How We Got Here

I’m sharing an unusually long quotation, also shared by Political Animal, from one Dave Roberts (a writer with whom I am unfamiliar), because it has so much explanatory power.

Roberts traces the history behind America’s current political polarization, and he’s pretty convincing:

In postwar, mid-20th-century America, there was a period of substantial bipartisanship, and it powerfully shaped the way political and economic elites think about US politics. The popular picture of how politics works — reaching across the aisle, twisting arms, building coalitions behind common-sense policy — has clung to America’s self-conception long after the underlying structural features that enabled bipartisanship fundamentally shifted.

What enabled bipartisanship was, to simplify matters, the existence of socially liberal Republicans in the Northeast and Democrats in the South who were fiscally conservative and virulently racist. Ideologically heterogeneous parties meant that transactional, cross-party coalitions were relatively easy to come by.

Over the past several decades, the parties have polarized, i.e., sorted themselves ideologically (that’s what the GOP’s “Southern strategy” was about). Racist conservative Democrats became Republicans and social liberals became Democrats. The process has now all but completed: The rightmost national Democrat is now to the left of the leftmost national Republican.

Crucially, however, the process of polarization has been asymmetrical. While almost all liberals have become Democrats and almost all conservatives have become Republicans, far more Republicans self-identify as conservative than Democrats do as liberal, and consequently the GOP has moved much further right than the Democratic Party has left.

Part of the explanation is that there has been a demographic sorting as well. The demographics that tend Democrat — minorities, single women, young people, LGBTQ folks, academics, and artists — cluster in the “urban archipelago” of America’s cities. Meanwhile, the Republican Party has increasingly become the voice of white people who live around other white people in rural and suburban areas, where they have been radicalized by burgeoning right-wing media and a network of ideologically conservative think tanks and lobbying groups.

It is not surprising that small-government ideology appeals to people who view government as a mechanism whereby special interest groups make claims on their resources, values, and privileges. Conservative whites, freaked out by hippies in the ’60s, blacks in the ’70s, communists in the ’80s, Clintons in the ’90s, Muslims in the ’00s, and Obama more recently, are now more or less permanently freaked out, gripped by a sense of “aggrieved entitlement,” convinced that they are “losing their country.” (If only someone would come along and promise to make it great again!)

As the GOP has grown more demographically and ideologically homogeneous, it has become, in the memorable words of congressional scholars Thomas Mann and Norm Ornstein, “a resurgent outlier: ideologically extreme; contemptuous of the inherited social and economic policy regime; scornful of compromise; un-persuaded by conventional understanding of facts, evidence, and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.”

When I was a new lawyer, a more seasoned colleague told me “There’s actually only one legal question: what do we do?”

That question is equally applicable to politics. But for those of us who miss the previously sane and respectable Grand Old Party–and the balance it provided to the political system–the answer is far more elusive.


66 thoughts on “How We Got Here

  1. On Meet the Press yesterday, Bernie Sanders said that he didn’t really believe that the GOP “won” in 2014 but rather that the Dems were disillusioned with politics, the status quo and felt left behind so didn’t get out to vote. (How many of us remember how many Dems ran away from Obama then too? I do and felt that was trouble. Sure enough).
    Sanders proposed that his platform was energizing those people because they have had enough with established candidates of the party and because he had listened to them all along and wanted the same for this country and that he may have a better chance to get the country back on track (meaning for all people and not the 1%).
    And if you haven’t seen the numbers from Greensboro NC yesterday that saw Sanders, you might want to take notice today.

  2. As long as there are so many safe districts in our nation there will be polarization, and there will be gridlock in Congress/Senate. The Senate rules set up gridlock, the ease of filibuster among them. That will lead again to disillusionment when a leader is stymied by a recalcitrant, ideologically pure minority bent on holding government hostage.

  3. “How we got here” in my simplistic view of politics: the new GOP has latched onto religion as its platform and basis for reasoning and control. They can spout Bible verses to excuse their current political platform and pass laws to protect their religious intrusion into the lives of others. They have lost sight of a most important quote from one of the lesser known apostles in the New Testament; in a letter from Paul found in I Timothy, 6:10…”For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”

    In my view of this new unrecognizable GOP, they are piercing the rest of us through “…with many sorrows…” During the 19th Century the southern Democratic party was the guilty party; leading this nation into Civil War to maintain their level of prosperity by retaining their states right to slavery, removing themselves from the union and creating their own form of government. “A nation divided against itself cannot stand.” are words that need to be relearned and heeded. The partisan turnaround, unrecognized by today’s staunch Republicans primarily, now has the 1% (21st century version of plantation masters) paying elected officials to maintain their right to enslave low and middle income America to become richer in the process. Simply a modern version of slavery with them getting richer by the underpaid labors of the supporting low and middle class, the 21st Century version of slavery.

