Whither the GOP? (post-Trump edition)

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Shem
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Re: Whither the GOP? (post-Trump edition)

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nicole wrote: 04 Feb 2021, 11:54 I am so confused about how other people can get worked up about conspiracy theory stuff when almost everyone believes in god and the afterlife and shit. Like who cares, I’m already operating under the assumption that most people are insane and/or idiots.
I mean, can you not get how a group that got genocided in living memory partially because people make up insane bullshit theories might be a bit tetchy about someone in Congress talking about Jew Space Lasers Creating Massive Forest Fires?
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Re: Whither the GOP? (post-Trump edition)

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Shem wrote: 04 Feb 2021, 14:52
nicole wrote: 04 Feb 2021, 11:54 I am so confused about how other people can get worked up about conspiracy theory stuff when almost everyone believes in god and the afterlife and shit. Like who cares, I’m already operating under the assumption that most people are insane and/or idiots.
I mean, can you not get how a group that got genocided in living memory partially because people make up insane bullshit theories might be a bit tetchy about someone in Congress talking about Jew Space Lasers Creating Massive Forest Fires?
I think the false and moronic beliefs of most people cause enormous amounts of suffering on an ongoing basis. And I think in practice belief in god and afterlife and things like “meaning” probably cause a lot more suffering than even the most odiously anti-Semitic memes.
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Jadagul
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Re: Whither the GOP? (post-Trump edition)

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You can't ostracize people for believing things that over 30% of the country believes.

(This isn't a moral argument. I'm not saying you shouldn't. You can't.)

Right now they're trying to step on these beliefs hard, before they reach that level of fixation.
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Re: Whither the GOP? (post-Trump edition)

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Jadagul wrote: 04 Feb 2021, 15:45 You can't ostracize people for believing things that over 30% of the country believes.

(This isn't a moral argument. I'm not saying you shouldn't. You can't.)

Right now they're trying to step on these beliefs hard, before they reach that level of fixation.
Yeah, I guess I'm just used to not being able to ostracize people for their terrible beliefs, right. That's the part that seems normal.
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Re: Whither the GOP? (post-Trump edition)

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nicole wrote: 04 Feb 2021, 15:51
Jadagul wrote: 04 Feb 2021, 15:45 You can't ostracize people for believing things that over 30% of the country believes.

(This isn't a moral argument. I'm not saying you shouldn't. You can't.)

Right now they're trying to step on these beliefs hard, before they reach that level of fixation.
Yeah, I guess I'm just used to not being able to ostracize people for their terrible beliefs, right. That's the part that seems normal.
You asked why people are worked up about this one. The answer is that this one is at the critical point where getting worked up about it can accomplish something.

(Also, I don't think most people's beliefs in god are especially harmful, but that leads into a bunch of other disputes that are at least partially beside the point.)
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Re: Whither the GOP? (post-Trump edition)

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At the very least, the overwhelming majority of people who believe in an afterlife are in no hurry to get there.
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Re: Whither the GOP? (post-Trump edition)

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D.A. Ridgely wrote: 04 Feb 2021, 16:52 At the very least, the overwhelming majority of people who believe in an afterlife are in no hurry to get there.
I have no problems if someone believes in the afterlife. I'm only bothered by the ones whose belief prompts them to 'send me on' for not believing.
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Re: Whither the GOP? (post-Trump edition)

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Belief in god/religion in general is one of those things that technically sound like a form of mental illness or disorder ... except it can't be a "disorder" if it's practically universal to our species. Like our tendency to "see faces" even where they don't exist -- any variant of "two spots above a line" makes us think "Huh, looks like two eyes and a mouth," even though it really doesn't. (Nor does the man in the moon really look like an actual human face.) We also have a tendency to form deep emotional attachments which Mr. Spock would sneer at for being illogical and irrational, except again, for our species it's perfectly normal -- we'll even form emotional attachments to characters whom we know are 100-percent fictional (e.g. "I was horrified when Joffrey executed Ned Stark, and I really hope Ned's daughters Arya and Sansa escape to safety.")
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Re: Whither the GOP? (post-Trump edition)

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Here's why religion is not like schizophrenia (and neither is Qanon):

Most religious people are able to get up on Sunday morning, dress nicely, and interact comfortably with the people in church. Untreated schizophrenics are not able to live orderly lives, for the most part. They are more fearful in their interactions. They don't connect the same way. They don't function very well. They withdraw.

