Category Archives: Things I Wish Conservatives Understood

In and Out

Confession time: I’m what you might call a Trump agnostic. Some of what he’s done pleases me, some things about him I find frustrating, and almost everything he does I find entertaining. Someone once asked me who I would vote for and I answered at the time that whatever my disagreements with the man, I had no doubts in my mind that Trump loved America and wanted to do right by her – I still believe that and for me it’s not nothing in consideration for a president.

Still I do try to listen to both sides of the Trump issue on the right, and here I will admit that I find both sides – his fans and his haters – frequently obnoxious. Indeed my feelings towards the man himself are too often influenced by who I read last. If a super-fan, Trump is annoying. If a hater, Trump is the GOAT. Thus i try not to rely on my gut or feelings on the matter but ever seek out the truth. Thus listening to both sides.

Because the problem with humans is that our senses alone collect so much data that our brains can’t possibly store and process all of it. So we have to constantly shift through and analyse this data, our brains prioritizing some while ignoring the rest. But what is really important? The color, make and model of nearby cars? The color, style and make of the shoes everyone around you are wearing? Some data is objectively important (like who is shooting at you) but a lot of data out there is… debatable. That’s why we communicate with others – because the data I picked up and retained is going to be a bit different from what you picked up. By combining all our datasets we can craft a larger picture of the whole truth, like a jigsaw puzzle.

This then is the frustration when I listen to a Trump fan (like Andrew Klavan) vs a Trump skeptic (like Jonah Goldberg). Both sides often make relevant points about important data, and both sides seem to avoid what the other one is addressing leading to a frustration of everybody talking past each other. Yet I couldn’t help but notice that the fans seemed to make an effort to confront the counter arguments a bit more often – the skeptics rarely so. In fact the skeptics seemed to go out of their way to even acknowledge competing evidence. Things just weren’t adding up. Now I’m also a big believer in Occum’s Razor which should be summed up as “don’t add additional factors without evidence.” , so I prefer to take the folks at their word rather than inventing some kind of conspiracy theory.

Let’s then think about like in programming. At root we only have 3 factors: the input, the process, and the output. If the output is wrong, there’s only 2 other places to look. What can we tell about process? Fundamentally – nothing. We can’t read minds so there’s no way to really be sure what’s going on inside another’s. We’ll have to accept their claims about their own process at face value for right now. So let’s look at input.

In fact, let’s look at what happened this weekend.

In case you haven’t heard, there was a March for Life on Washington DC at which point a video & image of an original-American drummer and a boy in a MAGA cap went viral. Shortly after the viral spread, the other shoe dropped.

Turned out there was a lot more to the story and everyone was reacting to pretty much the opposite of what was the truth.

Let’s look at the National Review’s article on it.

Oh wait, that’s actually the SECOND article NRO published. There was a first article before that. It’s captured under “Update IV” at this link.

Now it all began to make sense. The trump-skeptic side was having faulty input. They are believing the media.

There’s actually a term for this: Gell-Mann Amnesia. Michael Crichton described it as:

Briefly stated, the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect is as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray’s case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward—reversing cause and effect. I call these the “wet streets cause rain” stories. Paper’s full of them. In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story, and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about Palestine than the baloney you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.

This somehow seems to make it all worse than a simple betrayal.

See, I’m old enough that for most of my political life, conservatives have been bitching about the media. That whenever an article was written about Reagan or Bush or Bush or whatever politician, so many of these figures would be there with an article pointing out all the facts overlooked and complicating factors ignored. Always and forever if the media reported on a congressman’s tie, the conservatives would double check it. Now? Now when they complain about Trump, you can quickly piece together that it’s because they’re accepting the media’s basic premises.

Never mind that nothing’s changed over those years save the republican targeted. Never mind that a few months ago the press did the exact same thing to Kavanaugh (with many of these figures rightly objected to). No this time a video and image go up about a kid in a red hat, and the people who should know better accept the media’s premises unquestioned. It’s a movement-wide Gell-Mann Amnesia.

If you’re a skeptic reading this: Imagine it’s a few years ago and you came across one of your conservative colleagues or heroes complaining about how misogynist Romney was being with his “binders full of women” line. Imagine that no matter how much you tried to correct that person, get them to see the fuller context, they objected. Said they saw all they needed to. Called you a cultist – a blind Romney follower. I remember how most of you fought against that little media deception back in the day. So imagine how you would feel in that situation.

