did someone muck with the backend here

Re: At Whom the Media Clucks

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I think in the end we will find that the majority of the US population does think they owe their fellow human something and is willing to back that up in some concrete way. It's maybe 27% who don't, and they are simultaneously stoking and feeding off the complacency and tribalism of another roughly 20%, and apathy of more. But a lot lot of people might get hurt or killed as we take our sweet fucking time figuring this out.

The first article's nub seems very comparable to that Bertrand Russell letter to Oswald Mosley:

It is always difficult to decide on how to respond to people whose ethos is so alien and, in fact, repellent to one's own... I feel obliged to say that the emotional universes we inhabit are so distinct, and in deepest ways opposed, that nothing fruitful or sincere could ever emerge from association between us.

Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 7:53 AM
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Speaking of Oswald Mosley, do you think the percentage of people vulnerable to stoking of tribalism is lower in the current U.S. than in Germany in the 30s? Or that it differed between Britain and Germany in the 30s? Because if the difference isn't in the traits of people, but rather how well their institutions take to deal with the issue, the problem with the media is more important.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 7:59 AM
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2: I read a book about that question! I don't remember the answer.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 8:02 AM
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They were rhetorical questions.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 8:04 AM
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"Deep down people aren't total shits and will eventually remember that" is not at all reassuring.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 8:06 AM
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Also, Sarah Palin is suing the NYT. That may be enough to make me subscribe.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 8:09 AM
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3: Do you remember the name of the book? Sounds interesting.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 8:11 AM
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5: I think I tried to convey that as well.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 8:11 AM
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I'm feeling bleak.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 8:15 AM
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"Taking their queue" :(


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 8:27 AM
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I sure did like the HuffPo piece. I used to have a hard time resisting dumb debates about facts, but nowadays, I've come to realize that the people I politically oppose aren't talking about facts -- their subject matter is entirely different. If I want to have a useful conversation with them, it has to be about factuality itself -- what we mean by that, why it is or is not important.

Otherwise, the conversation has to be about values, as the HuffPo writer points out.

Any time I am tempted to actually pay money to the NYT, they write something stupid like this. Complain about Vox or 538 all you like, there's no way they'd write something this stupid about McConnell.

And it's not even right-wing bias that motivates the writer here. It frames healthcare legislating as a tactical issue rather than a policy issue, and then gets the tactics totally wrong.

McConnell is trying to do something extraordinarily difficult: Pass a healthcare plan that is almost universally reviled and whose enactment won't improve its popularity. I can't see any way that he can be faulted for his tactical approach, which still has a solid chance of producing a hideous piece of legislation.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 8:53 AM
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My McConnell/Draco Malfoy fanfic isn't being well-reviewed either.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 9:05 AM
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I Don't Know How To Explain To You That You Should Care About Other People.

Kevin Drum in a similar vein

This struck me because I've long used the exact same word in the privacy of my own thoughts. I can write a sophisticated critique of conservative ideology as well as the next guy, but the truth is that it mostly boils down to a gut feel that Republicans are mean. I've never said this out loud because it sounds so kindergarten-y, but there it is. I think Republicans are mean, just like my mother did.

I have interacted with enough Republicans who clearly do care about other people in their daily lives that I think this is partially a symptom of dysfunction in our political system -- that political fights bypasses people's empathy responses -- and I'm not sure how to address that.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 9:09 AM
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I think definitely, there are plenty of people who vote Republican who are kind to people they're in the same room with. But as political actors? Yeah, mean works.

Maybe another way to put it is a real belief that most interactions are zero sum, so helping one person by definition probably hurts someone else just as much? But that's got to be combined with a tendency to be a huge sucker about benefits to rich people.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 9:14 AM
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The zero-sum thing is something I've noticed too. Because the Republican message used to be that economic transactions, unlike government taxes and such, could be beneficial to all involved. I think the 2008 recession killed positive ideas about 'business'.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 9:18 AM
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Honestly, I think it's mostly just racism now.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 9:19 AM
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I have interacted with enough Republicans who clearly do care about other people in their daily lives

The guy who shouted "Let him die!" at that anti-ACA rally a few years ago is probably nice to his family and friends. I'm not sure how many points that's supposed to get you.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 9:29 AM
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As a moral actor, zero. But of course the great question of US politics is how the hell do we talk to these people so as to keep them from continuing to set the world on fire. Options are (1) we don't, just count on the fact that they're mostly old and will die soon, but I've been hoping for that for twenty years and it hasn't really kicked in, (2) find some way to appeal to their actual self interest. Which is a nice idea, but seems hard in practice. or (3) find some way to appeal to whatever scraps of decency they have left, at which point it's worth noting what those scraps look like and where they seem to be located.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 9:34 AM
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There's a Depeche Mode song about that.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 9:37 AM
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7: This. Not actually about that question specifically; a comparitive history of Britain, France, Germany, Italy. I also don't remember if it was good.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 9:37 AM
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I think the main point of all the stories about crime and terrorism is to provide justification for violating values. That is, if you want to do something racist and you know racism is wrong, you can watch Fox News until your racism seems to you like self-defense.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 9:38 AM
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Kind of like if you want to do something, but know you'd never do it sober, you can drink until it seems like a good idea. Except sober comes back more quickly.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 9:39 AM
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I've heard.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 9:40 AM
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HuffPo post is garbage. I guess anyone who disagrees with her on the effect of a minimum wage raise on employment is detached, cruel, and incapable of empathy. (Note: I myself am in favor of raising the minimum wage.)

Kevin Drum piece is funny to me because it includes the sentence, "I think Republicans are mean, just like my mother did." Perfect example of how our political views come from our parents!

All of that said, I like the Republican-policies-are-mean messaging just fine for winning elections, but I'm embarrassed to be on the "same side" as people who believe that the people on the other side are all moral monsters.


Posted by: torque | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 9:49 AM
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I also get sloppy drunk, but you can avoid me then.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 9:53 AM
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24.3 I wouldn't insist on "all". "Enough to be a serious problem", maybe.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 9:55 AM
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HuffPo post is garbage. I guess anyone who disagrees with her on the effect of a minimum wage raise on employment is detached, cruel, and incapable of empathy. (Note: I myself am in favor of raising the minimum wage.)

Could you please show me one of these hand-wringers who is actually, in good faith, conflicted about raising minimum wage? It doesn't count if they're debating how high to raise it.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 9:57 AM
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I'm embarrassed to be on the "same side" as people who believe that the people on the other side are all moral monsters.

I have literally just had a version of this argument in person, so I'm primed. But can we draw a distinction between moral monsters in every respect, and moral monsters as political actors? The policies Republicans actively support are monstrous, and there's only so much excusing people by thinking that they're too stupid to understand any of the consequences of what they're doing I can do.

