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What's your genetic fitness, eh?
September 6, 2004 10:04 AM   Subscribe

Breeders are winning. "Conservative, religiously minded Americans are putting far more of their genes into the future than their liberal, secular counterparts." (WaPo link, bugmenot says try fedup@mailinator.com and fedup if you don't care to register. Definition of genetic fitness here.)
posted by jfuller (77 comments total)

 
Damn. Seems like everytime I expect something involving Kim Deal, I get eugenics commentary...
posted by kaibutsu at 10:10 AM on September 6, 2004


yup. And since when is it a contest? And isn't it funny that people from the states with higher fertility keep coming to the big cities, and becoming those other people? I'm betting that keeps happening.
posted by amberglow at 10:11 AM on September 6, 2004


Well, there's only one thing to do, liberal women...

*taps foot*
posted by jonmc at 10:15 AM on September 6, 2004


> And since when is it a contest?

Don't believe in Darwin, eh? Must be some kinda fundie nutcase.
posted by jfuller at 10:19 AM on September 6, 2004


As long as those conservatives keep giving birth to children that become liberals (which always happens) then there's no problem. Most of the people that move to NY, or Boston, or Chicago, or LA, or SF, etc, grew up in one of those families.
posted by amberglow at 10:23 AM on September 6, 2004


I don't know if that holds water, amberglow. I'm one of those people who came to new york, and I'm the son of a left leaning republican and a registered independent reagan democrat turned clintonite. Which means that my parents votes will cancel eachother out, more or less.

But if it is true, it does lend credence to my theory that the famous "new york liberal" is usually someone from somewhere else. Whereas native New Yorkers tend to be maybe centrist liberal at most.
posted by jonmc at 10:30 AM on September 6, 2004


True, amberglow, but presumably there's some genetic component to intelligence. As the stupider, more gullible offspring of the rural religous stay out on the farm and overbreed, eventually their troglodytic decendents will stop migrating to town.

Fortunately, we urban Eloi will have no trouble subjgating the rural Morlocks, at least until that damn Traveller shows up.
posted by nicwolff at 10:33 AM on September 6, 2004


well, i consider myself a centrist liberal, and i grew up here. : > (some here would probably differ on that)

nic: i think you're right--but wasn't it the Morlocks that were in charge and ate the Eloi?
posted by amberglow at 10:39 AM on September 6, 2004


nicwolff, careful with that analogy, we don't want them to realize they could view the tender big city types as a food source.

/spoilerfilter.
posted by Space Coyote at 10:41 AM on September 6, 2004


> we urban Eloi will have no trouble subjgating the rural Morlocks

Heh. You didn't read the same book I did, didja? Morlocks eat Eloi. (Not the friendly way, either.)
posted by jfuller at 10:45 AM on September 6, 2004


nic, no offense, but that's the attitude that's alienated people from liberalism for a long time.

I've met smart conservatives and moronic leftists, so intelligence is only one factor is political leanings. Same with the whole false urban vs. rural thing. For years rural areas and rust belt cities, were the seat of the labor movement and cities were the seats of the monied industrialists who pulled the strings.

Plus the Reagan Democrat phenomenon didn't come out of nowhere. Think of how NYC was in the seventies: crime at an all time high, the city nearing bankruptcy, old neighborhoods crumbling, industrial jobs disappearing disappearingracial tension everywhere. Large segments of the cities population, especially in the white ethnic neighborhoods of the outer boroughs felt more or less abandoned. The republicans saw this discontent and capitalized on it, and the left dropped the ball. Many of the cities long time residents took off for the suburbs and the sun belt. My relatives were among them even though they loved the city. And this happened in other cities as well.

I'm not saying that Republican policies weren't somwehat responsible for a lot of these woes, just illustrating that it's not just geography or "stupidity" that causes shifts in political paradigms by adding some historical context. This says to me that the left/democrats need to court the so called Morlocks or perish.

well, i consider myself a centrist liberal, and i grew up here.

By manhattan standards you are a centrist liberal, and I'd be considered almost conservative. In other places we'd both be considered flaming radicals. Context, my freind, context.
posted by jonmc at 10:53 AM on September 6, 2004


yup. And since when is it a contest? And isn't it funny that people from the states with higher fertility keep coming to the big cities, and becoming those other people? I'm betting that keeps happening.

Eh, once all the fossil fuels are used up the cities won't be fun anymore, but I'm sure there will still be plenty of us liberals around to say "I told you so".

On preview: That is, unless, liberal = tasty morsel in the future.
posted by Gif at 10:57 AM on September 6, 2004


Thankfully, today's socially liberal policies are tomorrow's conservative ones. With luck, the slow, leftward walk of America will continue.
posted by callmejay at 11:00 AM on September 6, 2004


What. Ever.

Fortunately, immigration will continue to bring lots of new folks in from other countries.

Also, what callmejay said. Remember that during the Kennedy administration, interracial marriage was still illegal in many states, and differing pay scales for male and female employees in the same jobs were still legal as well.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:04 AM on September 6, 2004


JUst so you know, the two of my offspring who are voting age are registered Republicans.* And the third -a high school senior-obtained a Bush/Cheney button from somewhere and has been wearing it to school.

