Patterico's Pontifications

12/21/2015

Poll: Let’s Bomb This Fictional Place!

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:12 am

By now you have probably seen the story that 30% of GOP voters support bombing “Agrabah,” the fictional town from Aladdin. 19% of Democrats agree. 45% of those who support this nonsensical proposition support one particular Republican candidate, and 41% of that candidate’s supporters would bomb the non-existent Arabic-sounding town.

Tribalism calls on me to ignore or dismiss the story. I have seen it widely dismissed on Twitter as a silly question or a hit job on Republicans. (It’s both, but more about this below.) Ilya Somin uses the poll to mount his hobby horse about the rational ignorance of voters — a proposition with which I quite agree. I’ve seen people justify the answers by reference to the assumptions that respondents made, which include an assumption (misguided, of course) that the pollsters were acting in good faith. I’ve seen people try to argue that there are tiny towns in places like Jordan with names that sound a little like Agrabah and maybe the respondents meant that town. In one amusing post I saw a full-throated if satirical defense of bombing Agrabah, a police state run by a ruthless dictator where dangerous magic and tolerance of slavery run rampant.

Very cute. This is what you do when tribalism calls. Either you pretend the story didn’t happen, or you go into spin mode.

But I can’t bow to the call of tribalism. I can’t ignore the story. And so, I feel compelled to write this post — a post that I assume will annoy many of you. So be it. I don’t blog to pander.

Let me start by saying that the question is obviously one-sided and designed as a hit on Republicans. You could ask any number of silly questions designed to embarrass Democrats by exploiting their own silly prejudices. For example, you could ask whether we should welcome Daleks as refugees, and I guarantee you that a plurality of Democrats would support welcoming within our borders this Nazi-like group of mutants from Doctor Who, bent on exterminating inferior races. If I were rich, I would commission a poll to ask this very question.

Clearly, Agrabah sounds vaguely Arabic, and people are aware that many people from Arabic countries have been posing a threat. If you’re making a guess, it’s not totally out of the blue to guess the way these respondents did.

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s confront the reality that many on the right don’t want to talk about. Typically, we know that bombing enemies involves killing people. I know of no bombing campaign in war where we have bombed cities and killed nobody. This means that there is a large group of Americans out there who are in favor of killing people about whom they, provably, know absolutely nothing.

I recently posted some thoughts about Hugh Hewitt’s insisting to Ben Carson that it is a qualification to be President of the United States that one be willing to kill thousands of innocent children. In the same debate, candidates discussed an insane plan by one of the candidates to target terrorists’ families — not because they thought they were terrorists, but as a way to influence the terrorists by targeting their families.

Our country has the most mighty military in the world, and our citizens apparently like to see it used. I don’t think there has been a decade in our history where we haven’t been at war in some sense. And this poll shows that likely millions of Americans can be talked into supporting the killing of people when they cannot possibly have a legitimate grievance against those people, because they don’t exist.

This, in my view, is murderous and barbaric. We have become so callous that we live in a country where millions agree to killing people for absolutely no reason that they can articulate or defend.

And then we’ll justify such attitudes with a heaping helping of “this is war.”

War is sometimes necessary. For example, in my view, World War II and Afghanistan were justified. In both cases, we were well and truly attacked and had to do something in self-defense.

But I think poll responses like this should cause everyone to think twice about casual support for killing people. Increasingly, however, we support killing people for all sorts of other reasons that really aren’t our business. And all this nonsense is supported by an electorate so ignorant that huge chunks of that electorate — representing millions of people — will support bombing literally anyone, including made-up places.

So, for all the annoying features of this poll, I think it teaches something sobering and distressing.

I fully expect 95% of you to disagree, and I expect a lot of invective to come my way. So be it. Where’s the fun if I’m only saying things you agree with all the time?

And if I get just one person to second-guess our bloodthirsty foreign policy . . . well, then, we’ll still be screwed, because one person is nothing compared to the ignorant mass of millions who will outvote you.

But it would still be nice. Unexpected, to be sure. But nice.

UPDATE: There is a real Agraba: a suburb of Damascus. Thanks to JP for the pointer. Take that, Guardian! Take that, PPP! Ya smug bastidges!

Chances any of the poll respondents had that actual location in mind? Zero. The argument of the post remains untouched. But it’s still a nice comeuppance for the smug set.

313 Responses to “Poll: Let’s Bomb This Fictional Place!”

  1. By the way, the candidate mentioned in paragraph one, whose supporters were the most adamant about bombing these non-existent people? Donald Trump, you’ll be shocked to learn.

    In other words, his supporters are the most ignorant and bloodthirsty of the whole lot, according to this poll.

    Which is quite a shock, isn’t it?

    P.S. Dana, can I get a ruling? This post still isn’t “about” Donald Trump, right? I really think it’s not.

    Patterico (2e1e5e)

  2. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!! BOMB PEOPLE YOU NEVER HEARD OF!!!!

    Patterico (2e1e5e)

  3. — What’s the difference between an Al Qaeda encampment and an Afghan wedding?
    — I just fly the drone, man.

    nk (dbc370)

  4. It would make sense that the folks who aggravate many of us would live in a place like that if it really existed and hadn’t already been leveled in the mind’s eye.

    Colonel Haiku (d14968)

  5. When I walk my dog, we often pass other people who are walking dogs. Usually I cross the street so there is no direct encounter. Still, I notice a fairly consistent pattern in how the dogs behave when we get near each other.

    If the other dog is bigger, my dog will growl, strain at the leash, and attempt to go after the other dog — which will mostly ignore my dog.

    If the other dog is smaller, the other dog will do the growling and straining at the leash. My dog will just look at him.

    From this I have concluded that being the smaller dog means you have to go around showing how tough you are, so other bigger dogs don’t attack you.

    But if you’re the big dog, you can just live your life. If some little dog comes after you, you can generally bat him away without too much trouble.

    If some dog really, really comes after you, then even the big dog has to fight. And if he’s the big dog, he’ll fight and win. But only then.

    I have NO PROBLEM with being the big dog. I WANT America to be the big dog.

    But if a big dog that goes around looking for fights, instead of just being big enough to avoid them? That dog eventually gets shot.

    Patterico (2e1e5e)

  6. It would make sense that the folks who aggravate many of us would live in a place like that if it really existed and hadn’t already been leveled in the mind’s eye.

    I’m not sure I follow.

    Patterico (2e1e5e)

  7. It’s the general concept that’s important, not details such as whether it actually exists.

    Gerald A (5dca03)

  8. it will be a few centuries before the peaceful people of Skaros, threaten us, or thirty years ago, they have retconned the series, so many times,

    this is PPP who once put a crank poll about charlie sheen, on a serious note, the Brits went into Egypt in 1882, after having deposed that Afghan warmonger Disraeli, to collect a debt owed by the
    descendant of the Ali clan, they stayed forty years formally, this mandate spread into the Sudan after they defeated the Mahdi’s forces at Omdurman,

    narciso (732bc0)

  9. I’m a little disappointed this didn’t contain a poll asking us which fictional place we would most like to bomb. It would totally be Narnia for me…. the place is so damn cloying.

    Rich Horton (0ca444)

  10. It’s the general concept that’s important, not details such as whether it actually exists.

    It says something about the nature of this discussion that I can’t tell whether you’re being serious or satirical.

    I think satirical? I think?

    Patterico (2e1e5e)

  11. You’re good, P. His name wasn’t mentioned in the post.

    When I first read about the big support for bombing “Agrabah,” I thought, great, yet another scathing indictment of public education in America.

    But…it’s not difficult to understand people’s support for bombing the mystical Agrabah given their overall frustration with the president’s wishy-washy tactics with regard to ISIS, Iran and the general threats they pose to the homeland. When you have a president blaming cable television for the heightened anxiety about terrorism – right after a terrorist attack on American soil – you’re going to get more of a knee-jerk, defensive reaction from the same people already frightened by, not just the terrorist attack, but also by the now painfully obvious lack of clarity and concern by their leader.

    There are two camps: We Must Do Something Now! vs. It’s Not Our Fight! The question to me, is what is each camp’s tipping point to action and what sort of action?

    Dana (86e864)

  12. as a poster on their own site, not alGhuardian points out, wonder why,

    30% of GOP supporters support bombing a fictional country, and 13% opposed, meaning 43% of GOP supporters were duped by this question. However 36% of Democrats opposed bombing a fictional country, and 19% supported it, meaning 55% of these people didn’t know they were being duped.

    narciso (732bc0)

  13. You’re good, P. His name wasn’t mentioned in the post.

    Woo-hoo!

    Patterico (2e1e5e)

  14. Level the place before it exists. The Ultimate Preemptive Strike!

    Colonel Haiku (d14968)

  15. If we had a military that had won a war in the last 75 years*, we might feel differently about blowing people up indiscriminately at long range.

    *Yes, please tell me all about Grenada.

    nk (dbc370)

  16. Sorry, 70 years.

    nk (dbc370)

  17. in a similar light, you have George Takei comparing Trump to Earl Warren, but he leaves out the Great White father figure, who had a loathing for Japanese immigration, going back to the 20s,
    who actually imposed the internment, against the advice of J Edgar Hoover, our Fouche,

    narciso (732bc0)

  18. Keep in mind that ‘don’t know’ actually won the poll about bombing Agrabah. 56% of actual respondents didn’t go for it.

    Second, there’s no way of knowing if or how many Trump supporters were in on the gag and did it as a joke, given the intentionally poor question design which encourages people not to be serious.

    Finally, when you cut the numbers on the poll down like this – at a guess 30% of the 44% of people who answered were Trump supporters based on current polls – they dont mean anything any more because you have too few people.

    A waste of time on a puff piece.

    luagha (6a4945)

  19. In 1993, the NYT contacted a bunch of freshmen House Representatives and asked their position ethnic cleansing on Freedonia (see “Duck Soup”). Apparently few recognized the reference and gave an opinion (maybe thinking it was Bosnia). Ignorance occurs.

    roy in nipomo (b9cb8e)

  20. Agrabah! Humbug!

    Colonel Haiku (d14968)

  21. If you polled voters on the question of “Should we adopt the social welfare policies that are provided to the citizens of Ølsborg-Taasbæk [a fictional Danish town]” what do you want to bet that a plurality (if not majority) of Democrats would vote in the affirmative, and that a strong majority of Sanders voters would figure that if it sounds like a town in Denmark then it must have a great social welfare system? But we wouldn’t embarrass good progressives in that manner, would we?

    Besides, we already have the Yale kids agreeing that the First Amendment should be scrapped.

    JVW (30a532)

  22. what’s somewhat amusing is they didn’t use Baghdad in the remake, just like Charles McCarry used Hagreb, as a standin for Saudi Arabia, for his Christopher tale, better angels,

    narciso (732bc0)

  23. If you polled voters on the question of “Should we adopt the social welfare policies that are provided to the citizens of Ølsborg-Taasbæk [a fictional Danish town]” what do you want to bet that a plurality (if not majority) of Democrats would vote in the affirmative, and that a strong majority of Sanders voters would figure that if it sounds like a town in Denmark then it must have a great social welfare system? But we wouldn’t embarrass good progressives in that manner, would we?

    That’s exactly correct. I made a similar point in the post. And no, they never, ever do that.

    Patterico (2e1e5e)

  24. Dear Patterico. First, this is YOUR blog. Your comments section.

    When folks get all angry with one another and call each other names, I generally don’t like that. Some people do. Others don’t care. The only person whose opinion matters here is you.

    So write whatever you like.

    I do think you make an interesting point. The problem with technological warfare is that we are well removed from it , and the direct consequences. Serious lack of ownership. And drone/cruise missile warfare is much like a video game, as nk points out.

    So like the frog in the cook pot, we don’t notice the gradual changes in our psyche. This is much larger than war, of course.

    War should be awful and bloody, not antiseptic and far removed. I’m with you there.

    I do thinkt that this Agrabah business is part of meme-warfare, designed to label the Right as “stupid.” I went after some friends on Facebook about this. If you don’t like folks making fun of you, don’t make fun of others. It’s simple.

    I don’t like the MSM-fueled labeling. Look at the Yalies who are willing to get rid of the First Amendment:

    https://www.rt.com/usa/326543-prankster-petition-yale-contitution/

    But here is the interesting thing: turn it around. Same Yalies. Tell them that we need to restrict the right of Muslims to say anti-Semitic things, because it makes Jews feel unsafe.

    These very same people would be fighting for the First Amendment.

    So it is all Narrative, and meme, meme uber alles.

    I think Dennis Prager hit the nail on the head. It’s about how you feel about yourself taking a position these days. Not the factual situation. And certainly not the outcomes.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_rOb_z-yYrU

    And it’s not just the Left doing this.

    Good post, sir.

    Simon Jester (085f53)

  25. Obama has polarized and demoralized us. It’s not surprising that we see the world in terms of us-vs-them. That’s a survival skill.

    DRJ (15874d)

  26. Lyrics
    Hey kid, Raqqa’s rolled
    Raqqa gone, ooh, my soul
    Hey kid, nuke it too, did ya
    Hey shoot, mow ’em all down
    Sand’s all glassed, oasis brown
    Hey kid, Raqqa’s rolled, Raqqa
    And where do we go from here
    Which is the way that’s clear
    Still looking for that Pantload Baghdaddi
    He f*cks those camels like they’re beauty queens
    Turns ’em into sausage like he’s Jimmy Dean
    (James Dean)

    Colonel Haiku (d14968)

  27. I get it. You’ve got a hobby horse that argues Americans have become callous when it comes to using our military to kill people.

    Could be, but I think your examples fall more in the category of “Americans are ignorant of what goes on outside our borders”.

    After all, nine in ten young American adults can’t find Afghanistan on a map. I’m sure a similar number wouldn’t have been able to find Agrabah, even if it existed.

    For all our anger at the current administration, I think most Americans still believe that if the government is going to bomb someplace, they must deserve it.

    Such ignorance about current affairs goes back at least as far as the Civil War when New York city voted against re-electing Abraham Lincoln.

    Chris Christner (994ef7)

  28. The pollsters, to be fair, should also have asked, “Should the United States enter into peace negotiations with Agrabah?” This would have trolled the Democrats in the poll just as the question about bombing Agrabah trolled the Republicans.

    Joshua (9ede0e)

  29. at the beginning of the second front of this long war, lileks noted how some of the locations sounded like something out of Star Wars, Umm Qasr, Basra, and of course the Abbasid capital of Baghdad,

    narciso (732bc0)

  30. when lucas was first tinkering with the notion that would become star wars, he set the first battle in a place called Aquilae, which was supposed to be a standin for Vietnam, there are echoes of this, in Naboo in the prequels, and Endor in the original film,

    narciso (732bc0)

  31. Nice David Essex reference Colonel…

    Gazzer (e9938c)

  32. Hey, Gazzer! One hit wonder!

    Colonel Haiku (d14968)

  33. @Chris Christner:You’ve got a hobby horse that argues Americans have become callous when it comes to using our military to kill people.

    Could be, but I think your examples fall more in the category of “Americans are ignorant of what goes on outside our borders”.

    It’s weird that you think you are disagreeing with Patterico. People who think we should kill people in a place that they literally know nothing about are indeed “callous when it comes to using our military to kill people”.

    For all our anger at the current administration, I think most Americans still believe that if the government is going to bomb someplace, they must deserve it.

    Oh, well if the GOVERNMENT said so than Top Men must have looked into it, so we’ll take their word at face value and agree that people we know nothing of must be killed at great expense. How is that not “callous when it comes to using our military to kill people.”

    Such ignorance about current affairs goes back at least as far as the Civil War when New York city voted against re-electing Abraham Lincoln.

    Why do you think ignorance was involved and not, say, opposition to the war or to conscription or his curtailment of habeas corpus? Lincoln did not appear in public with his halo, that was only retroactively granted to him by later generations.

    Gabriel Hanna (64d4e1)

  34. Yale students call for banning of the 1st Amendment.

    I figure if you’re going to target one group, it’s only fair to give equal time to an equally repulsive act by the leftists.

    NJRob (a07d2e)

  35. People who think we should kill people in a place that they literally know nothing about are indeed “callous when it comes to using our military to kill people”.

    Yes. Isn’t that pretty clear?

    Yes, there is ignorance about everything. There is plenty of ignorance to criticize. But ignorance about killing people combined with a willingness to kill people anyway seems . . . pretty bad. Is this a controversial statement?

    Nice to be in agreement with Gabriel Hanna.

    Patterico (2e1e5e)

  36. You could ask any number of silly questions designed to embarrass Democrats by exploiting their own silly prejudices.

    –Not sure if this is an exploitation of Democratic prejudices or just another form of tribalism:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20LmZoM4LFc

    JP (ed49ce)

  37. where does this war, end, it seems on their side of the ledger, it’s rome, paris, london and of course the states,

    narciso (732bc0)

  38. Have you read any of those interviews of Harvard students ?
    The Yalies are no worse.

    Somebody a few years ago interviewed Harvard freshmen and seniors. The freshmen had more knowledge of history and general knowledge.

    Ban dihydrogen monoxide !

    Mike K (90dfdc)

  39. it can kill ya mike, in large doses, when ingested,

    narciso (732bc0)

  40. The mythical Agrabah is a metaphorical counterbalance to “hope and change”, “reset”, and the “arab spring”. The difference is that the latter myths have resulted in millions of real deaths.

    It would be nice if we could spend some time thinking about policies and actions that would result in strategic victories. Our problem today is that all the examples we have post-WWII of military actions (excepting Panama and Grenada) were guided by policies aimed at attrition, ameliorated by high kill ratios. Or so our elites vainly hoped. There was no consideration of what would constitute a “win”, other than preventing a “loss”.

    BobStewartatHome (a52abe)

  41. Narciso, it’s a lot more deadly when inhaled.

    BobStewartatHome (a52abe)

  42. People who think we should kill people in a place that they literally know nothing about are indeed “callous when it comes to using our military to kill people”.

    Please tell me exactly how much one should “literally know” about another before the killing begins. Better yet, present me with an example where it has been done before and by whom.

