The Day After

By Keith Kloor | November 7, 2012 11:37 am

On twitter this morning, I wrote that U.S. Republicans and anti-GMO campaigners have one thing in common today: They both woke up big losers. Romney lost decisively (electorally, which is what counts), the national GOP team fared poorly, and California’s proposition 37 (to label genetically modified foods) was roundly defeated.

I predict that influential representative voices for Repubs and the anti-GMO camp will lash out in anger and look for scapegoats, rather than reflect on their own flawed philosophies that contributed to their thrashings.

For Republicans, It’ll be interesting to see if they recognize the path they are on. I suspect that it will take another big loss (in 2016) before they really get the message that their party is out of step with the country (and its changing demographics).

As for the anti-GMO crowd, I fully expect them to double down on their losing hand. I’d be shocked if they didn’t put all their chips on the Monsanto-hating, Frankenfood-will-poison-you strategy. What else have they got?

And since I’m on the topic of post-election day implications, yes, the climate-concerned forces are quickly gearing up to take advantage of the Obama victory headwinds. The President will undoubtedly talk up climate change in a second term and Democrats will try to regain some of the political momentum on the issue, but it’s not going to be easy sledding, as the Guardian’s Damian Carrington explains here. And let’s be real and acknowledge, as Slate’s Willam Saletan lays out here, that Obama is basically a moderate Republican. I’m no Nate Silver, but I will confidently predict that Obama is not going to shut down the Keystone pipeline or curtail domestic oil and gas drilling. If he does either, I’ll shave my head (which I want to do anyway) and post the picture on twitter.

So you tell me: What is Obama going to do in a second term to address climate change?

UPDATE: Andy Revkin has just put up a post called, “Obama’s Next Steps on Energy & Climate.”

UPDATE: After a sufficient period of mourning, Republicans would be well advised to read and re-read this Thomas Friedman column. An excerpt:

The G.O.P. has lost two presidential elections in a row because it forced its candidate to run so far to the loony right to get through the primaries, dominated by its ultraconservative base, that he could not get close enough back to the center to carry the national election. It is not enough for Republicans to tell their Democratic colleagues in private “” as some do “” “I wish I could help you, but our base is crazy.” They need to have their own reformation. The center-right has got to have it out with the far-right, or it is going to be a minority party for a long time.

UPDATE: David Biello of Scientific American has a piece up titled, “Climate Change Action and More Drilling Likely in Obama’s Second Term.”

CATEGORIZED UNDER: climate change, climate politics, GMOs
  • BillC

    Keith: “The President will undoubtedly talk up climate change in a second term.”I voted for the guy and I hope not. Although “talk up” is relative, if it consists of even mentioning it I’d be OK with that.So if you want to shave your head anyway it’s not much of a bet is it? Maybe you should add a David Axelrod mustache if you don’t already have one.

  • Marlowe Johnson
  • Keith Kloor

    Marlowe, I think that is a realistic dream (but still wouldn’t mean that lose the bet).

    Billc,

    Okay, I’ll throw in a cheesy, 1970s mustache to go with the bald head. Maybe a bushy one like G. Gordon Liddy, who I have found to be one of the more despicable characters in American politics. (I will not light my hand on fire!)

  • Marlowe Johnson

    I guess it all depends on whether or not the House GOP doubles down on the obstruct-at-all-costs strategy. Time will tell.

  • Matt B

    Promoting nuclear should have no problem clearing the House…….

  • http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com willard
  • Tom Scharf

    Although it would be hard pressed to declare this as anything but a “loss” for the GOP, it should be noted that after $6B and 18 months, we are right back where we started.  Status Quo Gridlock.  The Republicans maintained their gains in the house from 2010 and the Senate remains virtually unchanged.  That is of course spin (and reality) as the hope was to make further gains with either the Senate and/or White House.  That did not happen and nobody is celebrating in the GOP today. 50% to 48% is not a mandate, lopsided electoral results not withstanding. Obama ran a better campaign and deserved to win, especially considering the economic headwinds he faced.

    The only hope for climate change is a Democratic take over in the house in 2014.  It has zero hope of getting through the GOP controlled house.  With nothing really changed in reality from 2 days ago, and both candidates falling over themselves to be the most pro-coal candidate in Ohio, the lack of it being an issue in the election, or stated as important by the exit polls, I wouldn’t get my hopes up in the near term.

    Unfortunately climate change/carbon taxes was turned into a visceral / toxic issue from 2008 to 2010 and remains so today.  Cap and trade didn’t pass in 2009 with Democrat majorities in the house and senate, and this was followed by a historic rebuke of the left in the 2010 elections.  So wishing this has gotten better is simply that: wishing.

    One could imagine carbon taxes being part of a grand deal to avoid the fiscal cliff in Jan, but I think this is pretty far removed from reality to be classified as unicorn chasing.  It’s a no go zone for Republicans and coal state Democrats.

    A more interesting question is whether there is a kinder gentler version of climate change legislation that might be palatable to the right? 

  • John F. Pittman

    Stated: “They need to have their own reformation. The center-right has got to have it out with the far-right, or it is going to be a minority party for a long time.” This appears to be also a way to make themselves a minority party for a long time. They need to find a way to include more people and opinions, not less. This includes the far right. Elected republicans have reason to fear being ousted if my state is any indication, Bob Inglis story. We, as in US citizens, have reason to want a solution that includes these people. I would also point out that memories seem a bit short, perhaps due to motivated reasoning. After Carter, a re-juvenated conservative Republican Party secured the Whitehouse for 12 years; and we have been alternating. This has been going on since WWII at least. Why do we need them? They vote; their supported representatives have secured a decision making position in the House where such items as taxes and budgets must pass.Our system of government and choosing those who run for election are inclusive, not just those who serve. A more thoughtful post would elaborate the mechanics of including the more conservative with a broader bas that offers solutions, goals, and hope to a larger portion of citizens; not alienate an obviuosly viable group. 

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Tom Scharf at #7, what would you say to a carbon tax of $12/ton with revenues being applied to reduce social security taxes and re-evaluating the cost per ton every 10 years against pre-agreed benchmarks for CO2 and temperature?

  • Jeffn

    #3- there’s nothing “realistic” about hoping for a regressive tax to pay for the deficit. And the problem there isn’t the GOP, it’s the left.
    Obama ran on a platform of raising taxes on the rich to pay the deficit, he isn’t going to turn around and ask for a tax on the poor and middle class (which is exactly what happens with a carbon tax.) Further, the “concerned” who have been promising for years that a carbon tax would be “refunded” have enough of a credibility problem without flip-flopping on that one. Besides, how do you pay for the windmills if you blow all the money on the deficit?
    2008- victory for center-left
    2010- victory for center-right
    2012- victory for center-left
    2014- expect Obama to lose seats, victory center-right
    2016- you’ll see the enthusiasm for Biden that you saw for Obama? Doubt it.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    50% to 48% is not a mandate, lopsided electoral results not withstanding. 

    while i understand the sentiment, I’m curious what margin you think is required to achieve a ‘mandate’? 55%? 60% Why does an extra 5-10% of the vote transform a ‘win’ into a ‘mandate’? Consider that where I live a party can achieve complete legislative control with a simple plurality of votes, never mind more than 50%…

    in the exit poll 60% of voters supported raising taxes on individuals making > $250k. Does this mean that Obama has a mandate to raise taxes?

  • Nullius in Verba

    #7,

    “The only hope for climate change is a Democratic take over in the house in 2014.  It has zero hope of getting through the GOP controlled house.”

    It has zero chance of getting through a Democrat-controlled house, too. The reasons it was rejected were expressed in the Byrd-Hagel resolution, given nearly unanimous bipartisan support, and followed as policy by both Bush and Obama.

    The basic position is that the US will not take economically damaging measures except as part of an effective global policy, without exceptions for developing nations rendering it meaningless. This means China and India in particular. Both refuse, of course.

    Obama’s rhetoric in 2009 was based on the earlier breakthrough at the Bali conference, in the last-ditch deal where China agreed to binding emissions limits, when led to the US getting on board. While the change was sold as Obama’s support for climate change action, it was actually because Bali had given the US precisely what they had been asking for since Byrd-Hagel, and in fact was merely a continuation of the Bush policy. After the election, China announced that they had only meant emissions intensity limits, and intended to continue emission increases exactly as already planned. The deal was off, and that’s why Obama did nothing. It’s got nothing to do with Republicans. It’s got nothing to do with sceptics. It’s got nothing to do with lack of public support. It’s simply because a deal without China participating is pointless, and would damage the US economy to no purpose.

    The view in parts of the right is that damaging the US economy and effecting a massive wealth and technology transfer from rich to poor is actually the entire purpose and point of the campaign. Applying it to the poor too would therefore defeat the object. Once everyone realised this, and moreover had realised that everybody else had realised it too, the climate talks were dead. Obama showed that not even the Democrats would fall for it, and of course nobody had any intention of enacting a program that would actually have any effect on global emissions.

    So as usual in politics, the only thing left to decide is who gets the blame (or credit, depending on your point of view). Republicans are conveniently situated, but it’s difficult to argue convincingly with Obama sitting on his own hands. I expect in a few years time both sides will be trying to claim credit. Anyway, I think Keith’s hair is safe.

  • Tom C

    Obama won, but he won ugly.   Moreover, the popular vote was 49 – 49, not 50 – 48.  The “gender gap” is nonsense because there is a reciprocal gap among men for the Dems.  The only valid point is that GOP must shore up Hispanic support. 

  • Tom Scharf

    #9: From a purely technical perspective, I do not object to a consumption tax as part of overall structural tax reform.  This could be in the form of a VAT or an energy tax.  

    Where this breaks down for me is giving the US congress any large scale tax that they can “dial up” by 1/4% every two years ad infinitum (only a temporary increase to help the children of course…ha ha) is something I simply don’t trust them with.  It’s like giving Congress access to the Social Security trust fund, and we all (should) know how that has worked out. 

    I would also agree with NiV’s assertion that once the left figures out that this type of tax is not really progressive enough to their standards, the simple consumption tax will be shredded with exceptions and loopholes to try to fix this “flaw” and we are right back where we started.

    But the real fear is that a low dollar per ton starting carbon tax is just a beachhead / slippery slope toward economically punitive taxes later, but the 10 year rule and maybe some iron clad (is there such a thing in taxes?) firewalls might help alleviate this fear.

    Somehow energy intensive industries need to not be crippled in the global marketplace by regional energy consumption taxes.

    Energy taxes targeted towards guaranteed deficit reduction in combination with spending cuts sound good on paper.  As soon as someone starts talking about buying windmills and solar panels with the energy tax, I’m running towards the exit.  If the words “climate justice” comes up, I’ll be calling my local congressman ten seconds later.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Tom Scharf, thanks for laying out the lines in the sand. I think your caution is probably wise caution. I hope Democrats try to configure solutions in a way that can satisfy your concerns. 

    I think a carbon tax is the easiest way of addressing externalities caused by fossil fuel emissions. I think your concerns are reasonable and addressable. 

    I also think this would have to come from the Left to be accepted. I wonder if they would do it.

  • Tom Scharf

    #11 A mandate is a nebulous concept, but I think it means that you run your campaign based on a clear and specific central issue(s).  You win the vote by say 10% and exit polls show that voters state that your central issue was a deciding factor in their vote.  That would be a mandate.  Of course there is tremendous amount of gray area here.  

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    I remember talk of the imaginary mandate when Bush the Younger got elected. The Democrats said he didn’t have one. The Republicans said they didn’t care. Bush acted like he had one and went a long ways towards governing as if he did. Worked for him…

  • http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com willard

    > But the real fear is that [X] is just a beachhead / slippery slope toward [Y].

    We emphasize the fallacy, and commend the forthrightness.

  • Nullius in Verba

    #18,

    Whether it is a fallacy depends on whether an argument has been offered or is readily available as to why sliding down the slope is likely/inevitable.

    The fallacy is in asserting a slippery slope without evidence that it is actually slippery.

  • Matt B

    “Mandate my ass”…….over 30 years old now, where does the time go…….

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-F_hOL_nw8

  • Joshua

    Tom C -

    Moreover, the popular vote was 49 ““ 49, Moreover, the popular vote was 49 ““ 49

    Huh? Please explain.

  • Joshua

    Tom C –

    The “gender gap” is nonsense

    In recent elections, women have cast between 4 and 9 million more votes than menand the gap has been growing steadily – up from 2 million in 1964. There are more women overall, they register to vote at a higher rate, and they vote at a higher rate.

    because there is a reciprocal gap among men for the Dems

    Lol!

    Obama got 56 % of the female vote versus 43 % for McCain, and 49 % of the male vote vs. 48 % for McCain.

    So much for that “reciprocal gap,” eh? .

  • Marlowe Johnson

    NiV

    you can do better. if we take Tom Scharf’s ‘argument’ at face value, then any government policy of taxation risks being a ‘beachead’ that will eventually lead to total subjugation of the people. 

    the thing that galls me is that using market-based instruments to address environmental externalities was championed not so long ago by the right wing, not the left (who traditionally prefer performance standards such as CAFE).

    i don’t think i’m alone in suggesting that the democractic health of your glorious country will be vastly improved if/when the lunatic conspiracy-minded libertarian wing of the republican party is relegated back to the wilderness where it belongs.

  • kdk33

    Keith thinks the right should ‘get in step with the country’.  I understand that this is the left’s notion of leadership.  Us on the right aren’t so driven by popularity.  Moreover, the right owns the house, near half the senate, and lost the presidency by 2%.  Tis a funny pair of glasses that sees this as radically out of step, or imagines the country fully behind the policies of the left.  But we all have our challenges..Obama won by force of personality – Romney just didn’t give folks a warm-fuzzy.The right needs effective leaders:  communicators who have popular appeal.  The republican primary was an exercise in deciding who was the least worst.  Someone will eventually emerge.  The pendulum will swing the other way, and perhaps Keith will remember 2010.  Or maybe not.

  • http://ourchangingclimate.wordpress.com/ Bart Verheggen

    “What else have they got?”Even without the reference to F-foods etc, why not label foods for contents that people would like to know about? You may not care about those particular contents, but others do. I don’t see what’s the big deal here. See also Jonathan Foley’s comments on e.g. twitter (@GlobalEcoGuy) about this issue. The issue about labeling of GMO contents could be seen as (relatively) separate from the issue of what you think of GMO’s potential health and environmental effects.

  • kdk33

    “using market-based instruments to address environmental externalities”  Of course, this requires an interesting understanding (perhaps misunderstanding) of “markets”. 

  • http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com willard

    Marlowe,

    I must disagree with the first sentence of your #23: in this specific instance, there’s not much more Nullius could do.

  • Tom C

    Joshua – Sorry about the 49-49 comment.  My local newspaper had that as the outcome as of about 12 noon yesterday and did not update it until much later.  It was indeed 50-48.

  • Tom C

    Joshua – Re the “gender gap”, When Bush won (as in won) the election in 2004, we never heard a word about the ability of Democrats to get more votes from men.  The gender gap is apparently only an issue when a Republican loses.  The women’s vote toward Dems is really more of a marriage gap issue.  Married women favor Repubs and single women go overwhelmingly to Dems. I guess if you don’t marry a man you marry the government.

  • harrywr2

    This quote from the Scientific American Article is Too Funny

    After all, a second term means the Obama administration will have to carry out U.S. commitments made in climate talks at Copenhagen and Durban to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 4 percent below 1990 levels by 2020

    Has this guy not been following the news? US Emissions have already dropped to 1990 levels do to fracking…and the results of increased automobile CAFE standards passed in the Bush Administration haven’t fully taken effect yet…(average fuel economy of new vehicles sold in the US have already increased 20% since 2007).

  • Joshua

    Tom C -

     I guess if you don’t marry a man you marry the government.

    Nice. Oh, and stay classy.

  • Keith Kloor

     kdk33 (24)

    Against my better judgement, I’ll bite. 

    Dead-enders like you are like a gift to Democrats. Keep purging your party of moderates, keep nominating candidates that make asinine statements about rape that frighten (and appall) women voters, and by all means, keep nominating presidential candidates that have to kowtow to a far-right fringe before they can escape the stone age to appeal to the fast-changing demographics of the United States, and the GOP will be a permanent minority by 2020. Bank on it.

    Here’s your problem in a nutshell: Rush Limbaugh is the titular head of the Republican party.

    As Mathew Dowd (former GWB advisor said on the Today show day after the election), the GOP is a Mad Men party in a Modern Family world. Good luck with that.  

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    I believe the truth about the Republican party at this point in time is that it is an unwieldy coalition of groups, some of which have antithetical beliefs, all of which have widely different goals and none of whom are willing to compromise on what they think are essential issues.

    Kind of like America overall, actually.

  • Tom Scharf

    I used the word “fear” for a reason.  Whether this is valid or not is up for interpretation.  Certainly a minor tax by itself is not the collapse of capitalism and the start of global governance.  However it is noted that a small carbon tax is almost certainly going to be ineffective according to the measures of the climate community, and many (most?) have called for a much larger tax on fossil fuels in response to their “fear” of future global warming.  So, yes, I fear that this is a beachhead to a desired much larger tax.  An environmental slush fund, if you will.  Certainly there is plausible deniability that the tax is not a slush fund.

