The Great Debate

A very busy week to cover on this week’s show (even though one of our hosts is already vacation mode — and we apologize in advance for his sometimes spotty audio). We’ve got Jonathan V. Last (his Democratic Power Rankings are a must read) to parse both of the Dem debates, and the NY Post’s Sohrab Ahmari on the crisis on the border and yes, his criticism of David French and a branch of Conservatism in general. Also, the SCOTUS rulings, and Peter Robinson buys a car.

We’re off next week for the holiday. Have a safe and happy one, all!

Music from this week’s show: The House I Live In by Sam Cooke

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There are 73 comments.

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  1. EJHill Podcaster

    The Ricochet Podcast… Starring James Lileks as “Shaft Washington”…

    • #1
    • June 28, 2019, at 2:43 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  2. kedavis Member

    The DoorDash promo code is “GLoP?”

    • #2
    • June 28, 2019, at 3:45 PM PDT
    • Like
  3. EJHill Podcaster

    kedavisThe DoorDash promo code is “GLoP?”

    It’s a companion piece to today’s GLoP sponsorship with the promo code “Ricochet.”

    • #3
    • June 28, 2019, at 4:10 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  4. Samuel Block Member

    EJHill (View Comment):

    The Ricochet Podcast… Starring James Lileks as “Shaft Washington”…

    I was wondering whether tough guy James wants to beat me up or disconnect me from the Matrix. (I guess the two aren’t mutually exclusive).

    • #4
    • June 28, 2019, at 4:10 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  5. kedavis Member

    Sohrab Ahmari and the rest of the gang shouldn’t underestimate the ability of many people to believe that they can elect a Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren or whatever, and the great economic and employment advances that have come under Trump, will somehow continue. AND they will somehow get free college, etc, too! I have several neighbors like that. Some of them even believe that the great economic and employment numbers etc, are really “leftover Obama.”

    • #5
    • June 28, 2019, at 4:48 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  6. James Lileks Contributor

    Samuel Block (View Comment):

    I was wondering whether tough guy James wants to beat me up or disconnect me from the Matrix. (I guess the two aren’t mutually exclusive).

    Missssster Block. 

    • #6
    • June 28, 2019, at 5:12 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  7. J Ro Member

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Sohrab Ahmari and the rest of the gang shouldn’t underestimate the ability of many people to believe that they can elect a Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren or whatever, and the great economic and employment advances that have come under Trump, will somehow continue. AND they will somehow get free college, etc, too! I have several neighbors like that. Some of them even believe that the great economic and employment numbers etc, are really “leftover Obama.”

    Are these neighbors some of the “many people” you know who use the term “medicine” for their heroin?

    • #7
    • June 28, 2019, at 5:21 PM PDT
    • Like
  8. OccupantCDN Coolidge

    kedavis (View Comment):
    “leftover Obama.”

    Its a rare meal, when the leftovers are significantly better than the original serving.

    I think the democrats think that it doesn’t matter what their policies are. They believe that not being Donald Trump will be enough to win the election – that their are enough people out there so blinded by their hate, that they’d vote for their craziest of crazies.

    Civility is only an issue when a republican counter attacks on the same level, that republicans have been for decades.

    • #8
    • June 28, 2019, at 7:14 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  9. kedavis Member

    J Ro (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Sohrab Ahmari and the rest of the gang shouldn’t underestimate the ability of many people to believe that they can elect a Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren or whatever, and the great economic and employment advances that have come under Trump, will somehow continue. AND they will somehow get free college, etc, too! I have several neighbors like that. Some of them even believe that the great economic and employment numbers etc, are really “leftover Obama.”

    Are these neighbors some of the “many people” you know who use the term “medicine” for their heroin?

    Not specifically, although some of them probably believe that stuff too. And for them, free heroin and etc. Heck, the dems already want to/already give them free needles. Free heroin is just the next logical step. Plus free “rehab” when they want to stop for a while, then free heroin and needles again when they want to start up again… Oh and free dental for the meth users…

    I’ve also heard ex-military… “brothers”… talking about how Saddam Hussein isn’t really dead because gas would be $10/gallon if he was, how Bob Marley was an international political figure and hero, and most recently just today at KFC, how the Bible was originally written in Greek. (That was really just the first translation, it seems.)

    • #9
    • June 28, 2019, at 7:27 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  10. Percival Thatcher

    Something is in decline. Is it the nation, or just the clucks who consider themselves the elite?

