Do Partisans Hate Each Other More Than Ever?

Scholars try to explain today's political warfare.


Uncivil Agreement: How Politics Became Our Identity, by Lilliana Mason, University of Chicago Press, 192 pages, $20

University of Chicago Press

For all the florid journalistic commentary about voter polarization, extensive empirical studies have shown that the American electorate is no more polarized today than it was in the 1970s. What's changed is that the parties have sorted: Democrats have become more homogeneously liberal, Republicans more homogeneously conservative.

But even taking sorting into account, partisan hostility appears greater than any objective differences on the issues would seem to justify. To explain this divergence, a number of scholars have argued for a view generally known as "affective partisanship." Ordinary Democrats and Republicans may not differ that much on public policy, the argument goes, but they dislike the other side more than they used to, ascribing negative traits to them and even claiming they would be upset if their offspring married someone from the other party.

The latest and arguably strongest contribution to this line of work is Uncivil Agreement by Lilliana Mason, an assistant professor of government and politics at the University of Maryland. But before looking at her findings, I want to note some problems with studies of affective partisanship.

First is the simple fact that the proportion of Americans who admit to having any partisan identity is at an all-time low. When the American National Election Studies began in the 1950s, three quarters of those queried claimed to be either a Democrat or a Republican. In the 2016 study, only about 60 percent did. Commercial polls similarly report that 40 percent or more of Americans today claim to be independents.

Some scholars contend that most independents are closet partisans, a contention that far exceeds the empirical support for it. You do not ordinarily think of an identity as something one denies or hides. It's usually something one affirms, as when Red Sox fans wear their hats and shirts in the hostile confines of Yankee Stadium. Indeed, Samara Klar and Yanna Krupnikov make a strong case in their 2016 book Independent Politics (Cambridge University Press) that a large swath of the electorate today finds the available partisan identities unattractive.

Measurement issues are a second problem. The workhorse variable in affective partisanship studies is the "thermometer" measure: Survey respondents rate individuals and groups according to how warm or cold they feel toward them. To my knowledge, no one has empirically demonstrated that such scores do in fact measure affect. Do I feel warm toward Barack Obama because hearing him speak "sends a thrill up my leg," or because I approve of the policy proposals he offers? Nothing in the thermometer measure provides an answer to that question. The same is true for other measures, such as candidate traits. Do I judge Obama as weak because he drew a red line in the sand and didn't enforce it, or does that judgment arise simply from looking at or listening to him?

A third problem is the notable gap between theory and evidence. Affective partisanship scholars generally ground their analyses in something called "social identity theory." There are many variants of this, but they have in common the contrast between in-group and out-group. In-group members evaluate their compatriots positively, defend the in-group when threatened, and show bias in favor of its members; the opposite holds for the out-group. Yet the data contradict half the theory. American partisans evaluate the opposite party more negatively than they used to, but they don't evaluate their own party more positively. In fact, they seem to be evaluating their own party somewhat more negatively than before too. Emory University political scientist Alan Abramowitz argues that contemporary party identification is "negative partisanship."

One could eschew social identity theory in favor of a simple common-sense argument: As the parties have sorted and become more homogeneously liberal and conservative, the average Democrat disagrees with the average Republican on more issues, and the more we disagree with someone the less we like them. That would also help to explain the rise in independents, who find more to disagree with in both sorted parties. And even ordinary partisans, who are less well-sorted than party elites, might like their own party somewhat less than they used to. But this would not explain why partisan hostility exceeds objective differences on policy issues.

Mason's thesis is that the high levels of partisan hostility that accompany much lower levels of policy disagreement reflect an increased alignment between partisan, ideological, and social identities. It is well-known that there is significant slippage between people's ideological self-classification (liberal, moderate, conservative) and their views on specific issues, especially on the conservative side. That has led some political scientists, such as Donald Kinder and Nathan Kalmoe in Neither Liberal Nor Conservative (University of Chicago Press), to call for banishing the concept of ideology. But Mason doubles down, arguing that issue positions are largely rationalizations and ideology is fundamental.

Social sorting has produced more homogeneous parties, she says. Racial, regional, religious, and geographic identities increasingly align to produce a liberal Democratic Party and a conservative Republican Party. The two groups have different beliefs, different lifestyles, different media preferences, and numerous other differences.

Mason's empirical analyses engage several major databases. One chapter demonstrates that levels of partisan hostility and perception of social differences significantly exceed what issue differences alone would predict, although the latter are important as well. Another chapter demonstrates the critical importance of sorting—highly partisan individuals who are not ideologically consistent are much less hostile to the other party than equally partisan individuals whose partisan and ideological identities reinforce each other. Another chapter, focused on emotion, reports experimental evidence as well as surveys: A researcher in the laboratory can produce feelings, such as anger or enthusiasm, with scripts that invoke threats or pride. Social sorting produces a stronger emotional response than partisan identity alone, and both produce a stronger response than issue extremity.

But the most important finding of the book is the importance of cross-pressures. A key concept in political sociological writing of the mid-20th century, cross-pressures are social cleavages that cut across rather than parallel each other. For example, if religious denomination is independent of social class, and ethnicity is independent of both, politics will be more consensual and a society will be more stable than if, say, all Catholics are working-class and members of a particular ethnic group and all Protestants the opposite. Mason finds that people with cross-cutting identities ("inconsistents") are less hostile toward opposite partisans than are people with moderate issue positions ("centrists"). This also holds true for emotion: "Cross-cutting identities dampen emotional reactions to political messages such that the most cross-cutting identities lead to a complete lack of emotional response. This lack of response exists only in the group of cross-cut citizens that are increasingly disappearing from the American electorate" (my emphasis).

The book's final chapters consider broader issues, such as whether increased participation by intense citizens is a good thing (Mason thinks it isn't), plus the obligatory "Can we fix it?" Answer: probably not. The only real solution that the author sees is some development that leads to a de-sorting of the parties and a resurgence of cross-cutting cleavages.

"Social sorting of the American electorate has been, on balance, normatively bad for American democracy," Mason concludes. "The voting booths are increasingly occupied by those who fiercely want their side to win and consider the other party to be disastrous.…As long as a social divide is maintained between the parties, the electorate will behave more like a pair of warring tribes than like the people of a single nation, caring for their shared future."

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  1. Are you a Rethugglican or a Demon-Crat? Meh!

    I want to know, are you an eater-of-butter-side-up-bread, or an eater-of-butter-side-down-bread?

    1. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qibla about Mulsims (when praying) and Mosques needing to face towards Mecca... But, should they use the "great circle route" or the common map ordinal directions?

      But then see http://www.wired.com/2007/09/mecca-in-orbit/ "A MUSLIM ASTRONAUT'S DILEMMA: HOW TO FACE MECCA FROM SPACE"?

      And Christians and "how many angels can dance on the head of a pin", and "after the priest turns the wine into Jesus's blood, can I use it for a blood transfusion, and what is Jesus's blood type"? ... And so on...

      If we WANT to find something to fight about, we CAN find something to fight about!

      1. Also, among astronauts and cosmonauts and taikonauts today, there are eaters-of-butter-side-up-bread, and eaters-of-butter-side-down-bread, and eaters-of-butter-side-sideways-bread, and eaters-of-butter-side- indeterminately-oriented-bread. This is little-known, yet is a RAGING controversy!

        Among those who, while in zero-G flight, care about nominal gravitational orientation, they debate (when not actually fighting) about WHOSE center of gravity is to be paid attention to! In interplanetary flight, do we orient towards the Earth, or the sun? In interstellar flight, towards the sun, or the black hole at the galactic center? In intergalactic flight... WHO KNOWS what we shall fight about?!?!?

      2. I spit coffee on my laptop. Thanks for the laugh, especially the great circle or map ordinal comment.

      3. Once Muslims spread to other stars and other galaxies, what will they do about speed of light lag? Do they bow to where the Earth appears at the moment, or where it actually is at the moment, or where it will be by the time light has traveled from/to the Earth?

        Of course, the exact position of Mecca itself is irrelevant at such distances. But that brings up the question of very close distances. What part of Mecca are they actually bowing to? Is it that big rock? Which part of that big rock? In the extreme case of being on top of the big rock, do you have to somehow hold the rug at angle and glue yourself to it, or hire some husky young men to hold you in the appropriate orientation? What if at ground level next to it, or on the second floor of a neighboring building -- do you need to find more husky men to hold your rug at the appropriate angle?

        Is this where the flying carpets come in? Wishful thinking, or did Muhammed prophesize such things, or even mention them as if real?

        1. I did not fully comprehend the insidious details of your great circle comment -- indeed, so Muslims on the opposite side of the earth have to bow straight down? Did Muhammed believe the Earth was round, or did he call that some dastardly Greek or Roman or Christian plot to make bowing to Mecca impractical? What does the Koran say, or is it silent and Muhammed left that for the altar boys?

        2. By then, we will have wormholes and Muslims can simply face the nearest wormhole to Mecca.

          1. And risk facing the Celestial Temple wherein the real Prophets lie? The false gods of those wrinkle-nosed kafir?! Insha'Allah our armies will triumph over the wormhole aliens and the Galactic Caliphate will spread across the entire galaxy. Allahu akbar!

      4. "how many angels can dance on the head of a pin"

        I never saw how this could even be a subject of discussion:
        "As many angels as God wants to dance on the head of that pin."

      5. The mohammedan-in-the-moon Mecca-facing problem is solved in the sci-fi novel Artemis.

      6. And Christians... "after the priest turns the wine into Jesus's blood, can I use it for a blood transfusion, and what is Jesus's blood type"
        Except that Methodists, Calvinists, Anabaptists, Evangelicals and Fundamentalists explicitly reject the doctrine of transubstantiation and think the Eucharist is strictly symbolic.
        How can someone grow up in a country steeped in Low church doctrine not know this.