That’s how we feel now.

You don’t have to like Trump. You don’t have to agree with Trump. You don’t have to excuse the worst excesses of his followers.

But MAYBE you could try reapplying your old skepticism, and stop buying what the media is selling. You above all people should know better. Stop and ask yourself why this time you think the habitual liar is being truthful.

As we say in programming.  Garbage in, garbage out.  So if leftism in…

…no self-awareness out.

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Who decides who is a conservative?

This question was asked on Facebook by a friend in “the movement”.

I gave it a little thought.  And this is how I answered:

Ultimately, if you’re a conservative, it implies there is something you want to conserve. I consider myself a conservationist. But that oddly isn’t generally considered (these days) “conservative”.

Conservative depends on the context in which the word is used as well. There are Constitutional Conservatives, there are fiscal conservatives, and there are social conservatives. Often people fall into two or three of these categories. If you fall into two of them you’re probably going to be considered a conservative by most progressives, and you probably consider yourself a conservative. Most other conservatives will consider you a conservative as well — until you disagree with them on something that puts them in one of the categories.

And it’s not like a “belief system” that one subscribes to. People have sets of beliefs, and those beliefs fall into certain categories — some of them may fall quite outside of the category the person ends up being classified as.

Incidentally, the same kind of thing goes for liberal/progressives. And there’s no H8 like intra-family H8.

Who gets to decide who is a conservative? Well … each of us do. It’s a subjective term. But it’s not meaningless.  Still, you just can’t make assumptions about any individual who gets considered a conservative without risking being very, very wrong a lot of the time.

 

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On Tolerance, Disapproval, Respect, Acceptance, and Living Your Own Damned Life

So I got into a bit of a kerfuffle over this post on HKB.

Not exactly a kerfuffle, since the guy involved is an old friend, a really good guy — who cares about his gay friends and his straight ones as well.  He wasn’t being combative, really.  I think he just really missed my point. Which is not surprising given the way the argument’s been framed for a decade.

Here it is:

“It is not enough for the Left to live and let live. You must change your mind. You must not hold disfavored views. You must be the right sort of person. If you’re not, you will be muzzled.”

This is what has me worried.  Not dudes lying with dudes and chicks lying with chicks.

read more here.

To which I added this:

If you say anything that can possibly be construed as being “meh” on the practicality of gay marriage (which was, in practical terms, already “legal”*) and just not agreeing with the route taken by the activists, people will assume you hate gays and want to keep them from being happy.

So you can’t even have a proper discussion about it. The discussion was bypassed because, Shut Up, and the bullying worked on 5 justices.

*I’ve asked several people in the past several years just what is it, in real terms, that gays are not being allowed to do? Can they have sex with each other and not be thrown in jail? Can they have a ceremony that is to everyone there a real wedding ceremony? Can they call themselves “married”? Can their friends and anyone who is sympathetic with them call them married? Are they not being served in restaurants? Can they not spend the night in motels and hotels? Are they being turned away from hospitals? Just what, exactly, is “illegal” about it? That they can’t get a “license” to do these things? Why the hell do they need a license? (Why the hell do *I* need a license for that matter?)

Hell, they could apparently even force people to bake them cakes and take pictures of them if those bakers and photographers had moral objections to participating in the event.

No, it has *ALWAYS* been, for the activists at least, about *forced* acceptance — NOT tolerance. Tolerance is, “meh, I don’t care.” Acceptance is, “yes, this is good and right.” What they’ve wanted all along is to force everyone to say “yes, this is good and right” by force of law.

This is what is wrong with it. Has nothing to do with the Bible, or what kinds of “marriage” arrangements have existed in various cultures throughout history. It’s about government coercion.

This was the wrong way to do it. They already effectively had what they SAID they wanted, which is tolerance, and even acceptance by a good chunk of the population.

Just to make sure we’re clear on what I’m saying and what I’m not saying… read my actual post again. Is my problem with gay people, or with leftists? I think I’m pretty clear on that.

