Politics

Mindfulness Is What's Missing From the Political Arena

Politics isn’t going away, so we can at least try to make it less bad.

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Politics is for something, right? Otherwise, all those pitched rhetorical battles, tense Thanksgiving dinners, and occasional riots would be not just irrational but dangerously so. The time we spend doing politics should have some purpose, and perhaps it still does. But the problems with America's political climate, as well as the sorry state of our institutions and their policies, result from a lack of mindfulness and skill in our political practice.

Perhaps the least controversial thing you can say about American politics is that it's awful and getting worse. Americans were divided before Trump, but his four years in office supercharged partisan animosity. Everyone has a theory about what's to blame for it. Both the left and the right like to point to social media, albeit for different reasons. Both blame traditional media as well, whether it's "fake news" or Fox News. Both agree that politics is broken because the other guys broke it.

Social media do highlight and promote political conflict and grandstanding. Newspapers do reflect the biases of their staffs. Cable news has largely replaced sober journalism with posturing-as-entertainment shows similar to professional wrestling. But these are symptoms, not causes. The deeper problem with American politics is how we think about it and how we put it to use.

Our unskillful political practice has terrible effects not only on the quality of politicians and the harmful laws they enact but also on our own moral character. Unskillful politics creates a vicious cultural environment, and that viciousness in turn seeps into us.

***

Let's start with some quick definitions. Politics is a broad term, but in this context it means the ways citizens seek to influence the government. You participate in politics when you campaign, debate issues, or head to the polls. All these activities aim at directing state action. This action then circumscribes the options available to us, and it does so as a result of the political decisions of others. Politics is how we direct the state.

What, then, is the state? It's a tool we created, if you believe the social contract theory, or that was imposed upon us, if you prefer Franz Oppenheimer's view that governments originated as stationary bandits who came to monopolize control over a given jurisdiction. Either way, this tool is used to establish rules for social and economic interaction, and to solve social and economic problems as they arise. What makes the state different from other tools we might use to accomplish such ends is its basic nature of applying coercive force or the threat of force to change behavior. That's how politics ultimately works: We want something changed, we use politics to get the state to act on our behalf, and then the state forces those who disagree with us to comply.

This makes the state both a powerful tool and a dangerous one. When using any powerful and dangerous tool, we should be certain we're doing so skillfully. This means understanding clearly the nature of the problem we're trying to solve, what is actually causing it, whether it in fact can be made better with the political tools available to us, and only then moving on to a carefully considered path forward, and one we'll submit to rigorous critique and revision once we see it in practice.  For example, if we want to do something about the high cost of housing, a skillful approach would mean having a robust understanding of the state of the housing market. Next, we'd want comprehensive evidence of precisely which factors are driving the rising costs, and a realistic assessment of whether state intervention, such as regulations or subsidies, will adequately address it, or if some other tool, such as freer markets, is the better solution. And, finally, when we have enacted our preferred policy change, we'd want to check back in regularly on its success and be willing to admit mistakes and revise as necessary.

But we don't do this. Instead, Americans jump to politics as a universal solution, frequently use it not to solve our problems but to punish our enemies, and rarely give it the mindful attention it needs to produce beneficial results. We both misuse politics and overuse it. Taken together, these create a vicious political environment, and that viciousness then manifests as all the problems people point to when they gripe about the sorry state of politics.

Good politics demands virtuous citizens, because only virtuous citizens can be skillful citizens. Our political culture instead incentivizes vice, creating problems that go deeper than bad policies. Politics makes us worse.

Imagine a virtuous person. How will she behave? What trains of character will she embody? Philosophers and theologians have debated those questions for eons, but it's possible to establish a broadly acceptable basic sketch: A virtuous person will be ethical, mindful, and wise. Yet our political sphere tells us to be precisely the opposite, provides us with strong incentives to do so, and then celebrates and rewards those among us who stray the furthest from that virtuous ideal.

Let's start with ethics. In our interactions with others, the two most basic rules, taught in kindergartens around the world, are "don't hit people" and "don't take their stuff." While we should also seek to help each other, at the minimum we should avoid causing harm or taking from others what they haven't given freely. Yet the political sphere fundamentally depends on rejecting both mandates. The state's power comes from its ability to bring violence to bear, and everything the state does is paid for with resources its citizens were forced to turn over.

When you and I enter the political sphere, we engage with each other in ways impermissible in the rest of civil society. We do hit each other, or at least ask someone else to do the hitting on our behalf. We do take from each other, or at least ask someone else to take for us. What's worse, we don't approach such acts with a recognition of their troubling nature or any sense of caution about their misuse. Instead, we view political action as admirable and sneer at anyone who refuses to participate. Yes, there might be times when applying violence really is the only way. But our culture sees politics as the first solution, not the last resort.

A virtuous person will also be benevolent, having goodwill for others. Yet according to surveys Pew conducted in 2019, more than half of all Republicans think Democrats are immoral, a little less than half think they're lazy, and a third think they're stupid. Democrats show equal disregard for their opposites: Half think Republicans are immoral, over a third think they're stupid, and a fifth think they're lazy. When asked how they generally feel about the other side, about 80 percent of Republicans and Democrats have "cold" or "very cold" feelings. And this is getting worse: Since 2016, that number has climbed by nearly 20 points among Democrats and 15 among Republicans.

The political sphere doesn't just face a shortage of goodwill; it's an environment of ill will. Both sides are motivated more by dislike of the other than they are by affinity for their own. On the right, for example, Republican Senate candidate J.D. Vance of Ohio called for the seizure of a private organization's assets simply because it promoted political opinions he disagrees with.  On the left, we can look to examples like Masterpiece Cakeshop, where progressives, not satisfied with legalizing gay marriage, decided to grind their boots into the necks of those who disagreed.

A good person will have compassion for others. Yet our political culture breeds callousness. How else to explain such vile places as the "HermanCainAward" subreddit, an online chat board where leftists gather to laugh at conservatives who have died of COVID? How else to explain conservatives ridiculing Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg for taking paternity leave to care for his newborn children? How else to explain the unending cycles of online mobs trying to destroy strangers' lives because they told an off-color joke? If you're on the wrong side of the partisan line, you won't find much charity from those on the other side.

A virtuous person will have feelings of sympathetic joy for others' success. But our political culture weaponizes status. The very nature of political decision making replaces pluralism with zero-sum games. If our preferences are put to a vote, with the outcome enforced by the government, then my victory is your loss; we can't each separately follow our own paths. Combine this with tribalism, ill will, and callousness, and it's no surprise that much of American politics is about groups competing to leverage state power to increase, or at least maintain, their own status relative to others. 

Far from finding joy in others' success, we view their success as harmful to us. And no one wants to be in last place, so groups will fight tooth and nail to stay off the bottom rung of the status hierarchy.

Finally, a virtuous person will be mindful and wise in her beliefs and actions. This means judging others with humility and clarity, keeping our emotions from clouding our thinking, grounding our beliefs in reasonable foundations, and not jumping to conclusions.

Needless to say, that's not how people typically behave in the political sphere. Studies show that political deliberation doesn't broaden our views or promote understanding. Instead, it tends to harden tribal orthodoxies and to make them more extreme. 

We care less about getting to the truth than we do about fitting in. When our identities are bound up in political affiliations, we'll express whatever political opinions are favored by our social circles, regardless of whether they lead to good results. Furthermore, once this ideological conformity takes hold, we have fewer people to call out our bad ideas, making it easier to drift in even worse directions.

This political short-circuiting of our ability to reason and judge even goes so far as to impact our beliefs about basic, nonpolitical facts. To give just one example: For years, YouGov's pollsters have asked Americans whether they believe children should be required to get vaccines against various infectious diseases. The responses were generally pretty stable, with about two-thirds of Republicans and about 80 percent of Democrats saying yes. But in 2020, Democrats jumped to 85 percent, while GOP support plunged to 46 percent. While it might be tempting to read this as the GOP deciding it suddenly doesn't like the government telling citizens what to do, Gallup found that while unvaccinated Democrats correctly estimate vaccine efficacy to be 88%, unvaccinated Republicans estimated it to be effectively zero.

***

So the political environment discourages ethics, benevolence, compassion, sympathy, wisdom, mindfulness, and equanimity. If the environment were small and we didn't have to spend much time in it, we perhaps could overlook these problems, much as one might think that middle school is a terrible place but it's only a few years and then you move on. But the political arena isn't small at all.

The same viciousness and misuse that make politics so bad also makes politics grow. Unskillful use pulls more and more of our lives and choices into a centralized political sphere, and as that sphere grows more powerful, that gives us yet more reasons to spend our time in it. I don't much like ice hockey, but I can ignore it because it has no impact on me. I don't much like politics, but I can't ignore it, because its reach is increasingly inescapable.

This is compounded by the belief that if there's a problem, politics is the way to solve it. Tell people you don't want to participate, and there's a fair chance you'll be met with scorn for abandoning your civic responsibilities, for not caring about the pressing problems others face, or for being nonchalant about the future. If you did care, you'd supposedly show that by voting for new laws. For libertarians, who favor private solutions over government fixes, this is doubly troubling: Anyone who genuinely does want to help others but seeks to help through nonstate means is at a cultural disadvantage. The inventor who seeks to solve climate change via new technologies rather than wealth-diminishing regulations is a monster who doesn't care about the fate of the planet or the children who will inherit it. The innovator who develops better alternatives to poorly performing state services is abandoning our collective project. The businessman who creates thousands of new jobs isn't a good samaritan; he's just selfish. 

One of the more frustrating recent examples of this is the call for a wealth tax. Billionaires, we're told, shouldn't give their money to charity; they should be forced to hand it over to the state. The state will probably put it to inefficient (or often harmful) use, but the alternative is allegedly anti-democratic. If you point out that, yes, taxes do pay for some services that help people, but they also pay for bombs and cages and abusive cops, you'll likely to be dismissed as unserious—though under other circumstances, people would not argue that it's good to give money to an organization that shelters the homeless but also employs some people who go around beating them up. "Oh, well, it's only 10 percent of their budget, and the rest of their work is good" would be a silly rejoinder, as would "You have an obligation to donate money because of the good they do, but you should also try to get them to stop beating up homeless people." No, you have an obligation to give to an organization that doesn't beat up the homeless.

And so we have a feedback loop. The overuse of politics makes us worse. As we get worse, we become more likely to overuse politics. And the more our lives and attention get pulled into the political sphere, the more reason we have to engage with it, and the more incentives we'll have for vicious behaviors and beliefs. Deploy political tools unskillfully, and this is the result.

***

Aristotle believed that moral education begins in habit formation. The way to teach the young to be good isn't to give them abstract theories of the good; it's to get them to engage in good behaviors. Once they have practice, it'll become natural, and they'll be ready to understand why those behaviors were good in the first place.

The importance of habit is why we can't brush aside the above concerns by saying, "Well, that's just politics. Outside of politics, I behave virtuously." That's not how virtue, or habits, work. We are what we do, no matter where we do it. Vice doesn't become virtue just because we're acting in the political sphere, and the more time we spend practicing vice, the harder virtue will become.

We can break the loop at the individual level by disengaging, but that means abandoning the field to those who are less interested in or capable of a skillful approach. And given how much influence politics has, anyone who cares about anyone's well-being should care about what politics is up to. The better solution to our misuse of politics is to train ourselves to use it skillfully, and only to use it when appropriate. Politics isn't going away, but if we can approach it mindfully and ethically, and with wisdom and equanimity, then we can at least make it not as bad.

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  1. Yet according to surveys Pew conducted in 2019, more than half of all Republicans think Democrats are immoral, a little less than half think they're lazy, and a third think they're stupid. Democrats show equal disregard for their opposites: Half think Republicans are immoral, over a third think they're stupid, and a fifth think they're lazy.

    And they're both right.

    1. This is why it seems hopeless. The messages below are dominated by the partisans proving his point with brains too broken by politics to even understand what they’re doing.

      Yes the progressives are awful. But until enough people decide that they’re not gonna vote for Trump or Biden or AOC or MTG or mugwumps like them any more we’re gonna get the garbage that our fellow posters are demanding below.

      1. People voted themselves into this shit. You really believe there is a way to vote out of it?

        There is not.

        The voting is not the problem. The procedures are not the problem. The people are the problem. The culture is the problem.

        People should not be forced to live together in one polity when their very conception of what it means to live together is irreconcilable.

        The idea that people should be forced to live together is even more pernicious than the idea that the government should be one to force them.

        1. Vote with your feet. I'm sure you can find a community of fellow close-minded conservative assholes where y'all can sit around and talk about how Democrats must all be killed.

