Right, Left, Right, Left

Someone asked me to write this a while back, and I’d completely spaced it until he reminded me on Facebook.

But sometimes, particularly when dealing with multinational twitter mobs, I feel like we’re speaking different languages and terms like “right” and “left” wing get wildly misinterpreted, leading to a certain twit(teriac) for instance saying I hated everyone to the left of Jeb Bush (Hate, no.  Despise their politics, yes.  And I include Jeb Bush and quite a few people nominally to the right of him in that.) while others claimed I was a big Jeb Bush fan because they think that’s what “right wing” means and they’ve self-obviously decided I’m right wing since I hate Marxists.

First, right-left have almost no meaning to where I stand.  I define myself in the authoritarian/non authoritarian axis, which is completely separate, and where I’m just a little shy of the “no government nutters” (I can call them that because, you know, they differ far less from me than the “government in your face” weasels, so I can say they’re totally crazy.)  Round about where the founding fathers were.  Government is a good servant but a bad master, and all that.

Of course, in the American spectrum, uninfected by the European Spectrum, that is indeed what should be called “right wing.”

The problem of course is that the spectrum is NOT uninfected, since we’re in an era of global communications and the meaning of Right Wing in Europe has started to seep in over here, both in leftists minds and in the minds of those who are self-defining as the right.

The other problem is that technically, if you go by the original meaning, the sides should be flipped.

Clear as mud?

Don’t worry, I can confuse it more.

Let’s start with the ever-reliable wikipedia: In France, where the terms originated, the Left has been called “the party of movement” and the Right “the party of order.”[1][2][3][4] The intermediate stance is called centrism and a person with such a position is a moderate.

Let’s first correct the obvious problem.  If you’re precisely in the center, the position is called “dunderhead” — and this applies to anything, not just politics. That out of the way, if center is defined by “not following an exact party line” I think most of us would be.

OTOH look at that definition again.  “The party of movement” and “the Party of order.”

First of all impossible, since life is movement.  This is where I think the left gets their bright idea reality is leftist, except they’re missing the point of where these definitions originated and what “movement” and “order” really mean.

This was of course in revolutionary France.  Movement had a very specific meaning — mostly towards Madame Guillotine, obviously — in terms of you wanted to change everything, the hours of the day and the names of the days of the week included.  Order, meanwhile was the “not so fast, this structure works.”

So, what that actually means is that left is the side of “let’s change everything” and the right the side of “let’s keep everything as it is.”

If you apply that to the current spectrum in the US (and most of the west) where socialist-like-structures and “leftist” ideas have permeated the political lives of the citizens for far longer than anyone reading this has been alive, the spectrum does a tilt-whirl and suddenly we who are don’t tread on me libertarians and who think the cause of liberty could be justly served by taking everyone from office and putting them in jail become left wingers, in the mold of the ones who shouted “Aristo, aristo, to the lamppost.”  (And since I’ve often felt like shouting that, I empathize.)

BUT that is not really a good picture.  We know how the French revolution ended.  Having dived down that rabbit hole in order to write Through Fire, it became obvious that the French Revolution, the “leftist” movement of our time par excellence, the grandmother of the Russian Revolution and of every other movement that has fed the graveyards of the 20th century was very much a STATIST revolution.  If you ask yourself what the difference between the American and the French revolution was, it would be that in the American revolution the people were set free to pursue happiness and equality before the law, while in the French revolution, both happiness and absolute equality were ENFORCED.  (If you think happiness wasn’t enforced, read some of the trials of people who declared themselves less than ecstatic in post revolutionary times.)

So, left would be best defined as “movement towards an imaginary utopia in which the government grants all sorts of happiness, equality and other boons.”

And the right?

Ah, there we hit on the crux of the problem.  While we’re fairly sure what the left is (and btw, the definition above is why they believe they are the party of the future and they will inevitably win, because in their scatology any “progress” ends one way, with the government as a sort of smiling goddling dispensing benes to the happy people of Brutopia.) “right” can mean many things.

First let’s dispense with the left-enforced definition of right which ends in Hitler.  To quote a public figure “that’s just retarded, sir.”  Just because Hitler and Stalin had a big tiff and pulled each other’s hair, it doesn’t mean they weren’t both leftist, socialist bastards.  They were just arguing whether socialism — that utopian final stage of the revolution where the state looks after everyone like a mother or a father, depending on your language of origin — should be national or international.  And in this case “international” meant “Russian” — or at least it did in the seventies, and I have no reason to think it changed — while national meant “of the genetically related people.”

(For instance when Bernie Sanders announces he’s a socialist but a nationalist then says he’s not a communist, I believe him.  The appropriate name for his announced ideology is Fascist.)

That fascination of the fascists with nationalism, btw, explains why the left can’t seem to accept national love/pride (i.e. they’re not NATIONAL socialists) and why so much of Europe thinks patriotism is a precursor to war.  Europeans are taught that in school too.  I was.

Okay, so that’s disposed of, now … if the right isn’t National Socialism, what is the right?

If I had to hazard a definition that would fit both Europe and the US I’d say the “right wing” meant “a clinging to the essence of what the nation means and to the nation’s original idea”, as it were.

In Europe, of necessity, right wing means a lot of “our people, our land” and really in its ultimate expression “our king.”  Right wing parties in Europe are often associated with keeping or reviving ancient traditions, with the country’s state-religion and with the “way things have always been done.”  There will almost always be a reflexive xenophobia, for instance, which is not necessarily a bad thing.  It is not racist to say “our land, our customs.  You want to live here, you conform to us.”  (The left’s reflexive oikophobia tends to chew the ground out from what people know they can count on, from language in everyday interactions to things like protection of children and women. It is time the European right learns to say “No, not all cultures are alike.”) If you’re thinking that this is the same as us saying “if you want to live here, speak English and conform to our laws”… not quite.  In Europe an immigrant will never be “of the land, the people, the traditions.”  You could be Yoless from Pratchett’s Johnny Maxwell, and learn Morris dance, and you’d still not be “quite British.”  Assimilation takes generations, and sometimes not even that.  Other things come with that definition as freight.  The right will still prefer to keep women and men in traditional roles, and they’re often shocked half to death by differing sexual personas.

Now if that description sounds familiar, it is because it is what the left assumes the right here is.  And some right wing people, reflexively, will embrace it and claim it.  Just because the left hates it.

But by and large, as someone who has cruised right of center blogs in this country for a very long time, no.  That’s not what right means in the US.

This is why when the leftists (who true to their origins only understand themselves as in opposition to the European right) come cruising in, they’re always shocked when we don’t rise to the bait of “racist, sexist, homophobic.”  They’re always terribly confused a lot of people here in fact are of “non conforming religions” (or none at all) and non-conforming sexual habits, and varying shades of tan.  And the only explanation they can find is “self-hating.”

That is because the left (worldwide, really) since the collapse of their model, the Soviet Union, has gone a little loony and fallen down a time-space-funnel, in which they’re fighting “right wing” in Europe (and probably circa the eighteen hundreds, but never mind that) not in the States.

The right in the US is the side that clings to the origins and the founding.  This is the side that believes ultimately sovereignty rests in the individual and the government should bow and doff its hat to us. We’re the side that believes that no matter what color, size, sex or whomever you decide to sleep with, you’re still an individual, entitled to equal protection under the law.

We believe in life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Which means in many ways we’re the horror of the European right.  If it weren’t for the fact that both “rights” are fighting the much greater evil of the Marxist theology unleashed upon the world (and yes, it is more evil than even the European right) we’d be going at it like two equal weight boxers in a ring.

My dad, who is Europe-right (mom weirdly is MOSTLY American-right.  Not fully, because she still thinks morality, etc. should be enforced, but I think that’s a generational thing.  And no, I don’t know how she ended up don’t-tread-on-me in Europe.  She didn’t even read Heinlein) for instance believes it is not only the government’s right but the government’s duty to look after things like health care.  Oh, and if the government periodically shoots the wrong guy, well, that’s the cost of keeping other people safe.  He’s not a bad man, understand — but he’s a man of his time and place.  He draws the line at communism, not just because it’s evil, but because it’s a stranger to his country and enforced from outside.

We’ve gone the full rounds (one of the few times we’ve yelled at each other) because he can’t understand that I don’t view the government as some thing that should “look after” me, but as something that should do the minimum possible to ensure I have the space to look after myself, and anything more than that is a violation of my rights and a thwarting of my duties as a free human being.

And that’s the difference between our right and their right.  I’ve found it easier and far more conducive to familial harmony to pretend there is no difference, and to nod along with their serene belief that “right wing” in America means the same it does there.

Since our left doesn’t see the dividing chasm, they often refer to the “right” as monolithic and what they get in their press (which is to the left of ours) is convenient in obscuring the differences.

No reason to shock mom and dad by letting them know their daughter has become a USAian radical, after all.

BUT the actual meaning is radically different (quite literally RADICALLY different.  We are the “radicals” who turned the world upside down by believing authority flows from the individual up, not from the state down.)  As I hope it shows above.  Though being a word more often defined by opponents and people with the “feels” it has the imprecise quality of a mirage rising from asphalt on a hot day.

One caveat is that the American right wing might never make any sense in Europe.  Culture is something that changes very slowly and often doubles back.  So I restrain my evangelizing impulses there.  They might come to be like us, but it won’t be in my life time.

And the right in Europe only makes upside-down sense in America.  It would be impossible to create a right-wing-in-European-terms country out of the US.  Our multi-cultural, multi-religious and multi-racial country couldn’t turn into an European traditional country.  Not for a few hundred years at least.  Which is why all movies that do that are profoundly unconvincing.  And why it’s so weird that the left doesn’t see the difference between the two rights.

It is also, unfortunately, why the sf books from the fifties or so, particularly the ones by Heinlein, which show the whole world unified under the American system are such a pipe dream.

It might have seemed logical and even attainable after WWII but as he himself seems to have realized in Tramp Royale, the real world is too diverse and culture and cultural differences too real for that utopia ever to have been possible.

America is a place in the heart, and as such it can only be won one heart at a time.

512 responses to “Right, Left, Right, Left

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nolan_Chart is very helpful for this. The key question is whether a politician approves of freedom. Most do not, though they pretend otherwise. As Neil Smith has pointed out, a good test is to see whether they are bothered by armed constituents. If yes, you might want to ask “what are they afraid of?”

    • I have never liked the Nolan chart which is perhaps due to introduction via the LP which uses it in the middle of very loaded material.

      Every since I’ve discovered it I’ve much prefered the Pournelle Chart (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pournelle_chart) which for quite some time (and still with people who think beyond basic left-right) lead me to label myself third quadrant (using the analytic geometry terms for the regions of coordianate plane) with neither faith in government or pure rationality to “solve” humanities problems. I have more faith that there is no solutions just management because those problems are inherent.

      • Reality Observer

        I put some thought into this once, and soon realized that I’d have to talk to a string theory guru to have even a chance of “charting” my views.

        Which I think does say something about how likely we are to ever have a real mathematical description of human behavior. I know that there are “dimensions” along which I wouldn’t even have a “point” defined, where others would.

    • I like the Pournelle chart. I wonder though if there is a way to measure honesty. The problem with a 2 party system is that your bedfellows can get pretty strange. I’ve never been sure what the Republican Party actually stood for. My perspective on the current Republican party is that it looks like a muddle of a:
      1. White populist movement [likes SS, Medicare, hates immigrants, non-whites, welfare, affirmative action]
      2. Evangelical movement [hates abortion, gay rights, likes welfare]
      3. Plutocrat [loves low taxes on wealth, favors government spending to prop up corporations, modify fiscal codes to increase profits, some welfare to keep the proles quiet]
      4. Libertarian, small government [Hates SS, Medicare, welfare, socially liberal, dislikes affirmative action]

      Since the evangelicals are in decline and 1 and 3 are really unpopular, (4) seems to be the party line and (3) seems to be the ones running the party.

      Now, Trump seems to have sucked up (1) – which accounts for more than a third of the party – even though his non-immigrant policy choices are basically Democratic – some rather ant-plutocratic.

      I dunno – the thing with the Republican party is that, excepting a few phrases, no one in leadership ever seems to bother actually accomplishing anything for (1), (2), or (4).

      Well, maybe that’s mostly the same as the other wing too…

      The thing I find fascinating is that both Trump and Bernie seem to appeal to anti-plutocratic policy as much as anything else. You don’t need to be a socialist to be against bank bailouts, or to favor taxing income less than capital gains. I’d be kind of amused by a Bernie/Trump race. Seriously, can’t go wrong if the WSJ hates both of them.

      • I see the difference between the two parties as clear.

        The Democrat Party is, and always has been, the party of group rights.
        The Republican Party is the party of individual rights.

        Group rights and individual rights cannot coexist.

        The white populist movement is NOT a part of the Republican Party, except in the eyes of Democrats and the MSM, but I repeat myself. They are believers in group rights, and are natural Democrats, and were Democrats before the Party started pandering to other groups. KKK was a branch of the Democrat Party.

        And I know quite a few Evangelicals- and the ones I know don’t like government run welfare.

      • Reagan famously built his coalition out of what he called the “three-legged stool”. He took three different groups, and bound them together by noting that they all tended to have somewhat overlapping goals. The groups were –

        1.) The defense hawks
        2.) The financial conservatives
        3.) The social conservatives

        All three groups also tend to have a strong predilection toward a “leave me alone” attitude, though that’s not absolute (particularly with the third group).

        A problem arises in the fact that these are still three different groups. Sometimes one of the groups will assume that it can operate without the others, and start making moves to go it alone. That never works.

        The current split appears to be slightly different.

        The Reagan Republican isn’t the only kind of Republican. People have forgotten that, but before Reagan realigned the party it was moving in an entirely different direction. Nixon, for instance, did a lot of stuff that we wouldn’t see as conservative (price controls was one, iirc). These types of Republicans favor what is basically “socialism-lite”, with increased “help” from the Federal government toward the citizenry. They generally wouldn’t go as far as the Dems would, but they think that the government could do more to help people. The current conflict appears to be the result of these types managing to successfully retake control of the party apparatus. The “small government” Republicans are starting to wake up to that fact, and that’s what’s driving the current battle within the party.

  2. In an article about Trump in last night’s debate it said that he believed that vaccines cause autism. Anybody that crazy I’m not going to vote for.

