November 17th, 2016

Trump and the racists

I’m not familiar with Scott Alexander or his blog, but here’s a post of his that’s well worth reading. It’s an in-depth attempt to evaluate some of the worst racism charges against Trump, and to estimate how numerous the supporters of white supremacist groups really are in this country (those are two separate issues, by the way).

Alexander is apparently not a Trump guy; he’s a psychiatrist who writes anonymously and is concerned about some of his patients who have become suicidally fearful since the Trump victory.

Alexander’s post is very long. I’m not in agreement with all of it, but it’s well worth reading. I think that white supremacist support for Trump is important and needs to be watched carefully. I don’t think the numbers are as small as Alexander seems to think, but both of us are merely estimating and I’ve consistently said I do not know, although these people are at least potentially dangerous. That said, I agree with Alexander that at the moment there’s no reason for alarm.

I also have said that one of the things that was a red flag for me with the Trump campaign in general was the failure of Breitbart et al to ban overtly racist or anti-Semitic comments from their sites. It’s easy enough to do it (believe me, I know) and it wasn’t done, which was a choice. You might say it was a libertarian choice, and I say “perhaps.” But it’s one of the things that has fueled the fires of the “Racism!” charges against Trump and his supporters—although that charge would be leveled anyway at Trump. It’s been leveled at almost every Republican on earth for quite some time.

73 Responses to “Trump and the racists”

  1. DirtyJobsGuy Says:

    Trump’s attraction to the alt-right is obvious. His tough guy presentation and disregard of both political correctness and ordinary civility leads them to think he would be suitably anti-foreigner. Unfortunately these guys are always valuable to the tough guy populist candidate. They are loyal to a fault, aggressive and intimidating. He only has to avoid public shaming of them to keep them active. Now he doesn’t need them but he may find it difficult to shed them. This might explain his bringing Steve Bannon to the White house along with the usual GOP luminaries. Will there be a milder version of the night of the long knives? Al Stewart is still around to write a song about it if it happens.

  2. Yancey Ward Says:

    Well, Trump has said and done nothing that would give one evidence that he supports White Nationalism. It isn’t like these people, whatever their number, didn’t also vote for Romney and McCain, and Bushes before that. Indeed, Trump has probably disavowed their support more firmly and consistently than any of those other candidates did, but that is a reflection of the asinine press corp who demanded he reiterate that disavowing a thousand times.

  3. Cornhead Says:

    Isn’t this charge against Trump the guilt by association fallacy? Like when Obama said the KKK newspaper endorsed Trump? How many paid subscribers to that rag?

    I don’t buy this one bit.

    He said *some* illegal aliens from Mexico were rapists. Not all of them? Can’t people listen?

  4. Dude Says:

    I have been on both types of sites. Those that are strongly moderated and those not: the strongly moderated almost always becomes an echo chamber. If there is an ability to block users then imo limiting users is partisan censorship, if not now, It Will be.

  5. Brian E Says:

    “I have met very few men who are truly distressed about systemic, unearned male advantage and conferred dominance. And so one question for me and others like me is whether we will be like them or whether we will get truly distressed, even outraged about unearned race advantage and conferred dominance and if so, what will we do to lessen them. In any case, we need to do more work in identifying how they actually affect our daily lives. Many, perhaps most of our white students in the U.S. think that racism doesn’t affect them because they are not people of color, they do not see “whiteness” as a racial identity. In addition, since race and sex are not the only advantaging systems at work, we need similarly to examine the daily experience of having age advantage, or ethnic advantage, or physical ability, or advantage related to nationality, religion or sexual orientation.” — Peggy McIntosh, Wellesley College 1988

    If you are white, and specifically a white male and were to take white privelege seriously, the only remedy would be to leave the planet. This condition requires a salvation that can’t be achieved either by grace or good works.

    I think David Marcus in, “This Election Marks The End of America’s Racial Detente”, makes the case that a certain sort of detente had existed for many years and it’s over.

    I’ve avoided any inference that this was an election of white identity, but if you accept his premise it is.

    “The Structure of American Racial Détente”

    “The rules of the deal were pretty straightforward. For whites, they stated that outright racist statements and explicit appeals to white racial identity were essentially banned. Along with this, whites accepted a double standard about the appropriateness of cultural and political tribalism. For obvious and reasonable historical and economic reasons, black and brown people explicitly pursuing their own interests was viewed differently than whites doing the same thing.”

    “The other side of the deal was that so long as white people were sufficiently punished for acts of outright racism, minority leaders and communities would be cautious with accusations of racism. The key here was that once leveled and proved, the accusation of racism was a blow most whites could not come back from. From Jimmy the Greek to Michael Richardson, being labeled a racist was a black mark that did not wash off easily.”

    “This was the basic agreement that set our cultural norms, a set of rules with relatively clear boundaries. Under those rules, many of Trump’s words and actions would have been immediately disqualifying, but they weren’t, because the rules are no longer in effect….”

    “…Privilege theory and the concept of systemic racism dealt the death blow to the détente. In embracing these theories, minorities and progressives broke their essential rule, which was to not run around calling everyone a racist. As these theories took hold, every white person became a racist who must confess that racism and actively make amends. Yet if the white woman who teaches gender studies at Barnard with the Ben Shahn drawings in her office is a racist, what chance do the rest of have?”

    “Within the past few years, as privilege theory took hold, many whites began to think that no matter what they did they would be called racist, because, in fact, that was happening. Previously there were rules. They shifted at times, but if adhered to they largely protected one from the charge of racism. It’s like the Morrissey lyric: “is evil just something you are, or something you do.” Under the détente, racism was something you did; under privilege theory it is something you are.”

    Some or most of you might say this is overwrought. I think it explains why the alt-right movement, which boiled up in Gamergate and Social Justice Warrior feminism, forged an alliance with Nationalists and White Nationalists and burst onto the scene with a fury.

    Here’s the conundrum as I see it. Those conservatives who don’t consider themselves racist or privileged will still be attacked by the left. If, in fact, the Democrats put Keith Ellison as their party spokesman, that will only solidify the divide between people of color and people of white. They assume women will identify with the “oppressed”, but that isn’t a given and didn’t prove true in this election.

    It’s up to the left to dial down the rhetoric and see if a new truce can be established. Otherwise more white voters are going to be drawn to the alt-Right.

  6. Brian E Says:

    You should read the entire article.

  7. Nick Says:

    I’ve read things on that site before. Remember what you learned in elementary school about run-on sentences and sentence fragments? Alexander writes articles that way. He’ll use an exorbitant number of words to articulate 2/3 of his thought. He needs a good editor.

  8. Artfldgr Says:

    Nothing says freedom like speech control…

    How did he determine which people were paid to go make remarks and such and have others assume they are with the main body?

    how abou the fact that the protestors caught being violent werent voting, and were from outside states?

    how about the way the news twisted a autistic boy falling down a stair into the back of some marshmalow and then get violently attacked and arrested?

    Ohio State Student Violently Shoves Anti-Trump Protester Down Steps!