    So, “what do we do?” We continue to make our voices heard to drown out the Trumps, Huckabees, Cruzes, Bushes, Boehners, McConnells, et al; and at the lower level the Pences, Ballards…and the Davises, Kim and Joe. We are again in a “war” to retain the union, to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America and all it’s Amendments in the original meaning as written by the founding fathers. The only way this can be done is by voting; we don’t have to agree with every word of every member of the Democratic party but we do need to remember who and what they are fighting for. One major issue they are fighting for at this time is peace; world peace and peace here at home.

    Partisanship is a basic part of our government; but it shouldn’t remain the total division of government it has become. Anyone who has read President Obama’s book, “The Audacity of Hope” knows that he holds the hope, as do I and most Americans, that the parties will once again sit at the bargaining table and work out solutions to our problems – which are many. NOT by shutting down the government to get their way on a few issues. The answer doesn’t need to be elusive; the questions need to be listened to with open minds…that is what is elusive.

  4. Culture is mankind’s adaptation to the environment. It helps the young conform to what has been learned by experience so that they don’t have to relearn it.

    As such it reluctantly adapts to changing environments.

    Thus the view that the conservative culture is, among other things, a relic of the past. We’ve gone global and conservatism is inherently local. In fact virtually personal. What’s mine is mine.

    Of course that out of dateness is what’s utilized by those brand marketing oligarchy through our everywhere media just like the Ministry of Truth foreseen in “1984”.

    The conservative meme is an anchor resisting progress and that’s why it’s ultimately intolerable by humanity. It will be overcome no matter how much the wealthy invest in utilizing it to bring about the oligarchy which is the final and ultimate thing that they don’t have.

    So humanity’s trajectory is determine by our socially liberal nature. It’s irresistible. But it first has to win against our darker sensibilities.

  5. Sheila,

    I believe we were always “here”, the differences being a matter of degree and timing. So much of what we are derives from what we have been. The GOP and Dems, I think, are no farther apart than the Revolutionist and the Loyalists. How could there ever be a greater separation than the Civil War? What could be more evil than armed conflict; brother killing brother in order to maintain slavery of another? There is a very basic separation in mankind: those who believe this is a shared community and others who believe it is all for me and the Devil take the hindmost.

    Although you wouldn’t know it by the rhetoric, one of the most oppressed people of the last century has evolved to become one of most oppressive.

    In using the term “Devil”, I mean just that. There is a very real and operative evil existent in mankind. Some mankind, but not all. The kind and compassionate do not need secondary reinforcement in order to perpetuate their agenda. Mainly because they have none. They simply want to ‘just all get along’. But those infused with this malady I refer to know it would be impossible to pursue their course single handedly. They need cohorts to do what they dread: personal violence. There are no greater hawks than Wolfowitz and Cheney , nor greater cowards.

    Then, just as Pete so brilliantly portrays, all means available are employed to appeal to this basic human flaw and exploit it for their own benefit. I would venture that some 90% of Americans could give less than a damned about who is sleeping with whom. But that remainder are infused with an evil which demands they make every attempt to control the majority. Most of those you will see protesting at PP facilities are old, dried up women and shrivelled up men who had their problems ‘handled’ during their college years and now risk pneumonia in order to deny this to others.

    Everyone knows that those with means send their daughters to family physicians for the ‘drilling and cleaning’ when problems arise. Those who doubt that have no place in this conversation. To condemn the needy to a life of deepening poverty and despair is more than spiritual. It is evil.

    How we got here is through the concentration of evil and the dispersion of good.

  6. Earl,

    Thanks. That’s the problem in a “nutshell.”

    As for the Middle East, as time has progressed, the Israelis are now, basically, doing to the Palestinians what the Nazis did to them. The “abused” are now the “abuser.” Unfortunately, it usually works out that way.

    What a world.

  7. “Racist conservative Democrats became Republicans and social liberals became Democrats.”

