Big Government

When Laws Become Partisan Weapons

Many of our intractable policy disputes are little more than rumbles between battling political tribes.

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The political culture war briefly erupted yet again last week when Sarah Palin posted a photo of Kid Rock, Ted Nugent, and herself at the White House, mocking defeated presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's official portrait from her years as first lady.

At a guess, the eruption over the White House photo was mission accomplished for President Trump's dinner guests. Whatever their past political and musical accomplishments, the trio seemingly exist now primarily to represent their own political tribe and to provoke the opposition. That's a pretty easy gig given that Americans are not only increasingly alienated from each other's politics, but also from each other's lifestyles and cultural markers.

You don't have to look too closely to see a disturbing lesson here in how this empowers the country's dominant political tribes to effortlessly taunt each other by waving cultural flags—or putting the legal screws to lifestyle choices that aren't overtly partisan.

"For the first time in surveys dating to 1992, majorities in both parties express not just unfavorable but very unfavorable views of the other party," Pew found last summer. "And today, sizable shares of both Democrats and Republicans say the other party stirs feelings of not just frustration, but fear and anger."

Anger? How do you get so angry at your neighbors and beer buddies over how they cast their votes?

Except that they're not neighbors, they're not buddies, and many members of America's political tribes don't just think differently, they live differently.

In the lead up to the presidential election, The Washington Post reported that surprisingly few Trump supporters knew Clinton voters, and vice versa. That seems bizarre until you read that the newspaper's survey "also found cultural differences between Clinton voters and Trump voters, reflected in their ties to guns, gays and even hybrid vehicles," and that "the separation here seeps into the micro level, down to the particular neighborhoods, schools, churches, restaurants and clubs that tend to attract one brand of partisan and repel the other."

This continues a phenomenon noted by Bill Bishop, author of the 2008 book, The Big Sort. "Beginning in 1992, the percentage of people living in landslide counties began an upward, stairstep progression," he wrote of Americans' geographical concentration into like-minded communities. But those ideological migrants didn't necessarily check voter registration records and pick houses in neighborhoods with critical masses of Rs or Ds. Instead, they "were reordering their lives around their values, their tastes, and their beliefs. They were clustering in communities of like-mindedness." As it turns out, a preference for living in open spaces tends to correlate with voting Republican, while Democrats have a marked preference for walkable urban neighborhoods. Hobbies, tastes, memberships, and religious practices also take divergent paths.

As people settle into these chosen lifestyles-and-politics package deals, they tend to become more like what they've selected and to associate contrasting choices with the "enemy," according to researchers.

"When cultural tastes in turn have a reciprocal effect on personal networks, such divisions are likely to be even further exaggerated, leading to a starkly divided world of latte-sipping liberals and bird-hunting conservatives," Daniel DellaPosta, Yongren Shi, and Michael Macy of Cornell University wrote in "Why Do Liberals Drink Lattes?" a paper published in 2015 in the American Journal of Sociology.

Which is why Kid Rock, Nugent, and Palin really have to do little more than show up to get opposing tribe members all upset. They're walking red flags to Team Blue.

The other side plays the game, too. Lena Dunham and Amy Schumer can relieve their boredom any given day by posting something to Twitter about abortion or guns. They'll generate the usual social media storm, secure in the knowledge that there's little risk in playing to their ideologically simpatico fans.

But taunting opponents is just good clean fun, right? It gets more dangerous when you can target people who believe the "wrong" things by sending the law after activities they tend to like and your side generally disdains. Policy choices then become a means of punishing opponents, with no other justification needed.

One of the more overt recent examples was directed not at one of the major political tribes, but at libertarians—maybe because we're perceived as safe targets. After all, our whole shtick is that we won't ban or restrict the things other people enjoy, so we're unlikely to retaliate.

"What we can do is to make the environment here so unwelcoming that some will choose not to come, and some may actually leave," in the words of a former New Hampshire Democratic state representative who actively disliked the libertarian Free State Project. She added, "One way is to pass measures that will restrict the 'freedoms' that they think they will find here."

You rarely get such an overt advocacy of political targeting through legislation. But you do often see pastimes—like latte-sipping and bird-hunting—associated with political blocs. The Prius is "the most liberal car ever," according to the Seattle Times, although Tesla has a strong following in the same circles. And former presidents and pollsters alike agree that conservatives cling—bitterly or otherwise—to their guns.

