Political Identification

Americans Say Country is 'More Divided.' Maybe It's Not Divided Enough.

Fortunately, our countrymen plan to vote this November, presumably to enact their vision of the good life into law and stuff it down the throats of the folks on the other side of the divide.

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Red vs. Blue
RCB_Foter

About two-thirds of Americans say the country is more politically divided than it was four years ago, with blame going equally to the president and Congress. Fortunately, our countrymen have a plan for addressing these divisions: they plan to vote this November, presumably to enact their vision of the good life into law and stuff it down the throats of the folks on the other side of the divide.

Maybe, just maybe, the country should be really divided a whole lot more, so that people wouldn't have to hope "candidates they vote for will steer the country in the right direction" rather than the direction the other side wants. Bringing decision-making as far down the food chain as possible—preferably leaving most matters to individual choice—would make the current fretting over political polarization irrelevant.

Anyway, according to Rasmussen Reports, "Sixty-seven percent (67%) of Likely U.S. Voters say America is a more divided nation than it was four years ago."

Thirty-five percent put the blame on President Obama, while 34 percent tap Republicans in Congress as the culprits for all of this terrible disagreement.

To bridge the divide, or maybe just emplace fortified bunkers at their end of it, 57 percent of all voters say they are more likely to vote this year than they have been in past elections. Republicans have the edge on enthusiasm for the ballot box (65 percent), followed by 55 percent of unaffiliated voters and 53 percent of Democrats.

Fifty-nine percent "are at least somewhat confident that the candidates they vote for will steer the country in the right direction." That seems, at best, a problematic "solution" for dealing with disagreement over just what that direction should be.

Other polling has found that much of the public at large actually has similar positions on many major issues—that is, the political battle lines may be drawn between Red and Blue, but many Americans are a tad purplish if you ask them specifics. But that doesn't take into account levels of enthusiasm for different solutions, or for actually participating in the hard work of changing and implementing policies.

It also doesn't mean that the stuff on which much of the public agrees necessarily consists of good ideas. Lousy choices have a strong constituency, too.

And the Pew Research Center finds that political loyalties have grown so hardened that they've taken on cultural aspects. Liberals and conservatives don't just believe different things, they live differently, and apart from one another. That suggests that the divisions people perceive may well be here for the long term.

Which is all the more reason to turn them into real divisions. Forget ballot-box games of winner-take-all. Divide power as far as possible down to the level of individuals, and reduce the stakes of divisions and disagreements.

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  1. And the Pew Research Center finds that political loyalties have grown so hardened … Which is all the more reason to turn them into real divisions. Forget ballot-box games of winner-take-all. Divide power as far as possible down to the level of individuals, and reduce the stakes of divisions and disagreements.

    1: This “Division” is just part of the TEAM RED vs TEAM BLUE game, aka they win I lose.

    2: It’s by arbitrarily categorizing individuals into a limit of 2 groups that we’ve entered into I Lose They Win. To “divide down to the individual” means regression, for most, because of the fear that the other TEAM might win. This is unacceptable to both TEAMS, and therefore it won’t happen.

    Conclusion? We’re fucked.

    1. It’s amazing how successful the politicians have been at getting people to completely buy into the TEAM mentality. It’s exactly, perfectly what they want and what works for maintaining their power. And a huge number of suckers do exactly what they want and go full TEAM.

      It’s amazing, really; being on a TEAM has almost no benefits for the sheep, but they are the most enthusiastic about it of all. All the benefits go to their “leaders”, who clearly think nothing of the sheep and disdain them. Such a strange dynamic.

      1. Sheep need shepherds, right? I think, as usual, MP got it right:

        I say you are Lord, and I should know. I’ve followed a few.

        1. “I am proud to be the shepherd of this herd of sharks, and I am gonna lead you to the top in this industry of…”

        2. BRIAN: I’m not the Messiah!

          ARTHUR: I say You are, Lord, and I should know. I’ve followed a few.

          FOLLOWERS: Hail Messiah!

          BRIAN: I’m not the Messiah! Will you please listen? I am not the Messiah, do you understand?! Honestly!

          GIRL: Only the true Messiah denies His divinity.

          BRIAN: What?! Well, what sort of chance does that give me? All right! I am the Messiah!