Now, the same person whose voting habits and political advocacy are monstrous may also be charitable and kind in the rest of their life. Might be a better person than I am, I'm pretty terrible. But if we're talking about politics, I'm not going to theorize that maybe those people have reasons for voting the way they do that make sense and aren't immoral until someone actually explains them to me specifically. I've been asking for decades now, and the best answers I've gotten have been along the lines of "They can't all be monsters, so they must have some set of beliefs that isn't monstrous that makes it all makes sense."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 9:57 AM
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-https://www.forbes.com/sites/modeledbehavior/2017/06/17/sorry-advocates-the-minimum-wage-debate-is-not-over/#5955548cdd76 (sorry about it being a Forbes link, their website is annoying)
-http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2017/06/seattle-minimum-wage-study.html


Posted by: torque | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 10:01 AM
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I'm fine with "moral monsters." The Republican party used to put forth plans like the EITC or food stamps or subsidizing private health insurance for people without sufficient earning power to support themselves. Now they attack all of those things and have cut them whenever they had the chance.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 10:02 AM
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My point isn't that raising the minimum wage is the only way to a just society. My point is that if you oppose raising the minimum wage and oppose existing redistribution programs, your position is functionally and morally equivalent to "fuck you, poors."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 10:04 AM
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Note on 27: you'd expect about half of the totally-in-good-faith people who don't want to raise the minimum wage to indeed want to decrease it, since there's nothing special about the current number. Personally, I'm about p=0.2 that we should get rid of the minimum wage entirely.

28: I firmly believe that the author of the HuffPo article is A. too stupid to understand the argument that raising the minimum wage could actually be bad for people, and B. dumber than the median Republican.

I also firmly believe that I myself am too stupid to get links to work properly using HTML even though I theoretically "work in tech".


Posted by: torque | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 10:06 AM
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I agree with 28. Supporting racism that borders on genocide and the deaths of lots of poor people to further enrich the wealthy is monstrous. Full stop.

Not all people who liked Hitler were "moral monsters," in their daily lives, but we're pretty comfortable with the idea that liking Hitler is enough to get that label regardless of how nice and moral you are in other ways. What we're doing to African Americans and in the Middle East is monstrous enough that I'm OK with thinking that history is going to judge us all harshly, and if you even tacitly support it, you're a moral monster.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 10:08 AM
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"Morel Monster" was a short-lived attempt by Sesame Street to remake their cast in light of the obesity epidemic.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 10:10 AM
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The way I think about it, about terrible Texans, is that one's private self and public self are completely divorced. Republicans' public selves are moral monsters. I don't care about their private selves unless they're in my private life.

Plenty of Democrats are perhaps private monsters, but I don't care about that, either.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 10:10 AM
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One thing that drives me crazy is that NRO type Republicans have managed to convince at least some segments of the chattering classes that "reasonable, open minded" people should be open to polite conversation on topics like "are black people innately inferior?" or "should we sterilize the poor?" if you point out these are indeed monstrous topics that should be taboo, they treat you like you're a hysterical hippie.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 10:13 AM
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28: I firmly believe that the author of the HuffPo article is A. too stupid to understand the argument that raising the minimum wage could actually be bad for people,

What on earth makes you say that? You'd have to be pretty dumb not to understand it, it's a very obvious argument. It's just an obvious argument that most research shows is wrong in the range the minimum wage has been raised in. (Yes, there is one recent paper showing some bad effects that hasn't been through peer review, which does not remove the rest of the research to the contrary from the conversation.)

And (and this is a big point) her essay isn't limited to the minimum wage, but to a suite of Republican policies. Why pick on the one where they have an argument for non-monstrousness that appears to be not prima facie wrong, but only very probably wrong when you look at results. They haven't got arguments even that good for the rest of their policies.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 10:14 AM
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Sorry, that was directed to 32.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 10:15 AM
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Also, Charles Taylor (the philosopher, not the dictator) says basically the same thing as the op in Sources of the Self.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 10:22 AM
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You're right, 28 makes some too-strong assumptions. Where I'm coming from is, like you say, the argument against is pretty obvious, so why doesn't she acknowledge it at all in the piece and why does she go out of her way to deny that it could even exist? Possible reasons: she might never have heard of it, might not thought about the subject too hard, might be intentionally ignoring it because she's trying to persuade and not enlighten.

But my take on the state of the research is different from yours -- I'm not convinced at all that raising it "very probably" has no effect on employment. If you view it as a hoary trope long disproved by modern economics, I can see how you'd think not mentioning it is no big deal.


Posted by: torque | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 10:26 AM
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"should we sterilize the poor?"

I heard breastmilk works to kill germs.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 10:31 AM
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IMO most macro-economic studies is pretty limited/bad/there are too many variables. It's a step above the ev psych research that everyone here loves so much, maybe two steps, but not three. And on a highly politicized topic like the minimum wage, publication bias is an even bigger deal.

So my take is:
-Your views on the minimum wage should mostly come from your priors
-If you think you're basing your views on "the research", you're probably too confident you have the right answer


Posted by: torque | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 10:39 AM
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Sean Spicer points out the real question - how is it that the Democrats can be so heartless as not to care about the millions left uninsured by Obamacare?

https://twitter.com/PressSec/status/880092408096096256


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 10:43 AM
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I think given that, in the realm of viable political actors, everybody opposed to raising the minimum wage is also opposed to any non-wage redistribution, you can say that opposition to minimum wage increases is effectively motivated by the economic self-interest of people who pay wages.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 10:47 AM
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IMO most macro-economic studies is pretty limited/bad/there are too many variables. . . .our views on the minimum wage should mostly come from your priors

Okay, but an important element in my prior beliefs is, "can you find an example in which a significant number of working class people pushed for a lower minimum wage?

I agree that it's worth taking the various academic studies with a grain of salt but the fact that all of the political energy among people who would be affected as workers points in one direction matters to me.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 10:48 AM
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29 seems to be posted in rebuttal to 27, but to the extent that it's relevant, it is confirmation of 27. Tabarrok is arguing that raising the minimum wage past a certain point in a particular circumstance has been shown to be damaging -- not that raising it from its prevailing levels in Seattle was a mistake.

(Tabarrok would never admit it, but the thrust of his argument confirms that Seattle was wise to raise the minimum wage.)

And of course, there's nothing in the study that rebuts the HuffPo piece, which isn't about the minimum wage, only mentions it in passing, and doesn't mention Seattle -- whose treatment of the minimum wage is exceptional -- at all.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 10:51 AM
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I find the argument in 44 persuasive but I'm not on board for the given at the beginning.


Posted by: torque | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 10:52 AM
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45.3 is right. If "Fight for $15" gets the kids to vote, that's sufficient for me. They might be wrong, but it's their wages their gambling with and it seems to be a safer bet than the trajectory of the status quo.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 10:53 AM
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Glib rebuttal to 45.3: so now all of a sudden the poors know what's in their self-interest again? I guess all the matters with Kansas have been resolved!

Re-rebuttal: there's a difference between voting behavior and active political organizing. Re-re-rebuttal: is it really the workers themselves that are doing the organizing, or is it idealistic college kids? But yeah, signals like this are part of why I do support raising the minimum wage.


Posted by: torque | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 10:59 AM
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Also, if we're willing to accept the inevitable inflation, "$54.40 or fight" would be a good slogan.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 10:59 AM
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I'm kinda annoyed that it's not "$15 with an automatic inflation adjustment." There's no economic reason why it should be set to a fixed nominal value.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 11:01 AM
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Maybe it should be a fixed percentage of the base SS benefit. Because old people run everything.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 11:02 AM
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Most research is worthless, sure. But it's easier to find effects the bigger they are, and it's at least been hard to find significant harmful effects from raising the minimum wage. And the article you're being viciously contemptuous about is short and not solely focused on the minimum wage, but on a group of policies, for most of which there aren't arguments even that strong that possibly they might not hurt people.