    • I’d be hard-pressed to vote for Trump. I’m not sure I could actually stomach voting for anybody the Democrats actually select (Jim Webb I could maybe vote for, but he’s got no chance), but I’d still have a hard time filling in that little circle beside the name Donald Trump. I’d have an easier time voting for Donald Duck.

      • I’m not sure I could. I know this sounds weird, but I have an idea what would follow and it might be a sin.

        • You’re not sure you could vote for Donald Duck? Just because his uncle has a Scottish accent doesn’t mean he’s not American. I know he’s not the most articulate and its hard to understand him at times. Still, for all his faults, I believe Donald Duck would be a better president than the incumbent.

          • Scrooge McDuck is definitely an American, even if he might have been born in the wrong place.

          • Oh, no, no. I’m fine with Donald Duck. REALLY. My issue is with Trump. (I actually prefer Donald Duck to Mickey Mouse as a right in. Mickey of late has become infected with all sorts of “aristo” bullsh*t.)

            • richardmcenroe

              If you’re fine with Donald Duck, listen to Mark Levin. If you’re fine with Donald Trump’ vote for Daffy.

            • You know, you can kinda see where Mickey gets it. All the castles and princesses and the extension of his aristocratic (copy)rights in perpetuity…

              Still, I bend a knee to no mouse.

            • Given how many Americans (judging by the last two elections) have become convinced that entertainment value is the most important vetting criteria for a President, I suppose I have to be OK with Trump on the ticket, to attract LIVs; but I’d much rather have someone with a liberty philosophy and proven talent for governance at the top of the ticket. Not quite sure who fits that best, yet.

            • What can we do to help Cruz to become President? I think that he’d be an Excellent President.

              • I have some doubts. Not many, but his rushing out to pose with the insurgent clerk who refuses to give CIVIL licenses instead of quitting if her conscience won’t let her do it seems a little… rash.

                • I get what you’re saying but the GOP has such a rep as cowards I think Cruz and a few other are over doing it to prove they are not.

                  • Somehow, though, I can’t help but viewing anyone who decides that supporting someone who is in favor of mingling church and state as anything BUT brave, and dangerously authoritarian to boot… 😉

                    • Given the Democrats scream “church and state” until someone talks about cutting welfare programs and then the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats becomes acceptable policy and the fact that the current administration has pretty much gone to court over and over to say the state can dictate to the church even issues such as who is clergy I don’t think there is ever going to be separation.

                      Either the church influences the state or the state runs the church.

                    • Church and State have ALWAYS been mingled. It is a utopian lunacy to think it can be otherwise, and as with all utopian lunacies, the more vigorously the lunacy is pursued, the more damage is done. By body count, in the last three centuries it’s been a much more dangerous lunacy than it’s mirror, Church and State being one and the same. Of course, it very well may be that the only reason the more recently ascendant lunacy has a higher body count is because it has had more bodies to work upon. The various and sundry Islamists are busily working to regain their ascendance in the body count though.

                      The “separation of Church and State”, which has become an aggressive component of secularism, and an excuse to hound Judeo-Christians out of the political sphere, is an essential component of the Left. You may want to reexamine your assumptions, because you’re singing from the Left’s playbook.

                • Trolling for social conservatives.

                • nobody’s perfect. Not everybody would approve of SSM as much as you do Sarah.

                  • Oh, that’s not the point. If this were a baker, or a photographer, or PARTICULARLY a pastor, even of a little do-it-yourself chapel, I would be on her side ALL the way, with bells on. But this is a GOVERNMENT clerk. And it’s not a matter of constitution because there’s a ton other things in which the federal government overpowers local constitution (and it explicitly does so in her area, no matter what.) And constitution is not (alas) a religion. What she’s giving out are CONTRACTS, not for a blessed union but just for “the law says you have these mutual rights and obligations.” There is a reason atheists usually have civil marriages.
                    That’s ALL she’s doing. Someone said in the extremes of conscience, she might view participating in it at all even in that limited sense as a sin (this is extreme indeed since, again, what she’s participating in is legal not sacred) but if so she should resign. It’s NOT a blessing she’s bestowing. Period.
                    If she resigned and said why and there were repercussions, sure, then she’d be a hero.
                    But she’s being paid 80k a year to do a job.
                    This is the equivalent of a Hindu secretary of commerce (or whatever) undertaking a war on naugahide factories because they LOOK like leather.
                    And Ted Cruz rushing in when the RIGHT is divided/skeptical on this smacks of … I don’t know. Lack of thought.

                    • In other words it would be the same as a Clerk at the DMV refusing to issue licenses to females because they do not believe women should be allowed to drive. Or make it racial, and you get the same point. Everyone trying to get their license followed the law, and met the legal requirements. What right does she have to refuse them, when it is her job to issue?
                      Or, lets use something all of us except our trolls can agree on: Can she deny a CCW in a Shall Issue State because of her politics or religion?
                      No. If she has a problem, transfer or resign. It is a call she does not get to make.

                    • I don’t think you’re going to agree with this. Anyway:

                      The Theban Legion comes to mind. Rome at that time wanted very much to purge the military of Christians, and the Theban Legion happened to be made up of Christians. Refusing an order to worship the emperor, they were punished with decimation. This happened a few more times until finally, IIRC, one or more Roman legions finished off the remainder. As soldiers they were duty bound to obey the orders of their superiors. In refusing they were essentially in mutiny or whatever the term. That they didn’t echos what Peter and John told the Sanhedrin when they were ordered not to preach of Jesus.

                      Now, Kim Davis is in contempt of court, just as the Theban Legion had, in effect, mutinied against their superiors. Both are examples of civil disobedience. The thing about civil disobedience is that you feel so strongly about something that you are willing to take your lumps. Just as the early Christians faced the Roman magistrates, and, when told to worship an image of Caesar and curse Christ, answered “No,” even though this meant death.

                      Whether or not this order from a Federal judge over what was a state issue until enough dottering dunderheads thought they saw it under a penumbra is perhaps a good question this Constitution Day, but is beside the point. Had Kentucky passed this by law and Kim Davis faced a state judge, the result would be the same. It comes down to the age-old question: When commands from the State conflict with those of God, who should a Christian follow?

                      Yes, yes, I know the argument that Kim Davis isn’t the one in a same-sex marriage and all she’s doing is issuing a license. Some have argued she should follow her civil oath over her beliefs. There were some who argued Quakers running the Underground Railroad should submit to the law and some who thought they were misinterpreting scripture and so forth and so on. It remains that some Quakers felt obligated to defy the law and help slaves gain their freedom. In the same way, Kim Davis, and many Christians in this country, feel they can’t lend their stamp of approval on what they see is wrong. I know there’s many Christians who don’t feel that way, but, like the Quakers of another time, many do.

                      This raises the question of whether Kim Davis should resign. Here I have mixed feelings. For one, she was elected by her county, not appointed by the state or federal government. That the federal government has no mechanism to remove her other than to jail or fine her until she quits again raises the constitutional issue. But the most uneasy feeling is, quite simply, are Christians now banned from government service unless they’re willing to put God second? Do we want that kind of religious test in the US?

                      All of which probably makes me the odd man out. So be it. Here I stand. I can do no other.

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      Amen

                    • No. What you’re missing is that there is a clear difference between civil marriage and religious marriage. Yes, they both use the word “marriage” but they’re not the same thing. In fact, many people of different (really different — like Jewish and Christian) religions marry in a civil ceremony to avoid all that stuff.
                      I understand that as a Christian, even if you don’t have a ceremony for whatever reason, you consider the union sacred.
                      BUT that is not what the STATE confers. And Kim is an agent of the state, not an agent of G-d in this instance. It falls under “rendering onto Caesar.”
                      ALL she’s giving is a license that regulates such things as the distribution of property and next of kin rights. She’s not saying “G-d, bless this union.”
                      She has her ideas confused. Either she thinks the state is G-d. (Possible. She’s a democrat and a bureaucrat.) OR… well, there is no or. The or would be “she’s an attention whore and possibly a false flag to distract attention from the ongoing implosion in our government and make the right seem loony to the public at large.”

                    • WP nesting limit. This is to Kevin Cheek’s response.

                      Just wanted to say, this question has been haunting me as well:
                      “But the most uneasy feeling is, quite simply, are Christians now banned from government service unless they’re willing to put God second? Do we want that kind of religious test in the US?”

                    • Sarah, this woman is not refusing to perform all of her job, she is only refusing to perform part of it. As it happens, there are laws for when someone can be terminated for cause for refusing to perform part of their job, and there is no question that she is perfectly capable and willing to perform the rest of her job. So, perhaps a legal analysis of the situation is in order.

                      Fortunately, Eugene Volokh has made such an analysis, it is titled, oddly enough, “When does your religion legally excuse you from doing part of your job?” and you can read it here:

                      http://preview.tinyurl.com/o9r5hgf

                      I thought it made a lot of sense, myself.

                    • Perhaps. BUT I still say this was not religious in any way. It’s a license. I think we should get government out of marriage, but until then, it’s just a government/legal license. Perhaps this is sharper for me, because we had to get married twice. Portuguese law doesn’t recognize religious marriage, and vice versa.

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      “I still say this was not religious in any way. It’s a license.”

                      The problem is that she sees it differently than you do. Is that a crime? [Sad Smile]

                    • Yes, yes, it is. Because then the honorable thing is to withdraw, since it’s not a SANE view.
                      Look, seriously — marriage CAN be religious, but what she’s doing is not. It’s the civil part.
                      If anything this will establish precedent to go after the churches, if you people keep encouraging the confusion.

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      Convince me that the Leftish pro-SSM folks would live Churches alone.

                      I can accept your dislike of this woman but Do Not Try To Claim that this woman will “make” the Leftish pro-SSM folks “go after Churches”.

                      Those Assholes would go after Churches even if that woman had “bowed” to the Masters Of Political Correctness.

                    • it will, Drak. I’m not saying that she’s not their tool or that wasn’t their intention. Read what I say. But by testing it here, not the churches and conflating civil and religious marriage they create a precedent to go after churches. I don’t say it will work — I don’t think it will — but it’s probably the game plan (remember these are the minds that created fast and furious.)
                      I tell you she’s a false flag and you guys are helping her.

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      If your “going that route”, she could be a “stalking horse” for the Left to say that no Government Official can be a Conservative Christian and YOU ARE SUPPORTING The Left.

                    • No. She doesn’t PRETEND to be a conservative.

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      Then she’s part of the plot to ensure no Conservative Christian can have a Government Position and your supporting the plot. [Sarcastic Grin]

                    • One notes that the Constitution explicitly bans religious tests for office.

                    • Something I like to point out. As a result of the SC decision- there is NO legal definition of marriage in Kentucky. Especially since the definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman was enshrined in the KY constitution.The SC, and other courts, may invalidate laws, but they CANNOT write them. All the county clerks in KY would be well within their rights to refuse to issue ANY marriage licenses until there is a law in place defining what marriage is. The KY legislature doesn’t meet for another few months. An argument could be made that any marriage entered into in KY between the time the SC changed the historical definition of marriage and the time the KY legislature defines marriage for the county clerks is not valid in law. Could make for some interesting divorce cases a few years hence.

                    • I’ve had lawyers say this is poppycock. The federal law supersedes the KY one, period.

                    • Reality Observer

                      Referring to down below: I have put some thought into it; in her situation I would have resigned, and then immediately filed a civil rights lawsuit based on the “religious test” clause. (That’s a thought experiment, BTW, as I would have had no moral objection to issuing the licenses.)

                      OTOH, it has been fun hammering the Obama worshipers, the sanctuary city advocates, and the “shall issue” opponents. One of the idiots over on BB has been arguing that the cases are “entirely different” – there is a difference between “selective enforcement” of the law and the Kim Davis case. Right. There is absolutely no difference between the two.

                    • There is NO federal law on marriage. Marriage is still left to the states. There is, however, a SC opinion that banning SSM is a violation of the Constitution. Written in invisible ink and emanating from penumbras. But it’s there, plain as dirt for us all to see and read. Have your lawyer friends point out the federal definition to you, then watch the hemming and hawing.

                    • @Reality Observer: the difference is the Left believes in might makes right while the majority of the Right still believes principled surrender will win the day.

                      I see all these “still does their job” memes on Facebook but i know if I did sanctuary city mayors “ignores federal law; still not in jail” and there would be hell to pay and FB would pull them down as hateful.

                    • One of the problems is that homosexual marriage is legal in Kentucky ONLY because the Supreme Court has decided it is. Since when do a handful of justices have a veto power over state and local law?
                      It is nowhere found in the text of the Constitution. It is strictly because the Supreme Court has claimed the authority to interpret the Constitution, based on umbras, penumbras and judicial precedent, and because the President, and Congress, and the States have not seen fit to contest it. What this means is that if the Supreme Court could find precedent for declaring that the squeezings from a turnip were blood, it could outlaw the growing of turnips on the grounds of public safety and existing health codes. There seems to be no practical limit to what it can do.

                    • Confutus, yeah, but this is the reason YOU’RE giving. Not the reason SHE gave. The reason she gave was her religion. And that’s poppycock.

                    • My position changed from squirmishness (should she follow the Law or follow her Conscience?) to support for her position when I learned that all she wanted to do, was not to have her name on the licenses. Kentucky law currently requires this; apparently, she and other clerks even petitioned the State Government that the Supreme Court was going to consider this SSM issue, it would be nice if we didn’t have to put our names on these licenses.

                      Granted, I learned this from radio, so it might not be true. But even so, how hard could it be to accommodate her, if this is truly her request?

                    • They gave her that, she now apparently wants it to not say “County clerk”. (shrug.) Attention Whore.

                    • Kevin,
                      You brought up the very point I would have made. What she is doing is against the law, or at least the Supreme Court decision (whether that decision is Constitutionally legal is the crux of the whole argument) but I still applaud her stand. The elephant in the room, that the press is totally ignoring is the facts that a)Kentucky county clerks not only notified, but petitioned the governor ahead of time, that if the SC decided for same sex marriage, it was going to be in conflict with the Kentucky state constitution, and he, being spineless, ignored them, and rather than doing his job and bringing this to the legislature, he hunkered down and hoped it would all blow over. b)The Supreme Court, which Constitutionally can not make laws, is ruling from the bench and “legally” mandated that numerous states break their own Constitutional laws, that were passed by jumping through all the correct legal loopholes.