    Each party picked up lots of dregs in the sorting. While you note that Republicans got the racists from the Democratic Party, you should have included in your inventory that the Democrats picked up the communists, the America-haters, the feminists, the weaklings, the professional lying occupations and the homosexuals.

    The Republicans picked up the military and police idolators, martial-law hopefuls, freedom haters, fundamentalists, the willfully uneducated and the flag worshipers.

    We went from having two mainstream parties to two very oddball camps. It’s to the point that you can look at a White male and have a pretty good guess at his party preference by observing how healthy. strong and straight he is. If the White guy carries a few pounds and looks like he can swing a heavy hammer with effectiveness and authority, he’s far more likely to be a Republican. If the White guy looks like he can barely lift the hammer, but perhaps ogles the guys swinging the hammers, it’s a safe bet he pulls (with strain) the Democrat lever.

  8. Comments today as on most days beat a dead horse. The Democrat party in IN and the U.S. is incapable of producing the change we need. Sheila and all liberal thinkers have analyzed our situation ad nauseam. The perpetrators of the mess we are in have been unmasked. What we lack is an uprising. Enough talk and hand-wringing.

  9. “As for the Middle East, as time has progressed, the Israelis are now, basically, doing to the Palestinians what the Nazis did to them. ”

    Not quite, Marv. The Nazis threw the Jews in work camps. Nowhere close to 6,000,000 Jews died in these work camps. In a mastery of public relations, with complicity from the American media, after the war, the Jews called them “death camps,” and, claimed the world owed them a country as a “homeland” because of their suffering.

    As Ashkenazi Jews, over 90% of the world’s Jews, have absolutely no blood lineage to the lands of Palestine, and as Palestine is kind of hot and dry, there are lots of Jews who are admitting that the Ukraine is their real homeland. Notice how the American media became immediately engrossed in Russia’s aims for Crimea, when almost no American cared about it or could find it on a map?

    The Crimea was the Khazarian Riviera, and they want it back. I’m not sure if the Jews want to give up on Israel and head home to the Ukraine or if they want one country with two colonies.

  10. The Gopper never disappoints! His homophobic, democrat/liberal/progressive hating rage is always on full volume. I agree we have two oddball camps; however, the democrats seem far more inclusive as a group than what’s left of the republicans. The republicans have become the reincarnation of Joe McCarthy, both lacking in intelligence and doing everything possible to fan the flames of suspicion and hate – everybody that disagrees is a communist/homosexual/liberal, etc. It’s all just so convenient and requires very little critical thought. And there are so many willing champions of their cause.

  11. Well Wayne, to respond to your comment regarding beating that dead horse, I was taken back to when raising 5 children. After repeatedly telling them the same thing till my temper got the best of me, I screamed at them, “Are you retarded? How many times do I have to tell you the same thing before you remember and understand and just do it?”

    “Retarded” was an acceptable label in those “thrilling days of yesteryear” but the need to repeat ad nauseum seems to be necessary yet today to get through to many people and to reach others. As a mother and former politician; no one knows this better than Sheila and many of her readers/commenters. Some things never change; the need for talk and hand-wringing to bring about change is one of them. As for “uprising”, we witnessed that during Pence’s RFRA law and “fix” and again with Kim Davis who is back on the job today with Plan B of her private “uprising”.

    Sigh; sometimes I get so tired:(

  12. Gopper,

    You must be an unsuccessful defense attorney. Wow! can you turn things around.

    I remember once, when I was the defense attorney on a pro bono case. And after jury selection, I was in the men’s room and a bailiff friend said to me: “Some of those jurors you placed on the jury are so dumb that they don’t even know how to flush the urinals.” That’s what you better have if your client is guilty: dumb jurors

    I’m afraid Gopper, that you are not very good at jury selection: This blog is not made up of a bunch of dumb jurors.

  13. AgingLGrl, you have hit the nail on the head. The McMega-Media is willfully confused by Bernie Sanders. The McMega-Media has went out of the way to label him as as a fringe candidate. The pundits of CNN, Fox, and MSNBC refuse to admit Bernie is bringing up issues the are resonating with the American people. I am for one tired of being fed one Corporate Establishment Candidate after another. Thus, I feel the Berne.

  14. Earl may be right but he is also very fearful. You will recall that Fascism persisted unto the very day that Liberating forces breached the Reichstag walls. Goebbels, the minister of evil, killed every woman and child around him on the last day. You have witnessed the very face of evil.

