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US Political Center Is Being Devoured From Both Right And Left

President Trump will soon nominate his second Supreme Court justice. The first, Neil Gorsuch, has so perfectly replaced the late Antonin Scalia that it’s safe to assume retiring justice Anthony Kennedy’s successor will be in the same mold – which is to say formidable and unapologetically conservative. The result will be a solid conservative majority that’s more definite and less flexible on the issues where Kennedy was a swing vote.

And that’s if Notorious RBG manages to hang on through the Trump era. If she goes (and at 85 she’s likely to go soon one way or another) Trump will be one of those extremely rare presidents who gets to name THREE justices, thus extending his influence from four years to an entire generation.

Among the possible results of such a conservative judicial super-majority are the reversal of rulings that made abortion and gay marriage the laws of the land, making both state-level issues once again, where they’ll further polarize already-divided electorates.

Meanwhile, the Democrats are lurching waaayyy left. The implosion of the moderate Clinton wing of the party began during the past presidential election, when huge parts of the left openly supported socialist Bernie Sanders. This group now sees Elizabeth Warren – Bernie Sanders with a penchant for verbal street fighting – as the ideal candidate next time around. And despite a fairly consequential set of primary elections last Tuesday, pretty much all anyone is talking about is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a latina “democratic socialist” who unseated a previously entrenched moderate incumbent and is now a lock to win a Bronx congressional seat in November – on a Sanders-esque platform of free everything for everyone and wide-open borders.

Each side is, as a result, finding it really easy to dehumanize the other. After Trump’s press secretary and family are evicted from a restaurant because the owner opposes Trump’s immigration policy, Democrat Senator Maxine Waters encourages liberals to make this a pattern by confronting White House officials in public whenever possible. Waters then gets death threats and responds “If you shoot at me, you better shoot straight.”

But wait, there’s more. This past Saturday:

More than 500 arrested as women rally in D.C. to protest Trump’s immigration policy

They came from all over, took planes and buses from 47 states, slept at friends’ homes or in churches and prepared to be arrested Thursday in Washington, D.C. Most of the participants were white women, stumbling over the syllables of Spanish-language chants. Many had never faced arrest before. But here they were.

Capitol Police said 575 protesters were arrested and escorted out of the Hart Senate Office Building in a mass demonstration that called for the abolishment of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, and an end to migrant family detentions and the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy.

They were charged with unlawfully demonstrating, a misdemeanor.

“I have two kids, and as a white mother, there is almost no circumstance that they would be taken away from me – ever,” said Victoria Farris, who slept Wednesday night in All Souls Church after participating in civil disobedience training. “I was awake one night because I couldn’t sleep thinking about all those [immigrant] mothers and terrified children. I realized I had to do something more than protest, more than make a sign and march.”

Just after 3 p.m., protesters were rounded up in groups of a dozen or more and led out of the building.

“Abolish ICE,” they shouted as more were moved out. “Shut it down.”

And Sunday:

Riot in Portland as far-right marchers clash with anti-fascists

A riot was declared in downtown Portland, Oregon on Saturday evening as the city exploded into its worst protest violence of the Trump era.

More than 150 supporters of the far-right Patriot Prayer group fought pitched street battles with scores of anti-fascist protesters. In total, nine people were arrested.

The far-right march had started near Schrunk Plaza in the city centre, where the rightwing group had held a rally, led by the Patriot Prayer founder and Republican US Senate candidate Joey Gibson.

As soon as the group left the plaza, they clashed with anti-fascists who had been waiting across a heavily barricaded street nearby.

As the two groups came to blows, Department of Homeland Security officers fired non-lethal ammunition towards the counter-protest.

What does all this late-1960s-esque turbulence mean and how does it tie into the populist wave that’s sweeping the rest of the world? The simple answer is that when a society borrows too much money it loses the ability to keep its people happy. The big systems stop working as pension plans and local governments run out of money, inequality becomes a chasm as the people with assets get richer while the people with debts sink into poverty, and disaffected voters lose faith in the establishment to address their needs. And they come to hate the people on the other side of major issues — even though those people are frequently also victims of the elites’ predation.

Each election becomes an adventure in which formerly fringe candidates do progressively better until they end up taking power. At which point the discredited center evaporates and everyone chooses one extreme or the other, losing any remaining shred of empathy for their political opponents.