That means targeting some pastimes and products disproportionately inconveniences political opponents, while leaving allies relatively unscathed.

That may largely explain the eternal push from Team Blue for ever-greater restrictions on firearms even though, despite a blip last year, violent crime rates remain far lower than they were 20 years ago. There's ample evidence that gun restrictions that do get passed are overwhelmingly ignored. So there's little justification for expending political capital on a pointless goal—unless the real targets are not so much guns or the crimes committed with them but the conservatives who own them at a rate almost double that of liberals.

Likewise, a weird spate of state-by-state restrictions on the direct sale of cars to consumers by Tesla captured headlines, and questions about "why?" Then MarketWatch put together a map in 2014 showing that "nearly twice as many blue states as red states allow Tesla Motors Inc. to sell its cars directly to customers." So, Team Red lawmakers have oddly deep concerns about the direct-sales model? Or are they just trying to stick it to political opponents via restrictions on a car that has become a status symbol for moneyed liberals?

And what to make of Attorney General Jeff Sessions' interest in reviving marijuana prohibition at a time when state after state is legalizing the stuff for medical and recreational use? Does he really believe that "many lives are stake"? Or does he anticipate political gain in going after a substance that he sees as favored primarily by his political opponents?

That politics and policy can be weaponized is no secret. Former President Obama openly urged his supporters to "punish our enemies" and the current president reportedly began assembling an enemies list even before winning the recent election. Wisconsin prosecutors repeatedly raided political opponents' homes as an exercise in intimidation in recent years. They perhaps took their lead from the not-so friendly tax collectors at the Internal Revenue Service, who have a long history as political hit men.

Now that lifestyle and political affiliation correlate so closely, it's awfully easy to taunt the "enemy" by waving a few cultural banners in their faces—or by putting legislation to partisan use. Why run afoul of protections for free speech, thought, and assembly when you can just torment people by piling restrictions on the things they enjoy in life? You can camouflage the targeting as a policy dispute, even though your teammates nudge-and-wink understand that it's all about sticking it to the latte-sippers or bitter clingers.

Weaponized law. How can that go wrong?—except in every conceivable way.

The tribes and their lifestyle and cultural differences appear to be here to stay. But if they can't learn to play nicely even when they've voluntarily separated themselves, maybe it's time to clean up the political landscape by minimizing the role of law and law enforcement in people's lives. A little cultural flag-waving is just fine, but it emphasizes very real tribal divisions that raise the stakes in policy disagreements. Law is too dangerous a tool to leave in the hands of opposing tribes who just want to use it to bludgeon one another.

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  1. I will say that the “Trump voters don’t know any Clinton voters” is a bit of a non-starter as pop culture was fervently (let’s go ahead and say insanely) pro-Hillary. They have a very solid idea what Clinton voters think because anybody watching the news or any entertainment program is made quite aware what they think. My in-laws are Clinton advocates, but even if I didn’t know them, I’d have a solid idea because you’re awash in it in the overall culture.

    That little of the culture is dedicated to Trump supporters is a concern as Clinton voters seem to have dramatically more vicious opinions of Trump voters than vice versa.

    Weaponized law is a horrible idea. But after the IRS scandal, Conservatives would be complete idiots to abandon it since Progressives seem to have literally zero qualms about doing so. Few seem to even pay LIP SERVICE to how bad what Lerner and company did was.

    1. Be the monster you hate just be it harder. That’ll end well.

      1. The alternative is to allow a ruling minority (progressives) to use you as a doormat.

        This is all gonna end badly, no matter what.

        1. If it’s going to end badly anyway, it may as well end with you on top.

          1. Sometimes it is necessary to use all of the laws at our disposal, including even contrived legal pretexts, to silence inappropriate contrarian manifestations and prevent public confusion about certain delicate affairs. Surely no one here would dare to defend the “First Amendment dissent” of a single, isolated judge in our nation’s leading criminal “satire” case? See the documentation at:

            http://raphaelgolbtrial.wordpress.com/

      2. The Left has defined the game. Do you just decline to play?

        1. The moral high ground is haaaaaard.

          1. Especially when you pan to nominate a mob lawyer as Drug Czar

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        2. Yes. That’s why I’m not a member of a political party. Whatever Republicans decide to do is up to them. I’m sure they will figure out a way to be just as stupid and/or shitty as the Democrats.

