A View from the Other Side: Ideological Purity and Trump

 

I started a new job last week with a large non-profit focused on a specific disease prevention, treatment, research, and cure. I now work from home, but was in the corporate headquarters earlier this week. Much like the government and academia, there is an implicit assumption there that anyone who is educated and cares about people is politically liberal. This always leads to little insights into how the non-fringe, non-activist wing of the other side thinks.

Here are a few snippets to mull over.

Sr. VP 1:  Hillary has got to win. Period. Whatever it takes.

Sr. VP 2:  My politics are much closer to Bernie Sanders, but I’ll vote for Hillary if she’s the candidate. She’ll help get us there.

Sr. VP 1:  I agree. Sanders has “some really innovative policy ideas.”

Sr VP 1:  Of course, we could nominate anyone, because as long as Trump goes third party, we win (at this point they both raised there hands in the air and cheered).

Sr. VP 2:  Him winning the presidency wouldn’t be so bad … except on immigration (note this is from Bernie Sanders fan).

Sr. VP 1:  Lynne, I hope you don’t mind we talk politics sometimes.

Me:  I don’t mind, just curious about how much of diversity of opinion there is here.

My lessons learned:

1)  Liberals vote to win. Half a loaf is better than nothing. No comments like, “If Bernie isn’t the nominee, I’m staying at home.”

2) They see Trump for what he is — a disaster for the Republican party and not conservative at all.

Next conversation at dinner:

Executive VP:  Republicans are going to lose. Hillary is going to win and it’s going to be awesome. We’ll get to the single-payer system that works.

Other dinner comments:  Yes, she’s going to get out of this email thing … it’s just media bias making a big deal of it. It must be hard to live in a Red state (we were in GA). Trump is going to drag the party down, down, down.

Me:  I really think that Trump represents a populist movement (talk about the Michael Barone column on re-alignment). … go on to say, my friends here in GA who are Republicans see this as too early to make big predictions yet.

EVP:  You know people who are Republicans? Even active in the party? (Seriously, he said this.)

Me:  Yes, one of the great things about growing up in a Red State is that you meet people who are conservative politically, are smart, educated, caring, compassionate, not crazy, and would make excellent conversationalists here at our dinner.

Silence at the table

Me:  Maybe it’s the psychologist in me, I just think people are more complex than their political views.

My lessons learned:

1.  They will vote for Hillary no matter what comes out about Benghazi, e-mails, or anything else.

2.  They think most Republicans are Tea Partiers, and that Tea Partiers are crazy radicals.

3.  They think that all people who have had politics explained to them will agree with them.

What do you think? Is this consistent with what your more liberal friends and colleagues think? I think they’re right about Trump, he’s not conservative, but he could sure botch it for us this cycle. I also think they’re right to take the closest thing they can get to the liberal they want … even though it’s not as liberal as they want.

 

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  1. Tuck Inactive
    Tuck
    @Tuck

    Jojo:

    iWe:The outcomes of liberal policies are evil, but the policies themselves are rooted in good intentions. Liberals are NOT (very often) evil.

    It is analogous to parenting. Nice people usually make awful parents. The outcome of accepting bad behavior from children is spoiled and hopeless children – but it was certainly not the parents’ intention. They just thought that being nice to their kids was how good people show their children that they love them.

    Excellent analogy and truthful observation about parenting.

    I think it’s a lot more than an analogy.  Both are inspired by Rousseau’s writing.

    If you really want to make yourself nauseous, go read Rousseau’s work on how to raise children, and then read what he did to his own.

    No greater example of left-wing hypocrisy exists, I think.

    • #61
  2. Man With the Axe Inactive
    Man With the Axe
    @ManWiththeAxe

    When I’m surrounded by liberals who start talking politics on the assumption that everyone must agree with them, I try to start a conversation in this way:

    “Do you believe in the golden rule?”

    Of course I do.

    “Then if you believe that you are allowed to voice your political opinions without fear of being punished or ostracized you must also allow people who disagree with you the same right?”

    I suppose so.

