Patterico's Pontifications

9/13/2017

Russ Roberts on the Merits of Civility (Alternate Title: A Post Few People Will Click On)

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:30 am

Russ Roberts has a nice piece on the state of our political world, and what to do about it. If I had to boil down his thesis, it would be: be nice and be humble.

BO-RING! Next!

Just kidding. It’s good advice. In the age of Trump, it is also very difficult advice to follow. And that makes the advice even more important.

This passage does not represent Roberts’s thesis, but just one example of how the Trump era causes people to discard their normal way of behaving, for the worse:

I follow a lot of mildly left-leaning journalists on Twitter who write for major publications and outlets. They are not fringe players. Their employers aren’t either. These reporters aren’t ideologues. They’re just right-thinking people who lean left. Somewhere along the line, they stopped pretending to be objective about Trump. They have decided he is dangerous and a liar and they write about it openly on Twitter. They mock him in a way they didn’t mock previous presidents who they didn’t particularly like. They may be right about the dangers posed by a Trump presidency. But their stance which violates long-standing norms of their profession amplifies the feelings of Trump supporters that those supporters are under attack from mainstream American culture.

Here’s a relatively benign but simple example. Trump says America is the most taxed nation in the world. This is not a true statement. But I suspect in Trump’s mind and the minds of his supporters, it’s not a lie. To them, Trump’s claim is a marketing statement, the way a real estate developer would tell you that this corner is the best location in the city. It’s enthusiasm to get you sympathetic to a tax cut.

Politicians lie and dissemble all the time. But they tend not to lie and dissemble about things that can be fact-checked. So this is new and it understandably outrages people and reporters. There is indeed something outrageous about this kind of hyperbole. So when a member of the media tweets or prints a chart showing Trump’s claim is totally incorrect, the chart reminds Haters of Trump that Trump is a buffoon and a liar. But it doesn’t convince the Lovers of Trump. Instead it confirms their view that the media is hostile to Trump. And as the media becomes more self-righteous in its denunciations of Trump, the Lovers of Trump see this as confirmation not of Trumps idiocy but of Trump as victim and the media as the enemy of their friend.

I am not suggesting that the media shouldn’t fact-check the President. But it’s a little like shooting fish in a barrel. And when it’s done with disdain or triumphalism it reinforces the view that Trump is embattled.

I’m not proud of my hatred of, and anger towards, Donald Trump. Hatred is a negative emotion. Anger is a negative emotion. (I’m working on it.) I reject virtually everything Trump stands for on a moral level. It is frustrating to point out his clear ethical failings — evidence of which crops up on a seemingly daily basis — and have people defend him nevertheless. If Trump and his supporters feel embattled, well, they’re not the only ones.

But reading Roberts’s column gives me a picture of how this dynamic can lead the embattled — on both sides, and that means me and you both! — to adopt a self-righteous attitude. I’m guilty of this. So are you. We can all do better. Roberts offers some simple ideas for doing so.

The ideas are time-honored, yet forgotten in our overheated climate. Turn the volume down when confronted with nastiness. Be humble. Imagine that you could be wrong — and that the person you are talking to could be right.

I fail to do these things, all the time. I will try to do better.

I appreciate Roberts setting these thoughts down to (virtual) paper, and I wanted to take a moment to spread the word. I commend the entire piece to you. It’s not the kind of post that will get a lot of clicks, shares, and so forth. But the ideas deserve to be spread. They’re not new with me, or even Russ Roberts. But we could all do with a reminder.

Thanks to reader Simon J. for the pointer.

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]

101 Responses to “Russ Roberts on the Merits of Civility (Alternate Title: A Post Few People Will Click On)”

  1. Hopefully, folks will take this seriously, and this will be a poop-lick free comments section.

    But I doubt it.

    Civility is something we should all strive for—including me.

    Thank you, Patterico, for reading the essay.

    Roberts put together those wonderful Keynes versus Hayek videos.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0nERTFo-Sk

    and

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GTQnarzmTOc

    No matter how this comments section ends up, Patterico, thank for posting about it.

    Simon Jester (c8876d)

  2. The comments section is produced by the interactions of all of us. We can all probably find room to do a little better.

    It can be hard for established personalities, because of expectations set over many interactions. But we all have the power, whenever we choose to use it, to reset our expectations and treat the person we respond to as someone whom we have not met, whom we wish to help to see things our way.

    That requires a level of sympathy and tact which would go a long way to making the comments section a more engaging place.

