Skip to content


2012 September 5
by Ian Welsh

People really, really, really want to be lied to.  And most progressive and liberal pundits are either so brain dead stupid they don’t remember the lies of the 08 convention and how Dems and Obama actually governed or are corrupt.

Evil?  Or Stupid?

A question not just for Republicans any more.

102 Responses
  1. September 16, 2012

    Ian: this reply is very late in coming, because I started over several times. In truth, my desire for blogospheric battle-royales has waned of late. So I’ll keep it short and simple.

    You may know more of these people personally than I do, but you also know that I lived for a significant length of time at the periphery of the culture dish that once spawned the whole phenomenon. And I met no shortage of people who “knew” and were able to condemn the whole (D) establishment 50% of the time, and the other 50% able to look and talk in admiration at their leaders. I don’t doubt that for the big guys it’s become a cynical game, which is often what happens to people who become too big.

    But I don’t think it makes any sense to go all Lambert and wag my finger dramatically at they who have at least achieved some measure of success at the ballot box. If they’re “delusionally self-deceiving” or “lying”, they are merely following the greater mass of American liberals in their conception of what is possible or impossible. If Kos didn’t exist, someone would have invented him. He didn’t steal some sort of giant political movement that would have otherwise been in the keeping of the Real True Left or mislead some otherwise innocent flock.

    And I don’t condemn the bulk of American liberals for their sense of limits. No one will “offer good,” because it’s hard to tell in advance that good would be voted for, especially considering past history. That is because the following is not relevant:

    And opinion polls show, in fact, that most Americans are less evil on a lot of subjects (like universal health care) than their elites. There is a real elite/citizen divide on opinion you seem incapable of acknowledging. If the Chefs won’t offer anything but evil/more evil, and you can only choose those two chefs, you’re kind of fucked.

    What people believe they want, and what they will vote for, are two completely different things. Voting is akin to purchasing a product and is better studied using the techniques of market research. There are many interdependent variables that convert a given voter’s desiderata into their voting intention, a large number of them emotional, and the sort of candidate that I would define as “good”, at least, would make demands of American society that it would not emotionally be able to bear.

    I gave up the election prediction game given my failure the last time around, but I point out that even given Romney’s obvious deficiencies, he retains a nontrivial finite chance of winning, even though it’s patently obvious that whatever deliberate banker-propitiating failures Obama has had, Romney would be worse. Worse, the House and Senate retain a nontrivial chance of staying/becoming (R), which is even scarier considering that this is where the real looneys are.

    So, you seem to think that if “good” were offered, it would have a strong chance of winning or even changing the debate. And I find this very doubtful.

    And, by the way, it’s not a question of condemning the American public. It only requires a minority of Americans, about 25% or perhaps less, to tilt the pinball machine. Then anyone who wants to offer “good” must count on the votes of 2/3rds of the remainder. Offering a consistent programme that wins over a reliable 2/3rds is not easy. That’s why, even if there weren’t a giant conspiracy of silence suppressing the correct policy choices in elite discourse, “good” would still be quite risky. The main weight of moral fault lies upon a slice of American society—which coincidentally is the “bogeyman” group of mainstream liberal organizations, for good reason.

    And yes, some of the blame lies at the feet of the people who designed the American political system, who didn’t anticipate the problems that would arise, and quite possibly would not be on the side of “good” even if they knew.

  2. September 16, 2012

    That was, btw, still shorter and simpler than what I had originally intended to write 🙂

Comments are closed.