    Lucas Abreu: He is not a Trump supporter. Stop spreading lies. He has aspergers. I know him. Please share the truth.

    my problem is that people who are higher in the social ladder are less skeptical and do less real reasearch and believe that they cant be tricked, so when they ARE tricked, they defend that they werent.

    the way the left operates has gone on since charlie chaplains character got arrested for holding a red flag during a union protest (which he was not a part of) – see modern times

    i see them pay protesters here in manhatten a few blocks away from protests…

    now if the press doesnt tell you, and you dont know how the international communist factions work, and how dirty they are, then how is this doc saying anythig other than speaking into an elitist upper class echo chamber? [the same echo chamber that has communists worried that a capitalist is a socialist like the funny austrian dude… ]

    HEY: want to talk about the book the coming insurection i mentioned years ago, and here it is?

    craigslist had ads… and some ads where put there by the DNC trying to make trump out to be racist by posting racist job offers.. .

    $15 an hour to protest trump”:

    here is the link to the ad on craigs list:

    The business of generating fake enthusiasm, from flash mobs to the campaign trail
    [except that the atlantic is doing the old, claim your opposition is doing what your doing so that at worst, your on equal footing, and deny them the higher ground of the higher path]
    [edited for length by n-n]

  9. parker Says:

    The hard left and its ‘useful idiots’ are 10E6 more racist than the run of the mill gop voter. Those on the right tend to see people as individuals because they value their own individuality. Those on the left tend to stereotype everyone based upon a perceived group identity that negates any concept of individuality. The vilification of Clarence Thomas is a prime example

  10. n.n Says:

    Yeah, [class] diversity including institutional racism, sexism, etc. is a real problem. Selective exclusion (“=”) is a real problem. Immigration “reform” including refugee crises and mass emigration is a real problem. Social justice adventures and trial by sodomy and abortion are real problems. Capital punishment and clinical cannibalism of wholly innocent human lives for causes of wealth, pleasure, leisure, narcissistic indulgence, and female chauvinist progress is a real problem. Final solution, really? Never again. The State-establishment of a quasi-religion from the twilight zone that is selective and opportunistic, unprincipled and vindictive is a real problem.

    The Left, Right, and immoderate “Center”‘s habit of overindulgence has exposed them to public scrutiny. Still, their tightly wound ball of yarns is unwinding. Hopefully, we can avoid Clinton’s “reset”, more victims from Obama’s “peace”-mongering, and the progressive corruption caused by the overlapping and converging interests from all these factions.

  11. neo-neocon Says:


    Guess what? I’ve been on both types of sites, too.

    Lots of them, probably a lot more than you unless you’re a blogger, too. And what I’ve observed this election cycle is the opposite of what you’re observed.

    When the worst excesses are not blocked, swarms of people (racists, for example) get the word, come in, and take over. My blog is not an echo chamber, but I freely ban people I consider to be trolls. Trolls come in many shapes and sizes. Trollship is not defined by agreement or disagreement with me. It’s defined by behavior and language—sometimes racist or anti-Semitic or just plain nasty and insulting for no reason and without recourse to logic; sometimes goalpost-moving; sometimes flooding the comments section with comment after comment after comment by the same person over and over; sometimes lots of strawman arguments; sometimes constant demands to explain enormous topics that have already been explained ad nauseam. And that’s probably not an exhaustive list (see also this, which was originally posted at the old blog site).

    My own blog was almost taken over by people (from the left, it just so happens, and the topics were different but the method was the same) years ago who were dominating the comments section here. In fact, I had to leave my blog platform and go to a new one in order to be able to ban them more effectively, or this blog would have been kaput.

    At the beginning of the Trump campaign, it was starting to happen again only this time from the right (or seemingly from the right; you never know for sure who people are), and if I hadn’t nipped it in the bud this blog would have been an echo chamber of a particular strain of racist, or anti-Semitic, or sexist, or you-name-it-ist, nasty supposed Trump supporters only.

    And just to be completely clear, most Trump supporters were not and are not like that. But there was and is a group that was.

  12. Artfldgr Says:

    Who’s Behind The Portland Riots? 60% Of Arrested Anti-Trump Protesters Were From Out Of State, Didn’t Vote

    Two months ago, Charlotte police confirmed that 70% of those arrested during the riots were from out-of-state. 18 months before that, as the riots flared in Ferguson, George Soros spurred the protest movement through years of funding and mobilizing groups across the U.S., according to financial records reviewed by The Washington Times. And now, amid more headlines of Soros’ involvement, KGW reports that more than half of the anti-Trump protesters arrested in Portland were from out of state.

    At least sixty-nine demonstrators either didn’t turn in a ballot or weren’t registered to vote in the state.

    KGW compiled a list of the 112 people arrested by the Portland Police Bureau during recent protests. Those names and ages, provided by police, were then compared to state voter logs by Multnomah County Elections officials.

    Records show 34 of the protesters arrested didn’t return a ballot for the November 8 election. Thirty-five of the demonstrators taken into custody weren’t registered to vote in Oregon.

    Twenty-five protesters who were arrested did vote.

    KGW is still working to verify voting records for the remaining 17 protesters who were arrested.

    In other words over 60% of the arrested protesters in Portland were not local voters dismayed by the election of Donald Trump.

    they were bussed in or paid to travel away from home and foment insurgency… to which elite people in their cosseted lives cant imagine that kind of organized evil, despite their fantasies of rubber coated germans and goose stepping communists that they love not hate.

    until you can sort out how much is from that, and how much is paid, and so on… you dont know anything about trump racists or anything.

    when your side claims there is no such things as morals, and that lying and controlling people is good,how far would the side that murdered 200 million of their own in various countries for power, actually go to get the richest state in the history of the current universe as we see it?

    study the russian overthrows and state changes in their victim states… you will find lots of parallels mostly because the peopel in the democrat party signed on for communism years ago… so far ago, norm thomas said the CPUSA would not run candidates for president as they could not distinguish the party platform from the dems.

    you cant beat a multistate effort at public manipulation and gamemanship of the minds, by guessing, and figuring it out… by the time you do, it will be too late, and thats the point… you can only learn it from those that know it. but that would mean accepting you been punked by the internationalle.

  13. Artfldgr Says:

    when i sit with FBI and others in security… this stuff i say is common knowlege… and we kind of laugh how the common person is soooo ignorant

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    Forty-six percent of surveyed security leaders say their organizations have been victimized by at least one socially-engineered attack in the past year. And 52 percent rate their organizations’ defenses against such attacks at average or below.

    These are among the results of the Email Security: Social Engineering Report. Register for a session now to learn:

    Where enterprises are most vulnerable;
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    Why Did Chinese Spyware Linger in U.S. Phones?
    Code Sent Call Logs, Texts and More to Shanghai
    In what’s being chalked up as an apparent mistake, more than 120,000 Android phones sold in the U.S. were shipped with spying code that sent text messages, call logs and other sensitive data to a server in Shanghai.

    you see… part of my job is stopping the people you guys talk about and dont know as a serious organized international threat, not just internal.

    Kryptologic says the code, which it found on a BLU R1 HD devices, transmitted fine-grained location information and allowed for the remote installation of other apps. Text message and call logs were transmitted every 72 hours to the Shanghai server, and once a day for other personally identifiable data, the company says.

    and you dont think that they pay people to do things here? think of the history of the leaders in the states that have eveyrthing at stake…

  14. Meh Says:

    The bigger story right now is not the racists on the right’s fringe, but the left’s overt (and increasingly mainstream) hatred towards the working-class whites who put Trump over the top in the industrial Midwest.