    There are people who like to do nothing but disrupt–in the spirit of resetting expectations I do not assume there are any–but I suggest that if you are dealing with people of that sort, there’s a script you can get from our host that can help you ignore them–if ignoring them in the usual way is hard.

    Frederick (64d4e1)

  3. Patterico, what are you thinking? How dare you reveal a depth of character and some modesty. This can not be tolerated!

    Tillman (a95660)

  4. @Tillman: I’m pretty sure what you just did is an example of what our host just said he would like you not to do.

    You are making assumptions, invidious ones, about what complete strangers are about to say, based on what you think their opinions and attitudes are. “Be humble. Imagine that you could be wrong — and that the person you are talking to could be right.”

    Frederick (64d4e1)

  5. @4 I should have made it clear that I was only joking Frederick.

    Tillman (a95660)

  6. @Tillman: I should have made it clear that I was only joking Frederick.

    Was it a joke that was likely to lead to more civility, or to less, do you think? Were you making fun of yourself, or other people? Do you think it would be easy for people who disagree with you to see that joke the way you did, or difficult?

    The questions of course are rhetorical, and the answers known but to you and God. I don’t need to know what they are.

    Frederick (64d4e1)

  7. Well stated, Patterico.

    AZ Bob (f7a491)

  8. Trump says America is the most taxed nation in the world. This is not a true statement.

    I don’t know where, or if, Trump said that, but that sounds very much as a distortion of the fact that the nominal (before other provisions of tax law come into play) top corporate tax rate for corporations based in the United States is just about the highest in the world – certainly higher tahn the countries the United States is most often compared to.

    So the problem may be that people don’t explain the error, or bad formulation, which in many cases is not made up out of whole cloth, and where in fact in many cases you can see where it’s coming from, because of earlier or other iterations of the claim.

    Maybe the problem is people listen to each other. Including some people not disposed to allot the slightest amount of fairness to Trump, and wh may deliberately not want to understand what Trump meant or why he said it, or even sometimes whether it is true. And they make Trump out to be more cynical than he is.

    Trump is not careful about facts, and sometimes he likes to repeat something that any “mainstream conservative” said (the alleged bugging of his office in Trump Tower came from Breitbart via Mark Levin.) And even the National Enquirer is mainstream enough for him.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  9. Being a member of the virtuous tribe means not only carrying the correct card in your wallet to reassure yourself. You have to also believe that the people carrying any other card are irrational, or worse, evil.

    That’s only for people on the left. People on the right think the people who are wrong are ignorant or stupid. People on the right don’t even think they are more virtuous. Remember, no mirror imaging.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  10. his assumptions are silly

    this idea that we’ve entered some new kind of era

    It feels as if we’re in a very dangerous moment.

    no we haven’t entered a new era

    I’m sorry you have unpleasant feels

    but in real life we just have pouty nevertrumps and a sore loser #resistance what want you to think we’ve entered a new era

    this is their Clever Scheme for to prevent President Trump from being “normalized,” and to justify their own juvenile pettiness

    but sometimes you just have to shut babies up in the nursery and let them cry themselves to sleep

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  11. Something being virtuuous is often based on the idea that the opposite is evil. If the people who did not oppose whst you oppose are not evil, then you’re not virtuous. The whole thing is all tied together and people don’t even recognize the logic that’s being used, because it’s all assumed to be true. It has to be be, because the “left” side is often wrong.

    Anyone for due process on campuses, is therefore evil of course.

    Leftism seems to operate on the basis that the difference between the different positions different people hold on public issuews is due to persons siding with good or with evil.

    The other side of the political spectrum tends to operate on the basis that the difference between people is due to one side knowing the facts and the other side being ignorant or stupid.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  12. @Sammy: I’ve seen expressions of both sentiments, coming from both sides.

    Frederick (64d4e1)

  13. Thumbs up, Patrick.

    Especially liked this part:

    The ideas are time-honored, yet forgotten in our overheated climate. Turn the volume down when confronted with nastiness. Be humble. Imagine that you could be wrong — and that the person you are talking to could be right.

    Ever made a mistake? Happened to me once.

    But enough about that.

    The virtues above are not good simply because they are useful for examining our ideas or the ideas of others. They are good because they seem to be a classic recipe for a healthy life: find value in important things, choose your battles, let the small stuff slide (Twitter is a case study in how not to do this), struggle to be cheerful, recognise that everyone has their own cross to bear, try to be kind, and persevere.