      3. It’s a horrible option.

        However, allowing one side to use those forces while the other will not is hardly preferable. If one side is free to abuse the system with impunity, the other side, hate to be cruel, would be idiotic to not do the same.

        Asking the Right to stand down is just not going to happen as we’ve seen the Progressives weaponize the government against us.

        One of the biggest problems Nixon had was TRYING to use the IRS to attack enemies.
        Obama’s administration did it to millions with no Democrat seeming to have any real concern.
        Can you provide a justifiable reason to say “Well, Trump, you shouldn’t do this?” Especially when nobody seriously believes Hillary wouldn’t have done so had she won?

        1. Someone needs to take the high ground, or nothing will ever get better. Abusing the system is a problem in and of itself. If both sides abandon principle and all pretense of fairness, they will just become even more the same as the shitty tactics escalate.

          I don’t really expect the Republicans to take that higher ground, but I’m going to keep saying that someone should. When everything is just about getting one up on the opponents, everyone gets fucked.

          1. It’s not gonna happen. This will continue in until the whole thing collapses, or the US finally turns into a European-style Socialist paradise.

            Where is the common ground that can be reached when one party believes that the other are literally Nazis? Where is common ground possible on transgender rights or abortion?

            1. The possible common ground is being nice to people. That works all around. Be nice to transgenders, cisgenders, abortionists, the aborted, partiers, literary Nazis, commoners, grounders, whomever.

              1. That sounds nice.

              2. Thanks for explaining that, Neville Chamberlain.

          2. It’d be lovely to say somebody should take the high ground. I truly wish it was a feasible option.

            What happens if you do so and the other side refuses to do the same?

            Unilateral disarming is, amongst its many other faults, not a successful strategy.

            Should, for example, the Republicans have killed the filibuster for SCOTUS justices? Given that it was killed for other judges before by the other side (and they had no SCOTUS openings to even make it a need at the point), I’d be hard-pressed to say “Well, you shouldn’t do that”.

            Should Trump’s IRS target Progressive groups? No. Do I think a Progressive IRS would avoid targeting conservatives? Also no. What to do in that case?

            It’s a vicious circle, but MAD is a better option than unilateral disarmament.

            We’ve seen what happens when civil libertarians take the high ground against feral mesomorphs who demand speech codes and other civil rights violations on campus. College would’ve been dramatically better off today if administrations and some civil libertarians cracked the whip on the more regressive members of faculties and the student bodies.

            1. MAD is a better option than unilateral disarmament.

              I remain unconvinced.

              This isn’t a battle for survival. This is politics. And if both sides sell out on every principle, one by one as they become strategically inconvenient, everyone loses.

              I’m not a Republican, so I don’t get to tell them what they should do. I’m just saying that if they want to be worthy of my respect in the least, they need to not stoop to the level of their opponents. I fully expect them not to do so and to continue fucking everything up.

              1. I agree. How is it that it is never politically useful to take the high road, exploit the media by showing exactly how others had done it wrong, and give specific examples of specific individuals or groups, and show there is another way? At some point it will have to be done right and I don’t agree that mutual assured destruction is a prerequisite.

    2. In response to your first paragraph – yeah, I found that line a little weird too. Especially now, chances are that if you have a functioning social media account, you would know a Trump or Clinton voter. I went to the Washington Post article to investigate further, and it started to make sense. The people they chose to interview for the article were mostly older and/or didn’t really seem like the type of people to wander to far away from their hometowns – which would help explain why similar voters in VA answered the poll question “Do you have a family member or close friend who supports ____ ?” the way they did.

      1. All my Proggie social media friends ended up blocking me at some point during the last election … not because I was a Trump supporter, I wasn’t. The blocked me ‘cos I would not drink the KoolAde of the Felonious Crone.

        1. band name?

        2. KoolAde of the Felonious Crone was my nickname in college.

        3. I stopped interacting with people on social media before the 2012 election and never looked back.

      2. Especially now, chances are that if you have a functioning social media account, you would know a Trump or Clinton voter.

        I’m not the only one who remembers that 10 min. in time where everybody was like, “I’m friends with them on Facebook but that doesn’t necessarily mean I know them.”, right?