    Trick questions are just that, a trick. They are just another form of reductio ad absurdum.

    Must everyone in the U.S. be introduced to Tojo before we attacked Guam? Did everybody know where Guam was? My father told the story about how on Dec. 7, 1941 he went to pick up my (soon-to-be) mother and told my grampa “Hey, the Japs bombed Pearl Harbor”. My gramps replied ” As long as the bastards don’t bomb us, who cares?” By us he meant America. Until that day he and millions of other Americans had never hear of Pearl Harbor.

    Rev. Barack Hussein Hoagie™ (f4eb27)

  43. well i’m covering all bases, it’s just slightly less insane, than the air we breath out, is a pollutant, which feeds the skydragon,

    narciso (732bc0)

  44. Please tell me exactly how much one should “literally know” about another before the killing begins.

    More than literally nothing.

    Patterico (2e1e5e)

  45. Awright, hand in your Mindlessly Patriotic Right-Winger card!
    Oh, wait. You did that long ago, assuming you ever had such a card in the first place.
    This post may run contrary to the stereotype of right-leaning bloggers, but it’s quite consistent with the sort of sane reflections I’ve seen here over the years.

    Eric Wilner (3936fd)

  46. @Rev’m:Please tell me exactly how much one should “literally know” about another before the killing begins. Better yet, present me with an example where it has been done before and by whom.

    Well, WWII is always the “good war” (which I disagree with), and you used it, so let’s use that one.

    Were Germany, Italy, and Japan real places? Yes.

    Had pretty much everyone in the world known what they had been up to in the last 10 years? Yes.

    Weren’t they at war with us, regardless, after Pearl Harbor, since Japan and Germany immediately formally notified us that they were?

    So does it matter that much that your grandpa didn’t know every Pacific Island, or consider Hawaii to be part of America (as it wasn’t even a state)?

    And why is it that you think that being willing to go to war with less-than-totally-perfect-knowledge is no better than willingness to go to war with no knowledge at all? Why can’t we explore some of the area of “reasonably well informed regarding broad details such as ACTUAL EXISTENCE?”

    Gabriel Hanna (64d4e1)

  47. @Gabriel Hanna: It’s weird that you think you are disagreeing with Patterico. People who think we should kill people in a place that they literally know nothing about are indeed “callous when it comes to using our military to kill people”.

    My understanding is that he thinks our callousness is a new thing; I think it’s an insularity that stems from our residing in a gigantic country that has oceans protecting it and comparatively weak neighbors. We’ve been blessed by not having been invaded for hundreds of years, meanwhile we’ve been winning wars continually since our founding (81 wins, 3 losses, 1 tie), all of which makes us ignorant and complacent.

    Oh, well if the GOVERNMENT said so than Top Men must have looked into it, so we’ll take their word at face value and agree that people we know nothing of must be killed at great expense. How is that not “callous when it comes to using our military to kill people.”

    In your rush to sarcasm, you fail to address my main point: Americans don’t even know where Afghanistan is, and we’ve been fighting there for more than a decade.

    Most of us trust our government to handle things when it comes to using force. I don’t think it’s callousness because Americans are generally a compassionate lot. But we do treasure our ignorance when it comes to dealing with foreign places.

    Chris Christner (994ef7)

  48. Admission against interest, but fair, I haven’t taken the time to read all of the comments.
    nothing I am about to say is to be rendered an argument with the host.

    A few quick things.
    A lot of people don’t think much about anything, what happens to other people on the other side of the world is one of the things they don’t think seriously about.
    For that matter, most people don’t think seriously about what happens in Chicago every weekend.

    But more specific to the topic,
    a lot of people realize that the current state of defending our country is a cruel and unfunny joke. Some of those people are going to get fed up and frustrated enough that they will indeed overreact, if nothing more than to answer a poll question with blind aggression.

    Many of us here in these United States do a lousy job of caring for the people who share the living space under one roof. I would like to see that taken seriously before the results of some trick question.

    Now, when you tell me that 20-30% of elected officials or military personal think such place should be bombed, then I’ll worry more about it.

    30% of GOP supporters support bombing a fictional country, and 13% opposed, meaning 43% of GOP supporters were duped by this question. However 36% of Democrats opposed bombing a fictional country, and 19% supported it, meaning 55% of these people didn’t know they were being duped.
    narciso (732bc0) — 12/21/2015 @ 8:48 am
    facts in context are helpful.

    MD in Philly (not in Philly at the moment) (deca84)

  49. @Chris Christner:I don’t think it’s callousness because Americans are generally a compassionate lot. But we do treasure our ignorance when it comes to dealing with foreign places.

    ignorance + willingness to kill = compassion?

    Weirder and weirder. You don’t even see the contradiction.

    Gabriel Hanna (64d4e1)

  50. @ Gabriel Hanna: ignorance + willingness to kill = compassion?

    Weirder and weirder. You don’t even see the contradiction.

    There is no contradiction except by taking what I said out of context.

    Let’s take this step by step:

    1 Do you think we’re a compassionate people?

    2 Do you think we’re generally ignorant about foreign affairs?

    We’ll go with that for starters.

    Chris Christner (994ef7)

  51. What would it take for commenters to say okay, now it’s time to intervene with regard to ISIS? The president believes we shouldn’t intervene with boots on the ground until they attack us and our government is interrupted from functioning as a result. What’s your threshold?

    Dana (86e864)

  52. note how Al Ghuardian drops out the context,

    narciso (732bc0)

  53. Chris,

    But we do treasure our ignorance when it comes to dealing with foreign places

    We also treasure our ignorance of the Constitution, of American- and world history, science, mathematics, economics, our cultural and legal heritage, and engineering. Instead, we glory in our victimhood, sports performed by others, and our reliance on others to provide services and funds to preserve our lives. Too many of us are little more than passive observers.

    This seems to be contrary to nature. We enjoy watching swallows that raise their broods in bird houses on our property. The instinctive (?) compulsion of these tiny creatures to prepare the house and then raise their offspring is inspiring. For two months out of the year they do nothing else, and they do it with extreme dedication and they are usually 100% successful. In contrast, a substantial proportion of our children are raised with much less care and attention. Indeed, too many parents have handed off the responsibility for their children to the schools (breakfast and lunch) and the county healthcare facility (free vaccinations and birth control for pre-teens.) These “parents” are incapable of and have no interest in providing an environment where self discipline and proper behavior are encouraged, let alone encouraging higher order activities like reading and talking. This is a recent phenomena, dating back to the “War on Poverty”.

    BobStewartatHome (a52abe)

  54. @Chris:Let’s take this step by step:

    1 Do you think we’re a compassionate people?

    Compassionate is as compassionate does, and your mileage may vary. I know of no operational definition we could use to evaluate compassion, even if I did I have no data on how compassionate we are compared to other peoples, nor if we are compassionate across the board or only in some ways, or even if “compassion” can be compartmentalized that way. Until we all have agreed on what we are talking about “compassionate people” is just verbiage.

    2 Do you think we’re generally ignorant about foreign affairs?

    Not really in dispute, I think.

    Willingness to kill people we are completely ignorant of, even as to their existence, is pretty much the definition of callousness:

    insensitive; indifferent; unsympathetic:
    They have a callous attitude toward the sufferings of others.

    We are not even willing to do any sort finding anything out first before we give our blessing to killing strangers? On the basis that it sounds like a vaguely Middle-Easternish place?

    And here is an operational definition: when asked to approve the killing of people somewhere, a significant fraction did so even though they could not have possibly known anything about those people, since those people don’t exist. That fits the dictionary definition well and is operationally based, since those people answered “yes” to the poll question.

    I’m astonished by the attitude, for one, and also that you will seriously argue it is rooted in our “compassion”.

    Gabriel Hanna (64d4e1)

  55. In one way, with the current CIC, I would not want a child of mine deployed anywhere for any reason.

    That said, I think we have an obligation and a national security interest in seeing some order come out of the chaos there. I would start by helping the Kurds, the Jordanians and others administer safe zones, especially for women, children, and the old.

    I would be inclined to tell the males of fighting age to choose whose army they will sign up with.

    But since the Syrians are divided and the Turks will object to our helping the Kurds, IDK.

    I do think people in the chain of military command should demand the CIC stop token efforts or quit.

    None of this piddling excuse for an air campaign just as a photo op for the CIC and putting people at risk,

    at least with what little I know, that’s what I think.

    MD in Philly (not in Philly at the moment) (deca84)

  56. @Dana:What would it take for commenters to say okay, now it’s time to intervene with regard to ISIS? The president believes we shouldn’t intervene with boots on the ground until they attack us and our government is interrupted from functioning as a result. What’s your threshold?

    You’re trying to shift the ground. It’s not about what we ought to do about ISIS. It’s the fact that people who literally know nothing about other people being okay with our government killing them.

    ISIS is actually real. Reasonable people can draw the line at different places about what we ought to do, if anything about them, and argue about facts and what weight to give facts.

    Reasonable people cannot agree about the reasonableness of approving the killing of people that we have no facts about whatever. That is unreasonable and evil. A significant percentage of Americans have told a pollster that they are evil people who just don’t care who we kill. They didn’t know that they were saying it but they were.

    Gabriel Hanna (64d4e1)

  57. 30% of GOP supporters support bombing a fictional country, and 13% opposed, meaning 43% of GOP supporters were duped by this question. However 36% of Democrats opposed bombing a fictional country, and 19% supported it, meaning 55% of these people didn’t know they were being duped.
    narciso (732bc0) — 12/21/2015 @ 8:48 am
    facts in context are helpful.

    The point of this post is not to say Republicans are stupider. In fact I go out of my way to say they could have duped Democrats with similar questions aimed at their knee-jerk areas. The point is that far too many give too little care to the issue of whether to go to war with other people and kill them.

    Patterico (2e1e5e)

  58. Bob,

    We also treasure our ignorance of the Constitution, of American- and world history, science, mathematics, economics, our cultural and legal heritage, and engineering. Instead, we glory in our victimhood, sports performed by others, and our reliance on others to provide services and funds to preserve our lives. Too many of us are little more than passive observers.

    This seems to be contrary to nature. We enjoy watching swallows that raise their broods in bird houses on our property. The instinctive (?) compulsion of these tiny creatures to prepare the house and then raise their offspring is inspiring. For two months out of the year they do nothing else, and they do it with extreme dedication and they are usually 100% successful. In contrast, a substantial proportion of our children are raised with much less care and attention. Indeed, too many parents have handed off the responsibility for their children to the schools (breakfast and lunch) and the county healthcare facility (free vaccinations and birth control for pre-teens.) These “parents” are incapable of and have no interest in providing an environment where self discipline and proper behavior are encouraged, let alone encouraging higher order activities like reading and talking. This is a recent phenomena, dating back to the “War on Poverty”.

    There’s an aphorism I came up with some time ago after watching humanity: “Humans aren’t at their best in good times.”

    American live wealthier and more secure lives than humans have enjoyed for most of history. As a result, we’ve become undisciplined and sloppy.

    Bad times are coming however, so we’ll shape up.

    Chris Christner (994ef7)

  59. Well, WWII is always the “good war” (which I disagree with), and you used it, so let’s use that one.

    Were Germany, Italy, and Japan real places? Yes.

    Had pretty much everyone in the world known what they had been up to in the last 10 years? Yes.

    Weren’t they at war with us, regardless, after Pearl Harbor, since Japan and Germany immediately formally notified us that they were?

    That’s not the question. Did Americans know the name a of a city in Japan like the fake one proposed as Arab? If they were asked if we “should bomb Shaoguan?” I bet they’d answer “yes”. But Shaoguan is in China. But to them it would sound like an enemy.

    So does it matter that much that your grandpa didn’t know every Pacific Island, or consider Hawaii to be part of America (as it wasn’t even a state)?

    It does not but it was not a trick question meant to fool him or make him appear stupid.

    And why is it that you think that being willing to go to war with less-than-totally-perfect-knowledge is no better than willingness to go to war with no knowledge at all? Why can’t we explore some of the area of “reasonably well informed regarding broad details such as ACTUAL EXISTENCE?”

    Where did I suggest that? And who is going to whip out a map to insure they are “reasonably well informed regarding broad details such as ACTUAL EXISTANCE”? I think the real problem here is the targets were REASONABLY SURE they were being asked a legitimate question by an honest person not a trick question by a person trying to prove an agenda.

    Rev. Barack Hussein Hoagie™ (f4eb27)

  60. I assume there are many things that the appropriate people in the military, intelligence, and govt. that I will never know, that’s why I thought it was crap when people tried to say that the public needed to know what Bush and Rice (Condy) etc., knew.

    If that is true, then whenever our govt makes decisions that result in deaths, I have no choice but to either trust they had a good reason or not,
    which is why one should elect people of character who are trustworthy.

    Sorry for my contribution to this line of discussion which perhaps is more a venting of pet frustrations than anything else.

    I’ll just say, whatever cold-heartedness exists about lives lost on the other side of the world exists about victims of crime here in the US as well, which is why the feds want to be “compassionate” by releasing “non-violent” offenders.

    MD in Philly (not in Philly at the moment) (deca84)

  61. I think the willingness of a reasonable percentage of our population to support killing people in some unknown place, presumably for the purpose of ensuring their own safety (the question was posed in the context of current events,) is probably a pretty good measure of human attitudes everywhere. Which is to say that the same question posed in Afghanistan, say nuking the State of Las Vegas, would garner the same level of support following a drone strike on wedding party.

    So what’s the point? Is this yet another libertarian appeal to Utopia? Are you suggesting that if we would only change the way we are then the world would be full of roses and unicorns?

    How about we take it for granted that humanity is like this, and adjust our behavior accordingly? The willingness to kill unknown others would surely diminish if we had provided more security for U. S. citizens. Indeed, it is the oafish incompetence of the current administration that exacerbates the problem.

    BobStewartatHome (a52abe)

  62. @Rev’m:I think the real problem here is the targets were REASONABLY SURE they were being asked a legitimate question by an honest person not a trick question by a person trying to prove an agenda.

    This doesn’t help your case. It makes everyone who answered “yes” a worse person if we assume this.

    “Hm, I don’t recognize this name. It sounds like a place where there might be enemies. I’m sure this complete stranger whom I don’t know, asking me a question over the phone, wouldn’t be asking me about it if it weren’t a place that might be enemies. Because our government would never consider bombing a place that’s unimportant or harmless. So even though I know I’ve never heard of it and know nothing about it I’m going to say I approve”.

    Gabriel Hanna (64d4e1)

  63. 2 Do you think we’re generally ignorant about foreign affairs?

    Not really in dispute, I think.

    Headline in British newspaper “Fog in Channel; Europe cut off !”

    Not many people know much about other countries. Obama chastised Americans for not speaking another language, then commented that Austrians speak “Austrian” and Afghans speak Arabic.

    I have spent 30 years taking my kids to other countries and some of them speak other languages but I don’t brag about it (Except here).

    Mike K (90dfdc)

  64. @Rev’m:If they were asked if we “should bomb Shaoguan?” I bet they’d answer “yes”. But Shaoguan is in China. But to them it would sound like an enemy.

    If they answered yes and didn’t even know if the place was ally or enemy, then yes they would have been just as bad.

    There is only one ethical answer–“Since I don’t know what you are talking about, I am not going to say I approve the killing of people in this place. If you won’t give me more information, then I am simply not going to give you an answer, or I’ll say I don’t know if you’ll take that as an answer.”

    A lot of people DID answer this way. Anyone who would have answered “yes” could have said this instead and it would cost them nothing. Wouldn’t you have answered this way? I certainly would have.

    Gabriel Hanna (64d4e1)

  65. @Mike K:Not many people know much about other countries.

    And not many people care. This isn’t about America-bashing. It’s about living in a country where 45% of people are perfectly happy approving the killing of people of whom they know nothing.

    It’s a plains ape issue. For all I know in every other country 90% of people would approve. But I don’t live in those places and their governments don’t claim to act in my name, and I’m not eligible to vote their so I have no influence whatever. Maybe Americans are the least callous people in the world, but that doesn’t make those who answered “yes” anything but callous, evil people.

    It’s a very small sort of evil, it’s not like any of them were offered the chance to carry out the bombing.

    I’m just amazed at all the excuses. But that’s plains apes again, support your tribe regardless and interpret any questioning as an attack.

    Gabriel Hanna (64d4e1)

  66. My attention is divided in many directions, so I’ll just say this,

    I’m guessing there are various things going on here that are not the same. As I’ve already said, by almost definition, I expect the government to make decisions about war based on things I will never know, especially if it is about “limited” strikes.

    If that means I’m not compassionate in the eyes of some, so be it.
    Of course there are selfish evil instincts in the hearts of all men and women. If that is what you want to prove, I don’t know why you are bothering, it is self-evident.

    Of course, in the setting where a person is being asked a theoretical question, devoid of any real consequence, why bother thinking the answer is a very serious response at all.
    Take a family member of the person your asking, put a gun to their head, and then tell them to think very carefully about their answer…
    Then you will get people thinking real hard and can base your analysis on something with more certainly.
    of course, I don’t think that should actually be done.

    MD in Philly (not in Philly at the moment) (deca84)

  67. This doesn’t help your case. It makes everyone who answered “yes” a worse person if we assume this.

    I find it odd that the people being lied to, tricked, led and manipulated are the bad guys while the leftist agenda-driven creeps asking the skewed and malicious question tip toe away. So they answered in a way some of you don’t like but they were asked a lie about a place which does not exist in a context to lead them to something else.

    A lot of people DID answer this way. Anyone who would have answered “yes” could have said this instead and it would cost them nothing. Wouldn’t you have answered this way? I certainly would have.

    I don’t know how I would have answered however, I suppose by the way you posed that question if I don’t agree with you I must be some uncaring sloth so yes, yes, Gabriel, I agree. The air is mighty thin up here on this cross.

    Rev. Barack Hussein Hoagie™ (f4eb27)

  68. @MD in Philly:Of course, in the setting where a person is being asked a theoretical question, devoid of any real consequence, why bother thinking the answer is a very serious response at all.