    2. 1. In zero gravity, how do you determine in the bread is butter-side-up or butter-side-down.

      2. I like to be symmetrical, I will eat two slices at once, one butter side up, one butter side down.

      1. Or you could butter both sides.

        1. Whoosh...

          I also like to stick a piece of meat between the two slices of bread.

          1. Euphemism?

      2. 1. In zero gravity, how do you determine in the bread is butter-side-up or butter-side-down.
        Butter is towards your nose = butter side up.
        Butter is towards your chin = butter side down.
        Really not that hard.

        1. Good point. However, when gravity is present everyone knows that the buttered side always lands in order to contact the floor. I believe Newton first described this phenomenon.

    3. The only thing people seem to need more than having a group to belong to is having a group to exclude.

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  2. "The only real solution that the author sees is some development that leads to a de-sorting of the parties and a resurgence of cross-cutting cleavages."

    Putting to the side, that I personally find cleavages of most kinds to be attractive...

    Can we PLEASE consider an ALTERNATE (if not too wild and crazy) hypothesis?

    Maybe, just maybe, DECREASING THE SIZE OF GOVERNMENT ALMIGHTY (thereby giving us less to be partisan about) might be a "real solution"!!!

    1. "We" can certainly consider an alternate hypothesis, but "we" are about 2% of the electorate and the other 98% favor a larger government. Oh, sure, lots of them say they favor a smaller government in the abstract but they all mean making this particular part smaller and making these parts over here larger. Very few politicians have the spine to stand up and speak out for doing what's right if doing what's right is not politically popular, you're only going to hear straight talk as they're on their way out the door. And they all have excuses, it's the "will of the people" or some such nonsense, never mind the fact that we don't have a democracy (mob rule) for a reason. You might think that Republicans at least shouldn't be democrats but here we are. We don't have any sort of leaders in Washington, they're all followers.

      1. Two points:

        And they all have excuses, it's the "will of the people" or some such nonsense, never mind the fact that we don't have a democracy (mob rule) for a reason.

        It IS the will of the people. These assholes need to get elected. They will do WHATEVER it takes to do so. Which is precisely why we will not see a libertarian society UNTIL the vast majority of the citizenry actually calls for it. Which is why anyone attempting to elect libertarian politicians, to drive top down solutions, is wasting their time. The focus needs to be in convincing the common person that liberty is in everyone's best interest. The politicians will follow out of necessity.

        We don't have any sort of leaders in Washington, they're all followers.

        As it should be. Burns my ass when folks refer to elected officials as "leaders". They aren't leaders. They're public servants. I don't follow them. In a constitutional republic, they follow me (the people, within the confines of the constitution). Leadership implies a moral superiority, which they CERTAINLY don't have.

        Not really disagreeing with anything you're saying...just food for thought/

        1. I think one thing a lot of libertarians misd is that most conservative VOTERS actually DO want smaller government. Military is about the only thing a typical con might be in favor of more spending on.

          The R politicians do what they do to win the squishy centrists. So if centrists either go more conservative or libertarian I think we'll make headway on spending.

          Social issues, really, are entirely disconnected from fiscal stuff, but can sometimes intersect with the concept of "big government" in the abstract.

    2. Desire for government, including expectations and roles, is another critical parameter. People can be partisan, but how much they want that reflected (enforced?) in government is just as important.

      Too lazy to google right now, but my hunch is that Americans of today want "more" government than those in the past.

    3. I'd put forth an alternative theory-

      In the past, the fringe of any party was more or less regulated to some dingy bookstores and off hours broadcasting, far from view of the silent majority.

      Now they have a megaphone outsized against their relative proportion, which makes those with slight leanings think the other side is nuts. So positions are hardened to withstand the scourge of the madness being put forth from what was a relative minority. Death to all fanatics. Even among libertarians.

      And even in the libertarian mantra of decreasing the size of government almighty, rarely if ever does it cross the mind of libertarians that better, more effective governance is probably THE most effective means to shrink the size of government.

      Of course that would mean libertarians thinking forcefully about how to address particular concerns with either turnkey solutions from the private sector or at a minimum streamlined government services to address the growing bureaucracy to address the needs of the growing bureaucracy.

      In short, you guys are fucked.

      1. I think this is pretty spot on. And also why we're probably doomed! At least until some catastrophe happens or civil war breaks out. Then things can be resorted without so much baggage, whether for the better or for the worse.

    4. Decrease the size of government?

      Now that's just crazy talk.

  3. ^Check out SQRLSY One trolling himself.

    1. You should have seen me in high school wresting... I was a total flop...

      But at pre-practice warm-ups, before the coach got there, I would wrestle myself! It was a GRAND sight for all to behold!!!!

      1. What was your favorite choke hold?

        1. "Choking the chicken", but that was forbidden, even in a joking manner!

          1. In wrestling in my days, they DID have a wrestling hold that was legitimate, called the "Saturday night ride", and if you saw it, you'd know why it was called that. That one is impossible to do on oneself, though...

            1. I think Ron Jeremy was able to in his younger years.

              1. Yep.

  4. The fewer choices people have, the more constrained they feel, the more they seethe with resentment. It's why extreme Charlie Chaplin-style factory jobs breed such angry unions who turn to socialism and power to the people and rebellion. Desperate people simply see no alternative and want to break their shackles by any means possible.

    This partisan divide is entirely the result of government expanding into every day life, sticking its nose into things that are not remotely amenable to majority rule -- school choice, occupational licensing, health care and insurance, seat belt laws -- and a zillion other things that can only be made into the public's business by the worst stretches of majority rule -- Title IX, land zoning, car mileage, building codes, home owner associations, food labeling.

    People are so used to government control that the only solution they see to these intrusions is redirecting that intrusion onto other people. The idea of lessening the intrusion is sneered at because any such lessening will be uneven and sporadic; why should a selected few get favors when everybody else is still under control? Better to stomp on others harder than let a few get favors.

    1. This partisan divide is entirely the result of government expanding into every day life, sticking its nose into things that are not remotely amenable to majority rule

      You left out reproductive/contraceptive choices.

      1. There are a number of conservative-collectivist issues -- like flag-burning and other right-flavored types of "offensive speech", or wanting to walk back no-fault divorce. But while there are conservatives who oppose contraception, the real point of contention in the "reproductive rights"/abortion controversy isn't just individual liberty vs. collectivism -- It's what constitutes "life". That's why I despair over settling that controversy most of all. It's one thing to get people to grudgingly accept minding their own business about parents' right to educate their children as they desire. It's quite another to get them to mind their own business when they think someone's literally murdering children.

        1. they think someone's literally murdering children.

          No, they don't. The civility and moderation of nearly all of them in addressing the matter shows that they don't sincerely think that. If they did, armed mobs would be on their way right now to shut down and destroy all the clinics where abortions take place, and, as the President pointed out, demanding the prosecution of not only the medical professionals who participate, but also the pregnant women who terminate their pregnancies. As it is, opposition is limited to legitimate speech and political actions, except for a tiny handful of extremists occasionally taking direct action to stop abortions. Those extremists are the only ones who really don't see a distinction between abortion and murder.

          1. The problem is that Roe vs. Wade, in its wild arbitrariness, pitched this at a marker no other civilized society thought they could permanently judge: viability. Why insist you can abort right up to the very edge of viability?

            If our law could do what France and Sweden (and many other countries that progressives affect to admire and wish we would emulate) do, abortion would be limited to 12 weeks, the first trimester (with the usual exceptions for the medically unforeseen). Abortion absolutists would still see it as murder, but the national consensus would see a huge difference between 12 weeks and the queasy current debates between 22 and 24. _Obviously_ if you are allowed to carry to the edge of viability, there are going to be cases any person of normal sensibilities will recoil from. No surprise that the many countries to adopt the 12-week rule don't have anything like our passionate abortion debate. Which is perhaps why neither American party, mindful of fund-raising, raises the possibility of getting Roe v. Wade modified just that far, and killing the debate here. Not one American in a hundred even knows what limit applies in most of Europe; neither party wants them to know.

            1. That a twelve-week rule quiets the debate is further evidence of the insincerity of those who claim "abortion is murder".

              1. More to the point, it gives society the chance to stop committing the subset of abortions that are most murder-like. A bit more important than improving the sincerity quotient, though it would also have that effect.

      2. You are free to buy whatever contraceptive devices you want, don't make me pay for them.

        You are free to do to your body whatever you want, just don't wait 5 months to kill the biologically unique baby inside of you.

        You have some weird care abouts.

      3. I purposely picked uncontroversial areas, because that is my argument -- government intrudes into places where it has no business. Sure, people can find arguments for land zoning and occupational licensing, but they aren't passionate arguments.

        I thought it was obvious, but you are so focused on being angry and pushing your own agenda that it skipped right past you.

    2. "The personal is political"

      1960s progressives. They won dude, this is what they wanted.

      1. Well, they've had some time in the sun for sure... But I don't think it'll last much longer.

        There's a reason almost every society in the history of the world falls on the "conservative" side of the political spectrum... Other ways aren't functional. I think the best society possible is a libertarian one with a few dashes of trad-con thrown in where pure libertarianism fails to deal with issues.

        We're probably heading towards just more old school right wing authoritarianism, but we can always try to slide in the good libertarian bits where we can.

        1. We're probably heading towards just more old school right wing authoritarianism

          This is actually pretty hopeful from where I'm sitting.

          1. Well, there's every chance things will get worse before they get better... But I just don't think the right in America is going to go quietly into the night. In short, barring the left crumbling peacefully and going back to being sane, if the right is pushed to the breaking point, they WILL stand up. Then the left is done, because they have no capacity to defeat the right wing in America. They don't have the right mentality, skill set, or the guns.