And media accounts like this become the conventional wisdom:

Is America headed toward a civil war? Or is the civil war already starting?

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was even kicked out of the Red Hen restaurant in Lexington, Virginia, because the owner and employees disliked her politics. This seems like a small thing, but it would have been largely unthinkable a generation ago.

And, in a somewhat less “soft” manifestation, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was bullied out of a restaurant by an angry anti-Trump mob, and a similar mob also showed up outside of her home.

Will it get worse? Probably. To have a civil war, soft or otherwise, takes two sides. But as pseudonymous tweeter Thomas H. Crown notes, it’s childishly easy in these days to identify people in mobs, and then to dispatch similar mobs to their homes and workplaces. Eventually, he notes, it becomes “protesters all the way down, and if we haven’t yet figured out that can lead to political violence, we’re dumb.”

Political contempt is the problem
Marriage counselors say that when a couple view one another with contempt, it’s a top indicator that the relationship is likely to fail. Americans, who used to know how to disagree with one another without being mutually contemptuous, seem to be forgetting this. And the news media, which promote shrieking outrage in pursuit of ratings and page views, are making the problem worse.


Emigrate While You Still Can

29 thoughts on "US Political Center Is Being Devoured From Both Right And Left"

  1. “I have two kids, and as a white mother, there is almost no circumstance
    that they would be taken away from me – ever,” said Victoria Farris

    Well, she just had that experience. She’s an idiot if she thinks her kids would not be taken away from her because she violated the law and was incarcerated. Where do these idiots come up with these ideas?

  2. When did supporting the Constitution of the United States become a radical, right-wing idea? The author’s concept of what comprises “the center” is way off-base.

    1. Jimmy,

      The Constitution has always been a radical idea, which is why it ends up being ignored by whoever is in power. But it’s not always “right-wing radical.” Some of the results of actually following the Constitution would be considered extreme left wing, like allowing states to legalize drugs, gay marriage and abortion and requiring a declaration of war before attacking other countries. The “center” I refer to in the post is the place where deals get done via compromise between people who disagree on which parts of the Constitution deserve to be obeyed. Take away that center and you get civil war.

      1. Your analysis is only partially correct, John. While it’s true that a strict adherence to the Constitution would support left-leaning causes as well as those on the right, you haven’t distinguished a basic underlying division: the tension between the Constitution and an over-reaching government (and corporations) functions on a different dimension than the liberal-conservative question.

        The Constitution (and more-so the Declaration of Independence) was a clear statement on the rights of individuals. Its legitimization of citizen-based power stands in opposition to the centralized power of today’s official power structures (e.g.: the two major parties, FBI, NSA, Wall Street banks, EPA, medicare, etc). This “power question” is of a fundamentally different nature than the values questions that are debated using terms like Left and Right, yet the relationship between the two has never been clearly outlined.

        It’s more effective to think of our political system as a circle, where everyone chooses a position somewhere directly on it. In contrast, when a person visualizes the system only as a line with its Left, Right, and Center, – as is almost universally believed today – important distinctions are missed.
        A Circle still has a left pole (where social justice activists and other primarily values-oriented positions reside.). It also has a right pole (where the evangelicals have staked their opposed values-oriented positions.) But a circle also has an upper and lower pole. Centralized power sits at the top, while the ideals expressed in the Declaration of Independence reside at the bottom.
        The legalized drug crowd would reside in the lower left quadrant of the circle, while Ron Paul’s supporters would be within the lower right quadrant. They both are located quite far from someone like George W. or even Obama, who take up positions near the top, whether on the right or left.

        If you think about anyone who self-labels as a so-called “centrist” today …. McCain, Feinstein, Collins, Snowe …… their decisions typically lead to the further centralization of power …… more war, more debt, more debasement of the currency, bailouts of TBTF banks, etc. This is because they make their decisions in the halls of centralized power. They owe their office to the two parties of centralized power. They all reside near the top of the circle. The constitution – with its position way down at the bottom – gets largely ignored unless those false centrists fear a backlash from too many people like Jimmy. But that fear seems to diminish with each passing year.

