January 3rd, 2017

The party and the parties

I was at a holiday party recently. A small one that was really a dinner party, with all the guests (about twelve) gathered around a dining room table.

It was a pleasant and convivial evening. Would have been, anyway, had I been one of the crowd, one of the gang. And if it had been twenty years ago it probably would have been that way for me.

Maybe. I’m not sure I was ever one of the gang.

But what happened the other night was that every now and then, like a reflexive and habitual tic, someone either made a remark bashing Trump and/or Trump voters, or one bashing the US.

These were just throwaway remarks. We weren’t having any serious political discussions. We were talking about travels, or the aging process, or telling jokes and stories, or praising the food. But somehow it seemed obligatory to most of the people there (not all, by the way) to throw in the odd anti-Trump or anti-US remark now and then just to let everyone know what side we’re all on.

At least, what side they thought we all were on.

Nor were these people particularly political. They were definitely all highly educated and accomplished in their fields. The hostess is a good friend of mine, and I knew three other people there mildly, but the rest I was either meeting for the first time or speaking to for the first time.

Although I was enjoying other aspects of the party and didn’t want to leave, I became more and more uncomfortable and very weary. The exhaustion came from three things: the feeling of estrangement I felt, the realization of the overwhelming difficulty of ever trying to challenge their worldview and get them to actually listen to what I might have to say rather than merely reject what I had to say, and the awareness that it would be impolite of me to even try in that particular venue. These were mostly strangers to me (and I doubt I’ll ever see most of them again), I was a guest in my friend’s home, and it was a holiday party and I would be disrupting it.

I’ve been in that position before, and I’ve learned to choose my battles. This wasn’t the time or place. Once during the evening, though, I got up from the table and went into the bathroom to cool down for a few minutes when one woman had made a remark about how helpful Russia had been to Cuba and how mean we had been, and I found myself starting to make remarks like, “Oh, they were helpful, all right” with rising ire.

Later, I realized what I should have done instead. I should have asked how they knew there were no Trump voters in the room. And I should have described to them how, in similar groups, people have sometimes come to me afterwards to reveal they are in the closet about being on the right or being Republicans, because they are afraid to speak politics in groups where they are being repeatedly trashed.

I doubt it would have done much good, but it would have been a way to bring up the issue without causing a fight. Maybe.

Afterwards, I described the party goings-on to a friend of mine on the right, and he said, “Ignore it, they lost; they’re irrelevant.” But losses can be very temporary, and these people are still so numerous and vocal everywhere that I don’t find them the least bit irrelevant. I think it’s an error to think they’ve lost, either, because their ideas are still being very much perpetuated.

Remember that Gramscian march? Don’t think for a moment that it’s lost its force. In fact, it’s gained new impetus. Many of the more politically active people I know on the left are flush with the vigor of protest, feeling themselves to be standing up to extremely evil and almost-Hitlerian powers. They may be depressed, but they are energized as well.

120 Responses to “The party and the parties”

  1. Kyndyll G Says:

    Ten or 15 years ago, I was still naïve enough to believe that results (positive or negative) would change minds. As in: “Say, things are going better by tangible measures in 2 years, with none of the things they fear becoming reality, maybe they’ll be less motivated to consider Trump evil or pursue all of the ideas that, after years/decades, never worked.”

    OK, stop laughing.

    I no longer believe that facts sway emotions. I didn’t really believe it even back then, but the logical part of me refused to give up until recent times. Are we humans really that hopeless? A huge chunk of us are really ready to believe things as obviously wrong as saying, and sometimes seemingly believing, that 2+2=1 if that’s what it takes to be accepted, to be a part of the “cool kids,” or to not have to change their emotionally based opinion on something. I am not perfect, but on many occasions, I have geared up to debate a topic, did some research, and found that my point was weaker than I had expected – and held off on fighting a point I no longer had sufficient cause to believe in.

    Frankly, my experience with my oft-mentioned far lefty-left friends and Obamacare, and their complete inability to grasp that the Democrat victim groups have inherently incompatible interests, has pretty much closed the door on any remaining belief that people will accept truth if it goes against what they want to believe.

    The thing that’s even more worrisome than the refusal to accept fact is to be more willing to believe fiction, in the form of the modern trend toward faking liberal horror fantasies. Fake stories and staged videos spread unchecked and unquestioned through the social media universe, and they never seem to be fully abandoned once found out, as always, to be greatly exaggerated or entirely made up.

  2. Irv Says:

    A liberal education used to get people over such bad habits as not questioning conventional wisdom. How sad we lost that when liberals took over the education system. It’s not too late but it will take a long time and a lot of effort to regain that.

  3. JTW Says:

    “A liberal education used to get people over such bad habits as not questioning conventional wisdom.”

    Liberal thought now IS conventional “wisdom”, and liberals have gone a long way to ensure people never challenge it.
    “There is a consensus of 97%” comes to mind… Which, whether what the consensus is about is true or not, is utterly irrelevant in science. A consensus doesn’t make truth, it only makes orthodoxy.

  4. Ralph Kinney Bennett Says:

    Thank you for this post, Neo. I have had so many similar experiences and it is very dispiriting. Your last paragraph is particularly poignant to my worst fear. All this “Hitler” talk that has been floated so insouciantly by the Left has made all the SWJs feel somehow morally armed and capable of… well, who’s knows what they will feel is “permitted” and indeed “justified” in opposition to the “not my” President.

  5. parker Says:

    Change is probably impossible for the people described. Even acknowledging there might be some beneficial aspects to conservatism would begin to crumble their self image as being the people of compassion, morality, and yes, science. They actually believe they are on “the right side of history”, whatever that is supposed to be. There are few things more silly than believing history leads to a progressive conclusion.

    We all like to believe our POV is based on experience and a rational understanding of human nature and the real, documented, facts of human history. For the left, human nature and history must be explained away or simply denied.

  6. parker Says:

    BTW, if ‘liberals’ truly believed Trump was Hitlerian, they would not be throwing this current hissy fit; they would instead be busy applying for residency in Canada or the utopian EU.

  7. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    Group think is a defining characteristic of human sheep.

    The indoctrinated self-reinforce with frequent reaffirmations of approved dogma. And can little tolerate challenges to basic dogma.

    No humanity isn’t hopeless. It consists of levels of maturity, insight and understanding. From the monstrous to the saintlike, humanity resides at various levels. I suspect overall, humanity is in its juvenile phase of development.

  8. T Says:

    “They were definitely all highly educated and accomplished in their fields.” [Neo]

    Thus the distinction between being knowledgeable (data aware) and wise.

    They may have been educated, they may even be competent in their work in their respective fields, but they seem not able to transfer such knowledge or skill to other venues. I mean that not because they disagree, but because they compartmentalize their awareness and can not/will not use it in other venues. It’s a living Gell-Mann effect and coupled with the inability to admit that one is wrong (see Parker above @ 2:59: “They actually believe they are on “the right side of history” . . .).

    http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/65213-briefly-stated-the-gell-mann-amnesia-effect-is-as-follows-you

  9. Vanderleun Says:

    “They may be depressed, but they are energized as well.”

    Well,we’ll fix that.

    “Of course we should always despise the liberal-left because their philosophy is morally bankrupt, dangerous and wrong. But I sometimes think that the people we should despise most of all are the squishes who pretend to be on our side of the argument but forever betray our cause. Sometimes they do this by throwing the more outspoken among us to the wolves in order to signal how tolerant and virtuous they are; sometimes they do this by endorsing some fatuous liberal position in order to show their willingness to compromise.

    I call the latter approach the “dogshit yogurt fallacy.”

    If conservatives like fruit or honey in their yogurt and liberals prefer to eat it with dogshit, it is NOT a sensible accommodation – much as our centrist conservative columnists might wish it so – to say: “All right. How about we eat our yogurt with a little bit of both?” We need to understand, very clearly, that there are such things as right and wrong; and that, furthermore, it is always worth fighting to the bitter end for the right thing rather than accepting second best because a bunch of lawyers and politicians and hairdressers from Brazil and squishy newspaper columnists and other members of the liberal elite have told us that second best is the best we can hope for.”

    A good article today by Delingpole at

    http://www.breitbart.com/london/2017/01/01/2016-just-start-going-win-2017/

  10. DNW Says:

    ” … somehow it seemed obligatory to most of the people there (not all, by the way) to throw in the odd anti-Trump or anti-US remark now and then just to let everyone know what side we’re all on.”

    ‘Yeah, but Castro did so much good teaching everyone to read … and driving the middle class wannabe criollos out was surely a good thing too.’

    You actually experienced physical discomfort. Probably not merely over their impertinent presumption and insufferable smugness and entitlement, but also through envisioning what their values once realized, amount to in terms of real life prospects … in cash the negligible value for the freedom valuing.

    Jon Haidt probably has a term for that group reinforcing process … though I have lost some interest in his formulations recently.

    On that topic: He seems reluctant to focus on the very real cost differentials to individuals – life energies bled away, freedom and options lost, satisfactions forgone or lost, personal interests or gains subverted – involved in the “we need each other” compromises he suggests as best for the benefit/harm and altrusim calculating crew of ‘progressives’, and six-way moral foundation calculations of conservatives if they are to live together, as it seems he believes they must … or should.

    [The “liberty value” is always problematical here, since progressives wish to seize on it for their own; but must then redefine it very narrowly as libertinism, or redefine it completely as “positive liberty”, i.e. socially funded enabling, in order not to appear completely ridiculous when claiming “liberty” as part of their own moral foundation.)

    He has those real insights concerning “moral tastes”, and he recognizes biological implications for certain life-way choices or preferences, but doesn’t seem to want to take this line of reasoning to its logical conclusions.

    So, it seems, he defaults to a kind of vague practical utilitarianism despite himself; and despite the fact that his “moral preferences” on a reasonable interpretation, are indicative of, or manifestations of, biologically rooted life and reproductive strategies.

    Haidt has let drop notice that he’s a big fan of “positive liberty”. But positive liberty – to some significant extent – is merely a name for the need of some to have from others for their self-realization or comfort, what the others neither need of nor want from them.

    I am consistently disappointed that Haidt is either blind to this matter (which I think is unlikely), or dares not address it openly for fear that it has no pleasing solution.

    His aim, clearly, is to globally reinforce moral community among rather incompatible operational foundations – which when lived out, lead to very real and antithetical life-way choices and personal satisfactions; rather than to accept the inevitability of some level of moral Balkanization or exclusion.

    Haidt’s best socio-therapeutic practice I would guess, is to simply ignore the hard and possibly biologically rooted (brain) problem, and hope that understanding will make everyone play nice.

    The problem is, what tastes great and like groovy vanguard class directed government love cookery at its best to one, tastes like an expensive and totally useless shit-sandwich to another.

  11. DNW Says:

    “I call the latter approach the “dogshit yogurt fallacy.”

    Hey!!! LOL

    Not exactly the same point … but near enough.

    Had an old buddy who used to ask what you got when you added a dog turd to a scoop of ice cream.

    Different point, different engineering context, different words even … but the metaphor seems or be ideationally persistent.

  12. DirtyJobsGuy Says:

    Remember this is all social virtue signaling. Without pronouncing this in public, one accrues no elite virtue.

    I was with a lot of my wife’s family over the holidays and all are more or less mild to strong liberal. Most conversation was entirely normal, but my wife and I did note that we were not upto speed on some topics. I realized that they must have been on NPR, which we don’t listen to. The topics weren’t political but it was assumed you knew of them via NPR. I no longer listen to much talk radio (mostly not Rush) due to their lack of defense of conservative principles, but am generally aware of political issues of the day.