    There are many words that recall such virtues.

    JP (f1742c)

  14. One of the gifts of Donald Trump is his disturbing ability to make everyone look terrible. I don’t see him losing that gift — partly because being passive aggressive is part of the DJT arsenal, and the goal of the passive aggressive is make people who oppose them look horrible.

    Appalled (d07ae6)

  15. Leftism seems to operate on the basis that the difference between the different positions different people hold on public issuews is due to persons siding with good or with evil.

    The other side of the political spectrum tends to operate on the basis that the difference between people is due to one side knowing the facts and the other side being ignorant or stupid.

    This simply isn’t true. Look at the argument on abortion, for one. The right considers the left baby murderers. For a more explicit example, look at my recent exchange with Hoagie. He, and the creators of the memes he so often posts, consider Obama and his supporters evil, whereas I consider him (and them) ignorant.

    Davethulhu (fab944)

  16. http://www.nationalreview.com/article/451281/donald-trump-tax-reform-united-states-not-most-taxed-nation

    He says the Democrats don’t tell the truth either, when it comes to how much taxation is needed to pay for things. They insist “that something, somewhere — somebody rich, preferably in a Republican voting state — is getting over on us, that the rich are not paying “their fair share.”

    Kevin Williamson says the top 20% make 55% of all income but pay 70% of all federal taxes.

    (all of this happens because nobody’s using numbers.)

    In truth, there’s lots of wrong assumpitions both parties use. Like elected officials creating jobs.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  17. If you can believe this, you can believe anything:

    I follow a lot of mildly left-leaning journalists on Twitter who write for major publications and outlets. They are not fringe players. Their employers aren’t either. These reporters aren’t ideologues. They’re just right-thinking people who lean left. Somewhere along the line, they stopped pretending to be objective about Trump.

    These journOlistas aren’t “mildly left-leaning” anything, they are friggin’ radical leftists who don’t even know a moderate let alone a conservative. And yes, they are ideologues as they showed the world with their collective GASP! at 10 PM on election night. They aren’t right-thinking people who lean left at all. Rather they are the embodiment of 6o years of leftist propaganda and brainwashing in schools, universities and in the media. They didn’t just “stop pretending to be objective about Trump” this sh!t began with Reagan being a “dunce” and senile to Bush 42 being stupid and a liar to covering up every screw up and lie by their man-god Obama. It’s just that Trump is more than their puny hate-filled minds can tolerate because he was picked by the Deplorables instead of the “right” people who are supposed to pick presidents.

    They are liars, Russ Roberts is a liar and all they are trying to do is justify 12 months of continuous rage and hate directed at America because we picked Trump.

    You guys just don’t get it. They don’t hate Trump, they hate us. They hate America. They hate our history and refuse to teach it and now are trying to erase it.

    Rev.Hoagie® (6bbda7)

  18. @Sammy:all of this happens because nobody’s using numbers

    There are so many ills, of which this is the cause.

    Frederick (64d4e1)

  19. The main thing about civility is being nice to each other, and always be respectful of the host, who is paying for this space. You don’t have to agree, you just have to notice that all of us are human beings, and most of us think we have something to add to the conversation.

    Appalled (d07ae6)

  20. 13.One of the gifts of Donald Trump is his disturbing ability to make everyone look terrible.

    Riiight. So now it’s Trumps fault “everyone” looks terrible. You can relax Appalled, you look terrible all by yourself. No help necessary.

    Rev.Hoagie® (6bbda7)

  21. @Rev Hoagie: There are lots of people who do not communicate in good faith. You have an excellent point there.

    But here, you see, we have the power to be the sort of people who do communicate in good faith, and we have the power to ignore those few who get joy out of disruption and disharmony.

    Frederick (64d4e1)

  22. @Appalled:One of the gifts of Donald Trump is his disturbing ability to make everyone look terrible.

    I’d say it’s like alcohol. The bottle didn’t make you do it, you had it in you, and the bottle helped you feel better about doing it.

    Donald Trump is not standing over me and typing different letters for me than what I intend.

    Frederick (64d4e1)

  23. , look at my recent exchange with Hoagie. He, and the creators of the memes he so often posts, consider Obama and his supporters evil, whereas I consider him (and them) ignorant.
    Davethulhu (fab944) — 9/13/2017 @ 12:43 pm

    Again you insist upon telling me and everyone else what I think. What is it about you that makes you so damn smug you believe you have such Divine insight? You constantly make false accusations and have the balls to call me ignorant? You best look in the mirror hypocrite.

