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Monday, March 4, 2019

The Ultimate Undoing Of Governance?

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It's easy and apropos to blame politicians, the media, academia, what have you. But is something else behind all this constant conflict?

Please  consider the analysis presented in "The Rise of the Ungovernables" (from Quillette, March 1, 2018, emphases mine):
...[T]here is another explanation for liberal democracy’s troubles that is much less talked about and, in my view, more powerful—the fact that voters have become more difficult to govern.

Many attribute that difficulty to voters protesting against the slings and arrows of economic stagnation or cultural dislocation. It is argued that voters are victims of everything from inequality and austerity to immigration and multiculturalism; that they are just responding to adversity. But something more fundamental is going on here. The nature of the voters themselves has changed.

Obviously, in evolutionary terms human nature cannot change in a few decades. But attitudes and expectations can change rapidly, and this has happened in ways that have transformed democratic politics. Compared to voters in the decades following World War II, voters of the twenty-first century have an increased sense of entitlement, a higher regard for themselves and their opinions, and a less tolerant view of others. They are more demanding, more vitriolic and more thin-skinned. And it is not just millennials and Generation X. These changes apply to the baby boomer generation as well.

I’m not saying that modern voters are poisonous egomaniacs. My point is simply that they are relatively more self-entitled, self-opinionated, intolerant, and prickly than earlier voters. And these relative changes have made it harder to govern them in a liberal democracy. What has caused these changes? A series of major developments throughout the last half century from the ascendancy of liberalism to the arrival of social media. Individually most of these developments have been very positive for modern society. Nevertheless, they have also brought about, indirectly and in different ways, changes in the attitudes and expectations, and therefore the behaviour, of voters....

[...]

Successful democratic politics requires informed citizens and something at least approaching an agreed set of facts on which a meaningful contestation of views can be based. Agreeing the facts among today’s voters is an increasingly problematic task. It is further complicated by the rise of feelings over facts as a measure for analysing issues.

Thirty years ago, politicians took the pulse of the nation through meetings with voters and tracking “old media.” Now they stumble about in a shifting online world to distil what the voters want. In a virtual firestorm of demands and warnings, outrage and indignation, their priority is often survival rather than communication.

Liberal democratic politics have never been so difficult. So next time you’re complaining about how politicians are leading us astray and destroying the democratic process, remember the self-entitled, self-opinionated, demanding, and prickly voters they have to deal with.
Read the entire essay HERE. There is more — much more than excerpted above. Please take time to read the entire essay!

So, then, what can be done to turn this tide of unrealistic electorate? Or is it already too late?

40 comments:

  1. Suggested exercise: practice explaining opinions which which you disagree without dismissing all those who hold them as idiots.

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    Replies
    1. Jez: Point well taken. If you cannot do that with an opposing position, you have no business arguing against it.

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    2. Blood and guts reality is not and never has been subject to Marquis of Queensbury Rules.

      Real life is not a Game.

      When a 15-foot crocodile charges at you, you DON'T want to stop, and consider, if, perhaps, his action may be perfectly justifible –– from HIS point of view.

      In such a case you have only two possible choices:

      1. If you are adequately armed, KILL the son-of-a-bitch

      OR

      2. Get the hell out of the way –– FAST.


      If you insist on playing Hamlet, you will meet DEATH in a most gruesome, spectacularly hideous manner.

      Delete
    3. Franco,
      You've completely misunderstood my point again, my friend.

      Jez said "opinions," and I reiterate my agreement with him. If you cannot accurately articulate and explain an opinion you are against, how can you argue against it?

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    4. I alwaya take points raised to their logic extremes, Silver. You ought to know that by now.

      I believe Jez would like us always to behave rationally with judicious fair-minded consideration for ALL points of view.

      I would too, of course, but at the same time I am painfully aware that, despite our formidable intellectual capacities and achievements, we are NOT rational creatures.

      As David Hume famously said, "Reason is but the Slave of Passion."

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    5. SF is correct that it's something we need to do in order to develop deeper arguments and to put them more persuasively, but I recommended it primarily for its potential to build character. The essential character trait of empathy is partly a skill which responds well to practice. It is a lot like physical training: "exercise" is an apt word for it.

      I believe that concerted effort in this area has made me a somewhat nicer person. Yes I, with all my deficiencies which you have listed fully had I not anticipated it, hard though it may be to belive, used to be even worse.

      It's a work in progress, I don't always manage to put this into practice. But I feel like on those occassions where I do, the process gives me a much better connection to blood-and-guts reality than when I've given up and dismissed an opposing view as idiotic.

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  2. At the risk of oversimplification, this is the result of Americans prioritizing leisure ahead of all else. It breeds an increased sense of entitlement and the erroneous expansion of what actually constitutes a Right.

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  3. I believe all this began when the rank and file – particularly children and adolescents –– caught on to The Power of t he Strike as demonstrated by increasingly thuggish labor unions.