  15. neo-neocon Says:


    “Racists on the right” is a big story because it’s a big story in the MSM.

    Actually, though, Democratic abandonment of working class whites is also a big, big story. I’ve read tons of articles and posts about it (and heard people talking about it among my friends), left and right. If you were suggesting it’s a story that’s being ignored (I’m not sure you were, but I think you might have been), au contraire.

  16. blert Says:

    The alt-right is really the alt-Democrat party.

    Which is why it’s so anti-GOPe… just for starters.

    MANY alt-right posters openly admit that they’ve never voted GOP in all their days. Is that not a tell ?

    Further, to buttress Art’s points… many posters are obviously working for the SVR and/or are part of Putin’s puppet army for the Internet.

    It is MOSCOW that is constantly injecting and re-injecting anti-Jewish spews.

    Not only are the time stamps typical of Russia, some posters a flamingly obvious — listing their location as Abkhazia. This is THE playground for the KGB// SVR.

    It’s their version of Silicon Valley for spooks. Its weather and climate is Georgian.

    Wretchard was absolutely bombed by such posters during the Putin-Georgian war.

    These are also posters that can’t find a thing in the world to critique Putin about. That fellow is their saint.

    Guess why ?

  17. blert Says:

    BTW neo, they DO screen posters. My stuff is sent to the bit bucket… or my nic is banned outright.

    They will not permit anti-anti-Jewish commentary.

    The alt-right is more aptly labelled the alt-left, as they are a million miles from anyone’s notion of the American right.

  18. Michael Adams Says:

    One of the many things I admire about your work is your very analytical approach to trolls. There was one, or a small collective, of trolls on Bookworm a few years ago. Ms. Bookworm put the question to the frequent commentators, as to whether this person or collective ought to be banned. I offered what most considered a reasonable analysis and therefore a verdict. It was not remotely near your thorough approach. The troll was banned, and has recently resurfaced, but, perhaps, been banned again, or just left, because people have learned to ignore, strategically.

    To the question of the day, since virtually nobody who knows the Trump family would accuse them of any sort of bigotry, it might be useful to remember that Republicans are very naive regarding social media and even just blogging, and so it should not be surprising that they are being blind-sided by some pretty nefarious people. I said, the day after the election, that we had won this year’s battle for the Constitution, and could return to mere politics. I suppose I forgot that ordinary politics, when Democrats are included, means throwing out horrible and even implausible accusations, defying the accused to disprove them, and then, when the passage of time has produced hard evidence against the charges, it’s all forgotten, except, of course, that “some charges have been leveled.”

    Quite simply, they do not fight fairly, will say anything, and ought to be taken with several grains of salt, yea, indeed with whole mineral blocks.

  19. Frog Says:

    The patients of psychiatrists are by definition abnormal. They have anxieties, fears, blah blah blah. Why should we seriously consider their opinions? Feed them some Xanax– that’s what Xanax and the myriad other anti-anxiety meds are for. Anxiety, groundless anxiety; Anxiety “attacks”; Pan-anxiety (everything provokes anxiety).

    Psychiatrists are also the most Left-wing of medical specialties. Alexander may be distressed, even anxious himself that Hillary lost.

    Which is why I am not going to read Alexander’s long piece. I think Neo ought to revise her recommendation.

  20. Micha Elyi Says:

    [T]he “Racism!” charges … would be leveled anyway at Trump. It’s been leveled at almost every Republican on earth for quite some time.

    Yes, and that’s why the best response to those making such charges is “There you go again!”

    By the way, I’ve never know anyone among the Professionally Overwrought Left who ever apologized for all the overwrought remarks they made against Ronald Reagan. They’re still here aren’t they? RR didn’t blow up the world, did he? They were never herded into liquidation camps, were they? Nope, nope, and nope; yet there they go again!

  21. Brian E Says:

    “Which is why I am not going to read Alexander’s long piece. I think Neo ought to revise her recommendation.” – Frog

    You should. It’s quite a condemnation of the left, when a liberal psychiatrist debunks the outrageous claims by the left against Trump, while at the same time reminding them he is still one of them.

    My take away is he is essentially saying the racists are such a small fringe group that everyone should ignore them. I think they are a small portion of the alt-right, but larger than he estimates.

  22. Tuvea Says:

    Yet no one seems at all upset with the support that Socialists, Communists, and other Totalitarians gave to the Clinton campaign.

    Is that because of ignorance, stupidity, untruthfulness or fear in the so-called MSM?

  23. neo-neocon Says:


    What Alexander writes is either right or wrong.

    I didn’t get where I am politically by boycotting the reading of those with whom I disagree.

    True is true, false is false, whoever the messenger may be. Do you not trust yourself to attempt to evaluate what people say on the merits?

  24. neo-neocon Says:

    Brian E.:

    As I indicated in my post, I agree with your estimate that alt-right racists are a larger group than Alexander thinks they are.

  25. neo-neocon Says:



    So you are saying they banned people who were arguing against the anti-Semites there?

    All I know about it is as an observer. But I watched a very nasty vicious element take over there in the comments nearly overnight. They could easily have stopped it from happening had they wanted to. Clearly, they did not want to.

    Also, you write:

    MANY alt-right posters openly admit that they’ve never voted GOP in all their days. Is that not a tell ?

    I have long said that I think some on the alt-right are from the left. But I disagree with you that people saying they’ve never voted GOP is necessarily a “tell” that means they are from the left. Instead, they may have been people who just never voted at all because they were of the “they all suck, burn it down” ilk. There are plenty of people like that. I’d call them right-wing anarchists, for want of a better word.

  26. Steve57 Says:

    I also have said that one of the things that was a red flag for me with the Trump campaign in general was the failure of Breitbart et al to ban overtly racist or anti-Semitic comments from their sites.

    Personally I consider that a losing game. “Overtly racist” has come to mean citing FBI crime statistics that show that blacks offend in disproportionate numbers compared to to their percentage of the population. I’ve discovered it is “overtly Islamophobic” of me to accurately cite the Quran and the Sunni and Shiah traditions to demonstrate that Hezbollah and IS are in fact Islamic (although they consider each other heretics), as well as to cite the evidence presented by government in the Holy Land Foundation terror funding trial and stipulated to by the defense that proves CAIR, ISNA, and NAIT have strong terrorist ties.

    But if the media is truly concerned about anti-semitism, why are they giving the historic first Muslim member Kieth Ellison (D-MN) of Congress a pass?

    Ellison now lies about ever having anything to do with the Nation of Islam at all. But his ties with the Muslim Brotherhood front-group, Hamas-linked CAIR are essentially set in stone. If the media was truly interested in investigating someone’s anti-semitism or ties to anti-semites then Ellison’s ties to murderous anti-semites are far easier to prove and far more damning than Bannon’s failure to ban or delete comments.

  27. Steve57 Says:

    I should have made it more obvious. Hamas-linked Ellison may very well become the next head of the DNC.

    His close ties to terrorist/anti-semitic groups should be important, and would be, if the media was actually interested in what it claims to be interested in as opposed to simply smearing Republicans on far, far thinner evidence.

  28. neo-neocon Says:


    Nope, in this case we’re not talking about the liberal, SJW definition of “overtly racist.”

    We’re talking about overtly racist and offensive by any reasonable definition.

