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Ace's Wild, Or "Know Thy Enemy"

Over the weekend, Ace Of Spades wrote a very lengthy, very insightful piece triggered by the reflections of Fred Thompson over his presidential bid, and Ace's frustration as a Thompson supporter. As I read (and read and read) it, I found myself nodding -- I, too, was a Fred-head (though not as strongly as Ace was), and Ace's burst of genius was something I wish I had noticed. I'm going to quote the most germane portion, but you really owe yourself to read the whole thing:


Let me propose a thought experiment. Imagine ten liberals and ten of us. We're each asked a series of political questions. Our task is not to answer as we ourselves would answer, but instead to guess at what our liberal counterparts will say, and not just as far as conclusions, but also as far as reasoning and assumptions and secondary premises.

Who do you think would do better at this task-- we or they? We would. Because while we are fed a steady litany of liberal assumptions and assertions on a daily basis, a liberal is entirely free to ignore the conservative movement's beliefs altogether by simply never consuming any conservative media.

And 95% of them, of course, choose to do just that.

We on the right would probably make that choice, too, if it were allowed to us -- but it's not. We can't escape the liberal media, even when we try.

And we wouldn't just win this experiment on points; we'd destroy them, three knockdowns and then one knockout (and there'd be more knockouts if the ref let us keep pounding on their unconscious heads).

Even the most pro-life among us could, if asked why liberals are so strong pro-choice, trot out the reasons the liberals would give: an embryo is not a life unless it can exist independently of the mother, a woman shouldn't be punished by unwanted pregnancies, a woman shouldn't be economically disadvantaged by unplanned babies, a woman's personal decisions are sacrosanct, there is a right to privacy between woman and doctor, etc.

I'm not saying the pro-lifers would agree with those premises: But they could name them.

On the other hand, the liberals' guesses about our beliefs would be, once you got past the fifteen synonyms for "Because they're stupid" (more on that in a bit), would be the vaguest guesswork about words they've barely heard us say. "Because, um, it's in the Constitution? Or something? I hear them talk about that a lot. They probably think something in it says something about something." That would be a rather good guess on their part.

Now, liberals, therefore, have an abject lack of competence in describing the conservative mindset. They don't understand how we think, and they don't even care to find out -- they never bother asking us, you'll notice. They tend to inform us of what we think and then tell us why those thoughts they just claimed we have are in fact wrong, ignorant, and evil.


...


I can predict what a liberal will say on any issue. I will not only guess his position, I will accurately guess his reasoning. The latter, most of the time, anyway: I will either guess his primary reason, or his secondary reason, or a reason he's actually contrarian on (and thus departs from the liberal mainstream) but which he will at least recognize as a legitimate reason offered by may other liberals.

He won't be able to do that with me. He doesn't know and doesn't care to find out.

But if called upon to supply an explanation, he'll guess.

And he'll resort to The Narrative. Devoid of facts or accurate guesses based on close questioning on other matters, he'll take his best guess at a logical Narrative about my beliefs and motivations.

And what will his guess be? Well, since he never bothered to ask, and never bothered to read a conservative writing his beliefs out, and since, even when he ambushes a conservative (as Martin Bashir did yesterday with Andrew Breitbart) he doesn't actually bother listening to the answers but instead simply follows up with a re-worded restatement of the accusation, he'll resort to the very easy, very natural, very simple Narrative that explains it all.

He'll choose from the following list:

1) Because they're stupid

2) Because they're uneducated

3) Because they're superstitious and credulous and think that God told them to believe this

4) Because they have weak minds and Rush Limbaugh told them to think this

and, of course, for those who aren't clearly in the above categories:

5) Because they're racists and they hate

6) Because they literally -- as the Simpsons' parody went -- because they very literally "Want What's Worse For Everybody," i.e., they are not only villains, but self-aware villains of deliberate and knowing choice, villains because they've decided to Choose Villainy.


And just as I finish and start digesting this, I stumble across the perfect example: Doug Mataconis' latest shot at the Tea Party movement, and the group of left-wing commenters that infest Outside The Beltway.


Mr. Mataconis is, in my opinion, is in the early stages of "Charles Johnson Syndrome." He's generally considered on the right, and rejects the term liberal (although Doug still calls himself a conservative), but devotes the vast majority of his time to kicking and denigrating and running down conservatives, to the delight of a dedicated cadre of leftists who cheerfully pile on his attacks. He's not so far along the path that he's engaged in the paranoia and frantic rewriting of his history and demanding of absolute loyalty that are the end stages of CJS, but the early signs are unmistakable.


But to the actual substance of Doug's piece, and especially the comments: it's exactly as Ace says. They don't understand the Tea Party movement, and they don't care to even try. They project their own theories and beliefs, and then demand that the Tea Party comply with the narrative they've created out of thin air.


Let me propose some alternate explanations for Doug's examples.


1) Texas, with the surge in "social conservative" issues over "fiscal conservative" issues.


Well, for one, Texas has always had a strong social conservative bent, so this is nothing new. Further, Texas' budget woes are nowhere near as severe as in other states; yeah, it needs fixing, but it's hardly the basket case California or Arizona or Rhode Island or Michigan are. It's simply not a major crisis yet, and still manageable -- kind of like the federal deficit under Bush, before the spending orgy that started with the Democrats' rise to power in 2006.


2) Abortion and "anti-gay" issues.