    NPR provides a daily, subtle message of what is the right way to approach any issue and stay in step with the social elite. Don’t confuse this with Progressive issues as you could substitute any ideology so long as it occupied the elite status. So our family members can listen to NPR for cooking, travel or comedy shows as well as news and absorb what is required to be in the elite.

    That’s why arguments on facts are worthless since the status of the issue, not the value or result is important. If you can displace the status marker with one from the opposite side of the issue it would work as well.

  13. DNW Says:

    I’ll try and relate the “values” thing differently.

    After days of debate over ObamaCare, I finally got a self-proclaimed liberal to begin addressing the moral assumptions behind the ideological change that was implicitly being proposed in our system of law and both in the relation of citizen to state and conceived of as moral agent.

    He refused however, to directly describe the grounds upon which he laid these claims against his fellow man at the cost of their historical freedoms.

    Instead he took another tack: “How dare you set limits to my altruism!” he said.

    For him, that was the only issue. The psychological satisfaction … perhaps a matter of physiological tuning – he derived from having these impositions and regimes of transfer put in place.

    Comfort for him, and for those with whom he identified; to the cost of those with whom he did not identify, and who from his perspective, enjoyed “unearned” health.

    He “felt” good knowing you were harnessed and yoked. It tasted morally good! What else matters?

  14. DNW Says:

    ” Most conversation was entirely normal, but my wife and I did note that we were not upto speed on some topics. I realized that they must have been on NPR, which we don’t listen to.”

    Then, I take it that you do not speak in those measured, knowing, and quizzically inflected cadences outlined in the “How to Talk NPR” handbook.

    Care to comment?

    hehehe

  15. Juli Says:

    I’ve found this in many circles. Value signalling, as others call it, because of course, we’re all reasonable, intelligent, caring, good thinking, (Christian) people. How could anyone think differently?

    Like you, I tend to keep my mouth shut, but it doesn’t always work. But it’s downright insulting when you think of it.

    I’ve actually had liberals get upset/concerned when they find out I’m conservative. “You’re so smart – how could you think xxx / like xxx?” I think it was Ted Cruz related. That was the exact wording from a liberal older Texan (consultant) I worked with at a client. My reply (made easier after having a couple of drinks) was that it was BECAUSE I am so DAMN smart that I had that opinion. Poor guy was shocked, I tell ya.

    Being a well-dressed, educated, Chicago area Catholic professional allows people to make assumptions about me. Much the same as people do about you as well!

  16. Bob Kantor Says:

    “A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep.”
    Saul Bellow

    “The facts of life do not penetrate to the sphere in which our beliefs are cherished; as it was not they that engendered these beliefs, so are they powerless to destroy them.”
    Marcel Proust

  17. Uncle Bill Says:

    “Thus the distinction between being knowledgeable (data aware) and wise.”

    A twelve-year-old girl gave me the best example of this. “Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad.”

    Unfortunately, too many liberals have some knowledge, but little wisdom.

  18. Ira Says:

    Guys and gals, I need some help with a word.

    In an article at
    http://www.miamiherald.com/opinion/op-ed/article123708934.html

    the author takes umbrage at being called a “libtard” because it, being a conflation of “liberal” with “retard,” is “horribly offensive to people with intellectual disabilities.”

    The author does allow that,
    “If you want to insult me, have at it, by all means. You can call me a libturd, a lib-coward dirtbag clown diaper, stupid, lazy, lazy and stupid, a liberal idiot, a joke, a puke, a liberal puke, a stupid and lazy liberal puke, a loser, a mess of a human being, a waste of space, a sweaty liberal piece of clown poo. I don’t care.”

    Just don’t call him a “libtard.”

    However, for at least a generation conservatives have been dealing with the frustration of attempting to have good faith discussions with liberals (progressives or whatever they choose to call themselves besides “statists”) who are obviously not intellectually disabled (i.e., they are not stupid in the IQ sense), but who act intellectually lazy, or pretend to be ignorant or stupid, when it fits their purpose. That is, such liberals choose to act is if they are at best precocious 11 year olds in adult bodies in order to persist in fallacious arguments (such as, “we have to vote for it to see what’s in it”).

    So, knowing that it helps to have a one or two word term to describe something in order to pithily make a point, what word, besides “libtard” would you suggest to describe such liberals?.

  19. parker Says:

    Ira,

    For the more around the bend leftists I think moonbat works well.

  20. M J R Says:

    I very much sympathize with you, neo, and with Juli at 4:42 pm, and with others in the situation.

    I, too, have found myself in the position of desperately wanting to put forth a very sorely needed point — thereby peeing in the common lemonade bowl, thereby spoiling the comfortable and comforting camaraderie of thinking (or at least signalling) all the approved thoughts. But to what avail??

    Been there done that bought the tee shirt.

    Phooey.

    Great comments, everyone. Best wishes for the New Year.

  21. neo-neocon Says:

    Ira:

    The traditional term is “useful idiots,” coined by leftists themselves, so perhaps it’s politically correct enough despite the fact that it uses another verboten word (“idiots”).

  22. neo-neocon Says:

    M J R:

    From John Updike, describing his own behavior at parties among the literary intelligentsia during the Vietnam era:

    I would rather live under Diem (or Ky, or Thieu) than under Ho Chi Minh and his enforcers, and assumed that most South Vietnamese would. Those who would not, let them move North. But the foot traffic, one could not help noticing in these Communist/non-Communist partitions, was South, or West, away from Communism. Why was that? And so on.

    I wanted to keep quiet, but could not. Something about it all made me very sore. I spoke up, blushing and hating my disruption of a post-liberal socioeconomic-cultural harmony I was pleased to be a part of.

  23. Nick Says:

    Do we really need to improve our insults? If a conversation involves a choice between calling someone a libtard or a moonbat, it’s not going anywhere. Remember: insults leave people more fixed in their beliefs.

  24. neo-neocon Says:

    Juli:

    I’ve had people say that same thing to me: “You’re so intelligent, I can’t believe you’re…[conservative, Republican, on the right, what-have-you].

  25. DNW Says:

    “So, knowing that it helps to have a one or two word term to describe something in order to pithily make a point, what word, besides “libtard” would you suggest to describe such liberals?.”

    Don’t use it myself, but the term is undoubtedly one of the few which hits the organisms of the left exactly where where it hurts them most: by scoring both their intellectual pretensions, and their emotional pieties and social commitments.

    Kick them, and their dog at the same time. Wounding.

    He says this language is devaluing? It certainly is. That is where it derives its power: by sneering at the power-pose of the progressive, and at his implied claims of values immunity and privilege … when most of them are raving relativists in the first place.

    Now, the author might very well be sincere and not attempting to shield himself behind piteous figures, for all I know. That is not the point.

    But … having seen your writing before, I would recommend that you merely do what I do only infrequently, but you’ve done regularly and well.

    Contradict directly. Write tersely, factually, bluntly and machine-like, when engaging them. The more emotional they get, the less you get. Pointing to undeniable and demonstrable self-contradictions and incoherence is ok in moderation.

    Floating lists of informal “fallacies” in order to try and establish intellectual bona fides, … blah blah blah ‘no true scotsman’ blah blah, is not.

    But you never do that crap anyway.

    Never, ever, ever, stretch a point, or say something you cannot substantiate off the top of your head and with a sound, neutrally sourced, cite.

    Small amounts of strong and obvious and contextually called for irony are briefly allowed. But nothing like what the average liberal with his catty wheedling mind is always striving to produce.

    You, Ira, don’t need to call them pithy names.

    Your whole approach is affront enough to the average progressive sensibility and mindset.

  26. Nick Says:

    Juli – I get it from the other direction: “Funny, you don’t seem hateful”.

  27. neo-neocon Says:

    By the way, I completely agree that there’s never a need to use a word such as “libtard.” I don’t think I’ve ever felt as though there’s any reason to write or talk that way.

    “Useful idiot” (a word I rarely use, but have used on occasion) is somewhat different, because it has a whole history and meaning due to that history, which has to do with the Soviets. But still, I have no reason to use it, except every now and then in an essay in order to illustrate something.

    Calling people names does no good whatsoever.

  28. Nick Says:

    DNW – I disagree with pretty much all of that. Don’t confront or insult. They’re expecting a tailwind, but they can handle a headwind. Instead, send them one gust 30 degrees off their expectation.

  29. neo-neocon Says:

    DNW:

    About the guy who said, ““How dare you set limits to my altruism!”

    I’m wondering whether he thought there should be any limits to power at all? Did he think liberty had any value? Did he think the Constitution constitutes a limiting factor on his altruism?

    Because it seems to me that no one was setting any limits on HIS altruism. He is free to give every penny he has to charity, and to spend every waking hour serving the poor and downtrodden.

    What he is not free to do is to consider it HIS altruism to force others to be altruistic in the way he wishes them, just because he feels like it, and in particular in ways that violate the Constitution under which this country was formed.

  30. DNW Says:

    ” Nick Says:
    January 3rd, 2017 at 6:39 pm

    DNW – I disagree with pretty much all of that. Don’t confront or insult. They’re expecting a tailwind, but they can handle a headwind. Instead, send them one gust 30 degrees off their expectation.”

    Raking fire eh? LOL

    Basically I am of the opinion, having seen Ira discuss Trump’s candidacy, that his fact/evaluative approach is as good as any.

    My own point, and based on longer experience than has been psychologically good for me in confronting leftist provocation specialists, trolls, and practiced ideologues of all stripes is to, as rule number one: keep all emotion out of it.

    If you step on a face, well it’s just because that is how you had to get from point X to Y.

    Now, if you are actually trying to change a mind … well, I have no idea how you do that. Often the prescription for achieving it seems to involve paying a price that is too high for the value received.

  31. DNW Says:

    ” neo-neocon Says:
    January 3rd, 2017 at 6:41 pm

    DNW:

    About the guy who said, ““How dare you set limits to my altruism!”

    I’m wondering whether he thought there should be any limits to power at all? Did he think liberty had any value? Did he think the Constitution constitutes a limiting factor on his altruism?

    Because it seems to me that no one was setting any limits on HIS altruism. He is free to give every penny he has to charity, and to spend every waking hour serving the poor and downtrodden.

    What he is not free to do is to consider it HIS altruism to force others to be altruistic in the way he wishes them, just because he feels like it, and in particular in ways that violate the Constitution under which this country was formed.”

    As a rule, none of these considerations come into play. I have never actually been able to figure out just what premisses they launch off of, though I have wasted hundreds of hours sincerely attempting to tease it out.

    I am going to see if any of these ultimately unedifying threads are archived and if so I will send you a private link so you can glance through them for yourself.

  32. M J R Says:

    neo-neocon, quoting John Updike, at 6:26 pm — “I spoke up, blushing and hating my disruption of a post-liberal socioeconomic-cultural harmony I was pleased to be a part of.”

    An observation occurred to me, after I’d completed my comment posted at 6:18 pm.

    In my family, for decades now I have been the lone right-of-center voice in the family. They’re not flaming lefties, at least not most of them, but they know what thoughts to think — doesn’t everyone [smile]?

    Anyway, they know that I don’t buy into their stuff; I’ve been for all those decades the different one who thinks different thoughts. I almost without fail keep my mouth properly zipped, but what I’m getting around to is this:

    They know I march to an alien drummer, and as a result, they know it’s best to avoid certain topics. So far so good [so *very* good in fact, if you get my drift here].