            And yeah, right wing authoritarianism is less bad than a left wing dictatorship! So it might not be THAT bad. Maybe we'll get the 1950s V2.0 out of the deal!

  5. Nope.

    Democrats (like Liberals in Canada) are not homogeneously liberal.

    They're homogeneously PROGRESSIVE and therefore ILLIBERAL.

    And last I checked it's the progressive left that hold the edge on the levers of power in industries like tech and in the halls of academia.

    Conservatism - however you choose to define it from De Maistre and Burke down to Churchill to Buckley jr. and beyond - has always been more of a mindset than anything and as such has generally been on the defensive. Consider that on all levels of government since the 20th century, liberal parties have held the majority of power - to say nothing of cultural power via media and art.

    The base root of Western civilization is CLASSICAL LIBERALISM.

    And the modern left that roam around like intellectual lepers in the 'liberal' ranks are not classical liberals.

    1. Let me get more to the point:

      Do Hillary, Obama, Grandpa Gulag, The Fake Indian, Justin Trudeau sound anything remotely close to liberal?

      Not to me they do.

      Rand Paul and Maxime Bernier, on the other hand, sound like they're much closer to liberalism.

      Conservatives/libertarians - I guess - are the new liberals.

      1. Conservatives are far more liberal in the classical sense than any modern progressive.

        Conservatives may often stand in the way of progress, but progressives actively work towards disastrous ideas and policy that have been proven disastrous throughout history.

        The parties are a question between status quo and eventual slavery.

        1. If we can *conserve* the *liberal* principles of the American founding, that would be the best kind of *moderation.*

          Or, in modern political-speak, conservatism.

          1. Exactly.

      2. People being "Liberal" would imply protecting civil rights, for the USA our Constitutional rights, and promoting freedom.

        Progressives and other Lefties want a bigger and badder Nanny-State.

        They try to ban straws.
        They try to ban guns.
        They try to ban free speech.
        They try to ban....

        1. Thats why they are not "Liberals".

        2. They try to ban - wait for it - CO2...

      3. Anthony Comstock was the American who first made liberal an expletive while pushing the 1873 laws that banned ALL birth control, dirty books, toys--and disloyal writings by the unreconstructed--from the postal monopoly. His fans put actual book burning on their medallions. This was ramped up when Herbert Hoover was enforcing the felony ban on light beer, wine, whatevah... when the Liberal Party platform had the audacity to say unkind things about the Klan and hate preachers. German nationalsocialists also hated liberals, by which they meant fiscal and social libertarians, not the CPUSA dropouts picking it up as a geuzenaam. See: https://preview.tinyurl.com/y9e7flz7

    2. The Liberal Party as late as 2006 had some genuine liberals, Former Prime Minister Paul Martin was one.
      But you're right, nowadays they are uniformly misanthropic, pseudo-fascists. Even the dumb, fluffy ones like Trudeau.

      I don't think the Democrats have had a liberal since Obama took over. A lot of them aren't brainwashed prog true-believers, just psychopathic kleptocrats who know which group of sheep is more easily manipulated; but all are authoritarian.

      1. The Chretien-Martin liberals were borderline but I mostly agree. They were the last bunch of liberals that were not as nauseatingly stupid as the current bunch of neo-progressive buffoons.

        Since Obama? He's no liberal. He's prog through and through.

        1. I didn't say since Obama, but since Obama took over.
          Yes, he played a moderate in the press, but was extremely radical in practice.

      2. I never thought I'd see the day when someone like Alan Dershowitz would find himself essentially excommunicated from the left, but here we are.

        1. Right? Tucker has him on frequently, and when he gives his opinion on things I can't help but think "If they were all like this, the left wouldn't be so bad."

    3. Cant we just call progressivism what it is?


      1. I second that motion.

  6. I took a political science class in college. The professor told us the Republicans have gotten way more extreme over the past few decades, while the Democrats have remained the reasonable, patriotic center - left party they've always been. Therefore if partisanship is at an all-time high, it must be the Republicans' fault.

    In fact we even learned GOP radicalization is so severe that Ronald Reagan would be a Democrat today. I wasn't alive during Reagan's presidency but it seemed like a convincing argument. Just look at the white nationalist Russian intelligence asset who leads today's Republican Party. He's objectively far to the right of Reagan on almost every issue.

    1. #StillWithJimmy

    2. You copy pasted that. I've seen you post it before.

      Anyway, it's obvious nonsense. Compare the Republican and DNC platforms from 1992 to 2012. The Republican platform has barely changed, while the DNC lurched to the far left/authoritarian.

      Your professor was lying, he knew he was lying, and you knew he was lying. But it didn't matter because you all want to believe that you're not the extremists, your enemies are.

      1. Oh damn, it's OBL. I just assumed it was Chipper. I was baited again.

        1. Yes, I've defended Democrats on here so many times, lol. Also, I call bullshit on your supposed mistake, because my username is not orange.

          1. Yeah I thought that was a really strange choice.

            Fact that is neither fun or not fun: when I originally signed up the participate in the twilight of Reason's comments boards I had seen all the chipper puns and wanted to register as "Chipper Gore" but it was taken by someone who may or may not have ever used it. Thinking about my current name, it could reference potato chips, but not the machinery used to chip the potato, which is unlikely to be a wood chipper as that would not result in the neat, uniformly thin slices required for potato chips.

    3. Beware what any one person tells you.
      Everyone has opinions. Everyone has biases and prejudices.

      That doesn't make their opinion any more real or true than anyone else's.

      The "GOP" can, and does say the exact same about the "Dems".

      Ben Franklin said:
      "Historians relate, not so much what is done, as to what they would have believed."
      -Richard Saunders (aka Ben Franklin) Poor Richards, 1739.

      It's called "spin", aka marketing.

      I'm not a follower of any party, and am a knowledge seeker whom always seeks out the factual-based evidence to try to change my mind on ANYTHING I may believe (unlike most, whom simply engage in Confirmation Bias).

      I have seen both sides become increasingly radicalized.

      Try studying the concept of "Dichotomous Thinking", that is the seeming human instinct for "either/or" thought processes.
      Humans have held an historic tendency to group things into mere polar opposites.
      It's akin to the "in-group" vs "out-group" psychology.

      Also, try reading the essay "The Authoritarian Personality in the 21st Century", outlining how the group dynamic tends to compound upon itself.
      Members of a groups tend to try to prove their greater loyalty to that group, thus a radicalization of increasing loyalty of groups ensues by its members.
      Members start start to compete over loyalties.

      1. Also try reading "Instincts of the Herd in Peace and War" by Wilfred Trotter.

        "A study of [social creatures] shows at once how fundamental the importance of gregariousness may become. The individual in such communities is completely incapable, often physically, of existing
        apart from the community..."

        "From the biological standpoint the probability of gregariousness being a primitive and fundamental quality in man seems to be considerable."

        "The existence of such a mechanism would compensate losses of physical strength in the individual by the greatly increased strength of the larger unit, of the unit...."

        Trotter goes on to state that the "group" psychology begins to form an identity of its own, beyond that of its individual members.
        Violent mobs, for instance, resort to escalating violence that wouldn't be normal for individual members of that mob.

        Also consider the notion that politics is being shaped more like sports.
        By evoking greater emotions from spectators, the fans of each team, leagues can often garner greater support, and thus larger attendance for those teams.

        Thus "radicalization" in partisan politics can be seen as an attempt to garner greater support and followings of/for established parties.....parties that have been witnessing reduced support year after year.

        This is one of the basic concepts of propaganda.

      2. Funny how "I have seen both sides become increasingly radicalized" means the Lefties are inciting and committing acts of violence. Conservatives are standing up to Lefties and voting them out of office.

        Lefties are skilled at being propagandists. Always remember that.

        1. Don't forget the mobs of tea partiers who dared to leave their events cleaner than they got there.

  7. I blame Facebook memes. Back in the day, we saved our vitriol for HOA politics.

    1. Nothing matches HOA's as little islands of petty tyranny.

  8. No place for 'hate: ....
    Like this right:???
    or this...
    or this....
    or this ...

    1. And yet they think that normal people have no idea they're spouting this stuff, and they can go on pretending they're not extremist.

    2. Those kind of people just make me want to start curb stomping folks. Especially that 3rd link.

      I think the Rainbow Coalition has shown its hand too soon, and it's biting them in the ass.

      And I do hope they understand that if they ever REALLY try to unleash tyranny, which seems to be their goal, that "old white men" don't need to be a majority to whoop their asses. Europeans are really, REALLY nice... Until we're not. Then you get the Spanish Empire, British Empire, WWII etc.

      By forcing white people to become tribal to maintain our very existence, they may be unleashing the type of white people that conquered and subjugated the entire globe back into the world. What fools! All they had to do was be cool.

  9. Politics have become mere entertainment, and increasingly a form designed for merely passive spectators.

    Contentious politics makes for even better entertainment.

    Now, imagine if the main political parties were in fact controlled by the same group of secretive elite.
    I mean after all, the same ultra-wealthy and ultra-powerful continue to see similar gains under both the Dems and GOP.

    By creating a highly "contentious" environment, that controlling group could then elicit more emotional responses, and thus greater support from their loyal followers, of both sides.

    In wars, leaders use all the means at their disposal to identify and continually demonstrate how the other side is the "enemy".
    Both sides do the exact same.
    Each side always fights for the cause of "good", in the face of the "enemy".

    It's a proven and near guaranteed way to garner greater support for "your" side.

    Emotional (fast) thinking often overcomes more logical, rational (slow) thinking.
    Read the book, "Thinking, Fast and Slow" by Daniel Kahneman for more on this.

    So again, imagining that the main political parties are controlled by the same controlling elite.
    When past elections have seen dwindling support for those major parties, by invoking greater emotional, fast thinking, that controlling elite could draw more of those spectators towards one side or the other (via the seeming human instinct and patterns of Dichotomous Thinking).