    Rev.Hoagie® (6bbda7)

  24. @Rev Hoagie: I thought Davethulhu’s comment to you was a violation of our host’s request. But it is your choice to respond in kind, or aim higher, or simply let it pass by.

    Frederick (64d4e1)

  25. As it was written in the Book of Judge:

    Settle down, Beavis

    JP (f1742c)

  26. Leftism seems to operate on the basis that the difference between the different positions ifferent people hold on public issuews is due to persons siding with good or with evil.

    The other side of the political spectrum tends to operate on the basis that the difference between people is due to one side knowing the facts and the other side being ignorant or stupid.

    14. Davethulhu (fab944) — 9/13/2017 @ 12:43 pm

    This simply isn’t true. Look at the argument on abortion, for one. The right considers the left baby murderers.

    But not bad people. That actually proves my point. They don’t want to punish women who have abortions oor even regard doctors who perform them with hostility. So they assume ignoranae , or stuoidity, not bad intent.

    For a more explicit example, look at my recent exchange with Hoagie. He, and the creators of the memes he so often posts, consider Obama and his supporters evil, whereas I consider him (and them) ignorant.

    Politicians are a little bit different. They may hold bad positions for cynical reasons.

    there ceryainly is acase to be made for Obama – yes Obama – being evil. I saw the case being made yesterday in a column in the Wall Street Journal. Of course it was on an issue that people on the left think Republicans are being cruel.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-cruelty-of-barack-obama-1505171158

    Avoiding the paywall for more of teh article:

    http://nation.foxnews.com/2017/09/12/cruelty-barack-obama-ex-president-isnt-what-he-says-he-immigration

    Throughout his political life, Barack Obama has been hustling America on immigration, pretending to be one thing while doing another. Now he’s at it again. Mr. Obama calls it “cruel” of Donald Trump both to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that protected hundreds of thousands of people who came to the U.S. as children illegally—and to ask Congress to fix it….

    …Mr. Obama’s double-dealing begins with his time as junior senator from Illinois, when he helped sabotage a bipartisan immigration package supported by George W. Bush and Ted Kennedy. Mr. Obama’s dissembling continued during the first two years of his own presidency, when he had the votes to pass an immigration bill if he had chosen to push one. It was all topped off by his decision, late in his first term, to institute the policy on DACA that he himself had previously admitted was beyond his constitutional powers.

    Let this columnist state at the outset that he favors a generous system of legal immigration because he believes it is good for America. Let him stipulate too that a fair and reasonable solution to 800,000 children who are here through no fault of their own should not be a sticking point for a nation as large as America. But once again, here’s the point about Mr. Obama: For all his big talk about how much he’s wanted an immigration bill, whenever he’s had the opportunity to back one, he’s either declined or actively worked to scuttle it…

    …Sen. Obama opted to back 11th-hour amendments that Kennedy rightly complained were really intended as deal-breakers. At a critical point, Kennedy urged that President Bush ask then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to keep the Senate in session to get the last few votes the bill needed. Mr. Reid opted for the Obama approach: Concluding he’d rather have the political issue than actual reform, he adjourned the Senate for the July 4 recess….

    The article cites Carl Cannon of RealClearPolitics as first bringing this up.

    See https://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2017/09/10/democrats_daca_dishonesty_134960.html

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  27. @Rev Hoagie: Don’t you think his mentioning you by name was intended to provoke your response? If he wanted to condemn the behavior, he need not have mentioned your name. The whole point was to goad you, I’m pretty sure. Maybe he doesn’t think so. Whether he meant to or not there are definitely other commenters who like to wind you up and rarely seem to disappoint them.

    But they can’t make you react that way.

    Frederick (64d4e1)

  28. I think we all recognize here that calls for civility, like procedural arguments, are frequently insincere. (Let me add here that I take my host’s desire for civility at face value.)

    But that does not mean that civility is not a good thing. It is a very good thing, and we could have more of it, and should.

    Frederick (64d4e1)

  29. I actually wasn’t trying to wind him up on this one. I assumed, based on posts like 16 in this thread, that he considers the left evil.

    Hoagie, if I was wrong in this assumption, I apologize.

