That Time the Parties Agreed to Switch Sides by Matthew Bowman

That Time the Parties Agreed to Switch Sides by Matthew Bowman

We continue our myth-blasting here at ATH; but Sarah asked me to handle this one, because she’s busy doing stuff like “working on a book” and “moving” (transparent excuses, but we’ll let it slide for now).

Image 1 deadlines

Today’s topic was inspired by a mutual acquaintance’s encounter with someone who was perpetuating the myth that anything bad that was done by Democrats in the past, particularly having to do with racism, isn’t an indictment on the history of the Democratic Party. Why? Well, because they were actually Republicans who then switched sides later. Duh.

Now, I grew up with this myth. It was actually told to me by my own dear mother, herself a former Democrat from the South who switched to the Republicans due to Reagan. She said, very matter-of-factly, that “Southern Democrats” were conservative; in fact, they would have been Republicans, but couldn’t quite make that leap due to cultural implications that made switching parties the same as changing your religion.

That last part is true; actually, in many ways, it’s a lot easier and less dangerous to your social well-being to switch political affiliation now than it ever has been in the past. Yes, we have an SJW crowd that’s making it very difficult to possess freedom of belief (“Und vat is dees? Hyou hold to zee wrongthink? To zee camps vit hyou! Unleash zee Twitter bots!”), but today you can also use the Internet to find like-minded people and not feel like you’re isolated for doing what you believe is rational. In the past, if you switched parties, you’d do better to be a Baptist converting to Catholicism.

Oh, yeah. That used to be a much bigger thing, too. Um, new analogy . . . oh, I know. You might as well have been a non-white, homosexual, or trans who thinks government overreach isn’t awesome.

Image 2 plantation

As I grew up, though, I started doing what I wasn’t supposed to do. I started doing research. I started learning history. But even worse: before I got my history degree, I was a science geek. That means that I approach history the way I do experimentation. I don’t just read and absorb; I test, I fiddle, and I look for contradictions.

And boy, did I find contradictions.

The story was that the Southern Democrats stayed Democrat because of remaining irritation about this thing called the Civil War. My mother would tell me how her father was conservative; and we’ve had stories even in recent years about Democrats who, like Reagan before them, realized their party had left them. One can look at the anecdotal evidence and easily conclude that there was something very strange about the Democrats in the South.

And indeed there was, but not in this simplistic way. The problem isn’t whether the members of the two parties contained conservatives and progressives; the question at hand is whether the parties switched sides.

Actually, the current divide on the left/right, collectivist/individualist ideological spectrum is relatively new. Oh, the left/right thing has been around for over two hundred years (it started during the French Revolution, but even today the American use means something different from the European definition; that’s a different blog post, though), but it used to be that none of our major parties have had an exclusive claim on any one part of that spectrum. There used to be a lot of overlap. However, you could still tell the difference between them by how they approached, in the aggregate, the idea of the relationship between the state and the individual.

As we all know, the Republican Party was formed on an abolitionist platform. One could easily describe it as a party that stood for keeping government from taking away the freedom of the individual. Whether they succeeded at this all the time is not in question, even if you argue about some of the details; but on the whole, this has always been the core idea of the party.

This does not mean the Democratic party was the boogeyman, even if they could — and fairly — have been described as the party of slavery a hundred and fifty years ago. They, too, were formed on a platform of individualism; but we could easily define its approach as being a party that stood for a government that supports the individual. There have been times when the Democrats have stood for the rights of citizens against the threat of government, but on the whole; it is a party that believes government should always act, even if it doesn’t work.

The Republican Party is not, historically, the party of smaller government. Similarly, the Democratic Party is not, historically, the party of big government. However, you can track their growth to both positions over the last (almost) two centuries.

Image 2-1 divide

And it’s that ability to track growth that puts the lie to this myth. It isn’t just about tracking party affiliation; even though there was much more overlap in decades past than there is today, the policies on both sides tended to stay along party lines. Even if you just stick to reading about Congressional debates and voting records, you’ll see that bearing out. No, the way to track the truth about this myth is to how each party implements its ideas.

But that doesn’t matter to those who espouse this idea. The myth says that Republicans can’t hold on to the prize of being the party that freed slaves and ended oppression, because that’s not what the Republican Party is today. Southern Democrats, the “Dixicrats,” where just the ones who held out the longest before switching to the Republicans, just like all the other evil, racist, hateful people. They’re nothing like Lincoln, who was the very model of a modern mainstream Democrat.

Image 2-2 Modern Mainstream Democrat

Now, I could pull out all sorts of stats and charts to combat this, but that sort of thing makes for boring blogging. Instead, let’s just look at the argument itself. And not even the argument of two groups deciding to just get up and switch sides; let’s just look at the logic of the timeline.

Image 3 logic

At some point between now and the Civil War, we know the Republicans and Democrats switched parties. Now, obviously, this wouldn’t have been an amicable, mutual exchange during one election cycle where each party decided to use each other’s name, trademarks, symbols, or rhetoric. Let’s try to make this as realistic as possible. This is “merely” a mass migration, which means it could have happened slowly at first before gathering momentum. That allows us some leeway with things settling into place in more recent decades. Our job here is to examine exactly when this switch reached critical mass.

Since this theory is normally brought up to defend against reports of Democrats who fought to keep their right to oppress blacks, turning on firehoses, standing in schoolhouse doors, and unleashing trained attack dogs on unarmed adults and children, we know we have an upper limit on this switch: sometime after the Civil Rights Era. The Republicans who passed the Civil Rights Act weren’t really Republicans; they were Democrats, and switched their party affiliation after successfully getting this done because . . . they wanted to celebrate . . . or something.

Yeah, I know. It’s hard, but bear with me and accept it for the sake of argument. I don’t want to just prove this wrong; I want to obliterate it as much as possible.

Image 4 Occam's Shotgun

This theory rests on the historical principles of each party being that of the other party today. Since the Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964 and Republicans are clearly evil by the time we get to Nixon’s presidency in 1969, we know that the critical mass happened sometime in those intervening five years. Before that, Democrats were Republicans, and Republicans were Democrats.

Now, those who cling to this myth in order to support their idea of the Democratic Party as the savior of all things non-male and non-white (with some exceptions for gay, transexual, and socialist whites, as well as any inconvenient non-male, non-whites, such as our lovely hostess today) do so by saying you have to understand things with switched labels.

Remember what I said about approaching history as experimentation? We’re going to try that out. So everyone remember, for the rest of the article, Republicans before Nixon are actually Democrats, and Democrats during the same period are actually Republicans. Everyone got that?


Democrats won the Civil War and passed amendments to the Constitution that guaranteed the rights of citizens irrespective of their skin color. The Democrats also elected the first black national politicians. In response, Republicans formed the KKK in order to keep that sort of thing from happening. The Republican strongholds in the South solidified their power, trying to chip away at racial freedoms any way they could.

Later, during what’s known as the Progressive Era, President Taft (Democrat) called for an income tax, and the 61st Congress (Democrat) passed the proposal for the 16th Amendment, which was then sent to the state legislatures to ratify. This created a split among the Democrats, some of whom left to join the Progressive Party.

Aha! So we’ve got Progressives in the Progressive Era splitting off from the good Democrats, which shows that they’ll eventually form the modern Democrats we have today! This theory is looking more likely all the time!

Image 5 Achmed

In the following years, a surge of left-leaning elections brought a lot more Republicans into power, as well as the first nationally-elected member of the Socialist Party, Victor L. Berger, who had also been a founding member of the Social Dem– I mean, Social Republican Party.

Wait . . . if the names were just reversed, shouldn’t the Socialists be buddy-buddy with the other side?

Image 6-1 Income tax

Ah, no matter. One data point isn’t enough to disprove this theory! Especially if we add a little unicorn dust.

Anyway, those left-wing Republicans got Congress the power to tax income itself, in an effort to pay for an expanding government. It was only a very small tax, and only on the richest segment of society. Over time, though, the tax was expanded by Republicans to what it is today. Well, today it’s shrunk considerably from a few decades ago, but that’s after the Civil Rights Era, and we don’t care about that part.


Soon after that, Prohibition started. That was the thirteen-year period when you couldn’t get a drink, at least legally. It was spearheaded by Protestant revivalists, women’s temperance movements, and bipartisan progressives who thought that —



*reads that again*

Prohibition was a “victory for progressives and social gospel activists battling poverty.”

Image 7 WTF

Okay, that’s really weird. But it’s bipartisan. So obviously they’re in the process of moving between parties.

Except . . . shouldn’t it be the conservatives who are behind this kind of moral crusading? I mean, come on, progressives are the ones who say morality should never be enforced on anyone who doesn’t want it, except for straight sex, gay sex, trans sex, contraception, health insurance, wedding cakes, Chik-Fil-A sandwiches, welfare, environmental mandates, Common Core, Hawaiian shirts worn by space scientists, feminism, spanking, breast feeding, illegal immigration, binders full of women — you know, the important stuff, not drugs and alcohol. Priorities, people!

Well, it was a strange time. That was back when flapper dresses were cool, after all. Obviously we have to make allowances for progressives who don’t realize they can’t be hanging out with evil Republicans (who aren’t yet called Republicans, but we’ll get to that).

Soon after this, President Coolidge, a good Democrat, took office, where he stood for good Democrat things like reducing taxes and government involvement in — Wait. Those sound like Republican things. But he was a Democrat! I mean, under the rule that the names were switched.