          FOLLOWERS: He is! He is the Messiah!

          BRIAN: Now, fuck off!

          silence

          ARTHUR: How shall we fuck off, O Lord?

          BRIAN: Oh, just go away! Leave me alone.

      2. It’s amazing, really; being on a TEAM has almost no benefits for the sheep

        The sheep get to feel self-righteous, and the safety of belonging to a flock that will congratulate them for their wisdom and virtue… as long as they don’t step out of line. And they don’t have to think too hard about the hard problems, limitations, and paradoxes of politics. Those are huge benefits for most people.

        1. ^Nails it and sticks the landing.

          1. It’s too easy to blame everything on ‘those guys’, the way that partisan dems and pubs do. It’s hard to actually think about these things. So yeah, most people love it.

            1. I don’t exempt any ideologue from this. Even libertarians can fall victim. To combine two wise clich?s, maps are not the territory, and to someone with a hammer, all problems look like nails.

          2. Thank you.

      3. It’s amazing, really; being on a TEAM has almost no benefits for the sheep, but they are the most enthusiastic about it of all.

        It’s actually something funny I noticed one year when I was younger and worked the polls. Despite painting the Other Team as the devil incarnate to the troops, the actual participants from both teams seemed to get along just fine with one another.

  2. presumably to enact their vision of the good life into law and stuff it down the throats of the folks on the other side of the divide.

    If your vision of the good life requires the cooperation of other people, and those people don’t want to cooperate, you’re going to have a bad time.

    1. Go figure; requiring involuntary cooperation just might not benefit anyone. Who’da thunkit?

    2. If your vision of the good life requires politics to be rational – you’re gonna have a bad time.

  3. If only our Founding Fathers had come up with the idea of reserving power not expressly granted to the federal government to the States respectively, or to the people.

    We could call this awesome idea “Federalism”.

    1. Next you’re probably going to insist that words mean things.

      I forget, does that make you a radical or a reactionary?

      Or is that one of those ‘you got your chocolate in my peanut butter’ kind of things?

      1. Most revolutions are fundamentally reactionary because the radicals are usually responding to what they perceive to be abuses and usurpations by the regime in power.

    2. The ‘Incorporation’ clause in the 14th Amendment did away with much of states rights.

      1. Lies.

      2. States don’t have rights, they have powers.

    3. Unfortunately the “to the people” part accomplishes very little. The states have all of that power unless they choose not to. And states are just as fucked as the Fed. What we really need is a reservation of powers that specifically remain with individual people. Even very local governments tend to attract petty tyrants and good old boys.

  4. Sixty-seven percent (67%) of Likely U.S. Voters say America is a more divided nation than it was four years ago.

    I blame Bush.

    1. Me too. Rossdale is a dick.

  5. And the Pew Research Center finds that political loyalties have grown so hardened that they’ve taken on cultural aspects. Liberals and conservatives don’t just believe different things, they live differently, and apart from one another.

    It took the Pew Research Center to discover that?

    1. An outsider walks among us! Quickly! Summon the Cleansing Order and gather the firewood!

  6. But how do the Millennials feel about this???

    1. Allow me to hazard a guess:

      Millenials are disappointed in both parties although slightly more disappointed in the Republican party for obstructing what they feel are positive social changes the country needs today. They feel that government hasn’t done nearly enough to right the wrongs we face today and they strongly feel that a smart, strong leader could unify the people and could take charge and begin to fix the problems we face today.

      How did I do?

      1. Millenials are disappointed in both parties although slightly more disappointed in the Republican party for obstructing what they feel are positive social changes they country needs today. They feel that government hasn’t done nearly enough to right the wrongs they we face today and they strongly feel that a smart, strong leader could unify the people and could take charge and begin to fix the problems they we face today.

        I give you a 99 because 1%.

        1. Sounds like the leader principle.

          Are the millennials longing for fascism?

      2. Hmm. I’d prefer if you could format your response as 250 separate posts over a 2-week period, featuring minute breakdowns of polling data.

    2. But how do the Millennials feel about this???

      Microagressed. We really won’t know how neglected and ignored they feel until we create a tumblr site.