    They had no way to know that they were being asked a theoretical question devoid of any real consequence. The people who answered “yes” were assuming it wasn’t a theoretical question.

    I expect the government to make decisions about war based on things I will never know, especially if it is about “limited” strikes.

    But that’s not the issue. The issue is do you approve? Of course the government is not going to check in with me personally before they bomb people. But if it’s cost-free to withhold my approval, when it is morally correct to withhold approval, it seems to me that’s a kind of bare minimum threshold for morality isn’t it?

    Gabriel Hanna (64d4e1)

  69. @Rev’m:I find it odd that the people being lied to, tricked, led and manipulated are the bad guys

    Well, that’s the plains ape dynamic, there’s bad guys and good guys and there’s teams and there’s a score. Nah, it’s plains apes all over. The line between good and evil runs through every human heart.

    if I don’t agree with you I must be some uncaring sloth

    An uncaring sloth would not bother to spend the time, effort, and money of killing strangers in a a faraway place, or bother to approve. An uncaring sloth would hang up if the question got hard.

    Answering “yes” to the question is an approval of the doing of evil. It is not indifference or apathy. The indifferent ones might say “I don’t know” or hang up or not have answered the phone.

    Gabriel Hanna (64d4e1)

  70. How President Trump would cut this Gordian Knot:

    1) Buy Agrabah
    2) Flip it
    3) Sell it to Crimean property magnates at a tidy profit

    Everyone wins and looks a damn sight classier

    JP (ed49ce)

  71. Gabriel, life must be one disappointment after another. We are such poor weak creatures.

    Your condemnation of the human species is noted, and I’m sure it will be taken into consideration at the appropriate time.

    For the rest of us, perhaps we need to spend more time considering what is required to reduce the level of mayhem given that so many of our brethren are so lacking “compassion” in your eyes. Perhaps we should reconsider the goals and methods of the “War on Poverty” and all the ancillary programs it has spawned. Perhaps we should reconsider our passive foreign policy given that our adversaries are constructed from the same flawed material.

    Or perhaps Chris is right, and we just need to experience life a little closer to edge in order to appreciate what we have.

    BobStewartatHome (a52abe)

  72. @BobStewart@Home: that so many of our brethren are so lacking “compassion” in your eyes.

    I said no such thing.

    perhaps Chris is right, and we just need to experience life a little closer to edge in order to appreciate what we have.

    The connection between appreciating what wee have and approving the killing of people we cannot possibly know anything about, frankly, escapes me, but I am perhaps not an advanced moral philosopher.

    Gabriel Hanna (64d4e1)

  73. I find the premise of this post utterly unreasonable and closed-minded! Obviously, Patterico is not open to considering the upside of bombing fictional towns. Next, he’ll be taking a stand against declaring wear on fictional countries! How unreasonable!

    Personally, I feel we should embrace the concept of bombing fictional places, because, you know, they deserve it. And while we’re at it, blame Canada!

    I’m utterly sick of these nefarious places and people hiding via being fictional. It’s time we did something about it! Load up the bombs, I say, and let those bastards in Agrabah have it!

    :)

    Arizona CJ (dabb2a)

  74. @Arizona CJ:I’m utterly sick of these nefarious places and people hiding via being fictional.

    I’m with you. I’m disgusted with fictional countries hiding behind their non-existence to justify their imaginary crimes.

    Gabriel Hanna (64d4e1)

  75. It’s about living in a country where 45% of people are perfectly happy approving the killing of people of whom they know nothing.

    No, it’s about trust in the government to do things on our behalf that are to keep us safe. How many do you suppose knew where Guadalcanal was in 1942? That battle won the war on the Pacific even more than Midway did. Do you suppose many people knew where Midway was ?

    We are becoming a low trust society and that is a very bad and very expensive thing.

    Mike K (90dfdc)

  76. They had no way to know that they were being asked a theoretical question devoid of any real consequence. The people who answered “yes” were assuming it wasn’t a theoretical question.

    Do you really think that the people answering the question thought that their answer was really going to influence anyone about anything?

    MD in Philly (not in Philly at the moment) (deca84)

  77. #29 –

    The pollsters, to be fair, should also have asked, “Should the United States enter into peace negotiations with Agrabah?” This would have trolled the Democrats in the poll just as the question about bombing Agrabah trolled the Republicans.

    Joshua (9ede0e) — 12/21/2015 @ 9:35 am

    Better question for the Dems- should we surrender to agrabah or just sign on to their uraninum enrichment program.

    joe (debac0)

  78. They had no way to know that they were being asked a theoretical question devoid of any real consequence. The people who answered “yes” were assuming it wasn’t a theoretical question.

    How the hell do you know what “the people who answered ‘yes'” knew? First you claim they didn’t know it was a fake city then you claim they know what “Theoretical” means. So their geography blows but they’re dead on in theory?

    Rev. Barack Hussein Hoagie™ (f4eb27)

  79. joe, the democrats have already proposed a foreign aid package for Agrabah, have instituted a no fly zone and have started campus demonstrations against the American bombing at Columbia, Harvard, Yale and Berkeley.

    Rev. Barack Hussein Hoagie™ (f4eb27)

  80. I agree with Mike K. Americans don’t need to know the details of world affairs or military ROE in order to want our leaders to keep us safe. They are doing a poor job of it so it makes sense that people are more willing to be militaristic. It’s the Jacksonian in us, and I’m glad there are some left.

    DRJ (15874d)

  81. Agrabah is baghdad that’s what it was till 1992, for 900 years.

    narciso (732bc0)

  82. i think we should bomb fictional saudi arabia cause of perverted and filthy

    happyfeet (831175)

  83. So what’s the point? Is this yet another libertarian appeal to Utopia? Are you suggesting that if we would only change the way we are then the world would be full of roses and unicorns?

    There is a large group of Americans out there that is in favor of killing people about whom they probably know absolutely nothing. And that this is a bad thing. I should have said that in the post oh wait I did. And put it in bold.

    Way more fun to ignore that point, which is hard to attack, and then say “what is your point?” and pretend that my point is some ridiculous thing you just made up. God help us if you were to actually grapple with the point I actually made.

    Patterico (7d6be1)

  84. drones and killer robots i know i know

    it’s serious

    happyfeet (831175)

  85. “There is a large group of Americans out there that is in favor of killing people about whom they probably know absolutely nothing. And that this is a bad thing. I should have said that in the post oh wait I did. And put it in bold.”

    – Patterico

    “About whom they know absolutely nothing” overstates it a bit. They know the place sounds like it might have Muslims in it. Why do you think so many Trump supporters were on board with bombing it? I wonder if they would’ve gotten the same bloodthirstiness if they’d asked about bombing the Republic of Morlock.

    (A lot of Trump supporters will be nodding their heads and appreciating me for defending them, a level of obliviousness which only makes them more terrifying.)

    Leviticus (f9a067)

  86. Stay out of milk factories if bill gets back into the white house.

    mg (31009b)

  87. pretend that my point is some ridiculous thing you just made up.

    No, your point is nonsense. Somebody made up a name and asked a bunch of people a silly question.

    Republican primary voters polled by the PPP aren’t just worried about Agrabah. Of those polled, 36% believe that thousands of Arabs in New Jersey cheered when the World Trade Center collapsed on 9/11. About 54% of those polled support banning Muslims from entering the United States and 46% support the creation of a national database of Muslims in the United States.

    PPP is a left wing polling outfit that normally does polling for the DNC and probably has a database of dumb people who call themselves Republicans.

    Why not look at Watters world or any of the other video polls that show how ignorant most young people are. Ask them about the Kardashians and they are right on top of every development.

    This whole thing is a form of right wing value signaling. Left wing value signaling is about the Muslims and how peaceful they are.

    Huffington Post relies on them and they predicted the big Republican disaster at the polls in 2014.

    Oh wait….

    Mike K (90dfdc)

  88. Can’t we get back to the good old days and work to end women’s suffrage and ban DHMO?

    malclave (4ddf38)

  89. work to end women’s suffrage and ban DHMO?

    Yes, repeal the 19th Amendment (The 18th, too) and drink wine.

    Mike K (90dfdc)

  90. Ok,
    You think there are a lot of people who don’t think very deeply even about life and death matters in this country.
    I agree, too many people are content without millions killed by abortion, are happy with “euthanasia” for people who think they are justified in asking someone else to kill them, prefer to play politics rather than deal intelligently with criminal justice issues

    But if you want to ask me what I should think about the military decisions of our government,
    I’ll tell you that I don’t expect to ever know enough to make a decision,
    Ever.
    The best I can do is support and vote for people who I think are of honorable character.

    I guess for some reason this item gets a very visceral response from some,
    The rest of us think, “Yeah, we know many people are idiots, often heartless at that. I didn’t need to read this to know that.”
    That is my observation.

    MD in Philly (not in Philly) (deca84)

  91. There is a large group of Americans out there that is in favor of killing people about whom they probably know absolutely nothing. And that this is a bad thing.

    You scare any group of people long enough, experience events that convince them that their government don’t care and can’t cope, and they respond to a hypothetical suggesting that they would be willing to blow up a group of people who are presumably responsible for their anxiety. You conclude that that is a bad thing.

    My point is that this response is consistent with human behavior as recorded over the last three millennia. The Germans were whipped into a murderous fury directed at Jews and lesser “races” by propaganda and staged violence. Likewise the Palestinians and other Arabs have been whipped into a rage against the Jews in Israel. We all share the same DNA and given the right circumstances, some of us will respond in such a fashion to similar fears.

    This response may be a bad thing, but dealing with the reality that many will respond like this the challenge. As I said above, the best way to change attitudes like this is to have the government behave in a way that the populace is reassured that they are safe. We’ve just undergone seven years of division and scapegoating by our nominal CIC based on racial alliances and knee jerk reactions to situations he sought to exploit. Such fecklessness undermines everyone’s sense of security. I don’t think our current fears are surprising, nor am I surprised that some might advocate violence. This is human nature, which has the capacity for both good and bad. What is “bad” is the shabby governance provided by the current administration that fosters such attitudes, perhaps intentionally.

    BobStewartatHome (a52abe)

  92. Agree with Bob
    Prolonged inadequate response to a danger invites an inappropriately drastic response when it comes.

    MD in Philly (not in Philly) (deca84)

  93. Its the jacksonian response, after two rounds with the Cherokee Jackson said to Heck with them
    Fdr following Wilson’s model sought to inter all the isei and nisei not merely the small band of collaborators.

    narciso (732bc0)

  94. Interesting how this is set up. 30% of (self identified) GOP respondents said bomb, 45% of that 30% (self identified)as Trump supporters. That’s less than half of less than a third, yet it’s being presented as 45% of republicans approve of bombing a place that sounds middle eastern. How many people are we really talking about?

    This whole post sounds like a personal vendetta hidden in horseshit.

    LBascom (fe6129)

  95. I want to bomb AAgrabah. More so now that I learn it’s a fictional city.

    I’m with Frank J. Nuke the moon, and let the pipsqueak countries growl when the look up at the sky.

    papertiger (c2d6da)

  96. You’ve got it bassackwards. This poll shows how few Americans follow a cartoon series, or whatever it is.
    It sounds like a town in the contested area where bombing would be appropriate. Imagine Americans in WW II asked if bombing Kung Pao would be a good idea. Sure, you could make yourself feel good fooling the rubes, but the point would be the same. Someplace(s) out there are towns with funny names full of people who thought the Rape of Nanking and the Bataan Death March were good, clean fun and if we don’t bomb them, my father and my uncles might die later on.
    Nothing to this but proving most Americans don’t follow Aladdin.
    Jeez, talk about inflating the molehill. Oh, well. It made the oh-so-smart feel oh-so-smarter, so I guess it’s all good.

    Richard Aubrey (e6e886)

  97. Another point to ponder. Of the GOP supporters who responded, what percentage were Trump supporters? If that number was 60%, it would totally change the dynamic than if the responders were evenly mixed among the candidates.

    Also, of the other 55% that said bomb, what candidates did they support, and what percentage of the sample did those candidates make up?

    LBascom (fe6129)

  98. We’ll never get over macho Grande.

    narciso (732bc0)

  99. The other 55% of the 30% I should have said…

    LBascom (fe6129)

  100. From the post: “30% of GOP voters support bombing ‘Agrabah.'”

    Somehow I misrepresented this? Or someone who doesn’t like me, and didn’t read the post carefully, wants to make that bullshit accusation?

    Patterico (7d6be1)

  101. “About whom they know absolutely nothing” overstates it a bit. They know the place sounds like it might have Muslims in it.

    Yes. I would say that means they *think* they know something about it. But in reality they know jack-all.

    But apparently you are asserting this means they “know” something?

    OK then.

    Patterico (7d6be1)

  102. On a lighter side,
    I knew someone in college from Fredonia…
    (WI)
    So careful with those fictional place names.

    MD in Philly (not in Philly) (deca84)

  103. If you link to pop’s page, not al ghuardian, you see the dems took this new name for baghdad more seriously. Its a stupid poll, to obscure the real threat we are facing.

    narciso (732bc0)

  104. Interesting how this is set up. 30% of (self identified) GOP respondents said bomb, 45% of that 30% (self identified)as Trump supporters. That’s less than half of less than a third, yet it’s being presented as 45% of republicans approve of bombing a place that sounds middle eastern. How many people are we really talking about?

    This whole post sounds like a personal vendetta hidden in horseshit.

    It’s being presented accurately. Every fact you cited is right there in the post.

    Patterico (7d6be1)

  105. In my opinion the poll shows ignorance more than callousness. It is another version of Jay-walking, an amusing feature of The Tonight Show when Jay Leno was the host. Jay would ask questions of people on the street. I was always amazed at their lack of knowledge. It is a wonder to me that America works as well as it does, considering all the dumb-ass people.

    My grandmother’s high school education in Iowa, circa 1920, was probably superior to that of many college graduates today.

    norcal (f6faa2)

  106. Its not real news, which the guardian is capable of, just more squirrel. Real news would be the is tape, or accounts of Jersey cops recalling those celebrations, both the daily mail has done.

    narciso (732bc0)

  107. What Mike K. said. All this so-called survey by PPP is good for is starting a hypothetical discussion. It’s worthless for anything else, and especially about how Americans, Republicans or Democrats, feel about bombing cities with foreign-sounding names. We can talk amongst ourselves how we feel about it, but we’ll need much better information about whether “there is a large group of Americans out there who are in favor of killing people about whom they, provably, know absolutely nothing”.

    nk (dbc370)

  108. We can talk amongst ourselves how we feel about it, but we’ll need much better information about whether “there is a large group of Americans out there who are in favor of killing people about whom they, provably, know absolutely nothing”.

    How so? A poll about a non-existent place is the only way you could ever reach that conclusion, actually. This is the perfect experiment and some people just don’t like the results. But they are what they are. And they are ugly.

    Patterico (2e1e5e)

  109. Face it. Democracy is a horrible failure and its reach should be as narrowly limited as humanly possible, because the participants are woefully ignorant and they know that learning enough to make a sound decision is pointless.

    The market is the best way to run society, in almost every case. There, your decisions affect YOU.

    Patterico (2e1e5e)

  110. I contend, and if I have read Mike K.’s comment correctly he does too, that this poll is not good enough to give us a picture of the American public. It’s from PPP, basically a Democrat push-polling tool which has Democrats winning when they lose by as much as 7% (see the Kentucky governor’s race); and, from the link, it’s 30% of 532 “Republicans” (160) who want to bomb Agrabbah, picked who knows how and from where. I agree with Mike K. that it’s a sample hand-picked by PPP to give answers that make Republicans look bad.

    nk (dbc370)

  111. The market is the best way to run society, in almost every case. There, your decisions affect YOU.

    Sure, but I remember when you rejected my suggestion, based on the ancient Spartan system, that the franchise should be limited to persons able to pay their per capita share of the maintenance of an army. 😉

    nk (dbc370)

  112. I’ll agree up to this point, after 14 years of war, some desire a carthaginian or melian solution, Its been long enough.

    narciso (732bc0)

  113. How so? A poll about a non-existent place is the only way you could ever reach that conclusion, actually.

    –Agraba is a real place – it’s a suburb in Damascus.

    The Syrian government plastered the area two years ago, apparently using Iranian copies of Chinese-made rockets.

    So yeah, it’s been bombed enough. Not that the dummies at the Guardian or the people they are cocking a snook at are any wiser.

    JP (07b35d)

  114. nk,

    That may be the case about the partisanship of the polling organization.

    Mike K’s other point, however, is less convincing:

    No, your point is nonsense. Somebody made up a name and asked a bunch of people a silly question

    Yes, somebody made up a name. Yes, it is a silly question. Both those points are conceded in the post.

    And yet, unless you can wave away the entire poll as manufactured by partisans, my point is not “nonsense.” I make the argument acknowledging that it is a silly question about a made up place. But the results are scary. Mike K dismisses them as nonsense which strikes me as a tribal response that does not address the very real casual endorsement of killing people about whom the respondents know squat. I can see why that result bothers people who are generally militaristic. But I would like to think people would be concerned about this.

    Note: I don’t actually think it. I predicted this tribal negative response in the post. But I would like to think it.

    Patterico (2e1e5e)

  115. We have not had a war; we had an overwhelming assault that scattered the enemy followed by desultory skirmishing with the re-organized remnants, in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

    nk (dbc370)

  116. Witness: many people posited a scenario in which similar silly questions were asked of Democrats. In their zeal to dismiss my post, many offered this example with a triumphant tone — as if the possibility was something I had never thought of. Even though I explicitly said this in my post.

    If the poll had merely nailed Democrats with such a question? Do we really believe that the same 95% attacking me in this post would not be howling with laughter over that? And treating it like it was meaningful?

    Tribalism.

    Patterico (2e1e5e)

  117. –Agraba is a real place – it’s a suburb in Damascus.

    Thanks for mentioning that argument which I never heard of before oh wait I mentioned it in the post as an example of desperate spinning.