    1. Now compare politics and political elections to sporting events like WWE wrestling, or football, or baseball, or other sports designed for mostly passive spectators, wherein leagues are seeking greater support, and thus attendance, for Dichotomously opposing teams.

      In fact, numerous studies have shown greater partisan political participation and "team" followings by those that are also spectators of sports, aka sports fans.
      Consider the emotionalism elicited in sports, of loyal team fans.

      Historically, sports have evolved from activities of preparing for tribal wars, now politics are evolving from sports.

      Just as contentious sports makes for better viewing and draws larger crowds, contentious politics makes for better entertainment, drawing larger and more loyal followings.

      The establishment system wins.
      The ultra-wealthy and ultra-powerful continue to make great gains.

      Everyone else loses.

      Read "Propaganda" (1928) by Edward Bernays.
      Propaganda only works when it isn't recognized as such.

    2. "Read the book, "Thinking, Fast and Slow" by Daniel Kahneman for more on this."

      Well OK, interesting... I haven't read it or even heard of it. You know about it, so please tell us...

      Would you call the Rethugglican Party the fast thinkers, and the Demon-Crat Party to the slow thinkers, or vice versa?

      In the comment pages here, in times past, there's been a debate, and I think that the general consensus was that the Rethugglican Party is the Party of Stupid, and the Demon-Crat Party is the Party of Evil, but it might possibly be the other way around...

      So anyway, Rethugglicans fast and Demon-Crats slow, or vice versa?

      1. Republicans are slow zombies, Dems are fast zombies but there's no guarantee they're going in the right direction.

      2. If you're talking the top tiers of both, the Rs definitely have more intellectual power. They actually come to correct conclusions sometimes even! Dems are wrong on basically 100 percent of things.

        Rank and file, there are more pseudo intellectuals on the left, but they're wrong... I think rank and file Rs can be more gut instinct thinking the right is right, whereas leftists try to dress their wrong conclusions up in incorrect seemingly intellectual arguments.

        But ultimately the majority on both sides just "feel" that their gut is correct, on a moral basis.

        1. whereas leftists try to dress their wrong conclusions up in incorrect seemingly intellectual arguments.

          lol this is rich coming from the "race realist" crowd

          1. Yeah, because the other side of that argument has all the statistics and empirical evidence on their side! Oh wait, no they don't... It ALL points towards there being substantial differences in intelligence based along ethnic lines. Oops, my bad.

            As I've said before, there is a possibility it is all environmental factors... But it's a slim chance, given all the evidence that points to it being largely genetic. But even if it IS entirely environmental, it still explains all the current piss poor outcomes for non whites/Asians/Jews in the world. Their IQs ARE LOWER in the here and now. Period. This is not even debated by mainstream scientists who study the subject.

            So if you want to end the massively disparate outcomes along ethnic lines, figure out what is causing it and fix it!

            Also as I've said, I wish this wasn't all the case. But it is. I have the balls to accept unpleasant truths. You can ignore reality all you want, but reality will keep chugging along doing it's thing, and the outcomes will be what they will be, NOT what you delusionally want them to be.

        2. Great insights about the "moral gut" in the work by Jonathan Haidt and colleagues (read The Righteous Mind). They identify 5 or 6 moral foundations, common across most nations and cultures. Then using these, they analyzed groups and differences. One interesting conclusion: most Democrats and progessives think dominantly about only 1 or 2 foundations (prevention from harm and "fairness", the kind reflected in equal outcomes). In contrast, most Republicans and conservatives used all the foundations (harm prevention, fairness--but more the kind where people keep what they earn, loyalty, authority, and sanctity). Libertarians shared some perspectives with conservatives, but score much higher on liberty.

          1. Sounds about right to me. Progs definitely refuse to even consider the repercussions of their actions. "Helping the poor" is a noble goal, but as soon as you bring up any unintended consequences they lose their shit. I have always found even line towing conservatives to me more open to hearing pros and cons, which might jive with their giving consideration to more "virtues" than just fairness and prevention from harm.

    3. After my mother passed away I took over her email so I could respond to anything important. She got hundreds of conservative spam emails a day, all talking about how you needed to give them money to stop the Librahls from defeating our president's agenda and stuff like that. I spent a day unsubscribing and marking them as spam. In so doing, I started noticing the subscription control pages and realized that these groups were all fronts for just a few real groups, which popped up like hydras under multiple names.

      I'm pretty sure the left-leaning spam groups are the same way. And I suspect that some of these groups play both sides, fleecing money from partisans on both sides with their inflamed rhetoric. Most of them have no real physical presence or way to verify who they are or what they are doing. It's pure money for the coprophages behind them, and partisans on both sides aber this fraud.

      1. No one ever solicits me for money. I feel like George Constanza in that Seinfeld episode where that carpet cleaning cult tries to recruit everyone but him.

  10. The right is finally waking up, while the left have always been despicable. The left have treated this as a war for decades, and you only can slander people as being racist evil etc for so long until they say fuck you and vote in someone like Trump.

    Andrew Breitbart said his moment of clarity was the Clarence Thomas hearings, and I've spoken to so many people who are done with the leftist crap after Kavanaugh. That you could love your whole life as a seemingly decent person, with a spotless record, and people with ruin your life because you are mildly conservative. Such a horseshit ideology when you call someone a gang rapist and judge him guilty before you even hear his story or have a single piece of evidence.

    The left can fuck right off. They will never respect you as an individual or care about your individual rights. It's all a power play to them and I'm glad people are waking up and waking away

    1. +1

    2. This is true. Unfortunately, we're stuck with the GOP as the instrument of opposition, which is only mildly less statist in its approach to government's size, spending, and centrality than the Democrats. At least they're not bat shit crazy (most of them, anyway).

      It would be a wonderful thing if the GOP would start pivoting in a more libertarian direction.

  11. I worry more (and blame more) the melding of partisan politics with modern marketing and branding. Since Mad Men, we have deduced and applied methods for connecting with primitive parts of our brains, and then influencing the conscious and subconscious. People today are committed to Brands, whether for athletic wear, life styles, or politics. And Brands require signaling and allegiance--not critical thinking or independence.

    1. This 100%. Even though the techniques go back to Creel Commission in WW1 and Bernays/etc (applying Freud/etc) in the 1920's. The more we know about how humans tick, the more that knowledge will be abused by those who want to control those ticks. This was all completely unknown during the classical liberal era when we were creating ideas of how to increase human freedom. It may well be that the greatest enemy of individual freedom is mass society - and that figuring out how to resist that or undermine it is the best way to increase human freedom.

  12. Only the young folk think today's politics is unusual.
    In the 1960s, there was much more political violence. Terrorist attacks were not shocking rare events that resulted in weeks of news coverage; there were a dozen or more every year. What would today be called "hate crimes" occurred by the thousands, but were lost in the howling mobs of nationwide riots.

    And of course, the early 1900s had the mass violence of the socialists, Communists, and unions vs the last of the monopolists and robber barons and their hired thugs.

    Before that, we had the Civil War - which was predated by one Senator holding the Senate at gunpoint while his companion beat a political rival nearly to death on the Senate floor.

    This partisanship is nothing new. What's new is that violence has gotten so low than mere words are now considered crimes.

    1. I just hope everyone remembers how peaceful the USA is overall as the left takes us back into turmoil.

      As they lose more and more political power, they switch to being violent assholes.

      Maybe this time, Civil War 2.0 will show them its time to leave the USA or perish trying to murder Americans.

      1. Is that why Democrat cities are kept so violent? So they can point to the raw crime stats that belie the overall peacefulness of the US if you don't look close enough to see how localized the violence is?

        1. Occam's razor suggests incompetence more than anything else, although the Democrats, having stumbled into a self-perpetuating cycle of stupidity and despair among their urban constituencies that keeps them in power, seem more than happy to exploit the situation for as long as they can.

          Hopefully, the whole #WalkAway movement will reach critical mass at some point and wreck their gravy train for good.

  13. I'm thinking that of the 60% in a party many are registering in the party that controls their locality as (in NY anyway) areas vote either red or blue consistently, and often unopposed. Being in a party allows a vote in the primary, and helps when you need the road plowed or a ditch cleared of debris as you are in the party of the highway super and the mayor.

    1. Yes. I live in a solid red county and have been registered Republican most of my life only because the primary IS the election for local offices here. You get no say about county office holders if you're registered Democrat or independent.

      1. Funny how people used to make fun of the USSR (which never formally outlawed opposition parties) & other 1-party states, when that's a common tendency.

  14. The problem with conservatism today is that it is based on lies.

    From Creationism/Religion, anti-science climate denial, the lie that the GOP is fiscally "responsible" (perhaps the biggest lie of all), to American Exceptionalism and our role as world cop, individual choice (another lie to supercede contraception/abortion and drug use) to their love of jackboots who despise NATO.

    Of course progressives believe in bullshit too (like Single Payer) but at least their bullshit actually exists somewhere.

    1. Failed somewhere I believe is the word you were looking for to describe leftist policies

      1. Canada is successful despite its Single Payer health system.

        1. It's single payer system is not successful

        2. Canada has a lot of problems. Although I will grant you that 'successful' is a relative term, so with the low standards a leftist like you applies to leftist policies you could still reasonably makes such a statement.

    2. Lots of dumb shit there. I see you prefer the policies of expensive energy, the largest driver of poverty. You are against science in creating an abundance of food, because fuck the starving poor. You don't want to innoculate your children because some medium or astrologist told you to. You believe that Gore is an actual scientist and skip right past the actual scientific portion of the IPCC to the political report, which is a corruption of the prior.

      Basically you're a dumbass.

