A Liberal World View

There are two kinds of people in this world* - spliters and mixers. The names describe well. Spliters see lots of distinctions, maybe where they don’t always exists, while mixers see commonalities, maybe when the are not there.

I tend to a mixer, maybe a mixer & matcher, which makes me reluctant use general labels. Liberal and conservative are terms where there is a lot of mixing and matching, and where splitting sometimes is artificial.

Take the American Revolution. One of my self-described liberal friends posted the the American Revolution featured liberals v conservatives and liberal won. This is true if you define conservative simply as supporting the status quo, but consider a pragmatic definition that would judge by characteristics.

if we were not told the context but simply heard about a bunch of guys with guns struggling against taxes, a centralizing government in favor of local autonomy and a relaxation of oppressive economic regulations, we would be unlikely immediately to identify that with today's liberals.

Or take the more contemporary issue of same-sex marriage. It was perhaps the fastest change of public attitudes in our history so we can identify specifics. Libertarians (often put in the conservative camp), business leaders (usually also called conservatives) and guys like Dick Cheney (always called conservatives) came out if favor of gay rights before Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. The interesting thing about it was how Clinton and Obama claimed to lead a parade that they were pulled behind, kind of like going behind into a revolving door and coming out in front.

Thinking along these lines, I read an interesting article in "the Economist" about liberals. As I read it, I saw that I identified with most of what they called liberal, but I am pretty sure people like Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren would be opposed. So how does that label thing work out. Maybe I am too much of a mixer to see the differences correctly, but if I was to try to put that into a split, I don't believe those two would be in the liberal camp.


*well, actually a lot more variations but, but for my purposes here two.

Posted by Christine & John at December 29, 2016 1:50 PM
Comment #411702

There are two types of people in this world: those who realize they they can be more than one kind of person, given different circumstances, and those who think they’re just one person all the time.

The former are given a gift: they realize that at some point that they can be the most awful version of themselves, a version they might want to avoid being.

The latter are given a curse: they believe they are being as good of people as they think they are at all times, even when, eventually, they betray their own principles, or change into something they never imagined themselves being.

The Republicans keep rejecting mandates when Democrats get clear and ringing victories, and keep asserting mandates where they barely win. They keep obstructing Liberals left and right, and then complain when anybody gets in their way.

There is a cancer growing within the Republican party, a mutation of conservatism into mindless, aimless, unaccountable radicalism. They are destroying the modern America most of us know, and blaming the rest of us for the ruin that brings.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 29, 2016 2:37 PM
Comment #411706

It is truly amazing to read comments by Mr. Daugherty that are so convoluted. What is more amazing is that he actually believes the drivel he writes.

Posted by: Royal Flush at December 29, 2016 3:07 PM
Comment #411708


Maybe you should write a new speech. I write all sort of different things. Your response always has the same three talking points. I will list them,

1. Republicans are bad and maybe evil
2. The people really hate the Republicans and when they vote them into office it does not change that opinion.
3. Soon the Republican will collapse from their arrogance.

Consider these over time. You starting writing these maybe 2003? In 2004, Republican won the presidency and a bigger share in congress.

In 2006 - you probably felt vindicated and more in 2008. But you seemed to take no joy in victory, since it was not 100% submission.

2010 - Republicans surged back

2012 Democrats won

2014 - Republicans struck back and in 2016 Republicans control the whole show. AND they have more seats in the states than since something like 1922.

Maybe the collapse is imminent, but you have been predicting it for going on 15 years and now Republicans are stronger than when you started.

Maybe this is just politics with ups and downs. Nobody is going to collapse or surge forever. Maybe something like almost half the people mostly like Republicans and a similar number like Democrats and we just swing back and forth with neither side being evil, stupid or about to be crushed permanently.

Although Democrats are crushed for the time being. Hand to get in that snark, sorry.

Posted by: Christine & John at December 29, 2016 4:11 PM
Comment #411711

Can you retrieve my comment from the spam filter?