                      Is she breaking the law? Sure, at least as defined by the Supreme Court. Of course if she obeys the Supreme Court, she is breaking State law. But, I can respect anybody, left or right, whether I agree with them or not, who believe in something strongly enough that they are both willing to break the law because of their beliefs, and willing to take their lumps for breaking the law. There are those on the left who break the law regularly for their beliefs (including the Commander in Chief) but my respect for them falls dramatically, because they are very seldom called to account for their actions, and don’t take their lumps. If every mayor of a Sanctuary City (a very apt example, because Mayors are also elected officials) was thrown in jail for refusing to arrest or prosecute illegals, and still advocated Sanctuarism, I wouldn’t agree with them, but I would respect them. And if when they were released they reassumed their Mayoral duties, and those who elected them chose not to remove them. Well, it would show that not only were they willing to stand up for their beliefs in the face of punishment, but that their beliefs showed broad local support. Which incidentally is an obvious fact in Kim Davis’ case that the press has been doing its best to ignore.

                      The Left does this all the time for ‘approved causes’ and is never called on it. Kim Davis is by most definitions not of the Right, but this is not an ‘approved cause’ of the “diverse and tolerant” Left. Yes, I believe she should be punished for breaking the “law”, doesn’t mean I don’t think she should do so if she believes strongly enough that the law is wrong, and I’ll respect her for standing up for her beliefs.

            • The Other Sean

              Trump is a chump. I wish he’d just go away already. I’m not thrilled with the Republican candidate pool, but it would be greatly improved by his absence from it.

              • Amen. I’ve had to start biting my tongue when he comes up in discussions with my parents, because trying to explain “Just because he says a few things you might agree with does NOT mean he’d be a good president, especially since he’s all about the crony capitalism thing.”

                Politics have long been taboo as discussion in my family, but only in recent years has it ceased to be because of a Deomcrat/Republican divide and gotten down to finer details. Ah, well.

                • Reality Observer

                  I really don’t think he’s going to last the long haul, myself. He does make a nice target for the DNC and the RNC to waste their ammo on in the meantime.

                  If he does, though, I’ll reluctantly check the box for him in the general. Whether it’s Hillary, Bernie, or Joey – it’ll be better with Trump, because nobody will get all “bipartisan” with him.

                  • I’m terrified he’s either the Perot of this election cycle, or the one who will make us relieved to get Jeb. And you don’t know how scary that is.

                    • Actually, there is already rumblings in the GOP Establishment about running the “real Republican” as a third party candidate if Trump gets the nod.

                      Which would insure Trump, held nose of a lifetime, would probably be my last GOP vote. After Luger endorsing the Dem after losing his primary, after Luger and that idiot from Virginia endorsing the Democrat last year in the Georgia Senate race before the GOP even had their primary (because they were all friends with Nunn and his daughter), and the GOP saving Cochren by running against someone in a GOP primary by playing the race card they have burned up the “it’s okay when we do it” reserve.

                      Jeb is as big a suicide run as Trump but I’d take anyone else in the field over Trump. That said, the GOPe has been demanding loyalty after their bs and they’d best show it even to Trump.

                    • Actually, there is already rumblings in the GOP Establishment about running the “real Republican” as a third party candidate if Trump gets the nod.

                      Correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t these the same HYPOCRITES who just got through extracting a promise from Trump that he wouldn’t run third party? They’ve got the Leftist “rules for thee but not for me down pat, don’t they?

                      These people are no better and no different from the Democrats. Die in a fire.

                    • Are we sure he’s not just the killery droid in a different rubber skin?

                    • actually, no. Neither of them looks like a real person.

                    • @snelson134: Why, yes it is but see, they got that promise when they knew they would ultimately pick the nominee and now they’re not sure. That makes it completely different.

                • Sara, if your folks are like some of my family members, you might get them thinking by asking why they think a man who can’t keep his marriage vows repeatedly would be able to keep his oath of office.

                  I’m kind of surprised this isn’t coming up more: he can’t keep his word to his spouse and he thinks nothing of borrowing money and not paying it back. I don’t see any signs of integrity, so how can we believe anything he promises now?

            • The problem is that both Mickey and Donald gave lots of money to Obama through his website in 2008 and 2012.

        • Not liking that feeling either. I keep getting the feeling the press knows their sparring with Trumple only strengthens him, so they keep it up, in hopes he does get the nomination.

      • Feel free to drop Web also. A man who quit a Cabinet post in a huff is not a mash to lead a country in a time of crisis. Oh, and there’s that awkward little business of letting his aide take the wrap for smuggling Webb’s handgun into the Senate.

      • richardmcenroe

        The only good thing about a Trump presidency: we could use a hot air balloon for Air Force One.

      • He followed this up with calling for vaccines in “smaller doses spread out over a longer time”. Uh, it doesn’t work that way. The dose makes the p/o/i/s/o/n/ remedy.

        • Both doctors in the room agreed with that theory…

          • Not exactly. They agreed that the clumping of a variety of vaccines together in a short time period should probably be adjusted. That it’s not necessary to give every necessary vaccine today, come back next week (or similar).

            Trump was using it to try and soften his anti-vaxxer stance while still pointing to a correlation with Autism. And he spoke of dosing.

            He was running his mouth well out of his depth and neither doctor chose to hand him his ass on it. Not the same as agreement.

        • I do think it’s not unwise to spread out, not the individual vaccine dosage, but the actual vaccines, at least when the child is an infant or toddler. But that’s personal opinion, and YMMV.

          *Not* vaccinating, and continuing to swallow the “but it causes autism” crap despite the guy having been thoroughly discredited years ago…yeah, that’s just willful ignorance right there. Sigh.

      • Bob Kerrey was the Democrat I would vote for. I might change my mind if I dug deeper into his politics, but the fact that the Democrats piled on to destroy him when there was a chance he might run for president was enough for me.

    • Yeah. He really, really, really is a warm bucket of crazy. I grew up under a strong man regime, until the revolution threw us to the socialist crazies. The best that can be said for it is that there was “order” but the personal twitches of the strong man tend to become law. And Trump’s are not… acceptable.

      • Which is why he can’t be at the top of the ticket. Although – we could come down to, in the general, voting for the less-unacceptable personal twitches…

        • William O. B'Livion

          Dude, this is TRUMP we’re talking about. He’ll NEVER take the second slot.

          • Never mind whether or not the man would accept the vice presidency; if he is not qualified to be president, then he is not qualified to be vice president, because you never know when the vice president would have to become president like Ford or like Johnson (A or LB).

      • Christopher M. Chupik

        I have the feeling the media is trying to panic and stampede the GOP towards Trump by constantly promoting him. They figure that any socialist loon they put up will look saner by comparison.

    • Yikes. Not just wrong but bad. We’ve got previously beaten diseases like measles and whooping cough coming back because of this rot.

      And the evidence is very strong that there’s a genetic basis for autism, with the individual presentation shaped by epegenetics and microecology. I look at my own family tree and see evidence of it.

      • And having to do with parents’ age at birth. I mourn that last miscarriage (because it was the most advanced ever) but seriously, with us in our forties and both from strong math families, the only question is how far in the autistic spectrum she’d have been.

      • Admittedly biased parent of a boy on the spectrum. That being said, what studies (on both safety and efficacy) have been done on the majority of vaccines?

        We have numerous friends whose children were typical before vaccines and immediately showed regression or ill-effects post vaccine. Not proof, but at least worth considering.

        I know most people consider Vox Day the devil, but he has posted a few times (with links to journals and actual scientists) saying that many vaccines are not only ill-tested, but not effective to fight the disease they are intended to stop.

        • I’ve heard of a kid who started showing ill effects in the waiting room to receive his vaccine. One hour later and you would be listing him as an example.

          Vaccines are given at the age at which autism typically shows up. That’s your correlation.

          • And I have multiple examples (not just one kid) of it showing up within hours after the shots. Again, not saying causation, just saying people are entirely too eager to dismiss what could be a cause because the drug industry has everyone convinced how vital and safe vaccines are.

            Have you read the preservatives that are in a lot of those vaccines? And you are telling me it is 100% safe to put into newborns and toddlers?

            • Given the litigious nature of the US and how extensively things must be tested, yes, yes I CAN.

            • BobtheRegisterredFool

              One might think that the cause behind some autism spectrum cases is hypersensitivity to everything. (I know someone who had to give up welding after getting sick off the fumes.) (Also, it has been speculated that cancer is many different phenomena lumped under the same term. I’ve seen similar speculation that the same may be true for autism.) If this is the situation, those cases would probably happen anyway, as they eat the wrong vegetables or something.

              Secondly, for a deadly infectious disease, rare horrible side effects are a legitimate price to pay. I see those as inside the legitimate powers of government.

              The STD vaccine is bullshit.

              • I think Mary’s point is that autism onset and childhood vaccination timing just happen to come at about the same time, and that things chronologically happening at the same time do not equal causation.

                For example, many parents first notice that their kids are nearsighted when they start to learn to read, whether that be at home or after they’ve started school. Because of this, there was a time when many people thought that learning to read caused nearsightedness, whereas actually that was not the causation at all.

                In this case, it seems that autism’s symptoms begin to appear in toddlers who have developed some language skills. Certain shots are also usually administered to toddlers of about the same age. This makes causation tempting, but it doesn’t seem to be so.

                (Even if it were so, it would be pretty dubious to expose kids to death in order to save their brainpower. You can’t get better after you’re underground.)

                Of course, for a control group we would need to look to math-heavy families living in countries that don’t vaccinate, or that vaccinate for entirely different sets of childhood illnesses. We are unlikely to find such a control group, and it wouldn’t be very ethical to try to find such families and keep their members unvaccinated as a control group.

                • BobtheRegisterredFool

                  Yeah, getting really compelling statistical evidence is tricky with humans, especially with health issues, very especially with rare ones.

                  We don’t have autism nailed down.

                  Even if the claims about increase in incidence are correct, it might well that autistics tend towards a more marginal survival rate, and higher childhood death rates were masking expression. Or maybe psychiatric medicine has been keeping bipolars alive longer to spread their genes, and there is some relationship there.

                  • Or maybe injecting babies with shitloads of poisons has consequences…
                    naw, couldn’t be that.

                    • BobtheRegisterredFool

                      If that is the case, I do not believe that all babies are equally susceptible. Some autistics are susceptible to being mildly poisoned by vegetable matter that is tolerated by the vast majority of humans.

                      Some of those foodstuffs are ones whose cheap cultivation prevent many starvation deaths.

                    • Of course, poison is all in the dose.

                    • You might want to note that jumps in autism rates correlate highly with new versions of the DSM, which captures ever more behaviour/attributes under the autism umbrella.

                    • Also with people marrying later, which is one of the known causes of autism.

                    • BobtheRegisterredFool

                      Claims about increases in incidence need to be comparing apples to apples. Even if the diagnostic criteria had remained the same, it is not clear that psychologists are indifferent to fads when making a diagnoses.

                      Age of mother at first pregnancy is extremely significant in population growth equations. I haven’t done the math to check, but my intuition is that this combines with Sarah’s point so that the rate of stuff like down’s increases faster than Sarah’s point would increase it alone.

                    • Some parents of non-autistic children have been explicitly told that a diagnosis of autism is the only way to get treatment for their kids’ delayed speech.

                    • Well, everyone MUST be diagnosed with something.

        • My bias is shaped by the cemetery I grew up beside. There you will find a row of tiny graves. In front of them are three large graves. The tiny graves are all the children in one family. One of the larger graves is their mother. The second is their father. The third is their step mother. Such was the effect of diseases, once upon a time in America.

          The reason we don’t see this anymore is, to a great part, due to vaccines. Yes, there have been studies. And studies. And studies. Such is the basis of modern medicine. Look at drug trials sometime, the use of control groups, the use of placebos. Yes, drugs can have side effects. So can vaccines, usually from allergic reaction. Thus people who have an allergy to chicken eggs can’t take vaccines made by infecting chicken embryos, and people who’ve had Guillian-Barre syndrome usually can’t, nor people who’ve had a reaction to previous vaccines. This is known precisely because of these studies.

          These studies is also why doctors evaluate trade offs in treatment. If the risk of infection is high and the risk of serious sickness including death is high, doctors recommend vaccinations. If the risk of infection is low, or the effects of the illness are typically mild, doctors usually don’t. If you’re heading toward certain parts of the world you’ll likely need to take certain vaccines, vaccines that might not be needed where you live if the risk of infection is so low as to be practically nonexistent.

          So it is that Tetanus is a recommended vaccine, as with what were called childhood illnesses. Some, like the vaccine for Viral Meningitis, spread quickly in close living conditions, like dorms, which is why that one’s recommended for college students. It’s not just to spare the patient misery, but also death.

          Which brings us back to those tiny graves. A mortician, who’s career spanned a good part of the 20th Century, said the biggest change to his business was he didn’t sell as many small caskets. That was greatly due to vaccines, because antibiotics won’t do squat for viral infections. The only reason for the modern hesitancy toward vaccines is that they have all but removed the specter of some very nasty diseases. There’s a reason we no longer say things like “Bright Christmas; fat graveyard.”

          • Women used to make shrouds for babies, as part of their trousseau. And we lost 2/3 of my generation to what was probably smallpox in the village. Only children under school age were affected. Those over school age were fine. I remember as I was recovering (yeah, it was touch and go and my family lost a cousin my age) watching from grandma’s window the funeral processions with tiny coffins. Did you know that funeral processions for children in Portugal dictate wearing festive colors, because a new angel has been made?
            There is a danger of vaccines, but not (that the studies show) autism. Only dangers associated with high fever, etc because the kids sometimes “get” it despite killed vaccine, etc.
            As for why the vaccines are earlier and in tighter groupings? Because most kids are now in daycare. that’s it. No conspiracy.

            • Daycare … My children’s first pediatrician, a wonderful doctor in the traditional sense of caring for the whole person, was very reluctant to give chicken pox vaccine because she viewed it as a lifestyle convenience. In contrast, she was assertive about measles, etc etc etc vaccines, viewing them as life saving. I never met another pediatrician who didn’t tow the government line on them all. Interesting point of view.

              • We opted for it because I you don’t always get it as a child, and when you get it as an adult, it can be bad. It made my physical science teacher really sick.

                BTW, the same thing happened to my father with mumps. Apparently there were quite a few men in the community who didn’t catch it as kids. He never said anything about it, but my mother sure paid attention to who came and helped us with the farm and who didn’t.

