you risk this hypothetical Joyner doppelgänger falling for the bad faith arguments, and beginning to trust the bad faith actors.
Normies trusting the bad faith actors is a very bad outcome.
*: I assume it is a focus-group tested trap, in fact.
@Modulo Myself: But the Thetans are the best part!
It is my view that this is the case because of at once a rational analysis and reaosnable success on one hand in late 19th century and on the other hand because unlike the Americans, Europe had the direct horror of the actual application of both the far Right and the far Left, fascism and communism. No cosplaying and fat-and-lazy drama Llamaism playing at crisis without knowing the real horror, all very distant for the broader society.
@Kurtz: Mmmm, a particular way to read things his view, but… I guess I see the view. and as well your point on the USA side.
@Modulo Myself: I would say the only hysteria going on is amongst you lot, with performative cosplaying at crisis. Your ascribing to me all kinds of exaggerations for the simple sour observation of your habits of own-goals and the observational lessons taken from the data showing your bleeding off working class voting support around cultural issues. But of course, as I am engaging in heretical critique of, profound heresy as it were, I must in fact be an evil hater…. Reminds me profoundly of Weimar Left.
The number of people this is true for is a tiny tiny slice of society. For the vast majority of people it’s a bunch of people who all suck getting together to make friends and get some exercise because group play is an important part of developing into a healthy human.
If I may dive into my Penn State undergrad experience, trans access to sports isn’t about the tiny handful of people playing varsity football at the big stadium at Saturday, it’s about the students playing co-ed five-on-five flag football on the intramural fields Thursday night.
Over the years, tens of millions of pink-collar jobs have disappeared in the US, to all of automation, offshoring, and immigrant labor. It’s pretty darned rare to hear anyone say anything except that women just have to suck it up, learn new skills, and move on with their lives. Not to mention the sorts of abuse they had to put up with in many cases trying to acquire those skills.
Induction is the must fraught method of reasoning…
The world of bespoke tailoring for shirts is calling you.* You can have whatever you want. Conservative is still easiest, but let your mind and tastes run wild.
*Also bespoke suits, pants, and jackets. Run wild and free, young grasshopper!
I recall a (rather Whiggish) history tutor of mine arguing that a key aspect to British politics, both of the Left and the Right, with some exceptions, was that they observed the continental revolutions and counter-revolutions of 1792 onward and considered that compromise was a better choice.
That this position damn nearly collapsed in UK 1900-1914.
And that it was the tragedy of European history that neither parties within nations, nor nations between themselves, were inclined to fully come to terms with that evidence of the need for restraint, until after WW2 and the exemplary horrors of the fanatics and the “total states”.
Obvs. a generalisation: both Germany and France 19thC had some degree of political consensus:
but also extremes who denied the legitimacy of the system.
Crucial that UK post-Chartist oppositions both Left and Right worked within the ruleset.
IMHO it is the rejection of the post-zero sum consensus by Russia that has provoked the massive shift in “establishment” European opinion in the past months.
They are opening a door we thought was shut.
@Beth: Yeah. The “take the half a loaf” approach has more in common with the story about the guy taking 9 of the 10 cookies on the plate and then turning to the guy behind him in line to say, “see that guy over there? well he’s gonna try to steal your cookie” than it does with getting half a loaf. Take the half loaf sounds reasonable, though. Then again, so did the Nuremburg Laws.
“I hates you, and I shall have my rewengey!”
Also, just plugged 38″ sleeve into a UK clothes store, and you appear to be a gibbon. 🙂 🙂
I suspect UK and US size basis may differ a bit, LOL.
Also, tried wearing a shirt I bought about ten years ago last week.
Query: how the hell can it still fit except around the neck?
Surely to Brahma I can’t be just getting fat around the neck?
(OK, so the belt need to be on the next notch… or two. What of it, punk?)