      1. Pure drivel.

        You are even trying to call me a Vaxxer, you poor dumb fool.

        Lying about your adversary is a desperate ploy.

      2. I am an Ayn Rand rationalist/atheist classic liberal, you fucking idiot.

        Like Ayn Rand I don't like conservatives.

        why is that hard for you wingnuts to understand?

        1. Sarah Palin's Buttplug|10.28.18 @ 3:07PM|#
          "I am an Ayn Rand rationalist/atheist classic liberal, you fucking idiot."

          Complete list of turd's posts which are not lies:

        2. Oh everyone understands, they just know you're lying.

        3. I understand and applaud. The initiation of force thing Ayn wrote while they were cutting down hanged National Socialists at Nuremberg, that gives socialist sockpuppets all kinds of cognitive disconnect problems. What else is new?

    3. From Creationism/Religion, anti-science climate denial

      Yes, the DNC is the party of "Science" (GMOs, vaccines and nuclear power definitely not included. May contain chakras, auraology, ancient astronauts, colon cleansing, Lysenkoism, hydrinos, Ley lines, biodynamic agriculture, dowsing, acupuncture, biorhythms, Reiki, chiropractic, negative ions, crystal healing, electromagnetic hypersensitivity, moxibustion, naturopathy, primal therapy, Dianetics and wind farm syndrome, BUT NO CREATIONISM).

      1. Well, liberal ideologies DO accommodate creationism, as long as it comes wrapped in some aboriginal packaging, e.g. American Indian religions and cultural myths.

    4. The GOP's "fiscal responsibility" ca. 1930-80 was raising taxes to cover the Democrats' deficits. Then they wised up & decided deficits weren't the enemy, taxes were, & taxes lost votes to boot.

      American exceptionalism's a real thing, but it's only in the past few yrs. I've heard that -ism couched as a form of goodness, usu. by critics of the concept. Before that, "American exceptionalism" just referred to the USA's & Americans' being outliers?in good, bad, or indifferent terms?which does seem to be empirically verified.

      Whether a particular political tendency has favored individual choice in the USA has mostly depended on which choices at the time were on the table for discussion, or in the headlines. Abortion wasn't discussed politically (or practically at all) in the USA or even elsewhere until Roe forced it into the headlines, & then it took a good 5 yrs. before it shook out into partisan dimensions. Drug use has been majorly political only in recent times, when the Democrats have found a constituency among those who think the people who smoke pot are oppressed or at most harmless; it's about the perception of the type of people who do these things, not the act itself.

      1. For example, organized labor was given as an example of American exceptionalism. Pretty much worldwide, organized labor is mostly in favor of revolutionary communism, democratic socialism, or syndicalism. In the USA & Canada organized labor just wants to squeeze more $ out of employers, & for the most part not change the arrangement.

        Football & baseball are examples of American exceptionalism, although not uniqueness in that baseball's spread a good deal & several other countries have their preferred versions of football as not being soccer.

        English units of measurement are American exceptionalism on display.

  15. Trump saved us from the Lefties taking us into the abyss.

    He is only one guy, Congress is full of RINOs who side with lefties, and he will only be able to serve 8 years as president. Luckily, he has gotten a lot rolled back in under two years.

    The Lefties will lose big election 2018 and resort to violence. if its enough violence, then Civil War 2.0 might kick off.

    1. I've posted this before, but the tag line is:

      Democrats, sore losers since 1860

    2. The Lefties will lose big election 2018

      You always make this prediction, but rarely explain in concrete terms what it means. If the Democrats win control of the House, but by a smaller margin than some were predicting, does that qualify as "losing big"?

      1. Yes. Because trump keeps winning the judicial appointment race. And winning the house will expose the democrats even more with their investigations of random conspiracies. Please win the house and investigate kavanaugh for 2 years.

  16. What's changed is that the parties have sorted: Democrats have become more homogeneously liberal, Republicans more homogeneously conservative.

    This article doesn't really seem to address WHY that is. On its face, there's no real reason for that.

    If I were to guess it is because in a zero-sum legislative/incumbent environment (that doesn't grow with population), money becomes critical for a challenger to even begin to challenge. And there's only three sources of that - big donors, incumbent PAC's (incumbents get 95% of money) from other districts where incumbents are looking to replicate themselves and don't need money themselves cuz they don't have challengers, and party PAC's where they are looking for loyalty upfront. All these are outside the district. All lead to elections becoming more national than local and more identically dualistic across all districts.

    Unfortunately, it works really well for the parties, for incumbents, and for the oligarchs behind them. So until citizens/voters can figure out how to restore uncertainty of (re)elections pursuits/outcomes; nothing will change. Elections won't matter and parties will simply remain the divide et impera face of oligarchs/technocrats.

    1. Translation: we socialists are ashamed to admit that we stand right between Hitler and Stalin, so we borrow the "wing" adjectives reporters used for army movements in The Crimean War and WWI. It's euphemistically correct.

  17. A lot of the hate is predicated on Obama administration era outrages.

    You can't use the government to try to force people to make sacrifices so that other people can have Medicaid--and not expect people to get upset.

    You can't use the government to force nuns to finance their employee's fornication against their will--and not expect people to get upset.

    You can't try to use the government to force people to make sacrifices of their standard of living in order to save polar bears, people in the developing world, and future generations from climate change--and not expect people to get upset.

    You can't use every single headline as yet another crisis to be exploited to justify stripping people of their First Amendment religious rights, Second Amendment gun rights, or even the right to their own prosperity--and not expect people to get upset.

    I don't know why it's so hard for elitists and progressives to imagine that maybe elitism and forced sacrifice makes people upset, but they should definitely give that hypothesis some consideration. Maybe the reason so much of the country is disgusted with elitists and progressives is that they're elitist and progressive.

    1. Disaffected, left-behind malcontents and those consumed by perceived white grievance may be concerned about an emerging hellscape, but most Americans perceive great progress during the most recently half-century or more, and have been able to arrange successful lives, rewarding careers, marketable skills, good educations, and modern communities.

      This might distill to whether one prefers progress, and whether one is able to keep pace.

      1. If forcing nuns to finance their employee's fornication is what you call progress, then fuck you.

        1. We were warning about this before any legislation was passed. The same with the gayz. But we are evil for judging the actions of others, and for asking to be left alone, not from judgement, but from interference.

          This is only the beginning Ken. As the current trend is a return to tradition, just think of the horrors these folks will pursue to maintain their hegemony once it is really threatened.

        2. If you think any libertarian supports bigoted immigration policies, big-government micromanagement of ladyparts clinics, childish tariffs, contraception bans, toe-on-line homage to a song, and statist womb management, your ignorance is among the reasons my side won the culture war.

          If you think superstition-related arguments should be advanced or accepted in reasoned debate among adults, your gullibility is among the reasons your side has lost the culture war and will continue to chafe against American progress for the rest of our lives.

          If saying 'fuck you' to your betters make you feel better, enjoy yourself!

          1. "If saying 'fuck you' to your betters make you feel better, enjoy yourself!"

            He's not saying 'fuck you' to his betters. He's saying 'fuck you' to *you*, you pathetic piece of shit.

          2. "If you think superstition-related arguments should be advanced or accepted in reasoned debate among adults, your gullibility . . ."

            If you think the First Amendment only protects smart beliefs and smart speech, then you're either incredibly stupid or being willfully dishonest.

            First Amendment protection for our religious rights was the result of watching the solutions that evolved from the end of the wars during the Reformation, specifically the end of the Thirty Years War. The Peace of Westphalia, among other things, established that the religion of the Holy Roman Emperor no longer determined the religion of provinces (freedom from establishment) and furthermore established that individuals were free to practice their own religion regardless of the religion of the Prince that ruled their province (free exercise). This proved to be an effective solution that more or less put an end to the religious wars of the Reformation and made the United States the tolerant society it was.

            1. The First Amendment protects religious beliefs and arguments, thank goodness.

              Sensible people recognize, however, that competent adults neither advance nor accept superstition-based (or, if you prefer, fiction-based, or fairy tale-based) arguments in reasoned debate. For example, an argument that the moon is made of green cheese, that storks deliver babies, or that abortion is wrong because the Bible says so is neither respected nor offered by a functional adult in reasoned debate.

              1. "Sensible people recognize, however, that competent adults neither advance nor accept superstition-based (or, if you prefer, fiction-based, or fairy tale-based) . . .

                Were you not responding to an actual argument? Were you not suggesting that the religious rights of nuns should be ignored because their religious beliefs are stupid?

                If you're so fucking dumb that you think that violating people's religious beliefs--regardless of whether they're stupid--is without negative consequences, that's one thing.

                If you can't even talk about religious rights without conflating the idea that religious belief is stupid and the idea that violating stupid religious beliefs has negative consequences for society--much like those described in the story at the top of this post--then why should anybody bother talking to you about this or any other topic?

                Yeah, well, we should tolerate their beliefs, but you gotta remember that their beliefs are stupid? That's shithead stupid. You should be ashamed of yourself.

                1. Should those who religious beliefs oppose war be excused from taxes that fund the military?

                  Should an employer whose religious beliefs indicate Christians are objectionable be permitted to refuse to hire a Christian?

                  Should a property owner whose religious beliefs oppose bigotry be entitled to refrain from renting to Republicans or conservatives?

                  Should someone whose religious beliefs forbid use of alcohol be permitted to discriminate against those who consume beer, wine, or spirits?

                  Should someone whose religious beliefs oppose authoritarianism be entitled to fire, or refuse to serve, those who oppose abortion?

                  Does your appetite for religious liberty have limits congruent with right-wing references. Unless you are willing to have a military funded voluntarily, it does.

                  1. Should homophobes who oppose gay marriage be allowed to work in management positions?

                    Should racists be allowed to pass background checks and purchase guns?