If you're going to be ashamed of people on your side for using heated rhetoric, you maybe should dial back the unjustifiable intellectual contempt a hair.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 11:06 AM
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Sure, they lied, but, hey, Hugh Hewitt says they didn't lie...

Hewitt says* if Republicans blow this chance at Trumpcare, they've guaranteed singe-payer. I think he's lying, but he may be right.

* or at least the WP headline writer who read the Hewitt's piece says.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 11:06 AM
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My father almost certainly voted Trump and is almost certainly in favor of repealing Obamacare. He also spends 40 hours a week of his retirement working with Catholic Charities USA and donates large amount of money to relief services. He's not a median Republican, but neither is Gordon Gekko. There are a lot of people who simply think the government can't run anything because they've had bad experiences at the DMV.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 11:11 AM
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Re-rebuttal: there's a difference between voting behavior and active political organizing. Re-re-rebuttal: is it really the workers themselves that are doing the organizing, or is it idealistic college kids?

All valid questions. Based on polling it appears that the vast majority of people support raising the minimum wage, but that it isn't a strong emotional issue for many people -- including some who directly benefit.

I don't want to make too big a deal out of one comment from one guy, but here's the response of a minimum-wage worker who got a big increase when Emeryville raised its minimum wage to $14 per hour:
Security guard Kenneth Lofton was among the workers who benefited last year when this East Bay city hiked its hourly minimum wage to nearly $15 for employees at large companies. The jump was almost 70% more than what he used to make in nearby Oakland when he was paid $10 an hour.

...."It's somewhat better, but not much," Lofton said Tuesday morning while eating breakfast and manning the security gate at an Emeryville parking lot. "The high cost of living here takes a big bite out of whatever monetary increase you get, so it's like not getting an increase at all."

This is crazy. If Lofton works full time, he's seeing an increase of $160 per week. Call it $130 or so after taxes. That's real money. But "it's like not getting an increase at all."

Raising the minimum wage--whether to $12, $14, or $15--is the right thing to do. But as a purely political matter, comments like Lofton's make you wonder if this kind of thing provides any benefits for Democrats. It earns them plenty of annoyance from employers, along with at least some annoyance from consumers who have to pay higher prices, but it's not clear if this is offset much by increased loyalty from the folks who are helped. Is Lofton more likely to show up at the polls in November because he got a raise? Hard to say.

Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 11:16 AM
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FWIW, it took me some searching to dig up that link, but I think it raises an interesting question -- how many people benefit from the social safety net and don't feel like that's a reflection of politics? It's just life; and and sometimes it's good, and much of the time it's frustrating, and that's all they have to say about it.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 11:20 AM
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53: yeah, you're probably right -- but what's your answer to the question in 40.1?


Posted by: torque | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 11:27 AM
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That it's not at all the topic of the piece she wrote?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 11:29 AM
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56 goes along with the theory many people have based on the last election that having a job/not having a job is like infinitely more emotionally salient than the quality of that job, and argues for something like a guaranteed government job that pays a UBI rather than a direct UBI.


Posted by: torque | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 11:30 AM
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To expand on that, she's talking about, as I've said three or four times above, a group of Republican positions that hurt poor and vulnerable people. Not detouring to note that the evidence as to one of those positions, while on balance in favor of the way she describes it, is mixed, is the kind of choice that I don't think needs any explanation.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 11:31 AM
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There are a lot of people who simply think the government can't run anything because they've had bad experiences at the DMV.

I hate to get into nagging you to say bad things about your father, but here I go anyway. I completely believe that your father is, taking everything into account, a good person, and probably a better person than I am (not that that's a high standard).

But you probably have theories as to why he votes the way he does. Literally bad experiences at the DMV? Or listening to Fox News? And do you think those are morally responsible justifications for how he votes?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 11:37 AM
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53: Tell him Hugh Hewitt said the options are having the government run everything via single-payer, massive numbers of uninsured, or Obamacare.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 11:47 AM
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Look at Figures 4 and 5 in the post to which my name links. This is sufficient to refute the nonsense most economists teach about the theory of minimum wages.

The only thing original in my post is the specific numeric example. Well-educated economists have known for 50 years that the theoretical argument that the Huffington Post writer doesn't mention is poppycock. I can see how a popular author my sense that, but not understand the ins and outs. And if one did, one would not probably want to get into it.


Posted by: Robert | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 11:57 AM
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Years back, when Obama was saying he wanted a Supreme Court nominee with empathy, weren't Republicans saying "But who should that empathy be for?" I'm not optimistic that they ever learned the answer.


Posted by: Todd | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 12:12 PM
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torque, did you see the "if" in the huffpo piece? IF paying a little extra for food etc. lets workers live decently, it's saying one should be fine with it. And then it moves on immediately to another example of the same principle, but regarding paying taxes so that the needy benefit. It's not an essay demanding specific conclusions based on review of research, it's about the fundamental moral criteria by which one weighs different options given knowledge. It's targeting the dismayingly large crowd, which it seems to me you do not count yourself among, which would reject a higher minimum wage even given absolute agreement that it would raise aggregate and minimum welfare. The let em die crowd.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 12:33 PM
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OK, let's check out the piece more closely, since I agree the minimum wage issue is a small part of her article.

"I'm happy to pay an extra 4.3 percent for my fast food burger if it means the person making it for me can afford to feed their own family." The burgers are going up in price for poor people too and there are a lot more poor fast-food consumers than there are poor fast-food employees.

"I'm perfectly content to pay taxes that go toward public schools... If I have to pay a little more with each paycheck to ensure my fellow Americans can access health care? SIGN ME UP" This is just the classic debate about to what degree taxes affect overall economic growth, and I don't think it adds anything to assert that people who believe it has more of an effect than she does are terrible people [in their public lives whatever that means].

I guess I should defer to people like Heebie who actually live amongst Republican voters to say whether or not they hold views like "While I agree that public schools are a worthwhile public good, and are underfunded, I want to keep underfunding them so that I personally can pay lower taxes", which is the only way I can see describing the[ir political views]m as selfish, mean, etc. I'll admit I don't know very many Republicans personally.


Posted by: torque | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 12:37 PM
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Okay, so your position is that there are no moral issues in politics because there's no reliable way to know if anything ever does any good.

Makes life simpler, sure.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 12:39 PM
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This is just the classic debate about to what degree taxes affect overall economic growth

I don't get this from the article at all. She seems to be talking about being willing to pay taxes for services that might benefit people other than herself.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 12:40 PM
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I believe Torque is saying "Well, maybe higher taxes slow economic growth enough that maybe poor people would be better off without that pesky expensive social safety net, did you ever think of that? I'm not saying I believe it (because if I did I'd have to defend that position, which sounds hard), but it's certainly respectable enough that you can't judge someone else for believing it. Who's the moral monster now, smart guy?"

Or something along those lines.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 12:43 PM
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Torque is noting another Republican defense that their chosen policies might _look_ mean but they promote economic growth which will eventually be good for everyone.

My impression is that empirical evidence to support that position is difficult to find, but there are people who try.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 12:46 PM
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68: Not exactly. As Moby Hick and NickS are saying, the observed behavior of Republican politicians makes it clear that they're motivated mostly by pleasing their large donor base, not academic debate about what's best for the country overall. That's definitely bad, and I think Republican politicians are bad. But we should have a much higher standard for judging random people for their beliefs when, again, all our beliefs are so well-predicted by our parents and peer group.