*And they vote, too.


Amberglow, I am sure there are liberals with conservative parents, but there are plenty of conservative offspring out there too. Not to mention that as people get older, many become more conservative in general. And have you considered that conservative offspring can indeed spring from liberal parents as well?


When I compare myself to my more liberal friends and acquaintances, I have a rather large family. Compared to my conservative friends, I have a small one.
posted by konolia at 11:06 AM on September 6, 2004


By the way, humans procreate, not breed. You breed horses and cows and rabbits, not people.
posted by konolia at 11:07 AM on September 6, 2004


"Since 1960" observed Yale Anthropologist Jonathan Reider "the Jews and Italians of Canarsie have embellished and modified the meaning of liberalism, associating it with profligacy, spinelessness, malevolence, elitism, fantasy, anarchy, idealism, softness irresponibility and sanctimoniousness. The term 'conservatism' by contrast acquired connotations of pragmatism, character, reciprocity, truthfulness, stoicism, manliness, realism, hardness, vengeance, strictness, and responsibility." In 1980, the Roosevelt Democrats of Canarsie voted overwhelmingly in favor of Ronald reagan...." -David Frum How We Got Here

Now a lot of these perceptions are the product of clever framing by the right and some dumb gaffes by the left. But instead of bitching about it and alienating more people, we need to accept this paradigm as reality and do what we can to change thos perceptions. Bill Clinton did and rode it into 8 years in the oval office.
posted by jonmc at 11:12 AM on September 6, 2004


So...these pro-Creationists procreate, do they? I, for one, welcome our Procreatian Overlords.
posted by kozad at 11:14 AM on September 6, 2004


Breeders are winning

I've always understood the term "breeders" to be used as a epithet used by homosexuals for hetrosexuals.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 11:41 AM on September 6, 2004


Seems anything you can pass off as somehow connected to some Darwinian notion is taken as important and true. How then didGore (the Democrats are sort of liberals) get more of the popular vote in the last election?

Spanish are the biggest breeders we now have; they are also ;argely not given to voting.

If the breedes are going to win over and over, why bother to have campaigns and elections?

When the bred brats find they have no jobs, no health plans, no social security, no unions, no privacy, etc, they may decide it is time for a changez.
posted by Postroad at 11:47 AM on September 6, 2004


Eh, once all the fossil fuels are used up the cities won't be fun anymore, but I'm sure there will still be plenty of us liberals around to say "I told you so".

Cities will be the only viable places to live once fossil fuels are gone--rural and suburban people are totally dependent on cars, no?

konolia, stop brainwashing your kids! ; >
posted by amberglow at 11:48 AM on September 6, 2004


It was meant as irony, jfuller. In truth, of course, the dimmer and greater in number the rural hordes get, the more easily they'll be led to vote money out of our urban taxes and into their leaders' pockets. And eventually when they get too stupid to work simple farm machinery, they'll storm the cities and eat us. (And in 3x10^7 years we'll just be tentacled sea-blobs flopping on a cold beach under a dying sun.)

Jon, the flight from the cities in the '70s wasn't to the hinterlands where religion and stupidity overbreed, it was as you say to the suburbs, and to the cities and exurban developments of the Sunbelt. I don't think that's who we're talking about here.

In any case, while the article's point is about short-term politics, my snide little joke is about speciation on an evolutionary timetable. With which of these would you argue: That there is some genetic component to intelligence? Or that there is some tendency among the more intellectually capable and curious to congegrate in cities? If you grant those you get Eloi, Morlocks, &c. at least for the purposes of the gag.

Konolia, "breed" is both a transitive and an intransitive verb. Some people breed rabbits, and some breed like rabbits.

Postroad: we have Spanish?
posted by nicwolff at 11:52 AM on September 6, 2004


Cities will be the only viable places to live once fossil fuels are gone--rural and suburban people are totally dependent on cars, no?

Where will we get our food? Our raw materials? Our cheap living quarters that don't have someone living above you and below you? This may be very bad.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 12:00 PM on September 6, 2004


Obviously not having any fossil fuels left will eliminate our ability to live either in bustling metropolises and hundresds of miles from anywhere.. back to sustainable living, i'm afraid.
posted by Space Coyote at 12:10 PM on September 6, 2004


Or that there is some tendency among the more intellectually capable and curious to congegrate in cities?

There's some tendency to create little liberal reservations in cities, nic. As a new yorker, I think you realize that Tribeca, the West Village, and Williamsburg are completely different planets from Bensonhurst, Canarsie, and Woodside.

The irony is, that for decades the latter three neighborhoods were Democratic strongholds, but they've started to skew to the right ever since Reagan. Whih is a shame because Republican policies actually hurt people in those neighborhoods (and also, out in rural areas).

Yes, it would be nice if everybody chose candidates on the basis of the facts. But that ain't gonna happen. George Bush's handlers are masters at making a pampered fratboy seem like Joe Cowpoke. I say fight fire with fire. Clinton did and it worked. he was charismatic, had both intellectual and working-class appeal and projected optimism. When it comes to getting votes these things matter. Imstead of bitching, we need to deal with that.