    But I can’t escape the feeling that I cramp their style, that conversation is somewhat more constrained because *I*’m in their company. I don’t relish being the one around whom we all have to be careful — not because I’ll pee in their lemonade, but because they may prefer beer to lemonade, but the lemonade is there (only) because of me [I know, I’m straining mightily to perpetuate the metaphor].

    It’s another aspect of what we’re discussing. True confessions time: maybe I’m imagining a lot of this, maybe I’m a wee bit paranoid, maybe they don’t give as much of a damn as I’m fancying . . . but it’s what I do feel. Anyone else out there?

  33. Ira Says:

    Thanks folks for the advice and suggestions regarding the use, or not, of “libtard” or any other short term to describe people that behave like, well, libtards.

    The term “useful idiot” is an eloquent term and would be wonderful to use–if only we still had the old USSR around.

    Now, for whom or what organization are these people reducing themselves to be idiots?

    I think what we have now are real, self-starting statists who naturally band together. (Note the droves of American Jews that have not denounced Obama/Kerry’s allowing that reprehensible U.N. Security Resolution 2334 to pass.)

  34. Esther Says:

    Maybe it will get a little less alienating with Megan Kelly at MSNBC? So many people absolutely dismiss anything conservative as “foxnews” end of story. It might make alternate views it a little more respectable, providing she keeps with the same POV.

    The feeling of alienation is possibly because all these virtue signallers seem to be using shaming tactics to make people feel bad and keep everyone in line.

    But, as a guilt driven person, at least I know when I’m innocent, so I don’t know what I’m supposed to feel ashamed of. Still who wants to make a scene at a party? (Ok, maybe sometimes:-) depends on the party.)

  35. Assistant Village Idiot Says:

    I live only a few miles away, and I can identify. I might even know some of those people, at least vaguely.

    Mild reproof does not seem to work. Direct confrontation does not seem to work. Partial agreement and redirection does not seem to work. Clever riposte does not seem to work. Socratic questions do not seem to work.

    Don’t worry in the least about what you should have done. They are well-defended socially, however weak their intellectual arguments are.

  36. Oldflyer Says:

    “How dare you set limits to my altruism?” Your response is straight to the point, Neo. If one wanted to risk a fight, a potential response could be “How can you possibly sound so smug, hypocritical, and ill informed all in one sentence? I suggest you investigate the definition of altruism for starters.”

    That individual sounds a lot like one on another forum who stated that he moved to Canada to get free, or reduced cost on, medications that his daughter needed. He also said that free health care was a right. (along with free roads, and education.) I doubt that my response pointing out that his benefits were not free, only that someone else was paying for them, penetrated his protective barriers. People who think like that, and like your dinner companions, have formidable logical defenses.

    On another note; it would be very dangerous to believe that anything more than a skirmish has been won. A person need look no further than the daily news to note that the Congressional Democrats are planning their guerilla tactics to deploy while they build their strength. For them, it is a never ending struggle.

  37. parker Says:

    I agree that calling people names is rather silly and not productive. I don’t call the few libtards or useful idiots I encounter moonbats. Its just how I think of them when the foaming at the mouth types spew nonsense. Nonsense that flies in the face of reality. Reality is not based on emotion or consensus.

    Reality: “The state of things as they actually exist, as opposed to an idealistic or notional idea of them.”

  38. Donkatsu Says:

    Neo,
    You left out the enthusiasm gap. It probably started with the “reply all” command to congratulate someone’s son for kicking an extra point over the weekend. Failure to join the chorus became bad form.

    Social media magnified this dreadful trend, and the failure to wax sufficiently enthusiastic about whatever the issue of the day was a true transgression. That whole mean girls thing has now moved over to conversations, and the absence of appropriate response is noted and is certain to go on your permanent record.

    Many of our colleagues here have no doubt been subjected to exclusion or shunning by our betters for our ignorance of or insufficient attention to the NPR or Program social cues.

  39. Tom Murin Says:

    Chatted with a guy on the next barstool on Friday afternoon. We had a nice talk about a lot of things. He seemed to be a generally decent guy in his late 50’s. Good job, coached his kids, etc. He was in the Peace Corps. in Ghana. He tried to help the world in his own way. Well, we touched on politics and before too long it turned into: “all Trump supporters are racist” and the repeal of Obamacare will have “people dying in the streets.” It was a shock. The hate just swelled up inside the guy. I calmly told him that I voted for Trump, plenty of folks there in PA did too; and that I was looking forward to the next 4 – 8 years. I regretted buying him a drink!

  40. Frog Says:

    Neo did the right thing by being quiet re the anti-Trump remarks. She was a house guest, and her hostess threw the party. It would have been righteous but rude to rebut her guests and put her hostess in an awkward spot: Neo her houseguest vs. all the hostess’ other friends.

    Neo is quite right also about the Left. They are zombies, hard to stop, hard to put away, hard to kill. It is really awesome how they keep on a-coming. Let’s not let our guard up for a moment.

  41. neo-neocon Says:

    M J R:

    This is the way it is for me:

    There are people who don’t know my politics, and they invariably assume I’m a liberal and speak quite freely (and pejoratively) about conservatives in front of me.

    There are people who know my politics, but don’t have a moment’s hesitation speaking quite freely (and pejoratively) about conservatives in front of me.

    There are people who know my politics, and hesitate to speak freely about conservatives (or even politics) in front of me. They are being thoughtful, but I definitely get the feeling they also feel quite constrained and that I make them uncomfortable because they can’t let their hair down and talk among their friends as they really would like to. I feel that it’s hard for them to keep tiptoeing around me, and I think they are relieved when I’m not there.

    Makes it hard.

  42. Ira Says:

    Tom Murin just wrote, “Well, we touched on politics and before too long it turned into: ‘all Trump supporters are racist’. . . . ”

    In California, New York, Illinois, and Massachusetts, all strongly pro-Hillary states, more than 10,000,000 people voted for Trump.

    Just how dumb did Tom’s new acquaintance have to make himself for him to believe that 3 or 4 out of every 10 voters in those states are racists?

  43. y81 Says:

    I usually respond to that sort of fatuity with sarcasm. I would have responded with enthusiastic encomia to the generosity of the Russian government, and wondered why our government was picking a fight with them. Why are we bringing back the Cold War? It doesn’t make any sense. Once I got them going around in circles, I would have sat back and enjoyed.

    BTW, political fatuity is not the sole province of liberals. Most people haven’t learned how to think (because they didn’t go to law school) or read a book since they left college. You can certainly get a typical group of conservatives–not the staff of National Review, but a typical party gathering–snapping at each others’ tails without much effort.

  44. neo-neocon Says:

    Ira:

    There are many voters on the left who believe that all white people are racist, so believing that 3 or 4 out of every 10 voters are racist wouldn’t be hard for them.

  45. Gringo Says:

    AVI
    Mild reproof does not seem to work. Direct confrontation does not seem to work. Partial agreement and redirection does not seem to work. Clever riposte does not seem to work. Socratic questions do not seem to work.

    IOW, their political beliefs have more to do with signaling that they belong to the right tribe than with an examination of facts and values.

  46. OM Says:

    “Mild reproof does not seem to work. Direct confrontation does not seem to work. Partial agreement and redirection does not seem to work. Clever riposte does not seem to work. Socratic questions do not seem to work.”

    Sounds like the messenger is totally ineffective.

  47. Ira Says:

    neo-neocon Says:
    January 3rd, 2017 at 9:34 pm
    Ira:

    There are many voters on the left who believe that all white people are racist, so believing that 3 or 4 out of every 10 voters are racist wouldn’t be hard for them.

    Ahhh, libtards.

    (I’d have written “useful idiots,” but, like I wrote earlier, there is nothing like the USSR currently around.)

  48. Ira Says:

    By the way, I highly recommend Hidden Figures.

    Apparently as some sort of inside joke, Jim Parsons of The Big Bang Theory is playing “Sheldon” in Hidden Figures as if Sheldon had to be working at a real job with a real boss.

  49. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    I’ve often used the term “useful idiots” to describe well-meaning liberals but calling someone an idiot to their face is both rude and counterproductive. After briefly pondering an acceptable, accurate alternative, I’m using “intellectually clueless” until something better comes along.

    MJR,
    You’re not imagining it but the spectrum is as neo describes.

    y81,
    One does not have to go to a law school in order to learn how to think. Socrates did fine without law school and generations managed it before law schools even existed. Many manage to develop the ability just from exposure to an influential adult in their formative years.

  50. M J R Says:

    neo-neocon, 9:20 pm — ” . . . I definitely get the feeling they also feel quite constrained and that I make them uncomfortable because they can’t let their hair down and talk among their friends as they really would like to. I feel that it’s hard for them to keep tiptoeing around me, and I think they are relieved when I’m not there. Makes it hard.”

    ‘Zackly.

    See ya . . .

    Geoffrey Britain, 10:01 pm — “MJR, You’re not imagining it but the spectrum is as neo describes.”

    Sure seems to me.

    See ya . . .

  51. Cornhead Says:

    Juli

    I have a friend here in Omaha who is a semi-famous sculptor. People assume he is a liberal because he is an artist. He’s actually a conservative. He’s a spy behind enemy lines.

  52. Ackler Says:

    I’ve previously expressed my thoughts on this all too common social situation. Like Neo (and many regulars on this blog), I live in a blue city in a blue state. I’m employed in a profession dominated by progs (although with a recent career change, this is *slightly* less true). Virtually all of my friends and colleagues are progressive by default (in that some are relatively apolitical but just assume progressives and Democrats are right and the “good guys”). As someone who moved right as an adult (about age 29-30), I have encountered the social atmosphere Neo described more times than I can count…both as a liberal and a conservative.

    My thoughts on these situations is pessimistic, but I think many of you are inclined to agree: any oral engagement, rebuttal, dissent, commentary, etc. (other than innocuous agreement) is counterproductive and really a faux pas. The purpose of these little political references and digs is not to provoke discussion or debate (however amiable and respectful it might be). Rather, the purpose is twofold: 1) To burnish one’s bona fides as an intelligent, moral, compassionate, “right-thinking” individual and 2) To elicit validation in this regard as well as give others the opportunity to burnish their own bona fides. That’s it.

    Unless you are directly confronted or questioned (which I have found rarely happens), the best course of action is to remain silent, change the subject or (if it really is becoming too maddening), excuse yourself briefly to cool off…as Neo did. Any type of engagement will almost certainly lead to disappointment, embarrassment (if not for you, then for those commenting) and/or animosity. And little will be gained.

  53. Deep Cover Says:

    Oh yes, they are everywhere, they will never change. It is their identity. I never say anything, I voted for Trump. I actually like Trump. He’s better than Obama and Hillary and at least he’s had a job. I actually can related to Trump. However, I never say anything. The circles I am in are too far gone. Especially the more accomplished and removed from the nitty gritty aspects of life, the more they hate Trump. But no, the lefties I feel are too far gone. They honestly feel that Trump is Hitler. And that they are fighting fascism. Completely unaware that if there is any fascism going on it’s from them. I just ignore it. And try to change the subject. My conversion from liberalism to NOT OBAMA and NOT HILLARY came from within. Certainly nobody talked me into it, as then I didn’t know anyone who was a conservative. I still barely do. I’m just so Trump won. And I was shocked he did. But yes the moral virtue signaling of these tiresome lefties at parties, when they barely know anybody and they just feel they can spout off, well, it’s a little weird if you’re still doing that and you’re over the age of forty. But it’s their identity. they worship the left. Probably because they no longer worship any religion and sadly political parties have taken on that role. because humans are designed for some reason to worship something. Sadly it has become Obama and Hillary for a lot of people. I like and respect Trump and think he’s pretty hilarious and tough and smart, and at least can do something. Slugging it out for decades in NYC real estate ain’t easy. Hell it’s taken me a year just to re-do my bathroom. and yes he is a bit rough around the edges, but you cant have everything. And boy was he an amazing campaigner. And he loves this country. I mean, everybody hated that guy. The libs, republicans, the press, and he still kept on coming. yes I like Trump but good lord, do I worship him? Hell no! Would I ever worship a politician of all things? Hell no! But these lefties are just so beyond the pale. Trump is a bit of a wild card yes, but he loves this country, he loves Americans and western civilization, and after eight years of Obama, I am pretty happy to find somebody who loves America and Americans. Cause that sure was not Obama.