But because of how the entire argument has been successfully framed by the leftists, people cannot separate criticism of the court decision, or apprehension on what is to come without assuming they hate gay people, or at the very least don’t care about them.  If you express sympathy for the majority of Americans and frankly, people in the world that Marriage is between people of opposite sexes and with very few exceptions in history — always has been… when it’s been demanded that they toss their worldview out the window to accommodate this one … you’re just a hater.

It bugged me more this time because it was a friend and you want your friends to at least understand your position.  It was pretty clear we were talking about two different things.

In the discussion he asked if I knew any gay people.  I do.  I think the assumption is that I had some sort of misconception that they were all combative and out to destroy society.  Again, because of the assumptions injected by the Lakoffian language strategy of the left.

So as I lay there thinking (I do that a lot.  It’s not good for your sleep habits) trying to come up with a way to break out of the assumptions that come with the language constraints that have been successfully imposed on the subject, I suddenly (thankfully) came up with a perfect example that was right under my nose, literally. I hadn’t thought of it because I don’t dwell on it. I don’t feel victimized by it.

Here’s the deal.

In our eyes, my wife and I have been married for 23 years. In my parents’ eyes, due to their religious beliefs, we’re not married at all. You see, she is a divorcee, and there was no annulment. They wouldn’t come to our wedding. I knew they wouldn’t before I even invited them, but I invited them anyway, telling them I completely understood if they did not want to come.

Now, they still have us out to the house. We visit. We talk. We have a good time. They don’t hate me. They don’t hate her. Matter of fact they love her. Dad made it a point to pull me aside several months ago and tell me so.

But … if we were to spend the night there, we would be asked to sleep in separate beds. Because in their eyes, we are not married. I understand and respect their beliefs. I do not demand, much less ask that they accommodate us. Similarly, they wouldn’t come visit us in our home because of our living arrangement. They disapprove. They don’t condone it. I respect their beliefs. I do not feel ill treated. I do not feel humiliated. I do not feel “lesser”. That is what tolerance and respect looks like.

You see, disapproval is not the same thing as hate. Tolerance does not mean acceptance. In this story there is love, tolerance, disapproval, and respect. They are not mutually exclusive. The leftists have purposely, in a very Orwellian 1984-ish New Speak way (in the real world it would be more like Lakoffian way) — mainly through the media have shaped the way we even talks about this by choosing the language with which we talk about these things – and people have gotten very confused.  It’s no accident.

Keep in mind I myself am not sitting here saying gays should or shouldn’t be married, or that they’re not married. What I’m saying is that this will not be enough for the leftists. They are out to destroy, and this was just one issue they have usurped to help get that done.

There are gay leftists. And there are straight leftists who will wear the mantle to help destroy people they don’t like — namely the good people who love everyone but do believe that certain behavior is wrong, or that marriage is only between men and women. After all, it’s not exactly a radical view.

Tolerance is a two-way street. My prediction is that it will only go one way. Or else.

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Nail. Head. BAM! Flush to the board

Just thought this needed bookmarking (via Chicks on the Right)….

Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas (who is an Iraq War veteran) had this to say in response to those questions and it is the best response I’ve heard from anyone about this –

“Knowing what we know now, I absolutely would have sent the Pacific Fleet out of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 4 to intercept the Japanese Fleet,” Cotton told the Washington Examiner during an interview in his Capitol Hill office. “I say that to highlight how foolish the question is. You don’t get to live life in reverse. What a leader has to do is make a decision, at the moment of decision, based on the best information he has. George Bush did that in 2002 and 2003 and he was supported by Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden and John Kerry and every western country’s intelligence agency.”
“There are lessons we can learn from the early days of the Iraq war. One is that we clearly should be more critically analytical about our approach to intelligence assessments,” Cotton added.

 

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A Very Moldy Chestnut Troll

I saw a “questionnaire” posted to Chicks on the Right‘s wall … very likely by a troll who was doing the whistling “but I’m a moderate” schtick.  By the time I finished my reply to the comment, the post had been deleted.

Still, I thought … idiotic as these questions seem if you know your stuff… they still need to be answered.  They are echoes that need to be stopped.  And we all need to be very comfortable answering them with rational answers.

  1. Why shouldn’t education and health care be free? when the US spends an abhorrent amount of money on the military and defence, & isn’t making a world a better place, and would appear to be on the brink of imperialism with its foreign policy.