        It’s funny how, “Walk a mile in someone’s shoes.” as a metaphor for literally living someone else’s life has been replaced by “I have a social media account.”

        1. Your last sentence is a really interesting point. And I think that since so much interaction takes place online, it might make people less empathetic towards each other, since it’s easier for it to feel abstract and for people to behave in ways they normally wouldn’t in real life.

          1. It’s easier to interact with people while maintaining your biases and presuppositions about them.

    3. The core Trump voters were not political before 2016. That’s what no one seems to be realizing. Look at your Twitter and Facebook histories. You can tell who would become the core Hillary or Bernie supporters. You could tell who would be the core Republican establishmentarians. But the core Trump supporters? They weren’t talking about politics, or culture wars. This is why everyone was so blindsided by Trump. No one saw the wave coming. I didn’t see it coming, and I was close to several of them, even walked a precinct with one of them.

      The 2016 election was not political, it was indeed cultural. Trump won because there was a segment of society were the politics was not the culture and the culture was not the politics and no one saw them coming.

  2. Laws have always been deadly partisan weapons in this world. This isn’t new at all. Alcohol prohibition was literally a jihad waged by a rural largely anglo protestant culture against the culture of those who lived in the cities.

    1. Nice narrative you have there. It would be a shame if it got broken.

  3. I think I read this somewhere before… oh yeah! It’s Bastiat! Although I really liked the modern application. It makes it easier to explain to contemporaries what Bastiat was getting at.

  4. Very true, and interesting insights on how people’s personal tastes and lifestyle choices can push their political persuasions in a certain direction. It seems like the main political parties are becoming more and more polarized and contemptuous towards each other than ever before, and it’s pretty terrifying when people start voting for politicians who are essentially promising to take revenge on the other side.

  5. The personal has become political. Too many people live their lives like ever action or comment is a political statement.

    1. only an issue , if you stutter or are a fool….so like everyone out there…

    2. I’m a man married to a man. Just by putting my wedding photo on my desk at work, like so many of my co-workers, I’m making a “political statement”. Just by answering the question of “what did you do this weekend” I’m making a “political statement”. Hell, just by wearing my wedding ring I’m making a “political statement”.

      Being able to live an honest life without making political statements is a privilege that not all of us have.

      1. Mr.Esher. I disagree. I don’t take your wedding pic as a “political statement “. Just like I don’t take all the kids pics I’m forced to look at by coworkers as a “political statement “.Or the pets that are brought to work. I just look at it as more B.S. I don’t care about that I must smile and nod at. My philosophy is, “I’m not in a relationship with you, so why should I care who you’re in a relationship with? “

  6. The one thing progressives have most successfully targeted as something they despise but other people enjoy is tobacco, and yet, most smokers fall into core Democrat constituencies (the poor, younger people, single moms, Hollywood celebs). This thesis fails to account for that.

    1. Smokers under the Democratic/progressive umbrella are primarily either legacy groups (blue collar workers, urban poor) valued for their votes, but not in any other real way, or else transgressive types (Hollywood celebs, urban hipsters) who smoke at least in part because it’s naughty and aren’t really out to change policy on the matter.

      1. Well, the blue collar legacy voters went for Trump, wonder how many of them did so, in part, because they got tired of being tossed out to the curb to enjoy a Marlboro that they are now paying $10/pack for in some places.

    2. Ironically the Dems have attacked tobacco but seem to be in favor of pot neither of them being of lesser harm to the human body and i would say smoking pot around kids is far worse than tobacco second hand smoke ever was.

      1. The dems are waiting to pounce on pot once it becomes widely available enough for them to scream “WILL SOMEBODY PLEASE THINK OF THE CHILDREN!” Former congressman Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) is already doing this.

      2. The Dem establishment isn’t really all that in favor of pot. But I’m sure they will be as soon as it’s clear that that’s the way things are going.

        Pot is a lot less associated with cancer than tobacco. Who knows about the relative effects of second hand smoke. Too difficult to do good studies while it’s illegal.

        1. Democratic politicians are no less likely to be puritans than Republican ones are. “Because it’s my body and i want to” will never be reason enough for either side to allow a thing.