  29. Cornhead Says:

    Practically worst thing one can say about a public person today is calling the person a racist or sexist and then followed by being anti-LGBTQ.

    There is next to zero evidence that Trump is any of this things.

    This is all a campaign to demonize Trump and portray him as the “other.”

    Report to today that San Francisco HS teacher wrote a lesson plan to that effect and it was distributed throughout the school system. Incredible.

  30. Frog Says:

    I quite agree truth is truth. But I must budget my time, and your lead-in about Alexander’s fearful patients led me to the hasty conclusion his piece, described as long, would be an iteration of their anxieties; anxieties which I have seen described to absurd lengths, such as the “blue collar lesbian who is fearful she may lose her two adopted children ” from Africa or somewhere brown because Trump won. That may have been on Yahoo….

  31. Cornhead Says:

    Story I referenced

  32. TommyJay Says:

    Neo says “We are talking about this because the MSM says it is the hot topic today.” Paraphrasing.

    Why do we let the MSM/Left frame all of the issues???

    And the interviewer asked, “When did you stop beating your wife?”

    Or how about: a dozen mayors of major cities have recently proclaimed their cities Sanctuaries. You know, warm, safe, protecting environments. But we could call them Criminal Hideout Cities. You know, good places to form another chapter of MS13. This is not exactly Po-TAY-to / Po-TAH-to.

    In today’s media/political environment, one should always begin with “How cynical SHOULD I be about this?” and “Should I begin by rejecting the framing completely and begin anew?”

    In an entirely serious vein, why don’t you/Neo read Saul Alinsky’s one or two most famous books and break them down for us. The book “Rules…” is somewhat about the framing issue. I’ve been tempted to do so but haven’t gotten there yet. I did read most of Hillary’s undergrad thesis, a bio of Alinsky, and his famous book of that time was “Reveille for Radicals.”

    The folks on the left always seem to quake in terror over the notion of Bible-thumpers (not Neo) or the white-supremacists.
    So here is a quiz: How many US Presidents have been assassinated (with certainty, not possibilities) and how many were killed by communists or anarchists? OK, a very small sample, but an important one. Nobody tells us to be afraid of communists or anarchists; or Islamic supremacists (except for the Donald) for that matter.

  33. Artfldgrs Says:

    Trump is the Best Thing That Has Happened to Israel in Years

    This again is a foul slander. I know Steve Bannon, and have had several long discussions with him about politics. I first met him when he approached me at a conference to tell me that he liked my writing, which is unabashedly Zionist. Steve is strongly pro-Israel, and it is utterly ridiculous to suggest that he is anti-Semitic.

    The Establishment is floored and flummoxed. It doesn’t understand what it did wrong, it doesn’t understand why it has been evicted from power, and it can only explain its miserable situation as the consequence of an evil conspiracy. In short, the Establishment is having a paranoid tantrum, compounding its humiliation with a public meltdown. Sadly, that includes liberal Jews.

  34. neo-neocon Says:


    I most definitely don’t let the MSM frame all the issues.

    They are talking about it, but I am interested in it as well. I write about what I want to write about. I have noticed racists and anti-Semites, etc., on the right, and they are disturbing. I have noticed them quite a bit in the comments sections of some blogs on the right that were strongly Trump-supporting. They have come here, too.

  35. Big Maq Says:

    Scott Alexander lost my confidence on a few points:

    1) He shows the chart from the NYT, but that is from exit polls (i.e. voters who actually went to vote).

    It is critical to understand that a LARGE number of eligible voters stayed home – mostly on the dem side, but also must have on the GOP side, too. A percentage change in minority votes does not reflect trump winning them over, relative to all this.

    2) He points to low volume sites but ignores what’s been going on in the more “popular” sites like britebarf that are less overt about what they present. They don’t attract the volume of the kinds of comments by being neutral about it all. They were unabashed where they stood, not victims of some alt-r organized effort.

    3) He ignores trump’s mutability. trump has said and did things that leaves it open to interpretation. We now more nicely say it is his “unpredictability”, but there is a why that it is so. Pulling quotes of trump saying one thing is no surprise at all. It has been a problem all along his campaign that we can point to counterfactuals in his own words.

    Now is the MSM making an overblown case that trump is racist? Yes. Heck, they made the same case in prior elections where there was nary a grain of truth to fall back on, so no surprise, really.

    Did Alexander conclusively prove trump is not? Hardly.

    I may not think it likely trump is, either, but Alexander misses too many key points to make a convincing case.

    trump ran a campaign that leaves open that and other questions and has a ways to go to earn back anything more than this honeymoon period benefit of the doubt.

  36. Big Maq Says:

    Scott Alexander was rather prescient the day before the eleciton:

    “We live in a country and a world where Hillary can be at about 47% and Trump at about 45%. … It suggests that political fundamentals are totally compatible with a situation where either Trump or Hillary could win based on noise in the electoral process.

    It also suggests that both (Jon) Wiener and (Scott) Adams were wrong to be so confident in their respective predictions. If either one is right, it will be mostly by luck. Wiener tells us to “relax” because Trump can never win, and maybe Trump doesn’t win, but the fact is that even if Trump loses we were one Hillary gaffe away from the opposite result and shouldn’t have relaxed at all. Adams says there’s been a 98% chance of a Trump win since last year, but the polls make it look a lot like Trump only has a chance at all because of the total coincidence of Hillary getting hit by a new FBI investigation two weeks before Election Day.

    I already count both (Jon) Wiener and (Scott) Adams as having been proven wrong regardless of what happens tomorrow. – Tuesday Shouldn’t Change the Narrative

    If the trump pollster was surprised (as he admitted on Wed morning Nov 9) then NOBODY can claim that they really had any superior foresight (other than to say they were as correct as the guy predicting a trifecta – was it a studied and careful weighing of the facts against the odds, or was it luck?).

    dilbert hardly has any grounds to claim any foresight. The trump win gives him false confirmation and credibility.

  37. parker Says:

    I read the link to Alexander’s post. I found a few points to disagree with, and much to agree with. Alexander is on the left side, but he acknowledges the crazy absurdity of the tone deaf left spewing their usual chicken little rant that the vast right wing conspiracy sky is falling is utter BS. What is not to like?

  38. AesopFan Says:

    Micha Elyi Says:
    November 17th, 2016 at 6:11 pm
    [T]he “Racism!” charges … would be leveled anyway at Trump. It’s been leveled at almost every Republican on earth for quite some time.

    Yes, and that’s why the best response to those making such charges is “There you go again!”
    * * *
    I read Alexander’s post earlier today, and believe it is very important. Although I kind of hope the Left does NOT heed his advice, and totally self-destructs, my better self wishes that everyone would follow this advice by Chief Justice John Roberts, “The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race, is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.”

    For some other viewpoints about racism, and the related charge of anti-Semitism, here are a few from the LEFT, which (despite some obvious problems) pretty much agree with Alexander, or point out other difficulties.

    “I thought Donald Trump disqualified himself at numerous points. But there is now this idea that anyone who voted for him has to be defined by the worst of his rhetoric. There are guys in my neighborhood that I love, that I respect, that I think have incredible qualities who are not afraid of Mexicans, and not afraid of Muslims, and not afraid of blacks. They’re afraid of their insurance premiums. In the liberal community, you hate this idea of creating people as a monolith. Don’t look at Muslims as a monolith. They are the individuals and it would be ignorance. But everybody who voted for Trump is a monolith, is a racist. That hypocrisy is also real in our country.”
    “Research says there are ways to reduce racial bias. Calling people racist isn’t one of them.”

