Friday, June 25, 2021

On the belief that the other side can't be reasoned with

 One philosopher and blogger that I know has indicated that he now will accept friend requests on Facebook only from those who share his conservative political views. Liberals, he says, are anti-logic and inaccessible to reason. 

On the other hand, if conservatism is true, it isn't the conservatives who stand in need  of persuading. 

I suppose you could take that attitude on either side of the political spectrum, or the religious spectrum for that matter. On religious questions, sometimes Christians bring out Rom. 1: 18-20 to explain nonbelief. 

18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

This may be true, but bringing this up to an atheist leaves you with the job of proving that it is so. Just asserting it does nothing and accomplishes less. 

At the same time I have seen atheists, under the influence of the new atheists, go from fostering real discussion between themselves and believers to treating them as if they cannot be reasoned with. John Loftus is who I have in mind  here. 

C. S. Lewis founded the Oxford Socratic Club on the idea that Christians should open a dialogue with those who don't believe and have real discussions. In politics, I don't think American democracy can survive the conviction that the other side can't be reasoned with. Nor can it survive the widespread belief that the other side is so evil that anything done to support one's own side is OK, since the alternative is, well, the eeevil other side. 


204 comments:

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Kevin said...

And the only antidote for that behavior is correction from one's own side.

Everyone loves to criticize bad behavior in the other side of a topic, but when those on the same side do the exact same behavior, it gets overlooked. All that shows is that the problem isn't the behavior, but rather the crime of disagreement.

And as we ignore the bad behavior of our own side and criticize the behavior of the other, the two sides naturally drift apart and stop listening to each other.

Few possess the courage and integrity to focus on the behavior of their own side. Intellectual cowards and hypocrites are the problem.

bmiller said...

In politics, I don't think American democracy can survive the conviction that the other side can't be reasoned with. Nor can it survive the widespread belief that the other side is so evil that anything done to support one's own side is OK, since the alternative is, well, the eeevil other side.

I can understand how you can persuade one side that you can be reasoned with. That would be to engage in reasonable arguments. But how would you persuade someone that you are not eeevil if they think you are? If they think you are evil, then any argument you bring up will be dismissed as an evil trick.

bmiller said...

Kevin,

There are Republicans that are racists, greedy etc. There are also Democrats that are communists, anarchists etc.

But I don't think you are a racist because you vote Republican and I don't think that everyone that votes Democrat want the good old days of Stalin to return. Most everyone realises this but the will to win the political battle causes some otherwise resonable people to excuse themselves from truthful restraint.

I don't think the problem is that we should beat up people that vote the way we do although the other side might encourage that. I also don't think it serves a purpose to beat up people in office that we don't want removed although the other side might encourage that.

But voters ultimately criticize bad behavior with their votes. If behavior is criminal then there are judicial remedies.

Martin said...

Bill Vallicella is absolutely infuriating. It's mind-blowing how someone can exist who is that smart but also incredibly stupid at the same time. He continually misrepresents the position of Democratic and leftist policies, but of course no one can correct him since he refuses to allow comments anywhere. And then his mouth is frothing with rage over what he thinks the Democratic position is, which is false. And he clearly has utter hatred for us on the left. I agree with bmiller. I don't know how a country can survive like this; I think we are witnessing the end of the country.

Everything Trump Touches Dies, and that includes the intelligence of people like Vallicella. "Conservatism" used to mean things like "free market" and "individual responsibility." But now it just means "whatever Donald Trump wants." If Trump wants huge national debt, no problem. It was a big problem when Obama was president, but as long as Donald Trump is doing it, it's fine.

What a pathetic state of affairs....

Kevin said...

An excellent example. Democrats and leftists misrepresent Republicans and conservatives all the time. No mention of that though, just when the right does it to the left. Meaning the anger isn't at the behavior, it's simply at the wrong target.

A pathetic state of affairs indeed.

Martin said...

Kevin,

I'm talking about one person, Bill Vallicella, who continually makes misrepresentations of Democratic positions and then closes himself off from any conversations with Democrats because he thinks they are evil, because of the positions he thinks they hold which they do not, but he'll never know because of his misrepresentations that never are corrected.

I'm glad Victor Reppert is commenting back on him on FB.

Starhopper said...

It's hard to be objective, when the other side is so demonstrably evil. :-)

bmiller said...

I too am glad to see Victor making comments on Bill's FB and Bill responding to him. This is how misrepresentations get cleared up. I wish he would elaborate here as much as he did there.

But you have to admit proclaiming things like "Everything Trump Touches Dies" is not going to get Trump supporters to listen to you any more than someone proclaiming "Everything Obama Touches Dies" will get Obama supporters to listen to you. Civility starts with ourselves.

Victor Reppert said...

To clarify on Vallicella, Bill maintained that I was not worth discussing politics with based on our discussions of immigration from years ago. He had asked me if I supported open borders, and I said no. I believe in fair borders, in that I think a poor law-abiding citizen in Honduras should have the same chance of coming to America legally as a wealthy one in Norway. But at the end of the day, there will be some people and things who need to be kept out, and so we can't have a fully open border. (My blog entry was actually critiqued by people who support open by the way.) He then claimed that although I claim not to be a supporter of open borders, I must be one, since I oppose a border wall, since he claims a border wall is necessary, but not sufficient for border security. I disagree that it is necessary, but he thinks that proves my insincerity, and I must be an open borders kind of guy after all.

Victor Reppert said...

He unfriended me, so that is how that all turned out.

bmiller said...

Maybe it would have helped to be constructive and explain how your way of keeping people out is superior to his and explain why and how. Did you do that?

Martin said...

>He unfriended me, so that is how that all turned out.

I predicted correctly. He cannot have his beliefs challenged, and he uses the cover of "not worth discussing with" as an excuse for sealing himself in a bubble. He thinks he has it all figured out, that Democrats are pure evil, and any challenge to that is not accepted.

Trumpism is incoherent. It has no policies. It's all bombast and bullying and anger, but since it has no policies, when someone attempts to argue against it with policies (as Victor did on FB), it's exposed for the sham it is. It's followers have so wrapped up their identity in it, however, that they cannot admit to themselves that they have no coherent position, so the result is what you see.

Starhopper said...

"Trumpism is incoherent. It has no policies."

I agree with you as to Trump himself, but the Trumpists by and large do have what may be called policies. They are for white supremacy, patriarchy (subordination of women), environmental degradation, militarism, authoritarianism, historical revisionism (e.g., no mention of slavery or genocide of the Indians), and are against science, education, conservationism, unions, democracy, and a free press.

Victor Reppert said...

I had arguments for that. First, you only have so much money to spend on border security. A border wall is expensive, it requires forcing people who live in the path of the wall out of their homes, some of the land belongs to tribes, and it damages the environment. A wall is a big object you can point to that says "Boy, we're being tough on illegal immigration," but if you use the same money on electronic surveillance and enhancing detection, then wouldn't that give you more bang for your buck than a wall? She wasn't thinking about the Pythagorean Theorem when she said this, but Janet Napolitano said "Show me a 50-foot wall, and I'll show you a 51 foot ladder." Not to mention a helicopter. I'm sure coyotes can afford a few of those if they need them. As I said, the budget is not infinite, and if a Democrat wants something, say, like Medicare for all, she is rightly asked how she will pay for it. It is the same with a border wall. To lie and say Mexico will pay for it is like saying that if we create a British-style health care program in America, the British will pay for it. So the question has to be whether a wall gives you more, or less, bang for your buck than the same amount of money and resources spent on other methods of border security. The other methods avoid some of the downsides I mentioned earlier.

But in one sense this doesn't matter. He was implying that since I am a Democrat, and I oppose a wall, it MUST be because I want lots of illegal immigrants coming to America, presumably so that we can give them citizenship and voting rights, and they will all vote Democratic and keep Democrats in power permanently. In other words, he thinks that I cannot possibly sincerely believe that other means are better for border security than building a wall.

Victor Reppert said...

He is free to disagree with me and believe that we do need a wall for border security. He can be right about that, and still be wrong in supposing that anyone who opposes a border wall opposes border security and wants open borders. Non sequitur.

bmiller said...

Victor,

As far as I can tell, this is the only constructive argument you tried to make:

but if you use the same money on electronic surveillance and enhancing detection, then wouldn't that give you more bang for your buck than a wall?

But how much better security at how much less cost? Do you have numbers and studies to back your assertions up? If your way is superior, then why aren't the Democrats passing bills to get it done?

It seems the rest of your arguments (aside from the obligatory TDS) would apply to any attempt at border security since there are always ways to defeat any security system. Doing that gives the impression that you are arguing against security per se.

Victor Reppert said...

Is there any derangement in pointing out the Trump repeatedly promised that Mexico would pay for the wall?

Isn't the burden of proof on the side of methods of security that don't harm the environment and don't kick people out of their homes to build it?

This was from the Obama administration on border security. The Obama administration improved border security. They just didn't do it in such a showoff-y way.

https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/issues/immigration/border-security

bmiller said...

Yes it is derangement to continue to whine about Trump.

The burden of proof is on the person putting forth an argument. You are arguing that you know of a system that is cheaper and better than a wall. How much cheaper and how much better? It's beginning to look like Bill has a point.

Victor Reppert said...

No, he made the case that a border wall is necessary for border security, and offered no evidence for that claim.

On the case for a "smart wall" see this.

https://www.vox.com/recode/2019/5/16/18511583/smart-border-wall-drones-sensors-ai

Look, if I can spend the same money on a 2021 Toyota Corolla that I can on a Model T Ford, and I actually want to get around, I'm going with the Corolla. A wall makes a show of border security, but it's kind of like the death penalty. It seems tough on murderers, but it matters a lot more in the area of deterrence whether murderers can expect to be caught than what we do with them once they are caught, since even if they don't get executed, they go to prison.

By the way, the Left is not happy with Biden's recommendation that we enhance border surveillance.

https://capitalandmain.com/getting-past-smart-walls-to-build-a-smart-immigration-policy-0430

As for Trump, he still seems to be exercising influence on American politics. He is also the highest-profile advocate for a border wall. My point is that you have every right to ask how a government program, whether it's socialized medicine or a border wall, will be paid for.

bmiller said...

Victor,

You say you're for border security and claim you have a superior product. You claim your's is modern and your opponent's product is old and shoddy. Where's the beef? How much does your's cost vs his? How much more effective? By what measure?

BTW, I don't get your death penalty analogy. It needs more work.

Your article mentions SBINet but fails to mention it was canceled because the projected cost was going to be $30 billion. Why would this government project cost less? Then tell me how you calculate the cost of the "wall", which BTW already has these technologies in the plan where walls don't make sense. Why would this time be different? It seems to me that the wall scheme doesn't put all the eggs in one basket.

As for Trump.

The discussion I am having with you is whether a wall or your scheme is a better solution to border security and your reasons for believing your scheme is better. The only possible relevance I can think of for you to mention Trump in this context is that his support of a wall makes you reflexively opposed to it and expect other people to feel the same way. That is deranged.

bmiller said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Starhopper said...