    Davethulhu (fab944)

  30. He says the Democrats don’t tell the truth either, when it comes to how much taxation is needed to pay for things. They insist “that something, somewhere — somebody rich, preferably in a Republican voting state — is getting over on us, that the rich are not paying “their fair share.”

    Kevin Williamson says the top 20% make 55% of all income but pay 70% of all federal taxes.

    (all of this happens because nobody’s using numbers.)

    In truth, there’s lots of wrong assumpitions both parties use. Like elected officials creating jobs.

    The big assumption is that taxes target certain groups. This may be true when a tax is first implemented, however all taxes are ultimately paid through work (something I think Frederick touched on elsewhere) that someone has to do somewhere. Taxes are promoted by politicians to only effect or target certain groups. This may hold initially, for a few months or a year but eventually markets adjust. Costs are passed on to people who do the actual work via their being, ultimately, consumers. The politicians, D’s and R’s, pretend to control who pays taxes via our complex, byzantine tax laws. The more complex the better to focus the populace’s attention on “fairness” and such while little attention is paid to the real culprit, spending. And what isn’t taxed is still most broadly taxed in the form of borrowing/inflating away the difference. If you really want to cut taxes, cut spending.

    Also, consider if you have a job that provides no benefit to society but you are taxed at 40%, the burden of those taxes didn’t fall on you, they fell on the aggregate of those who do work. You weren’t the one taxed, the greater market was.

    Also, what Rev Hoagie said.

    CFarleigh (5b282a)

  31. @5 Tillman

    I should have made it clear that I was only joking Frederick.

    You know I used to excuse myself a lot by saying I was only joking. I mean we all do joke and we all use sarcasm, often as a weapon. But one day I was convicted of this. I’m not one to quote Scripture but this Scripture really spoke to me that day and every day since and is especially fitting for all online communication, especially since we can’t see facial expressions of vocal inflection in our typed words….

    Proverbs 26:18-19 Like a maniac shooting flaming arrows of death is one who deceives their neighbor and says, “I was only joking!”

    Believer or not you have to see the wisdom and validity in these words. Do I still joke? Sure, and I use sarcasm but I make every attempt to do so only with people who know me or make it clear it is a joke from the beginning. I actually took your original comment as sarcasm/joke but obviously not everyone did.

    Marci (b7b42a)

  32. @Davethulhu:I actually wasn’t trying to wind him up on this one. I assumed, based on posts like 16 in this thread, that he considers the left evil.

    Right, but using his name makes it personal. You could have described the behavior if you wanted, without using his name. So whether you meant to, or should have foreseen it, you DID wind him up.

    Granted, his own fault for responding in kind, you didn’t make him do that. You did your bit to bring the tone down, and he did his, and together you have that kind of interaction.

    Frederick (64d4e1)

  33. The Angry Man
    by Phyllis McGinley (1905-1978)

    The other day I chanced to meet
    An angry man upon the street —
    A man of wrath, a man of war,
    A man who truculently bore
    Over his shoulder, like a lance,
    A banner labeled “Tolerance.”

    And when I asked him why he strode
    Thus scowling down the human road,
    Scowling, he answered, “I am he
    Who champions total liberty —
    Intolerance being, ma’am, a state
    No tolerant man can tolerate.

    “When I meet rogues,” he cried, “who choose
    To cherish oppositional views,
    Lady, like this, and in this manner,
    I lay about me with my banner
    Till they cry mercy, ma’am.” His blows
    Rained proudly on prospective foes.

    Fearful, I turned and left him there
    Still muttering, as he thrashed the air,
    “Let the Intolerant beware!”
    http://holyjoe.org/poetry/McGin3.htm

    nk (dbc370)

  34. True what you say about humility. I learned the hard way, when everything I believed as a liberal was proven wrong by reality. I wuz wrong!

    But humility is out of vogue these days. Metastasized doses of self-esteem, assertiveness, and emotional hysteria have replaced it. You can see the results in everything from road rage to politics.

    Patricia (5fc097)

  35. No I am not guilty of this, you are.

    I just stopped reading you for the most part. But I haven’t seen you say anything about Justin Trudeau though I would read that….you know accomplished billionaire vs. smarmy trust fund baby.

    Jack (e5af45)

  36. Trump says America is the most taxed nation in the world. This is not a true statement.

    Especially here in California where income tax and sales tax are very reasonable, not to mention property tax. Then there are fees for every type of government service you want.

    California is a model for the nation.