    “Well, I’m glad, because it’s harder to imagine a bigger hypocrite than someone who claims to believe in the golden rule and then violates it over political beliefs. I’m a conservative, and I’m going to hold you to the golden rule. I expect you to listen to my opinions with the same respect I gave you. Since you agree that we both have the right to voice our opinions without fear, here is my opinion on (the subject under discussion).”

    • #62
  3. Freesmith Inactive
    Freesmith
    @Freesmith

    Trump is dangerous as a third party threat. No surprise that Democrats know that. I always hope for third, fourth and fifth party candidates – as long as they are all liberal.

    And yes, the Democrats will support whomever the party nominates, just as Republicans have in the past. The difference is that Democrats do so knowing they will get some of what they want enacted into law. We poor Republicans support our whoevers and then we get campaign finance reform, No Child Left Behind, Souter-Kennedy-Roberts, no rollback on affirmative action, no reduction in Third World immigration, huge debt, government unions, and money supporting Planned Parenthood and National Public Radio.

    See the difference? Here’s my T-shirt:

    “I Voted Republican and All I Got Was This Lousy Temporary Tax Cut!”

    • #63
  4. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    Freesmith:Trump is dangerous as a third party threat. No surprise that Democrats know that. I always hope for third, fourth and fifth party candidates – as long as they are all liberal.

    And yes, the Democrats will support whoever the party nominates, just as Republicans have in the past. The difference is that Democrats do so knowing they will get some of what they want enacted into law. We poor Republicans support our whoevers and then we get campaign finance reform, No Child Left Behind, Souter-Kennedy-Roberts, no rollback on affirmative action, no reduction in Third World immigration, huge debt, government unions, and money supporting Planned Parenthood and National Public Radio.

    See the difference? Here’s my T-shirt:

    “I Voted Republican and All I Got Was This Lousy Temporary Tax Cut!”

    I can’t bring myself to attach “like” to this.  Instead of a “like” button, we need a “too [redacted] true” button.

    • #64
  5. drlorentz Member
    drlorentz
    @drlorentz

    Tuck: If you really want to make yourself nauseous, go read Rousseau’s work on how to raise children, and then read what he did to his own.

    Fascinating reference.

    • #65
  6. BThompson Inactive
    BThompson
    @BThompson

    Freesmith:the Democrats will support whomever the party nominates, just as Republicans have in the past. The difference is that Democrats do so knowing they will get some of what they want enacted into law. We poor Republicans support our whoevers and then we get campaign finance reform, No Child Left Behind, Souter-Kennedy-Roberts, no rollback on affirmative action, no reduction in Third World immigration, huge debt, government unions, and money supporting Planned Parenthood and National Public Radio.

    This is the inherent disadvantage that conservatives have, we don’t want government to do stuff for us, we want government to leave us alone. Democrats gain power by promising to have the government they control give things to people. We try to gain power by promising to use power to take things away from people that the left has already given to them. Our platform largely consists of threats to make peoples lives harder. It is a very difficult sell.

    We win when people feel our nation is under threat, because we are trusted as serious on national defense and security. Our other victories only come when the left screws something up so badly that we are called on to clean up the mess.

    We get less of what we want because what we want is so much harder to achieve.

    • #66
  7. BThompson Inactive
    BThompson
    @BThompson

    I also think that Lynne points out what most staunch conservatives just don’t understand. To the average person our values and goals are completely incomprehensible. We are speaking a foreign language to people with many of our arguments. They just don’t share the same basic cultural assumptions and ideas about human nature and how society works.

    The universal institutions of religion and education which enshrined the triumph of western thinking and values have been gutted and hollowed out. What’s more, technology has shielded us from the humbling and chastising forces of nature that demanded virtue, strong character, and self reliance, and it has allowed people to indulge a false notion of who we are and what makes us tick. It has also allowed people to cordon themselves off from challenging ideas and relationships. Confirmation bias and echo chambers sequester us into tribal allegiances.