"his support of a wall makes you reflexively opposed to it and expect other people to feel the same way. That is deranged"

By the above reasoning, Mitch McConnell is deranged, since whatever President Biden is for, he is against.

bmiller said...

Can any leftist make an argument without ad hominem slurs?

Starhopper said...

Can any rightist hear the truth without mistaking it for an ad hominem slur?

bmiller said...

The ad hominem fallacy is a specific form of the fallacy of irrelevance.

Trump's old statement is irrelevant to the subject of the cost and efficiency of different security schemes since no one is defending that old statement. Whining about Mitch McConnell is even less relevant.

Victor's OP was a complaint that Bill won't allow comments from leftists because he considers them not worth wasting time trying to have a serious dicussion with. It's looking to me like Bill is correct. Lucky for you guys I have some time to waste.

Victor Reppert said...

What I had begun talking about here was the unwillingness on the part of some, and Vallicella was who I had in mind, to engage with people on the other side from him politically, presumably because of "leftists" as he calls them are irrational and anti-logic, and as an example he used my claim that I support border security while opposing a border wall, claiming that this is evidence that I am somehow insincere in my support for border security and opposition to open borders. He claims a Trump-style physical barrier is absolutely necessary for border security, I have my doubts, thinking that a "smart wall" would be less expensive and more efficient.

I haven't actually done a detailed cost-benefit analysis of each plan, so it is at the intuitive level for me. That might be a problem if the other side actually had a cost-benefit analysis and was willing to go into the details of what would be involved in building their wall. I haven't seen it. If I needed to convince someone like Bill that a smart wall is better than a Trumpian wall, I might need to study that in more detail. But I was not doing that. Bill was claiming not only that

1) A physical border wall is necessary for border security.

which he believes, although I have not seen any proof of it from him, but also

2) All Democrats who say they believe in border security but oppose a border wall are insincere, and are really advocates of open borders, presumably in hopes of converting illegal immigrants into grateful Democratic voters and winning future elections for Democrats.

Now 2 does not follow from 1. Something similar is the case with respect to the existence of God. I can believe that the argument from reason is a good reason to believe that God exists without believing that everyone who rejects belief in God is somehow insincere or in bad faith. I'm not saying there is no such thing as bad faith, but charges like this are impossible for prove. In the same vein, atheists often too easily go from the reasons they might have for being an atheist to the idea that somehow believers are stupid of in bad faith. Ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked, as Dawkins says. But that is an extra step that requires extra proof.

To establish that 2 is false, I do not have to prove that 1 is true.

bmiller said...

So Victor.

You told Bill that he was wrong based on a feeling? with no data to back your position up?
That really is wasting people's time. Why would you do that? Also, what makes you think he wouldn't change his mind if you actually did show him your method was cheaper and more effective?

I did a google search and found that you 2 have been having arguments for years on various bills. He reached his conclusions about your political views well before the wall discussion, but I haven't seen him claim that you are an actual clandestine open borders advocate. He may suspect you are, or that your positions, if followed, end up with open borders. Your #2 claims he's told you outright that you are insincere. Can you point me to the exchange where he said this?

Victor Reppert said...

It was probably an unnecessary distraction to mention that Trump said Mexico would pay for the wall. I am not opposed to it because Trump is for it. Even a stopped watch is right twice every 24 hours.

bmiller said...

This may be your first baby-step in overcoming TDS. The admission that you don't have denigrate Trump as part of every argument you make. Baby-step because you still felt you had to denigrate Trump as part of your admission.

Your next challenge is to talk about hydroxychloroquine without mentioning the Orange Man.

One Brow said...

bmiller,
Your next challenge is to talk about hydroxychloroquine without mentioning the Orange Man.

It can be a very effective treatment for malaria, arthritis, or lupus. I wasn't aware there was any need to discuss it otherwise.

David Brightly said...

We could see this in the light of Haidt et al's Moral Foundations. If you follow BV's political writings you soon realise that he sees the US constitution and way of life as sacred values in Haidt's sense. A physical wall on the southern border is necessary to ensure these values are not diluted. VR, on the other hand, is more concerned with the fairness of immigration policy (Hondurans versus Norwegians) and its implementation (adjacent property owners, tax payers generally). BV often points out that there can be no rational discussion without common ground, and I agree with him. No amount of talk is likely to alter deep seated moral convictions. Rather the reverse I suspect.

Starhopper said...

My advocacy of Open Borders is grounded in personal experience. In the 1970s, I patrolled (in uniform) the East-West German border (the "Iron Curtain") and saw first hand the unspeakable horror of a nation, indeed a continent, divided by minefields and watchtowers. In the 1990s, I stood at Panmunjom and took in the so-called "DMZ" that divides North and South Korea, surely the worst, the most awful place in the world today. In the same decade, I stood on the Kuwait-Iraq border and took in the blown bridges, the dead-ended roads, and the deserted houses and former villages, surrendering themselves to the desert sands. In the 2000s, I saw with my own eyes the obscenity of the wall that divides Greek from Turkish Cyprus, often bisecting individual houses and places of business. If you have not witnessed these obscenities for yourself, you cannot understand the revulsion they produce in a person who has.

The very idea that my own own country might reproduce such visions of hell itself on our southern border is enough to make one want to vomit. This is not an "ideological" debate - it is a defining issue. Are you on the side of God Himself, who defended the "stranger amongst you", or are you on the side of Pharaoh? That is what is at stake here.

bmiller said...

Oh you're for walls all right. That's where you want to put Trump supporters behind.

David Brightly said...

The walls I have some familiarity with are the so-called 'peace lines' in Northern Ireland that separate protestant and unionist communities from catholic and nationalist ones.  These are people who can't trust each other to be peaceful but who are obliged to live in close proximity to one another.  The walls are horrible but they prevent greater horrors.  That is the conventional wisdom, at any rate.

bmiller said...

I heard one of the big sticking points for Brexit was that the open borders between Ireland and North Ireland would have to be closed because Ireland was still part of the EU while North Ireland wouldn't be.

Or are you talking about walls within a city?

Starhopper said...

The walls in Northern Ireland are not at all the same thing as the others I mentioned. You can still get around them. It just takes walking (or driving) a few hundred (or thousand) yards further. They are a sad necessity due to the not yet resolved animosities between Catholics and Protestants in Belfast, but they are in no way a barrier to movement between one neighborhood and another. They are there to give tempers a chance to cool - not to divide the city.

bmiller said...

Starhopper,

Walls are a barrier to movement from one place to another. That is their purpose.

Victor Reppert said...

Bill actually gave this argument on FB:

1. As Kant said, if you will the end, you will the means.
2. The only possible means to border security is a border wall.
3. You oppose a border wall.
4. Therefore, you oppose border security, and support open borders, no matter what you say to the contrary.

bmiller said...

Wow.

I don't know about Kant but it's a pretty strong statement to say that a border wall is the only possible means to border security. Armed guards is an obvious alternative.

Can you publish the discussion?

bmiller said...

This is from Bill's blog:

And isn't it obvious, or at least plausible, that if a country cannot exist without geographical borders, that these borders cannot be merely geographical in nature, but must also be political as well?

Take the Rio Grande. It is obviously not a social construct. It is a natural feature of the earth. But the southern border of the USA, its border with Mexico, is a social or socio-political construct. It is 'conventional' not 'natural.' The southern border might not have been the Rio Grande. But as things are, a river serves as the southern border.

My point is that, while a border must be naturally or physically realized by a river, or a coastline, or the crest of a mountain range, or by a wall or a fence (an electronic 'fence' would do) or whatever, borders are also political entities. Thus the Rio Grande is both a natural feature of the earth but also a political entity. And so what I want to say is that nothing can count as a country in the sense of 'country' relevant to a definition of 'patriotism' if it is not a political entity. Two countries bordering on each other cannot border on each other unless both are political entities.


It seems to me that he considers that an electronic fence could serve as a barrier at the border. This makes me think you are misunderstanding his position.

bmiller said...

On the 4th of July, how many of the leftists are flying a flag?

Or is that just a Republican thing like the NYT says?

Starhopper said...

The American flag is at this moment flying over my patio. But then, I don't consider myself to be a "leftist".

(And my flag has only 48 stars. It flew over my dad's ship, the USS Dallas, in WWII. It only comes out on special occasions. The rest of the time, I fly the flag of Maryland.)

Victor Reppert said...

With a "smart wall," you don't have a physical object going all the way across the border. What you have are border patrol stations who maintain electronic awareness. The "wall" wouldn't literally stop people but would alert authorities as to the presence of illegal border-crossers.

https://gcn.com/articles/2019/02/26/smart-border-wall.aspx

What is really important to me is this plan obviates the need to use eminent domain and kick people out of their homes. The Trump administration, however, insisted that a wall really had to be a wall. The problem is that if you talk about support for a wall, and you define "wall" broadly enough, you eliminate the daylight between Trump administration policies and those of Obama and Biden. Obama succeeded in reducing the undocumented population during his tenure, so the attempt to portray everyone on the Democratic side as opponents of border security and as supporters of open borders seems particularly absurd. https://cmsny.org/publications/warren-undocumented-2016/

Further, I have a report from the Cato Institute indicating that Trump administration policy did NOT decrease illegal immigration, it decreased LEGAL immigration. https://www.cato.org/blog/president-trump-reduced-legal-immigration-he-did-not-reduce-illegal-immigration

BV supports a border wall. This post was not about this. He wants to limit his contacts to conservatives. I wouldn't have a problem with that, except that he makes statements about what Democrats, or the Left, or liberals, or what have you, believe. And so long as he talks about liberals, he should leave it open for such people to speak on their own behalf and indicate when they might have been misrepresented. He also implies that people who oppose his political views cannot be reasoned with. But there is a project of getting clear on what you disagree about. But this project, between liberals and conservatives, doesn't march very well if you think, as Bill does, that the battle between left and right is a war.

I suspect my biggest complaints against Trump administration attitudes toward immigration have to do with legal, not illegal immigration. I suspect that the wall is a symbol for nativism, which I oppose.

bmiller said...

Victor,

It's a common complaint from their opponents that leftists equivocate wrt the meanings of words. I suspect that is why they hate Trump so much when he does the same thing. So if you want to redefine wall to mean something else you have no room to complain that Trump said Mexico would pay for the wall. I'm sure he will tell you they did in some sense or the other. Like them agreeing to "stay in Mexico" or enforcing their southern border or as a negotiating chip in the new trade agreement. I don't see any daylight between you and Trump.

But of course this is a distraction from your assertion that your scheme is cheaper and more effective than the "wall". I don't think, even now, that you've informed yourself enough to be able to defend your assertions. I asked before. Why would you do that?

So my observation is that you were not prepared to have a constructive discussion with Bill, came onto his site guns blazing, and now you're blaming him for him concluding that you were not interested in a constructive discussion. You are rather re-inforcing his conclusion that certain people can't be reasoned with rather than convincing him otherwise.