Schizophrenia has two types of symptoms, with the misleading names "positive symptoms" and "negative symptoms." The names don't mean "good" and "bad", they mean "The presence of something abnormal" (positive) and "The absence of something normal" (negative). People tend to focus on the "positive symptoms" (hallucinations, etc.) because they are more colorful and blatant, but it's the negative symptoms (e.g. withdrawal from people) that often do even more damage. Historically researchers have focused on developing meds that can treat the positive symptoms, but the negative symptoms tend to linger (and are arguably exacerbated if the meds are also making you lethargic). The negative symptoms are why even a lot of medicated schizophrenics have to rely on relatives or public assistance.

Religious people can have all sorts of issues. But a church full of well-dressed people who got their families ready and drove nice cars to go socialize with each other is NOT a church full of schizophrenics. Even if they do hear Jesus talking to them in their hearts.

Of course, by those metrics it's not clear that most of the Qanon people are schizophrenic either. The ones who ransacked the Capitol mostly had the money to travel long distances and buy tacticool gear. Yeah, some live in mom's basement, but most don't. They are organized, they hold good jobs, they make their payments on their cars and boats and houses, they can pass as normal with their neighbors. They are many things, but mentally ill is not one of them.
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Re: Whither the GOP? (post-Trump edition)

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Frankly, I'm glad that the vast majority seem to believe in a god / afterlife / morality-reckoning system, becasue the opposite of that is terrifying.

If the vast majority actually took to heart that the universe is utterly careless about our existence, we'd be in the shit.
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Re: Whither the GOP? (post-Trump edition)

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I recall reading of a study showing that, in addition to the obvious "people who KNOW they're being watched behave rather differently than people who think they're alone and unobserved," you also see similar behavioral differences when a pair of obviously fake eyes are "looking at you": they just painted a pair of eyeballs on a wall, and everyone acted differently than did the control group in the "eyeless" room. (I think the subjects in the study were young children.) That trait I mentioned upthread -- the tendency to see faces (and other patterns) where they don't exist -- is called pareidolia, and this trait makes perfect sense in light of our evolutionary history: there were many hungry predators more than happy to prey upon our ancestors, so of course the ability to see them before they see us could help us survive; when it comes to things like "seeing the possible face of a predator lurking in the nearby bushes," there's little cost to a false positive, while a false negative could be deadly. Chances are, if other animals evolved human-level intelligence they'd share some of those traits; I once shared a possible example here:
Jennifer wrote: 19 Jul 2018, 14:24 In the late 1980s, people living in the forests around the India/Bangladesh border were having problems with tiger attacks, until everybody was issued plastic face masks to wear on the backs of their heads. That made the tiger-attack rate drop, because the tigers thought people were looking at them, and thus the tigers couldn't sneak up on their intended prey.
In addition to "seeing things which aren't actually there," well, sometimes when a human does this, it's because their brain is sick or malfunctioning somehow, by the standards of our species. But other times a human does this, it's because that's just how we evolved.

There is another common human trait called apophenia, the tendency to see meaningful connections between unrelated things. Which IMO is arguably another form of pareidolia: the conspiracy theorists see patterns that aren't actually there, to such extremes that (for example) innocuous workplace emails about which type of pizza they should buy become "proof" that everyone in that workplace is part of a secret cult of Satan-worshipping baby-rapists, and President Trump is secretly working to destroy this fiendish hidden cabal.
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Re: Whither the GOP? (post-Trump edition)

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Anyway, the GOP of today has a disproportionate number of people who are at the extreme ends of those spectra, which in retrospect seems inevitable once you consider the sort of voters it's been cultivating ever since the "southern strategy" started a half-century ago now.
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Re: Whither the GOP? (post-Trump edition)

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I ask this in all seriousness. At least some Q followers really do seem to believe Dems run child abuse rings and want to stop it.

