We, Not Us by Bill Reader


We, Not Us


Bill Reader


As I believe I’ve said before in various ways, I’m a big believer in the idea that a problem can’t be solved if you don’t properly understand it. I’ve thought a lot about the current political situation in the United States, because it feels like a perilous time in history, and I don’t think merely acting on instinct or taking our best guess is a good move. Trump’s election changed the calculus significantly. In so many ways, in fact, that many things I thought I understood well about the Republican party I know and—well, certainly know at any rate— changed with them. There’s a sense that the party itself has changed, and even for me—and I am a bit stodgy, and was more sympathetic to the GOP establishment than perhaps they frankly deserved— it strikes me as for the better. The GOP establishment had, at best, a case of terminal depression. They weren’t playing to win, nor were they playing not to lose, but playing to lose slowly. There is a different flavor to the GOP now, and I think the base is enjoying that. I certainly am.

At the same time, I’ve had to have a good think about things I took for granted. I didn’t see 2016 coming, putting me in the exclusive club of virtually everybody. Nevertheless I’ve been a political cynic for a very long time. Just from those two words—”political cynic”—you can guess, likely accurately, what my old model therefore predicted regarding events in France, Britain, and Australia. Namely, I saw Le Pen’s loss coming, but I did not see the yellow vests coming, even though on reflection, I think that A indirectly begat B. I certainly didn’t see her list coming back to cream Macron’s in the EU election. I didn’t see Brexit coming. I did see the eventual attempted murder of same by a thousand bureaucratic cuts coming—but then didn’t see the BREXIT party coming. Congratulations to Farage on now having the largest number of MPs from a single party, and I hope he gives the EU Parliament Hell. At the same time, the story of whether Britain will indeed find the gumption to leave is still partially untold, and I don’t have the confidence to venture an opinion on it. I hear starkly conflicting and well-argued positions on why Brexit as an issue can still go various ways. I’d prefer to see what happens and learn from it. And finally, I didn’t see Australia’s recent election coming.

If your interest is finding a way to defeat the Left without us ending up in a civil war on the way, as is mine, this is all simultaneously encouraging and frightening. Under Obama I had a model of the world that worked very well for what was mostly the post-war order and certainly seems to have been the post-Reagan GOP. To put it succinctly, it was a system that did not work in our favor, but at least did so by grimly well-tabulated mechanics. Despite the cold war, too many people on our own side felt the socialists had the moral high ground and ought eventually to win. Given the horrors of the USSR, that’s impressive. It borders on humorous— in the same way that a man having his beheading scheduled for a day he had previously reserved on his calendar for a haircut is humorous.

Just recently we’ve had a system that works more in our favor, but by extremely unpredictable if not mostly unknown mechanics. Most commentators I read haven’t got a solid explanation for these. A lot of the pseudo-explanations are more poetic than practical—”we’ve finally woken up”, etc. Maybe that’s partially been because solid evidence of anything has been so difficult to get. Indeed, a feature of this political moment is that we are flying by instruments, and they aren’t very good instruments, as Sarah and I have both noted. But I think I have at least a minor insight into one mechanic. It doesn’t explain everything, but it is my attempt at a more complete explanation for why polls are suddenly so very unreliable. In explaining this, I have to account for two things—one is that people’s behavior has not merely changed, but done so suddenly, because otherwise polls would have adapted to it in their old baseline. And the other is that it seems inescapable that people are lying to pollsters to some degree, which I had previously discarded out of hand. But why? And why now?

Well, I’ve been incubating a lot of thoughts on the subject, and I’m at last ready to at least venture an opinion on what I think is going on.  Paradoxically, I think that to do the question justice, I need to start by recontextualizing the Left in term of a strategy that’s been so omnipresent, it’s been invisible to me up until now. I’m adapting some of my old frameworks and I’m doing it imperfectly, but I think this is necessary work.  There are hints here, which I will close with, as to how larger and more important questions can be answered. After all, what we don’t understand, we cannot reliably ask to keep working. What we cannot reliably keep working—given the precarious position of civilization just now—may well be the very thing we rely on to peacefully resolve our current situation.

So with that in mind, I want to approach two things. First, how does the Left think now? That question deserves re-analysis, because the Left now is not the Left I was analyzing half a decade ago. For one thing, they have gone from quietly, grindingly, passively malevolent, to rather aggressively domineering and insane. Actually, it’s something of an improvement, by my lights. They still tell me they’re going to ruin my life for my own good, but now they do it with such poor credibility that it borders on refreshing. And yet I think you will find, after this journey with me, that they didn’t really change so very much—they just took new opportunities.

Second, rather obviously, how does the Right think now? Is it the same? The results certainly aren’t. You can tell the Left gets that something has changed, because when the left is in pain, instead of shouting “ouch”, or swear words like normal people, they shout “Nazi” and various words ending in “-ism”. It would be endearing, if they weren’t trying to destroy western civilization.

Let’s go back to basics. I started, in my thinking, from the premise that the Left is more generally communitarian in their approach than the right. That’s not really a shock to anyone here, I would guess. The Left focuses on groups, the Right generally focuses on individuals. I suppose I’ve never really asked myself before, though—why is the Left more interested in groups? And does that have anything to do with their marked decrease in sanity? Well, yes, I think it does.

I think that Leftists tend to defer to groups, and operate by preference in groups as much for strategic as ideological reasons. Indeed, once I realized how they tend to address things, I began to wonder if maybe the ideology came as an excuse for the strategy. I’m still undecided on that point. As you’ll see there are many practical synergies between the method by which a rank-and-file Leftist operates and their larger strategy, so arguments for development in either order could be formulated. It is therefore a chicken-or-egg problem I will lay aside for the moment.

Let us round back briefly to ensure our terms are clearly defined. What do I mean by saying they defer to groups? In essence, if you are arguing with a Leftist, they will—as quickly as they are able—try to involve additional people in the argument beyond the arguers. More specifically that takes two forms. They will either bring in a more powerful friendly entity with power over a large group—the equivalent of running to Mommy when overwhelmed—or they will directly appeal to the group, or both.     And this is not merely a one-on-one phenomenon. At virtually every level of society, you can find examples where the Left appeals to the crowd at least one level of scale immediately above the scope of the current argument. This strategy is effective because it operates semi-independently of the argument being made. You could argue anything at all—including patently untrue and easily observed falsehoods, such as that the sky is entirely pink and green zigzags— and by strategically expanding the number of people in the argument to include more people than yourself, you can at the very least prevent yourself from being outright disproven.

“Strategically” deserves emphasis here. Yes, the Left prefers to appeal specifically to either like-minded crowds or friendly authorities in lieu of an argument. In the main they will try to do so. However, it is not strictly necessary that they have clear advantage in either case, merely that the number of arguers grows, and there are cases where the more subtle benefits of this approach are exploited. I will lay out the broad strokes— what it essentially does is transform things into a rhetorical ratchet. Even in a one-on-one debate, the opinion on who won usually varies, but outright loss is a lot more possible, especially if you’re walking around with the kind of beliefs and arguments the Left uses. But as soon as you involve a large group of people, the outcome of virtually any argument becomes impossible to tabulate. And even for the most clear-cut losses, because large numbers of people are involved who don’t want to “let the side down”, people will still support each other and refuse to admit it. An acknowledged loss is next to impossible.
You might think that this effect would be symmetrically true, but there’s a simple reason it isn’t. The Right historically is not willing to use groups in the dangerous, forceful, or aggressive ways that the Left does. The Left can always force a tie if they would otherwise lose. The right is spotty even about elevating arguments from small to large, and doing the same— although it has gotten much, much better under Trump, who I think understands all of this on some level. One dividend of a president who personally tweets about newsworthy things is that he drags the rest of the party into the fight. Even if large numbers of establishment members then turn around and bash him for doing so, as the midterms showed, that can provide helpful info to Republican voters—and meanwhile people who aren’t diehard establishment Republicans having a definite reason to get involved in the fight is to the good. But anything more than expanding the scale of an argument, Republicans tend to treat as strictly off-limits. There are excellent reasons for that, but we shouldn’t kid ourselves about the profound downside— namely, there are many situations where the groups invoked by the Left can force a “win” for them by destroying the target’s life, over-riding their opinion with improper use of power, et cetera. This is the mechanism of the ratchet. They have set it up such that they can’t really lose arguments—at worst they can have a bitter tie— and the tactic often opens opportunities to win in ways other than the boring traditional way of making a solid argument. Allow me to dive into some examples. In each of these I will attempt to highlight the two key elements—the escalation of the argument to the “crowd”, by which I mean at least the next-largest entity beyond the core arguers, and the strategic advantage of doing it in one particular way or another.

As is probably self-obvious, arguing with a Leftist one-on-one has become a dicey proposition. Now, certainly, the sides have relative parity as regards friends to pile on, and I acknowledge that most people on the Left and Right will use this relatively mild form of appeal to the crowd. What the Right almost uniformly will not do is adopt other, nastier, forms of escalation to parties beyond the immediate argument. At present these take on three different forms, which I have ranked in order of the level of personal threat they are to the individual. All of them should be familiar, but we will consider them from the perspective of the escalation-to-the-crowd framework.