        1. You’re a much nicer guy than I am Blake, and thus probably more effective. ‘ a well expressed essay. I only wish you had a bigger audience. Clear thinking like your’s is hard to find these days. And with Krauthammer gone, even more so.

          1. Thanks for the comments Jimmy, although my teenage son can present some excellent arguments to refute your “nicer guy” assertion (just heard a couple of them this morning!)
            I’ve never posted much online, especially regarding politics, but am considering changing that in the future. I recently wrote a book (The Great Conflation, self-published on Amazon) and am mulling how to communicate the ideas I’ve developed in it more broadly.
            I’m not a writer (certainly not near John’s caliber), nor am I trained in political science. Instead, my background is in architecture, and the theory I advance is that our political system reduces to a simple spatial model: If there are flaws in the logic of that model (and there are significant problems in the logic of the left-right paradigm), then there will be dysfunction in any attempts at dialogue and decision-making.
            The liberal-conservative framework is currently treated as if it were an irrefutable truth, but people once thought that the sun revolved around the earth or that microscopic life couldn’t exist: it’s time for the left-right model to come under scrutiny, and I assert that it should be replaced by a broader two-dimensional model.
            Ironically, the four years spent developing these ideas caused me to be slightly more open to certain political adversaries’ positions, but there are other seemingly-benign concepts, like “centrist,” “non-partisan,” “polarized,” and “apolitical” that I now understand to be fallacies and therefore push back against stridently.

          2. I love Disqus when it works as well as it should. You’re in for an adventure diving into the commenting world. You’ll encounter profound wisdom (seldom) and incredible ignorance (too often), and my impossible goal is to reduce one (the latter) with the former. I “follow” a few Disquss commenters who help. (Click on any avatar & see their profiles – if they have the balls to show it) One qualification is that they write well and express new opinions that contribute to MY growth; “preaching to the choir”, mindlessly repeating pundits, brings nothing to the table. I’ll follow Liberals (shudder) if I could find any that could articulate cleverly their idiotic positions. I read everyone. Your modest, “I’m not a writer” defies the evidence.
            My “project”, that I should write a book about, is that I believe that Ignorance is a subject worthy of academic study itself: “Ignorology” if you will.. It would never work of course because ignorance is the fuel of academia.
            Regarding your “project”; It sounds like you’ve stumbled onto the Nolan Chart that adds two more dimensions and more depth to the simple Left-Right spectrum. Where is your’s different? (I’ll check out the book)

          3. That’s valuable feedback on the commenting world. Much appreciated.
            Regarding the Nolan chart, it’s certainly a noble and worthwhile attempt to move beyond the current one-dimensional model. The question that must be asked is: “why hasn’t it developed wider adoption in its nearly fifty years of existence?” Another way of asking the same question is: “why hasn’t the left-right line been replaced if it’s so flawed?”
            I believe there are two reasons why the Nolan chart hasn’t caught on with most Americans, despite being superior in some ways: (1) It’s not simple enough to be easily interpreted, and (2) It’s not precise enough.
            Regarding (1), the left-right line has a huge advantage over any two-dimensional model because a one-dimensional form will always be simpler, and therefore much easier for all 325 million of us to understand and interpret. That’s the reason it has enjoyed such widespread adoption for so long, despite being partially false: navigational simplicity. This raises the bar for any two-dimensional attempts because they must achieve simplicity despite the inherent complexity of utilizing an extra dimension. The Nolan chart tries to be as minimal as it can, but it hasn’t been stripped down to the bare essentials: therefore it’s not a framework that can be automatically, intuitively navigated. It also relies on language that’s subject to interpretation: words like “authoritarian” and “libertarian”. Some interpretation of terms is impossible to avoid in any model, but labels should be as simple as possible, and relatively free of connotations.
            Regarding (2), I define the core problem of today’s political system not in terms of good beliefs versus bad beliefs, or smart people versus stupid people, but as an inability for citizens with conflicting viewpoints to engage in productive dialogue about their differences. The same point can (and maybe should) be phrased more cynically: “why are some members of the political class able to distort discourse in a way that allows them to achieve their selfish ends, even if it degrades the collective good?” …… a question that applies to both major parties and to much of the media.
            In the case of the left-right model, its flat format prevents it from being a tool that an opponent can use to “call out” someone’s use of a conflation or a fallacy. Unfortunately, the Nolan chart doesn’t tie someone down precisely enough either …… any politician will place himself or herself squarely within the “centrist” zone, and it would be difficult to call him or her out on it.
            To understand this lack of precision, a closer look at our language is ncessary. The terms “left,” “right,” and “centrist” dominate political discourse today, but another term – used far less often – is actually the basic building block of a democratic system: “position.” In our republic, each citizen has the right to choose his or her political position: it’s the basis of the “one person – one vote” principle.
            If you think about that word for a moment, it’s the same one used in a variety of pursuits: GPS = global “positioning” system and football players are classified by their “position.” In all cases, position represents the location of a point in space: for GPS, it’s the location of a point on planet earth; in football, it’s the point a player is at, in relation to the line of scrimmage, just before the ball is snapped; and in the current political model, it’s the point someone has chosen somewhere on a horizontal line that extends between the “far left” and the “far right.”
            So I believe the Nolan chart is lacking in precision because it doesn’t require a person to place their point – or position – on a specific geometric structure. Therefore, no one finds it to be a useful tool for holding an opponent accountable. This is the reason for its lack of widespread adoption.

