November 9th, 2012

For those of you who want an election analysis that’s not so pessimistic…

there’s this.

Also, although this is unrelated to the above, I can’t figure out where else to put it. It’s a fascinating article about Obama’s highly sophisticated effort to reach and persuade potential supporters. The GOP seems to be bringing a knife to a gun fight in this regard.

16 Responses to “For those of you who want an election analysis that’s not so pessimistic…”

  1. vanderleun Says:

    I shall be saying this with a sigh
    Somewhere ages and ages hence….

    “Republicans: They thirst for death.”

  2. n.n Says:

    The left will always have an advantage until it doesn’t. They exploit differentials and gradients to manufacture and profit from prejudice. They promise instant gratification (i.e. material, physical, ego) without perceived consequences, thereby appealing to men and women’s base nature. They recognize that many people prefer to exist in a low energy state while simultaneously desiring the products and services afforded by a functional high energy state. They rationalize and justify their policies through repetition of a selective history, science, and reality — perception matters.

    Liberty is only suitable for individuals capable of self-moderating behavior. The left promises that people will enjoy liberty without responsibility. This is, by definition, a false premise.

  3. M J R Says:

    n.n (2:52 pm): “Liberty is only suitable for individuals capable of self-moderating behavior. The left promises that people will enjoy liberty without responsibility. This is, by definition, a false premise.”

    . . . but a winning strategy, until/unless the electorate comes up with significantly more “individuals capable of self-moderating behavior”. I do not see that happening any time soon.

  4. n.n Says:

    M J R:

    If we indulge in corruption, we are likely to be consumed by it. The people who support corruption are otherwise principled people, including most blacks, Hispanics, Asians, etc. Their votes are not motivated by principles, but by prejudice, vulnerability, vindictiveness, greed, etc. They are people hoping to advance their material, economic, and social standing through exploitation of shortcuts. The Democrats are more than happy to oblige their wishes. What do the Republicans offer that Democrats do not already? An expanded platform for unprincipled individuals to promote their own Welfare?

    There needs to occur a comprehensive reform. We need to stop treating symptoms and address causes. While the former is perpetually profitable, it does not resolve the underlying issues, and individuals and society suffer progressive corruption.

    There will always be people who will voluntarily or involuntarily reject personal responsibility. This can often be reasonably tolerated, but we are quickly approaching a critical mass (i.e. normalization). What is the solution?

  5. southpaw Says:

    More interesting (to me) than the statistical data mining is that the Republicans would not be inclined to employ similar techniques, but instead rely on the “better communicating what the stand for” instead of trying to reprogram them. Republicans need more social scientists, and psychologists, and statisticians, and less preachers and armchair pundits like Charles Kraphammer and Bill Krystol and George Will.
    Which still brings me back to my belief that the demographics and the corresponding core issue for each demographic have been manufactured, assigned, and repeated ad nauseum for years, so that they are in fact established as common knowlege for each group. The democrats have elevated to an artform creating identities and groups for people who would not naturally have catogorized themselves in such a way, as well as exploiting verious racial groups, and defining for them what their main concerns are. And the media and the party repeats the mantras that is the group’s common core struggle.
    More than Balkanization, modern democrats have taken it one step further and created groups where they didn’t naturally exist. Each group can be relied upon to cling their core belief and regurgitate it for a pollster after they have cast their vote accordingly.
    If there’s a “critical mass of minorities”, it’s due in large part to deliberate planning by the democrats to make sure they understood what was important to them. I would bet the identity politics for democrats now are such that their candidate is not that important — Obama is living proof they could replace him with a ham sandwich and the democrat turnout would be similar.
    Republicans need to reprogram these groups, not explain what we stand for. They’re way past the point of understanding they have a choice.

  6. kolnai Says:

    southpaw -

    Krauthammer is a psychologist (just throwing that out there). But I take your point.

    Indeed, I agree with you, especially when you say this:

    “Republicans need to reprogram these groups, not explain what we stand for. They’re way past the point of understanding they have a choice.”