                    Why do you avoid answering these questions?

                    Should people be free to believe what they want? Is punishing people for what they believe a legitimate use of public policy?

          3. Even today, you can blame much of the bloodshed in Syria (under ISIS and elsewhere) on the lack of First Amendment protections. When people can't choose their own religion or practice it freely unless their rulers share the same religion, they'll often fight to the death to make sure that only someone of their own religion is in power. Even the early Muslims realized they had to rationalize and let the locals keep their own religion--otherwise, the costs of enforcing religious rule simply wasn't worth it. They even categorized Zoroastrians, who don't believe in the god of Abraham, as "People of A Book", because they had the Avestan literature, rather than "People of THE Book". Hey, somebody's gotta pay taxes to support this army!

            If the early Muslim invaders were smarter than you on the practical necessity of religious tolerance, that doesn't surprise me. You've shown yourself to be remarkably ignorant, and if you think you can violate people's religious rights without suffering the negative consequences because their religion is stupid, then you're a fucking idiot. Incidentally, society can't violate people's property rights without suffering negative consequences, too. Either one is a stupid thing to try, given all the examples in history, and only an ignoramus would suggest otherwise.

            1. I believe people are and should be entitled to believe as they wish, and to attempt to persuade others to develop particular beliefs. They are and should be able to worship as they wish, although generally not in a manner that violates generally applicable law.

              The point here is that competent adults do not offer or accept fiction-based arguments in reasoned debate, particularly with respect to public affairs. Gullible, unpersuasive, backward people offer and accept superstition-based arguments, however -- and they should be able to practice their credulous inanity to their hearts' content.

              1. "The point here is that competent adults do not offer or accept fiction-based arguments in reasoned debate"

                Ok, but we're talking to you.

              2. "The point here is that competent adults do not offer or accept fiction-based arguments . . . "

                If this is your response to my observation . . .

                "You can't use the government to force nuns to finance their employee's fornication against their will--and not expect people to get upset".

                ----Ken Shultz

                . . . then you're a fucking retard.

                If you're saying that there aren't negative consequences associated with using the government to violate people's religious beliefs--if the religious beliefs are stupid--then you're a fucking retard.

                I'm more inclined to believe that you're just not smart enough to follow a simple argument.

                1. You are a right-wing kook prancing about in libertarian drag. You would be quite content to enable government to collect money for war, refuse to acknowledge gay marriage, permit discrimination against gays (marriage, adoption), restrict access to restrooms, prevent underage marriage, and the like, despite religious objections. Your tolerance of religious objection protects superstitious bigots and is generally tailored to fit conservatives' backward preferences.

                  1. "Your tolerance of religious objection protects superstitious bigots and is generally tailored to fit conservatives' backward preferences."

                    So, once again, you believe that people's religious beliefs shouldn't be tolerated if they're stupid, and, furthermore, you don't believe the government has an obligation to protect the right of individuals to choose their own religious beliefs and exercise them freely.

              3. Arty, you have a tiny little mind filled with the stunted dreams of a little man. You demonstrate no capacity to contemplate the order of creation and the universe at large.

                This is no surprise. Your kind share this trait.

                1. Which fairy tales do you believe to be true, you gullible rube?

                  1. I KNOW the universe at large to be vast, and filled with things we have yet to imagine, and on a scale beyond your little mind. All of time and space, and many other dimensions beyond our current understanding. That forces beyond human experience created all of it is a certainty. I call these forces 'God' for lack of a more articulate description. To call that 'gullible' speaks volumes about you. None of which is flattering.

                    A little creature like you denies the existence of something so obvious, yet so unknowable, and without any real consideration.

                    You are small, you are pathetic, and you are wretched.

              4. How about "generally applicable law" is not to compel violations of religious belief without a more compelling reason than "fuck you, that's why".

          4. "If saying 'fuck you' to your betters"

            This is like the guy who brags about his self-confidence.

            (He doesn't actually have any amd knows it)

          5. Now you see why Ayn Rand never wasted time arguing with mystics--to say nothing of mystical sockpuppets. Why sweat it? The Fisher-Pry curve and actuarial tables make them cry almost as much as seeing the LP with possibly as much as a 400% increase in vote counts.

            1. You really are an annoying babbler.

  18. Why is it that whenever I ask progressives in conversation why the white, blue collar, middle class feels like the progressives hate them so much, the progressive eventually responds that the white, blue collar, middle class should be hated?

    When it comes down to it, the left is coming after the right for what amounts to thought crime.

    Just over the past two weeks, according to the standard drill on the left . . .

    You can't insist on corroborated testimony, or you're a rape apologist.

    You can't defend the motives of the way children dressed up for Halloween when you were a kid, or you're a racist.

    They're making the red scare look like a walk in the park. How many celebrities have we seen begging forgiveness for thought crimes that shouldn't even merit an apology? There haven't been so many struggle sessions since the Cultural Revolution. Incivility is a perfectly appropriate response to subjecting people to charges of thought crime, and that's pretty much what the left is all about these days.

    1. If right-wingers would ditch the bigotry and belligerent backwardness -- I recall a Republican Party that preferred reason, tolerance, limited government, education, progress, science, government competence, foreign humility, but htis was nearly a half-century ago -- a sensible conservation could begin.

      Until and unless that occurs, prepare for more decades of American progress shaped by our liberal-libertarian mainstream, against the wishes and efforts of conservatives and Republicans, without much concern for right-wing preferences or sensibilities.

      1. "If right-wingers would ditch the bigotry and belligerent backwardness"

        If you're talking about what they think, then fuck you.

        1. Are you convening another meeting of Libertarians For Bigotry, Superstition-Based Public Policy, Tariffs, Wall-Building, Ignorance, And Statist Womb Management?

          1. Do you imagine the progressives don't want to use the coercive power of government to intimidate people because of what they say and think?

            Do you or do you not condone intimidating people because of what they think?

            1. I don't understand the question. Could you please provide an example of how government would intimidate someone for what the person thinks?

              1. "I don't understand the question."

                Of course you don't big guy, at least you finally realized what we all knew already.

              2. "Do you or do you not condone intimidating people because of what they think?"

                That is a simple question.

                1. It is a simpleton's question.

                  Did any of you goobers attend a legitimate college or university?

                  1. Can you not bring yourself to say that people have a right to think what they want?

                    Are you refusing to answer the question because it will expose you as an immoral piece of shit?

                    1. People have a right to think what they want.

                      People do not have a right to be immune from criticism when they verbalize their thoughts.

                    2. Do you believe antisemites should be allowed to purchase firearms?

      2. "I recall a Republican Party that preferred reason, tolerance, limited government, education, progress, science, government competence, foreign humility, but htis was nearly a half-century ago"

        And I recall people like you denouncing Richard Nixin as a fascist at the counter-inaugural in 1969.

    2. How many celebrities have we seen begging forgiveness for thought crimes that shouldn't even merit an apology?

      How long before folks take a lesson from the Chief Executive's playbook and...

      ...simply stop apologizing?

      1. Everybody who's ever said anything offensive, say, during the Gamergate controversy or when that asshole Preet Bahara was trying to scare the shit out of us for criticizing public officials . . . if you said it on social media, they want you to be scared. They want you to be scared that you won't be able to get a decent job in the future, that you can never work your way into a management position, etc., etc. This scare isn't about whether actors and newscasters can still get jobs in the movies. They just make examples of Megyn Kelly and Norm MacDonald to scare others into silence. Hell, with those last two, it wasn't even what they did or said. It's that they dared to question the progressive narrative. How dare you! Those thoughts and arguments are verboten!

        The appropriate response to that sort of thing is "incivility".

        They aren't fighting for equal treatment for anybody. They're just trying to silence their critics.

        The other problem with this scare, in addition to being about what you've said and thought rather than what you did or whether you were a member of a communist organization, is that it's permanent. Everything we say online is there forever. The red scare blew over, eventually. The one based on what we think and say may last forever.

        1. The ONLY power they have over you is that which you give them.

          Hell, half of these celebs have enough to never need to work again (like Trump). A simple "Fuck off and die in a fire" would go a long way towards dismantling their agenda. What are they gonna do about it?

          Sure, many worry about their future financial prosperity, but Norm MacDonald is worth over $2M. Fuck it! Move to Nebraska and retire! Life is too short for that shit!

          1. "The ONLY power they have over you is that which you give them."

            I'm not sure that's true. It may be over the power some of us give them, but the people at the sharp end of the stick may not be the people who gave them the power.

            Everyone keeps pointing out that all these mass shooters tell everyone what they're going to do on social media. Everyone keeps pointing out that these mass shooters obtained their weapons legally. The latest had acquired his guns legally and had a legal concealed carry permit. He was also a prolific poster on how much he hated Jews.

            You don't think people (other than me) are putting two and two together right now? Why are we running background checks on people who want to buy guns but not checking out what they're saying on social media? Why are we letting antisemites, racists, homophobes, and Islamophobes pass background checks to purchase weapons when the NSA has access to all that stuff, and social media themselves are only too happy to provide that information?

          2. Why isn't the things we said on social media, wrote in email, etc. all part of background checks for everything? I find it hard to believe that advertisers and social media know more about the individual racists, antisemites, homophobes, Islamophobes, etc. among us than the NSA and FBI, but if that's the case, we can easily require social media companies to provide us with whatever information they have on such people. Meanwhile, social media is practically begging to be regulated this way in exchange for immunity from lawsuits for everything from mass shooters, etc., and their advertisers are already scared to death that they'll accidentally serve up ads to some antisemitic post.

            That's where things are going. Not even the NRA disputes background checks anymore. They're typically the first to call for expanded background checks after a mass shooting.

        2. The only appropriate response is to do unto them what they are doing to us.

      2. If Trump manages to shift the cultural center of gravity such that this becomes the default response to the SJW left's PC thuggery, this alone would justify his reelection.