I hate to break it to people, but the sole motivating factor behind such positions is not religion. Some very non-religious (and even anti-religious) people oppose such "liberal" policies. Here's where Ace's observation really shines: I'm a nominal conservative who is "squishily" pro-choice and quite firmly in favor of "gay rights" in most cases, but I can understand the opposition to those positions -- both the religious and the non-religious ones. And further, I can respect them, and refuse to casually dismiss the religious ones -- I understand how these people, thanks to their religion, sincerely and honestly believe that to stand by and say or do nothing while these "evils" are advanced is a profound insult to God, and are compelled to do all they can -- within the system -- to fight them. I disagree with them, and will oppose them, but I respect them and their beliefs, and appreciate their commitment to fight within the system.


3) The final one isn't from Doug, but his commenters -- that the primary factor motivating the Tea Party movement is "racism." Since the Tea Party wasn't formed until after Obama (a black man, or more correctly, a half-black man -- since racial identity is so important to these people, we must be precise) became president, and opposes most of what he does, than obviously his race is the determining factor.


This is beyond codswallop. This has to be what Douglas Adams had in mind when he coined the phrase "load of fetid dingo's kidneys." The Tea Party, as I've seen, read, and experienced it, is almost profoundly agnostic on race issues. Yes, there are some nuts who bring their racism to it, but they're largely ignored or ostracized by the vast majority. Although I have to admit that "white supremacist" is one of the first things that comes to mind when I consider some of the leading voices in the Tea Party movement -- Allen West, Herman Cain, Marco Rubio, Bobby Jindal, Nikki Haley, Alonzo "Zo" Rachael, and so on.


On the actual substance of the "they only got fired up once we had a black president" critique: again, codswallop. Yes, George W. Bush oversaw expansions of federal spending, federal power, and federal debt. But it was at least nominally sustainable. It started shooting up in 2007, when the Democrats took back Congress, and skyrocketed once Bush left and a Democrat moved into the White House.


One single data point: in 2006, Congress raised the debt ceiling to $8.965 trillion dollars. That's $8,965,000,000,000.00. (I think I got all the zeroes right this time.) Then-Senator Obama eloquently spoke against it, saying it was irresponsible and unsustainable.


Then the Democrats took back Congress, and raised it six more times -- three times signed off by Bush, three by Obama -- and now we're looking at a seventh, as we're right on the verge of reaching the current limit of $14,294,000,000,000.00. (Double-checking my zeroes again...) That, by my reckoning, is an increase of roughly 63% in four years.


In comparison, the debt ceiling went up 71% in Bush's six years. Just for giggles, let's add 71% to the amount of the debt ceiling when the Democrats took Congress back, and it comes up to $15,330,000,000,000.00. That's just a trillion more than it is now, and they're talking about raising it again. The last raise was $1,900,000,000,000.00, so it's definitely within their reach. (OK, now I'm just showing off that I got the zeroes right.) And it took Bush 6 years to hit that 71% mark; the Democrats have only taken four years to hit 63% -- and they had a higher starting point, so that 71% is a hell of a lot more money.


To underscore Ace's point that started this whole thing, I can understand the argument behind the left's insistence on painting the Tea Party as racist. And further, I can speculate as to the real reasons, the ones they won't admit to themselves.


For one, they're utterly obsessed with race, and they can't imagine that others are not. So therefore race has to be a primary concern with pretty much everything.


For another, they've had decades of using their race card. It worked for decades, diverting their opponents into frantic defenses and shutting them down entirely. But I think we've been using the wrong metaphor -- it's not a race "card," but a race "checkbook." They've overdrawn their account at the Race Bank, and we simply won't honor it any more, but they still insist they can't be out of money -- they still have checks left!


For a third, I suspect that there's a significant element of "white guilt" behind it. The ones who most loudly proclaim "racism!" here tend to be white, and they are likely subconsciously "proving" their non-racist nature by supporting a black man (even though he was totally unqualified and proving wildly incompetent), and need to constantly reaffirm their "non-racist" nature by trying to expose and denounce other "racists."


Sorry, folks. I understand your feelings of white guilt, but I don't share them. And I don't feel particularly inclined to indulge your issues to the point of playing a role in your psychodrama that doesn't fit.


Ace's theory of the "narrative" and its power omits one thing, that I feel I need to add: the pushers of the narrative use it as a Procrustean bed, and last November we went all Theseus on their asses.


But damn if he didn't just nail it.


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Comments (59)

Jay, it seems most of your ... (Below threshold)
Chico:

Jay, it seems most of your post is devoted to explaining why Mataconis is right, or pleading special circumstances. Like Texas, where the teatards have taken over, but you say the Christian Sharia they're instituting is not because the teatards have taken over; it's because they're rich and thus have the leisure to fuck with other people's liberties and beliefs.

I agree with you about the racism, the commenters overstate it as a reason for the Obama-hate. I say this because I remember the eight years of howling attacks by right-wingers upon the most fiscally responsible president of the last 40 years, Bill Clinton. It was non-stop insanity during those years, Whitewater, conspiracy theories, wild accusations and of course the impeachment.

The teatards are mostly authoritarians, and to the extend they have any coherent fiscal policy at all, it's to cut any money to "them" while keeping the government teat flowing for "us."

Beyond that, most teatards would ban: (1) the free exercise of religion in the USA (Islam, probably Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism, too), (2) abortion, and (3) gay sex.

I read two stories about insane teatards in the last day: One about the Florida Congressman who put a requirement in the 9/11 first responders medical bill that they check everyone applying for benefits against the FBI terrorist database, and another about a Michigan state senator who filed a bill to require that all clothes bought for foster children be bought at used clothing stores. Not exactly the spirit of freedom there.

Chico, you might have had a... (Below threshold)

Chico, you might have had a point or two buried in there, but I lost all interest in reading it after the third "teatard" and "the most fiscally responsible president of the last 40 years, Bill Clinton."

