501(c)(3) "charities" at work
December 5, 2013 1:18 PM   Subscribe

State conservative groups plan US-wide assault on education, health and tax. The policy goals are contained in a set of funding proposals obtained by the Guardian. The proposals were co-ordinated by the State Policy Network, an alliance of groups that act as incubators of conservative strategy at state level.
posted by T.D. Strange (163 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
 
The Guardian just seems to get better and better. I wish there were more newspapers willing to do investigative reporting like this.
posted by Kevin Street at 1:22 PM on December 5, 2013 [8 favorites]


I couldn't read more than half of this without exploding in a full-on Lemongrab rage. "Hnnnnnnngh!!! It's GROSS!"
posted by bitter-girl.com at 1:25 PM on December 5, 2013 [9 favorites]


UNACCEPTABLLLLEE! 100 years dungeon!
posted by pwnguin at 1:28 PM on December 5, 2013 [13 favorites]


I'm glad to see the Guardian partnering with other outlets for US reporting (e.g., the Texas Observer). As far as the rage goes, I live in Texas so I hit rage fatigue sometime back in the 90s, but it may be time to kick more money to the candidates of my choice.
posted by immlass at 1:32 PM on December 5, 2013


Yeah, never mind that nonsense with the Heritage Foundation, this is where the conservatives are really focusing their efforts, and where the reall war is taking place. If the conservatives can win Congress or the presidency that's nice, but otherwise if they can incapacitate Washington while they enact their programs, it's still a win for them.
posted by happyroach at 1:40 PM on December 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


includes proposals from six different states for cuts in public sector pensions, campaigns to reduce the wages of government workers and eliminate income taxes, school voucher schemes to counter public education, opposition to Medicaid, and a campaign against regional efforts to combat greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change.
It's like they're actively seeking the end of civilisation.

If the super rich turn out to be alien lizardmen invaders I honestly think there will be some comfort in the "Oh, that's why all the evil" realisation.
This destruction by a glacially stupid lack of foresight is well, just embarrassing.
posted by fullerine at 1:40 PM on December 5, 2013 [40 favorites]


ALEC, not to be outdone, is targeting those solar energy freeloaders.
posted by mullingitover at 1:45 PM on December 5, 2013 [5 favorites]


Help me out - is the endgame here basically a return to feudal lords and serfs? Or do they really believe that this is in the best interest of all humanity?
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:48 PM on December 5, 2013 [21 favorites]


It's a good thing we have strong Left-aligned political movements in this country ready to wade into the political arena and put up resistance to this sort of thing.

Oh wait.
posted by Noms_Tiem at 1:49 PM on December 5, 2013 [9 favorites]


> It's like they're actively seeking the end of civilisation.

It really does seem that way. At least, the one we know. Their vision for the future of the US is more in line with Mexico than Europe, Japan or Canada.
posted by stbalbach at 1:49 PM on December 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


The trust, founded in 1998, draws on the family fortune of ... which created NutraSweet. The trust is a major donor to such mainstays of the American right and the Tea Parties

So they're saying it's a ... Sweet Tea Party?
posted by resurrexit at 1:51 PM on December 5, 2013 [9 favorites]


Help me out - is the endgame here basically a return to feudal lords and serfs?

More likely an Elysium or Judge Dredd Mega City situation, where the 1% or 0.001% are ensconded in crystal fortess-palaces, with the masses throwing themselves against the walls of machine guns to escape the dying wasteland outside.
posted by T.D. Strange at 1:52 PM on December 5, 2013 [5 favorites]


Help me out - is the endgame here basically a return to feudal lords and serfs? Or do they really believe that this is in the best interest of all humanity?

There is no longer any game beyond short-term financial interest.
posted by umberto at 1:52 PM on December 5, 2013 [48 favorites]


I'm always struck with articles like this about how the US right wing has corralled the word 'freedom' and transformed it into something else.

It's quite grotesque, really. Cultish. The cognitive dissonance that pick and choose free marketism is good for America as the country slips down comparative world rankings on quality of life is odd indeed.

I also wonder what kind of event will precipitate a change of direction. You can't keep asset stripping your own people forever.
posted by MuffinMan at 1:53 PM on December 5, 2013 [7 favorites]


Co-opting "American values" to mean right wing ideology was also a nice trick
posted by thelonius at 1:56 PM on December 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


Help me out - is the endgame here basically a return to feudal lords and serfs? Or do they really believe that this is in the best interest of all humanity?

Yes.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 1:57 PM on December 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


You can't keep asset stripping your own people forever.

The same argument people use to justify lowering taxes and eliminating spending, curiously.
posted by umberto at 1:58 PM on December 5, 2013


Indeed. But income distribution curves don't lie!
posted by MuffinMan at 1:59 PM on December 5, 2013


>Help me out - is the endgame here basically a return to feudal lords and serfs? Or do they really believe that this is in the best interest of all humanity?

If you wanna get fancy about it, there's a strong argument to be made that this is literally the case as modern conservatism can more or less trace its roots back to Burke, many of whose arguments boiled down to "my goodness isn't it great to be a member of the gentry" and "things that oppose the interests of the gentry are probably bad".

But to be more specific,

>Or do they really believe that this is in the best interest of all humanity?

Come now. It can't be that hard to step into their shoes.

Imagine you had an ideological commitment to less government more freedom. Less government is more jobs (less crowding out), less government is more money in your pocket, less government allows Job Creators to Increase Prosperity.

Add in a thick layer of "changes to the status quo almost by definition are likely to hurt me".

If you can't win at the polls, you starve the beast and dismantle it at the local level. (This part is a tactic lefties also employ; see say civil rights expansions through the courts).

I violently disagree with conservatives, but I don't really doubt the sincerity of their non-millionaire members. They're just more ruthless, and generally possess a more genial/cynical understanding of power.
posted by pmv at 2:01 PM on December 5, 2013 [5 favorites]


Help me out - is the endgame here basically a return to feudal lords and serfs?

When is it not?

See all Libertarians ever.
posted by Artw at 2:04 PM on December 5, 2013 [20 favorites]


Whenever I read news like this I'm reminded of the friend who dismissed the idea of immortality by saying "One lifetime of other peoples' crap will be enough for me, thank you."
posted by The Card Cheat at 2:05 PM on December 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


I feel like I see an article like this every other day. Some new influential conservative policy group has popped up and is funded by conservative billionaires. Are there no liberal inclined billionaires that are willing to fund counter-groups or are they too busy with something else?

Now, this isn't to say we need billionaires as saviors or anything. It's great if these things can be fought against at the grass roots non-billionaire level, but having a few billionaires in the ranks certainly can't hurt!
posted by delicious-luncheon at 2:06 PM on December 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I'm having a hard time seeing this stuff as anything but outright malevolence. Capital E Evil in the way you usually only see in movies.
posted by brundlefly at 2:06 PM on December 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


More likely an Elysium or Judge Dredd Mega City situation, where the 1% or 0.001% are ensconded in crystal fortess-palaces, with the masses throwing themselves against the walls of machine guns to escape the dying wasteland outside.

MegaCity One is more of a command economy under the control of Justice Dept.
posted by Artw at 2:07 PM on December 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Lately things are looking pretty bleak for the cause of Good. Luckily, I've figured out a plan:
I'll hide under some coats, and hope that somehow everything will work out.
posted by Atom Eyes at 2:13 PM on December 5, 2013 [6 favorites]


The Devil's greatest trick is convincing a sizable minority of people into thinking that the Social Contract is a bogus idea. Awesome.
posted by Atreides at 2:13 PM on December 5, 2013 [7 favorites]


It's a good thing we have strong Left-aligned political movements in this country ready to wade into the political arena and put up resistance to this sort of thing.

Oh wait.


(T_T)
posted by Foosnark at 2:13 PM on December 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Now more than ever, we need Nemesis the Warlock.

Credo!
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 2:13 PM on December 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think people should not forget that a large percentage of Americans believe that the end of the world as foretold in the bible is immanent, and that any money spent on actually making the world a better place for the future is wasted. So yes, these people are actually trying to destroy civilization. They're a threat to mankind that is probably worse than Al Queda-- at least more nihilistic.
posted by empath at 2:20 PM on December 5, 2013 [24 favorites]


Juan Cole is probably not for this.
posted by From Bklyn at 2:25 PM on December 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Are there no liberal inclined billionaires that are willing to fund counter-groups or are they too busy with something else?

It's a matter of ROI. For conservative $B'aires it's a beast that feeds itself.
posted by Reasonably Everything Happens at 2:31 PM on December 5, 2013


The Guardian just seems to get better and better. I wish there were more newspapers willing to do investigative reporting like this.

The documents were fed to them by a group. It was good it was published by them, but this was silver-plattered. I'm not at liberty to say more but I was briefed on this yesterday evening. There will be more to come.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:34 PM on December 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


empath: "I think people should not forget that a large percentage of Americans believe that the end of the world as foretold in the bible is immanent, and that any money spent on actually making the world a better place for the future is wasted."

Not just wasted. It's second-guessing God.
posted by brundlefly at 2:35 PM on December 5, 2013


State conservative groups plan US-wide assault on education, health and tax.

Ahem. From TFA:

State Policy Network co-ordinating plans across 34 US states

About which, this is what one distinguished jurist had to say:

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis in New State Ice Co. v. Liebmann:

a "state may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country."

Now, I feel bad about whatever deleterious effects will be felt as a result of this in the 34 states. But to accomplish these goals, you must have politicians willing to do this, and the populace willing to vote them in (Brandeis "if its citizens choose"). Well, they chose. I realize that not everybody votes for these guys, but everybody suffers, including those who voted against... but you know, this argument can always be made whenever there is voting. See Brandeis, again.

There is a reason why they are not trying this in certain blue states. Believe me, they'd love to, but the voters won't let them.

Now, to the degree that the federal government and judiciary may ameliorate or short-circuit some of these deleterious effects, the voters in the blue states should - and do - try their darndest to win national elections. But there is a limit to what you can do at the local level when you live in a different state.

So maybe we should take comfort in the wise words of Justice Brandeis. When these 'lab experiments' don't pan out, or when the populace affected changes their opinion, they'll vote differently, and this will be just another memory of a lab explosion.

Maybe those 34 states will be a cautionary example. Or maybe after a while, those 34 states will lead the counter-attack, now wiser for the experience. But it's down to the voters - "if its citizens choose".

Was Brandeis wrong?
posted by VikingSword at 2:35 PM on December 5, 2013


Are there no liberal inclined billionaires that are willing to fund counter-groups or are they too busy with something else?

George Soros has been a conservative bogeyman for quite a while now, but I can only wish he did half of what these groups ascribe to him and his money.
posted by LionIndex at 2:35 PM on December 5, 2013 [5 favorites]


Dear mods, You wouldn't let me make my (earnest, not joking in the slightest) point about Republicans and brain damage in that other thread; is it okay if I make one about Republicans and education?
posted by Sys Rq at 2:39 PM on December 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


VikingSword: " Was Brandeis wrong?"