    Remember also, the the Red Cross coupled with the Catholic Church to import as much of the Nazi regime as possible to the United States. They are yet among us. When you think of Goebbels, think of Cheney. Think of Cotton. Think of of Pence. Think of Slick Willie. People who do not know they are evil.

  15. The best definition yet of Gopper’s perversion in his own words.

    “Democrats picked up the communists, the America-haters, the feminists, the weaklings, the professional lying occupations and the homosexuals.”

    The Tea Party sucked in thousands of adherents by labeling themselves as patriots. They are not and never were. They don’t understand,much less respect, our Constitution, our government, our history and culture, nor most importantly freedom and democracy.

    Germany found the price of perverted patriotism and that fate a

  16. Something went wrong, sorry. Continuing:

    ……awaited us had not the great awakening occurred.

    America deserves much credit for slowly advancing civilization over the years. We have joined the great civilizations of the world in moving humanity forward as seems humanity’s role in life.

    Civilizations though rise and fall and many wondered why our times would be so short. It’s not over. We have weathered the perfect storm and I believe will survive it. This one. Others will come and one will be our end but not this one. Reason has once again prevailed.

  17. Gopper. “The Nazi threw the Jews into work camps.” Really? Tell that to my thirteen cousins who were not thrown into a work camp but thrown into the ovens of Auschwitz.

  18. {As the GOP has grown more demographically and ideologically homogeneous, it has become, in the memorable words of congressional scholars Thomas Mann and Norm Ornstein, “a resurgent outlier: ideologically extreme; contemptuous of the inherited social and economic policy regime; scornful of compromise; un-persuaded by conventional understanding of facts, evidence, and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.”}
    We may think the far right are outliers but they are a very powerful, well-funded group, easily manipulated by the 1% who are driving the agenda using fear as the main fuel.
    There is a series of articles appearing in the local press about why people don’t vote. It is very enlightening and discouraging. Causes that people gave their lives and fortunes to enact are being surrendered by those who are complacent, ignorant by choice, self-interested to the exclusion of all others (unless it suddenly becomes personal), risk-averse, and insulated by gerrymandering. History is replete with societies that concentrated wealth and power in the hands of a few, only to see it all blow up in chaos when the suppressed finally have enough or a stronger outside group overwhelmed the existing power structure.

  19. What? First, you said Auschwitz had electrified conveyor belts. Then, it was supposed to have gas chambers. Now it’s ovens?

    Oy. What’s a truth-seeker to do?

    We’re to believe that the Nazis were struggling to keep the war machine running, but they went first-rate on the killing apparatus that yielded nothing for the war effort?

    Right after the war, Jews complained loudest about Buchenwald, and that makes sense, because a work camp in Germany would be most useful to the production of goods. As Germany starved, the work camps would be in worse shape. Later, the Polish camps were claimed to be the worst, because nobody really knew what was going on there, so you could say anything.

    Original claims for Auschwitz were over 4 million, then around 1.5 million, then around 1 million, only about half of which were Jews. The real truth is that well under one million died at Auschwitz, and some estimates put the number at 75,000.

    We do know 223,000 walked out of Auschwitz alive. If it was a death camp, it was pretty ineffective.

    If you lost cousins, it was most likely due to typhus…or an ADL press release.

  20. Gopper, I can’t tell if you’re ever interested in learning or just pontificating but if you’re interested in learning about the “thinking” that drove Hitler as he drove Germany here’s a good source.

    Good because it’s still relevant. If fossil fuel companies get their way and profit today at the expense of future humanity the conditions that drove Hitler into genocide will return and future leaders will also be thinking that they have to decide who lives and dies.

  21. That’s an interesting topic, Pete. Save it for later. I believe Paul Ogden will discuss that topic with you, any time of the day. He has a blog you doubtless have bookmarked.

    Right now, we’re discussing how the two parties morphed into political vehicles for reprehensibles, and someone brought up the Jews.

  22. Irvin: “Gooper, I’m going to stop with (the) Gobber bit, It is an insult to Gobber’s everywhere

    I just returned from my lunch at the Senior Citizen Center here in Jacksonville. I was thinking on the way back along the lines of Irvin. I am actually a pretty tolerant guy. And I understand where Gopper is coming from. I defended African-Americans and the poor in East Texas. It wasn’t much of a cosmopolitan area. Being the only attorney in Quinlan, Texas (population 1,000), I was acquainted with many of our town folks who were in the Klan.