Because nothing’s free.  Somebody pays for everything, or somebody is forced to do it without due compensation.  One is robbery, the other is slavery. There are lots more good reasons, but that’s the bottom line.  There’s also the problem of market distortions.  Artificially low price drives up demand, which drives up real price.  Which, again, somebody has to pay.

National Defense is in the enumerated powers of the Federal Government in the Constitution.  “Free” Health Care is not.  We can argue the finer points of how our defenses are deployed and projected, but at least does fall under the official list of things the Federal Government is tasked with.  And it’s a mighty odd imperialist that hands countries it has “conquered” back to its people and helps reconstruct them.

“I predict future happiness for Americans, if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.” ― Thomas Jefferson

  1. I am a keen target shooter, I don’t push for bans on rifles like the AR-15 etc but I can’t help but notice that 10’000 + homicides are committed with firearms and the current system doesn’t work, why is a mild form of gun control off the cards?

And before firearms they were committed with knives and poison and bare hands.  People murder.  Always have.  They use what’s available to them.   There is something to the saying “God made man, but Sam Colt made them equal.”  A revolver removes the difference between a 260 lb man and a 130 lb woman.  We have a right to protect ourselves, whether the criminals are in an alley or oppressing us within the government.  And the gun isn’t going to get un-invented.

There are lots of forms of gun control right now, mild and otherwise.  Thousands of gun control laws.  What we don’t want is de-facto removal of our right to keep and bear them, or de-facto gun registration so that when the statists finally get their way (call it “the stupidity of the American voter”), government officials know exactly whose houses to go to and what they need to confiscate.  Except the only people who will register are those with a strong aversion toward breaking the law.  Which will leave all of the remaining firearms in the hands of those who do NOT have an aversion toward breaking the law.

60% of those “homicides” are suicides, and again, a gun is a very effective and quick tool for the job.  If it weren’t there, they’d kill themselves with something else.  And a huge chunk of the rest of them is gang violence.  How about we address the problems and not the symptoms?

The second amendment isn’t about target shooting, or even hunting — though it does cover both.

Don’t just read the Constitution, read the Federalist Papers and the discussions that went into the Constitution.  It’s all documented.

  1. Why should the right put people like Ted Cruz in a position to be overseeing NASA and Science in the US when he is anti science? Doesn’t that seem counter intuitive for a nation that hopes to lead the world in innovation and research, all held back by a man who believes genesis?

What makes you think Ted Cruz is “anti-science” outside of left-wing talking points?  Because he’s Christian?  Do you realize how many great scientists were and are Christian?  Somehow we managed to get to the moon before we made being Christian suspect.  Lots of Christians in that program, and others.

Why does the right support creationism ? The overwhelming number of scientists (the people who’s job it is to find fact rather that just take an old books word for it) have a perfectly sound scientific theory which contradicts the unsound view of creationism.

Creationists are generally on the right, but being on the right does not necessarily mean you are a creationist … it doesn’t even mean you are a Christian.  We have Atheists on the right.  We have agnostics, Jews …. even some Muslims.

Why does the right push a Christian agenda (claiming america is founded on Christian values) yet the the only time religion is mentioned in the constitution is for separation of church and state? (not to mention the beliefs of atheism, deism, agnosticism amongst the founders)

Because America was founded on Christian values.  Western Culture is deeply rooted in Christianity.  Oh, there’s been a rebellion against it, but the values are still there.

“Avarice, ambition, revenge and licentiousness would break the strongest cords of our Constitution, as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” – John Adams

Have you read the Preamble to the Constitution?  “all men are created equal, and are endowed by their creator certain inalienable rights” … Again, read the documents surrounding the creation of the Constitution.  There is lots of talk about God.  They put a chapel in the freakin’ Capitol, fer Chrissakes.  Pretty much the rest of the Constitution deals with what the structure of the Federal government, how it is to do things, and what it is NOT allowed to do.

There is no mention of “separation of Church and State” in the Constitution.  In the first amendment to the Constitution (which is part of the Constitution, as all amendments are) the part that mentions religion says: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;”  That’s it.