The constituency that seems to always be up for grabs is the working-class to middle-class white urban/inner-ring suburb vote. That constituency has both conservative and liberal leanings. They generally want less suffering and poverty in the world, but they also tend to be pro-law enforcement, pro-military, somewhat religious, somewhat patriotic and alienated form some of the more strident of the left.

Now, I completely sympatize with many people's visceral hatred of Bush's policies. I also understand that some people's stake, like say, amberglow's as a gay American, is much more personal than mine. Bush just dosen't care if I get screwed economically, he'd rather amber didn't exist. So while I can sympathize, I can't be in his shoes. But to get the guy out of office, and put someone in who can actually change things requires coalition building, which sad to say, is about more than just cold hard issues and facts.
posted by jonmc at 12:15 PM on September 6, 2004


But, Jon, Clinton didn't actually do much for the lefty cause, did he? When you triangulate to get in, you aren't really working for me anymore.
posted by dame at 12:31 PM on September 6, 2004


How having a higher child-cost burden helps conservative politicians is beyond me. If anything there is more potential for calls for social breaks to be able to afford all these kids, be it welfare or just higher taxes to support their schooling.

The darwin references make no sense and show a complete failure to understand evolution and natural selection. There is no "republican" gene to pass around and my experience (which is skewed by being a city dweller) is that the kids of these Utah/bible belt families tend to have a shitty life until they can afford to get out of their quasi-theocratic areas and have nothing good to say about how they were raised. Not to mention promising never to raise their kids like they were raised. They also tend to have a lot of sympathy for their siblings who are "stuck there" and have cold relations with their siblings who have drunk the religious kool-aid and are doing what their parents are doing all over again.
posted by skallas at 12:33 PM on September 6, 2004


but those white ethnics (which are a dying breed, says the article) swing back and forth, and still believe in social security and social programs in general. They know what the "ownership society" means, and it don't mean them. Coalitions are being built all the time, and for every lost white ethnic, a new jobless person, immigrant or college grad is gained. Also, as those people who were Reagan Democrats age, and need services like SS and Medicare, they come back to us Dems.

Postroad was right--there are more of us, and more becoming us every day. And the job losses of the last 4 years certainly aren't bringing people into the Repub tent.

The majority of the population lives in urban areas and that's not changing anytime soon, no matter how many kids a rural person in a red state has.
posted by amberglow at 12:35 PM on September 6, 2004


Also, I'll add that i hear the very same bullshit fears from the types of people mentioned in this article. Shit like: "The blacks and hispanics are purposely having more kids so they can take over the country." I wouldnt be surprised if this kind of rhetoric makes it to the steeple/dinner table in these rural areas and is part of some crazy-assed "breeding war."
posted by skallas at 12:36 PM on September 6, 2004


Skallas, just ask Bill O'Reilly.
posted by Space Coyote at 12:47 PM on September 6, 2004


But, Jon, Clinton didn't actually do much for the lefty cause, did he? When you triangulate to get in, you aren't really working for me anymore.

We have very different perceptions of what "left" is. I'm, for better or worse, more mainstream and populist, you're more far left. Not saying one's better than the other, just saying my philosophy is more utilitatrian, in that I believe in trying to the most good for the most people, rather than just who's for "me".

It's an old paradox: If I am not for myself, than who will be for me, but if I am for myself alone, than who am I?

but those white ethnics (which are a dying breed, says the article) swing back and forth, and still believe in social security and social programs in general.

First of all, dying breed how? Are they being hunted to extinction?

The reason they swing back and forth has a lot to do with how politicians reach out to them.
posted by jonmc at 12:52 PM on September 6, 2004


NTM, those "dying breed" white ethnics are being replaced by Asians, Indians, and especially Latinos who are already undergoing similar ideological and sociological shifts.
posted by jonmc at 12:55 PM on September 6, 2004


This argument has been done on Metafilter before, and I think it usually reveals the same results: the "conservatives are outbreeding liberals" argument is simply nonsensical.

They make it sound like conservatism is a genetic trait akin to hair or skin color. While some believe singing and musical ability is genetic, it still requires experience and practice to reveal itself. Political leaning is purely experienced-based. And considering we live in a democracy that has for the last decade thrived on global interaction, there really isn't a political situation in which one can be forced to believe a certain party line.

The entire political spectrum is a propaganda war. Regardless of what people call themselves, the inherent nature of Americans are socially libertarian. Modern day politics is about convincing people that they believe in things that they don't necessarily believe in, and motivating more of the people who support you to care than the other side.

Democrats and Republicans aren't in a genetic war; The apathetic are in a cultural war with the intellectual. The ruling political parties are more concerned with convincing the minority not to care. If Democrats were in power it would be the same way, but as discusses many times the modern-day GOP has the advantage of moral and religious-based fanaticism. Not trying to get too partisan on this one, but admit it: even in complete control of the government, the Republican party runs a platform of how their opposition is screwing up the country.

