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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  1. Leslie Watkins Member
    Leslie Watkins
    @LeslieWatkins

    Taras (View Comment):

    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!

    New part: It’s overly binary and noncontextual, for sure. I also think he fibs when he says “we” are an unserious country, since he obviously does not mean to include himself.

    • #31
  2. ChrisShearer Coolidge
    ChrisShearer
    @ChrisShearer

    When I listened to James’  reminiscences of July 4th on the farm, I kept thinking of SCTV’s “Farm film report”

     

    ”They blowed up REAL good!”

     

    • #32
  3. Al Sparks Thatcher
    Al Sparks
    @AlSparks

    Leslie Watkins (View Comment):
    Why can’t both Sohrab and David be right? And why must everyone feel attacked?

    Well, when I read the rest of your paragraph, what I took away from it was that you thought they were both wrong.

    You undercut your original question.

    • #33
  4. Al Sparks Thatcher
    Al Sparks
    @AlSparks

    James Lileks question about civility gets to the root of the matter.  And Peter Robinson’s observation that civility is being used against our side was right on.  

    A lot of what influenced me on this issue was the way George W. Bush (and to a lesser extent his father) conducted himself in office, looking for a “new tone.”

    In my view, the Bushes had a mild dislike for the Reagans (and probably Nancy Reagan treated Barbara Bush badly when she was First Lady, so maybe it’s very personal) but one thing that probably made Ronald Reagan tough, with no illusions regarding his political opponents, was his time as Governor of California during the 1960s.  He was in the middle of that culture war, especially during the campus riots which included the California system in a big way.

    He was used to the various attacks on him, which not only included viciousness, but also “death by a thousand snarks” which the Hollywood left of the time was good at.

    The Bushes are decent people who don’t know how to “bring a gun to a knife fight.”

    And it’s why I reject David French’s more extreme arguments against Trump.

    • #34
  5. Al Sparks Thatcher
    Al Sparks
    @AlSparks

    Regarding Peter Robinson’s Steve Jobs story regarding Disney, I read a biography of Walt Disney, probably about a decade ago.  Having read bios of both men, I do see a lot of similarities between the two men when it comes to creativity and also how they ran their respective companies (both were egotistial and mercurial).

    One thing Walt Disney had attempted when creating Disney World in Orlando was a model city.  Disney succeeded in getting the State of Florida to allow the Disney Corporation to deputize his security staff as law enforcement.  I don’t remember all the details, but Disney garnered other privileges for Disney World as well.

    Jobs’s comment on Disney running the government had something behind it.

    • #35
  6. JuliaBlaschke Coolidge
    JuliaBlaschke
    @JuliaBlaschke

    Al Sparks (View Comment):

    Regarding Peter Robinson’s Steve Jobs story regarding Disney, I read a biography of Walt Disney, probably about a decade ago. Having read bios of both men, I do see a lot of similarities between the two men when it comes to creativity and also how they ran their respective companies (both were egotistial and mercurial).

    One thing Walt Disney had attempted when creating Disney World in Orlando was a model city. Disney succeeded in getting the State of Florida to allow the Disney Corporation to deputize his security staff as law enforcement. I don’t remember all the details, but Disney garnered other privileges for Disney World as well.

    Jobs’s comment on Disney running the government had something behind it.

    I remember thinking when I visited Disneyland a year ago that the mostly senior citizens doing security at the gates were a lot more polite and efficient than the TSA.

    • #36
  7. OccupantCDN Coolidge
    OccupantCDN
    @OccupantCDN

    Taras (View Comment):

    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.

    The real reason campaign promises are called a platform – is that on election day, one politician or another boards the gravy train, and as that train pulls out of the station – the platform gets left behind.

    I think voters can see the unprecedented opposition Donald Trump faced from the democrat media machine – starting from the transition team, I heard that the confirmation battles where so time consuming – that it would take 11 years for Donald Trump to seat a full cabinet. It sets an unfortunate precedent of tooth & nail resistance that’ll eventually grind the government to a complete stop. 

    • #37
  8. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Leslie Watkins (View Comment):
    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.

    Off by a thousand years. Several people, including Bede, made translations of parts as early as the Seventh Century into Anglo-Saxon (Old English). Wycliffe’s Bible was in Middle English in the Fourteenth Century.