    I would only qualify this by adding that we have to stay well-versed in our principles, and granting that we do reprogram enough people in enough Democrat-manufactured groups, we’ll need to explain our message at some point.

    This is the burden we carry, because we actually believe in things – we don’t just pretend to – unlike the commies and nihilists on the left.

    I’ve seen some periodic remarks here the past few days about the lessons of Judaism for conservatives (and Christians), and the more I think about it the more I see that there’s a lot to that. Jews have been tasked to keep the Torah, to bear and follow and study the Law wherever they are, whatever the circumstance.

    Maimonides, in the 12th Century, lived for a time under the Almohads in the Maghreb, a brutal and stupid Muslim tyranny that managed to destroy and drive out not only Jewish and Christian pearls of civilization, but Muslim ones as well (e.g., Averroes). The Almohads were like proto-fascists in the sense that they used an official (state-enforced) ideology, called Kalam (basically Muslim apologetics), to legitimate their rule, systematically pruning out everything they felt ran counter to the Kalam. This included philosophy, and anyone who tried to bring rationality and some of the sense of life of the classical thinkers into Islam – as Averroes did – or to use philosophy in a way that undermined Kalam – as Maimonides did – were in serious danger. It was said that when Averroes was banished to Morocco and his books ordered burned, the justification given was the following:

    “Either what is in these books is not in the Koran, in which case they are heretical; or it is in the Koran, in which case they are redundant.”

    Burned if you do, burned if you don’t. So tyranny burnishes its saber.

    Maimonides, one of the wisest men who ever lived, and a foundational figure not only in Judaism but in Western civilization as a whole, understood this well. He wrote his twelve-volume commentary on the Mishnah to clarify and pass on the tenets of the Law to his people. Then he wrote his Guide of the Perplexed to explain the “true science of the Law.” That required finding a way to articulate the truths he had come to understand from Aristotle and his commentators in such a way as to not fall afoul of the Almohad’s ideology (this is the kind of situation that underlies Lep Strauss’s thesis in his “Persecution and the Art of Writing”).

    So Maimonides used Kalam in such a way as to ultimately undermine it, encouraging both Lawful practice on the part of his people and true understanding among those capable of grasping it. It is not easy, but it can be done – that is, sticking to truth while communicating effectively in a brutal and stupid environment.

    And Judaism has survived. I’m not saying the circumstances of Judaim in exile in the bad lands is exactly analogous to our situation as conservative “exiles” in our own country, but there is some similarity.

    Perhaos Ziontruth will have more to add on this – perhaps he will correct me – but Judaism itself has undergone an alarming melting away into worldly politics and ideology, along the lines of Podhoretz’s thesis in “Why Are Jews Liberal?” Consider the pressures Jews have faced to assimilate – by which we mean “drop what local populations find threatening and offensive about their beliefs” – wherever they are. Without claiming – I stress – that the situations are exactly analogous, this is similar to the pressures conservatives will now increasingly face to abandon their core principles and compromise with the whims of the…er…gentiles.

    And many of us, if what has happened in Judaism is any indication, will succumb to the pressure. “Reform conservatism” will become all the rage, as indeed it already has in other countries, particularly those in Europe. But we must resist this. At the same time, we must learn the lessons of Maimonides and others like him, finding a way to preserve the flame of truth and even kindle it further in the middle of an ocean of nonsense.

    Yes, easier said than done. All I’m saying here is that it can be done.

  7. Sam L. Says:

    Speaking of Maimonides, I used to eat in a Chinese restaurant in the midwest. Its china was marked “Maimonides Hospital”, in Brooklyn IIRC.

  8. foxmarks Says:

    Many of the points listed help explain how I can make gloomy-sounding forecasts yet maintain optimism. There are structural problems which will wreck the political-economic system in the near- to mid-term.

    My local and State Republican pallys are having an entertaining fight about the future of the losing party. I love the liberty people insisting that demographics will ensure only socially-liberal policies can win elections. They fail to recognize that there is only an arbitrary distinction between fiscal and social policy. Social liberalism will require fiscal liberalism, too.