    • #10
    • June 28, 2019, at 7:33 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  11. Samuel Block Member

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    Samuel Block (View Comment):

    I was wondering whether tough guy James wants to beat me up or disconnect me from the Matrix. (I guess the two aren’t mutually exclusive).

    Missssster Block.

    I should warn you: I’m capable of harnessing love for political purposes.

    • #11
    • June 28, 2019, at 7:33 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  12. kedavis Member

    OccupantCDN (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):
    “leftover Obama.”

    Its a rare meal, when the leftovers are significantly better than the original serving.

    I think the democrats think that it doesn’t matter what their policies are. They believe that not being Donald Trump will be enough to win the election – that their are enough people out there so blinded by their hate, that they’d vote for their craziest of crazies.

    Civility is only an issue when a republican counter attacks on the same level, that republicans have been for decades.

    Well some people might vote just for “Not Trump,” the way many people last time probably voted for “Not Hillary.” Although there should have been more, but the Rob Longs and others didn’t want to lower THEMSELVES to that, they were satisfied to let others do it FOR them. And if Hillary had won, well that’s what the proles get for not voting for the Approved Candidate(s) in the primaries.

    But too much of it is probably just habit. The people I see around here, don’t seem to think about much at all. Democrat = Good, Republican = Bad. They can somehow believe Elizabeth Warren is great, even if you point out to them that all of the “rich people” in the WORLD don’t have enough money to pay for what she wants.

    • #12
    • June 28, 2019, at 7:36 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  13. OccupantCDN Coolidge

    kedavis (View Comment):

    OccupantCDN (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):
    “leftover Obama.”

    Its a rare meal, when the leftovers are significantly better than the original serving.

    I think the democrats think that it doesn’t matter what their policies are. They believe that not being Donald Trump will be enough to win the election – that their are enough people out there so blinded by their hate, that they’d vote for their craziest of crazies.

    Civility is only an issue when a republican counter attacks on the same level, that republicans have been for decades.

    Well some people might vote just for “Not Trump,” the way many people last time probably voted for “Not Hillary.” Although there should have been more, but the Rob Longs and others didn’t want to lower THEMSELVES to that, they were satisfied to let others do it FOR them. And if Hillary had won, well that’s what the proles get for not voting for the Approved Candidate(s) in the primaries.

    But too much of it is probably just habit. The people I see around here, don’t seem to think about much at all. Democrat = Good, Republican = Bad. They can somehow believe Elizabeth Warren is great, even if you point out to them that all of the “rich people” in the WORLD don’t have enough money to pay for what she wants.

    Yes, even to balance the budget and pay for the government now. Would eat the wealthy.

    Modern politicians claim to be followers Keynesian economics, however they’re at best half a$$ed Keynesians, they’re more than happy to spend bad times or not – but have never found an economy strong enough for the government spending to be balanced – let alone repay the debt incurred by the stimulus.

    • #13
    • June 28, 2019, at 7:43 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  14. James Lileks Contributor

    OccupantCDN (View Comment):

    Civility is only an issue when a republican counter attacks on the same level, that republicans have been for decades.

    If we define “civility” as capitulating and apologizing for making a counter argument then burying the assertion in some kumbayah talk about going forward together, I’m am agin’ it. I mean pushing back with facts and ideas with passion that makes people listen and think. 

     

    • #14
    • June 28, 2019, at 8:54 PM PDT
    • 12 likes
  15. Annefy Member

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    OccupantCDN (View Comment):

    Civility is only an issue when a republican counter attacks on the same level, that republicans have been for decades.

    If we define “civility” as capitulating and apologizing for making a counter argument then burying the assertion in some kumbayah talk about going forward together, I’m am agin’ it. I mean pushing back with facts and ideas with passion that makes people listen and think.

    I wish the bolded statement was true; it certainly hasn’t been in my experience

    I’ve tried to convince more than a few teachers that what they were teaching was factually inaccurate. The wage gap was one example, another that there are terrorists in every religion. And don’t even get me started on climate change and “sustainability”.

    I never convinced one with facts. But I convinced more than one to shut up with their nonsense. ( it’s safe to assume that that I wasn’t exactly dazzling them with civility)

     

    • #15
    • June 28, 2019, at 11:27 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  16. CliffTOP Coolidge

    Lousy sound quality gents… I gave up at minute 10:00.
    Rob, you cannot ask us to support by joining, and then post poor quality. I can get that for free.