    Then there was Tyndale, Coverdale, the Geneva Bible, and the Bishop’s Bible in the Early Modern Era before the KJV.

    • #38
  9. FredGoodhue Coolidge
    FredGoodhue
    @FredGoodhue

    Mikescapes (View Comment):

     

    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.

    I’ve found in political arguments, no matter how civil or uncivil, the other guy will not be swayed.  But if there are third parties listening, they may be swayed.  So when speaking, remember that the target audience in not the debating opponent; it’s the others in the room.

    • #39
  10. Leslie Watkins Member
    Leslie Watkins
    @LeslieWatkins

    Al Sparks (View Comment):

    Leslie Watkins (View Comment):
    Why can’t both Sohrab and David be right? And why must everyone feel attacked?

    Well, when I read the rest of your paragraph, what I took away from it was that you thought they were both wrong.

    You undercut your original question.

    Yeah, I didn’t do a good job of communicating what I was trying to get at there. In a way, though, you’re right. I was implying that both points are wrong–by asking if it’s possible that both points are right, at least to some extent. As Thomas Sowell says, in terms of policy issues, there is no right or wrong, only tradeoffs, and I don’t seem much interest in reconciling those tradeoffs.

    • #40
  11. rgbact Inactive
    rgbact
    @romanblichar

    At least Ahmari sounded far better here than in that piece he wrote. Then, Peter asked him the Trump question…..and he breaks into his “well, he fights and my 401k is doing well” excuse mode. Womp womp. Way to stand up for values. All socon arguments get undermined because of the president they are unwilling to criticize……while trashing the shows David French watches.

    Interesting that JVL thinks that Warren is out of the mix.  Warren has outBernied Bernie on lots of stuff imo, so I don’t really see her as any compromise candidate for the true socialists. Even Tucker Carlson says nice things.

    • #41
  12. Leslie Watkins Member
    Leslie Watkins
    @LeslieWatkins

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Leslie Watkins (View Comment):
    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.

    Off by a thousand years. Several people, including Bede, made translations of parts as early as the Seventh Century into Anglo-Saxon (Old English). Wycliffe’s Bible was in Middle English in the Fourteenth Century.

    Then there was Tyndale, Coverdale, the Geneva Bible, and the Bishop’s Bible in the Early Modern Era before the KJV.

    Bede, primarily a historian, did not do a full English translation of the Bible. His eight-century history of the English church (which is available in paperback and which I have read) has portions of the New Testament in it but is not a translation of the Bible as such.

    Wycliffe’s Bible was an extremely popular but “unauthorized” (i.e., not church-sanctioned) translation of (mostly) the Vulgate into Middle English, put out prior to the Reformation by a monk associated with a heretical reformist movement that the Roman Church suppressed. The other versions you mention, though also popular among certain groups of Christians, have the same formal limitations as Wycliffe’s translation in that they were not authorized, whereas the King James Bible is also known as the Authorized Version, i.e., by the formal church.  I should have spelled out what I meant by a “translation.” As you obviously know, this is a very complicated story with lots of moving parts.

    • #42
  13. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Annefy (View Comment):

     

    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.

    Years ago I read some kind of report or study on how many people pick college majors in a way to basically “repair” themselves.  And I can believe it.  Some of the craziest people I’ve known were psychiatrists, etc.  So in their cases at least, it apparently didn’t work.  Unless they would have been even worse otherwise… But what struck me the most was that the average GPA of those going into “Education” – i.e., to become teachers! – was lower than the athletes.

    • #43
  14. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    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.

    Sending a check is far less pernicious than programming young people to believe the same drivel.  Then you get dozens or hundreds of like-(un-)minded drones in the future.

    • #44
  15. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    A hundred thousand people a month need to escape the Northern Triangle and we are supposed to do what about it? There isn’t a damn thing we can do to improve the situation. All we can do is be as strong and prosperous as possible so we can let more in legally.

    • #45
  16. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    I want you guys to get Willie Brown on to talk about Kamela Harris. lol She strikes me as being really long on political talent and not much else.