    Since I tend toward traditional social arrangements, and the policies which support same, all I have to do is wait. The libertines will burn down Rome, and we all get a fresh start.

  9. thomass Says:

    while the republican get out the vote system didn’t work… from a technical ‘won’t turn on when you flip the switch’ kind of didn’t work….

  10. kolnai Says:

    Sam L. -

    That’s interesting – when my brother lived in Beijing he used to go to this coffee shop that, seemingly randomly, had a big framed picture of Avicenna on the wall.

    Has NOTHING to do with China in any way (save for possibly the Uighers in the West, but this was Beijing).

    Must be something I’m missing about some Chinese people with a little reading who are fascinated by the figures of that era.

  11. J.J. formerly Jimmy J. Says:

    foxmarks: “….all I have to do is wait. The libertines will burn down Rome, and we all get a fresh start.”

    Read the story of Argentina’s collapse in 2000. Their “fresh start” has them back in the same place with 30% inflation and another default looming. Sometimes you get a second chance. Mostly, you don’t.

    This country is wealthy enough, with enough resources and talented people, that the decline will likely be a slow slide to what one sees in Russia today – a few people doing well, the rest living lives of quiet desperation and trusting in vodka, or a suitable substitute, to soothe their worries. Well, it’s better than Argentina. Or Zimbabwe.

  12. kolnai Says:

    JJ -

    “Well, it’s better than Argentina. Or Zimbabwe.”

    So you’re a glass 1/10th full man, eh? :)

    (I agree with your prognostication, for what it’s worth).

  13. rickl Says:

    Argentina:

    He came out of nowhere but you still voted for him because you wanted change. Between you and me, at first you could hardly spell his full name.

    Somehow he managed to win the elections and become President. He did appeal to the masses. He talked a lot even without saying anything meaningful. He had made lots of promises, but didn’t deliver any of them.

    When he became president, instead of doing anything to improve the situation of the people, he did everything to improve his own position so that he could stay in power. He was supposed to stand for the little guy, but the big corporations he preached against were the ones he benefited instead. Kids would chant his name in schools like some mantra. Supporters would say his name again and again like brain dead zombies. No one understood what he was really all about, he never said it in the first place, but charisma, millions in campaign marketing would do the trick.

    The man who was supposed to bring change and for once take the side of the working class ended up repeating socialist blabber on one side, and handing tax payers money to mega corporations on the other. He made sure to milk the middle class as much as possible so as to redistribute it fairly. To him, that would mean giving the biggest chunk of the pie to corporations and then throwing scraps through welfare programs that benefitted him politically, forcing the will of the people with handouts.

    Whenever he could he would strike against individual liberties. Any form of criticism was no longer considered a natural consequence of debate and observations, but an unpatriotic act that shouldn’t be accepted.

    Soon enough, you noticed that less and less people criticized him. Even celebrities didn’t dare speak against him, some afraid of being shunned by their peers, who would never accept someone “from the other side”, others were simply in his payroll in one way or another.

    When the time came to vote again, people just didn’t learn the lesson. Some couldn’t live without uncle sugar´s money, he made sure of that during his first term. It didn’t matter that the opposition had been demonized, that he had created a new kind of politics, of hatred and revenge.

    It was as if no one noticed that he had turned a once proud nation into a shadow of its former, glorious self. He simply was unworthy of the Presidency he held. Seems people wanted more of that, and went out and chose that again through their vote.

    The damage done will take decades to undo. In the end, we got the country we deserved.

    His name was Nestor Kirchner and he destroyed my country.

    Sound familiar?

  14. kolnai Says:

    My God, rickl. That is horrifying – both what happened and the parallel (which is, as you not-so-subtly hint, virtually 1:1).

  15. ziontruth Says:

    kolnai,

    “Judaism itself has undergone an alarming melting away into worldly politics and ideology,…”

    The Jews in the West (Ashkenazim) have undergone the same upheavals of the 18th-century Enlightenment as the Christians have, only in bigger proportions. It’s not Judaism itself, because those in the East (Sephardim) have been far less affected and retain a medieval-like strength of faith that one finds among the Muslims as well.