Experiments in the laboratories of democracy go straight to the human trial phase. One can favor states having the power to try things without being happy that certain states will try those things and hurt actual people.
posted by tonycpsu at 2:40 PM on December 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


I was watching a documentary last night that was covering the fall of the Roman Empire. A historian was mentioning how, as things declined, people began to disassemble roads and aqueducts and other sophisticated architecture, using the bricks and stones to build hovels and pigpens. Not a perfect analogy by far, but...
posted by XMLicious at 2:41 PM on December 5, 2013 [6 favorites]


So maybe we should take comfort in the wise words of Justice Brandeis. When these 'lab experiments' don't pan out, or when the populace affected changes their opinion, they'll vote differently, and this will be just another memory of a lab explosion.

One of those "experiments" is voter suppression of minorities, women, and/or the poor, approved by the same Supreme Court that Brandeis served on, authored by a Chief Justice who in a previous job was tasked with destroying the Voting Rights Act, and that carried with it no Constitutional reasoning.

Maybe it will disappear, but it's kind of hard to vote differently when you can't vote at all.
posted by zombieflanders at 2:41 PM on December 5, 2013 [17 favorites]


Was Brandeis wrong?

No, you've accurately described the ability of individual states to pass laws. The question here is who, exactly, is writing and paying for the harmful policies, and how those people are shielding their self-interested advocacy behind the facade of tax-free front groups.
posted by T.D. Strange at 2:43 PM on December 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


what does silver plattered mean? they just reprinted what someone else wrote?
posted by sio42 at 2:45 PM on December 5, 2013


I don't know if the verb "to rage-read" was actually coined here on Metafilter but the only use I can find of it in a quick Google search is in the title of a MeFi post.

But anyway, this article is a good example of why "to rage-read" is a very useful verb.
posted by jayder at 2:48 PM on December 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Now more than ever, we need Nemesis the Warlock.

NOONE MOVE A MUSCLE AS THE DEAD COME HOME
posted by Sebmojo at 2:52 PM on December 5, 2013 [9 favorites]


One of those "experiments" is voter suppression of minorities, women, and/or the poor, approved by the same Supreme Court that Brandeis served on, authored by a Chief Justice who in a previous job was tasked with destroying the Voting Rights Act, and that carried with it no Constitutional reasoning.

What is the judicial or political remedy against such USSC practices? Surely something other than armed rebellion. So - do the 'something other', whatever it may be. Or are you saying the U.S. is badly designed and we are helpless.

The question here is who, exactly, is writing and paying for the harmful policies, and how those people are shielding their self-interested advocacy behind the facade of tax-free front groups.

So why are they doing it in those particular 34 states? I don't know - is there maybe, like, a pattern to be observed? And what does that say? Surely whatever devious means are being employed, they either are effective everywhere or not - now why would they not be in the states outside of the 34? Whose fault is it, ultimately? Bad actors have been with us from the beginning of time, and will be with us to the end - so it can't be the fault of the "bad guys" and their evil methods. The framers of our Constitution recognized that no system that relies exclusively on the probity of the rulers can ever be successful, and it is therefore a bad design if that's what it relies on. It cannot therefore be a question of bad actors acting badly. Why are they successful in some states and not the others? That's the question.
posted by VikingSword at 2:52 PM on December 5, 2013


jayder: "I don't know if the verb "to rage-read" was actually coined here on Metafilter"

Nah, I took the title of that FPP from the linked comic, but I, too, have added it to my vocabulary.
posted by tonycpsu at 2:52 PM on December 5, 2013


There are (at least) two levels of belief involved, here: the people who actually finance and direct organizations like the State Policy Network and their stooges/accomplices in government, and then the voters who support it. I think pecuniary rapacity, the intense anxiety that forms in the minds of wealthy thugs when they contemplate the idea that undefended money exists somewhere they can grab it, is enough to explain their motives. But what about the latter group?

My hypothesis is that they really believe in domination. They are disgusted by the idea of "dependency" on government because they don't really accept the idea of consensual power relations, in a very fundamental sense: they believe in hierarchy that is characterized by non-consensual relations of power and force. This is, not coincidentally, why they tend toward misogyny and apologia for rape culture. People like this believe that the powerful, whether that means a man who has the power to hurt a woman or the wealthy who have the capacity to steal from the poor, have a right to dominate others, in the same way that the king of England ruled "by God and my Right". They believe in power's self-justifying goodness and appropriateness, completely outside the realm of legitimacy as it's usually conceived in the context of democracy. More specifically, they're revanchists. They want to punish and dominate the poor, women, marginalized populations, people of color, and potentially any group that isn't White and (their kind of) Protestant. They want to put "those people" back in their place, those low social, legal, and institutional positions they occupied before 2nd-wave feminism and the civil rights movement screwed up heteronormative White supremacy.

And the puppet-masters are only too happy to offer this revanchism in exchange for total regulatory capture, the dismantling of public goods, and lawless economic/financial domination. In that sense, they all really believe in the same thing, namely, the right of the powerful to dominate, and the supersession of nearly all human and civil rights by that one. The angry idiot voters crave a return to a more flatly coercive social order, and the wealthy manipulators want economic power to be the only game in town. Once they get that done, we will once again have true robber barons in America, economic brigands ennobled.
posted by clockzero at 2:52 PM on December 5, 2013 [33 favorites]


What is the judicial or political remedy against such USSC practices? Surely something other than armed rebellion. So - do the 'something other', whatever it may be.

Per the SCOTUS decision, you can only file suit after your vote has been suppressed, and only via an extended, expensive process. Which means you're shit out of luck if the judges were elected or appointed by people who think it was OK to suppress your vote.
posted by zombieflanders at 2:54 PM on December 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


zombieflanders, I believe the case was only about whether a state had to clear its practices with DOJ first.

DOJ and individuals can still sue prior to an election to enjoin discriminatory election rules.
posted by jpe at 3:01 PM on December 5, 2013


Not just wasted. It's second-guessing God.

Of course, helping along the apocalypse would be too.
posted by weston at 3:02 PM on December 5, 2013


Are there no liberal inclined billionaires that are willing to fund counter-groups or are they too busy with something else?

You're kidding, right?
posted by IndigoJones at 3:02 PM on December 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


Ah, yes, noted leftists Michael Bloomberg and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

"We've got both kinds of billionaires: plutocrats and nihilists!"
posted by tonycpsu at 3:06 PM on December 5, 2013 [8 favorites]


zombieflanders, I believe the case was only about whether a state had to clear its practices with DOJ first.

DOJ and individuals can still sue prior to an election to enjoin discriminatory election rules.


Section 3 bail-in can only be used in jurisdictions where discrimination has been determined to exist previously. That makes it largely useless, especially in previously blue or purple states where discriminatory voting laws did not exist before the current wave.
posted by zombieflanders at 3:08 PM on December 5, 2013


And the whole "voter suppression" argument is a bit of a dodge. Unquestionably it's evil and strikes at the very foundation of democracy, but many of these oafs are elected by margins where voter suppression is not a factor - even if there were none, they would win... why isn't Wyoming blue? Or Utah? Voter suppression?

When the left (and I count myself as part of the left) hangs their entire argument on one thing only - voter suppression - when that fails, the entire argument crumbles.

Voter suppression is extra-double bad. Agreed. But it's not the only, or even the biggest factor in those 34 states.

We either agree Brandeis was right or not. We can't just say "it's great when the lab experiment is in having a more Left solution". The concept is either valid or not, however the experiments may turn out.
posted by VikingSword at 3:08 PM on December 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


but DOJ and individuals can still sue in advance of elections even for state and local jurisdictions outside of jurisdictions covered by section 3.
posted by jpe at 3:10 PM on December 5, 2013


VikingSword: " We either agree Brandeis was right or not. We can't just say "it's great when the lab experiment is n having a more Left solution". The concept is either valid or not, however the experiments may turn out."

It's possible for a political system to be the worst one, except for all of the others, and lately, I've been wondering if the problems inherent in Westminster systems aren't problems I'd rather have.
posted by tonycpsu at 3:10 PM on December 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well, this is weird. A couple years ago, the ascendent Michigan GOP voted to increase tourism subsidies by 65% or $10 million, but now - according to the report - they are trying to torpedo said funding.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 3:13 PM on December 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


And the whole "voter suppression" argument is a bit of a dodge. Unquestionably it's evil and strikes at the very foundation of democracy, but many of these oafs are elected by margins where voter suppression is not a factor - even if there were none, they would win...

WUT

I mean, have you not been paying attention to the last several elections? There's currently a Virginia Attorney General-Elect with a 165-vote margin. Al Franken won by 312 votes. Who are you to determine what voting margin makes it a non-factor? If hundreds of thousands of minorities can't vote in Texas because the only places they can get a voter ID to are 250 miles away, that's a pretty big fucking margin. This isn't just about top-level federal and state elections, this is about local and district state elections.

why isn't Wyoming blue? Or Utah? Voter suppression?

Why isn't North Carolina always blue? Or Wisconsin? The argument that voter suppression is no big deal because Utah is still a red state is complete and utter bullshit.
posted by zombieflanders at 3:16 PM on December 5, 2013 [22 favorites]


hosti humani generis.
posted by wuwei at 3:21 PM on December 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


a "state may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country."

We either agree Brandeis was right or not. We can't just say "it's great when the lab experiment is in having a more Left solution". The concept is either valid or not, however the experiments may turn out.


First of all, you're wrong that Brandeis was either totally correct or totally incorrect. Aside from that formal point, though, I think perhaps you've misread him: note the key placement of "novel" in that quote. I really don't think that these proposals, which would either destroy or seriously diminish the government's ability to help people and correct social inequalities generated by differentials of wealth and power, constitute novel ideas at all. They're exactly what we developed democracy to get away from.
posted by clockzero at 3:23 PM on December 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I always like it when conservative groups like this throw in some anti-science planks on their platform. It lets me know that they're skipping any real analysis of data, facts and trends and that their arguements will essentially be content free. When they stick to topics which have two rational points of view, I feel obligated to listen to them and see if they've found something new under the sun.
posted by quillbreaker at 3:23 PM on December 5, 2013


The argument that voter suppression is no big deal because Utah is still a red state is complete and utter bullshit.

Good thing then, that I emphasized that voter suppression is a very bad thing indeed, just not decisive or even a factor in ALL cases.

This pertains to 34 states. My question is why those 34? You say "voter suppression" - and while that may be true for some of those 34, it clearly cannot be true for all, which is where my example of Wyoming and Utah came in (and you can add quite a few more).

What's at issue is the principle here - there clearly are states where voter suppression is not a factor. Therefore at least in those cases, the concept enunciated by Brandeis applies in all its glory.

So my question would be - modified for your objection - is Brandeis right about those states (and there are quite a few of them!) where the voting is untainted and the people indeed "so chose"?