    Eric Swalwell is so odd. They were trying to recall him from his city council position, but then he got elected to the House. He has an incredible combination of offering nothing but being really odd to make up for it.

    Do any of you guys  have a big opinion about Willie Brown? I really don’t know anything about him, but I always enjoy listening to his analysis of politics.

    • #46
  17. FredGoodhue Coolidge
    FredGoodhue
    @FredGoodhue

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Years ago I read some kind of report or study on how many people pick college majors in a way to basically “repair” themselves. And I can believe it. Some of the craziest people I’ve known were psychiatrists, etc. So in their cases at least, it apparently didn’t work. Unless they would have been even worse otherwise… But what struck me the most was that the average GPA of those going into “Education” – i.e., to become teachers! – was lower than the athletes.

    A community college psychiatry professor friend of mine told me a lot of her students have psychiatric problems, and are studying psychiatry to learn about their problems.  I have another psychiatry professor friend who teaches at a four year college, and she says she does not get a disproportionately high of students with psychiatric problems. 

     

    • #47
  18. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    FredGoodhue (View Comment):
    and she says she does not get a disproportionately high of students with psychiatric problems. 

    No, not disproportionate. About what she expects. Why, the crazies are at the same percentage as those who come to her in private practice: 100%.

    • #48
  19. Annefy Member
    Annefy
    @Annefy

    JuliaBlaschke (View Comment):

    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.

    Catholic school. And I’m sure the teachers with whom I had differences are still shoveling also. Never dreamt that my interference would have any permanent effect 

    • #49
  20. Taras Coolidge
    Taras
    @Taras

    Annefy (View Comment):

    JuliaBlaschke (View Comment):

    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.

    Catholic school. And I’m sure the teachers with whom I had differences are still shoveling also. Never dreamt that my interference would have any permanent effect

     It is possible to politely show people that they sound foolish when they talk about politics.  

    One beneficial effect of that can be that they shy away from politics down the road, not wanting to look foolish. 

    Another is that when they eventually forget an argument came from you, they may end up schooling you with your own argument.   Me:  “Oh, really.  You’re probably right!”

    • #50
  21. FredGoodhue Coolidge
    FredGoodhue
    @FredGoodhue

    Arahant (View Comment):

    FredGoodhue (View Comment):
    and she says she does not get a disproportionately high of students with psychiatric problems.

    No, not disproportionate. About what she expects. Why, the crazies are at the same percentage as those who come to her in private practice: 100%.

    I was not clear.  The four year collage professor had people with problems in proportion to the general population.

     

    • #51
  22. JuliaBlaschke Coolidge
    JuliaBlaschke
    @JuliaBlaschke

    kedavis (View Comment):
    Sending a check is far less pernicious than programming young people to believe the same drivel. Then you get dozens or hundreds of like-(un-)minded drones in the future.

    But the programming doesn’t stop.

    • #52
  23. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Taras (View Comment):

    Annefy (View Comment):

    JuliaBlaschke (View Comment):

    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.

    Catholic school. And I’m sure the teachers with whom I had differences are still shoveling also. Never dreamt that my interference would have any permanent effect

    It is possible to politely show people that they sound foolish when they talk about politics.

    One beneficial effect of that can be that they shy away from politics down the road, not wanting to look foolish.

    Another is that when they eventually forget an argument came from you, they may end up schooling you with your own argument. Me: “Oh, really. You’re probably right!”

    But when they get back with their old crowd who is also still foolish, it starts right back up.

    • #53
  24. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    FredGoodhue (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    FredGoodhue (View Comment):
    and she says she does not get a disproportionately high of students with psychiatric problems.

    No, not disproportionate. About what she expects. Why, the crazies are at the same percentage as those who come to her in private practice: 100%.

    I was not clear. The four year collage professor had people with problems in proportion to the general population.

    You were perfectly clear, Fred. I’m just a baaaad boy.

    • #54
  25. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Arahant (View Comment):

    FredGoodhue (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    FredGoodhue (View Comment):
    and she says she does not get a disproportionately high of students with psychiatric problems.

    No, not disproportionate. About what she expects. Why, the crazies are at the same percentage as those who come to her in private practice: 100%.

    I was not clear. The four year collage professor had people with problems in proportion to the general population.