    “Dershowitz educated Kornacki on the history of anti-Semitism from the left and how it has ramped up since Black Lives Matter gained influence. Dershowitz did acknowledge that anti-Semitism on the right is up, but it only “catching up” to the anti-Semitism from the left which has been in existance for 20+ years.

    “What’s new is the anti-Semitism from the right has become emboldened and now almost catching up with the anti-Semitism on the hard left which has been in existence for 20 years,” he said.”

  39. Sergey Says:

    Alexander’s conclusions are exactly what I supposed from the beginning when the theme was introduced: these alt-Right or White Suprematists or Racists were another Leftist bogeyman, marginal by character and miniscule by numbers, with negligible political clout and of no importance. There is a greatly exaggerated, overblown fear of antisemitism and fascism among Jews, while understandable, but still unrealistic and irrational.

  40. Sergey Says:

    From reactions of my Russian expats relatives and friends in USA to Trump candidacy I also see that among liberals there is a genuine moral panic about looming authoritarian regime in USA, very much alike Salem witch hunt or climate scare or any other mass psychosis in USA history. It worth to remind, again and again, that you have nothing to fear except fear itself. For a paranoid mindset everything, literally everything, has chilling parallels to one’s worse nightmares, all of them purely imaginary.

  41. Big Maq Says:

    “I also see that among liberals there is a genuine moral panic about looming authoritarian regime in USA … For a paranoid mindset everything, literally everything, has chilling parallels to one’s worse nightmares, all of them purely imaginary.” – Sergey

    Right, to this and the several similar comments here and elsewhere.

    If one wants “proof” that the MSM and plenty of individuals are over-reacting, one hardly needs to read Alexander’s post to come to that realization.

    What is interesting is that, for much of a year, up to a few weeks ago, but still with glimmers of it this past week, is the equally overwrought “flight 93” type case. Folks who bought into that may not have been marching down the streets on it, but the argument was just as extreme, and the fear they generated was just as much a “panic”.

    trump is still an unknown quantity, not by accident, and until there is clarity, this will be a leverage point for the left.

  42. Sergey Says:

    Big Mac: If you read this
    you may reassess your position on flight 93 fears. What happened in Wisconsin could have happened throughout the country if Hillary won. When offices of prosecutors and courts taken by Progressives, the game is over, by-by rule of law. Gramscians won. Fundamental transformation of USA into banana republic is accomplished. SWATing homes of political opponents without any warning is as authoritarian as it can be. This is what liberals accuse that conservatives want to do, but what liberals actually do.

  43. OM Says:


    Except that in WI Scot Walker is the governor, the state legislature is Republican, and the program was shut down and exposed. So talk about Flight 93 but the people were on to them and the progressive prosecutions have been shut down. The progressive tyrants “mean well.” It would seem your solutions are to enable other tyrants to get even.

  44. Sergey Says:

    My solution is to restore Law and Order as written in Constitution. There is no other solution to keep Republic. Ted Cruz as Supreme Court Judge in vacant place of Antonin Scalia – part of a solution.

  45. Bill Says:

    Cornhead: “Practically worst thing one can say about a public person today is calling the person a racist or sexist and then followed by being anti-LGBTQ.

    There is next to zero evidence that Trump is any of this things.”

    Look, I don’t know if Trump is a racist or not but to say there is zero evidence that he’s a racist or a sexist is to be (can I borrow GB’s term here?) “willfully blind”.

    Two examples

    1. Sexism: Billy Bush tape, way he has talked about women as sexual objects for decades, etc. etc. etc.

    2. Racism: he said the judge in the Trump U case was biased against him simply because the judge was Mexican. Paul Ryan said that was the definition of racism.

    Of course, Trump doesn’t come out for the most part with overtly racist comments (other than the Trump U case above). Here’s what he said when he opened his campaign.

    “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

    Now, to you this sounds like rational, reasonable observation. But consider the fact that it might be because you are white. You’re not being talked about here. You’re not being threatened.

    “Some, I assume, are good people”. – Oh brother…

  46. Bill Says:

    The only way we get to any kind of racial healing in our country is to start listening to each other. But everyone’s too damnably defensive and self-justifying to do that.

    I am hoping Trump can do something Obama didn’t do and promote this kind of open dialog. I just don’t think he will.

  47. Nick Says:

    A point of clarification: we have to stop implicitly connecting racism with anti-black beliefs. We see this from the left, talking about Trump as Hitler and a white supremacist. We see it in Alexander’s article, where he cites Trump’s statements about blacks as proof that he’s not racist. We’re coming off 8 years (ok, 240 years) of a black-white divide, but that’s not the context of this past election.

    The substantive accusations regarding the Trump campaign deal with his statements about Mexicans, his policy prescriptions about Muslim immigration, and the anti-Semitism espoused by some of his supporters. If you want to argue that Hispanics and Muslims aren’t races, that’s fine, although I think it misses the point here.

    Maybe we need a new word.

  48. sdferr Says:

    One ought perhaps to note the absence of the terms racialist and racialism in the Alexander article, and then in the conversation which follows. These are somewhat newer terms in our political discourse, though the distinction of these from the older terms racist and racism stretches back at least as far as the social theorist W.E.B. Dubois. All these — words, terms, concepts — remain freighted with heavy emotional charge (to say nothing of their highly dubious ontological weight) in part due to their origins in the erotic life of mankind, both in ordinary conversation, and more potently in political discourse — such that even the most careful handling imaginable will almost certainly fail, given the slightest chance. However, the necessity that we must confront these concepts seems to me, at least, as somehow inescapable on its face.

  49. Brian E Says:

    “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you.”

    Bill, who are the you Trump was referring to?

  50. Bill Says:

    Bill, who are the you Trump was referring to?

    He said this at his first campaign announcement, so I assume the people in his audience. Am I wrong?

  51. neo-neocon Says:


    I think the new word would be an old word: bigotry. Bigotry is what Trump is being accused of.

  52. Cornflour Says:

    Some semi-random notes:

    A few people here have already said that, before adding a comment here, it’s worth reading what Scott Alexander wrote. I’d agree.

    As a preface to his piece, Scott Alexander wrote this:
    “A reduction of a complicated issue to only 8000 words, because nobody would read it if it were longer. I think this is true but incomplete. I do not deny that Trump is being divisive and abusing identity politics in more subtle ways. I will try to discuss missing parts at more length later.”

    I just did an author/title google search — i.e. “scott alexander” and “you’re still crying wolf.” The search result: 7850 hits. So, lots of people are talking about crying wolf. In general, I think that’s a good thing.

    Scott Alexander is a libertarian, but from the left side, rather than the right. Still, I don’t think it’s accurate to call him a progressive. He’s also very young and works as a psychiatry resident in a Michigan hospital. His blog is extremely popular among well-educated, mostly white, young libertarians. That’s his audience, and he knew it well enough to turn off the comments section for this post. Many of his posts generate hundreds of comments, and I’ve seen some that have over a thousand. Given the nature of his audience, I think writing this piece took some courage on his part.