          4. Wow. That’s a lot of pixels Blake! You might want to pace yourself. Brevity man, brevity. Though it’s possible we have the whole World Wide Web looking over our shoulders, I’m of the disheartening belief that nobody is reading this. [Chime in folks if you’re out there… “sound of crickets..” , NSA?, CIA? anybody?… ]
            But thank you for saving me the expense of buying you book, It’s all here.

            Let me address your second point first: When I was younger I held that “Given all the same facts Everyone will come to a single, common, logical conclusion. Boy was THAT naive! I put it to the test by arguing 40 minutes with a women, thinking we could be on the “same page”, when she declared that “No, America should not have ANY borders..” (an absurdity in 1982 -she was ahead of her time). And the OJ verdict came down. No Blake, argue long enough and you will agree with me & the liberal actor Colin Firth: “I can’t understand how anybody can think like that!” The sentiment breaks both ways Colin. Make the statement: “George Bush was an idiot“, and the whole room will nod their heads in unison like a shelf of bobble-head dolls, apparently in full agreement. UNTIL the moment you ask why he was idiot, and you’ll have a war on your hands because conservatives & liberals both think Bush (either one) was an idiot for entirely different reasons! Only the idiot “middle” liked Bush, mostly because they’re too ill-informed to understand the issues, and “just want everybody to get along..”

            Every honest man should see himself as “moderate”. There’s NOTHING extreme about my views, but like Ronald Reagan (“I didn’t leave the Democrat Party, They left me”), it’s the overwhelming leftist movement that is making me look like a right-wing radical. I’m no different from any patriotic American male of 1812, 1878, 1945, 1950’s. From my opening post: “When did defending the Constitution of the United States become radical right-wing?” Answer: When Obama said he wanted to “fundamentally change America” (you don’t change something fundamentally that you profess to love.) Goldwater: “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.” -basically when good men are forced to act, all their actions are “moderate”.

            Which brings me to your first point & last paragraph: Any way you look at it, positioning someone on any chart is always going to a subjective call. There’s no objective measurement. I may be pushed “to the right” by current standards, and the democrats are all certainly being pushed to Socialism by the Bernie and Ocasio-Cortez crowd (mob!). Civil Wars have erupted over LESS differences than what is dividing our country now.

            I do agree with one, small aspect your goal: identification. Why? because conservatives are SO bad at it! (- a whole new issue, when we are supposedly addressing your chart.) I personally have never had any problem with the Nolan Chart, and I’ve seen it’s application applied very well, very often. What it’s most noted for is the surprise most people have when they discover they’re Libertarian. But that’s only because most people have so little knowledge of political science. For example; When I have to point out to liberals that Fascism, Hitler’s Nationalist Socialist Worker’s Party” was/is a Leftist Ideology they crap their pants. I have to direct them to the Fascist Manifesto, and demand they find any point that Bernie Sanders doesn’t endorse! (Now I’m cranking out too many pixels.

            In summery, I have to disagree with you that leftists can be reasoned with. Look how hard they work to silence me! While I, and Trump, enjoy hearing MORE from them! To quote Savage: “Leftism is a mental disease”, (a conclusion I came to long before I knew there was a Savage.) Good luck bridging that divide.