  • This is simple enough. You appeal to a larger external group, in this case the website or host institution, to enter the argument on your behalf. This institution is the proverbial “Mommy”. The institution or website then simply disallows your opponent from continuing the argument. Deeply intellectually dishonest? Certainly. But that doesn’t matter. You “win”.
  • 2- The Ragemob, which is a sort of extension of a mere pile on, where you denounce someone to as wide a portion of your ideological comrades as possible. It’s differentiated from a mere pile-on because you don’t personally know many—if not the majority—of the people you are calling into the fight. The tactic actually does have some unique synergistic benefits with current Leftist ideology. Leftist arguments tend to be very emotion-forward—to the New Left especially, the mere perception that something is wrong is a self-encapsulated argument (I might discuss this in detail soon, but it’s beyond the scope of this article). And, in general, seeing someone you side with ideologically attacked tends to make you feel something is wrong. The New Left also emphasizes “activism”, “education” and “raising awareness” as a sort of holy trinity of political activities, all of which manifest as being on a hair trigger to intervene when they perceive something is wrong. Consequently large, ideologically uniform groups can be invoked with virtually no effort, and with much less internal dissention and discussion than would happen if conservatives were to try the same thing. As Nick Sandmann can attest, it also has far more serious results than a simple internet pile-on. It can result in a permanently destroyed reputation, end professional careers if the person is a big enough lightning rod, and get them death-threats (including from enemy-of-the-people journalists!). If you destroy the life of your opponent, you “win”. 3- Doxxing, where one involves the entire internet in your argument, but this time instead of asking for direct help, you’re putting out a casting call specifically for the few unstable, dangerous, and similarly aligned nutballs who will attack your opponent in person for disagreeing with you. As far as I’m concerned legal accuracy would dictate that doxxing carry a penalty on par with attempted murder, and be counted as accessory to assault or manslaughter if it results in harm or death. It’s fairly obvious why this is effective at protecting a Leftist from serious argument—their opponent is fearing for their life and their family. If your opponent cannot argue anymore because they are busy hiring a private security firm or moving, you “win”. If your opponent actually ends up dead, maimed, or permanently scarred, you “win”. All told, three ways to “win” an argument on the personal level by forcing your opponent to withdraw from the argument, and none of them required a functional or even an existing counter-argument to execute.

Initially I was going to gloss over the city level. While the domineering attitude of the Left is on display in numerous states, over-riding the opinions of various cities to some extent (In California, for example), it’s hard to demonstrate when it is an escalation from the city level. The reasons are twofold. First, in my experience at least, most cities have some level of political self-segregation and are usually a stronghold for one side or the other, most commonly the Left. While I have seen occasional contentious issues in cities I’ve lived in, they’ve been much less frequent and less reliably divided on party lines than national or state issues. Secondly, the logistics of appealing things from the city to the state level inherently mask the activity. If you’re a Leftist mayor who wants to supersede a local discussion by addressing it at the state level—the city equivalent of running to Mommy— you need a Leftist governor and/or legislature to be able to have a place to kick things up to. Conservative legislatures aren’t usually big enough patsies to help you. Moreover, any arguable advantages of having the battle anyway simply to have the advantage of the talking point—an approach sometimes employed at the national level—are neutered in direct proportion to how local the issue truly is (though there are exceptions, as I’ll mention). To whit, often nobody else cares. But let’s say for the sake of argument that the state government does intervene, only we in this example are not experts on the local politics of the state and are watching from the outside. In that case, it may well be that a Leftist governor or legislature would act in a similar manner regardless of whether someone appealed to them from a city, or whether they took notice of the issue themselves. Indeed, even the people who were part of the initial argument may not know, since it’s hard to tell the difference between certain local issues that expand and state-level issues that are argued within cities of that state. Thus it’s broadly hard to differentiate the escalation of city-level politics from primary leftist policy-making at the state level. And even when general expansion of the issue—in a direct appeal to the crowd— is tenable, it’s not usually very helpful. For an example, take New York’s soda ban as an example of how that goes. Sure, initially the press did pick up and amplify this issue to the masses as a (primarily in the role of “educating” on the subject), and as a result, people who aren’t from the city did have one-on-one political arguments, in and out of New York state, about another city’s policies. But as they aren’t personally effected by the outcome those are simply personal political arguments, and likely be resolved by the methods laid out above.

One thing deserves dishonorable mention before I move on, and has been brought to my attention by Sarah. This is more a case of bypassing the people of the state entirely in something that concerns them. There wasn’t even a discussion that this was an escalation from, except possibly exclusively by swamp-things on the far Left. Governor Jared Polis, without bothering to consult the people of Colorado first, signed a national popular vote compact which will give Colorado’s votes to the winner of the national popular vote if states with a total of 270 electoral votes join it. Because he is, and let me try to be diplomatic here, a craven self-styled-aristocratic coward who is just so very committed to the Democratic principles that I remind you his party is actually named after, that he couldn’t even be bothered to actually allow Coloradans a democratic vote on whether they wanted to sign an accord that may lead to their disenfranchisement, is why. I understand Coloradans are now having to petition for the opportunity to fix this. Most of the tactics I describe here are for the plebeians who actually wait for an argument to start before flagrantly abusing power to end it. As Mr. Polis would tell you— if he wasn’t busy screwing Colorado over— he is no plebian. Plebeians have consciences.

Moving to the subject of state-level escalation, the most obvious manifestation is something my previous readers will be well familiar with: debate of things that should be state level issues at a national level. I am referring here to winner-take-all policy battles over things like abortion, drug legislation, health care legislation, et cetera, noted by both sides for the fact that they are bitter and polarizing. Now, this abuse in particular has been happening for so long I think it’s invisible to the average person. I myself had always assumed up until now that its occurrence resulted from a very poor understanding of civics on the part of the left. I am forced to revise that opinion, as I believe I was mistaken. Under this framework it’s a strategic choice. It’s the execution of an escalate-to-the-crowd strategy, and both of the manifestations we are coming to be familiar with are played out as a result of it.

On the one hand is a state level issue being raised to the level of a national issue and resulting in a successfully passed bill in the federal government. As the federal government then imposes it on the states one level of power down, this is a particularly in-your-face example of the run-to-Mommy variant of escalating-to-the-crowd. And while the power of the passed bill itself is obvious, it should be noted that even the drafting of a bill has benefits, and better still, is easier for Democrats.

This is another example of a unique synergy between Leftist ideology and this strategy. Leftists, being much, much more comfortable with violating the structure of the Republic to draft wholly inappropriate bills that commission centralized plans, also gain the advantage that national bills function very differently from state bills. People elected to be state representatives can actually largely free themselves from representing the interests of their states and focus on the interests of the party generally by doing so. This is because in national-level bills, and this is specifically true of those inappropriately drafted to interfere with the affairs of states for no compelling constitutional reason, it is assumed that the bill is a compromise between the state any one person lives in and the other forty-nine states. Any given representative has an airtight alibi for supporting such bills unless the violations of the state’s interests are truly egregious. Of course, such bills are reliably non-functional, the complexity of handling the special cases for each state being well beyond the practical abilities of any bill drafter whether they admit it or not. But interestingly, that sheer complexity hints at the other political advantage of drafting national bills for state issues—opacity. Even if the bills are single issue bills, once all the complexities have been grappled with, or an attempt has been made to do so at any rate, they have sprawled into dense, impenetrable monsters full of legalese. And this is not only necessary, it is expected. Nobody reasonably thinks that an omnibus bill could be written in a way that’s readable. In fact, to the extent that length and technicality will be equated with thoroughness in approaching the issue, transparency, clarity, or brevity would likely be regarded as naiveté or incompetence by the electorate. The result is bills that virtually nobody, including the congressmen whose job it is to do so, has the time or inclination to actually read it—and voters themselves enforce this. So, instead, drafters provide their heavily politically biased summary of what the bill does, uninformed by important issues like potential unintended consequences or sheer feasibility. Moreover, your opponent will have a difficult time refuting it. Even if we posit that he is an absolute savant, and can deconstruct and point out all the logical flaws in your bill in a reasonable period of time, it is likely that he, and he alone, will have the patience or attention span to understand it. Complex bills require complex debunking. The odds are, the electorate will not listen to it. Your summary, therefore, will be the only functional explanation of the bill on the field, and that puts your opponent in the uncomfortable position not of opposing your bill, but of opposing – in effect— your canned, slanted summary of the bill. The result, if you have any ability at writing canned summaries, is that he will look like the devil incarnate. These things both work to the advantage of people drafting these omnibus bills.

But suppose optimistically that the issue in question is so egregious that you will never get a bill passed on it. What has a state representative gotten by taking what was supposed to be a dialogue between him and his constituents, and expanding it out to the crowd of all the other representatives in congress? The answer is, they get an irresolvable argument. What benefit does that have? Well, we highlighted some of the most prominent in the introduction. He functionally can no longer lose. But additionally, it allows the politician in question to be constantly fighting against Republicans, and during this fight they get to pretend that the issue is the bill itself rather than the fact they’re trying to pass it in an inappropriate context. Republicans are famously bad at countering this gambit without sounding evasive. These bills are especially useful in draft form, because it means in addition to the traditional merits of an omnibus bill, any provisions that Republicans manage to gain traction on “could be changed, if only Republicans would just compromise”. Lost entirely in the discussion is the fact that the omnibus bill shouldn’t be considered at all. If you get lucky you might actually wheedle the Republicans into being stupid enough to take you up on it helping change it. Better yet, they might draft their own competing legislation. Either way, the perversion of the power structure in the United States is codified by mutual agreement, but in the latter case, they’ll also take the blame if the inevitably non-functional omnibus bill passes. And if they stand firm, you have solid evidence Republicans are not just heartless monsters, they are stubborn heartless monsters.