  54. jon baker Says:

    I do not understand the left’s insistence that western Civilization in general and America in particular is the epitome of evil while simultaneously insisting the Western Nations let every body just move in. Shouldn’t they be insisting that if Western Civilization/ U.S. is so bad that immigrants would be better off in non Western Nations?

  55. jon baker Says:

    I do think the younger generations have often been taught that bad things mainly happen because of Whites and the rest of the world would almost be a paradise without the influence of Western civilization.

  56. CapnRusty Says:

    You cannot reason a man out of something he did not reason his way into. (Attributed, roughly, to Johnathan Swift)

    Liberals simply believe. They do not examine reality and, step-by-step, build a logical foundation for their “philosophy.” They have nothing beneath them to support them. If you try to reason them into changing their opinion, even just a little bit, they see an abyss below them, and refuse.

    I realized this early in life, when trying to reason with Evangelicals, and others who treat the bible as the literal words of their god. I recall such a person, very bright really, but who believed the earth was 6,600-whatever years old. I asked her about carbon dating proving that rocks and stuff were millions of years old. Her response was that that was God’s way of testing our faith.

    Something akin to today’s liberals.

  57. Cornflour Says:

    I wasn’t planning to add anything to this, because I don’t have anything useful to say, but after reading so many comments from people who’ve had experiences similar to Neo’s, and who’ve reacted similarly, I have to ask the obvious question: why do you keep company with such people?

    Until recently, I too worked in a profession thoroughly dominated by Progressives. At work, we generally had cordial professional relationships. Outside of work, I avoided them. I knew I wasn’t going to change anybody’s mind, and Progressivism isn’t just politics, it’s a life full of constant correct chatter. I find it exhausting and repulsive. I’d rather spend my time with other people, or by myself.

  58. The Other Chuck Says:

    I skipped Christmas with family this year to avoid a dinner like Neo’s. My brother who is a retired big city newspaper editor with far left credentials, his children and grandchildren likewise raised and schooled as liberals, were sure to vent about the election and Trump. They know that I’m conservative yet never miss an opportunity to let me know what they think, all the while expecting me to slough it off, or good-naturedly give them a few jibes. I decided it wasn’t worth the hassle, that after all these years THEY weren’t worth the hassle. Some relationships are best at a distance.

  59. jon baker Says:

    CapnRusty, I don’t know of any scientist who uses “carbon dating” to date something to prove ‘that rocks and stuff ” are “millions of years old”. Perhaps you are getting Carbon and Uranium confused. Your bright friend should have pointed that out. Two points : The Bible never said the Earth / Universe started in 4000 B.C. That’s extrapolation and reading way to much into the ‘begats” ….some of us see plenty of room for huge gaps in time between those first two verses in Genesis , and see in the “seven days” a Divine reset/ reboot limited to Earth,and an unknowm amount of time after Genesis chapter 1 …check out “Gap Theory”. Second point: Whether you are talking about Isotopes of Carbon or Isotopes of Uranium there is still some assumption of stability of natural ratios over the ages. Carbon dating- generally only believed to be reliable in the tens of thousands of years, not “millions” is a bit more verifiable in the historical past thru secondary calibration means than Uranium dating -which is harder to calibrate separately. (Have the natural Isotopes ratios always been the same on earth?)

  60. parker Says:

    I seem to be fortunate, with family there is no discord. Within friendship there is minor discord but no animosity.

  61. jon baker Says:

    In the case of Uranium it can be to be about its decay to Lead, not to another isotope of Uranium.

  62. neo-neocon Says:

    Cornflour:

    I think I made it clear that the hostess was an old and dear friend of mine. Ordinarily we don’t discuss politics, but when we do it’s cordial, and she’s ordinarily one of the most open-minded liberals I know.

    I almost never see any of the other people at that get-together, and had never spoken to most of them before.

    However, 99% of the people I know are liberals. This includes my family and almost all of my good friends, lifelong friends. They are, quite simply, irreplaceable. There are no substitutes. I’m not a young person, either, and it’s very hard for me to make new friends. One can’t “make” new family—and besides, why would I want to? I would be extremely misguided in my own priorities if I were to break off with old friends (or family!!) over such things. The mere thought is repulsive to me in the human sense.

    I never understand why people sometimes cavalierly suggest that I—or others—do so.

    I can understand the suggestion if you’re talking about casual acquaintances, or people one doesn’t like anyway. But since most of the people at this get-together were unknown to me prior to attending it, what are you suggesting? That I never attend a social event?

  63. Cornflour Says:

    Neo:

    I specifically referred to people I worked with, not family or close friends, who are a much more difficult problem. But yes, even with close friends, I spend less and less time with them if they are constantly chattering about the Progressive life. If you find this repulsive, too bad.

    If you find it hard to make new friends, and can’t bear to avoid old ones, then the trade-off is one you’ve chosen, and swallowing your anger is what you get. In my view, it’s a poor choice, but it’s yours. I’ve made a different one. And there’s nothing cavalier about it.

  64. neo-neocon Says:

    Cornflour:

    It didn’t seem that you were merely referring to people at work when you wrote:

    after reading so many comments from people who’ve had experiences similar to Neo’s, and who’ve reacted similarly, I have to ask the obvious question: why do you keep company with such people?

    I had already said in my post that one of these people is an old and dear friend, and so I assumed you were asking why I “keep company with such people” as that friend. You also referred to other commenters on this thread, and many of those people had discussed experiencing the problem with close relatives and friends. So it certainly seemed that you weren’t limiting your question “Why do you keep company with such people?” to work acquaintances.

    I also explained in my post that most of the rest of the people I met at the party were people I really didn’t know and had never talked to before, so I wasn’t “keeping company” with them. I had just met them. And then I asked what remedy you might be suggesting for that type of situation—not going to any parties or get-togethers any more?

    To me, that’s not a solution. The only solution I can think of is to do what I did the other night. It’s far from a perfect solution, but to me it’s the best one.

    I have no idea why you say the trade-off I’ve chosen is “a poor one.” It seems to me that socially isolating myself, and breaking off with family, would be a far far FAR poorer solution. What is friendship, and what is love? I don’t expect people with whom I am friends (particularly friends for many many decades, and close friends at that) to follow lockstep with me in their beliefs, activities, likes, dislikes. That goes double for close relatives. It would take a lot for me to sever those bonds, the deepest bonds we have.

    I am curious: do you find it easy to replace close friends, and old friends? Forget the politics part—let’s say we’re talking about friends who move away, or die. I find each person irreplaceable, special, unique, even if I’ve had problems with them. Perhaps you live in a place where there are many people you meet all the time who could become your friends? I don’t. My friends are people with whom I have a very special bond, forged over time and through hardships and yes—disagreements. Why would I throw that away over politics?

    Perhaps you’re not suggesting that; perhaps I’m misunderstanding. But it seems to me that when you write that I’ve made a poor choice, you are suggesting that I should throw that away over politics.

  65. Molly Brown Says:

    I feel your pain, Neo. I spent every winter of the Bush years in Canada!
    I never argue with these people anymore, I’m just waiting for the shootin’ war to start.

  66. Beverly Says:

    Deep Cover, I would like to buy you a beer. My sentiments exactly!

    “Man is not the rational animal; he is the Rationalizing Animal.” Mark Twain, or someone like him

    Here in Manhattan, I know and cherish just a handful of Republican friends. BTW, Jimmy Neary’s pub on Sutton Place is a patriot-friendly hangout.

    Have no patience for the Leftists, or the chattering classes, or the virtue signalers, or the Liberal Tourette’s Syndrome. Have. Had. It.

    And why should WE ALWAYS be the ones to exercise forbearance, while they feel perfectly free to eliminate on the carpet at will? In what universe is that fair?

    Some of these days, we’re all going to have to start speaking up. It’s that, or go under.

  67. Beverly Says:

    As far as family members and old friends who are libs: this is more awkward, but they know that we disagree, and actually have the good manners Not to diss me or conservatives, at least while I’m in the room, and I return the favor with my own forbearance.

    But we’re Southerners, and prize good manners more than most: we’d just about Die before being openly rude, even to the cable guy.

    It is uncomfortable, though. My cousins resolved not to ever discuss politics at family reunions again after a particularly sulfurous occasion: the fight that erupted has left scars. Trouble is, we’re not talking about trivialities here, but our core values and principles. And they’re flatly incompatible.

  68. backofanenvelope Says:

    I have friends and relatives who are members of the GRC – the Guardian Reading Classes. I no longer discuss politics with them – its too boring. However, I have noticed that other friends who share my views are very relieved when the conversation veers onto Brexit and/or Donald Trump. They discover that they are not alone!

  69. Sergey Says:

    These people are like Bourbons who forgot nothing and did not learn nothing. They will not change, but they will be increasingly irrelevant. And their “energy” is just histrionics of bad losers. It leads to nothing, since their ideological monopoly is crushed and can not be restored. All the King’s horses and all the King’s men…

  70. MHollywood Says:

    How about “New World Order” supporters?
    Or “Post Modernists”
    Or “Identity Politics” supporters
    Or “Anti-borderists”
    Or “Open bathroomers”

    Those are things they support, so would they protest?

  71. physicsguy Says:

    After enduring countless faculty gatherings in which it is prescribed progressive liturgy to begin such gatherings with an invocation “Bush is evil” now to be replaced with “Trump is evil”, I think Beverly has the right of it:

    “And why should WE ALWAYS be the ones to exercise forbearance, while they feel perfectly free to eliminate on the carpet at will? In what universe is that fair?”

    We need to speak up and defend ourselves or be trampled.

    Neo: I’m NOT talking about cases where one looses life long friends. I also have such and that must be handled differently. And the social context is important and must be considered before making a response. But as Beverly rightly asks, why are WE expected to forebear and not them??

  72. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Been there. Responding as if these remarks have anything to do with reality is meaningless. It’s virtue signaling. And the POV is the virtue and vice versa. You cannot expect to explain away a pillar of somebody’s personality and view of self by pointing to, say, the results of an investigation, or a historical fact.
    Depending on the circumstance–and neo’s social do was not one of them–you might say something like, “I know you know that’s bogus, but you didn’t think I know that’s nonsense.” Or, “remember the Jon Stewart bit? You know, the one where the guy’s race card was maxed out?”
    The point to this is to, possibly, sow some doubt as to how many people the individual speaks to might also think it’s bogus. Maybe he’ll just shut up in the future. It would be important never to trust them about anything, though. Their own virtue is more important to them than anything and if that requires transgressing ancient norms and moral behavior, that’s even more righteous.
    Part of the schtick is that they get to say the most outrageous things about politics, public figures, and others who may not be public figures…and it’s the height of rudeness to disagree. Of course they may slag any number of people on the most baseless of grounds, but only a seriously disturbed person would object.
    Various commenters here and elsewhere have noted that this cohort of people cannot be defended against in the conventional meaning of defense, but must be confronted.
    It gains little to discuss with them as if they were having a good faith discussion where the implication is that the facts might matter, or even change their positions. They are the anointed. If they’re not deliberately wasting your time, then facts still don’t matter.
    Reality is meaningless to them….but I guess I’m being repetitious.