He wants to limit his contacts to conservatives. I wouldn't have a problem with that, except that he makes statements about what Democrats, or the Left, or liberals, or what have you, believe. And so long as he talks about liberals, he should leave it open for such people to speak on their own behalf and indicate when they might have been misrepresented.

I don't follow your reasoning. You say you don't have a problem with him limiting his contacts to conservatives, right? Then how can you also demand that he allow leftists on his platform regardless of the discussion? You may think he should allow comments from people he disagrees with, but that's apparently not the fashion now. The fashion is for big tech to regulate speech, so why not everyone?

I suspect that the wall is a symbol for nativism, which I oppose.

And Bill suspects that you are for open borders. If any wall "is a symbol for nativism" so would a "smart wall" be. So if you oppose any wall or barrier because they are symbols for nativism, how is Bill wrong?

bmiller said...

For the record, you have a light touch when it comes to banning people. There were a couple of atheists that you reluctantly banned because of the disruption they caused and another person defending racial differences, but those are the only ones I can remember.

Bill is way less tolerant. I suspect he'd ban anyone, conservatives included, that were not making sense.


bmiller said...

It's kind of funny that the leftist that is advocating for open borders is the only one that takes pride in flying the US flag. His WWII father's flag, no less, who defended his country's sovereignty from others who would take that sovereignty away.

Go figure.

Starhopper said...

“Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
I am large, I contain multitudes.”

Walt Whitman

And by the way, being for open borders does not make one a "leftist". I still have no idea what the term even means. I refuse to identify myself by a descriptor of someone else's choice.

bmiller said...

From the OP:

In politics, I don't think American democracy can survive the conviction that the other side can't be reasoned with.

Like I mentioned way up yonder. The way to convince the other side you can be reasoned with is to demonstrate that reason matters to you. If it doesn't actually matter to you then please don't complain when other people point it out.

I wonder if Victor thinks that all countries are nativist since they all require a passport for legal entry. Or are they not nativist when you provide them with a passport to enter their country but are nativist if you sneak in and they arrest you? That would make them nativist both against some Americans and not nativist against other Americans.

bmiller said...

Speaking of censorship. Is this true?

The censorship on social media is completely out of control. The Facebook algorithm now searches images for the words VAERs, OpenVAERS, and/or vaccine and will instantly apply up to 3 warning labels to any post that includes content from this site. Remember these are government reports on a government database that are being censored. Facebook is *not* censoring misinformation, Facebook is censoring any factual information that contradicts the Pharma narrative. This is racketeering.

I don't do FB so I have no way of checking.

Starhopper said...

I also don't have FB, so I can't check as well.

But more importantly, isn't FB a private entity, and therefor has a perfect right to either publish or not publish whatever they want? "Censorship" is what government entities do, not private citizens. If I publish a newspaper and choose not to print an article about issue A, that's not censorship, it's editorial discretion.

bmiller said...

Not according to the ACLU:

Censorship, the suppression of words, images, or ideas that are "offensive," happens whenever some people succeed in imposing their personal political or moral values on others. Censorship can be carried out by the government as well as private pressure groups. Censorship by the government is unconstitutional.

Starhopper said...

Then I must assume you are in favor of forcing a baker to bake a cake for a same sex wedding. Otherwise he is engaging in censorship.

bmiller said...

I have no clue how your mind works.

Starhopper said...

That's because it would take logic to know how.

bmiller said...

Well I can recognize a non sequitor when I see one, and I sometimes wonder where a person made the wrong logical turn to get there.

But in your case, since you've indicated that logic is irrevant to you because "you are large" I totally expect you to make nonsense claims including the claim you are logical. But you really should do something about that "large" problem. Weight Watchers maybe? I'm concerned about your health.

Starhopper said...

Well, I did gain 19 pounds during the COVID 19 lockdown! (Lost 5 of them already.)

But seriously, you seem upset that FB will not publish everything that comes their way. By that logic, a baker ought to bake a cake with whatever message the customer wants. Otherwise, he is censoring them. Is a Jewish baker censoring a Nazi customer if he won't bake him a cake with a swastika on it?

See? Now that's logic!

bmiller said...

Starhopper,

You claimed that only government can be said to censor people. I provided a quote from the ACLU to dispute your claim. Now you've brought Nazi's into the mix. That non-sequitor didn't take long. Keep on the diet. Don't be so large.

The reason I brought up FB was to illustrate my point above that big tech is censoring dissenting views (being that both Victor and Bill are on FB). Pointing out that Bill wants to censor the couple leftists that want to post in his comment section while remaining silent that FB itself censors numbers of views orders of magnitude higher than Bill is ironic to say the least.

Starhopper said...

Gotcha. I mistook your bringing up FB to mean that you were criticizing them for their actions. But if you're OK with them, then you are OK (as I am) with the baker.

bmiller said...

I was never OK with FB for a lot of reasons. If people want to dox me or gather info on me I'd rather not give then the key to the front door. They should have to work for it at least a bit.

bmiller said...

You don't believe the story that FB actually tracks your phone calls do you? What a conspircy nut!

Starhopper said...

I neither believe nor disbelieve specific stories about tracking. I am fully convinced, however, that we are, all of us, under 24/7 monitoring by capitalist entities, from our grocery stores to google, from insurance companies to our credit and debit cards. There is no privacy. We don't need to wait for Big Brother when we already have Big Banker.

I am not on FB, but not due to privacy concerns (that boat has sailed), but rather because I believe it to be a waste of a person's time to be on it.

One Brow said...

bmiller said...
Speaking of censorship. Is this true?

Facebook has been taking a more serious approach to not spreading misinformation. Since the OpenVAERS site is rife with misinformation, I would hope that Facebook would limiting the spread of their data.

Since I am also not on Facebook, I can't be sure, though.

bmiller said...

We don't need to wait for Big Brother when we already have Big Banker.

Except they're really just 2 aspects of the same thing.

Starhopper said...

"Except they're really just 2 aspects of the same thing."

In a capitalist economy, that is pretty much true.

bmiller said...

Yeah. That was Orwell's point.

bmiller said...

Will these bakery lawsuits ever stop?

bmiller said...

I have a deal for Victor.

I totally understand how he feels about racist symbols and his obligation to oppose them in order to remain a loyal Democrat. So in an effort to reach across the aisle and help him rid himself of all racist symbols, I hereby offer to personally dispose of all his currency that portrays the pictures of racists and nativists. I'll stop by his house later today to collect these hurtful symbols.

If a wall is nativist how much moreso are depictions of people who started a country with slaves and institituted immigration laws.

bmiller said...

Hmmm. I knocked and no one answered although I thought I did see someone peeking from behind the blinds.

I'll try again tomorrow.

Talon said...

Maybe Victor has gone cashless, or perhaps he confused you for a snake oil salesman?

bmiller said...


People:
Trouble, oh we got trouble,
Right here in River City!
With a capital "T"
That rhymes with "C"
And that stands for currency,
That stands for currency.
We've surely got trouble!
Right here in River City,
Right here!
Gotta figure out a way
To keep the young ones moral after school!
Trouble, trouble, trouble, trouble, trouble...

Starhopper said...

I've been 100% cashless since the start of the pandemic. Credit and debit cards only.

But seriously, I wish we'd get rid of presidents and government officials altogether on our currency, both paper and coins. I like how European countries had (pre-Euro) artists, writers, and scientists, etc. on their money. (On the other hand, the UK has no one except the Queen on everything. Just imagine the nightmare it will be when she dies.)

bmiller said...

Racist artists, writers and scientists. All white people? There you go.

If you want to con people it seems some are easier to fleece than others. Woke are the easiest.

bmiller said...

Or "large" people.

David Brightly said...

Well, it's the monarch's money and she can have her head on her banknotes if she wishes. In recent times the reverse sides have carried portraits and emblems of famous Brits. Dickens, Darwin, Churchill and Jane Austen among others.

bmiller said...

That's one of the perks of being the monarch!

We also observe there are some downsides to that lately ;-)

bmiller said...

Queen is not popular in Canada. And I don't mean the band.

Victor Reppert said...

I have been ill the last few days. C. S. Lewis, among others, seems to have gotten little interest. Nor has Jimmy Carter. But this is the most active discussion I've had not talking about abortion is months.

What some people are failing to recognize is that the question of border security is a different issue from the issue of nativism, or white nationalism. I fully admit that we have a need to block some people and things from coming into our country. For example, I heard that the dangerous drug fentanyl was brought across the border, someone took it and died. But we can argue about the best way to do that, and I have provided some information suggesting to me that a Trump-style border wall has some disadvantages (it's expensive, it's environmentally harmful, and if kicks people out to their homes), which suggest to me that other more high-tech ways are better. We can have an argument about this. And for Trump it had to be a wall, not a fence. The Democrats passed appropriation for border fencing in 2019--Trumo would have none of it since he wanted a REAL WALL--like the Great Wall of China. Now if I admit, as I do, that some things have to be kept out, people like BV say "Are you for the wall? If you're not, you really aren't sincere, and want open borders."

But Trump's wall rhetoric was simply loaded down with nativist rhetoric. It is logically possible to say that we need a wall to keep whatever we need kept out out, without being a nativist. To be a nativist is to hold that we shouldn't have people coming into our country who don't look like us, are not from our culture, don't pray like us, etc. America seems to be moving demographically to being a country where the minorities, counted together, will be in the majority. Hence the attempt to portray people trying to come across the Southern border as murderers, rapist, and gang members. With no proof that this is so. So there is an argument about illegal immigration, but the real issue concerns LEGAL immigration. Trump didn't decrease illegal immigration at all, but he did set legal immigration back, which was his goal and intention. I on the other hand, think that the poem on the Statue of Liberty, "Give me your tired, your poor" isn't just pretty words on a statue, it should be the guiding principle of American immigration policy. When Trump opposed changes to legal immigration because it would allow people from "shithole" countries to come to America, that is the classic expression of nativism. Instead of Haiti, Central American countries, and Africa coming to America, Trump asked why we couldn't have more Norwegians come here. I think someone who gives every evidence of intending to come to our country to obey our laws should be given the chance to come in, no matter what shithole they came from. Italy and Ireland were considered shitholes by Anglo-Saxons in America. Things like the Chinese Exclusion Act in the 1880s, and the country quotas put in place in the 1920s, are testimonies to American racism. Yes, some otherwise good people were racists. Yes, I know Tom Jefferson owned slaves. But our founders did not support nativism. The country's demographics change, as it has throughout our history. That is what you get for living an a melting pot. Deal with it.

bmiller said...

Victor,

You're still ill. With TDS.

bmiller said...

I know a Dr that can prescribe you some hydroxichlorinquine. I hear if you take it early it can prevent hyperventilation. 😉

One Brow said...

bmiller,

You're still ill. With TDS.

When I stop seeing crowds at Trump's speeches and no longer see conservative political cartoonists making a hero of Trump, then I'll stop talking about Trump. Until then, it looks much more like you have Trump Denial Syndrome.

Starhopper said...

The only people who have TDS are those who still support the former president after 8 months of the Big Lie and the treasonous Insurrection at the US Capitol.

