Claims about polarization

…when it comes to moral issues, the prominent change is a partisan secular trend, in which both Democrats and Republicans are adopting more progressive views on moral issues, although at a different rate. While Democrats are early adopters of progressive views, Republicans adopt the same views at a slower pace. This secular change can be easily (mis)interpreted as a sign of polarization because, at the onset of the process, the gap between party supporters broadens due to faster pace at which Democrats adopt progressive views, and only toward the end, the gap between partisan supporters decreases.

That is from a new paper by Baldassari and Park, via Gaurav Sood.


For instance, democrats adopted gay sex rights, abortion, rights, and gun rights before republicans.

At some point I expect people world wide to move more toward anti-abortion position. If fact though still legal, the rate of abortion has been falling for a long time, though with ups and down. Once something gets rare enough, like cigarette smoking, the politicians can jump in attack the practitioners.

I also expect a pre-birth preventive for male homosexuality to come along at some point and that could change gay sex rights.
It's very odd that exclusive homosexuality, (which seems not to be found in other mammals and is a genetic dead end as opposed to bisexuality (which seems to not be found in other mammals), exists.

Legal Abortion, the killing of an unborn human fetus with different DNA than the mother, is the biggest "moral issue" of the USA, since the Roe v Wade pseudo-Amendment Opinion in 1973.

Big gov't, big safety net Democrats who are strongly anti-abortion have been pushed out the Democratic Party ... and are now a majority in the Republican Party. Which is no longer so small gov't, or smaller safety net.

If "more progressive views" means making some political speech illegal, it's unlikely such pseudo-morals will take off with Reps. More likely it will stiffen opposition to the culture crush where previously economics was a bigger dividing issue.

I long suspected Republicans were Democrats but slower.

...or Republicans are Democrats that drive the speed limit.

Of course, there are reactionaries that want to turn the clock back and revolutionaries that want to trash the current system, but for the vast majority of people, the only question is a matter of emphasis (speed), and we shouldn't let the tendency of social media to amplify the voices of reactionaries and revolutionaries allow us to lose sight of the enormous common ground we mostly share.

" for the vast majority of people, the only question is a matter of emphasis (speed)"
This probably earns a top spot for "delusional commenter who has adopted the Whig view of history without realizing why it's bollocks".

Burn it all down , O brave Walter Mitty.

Talk is cheap.

So the positions of the most far left twitter user are just the inevitable march of history. We should expect them to the the mainstream you wish to defend in 5, 10, or 20 years.

I am familiar with cthulhu, but the leftward drift has stalled out on several fronts since the 1970s. Milton Freidman on economics, gun rights, government employment as % of total are all signs that the old "wrong side of history" arguments have much less force than they used to.

The chasm between radical talk and action among some of the most privileged humans ever to have trod this vale of tears at both ends of our political spectrum will never not strike me as funny.

Balanced against the value of its commercial assets,[24] the federal government had a combined total of $95.4 trillion ($95,410,000,000,000) in debts, liabilities, and unfunded obligations at the close of its 2018 fiscal year.[25] This shortfall amounts to:
$291,102 for every person living in the U.S.[26]
$747,809 for every household in the U.S.[27]
4.6 times the size of the U.S. economy.[28]
27 times annual federal revenues.[29]
88% of the combined net worth of all U.S. households and nonprofit organizations, including all assets in savings, real estate, corporate stocks, private businesses, and consumer durable goods such as automobiles and furniture.[30] [31]

Yeah, Milton Freedmen won. I also wonder how long "markets" will last once the country gets a little browner. Reagan 2.0 (Romney) lost, and it ain't getting any more friendly out there.

Gun rights, ha. As if that mattered in the slightest.

Everyone is a contractor now bro. It's like working for the government, but you can rip them off even more then if your a civil servant. How do you think the counties surrounding DC got so damn rich.

As Friedman advises, keep your eye on the share of national income spent by all levels of government.

In the first quarter of 1960, this figure was 34.0%, climbing to 48.4% by the fourth quarter of 1982. In the 3rd quarter of 2019, the figure was 48.0% (all from FRED).

That's almost 37 years of stemming the tide. She's a big ship that turns slowly.

...and all this time I thought the latest number was 41%. Thanks for the correction. Ouch.

