Jots with Dots 9/4

Clayton Kershaw is going get 20 victories in under 30 starts. Has this happened before?I don’t see that the sabermetric guys (I’m not geeky like that myself) have weighed in on this.

Glenn Beck says Hillary is the next President. I can’t get beyond the firewall to grab the link I want. In any event, I don’t agree. I think there’s as good a chance Joe Biden is the next President. Or… Rand Paul.

GOP takeover of the Senate: 538 puts it as 64% likely. So this will happen. What then? I’m not worried about ObamaCare. Ya know, it probably stays. But figure, some harmless and popular changes that are desirable probably get passed to the President at that point. Maybe elimination of the device tax and the employer mandate. Does the President veto all that stuff? When the GOP congress starts passing stuff and the President vetoes it, who’s the obstructionist then? What about immigration? If there’s a GOP immigration bill with normalization AND border security, does the President veto that because it’s got border security?

Dumb Slate article.

The theory apparently is, conservatives embrace intuitive bits of knowledge, and intuitive bits of knowledge don’t usually represent truth and its nuances. So conservatives are dumb for their inability to process nuance. Liberals are smart for being the opposite, chortle, chortle. An SRC favorite right there.

In a Facebook post, Megan McArdle reveals the Slate article as hitched to very junky science. A tangential argument is, who is more deferential to authority, liberals or conservatives? In her Bloomberg space, McArdle notes that liberals like to engage in projection there.

McArdle’s Exhibit A that liberals are actually the real authoritarians are some liberal neuroscientists and psychologists who were taken aback at lefty deference to communist authorities in communist countries.

Chait’s got a beef with that.

Big thing is, he doesn’t think lefty and liberal are a proper apples and apples grouping for comparison. Thus, leftist deference to authority in leftist authoritarian countries cannot infer anything about liberal deference to authority in liberal countries.

Really? I think left and liberal translate to each other perfectly well, and that Chait is being excessively literal in playing a word game to claim otherwise.

The word game is that Chait wants the word ‘liberal’ to be perceived in its most flattering light. IE, in ways that are a bit Roosevelt-ian, Humphrey-ite, and LBJ-ish, and not in ways associated with authoritarianism and the rest of the world’s hard left. Thing is, that’s not what American liberalism is these days. Is it? Liberalism these days in the US is progressive-ism, with that being the road to radical egalitarianism and neo-ludditism without bloody revolution.

So yeah, here we have a political system that makes liberalism superficially less extreme than socialism. But insofar as the premise of cognitive obedience to authority is to be discerned over a left / right spectrum, there isn’t nearly as much ideological space between the world’s hard left and American progressives as Chait might claim. They’re on the left, and they believe in the same things. If there were no Constitution, they’d be indistinguishable, for American progressives generally do not believe in any limiting principles to protect individual rights from state authoritarianism, provided that authoritarianism is done in the name of egalitarianism.

But look, it’s really just an air biscuit by Chait to see who turns up their nose. McArdle is slapping around an intellectual inferior who’s inartfully presenting one of the lefts pet tropes. Chait’s trying to distract from that. He can’t do it directly, because McArdle is right, and he’s come off bad in engagements with her in the past.

Related: Lefty is steamed those popular dystopian YA books teach kids to reject state authoritarianism:


3 thoughts on “Jots with Dots 9/4

  1. pm1956

    Denny McClain was 31-6, and Bob Gibson was 22-9 (with a 1.12 ERA, and 28 complete games).

    Kershaw is great, but….some perspective is needed. I miss the complete game pitchers.

    I don’t think Obama has anything against border security–but pointless stunts like Perry sending the national Guard to the Border to do nothing is grandstanding, as is most of the GOP stuff wrt immigration.

    McArdle is simplistic. The major point is that politics is NOT a continuum, going from right to left. That is a simplification, which leads to faulty reasoning, and McArdle’s stuff on this is an example of that. There are authoritarians on both the right (people who are socially conservative generally want to use government authority to prevent abortions or gay marriage or whatever their preferred views on social issues might be) and on the left. There have been plenty of conservative authoritarian regimes around the world (Tsarist Russia, Franco’s Spain, Putin’s Russia, Saudi Arabia, the Mullahs in Iran) as well as leftist authoritarian regimes (USSR, Castro’s Cuba. Mao’s China–although all of these eventually have become conservative authoritarian over time–eventaully all rulers tend to become conservative as they become more interested in preserving thier own rule and less interested in thier initial ideology).

    Even in US domestic politics, the left/right divide does not work as a continuum. Libertarians and liberals share a committment to individual freedoms, while they would split on a government role in economic issues. Conservatives like to oppose government role in the economy, while they like a strong government role in defence and social order. Populists like a strong government role in both the economy and in social issues. Chait was right–liberals and communists are very different and not at all related. Chait did not distinguish between left and liberal, but between liberal and communist. Remember that the Communists in the USSR (Lenin and the Bolsheviks) came to power by overthrowing a liberal government (Kerensky). McArdle’s example was silly.

    Further, you don’t really seem to understand what progressives are/were. It is silly to speak of liberals and progressives and communists as being on a continuum. They are very different things, and each of them has historically defined definitions that vary greatly over time. There was a Progressive period in our history, and Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson and Herbert Hoover were all Progressives. The Progressives were hardly liberal–they advocated a strong government police role, they advocated prohibition, and they were not at all friendly to labor. Perhaps you need to re-read some of your history and to realize that Adam Smith was a liberal, that john Stuart Mill was a liberal, that John Locke was a liberal, and that the US Constitution is the epitome of a liberal document. Liberalsim is first and foremost a belief in individual rights–and conservatism was a belief in nationalistic and collectivistic rights. Your analysis is ahistoric.

  2. pm1956

    Here is a nice little article that i think explains a lot about the kinds of authoritarianisms that exist…

    I mean, clearly, Chavez was lefty-ish, but when a regime that he founded starts to ossify like this, and take on religious overtones, and really becomes focussed on protecting and preserving the ones in power into the future, it starts to become fundamentally conservative instead. In that sense, authoritarianism is basically conservative, in that it is all about maintaining a specific power elite into the future. The opposite of authoritarianism would perhaps be anarchy (no one in power), with a system like democracy being neutral (a system of rules that allows for the free contestation for power–the system exists separately from social groups and potentially allows for any of those groups–even groups that do not yet exist– to be in power).


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