Because that's what we are really talking about here: the concept (whether it applies to all 34 states or not).
posted by VikingSword at 3:24 PM on December 5, 2013


What's at issue is the principle here - there clearly are states where voter suppression is not a factor. Therefore at least in those cases, the concept enunciated by Brandeis applies in all its glory.

No, it doesn't. This isn't a state conducting it's own experiment, this is an outside organization that is making a concerted effort to roll out their agenda to as many states as they possibly can in the hopes that it will become the new normal and influence national policy.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 3:29 PM on December 5, 2013 [7 favorites]


One of the most interesting documents is a proposed job description for the legislators designated to head up their state delegations. Along with striving to increase membership in ALEC by 10 percent a year and informing the group of all public information requests that include ALEC documents, it was proposed that state chairs take a loyalty oath: “I will act with care and loyalty and put the interests of the organization first.”

What? These are elected officials. They are to put the interests of their states and constituents first. Apparently at some level people realized that, because the draft job description was never adopted. But the very suggestion demonstrates ALEC’s eagerness to control these lawmakers.

Kansas City Star, December 3, 2013
posted by RonButNotStupid at 3:38 PM on December 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think perhaps you've misread him: note the key placement of "novel" in that quote. I really don't think that these proposals, which would either destroy or seriously diminish the government's ability to help people and correct social inequalities generated by differentials of wealth and power, constitute novel ideas at all.

Yeah, I think the opposite: I read him correctly, and your interpretation is misrepresenting his point.

Because if his point was that only "novel" solutions should be tried, then it would have been meaningless. It would be remarkably hard to show that some policy or other doesn't have in part or whole antecedents elsewhere or have no resemblance to any policies of the past. And conversely, any combination of policies that are not identical down to the last dot, could be argued to be novel. That cannot be what he meant. He meant "novel" in an optimistic light of experiments, it cannot be that only those policy proposals about which we might think will be "beneficial" by one side qualify - after all, that's what politics is all about - people having differing prescriptions about what will benefit the commons most, and having them field-tried. These policies are something that those states may want to try - let us see if the voters agree, and "so choose".

This isn't a state conducting it's own experiment, this is an outside organization that is making a concerted effort to roll out their agenda to as many states as they possibly can in the hopes that it will become the new normal and influence national policy.

Carpetbagging is hardly a new phenomenon, nor was it when Brandeis was around. It doesn't matter how many outside agitators there are - note, how inclusive that accusation is, when it was used against people from outside of the South coming in and agitating for civil rights - what matters is whether they convince the local voters. And note again, they are focusing on 34 states - wonder what those states have in common? After all, you can bring in outside organizations to any state... so why those 34? Maybe it's about the voters after all - ouch.
posted by VikingSword at 3:38 PM on December 5, 2013


Why is the answer to everything " cut, cut, cut, downsize, take away, and, oh yeah, give the well-off tax cuts"? It's absolute insanity.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 3:40 PM on December 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Gotta love it. Poor? We will not collect any taxes, and cut services until you are no longer poor. I bet those will be wonderful places to live.
posted by UseyurBrain at 3:45 PM on December 5, 2013


Zuckerberg a Liberal? Expect him to creep all the way to State Policy Network-level after the 2010 census.
posted by oneswellfoop at 3:46 PM on December 5, 2013


(bitteroldguy) We told you about this back in the Sixties. Nobody wanted to hear. (Granted many were not born yet.) But it was written down, you could have read it. /bitteroldguy

You can't keep asset stripping your own people forever.

Yes you can. You can strip them to the point where you and a few friends are left huddling in the den of some villa roasting the rat you managed to catch that day and muttering to each other, "Damn. We had it all together. What happened?" while you wonder if the rat is poisoned.
posted by carping demon at 3:47 PM on December 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


And note again, they are focusing on 34 states - wonder what those states have in common? After all, you can bring in outside organizations to any state... so why those 34? Maybe it's about the voters after all - ouch.

I have no clue what you're trying to suggest about "those 34 states." They include blue states, red states, and purple states. They include states with razor-thin margins in elections as well as blowouts. They include states that are blue or red when voting statewide but the opposite when voting by precinct. They include states where local elections end up different that state elections, which sometimes even end up different from federal elections. They include states that used to be Jim Crow, and they include states that want single-payer healthcare. They include states that were the first to legalize gay marriage, and states that were the last to legalize interracial marriage. They include states that legalized pot, and states that have strict blue laws.

You want to know what those 34 states have in common? Two words: Fuck. All.
posted by zombieflanders at 3:48 PM on December 5, 2013 [7 favorites]


We either agree Brandeis was right or not. We can't just say "it's great when the lab experiment is in having a more Left solution". The concept is either valid or not, however the experiments may turn out.

I don't see anyone here arguing that what the SPN and ALEC, etc, are doing is somehow illegal or invalid, and Im not sure why that seems to be the thrust of your concern here. Sure, the majority has the political power to enact laws towards their policy goals...the problem arises when it's done behind closed doors at the behest of powerful self-interested parties, and it's double-super awful that all of this is being done tax free.

There's much that the Left needs to do regarding economic messaging, and exposing who is providing the funding for policies clearly against the economic self-interest of the 99% is key. But I don't think there's any mystery as to why they're targeting these specific 34 states...that's obviously where the right wing propaganda has taken hold, even against individual self interest, and metastasized into the legislatures, and there's no real value in pointing out that Red states are Red states.
posted by T.D. Strange at 3:54 PM on December 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


You can rationalize it a million different ways, but it's never going to be the victim's fault.
posted by saulgoodman at 4:04 PM on December 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


You want to know what those 34 states have in common? Two words: Fuck. All.

I appreciate such a succinct statement of how you perceive this political reality. Let us keep in mind this pertains not just to where they expect to gather and spend money, but where do they think they can be effective politically with their policy proposals. I have no doubt they could raise a ton of money in f.ex. California, if they put their minds to it, but I don't think they'll be successful politically here, no matter how much they'd spend here. If they want to spend money in a blue state to push proposals that have no chance to translate into law, they're welcome. Why isn't California targeted? Maybe because we have a Democratic supermajority? Just a suggestion - maybe more states should try this - electing politicians who represent such values.

But I don't think there's any mystery as to why they're targeting these specific 34 states...that's obviously where the right wing propaganda has taken hold, even against individual self interest, and metastasized into the legislatures, and there's no real value in pointing out that Red states are Red states.

Then maybe the focus should be on the voters in those red states, instead of trying to keep the bad guys out? It's like trying to keep away the drugs/alcohol instead of tackling why it is that the users are dependent on those substances.

You can rationalize it a million different ways, but it's never going to be the victim's fault.

Oh, I beg do differ. Ever heard of self-inflicted harm? I rather think people make a distinction of a victim of external victimizer, and a victim who achieves their status of victimhood through their own efforts. So yeah, no need to rationalize anything.

You can focus on the bad guys in a million different ways - just as you might on drug dealers - but there's never going to be a cure until you focus on the user. The dealer doesn't need to be cured - the user does.
posted by VikingSword at 4:10 PM on December 5, 2013


It's not a bloody experiment if you already know what the result is going to be. They're not doing this as a noble experiment, they're doing it to spread destruction and chaos.
posted by 1adam12 at 4:11 PM on December 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


The solution for drug addiction seems to be conclusively established as treatment, not gratuitous infliction of pain and seizure of the addict's assets.
posted by T.D. Strange at 4:18 PM on December 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Or do they really believe that this is in the best interest of all humanity?

They believe they're doing it in the best interests of Americans. "All humanity" seems like a bit of a stretch for any regional legislation, really.

Government dependency does, in fact, sometimes have negative effects on those who rely on it. This is something the VA has been noticing lately with 100% disabled veterans - by removing the necessity of work, they are actually seeing, in some cases, higher rates of depression and worsening of PTSD symptoms, as people have less reason to get moving in the morning. It's something that is being debated within veteran circles - how to fix this issue while still ensuring that everyone gets their full benefits. People like Eric Greitens are talking a lot about this, and trying to get people into service, because they recognize that a feeling of dependence is highly detrimental.

At the same time, some people may not have better options. So what do you do? This is a legitimate question that people are struggling with. Some take the argument that adult dependence isn't harmful at all, even though evidence seems to show otherwise. Some argue that even if dependence is harmful, it's worth it, because otherwise people will starve. And others argue that dependence is harmful enough that it needs to be done away with, no matter what.

None of these three ideas go home and eat babies. They all have genuine sympathy for people. But they are each going to work for their idea as hard as they can, because yes, they do believe it is salvation.
posted by corb at 4:21 PM on December 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have no doubt they could raise a ton of money in f.ex. California, if they put their minds to it, but I don't think they'll be successful politically here, no matter how much they'd spend here. If they want to spend money in a blue state to push proposals that have no chance to translate into law, they're welcome. Why isn't California targeted? Maybe because we have a Democratic supermajority? Just a suggestion - maybe more states should try this - electing politicians who represent such values.

Among the Dem supermajority states they target are Illinois, Massachusetts, and Maryland.

Then maybe the focus should be on the voters in those red states, instead of trying to keep the bad guys out? It's like trying to keep away the drugs/alcohol instead of tackling why it is that the users are dependent on those substances.
[...]
Oh, I beg do differ. Ever heard of self-inflicted harm? I rather think people make a distinction of a victim of external victimizer, and a victim who achieves their status of victimhood through their own efforts. So yeah, no need to rationalize anything.

You can focus on the bad guys in a million different ways - just as you might on drug dealers - but there's never going to be a cure until you focus on the user. The dealer doesn't need to be cured - the user does.


This is horrifying. We don't (or shouldn't) treat drug addiction by letting them overdose and punish them for it.
posted by zombieflanders at 4:23 PM on December 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


None of these three ideas go home and eat babies. They all have genuine sympathy for people. But they are each going to work for their idea as hard as they can, because yes, they do believe it is salvation.

Which has nothing to do with punitive measures against government employees, nor any relation at all as to how pumping greenhouse gases into the air and water helps anybody at all.
posted by zombieflanders at 4:26 PM on December 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


The solution for drug addiction seems to be conclusively established as treatment

So where is it? All I see is War On Drugs.

not gratuitous infliction of pain and seizure of the addict's assets.

Fortunately, nobody is proposing blue staters or those who disagree with these proposals go to red states and inflict pain on the voters there.

There are two courses of action: treatment for those for whom that is possible. And allowing nature to take its course where intervention is not going to be effective. Regarding the latter, I'm sure we all know somebody who has a substance abuse problem that is terminal - at that point, you bug out (bug out - not inflict additional pain). And we all know those whose minds will not ever be changed about politics, religion, X - at which point you move on (not senselessly assault them).

I think Brandeis idea was to allow the voters in every state to try ideas - whatever their provenance, not limited to that state - and let the results speak for themselves.

Among the Dem supermajority states they target are Illinois, Massachusetts, and Maryland.

So let them waste their money and energy - all the voters have to do, is hold their politicians accountable. That's what voting is for.
posted by VikingSword at 4:29 PM on December 5, 2013


So where is it? All I see is War On Drugs.