Having hit the side of the pool on government spending/GDP, Cthulhu started swimming left in a different pool, culture. In 1982 an adult telling a third grade boy how to become a girl would have been charged with child abuse. Now they're promoted to head of sex education.

The left is always poking into unknown territory, so cul de sacs and backtracking are not uncommon. Marxism is a huge cul de sac, so huge its adherents have been able to convince themselves they are still travelling the true path almost two centuries later.

Zizek has recently rejected the old Marxist line about "the point isn't to understand the world, but to change it" at this point in history. I mean, come on, this is the sine qua non of Marxism, the thing that has ignited the imagination of pencil-necked poindexters from the git-go.

Along with lots of cul de sacs, the left stumbles on some good changes from time to time of course.

For me the paramount issue is the size and power of government, and at one time (say 1928) the government really was too small, so Republicans and Democrats differed only on the speed of the drive and not the direction, but now it's too large (in my Republican view) and I want to drive the other way. Unfortunately Trump is not the agent of change I want, but somebody is, and I will be looking for that candidate over the next few election cycles since we don't have him or her now. Does that make me a reactionary? I wouldn't call myself one. I am a classical liberal.

There probably is a subset of moral ideas which "Democrats" (a weak proxy for the Left) are earlier adopters on than "Republicans" (a weak proxy for the Right).

These probably are not what is driving polarization. Think for that instead, the enthusiasm for state-ownership and socialism, for rejection of characteristics based gaps in favor of conspiratorial claims of institutional discrimination and "privilege", the enthusiasm for dissolving the nation-state and community of the nation in favor of open borders, states with no national affinity and an internationalist community, radical feminism, speech restrictions, and so on.

Agreed. These sorts of studies tend to rely upon a narrow definition of the issues involved.

Most of the moral issues this paper identifies where Democrats were early adopters are women’s freedom (to work etc.) and gay rights. The former isn’t really a huge political issue since it’s more about culture, but gay rights were a major polarizing factor in the 2000s. In the 2004 US presidential election, “moral values” (read: anti-gay marriage) was the biggest voting issue, bigger than the war on Iraq, terrorism, or the economy: I remember in 2004 and even 2008, Republicans were running on “defense of marriage” even during the depths of the Iraq War and Great Recession. These issues only become less polarizing now because Republicans have accepted them.

These early adopter issues seem to fit a pattern of being issues about not treating people differently based on things that are outside their control unless it is materially important to what you need to do, such as sexual orientation, gender, race. I’d say that’s one of the key moral principles, and moral progress is progress towards realizing that principle Nationality fits into this paradigm of an early adopter issue as it is another socially created characteristic outside people’s control yet massively affect people’s lives—I expect the current nationalist backlash to be similar to the anti-gay backlash of the 2000s and give way to a period of lower polarization once both parties are on a less nationalist platform.

In 2008 even Obama was running on "defense of marriage". Although that was more a question of political expediency than his actual views at the time.

I notice in the paper how approval of "working for pay" quickly truncates to "working women." On balance, of course, the majority of women in the West now *work* far less than the average women ever did in the past. So a more charitable explanation of the supposed gap in coming to the moral position that women working in air-conditioned offices is a superior state of affairs to the manifold jobs women did in the past, might be less, cruelty, than - greater scepticism, on the right, of the idea that women only became full members of the human race around midcentury, that in the past women were either idle (the very small subset that often made it into novels, much like the small subset whose concerns now tend to dominate) or else, worked without any gain, irrationally, because too stupid to perceive their own interest.

"of the idea that women only became full members of the human race around midcentury"

Evidently, not being able to vote, being voted, study or work outside home in the most favored professions are evidences of the high regard women's rights used to be held in.

Unable to work outside the home - in what century? Is this something like those long centuries when, as the kids are now taught, girls weren't permitted to "go to school"?

Voting: y'all set so much store by that - I'll never understand it. As an act purely expressive of narcissism and self-expression, ranks somewhere below buying a new pair of socks, in terms of utility.

"in the most favored professions"
I guess it is women's fault you can't read.

"Voting (...) As an act purely expressive of narcissism and self-expression, ranks somewhere below buying a new pair of socks, in terms of utility."

Maybe we should ban women from buying socks! Now, I know why Blacks used to be barred from voting: to protect their time. That is why Catholics could serve at the Parliament in the UK in the good, old times either: their Pritestant masters knew they had better things to do.