The U.S. isn't even in the top 100 among countries with highest average voter turnouts. If it was possible (and it isn't) to maintain democracy while at the same time requiring every eligible American to vote, the balance of power would likely be much closer to European and Asian countries with much higher turnouts.

This has nothing to do with breeding paterns. As Bill Clinton said about Democratic victories, "we win when people think." Politics, especially in this cycle, has become about convincing as many people as possible to turn off their brains.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 1:20 PM on September 6, 2004


The entire political spectrum is a propaganda war.

So what else is new?

Simple fact is that only a minority of the population anywhere has the ability and/or inclination to be "intellectual," especially when it comes to politics. This has to do with lack of opportunites, disgust with the whole process and distrust of politicans (including activists) in general. I wish this wasn't true but it is. So deal with it, and fight the propoganda war as it lays.

Seriously, a lot of so-called intellectuals are starting to sound like Artie Ziff: Instead of voting for some athletic hero, or a pretty boy, you have elected me, your intellectual superior, as your king. Good for you!
posted by jonmc at 1:48 PM on September 6, 2004


I agree with XQUZYPHYR. But, this description of the author's pedigree, from the WaPo article, does not fill me with confidence as to the fullest veracity of the facts he citers : "The writer, a senior fellow at the New America Foundation, is the author of "The Empty Cradle: How Falling Birthrates Threaten World Prosperity and What to Do About It." - A Flat Earther, eh ? Sheesh.
posted by troutfishing at 1:55 PM on September 6, 2004


> They make it sound like conservatism is a genetic trait akin to hair or skin color.

No such thing. The thesis is that there is a particular constellation of cultural traits, including general conservatism, religiosity, and the habit of having multiple offspring, and this constellation of cultural traits tends to run strongly in families (as culture, y'know, does.) Likewise, we notice another constellation of cultural traits that includes (among other things) secularism, often tending toward atheism, and the habit of having few or no offspring to be raised within this cultural paradigm, which is hence less likely to survive--like the cultural habit of speaking Manchurian Kirgiz, together with the habit of not having children to pass competence in Manchurian Kirgiz onward to.

No "Republican genes" involved at all, do you grasp? (But the genetic fitness of those who don't reproduce is still zero.)
posted by jfuller at 2:04 PM on September 6, 2004


Jon, you keep talking about politics, which is on-topic for the thread but not what my joke was about. I'm talking about intelligence, religion, and fecundity.

You know I'm not a liberal-enclave guy; I shoot the gun and play the poker and enjoy the boat and truck and the objectification of the women; my best friends are a cop, an FBI agent, an Army Reserve captain, and a cigar-chomping real-estate magnate who carries a .45 in town and once told a squeegee guy to "get away from the car, Cornelius". I own a Powermatic 66 and I know how to use it.

And you know too that those Queens neighborhoods, while to our right politically, are full of very smart people, and that they are - while more religious than the hipsters downtown - considerably less religious than the denizens of Utah, Idaho, &c., and considerably less fertile, and therefore - by the articles theory - doomed to be Morlock chow with us elitist snobs.
posted by nicwolff at 2:12 PM on September 6, 2004


You know I'm not a liberal-enclave guy;

I know you aren't, nic, but there's plenty of people who are, which can be alienating at a time when votes count. But that's beside the point. And the whole thread just got my thinking about certain factors that aren't much talked about accurately.

I honestly don't think the fecundity and the politics are connected all that much either. But the writing off as "stupid" is what kinda got me cogitating.

A lot of people in rural places, esp in the Deep South and Midwest*, are gonna be screwed even worse than they already are by bush & co. and a lot of these people aren't "stupid" per se either, but like a poor people everywhere have had a lack of educational oppurtunities etc. And both for the good of these people and for the good of our candidates we should reach out to them rather than alienating them, and simply writing them off as stupid only breeds alienation and resentment that the right-wingers can use to their advantage.

*Utah and Idaho are special cases, one state being founded as a theocracy and the other becoming a retirement community for white supremacists

And you know too that those Queens neighborhoods


Bensonhurst and Canarsie are in Brooklyn. Cross a bridge, man! :>
posted by jonmc at 2:26 PM on September 6, 2004


They need to breed more to compensate for their tendency -- which for some reason they defend passionately -- to send their kids off to die at the behest of their masters. Those masters usually being the sort of wealthy urban easterners that rural country folk would normally disdain, except that these pretend to have the same values and occasionally masquerade as texans.
posted by George_Spiggott at 2:29 PM on September 6, 2004


If were are to follow this "politics genetics" nonsense we may notice that if "metros" start breeding like rabbits they'll need new larger houses so they'll probably seek for a cheaper one more far from the city, which will turn them into " gentile retros" by geographic association and their offspring into "pure retros" by living in contact with young retros.

I also can measure you skull with metallic instruments and ascertain the chances you'll get laid without paying and other pseudogenetic nonsense.

on preview: jfuller ,"genetic fitness" zero ? On the contrary if you don't reproduce you actually reduce the diversity ; so even not reproducing could, in theory, have long term consequences. Oh and what the fuck is genetic fitness anyway , sounds like a new kind of spinning ?