Perhaps if Brandeis had written an easily flogged opinion with a spurious point about it.
posted by T.D. Strange at 4:35 PM on December 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Some take the argument that adult dependence isn't harmful at all, even though evidence seems to show otherwise. Some argue that even if dependence is harmful, it's worth it, because otherwise people will starve. And others argue that dependence is harmful enough that it needs to be done away with, no matter what.

I love it when conservatives and libretarians dress up their arguments for cutting their own taxes by slashing aid to persons who became disabled in service to their country as helping them.

Dependence is a fact of life. It has existed since the dawn of life on our planet. Indeed, every one of us is dependent on our fellow citizens to the tune of 100%. We are a collective species who specializes our activities in such a way to make us all dependent on one another. We are scarcely different from ants in this respect. Fools like Ayn Rand (who spent a significant portion of her adult life on public assistance from the government) preach a useless doctrine with no basis in any historical human reality.

People get their legs blown off in wars. They deserve only our support. People are harmed by the action of our capitalist system as a matter of function--its a feature, not a bug. I find nothing more detestable than people who pretend that they are not dependent every single day upon their fellow man and castigate others in the same situation but slightly more dependent than them as some sort of parasite.

The idea that everyone is supposed to be "independent" of others flies in the face of every single fact of human existence.
posted by Ironmouth at 4:38 PM on December 5, 2013 [32 favorites]


Why do conservatives hate America?
posted by IvoShandor at 4:41 PM on December 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Which has nothing to do with punitive measures against government employees

Are you referring to the Arizona proposal? Because honestly, it doesn't look that bad. "Requests $40,000 to develop a litigation strategy to prevent public employee pension benefit manipulation." Or the Colorado proposal, requesting to link the public employee retirement age to Social Security benefit age? Illinois, again a proposal to change pensions to defined benefit. New Jersey, an attempt to study whether stopping the practice of compensating for unused sick days is feasible.

None of these involve evil guys twirling their moustaches, and none of these are "punitive measures against government employees". These proposals are pretty pedestrian proposals for non-profits, not a grand expose.
posted by corb at 4:44 PM on December 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Just remember, everybody. The IRS investigating these groups for potential political activity that would violate their 501(c)(3) status is absolutely unacceptable, and is just Obama trying to punish his political enemies.
posted by kafziel at 4:48 PM on December 5, 2013


Just remember, everybody. The IRS investigating these groups for potential political activity that would violate their 501(c)(3) status is absolutely unacceptable, and is just Obama trying to punish his political enemies.

Don't feed the tinfoil hat brigade. The investigations happened to progressive and non-ideological groups as well.
posted by zombieflanders at 4:49 PM on December 5, 2013 [5 favorites]


None of these involve evil guys twirling their moustaches, and none of these are "punitive measures against government employees". These proposals are pretty pedestrian proposals for non-profits, not a grand expose.

Several of them just say "public employee pension reform," which in the past has meant "slashing and burning, often for no good reason."
posted by zombieflanders at 4:51 PM on December 5, 2013


Why do conservatives hate America?

Unions.
Gays.
Blacks.
Women.
Representational Government.
Cosmopolitanism.
Public institutions like education.

I could go on I mean it's a big list
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 4:58 PM on December 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


My Plan:
Once an American crosses a certain wealth threshold, he or she can choose to Opt Out. To do so, they must pony up half their wealth. Afterwards, they are totally exempt from all laws and taxes of the US. We're talking "you can walk up to a stranger and shoot them in the head" exempt.

Of course, they are then left without the protections or benefits of being a citizen.

No ability to vote, be protected by law, and so on. Personal property is only theirs if they can defend it. Sure, they might be wealthy enough to hire a squad of goons, but if one of those goons were to turn their sponsored arsenal on their boss...
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:14 PM on December 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


My response: The vast, vast majority of conservatives, of which I am one, take the following views on the list provided above; if you think otherwise, you are little more than a victim of leftist and Democrat propaganda. Remember, Democrats essentially loose "market share" and business if they can no longer demonize conservatives:

Unions: most conservatives despise public sector unions; they are against closed shops, but otherwise have no problems with unions

Gays: most conservatives are probably not super enthusiastic about gay marriage, but that's about the extent of their concern

Blacks 95% of conservatives would prefer a conservative black President or other leader; I have met many conservatives, some black conservatives, but never a racist conservative.

Women: I don't even know what to say about this, it is so absurd.

Representational Government What do you mean, and what is your evidence?

Cosmopolitanism.: separate from leftist politics in cities?

Public institutions like education.
Well, most conservatives likely consider the American public education system a disaster, so I guess this is true. By what standard is it not true? Generally, conservatives have disdain for government: the bigger the government, the smaller the citizen, and the lousier society is a fairly widely-held outlook. I agree with this.
posted by NiceParisParamus at 6:04 PM on December 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Gays: most conservatives are probably not super enthusiastic about gay marriage, but that's about the extent of their concern

Explain every state constitutional amendment against gay marriage. Literally, these people you say "don't care" denied gay marriage by the most stringent method possible.

In other words, the actual facts belie your statements in the strongest terms possible. It is pure fantasy to maintain that your above claim is true.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:18 PM on December 5, 2013 [14 favorites]


Representational Government What do you mean, and what is your evidence?

The Tea Party pressure to end direct election of U.S. Senators. An entire house of the U.S. Congress to NOT be selected by the people.

These are basic facts. You cannot deny them.

Also these ridiculous voting restrictions. Reducing ease of ballot access when there is zero evidence of any problem of in-person voter fraud. So wrong. So anti-representation.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:22 PM on December 5, 2013 [6 favorites]


Blacks 95% of conservatives would prefer a conservative black President or other leader; I have met many conservatives, some black conservatives, but never a racist conservative.

Then I think you're deluding yourself on the common conception of the word conservative: it means Republicans and people who think Republicans are too far to the left. Your denials and dodging the issues and policies raised suggests you wish to make a finer distinction than Winner-Take-All politics admits.

To your specific statement: I have met people who dislike Obama, complain about police stopping them from chasing after a black man who they claim broke into their car, and love their guns and free markets.
posted by pwnguin at 6:22 PM on December 5, 2013


But Ironmouth, I didn't say conservatives weren't against gay marriage.
posted by NiceParisParamus at 6:24 PM on December 5, 2013


Women: I don't even know what to say about this, it is so absurd.

And entirely accurate.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:26 PM on December 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Conservatives believe stupid shit. Thanks for the update.
posted by bleep-blop at 6:29 PM on December 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


OK, whatever. You guys seem way too angry. You can contact me on Twitter if you like (my name, less the "nice" part). Just thought I would give you what I think are commonly-held conservative views.
posted by NiceParisParamus at 6:30 PM on December 5, 2013


But Ironmouth, I didn't say conservatives weren't against gay marriage.

Your exact comment: "Gays: most conservatives are probably not super enthusiastic about gay marriage, but that's about the extent of their concern"

Your statement says the extent is that they aren't super enthusiastic but that's the extent of their concern. No. They are into directly preventing human beings from being married to people they want to marry. They are taking massive legal steps to prevent millions of these persons to get married. Real people denied real rights. Conservatives are doing this. The future is that they will pay dearly for denying human freedom.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:50 PM on December 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


Ironmouth, feel free to buy some lessons in sarcasm (re "not super-enthusiastic"). In other words, NO DUH.
posted by NiceParisParamus at 6:55 PM on December 5, 2013


You know, we have not given feudalism a fair shot in a few hundred years. I think that this is what these folks are after. . .
posted by Danf at 7:04 PM on December 5, 2013


Ironmouth, feel free to buy some lessons in sarcasm (re "not super-enthusiastic"). In other words, NO DUH.

You stated you were a conservative and then defended them.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:05 PM on December 5, 2013


Once an American crosses a certain wealth threshold, he or she can choose to Opt Out. To do so, they must pony up half their wealth. Afterwards, they are totally exempt from all laws and taxes of the US. We're talking "you can walk up to a stranger and shoot them in the head" exempt.

Personally I think during times of gov't shutdown lawlessness should apply to areas under federal jurisdiction. (Probably let DC still have its police, people have to live there.) When I'm not benefiting from CDC disease surveillance or the services of the passport office, I think it's only fair that I be allowed to openly do all sorts drugs on the steps of courthouses and hold a Hunger Games in the Grand Canyon.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 7:06 PM on December 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


95% of conservatives would prefer a conservative black President or other leader; I have met many conservatives, some black conservatives, but never a racist conservative.

I can assure you that there are racist conservatives. They are all over my facebook. I unfriended half my family over travon martin bullshit.
posted by empath at 7:07 PM on December 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yes, there are racist conservatives--on my FB too, until I unfriend them. But there are also racist leftists, and racist black people, and every other people!
posted by NiceParisParamus at 7:09 PM on December 5, 2013


We've seen the Republican party, you know.
posted by Artw at 7:13 PM on December 5, 2013


I have met many conservatives, some black conservatives, but never a racist conservative.

Yes, there are racist conservatives--on my FB too, until I unfriend them. But there are also racist leftists, and racist black people, and every other people!
posted by NiceParisParamus


Make up your mind.
posted by empath at 7:14 PM on December 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Empath, I mean in person. The people on my FB are leftovers from last year's election--just people that wanted to follow me. Don't know them at all...
posted by NiceParisParamus at 7:23 PM on December 5, 2013


I am going to, as a conservative (at least here on Metafilter) admit that there are, in fact, some racist conservatives, and I have met them, and they are awful. But they are not necessarily the ones other people think they are, and they are not nearly as high a proportion of the population as people believe.

What there are is a far greater number of classists.

Conservatives, by and large, hate what they see as the lumpenproletariat and any class signifiers that appear to be associated with that class. (Yes, I'm aware they wouldn't describe it as such. I'm not sure what the term they would use is, I'm using the one likely to be most familiar.) So they may roll up their windows and push down their locks and clutch their purses in the bad side of town, and still wave and smile to the new black upper middle class couple that just moved in and seems to fit in with the suburb, and dresses and acts like the other upper middle class people.

The lumpenproletariat - yes, by reason of systematic racism and slavery and a ton of other shit - contains a larger proportion of black and minority members. But this does not mean that to hate the lumpenproletariat is to hate the skin color, because the hatred isn't about the skin color - it's about music and actions and culture and crime - both real and perceived - and rebellion. It's about riots that smashed cities. It's about pouring money into what seems like a hole that never gives much back.

Now, this might be equally as vile to some people, including many of the people here. But I think it's important to be clear about what, precisely, it is you're hating. And it's not race. It has not been about race for a long time. It's about class.
posted by corb at 7:23 PM on December 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


Oh man. We are so screwed. They're about to sink $40K into this game and it's going to go viral (page 14 of report). Can't believe Soros didn't snatch up that domain already!