In addition to these tax cuts, Coolidge proposed reductions in federal expenditures and retiring some of the federal debt. Coolidge’s ideas were shared by the [DEMOCRATS] in Congress, and in 1924, Congress passed the Revenue Act of 1924, which reduced income tax rates and eliminated all income taxation for some two million people.”

Unpossible! There must be some mistake.

Coolidge opposed McNary-Haugen, declaring that agriculture must stand ‘on an independent business basis,’ and said that ‘government control cannot be divorced from political control.’

Image 8 Logic Brain Freeze

Okay, nobody panic. Clearly, Coolidge was an outlier. And, you know, all the others in Congress who went along with it. Obviously, they hadn’t switched labels yet. Can’t use this switch-the-names trick all the time, right? Heh heh. Yeah. That’s it.

The next Republican President . . . ah, yes. Here we go. This is the guy that not only lead the United States into a massive, unimaginable war on two fronts, building up military forces to unprecedented levels, he also placed United States citizens into concentration camps just because of their ethnicity! See? See? Evil Republicans, right there.

Wait . . . that name. Roosevelt? Franklin Delano Roosevelt? FDR? That guy? The model of a good Democrat? No, can’t be.

*checks again*

Yeah, same guy. The same one who implemented good socialist policies like welfare and was strongly supported by minorities across the spectrum also did stuff like trying to pack the courts and warmongering and racist segregation. How could such a good Democrat do such evil things?

Well, clearly, it’s some sort of conspiracy. See, even though he was on the “bad” side of the political divide, at least after you do the name-switch trick, he must have been ahead of his time. It’s the only explanation. He was bravely trying to make the bad party good, and it was his influence that turned it into the good Democrat party we know and love today. It was just he was surrounded by evil Republicans who were trying to stop it. They were the ones responsible for the bad stuff.

Oh, and look. The Democrats in Congress were opposing his war effort. Excellent. See, the name-switch trick still works.

Image 9 Go to internment camp

And it continues. His successor was Truman, also a real Republican, and we can safely hate him because he authorized nuclear bombs, which is evil.

. . . and he also began the presidential push for civil rights reforms, over the strong objections from the Southern Republicans. He said his forebearers were Confederates, but he couldn’t stand for the racism that these Southern Republicans were clamoring for. In fact, he’s the guy who mandated that the Armed Forces end all racial segregation, after reacting in horror to reports of what would happen to African-American GIs.

Well, he was the VP for Roosevelt, which means he must have been a good Democrat too, right? But . . . nuclear bombs . . .

Okay, we’re just going to ignore Truman.

He was followed by Eisenhower, a Democrat . . . who strongly opposed communism in all forms. But he’s the one who completed racial integration of the military, and directed the Justice Department to investigate, for the first time in a coordinated fashion, civil rights abuses. In fact, Martin Luther King, Jr., a R– I mean, a good Democrat, wrote to Eisenhower to thank him for his efforts to keep Southern Republicans from standing in schoolhouse doors after Brown v. Board of Education.

Obviously, more allowances have to be made; he probably just didn’t get the memo that communism is a good thing. In fact, he opposed McCarthy’s outlandish efforts to combat communist “threats,” even though McCarthy was . . . wait . . . a name-switch Democrat?

Well, obviously he was part of the new waves of people trying to make the good party bad. He was actually part of the first modern Republicans. It’s the only explanation.

And don’t forget that this is the same era when my grandfather was an evil Southern Republican, and when Reagan realized that the Republicans were going bad and therefore he had to become a Democrat.

Image 10 Gandalf

After that, we get to Kennedy, the great Re . . . Republican? Wait. He’s the poster boy for the Democrats! The modern, good Democrats, I mean. He didn’t even live to see the Civil Rights Act pass! He’s before the singularity!

Wait, no, I keep forgetting. We can have fudge factors. After all, it didn’t all happen over night, right? So he really was a good Democrat, and called himself a Democrat. It was just that the majority of the party members hadn’t switched over yet. So he dies, the Civil Rights Act is passed by good Democrats, and then those good Democrats join the real Democratic Party, and all is well!

It’s fact. You can’t dispute it.

Image 11 I was there

So there you have it, folks. That’s the story of how the Republican and Democratic Parties decided to switch their brands. Sure, it takes a lot of fudge to make it work, but what’s that next to the narrative? It’s still flawless logic.

Image 12 Logic flowers

Hey, I can only do so much. Polish a turd, and it’s still a turd . . .

Still, the mind boggles to think of just how much effort people have to go through to keep their myths and conspiracy theories alive. But then, the people who espouse this particular myth tend to be the ones who can’t stand studying history in the first place. They think the Constitution is complicated because it was written on four pages over two and a quarter centuries ago; and they think Obamacare is simple, because it was written on eight hundred pages a mere six years ago. History begins when they were born, and contradictions are simply to be ignored.

The truth of the matter (and here I finally abandon this silly name-switching game) is that the Republican Party was founded in response to slavery, within living memory of the founding of the country, because that evil had not yet been eradicated and those who wished to abolish it needed to do more than the Whig Party would let them. The Democrats opposed them, in order to preserve their interests and sources of power and influence. Today, the Democrats still preserve this goal, but by other means. Denied their previous standing as overseers in a literal plantation, they have worked hard at selling all minorities — myself included — on the lie that in order to do anything, we must depend on the government. We must depend on Massah.

Image 12-1 Free Stuff

Republicans, at least those who have not become complacent and overly-attached to their country clubs, belong to the party that frees slaves. They free all people, and do so by helping them stand on their own two feet — a helping hand to get off the floor, and then moving on to the next person, trusting the previous one to continue after that first step has been achieved. A helping hand, and not a government-issued wetnurse.

That is how these parties have diverged: not because one side has always said the individual is bad, but because of two different ways of preserving the good of the individual. One side did so by changing what it saw as oppressive law; the other side made government punish what it saw as oppressors.

Whether or not the the Republican Party itself will live up to its origins remains to be seen. It’s dwindling fast, and perhaps it’s time for it to be replaced by the next party of freedom, that can take over the cause like the Republicans did for the Whigs. The one thing that’s certain in this comparison is that the Democratic Party is living high on the hog of shelling out government money to buy votes and media adoration.

And there’s an important thing to remember about that. With all those government handouts, with all that whitewash from reporters, the Democratic Party still can’t carry a guaranteed majority of the electorate. Even with bribery and collusion, they’re in a neck-and-neck race with the Republicans, whom I might fairly characterize at this time as the party of layabouts. Their opposition might as well be rolling over and playing dead, and the Democrats still can’t count on victory.

They can’t hide their history or their methods. No matter how you disguise the plantation, it’s still visible; when you look, the truth is all too plain.

Image 13 Uncle Sam's plantation

248 thoughts on “That Time the Parties Agreed to Switch Sides by Matthew Bowman

  1. (Waggles hand)
    You do have a lot of Southern politicians who end up changing their party affiliations from Democrat to Republican. However, curiously enough, this doesn’t happen until the 1980s and 1990s, not the ’60s and ’70s. In other words, not when the Civil Rights Act was passed, but the period when the Democratic party decided to become the Identity Politics Party.
    You can see this trend in the voting patterns–Dems nominate Eugene McCarthy, Nixon wins in a landslide. Dems nominate Carter, Carter wins. (Albeit with an assist from Watergate.) Carter loses to Reagan (outlier). Dems nominate Mondale, then Dukakis, and lose, then nominate Clinton and win (albeit with an assist from Perot.)
    There’s slightly more merit to the “Racist Big Switch” position than is ascribed to it here–however, it was irrelevant by the 1970s, as the Democrats went, as the saying goes around here, full potato.

    1. Dems nominate George McGovern, Nixon wins in a landslide.

      Fixed it for you.

      The reversal of the parties can probably be best dated to the anti-war movement of the Sixties, which movement culminated in repudiation of a sitting popularly elected president (LBJ) and rejection of his appointed heir (HHH.) The Civil Rights Act had very little to do with that. The anti-war movement and the race riots (which occurred in such Democrat-ruled cities as LA, Detroit, and Boston) created the conditions which brought to power a president elected on a platform of ending the war and restoring order. That president was eventually deposed in a palace coup (forget the myths by and about the media) effected by the bureaucracy. Consequent to that the national elections were swept by hard-left and harder-Left members of the disloyal opposition who stabbed our former Vietnamese allies in the back and then fought to extend the reach of government into every element of American life via the Equal Rights Amendment.

      Southern Democrats were bound to their party by its defense of their discrimination against Negroes. Once that was removed from the party platform and their reverence for God & Country denounced by their party they were a polity without a home, released to find which party best coincided with their traditional love for family, faith and country.

        1. It was McCarthy’s campaign in 1968 which a) showed a large portion of the party was ready to repudiate LBJ and b) had moved hard Left. His campaign success invited the Bobby Kennedy challenge to the party establishment and (to a degree) provoked the riots at the Chicago convention by emboldening the radical Left of Bill Ayers’ friends: Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, David Dellinger, Tom Hayden and company.

      1. I would assert that the change began with the term of Wilson. My impression is that he bought into the big Government concept.

      1. I’ve known this since my early twenties, partly because of oral history in my neck of the woods, which I don’t spread around much. Though I’m not as scared as I used to be that the local Democrats would murder me if I spoke up.