    3. Individuals are smart. People are stupid.

      1. Individuals can be smart. Groups of people, as their number increases, cannot be.

  7. “Anger? How do you get so angry at your neighbors and beer buddies over how they cast their votes?”

    You dont really. This is just another lazy, self serving narrative from the press.

    1. Yeah. I think the anger is mostly from people who really do live in bubbles where they really don’t have any idea what motivates their political opponents. People who just want to hang out and live life and have friends are still teh great majority, I think. Plenty of stuff to talk about besides politics. And some people are capable of having political debates with friends without coming to blows.

      1. “I think the anger is mostly from people who really do live in bubbles where they really don’t have any idea what motivates their political opponents.”
        I’m a gay man married to another gay man.

        Do I really need to explain all the reasons why I don’t actually care about the “motivations” of my “political enemies”? Fact is, their motivations don’t matter to me! Actions speak louder then words after all. And by their actions I know them.

        1. And what actions would those be?

  8. That may largely explain the eternal push from Team Blue for ever-greater restrictions on firearms even though, despite a blip last year, violent crime rates remain far lower than they were 20 years ago

    And how is that brilliant strategy working out for Team Blue?

  9. Anger? How do you get so angry at your neighbors and beer buddies over how they cast their votes?

    I’m an independent. The only “anger” I have seen is from Democrats and Hillary supporters. The Republicans and Trump voters I have talked to have been pretty nice and moderate in their opinions.

    1. Conservatives are more likely to think, and it is possible to have conversations with people who think.

      Progressives emote. So conversations tend to become hostile very quickly as they act on their feelings without thinking a damn thing.

      1. I’m biased here, but I agree. Progressives went from “we’re trying to debate” to just simply using snark and rage exclusively. How often is it news here when a Progressive makes a point that is reasonable, such as “Hey, this person I despise SHOULDN’T BE SILENCED”?

        I know Robby loves to play the whole “This is a terrible thing, even if this other party kinda deserved it” game, but the one constant seems to be the party than was victim but “kinda deserved it” tend to fall on the right side of the spectrum.

    2. Ever consumed any popular right wing media? It’s nothing but hate and bile directed at opponents. “Feminazi” and the like.

      1. Bullshit on that, Erik. We should sit down, hold your hand, and coax you to explain what you are feeling when you hear those naughty words.

  10. I have seen a fair number of Priuses with Gadsden Flag stickers and license plates and stickers for GOP candidates-not as many as I see with the COEXIST, or dem candidate bumper stickers, but still a noticeable number. Last fall, I even saw a Tesla, in Bethesda, MD of all places, with a Trump sticker. Oh, and I have seen plenty of big SUVs and pick up trucks with dem candidate stickers. I think most people buy cars for practical reasons rather than social signaling, but if you have $40-100K to throw away on an electric car just to make a retarded political statement, be my guest.

    1. Did you see a Dead Head sticker on a Cadillac?

      1. I actually have not seen a Dead Head sticker on any kind of car in years. I suspect their fan base is starting to enter nursing homes now, so maybe will actually see one on a Caddy, or Buick.

      2. You can never look back.

    2. There’s a picture floating out there of a Prius with a bumper sticker: “Saving fuel to buy more guns.”

    3. Bumper sticker on a Prius:

      Saving fuel so I can buy more guns.

  11. All of which goes to make the case for a small, (small ell also) libertarian government. I’m fine with my in-laws sipping their lattes while they drive their Priuses, so long as they can leave me in peace while I transform a (PITA) marauding turkey into a nice dinner (which I would actually be happy to share with said in-laws).

    1. That is a big thing. Politics is becoming more and more of a game to the death because the government does so much.

      I was hoping (stupidly) that the election of Trump might give the Left pause. “Do you really want a government so powerful to be led by him? Is that a risk you feel comfortable with?”

      I feel the answer is that yes, they are comfortable with the risk.

  12. so even taking a picture with teh president is considered Political now how is that, Did they say they were there to Mock Hillary or were they just taking pictures with the president like all visitors to presidents before Trump.

    1. Take a look at the picture. It’s not with the president. I doubt they posed by the Hillary portrait because they thought it was the most aesthetically pleasing background.

    2. Also that they’re friends who campaigned for Trump, there to take a picture with him because they were invited to dine with the president. But as Zeb says, the picture in question is them posing in front of Hillary’s portrait, and Trump is not with them.