But in all seriousness, everyone here who is bellyaching about these asshats should at least look at the report and figure out what's going to be on the legislative agenda for your state.
posted by antonymous at 7:33 PM on December 5, 2013


Dubbed "FreeME", the initiative would eliminate state income tax and sale taxes from residents and businesses until the economic conditions in the county rise to the statewide average. The hole in the county's income from lost tax revenues – estimated at $35m a year by the think tank – would be filled through budget cuts.

Jesus H. Christ. If this is a grant application, my next one is going to be for a fire-breathing unicorn, because that's about as realistic as this proposal.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 8:54 PM on December 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


I mean in person.

Get out more.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 9:00 PM on December 5, 2013


corb: "Now, this might be equally as vile to some people, including many of the people here. But I think it's important to be clear about what, precisely, it is you're hating. And it's not race. It has not been about race for a long time. It's about class."

With all of the angles of this story we could talk about, why is it important that we isolate whether they're discriminating because they think minorities are inferior, or just because they're buying into racial stereotypes about "music and actions and culture and crime"? Bigotry is still bigotry even if it's not grounded in a belief that another group is inferior, and assessing how much of a bigoted action or expression has to do with skin color versus social stratification is neither necessary nor sufficient to properly analyze the many problematic ways in which conservatives in the United States treat minorities.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:05 PM on December 5, 2013 [5 favorites]


Corb, where does that leave conclusions drawn, aka JUDGING about various cultures, including culture that has an ethnic or racial component?
posted by NiceParisParamus at 9:17 PM on December 5, 2013


Get out more. I'm out, but living in the zip code of Sen. Schumer and Mayor-elect De Blasio doesn't do the trick!
posted by NiceParisParamus at 9:21 PM on December 5, 2013


It has not been about race for a long time

It has been about race from the beginning of time.

Obamacare is 100% a Republican plan. It was Bob Dole's 2006 health care plan. It is derived from a radical paper from the Heritage Foundation in the late 80's. The last Republican nominee for President implemented it to incredible success as a governor of Massachusetts.

Why then are the Republicans so anxious to see their own plan fail? Racism.

My memories of what happens when a black candidate achieves high office are from a 100% democratic situation. And I can assure you, its the white part that is important, not the party.

In Chicago a black man won the Democratic primary for mayor and then the election. His name was Harold Washington. He inherited a City Council that was made up of 50 Democratic Aldermen and 0 Aldermen of any other party. Commanding, no? Within weeks of the election, 28 of the 50, 25 of whom were white, broke off and refused to pass anything the Mayor wanted, including any budgets or any legislation. It was the House Republicans 30 years ahead of their time. It made no sense logically. But it was racism 100%. And that's what the opposition of the Republicans to their own health insurance program they wrote themselves is. Racism.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:17 PM on December 5, 2013 [13 favorites]


There seems to be a good argument that the kind of thing mentioned in TFA is an instance of a new model of governance in which governments at all levels are seen as resources for the private sector. Take the TTIP and the TPP, which are currently under negotiation behind closed doors. Both of these trade partnerships represent a nascent form of multinational private regulatory body that, by virtue of investor-state settlement clauses and whatnot, has greater power than state governments when it comes to regulating private industry. As long as multinational coalitions of private companies have more monetary resources than their opponents (i.e., nonprofit social movement organizations), they will always be able to buy candidates and legislation that produce favourable conditions in member states for them to conduct business (and it hasn't escaped their attention that their ability to transfer funds or operations from state to state gives them leverage).

Under this model, state governments will provide a rich cash flow in the form of privatized public resources, to the extent that taxpayers tolerate these kinds of transfers. Luckily, state governments--once they're under the control of private industry--also provide a useful resource in the form of propaganda and police and military coercion that allows the "military industrial complex" (or whatever you want to call it) remarkable power for suppressing dissent among the taxpaying electorate. (E.g., is the end user of the NSA data really the US government?)

What can a private citizen do to stop the advance of the multinational private regulatory body? Pretty much nothing, because the usual forms of participatory democracy (e.g., voting and lobbying one's member of congress) have already been undermined by the purchasability of public office. The body will do whatever it can to consolidate power and transfer money from public to private accounts to the extent that people will tolerate it. (People seem surprised that, for example, no one was prosecuted for the financial debacle in 2008. This is only surprising if you view the criminal justice system as something other than a resource for private industry. Conducting things like "judicial reviews" or "internal investigations" under the aegis of "justice" helps quell any incipient suspicion about the purpose of the system, even when results are blatantly and obviously skewed against the electorate.) It seems to me that people who see some kind of saving grace in electoral reform or other liberal solutions have missed the boat when it comes to identifying whose power needs to be curtailed, and how that curtailment ought to be carried out.

tl:dr: private multinational regulatory bodies are already more powerful than elected governments at any level, and they will continue to consolidate power as long as natural resources last and / or entire electorates in multiple states fail to notice or care that the inversion of power is happening and figure out how to organize against it.
posted by Dr. Send at 10:25 PM on December 5, 2013 [6 favorites]


Government dependency does, in fact, sometimes have negative effects on those who rely on it. This is something the VA has been noticing lately with 100% disabled veterans - by removing the necessity of work, they are actually seeing, in some cases, higher rates of depression and worsening of PTSD symptoms, as people have less reason to get moving in the morning.

Guys, guys, this gives me a great idea - you know how we have all these people who are so mind-bogglingly rich that they could never work a day again and still be rolling in it? Well we really ought to tax them and ensure that their enterprises can't offload negative externalities and business risk onto the general public and manipulate democracy and regulatory organizations, until they aren't so stratospherically loaded, so as to put them beyond any peril of the melancholy and deprivation that might come from not having to work.

For their own good, of course. They'll be so grateful to be rescued! I mean we could try to make sure they lead fulfilling lives in a just and compassionate society that would care similarly for anyone else in their position and treat any depression or other mental health issues with modern psychological and psychiatric therapies instead, but why risk it?
posted by XMLicious at 10:38 PM on December 5, 2013 [11 favorites]


clockzero: “My hypothesis is that they really believe in domination. They are disgusted by the idea of "dependency" on government because they don't really accept the idea of consensual power relations, in a very fundamental sense: they believe in hierarchy that is characterized by non-consensual relations of power and force.”
Precisely. I've linked it before, but as a reminder, William S. Lind gave away the game in his On War column entitled "The Prussian Monarchy Stuff" seven years ago.
Of course, like all real conservatives, I am a monarchist. The universe is not a republic.



Once [World War I] occurred, and the failure of the Schlieffen Plan guaranteed it would be a long war, a disaster for Western civilization was inevitable. Still, had the Central Powers won in the end, the civilization destruction might not have been so complete.
It's kind of a shame. Lind wrote the Maneuver Warfare Handbook and for that he should be praised. (Although, cf. this Small Wars Council thread from 2010.) He also is kind of a crank. He's got this whole big, Beckesque thing about "Cultural Marxism" — unalloyed bullshit of course — and that's too bad.


corb: “It has not been about race for a long time. It's about class.”
To be fair, of course it's classist, but let's not fool ourselves about it not being about race. When the typical white bourgeois complains about the lumpenproletariat being "dependent on handouts from the government" their words quite frequently are coded with racist dogwhistles, e.g. 'strapping young buck', 'welfare queen', the SNAP user having their 'hair and nails did', etc. It's very rare in my experience, but admittedly not unheard of, to find someone making these arguments who's thinking of their shiftless relations rather than some nameless, faceless "those people" who just happen to also be black.

Also, what tonycpsu and Ironmouth said.
posted by ob1quixote at 11:38 PM on December 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


“It has not been about race for a long time. It's about class.”

A while back we fought a civil war about race. And to this day, you can predict a whole bunch of voting patterns and fancy-ass ten dollar word rhetoric using this simple litmus test: "Are these taxes I'm paying going to benefit that poor black family down the street?"

Fear and hatred of black folk has mutated a bit, gotten trained to harness into more of hatred of people who are Other, but it's still basically the same old shit.
posted by sebastienbailard at 12:09 AM on December 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'll bite, I'm no conservative, but "consensual power relation" seems almost an oxymoron to me. Makes me think of BDSM, but non-abusive BDSM relationships to me are playacting at power relations, not the real thing.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 12:09 AM on December 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


But I think it's important to be clear about what, precisely, it is you're hating. And it's not race. It has not been about race for a long time. It's about class.
“I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money.”
--Rick Santorum, 1/2/2012, the day before he won the Iowa caucuses

And by all means tell me what birtherism, still alive and kicking even in the halls of Congress, has to do with class and not race. Or how the same people who proposed and supported proto-Obamacare in 1993, enthusiastically praised Mitt Romney (or, hell, were Mitt Romney) when proto-Obamacare was made law in MA in 2006, and were talking up the individual mandate up until 2007, all of the sudden changed their minds when it was supported by a black President. Or how "secret bombshell" tapes from the conservative media were bombshells because of his "cadence" while speaking about racism. Or how anti-Obama protestors are talking about class when they chant "Bye Bye Black Sheep" and fulminate "Impeach the Half-White Muslim!" and "He's 47 percent Negro!"

Charles Pierce says it best when he adds venom to what he says in that last link--and many times before and since--"it's never about race." Because of course it never is. It's just coordinated messaging that happens to mention race that is embraced by simple folk like members of Congress, popular candidates for US President, and well-regarded conservative media personalities.
posted by zombieflanders at 4:30 AM on December 6, 2013 [14 favorites]


And, of course, I have no idea what class would have to do with a majority of conservatives opposing gay marriage. Or, for that matter why as of 2011, in some Southern states between a third to a half of conservatives thought that interracial marriage should be illegal or were "unsure" if it should be legal (PDF) is related to class, either.
posted by zombieflanders at 4:52 AM on December 6, 2013 [7 favorites]


In Chicago a black man won the Democratic primary for mayor and then the election. His name was Harold Washington.

Relevant This American Life. (transcript)
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 5:28 AM on December 6, 2013


And, of course, when it's not about being racist, it's about racists appropriating the fight against racism for their own ends:

Rick Santorum, Africanist
Nelson Mandela…was fighting against a great injustice. I would make the argument that we have a great injustice going on right now in this country with an ever increasing size of government that is taking over and controlling people’s lives, and Obamacare is front and center in that.
Implying that a market-based overhaul of the healthcare system is equivalent in some way to institutionalized racial oppression overseen by a police state (run for 12 years by a Nazi sympathizer) is grotesque. In fact, like any proper democratic socialist, Mandela made sure a right to health care was in the South African constitution. And as Peck points out, two years ago South Africa began implementing its own universal healthcare system, which shares many similarities with Obamacare, most notably a contribution mandate to the new system[.]
posted by zombieflanders at 7:48 AM on December 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Apartheid's Useful Idiots
As Sam Kleiner demonstrates in Foreign Policy, apartheid would ultimately draw some of America's most celebrated conservatives into its orbit. The roster includes Grover Norquist, Jack Abramoff, Jesse Helms, and Senator Jeff Flake. Jerry Falwell denounced Desmond Tutu as a "phony" and led a "reinvestment" campaign during the 1980s. At the late hour of 1993, Pat Robertson opined, "I know we don't like apartheid, but the blacks in South Africa, in Soweto, don't have it all that bad."