      2. Also, many of the racist Southern Democrats stayed in the Democratic Party and simply stopped talking about white supremacy. Senator Robert C Byrd, who led the Democratic Party in the Senate in the 1980’s, was one of them. He was a former Ku Klux Klan leader, and remained a Senator until 2010.

        That’s right. One of the main legislative opponents of Reagan, and one of the Democrats who served into Obama’s first term, was an ex-Klansman. And not just an ex-Klansman, but a former KKK high official.

  2. When I still had a blog on Open Salon (when Salon still had Open Salon, of course) I had a couple of the more raving leftists there try this song and dance about the Dems and Republicans switching sides, so that the current Dems could escape all historical responsibility for slavery, Jim Crow and the KKK. It made my head hurt.

    I’ve been told – and I find it logical – that one of the reasons that Texas and other Southern states went from Dem to Rep in the last few decades was a combination of new voters and the influx of relatively conservative people moving south for economic reasons. YMMV, of course.

    1. Or perhaps it was as simple as conservative Christian Democrats, arguably a majority in the South, slowly came to the realization that their party no longer represented or even gave lip service to their core values.
      Much the same epiphany that Reagan was said to have experienced.

      1. And getting over the animosity towards the Republicans over The War and it’s aftermath. Yes, seriously. If you are a Yankee and don’t believe that there could still be anger at the Republicans over something that happened in the 1860s then I suggest: 1. The history of the latter half of the 1800s you learned in school might possibly just have been cleaned up a bit (or a lot) and that family & community stories handed down are not. (For examples, on my school tour of the Tennessee capitol in the 1970s I was informed by the state tour guide that just before the Union Army took Nashville the capitol employees painted the priceless, beautiful chandeliers black and told the occupying forces that they were wrought iron which prevented the Yankees from looting them and shipping them up North. They then stripped the paint off as soon as the Federal military governor was removed and local control was returned…the Yankees never realizing there was a hidden fortune over their heads the whole time. Also, I have family in Huntsville AL where the Redstone Arsenal is located that matter-of-factly informed me that the large open lands around Huntsville that allowed the creation of the Arsenal was due to the Union forces that occupied Huntsville having systematically gone around and burnt down all the small towns that had previously been around Huntsville. It doesn’t matter if these sort of stories are true; they are believed. And if you’re told your great aunt was raped by Yankees and that’s why she kept that dagger by her bed till her dying day, it probably affects your willingness to vote for ‘the people’ who did it.) 2. The war ended in 1865, but military occupation of the South and active resistance (think Iraq) continued until the 1870s. Then afterwards the South was treated as an impoverished economic colony of Northern Interests such that even into the early 1900s malnutrition related problems like Pellagra were epidemic in Southern states (again, you may object to that on factual grounds, but that’s what Southern Democrats would have said last century), so echoes of The Late Unpleasantness were within living memory even in the 1960s. After that, we Southerners became much more willing to vote Republican without the feeling like local traitors but it still takes many years to build local party strength and networks in precincts dominated by your opponent.

        1. “It doesn’t matter if these sort of stories are true; they are believed.”

          And there’s plenty of primary source documents: diaries and letters from soldiers and civilians on both sides (No, the Union side wasn’t embarrassed; why would they be?). The Leftists who said our troops were criminals for pouring water on someone? No problems with actions that rival anything the Wehrmacht pulled in Occupied Europe. The present day hypocrisy is stunning.

    2. I was able to watch Arkansas move from yellow-dog Democrat to Republican from the late 1960s into the 1980s.

      As far as I’m concerned, nobody here changed. The Democratic Party decided they could get more votes from the urban states and basically abandoned their traditional supporters. The Republicans moved in, not because anyone wanted them in particular, but because the Democrats created a vacuum; even the minimal efforts the Republicans were willing to put out exceeded that of the Democrats.

      I still get a dissonance when I see “Religious Right.” When I was growing up, the Baptists and the Democrats were conjoined twins.

    3. Back in 2003, Republicans swept the elections for the Texas state legislature (for the first time in 130 years) and districts were redrawn. Rather than cooperate, Dem legislators fled the state to halt this process. This was eventually resolved by SCOTUS. The ten Dem incumbents eventually voted out of office were ALL white males, many in districts that had previously been gerrymandered (enough blacks and latinos to make a ‘safe’ Dem district, but not enough of either to elect a black or latino to office). At the time, the national press ALWAYS reported this redistricting as the Second Coming of the KKK. Never once did I hear the race of the incumbents or the gerrymanding in the old districts reported.

    4. I don’t think it was carpetbaggers alone.

      Consider the scalawags. They’d been kept suppressed by violence up ’til after WWII. Which means that the known ones were hard core, and the quiet ones might be waiting for the opportunity.

      So there were elections that they could win if the establishment Democrats were not permitted to steal them. If the election isn’t a sure thing, there is less room for graft. A few elections going the other way might show people how much the thieves were taking from the economy, and more of the hidden price of segregation.

      Furthermore, local oral history tells how the massacres were enabled. I believe local Republicans oppose gun control in part because they are unwilling to let Democrats burn down minority neighborhoods the way the Democrats have recently elsewhere in America.

  3. trying telling some of these people that MLK was a republician. some get brain freeze, most just call me a lair to my face.
    can be amusing.

      1. Did he? I didn’t know that! Was he one of the black ministers that her Birth Control League co-opted?

        1. I honestly don’t know.It was a factoid a horde of pro-aborts were slinging at me back when #PlannedParenthoodSellsBabyParts started whenever Margaret Sanger’s plans for eugenics was mentioned. As if MLK praising her was supposed to make a lie of the fact that she was a two faced genocide supporter.

          1. And like most factoids, even if true, it was likely taken out of context completely. A word of praise genuinely meant does not mean total support.

            1. I know. But these people who think that is the case like to imagine that people are not in fact complex personalities with a wide range of opinions, thoughts and interests. Agreeing with one thing or even a few things does not make a person (insert leftist rage hate inducing term here), but the people who do this are virtue-signaling to begin with, waving the correct banner sequences, to indicate to the approaching additional horde “I am not the target, this Badthinker is!”

              My agreeing, for example, with Roosh V’s definition of SJW does not mean I am either interested in the rest of his platform, or the rest of his approach. It is a perfectly valid definition that has seen the majority of the definition put out in play (See the latest controversy about the use of ‘rabid feminist’ as the sentence example in the Oxford Dictionary, whereupon rabid feminists descended en masse to give RL proof of the valid use of the term.)

              It really shows that even things that are mockable and should be mocked provide one with the rather disturbing notion that ‘holy crap, there are people that insane, why are the sensible people giving into the screaming howler monkeys?’

              (Segueing a bit here) Being somewhat marginally aware of the latest controversy about Roosh (namely, someone taking a satirical post he wrote seriously and the Internet exploding) the sad reality is, there are satire posts (Thought Catalogue’s reverse rape in my example) that people take seriously… and then you find examples of people actually using those arguments, proving that ‘yes, indeed, there are people that insane or stupid.’

              I know there are people who’ll will think ‘then that satire shouldn’t have been written’ but satire is meant to mock a concept so supposedly ridiculous the general population shouldn’t be that dumb.

              Yet, it seems that yes, indeed, there are thousands of people who are so stupid they cannot understand satire, or sarcasm, or humor or the basics of the English language – that we can no longer honestly distinguish using Poe’s Law.

              Indeed, even when we have Poe’s Law fully in effect, there lies the truly disturbing reality that there are people who actually believe the thing that is being satirized.

              1. My agreeing, for example, with Roosh V’s definition of SJW does not mean I am either interested in the rest of his platform, or the rest of his approach.

                Because I say it is Noon and the flashing clock on the DVR says 12:00, it does not follow that I will continue to agree with that clock beyond this present moment.


                  Frankly, it doesn’t really take in the concept of satire, where the use of exaggerated representation of a concept to mock something as stupid as one of it’s methodologies doesn’t use the /sarc tag (and shouldn’t need to) – but we’re apparently living in an age where the inmates are running the asylum.

                  (for fun, Oxford Dictionary definition of satire being discussed:
                  The use of humour, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues )

  4. Excellent article.
    As the resident gun geek, or at least one of them, I am compelled to point out one item of cognitive dissonance, the Occam’s Razor graphic. The text refers to a pump action shotgun while the picture is of a double barrel.
    Visually those twin 3/4 inch holes staring at you is certainly effective. And from an auditory standpoint the distinctive clack clack of a pump gun being cycled is iconic. But conflating the two, at least for gun aficionados, creates a condition commonly known as the heebie geebies.
    Absent that one nit, spot on.

    1. Double barrel pump shotguns actually exist. Here’s where you can buy one:

      A couple of other companies have made them over the years, too. And there are some double bolt actions, double rolling blocks, and double leverguns out there, too.

      Give a gunhead a machine shop, some free time, and alcohol, and there’s no telling what he’ll come up with…

      1. Yep, gun inventors show endless creativity. You can almost always find that someone has come up with an exception to the general rule.
        Revolvers with functional suppressors, revolvers with manual safety levers, the list is endless.

      2. Several years ago, I had the idea to create a revolver where the bullets radiated out from the center, rather than being in a circle side-by-side. I was purposely trying to come up with a new design that wasn’t necessarily practical.

        Shortly after having the idea, I saw a neat book in the library, that had thousands of different guns that were made over the centuries. To my surprise, at least one of those guns happened to be that “radial” revolver that I envisioned making!