"Most favored professions" - those choice sinecures, available to all men, and nary a woman ... Let us hear more about that realm of privilege.

Catholics: still can't accede to the throne. Intolerable! - that's among the "most favored" of professions, surely.

Yeah, women can vote and can have jobs, even nice ones. You wanna cry? Do you need a safe space?

What did my great-grandmother have - a job, or not - when she worked on the farm like 90% of the population? Are you calling my great-grandmother lazy? That, I don't like that at all, I will admit - even if you are so morally exemplary.

Now voting - that's a matter of total indifference to me, whether you want to go out, choose between A and A, and get your sticker. I concede it means a lot to you: I'd go with the socks myself. Heck, I'd choose a lollipop over the sticker - I mean, voting. I've met many people captivated by the action of voting, having worked at the poll booth before. I've even encountered voters who warred between the outcome they thought they wanted to see, and their need for self-expression. That was 2018: how many old lefties walked up and announced they couldn't believe they were contemplating doing this, they swore they'd never done it before, and said they weren't even now sure they could do it: that is to say, vote in the opposite party's primary rather than their own, in order to influence that side of things, as the outcome on their side of things was already decided. About half, after prevaricating and needlessly apologizing and justifying themselves to me in this way, would find they just couldn't do it and would go with "voting as narcissistic self-expression."

Still, though, I love the idea that by letting you vote, I am being moral. I will let you vote then! I had planned to stop you, but why? I do not care, so this is easy. Why ever did we used imagine that moral choices might be difficult, or come at a cost, or be connected to outcomes we couldn't necessarily perceive?

And I love, too, the idea that the field on which virtue is enacted, is the field of politics. It gives one such a feeling of scope. Why, you are patting yourself on the back for a change made a hundred years ago. There's no expiration date!

We've been overthinking morality all this time.

No, you can ban women from the workmarket as much as you may want. And Blacks can vote. They can even ride the bus. Do you want a safe space?

Apologies for not answering your question! Yes, I do want the safe space (if it has windows, can't be windowless) - but not for crying - if that's okay - I am ruthlessly efficient where crying is concerned and don't need to interrupt my daily activities to do it. I just want the safe space, I want to decorate it (my house is so small!); as I want everything, the snowflake and the lollipop and the socks and anything else mentioned in this thread. I'm naturally a bit greedy. I used to consider this was a moral failing in myself, but now I know I've nothing to reproach myself for, on that score. Even now, though, it feels *almost* like it's wrong to be so greedy, to think so much about *things* as I do ... but no! Self-affirmation: I am a person who lets other people vote! The Good Samaritan has nothing on me!

You aren't really wrong that voting itself doesn't have much utility. But disallowing a person to participate in civic life just for being born a woman seems like an unfair mistreatment of women. The optics alone are crap. The meta message is that women are not full persons, and not capable like men are.

Wow, let me shed a tear for all those oppressed wymen whose voting choice are not the most significant cause of the degeneration that we are experiencing in the West.

Obviously - given the thrust of the post, it would be absurd to deny anyone the small pleasure of voting in 2019. I don't know why children can't vote, or why people who especially enjoy it can't vote over and over. And certainly as voting is now what passes for a sacrament, it would seemingly be very cruel to withhold it from even felons. Or non-citizens.

That said - we might look into the past and find that women were very important in ways they are not now. Or - shudder - that voting itself was not viewed as *so* all-consumingly important. All the possibilities are not exhausted by the present moment.

So then just let women do women stuff and let the men handle the men stuff? Fair enough, Peri. Pretty reactionary but everyone gets an opinion

"not treating people differently based on things that are outside their control unless it is materially important to what you need to do, such as sexual orientation, gender, race"

"Unless it is important to what you need to do" seems endlessly manipulable.

Ever "No, no!" to the Rightists who claim that nationality and gender are endlessly important to "what they need to do", ever "Yes, yes!" to the feminists and ethnic-minority activists who claim considering it is endlessly important to "what they need to do"....

On the other issues, I don’t see the US left as being more “socialist” than the right—if you’re going by the traditional definition of state control of the means of production. Trump ordering companies where to put their production facilities seems to be a far stronger example of state control of the means of production than the higher taxes and redistribution supported by the mainstream left (of course there’s an element that supports nationalization but I don’t think they will get anywhere—notice how the Democratic candidates except Sanders are already all backing away from Medicare for All).