    Studied DISRESPECT, studied lack of DEFERENCE to age, "position," "status," "officialdom," and "authority," –– an arrogant, self-righteous cynicism towards parents, teachers, clergy, police, and qualified "experts," –– has eroded the power of established customs and norms to the point where –– even as far back as fifty-five years ago –– teachers in New York City public schools began to joke nervously in teacher's lounges about a looming need to "teach" with a MACHINE GUN mounted on a turret in front of them on the teacher's desk.

    It WAS a "joke," of course, but many teachers I knew at the time felt the tension from increasing disrespect for authority so keenly the "joke" too often seemed an almost attractive proposition.

    If you don't want to bother doing anything, just give your teacher or your boss a basilisk stare, shrug it off, drum on your desktop with eyes fixed toward the ceiling whistling under your breath, spit on the floor, then give him The Finger.

    Nine times out of ten THESE days it's very likely that YOU, –– the teacher or the boss ––, will be called on the carpet for not doing YOUR job well enough to DESERVE respect from your students,employees, or subalterns.

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  4. This really bothers me, actually it scares me that we are electing Islamic terrorist sympathizers into our halls of Congress. This is the Trojan horse they are using in their agenda to destroy our freedom and way of life. More are lining up to run in 2020. Now we have Rashida Tlaib from Minnesota and Ilhan Omarfrom Michigan that are very vocal about their hatred of our President and our culture. America, WAKE THE HELL UP!!

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    Replies
    1. The answer, of course, would be DIDADIN but the prissy, legalistic little "ethicists" among us –– Little Goody Two-Shoes all –– won't hear of it because THEY insist that DIDADIN is both un-American and UNCONSTITUTIONAL.

      I would remind these priggish, self-righteous Simon-Pure types that "The U.S. CONSTITUTION is NOT a SUICIDE PACT.

      And that SELF-PRESEVATION is the FIRST LAW of NATURE.

      If someone is coming at me with a knife I don't give Two Hoots in Hell what HIS "Legal Rights" might be, I just want to make sure that he DIES before he can kill ME.

      These belligerent, insolent, rag headed bastards DO NOT BELONG in OUR country. PERIOD!

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    2. "belligerent, insolent, rag headed bastards" -- just think, a few hundred years ago they were at the gates of Vienna and now they're within.

      But watch them get beaten back. Winning 2020'd be a start.

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    3. Perhaps you have a plan in mind that would assuage those who support and defend the Constitution?

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    4. By the way, you reversed their constituencies.

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    5. When the strictures of the Constitution fail to protect and defend the best interests of the still-WHITE, still ENGLISH-speaking, still-nominally CHRISTIAN majority, because we've stupidly encouraged markedly HOSTILE, unassimilable FOREIGN INFLUENCES to INVADE and COLONIZE our shores, then the Constitution must either be IGNORED or AMENDED.

      As I quoted above:

      The U.S. CONSTITUTION is NOT a SUICIDE PACT.

      Delete
    6. It is neither a SIN nor an AFFRONT to HUMAN DIGNITY to BE a prosperous, English-speaking, Caucasian, Christian, Capitalist of Anglo-European heritage.

      It is not UNCONSTITUTIONAL either.

      If nusring VIPERS in our national bosom is NOT unconstititonal, by God it OUGHT to be.

      Delete
    7. Franco,
      It is not UNCONSTITUTIONAL either.

      YET!

      Delete
    8. Sure, genocidal fantasies are absolute in line with the Constitution.

      My how the essay comes true.

      Delete
    9. Still didn't see a plan.

      But hey, every good idea needs a leader of action. When should we expect you to begin?

      Delete
  5. Thanks for that and I enjoyed the essay. Surely we're seeing the devolution of a culture and that downward train's moving fast. Witness infanticide.

    I'd argue the baby killing antics of our friends on the left serve as an outward and visible sign or anti sacrament to Stitt's point --massive, aggressive, ill-informed selfishness. Or, translated, the revolutionary drive to radical autonomy. http://www.forwardinchristmagazine.com/2019/02/moloch-returns.html

    Whatever, the net result's a fight. The crew with the guns wins, I'd say we have the edge on that?

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    Replies
    1. Indeed. The left is finally and unabashedly demonstrating their true disposition. Now, if we just had a conservative, liberty-loving party to oppose them...

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    2. Parties are the aggregates of people to press a political point of view.

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  6. imo - the jimmy carter take over of edumacation (1), then the parents(2) who let it happen, then (3) the dumbass kids who drank it all up.

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  7. The author presents an interesting article based on several, although not altogether valid propositions. It may seem as though I am nitpicking (and maybe I am), but given the author’s background and education, he might have made a distinction between liberal and progressive society. There are classic liberals (today referred to as conservatives), and then there are neo-liberals—the latter being progressive, nearly all of whom (consciously or otherwise) embrace Marxist philosophy. But if one were to return to the late colonial/early national period of American history for an examination of that society, then you will find that it is amazingly consistent with where we are today.