Posted by: Warren Porter at December 29, 2016 7:03 PM
Comment #411714


There is nothing in there. I can edit only the comments to my posts. There is nothing from you stuck from this post. I do not know where they go beyond that.

Posted by: Christine & John at December 29, 2016 11:19 PM
Comment #411727

C&J, From your link- “If you believe, as The Economist does, in open economies and open societies, where the free exchange of goods, capital, people and ideas is encouraged and where universal freedoms are protected from state abuse by the rule of law,”…..

You seem to be suggesting Sanders and Warren would be against this, I’m not so sure. It seems what many people are against is the dominance of global corporations and their control on the rule of law, the usurpation of the local rule of law by the global IMF and the effects this has on the universal freedoms.

Posted by: j2t2 at December 30, 2016 11:13 AM
Comment #411739

Everytime I write a comment pertinent to Jack’s thesis, I am told that my comment has been held for approval. If this persists, I may have to email Liz.

Posted by: Warren Porter at December 31, 2016 12:35 AM
Comment #411743

Let’s try an abridged version:

Your example regarding the American is an exercise in historical revisionism.

Your example regarding gay marriage is an exercise in cherry-picking

Your statements regarding Warren & Sanders indicate that you do not understand their ideology.

Posted by: Warren Porter at December 31, 2016 12:39 AM
Comment #411745


I found the problem. My comments were blocked because they contained the word $ex (silly me for forgetting). Here they are:

a bunch of guys with guns struggling against taxation without representation, an undemocratic centralizing government in favor of local democratic autonomy and a breakup of powerful monopolies, we would be likely immediately to identify that with today’s liberals.

Historical revisionism is a poor way to make a point. I fixed your historical inaccuracies and reached a different conclusion.

Or take the more contemporary issue of same-$ex marriage. It was perhaps the fastest change of public attitudes in our history so we can identify specifics. Libertarians (often put in the conservative camp), business leaders (usually also called conservatives) and guys like Dick Cheney (always called conservatives) came out if favor of gay rights before Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. The interesting thing about it was how Clinton and Obama claimed to lead a parade that they were pulled behind, kind of like going behind into a revolving door and coming out in front.

This is an exercise in cherry-picking and nothing else.

I saw that I identified with most of what they called liberal, but I am pretty sure people like Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren would be opposed.
Wrong again. Warren & Sanders are certainly a bit too statist for my preferences, but the small gap between them and classical liberalism pales in comparison to the vast chasm separating conservatism with classical liberalism. Clearly, you don’t have a clue about what either of them believe in.

Posted by: Warren Porter at December 31, 2016 12:45 AM
Comment #411746

Oh great, now I managed to muck up my HTML tags. At least I figured out what was wrong. I am reasonably certain that my original comment from before is still stuck in the spam filter for this entry because it contained “same-$ex marriage”.

Posted by: Warren Porter at December 31, 2016 12:47 AM
Comment #411757

Don’t be discouraged Warren.


Posted by: Royal Flush at December 31, 2016 2:17 PM
Comment #411762

Thank you Royal Flush. I’m hoping for the best in 2017.

Posted by: Warren Porter at December 31, 2016 4:59 PM
Comment #411771


Posted by: Rich KAPitan at January 1, 2017 12:16 AM
Comment #411793

Skeptical Climate Scientists Coming In From the Cold

““I think that the vast ‘middle’ will want and seek a more collegial atmosphere,” Georgia Tech’s Curry told RealClearInvestigations. “But there will be some hardcore people (particularly on the alarmed side) whose professional reputation, funding, media exposure, influence etc. depends on cranking up the alarm.”


I came across this excellent balanced article while just doing some general reading for fun. Comments appreciated.

Posted by: Royal Flush at January 2, 2017 7:41 PM
Comment #411795

The article is misleading.

Curry never ‘came in from the cold.’ She believes AGW is happening, but thinks the total warming could be less than currently predicted, and she has been saying this for years.