J.

.... He'll choose from the ... (Below threshold)

.... He'll choose from the following list:

.... 1) Because they're stupid

.... 2) Because they're uneducated

.... 3) Because they're superstitious and credulous and think that God told them to believe this

.... 4) Because they have weak minds and Rush Limbaugh told them to think this and;

.... Of course, for those who aren't clearly in the above categories:

.... 5) Because they're racists and they hate

.... 6) Because they literally -- as the Simpsons' parody went -- because they very literally "Want What's Worse For Everybody," i.e., they are not only villains, but self-aware villains of deliberate and knowing choice, villains because they've decided to Choose Villainy ....

And he will never know that - along with Morbid Envy, Hatred and Rage Disorder and Bush/Palin Derangement and others - Psychopathological Projection Syndrome is the FasciSSocialist Psychosis's definitive symptom.

And gives him away every time.

More than once I've explain... (Below threshold)

More than once I've explained to my friends that my very southern, very white parents blamed the entire spectrum of social unrest and social decay that occurred during the 1960's -- assassinations, race riots, welfare, hippies, drugs, the anti-war movement, disrespect for authority, free love, etc. -- on Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The reason? He really came on the scene nationally around 1960 or so. After that, the degradation of societal values begin to unfold. So naturally he was to blame for everything because it all started after he became well known.

Of course no one could objectively look at the complex history of the 1960's and conclude that this was really accurate. But it was true enough for my parents, and it was widespread enough for Nixon and lots of old-school conservative Democrats to center their campaigns around "law and order" platforms, which appealed to the desire of older Americans to return to the way things were before the 1960's.

Then I explain to my liberal friends that their "Tea Party = racism" rationalization -- we elected a black man as President, then the Tea Party movement started, therefore Tea Party is racist -- is the exact same flawed reasoning used by my parents to blame everything wrong with the 60's on MLK.

And Chico pipes in right of... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

And Chico pipes in right off the bat with the "they're stupid" and "they hate" reasons.

I almost quit reading his diatribe myself after the second "teatard", but I couldn't avert my eyes from the train wreck that is Chico and watched him prove nearly every point made in Jay's post.

The only thing he forgot was that we kick puppies, too.

Oh, and Palin!

If we went all Theseus on t... (Below threshold)
epador:

If we went all Theseus on their asses they'd be dead.

The post is right on the mo... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

The post is right on the money in my opinion.

Liberals are intellectually lazy. Chico, hyper and woop prove it constantly. Steve Crickmore at least uses civility in his talking points.

Conservatives believe strongly in the spirit of the individual. That the idividual can accomplish anything if he or she avails themselves to the tools needed to succeed.

Liberals believe individuals cannot achieve on their own. They are unable. Which one makes the stronger america? The conservative. ww

More than once I've expl... (Below threshold)
Chico:

More than once I've explained to my friends that my very southern, very white parents blamed the entire spectrum of social unrest and social decay that occurred during the 1960's -- assassinations, race riots, welfare, hippies, drugs, the anti-war movement, disrespect for authority, free love, etc. -- on Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The reason? He really came on the scene nationally around 1960 or so..

Then I explain to my liberal friends that their "Tea Party = racism" rationalization -- we elected a black man as President, then the Tea Party movement started, therefore Tea Party is racist -- is the exact same flawed reasoning used by my parents to blame everything wrong with the 60's on MLK.

Why do you think they blamed MLK and not, say, Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, JFK, Alan Shepard, Andy Warhol, Sean Connery, or the Beatles?

They all came on the scene around 1960. Just wonderin'

Um, seems like the more accurate analogy is that there are still a lot of people out there like your parents, blaming the entire spectrum of economic and social decay on Barack Hussein on account of a particular shared characteristic of MLK and BHO, plus BHO's "foreign" Muslim family background.

Let's not forget, we have a... (Below threshold)
Upset Old Guy:

Let's not forget, we have an open and honest commenter in James H. And I appreciate having a counter-balance to the nonsense spewing sect.

Excellent article by you an... (Below threshold)
Hank:

Excellent article by you and Ace.

And right on the money.

You're right in that we cannot escape the liberal media. Ironically, the left, along with holding all the prejudices listed, never want to know the conservative point of view and if they had their way would happily shut down any and all conservative outlets. Hence the war on Fox, Limbaugh and others.

Yes, they call us stupid. And then sit down to listen to the wisdom of a Pelosi, Reid, or even the "genius" in the White House who uses a teleprompter like a baby uses a binky.

I also notice the list does not include thinking conservatives are angry. Good. That is one emotion that liberals uniquely have in spades.

I really don't kno... (Below threshold)
irongrampa:


I really don't know why y'all give an iota of credence to the Chico's, etc,---what you see is a promotion of the Narrative. The Narrative is whatever theme is used to discredit an individual or group in order to advance the left's position. The Tea Party is racist, Thompson had no "fire in his belly", Bush's "tax cuts for the rich"--there isn't sufficient bandwidth to enumerate them all.

There is more intellectual depth in a mud puddle.

There was a study out of Br... (Below threshold)
jim m:

There was a study out of Britain a couple of years ago (sorry no cite) that looked at this issue. They took subjects both liberal and conservative and set them the task of describing the positions of the other side. They had additional liberals and conservatives critique the explanations for how accurate they were and how well they reflected their own points of view.

The results were that conservatives were far more successful in accurately and fairly describing their opponents point of view. The liberals could not do so without falling back into stereotypes and slanders.