        Of course, the inroads he's made in rolling back the progressives' domination of the federal judiciary are pretty good, too.

        1. I expect your dreams of a return to the world in which bigots wanted to be known as bigots, and were free to spew their bigotry without repercussion (for example, the disdain of better people), are destined to be unrealized.

          That was the situation until the 1970s or so, but America has progressed too far to slide back into the days of casual, open, unvarnished racism, misogyny, gay-bashing, xenophobia, etc.

          1. "I expect your dreams of a return to the world in which bigots wanted to be known as bigots, and were free to spew their bigotry without repercussion (for example, the disdain of better people), are destined to be unrealized."

            No one cares that you can't have a world tailored specifically to you.

            1. America has been improving in line with my preferences throughout my lifetime. I expect this to continue. It's the reason disaffected right-wing bigots mumble bitterly about 'taking the country back.'

      3. The Sanction of the Victim is required self-flagellation in Altruria.

    3. If anyone ever asks you why white people would feel upset, hated, or threatened you might refer them to this lovely gem from Tim Wise who is lauded and has not been censored for his hatred...

      I cant imagine why white people would have an issue with progressives...

      1. The "Leave It To Beaver" days that Tea Party voters yearn for are about to be swept into the dustbin of history.

        Good riddance.

        And I am a white straight Southern male.

        Humanity needs to move forward past redneck America.

        1. Oh, and lest anyone think I am a "progressive" - humanity needs to shitcan that miserable gutter-born belief system of Islam the most.

          1. So what you're saying is, not only are you a hardcore progressive, but as part of your totalitarian regime, you and the collective "humanity" would violate completely the 1A rights of all Muslims? How do you propose to "eradicate" an entire belief system? If the entirety of human history is the best evidence we have, it would suggest that attempts to eradicate any belief system end up with a lot of killing.

            1. Fuck you for lying about what I said.

              In an Open Society bad ideas are criticized then ridiculed. The First Amendment protects my ability to ridicule your shitty belief system.

              1. That's not what you said, but thanks for clarifying. Also you will notice I posed a question, rather than made a statement. "Eradicate" is a fairly specific choice of word. I might even agree with you on certain points, but you'd never know, because you're so obtuse and abrasively confrontational you preclude meaningful discussion about anything. Just because you have the natural, constitutionally protected right to freedom of expression doesn't mean you're any good at exercising that right. It's a trend I've noticed in the hard left malcontents that post here, to resort to vitriol when they get called out on nonsense. Not to say there aren't those who can give it back just as good. I respect your right to be an abrasive jerk.

                1. Fuck you.

                  So what you're saying is, not only are you a hardcore progressive

                  Lie #1

                  but as part of your totalitarian regime

                  Lie #2

                  collective "humanity" would violate completely the 1A rights of all Muslims

                  Lie #3

                  it would suggest that attempts to eradicate any belief system end up with a lot of killing

                  Lie #4.

                  I never implied a single one of those actions.

                  You're a fucking lying shitbag.

                  A typical conservative, in other words. Lying is all you have.

                  1. You were expecting the truth from looters? I'm surprised at you!

                    1. You're on Buttplug' side......

                      Hank you really are filth.

                  2. Like I said, I was posing questions, not making statements, and your deliberate and cynical omission of the question marks when you quote me is noted. You could have responded rationally but you just spew more pathologically defensive vitriol and lash out. You seem to be full of hate. You are very abrasive and seem quite callous, although it's defensive in nature.

                    So, despite your bile we have cleared a few things up:

                    1. You do not consider yourself progressive.

                    Ok, we're making progress.

                    2. You do not wish to eradicate people but you do wish to eradicate an entire belief system?

                    I'm still not clear on where you fell on the former. Saying you wish for "humanity" to "eradicate" that entire belief system is just your way of "ridiculing" it? Might one also ridicule your hyperbole and vicious bloviating in this "open society" you speak of?

                    3. Your "Lie #4" claim doesn't quite make sense to me because it certainly isn't a lie to point out historical truth, whether or not it ultimately is relevant to your agenda, or opinions.

                    So, I am glad we are having such a productive and interesting discussion. The best defence of our 1A rights is to use them as effectively and responsibly as possible. Not to say a hubristic "fuck youu!!" doesn't go down a treat sometimes, but gritting your teeth and snarling through a keyboard at the world is the choice pastime of disaffected losers, regardless of their particular ideologies.


          2. Damn it, you were doing so well today. Then you mess it up with this Islamophobic nonsense. Didn't you learn in college that Islamophobia is a form of racism?

            In fact, from a progressive / libertarian perspective, this country would be better off with more Muslims, who (after 9 / 11 at least) overwhelmingly favor Democrats over Republicans. That's part of the reason I support open borders. We need an electorate with a higher percentage of Muslims, and a lower percentage of "white straight Southern males."

            Take Linda Sarsour for example. While I appreciate your contributions to #TheResistance in the form of your posts here, I guarantee Sarsour has done way more than you have to oppose the Drumpf regime. She was actually at the Kavanaugh hearings protesting. Were you?


            1. Islam is not a race.
              You cannot be racist against an ideology
              This isn't hard

              1. According to the Warren Standard, as I am over 1/1000th negro, I am a black dude.

          3. I'll look for the original, this one was edited. He refers specifically to and cheers the end of all white people in the original, and later altered it to say that it's only the evil white conservatives.

            The Original Title was "An Open Letter to White People"

          4. Progressivism and anti-religious bigotry go together quite nicely. Progressives' current deference to the Mohammedans is a cynical alliance of convenience with another religious/political ideology that is fundamentally at odds with liberal democratic pluralism, republican constitutional legal structure, and the heritage of Western civilization.

            You say you're not a progressive. Fair enough. But it damn sure isn't because progressives are paragons of religious tolerance. Broadcasting your anti-religious bigotry doesn't distinguish you from the left at all, although it does suggest you're more honest than most leftists, who have the good sense to keep their victims' group constituencies bamboozled.

            1. If you view progressivism properly, as the Christian heresy, and extension of the Protestant Reformation that it truly is, you can actually understand why they would work with Muslims. The Protestants took advantage of the fact that Christendom was very busy trying to resist the military advances of the Turk, and acted as a mutiny in the face of a common enemy. In fact, when the Pope called for peace, and for everyone to unite against the Turk, the Protestants laughed, and the Catholics dealing with them were too preoccupied to send forces.

              Still, Christendom endured, due largely to the Holy League, especially at the Battle of Lepanto and the continued efforts of Austria, Hungary and Poland.

              1. When viewing progressivism in the historical context of its origins, I agree. However, I think that modern progressivism, as opposed to the progressivism of Woodrow Wilson, is so infected with the ethos of Marxism in both the cultural and political spheres that they've moved well past heresy and into the realm of insanity. The critical mass of progressives that dictates their intolerant ideology is much more militant atheism than flaky, watered down Christianity. These days, the latter are merely useful idiots for the former.

                1. I'm not saying that their militant atheism drives their intolerance, it's the Marxism that does that. The militant atheism, which is bitterly reactionary in nature vis-?-vis Western civilization and is therefore a useful tool in its destruction--is subservient to their political/cultural ideology, which is rooted in Marxism.

                  To be absolutely clear, atheism per se isn't the problem with progressives. That their atheism is a manifestation of their Marxism is a problem.

  19. "How Politics Became Our Identity,"

    That tends to happen when teams red and blue have nothing left to offer beyond identity politics. And yes, I think the true partisan cool-aid drinkers hate each other more now than ever. About the only thing they have left offer their bases anymore is their hatred of 'the other side'.

    1. Is your name ATX Chappy, or ATXC happy?

      1. ATX Chappy.

        1. Thanks for clearing that up 🙂

  20. "The country is more divided than ever", says man that lives in a country that had legal apartheid 50 years ago.

  21. What's changed is that the parties have sorted: Democrats have become more homogeneously liberal, Republicans more homogeneously conservative.

    I suggest that is a misunderstanding in both cases. Seems more like the two traditional poles of political philosophy have been abandoned, and replaced instead by tribal self-interests on both sides?self-interests which have little to do with either pole.

    On the Democratic Party side there is almost nothing left in the mainstream (there is an insurgency) which has anything to do with the defining economic focus of traditional political liberalism. Instead, every issue now seems to shatter into competing advocacies on behalf of an assortment of Democratic-leaning identity groups. Those groups don't include almost anyone who could have been newly recruited to vote Democratic, on the basis of economic issues.

    On the Republican side, it's all "movement conservatism." Apparently that means little more than a lunge for power by any means possible, resentment of Democratic Party figures and policies, and opportunistic favors for would-be oligarchs. Plus rigged political processes, because movement conservatism would go under without them.

    Both parties have little to offer except to their dedicated tribalists. Neither uses notable political philosophy to connect itself to the traditional liberal/conservative dichotomy. It's really a mistake to call either of them liberal or conservative.

    1. "Plus rigged political processes, because movement conservatism would go under without them."

      You mean like how they made sure Bernie....
      Oh, wait! That was the Ds, and Lathrop seems confused. Yet once more.
      Please tell us how the Rs did so, SL. I'm sure you've got more BS.

  22. This essay misses the point by not Listing what each political party sets as goals for America. Sixty years ago I was an eager voter on the Democrat ticket. Then I learned the history of Democrats. With the election of Woodrow Wilson in 1917 the Democrat Party evolved from a democratic Party to a fascist Party, and with that loss to the Democrats the Republicans came to the end of its fascistic control over national government, launched in 1859. Today's Democrats have as goals 1) limiting the first amendment and defining what may be thought and spoken; 2) ending the second amendment and stripping Americans of self-defense; 3) limiting most of the other amendments; 4) establishing a fascist variety of socialist economy; and 5) participating in (and hopefully leading) a developing global socialist imperialism. Insofar as I can determine, the GOP has the goal of slowing but not stopping the progress of Democrat fascism and global socialist imperialism. To me those five goals of Democrats, coupled with the techniques they employ, form sufficient reason to hate a Democrat and the absence of solid American goals form sufficient reason to dislike a Republican. I hold my nose and vote GOP and won't waste a vote on a Party with no chance to win.