Posted by: torque | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 12:46 PM
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Yeah, I personally believe you're imputing a more The Economist-y mindset than is common; judging from AHCA, what motivates GOP movers and shakers is a more stultified "fuckers need to get a job and stop taking my money".


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 12:47 PM
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That napkin Laffer drew the curve on is probably still out there somewhere. What more do you need?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 12:47 PM
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If you want to see how normal, well educated, kind people go stark raving, viciously mad as observed by someone in real time, read In the Garden of Beasts.


Posted by: lumpkin | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 12:52 PM
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But we should have a much higher standard for judging random people for their beliefs when, again, all our beliefs are so well-predicted by our parents and peer group.

And then we get into the fact that beliefs come in bundles, with peer groups, and characteristically trusted information sources. Someone who has sincerely held false beliefs about economics, arrived at through a thoughtful evaluation of the evidence available to them as presented by sources they have good reason to trust? I can't judge them.

Someone who picked up their economic beliefs from a source who also told them Hillary Clinton is molesting children in the back of a pizza place? I'm judging them not so much for their mistaken economic beliefs as their culpably bad judgment about who to trust. And there are a lot more people in the second category than the first.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 12:53 PM
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Someone who picked up their economic beliefs from a source who also told them Hillary Clinton is molesting children in the back of a pizza place? I'm judging them not so much for their mistaken economic beliefs as their culpably bad judgment about who to trust. And there are a lot more people in the second category than the first.

I gotta say, LB, I appreciate your comments in this thread.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 12:58 PM
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This discussion seems to be circling back to heebie's hierarchy of citizenship post of a few days ago. Sure, people might adopt poisonously harmful politics through being misinformed. But if you're a mentally competent adult who votes, at some point you have some minimal responsibility to get informed.

By this time, if you really believe that those lazy welfare bums are eating T-bone steaks every night and driving around in shiny new Cadillacs, it's no one's fault but your own that you hold that false belief.

And regarding 67.4, I personally have had people complain in my presence about why should their taxes support the local schools when they don't (currently) have any kids in school. So people who just plain don't think they should have to support public goods do exist.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 1:05 PM
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But you probably have theories as to why he votes the way he does. Literally bad experiences at the DMV? Or listening to Fox News?

His adult beliefs about the role of government formed over the course of 20 years working in finance and basically adsorbing the worldview of the WSJ editorial page (with the exception of being anti most wars). That's only been confirmed by watching Fox News since he's retired. He's fairly certain that almost any government program, especially if it's a government-administered service, is doing something a private company or charity could to better (he's fine with most voucher programs).

He thinks that what's fundamentally important in the world is the traditional nuclear family, so to the extent he sees Democrats as allied with forces challenging its rhetorical centrality, nautralness, or worth, he's against.

And do you think those are morally responsible justifications for how he votes?

My short answer is I think he's deeply wrong, but I don't think reaching for the language of morality really accomplishes much that is useful in these contexts. Hopefully I will have time for a longer answer after work.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 1:27 PM
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Literally the Wall Street Journal editorial page? That gets me to the same place as Pizzagate. That is, back in the nineties, the WSJ editorial page was one of the go-to sources for the crazy accusations against Clinton -- god knows there were genuinely bad things to say about him, but anyone with any human level of judgment should have been able to tell that the murdering Vincent Foster/importing cocaine through the Mena airstrip sorts of things were just vicious libels. I do think there's a moral responsibility not to turn over your judgment of what's right and wrong to people who are demonstrably telling crazy lies. It's a mistake lots of people make, and it's a very ordinary, human mistake, but it's blameworthy.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 1:37 PM
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And I hear you about the language of morality. It's not that I expect using that language to be persuasive to the people I think are wrong. But there has to be a way to distinguish between people who believe false things despite their responsibly applied best efforts, and people who believe false things because they've chosen to affiliate themselves with people who are transparently dishonest, and then not investigate their claims.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 1:43 PM
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I think most people who vote Republican do it because they've always voted Republican, their friends all vote Republican, and they aren't thinking about it super-hard. But those are also the reasons people vote Democratic. Not to go all Chris Arnade but I talked to thousands of Democratic voters in FL in person in fall 2016 and I wouldn't describe them as super high-information. And given the incredibly small chance that any one person changing their vote will swing an election, I don't think it's emblematic of a deep character flaw to just not pay very much attention to politics and get your views from whoever and wherever.


Posted by: torque | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 1:53 PM
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Definitely, if your belief is that politics, for an individual person, is something where the effect on the world is so small that there's no moral weight to any of it, then it'd be ridiculous to think of people as doing something wrong when they vote for and advocate positions that will hurt people.

I don't agree with the premise, but if you did, the rest of it works.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 2:07 PM
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I guess I should defer to people like Heebie who actually live amongst Republican voters to say whether or not they hold views like "While I agree that public schools are a worthwhile public good, and are underfunded, I want to keep underfunding them so that I personally can pay lower taxes", which is the only way I can see describing the[ir political views]m as selfish, mean, etc.

Please note that Chadwick isn't saying any particular level of school funding is required -- just that funding public schools is required, even for someone like her who has no kids and plans to have none.

But the form or your argument is interesting, even if it doesn't apply to Chadwick's piece. If I deny the existence of anthropogenic global warming, my position has no moral relevance as long as I'm careful not to educate myself about anthropogenic global warming. I can deny the existence of racism, and this is no kind of moral issue as long as I genuinely believe that racism doesn't exist.

And if all I do is say that I believe these things, then you have no basis to make a moral judgment about me. How can you know what I really believe?

If there's any reason for optimism nowadays, it's because your kind of nuance and sophistication are going out of style. I'm pleased that Chadwick is straightforwardly able to say that preferring higher wages for poor people is a good thing, regardless of what Alex Fucking Tabarrok thinks.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 2:14 PM
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I mean, there really is something to the fact that you pick up your beliefs about the world from your parents and your peer group. Someone who was raised by committed Social Darwinists who made it to a decently humane set of political beliefs is much more praiseworthy than I am, I got my political education the painless, easy way. And someone who's genuinely trying but who's got some problematic beliefs deserves sympathetic engagement while they work through stuff. But at some point, an adult is responsible for the things they believe.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 2:23 PM
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Yeah, sure, my 84 just repeats arguments made by LB and AL, but I didn't know that when I was writing it and didn't feel like previewing. So you can't judge me!


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 2:25 PM
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People who don't exhaustively read threads before commenting in them are the real moral monsters.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 2:30 PM
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And someone who's genuinely trying but who's got some problematic beliefs deserves sympathetic engagement while they work through stuff.

FWIW, I thought this article (which, IIRC, was a link from rtcb) was decent.

But wait. We all know nobody likes to admit they are wrong, but did you know nobody likes to admit they were until very recently wrong? A lot of people change quietly and play it like they were on the right side the whole time, whistling innocently. I did. I used to think poor people were poor because they were lazy. I used to think sexism and racism were over. I used to think Christianity was "under fire" in the U.S. I used to think corporations were so much more efficient than government and we needed those clever, no-nonsense businessmen in charge of our corrupt, bureaucratic government. Now I get yelled at for being a politically correct "SJW" who wants handouts for everybody.

How did this real-life conversion happen? Let's start at the beginning.

