Are all conservatives this cute?

The NYT just ran a focus group piece with 8 conservative men. If you haven't read it, here it is:

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/04/12/opinion/conservative-voters-america.html

These people are morons. Did the Times deliberately choose idiots, or was this a random selection?

One guy rants unintelligibly about pink shirts.

Another complains that people don't follow traffic rules anymore.

Another guy in his 30's complains that the world wasn't like it was when he was younger.

None of them think that sexism or racism is a problem these days.

explains a lot.


drummerboy said:

The NYT just ran a focus group piece with 8 conservative men. If you haven't read it, here it is:

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/04/12/opinion/conservative-voters-america.html

These people are morons. Did the Times deliberately choose idiots, or was this a random selection?

One guy rants unintelligibly about pink shirts.

Another complains that people don't follow traffic rules anymore.

Another guy in his 30's complains that the world wasn't like it was when he was younger.

None of them think that sexism or racism is a problem these days.

explains a lot.

I think I can come up with 8 guys I personally know who says the same things. I’ve learned to pick my battles in life as I grew older. The amount of emotional energy allotted to our bodies on a daily basis is limited, use it wisely. 
I used to think that most conservative people were religious and older, but my experiences have proven me wrong, the crazy ones don’t go to church, they just have one common denominator…they are full of hatred for people they consider unfit for “American” citizenship…and of course the liberals who enabled them to be.

Reading the ramblings of Frank James, who attacked the N train in sunset park yesterday, I am surprised he never got the opportunity to speak at one of Trumpenstein’s rallies. The idiot left the keys to the Uhaul truck on the seat. 
Yes, they are dumb. Which means we just can’t disregard them. Because they can metastasize.


drummerboy said:

The NYT just ran a focus group piece with 8 conservative men. If you haven't read it, here it is:

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/04/12/opinion/conservative-voters-america.html

These people are morons. Did the Times deliberately choose idiots, or was this a random selection?

One guy rants unintelligibly about pink shirts.

Another complains that people don't follow traffic rules anymore.

Another guy in his 30's complains that the world wasn't like it was when he was younger.

None of them think that sexism or racism is a problem these days.

explains a lot.

I  wouldn't call them dumb.  But a lot of them seem to be perpetually aggrieved.  Therefore, they are prone to believing any claim that confirms their bias that the world (and especially "the left") is out to get them.  There's a local FB group full of those kind of people.  At first glance a lot of the posts seem really stupid.  But then you note the common denominator -- the libs are ruining things for people like them.  Everything sucks, and everything is getting worse.  That's the worldview.


I like the guy who got beat up every day for being an Arab but doesn’t think racism is a problem. I guess the beatings just build character?


The phenomenon is not just confined to the USA - we’re (yippee! At long last!) in the first few days of an official federal election campaign. An alarming number of these numpties are either running for office or are supposedly major supporters of prominent candidates. *Shudder*

My own Member of Parliament has been known for known similar outrageousness, but turns out mostly that was to cover up his rorting the taxpayers (claiming 10x the going rate for bundled home phone & internet rates - which weren’t allowed as expenses anyway - plus his offices’ phones & internet, all while working to delay improvements to the internet networks AND complaining about them). 


I am going to add “rorting” to my vocabulary. 


It’s originally a Sydney term, and has since spread all around Australia. I’m quite surprised Murdoch hasn’t spread it around the world cheese

Another verb you might like is ‘gazzump’: originally used in buying real estate, then in trying to park your car at the shopping mall. When the other person sneaks through at the last second and ‘steals’ the spot as if you hadn’t made your claim well-known, that’s gazzumping. You’ve been gazzumped. 


the problem, of course, is that morons elect morons


Threads like this are worse than useless.  Trying to dismiss peoples opinions on the grounds of intelligence means that you will never take the time to understand how they arrived at that way of thinking.  So, unless civil war is the end game, it would be nice for people to spend more time figuring out how to close some of the fissures in our country. 


The problem isn't the underinformed or undereducated conservatives.

The problem is the conservatives who know that they're spreading misinformation to be believed by the underinformed and undereducated, for their own political ends.


nohero said:

The problem isn't the underinformed or undereducated conservatives.

The problem is the conservatives who know that they're spreading misinformation to be believed by the underinformed and undereducated, for their own political ends.

The Trumpists are very good at making it look like all problems are a result of poor, brown people at the Mexico border, transgender participants in women's sports and abortion rights.  How does one push back against this.

Quite some time ago, NPR ran a story about a chicken processing plant in Albertville, Alabama where workers were being displayed by Hispanic workers - some legal, some not.  My one thought after hearing this is that if workers had strong unions to protect them, this wouldn't happen.  But Trumpists also portray unions as the root of all evil.