  73. CapnRusty Says:

    Jon Baker:
    Poetic license.

  74. Richard Aubrey Says:

    neo talks of losing old friends. There are various ways to lose friends.
    But, it strikes me, if they are do awful on a poltiical/moral/social basis, why are they really your friends? Not that you should vet people before becoming friends (but we do in other senses), but that how can such differing views not cause tension.
    If somebody dismisses what’s happening to Christians in the Middle East as either meaningless or something to do with the Crusades, then, I submit, that person is so vile that they cannot be a friend. Or that the Vietnamese boat people were the SEA version of the kulaks who got what they deserved. Or that reports of mass rape of European women are racist and it’s a price we have to pay. That person is so hideous he or she should never set foot in your home.

  75. Lizzy Says:

    Just had a similar experience over the holidays with my well-indoctrinated niece. She was inserting snarky little jabs like, “Oh, I can’t wait ’till Trump uses his super-secret plan to take care of ISIS!” and “Oh, Walmart is *so* great!” I would just ask her questions, such as “Have you ever been to Walmart?” and “Would you consider Obama’s approach to Syria successful?”
    Being young and not yet completely brainless, she would just mumble something and end the conversation. The point was to declare her disdain as a hit-and-run, not engage in a discussion.

  76. Kyndyll G Says:

    My general observation about the problem with maintaining cordial social relations with liberals is that it seems in recent times (yes, very much correlating to the Obama years, but also correlating to the rise of social media and the coming-of-age of millennials), liberals stopped having a life outside of politics just as their ability to tolerate the idea that someone, somewhere, believed something different than they did waned.

    I remember a time, perhaps 10 years ago, when my far-left friends and colleagues were still lifelong, far-left people, but we were able to share non-political interests and activities and never had any need to have a conversation about politics. Some of them knew I was a conservative, but that wasn’t an everyday factor in our relationships or conversations.

    At some point, that changed. Everything – every subject, every conversation, every experience – had to have some political angle. Everything led to a lecture about some lefty talking point. You had a choice of agreeing, staying silent or not agreeing, but no matter how polite (or right) you were when not agreeing, you found that you got pushed away and insulted for doing so. And then one day, I realized that my own tolerance for lefty talking points was gone and I basically quit socializing with these people. I don’t need them, and I don’t need their #%#% in my life.

    Mr. G., who was losing people who had been longer and closer friends than the people I was losing, held out longer, but in the end I think he was more hurt when full realization sunk in: people who had been his friend for 20+ years were basically crowing on social media, “If you’re a foul stupid conservative, just unfriend me now.”

  77. DNW Says:

    To Neo. Neo asks,

    ” neo-neocon Says:
    January 3rd, 2017 at 6:41 pm

    DNW:

    About the guy who said, ““How dare you set limits to my altruism!”

    I’m wondering whether he thought there should be any limits to power at all? Did he think liberty had any value? Did he think the Constitution constitutes a limiting factor on his altruism?

    Because it seems to me that no one was setting any limits on HIS altruism. He is free to give every penny he has to charity, and to spend every waking hour serving the poor and downtrodden.

    What he is not free to do is to consider it HIS altruism to force others to be altruistic in the way he wishes them, just because he feels like it, and in particular in ways that violate the Constitution under which this country was formed.

    I placed my browser on internal search and came up with some files stored away during the debate long ago.

    Since my argument was essentially yours, i.e., the vicious mutation occurring in the fundamental legal predicate of our political association, and since he would never address it directly, as he simply had no interest in the matter, I will excerpt his advocacy comments from three postings in series. In these, we had gotten into a somewhat vitriolic exchange wherein, I was observing one thing and he was responding to another. I was asking why a, Democrats [party] as a sodality group could not do for themselves what they so admired many fewer Canadians for doing; b, what he had to say regarding the first time imposition of an in-principle limitless claim of interest and mandate power by the government against your life; and c, upon what principle the moral basis for this interpersonal appropriation was predicated.

    His response was that I was an Ayn Randian fantasist, that I was a hater of humankind, that I was pathetically deluded if I imagined that I or anyone else was immune to need, and that civilization called for universal government sponsored health insurance and the redistributive efforts that went along with it.

    I will post selections of his comments as if they were a kind of single rough response in a following window in order to try and give you some taste of the “argument” from his side.

    Feel free to delete them at any time. Old hash and not especially edifying except as an artifact of a certain kind of argument process that takes place between those who value self-direction and those who value … whatever it is that they value.

  78. Nick Says:

    jon baker:

    “I do not understand the left’s insistence that western Civilization in general and America in particular is the epitome of evil while simultaneously insisting the Western Nations let every body just move in. Shouldn’t they be insisting that if Western Civilization/ U.S. is so bad that immigrants would be better off in non Western Nations?”

    Honestly, a lot of them think that the West got rich by taking things from the rest of the world, and opening our doors gives them a chance to get some of it back.

  79. Barry Meislin Says:

    I think the rise and current ubiquity of social media and the Internet, which has made everything—news, opinions, fake news, lies, slander, hatred—so immediate (instantaneous, actually) has definitely made things far more corrosive.

    This new technology (along with even more recent iterations) has effectively created—and buttressed—echo chambers and thus has sharpened prejudice.

    Plus, it is all extraordinarily addictive.

    (I can’t imagine what it’s doing to the youth, to the up and coming generation; and what it will do to the next generation—actually, we already see the effects it has been having on college campuses….)

    Social media and the Internet have spawned intense tribalism and have encouraged “factionalism”—that bane of democratic goverment, which, according to Madison, the natural order of slow-moving events, together with a Constitution-anchored republican system, were depended upon to prevent (Wretchard had a post on this several months back.)

    Well, the new technology has insured that events—and the information, correct or not, describing those events—are no longer “slow-moving”.

    How to deal with this when it comes to friends or acquaintances?

    Several suggestions have already been put forward and one must do what one must do.

    I just say to myself, “People just do the best they can.”

    Is this a cop out? Definitely.
    Is it an honorable rationalization? Not very.
    Is it honest? Well, um, er….
    Does it work? I guess that depends.
    Are there any side-effects? A kind of self-deadening apathy.
    Does it enable one to get with one’s life? After a deep breath, yes it does. Mostly.

    Maybe Trump will help clear the air.

    It’s a long shot. But with all the dishonesty, intolerance and rabid ideological posturing, perhaps only a dreadful conflagration will enable people to see clearly again. Enable them to see what’s really going on. And what’s truly important.

    That isn’t such a pleasant thought….

  80. DNW Says:

    Neo, following are excerpts from the “altruism” man’s positions.

    All text except a few originally appearing comments of mine in double indents, or just now in editor’s brackets [], are the Altruist’s. You will see that we are talking past each other; from out of different reference systems, and that he is quite well aware of it and why.

    The opt-out I propose is merely a freedom from the mandate tax. Yes, I don’t see much reason to excuse you from it, although my emotions have little to do with it, just calculation of cost incurred by a system where people are able to drop and pick up insurance at will, thus defeating the purpose and passing on costs to the public. Of course, the pre-Obama system made up the difference by allowing “health insurance” companies to direct their energies towards denying service and not signing up potential risks.

    What you can’t seem to grok is that society doesn’t much agree with fountainheads like you. We recognize an obligation to provide certain minimum kinds of care to all citizens, and the government is usually left covering the people private insurance won’t go near. You and plenty of other narcissistic types like to push an every-man-for-himself type fantasy world that appeals to the selfishness of others who don’t want to pony up a little extra cash for a more civil society (while they’re usually first in line for their own cut).

    It’s all nice and romantic until your ass shows up broke and decrepit at 65 looking for the government to pay for your heart operation. Maybe you avoid that fate, but plenty of people smarter and harder-working than you don’t, and sure as hell many or most vote Republican.

    Specifically, your historical perspective is so utterly skewed as to be a complete joke. There is either libertarian paradise or the Soviet Union. Of course, in such a stark dichotomy guys like me look like commies to you. Because you’re fundamentally an idiot, pimping black-white orthodoxy while talking about logic. Hell, most of the previous century sounds like the bowels of a Red nightmare by your standards. So you have a completely useless barometer. Who cares? To you, I’m a totalitarian. Thus you’ve robbed the word of any meaning.

    “[DNW] What you have done of course is to in principle turn the legal system on its head, employing it unashamedly to coerce a purchase at one time, and to punitively proscribe it at any other.

    Except insurance is about paying now for services rendered later. Your selective interpretation of time is self-serving but hollow. Non-participation is essentially mythical because almost nobody can affirm that they aren’t simply deferring costs until later. I think if you can prove you have good health insurance and have planned for the future, you should get a pass on the mandate penalty (and I know we’re discussing principle here, but as it is the mandate tax is way too small to be really effective and to cover costs).

    This is about nothing more than a decision on where and when to allocate money to provide the public the best health care, or at least better than they’ve been getting. It’s not really up for debate that the government shall continue to provide money for health care. Are you against Medicare? Tough shit. It’s not going anywhere, and if you get it struck down it’ll be a Constitutional Amendment the next year.

    Consider that the only real way to handle our cost curve over the next fifty years is to revamp the way medicine is funded and services are compensated. So while you’re jacking off to Atlas Shrugged, people who actually have to solve problems will be doing what it takes to make medicine affordable.

    Your key problem? Medicine is a universal need.

    Your key problem is that this applies to any number of things such as sex, but that doesn’t make any woman obligated to allow you to breed with her or to pay you so you can find some woman who will.

    [no response given]

    … you’ve demonstrated next to no problem with letting those who can’t make it in our current system rot and die, most people recognize that health care is a ubiquitous need that the government can be utilized to fulfill, in a manner both effective and legitimate. …

    “[DNW, re. the Altruist’s plan] … the person opting out would be forevermore prohibited from entering into a prospective medical treatment service contract”

    …Not even remotely true. They would only be prohibited from entering the system engaged in providing most of the country’s health care, the various private corporations (who wrote plenty of the “Obamacare” plan) who are participating in the healthcare exchange. As long as you’re in the system, you’re contributing through premiums. If you’re not in the system, statistically you’ll profit down the road when your health and fortune deteriorate and you are forced to rely on Medicare. As a democratic society, we’ve made that decision to provide for the health of those who fall behind. Not that a ghoul such as yourself cares, but it’s within Constitutional limits and fiscally sensible. And it must be paid for, so quit grumbling about your low taxes you whiny bitch!

    Why can’t you just understand simple statements made in clear English without transforming them into some fever dream? As for Catholic Hospitals, please. I wish them the best of luck. Enjoy your Catholic doctor and pay your low taxes you whiny bitch. …

    “[DNW] And the only solution you can see is to dragoon the young into paying for your care…”

    Of course, because the young never become old. And they’re invincible, surely inflicting no health care costs of their own. You act like they’re separate entities. Younger Americans take care of older Americans. Most would regard that as a base-level expectation for any advanced civilization.

    I understand that needs are not equivalent, however they are also not always predictable. Yeah, you may think you have a statistically better chance of living a healthy life, but when it comes to literally betting that life, sanity tends to point people towards being safe and responsible. Coincidentally, this is what most people want in a health care plan, a bulwark against the cruel hand of fate. The greatest athlete can still end up on the public tab, so why make further distinctions?