    Gopper is really giving them a bad name. I’m sure you know, I don’t agree with their politics. But, I never met anyone in Quinlan who spoke as irresponsible as Gopper. The Klan has an agenda and I am sure he is not a part of it. He’s a danger to their cause. Let him keep talking.

  23. OK Gop, I’ll play.

    “Democrats picked up the communists, the America-haters, the feminists, the weaklings, the professional lying occupations and the homosexuals.”

    First, there are no Communists left. The underlying assumption that defined Communism turned out to be faulty. Not because it was faulty when first thought but the world has evolved in an unexpected way. Capitalism didn’t collapse under the weight of wealth redistribution up as predicted. It was made sustainable by regulation. So the basic thesis behind Communism evolved to be invalid.

    America haters. This was the self created epithet by Tea Partiers based on the old political adage, what ever you are accuse your opponents of. It’s simply inaccurate. Tea Partiers and their spawn hate America. “They don’t understand,much less respect, our Constitution, our government, our history and culture, nor most importantly freedom and democracy.”

    Feminists are people proud to be females. Just as you are a “masculinist”. Why shouldn’t half of us share the same pride?

    Weaklings. It’s been hundreds of years since brains conquered brawn. Grow up.

    The professional lying occupations. No change except that journalists have been largely replaced by advertisers by business interests. CEOs and TV evangelists still lead the list of professional liers followed by politicians and trial attorneys who are well paid to.

    Homosexuals. I don’t care about other people’s sex lives. I just as soon others not care about mine.

  24. “that journalists have been largely replaced by advertisers by business interests”

    Replace “advertisers” with a better word choice “opinionators”. Not a word yet but should be.

  25. JD, don’t you think they know how dangerous the hoi polloi can be? Don’t you see the preparations each day to address such an occasion? Can’t you remember that these is no hesitation to unleash all the power of the MIComplex to crush you unmercifully? Don’t you remember Waco, Kent State, Chicago, Philadelphia, N. Orleans, Chicago again during the Dem Convention?

    Just as I mentioned about Herr Goebbels, there are no compunctions about destroying everything in order to save ‘it’. You paid to equip the 101st Airborne. They are aligned against you.

  26. Paul. I hope that Gopper is right and you’ll join me in a dialog about the Times article that I referenced above. Of course the current context would be why should we put fossil fuel profits today in front of feeding humanity in the future?

  27. And again: How was the French Revolution accomplished?

    How were the Tzars overthrown?

    When we come to understand those questions we may have a prayer.

  28. Earl, your point of how essential change is is well made and accepted.

    One consideration though.

    Many forms of government use only power to remain dominant. Dictators, monarchies, aristocracies. Theocracies use threats of eternal damnation to remain dominant. Consider Iran.

    Only under democracy is change possible without bloodshed now or after death.

  29. Earl, in both cases, by professional agitators funded by anti-monarchist schemers and opportunists who wanted to destroy tradition, debase society, degrade the country and enslave the population to allow themselves to come to power.

    Napoleon emerged to save France, while Russia fell into decades of despair and genocide. German exaggerations created to mask their own butchery, the Russians really did kill over 30 million people.

    You don’t want either solution. The people might be better served by asking whether either nation will allow its crown to be restored. Were a better house to ascend the throne, we might ask the same question.

  30. Pete,

    Talking in political epidemiology terms: “Democracy is the antidote to authoritarian regimes such as theocracies.”

    an-ti-dote n. 1. a remedy to counteract a poison. 2. anything that works against an evil or unwanted condition
    ~Webster’s New World Dictionary

  31. “Were a better house to ascend the throne”

    That’s the difference between democracy and slavery. With democracy the governed get to choose. With slavery you get the master you get, good or bad.

  32. Some of us need remedial world history:

    The French Gendarmes laid down their arms and joined the revolution, thereby enabling it.

    The Russian armies abandoned the lines and returned to their homes to assist overthrowal of the monarchy.

    Chairman Mao commanded an army much larger than fascist Chang.

    The army must aid in revolution or there will be none.

    I am surprised how some could confuse these such obvious facts.

  33. Russians killed 30 million people. Who told us that? Where are they buried? There has been all evidence of German murder locations, camps, ovens and burn pits. Why haven’t we found that in Russia for some 25 million more? How do we miss the obvious? We can find the graves left in Korea, French Morocco, Afghanistan, Iraq, Gettysburg, The Somme, Omaha Beach and My Lai. A total of far less than 30 million. Russians raised a monument to the black soldiers who fought there. Would they do less for their own?