Lucky you. I seem to be becoming increasingly irregular in outline. 🙁
@Michael Cain: Well, sure. But the 2 letters before the “m,” the “e,” and the “n” make all the difference, n’est pas? We don’t need to worry about “those problems” because all of that work is second income (and therefore, unimportant). Besides that, all of that group’s problems can be reduced to h and h. (And I’ll just let y’all go back to your Victorian literature and depression to WWII-era pulp literature to figger out what the two aitches are.)
38″ would be about right for a strait jacket though.
Re 38″ sleeve length… college or pro basketball player. Look at pictures and notice for how many of them, unless they’re wearing bespoke shirt/coat, the sleeves end about 4″ above their wrist. Almost all of them have quite abnormally long arms for their height. I used to fence against a guy at a club who was very frustrating, since he was my height but had 2″ more reach. And my arms are a bit long for my height.
A physical therapist once told me when I complained about the size of my neck that gravity is not your friend. Mostly, she said, the disks in your neck compress by an inch and all the other tissue spreads out. I dug out some pictures of 25-yo me, and damn but I had a long neck compared to now.
Sleeve length assuming American measurement technique. I am (or was) 5’10” and wear a 34.5″ sleeve. Brits may measure differently.
There must be another system out there. Under this one sleeve length is measured from tip of shoulder to middle of hand. If, say, Kareem Abdul Jabbar (88″ wingspan) had 38″ sleeves , he would have to measure 12″ from shoulder tip to shoulder tip for it to fit.
Unless you’re buying rather expensive shirts, usual thing for “semi-formal” is collar size, chest size.
For casual, it’s S, M, L, XL, XXL
Ah, just found guide indicates L large = 16.5 collar, chest 44 to 51, waist 38, sleeve varying from 33 to 38, with standard size being 35.
So @Gustopher: you are not, in point of fact, a gibbon but a standard variation Briton!
There’s another possibility … I am perfectly normally proportioned and am simply gigantic. This is much closer to the truth than gibbon as I am six and a half feet tall.
(36” inseam means I am a bit off of perfect proportions… but not in gibbon territory. My father has the 38” sleeves and 32” inseam of a gibbon.)
Photos of me leave people wondering why everyone else in the photo is so tiny.*
@Just nutha ignint cracker: Did I mention that I am very lazy? Bespoke shirts is a lot of hassle and measurement.
I have an exact shirt that fits from Brooks Brothers, but they are no longer the Brooks Brothers of old, so I need to do something, as my shirts are falling apart due to age. (I buy my pants off eBay as the manufacturer stopped making my size… I need to lose some weight, as I have bought up everything in my size.)
*: I have no idea how people function in crowds if they cannot just see over everyone.
That’s tall, I will grant you.
Ah, but can you swing gracefully between trees?
I watched a BBC natural history programs a few years ago (one of the David Attenborough ones, I think) and decided that if reincarnation is a thing, I really want to come back as a gibbon.
Acrobatics turned up to 11.
Annoying thing is, not so many years ago, I could lift myself up warehouse racking one handed, and hang upside down for fun.
Getting old is annoying; but it beats the alternative.
I can usually see over most of the crowd myself.
Unless some ludicrously tall, or annoyingly bouncy, person gets in the way. 🙂
“Oi, Zebedee. NO.”
@Stormy Dragon: I’m not saying you’re wrong, I’m saying the arguments are harder to make and get into difficult territory… spots where it’s easy for apparently rational arguments to cover garden variety light bigotry as well as serious bigotry.
“Light bigotry” being the default state of man, where anything that doesn’t match their preconceived notion is “weird” and “uncomfortable” but where they don’t actually support active discrimination, they just haven’t thought about it. Totally reachable people, depending on the scenarios they have to think about. I want to give them the best scenarios to make it easy.
99 times out of a 100, “it’s fucking little league, don’t be a dick” should cover sports, but the worst elements will always focus on the great swimmer who came in second and some cis woman got bumped down to not placing and isn’t that a tragedy. I don’t think there’s a quick, easy answer to that.
Whether it’s the right battle to have anyway… I dunno. My instinct is that “people should be able to do what they want/need so long as it doesn’t affect others” is easier (sports affects that poor woman who came in fourth, bless her heart).