    It is a much easier sell to tax someone now to build up infrastructure now, then to tax someone now to * prevent * the building of infrastructure later.  The second requires a form of trust in the government, the first is obvious to everyone.

    Which brings up a fundamental difference between the left and right in the US: Trust in government.  Not so much a trust that the government is not evil (it’s not evil), but a trust that they are fundamentally competent and an honest broker with taxpayer funds.

    An example would be: Do you trust that the government would voluntarily stop a tax that it no longer needed and had fulfilled its purpose?   In the county in Florida where I live, local schools are funded primarily through a property tax.  In the 2000’s during the housing bubble the county’s coffers were bloated by a run-up in property values of almost 200%.  It took a ballot initiative to cut the property tax rate down to a reasonable rate again.  The following year the housing bubble burst.  Now the county is strained.  Tuesday’s vote had a new ballot initiative to increase property taxes.  

    Being cynical about taxes is older than time.  I think there is some validity to a fear for allowing the government to self assess their needs.

  • Tom C

    OK Joshua and Keith – Here are the demographic results from the 2004 election:. http://www.ropercenter.uconn.edu/elections/how_groups_voted/voted_04.html.  Please explain why there was no talk of a “gender gap” for Democrats and men.  After that, please explain why the Dems got shellacked in 2010 and we heard no talk of how the dems were too far to the left, etc.

  • Tom C

    So, Josh, you don’t think my comment was classy.  What did you think about the ad the obama campaign ran comparing voting for obama to having sex with a man for the first time? 

  • http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com willard

    > I used the word “fear” for a reason.

    Again with a commendable forthrightness.

    Fears always have a reason, unless they don’t.

    I fear using the word “fear” always have a reason, even by chance. For instance, in an old podcast from her delightful **The Signal**, the suave Laurie Brown is telling this story about Julian Barnes, who, in **Nothing to be Afraid Of**, is tempted to speak to his very last reader:

    Well-known writers are able to transcend death because their works live on””at least that’s what we are told. Barnes himself takes some comfort in this fact, until he realizes that eventually there will come a time when his books have their last reader. As he mulls this over, he considers thanking this final fan. “But then, logic kicked in,” he writes. “Your last reader is, by definition, someone who doesn’t recommend your books to anyone else. You bastard! Not good enough, eh?” And then he proceeds to shout some obscenities at this unsuspecting future bibliophile.

    http://www.greatbooksguide.com/JulianBarnesNothingFTBFO.html

    I thought these dangling propositions were forbidden. Perhaps there’s always be something dangling. Deaths dans taxes, at the very least.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    @harry

    the new CAFE standards didn’t kick in until the 2011 model year so it’s hard to see how they could have any discernible impact in 2012. a 5% annual improvement in efficiency for 8% of the fleet (it takes about 12 years for the fleet to turnover) doesn’t amount to much in the short term.

    you’re correct that cheap natural gas (which displaced coal-fired generation) was a big factor. But so was a big drop in residential and commercial demand for nat gas (as Michael Levi discusses here).

  • Tom Scharf

    #32 Tell us what you really think, Keith.

    I think the crazy rape commenters were justifiably defeated (at least Akin was), and the Republicans tried forcefully to get him to exit the race, and he refused.  

    You look at the GOP and only see tea party extremists. I can look at the Democrats and only see liberal tax and spend straight into bankruptcy.   And we would both be right to some degree.    

    What do you think the proper lessons learned from 2010 were?  It is clear nobody on the left in the house learned anything, correct?

    The right has some valid issues you may not give much credence to.  $6,000,000,000,000 of new debt the last 4 years.  Do you care?  Some people do, and most of them are Republicans (now if only we could get elected Republicans to care….ha ha).  Do the actual math on your current social security payments and future benefits by the time you retire.  Look at GDP growth vs. Medicare.  Look at public sector pensions.  All with an aging population and declining birth rates.  If you think global warming is scary, take a hard look at this “science”.  And the models used here are very simple and undisputed.  I think the term willful ignorance is proper in this context.

    Right now the GOP is the only party who even pays lip service to grown up fiscal responsibility (and it has pretty much just been lip service).  The left didn’t even pass a budget when it had control of both houses, think about that.  

    As much as this can turn into a predictable left / right flame war, I don’t really see a tremendous difference between both sides in the big picture.  Was Obama really much different than Bush?  Not really.  

  • Keith Kloor

    Tom (39):

    You’re really missing it. The coalition that put Obama back in the White House see the Republican party as being led by Tea Party extremists. You think I’m pulling this stuff out of my ass? Read this NYT article from today. An excerpt: 

     The demographic changes in the American electorate have come with striking speed and have left many Republicans, who have not won as many electoral votes as Mr. Obama did on Tuesday in 24 years, concerned about their future. The Republicans’ Southern strategy, of appealing mostly to white voters, appears to have run into a demographic wall.

    “Before, we thought it was an important issue, improving demographically,” said Al Cardenas, the chairman of theAmerican Conservative Union. “Now, we know it’s an essential issue. You have to ignore reality not to deal with this issue.”

    The central problem for Republicans is that the Democrats’ biggest constituencies are growing. Asian-Americans, for example, made up 3 percent of the electorate, up from 2 percent in 2008, and went for Mr. Obama by about 47 percentage points. Republicans increasingly rely on older white voters. And contrary to much conventional wisdom, voters do not necessarily grow more conservative as they age; until the last decade, a majority of both younger and older voters both tended to go to the winner of the presidential election.

    This year, Mr. Obama managed to win a second term despite winning only 39 percent of white voters and 44 percent of voters older than 65, according to exit polls not yet finalized conducted by Edison Research. White men made up only about one-quarter of Mr. Obama’s voters. In the House of Representatives next year, for the first time, white men will make up less than half of the Democratic caucus.

    And here’s from another piece today on the Repub gender gap,  and an excerpt related to those rape comments:

    “We have a significant problem with female voters,” said John Weaver, a senior Republican strategist. Mr. Akin’s comments, Mr. Weaver said, “did not seem like outliers.” Nor, he added, were those made by Richard E. Mourdock, whose Senate campaign in Indiana was derailed in spectacular fashion after he said in a debate that it was “God’s will” when a pregnancy resulted from rape.

    “They did not seem foreign to our party,” Mr. Weaver said. “They seemed representative of our party.”

  • Tom Scharf

    I’ll call your NYT and raise you a WSJ, ha ha:

    Add it up, assuming Democrats hold their leads in the uncalled races (including for Florida’s 29 electoral votes), and Obama beat Romney in these eight states 115-15, while Republican House candidates beat Democratic ones 77-37. That’s enough to account for both Obama’s margin of victory and, in all likelihood, the Republican margin in the House.

    It’s a bit hard to make a good call here.  One could make a case from this data that Romney was simply a lousy candidate, but it likely goes deeper than that.

    If you want to try to interpret 50-48 as a ground breaking soul searching defeat that foreshadows declining relevance, then go ahead.  You could have made a compelling case of this in 2008, but things changed.   The left and right are not unmoving, they will both adapt to changing demographics and times.  I think “soccer moms” were breaking heavily for Bush post 9/11 as I recall.

    The interpretation that the only hope for the right is for them to turn into liberals is of course misplaced, and vice versa. I fully expect the right to suddenly get on board with immigration reform, for example.

  • Joshua

    (36) Tom C –

    I don’t engage in “Mommy, mommy, they did it firrrrsst” games. Sorry.

  • Joshua

    Republicans won the House popular vote by @6.5% in 2008. As far as I can tell, Dems may have won the House popular vote this year.

    That’s a pretty substantial turn-around. But you gotta love how Republicans are trying to spin the election results (add the http and slashes as appropriate:

    link = s3.amazonaws.com/dk-production/images/9783/large/coalition.gif?1352298101

    link = s3.amazonaws.com/dk-production/images/9782/large/demochange.gif?1352298100

    Republicans are in a pickle with immigration reform. Take a look at the polls of Republicans regarding deportation.

    They have a choice of either: (1) alienating their base or, (2) further alienating Latinos. I expect Obama to press that issue – it is a no-brainer from a political standpoint.

    Maybe Romney’s “self-deportation” policy will help, but somehow I tend to doubt that’s going to improve the standing of the Republican Party among Latinos.Lol!

  • Nullius in Verba

    #23,

    “you can do better. if we take Tom Scharf’s “˜argument’ at face value, then any government policy of taxation risks being a “˜beachead’ that will eventually lead to total subjugation of the people.”

    Taxation is always increased to slightly above the point where revenue to the government is maximised. This is because there is enormous political pressure to spend more, which already far exceeds the amount of tax they can extract from the economy, and which they fund by borrowing against future taxation. Governments tax as much as they can – they can’t justify not doing – and since the only things that stop them taxing more are people changing their behaviour to avoid being subject to it, protesting, or unpopularity at the polls, any taxation method that people can’t avoid and for which there is a moral taboo against protesting enables them to tax more.

    They have to set the tax at a level that won’t hurt to get it passed, but a level that won’t hurt won’t have the necessary effect of changing behaviour (and the required change gets bigger with time), so when it’s found it’s not working they’ll have to increase it, and since that won’t require new legislation they won’t have to do any deals. The policy intent of the tax logically necessitates that it increase.

    Thus, there are obvious reasons for slippage even on the basis of the tax’s stated purposes. Obviously it won’t go on ad infinitum, but it can be pushed higher than most taxes on the basis that some pain is necessary to ‘deal with climate change’. Electricity rates will necessarily skyrocket.

    It requires no crazy beliefs about ‘subjugation’. It just requires a little knowledge about governments.

    “the thing that galls me is that using market-based instruments to address environmental externalities was championed not so long ago by the right wing”

    I quite agree. The issue is how you set the correct price.

    The problem is that with a tax, the price is set not by the market, but by the legislators’ personal beliefs about the costs, which of course people disagree on.

    There is in fact a standard market-based solution to the problem, which would be to pay the tax in ‘climate futures’. These are derivatives that pay out with very good interest on the day some predicted climate outcome occurs, like sea levels rising past one metre, or are voided on a set date, like 2100. They could be traded, as could the liabilities. The market then prices them based on our collective beliefs, and whoever turns out to be wrong will end up paying the costs.

    But it would probably be far too revealing to set a price that way, which is why they prefer more corruptible approaches.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    channeling art laffer and ross mckitrick in one post? impressive NiV.

  • Nullius in Verba

    #45,Thankyou, Marlowe. I’ll take that as a compliment.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    if you insist NiV, if you insist. to paraphrase jon stewart’s take on the second debate when mittens suggested that obama hadn’t called the bengazi events an ‘act of terror’

    please continue sir :)

  • http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com willard

    > [W]ith a tax, the price is set not by the market, but by the legislators’ personal beliefs about the costs, which of course people disagree on.

    Since there is no such thing as an unregulated market, there are always taxes. If we follow Nullius’ argument, the price is never set by the market, and can therefore never be as “objective” as his claim would presume preferable.

    Some hands are more visible than others.

    Even if we were to grant for argument’s sake the realizability of his theorical construct, his preference for this ideal over other ones will always depend upon intersubjective beliefs.

    Invisible hands are still hands.

  • jim

    The scuffling here over why Obama beat Romney is off track. 
     
    Nothing in this election signals the death of the right: despite their demographic problems with minorities and despite comically ignorant statements about female anatomy, the Republicans lost by a measly 2%.  This is not the margin by which “mandates” are won and lost. 
     
    Pundits seem to think that Americans conform to party lines on issues.  They don’t.  Most people are in the middle, with no candidate reflecting the balance of their views. 
     
    For myself, this is how I saw the issues:
     
    Energy: Romney
    Mid East Policy: Not Romney
    Gov Spending: Not Obama
    Individual Tax Policy: Not Romney
    Business Policy: Not Obama
    Financial system enforcement: Not Romney
    Immigration: Obama
    Education: Not Romney, Not Obama
    Defense: Not Romney
    Climate Change: Not Obama
     
    Add it all up and where do you come out?  How do you vote?  Coin flip?  I suspect the majority of the electorate are in the same boat ““ swing one issue and swing the vote for any given individual. 
     
    Certain demographics may have a strong interest in a particular issue and vote accordingly, as is possibly the case with Latinos and immigration or women and women’s health issues.  But however loud the debate about these issues, they’re a small proportion of the overall suite of issues that characterize the differences between the parties.  Even with these issues against him, Romney still won 30% of the Latino vote and 47% of the female vote.  These proportions are strikingly high in my view, considering the sensitivity of these issues.  I suspect the Republicans could make substantial mileage by moderating, instead of reversing, their positions on these issues.
     
    Don’t mistake a vote for across-the-board conviction.
     
     

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    The demographics of the American electorate bring forth an argument similar to one I use about climate change. Talking about today’s electorate is mildly entertaining, but this election was a preview of coming attractions.

    It’s not the snapshot of current demographics that makes conservative Republicanism untenable. It’s what’s coming down the road.

  • Nullius in Verba

    #48,

    “Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.”

  • John F. Pittman

    Willard, NiV set a limit to the extent of practicality of an incremental tax increase approach, that you ignore while making a strawman, AFAICT, with a claim about an implied/inferred definition of unregulated market. This was not what NiV posted. He claimed that taxes tend to increase until the desired behavior, or the undesired behavior stops the increase. NiV stated understanably, IMO, that its the effects of the taxes in how it effects the correct price, not the argument you made.

  • Tom C

    @42 Joshua – The idea that a decline in marriage leads to unmarried women looking to the government to supply those things usually supplied by a husband is hardly new.  Quite a lot of economic and sociological writing exists on this topic.  So, no, it is not a “mommy, mommy..” situation.  I was only pointing out that Obama’s campaign was the first to ever embrace the whole concept as an electoral strategy.  Scary, in my opinion. 

    Regarding the gender gap, if you bothered to read the 2004 elections results that I linked to you would have seen that Bush, who ran unapologetically pro-life, lost the women’s vote by only 3 percentage points, but won the men’s vote by a whopping 11 points.  I don’t recall any comments at the time about how Democrats needed to re-tool to win the men’s vote.  Did you?  I bet the collected writings of Keith Kloor don’t contain any such reference either.  It is true that more women vote than men, but if you are a Republican strategist, is it better to try to encourage turnout among the demographic that gives you +11%, or alienate your base by going after the half of the -3%?

    You do realize, don’t you, that just as many women are pro-life as are pro-choice?  So, any talk about that being at the root of the “gender gap” is nonsense as well.

  • Keith Kloor

    Tom C (53)

    You’re citing the election of 2004 as a data point? It’s now 2012. (Also, FWIW, I only started blogging in 2008.)

    Look, conservatives can comfort themselves with the relative evenness of the popular vote. But here’s the facts: Romney lost every battleground state. Some of them might not even be battleground states come 2016–that’s how much the demographics are trending in favor of Democrats.

    You don’t have to take my word for anything–Look at what’s been revealed by the exit polls. If the GOP doesn’t figure out a way to broaden it’s coalition, it’s toast. Of course, if and when they do try to appeal beyond their far-right base, there will be a civil war within the party and maybe the tea party will try to become a viable third party. What will the Democrats do in response to all this? Grab their popcorn. 

  • John F. Pittman

    Tom C, I remember “angry white men” being a card played several times over the last 20 years and in particular, that it would lead to the permanent minority status of Democrats. My wife, children, and I regularly joked about it. I find those who did the AWM prediction to be as skillful prognosticators as the current bunch who think a simplistic appeal to certain factions will accomplish a magical recovery. The truth is pretty simple, the one who wants to have a majority needs to be able to get persons with some conflicting ideas or wants to realize that they get MOST of what they want and vote for that one. That is why I think the Republicans should not exclude the TEA party, but find a way to include more groups, yet reconcile the differences enough to get their votes.

  • Tom C

    Keith – I agree that the moronic comments of the two senate candidates hurt Romney.  But that hardly represents a trend.  In regard to Hispanics the situation is a little more dicey for the GOP, but not necessarily fatal.  Remember that whatever Obama does or doesn’t do in this regard will have a downside as well.  For a data-driven, and not ideological-driven analysis of the election, I think this is pretty good: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2012/11/08/the_case_of_the_missing_white_voters_116106-2.html

  • Keith Kloor

    Tom C,

    They wouldn’t have hurt Romney if voters perceived those comments as outliers. To Repub strategist Weaver’s point (referenced upthread), those comments are considered reflective of GOP attitude towards women. 

    Similarly, the GOP’s mean, intolerant stance towards immigrants by GOP scares the hell out of Latinsos (right into the arms of Dems). Even Cuban-Americans in Florida (who normally are safely Republican) went for Obama. That should be a wake-up call right there.

    Republicans can face up to reality or they can whistle dixie right up to their political graveyard. We’ll know whether they learn their lessons or not come primary season in 2016.

  • Joshua

    Hannity is now on board with a path to citizenship. Funny, that. I wonder why all of a sudden he’s embracing a policy that was treasonous just a week ago? Must just be some kind of coincidence.