I use the word Trumpist because I don't know what terms like conservative or liberal mean any more.


tjohn said:

Threads like this are worse than useless.  Trying to dismiss peoples opinions on the grounds of intelligence means that you will never take the time to understand how they arrived at that way of thinking.  So, unless civil war is the end game, it would be nice for people to spend more time figuring out how to close some of the fissures in our country. 

oh, piffle I say!

thinking that these people are perhaps intellectually challenged in no way prevents me from analyzing why they may think that way. I spend an awful lot of time thinking about that.

as for closing fissures, good luck with that. These people are unreachable. They are constantly lied to by their preferred media outlets and political leaders.  They live in a fantasy land of aggrievement. They are impervious to facts.

Conservatives have long had an anti-intellectual streak. And it's only getting worse.

Hell, they might elect Herschel Walker to the Senate!


tjohn said:

nohero said:

The problem isn't the underinformed or undereducated conservatives.

The problem is the conservatives who know that they're spreading misinformation to be believed by the underinformed and undereducated, for their own political ends.

The Trumpists are very good at making it look like all problems are a result of poor, brown people at the Mexico border, transgender participants in women's sports and abortion rights.  How does one push back against this.

There's no magic solution. Even when it seems futile, the way to respond is with facts, and with voting.

By the way, in my opinion there are no "good" Republicans who can be voted for, for national or state office.  For example, that nice Tom Kean Jr, who is running for Congress, is trying to seem "reasonable". But if elected, he'll enable the GOP leadership to take control, and we know what their priorities are.

And just as bad as voting for one of these "nice" Republicans is taking the attitude that it doesn't matter who is elected. People who tell you that may be the real dumb ones.


Agreed.  Voting as been easy as of late - well, last 20 plus years.  I just vote for the Democrats.


nohero said:

tjohn said:

nohero said:

The problem isn't the underinformed or undereducated conservatives.

The problem is the conservatives who know that they're spreading misinformation to be believed by the underinformed and undereducated, for their own political ends.

The Trumpists are very good at making it look like all problems are a result of poor, brown people at the Mexico border, transgender participants in women's sports and abortion rights.  How does one push back against this.

There's no magic solution. Even when it seems futile, the way to respond is with facts, and with voting.

By the way, in my opinion there are no "good" Republicans who can be voted for, for national or state office.  For example, that nice Tom Kean Jr, who is running for Congress, is trying to seem "reasonable". But if elected, he'll enable the GOP leadership to take control, and we know what their priorities are.

And just as bad as voting for one of these "nice" Republicans is taking the attitude that it doesn't matter who is elected. People who tell you that may be the real dumb ones.

any person who says they vote for "the person not the party" for any federal office in this day and age is naive to a fault.


ml1 said:

any person who says they vote for "the person not the party" for any federal office in this day and age is naive to a fault.

Or just lying and voting straight line Republican.  I have never heard a Dem use this line.


drummerboy said:

oh, piffle I say!

For the want of a comma.


nohero said:

The problem isn't the underinformed or undereducated conservatives.

The problem is the conservatives who know that they're spreading misinformation to be believed by the underinformed and undereducated, for their own political ends.

this is a huge problem in our country.  There have always been people who think things were better in the good old days, and that the country is going to hell on a handcart. But now there is a huge ecosystem of media that it specifically designed to gin up even more anger among that group of people.  Talk radio hosts, Fox News, online pundits created the conditions for the MAGA phenomenon.

And I can't imagine what they antidote could be.  A lot of people seem to WANT to be angry.  And they seek out confirmation for their view that anyone to their "left" is to blame.


While just calling people dumb is fairly pointless, and counterproductive, there's a lot of good sense in this thread.

Fox for one aims to keep listeners/viewers in a state of constant anxiety. It feeds their bottom line, and they don't care how it messes up people's thinking and leads to various denialisms, Q, etc. etc.

(And contra GoSlugs, i am a Democrat, or maybe farther left, who used to "vote for the person," including the occasional sensible Republican.  But that's just not possible now.  Pretty much any of them will go along with party when it comes down to it, and the party's goals and methods are appalling.)


ml1 said:

any person who says they vote for "the person not the party" for any federal office in this day and age is naive to a fault.

Yeah -- I reached that conclusion in the end, and finally registered with a party in 2016. We have in effect parliamentary politics, but run on a system that assumes parties won't matter as much, and this causes a lot of damaging gridlock (damaging because it means the party winning power can't actually exercises that power and so neither be directly rewarded nor punished electorally -- it just results in apathy and cynicism as nothing can actually get done and the best voters can hope for is to block things they dislike from happening).