    Although it’s not something that can be measured, I think that Neo tends to think that the alt-right is more politically important than I do. Similarly, I’d guess that she thinks the neo-nazi racists of groups like Stormfront are more important to the alt-right than I do. Also, I think that Trumpism and the alt-right are separate phenomena. During the last year, I’ve read a lot from what’s supposed to be the alt-right and neo-reaction, and I wouldn’t even characterize most of it as even a little bit racist. Whether or not Scott Alexander has correctly appraised the weight of alt-right racism, I’m sympathetic to his effort.

  53. Brian E Says:

    I tried in vain to find out where he was speaking when he made that comment, whether the audience was predominately white or Latino. He certainly could have said it better.

    As to the reality of his statement, from a GAO report:

    “The number of criminal aliens in federal prisons in fiscal year 2010 was about 55,000, and the number of SCAAP criminal alien incarcerations in state prison systems and local jails was about 296,000 in fiscal year 2009 (the most recent data available), and the majority were from Mexico. The number of criminal aliens in federal prisons increased about 7 percent from about 51,000 in fiscal year 2005 while the number of SCAAP criminal alien incarcerations in state prison systems and local jails increased about 35 percent from about 220,000 in fiscal year 2003. The time period covered by these data vary because they reflect updates since GAO last reported on these issues in 2005. Specifically, in 2005, GAO reported that the percentage of criminal aliens in federal prisons was about 27 percent of the total inmate population from 2001 through 2004. Based on our random sample, GAO estimates that the criminal aliens had an average of 7 arrests, 65 percent were arrested at least once for an immigration offense, and about 50 percent were arrested at least once for a drug offense. Immigration, drugs, and traffic violations accounted for about 50 percent of arrest offenses. About 90 percent of the criminal aliens sentenced in federal court in fiscal year 2009 (the most recently available data) were convicted of immigration and drug-related offenses.”

    What is surprising is the number of Latino votes he got.

    Is it possible that Latino’s are just as worried about the influx of illegals as the rest of the population? The impact of a criminal element (gangs associated with the drug trade) will affect them also, possibly more than the average citizen.

    As to the rapist charge, here’s anecdotal evidence that there is that element. What would the percentage of real sexual predators crossing the border have to be before it was worth doing something about?

    “While the remarks are certainly blunt, they’re not inherently wrong. Border Patrol seized just under $3.5M worth of marijuana from Mexican nationals in Arizona this past Thursday alone.  There’s also  been 40 cases of sex abuse by illegal aliens this year, and that’s just from what Border Patrol has posted as media releases on their website. A staggering amount of those cases involve children and minors.”

  54. Bill Says:

    “I tried in vain to find out where he was speaking when he made that comment, whether the audience was predominately white or Latino. He certainly could have said it better.”

    It was at his announcement of his candidacy, down the escalator at Trump Tower. I’m going to go out on a limb and say the audience was mostly white.

    “What would the percentage of real sexual predators crossing the border have to be before it was worth doing something about?”

    I read the article. Well, on the one hand one is too many. No one (I’m pretty sure this is a correct statement) is for allowing criminals across our border and even people more lenient on immigration agree we need to vet people coming over and stem the tide of illegals and particularly ones with criminal intent.

    But the “40 sex offenders” statistic doesn’t help much. I’m willing to bet that in any given population of large enough size there are 40 sex offenders. Heck, there’s at least 1 accused sexual predator in Trump Tower, right?

    40 out of how many? Is it a significant enough number of illegal immigrants from Mexico to paint with such a broad brush or not?

    Again, a lot of times we can push this aside as “we know what he meant”. It’s easy, because as white guys we aren’t threatened or insulted by this kind of language. It’s about “the other”. People who are hispanic hear it a bit differently.

    It’s very effective propaganda, is what it is. It works.

    I was responding to Cornhead’s assertion that there’s 0 evidence Trump is a racist. It’s in the eye of the beholder isn’t it? His comments about the judge who’s parents came from Mexico were – in the speaker of the house’s view, the very definition of racism. Of course, said speaker, like pretty much all republicans, still supported him, because power.

  55. geokstr Says:

    OM Says:
    “Except that in WI Scot Walker is the governor, the state legislature is Republican, and the program was shut down and exposed. So talk about Flight 93 but the people were on to them and the progressive prosecutions have been shut down. The progressive tyrants “mean well.” It would seem your solutions are to enable other tyrants to get even.

    Except it was only because one man, Eric O’Keefe of the Wisconsin Club for Growth, had the cojones to defy a judge’s gag order and bring this case to light. If he had not, this witch hunt might still be going on, and some 40 conservative organizations, including some big national ones, were under subpoena to open their records to the left.

    I’m not even certain the case has been “shut down”. John Chisolm, the Milwaukee DA, just lost his appeal last month to overturn the WI Supremes, so “officially” it may be closed but… Like all the rabid leftists, Chisolm is fuming about losing, and will never really stop until he wins and discredits Walker.

    Remember Tom Delay, run out of office by Ronnie Earl, who grand jury shopped 8 times for crimes that didn’t exist? How about the DOJ attorneys withholding evidence in the Ted Stephens case, announced just before the election, forcing him to drop out? The loss of his seat gave the Marxists their 60th vote for ObamaCare.

    The left is engaged in these types of persecutions everywhere, the judicial system, the bureaucracies, the schools, the IRS, social media, the “news” media, ad nauseum.

    Where is the investigation into the illegal political activities and coordination with the candidates for radical leftist orgs like lunatic David Brock’s Media Matters, the Center for American Progress, run by corruptocrat John Podesta? We even have emails now proving it too.

    This was a difficult election for me because, after observing the thoroughness and efficiency of the Gramscian march for 5 decades, I share the rage of the Trump base. If I didn’t have honor or principles, I’d be willing to do whatever it takes to crush the Collectivists.

  56. Big Maq Says:

    “Although it’s not something that can be measured” – Cornh

    You could have stopped right there.

    And that is the point, really. There is perhaps not a vast organization per se, but a small group of agitators and various other bandwagon voices that amplify this all to have an out sized effect.

    Regardless of size, it is the impact that is important.

    The SJWs of the world know this and have been able to leverage their impact beyond their size.

    With what seems like will be sympathetic voices in the WH, it is something to definitely be concerned about.

    Depending on their influence, this crap can get “normalized”, as in times past…

  57. neo-neocon Says:

    Bill and Brian E:

    At the time of Trump’s remark I did the research you are seeking.

    See this.

  58. OM Says:


    “The left is engaged in these types of persecutions everywhere, the judicial system, the bureaucracies, the schools, the IRS, social media, the “news” media, ad nauseum.”

    Look up the word “everywhere” and dial it back a little bit. In spite of the left’s persistence and malevolence they aren’t everywhere and didn’t win the most recent election. They can be fought and defeated. Walker and the republicans in WI have shown that, and not just with the John Doe “legal” process used by the progressives,

  59. Brian E Says:

    “40 out of how many? Is it a significant enough number of illegal immigrants from Mexico to paint with such a broad brush or not? ”

    That was 40 cases between Jan.1 and July 3 of this year. How many adult males have illegally crossed the border during that time in that area of the country? Don’t know.

    But this is really beside the point. 27% of federal prisoners are illegal aliens, and if the total number of illegals is 11 million, that represents 3% of the population and makes up 27% of the federal prison population, it certainly does reinforce the notion that Mexico isn’t sending their best.