          1. IDEAS!

            1. I'm serious. Nobody is forcing you to live where you live. Move if you don't like it. I'm sure there's some enclave in Montana or North Dakota where you can join a militia and train for the coming progressive apocalypse.

              1. CIVIL DISCUSSION!

                1. You should try it sometime.

                  1. IDEAS!

                    1. I'm trying to give you one. You say you're being forced against your will to live with people who you hate because of their politics. Well then move! The fuck. Nobody is pointing a gun to your head and making you say. Get out! Move to someplace filled with like-minded haters.

                    2. Either sarc is completely retarded and not realizing he is participating in uncivil denunciation of his enemies or...

                      Nope just retarded.

                    3. And does sarc even realize that the left is attempting to put the policies that he himself says he disagrees with to the federal level? Probably not. Takes away the voting with ones feet.

                      But deep thought was never one of sarcs virtues.

                    4. You say you're being forced against your will to live with people who you hate because of their politics

                      No -- you're saying that.

                      Because you cannot fucking read, you don't understand what people are actually saying. Because you're a liar, you pretend not to be able to read.

                      Your problem is that you are a pathological liar.

                    5. "People should not be forced to live together in one polity when their very conception of what it means to live together is irreconcilable."

                      What else can that mean other than you being forced to live with people you hate over politics?

                    6. And sarc continues to be ignorant of the federal policies the left is trying to implement. My God man, the shallowness of his "ideas" are astounding.

                    7. What else can that mean other than you being forced to live with people you hate over politics?

                      It means exactly what it says. I cannot understand it for you. If you weren't such a shit weasel, you'd be able to read it without the instinct to lie distorting the words in front of your eyes.

                      Fuck off, shit stain.

              2. Yet you reside in Maine bitching about school choice from democrats in the state allowing very few and attacking almost exclusively the right as you bitch about the policies the left enacted.

                Hmm..

                Hypocrite.

              3. Better to just prune the Marxist population until thes system begins to correct itself. Marxists are malignant, and their existence is completely unnecessary.

        2. No, government is the problem. It can't help but expand, the ratchet effect guarantees that as it does for all bureaucracies. But government has no competition to tame it, and thus grows. The more it grows, the more it meddles, and when people have no choice in that meddling, they bicker over who controls it, and each group win brings new meddling and never gets rid of old meddling, thus the ratchets grows ever faster. It has long since reached the point that people get more of what they want by minding other people's business than minding their own.

          1. Government is people. If people want separate government -- that is, separate people governing in accordance with their preferred social and economic values -- then they are entitled to that government.

            Separate people, need separate government.

            1. Exactly -- competition in voluntary governments would solve all these political problems. It would also free the economy, because the uptight control freak governments would leave the free ones to innovate, and the uptight ones would shrink and wither down to the assholes.

              1. Agreed.

          2. Essentially this. And we largely witnessed the whole of government attack an administration who entered seeking to reduce it. And meanwhile the media and the left propped up the sanctity of these institutions over the choices of voters.

        3. That " voting out" was a founding principle of Federalism which obviously is a failure. It was a Straw Man argument to get it installed in the first place like" well institute a tax then revoke it later."

      2. "...Yes the progressives are awful. But until enough people decide that they’re not gonna vote for Trump or Biden..."

        Steaming piles of shit like this asshole bevis seem to think we have the option of 'perfect'.
        Most of us, by early adulthood, understand that the world is made up of compromises, but not assholes like this.
        Fuck off and die, bevis and stuff your TDS up your ass.

        1. Awww. Did I hurt your fee fees by being mean to Trump?

          Where did I say anything about perfect? I’m talking about better. Which you don’t want because you get your jollies by thinking you’re better than everyone which is pathetically wrong. You can’t do or think anything that doesn’t involve being an obnoxious prick to everyone who doesn’t toe your line.

          It’s your brand of TDS that’s the problem, but you’re an imbecile and will never comprehend that.

          1. Sevo's right you know. He has great advice, you should seriously consider it.

            Oh, BTW. The "both sides" that you, sarcasmic and Powell are shilling only seems to occur when the Democratic Party is so objectively terrible that their horribleness can't be dismissed or hidden anymore.

            Funny that.

            1. They don't shill both sides. They 99% of the time attack the right to support the left. Only when called out will they throw and aside out.

              Yet when others do that the opposite way they call people cultists and traitors.

              I've seen more attacks on the right from those bevis and sarc call right wing acolytes than they have ever committed to attacking the left.

              The left controls 2 of 3 branches of federal government, yet they still bring up trump almost exclusively and refuse to attack the policies of the left that actually effect them and take liberty away.

              If it wasn't so sad id be laughing.

          2. You mean your emotional post devoid of any semblance of logic?

            In the last 2 decades, name one president who sought to reduce government more than trump did. And you despise him for it because you apparently have hurt feelings.

            1. Like many on the left, he really wants daddy figures in government; comforting personalities who never cause him any distress at all, and he's willing to sacrifice YOU to get them. And also willing to lie about it.
              If that ain't assholish behavior, it'll do until something better comes along.

          3. "Awww. Did I hurt your fee fees by being mean to Trump?

            No, shitbag, assholes like you piss me off since your stupidity causes me harm
            Make the world a better place and your family proud: Fuck off and die.

          4. "Awww. Did I hurt your fee fees by being mean to Trump?"

            FYI, asshole, I don't particularly like Trump; he's a loud-mouthed boor and a loose cannon.
            But about the time he appointed DeVos, it became obvious we got more than just keeping the hag out of office.
            How'd your candidate do, pile of shit

      3. Lol. The irony of you making the same claim you just despised above. Hilarious.

        But you and sarc are the true independent non biased sanctimonious contributors here.

        1. Well, you sure the hell aren’t.

          Couldn’t open your mind with the jaws of life.

          Your girl MTG is on the news this morning insulting Kwanza for some fucking reason. What’s the point of that? And what distinguishes her from AOC? Only the people that they hate.

          1. My girl? When have I ever even talked about her. Youre a blind leftist partisan at this point. The same as sarc. I've openly attacked McConnell and the 14 senators who bowed to the left. When have you said one bad word about Biden sweetie?

            Youre as full of shit as sarcasmic. You have to openly lie with emotional arguments because you're an unprincipled hack.

            1. Bingo.

          2. Only the people that they hate.

            That's about the only difference I see between the far left and the far right at this point. They both hate the other side, they both want to see people murdered over politics, the closest either side comes to understanding the other is some absurd strawman caricature, they both judge ideas based upon the politics of the person with the idea not the idea itself, they each have their own cult of personality, and they're both so full of emotion that no amount of reason or logic can ever penetrate their thick skulls.

            Two sides of the same coin.

            1. And the golden mean fallacy once again appears.

              Seems to be a favorite of the ignorant lately.

            2. "That's about the only difference I see between the far left and the far right at this point."

              Because know matter how much you lie about it, you're a bigger partisan than most here, and are being willfully and deliberately blind to Team (D) shenanigans.

            3. The relevant text is Eric Hoffer’s “The True Believer”. He talks about how easily the Nazis recruited members from extreme communist organizations.

              The extremists craved extremism, and the specific content of the extremism turned out not to matter that much to them.

              1. And Mike is ignorant to how for the beginning portion of Nazism they never passed 50% party membership, relying on the weak willed and inactive people to garner power as people ignored what was happening. Famously akin yo the US ignoring actual internal reports from the empire regarding death camps and auch because they didn't want to be involved.

                The weak willed are just as dangerous as the extremists through inaction.

                One doesn't have to be an extremist to take a stand and stand up for principles. Mike would rather call the victim of a bully partially at fault than stand up to said bully and do what is right.

          3. And unlike the dumbassery you exhibit, aoc actually has pull in policy making such as pushing forth her climate change bullshit when you're oddly focused on a dumbass that was removed from all committees because you think you are some type of golden mean when you're just gaslighting to deflect from the leftist policy shit that actually cripples freedom.

            Youre not principled. You're deluded and pushing twitter/media bullshit to hide what is actually going on.

            Lol.

          4. "Couldn’t open your mind with the jaws of life."

            This from a pile of shit incapable of differentiating results from personality.
            Do you miss your daddy, asshole?

          5. I'm not unbiased either.

            I think that the Democratic Party has been a force for evil throughout its history to the current day. The second most evil political party in the West after the German NSDAP. Easily beating even Franco's Falangists and Mussolini's Fascists in racist policies, people killed and interned and wars started.
            Go on, ask me why.

            1. People who claim to be unbiased are lying to themselves first and foremost. See how bevis brought up MTG despite nobody ever talking about her here.

              He is deluded which explains his ideas.

              1. I'm not a Republican, Jesse. I couldn't be one even if I wanted to be because I have zero intention of ever becoming an American.

                But I will proudly declare that I'm partisan. The war against the Democratic Party and the forces of Woke is a fight for Western civilization. There hasn't been a bigger threat since WW2. And if America falls to them, then so will Canada.
                The battle currently going on in the US could either be the West's Dunkirk or its D-Day.

                1. I'm not a republican either. Have been independent since 18. I've voted both parties based on who was less destructive and who I thought could actually move the needle slightly towards freedom. I ignore jackasses like amash who act for kudos from the NYT.

                  And you are 100% correct that the left is far more a threat to freedom than it has been in my entire time voting. They openly push for centralized one size fits all policies, push for funding of people not to work, promote subjectivity over objectivity, and support critical theory. They are near the end goal of the large march. They thought covid gave then the opportunity of fear they hoped for and pushed even harder.

                  Only one party has ever sought, as an example, a separation based on race. That's the left. When force didn't work they convinced the races to self segregate.

                  My bias is purely against those threats. And that is the near entirety of the left at the moment.

                  1. But the left only wants segregation so they can fight against racism.

          6. “Your girl MTG”

            I bet you’ve convinced yourself that a bunch of people here watch Hannity too, right?

            1. Or Tucker. Tony has a faggy hate boner for Tucker. And he always accuses people here of being Tucker viewers.

              Tony is definitely a religious Tucker viewer. He certainly has the time, as he likely doesn’t work.

          7. Kwanzaa is a stupid fucking holiday invented in the 60's solely in order to allow the militant black movement of the time to have it's own holiday. It is only marginally less stupid than Scientology.

            1. Even so, what was the point of MTG even going there? That was bevis’ criticism of MTG; he wasn’t defending Kwanza.

              1. He wasn't criticizing MTG. He was inventing an idiotic strawman in an attempt to attack me for calling out his hypocrisy.

            2. Reports of Kwanza celebrations are on the news this time of year and I roll my eyes a bit, but really, what the hell does it matter to you or me if somebody else celebrates it? Why can’t we just heave people alone to do harmless stuff?

              1. You're the one who brought up Kwanzaa, and who the fuck cares if MTG (whatever that is) criticizes it. Stupid things should be mocked.

                Related: https://pjmedia.com/instapundit/493651/

      4. To me, more important than whether a politician is skilled, is whether he or she gives a shit. I don’t get the sense that Biden or Trump really cares about good governance.

        I’m sure I disagree with Manchin on all kinds of specific issues, but he’s an example of someone who gives a shit.

        Neither side.

        1. You bring up true believer book above and then say this lol. Every dictator has believed strongly that they were helping and were setting the correct course for a populace.

          1. Not to Godwin the thread, but Hitler unquestionably was someone who sincerely gave a shit.

            I think you completely torpedoed your own argument there......

            1. Fine. Vast majority. Yes some are purely dicks. But many of the top of the Regime did truly believe and have strong opinions that they were bettering society.

              But even with that, Hitler actually did believe he was making the world better

              A Misreading of Darwinism
              Hitler believed that the engine of history was war, and that conflict helped the strong survive and rise to the top and killed off the weak. He thought this was how the world should be, and allowed this to affect him in several ways.

              https://www.thoughtco.com/what-did-hitler-believe-1221368

              He believed in an extreme form of Darwinism. So he wasn't doing it just for shits and giggles, but he thought he was helping in a grand scheme.

              1. Yeah, I was bolstering your point that being sincere in your beliefs is not automatically a good thing.

                1. Ahh. Gotcha.

        2. "To me, more important than whether a politician is skilled, is whether he or she gives a shit."

          Like Lenin, Mao, Mussolini, Pol Pot, Calles, Castro and Hitler?

          1. Biden gave a shit when he met with the Pope.

        3. Yes, I’m sure you’re far left of Manchin.

    2. After my discussion about “both sides” with Inquisitive Squirrel yesterday, I realize I should stop saying “both sides” and start saying “neither side”, instead.