    I notice you did not include a link to a map. Can we expect that momentarily? Or never?

    Patterico (2e1e5e)

  118. I admit, I’m a Trump supporter, and I think every time there is a terrorist attack against America, a (real) Muslim city should be bombed off the map.

    Call me barbaric and bloodthirsty if you want, but I bet my way would stop terrorist attacks real damn quick, and Americans would once again be secure and unafraid.

    Or, we can be real civilized until we’ve given up our liberty for safety. Surely it’s better to live under sharia than to be thought barbaric, right?

    LBascom (fe6129)

  119. Agraba is a real place – it’s a suburb in Damascus.

    I’m not saying I know for a fact you’re wrong. I’m saying the odds are that you read that spin somewhere and swallowed it whole because it fits your world view, and the chances you will come back here and prove it up are (in my view) quite low.

    But hey, prove me wrong.

    Patterico (2e1e5e)

  120. I admit, I’m a Trump supporter, and I think every time there is a terrorist attack against America, a (real) Muslim city should be bombed off the map.

    Call me barbaric and bloodthirsty if you want, but I bet my way would stop terrorist attacks real damn quick, and Americans would once again be secure and unafraid.

    OK. You’re barbaric and bloodthirsty. Also as a Trump supporter you’re a chump sucker. Also you accused me of misrepresenting the story in the post and your accusation was rank bullshit. Other than that you’re all good.

    Patterico (2e1e5e)

  121. Jesus Christ we’re screwed.

    Patterico (2e1e5e)

  122. I mean, it only took two cities to make Japan get it’s head right, and saved a million lives by some estimates. This no collateral damage BS is getting us nowhere.

    LBascom (fe6129)

  123. JP, I found your link:

    http://www.timesofisrael.com/footage-from-rebels-shows-iranian-munitions-in-syria/

    Now you’re going to tell me this is what poll respondents had in mind?

    Patterico (2e1e5e)

  124. Whoops, comments crossed.

    That does take some of the triumphalism out of the story, I grant you. I also seriously doubt a single one of the poll respondents had any clue about that suburb, and if you are going to be honest, you will admit that.

    Are you going to be honest? Or are you going to pretend they did, or feign ignorance?

    If you acknowledge what I just said, I will give you credit for helping whack the Guardian. But if you’re going to pretend this is what poll respondents were thinking of, then you’re acting like a chump. Which is it?

    Patterico (2e1e5e)

  125. UPDATE: There is a real Agraba: a suburb of Damascus. Thanks to JP for the pointer. Take that, Guardian! Take that, PPP! Ya smug bastidges!

    Chances any of the poll respondents had that actual location in mind? Zero. The argument of the post remains untouched. But it’s still a nice comeuppance for the smug set.

    Patterico (2e1e5e)

  126. I didn’t accuse you of misrepresenting the story, I accused you of drawing conclusions from the poll that weren’t necessarily true. Again, of those identifying as GOP, what percentage where Trump supporters? If a large majority were, then it is statistically possible that, say, Cruz supporters were more “bloodthirsty”, percentage wise.

    LBascom (fe6129)

  127. Or maybe I should have said mathematically possible…

    LBascom (fe6129)

  128. Interesting how this is set up. 30% of (self identified) GOP respondents said bomb, 45% of that 30% (self identified)as Trump supporters. That’s less than half of less than a third, yet it’s being presented as 45% of republicans approve of bombing a place that sounds middle eastern. How many people are we really talking about?

    This whole post sounds like a personal vendetta hidden in horseshit.

    Nice to know I am not being accused of misrepresenting anything. You could have fooled me.

    Seek the answers to the questions you ask at the linked article. They are either there or not.

    Patterico (2e1e5e)

  129. Patterico, I keep coming back to the Prager video. Much of today’s meme-warfare is about how we feel about ourselves agreeing or disagreeing with a bumper sticker meme or slogan. By the way, I do not minimize or discount the very clear attempt by the pollsters to make fun of Republicans. That is a big part of this, though it is not your interest here.

    Getting back to the poll question, and ignoring the snarky Democrat insults: bombing a Arabic sounding place makes the people saying that feel strong and as if they are fighting back against terrorism. Because very few people in the country know a flipping thing about Middle Eastern geopolitics.

    So they are responding with their “feels,” not their brains.

    Just like the Yalies and their First Amendment business.

    If the poll had asked Republicans: “Do you think that random bombing of Arab countries can reduce terrorism?” what do you think the response would be? I contend that the numbers would please you.

    You are a lot more experienced and smarter than I am, but—-I do not think that this about some kind of abyss in the heart of voters. I do think it is a combination of Short Attention Span Theatre and narcissism.

    Just my opinion.

    Simon Jester (46da46)

  130. LBascom,

    I don’t understand your point. 30% of GOP primary voters offered this stupid opinion. 41% of Trump supporters offered the opinion. These are the numbers? What, specifically, is the conclusion I drew that is not supported?

    Clearly the Trump supporters are more bloodthirsty, barbaric, and ignorant than the average GOP voter, right? Math, right? Also, duh. Right?

    Patterico (2e1e5e)

  131. Now you’re going to tell me this is what poll respondents had in mind?
    –No – just pointing out that Agraba is not a hypothetical place, and people have actually died there. I’ve followed the Syrian conflict for a few years and read about the travesties inflicted on little towns like Kafranbel and on the suburbs in Aleppo and Damascus.

    If you’re after an illustration of just how ignorant the American voter is, there’s apparently enough for both “sides” of this poll.

    I would offer this observation: whatever Americans like to think of themselves (e.g. they are too “soft” in their foreign policy or, by contrast, too “bloodthirsty,” views which seem fairly well represented here), this is really just whistling past the graveyard as far as what other regimes are prepared to do to their own people and their neighbours.

    True, some dictators may more or less keep their ambitions within their borders and not inflict too much comparative misery on their citizens (perhaps Stroessner, Franco, Salazar, and Ataturk fall into this category).

    Others, well. Different story.

    And while nasty little progressives giggle in their sleeves about some comparably unpleasant knee-jerk reactionaries’ response to a fake dictatorship, Assad really has murdered people in a place called Agraba.

    Just let that sink in for a while before you pen another missive about the reptilian atavism of sectors of the American polity.

    JP (07b35d)

  132. Just let that sink in for a while before you pen another missive about the reptilian atavism of sectors of the American polity.

    –Euch. I’d like to take the comment above outside and have a word with it. It’s a bid snide. Apologies.

    JP (07b35d)

  133. If you’re after an illustration of just how ignorant the American voter is, there’s apparently enough for both “sides” of this poll.

    I’m not. It’s odd how people in this thread keep wanting to make it about stupidity. That was never my point. I said other poll questions would show Democrats acting just as stupidly. This is about the casual evil of supporting the killing of people with zero analysis.

    Your point, to me, changes nothing about this casual evil. You admit these people did not have this place in mind when they answered the question. And, although I pulled the link off Facebook, if you want to tell me you had it because of your longstanding knowledge of this war (do you promise you knew of Agraba a week ago? Cross your heart?), then tell me: do YOU support bombing Agraba? Who controls it? Are there militants in the area? What is the concentration of civilians in the area? What is the cost-benefit analysis?

    People answering the poll aren’t making these calculations. They just hear Arab sounding name and say bomb it. The government responds to this kind of crap, and real people die.

    Patterico (2e1e5e)

  134. It was snide, but it’s what you think. That’s OK. I don’t know that it represents reptilian atavism. It’s the banality of evil. It’s casual support for killing strangers with no thought out basis.

    Patterico (2e1e5e)

  135. When I say it’s what you think: it’s what you think I think. But it’s not right. Not exactly.

    Patterico (2e1e5e)

  136. Patterico, read comment 66. Now I know you didn’t make that comment, but my point was the poll is being twisted, and your first comment set the tone. Which I’m pretty sure was mostly to paint Trump people as ignorant and dangerous. Because something like 13% of the ones saying bomb a Muslim cityy in a small sampling of GOP voters are Trump supporters, and that’s reason for concern and condemnation.

    Whatever, I get the same for saying stop Syrian refugees too. Misplaced compassion is going to be the end of us.

    LBascom (fe6129)

  137. That is, 45% of 30% is something like 13%. I think…

    LBascom (fe6129)

  138. Yes, Gabriel Hanna, who is good at math, screwed the pooch in comment 66. This poll does not show 45% of people happy to kill people without analysis. It shows that 45% of the people who gave that stupid answer were Trump supporters — a group which does indeed contain a high percentage of suckers and ignorant people.

    Are all Trump people ignorant and dangerous? No. Are many of them chump suckers? I believe so.

    Patterico (2e1e5e)

  139. Well, you’re entitled to your opinion (for now), and that’s why we have elections. Which, judging from our esteemed congress, the Republican party is making chumps of us all. Me, I’m tired of being a chump to the Republican party, and think we outta try something different, a guy that isn’t from the political establishment and isn’t beholden to party or the lobbyists.

    It’s an idea so crazy it could work!

    LBascom (fe6129)

  140. Patterico, re. Comment 132.

    Say they asked the question of 100 republicans, 70 were for Trump, 15 were for Cruz, and 15 were for Rubio. 30 out of the 100 said yes. Of those 30, 13 (out of 70) were Trump people, 9 (out of 15) were for Cruz, and 8 (out of 15) were for Rubio. Now, which of these candidates have the larger percentage of bloodthirsty ignoramus supporters?

    LBascom (fe6129)

  141. Maybe I’m confused, where is the 41% number coming from?

    LBascom (fe6129)

  142. You could ask any number of silly questions designed to embarrass Democrats by exploiting their own silly prejudices.

    Actually, in general, even if the questions are serious and legitimate, people of the left end up embarrassing themselves in those instances too.

    cfif.org, October 2014: Each year, Pew conducts its “What Do Americans Know” survey, which tests respondents on a series of questions. This year, the topics included the federal minimum wage, the territory occupied by ISIS, the Ukraine, Common Core educational proposals, fracking, where the Ebola virus is centered….. [B]uried at the bottom of the survey report lies the subject heading “Partisan Differences in Knowledge,” which itemizes each question and the percentage of Republicans, Democrats and Independents who answered each one correctly.

    So how stark were the partisan knowledge differentials?

    Out of 12 questions asked, Republicans outperformed both Democrats and Independents on 10. The differences were most pronounced on the questions regarding Common Core, fracking and where Shiites outnumber Sunnis, where the percentage of Republicans answering correctly outpaced Democrats by double digits. But Republicans also outperformed Democrats on questions centering on the federal minimum wage and the Fed Chairwoman, even though she’s a Democrat appointed by Obama, while the minimum wage is Democrats’ favorite wedge issue this election year to try to keep Harry Reid (D – Nevada) as the Senate Majority Leader.

    Democrats only outscored Republicans in naming the primary Ebola outbreak location and the federal poverty rate, but only by 2 and 5 percentage points, respectively.

    This year’s results parallel surveys from previous years, so it’s not as though it should have come as an unwelcome surprise to the left-leaning Pew. In 2012, Republicans outscored Democrats on 11 of 12 items. Yet in that instance Pew also described Republicans’ performance as “somewhat better” than Democratic voters. In the 2011 Pew survey, Republicans outperformed Democrats on every single one of 19 questions, and in 2010 Republicans tested better than Democrats on 10 of 12 questions, with 1 tie score and Democrats testing better on just 1.

    In 2010…The New York Times conducted a survey on Tea Party supporters, and the results surely jolted editors and readers alike. Under the headline “Poll Finds Tea Party Backers Wealthier and More Educated,” The Times conceded that Tea Partiers were more likely to possess a college degree than their opposition by a 23% to 15 % margin, as well as to have obtained a graduate degree by a 14% to 10% differential. Tea Partiers were also more likely to have “some college” while less likely to have not completed high school (3% versus 12%).

    ^ Add this to surveys that illustrate larger percentages of people on the right also are more charitable and generous than people on the left, and other surveys that indicate a similar difference between those more likely (ie, left-leaning people) or less likely (ie, right-leaning people) to censor or “unfriend” people, such as on Facebook, who they disagree with.

    Mark (f713e4)

  143. This is about the casual evil of supporting the killing of people with zero analysis.
    –I’m pretty sure it’s about the plain old pig-ignorance of people not really knowing what war entails, too.

    I recall Bush the Younger routinely being derided for such supposed unimaginitiveness. I think in his instance it was a foolish accusation. Not so sure about this poll.

    Which brings me to your question: no, I hadn’t heard of Agraba at all. I had a Google through Israeli archives on a whim and found it in Syria, of all places. This after trying to follow place names in the region for the better part of ten years. Doesn’t feel good, that; like previously arguing that “containment of Saddam worked!” only to find out that in the late 90s the Serbs were offering pointers to the Iraqis in how to bring down stealth aircraft.

    Why would I bomb it? How would I go about doing such a thing?

    Any way. Turnabout is fair play. Which concerns you more: A subset of seemingly bloody-minded (or maybe just mindless) potential voters, or a US administration that threatens hostile dictators with “red lines” it declines to enforce, thereby permitting more civilian deaths?

    I feel like the world will forgive thick-headed bigots – it has to, it’s full of them, and they tend to chair UN human rights councils. Chumps? Not so much.

    JP (07b35d)

  144. A few thoughts from the perspective of a Christian and a father and a three-tour combat veteran.

    It is disturbing that 25% of us are eager to bomb people (to whatever extent the poll indicates that). But it is also disturbing that a similar number rule-out bombing in an equally knee-jerk manner when we are at war and have had blood shed on our soil.

    War is a nasty, brutal business that should never be taken lightly, by anyone. Some people do, indeed, need killing. That killing must be violent, efficient, effective and rare – but not rare enough that the problem goes unsolved.

    We dislike war so we wrap it in a morass of rules of engagement. But we appreciate it enough that we never want it far away.

    I think a far more telling poll came last week. Something like 75% of millenials think we need a ground war to defeat ISiSi. And I agree. But only 2% of them are willing to join to do the fighting.

    Robert C. J. Parry (2770e2)

  145. Patterico at 135:

    I’m not. It’s odd how people in this thread keep wanting to make it about stupidity. That was never my point. I said other poll questions would show Democrats acting just as stupidly. This is about the casual evil of supporting the killing of people with zero analysis.

    To mangle a saying, I think you’re ascribing to evil what can adequately be explained by stupidity. Your argument hinges on people supporting bombing a specific city they know nothing about, without taking into account that most people are going to believe poll questions are asked in good faith (a reasonable assumption) and some will try to cover their ignorance accordingly.

    Say, for example, this question was asked of someone who believes bombing ‘the bad guys’ is the answer to the problems in the Middle East; for hypothetical purposes let’s be generous and say they’ve thought about the costs and benefits of bombing in general (unlikely, granted, but that’s a best-case scenario that could fall into this trap). They’ve put thought into it, but they aren’t following closely enough to know all of the specific city names that might be occupied by said ‘bad guys’. So a polling organization asks them “should we bomb (x)?” Is it not reasonable for this person to assume that a) if they’re bothering to ask the question, it’s the name of a real city where bombing is being discussed, and therefore b) if people are discussing bombing it enough that it’s a poll question, there must be ‘bad guys’ there, so yes, let’s bomb it! Just to complicate it further, maybe they even know they recognize the name Agrabah from somewhere, and since it’s there in the poll they assume it’s from political debate rather than a Disney movie. So they answer yes, based on misguided/misinformed analysis, but certainly not zero analysis.

    Is that evil? Or just ignorance playing into the hands of a pollster trolling for a ‘gotcha’ result? It’s not admirable by any means, obviously. But it does seem just as likely that the reasoning went “well if a legit polling organization is asking me about this, it must be real and relevant, so I’ll apply my beliefs on the broader situation to it,” as “I don’t have the slightest clue where or what that is, but it sounds Muslim so we should blow it up.” You can argue that’s not much of a distinction (and maybe it’s really not), but it’s just enough of one to illustrate the fine line between ignorance and callousness. IMO, anyway.

    I’d be curious to see how many people would have replied the same way if the question were in a different context, or standing alone, rather than asked in the middle of an otherwise valid poll about issues which actually exist.

    Accipiter (5ff566)

  146. boosh should have leveled Afghanistan on 9-12. And that is all.

    mg (31009b)

  147. why is jebfilth still in the race

    nobody can explain

    happyfeet (831175)

  148. Mike K dismisses them as nonsense which strikes me as a tribal response that does not address the very real casual endorsement of killing people about whom the respondents know squat.

    I have previously commented that you can skew any poll if you want to by choosing who you include. PPP does that for a living. The poll is meaningless.

    Mike K (90dfdc)

  149. Here’s a thought,

    Rational, thoughtful, moral self-rule has failed in our country.
    (Whether it can be reclaimed sooner than later is another question.)

    When self rule fails, people want a tyrant.
    Some liked an Obama tyrant, someone who flaunted the rule of law and the Constitution to do what they liked.
    A lot of people are sick and tired of that and want a tyrant to their own liking,
    hence Trump.

    Perhaps it is indeed ridiculous to say, “A moratorium on any and all Muslims coming into the country.”
    But is that more or less ridiculous than bringing in 10,000’s of people that includes a number of mass murderers?

    Trump is not a conservative nor a Republican,
    He is an alternative tyrant to the leftist tyrant.

    A whole lot of people think that is the best option because they other supposed option, Republicans, have turned out to be happy to enable the leftist tyrants, for whatever reasons, as long as they are getting their share.

    Trump is a symptom,
    Not the problem.

    The only apparent hope from a political angle is whether a plurality of Americans will support a rational and virtuous candidate (if we can find one) who will tell both parties to take a hike.

    MD in Philly (not in Philly) (deca84)

  150. President Trump is gonna try real hard to be a good president and help make failmerica great again

    that’s a big improver over what we got now

    happyfeet (831175)

  151. Cruz seems to best fit the mold

    Cruz/West? Cruz/Carson?

    And it will necessarily get worse and messier at first because no one in Congress will want to work with them, until the next election when the public will have a chance to elect enough House Members to make a statement.