What are the chances they will go after allied MAGA when it's proved thst *they* are the ones raping babies? Just how much cognitive dissonance do we estimate people can tolerate?


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Re: Whither the GOP? (post-Trump edition)

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Jasper wrote: 05 Feb 2021, 14:09 Frankly, I'm glad that the vast majority seem to believe in a god / afterlife / morality-reckoning system, becasue the opposite of that is terrifying.

If the vast majority actually took to heart that the universe is utterly careless about our existence, we'd be in the shit.
Not if more people stopped having kids and/or killed themselves.
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Re: Whither the GOP? (post-Trump edition)

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lshap wrote: 08 Feb 2021, 09:47 I ask this in all seriousness. At least some Q followers really do seem to believe Dems run child abuse rings and want to stop it.

What are the chances they will go after allied MAGA when it's proved thst *they* are the ones raping babies? Just how much cognitive dissonance do we estimate people can tolerate?


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https://meaww.com/former-donald-trump-a ... washington
They do what they can to other them, say they weren't actually on the team, and eventually, if necessary, will mentally excommunicate them based on whatever things they can think of. People in general are really good at that: "Democrats are the pedophiles. That guy is a pedophile, so he must REALLY be a Democrat". "Republicans hate black people. That guy is black and says he's a Republican, therefore, he must hate black people, even though he's black."
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Re: Whither the GOP? (post-Trump edition)

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nicole wrote: 08 Feb 2021, 10:28
Jasper wrote: 05 Feb 2021, 14:09 Frankly, I'm glad that the vast majority seem to believe in a god / afterlife / morality-reckoning system, becasue the opposite of that is terrifying.

If the vast majority actually took to heart that the universe is utterly careless about our existence, we'd be in the shit.
Not if more people stopped having kids and/or killed themselves.
I was about to reply angrily then realized it was you. You're consistent. carry on
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Re: Whither the GOP? (post-Trump edition)

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Highway wrote: 08 Feb 2021, 12:33
They do what they can to other them, say they weren't actually on the team, and eventually, if necessary, will mentally excommunicate them based on whatever things they can think of. People in general are really good at that: "Democrats are the pedophiles. That guy is a pedophile, so he must REALLY be a Democrat". "Republicans hate black people. That guy is black and says he's a Republican, therefore, he must hate black people, even though he's black."
Ugh. You're right, of course. They won't let facts challenge their assumptions. It's so difficult to watch.
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Re: Whither the GOP? (post-Trump edition)

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lshap wrote: 08 Feb 2021, 15:42
Highway wrote: 08 Feb 2021, 12:33
They do what they can to other them, say they weren't actually on the team, and eventually, if necessary, will mentally excommunicate them based on whatever things they can think of. People in general are really good at that: "Democrats are the pedophiles. That guy is a pedophile, so he must REALLY be a Democrat". "Republicans hate black people. That guy is black and says he's a Republican, therefore, he must hate black people, even though he's black."
Ugh. You're right, of course. They won't let facts challenge their assumptions. It's so difficult to watch.
Will Wilkinson just posted an essay about this phenomenon, at least from the conservative side:
At the end of all these intellectual and emotional gymnastics is relief. Really, there’s nothing to not be proud of. Because if American history makes you feel bad, it’s a lie. If the places where most Americans live are terrible it doesn’t count because those aren’t real American places that count. If there’s anything about our country that is seriously and undeniably bad, it’s because disloyal fake Americans are preventing us from being the greatest country on Earth by scandalously denying that we are.
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Re: Whither the GOP? (post-Trump edition)

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This takes us right back to the religion discussion. Seems to be a similar faith-based process of thinking, whose purpose is to provide comfort when life is too difficult.
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Re: Whither the GOP? (post-Trump edition)

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For a minute there I wasn't sure whether I should take Wilkinson seriously, but then he dunked on the South Park guys so I knew he was legit.
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Re: Whither the GOP? (post-Trump edition)

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Willkinson has some interesting observations, but I also think he projects a bit too much onto those who criticize the woke left. I don't know if his reading of Bari Weiss is valid (you can ask her if he is reading her mind correctly) but he seems to be talking about a wider swath of people, not all of them on the right. The broader camp of wokeness critics includes anti-woke moderates, anti-woke moderates, and anti-woke-not-really-left-right-types (e.g. some of us squishy sort-of-libertarian types), and he seems to be going after the whole camp.