    • #16
    • June 29, 2019, at 12:04 AM PDT
    • Like
  17. Arahant Member

    Samuel Block (View Comment):
    I should warn you: I’m capable of harnessing love for political purposes.

    Yeow! There’s a dangerous man.

    • #17
    • June 29, 2019, at 12:25 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  18. Jon1979 Lincoln

    kedavis (View Comment):

    OccupantCDN (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):
    “leftover Obama.”

    Its a rare meal, when the leftovers are significantly better than the original serving.

    I think the democrats think that it doesn’t matter what their policies are. They believe that not being Donald Trump will be enough to win the election – that their are enough people out there so blinded by their hate, that they’d vote for their craziest of crazies.

    Civility is only an issue when a republican counter attacks on the same level, that republicans have been for decades.

    Well some people might vote just for “Not Trump,” the way many people last time probably voted for “Not Hillary.” Although there should have been more, but the Rob Longs and others didn’t want to lower THEMSELVES to that, they were satisfied to let others do it FOR them. And if Hillary had won, well that’s what the proles get for not voting for the Approved Candidate(s) in the primaries.

    But too much of it is probably just habit. The people I see around here, don’t seem to think about much at all. Democrat = Good, Republican = Bad. They can somehow believe Elizabeth Warren is great, even if you point out to them that all of the “rich people” in the WORLD don’t have enough money to pay for what she wants.

    I remember Jonah Goldberg admitting about a year ago that his non-vote for Trump was a zero-consequences one, because living in Washington his vote wasn’t going to keep Hillary from winning the district, and IIRC at the time he said if he had lived in Ohio, he would have held jis nose and voted for Trump over Clinton.

    Not sure how things will go in 2020 though — since he’s been a lightning rod for angry anti-Trump people, I think he’s gotten a little more strident against him in the past 6-8 months, but the Dems at the moment don’t look like they’ll nominate someone who even wants to fake being moderate.

    • #18
    • June 29, 2019, at 5:28 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  19. Mikescapes Inactive

    Annefy (View Comment):

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    OccupantCDN (View Comment):

    Civility is only an issue when a republican counter attacks on the same level, that republicans have been for decades.

    If we define “civility” as capitulating and apologizing for making a counter argument then burying the assertion in some kumbayah talk about going forward together, I’m am agin’ it. I mean pushing back with facts and ideas with passion that makes people listen and think.

    I wish the bolded statement was true; it certainly hasn’t been in my experience

    I’ve tried to convince more than a few teachers that what they were teaching was factually inaccurate. The wage gap was one example, another that there are terrorists in every religion. And don’t even get me started on climate change and “sustainability”.

    I never convinced one with facts. But I convinced more than one to shut up with their nonsense. ( it’s safe to assume that that I wasn’t exactly dazzling them with civility)

    Annefy (View Comment):

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    OccupantCDN (View Comment):

    Civility is only an issue when a republican counter attacks on the same level, that republicans have been for decades.

    If we define “civility” as capitulating and apologizing for making a counter argument then burying the assertion in some kumbayah talk about going forward together, I’m am agin’ it. I mean pushing back with facts and ideas with passion that makes people listen and think.

    I wish the bolded statement was true; it certainly hasn’t been in my experience

    I’ve tried to convince more than a few teachers that what they were teaching was factually inaccurate. The wage gap was one example, another that there are terrorists in every religion. And don’t even get me started on climate change and “sustainability”.

    I never convinced one with facts. But I convinced more than one to shut up with their nonsense. ( it’s safe to assume that that I wasn’t exactly dazzling them with civility)

     

    Shutting them up is great. I think pushing back is effective, especially if you can convince those listening of the merits of your argument. I don’t know if your rebuttals were in a classroom context or private. Either way good for you. Of course you can’t change closed minds, but the target audience really are the ones who haven’t shut the door on rational debate.

    • #19
    • June 29, 2019, at 8:21 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  20. OccupantCDN Coolidge

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    OccupantCDN (View Comment):

    Civility is only an issue when a republican counter attacks on the same level, that republicans have been for decades.

    If we define “civility” as capitulating and apologizing for making a counter argument then burying the assertion in some kumbayah talk about going forward together, I’m am agin’ it. I mean pushing back with facts and ideas with passion that makes people listen and think.