The conclusion of the authors was that conservatives were more capable of putting themselves in other people's shoes and understanding their viewpoint. Liberals lack the ability to hold in abeyance their own biases and prejudices so they cannot understand how another person thinks and can arrive at a different conclusion about the world than they do.

In short liberals are incapable of understanding other people and their points of view. As a result they take the position that other points of view cannot be reached by honest means but are the result of greed or malice. Other views are not arrived at by having incomplete information but by a lack of intelligence or a mental defect.

I wish the trolls wo... (Below threshold)
justpassingthrough:


I wish the trolls would go and pay Ace a visit.

Yes Chico you are right, th... (Below threshold)

Yes Chico you are right, there are a lot of people like my parents still out there. They are liberals, who see everything through the lens of racism, and simply cannot understand any other motive for a civil uprising except racism.

You proved this brilliantly, by completely omitting the section of my comment where I plainly stated that my parents' understanding of the 1960's was unobjective and completely inaccurate, just as the liberals' understanding of the Tea Party movement is lazy and built entirely on stereotyping, and therefore completely inaccurate.

We can all see plainly now that the truth is very hard for liberals to bear, can't we?

"the most fiscally responsi... (Below threshold)
914:

"the most fiscally responsible president of the last 40 years, Bill Clinton."


hahahaahhahahahahhaha


Good one woop!

Why do you think they bl... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Why do you think they blamed MLK and not, say, Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, JFK, Alan Shepard, Andy Warhol, Sean Connery, or the Beatles?

Um...Well with the exception of JFK (who was part of the establishment) none of these was really active politically. Sure some made political statements but they weren't active like MLK.

What I find interesting is that Chica proves the point of my post by completely failing to understand Michael's comment. The point of his comment is that his parents mistook coincidence for correlation and that liberals in calling the tea party racist are making the same mistake.

Chica shows us that he is incapable of placing himself in Michael's shoes and trying to understand his point.

"Good one woop!"... (Below threshold)
Woop:

"Good one woop!"

You keep repeating the falsehood that Chico and I are the same person because... you're so damned smart?

Nope, that's not it.

Nice of you to show up and prove that libs are right at least in some cases...

I said the racism factor is... (Below threshold)
Chico:

I said the racism factor is overstated, because if Hillary were president much of the same things would be said about her, except that they wouldn't be saying she was a Kenyan Muslim.

But to deny that racism plays a role in the vituperation of Obama is to ignore the obvious, like the recent email by a Republican official in California showing BHO as part of a family of chimpanzees.

On the broader subject, it's tough for outsiders to understand what the right-wing believes, because you're incoherent. I don't say "conservatives," because I don't believe these people are truly conservative. Radical right-wing is more like it.

On the one hand, they say they want limited government in the sense of totally deregulating pollution and workplace safety laws, but are all in favor of unlimited spying on citizens, presidential power to designate anyone a "terrorist" without review by a judge, and government power to lock them away indefinately without trial. They want to deny people freedom of contract for marriages on their own moral grounds, or would even criminalize sex between consenting adults. They're in favor of the extensive government surveillance of doctor/patient relationships and criminalization it would take to cut down or stop abortions. They wanted government action to stop the mosque in lower Manhattan.

They say they are against excessive spending and deficits, but never saw a war, and the cost that goes with it, they didn't like.
But then, they say they support the war and the troops, but are dead against paying for the war or VA benefits through taxes themselves, failing to recognize that the military is a huge part of the discretionary budget.

They are against government healthcare, but demand to "keep government out of Medicare." Some teatard did actually say that.

"I wish the trolls would go... (Below threshold)
Gmac:

"I wish the trolls would go and pay Ace a visit."

Trolls and even regulars that say stupid things don't fare to well at AoSHQ. The Morons and Moronetts tend to chew them up and spit them out after beating them senseless with facts.

That in a nutshell is why liberals are now getting their asses handed to them on a regular basis. Conservatives are standing up and firing back with FACTS, something liberals don't have the first clue about or try to manipulate as they see fit to support their positions.

"Nice of you to show up and... (Below threshold)
914:

"Nice of you to show up and prove that libs are right at least in some cases..."


Yeah right.. And Barry Hussein creates jobs and unites the Country. Tell us another one sock puppet #2..

Chica,It isn't tha... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Chica,

It isn't that we are against paying for a war through taxes. In case the fact escaped your notice, we already do that.

What we are against is the contra-factual belief that raising taxes is the best way to raise revenue. The left steadfastly refuses to acknowledge that changing the tax code will cause people to change their behavior in order to avoid taxation. When Reagan cut the top tax tier from 70% down to 35% the government saw revenues increase not decrease because the tax code no longer was an obstacle to using that money to create more wealth.

The dems believe that if you raise the income tax that revenues will increase by exactly the amount of the tax increase. And yet they will tax things like liquor and cigarettes for the purpose of reducing the use of the same. The left is incapable of translating the lesson from one tax to the other.

People will do what they can to avoid paying taxes. Just look at John Kerry: He locates his yacht in Rhode Island to avoid a half million in taxes.

Again, you substitute a crude characterization for actual understanding of a different point of view.

Jim M -"Chica show... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

Jim M -

"Chica shows us that he is incapable of placing himself in Michael's shoes and trying to understand his point."

I've noticed that with a lot of liberals - they seem completely incapable of comprehending anyone else's thoughts if they don't correspond to the established narrative. It really makes no sense to me at all - it's as if there's a subroutine that takes what they see and hear and replaces it with a BSOD narrated in backwards Mandarin Chinese. It's incomprehensible to them, therefore you must be stupid...