On a tangent: it has been noted by some that rich republicans drive fast cars and dress fashionably, while their base shops at walmart ; in a rare simmetry between the two opposing parties, rich democrats do the very same as rich republican does, leaving base democrats shopping at Walmart. From this point we can discuss a disturbing unbalance unfolding: does the increase of shoppers in Walmart signify an increase of Democratics votes or that the base is more piss poor then before ?
posted by elpapacito at 2:32 PM on September 6, 2004


>No "Republican genes" involved at all, do you grasp?

Yeah, you're talking more about memes as opposed to genes which have nothing to do with the number of kids one has. Memes' "stickiness" doesn't involve sperm. (theres a joke here somewhere)
Richard Dawkins: Examples of memes are tunes, ideas, catch-phrases, clothes fashions, ways of making pots or of building arches. Just as genes propagate themselves in the gene pool by leading from body to body via sperm or eggs, so memes propagate themselves in the meme pool by leaping from brain to brain via a process which, in the broad sense, can be called imitation. If a scientist hears, or reads about, a good idea, he passes it on to his colleagues and students. He mentions it in his articles and his lectures. If the idea catches on, it can be said to propagate itself, spreading from brain to brain.
Memes should be regarded as living structures, not just metaphorically but technically. When you plant a fertile meme in my mind, you literally parasitize my brain, turning it into a vehicle for the meme's propagation in just the way that a virus may parasitize the genetic mechanism of a host cell. And this isn't just a way of talking -- the meme for, say, 'belief in life after death' is actually realized physically, millions of times over, as a structure in the nervous systems of people all over the world.
That said, you'd be surprised how many hardcore liberals come from conservative backgrounds. So its not like hair color or ass-size. No guarantee and considering how gen-x'ers and y'ers are turning out in regards to the culture war I'd say more kids is *hurting* their little "breed war."
posted by skallas at 2:33 PM on September 6, 2004


Those masters usually being the sort of wealthy urban easterners that rural country folk would normally disdain, except that these pretend to have the same values and occasionally masquerade as texans.

For once we're in agreement, george.

Bush's fakery of good ol' boyism is what's helped him achieve his position. I say the left shouldn't neccessarily change a thing about our policies, but, hey fuck it, put on cowboy hats and wave the flag if that's what it takes to get a few more people into the tent.

their tendency -- which for some reason they defend passionately -- to send their kids off to die at the behest of their masters.

My theory, (and I may be being overly charitable or not communicating this as articulately as I'd like) is that a lot of self-defeating policies that are embraced by working-class and poor white ruralites have to do with to things: the work ethic and pride. Social service programs would help a lot of troubles these people have, but in many minds that equals "handouts" or "charity" which cuts against the work ethic that many people use to define their personal dignity ("I work for a living, dammit") You could say the same thing about sending their kids off to die in wars, It's patriotism twisted to evil ends.
posted by jonmc at 2:40 PM on September 6, 2004


well, i'd love to comment on all this but as a stupid midwesterner, i plain forgot what it was i had to say

jesus ... there sure are a lot of prejudiced fuckheads on this site ... free clue, guys ... you're not running this country without us ... and we don't listen to people who talk down to us

someone needs to do some bubblepopping out in bubbleland
posted by pyramid termite at 2:45 PM on September 6, 2004


or that the base is more piss poor then before ?

bingo! for both bases.
posted by amberglow at 2:47 PM on September 6, 2004


> meme

Yes, yes, I know what "meme" is. It's a pointless neologism that does exactly the same linguistic work as "idea." But it got Dawkins on a lot of talk shoes.


> Those masters usually being the sort of wealthy urban easterners that
> rural country folk would normally disdain, except that these pretend to have
> the same values and occasionally masquerade as texans.

Or Virginians, like our first president George, inaugurated in 1789, and our last king George, served his eviction notice in 1776, both of whom also got a lot of country boys shot up. Dubya may practice it but he certainly didn't invent it and it's not the least bit radical.


> jesus ... there sure are a lot of prejudiced fuckheads on this site ... free
> clue, guys ... you're not running this country without us ... and we don't
> listen to people who talk down to us

Don't they just make you ache to vote for Kerry?
posted by jfuller at 2:55 PM on September 6, 2004


a lot of self-defeating policies that are embraced by working-class and poor white ruralites have to do with to things: the work ethic and pride.

It's sad the way this admirable attitude has been cynically exploited by right-wing plutocrats who offer them nothing but palliative words about "values" while acting against their interests. Worst of these is probably their collusion in the destruction of family farms in favor of corporate agribusiness, which even when it isn't displacing, absorbing or undercutting traditional farms out of existence, they're poisoning the environment destroying property values. Rural Americans object to this on a per-incident basis but don't seem to make the right connections at the polls. This is in very large part the fault of the left, who have willingly let themselves be associated with handouts to the underprivileged and not with economic justice for working rural people. The left could do a lot more for these folks rather than just ceding them to the Republicans.
posted by George_Spiggott at 2:58 PM on September 6, 2004


Don't they just make you ache to vote for Kerry?

nah, he should for vote the make-believe cowboy who's the definition of a spoiled ivy league fratboy. (Funny how his brother Jeb doesn't have anything like Dubya's accent, ain't it?)
posted by amberglow at 3:00 PM on September 6, 2004


Well, george that has a lot to do with innacurate perceptions fostered by the right that a lot of the modern left not only dosen't do much to counter but sometimes actively encourages to court the "metro" base.