    It’s going to be hilarious to watch Republicans struggling with whether to continue with obstructionism at all costs as a political strategy, or actually compromise and watch Obama get credit for a major achievement. I hope they choose the later path – not only for the popcorn factor but also because it will be beneficial to the country.

  • Joshua

    Remember that whatever Obama does or doesn’t do in this regard will have a downside as well. 

    That’s beautiful:

    Scenario 1: Republicans stop their obstructionist policies and help Obama pass immigration reform. Downside for Obama = 0. Downside for Republicans with their base and watching Obama get credit.

    Scenario 2: Republicans obstruct Obama’s efforts to pass immigration reform. Downside for Obama = 0. Downside for Republicans because it will further alienate Latinos.

  • Joshua

    But that hardly represents a trend. 

    They were not isolated comments. These were comments by activists, very much connected with the Republican Party hierarchy, specifically intended to exploit concerns about abortion among the religious right. It is a political strategy. And of course there’s a trend. When in the past have you heard so many of these comments?

  • Tom C

    Keith – The issue is with illegal immigrants, right?  Not immigrants.  When a Mexican comes here illegally he takes the place of someone from somewhere else in the world who is playing by the rules.  He exerts downward pressure on the bottom end of the income scale.  He increases unemployment among low income blacks and teenagers.  There are, of course, benefits to society as well.  Rich New Yorkers get cheap housekeeping help and our food prices are lower.  If you are determined to pat yourself on the back about how you are not “mean” that’s great.  It is hard to have a sober converstaion about costs/benefits and the Repubs are not doing a good job to their deteriment.

  • Tom C

    Joshua – your comments about immigration reform again demonstrate that you are incapable of understanding economics.

  • Keith Kloor

    Tom C,

    Good luck with that cost/benefits angle on immigration. If you honestly can’t see how Republicans are scaring the bejesus out of Latinos on the immigration issue, I don’t think there’s anything I could say to persuade you.

    However, as Joshua notes, Hannity has suddenly changed his tune on this issue. Maybe you should take this up with him?

  • Joshua

    Tom – Take a look at comprehensive analyses of the economic illegal immigration. There is much disagreement among economists – mostly reflecting their political orientation. But there is little doubt that your simplistic analysis leaves much out and the situation is not nearly as categorical as you seem to think. At any rate, such simplistic analysis will maintain the status quo for Republicans. Get ready to fight with Hannity and the rest of the Republicans who will now suddenly embrace a “pathway” to citizenship.

  • harrywr2

    #43 joshua,

    Republicans are in a pickle with immigration reform.

    Everyone is in a pickle on immigration reform. The republicans are just the current party seen to be obstructing reform. Look at the Roll Call for S-1639. Some big name Democrats for it, and some big name Democrats against it. Some big name Republicans for it, some big name Republicans against it. It failed.http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=110&session=1&vote=00235

  • Joshua

    harry – Good catch. Yes, of course, some Dems have been pandering to anti-illegal immigrant sentiment as well. And that has been an obstacle to reform. But that position does not define the Dems in the public eyes, or the eyes of Latinos, in the same way that it does the Repubs. And there is good reason for that. I don’t know if Obama and non-pandering Dems will press this issue, but AFAIC, it’s a no-brainer that they should be.

    Keith – a couple of years ago the New York Times Magazine ran a piece that was a meta-analysis of the work of economists, from both sides of the political divide, on the economics of illegal immigration. I can’t find it again and I was wondering if you being the research dude,  you might be able to find it. I mean since I’ve been so nice to you, and all, I figure you owe me. :-)

  • BillC

    Joshua,Glad to see Hannity on board with the pathway to citizenship. And hey, nobody’s yet mentioned the PR vote about statehood (sort of).I read the New Yorker article you linked to a couple days ago on Curry’s blog about health care. Nice article, but I don’t think it presents the solution to health care cost containment. It wasn’t really about end of life care was it? It was mostly about high cost customers and efforts to lower those particular costs – and gave a nod toward the end-of-life issue not yet having been tackled by the groups in focus.Well, we can chat more about health care some other time.

  • Sashka

    It’s kind of funny how right/wrong, legal/illegal, moral/immoral, good/bad for the country etc. aspects disappear from the public discourse. Now it’s just a race to appease Latinos.

  • Tom C

    Keith – By your refusal to use the term “illegal” you are avoiding a serious discussion for purposes of your moral vanity.  Surprisingly, the ever-slippery Joshua is playing fair in this regard. But your moral vanity is a bad basis for public policy.  Granting a “pathway to citizenship” might sound like a good idea but it will only further encourage illegal imigration. Yes or no: should Mexicans be favored over Indonesians? Philipinos? Greeks? 

  • Keith Kloor

    Sashka (68),

    You can have that be part of the discourse. But not in a climate of fear and hate. If the GOP can move away from its Sheriff Joe Arpaio image to a less harsh position on immigration, then I see no reason why the discourse has to swing from one pendulum to the other.

  • Joshua

    BillC –

    And hey, nobody’s yet mentioned the PR vote about statehood (sort of).

    Yeah – I have heard about that a bit, but not much. I doubt that the Dems will take that on. It would appear too “radical” to suggest adding another state. It would seem to much of the public as “Un-American,” in my view.

    That article, I think, does present at least a partial approach to cost-containment in that it explains that contrary to what we might think intuitively, extra-comprehensive care is actually cost-effective. More effective/intensive care for the small percentage that consumes the most services will, absolutely drive costs down. But you are right – it doesn’t speak directly to the issue of end-of-life care that is such a huge driver in expense. I am not hopeful that the Dems will take that on directly as it is been so effectively politicized as “rationing” and “death panels.” Maybe Dems will be emboldened enough to take that on. I doubt it though. 

  • Keith Kloor

    Tom C,

    I have no desire to engage you in a semantic debate, especially when you’re not addressing the larger issue here–which is the hardline position (and harsh tone) on this. By all means, let’s have “illegal” immigration be part of the discourse. I’m all for it! Taking a cue from Hannity, let’s see what it means to “evolve” on this issue. Can’t wait to see the evolution play out in the GOP. 

  • Nullius in Verba

    #57,

    It depends on whether you regard the purpose of a political party as being to represent the views of a particular political position or to gain political power.

    Under the first view, each party presents its positions honestly and the electorate decides what it wants. If they don’t want that position, then fair enough, they won’t get elected, but they’ll have done their jobs.

    Under the second view, both parties morph their positions to try to match a larger slice of the electorate. ‘Big tent’ politics gives the electorate more of what they ask for, but in a ‘lowest common denominator’ sort of way. Minority preferences are not represented. Chalenges are not faced. All the parties tend to look the same. Politicians are far less likely to stand on principle, to promote expediency, more likely to disguise or dissemble on their own personal opinions, to toe the party line.

    And of course, success goes to those politicians who can do so best, which carries over to their general way of working.

    People complain about the trustworthiness of politicians, but this is what they vote for. Do you want somebody who will honestly tell you what they think, and will stick to it? Or do you want someone who will shift and twist like a weathervane, telling you what you want to hear, and then telling you something different half an hour later?

    Of course, people want politicians representing their own view to stand firm, and those of their opponents to switch sides. Which is what this conversation so far is really trying to promote. Sad to say, the Republicans probably will.

    But in my view the problem is not whether the Republicans make themselves popular but whether they were right. The Greek politicians always did what the people wanted, refused to make unpopular decisions, and even at the bitter end could not change. I think it is important that whatever happens with the US, that the people know they were offered the choice, and thus the consequences will therefore be their own responsibility, and not that of ‘the system’.

    Democracy is about giving the people the responsibility as well as the power. It necessitates that you give them an actual choice.

  • Sashka

    I don’t believe that Park Slope residents have rights to judge an Arizona Sheriff who is actually in the front line of battling illegal immigration and especially the laws passed by the state of AZ. (Just like rich suburban liberals shouldn’t squeal about AGW while warming up their 3,000+ sq.ft. houses and driving their SUVs.)

    And let’s not forget that the current situation with illegal immigration is, to a large extent, a product of strict restrictions on legal immigration which I understand were lobbied through by the unions – a key democratic constituency.

    There’s nothing good about hate and fear but they won’t go away just because we want so. Hate and fear are there perhaps for a reason. Better to address the root of the problem than to point to a particular sheriff and his fellow bigots.

  • Keith Kloor

     NiV (73)

    That is a fascinating perspective. Taken to its logical extreme, ideological purity should be valued over all else? Also best as I can tell, it is the Democratic party that is better able to reflect the “minority preferences” in the U.S. That is why the President was re-elected.

    In a democracy, the political party that is seen to represent the interests of a broad swath of its citizens is usually the one that wins power. Now this is a bit skewed in the U.S. because of the electoral system and the way those interests have aligned in a handful of states.

    Anyway, to your point, I’m sure Republicans are already engaged in a hearty internal debate on just how much they want to stand on principle.

  • Nullius in Verba

    #75,

    Not over all else, but neither should it be ignored. There is some value in principle.

    I meant ‘minority’ in its generic sense, not the race/religion/sexuality sense it is commonly used in politics. The Republican views that just got voted down are ‘minority’ in that sense.

    But generally, I agree with your #75. I’m not saying minority views should win, but just that they be represented. The skew is unfortunate but is a fairly generic feature of electoral systems. And the Republicans are certainly already debating it.

  • Tom Scharf

    #72 KK:

    It’s curious how all the elitist liberals in NY seem to have all the answers on immigration while completely dismissing views coming out of Arizona as “mean”.

    I’m sure if NY wants to send a check to Arizona for the cost of healthcare, education, etc. of illegal immigrants they would be willing to accept it.

    Until then, the liberals can keep doing what they do best, looking down on the people who are dealing with the actual impacts and paying the bills, while self righteously patting themselves on the back as being big hearted as they criticize away about things they know nothing about.

    But you are never going to address the cost of things, are you Keith?  This is a non-issue for you to the point of willful disregard.  The problem is oh so simple as long as we don’t have to pay for anything.  Let’s just pretend Republicans are just plain evil hearted.  A lot of your alleged meanness disappears on most issues if nobody has to pay the bills, but you would rather demean those who bring that up as heartless, as if we aren’t living in a world of limited resources.  It’s simple minded exploitative politics.

  • Joshua

    Until then, the liberals can keep doing what they do best, looking down
    on the people who are dealing with the actual impacts and paying the
    bills

    Tom S makes an excellent point. What do libruls in New York know about illegal immigrants.

    –snip–

    According to a 2005 estimate, there are 645,000 illegal immigrants in the state of New York, and there are 535,000 illegal immigrants in New York City alone

    –snip–

    Do you guys ever tire of being sitting ducks?

  • Joshua

    Fascinating:

    Although illegal immigrants do not have legal permanent status in New York City, they play a vital role in the city’s economy and job market. As New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg
    exclaimed, “Although [illegal immigrants] broke the law by illegally
    crossing our borders or over-staying their visas and our businesses
    broke the law by employing them, our city’s economy would be a shell of
    itself had they not, and it would collapse if they were deported”. According to a Fiscal Policy Institute analysis of 2000 to 2006
    data, there are 374,000 illegal immigrant workers in New York City,
    which makes up 10 percent of the resident workforce. With 374,000 out of 535,000 illegal immigrants working in New York City, illegal immigrants have a labor force participation rate
    of roughly 70 percent. This percentage is higher than the labor force
    participation rate for native-born residents, 60 percent, or for overall
    foreign-born residents, 64 percent, in New York City

  • Nullius in Verba

    #77,

    Actually, it’s probably simpler than that. Illegal immigrants are mostly Democrat – and not just because of the immigration issue. So any scheme to make them citizens would simply increase the size of a big Democrat voting bloc. Democrats are obviously in favour, and tactically it would be a massive error for the Republicans, assuming getting into power was their sole objective.

    Of course, the Republicans might do it out of principle. As you say, the problem with immigration is really the conflict between unlimited immigration and paying for their welfare, and the fact that welfare is a sacred cow that not even the Republicans have had the courage to seriously address. Fix that, and immigration becomes an economic positive, beneficial to the economy and the nation.

    But that’s not going to happen for a long time.

  • Keith Kloor

    Tom Scharf (77)

    I never said I had any answers on how to deal with illegal immigration. 

    I’ve also been out to Arizona multiple times in the last decade and witnessed the border town/area struggles. It’s also terribly tragic how so many Mexicans and Central Americans have lost their lives in the desert–or experienced other horrors while trying to sneak into the United States. 

    My overall attitude is that immigration is a net plus for the United States–always has been. I do also do not fear Mexicans and do not consider them a threat to America. I don’t blame them for trying to find a better life for them and their families. They are victims of a broken policy.

    The sooner conservatives can stop being so angry about Latinos who came into this country illegally the sooner they will stop being rejected by the American electorate. 

  • http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com willard

    John F. Pitman,

    What you see as a strawman directly follows from what he says. He concedes so by quoting Vince Lombardi, who seems to be have his platonic moments. Please note the shift from what is to what ought to be.

    This contrasts with your claim:

    [T]axes tend to increase until the desired behavior, or the undesired behavior stops the increase.

    If that’s all what he said, I would not have minded much.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Hiya Tom Scharf,Arizona receives $2.05 in benefits from the federal government for every $1 it pays in taxes.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller
  • Nullius in Verba

    #82,

    It was a strawman, and a sequence of non-sequiturs. But I really couldn’t be bothered arguing at the time.

    As I explained, the problem with setting a Pigovian tax to handle externalities is determining the correct price. Marlowe was complaining about Republicans’ sudden opposition to market-based methods in the context of a method which is clearly not fully market-based.

    Rather than address that, you instead took the line that because there’s no such thing as a perfectly free market, all market-based methods involve some sort of personal subjectivity, that it was thus an empty distinction, and a command economy is essentially no different to what I was describing as a market-based one. It’s like arguing that because no Republican government is perfectly Republican, it’s exactly the same as a Democrat one. I considered that so obviously nonsensical I didn’t think it needed a detailed reply. But whatever.

  • Tom Scharf

    Joshua, as much as playing whack a mole with you is fun, you might want to consider the relative populations when you do the math.

    http://www.statemaster.com/graph/peo_est_num_of_ill_imm_percap-number-illegal-immigrants-per-capita

    Arizona is second only to California at 4.76%.

    NY is #8 at 2.54%.

    I suppose counting illegal immigrants is like trying to count homeless people though.  My understanding is that most of the mean feedback from Arizona is based on the federal government refusing to police the borders properly, but sticking Arizona with the welfare bill.

    For the record, I don’t really have a dog in this fight.  If the illegal immigrants are working and paying taxes that is fine by me.  Path’s to US citizenship via military service or other “earn your way in” is also fine by me.  There is more than enough room for solutions between close the borders and empty the Mexican  prisons into Arizona’s backyard.

  • Jeffn

    Since the “mean” and “hateful” Republican policy on immigration is that we should secure the border as a prerequisite to finding a pathway, I can only assume that Keith and Joshua are excited that we will soon see a bill for open borders and amnesty.
    As for the unfairness of getting upset by “illegal” immigration, do we all get to pick and choose which laws to follow now? Progressives typically believe in government regulation- by what principle are Progressives now arguing that following govt. regulation (in this case of immigration) is… optional?

  • Tom C

    Jeffn – Let’s be honest about what this is all about.  Hispanic immigrants, legal or illegal, are favored because they vote Democratic, regardless of whether Repubs are “mean” or not.  Dems let them break the law because it helps them win elections.  If the illegals were from Eastern Europe they would crack down in a heartbeat.

  • Keith Kloor

    Jeffn (87)

    You and several others on this thread are creating a strawman. I’m not talking about policy. I’ve not taken a position on a particular immigration policy–nor am I debating that.

    When I point out that Republicans have been unnecessarily harsh towards latinos, I’m not talking about opening the borders. I’m also not the only one to point out this problem for the GOP. 

  • Jeffn

    Ah, but you are talking about policy. You are characterizing the enforcement of laws as “mean” and “hateful” and “harsh.” in fact it is none of those things. I don’t like parking tickets, but I don’t think the meter maid is “harsh.”
    Not enforcing the law is a policy choice, enforcing the law is a regulatory responsibility. If you wish to stop enforcing the law, you are arguing for its repeal. If you are saying we should just ignore this law because it nets your party a few votes, then you are arguing without principles and have no reason to browbeat the other party for disagreeing.
    The reality is that immigration is like climate change- the Dems score points with interest groups by hinting that they’ll do something they aren’t really going to do. In this case, the Dems aren’t really going to offer amnesty, aren’t really going to open the border, and aren’t really going to stop pretending this is all the Republicans’ fault.

  • Nullius in Verba

    #89,

    Just for clarity – are you talking about ‘latinos’ or ‘illegals’ here?

    Have Republicans been harsh on legal latinos?