For myself, I don't mind criticisms of American history, and even a lot of criticisms of American present are fine.

Here are the buts:

1) But when people start to say that American society is especially bad even by present standards, I am less interested in defending America's honor than in asking whether that "especially" is accurate in its implications about the rest of the world. If America is "especially" racist or "especially" sexist then I want to ask "Compared to whom?" and "By what measure?" This matters if we are discussing what lessons we might learn from other societies.

I'll freely grant that US social policies are not as feminist as Northern Europe. I'm not sure if people I know from the rest of Europe would characterize their societies as way less sexist in general than the US. Better in some ways, but "especially" implies not just something bad about us but something particularly good in the rest of the modern, liberal, democratic, and wealthy world. And that's worth asking about. Because they turn out to have all sorts of gaps in professions and whatnot. And by many social measures, e.g. education, American women do pretty well compared to American men.

Likewise with racism. I grant that, unlike many similarly wealthy and more-or-less-liberal democracies, most don't have a large and longstanding racial minority community that is far worse off. We have that. But then you look at their treatment of immigrants and other outsiders, and, well, we don't have a monopoly on xenophobia.

Tell me we need to improve because sexism and racism are bad and I agree. Tell me that we're especially bad compared to peers and I think you're making a debatable claim about peers. It's not just about whether they deserve laurels, but about where we should or shouldn't be looking for lessons.

2) With some of these invocations of history, my question is "Yes. What do we do now?" And that takes us to debatable matters of social policy in the present. That takes us to hard questions about education systems, safety nets, what is or isn't a fair way to try to equalize opportunity, personal responsibility etc. etc. But I always get the impression that after listening to these invocations of history I'm not just supposed to agree "Yep, those guys were assholes!", but also support some particular policy in the present.

3) OK, I'll speak up for a few heroes, because I think a few things are still worth respecting, ESPECIALLY after 1/6/2021. I'm not going to pull the "They were men of their time" card. Most men in most times are unremarkable, and all are flawed. (I dare not say that women of any time are flawed, lest I bee sexist in that especially American way.) I'm just going to defend a few heroes on grounds that apply in any time.

Washington was a general who led a revolt, overthrew a government, established a new one that he was in charge of, and then handed aside power voluntarily. That isn't just remarkable for "a man of his time." That's remarkable in any time. Ancient and modern history are replete with stories of guys who lead a revolt, wind up in charge, and then don't leave. Washington actually left. It's so remarkable, so important, that I can forgive pretty much anything else. Because if a guy could do a bunch of other fucked up shit but still do something as remarkable as hand over power, then maybe there's hope that flawed humans can manage to have liberal societies.

Adams? Adams lost an election to a bitter foe and stepped down without trying to fight it. OK, that was pretty unremarkable for most of US history, but that's because he set the precedent. He was at the helm during a test that young democracies don't always pass, whether in the present or past. That's some important stuff. And Jefferson? Jefferson was not the guy who handed over power, but he's the guy who managed to not fuck things up during the transfer. That has to count. Young democracies are fragile things. (Ditto old democracies, as we learned on January 6, 2021.)

There are a few things worth treasuring in the past. They are worth critiquing even as we respect them, but we'd better appreciate the ability of the good to coexist with the bad, because that's the only way good has ever been able to exist.
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Re: Whither the GOP? (post-Trump edition)

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Snowball be snowballin
In California, more than 33,000 registered Republicans left the party during the three weeks after the Washington riot. In Pennsylvania, more than 12,000 voters left the G.O.P. in the past month, and more than 10,000 Republicans changed their registration in Arizona.