If I were given to conspiracy theories I would think the NY Times purposely picks stupid people who call themselves "conservative" to interview.

I would think they could walk into any financial services company and find well-educated and intelligent people who identify as Republicans and even Conservatives. Some, but not all of them might support a Trump because they favor low taxes and low regulation, traditional Republican policies and they are afraid of the Democrats who they see as opposed to those things.

Now the Republican elite are afraid of running on their actual principles. They don't think that the average voter will support policies which are designed to help the affluent. They don't have the nerve to argue "trickle-down" economics, so in order to win they have to appeal to the basest of voter's instincts, like racism and zenophobia, and so-called "cultural issues". 



STANV said:

If I were given to conspiracy theories I would think the NY Times purposely picks stupid people who call themselves "conservative" to interview.

I would think they could walk into any financial services company and find well-educated and intelligent people who identify as Republicans and even Conservatives. Some, but not all of them might support a Trump because they favor low taxes and low regulation, traditional Republican policies and they are afraid of the Democrats who they see as opposed to those things.

Now the Republican elite are afraid of running on their actual principles. They don't think that the average voter will support policies which are designed to help the affluent. They don't have the nerve to argue "trickle-down" economics, so in order to win they have to appeal to the basest of voter's instincts, like racism and zenophobia, and so-called "cultural issues". 

that's partly what struck me about this piece. where and how do they find their subjects?


To some degree I feel like I have a decent sense of what's going on in American politics, but in other ways I'm not so sure. There are things particular to this country and our history, but it also feels like this is larger than the US -- Le Pen's strength in France, Brexit, ADF in Germany, Orban in Hungary...  The global project of liberal democracy (liberal broadly, not meaning the political left) seems to be struggling and lacking confidence -- why? On the one hand I want to avoid historical revisionism and blindness. Back when the American political right was apologetically declaring itself on the side of global democracy, it was still a force opposed to racial equality and true democracy at home. So it's tempting to say that maybe there never was a true global democratic movement or moment, just anti-communism to paper over deep fissures.

But that doesn't seem correct either - after all, it was under Republican president Eisenhower that Little Rock High was integrated, for instance. But maybe that's the clue here -- when we look at current populist movements today, they all share a fixation on demographic "purity" -- often directed against immigrants (Trump, Le Pen, Orban, etc).Perhaps what we can say is that in the past the struggle between the ideals of liberal democracy and the appeals of nationalist populism were happening within political factions -- there were pro-civil rights Republians, and segregationist Democrats -- and the very visible contrast with the tyrannical communist bloc provided an incentive for even the populists to talk in terms of democracy.

Now the fight is more between political factions. In the US that's become very dangerous because it's now cleaved our politics in a way that makes governing close to impossible since our system is designed to work via compromise between political factions, but we now have two parties that can't compromise, and there are so many veto points in our system that majorities can't govern and everything is just a series of attempts to block the other party.


Newt Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh, Fox News


This is in the latest Atlantic. I didn't find it terribly insightful - I'm just offering it up. Maybe others will find it more useful.

What annoyed me the most was the author's complete disregard for the effect of Fox News. That's just inexcusable if you ask me.

Why the Past 10 Years of American Life Have Been Uniquely Stupid

It’s not just a phase.

By Jonathan Haidt



PVW said:

To some degree I feel like I have a decent sense of what's going on in American politics, but in other ways I'm not so sure. There are things particular to this country and our history, but it also feels like this is larger than the US -- Le Pen's strength in France, Brexit, ADF in Germany, Orban in Hungary...  The global project of liberal democracy (liberal broadly, not meaning the political left) seems to be struggling and lacking confidence -- why? On the one hand I want to avoid historical revisionism and blindness. Back when the American political right was apologetically declaring itself on the side of global democracy, it was still a force opposed to racial equality and true democracy at home. So it's tempting to say that maybe there never was a true global democratic movement or moment, just anti-communism to paper over deep fissures.

But that doesn't seem correct either - after all, it was under Republican president Eisenhower that Little Rock High was integrated, for instance. But maybe that's the clue here -- when we look at current populist movements today, they all share a fixation on demographic "purity" -- often directed against immigrants (Trump, Le Pen, Orban, etc).Perhaps what we can say is that in the past the struggle between the ideals of liberal democracy and the appeals of nationalist populism were happening within political factions -- there were pro-civil rights Republians, and segregationist Democrats -- and the very visible contrast with the tyrannical communist bloc provided an incentive for even the populists to talk in terms of democracy.