          5. Hi Jimmy. You’re right about the brevity thing. It’s good advice that I’ve been told before but still have a difficult time heeding. My only (weak) defense is to note that I actually don’t mention the Nolan chart in the book.
            Your dichotomy of subjective versus objective gets to the heart of our collective dialogue’s current failure, and I do spend quite a few pages discussing it, but I should set that point aside for now in the interest of ….. brevity.
            Regarding your comments on leftists, my question would be “which category of leftists?” It’s something that’s rarely asked due to the way the political system is currently visualized.
            For example, based on our conversations it appears that you would place your position somewhere in the lower right quadrant of the political circle. I’m guessing that you’re nearer to the lower pole, where empowerment of the citizens is favored, and not closer to the conservative pole where subjective values issues are debated. (Obviously I could be wrong about your position, so please correct me if so.)
            One of the inherent rules of a political model is that distance equals disagreement, so if two positions are far apart there’s little chance for dialogue to develop. Since the furthest possible distance on a circle is at the opposite side from a particular position, you’ll see the most intense levels of distrust where there are cross-diameter relationships. (This principle applies, no matter where the two opposed positions sit on the circle).
            If my assumptions about your position are in the ballpark, your cross-diameter adversary would be someone who is liberal, and also favors the centralization of power into highly-controlling top-down governmental institutions. You’ve mentioned Obama and Sanders, two of its occupants, and I’m guessing you distrust the whole cast of characters located there ….. Warren, democratic party leadership, the MSM, the CFPB, etc. It’s important to also note that these folks claim to be liberal – and they are – but their policies often seem to favor centralized power more-so than liberal values (thus Obama’s tacit support of Wall Street banks, military adventures, etc., for example.)
            So my question, phrased more specifically, is “what about the occupants of the lower left quadrant?” In other words, what about the liberals who actually favor further empowerment of the citizens, along with the requisite weakening of top-down institutions that such empowerment would engender? It might seem like these folks don’t exist, because they’ll never be invited to speak on CNN or Fox, but they’re out there.
            For example, one occupant of that quadrant seems to be Jim Kunstler. His citizen-empowering stance makes him a cross-diameter adversary of the Wall Street banks, Bush, Cheney, the neo-cons, etc. But he also offered some of the most prescient criticism of the Obama administration in its later years, and he now staunchly criticizes the “resist” movement. Here’s a recent article that illustrates parts of his position …… http://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/conflict-escalation/
            I’m guessing (yet again) that you might agree with some of his assertions but not others, and this finally brings me to my point …… a properly-constructed model should recognize that: his position isn’t right next to yours (and it’s also across an axis, which is a conflict multiplier) but he’s not as far away as the Obama crowd, either.
            So everyone’s calculations about potential agreement – and potential discourse – can therefore be calibrated more tightly if the right framework is adopted. Unfortunately, the left-right model fails in this regard: it doesn’t prevent us from recognizing our adversaries, but it does cause us all to overlook potential allies.
            Oh well …… so much for brevity.

          6. Hmm.. “..lower right of the political circle?” ‘sorry but I haven’t seen a “circle” yet. I didn’t actually get your book. I’m copping all this freebie stuff from the author himself (he talks a lot), – sorta like a kid reading comic books in store without paying for ’em. Thanks, btw.

            “..the lower pole, where empowerment of the citizens is favored, and not closer to the conservative pole where subjective values issues are debated.” ?? Is not subjective values issues academic-speak for “emotional?” See this is where the s—is going to hit the fan of your plan. People are complex. Of course I’m big on INDIVIDUAL empowerment (vs Authoritarian), I’m a 2nd Ammendment kinda guy, while “subjective values” (conservative? Leftism is nothing but emotion drive!) Certainly there is “emotional conservatism”, but I’ll address that later.

            “which catagory of leftists?” also later..