  7. But if we’re not fighting over gay marriage, we might notice how much they’re spending.

    1. Don’t even think about turning your head towards the Debt-Clock. What you’ll see there is way worse than buggery or Sandra Flute’s reproductive system.

      http://www.usdebtclock.org/

  8. There are still entirely too many people who agree the government can provide a solutions for every problem.

  9. It’s tribalism largely based on a few social issues that have been trumpeted as THE IMPORTANT ISSUES OF OUR TIME. This is largely a product of the social environments these people engage in. I think the internet has a lot to do with modern political polarization, it allows people to more easily justify their confirmation bias and dehumanize their opposition, even when said opposition isn’t even that fundamentally different.

    I will say however that progressive dominance in media makes it a lot harder for those on the ‘right’ to not understand their opinions.

    1. I totally agree that the internet has exacerbated this polarization. It allows people to subsume themselves in the most absurd echo-chambers, and allows the truly retarded to find the other truly retarded out there and reinforce each other, which before the internet they really just couldn’t do. (Note that in no way am I saying the internet is a bad thing, it’s just an advancement and with advancements come other changes.)

      The real question is: where does it go from here? Now that the internet has allowed people to self-segregate that much more than they ever could, does this trend just continue? Does it level out?

      1. The real question is: where does it go from here? Now that the internet has allowed people to self-segregate that much more than they ever could, does this trend just continue? Does it level out?

        We go back to living as mountain men…who also have access to contact solution and toothpaste. That’s my hope anyway.

        1. Just get LASIK before you head out. And the ancient Egyptians got you covered:

          http://www.telegraph.co.uk/new…..paste.html

      2. I vote for weird Neal Stephenson cultural phyles.

        I’m not trying to be overly negative about the internet, it’s been fantastic at promoting alternative ideologies outside of the cultural norm (like libertarianism), but that’s a double edged sword. The Gutenberg press can be seen as a major influence on the later religious conflicts in Europe, I wonder if the internet will do the same for the political?

    2. Bitter clingers vs hippies/pointy-heads.

      1. If by “pointy-heads,” you mean “intellectuals,” then you are a laugh riot. There haven’t been any smart people on the Left in over a generation. And you know it too.

        1. Although I disagreed with him on many things I can’t think of anyone on the right who had 1/2 the intellect of Hithches for starters.

          (born since WW2)

          1. So you only see two sides — right or left; republican or democrat? I see more nuances and variations than that. You need more diversity in your life buttplug.

            1. Not at all. You are the run-of-the-mill conservative.

              I mentioned Hitchens because he is of the left but hardly typical in any way. I am an old-fashioned classic liberal thus I have no party. I have to remind you that Hayek had no use for conservatives either. Yet strangely some of them claim him as one.

              1. You don’t know me Buttplug. YOU WILL NEVER KNOW ME!

  10. Wouldn’t it be nice if there were the option to elect someone who didn’t either believe EVERYTHING the Republican party stands for OR EVERYTHING the Democratic party stands for?

    Who knows, maybe, just maybe, we could get someone who values liberty?

    1. Don’t be stupid. Who would build the roads?

    2. That would be nice. If you criticize the Left, Buttplug rushes to discredit the Right. He and many like him see only either/or to this whole thing.

      1. He’s an idiot. Don’t bother playing with him.

  11. Maybe, just maybe, the country should be really divided a whole lot more

    37th parallel?

      1. Is that some sort of obscure caliber cowboy rifle?

        1. No, but it would be fun to create it… (Let’s just remember to keep 54 as fractions of an inch, rather than millimeters–although millimeters would be fun, the ammo would be incredibly expensive!)

      2. I still agree with this one.

        Lookin’ at you, Rufus…

    1. Mason-Dixon line?

      1. Fine, but the south has to take DC.

        1. Well, if you’re talking Mason/Dixon as the divide, DC is in the South, along with all of MD.

    2. What are you, some kinda neokinfederit RACIST?!

  12. Liberals and conservatives don’t just believe different things, they live differently, and apart from one another.

    In our current political climate, this is a twisted form of self preservation. The larger the government becomes, the more aspects of peoples lives it controls. The more it controls, the more important it is for “my people” to be in charge. This leads to more and stronger division not just in voting but in every part of people’s lives. As politics become more important in every day life, everything is politicized. Hopefully people will become so divided that they will want more federalism, but I doubt it. Progs know that socialism can’t work when people and money are free to leave. And there are some issues socons just can’t leave alone. Also, neocons would rather cut off their own nuts than give up on nationalism.