  • stan

    50,Tom, I know that Democrats are obsessed with race and the racist notion that every person’s thinking and voting must be determined by the color of their skin, but I wouldn’t expect you to be such a ready adherent to that way of thinking.Let me propose an alternative scenario.  I believe that just as whites are capable of changing views on politics (see e.g. Churchill’s admonition re: views at 20 and 40) so are people of color.  And, as Walter Russell Mead has ably noted, the blue model of governance so popular in Greece, Spain, California, Illinois, Rhode Island and elsewhere is broken.  The US, on its current path is heading for a situation where most of the special interest groups that make up the Democrat coalition are going to be at each others’ throats.  When govt is broke it can’t keep giving every special interest everything it wants.  There’s no such thing as a free lunch.  Socialism works fine ’til you run out of other people’s money.  And after the leg thrills die down from punishing the rich, liberals will eventually figure out that the rich ain’t got enough money to fix the problem.  There simply are not the resources to pay the public worker pensions, social security, medicare, and all the numerous lefty programs which fund the loyalty of the Dem special interests.  There is going to be one hell of a nasty fight over an increasingly small pie.  And all the fighting is going to be by and among Dems.  See e.g. Greece, Spain, Rhode Island, et al.  The left, after eating all the seed corn, is going to set about eating each other. Some of the people watching the bloodbath, even with skins that are not white, are going to be bright enough to figure out that there might be a better way to govern.

  • Keith Kloor

    Okay, this dialogue has gotten more depressing with each new comment. 

    I honestly don’t see the point in debating the merits of immigration with folks who don’t see any problem with how Republicans have framed the issue. Like I said in an earlier comment, you don’t have to take my word for it, you can listen to what Rubio and others like him in the Republican party are saying. 

    But hey, if you think they’re wrong too, then don’t pay any of us any mind. I can guarantee that the Democrats hope Republican candidates for national office continue to talk to Latino voters exactly as they have the last decade.

    Stan (92),

    You need to step out of that Fox news bubble for just a bit. Or maybe not, since it’s the Democrats who gained all those senate seats (against all odds) and reelected a democratic president.

    BTW, who did you say was going to eat each other?Wouldn’t be the GOP, right? Nahhh.

  • Tom Scharf

    Well, I for one, cannot wait for the wall to wall 24/7 coverage of the 2016 elections starting tomorrow.  The gaffe count is just so relevant…

    I’ll vote Democrat if they remove the exemption to political calls for the No-Call list.  I must have literally gotten a 100 in the last week here in FL. And from the content they clearly didn’t have a lot of respect for the intelligence of their potential voters.

  • Sashka

    Interesting statistics are posted by Joshua @79.

    It sounds to me that Joshua and mayor Bloomberg are ecstatic over the fact that the illegals have taken 374,000 jobs that could have been otherwise taken by legal residents, do not pay taxes and (together with other 151,000 of illegals) use all city services for free, including school education. Not to mention those who became (or have been) gang members, traffic in illegal drugs and those for whom we have to foot the bill while they serve their prison time.

    Thanks for the sitting duck.

  • Tom Scharf

    #93: You’re right about the abysmal Senate performance.  That was an upset.  The fact that most voters trusted the economy more to the Democrats was also surprising, and entertaining in a WTF kind of way.  I will invoke the new age strategy of claiming that it wasn’t the ideology that was the problem, it was the messaging, ha ha.  

  • Nullius in Verba

    #93,

    The Rubio article you linked to didn’t specify what ‘harsh rhetoric’ he was talking about. It instead moves on to cite examples of talk about ‘illegals’, which of course is completely different.#81 was confusing in this regard, too.

    So I’m still not sure if you’re talking about ‘latinos’ or ‘illegals’. If you mean Republicans have been mistreating even the legal latinos, I can see where you’re coming from. If you’re saying ‘illegal’ and ‘latino’ should be treated as synonymous, I have a problem with that.

    I’m not arguing the rights and wrongs of it – I’m just trying to figure out what it is you’re trying to say. Bear in mind that I don’t live in the US.

  • http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com willard

    > It was a strawman, and a sequence of non-sequiturs. But I really couldn’t be bothered arguing at the time.

    I suppose a proof by assertion is enough, then.

    Claiming that

    [W]ith a tax, the price is set not by the market, but by the legislators’ personal beliefs about the costs, which of course people disagree on.

    clearly opposes “the market” and “legislators” personal beliefs”, whence the very idea of a market entails regulation, and thus can’t escape legislators’ personal beliefs, including Greenspanian sleights of invisible hands.

    Markets don’t regulate themselves, not even black markets. People do. This simple point destroys the most naive of libertarian metaphysics we’re being served on the Internet.

    This has nothing to do with the argument to perfection. So it’s not like arguing that because no Republican government is perfectly Republican, it’s exactly the same as a Democrat one. It’s more like arguing that we should not get carried away with our definition of republicanism when it is self-refuting.

    For our concerns, this has an immediate impact on how to respond to this:

    > [T]he problem with setting a Pigovian tax to handle externalities is determining the correct price.

    Since there is no such thing as a purely free market, this is a problem for any conception of economics. My bet is that the “correct” price is something that should be specified using relational terms, if there’s something like a correct price.

    Values deemed objective are obtained empirically, and not from anyone’s armchair, including Vince Lombardi’s. But intuition suffices to see that using an absurd criteria won’t help solve any price problem.

  • Bobito

    @NIV #97  “If you’re saying “˜illegal’ and “˜latino’ should be treated as synonymous, I have a problem with that.”

    They are  synonymous, it’s the way it is.  Many (perhaps most) Latino families have a mix of legal and illegals among them.  So, saying to a legal Latino that you want to do something about illegals is to tell them that you want their mother to be shipped out of the country.  Even though she may have lived in the states for 30 years…  (I’m not Latino, but I have Latino friends, and this example is specific to one of them.)

  • Nullius in Verba

    #98,

    A free market is regulated in the sense that contracts are enforced, honesty is enforced, and significant harm done to others without informed consent forbidden/compensated. None of those dictate prices.

    The price is simply what the parties to a trade mutually agree to buy/sell at. It’s not regulated – there are no limits to what price they are allowed to agree on. But yes, it is determined by people, seeking their own best interests. The theory is that the collective negotiations of people each acting by mutual agreement in their own individual best interests converges on the collective best interests for the participants in the market as a whole. That’s not a trivial statement, and you can argue with it if you like.

    But the claims that the concept of a free market is self-refuting, that its prices are necessarily regulated, that the problem of Pigovian tax pricing is universal, or that free market criteria are absurd are themselves absurd.

    Values are not objective. You can’t deduce an ‘ought’ from an ‘is’. But we’re all well aware of the history of different economic systems, and only one has achieved the health, prosperity, technology, life expectancy, nutrition, quality of life so many of us enjoy today. We’re also well aware of the consequences of command economies, like the 20th century Communist models. Those consequences are empirically derived, but it is a moral ‘values’ question as to which of them we therefore ought to seek.

  • BBD

    nullius @ 100:

    The theory is that the collective negotiations of people each acting by mutual agreement in their own individual best interests converges on the collective best interests for the participants in the market as a whole.

    If AGW is imperfect market knowledge at an individual level then we have a problem. Hence the need for libertarian physics.

  • Nullius in Verba

    #99,

    That’s not what I would call ‘synonymous’.

    As a libertarian, I do have some sympathy with the idea that there are bad laws that would be better not enforced – bans and regulations and protectionism. Having to pay taxes, that sort of thing. But I can also see that there are serious problems with the idea of just ignoring any laws I happen not to like. And sympathy with the lawbreakers is not quite the same thing. While I and many other libertarians might have sympathy with tax-evaders, I recognise the right of others not to.

    The argument is over whether people should obey the law, not their race. Identifying it with race because of the correlation is as unjustified as using any of the correlations of even less respectable characteristics with race.

    You can make legitimate arguments that the law or its implementation should be changed, or even that it should be disobeyed, but you need to be clear about what the fight is actually about.

    But thanks for the clarification, assuming that’s what Keith meant.

  • Nullius in Verba

    #101,

    I offered a market-based solution in #44. If AGW predictions are right, the people who didn’t believe them would end up paying the entire cost. Isn’t that what you want?

  • Keith Kloor

    @102

    “The argument is over whether people should obey the law, not their race.”

     No, that’s not what the argument is about. I suspect you know what the argument is about, but are just being argumentative for argument’s sake. (You’re kind of like the conservative/libertarian flipside of Joshua, in that sense.)

    You’re also smart enough to google around a bit and get  a sense of what this is all about, instead of me spoon-feeding you.

  • Nullius in Verba

    #104,

    I’ve read around a number of US conservatives, and every one of them treats it as an issue of law and economics, not race. Every one of them welcomes legal immigrants of all races. I’m not being argumentative for argument’s sake. But I’m also aware that my view into US politics and culture is narrow, I’m selective about who I read, and I might easily have missed something.

    I get the feeling from your reply that I haven’t. It’s a Democratic meme that it’s really about race and Republican xenophobia, and I suspect one of their unconsidered assumptions that it’s true. (People defending unconsidered assumptions are usually very vague about their evidence for it – and citing ‘Google’ is a classic.)

    Making it about race and minorities and identity politics is a neat way of avoiding having to admit that it is really about being allowed to ignore laws you don’t like. As I said, I have some sympathy with the idea of there being bad laws that there is moral justification for ignoring, but I don’t hide from that.

    But it’s not worth arguing/fighting over. I was just curious as to whether there could have been something important I had missed. That we have very different opinions that are likely not reconcilable is not news.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    significant harm done to others without informed consent forbidden/compensated.

    hmmm…now NiV wouldn’t be thinking of climate change impacts and the corresponding need for carbon pricing would he? Nah that would be ridiculous….

  • Nullius in Verba

    #106,

    Yes, I did consider that, actually.

    But anyone can make a claim that somebody else’s action would harm them, it would be an easy way to block or ban things you didn’t like, so of course you have to present proof of a reasonably high standard. My argument is that the evidence presented for climate catastrophe is insufficient, and has to be balanced against the harm done by mitigation, not that such harm should be ignored.

    And I’ve just proposed a method of carbon pricing that neither side can easily argue with – believing it to be worth exactly as much as they think they should rightfully pay. Given that’s what we were just discussing, the idea that I could have been thinking of carbon pricing is perhaps not so ridiculous after all.

  • Sashka

    NiV, there’s a couple of obvious problems with your market-based solution in #44.

    1. The maturities of these contracts are likely to be well outside the life expectancies of the market participants.

    2. As you may have noticed people don’t always put their money where mouth is. Notably Lindzen wanted 20:1 odds on a climate bet proposed by I forgot whom. You can’t force anyone to participate in this game.

    I don’t think it has any chance to work, I mean resolve anything. But there’s no reason not to try it, of course.

  • Nullius in Verba

    #108,

    1. That’s why they’re tradable. The market price moves up and down as new information becomes available and beliefs shift. They have a value on any date, not just the final one.

    2. It depends on precisely what prediction you’re making. I’d give good odds on there not being an Al Gore 7 metre sea level rise, evens on 50 cm, and I wouldn’t bet on 30 cm.

    But I suspect Lindzen’s point was to say that if you’re telling us climate science is saying catastrophe is better than a 90% certainty, as some do, you ought to be offering us odds of 10:1. The fact that you won’t means you’re exaggerating your certainty.

    The point of a carbon tax would be precisely to force people to play it, though. Believers can buy them at below their actual value from sceptics, and make a saving. Sceptics can get free money for worthless scraps of paper from believers. Competition between sceptics for the believers money will drive prices down to the level at which even sceptics start to see it as a risk. And vice versa. The price set will be based on people’s actual beliefs, and will move to follow the science as it develops.

    The theory is sound, but I suspect it’s not going to happen because it would be liable to reveal that the market price is super tiny, since too few really believe. Same way as the hypocrisy and lack of action reveal it. Same way the current carbon credit markets are at rock bottom do. But since Marlowe asked for a solution that free-marketeers could actually go for, I’m happy to oblige. It was an interesting theoretical exercise, anyway.

  • http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com willard

    Nullius’ suggestion only solves the money-to-mouth problem.

    Besides, what Sashka (!) says. It was James Annan, btw:

    http://rabett.blogspot.ca/2007/04/calling-james-annan-and-brian-schmidt.html

  • Bobito

    @NIV #105  “I’ve read around a number of US conservatives, and every one of them treats it as an issue of law and economics, not race”

    Racism is still a big problem in this country.  But I bet the racist conservatives don’t get published much…  Otherwise, you are correct in that rational conservatives in the USA have the opinion you conveyed.  

  • Kuze

    What I learned from this election:

    Fact: All conservatives are racist. It’s important to remember this and filter everything they say with this in mind

    Fact: All liberals are closet Stalinists. It’s important to remember this and filter everything they say with this in mind

    Fact: Both will try to argue against this
    characterization but only because they’re stupid racists/stalinists. All of them.

    Fact: For some reason, all conservatives hate vaginas and want to control them.

  • Joshua

     But I bet the racist conservatives don’t get published much”¦

    Actually, that’s not true:

    One example

    Another

    Another

    Then there’s this.

    Here’s a nice one

    It prompted this

    Of course, then we find this

    And this

    And not to leave out the women

  • Joshua

    It’s a Democratic meme that it’s really about race and Republican xenophobia, and I suspect one of their unconsidered assumptions that it’s true.

    The problem is that just because someone does not overtly state racist reasoning, you can’t necessarily rule out an underlying xenophobic orientation. Plausible deniability is always an effective tool. Now I don’t think that Republican ideology on illegal immigration is uniformly xenophobic by any means, but then you’re left with the question as to why you see so many Republicans promoting simplistic and often false arguments about the economics related to illegal immigration. 

    It reminds me of the clip I just saw: a slew of Republican pundits and leaders absolutely confidently predicting a Romney landslide. It reminds me of Republican after Republican confidently stating that the polls were “skewed.” Just because they figured wrong about the election and the polls doesn’t mean that they are idiots or know nothing about politics – it just means that they were unable to control  for biases in their reasoning, or unwilling to do so. Just because so many Republicans fail to account for well-established facts related to the economics of illegal immigration doesn’t mean that they’re xenophobic, it just means that they are unable to control for biases in their reasoning, or uninterested in doing so.

    In the end, it is an issue that can be exploited for political expediency on both sides of the aisle. Even if all Republicans aren’t driven by racism in their views on illegal immigration, Republican politicians know they can exploit xenophobia on the illegal immigration issue for political purposes. Even if all Dems don’t really care about the welfare of illegal immigrants, Dem politicians know they can exploit the fate of illegal immigrants for political purposes.

  • Joshua

    Exit polling of Romney voters on immigration:

    http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/poll-51-of-republicans-64-of-independents-support-a-path-to-citizenship-for-illegal-immigrants/2012-11-09-exits-illegal-immigration/

    Enough evidence that not all Republicans are xenophobic. Enough evidence to suggest that at least some are. What’s interesting is that despite majority support among Republicans  for giving illegal immigrants a “pathway,” hardly any  prominent Republican politicians advocated for that policy prior to the election.

    Why? My guess is because it was politically expedient: not advocating for a pathway did not lose them votes from the majority of Republicans (who support a pathway) but advocating for a pathway would have lost support from the xenophobic elements of their political base.

  • jim

    Tom Fuller Says:
     
    “It’s not the snapshot of current demographics that makes conservative Republicanism untenable. It’s what’s coming down the road.”
     
    Here in WA state, Hispanics and Hispanic immigrants typically work for Republican paymasters. Farmers here are begging for more visas.  It’s not hard to see a day when Repugs wise up to the source of their wealth. 
     
    Hispanics are supposedly 11% of the electorate today.  Obama took 70% of that vote, which was about 8% of the total voters.  If conservatives can reduce that to 50%, Dems are down to 5.5%, and that’s the margin right there.  Gag a few dipsh*ts making really bizzare comments about rape, and the margin could easily grow.
     
     
    Keith Says:
     
    “Look, conservatives can comfort themselves with the relative evenness of the popular vote. But here’s the facts: Romney lost every battleground state.”
     
    Romney lost Florida, Ohio, Virginia, and Colorado by 2% collectively.  These states would have swung the election.
     
    Keith, I understand that you’re hopeful, but I’m sure you’re smart enough to know better than to really believe this election represents a “seismic shift”.  I hope the Repugs will wise up and abandon just a few of their more bizzare ideas (the gold standard is still lurking in the minds of some of the tea party adherents).  We need a sound alternative to the Dems.

  • Joshua

    I’ve read around a number of US conservatives, and every one of them treats it as an issue of law and economics, not race.

    Here’s what’s interesting about that. I think that the economics are pretty equivocal – but certainly a logical argument of economic harm could be made.But looking at the legal issue – just watch as a long line of US conservatives who once claimed it was an “issue of law,” who all of a sudden no longer think it is an “issue of law.” Hannity is paving the way. Many will follow. According to  your logic, the great Guru of US conservatives, Ronald Reagan, was conveniently ignoring issues of law just as you are accusing Democrats of doing.

    For many people on both sides of the aisle it is a political issue, not one of economics or law. It is a skirmish in the great battle of motivated reasoning. People stake out positions on the basis of social, cultural, or personal identification and then fit the facts to support conclusions so as to confirm their predetermined orientation. It is like the climate debate, the GMO debate, the debate about taxes, the debate about welfare and so many similar debates. Look at the debate about a healthcare mandate – in a matter of a few years it went from being a policy largely supported by US conservatives to being an policy that US conservatives uniformly characterize as unconstitutional and tyrannical.