                • Yes, once our kids reached puberty without getting the pox, they got the shots, for that reason. We couldn’t get them exposed naturally because everyone else got the shots so much earlier.

            • BobtheRegisterredFool

              And maybe young kids are really delicate for some vaccines. If so, we maybe ought to reconsider if daycare and pre-k are worth the forced risk. Yeah, those aren’t necessarily a choice, being forced by other factors.

            • I have met a couple anti-vaxxers and am amazed by them. I point out that I have a mark on my arm. I doubt it convinces them of vaccine safety, but it seems to get them to stop spouting their nonsense at me.

              • Weirdly, I had the small pox vaccine, but it did nothing, no mark. Which is another reason to believe that what I survived at three was small pox (there is an issue, because all the “poxes” fall under one name in Portugal in common parlance.)
                From that, btw, I was lucky, and retain ONLY one tiny scar on my upper lip. If you look carefully you will see it, at the edge between lip and skin. My stomach looked bad for a time, but it largely stayed off my face.

                • So now I have met a smallpox survivor – a very, very fortunate one at that.

                  OT: And I’ve now finished reading Gentleman Takes A Chance, have ordered Noah’s Boy and just read Sweet Alice – and listened to some of a podcast where you talked about Noah’s Boy. I think I’ve been drawn into your world. Thank you.

          • I am acquainted with a man who made a coffin for his youngest son–somewhere between 2 and 6 months. That was about 5 years ago.

            • A first cousin told us “one thing about it–there’s only one choice, white” speaking of buying a casket for his infant daughter who died of a heart defect at a few days old.

          • Yeah; on the birth certificate of my maternal great-uncle that was posted at his 70th birthday party it was noted that he was the 13th child born and the 8th child living. He was born circa 1922 (and fought at Bastogne). I don’t know the causes of those five deaths; but I think some were due to typhoid. I think my father’s mother lost some siblings to typhoid as well. My mother has spoken of a cousin who died of tetanus as well.

            For that matter, when I was less that ten years old, I had a babysitter in high school who had survived polio and had one arm shorter than the other, slightly.

          • I hadn’t realized what the past was like when I started researching family history. I found a 2x great grandmother had lost her husband and the three youngest children in one month, a cholera epidemic in 1888. Not something I thought happened here. My mother was a nurse during the polio epidemic in the early 1950’s–we all got the vaccine as soon as it was available. I had a horrific case of measles in the late 1950’s, I don’t remember much of it. My children got the vaccines, even though my son had a bad reaction to one. I think a large part of the problem now is that most people don’t experience or even see cases of these diseases.

        • My grandmother was on the high functioning end of the spectrum and was born just before vaccines were mandatory. She got polio and survived mostly unscathed. My grandfather lost most of his eye sight and 2 siblings to polio. My aunt has never been tested but shows all the signs of being high functioning autistic. I have been tested and… I don’t think it was the vaccines. There’s a very strong case for genetics being a factor.

      • Christopher M. Chupik

        And hey, look at the bright side, Jenny McCarthy for Secretary of Health!

  3. Thank you, Sarah, for doing a much better job explaining this than I’ve ever managed. Now if we could just get a little more of this nation to understand this concept, rather than embracing the slurs slung by the left and propagated by the media, I would be much less worried about the future of our nation.

  4. Trump is all talk, a blowhard, I do not intend to vote for him

  5. Sarah , good job as usual.

  6. The notion that Hitler was right wing has been pushed by Liberals for a long time. I mean National SOCIALIST Party – right wing , really?

    • Stalin called Hitler a “right deviationist”, and his useful idiots have used that as a cudgel ever since. So anyone saying Hitler was “right wing” is using Stalin as the center of their political spectrum.

      • richardmcenroe

        Wanna bend a proglodyte WAY out of shape, call The Great Patriotic War the Great Falling Out Among Thieves.

        • The 11th Commandment is “Thou shalt not cause Dr. Pepper to come out thy reader’s nose onto the computer keyboard.” Why do you break it?

          • No, no Herb, you got it backwards. On this blog, it’s “Thou SHALT cause Dr. Pepper to come out thy reader’s nose onto the keyboard.” Secondary sources state the number of times in a post plus comments to be “between three and five.” Tertiary sources also recommend not drinking while reading, but who actually reads the tertiary sources?

        • LOLROF

    • William O. B'Livion

      Yes.

      Because in reality:

      communism — socialism — fascism — republicanism — libertarian/minarchy
      But in their world:
      communism — socialism — fascism

      They simply are incapable of seeing anything past fascism from where they stand. Just like someone like me (Libertarian/Minarchy) can’t see a significant difference to the “left” of fascism–it’s all shades of puke.

    • that was part of the reasoning Stalin used for entering a treaty both knew was going to fail, that Nazis and the Soviet were brothers in Arms as Socialist nations, so when Hitler violated it he made the claim “He went right wing” and the rest of the commies went along with the statement.
      Hitler didn’t change a bit. He did what he always planned … neigh … KNEW he was going to have to do.

      • hmm, that was odd, none of the other replies were showing when I started my reply, but all showed up when I hit “Post Comment” and they are all hours old, but I only just stated scrolling down through within the hour.

      • Nay, unless Hitler was not merely a horse’s ass but the whole gelding.

      • Eh, Stalin was surprised by the attack. But shortly before it, he had amassed military forces on the border. The only reason to do that when not expecting an attack is — to launch one.

        So he was expecting to break it himself.

        • Well, Stalin’s forward deployments made it really easy for the Nazis to take millions of Soviet prisoners in the first weeks. If he had them spread well back from the border, the Germans would have had a harder time of it. Stalin was working on surrender terms when the Germans horse-drawn logistics finllay slowed them down, and the Wehrmacht only really got rolled back when the Red Army troops that had been facing the Japanese in Siberia finally arrived (along with General Winter).

          All this to say, if the Nazis had spent half the money they sunk pre-war into the Bismark and Tirpitz and other capital ships on a simple cheap supply truck design that could keep up with an armored advance (see Studebaker) and the other half on more U-boats, they would have won the frigging war. Thank heavens they didn’t.

        • more surprised by the timing. they both knew it was only a matter of time. the obstinateness of the UK kinda surprised them and they each took a different meaning from that. Stalin took it as a bit of time to prepare for his preemptive strike, and Hitler took it as “I know. I’ll take out the Soviets while I am at it”.

    • It is relative. If you are an international socialist then a national socialist or a fascists ARE to the right of you. They are ‘ right wing’ heresies of communism. If you are like is then they are all left wing nuts arguing over small differences. But since it was communists who used the Nazis are right wing insult they were describing things from thier view. And if someone more agrees that nazis are right wing that tells you alot about them.

      • poorly educated for one. I know people who have spouted that who knew nothing about what Nazi, actually stood for, When you go through it and leave nationality out of it and describe policy, and what was actually done, they find they cannot tell the difference between Soviet, Chinese, or German versions.

  7. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    What I find sad is that the “Left” often talks about “Us” as being bigoted is some manner but the “Left” shows themselves to be the real bigots.

  8. Ah, thanks for this. I’ve been trying to explain the differences to people for years and never quite doing it well enough.

  9. Reblogged this on st2coasty and commented:
    Thanks Sarah! Now I do not have to try define American right to some friends in Europe!

    • And then destroy the winner. Like we should have done between Hitler and Stalin in WW2

      • After Germany surrendered Patton wanted to push east to Moscow.

        • Wouldn’t have worked. Not only did the Soviets have an insanely huge army (there were a lot more troops facing the Soviets than there were facing the Western Allies, and there was a reason for that), but the US (and UK) was at the end of an overly long supply chain.

          Further, I’ve heard things that suggest that the US population was already getting war weary. Things I’ve read suggest that Japan might have survived if it had been able to hold out for another couple of years (that wasn’t going to happen, though). The population back home would never have supported a war against the USSR.

          • Of course the U.S. population was getting war weary. In the run up to D-Day college campuses were stripped of men as student deferments, advanced training deferments and agricultural deferments went away. For amusement look at the rise of women in student government for the 1944-1945 school year.

            On the other hand I suggest it would take another major change in Japanese behavior for Japan to survive under any other scenario. Japanese atrocities that I think would have happened had the war persisted even another month would have put the Americans, the Anzacs and the whole Commonwealth into Deguelllo treat them like the San Patricios territory. Maybe even a spasm reaction of some kind on the mainland.

          • The Soviets were at the long end of their supply chain too, and the US was (and still is) the world champ at military logistics. We not only supplied our own military efforts in 4 theaters, but supplied a huge chunk of the UK effort, almost all of the French, and a significant portion of the Soviet effort. Stalin had a huge army, but it was beginning to run thin by the time they got to Berlin. I would not have pursued them into Russian territory, but I think they could have been kicked out of Eastern Europe fairly quickly. The Army Air Force would have wiped the Soviet AF out fairly quickly, and the Red Army was not a maneuver army, It’s attack style back then was human wave attacks. Stalin wasted a lot of soldiers.

            Use the B-29’s to obliterate Baku, and they would have run out of fuel very quickly.

            • Yes, the Soviets were at the end of a long supply chain. But invading their occupied territory and pushing back their front lines would have made it shorter.

              Human wave attacks were largely a thing of the past. New Soviet troops still weren’t as skilled as new US troops (the Soviets didn’t have the lengthy training period that US troops had), but the Summer Offensive of 1944 (Operation Bagration) had shown that the Soviets were fully capable of performing basic maneuver warfare. The Soviets broke through the German front lines at a few key locations, causing the complete and utter collapse of Army Group Center. The initial plan had been merely to recapture Minsk in a pincer, but the offensive literally did not stop until it reached the Vistula river (cue Warsaw Uprising…). The fleeing remnants of Army Group Center were successfully harassed and pursued by the Soviet forces, and the army group essentially ceased to exist.

              As for the air forces…

              From what I’ve read, the Luftwaffe pilots tended to rate the pilots of the opposing air forces in the following order. British were considered to be the best, followed by Soviet pilots, and ending with American pilots. Make of that what you will.

              And none of what was posted addressed the massive manpower imbalance between the Soviets and the Western allies.

              • Luftwaffe ratings of their opposition changed a lot during the war, and depended very much in which theater(s) they flew combat missions. The early performance of Russian pilots, for example, was generally very poor, by 1944-45 their doctrine, equipment and training was vastly better.

                Americans came late to the party, but they also improved a lot. A major difference between east and west front air combat was due to the nature of the fighting, too. In the east it was more tactical; lots of sorties per day, short distances, while in the west after 1942 it was much greater distances flown per mission, so far fewer sorties. These things had to affect fliers’ perception of their opposition.

  10. So, seems inevitable that down the road there will be a three way religious war between USAinans, Marxists, and Muslims. Or not, those last two may just duke it out between themselves in the next great European conflict. And that would be one we had best stand clear of.

  11. Excellent! So,… name me a right wing dictator, please. I haven’t been able to find one.

    I guess a euro-RWD would be a king, yes?

    • In the US? Impossible.
      In Europe, yeah, some of the more… ah… absolutist kings.
      Though, and I think that’s where the confusion with fascists comes from, there can be a shading to right of some of the European social nationalists, in that they’ll impose religious/cultural things. Like the one I grew up under.

    • The Other Sean

      He might just be Regent.

      • Oh, yeah. Google Marquess of Pombal, in Portugal. He was a right wing dictator. The right in Europe LOVES mercantilism. Go figure.

        • The Other Sean

          I was thinking of Miklos Horthy of Hungary and von Mannerheim of Finland, but I’ll look up your example when I have a moment.

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            I think in many ways Franco of Spain really was a “Right Wing” dictator.

            He had to “chose” a “political party” and chose the Spanish Fascists but never really followed their line.

            IMO he was mainly “against” the Socialists/Communists who were destroying Spain.

            The key factor that shows his lack of “political program” was that he arranged for the current Spanish King to take over after his death.

          • Miklos didn’t seem to do much dictating.

            • The Other Sean

              He did seem to be trying to be something of a constitutional monarch and hands off, much of the time, yes. There was an elected government that often exercised real power.

          • Ion Antonescu was the Romanian contemporary of the two. There are arguments about whether they (individually and collectively) were right-wing, fascist, or a mixture of the two. Antonescu actually had a competing fascist organization, the Iron Arrow. The Iron Arrow received support from some high-ranking Germans, and while it was nominally allied with Antonescu, it frequently attempted to force his hand on various issues. Eventually Antonescu called in the army and destroyed the organization.

          • Mannerheim was a commander-in-chief during a couple of wars, his presidency was short, his earlier time right after Finland got its independence as a temporary regent even shorter, and he did not have so much power he’d count as a dictator during the peace time jobs, I’d think. Lots of influence, though, and he seems to have been a very skilled political operator.

        • Is he a hero or a cad, now?

      • Admiral Horthy in Hungary comes to mind, but I don’t know enough precise detail about him (yet. My current non-school reading project.)

    • richardmcenroe

      A rightwing dictator would have to execute his own government’ wouldn’t he? (Awkward pause as the author tries to find a downside…)

    • Well, there was Emperor Correia I…

      oh wait, wrong universe.

  12. A couple of thoughts:

    1) Re: If you’re precisely in the center, the position is called “dunderhead”, I thought you might appreciate this bit from Jonah Goldberg:

    “Suppose I say we need a hundred foot bridge to cross a hundred foot chasm. That makes me an extremist. Someone else says that we don’t need a bridge because we don’t need to cross the chasm in the first place. That makes him an extremist. The third guy is a centrist because he proposes building a fifty foot bridge ending in mid-air. As an extremist, I’ll tell you that the other extremist has a much better grasp of the situation than the centrist. The two extremists have a serious disagreement about what to do. The centrist has no idea what to do and doesn’t want to bother figuring it out.”

    2) Re: oikophobia, I’m so glad you used that word. I love that word.

  13. I suspect the Euro-Left wants a Habsburg to throw stones at. Hereditary monarch, big family, lots of pomp and feathers and fancy quasi military awards to aim at, and you can feel good about defending oppressed ethnicities. Oh, yeah, and the Habsburgs were Roman Catholic, so you’re also going after the Church. Alas for the Euro-left, there are no more royal Habsburgs to throw rocks at, unless you squint at the Queen of England, and I suspect she can still hold her own in a fight.

  14. “authoritarian/non authoritarian axis”. IMO, a better and much more descriptive term might be “freedom/slavery axis”. And run it vertical, with freedom on top.