An analysis of January voting records by The New York Times found that nearly 140,000 Republicans had quit the party in 25 states that had readily available data (19 states do not have registration by party). Voting experts said the data indicated a stronger-than-usual flight from a political party after a presidential election, as well as the potential start of a damaging period for G.O.P. registrations as voters recoil from the Capitol violence and its fallout.
The biggest spikes in Republicans leaving the party came in the days after Jan. 6, especially in California, where there were 1,020 Republican changes on Jan. 5 — and then 3,243 on Jan. 7. In Arizona, there were 233 Republican changes in the first five days of January, and 3,317 in the next week. Most of the Republicans in these states and others switched to unaffiliated status.
“Since this is such a highly unusual activity, it probably is indicative of a larger undercurrent that’s happening, where there are other people who are likewise thinking that they no longer feel like they’re part of the Republican Party, but they just haven’t contacted election officials to tell them that they might change their party registration,” said Michael P. McDonald, a professor of political science at the University of Florida. “So this is probably a tip of an iceberg.”

But, he cautioned, it could also be the vocal “never Trump” reality simply coming into focus as Republicans finally took the step of changing their registration, even though they hadn’t supported the president and his party since 2016.
In North Carolina, the shift was immediately noticeable. The state experienced a notable surge in Republicans changing their party affiliation: 3,007 in the first week after the riot, 2,850 the next week and 2,120 the week after that. A consistent 650 or so Democrats changed their party affiliation each week.
In Arizona, 10,174 Republicans have changed their party registration since the attack as the state party has shifted ever further to the right, as reflected by its decision to censure three Republicans — Gov. Doug Ducey, former Senator Jeff Flake and Cindy McCain — for various acts deemed disloyal to Mr. Trump. The party continues to raise questions about the 2020 election, and last week Republicans in the State Legislature backed arresting elections officials from Maricopa County for refusing to comply with wide-ranging subpoenas for election equipment and materials.
Though the volume of voters leaving the G.O.P. varied from state to state, nearly every state surveyed showed a noticeable increase. In Colorado, roughly 4,700 Republican voters changed their registration status in the nine days after the riot. In New Hampshire, about 10,000 left the party’s voter rolls in the past month, and in Louisiana around 5,500 did as well.
Among Democrats, 79,000 have left the party since early January.
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Shem
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Re: Whither the GOP? (post-Trump edition)

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But, he cautioned, it could also be the vocal “never Trump” reality simply coming into focus as Republicans finally took the step of changing their registration, even though they hadn’t supported the president and his party since 2016.
Why are so many people convinced this is Never-Trumpers leaving the party? It could just as easily be Dolchstoss Republicans leaving because they took Trump seriously when he said the only way he could lose is if the GOP let it happen.
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Re: Whither the GOP? (post-Trump edition)

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I don't think belief in any proposition is related very much to sincere thoughts that the proposition is true. Not for a great majority of people. It's more like belief in a proposition is an organizing principle for groups of people who can reliably identify the Bad Guys Over There. We call that community, and we pretend like it was different when we were spoon fed the organizing principles, but it's the same thing. We call this same thing identity now that we are all good post modernists, but you look real close and yup there you are projected identities are just tribal markers that help you pin down bad guys. Develop tribal language, make sure the bad guys mess it up all the time. Shift premises and moral stances so that the bad guys will always be making the wrong claims. The mistake is ever thinking anyone is remotely interested in features of the world or truth value. It's better to think about it as musk or pheromones or whatever.
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Re: Whither the GOP? (post-Trump edition)

Post by thoreau »

Shem wrote: 10 Feb 2021, 16:55It could just as easily be Dolchstoss Republicans leaving because they took Trump seriously when he said the only way he could lose is if the GOP let it happen.
I frankly hope that's the case, because the media will treat whoever is left holding the R label as a respectable part of the Two-Party System. In a choice between MAGA and Never-Trump, I know which ones I want to see seated at the Big Kids' Table.
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