You might look at this and say—”but surely, if they can pass it at home, they should just do that”. The argument has benefits, but not ones that outweigh passed legislation (to the extent they consider the legislation intrinsically desirable). And you are correct—if they can pass it at home. But all that really says is, if there is no argument there’s no reason to escalate. Consider more contentious situations— this strategy is particularly good for bills that might be unpopular if passed just within the state. Omnibus bills are, in a sense, nothing personal. Also, as with large internet arguments, it’s harder to lose an issue in a serious way in congress. Sure, you can lose repeatedly. If you lose very publically you might even start having to put the things you want as part of the pork on other bills, or focus on other things for a decade or so. But even that might not be necessary. So your personal bill went down—there are lots of other people who could introduce a similar one in a few news cycles. If anyone catches onto the similarity, you can always say “at least we’re doing something”. Nobody needs to know it’s something you should never have been doing at all. There are a few times Republicans have managed to roll back sweeping legislation supported by the Democrats—prohibition, slavery— but those are landmark moments in a sea of statutes. For comparison, look how fast we went from the failure of Hillarycare, to a fully armed and operational Obamacare. As for your constituents, you don’t need to do anything to your home district except wait for them to stop paying attention. No costly campaigns, just patience.

And what about national level disputes? Well, if this wasn’t already clear from the open borders zeitgeist of the New Left, and from the fact that the nascent one-world-government types in the EU would rather see Britain destroyed than let it govern itself again, even at the national level, Leftists reflexively find a larger entity or party to try to bully the nation with. These strategies are perhaps the most sickening. It’s transparently obvious at this point that the Democrats oppose border control out of an entirely personal interest in importing voters from outside the country. There’s no coherent way to sell it as good for the national interest given the harm unchecked immigration has done abroad and is doing here. You could think of this as appealing to the undifferentiated crowd abroad—it is harder for Germany, England, or US to put up an argument on issues regarding their sovereignty or national identity while being overrun by “migrants” who are fleeing poverty first and foremost. Grinding and horrible as that poverty surely is, the dysfunctional cultures these people live in, perpetuate, and now try to propagate, are its source and sustenance— not some vague theory of colonial exploitation or inappropriate intervention.

As for the EU, I suspect no institution has ever earned the title of “globalist” more transparently than them. I add further that Britain’s Remainers have shamed themselves and their forebearers deeply by quietly acquiescing to be bullied by them. Given how little they care for their nation’s sovereignty, I can’t understand why they even bother calling themselves Brits, frankly. They see themselves as citizens of Europe, they should at least be honest and say so. While I would hesitate to refer to the EU as a tool of a strategy— since at this point it’s acting more like an empire than a trade union— Remainers are still using it as one. They are leveraging the fact that the rest of Europe has been swallowed by globalist progressivism to try to force that ideology—which they themselves agree with—on their fellow countrymen, rather than have an honest debate with them over it. It is just another variant of Run to Mommy, by people who are, by any reasonable definition, traitors, and traitors for the same reason traitors have always been traitors—because it was, in their minds, in their country’s ultimate interest to be sold out.

Okay. So that’s what the Democrats and their Leftist compatriots abroad are up to. But what are we on the Right up to? How have we been beating them and how will we keep beating them?

Well, there are two major weaknesses in the endemic Democratic strategy. The most obvious one is that it is socially repressive, which naturally leads to a backlash. And if that backlash is not allowed publically, it will happen privately, in the form of preference falsification. That is, people will keep saying they agree with you, but will start to vote differently. That’s a familiar theory, but it has a critical flaw that I’ve been stuck on for a while. I’ve always been a bit hazy for me is why people would suddenly, en masse, begin to lie to anonymous pollsters, as their main form of protest. Sure, I personally do, because I want to throw off their poll numbers and every little bit helps. But this societal shift was comparatively fast. And for most large group analysis, if your explanation even involves the words “suddenly, en masse”, you need a solid explanation to back it up.

The 2016 elections in the US were not enough to convince me preference falsification was happening at appreciable rates. There were far too many variables in play, but most prominently, overall vote turnout was low and the Democrats spent most of the year presenting Hillary as inevitable. That seemed a reasonable enough explanation to serve as Occam’s Razor. For this reason, I still didn’t quite believe it was a prominent social phenomenon until Australia happened. But Australia is harder for me to explain away, because they have mandatory voting. For the polls to be significantly wrong in a society where there is enforced voting, either A) the pollsters have to be incompetent or B) they have to be intentionally doing push-polling, or C) people have to be providing them inaccurate information. I have no reason to believe the competence of pollsters has decreased significantly and suddenly, nor have I seen anything to suggest they’ve changed their methodology much. That leaves preference falsification. I think that lends the theory some of its more solid recent evidence. And, yes, you can still say that Australia is a different country, and caution against equating our politics too closely, and fair enough, but the resonance with 2016 is hard to ignore. Call it, if you want to be completely fair, merely the best evidence we have.

(I’m not as moved by the EU elections, since you ask. I’m most familiar with England, and while from closely following I know that the BREXIT party overall mildly outperformed expectations by a seat or two, leading up to the elections it was little in doubt that BREXIT would do very well. I’m less familiar with how poorly predicted other EU elections that went to nationalist parties were, in part because I haven’t had much time or inclination to review foreign language press for these countries. I welcome comment on it.)

So if we take the theory seriously, how large a portion of the population do we have to assume is engaging in this behavior? Well, the election results were “merely” flipped from what pollsters expected—that is, the Liberal party took 51%, Labor took 49%. That is a huge difference statistically, but it isn’t a landslide victory. That might be a clue. It doesn’t take a large number of people lying to pollsters to cause this change, just a large enough number to throw off statistics in a big way. A simplistic way to look at it (and not entirely accurate, but good enough for the general point), is that out of the full 100% of voters, only about 2%, or 1/50 people have to lie to pollsters for that to make a change. Already, that’s a lot more plausible. In most contexts, if only 1/50 people do something, that makes them outliers.

Outliers, but outliers in significant quantities. Why would 1/50 people, relatively suddenly, change their behavior in this way? Well, go back and look at the tactics the Left uses, and in particular, note which ones are relatively new. While I think that the Left’s escalate-to-the-crowd strategy is very old, so old it’s part of their political DNA in a fundamental way, it wasn’t until recently that rank-and-file party members had the power to use it on an interpersonal basis so easily. Something all three of the dishonest ways to “win” an argument have in common is that social media was to their execution what railroads were to cross-continental logistics.

The suddenness could very well be accounted for by that. The speed of the two social movements mirror each other relatively well. I propose that average Democrats brought the party’s repressive tendencies down to the level of the personal. When individual consequences for thinking the wrong thing become dramatically more widespread, it makes perfect sense that individuals become much more paranoid about revealing their true beliefs, while simultaneously being presented with some very good, in-your-face reasons to change your beliefs if you’d previously aligned with the current witch-hunters. From that perspective it’s startling that it’s only 1/50.

The unilaterality of the shift is probably because the use of these tactics overwhelmingly favors one side, so the backlash cleanly favors the other. It’s enough to make me suspect that it’s one of the fundamental party divides, because beyond mere pile-ons, it doesn’t seem to me that Republicans responded in a similar way to the potential malignant power of social media. That of know of, we have no Covington-like victims of our own. AOC cosplayed as a ragemob victim over an old dance video to the absolutely uniform confusion and utterly nonexistent outrage of any conservatives I know or follow. I know of no doxxings, which actually surprises me because I expected the first one from the Democrats to absolutely open the floodgates. We certainly haven’t managed to get anyone banned from anything, not that we realistically could. I suspect part of why the response is so different is that Democrats re-adapted a pattern they were used to using for thinking about politics, but had only just been freed to apply in their own lives in a noticeable way—the same pattern we have just analyzed in depth. I genuinely don’t think the vast majority of conservatives had a similar thought pattern in their brain predisposing them to force people to comply— the thought of which makes me a bit proud of my own side. (Still unexplored but implied in that idea—I wonder what these people are like in offices. If a person complains to your boss or spreads rumors about you over a personal argument, rather than confront you about it, are those people more likely to be Leftist? My partisan heart says yes, but I doubt anyone would have the chutzpa to actually have done a large formal study of it.)

That, at last, is what lead me to the title of the post. “We” and “Us” are both ways of referring to a group that you are part of. The difference is, “We” is a subject. “Us” is an object. “We” act, and they act upon “Us”. It seems to me that we, conservatives, act directly and as our own agents, even when we act as groups. Leftists by predisposition seek an “Us” to act as their agent and on their behalf. They hide behind a mob, a legislature, or a multinational committee that they invoke. They can’t simply face you on your own level. If we on the right speak up, it is not we, but a huge, faceless “us” on the Left who will be called in to silence you; if we in the US protect our national interest it is an us in the UN who will be invoked to denounce you; if a we in Britain stands up for the country’s sovereign rights it is an us in the EU that is conjured to put them in your place—everywhere and always, there is a mob called up at the behest of the person who rightfully should have the argument, a group that they use to bully and dominate, seemingly at every level and in every place. Moreso as the years roll by.

Now, I do not think this is the be-all and end-all, just a critical differentiating factor between the sides. For example, I would say that while the above might be helping the Right fox the Left in the polls—which in turn helps make it difficult for the Left to allocate their campaign resources (and cheating) correctly—I think that the real staying power of the Right is in the Left’s destruction of its own credibility. Because sure, people on both sides can be wrong, but the Left has a lot more to lose as the dominant force in the news media. And thanks to a toxic mixture of rampant, unacknowledged bias, nonexistent journalistic ethics, and huge bets on stupid stories, they’re doing exactly that. A friend joked to me that for many people the Game of Thrones finale was the second most disappointing finale to a long-running series this year—the most disappointing finale was to the Meuller investigation (I have to disagree, I found it highly entertaining). Good on AG Barr for standing firm even as Meuller tries to convince people that he totally would have made a call on obstruction but those darned rules prevented it—and all the best as he tries to keep Mueller from getting the spin-off show the Democrats desperately want. At all events, there is something much, much more serious under the surface there.