There is nothing “conspiratorial” about privilege. Trump’s descendants are probably going to remain wealthier than mine on average for hundreds of years into the future. This isn’t because of some conspiracy but because past wealth and power naturally reproduces among similar people as most people share resources among their friends and family. In the past, white people had all the wealth and most people saw their race as a type of family and shared resources within that race. This naturally leads to privilege in the sense that the average white person is more advantaged in life than the average non-white person of similar personal characteristics. Fortunately, there is cultural and moral progress being made here—I don’t think there’s much politics can do, but I’ve seen in business that there is much more effort to go beyond friends and family for hires, and much more disapproval of nepotism with many companies even prohibiting the hiring of executives’ family members. Globally, the existence of privilege seems quite obvious—your typical American would certainly be much worse off had they been born in the Gaza Strip.

However, it does seem conspiratorial to accuse Democrats of wanting to suppress free speech. What laws have they proposed to suppress free speech? At most the examples are things like people being uninvited from college campuses, but there are plenty of other equally good places to speak and no right to give your speech in any particular place. I would say the worst examples of suppression of free speech in the US today are being being denied visas for their political views, a policy more supported on the right.

"However, it does seem conspiratorial to accuse Democrats of wanting to suppress free speech. What laws have they proposed to suppress free speech?"

Here is a big, ugly one.

And here's one that hasn't resulted in legislative proposals yet, but seems likely to in the future given the position of the Democratic rank-and-file (51% of Democrats favor criminalizing hate speech vs just 26% opposed).

There is nothing “conspiratorial” about privilege.

A lot of the white privilege talk is indeed highly conspiratorial, in that the people using that phrase often seem to believe that all differences in measurable outcomes between native whites and any other group are due to racial privilege operating in covert but mendacious ways. This is reductive and absurd, usually, but it furthers the goals of the people repeating it, so.....

The US Left has indeed long, and much more so recently, count many people among it who identify as socialists and who would hotly contest your claim that the Left is not more socialist than the Right. Whether such people are the average, they are nonetheless largely the ones driving current polarization. The Great Awokening is a thing, dude.

The words "state-ownership and socialism" are not values, they are tokens.

Remember Obama the Socialist? It wasn't because he was in any meaningful sense. It was because the words, the tokens, animated the base. Even then.

Obama indeed was not socialist. But Bernie is, and "the Squad" generally are, and a significant percentage of increasingly motivated activists are.

Obama got called a socialist plenty, as does every Democrat. Only Bernie actually is one. It's a meaningless word like fascist.

If it were a meaningless word, hard to see how you could agree Sanders "really is one"!

Sorry, forgot that no one understands nuance here.

Meaningless when used so meaninglessly, like when people call Trump a fascist or Hillary a socialist. Basically the dummy left calls all Reps fascists/racists and the dummy right calls all Dems socialists. No meaning is conveyed there.

Great for you. But there is an actual resurgence of socialism right now (if you have spending much time online in groups of people mostly under the age of 40), hence the popularity of Sanders (who you agree *is* actually a socialist), at least among a certain demographic, and this is of course linked to the current moment of "polarization".

I balk at the term "progressive." But I also balk at what seems to be a lazy way to categorize people, into Democrat and Republican.

Me too. That's why I call Democrats social justice warriors and Republicans racist old white guys.

I balk at the term "morality." Justice and kindness are hardly new ideas. "Testing the resilience of society to a continual expansion of what is mainstream" is more accurate, in that it does indeed progress in one direction.

Invoking an increase in the sum total of moral thoughts and actions, on the other hand, suggests progress toward a secular version of the Kingdom of God on earth.

Obviously, this is breathtakingly hubristic; indeed enters the realm of fantasy. Clearly humility has lost its place as one of the virtues.