Everyone else is properly vigilant against there being a Napoleonic "100 Days".

Martin said...

That’s my sense, too. When the Republican Party is inflicted with Trump Devotion Syndrome, us rational folk are forced to react to it. Trump still has a vice grip on the party.

Look at Joe Walsh, a former tea party member. He is about as conservative as you can get: pro 2nd amendment, anti-abortion, limited government, lower taxes, personal responsibility, etc. But since he is very critical of Trump, he’s now considered a radical left communist by thousands of Republican commenters. Just check out his Facebook. Any time he posts anything, within minutes they come out of the woodwork to tell him how he hates America, he’s a traitorous libtard, Marxist, etc. All because he doesn’t sufficiently worship Trump as a god.

For the converse, see Elise Stefanik, whose voting history was tagged by a conservative group as being as liberal as Ilhan Omar. But what did she do? She bent the knee to the King and kissed his ring and is now among the top in Republican leadership!

Republican conservatism, at least in America, used to entail all those concepts I listed above. But now the only thing required to be an American Republican conservative is to worship the orange malignant narcissist and believe everything he says without question, and mindlessly repeat it. You do that, you have a career and future in the Republican Party.

So we still talk about him because the election and worship of that idiot is likely one of the greatest acts of collective insanity in recent history. And when 25 to 33 percent of the population of this country is insane, it likely doesn't bode well for its survival. I think it's one of the greatest threats this country has every faced, and I see no easy remedy.

Starhopper said...

I agree, Martin. This country has not been this great a peril of its very survival since the morning of June 4th 1942. The USA has faced 4 existential crises since its founding:

1. The Civil War
2. WWII
3. The Cuban Missile Crisis
4. Trumpism

We survived the first 3. But we're not out of the woods as regards the 4th yet.

bmiller said...

Oh, this is serious now.

Looks like it's too late to administer hydroxichlorinquine to you guys. You're already into the hyperventilation phase. There's nothing that can be done now.

Question:
Is BV wrong to censor irrational people?
Answer:
Orange Man Bad

Question:
What are the relative costs and efficiencies of a physical barrier vs the VR smart wall?
Answer:
Orange Man Bad

Question:
Don't you think saying "Orange Man Bad" to every question rather proves that BV is correct?
I wonder how you would answer that?
Answer:
Orange Man Bad

Got it.

bmiller said...

Trump Won.

Kevin said...

Both are forms of TDS. That so much of the Republican base abandoned their own principles for a selfish unprincipled idiot like Trump is sheer lunacy. That they continue to idolize him as a hero is deluded beyond description.

But the extent that the other side hurled itself into a tempest of frothing outrage and terror over the Trump administration is a spectacle that I hope to never witness again. A stadium filled with toddlers would have been more rational and mature.

Trump was very powerful indeed to have driven both sides completely insane.

bmiller said...

Kevin,

I agree that there are some who idolize Trump as a hero. I'm not one.

Do you believe that the border needs to be secured? OK. Can we have discuss the nuts and bolts without mentioning Trump. Apparently not.

There comes a point in discussions where you realise that there is no way forward because your partner is discussing something different than what you are. My partners in this discussion hate Trump and they cannot discuss anything else regardless of whether it will benefit their own goals or not.

I consider this ironic since the OP is about how BV is the villian because he wants to keep the discussion focused rational discourse.

Regardless of your own political views, if you believe the border should be secured, we should be able to defend your stance. The company I work for would benefit from a purely "smart wall" and so I would personally benefit. So the more tech the better for my personal bank account.

But I also know that most people don't understand the risks of "smart" technology. Starhopper got "hacked", DNC emails? the East Coast gas distribution held for ransom with a few keystrokes? OK, now what if those hackers disabled the "smart wall". Now all of this is debatable so why not debate? Will debate make us dumber?

Finally.

You say Trump is an "selfish unprincipled idiot". If he was your only choice and you had to vote would it be him or Hillary, or Biden.

Kevin said...

I would vote Trump over Hillary without hesitation, since Hillary is unprincipled but not an idiot. Biden, I would have to think about it. He's an idiot but he might actually have some principles.

bmiller said...

If I wanted to, I could give you pages and pages of instances that "prove" Hillary is an idiot and also pages and pages that prove Biden is unprincipled.

At the end of the day what matters is which selfish unprincipled idiot is more likely to improve things according to your interests.

If there's going to be a Democrat president, then it's probably better that he has no principles at all since Democrat principles include getting rid of the first 2 amendments, making you pay for worldwide abortion, institutionalizing CRT, etc, etc.

Kevin said...

If I wanted to, I could give you pages and pages of instances that "prove" Hillary is an idiot

She's not though. A scumbag of the first degree, but definitely not stupid. Her major failing which led to idiocy was her pride and assumption that there was no way she could lose to Trump, said loss being the most hilarious thing in American political history.

If there's going to be a Democrat president, then it's probably better that he has no principles at all since Democrat principles include getting rid of the first 2 amendments, making you pay for worldwide abortion, institutionalizing CRT, etc, etc.

If those were inevitably his principles then sure, Trump would be an easy pick over that too. But there have been Democrats who aren't so far to the left that they've achieved orbit.

I doubt Biden would be so extreme if it wasn't for the psychos in Congress and their lunatic base. Now he just does what he is told.

Starhopper said...

You guys are so funny. I didn't need to read the comics today. You provided me with all the laughs I needed.

Martin said...

If there's going to be a Republic president, then it's probably better that he has no principles at all since Republic principles include rejection of science and reality (e.g. rejection of evolution, climate change, that the 2020 election had massive fraud, etc), tax cuts that benefit the ultra wealthy over the working class, voter suppression laws based on phony claims of voter fraud, worship of guns, and theocratic "Christian sharia" control of the populace (e.g. no gay marriage, etc).

Starhopper said...

When I hear "Democratic", I think inclusivity, justice, the preferential option for the poor, respect for science (especially as regards the climate), a fair tax structure, racial and gender equality, and optimism for the future.

When I hear "Republican", I think tear gassing peaceful protesters, Hitlerite Nuremburg style rallies, science denial, a callous disregard for racial injustice, embrace of out and out falsehoods (Exhibit One: The Big Lie), a support for those eager to violently overthrow our Constitution, and an obsession for "returning" to a mythical past when everything was supposedly better (in other words, pessimism).

bmiller said...

Kevin,

She's not though. A scumbag of the first degree, but definitely not stupid.

Fair enough. Sometimes it's hard to distinguish stupidity from evil.

I doubt Biden would be so extreme if it wasn't for the psychos in Congress and their lunatic base.

So it doesn't really matter what his "principles" are then does it? What matters is what you end up having to live with.

One Brow said...

bmiller,
Trump Won.

In 2016, he sure did. In 2020, he did not. Do we agree there?

One Brow said...

bmiller,
I consider this ironic since the OP is about how BV is the villian because he wants to keep the discussion focused rational discourse.

You left out the part where Vallicella only accepts as ration positions that agree with his, in certain domains.

Victor Reppert said...

When I am accused of TDS, I wonder if Dietrich Bonhoeffer would be accused of HDS. I know that sounds extreme-Trump never ordered a holocaust and probably lacks the governing skill to do what Hitler did in Germany. I suppose Solzhenitsyn went to the gulags to get his SDS cured. It is beyond my comprehension how anyone can fail to realize what Donald Trump has done to his own Republican party, and to all the causes that lead people to vote Republican, including the pro-life cause. I know about the three Supreme Court justices. But in Oklahoma, for example, they OK Republican party is supporting a primary challenge to an established conservative Senator, James Lankford, on the sole grounds that he voted to confirm the election results. Trump treated dedicated people in the administration like Mike Pence and William Barr as traitors when they wouldn't go along with his idea of endlessly contesting the election. People like Liz Cheney are treated as RINOs because she wants to get Republicans out of the Trump cult and actually wants to find out the truth about what caused the Jan 6 riots. Internally dividing the Republican party based on devotion to the Dear Leader is exactly what will help, guess who? Democrats. Republicans have to unify over their conservative principles to make the gains they need to make in 2022 and 2024.

bmiller said...

Yes, extreme rants are, well, extreme.

No use listening to extreme ranters.

Starhopper said...

"No use listening to extreme ranters."

That's why I almost never take anything bmiller says seriously. Anyone who genuinely thinks the former president actually won the 2020 election has no grasp on reality. Such lunacy calls into question whatever else he says.

bmiller said...

But maybe that's not quite right.

If the extreme ranter is promoting violence by telling people that Trump is Hitler and his followers are Nazis then that needs to stop. It shouldn't be ignored.

Kevin said...

You guys are so funny. I didn't need to read the comics today. You provided me with all the laughs I needed.

Says the guy who hides under the bed at the mention of Donald Trump. You and your fellow leftists, despite your claim to not know what a leftist is, have provided me with years of entertainment.

bmiller is not wrong when he speaks of the TDS.

When I hear "Democratic"..."Republican"...

You are hearing things that don't exist. The Democratic party is a rot. Just because you prefer their policies doesn't make them better people. Their conduct during the Trump administration was pathetic. I know you're incapable of seeing that, but it is true nonetheless. That LITERAL HITLER THE MOST EVIL MAN TO WALK THE EARTH EVER AND WE ARE ALL GONNA DIE TRUMP was their target doesn't excuse them.

Kevin said...

Republic principles include rejection of science

Says the side that doesn't know the difference between a man and a woman and doesn't know basic reproductive biology. I didn't bother with the rest since the first accusation was so absurd in its hypocrisy.

Starhopper said...

Well, all's I can say to that is THIS.

If it quacks like a duck, it's a duck. If a Trump rally is indistinguishable from Triumph of the Will, well then...

Kevin said...

When I am accused of TDS, I wonder if Dietrich Bonhoeffer would be accused of HDS. I know that sounds extreme

It does sound very very extreme, yes. Very extreme indeed.

Kevin said...

Anyone who genuinely thinks the former president actually won the 2020 election

So Trump did not have more electoral votes than Clinton? My grasp on reality may indeed be questionable, because I was under the impression he did.

Starhopper said...

"Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice." (Barry Goldwater)

Starhopper said...

You're confusing the 2020 election with the 2016 election. I'm not surprised.

Kevin said...

Well, all's I can say to that is THIS.

I clicked that and had my volume turned up, about gave me a heart attack. Gotta watch that stuff!

If a Trump rally is indistinguishable from Triumph of the Will

I've never watched either, but I assume the comparison is adoration of the Deat Leader. I don't dispute that. But adoration of Trump, as baffling as that is, is not the same as adoration of Hitler. I know some die-hard Trump fans, and they were not on the verge of gassing Mexicans. Neither was Trump.

It might be a valid comparison in blind loyalty to a political figure, but the case that the probable result was to be as heinous as Hitler has yet to be made. Trump was no Hitler.

Kevin said...

You're confusing the 2020 election with the 2016 election. I'm not surprised.

Given that I've had sixteen hours of sleep this week, I'm not surprised either.

Starhopper said...