      For me, the fundamental question is whether either of the two major American political parties meets a minimum bar for deserving a libertarian’s support. The clear answer is neither side meets that bar.

      Ken, and others, are trying to answer a different question: which major party is the lesser evil. This is why they object to “both sides”; they see the Republicans as scoring better than the Democrats. I couldn’t care less about which is slightly better, since neither meets my bar.

      (By the way, thanks Inquisitive Squirrel for having actual discussions yesterday, rather than engaging in the usual childishness that goes on around here.)

      1. A golden mean fallacy is still a fallacy no matter what terms you choose to use.

      2. I couldn’t care less about which is slightly better, since neither meets my bar.

        And that is precisely why libertarians are irrelevant in our political landscape.

        Starving out in the Siberian plains, the libertarian refuses to eat the cabbage or the beets because they are not hamburgers. The starvation does not bother him, after all. He has the thought of meat to sustain him until he dies.

        1. As long as they can pretend they are nice and sanctimonious people they can ignore the harm caused by others. It is hilarious.

      3. I had a nice discussion with him as well yesterday. GG and JesseAZ did their best to disrupt it with their childish nonsense, but they failed.

        1. Look at your posts yesterday and today. You never attempted a nice conversation. It is stunning the amount of bullshit you sell to yourself.

        2. Oh, I saw the nonsense they pulled. JesseAz is ankle biting at my comments today.

          1. I saw Inquisitive Squirrel say to JesseAZ "When did I ever say...?" more than a few times.

            I must say, JesseAZ does have a talent for accusing people they never said nor did to try to goad a response.

            He is a master baiter. A Grand Master Baiter.

            1. It's humorous how you two chucklefucks are so frightened of confronting the comprehensive takedowns of your stupidity, that you have to fantasize that they're something else instead.
              There's really no bottom to your ridiculousness.

              1. It’s also humorous how those two ‘neutral’ fags that only attack republicans are buddies. And Sarc is starting to pal around with Buttplug.

            2. You mean when I directly quoted from his posts?

          2. Amazing how hou assume comments when on mute. Just makes you seem like an idiot. I responded to each of your points based on your idiotic take.

      4. Yeah, it doesn’t matter. Basically you make false claims of equivalence when your democrats are caught dead to rights on something. So rephrasing your bullshit doesn’t mean it’s not still bullshit.

  2. Doesn't it come down to relying on a virtuous citizenry in order to have marginally acceptable political discourse.

    Fix our broken moral compass first. Then the rest will fix itself.

    1. But the question then becomes: whose moral compass? We don't want to go back to when Protestant Christianity dominated our nation's laws (and vilified gays, single parents and anything else that deviated from the Only Acceptible Lifestyle), but we don't want to enshrine "cancel culture" either.

      The moral compass base will have to be what they referred to in the "kindergarten phase": Don't beat people up, don't take their stuff. Go too far beyond that, and we get into the culture wars again.

      1. The moral compass base will have to be what they referred to in the "kindergarten phase": Don't beat people up, don't take their stuff.

        That is a decidedly Christian moral compass, boiled down to its essence.

        The pivotal questions is this: "Should people be forced to live together?"

        The notion that we can save the entire country by simply being polite seems, to me, absurd. If people want to live under separate rules, among people they like, under a moral compass of their choosing, shouldn't they be free to do so? The libertarian must grapple with this question and be willing to consider that this country, in its present form, does not need to exist --- and, if it continues to exist as such, will continue to be a detriment to liberty.

        1. You'll find that non-Christian cultures historically have espoused what you are referring to as a Christian moral compass. Any community that chooses to attempt peaceful and prosperous existence would by necessity adopt simple rules such as not committing acts of violence or theft. It's cross-cultural, maybe pan-cultural. Shorter: folks simply don't want the snot beaten out of themselves, friends, family, and don't want crops, possessions stolen.

          1. You'll find that non-Christian cultures historically have espoused what you are referring to as a Christian moral compass."

            Who? Early Christian Neo-Platoism, the Scottish Enlightenment and North European Protestantism are the backbone of American secular morality.
            Buddhist, Greco-Roman pagan and Hindu views are extremely different on issues like fate, free-will and charity.

          2. Any community that chooses to attempt peaceful and prosperous existence would by necessity adopt simple rules such as not committing acts of violence or theft.

            Honor killings in the Islamic world are seen as integral to overall peace and prosperity. By controlling human sexuality, the integrity of marital and pre-marital relationships is preserved, thus staving off intertribal conflict and disputes overs family succession.

            My point is that there would be no America without Christian values, not that Christian values are original iterations of common principles like do not steal, and do not commit acts of unprovoked violence.

            1. I'm agnostic. But as someone whose parents dragged them around to all sorts of religions from orthodox to various protestant religions, seeing Christians as demurred to solely being anti gay is amazing. The vast majority supported everyone. They were denied certain religious rites and such, not hunted and attacked. The norm was to welcome them and talk. But just like murderers or others who sinned and didn't seek redemption were not allowed certain religious rites.

              It is the same as going to a catholic church and not lining up for the eucharistic because you weren't baptized in that religion.

              But it is a common refrain now meant to attack that culture head on.

              Meanwhile the entirety of the left is attacking and excommunicating those who don't push CRT or other causes.

              1. Leftism comes pre-packaged with a bevy of devotional rites and doctrines, but none of the moral substance that can actually sustain a society in the long term. Christianity has appeal, morally and doctrinally, because it is a religion of inclusion. Leftism, on the other hand, is explicitly rooted in doctrines of exclusion; a filtering process to weed out all the undesirables, until only the most devoted remain.

                That is why you see leftists so enraged when Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and Whites profess a global unity in Christ. Even gays and lesbians, etc. This is why they are targeting churches for closure. This is why they are attacking Christian businesses. The left understands that Christianity is a major obstacle in their agenda to splinter society into feuding groups. Christ offers people something the left cannot -- genuine unity.

                Genuine unity among people, however, means resistance to government. And that the left cannot have.

                1. Cultural Marxism in a nutshell

              2. "seeing Christians as demurred to solely being anti gay is amazing."

                I always get a kick out of LBGTWTFBBQ activists waxing rhapsodical over the Dali Lama, when he has been publicly critical of homosexuality, and Tibetan Buddhism is harder on it than Christianity is. And how they all like to pretend that Hinduism is all third gender and Kama Sutra, whereas in fact gays were castrated or beaten, and PDAs as innocuous as Valentines Day cards will incite a mob.

                No large scale society outside of this one has ever been this tolerant of adult (not pederasty) homosexuality before. Not even boyfucking Greekswith their catamite corps or the Romans.

      2. Live-and-let-live
        Vs
        Kill-or-be-killed

        These are the only options, and they're mutually exclusive. If the former is rejected by some, the latter is chosen for all.

        1. +1

        2. Stated far better than I have ever been able. Government is supposed to control the latter for the benefit of the former, but every expansion into irrelevant fields increases the latter at the expense of the former. The only solution is shrinking government by 90 or 99%, and that can't happen as long as government legislators and judges define its own limits.

        3. Indeed. If democrats learn to leave people alone, they will be stopped, and their numbers reduced as necessary until the situation is corrected. Or as the quote goes, I don’t care if they leave town on their horses, or slung over the backs.

    2. No, not " our" compass.

      .The baby murdering psychotic radical violent anarchist Lefts spinning compass

      Not "Bowf Sidez"

    3. Theirs, not ours.

  3. Why don't you go sell this to the people for whom "the personal is political" so they crammed politics in every facet of life, or who live by attaining their political ends "by any means necessary". Perhaps the people who see every uncollectivized dollar as a "loophole" in the tax code if it's not in their pocket. In short, go sell this to the Leftists you and Reason have aligned with and get those marxists to stop encroaching on the lives of others and a lot of this will cease, but no, we get both sides.

    1. They are hedging their bets. They do not know who is going to win and they need plausible deniability if the time comes when it is their turn to be lined up against the wall. They actually think if the Democrat-Communists succeed, pointing to an article they once wrote is going to win over their executors.

    2. "Why don't you go sell this to the people for whom "the personal is political" so they crammed politics in every facet of life..."

      Yes, this IS indeed "both sides" of the R-D chasm! Only libertarians have more than an iota of wisdom and self-restraint, in politics today!

      1. TDS-addled spastic asshole gets flagged.

        1. Hey Sevo the Pedo! How's your kiddie-diddling efforts cumming along?

        2. Saw a roadkill squirrel on the side of the street. It probably accomplished more in its life than the squirrel here.

          1. The roadkilled squirrel was probably killed while attempting to gather and hoard nuts. "Put the nuts in their places", as it were. Which is EXACTLY what I often try to do! I do my job in climate-controlled indoor conditions, so hopefully I won't get road-killed...

            1. TDS-addled spastic asshole gets flagged.

    3. They call those dollars you get to keep "tax expenditures".

  4. A long winded and futile appeal to "just be nice." That is never going to happen because you cannot simply be nice to people that hate you and want you dead.

    Democrats have fully embraced authoritarian governance as the foundation of their political ideology. They think this is finally their chance to break the people, and thus the only solution is to break the Democrats.

    1. Says a guy who hates Democrats and wants them dead. Dude, you're exactly like the people you hate.

      1. Just you.

        1. That would be flattering if I was a Democrat. Please, threaten me more.

          1. Pull your dick out of your daughter and take a shower you worthless alcoholic.

            1. Keep projecting, dude.

              1. Your ex-wife knows everything, and so do the feds. And the paternity tests do not lie, shitbreath.

                1. I didn't know the feds were involved in your war with your ex-wife. How'd that happen?

                  1. You suck at trolling. All leftists suck at trolling.

                    1. So you're a leftist. Thought so.

                    2. Go back to running your SQRSLY sock, faggot.

                    3. Yes dear. Whatever you say dear.

                    4. IDEAS!

                    5. I can't discuss ideas with an empty head.

                    6. But you can fuck your daughter with a syphilitic dick? Get your priorities in check, faggot.

                    7. Your projections are really gross, dude.

                    8. IDEAS!!

                    9. sarcasmic
                      December.28.2021 at 8:50 am
                      Flag Comment Mute User
                      I can't discuss ideas with an empty head.

                      Poor sarc just admitted to having an empty head, and doesn’t realize it.

                    10. Just continue to point out his hypocrisy GG. Easiest way to annoy him. He has no principles and rages when you prove it to him.

                2. Bet it makes you mad GG that you can say this and not get remuted when I was apparently never removed. Haha.

                  Chumby, think I'm the winner.

                  1. He's muted and unmuted me more times than I can count. At least, that is what he claims. I do not think he ever muted any of us. He needs us. Bad. If he ever really muted us, the whole point of his trollish existence would evaporate into the air. This is his life.

                  2. The other day he said he unmuted everyone except 3. Didn’t say which 3, but he still hasn’t responded to me, so I’m assuming I’m on the podium.

                    1. The race is on!

                  3. The Cutty Sarc Bowl

            2. Goldilicks Gorillashit is trying its VERY best to be an example to us all! THIS is how you do rational, civil discourse, says Gorillashit!

              1. Fuck off, sarc.

              2. But his insults are so manly! His mommy told him so!

                1. Fuck off, SQRSLY.

                  1. *swoon*

                    So manly! And rugged!

                    1. Fuck off, SQRSLY.

                    2. Your mom is so proud of you.

                    3. Your dad regrets not killing you the day you came out.

                    4. How'd you know?

                    5. I think you posted about it before in one of your many personal confessions.

              3. TDS-addled spastic asshole gets flagged

            3. I don’t be,I’ve for a moment he even has a daughter, an ex wife, or any kind of living mate. Not a willing one anyway. Just a refrigerator box, with whatever bottom shelf liquor and hobo wine he can cobble together.

      2. Leave me alone, or die
        Vs
        Be what I want you to be, or die

        Go fuck yourself, child abuser

        1. Good! Use your aggressive feelings, boy. Let the hate flow through you!

          1. "Tulpa" is making sarcasmic sound like a moron again, that devious bastard.

          2. You’re the one that full of hate.

      3. Oh bullshit. It’s like Israel and the Palestinians. If the Palestinians disarmed tomorrow, there would be peace. If the Israelis disarmed tomorrow, there would be another Jewish genocide.

        It’s the same thing with the democrats. They don’t leave people alone.

    2. Let's use ChickFila as an example. This company sells chicken sandwiches, is closed on Sunday, and has given money to church organizations. That last part has caused many people to call it a hate group and politicians have actively violated the company's constitutional rights. Despite the claims of them being a hate group, I have never heard a claim that someone was denied service or employment there for any reason. Just the stated belief of their owner's religion was enough to earn eternal ire.