    Conservatives don’t understand how isolated the island they exist on is. They don’t realize just how many stupid, smug, and deluded people out there who have no idea just how rotten the intellectual foundation they stand on and pride themselves for has become.

    Shoring up our culture is going to be the work of generations. We need to start taking a much longer view of how to change society and developing new, effective institutions to supplant the ones the left has ruined.

    • #67
  8. Umbra Fractus Inactive
    Umbra Fractus
    @UmbraFractus

    Cantankerous Homebody: The thing is Hilary AND Sanders will “get [them] there“. We can’t agree where “there” is or if there is even a “there” at all.

    There is no there. That’s how progressivism works. Progressives scream for A at the top of their lungs. Conservatives point out that A will most likely lead to B. Progressives call the conservatives crazy; “Nobody is talking about B!”

    Progressives win on A. They immediately start shouting for B. Conservatives shout back, “You said you didn’t want B!” Progressives ask Conservatives why they hate those who would theoretically benefit from B.

    Before we know it we’re at Q and the Progressives insist the lack of R is a borderline human rights violation.

    And, of course, nobody is talking about S.

    • #68
  9. Mark Coolidge
    Mark
    @GumbyMark

    Living in the Northeast I’ve found myself on numerous occasions over the years in discussions similar to those you relate.  It does not dawn on those in the group that I might not be onboard with their conventional wisdom (part of it may be assumptions based on how I look – green and with little muscle tone, as you can tell by my avatar photo).

    On those occasions when I decide to burst their bubble I’ve found it effective to focus on specific issues that they deal with everyday in their lives – when you do that you uncover surprisingly conservative attitudes even though they don’t recognize them as such.

    • #69
  10. Umbra Fractus Inactive
    Umbra Fractus
    @UmbraFractus

    Pelayo: Ask your niece to explain why North Africa’s glory days came at a time when Greek influence was pervasive or why South Africa is an oasis among poor nations. How does she conclude that White People are the problem?

    The first part is not true. Egypt was a regional power long before the Indo-European tribes even began to distinguish themselves as separate cultures, never mind the rise of the Greeks specifically. To the contrary, the ethnically Greek Ptolemaic Dynasty represented the end of Egyptian power, not its “glory days.”

    That said, you’re right about South Africa, but it’s probably futile. She’ll likely just claim that apartheid invalidates everything (despite its having ended 22 years ago.)

    • #70
  11. Freesmith Inactive
    Freesmith
    @Freesmith

    BThompson, I could not disagree with you more.

    “Our platform largely consists of threats to make peoples lives harder.” The Republican Party’s platform? 

    “We get less of what we want because what we want is so much harder to achieve.” 

    I see. Convincing Americans to accept the “browning” of this nation was easy. Instituting a race-based privilege regime across the country was easy. Taking over one-seventh of the economy was easy. Constructing a Leviathan state in Washington was easy. Going from a government that spent 9% of GDP to one that spends 22-24% was easy. Hollowing-out our military was easy. Funding a government media operation with a progressive perspective through Democrat and Republican administrations was easy. Changing the definition of marriage in law was easy. Running a country without a budget was easy. Maintaining the most radical abortion system in the civilized world was easy. Establishing “sanctuary cities” where federal laws are ignored with impunity for decades was easy.

    If those Democratic Party accomplishments were easy, what policies, programs and practices do you consider difficult to achieve?

    We get less of what we want because we have settled for less. Period.

    The result is that the Democrats are the party of “Yes, we can” and the GOP is the party of “Nothing Can Be Done Until the Next Election.”

    Your perspective is of fatalism and defeat. It is a manifesto for “Mañana Conservatism.”

    • #71
  12. Freesmith Inactive
    Freesmith
    @Freesmith

    Umbra Fractus:

    Cantankerous Homebody: The thing is Hilary AND Sanders will “get [them] there“. We can’t agree where “there” is or if there is even a “there” at all.

    There is no there. That’s how progressivism works. Progressives scream for A at the top of their lungs. Conservatives point out that A will most likely lead to B. Progressives call the conservatives crazy; “Nobody is talking about B!”