    You were perfectly clear, Fred. I’m just a baaaad boy.

    I’m not convinced they would have an accurate handle on the overall rates of such problems in the general population.

    • #55
  26. Joseph Stocks Member
    Joseph Stocks
    @JosephStocks

    Two points:

    1.) JVL misses the point entirely when he talks about black support for Biden increasing after the debate spat with Harris. Zach Goldberg’s brilliant piece in Tablet Magazine, “America’s White Saviors” demonstrates what JVL is failing to account for. White liberals have moved farther left than any other group in America and they have an outsized influence on social media and the Democratic primary process. 

    So, that black moderate Democrats are coming in to support Biden will not offset the more zealous and more politically influential white liberal faction that views Biden as a segregationist sympathizer. 

    I do think JVL and maybe to a lesser extent Jonah Goldberg are displaying a rooting interest in Biden but they have not factored in the white woke influence in the Democratic Party. 

    2.) Sohrab Ahmari brings up the brilliant point about civility being a second order good.

    For example, what is the civil response to liberals seeking the eradication of Christian adoption agencies because they won’t place children with same sex couples?

    There isn’t any way to be civil with them. You need the blunt force of law stating that liberals cannot discriminate against Christian adoption agencies. This is what I believe the French faction seems to forget. Sohrab correctly points out that they want to remove us from the public square, this isn’t conspiracy thinking, it is actually happening and when conservatives then use the law to protect their liberty they get branded as Catholic sharia or being uncivil.  

    • #56
  27. Henry Racette Member
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    I think some who call for “incivility” from the right are granting the left too much authority to define the terms. If it wasn’t uncivil fifteen years ago to say, for example, that men and women are fundamentally different, then it isn’t uncivil to say it now. We didn’t suddenly discover something radically new about the nature of men and women. All that has changed is the left’s reaction to perfectly reasonable ideas expressed in a civil fashion.

    We must distinguish between being uncivil and being offensive. I try to be relentlessly civil; I don’t mind at all being perceived as offensive by people who equate civility with submission to the cultural diktat de jure.

    And I appreciate your defense of civility, @jameslileks — as much as I am amused by Peter’s brief endorsement of incivility… as if he were capable of such a thing.

    • #57
  28. The Cynthonian Member
    The Cynthonian
    @TheCynthonian

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    I want you guys to get Willie Brown on to talk about Kamela Harris. lol She strikes me as being really long on political talent and not much else.

    Eric Swalwell is so odd. They were trying to recall him from his city council position, but then he got elected to the House. He has an incredible combination of offering nothing but being really odd to make up for it.

    Do any of you guys have a big opinion about Willie Brown? I really don’t know anything about him, but I always enjoy listening to his analysis of politics.

    Just out of curiosity, where are you hearing him?

    Brown was the bete noire of the California GOP in the 80s and early 90s, when the CA legislature was more evenly split between the parties.  He controlled his caucus very tightly, and they did a lot of damage to the state, even when it had GOP governors who (marginally) kept the legislature in check.  He practiced Chicago-style politics in Sacramento, and was known in GOP circles for petty tyrannies like assigning whichever member of the incoming GOP group of Assembly members had annoyed him the most (usually by winning a hard-fought election) the worst office in the state Capitol.

    He would probably still be Speaker if the then more-sensible CA electorate hadn’t passed term limits on the state legislature in 1990.   Then he could only serve three more 2-year terms, which he did.

    • #58
  29. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    The Cynthonian (View Comment):
    Just out of curiosity, where are you hearing him?

    He gets interviewed on cable occasionally. His column gets quoted in talk radio sometimes. His criticism of Kamela Harris has pretty interesting. I suppose realistically, they are both two sicko political psychopaths.

    Harris has sought to define herself as a liberal reformer. A review of her career shows something very different. https://reason.com/2019/06/03/kamala-harris-is-a-cop-who-wants-to-be-president/ via @reason

     

    • #59
  30. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    RufusRJones (View Comment):
    He gets interviewed on cable occasionally. His column gets quoted in talk radio sometimes. His criticism of Kamela Harris has pretty interesting. I suppose realistically, they are both two sicko political psychopaths.

    But do you know the former adulterous lovers part?

    • #60
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