    AZ Bob (f7a491)

  37. One side has heavily relied upon emotionalism and feeeeeeeeelings and has actively engaged in redefining terms and moving goalposts in argument. It ain’t the Right.

    This essay is an exercise in academic construct irrelevance. He ignores human nature and the failed world as it is. In sum, the squeaky wheel will get the grease. It always has and it always will.

    The question for us is: To which world should we aspire?

    Christianity compels us to not care very much about earthly things. This is not our eternal place. There is another place in another dimension that must be our focus. The writer’s solutions work for those who adopt this philosophy. I most sincerely wish I were better able to adopt this understanding in my life. I wish this for everyone.

    The reality is that bullies and tyrants win out in this world. Our deeply flawed human nature fates us to treachery. Tribalism is but one coping mechanism we employ.

    Politically, the GOP has paid a frightful price by refusing to engage in the madness that the Left, largely expressed through the Democrats, has brought. Too much has been tolerated and we are now in a place of absurdity as the norm. The Rule of Law is but a memory. So, too, the Constitution.

    Whose agendae are front and center today? The Tea Party’s, or Antifa’s? Which of these employed respectful and legal methodology? Alinsky called it and now it is reality.

    In a more perfect world, the way of MLK and Christ are inarguably correct. That world is not this world. There is the choice. Which world is it gonna be for you? Shall you be a lamb? Or shall you defend the self (yourself)?

    Whichever way you choose, this world will end badly. No essay will change this truth.

    Ed from SFV (3400a5)

  38. ‘The Merits of Civility.’ It’s so… British.

    “I say, hard cheese old boy.” – Raymond Delauney [Terry-Thomas] ‘School For Scoundrels’ 1960

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  39. “Trump says America is the most taxed nation in the world. This is not a true statement.”

    That Trump is imprecise in his speech should, I think, at this point be recognized by just about everyone. I can scarcely stand to listen to him. It’s too frustrating. Given his sloppy speech habits, it seems to me a waste of time to continue to point out the inaccuracies and ambiguities. He’s always going to fail “Extemporaneous Speech 101″. I’d rather judge the man and his effectiveness by what he does and/or persuades others to do.

    However, playing devil’s advocate in his behalf just for the fun of it, for this particular criticism, I’ll suggest that he could have been generally referring to U.S. corporate taxes and the fact that the U.S. is one of the few major countries with a worldwide corporate tax system (and the only G-7 country) rather than a territorial system.

    Or…. He could have had in mind the aggregation of federal, state & local income tax, property taxes, user fees & taxes such as those at airports, hotels, and other entertainment venues, sales & use taxes, etc. See, for example, this list from 2014. http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/a-list-of-97-taxes-americans-pay-every-year

    I have no idea how the comparison might work between [all] taxes paid by a typical American citizen and a typical, say, German citizen. I obviously have no idea what, if anything, Trump had in mind as he spoke.
    I just wanted to point out that it might bear thinking about the ways in which Trump might have been correct in his statement, before rushing to the opposite judgment.
    Oh, and I like Russ Roberts. Most of the time. 😉

    ColoComment (e31425)

  40. Trump’s talk is just like Schumer and Pelosi in my mind. They all distort and exaggerate. We have grown accustom to expecting it from the left.

    AZ Bob (f7a491)

  41. This is happening whether or not your scruples are aflame with righteous anger

    https://www.hatch.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/releases?ID=B9FCD1A1-1BA8-4E48-8AA4-A3FCA2E9D777

    Ben burn (b3d5ab)

  42. “To be blunt, we need to remove the administrative barriers preventing legitimate research into medical marijuana, which is why I’ve decided to roll out the MEDS Act.”

    Indeed, Senator Hatch. This is a new and improved position driven by science, not withstanding prior statements of pure ignorance by both aisles of grandiose stupidity.

    Ben burn (b3d5ab)

  43. I have some problems with Trump, even as a trump supporter. (support for the War on Drugs, militarized LEO’s, etc.)

    That said, it was never about Trump.

    It was about self-defense against big government and left wing liberals, and a last – probably, forlorn – chance at a peaceful resolution of our differences.

    e.g. read the pinned ‘abstract’, here:
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/775488689310331/

    It can’t happen in America? It *is* happening in America.