And I would assume that’s why groomer is a thing — it takes just existing and adds an “affects others” component.
@JohnSF: I hate people I cannot see over. They just get in the way.
And I do nothing gracefully. Still limping after tripping over cat furniture two months ago. (Blood thinners mean bruises take forever to clear)
@Michael Reynolds: From yesterday…
Logically, I want to tell people to use they/them for me because my gender shouldn’t fucking matter to them. Yes, I am a cis man, and as male as they come, but I don’t see why that matters. Specifically, I want to tell people that my massive schlong and absolute manliness is none of their business.
I don’t feel like putting up with that much shit in my life though.
While I’m not a gibbon, I have a problem with sizing. In addition to being a knuckle dragging Luddite, I have an 18″ neck, 50″ chest, and about a 60″ gut. About the only stuff that fits ok-ish are the Aloha shirts I buy on clearance, in extra long sizes to cover the ostomy bag. Another advantage to them is the eye sering colors and patterns hide both my expansive gut and the outline of the bag. Talk about a first world problem!
@Mu Yixiao: Not the amount of likes it should get….but tis true.
Most of the commentator here haven’t spent alot of time anywhere rural to understand what it takes to scratch out a living in these places. They seem to care for the urban poors plight…and that rural women can get abortions relatively close by—but f@$k the rest of flyover and drive-around country.
I’ve said before here that the best systems on paper can fail in practice from “human factors“. Wall St egg heads made a bunch of money automating and outsourcing to build global, just-in-time supply chains that sell to the global middle class and up.
Fine. That comes with a social and political downside in the form of disaffected men who are economically unstable. Economically unstable men do not form strong families and usually occupy their time with all manner of non-productive vices.
Amongst the few stable gigs that replaced the stable manufacturing jobs are prisons and gun shops—most stuff the Democrats want gone. The Democrat answer for rural Americans seems to be go to college and/or move to the cities—where even the young people who followed that advice ARE ALSO STRUGGLING.
The instability in America will continue until we have an economy that empowers a signal bread-winner to support a family of 4 with the basics and a few extras. The people aren’t going anywhere and they are going to grow more disaffected as a handful of people live the American dream while everyone else watches. The solution is a dose of good ole fashioned TR/FDR-style pushback on corporate monopoly and globalization. Why the hell should American clock-punchers compete with Foreign real-estate investors for housing? This is the type of kitchen table politics Democrats ignore—to their own loss.
It is indeed this understanding (although more continentallly informed) that’s behind my views on the danger the US is facing, a break-down in the internal cohesion, combined with a blindness to the risk coming from Americans being fat and happy and insulated from real profound domestic crisis.
@Jim Brown 32: While I should say your anti-globalisation economics are utterly wrong-headed as a solution (very and extremely wrong-headed), I would agree with the diagnosis of their utter blindness, particularly given the political system in USA that renders for political success, the non-urban non-coastal geographies each their own election.
Young people always struggle – the data however generally show a similar life trajectories
However, the data also show break-downs in the socio-economic mobility ladder – and from a comparative PoV I woudl observe that the USA is massively over-focused (driven by its policy makers backgrounds I would guess plus narrow Angloworld blinders for models plus the siren song of the tech sector) on University education as a response to globalisation challenges, and rather pathetic in development of high-skill oriented technical training. USA can be industrially competitive and exporting, but has to focus if you want proper wages on high-end high skill, which normally USA is quite good at – however it needs skilling that is not Uni focused, and draws rather on the N. European models (and not via shit private scam training programmes).
But the Cultural-issues focused Left, comparatively comfortable and insulated, focus on symbolics and cultural agendas disconnected from the broad socio-economic concerns of stressed socio-economic classes outside of their “base territories” and since it is all about moral purity and performative cosplaying, happy to write off as illegitimate and unreachable – the language of belief, not pragmatic politics.