I mentioned the Left had two critical weaknesses from this strategy. What’s the other? Well, something you’ll have noticed, and that I have highlighted about this strategy, is that in it’s general form (ignoring morals, and when not exercised at levels that depend on a centralized view of government), it does not immediately require a particular ideology. It certainly does not require any particular skill at argumentation. And this is because this is a system evolved, like the shell on a sea-creature, to insulate the user. And with good reason. I suppose I’ve always realized how fragile the Leftist viewpoint is, but the degree and thoroughness (down to rank and file members) with which they have adapted and adopted a strategy designed, at its core, to “win” without actually engaging in an argument reinforces the fragility of the Democratic party in a way I don’t think I’ve ever fully appreciated. Moreover it’s immediately obvious that this is a feed-forward system—the more effectively Democrats insulate themselves, the weaker and the worse for wear they become when the insulation cracks.

Years ago—and I won’t get the quote exactly right—I watched a video by a commentator, I think it was Bill Whittle, where the commentator said of speaking on college campuses that it didn’t actually take much to change the minds of college students. He went on to say it was like taking a candle into a pitch black auditorium—certainly, a light may be tiny, but it can light some of the darkness, whereas there will never be so much darkness that the light will fail to shine.

Here’s why I make that little digression. Fundamentally, it strikes me that the Democrats are working frantically to protect themselves from even the smallest amount of real knowledge. If an animal has evolved a thick shell, I have a good idea what happens to it in its environment without one. If a party has evolved to carefully block all aspects of non-approved reality, it gives me a pretty good idea what even a small amount of real knowledge can do to their ideological integrity, if you can slip it past their defenses. Moreover, the strategy is dependent on an iron grip on the institutions. They need to have a mommy to run to. They need a media, and friendly social media platforms, to use as a megaphone to the masses. Take that away from them and—as long as you can keep their mobs out of your hair— they’re just scared, ignorant children, crying because they’ve run out of ways to bully you.

So don’t give up. They’re not an impregnable juggernaut. They’re a kraken made of glass—dangerous to anyone who gets in their jaws, seemingly harbingers of the apocalypse, even— but fragile, ripe to be torn apart by the mechanics of the sandpile. The moment even a little bit of reality seeps in, a crack forms in that shell, and once it’s lost its integrity, it’s all downhill for it. So keep lying to them. Keep making them miss their estimates and projections. More importantly, stay out of the way of their jaws. Your opposition is needed too much. We need you, to help us slowly lop off the tentacles they use to bully and force those around them into compliance. Cut them down until they are once again just a we, with no “us” to hide behind, standing face to face with the Right.

And on a level playing field, we will win, and they will lose, for one simple reason— we who have faced the world as just ourselves know that it takes quite a lot of practice.

135 thoughts on “We, Not Us by Bill Reader

  1. It rather depends on how you define “solving” a problem, doesn’t it?

    After all, Genghis Khan, Attila, Stalin and Mao all had many problems which they solved but I doubt they understood any of them especially well.

  2. This is a really important piece. I want to share it with all my friends. I can’t, because it’s too long by more than half. Please edit, and resubmit. 🙂

    1. I’m loathe to jump in here, but I have to agree. Some good, thought-provoking stuff, but in serious need of editing.

      1. I think you could edit it down tightly to the final conclusion.

        I think the early questions are also valuable. The conclusion is just one of several answers that can be developed to those questions, and long term we will want to work on more conclusions.

            1. Happily for some of us, PayPal retains prior payments and offers an opportunity to hit the tip jar even though it is AWOL.

        1. I wonder if I have any time to spare?

          Yes, I know, I don’t have the editing skills yet, but it might be a safe way to learn some more.

  3. I’m a big believer in the idea that a problem can’t be solved if you don’t properly understand it.

    As an example of this, in recent years, I have come to the conclusion that the problem in politics is not the people in office. At most, the people in office are a symptom of the problem. They do the things they do because those are the things that are politically profitable for them to do.

    The problem is those who put them into office. Only by changing the attitudes of the people so that other things are politically profitable for people to do in office, then the people in office (whether the same people or new ones) will do those different things.

  4. Re: digression, fragility to information. Yes. Informationally, hot house flowers that do not long survive transplantation to the real world.

    Concur that we appear to be in a new period of political dynamics, which we mostly do not understand very well yet.

  5. One item possibly worth noting –

    Recently, it appears that some on the right in “burrow down and hope the Progs don’t notice me and get me fired” territory have adapted to waiting until the Progs institute their rules, and then using the rules to go after the Progs. For instance, there have apparently been complaints by some of the more strident types at Google that the rules they instituted to go after the conservatives – rules about things like gender, etc… – have been co-opted to go after the (completely hypocritical) individuals who instituted those rules in the first place.

    1. To add to that strategy, some on the right have also burrowed in and waited for the Progs to go after each other using their own rules. Recent example would be the sensitivity reader debacles in “young adult” fiction.

    2. The Right believes in Equality under the Law and that Rules Apply To Everybody. The Left believes rules are for management of the benighted and do not apply to the anointed. They thus enact regulations to different purposes.

  6. Regarding the unreliability of polls recently: IMHO it’s mostly because pollsters have been too slow to adapt to a changing political AND tech landscape. On the tech side, I think increased cell use has diminished their ability to keep track of demographics, so their numbers aren’t as accurate as they used to be. Their big problem here is that I don’t think they realize how far off their assumptions are. I think people are wary of answering polls because they are aware that a lot of so-called “polls” are usually either pleas for money or political ads delivered to your phone. This makes pollsters rely more heavily on their inaccurate demographic assumptions. The last thing that makes them inaccurate is who pays them. Their big customers are news agencies and political parties. The majority of their customers lean left, so that’s who pollsters will try to please. It seems like they would be better served by trying to be accurate instead, but the evidence suggests that that’s not true.

    Now, unrelated to polls, I think rank-and-file conservatives have given up debating Leftists because their behavior lately shows they’re immune to argument, so what’s the point? If merely stating an opinion different from whatever the Left says — criticality, even if the Leftist’s opinion is obviously extreme — gets you branded a ___ist unworthy of debate or even life, then there’s truly no reason to talk to them. I think even GOP politicians are noticing their constituents’ attitudes and are beginning to act accordingly.

    1. I forgot to mention the customers of pollsters in my response below. Where the money comes from is a factor. While I think some might be motivated to please their customers, I’m not convinced all of them do. Just one example I think was the LA Times being the only major outlet to publish a poll predicting a Trump win in 2016.

      Sometimes I think it’s just the phone numbers they pay for. Sometimes you might get a bad batch, but often it’s just the sample skews for one (or maybe two) reasons. I do think that sometimes one of those reasons might be nefarious, but that’s hard to prove.

      I have a buddy who runs the polling lab at a Florida University and he’s basically been having an existential crisis since Trump was elected. His whole department set their hair on fire because…well, Trump, and even though I think he tends to bandwagon there, I think his main cause for anxiety is the knowledge that his bread and butter is getting a bit stale.

    2. I used to welcome pollsters’ calls and do my best to accurately answer even when I perceived the question had a fundamentally flawed premise. A few years ago I and Beloved Spouse reached the conclusion that polling calls were an intrusion which did not deserve our time or attention. We will occasionally politely decline to participate but more commonly we simply hang-up the phone.

    3. The other thing that (I hope) people have started to realize about polls: they are NOT anonymous, no matter what they claim.

      Pollsters have to keep track of the numbers they dial, if for no other reason than to keep from calling the same numbers back. The last 2-4 years should have given us all lots of examples of how even companies that swear they aren’t keeping track of your personal information lie about it, and will sell that information to anyone who will pay for it. That doesn’t even count the ones who get “hacked”.

      When someone is asking you questions that might get you assaulted in the street, would you answer them honestly?

  7. Having done some participated in and formally studied polling in recent years, there might be some other – but closely related variables – in play here.

    First is that the “lying to pollsters” phenomenon is not always necessarily an intentional lie. It falls within “Social desirability” in polling/sociology parlance and it can be really hard to measure. Consider that most polls are conducted by phone. The respondent knows you have their personal information, so they’re more concerned to some degree with how they’ll be perceived. Here’s where culture and the media come into play and we all know their messaging. Given that their messaging monolithically went batshittier in a shockingly short amount of time, I think that ties into your thesis here. People are just far more reluctant to be perceived by anyone – including a pollster – as a something-ist whatever-phobe today than ever before.

    Second, is though methodology hasn’t changed, the methodology has some serious flaws that aren’t helped by technology. Random sampling is by far the superior method of polling, but it’s usually conducted by phone. It’s heavily biased toward land lines, which in turn skews the sample. It’s also heavily biased toward voter registration rolls, which also skews the sample by excluding first time voters due to age or relocation. That’s one of the big factors in Obama’s – he energized people who don’t normally vote and thus weren’t as accessible to pollsters as the usual crowd.

    As you state, it doesn’t take much to swing things. Since turnout is so damn low in the US, the real key is energizing a group to turnout that normally doesn’t. The Left excels at identifying various groups to target for this, but it didn’t work in 2016 with Hillary and Women like it did 2008 with Obama and race, so their usual strategy didn’t work.