    Same ol’ same ol’.

  • Nullius in Verba

    #113,

    Ah! You’re an LGF reader! I understand now.

    (I get the same sort of feeling reading Joe Romm.)

    #114,

    “The problem is that just because someone does not overtly state racist reasoning, you can’t necessarily rule out an underlying xenophobic orientation.”

    True. But once you start parsing people’s unstated reasoning, you’re lost.

    “but then you’re left with the question as to why you see so many Republicans promoting simplistic and often false arguments about the economics related to illegal immigration.”

    That’s easy. It’s because most people are ignorant of economics.

    I see as many or more simplistic and false arguments about economics from the left, too. And people make simplistic and false arguments about all sorts of topics – the rich, welfare, taxes, industry, wages, subsidies, growth, the deficit, the gold standard, climate change, and of course as we were discussing earlier, GMO farming.

    The immigration argument is just standard labour market protectionism, and has far more to do with the popularity of protectionist thinking than xenophobia – although it does play into that if it’s there. What everyone forgets is that immigrants create as many jobs as they take, feeding and housing and educating them. And creating jobs is not the aim, anyway; it’s creating wealth that matters.

    Incidentally, the Republicans predicting a win despite the polls was because if everyone knows their side is going to lose they won’t bother voting. Both sides always play these games.

    #115,

    So far as I know, there already is a ‘pathway’ :- the legal immigration process. The problem is, it’s not certain, especially if you’re got a criminal record, so it’s regarded a safer bet not to draw their attention.

    And as I said before, while they might flirt with talking about it, tactically it’s electoral suicide. Actually, the best way for latinos to get the GOP on their side would be for them to vote solidly Republican…

  • Joshua

    Ah! You’re an LGF reader! I understand now.

    I read all kinds of sites. HotAir. The Free Republic website. Collide-a-Scape. Sometimes WUWT. What do you “understand” from that? I think that Charles Johnson makes a lot of facile arguments – just like I felt when he was the darling of American “conservatives” and ran a site full of Islamophobics who promoted facile arguments like his attacks on Obama.

    But once you start parsing people’s unstated reasoning, you’re lost.

    It is only accurate to consider whether a line of reasoning is significantly represented, and to what degree. You do it a lot. You have done it in this thread when talking about Democrats 

    Making it about race and minorities and identity politics is a neat way of avoiding having to admit that it is really about being allowed to ignore laws you don’t like.

    Keith does it a lot. I do it a lot. Everyone does it a lot. But then the point is to go beyond facile generalizations and to control for biases. You (meaning “a person” – I’m not singling you out) gets lost when you try to pretend that you aren’t doing it, because that’s when you fail to control for your biases. You can’t control for those biases if you insist you aren’t doing it in the first place.

    That’s easy. It’s because most people are ignorant of economics.

    Bingo. A case in point. You parse people’s reasoning to reverse engineer from their opinions stated to why they reach their conclusions. I see people making those facile arguments about the economics of illegal immigration all the time only then to see them turn around and tell me that they know so much about economics that they can tell me that I don’t know anything about economics only because I disagree with them. And they will do that even though many well-reputed economists agree with my opinions. So they have concluded that I don’t know anything about economics, even though they actually have no idea how much I know about economics, only because of an opinions that I’ve expressed that is completely congruent with expert economists. Again, we see that right here in this thread.

    I don’t think that Tom C doesn’t know anything about economics. I have no idea what he knows about economics. But he allows his biases to affect how he reasons about economic issues. I do also. So do you. You can’t reverse engineer from their opinions, or even from the fact that they use fallacious reasoning, what they are or aren’t “ignorant” of. I would present to you that your conclusion there is nothing other than a self-inflating argumentative technique. You did the same thing with Monbiot in the previous thread. You have concluded that is “illiterate” about economics, unlike you, of course. And you can tell that because your opinion is enlightened, unlike his which is ignorant. And of course, anyone who agrees with you is likewise enlightened, and anyone who agrees with Monbiot is likewise “ignorant.”

    In fact, you have no idea whether or not someone who presents a facile argument about the economics of immigration is “ignorant” of economics. What you do know is that their reasoning is flawed, and that it could be for a variety of reasons: ignorance of economics, stupidity, xenophobia, market protectionism, etc. 

    The immigration argument is just standard labour market protectionism, and has far more to do with the popularity of protectionist thinking than xenophobia

    And  here we go again. You reference back to your superior knowledge to explain what lies at the feet of other people’s reasoning. Excuse me if I don’t share your perspective on your superiority so as to explain what people are actually arguing about. 

    Now let’s consider why the debate about illegal immigration is connected with the violently angry rhetoric about multi-culturalism. In Philly there was a famous situation where a well-known conservative and anti-illegal immigration activist, Joey Vento, put up a sign in the cheesesteak shop he owned that said: “THIS IS AMERICA, WHEN ORDERING PLEASE SPEAK ENGLISH.” Now you might argue that is merely about protectionism, or you might argue that it’s merely about a view on legality, or you might argue that it’s merely based on a rational view of economics, but I would say that I think that xenophobia is most likely in the mix there, and that xenophobia is mostly inextricable from the arguments that folks like Vento make about illegal immigration. I have lived and worked in the community where Vento was a leading figure (he has since died), and I have had discussions with members of his community about issues of race and ethnicity (I worked with many when I was doing construction in Philly). I have heard what they have to say about Mexicans. They make arguments like Vento did when he told a reporter that Mexicans carry disease because they  “play and drink out of the same water.” 

    Incidentally, the Republicans predicting a win despite the polls was
    because if everyone knows their side is going to lose they won’t bother voting. 

    And here you do it yet again. I think that you are a bit too reliant on your own superior insight. I know Republicans who made those arguments about the polls not because they were trying to convince anyone else to vote in a particular way, but because they believed those arguments. Read what insiders are saying about Romney himself, and how he believed that he was going to win because he believed the arguments about how the polls were “skewed.”

  • Joshua

    For my “conservative” friends at Collide-a-Scape – like Tom. S. who thinks that the “elitists” in NY have no idea about the impact of illegal immigration and what it’s like to “pay the bills,”  and Sashka – who thinks that I love illegal immigrants because they steal jobs from Americans, I offer the following article from the Cato Institute:

    The Economic Case against
    Arizona’s Immigration Laws

    http://www.cato.org/publications/policy-analysis/economic-case-against-arizonas-immigration-laws

    I guess I should be careful now, though, because NiV “understands” something because I read something published by the Cato Institute. I guess he’s figured me out now, eh?

  • Joshua

    And NiV – as you are explaining your insight into the real reasons for anti-illegal immigrant sentiment, please be sure to research folks like  J..T. Ready, Harry Hughes, Shawna Forde, and Jeffrey Harbin. Obviously, I’m not saying that all anti-illegal immigration activists are Neo-Nazis – just some of them, and some of the more prominent ones involved in groups like the Minutemen.

  • Joshua

    Oh yeah – and Pamela Geller, Chris Simcox, William Gheen, Carmen Mercer, Glenn Spencer, etc.

  • Keith Kloor

    In the mid to late 2000s, when this strain of xenophobia was being fanned by the likes of Tom Tancredo and Lou Dobbs (and most of the thought leaders in the conservative media), there was a tragic episode on Long Island that epitomized the political ugliness. You can read about it here.

    People on this thread can squawk all they want about law and order and economics and protectionism. Anyone who has been paying attention to the rhetoric over the past decade knows well why the Republican party has alienated Hispanic voters.

  • John F. Pittman

    “”I see people making those facile arguments about the economics of illegal immigration all the time only then to see them turn around and tell me that they know so much about economics that they can tell me that I don’t know anything about economics only because I disagree with them.””  facile arguments… Yep, thanks Joshua, I always like to check first thing in the morning to make sure the “nuts’ are still in fruit basket. It has been obvious since they started discussing illegal immigration in the 90’s that the economic picture was complex and blurred. i.e. One’s vision of what is “right or wrong” “just and moral” impacted not only how you percieved the issue, but how one tabulated the economic “value.”  Willard, I assumed that Niv was trying to make a valid argument. Perhaps I was too charitable. But I agree with your comment 98. You can’t take people, all people, including those who game the market i.e. distort the signal, out of the market. But regulations or taxes do “distort” the signal; sometimes that is a good thing. My favorite along these lines is when Republicans talk about how military contracts create jobs, but taxing to give to persons destroys jobs. Yet, the studies I have seen from the 1930’s onward almost always point out that the multiplier effect for military is about 3 and for “wealth redistribution” about 4.5. Innumeracy is not just a AGW problem.

  • Nullius in Verba

    #119,

    What I ‘understood’ from your reading LGF was why there was this impression of xenophobic Republicans. If you read Joe Romm, you’d think all climate sceptics worked for Exxon.

    “You can’t control for those biases if you insist you aren’t doing it in the first place.”

    I definitely do do it. Which is why I seek out people who disagree, who might want to present arguments to explain why I was wrong. Keith referred me to ‘Google’, and you said you didn’t find my GM argument convincing but didn’t say why.

    Sometimes of course you do point out things I hadn’t considered, or known about. But only after careful consideration of the argument’s validity.

    “Bingo. A case in point. You parse people’s reasoning to reverse engineer from their opinions stated to why they reach their conclusions.”

    Nope. In this case I meant simply that most people are ignorant about economics. It’s not generally taught in school, relatively few get qualifications in it. Why should we expect them not to be?

    If people can be ignorant of science, despite science lessons being compulsory, I don’t see this one as surprising.

    “…they know so much about economics that they can tell me that I don’t know anything about economics only because I disagree with them.”

    Yes, people do. If people have been previously convinced of a position, and somebody says something different without giving a good argument to support it at the same time, they’ll assume it’s wrong, and will assume you got it wrong because you didn’t know of the correct arguments. And if somebody says something with supporting arguments that they have previously seen countered, they’ll assume it’s wrong, and the person is ignorant of the counter-arguments. Of course, there may be a counter-counter-argument that they don’t know, but that’s why we have these discussions.

    “And they will do that even though many well-reputed economists agree with my opinions.”

    Heh. Authority.

    And  here we go again. You reference back to your superior knowledge to
    explain what lies at the feet of other people’s reasoning.”

    I think they’re using protectionist thinking because they generally offer protectionist arguments, not racist ones. And they still offer protectionist arguments on other topics unrelated to race.

    (I will agree that there is an exception to that in the concerns about Muslim immigration. The concern there is that a lot of Muslim culture is pretty unpleasant and intolerant. But they’re also quite specific about what it is they object to; it’s not generic.)

  • Nullius in Verba

    #123,

    Thanks. That’s a lot more specific. I’ll have a read.

  • Nullius in Verba

    #119, (pt 2),

    “Now let’s consider why the debate about illegal immigration is connected
    with the violently angry rhetoric about multi-culturalism. In Philly there was a famous situation where a well-known conservative and anti-illegal immigration activist, Joey Vento, put up a sign in the cheesesteak shop he owned that said: “THIS IS AMERICA, WHEN ORDERING PLEASE SPEAK ENGLISH.””

    OK. I don’t have a problem with that. (The actual sign didn’t say ‘please’, either.)

    “Now you might argue that is merely about protectionism, or you might argue that it’s merely about a view on legality, or you might argue that it’s merely based on a rational view of economics, but I would say that I think that xenophobia is most likely in the mix there…”

    It’s not protectionism, unless he insisted other shops did the same. It’s not a question of legality – it’s certainly not illegal to speak in foreign languages in America. There was a practical economic argument – if people queued and then held everyone up while the fact was communicated to them that nobody could understand what they were saying, it saved time to let everyone know in advance they should make other arrangements.

    But yes, part of the point was about cultural identity. Joey Vento (whose granparents were Italian immigrants) held an assimilationist “when in Rome, do as the Romans do” sort of attitude, which while I wouldn’t call xenophobia, is not something I’d agree with. The primary assimilationist objection to multi-culturalism is that the only culture that doesn’t get protection is the American one. They have to bend to everyone else’s cultural requirements, but nobody has to bend to theirs. He has to accept orders in Spanish, but he can’t ask them to give orders in English. People can assert their black culture or latino culture or native American culture, but you’ll get called a racist if you do the same thing for white American culture. It’s a sort of strange reverse-racism in which you believe your own race is morally inferior to all others.

    Multi-culturalism is supposed to be about each culture being tolerated and allowed to make its own arrangements unmolested. I’m all in favour of that. But it’s been turned into a sort of cross-cultural assimilationism in which instead of everyone being forced into the majority culture they’re all forced into some sort of combination Franken-culture. There’s suddenly things they’re not allowed to say, things they’re not allowed to ask for, or expect, and aspects of their own culture they’re being made to change. That’s not multi-culturalism, and it makes people angry.

    Nevertheless, that’s a slightly different topic to the one we were discussing, which was the Republican rhetoric on ‘latinos’. Keith’s link may give me more information on that, although a quick skim of the initial sections seems to mix up several different issues as if they were all the same thing. The only two obvious mentions of Republicans I can see are one who vetoed a community centre (it doesn’t say why), and one who organised a rally for racial unity. The main politician discussed in the document is Steve Levy, who appears to have been a ‘fiscally conservative’ Democrat who switched tactically to the Republicans in 2010 in order to compete for governor. But I’m sure I’ll find it eventually.

  • Kuze

    It’s extremely ignorant to make sweeping generalizations about identifiable groups; only old white men do that.

  • harrywr2

    #77 Tom Scarff,

    It’s curious how all the elitist liberals in NY seem to have all the
    answers on immigration while completely dismissing views coming out of
    Arizona as “mean”.

    I’m not a liberal, and I don’t come from New York. Sheriff Joe Arpaio disgusts me on more levels then I can count.  Sorry, but he treats people convicted of misdemeanors as though they were all rapists and murders. (People convicted of felonies don’t go to the county Jail, they go to the State Penitentiary). Everyone who has never committed a misdemeanor please raise their hands?  Right..no one. Now consider the only people in Sheriff Joe’s Arpaio’s jail are people convicted of misdemeanors. A point lost by the elderly voters in Maricopa County Arizona and people who are unfamiliar with how the criminal justice system works. But what the heck..the Democrats have successfully managed to make Sheriff Joe Arpaio the poster boy of Republican immigration policy. I’d vote for Nancy Pelosi for President before I would vote for anyone who even remotely resembled Sheriff Joe, but then I know the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony.If our side doesn’t toss it whacko’s under the bus, our side will ride the bus to oblivion.

  • Joshua

    Heh. Authority.

    Sorry, bro -that’s just ridiculous. I’m not saying that an authority is right simply because they’re an authority. I’m saying that well-reputed economists are not “ignorant” about economics. Once again, you apparently think that the determination of who is or isn’t “ignorant” is whether or not they agree with you.And then you turn around and make an “appeal to authority argument:”

    Nope. In this case I meant simply that most people are ignorant about
    economics. It’s not generally taught in school, relatively few get
    qualifications in it. Why should we expect them not to be?

    And NiV -

    There was a practical economic argument ““ if people queued and then held
    everyone up while the fact was communicated to them that nobody could
    understand what they were saying, it saved time to let everyone know in
    advance they should make other arrangements.

    That’s why the sign said ‘THIS IS AMERICA?” Sorry, bro – with that you have shown me that you’re not even being serious about this discussion. Vento put up that sign to improve the efficiency of how he waits on customers?  That really is too funny.

  • Joshua

    But they’re also quite specific about what it is they object to; it’s not generic.

    Right. They’re very specific. They object to moderate, peace-loving, American Muslims building a mosque in an old Burlington Coat Factory nearby strip clubs because some Muslims are terrorists. Yeah, they are very specific.

  • http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com willard

    John F. Pittman,

    My point is that there is no such thing as a “signal” for regulation or gaming to distort. The concept of “distorsion” is unjustified. This is only a small conceptual point, but a point that matters for the rhetoric of deregulation. I can buy Newton’s laws, but I don’t buy Friedman’s even sold as useful fictions.

    Notwithstanding my point, that unregulated markets would perform better is less than useful, if your best empirical gesture amounts to point your finger at the communist era in times. Speaking of

    Perhaps this Reason article provides a better introduction to the story of the non-bet between Dick and James:

    http://web.archive.org/web/20070314005132/http://reason.com/news/show/34976.html

    You’ll see that this article interestingly contains the same suggestion as Nullius.

    I agree with your remark about numeracy. Speaking of which, would you trust someone who publicly claims that the true chance is 1:1 when he would only take a 50:1 odd? In fact, would you trust someone who tries to sell you a 9:1 bet as a 20:1?

    By the way, who takes the vig in the 10:1 bet?

  • Joshua

    The primary assimilationist objection to multi-culturalism is that the
    only culture that doesn’t get protection is the American one.

    Yeah. The “American culture.” The one where everyone speaks English, right? If I’m not mistaken, close to 20% of Americans speak a language other than English at home. But I guess they aren’t part of the American culture.Here’s another funny part of that whole situation.