I say screw the whole false metro/retro dichotomy and aggressively work to change those misperceptions. That's gonna involve abandoning a lot of prejudices, like pyramid termite said. And also, actively catering towards pride and the work ethic. I was raised with both of those things, and while I realize that they can be exploited to bad ends, that dosen't mean I'm about to abandon either.
posted by jonmc at 3:06 PM on September 6, 2004


And I might add that (in my totally unscientific, highly subjective opinion), the lefty pinko liberal elite are about the only thing keeping family farms alive -- by paying sky-high prices for local produce from regional farms, many of whom have gone organic (or at least eschewed chemically-intensive agriculture) in order to capture these dollars. You'll never see so many Kerry bumper stickers as you do at a farmers market or cooperative grocery store. The W'04 bumperstickers are all in the parking lots of Wal-Mart and other stores which make huge corporate deals and are simply not set up to work with farmers cooperatives, let alone individual farmers.
posted by George_Spiggott at 3:09 PM on September 6, 2004


We have very different perceptions of what "left" is. I'm, for better or worse, more mainstream and populist, you're more far left. Not saying one's better than the other, just saying my philosophy is more utilitatrian, in that I believe in trying to the most good for the most people, rather than just who's for "me".

It's an old paradox: If I am not for myself, than who will be for me, but if I am for myself alone, than who am I?


Sweetie, you misunderstand entirely. Me = what I belive in. Don't you think I am far left because I think that's the way to give most people the best shot? Why else would I be? I'm poor now out of choice and so I'm not so worried for me; it's those who are poor from circumstance that I belive in far-leftiness for.

Look, Clinton "reformed" welfare and signed the Defense of Marriage Act, while he capitulated to "don't ask, don't tell" and couldn't put together real healthcare reform. That helped more people than taxing the shit out of the rich & putting the money into schools and healthcare? Really? He pushed "free trade." That was a populist position?

/derail

On topic: I'm not so worried that they're breeding conservatives; it's experience and education that make a liberal. If we were serious, we'd let the conservatives take care of the raising, then kidnap the kids and send 'em to grad school.
posted by dame at 3:14 PM on September 6, 2004


> (Funny how his brother Jeb doesn't have anything like Dubya's accent, ain't it?)

Tell you a little story, on myself. When I went north from my Ole Home State (Georgia, not Virginny) to attend a graduate institution in Cambridge, Mass., I quite involuntarily developed a case of south-in-the-mouth that I never, ever displayed at home. (In Georgia they always told me "You talk like a Yankee." ) And I wasn't running for anything. Odd things happen in the world outside your experience; you'll just have to take my word for it, but I call Dubya innocent on that one.
posted by jfuller at 3:17 PM on September 6, 2004


Eh? Liberals are a dying breed?

That's all good, then. The earth ain't gonna be worth living in if the conservatives are completely in power.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:23 PM on September 6, 2004


> The earth ain't gonna be worth living in

"And I wouldn't bring children into the kind of world we have today." Thank you, jfuller couldn't possibly do a better job of capturing the core... meme.

The (out-)competing one is, life is always worth living, if only to fight on. Cordially yours, jphf.
posted by jfuller at 3:42 PM on September 6, 2004


The reason they swing back and forth has a lot to do with how politicians reach out to them.

Yes, by appealing to them at their most greedy and atavistic.

a lot of these people aren't "stupid" per se either, but like a poor people everywhere have had a lack of educational oppurtunities etc. And both for the good of these people and for the good of our candidates we should reach out to them rather than alienating them,

but, hey fuck it, put on cowboy hats and wave the flag if that's what it takes to get a few more people into the tent.

Pandering to the worst in people is only going to end up poorly sooner or later. As soon as you can't buy them off anymore, they will abandon you for someone who can. I can't help but think the better answer lies in encouraging people to think critically. Of course that's a lot harder and will take heaps more time.

Take this for example:

Social service programs would help a lot of troubles these people have, but in many minds that equals "handouts" or "charity" which cuts against the work ethic that many people use to define their personal dignity

Maybe one could "actively cater toward pride and work ethic" by appealing to the pride of taking care of your own. Maybe we can say, "Look at how rich we are as a nation. Look at how we all benefit from the work of others. Shouldn't we be proud of taking care of one another?" I know I find pride in paying the part of taxes that go towards helping others because those others do a lot of the menial shit that let me do what I do.

But DNC "liberals" don't do this. They give in to the prejudice that believes those who need help need it because they're lazy, "reform" welfare, leave many worse off, then find themselves continually playing defense anyway.

