Now Listen And Listen Good

I have taken a lot of flak from you people over the last few months for being a “Nattering Nabob of Negativism.” Turns out I was far too optimistic.

So before you crazy conservatives move into a new state of delusion (and while you are still loopy enough to accept advice from a cat) I’d like to slap you around a bit.

Here’s what I see that you don’t see:

Center-Right or Center-Left? Try None of the Above

This question was kicked around on the podcast and in the live …

  1. Wylee Coyote

    Nice kitty!

    Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

    Casey, I think you are definitely on to something with the notion that people have turned inward, and respond more to feelings than to ideology or fact.

    Before the election a liberal friend on Facebook raved about this essay.  I found it fascinating because the reasons given were sincerely and deeply felt, but shallow in their reasoning and based mostly on feeling good about ones’ self. 

    Reading it, you get the distinct impression that the guy who wrote it has not, for one second, grappled with any of the principled objections of the other side.  He seems totally unaware that they even exist.

    I doubt he thinks of himself as a partisan ideologue.  He obviously loves his Republican father very much.  He’s just being “nice”.

  2. Stephen Bishop

    Excellent Casey, you have shone the light.

    In addition I would say that people have moved inwards because the world is far to complicated for them to understand it and because the media keeps them that way. While they are introverting all they can hope for is the world will treat them nicely. Your point and so well made.

    Will ricocheters realize that talking to someone about liberty when someone is kicking them for some inexplicable reason doesn’t work? Telling someone about classical economics when they are surviving on food stamps just isn’t relevant. Discussing American exceptionalism when people are stuck in structural unemployment is really far to Utopian.

    It’s time to move on. WE need to look outward!!

  3. Benjamin Carter

    I think you may be on to something here, Casey. 


    1. Ride the “Be Nice” wave.  Compassionate Conservatism.  Make what we do fit the metanarrative.  Portray what they do as opposing it.

     · 27 minutes ago

    My question is this; The fundamental message of Conservatism is what I believe will win the day. I don’t think the message needs to be changed, but perhaps how the message is delivered can be altered. How do we fit that into the metanarrative of “Be Nice” without compromising the underlying values and principles?

  4. No Caesar

    Great analysis on the Metanarrative.  That is the core of smiley-face national socialism that reigns here. 

  5. PsychLynne

    Excellent post.  I think the “nice” concept is intertwined with “good.”  For example, taking care of the earth is good, thus pricing coal out of existence is nice.  Women having the freedom to make personal choices is good, thus free access to birth control  is nice.  Those sound like non-sequitors to me, but apparently not to a lot of other people.  Jonathan Chait’s work on values is really relevant here.  If those on the liberal end of philososphy value “caring” (much like “nice”), than that is the language we need to speak. 

    I think we’re often saying “come be like us” and really, we need to be woo-ing the other side.  Most people aren’t persuaded by logic and reason, they need to be intrigued by us…drawn in.  Those on the left need to see that we care, and we need to emphasize caring as an important value to us and then show (not just tell) how we do it.

    So, no more “we care by giving you the freedom to make the most of yourself” but rather, “we care by setting you up for success”

  6. PsychLynne

    Next thought:  Can we get Chait on a podcast? or as visiting contributor?

  7. DocJay

    Come 2016, that’s when libertarians strike.  The next election will have 25-30 % of the nation in a third party if I’m correct.  

    Nice analysis by the way, not just above but prior.  You were right and I was wrong.  

    I figured he stunk so much that no one would want him again.  

  8. RightinChicago

    Words of wisdom Casey. As one guilty of occassionally thinking you a Nabob, I apologize. Moving inward. Brilliant. That’s the best assessment I’ve heard about the change in the electorate. Conservatism is unfortunately seen as not nice. We have to change that. Bastiat wrote that people mistake, saying that government shouldn’t do something, with saying something shouldn’t be done. That is how too many people see conservatives. When we say the Federal government shouldn’t be involved in education, we are painted as people that don’t believe in education. We must find a way to destroy that misconception.

  9. Frozen Chosen

    How’s this for “nice”

    • 70% tax rates to pay for all the Left’s socialist programs

    • Constant terrorist attacks including a dirty bomb or two
    • Loss of life saving drugs and medical devices because the govt sucked all the profit out of producing them
    • Being overrun by illegals and murderous drug lords

    We’ll see how the politically correct little [redacted for Code of Conduct] like that!