I think this bit gets to the question of why people often chose not to engage empathy when considering political questions (partially attachment to our pre-existing views, partially that there's so many attempts to target people's empathy that it makes people suspicious) [emphasis mine].

One of the things I believed was that everybody has the same opportunity, and poor people could get out of poverty if they just stopped pitying themselves and worked harder. This changed when I made friends with actual poor people on PWOT (now the Cracked forums). Now, they did not say, "Hey, you think poor people are lazy, look at my life as a rebuttal." They probably did not even know I thought that. They were just friends telling me (sitting among them, innocently pretending to be a good person) about shit going on in their life. Doing everything I would have told them to do, and crap goes wrong, a million little real-life snags that never occurred to me in my theoretical imaginings of "how a poor person pulls themselves up by their bootstraps."

Again, this would not work if you gave me an article or told me about a friend who experienced these things, in rebuttal to me. "You said it's easy for poor people to move -- well just look at this lady's story!" Delete. My defense would be up, because it's framed as an example to show why I'm wrong. If it had just come up as "Here's some crazy thing that happened to me today" while we are just chilling and not discussing any big issue, it would get right past my defenses. You are my friend who had a crazy misadventure, not "Welfare Queen Stereotype Shattering Story Number Five!"


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 2:34 PM
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I think most people who vote Republican do it because they've always voted Republican, their friends all vote Republican, and they aren't thinking about it super-hard.

Not to be flip, but this describes most of the Nazis I know too. (As in, elderly German people, not American white supremacists). They're *all* lovely, apolitical people. Now stop bothering them about Hitler. At what point are you held responsible for your apathy? Historical judgment has decided that not caring that 6 million Jews were murdered doesn't make you *all* that much better than actively desiring it. I sort of feel the same about gunning down black people with impunity, mass incarcerating them to force them to work for basically free, and bombing and torturing Muslims.

Like, every last one of us is complicit in our shitty system, but not caring that the politicians you support actively promote murder and suffering *kind of makes you a bad person,* even if you have many lovely qualities in lots of ways. I'm tired of stepping around white fragility and bending backwards to empathize with a smallish bunch of people who aren't willing to do the same for oh, black people, women, liberals, Muslims, etc etc.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 2:57 PM
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There's the old sophomoric argument about whether we'd have freed our slaves if we'd been plantation owners in the antebellum South. When I was a sophomore, I knew that of course I'd let 'em go.

I've grown up a bit since then and reflected a bit more on how easy it is, especially through moral ignorance, to be evil.

It's still evil, though.

I am reminded of Reagan's visit to Bitburg when he reflected on the lack of moral culpability of German soldiers killed by the Allies.

I think that there's nothing wrong with visiting that cemetery where those young men are victims of Nazism also, even though they were fighting in the German uniform, drafted into service to carry out the hateful wishes of the Nazis. They were victims, just as surely as the victims in the concentration camps"[3]

Sure, yeah. I mean, if you leave out the bit about concentration camps, I think we have to acknowledge that Reagan isn't even wrong here, exactly. But I don't think we have to honor the sacrifice made by German soldiers or the sacrifice made by Americans who have maintained a morally pure ignorance. Fuck 'em.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 3:01 PM
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Concern trolling: still effective after all these years.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 3:09 PM
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Little know corollary to Godwin's Law: You're allowed to bring the Nazis into the conversation all you want, as long as somebody else has done so first even if you didn't look at the prior comment in preview.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 3:18 PM
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Not to be flip, but this describes most of the Nazis I know too.

This made me think about Pete Seeger's version of Lisa Kalvelage's statement, which is an amazing piece. If we're talking in this thread about degrees of understandable moral laziness, it's sobering to be confronted with what the opposite -- non-laziness -- looks like.

I don't know anything about her, beyond the song, but I see that she died in 2009 at age 85 having been active in protests against the Iraq war. That's a heck of a life story: to grow up in Nazi Germany, be arrested for disrupting a shipment of napalm to Vietnam, and live through the GWB presidency.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 3:20 PM
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Epistemically isn't it a bit suspicious that all the people who are right about optimal tax rates *also* all happen to be right about unrelated subjects like at what stage do fetuses start suffering and feeling pain and what long-term impacts does pollution have on our climate? I guess it's not, if you think there's a super-strong informedness variable that's driving all these examples. I just don't feel like most liberals are super well-informed either, myself included. #militantagnostic


Posted by: torque | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 3:38 PM
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94: It took Trump to make it happen, but liberals are finally rebelling against en masse against your kind of moral sophistication, and thank God for that.

If you haven't got the intelligence or education to understand global warming, but still favor action, then you're okay with me even if your process isn't pristine.

As the HuffPo piece points out, it really doesn't take much factual knowledge to get many of these issues right in their broad strokes. Nobody here is talking about optimal tax rates, nor was there any discussion of an optimal minimum wage, as you falsely suggested above.

Some issues really are pretty easy, and getting those issues wrong is a culpable error. Nobody in the US in 2017 is being drafted into the Wehrmacht in 1942. The Bitburg soldiers really are entitled to a level of sympathy that is entirely unavailable to some asshole who votes for Trump to keep his marginal tax rates down.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 4:03 PM
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95.1 is right.

I don't think that "informedness" is right way to think about this. People, God bless 'em, have always been mostly stupid, lazy, and uninformed. This wasn't much of a problem when the errors were randomly distributed across party and ideology. Now, all the errors point in the same direction, because the errors are mostly the result of misinformation and there is a tsunami of misinformation coming from one side.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 4:08 PM
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Also, I know when fetal pain starts. 12:15 a.m. Mountain Standard Time.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 4:28 PM
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I can buy 96 for taxes and the minimum wage, which affect the bottom line of the people who fund think tanks and political campaigns and media outlets. Less sure why the tsunamis of misinformation would flow so unidirectionally on let's say abortion. A common move there is to say that outrage on "social issues" is being astroturfed by the same rich and powerful people who are funding the anti-minimum-wage studies to act as wedges, but that's always struck me as a bit conspiratorial and un-Occam's-Razory.

Curious about how pf would describe "my kind of moral sophistication" if he weren't trying so hard to be polite.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 4:29 PM
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98 was me


Posted by: torque | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 4:30 PM
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Speaking of serious engagement with conservatives and their ideas, somebody keeps signing Ben Sasse up for Nickleback mailing lists.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 4:57 PM
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Somebody who isn't me. I didn't even know he hated Nickleback until I read about it.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 4:57 PM
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100: So he's like the cool hipster Republican?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 5:10 PM
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102 was really directed to 101.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 5:12 PM
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Maybe he's me if I hadn't been too unimpressive to get into Harvard?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 5:15 PM
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101: specifically, Orrin Hatch *frowny emoji*

Just read 2 minutes worth of Ben Sasse's twitter account and I'm now fully convinced he'll be America's 47th president after Zuck beats Trump in 2020.


Posted by: torque | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 5:20 PM
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What if people started throwing money and power at 30-year-old me every time I did something assholey?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 5:20 PM
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I guess I'll have to stop saying Mormons are useless.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 5:24 PM
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People can usually have reasonable arguments for voting against school funding. There's always overpaid administrators, or ridiculous programs or lousy teachers. I even didn't vote for a school funding ballot initiative once -- it was just after a big cheating scandal was uncovered, and it was just a little too shameless.