    It’s not going to work in 2020 either if the economy and employment numbers hold. Because that plays to the Right’s strength – when individuals start to see their own prospects improve, groups take a back seat.

    Interesting piece.

    1. Yikes, editing error. Strike “done some” in the opening.

      I blame my cat.

    2. There’s also the statistical modeling underneath the polling.

      Most or all of these polls seem to use a parametric model. A parametric model takes a sample from a population, calculates a statistic from that sample, and estimates a parameter of the population from that statistic. If certain mathematical criteria can be shown to exist, you can validly predict that your estimate has a certain percent chance of being correct.

      But a) I’ve found a business statistics user that was not even aware of circumstances where the Gaussian distribution is not valid, so I infer likewise elsewhere in statistical practice b) humans are really difficult to measure.

      This lying-to-pollsters variable has for the past three years been one of the candidates for reasons why shifts in the populations could have changed in ways that make the previous distribution assumptions less valid.

      1. Consider, additionally, the structural flaws beneath most polling models.

        Most obvious is that they typically conduct national polls when the presidential race is not a national race, it is fifty state races. Polling on Senate and House elections suffers this flaw even more egregiously.

        This also affects turn-out; I’ve a brother who lives in Blue New York, one in Blue Massachusetts, while I reside in Purple North Carolina. As one brother acknowledged during a political discussion a few years back, my vote had more meaning than his because his state was so surely going Blue that his vote was unlikely to have much effect. See also: AOC’s “rotten borough” situation.

        Then there is the ambiguous question conundrum. Two diametrically opposed ideologues might reasonably answer affirmatively to the question, “Do you think the country is headed in the wrong direction?” That the one ideologue thinks we are going Socialist far too slowly (and may even be regressing slightly) while the other thinks the Socialist mildew is rotting society far too aggressively is not captured in their answer to such a question.

        1. “Most obvious is that they typically conduct national polls when the presidential race is not a national race, it is fifty state races. “

          The importance of this flaw can’t be overstated. It’s prevalence among people who should know better is an indictment against the so-called elites.

          It’s how you get the inevitable and totally super duper qualified, brilliant, and experienced Hillary Clinton campaigning, campaigning in California, losing to the “idiot who can’t run a business”, who – for some completely inscrutable and unknowable reason – took the time to go to places like Michigan and Wisconsin.

        2. It would be amusing if their decision to tie various states to the national popular vote causes all the conservatives who don’t bother voting in NY and CA to come out and flip the states. I know it’s unlikely, right? But wouldn’t it be GLORIOUS?

          1. I know right!!! Popcorn time.

            I pointed that out to a signature gatherer on this very issue (at least Oregon gets to vote on it, if it makes the ballot with enough signatures.) Then followed up with “I personally am not stupid. Hell no I’m not signing.” Wasn’t the only one either. Of coarse they did hit senor citizen discount day at FM … so, yea, stupidity in full play.

            Sure, Oregon is likely to go blue, nullifying my vote. President Trump still won … I will never forget that morning (1 AM PST), gotten up to let dog out, so turned on the news. “OMG! He won. OMG, OMG, OMG!” Dancing, well okay, jumping up and down, might have been involved too.

            Polling. Another problem, at least prior to voting days, the polls are national, with CA, NY, etc., swaying the narrative. Even on exit polls, there were places where people answered the exit polls the way they expected the polestars present wanted, then immediately posted anonymously, gleefully, how they lied to the pollsters …

        3. One thing I do miss from voting in Massachusetts was being able to vote, according to my conscience, for a more libertarian candidate, as Himself returned wouldn’t win a race up there for dog catcher with an (R) next to his name.

      2. I’d venture to say that they all use the same statistical modeling, more or less. Because it’s easy, especially now with software. You just plug in the numbers, and you’re done. It’s cheap. When the status quo regarding the electorate is relatively stable, it’s a useful method. In the midst of a political realignment, or significant social upheaval… not so much. And I’d say we’re in the middle of both.

        That’s why your b) above is the heart of it. Social scientists are the worst at trying to find simple and elegant solutions to the ugly complexity of human behavior. And then they’re shocked, shocked when their predictions and explanations fail.

        Reminds me of the state of climate science.

      3. As a quality/process engineer, I live and die with stats. From a political viewpoint, the population distribution is NOTHING like Gaussian.

  8. I don’t know about this round, but I know plenty of people who lied whenever they got a Clinton v Trump poll. In almost every single instance, it was one of two reasons:

    1) Didn’t want to give the bastards a projection for how hard they had to cheat.

    2) Were worried that the “poll” was really a predecessor to a physical attack.

    Not sure how realistic #2 really was, but I will say because of my neighborhood, you couldn’t have paid me to put a Trump sign in my yard. Would violence have resulted? I don’t know, but it seemed enough of a possibility that it wasn’t worth the risk.

    1. Yeah – I saw zero Trump signs in Silicon Valley in 2016, yet the powers that be grudgingly reported counting 144,514 votes in Santa Clara County for The Donald, in spite of the campaign spending zero money in California as a whole.

      By comparison the vote total for The Dowager Empress was 510,396. I recall a few of her signs and bumper stickers, but mostly I recall seeing Bernie stuff.

      1. After 2008 I noticed an interesting thing in Arizona. Previously, bumper stickers were a thing there. Most people had something on there, a joke, a product, a company, a Darwin fish, some kind of tribal self-identification.

        Post 2008, all the bumper stickers disappeared except the hard-core Liberal ones. You could still find “COEXIST” stickers and Obama ones occasionally, but all the gun stickers, rude jokes, all that stuff went away.

        I suspect a rash of car-keying by Lefties. No proof, just a suspicion.

        1. Agreed – bumper stickers are an excellent metric of how free we feel to express opinions and how much we desire Social Affirmation of those opinions. I found a similar vector at work when I realized that the reason vehicles bore “all electric” or “hybrid engine” nameplates was the social messaging function, not because there was any need to inform other drivers of your engine’s operation. (“Ooh, look! That car has an all electric drive train! Don’t sit behind him at the light, he’ll take forever accelerating from the stop.” is not the conversation they expect to be occurring)

        2. Yes, I’ve also noticed a major dropoff in bumper stickers, at least for those in the to-the-right-of-Lenin category. We’re a deeply red county, and you see some conservative stickers, but if one ventures west of the Cascades, such sentiments can lead to serious damage. I recall one vehicle burnt to a crisp (Portland, if memory serves) because of a Trump sticker.

          FWIW, 95% of the time when you see a car covered in stickers, whether Red or Blue county, it’s to the left of Lenin.

          From the 1972 season, a co-worker when I was interning at Motorola:
          1) George McGovern for President
          2) Will Success Spoil Richard Nixon?
          3) Cthulu Saves!

          The closest I’ve seen to whimsical was on a car with wall-o-stickers, including: “This car is my Horcrux”. Enough other stickers made me want to carry a large caliber pistol if I met the owner…

          1. I used to have a bumper sticker on the back of my truck that read “North Alabama Cat Hockey Association.” Buddy had a bunch printed up as a joke and handed them out to all his guy friends. Pure joke, mostly a dig at his wife who was a committed cat person while he preferred dogs.
            Got any number of strange stares, a few comments at gas stations, and one physical attack by a rabid PETA lady. Had to be restrained by her friend who luckily knew me and knew it had to be a joke.

            1. I used to always have a “Criminals Prefer Unarmed Victims” bumper sticker, and a Marine emblem sticker on any car that I owned. I stopped doing that with my latest car, and I’m really annoyed with myself for choosing safety over expression. Sigh… guess that comes with getting older.

              1. I don’t view such as valuing safety over expression so much as eschewing casting pearls before swine.

                Besides, insisting preaching one’s moral superiority is a Leftish thing. If you are too oblivious to recognize my moral superiority without it being rubbed in your face, the heck with you.

          2. Cats need exercise. Let them play hockey if they want. Don’t try to put pads and helmets on them though. If you do try you will end up bleeding.

            1. Good grief, yes! It’s difficult enough getting their tiny skates on them!

              Sigh, I so wanted to post a picture of a cat in goalie’s gear last night but disdained the probability of any search for such imagery being successful.

        3. Back in 2008, I created a Saracuda sign and posted it in the back window of my big black van. I never had any issues from that, even when parked on the streets of Ann Arbor. My current car is a little Volvo C30, and all I have on it are some Pokemon signs. Most folks favorite is the one with a pokeball saying “Caution, I make frequent stops.” I don’t want my poor little car to be damaged by some idiot Leftist, if I identify it as belonging to a conservative.

  9. On national issues Bill didn’t mention the “Hawaiian Judge” option, where one scares up a sympathetic low level Federal judge to issue a nationwide injunction. This is a classic example of his “find a higher authority”, albeit a clear and flagrantly abusive overreach of the way the system is supposed to work.
    I mention this really only in passing, as the recent abuse of this practice will likely (hopefully) result in it being stomped out by the rest of the Federal judgeship, if only to keep the political branches from stomping the practice harder and deeper.

  10. Polling errors have existed concerning gun control for decades.

    Possibly because a certain amount of reluctance on the part of people to answer on the phone from a complete stranger about gun ownership and the like.

    1. Telephone surveys and gun control have a long history going back to the 1970s. I’ve read most of the studies done before about 2010, after that I stopped because they were repeating themselves.

      Traditional telephone surveys have two main biases. First, and probably largest, they only sample people who are at home to answer the phone. Second, they only sample those willing to be sampled. The unwilling either don’t answer the phone, or they hang up. When they find out the subject is firearms, even more people hang up.