    1. Also, neocons would rather cut off their own nuts than give up on nationalism.

      I always associated that more with paleocons. Neocons are a lot more “internationalist- Wilsonian” intervention-y, yes?

      1. They sure love them some world cop, but I wouldn’t call them internationalist. At least not in the traditional sense of the word. They are very strong on American sovereignty. They also tend to believe in top down decisions and are extremely averse to any real federalism ie CO legalizing pot, or state nullification.

      2. You don’t do “internationalist intervention-y” without perpetual war, and you don’t do perpetual war without nationalist fervor to keep the masses quiet.

    2. Excellent post anti.

      I think the only way to stop the spiral is to provide more than 2 options and convince people the third (or more) is/are viable. No small task.

      1. Viability has always been a hard problem and is getting even harder due to obstacles getting on the ballot and in debates.

      2. Look, it’s enough work fleck-spittling your monitor with one hated enemy tribe. People just don’t have the time for demagoguing against more than one mortal enemy.

      3. Actually it would help a little even when there were only 2 choices if they stopped listing parties on the ballot. Down-ticket the less-informed voters wouldn’t know which candidate was of which party.

  13. I dunno, seems pretty united on $15 minimum wages, free stuff and taxpayer funded French Literature/Art History degrees.

    1. We could run libertarians secretly. Promise free shit to everyone, and remain silently in office giving out free shit until our ranks are 2/3 majority. Then, we rise up and burn down everything the free shitters have implemented.

      The end.

      1. So it’s the free shitters vs. the pay toilets?

  14. Republicans have the edge on enthusiasm for the ballot box (65 percent), followed by 55 percent of unaffiliated voters

    And I’m sure all those unaffiliated voters are eager to show their appreciation of Obamacare and for Obama’s border policies, and to condemn the hounding of the IRS.

  15. ” Bringing decision-making as far down the food chain as possible?preferably leaving most matters to individual choice?would make the current fretting over political polarization irrelevant.”

    Uh….I think this is on of the things we are divided on. This would not end the fretting, just exacerbate it for the central planners and their fans in the ‘free shit’ crowd.

  16. It will be divided enough when we finally have that little patch of terra named Libertopia. I hope the other 20 or so of you libertarians in the country don’t mind sharing that 1/4 acre with me.

    1. Couldn’t a group of us chip in and buy at least several thousand acres in Africa somewhere? Between myself and some others around here, we have enough light weaponry to hold off a small army for a little while.

      1. We could head up to Libya. I understand they have a thriving cash market in heavier weaponry.

        Sadly, though, to keep Libertopia alive, I’m afraid we’ll need nukes. And the willingness to use them.

        1. Item one on the Libertopia foreign policy agenda should be to nuke the moon.

          1. If we can shoot a nuke to the moon, the USA ‘might’ leave us alone for a while, but only for a while. The fact that we’d be doing pretty much whatever we wanted and not be willing to participate in the war on drugs, would eventually drive them over the edge.

            1. Anyway, I think you have this backward, Zeb. Haven’t you ever read ‘The Moon is a Harsh Mistress’?

              1. If we could go to the moon, that might be even better for many reasons including throwing rocks at Earth.

                But have you read the definitive essay on nuking the moon? http://www.imao.us/docs/NukeTheMoon.htm

                1. Is this anything like Mr. Show’s “We’re gonna blow ip the Moon”?

                2. Right, gravity well.

                  Good essay, but we’ll have to wait until the NeoCons are back in the white house before we can justify this. Probably something about the lizards inside the moon having weapons of mass destruction.

        2. Yes, and guess who the first country is that we’ll have a problem with?

          Clue: It won’t be Russia or China.

          1. Are you referring to Kiribati Hyperion?

            1. Don’t be silly, I meant Nauru, international bullies that they are.

        3. Sadly, yes. The real threat wouldn’t be from hoardes of third world savages, but from their “civilized” first world cohorts. As a non-cooperator in any number of international schemes to demand compliance from their nations’ respective citizenries, Libertopia would pose a massive threat to most of the major international powers.

      2. Between myself and some others around here, we have enough light weaponry to hold off a small army for a little while.