    I’m not a historian or political science guy, so I will let others make comparisons to the beginning of the Republican party.

    MD in Philly (not in Philly) (deca84)

  152. A tyrant seems overdrawn perhaps, but there is a real point that ppp doesn’t want to tackle, what happens when ‘war becomes interested in you’

    narciso (732bc0)

  153. Trump is not a conservative nor a Republican,

    Sorry MD in Philly, but you don’t get to say who is a Republican and since he is running on the Republican ticket it behooves you to recognize that he is, indeed, a Republican. Now whether or not he is conservative is quite a relative issue. Do you mean he’s not conservative enough for you? Because not so long ago there was this guy who was a union representative and a Democrat, his name was Ronald Reagan. Say whaaaa? There was also this other guy who agreed with abortion rights and was against capital punishment and was a Democrat also. He is now so conservative and so Republican he makes Ronaldus look like Stalin. That would be me. And I don’t think a moratorium on moslems entering the country goes far enough. They should be banned and the ones here should be escorted back to where they came.

    No country can exist running a state within the state and Islam is a state. If moslems want to come here they need to renounce Islam or stay where they are. You cannot assimilate if you are loyal to another state. You cannot become part of American culture if everything you believe runs counter to American culture. You guys are all going to disagree with me and every time a moslem murders an American I will remind you that under my rules they would not be here to murder anybody and your inability to recognize the depravity of Islam is killing Americans.

    Rev. Barack Hussein Hoagie™ (f4eb27)

  154. If anything, it will be Hillary/Michelle, but it could be Trump/Cruz. The Democrats recovered from the destruction they suffered along with the Whigs in 1860 because Andrew Jackson had abolished the property requirement for voting. Given the vote to the poor (white) trash. Our present-day Democrats will keep sailing along, carried on the same wave of ochlocracy.

    nk (dbc370)

  155. The name sounds middle eastern, if not outright arab. It’s reasonable to believe the people this bombing would kill are Muslims. The burden of proof for the death penalty, for some, is simply living in an arabic sounding place.

    70% of Republicans said they are unsure or do not support the bombing. That’s much better than I’d have expected, actually, when you consider how ignorant this nation is, how late in this war we are, and frustrating the war situation is. Of the 30% who support baseless murder, many probably were trying to sound like they knew what that city was to avoid embarrassment, assuming this was a town that we would have some basis to bomb, likely due to something related to ISIS. And we all know this. Gabriel has interpreted the question intelligently, however if we gave a fair rephrase poll “Do you support the murder of people you know nothing about who live in a town with an Arab sounding name?” we all know the poll would be 95%+ opposed.

    However, this goes right to problem number 1 in American politics: Education. Our schools teach everything but knowledge. The middle east is very important to the development of civilization, including western, and it’s even more important to current affairs. Instead kids are given Assata Shakur books and Michael Moore videos in world history 101 (or at least I was).

    Dustin (2a8be7)

  156. Rev.
    Please look past the differences in our views to see my main point.

    Obama and Hillary are not the dems of the 1990’s, they are lawless soft-tyrants of the left.
    Trump may be running among the repubs, but he principally is not the “repub” alternative to a “dem”,
    he is the alternative tyrant to the one on the left, whose attraction is a promise to act unilaterally if he has to in ways different than the L’s soft-tyrant will act.

    If moslems want to come here they need to renounce “Theocratic” Islam/Sharia or stay where they are. You cannot assimilate if you are loyal to another state.
    I’ll agree with that. And if you want to say that a Muslim who denies “Theocratic Islam/Sharia” is not a true Muslim,
    go ahead,
    but if a person says they are Muslim but is a “bad Muslim” in the eyes of some, so be it.

    I bring up Trump because i think maybe what is really eating at P and others is those who back Trump, not this poll per se.

    MD in Philly (not in Philly at the moment) (deca84)

  157. what is really eating at P and others is those who back Trump

    Patterico is both a smart guy and an attorney who uses arguments as tools. It must be really frustrating to run into people who cannot be reasoned with. There is an emotional element to what the GOP has done. There is a pointlessness to buying the promises, even about ideology, from, say VP candidate Ryan. Dumbly punching back doesn’t make sense at the same time it does.

    Dustin (2a8be7)

  158. I bring up Trump because i think maybe what is really eating at P and others is those who back Trump, not this poll per se.

    Whatever the reason, it’s important to keep in mind those surveys that indicate far too many Americans have a big soft spot in their heart for liberalism (ie, who buy into the warm, gooey stereotype they have of “mommy cares and loves” ideology and its adherents, including politicians), best illustrated by how many people in the US are more negative towards the Republican-majority Congress (and, in particular, the Republicans during the notorious budget sequester of the past) and, in turn, less negative towards What’s-His-Name, even though he’s much worse — far worse — than crud like Paul Ryan.

    When you strip away all the devout Democrats, dyed-in-the-wool liberals, you have a balance of too many Americans who suffer from the deficiency of what ailed Republicans like Peggy Noonan back in 2008. I’m referring to those non-liberals — squish-squish-squishy — who liked the cut of What’s-His-Name’s jib, even though that person’s history was full of leftist, anti-American sentiment and ideology.

    Simply put, one needs to be very careful in how a person is judged and rated in terms of his/her ideology.

    Mark (f713e4)

  159. I get the feeling like Kurtz, ‘all the world contributed to the islamic state,’ in one way or another, the Saudis and the Emirates, the Turks, the West by inaction, the Russians by their own proxy,

    http://www.lrb.co.uk/v38/n01/seymour-m-hersh/military-to-military

    narciso (732bc0)

  160. I think some of this discussion is ships passing in the night. P and some are upset at what the poll represents in their minds.
    others are so what, it’s a poll that is manipulated.

    To believe it is just a poll that is manipulated is not the same as disagreeing that there are bad things in the works.

    I am thinking that P is having a “Levitical” moment (as in our friend Leviticus), seeing how society and the structure of society is failing,
    and wanting it to change/to change it.
    A very reasonable idea.

    But as has been said by others, our form of government may be terrible, but there isn’t anything better.
    Some forms of government encourage the better human instincts and discourage the more base,
    but it will not work unless their is at least some level of widespread public virtue in preferring honesty to dishonesty, truth to fiction, what is good for others as well as what is good for me.
    We may already be past that minimal set point.

    The devil offered Jesus all of the kingdoms of this world, it would have been the perfect system to maintain order, but it would have literally been hellish.

    MD in Philly (not in Philly at the moment) (deca84)

  161. And yes, I admit the “tyrants” of today are not the overtly oppressive Stalinist type,
    but they are lawless,
    which is the beginning.

    MD in Philly (not in Philly at the moment) (deca84)

  162. Dustin! Good to see you, man.

    Leviticus (f9a067)

  163. Good to see you too!

    Dustin (2a8be7)

  164. it just strikes me how there was this decision on the part of many parties that Assad be toppled, why because the Alawites, went Hama 10 fold, now this came after the ‘cunning cunning plan’ that
    Muammar fall, ‘how’s that working out for everyone,’

    narciso (732bc0)

  165. Because not so long ago there was this guy who was a union representative and a Democrat, his name was Ronald Reagan.

    Rev. Barack Hussein Hoagie™ (f4eb27) — 12/22/2015 @ 6:22 am

    I don’t buy that baloney parallel people keep making between Reagan and Trump whatsoever. Reagan’s political evolution happened over time. His change in party allegiance first became evident with his support for Nixon over Kennedy in 1960. After his speech on behalf of Goldwater in 1964 people in the California GOP began persuading him to run for office. He had no interest in running for office when he made that speech.

    It’s not clear to me that Trump has generally supported Republicans or conservative Republicans right up to when he started running for President. Some of the positions espoused by Trump such as his claim to be pro-life seem to have suddenly materialized. I don’t think he has any interest whatsoever in that or supporting traditional marriage – something that happyfeet has caught on to but some clueless people don’t seem to be able to figure out.

    In the debate he said we should have SPENT the money we used for the Iraq war at home, rather than saved it. He doesn’t have a small government message. His statement criticizing the budget deal was insincere IMO.

    Gerald A (5dca03)

  166. yes, it’s a foolish meme, but then so was ‘the two minute hate’ focused on Christine, and what was the function of that, that was the proxy for what would happen in the big match, a year later,

    narciso (732bc0)

  167. like I say, overbroad, but it is striking how it’s totally admitted from the narrative,

    http://libertyunyielding.com/2015/12/22/whats-you-say-some-jersey-city-muslims-did-celebrate-911/

    narciso (732bc0)

  168. Gerald’s got a point. You can summarize Reagan or Trump or anyone to a couple of sentences and miss the real story easily. For quite some time, every RINO’s deviation, no matter how extreme, is compared to Reagan, and the critic is accused of being too right wing to support Reagan. That’s silly. Reagan supported Goldwater, and Goldwater’s views would place him on the extreme right on major aspects of civil rights regulation today.

    Trump was supporting Al Gore *after* they started throwing out the ballots of deployed troops from Florida over postage minutiae. That is die-hard partisanship over any sense of principle or morality or patriotism. His switch is purely cynical. Only problem is, what grounds does the GOP have to call him out for being exactly like this cynical party? Trump is a factor because the GOP has abandoned having any principles as a party.

    Dustin (2a8be7)

  169. Narciso, did you mean “omitted” not admitted?

    MD in Philly (not in Philly) (deca84)

  170. probably, or admitted into, the most extreme example is the denial that palestinians did so in the West Bank,

    narciso (732bc0)

  171. His change in party allegiance first became evident with his support for Nixon over Kennedy in 1960.

    Arguably his change in allegiance started even earlier but Democrats supporting Ike was not unusual:

    He was a participant in the Democrats-for-Eisenhower campaigns in 1952 and 1956, which attracted many other Democrats. But in 1960, when many of these “Eisenhower Democrats” returned to the party fold and supported John F. Kennedy, Reagan championed the candidacy of Republican presidential nominee Richard Nixon. Reagan did not especially like Nixon; he was motivated more by a distrust of Kennedy and the national Democratic Party, which Reagan saw as moving to the left.

    Gerald A (5dca03)

  172. back then, there wasn’t lockstep conformity in the democrats, they learned to shun those who dare object,

    http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/fec-chair-who-sought-to-regulate-drudge-slams-colleagues-as-dysfunctional/article/2578893

    a woman after posner’s own heart,

    narciso (732bc0)

  173. it just strikes me how there was this decision on the part of many parties that Assad be toppled

    I did like “Chump’s” assessment of the situation in Syria the other day, when he said that before we do anything about Hafez al-Assad, we need to deal with ISIS, and that we can worry about al-Assad at a later date. I also couldn’t disagree with Trump’s conclusion that (to paraphrase) because the socio-political dynamics in the Middle East are so tumultuous and murky, that it’s best we take a hands-off policy towards dictators like a Gaddafi of Libya or a Butcher of Baghdad, because replacing one bad regime is merely going to be replaced by an equally or even worse regime.

    I can accept that POV compared with the “give peace a chance” liberals who aren’t happy about the US and the West entering the land of Islam because such an act is….imperialist!, racist!, greedy!, unkind!!

    Reagan supported Goldwater, and Goldwater’s views would place him on the extreme right on major aspects of civil rights regulation today.

    Sadly, both of them illustrate how liberal sentiment can corrupt anyone, since Reagan’s biggest blunder (ie, Iran-Contra) was mainly due to his acting like a Jimmy-Carterite, and — because Reagan felt bad about Americans being held as prisoners — going against the ethos that the US never deal with hostage-taking nations, by secretly negotiating with Iran. Barry Goldwater also apparently became a big squish towards the last few years of his life.

    Left-leaning bias can turn any person — can convert anyone one of us — into fools and two-faced twerps on occasion.

    Mark (74fce8)

  174. But as has been said by others, our form of government may be terrible, but there isn’t anything better.

    There is no “form of government” that is better. I still think it is very important to understand that democracies and republics are inherently awful and corrupt, and that the problem is structural more than it is a problem of which people are operating the controls. The response then becomes, not to shrug your shoulders and say it’s the best we can do, but to argue for shrinking government as much as possible and leaving as many decisions as possible to the market and not the government.

    The only reason I care who is in charge is to get someone who will slash government. That’s why I don’t much care about executive experience, because I am not looking for a manager. I am looking for an ideologue who will slash slash slash.

    Ted Cruz is the closest thing to that ideal in this race.

    Patterico (2e1e5e)

  175. How wonderful to see Dustin and Leviticus here.

    Dustin has a unique quality to his commenting. I always read his comments and think (before I know who it is), man, I really agree with this guy.

    Patterico (2e1e5e)

  176. I see your point, Patterico. We are dealing with a “statist ratchet.” Add to it how groups self-create and enforce comformity.

    Less is more, and less is better, when it comes to government. Always. Look at the DMV.

    If you know Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy, it explains the issue very clearly. And it isn’t new.

    http://www.jerrypournelle.com/reports/jerryp/iron.html

    It’s the major reason I do not like “career politicians.”

    Happy holidays to you and your family, sir.

    Simon Jester (c8876d)

  177. Ted Cruz is 45 today. With any luck, he will get our 45th President.

    DRJ (15874d)

  178. He will be our 45th President.

    DRJ (15874d)

  179. @Patterico:There is no “form of government” that is better.

    I think I would disagree about that. The possible forms of government are enormously varied and only a few have ever been tried. Madison said if men were angels we wouldn’t need government. He wouldn’t put it the way I do, that we are dealing with a species of plains apes and so we need to have a structure that makes it difficult for plains apes to behave the way they like to, which is to take each other’s stuff by force and boss each other around, especially the ones that are not in their own tribe. But he and I are on the same page; the idea is a structure to minimize the damage that plains apes do rather than give free reign to them in the hopes that we’ll get good plains apes in.

    The only reason I care who is in charge is to get someone who will slash government. That’s why I don’t much care about executive experience, because I am not looking for a manager. I am looking for an ideologue who will slash slash slash.

    This I endorse wholeheartedly. Elections need to matter as little as possible. Trusting plains apes with power is like trying to quit smoking by hiding cigarettes from yourself.

    Power is a zero-sum game; the best move is to play as little as possible. Markets are games where everybody can win a little if they play right.

    Gabriel Hanna (64d4e1)

  180. #170: Dustin, I find this term to be logically contradictory:

    … major aspects of civil rights regulation …

    You are correct in so far as Goldwater opposed one law that were characterized by the LHMFM as civil rights legislation. He preferred to keep as much power delegated to the states as possible. But what sort of “right” is subject to having “major aspects” regulated?

    If Goldwater was adverse to such regulations, then he would logically be in favor of those “rights”. Which, in fact, he was. He was concerned about the growing power of the federal leviathan. And now we have bakers being driven out of business because they run afoul of such “civil rights regulations”.

    The alternative to Goldwater was LBJ. The country choose poorly. Fifty-eight thousand (58,000) of our countrymen died because of that horrible election. And fifty years later our investment in the “War on Poverty” has conferred its dismal fruits on our country.

    BobStewartatHome (a52abe)

  181. Americans aren’t bloodthirsty or stupid. We may be a little naive or gullible now and then, but we are good people.

    DRJ (15874d)

  182. Gabriel, you’ve missed your calling. The U. S. Army specializes in taking “plains apes” and making them into useful implements for the benefit of our society. You should have tried it.

    But then, again, I suspect that you believe yourself to have evolved into something much more perfect.

    BobStewartatHome (a52abe)

  183. @Dustin, BobStewart@Home:Goldwater’s views would place him on the extreme right on major aspects of civil rights regulation today.

    Goldwater is not easy to place on the left/right spectrum. For example, he and his wife wholeheartedly supported Planned Parenthood, with their time and money; in the 90’s he spoke out in favor of gay rights.

    He wanted things done at the state level and he wanted to preserve free association, which is the only reason he opposed Federal civil rights legislation as opposed to state level legislation.

    No, he was not the “extreme right”. His political vector has a rightward component but the bulk of the magnitude is due to components on other axes.

    Gabriel Hanna (64d4e1)

  184. Here’s to hoping that Trump wins the Repubs
    And Cruz wins in a 3-way.
    And a new Republican party forms around Cruz.

    MD in Philly (not in Philly) (a25b20)

  185. @bobStewart@Home: I suspect that you believe yourself to have evolved into something much more perfect.

    No, I have a full set of plains ape weaknesses; they’re just not generally the same as other people’s commenting here.

    The U. S. Army specializes in taking “plains apes” and making them into useful implements for the benefit of our society.

    Like Timothy McVeigh?

    McVeigh was awarded a Bronze Star medal for his service as a vehicle crewman in the Persian Gulf War. He was a top-scoring gunner with the 25mm cannon of the Bradley Fighting Vehicles used by the 1st Infantry Division to which he was assigned. He was stationed at Fort Riley, Kansas, before being deployed on Operation Desert Storm with the Division….He was honorably discharged on December 31, 1991.

    The Army doesn’t issue halos. McVeigh is not the Army’s fault, but still has plains apes to work with. Want to know how many GIs raped French women in WWII? You know, the population we were there to liberate? I’m not even talking about German women.

    Sorry, the US Army doesn’t have magical powers, though I grant today’s Army is better than the vast majority in history.

    Gabriel Hanna (64d4e1)

  186. and charles whitman and oswald were marines, your point,

    narciso (732bc0)

  187. There are no “magical powers”. But the reason you know that some of the “plains apes” went astray is because they were caught and punished by the Army you so despise. I mentioned the Army because it is an organization that is based on the same premise as yours, that everyone is a “plains ape”. It is a fairly beneficent example despite the underlying philosophy. And we did liberate ALL the countries we reclaimed from the Axis powers. So I have no idea what your point is other than humans have the capacity for good and evil. Isn’t it obvious that if you consider a large enough group (their were 16 million under arms in the U. S. military in WWII) you will find all flavors of behavior?

    BobStewartatHome (a52abe)

  188. @narciso:and charles whitman and oswald were marines, your point

    Not my point, BobStewart@Home’s point: The U. S. Army specializes in taking “plains apes” and making them into useful implements for the benefit of our society.