    Western Jews left religious observance in droves in the previous few centuries as a result of the Enlightenment’s doubting impulse. Because most Jews cannot, psychologically, leave the old-time religion without the feeling of guilt that they are breaking an ancient golden chain, they are compelled to make up for it by substituting a worldly mission for the Torah observance they left. Hence, tikkun olam, which in its original religious context means “Installing the world to be fit for God to descend to full reign and revelation in it” by means of religious observance—a spiritual mission and only a spiritual one—was, for the no longer observant Jews, replaced with a new, worldly meaning of “repairing the world,” interpreted into sundry causes, some good, some very bad such as Marxism.

    “…this is similar to the pressures conservatives will now increasingly face to abandon their core principles and compromise with the whims of the…er…gentiles.”

    I think it’s not a bad analogy, Kolnai. In my view, True America is embodied in the rural, smalltown inhabitants—”rednecks” in other words. These are the fiercely independent, morally straight and faith-filled Americans who built the U.S. of A. and made it great. Over the last century, the percentage of Americans rejecting those values for doubt, nihilism, racecardery, vengefulness and above all dependency has slowly grown, until this November 6 it was shown to have become the majority. Thus, America not only has a sizable population that shuns core American values, but now can no longer enjoy the largesse of the true Americans whom they hate. If I were an American, I’d see hope for the future only in secession of True America from the Americans In Residence Only.

  16. southpaw Says:

    Kolnai- forgive the late response if you’re still paying attention. Interesting analogy and highlights an abysmal ignorance of that history on my part. But thank you nevertheless writing.
    My greatest fear now is the rush to change, retool, etc to capture the the supposedly disenfranchised or ignored minority coalitions.
    Not that I think conservatives should ignore them, but a couple of things bother me with the premise in general- for one, it ignores the fact that in several states like Texas, where Hispanic populations are the highest, conservatives do pretty well. In fact it’s simply not true they vote as a block in the states where the economies are fairly healthy and provide jobs and opportunities for them – they’re like everybody else in that regard. I’m trying to get my head around the Republican Party braintrust that fails to recognize New Jersey, NY, NH, etc with populations much less Hispanic than Texas, who can be counted on to vote democrat. It seems to me they’ve failed to capture their ” own demographic” as its widely know they’re the party of whites.
    Another thing that is bordering on ridiculous – I am not a conservative because somebody has “reached out”. Quite the opposite-I am because nobody has. Before I had a pot to piss in, or a window to throw it out of, I was a conservative. Now that I have the pot, I simply want to keep it..but there’s never been an outreach in modern times which I recall that targeted whites saying “you need us because we’ve got your back”. This seems to be what the pundits are calling for- a reassurance the Republicans are interested in them, and helping them with whatever it is they want. A truly conservative govt treats everybody the same- it’s cold and indifferent when it comes to promoting interests of factions. It’s the least racist and sexist of all philosophies, but completely at odds with the acquisition of power.
    And that is probably why conservatism is a tough sell. For those seeking a benefit or a program as a reason to vote for a conservative, it’s not going to happen. So the outreach can be no more than a promise not to take what you’ve earned, and to create an environment for you to succeed. The other guys are offering a better deal.
    I don’t expect our braintrust to be thinking of how to do the same things as democrats, I expect them to realize the obvious- they can’t get more than 60% of the white vote. Which is very odd, according to conventional wisdom, thats all they care about. You would think they’d do much better with all the attention whites get from republicans. But the Left has successfully fractured that group into a dozen different blocks too.
    Reaching out to any group is contrary to conservatism, and concedes the point the Republicans have been a racist party, focused on whites. The last thing that will work is to pretend to be democrats, but the professional pundits have mostly fallen into the trap. I’m dismayed they spent no time thinking about the problem, how they got here, or the game that’s been played. They just fall deeper into the trap that was set years ago. Watching Fox News this week is like watching a snuff film.

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