     

    Sure, that pitch has to be made – I wish we lived in a world where that it would be effective. This is why Donald Trump is president and Mitt Romney is not.

    Wanna talk about a dead wife? I’ll raise you a Vince Foster. Wanna talk about tax cheating? Lets talk Clinton Foundation, Tides Foundation, Acorn, Jesse Jackson Jr. Whatever they wanna talk about there is a democrat out there who is doing/done worse. (particularly in comparison to Mitt Romney)

    My point is that a republican can be called a “Rooster holster”, “Feckless C***” and worse, with zero consequences, and barely a discussion in the media. Its when a republican – or presumed republican steps out of line that civility becomes an issue – heaven forbid, that a reporter mistakes a pause in a statement for an opportunity to ask a question, and the media goes on a week long civility lecture.

    I know I should be used to it – if not for double standards the democrat media complex wouldn’t have any.

    • #20
    • June 29, 2019, at 8:24 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  21. PerMoeNorway Member

    I love you guys, but I would much rather heard more of your discussion with Sohrab than useless banter about buying a car. 

    • #21
    • June 29, 2019, at 9:44 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  22. JuliaBlaschke Coolidge

    Annefy (V

     

    Annefy (View Comment):
    I never convinced one with facts. But I convinced more than one to shut up with their nonsense. ( it’s safe to assume that that I wasn’t exactly dazzling them with civility)

     

    More likely you hardened their views on that nonsense. No point in shutting them up if you don’t convince them. They will just go quietly send a check to, and vote for, Kamala or Bernie. It is like muting on twitter. You don’t hear their nonsense anymore but they go right on spewing and believing.

    • #22
    • June 29, 2019, at 10:21 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  23. Taras Coolidge

    Here’s JVL:

    “The polling data on Trump’s wall … I find it the most depressing thing in the world. The guy runs on … a wall from coast to coast, and Mexico is going to pay for it; he doesn’t deliver it; and then his voters all say, ‘Yeah, we didn’t really expect him to deliver it anyway!’… This is what decadence and decline looks like. We are an unserious country …”

    What a childish view of politics JVL must have!

    Trump voters are grownups.

    They can see the forces arrayed against anything Trump tries to do to control the border: judges who twist the law or pull new Constitutional rights out of their fundaments; 41+ liberal Senators who can veto most things Trump does; Federal bureaucrats working to undermine his goals whenever they can; and liberal media who do their best to mislead the American people about Trump’s policies.

    Trump’s grownup supporters understand that Trump has had to wade through a sh*tstorm just to get as far as he has. They know he could have furled his sails in the face of this gale of opposition, as other Republicans have in the past and, to media plaudits, betrayed the people who elected him.

    • #23
    • June 29, 2019, at 10:22 AM PDT
    • 10 likes
  24. Annefy Member

    JuliaBlaschke (View Comment):

    Annefy (V

    Annefy (View Comment):
    I never convinced one with facts. But I convinced more than one to shut up with their nonsense. ( it’s safe to assume that that I wasn’t exactly dazzling them with civility)

    More likely you hardened their views on that nonsense. No point in shutting them up if you don’t convince them. They will just go quietly send a check to, and vote for, Kamala or Bernie. It is like muting on twitter. You don’t hear their nonsense anymore but they go right on spewing and believing.

    I gave up trying to convince them and settled for them not shoveling nonsense in my kids’ classrooms.

    • #24
    • June 29, 2019, at 11:00 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  25. ericB Listener

    I’m inclined to agree with @jameslileks. I’m baffled by how guest Sohrab Ahmari appears to equate “civility” with being completely unable to make “normative claims” and being compelled to say “I don’t judge that” (cf. 0:52:38 and following). It’s obvious that there is very little “shared moral consensus” across such divergent worldviews. But there is no logical connection from that to the idea that “civility” means or requires or implies acquiescence.

    The core foundation for “civility” is the understanding that even a person who doesn’t share my normative claims is still a human made in the image and likeness of God. That requires of those that affirm this that they must treat that person in a manner appropriate to that truth – even if that person denies that truth and abandons the behavior that is suitable to recognizing innate human dignity.

    For those with ears to hear it, Peter’s first epistle has much to say about how to conduct ourselves among those who mock or accuse or reject. Even so, Peter was not advocating acquiescence, even though the lack of “shared moral consensus” meant that Christians could expect to be persecuted and sometimes killed. Perceived expedience has never been a legitimate argument for abandoning the standards commanded by Jesus and taught by Peter and others.