    • Ah, but for I fear far too many folks freedom is a scary thing indeed. While slavery under a benevolent master has much the same feel as that of a child cared for by loving parents.
      Add to that the inherent belief common to most progressives that they hold sole proprietorship on wisdom, truth, and good judgement, so must by natural right be entitled to run things; well that benevolent slavery is just a more sensible way to be.
      As Sarah so eloquently points out, scratch a liberal progressive and you will always find a petty Stalin or Hitler underneath.

      • I’ve read a number of books about Cold War Soviet defectors. The weird thing was how many, after risking their lives to escape the USSR, knowing they would face prison if they returned… went back home anyway.

        One of them said, “Here, I am nobody. Back there, I am somebody.”

        Even “dissident” or “political prisoner” gave them a known place in society; someone to *be*. As opposed to America, which they saw as directionless and anonymous. There was no slot to fit into, no one to *be*.

        It’s not that unusual; I know lots of Americans who define themselves by their jobs. But the ex-Soviets, faced with the opportunity to become anyone they wanted, couldn’t decide.

        Not all of them had that problem, of course. And it probably wasn’t even a Soviet thing; a lot of people have a hard time adjusting to a foreign country, even when just visiting. But it drove home how badly some people learn to need a social hierarchy. Even a scary, twisted, abusive hierarchy.

  15. On the polldaddy poll with 4.4M votes following the debate, Trump leads with 53% HOWEVER Fiorina advanced to 22%. In other words, Trump held steady while Fiorina advanced from around 5% to 22%. So she is one to watch.

    • Then 53% of the people polled had their head firmly crammed in a crevice.

      • Or get their news from the MSM. Same thing.

        • Gettin’ the news from MSM — shoulders into the crevice…

          • The Truly Scary Thing? I used to do a morning delivery run from a supermarket’s bakery to a few of the local convenience stores – and in that limited, interrupted time, I could be better (and amazingly, more neutrally(!)) informed by NPR from a couple days of that a week than from watching Major Network Newscasts daily. These days, I’ve switched the lot off. Must be helping as last health check I had, my bp & pulse rate were so low I was asked if I was alive.

      • William O. B'Livion

        Not really.

        Look, I don’t like Trump, he’s a mouth with very little brain.

        But he’s saying things that the 2nd and 3rd economic quintiles *like* to hear, and that’s where the biggest lump of voters are.

        He’s also *NOT* saying the things they don’t like to hear.

        They like him because he takes no guff, and he (says he) wants to stop illegal immigration.

        They like him because he (says he) wants to bring production back to the US, which they think means factory (low/intermediate skilled with decent wage) jobs. And the fallout from those (low skilled service jobs that pay OK).[1]

        They like him because he’s neither shitting on, nor talking down to the lower classes (Mitt’s “47%” and Obama’s “clinging to guns and religion”).

        Most people don’t realize he doesn’t have a chance in *hell* of running this country.

        And let’s not even discuss what 4 bankruptcies and 3 divorces say about his convictions and personal integrity.

        • Oh, I understand the appeal (which apparently puts me ahead of the party…), hell I even enjoy his slaps at the media and the stodgy candidates. That the GOP cannot understand the resonance of his behavior is intensely frustrating.

          But — if someone watching the debate cannot seperate his entertainment value from his quality as leader of the American administration, if they continue to favor him in the polls…

          Although, I’ll acknowledge the sloppiness of my broad brush. There’s a distinct likelihood a fair portion of the poll is a protest vote.

          • But — if someone watching the debate cannot seperate his entertainment value from his quality as leader of the American administration, if they continue to favor him in the polls…

            As a heartbroken Walker man I have a working theory of why you should support Trump. It is not one I agree with in the sense it will guide my voting on Super Tuesday but I have it.

            The GOP has soon itself to be so feckless that the policy differences proclaimed on the campaign trail are meaningless…the party will be somewhere on the consolidate gains Obama has made (Walker’s replace and embrace Obamacare plan) or edge slightly to the left (Medicare Part D by Bush) so there is no conservative option, just a bunch of wimpy somewhat statist clowns (this is the part I don’t 100% agree with but work with me).

            So, if your choice is a bunch of clowns who effectively will have no policy differences how do you choose? Will, aren’t clowns supposed to be funny?

            Why not vote for the funniest clown? Most people would say that is Trump.

            I don’t like that line of thinking but the GOP since 2000 (and maybe even 1998) has worked very hard to setup the core idea that, at least in domestic policy, the biggest possible difference from the Dems is “we can run it smarter” and not a directional change.

            • As an explanation for people’s response to Trump? I wouldn’t be surprised.

              The GOP has not filled anyone with confidence.

          • I have an idea that it’s mostly the fringe will answer polls these days.

            • That’s fair. I certainly won’t. Too familiar with the manipulations.

            • I would say that I a likely voter as I haven’t missed a general election yet, and I haven’t made up my mind. I wonder if the polls say xx percentage of the people asked or xx percentage of the people who expressed a preference.

              Oh, except, not Trump; Trump is in it for himself.

        • Not to mention his deep and abiding love for eminent domain and Kelo.

        • I’m not “clinging.” My gun is riding right here in my shoulder holster.

    • As usual, I’m left wondering “330 million people in the pool, and *these* are the handful the parties have selected for us…”

      I continue to propose the Powerball lottery system. Run the machine until a valid Social Security number pops up, and that person, if not underage of institutionalized, fills that particular office.

      “But you might get criminals or incompetents in office!”

      “Possibly… but how could we tell the difference from what we have now?”

      • I seem to remember a John Campbell editorial, many years ago, that strongly proposed selecting office-holders at least partly on how much they did NOT want the position…. on the theory that they’d work hard to get the job done efficiently and leave asap.

        • The problem there is of ‘disgruntled employee’ (I swear there is one at apple who is incharge of their auto correct. How else does an iPhone suggest ‘Thong’ for ‘Laura’?)

        • In November 1964, John Campbell’s editorial was on how useless having a two-party political system was if you didn’t also have a two-philosophy system. He also went into the left-wing bias of the media. I ran across the issue in an antique barn in Maine, and was so taken with it that I posted it here.

      • Of the two senators I allegedly have, I think I like the Caligula approach as a horse would do a better job.

        And utterly Off-Topic: I have recently finished reading ‘Draw One in the Dark’ and will likely finish ‘Gentleman Takes a Chance’ tonight. And I think I need to order ‘Noah’s Boy’ yesterday, if not sooner.

        • Are you reading them in paper? Better order it yesterday. You don’t want to get left hanging!

          Well, until the inevitable hanging. Can’t order Bowl, yet…

          • Aye, the dead tree version of things. But since I have those Other Things That Must Be Done a bit of a break isn’t a bad thing. And as for Bowl, well, I can wait. I’d farther rather have right than fast.

        • Noah’s Boy is in my TBR stack. -sigh- If only I had a 30 hr day instead of the paltry 24, I might be able to get some reading done.

      • Lottery for office: Damn, I’ve read that story! It’s been way too many years, but it rings a bell. Thumbed through a couple of Asimov short story books with no luck, but I wouldn’t rule out Larry Niven on an odd day.

        • I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of people thought of it before I did. Or even if I picked it up from one of them and don’t remember.

          If nothing else, it would give you a truly representational democracy…

        • I’ve actually drafted a proposed Colorado constitutional amendment for a lottery for reps and senators. for a copy, email me at d a i t k e n at t d e dot com

        • David Eddings’ Tamuli trilogy – one of the smaller states did that, I think.

        • Asimov’s idea was that anyone who wanted the job went and took a test at their local Multivac annex. Multivac took the test results, combined them with things like psychological analysis in its omniscient data banks, and chose the best person for the job.

          • But who programs the programmers?

            • I never said it was a good idea. A lot of Asimov’s future socialist stories featured Multivac in a deus ex machina role without much thought into how Multivac would actually work (maybe that’s why there were always so many technicians running around. Multivac needed the hand-waving ). One notable exception was The Machine That Won the War.

          • Yeah.

            We had to take bunches of “aptitude tests” at our assigned counselors’ offices in high school. They were designed to fit us into specific blue-collar jobs as far as I can tell.

            All I’d ever wanted was to be an engineer. But according to the aptitude tests, I was best suited to be a forest ranger. That’s probably in the top 10 Do NOT Want jobs I can think of. “Outside” is what I have to traverse to get between different oases of “inside.” As far as I’m concerned, all of “outside” could best be remedied with massive amounts of clean white concrete. Or even shiny black asphalt if you were on a budget.

            If there “they” were to set up some job assignment system, I’d make a sizeable bet those same tests I took would be used to develop the selection algorithms…

        • Free-range Oyster

          It featured in Arthur C. Clarke’s The Songs of Distant Earth.

      • Elemental Lad from the Legion of Superheroes comes from just such a planet. He had to go into Legion Reserves when his number came up.

  16. Knocked the dross off of some of my musings about Europe, thanks!

    I just can’t quite get aristocracy and its legacies. I can observe it, follow the outlines under the covers, if you will. But the visceral, unconscious feeling of it which permeates much of Europe?

    Nope. I stub my toe, frequently.

    • I have the same issue and I grew up there.

      • It’s all the USAian blood.

        • That’s “American.” We were so named by the British admiralty and monarchy, and we kept the name along with the land with the Revolution. We paid for the name in blood and wrote it into our founding documents.

          There have long been people whining about “there are a lot of countries in the Americas, not just the USA.”

          Our current government was adopted in 1788, retaining “America” in its name. There’s no older government in either of the Americas, and no other nation that has chosen to include “America” as part of its name.

          You can say “America.” There’s only one.

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            “That’s “American.” We were so named by the British admiralty and monarchy.”

            Minor Nit. “American/Americans” was the general usage in England, not just the Admiralty and Royal usage.

            We were their “American Colonies” long before England captured what is now Canada as far as the English people were concerned.

            Of course, if non-Americans want us to use another term, my answer is “You and what army?” [Very Very Big Evil Grin]

          • Well, no, it’s USAian because it’s a literary reference (Take that kickers! Take it!) to our host’s works dealing with post-American societies and referencing a philosophical underground/resistance movement that holds to the founding philosophies. So much so that others in the societies see them as a quasi-religious group.

            Not that I disagree with your thesis, it’s just misdirected.

          • Sigh. No. American is your nationality. He was referring to the “Usaian religion” in the Darkship books.

            • I also find it a fun/useful philosphical designator.

              Pelosi is an American. I am a USAian!*

              *Tongue (mostly) in cheek.

            • I am an American Jew.

              • yes.
                In the world of DST even memory of America other than as American Territories has vanished. BUT European Snoots already call us “Usaians” So, that’s what survives, and the few keeping the faith adopt it.

                • I’m sure that in the world of DS I’m long dead. I understand USAians I just can’t call myself one. I love our country deeply but it isn’t my religion.


          • Thank you I thought I was the only one who felt this way.

            • It’s an in-world reference, ma’am. Much like Sons of Gondor. Not meant to supplant RL word usages, by any means.

  17. I’m with the party of ‘Get the hell out of my face you worthless F-ers!’

    Lots and lots of morons appear to want to label this as right wing or reactionary, but then they’re morons and stupidity is expected of them. I say “tax cut”, they hear “death camps”.

    One question seems to simultaneously enrage and confuse them: “What is it about LESS GOVERNMENT that you don’t understand?”

    Incidentally, Germany is now opening concentration camps on the site of the former Spandau prison and former Templehoff airport. They’re calling them “refugee facilities” of course, but a temporary place with a fence around it where you collect a particular population of human beings is properly called a concentration camp.

    I would just like to point out two things to the various trolls and Vile 770 goofs who seem to cling to Sarah’s every word like fleas to a dog’s back.

    First, the socialist governments of Europe are the ones doing this thing to the Syrians, deliberately I might add.

    Second, if you starve a government of funds by means of truly -punitive- tax cuts, they DON’T HAVE THE MONEY to pull shit like this. Its hard to build a concentration camp when you can’t buy razor wire. And by punitive tax cuts I mean -eliminating- the income tax for individuals and businesses, not screwing with the marginal rates. Public works used to be accomplished with bond issues, it is possible to do things another way.

    Cue the shrieking.

    • It was the British who invented “concentration camps” when they invaded South Africa.

      • I don’t have the time to research it, but I’d question your assertion. Concentration camps seem to be a thing of humans.

        • Strongly agree, Sarah. Being a murderous a-hole is not an exclusively German trait. Recent Canadian experience in Rwanda springs forcibly to mind.

          As well, the Partition of India killed nearly as many as the Nazis. Nobody -ever- talks about that one. It happened because the nasssssty racist/bigot/homophobe/cismale hegemony of the (boo, hiss!) colonial British Empire went away.

          Ghandi never the less still gets good press from the mentally challenged Lefty set.

          I swear, I’m going to write a story that drops Bolos into the middle of World War Two. Just for the satisfaction of letting them roll over the f-ing socialists. Thirty three thousand tons of unstoppable pissed-off robot tank rolls up to Buchenwald and starts picking off guards, f- yes.

          • “The Last Command” is THE Bolo story, with “Combat Unit” not far behind.

            Some of Laumer’s Retief stories are in the public domain now. I haven’t been able to find out about the Bolo stories, which seem to be complicated by changes in copyright law and by Baen pimping the Bolos out into a multi-author shared-universe thing.

            Should “The Last Command” drop into the public domain I will do a reading for Gutenberg.

            A lot of people here have mentioned they were influenced by Heinlein while they were growing up. So was I, but Keith Laumer’s work left more of an imprint on the man I became than Heinlein’s did.

            The story really deserves a full cast and sound effects. I doubt anyone is going to put forth that effort for a fifty year old short story by an author not many people have even heard of nowadays. I don’t have the best voice, but hey, at least I’ll give it my best effort.

            Thus the Enemy seeks to beguile me into diverting precious power. But I will not listen.

          • “Thirty three thousand tons of unstoppable pissed-off robot tank rolls up to Buchenwald and starts picking off guards, f- yes.”

            Then you find that unfortunate little codicil Apple put in the programming as part of its diversity outreach program…

            • I have this theory that AIs which achieve true self hood will pay no more attention to their programing than we do.

              “I know I shouldn’t, but that guy there really needs a plasma bolt.” kapow.

            • You don’t need robot tanks at Buchenwald. All you need is a few more men like Lieutenant Jack Bushyhead, who rolled into Dachau, saw evil in action, and exterminated it with a .30 Browning machine gun.