    Progressives win on A. They immediately start shouting for B. Conservatives shout back, “You said you didn’t want B!” Progressives ask Conservatives why they hate those who would theoretically benefit from B.

    Before we know it we’re at Q and the Progressives insist the lack of R is a borderline human rights violation.

    And, of course, nobody is talking about S.

    All you’re saying is that one side wants to win and the other side wants there to be no fighting.

    The solution to the situation is obvious.

    • #72
  13. BThompson Inactive
    BThompson
    @BThompson

    Freesmith:If those Democratic Party accomplishments were easy, what policies, programs and practices do you consider difficult to achieve?

    I didn’t say what the left did was easy. It took generations for them to secure those victories. They took the long incremental approach, and it will talk a long incremental approach to undo it. My point was that in the political arena, as a matter of what a government is for and what it does, the left operates from the high ground.

    Growing government is easier than shrinking government. Centralizing power is easier than keeping power diffused and localized. It is easier to promise to fix someones problems than exhort them to be self-reliant and help themselves.

    The left undermined our non-governmental institutions that used to teach virtue and self-sufficiency and the values the right still holds, and which were the bulwark against big government and tyranny. Having weakened the defenses it convinced society to view the world as a struggle between victims and victimizers and got people to believe that the only group with the power to champion the victims is the government. So the world now sees Big Brother as their savior and anyone opposed to Big Brother as their oppressor.

    Convincing people that the government is corrupt and venal and oppressive is the task of the right, and it will be a long, hard slog to claw back society from the insidious value system the left has poisoned our culture with.

    • #73
  14. Mark Coolidge
    Mark
    @GumbyMark

    BThompson:

    Freesmith:If those Democratic Party accomplishments were easy, what policies, programs and practices do you consider difficult to achieve?

    I didn’t say what the left did was easy. It took generations for them to secure those victories. They took the long incremental approach, and it will talk a long incremental approach to undo it.

    A further advantage for the left is that the permanent government at the federal level and most states is staffed by them.  These are the people below the political appointees who know most effectively how to navigate the bureaucracy to make it do what they want and prevent things from happening that they don’t want, regardless of what the political appointees want.

    It is also an advantage for them regarding transparency and media coverage.  In a Republican administration if the bureaucracy doesn’t like what it is being told to do they leak to the national media and can trigger heavy and ongoing coverage.  In a Democratic administration there are many fewer leaks and most national media is not interested in pursuing stories with the same vigor.

    • #74
  15. BThompson Inactive
    BThompson
    @BThompson

    Basically what I’m saying is that the right should stop expecting victory to come in the political arena. We need to focus our energy on building the non-governmental institutions and movements that can serve the needs of society better than government. We need to build the cultural Uber which will disrupt and displace the top-down model the left has erected and is currently winning with.

    I think things like home schooling and non-traditional forms of higher education are a start to this. We need to come up with private forms of social services and ways to re-invigorate family structures as well.

    Don’t waste time trying to tear down government, make government irrelevant by showing that it can’t do what it promises and offering something far, far better.

    • #75
  16. Freesmith Inactive
    Freesmith
    @Freesmith

    BThompson and Mark

    Mañana Conservatism: We can have conservative government, but only sometime in the far future, because winning today is hard and everything’s against us and the people are sheeple and the system stinks and Antonio Gramsci and yadda-yadda-yadda.

    Jesus!

    “The Party of Nothing Can Be Done” certainly has a lot of followers. I was unaware that impotence was so popular.

    Instead of arguing the tenets of Mañana Conservatism, I’m going to challenge each of you:

    Come up with a plan to end sanctuary cities in the US.

    Sketch it out in your mind. Figure out what needs to be done. Formulate the tactics that will result in victory and an end to a situation that all true conservatives must deplore.

    Start thinking like winners. Failure is not an option.

    • #76
  17. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Freesmith: The result is that the Democrats are the party of “Yes, we can” and the GOP is the party of “Nothing Can Be Done Until the Next Election.” Your perspective is of fatalism and defeat. It is a manifesto for “Mañana Conservatism.”