  10. James Jones

    Great. In 2016 we strike and win, but what exactly do we win then? A nation sunk even deeper in red ink than today and with Obamacare so entrenched it’ll never be excised.

    No, we missed a historic opportunity yesterday. One it’s going to be hard to recover from. The Left gets all the chances it needs, but we have to be perfect every time.

  11. Western Chauvinist

    If I tilt my head and squint just right, I can see what you’re getting at. But, how is forcing Catholics to pay for your abortions and contraception “nice?” And how is saddling the next generation(s) with un-payable debt, devalued currency, and lost opportunities “nice?”

    /oh, oh! did I just make your point?!! nah… that was too easy.

  12. HeartofAmerica
    DocJay: Come 2016, that’s when libertarians strike.  The next election will have 25-30 % of the nation in a third party if I’m correct.  

    Nice analysis by the way, not just above but prior.  You were right and I was wrong.  

    I figured he stunk so much that no one would want him again.   · 38 minutes ago

    DocJay…you are reading the situation correctly and so far you are the only person to pick up on this idea. The Libertarians I know voted for Johnson and it had nothing to do with Johnson’s worthiness, it was all about sending a message to the GOP. Problem is…the GOP will pick this election to death and decide it was all about this issue or that demographic and they still won’t get what the Libertarians are trying to teach them.

  13. Goldgeller

    You have some good ideas here. I think in some ways you’re right. The left believes strongly in egalitarianism. That’s the key of their moral systems. The left teaches this and pushes this on schools and in the TVs. Consequently, whole generations have grown up only learning how to analyze morality through one lens.  Jonathan Haidt’s “The Righteous Mind” is always an appropriate recommendation.

    The other thing that is in my mind right now– something Thomas Sowell said: People tend to analyze policies by their stated goals rather than their outcomes. Sowell said, basically, “the question to ask it ‘what are you subsidizing? What are you are making cheaper, and what are you making more costly?’” We get the Peltzman Effect from the same basic idea.  

    I like your idea about “people turning inward” but given that it doesn’t fit on their egalitarian morality scale, you may as well be speaking another language to them.  

  14. MollyB

    Great observations, Casey. I think you are spot-on about the “inward” movement. Until people are really suffering, they will not vote against the party in power. I think a lot of people voted for Obama because — despite the real unemployment rate being about 11 percent — what they perceived, from an emotional standpoint, is that the economy had bottomed out, was on the upswing, and that the country had, however feebly, begun to recover. And for some reason, a number of conservatives who should have known better sat out this election and allowed BHO to win.

  15. Pseudodionysius

    Barack Obama liberalism will look old and tired.

    Barack Obama liberalism will be an old and comfortable shoe, and as America slouches toward tomorrah, you will be fighting an entrenched castle with popguns and slingshots. It will be old, tired and entrenched and will be sipped in the water fountains, imbibed in the schools, refreshed in the airy corridors of Machiavellian power, and chanted in treacly songs on YouTube.

    The Ruling Class shall not be mocked by the great unwashed . A Trillion has a lot of O after it.

  16. Amy Schley

    Reminds me of the Witch from Steven Sondheim’s “Into the Woods”:

    You’re so nice. You’re not good; you’re not bad, you’re just nice.

    I’m not good; I’m not nice; I’m just right. I’m the witch; you’re the world.

    I’m the hitch; I’m what no one believes; I’m the witch.

    You’re all liars and thieves like his father; like his son will be too oh why bother? You’ll just do what you do.

  17. Man O Tea

    All true Casey  But I’m already resisting the soon-to-be cliche. Metanarrative.  Narrative has already been beaten to death, followed by it’s sappy cousin meme. Find a new phrase. They’re out there. No metanarrative. 

  18. CoolHand

    Dear Casey,

              You don’t have any more an idea what’s gonna win the next election than the toothless old guy who sells me bolts at the hardware store here in town.

    Yours truly,

                         The Increasingly Grumpy Fat Guy

  19. Man O Tea

    Here’s another really good take on the election/culture

  20. FloppyDisk90

    Nice.  It’s such a soft, flabby word.  “Isn’t she nice?  She’s sooooo nice.  Isn’t that nice?”

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