She is a regular performer for deniers, but she is marginally better than that other guy.

William Happer was one of the scientists caught in a sting operation last year. He is unethical and has no credibility with the scientific community, and never, ever will. So yeah, he’s pretty happy to see Trump and the fossil fuel people come along. What a crappy guy.


Posted by: phx8 at January 2, 2017 9:23 PM
Comment #411796


James Varney has spent years writing articles hostile to mainstream climate science, but I won’t dwell on that detail because his thesis is absolutely wrong. It’s just useful to remember we aren’t talking about an article written by somebody with the objectivity of Jim Lehrer.

Thousands upon thousands of scientists are convinced of the veracity of AGW theory. A couple dozen contrarians think otherwise. It wasn’t for want of funds that these people were not able to develop their ideas, Federal grants are available to all researchers as long as their proposals are based on sound science. The problem is that many of these people’s ideas don’t conform with our observations of how the Earth works.

If more grant money gets pushed towards these people next year, it will undoubtedly be a result of politicization of the grant process, which would represent a profound step backwards for the scientific community. While the incumbent funding system certainly has its flaws, it never violated scientific ethics so flagrantly. Regardless, I will wait until next year comes before rendering any final judgements. Varney writes his article solely from the perspective of speculation.


thinks the total warming could be less than currently predicted

I’ll spell out Curry’s position more specifically for the benefit of RF and others. Dr. Curry coauthored an article two years ago. In the paper, the authors calculate equilibrium climate sensitivity (the amount of warming to be expected from a doubling of CO2 concentration) to be 1.25 to 2.45 degrees C (range is 1 sd around a median of 1.64). The IPCC amalgamates dozens of studies like Curry’s and has this to say regarding ECS:

The equilibrium climate sensitivity quantifies the response of the climate system to constant radiative forcing on multicentury time scales. It is defined as the change in global mean surface temperature at equilibrium that is caused by a doubling of the atmospheric CO2 concentration. Equilibrium climate sensitivity is likely in the range 1.5°C to 4.5°C (high confidence), extremely unlikely less than 1°C (high confidence), and very unlikely greater than 6°C (medium confidence). No best estimate for equilibrium climate sensitivity can now be given because of a lack of agreement on values across assessed lines of evidence and studies.

Essentially, Curry is throwing a fit because the IPCC expresses greater uncertainty than she does regarding climate sensitivity. My interpretation that it is simply a matter of pride in her own work and she isn’t willing to consider the fact that her study is only one of many that estimate ECS and there really isn’t anyway for anyone to tell which estimate is right.

Posted by: Warren Porter at January 2, 2017 11:28 PM
Comment #411797

The coming years will be really good ones for corrupt people. Unethical guys like that scientist, Happer, are pikers compared to what the GOP is working on right now. They are getting ready to run amok and steal this country blind, and they want to make sure nothing stops them. They won’t even bother to pretend.

Tonight the House voted for a proposal to neuter the independent Ethics Office.


Posted by: phx8 at January 2, 2017 11:51 PM
Comment #411799

From WaPo:

“Under the proposed new rules, the office could not employ a spokesperson, investigate anonymous tips or refer criminal wrongdoing to prosecutors without the express consent of the Ethics Committee, which would gain the power to summarily end any OCE probe.”

Incredible. What a bunch of crooks. There will be an absolute feeding frenzy of corruption when that infrastructure bill comes along.

Posted by: phx8 at January 3, 2017 10:25 AM
Comment #411802


This really isn’t a surprise. The OCE was Pelosi’s legacy, put into place after the awful kleptocracy that reigned under Dennis Hastert the last time Republicans controlled all the strings of power. They’ve been pining for a return to the days of Bob Ney and Jack Abramoff for a long time.

Posted by: Warren Porter at January 3, 2017 12:30 PM
Comment #411803

Thanks to phx8 and Warren for the comments on climate.

Posted by: Royal Flush at January 3, 2017 3:13 PM
Comment #411823

It’s always a pleasure when someone learns something new as a result of my work. Thank you.