Not all prominent conservatives were so dishonorable. When Congress overrode President Ronald Reagan's veto of sanctions of South Africa, Mitch McConnell, for instance, was forthright—"I think he is wrong ... We have waited long enough for him to come on board." When Falwell embarrassed himself by condemning Tutu, some Republican senators denounced him.

But the overall failure of American conservatives to forthrightly deal with South Africa's white-supremacist regime, coming so soon after their failure to deal with the white-supremacist regime in their own country, is part of their heritage, and thus part of our heritage. When you see a Tea Party protestor waving the flag of slavery in front of the home of the first black president, understand that this instinct has been cultivated. It is still, at this very hour, being cultivated:
He won the country's first free presidential elections in 1994 and worked to unite a scarred and anxious nation. He opened up the economy to the world, and a black middle class came to life. After a single term, he voluntarily left power at the height of his popularity. Most African rulers didn't do that, but Mandela said, "I don't want a country like ours to be led by an octogenarian. I must step down while there are one or two people who admire me."
That is the Wall Street Journal, offering a shameful, condescending "tribute" to one of the great figures of our time. Understand the racism here. It is certainly true that "most African rulers" do not willingly hand over power. That is because most human leaders do not hand over power. What racism does is take a basic human tendency and make it it the property of ancestry. As though Franco never happened. As though Hitler and Stalin never happened. As though Pinochet never happened. As though we did not prop up Mobutu. As though South Carolina was not, for most of its history, ruled by Big Men as nefarious and vicious as any "African ruler."

To not see this requires a special disposition, a special blindness, a special shamelessness, a special idiocy.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:55 AM on December 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


>Obamacare is 100% a Republican plan. It was Bob Dole's 2006 health care plan. It is derived from a radical paper from the Heritage Foundation in the late 80's....Why then are the Republicans so anxious to see their own plan fail? Racism.

There are other less inflammatory explanations.

(BTW, that extrapolation of the always amazing local politics of Chicago to the entire country? That doesn't fly.)
posted by IndigoJones at 8:02 AM on December 6, 2013


It's a constant theme of conservatism to falsely take credit for the progressive causes of yesteryear while attempting to destroy contemporary ones. It bears repeating: in 1776, a conservative was a Tory. In 1860, a centrist advocated more compromises and a conservative was a Confederate or Confederate sympathizer. In 1880, a conservative was a friend of the robber barons. In 1930, conservatives advocated that the elderly die in the streets rather than receive Social Security. In 1955, a conservative was a McCarthyite red-baiter. In 1965, a conservative was a Beatles-hating, MLK-hating opponent of Medicare, civil rights and birth control. In 1986 conservatives were calling Mandela a terrorist while clandestinely selling arms to Iran to funding fascist Central American death squads. In 1996 conservatives were led by Newt Gingrich and impeached Bill Clinton over sex acts. In 2006 they were committing war crimes in Iraq while trying to private Social Security and subvert the justice department.

It's not any different in 2013. The issues change, but the heart and soul of conservatism remains the same.

posted by T.D. Strange at 8:05 AM on December 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


To be fair, of course it's classist, but let's not fool ourselves about it not being about race. When the typical white bourgeois complains about the lumpenproletariat being "dependent on handouts from the government" their words quite frequently are coded with racist dogwhistles, e.g. 'strapping young buck', 'welfare queen', the SNAP user having their 'hair and nails did', etc. It's very rare in my experience, but admittedly not unheard of, to find someone making these arguments who's thinking of their shiftless relations rather than some nameless, faceless "those people" who just happen to also be black.

I have actually never heard anyone in real life seriously say "strapping young buck"; that is not just a racist dogwhistle but actually literally racist. As far as the others, I'm not sure those really are, in fact, dogwhistles for race, but may be dogwhistles for the intersection of gender and class- hair and nails is pretty common shorthand for 'frivolous thing that women do because they're women, tee-hee' while welfare queen seems to be shorthand for 'woman reproducing at a high rate'. But both of those items are items which are relatively neutral if looked at on the gender axis alone. Few people count themselves troubled by middle-class or upper class women getting their hair and nails done. Few people count themselves troubled by a large middle-class family. The idea is that the 'welfare queens' are attempting to appropriate the behavior of a class that they do not belong to, and do so on someone else (the taxpayer's) dime.

I'm sure, taking aside those people who are just pretty clearly racists, that there are some people who do conflate race and class. Even the most well meaning people do it - when people advocate for things that they feel will improve the situation of minorities, they rarely pause to think of what the most well-educated and wealthy minorities would like - they are considering, usually, the plight of the urban poor.

I have heard it speculated that this happens because to talk about class in this country marks you either as a communist or an aristocrat, neither of which are extremely popular things to be. So instead, people use ways to signify that they are talking about - as you say - those people. They almost never mean the Huxtables.

Obama does come in for a lot of hatred, but I wonder how much of that is because - like George Bush - he attempted to reinvent himself not as the child of privilege, but the average, just-like-us child - but for the wrong class.

Obama is, regardless of skin tone, a child of privilege. With the exception of one year of Indonesian public school, he has attended private school all his life. His mother was a PhD, his grandparents, who he lived with, were relatively well off. He attended excellent colleges and did very well. He had the ability to continue on that path - to present himself as an adult as a part of the status quo. But instead, he chose to focus on and identify with his skin color, with the father he'd never met, and with the plight of the majority of people who shared his skin color, not his class. As a community organizer, he worked in a housing project. As a legislator, he advocated for the poor, not for the interests of the class he had been born into. His sympathies, such as they were, were laid, and they have continued to be laid that way as a President. If they had terms for this and were allowed to talk about it honestly, he might be referenced as a "class traitor." And I believe that is where the majority of the hate for him comes - not from his skin color, but from his class advocacy.
posted by corb at 8:20 AM on December 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wow, Obama a "class traitor," because he cares about the poor. I have now officially heard it all.
posted by agregoli at 8:48 AM on December 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


The West has cancer and it has metastasized.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:02 AM on December 6, 2013


It's only 'not about race' to racists.
posted by gadge emeritus at 9:07 AM on December 6, 2013


If they had terms for this and were allowed to talk about it honestly, he might be referenced as a "class traitor."

Or, you know, "Not a complete asshole."
posted by Sys Rq at 9:10 AM on December 6, 2013


There are other less inflammatory explanations.

You do know that article basically says that people who went from supporting to individual mandate to opposing it gave no good reason, right? One of them even says " I just wanted to express my opposition to the Obama proposal at every opportunity."

I have actually never heard anyone in real life seriously say "strapping young buck"; that is not just a racist dogwhistle but actually literally racist. As far as the others, I'm not sure those really are, in fact, dogwhistles for race, but may be dogwhistles for the intersection of gender and class- hair and nails is pretty common shorthand for 'frivolous thing that women do because they're women, tee-hee' while welfare queen seems to be shorthand for 'woman reproducing at a high rate'. But both of those items are items which are relatively neutral if looked at on the gender axis alone. Few people count themselves troubled by middle-class or upper class women getting their hair and nails done. Few people count themselves troubled by a large middle-class family. The idea is that the 'welfare queens' are attempting to appropriate the behavior of a class that they do not belong to, and do so on someone else (the taxpayer's) dime.

The 'Welfare Queen' lives on in food-stamp myth (emphasis mine)
If you're not old enough to remember, you've read about Reagan's hilarious — well, hilariously told — accounts of the woman who was arrested for welfare fraud on Chicago's black South Side. She drove a Cadillac, dined sumptuously on food stamps and raked in $150,000 a year tax-free by accumulating 80 separate identities and using them each month to collect scads of food stamps and Social Security, dependent-children and VA checks. Medicaid paid her doctor bills.
[...]
Reagan's story, as best as anyone could guess, was based on a Chicago woman named Linda Taylor, who was prosecuted for using four (not 80) aliases to cheat the government out of $8,000 (not $150,000).

Fictional as they were, Reagan's welfare stories and his impromptu speech at the GOP convention galvanized a new base for the party in the South and made him the presumptive nominee for president in 1980. It made the Cadillac-driving black mother with a passel of kids the symbolic totem for food stamps and welfare, especially in the South, and it helped cement the GOP as the go-to party across the Southern seaboard from Virginia to Texas.

Not to be sexist, Reagan at other times that summer referred not to the Welfare Queen but to "strapping young bucks" — a derogatory Southern euphemism for black men — who used food stamps to buy T-bone steaks.
I'm sure, taking aside those people who are just pretty clearly racists, that there are some people who do conflate race and class. Even the most well meaning people do it - when people advocate for things that they feel will improve the situation of minorities, they rarely pause to think of what the most well-educated and wealthy minorities would like - they are considering, usually, the plight of the urban poor.

Not at all. Most well-educated and wealthy minorities support the exact same people and policies as less well-off minorities. In 5 years, the average range of approval for Obama among black folks is all of 10%. It's the exact same figure for their approval for Obamacare post-passage. And from both of those sets of polling, generally speaking there's both a higher approval and a smaller difference in maximum and minimum support.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:27 AM on December 6, 2013 [6 favorites]


hair and nails is pretty common shorthand for 'frivolous thing that women do because they're women, tee-hee' while welfare queen seems to be shorthand for 'woman reproducing at a high rate'. But both of those items are items which are relatively neutral if looked at on the gender axis alone.

this is like saying, "one hundred percent of the population of arkansas has blue eyes, if you only count blue-eyed people"
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 9:36 AM on December 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Obama does come in for a lot of hatred, but I wonder how much of that is because - like George Bush - he attempted to reinvent himself not as the child of privilege, but the average, just-like-us child - but for the wrong class...His grandparents, who he lived with, were relatively well off.

Obama's grandparents were small business owners. Both Bush presidents were born into fantastic amounts of wealth in a family that had significant local, state, and national political power.

With the exception of one year of Indonesian public school, he has attended private school all his life.

Most of which were on scholarship.

His mother was a PhD

Which she received in 1992, when her son was 31 years old.

He attended excellent colleges and did very well. He had the ability to continue on that path - to present himself as an adult as a part of the status quo. But instead, he chose to focus on and identify with his skin color, with the father he'd never met, and with the plight of the majority of people who shared his skin color, not his class. As a community organizer, he worked in a housing project. As a legislator, he advocated for the poor, not for the interests of the class he had been born into. His sympathies, such as they were, were laid, and they have continued to be laid that way as a President. If they had terms for this and were allowed to talk about it honestly, he might be referenced as a "class traitor." And I believe that is where the majority of the hate for him comes - not from his skin color, but from his class advocacy.