"Trump was no Hitler."

Thanks only to the Democratic Party's principled and consistent resistance to his wannabe tyranny, and to the American electorate who decisively voted him out in 2020.

Kevin said...

Thanks only to the Democratic Party's principled and consistent resistance to his wannabe tyranny

Haha!

To quote Luke Skywalker:

Amazing. Every word of what you just said...was wrong.

bmiller said...

Funny.

I envisioned his StarWars character to be more like Jabba. Because he is "large" 🐌 😋

Kevin said...

If the extreme ranter is promoting violence by telling people that Trump is Hitler and his followers are Nazis then that needs to stop. It shouldn't be ignored.

This is correct. Using such extreme language to dehumanize those with whom you disagree is extremely harmful.

That said, the right calls the left a bunch of Communists and the left calls the right a bunch of Nazis. I call both a bunch of idiots.

bmiller said...

Technically, Victor called Trump and supporters both ;-)

Kevin said...

Technically, Victor called Trump and supporters both ;-)

Bad behavior is bad, but only when it is committed by the side that isn't yours.

Victor Reppert said...

I have serious criticisms of Trump and the Trump administration. Dismissing this all as TDS just ignores the issue. Trump has the mind-set of a fascist dictator. He said if he had the chance he, along with his family, wanted to be President permanently and leave the Presidency to his family. There have been plenty of Presidents with whom I have strongly disagreed, going back to Richard Nixon, whom I would not said anything like this about, including Nixon himself. I'm not out to dehumanize all who disagree with me, and I understand that gains that Trump provided for conservative causes. But he is now a cannibalistic force within the Republican party. The 1960 election probably WAS stolen from Nixon, but he, no candidate for political canonization, nevertheless had enough respect for American democratic institutions to concede the next day. But his inflammatory comments on Jan 6 and his failure to insure the safety of the Capitol do not admit of sugarcoating and whataboutism. If this had all been done by an Obama or a Biden, or a Hillary, I would still have been horrified and insisted on his impeachment and permanent removal. Believe me, this is not "the left" attacking the right or "the right" attacking the left. This is simply recognizing the antidemocratic mind-set of a group of people, led by one man who is their cult leader, who happen to be on the right this time, whose conduct threatens and continues to threaten our system of government. It could be someone on the Left next time. Who knows. but it has to be brought under control or we'll cease to be America. Not everything is a left-right issue. Some things are right-wrong issues.

bmiller said...

It could be someone on the Left next time.

Already was last time.

You've got to stop it with rhetoric that incites violence. People already justify their violence because they think it's OK to "punch a Nazi".

bmiller said...

Punch a Nazi...the Musical.

One Brow said...

Kevin,
It might be a valid comparison in blind loyalty to a political figure, but the case that the probable result was to be as heinous as Hitler has yet to be made. Trump was no Hitler.

I agree. Trump was much more of a light-Mussolini.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1M6CXhUS-x8

Victor Reppert said...

It's one thing to say that someone is an illegitimate President. It's another to refuse to concede, to block the peaceful transition of power, to support any means possible to get officials in states to refuse to certify election results, etc. Hillary thought that Trump was President because of Russian interference, and she would have won otherwise. Nixon thought that he had the election in 1960 stolen from him in Texas and Illinois. Any equivalency between that and what Trump has done since election day is absurd.

bmiller said...

Nixon did have the election stolen from him. He just didn't put up a fight.

bmiller said...

Trump refused to concede. So?
Did he break a law?

bmiller said...

But the question is, will you stop inciting violence?

Starhopper said...

In Nixon's case, I say THANK GOD that it was stolen (if it actually was). Kennedy turned out to be one of the best presidents this country has ever had, whereas Nixon turned out to be one of the worst.

As to "inciting violence", the only person doing that today is our former president - by refusing to concede. By riling up almost one third of the electorate to falsely conclude that Biden is an illegitimate president (which he is not, since he won fair and square), he is fostering an environment in which some people may think they should "take matters into their own hands" and subvert the Constitution in a vain attempt to oust Biden. We may yet see another January 6th style violent insurrection, only this time with more casualties.

bmiller said...

THANK GOD that it was stolen

And thank you for showing us how leftists really regard elections they steal. It removes any doubt for those that think leftists argue in good faith.

Martin said...

True, any type of Hitler comparison is pretty much automatically cliche. Trump and his supporters do not want to gas Mexicans.

But their absolute spittle-flecked hatred of Democrats, and moreover their scapegoating of Democrats for EVERY perceived problem, is like the water that the frog is in being 75 degrees. What's the problem? It's only 75 degrees! It's not boiling! The frog is fine!

I can only hope that the stove isn't on and it won't get any hotter. Maybe it isn't. But I'm not confident it's not, either.

Regardless of that, the one point of undeniable parallel with Trump and Hitler (and Mussolini, Stalin, North Korean leaders, etc) is that they are malignant narcissists. These are people who think they are God, and surround themselves with sycophants who will tell them they are God. They are psychologically incapable of admitting they are flawed in any way, or that they have ever lost. This is why he can't really listen to advisors, because that would imply the advisors know more than him. NOBODY KNOWS MORE THAN DONALD TRUMP ABOUT ANYTHING!!!

It's also why Trump can never apologize for anything. He made a mistake when he mentioned the hurricane was coming to Alabama, so what did he do? He drew on the weather map with a sharpie to make it look like the NHS was predicting it would hit Alabama! DONALD TRUMP IS NEVER WRONG ABOUT THE WEATHER!!! EVER!!

Then there was his years-long harassment of Obama about his birth certificate, and when he finally was forced to drop it he claimed Hillary started it and he put a stop to it! NOBODY IS A MORE PERFECT STOPPER OF BIRTHERISM THAN DONALD TRUMP!!!

And he got a COVID but he struggled with saying it was negative because the word "negative" has, well, negative connotations, so he tried to say something like it was "positive, towards negative, but positive. It was a perfect test!" NOBODY TAKES A MORE PERFECT COVID TEST THAN DONALD TRUMP!!! NOBODY!!!!

I mean, this is almost cartoonish levels of malignant narcissism.

And you don't have to be a mental health professional to know this is what he is anymore than you'd need to be an addiction specialist to know a drunk when you see one. Just observe Trump in his own words:

“I'm much more humble than you would understand.”

“I have the best temperament or certainly one of the best temperaments of anybody that’s ever run for the office of president. Ever.”

“I’m the most successful person ever to run for the presidency, by far. Nobody’s ever been more successful than me.”

“I'm the least racist person you will ever interview.”

“I’m the best thing that’s ever happened to the Secret Service.”

"I am the world’s greatest person that does not want to let people into the country."

“No one has done more for people with disabilities than me.”

"Nobody in the history of this country has ever known so much about infrastructure as Donald Trump."

"There's nobody who understands the horror of nuclear more than me."

"There's nobody bigger or better at the military than I am."

"There's nobody that feels stronger about the intelligence community and the CIA than Donald Trump,"

"There’s nobody that’s done so much for equality as I have"

"There's nobody that has more respect for women than I do,"

"I would build a great wall, and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me"

"I am going to save Social Security without any cuts. I know where to get the money from. Nobody else does ."

"Nobody respects women more than I do"

"And I was so furious at that story, because there's nobody that respects women more than I do,"

"Nobody respects women more than Donald Trump"

“Nobody reads as much as I do”

Starhopper said...

"And thank you for showing us how leftists really regard...

I have no idea how "leftists" regard anything, since I am not one. You'll have to ask a leftist.

bmiller said...

Keep digging.

bmiller said...

I think Trump and Obama both have narcissist tendencies. I don't think either have what it takes to be a Socialist dictator.

For instance here's a Trump monolog.

I don't think socialists have much of a sense of humor. Maybe that's why they don't get Trump.
Socialist dictators certainly don't have a sense of humor.

Kevin said...

Martin,

Can't say I disagree with anything you wrote in your last post, but I would again point out that you make an accusation equally applicable to the other side. Namely, Democrats blame Republicans for EVERYTHING.

It's a fully predictable cliché at this point that if there is a problem, one side will blame the other. Trump and his supporters have not demonstrated anything unique in this that I've seen.

Starhopper said...

bmiller,

Just what is your definition of a leftist If I did a word frequency study of your postings, I'd wager that the word ranks high on the list. Are you using it as essentially meaningless term for someone you disagree with, or do you have an actual definition?

For instance, my definition of a Catholic is anyone who:

- is baptized,
- can recite the Creed and believe every word of it,
- accepts the authority of the Papacy,
- acknowledges the efficacy of the sacraments,
- believes in the Real Presence, and
- acts on all of the above.

So what is your definition of a leftist? I certainly do not consider myself to be one, so what is it about me that leads you to label me as such? I am mystified by your doing so, but perhaps if I understood what you mean by the term, that would help. And just maybe I could show you how your definition does not apply to me.

Kevin said...

I think Trump and Obama both have narcissist tendencies.

I don’t think Obama was a narcissist, but I do think the media had its head shoved so far up his hind end in his initial campaign that his own head reached lofty heights far above us, and he gained the inevitable delusion of self-grandeur that comes from the celebrity of status of being treated like a god. When you get a Nobel prize just for existing, your ego is going to exceed healthy limits.

Trump had that ego from the moment of conception. He was a YUGE zygote.

bmiller said...

I remember people on the right complaining about how many times he said "I" in his speeches. Just do a Google search on "obama narcissist".

You're right about Trump though always being YUGE.

I can see why he rubs people the wrong way. That made it extra, extra funny when he beat Hillary.

bmiller said...

I certainly do not consider myself to be one, so what is it about me that leads you to label me as such?

I realize that you self-identify as "large" and Bruce Jenner self-identifies as female. I'm OK with that. Don't get hung up with other people's labels. You are whatever you think you are.

Kevin said...

So what is your definition of a leftist

To channel Jeff Foxworthy:

If you always insult Republicans and always praise Democrats, you might be a leftist.

If you agree with Democrats on policy far more than Republicans, you might be a leftist.

If you agree with Democrats philosophically far more than Republicans, you might be a leftist.

One Brow said...

Kevin,

In any western democracy other than the US, the Democrats are centrists, not leftists.

Starhopper said...

One Brow,

Actually, your comment did not go far enough. Britain's Conservative Party is more liberal on most issues than the US Democratic Party. Does that make them "leftist"?

I think not.

Martin said...

To be clear, "narcissism" and "malignant narcissism" are as different as night and day. Sure, Obama was likely a narcissist. You almost have to be to run as a politician.

A narcissist thinks highly of himself. A malignant one is at another level, thinking they are God, and basically being almost unable to function (or much less, lead) because they have to constantly surround themselves with a fantasy world that props up their inflated view of themselves.

Witness Winston Churchill (likely a narcissist) during the war. When things seemed dark for the Allies, he was in public giving positive speeches (Finest Hour, etc). By contrast, the malignant narcissist Adolph Hitler was only giving positive speeches when his side was winning. A soon as the tide turned, Hitler withdrew from public view. His fantasy about how great he was was crumbling, and he eventually committed suicide.