        1. *cocks head* How would you load that? Rimless cartridges? Powder, wad, and bullet? I can’t imagine any way to get a rimmed cartridge into the cylinder.

      1. I thought I’d corrected that to “a” resident gun geek. Knew better naturally. Even though I’m a fair touch typist it would still help if I could see the damn keys. Gonna milk the sympathy thing for all its worth while I can.
        Gotta run now, I have this damn manuscript I promised to read.

        1. Not to be picky, but isn’t ” the resident ” whatever supposed to be the go to authority on a particular subject? Most of us can be ( insert your favorite ) geeks, but only one of us can be the resident. Disclaimer: neither geek nor authority, although a number of people say they know far more than they ever wanted to about two or three things after a conversation.

      2. Well, at least they WERE gun geeks until that spate of unfortunate canoe accidents …

        1. Canoeing is such a dangerous hobby, I don’t understand why so many of you felt the need even to travel in order to get to do it, including those of you who live really long distances from the nearest open body of water, and then take some of your most valuable possessions with you _in_ the canoes. o_O

          1. But did you also lose all of your household tools that can be used to make things that go boom. Such esoteric devices as pipes, nails, hammers and crescent wrenches?

              1. Now you’re making me try and further expand my repertoire of improvised weaponry…

                Us engineers are troublesome like that…Although it bites us from the shrinks

  5. She said, very matter-of-factly, that “Southern Democrats” were conservative; in fact, they would have been Republicans, but couldn’t quite make that leap due to cultural implications that made switching parties the same as changing your religion.

    That might explain a shift in the south, but it fails to explain how a similar shift occurred in the rest of the country.

    I was reading a review of the award winning Between the World and Me. The book was written by Ta-Nehisi Coates, an American ex-pat presently living in France. Coates is the son of a black panther, educated at Howard and wrote the book to explain the world as he sees it to his son. Many have compared the book to the work of James Baldwin. Coates views the world through lenses fashioned from the arguments and understanding of his father and his own formative years. They are based on the fashionable political analysis and the black and white relations of the middle of the last century. The reviewer found it more reminiscent of Allen Tate’s I’ll Take My Stand, a book written in the 1960s bemoaning to death of the majestic noble old south at the hands of the cold northern industrial mercantile machine, than Baldwin.

    People have a tendency to do their analysis from a static understanding. What won’t be accepted by those who believe that the south must be the frozen forever home of ongoing racist thought, is that things have changed. The development of air-conditioning and the right-to-work laws brought an influx of industry. The population mix is decidedly different, and the politics reflect it. Those of the Yellow Dog Democrat persuasion, having failed to attract and develop much new blood, they are succumbing to age, and are dying out.

      1. Is this surprising? He was highly influenced by the fashionable political analysis of the time which was highly influenced by, if not entirely, Marxist.

          1. Did you perhaps mean Protozoan beastie ? After all, they seem to exhibit the intelligence of unicellular organisms, as well as the tendency to wave their appendages furiously.

            1. Courtesy James Taranto’s Best of the Web Today:

              The Atlantic’s Ta-Nehisi Coates, embodiment of early-21st-century radical chic, announced the other day on TV that he’s voting for Sanders, whom he has also criticized for insufficient radicalism. Yesterday he followed up on the magazine’s website disavowing “an ‘endorsement’ ”: “The idea that anyone would cast a vote because of how I am casting makes my skin crawl.”

              1. So basically, Coats was against Sanders before he was for him, and now he’s for him, but he’s not endorsing him. Do I have this right?

      2. What does it say the the minotaur-ish fellow, who knows a unicorn or two, and has chatted with centaurs, considers socialism too fantastical to ever work? Well, I suppose the difference is between being mythical and completely nonsensical.

        1. Myths have a reason for existing. Look at the history of the idea of Lycanthropy and see just how cultures have changed and adapted it.

          LSD Dreams need no reason but envy

      1. I’ve always got along better with Southern folk of, oh, lotsa different races (see a delicate young lady of Asian descent say “How y’all doin’?” and watch the brains have to reboot) than D*mned Yanks.

        Folk of a more Northerly persuasion ain’t always such- quite a lot of them’re good people saddled with sorry s.o.b.’s forced on them by the urbanites. The few [more northerly state] natives of my acquaintance down here in the armpit of the South agree, excising just *one* metropolitan zit from the face of [state] would improve the whole by leaps and bounds at the very least.

          1. Southern Appalachia! *chuckle* I live here, so I can poke fun.

            Actually, that’s a bit of a dig at a guy I know who I am morally certain reads this blog (from what I hear him say anyways). Let’s see, how to do the story justice…

            It’s July in Appalachia, for the purpose of this telling. Hot, wet, summer. Heat in the triple digits. Air so wet you breathe soup, and sweat oozes out of you like sap. Showers are pretty much pointless. The hills trap and hold the heat, down in the deep hollers where the range runs East-West a bit.

            There’s a little golf course not too far from Speck. New place, it was then. Couple of transplant Floridians bought a chunk of land right beside the state park year or so back, started putting in sand traps and little flags and such. Attracted a bunch of other folks with more money than sense. They’d go out there in their little golf carts in the hot, hot sun, with their caddies and their long island iced teas.

            In the process of playing in the dirt (making artificial hills and whatnot), seems the construction company nicked a pipe. But repairs would have put the opening of the course off, and that just wouldn’t do… So they filled the hole back in, and off they went. Opening day: July 15th.

            All was well, fine and good… until the seventh hole. A water hazard. *Right* next to the park, where there was a small lake. Couple of fishermen, some kids playing in the water, hikers, that sort of thing right next door. *Plonk!* One ball, right in the water.

            The golfers play on. The fishermen, though… They smell something. Something bad. Something awful. It smells like…

            Raw sewage. Which was the pipe the construction nicked, was bribed to cover up. Which pipe leaked into the water hazard… which touched the lake… which for many years after had “No Swimming!” and “Do Not Eat What You Catch!” signs.

            Hot, stinking, crap. It’s funny, now, years after the mess is all cleaned up. But for all the world, I’d live nowhere else. We’re usually last to get anything- the internet, cell phones, indoor plumbing… All took longer to show up here than most anywhere else in the country. But the land is beautiful, the people are good, honest folk (the most of us), and best of all, a body’s let alone to do as he pleases, so long as it don’t hurt nobody, by and large.

            That ran a little long, but it ain’t all that bad living in the armpit of the South. *grin* Could be worse…

              1. Ha! Steal away, all or part. That story is common knowledge down here in Speck, and everybody’s got some version or other of it. Hope it works out well for ya. *grin*

        1. I will cheerfully admit that I picked up my usage of y’all from one of the folks running the bookstore at the US base when we lived in East Berlin. There were also enough folks there with the Southern twang that it stuck, complete with pronunciation. (And, to my mind, ‘you all’ sounded rude, y’all sounded more lighthearted, friendly, for the most part, unless issuing commands or instructions.)

          Then, apparently, I started using English with German grammar, according to my father. That must have sounded strange.

          I’m curious now. What’s the armpit of the South?

          (The guys, for the record, deeply despise Sydney for the traffic, ranging in disgusted descriptions from merely being a ‘hole’ to ‘the sweaty, smelly, unwashed, flea AND tick infested armpit and crab-infested, blue waffled crotch of Australia.’ I don’t remember the rest, I was too busy laughing myself into hysterics while the two men in the house kept going.)

          1. See comment above, wherein I poke fun at me and mine. *grin*

            Actually, the foetid, poxy, pimply boil on the arse of Dixie, the festering, cheese-smelling, crusty crotch of the South? Outer D.C., otherwise known as Northern Virginia. Not the whole north end of the state, no, just the northwest tip where all the D.C. crowd has their estates… And around there, the urbanite crowd has its entourage.

            The problems you read about that happen elsewhere, in larger cities up north or out west? Folks, it’s *right outside D.C.* Same problems as D.C., what with crime, race issues, gang problems, corruption, mind-boggling stupid traffic (both the drivers *and* the road layout), rubbernecker tourists… Actually, that last isn’t that bad.

            If you look at election maps by county, Virginia’s a red state, save for that cancerous blue blob in the upper right. Virginians are nice folk- heck, I’m related to a whole mess of ’em on their southern border. I guess pretty much every state has that problem to some degree or other- Texas most famously for Austin- but it happens all over.

            Or, looked at another way, most of America’s a pretty nice place- as long as you avoid large cities and metro areas. *grin* Even then, some of those ain’t too bad.

              1. Very true, good lass. While I do love my little mountains, I know they’re not for everyone. I am happy where I’m at, though. *grin*

            1. It’s DC. Of *course* it’s the cancerous mole.

              There’s a running joke here that there’s a reason why Canberra’s shaped like a circular target… and there’s a reason why ‘all the pols are quarantined there.’ (They missed a few that were single-handedly the ones who 1) failed to read the lesson of the Prohibition and 2) I read is killing off a lot of businesses reliant on Sydney tourism/party scene and Aussie drinking habits.

        2. Ignorance and assumptions exist everywhere …

          A friend of mine married a man whose ancestors had arrived in Charleston some time before, although not long enough before to be considered Charlestonian aristocracy. She has been born in New York City. When she was still young the family moved upstate to a one stop sign town in farm country up near Vermont and Canada.

          Early in their marriage they lived in Charleston. She relates that when the locals heard she was from New York they always imagined the City. She could never quite get them to comprehend that the state of NY is not synonymous to NYC. Someone would inevitably pat her hand and assure her that it was obvious she really wasn’t one of them.