    Why don’t we learn to question? To think? Why don’t we learn?

  34. How We Got Here: today’s topic in which Sheila included a lengthy quote regarding “the history behind America’s current political polarization.”

    She summed it up nicely with the following copied and pasted conclusion of her blog:

    “When I was a new lawyer, a more seasoned colleague told me “There’s actually only one legal question: what do we do?”

    That question is equally applicable to politics. But for those of us who miss the previously sane and respectable Grand Old Party–and the balance it provided to the political system–the answer is far more elusive.”

    That question, “what do we do?” is applicable to most of the comments on most of her blogs but few of us come up with helpful answers. Most of us, myself included, often want to show what we know and then run away with the conversation, diverting others from the main topic of these vital daily blogs we all obviously read faithfully, and just as faithfully are diverted from the issue at hand. Even Gopper referred to Pete veering from the topic of today, telling him to “save it” regarding whatever area it was that Pete veered off into.

    Below, I have copied and pasted part of one of Gopper’s many comments because he is, for a change, right on target:

    “Right now, we’re discussing how the two parties morphed into political vehicles for reprehensibles, and someone brought up the Jews.”

    I will first argue that one party can be categorized as reprehensible but the other I must class as lazy slackers whose inability to back up words with action are the basis of many of today’s dangerous Republican bipartisan determination to have it their way or no way and winning.

    Gopper; the fact that someone brought up Jews has finally brought your true, black-hearted self to the fore and your Holocaust Denial paints you into a corner regarding any and all comments you may come up with in the future…on any topic. Sheila called you to task before regarding your lack of knowledge of Jews and all things Jewish. You are a racist, bigoted, homophobic, anti-Semitic, small minded, hate-filled, little, little man – and I do believe you are a man, or at least of the male species. You show no redeeming factors of your personality or your mind-set because you, sir, are reprehensible, you epitomize the current polarization and are a waste of oxygen and space on the earth’s surface.

    I will end here before I veer off into showing my vast knowledge of profanities and bare my ugly side to Sheila and the friends I have made through this blog. I will merely say, Gopper, you know what you can do with yourself and the horse you rode in on.

    Sheila; I apologize and hope this doesn’t cause my removal from of being blocked from receiving your daily blogs. I start my day with them, thank you for allowing me to participate.

  35. I believe we err in condemning one for their position. I may strongly disagree with your, but I defend your right to participate. I have learned as much, or more from the right side of these presents, as I have from the left. Or more!

    Discussion and disagreement makes one think.

    You have heard that all, given the same information, will derive the same conclusions. I have come to know that such is not true. It was upon the investigation of the reasons behind such
    results, that other doors were opened. If we do not understand what gives another a position, we will never understand that position.

  36. “There has been all evidence of German murder locations, camps, ovens and burn pits.”

    Bull. The evidence of those lies is so thin and so easily disproven that they had to make Holocaust denial a crime all across Europe.

    We were allowed to walk all over a good chunk of Germany for 45 years.

    We’ve never had the ability to walk freely around the USSR to catalog the atrocities.

    While you may dispute whether Stalin killed 20 or 30 million, certainly, you cannot dispute that Stalin was a murderer of the first rank and that Communism is the most noxious ideology ever created by Satan’s mind?

    “Why don’t we learn to question? To think? Why don’t we learn?”

    Oh, we have. We went looking for graves capable of handling 4,000,000 bodies at Auschwitz. We didn’t find any, and some were made criminals for looking.

    “To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize” Voltaire

  37. ““To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize” Voltaire””

    Of course he was referring to opinions as he was a philosopher.

    One place we’ve gone astray is confusing facts with opinions and educated with opinionated.

    People who criticize facts are dreaming of what they want rather than accepting what is. People who pontificate without the benefit of appropriate education are merely denying the decisions that they made in terms of what to invest their lives in.

    What mankind knows for certain is huge but will never be complete. What each of us knows of what we all know is infinitesimal.

    We need to get over ourselves and respect expertise. And we need to learn much more than we know now about how to distinguish truth from compelling fantasy for there are many taking advantage of our inability to do that.

    We can never stop catching up.

  38. “People who criticize facts are dreaming of what they want rather than accepting what is.”

    Pete, whenever I read some of the “facts” on display here, I recall

    “It ain’t ignorance causes so much trouble; it’s folks knowing so much that ain’t so.”