  13. So, Team Red lawmakers have oddly deep concerns about the direct-sales model? Or are they just trying to stick it to political opponents via restrictions on a car that has become a status symbol for moneyed liberals?

    I think that’s more regulatory capture than sticking it to political enemies. The established auto makers like the direct-sales model because it harms the competition.

    And as far as the drug war goes, I do believe that most drug warriors see it as a moral issue rather than a political issue. They truly feel that drugs by themselves are bad m’kay, and druggies are immoral slugs who deserve to rot in prison.

    Leftism is based upon using the government to go after political enemies. That’s how it has always worked.

    Trying to say equate that to conservatism isn’t very honest. Sure conservatives pass legislation that harms people who are likely to be leftists, but it’s more motivated by a sense of morality than hatred towards people with opposing political views. Leftists are motivated by pure hatred and project that onto conservatives. Yes the outcome is the same, but equating the motivations is not a honest argument.

    1. Don’t like the direct-sales model I mean. You know what I mean. I mean… Arg

    2. That certainly explains why Michigan doesn’t permit Tesla sales. The legislature just re-upped their opposition to them about six months ago. On the other hand, it doesn’t seem to be working–a colleague just bought one a month ago.

    3. Anti gay constitutional amendments? Unnecessary bathroom laws? “Kill the bitch?”

  14. Trump has a sure fire way to quell his critics He plans to nominate a mob lawyer as Drug Czar.

    http://classicalvalues.com/201…..he-casino/

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    1. Are you OK? I think there’s a medication for that.

      1. Well is he a mob lawyer or isn’t he?

        1. I’m not clicking that because your post has the appearance of a spammer.

          1. Well you can do the searches noted if you want to find out who Trump has been working for.

            Ans you can search – Drug Czar Mob Lawyer

            No need to rely on a particular link.

            1. In 2007, Marino resigned from his position as a federal prosecutor after it was revealed Pennsylvania casino owner Louis DeNaples put down Marino’s name as a reference on a gaming application at the same time Marino’s office was investigating DeNaples for ties to organized crime. After his resignation, Marino went to work as in-house counsel for several DeNaples businesses.

              http://classicalvalues.com/201…..he-casino/

    2. That’s a good sign, isn’t it, that he’d be sympathetic to drug violators?

  15. I’ve noticed lots of the yard signs where I live that say “No matter where you are from, we are glad you are our neighbor.” in three different languages. Something tells me none of their neighbors had Trump signs in their yard.

    1. You live in Occupied Northern Virginia, yes? Almost everyone i know up there refers to the Democratic Party as “us.”

      1. There actually was one house on our street with a Trump sign. So far, I haven’t noticed any of those “we’re happy you are our neighbor signs.” and perhaps that is why.

        Yes, NoVa might as well be DC/MD. Its pretty much pointless for me to vote in any of the local elections anyway.

        1. Hence my near perfect record of voting only for candidates and issues that lose, going back to the previous century.

    2. Three of the four streets surrounding the broodlings’ grade school have the ‘Hate has no home here’ signs in nearly ever yard. Pretty much any off-handed use of the word deplorable gets a chuckle out of any parent who doesn’t live on the specific block. Of course, because the houses are closer to the school and it’s all historically deigned and preserved, pretty much one tiny section of on race lives on the block and, as near as I can tell, the parents in the neighborhood are either completely oblivious to the hypocrisy or don’t want to talk about it.

      Personally, I hate to see all those nice old houses with those tacky yard signs… it’s just deplorable.

      1. Sounds like you live in my ‘hood, Mad Casual

  16. So when all kinds of personal choices fall under the purview of politicians, politics becomes a a useful and powerful weapon? You don’t say!

  17. Palin is an evangelical pentacostal. Why is she hanging out with Kid Rock?

    1. ‘Cause he ain’t straight outta Compton, he’s straight outta tha trailer.

    2. Why do I “hang out” with lots of the people on this site?

      You can hang out with people even if you don’t agree on the most important thing(s).

    3. You know Kid Rock and Jeff Sessions see eye to eye on every issue now. Every single issue.

      1. Jeff Sessions kisses strippers on the mouth?

  18. Anyone that grew up in a family with more than one kid knows that the best sibling to tease is the one that reacts the most. Imagine how it would have gone if Palin tweeted out those photos and no one reacted. She wouldn’t stop doing such things right away but would eventually get bored. We, as in each one of us, choose whether to give that obnoxious teaser power over us.