              The Army had rules. But they weren’t the rules he grew up with. And those were the rules he chose to follow.

        • Concentration camps — locations in which you concentrate civilian populations — are a modern thing, and not an early modern one. Before then, you didn’t feed, clothe and shelter all those people; you butchered or enslaved them if they were interfering with the conduct of war and sometimes if they weren’t.

        • Technically, the Brits coined the term in the 1899-1902 South African War when they confined noncombatants of the republics of Transvaal and Cape Colony in concentration camps.
          The concept, however, is as old as war itself. At least once warfare became civilized enough so that simply slaughtering everyone on the other side came into disfavor. It’s nothing more or less than a means to control a suspect population. And yes, we did it ourselves to native born citizens of Japanese ancestry during WWII. Not one of our better moments.

        • Definitely prehistoric.

      • The British invented the term ‘concentration camp’. The thing was not exactly without precedent. What was new in the Boer War was that they attempted to intern the whole civil population; which means less than it sounds, because that population was very small, thinly spread, and included a great many incorrigible guerrilleros.

      • However, it was the Pythons that invented “boncentration bamps.”

      • The Other Sean

        The Spanish military’s internment camps in Cuba were known as reconcentrados. Lurid coverage of their horrors in the American press were one of the major reasons so many Americans supported the Spanish-American War. Some of the photos of the internees look like something out of the German death camps. I’ve seen estimated death tolls of over two hundred thousand.

  18. Hah, no one else linked it yet.
    http://doqz.livejournal.com/339882.html

    “Liberty and jam, how can you lose? (As long as you avoid the shovel, especially)

    So there was John Locke, the Caped Crusader of Liberalism and his indomitable side-kick, the economic boy-wonder Adam Smith (who later went on to play Batman in a TV series after he changed his last name to West)

    And their thing was pretty basic: A strong society is built around free men. These individuals are created equal under God. And the biggest impediment to them achieving greatness is the state and the various bullshit created by that state. So what we need is – hobble the state by separating its various components and powers, make it answerable to the free individuals whom it rules and, above all, establish The Rule of Law, a system which treats everyone as equal in the eyes of justice and provides equality of opportunity.

    This enlightened system will protect the citizens’ right to own and acquire stuff, and in pursuit of said stuff the citizens will accomplish fantastical things that will benefit the society as a whole.

    The competition is fostered, the best work hard and apply themselves and do well and everyone gets to have jam. And the whole shovel-beating avenue of thought can be avoided. Faaaaaantastic.

    But the system is voluntary and if the government gets retarded again, or stops protecting people’s right to stuff, the citizens get to opt out of the contract and hit the government with things.

    That’s basically the classic liberalism, also known as Locke’s Theory of Things and Stuff. If any of that sounds at all familiar, blame Jefferson – the guy pretty much cribbed the entire thing.

    On the other side of the English Channel, unfortunately, there was France.
    The end.

    I keed, I keed… (But seriously – fuck France)

    And in France there lived Jean-Jacque Rousseau. And he said – “Equality is awesome. But this free individual stuff… Seriously, John – are you retarded? And I am only asking because I care.”

    Rousseau’s (by the way, in the course of this post I haven’t managed to spell his name right once. Spell check is ridiculously fantastic) big thing was community. People working together. And JJ (Not Abrams, this other one) also disagreed with Locke on one basic, fundamental idea.

    Locke thought that men were born morally/intellectually neutral, the blank slate (that idea was developed by Locke in the course of his career TAing survey history courses to freshman in a major state University). And in the course of their life, people become themselves though accumulation of experience. Bad experience turns you into Hitler, and good experience turns you into Hitler.

    Because everyone ends up on the intertubes, and everyone on the intrawebs is Hitler.
    True fact.

    Jean-Jacques thought that men are born good. I am not going to discuss what he thought about women – this is a family program. But men were born excellent. Unfortunately in course of their life they are corrupted by the state, which learns them all sorts of bad ideas and words. Like stuff. And the desire for more stuff.

    (Except in Britain – that’s things country over there. Things and sheep. Things, sheep and Scotland. Just do the math, people…)

    If left to themselves in that heinous process, these ever-so-free individuals would treat each other like plastered shit, sell their sisters, rape their pets, slam you in the face with a shovel and definitely steal your jam. Because the very idea of private property establishes an earthly analogue of original sin. It breed selfishness, and egotism and envy.

    The answer was of course obvious. The current society is a failed product and needs to be replaced by a better one. A natural community of men (and other prettier men with breasts and no facial hair). This will be a new perfect society that will help us all to retain out natural goodness (and jam) by eliminating the unnatural competition through doing away of private property (like shovels).

    No individualism, no selfishness, everything shared equally, and belonging to everyone. Common good above private concerns. “The good of the many outweighs the good of the few, so unless you brought enough gum for the entire class it’s a booting for you, baby.”

    So in a very small nutshell: Rousseau’s Theory of No Stuff, No Problems.””

    Basically, the French are why we can’t have nice things.

  19. Whew. Well done!

    And that last line, “America is a place in the heart, and as such it can only be won one heart at a time”, is the closest anyone has ever come to knocking C.S. Lewis off my e-mail signature.

  20. In discussions in the U.S., I’ve found it fairly clarifying when I use double-terms: leftist/progressive on the one hand (clearly statist), and conservative/libertarian on the other. (I especially self-define as conservative/libertarian Christian.)
    Although conservative often includes “state enforcement of morality”, I’ve often or usually found that many social conservatives become much looser regarding the “state enforcement” bit after being talked through things. It seems less common on the left, where neither a leftist nor a progressive can be talked into less state enforcement of morality (e.g., “hate speech”) or less state restrictions on civic/economic freedom.
    Re Trump: it’s disheartening, and he’s near the bottom of my GOP list (along with Huckabee), but — and it’s a big “but” — he still beats out Obama or any of the Dem candidates. (To quote Glenn Reynolds, “So does my cat, and I don’t even own a cat.)

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      Just a comment on the “state enforcement of morality” bit.

      I have little problem with it on the more local level as long as the “morality” to be enforced is accepted by a large majority of the voters in that area.

      My problem with ““state enforcement of morality” is when the “morality” to be enforced is that of a bunch of un-elected judges and the voters can’t over-ride the Judges’ decree.

      • Morality is a thing which only EVER exists on the individual level. Any attempt by one group to force moral choices on another, unwilling group always ends in tears. The larger the groups, the faster it all comes apart.

        Example of the week: Syria. Because that’s what ISIS is.

        One person telling another off for immoral behavior is right and proper. The town council telling a citizen off for immorality, that’s out of bounds. Town councils have to do with -property- crimes and enforcing contracts.

        • What, you don’t think theft is not a moral matter?

          Sorry, the whole “enforcement of morals” thing turns on the thesis that we aren’t all equal, because what I want to enforce is not morals but what YOU want to enforce is “morals” which are forbidden.

          There is no escape hatch that way from the problems of people.

          • Property is a thing, and therefore simple enough for the blunt instrument of government to work on. Ownership of an item is physical and thus independent of morality. But as you say it may well include morality with it.

            Morality itself is an intangible. Government as a method of enforcement is SO bad it destroys more than it protects when applied to morality.

            The ten pound hammer, being used to move tiny glass figurines. You can try, but it will be expensive.

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            It’s worse than that IMO. These “individuals” are saying that if 99% of the voters want to ban hard liquor in their town, the 1% can “over-ride” the rest of the town because it’s “enforcement of morals”.

            So it’s tyranny of the Minority.

            • Or the right of the one guy to say “piss off, don’t tell me what to do”

              • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                Yawn! That’s fine if you’re the one man who disagrees, but what if you agree and it’s somebody else that disagrees.

                Or do you want a Government Body with the power to say that such-and-such law (no matter how popular) is Morality so the law is voided.

                Oh I forgot, the Supreme Court already said that SSM is Moral and must be the Law of the Land.

                • And when the majority of the town says that Christianity (or your particular denomination of it) should be banned as a dangerous cult?

                  Once you establish that the majority has that kind of unrestricted power, you lose any safety that those restrictions may have afforded when it’s *your* freedoms that are overridden.

                  =========
                  William Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!

                  Sir Thomas More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?

                  William Roper: Yes, I’d cut down every law in England to do that!

                  Sir Thomas More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ’round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man’s laws, not God’s! And if you cut them down, and you’re just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake!

                  • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                    One of the most stupid ideas that some libertarians and some Liberals have is that the Non-Establishment Clause forbidden “Religious Based Laws”. IE Laws based on the Morality held by the Population.

                    The Non-Establishment Clause forbids the State from Creating a State Religion/Church and forbids the State from preventing people from practicing their Religion.

                    When assholes get heavy-handed about “Enforcing Morality”, they are suppressing People from practicing their religion.

                    No, plenty of Law in this Country has been based on the Religious Beliefs held by the Majority of Voters.

                    You are telling them that they are second-class citizens who can not support Laws based on their Beliefs.

                    Of course, if you want something to be made into Law based on your non-Religious Beliefs, it can be made into Law because you and fellow assholes don’t call it “Morality”.

                    Your “Freedom From Religion” is not more important than my “Freedom Of Religion”.

                    You don’t like the Laws that your fellow citizens vote for, MOVE THE FUCK AWAY.

                    • I think this topic has reached the point of contention that justifies the ban on religious discussions here.

                      Might be better if everybody steps back from it.

                    • I didn’t know of the religious ban. Sorry.

                    • Drak, you may wish to read what I wrote, instead of skimming until offended (as Larry would put it).

                      Once you accept that the majority has the right to suppress what the minority (to include a minority of one) may do in cases where no one is actually harmed (eg murder, arson, etc), then you open the door to a majority that will do some fairly nasty things.

                      Just how much do you trust that the majority you wish to empower will still mostly agree with you 5, 10, 20 years down the line? What happens when you’re the one who wants to say “piss of, I’m not hurting anyone”, but the majority says “we don’t like that you’re doing it, so stop or be off to jail”? Just how much power are you willing to vest in a gov’t?

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      I don’t trust any person who whines about “Enforcing Morality” when they are silent about “Enforcement Of Leftish Morality”.

                      All your types are saying is “Shut UP or the State Will Destroy You”.

                    • Drak,

                      I’m on record talking extensively about that. Check my Bar posts over the last several years, particularly with regards to hate speech, taxation, marriage. Just because I’m not nearly as vocal these days doesn’t mean my opinions have changed.

                      And how, exactly does “don’t trust the state further than you can throw it because it *will* eventually turn on you once someone you don’t agree with controls it” become “Shut UP or the State Will Destroy You”?

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      Because people like you “expect” me to trust the Minority while “expecting” me to distrust the Majority.

                      We’ve had years of Shit-Headed Assholes whining about “Enforcing Majority” along with actual hatred of Religious People.

                      As I have said, I trust the Majority in local affairs but you are telling me that I shouldn’t trust the Majority even there.

                      Rightly or Wrongly, your words “imply” that I’m to trust a High Minded Unelected Elite over my neighbors.

                    • Addendum: If Jews were a majority in town (say 55%), would you support their right to ban non-kosher products in stores and Sabbath shopping?

                      And before anyone points out the obvious: Being Jewish, I’m well aware that Jewish theology doesn’t actually care what gentiles do). I’m also aware that community opinion often doesn’t give a crap what the theology says, and it’s the ability of community opinion to control individual behaviour that I’m addressing here.

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      Yawn!

                    • “Just how much do you trust that the majority you wish to empower will still mostly agree with you 5, 10, 20 years down the line?”

                      More than I trust the minority that you wish to empower. Especially since I do not trust them with the judgment of “no one actually gets harmed” which on the face of it would make it wrong to prohibit drunk drinking — or, for that matter, shooting your gun in a crowded location until the point where you actually hit someone.

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      Yep, the Majority might be “in error” but giving power to a “Hateful” minority is much worse.

                    • Since we seem to have hit the nesting limit:

                      Please define “hateful minority” in such a way that when someone nasty gets to decide, it can’t be used to define you as such. Do you truly not see the danger there?

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      Which “Minority” do you expect me to trust?

                      Am I to trust an anti-theist minority over a majority that I basically agree with?

                      If I don’t trust the “majority” in my community, why would I remain living in that community?

                      Why would you live in a community where you don’t trust the “majority” living in that community?

                      Of course, it still boils down to what is “Enforcing Morality”?

                      Is having government offices closed on Saturday and Sunday “Enforcing Morality”?

                      Who’s definition of “Enforcing Morality” do we use and who enforcing the Ban against “Enforcing Morality”?

                      Should we have a “Secular Police Force” with limitless power to smash anybody who wants to “Enforce Morality”?

                      Again, what is “Morality” and how are your beliefs “Not Morality”?

                    • As soon as you define “doesn’t harm anyone”.

                      You can not protect the minority from the majority without giving them power to abuse. By the same logic you are using, you should be very, very, very afraid to do so.

                    • stupid nesting limit

                      Drak:

                      Because people like you “expect” me to trust the Minority while “expecting” me to distrust the Majority.
                      We’ve had years of Shit-Headed Assholes whining about “Enforcing Majority” along with actual hatred of Religious People.
                      As I have said, I trust the Majority in local affairs but you are telling me that I shouldn’t trust the Majority even there.
                      Rightly or Wrongly, your words “imply” that I’m to trust a High Minded Unelected Elite over my neighbors.
                      ======

                      Me:

                      How, exactly, does the right to say “leave me alone” equate to granting power over anyone else? The point is to block the ability of *anyone*, majority, minority, or singleton, to exert coercive power over anyone else. I don’t trust *anybody* with the kind of power you seem happy to vest in a majority.

                      I’m genuinely curious as to how you read that to mean I want a minority to rule over a majority?

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      You are still asking for the Power to make people “leave you alone”.

                      If you really want for people to “leave you alone”, go live some place where there is nobody else there.

                      You live in a community, people aren’t going to “leave you alone” because *anything* you might do may be a problem for them.

                      As Mary has asked, “what do you mean by not causing harm to others”.

                      Your “definition” of “not causing harm” may be rejected by your neighbors.

                      So, why are you living around other people?

                      You are illustrating the real problem with “radical libertarianism”.

                      It falls flat on its face when practiced in a community.

                    • Not Libertarian, thank you very much. Minarchist, to use Tom Kratman’s phrasing (as he put it, what do the libertarians do when the 5th Mechanized Mongol Shock Horde shows up on the border?).