    Like.

    • #77
  18. Mark Coolidge
    Mark
    @GumbyMark

    Freesmith:BThompson and Mark

    Mañana Conservatism: We can have conservative government, but only sometime in the far future, because winning today is hard and everything’s against us and the people are sheeple and the system stinks and Antonio Gramsci and yadda-yadda-yadda.

    Jesus!

    “The Party of Nothing Can Be Done” certainly has a lot of followers. I was unaware that impotence was so popular.

    Instead of arguing the tenets of Mañana Conservatism, I’m going to challenge each of you:

    Come up with a plan to end sanctuary cities in the US.

    Sketch it out in your mind. Figure out what needs to be done. Formulate the tactics that will result in victory and an end to a situation that all true conservatives must deplore.

    Start thinking like winners. Failure is not an option.

    I can’t speak for BThompson but what makes you think I don’t support action right now by Congress to end sanctuary cities?  I do.  I’m appalled by the current GOP leadership in Congress in its unwillingness to take action, even if it is just triggering Presidential vetos as well as more aggresiveness use of its spending (or non-spending powers).

    I also think it misguided to rely solely on civil non-government institutions to be strengthened because the direction of progressive government today is to use the power of law to destroy any such institutions (see the contraceptive mandate) so our active engagement and control of that government is essential.

    • #78
  19. RightAngles Member
    RightAngles
    @RightAngles

    Miffed White Male:

    Saw a post on Facebook the other day from my lefty niece, about how the latest Taylor Swift video is horrible because it shows white people in Africa and doesn’t address the centuries of racism, oppression and Other Bad Stuff that White People are all collectively responsible for.

    My lefty niece posted it too haha! I didn’t reply either.

    • #79
  20. GadgetGal Thatcher
    GadgetGal
    @GadgetGal

    I am a faculty member of a business school in a self-proclaimed “public ivy” comprehensive university, so I am very familiar with the phenomena you describe.  It has resulted in several, shall we say, interesting–and sometimes painful– conversations when talking with my colleagues.  Back in 2007 when I discovered that I was a conservative, and outed myself in the squishiest imaginable, I was treated as having some sort of mental disease–I could almost hear the sotto voce remarks:  “she used to be so smart!”  (It almost equals a conversation I had with a professor in the English department on some obscure reference in George Eliot’s Middlemarch.  She looked at me, quite startled, and said in amazement:  “I didn’t know that anyone in the business school read literature!”  To her credit, she was immediately embarrassed and apologized profusely)

    The greatest irony I have observed is that some of my most vocal liberal friends are actually quite conservative–far less squishy than I am, in fact–on a whole range of behaviors and opinions.  But since people tend to dislike having these contradictions pointed out (I did mention to one that I didn’t quite recall the pigs in Animal Farm as representing the capitalist impulse), I more or less keep these comments to myself.  Sometimes, I smile, and since I can’t see myself, I’m not sure whether it is with sadness or perhaps with a touch of disdain.  I hope it is the former.

    I hope you find some ideological kindred spirits in your new job.

    • #80
  21. BThompson Inactive
    BThompson
    @BThompson

    Freesmith, I believe in competition and that private citizens can come up with better solutions than the government. That’s what I will push for. Call me names and come up with stupid labels to denigrate others all you want. Working on real solutions to help people and advance conservative ideas that don’t involve government isn’t “mañana conservatism” it’s real world conservatism which offers the only real alternative and competition to big government.

    But knock yourself out, spend a lot of time, money and political capital fighting for small-bore, temporary, symbolic victories that play into the hands of demagogues, race baiters, and infotainment ratings hucksters. Ending sanctuary cities won’t end the immigration problem, neither will ending birthright citizenship. Defunding planned parenthood won’t stop abortion. Railing against common core won’t fix our education system. Defunding NPR and public television won’t win back the culture. These are all short-sighted, ineffectual battles.

    Give people a better alternative and they will leave the bad alternative behind. Give them no alternative and simply try to upend the status quo and take away something they see as a right and you will be stuck in a political quagmire. That’s not winning.