It's the work of political markets that, in time, converge the views of left and right, somewhere close to the center. Sure, individual views may change somewhat, but the power of the voters to cancel an individual politician is all the motivation the politician needs for change; that's the kind of cancel culture the far right has exercised to eliminate moderates in primaries. But change is not always symmetrical. For example, the rising power of black voters in the South may not change views about some cultural issues such as gay marriage in a progressive direction. Of course, political markets are not free markets: they are subject to being rigged when too much power is concentrated. What's needed is a form of antitrust enforcement in order to make political markets free. Business has a long history of rigging markets to their advantage, and so do politicians. In the former case, predatory acquisitions have become the strategy of the tech giants to stifle business competition, while in the former case voter suppression has become the strategy of Republicans to stifle political competition. In the past, the courts have been enforcer of competition in both cases. In response, Republicans have been packing the courts with friendly judges, judges who say they favor markets but in fact only favor markets when markets produce the results preferred by their patrons. Markets in everything, including hypocrisy.

"Progress" in moral issues equals acceptance of the immorality of fringe groups, at least legally. Progressives find a home in left-wing politics because that's where changes are engineered, where abortion and transexuality become the norm and blood sports like cock-fighting and deer hunting are forbidden.

Of course, there's much confusion. For instance, it's virtuous to catch a fish and return it to the water unless it's a trophy, a practice that can only be described as fish torture. It's immoral for a 60 year old man to have sex with a 19 year old female but her morality isn't an issue. Women that accept money and favors for sex are no longer prostitutes but instead victims.

"Progress" in moral issues equals acceptance of the immorality of fringe groups, at least legally.

So, you think ending separate but equal in the U.S. is only considered progress because it equals acceptance of the immorality of fringe groups, at least legally?

Strange that your examples seem to completely ignore the progress involving the moral (and legal, obviously) issue of treating a group of people as second class American citizens because of their skin color, as was previously routine.

There is nothing "progressive" in treating subhumans as full humans.
This is just stupidity.

Isn't the technical term Untermenschen?

Assuming you are not actually being a sheer troll, of course. Though not of the variety likely to need to worry about about such comments remaining in their full glory for all to read.

I think wanting correct usage of terms under a post that uses the term "progressive" in relation to social issues (when it's clear that in this domain the term simply cannot exist) is a characteristic trait of the small liberast mind.

"Liberast" is a Russian word. Doesn't exist in English. Even Urban Dictionary doesn't have it. You lose points for suboptimal verisimilitude.

Liberast is a neologism that is used in a bunch of other slavic languages as well.
I wasn't aware we were playing a game, if I win, will I get Europe cleaned of non-white scum?

You'll never win

Pretty convincing argument. typical for a liberast.

Just a fact.

Facts != predictions about the future via inductive reasoning

I'm not certain I'll win but double-digit IQ liberasts like you are destined to lose.

But keep up the good work.

Only you know what game you are playing, but I have a theory.

Using odd Russian-derived wording here and elsewhere—for instance "standing" on one's knees (стоять на коленях) instead of "kneeling", as in the title of the Reddit post recently announced to be part of a campaign—is not a telltale blunder, but rather an intentional clue. A signature move.

The whole point is to get caught. That way polarization is promoted twice: once with the original posts, which sometimes go unnoticed, and later a much bigger payoff when the sinister trolling plot is revealed and everybody panics.

If you think that Russian trolls are intentionally promoting polarization in the comments of a post in a relatively obscure (at least compared to major news sites) blog, I have some magic beans to sell you.

No one pays me and I'm not part of a troll factory (lol), I just sincerely hate you and everything you stand for.

The forum where the trolling takes place is not important. Whether the forum is popular or obscure, foreign troll campaigns are often barely noticeable above the background noise of all the bonafide homegrown trolls and nutters.

The real payoff, as I mentioned, is the meta-trolling that happens when the discovery of the trolling campaign is publicized. This promotes polarization, since even moderate opposing viewpoints become delegitimized: people who disagree with me do not arrive at their opinions honestly, but rather they are all either dupes of trolls or trolls themselves.

Hence the value of sprinkling occasional telltale clues into the textual mix, leading investigators by the nose to discover what they were meant to discover.

I guess you also walk around your house with a tinfoil hat?

The only minority that matters in Progressland are African-Americans, whom are so oppressed that they have been elected to the highest office in the land, are stars in the fields of entertainment and sports and among the most wealthy figures (see Oprah) in the country. On the other hand, native Americans have been regarded as vermin for centuries, in part because they controlled access to valuable land, which turned out to be their death warrant. In fact, immediately after the conclusion of the War Between The States, freed blacks were organized into military units known as the "Buffalo Soldiers" for the sole purpose of carrying on the extermination of the aboriginals.

