Sunday, January 17, 2021

Immature and unreasonable

I think we all know about this phenomenon, but this is a particularly good explanation (and explains why Mitch wouldn't let that $2000 slip from his cold, dead hands, even at the cost of being able to run the Senate; I'll bet he prefers the fun of gumming up the works as Minority Leader):  "GOP’s Familiar, Troubling Plan to Torpedo Biden’s Presidency" (Bartlett):

"One reason Republicans are far more successful than Democrats in implementing their agenda is they have a long-term plan that actually anticipates Democratic victories from time to time; in fact, the occasional Democratic victory is essential to its success. The basic strategy here is called “starve the beast”: it involves big tax cuts when Republicans are in power and hardline deficit reduction when Democrats are in charge. (Occasional Democratic control is actually essential to give Republicans political cover for spending cuts that might otherwise prove politically painful for them.) It worked perfectly during the administrations of Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump, and Republicans are now preparing to keep it going through an almost-inevitable Joe Biden administration."

"Liz Cheney suffers impeachment vote blowback at home: 'Couldn't win a primary today for dog catcher'" (Miller).  Primarying her and Rubio would be good for the party, and the country.

"Signal is a government op" (Levine).  This is undoubtedly true, but Levine is taking quite a bit of abuse for it on Twitter, either from government agents who want to trick people into using it, or from pragmatic types who fear people will be scared away from taking any security steps with this kind of talk, and that Signal is still better than nothing.  The bottom line is that if you have things to say you don't want the government to hear, speak in person or use trusted couriers.  Be like bin Laden.

"Liberalism’s War on the Internet" (Studebaker):
"Liberalism is grounded on the idea that instead of having a state which is committed to one particular moral theory, religion, or worldview, the state will be committed to the “freedom” or “liberty” to create and choose one’s own values. These values are constructed through civil society organizations. There is a plurality of these organizations, offering a menu of different values. Traditionally, they include churches, universities, unions, social clubs, and so on.

The more intelligent liberal theorists recognize that it is possible for these civil society organizations to promote values which are hostile to pluralism, and therefore hostile to freedom as liberalism understands it. Max Weber condemned these organizations and their followers as “immature”, because in his view, they fail to recognize that their freedom to choose their illiberal values itself depends on the freedom which the liberal state secures. Much later, John Rawls called these same people and organizations “unreasonable”.

To deal with this, clever liberal theorists encourage the state to regulate civil society. By policing out organizations which are “immature” or “unreasonable”, liberalism offers a curated discourse, in which citizens are free to choose from among values which all happen to be compatible with the liberal state. The freedom, then, is a freedom to be liberal, to submit to the liberal state, because the liberal state has a monopoly on what counts as “mature” or “reasonable”.

Of course, if we become widely conscious of this, liberalism begins to look totalitarian, and the freedom it promises begins to look illusory. To make curated pluralism credible as genuine pluralism, the state must not be seen to enforce the curation. The curation must appear to be the natural consequence of reasonable, mature arguments winning out over unreasonable, immature arguments. 
This is easily achieved during periods of liberal consensus, when liberalism has managed to create sufficient social stability that there are very few people who attempt to advance illiberal ideas. But when this consensus begins to break down, liberalism must find a way to regain control over civil society. This typically begins in finding a way to purge civil society without being seen to purge it."
Tweet (Glenn Greenwald) (in a set of tweets referring to the issue reflected in this oddity; Hawley is obviously politically terrifying to the Dems, as he seems willing and able to experiment successfully with popular populist positions):
"AOC has since denounced Hawley for his objections to the Electoral College but hasn't shamed those who worked with Hawley.

Relatedly: I can't remember a time when the soft-socialist Left has been more aligned with or loyal to the Democratic Party as now. Very little daylight."
Tweet (Whitney Webb):
""AOC said there is a spectrum of radicalization that ranges from sympathizers to conspiracy theorists, to Neo-Nazis. Such radical ideology could lead to violence and domestic terrorism." 
Just wait until 9/11 truth and Epstein get the same treatment."
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