    Veterans are people just like everyone else.

    Gabriel Hanna (64d4e1)

  189. @bobStewart@Home: But the reason you know that some of the “plains apes” went astray is because they were caught and punished by the Army you so despise.

    I said no such thing. Apologize and retract please.

    Gabriel Hanna (64d4e1)

  190. @BobStewart@Home:the Army you so despise.

    The fact that you disagree with me about something gives you no right to lie about anything I’ve said.

    Gabriel Hanna (64d4e1)

  191. the siege force against agrabah was conflicted.

    http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/nation-world/world/article50919765.html

    narciso (732bc0)

  192. @BobStewart@Home: Not only have I said nothing about “despising” the Army, I haven’t even said anything CRITICAL of it.

    This is the tribalism that Patterico and I have been talking about; it leads you to assume a whole lot about me that you have no evidence for simply because I am disagreeing with you, I must be unlike you.

    Gabriel Hanna (64d4e1)

  193. when you’re in a hole, best not to bring the dynamite and stop digging,

    narciso (732bc0)

  194. The poll started asking questions regarding Muslims by bringing up some well-known remarks from Trump. A few questions later, it asks about Agrabah.

    I have to wonder how many of the respondents thought that this was something else Trump had said, and they assumed he knew what he was talking about.

    I’ve taken telephone polls before, and I’ve given no opinion/ refuse to answer responses to questions that I felt were too vague, badly worded, or just stupid. However, I did feel a sense that by answering that way, my response didn’t really “count”.

    So, if I was being asked a policy question which I didn’t really know that much about, and was led to believe that someone I generally trusted had publically come out in favor of it, I would feel some desire to answer in favor of it myself.

    malclave (4ddf38)

  195. @malclave:if I was being asked a policy question which I didn’t really know that much about, and was led to believe that someone I generally trusted had publically come out in favor of it, I would feel some desire to answer in favor of it myself.

    I will add this to the list of excuses, offered in this thread, that are actually worse than assuming that the people who said “yes” really just don’t care who the US government kills.

    Gabriel Hanna (64d4e1)

  196. Dustin, I find this term to be logically contradictory:

    … major aspects of civil rights regulation …

    Bob Stewart, that is an astute response (I think you’re saying that curtailing our freedom of association is not a civil rights enhancement). This is one of those things I have difficulty with linguistically, even though I get the point. Kinda like how liberal to most people means the opposite of individual equality and liberty before the law… it instead means tons of government fixing stuff in order to create equal outcomes (at the necessary expense of equal treatment).

    Goldwater is not easy to place on the left/right spectrum.

    That’s because there’s no spectrum comprised of litmus tests. He was a classic liberal and his view of civil rights was so principled he paid the price of opposing something called ‘Civil Rights’ in the title of the bill. That same principled support of freedom to take care of your own affairs was why he opposed criminalizing abortion. See, he thought a conservative federal government wouldn’t be dealing with those affairs. Our commenter Mark, not to pick on him, would surely agree with your implication that this is a sign he’s on the left. Goldwater spoke for himself on this point.

    They think I’ve turned liberal because I believe a woman has a right to an abortion. That’s a decision that’s up to the pregnant woman, not up to the pope or some do-gooders or the Religious Right.

    But that doesn’t mean you’re wrong, Gabriel. Just means Goldwater thought this was a conservative position. Instead of looking at a series of issues and deciding what the conservative outcome was, Goldwater and classic liberals would looked instead at what the government as a legitimate business regulating (to go back to what I think Bob was saying).

    The alternative to Goldwater was LBJ. The country choose poorly. Fifty-eight thousand (58,000) of our countrymen died because of that horrible election.

    Yes sir. When our pundits say each election is the most important of our lifetimes I think about a couple, like that one or the 1980 election.

    — Thanks for the kind words, Patterico.

    Dustin (2a8be7)

  197. Goldwater and classic liberals would looked instead at what the government as a legitimate business regulating

    Goldwater and classic liberals would look instead at what the government has a legitimate business regulating

    Back to my old typos!

    Dustin (2a8be7)

  198. You are not impressing me, Gabriel.

    DRJ (15874d)

  199. Gabriel, you chose to characterize the Army by mentioning T. McVeigh and a few rapists in France. Nothing positive, just a few outliers. I chose to characterize your description as suggesting you despised the Army. It was an inference, but consistent with the facts.

    I suspect neither of us would want to spend our careers in such an organization. I made just such a choice with the Coast Guard. In those days, the services’ manpower requirements were satisfied by the draft and by many others who chose their branch of the service by preempting the draft with a voluntary enlistment. So the organization and the training philosophy was to turn your average “plains ape”, perhaps someone who really didn’t want to be there, into a member of a team who could contribute beneficially to the unit. No “halos” were ever awarded, nor were the methods of training recruits ever described as having magical powers. My Dad used to say that the Army was designed to work with the smallest common denominator, and there’s a lot truth to that. But the end result was a remarkably effective military, despite leadership that was often unworthy of their posting. But this assessment of the military is a relative one. It’s a comparison with other militaries. Very few civilians would regard Army life as an improvement over what they have. And the main reason is the lack of freedom and choice, precisely the restraints used to ensure smooth functioning of a gang of “plains apes”.

    I suspect that today’s voluntary armed services are working with a higher order of “plains apes”, certainly our special forces are a major innovation, but I rather doubt the underlying structure has changed much. Like the Veterans Administration, the services are a useful analog when considering the endpoint of a thoroughly centralized society. If Mao’s China and the Soviet Union don’t appeal to you.

    BobStewartatHome (a52abe)

  200. @DRJ:You are not impressing me, Gabriel.

    Then don’t read or respond to what I say. Save yourself the trouble.

    Gabriel Hanna (64d4e1)

  201. I tried to make some serious points in this thread,
    But I have little idea what it is about anymore.
    If I could find Painted Jaguar, maybe I could get him to make some wry comment about absurd polls in the Amazon Basin,
    But I have not seen him in a while.
    Later.

    MD in Philly (not in Philly) (deca84)

  202. Patterico,

    Is it possible you are letting the bad people you encounter in your job cause you to have a poor opinion of the public in general, like some police officers? I’m not saying that is the case here, just wondering if it’s possible.

    This post brought back memories of my family’s involvement in the National Geography Bee. There are so many places, including large or significant places, that most people would be unable to locate on a map and often have no knowledge of. We know we’re ignorant but usually try to act like we know what we’re talking about — because that’s what our educational system and society expect us to do. Saying “I don’t know” is frowned on these days. Even the ACT, AP, and SAT tests encourage guessing by not penalizing it.

    DRJ (15874d)

  203. With pleasure, Gabriel.

    DRJ (15874d)

  204. @BobStewart@Home:, you chose to characterize the Army by mentioning T. McVeigh and a few rapists in France.

    Horsecrap. You said the Army turns plains apes into good people. I pointed out some counterexamples. I “characterized” nothing. I said NOTHING critical. I pointed out undisputed facts about the actions of a subset of people who had passed through the Army and these training methods you praised.

    I chose to characterize your description as suggesting you despised the Army.

    Which I would appreciate if you would retract and apologize for; I’ll settle fore the acknowledgement that you invented it out of whole cloth.

    It was an inference, but consistent with the facts.

    So would be my inference that you molest border collies. It’s totally consistent with all you’ve posted so far. But I don’t assume bad things about you because you disagree.

    I suspect neither of us would want to spend our careers in such an organization.

    For all you know I’m a member or have been one. You know not one thing about me except what I’ve said.

    And the main reason is the lack of freedom and choice, precisely the restraints used to ensure smooth functioning of a gang of “plains apes”.

    The military is intended to kill people and break things, and do so in a controlled way that is not a danger to the society it is intended to protect. The military is absolutely essential–and so are the people who haul trash and pilot container ships–and let’s not forget very few people in the military actually fight, most are doing jobs analogous to what civilians do–but they have to obey orders at all times for any reason. The military does not in theory get to choose its goals or its process. The military is not intended for character-building good citizens, that’s the Boy Scouts.

    Certainly it is no bad thing to serve and the military is not bad, it’s essential. But it’s not intended to be a model for how society ought to work, and the people who do well in that environment are not always going to be the best sort of people for civilian life.

    I will grant that most veterans are probably quite a bit above average character, especially these days of volunteers as opposed to conscription. But service is not a panacea for what ails us. Freedom is better, even though it’s messier.

    Gabriel Hanna (64d4e1)

  205. @DRJ: Saying “I don’t know” is frowned on these days. Even the ACT, AP, and SAT tests encourage guessing by not penalizing it.

    So support killing people because otherwise you might have to admit you don’t know.

    Another excuse that is worse than just not caring who the government kills.

    You’re not impressing me. I will continue to read what you have to say, in the hope that you will say something that does.

    Gabriel Hanna (64d4e1)

  206. So support killing people because otherwise you might have to admit you don’t know.

    Gabriel, I basically agree with your take on this, but DRJ seems to have a different point of view and I don’t think that’s a fair summary.

    I think she’s saying people (who think they are) forced into guessing one way or another will take a stab at something without sincerely having an opinion as to whether it’s right or wrong. And remember the stakes were nonexistent. These poll takers were not actually killing people. We would judge them a little differently if they were flipping the switch on a piece of artillery outside a town they had absolutely no knowledge of.

    I read into this question that some segment of people actually are willing to see us go bomb any arab sounding place these days. But surely DRJ is also right and there are people who answered yes to the bombing simply to have an answer to a question they didn’t really understand (and aware that the answer is harmless).

    BTW, DRJ is the voice of reason here when it comes to tone. Just saying.

    Dustin (2a8be7)

  207. I will add this to the list of excuses, offered in this thread, that are actually worse than assuming that the people who said “yes” really just don’t care who the US government kills.

    @Gabriel Hanna: do whatever you want, it’s a free country.

    malclave (4ddf38)

  208. @Dustin: And remember the stakes were nonexistent. These poll takers were not actually killing people.

    Here’s the thing: they didn’t know that. Everyone knows why there are such things as polls–because polls influence decision makers. They didn’t know that President Obama wasn’t going to cite that poll to Congress in asking for authorization for military force, or whatever.

    If the topic of that poll had been abortion rather than bombing, pretty much every commenter here would be agreeing with Patterico that answering the question “yes” without even thinking or knowing anything about it would be evil.

    DRJ is the voice of reason here when it comes to tone.

    Tone is highly subjective, and comments about it with no other content are little better than trolling.

    Gabriel Hanna (64d4e1)

  209. They didn’t know that President Obama wasn’t going to cite that poll to Congress in asking for authorization for military force, or whatever.

    Interesting retort but then if that is the thought of our hypothetical ‘yes’ answerer, his assumptions include a lot of additional factors such as ‘enough other people want to bomb unknown place’ ‘Obama wants to bomb unknown place’ ‘Congress can be argued into an AUMF against this unknown place’

    Take that back one step, and the person answering the question thinks the answer is irrelevant unless the other factors listed above are true, and if they are true this unknown place must be one of the many ISIS strongholds we can’t name. But that only takes my ‘irrelevant’ to ‘almost irrelevant’. Which again is a lot different than flipping the switch on a piece of artillery outside a town you know nothing about. I’m playing devil’s advocate here, but it’s not hard to.

    Tone is highly subjective, and comments about it with no other content are little better than trolling.

    Thank you for explaining tone to me while calling me a troll for suggesting you get along with others.

    Dustin (2a8be7)

  210. Some of us have come to the conclusion that nothing we say means anything to anyone,
    At most someone will manipulate the results to “prove” whatever it is that they want to.

    Whatever the visceral responses some people have to the subject of this post,
    Maybe we should just accept that some people think making any analysis of our culture based on a poll is nonsense,
    Even if there would be agreement on the principle trying to be demonstrated.

    So, some see this discussion about the poll as a very meaningful exercise,
    Others of us see it as just another Jimmy Kimmel or Watters world exposition of the foolishness of the American public

    I guess it is a Rorschach test of sorts, but I don’t have the interpretation key.

    MD in Philly (not in Philly) (deca84)

  211. I said:

    The U. S. Army specializes in taking “plains apes” and making them useful implements for the benefit of our society.

    You said I said:

    the Army turns plains apes into good people

    There is a difference. The term GI (Government Issue) comes from soldiers who wanted to make light of their role as useful implements for the prosecution of the war. The humor behind the term “GI” escapes most who haven’t served.

    BobStewartatHome (a52abe)

  212. @Dustin:Thank you for explaining tone to me while calling me a troll for suggesting you get along with others.

    I did not call you a troll. You did not directly comment on my tone, AND you have contributed something substantive besides. My statement did not apply to you, but to DRJ, who always calls me out on ‘tone’ when I’ve done nothing but civilly disagree.

    I don’t think you will find a quote from me here that could be characterized as rude, personal, or abusive. What I am doing is disagreeing, and a lot of the commenters here are not okay with that. I certainly do say what I think is wrong with what people here have said–and some of those people get butthurt. Other people’s feelings are not under my control.

    Gabriel Hanna (64d4e1)

  213. I did not call you a troll. You did not directly comment on my tone, AND you have contributed something substantive besides. My statement did not apply to you, but to DRJ, who always calls me out on ‘tone’ when I’ve done nothing but civilly disagree.

    I apologize, sincerely, for misunderstanding you.

    I am doing is disagreeing, and a lot of the commenters here are not okay with that.

    Trust me; I know. Still, when the military is spoken about without a certain element of respect, it comes across poorly to a lot of people.

    Dustin (2a8be7)

  214. @Dustin:Interesting retort but then if that is the thought of our hypothetical ‘yes’ answerer, his assumptions include a lot of additional factors such as ‘enough other people want to bomb unknown place’ ‘Obama wants to bomb unknown place’ ‘Congress can be argued into an AUMF against this unknown place’

    The excuses made for the people answering “yes” do involve any number of assumptions about what they must have been thinking, so it’s not special pleading when I do it. Maybe none of the polled people know that bombs kill people, or maybe they think the government will just use bombs that are harmless, and that’s why they said “yes”. Thing is we know they know nothing about the situation and they knew that they knew nothing.

    Here’s the thing–if I’m asked a question about whether I support killing people, I don’t say ‘yes’ without giving a lot of thought to the situation; no matter who’s asking or why. Cue BobStewart@Home to accuse me, without foundation, of thinking I’m better than everyone else; obviously I’m no saint.

    But to say “yes” to “do you support killing” when you could just say nothing, or hang up, or say (God forbid) “no” or “I don’t know”; it’s hard for me to wrap my mind around that.

    Gabriel Hanna (64d4e1)

  215. @Dustin:Still, when the military is spoken about without a certain element of respect

    There is nothing I said that can fairly be called “disrespectful”; unless “disrespect” is redefined to mean “anything other than unqualified praise.”

    Gabriel Hanna (64d4e1)

  216. @MDinPhilly: Your punctuation of #213 makes it sound like a poem! It was a surreal experience reading that comment.

    Gabriel Hanna (64d4e1)

  217. No.

    It is obviously a trick question.

    The people disparaged by the poll (who I continue to have confidence will not actually elect Donald Trump) are in favor of very very much more robust response to reducing the threat of terrorism. They are also very frustrated that the leaders of this country in both parties are not listening to them. So when the poll’s only option to express a desire for a more robust response is to bomb Agrabah – well, no one has ever actually died from a response to a poll. The point is to send a message to political leaders that we want a stronger response. The people responding to the poll (but apparently not the pollsters) know that they are not actually deciding to bomb a place that they have no idea where it is. The only thing a poll response can do is let politicians know where we stand.

    Similarly, no candidate won a primary or an election because he was the frontrunner 11 months before the election.

    Mike S (89ec89)

  218. I’ll just say that some times I use punctuation,
    Esp sentence non-structure
    To make my points as clear and concise
    As possible
    Any resemblance to poetry is not intended….

    MD in Philly (not in Philly) (deca84)

  219. Knowing now that Agrabah was fictional, I probably would have said to bomb them. What’s the harm? Do we know how many poll respondents knew it was fictional? Patterico said zero knew it was a town in Syria, but did zero also know it was a fictional town? I have no idea.

    Anyway, I’m not sure where Somin is going with this argument. Is it that only Ivy League graduates should be allowed to vote? Or that democracy is a rotten system of government? I would oppose anyone who believes so.

    Regarding all the people who said to bomb a place they never heard of, they probably assumed that it was a place in a country with which we are at war. I favor all-out war as compared to little half-hearted pinprick wars, and I think that that sentiment is what probably drove the poll response. If those respondents were told that Agrabah was a town in s country with which we are at peace, no way would they have supported bombing, IMHO.

    Andrew (b12b60)

  220. > they probably assumed that it was a place in a country with which we are at war

    I would say the point is this: that people *in general* should endeavor to *know* what they are talking about before advocating something like bombing, and base that advocacy on knowledge rather than assumption; and that politicians who are reactive to the desires of those who make demands based on assumption are very, very dangerous.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  221. But you see, aphrael, most people nowadays respond to things like this with a “feel” not by thinking. So the way the questions are phrased can be used to create the response wished for. Every time.

    What about a school district that has an embezzler who has raided the lunch fund? Ask people who don’t know that if they want children to starve, and you will get a response you expected. Ask the same people if they think embezzlers of children’s lunches should be rewarded, and you will get another answer.

    I’m very much afraid we have all become bumper stickers plastered upon clown cars.

    We are all being played, and happily go along with it, so long as people we don’t like are insulted in the process.

    Simon Jester (9c3b96)

  222. I would say the point is this: that people *in general* should endeavor to *know* what they are talking about

    But people need something to do on the internet between watching pr0n and cat videos…

    malclave (4ddf38)

  223. I’m trying to figure out why I have to Wikipedia every remote middle east backwater our military might need to bomb just so I can navigate a “gotcha” question.
    If the military says we need to bomb the heck out of a blot on a map… don’t ask me, just do it

    steveg (fed1c9)

  224. if you use fictional bombs for to blow up the fictional places, there’s a gorgeous symmetry in that

    happyfeet (831175)

  225. This poll doesn’t tell us much about how informed Americans are or their opinions of war, especially when it comes to Republicans. It’s a poll designed and released in pieces, presumably to make Republicans look bad.