    I believe we need migrant labor in this country for seasonal agricultural jobs. This summer I’ve seen more buses of migrants at the local Walmart than ever before, which would indicate we are properly bringing in migrant labor with temporary visas. 20 years ago that was common. So something has happened. Possibly Obama’s policies of deportation have made a difference.

    In which case Trump will have little trouble rounding up the worst and deporting them. He could start with the federal prisons.

    As to the rest, I would end birthright citizenship and then give illegals that can show they are permanently employed a new yellow card status. (Yellow card, since all Latin Americans understand what a yellow card is). They would be permanent aliens with no path to citizenship or voting. Their children would have the same status.

    They could at any time return to their home country and apply for a regular immigrant visa.

    We might even over time offer a diversity lottery for this subset of immigrants, a drawing of say 25,000 a year that would change their immigrant status.

    Children that finished high school and community college, or entered the services could have their immigrant status changed upon completion.

    Whatever portion of Latino population that had their immigration status changed would reduce the number of immigrants from other countries for that year.

    I’m think that would be very fair and compassionate.

  60. Ymarsakar Says:

    these alt-Right or White Suprematists or Racists were another Leftist bogeyman, marginal by character and miniscule by numbers, with negligible political clout and of no importance.

    Many people thought Leftist revolutionaries like Alinsky were just clowns.

    It’s the same kind of arrogance or naivety. Grassroots organizations are particularly underestimated as the rabble, until it becomes to olate.

  61. Bill Says:

    Brian E. Thanks for the thoughtful response. I think your ideas have a lot of merit. Would want to think through them but I’m sure I could learn a lot.

    I prefer pragmatic ideas and shared consensus to the knee jerk xenophobia I hear too often. I like to think people want to solve our immigration issues rather than just using them as a political club to pummel the opponent.

  62. Sergey Says:

    The nature of such thought crime as racism makes it impossible to prove innocence because mind reading is not possible and humans always can think one thing and tell another. That is why for me the only admissible evidence of racism is confession of the accused. Everything other is just an innuendo and must be dismissed out of hand.

  63. Sergey Says:

    99% of grassroots organizations are indeed the rubble, small sects of mentally inadequate people like Jim John’s “People’s Temple”. They are mostly dangerous only to their own members. As a rule, rubble does not make trouble. There are exceptions, but they are rare.

  64. Sergey Says:

    It is hard to understand what exactly bigotry is. Traditionally it was used in context of class inequality in British society as synonym of arrogance and neglect with which higher classes treat lesser ones, as synonym of snobbery. But in USA, nominally classless society, it mostly used to mean racism and than began an expansion of its meaning to all relations between different identity classes: men and women, colored and whites, native-born Americans and subsequent waves of immigrants – Irish, Polish, Jewish, etc. New words describing new kinds of bigotry were invented: sexism, abelism, ageism, as if there was some competition among liberals to discover and name more and more forms of bigotry. The underlying philosophy of all this is, of course, a misguided quest for universal equality, as if such thing is possible. No culture in this worldview can be compared with any other in respect of its relative value and level of advancement, no value judgement of cultures as separate entities can be made. For me, it seems positively insane. We all knew and were taught in school that there are 3 stages of cultural development: savagery, barbarity and civilization, with many gradations within each category. A large part of cultural anthropology and ethnography, history and politology is the study of these differences and their evaluation in terms of advance or retardation. The very notion of progress implies a transition from more primitive to more advanced forms in every field: biology, sociology, culturology, etc. If you can not evaluate relative evolutionary progress, you can not even discuss evolution. May be, it is time to retire all these -isms and -ist and accept that nobody is equal to anybody else, there are always champions and losers in the grand struggle for existence, and relegate the notion of bigotry to its proper historical context of Victorian England or colonial America.

  65. neo-neocon Says:


    In the US, the quest was originally (and still should be) for equality of opportunity.

    What happened was, when that was achieved in terms of the law (de jure), it was discovered that it didn’t create actual equality (de facto), which is of course an impossibility. The fact that there were still differences in terms of life situations, and that some of them seemed to be racial or sexual in terms of the average status of the various groups, was defined as still reflecting some sort of systemic inequality that needed addressing. That gave us our present system, which really isn’t working to assure absolute equality because it isn’t possible.

  66. Brian E Says:

    “It’s the same kind of arrogance or naivety. Grassroots organizations are particularly underestimated as the rabble, until it becomes to late.” -Y

    99% of grassroots organizations are indeed the rubble, small sects of mentally inadequate people like Jim Jone’s “People’s Temple”. They are mostly dangerous only to their own members. As a rule, rubble does not make trouble. There are exceptions, but they are rare. – Sergey

    Ymarsakar understand this.

    It would be a yuge mistake to underestimate this movement. These are extremely intelligent people that are moving the debate to their terms.

    What has traditional conservatives done to push back against the virulent feminism/SJW’s that are infecting the universities and spreading to society at large?

    The alt-R have at least identified the danger and have a strategy to deal with them.

    What have traditional conservatives done to control the border?

    What have traditional conservatives done to promote “equality of opportunity” when huge swaths of the country are being decimated by lost jobs and DC politics that do little more than insult them.

    I was on another blog arguing about something and was told “Nationalism is the new Conservatism”. Given what conservatism has done for many Americans (and the conservatism of Bill and Big Maq that defines the goals to do little or nothing) it’s pretty obvious the new conservatism is going to cross traditional ideologies.

  67. neo-neocon Says:

    Brian E., Ymarsakar:


    They are considered jokes and/or irrelevancies until they are not jokes anymore. It is important to take them seriously at the outset.

  68. Big Maq Says:

    “Given what conservatism has done for many Americans (and the conservatism of Bill and Big Maq that defines the goals to do little or nothing) it’s pretty obvious the new conservatism is going to cross traditional ideologies.” – Brian

    Huh? I think you conflate “conservatism” with the GOP, based on what you are laying blame for.

    The GOP have been ineffective in some ways, and screwed up in other ways (we can debate if the root cause is “conservative” policies, or really something else), but with a majority of Governors and State Legislatures, the House, Senate, and WH, seems to me that significant inroads have been made.

    I’m sure Neo can point you to several of her articles blowing up the myth that the GOP did nothing, at least wrt what was doable in the past eight years to hold back obama.

    Under trump there may well be a significant change in what the GOP represents, much of it may well be little different than what the dems have been implementing, traditionally.

    You can try to call that “new conservatism”. There are plenty who would love to rebrand it that way.

    Saying Bill or I or anyone else who want to hold to conservative policies is equivalent to “doing little or nothing” is patently false!

    To think I actually thought you and Bill were having a meaningful conversation going in a few spots around here?!!

    If that is what you take out of it all, that is seriously messed up.