  6. > Does a Federal tax on earnings deter working?

    It did for me. Back in the 1970s I worked an hourly-wage job. My pay scale was just below one of the cutover points. My employer frequently wanted me to work overtime; when I did, my check was smaller than when it was only 40 hours, because despite additional hours being 1-1/2 times base pay, my tax rate went up enough to make my take-home pay smaller.

    The employer kept trying to explain that I really was making more money, and seemed deaf to my reply that I wasn’t seeing any of it… if I worked overtime, I was actually paying *them*.

              1. Somebody needs to take a chainsaw to the tax code. Or a flamethrower. Or a thermonuclear warhead.

                1. Great, just what we need: radioactive tax fragments floating around the country! You of all people, Jeff… 🙂

                  1. “They aren’t that bad. MegaTen V makes the next Democratic comprehensive tax reform sound much scarier than it ended up being.”
                    ~Tod Kruez, back in time to fix things while they are still fixable

                    I know he looks a bit short on MP now, but he’ll break out the Victory Cry next time he makes #1 in a primary.

                  2. That’s Y’all’s. Y’all is a contraction of You all, so to make it possessive it needs an ‘s.

        1. Federal elections should either be moved to April 15th, or taxes should be due on the first Tuesday in November.

          1. Make it April 16. The memories will be fresh, the late filers will have had the wait through that interminable line at the post office that adds insult to injury and those applying for postponement will have had to work through the estimates.

              1. My workplace thoughtfully details every penny the Feds suck out of my check. Last time, thanks to working extra hours, they got the entirety of my “over time.” *glowers toward DC, uncharitable thought sent towards the IRS*

                  1. I’ll probably get to do that too. After the year I had to come up with $$$$ on two weeks notice I tend to be very aware of taxes and the various bites they take.

                    1. I don’t doubt it. I had to write a check (or rather echeck) last year. But look at what percentage sees this as “free money from govt season” *Growls at HR block*

        2. Yes, it is lovely to be able to demand with the force of a law an interest free loan and have the media impress on people how lucky they are the loan gets paid back at all.

    1. I thought that the increased tax rate only applied to the additional dollars beyond the threshold level for that rate. In other words, if the there are two rates, A and B, and the threshold between them is at income level Z, then the dollars earned up to Z are taxed at rate A and dollars earned above Z are taxed at rate B.

      1. Not the way they worked it. And to be honest, 40 years later it might have been the state tax rate instead of the Federal one.

        A 48-hour check was smaller than a 40 hour one every time, though. I never worried about how much I “made”, I was only concerned about what went into my pocket.

        1. Thus that classic joke about when a kid gets their first paycheck.
          “Who is this FICA dude and why is he stealing my money?”

        2. No, we get that. When Dan made a lot more money (and worked a lot harder) on paper he doubled his salary. In reality he was making 10k more. And since we had to contract out for a lot of stuff he normally does, plus he was gone half the week, we gave it up as a bad job.

        3. Yep, I can remember the same thing working hourly, in both a state with state income tax and one without, so it is federal tax that jumps you a bracket and causes you to actually get less for more hours.

      2. I think that progressive tax rate scheme only kicks in when you file your taxes, not when you get your paycheck.

          1. It has been quite some time since I attended to the mechanics of payroll taxes, but I think I grasp how net pay (cash) went down in response to a rise in gross pay (earnings.) It is similar to the way Cam Newton could experience a tax rate of almost 200% for playing on the losing side in a San Francisco Superbowl game.

            The scheme is premised on the anticipated overall tax rate. When a worker appears to move into a higher tax bracket it is anticipated he will remain there the rest of the year, thus his withholding must be recalculated according to the expected earnings, with an added increase to offset the presumed insufficient amounts withheld in prior paychecks.

            That probably makes no sense to those cursed with clear logic but I fear a more elaborate explanation would a) simply muddy the waters further and b) cause eyes to glaze over and heads to impact keyboards.

            1. I think I followed that. If I understand correctly, too much is withheld for taxes initially, but should be refunded after the income tax refund is filed. But until then, short-term net income is actually decreased.

              1. Basically, yes. I think modern withholding algorithms are more sophisticated and somewhat eliminate this problem. As well, if that was forty years ago the old pre-Reagan Reform rates would have been in effect, with their far greater number of tax brackets and much higher (70%) top rate. Because some of the brackets involved steep steps up (e.g., from 28% to 32%) at relatively low income changes (e.g., the above referenced 28% bracket was for annual earnings of 16,000 to 20,000) a small increase in earnings (even a mere COLA adjustment) could push people into significantly higher withholding requirements.

                A quick check at the Tax Foundation indicates that in 1976 there were 26 brackets for taxpayers filing singly or married filing jointly, and 34 brackets for those filing as head of household (see p.12 of the pdf for U.S. Federal Individual Income Tax Rates History, 1862-2013 (Nominal Dollars)). I may have miscounted the number of brackets but the numbers I provided are certainly an approximate number.

        1. The paycheck taxes are a convenience provided to you by the IRS (emphasis on the CON) . Only when you file, and have adequate fees for not sending them all the money up front, do you actually confront the true tax rate. I have some problems because I am retired, and a part-time consultant. Both checks withhold taxes as if they were my sole source of income, i.e. never enough.

          1. All of my income has come from consulting and contract work for some years now. I give the clients my bill, they write me a check. And I have to figure up and pay my taxes every year and pay the IRS and the state.

            I buy a money order every year and send it to the IRS, since they don’t accept cash. The state will, though.

              1. In the county in which I reside the government offices will no longer take payment in pennies only for bills above a certain level. They will advise that you the have the change converted at bank and then return to make payment.

            1. Me also, being self-employed/ owning your own business/independent contractor makes one actually confront what they are payig in taxes. Roughly around 1/3 of your income usually. Think of that, you are working four months each year, for not a dime.
              I firmly believe that if everybody had to pay their taxes at the end of the year, instead of having them withheld and never seeing the money, there would be comprehensive tax reform. Which is why the Feds will never give up their withholding priviliges.

              1. Thank FDR for that.

                With the advent of World War II, employment increased, as did tax collections—to $7.3 billion. The withholding tax on wages was introduced in 1943 and was instrumental in increasing the number of taxpayers to 60 million and tax collections to $43 billion by 1945.

                I don’t know where FDR got the idea.

          2. You can’t adjust in the middle of the year? The system we have here, when you are an employee, if you tell nothing to our tax office the rate they give you for the beginning year will be the same it was last year, but it’s also possible to get a new tax rate if you contact them and tell what you think your earnings this year will be, and it’s possible to get either a monthly % – it will be something until some threshold is met, then higher, and usually quite a bit higher – or a yearly, all estimated earnings per year rate, and will become higher only if you go past that estimate before the year is over. And you can get a new one any time of the year, so if you have earned considerably less than you thought you would it is also possible to get 0 % for the last month or few. Or if higher then a higher % so that there will be no penalty to pay for that year later.

            1. Remember, penalties are not a problem to the IRS, they are a feature. You *always* want to owe money, because the only place the IRS is authorized to garnish for your Obamacare non-participation tax in from your refund.

      3. If I recall correctly, there’s also a special tax rate for overtime pay. Sure, you get paid 1.5 times your normal rate…but Big Ole Government has your back! They don’t want you to burn out, see, and they also realize that if you’re working extra hours, it means that some poor homeless schizophrenic isn’t working that part-time job…

        (Never mind that you sometimes have to work extra to take care of emergencies, and that it’s going to be more effort to deal with the hassle, taxes, training and paperwork to hire someone just for that emergency, and that sometimes I *would* like to work overtime, at least until I pay off that extra debt…and that I *may* even be willing to work that overtime at the standard rate, rather than at 1.5, so that my employer would be amenable to the idea too…because Government is looking out for my best interests, to be sure, because Government is all-knowing and completely trustworthy…)

        So, to discourage you from working that extra time, the Government taxes overtime pay at a different rate as well!

    2. Yes. If the Bern style taxes were passed I’d either;

      1. Expect a payraise to compenstate
      2. If #1 did not occur leave my current position.

      I like the cash flow and resulting standard of living (present and future) my current job offers me. That said it is a demanding job forcing me to do off hours working expanding my knowledge of three fields (mathematics: specifically stochastic methods, mathematical statistics, and numeric methods; finance: specifically option pricing methods; computer programming: expanding knowledge of Perl and C++, parallel programming and concurrency, and implementation of numeric methods). While a team change in mid-2015 did reduce my hours somewhat by taking me off the regular rotation in running our overnight models (including ending a four year run of having model duties every Friday unless I was on vacation) I still get emergency calls at home (as recently as Monday) and am in involved in the annual fire drill due to Enterprise Stress Testing (when you read about that in the papers mid-year I was at the very beginning of it).

      For all of this I am paid quite well and pay considerable taxes already (my year end bonus will pay Friday…the deductions for Federal and State taxes will be 37.1% of that bonus. Combined Federal and State taxes for 2015 were 23.5% of my total income.

      Yet I am not rich. We do not yet own a house (in fact I’m still paying off student loans due to some bad life choices over a decade ago) and probably won’t for five years (even then we’ll own 20% of a house and a mortgage).