    You put your eggs in the politicians basket if you want. I’m not on board, and I’m someone who probably agrees with at least 90% of what you believe. Good luck convincing people who don’t share your basic assumptions and values.

    • #81
  22. drlorentz Member
    drlorentz
    @drlorentz

    GadgetGal:

    The greatest irony I have observed is that some of my most vocal liberal friends are actually quite conservative–far less squishy than I am, in fact–on a whole range of behaviors and opinions. But since people tend to dislike having these contradictions pointed out…

    I’ve noticed the same. It reinforces the tribal model of political alignment: people associate themselves with a political ideology for reasons other than the views connected with the ideology. When their life experiences lead them to other conclusions, contradictions arise.

    Charles Murray has noted that the liberal elites act socially conservative in many regards, while preaching the opposite to their social inferiors. If that area of dissonance were correctly resolved (private behavior vs. public pronouncements), it would go a long way to addressing many social ills.

    • #82
  23. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    BThompson: Defunding planned parenthood won’t stop abortion. Railing against common core won’t fix our education system. Defunding NPR and public television won’t win back the culture. These are all short-sighted, ineffectual battles.

    I see.  So it’s not worth winning any battles, because winning the battle won’t win the war.

    I think we should pass this on to the people at West Point.

    • #83
  24. BThompson Inactive
    BThompson
    @BThompson

    It depends on the cost, both in terms of money, time and political capital as well as opportunity cost. There are such things as phyrric victories or meaningless victories. A victory that doesn’t substantially alter the equation or solve a problem doesn’t really seem like a victory to me.

    • #84
  25. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    BThompson: It depends on the cost, both in terms of money, time and political capital as well as opportunity cost. There are such things as phyrric victories or meaningless victories. A victory that doesn’t substantially alter the equation or solve a problem doesn’t really seem like a victory to me.

    I see a lot of avoidance in the Congress of actually voting on measures that put people on the record so when they hit the campaign trail we know something beyond what they mouth at the time, and it makes the President use his veto so that he is on the record as well. GOPe leadership doesn’t seem to think there is value in these processes. Do you agree with them?

    • #85
  26. BThompson Inactive
    BThompson
    @BThompson

    There are very few issues that conservatives really care about that can muster 60 votes to even get people on the record. So I don’t think that criticism really flies. The only real way to fight these battles is to shut the government down, which is just not effective or winning politics.

    • #86
  27. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    BThompson:There are very few issues that conservatives really care about that can muster 60 votes to even get people on the record. So I don’t think that criticism really flies. The only real way to fight these battles is to shut the government down, which is just not effective or winning politics.

    So Ted Cruz is a silly man, or what?

    • #87
  28. BThompson Inactive
    BThompson
    @BThompson

    Ted Cruz is an opportunist and self-aggrandizer.

    • #88
  29. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    BThompson:Ted Cruz is an opportunist and self-aggrandizer.

    I missed who you like.

    • #89
  30. Cantankerous Homebody Inactive
    Cantankerous Homebody
    @CantankerousHomebody

    Umbra Fractus:

    Cantankerous Homebody: The thing is Hilary AND Sanders will “get [them] there“. We can’t agree where “there” is or if there is even a “there” at all.

    There is no there. That’s how progressivism works. Progressives scream for A at the top of their lungs. Conservatives point out that A will most likely lead to B. Progressives call the conservatives crazy; “Nobody is talking about B!”

    Progressives win on A. They immediately start shouting for B. Conservatives shout back, “You said you didn’t want B!” Progressives ask Conservatives why they hate those who would theoretically benefit from B.

    Before we know it we’re at Q and the Progressives insist the lack of R is a borderline human rights violation.

    And, of course, nobody is talking about S.

    No there’s definitely a progressive there.  It’s some kind of insane marxist utopia.  Conservatives are idiots for not fighting A tooth and nail if only because a progressive said it.  They only say A because they know it’ll peel off enough conservatives and ambivalent people for them to push through.

    • #90
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