    And the “American culture” needs to be “protected” by telling people they need to order their cheesestakes in English. All those French speakers in line at Ginos are hurting his business.

    Vento claimed that put up the sign because he wanted to help immigrants understand how important it was for them to learn English. He was actually trying to do them a favor.  If you ever come to Philly, NiV, I’ll take you to South Philly to Gino’s (if you want a steak, Pat’s across the street is better but both use Cheese Whiz nd neither holds a candle to Dalasandros)  We’ll walk the neighborhood and talk to some of the old-time locals about their feelings about the many Mexicans that have moved into their once solidly-Italian neighborhood. I think that you and they will have much to agree on. They will also probably be happy to tell you how they feel about the blacks that have moved into the area as well. Perhaps you could also with them how they feel about Jews (one of the fun games I played when I worked construction with people from that neighborhood was to not tell my co-workers that I was Jewish until I had been hearing them make anti-Semitic comments for months).  Then we’ll go into one of the Mexican restaurants and ask them about how they’ve been treated – even those who speak English.

  • Joshua

    Actually, it really was more specific than I stated earlier. It wasn’t an objection to them building a mosque. It was an objection to moderate, peace-loving, American Muslims building a cultural center that includes a mosque in an old Burlington Coat Factory nearby strip clubs because some
    Muslims are terrorists.

  • Nullius in Verba

    #130,

    “I’m not saying that an authority is right simply because they’re an authority. I’m saying that well-reputed economists are not “ignorant” about economics.”

    Fair enough, if you just meant they’re not ignorant of economics. For some reason I read it differently.

    “Vento put up that sign to improve the efficiency of how he waits on customers?”

    That was his argument, yes. He said it was a combination of political statement and to keep the line moving at the sandwich shop. That there is a practical economic argument doesn’t mean it is the only reason.

    #131,

    “They object to moderate, peace-loving, American Muslims building a mosque in an old Burlington Coat Factory nearby strip clubs because some Muslims are terrorists.”

    Oh, you mean they object to a mosque being built on the site of ground zero, because some Muslims murdered a few thousand people there as part of their Jihad to convert the world to Islam. Don’t you think that’s a bit ‘culturally insensitive’ of the Muslims?

  • Joshua

    (125) JFP

    One’s vision of what is “right or wrong” “just and moral” impacted not
    only how you percieved the issue, but how one tabulated the economic
    “value.”

    Yes, of course. It is like any number of issues in that regard. People make assumptions about others’ morality, “literacy,” “ignorance,” “racism,” etc., despite never having met them or knowing anything at all about them at a personal level. It happens on both sides of all of these issues and people see how bogus it is on the other side when it is directed towards them but fail  to examine their own behavior to see that they do it as well. What’s funny to me about many libertarians is that they rightly object to a sense of moral or intellectual superiority that often infuses political rhetoric on the left yet fail to see the exact same kind of sense of superiority that infuses their own rhetoric. NiV’s arguments on this thread are a perfect example, IMO. Now please don’t confuse an assignation of motives with an observation of motivated reasoning. Although often conflated, they aren’t the same thing.  I don’t assume that NiV really believes that he is somehow superior. I assume, actually, that he is offended by such assumptions of superiority in others and objects to it on a very fundamental level in an abstracted sense. The question is then, why does he fail to control for that feature in his own rhetoric?

    Have I ever mentioned the concept of motivated reasoning before? 

  • Joshua

    NiV – if the only thing that you see in the whole objection to the Islamic cultural center to be built in an old Burlington Coat Factory in the same area as strip clubs a couple of blocks from ground zero is cultural sensitivity among moderate Muslims who had been used by the Bush administration to promote American interests in Muslim countries – then more power to you, bud. I will not try to convince you, but I see much more than that. And if the only thing that you see in the advocacy of folks like Pam Geller and Robert Spencer and the like is objection to  “cultural insensitivity” on the part of Muslims, then likewise, more power to you. I have to assume that you’re aware of their association with groups like the English Defense League – and so I guess you have no problem with that (please correct me if that isn’t true). But all that said, it is interesting which “cultural sensitivities” you take seriously and defend and which ones you don’t.

  • Joshua

    That was his argument, yes. He said it was a combination of political
    statement and to keep the line moving at the sandwich shop. That there
    is a practical economic argument doesn’t mean it is the only reason.

    Seriously? You really think that the argument he presented -even as a partial explanation-  has any validity? You really think he put up a sign telling people that “THIS IS AMERICA” was because he was concerned about speeding up the line? Really? Do you think that it occurred to them that if they were going to order in another language, they probably wouldn’t be able tor read the sign?  Too funny. He would risk losing customers who don’t speak English because he wanted to move the line faster? And I suppose you also believe his argument that he put up the sign because he was concerned for the welfare of the Mexican immigrants that have moved into his once solidly-Italian neighborhood, and just wanted to encourage them to understand how important is is for them to learn English?

  • Nullius in Verba

    #136,

    “I don’t assume that NiV really believes that he is somehow superior. I assume, actually, that he is offended by such assumptions of superiority in others and objects to it on a very fundamental level in an abstracted sense.”

    Not really. Most of the time I just shrug – some people are like that. Sometimes I find it amusing if it’s particularly inappropriate. I’m very hard to offend.

    #137,

    I take the Islam thing quite seriously, because of its implications for liberty. And I’ve studied it in some depth, precisely because you can’t trust the rhetoric on either side of the debate. I have al-Misri’s Umdat al-Salik and several volumes of al-Tabari’s Ta’rikh al-Rusul wa’l-Muluk on my bookshelf, and I’ve read the Koran (in several translations), a fair chunk of the haddith, Sirat Rasul Allah, Tafsir ibn Kathir, and so on.

    One of my fondest memories is the young Muslim whose blog I sometimes commented on offering me author rights so I could contribute essays on Islam on it for his readers. I used to amuse myself arguing theology with Hizb ut Tahrir fanatics there, and he quite liked it that I was able to shut them up better than he could.

    Islam is an intolerant and illiberal religion, literally a theocracy, and I have the deepest of sympathy for all those trapped in it. I think more should be done for them, and for moderate and peace-loving Muslims to get away from all that and build better lives in the West is something I fully support. But there are huge contradictions at the heart of this effort. I support efforts to reform Islam, but to get Muslims to accept them they have to pretend to themselves it isn’t being changed. And that of course gives an easy excuse not to change. It also means we all have to pretend there isn’t a problem, which can can lead to us ignoring problems building up until they explode, sometimes figuratively, sometimes not. Progress has to be rewarded, but the pressure for more progress kept up. It’s a hugely delicate and dangerous balancing act.

    The Pam Gellers of this world certainly don’t help, but they’re not the source of the problem. Progress is being made and things are changing quite fast, but we’re not there yet. And doing things like trying to build a mosque on top of ground zero really do not help either. There are cultural sensitivities on both sides, which need to be respected.

  • Nullius in Verba

    #138,

    I think you’re reading your own preconceptions into what you think his argument should be, again.

  • John F. Pittman

    Since purchasing is communication, the act sends a “signal” to produce. So,  I guess you can say I agree with those who say that taxes “distort” the signal. But I am of the weak to semi-strong implicit market model. It depends on the what is under discussion and what level any tax, incentive, or regulation actually affects the market. I find blanket statements as to all regs or taxes are bad, or that regs and taxes don’t have a net discernible affect equally untrue. What any do or don’t do, need to be studied after the fact in most cases. But some general prediction of their effects is possible. I don’t understand your point. It may be because the courses I took in college and the books I have read since then agree to market signals, and that taxes, regulations, do have an effect on the market/signal. Several such as Milton and wife seem to pass beyond economics into a belief system in such as “Free to Choose,” but I find some of their claims without good justification and more than a bit hard to swallow. I equally find the claims of a “neutral” carbon tax just as poorly reasoned as to its lack of effects. But I do agree that distortion is in the eye of the beholder, since taxes, and regulations are sometimes/often specifically promulgated for the effects. I guess we have to pay the vig. It seems to work out that way, especially if we make it a world wide bet. Course, some might and do claim that a carbon tax would be the equivalent of the economy having both of its legs broken.

  • Kuze

    139. “And doing things like trying to build a mosque on top of ground zero really do not help either.”I suspect you’re overplaying your hand here a tad. My understanding is that the mosque was in the vicinity of ground zero. Isn’t preventing someone from purchasing commercial property illiberal?

  • Nullius in Verba

    #142,

    Yes, that’s what I meant.

    And I wouldn’t propose that they be legally prevented from buying it, and doing whatever they want, but it’s certainly reasonable to make it clear that it’s a really bad idea, especially if you want to show how sympathetic you are and for people to like you. They need all the friends they can get.

  • Joshua

    Yeah. Speaking of Pamela Geller:

    GENERAL DAVID PETRAEUS RESIGNS – Atlas Shrugs.

    I do not believe it was the real reason was [sic] an extramarital affair. I believe it was Benghazi. He refused to be the fall guy. When did an affair ever stop a Democrat. If anything”¦.

    Perhaps one of Obama’s many Muslim Brotherhood advisors are on the shortlist to replace him.

    Just another rational conservative, concerned about the intolerance of Islam.

  • John F. Pittman

    Joshua where do you find all these great thinkers? Are you running out of shotgun shells yet?

  • Nullius in Verba

    #144,

    You seem to be under the impression that Pamela Geller is in any way typical or representative of conservatives. Like, Mitt Romney checks her site every day for instructions, or something.

    Conservatives constitute roughly half the population. Do you seriously require there to be absolutely zero nutters amongst that lot? Do you really want to play that game? In defence of Muslims?

    #145,

    He’s been reading LGF.

  • Sashka

    @ 109: Maybe you know something that I don’t. Where do the climate futures trade?

  • Joshua

    (#147) NiV

    Classic:

    You seem to be under the impression that Pamela Geller is in any way typical or representative of conservatives. Like, Mitt Romney checks her site every day for instructions, or something.

    http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/img/gus_802/2012/10/15/Romney_Geller.jpg

    That comment was made to order, NiV. Thanks. Perhaps you think better of Bolton?

    Little Green Footballs is a useful site to search for information about extremist rightwingers – no matter that I have always thought that Charles Johnson promotes some facile arguments. He did when he was the darling of the rightiwing blogosphere, and he does so now as well. But the source of the links I provided changes the meaning of their content not one iota.

  • Joshua

    (#146) JFP -

    Joshua where do you find all these great thinkers?

    I’ve been reading HotAir, Breitbart.com, listening to Rush, and watching Hannity. They’re a dime a dozen if you just know where to look.

  • John F. Pittman

    You must have a stomach of iron, or perhaps you are like me and listen to Rush when I need my daily idiot to put a smile on my face. But Hannity, surely your soul is butt hurt.

  • Nullius in Verba

    #147,

    So far as I know, they don’t. Like I suggested earlier, it would be too revealing of people’s real beliefs.

    #148,

    Sheesh…

  • Joshua

    Actually, I think that Rush is pretty funny – as long as you don’t take anything he says seriously and realize that his only intent is to fire up rightwingers and infuriate lefties. Watching Hannity is like a sport –  finding which of his arguments is the most ridiculous (although I admit it is a bit like a canned hunt). Still, I do have to limit my exposure – even though I don’t take them seriously they still become toxic before very long.

  • Joshua

    ($152) NiV –

    Right – shaking hands with a head of state at a G8 Summit – a leader who Obama later helped to remove from office – and posing for pictures with civilian “nutters” = same, same. I’ll bet you were on board with the whole “apology tour” rhetoric also, eh?

    John Bolton, an advisor to Romney on foreign policy, wrote a forward to Geller’s and Robert Spencer’s book: The Post-American Presidency: The Obama Administration’s War on America. Bolton was an announced speaker at Geller’s “9/11 Freedom Rally: Stand Against Ground Zero Mosque.” Bolton is absolutely a leading “conservative” figure. 

    Keep setting them up and I’ll keep knocking them down.

  • Joshua

    Here’s an entertaining video clip where Bolton and Geller discuss Romney. Looks like Geller is a bit inconsistent on Romney – here she thinks that Romney doesn’t hate Muslims enough.

  • Joshua
  • Nullius in Verba

    #153,

    The usual high quality of your argument seems to have degenerated, somewhat. You seriously think a politician being photographed with somebody means anything? Geller’s certainly no fan of Romney, who she described as ‘hardwired for delusion’, and I highly doubt Romney thinks much of her.

    “I’ll bet you were on board with the whole “apology tour” rhetoric also, eh?”

    You’d lose your bet – since I hadn’t even heard of the ‘apology tour’ rhetoric until just now. It seems you’re not reading what I wrote, and your conception of what I believe bears no connection to the reality. It’s funny, isn’t it, how many forms blind hatred can take?

    Geller and Spencer have a somewhat lop-sided view of the Islam-West situation, just as their equally nutty opponents on the left do. There’s some truth to what they say, particularly regarding the formal doctrine and history of Islam, but it’s an immensely complicated situation that they over-simplify, and are being over-alarmist over. And they wrongly assume that nobody else is aware of it, or doing anything about it.

    When an important issue is pushed out to the fringes by political taboos, it tends to allow fringe characters to take a bigger part in the debate. And when politicians need to interact with people on those issues, they talk to whoever they have to. So Obama will shake hands and do deals with people like Gaddafi, because that’s how diplomacy works, and how you build an incrementally better world. Politicians represent and work with all the people, not just the nice people you approve of. That does not in any way imply that they approve of everyone. It’s possible to agree with some bits and not others. And rejecting and demonising people so completely you refuse even to talk to them doesn’t do anything to solve the problem. What some people do with Muslims, others seem inclined to do with conservatives.

    It’s been fun playing, but if you can’t lift the level of debate a bit I’m not going to bother any more. There’s only so much I can take before it gets boring.

  • Joshua

    The usual high quality of your argument seems to have degenerated, somewhat.

    Interesting – as that impression is entirely mutual. And with that, I will agree to catch you on another thread.

  • Joshua

    Mutual in the sense that I had the same impression of your arguments in this thread, that is (not that I agree with your assessment of mine. lol!)

  • Marlowe Johnson

     My argument is that the evidence presented for climate catastrophe is insufficient, and has to be balanced against the harm done by mitigation

    Thanks for putting your denialism…or is that your skepticism…on full display for all to see NiV. Much appreciated.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    I have seen no evidence at all for climate catastrophism… lots of fervent speculation, maybe. But no evidence at all.

  • Nullius in Verba

    #158,

    I understood what you meant first time. See you on another thread.

    #159,

    I’ve argued that same statement since I got here, so I’ve no idea why you find it interesting or significant, but whatever. You’re welcome.

  • John F. Pittman

    My argument is that the evidence presented for climate catastrophe is insufficient, and has to be balanced against the harm done by mitigation.Actually this is an argument from risk management, as in it MUST be considered in order to properly perfrom risk management. Thanks Marlowe for indicating once again that it is not science or risk that is at stake but politics and policy. Or perhaps I should consider it as Joshua would indicate: “Marlowe, thanks for the demonstration of motivated reasoning.”

  • Joshua

    JFP –

    I have to agree that the argument about risk management is the crux of the matter, and that pronouncements that the conclusion in that regard is definitive – on either side of the risk management ratio – are evidence of motivated reasoning.  For me the interesting question is how do you manage risk when you can’t reach definitive conclusions about the magnitude of the factors on either side of the ratio.

  • John F. Pittman

    Joshua, your comment is why I keep banging on about capital or wealth conservation. It is part of how you manage risk. That is why I take the IPCC’s version to task. They are engaged in institutional bias to direct the results away from certain conclusions, or more properly, accomodations.  Part of dealing with motivated reasoning and risk management was done by Dr’s Fischhoff and Slovic. One can use the “Tell” method as the IPCC and advocates have done, but it is likely to fail in the face of adverse (motivated) reasoning. This appears to be what is happening now. The “Ask” method is better suited. But, the problem for the institutionalized bias that the IPCC is trying to set up, is that conservation of wealth/capital in the face of uncertaintity is acceptable. The IPCC found this unacceptable and in opposition of what the UN stated were there goals when setting up the Rio Declaration and the IPCC. If we accomodate the skeptical of catastrophe, but want to be prepared for such catastrophe, wealth conservation will have to be the driving force and not an item to be paid lip service as the push for mitigation policy by the IPCC tries to make it presently. In fact, it appears that AR5 is going to be a double down on low probability high risk scenarios, and it will further entrench and empower those who will oppose this “Tell” strategy.

  • Nullius in Verba

    #163,

    “For me the interesting question is how do you manage risk when you can’t reach definitive conclusions about the magnitude of the factors on either side of the ratio.”

    You seek better information, you build up resources, you build in flexibility and resilience, and you make preparations for every eventuality.

    This means:

    1) You make sure the science is impeccable – you open it up, you engineer it, you validate it, you devote serious resources with the best people and equipment, and you make sure you’re not fooling yourself.

    2) The best defence against adversity is prosperity. You get the developing world out of poverty and into production quickly. Stockpile resources.

    3) You design/build transport and communications infrastructure to be resilient to disasters, have the capability to repair and/or install it under adverse conditions. You build up trade relations, a global market, mutual aid agreements, disaster response plans.