    Seen Gattaca? [He’s quoting a movie as evidence] Favorable genetic discrimination doesn’t prevent one from becoming a quadriplegic. The struggle over health disparities is an inescapable part of any insurance structure, but when it goes into labeling you based on your DNA and letting the weak die off, you enter the field of eugenics and should immediately retreat. A bare minimum for any American is a baseline that avoids monstrosity. This covers most territory on the mandatory sterilization topic too.

    [I had brought up Buck v Bell re the limits of government power, after he had approvingly quoted Holmes]

    … How does one make the case for health care with someone who genuinely believes the so-called weak deserve what they get? There’s just some moral fundamentals that you have to share in the first place, and appealing to those is what got Obama elected and his explicitly promised health care plan (mostly) implemented. …

    Not a very self-aware type, are you? Anyway, “recognized no boundaries nor limits to state management of the lives of individuals in pursuit of its own advantage” is fiction.

    The fact that you’ve had so much trouble getting around my point that the mandate is actually a fairly mild and rational tax that doesn’t expect people to do much other than be responsible about having coverage is itself evidence to the contrary. But maybe you’re the type that screams “TYRANNY!” over seat-belt laws. Maybe you’re angry that existing health care laws are the reason employers provide health insurance to all employees, not just the healthy ones.

    Being a libertarian socialist, I believe the burden of proof is always on the government to justify its existence, and being a pretty strong Constitutionalist I stand by individual rights in most cases I can think of, much more so than conservatives. Whiny bitches who can’t stand their rather low taxes still don’t earn much favor with me.

    “[DNW re, an “advancing civilization” argument] Most people would consider advancing civilization to entail ever more opportunities for individual self-direction and voluntary affiliation. Taking care of others is a sign not of “civilization”, but of sentiment, fellowship and identification.

    No civilization also entails individual self-direction and voluntary affiliation! At least until you lose the fight with the next free guy. It’s obvious what appeals to your emotions here, but on what grounds do you claim “most people” would reject sentiment, fellowship, and identification by supporting others? It would seem clear that democratic processes over the past 80 years or so have enacted a rather strong American preference for taking care of at least some of the less fortunate, and especially seniors.

    I would also assume any person grounded in philosophy would be well-versed in the process of aging and dying. No person is a particular age, they are aging creatures who will hopefully occupy each station in their journey. Not fair to those who die young, of course, but how could anything be fair to them? …

    Statistically likely better health does not guarantee better health, and any glibertarian smartass such as yourself can have a stroke tomorrow and become a ward of the state so quickly you won’t know what hit you. In that respect, you are entirely equal to me; you are mortal. …

    The point is that you’re mortal, that mortality could be invoked tomorrow with no warning or meaning, and you could end up relying on me to pay taxes to take care of your ass, which I’d gladly do because I’m not somebody foolish enough to think that a man is an island. BTW, when dealing in universal truths that have been swatted around for tens of thousands of years, you might run into a few clichés, genius. The determinability of your eventual happenings is irrelevant to the discussion, as there are still a considerable number of things that exist outside of your control that could dictate what happens to you- i.e. your fate, your eventual history, chance, call it whatever the hell you want. …

    “[DNW] I do claim that you wish to warp the most valuable legal predicates American’s have, those which make our associations worthwhile, in order to bind others more closely to you and legally compel them accept medical care cost-shifting from you, to them, based on a specious and transparently false predicate that asserts a distributively reciprocal principle.

    It’s hilarious, you just keep insisting this is entirely about me and not society as a whole, perhaps as a way of neutralizing any guilt you might feel over your ultimately immoral stance. It’s okay as long as you can keep putting my face on health care for all as some greedy plot to benefit myself. You just can’t accept that it’s the greater suffering that guides me, and that conservatives end up at that same trough sooner or later. It’s not just me, it’s for Yorkshire too, Art Downs, John Hitchcock, and you too, DNW, you ungrateful cur! (A bit of LOLZ knowing how that line will piss you off…)

    It’s like arguing against public education by basing everything on my desire to get a free education for my kid. Well, naturally I do want there to be free school for my kid, but why does it stop there, with just him and not all children? Because you say so? Why do I care? Who the hell are you to tell me where my altruistic aspirations find their limits?

    This is your problem, you fail at that most fundamental level. All your tangents and extraneous attacks aside, that’s what you got: calling me greedy (while essentially doing nothing more than bitching about your taxes). Yet it’s so seriously stupid all it can provoke in me is bemused indifference. You’ve got some demon you’re trying to exorcise, and you turn any liberal you talk to into that demon.

    Whatever your actual problems are, maybe grow the hell up and start dealing with people on their own terms, instead of your imaginary depictions of their psychological failings? It’s clear you start with your narrative and just work from there, cramming everything you encounter into that story.

    That story isn’t about me, it’s about you. When you grasp that, you might impress me as a more advanced intellect. As of now, you’re all flash and superficiality, tangent and obfuscation, vocabulary without understanding. You’re not talking to me, you’re just talking at me, and there’s no reason you’ve given me to take what you’ve go to offer seriously.

    [And so it went then, and so it seems to go today. We are simply on different wavelengths.]

  81. neo-neocon Says:

    physicsguy and Beverly:

    Actually, most of my friends and relatives very often “forbear.”

    In other words, they don’t talk much about politics around me, because they don’t want to have an argument.

    In groups with strangers or friends of friends (such as the party described in the post), the attendees don’t “forbear” because they literally have no notion that there is a person present who might be conservative. It doesn’t occur to them—looking at me, for example—that I might differ from them in that manner, because they have preconceptions of who and what conservatives sound like and look like. So it wouldn’t even occur to them to “forbear.”

    If I were talking to the person one-on-one, I would bring it up and explain quite simply that I’m a conservative. That might engender a discussion, or it might engender a turning-away on their part.

    But in the party group as I’ve described it here, to do so would be impolite and disruptive under the circumstances, and the “forbearance” was therefore mine.

  82. neo-neocon Says:

    Kyndyll G:

    I don’t have any friends who talk a lot about politics. And I’m not on social media, so I don’t see what they say there. So that’s not a problem. In my case, it’s more what happens when certain groups get together.

    I never had friends who talked a lot about politics, by the way—at least, not with me. Most of them therefore don’t have to curb themselves too much in order to avoid politics when in my presence. And of course, with some friends we do occasionally talk politics and it goes relatively okay. With the ones who are more extreme, they have pretty much learned to avoid the topic around me, or we just stop talking about it if things get too heated.

  83. neo-neocon Says:

    Richard Aubrey:

    You write:

    If somebody dismisses what’s happening to Christians in the Middle East as either meaningless or something to do with the Crusades, then, I submit, that person is so vile that they cannot be a friend. Or that the Vietnamese boat people were the SEA version of the kulaks who got what they deserved. Or that reports of mass rape of European women are racist and it’s a price we have to pay. That person is so hideous he or she should never set foot in your home.

    My first response is that I’ve never discussed any of those issues with any friends or relative, and have no idea what they think about them, but I doubt they hold the views you describe. They are not that far to the left, I suspect, because I’ve not heard anything of the sort.

    What I hear are more routine GOP-bashing, Democrat-extolling, positions, and the usual party line about racism and sexism and the like. I tend to look at their positions as positions I might have held fifteen years ago, so I see them as neither vile nor hideous. Rather, I see them as informed by the liberal media, as I was.

    I thought the old saw was that liberals thought conservatives were evil, and conservatives thought liberals were ignorant? You seem to have flipped it around.

  84. y81 Says:

    Given what they say about birds of a feather, I’m presuming that most of neo’s friends are Jewish social services providers, so it makes sense that most of them are liberal. That must be strange, to live mostly among such people. Most of my friends are married Christians, many of them evangelical, who work in law and finance, so political opinions are very diverse. (Though on social issues, liberal opinions predominate.) No one would presume in a social gathering that the others shared his or her political views, though it would be safe to assume that the overwhelming majority shared an aesthetic distaste for the kind of buildings that Trump builds.

  85. neo-neocon Says:

    DNW:

    Thanks!

    It’ll take me a while to get around to reading that, though I plan to.

  86. David Says:

    By saying nothing you defaulted to agreement with those idiotic statements. This might not be the place for a debate, but neither is it the place for quiet acquiescence. Q: US hurt Cuba? A: As it should for every repressive regime. Q: Trump = Hitler? A: That’s about the stupidest thing I ever heard. You don’t have to defend your position because you can say this isn’t the place. But if you don’t push back, lies will take on the meaning of truth because simple minded people will not have the curiosity to distinguish truth from lies.

  87. brdavis9 Says:

    It’s rather nice to see that post the-past-election, we seem to be finding common ground.

    That’s pretty much what the useful idiots don’t, ever, lose than, eh? – Because they can’t, but really need to see the pews they’re sitting in.

    Sigh.

    Regardless, though, what a pleasure perusing all your thoughts this has been.

  88. Artfldgr Says:

    Since neo has missed the set ups, the preps, and everything up to the wire… here it comes!!

    OBAMA SENDS FORCES TO RUSSIAN BORDER
    https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/2531054/america-special-forces-russian-border-lithuania-obama-putin/

    Russia is reportedly deploying nuke-ready missiles in the province of Kaliningrad which borders Lithuania

    “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

    ― Sun Tzu, The Art of War

    duh – refusal to know the enemy is the same, as is refusal to believe things work a certain way (which they work on us all the time to have the wrong beliefs)

    the war with the chinese will be the senkaku islands
    the war with russia will be over latvia, estonia, lithuania

    we just moved up a big notch to world war…
    we are not ready, russia and china ARE

    i was wondering if neo would cover the war before it starts or almost starts, but it hasnt happened… so i guess its AFTER.. .by which all the signs and things she would want to know, are gone… erased and new narratives will replace it because no one or very few were paying attention to the build ups and games!!!!!!!!!!

    Lithuanian Defence Ministry spokeswoman Asta Galdikaite confirmed America has offered additional military support following Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

    She said: “The United States was the first to offer additional safety assurance measures to the Baltic countries following the deterioration of the security situation in the region after the annexation of the Crimea.”

    She added: “US Special Operations Forces presence in Lithuania is one of the deterrents” against military threats by Putin’s aggressive regime, reports the Express.

    HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

    I said right at the end, this would probably happen, but other than knowing the beast, i could not PROVE it… how could I?

    but if you know the nature of something, you know a good deal about what it will do and wont do..
    and most of what the left tells us is that things have no nature… how convenient.. women are not women, we program them to be losers with boobs… men are not men, we program to be mosnters and white men are born racists..

    now, how do you prove that communists behave like communists… i even predicted the commutation of the sentence of the BRINKS Weathermen robbery that was to steal money for a race war (which obama nearly started given he is from the same group)

    the one thing that can move the US to a communist state and all that is a WAR… as the fabian glass points out and the fact that communists have started or gamed most of the biggest more deadly wars since 1910…

    we now return to NEO blog…
    if you see a big flash, dont bother to duck and cover
    just hope your with a loved one and have time for another kiss. or, hope you know how to survive without electricity, trucks, trains and food..

    note that there are tons of things that we did not discuss that has changed the nature of the beasts abilities since 1995.. while our own belief is barely changed of that last status.

    once again..
    HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

  89. Artfldgr Says:

    I became more and more uncomfortable and very weary. The exhaustion came from three things: the feeling of estrangement I felt, the realization of the overwhelming difficulty of ever trying to challenge their worldview and get them to actually listen to what I might have to say rather than merely reject what I had to say, and the awareness that it would be impolite of me to even try in that particular venue. These were mostly strangers to me (and I doubt I’ll ever see most of them again), I was a guest in my friend’s home, and it was a holiday party and I would be disrupting it.

    dont worry neo… all you had to do was drop a tidbit worry… then wait… ie. i wonder what will happen given obama choices in the baltics.. then dont comment, just listen, and wait..

    for what? the test of nato… the annexation… the call to emergency that would give obama 100% control like stalin…

    THEN they will wonder what to do!!!

    it was like that when world war broke out in europe, but not the USA… in the USA we were asleep and avoiding most of it… but in europe, all the cognosenti, became the ignorati (my name for them)…

    all of them didnt know what to do as their worlds came crashing down, and their confidence destroyed… they didnt even have the sense to run… though the peoplel ike me left before them… and they made fun of them…

    people in latvia tried to leave AND cover the bases by paying rent for several years and telling the landlord they would be back expecting to return after the conflict!!!

    needless to say, you drop tidbits then let things happen, THEN they come to you..

    then again, dialoguing to consensus and such would have helped you a lot… in how to manipulate them or catch them in their own logic…

    if you ever talked about an AUDACIOUS war to CHANGE it all… you would be the goto person.

    why?

    easy.. their world will collapse, they will not trust their own judgment, but you would have been the precient one with the good judgment to understand what was going on..

    Just think of what Obama is setting Trump up for if things dont get hot before that… even after, what would the game be? but i will say this… he is risking a big deal given that if something happens, guess who has dictatorial powers out of the signing statements /executive orders/ etc. Obama tweaked and expanded?

    we live in interesting times..
    time to worry!!

    we are all strapped into a roller coaster being set off by people who are not on it and dont care if eggs get broken as long as they are on top after the coaster does its thing…

  90. neo-neocon Says:

    Artfldgr:

    If you have something to say about some other news, say it. However, if you keep posting a lot of comments that are off-topic, I will remove them. But it’s certainly okay to post an occasional off-topic comment.

    However, if you keep introducing those comments with insults about the blog or me or the commenters here, I will get rid of those comments of yours that do this. I’ve said that many times before to you, and I’ve done it sometimes but not always. But from now on, please get rid of the insults.

    Your initial comment on this thread is the one I’m talking about. It certainly wasn’t terrible in terms of insults, compared to others, but I am requesting that you stop the repetitive stating of how ignorant everyone here is of the important things. Just state your piece instead.

  91. Artfldgr Says:

    US military chief General Raymond T Thomas told the New York Times that America has a “persistent” presence in the Baltic states bordering Russia.

    He added that many former Eastern Bloc countries are “scared to death” of Russia and the vulnerable states are “desperate” for America’s leadership.

    The US and its Nato allies will send battalions of up to 1,200 to each of the three Baltic states – Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia – and Poland by spring this year, reports the New York Times.

    Lithuania’s foreign minister Linas Linkevicius confirmed Russia’s military activity in Kaliningrad is terrifying the region.

    He said: “Iskander missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads have been deployed. There are S-400 missiles and modernised jets.”

    -=-=-=-

    Kremlin bosses promised Russia would never allow the sea to become a “Nato lake” and they firmly believe the military alliance would crumble if, as feared, the Americans pull out.

    Relations between the outgoing Obama administration and Russia have soured following allegations that Putin ordered the email hack which helped scupper Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid.

    The White House has since expelled 35 Russian diplomats and has shut down two “spy” compounds in New York and Maryland in response to what it claims is a campaign of harassment by Russia against American diplomats in Moscow.

    -=-=-=-

    Meanwhile, on the OTHER FRONT:
    US sees China boosting military presence after island-building spree
    http://www.cnbc.com/2016/05/14/us-sees-china-boosting-military-presence-after-island-building-spree.html

    New photos apparently show China building fighter jet hangars on disputed islands
    http://www.foxnews.com/world/2016/08/09/new-photos-apparently-show-china-building-fighter-jet-hangars-on-disputed-islands.html

    Photos reveal growth of Chinese military bases in South China Sea
    http://www.cnn.com/2016/05/13/politics/china-military-south-china-sea-report/

    -=-=-=-=-

    China is playing with the RULES… what does the rules say about the ability to control shipping around your property? easy… you get a buffer zone thats yours…

    now what if you take over others islands, or build some, and connect the buffer zones till you either have all the open space in the china sea, or a ring around that space that others need permission or have to pay to cross?

    now that obama let them set up shop, and did nothing, how do you think that will end?

    the world asks them, and they leave, losing the money and islands?
    didnt work for korea

    the world says we dont need no cheap products and tried to boycott china into submission
    that makes communists stronger not weaker, and no one else can build like them since we lost our knowlege, infrastructure and so on

    we have a war over it?
    most likely…

  92. Ann Says:

    I just looked at Amazon’s sales ranking of Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States, a book that’s used by many social studies teachers in middle schools and high schools, and found this:

    #1 in Books > Textbooks > Social Sciences > Political Science > Political Ideologies
    #1 in Books > Textbooks > Humanities > History > United States
    #2 in Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Politics & Government > Ideologies & Doctrines > Democracy

    Many older folks weren’t exposed to that book, but think of all the younger ones who have been, and at a very impressionable age. Conservatives have a long, tough road to hoe.

  93. mollyNH Says:

    Here’s a tip from actress Morgan Brittainy who along with others was in a play with well known Lefty enthusiast Ed Asner. This was during the Bush Gore round about. Anyway the troupe was constantly subjected to updates and blow by blow descriptions of the goings on ad nauseum. Finally Brittainy said, ‘Ed speaking on behalf of your fellow Co workers we are not all as interested in THIS as you appear to be!’ It shut him up like a clam to the point that he never said another word to his cast mates that was not in the script !
    Helps a lot to call their bluff!

  94. Artfldgr Says:

    Ann
    you realize that he was a card carrying member of the CPUSA, but unlike bella dodd, he didnt change sides

    also… it was planned to change the minds of the young to think about history in the communist way.. .been decades of being upset in that we talk like communists in the 70s and dont know it… left and right are communist ideas from stalin, trotsky, and bukharin, and my ex soviet associates are able to comment with me on it, but they tend to look down on the ‘mericans for having so much and being so foolish with it

    On July 30, 2010, the FBI released one file with three sections totaling 423 pages on Howard Zinn, a best selling radical historian, teacher, playwright, and political activist. . . .
    In 1949, the FBI opened a domestic security investigation on Zinn (FBI File # 100-360217). The Bureau noted Zinn’s activities in what were called Communist Front Groups and received informant reports that Zinn was an active member of the CPUSA; Zinn denied ever being a member when he was questioned by agents in the 1950s. In the 1960s, the Bureau took another look at Zinn on account of his criticism of the FBI’s civil rights investigations. Further investigation was made when Zinn traveled to North Vietnam with Daniel Berrigan as an anti-war activist.

    Cliff Kincaid summarizes the FBI documents:

    Although Zinn denied being a member of the CPUSA, the FBI file discloses that several reliable informants in the party identified Zinn as a member who attended party meetings as many as five times a week.

    What’s more, one of the files reveals that a reliable informant provided a photograph of Zinn teaching a class on “Basic Marxism” at party headquarters in Brooklyn, New York, in 1951. A participant in the class said that Zinn taught that “the basic teaching of Marx and Lenin were sound and should be adhered to by those present.”

    The FBI file also includes information on Zinn’s pro-Castro activism and support for radical groups such as the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), Progressive Labor Party (PLP), Socialist Workers Party (SWP), and Black Panther Party. Much of the latter was in connection with Zinn’s support for a communist military victory in Vietnam.

    been trying to cover the history…

    do note that the biggest push for zinn came from good will hunting
    where he tellls the other guy to read Zinn..

    Clip_Good Will Hunting 1997 zinn – YouTube
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_2cSB70ZjuM

    and it even advertised Chomsky advertising consent..

    🙂

  95. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Neo, WRT “flipped”. Yeah, but I’m right. In some cases it is difficult believe that a lib really is as stupid as would be necessary to believe his lame ideas do not lead to a manifest evil. Being, or faking, stupid is an armor against informed argument. Could be deliberate. In my experience, it takes no more than two irrefutable contradictions before a lib begins insisting 2+2=carrots, or that I’a bigot. Nobody’s that stupid.

  96. T Says:

    Catalyzed by Neo’s comment @ 12:28 above (“they literally have no notion that there is a person present who might be conservative.”), I’d like to weigh in on this discussion albeit rather late.

    I liken these potential confrontations to small skirmishes in a war, and yes, I do believe that we are in a war against a successful Gramscian march. One of the reasons that there is not a notion of a valid conservative point of view is that all too often people on the right do not respond in order to keep the peace (Beverly’s “forbearance”) and conservatives and conservative views go unnoticed in such public gatherings. The result it that it remains easy for people on the left to dismiss such views as the fanatical views of a minority of rightist-whackos and it contributes to the validity of the leftist Pauline Kael “reality.” (The 2011 Correspondents’ dinner at which Obama and Seth Meyers excoriated Donald Trump is a prime example of this.).

    Such people need to be made aware of the fact that there are “right thinking people” who actually hold such views, and who better to make that revelation than someone for whom the leftist has already developed some sort of friendship and respect? When one hears the cognitive dissonant “You seem so reasonable (nice/level headed), how can you believe that?” is when you know you have had the intended result.

    My views fall into the same category as Beverly (@ 4:07 am), physicsguy (@ 9:19), Richard Aubrey (@ 9:25), Lizzy (@ 10:31) and Barry Meisler (@ 11:54).

    While my own beliefs reflect their opinions, I see whether to confront/reveal as a decision based upon the immediate circumstances of the moment. Only an ideologue would always confront a leftist and only a coward would never confront one.

    There may be times that we choose to speak up and reveal our right-of-center position, there may be times when, for whatever reason, we choose not to do so. Regardless, we should not forget that while no single skirmish has a “macro” result in this cultural war, taken as a whole and over time such skirmishes validate the right-of-center position and make it increasingly difficult to dismiss it as the fringe mutterings of a whacko minority.

    Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit has often recommended that conservative billionaires purchase publications such as popular magazines and women’s magazines specifically for the purpose of infusing a conservative opinion into culture. Likewise, as Andrew Breitbart noted that politics is downstream of culture, I think we all need to be reminded at times that we, too, have a role in establishing that conservative cultural presence.

  97. Gringo Says:

    Once during the evening, though, I got up from the table and went into the bathroom to cool down for a few minutes when one woman had made a remark about how helpful Russia had been to Cuba and how mean we had been, and I found myself starting to make remarks like, “Oh, they were helpful, all right” with rising ire.

    For those who want some quick rejoinder to Fidel fan-persons, consider the following.

    Q. According to the UN’s Economic Commission on Latin America, Cuba’s Life Expectancy is currently 3.9 years greater than that for Latin America and the Caribbean [for 2015-20]. Does this indicate that Castro has been a good steward for Cuba?

    A. Yes. [assumed answer]

    Q. Also according to According to the UN’s Economic Commission on Latin America, Cuba’s Life Expectancy in the 1950s was 8.3 years greater than that for Latin America and the Caribbean. Does this indicate that Batista was a good steward for Cuba?
    A. Errr…ummmm

    For those who maintain that the “embargo” has harmed Cuba, ask them why in the 1950s, Castro maintained that the extensive economic ties between Cuba and the US harmed Cuba, and afterwards the lack of economic ties between Cuba and the US harmed Cuba.