I am reminded as it is roughly the thirty year annniversy (and I am about to make a business trip over) of the siege of Sarajevo, that the European Left was celebrating the multi-cultural inclusiveness of the Bosnian referendum on independence – organised with all the right trappings of their favoured word, inclusivity. And utterly, utterly blind due to their perceptual blinders to horror that was about to be unleashed, in part due to underestimation and inattention to the risk (and dismissal of “illegitimate” Serb concerns – not to say Serbian nationalist “concerns” were legitimate morally, but they were there and they had guns…).
@Jim Brown 32:
I have to wonder as to how many places on the globe have such economies. Further, I think what you are describing is a very specific post-WWII era (indeed, MAGAesque) view of the ideal that I think was really a fleeting part of our history.
I would note that while it is true that in the past women often did not have income-earning jobs, they worked really, really hard at home (especially in the rural settings that you note).
And while I understand the political appeal of your anti-globalization stance, the hardcore realities of a global economy are just too strong to control with a little protectionism.
@Michael Reynolds: While you have a point about a subset of males in the US, the bottom line is that you are making the error that I would say is your mainstay: you overly generalize (it is why we butt head on the cult thing–you like to make wide, all-encompassing statements about groups, which is ironic given your position on identities as a general matter).
All of which is to say that not all males fall in the category you are describing, which is really white males without college degrees probably living in more-rural-than-urban settings. That is not the same thing as “males.”
Indeed, you are making the same error that many pundits are at the moment and ignoring the overwhelming majority of Black males who aren’t behaving like their white brethren. I wonder wht the difference might be?
And SD has a point: you do kind of sound like a a typical well-meaning white person who says that they don’t see color, but miss the fact that their whiteness allows them the privilege of pretending like color doesn’t matter.
All well and good, but kind of silly since you are a cis white male with all that comes with those descriptors, whether you want to acknowledge it or not.
While I can understand criticisms of how identity is used in politics by various actors and groups, the notion that we don’t all have multiple identities, and/or that they don’t matter, is just silly (quite frankly to the point of ludicrous).
You have to know that your whiteness, your maleness, your cis-ness, your fame, your career, and your wealth, all matter in how you are treated in this world in ways large and small. Whether you want to say those are your identity or not is kind of irrelevant to the overall way that society functions.
@Steven L. Taylor:
By economic potential structure the Post WWII industrial structure indeed can not be reobtained – not without imposing a neo-colonial order….
Laying aside however the economically fallacious protectionism, he is putting a finger on a fundamental socioeconmic problem and challenge common across many developed industrial economies: tech enabled (not tech industry alone) industry shows increasing characteristics of outsized structural benefits to scaling and higher skilled knowledge intensvie labour. Which is intensely disadvantaging labour that is higher-cost but lower skilled and also located outside of well networked (infra and comms) geographries. The very profile he highlights for USA – this can be applied equally effectively to English, French, etc situation and left-to-radical-right populist conversion.
Speaking as perhaps a minor Beylerbey of private equity (and a beneficiary of such trends, so with as JSF has said with Whiggish or I might say in my context ‘radical republican’ awareness of long-term social stability interest for bigger future pies) there needs to be an industrial policy type response. The market structures of Anglo world in particular but also Latin are not able to respond in a timely effective way, and dangerous concentration is occuring while the majority – fading or not depending on national demographies – of blue collar males (and females) are suffering badly.
American responses are excessively focused on Uni (including the idiotic uni debt writeoffs idea pushed by the online and visible minority) or evidently pathetically ineffectual.
N. Euro models of industrial technical training deeply integrated with industry – not ridiculous vampire for-profit schools nor structurally inflexible state entities – with significant PPP backing / funding I believe is a model with incentives to address the industrial / good jobs without relying on short-term naiveté about market taking care. It is more than evident market needs transitioning assistance and government industrial policy (and so the purist quasi Bolshevik style ideology of the Republicans is wrong, utterly wrong). From economic comfort comes cultural confidence and draining of the infection of Reaction.
Republicans blocked the PACT act and Trump called all the military “suckers and idiots”, which proves how much Republicans love the troops. Democrats tried to increase healthcare to veterans, which obviously shows Democrats hate the troops.