I love how fascists keep inventing excuses to persecute people they don't like. Basically "those Jews don't believe in the sacraments; I bet they are poisoning my well".

It's not an excuse if it's true.

The non-ironic use of “progressive” is the tip off.

It's how Lenin, Stalin, Mao, et al were able to murder 100 million in the past century.

To them, 6% of the population allied with academics, Democrats, and the media are the majority.

Of course, sodomy has infinite, redeeming social value; but biology, natural law, and objective truth are public enemy No. 1, 2, and 3.

Progressivism is 50% emotion and 50% psychiatric pathology.

"Of course, sodomy has infinite, redeeming social value; but biology, natural law, and objective truth are public enemy No. 1, 2, and 3."

"Infinite, redeeming value" as in ot reason to persecute people, you know. But the far-right really defends the "biology, natural law, and objective truth" that Blacks, gays and women are inferior and should not be treated as human beings. Who else would?

Turing test fail for this bot.

He's exactly describing your buddies John, asdf, and the rest of the hardest Trumpies

The percentage of Americans who think African Americans or gays should not be treated as human beings is about zero. It’s 2019, Kanye visits the White House, an openly gay man was a headline speaker at the RNC Convention, the current Republican President supports gay marriage, and he signed into law major sentencing reform undoing harsh criminal sentencing guidelines that Biden wrote.

Come on dude.

John is obviously another Thiago performance art piece

Asdf is a real hardcore racist. You win that one

I can assure you I'm as hardcore a racist as they get.

Also, this is not true of course:
"The percentage of Americans who think African Americans or gays should not be treated as human beings is about zero. "

If you had actually read timur kuran and looked at the data, you would have known that at least 7-8% of white americans are hardcore racists like me and another 10-15% lean towards white separatism.

"both Democrats and Republicans are adopting more progressive views on moral issues, although at a different rate."

Why are we legislating morality? Government should be about boring tidbits like taxes, services, and other matters of administration. Leave the morality for family and community.

You think divorce, abortion, gay marriage and guns have nothing to do with legislation? And, if having something to do with legislation, have nothing to do with moral issues?

Divorce and marriage (gay or otherwise) shouldn’t be covered by legislation. The law should treat everyone as an individual person and let them live with whoever they want.

It should be up to local communities whether to allow guns and abortion. Unlike national legislation, local regulations are not a significant infringement of liberty because they do not prevent people from easily having guns or abortion in a neighboring locality.

I think society needs laws to be organized.

On gay marriage and drug legalization, this is true -- but both Ds and Rs were very late on these issues. Libertarians were many decades ahead (gay marriage was endorsed in the first Libertarian party platform in 1972). Let's hope that the Ds and Rs catch (back) to the Ls on other issues such as free speech rights (Ds) and free trade (both Rs and Ds sadly) and do it much more quickly this time.

I think this idea that progressive adopt new ideas more quickly is a good framework to think of the differences between them.

It does support the view that liberals are more advanced or ahead in their morals, but this is not accurate. Yes, sometimes they’ll jump on a view that conservatives will later adopt, such as attitudes to gay marriage, inter-racial marriage, civil right, and others.

But other times they jump on a view that they later abandon. Eugenics would be the obvious example, but you can find others. For example liberals are more likely to be anti-vaxers and to oppose GMOs.

In short, Liberals tend to like exciting new ideas, which sometimes leads them into error, and conservatives are reluctant to adopt new ideas, which also sometimes leads to error.

"For example liberals are more likely to be anti-vaxers"

Yet, it was the Republican debates which became anti-vaxer shows.

While you can perhaps lay the 1910s/20s eugenics craze at the feet of the left, it's an ancient idea, and fascist and other conservative institutions have been happy to adopt it with enthusiasm when it fits their needs.

That wave of eugenics seems to me to stem as much from the over-enthusiasm for technological or institutional fixes for problems, which isn't necessarily solely a left thing either. And was also caught up in the revolution of thinking unleashed by Darwin, which upended a lot of entrenched power.

In other words, it is useful to separate the idea from their excesses. Just as the left now celebrates and protects the rights of people who do not conform to society's pigeonholing, they may go overboard in that pursuit, such as in giving voice to women who have long been subject to injustice on the matter of rape and workplace/sexual abuse. This is a worthwhile program, albeit gone overboard in trampling rights on the question of metoo/believewomen. It's the oversteer that is problematic, not the underlying issue.