    Approximately 60% of Republicans were “Not sure” whether to bomb Agrabah, but the Democratic results were released later and appear to show more than 50% of Democrats were willing to express an opinion about this fictional country, even though they were only asked a few questions and their poll wasn’t front-loaded with terror and Muslim questions:

    [UPDATE: PPP has now released the full poll. When questioning Democrats, PPP asked only ten questions; the Agrabah question was sixth, and was not preceded by any other issue questions, let alone a battery of questions about terrorism and Muslims. The disparity in how the question was placed in the two polls is stark.

    Only half of Hillary supporters, 39% of Bernie Sanders supporters and just 26% of Martin O’Malley supporters – and just 33% of Hispanic Democrats and 32% of Democrats under 45 – were unwilling to take a position on bombing a fictional country, and 39% of O’Malley supporters were in favor compared to 35% opposed.]

    But the crosstabs are beside the main point, which is that people are willing to tell pollsters all sorts of things about which they do not actually have anything like a fixed opinion, let alone an informed one. I very much doubt if PPP polled a single person who went into that call with an opinion about bombing Agrabah, and I doubt very many of them continued to have an opinion the next day. A machine asked them to press a button, so they just took their best guess.

    And if you read every issue poll from today forward with that in mind, you will realize how much of the issue polling that gets published is no more useful or predictive than knowing people’s opinions about bombing a place that exists in a Disney cartoon. PPP may have been looking to discredit Republican voters, but it really did more to reveal the problem with the trustworthiness of its own industry.

    PPP even delayed the results for Democrats to make sure Republicans were the story, but this is what I think an honest summary would have said:

    When asked a fictional question in a lengthy poll, approximately 6-in-10 Republican respondents said they were “Not sure” whether the Disney-inspired country of Agrabah should be bombed. The remaining 40% of Republican respondents answered the question, which was far fewer responses than Republicans gave to other questions and fewer than the percentage of Democrats who answered the same question.

    I’ve linked a summary but consider reading all 102 pages of the PDF poll results. It’s fairly easy to find.

    I hate answering polls but I generally try to participate because I want the process to work. This poll makes it certain I will think twice before taking another one.

    DRJ (15874d)

  226. I don’t know if it’s true but the link in my last comment has been updated to say the PPP poll question about Agrabah may have been suggested by Amanda Marcotte.

    DRJ (15874d)

  227. So … make Republicans look dumb and bloodthirsty by appealing to their fears about Islamic terrorism, while relying on the pacifist tendencies of Democrats to protect them from scorn. Mission Accomplished!

    DRJ (15874d)

  228. So what was that thing about rational ignorance again?

    narciso (732bc0)

  229. It struck me when they didn’t link to the main poll, then left out the sampling.

    narciso (732bc0)

  230. Thanks DRJ for digging up more info on it.

    MD in Philly (not in Philly) (deca84)

  231. I’ve taken polls like this and I also have a life. It quickly gets tiresome to answer question after question after question, especially when you have no idea how long it will go on. The directions are repeated endlessly and woe to you if you misunderstand or simply miss hearing a question — such as when you have kids or other callers or life intervene. Also, you can’t “go back” on automated calls if you change your mind after thinking about the question. And, really, who cares? It’s a random poll. It’s meaningless.

    DRJ (15874d)

  232. Well I wouldn’t answer a ppp poll, they have shown there hacktivity index enough times.

    narciso (732bc0)

  233. I know most people aren’t going to read the complete poll results (and really, why shoukd you?), so let me add that I think the results show Republicans are generally thoughtful, not igo rant or callous. The results showed Republicans rarely answered “Not sure” in response to other questions about issues, often just 2-7% of the time, but on this fictional bombing question 60% of the responses were “Not sure.” This question came out of left field and the vast majority saw it as something confusing. IMO to be able to do that in a lengthy polling call reflects well on the respondents.

    DRJ (15874d)

  234. DRJ,

    That’s interesting material on the poll. The point of my post is not to cite this poll to make Republicans look stupid, as I have said. I find it interesting and telling the way they decided the question to ask, phrased it, and released the results. Clearly it’s a hit job on Republicans. I always thought so anyway. This just confirms it.

    That being said . . .

    I don’t really share Mike K’s level of distrust to the point where I necessarily disbelieve every jot and tittle of the poll. I find it easy to believe that they skewed the questions and selectively released the results, but hard to believe that virtually no Republicans advocated the bombing of this place, yet PPP just manufactured results falsely showing that a plurality did.

    Reviewing the reactions on this thread, I see a good number of comments that full-throatedly support 1) bombing an enemy, 2) trusting the authorities as to who to bomb, and 3) not particularly sweating the details on who gets bombed and why. The comments I see reinforce my suspicion that the poll is generally reliable, if not in every respect, then at least in finding large chunks of Republicans (and plenty of Democrats) who are all for bombing people without knowing a thing about the targets.

    Even if I accept every bad thing anyone has said about the poll, I still find that very concerning. Not because it shows Republicans are stupid, or stupider than Democrats, or even necessarily actively bloodthirsty (though plenty are, witness LBascom on this thread for an example).

    But because it shows people casually supporting killing without any thought at all.

    The people we massacred in Dresden or Hiroshima, to the extent they supported their government, did so for similar reasons: they trusted their own authorities as people here trust ours. In those situations (Dresden, Hiroshima, Nagasaki) an argument could be mounted that the deaths of so many innocent people were necessary to prevent even more deaths. That argument might fly and it might not. I am more suspicious of it now than I was as a child. But you can make the argument.

    But it’s sure tough to argue that if someone shoots 14 people here, we level a Muslim city and take out a few thousand (10,000? 20,000? does it matter) Muslims. If another terrorist takes out a few people here, then boom go another 20,000 in another city. Not even Israel acts that way. If we wanted the entire world to turn on us and perhaps nuke us into oblivion, acting that way would be a great way to do it. Sure, I understand only a handful of chuckleheads like LBascom support something that utterly crazy. But the “kill ’em all, it’s war” mindset that drives LBascom is the same mindset that causes someone to give their seal of approval to a pollster to kill people for absolutely no reason they have thought out. It’s the same mindset that causes Americans to support war after war after war. It’s not a harmless mindset. People actually die due to this mindset. And I think this poll, whatever its biases and perhaps deliberate flaws, still reveals something ugly about that mindset and how many people in this country hold it.

    Democracy is a horrible system and it’s a horrible way to decide whether to kill a bunch of strangers. Unfortunately I don’t see a way to shift this decision to the free market, as we could profitably shift so many other decisions to the market. So all I can do is rail at people who clearly make the decision way too casually. With this poll, I really think it’s tough to deny that there are far too many people out there who do.

    Patterico (2e1e5e)

  235. What if we made capital punishment decisions in murder cases by popular vote? Instead of deciding guilt by trial by jury by a standard of beyond a reasonable doubt, after applying a presumption of innocence, we have an election. Instead of a penalty phase in which a jury balances aggravating and mitigating factors, we go into a booth and ink our card or pull our lever. And then say a pollster — maybe even a biased pollster with an axe to grind — asks people if we should execute Tyler Durden, and lots of people say yes. And then it turns out that there is no real Tyler Durden facing the death penalty, he’s just the guy who says that the first rule of fight club is you don’t talk about fight club.

    Wouldn’t that cause people to be a teensy bit concerned about the methodology we were using to decide whom to execute?

    This example is, if anything, a rosier scenario than that presented by the PPP poll results. Bombing a city is going to kill more than one person. Yet so many people give it not even a second thought.

    There is something very wrong with this picture.

    Patterico (2e1e5e)

  236. As for the person who asked if I’m really just upset at Trump supporters: no. It’s anyone who supports bombing without a thought. Trump supporters, being largely ignorant people of the type who might join a cult, are more likely to be the type that supports bombing without a thought. But they’re not the only ones.

    But yes, I do worry that we are approaching end times for our republic. We’re just awaiting our Julius Caesar figure and maybe Chump is it. Any way you slice it we’re clearly on the road to tyranny and it’s just a matter of time. When the financial poop hits the fan, if a demagogue is in charge, it may be time to make like the von Trapps and head to Switzerland. Climb ev’ry mountain!

    Patterico (2e1e5e)

  237. I think the time to be tyrannic has past. Americans don’t have the balls to fight the establishment. Stay seated with your mouth shut and your feet in quick sand.

    mg (31009b)

  238. Patterico, my take is that the response that troubles you so was simply the voice of a lot of scared and frustrated people. Imagine they’d also asked these two questions:

    1. Do you think the beaches in Tahiti are better than those in Hawaii? (this to establish whether they knew where and what Tahiti was,)and if they respond anything but “What’s Tahiti?”:
    2. Do you think we should bomb Tahiti?

    The response would be a pretty emphatic “No!”, don’t you think?

    So the difference is the context.

    Now imagine that you and all the other prosecuting attorneys decided to just let all the bad guy go free by making laughably inadequate cases against them. And you did this for six or seven months. Sooner or later the thugs you’d released would rape and kill one too many little girl, and her Dad and a hundred neighbors would round up a group of likely suspects and hang them from telephone poles. They would do this because they’d lost faith in you and the system. These sorts of things have happened in every state of union, perhaps not in the last hundred years. Given sufficient motivation, in this case fear for your family, most of us will act, eventually.

    The administration has been so fecklessly ineffectual that they are beginning to scare a large portion of the population. This may be intentional, but in any event, failed leadership has led us to this point. Our chickens have come home to roost, to use a phrase the current occupant of the WH can understand.

    And I think it is silly to use legal concepts to describe and analyze what happens in war. Dresden and the other fire-bombings may not have achieved what their planners hoped, although that is debatable, but the nuclear weapons did. They saved millions of Japanese civilians from death by their own hands. Read about Saipan or Okinawa, and you’ll be appalled at the fate of huge numbers of civilians who were directed to take the lives of their children and their own by the authorities. The nearest analog I can draw is Jonestown. Replace Jim Jones with a devotion to the Emperor and obedience to his agents, and you have the picture. The ocean off the south cliff of Saipan was covered with the bodies of women and children who’d thrown themselves to their deaths, if they hadn’t already done the deed with knives. There were so many bodies that ships had to stop and remove the remains from their propellers. And this occurred despite Japanese speakers with loudspeakers who tried to break thru the training and get the civilians to come forward and be cared for.

    Oh, and why were the ships steaming thru the bodies? They were vainly hoping to find a survivor. There weren’t any. A handful were talked out of their caves and bunkers. A few more were saved by medics after the Marines tossed a hand grenade into a cave thinking soldiers were hiding inside. But that was about it.

    The last thing we need if we are to prosecute a war successfully is a lawyer applying his knowledge of civil law to what transpires. What do you do to an enemy commander who straps a POW to a chair and proceeds to cut open his chest and abdomen so he can eat his liver while the POW watches? This happened on the island that George Bush was shot down over. If Bush hadn’t been rescued, he could have ended up this way. What do you do to an enemy that indoctrinates its novice officers by having them slice the head off civilians who’ve been rounded up to serve this purpose? This happened routinely in Japanese controlled China. What do you do to an enemy that would slice steaks off a POW’s thighs and leave the man in a ditch for days so that they could come back and slice a few more “fresh” steaks before he expired. This happened in Rabaul.

    BobStewartatHome (a52abe)

  239. This is the new republican party spokesperson speaking about republican voters. Clinton/Grahamnesty/2016
    http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2015/12/gop-consultant-rick-wilson-republicans-have-to-put-a-bullet-in-trumps-head-ann-coulter-is-taking-anal/#disqus_thread

    mg (31009b)

  240. 242. The list of American’s possessing sh!t for brains is headed by this here Rick, but you will not live long enough to read every name below.

    Those who intend to survive will go off grid.

    DNF (755a85)

  241. I must be missing something.
    It would seem to me that “democracy” is government by “the market”.

    In the short run, advertising /marketing gets people to buy and do all kinds of nonsense, like pet rocks. Over time I guess only things of some value persist, but all kinds of nonsense happens in the short term.

    Prostitution and drug cartels exist because there is a market for them.

    I don’t think it is a light issue in going to war, which is why I think it matters a lot who is chosen to have responsibility for such decisions.

    MD in Philly (not in Philly) (deca84)

  242. here’s an eyeball massager is only $150

    happyfeet (831175)

  243. There would be a lot fewer wars if so many people were not dumbasses.

    nk (dbc370)

  244. I must be missing something.
    It would seem to me that “democracy” is government by “the market”.

    No, this is one of the consistent themes I have argued here. They are two very different things.

    The market is a series of exchanges between individuals (or collections of individuals, still made up of individuals). in which each side believes it is benefiting at the time of the exchange. While people make foolish or poorly thought out purchases, of course, they tend on average to be more prudent and do more research regarding their individual exchanges, because they are directly affected by their own actions.

    You buy a toaster, you get the toaster. There is an immediate cost and an immediate benefit. You feel all these consequences directly.

    Democracy, by contrast, is a collective decisionmaking process in which a majority of a self-selected group makes decisions for everyone. Voters are not directly affected by their decision, because they know that their decision will almost certainly not decide the outcome. To decide the outcome means you have to break a tie, which almost never happens. Even then, the “outcome” is just a choice of a candidate. The candidate’s views may or may not reflect the voter’s views in their entirety. The candidate’s promises may not get carried out despite the promise having been made. Even if the candidate’s promises are kept, they may not win the day in the legislature. Even if the law passes, it may not be signed. Even if it is signed, it may be struck down by a judge.

    You vote for a candidate, you may never get your desired policy. There is a huge disconnect between your actions and the consequences.

    This means, as Bryan Caplan showed in his book The Myth of the Rational Voter, that voters don’t just choose to be rationally ignorant. They feel free to vote irrationally, in ways that make them feel good, but may be utterly at odds with what every economist understands to be best for the economy. Thus people support protective tariffs even though economists understand that such tariffs hurt the country imposing them. The list is endless.

    Many decisions could be made by the market or by “democracy” or our republic, like how to provide health care. My view is that any decision that could conceivably be left to the market, should be left to the market. The incentives for making good decisions are much greater.

    Patterico (2e1e5e)

  245. How do I, as an individual, make choices that protect me and my family from criminals and foreign invasion?
    How do I, as an individual, make choices that allow for interstate travel over roads?

    MD in Philly (not in Philly at the moment) (deca84)

  246. I don’t think your problem is with democracy, polls, or comments. I think your problem is with Jacksonians.

    DRJ (15874d)

  247. With thanks to Stephen Den Beste for posting this, because I don’t think the original is still online.

    DRJ (15874d)

  248. They feel free to vote irrationally, in ways that make them feel good,

    I’ve long characterized the left/right divide as best symbolized by the (stereotypical) image of “mom” and “dad.” “Mom” reflects warmth, compassion and easy forgiveness, while “dad” reflects tough realism and a stickler for respecting what’s right and wrong.

    Mom is perceived to be liberalism, dad is deemed to be conservatism.

    Many of us as kids preferred being reprimanded by mom instead of dad, and felt we could get away with a lot more under the watchful eyes of mom, not dad.

    Take this to its logical conclusion and you end up with a city of Detroit or the 100-year history of a nation like Argentina—coming to an American theater near you.

    Mark (74fce8)

  249. This is shaping up to be a Jacksonian election.

    DRJ (15874d)

  250. You are like a Hamiltonian trying to talk Jacksonians out of what they believe. That will never happen.

    DRJ (15874d)

  251. I don’t think it is helpful to compare serving on a jury, where there is a clear duty to be careful and responsible, and answering an unsolicited political poll. There is no duty to answer a pollster’s questions with any degree of care, caution, or accuracy.

    DRJ (15874d)

  252. Its a stupid poll done as an enemy action, to hide the reality that this conflict has expanded to every continent but antartica.

    narciso (732bc0)

  253. #250: DRJ, that’s a very interesting link. As is your analysis in 249. This notion of a Jacksonian subculture does clarify a number of things. One element that wasn’t touched on was the enormous change in the lethality and scope of weapons of war. One of Larry Arnn’s themes in his recent online course on Churchill was Churchill’s understanding of the significance of this transformation, which necessarily made civilians an object of wartime goals since they provided the machines and devices that made modern war so much more deadly. Churchill argued so vehemently against appeasement because he foresaw the result of such policies. Ditto his appreciation of the need to respond to the Iron Curtain. Modern armies are expressions of home front productivity, and its easier to defang the enemy by denying them their armaments, than to defend yourself against those arms and beat the enemy head on, often on ground of his choosing.

    And it is worth noting that with the industrialization of war, hitting the enemy with everything you’ve got makes a lot of sense. In the submarine war, where you sank a ship didn’t matter so much as how many you sank, since the ships were mobile. And countries like Japan and the U. K. were hard pressed to defend everywhere, Japan more so than the U. K. Even the bombing of the Axis home lands forced our enemies to assign a major portion of their antiaircraft resources, especially fighters, to the defense of the home land, with major consequences to their armies and navies deployed on distant front lines. Axis powers rarely had air superiority after 1943. And this cost them dearly.

    BobStewartatHome (a52abe)

  254. Which brings us to belmont’s Three conjectures.

    narciso (732bc0)

  255. I don’t have the time nor energy to read the linked book to do it justice,

    but I will suggest that more often than not the big problem is not what is irrational,
    but immoral.
    A lot of things look rational depending on one’s basic presuppositions.

    “What causes wars and fighting among you? You want things that you don’t have, so you try to take them from others.” James 4 (MD’s off the top of his head version)

    If people lived by the 10 commandments, we would respect life, property rights, etc., and if we remembered those values when we voted then the world will be a much better place.

    When you don’t have a society that lives by the 10 Commandments, you can still do pretty well if many aspire to them and still more value them, even if when they see it in others but don’t try too hard to obey them themselves.