    4) You research (but don’t implement) adaptation options: biotech crops, hydroponics, next-gen nuclear, disease response, desalination and water delivery, land reclamation, …

    I could go on, but you get the idea. It’s all ‘no regrets’ stuff we could do with anyway. (There are always other disasters.) It doesn’t require major economic restructuring until it’s necessary, so is comparatively cheap. It gives you time to perfect the technology, so when it’s deployed it can be done efficiently. And you’ll know exactly what you’re doing, and why, and you’ll be able to monitor and control it better. And best of all, if it turns out you were wrong, you won’t have done so much damage.

  • harrywr2

    #144 Joshua

    Yeah. Speaking of Pamela Geller:My email inbox is filled every morning with the world according to Pamela Geller. It’s also filled with emails from real live Muslim’s living in the Middle East. I’ve lived in the Middle East.

    As is almost always the case, extreme views end up being countered  by someone with equal and opposite extreme views.

    The word Jihad..has been hijacked by extremist Muslims and those concerned about extremist Muslims. Mormons,Muslims, and many Christians all perform ‘Jihad’ as a part of everyday life…it roughly translates into ‘spreading the word’. The last I checked the Gideons were still putting Bibles in hotel rooms…which would meet the Arabic definition of  Jihad(If they were Korans).

    Unfortunately, the amibuguity between relatively benign Jihad and violent Jihad is lost in translation. In addition Islam has many clauses that make it insular.

    In order to defend against the age old practice of raping the woman of the conquered in order to facilitate assimilation Islam adopted the practice of killing a woman that has had ‘relations’ with a ‘non-believer’ as a defense against assimilation. Judaism has another approach in that the religion of any offspring will be the religion of the Mother regardless of the religion of the father.

    As America is known as the great ‘melting pot’, the anti-assimilation portion of the Muslim faith is inconsistent with fundamental US values. Some people find that disturbing. In general major US immigrant flows tend to assimilate within two generations. It’s yet to be seen if that will be the case with Muslim immigrant flows. 

    The British and French assimilation experience as to Muslims has been somewhat disappointing, the German experience has been for the most part successful.

    What’s is it going to be in the US? I hardly think it’s an invalid question to be asking. Pew Research says that most Muslims immigrants view themselves as assimilating and that a majority of Americans believe Muslims are not assimilating.

    Geller may be a somewhat ‘extreme’ voice..but the underlying questions go unanswered. As is frequently the case, the biggest shouting matches are usually based on valid questions with insufficient data to provide a demonstrably provable answer. Nobody is going to put Geller in charge of the Department of State.

  • BBD

    nullius @ 103

    I offered a market-based solution in #44. If AGW predictions are right, the people who didn’t believe them would end up paying the entire cost. Isn’t that what you want?

    Not at all. Why should a non-specialist contrarian minority misled by libertarian physics and worse be forced to pay the entire cost? Even if they could afford to do so? Anyway, by the time the big bills start rolling in, they will all be ancient or dead. And at a guess, by then, climate contrarianism will long since have withered away under the bright lights.

  • Nullius in Verba

    #166,

    “Mormons,Muslims, and many Christians all perform “˜Jihad’ as a part of everyday life”¦it roughly translates into “˜spreading the word’.”

    I’m sorry to have to tell you, but that’s incorrect, and I’m reasonably sure your Muslim friends know it.

    Spreading the word is indeed a duty of Muslims, it’s unclear whether an individual or communal obligation, but it’s called Da’wa, not Jihad.

    Jihad translates as “struggle” (from ‘mujahada’, the struggle to establish the faith) and comes in two forms: the defensive Jihad, individually obligatory (fard al ‘ayn) on all Muslims, when Muslim lands are attacked; and offensive Jihad, which is spreading Islam by force after Da’wa has failed, and is a communal obligation (fard al kifaya) meaning that so long as a sufficient number perform it the rest don’t have to, but if not performed the sin rests on all Muslims.

    There are a bunch of requirements and limitations on waging offensive Jihad, including that it requires the Caliph’s express authorisation (which is problematic since there is currently no Caliph), and if the Muslims are outnumbered or outgunned they’re permitted to declare a hudna, or truce for a set period while they build their forces. Both devices have been used to argue that offensive Jihad is not currently permitted/required. Also, Jihad is not permitted until Da’wa has been tried and has failed, which many argue is not yet determined.

    There is a weak haddith (‘haddith’ is a reported saying or anecdote of the prophet or one of his companions, ‘weak’ means Islamic scholars regard it as made up) claiming that the struggle over your sinful self is ‘the greater Jihad’, while war is the ‘lesser Jihad’. When Muslims try to say it’s been mistranslated they more usually use that one. I’ve seen this one misdescribing Da’wa before, but it’s rare because it’s so easily refuted.

    I don’t know where this idea of killing a woman who has had relations with the unbeliever comes from, so far as I’m aware there’s no such law, the woman can only be punished if she had the ‘capacity to remain chaste’ (when it’s fornication for which the penalty is death, nothing to do with whether it was with an unbeliever), and other than by judicial sentence the killing of Muslims by Muslims is forbidden. It doesn’t make sense, either. Islam isn’t a racial thing, or something inherited by blood, so that sort of ‘assimilation’ concern makes no sense.

    And while the assimilation element of US values does conflict – the Muslim is required not to take on the ways of the unbelievers – there’s a degree of flexibility about matters that are not obligatory such that something could be worked out. There are plenty of equally unassimilated sub-cultures in America. They’re no worse than the Mormons in most regards, and I think younger Muslims in particular would be able manage it OK, if they wanted to.

    Geller’s views are not mainstream among conservatives, and are definitely never going to become policy, although there is somewhat more awareness of there being a problem with Islam and concern about it on the right-hand side of the aisle. The only people paying attention are those who have taken a particular interest in Islamic terrorism and oppression, and a few racist fruitcakes who find it supports their preconceptions. There was a fair amount of discussion about it around 9/11 and thereafter, but I haven’t seen any for ages. Joshua’s links back to all that crap were a bit of a nostalgic trip down memory lane for me.

  • Joshua

    Since the discussion continues…

    NiV – you really need to update your knowledge about mainstream American conservatives. They aren’t all extremists – not by a long shot; but extremists are very well-represented. For example, from your favorite source:

    Likely House Judiciary Chairman Is an Anti-Immigration Extremist and Birtherhttp://littlegreenfootballs.com/article/41178_Likely_House_Judiciary_Chairman_Is_an_Anti-Immigration_Extremist_and_Birther

    Pamela Geller, as demonstrated by her interview of one of the more powerful and prominent Republican foreign policy “experts” (Bolton) is less far outside the mainstream than you think. The anti-sharia hysteria that she’s a part of is quite prominent.  You really need to check up on what many Republicans have to say about Islam.

    As for your thoughts on Islam. I haven’t read what you wrote in much detail, but I’ve read similar analysis before. I’ve also read expert analysis that contradicts yours completely. What I know for sure is that I’ve had many discussions with devout Muslims who don’t match your fears. The problem is fundamentalism, not Islam, IMO. I’m going to just leave that discussion there.

  • Nullius in Verba

    #168,

    “What I know for sure is that I’ve had many discussions with devout Muslims who don’t match your fears.”

    What ‘fears’ are you talking about?

  • Joshua

    I support efforts to reform Islam, but to get Muslims to accept them
    they have to pretend to themselves it isn’t being changed. And that of course gives an easy excuse not to change. It also means we all have to pretend there isn’t a problem, which can can lead to us ignoring problems building up until they explode, sometimes figuratively sometimes not. Progress has to be rewarded, but the pressure for more
    progress kept up.It’s a hugely delicate and dangerous balancing act.

    I agree that it is a very complicated and delicate situation, but the majority of Muslims don’t need to changed. Their vision of Islam doesn’t need to be changed. The majority of Muslims are peace-loving. You needn’t fear them. And I’m not afraid of us “ignoring problems” until they explode. And trying to “reform Islam” would be a waste of time anyway.

    The problem isn’t Islam, the problem is extremism and they aren’t one and the same. The extremists should be feared. They won’t be changed. They need to be marginalized. And they come in all stripes.

  • Tom Scharf

    Joshua, you need to get some Republican friends.  Yeah, we know, some of your best friends are Republicans, blah blah blah.  Your viewpoints expressed constantly paint the whole group with the brush of the viewpoints of a very small minority.  But this is OK for you since liberal sensitivity training never covered the potentiality that this might also be wrong if it is applied to groups not favored by the left.  Yes, there are extreme political views…yawn.  It is best to allow the political “market” to sort it out.

  • Joshua

    (# 172 Tom)

     Your viewpoints expressed constantly paint the whole group with the brush of the viewpoints of a very small minority.

    Not at all. I think that the extremists are a minority. But they exist, and they hold political office and positions of power in the Republican Party. They are a significant block of the Republican base. 

    Since you pay so much attention to my posts and talking about what I write,  you might at least try to characterize what I say correctly.

  • Nullius in Verba

    #170,

    Thanks for clarifying.

    I think you’re still misunderstanding what I said, but I see no prospect of being able to explain, so I’ll leave it there.

    #171,

    Tom, I agree, but there’s no point in arguing. It’s part of that tribalism we’re always talking about here.

  • John F. Pittman

    #173, Joshua, the same thing could be said for Nancy Pelosi. That she is considered an extremist that the moderates have to cater to has been expressed ad nauseum. And ultra liberals (as named by the ultra conservatives) are a significant part of the Democratic base. In fact, a good case can be made that when the Dems displeased this base, it cost them the presidency.

  • Jarmo

    Is there really such a big difference between Democrats and Republicans?At least in some areas they seem to become more and more aligned:

    Other Gallup polls are even more interesting. The number of women gun owners in America has gone up from 13 percent in 2005 to 23 percent today. Also, the number of Democratic households with firearms in their homes skyrocketed from 30 percent in 2009 to 40 percent today.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/frankminiter/2012/08/23/what-the-left-wont-tell-you-about-the-boom-in-u-s-gun-sales/2/

  • Joshua

    NiV –

    I will add that my comments were w/r/t  security concerns and terrorism. There is a problem in many Muslim countries with regard to issues such as women’s rights, rights for gays, rights for minorities,  that reflects a significantly larger % than just the % that are violent fundamentalists. That is a big problem, IMO – and something that concerns me a great deal. But, (1) there is an inherent problem in trying to interfere in other people’s belief systems and (2) it still doesn’t mean that “Islam” needs to be “reformed.” There are plenty of Muslims who are not misogynists, for example. I have worked with many assertive and dynamic Muslim women who do not feel oppressed by their religion – far from it. If anything “needs to be reformed” – it is the political and social context – not  the religion unto itself. Now I guess when you say that “Islam needs to be reformed,” you aren’t simply speaking of the religion but the entire Muslim community – but the problem in such a statement and the rest of your statement that I excerpted is the lack of specificity. Efforts and rhetoric that rely on such a generalized view of Islam or Muslims will not solve the problems, IMO, and more likely only exacerbate them.

  • Joshua

    (176) JFP –

    Sure. If you think of Nancy Pelosi as being as much of an extremist as Republican politicians who are birthers, who are creating legislation about Sharia law, who think that rape is God’s will, who affiliate with the John Birch Society or folks like Pam Geller, who want to deport all illegal immigrants, etc. – then yes, you could say that extremists are equally influential on both sides of the debate. In that sense, the identification of “extremists” is merely a reflection of the political orientation of the person making the identification. It reminds me of arguments about the bias of the “MSM,” where both sides say that the bias is in the other direction.

    However, I think that if you look at fairly objective metrics that attempt to identify extremism in our political institutions, you will see that there is a rather historic trend towards extremism among Republicans, and that the extremists actually hold a significant  amount of power. Just look at the rhetoric and policies of Reagan or Nixon – which were considered pretty hard right at the time, but now would be mainstream or practically liberal by today’s standards. Look at SCOTUS, which in terms of objective measures such as over-turning precedent, has been quite extreme in recent years. I’d say that there are a few Democratic politicians who might be viewed as the equivalent on the “extreme-scale” as, say, Michelle Bachmann, say, or Rick Santorum, but I can assure you that they’d stand no chance of being as influential as Bachmann or Santorum (consider how well each did in the nomination process).

    And there are other measures also – such as comparing the Blue Dogs or other diverse elements of the Democratic Party against the lockstep uniformity of the Republican legislature.

    And there are a long line of well-known and prominent Republicans, who have been heavily involved in the Republican Party for decades, who have spoken of their concerns about the influence of extremists in today’s Republican Party.  Surely, you have seen examples of what I’m talking about? If you really need me to, I could provide you with a list.

    And we can just look at basic dynamics of Romney’s campaign to see evidence of what I’m speaking about. Romney needed to move hard right in order to win the nomination because of a large block of extremists in the Republican base. He then needed to move back to the left after the nomination because his positioning needed to win the nomination wasn’t viable with the general electorate. I think that if you really stretched you might be able to make a case for a similar dynamic with Obama and his 2008 candidacy in some respects, but he and Clinton essentially argued about who was more centrists in order to acquire the nomination – and if he did move to the right after the nomination, surely it wasn’t the same magnitude of movement as what we saw with Romney.

  • John F. Pittman

    I think your use of “stretch” , “lock step” and your use/definition of “power” indicate a bias. I did say that both sides have extremists that influence both sides of the debate. My question to you is how do you measure one of the other objectively such that your measurement does not reflect your own biases? That is why I kept it general, but specific enough to make the point. Take in particular the way you use “power”. I would assume you would agree that the exercise of power to influence is not always obviuos? An example of this comes from the links showing Gadafi and Geller. Yet, who has more power to influence, a head of state at a G8 conference, or a populist voice at a photo-op? How did you measure it? I myself would say the leader at the G8 conference has more real influence.So part of the problem is what is being influenced. In many cases, such as Geller there is an implication of sinister intent. Whereas with Pelosi, it is the ability to enact something that many do see as a sinister government over reach. I would say it is easier to formualte and measure what persons were objecting to wrt health care, than what you could formulate and measure Geller actually accomplishing, except perhaps self promotion, and self beclowning. I have voted for 40 years and have kept track in my head of claims of extremism and its effects on a party. The track record: the losers grab this all the time, Dems and Repubs both. To a certain extent it is true. But I can take your Republican lock step extremists and raise you with the Sierra Club lock step extremists, and how Dems give at least lip service. Or if you are like me, the Dems are portrayed as giving lip service, as though these people had NOTHING good to say. That is the part I find incredible (in = not). Not saying something good and correct is not only tactically stupid, but is actually kinda of hard to do in a real discussion. Though some of the really motivated reasoners come close. ;)

  • Tom Scharf

    #171 I guess you could ask the families of the huge pile of Muslim bodies in the Middle East, dead at their own hands from sectarian violence over the last 10 years whether they believe reform might be useful.  But these don’t count in your view, right?   What’s really important are buildings near ground zero and any perceived slights from groups you don’t favor.   One wonders how high the pile of bodies must be to convince you reform is necessary if the current pile doesn’t justify the discussion.  Stating that the peaceful Muslims don’t need reform is not much of an insight, and you directly contradict yourself one post later laying the responsibility for purging the extremists from the Republican party at the hands of the moderate Republicans.  Consistency has never been your virtue.

  • Joshua

    (#181) Tom S.

    I guess you could ask the families of the huge pile of Muslim bodies in
    the Middle East, dead at their own hands from sectarian violence over
    the last 10 years whether they believe reform might be useful.

    Extra points for exploiting a “huge pile” of bodies. What do you think? Do you think that Muslims whose family members have been killed by other Muslims would find fault with their faith, would think that “Islam needs to be reformed?” Or would they disagree with other Muslims, or perhaps say that those other Muslims are acting in contradiction to the precepts Islam? There may certainly be a minority who might argue that “Islam needs to be reformed.” Hirisi Ali might be an extreme form of that camp (in saying that Islam needs to be completely rejected). But it would be a distinct minority. Relatively few Muslims who have been the victims of sectarian violence in places like Iraq are advocating that their religion, or even the entire Muslim community needs to be “reformed” as NiV argued.  Once again, the problem with your argument lies in that it rests on false and overly broad generalizations. You can’t get to reasonable argument as long as you keep up that pattern of argumentation.

  • Joshua

    JFP

    My question to you is how do you measure one of the other objectively
    such that your measurement does not reflect your own biases?

    Indeed.I don’t get your discussion of Geller vs. Ghadaffi. Do you think that Ghadaffi reflects Obama’s ideology in some way parallel to a reflection of Geller in Bolton’s ideology? (Of course, many extremist Republicans certainly do make that argument – as Geller herself does). Of course as someone with global power, Ghadaffi needs to be dealt with – but the question is w/r/t the extremism in the ideology of American political players.

    But I can take your Republican lock step extremists and raise you with the Sierra Club lock step extremists,

    So then the question, as you allude to, is how do we objectively measure the degree of influence. Where do you see Democrats in office who are lockstep with the Sierra Club? Compare that to the number of legislators that are attempting to legislate based on paranoia about Sharia Law in the U.S. Yes, these questions are difficult to evaluate, and yes, the assessment is influenced by the perspective of the observer. This is what motivated reasoning is all about. So I certainly can’t dispute the potential insight of your argument to this particular context. The answer lies in evaluating the actual evidence at hand with an open mind towards the contradicting evidence.