@Steven L. Taylor: All fair. I acknowledged that the system we have is the system we have. It has Pros…lots of them. It also has flaws. Look, Im a winner in this system. Frankly, I’d win in any system so Im not really invested in what system we have.
But I find it disingenuous that people, mostly winners like ourselves, complain about the effects of the downside of the system…as if the people most negatively impacted should just go away and accept what was imposed on them. Maybe they should, but American culture and human nature being what it is–they won’t. Simply because MAGites hate the downsides of Globalism doesn’t mean they’re wrong. Nor does it mean we shouldn’t look to create subsystems that blunt the impact of Globalism (a system that has many benefits) and reduce the amount of disaffected citizens. The Occupy Wall St and Mag-ites are disaffected about the same thing…they merely differ in the solution.
As much as I despise Republicans, I can completely understand why people have no reason to vote D. I can also see how relatively easy it is/was to radicalize people against Ds since they (unfairly) are the face of NAFTA
What am I saying here? Rational choices have to made to prevent political destabilization. If the choice is, sucks to be you Rural America…with no effort to install a few protectionist training wheels that up the standard of living…you’re going to have to get the iron boot out. This won’t be settled at the ballot box.
If the choice is try to mitigate some of the seams and gaps in the current system and reduce the malcontents to a manageable level–there may be a chance to avoid “non-peaceful” confrontation.
We need to be clear-eyed in assessing where we are, what the options are, and what needs to be done in response. I think we’ve chosen a path (eff-em) but are not also preparing to confront the reality of those choices. It seems we’d prefer the problem simply disappeared or we vote it away.
@Steven L. Taylor: Well, I happen to know Black Males from every walk of life– many of them in the “without College degree” bucket share the exact same disillusionment about “the system”. Id say close too half of them supported Trump even though they dont “waste time” voting. They aren’t going to go do “white pipo shit” and protest or shoot up stuff. They get out there and Hustle, many times outside of the system. Which, conveniently provided rich fodder for the rural manufacturing replacement program: Prisons.
Quiet as kept, however, black/brown prison fodder has been drying up–causing the PoePoe to start hunting poor disadvantaged whites. Ive been abit taken aback by how many southern blue-collar men despite the police.
That aside, Black Women are carrying our water and working to win within the system. Thank God for them…but having a large portion of economically unstable black men who hustle is not a productive environment for family stability despite how high our Women are trying to carry us. It has had and will have effects on our society.
@Jim Brown 32:
FWIW, I certainly understand that as well.
@Jim Brown 32: The point being not that Black males can’t/don’t share some of the same frustrations as white males, it is that it is empirically true that the two groups don’t behave the same, politically speaking, and have not formed an alliance based on their shared interests (indeed, quite the opposite).
These facts undercut MR’s approach to the subject as an analytical matter.
@Jim Brown 32:
Reagan/Clinton/Bush are 4 heads of the same coin.. precisely the same economic [neoliberal] and foreign [neocon] policies. If “dislike Nafta” is still a thing [and I grew up in Ohio] – I have some terrible news.. the specific party in the office didn’t matter, those bills would’ve easily passed over Clinton’s veto if that had happened. Of course, communicating that 30 years after the fact is rather tough.
Democratic party will always have a soucon of corruption in it — they all will.
At this point, I’d tend to go with Sam Seder’s take on this — for the next few elections, it’s voting D simply for harm avoidance, and we’ll get to the social democratic economic advancement items such as M4A eventually.
Current objective reality of the Republican party politicians don’t match the propaganda .. big disconnect between normieR’s “I support freedom” and the theocratic white fascism of Republicans of 2022. Probably isn’t any way to break through the cognitive dissonance of “I don’t want to think about voting for the death of every woman who has an ectopic pregnancy” meets “Freedom”.
Forget veto, Clinton is the one that got NAFTA through Congress, angering some of his co-partisans, after HW Bush negotiated it.
So, your point, NAFTA was very much a bipartisan effort.