And to give MY folks props - they grew up in rural Montana and Oklahoma respectively, and were kind of prejudiced against non-whites. But they KNEW they were - and hid their prejudices and worked hard at making sure my brother and I weren't. My father always said to judge people by how they acted, not by how they looked.

Chico -

Snyfr rdhvinyrapvrf. Orvat ntnvafg n znffvir erinzc naq rkcnafvba bs tbireazragny urnygu pner vfa'g gur fnzr nf orvat ntnvafg nyy tbireazragny urnygu pner. Naq qebc gur 'grngneq' penc, jbhyq lbh? Vg znxrf vg ybbx yvxr lbh'er abg frevbhf ng nyy.

Ohg jr'er pbzvat gb n gvzr jurer uneq pubvprf ner tbvat gb unir gb or znqr. Jr'er oebxr, gur HF qbyyne vf qrcerpvngvat snfg, naq Puvan'f ybbxvat ng qebccvat n ybg bs vgf' ubyqvatf bs HF qrog. Gung'f abg tbvat gb raq jryy.

(Figured I'd just prescramble it for you. I'll put it on your tab.)

It was funny the first few ... (Below threshold)
PBunyan:

It was funny the first few hundred times that Chico and/or Woop posted a comment in which they were attempting to refute a consevative point, but instead actually proved the point.

Now it's just sad and tiresome.

[email protected] wrote:<b... (Below threshold)
Rodney Graves:

[email protected] wrote:

Liberals are intellectually lazy. Chico, hyper and woop prove it constantly. Steve Crickmore at least uses civility in his talking points.

Did you miss the thread in which crampless admitted he was critiquing a book he had not bothered to read? He's just as intellectually lazy as the other louts you name, it just takes more effort to get him to break out the stupid.

I usually don't trot out th... (Below threshold)
James H:

I usually don't trot out the "you're a superstitious fool" or "Rush Limbaugh told you to" arguments unless I'm trying to needle a conservative and get under his skin.

"I've noticed that with a l... (Below threshold)
DaveD:

"I've noticed that with a lot of liberals - they seem completely incapable of comprehending anyone else's thoughts if they don't correspond to the established narrative."

Are they incapable or is it simply a very intentional refusal?

Now, liberals, the... (Below threshold)
Eric:
Now, liberals, therefore, have an abject lack of competence in describing the conservative mindset. They don't understand how we think, and they don't even care to find out -- they never bother asking us, you'll notice. They tend to inform us of what we think and then tell us why those thoughts they just claimed we have are in fact wrong, ignorant, and evil.

See Post 18, for an elegant example of this.

Liberals believe i... (Below threshold)
James H:
Liberals believe individuals cannot achieve on their own. They are unable.

Really? This is your best explanation of liberalism?

It's a blanket statement that precisely inverts what Ace is trying to prove.

"Really? This is your best ... (Below threshold)
914:

"Really? This is your best explanation of liberalism?"

Perhaps I missed something? Where does it say this is the best example?

James H,No it does... (Below threshold)
jim m:

James H,

No it does not encompass liberalism, but it does capture a facet of it. Liberals generally despise the capabilities of the masses and almost universally denigrate their ability to make choices in their best interest.

Just last week Chica was declaring that it would be better for a panel of a dozen so-called experts to make choices for 308 million people than to allow those persons to make choices for themselves.

The liberal mindset is that government is created to take care of the masses and to protect the people from their own choices. For example: it isn't enough to say that transfats are bad for you we have to make it illegal to serve food that contains them.

The left does think that people are incapable of taking care of themselves. We see it in every aspect of their policy.

Jim M:My own exper... (Below threshold)
James H:

Jim M:

My own experience is that liberalism has oriented not on muffling the power of the individual, but rather on *cough* empowering individuals and others in situations where a larger entity holds greater power.

In classic labor regulation, for example, you regulate large employers to attempt to mitigate those employers' inherently unequal bargaining power versus employees.

Or you put forward govenrment environmental regulation, for example, because it is in polluters' interest to push away from themselves as much of the cost of pollution as possible.

(Note: I did not claim the employers, polluters, etc., are evil or are anything like Captain Planet villains. Just that their interests run a certain way)

I will say that I part ways with the left on such things as banning trans fats. I'm all for government-funded public-education campaigns to encourage healthy eating, particularly by children. But outright bans are just silly.

James, you're the exception... (Below threshold)

James, you're the exception to this general principle. You actually think.

Which brings up my latest insight -- this ties in very nicely to the theme of "conservatives think liberals are stupid, liberals think conservatives are evil."

The average liberals of today just can't get their brains to comprehend the logic and ideas behind conservative thought, so they just assume the worst. And conservatives, who can do the opposite with little problem, think they're idiots because they can't do the same.

J.

James H,Just to el... (Below threshold)
jim m:

James H,

Just to elaborate on my statement above, consider the fact that the response to Ryan's budget proposal is to whine and complain that he will give vouchers to people to get insurance instead of Medicare and that people cannot make those choices.

Consider the opposition to private retirement packages and the push from Senators like Durbin to confiscate those 401K's in order to protect the people from their bad investments. Perhaps these are motivated more by greed and less by despite of the capabilities of the public but it is couched in those terms to sell it.

I still recall Whoopie Goldberg's comments on er daughter's choice to have a child when she got pregnant. She decried her choice to have the child and regretted that she couldn't choose for her.

For the left choice is OK as long as everyone chooses in the way they believe is the best way. There is no accounting for differences of opinion and temperament. If eating transfats will shorten your life by a year or two some people will till eat them weighing the consideration that it is worth having a shorter life in exchange for one they enjoy more.