Malignant narcissists cannot psychologically accept they are anything less than God-like. It's why Trump continues to lie about a "stolen" 2020 election, and won't let it go. It's why he always claims there is fraud whenever he loses anything.

Martin said...

As for "both sides are the same," I don't agree. The lunatic fringe has taken over the entirety of the right, whereas the lunatic fringe of the left continues to be fringe.

I mean, you have CPAC where people are cheering that the US is not very well vaccinated...

Kevin said...

In any western democracy other than the US, the Democrats are centrists, not leftists.

Britain's Conservative Party is more liberal on most issues than the US Democratic Party

The lunatic fringe has taken over the entirety of the right, whereas the lunatic fringe of the left continues to be fringe.

I think these three statements together show that European leftists are the lunatics, and that is the group Democrats wish they could be. That pesky Constitution though.

I mean, you have CPAC where people are cheering that the US is not very well vaccinated

That is indeed stupid of them. But both sides are in fact the same, since without effort I can provide instances where the Democratic base is completely idiotic and the conservatives are correct.

If the principle only applies to one side, then it isn't a principle. You just don't like one side.

bmiller said...

What I have learned in this thread.

Leftists claim they are ready willing and able to have constructive policy discussions. However their idea of constructive policy discussions apparently means telling you that Trump is Hitler and you are a Nazi. There is nothing else to talk about.

BTW, if you Nazi's happen to be walking down the street and get beat up? Guess you deserve it.

It's perfectly acceptable for leftists to steal elections, but you're a danger to democracy if you're a non-leftist and actually suspect that fraud occurred. Unless of course the leftist candidate actually lost in which case the election was rigged and the leftist opponent is an illegitimate president and special investigators need to be appointed.

Yes BV is hallucinating that the things leftists write in this thread are what leftist's really believe and act on. There's just no reasoning with the man!

bmiller said...

Martin,

If Churchill was a non-malignant narcissist because he never gave up and Hitler was a malignant narcissist because he did, then that means that Trump is a non-malignant narcissist by your own reasoning since he never gave up as you point out.

I think that you should give up. You're twisting yourself into knots trying to make a bad analog work.

I wonder if you noticed that the socialist dictators you're straining to compare Trump to are SOCIALIST dictators (although various forms of collectivism). Trump gets some of his biggest cheers when he says that the US will never be a socialist country.

So stop worrying that a non-socialist will become another in a line of murderous socialists.

Kevin said...

The left/right split is not really useful anyway. Who is right or left depends entirely on your own views relative to others. And even if you find yourself as far to one side as a person can possibly go, that doesn't make you factually or morally wrong.

Much more important to me are things such as attempting to conform one's beliefs to truth, being willing to call out wrong behavior regardless of who it is, being able to recognize that others can disagree with you without being evil or stupid, etc. I don't care about political spectrums, I care about the content of one's character.

As a group, both parties have failed. Their media outlets have failed. Their bases have failed. There are good people in all of these, but they get drowned out.

Victor Reppert said...

I did NOT say Trump was Hitler. What my argument was was that Trump is a serious threat to our system, who refuses to operate within its constitutional boundaries, and that it does no good to scream TDS whenever I point this out. That is the logical equivalent of accusing Bonhoeffer of HDS, even though there are relevant differences between Trump and Hitler. In other words, it is an all-purpose escape clause that will permit you to deflect criticism from Trump whether or not it is warranted.

The second strategy is, whenever anything about Trump comes up that is presumably a problem, just point out something about Hillary and say "What about Hillary?" For the record Hillary conceded the election and allowed the peaceful transfer of power even though she perceived Trump as dangerous in ways that other Republicans would not be. In some ways she comes across as a bad sport, but going back to my days playing chess tournaments, it's the difference between someone who walks off and sulks after losing to someone who upsets the pieces before the game ends to make it difficult to reconstruct the game.

The third strategy in response to Trump is to say "You're a leftist. Of course you hate Trump." My views on Trump are held by people on both sides of the spectrum. Liz Cheney, Jeff Flake, and Cindy McCain are conservatives. They are not RINOs, they are not Democrats is Republican clothing. Only a No True Scotsman argument can make them out to be anything except conservatives.

Trump is a malignant narcissist because he never accepted the constitutional limits of his position as President. He would tell people to do illegal things and then say he would pardon them if they did them. He called the GA secretary of state to cajole him with threats and appeals to Republican loyalty to find the exact number of votes he needed to carry Georgia. He tried to get election officials to void election results and governors not to sign off on Biden's victory. He hassled vote canvassers in Michigan, and our own governor, a stalwart conservative, had to send all of Trump's calls to voicemail because he was being hassled so much by the Dear Leader. If Trump has his way (and this is being proposed in state legislatures as we speak) state legislatures will be able to be decide that they think there must have been voter fraud and select the opposite slate of electors for the Electoral College. He wants to take away they people ability to determine the outcome of elections, because he can't accept losing. These are facts, not TDS. Not giving up is one thing, not abiding by the rules is something else.

bmiller said...

Sure. Racists who won't admit they're racists want to distract people from the right/left divide so maybe you won't notice them so much. I know what you're up to ;-)

bmiller said...

That was to Kevin BTW.

Martin said...

Kevin,

Of course the Democrats have their lunatic fringe as well. But the lunatic fringe on the right has taken over the Republican party and is now their primary base. This has not happened to the other side.

CPAC is supposed to be the main convention for American conservatism. If the main thought of American conservatism is to cheer for the virus over humans, and believe that the 2020 election was stolen, and to worship a demagogue, then the only counterpart on the left is on the extreme fringe of it, not the main base.

Martin said...

bmiller,

Of course, the point is that malignant narcissists cannot stand to admit when they lose, which can be in the form of running away from the situation (Hitler) or just pretending they didn't lose (Trump).

As for "socialist dictators," this is not true of Hitler or Mussolini. They were rightwing fascists who absolutely hated socialism. They also got big cheers when they ranted against socialism.

The worry is not socialism per se, but authoritarianism. Authoritarianism can come from the extreme left and the extreme right, and we saw both kinds during WWII. Today's lunatic right is so worried about socialist authoritarianism that they will and are backing right into fascist authoritarianism.

bmiller said...

Martin,

Nazi just is National Socialism. Hitler ranted against his brethren the communists, not socialism since his model socialistic, just also nationalistic.

Benito certainly self-identified as a socialist:


Fascism is the name Benito Mussolini chose for his movement and later it was applied to similar movements elsewhere. Mussolini came from a socialist revolutionary family that named him after Benito Jaurez, the Mexican revolutionary. He grew up as a socialist and maintained his belief in the efficacy of socialism until the end of his life. He undoubtedly considered Fascism as just a variant, if not of socialism at least of collectivism, that was nationalistic. The internationalist socialists expelled him when he advocated for nationalistic reasons the entry of Italy into World War I.


Aside from the nationalistic twist, fascist governments didn't directly own the means of production but did direct the the companies who were the means of production. But in both cases, the government decided what was to be produced, what the prices were to be and so on.

You say that the worry is authoritarianism. OK. But the examples supply are from systems where the government is in control of then means of production and so one should conclude that the government getting too much control leads to authoritarianism. By the same token, when you get one or a few companies with too much control it's pretty much the same thing (they become almost one in the same entity). That's why anti-trust laws were put into place here.

bmiller said...

Victor,

If you really want to die on the hill of an obviously bad analog, then don't be surprised if people think you're not all there. But more importantly you've got to stop it because you're giving people a (bad) excuse to attack other people because of a bad analogy. Just stop it with the Hitler stuff already.

I would say bringing Hillary into the discussion about rigged elections would be irrelevant if you hadn't agreed with her that her election was rigged and needed to be investigated. Pointing out a double standard is just an ordinary part of legitimate argumentation, not some devious strategy.

I don't know who here claimed only leftists hated Trump. Another red herring?

Speaking of strategies, I'm not going to address your litany of assertions at the end. There's a name for that strategy.

I don't know about anyone else, but I had no objection with Trump's 2016 victory being investigated. I was just annoyed it took so long and there so little there in the end (oh the cost too). But at least it put people's mind at ease and perhaps ensured certain shenanigans won't happen again. Likewise I have no objection to legal entities responsible for voting in each state (state legislatures) conducting audits if they want to. We'll all finally have our minds put at rest and we can come together just like when the Mueller investigation ended. If there were shenanigans then we'll know it and can take the appropriate action. If not, then good too. We'll have a feeling of assurance.

But seriously stop with the conspiracy theories. Each state legislature is independently conducting their audits in service to their own voters. That simply can't be coordinated at such a scale with so many people involved.

Starhopper said...

Martin,

I recommend you don't respond to bmiller's ravings. He is essentially a troll at this point, just trying to get a rise out of you with his lunacies. You'll never succeed in getting him to see reason and recognize truth. Keep in mind, he apparently genuinely believes that the 2020 election was "stolen", which puts him the same category as flat Earthers and Moon Landing hoaxers. He's probably still waiting to see Obama's birth certificate.

In other words, everything he has to say is suspect, and not worth paying attention to.

bmiller said...

I was surprised to learn that Reductio ad Hitlerum was old and annoying way back in 1953. I thought it came about in the internet age.

bmiller said...

Starhopper is the funniest guy ever.

bmiller said...

I guess we forgot another malignant narcissist in the news today. Castro.Some people think he wasn't so bad.

bmiller said...

I wonder if Bernie wouldn't have won the nomination a couple times if the powers that be hadn't pulled their shenanigans. A lot of Bernie supporters think so.

bmiller said...

Martin,

Just so you know. You seem to want to grant that some people to your right might be reasonable as I grant some people on my left may be reasonable (actually I think most people are reasonable, but small steps). It dissapoints me that people today go to Hitler comparisons almost immediately. But I read recently that maybe we've always been that way. In the past, it was comparisons to the Pharoh of Egypt rather than Hitler.

Regardless, I didn't do deep research into the history of fascism and socialism although I have read material in the past that supports the assertions. All I did was Google "mussolini socialism" and linked to the first article that showed up. If some of the statements are wrong, then I'll learn something if you find something more convincing and share.

Victor Reppert said...

https://www.britannica.com/story/were-the-nazis-socialists

One Brow said...

bmiller,

Benito certainly self-identified as a socialist:

YOu linked to a website that was quoting Dinesh D'Souza as an authority. I would sooner trust the Babylon Bee.

bmiller said...

Nazi=National Socialist German Workers Party

Hitler thought he was implementing a form of socialism.
There's also a clue in the name of his party..."National Socialist German Workers Party". Can anyone find it?

Martin said...

bmiller,

"The Nazi regime had little to do with socialism, despite it being prominently included in the name of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party. The NSDAP, from Hitler on down, struggled with the political implications of having socialism in the party name."