            “One of the inherent rules of a political model is that distance equals disagreement, so if two positions are far apart there’s little chance for dialogue to develop.” Far, Far too many presumptions Blake! Please reconsider all the exceptions! Inherant in any multi-diminsional model are even MORE sub-dimensions clogging the issue you’re trying so hard to make clearer. What you haven’t taken into account in this paragraph is: Which sides are open to free dialogue, and which sides aren’t. Peruse my “Profile” down to the “attempts” with the Red Badge of “REMOVED*, and you’ll see what I’m up against in my little circle. I often say; “There are two groups for whom ignorance is a VIRTUE religious fundementalists, and liberals“, in both groupes, DELIBERATE ignorance (whether evolution or REAL “global warming” data), the stupider you are, the “better” you are. [* you can click the comment to see the “offending” item.]
            But! somewhat in support of your paragraph, we have the concept of “Echo Chambers” that are unfortunately proliferating, and isolating groupes further. facebook’s current “reforms” are a prime example. -fresh topic though.

            The next paragraph is fairly accurate. I have a slite problem with the word “distrust as my objection to those very real monsters listed. Would you say the people slaughtered in the Cambodian killing fields “distrusted Pol Pot? Is the current “Hate Trump at ALL costs” derangment syndrom simply “distrust?” Distrust implies “Oh, you have your little unfounded fears of what he might do.” No, I have REAL reasons for objecting to these people, and their agendas.

            It might seem like these folks don’t exist, because they’ll never be invited to speak on CNN or Fox, but they’re out there. Personal Freedom Liberals? No problem. What about we conservatives who argue that the government has no place stopping a consenting adult from putting anything they want in their own mouths whether it be drugs, dicks, or Big-Gulps? We’re pretty under-represented too. I’ve encountered “Pro-Choice” conservatives (20% of young women had abortions in the 80’s, they’re Republican Women now), Pro-Gun-Control conservatives are strange animals, but not entirely unknown.
            What I’ve NEVER seen is a liberal in favor of “weakening of top-down institutions” EXAMPLES PLEASE! The only thing “liberal” about liberals is how generous they are with other people’s money, and THAT requires the guns (government) to redistribute it by force.
            Allow me to take this time to mention that the word “liberal” has long been absconded by Leftists, and is now a troublesome word (like “Red & Blue” states – Backwards? ..yeah I know the origin). Describing Western Civilization as “Liberal Democracies” is perfectly accurate. And I’ve recently been convinced to take Dennis Prager’s observation to distinguish between “Liberals” & “Leftists”, though the disinctions often blur (tribalism, later…), the red-line, so-to-speak, is how the two respond to open & free debate.
            …they’ll (liberals) never be invited to speak on CNN or Fox,..” Liberals, REAL LIBERALS are OFTEN on FOX. In fact, FOX is the ONLY place Alan Dershowitz is allowed to show his face! When I monitor CNN & MSNBC (and I do), their “token” conservatives are jokes of the lowest order, inevitably “Never Trumpers” like Bill Kristal, occasionally George Will when he promises to behave, and NY Times versions like David Brooks. A simple google-search of CNN interviews of Nunes, Gowdy, and Jordon shows why the liberal media lives in mortal fear of an intellegent conservative.
            Thank you for turning me on to Kunstler. ‘never heard of him, but I enjoyed his article and mildly disagreed with a few points (the only thing I follow blindly, 100%, is my nose, contrary to what the left says about conservatives). Note at the bottom Kunstler has a COMMENT SECTION, a good one from what I saw. That goes a long way in his favor from this Free-thinker.

            The bottom. AT LAST! “which catagory of leftists?” Once again, people are complex. First Let’s talk about the commonalities, mirror-images of both left & right. Like Colin Firth said “How can people think that way!” Much of what passes for political conflict in America, and everywhere for that matter, is nothing more than Tribalism, a universal, human trait, that has no more depth than a high school rivalry. In fact, the best examples probably are high school kids. Look at the Parkland Circus Parade that is touring the country! Yet, the few times these children were allowed to be questioned seriously, they came out dumb as gold-fish by any objective observer. Is it any wonder the left wants 16 year-olds, illiterate immigrants and ex-cons to vote! Talk to your sons. If the only thing they know about George Washington is that he “owned slaves”, we’ve got a problem. Videos abound showing COLLEGE students who can’t name the beligerents in WWII, who won the Civil War, and Which country did we become “independent” from? Zero critical thinking skills. When I’m arguing with Tribal liberals [Those that want the “intellectual acoutrements” clean-non-working-class, bookish, eyeglasses, “educated”-(anything BUT!), elite-supouriority, etc..] I find they’re functioning on the actual level of a Tom & Jerry cartoon, simplistic “good-guy vs bad-guy” kid stuff. Only able to identify who the “bad guy” is by what their “handlers” tell them. And who the “good-guy/bad-guy” is can switch on dime, no-questions-asked, if the “handler” deems so.