But both right and left are happy to get caught up thinking there are legislative/top down solutions to fix what they view as society's problems. Or that society is fixable in the first place.

Vaccination resistance, meanwhile, has a home both on the natural health & anti-corporate left as well as the anti-authoritarian & anti-government right.

To be clear, I view the 1920's eugenics movement as barbaric and an absolute denial of the humanity of the people affected.

Whether or not understood as part of the medical technology craze that included the syphilis experiments and eventually lobotomy, it was still an unmitigated abomination that has a disturbing kinship with Nazism's worst impulses.

But it's interesting that you would mention eugenics disparagingly, then without irony endorse the top-down one-size-fits-all government-mandated vaccination program, which most certainly has its roots in the same progressive notion of perfectibility via elite institutional and technological means, with an utter disregard for individual choice, individual situations, or dismissal of the very real victims who sacrifice (via adverse reactions) for the good of society overall.

A world of chinless sickly Nazis?


We rely on herd immunity from vaccinations. There’s no human right to be a plague rat.

meet slippery

pretty much thats the argument used to castrate degenerates

The problem with calling "slippery slope" to counter anything is that you can shut down any change with it, no matter how beneficial or small. Everything could just be a prelude to doing too much of something.

So no, vaccinations will not lead to castrating degenerates (which I believe still happens to some pedophiles, and I approve). It's a totally different thing.

Such is life in Trump's America.

Glaciers, too, move at a slower pace. They are shrinking, and the ice that remains is older and has less and less of a long term effect on the ecosystem. But they are very good at getting people and the media to pay enormous amounts of attention to their lot in life.

Sure the disagreement is probably temporary on any one single issue. But that's different from the overall polarization effect being an illusion.

Also the things that get a lot of airtime currently seem to be distinct from the more longstanding issues. Historically -- as in things with enough data for this analysis to see -- it's been about giving equal treatment to different people. Now I'm seeing people insist that women should in essence be able to overswear men (the whole believewomen / believevictims thing), and that individuals should be explicitly treated differently in order to get statistically similar group outcomes.
I'm not sure what to think of all the trans stuff. Some of it seems to be about legislating politeness, some of it seems to be about homophobia, and some of it seems to be about doing away with our current gender-based "separate but equal" spaces like restrooms (except, for some reason mostly focused on the half of those spaces that are currently reserved for women). So some parts maybe are about equality in the traditional sense (erasing gendered spaces), but others aren't.

Leftists don't care about Chesterton's Fence. Some of the things they decide they want will turn out to make sense; some won't. The ones that do make sense, the rest of us will follow along once we've had time to check that it does indeed make sense. But others don't make sense, and we need to keep society grounded until that more reckless crowd realizes that.

Rightist don't actually care about the fence either.

"Whatever it is, I'm against it...."

if by going “slower” the author means opposing ideas stridently until it eventual becomes clear that the world has left them behind, then yes.

The problem with this theory is that polarization is happening all over the world, including Poland and Thailand and Brazil and Hong Kong to pick some random examples. And in many of those places there is no progressive secular trend. So what is the general theory that encompasses all these different cases, other than "blame the Internet"?

Thailand is inherently unstable with all those coups. Brazil and Poland have freed themselves from communist totalitarianism.

Um, Hong Kong is not about polarisation, it is about preventing a total takeover by the communists.

Something that used to concern Americans, before a former KGB officer became BFF with Trump.

You mean, prevent the Chinese from taking over a legitimate part of China?

Interesting point - really, what was "One country, two systems" but a colonialist plot to keep the masses from regaining what was properly theirs, with the CCO at the vanguard of this glorious struggle to restore true freedom to Hong Kong.

Was that properly laughable as a defense of a basically totalitarian government crushing any opposition to its desire to have absolute power?

"Morality"? --itself too quaint a notion to merit one moment's reflection.

Replace "moral issues" in the cited passage with "convenience" to see just what I mean . . .

("Convenience" today is of course far more convenient than in earlier eras: because in our age of Holy Science the only available categorical imperative derives not from "should, must, ought" but from "can"--the expression of mere technical ability.