Source: The right needs to stop falsely claiming that the Nazis were socialists

Also, Encyclopedia Britannica lists "Opposition to Marxism" as the first characteristic of fascism:

"Fascists made no secret of their hatred of Marxists of all stripes, from totalitarian communists to democratic socialists. Fascists promised to deal more 'firmly' with Marxists than had earlier, more democratic rightist parties. Mussolini first made his reputation as a fascist by unleashing armed squads of Blackshirts on striking workers and peasants in 1920–21."

Finally, I didn't realize you had linked to something using Dinesh D'Souza. Dinesh is a historical fabulist. He literally just invents things that are not true. He went on a rant about how nobody in college teaches that it was the Democrats that supported slavery and started the KKK, and that this is all part of some conspiracy by historians to hide their sordid past. Of course, this is complete nonsense, and historian Kevin Kruze rakes him over the coals (with evidence, of course) showing that historians always teach what Dinesh claims they do not: https://twitter.com/kevinmkruse/status/1353830178397560832?lang=en

Dinesh's response? He just keeps repeating the false claim.

I don't know why this is a hill so many people are willing to die on. Authoritarianism can come from the extreme right and the extreme left, period.

Starhopper said...

"There's also a clue in the name of his party..."National Socialist..."

Well, Der Fuhrer always did have a problem with definitions. For instance, he defined "Germans" as the master race, and "Jews" as subhuman vermin. So it's not surprising that he didn't understand the meaning of "socialism".

Kevin said...

Nazi=National Socialist German Workers Party

Stop picking on socialism. It already has to contend with Communism as its most famous brand.

bmiller said...

Martin,

I don't subscribe to the WP, but I was able to read the article a line at a time. He doesn't explain why, if the Nazis were anti-socialism, they used socialist in their party name. That's like a white supremist group calling itself the NAACP. I don't understand that especially when you read the Hitler quotes. Regardless of who the author is, he has not offered a plausible explanation.

The articles emphasize the differences between the Nazis and the communists and there certainly were some. But both are anti-capitalist, anti-free market, top down, systems unlike the freedom and individualism favored by the American right including subsidiarity and anti-collectivism. I don't see the argument address that, although fascism is further to the right than communism, both of them are much further to the left than the traditional American "right" model. So the claim that the American right is fascist is an absurd claim.

I wonder why you brought up d'Souza and a non-relevant argument of his. Are you poisoning the well?. In the article, an opinion of d'Souza is quoted and you're entitled to disagree with it but merely because an article includes a quote from someone you think has been wrong in the past doesn't mean the entire article is wrong or even that d'Souza is wrong this time.

I haven't seen many, if any, facts challenged in the first article. Just the fallacious assumption that since the fascists were to the right of communists then all systems to the right of communism are all fascists. Clearly a false claim to those who reject both of those forms of socialism.

I don't know why this is a hill so many people are willing to die on. Authoritarianism can come from the extreme right and the extreme left, period.

All of the malignant dictators you accuse the American right are in danger of becoming are malignant precisely because they exercised their malignancy under a system that the American right opposes. Smaller government types that favor individual liberties are in no danger of supporting a dictator, malignant or otherwise. To make your case you're going to have to start listing small government favoring dictators. Good luck with that.

Oh. We forgot to put Mao on the list. He may have been the worst of all.

Kevin said...

Smaller government types that favor individual liberties are in no danger of supporting a dictator, malignant or otherwise.

I'm not certain that's true. Look how Hannity went from talking about the debt every day under Obama to never mentioning it under Trump. He wasn't the only one.

If the budding dictator claims his use of government expansion is to fight against those who encroach upon individual liberties as prioritized by the right, many would support it. And many would ignore it simply because it was their side doing it.

One Brow said...

Smaller government types that favor individual liberties are in no danger of supporting a dictator, malignant or otherwise.

Offer us some examples of these "smaller governments", please.

Starhopper said...

Smaller government types that favor individual liberties are in no danger of supporting a dictator, malignant or otherwise.

Is "smaller" a necessary part of the equation? Here in the US we have a large government that on the whole favors individual liberties, yet we nevertheless just narrowly missed having a malignant dictator in charge. In fact, as much as a third of the electorate is still in favor of having one.

bmiller said...

Kevin,

You're right about Hannity and those others. They're pundits. There's also a lot of conservatives, like you, that are going to point that out. The left wing isn't certainly isn't going to want to reduce spending. Trump not being conservative enough was a fear of conservatives and in this case they were right.

But most Republicans think he kept most of his promises. Not sure paying off the debt was one of them.

If the budding dictator claims his use of government expansion is to fight against those who encroach upon individual liberties as prioritized by the right, many would support it. And many would ignore it simply because it was their side doing it.

I'm not sure that is an internally coherent concern. If the central government gets more power, you, the individual, or the state, get less liberty.

bmiller said...

But then again I am just poor rural conservative folk not used to big city thinking.

It scares me!

One Brow said...

bmiller,

He doesn't explain why, if the Nazis were anti-socialism, they used socialist in their party name.

Really? You don't understand why a political party would be deceptive?

The articles emphasize the differences between the Nazis and the communists and there certainly were some. But both are anti-capitalist, anti-free market, top down, systems unlike the freedom and individualism favored by the American right including subsidiarity and anti-collectivism.

The American right does not strongly oppose the formation of monopolies or trusts, which are the capitalistic form of collectivism.

I don't see the argument address that, although fascism is further to the right than communism, both of them are much further to the left than the traditional American "right" model.

That would be because the claim is untrue.

I wonder why you brought up d'Souza and a non-relevant argument of his.

Because d'Souza is a known liar and generally unreputable source, and your article was using his position as the basis for claims that go against the mainstream position of political scientists across the land.

The attempt to pretend that fascism is a form of socialism is a propaganda technique by the right to pretend there is some sort of moral axis in politics where the right is always the better choice. It's utter nonsense.

One Brow said...

bmiller,
But most Republicans think he kept most of his promises. Not sure paying off the debt was one of them.

I can help you with that.

Starhopper said...

Now that Pope Francis has come out unequivocally in favor of free universal health care for all nations, I would hope and expect all good Catholics who post to this site do the same.

bmiller said...

Good. The church should take over health care since government has done such a horrible job. Guess there's gonna be an "extra collection" every Sunday from now on, eh?

Starhopper said...

"Guess there's gonna be an "extra collection" every Sunday from now on, eh?"

I would imagine so. "Not that there's anything wrong with that!"

bmiller said...

For those not familiar with this word and it's association with traditional American thinking (you might say conservative American thinking).

Subsidiarity

Alexis de Tocqueville's classic study, Democracy in America, may be viewed as an examination of the operation of the principle of subsidiarity in early 19th century America. Tocqueville noted that the French Revolution began with "a push towards decentralization ... in the end, an extension of centralization".[7] He wrote that "Decentralization has, not only an administrative value, but also a civic dimension, since it increases the opportunities for citizens to take interest in public affairs; it makes them get accustomed to using freedom. And from the accumulation of these local, active, persnickety freedoms, is born the most efficient counterweight against the claims of the central government, even if it were supported by an impersonal, collective will."[8]

bmiller said...

Martin,

I hope you appreciate my point. I'm not accusing you of being a Nazi/Authoritarianism.

But if want to dismiss people that disagree with you as being Nazis/Authoritarianists, then that charge is more applicable to leftists than people of the American right.

You may have good arguments about why decentralization is a bad idea, but then it is absurd to accuse those who favor decentralization of promoting problems that can only occur when power is centralized.

I suspect that people either unwittingly or on purpose play on the ambiguity of the terms "left" and "right" between America and Europe.

Extreme Right wingers in Europe want Monarchy (centralized power) while the extreme Left wingers want full on communism (centralized power...in order to achieve utopia that somehow never arrives). The New World of America rejected tyranny (centralized power) of any kind.

Thus subsidiarism.

One Brow said...

bmiller,
But if want to dismiss people that disagree with you as being Nazis/Authoritarianists, then that charge is more applicable to leftists than people of the American right.

You may have good arguments about why decentralization is a bad idea, but then it is absurd to accuse those who favor decentralization of promoting problems that can only occur when power is centralized.


The American right does not oppose centralization any more than the left. They merely disagree which types of things should be centralized. Even with that disagreement, centralization proceeds throughout every Presidential administration, whether of the right or left.

Kevin said...

Even with that disagreement, centralization proceeds throughout every Presidential administration, whether of the right or left.

Ain't that the truth.

When I think of why conservatives voted for Trump over Ted Cruz or Rand Paul or people like that, former darlings of the right,, I sometimes wonder if it was that perception that our course may deviate a bit to the left or a bit to the right, but our general heading was the same. And each time it deviated, the accumulated federal power continued to snowball.

I think for many, Trump was seen as the last chance to change the general heading completely away from increased government power in general and progressive policies specifically. [Insert complimentary Trump insult about how he did indeed but it was a terrible horrible no good very bad heading.] Many who voted Tea Party became disappointed when they did little to reduce federal power despite the rhetoric, which is why they turned on Cruz.

Just my musing.

Martin said...

bmiller,

>if want to dismiss people that disagree with you as being Nazis/Authoritarianists

Only slightly less cliché than a Hitler reference is the dismissal of a Hitler reference as "you call anyone you disagree with Hitler." Is it reading comprehension? Trouble with English? The ONLY thing I used Hitler for was as an example of a malignant narcissist.

>Extreme Right wingers in Europe want Monarchy (centralized power) while the extreme Left wingers want full on communism (centralized power...in order to achieve utopia that somehow never arrives).

That was my point. Authoritarianism can come from extreme left and extreme right.

At the moment, there really isn't much danger of the US becoming a leftwing authoritarian system, but because of the malignant narcissist who still holds sway over a large portion of the population, there IS an extreme danger of becoming a rightwing authoritarian system. E.g., witness Trump's attempt to overturn the will of the people in 2020 by lying about non-existent election fraud.

bmiller said...

Martin,

You said this:
Today's lunatic right is so worried about socialist authoritarianism that they will and are backing right into fascist authoritarianism.

Then you said this:
Is it reading comprehension? Trouble with English? The ONLY thing I used Hitler for was as an example of a malignant narcissist.

Dunno. I normally put fascist authoritarianists in the same bucket as Nazis. You apparently disagree with the "lunatic right" so it looks like you are calling those you disagree with Nazis. I think it's fallacious to bring up Hitler and Nazis at all, but everyone apparently insists on it.

But thanks for taking the high road and asking me if I'm stupid. That makes for a pleasant exchange of ideas. Dale Carnegie teach you that?

That was my point. Authoritarianism can come from extreme left and extreme right.

You missed my point though. The European right and left agree fundamentally on the socialistic idea of power centralization. So sure both the extreme European left and the extreme European right are vulnerable to Authoritarianism.

The America left wants the same centralized power of the Europeans, while the American right favors the principle of subsidiarity....the antithesis of Authoritarianism.

witness Trump's attempt to overturn the will of the people in 2020 by lying about non-existent election fraud.

He thinks there was fraud. He may be right or he may be wrong. But in order for you to charge him with lying first, you would have to know there was no fraud, which you obviously don't. And second you would have to know that Trump knows there was no fraud but says there was any way, which you obviously don't.