            On the conservative end of the “Tribalism” spectrum, there are, unfortunately, some poorly educated people who are “conservative” more because of an accident of birth. Yes, like all stereotypes, there’s truth there, and there may be a few MAGA hat, “rednecks” who live down to the image leftists like to imagine ALL conservatives are. BOY ARE THEY WRONG. Much to their chagrine the numbers of “homo-phobic, sexist, racist, bigots” in America is so infintismally small, they have to invent them to get their numbers up to fit into a CNN camera shot! Half my comment output is exposing leftist plants pretending to be conservatives on comment boards! I happen to be good at it. Which brings us to your noble goal: Identification. Are you sure that someone like yourself, who “leans to left”, and is probably embarrassed by how much his own side had degenerated, should be in any hurry to identfy his own?

            I mentioned the “handlers” above. The tribals are the “useful fools”, stupidly going where the social flow takes them. However, they vote. And they’re watching the incomprehendable Titans battling above them, and passing judgement on the spectale.

            Above the tribalists are those (I hope I’m one) who knows why he’s taking his position and can intellectually defend it. I can forgive Liberals for being soft-headed and naive. My arguments with them mostly hinge on emotional value judgements, and evaluating who the victims are. Leftists are pure evil. Do your job Blake, and help identify who’s who.

            Yeah “brevity!”

          7. Hi Jimmy.
            Wow …… that is a lot to digest!
            I guess I’ll respond to the subjective/objective issue briefly …… I define objective truth as something that must be proven either true or false. Subjective truth, in contrast, is something that simply can’t be proven either true or false. So, for example, someone’s belief in God can’t be proven either true or false, but by the same token, another person’s belief that there is no God also can’t be proven true or false. Is one more emotional than the other? Are they both emotional? I tend to regard emotions as signalling mechanisms that are subservient to our belief systems, but I realize that you believe otherwise.
            I also have other takes on the “subjective” versus “objective” question: It’s probably the biggest issue western culture faces and it’s at the core of every political question, but I’ll stop there for now in the interest of brevity.
            In response to your comments on mindless tribalism, I agree that it’s a big problem. The only response I can think of is to put forth the best analysis I can and hope to learn from others’ efforts as well.
            Anyway, I’m going to drop off of Disqus for awhile, while I decide how to move forward on a couple of things. If you ever decide to read the book I’d love to hear your feedback.

      2. John; Our NATION was & is a radical idea. Our Constitution is an extremely reasonable and well planned document which takes into account the fallabilities of free men and his government.
        “..ignored by whoever is in power..” What are you, 12? When it is “ignored” by the executive it is an abomination, that is eventually corrected. To dismiss it as an irrelevant “obstacle” to a leftist end is revealing about YOU John, not the Constitution.
        The issues of gay marriage, abortion & legalized drugs are issues that should be relegated to the States. A STATE determines who’s married. A STATE determines what drugs are appropriate within it’s borders. [Before the States ratified the 18th amendment, alcohol was ENTIRELY within the purview of EACH state. I question the validity of the Department of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms. Of course the Fed can determine what crosses international borders INTO the United States. But what’s home-grown & home-made within each state is the state’s problem]
        What’s “Left-Wing” about these issues is that they were implemented by ACTIVIST judges ruling beyond the Constitutional bounds. Thirty-Five states passed overwhelmingly referendums declaring “that marriage is between one man and one women“. A single narrow ruling threw that out. So much for the value of “democracy” that you lefties wail about when you’re counting votes and not electoral college delegates!
        “..disagree with which parts of the Constitution deserve to be obeyed..” What an idiotic statement that is. Once again, What are you, 12?
        Try to create your agenda WITHIN the Constitution, and you won’t have to get what you want by destroying it.

      3. Hmmmm. I posted a short, thorough assessment of John’s assertions about “the center” and it seems to have been deleted by dollarcollapse.com.