      Which means that telephone surveys produce a reliable skew in one direction. That’s why gun control “researchers” rely on them.

      1. ALL polls have a reliable skew to them.
        Organizations don’t commission polls to map opinions, they commission polls to *move* opinion.

        You’ve watched the news, do you really think they’re not pushing an agenda when they commission a poll?
        Are politicians really interested in what their constituents think about funding stadium construction?
        Is Zogby interested in reporting that most of the country is significantly more sympathetic to the Israelis than the palestinian arabs?
        List continues…

        There’s a whole science to selecting a “random sample” that will return the results the employer is paying you for.
        Likewise, there’s a science to select which survey takers should approach which demographics.
        Slanting the questions on top of that is common, ham-handed, and mostly used to try and create a truly lopsided or counterintuitive result

      2. Yep, the gun control crowd was right proud of their survey that “proved” gun ownership was decreasing in spite of the steady rise in the number of background checks. Had to just be a few rabid gun nuts building arsenals of guns don’t you know.
        Saner heads eventually pointed out that remarkably few gun owners would admit to such to an anonymous voice over the phone or a stranger at their door with a clip board.
        Personally, I refuse to answer any personal questions regarding my finances, politics, or property unless I know the questioner and the organization they represent. Even then mostly a polite no, not interested. Don’t know them I’m much less polite.

    2. When my grandmother was still alive, and still able to answer her phone, she got a LOT of polling calls. Imagine me cringing when I hear from the other room “Guns in the house? My Grandson has a few guns.”*

      Sadly she is no longer with us. When she was here, she didn’t understand why we would want to lie to the nice people on the phone. Sigh…

      * We didn’t tell her about that horrible canoeing accident, we didn’t want her to be upset. LOL!

      1. “I’m sorry, I don’t understand the question. ‘How many gubs do we have in the house?’ I don’t think we have any gubs.”

        1. “Oh, grubs! You mean the larvae we use to replace you humans and take over the world. Yeah, we just got in a new shipment – it’s right here in this Amazon box. I can show them to you if you want. Wait! Come back! Where are you running off to?”

        1. That’s silly! As if anyone takes more than a few dozen half of their guns in a canoe!

          It was different with me. I had all of my guns well-secured in a high quality gun safe in my log cabin when one day, totally outta the blue, this HUGE wolf came up and began pounding on my door, demanding to be let in! Of course there was no way I was complying with such a demand, and I told the wolf so in no uncertain terms. What do you think happened next but that he huffed and he puffed and he blew my house down!

          I ran like hell, of course, and barely escaped the beast, but every single one of my guns was lost in the fall.

          1. **giggle.**

            It was a bear with the help of Aliens at our campsite. Hauled off the trailer, with the guns secured in lock box … They went that away (points up North and up.)

            Hell, I could never tell a convincing tall tale.

    3. “Do I have a gun in the house? Nail gun, staple gun, hot glue gun, yes I do. Oh, /A/ firearm. No, I don’t have /A/ firearm in the house.”

      Perfectly honest and highly misleading answer.

  11. The polls failing to predict Conservative wins doesn’t require that people be lying to pollsters. They do lie, but that is controlled for in the analysis.

    What’s happened, or what has always been the case and we only recently noticed, is that there is a desired outcome. Pollsters favor DemocRats. They skew the sample and the questionnaire to get the result they want. The Australian election was 51/49 the “wrong” way, an easy miss for a skewed sample.

    This is an interesting essay, but you need to go through it with an axe. Pare it down to the bare essentials, present each idea as a thing in and of itself, and then expand on it with examples and proof.

    1. Seeing Sarah’s comment above, my suggestion is not a complaint about the quality of the post. Just an observation to keep in back of mind for next time.

        1. Heck. I’m not. Never have been. I’m retired so no career to ruin.

          Yet I am finding that on Facebook if it isn’t a closed group, my comments are self edited. Not always. But known to vent, then delete before posting.

          One of the reasons I love this forum. Sure, I think about what I am posting. Or try to. But I’m not self censoring.

          1. The fun thing is that there are some related concepts that my intuition has told me would be good to write up for the history journals. Not being read up on historical theory, should I get around to it I’m planning to hit up some people for advice on checking the historical literature.

            I’ve a historical theory that this could be explained as an instance of. I first came up with it as an alternative for the late bronze age collapse, and as a way of understanding the easter island thing. Basically, humans are difficult, human societies are difficult, so humans can only ever understand human societies imperfectly. Which means that wherever you go, you’ve got people using cults and magical thinking to understand human societies. So, some policy will be based on magical thinking.

            You only have potential for change when everyone is a true believer. But when you move from dominated by true believers to a mix of true believer and skeptic, you have a strong political possibility of political changes that could upend magical thinking beliefs of an aspect of the system being a constant. (Or, instead of no longer being a constant, no longer fitting a reduced order model that had previously held before the policy opinions were ruled by the cult.)

            Not something I would want to be doing with my welfare tied to the politics of a university.

            1. “So, some policy will be based on magical thinking.”

              Some will, for sure. More will be cynical manipulations made to appeal to magical thinking.

              Your theory is similar in its potential for REEEEEEE!!!!! to my own theory that some cultures are more efficient/productive than others, and you can measure the difference by objective means. Even mentioning the notion of measurement would get me kicked out of any current anthropology department, never mind efficiency and productivity. Suuuuper racist.

              You should publish under a pseudonym just for the fun of watching them reee.

  12. > … national popular vote compact

    Which disenfranchised the entire population of Colorado, among others.

    Since the electoral votes of those states have no bearing on how their populations voted, those electoral votes should be void, the way I see it.

    1. Except that, alas, the selection of electors of president are as determined by the legislature. The legislature could dictate that they be selected by lottery, if they wanted to, or that the legislature picks the electors themselves.

      1. I suspect a civil rights lawsuit will be in the cards if this comes to play. OTOH, whatever will the poor dears do if Trump wins the popular vote? [VBEG]

      2. Except that, alas, the selection of electors of president are as determined by the legislature. Once again- wrong. Used to be that way. I’m not going to quote the relevant section like I normally do. 14th Amendment Section 2 and 24th, section 1 quite clearly show that citizens have the RIGHT to vote for electors. Which makes the compact unconstitutional as it removes that right from the citizens of the state.

        Interestingly, the 23rd treats DC electors differently. DC is not a state, not covered by the 14th and 24th.

        1. In my opinion, it doesn’t clearly show that they possess that right, merely that if that right is granted to citizens of the state by the legislature that there is a penalty attached to restricting it on certain bases. Although I will grant that I can easily see how your argument could be made.

          I think there’s a better chance that the interstate compact without consent of Congress aspect could cause it to be ruled unconstitutional.

          1. Although, come to think of it, perhaps it would be better if they found the interstate compact constitutional, but subject to the penalty in the 14th Amendment, thus reducing states that put it into effect each to a single representative in the House, and thus a mere 3 electoral college votes.

          2. As in many of the ploys used by the Left, this has a Heads We Win/Tails You Lose element to it. For their scheme to be defeated requires somebody* to take it to court, at which point the Dems and their Renfields in the Gaslight Media will cry themselves wet over the affront to Democracy and denial of the one person, one vote” principle.

            They’ve set the stakes so that proponents of Constitutional Order pay a price whichever way this goes. Meanwhile, those lobbying for the plan are pulling down nice salaries and earning public recognition appearing on OpEd pages and on television panels murmuring about how the Electoral College is a fundamentally undemocratic** institution.

            *And we all know who it will have to be

            **Which it is, because the Founders, having seen the travails of Revolutionary France wanted a firebreak against mob rule.

            1. The US Constitution was written two years before, and ratified the year before, the French Revolution started.

      3. In 1963, the Supreme Court by an 8-1 vote invalidated the state constitutions of every state save one, when they issued the edict that state senates must be apportioned by population.
        This immediately and predictably allowed (Democratic/ Progressive) population centers to absolutely dominate their states.
        Earl Warren (of evil fame) lauded this decision as the one he was most proud of.
        Reynolds v. Sims is frequently lauded as the “best” SC decision of the last century by law schools across the land.

        I don’t know why the b*st*reds weren’t hung. We’d all be much better off if tree of liberty had been appropriately watered.

        But if you’re looking for the courts to overturn this egregious abuse, you’ll be looking an awful long time.
        Other means must be pursued. Use the first two boxes, and pray the third isn’t necessary.

        1. Use the first two boxes

          By all means this ought be a voting issue in the 2020 campaigns. Demand a commitment to American Democracy, as inherited from our Founders and make clear there will be a price paid by any candidate who doesn’t swear fealty to the Electoral College. State legislature candidates have to promise to oppose any bills attempting to enact such a pact and, if already in force, to repeal. Governor wanna-bees have to vow to not sign such a law or, in states which have already been betrayed by their governors, to support and sign any repeal.

          That won’t matter in deep Blue States, but then neither do the First and Second Amendments. This is a pact which only goes into effect with the willing obeisance of Red states.

        2. > I don’t know why the b*st*reds weren’t hung.

          Probably because the population-at-large never heard a word of it. The political class, sure. The lawyer class, mostly. Everyone else, dependent on the mass media, bupkis.

  13. … it seems inescapable that people are lying to pollsters to some degree, which I had previously discarded out of hand. But why? And why now?

    Perhaps The People no longer perceive pollsters (or journalists) as our agents for communicating our wants to our government so much as (like tax collectors of old) agents acting on behalf of our oppressors?