      A similar corporation, Hobby Lobby has been in a decade long court battle where they are being forced to pay for medicines that they view as against their religion. There's no real reason that their employees cannot get their own insurance, pay for hormonal birth control out of their own pocket, or use one of several other methods. However, it seems paramount on the part of certain groups that these companies be forced to violate their faith.

      I cannot see any equivalent assaults from the right on leftist groups simply for existing.

      1. Hobby Lobby in particular has been attacked by even moderate leftists because they were easily fooled about what their actual position is.

      2. Who called Chick-fil-a a hate group? ACLU? SPLC? I've found the folks screaming "hate group" have the least tolerance of all and have nothing but contempt for average Americans and Christianity. They tend to be very tribal in origin and focus on protecting their tribe at the expense of sometimes truth and raising money for themselves (grifters). The narrative is more important than the facts..Leo Frank is a classic example of this. Maybe he was guilty..maybe he wasn't.

        1. Either the ACLU not the SPLC have any credibility at this point. They are purely Marxist attack organizations at this point.

      3. CF is so busy you cant get in the place at noon.

        Thats a hale and hearty "FU" to the homo left.

    3. Chamberlain was nice to Adolf and that worked out well. Give authoritarian Democrats more space and control. They will use it wisely.

      1. I would like to give them fear, agony and an ultimatum to leave everyone alone.

  5. Today worrying yourself sick about liberals and conservatives is just as stupid as worrying yourself sick over the Whig Party in 1853.
    Politics will be an entirely different thing as Whites come to REALIZE that they are a threatened minority. That is what is happening now.
    Diversity is a code word for White Genocide.

    1. Can you explain what is so valuable about Whiteness?

      1. Seeing as how your chosen elite in CRT define objectivism and right answers as whiteness, ask them. That's their definition btw.

      2. What a strange question. Why should white people be marginalized or discriminated against? Are you racist?

  6. Worrying about what other people are doing is a luxury you can only afford if you don't have enough in your own life to worry about. As they say, "Hard times create strong men. Strong men create good times. Good times create weak men. And weak men create hard times." If you've got enough free time that you can afford to worry about how battery-raised chickens are treated, you need more problems in your life. Move out of your mom's basement, get a job, start paying your own way, loser.

    1. Amen

  7. Americans jump to politics as a universal solution

    Is this tendency peculiar to Americans? Or is it one of humans generally?

    1. The answer matters, doesn't it? If it's an American thing, then the causes of and remedies for it are to be sought in the peculiarities of the USA. If not, then they're to be sought in human nature.

    2. I disagree with the premise.

      Legacy media, fed a steady diet of government talking points, jump to politics as a universal solution.

      Social media influencers, fed a steady diet of government talking points, jump to politics as a universal solution.

      Hollywood actors, fed a steady diet of government talking point, jump to politics as a universal solution.

      Americans by and large want to be left the fuck alone.

      1. Americans by and large want to be left the fuck alone.

        Americans want government to leave themselves alone, sure. But the very same people want to use government to hurt people they don't like.

        1. How's that for an idea, dicknose?

          1. You are an insufferable faggot, SQRSLY.

        2. No, government has grown so big and so meddlesome that the only way to minimize government meddling in our own lives is to sic government on other people before they sic government on us.

          1. That kind of thinking has never worked. It only leads to escalation.

            1. He’s pointing out that that’s what’s happening now Dee.

            2. Why can’t you democrats just leave people alone?

      2. OK, but taking those qualifiers, are they peculiar to the USA?

        1. I think the social media aspect is a uniquely American phenomenon, but only to the extent that most of Europe and Asia crack down on Facebook and Twitter --- while we do not. I understand why we do not, but that places us in a unique position in terms of dealing with its perfidious effects.

          1. We dont bc these corps like Fbook Abd Twit are fronts for US govt surveillence.

        2. IMHO, these are problems of human nature, and not specifically American nature. We ALL want cake! And if someone else, not me and mine, bakes it, so much the better! (The problems are "baked in", sociobiologically).

      3. "Americans by and large want to be left the fuck alone."

        Ha! We all know about the "libs" here-abouts, so they can escape mention for now... Conservatives? Abortion, free trade, open borders... They almost ALL want to mind my business there! On THESE here pages RIGHT HERE, they (rightfully) bemoan forced-cake-baking laws... We should NOT go crying to Government Almighty for lack of a gay wedding cake... And then they will go right on wanting to tear down Section 230! Whining and crying to Government Almighty 'cause "Somebody done me wrong-song; they took down my POST, dammit!" Hypocrites!

        1. Fuck off, sarc.

        2. If government didn't have the power to force someone to bake a cake, then it wouldn't be an issue.

          The problem isn't assholes. There will always be assholes. The problem is a government with the power to do the bidding of said assholes.

        3. TDS-addled spastic asshole is flagged again

        4. I assume they have all stopped complaining about Section 230 now that Trump has solved the private social media censorship problem by launching TRUTH Social.

          Oh, you say they are still complaining...

          1. This post brought to you by someone who clearly either doesn’t understand people’s complaints about 230, or is being a disingenuous cunt.

            1. This immediately-above post brought to you by someone who clearly is a Marxist, lusting after Government Almighty control of private property (in the form of web sites).

              Hey whining crybaby… I pay (PAY! With MY money! I OWN!) for my own web site at Go-Daddy. I say some VERY sarcastic and un-politically-correct, intolerant things about cults like Scientology there (and Government Almighty as well). I am QUITE sure that a LOT of “tolerant” liberal-type folks at Google etc. would NOT be happy with the types of things I wrote! Yet, if you do a search-string “Scienfoology”, Google will take you STRAIGHT to MY web site, top hit! #1!

              https://www.google.com/search?q=scienfoology&nfpr=1&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjPzZqf0dXsAhUCT6wKHez9DNwQvgUoAXoECDEQKg&biw=1920&bih=941

              Your whining and crying is UTTERLY without basis!

              WHERE is your respect for property rights?! I learned to respect the property rights of others, before I was in the 1st grade! Didn’t your Momma raise you right?

            2. Why not both?

              1. "...doesn’t understand people’s complaints about 230..."

                SOME of us understand them perfectly well... AND understand them as being evil, greedy, short-sighted, self-righteous, and selfish!

                1. Flags for the TDS-addled spastic asshole!

            3. Can’t it be both?

    3. It's a symptom of a government with too much power.

      For example businesses seek special favors from government because government has the power to grant them. If government kept its nose out of the economy it wouldn't be an issue.

      If government didn't have the power to make rules for every aspect of life, people wouldn't be clamoring for rules favorable to them.

      1. But if government in the USA has too much power, what about governments elsewhere in the world? I'd say relatively speaking in the USA governments (national, state, local) are still pikers. They're powerful only because the USA itself is so big and powerful. But I don't think that relative to society generally they're more powerful than government is in most of the world.

    4. It's a modern society, maybe a post-industrial society thing. And more a left-leaning cultural tendency.

  8. Americans were divided before Trump, but his four years in office supercharged partisan animosity. Everyone has a theory about what's to blame for it.

    My theory is our betters decided that if the chimps weren’t going to vote as we were told, then they’re going to burn the whole shithouse to the ground. Scorched earth philosophy. Explains how the dominant political party in our country and their friends in the media enabled the “social justice” riots. And it’s still being seen with said party’s enthusiastic ongoing punishment of the American people with their Covid “response”.

    The sooner the people are forgiven for electing Trump, the better. I’m afraid it’s it’s going to take some time for our betters to heal though.

  9. “But the problems with America's political climate...”

    -are crystallized by extremists, Utopians, or ideologues and by those who attempt to usurp the democratic process. Guess where you increasingly find those skunks?

    But it’s true there’s got to be some honor amongst the thieves.

  10. "Americans were divided before Trump"
    Long, long before. Read about George Washington's administration. Hamiltonians and Jeffersonians making today's politics seem tame by comparison. Cartoons of President Washington being guillotined. Log rolling: couldn't get the Navy off the ground without the first six ships being built in six different ports to lessen the regional and state animosities. Two hundred and fifty years of Americans at each others throats, yet surviving,
    gives one some optimism that again the worst excesses of the Dems and Reps will be overcome.

    1. Let's not forget the vice president gunning down the former secretary of treasury over headlines in newspapers that were run by the political parties.

      Didn't they make a musical about that or something?

  11. This is why libertarians promote limited government. If government was limited then people wouldn't be fighting over how to use government to hurt people they don't like.

    1. Maybe this is why I'm not really libertarian.

      If Men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and the next place, oblige it to control itself. - James Madison

      The key to those controls on government is not defining those as limits on government that government will then oblige itself to obey. The key is to separate the powers of government into mixed 'branches' with their own source of authority and then letting them compete in a way where they cannot cartelize or share their power. It is the competition for power among those who are not angels that creates limits. Not the definition of limits among those who must be angels to oblige themselves to control themselves.

      1. edit - obliging them to compete rather than letting them compete.

        1. The Founders imagined the branches competing with each other, resulting in limited government.

          They didn't imagine what has happened, which is the branches colluding and giving deference to each other.

          The result being unlimited government.

          1. They didn't imagine what has happened, which is the branches colluding and giving deference to each other.

            I think what has failed is that WE (not the founders) have failed to really restructure our governance to account for things that have occurred in the last 230 years.

            Political parties and electoral factionalism were certainly a surprise to the founders. But we are the ones who have failed to see the collusion that occurs when a legislature (the outcome of a past election) determines both the allocation and election rules of future elections.

            We failed to uproot and replant the compromises of the 3/5 era. So we don't have a branch of government driven by the explicit individual protections of say a Universal Declaration of Human Rights (that would be an authority that goes way beyond elections) while we still have a 'traditionalist' obsession with structures/forms of the 3/5 era.

            We successfully separated the executive/ministerial from the administrative/bureaucratic - but we failed to create a separate power/authority to limit the bureaucratic.

            We have failed to really separate legislative powers into legislative v audit/oversight - or failing that to provide the legislature with sufficient size to perform both functions accountably.

      2. JFree proves once again that he has no idea what libertarian means.

      3. "Governnent was not created by God and is irreconciliable."

        A very rare book L. Oostendorp on H.P. Scholte, Founder if Pella IA

  12. " Gallup found that while unvaccinated Democrats correctly estimate vaccine efficacy to be 88%, unvaccinated Republicans estimated it to be effectively zero.

    For certain values of "efficacy" and "vaccine".

    The COVID "vaccine" seems to be much more like the "flu shot" than like the MMR or polio vaccines.

    The COVID "vaccine" doesn't prevent infection--it almost certainly reduces the likelihood of infection, but nowhere close to 0%. The COVID "vaccine" doesn't prevent serious illness--it almost certainly reduces the likelihood of serious illness, but nowhere close to 0%. The COVID "vaccine" doesn't prevent death--it almost certainly reduces the likelihood of death, maybe even close to 0%.

    The COVID vaccine provides something on the order of 10x "protection" relative to being unvaccinated.

    Having said all that, my own hesitancy (although I have fully vaccinated but not yet boosted) centered not over the efficacy of the vaccine nor the concept of vaccines at all, but over the emergency development of said vaccine(s).

    In this case, I agreed with Kamala Harris and Andrew Cuomo who initially proclaimed no faith in the vaccine. They were just being political animals, but I had legitimate doubts. Because who knows what corners were cut in the rush to put something--anything--out the door to suck up the billions and billions of dollars Trump and Biden and Congress were throwing at Big Pharma. There have not been years of validated trials, nor decades of proven efficacy and safety as with other vaccines we commonly support.

    The new study showing efficacy dwindles after 10 weeks means that the "vaccines" seem little more than prophylactic so the "effectively zero" is a matter of opinion (is 10 weeks of protection "effective"?). A stronger focus on treatments might have been a better route, and at this point might be very warranted.

    A lot more transparency and fewer noble lies would also have improved the situation. Instead we had Fauci committing several noble lies (see https://slate.com/technology/2021/07/noble-lies-covid-fauci-cdc-masks.html). We had CDC and states counting deaths obviously not caused by COVID (e.g., gunshot victims, motocycle accidents) as COVID deaths. We had perverse financial incentives for hospitals and states to count every possible death as COVID. We had CDC stop counting breakthrough cases. We had OSHA stop enforcing employer reporting of negative side effects. We had any discussion of treatments not called "vaccines" ridiculed. We had government and media-induced panic, such that people on both sides of the aisle VASTLY overestimate the actual risk of infection, hospitalization, and death. I won't even get started on the petty, irrational tyrannies mayors, governors, and Presidents imposed (and which courts allowed...because "COVID").