In the appeals-to-the-worst-in-humanity race, Republicans (not conservatives, which is a different debate) will always win. They are structured around getting what they want and fucking you. So maybe we should work on putting out good ideas and challenging people's better minds, instead of wasting our time pandering.

All quotes from Jonmc.
posted by dame at 4:00 PM on September 6, 2004


I know Bush was a frat boy, and I am still going to vote for him.

Let me spell this out for you. People like me support the Right because those are our values.

Y'all need to step out of this liberal enclave and go get some fresh air-not everyone sees things the way the average liberal Mefite does.
posted by konolia at 4:10 PM on September 6, 2004


People like me support the Right because those are our values.

Oh, really? So you lie to everyone all the time? You do whatever it takes, including lying about your opponents to try to remain in power? So you believe in cutting veteran's benefits, and increasing the cost of Medicare, and privatizing SS? (and so on....)
posted by amberglow at 4:15 PM on September 6, 2004


> In the appeals-to-the-worst-in-humanity race, Republicans (not
> conservatives, which is a different debate) will always win. They are
> structured around getting what they want and fucking you.

Ma cher dame, you have described politics. Not Republican politics, not American politics, not European politics, not Athenian politics, not Sumerian politics, but politics. Full stop. Politics is the appeal to the lowest common denominator -- which is, by definition, what we all have in common. If you have no faith in the common man then you don't believe in politics, and you better go looking for a Strong Wo(Man) On Horseback. Many societies have, why should yours be the Lone Ranger?
posted by jfuller at 4:23 PM on September 6, 2004


Study after study has shown the more choice a woman has, the fewer children she will have on average. In my mind all this shows is that conservative women are more oppressed than liberal women. That if conservative women really had their way, they would have fewer children and perhaps do other things with their life than be a traditional mother. Obviously some women, liberal and conservative, choose to have big families. But the more oppressed a woman is in any culture.. India for example.. the more children she has because the less input she has over her own path in life. Is it question of values? Or a question of freedom.
posted by stbalbach at 4:29 PM on September 6, 2004


We also all have in common the greatest common denominator.
posted by kenko at 4:39 PM on September 6, 2004


So using abortion as a political football without doing jack shit about it in case you actually do win and lose that issue to rile up the base with is "your values"?

OK...
posted by Space Coyote at 5:03 PM on September 6, 2004


> Study after study has shown the more choice a woman has, the fewer children
> she will have on average. In my mind all this shows is that conservative women
> are more oppressed than liberal women. That if conservative women
> really had their way, they would have fewer children and perhaps do other
> things with their life than be a traditional mother.

Well, yeah. Study after study has shown that rats with electodes implanted in their neural pleasure centers will sit there stimulating their pleasure centers all day rather than eat, until they starve. What's sweet for individuals isn't necessarily good for species survival. I believe that was a considerable part of the point. We're talking about things that go on far beneath the level of self-aware personal interest.

If one insists on maintaining "meme" language, one might say there are cultural (non-genetic, but still biological) reservoirs of the make-babies meme, and these reservoirs are maintained by women just as much as by men (if not more so) and those who are culturally within this reservoir may be likely to out-compete those who aren't and pass their memes on to their babies while the others don't.

I find your comment value-laden, which suggests you're missing the point. Do you notice that the proposition under discussion was, in the initial instance, value-neutral? As in "Seeds that fall down and hit the ground are more likely to grow than seeds that fall up."


konolia:

> By the way, humans procreate, not breed. You breed horses and cows and
> rabbits, not people.

Sorry, k, I've been a mefi member for a long time and I know my audience; "breeders" was particualrly chosen for its troll value. Though--remember, I'm a fascist but also a tree hugger--I do think bunnies and hosses deserve at least as much respect as us. Cows, no.
posted by jfuller at 5:10 PM on September 6, 2004


Well, bunnies at least.
posted by konolia at 5:14 PM on September 6, 2004


Pandering to the worst in people is only going to end up poorly sooner or later.

I'm not talking about changing policies, merely how we sell those policies and like it or not, salesmanship of a sort is a part of politics. You're rephrashing of the welfare question is a perceptive example of doing just that.

What I meant with the "cowboy hats & flags" is that democrats should promote themselves with an earthy, All-American image, since when all is said and done, the Democrats are more earthy and All American than the Replublicans.


What I meant by the work ethic is basically that most American, especially working and middle class ones believe in working for a living and contributing. I'll be the first to say that embracing this and helping the less fortunate are emphatically not irreconcilable. But when the work ethic seems to be denigrated it cuts against peoples pride. I've worked at least part time since I was 12. When I was out of work for 8 months as an adult, it was a profound experience. For the first few weeks, it felt great like a long vacation. But after a while I felt like an invalid and it began to eat away at me. So respecting the work ethic and patriotism is a wise move politically speaking.

People like me support the Right because those are our values.

konolia, we differ on a lot. But I think I know you well enough to know that greed, hatred, and disdain for the welfare of others are not your values.