    1. You vote for Republicans because you are an authoritarian bigot. Stop kidding yourself or, at least, stop trying to persuade others to the contrary.

    2. Yeah this sounds like a guy who watched Dinesh D'Souza's movie and now thinks he knows everything there is to know about Democrats.

      1. Gosh Jeffy you sure love those democrats. Could it be you are just a progressive at heart?

  23. I'm still 99.99% sure of my #BlueTsunami prediction. However if the unthinkable happens and Democrats don't do well, we should have a national conversation on our electoral system. From The Atlantic:

    What if Democrats lose in November? A defeat could drive support for major electoral reform, writes @ParkerTRichards

    When Democrats lost in 2016, we learned our system is vulnerable to Russian hacking. Likewise, if (and I stress "if") Democrats lose in 2018, it will prove the existence of other major flaws that need to be addressed.

    1. When the democrats lost in 2016, they openly admitted that they no longer accept the results of an election.

    2. "we should have a national conversation on our electoral system"

      Here's the conversation:

      Progtards: "we aren't getting our way with the electoral college, so get rid of it."

      Americans: "if you don't like it, get the constitution amended. Otherwise, fuck you."

      Progtards: "Waaaaahhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!" (Proceeds to throw a big tantrum, like an angry toddler)

      1. Talk about adolescent behavior.

        What is wrong with taking a look at different ways to conduct elections?

        What is so sacred about the Electoral College, or the number 435 for representatives?

        "The Electoral College makes the libs cry, therefore fuck you" is not an adult response.

        1. There's nothing wrong with having a conversation about how the left wants to rewrite the Constitution just because their favorite candidate didn't win an election either.

          1. Ken gets it.

        2. "What is so sacred about the Electoral College, or the number 435 for representatives?"

          The electoral college is sacred, hence it is enshrines in the constitution. If you knew your history, of u would understand it's importance, and that it is the only reason that all thirteen states joined together. And I already said if someone doesn't like the electoral college that they can start a movement to amend the constitution thusly. Which IS an adult response. Especially to a bunch of shrill Marxist idiots that want their on a whim at all times, no matter what.

          The number of representatives isn't sacred. Not sure why you're even bringing that up.

    3. The flaw being that you must have a platform to run on versus just identity politics and hating Trump?

  24. there is significant slippage between people's ideological self-classification (liberal, moderate, conservative) and their views on specific issues, [leading] some political scientists, such as Donald Kinder and Nathan Kalmoe in Neither Liberal Nor Conservative (University of Chicago Press), to call for banishing the concept of ideology.

    Emphasis added. How about first practicing on something easier? Try calling for a ban on the concept of, say, hate crime.

    1. Or religion.

      Problem solved.

      Dang. That was easy.

  25. What has 'happened' is (un)social media has driven calm thinking individuals to stop responding to surveys and other opinion sampling things, and to stay at home reading hard copy non-fiction books.
    So the pollsters happily report skewed results and are shocked, shocked, to find out their heads are so far up their ass they need a glass navel to see where they are going.

  26. I feel sorrow and love for people to whom I give charity. I feel disgust and rage for people who feel entitled to take my money using the force of government.

  27. Is "Reason Staff" the euphemism for Nick?

  28. I think the partisans in the main did very little to help liberate France and many ways were a pain in the as to the western allies.

    Though they were quite successful in Yugoslavia and drew many German forces that would have been more useful slowing down the advancing Russians.

    1. "I think the partisans in the main did very little to help liberate France and many ways were a pain in the as to the western allies."

      Agreed in the west, but in the campaign up the Rhone, they were effective.

  29. Back to your regularly-scheduled programing:

    "Do Partisans Hate Each Other More Than Ever?"
    To start, it is obvious that the Ds and those on the left in general have yet to accept they lost the election for POTUS in 2016. Two years after the election, for pete's sake. Witness Tony, turd, Hihn, CNN, the 'rev' asshole, et al; every one of them is still whining that Trump won for reasons other than the fact that he won the votes which legally decided the contest for POTUS.
    I am not alone in being tired of hearing about 'the popular vote', 'the Russkis', 'Trump's son-in-laws meetings', 'Monfort's money laundering', and so forth. And equally tired of the vitriol accompanying those bullshit claims.
    If you ask me whether I "hate" some imbecile so whining, you'd probably get a "yes", as I do some misbehaving kid screaming in a public place. That's tempered by a bit of sympathy for the adult having to deal with the kid; not so with the supposed adults who have yet to grow up and admit they and that miserable fucking hag LOST. Screw them.
    And I'm sure they hate me for pointing out their adolescent behavior; it must be embarrassing, even if those pathetic pieces of shit try to avoid admitting it.
    It hardly needs stating from the above that there is a very simple solution to the animosity: Perhaps those on the left could begin acting like adults, or at least start trying to do so.
    I doubt they will.

    1. So the onus is entirely on "the left" to clean up their act?

      Do you have any advice for "the right" on how they should contribute more to civil discourse?

      1. Why should they? The left was smug and condescending for the eight years before Trump. It's time to do the same thing.

        1. The left has been the clear aggressors against our rights for more than ten years, and they're running on a platform of violating more of our rights, including the First Amendment.

          I don't see anything comparable on the right.

          1. Democrats have been attacking rights since they refused to give up slavery.

            They lost the Civil War, so now it's slavery via the Nanny and Police State.

            1. Republicans have done plenty to come after our rights in the past, especially under the Bush administration. From the Fourth Amendment to even the Eighth Amendment, much of the Bush administration should be in jail, and their Republican cheerleaders in Congress were disgraceful.

              That being said, they're not campaigning against our rights like the left is today. The left is the clear aggressor and has been for ten years.

              1. Hmmm, maybe any entrenched party when in power is a threat to liberty and individual rights.

              2. Republicans have done plenty to come after our rights in the past, especially u nder the Bush administration.


                Are you referring to the Patriot Act? The immensely bipartisan Patriot Act?

                Because, as I recall, Democrats were more than happy to vote for it--and then campaign against it until they regained power--and expanded it. And then they said bad things about it while using it against their enemies.

                There was a lot of bad law passed in the 9/11 panic. Acting as if it was single sourced is disingenuous.

          2. That's why SCOTUS is so important to them. They hate 1A and 2A and know that they can never hope to get the super majorities necessary to amend.

            They are Ok with 5-4 activist SCOTUS amend vote though

            1. I absolutely agree.

              The base gets fired up about abortion, too, but the reason the left fears Republicans stacking the Supreme Court is because they don't want the Constitution to get in the way of their plans.

      2. Maybe the anus is in them. Quit acting like an anus.

      3. "Do you have any advice for "the right" on how they should contribute more to civil discourse?"

        Yes: Hope someone on the left begins to act like an adult and deal with them.
        Next question?

  30. Short answer is yes,.

    Cure, quite politicizing EVERYTHING!

    Trump bears ZERO responsibility for the Pittsburgh shooting just as Bernie bears ZERO responsibility for the Scalise shooting

    1. Good luck.

      For thousands of years "primitive" people blamed events large and small on all kinds of external mystical powers, from angry gods to witch doctor neighbors. Now "modern" people blame all events on pretty much the same causes, but with more current labels.

  31. Partisan loyalty is socially disastrous; but for individuals it can be richly rewarding -- more rewarding, in many ways, than even concupiscence or avarice. Whoremongers and money-grubbers find it hard to feel very proud of their activities. But partisanship is a complex passion which permits those who indulge in it to make the best of both worlds. Because they do these things for the sake of a group which is, by definition, good and even sacred, they can admire themselves and loathe their neighbors, they can seek power and money, can enjoy the pleasures of aggression and cruelty, not merely without feeling guilty, but with a positive glow of conscious virtue. Loyalty to their group transforms these pleasant vices into acts of heroism. Partisans are aware of themselves, not as sinners or criminals, but as altruists and idealists. And with certain qualifications, this is in fact what they are. The only trouble is that the ideal, for which they are ready in many cases to lay down their lives, is nothing but the rationalization of corporate interests and party passions.
    ~Aldous Huxley - The Devils of Loudun 1952

  32. "Some scholars contend that most independents are closet partisans, a contention that far exceeds the empirical support for it. You do not ordinarily think of an identity as something one denies or hides. It's usually something one affirms."

    Nothing so rock solid as to claim "empirical support" and then back it up with "you do not ordinarily think" and "it's usually something." That's sure some real consistency there.

  33. We mimic what we see....and most of what we get on TV, radio, and the internet....has promoted a special kind of nastiness. The show Crossfire used to be the exception to the rule....now most cable news programs are spewing ideology non-stop, with only the pretense of balance (see Maddow, Hannity, Matthews, Pirro). The other side never has a good faith point....and compromise is seen as unforgivable weakness (see Rubio and immigration). Incivility is now a virtue (see Trump). We have so much more information....but much of it is infected by superficiality and partisan bias. Technology allows us to be instant ass-holes....often anonymous...and suffer no consequences. Playing partisan politics is easy....it takes little intelligence...and little effort to make someone your boogieman. Keeping perspective and not sinking to the lowest common denominator is hard. Any analysis of where we are at that does not consider the evolution of media...is missing a big piece.

  34. Thomas Jefferson's enemies called him a damned atheist and a ni@@er-lover. Federalists and Republicans attacked each other with sticks. People do get pissed off.

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