Who really wants to cultivate "moral sentimentalism" today?

"Who really wants to cultivate 'moral sentimentalism'"?
I know. There are Blacks voting!

We live multidimensional lives. We have multidimensional desires. But in the American system those dimensions must be flattened in the end to a binary choice. Political actors, knowing this, seek to split the population for a win. They'll go high, with "plans for this or that" but it is often easier to go low, and split with some emotional wedge issue. Perversely, concrete plans are often judged more harshly by rational critics, because they see something they can sink their teeth into. They'll let the crazier emotional appeals roll right by, because they see it all as beneath them.

It sometimes seems a two order dysfunction. We have base appeals ("Pocahontas") and an intellectual class which does not feel at all animated to oppose such things. Better to write something on tax rates, and accidentally on purpose, reinforce the functional decline in rationality and governance (actively opposing the concrete, and implicitly rewarding crazier talk).

So, this paper seems fine. But it obviously offers no path to improvement. Say, a little moral action, moral signalling even, when it matters

Overall, we have been moving to the left, yes. It's probably as we get richer we keep expanding our definition of what society is responsible for, and some of it is good. The bad also remains. Erosion of personal liberties is concerning, especially 1st amendment rights. They've been holding up, but there has been a shift in support of them. @nd amendment rights have faired well, but that was in spite of progressives.
Progressives always seem to overshoot, conservatives drag their feet, and in the end things work out broadly speaking. It was Trump who was the first President to run on a pro gay marriage platform, and Cheney who was the first on a (mainstream) ticket to be pro gay marriage.

Whatever threat the left might pose to the first amendment is larely a matter of social pressure and boycotts around the edges. It's the right that seeks to eliminate the first as a matter of policy and policing. ( I am referring to the press and assembly, not religion, which the right has misconstrued into a call for a national religion). The right of course is perfectly happy to enact political correctness of its own flavor.

And yes, it is an interesting quirk that the left often lays the ground for social change, but then has to wait around for a public conservative to finally take the plunge before its considered fulfilled. Of course, were a Democrat to put for example gay marriage front and center in their personal life/campaign, the apoplectic gnashing and death threats from the right would have overwhelmed any other coverage. So, yes, we all sit around and wait for someone on the right to acknowledge the obvious, in some sort of papal nod ceremony that makes it okay for everyone else on the right to move on.



One of the leading contenders for President is a gay man who is, in fact, married to a man. It’s a major part of his personal narrative. The right wing media, in their “gnashing of teeth and death threats” called him an extremely impressive young politician. We ran this movie months ago. You apparently missed it. The Fox interview with him is still on YouTube. Believe it was Chris Wallace.

His crossover appeal in polls, the gay married candidate, of Republicans is among the highest in the field, I believe only under Yang and maybe Tulsi.

You’re holding a snowball in the Senate chambers ranting about global warming.


no yourself

this event you describe is subsequent to the events described above

do try to keep up please

Progressives always seem to overshoot, conservatives drag their feet, and in the end things work out broadly speaking.

Crime is up 30-40 times per capita in the last century. Illegitimate children went from ~2% of the population to ~50%. Folk no longer able to get married and buy their own house. Marriage is illegal anyway. Literacy is down. Life expectancy trends have reversed.

Repeat: that's 30-40 times. 3000%, not 30%. Burglary in England and Wales increased by 171 times. That's 17,000%.

Controversial but true: suicide is mainly about lack of purpose. Suicide is way up. I worry less about the dead than about the living who must tolerate intolerable depression.

Not to mention the hundreds of millions democided in the last century.

Things haven't worked out.

One of the best books on polarization, one which incorporates network analytics, follows transmission paths for stories, etc. is a book by several Harvard Profs. The book, Network Propaganda: Manipulation, Disinformation and Radicalization in American Politics (Oxford Press 2018) is available online for free at Harvard's Berkman Klein Center for the Internet and Society. Here is a link:

Awesome link, it’s in my pile.

Thanks for sharing

"Conservatism is just progressivism driving at the speed limit."
- Michael Malice

I've followed conservatives on the highway, they ride the brakes even going uphill, and forget to cancel their turn signals.

I think those are liberals reciting the progressive narrative over and over and over and over....

The is no liberal and conservative; only rational, moral human beings vs. the establishment Bolsheviks.

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