And the minimum wage -- well I certainly wouldn't think anyone was a horrible person for arguing 15$ an hour was too high, that let's say 12-13$ an hour would have the most benefit for poor people.

But cutting Medicaid benefits to give the richest a tax cut? No, I don't accept any excuse for that.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 5:31 PM
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And indeed cutting Medicaid benefits to give the richest a tax cut is wildly unpopular among Republican voters.


Posted by: torque | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 5:43 PM
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But cutting Medicaid benefits to give the richest a tax cut? No, I don't accept any excuse for that.

You're not alone.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 5:44 PM
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105: What makes you think that? He seems semi-articulate and he's not a billionaire.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 5:47 PM
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I think the phrase "optimal tax rate" is meaningless babble.


Posted by: Robert | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 5:56 PM
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It's not meaningless babble so much a deliberate attempt to assume away distributional questions.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 6:00 PM
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Neither, it's an attempt at summing up the distributional and total questions under one word.


Posted by: torque | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 6:08 PM
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In theory, I suppose. I've never heard the word from anybody who didn't mean "optimal tax rate to encourage overall economic growth".


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 6:16 PM
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I talked to thousands of Democratic voters in FL in person in fall 2016

Assuming that you were talking to them about politics, I think you for doing important work.

Epistemically isn't it a bit suspicious that all the people who are right about optimal tax rates *also* all happen to be right about unrelated subjects like at what stage do fetuses start suffering and feeling pain and what long-term impacts does pollution have on our climate?

I think you have the causality backwards. You're assuming that there are set of political issues that come up and then people take positions on them. I think it's more accurate to think of the process as being that there are some large political groups and then the issues that get talked about are ones in which the groups have clear and different opinions.

Think about all of the criticism of the "neo-liberal consensus" The reason why there wasn't much political discussion about free trade or the role of finance in the economy is that there was a lot of internal disagreement within the Left/Right groups. There were Democrats who really liked having a large financial system and Republicans who hated and so there was incentive on both sides to keep it from being an issue, because it could expose internal divisions.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 6:52 PM
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Curious about how pf would describe "my kind of moral sophistication" if he weren't trying so hard to be polite.

Heck, I ain't pulling any punches. I spend my real life largely being nice to people - even Trump voters. The reason I have imaginary friends on the Internet is so I can abuse them.

By "moral sophistication" I'm talking about the idea that I introduced in 90: That when I was a kid, I imagined that I could transcend my own culture to, say, oppose slavery even as a pre-Civil War plantation owner. I have since developed a little more moral sophistication, and can see that this is wishful thinking.

You are even more morally sophisticated than I -- almost on a par with Reagan at Bitburg. Someone who denies the scientific consensus on global warming and who works against climate sanity is, to you, just another person whose views are dictated by outside influences and who therefore is not culpable -- and indeed, maybe not even wrong, because your own opinion was forced on you, too, and has no necessary relationship with reality.

The New York Times is still out there doing stories trying to get inside the heads of Trump voters, and largely failing at the project because the Times is unwilling to come to grips with what is actually going on: A grotesque moral failure that the newspaper itself shares with them.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 7:05 PM
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To be fair to Reagan, he didn't use his trip to Bitburg to recruit staff, and I think that's analogue to Trump. Also, he could at least not cave in to a Russian leader.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 7:25 PM
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Hi from a Midwestern hotel room! LB is doing the Lord's work in this thread.

I'm perfectly willing to hold people responsible for the consequences of their actions or inactions. I am perhaps in a minority in that I think it is perfectly possible for sins of omission to be as terrible as sins of commission.

And my experience of people who are (still) Republicans is that many of them can indeed be personally, individually kind -- often kinder than Democrats, who as my father likes to say wryly, seem to love humanity and hate people.

The problem is twofold: Many of those self-same Republicans that I know are selectively personally kind. To people they think are deserving.

Obviously on one level that makes them human beings -- it's hard to be kind to people you don't think deserve it, regardless of your political beliefs. But that's why we have public services -- because leaving things up to churches and such is a recipe for leaving unpopular people/causes/etc out in the cold. Anyone who has ever tried to fundraise for single adult males and watched all the money flow to cute kids knows this.

And the second problem is that the Republicans -- at least the ones I'm thinking of -- are deeply, almost congenitally resistant to structural analysis of anything. Not poverty, not racism, not wages, nothing. They are so married to their individualistic analysis of the world that no amount of reality seems able to shake them loose from it. And I'm not talking about political arguments, when anyone might get their back up. I'm talking about witnessing life, for years and years, and never adjusting your explanations of the world.

I used to not believe gay marriage was necessary. I didn't get why civil unions weren't good enough. You know what happened? Life. I witnessed events and when they conflicted with my beliefs, I changed the beliefs. I think that's a pretty darn reasonable standard to hold other human beings to.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 7:39 PM
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93: I actually think about that song a lot (though it's Ani Difranco's cover of it that I recall). There's an extent to which my own moral framework is Gideon's Law in action--I actually do ask myself what I would have done in the '30s and '40s, and what that says about what I should do now.


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 9:17 PM
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though it's Ani Difranco's cover of it that I recall

I haven't listened to the Ani DiFranco cover, but, I am now. I like the Pete Seeger version because he lets the words largely speak for themselves, and I think it's an astonishingly beautiful and powerful piece of writing. Every verse has some line that is an impressive bit of writing.

The line always grounds the song for me is, "I know what it is to be charged with mass guilt" and I like that the way Pete sings it is slightly awkward, it doesn't scan perfectly, but that awkwardness catches the ear and I think, "what an amazing thing to be able to say."

Interestingly I have another favorite song from that time period (which Pete sang, but which is credited to Malvina Reynolds) which is also together from a woman's statement (in this case a letter to the editor): "Mrs. Clara Sullivan's Letter."

Dear Mr. Editor, if you choose,
Please send me a copy of the "Labor News;"
I've got a son in the Infantry,
And he'd be mighty glad to see
That somebody somewhere, now and then,
Thinks about the lives of the mining men
In Perry County.

...


Nobody write songs (or letters to the editor) like that anymore . . .


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 9:41 PM
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Thanks to the internet, I now know that Mrs Clara Sullivan's letter is from Hazard KY, a site of significant labor troubles, and found this remarkable article from 1963 about it. Here is the opening paragraph:

They have a saying in eastern Kentucky-- "Wait 'till the bushes grow green." It is a password, an admonition, and a desperate expression of hope among coal miners fighting for a lost propsperity. For in summer, when the bushes are green, a man can hide with a rifle, and in the rolling hills of Kentucky, a rifle has often had a persuasive effect on coal operators.

Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06-28-17 9:49 PM
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I remember discussing Pontius Pilate with a Catholic friend of mine. It was her opinion that the Bible portrayed Pilate as a good guy. I disagreed.

Jesus answered, "You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me."
"What is truth?" retorted Pilate.

And then he washed his hands.

I will say this for Pilate: He was a moral sophisticate.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 06-29-17 6:46 AM
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OT, but I just want to record the fact that I just passed a grad student in the lounge who was eating avocado toast.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 06-29-17 6:47 AM
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How do you know it wasn't toast with lime frosting?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-29-17 6:51 AM
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I couldn't take a pic at the time but the bar I went to last night, The Shakespeare, had a list of toasts to be had and the avocado toast at $9 was the cheapest toast on the list.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 06-29-17 6:55 AM
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Earlier this week I made myself avocado toast and a pour-over coffee for breakfast. Is that more or less hipster than buying breakfast at the artisanal oatmeal restaurant?