    • #25
    • June 29, 2019, at 11:03 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  26. JuliaBlaschke Coolidge

    Annefy (View Comment):

    JuliaBlaschke (View Comment):

    Annefy (V

    Annefy (View Comment):
    I never convinced one with facts. But I convinced more than one to shut up with their nonsense. ( it’s safe to assume that that I wasn’t exactly dazzling them with civility)

    More likely you hardened their views on that nonsense. No point in shutting them up if you don’t convince them. They will just go quietly send a check to, and vote for, Kamala or Bernie. It is like muting on twitter. You don’t hear their nonsense anymore but they go right on spewing and believing.

    I gave up trying to convince them and settled for them not shoveling nonsense in my kids’ classrooms.

    If your kids are in public school, they are still shoveling.

    • #26
    • June 29, 2019, at 11:34 AM PDT
    • Like
  27. Bishop Wash Member

    Buttigieg’s popularity can also be attributed to his identity politics status and one-sided fight with Vice President Pence. It’s fun to watch the HT membership get diluted by his white male group membership. 

    • #27
    • June 29, 2019, at 11:49 AM PDT
    • Like
  28. Taras Coolidge

    Now, here’s the grown-up view from Sohrab Ahmari:

    “I was a Never Trumper [in 2016] … but 2 1/2 years have taught me, I look at experience, and … as a policy matter he’s governed pretty well. In fact, I think, as a policy matter he’s governed better than his two predecessors.

    “And then I look at the radicalism of the other side …”

    • #28
    • June 29, 2019, at 12:30 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  29. Leslie Watkins Member

    kedavis (View Comment):

    I’ve also heard ex-military… “brothers”… talking about how Saddam Hussein isn’t really dead because gas would be $10/gallon if he was, how Bob Marley was an international political figure and hero, and most recently just today at KFC, how the Bible was originally written in Greek. (That was really just the first translation, it seems.)

    FYI, both the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Scriptures began as oral traditions, the Hebrew Bible in Hebrew (except for a few places here and there); the Christian Scriptures, in koine Greek, which was the common language of the Roman Empire (except for snippets of Aramaic, most importantly, Jesus’ lament of having been forsaken). When we say Roman culture in the first several centuries of the common era (i.e., beginning in 1 CE), what we really mean is Greek culture. Latin translations did not develop until the emergence of the Church Fathers, most importantly, Jerome, who oversaw creation of the Vulgate, or Latin, Bible in the fourth century. The Bible wasn’t translated into English until the seventeenth century, when James I commissioned work on what became known (familiarly) as the King James Bible.

    Some portions of the Hebrew Bible are still available in Hebrew (e.g., the Dead Sea Scrolls found at Qumran), but around the same time that the scrolls were being created in Roman Palestine (4th and 3rd centuries BCE), in Egypt, the Hebrew Bible was translated into Greek (the Septuagint), primarily because Jews in Alexandria had become less fluent in Hebrew than in Greek.

    • #29
    • June 29, 2019, at 12:44 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  30. Leslie Watkins Member

    It’s completely problematic to try and pin down civility, when we no longer have shared meanings of words–a particularly unfortunate situation for English given its vast and nuanced vocabulary.

    Why can’t both Sohrab and David be right? And why must everyone feel attacked? (I read the First Things post and found it harsh but not at all ad hominem, and I didn’t read any critique of the essay that focused on the ideas presented as much as Sohrab’s audacity for going after French.) I happen to think that Amari’s approach would, if successful, lead to political sharia (though I’m sure that’s not his intent), which I am totally against. But although I would more closely follow French’s legal approach to liberty issues, I find him to be a rather facile condemner; e.g., shivers went up my spine on one podcast (I think The Editor’s–what happened to that podcast, by the way?), when French claimed to be able to look into the eyes of the man pictured in Northam’s yearbook photo and see evil intent. I commented that I truly hope my motivations never have to be judged by French’s insight.

    What this debate suggests to me is that what had seemed as a rather large tent during the Obama years has appreciably shrunk in the Trump years as social conservatives seek to part ways with their more pragmatic peers and as the meaning of everything under conservatism has come under much greater scrutiny. I will never understand the desire to try and make politicians noble. When that happens, great! But to expect it is, to me, nothing short of ideological hubris.

    • #30
    • June 29, 2019, at 1:15 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
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