    When you have a majority of people who are willing to elect people who campaign with the purpose of breaking them, what do you expect?
    If John Smith is envious of Joe the plumber, but knows he can’t get away (yet) stealing directly from Joe the plumber,
    then the next best thing is to elect somebody who promises to steal from Joe for you.
    real dam* simple.
    If you don’t mind stealing from Joe down the street,
    why in the world would you bother about stealing from someone on the other side of the world?

    Obama and his ilk don’t only not care about the unborn,
    they don’t care about American citizens being murdered by people who shouldn’t even be here,
    or if they should be here,
    should be in jail.

    MD in Philly (not in Philly at the moment) (deca84)

  256. We need to be concerned about our responsibilities at least as much as we are about our “rights”.
    The chief responsibility of government is to protect the freedom of the members of the society to fulfill their responsibilities by exercising their rights.
    A person has a responsibility for their family, that means property rights, freedom from crime, etc. should be upheld by the government.

    If those things are neglected in route to other secondary aims, there is a problem.

    MD in Philly (not in Philly at the moment) (deca84)

  257. Bob,

    I hadn’t read the link in about a year but it’s interesting to me how well it fits with Trump’s statements. It makes me think his supporters are largely Jacksonians. (I doubt anyone is 100% of any category, but Mead’s 4 categories seem to fit most people.) I’m a Jacksonian, although my economic policies aren’t always consistent, but I prefer Cruz because I think Cruz will be a more reliable Constitutionalist. What do you think?

    DRJ (15874d)

  258. Also, good comment.

    DRJ (15874d)

  259. I’m certainly no Hamiltonian. I liked some of what Jackson did (opposition to the central bank) but think he was a bad guy overall. I’m a Jeffersonian.

    Patterico (2e1e5e)

  260. Oh, dear. That is interesting and makes total sense.

    DRJ (15874d)

  261. I see a parallel between the feelings of some towards Muslims and Jackson’s actions towards the Indians (Trail of Tears) which I think is a stain on his legacy.

    Patterico (2e1e5e)

  262. Heh. Why oh dear?

    Patterico (2e1e5e)

  263. No parallel is perfect. Not a fan of holding slaves obviously, or the French Revolution.

    Patterico (2e1e5e)

  264. I knew you weren’t a Jacksonian — although I like to imagine your Texas roots left a little Jacksonian imprint — but I hoped you were a Hamiltonian. The other 2 categories are so idealistic.

    DRJ (15874d)

  265. I think the idea is that each of the 4 categories have evolved as times change. Mead addressed that when he noted Jacksonians’ attitudes toward religion, racism, etc., changed. In fact, many blacks have elements of Jacksonian philosophy. Unfortunately, the Bushes and Obama don’t (except Bush 43 right after 9/11 and the surge), but Reagan definitely did.

    DRJ (15874d)

  266. Hamilton was a central government guy. Jefferson was a limited government guy. Jackson was uneducated and cruel. The joke was he could not spell his name the same way consistently. These are oversimplifications but it’s how I see them.

    My wife’s family are Jacksons from Texas on one side, descended from Jackson. She doesn’t like it if I bring up the Trail of Tears though.

    Patterico (2e1e5e)

  267. What does Jacksonianism mean to you?

    Patterico (2e1e5e)

  268. Patterico sounds just like the democrats after a terrorist attack. He thinks the enemy is Americans that might retaliate.

    “Chumps” need to sing Kimbiya and take it like any good Christian thrown to the lions should.

    Screw that. People pretend Muslim terrorism hasn’t been happening for 50 years, 9/11 was the first attack by Muslims on the World Trade Center, and Muslims haven’t killed hundreds of thousands just since then in pursuit of their worldwide caliphate. While we are forced to strip at the airport, end Christmas and debate blasphemy laws, being told trying to control immigration just creates more terrorist from the mythical moderate Muslim population.

    Call me bloodthirsty all you want, it doesn’t shame me. If it wasn’t for people like me, your grandma woulda been a whore for the Japanese army and by dismissing people like me now, you’re making it likely your granddaughter will be a sex slave of ISIS.

    EH, strike that. You’d be dimmi and pay the tax, I’m sure…

    LBascom (fe6129)

  269. What’s the fourth one? I know I read an article about this recently but I don’t remember the details.

    Patterico (2e1e5e)

  270. Yes, LBascom. Bomb Muslim cities for every terror attack or sell our grandchildren into sex slavery. That is our choice. You are so right.

    Patterico (2e1e5e)

  271. I am just going to ignore you now, LBascom, and talk to the adults, OK?

    Patterico (2e1e5e)

  272. fine, maybe you’ll get a clue when our Muslim friends nuke an American city. Maybe.

    LBascom (fe6129)

  273. From the link:
    The new mainline Protestantism was a tolerant, even a namby-pamby, religion.

    I think we’re being suckered with the Obama false choices of giving terrorists the run of the country or bombing the smithereens out of all of the Muslims in the world.

    MD in Philly (not in Philly at the moment) (deca84)

  274. Thanks DRJ. I suppose I’m a Jacksonian in this scheme. But I’m not a populist. I’m a Constitutionalist with Patterico’s enthusiasm for reducing government, especially our social welfare “commitments”, our bloated regulatory apparatus, and the perverted science programs, from NSF to NASA to NOAA to all the other agency grants, that have been created to support politically expedient “Climate Change” dog-and-pony shows. But I draw the line at reducing our expenditures on defense, which isn’t to be confused with the civilian-dominated puzzle palace on the Potomac, or the K Street highwaymen. But this politicization of the Defense budget dates back to Washington, so perhaps some level of corruption must be tolerated.

    I find it paradoxical that we are supposed to honor Democrat-created welfare “commitments” when they were nothing more campaign gimmicks by sleazy politicians who made no provision for funding the system they created. With no thought of creating a viable private retirement system, Mike Huckabee makes a big deal about the need to live up to those promises, but this will be impossible without a drastic change. Absent the needed change, I think the country will learn a very valuable lesson when the Ponzi Scheme collapses. I also find it appalling that Huckabee thinks I should be held responsible ad infinitum for Baghdad Jim’s pandering to some wild-eyed socialists. Having lost in virtually every election in the State of Washington for two decades, the losers are now responsible for making good the policies of a bunch of clowns. The collapse will be something like the South Seas Bubble, and perhaps our electorate will grow wiser and more conservative as reality grabs them by their hindquarters. And we always hear that the Democrats are the college-educated, smart, productive members of our society. If so, let them donate to a fund to make good on the promises their politicians made. But I think the reality is that most of these clever people work at Starbucks, and they haven’t paid income taxes in years.

    Seattle is transforming itself into a Boston or Cambridge with duplex houses crammed onto 60’x100′ lots, or multistory apartment buildings/condos wedged into several such lots, all with inadequate parking, especially for visitors. So now the problem is the automobile, which clogs narrow suburban streets. Church parking lots, that once served as playgrounds for church schools, are now used as shuttle parking for Microsoft employees who ride Microsoft buses 45 minutes out of town. This also has the effect of atomizing us. Visiting a friend in Seattle can be fairly inconvenient due to the difficulty of finding parking within a block or two.

    The Democrats, who have run Seattle for two generations, apparently can’t be held responsible for any of this. It’s always the wheat farmers in eastern Washington, or the apple growers in Yakima/Wenatchee who are responsible for the metastasizing slum that is called Seattle. But if you are a college student, or a young, single, professional, I suppose the bars and other amenities are attractive, just as Boston or Cambridge can be fun if you are young and have no responsibilities.

    BobStewartatHome (a52abe)

  275. Ah, yes, found the article again. Wilsonianism. Yuck.

    Patterico (a5f732)

  276. Doc,

    I think we’re being suckered with the Obama false choices of giving terrorists the run of the country or bombing the smithereens out of all of the Muslims in the world.

    Agreed. It’s pretty obvious. I’m wondering if this is leading to something.

    BobStewartatHome (a52abe)

  277. Link to the article, P?

    Dana (86e864)

  278. Re: Link to article, P?

    See DRJ (15874d) — 12/23/2015 @ 9:22 am, at #250.

    or use this:

    http://denbeste.nu/external/Mead01.html

    BobStewartatHome (a52abe)

  279. Ah, had not seen the Den Beste-linked piece. Scanning it quickly it confirms me as a Jeffersonian and not a Jacksonian. But that’s based on a quick scan.

    Patterico (a5f732)

  280. here is where you start for if you want to see nicolas cage except if he was a pickle

    Nicolas Cage Returns his Tyrannosaurus Skull to Mongolia

    i think you just saved christmas Mr. Cage i really do

    *hugs*

    happyfeet (831175)

  281. When George Tiller was murdered, there was an uptick in support for legal abortion; the same after the Planned Parenthood shooting a few weeks ago.

    Is it justifiable for people to tell pollsters they support abortion because it was just in the news that someone committed a crime against abortionists?

    Would anyone here making excuses telling a pollster they are supporting the bombing of Agrabah,, make the same excuses for someone who tells a pollster they support abortion?

    Gabriel Hanna (64d4e1)

  282. good allah, we aren’t talking about that,

    it was a stunt, engineered by the hackiest polling outfit, you can conjure up,

    narciso (732bc0)

  283. I’m glad to see some are interested in Prof Mead’s ideas that he wrote about in various articles in the 1990’s and in a book published in 2001 entitled Special Providence. Mead’s ideas cover a broad range of foreign, domestic, economic and cultural issues but I think originally it was a theory of American foreign policy. I view that as the heart of his ideas and what I’m talking about when I use the terms Jacksonian, Wilsonian, Jeffrsonian, and Hamiltonian.

    Mead discusses these American foreign policy ideas here. I’m interested whether you still feel like a Jeffersonian when it comes to foreign policy, as opposed to domestic policy and civil rights. In adition, believing in a President’s policies doesn’t mean you are a fan of the man himself. Liberals often are torn when it comes to Jefferson because they view him as a strong proponent of the Bill of Rights but a bad slave-owner. IMO those are separate from the merit and quality of his foreign policy ideas.

    DRJ (15874d)

  284. I believe a Jeffersonian would be concerned with spreading democracy abroad and with granting civil rights to all peoples, including people in foreign countries with whom we are at war. He would probably also be in favor of granting citizenship rights and privileges to any immigrants, no matter how they arrived, although that obviously wasn’t an issue in his time so I can’t be sure. Basic human dignity would require it, though, right? It’s a noble goal.

    Jacksonians are much more concerned with protecting American culture and territory. It doesn’t sound as noble but it’s very practical. Any thoughts where you stand?

    DRJ (15874d)

  285. well besides the Louisiana purchase, he was most identified with the Embargo Act, if memory serves,

    narciso (732bc0)

  286. FWIW, my impression is that Bush 43 was being very Jeffersonian when he tried to spread democracy abroad in the Middle East and Iraq, especially since his goal was humanitarian and not “blood for oil.” IMO it helped Bush succeed in selling the Iraq invasion to the public and prevented liberals from successfully characterizing him as a business/corporate-supporting Hamiltonian.

    DRJ (15874d)

  287. I’m only addressing foreign policy because the poll question was about bombing a foreign place, but there are domestic policy consequences that accompany the various foreign policy views. Like it or not, and sometimes I don’t like where it takes me, but Mead’s categories seem to apply to other areas. I think the key is understanding why you deviate and realize there are consequences from departing from a world view.

    DRJ (15874d)

  288. I guess there is also an argument that Bush 43 was being Wilsonian in Iraq. Maybe he was. I see Obama as being far more Wilsonian, though.

    DRJ (15874d)

  289. yes, that in the end, didn’t work, they still pegged ‘the blood for oil’ libel, and the neocon
    ‘delusion’ almost simultaneously, and ‘compassionate conservatism’ was never compassionate enough,

    narciso (732bc0)

  290. I dont want to give the wrong impression. Jefferson was clearly an isolationist who favored staying out of world affairs, especially when it came to alliances and commercial matters, but he also talked about the need for the strong to help the weak.

    DRJ (15874d)

  291. well he wasn’t so isolationist, when it came to the Barbary Pirates,

    narciso (732bc0)

  292. @narcisco:well he wasn’t so isolationist, when it came to the Barbary Pirates,

    They were assaulting American shipping and demanding tribute for not doing so.

    There is no isolationist who opposes war with those who actually attack us.

    Isolationists oppose things like, say, Kosovo.

    Gabriel Hanna (64d4e1)

  293. well the eaton expedition couldn’t have been considered toppling the Bey, had it succeeded,

    narciso (732bc0)

  294. Forewarning,
    I’m in an impatient mood which I will try to control.
    The world of Jefferson and even Wilson was very different from the world of today.
    Other than sneaking people with small pox across the southern border, which used to be a challenge,
    The world of today poses risks and demands our involvement unknown even 50 years ago.

    MD in Philly (not in Philly) (deca84)

  295. we are nearing more of the realm of the three conjectures, linked above, and the source probably wouldn’t be confined to the middleeast, western europe, as this last year has shown,

    narciso (732bc0)

  296. Jefferson succeeded best when his actions were contrary to his high sounding philosophical screeds and his political pandering. Dare I say his pontifications?

    Before the War of 1812, the British laughed at our complaints over impressing American seamen. After our frigates bested them in almost every engagement, and insurance for British shipping skyrocketed, the British were suddenly more willing to compromise on the issue. It was also true that by that time Napoleon was finally beaten and headed for St. Helens, eliminating the existential threat confronting the British. And Jackson’s victory at New Orleans put a cap on any second thoughts by those in Britain opposed to yielding the English right to kidnap on the high seas. Jefferson drove Adams out of office in the election of 1800 in part by ridiculing Adams for building the frigates that saved our country, and these same frigates burnished Jefferson’s legacy during the Barbary pirates war.

    Jefferson’s foolish assumption that militia would suffice to defend the country was disproved time and time again during the war with the exception of Jackson’s victory and some naval victories on the lakes bordering Canada. Unlike the Revolutionary War, our militia didn’t hide in the woods and snipe at the British regulars as they had at Concord in 1776. They ran like rabbits at the first sight of the British forces 30 miles southeast of the District of Columbia. The Brits hiked counter clockwise around the District, burning and slaughtering the occupants of any house that offered resistance, while paying for their pillage from the cooperating houses in British script that could be redeemed in London, before they turned south and burned the Capitol. But then these Brits had just defeated Napoleon at Waterloo and they were probably the best regular infantry in the world. Which makes Jackson’s victory even more remarkable.

    BobStewartatHome (a52abe)

  297. so he was more proactive on the Barbary Question, in similar relationship Reagan focused almost exclusively on the Soviet threat, and less on the Iranian effort, particularly on the proxy field of Lebanon,

    narciso (732bc0)

  298. #305: Narciso, Jefferson didn’t have any choice. The pirates refused to stay bought. They wanted more and more and more. It didn’t help that the first frigate we sent there, the Philadelphia, a ship built with private funds, went aground the day it arrived off Tripoli and was captured almost intact. Shock and awe it wasn’t. The 200 sailors enslaved by the pirates following this catastrophe allowed the pirates to up the ante to by about 3 fold. At that point more ships were sent, and in numbers sufficient to blockade the harbor except in conditions of very high north winds, which unfortunately were very common during our blockade. And those ships fought a very serious war with the pirates, including burning the Philadelphia and the bombardment of civilian quarters in the city. Alas, it was the Jewish quarter, which didn’t displease the Bey.

    The Six Frigates book by Ian Toll is an excellent resource if you want to understand the political issues and maneuvering, as well as the military campaigns, during that period.

    Which reminds me, war in those days had a free market flavor if you consider the practice of licensing privateers. Private ships were encouraged to raid Britain’s commerce, and over the course of the War of 1812 they captured about 800 merchant vessels. Their Letter of Marque protected them from the hangman’s noose when they, in turn, were captured by the British. But, of course, their ships were forfeit and they were treated as POWs. Provided they weren’t identified as deserters from the British fleet in which case they were executed, sometimes in very imaginative ways. And the reverse was also true when we captured a British privateer or ship of war, although I’m not familiar with any executions of Americans who happened to be captured while serving on a British ship. In fact such men had generally been kidnapped by the British through impressment.

    BobStewartatHome (a52abe)

  299. MD in Philly,

    Jeffersonian foreign policy encourages non-involvement with other nations, on the theory that peace is better than war.

    Hamiltonian foreign policy encourages an active support of commerce and business, on the theory that prosperity is the path to success.

    Wilsonian foreign policy embraces progressive international policies to make the world a better, more moral place.

    Jacksonian foreign policy believes America should stay out of other nations’ affairs unless our interests are threatened, in which case we should fight to win.

    I doubt anyone identifies completely with any one type but when it comes to foreign policy, most Presidents have followed one of these ideologies.

    DRJ (15874d)

  300. I would say we were fairly hamiltonian, re the middle east, with the exception of israel, in the 80s we gave more support to the kingdoms, people’s republics like Iraq, even the Maronites in Lebanon.

    narciso (732bc0)

  301. Thank you for the nice summary, DRJ.
    I was trying to say that it was a lot easier to stay out of conflict around the world in the old days when oceans and limited length of borders were significant barriers to attack.
    And peace is better than war, unless it is a pseudopeace prelude to an even bigger war.
    And sometimes trade is a prop for a regime that should fall.

    E.g. Iraq,
    Did we have an interest there? Yes
    Was trade, legitimate and illicit of help or hinder?
    Was “peace”, a lack of conflict sustainable without another confrontation?
    What did it mean to “win”, what would or would not have helped the world be a better place?

    MD in Philly (not in Philly) (deca84)

  302. the siege of troy, took 10 years, the first expedition, Iraq, took a little short of that, Afghanistan a little longer,

    narciso (732bc0)

  303. the brits went into Mesopotamia, in 1914, they left just short of a dozen years later, leaving a small force, commanded by then Captain Baggott Glubb, future head of the Arab legion,

    narciso (732bc0)

  304. Instapundit links an article regarding the massive civilian casualties that would have resulted if America had used its nuclear arsenal, presumably in response to a Soviet attack. It appears the military planners in the 1950’s were Jacksonians.

    DRJ (15874d)


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