What the actual fuck. Advocating for people he found fellowship with to improve their lives is "class treason" now? This is just complete and utter WHARGARBL, made all the more noticeable by the complete lack of evidence you provide. So here's some evidence of my own:

Inside the GOP: Report on focus groups with Evangelical, Tea Party, and moderate Republicans (PDF)
[W]hile few explicitly talk about Obama in racial terms, the base supporters are very conscious of being white in a country with growing minorities. Their party is losing to a Democratic Party of big government whose goal is to expand programs that mainly benefit minorities. Race remains very much alive in the politics of the Republican Party.
[...]
We expected that in this comfortable setting or in their private written notes, some would make a racial reference or racist slur when talking about the African American President. None did. They know that is deeply non-PC and are conscious about how they are perceived. But focusing on that misses how central is race to the worldview of Republican voters. They have an acute sense that they are white in a country that is becoming increasingly “minority,” and their party is getting whooped by a Democratic Party that uses big government programs that benefit mostly minorities, create dependency and a new electoral majority. Barack Obama and Obamacare is a racial flashpoint for many Evangelical and Tea Party voters.
[...]
Running through these reactions to Obama is a sense of him being foreign, non-Christian, Muslim – and they wonder what really are his motives for the changes he is advancing. They are not raised by everyone but they pretty common in the private doubts that they had written on pieces of paper before the discussion with the group.
  • Socialist, income redistribution (Tea Party man, Raleigh)
  • What is he really thinking? (Tea Party man, Raleigh)
  • Background (Tea Party man, Raleigh)
  • Lack of relationship with the American people. (Tea Party man, Raleigh)
  • Muslim; birth agenda; Fake; not true (Tea Party man, Raleigh)
  • Not a US citizen. Supports Terrorists. (Evangelical man, Roanoke)
  • I don’t believe he’s a Christian. He’s a tyrant. (Evangelical man, Roanoke)
  • He wants to fundamentally change the country (Evangelical man, Roanoke)
  • He is going to try to turn this into a communist country. (Evangelical woman, Colorado Springs)
  • His motives behind his actions. (Evangelical woman, Colorado Springs)
  • He supports everything that is against Christianity. (Evangelical woman, Colorado Springs)
  • Citizenship question (Evangelical woman, Colorado Springs)
  • Socialist background (Evangelical woman, Colorado Springs)
  • Origin of birth (Evangelical woman, Colorado Springs)
The moderate men in Colorado Springs raise as many questions as the other Republicans
about who Obama really is:
  • Only cares about self-promotion, not the AMERICAN people.
  • Hopefully, he doesn’t change the Constitution so he can try to get elected again.
  • Feels government can solve any problem.
  • He is masonic Devil Illuminati, Lier can’t stand Him
  • American?
  • Lies and scandals
  • Muslim?
In all of that, being a class traitor is never even mentioned once.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:36 AM on December 6, 2013 [10 favorites]


Interestingly, Reagan gave the same stump speech dozens of times as he campaigned around the country but used the "strapping young buck" phrase only in southern states. He knew exactly what he was doing. It was more than just a whistle.
posted by JackFlash at 9:37 AM on December 6, 2013 [8 favorites]


corb: "I'm sure, taking aside those people who are just pretty clearly racists, that there are some people who do conflate race and class. Even the most well meaning people do it - when people advocate for things that they feel will improve the situation of minorities, they rarely pause to think of what the most well-educated and wealthy minorities would like - they are considering, usually, the plight of the urban poor.
I have heard it speculated that this happens because to talk about class in this country marks you either as a communist or an aristocrat, neither of which are extremely popular things to be. So instead, people use ways to signify that they are talking about - as you say - those people. They almost never mean the Huxtables.
"

It would seem to me that the logic required for this kind of mapping as well as the ability and willingness to do it are in and of themselves indicators of, well, racism.

corb: "Obama does come in for a lot of hatred, but I wonder how much of that is because - like George Bush - he attempted to reinvent himself not as the child of privilege, but the average, just-like-us child - but for the wrong class. "

Or, you know, because he's not white. As an outsider (immigrant from Europe, non-citizen) I continue to find myself utterly shocked and baffled on a regular basis whenever I contemplate or observe the sheer toxic intensity, volume and primitive quality of conservative/right wing rage and vitriol directed at Obama. It is utterly stunning and cannot be explained by political/ideological differences alone at all because Obama is anything but a leftist. I mean, there was a lot of hatred for W because of both policy and personality but this exceeds that by several orders of magnitude. I'm convinced that a few decades down the line this will be viewed as one of the most shameful periods in recent American history because of this ridiculous treatment of the country's first non-white president.

My greatest hope is that this is nothing but the death throes of a dying worldview. While this is clearly not limited to older generations polls seem to suggest that at the end of the day this is a minority, albeit a sizable and extremely visible and vocal one. It is very unfortunate that have been and continue to be able to do a lot of serious damage on their way out.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 9:41 AM on December 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


More on how "welfare queen" is indeed a racist dog-whistle:

Witch Hunt For The Welfare Queen (emphasis mine)
The Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Havard University published a study entitled “The Welfare Queen Experiment” in which Black and White participants watched newsclips about a lazy welfare recipient named Rhonda. Separate test groups watched news stories that showed a photo of either a black Rhonda or white Rhonda for a few seconds. Each group was also given a survey to measure attitudes toward race, gender and welfare. White participants showed a 10% increase in anti-black sentiments when Rhonda was Black and surprisingly, an increase of 12% when Rhonda was White. This suggests that the Welfare Queen archetype and the distorted view of Black Americans on welfare is well entrenched in the White American psyche.

The majority of welfare recipients are non-urban and White. The majority of food stamp recipients have jobs or are children, so comparing paychecks to food stamps makes no sense. When Reagan sought to cut funding to social programs, he did so under the guise of “small government” while his budget balled the fuck out. Rick Santorum said “Black people”.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:43 AM on December 6, 2013 [8 favorites]


corb: "If they had terms for this and were allowed to talk about it honestly, he might be referenced as a "class traitor." And I believe that is where the majority of the hate for him comes - not from his skin color, but from his class advocacy."

While we're debating whether the conservatives you're channeling through your conservative lens are directly motivated by animus toward someone's skin tone, or are just treating people of a certain skin tone differently based on the fact that more members of a certain economic class might have that same skin tone, can I just point out that using the term "class traitor" is still very fucking inflammatory and derogatory?

A traitor is "a person who betrays a country or group of people by helping or supporting an enemy". We're talking about our fellow human beings, for fuck's sake, not members of the Red Army! But, no, to the anonymous conservatives that you feel the need to protect from criticism, but carefully use passive voice to distance yourself from in this passage, it's all about how Obama shouldn't be helping the poor so much when he was born into privilege. (In your mind, but not in any meaningful sense of the word, as zombieflanders is right to point out.)

You seem to be offering some kind of plea bargain where you, on behalf of American conservatives generally, plead guilty to charges of fomenting class warfare and class-based resentment if everyone else agrees to drop the charges of racism. But how is that any better? Bigotry is bigotry. If you want to defend bigots based on the precise nature of their bigotry, then you go right ahead, but let's not pretend there's anything virtuous or principled about the bigotry itself.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:43 AM on December 6, 2013 [12 favorites]


I really wonder what sort of language conservatives would use to describe a campaign like this if it was being done by left-learning groups.

The radical militant liberals are trying to destroy America and take away your freedoms and destroying American values by trying to dismantle the very nation we've worked so hard to build!

Something like that.

I honestly can't figure out if they hate other people so much (I don't mean neighbors, I mean any group of people they identify as the Other) that they want to dismantle a country over it, or they actually think this will make things better, at least for the segment of society that they care about.

It's probably not "fuck you, I got mine" but "fuck you, we got ours".
posted by inertia at 10:46 AM on December 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Pertinent to the Portland Press Herald article linked by the Guardian article FPP above, another PPH article today offers the quote from LePage that "it used to be global warming; I think they call it climate change now – but there are a lot of opportunities that are developing."

Maine's other two candidates for governor in 2014, Mike Michaud (Democrat) and Eliot Cutler (Independent) are also mentioned in the article. Eliot Cutler said, "Michaud should acknowledge that it’s too late to change the fact that Eastport will soon become the closest U.S. port to Europe and China."
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 10:59 AM on December 6, 2013


as a reminder, William S. Lind gave away the game in his On War column entitled "The Prussian Monarchy Stuff" seven years ago

I finally got around to reading this, and now I need a shower.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 12:30 PM on December 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I, an American, believe that the French Revolution was a disaster even at its most bourgeois phase. A Bourbon should sit on the throne of France
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 2:12 PM on December 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


A bourbon certainly sits on the throne of my belly.

Somewhat uneasily.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 2:34 PM on December 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Steely-eyed Missile Man: “I finally got around to reading this, and now I need a shower.”
It really is a shame. I used to be an admirer of Lind's. I still respect him for the MWH.
posted by ob1quixote at 8:19 AM on December 9, 2013


zombieflanders: More on how "welfare queen" is indeed a racist dog-whistle

Meanwhile, the GOP's new approach to minority outreach is to send Rand Paul to Detroit to speak to a bunch of white folks.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:14 PM on December 9, 2013


This video just in to MeFi News of Senator Paul hearing about his assignment.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:15 PM on December 9, 2013


I'm sorry, two days later and I'm still kind of gobsmacked that any American is so conservative that they probably wish the republicans had lost the Revolutionary War. That's not even on the usual political map.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 4:18 AM on December 10, 2013


You'd end up like Canada!
posted by Artw at 4:48 AM on December 10, 2013


Yes, the Canadian variety of royalism is analogous to the kind of royalism that wishes the Germans had won the Great War and the French Revolution hadn't happened
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 6:38 AM on December 10, 2013


You seem to be offering some kind of plea bargain where you, on behalf of American conservatives generally, plead guilty to charges of fomenting class warfare and class-based resentment if everyone else agrees to drop the charges of racism. But how is that any better? Bigotry is bigotry. If you want to defend bigots based on the precise nature of their bigotry, then you go right ahead, but let's not pretend there's anything virtuous or principled about the bigotry itself.

I'm not trying to plea bargain anyone, but trying to approach the truth. I think there's a sort of strange unspoken agreement of people not to discuss class in this country, except in very specific ways - which, hilariously enough, don't get counted as bigotry by some even though they're the exact same thing.

Class-based resentment exists. You, along with others, have been very vocal in defending anti-upper-class class resentment, which is certainly a thing that affects lower-class and middle-class people to various degrees. Is it really a shocking surprise or new that the middle class and upper class also have resentment? Or are they the only ones who aren't allowed to have feelings about these things, the only ones for whom it becomes bigotry?

Obama has spent a lot of time and effort trying to be perceived as in touch with modern urban working- or lumpen- black culture, in similar ways to Bush spending a lot of time and effort trying to be perceived as in touch with modern rural culture. Now, in reality, he's not nearly as much of a crusader as he appears to be, but he's certainly more of one than past occupants of the office. Can you really blame people for perceiving him as it appears he wants to be perceived? He's an Ivy League, fairly wealthy individual who talks a great game about inequality while sending his children to an exclusive private school and living pretty well indeed. But he wants to be seen as a Man of the People, so he is perceived as such not only by those who think it's a positive, but also those who think it's a negative.
posted by corb at 6:54 AM on December 10, 2013


I'm sorry, two days later and I'm still kind of gobsmacked that any American is so conservative that they probably wish the republicans had lost the Revolutionary War. That's not even on the usual political map.