    Josh Billings

    Or, as the Great Ronnie put it

    “Well, the trouble with our liberal friends is not that they’re ignorant; it’s just that they know so much that isn’t so.”

    Ronald Wilson Reagan (pbuh)

  39. Anything from that you question from me you just have to ask me about. That’s the good thing about science. Whether or not you believe it, it remains true.

  40. “Anything from that you question from me you just have to ask me about. ”

    Well, who among us can dispute those sage words?

  41. Horrified is an accurate word for me today, after reading these remarks. Gopper, I did express a desire to hear from you, and you did respond, but in a terrifyingly disappointing manner.

    In your citations regarding the Holocaust, you have indeed uncovered your character, which is worse than reprehensible. It appears to me that you participate in these discussions because in your patient co-respondents, you have located a group that will tolerate your vitriolic, vituperative ugly, ugly comments.

    This toleration comes not from any sort of agreement with you, but from the (forlorn) hope that you will contribute something that lifts the discussion and from the tolerant belief that knowing something of your mind may shine light on the baffling, lemming-like, behaviour of your fellow travellers.

    The word “tolerant” is key to me as I listen to and occasionally chime into these comments. Tolerant is what this country, at its best, hopes to become. Tolerance is what distinguishes true religionists from those who see in religion a path to power. Tolerance is hard. It is as basic as us loving our children at the same time we wish they would behave better. We tolerate the actions of government (at all levels) because we have hope, sometimes realized, that these actions will make life better for everyone. We are tolerant of others oddities because we hope for like tolerance of our own.

    And, we strive, by personal example and action, to use our inherent drive toward tolerance to make changes where necessary, again to make life better – there is no issue that in making life better for others we also improve our own lot . I think we live by the idea that kindness (a corollary of tolerance) is an essential human quality and we try to employ kindness generously and broadly and to nurture it.

    I was raised as a Quaker and as I age, I value more and more the idea of tolerance as my experience has translated it through Quaker history and thinking. The Quaker idea of that of the divine in every human and our individual (and collective) responsibility to search out and respond to that spark, opens, for those who will listen, the door to profound tolerance and peace.

    Perhaps as a balance, I was once told by a clerk of my meeting that being a pacifist did not mean that you were not allowed to defend your loved ones. That response is a source of much pondering on my side, including the realization that other Quakers might not join in that interpretation. Indeed, many, many, stories of Quakerism deal with the (sometimes miraculous) idea that turning the other cheek can create peace between parties where there was no evidence of it before. My point here is not to review Quaker thought or history, it is to say that in our serious attempts to lead by example and inject tolerance into all aspects of life, perhaps liberals have forgotten that we may defend our loved ones, our world.

    Which is also your world, Gopper. You are an example of what those who fight with guns and blood (and those who use other means) are attempting to protect, your right to be a jerk. Sadly, I have concluded that you are not going to be worth fighting for, that your determination to remain unkind, and intolerant of others who are not mirror images of yourself, places you in a dark, difficult place from which I suspect that no one can rescue you.

    Too bad, but so be it.

    I am sorry, Gopper, even though you too must have that of the divine in you, I cannot follow what I was so carefully taught and honour that spark. You have been too successful in burying or out-right destroying it. You are not teaching us what every citizen needs to understand – something about the depths of conservative thought, and the heights of its hopes, you are demonstrating the extreme self-righteousness and selfishness of your fellow travellers. Through this intransigence, you decline to be part of the human endeavour, preferring instead to establish a separate reality where your ideas define a world where too few are welcome – beware – that kind of intolerance can easily turn and exclude you.

    The question for us is, indeed, “what to do?,” in the face of this apparently pervasive destructiveness. Let us not forget that we do have the right and responsibility to engage in defense and our fellow humans deserve a defense from those who can mount one.

  42. NVL, I quickly scrolled through your post to see the numbers that prove your position and disprove what research holds. I saw only text, no numbers. I saw a few snarling words in there, too. I guess you’re really mad.

    If you were hoping to convince anyone outside of Sheila’s half-dozen acolytes here, you’ve fallen well short.

    If you want to carry your point, you should know that you’ll need to use Accounting, and you’ll need to show numbers that support your position. A few paragraphs of invective is merely a feeble smokescreen, easily dismissed.

    P.S. I feel you microaggressed against me. I’m bruised. At what desk may I lodge a complaint.

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