      If you raise the rate on me so that horizon on the house starts pushing out I’ll reconsider all the time I could be writing and playing music, spending with my wife, playing D&D, working on building a metal shop, or playing D&D lost to chasing money that goes to the government instead of to goals like a house and retirement. If I start seeing 50%+ of my annual bonus or 30% of my total income going to the government (God only asks for 10% if you’ll remember) I will consider the material gains in income to not be worth the lost time. I’ll scale back to probably half the income and add time.

      Of course, not only will they not get the 30%+ they thought on my present income but won’t get 23.5% of half of my current income due to the highly progressive nature of our current tax code (most progressive of the OECD nations). I suspect they’ll get about about 1/3 of the direct taxes expected as well as the loss in sales taxes (and given most of the last income will be the discretionary type that leads to sales taxes that will be on 85% or so of the income drop).

      So, yes, I can present a firm example of how Federal tax rates influence working because raise them high enough and I’ll work a less demanding in time and effort job for less money (but not directly less in proportion to income loss due to progressive taxation).

      1. Funny thing is, Bernie’s campaign has explicitly asserted that they don’t believe people’s economic behaviour will change in response to higher marginal tax rates. Apparently they were out protesting that day the economics class went over opportunity costs and alternative activities.

        1. I suspect something more sinister than being clueless such as taxation based on imputed income with you needing to prove in court that the drop in income wasn’t voluntary to change your imputed income or an outright job lock. The later is certainly very socialist in the “according to his means” way.

          1. I believe they already do things similar in some alimony type cases. If you were making bank during a boom that is your expected wage. The fact that oil fell/housing boom blew/no one buys buggy whips anymore is immaterial to what you should be worth.

    3. Yep, the number in my case was 8 hours of overtime. For any time after that, I wasn’t even making my straight time rate. And when you are working 10 hour days 6-7 days /week …ouch.

  7. > His successor was Truman, also a real Republican,

    You betcha. Harry would have thought Reagan was definitely pinkish. The next D was Kennedy, who talked hard right by modern standards, but his term was a string of political disasters, mostly overlooked nowadays. Then Johnson and his “Great Society” and the Ds were marching off in lockstep to build the New Socialist America.

    1. And of course, Johnson was also that evil person who got the US involved in Vietnam (unless the idiots want to blame Nixon).

        1. The roots of that go back as far as the Truman Administration. As far as I can tell it was a deliberate anti-French policy from the State Department, which devised and implemented its own foreign policy independent of the rest of the government.

          JFK, who was not among the most ept or astute of chief executives, was at least smart realize the whole thing could became a tar baby and demanded a report explaining how we had gotten into that mess. Unfortunately the report wasn’t delivered until years after his death…

          1. Let’s not forget that Ho Chi Mihn tried to get a meeting with Wilson at Versailles in 1919. He was rebuffed by the Americans and all attempts to get any self rule in Indochina were denied by the French.

            Ho then found himself on the next train to Moscow.

  8. Frankly, so what? That this debate even exists is evidence of the infantile thinking characteristic of People What Feelz Rather Than Thinkz. Aside from it being nonsense on stilts, even if it were true it would not alter the fact that All Republicans currently in office, even the RINOs, were elected on a platform of respect for the inalienable rights of the individual and all Democrats now in office were voted in on a platform of discrimination only “eradicable” under governmental regulation and oversight.

    The history of the two parties is not reducible to such simplistic narrative and any effort at doing so is evidence of feeble-mindedness, of an inability to distinguish relevant from irrelevant fact.

    1. Somehow I suspect that the true reason for the existence of both parties is and has always been primarily to provide upwardly mobile job opportunities for what would otherwise remain ambulance chasing lawyers.
      Use contributors’ money to get elected.
      Use the public’s money to reward your contributors.
      Spread enough of the rest around to encourage the voters to reelect you.
      Rinse, repeat, year after year.
      And Oh, don’t forget to set a little something aside so you might spend your inevitable retirement in the manner you’ve become accustomed to. Best accomplished naturally, by using that fountain of public money to buy your way onto the executive boards of companies you “helped” while in office.

  9. Pretty much my feeling on the primary difference between the two major parties is that The Republicans are, and have been, the party of individual rights; the Democrats are, and have always been, the party of group rights. Dems, not Republicans, have shifted emphasis. Democrats used to be exclusively for white rights. Now, they’re for the rights of any minority sub-group they can separate out. LBGT rights, black rights, women’s rights, Muslim, anything except Caucasian, Asian, and Christian rights. Because those groups seem to be able to succeed without government intervention.

    If groups have rights, individuals don’t. To get ahead, you must identify as a group member, and proclaim fealty to the group and it’s leaders, who will then aid you. Regardless of ability, as long as your loyal.

  10. This. Was. Amazing.

    As a history grad student who is studying in the South, I applaud this post. Unfortunately, there is no convincing my “progressive” classmates that this switch didn’t happen. They are firmly entrenched in, and wedded to, The Narrative. My attempts to explain that this switch is illogical and not supported by the evidence is met by the scholastic equivalent of covering one’s ears and sing-song repeating, “I can’t hear you!”

    Thank you for this well-analyzed break down of some very complicated politics. It’s always nice to know that I’m not going quite as crazy as I think I’m going.

    PS: Mad props for the Hillary meme with the Modern Major General parody. Golden.

    1. I was working an analogy in terms of two restaurant franchises offering pretty much the same menu with some local variation. Both offered burgers, fried chicken, iceberg lettuce salads and soda pop, but one also sold beer in certain regions. But that franchises’ Northern and Western regional managers became embarrassed by the beer and pushed the chain to take it off the menu. Instead they thought to position themselves for the growing Health Food market and started demanding more prominent menu placement for tofu burgers, lentil loaf and eventually pushed the meat items off the menu altogether.

      The customers who had been coming for the beer with their burgers were initially disgruntled over the absence of beer but still kept coming, out of habit. But as they found they could no longer get their burger and fries, their hot dogs and chips or even their chicken with mashed potatoes they started reconsidering their restaurant selections. Sure, the other franchise still didn’t offer beer on the menu, but you could still get a decent meal there. Besides, they didn’t give you a hassle about your pick-up truck (in fact, they put in extra-large parking slots for such vehicles) and they didn’t hassle you about the deer rifle in the truck’s gun rack — heck, they even said CCW welcome.

      Sure, the chain’s upper management keeps making noises about trying to offer healthier food, but when their customers complained they made reassuring noises about still offering a good meal like they always had, they were just trying to expand the menu and make it more inclusive, offering their versions of pizza (cardboard with ketchup and cheese – yechh) and tacos (not enough meat, too much lettuce filler) to provide greater variety. A lot of the customers grumbled about the direction upper management was pushing, and certain franchisees made noise about breaking away and starting a new chain. But it is still the only place offering a good all-beef burger and crisp fries … even if there sometimes seems a little filler in the patty and the fries are soggy and cold.

      Like I said, I was working on such an analogy but I think I’ve over-worked it and now them biscuits won’t rise.

        1. Oh please do — if you can get that biscuit to rise instead of being the hockey puck I produced, more power to you. I know its there, but I knew I was working the dough too hard.

      1. and now them biscuits won’t rise.

        That’s fine, just cover them in gravy. Assuming gravy hasn’t been outlawed yet.

      1. I thought of suggesting that you could totally put up a satire news blog, but with how insane things are, you’d find what you’re writing is horrifically too uncomfortably close to reality.

        Example: The concept of ‘reverse rape.’
        Someone who was parodying extreme feminists wrote a satirical article on Thought Catalog (google it.)
        People responded as if it were real and tried to denounce it as if it were real.

        But at the same time (I’d like to think the original tweet was a parody)

        I learned from a friend that someone HAD accused him of ‘reverse rape’ with the parody definition being used seriously. The person in question was both a rabidly shrill feminist and a diversity hire, and I hear was fired soon after that (I think she also couldn’t do the work, honestly. Feminista code doesn’t work, no matter how much you bitch apparently.)

        Seriously, those type of people are huge lawsuits waiting to happen, and you’d THINK that they’d never get to court, but recently a man was hauled to court in England for walking past a woman (who is described as a 60 year old actress) in a busy subway station and she was able to have him in court for ‘penetrative rape for 2-3 seconds’ despite there being photographic CCTV evidence of him 1)having items in both his hands 2)walking past her too quickly for the events to have occurred the way she described them and 3)he never noticed her and she was a few meters away when she finally turned back to look.

        1. More and more I’ve seen/heard things start with a “This is not an Onion article” or similar sort of disclaimer. Kinda sums up that things are Seriously Weird.

          1. … things are Seriously Weird.

            This morning I went to clear the spam filter and one item caught my eye. From “Federal Government” it announced I was due to receive an ATM card with $67,750.000.00 on it. My first thought was to clear it, but then I considered the possibility the Feds were sufficiently screwed up that it might possibly be true.

            Then I realized that as I am neither a registered Democrat nor an illegal undocumented immigrant it couldn’t possibly be valid.

          2. As I told Wombat Socho today on twitter: Our opponents seem to constantly seek to lower our opinions of them,using of planetary drill/black hole. Also,reality has greatly disabused me of the notion ‘nobody could be that stupid, right?’

            There will always, always be someone willing to prove that there is, in fact, ‘someone that stupid.’ On the level of “I see you actually survived the suicide attempt that blew out most of your upper cranium and violently excised the cerebrum, yet somehow allowed your face to remain somehow intact.”