The left cannot understand that people will make different choices. They act in ways to eliminate those choices.

Something that nee... (Below threshold)
irongrampa:


Something that needs to be pointed out again--present day "liberals"aka secular PROGRESSIVES have co-opted the term liberal as theirs, masking the true intent and philosophy. It's been remarkably successful over time.

Classic liberals have no more in common with today's progressives than Joe Biden has with intelligence.

If you don't probe them a bit, they'll get away with the scam,but some pointed questions will will show the fallacy of progressive thought, no matter the pretty mask they show.

Now watch the obfuscation and diversion tactic follow.

James, if only they'd stop ... (Below threshold)

James, if only they'd stop at "encouraging," I'd be fine with it. But the usual progression is when the "encouragement" doesn't achieve the desired results, they move on to "coercion" and "compulsion" and, eventually, "mandate."

Here in New Hampshire, we encourage people to buckle up on cars and wear helmets on motorcycles. But we don't coerce or compel or mandate it. I think that those who don't use them are utter idiots -- but I don't have a problem with people being idiots.

J.

chico's right hand woop-</p... (Below threshold)
914:

chico's right hand woop-


"Nice of you to show up and prove that libs are right at least in some cases..."


Name one?

I reject Chico's attempt at... (Below threshold)
John:

I reject Chico's attempt at guilt by association, the left has no moral standing to make that accusation. I give you the treatment of Condi Rice, Colin Powell, Kennith Gladney, last but not least Robert Byrd. I'm sure other's here can add to the list.

Go clean your own house!

Jay Tea, Jim M: I did writ... (Below threshold)
James H:

Jay Tea, Jim M: I did write detailed responses to both of you before my computer ate them, but I thought again and decided to step back to the bigger picture for a moment.

The problem here isn't "liberals" or "conservatives." It's our two-party system.

Bear with me for a moment on that one.

Despite the best attempts of Daily Kos, Fox News, MSNBC, and Rush Limbaugh to manufacture two monolithic entities (The Right and The Left), the reality is that each camp is rather diverse.

On the right, you have economic conservatives, deficit hawks, tax hawks, social conservatives, evangelical conservatives, and libertarians (to name just a few), and there's continual tension between them.

On the left, you have environmental liberals, social-justice liberals, animal-rights liberals, environmental liberals, Blue Dogs, and so forth.

On each side, there a mess of intraparty tension. Do you really think a tax-cut hawk is going to go for a deficit-reduction plan that hikes taxes on the wealthy by 15 percent? Or do you think that an endangered-species liberal will cotton to an environmental-liberal's plan to raise wind towers that could kill birds?

Doesn't happen.

So each coalition has to take a stand on the ideas that its constituents have in common, then paper over the rest with bromides. And to promote unity among their side, they point to the other side assembling itself into a monolith.

And what does this have to do with the two-party system? If you want to get anything done, you have to be a Republican or a Democrat. No "third party" in this country commands remotely the constituency needed to earn more than marginal power in this country.

End result: When a social conservative puts forward an extremist abortion restriction, a liberal will tar the fiscal conservative (who may not care about abortion, really) with the proposal. AAnd a Blue Dog who doesn't care one whit about endangered species suddenly has to account for a colleague's attempt to restrict hunting of the Spotted Forked-Tailed Whipoorwill.

Which, in turn, promotes within both camps massive misconceptions of the other side.

"Are they incapable or i... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

"Are they incapable or is it simply a very intentional refusal?

DaveD - I honestly don't know.

I've seen some posts that suggest it's actually a genetic thing - but how that would play out I have no idea.

http://news.discovery.com/human/is-there-a-liberal-gene.html

"They hypothesized that individuals with a genetic predisposition toward seeking out new experiences would tend to be more liberal.
The funny thing on that is that political 'liberals' aren't looking to seek out new experiences, but instead seem to want to control the experiences of others. Maybe there's a sudden surge of endorphins when you think about controlling other people (for their own good, of course), and that reinforces your thinking in that manner.

Then again, it might be an intentional thing - a belief that "Since you don't believe as I do, you don't have anything worth saying."

I'd say the odds are 6 to 5 either way, you pick. But my wife's pretty conservative, while her sisters are pretty liberal. We've learned not to talk politics - the sisters are convinced that they're right and nothing will even get them to consider their opinions.

(Though I do think that Obama's starting to get through their self-certainty, though.)

There is a lot of poppycock... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

There is a lot of poppycock about the liberals supposed wish to have a nanny state and conservatives putative championing individual soverignity, except when it comes to obscenity laws, legalizing online gambling, or marijauna ,easing of blue laws against homosexuality and so forth, The list is a long one, just ask Barney Frank the most liberal of House members and the conservative usuallly religious GOP opposition which he has faced, when he has to loosen or 'liberalize' the country's laws on these matters.

Sorry in advance since this... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Sorry in advance since this will make your head hurt, Woop, but if you and Chico are not the same person, please list the three most fundamental differences between you and him, in policy and worldview.

From where I sit, you and he speak with exactly the same sad pitiful lack of comprehension and maturity.

Actually, I got a couple is... (Below threshold)
James H:

Actually, I got a couple issues on Jim M.

Just to elaborate on my statement above, consider the fact that the response to Ryan's budget proposal is to whine and complain that he will give vouchers to people to get insurance instead of Medicare and that people cannot make those choices.

Well ... I'm a fairly decent insurance shopper, but I can't say this voucher program thrills me. First, it risks diffusing seniors' power to obtain favorable rates for medical services. Once they're broken up across multiple insurance companies, they've lost the benefit of aggressively negotiated rates. Second, I would argue that unless you couple Ryan's voucher proposal with some stringent rules on policy disclosures, you risk seniors buying policies with inadequate information.