    My favorite “embargo” statistic: From 1961 to 2013, milk production in Cuba increased 68%, or by a factor of 1.7. From 1961 to 2013, milk production in Latin America increased 370%, or by a factor of 4.7. Was the CIA shooting Cuban milk cows?

    I have been circumspect in bringing up this information in face to face encounters. Last year I was back home in NE, visiting a family friend who is the last survivor of my parents’ friends. She needs a walker, but her mind is as sharp as ever, which is not bad for being in her 90s. Her daughter remarked that it would be nice to visit Cuba before it gets ruined with capitalist development. My only reply was to roll my eyes. I didn’t want to get into a political argument in that situation.

    In my visit back home, politics were hardly brought up at all. A friend informed me that a classmate of ours who lives in the mountain states was an adherent of the Tea Party. I replied that my political stances are not all that different from the Tea Party. My friend replied that was because I was living in Texas. My response was that my current political views were mostly based on my growing up in NE plus my time working in Latin America.

    http://estadisticas.cepal.org/cepalstat/WEb_cEpalstat/Portada.asp?idioma=i

    http://www.fao.org/faostat/en/#home

  98. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    So…

    Putin is moving nuclear missiles to his border and Obama’s response is stationing some spec ops troops near the border?

    Putin must be so frustrated at having his moves so completely nuetralized! Obama’s strategic genius and “don’t mess with me!” rhetoric is awesome!

  99. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    In future, when responding to the intellectually clueless, I’m adopting a ridicule masked as praise approach.

    Example; “it’s great that you support Fidel and Raul Castro’s egalitarianism. If you do visit, I assume you’ll express solidarity with the Cuban people by limiting yourself to the same $20. a month limitation in earnings that the Castro regime insists its people exist upon?”

    In response to the predictable denial; “that’s the Cuban government’s figure, not mine. Do you think they’re lying? To what purpose?”

  100. Esther Says:

    Dropping tidbits and standing back, as someone suggested, is actually not a bad idea.

    Though, sometimes you flush out wacko truthers who begin confiding about crisis actors and global false flag conspiracies…which is a whole other kind of thing.

    In which case, standing back, far back, is a crucial tactical maneuver… also staying on that guy’s friends list:-).

  101. M J R Says:

    T, 2:35 pm — “Such people need to be made aware of the fact that there are ‘right thinking people’ who actually hold such views, . . . .”

    I’m reminded of William F. Buckley Jr.’s observation,

    “Liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views.”

  102. MHollywood Says:

    I dno if Artfldgr’s comments ARE off topic. I woke up this morning to a tiny headline that read “US sending troops to Russian border …” and then … crickets. Nothing. Seemed huge … then nothing. If you search Twitter for troops Russian border you get, like, three tweets.

    Meantime, at the Christmas party I attended, I approached a huddle of nice liberals I hadn’t seen for a while. They were serious and very “down–” seemingly drained of all energy. I was jolly. The woman of the group said to me something like “Aren’t you worried?” I was not thinking politics, and said no. “Well he’s going to take all our women’s rights from us.” “He is?,” I replied, still jolly. “Which ones is he going to take from us?” “ALL of them.” I just smiled without anger or worry or even any smug superiority and said that I did not think they had to worry about “all of women’s rights” being taken away. So the woman said, “I think you are getting senile.” Oh my. We went on a bit and, I guess, just in case I had missed it, she repeated in short order, “Yes, I think you are getting senile.” It was somewhat like being called a racist – but different. It almost seemed creative. Is that a new “thing” nice liberals get to say to people who do not sufficiently hate and fear the incoming administration?

    I moved away,and I faced three other women, also nice liberals. With the leader of that group I learned that Trump sleeps with a copy of “Mein Kampf” on the night table beside his bed. “Really!?” I said. “Huh. Where did you learn that?” Well, that is simply true. I could “look it up.” It was true. It was also true, I learned, that the re-counts in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania were fake because Republicans did them. Oh. I could look it up, I was told.

    I think Artfldgr is kind of making the point that these are the moments one can artfully say to a member of the ignoranti something like, “And how do you feel about the 4,000 US troops moving to the Russian border in January?” In other words, just mention some FACT, for they will then have nothing to say. They will know nothing about facts, particularly those not followed by big news outlets and ignored by popular talking heads.

    They do have all the same “lines.” It’s a Greek chorus. Since that Christmas party I have heard again and again and again that Trump intends to take all our women’s rights away, all our rights away, all our rights away.

    These are just … lines. To their “lines”, try to respond with some fact. That’ll stop ’em before they can call you senile or a racist or a sexist or a Republican. Facts and hate are oil and water.

  103. MHollywood Says:

    oh, and in the process of injecting facts into pity parties, you can advance some knowledge into people’s consciousness rather than worry about whether it hurts to be called a Republican or startles to be called senile or vexes you to be called a racist. These are just bullying tactics and to be expected. Troops on the Russian border … now that’s something to talk about, learn about, educate others about, become aware of. What’s up with that?

  104. OM Says:

    Read about it look it up or believe Art.

  105. Nick Says:

    “I thought the old saw was that liberals thought conservatives were evil, and conservatives thought liberals were ignorant? You seem to have flipped it around.”

    This topic fascinates me. There are two conflicting stereotypes: the smart-but-cold conservative, and the stupid conservative. I think it was the presidency of “amiable dunce” Ronald Reagan when the narrative started to flip. Kemp and Bennett did their part to fight against the stereotype of the stupid conservative, but Quayle helped cement it. By the time of W, it was “common” belief that conservatives were both smarter and better people.

    A lot of it has to do with the religious right, and the fact that Christians are more reluctant than atheists to brag about their intelligence. There’s also the shift of the South from D to R (which really only happened in Congress during the 1990’s). Bill Clinton was lauded for his IQ – the last Southerner of our time to have that happen, I’d bet.

    Online, there’s the whole Vox thing, as if the guys at Reason aren’t smarter. And of course Jon Stewart and his ilk on TV. NPR versus Limbaugh. The narrative is pretty strong across the culture.

    One of the good points in our political future is Paul Ryan, whom very few people in Washington are smarter than.

    Actually, Neo, I’m surprised that this topic hasn’t caught your eye before. It’s very germane to our contemporary political themes. The alt-right, the Acela corridor, Scalia and Thomas – there are a lot of things that look different from the perspective of the smart-versus-stupid competing stereotypes.

  106. Nick Says:

    Sorry – that’s liberals were both smarter and better.

  107. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Gringo. WRT yrs about Cuba. No lib is going to stand for that. Hysterics, accusations of imperialism…. Won’t do any good,
    Example. At a dinner party in the fall, the hostess said “Hillary Clinton’s the most lied-about woman in history.”
    Now, of course, most of what HRC’s been accused of she’s done and been proven six ways to Sunday. This woman is well educated and traveled. She cannot believe this as a matter of facts coming to her attention. It’s an emotional THING which has come to be a fact, in her mind. Does anybody think she could be brought to discuss this? Coney would be a repub shill, Benghazi is the mind reels. Nobody said anything and I suspect half the guests were biting their tongues. Point was, half, more or less, weren’t.

  108. jon baker Says:

    MHollywood: I guess you could ask them about these women’s rights. Though they would likely deny it is happening or say its ok because its their culture, even if its in Europe : https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/9639/europe-women-islam

  109. charles Says:

    Frankly, I think we’ve all been there.

    My all time “favorite” was in graduate school when I complained to fellow students about the professors using the “bully pulpit” to preach their political viewpoint when we cannot push back without fear of getting unfair grades.

    It amazed fellow classmates that I was politically conservative (more libertarian if I had to use a label). As one classmate said: “then why are you in school which is all liberal? You don’t really belong here, do you?!”

    She really was even more puzzled when I responded that politically liberal didn’t have a monopoly on knowledge.

    I’ve also lived outside the US for many years – and others who have lived overseas as well (mostly in Europe) are amazed that, and I quote: “with your experience how could you be so conservative?” They don’t seem to understand either when I say it is precisely because of my overseas experience that I am more inclined to be politically conservative and a military hawk. I try to tell them that I’ve seen government over-reach up close; I’ve seen troublesome neighboring countries up close as well. Neither of which are pretty – they don’t get that either.

    So, yea, Neo, many times it is better to just be silent.

  110. Deep Cover Says:

    Beverly Says:

    Thanks for the tip about Jimmy Neary’s on Sutton Place!!! I will check it out!!! I see they have french onion soup and are totally old school! Perhaps i will run into you someday! I have blue glasses. (I am insidious Hillary country where I am. Have to hide. Eeeek!!!! Oops. I’ve said too much! Happy New Year!

  111. Deep Cover Says:

    I meant to say “serious Hillary country”.

  112. MHollywood Says:

    OM it’s on YouTube – and 504 people in the world have watched it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7dnRgFJWtE4

  113. MHollywood Says:

    i take it all back. I vow not to comment on anything anywhere ever again.

  114. OM Says:

    MHollywood:

    The NATO exercise was in June 2016.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2016/06/07/u-s-nato-countries-begin-largest-military-exercise-in-europe-since-cold-war/?utm_term=.1f289f5110bb

    I saw some photos recently and some video of armored vehicles on the firing ranges but I haven’t been able to track it down. Poland in the summertime…..

  115. T Says:

    “I approached a huddle of nice liberals . . . .” [MHollywood @ 7:07]

    A gaggle of geese, a pod of whales, a huddle of liberals — that is a keeper!

  116. OM Says:

    http://www.thealmightyguru.com/Pointless/AnimalGroups.html

  117. OM Says:

    The Real Housewives of ISIS.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DOB6UDC-67w

    How insensitive! I’m outraged! 🙂

  118. CBI Says:

    I’m late to the discussion, but I think Neo is correct in noting that venues (or situations) make a difference in how a person can respond.

    That said, based upon my own experiences, I have found this technique to be valuable in situations such as she faced:

    1. Make a clear and countering—but very civil–claim. E.g., “I think that Trump’s crude language is not as bad as Clinton’s criminality.”

    2. Place it into the *context of the situation*: “But we both know that good people can differ about such things.”

    3. Then—and very importantly—offer a way out. “Let’s talk about something else and avoid arguments and disagreements”

    In every face-to-face discussion where I’ve applied it to date, I’ve found that this combination (I disagree–that’s OK–let’s not fight) has both defused the matter and led to a topic change. In addition, should the initial speaker respond rudely, it is he who is being rude and ruining things. Most people are willing to avoid disagreements to keep things running smoothly—and most onlookers will show displeasure at the one who escalates a disagreement.

    Note that this does not necessarily work online: friends of friends occasionally go hermatile. I have several friends of long term who are rather far left, but are OK with disagreements. they’ve even apologized when one of their other FaceBook friends got rude.

    YMMV, of course, but I think that it is well worth the risk to increase the sphere of “we disagree on politics, but so what” as well as the “not all non-leftists are evil, hidden, ‘mysterious other’ people.”

  119. Richard Aubrey Says:

    CBI. It would defuse the situation. As is often said, blessed are the peacemakers. It might mollify those who believe as you do and keep them from speaking up and causing a fuss by contradicting the Self Proclaimed Exceptionally Wonderful (SPEW).
    But this discussion has moved from how to be politely submissive to the Idiot Left to how to at least cause some doubt in what passes for their thinking.

  120. OM Says:

    CBI:

    Useful and insightful You seem to be treating people as individuals and attempt to converse and communicate with. Or is the point just to argue and cause conflict?

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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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