  14. I think that Leftists tend to defer to groups, and operate by preference in groups …

    I can think of several reasons. First, declaring that “In order to be a good member of this group it is necessary that you accept this premise …” (e.g., insert “feminist” and “reproductive rights” [oh, fuck that, insert: “abortion”] in appropriate slots) is far easier than making persuasive arguments from first principles (particularly when your first principle is The Will To Power.) Second, banding individuals into little bundles (fasces, if you will) has been a primary organizing principle on the Left since their Trade union origins.

    And, of course, there is always the “benefits” inherent in gaming Social Affirmation.

    1. Make that –

      Arguing that members of your group must accept position X, while simultaneously screeching that your opponents are hateful and uninclusive when they try and push their own side to adopt competing position Y.

      Case in point – abortion.

      The Democrats will cheerfully crucify any of their own politicians who are pro-life, and primary veteran office holders over this issue. But Republicans are lectured about tolerance and the need to attract more voters if a Republican’s pro-abortion views are mentioned.

      1. I’m going to start answering the abortion issue with “You are in favor of infanticide and genocide? Nice to know. Bye.”

        1. “I support abortion through the 168th trimester; how old do you happen to be?”

          1. If abortion is such a grand thing, I see no reason whatsoever to limit it to infancy.

            We could start evaluating Congress, the Senate, and the Federal judges to see which ones need abortin’…

  15. … the logistics of appealing things from the city to the state level inherently mask the activity.

    The best recent example of this might be the City of Charlotte, NC, enacting their Transgender Bathroom” regulation, provoking a state reaction which, while constitutionally mandated to protect other municipalities of the state from Charlotte’s regulatory reach, was readily mis-characterized and demagogued.

    And, of course, there are always those such as Gov. Polis, who will seek to create local discord as a way of vaulting to a bigger pond. For example, he no longer needs the votes of Coloradans and seeks to curry favor with national Progressives by signing away the rights of his state’s citizens.

  16. Complex bills require complex debunking. The odds are, the electorate will not listen to it.

    Moreover, the MSM will misrepresent, mischaracterize and misreport that debunking, as we saw with the efforts to counter Obamacare. See: Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio or Clarence Thomas … or even Donald Trump, for example, in his acknowledgement that not all persons opposed to the mob tearing down old statues were evil people.

  17. if they can pass it at home, they should just do that

    Except, of course, when passing it only at home would have disastrous repercussions. For example, minimum wage laws are guaranteed job exporters unless you can get the other states to also drink the Kool-aid. National minimum wage laws, in fact, originate in the effort to obstruct wage competition from lower wage states.

  18. “…it didn’t actually take much to change the minds of college students.” My experience would tend to confirm that observation. I’m pretty damn sure it is a factor in the 72 flavors of gender issue. Political activists probably find college groups to be much more fertile ground for a wide range of things than they would a coal miner’s union, or a national autoworkers group.

    I usually hang up on pollsters. Since they want my time, and aren’t willing to pay for it, I have zero obligation to give them any. Which means the only times I do talk to them is when I want to entertain myself, or I want to throw a monkey wrench into the works (those two goals are not mutually exclusive either.)

    “Ethnicity group are you?”
    “Huh? Did you say Mauritanian?”
    “No, Martian, as in the fourth planet from our Sun.:”


    “What political party to you affiliate with?”
    “National Socialist Workers Party”
    “You say you’re a socialist?”
    “No, I’m a Nazi.”

    And good God, don’t poll me about whether I have firearms, much less what kinds.

    1. We usually let cold calls go to the answering machine. Caller ID has been a boon, though sufficiently motivated scammers will fake a name. OTOH, the most common “polling” organization calling us has been the Informed Electorate bunch, who get people to answer polls, then they are asked to fund the “good work”.

      Though we’re in a red county, state mis-government is deeply blue, and I don’t wish to engage with the lefties in the state if humanly possible.

  19. The unilaterality of the shift is probably because the use of these tactics overwhelmingly favors one side, so the backlash cleanly favors the other.

    As has been said, “Conservatives want Liberals to keep talking, Liberals want Conservatives to Shut Up.” The reflexive ideological biases of each side cause their knees to jerk in different directions. The more the Left demands conformity to their preferences (see: Masterpiece Cake, Memories Pizza, and Chick-fil-A), the more those on the Right retreat into sullen resistance, opposing by slow-walking and undermining and other non-confrontational means familiar to anyone who’s experienced a marital spat.

  20. ” A feature of this political moment is that we are flying by instruments, and they aren’t very good instruments”…I would argue that in national-level politics, we are *always* and inherently flying on instruments: no individual can directly observe more than a tiny fraction of the relevant events and behaviors. Hence, we are dependent on the instruments—media, blogs, direct reports from friends and acquaintances…for understanding of what’s going on.

    And the instruments have been getting worse. The media have gone from bad to awful. Teaching of history is at a pretty dismal level. Politicization of so much of the population means that direct observation is often replaced by memes and talking points.

    Furthermore, less of the population is trained in “instrument flight”…ie, in knowing how to debate and evaluation arguments…and the excesses of ‘self-esteem-building’ mean that a lot of people react with such emotionality that they are unable to think. How long would an actual instrument pilot survive if he reacted to every instrument reading that he didn’t like with anger rather than with analysis and appropriate action?

  21. The system works for us in unpredictable ways. Why? Because we–a few of us–are learning how to fight against a well-organized enemy.

    As to Trump: I’m reminded of a quote about Mikhail Tal from one of that grandmaster’s contemporaries and adversaries: “I calculate very fast. Mikhail Tal does not calculate. He looks at the position and sees the right move.” We have this grandmaster for only a very short time. We must do as much as we can in that time.

  22. How does WP process a Twitter link?

    AP Entertainment
    ‏Verified account @APEntertainment

    ON THIS DAY – In 1969, TV stopped going where no man has gone before as the original #StarTrek series went off-air after 79 episodes. #OnThisDay
    AP Entertainment
    ‏Verified account @APEntertainment

    ON THIS DAY – In 1969, TV stopped going where no man has gone before as the original #StarTrek series went off-air after 79 episodes. #OnThisDay

    1. Stupid double-posted text backup of Tweet. Nice to know WP handles Tweets just fine.

  23. Their language is always telling. “Masses”, “the People”, “the world”. Individualism is lumped in with “fascism”. Individuals are inconvenient. They’re something the Left must denigrate or destroy.

  24. “I didn’t see 2016 coming, putting me in the exclusive club of virtually everybody.”

    That line could be written by a lot of people. I stayed up until the electoral count showed Trump the winner, and when I got up the next day went straight to Drudge to see if I had been dreaming.

    I was born in 1955. Since at least the early 1950’s the entire American political class, both parties, believed in the eventual victory of Communism. Slowing down the eventual victory so the people could be gradually acclimated to their eventual domination was the goal of some, aiding their victory was the goal of others. After all- we couldn’t have won WWII without the valiant Soviet effort. Somehow the political elite overlooked the fact that without the Murmansk convoys Russia would have collapsed like a deck of wet cards.

    From 1917 on the American mainstream media, led by the NY Times and Pulitzer prize winning reporter Walter Duranty fed the people of the United States articles on how great the USSR was. Any USSR bad news came from lesser sources, and was pooh-poohed away. Our diplomatic and intelligence establish were riddled with Communist sympathizers. The evil Joseph McCarthy was right about that. Took a while to weed them out (and then Obama appointed communist John Brennan to lead the CIA….). By the mid 1960s we were getting real intelligence about the Soviet economy and strength of their military, and some began to realize it was all a sham. They weren’t and never were mighty and powerful. The military, however, used the inflated numbers and power of the Russians to show why we needed to stay powerful. The only real credible threat from the USSR was their nuclear warheads. I know that the Spruance class destroyers used to play a little game with their Soviet equivalent. When they were steaming slowly and a Soviet came alongside to shadow them- they’d very slowly increase speed. I forget the exact speed, but when they reached it- every time- the Soviet vessel would suddenly emit a black cloud from it’s stack and go dead in the water. Soviet deployments differed from ours. We got underway from homeport, and made a few port visits while away. If we weren’t actually in port, we steamed and moved, constantly. The Soviets left the Black Sea, headed into the Med, went to where the rest of the fleet was- and anchored. They could not sustain continuous blue water operations.

    Trump won, and freedom has a chance of continuing in the U.S. without violent revolution, for one reason- the internet. If all people had to rely on was the legacy media, Trump would have lost, bigly. I do recall Trump said at one time he would never run unless he was certain he could win. He demonstrated he understood how to do that.

    We here obsess on politics- some more than others. Most people don’t. They honestly think that what goes on in Washington doesn’t affect them- it affects someone else. Until, of course, it does affect them…. But then, they only see that one thing, and not all the steps that led to it. The tide on that is starting to turn- as liberal policies start affecting everyone.

    Let’s take a simple one. How many women- mothers- are POed because their daughter lost a chance to participate in a state championship because the came in 4th to a man masquerading as woman? How many of her friends are equally POed? And the young women so affected- are they questioning what they’ve been carefully taught now that it’s affecting them directly? You bet they are. And the other issue with that- males in the female showers because they “identify” as women. Think that’s a winning issue for the Democrats- who are pushing it?

    Now let’s examine- how does the entire United States know that 3 males took 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in the Connecticut HS tack championships? A quick google search right now for “connecticut hs track championship” shows no results for the NY Times, Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, or any other MSM newspaper, and most of the results refer to the “transgender” athletes sweeping the awards. Yet, everyone knows about it. I’ve seen at least 5 links on Facebook. My kids have seen memes about on whatever social media it is they use. (I’m not on twitter or instagram, my kids are. Along with other social media.) Things can’t be hidden anymore.