    1. Actually you can get increased resistance to viral and other infections for some days or weeks by injecting nearly anything antigenic. It's a non-specific immune effect. And while 10 weeks of protection is longer lasting than the general order of that sort of thing, it's only by an order of magnitude or less.

      1. This is a little-heralded effect Jenner observed with the original vaccination, for which the word was coined. There's been a tendency to downplay that observation in favor of the specific cross-immunity he observed between cowpox and smallpox, but it's there and significant. He found his subjects not only had lasting resistance to smallpox, but for a while after their injection they had various other conditions — not all of them infectious — improve. People may not want to acknowledge that these days, smacking as it does of panacea, but he was turning on the non-specific immune response.

      2. I suspect that some of that effect is the consequence of our immune system being driven in a large part by our gastrointestinal system. Commensal or mutualist species of bacteria/virus/etc in our gut/etc are absolutely required for our existence. But harmful bacteria are not specifically targeted via our choice of food, acid stomach, existing biome at any specific point in time, etc. Instead, our immune system in the gut has to constantly be prepared for random antigens that are unknown as to whether they will be harmful or helpful.

      3. yes, so why all the focus on THIS coronavirus?

        ( weaponized )

    2. I'm reminded about Global Warming expertise, where being an "expert" was defined as agreeing with the apocalyptic conclusions, and so they could claim complete agreement of experts, while anyone who dared claim that it wasn't that bad or that there were other solutions was exiled from discussions (If you're interested, I would suggest reading the introduction to the book "Think Like a Freak").

      It's easy to argue people are rejecting truth when your definition of truth is "agrees with me".

  13. Do they have memory loss? It started going south when the Dem’s were trying to take back the congress, didn’t just have disagreements with Bush but threatened to have him sent up for war crimes. Got worse under Obama, remember when they had a budget deal all set and then as soon as McConnell left the White House Obama craw fished and blamed the deal going south on him…that is when McConnell said he would never trust him again. I think the Dems went off the rails in 2004 when they failed to take back the government since then they have been sore losers even when they win.

    1. Nah. The current animosity goes back at least to the Bush/Gore election, and possibly even the Clinton Impeachment, depending on how you look at it.

  14. "Politics is for something, right?"

    "for" leaving me alone.

  15. The left hates you.
    Hate them back.
    Take direct action, or lose everything.

    1. You better start training now before the Militia Etheridge starts murdering heterosexual men.

      1. IDEAS! CIVIL DISCUSSION! CIVILITY!

  16. 1) The article is worthless; suggesting people be nice to others is a waste of time. Witness any of Tony's posts: He's willing to empty you pockets to the last centime to finance one lefty fantasy after the other. As far as he's concerned, you are simply a source of money for his desires.
    2) We do not have the possibility of a Libertarian government or POTUS; our best hope is to elect those who will chip away at the disaster we are now facing. We had such a POTUS in Trump.
    3) A very large portion of the population doesn't care about results; the sole focus is personality. Assholes like bevis, the spastic piece of shit and more than a couple of REASON writers want daddy-figures in government; people who smile and make comforting 'coos', regardless of any horrible policies we get from them.
    4) Unfortunately, we get what those assholes deserve. You want me to be nice to those shitpiles?
    Fugedaboutit.

    1. Many weeks ago, Roberta pointed out the necessity of a libertarian institution to differentiate itself from Republicans. This isn't necessarily Roberta's take--but libertarian groups are competing with Republicans for donations and attention, and if the reality is that backing the competition is what libertarians should do, I'm not sure that helps the bottom line if you're a libertarian organization that depends on competing against the Republicans for support. Del Taco can differentiate itself from the burger chains, but if the ads they run make you want Mexican fast food and go to Taco Bell, they've failed.

      I maintain that natural gas and nuclear power are excellent transitional solutions to climate change--from an environmentalist perspective--and yet there are environmental groups out there who actively oppose both fracking and nuclear power. I suspect this is because their donors oppose fracking and nuclear power--the donors just want American consumers to learn to live without power. The people writing the big checks are the ones keeping those environmental groups fully funded, and if being fully funded means advocating things that, ultimately, aren't in the best interests of fighting climate change, well--they can still do some good if they're fully funded.

      The ACLU often seems like it's selling its principles short in various ways. The Second Amendment was always a soft point, but sometimes, you wonder if they're really in favor of freedom of religion and freedom of speech anymore. I think that's because the opinions of their largest donors have changed. The ultimate principle is that he who pays the piper calls the tune. If you're selling influence to donors, you have to give them some influence for their money.

      I think that's the kind of thing that's happening here. They're Del Taco trying to differentiate themselves from Taco Bell.

      1. Yes, that's exactly most of my take. And it's a conflict of interest between libertarian organizations and libertarians themselves.

      2. That tends to happen with all foundations eventually if they're lean enough to keep requiring infusions of cash. FEE successfully resisted it for a long time, and it wasn't just because of Leonard Read.

      3. "...I think that's the kind of thing that's happening here. They're Del Taco trying to differentiate themselves from Taco Bell."

        And the customers all are getting chased to the hamburger stand...

      4. "The people writing the big checks are the ones keeping those environmental groups fully funded"

        THE US GOVERNMENT doing it.

        2012 Hanford ORP Budget. 1.x billion some dollars for Hanford Superfund Cleanup.

        17,000 dollars was given TO ANTI NUKE GROUPS TO PROTEST.

  17. "Americans were divided before Trump, but his four years in office supercharged partisan animosity. Everyone has a theory about what's to blame for it. Both the left and the right like to point to social media, albeit for different reasons. Both blame traditional media as well, whether it's "fake news" or Fox News. Both agree that politics is broken because the other guys broke it."

    BOFF SIDZ!!!

    The logic and history behind our First Amendment religious protections are instructive here. James Madison wrote the First Amendment and credited Martin Luther with, "showing us the way" on religious liberty. The roots of the First Amendment are found in the Peace of Westphalia (1648), which ultimately brought an end to the horrific religious killing in the Thirty Years War (where some parts of the Holy Roman Empire lost 50% of their population).

    There were two provisions, in particular, in the Peace of Westphalia that the First Amendment mimics: 1) The local princes were free to choose their own religion regardless of the religion chosen by the emperor, and 2) The people were free to practice their own religion regardless of the religion chosen by their local prince. This boils down to what we recognize as freedom from establishment and free exercise. Taking religion out of politics makes politics less religious--who knew?!

    Once this system became established in the Holy Roman Empire, it was no longer necessary for people of different religions to fight each other over control of the government for religious reasons--because their right to practice their own religion no longer depended on whether the religion of the emperor or the local prince was their own. People no longer felt it was necessary for someone of their own faith to control the government and protect their rights. As soon as the government becomes a religious institution, that goes out the window.

    I maintain that progressivism is a religion without a God, and while all of society probably isn't about to descend into violence over our differing beliefs today, the same principles that drove the violence during the Thirty Years War are still in play today. In other words, people do still become increasingly partisan when they believe it won't be possible for them to make choices for themselves or thrive in society unless the people in charge of the government share their own beliefs. And progressivism is practically obsessed with controlling the beliefs and actions of their opponents.

    Ultimately, the question is about whether partisan fears of progressives using the government to force them to do things and believe things that against their interests and against their will are legitimate, and I'm here to argue that the correct answer is yes. The progressives fully intend to force us to sacrifice our standard of living on the altar of climate change, for instance, s well as purge society of any speech or speakers who commit sins against progressive wokeness (or even tolerate the sinful thoughts of others)--and climate change socialism and woke mob thought control are two examples.

    1. "The progressives fully intend to force us to sacrifice our standard of living on the altar of climate change, for instance, [a]s well as purge society of any speech or speakers who commit sins against progressive wokeness (or even tolerate the sinful thoughts of others)--and climate change socialism and woke mob thought control are [just] two examples."

      ----Ken Shultz

      Fixed!

      When Castro was trying to take over Cuba, when Hugo Chavez was trying to take over Venezuela, or when Daniel Ortega was taking over Nicaragua, the appropriate reaction was not to point out the flaws of both sides and call for politeness and less partisanship. The appropriate action was more partisanship and opposition to what those vicious dictatorships were doing--all across the board. The partisanship opposing those progressives needed to become more widespread and more enthusiastic.

      Are American progressives just as bad as Castro, Chavez, and Ortega? Not yet--but that's because they don't quite have the power of the others. Those progressive dictatorships were able to fully implement their agendas without partisan opposition. It's still too early in the progressives' take over of America to compare the results. However, the ideas, tactics, rationalizations, and policies of American progressives are all the same as they were when those other left wing dictatorships took over. Why should we imagine that the outcomes of that would be different this time? Left wing dictatorships find themselves doing the same things for the same reasons once they're in power, and those realities for American progressives won't be any different.

      Is someone here willing to make the argument that the economics of socialism would have different outcomes in Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua if only Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren had been in charge? Is someone here willing to make the argument that protecting the government from the political reaction to the forced sacrifice of rights, liberties, and property won't cause the government to crack down on free speech, a free press, an independent court system, etc., etc., etc.--if only we have politicians like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren in charge?

      1. "When Castro was trying to take over Cuba, when Hugo Chavez was trying to take over Venezuela, or when Daniel Ortega was taking over Nicaragua, the appropriate reaction was not to point out the flaws of both sides and call for politeness and less partisanship. The appropriate action was more partisanship and opposition to what those vicious dictatorships were doing--all across the board. The partisanship opposing those progressives needed to become more widespread and more enthusiastic."

        So, "Viva, Batista!!!"???

        1. People just absolutely don't give a crap, do they? "Boff Sidz" is not an argument, but "viva Batista" is?

        2. If that was the choice you had then, then yes. Fortunately we have better here and now, but at that time and place keeping Batista would've been better, Barry Farber to the contrary. I mean, come on, the Iron Curtain's down, Fidel's dead, and we still don't have the communists out of Cuba!

          Anyway, the question Ken poses is the perpetual one: whether given their head today's "left", or "right", in the free world, given their head, would become as bad as they got to be in countries where the institutions weren't so freedom-oriented. I've often wondered myself whether on seeing such developments they'd pull back in abhorrence, or would instead think, "Gee, I guess when it goes like this you really do have to be a ruthless tyrant."

          1. Well, I can certainly tell you that in my youth I would have bet any of you cared to wager that things in the United States could never get to the point they are at now. I don't think anyone, left right or center, would have ever believed that we would have any of the intrusions on our liberty that we think of as commonplace today. Whether they come from government or from private entities.

          2. Once the Spartans decided to enslave the Helots, so many of their other choices were already made for them. It wasn't just that they couldn't let their Spartan military leave Sparta for long--for fear of a Helot uprising--it's also that they needed to develop the kind of government, culture, laws, and society that could keep the overwhelming majority of the population compliant despite economic degradation and indifference to their rights. I'm definitely on the side that says different people in the same situations are forced to make the same kinds of choices.

            "When no bread arrived in Moscow in 1921, workers became hungry and disillusioned. They organised demonstrations against the Bolshevik Party's policy of privileged rations, in which the Red Army, Party members, and students received rations first. The Kronstadt rebellion of soldiers and sailors broke out in March 1921, fueled by anarchism and populism.[9] In 1921 Lenin replaced the food requisitioning policy with a tax, signaling the inauguration of the New Economic Policy.

            ----New Economic Policy

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Economic_Policy

            Lenin was debilitated by a stroke, shortly thereafter, and died, but if he'd lived or Trotsky had some out on top, either one of them would have faced the same crises as Stalin, and the choice between staying in power and repression would have been the same. You can't actively inflict sacrifice on an unwilling population, let them enjoy freedom of speech, assembly, and a vote--and expect to stay in power. It doesn't work that way in democracies either.

            One of the biggest problems libertarian capitalists have is getting people to understand that the consequences of progressive polices are both foreseeable and foreseen. If Elizabeth Warren had supervised Chavez's nationalization of food distribution, the results would have been the same. It's like an ad hominem fallacy to assume that the laws of physics would work differently if someone else were flying the airplane. (Elizabeth Warren is now accusing the grocery store chains profiteering for being the cause of food inflation).

            In Australia, the prime minister pushed through a carbon tax against the people's will in a minority controlled coalition government. Because Australia is a free society, the first thing the Australian people did was vote Gilliard out on her ass and replaced her government with one that was elected on the promise to repeal the carbon tax. People weren't so against fighting global warming--right up until their energy bills started showing up in the mail with the new tax. Progressives are always trying to tell us that their spending bills will cost nothing, inflation is all in our heads, etc., etc.