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 06-29-17 6:55 AM
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On the OP, it's worth continually reminding people that, for example, it would be very easy to do something to restrict immigration in the U.S. that wasn't racist, hateful, horrible, and deliberately designed to be offensive. And that people putting forth those ideas were very soundly defeated in an internal struggle within the Republican Party. Trump didn't win in spite of representing the worst tendencies of American conservatism. He won because of that.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-29-17 6:57 AM
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You don't puree the avocado, that's so déclassé. They were clearly slices of avocado.
There is another student in that group who routinely makes pour-over coffee, but this was a different person.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 06-29-17 6:58 AM
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Lime-flavored fondant shaped into avocado slices?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-29-17 7:00 AM
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Is pour-over coffee just dumping hot water into a carafe with a coffee filter at the top? Because I didn't even know that was hipster.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-29-17 7:01 AM
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On immigration, I suspect we're about to see a revival of executive branch deference with regard to deciding what is a "close" relationship. Grandmothers, uncles, cousins- who the hell needs those?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 06-29-17 7:01 AM
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131- Yeah, I don't see how that's different from the $20 coffee maker I got at Target. Coffee in a filter, hot water falls on it, goes through into a pitcher.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 06-29-17 7:02 AM
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$20? Somebody got the fancy kind.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-29-17 7:03 AM
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132 Some grandma is going to be able to challenge that in the district of Hawaii, and I don't see either Judge Watson or the Ninth Circuit playing that game at all. I'll bet you that the fine folks at Hogan Lovells are on the lookout for a grandmother right now.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 06-29-17 7:13 AM
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OPINIONATED GRANDMA?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-29-17 7:15 AM
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Who better to take down the Orange Monster?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 06-29-17 7:18 AM
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Hillary Clinton is both opinionated and a grandmother. Just saying.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-29-17 7:24 AM
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I'd like to speculate that the guidelines the WH send to ICE are Trump playing out his daddy issues again, but it's probably just that he's an asshole anyway.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 06-29-17 7:33 AM
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109: No it's not. That would be nice for your narrative, but most Republicans either approve of the Senate bill or assert that they're unsure. Here's a link: http://maristpoll.marist.edu/wp-content/misc/usapolls/us170621_PBS_NPR/NPR_PBS%20NewsHour_Marist%20Poll_National%20Nature%20of%20the%20Sample%20and%20Tables_Trump_Congress_Health%20Care_June%202017.pdf (page 24)

You can see that 68% of independents and 78% of Democrats disapprove, but only 21% of Republicans do. In torqueland, which is flat so that we philosophers can prove that both sides do it, that may count as most, but here on earth that means more Republicans approve of the idea of cutting taxes on the ultrarich by gutting Medicaid than disapprove of it.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 06-29-17 7:35 AM
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As long as we keep the government out of Medicare.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-29-17 7:36 AM
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I did not think I had the capacity to be surprised by presidential tweets anymore.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 06-29-17 7:42 AM
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As soon as he got to "bleeding badly" I was sure he was going there but just a facelift it turns out.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 06-29-17 7:58 AM
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I did not realize she was Zbigniew's daughter.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-29-17 7:59 AM
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Mitch told him to take it up a notch. "We need a big distraction."


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06-29-17 8:04 AM
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First they came for the blond home-wreckers with great legs...


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-29-17 8:04 AM
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Sexist, but not president-level sexist.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-29-17 8:06 AM
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This pour-over coffee business is basically an inferior Aero-press. For that matter, you could probably gong fu coffee. You guys know gong fu tea? Same basic concept.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 06-29-17 8:08 AM
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I always protested about the concept of pour-over, that it's identical to what most of us grew up with as just "coffee". On search it appears* the putative difference is the [artisanal] hand-pouring. I guess when you see it in fancy shops they put in a little water at a time, plus it's not sitting around in a container. But it still seems like a crock overall.

* Worth an acronym, OSIA? We say things like this often enough.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 06-29-17 8:12 AM
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You go to a café and order a pour-over and it takes like 10 minutes to make one cup of coffee. Anything that takes that long has to be good!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06-29-17 8:29 AM
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Maybe they could age it in barrel, like whiskey.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-29-17 8:35 AM
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Just microwave a cup when somebody orders one.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-29-17 8:36 AM
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Or in the gut of a cat, like coffee beans.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 06-29-17 8:36 AM
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I think it might be animal cruelty to give a cat a diuretic whenever somebody wants a bit of caffeine.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-29-17 8:38 AM
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140. What you write is true, but 39% say they do not know what to think.

Today's inflammatory tweet means damaging information to be released at the end of the workday, is there a place where I can bet on the over with odds 2:1 or better?


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 06-29-17 8:44 AM
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Nobody with any sense would take the other side of that bet.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-29-17 8:44 AM
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The cats would be drained in a humane fashion at the bottling facility.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 06-29-17 9:09 AM
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Like cream soda.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-29-17 9:11 AM
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140: Important to distinguish between supporting a particular bill and supporting what that bill actually does. If they asked "do you support reducing the number of people on Medicare so that taxes can be lower for people who make over $X a year" then a lot fewer than 35% of Republicans would be in favor (source: all the articles I vaguely remember reading about how Democratic policies are more popular than Democrats themselves).

Also, I'm a little hurt to be portrayed as some kind of gotta-hear-both-sides guy. To be clear, I believe that Republican politicians are Uniformly Awful and Democratic politicians are Mostly OK (But Not Liberal Enough). I just think a lot of us ordinary people are way too confident that we're right, and we can sometimes take out our existential discomfort with that fact on others in a way I find irritating.


Posted by: torque | Link to this comment | 06-29-17 9:30 AM
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After a couple of weeks of deep reflection back in November (seriously), I decided that those people who find me (and those like me) more irritating than Trump can go fuck themselves. The idea that there's going to be a civil engagement producing a sense of mutual respect is absurd. The only likely result is a further eroding of any sense that certain types of behavior (such as open, explicit racism) are unacceptable in public and thus less opposition to Trump.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-29-17 9:46 AM
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I'm not saying people need to tell their cousins to fuck off every time they post Ivanka Trump stuff on Facebook, but I'm not going to be the one to suggest they shouldn't if they do.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-29-17 9:48 AM
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160: You know you're my favorite commenter, right?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-29-17 9:52 AM
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That's good. I think about 1/4 of my cousins don't like me any more.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-29-17 9:53 AM
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162 Not urple?


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 06-29-17 10:03 AM
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I find Trump far more irritating than anyone who comments at Unfogged, if that helps get people here to like me.


Posted by: torque | Link to this comment | 06-29-17 10:04 AM
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After a period of deep reflection, I decided that the respectful way to deal with the economically anxious is to treat them as individuals with moral agency rather than the uncontacted tribe that is sometimes profiled in the New York Times.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 06-29-17 10:09 AM
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Just driving by and saying again what everyone knows (e.g. Moby at 16, Witt at 119) but maybe tying some things together:

Bad unwanted consequences are always possible for a government intervention in the economy. Sometimes they are overwhelmingly likely (hard rent control), and sometimes the evidence leans the other way, or is at least less clear-cut (a higher minimum wage than that current in the US). It's a natural right-wing rhetorical move to frame things so that it seems inevitable that the outcome will always be a net negative, or at least so that a net negative outcome becomes the default assumption, with the bar for budging it set so high as to be out of sight. (See McMegan on fire regulations.)