        1. Blake, your previous comment is up. It begins with: Ok, here’s an idea that you’re not going to be familiar with, but it can’t be dismissed just because it’s new …… THE CONCEPT OF “THE CENTRIST” IS A FALLACY. …

          1. I too noticed that I ended up in the “spam” filter. That “feature” disappoints me because Disqus has always been the most fair & open medium. If I’d wanted to be censored I’d stay on facebook or Huffington Post.

      4. Distinctions are rarely made between the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, but it might be helpful to add them to these comments …… and they certainly bear on Jimmy’s strong support of states rights.
        John’s assertion that the Constitution is a radical document would apply more to the Declaration – especially the early paragraphs. It was a truly groundbreaking shift to say that individual right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness should be the foundation of any government.
        The Constitution, on the other hand, was forged more than a decade after the Declaration and a lot of hard lessons had been learned in the ensuing period. Lives had been lost, currencies devalued, squabbles between state and central government had cost many opportunities, and the difficulties of running an army (a top-down, centralized institutuion, if there ever was one) had come to the fore.
        So the Constitution was an effort at compromise …… the radical sentiments of the Declaration were still strongly believed, but the need to build centralized, efficient governmental structures was understood also. That’s why Hamilton – a former army staff officer – had such an impact in shaping it: he brought arguments advocating for centralist structures into the discussion
        So the Constitution attempts to balance the power of the citizens at the lower end of the political circle with the basic requirements of centralized governmental functions at the top end of that circle’s vertical axis.
        We can see further examples in history: the ratification battle between the federalists and the anti-federalists was a natural outcome of the inherent tension between the top and bottom of the power axis.
        Jimmy’s position on state sovereignty is actually somewhere in the middle of that axis – which is where the Constitution attempted to find balance. So the Constitution isn’t a radical idea in itself, except that it gives long term legitimacy to the radical ideas that formed the revolution.
        The question for 21st century Americans is : where does current power actually reside? Jimmy’s opinion, along with many others, seems to be that there’s now too much power at the top of the circle, and not enough at the bottom …. but the bottom of the circle is where Franklin and Jefferson “declared” it should be.
        Unfortunately, this question is rarely discussed without anger and frustration these days …… and for good reason: our dominant political model only allows for language based on the circle’s horizontal axis. These vertical issues are subjected to too many conflations and fallacies.

  3. Ok, here’s an idea that you’re not going to be familiar with, but it can’t be dismissed just because it’s new …… THE CONCEPT OF “THE CENTRIST” IS A FALLACY.
    We discuss centrism as if it were some proven Truth, but it’s actually part of a theoretical framework for assessing our political system: one that fails to withstand rigorous analysis.
    Think about it …… our political reality is discussed as The Right, The Left, and The Center. These terms are actually visual descriptions – and for good reason: we all instinctively rely on a simple visual model to make sense of our political positions. The currently-accepted model is just a one-dimensional line, with 325 million citizens’ positions – or points – spread across those three regions of left, center, and right. Mr. Rubino’s core assertion is that those points have been migrating (or polarizing) toward the edges of the line …… the extremes.
    Unfortunately, there’s no proof that a simple line can accurately describe a complex system. It’s a one-dimensional model attempting to explain a reality that contains at least four. This leads to dialogue that’s rife with fallacies and conflations.
    If we’re to pursue effective analysis of the difficult issues America faces, we’ll need a better model – one with at least two axes. And a two-dimensional framework is unlikely to rely on those so-called “centrists.”
    These ideas might seem outlandish, but the underlying logic is sound ……
    For a more detailed analysis, read The Great Conflation.

    1. She doesn’t give definitive arguments about how her plans might be paid for except vague references to ‘priorities’ in the distribution of taxes. Typical, wooly diatribe against the status quo without substance.

    2. I’d like to know what “it” is, from the question “how do we pay for it?”

      I suspect “it” is something she never will fully specify. Similar to Obama et al that is always left open to interpretation so that everyone can fill in whatever they think it should be. Obama’s “fundamental” change for the country was never defined – it just wasn’t whatever existed at the time.

  4. I don’t agree that the political center is being devoured, at least in the US. Instead it’s the extremes who are howling precisely because the extremes are losing the arguments.

    Can’t wait for the 2018 elections.

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