        Africa? We’re going to need it. I don’t think they’re going to take too kindly to our libertopianism.

        1. I think ‘kill whitey’ might be taken to a whole new level.

          We’ll have to have a token black libertopian as our chief diplomat. Wait… we’ll send HM, he’s half black, right!?

          1. I’m thinking Africa for several reasons. First, we could probably buy lots of land cheap. As for the nuke thing, we would only have to make them think we had a nuke. And there are other deterrents as well. For one, we could create a “secret plan for a single payer system” and claim that if they nuke us, they’ll also blow up the plan.

            I have other ideas on the matter as well.

          2. As a founding father of Libertopia, I nominate myself to the position of “Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Rule of Law and Detainee Policy.” I’ll also settle for Grand Wizard of the Sacred Knights of Libertopia.

            And my salary shall be no less than $80,000 per year.

            1. I’m thinking the 2nd position you mention, maybe we can do something with that. The 1st one, well that can’t exist in Libertopia.

              I’m pretty sure that the first vote is going to see me elected as Supreme Overlord, so, ok, I will appoint you the position of ‘Grand Wizard of the Sacred Knights of Libertopia’.

              1. And then I’ll anoint HM ‘Token Half Black Dude of Diplomacy’.

                When he goes out to meet them, all he has to say is ‘Look, either swear your allegiance to Libertopia now and send us all of your most nubile wiminz, or we’re going to unleash THE WARTY!’.

              2. And I am entitled to 2% per annum cost of living increases. And all the free Nespresso pods I can drink.

                Those are my only demands. And also my wi-fi is half price.

                1. Well I’ll be! Libertopia is already filled with graft and insider dealings!

  17. I like how 41% of respondents don’t even have confidence in the pols they’re PLANNING to vote for.

    1. And yet there are still people who think that mandatory voting is a good idea.

  18. 33% know shit. 33% know shinola. 33% couldn’t be bothered to lift their nose of their smartphone.

  19. The powers that be will never go for “dividing power as far as possible down to the level of individuals.” That takes power out of their hands.

  20. Actually, the way to go is two concurrent governments and one defense department.

    The defense department just defends the borders and may escort our commercial ships through pirate infested zones.

    Domestically, let the free-stuff crowd have their government. If you’re a free-stuffer, you pay the taxes of the free stuff regime.

    The pay-your-own way crowd will get a minimalist Libertarian government, and pay the taxes needed to support it, if any.

    After a while, the free-stuff regime will fail. They will either see how well we’re doing and join us, or they’ll blame us for their misery and declare war on us.

    1. Exactly. And this is called Red State Secession.

      1. Right. Because preference for TEAM RED is an excellent indicator of preference for small government.

        Irony abounds.

        1. Well, no, but between Team Red and Team Blue, Team Red is more likely to have preference for small government; this is in no small part due to individualism getting lip service (and sometimes a bone or two as well) from Team Red.

          1. Team Red and Team Blue is also the most likely split to occur. I, for one, would not want to live in any country that claims New York, California, New Jersey and Massachusetts as an ideal way of life!

            I’d much rather take my chances with the likes of Texas, Montana and Wyoming.

  21. Driving down to the local level is not enough. And the split is wider than imagined in the column or the survey.

    Above all else, take a look at demographics. Dems don’t have kids: 2008 election,. 2010 Census, the ONLY above-flat fertility states are HI, NM, NV. ALL other Blue states are either flat (3) or declining fertility (all others, including all populous Blue states). (Only three small Red States are below 2.1.)

    As one demographer has noted, “Show me how many kids a community has, and I’ll tell you how they’ll vote.”

    The only realistic way back to liberty and the Rule of Law is the same as the only realistic way to stop forcing those who believe in the future enough to populate it to stop pay for failing programs for people who don’t believe in the future enough to populate it. And THAT is Red county secession from Blue States, and Red State secession from America.

    We no longer need huge industrial states; they are a relic of the Industrial Age. It is time to move on from them – and move back to freedom and liberty.

    http://inthisdimension.com/2014/06/09/break-it-up/

  22. The reason for:

    Liberals and conservatives don’t just believe different things, they live differently, and apart from one another.

    is thermodynamics.

    A thermodynamic explanation of politics.

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