    Warren Bonesteel (138dd5)

  44. i love President Trump he’s my morning noon and night

    i love doing civility on him, and i appreciate how much civility he does all up in it

    this is a golden age, people

    stop and look around so you can tell your grandkids

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  45. I’ll agree just a little bit with Warren Bonesteel. Trump is not the disease. He is not even the worst symptom of the disease. He is the drop of pus oozing from the pustule.

    nk (dbc370)

  46. Let’s have Democrat Tom Harkin for balance, thanks to him and Orrin Hatch, Medicare and Medicare flush money down the alternative medicine toilet. Purely motivated by science.

    Frederick (64d4e1)

  47. No he’s not motivated only by science per se , Frederick. But he finally did the right thing. Cannabis should never have been Schedule 1 proscribing it’s research utility.

    Ben burn (b3d5ab)

  48. He is the drop of pus oozing from the pustule.

    this is a good example of how not to do the civility

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  49. Frederick @45. When Christian Science was founded, your chances of recovery were better if you did not go to the doctor than if you did go to the doctor. Today, for old people (Orrin Hatch is 83), that still holds true. Doctors, real doctors, will tell you: “Don’t tinker with old people.” It is also true for a great many conditions that afflict persons of any age, where the medical procedure is as dangerous, or even riskier, than the affliction. Brain surgery and eye surgery are two I am personally familiar with.

    nk (dbc370)

  50. I’m 61 years old, a lawyer for 35 years, and just this year I won a case that nobody thought I would win, not even my client, with only good looks, good grooming and good manners. I’ll be civil here if Patterico tells me to, because it’s his blog, but otherwise … (fill in the blank).

    nk (dbc370)

  51. you do good civility just not on President Trump yet

    you just have to get to know him better

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  52. Hope he gets shanked or at least plugged in the klink, but otherwise im not mad at anyone who posts here.

    urbanleftbehind (807688)

  53. You know, some of us have read a book. We know about being “humble”.

    Uriah Heep is probably Dickens’s most unsympathetic character:

    ‘Oh, indeed you must excuse me, Master Copperfield! I am greatly obliged, and I should like it of all things, I assure you; but I am far too umble. There are people enough to tread upon me in my lowly state, without my doing outrage to their feelings by possessing learning. Learning ain’t for me. A person like myself had better not aspire. If he is to get on in life, he must get on umbly, Master Copperfield!’

    And there’s Hamlet talking about his stepfather:

    O villain, villain, smiling, damnèd villain!
    My tables!—Meet it is I set it down
    That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain.

    nk (dbc370)

  54. I would attribute “the US is the most taxed” to hyperbole whereas “if you like your doctor you can keep your doctor ” to purposeful deceit and lies. Do you remember the media attacking obama or supporting him?

    jim (557eae)

  55. I’m not sure it’s even hyperbole. These guys who think we are not taxed enough do their statistics — you know what statistics are, right? “There are lie, damned lies and statistics.” — as a percentage of taxes collected over GDP. So, yeah, as a percentage of GDP, the governments of such countries as Greece, Turkey, Ireland and Portugal collect more taxes than the U.S. federal and state governments. I think that instead of raising taxes, we should lower our GDP so that our percentage of taxes paid will be on a par with those countries’. Then we won’t have anything to be embarrassed about. What do you guys think?

    nk (dbc370)

  56. I am not suggesting that the media shouldn’t fact-check the President. But it’s a little like shooting fish in a barrel. And when it’s done with disdain or triumphalism it reinforces the view that Trump is embattled.

    But why shouldn’t he feel embattled? He is flagrantly incompetent and immoral. I may be wrong about a great many things, and I acknowledge that. But I am confident I am not wrong in my judgment that Donald Trump should not be the most powerful man in the world or have a nuclear arsenal under his personal command. When pressed, even most of his supporters here acknowledge his obvious and grave flaws.

    I agree with Patrick that hate and anger are negative emotions. Rather than hate or anger, really “disgust” comes closest to describing my emotions toward Trump. I have no hatred or anger toward anyone who posts here.

    Dave (445e97)

  57. I dislike Trump because he’s living rent-free in Conservative Dave’s head… in fact, he’s living in what passes for a penthouse in Conservative Dave’s world.

    Colonel Haiku (a4b010)

  58. i love President Trump enough for both of us Mr. Dave

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  59. Just kidding, Conservative Dave. I’ve already renounced myself, and did it with great disdain.

    Colonel Haiku (a4b010)

  60. There are anecdotes about conservatives being fired, blacklisted, marginalized, or forced into deep cover in Hollywood, the companies they work for, academia, and government. I never hear reports of liberals encountering similar discrimination.