    The people who migrated to the American colonies were the same kinds of people as those who later pushed off into the western territories. The people least like them remained in Europe, content to bend their knee to government’s heavy hand, content to nibble from the leftovers from their master’s table. Once here, a few generations later, namby-pamby Americans remained within their urban cocoons, developing once again a peculiar contentedness of the new heavy hand, while the sturdier types headed off into the western reaches of the continent determined to live or die by their wits, their courage, and their refusal to do as others preferred.

    Real Americans have never trusted politicians, and for the most part want nothing at all to do with the culture that surrounds them. But as America moved forward in time, greater numbers of people began to conform to the vision of America taught to them by the political elite, who gradually infested our schools with sophisticated brainwashing (rather than intellectual inquiry), and if we fast forward through the 20th century to the present, we arrive at a modern society fooled into believing they are entitled to more than the things enumerated in the US Constitution and Bill of Rights (the right to health care at someone else’s expense, for example), fooled into thinking that they are educated enough to participate in a democratic society. They aren’t.

    To begin with, democracy is the most difficult form of government there is, particularly since everyone (millions of citizens) all have a different idea about how things ought to work. Americans aren’t educated at all ... literate, yes, but far removed from intellectual enlightenment. Thinking that they are “enlightened,” they embrace such horribly flawed notions as Marxism and to prove this point, the Marxists who comment here, in their refusal to acknowledge the reality of communism over the past 150 years prove with every argument that they are incapable of intellectual investigation and analysis.

    My guess is that we’ve come full circle. “Ungovernable” seems like a good idea to me; anything less than this surrenders our freedom to political masters who are the most dangerous predators on the planet. Stitt wants to blame the voter for our problems—which of course is partly true. He does not seem to realize that today’s voter was created by people just like him, who seem to know better than everyone what is best for me, and you. American society will fail—and fail big. At its demise, people will regroup and try again. And fail. It is the cycle of human society. We can’t help it ... but the really bad news is that there is only one frontier left to the indomitable sprit ... the frontier controlled exclusively by governments. I do pity future generations.

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    Replies
    1. The problem is, government will never relinquish control of the personal territory they have conquered. Government is a ratchet. At the same time, we have broken communities and millions of people who lack basic life skills needed to take care of themselves and their families.

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  8. You May have meant “racket”, but I think “ratchet” is appropriate as well.

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  9. Worth a look...

    Least Tolerant: Educated White Liberals.

    The blog author, who analyzes a recent piece in the Atlantic makes this observation:

    White, highly educated people are the most politically intolerant in the entire country. These are the people who congregate in Boston, New York, and Washington. I would love to see the demographic breakdown of who the decision-makers in major-media newsrooms are, as well as in other US institutions. We know from other demographic data that the more educated you are, the more likely you are to be liberal.

    Look at this finding: “the most politically intolerant county in America appears to be Suffolk County, Massachusetts, which includes the city of Boston.”


    There is more -- much more -- at the above link.

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    1. "In general, the most politically intolerant Americans, according to the analysis, tend to be whiter, more highly educated, older, more urban, and more partisan themselves. This finding aligns in some ways with previous research by the University of Pennsylvania professor Diana Mutz, who has found that white, highly educated people are relatively isolated from political diversity. They don’t routinely talk with people who disagree with them; this isolation makes it easier for them to caricature their ideological opponents."

      Reducing each other to caricature is the big problem. Speaks to my point above, which is that this is worth taking effort to avoid.

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    2. Reducing each other to caricature is the big problem.

      Well stated. +1

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    3. Still, caricature and satire have their place. Always have, especially in American history.

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    4. Absolutely! But you have to eat your vegetables too, if you know what I mean.

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  10. Academia poisons young minds. The majority are simply not born or raised to have the talent of critical thinking. Academia.

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    1. Why do you think I've been calling it The POISON IVY LEAGUE for several years now< Kid?

      I still hope the term catches on, because I think it most apt. I feel the same about ENEMEDIA –– another term I coined way back in the Watergate Era.

      Delete
  11. A push to bring in massive numbers of
    foreign born and raised unskilled laborers,
    living on the dependence of a governance steeped
    in corrupt under handed self indulgence-with the
    sole purpose - dividing their society into two
    groups--[ Have and Have not]; no middle class--
    the Fat Cats do not like that kind of competition;
    is only to change our culture.
    Then there is the big push to save The Affordable Health Care Act. Nancy Pelosi said is to be passed by parachute
    and passing before knowing what's in it.
    Here in Texas and from the CDC - diseases once
    controlled in the USA, have now become an emergency
    out brake -- Measles and Mumps all across Texas.
    We Have To Start Calling these DemocRaTs what They are.
    Starting with Typhoid Nancy!

    ReplyDelete

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