            The bigger point is, you can't have a wildly unpopular policy program--after it's been implemented--and a free society in which the voters are unmoved by the negative consequences. If you wish to maintain power despite forced sacrifice, you must have a repressive government. And once the government becomes repressive enough, you're forced to maintain a certain level of repression just to keep your head off of a pike. I can think of a couple of examples.

            1) The CCP maintains the mandate of heaven despite all the repression by keeping the level of prosperity rising. When the prosperity level stops rising, all bets on the mandate of heaven are off--and they haven't really had a recession since joining the WTO. Once they do, they'll probably need to choose between repression and allowing more freedom, and allowing more freedom will necessarily mean less power for the CCP.

            2) When Ceausescu';s repression was no longer backed up by the implicit threat of a Russian invasion, the Romanian army joined the revolution rather than fire on the demonstrators. What should Ceausescu have done differently? Whenever I see a vicious dictator described as "paranoid", it always seems ironic to me. When you've oppressed your own people to the point that millions of them would rise up and kill you if they could just get a chance, isn't being paranoid the rational response? Point is, oppression can be the only option--and at that point, it would have been the same choice for anybody.

      2. "Are American progressives just as bad as Castro, Chavez, and Ortega?"

        Far worse. Two million dead in Vietnam alone. Cozying up to Nazis, and other vicious dictators, murder, torture, and fomenting turmoil around the world. It's far worse than anything Castro managed in 50 years of power.

    2. I've pointed out the obvious before, but spelling "both sides" as "BOFF SIDZ!!!" does not constitute a valid argument. Aren't you supposed to be the master of logic and reasoning?

      1. What a dumb response. Dude made a half-article sized argument, and you pretend that lampooning the false equivalence fallacy is:
        A) not an argument
        And
        B) the only argument being made.

        It is an argument, and a valid one at that. And it is only two words from a multi paragraph screed.

        "You didn't make enough points in your argument" is perhaps a valid critique for a few of the sock puppets around here.... But there are a couple of us who are never short on thoughts and arguments to share. Ken and I being the 3 primary offenders on that front.

        In fact, "you make too many points" is more of a valid critique than complaining about distilling the critique of the logical fallacy of false equivalence down to a two word lampoon in "both sides". Both are quite valid forms of argument.

        I tend to be more impressed with the thoughtful pithiness involved in breaking down a complex argument and then encapsulating it in a punchy phrase. Unfortunately, that is very difficult and we only have one purveyor of that technique who has consistent success.

        And yes, the length of this rebuke is indeed intentionally ironic.

        1. Mike isn’t here to respond with intelligence. Mike is here to shitpost underneath Ken’s logic.

      2. Mocking idiot lefties certainly is part of the argument. You not knowing what it means makes it extra funny though, so thanks Dee.

      1. You actually think trumpism is a thing?

        1. mikes ill from fumes from his Gas Light.

          And being ass raped

      2. Thanks for the link!

        God picks all of the politicians that I agree with! Satan picks all of the rest!

        1. Fuck off and die, TDS-addled spastic asshole.

          1. Satan picked Super-Perv-Predator-Sevo the Pedo, Hippo in a Speedo, AKA “SmegmaLung”, to be its right-hand Hippo-Pedo!

            Satan blesses SmegmaLung; we should, too!!! Caw-caw-caw!!! All Hail SmegmaLung!!!

            1. Fuck off and die, TDS-addled spastic asshole.

  18. Amen, brother.
    My libertarian sister was once discussing politics with her liberal Democrat friend. The friend was getting upset until sis finally said “we want the same things …we just have different ideas about how to get there.” The friend calmed down and was able to accept that and true understanding was had. It can happen.

    1. Really? Your "libertarian" sister wants socialized medicine?

      1. And to rid the world of billionaires. And to bring back racism and segregation as a means of political control. And to nationalize the space and telecommunications and basically all of the high tech industries. And to give everyone free income. And to ban fossil fuels and GMO crops. And industrial farming. And meat. And to ban political speech which they disagree with. And to institute new standards of proof for rape cases in which the accused is guilty until proven innocent... And severely curtailing any ability to prove innocence. And .. and.... And....

        1. And win the war against Christmas. One of my favorite reactionary whinging points.

          1. Did you actually read his post?

              1. I take it you're part of the group who supports the war against Christmas, hmm?

    2. Could it be that what they both wanted was medicine? Not necessarily socialized? Such disagreements come up at all times and places. We may agree we want the cotton picked, but disagree over whether it should be by slaves. At some level everything boils down to differences over means of accomplishing shared ends. So the first thing to recognize is the agreement over the ends, and work from there.

      1. His sister and friend indeed might have both wanted that.

        But you are a rube if you believe that the people who hold away on the left want anything less that total power over all things great and small. They have deemed dissent to be illegitimate, and they have the means to make that decree stick to a great degree.

        Even mild rebukes of their figurehead president are not being countinenced. Look at this doofus who got the president to agree "Let's go Brandon!". The actual media has come after him personally, naming him, his wife, his kids, his employer, his home address.....

        You really think people who demand you lose your job if you disagree with them on minor political edge case scenarios are willing to find common ground based on shared goals?

        That might work for a left leaning independent, but it sure ain't working with someone who has an AOC bumper sticker or an Anthony Fauci pillow.

        1. "...The actual media has come after him personally, naming him, his wife, his kids, his employer, his home address....."

          Did not know this and, sadly, do not find it surprising.
          Let's go Sandman and Rittenhouse!

      2. Bowf Sidez...

      3. "...differences over means of accomplishing shared ends."

        Nominally at least, we all want peace, security, and prosperity.

        Extreme "libs" want to get us there with a personality cult surrounding (???) Brandon-Let's-Go, or Bernie Sanders, or AOC, or ??? Or themselves, personally?

        2/3 of the "R" party wants to get us there with a personality cult surrounding Der TrumpfenFuhrer; THAT one is plain and simple!

        "L" Party to get us there as led by the free-will choices of you and me, the free market, and "spontaneous order"! With a SMALL Government Almighty!

        The environment (ecology) works just fine, w/o Central Management telling each bunny how many blades of grass to eat, and the wolves, how many bunnies to eat! We should take a clue!

        1. Fuck off and die, TDS-addled spastic asshole.

    3. yeah we all have to get along by caving in to Radical Leftists.

      Not happening

  19. Where the heck did this piece come from? Did you guys raid a local high school paper?

    1. Democrat Playbook.

      Get caught in corruption and lies.
      Deflect.
      Blame others.

      1. 1) Biden was following Trump’s plan.
        2) Nobody knew the Taliban would take over.
        3) The Taliban taking over and threatening US troops and civilians, who were still there because of Biden, was the locals’ fault.
        4) The botchery in Afghanistan was four days ago.
        5) Trump.

  20. Good luck with that.

  21. "Gallup found that while unvaccinated Democrats correctly estimate vaccine efficacy to be 88%, unvaccinated Republicans estimated it to be effectively zero."

    When did you write this? June of 2021?

    Because that number has been completely dismantled. It isn't zero.... But it sure as hell isn't 90% either.

    Which also points out a "toxic disfunctionality" of our body politic. I can't even tell you what that actual number is, because the left has deemed this discussion too dangerous for public consumption. So nobody is allowed to discuss their research that shows 60%, 40%, 30% efficacy. Nobody is allowed to discuss their research that indicates that the mRNA vaccines might be making it more likely that you catch the Omicron variant. Nobody can discuss their research that indicates that the mRNA vaccines may be more likely to cause myocarditis among young men than the virus.

    And since nobody can discuss it. We don't know if it is good information or bad information. All we know is that people who have proven to be untrustworthy are telling us not to listen.

    So this is a wonderful counterexample to your thesis. Holding a polite tongue in opposition to censors is really not all that effective, is it?

    1. “Nobody is allowed to discuss it”? You’re going to have to show your work on that one.

      1. I shall refer you to All of the major tech companies and every single major network. This cannot be an honest response. Citation needed is almost always a stupid response, but in the era after the Biden campaign was able to successfully employ censorship of stories that showed Biden in a negative light across every single major news outlet and every single social media platform of any note, pretending that you don't think this is possible is a completely idiotic argument.

        1. SNL dissed Stroker Joe.
          .Thats bad

          1. I have not seen. Was it actually funny?

            1. Hilarioys, not as usual.

              2012 Joe and current Senile Joe having a conversation.

              1. Wow. So.... Not great. New impression is not great... Just a regular smiley guy. No rambling or anything..
                ..

                But they did make fun of not being lucid and sniffing hair and shoulder rubs... Way more than ever before and way more than ever dared of Obama.

                https://youtu.be/gUCaOV5nbyk

                Oddly, they held Jen Psaki up as a paragon of truth.

                1. "Oddly, they held Jen Psaki up as a paragon of truth."

                  Pretty sure that's spelled "Dishonestly,..."

    2. "And since nobody can discuss it. "

      You are discussing it in your comment here. You're just too much of a coward to do so under your own name, and are content to undermine your credibility by resorting to a ridiculous pseudonym.

      1. No I'm not. I know a few things that I heard here and there. All of which were quickly squashed, so I don't have the benefit of knowledgeable discussion by people in the field. I know that Joe Rogan had on a cardiologist who did research into myocarditis And found that there were indications of enhanced risk among young men. I also know that this episode has been blocked and removed from all of the major platforms.

        As a trained scientist, this is not how it works. This is how it fails. The way science works is you publish your work and your peers critique it and follow behind your work, either confirming and building upon it or denying it. We have discussed this at length here many times. So pretending that you don't know this is dishonest. You personally have been here for these discussions. You have thrown s*** posts all throughout the middle of them. That means you have read them, or at least enough to find some keywords so you know when to post.

        Even in this environment, real scientists had me fooled at the start of this pandemic. They told me that they knew for certain that covid-19 did not come from the lab in Wuhan but came from the wet market and from a bat being sold for human consumption. They told me they knew this from examining the sequence.

        So I came on here and argued that there is no way that it could have come from the lab if they have examined the sequences. That would be very trivial to demonstrate. They know what samples they had in the lab and what they were working on. So comparing the sequences would be definitive and cannot be argued with.

        It turns out that I was lied to. They did not do that. The person who said they were doing that was the guy who was funding the research in the first place, and he was just covering up the involvement of the lab that he was funding.

        All that time, a team of Chinese researchers was trying to tell us that the virus came from the lab in Wuhan. They were silenced in China, and here in the United States. They popped up in a couple of places, but were very quickly shut down and that is the last you heard of them. They knew where it came from before we had our first outbreaks here in the United States. When DeSantis and Cuomo were fighting with the Trump administration over whether or not infected New Yorkers could flee to Florida, that Chinese team of medical researchers were trying to tell us where the virus came from. And we weren't listening. The covid censorship veil came down, and that was the end of any meaningful discussion. It was a year and a half before we would finally acknowledge that it was a topic worth discussing, and then we didn't bother finding the truth out, because it implicated too many well connected people.

        So no, I can't have an informed discussion. Worse, because of this ridiculous regime of censorship that we are living with, I am quite certain that there are dozens or even hundreds of researchers who have data of interest that they are not sharing with the rest of us out of fear of destroying their career. That is not how it is supposed to work. If you have preliminary numbers that show that a vaccine might be making a particular strain more contagious, you should share that immediately and everyone should say thank you, even if it proves out to be wrong. But that's not the world we live in right now. If you had had data last spring demonstrating that the vaccines were only 30% effective, you would not dare try to publish that. Anyone trying to tell the American people that was immediately canceled. Contrary to what the median narrative and the politicians would have you believe, the real danger to your health over the last couple of years has been the inability of the scientific community to properly engage and evaluate these issues. We have been almost exclusively reliant upon major pharmaceutical companies and government agencies for all of our facts and all of our analysis.

        Everyone from the far left to the far right to libertarian wacko's should be able to understand the danger of this duopoly of control. People like you repeating their stupid talking points to defend their exclusive right to decide what is and what is not proper content for discussion is far more dangerous than some idiot repeating a rumor that a 50-year-old medication has antiviral properties. That is the kind of information that is easily handled by the scientific process. It is also the kind of information that is only amplified by censorship regimes like the one we are living with .

        Meanwhile, useful discussion is completely curtailed. This leaves us with public policy decided by misinformed idiots who are no more than marketing heads for fundraising organizations. Even if they had the capability of understanding and analyzing all of the risks and rewards of various courses of action, they don't have the information because it doesn't exist. Why? Because we have decided that they already knew the answer before the question was asked, for some idiotic reason.