    I would assume you would agree that the exercise of power to influence is not always obviuos?

    Absolutely. That is a good point, and it is a part of the detailed discussion.

    I would say it is easier to formualte and measure what persons were objecting to wrt health care,

    I’m having a bit of trouble in seeing the logical thread that connects all your statements in that comment – but here I will remind you that if you break down the components of the healthcare reform, you will see that if you aggregated the poll testing in that regard the reform is much more popular than “Obamacare.” And also, keep in mind that the most decried aspect, the mandate, was basically a product of mainstream Republican ideology and in fact, supported by the man picked as the Republican candidate. Is that not, in and of itself, a reflection of the influence of extremism?  Gotta run. I’ll take a more in-depth look at your comment later and see if I can better understand the coherent point.

  • Tom Scharf

    So Republicans need reform more than radical Islam.  Thanks for setting that straight.  I guess if the right started setting off suicide bombs against the left in the name of the “correct” ideology, you would be more supportive.

  • John F. Pittman

    I appreciate that the item I would also say was the most easily seen over reach was proposed by Republicans.  I always wonder if it was done on purpose as a poison apple. The question of the Geller Ghadaffi is what influence and can we measure it. In other words, the assumptions. Why would you asume that the G8 was nothing more than a G8 meeting, but would assume a photo op, represents more than a photo op? That is why I questioned about what you consider influence and how you measure it. For me, I would expect politicians to have photo ops with the extreme, and simply ignore them in actuality, mouth something that sounded like what they wanted, but wasn’t and go on. In fact this is what I typically see, because I don’t see the political mechanisms, such as strong arming, being actually used to accomplish what was mouthed. So, just what is the influence? But at events like G8 meetings I do see the aftermath where certain actions by countries occur less or more frequently, or is claimed politically. Once again, perception, assumptions, and measurements when it is anything other than a factual account of what was said or done, I find suspect. I have seen at least one poll to that effect about obamacare, but do not know how well the poll was done. But in general, I can see how for a particular item or two, not all agree to the same such that all would be for it as singular issues, but not the overall work. There was a good quote somewhere about this potential failure with as little as two constraints, where the majority opposed it, yet each of the single issues had a majority, or the opposite case. The question of Dems and Sierra is in the eye of the beholder. I can see it if I wish, but do not. I see the same for those you claimed the Repubs are lock step with. Compare the number of anti-sharia Repubs, with Demos wanting climate change legislation, SO2 regs, PM regs, banning of drilling not just ban on federal lands, banning of drilling on federal lands, etc. It is in the eye of the beholder. But I did see strong arming for obabmacare and the failed Climate Change regulations. Do you have examples of strong arming going on about anti-sharia legislation?

  • Nullius in Verba

    #177,

    I’ll have one more go before I give up.

    “I will add that my comments were w/r/t security concerns and terrorism. There is a problem in many Muslim countries with regard to issues such as women’s rights, rights for gays, rights for minorities, that reflects a significantly larger % than just the % that are violent fundamentalists.”

    Quite so. I had tried to make clear earlier that my interest in Islam was to do with the liberty issues.

    There are no significant national security issues so long as you properly police the situation and don’t give in to them. The worry is not Muslim radicals, but weak and stupid politicians handing them de facto power through conciliatory compromises and concessions. The radical Muslims have virtually zero direct military power compared to the USA. If it doesn’t win them anything, the terrorism will simply disappear.

    “But, (1) there is an inherent problem in trying to interfere in other people’s belief systems and (2) it still doesn’t mean that “Islam” needs to be “reformed.””

    On (1), the only justification for impeding anyone’s freedom is to prevent significant harm being done to others without their consent. I agree, this is a grey area.

    On (2), my point was actually to say that Islam already has been reformed. The moderate, peace-loving Islam you have heard of is the result. The violent fundamentalists are a lot closer to what it was before. (And I have checked that statement thoroughly.) But Islam does not, as a matter of doctrine, allow any change.

    Which is a problem, because the violent fundamentalists can make a very good case that the moderate form is a corruption of the true religion: persuading youngsters that this is the case being what they call ‘radicalisation’. That’s what I meant when I was talking about Islam having changed, but everyone having to pretend it hasn’t been.

    On the one hand, talking about changes and reforms weakens the position of the reformers and strengthens the case of the radicals. On the other, not talking about it results in no change, and being ‘disingenuous’ about it all runs the risk of losing credibility in the longer run.

    The other thing that complicates the issue (although in some ways it makes things easier) is that ordinary Muslims quite often know relatively little about their own religion beyond the day-to-day practice. (In much the same way that a lot of ordinary Christians I know would score low on Biblical knowledge and Church history.) The poor in Islamic nations are frequently illiterate, it’s quite common for people to be taught to recite it without understanding the classical Arabic it is written in, and the more detailed knowledge is confined to Imams and preachers, who tell their congregations only what they need to know. My young Muslim friend with the blog was like that – an enthusiast for Da’wa for his moderate form, who was hurt and confused by what people told him in response (often with references). We found a way to deal with it, honestly acknowledging the issues and constructing legitimate arguments for the changes, which was where I came into conflict with the Hizb ut Tahrir lot.

    But personal history aside, it often means the way forward is to support the moderate Muslim community against the internal cultural pressures to conform. While it is tempting to say the way to promote freedom of religion would be to not interfere, it’s quite often the case that people in the community would really, really like to practice their religion differently, but are pressured by others in their community not to. Freedom of religion is an individual right. So sometimes giving them an excuse/justification to change by not leaving them isolated is helpful.

    Finally, I’d like to point out that all of the above is about concern for other people’s freedom – at no point am I expressing any personal “fears” of Islam or Muslims; which is why I queried your comment. It often seems to me that anything less than absolute acceptance of the official version gets labelled as “fear” and “Islamophobia” – which given the lengths I’d gone to to explain the nuances was mildly irritating. I hadn’t said anything of the sort. But these misunderstandings tend to happen on such tribal issues.

    I don’t expect you to agree with what I say, but I remain hopeful that you might better understand my position.

  • Joshua

    Tom S -

    So Republicans need reform more than radical Islam.  

    So now we go from you falsely inferring that I’m indifferent to “piles of bodies” to iinferring that I’m saying that Republicans are worse than radical Islamists. Just to set you straight – no matter how ambiguous or unclear something I say might be, and thus perhaps justify misunderstandings, neither of those characterizations of my beliefs will ever be correct.

  • Joshua

    Why would you asume that the G8 was nothing more than a G8 meeting, but
    would assume a photo op, represents more than a photo op?

    So, this then gets to the meat of the matter. Obama supported the overthrow of Ghadaffi. That, obviously, suggest that Obama in no way supports what Ghadaffi represented. If you have more context that you think is relevant or informative, please offer it. Yes – the photo of Romney with Geller in itself represents nothing of particular meaning devoid of context. But Geller is actually quite specifically linked with important Republican politicians. She is a fairly well-known media figure related to the issue of Islam. There is much cross-over between her ideology and sitting Republican politicians and the legislature they are actually drafting and implementing. Are you familiar with ALEC? ALEC is an extremely influential organization. It is hard to overstate their influence, IMO.

    (add prefix)ebookbrowse.com/alec-ohio-sharia-law-pdf-d359658302

    I have seen at least one poll to that effect about obamacare, but do not know how well the poll was done.

    The aspect that I talked about w/r/t the public opinion of individual components of the HCR and the rhetoric about “Obamacare” is quite well established. It isn’t just a component or two. It is more or less all of the components with the exception of the mandate – and remember that the mandate was originally an idea that had widespread Republican support:

    (add prefix)washingtonpost.com/rf/image_606w/WashingtonPost/Content/Blogs/the-fix/StandingArt/2012-06-27%20health%20care%205%20charts.jpg?uuid=Iq-iuMCiEeG0LpMKq2eGFQ

    The question of Dems and Sierra is in the eye of the beholder.

    Just to make sure as to what I am :”beholding.” What I am saying is that there are a significant number of Republican politicians who are exploiting fears about Muslims to legislate from an extremist agenda. I am not saying that all Republicans are extremists w/r/t Muslims. I am saying that I do not see an equivalently extremist agenda item coming from the Dems. Perhaps you are thinking of one? Maybe we should compare to climate change legislation or other environmental issues. First, do you really think they represent the same degree of extremism? Second, do you really think that there is the same kind of expectation or reality of uniformity among Democratic politicians on that issue (please consider the Blue Dogs). Third, do you really see the same amount of drafting and passing of legislation on those issues we are comparing?

    My reference to “lockstep” was not across the board. But again, you must have read many accounts from insider Republicans decrying the degree of mandated “lockstep” positions. This started as far back as when Gingrich was in office, and it has been written about extensively. It extends now to the tax pledges. It is an explicit requirement of uniformity. Can you describe an equivalent to that on the other side? We could also look at the records of votes in Congress and metrics of uniformity. Do you doubt that there is an imbalance in that regard?

    But I did see strong arming for obabmacare and the failed Climate
    Change regulations. Do you have examples of strong arming going on about
    anti-sharia legislation?

    There, you’ll have to be more specific: The use of “strong-arming” there is too vague for me to respond, and I can’t make a comparison if I don’t know what examples you’re talking about.

  • Joshua

    NiV – I’m actually kind of exhausted from this debate (which is saying a lot, coming from me). The issue is much too expansive and we’re just jumping into the middle and IMO, isolating components rather then really the meat of the discussion as a result. I really am going to drop it here – except to say that while I do think that we are getting to a point of no longer just talking past each other, and  I appreciate the need to make sure that we each understand what the other is arguing w/o any expectation that the other will agree, I still think (as shown to me in your most recent comment) there is still much work to be done in both regards. Maybe on another thread.

  • Joshua

    JFP –

    An article that provides context on the questions of Republican extremism, Romney, the linkage to the Republican mainstream, and the issue of Sharia Law and Muslims more generally.

    (add prefix).tnr.com/blog/plank/105991/romney-christie-vp-islamophobes#

    and another article that discusses the linkage – by the same author:

    (add prefix).huffingtonpost.com/amy-sullivan/sharia-myth-america_b_876965.html

  • Joshua

    JFP – it was linked in the previous article I linked – but I want to make sure that you read this:

    http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/ticket/chris-christie-slams-fearmongering-over-sharia-law-210648303.htmlThoughts?

  • Joshua
  • John F. Pittman

    Was Obama there at the G8 meeting to overthrow Ghadaffi? If not I think you point is misdirection, and does not address the point. Perhaps if you expressed it better. You claim she is linked with important Repubs, I assume that is some, otherwise I would have to question the measurement that showed all. That appears to contradict lock step. ALEC or ACORN, I would assume advocacy is advocacy. You will need to define extremism before I can answer, but in general, the Democrats supported an extreme Climate change agenda in that it would wreck our economy. So I would say the Repubs are patzers. The Dems propose something that would hurt most USA citizens, and the Repubs a small minority. Joshua this makes you appear innumerate.I do not see uniformity in either. As you yourself state”I am not saying that all Republicans are extremists w/r/t Muslims. ” With out an objective way of counting such as I posed above, I remain unconvinced. However, note that my example, the Dems are the worst extremists. They are exploiting fear, and our desire for a good stewardship in order to enact an extremist position. I see worst than just drafting. I see a Dem executive department not getting what it wanted, and by-passing the legislature by using a bureacracy, because the draft was defeated. “”Can you describe an equivalent to that on the other side?”” Gay rights, abortion rights, gay marriage, pro-choice, social justice (welfare, medical, social advancement, etc.), and my favorite moralising as bad as the Repubs for those who oppose their sense of morality.  Here is an example from the NY Times but use the word horse trading,””
    The House legislation reflects a series of concessions necessary to attract the support of Democrats from different regions and with different ideologies. In the months of horse-trading before the vote Friday, the bill’s targets for emissions of heat-trapping gases were weakened, its mandate for renewable electricity was scaled back, and incentives for industries were sweetened.
    The bill’s sponsors were making deals on the House floor right up until the time of the vote. They set aside money for new energy research and a hurricane study center in Florida.””The outcome had remained up in the air up until the actual vote, with the White House and the president himself engaging in a heavy lobbying campaign aimed at restoring Democratic Party unity that seemed to be fracturing…In an effort to recruit the support of lawmakers sitting on the fence, its authors, prominent progressive Reps. Henry Waxman (D-Calif) and Ed Markey (D-Mass), reduced goals for carbon emission reductions and threw in favors for the coal and agricultural industries…As a vote on a controversial climate change bill approached on Friday afternoon, Democrats on the Hill were turning their attention to progressive Democrats rather than attempting to recruit more Republican support for the measure…Reflecting the tenseness of the legislative debate, the White House and Democratic leadership have ratcheted up their efforts to ensure party unity. Among those making calls to lawmakers on the fence include Al Gore and President Barack Obama. According to a senior Hill aide, who asked to remain anonymous, Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis — both recent recruits from the House — have been calling former colleagues as well.”” from Huffingpost. I guess you believe they had a come to Jesus meeting or something? The difference I see is “”It is an explicit requirement of uniformity.”” EXPLICIT. That does not mean the others I mention do not exist. The part I haven’t seen is that it is a mandate. Which I would take to mean that if you don’t you can’t claim to be a Republican? In terms of extremism, if the law ALEC wish to enact is correct why would I oppose a law that makes the US Constitution and States constitutions take precedence over some foriegn country’s laws? Looks like an own goal to me. I see both parties using fear and extremism in support of their advocacy.

  • Joshua

    JFP –

    but in general, the Democrats supported an extreme Climate change agenda in that it would wreck our economy

    First, “in general” is in direct contrast to “lockstep” or “uniform.” I don’t agree with the certainty of your comment about the economic impact of climate change legislation, so I’m going to leave that issue alone as it would require opening up another can of worms. On anotherpoint: I don’t see how you can equate the uniformity of Democrats and their “lockstep” alignment with environmental activists on climate change legislation when they actually withdrew from attempts to pass a climate change bill – directly in contradiction to what environmental activists wanted and to what many Democratic legislators wanted. And you are comparing that to Republican uniformity in signing a “no tax” pledge? You think signing such a pledge is not explicit, and you think it is not in fact more explicit than the White House pressuring for uniformity with no evidence that they were going to get uniformity even if the bill had come to a vote? Please, read what some prominent Republican insiders have said about the uniformity requirements of today’s GOP. Please, look at the voting records during the last few years and whether or not Repubs or Dems voted in unison.

    Sorry, I usually enjoy discussions with you, but I’m afraid I have exhausted my energy for this debate as well. Just as a point for future discussion – if you used paragraphs it would make it easier to parse what you are arguing.

  • John F. Pittman

    I keep forgetting how this blog makes breaks.You did not answer my point, which is do all Republicans have to sign that pledge? Is it not voluntary?The Democrats withdrew because of the watering down, at least that is what NYT and HuffPo indicated, in other words it did not pass their lock step requirements. It was a fight from extremes as much as the ones you brought up. That you do not see the damage does not mean it is not real or better a potential real concern, as I would assume that the shaira concern you brought up was a concern and not that you can gaze the future.

  • Tom C

    Joshua – I agree that Geller is extreme.  But, for some reason you guys on the left don’t see, or at least admit to, your extremists.  Jeremiah Wright is an extremist, and Obama sat in the pews of his church for 20 years, said he was like a father, and titled his autobiography after one of his sermons.  Van Jones was the “energy czar” and he is a “Truther”.  Keith Ellison is a representative from Minnesota, and the local paper has, for 3 years now, refused to commit to print the fact that he was an organizer for Louis Farrakan.  I could go on for some time, but you get the point.

  • Tom Scharf

    #186 Joshua, What I find curious is that you can somehow belabor us with 1000’s of words on Muslim reform, and never even openly discuss terrorism and Islam’s intolerance of other religions.  Try opening a Christian church in Saudi Arabia or parts of Northern Africa.  You and Captain Obvious need to have a meeting.

    Those are the parts that most need reforming, not the politically correct tripe you are spouting.  You are willfully blind to this.  Not using the “T word” doesn’t make the issue go away.  Feel free to use the term “man caused disasters” if it makes you more comfortable.  

    And yes, you are definitely indifferent to big piles of bodies put their in the name of religion.  Read your own posts.

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Collide-a-Scape

Collide-a-Scape is a wide-ranging blog forum that explores issues at the nexus of science, culture and society.

About Keith Kloor

Keith Kloor is a NYC-based journalist, and an adjunct professor of journalism at New York University. His work has appeared in Slate, Science, Discover, and the Washington Post magazine, among other outlets. From 2000 to 2008, he was a senior editor at Audubon Magazine. In 2008-2009, he was a Fellow at the University of Colorado’s Center for Environmental Journalism, in Boulder, where he studied how a changing environment (including climate change) influenced prehistoric societies in the U.S. Southwest. He covers a wide range of topics, from conservation biology and biotechnology to urban planning and archaeology.

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