    Full disclosure: I enjoyed seeing/reading the reactions to the photos. Loved the exchange between Nugent and Crosby too.

  19. “If you meet your enemy’s ox or his donkey wandering away, you shall surely return it to him.”
    Exodus 23:4

    “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, And do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles”
    Proverbs 24:17

    “If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; For you will heap burning coals on his head, And the LORD will reward you.”
    Proverbs 25:21-22

    “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,”
    Matthew 5:44

    “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.”
    Matthew 5:7

    “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.”
    Romans 12:14

    “But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”
    Luke 6:27-28

    “Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,’ says the Lord.”
    Romans 12:19

    Just in case anyone thought libertarianism went against Scripture.

    Also, just in case anyone thought following Jesus was terribly easy

    1. It’s my opinion that Jesus WAS a libertarian.

      His first miracle was a beer run. (Well, it was a wine run but that doesn’t sound right.)

  20. Except that they’re not neighbors, they’re not buddies, and many members of America’s political tribes don’t just think differently, they live differently.

    I think this is a bit hyperbolic. I live in freaking NYC and 1 out of 4 of my neighbors voted for Trump. He won many neighborhoods that aren’t in latte Manhattan and aren’t (as!) reliant on the gov’t teat.

  21. Animals are tribal and people are animals. I’m not sure why this is shocking news to anyone.

    Absent some external force, people will sort themselves into like groups. The best way to deal with this is to let different groups be different rather than force them to interact regularly. The US could really stand to be split into three new countries.

    1. Nah. My state would probably get stuck with the gun-hating Northeast and that would suck.

      1. There’s still NH, VT and ME, which are pretty gun friendly.

    2. People will sort themselves into groups, but I don’t know if that means that it’s best just to have those groups separate. And people can identify with multiple groups that overlap. Most of the people I know well aren’t on the same page as I am when it comes to politics, but we have other things in common.

      I think one of the most important civilizing forces is the expansion of the in-group. As tribal creatures, in-group/out-group distinction is a big thing. And we’ve come a long way from the small family or tribal groups that probably characterized human society for most of it’s existence. I don’t think it’s a good thing to revert to a more purely tribal state. Especially when it’s about politics, which always ultimately comes down to violence.

      Maybe it’s inevitable to some extent. But I don’t want to get all fatalistic about it.

    3. So… just three countries cover all the ideological differences that people manage to express? I don’t want to hear any complaints when Gunfriendlystan bans alcohol and you have to fly over to Gungrabberopia to purchase some.

  22. Guys Yellowstone Super Volcano will blow up some day — that is all.

  23. The drug war is a divisive issue, but not along the lines of the major parties or even between progressive and conservative, stop trying to advance that simplistic narrative.

    It may be unseemly for Palin to do a touchdown dance in front of Hilary’s portrait, but considering the amount of vitriol directed at her by the Left since McCain nominated her to be his VP running mate, it is understandable why she do so. Being attacked as classless by a Clintonista like Begala is priceless hypocrisy.

    If all you have for the right is one set of cronies blocking Musk’s company ehich lives off crony handouts, I am not sure that really stacks up to ehat the other side has been doing.

  24. “The law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the rights of an individual” — some ancient slave holder.

  25. As an erotic service provider living and working with a bounty on my head or as value to forced treatment programs- other than laws addressing violent crime, fraud, how are most other laws not always weapons used by the state?

  26. And what to make of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ interest in reviving marijuana prohibition at a time when state after state is legalizing the stuff for medical and recreational use? Does he really believe that “many lives are stake”? Or does he anticipate political gain in going after a substance that he sees as favored primarily by his political opponents?

    But that’s what that’s always been about. There’s no other credible reason. MJ has been associated w a series of undesirables: Mexicans, jazz musicians, hippies, youngsters. And those targeted actually liked it that way, as it helped them define themselves as well. But now, practically speaking, there is no remaining group of undesirables associated w it.

  27. Laws as weapons? I am shocked, shocked!
    The major disadvantage of the “freedom for the individual” group against “power to the government” group is that it is impossible to force people to be free.

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