        1. For those who don't know how it works, these sorts of discussions are not just commonplace in the scientific community, they are formalized and regular. When I was in graduate school, I worked in an immunology lab. We had lab meetings once a week where we would discuss the work that the various scientists in the lab had in progress. People would bring up interesting papers that they had found.

          Then once a week our department had a formal journal club. One or two papers would be chosen to discuss, and everyone would read them and come ready to discuss them. The person presenting the paper would do extra research so they were ready to answer questions and the papers would be dissected in detail. Were these the appropriate experiments to perform? Did the results indicate what the authors say they did? Was there something missing that they should have taken into account? Are there additional studies that we can see that need to be performed?

          Most people were involved in one or two other journal clubs. So there was a formal and very local mechanism for discussing the scientific information of the day that was relevant to our field.

          Beyond that, the entire department met on Friday afternoons at a local pub. Often there would be speakers in town who would join us. Among those I got to have a beer with were James Watson, Luc Montagnier, Robert Gallow and Linus Pauling. All manner of scientific issues were discussed. Preliminary work people heard about, back of the napkin ideas, wild speculation.... The important point being that nothing was off the table, and everyone's voice counted, whether a Nobel laureate or a lowly graduate student. It was the ideas being discussed that were important and which carried weight, not your titles or past accomplishments.

          That is how science works.

          What we have seen over the last 2 years with COVID-19 is how science fails to work. None of the talking heads you have seen on TV, including your administrators from your public health agencies, are doing scientific discussion. Declaring the science to be settled is not a scientific discussion. I personally disagreeed with a two-time Nobel prize winner about his ideas, and after listening he quickly agreed that he was wrong and I was right. That doesn't mean I'm smarter than a Nobel prize winner, that just means that I saw something that he didn't. And the take-home from that was that a guy who wins to Nobel prizes knows enough to know that he doesn't know everything and he listens to other people. A bureaucrat who makes his living by giving other people the impression that he knows everything and is in charge does not know the same things and therefore is not very likely to listen to other people when he is wrong.

          1. EXCELLENT POST!

            1. Science works best as the ideal of a parliamentary talking shop, as cyto notes. But a virus is only partly a problem for scientists to solve, however long it takes for them to thrash out a solution. It's a social problem mainly. Ultimately it's about the health of humanity on a global scale. How to deal with pandemics, quarantines and vaccinations are limited by our ingenuity, dedication, beliefs, discipline, willingness to sacrifice for others, all issues that are outside the purview of scientists.

              1. Right

                No scientist could possibly study disease spread.

                No scientist could possibly study the psychology of large groups.

                And most of all, no human, scientist or otherwise, could ever predict that repeatedly lying to people in order to manipulate them into doing as you wish would result in mistrust and a lack of desire to follow your directives.

                1. "No scientist could possibly study disease spread."

                  Coping with a pandemic is a political/social issue. Expecting scientists to sort out these sorts of issues is muddle headed. The mistrust runs both ways. As long as Americans elevate those who hold the population in contempt to positions of power, nothing will change.

          2. "therefore is not very likely to listen to other people when he is wrong"

            Now extend that to the radical political Left whose fundamental belief is not only " everyone else but me is wrong" but add their Dystopian Nihilistic Armageddon philosophy of " were alkll going to die" and we end up here.

            1. We don't need any more of your mindless partisanship in this political arena, thank you very much.

              1. Showing off that lack of self awareness again, are we?

                1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oepZKz-NgiE

                  Time and Chance are but a tide
                  (Ha, ha, the wooing o't!)
                  Slighted love is sair to bide
                  (Ha, ha, the wooing o't!)
                  Shall I, like a fool, quoth he
                  For a haughty hizzie die?
                  She may gae to - France for me!
                  Ha, ha, the wooing o't!

                  1. We'll take that as a "yes".

        2. "The way science works is you publish your work and your peers critique it and follow behind your work, either confirming and building upon it or denying it. "

          It's not science, though, is it? It's medicine or public health, even, and that plays by different rules, and has done since before science was a thing. Public health has a deeply political vein running through it that science typically does not. But whether we are talking about science or medicine, there has always been fear, ass covering, secrecy and competitiveness that has hampered your ideal of open communication. Our herd mentality, lack of understanding the fundamentals, and the public's impatience with research that takes time and draconian governmental edicts also takes its toll.

          " that Chinese team of medical researchers were trying to tell us where the virus came from. And we weren't listening."

          That's hardly censorship. If the Chinese researchers are telling us something and we aren't listening, we can't blame censorship.

          "This leaves us with public policy decided by misinformed idiots who are no more than marketing heads for fundraising organizations."

          I agree with this. It's unfortunate but inevitable when we are faced with something unprecedented like a new virus. Essentially turning the population into a experimental subject may be necessary and it will be morally dubious at best.

          1. YouTube literally banned discussion of their findings. Facebook literally banned posts sharing their interviews or discussing their work. Twitter literally banned any discussion of their findings or retweeting any link to their interviews.

            After initial coverage by a couple of outlets, a blanket prohibition on any dissent stopped all major news outlets from covering their work, or even their exile to America. One had to go to SubStack to hear about it.

            Right up until the day that Fauci acknowledged that the virus may have come from a lab, any mention of this was enough to get your account permanently banned.

            It is still the center of many a dark joke on YouTube. The Critical Drinker calls Covid-19 "an unknown virus of unknown origins" as a bit of gallows humor, because for more than a year, doing otherwise would get you shut down on YouTube.

            So no, it is not necessary to control scientific debate and relegate yourself to misinformed idiots running your life.

            It would have been even easier to simply not censor people and give honest answers and honest advice to the elected officials.

            Instead we get Fauci doing his best Judge Dredd impression with "I am the Science!!"

            1. If you don't like Youtube, find another source.

              "It would have been even easier to simply not censor people and give honest answers and honest advice to the elected officials."

              This is naive. To look to our policy makers to give honest answers. Maybe scholars and scientists and philosophers, but politicians coping with pandemics see their responsibility as minimizing avoidable suffering and costs. Expecting honesty as well may be a bridge too far. Hasn't it typically been several years before scientists get a handle on dealing with newly emerging pandemics? If we're patient we might have all the honest answers in the full course of time, on youtube and everywhere.

            2. "YouTube literally banned discussion of their findings. Facebook literally banned posts sharing their interviews or discussing their work. Twitter literally banned any discussion of their findings or retweeting any link to their interviews.
              After initial coverage by a couple of outlets, a blanket prohibition on any dissent stopped all major news outlets from covering their work, or even their exile to America. One had to go to SubStack to hear about it.
              Right up until the day that Fauci acknowledged that the virus may have come from a lab, any mention of this was enough to get your account permanently banned..."

              Two comments:
              1) You claim to be a working scientist and you seem to understand what that means in terms which offer little room for doubt. Further, you make serious accusations regarding what might be published at the risk of your career.
              I do not doubt the veracity of either claim, but ask what mechanism do you see as the threat you visualize? Is this merely peer pressure or is there some sort of 'organized' activity which could be brought to bear?
              Asking in the capacity of someone who *might* be capable of getting something published/litigated.
              2) I peeked; you're replying to trueman, so there's a very good chance you know this by now.
              In dealing with him/her for ten years at least, all evidence suggests this is an over-credentialed, under-intelligent twit, willing to make specious claims and *never* provide cites to support them.
              S/he finally got muted several weeks ago when it was obvious (to refer to Ken's criteria) s/he was a "stupid" with whom I would not deal in meat-space. Why do so on the web?

        3. "...Worse, because of this ridiculous regime of censorship that we are living with, I am quite certain that there are dozens or even hundreds of researchers who have data of interest that they are not sharing with the rest of us out of fear of destroying their career..."

          When Kurchatov was in charge of the development of the USSR's nuclear weapons, he had several incidents where one of his physicists was caught criticizing Lysenko; he had to plead with Stalin to keep them from being 'camp dust'.
          On first reading about this probably 20 years ago, it was very satisfying to know that didn't happen in the US.
          Then.

    3. The "toxic disfuntionality" is telling people they answered "correctly" for repeating what they were told. Even when it's proven to be wrong a few weeks later.

  22. This is one of the best articles produced by Reason in some time. It should be required reading for civics courses. Kudos Aaron Ross Powell!

    1. Aaron, I disagree.

  23. What's missing from the political arena?

    Maturity. i attribute this to the infantalizing effect of consumerism on the population helped along by the cloak of anonymity afforded by the internet.

    1. Agreed! And kudos to Aaron, the writer here!

  24. Crioes another" Blamespreading" hit piece.

    This is PURELY a problem of the spinning moral compass of the Radical Demogogue Left.

    Like pretending to have moral high ground while standing on a pile of dead unborn baby corpses.

    Yeah, psychopaths.

    Causing a problem, blaming others.

    1. Read and heed this, Groyper!

      https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2021/12/liberals-conservatives-wrong-about-each-other/620996/

      Conservatives and Liberals Are Wrong About Each Other
      New research shows that Americans on both sides of the political spectrum overestimate how radical the other side is.

      By Victoria Parker

      1. So what? If Dems aren't radical enough, they elect someone radical to do their dirty work for them. And then when it's pointed out how bad the person they elected is, they turn a blind eye at best. There seems to be no limit to their willful blindness.

        Then they do it all again the next election because otherwise the bogeyman will get them.

        1. Well, too many middle-of-the-roaders (voters on "both sides") sit out (ignore) the primaries. Only the radical voters show up for the primaries. Then in the fall, we get radical-left v/s radical-right!

          Policy-wonk "fixes" abound... Open primaries? 2 top primary vote-getters (R-D, R * 2, D * 2, ANY of these 3) face each other in the fall... Ranked votes, etc. ANY of these fixes would be fine by me!

          (More civility & less demonization might help, too, but I do NOT know how to "wonk" that).

          1. That’s a lot of talk that doesn’t argue my point.

            It can only change if people stop listening when they're told to be afraid of the bogeyman. There are signs that’s beginning to happen. Blacks and Latinos are starting to realize that they see higher prices every day and they don’t remember ever being chased by a bogeyman.

            And I haven't seen any data, but you'd expect Asians can see all the efforts by Dems to discriminate against them in education. Hopefully they notice they haven't been chased by bogeymen either.

            1. Agreed all around on the above! Government Almighty DOES run on the fear of a boogeyman! If they can't honestly find a real one, they make one up! And don't you DARE ask... Even if the boogeyman IS real... If Government Almighty is REALLY the best way to slay said Boogeyman!

              (Government Almighty-types run out of jobs if the Boogeyman is disposed of by the private sector).

              1. TDS-addled spastic asshole gets two flags!

                  1. Sevo LIKES it when Government Almighty-types scare Sevo-the-Pedo with the Boogeyman, and GROW-GROW-GROW Government Almighty, to protect Sevo's squeegee-racket!!!

                    Hey Smegmalung!

                    Don’t you have more important things to do, instead of thread-shitting here? As San Fran’s foremost homeless hobo, couldn’t you be doing your “squeegee” racket, fighting with the other bums, pooping in the streets, and yelling insane, deluded insults at passers-by?

                    Smegmalung’s next gig in Gay Ol’ San Fran: Burglary, which San Fran’s media suggests should now be tolerated!
                    https://www.foxnews.com/media/san-francisco-chronicle-ripped-for-asking-if-residents-should-tolerate-burglaries
                    San Francisco Chronicle ripped for asking if residents should 'tolerate burglaries'

                    Next on the Hit Parade for the San Francisco Chronicle: asking if residents should tolerate (even celebrate maybe?), not just burglary, butt also 'child buggery' by Super-Perv-Predator-Sevo the Pedo, Hippo in a Speedo, AKA “SmegmaLung”.

                    1. TDS-addled spastic asshole gets flagged. Again

                  2. It's interesting that this slimy pile of TDS-addled spastic shit throws around accusations of serious criminal activity with zero evidence, either from here or anywhere else (since they are bullshit), as a result of being called on his bullshit.
                    'Me thinks he doth protest too much"
                    Stuff it up your ass, you pathetic pile of shit; your head and your TDS are asking for company; all of us can smell it from here.
                    And then, fuck off and die; we will all join your family in thanks.

  25. Let's start with ethics. In our interactions with others, the two most basic rules, taught in kindergartens around the world, are "don't hit people" and "don't take their stuff."

    Apparently you haven't been in kindergarten for a while.

  26. Politics is for something, right?

    Right; for very specific items listed in the USA Constitution.
    Pretty hard to keep from freezing in alaska when you cannot even figure out where you live anymore.

    1. "Right; for very specific items listed in the USA Constitution."