Wait, the French Revolutionary War? The one that ended by guillotining people for happening to be born in the wrong families? Yeah, I definitely wish that one hadn't succeeded, because it was a murderous juggernaut, as even its previous enthusiasts, like Wordsworth, found out.
Domestic carnage, now filled the whole year
With feast-days, old men from the chimney-nook,
The maiden from the busom of her love,
The mother from the cradle of her babe,
The warrior from the field - all perished, all -
Friends, enemies, of all parties, ages, ranks,
Head after head, and never heads enough
For those that bade them fall.
posted by corb at 7:04 AM on December 10, 2013


Is it really a shocking surprise or new that the middle class and upper class also have resentment? Or are they the only ones who aren't allowed to have feelings about these things, the only ones for whom it becomes bigotry?

It is not surprising, but usually the resentment takes the form of, "Why don't they just go away and starve or whatever (not my problem!) and let me jet around the world in peace!"

Wait, the French Revolutionary War? The one that ended by guillotining people for happening to be born in the wrong families?

By all means let's just ignore the starving peasants.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 7:17 AM on December 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also: No, corb, the American one
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 7:18 AM on December 10, 2013


Lind was lamenting the French Revolution.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 7:21 AM on December 10, 2013


Also: No, corb, the American one

Wait, reeeally? Now I'm gobsmacked.
posted by corb at 7:41 AM on December 10, 2013


Lind was lamenting the French Revolution.

Yes, I know, and from that I jokingly inferred that Lind was so conservative that he would have wanted the Redcoats to win the American Revolutionary War.

As for the French Revolution, pretty much everyone agrees that the Committee of Public Safety went many bloody steps too far. Lind goes further and implies that the Tennis Court Oath was too much. I think the fact of the revolution, and not the course it took, is what disagrees with him, which is a conservatism rarely to be found in a child of an Enlightenment republic.

That's all. Back to the subject of the thread, which is false charities.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 7:51 AM on December 10, 2013


I jokingly inferred that Lind was so conservative that he would have wanted the Redcoats to win the American Revolutionary War.

Ah, sorry. I actually would not be surprised to discover he held that opinion (he is a self-described monarchist, after all), but I think he wisely keeps it to himself if he does think that way.

Pretty sure the main thread discussion is over.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 8:04 AM on December 10, 2013


corb: " I'm not trying to plea bargain anyone, but trying to approach the truth. I think there's a sort of strange unspoken agreement of people not to discuss class in this country, except in very specific ways - which, hilariously enough, don't get counted as bigotry by some even though they're the exact same thing. "

Only willful ignorance could produce a statement like this in a thread where we were just discussing how much Reagan's presidency was helped by rich resentment of "welfare queens." If you're going to continue to ignore substantive points made that directly undercut your argument, we simply cannot have a productive discussion.

The historical fact is that the GOP has trafficked in class-based resentment of the poor for decades, and was rewarded for doing so for a long time. This goes back to at least the Nixon years. The calculus has changed very recently, but many in the GOP still see the strategy as productive, as evidenced by Mitt Romney's "47 percent" comments and Newt Gingrich's suggestion that school children should work as janitors, among many other contemporary examples.

You can continue to ignore the historical record, but many of us lived through the 1980s, and all of us can access Google and Wikipedia. If anything, the trend throughout most of my lifetime has been to talk approach class ifrom the "welfare queens" perspective, with Clinton promising to "end welfare as we know it", and following through on that promise by making the program much less generous. Other than Occupy, which I don't think has been anyone's definition of a major force in electoral politics, where is the equal and opposite resentment coming from the bottom of the income spectrum?

corb: "Is it really a shocking surprise or new that the middle class and upper class also have resentment? Or are they the only ones who aren't allowed to have feelings about these things, the only ones for whom it becomes bigotry?"

We're talking about the conflation of race and class here. Class-based resentment against the rich doesn't lead to poor people seeing every white person as the enemy in the way that aggrieved privileged whites see racial minorities trying to take their slice of the pie. And, even if they did, the fact is that those toward the top have increased their portion of the pie at the expense of others, so if there was resentment, it would be justified. This is the difference between "punching up" and "punching down." Those who've been legitimately wronged have a right to be resentful. How have the wealthy, with their share of wealth at an all-time high and still increasing, been wronged?
posted by tonycpsu at 8:16 AM on December 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Their feelings have been hurt. :'(
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 8:18 AM on December 10, 2013


And I believe that is where the majority of the hate for him comes - not from his skin color, but from his class advocacy.

It has not been about race for a long time. It's about class.

To be fair, of course it's classist


Good topic. It is fascinating to try to root-cause conservative hatred. I really don't think the hate is primarily class-based in the traditional sense, though. I suspect a large portion of the most fervently hateful conservative constituents actually belong to the "lower" classes. I think the hate is more culturally based, and comes along with the conservative "Tea Party" populism. Thomas Frank covered this well in What's the Matter With Kansas:
Out here the gravity of discontent pulls in only one direction: to the right, to the right, further to the right. Strip today's Kansans of their job security, and they head out to become registered Republicans. Push them off their land, and next thing you know they're protesting in front of abortion clinics. Squander their life savings on manicures for the CEO, and there's a good chance they'll join the John Birch Society. But ask them about the remedies their ancestors proposed (unions, antitrust, public ownership), and you might as well be referring to the days when knighthood was in flower.
Conservative talk radio has been preaching hatred and racism for years, and their audience is not really the traditional "upper class," or whatever. The hatred for Bill Clinton was of the same order of magnitude as Obama-hate, so I don't think it is necessarily racist either. It is interesting that sports talk radio is full of hate as well. You don't hear it as much now, but there were days when eighty percent of "sports talk" was dedicated to hating Terrell Owens or Barry Bonds. I don't think there is an easy explanation like "class." It may take years and years of advances in psychology to truly get to the bottom of conservative hatred.

Note that one of the biggest hate-based issues for conservatives today is immigration. Illegal immigration is a source of cheap labor for the upper classes and is a threat to lower income jobs, so again it doesn't seem that it is necessarily class based. Perhaps the white working class is protecting their privileged by allying themselves with the upper classes and other sources of power, somewhat analogous to the anti-immigration fascism we see in Europe today.

I jokingly inferred that Lind was so conservative that he would have wanted the Redcoats to win the American Revolutionary War.

Incidentally, on the Left, Gerald Horne has suggested that America would have been better off had it lost the Revolutionary War. For one thing, it probably would have ended slavery far sooner.
posted by Golden Eternity at 9:22 AM on December 10, 2013


Class-based resentment against the rich doesn't lead to poor people seeing every white person as the enemy in the way that aggrieved privileged whites see racial minorities trying to take their slice of the pie. And, even if they did, the fact is that those toward the top have increased their portion of the pie at the expense of others, so if there was resentment, it would be justified. This is the difference between "punching up" and "punching down." Those who've been legitimately wronged have a right to be resentful.

First of all, yes, class-based resentment against the rich does, in fact, lead to some poor minorities seeing every white person as the enemy in many cases - in fact, didn't we just have an FPP about this?

Your defense is, "Well, but that resentment is justified", which is really just a restatement of the "I am right and they are wrong, thus it's okay for me to do it but not okay for them to do it." And you can't really have it both ways. If class-based resentment is bad, then it's bad. If it's okay, then it's okay. You say that one is correct, but it could quite easily be argued that the other is correct. The hoary old "Punch up, not down" canard ignores the fact that maybe, just maybe, it'd be better either not to be punching at all - or to be able to defend yourself if you are punched.

The historical fact is that the GOP has trafficked in class-based resentment of the poor for decades, and was rewarded for doing so for a long time.

From "King Mob" Andrew Jackson to Tammany Hall, the Democrats have trafficked in class-based resentment of the rich since it was born. Each side has chosen the resentments they will feed, and they hope it will reward them in votes and campaign funding. You can well talk about what you think of one or the other, but to pretend one is above the fray is poor practice indeed.
posted by corb at 11:01 AM on December 10, 2013


First of all, yes, class-based resentment against the rich does, in fact, lead to some poor minorities seeing every white person as the enemy in many cases - in fact, didn't we just have an FPP about this?

I don't know what FPP you're talking about, but we're not talking about "some." Of course in a nation of hundreds of millions of people "some" people hold nearly any viewpoint you can imagine, and that would of course mean some poor people develop negative stereotypes of all white people.

The question is if anti-poor resentment and anti-rich resentment can be measured on the same scale of intensity and popularity, and my point, made clear by the many recent examples I cited, and confirmed by your lack of any example from the last half a century, is that anti-poor resentment has been politically useful, while anti-rich resentment barely exists at all, and where it does exist, it has a lot to do with very justifiable concerns over the rich taking all of the fucking money. And, of course, the resentment of rich people has never been integrated with appeals to racial resentment in the way the GOP has explicitly tied its opposition welfare to racist dogwhistles.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:17 AM on December 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


Your defense is, "Well, but that resentment is justified", which is really just a restatement of the "I am right and they are wrong, thus it's okay for me to do it but not okay for them to do it." And you can't really have it both ways. If class-based resentment is bad, then it's bad. If it's okay, then it's okay. You say that one is correct, but it could quite easily be argued that the other is correct.

No, it couldn't. There is nothing that can justify the resentment of the rich towards the poor. If they fear that they will not have almost 100% control of the government and all the power behind it, that does not justify anything, let alone the punishments they want and often get to inflict on those they consider beneath them.

The hoary old "Punch up, not down" canard ignores the fact that maybe, just maybe, it'd be better either not to be punching at all - or to be able to defend yourself if you are punched.

The rich have nearly every financial, legal, and governmental resource at their disposal to "defend" themselves when necessary. The fact that they've been using those resources to actually do all of the punching makes it that much worse.

From "King Mob" Andrew Jackson to Tammany Hall, the Democrats have trafficked in class-based resentment of the rich since it was born. Each side has chosen the resentments they will feed, and they hope it will reward them in votes and campaign funding. You can well talk about what you think of one or the other, but to pretend one is above the fray is poor practice indeed.

To equate the very real and well-documented, even admitted, abuses of the middle and lower classes with completely hypothetical pain and suffering of the rich is just plain ridiculous. The rich have lost essentially nothing at the hands of the government, let alone the people, from the inception of the country forwards. The fact that you're referencing groups that haven't held influence since before the turn of the last century, and have largely switched ideological stances in the meantime, does nothing to bolster your argument here.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:42 AM on December 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


And you can't really have it both ways. If class-based resentment is bad, then it's bad. If it's okay, then it's okay.

And they say conservatives can't do nuance.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 12:44 PM on December 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


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