Only good can come from the audits just as with the the Mueller investigation. I don't even have to pay for the state audits this time while I had to pay Mueller. In the end, we'll have found how to ensure there are fewer mess-ups or cheating in elections and hopefully find those who committed crimes. Crooks need to go to jail.

Martin said...

>the American right favors the principle of subsidiarity....the antithesis of Authoritarianism.

It's only lip service, though. Every day on Facebook I see hundreds and hundreds of Trumpers, including my own family, fawning over him and talking about how they want him as president FOR LIFE. And how they want "demonrats" arrested, and how they want the government to force Big Tech to stop "censoring" conservative voices, etc etc. These people are very interested in centralized strong authority as long as its one of THEIR team. They have no interest in decentralized government. Small government conservatism is dead, and that's kinda my larger overall point: we need a good balance of conservatism and liberalism, debating each other and compromising, but conservatism has largely withered and been replaced by a movement that consists pretty much of nothing but unquestioning worship of a malignant narcissist.

>But in order for you to charge him with lying first, you would have to know there was no fraud, which you obviously don't. And second you would have to know that Trump knows there was no fraud but says there was any way, which you obviously don't.

That's a weasel phrase: "no fraud." None at all? Of course there was. In Pennsylvania, the Lt Governor announced the arrests of three people who voted for dead relatives. And a woman in Arizona a few days ago was indicted because she voted for a dead person. Of course there is fraud.

But is there massive voter fraud, on the order of tens of thousands, that would change the outcome of 2020? No there was not. I do know there was none for several reasons:

First, it would have been uncovered in the countless recounts and audits that were done last year

Second, Rudy Giuliani and his friends, when in front of judges in the numerous court cases that were filed, had to admit that they were not actually alleging there was any fraud in any of their cases (the distinction between what they said in public and in front of a judge was night and day).

Third, the Lt Gov of Pennsylvania, after announcing the three fraudulent votes, BEGGED anyone to come forward with more examples of fraud. This was last year. Crickets.

Fourth and most importantly, Donald Trump always claims there is fraud in every contest he loses. Emmys, previous elections, you name it. Going back decades. Remember when he lost to Ted Cruz in the Iowa Caucus in 2016? Here's what Trump said: “Based on the fraud committed by Senator Ted Cruz during the Iowa caucus, either a new election should take place or Cruz results nullified."

Remember when he lost the popular vote to Hillary in 2016? Here's what he said: “In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally."

He even put together a special commission to investigate those MILLIONS of illegal votes, and! ...quietly closed it down less than a year later after finding no evidence of massive fraud.

Taken together, this should be enough inductive evidence that Trump is full of shit.

As for whether Trump knows there was no fraud and says there is anyway...I mean, again, he's a malignant narcissist. They are psychologically incapable of admitting even to themselves when they lose. He's gaslighting himself and either believes his own bullshit, or more likely the concept of "truth" doesn't even come into play for him. He's an episodic man, living in the moment, and says whatever he needs to say in that moment to appear to "come out on top" at that moment.

bmiller said...

Martin,

It's only lip service, though.....

My point is that small government types are the antidote to tyrants. So if you're worried about tyrants, you should be for small government. Instead you are against small government and are apparently quite satisfied that your vision of ever larger centralization is winning. You invited tyranny in the front door and now you're complaining that a tyrant is in the house. I can easily make the case that Obama was a tyrant but I'm sure you wouldn't see it that way because he's your tyrant.

I do know there was none for several reasons:

Then you know that any forensic audit will prove Trump was wrong and people will be at ease with the results. You get to gloat once more and everyone will be assured that future elections will be valid. Win win

bmiller said...

We're up to 15 instances of "malignant narcissist" (well now 16). Bet we make 20 before the day is over.

Martin said...

bmiller,

> Instead you are against small government and are apparently quite satisfied that your vision of ever larger centralization is winning.

I am? Not really. Instead, what I and most lefties I know want are something akin to the Nordic countries: strong capitalism BUT with strong protections for the working class. Healthcare being one of the big ones, and also maternity leave, things like that.

>Then you know that any forensic audit will prove Trump was wrong and people will be at ease with the results.

Sure, but how many more times. They already did several recounts last year. I mean, I suggest listening to this advice from Fox hosts.

bmiller said...

I am? Not really.

So you're for small government?

Sure, but how many more times.

I don't understand why you're concerned. Unless you're a citizen of one of those states and have to pay the bill it's really none of your business.

One Brow said...

bmiller,
Then you know that any forensic audit will prove Trump was wrong and people will be at ease with the results.

All the forensic audits have already confirmed it, and it just makes the conspiracy theorists more convinced of fraud. At some point, a realization occurs that there is no amount of evidence that will suffice.

One Brow said...

bmiller,
I don't understand why you're concerned

Because there are more important issues than counting the ballots a fifth time, but it's harder to make progress with so many people refusing to acknowledge reality.

Starhopper said...

This video explains why it is neither useful nor appropriate to call "Godwin's Law" when discussing our former president. When the historical parallels are so exact, it would be willful blindness (as well as dangerous to our democracy) to NOT bring up Der Führer.

People who rail against such comparisons make themselves complicit in the very possible destruction of our constitutional form of government. Support for the Big Lie is tantamount to cheering on authoritarianism. No, this is not a call to "go punch a Nazi". But hurting their feelings? Go for it! The alternative is to lose our freedoms.

bmiller said...

So the person who approves of stealing elections is telling us we're going to lose our freedoms and quadruples down on calling everyone who disgrees with him Nazis.

There's no reason to take seriously the arguments of consequentialists is there? He thinks that as long as the candidate he favors wins, then cheating was OK. This is only one more piece of evidence, in a series, of his consequentialist commitments. So it's OK for a consequentialist, under consequentialist rules, to be dishonest in the pursuit of his goals. Once you realize this, you understand that you don't have any reason to think your consequentialist friend has any commitment to the truth. For him, a lie will do as good as the truth as long as it furthers your end.

I don't hope to get through to such people. I do hope show those who haven't noticed, exactly what is going on.

Regarding Rachel Maddow. She had a recent court victory:
Maddow’s win is America’s gain.

No one can credibly claim that Maddow’s show is real news.

Starhopper said...

I never said I approved of stealing elections (I don't). I did say (and will gladly say again) that it was fortunate for our country and for the world that the 1960 election was stolen (allegedly). JFK was an infinitely better president than Nixon (as Nixon more than amply proved when he finally did achieve the presidency in 1968). It's entirely possible, even probable, that the Civil Rights movement would not have achieved all that it did without Kennedy. Ditto for the space program. Throw in the Peace Corps (a Kennedy initiative) and you have a perfect hat trick.

bmiller said...

In Nixon's case, I say THANK GOD that it was stolen

Consequentialists gonna consequential.

Starhopper said...

I of course have no idea whether divine intervention was actually involved in 1960, but there is no doubt that the world is better off for JFK having been president when he was. So yes, I will unabashedly and unhesitatingly thank God for putting him there.

Our most recent former president however, for that we can thank Satan.

bmiller said...

In this case the god that you're thanking was LBJ. But it makes sense that you worship Dem gods.

For those paying attention:

It's a good idea to find out if you're dealing with an "ends justifies the means" type. Once that's established you can conclude that, to him, fairness matters only if fairness favors his agenda. I have to suppose also that truth matters only if it a better means to his ends than lies.

Starhopper said...

A supporter of the Big Lie has no standing whatsoever to complain about what anyone else says about the truth. He has forfeited any and all credibility concerning everything he says.

bmiller said...

Thanks. You just keep proving my point.

A consesquentialist will say just anything at all if he thinks it will further his ends.

Frankly, I don't think making things up actually does that, but this one apparently thinks it does.

bmiller said...

I think for many, Trump was seen as the last chance to change the general heading completely away from increased government power in general and progressive policies specifically. [Insert complimentary Trump insult about how he did indeed but it was a terrible horrible no good very bad heading.] Many who voted Tea Party became disappointed when they did little to reduce federal power despite the rhetoric, which is why they turned on Cruz.

Just my musing.


That's the view of the Trump supporters I'm aware of. They're tired of voting for people who are all talk but surrender immediately to the left once elected. I can understand why the left is flipping out about Trump since he actually puts up a fight. Pretty good about following through with his campaign promises too.

Martin said...

>I can understand why the left is flipping out about Trump since he actually puts up a fight.

This is precisely where the disconnect is. As a leftie, I can speak for myself and most of my leftie friends when I say that the reason we are flipping out about Trump is not because he puts up a fight, but because he puts up a fight only for himself, placing his own needs above those of his fellow Americans and the country itself. And it's so obvious this is what he does that it's completely changed my worldview to see how many people are blind to it.

It's as if there was a cheesy infomercial selling "increase your size" pills, and half the country said "yeah! I want to increase my size! Take my money!" and the other half of the country is screaming "no! can't you see? Those are sugar pills! I mean, seriously?!"

bmiller said...

Martin,

He fought to stop illegal immigration.
He got rid of NAFTA and struck a better deal for American companies, making it more attractive for companies to stay in America and hire Americans.
The economy was objectively booming before Covid
ISIS was destroyed and he started moving our troops out of the Mideast
He got NATO members to pay their share.
He kept moving forward with the mainstream media attacking him relentlessly

Now I understand you may think some of these things are bad, that he shouldn't get credit for them or whatever. But those are the things that the people that vote for him want to see. His voters saw him fight for those things while ignoring the constant biased negative press. They see those things as benefitting America not necessarily Trump personally although his actions did help his Republican poll numbers. His America first theme resonants with his voters. Lefty globalists not so much.

Kevin said...

He kept moving forward with the mainstream media attacking him relentlessly

What little credibility the media had with me died during the Trump years. Now if I want to be informed I have to read an article, separate those facts from the narrative being told with them, fact check them myself, compare it to what the other side is saying, fact check that, then form an opinion.

This becomes particularly difficult when one side completely refuses to report certain things depending on who is in office or which party benefits from a story being told or suppressed.

What a world.

bmiller said...

This becomes particularly difficult when one side completely refuses to report certain things

Or partisans of one side ban those reporting the stories on their social media platform. Or attempt to dox/cancel the other side. Or demonitize those they don't want to hear from....etc, etc.

One Brow said...

Kevin,
What little credibility the media had with me died during the Trump years. Now if I want to be informed I have to read an article, separate those facts from the narrative being told with them, fact check them myself, compare it to what the other side is saying, fact check that, then form an opinion.

This becomes particularly difficult when one side completely refuses to report certain things depending on who is in office or which party benefits from a story being told or suppressed.


It has always been thus.

bmiller,

He fought to stop illegal immigration.
He got rid of NAFTA and struck a better deal for American companies, making it more attractive for companies to stay in America and hire Americans.


He fought illegal immigration by separating families. Do you approve of separating parents and children?

Or partisans of one side ban those reporting the stories on their social media platform. Or attempt to dox/cancel the other side. Or demonitize those they don't want to hear from....etc, etc.

Your penchant for confusing bile and disinformation with news is well known.

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