Posted by: Warren Porter at January 3, 2017 7:56 PM
Comment #411859

1) Republicans are not especially bad or evil. They just trust what they shouldn’t: reason, by itself.

Let me put it this way, for folks who are confused: even good logic fails to yield good conclusions when we fail to keep information updated, calibrated, and closely based on observation. If your facts are bad, even good logic will deliver a false conclusion. Garbage in, garbage out.

The issue is, their leaders are so dedicated to seeing their agenda carried out that they’ve purpose built propaganda operations to that end, and unfortunately neglected the necessity of keeping the average Conservative well informed. What I’m fighting here isn’t evil, it’s a persistent resistance to relying on good, dependable facts, and a skeptical decision making process.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 4, 2017 3:50 PM
Comment #411860

2) The Republican Party at this point is like many breeds of dogs. Many purebred dogs have been so specialized by the breeding process, that some important traits have been accidentally bred out, or sacrificed to that one designer element people wanted. The desire for a certain kind of snout or shape to the body becomes so great that breeders indulge it even when the dog becomes unable to function normally because of it.

The GOP has become so set on one particular set of characteristics, that there’s hardly enough dissenters in the group to disrupt groupthink or take up a new direction when the old guard falters. The Tea Party isn’t much help, it’s not a rethinking of the GOP’s policies as a doubling down and rebranding of them.

This Quixotic idea of trying to privatize Medicare and Social Security… it’s an idea almost guaranteed to motivate a backlash. Yet Republicans do it anyways. The whole fiasco around the intended gutting of the Ethics office, the one that got Congress off to such a horrible start. The whole “destroy Obamacare thing.”

The GOP has become like a rocket car with no brakes, all excitation, no inhibition. There’s something to be said for restraint, constraint, for knowing when you’ve gone far enough, rather than finding out the hard way!

As long as the GOP won’t stop itself, it’s rivals are going to have to take up that job! If you want a more interesting mix, you’ve got to have the courage to take greater steps towards bipartisanship. Otherwise, no Democrat has any reason to yield anything to a Republican without a fight.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 4, 2017 4:04 PM
Comment #411862

3) It’s not about to collapse, the collapse is in process. Every graph has its ups and downs. What tells you the trend line for a graph is that the average of the two is headed in a certain direction.

Think of the Presidency as a leading indicator. When Democrats win, they win with significant room to spare. Even when they’ve lost, they’ve lost the popular vote by, at most, 3 million votes.

Republicans are appealing to an older, whiter demographic, and that means that only once since the turn of this century have they scored any kind of majority. It’s been a full quarter of a century since Republicans truly dominated their Democratic opponents in a national election.

Look at Trump, the kind of rage and paranoia he had to tap into to get people to vote for him.

They’ve all had to tap into that. There are no new ideas, no stunning insights. It’s all the same rhetoric I’ve heard for much of my life, warmed over.

Let me put things another way… You look at any political movement, and it’s got its lifespan. Sort of the consequences of the rise and fall of generations. you had a certain timespan where the Greatest Generation dominated, and then they faded away. With them faded liberalism. You had a certain timespan during which movement conservatism had some halfway decent thinkers and legislatures, and then that faded away. You had the Clinton-model Democrat for a while, and now they’re fading away.

There’s a kind of rhythm to it. But Republicans are trying to force their dominance eternally. They’ve got so many props and wedges in place, trying to force things to stay the way they want them. But time wears away at all things. America is, by simple dint of demographics, going to see higher concentrations of voters less interested in the GOP agenda. Something so simple as redistricting in North Carolina may flip the NC legislature back into range of the Democrat’s hold, simply because the NC GOP has had to so heavily gerrymander its districts to win. The close Governor’s race should be another sign of that.

It’s difficult, really, but the signs are there if you look for them. When you have to outperform the likely voter screens in order to win the electoral vote and lose the popular by almost three million votes, you’re fading away.

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Comment #415873

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