    The thing about liberal arguments is that they’re very simplistic and easy to understand, even if they’re wrong. “Gun violence is bad- so let’s ban guns!” Can’t get much simpler. The counter argument is lot more complicated. Once you do ban guns, though, you get to point London is in- “Knife violence is bad! Let’s ban knives!” Next up is banning public milkshakes….

    Then there’s the argument used for a lot things- “That’s not fair!” Well, fair and freedom ofttimes, it not at all times, run counter to each other. I don’t think there’s a balancing act- freedom should always come first. Because once you start chipping away at it…. Income inequality not being fair is one I regularly hear. And the history of socialism has shown that the only way to cure that is to make everyone equally poor- the counter being- “Well, they just haven’t done it right.” It can’t be done right. And what’s happening in Venezuela is happening where in real time where people can see it. It’s not hidden like the shortcomings of Cuba are. And it’s very easy to show that Bernie and host of other politicians just a few years ago were praising Venezuela for it’s socialist programs bringing equality and opportunity to the masses….

    What I find that’s encouraging is this quote from another article I read today: “In 2016 [Democrats] produced a candidate whom Donald Trump defeated by 17 points among the 18 percent of voters who had negative views of both him and her. … he won by 51 points among the 15 percent of the electorate who thought neither was qualified to be president.” In normal years, all those people who liked neither candidate who broke for Trump would have stayed home. From that- it looks like his margin of victory came from people WHO DIDN’T LIKE HIM! I mean, this datum is from polling, but he won by 51 points among the 15 percent of the electorate who thought neither was qualified to be president.” I wonder if there was much overlap between that 18% and 15%, or if this study only allowed one choice or the other…. It leaves you to wonder, now that he’s been POTUS for a while, what those particular subsets of voters are now thinking of their choice…..

    1. we couldn’t have won WWII without the valiant Soviet effort.

      We likely would not have had WWII without the Soviet contribution.

        1. A sudden end to food/material shipments as the Germans began to collapse would have been a masterstroke of realpolitik

    2. Then there’s the argument used for a lot things- ‘That’s not fair!’

      See: Harrison Bergeron. Back in the Nineties the Wall Street Journal ran it on the editorial page, requiring but a single column. While Vonnegut was deemed pretty dang liberal at the height of his late Sixties, early Seventies popularity I’ve no doubt he cashed their check for publication rights.

    3. “it’s very easy to show that Bernie and host of other politicians just a few years ago were praising Venezuela for it’s socialist programs bringing equality and opportunity to the masses….”

      Show. Repeatably. Loudly. In color. On TV. On Internet. Multiple links. No matter how much he tries to deny it.

  25. I asked the Housemate, who pays attention and has more understanding of the Aussie politics than I, why the polls were wrong this time. Apparently Labour voters tend to respond to polls more. “They’re more enthusiastic… it’s almost like a religion, I dunno. Liberals, they tend to ignore them.”

    Personally, I think the idea to try tax retirees more, and pretty much EVERYONE more, especially via the retirees’s retirement funds and savings and such (while also implying that they were not ‘paying their fair share’; cheating, not working thus a drain on society) was a BIG EFFIN’ MISTAKE on the part of Labour.

    Implying that ‘when you’re old you’re only a waste of time, die faster or pay more plx’ versus the time-honored “I’ve done my part, I’m retired now and can enjoy the fruits of my labours” went beyond the old people, but people who ARE working already. So they didn’t bother to respond to the news polls, and voted at the booth.

    There were also plans to introduce more refugees. That didn’t go over well; apparently with the migrant community; some of the ones we know of were so against that they outright voted for One Nation as first preference (including a couple of Muslims, to great surprise.)

    Governor Jared Polis, without bothering to consult the people of Colorado first, signed a national popular vote compact which will give Colorado’s votes to the winner of the national popular vote if states with a total of 270 electoral votes join it. Because he is, and let me try to be diplomatic here, a craven self-styled-aristocratic coward who is just so very committed to the Democratic principles that I remind you his party is actually named after, that he couldn’t even be bothered to actually allow Coloradans a democratic vote on whether they wanted to sign an accord that may lead to their disenfranchisement, is why. I understand Coloradans are now having to petition for the opportunity to fix this.

    I am curious as to why Coloradans have to petition to change this, as opposed to this being declared invalid by the Colorado Supreme Court.

    And the Left has always seen themselves as the nobility and aristocracy, even when not in government.

    I’d also like to know why people on the right seemed to also assume that socialists had ‘greater moral high ground’. Based off of what exactly? Their constant claims that they are, versus quiet action that conservatives tend to do – conservatives tend to do the right thing and not expect praise, seeing it as ‘the normal thing to do’ versus ‘IT IS EXTRAORDINARY PRAISE ME TO HIGH HEAVENS!’ The difference between the two (to me) is stark, and biblical. The Left is the one at the Temple telling God of all the good things he did, while the Right is the fellow who speaks only of his sins to God. The thing I always took away from that story was the guy who only confessed his sins (and begged for forgiveness) was actually a good person, but didn’t see his good deeds as paramount; because recognizing what was wrong with him is the start of being able to correct those flaws.

    1. The leftists have been playing a long social manipulation game with the tactic of moral outrage.

      It takes a fast thinker to go, “Wait, you are just now talking up criminal justice reform, and you had previously endorsed socialized medicine. There is some potential conflict here in the nitty-gritty interactions between these endorsements. I can call you out on your hypocrisy.” It takes a fast, skilled talker to actually be able to do it. It takes rudeness and moral courage to actually do it. It isn’t entirely shameful to be a conservative and lacking in one or more of these.

      Conservatives in America are traditionally on their back foot.

      Refusing to submit to any argument that one hasn’t personally fully replicated and authenticated is the first step of correcting this. Then is the question of choices spending limited energy contesting points one is not persuaded by.

        1. Whatever happened to him? The guy’s a jerk, but he was amusing as hell

          1. He spoke publicly about the child molestation issue in the homosexual subculture.

            So his enemies accused him of being a kiddy-diddler. Because he was raped, and groomed, and then spoke up.

            1. Bit of further expansion on the ‘speaking publicly about the child molestation issue: He also spilled the open secret that exists within the gay community: that a lot of them weren’t originally gay, but because they were molested, often became gay.

              The Republicans, true to form, refused to back him or support him, or even merely question the allegations, the way the Left would have when one of their own would have been accused.

              1. For those whose alarm bells are ringing at that…. yes, exactly.

                So no wonder folks wanted him gone.

                (for those wondering why I’m being obscure– look up how they usually find out that little girls have been molested)

    2. > including a couple of Muslims, to great surprise.

      Not so surprising. A common complaint of enculturated immigrants is something like, “If I wanted to live with those people, I would have stayed back there.”

    3. I’d also like to know why people on the right seemed to also assume that socialists had ‘greater moral high ground’. Based off of what exactly?

      Perhaps it is because their heads are in the clouds?

      And the clouds are in their heads.

      Although I doubt that many on the Right accept the premise of the Left having moral superiority; that is an artifact of the Gaslight Media’s assumption … which pretty much sums up all that is wrong in the Gaslight Media.

      As for the one confessing sins at the throne of guard and proclaiming no good deeds … well, are not good deeds what we are set here to do? Wanting credit for those is akin to want credit for breathing or for practicing good hygiene. There is a great distance between “Lord praise me, for I kept four of your ten commandments” and “Lord forgive me, for I failed to follow sic of your ten commandments.”

    4. RE: socialists having the moral high ground

      Blame conditions around the turn of the 19th to the 20th century, when socialism really hadn’t been tried, corporations tended to suborn governments to violently put down any attempts at worker organization, and anything that involved changing the way things were was routinely denounced as “socialist.”

    5. I am curious as to why Coloradans have to petition to change this, as opposed to this being declared invalid by the Colorado Supreme Court.
      My take is that after the open-carry fiasco, no one trusts the Colorado Supreme Court.
      Very short version: Colorado is an open-carry state. Denver passed a law making open-carry illegal. Supreme Court ruled that was OK because Denver is special – without specifying what made Denver special and to whom else it might apply.

      1. without specifying what made Denver special

        At a guess, I am going with the legalization of magic mushrooms.

        I will not engage in speculation as to whether that refers to use by the gun-carrying public, the high court, or some combination thereof.

  26. Sarah: “The GOP establishment had, at best, a case of terminal depression. They weren’t playing to win, nor were they playing not to lose, but playing to lose slowly. There is a different flavor to the GOP now, and I think the base is enjoying that. I certainly am.”

    It helps if you think of the GOP establishment as being like the Bushes, as an Old Money family in slow decline. In the past there was someone of brilliance who created the family fortune and powerful connections. Ever since, the family has been sliding down. They’re displaying that same “playing to lose slowly” attitude toward politics that they’re displaying toward their family. “Someday, we’ll be poor and powerless again,” they think, “but maybe I can keep that from happening on my watch.”

  27. Our devotional reading right after I read Bill’s column was Acts 23:6-7 where Paul uses the VERY principle Bill describes. I never saw that before (appealing to Mommy rather than making an argument). Obviously the tactic can work.

  28. The fiancee and I did a study — we logged the calls we got for two weeks. We got an average of three per day. Only ONE call during the two week sample period was from someone we’d want to answer. That one call turned out to be a butt-dial from the fiancee’s sister. Polls are crap because the noise has overwhelmed the signal.

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