  69. Brian E Says:

    “Saying Bill or I or anyone else who want to hold to conservative policies is equivalent to “doing little or nothing” is patently false!
    To think I actually thought you and Bill were having a meaningful conversation going in a few spots around here?!!
    If that is what you take out of it all, that is seriously messed up.” -Big Maq

    Big Maq, I tried to engage folks here on policies that Trump laid out during the campaign, and got no takers. This is what Bill has said:

    “I’m for limited government. I’m not an anarchist.
    But I’m not talking about government programs like Apollo. I’m talking about government artificially jacking with prices with targeted tax breaks, subsidies, tariffs, trade barriers, etc. Picking winners and losers. Usually there are unintended consequences.
    I’d like that kept to a minimum. I’m a small government/limited powers conservative.” -Bill

    I, and others have tried to lay out issues, such as energy policy that could have implications both for a strong economy and foreign policy– containing the Saudi export of extremist Islam and Russian ascendancy. You don’t think that’s appropriate policy. I would suggest that the winners would be America and the losers would be foreign despots like Saudi Arabia and Russia.

    Let me ask you this. What was the last president that you admired and felt was consistent with your vision of conservatism?

    Are there any policies that Trump laid out in his contract with the American voter that you agree with?

    And no, I don’t think what is happening is the new conservatism. But traditional conservatism, listing all the things you think government shouldn’t do, isn’t working, other than being against the overreach of the leftist agenda. While I think that is a large part why Republicans have made such tremendous gains at the state and local level, I don’t know what portion of that is a reaction to the left’s reordering of society, and what portion is leftist boondoggle programs like renewable energy, where the only thing people see from it is higher energy prices.

  70. Big Maq Says:

    @Brian – I will say it again.

    Everyone can come up with “good” (in their definition) reasons to increase governments role in our society (global warming anyone?).

    You have a whole set of such policies you’d like to see implemented, one of which is your energy “policy”.

    While advocating removing some significant regulatory barriers, you are, also, basically replacing it with price supports / trade barriers on oil, and who knows what else to “strengthen” the industry.

    No doubt, you advocate more restrictions on trade, along with subsidies and other incentives to “strengthen” other industries, notably manufacturing, also in the name of another “good” – “jobs”.

    Our problem is not that we just don’t have the right people in government, nor that we just don’t have the right industrial policies, that they should be “our guys” with “our policies” – No. It is that government is way too big.

    Policies like these merely switch who the cronies will be that benefit. Worse, some never disappear, and permanently add to the power of those in DC to bestow privileges.

    All that accumulated power attracts all the wrong kinds of people for the wrong kinds of reasons.

    IOW, it is just the right’s continuation of, and contribution to, that same G-March folks decry.

    Has there been this politically ideal POTUS? No.

    Reagan comes to mind as one of the closest in living memory, and he still fell short.

    Just because individual GOP Presidents have not totally and completely represented the conservative ideal, doesn’t mean we need to adopt leftist policies.

    Begin reading from this comment on down on what is more in line with the direction we need to head:

    A HUGE part of what has made America Great, and Prosperous has been the relatively lower footprint our government has had on our economy and society.

    The more we think we need to tinker with the marketplace and other affairs, in the name of any “good”, the smart people, who think all these ideas up, never do have the foresight to understand the impact of the unintended consequences, or if they do, they either ignore it or explain it away as a “small price to pay” relative to that “good” (assuming it would even achieve that “good” they are basing their argument on).

    “You can keep your doctor and your medical insurance will decrease by $2500” …
    “You can still afford to heat your home after our Energy policy, and there will be jobs aplenty in (energy dependent) manufacturing”.

    The cumulative effect of all those “great ideas” on America is a death by 1000 paper cuts.

    As I’ve argued, trade restrictions and price supports for oil are folly, as they hurt us and won’t even put a lasting dent on the ME.

    Energy independence is achieved by having reserves and the ability to extract and produce in times of need, not using up our reserves to feel good that we are supplying our own economic demand in peacetime.

    Strategically foolish all of this.

  71. Brian E Says:

    Big Maq,

    Leaving aside the benefit of a stable energy industry in this country, part of the role of the government is to protect us from our enemies.

    Why shouldn’t that include enemies that target our jobs? Without jobs there is no economy. That’s why we impose punitive tariffs on countries that violate anti-dumping laws. Nothing socialist, or leftist, or even authoritarian about that.

    I think the fundamental mistake you make is the false equivalency as to the motives or benefits of the government intervention in markets.

    I want to intervene in the energy markets to support a healthy, stable domestic energy industry. The left wants to destroy the fossil fuel industry. So intervention is going to have different results.

    Apparently you have no problem with price supports in food commodities, but that is really no different. Do you want a relatively cheap, steady supply of food? Notice that price supports do that. How can maintaining a higher than market price for commodities actually provide for a relative cheap price? It avoids the wild swings in the market, where shortages drive the prices above what consumers can afford and overproduction gluts the market and drives producers out of business.

    You’re ideal of the invisible hand is a great theory, but leads to market swings that are devastating.

    Whether or not tariffs are viable, or price supports, or possibly the effect of tearing up the Iran nuclear deal and re-imposing sanctions which may have the effect of lowering world oil production, we benefit from stable industries.

    Obviously the benefits would have to be weighed against the risks.

  72. Big Maq Says:

    Brian, your own argument starts with “stable energy industry”.

    Stable by what definition?

    Is it a definition that would disallow the left from making the same argument wrt their favored industries?

    “Apparently you have no problem with price supports in food commodities”

    I do have problems with that.

    And, furthermore, the majority of benefit of government support accrues to the larger players. No accident that the biggest proponents for that are from states that the biggest producers of agricultural product.

    Big players the biggest beneficiaries of big government intervention, costs borne by everyone else.

    “market swings that are devastating”

    Ah then. Should we have price supports for coal, gold, lumber, gravel? How might you think they deal with “devastating price fluctuations”? How do industries dependent on these inputs deal with it?

    Why stop there? Cost for construction workers swing rather signficantly. Should we peg their wages to a specific rate? What about minimum “living” wage for everyone – aren’t they important enough to give a “stable income” to?

    Why price supports and trade barriers? Wouldn’t it be so much more efficient to give the oil industry direct subsidies for domestically produced oil and not hit the broader public and manufacturing with higher oil prices?

    How much would that be of the government budget? Afraid it would then become too visible just how much it costs to support the one industry, and the political flack that would create? Is there ever really a time when those programs can be retired, or are they effectively in place “forever”?

    When the dems get in, what stops them from doing the same for solar energy (to name but one example) on the same / similar grounds?

    In fact, what’s stopping them from eliminating the need for oil altogether and mandating we use renewable resources exclusively by, say 2020, all entirely based on the very same argument?

    No doubt there’d be plenty of jobs in those industries created, and it would eliminate one huge source of income from the ME.

    Do you not see how what you argue, and variants of the same, gets used for justifying all kinds of government action?

    It is not just that there are some smart people we can put into a room to make benefits vs the risks analysis for all the rest of us. It is that they just cannot have all the knowledge and expertise to make such claims.

    The dems had such smart people figuring out how the medical insurance industry ought to work. They evidently weighed the benefits vs the risks and came out with the ACA.

    If we presume that some smart people in a room can do such things and come up with the “correct” policy, we are doomed to failure.

    WORSE, we provide the arguments and tools that aid and abet the left’s G-March.

  73. Ymarsakar Says:

    Again, people are wasting time arguing government policies when they aren’t even in the government or advising anyone that is.

    The reason the ALt Right has influence is because they do what the youth do well naturally. Play games. Brag on social media. Create self help groups. Make money and memes and youtube videos. They don’t need to argue policies. First they get power, then they argue policies and then find who to implement them, whether that’s getting rid of 66% of people in government or not.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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