This ties back to what I was saying earlier. I'm not trying to make seniors' decisions for them, but in the private marketplace, large insurers have an inherent advantage over individual seniors due to their large size.

Consider the opposition to private retirement packages and the push from Senators like Durbin to confiscate those 401K's in order to protect the people from their bad investments.

This is troublesome. I wonder if there'd be a takings argument here ...

I still recall Whoopie Goldberg's comments on er daughter's choice to have a child when she got pregnant. She decried her choice to have the child and regretted that she couldn't choose for her.

Sounds like a lot of parents I know, who sound disappointment with their adult offspring for not making the "right" decisions. I feel the same way about twentysomethings' decision-making skills. My criticism is larded with the words "whippersnappers," "when I was there age," and "get off my lawn!"

For the left choice is OK as long as everyone chooses in the way they believe is the best way. There is no accounting for differences of opinion and temperament.

Actually, that reminds me of something brought up in an NYT column, and I'd like an answer from a flesh-and-blood conservative rather than a NYT columnist's speculation.

It seems to me (and a lot of people in the center and the left) that the perfect compromise on abortion politics is to allow a reduction in the number of abortions, but to increase the availability of contraception. Why does nobody on the right seem interested in this potential compromise?

"Which, in turn, promote... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

"Which, in turn, promotes within both camps massive misconceptions of the other side."

Which turn into stereotypes, which further reduces the ability to communicate.

The thing to look for would be who would most benefit from such a polarization...

But would breaking things up into a massively-multi-party system do any real good?

James H,"It seems to... (Below threshold)
DaveD:

James H,
"It seems to me (and a lot of people in the center and the left) that the perfect compromise on abortion politics is to allow a reduction in the number of abortions, but to increase the availability of contraception. Why does nobody on the right seem interested in this potential compromise?"

James H, I was going to try this one but, first, any abortion question on a thread not directly devoted to abortion tends to really veer off topic. But when you say increase availability of contraception, do you mean as in giving it away for free?

The thing to look ... (Below threshold)
James H:
The thing to look for would be who would most benefit from such a polarization...

Members of Congress and their assorted hangers-on. As long as the country is polarized, they have a built-in scapegoat for not accomplishing anything substantive: the other side. They also can continue to campaign on a platform of fighting the evil people on the other side of the aisle. Ain't democracy grand?

But would breaking things up into a massively-multi-party system do any real good?

You make it sound like World of Warcraft: Washington. I'm divided on this, honestly. When you look at multiparty systems around the world, they still tend to coalesce into two "mainstream" parties and numerous smaller parties that generally amass enough votes to be influential rather than powerful.

I'm honestly not sure if that system would be absolutely better than what we have now, but a few thoughts occur to me in that direction.

Primaries. As things stand now, presidential primary candidates, particularly those with small support bases, have an interest in pandering to their parties' extreme wings during the primary campaign, then swinging to center for the general election. This promotes a lot of obfuscation and dishonesty, even for a politician.

The parties make the rules. As things currently stand, the two major parties have set up the rules of the game such that it's nearly impossible for a third-party candidate to credibly challenge the existing two parties because of how campaigns work. For example, the limit on individual contributions effectively requires that to raise money, a candidate must pull in donations from a large swath of voters, rather than tapping, say, a few somewhat wealthy friends to finane his run. This leaves a lot of influence with "bundlers," that is, individuals who have large Rolodexes they can bring to bear on behalf of their favored candidates.

Congressional majorities. As things stand right now, each party has a slate of extreme members of Congress to which it must pander to get anything done. The Democrats can't credibly pass legislation without appeasing San Francisco liberals, while Republicans have to placate Alabama conservatives. Part of me thinks that if these more ... ahem ... colorful politicians could be siphoned off to smaller, less influential parties, then occasionally the Big Two could more easily reach consensus on vital legislation.

It seems to me (and a lo... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

It seems to me (and a lot of people in the center and the left) that the perfect compromise on abortion politics is to allow a reduction in the number of abortions, but to increase the availability of contraception. Why does nobody on the right seem interested in this potential compromise?

(Holds up hand...)

I don't like abortion. At one time I was indifferent, but when I held the little guy when he was 15 minutes old, my thoughts shifted radically. I believe that it SHOULD be legal - because I can't tell others what they should believe (or not believe) in their particular circumstances. I'd LIKE to see abortion become very rare - but I wouldn't want to force it legally or through social manipulation. It's an individual choice.

Increase education on contraception? Hell, yeah. Also, teach the kids that love ≠ sex and sex ≠ love, and that going oofty-oofty with strangers leads to a real good chance of catching something you might not be able to get rid of. Abstinence isn't anything to be ashamed of, and you'll pretty much never catch anything from masturbation. (Just keep paper towels handy. Tissues tend to fragment on cleanup.)

(Hopefully, the little guy's going to know this... heaven knows we've been up-front with him about it all!)

Maybe I'm not a 'real conservative' by thinking this - but that's what I believe.

"You make it sound like Wor... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

"You make it sound like World of Warcraft: Washington."

Now that you mention it... ;)

Jim M,I think I fo... (Below threshold)
dsc:

Jim M,

I think I found the study you were attempting to reference: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/8228192/Political-views-hard-wired-into-your-brain.html

Bottom line - conservatives have larger "fear" centers in their brains. Maybe.