Bush and the neo-cons (note: Bush is not a true conservative) have merely wrapped all that stuff up in a shiny package to make it seem like your values, konolia. It a huge example of what I've spent most of this thread talking about.
posted by jonmc at 5:14 PM on September 6, 2004


I do have faith in humanity, jfuller. I have faith that if you expect good from people and give them the tools to acheive it, they will. Who of the two of us really thinks better of folks?

Or to repeat kenko, who got it in only one line:

We also all have in common the greatest common denominator.
posted by dame at 5:46 PM on September 6, 2004


> (note: Bush is not a true conservative)

Oh, amen to that.
posted by jfuller at 5:56 PM on September 6, 2004


Politics, especially in this cycle, has become about convincing as many people as possible to turn off their brains.

That's hardly limited to politics, though; it exists in virtually every part of our culture today.
posted by rushmc at 6:00 PM on September 6, 2004


> Who of the two of us really thinks better of folks?

You do, beyond the least doubt--if you believe that thinking well of people and expecting good from them is the way to good government. I do think well of people, they can do amazing thing things and do so all the time. But government must not be concerned with encouraging the best, it's much too much a blunt instrument for that, you must find other, less clumsy, less brutal means to encourage the best than government. Government is garbage collecting. All government can ever do is restrain the worst. You want to encourage the best, get out of government. Find some other tool.
posted by jfuller at 6:06 PM on September 6, 2004


But, despite the attempts of Protestants to promote the idea of sex for pleasure, children continued to multiply everywhere.
/python
posted by sciurus at 6:09 PM on September 6, 2004


Let me spell this out for you. People like me support the Right because those are our values.

This is just sad. Watch as your inner cities rot, your rural towns disappear, your young people slaughtered, your dollar inflate and your wallet grow thinner. But keep voting for your values.

What you really mean is other people's values. You know, the real issues of a campaign season -- whether gay people should marry, whether kids should have prayer in school, whether the flag can be burned, whether a woman can have an abortion.

All regulating what the other guy/gal can do with their lives. Why don't you try minding your own business for a change? Conservatives are so hell-bent on keeping government out of peoples' lives -- how about taking your own advice and keeping your nose out of my business?
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:17 PM on September 6, 2004


Threads like this make me hate MetaFilter. So many stereotypes in such a small space.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 12:33 AM on September 7, 2004


I thought it was greatest common factor, not denominator. Right?
posted by Lord Chancellor at 3:39 AM on September 7, 2004


So many stereotypes in such a small space.

Us MetaFilter users are all alike!
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:32 AM on September 7, 2004


JUst so you know, the two of my offspring who are voting age are registered Republicans.* And the third -a high school senior-obtained a Bush/Cheney button from somewhere and has been wearing it to school.

Where did you go so terribly wrong? How could you have failed so miserably as a mother? :->

I want to hear more about how GWB represents your values. I had a much more positive impression of you than that. Are your values similar to Ken Lay's? I'm truly not seeing how you perceive yourself sharing the same values as GWB.
posted by nofundy at 8:54 AM on September 7, 2004


I don't know if that holds water, amberglow.

Are you suggesting that your argument breaks the water on this discussion about childbirth? ;)
posted by Peter H at 10:14 AM on September 7, 2004


Let me spell this out for you. People like me support the Right because those are our values.

I'd love to know what those values are. It's not fiscal responsibility, is it? The deficit is sky-high. It's not personal liberty and the corresponding responsibility. It's not protecting America, either. Check into what they've got the (grossly unfunded) DHS doing: looking for Canadian pot and Mexican laborers. It's not education, despite what his speech I watched this morning said, since he's made many cuts and unfunded mandates that have placed a much higher burden on schools. I could barely afford to finish my degree as a direct result of Bush's actions.

I don't think Bush has any principles beyond political expediency. He's just like Clinton.

how about taking your own advice and keeping your nose out of my business?
That's the conservatism I believe in. Let people run their own lives.
posted by sonofsamiam at 10:36 AM on September 7, 2004


I don't know if you're still around, jfuller, but I wanted to reply.

Government is the allocation of resources and services. It is how we work together on things that are better done by a large group (building roads, for example). In this way, government facilitates large parts of the business of living. It is there to organize the impersonal but necessary so we may focus on the more personal.

These days, there is a lot of selfishness around what the government may and should facilitate. We are an obscenely rich country and yet we still do not take care of the least among us. That's really gross and shameful. As long as people want for the basics, they have no chance to be something more, to be their best. So what we have is people in their selfishness (not at their best) denying others the resources to even attempt betterment.

If we disbursed resources and services outside of government, then you might have a point. But the choices the government makes affect our lives on a very real basis. The system of incentives it puts in place guides the rivulets of personal decisions that eventually make up the river of our society. And these incentives aren't clumsy or brutal. The full working of the system may look like a club, but each little bit is the result of one decision, one law, one regulation.

You have to fight the good fight there as well as many other places.
posted by dame at 11:09 AM on September 7, 2004


People like me support the Right because those are our values.

thought this was an interesting column from someone who shares those values konolia:
here
you should think about what bush and co. really represent before casting your ballot.
posted by christy at 5:02 PM on September 7, 2004


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