The interesting thing is that this crap works far less well on the average voter in first-world countries other than the US. It's almost as if there were a disproportionately poor social group within the American population and that lots of voters secretly think they are too unvirtuous to deserve to be helped by government intervention, but that these voters disguise this belief, sometimes even from themselves, by pretending that they reason dispassionately in thinking that a particular government intervention can't help. If that were the case, heaven forfend, those voters would be morally wanting.*

I wouldn't have thought this would be worth saying at our stage of history, now that the Republicans are saying the quiet parts loud, but reading this thread takes me back.

(*None of this rules out the possibility that a given intervention genuinely would be a net negative, nor the possibility of someone's genuinely reasoning dispassionately to that conclusion.)


Posted by: One of Many | Link to this comment | 06-29-17 10:11 AM
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Italicise "deserve" and "can't" in para 3.


Posted by: One of Many | Link to this comment | 06-29-17 10:13 AM
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164: Both Moby and Urple are in the class of commenters I refer to as my favorite commenter in the hopes that no one's keeping track of inconsistencies.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-29-17 10:41 AM
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169: Like you tell Newt and Sally that they're each your favorite child and hope they don't compare notes.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06-29-17 10:46 AM
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Off topic but: Authorization for Use of Military Force repeal will go to a floor vote in the House. I'm not holding out a ton of hope that this will lead to peace in our time, but I figured the AUMF would just be a permanent part of our constitution.


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 06-29-17 11:07 AM
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Which reminds me, Raqqa is now entirely surrounded. It's understandable, but IMO the demise of IS deserves more attention than it's getting.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 06-29-17 11:21 AM
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Yeah, that's really surprising. On top of the Russia sanctions bill, makes me wonder if the GOP is indeed seriously concerned about T_ suddenly invading, I don't know, Comoros on a whim.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 06-29-17 11:46 AM
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is it really the workers themselves that are doing the organizing, or is it idealistic college kids?

Both, but mostly the former.

The full campaign, BTW, is "Fight for $15 and a union."


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06-29-17 12:45 PM
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Like magic -- we just discussed this and the next day I saw an article about Maine restaurant workers asking for the minimum wage to be lowered --https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/06/27/maine-tried-to-raise-its-minimum-wage-restaurant-workers-didnt-want-it/?utm_term=.70d65ca85402


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06-29-17 1:16 PM
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What do you want to bet the servers' "Facebook group"'s driving force was money from restaurants and/or Kochs?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 06-29-17 2:22 PM
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Very late to this and almost all the discussion has been on OP Part 1, but I will mention that the Atrios link in OP Part 2 succinctly covers a concept I have a hard time getting across when I talk about bias in the media. It's about so much more than just what gets covered but how it does. One of my favorite examples from the past was when a"big" story at the Dem 2004 convention was that Teresa Heinz-Kerry had told a PGh. Tribune-Review (local Scaife- Mellon rag) reporter to "shove it." Zillions of examples every day. The unvoiced policing and tone of the discourse it most of the whole thing. (AKA why Chuck Todd is the antichrist come to kill Democracy and the Enlightenment.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-29-17 2:40 PM
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The idea that there's going to be a civil engagement producing a sense of mutual respect is absurd

I don't believe this, but I do believe many of the people who flipped from Obama to Trump in the midwest are reachable Democratic votes. I believe this because just 4 years ago they voted for a Democrat (a black Ivy League educated one, at that). I also find the fact that they were willing to enter a coalition with racists because of personal dislike of Hilary Clinton repugnant. But I think democratic politics means coalitions with personally/morally repugnant people who you fundamentally disrespect, and harping on the morality of your political tribe's viewpoint accomplishes very little in terms of bringing marginal votes into your coalition.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 06-29-17 2:52 PM
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I never spell Hillary Clinton's name correctly, because Hilary Putnam is the main Hil(l)ary in my mental map. This makes me both sexist and effete, ladies.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 06-29-17 2:56 PM
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because of personal dislike of Hilary Clinton

I find it repugnant as well. But we shouldn't forget that the President looked these people in the eye and told them he'd bring real high wage employment back to their towns. It was a lie, but we can reasonably put 'what the hell, maybe he's got some kind of plan' into a different category from 'burn the witch!'


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 06-29-17 3:11 PM
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"Government intervention in the economy" is incoherent balderdash.

Laws that prevent my neighbor from raiding my refrigerator is "government intervention".

Robert Lee Hale had something interesting to say.


Posted by: Robert | Link to this comment | 06-29-17 3:38 PM
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What do you want to bet the servers' "Facebook group"'s driving force was money from restaurants and/or Kochs?

I think the more important dynamic is the difference between front of the house and back of the house employees. I think Sir Kraab posted something a while back saying that, in most states, restaurants are prohibited from sharing tips with the back of house staff; they are required by law to go to the servers.

Which means that the servers are far from minimum wage employees (even though many restaurant employees are closer to minimum wage). The question that the article doesn't ask is what the busboys and dishwashers think.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06-29-17 3:41 PM
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181: I wasn't intending to reinforce any right-wing memes. Substitute 'policies with redistributive impact'. ("But doesn't that assume a prior distribution that is natural?" Ok, ok, you know what I mean: policies that typically be described by the media as 'government intervention in the economy', 'redistributive' or whatever.)


Posted by: One of Many | Link to this comment | 06-29-17 4:51 PM
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Certainly there are tipped restaurant workers who don't like higher minimum wage for various reasons, including the intrabusiness distribution aspects. But I think astroturf is a lot more likely than a spontaneous advocacy movement to this effect. The reporting on the Maine group isn't very detailed at all.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 06-29-17 6:45 PM
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But I think democratic politics means coalitions with personally/morally repugnant people who you fundamentally disrespect, and harping on the morality of your political tribe's viewpoint accomplishes very little in terms of bringing marginal votes into your coalition.

To be sure. But the main thing is there aren't so many marginal voters. They are outnumbered (at least in the states that matter for the electoral college) by disaffected voters from the leftish end of the political spectrum. You can, if you aren't careful, make a coalition that actually makes you weaker. I think the way to get those marginal voters while still encouraging the discouraged voters to come back to voting is to block, with all available resources, the actions Trump is taking that are not popular. While I agree that harping on my own sides morality is unlikely to be helpful, I think harping on the other sides immorality is essential.


Also, I've been reading the editorials from the "conservatives" on the WP and other places. Reading their calls for moderation, common ground, and not telling each other to go fuck sausage grinders are several themes that make me want to kick holes in walls (implying that because both sides have problems both are equally to blame, suggesting that six assholes on a college campus hitting a racist are somehow a bigger threat to the constitution than a president in open defiance of it, etc.). This has not helped me find my calm. I recommend not reading them. I keep trying to quit.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-29-17 7:50 PM
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This pretty much captures my thoughts on the matter.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-30-17 9:48 AM
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I wonder, if Atrios hadn't stopped giving a shit what, six or eight years ago could he have become a real force?


Posted by: dj lurker | Link to this comment | 06-30-17 3:47 PM
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I know so many people who only want to pay taxes for schools when they are of reproductive age. Pisses me off. This is in Massachusetts too.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07- 1-17 8:27 AM
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