              1. And they do not have the necessary mental capacity for an automated economy, so they are increasingly being left with exactly two salable commodities: their votes in our warm-body democracy, and their bodies for the riots.

                There is no possible way this will end well, no matter how non-despairing you are.

    2. A useful visual aid is the following video (there are several like it) : . Basically it refutes any simple-minded explanation for how the country (or a particular region of it) votes. Big swings as people vote for their wallet, their country, their region, or simply against the Other Guy. Also shows (IMO) that race has not been a make-or-break issue in the South since 1968.

  11. A brave man is Mr. Bowman.

    My head hurt so much reading this, I cannot imagine the pain in writing it.

    I hope the brain knots are not permanent.

  12. As we all know, the Republican Party was formed on an abolitionist platform. One could easily describe it as a party that stood for keeping government from taking away the freedom of the individual. Whether they succeeded at this all the time is not in question, even if you argue about some of the details; but on the whole, this has always been the core idea of the party.

    Eeeh, I’d phrase it as the founding idea being preventing trespass against the rights of others. Not like it was okey-dokey for non-government groups to, say, take guns away from folks.

    It just looks more complicated because in an interaction, both people have rights– for the traditional “your right to swing your fist ends at my nose,” in all practical application it ends before that, when the nose-haver reasonably believes that the punch is coming. On the flip side, the fist-swinger has freedom to swing his fists, even if someone takes it as a threat… they have to be balanced out, and it’s not nice and easy and clean in the real world, where we don’t have perfect knowledge. We have to figure out how to tell “I’m not touching you”/”I get to hit them before they react, so I better make sure there’s no second” from “I jumped into his fist, he hit me!”/”he has a hand, it could be a fist, which COULD hit me, so he must be locked up.”

    1. This gets at the reason why the Goldwaterites voted against the 1964 Civil Rights Act. While they abhorred the segregationists they believed it was fundamentally wrong for the Federal government to intrude. Their motivating principle was that the existence of an evil should not be “solved” by introduction of a greater evil. The philosophy of the modern Democrat Party is in vehement objection to that principle, holding that the rule of enlightened persons can never be a greater evil.

      1. Over 45 years ago I took a course on Political Sciences as practiced in this country. One of the things we were taught at that time was that traditionally, any given congressman representing a rural agricultural district was likely to have more in common with his potential opponents than he had with a fellow party member representing a densely populated urban coastal city. The trends at the time indicated that this might be changing, but it was still the norm.

        Meanwhile, the idea of a imperial Presidency was certainly not in vogue … that year Nixon was facing impeachment and was pressured by his party to resign.

        Now things have changed. We have as an imperial a President as we have ever had, and this time without the excuse of the necessity of consolidation due to full engagement in a major international war. (Never mind that that President had done far reaching power grabs before we became involved in that conflict.)

        Anyway, as The Spouse is wont to point out, once elected with whom does a congressman caucus?

      2. IIRC, Goldwater himself was mostly opposed due to the intervention in private business vs. the other aspects of the bill, and had supported the Civil Rights Act of 1957 even in its original (non-LBJ-watered-down) version.

      1. Problem being, was he right?

        Pretty sure everybody here can think of situations where they’ve been told they can’t hit first…and if they don’t, there won’t be a chance to hit back.

        The knockout game comes to mind for an example.

        1. I think history shows when one group is prevented from taking pre-emptive defensive action at the retail over time one of two things happen:

          1. The group disappears (which is what those making the rules usually expect and want)

          2. The group takes wholesale pre-emptive defensive action which is often an order of magnitude larger than the sum of the forbidden retail pre-emptive defensive actions would have been.

          I think the bruha on the Hugos is the opening move on #2 by those the gatekeepers were expecting to just disappear.

  13. you’d do better to be a Baptist converting to Catholicism.

    Hey, I fit that description………..

    1. Hmm — some question of whether it’s converting like that today or at the time when party switching was harder.

      Certainly you are not alone. I’ve seen fundamentalist-turned-Catholic bloggers discuss the fervent emails from fundamentalists who assume that they are Catholic because they never even heard of fundamentalism.

      1. I converted more to please my southside Irish wife more than a sense of religious obligation. It really did not matter to me, as I was not that fervent a Baptist as my mother is and my grandmother was.

  14. You do know that the dim bulbs on the other side will take one look at the second meme and accuse us of promoting slavery, right? 😉

    1. They already do accused of supporting slavery to the point that some black voters interviewed in 2000 reporting voting for Gore because Bush was going to bring back slavery.

      At this point I couldn’t give a sh!t what they think.

      1. A few things to keep in mind:

        The press may have simply chosen to highlight those giving certain provocative answers. Some people may have lied about their reasoning to the press in order to get on camera.

        The people interview had voted, and, whatever their reason for making their choice, when counting time comes their vote counted just as much as yours.

        Real change in our government won’t occur until the underlying culture changes, a critical mass of people must be convinced to embrace a different way of thinking. (Preferably Usaian…)


        1. Are you suggesting that the Press has a narrative which shapes what news & views they determine worth reporting??!?

          Nasty child!

          Why, I have it on the very best authority that our modern journalists, unlike their antediluvian counterparts who were taught the trade by editors known to growl “if your mother says she loves you, get a second source,” are all products of the very best professional university educations. This saves them tiresome years of toiling reading police blotters and writing obituaries and allows them to analyse and put into context all newsworthy events while still factory-bright and untarnished by reality.

  15. This is great. I’m not an historian, but do read a lot of history. This party stuff keeps coming up in the oddest contexts. In looking at the history of compulsory schooling in America (my current headache-inducing hobby) I’ve been struck by the entanglement of Democratic machines and immigrants in the North – how people fresh off the boats, as it were, were met by machine operatives (literally, in the case of Tammany Hall) and taken care of. In other words, the first experiences of American government that an Irishman (who’s native experience was that government was out to kill you) or an Italian (whose native experience was that the difference between a government and a mafia was splitting hairs) was some guy making sure they had enough to eat and a place to sleep, and, eventually, a job of some sort. The ensuing (and enforced!) loyalty of many immigrants and their children to the Democratic party, a party that attacks the core beliefs of their culture at every turn, becomes less unbelievable.

    Also, and I see this among my Irish-American friends who have ‘made it’, the willingness to overlook, say, a Whitey Bulger or the endless stream of Chicago politicians that end up in jail as just one of those things, you know, politics isn’t pure, or something. So, if thugs and criminals run your party, that’s OK – and not thugs and criminals just as name-calling, but the real, evil, murderous deal.

    Somehow, my Liberal friends have convinced themselves that Al Capone’s buddies or Whitey Bulger’s brother have their interests at heart, and that one must tolerate (not that they’d think of it this clearly) a certain amount of murder, whorehouses, drug pushing and racketeering to make sure the country stays on the correct Progressive path. (I do have one Irish-American friend whose family totally fits this description, where the Kennedys are saints! who finally got it. it was gratifying. But I’ve a dozen more who don’t.)

    Of course, there have been and continue to be corrupt Republicans. But they tend to be more cut a deal to pay off a contributor types, not murder a witness and blackmail a judge types. In a flat (Marxist) moral landscape, I suppose one is no worse than the other. Unless it’s your kid buying the drugs or your brother getting murdered.

    1. The old theory was that “a certain amount of murder, whorehouses, drug pushing and racketeering” was inevitable and was best if managed by responsible parties. In this view the problem of the St Valentin’s Day Massacre was not that it happened but that it happened in too public a way and was thus bad for business.

      The mobs kept these desired services under some level of control, keeping the narcotics out of the schools and ensuring that certain professions, such as schoolteachers, nurses and nuns were free from molestation. And when a fall guy was needed they could be counted upon to offer up such a perp.

      At least, that was the myth.

      1. There was a hit man during, I think, the Prohibition, whose stray bullets hit and killed a baby.

        Every syndicate leader in the city put up money toward the payment for the guy who took him down.

      2. Right. But what about when the “responsible parties” are a Mafia? That’s the killer – when the 1st Ward in Chicago ‘elected’, in that inimical Chicago style, a Don to city council, it’s very much like that clip. Or when Billy Bulger keeps getting elected and Whitey Bulger keeps running loose, who is being responsible for whom?

        I know, I know – it’s a myth. But it’s believed by doctors and lawyers and professionals who, one might be tempted to imagine, would not fall for such nonsense.

      1. And the Mafia are honest about their graft. IIRC it was Daley Sr. who kept Chicago running by keeping those who wanted power away from the $$ and those who just wanted $$ from gaining access to political power.

  16. I see that all the time from Cook County in-laws and acquaintances who will admit the rare Republican in the race might be honest, but he’s just not a Democrat who will take care of them if the do him a “solid” and vote for him.

      1. They always believe that Other People’s Money will never run out, even though we’re at the point of Robbing Peter to Pay Paul and borrowing from China, too.

      2. As long as someone has one more grain of rice than them there is someone to steal from to give to them in their worldview.

        Even worse, as long as someone has one more theoretical dollar (such as a stock certificate) they can be stolen from.

        I’ve heard a socialist who, confronted with seizing all the wealth and converting it to cash was, by definition, a one time deal, retorted that it wasn’t. We could seize it again from the people who bought it after the last seize.

          1. But but… If the government does it, it’s not theft!!!!! [Sarcastic Grin]

  17. I’ve had this argument before, and trying to point out both the chronological and logical errors simply doesn’t work. They just shift their ground and say triumphantly, “Southern Strategy!” Which was apparently a nefarious and secret operation of Republicans to win southern voters by using code words to appeal to their racism … such as “states’ rights” and “tax reform”.