James H: "It seems to me... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

James H: "It seems to me (and a lot of people in the center and the left) that the perfect compromise on abortion politics is to allow a reduction in the number of abortions, but to increase the availability of contraception. Why does nobody on the right seem interested in this potential compromise?"

First James, from my experience most people on the extremes I have met equate 'compromise' with 'surrender', on the left as well as the right. And on an issue like Abortion, there's not really that many we could properly call center - there are those who consider abortion to be morally wrong, those who consider banning abortion to be morally wrong, and others - including myself - who believe both contentions. There's not really many people who see themselves in a 'middle' on this topic.

I don't recall ever hearing a proposal like the one you mentioned. How do you mean 'reduction in the number of abortions', exactly? And given that anyone can obtain contraception from just about every pharmacy or supermarket, what is left to increase the 'availability' of contraception? I simply do not see what you are suggesting.

Another commenter twigged t... (Below threshold)
James H:

Another commenter twigged to it earlier -- information about contraception, particularly for teens and young adults, as well as contraception. And as far as government-provided ... I would argue for making such things available only to the extent that the federal, state, or local governments already pay for healthcare through Medicaid, community clinics, and so forth.

"Well ... I'm a fairly d... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

"Well ... I'm a fairly decent insurance shopper, but I can't say this voucher program thrills me. First, it risks diffusing seniors' power to obtain favorable rates for medical services. Once they're broken up across multiple insurance companies, they've lost the benefit of aggressively negotiated rates. Second, I would argue that unless you couple Ryan's voucher proposal with some stringent rules on policy disclosures, you risk seniors buying policies with inadequate information."

Actually, it's not necessary that each person "go it alone". That's why groups like AARP, ASA and the like are formed. It gives them a group they can voluntarily join that brings them bargaining power. And the beauty of it is that they actually have a choice in the matter on what organization they prefer. AARP needs more competition. They've lobbied way too hard for Obamacare to position themselves to benefit specifically from regulations and cuts to medicare arising from it.

The Tea Party Movement had ... (Below threshold)
davidt:

The Tea Party Movement had its beginnings during the GW Bush years with the Miers nomination to the SCOTUS and the push for amnesty for illegal aliens. The rank and file of the GOP, independent conservatives and libertarians and even some liberal/progressives raised a rukus with elected officials. The politicians' plans were stopped.

The People found out they could have an influence.

Then came Rick Santelli's rant on CNBC on February 19, 2009, about the Homeowners Affordability and Stability Plan, and his call for a, "Chicago Tea Party." Rallies were held, especially April 15, 2009.

Individual members of The People found out they were not alone in their unhappiness with politicians.

Then came the 2010 primary and general elections, when The People ousted long time incumbents in opposition to The Will of the People, and replaced them with members of the tea party movement. This process is ongoing.

None of this has anything to do with racism or top-down astroturffing. It's all about the common people pushing back against the ruling class.

The sleeping giant has been awakened, and he's cranky as hell.

James, you know I'm "squish... (Below threshold)

James, you know I'm "squishily" pro-choice, but is there really an argument that there is a lack of either availability or education on contraception?

I hate to score such a low blow, but your proposal is kind of Obama-esque: "if we just explained things enough, eventually it will work." The material is there, the information is there, but a lot of the targets just aren't interested in it. And I don't think there's a magic formula to get them interested -- short of the hard way.

J.

Guess wooop had to run... M... (Below threshold)
914:

Guess wooop had to run... Maybe later he and chico can devise a plan to grow some balls and show 1 example of where he and woop and chico have proved each other right on one occasion, provided chico can remember to be whooop while he answers in the third person?

I anticipate a reasoned ecample oh great Woooopster..

"To underscore Ace's... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:


"To underscore Ace's point that started this whole thing, I can understand the argument behind the left's insistence on painting the Tea Party as racist. And further, I can speculate as to the real reasons, the ones they won't admit to themselves."

...

You left out one reason that is never referred to, but IMO affects a majority of the non-black Libs : That they are racists themselves. Not 'reverse racists' or some other flavor of 'racism', but full on, out-and-out racists.
They don't think those (low whispering voice) 'black people' can do it themselves. They can't do anything without handouts from Enlightened Whites like themselves.


Les Nessman,You hi... (Below threshold)
hcddbz :

Les Nessman,

You hit the nail on the head. Some liberals in there trying to not see race only judge everyone by race.
Your Asian you really do not have the ability to understand democracy you really all for the greater good.
Your black you must be Democrat if not your race traitor.

It is why Clarence Thomas and Condolezza Rice are so hated.

Just like his hero, woop vo... (Below threshold)
914:

Just like his hero, woop votes 'present' behind the scene's and never provides an example.

Ass clown

I wish the trolls would ... (Below threshold)
James Cloninger:

I wish the trolls would go and pay Ace a visit.

Mwwwahhhhahahahh. That's evil. :)

[quote]Yes, George W. Bush ... (Below threshold)
Idahoser:

[quote]Yes, George W. Bush oversaw expansions of federal spending, federal power, and federal debt. But it was at least nominally sustainable.[/quote]
here's where you go off the rails. Before the example of the current occupant of the White House, Bush was the best democrat EVER. Considering his completely 'liberal' stance on almost everything domestic, including his attempted and actual Supreme Court picks; his handing significant policy making to co-president Ted Kennedy; excepting a lot of his foreign policy... Before Zero, Bush was without a doubt the worst president ever.
Defending that makes you my enemy, I won't take that either.

That's why Hillary was the least evil of the Senators we had to choose from. We would have gotten the same from McClown as we get now, only it would have been my vote that chose it.

We only have the incompetent communist puppet now because you tolerated Bush's liberalism.




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