      We're living under a regime of emergency rule where normal constitutional protections are suspended. Similar to life during wartime when the government rations access to food, fuel, and those who defy the government can be shamed and punished. Letters from the front are routinely censored etc. Constitutions can only do so much. The ultra liberal Weimar constitution remained in effect all through the days of Hitler. It did nothing to protect the citizens of Germany or anyone else.

      1. Correction

        We're living under a regime of Nazism rule where normal constitutional protections are suspended.

        And the gratitude for that can be directed at every person who votes for criminal "leaders" and supreme court justices who violate their very oath of office.

        As was wildly pushed and openly supported by the Democrats during the Barrett hearings.

        That day the criminals took over the coup and made h*ll on earth.

        1. I missed the Barrett hearings. Was that when America became a Nazi hell on earth?

          1. No it was an open display of coercing a supreme court nominee to IGNORE and VIOLATE her very job application of upholding the U.S. Constitution for [WE] mob democracy.

            What the Democrats do is obvious yet somehow blinded sheep continue to deny they are nothing more than part of the blind sheep pact.

            1. "No it was an open display of coercing a supreme court nominee to IGNORE and VIOLATE her very job application of upholding the U.S. Constitution for [WE] mob democracy."

              I figure that's been going on since day one.

  27. Republicans didn't mock Buttigieg for taking paternity leave in of itself, but because he did it in the middle of the shipping crisis.

    I would be like a secretary of war going on vacation in the middle of WW2

    1. Also, he was mocked because he was gone for weeks in a crisis and nobody even knew it. The white house did not even know he was on leave.

      It was comical. And it is telling that nobody of the left thought it was a farce.

      If you can have a cabinet secretary out of work and incommunicado for 3 weeks and nobody notices, that is noteworthy. Hell, that was straight out of Office Space.

  28. Let's start with ethics. In our interactions with others, the two most basic rules, taught in kindergartens around the world, are "don't hit people" and "don't take their stuff." While we should also seek to help each other, at the minimum we should avoid causing harm or taking from others what they haven't given freely.

    He seems to be putting forth a decent set of basic ethical rules. Especially by appealing to kindergarten rules. But he betrays his goal of supporting libertarian ideology with the next part:

    Yet the political sphere fundamentally depends on rejecting both mandates. The state's power comes from its ability to bring violence to bear, and everything the state does is paid for with resources its citizens were forced to turn over.

    In other words, taxes are the state forcibly taking other people's stuff to pay for what the state wants, rather than people voluntarily helping others with their resources.

    That is one way of looking at it, but that isn't a very "mindful" way of thinking about taxation. He explains his thinking further here:

    That's how politics ultimately works: We want something changed, we use politics to get the state to act on our behalf, and then the state forces those who disagree with us to comply.

    But this is also boiling things down to a libertarian viewpoint. The "state" is force, thus all government is dangerous. Well, isn't anarchy dangerous? That is the alternative to government, after all.

    He has some decent arguments and suggestions, but he is still using his own ideology as the basis for the solutions rather than really seeking something that most of the American political spectrum could use. His ideas on how to be more "mindful" and "skillful" in using politics just happen to be things libertarians want.

    Instead of his kindergarten rules as the basic ethics, he should go even simpler. If you really want a simple ethics that applies widely, you can't do better than The Golden Rule: Treat others as you would wish to be treated in similar circumstances. There's a good reason why this idea shows up in some form in virtually every moral or ethical system and religion.

    "Don't hit others or take their stuff" is just part of ethics and morality. Aaron Ross Powell acknowledges that people "should also seek to help each other." But by focusing on just the prohibition of causing harm for government action, he is limiting government to libertarian ideals. He gives it no positive responsibility to "promote the general Welfare" of the people. The extent to which government has a responsibility to help people in need under its authority is one of the decisions that politics is supposed to make. Starting the conversation with restricted boundaries for the scope of government based on one political ideology is neither mindful, nor skillful politics.

  29. I also take issue with some of the examples Aaron Ross Powell uses.

    The political sphere doesn't just face a shortage of goodwill; it's an environment of ill will. Both sides are motivated more by dislike of the other than they are by affinity for their own. On the right, for example, Republican Senate candidate J.D. Vance of Ohio called for the seizure of a private organization's assets simply because it promoted political opinions he disagrees with. On the left, we can look to examples like Masterpiece Cakeshop, where progressives, not satisfied with legalizing gay marriage, decided to grind their boots into the necks of those who disagreed.

    Characterizing anti-discrimination laws as grinding "their boots into the necks" of those that disagree with legal same-sex marriage is not a mindful response. A landlord that refused to rent to an interracial couple wouldn't be exercising some constitutionally protected personal freedom (even if their opposition to interracial marriage was based on a religious belief). It wouldn't be jackbooted government thugs trampling on that landlord's freedom to have a law against doing that, would it?

    1. Maybe it's not EVERYONE ELSE'S ( Government ) Job to baby and pander to those who compulsively make their own choices that creates negative impacts on their life's (i.e. thwart the cause and effect of nature)....

      Because lets face it. There's enough charity in people to assist those who aren't big fat babies.... But big fat babies are always in need of charity which isn't really charity it's a manipulation scheme to selfishly conquer and consume.

      1. Maybe, just maybe the whole PURPOSE of Government is to ensure Individual Liberty and Justice from gun-toting criminalistic thieving big fat babies.

        As I've said before; what to do when the government starts working for the criminals.

        1. no...IS the criminals.

          Bill Clinton, Janet Reno, mass murder at Waco.

          Hillary Clintons crimes were admitted by FBIs Comey,

          Obama- criminal violations of US law in Gun Runner and UN ODA Inter Americas Convention in Illicit Arms which kilked people, and caught with Harry Reid in contract fraud in re stopping the Yucca Mountain project, defrauding nuclear operators.

          .Joe Biden committed Extortion in re threatening the Ukraine Official to withhold money. That crimes prosecutable in US even if committed overseas.

          .Criminals have to work somewhere!
          They find the US Govt convenient for hiding behind.

      2. Maybe it's not EVERYONE ELSE'S ( Government ) Job to baby and pander to those who compulsively make their own choices that creates negative impacts on their life's (i.e. thwart the cause and effect of nature)....

        Are you saying that it "thwart[s] the cause and effect of nature" to be gay and want to marry someone of the same sex, and thus it is their own fault when they experience the "negative impact on their life's [sic]" as others discriminate against them?

        I guess in your world, it is being a "big fat baby" to not want bigots to discriminate against you.

        1. Quite off topic and hetero- phobic.

          Try not pushing their abnormal, disgusting, immoral and unnatural lives in our faces.

          .Itll go a lot better when youre not causing the problem.

          1. Quite off topic and hetero- phobic.

            I was responding to something in the original article (I even quoted it). So that is not off topic. And how is it "hetero-phobic" to view anti-gay behavior as bigoted? Nevermind, that makes sense. After all, it is racist against white people to call white nationalists bigots.

            Try not pushing their abnormal, disgusting, immoral and unnatural lives in our faces.

            It just sucks that people that you think are disgusting exist and that you are expected to treat them like human beings with equal rights, doesn't it?

            .Itll go a lot better when youre not causing the problem.

            ...

            1. retaliation is childish.
              .Grow up

              1. And so is lying.

                You are off topic. The Homo Agenda is not the topic IF YOU READ THE ARTICLE.

                .Clearly youre just a Drop in Agenda Troll.

                Blaming soneone else for being off topic is not a defense, its more childish Troll behaviour.

                1. You are off topic. The Homo Agenda is not the topic IF YOU READ THE ARTICLE.

                  Yeah, I read the article. I actually thought about a fair amount before replying, as well. So I did not miss that the main idea (the topic) was about being more "mindful" and thoughtful about politics. Knee-jerk reactions, emotional appeals, and targeting disfavored groups is antithetical to what the author wants to see happen. So I pointed out that he framed one of the examples he brought up to illustrate his point in a way that demonstrates the "ill will" he was decrying. You can disagree with my analysis, but it is certainly on topic.

                  If anything, you are providing us all with an example of that kind of ill will with your shouting about a "Homo Agenda". You aren't being mindful or thoughtful about a contentious political topic. You are going right to the disgust and hatred of the other side that the author is saying is such a problem with politics in the U.S. Maybe you should reread the article and actually think about it more deeply and with some self-awareness this time.

        2. I find it amusing how you can believe access to a "Government Blessed" marriage is not making everyone else pander to the big fat babies whim.

          Frankly; A "Government blessed" union is the very problem but instead of admitting as much; you want to get a "Government blessing" for a union from the Gov-Gods instead of cutting the very Gov Power given them to make such a personal blessing in the first place.

          1. I find it amusing how you can believe access to a "Government Blessed" marriage is not making everyone else pander to the big fat babies whim.

            Because government doesn't "bless" marriage. It offers a legal status that confers certain benefits and privileges. It isn't pandering to the whims of "big fat babies" to insist that such legal status be open to everyone equally. You know, like the 14th Amendment guarantees.

            Frankly; A "Government blessed" union is the very problem but instead of admitting as much...

            There are many things that both government and private parties would do for spouses or married couples that they wouldn't do for just anyone. (Extending medical coverage, designating beneficiaries, hospital visitation and medical decision-making, and much more.) Having a marriage license certified by government makes that status of being married something that is legally indisputable.

            I've only seen people that are against gay marriage in principle argue to get government out of marriage entirely like that along with the occasional libertarian that foolishly thinks that it would eliminate the controversy over it.

            1. JasonT20 needs Jesus.

              I suspect he's still upset about McAuliffe losing the Virginia governor election.

              1. It'd certainly would explain his derangement and lack of support for the 1st Amendment.

                1. Now that's funny, Truthiness. What exactly indicates that I am deranged? And was it that Justice Scalia needed Jesus to counter his lack support for the 1st Amendment when he wrote Smith?

                  "To permit this [an exemption from a generally applicable law] would be to make the professed doctrines of religious belief superior to the law of the land, and in effect to permit every citizen to become a law unto himself."

  30. I'd like to comment from a different part of the political spectrum (and the globe) - I'm a British big state socialist - indeed a former communist (of the Eurocommunist breed that rejected dictatorship as a "necessary" adjunct). I was a Labour Member of Parliament for 13 years and I'm still very active in the party.

    But - before you stop reading - I do agree with the article. I don't in the least see why political differences should poison the well of common discourse. We should start from the assumption that we all want our societies to flourish and for individuals to have the best possible chance to enjoy life in our puzzling world. We may come to different conclusions about how to do it, but that's interesting rather than horrific.

    As an MP I had constituents from right across the spectrum, but I'd talk with interest to any of them. I think that if we do deride each other and gloat about misfortunes, as some of the examples in the article do, we are weakening the case to be listened to ourselves. Why should you listen to someone who doesn't listen to you?

    What's interesting is that there isn't an obvious correlation between having moderate views and treating politics as a civilised discussion. I've known people on both extremes of the political spectrum who were tolerant and interested in other opinions, and people in the political center who really weren't. Aggressive politics reflects personal character more than it reflects any particular opinion.

    1. Yes but being ' over there' you dont see the true situation in US.

      You there tend to be educated and literate as youve been there for a thousand years or more.

      Here in US we truly have a population in too large a part, illiterate and thus utterly a- moral and / or im- moral.

      For a stark contrast, look at comments on the Sun or other UK papers online. See the difference between comments from UK and US commrnters.

      Abject ignorance exemplifies comments from this side of The Pond.

      We in US have lost ability with language, exascerbated by social and cultural differences, then destroyed by mass media and a disastrous education system.

      M.B. the Peasant Sketch in Holy Grail, the Peasants on about their form of
      " autonomous collective." While dirt poor, they have intellect and reasoning and communication skills.

      Thats ' gone down the Thames' here in US.

      Theres no fixing it with a systematically broken educationsl system being used TO first the divide for Marxist ends.

      The level of ' stupid' here is absolutely shocking. Abject stupidity as exampled, literally, in what we call Trolls that post nonsense here and on other comment pages. This us not faux, they really are that dim.

      1. sorry about the typo errors Im using a phone. Its very tedious.

      2. "You there tend to be educated and literate as youve been there for a thousand years or more."

        No, s/he's a Brit lefty with no more education than anyone in West Virginia.

    2. "...I don't in the least see why political differences should poison the well of common discourse..."

      Of course you don't. As a lefty shit living in a lefty mess, you've already got your hands in everyone's pocket.
      Now get your hand out and leave the money there; still ready for civil discourse?

  31. Reason post articles on Biden, and all are closed to comments in less than a day. If that mindful?

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