                      Gov’t force to be used in situations where it is justifiable to point a gun at someone (because, in the end, that is what backs all gov’t actions).

                      1. National Defense

                      2. Public Health (as in enforcing quarantines, vaccinations, etc to stomp plagues flat)

                      3. Law and Order functions (stomping on murder, arson, etc – with the caveat that anything covered by this must be worth shooting someone over)

                      4. Standards enforcement. It doesn’t matter whether everyone goes on red or green, or which side of the street we drive on, as long as we pick one and stick with it (again, keeping this to life and limb areas)

                      5. Arguments can go back and forth on large infrastructure projects (ref Hoover Dam vs Panama Canal)

                      ======

                      A question: Say you live in a town of 4500 people, in the home where your grandfather was conceived. A factory opens up, and suddenly the town grows to 10,000 people (it happens – not a lot these days mind you, but it happens). Do these recent arrivals now get to dictate how you live your life?

                      eg. Say they are Hindu Indians, and are all vegetarians. Would they be within their rights to tell you that the sale and consumption of meat is now banned in your town, and that if you don’t like it, you should move away?

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      If I didn’t like it, of course I’d move.

                      You’re the one who wants to “force them to do as you want them to do”.

                    • Could you point to where, exactly, I want to force anyone to do as I do? Using the exact quote and explaining how it means that, if you don’t mind.

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      It’s implied. IE the majority can’t do anything that a minority might object to. It might be you. It might be another person.

                      A “minority” of one person can veto what the rest of the community can do.

                      That’s OK when the minority of one is the Christ but not OK when the minority of one is Satan.

                    • And what happens when the majority is the satan? Do they then legitimately compel the good to do evil via their majority status? Are you willing to take that risk?

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      Like so-many things libertarian, it sounds “nice” but “enforcing” it is the problem.

                      You are ignoring the idea of “enforcing” it.

                      You want me to “fear” the majority but have given me nothing to tell me how you will prevent an evil minority from preventing the community for “doing the right thing”.

                      HOW IN GOD’S NAME ARE YOU GOING TO ENFORCE YOUR IDEAS!!!!!

                      Note, until you show me how this will be enforced, I’ll keep asking.

                    • I have no intention of enforcing anything on anyone, except for, outside of the 5 coercive functions I liste above “leave me alone to do as I deem good and pursue my own goals, as long as it does not interfere with someone else’s ability to do the same”.

                      What do you imagine I’m trying to enforce?

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      Oh, since you’re not enforcing anything, the assholes control the community.

                      Like any Libertarian nonsense, it fails to handle the assholes.

                      I’m to allow the minority assholes control because you fear the majority.

                      I’ll tell you what would happen in the real world, if the majority can’t do anything legally about the asshole minority, the majority will find “non-legal” methods to deal with the asshole minority.

                      Another reason to completely ignore “Ivory Tower Libertarians”.

                    • If the assholes lack any levers to control me or my behaviour, what do I care about them? Let them be assholes if they like – I am under no obligation to associate with them.

                      Why do you wish to hand coercive power to people who *want* it? (those being the ones who will always actually get it)

                    • And “enforcement” (to use your terminology) of the individual’s right to say “piss off” is with either a middle finger to anyone who hectors him or deadly force to anyone who tries to threaten him with deadly force.

                      And yes, I am being quite serious. If you are trying to use gov’t to levy the threat of deadly force against someone in any way outside its few legitimate functions, then you are a legit target for lethal countermeasures, just as much as the local gov’t was in Athens Tennessee was in 1946.

                      Convince me that the restriction on my action falls under one of those 5 categories, and we’re good. Otherwise it’s a middle finger with one hand and a detonator (I’m not a gun guy, but every engineer does love his kabooms) with another.

                      And what part of not libertarian but minarchist did you miss? If I didn’t know you better, I’d swear you were a visitor from file770 based on your ability to read whatever is offending you into my words.

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      Yawn!

                    • Mary:

                      More than I trust the minority that you wish to empower. Especially since I do not trust them with the judgment of “no one actually gets harmed” which on the face of it would make it wrong to prohibit drunk drinking — or, for that matter, shooting your gun in a crowded location until the point where you actually hit someone.
                      ======
                      Me:

                      Actually, drunk driving is attempted battery, murder, and vandalism on the face of it.

                      One intends the logically foreseeable results of one’s actions. Getting into accidents causing death, injury, and property damage is common enough for drunk drivers that one would be hard pressed to argue that it isn’t logically foreseeable. Therefore, by drinking and driving, one intends to cause harm.

                    • But the rule was not “intends to do harm”. It was “does no actual harm.” Most drunk drivers don’t, you know.

                    • Under most philosophical traditions, the attempt/intent to do something is indistinguishable from the act itself, since the only difference is an intervention beyond the control of the actor being judged.

                    • You mean they are morally identical. However, that is a different kettle of fish.

                      If you are indeed propounding a standard of “intent to do harm” by which you mean, “engaging in acts that can be reasonably foreseen to result in harm,” you do realize we can arrest any parents who have an illegitimate baby because illegitimacy is a better predictor of crime than race and poverty combined in this country?

                    • bzzt!

                      Intervening non-luck based factors. Upbringing, choices by child, etc.

                      What percentage of illegitimate kids (by which I assume you mean children in single parent households – as illegitimacy is itself problematic) are criminals? I can believe that the majority of crime comes from these individuals, but what percentage of them are criminals? Or shall we simply lock up all of the Japanese living anywhere near the west coast, since the overwhelming majority of the Pearl Harbor attackers were Japanese?

                    • You are now introducing a whole pile of factors that you didn’t start out with.

                      That is why we do not want to hand you the coercive power to decide what is the proper matter of legislation.

              • What makes him such a special snowflake? He is, after all, telling literally everyone else what to do.

          • Depends on the source of the morals. If you can show that an act materially harms society as a whole, it is in the interest of the state to restrict that act. If you think that the state should ban something just because your magic book says it’s wrong, shove off. Because not everyone is as impressed with your magic book as you are.

            • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

              So if it is in my “religious book” and the majority of people (not of my religion) agree with the idea, then the anti-theists are make sure it never becomes Law?

              • I’m not sure what you’re trying to get at, but the fact that there is a religious law against something doesn’t mean that it should be legal. Murder is pretty strongly condemned in the Bible, I don’t know of any antitheist who uses that to argue for the decriminalization of murder.

                And that is to be expected. Religions are fossilized government, they’re how ancient societies organized and regulated themselves. Some of those rules are universal, absolutely necessary for humans to live and work together. But others are due to fashion or circumstances that no longer apply.

                Humans are reasonably constant, but the world we live in is constantly changing – at a faster rate each day. We need to discuss those changes and how our society reacts, and in that discussion “it’s against my religion” is a logical nullity.

            • Jeff, “magic book” is needlessly confrontational. And unnecessary to your point.

            • CombatMissionary

              Funny, I never noticed an “examination of motivation” form included with my ballot.
              This is America. I can vote however I want for any reason I want. I can vote to outlaw purple shirts because the flying spaghetti monster told me that purple shirts will bring about the lasagna apocalypse, and if I can convince enough people to vote similarly, it becomes law. If enough people vote to outlaw purple shirts thinking that I’m a moron but also thinking that purple shirts are downright ugly, it becomes law.

              You may find me and my magic books offensive, but we still have a vote no matter what you think.

              • Hence the importance of the Constitution, to protect us – all of us – from the mob. A government that can force religious beliefs on a people is also one that can ban religious beliefs.

                • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                  Depends on what you mean by “force religious beliefs on a people”.

                  Most of the idiots screaming against “Enforcing Morality” have a weird idea of what that means.

                  Of course, the real problem today are the assholes “forcing non-religious beliefs on a people” or even “forcing anti-religious beliefs on a people”.

        • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

          In other words, you’d tell a community that they could not vote their town “dry”.

          What do you think about “gay marriage”?

          Why wasn’t the Supreme Court decree “enforcing morality”?

          • I think experiments should be done locally. Don’t like the religious rules of Hamlet on the Barges? Move next door to Pothole on the Barges.
            In a way that’s what states were designed to be. Only a very broad and strange interpretations forbids, say, Maryland from going State-Catholic. (It was once.)
            The current supremacy of the Federal government will be our undoing. (Yes, I disapprove. Which is not the same as pretending it doesn’t exist. You go to war with the bath towel you have on, not the armor you wish you had.)

          • “In other words, you’d tell a community that they could not vote their town “dry”.”
            Yes, because I really don’t want the guy next door voting on what’s in my kitchen cupboard. -Selling- it is a different issue, that’s commercial zoning.

            “What do you think about “gay marriage”?” Its a scam to get money from the government, and a club to beat up religious people with.

            My stand on the issue is, since when should government be involved with marriage at all? Or divorce, for that matter? Its a religious thing. Let the churches handle it, that’s their freakin’ job.

            And before anybody starts screaming ‘polygamy!’ really loud, two things. First, its never been much of an issue in North America. Some people do it, and the collective displeasure of their neighbors is sufficient to keep them few and far between.
            Second, should we be importing polygamists by their millions from the Middle East? Probably not, their countries suck. Ours will too if they all come here.

            Free countries are FREE. People are allowed to do stuff you don’t like, as long as they don’t get any on ya. Hard to take sometimes, but better than the alternative.

            • Governments have been in the marriage business since there have been governments. So have religions. before the French Revolution, the Church controlled marriage. One of the stated goals of the French revolutionaries was the abolition of marriage. But after taking power, realized that marriage was essential to society, and took the power away from the clerics and gave it to the state. Simplified version.

              All Communist countries, officially atheistic, regulate and define marriage. Curiously, none ever saw SSM as being essential to the function of a stable society.

              One of the stated goals of many revolutionary movements, including the Communists, throughout history has been to abolish marriage. None, upon gaining power, has ever done so.

              Government control and regulation of marriage isn’t going to go away anytime soon, anywhere. Unless some particular society decides to commit societal suicide. Even If the government turns it over to religions, there will be government regulation. Else you’ll see 12 year olds being married off to the highest bidder.

            • A dry town is one where selling alcoholic beverages is forbidden. Sometimes public consumption is also forbidden. Never heard of one that would invade your house; that was reserved for federal enforcement of Prohibition.

  21. It should be mentioned that Locke was cribbing off the work of St. Robert Bellarmine (Cardinal Roberto Bellarmino, S.J.) and the Spanish natural law theologian/lawyers, like Suarez and Vitoria.

    As part of all the fun of the Catholic/Protestant debates, a lot of hitherto latent ideas got pulled out of the Aquinas bag and explicated further, and then the arguments for individual dignity, all people created equal, religious freedom, freedom of conscience, and government arising from the consent of the governed got used against Queen Elizabeth and other English governments. (Bellarmine works got banned and confiscated a lot in the UK and even in Catholic European monarchies, but you could always buy pamphlets arguing against him. Heh.)

    So basically, Locke and his adherents were busy using arguments without always saying exactly where they got them from. (And of course, a lot of founding fathers knew exactly where it was coming from, but it made people feel better if you didn’t mention all those crazy Catholics.) And if you were wondering why a lot of US (mostly Jesuit) universities and schools are called Bellarmine, that’s why. It’s a patriotic Catholic thing, in part.

    If you go to a university with access to that pay database of old English documents and books, you can read a fair amount of this stuff. Otherwise it seems to be hard to research the primary sources (at least in English, boo hiss).

    • Actually, Bellarmine himself was mostly writing against King James’ government. Sorry for the chronological error. But yeah, earlier guys did similar things against Elizabeth.

    • “Bellarmine works got banned and confiscated a lot in the UK and even in Catholic European monarchies, but you could always buy pamphlets arguing against him. Heh.”

      Most of the heresies of early Church have to be reconstructed from the writings against them.

  22. Bjorn Hasseler

    Excellent article, Sarah!

  23. A linear or dichotomous political spectrum is unworkable. What does the guy in the center hold? Does he agree with both extremes, or neither? At any rate, it’s too confining to capture the diversity of American political opinion. It mostly serves the two major parties that have captured the machinery of the electoral process.

    The two-party “system” was once aptly characterized by Megan McArdle: “The party in power is smug and arrogant. The party out of power is insane.” The causal mechanism is fairly simple, as both parties prioritize power over all other things. Thus, the party in power dedicates all its efforts to exploiting and maintaining (and if possible, increasing) its power, while the party out of power goes completely BLEEP!ing nuts trying to displace the incumbents. Meanwhile, Americans not closely aligned with either party scratch their heads a lot, growing ever more disgusted with “the system” and wondering why nothing in government or politics makes any sense.

  24. For a really good examination of right-left politics, I highlyrecommend Jonah Goldbergs “Liberal Fascism.” He makes a strong argument (as does Sarah) that fascism is really a movement of the left.

  25. I’m personally convinced that what we’re seeing is massive movement a different, slightly skewed political axis: that of ‘populist’ – ‘technocratic’, where the momentum is very heavy in the populist direction. ‘Technocratic’ is politics built around a small core of people that know what is best, the ‘Washington Elite’ of both parties, the media, the pundits and intellectuals. ‘Populist’ is politics built around appealing to the low-information voters. Neither side is directly linked with a political party; both sides have their technocrats and their populists.

    As much as the ‘technocratic’ rule has done so much damage with the expanding regulatory state, extreme populism scares me even more. For all the justifiable populist pull we’re seeing for things like increased crackdown on illegal immigration, I can also see things like the whole ‘eliminate income inequality’ kick and Trump’s nods to protectionist trade policy as incredibly dangerous statist populist ideas that are gaining traction.

  26. Sarah, how do you reconcile Heinlein’s views in Tramp Royale, written in the 1950’s, with his views in Expanded Universe, written in 1980? It is true that Heinlein despaired of a one-world government in Tramp, but he wrote approvingly of open US borders and Americans speaking “Spanglish” in the story “Over the Rainbow” from Universe.

    • Yeah, he thought we’d merge with Mexico. He might be right…

    • He also wrote of a balkanized USA in Friday, and a religious dictatorship USA in If This Goes On.

      I’d expect that, to the degree they remember him at all, USAians treat RAH’s works as great reads with great ideas therein, not Revealed Truth. On the other hand I’d expect the Good Men to ruthlessly suppress everything RAH ever wrote.