Now the fight is more between political factions. In the US that's become very dangerous because it's now cleaved our politics in a way that makes governing close to impossible since our system is designed to work via compromise between political factions, but we now have two parties that can't compromise, and there are so many veto points in our system that majorities can't govern and everything is just a series of attempts to block the other party.

Perhaps it’s obvious, but I think it’s hard not to think that this situation seems to be globally “contagious” because of our increasing economic interdependence. Working class conservatives in advanced economies are being squeezed by lower-wage countries everywhere, not just here in the U.S. Those lower-wage countries are generally populated by brown people.

Edited to add that I don’t think that Ike is a good Republican example, mostly due to his military experience. Outside influences aside, the military is one of the least racist American institutions you’ll find, even then.


jimmurphy said:

PVW said:

To some degree I feel like I have a decent sense of what's going on in American politics, but in other ways I'm not so sure. There are things particular to this country and our history, but it also feels like this is larger than the US -- Le Pen's strength in France, Brexit, ADF in Germany, Orban in Hungary...  The global project of liberal democracy (liberal broadly, not meaning the political left) seems to be struggling and lacking confidence -- why? On the one hand I want to avoid historical revisionism and blindness. Back when the American political right was apologetically declaring itself on the side of global democracy, it was still a force opposed to racial equality and true democracy at home. So it's tempting to say that maybe there never was a true global democratic movement or moment, just anti-communism to paper over deep fissures.

But that doesn't seem correct either - after all, it was under Republican president Eisenhower that Little Rock High was integrated, for instance. But maybe that's the clue here -- when we look at current populist movements today, they all share a fixation on demographic "purity" -- often directed against immigrants (Trump, Le Pen, Orban, etc).Perhaps what we can say is that in the past the struggle between the ideals of liberal democracy and the appeals of nationalist populism were happening within political factions -- there were pro-civil rights Republians, and segregationist Democrats -- and the very visible contrast with the tyrannical communist bloc provided an incentive for even the populists to talk in terms of democracy.

Now the fight is more between political factions. In the US that's become very dangerous because it's now cleaved our politics in a way that makes governing close to impossible since our system is designed to work via compromise between political factions, but we now have two parties that can't compromise, and there are so many veto points in our system that majorities can't govern and everything is just a series of attempts to block the other party.

Perhaps it’s obvious, but I think it’s hard not to think that this situation seems to be globally “contagious” because of our increasing economic interdependence. Working class conservatives in advanced economies are being squeezed by lower-wage countries everywhere, not just here in the U.S. Those lower-wage countries are generally populated by brown people.

Edited to add that I don’t think that Ike is a good Republican example, mostly due to his military experience. Outside influences aside, the military is one of the least racist American institutions you’ll find, even then.

Yup, the economic angle is absolutely an important one too, which I didn't mention or explore in my post.

On Ike, you're right but also my understanding is that there was a significant pro-civil rights segment within the Republican party even beyond Eisenhower.


are we really back to "economic anxiety" being a driving force here?

I thought that was put to rest a few years ago.


ml1 said:
And I can't imagine what they antidote could be.  A lot of people seem to WANT to be angry.

Anger has one big upside -- it's an empowering emotion. If we take jimmurphy's point about the increasing economic squeeze, and look at places where populism has the greatest support, it's not just economic opportunity that is decreasing, but economic agency. I think that helps explain why, for instance, we see Trump supporters who aren't necessarily doing poorly economically, who in some cases are actually earning a good income. The economic options, and the ability to choose one's way of living and of earning a living, have objectively declined in many communities. Feeling angry restores some sense of power and agency that is lost.


PVW said:

ml1 said:
And I can't imagine what they antidote could be.  A lot of people seem to WANT to be angry.

Anger has one big upside -- it's an empowering emotion. If we take jimmurphy's point about the increasing economic squeeze, and look at places where populism has the greatest support, it's not just economic opportunity that is decreasing, but economic agency. I think that helps explain why, for instance, we see Trump supporters who aren't necessarily doing poorly economically, who in some cases are actually earning a good income. The economic options, and the ability to choose one's way of living and of earning a living, have objectively declined in many communities. Feeling angry restores some sense of power and agency that is lost.

concerning that last point, you have to consider someone's age in terms of their perception of that decline.

Someone under 50, let's say, will not have seen much of a decline, because that decline was already in full swing or maybe even in place for the last 30 years. (numbers are ballpark, but you get the point) So to them, there was no real decline. They've just been living in the post-decline status quo.

Older workers will have more of a chance of actually seeing the decline


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