An “establishment of religion” isn’t the same thing as religion in general. It basically means establishments like “The Methodist Church” or “The Catholic Church” or “The Lutheran Church”.  Not generic Christianity or generic “religion”, where there are no church officials to dictate things.  The purpose of this language was to avoid a Church of England type situation where unelected Church officials had official government positions of authority, so that the government would not be allowed to suppress other Churches.  This has been misinterpreted and bastardized to the point where it is used to do exactly that, the opposite of its intent.  In any culture of free people, laws will necessarily reflect the values of the people. It was most certainly not to keep the values of We the People from being reflected in law. If the peoples’ values are generally Christian, those are the values they’re going to reflect.  This is not the same as having some Bishop make law by fiat.

There were deists among the founders, and the Christians of the time were very tolerant of that, as were the deists of Christianity – even deferential to it.  Deism was informed by a Christian culture and carries forward, albeit in a very generic form, those values.

A rose, cut from the vine, still has the qualities of a rose though it is put in a jar.  The longer it remains cut and separate from the vine, though … it withers and dies and produces no fruit.

Surely is would be absurd to say every political decision ever made by Obama (and I am not a fan of him) is wrong ?

It wouldn’t be absurd to say, if it were true.  Still, it’s not quite true.  A stopped clock is right twice a day.   But as a rule of thumb the values that guide him tend to guide him to make decisions contrary to our founding principles.  And I don’t think it’s an accident.

Why push Faith as being a central part of the political right ? (Faith is an insertion of absolute conviction that is assumed without reason and defended against all reason)

Again, people of faith are a part of the political right, they do not define the political right.  You are going to find a lot of people of faith on the political right, certainly — as their values lead to our founding values — that is where they are going to be most at home.  And on top of that, every belief system is based, ultimately, on faith in something.  Even yours.

Here is a big difference.  The political right can hold the two opposing concepts in its head … that something can be wrong but not against the law, and that something can be right but the law should not compel it.  This allows some latitudinal variations in the details of disparate peoples’ beliefs.  But there must be some homogeneity in a culture for it to be cohesive and have meaningful law.  If any belief is admissible, the logical end is that any behavior is justifiable, and every behavior is also unjust.  Sounds great in Philosophy class, but it’s no way to run a nation.

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Democracy and Oligarchy

I found this e-poster posted by one of my friends on Facebook today …

Bernie

Well … Bernie Sanders (I) should read Bernie Sanders (S) … he’s a self-avowed socialist.

Still, he’s sort of right here – but he’s using a little sleight of hand, and leaving out something very important.

We don’t really have a Democracy. Democracy would be bad, and our founders knew it. Democracy is two wolves and a sheep deciding what’s for dinner. A Republic is a well-armed lamb contesting the result.

Still, we do have a Democratic Republic in that we do use Democracy as a tool for input into the system as long as what is decided doesn’t violate the inalienable rights of others (life, liberty, property being the big three).

And there is no question that for it to work a full discussion of the issues that affect us is necessary.

But that’s not what we get. The Daily Show and a news media that is 80% self-described progressive-liberal is what passes for “discussion” today. If we actually had real discussion no billionaire could “buy” an election by donations (they’d have to cheat the old-fashioned Tammany Hall way – actually, they kind of do, they’ve just made the ballot boxes easier to stuff).

voting patterns

Voter suppression used to be a problem back in the day when southern Democrats passed laws literally intended to keep black people from voting. Those days are over.

However, there is a reason one party fights just about every attempt to thwart voter fraud — and that tells me pretty much everything I need to know right there. They fight such laws because it makes it harder for them to cheat. And that is how voter suppression is done today. It’s not strict voting laws that suppress votes — it’s lax ones. Every fraudulent vote in effect negates the vote of a valid voter.

It also turns out that the people who “determine what we see, read, and hear” from the media to college campuses are largely sympathetic to Bernie’s worldview – and it ain’t capitalist fat cats trying to get rich — it’s generally socialist do-gooders trying to “make a difference”.  An Oligarchy isn’t necessarily wealthy people (though Oligarchs often do become wealthy because they have the power to take people’s stuff and rig the rules) … an Oligarchy is rule by a relatively small group of people.  They could be royalty, wealthy, family, educated-elite, corporate, religious, military … but since Bernie’s a Marxist, he wants The People to fixate on the rich and be jealous and outraged.  Because that’s the road to power when it comes to Marxism.

So while Bernie is partially right here, he’s leaving out a few things and he wants you to believe that the people who are keeping you down are his opponents.

By and large, they’re not. They’re his friends.

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