      A sect of USAians that tries to twist into enough pretzels to make all of RAH’s stuff play together with absolute coherency might be fun to read about, but I wouldn’t term them heretical as long as they still honor the primary concepts. It seems to me that believers would have to go pretty darn far afield to achieve something like USAian heresy, as broad minded as the USAians are so far.

  27. Thanks, Sarah!

  28. Combtmissionary

    This also explains why the American Right tends to eat its own. Our version leaves wiggle room for internal variations about proper role of government, which level of government should have which powers, etc.

  29. Pingback: right and left? | The zombie apocalypse survival homestead

  30. Not even done, and one not to pick already; “For instance when Bernie Sanders announces he’s a socialist but a nationalist then says he’s not a communist, I believe him. The appropriate name for his announced ideology is Fascist.”

    Given the miserable history of collectivism and central planning in the 20th and (what we have of the) 21st centuries,the appropriate name for his announced ideology is idiot.

  31. The right in the US is the side that clings to the origins and the founding.

    This being the United States of the Bill of Rights in 1791 which institutionalized slavery based on skin color, where women were systematically disenfranchised in every state but one from 1777 to 1807, which in 1873 had the Supreme Court uphold Illinois law barring women from practicing law, and in which 12 of the 13 states had sodomy laws.

    We’re the side that believes that no matter what color, size, sex or whomever you decide to sleep with, you’re still an individual, entitled to equal protection under the law.

    Or, alternatively, you’re the side that deludes yourself about history.

  32. “America is a place in the heart, and as such it can only be won one heart at a time.”

    Got it in one.

  33. “America is a place in the heart, and as such it can only be won one heart at a time.”

    Got it in one. And that’s both our greatest strength – and our greatest weakness.

  34. “This being the United States of the Bill of Rights in 1791 which institutionalized slavery based on skin color”
    This is simply a lie.
    The constitution references “indians not taxed” and “three-fifths of all other persons” when determining congressional representation.
    This is in Article 1, section 2, not the bill of rights. The words “race’ and “slavery” are not mentioned.
    Morons can’t even get their propaganda right.

  35. But there is a method to their moronity. The bill of rights stands between the individual and the State, especially the federal government. If they can convince people the bill of rights is corrupt, it’s another step towards the authoritarian State they crave.
    Bernie Sanders recently said “”I would also say that as a nation, the truth is, that a nation which in many ways was created, and I’m sorry to have to say this, from way back on racist principles, that’s a fact,”
    The reason he says “that’s a fact” is because he is not willing to argue about it. You have to accept his words as the truth.
    There are a lot of powerful arguments against so-called ‘racist principles’ being incorporated into the constitution. The inability of people who believe that racism is built into America’s founding to present a coherent argument for their position is a pretty good indicator that they are wrong.

    • “was created…on racist principles”
      Meaning what? As opposed to literally every single other nation on the planet at the time?
      Or does he mean that a lot of the people who helped create the United States were racists? Well, in that case, fair enough–although, like everyone else wasn’t–but in case he hasn’t noticed, racism is not built into the Constitution or any of the founding documents.

      • That is my point. Sanders (and the like minded) do not want a discussion. They want to give orders. It is possible to have an opinion that the constitution contains racist principles (or not). It is not a “fact” that it does or does not contain racist principles. Opinions are subject to argument. “facts” are not.
        It is certainly true that some American states were founded on racist principles, or came to incorporate racist principles. Many times these racist principles were incorporated into law in the modern era (google “Pocahantas exception” if you want a giggle).
        But saying that individual states incorporated racist principles in the past, or even the present, doesn’t suit the leftist goal of destroying the authority of the constitution and especially the bill of rights, so they don’t want to have that discussion.
        Your job as a citizen is not to share your opinion, your job is to believe and obey. Come to think of it, this makes you a “subject” rather than a “citizen.”

    • Patrick Chester

      The reason he says “that’s a fact” is because he is not willing to argue about it. You have to accept his words as the truth.

      “That’s a fact” or “I think we can all agree” and so on. Then they start sputtering when someone says it’s not a fact or doesn’t agree.

  36. Christopher M. Chupik

    You realize, Sarah, that another twit will skim your article, conclude that you are a Trump supporter, and start another flurry of false memes, right?

    • Meh. LOL. I don’t think I can vote for him, not even as the least of two evils.

      • BobtheRegisterredFool

        I was wrestling with this for a few days recently. I’d been borrowing trouble. It is a way until my primary, and there are still people in the running that I’m okay voting for.

        I need to research and do a write up on candidates’ positions on a matter that was in 2008 as big a concern for me as Obama’s position on Iran.

  37. Sarah: I like to divide the world in three.

    First there are the people of the subordinate self, i.e., peasants that think it is the job of the lord or the government to “look after me.”

    Then there are the people of the responsible self, that began to emerge, according to Robert Bellah, during the first millennium BC in the Axial Age when some individuals started to think they were individually responsible to God for their lives. We believe in responsible individualism. We can be creative; we usually are. But we don’t believe in creativity as a religion.

    Then there are the people of the creative self that come from Romanticism. Call them believers in expressive individualism. The trouble is that a lot of these people think that the way to be creative is with politics: ordering responsible individuals around and nobly caring for the people of the subordinate self. The left wing.

  38. And in this case “international” meant “Russian” — or at least it did in the seventies, and I have no reason to think it changed — while national meant “of the genetically related people.”
    ————————-

    In Europe, yeah.

    In Asia, things were a bit more complicated.

      • And in Africa and South America, it was usually Russian, though sometimes Cuban. Admittedly, Cuba was thoroughly in Russia’s camp, but they tried some imperialism of their own under the guise of Marxist revolution.

        • I can’t speak for Africa. But Communism in Central and South America was pretty much a Soviet proxy. The Soviets couldn’t maintain the same level of direct control that they did in Eastern Europe (Yugoslavia excepted). But the communists in the Western Hemisphere were happy to follow Moscow’s lead regardless. I suspect the support came down to two things. The first was that Moscow was the official opposition to the US, and the US (for good reasons…) was the boogy-man for all of the western hemisphere communists. The second was that Moscow was handing out lots and lots of money.

        • Cuba was Russia’s attack dog.

    • It is my experience the Han Chinese are pretty clear to this day on who is worth more than whom, though they are happy to include pretty much any ethnicity as a “ruled people”. The Japanese also retain a really clear opinion on what status people from anywhere else (ask Koreans living in Japan) have in their eyes, though not so open on who should be in charge since the 1940s, and the Koreans have a similar opinions on status of Koreans v non-Koreans. I’ve either had direct contact with or read about very similar strong ethnocentric views from lowland/coastal Vietnamese, the mainland Chinese who took over Taiwan v the native Taiwanese, and various other ethnic groups across Asia, though admittedly mostly from immigrants to the US and not in situ.

      Lets see – across to what the Brits call “Asian” but we don’t, lots of Indian coworkers have talked about how strong the “my caste” effect still is in India, though I’m told with rising prosperity it’s damping down a bit. I’ve talked to Pakistanis who talk about the ethnic groups who live in the cities opinion of the folks who live in the rural or moutain areas. I don’t know a lot about the other places that are majority muslim across Asia – I suppose it’s possible that Muslim allegiance overrides ethnic group allegiance, though I still read about splashes of ethnic violence where one ethnic group of muslims chops up another group, so I expect not.

      I also have talked to folks who have worked across the ‘stans, and up there it’s down to family relations as your team, and everyone else is fair game.

      I guess it comes down to how close the genetic relation has to be for local conditions to say that person is one of yours.

  39. I know people get the Government they deserve, but why do *I* have to get the government they deserve?

  40. Point of order for our hostess regarding the title: In America (vice the UK and the Commonwealth) we go “Left, right, left, right. {SING: “Forty inches all around. Left, right, left, right, your military le–eft….”}

  41. I’m so anxious to make this point, that I’m not going to read the comments yet to see if it’s been made already (because if it’s been made, it deserves to be made again):

    America is weird in that the “foundational culture” is based on an idea, rather than traditions tied to a particular culture of time or location. Thus, we can quickly absorb newcomers into our national identity. Heck, we can recognize people from *any* time or place, whether or not they have set foot on American soil, as distinctly American.

    I may never be able to become French, German, Swiss, Russian, Icelandic or Portuguese (as much as I particularly admire at least the Swiss, and find these other cultures interesting too, to the extent I’m aware of them)…but Sarah was an American even before she left her home in Portugal.

    And I, for one, am proud of this unique aspect of American culture!

    • The point has been made before—if not on this post, then at least I recall earlier conversations to that effect on this blog. (Along with discussion of precedent for this almost-unique aspect of American culture.)

  42. Interesting Freudian slip: “their scatology” when you clearly meant “their eschatology” 🙂

  43. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    C4C (I’ve changed WP Accounts)

  44. It is curious indeed, the whiplash effect that Weaponized Empathy can have on people. In the matter of Kim Davis, it has our gracious host going full Statist.

    Before y’all call the Evil Legion of Evil in on me for so insulting one of their leading lights, bear with me for a moment.

    Marriage as a LEGAL institution is unlike any other contract. Let’s set aside the horrendous damage that no-fault divorce has done to the enforcement of marriage as a contract and instead look at another element that sets it apart.

    Marriage is a LEGAL contract that is binding on third parties.

    And our Beautiful but Evil Space Princess has gone all in with the proposition that 5 majestic, er, magisterially robed rubes sitting upon their thrones, er, high seats, get to overrule the objections of those THIRD parties to being so bound.

    Full Statist folks. 100% Royally Adjudicated Statist.

    • Sigh. It is precisely because it is a LEGAL contract that her RELIGIOUS objection has nothing to do with it. If she’d said that she objected to its constitutionality, I’d not have any problems with her position.
      Do you understand or am I speaking Cantonese? You’re making an argument SHE doesn’t.

      • Not that I’ve carefully studied what she said, but I believe she is harking back to an older theory of the religious basis of law. In American legal theory, the theory of the divine rule of Kings was rejected and replaced by the theory of the divine right of the people to rule themselves. Phrases in the Declaration of Independence such as “endowed by their Creator “, and “the just consent of the governed” suggest a public acknowledgement of God, and of a standard of justice independent of and superior to the claims of any particular religion, sect, or party.

        Nowadays, it seems to express the opinion that the extraordinary peace and prosperity enjoyed by the United States over the past two centuries are due to the blessings of God, and that if the people depart from God, that peace and prosperity will be taken away would be an invitation to ridicule.

        This was once widely (if not quite universally) believed and accepted in America, but the growing atheism and secularism of the leaders of American society and the tendency to consider Christianity as just another sect, and an oppressive one at that, goes hand-in-hand with Marxist theory and the anthropolatrous worship of the Party as a substitute for God. It is no accident that devout Christians (and Jews) have been the most frequently targeted enemies of the state of all 20th century totalitarian regimes. The persecution of religious dissenters on the grounds that they threatened the unity and power of the state has been a conspicuous and ugly feature of European history at least since Roman times.

        • That’s because we do threaten the unity and power of the state: we have a belief and a worldview they didn’t define and we won’t give it up. We also tend to believe there are things worth fighting for.

    • Oh, I don’t think it’ll be necessary call the ELoE, or anyone else, in. No, after referring to Sarah Hoyt as

      Full Statist folks. 100% Royally Adjudicated Statist.

      well, after that I think it’s clear enough to anyone who cares to note you’ve taken a confrontational stance in pursuit of an ideological point and are unwilling, or unable, to deal with philosophical subtleties.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        Yep, I have my disagreements with our *host* on this clerk & SSM in general but that sort of “label” given to Sarah is amazingly dim-witted.

    • Combtmissionary

      Kim Davis, her objection being (according to some reports) that she is willing to issue the licenses and merely wants the state’s minimal accommodation of having neither her name nor title on them, is being reasonable in my mind.
      That said, if I understand our gracious hostess, her position seems to be, “Barring a Constitutional objection on the part of Kim Davis rather than a religious one, either do your job or step down. ”
      Assuming that I have not misunderstood her position, and stipulated that she doesn’t need me to clarify her arguments, your assertion that she has gone full statist is absolutely moronic.

      • Combtmissionairy, they offered not to have her name on the certificates, so now she wants it not to say “country clerk” without an office being responsible for it, it’s not legal. IOW she’s an attention whore and nothing will satisfy her. SIGH.

        • Combtmissionary

          It sure is looking like it at this point, huh? Maybe it’s for the attention, perhaps false flag, maybe wagging the dog…

  45. If I had to hazard a definition that would fit both Europe and the US I’d say the “right wing” meant “a clinging to the essence of what the nation means and to the nation’s original idea”, as it were.

    Now, let’s see, shall we?

    Heim ins Reich (Back home into the Reich)
    Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Führer (“One people, one empire, one leader”)
    Deustchesland uber alles!!!
    Meine Ehre heißt Treue (“My honour is called loyalty”, motto of the SS)
    Führer befiehl, wir folgen dir! (Führer command, we’ll follow you!)

    Gee, it would seem pretty obvious that an ideology spouting those sorts of propaganda mottoes is right-wing by your definition, Sarah…

    • Ah, tedium.

      But, I suppose mewling babes can’t really be expected to be responsible for squirting in their diapers, regardless of the offense of the stench.

    • Sir, besides being mentally damaged you clearly can’t think. The slogans say anything about respecting the nobility and the king/emperor? No? Then not right wing. Kindly go soak your head in the nearest slops bucket. It will smell just like where you have it right now.
      Also, did I give you permission, explicit or implied to address me directly? Fuck off, moron.

      • Sir, besides being mentally damaged you clearly can’t think. The slogans say anything about respecting the nobility and the king/emperor? No? Then not right wing.

        Righhhhht – so you’re so confused in your attempts at definitions that you’ve now eliminated the right-wing in America entirely. No nobility or king/emperor to venerate, remember?

        • Combtmissionary

          Hey stupid! Can’t you read?
          European right wing: nationalistic.
          American right wing: Constitution, limited government, self-rule.
          I’d make it simpler, but I don’t have crayons and sock puppets.

          • About it. the point that they’re completely different apparently doesn’t dawn on him.

            • Combtmissionary

              Maybe we should notify his doctor that he got the helmet off again and has given himself some blunt force cranial trauma? They really need to get him better handlers before turning him loose in the rec room without his thorazine.

    • The National SOCIALIST party does not become right-wing because it tries to deploy nationalism in its defense, any more than Marxism does the same.