    1. Yes, the way they can really tell that their opponents are pure evil is by reading the secret codes in their public words.

      The sane name for this is “paranoia.”

        1. a) It isn’t lying when the people you’re addressing are not “real” people; people who oppose your achievement of a Socialist Utopia are not “real” people: it is okay to lie to those who impede establishment of a Socialist utopia.

          b) They cannot “lie their butts off” because once you eliminate the ass there is nothing left.

    2. I think the southern strategy was simply the realization that the southern states, while not enormously populated, still collectively have a lot of electoral votes, and collectively have a fairly common culture and voting base, so what plays well in Birmingham plays well in Nashville.
      Naturally, since it was Republicans that envisioned the strategy, some part of that Vast Right Wing Conspiracy that forced Hillary to put the server in her closet was also busy in the south with the ‘code’ words.

      1. The key to the Southern strategy is that it occurred after the enshrouding miasma of racism was lifted. Like abortion today, racial discrimination was a unifying element for an otherwise disparate group.

        In similar fashion, the collapse of the Soviet Union released a number of otherwise incompatible groups in American politics to pursue their own agendas without consideration of an existential external threat..

    3. (Waggles hand) For some people, that really was what “States’ rights” meant–segregation. Tax reform, though–yeah, that one’s stupid.

  18. “…those who wished to abolish it needed to do more than the Whig Party would let them.”

    Mostly because by that time the Whig Party had ceased to be a viable national concern. That’s the thing the “we need a new party” types don’t understand, the US has never had a period of three major national parties. Every time a new party has arisen it has been after a period of one-party rule. If you want to replace the Republican Party, you first need to kill the Republican Party, which means the Democrats get at least a couple of election cycles of unfettered rule. The last time that happened, we had the Civil War.

    1. We tried it back around 1912 when the GOP offered up the Republican and Bull Moose candidates and that seems to have worked out alright.

      1. That, the Reform Party, and the Tea Party are why I don’t think we’ll ever see the end of the Republican or Democrat parties. Political parties are no longer alliances of power brokers that form and dissolve based on who can benefit whom, the primary system means that parties have to chase voters from the very beginning. If a party begins to lose voters to a minor party or apathy, it can shift its platform to recapture those voters.

    2. I’d argue we’ve pretty much had two terms of unfettered Democrat rule now even with the GOP as a theoretical viable national concern. As a result we effectively have a third party candidate leading the fight for the GOP nomination.

      If Trump wins the nomination and the White House I expect GOP candidates across the board to adopt his winning strategy and we will, essentially, get a new party (or perhaps it would be better phrased as the ejection of one of the two major wings of the current GOP from it given in the long run Trump is probably more compatible with the moderate GOP than the conservatives ever were).

      1. Obama has been severely fettered the past 5 years, that’s why he’s had to do what he could with the regulatory agencies and executive orders, all of which can and will be undone in the first hour of the next Republican administration.

        Trump I see as either a stalking horse for Hillary – trying to pull a McCaskill and choose her opponent – or as the consummate opportunist taking advantage of the general disgust of the establishments in both parties.

        I do think we’re going to see a realignment of the power structure within the GOP. I don’t think we’ll see a complete expulsion of the establishment, but they will have to share power with actual conservatives and make actual progress on some of our priorities.

        1. If he had been severely fettered the past 5 years he wouldn’t have been able to abuse the regulatory agencies on the level he has. He has done more by fiat to move his causes forward than the GOP did controlling the Presidency and all of Congress to nominal GOP causes. I find it hard to call that checked.

          I don’t think we’ll see a complete expulsion of the establishment, but they will have to share power with actual conservatives and make actual progress on some of our priorities.

          It isn’t the establishment I expect to be expelled by a Trump Presidency. Trump, and by extension at least some of his supporters, are much more acceptable to the GOP Establishment than the conservatives have ever been. He won’t upset the gravy train which switch which tracks it is on.

          1. But that is being fettered. Executive action is easy to do, which means it is easy to undo. Legislation is hard. Bush tried to work within the legislative framework and the Democrats were successful in either blocking his efforts or exacting a high price for their cooperation. With Obama’s example, not only will the next conservative President immediately undo everything Barry has done since 2011 overnight, he’ll be able to actually ratchet back some of the worst excesses of the Deep State.

            1. Not nearly as easy as you seem to think, especially given the active assistance of the bureaucrats.

              The Supreme Court, for example, has just stayed the latest EPA CO2 regulations on power plants. Note that the DC Circuit was going to let the EPA proceed to implement the regs while the trials were going on. Why is that important? Because it prevents the Federal bureaucracy from creating so many “facts on the ground” in the form of closed power plants, state regulations put into place and enforced against industry, etc. If, for example, the GOP had mustered the stones to cutting off portions of the Federal budget until immigration laws were enforced, we would have far fewer illegals allowed to enter and have time to disappear.

              So no, Obama hasn’t been fettered at all.

              1. Note that the Supreme Court did in fact stay the new regulations, regulations that could have been wiped away in the first days of a conservative administration. Yes, it would have imposed costs on the US, but hardly insurmountable ones. A conservative administration could also undo Obama’s immigration executive orders and poison the well for future actions by ordering ICE to arrest and deport any immigrant that signed up under that DAPA and DACA programs. If there had been a legislated amnesty, those people would be legal US residents and deportation would be extremely difficult, if not impossible. So yes, Obama has been fettered. Not as much as we might like, but he hasn’t had the freedom of action he would like either.

        2. When my family first came to NC in 1972 the conventional wisdom was that “if you want to have a political voice you need to register as a Democrat.” Any Republican running for higher office (e.g., federal) than House/Senate member was immediately tagged as “not having been influential in the legislature.” Given the Democrats had solid majorities in both houses, it is highly improbable any Republican could have been influential, a minor fact no newspaper bothered to acknowledge.

          Somehow, in 1972, Jesse Helms, a former Democrat and state-wide recognized conservative broadcast voice, get elected to the Senate (probably on Nixon’s coattails.) And stayed there. His was the helping hand that enabled Ronald Reagan’s 1976 primary success in NC, a success that allowed Reagan to stay in the race up until the convention and which made him the GOP heir apparent for the 1980 nomination.

          In the period since then the state has slowly turned into a reliably red one and now has managed a Republican governor and actual (as opposed to “working”) Republican majorities in both legislative houses. A healthy party changes from within as new generations rise through the ranks and prove their worth. Nationally the GOP has built a solid majority in the House, one likely to last a decade or more and has so entangled the Senate that the Democrats torpedoed its bulwark against majority fiat, the filibuster. A majority of states are governed or controlled by Republicans, with a few “rotten boroughs” such as California, New York and Illinois exploring new depths of failure.

          Nationwide the Democrat party has become a gerontocracy — they may give voice to the youth (feeling the Bern) but the youth do not stay with them long as they discover the contents of that bag they are left holding.

  19. The Republicans even in the beginning had a problem with individual rights; besides being anti-slavery, they were also anti-polygamy. After the Civil War, they came down pretty hard against the Mormons, who took their religious freedom argument to the Supreme Court, and lost. Mormons were pretty solid Democrats around the 1900s. After Utah gained statehoood, the LDS church was reportedly requesting some of its members to switch to Republican so that it would not be a monolithic one-party state. Then, as the 20th century progressed, some of the Church leaders spoke about Labor Unions (against strikes and union shops), about government sponsored Old Age Survivors Insurance (against), about Communism (very much against), and about government welfare (against), so by the time RFK and LBJ were pushing welfare programs to solve poverty in the 1960s, Mormon leaders were saying “That’s not how to do it” and Mormons started gravitating to the other party. What with abortion rights and gay rights being championed by the Democrats, a century after statehood, Utah Mormons have become pretty strongly Republican.

  20. That would be a disagreement about rights, rather than a problem with them.

    Pretty sure it’s been argued here before, and Sarah asked us to cut it out because it’s boring, but the Marriage Wars are a matter of starting assumptions, much like the similarly hot abortion debates.

  21. News Flash: The myth continues, with a new Broadway musical. Money quote: “I wanted to explore why the Republican party, champions of blacks’ lives under Abraham Lincoln, has now completely flipped now,”
    Thanks to Instapundit for the link:

  22. Can anyone here imagine the screaming if a play titled “Killing Democrats” opened on broadway? The press/dnc(BIRM) would have to bring out the hand-set 72 point type for the headline.

    1. Come now, everybody here is well able to recall the Kill Bush fantasies of the Left and their serious considerations about reeducation camps (or worse) for anybody disagreeing with the Light Bringer (in fairness, you don’t find presidents any lighter than him.)

      When they do it it is just a joke, when we do something one-tenth of that it sends them screaming for their safe spaces.

      1. I am still aghast that they could call their hero “the Light Bringer (Bearer)” with a straight face. Either they are utterly ignorant about Christianity/Judeism, or something much much worse.

        1. Embrace the “And”?

          I don’t remember that bit of inanity. (Possibly forgotten to protect my sanity).

          I do remember hearing him compared to Jesus, JFK, MLK, Reagan, and probably a few other people, and reacting like, “Do you want him to be assassinated?

        2. They also can’t understand why Bernie S. saying that he’s a nationalist socialist makes some of us more than a tad bit unhappy.

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