    What should one do under these circumstances? Somehow being civil when you are getting your a$$ handed to you seems to me a poor strategy.

    I’ll never forget the first time I publicly challenged an uninformed liberal at a party who was mindlessly repeating a lie he read at Huffington Post. I brutally lit into the guy. In addition to ensuring he understood the facts, my diatribe included vicious ad hominem attacks which I used in the heat of the moment. He was shell-shocked because until that moment, no one outside his echo chamber had ridiculed his opinions. He stammered and stuttered but I was merciless. He actually was forced to back-track as it dawned on him that there indisputable facts and other world-views held by those principled enough to advance and defend them.

    It actually felt great.

    Lenny (5ea732)

  61. My point isn’t always to fight, but that sometimes you must. I think most people are principled on all sides of an argument, many more than we might realize.

    Lenny (5ea732)

  62. @nk:These guys who think we are not taxed enough do their statistics — you know what statistics are, right? “There are lie, damned lies and statistics.” — as a percentage of taxes collected over GDP.

    I define “taxes” as being paid in US currency into the US treasury, and so yes we are the most taxed country in the world, since all other countries’ citizens are paying an average of nearly $0 into the US treasury. Politifact here I come!

    It’s the typical fact check move, documented so often by Patterico over the years: choose one of the many alternative interpretations of a statement, declare only that one to represent the Truth, declare all others some flavor of false.

    How often did Cruz or Romney get rated “false” (or “true but false”!) for a literally factual statement?

    Frederick (80401a)

  63. Trump is a symptom. The sickness is the distrust the voters feel for the establishment of BOTH parties. Recall, Sanders branded as an ‘outsider’ (just how much of an outsider either Sander or Trump actually is is beside the point).

    That distrust is earned. Both parties (on a National level) have show no real ability to address actual citizen concerns. Both parties tend to lecture the citizenry about how they SHOULD feel about certain issues, instead of responding to how they do feel.

    We are going to see a series of election cycles pitting charismatic populists against insider drones, until both parties wise up. What form that ‘wising up’ will take is something I cannot guess.

    C. S. P. Schofield (99bd37)

  64. Seriously. Where did they get a rule that taxes should be a percentage of GDP? It’s a BS measure. Government spending should grow as the economy grows? Gag me with a spoon.

    nk (dbc370)

  65. @nk:Government spending should grow as the economy grows?

    You’re puzzled because your mind’s not right. The economy grows BECAUSE government spending grows. Be able to explain why before tonight’s self-criticism session, tongzhi.

    Frederick (80401a)

  66. And yes, they are ideologues as they showed the world with their collective GASP! at 10 PM on election night.

    It might be better to avoid specific instances, but this is a perfect example of the refusal to be civil. It seems, Hoagie, that the idea that these people were aghast at the realization that the American people had in fact elected a man to the Presidency who was, morally and intellectually, unfit to be President– that these people were reacting the way an honest decent person should have reacted–has never entered your head. To you “leftism” is a term that implies inherently a desire to do moral wrong, and therefore you seem unable to think ot “leftists” doing a good thing, or even intending to do a morally good thing. (I am saying this based on the constant tenor of your comments. If that’s not how you think, then you need to express yourself differently.) “Judge every man in the scale of merit”. You insist on judging people in the scale of guilt solely because you don’t like their political views.

    kishnevi (4490a8)

  67. They are liars, Russ Roberts is a liar and all they are trying to do is justify 12 months of continuous rage and hate directed at America because we picked Trump.

    Roberts writes something in the piece (albeit in his own style and voice) that expresses some of the same concerns you are expressing, Hoagie.

    Given that I don’t like the President, you’d think I find the response of his enemies inspiring or important. But the responses scare me too, the naked hatred of Trump or anyone who supports or likes him. And of course, it goes way beyond Trump and politics. The same level of vitriol and anger and unreason is happening on college campuses and at the dinner table when families gather to talk about the hot-button issues of the day. Everything seems magnified.

    I’ve listened to Roberts’s podcasts for years, read his book about Adam Smith, and have touted his ideas and videos here before. I think you would have a different view of Roberts if you got to know his work better. He might not end up being your favorite guy — his mildness sometimes grates on me! — but I think you would come to see him as anything but a liar.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  68. @kishnevi:that the idea that these people were aghast at the realization that the American people had in fact elected a man to the Presidency who was, morally and intellectually, unfit to be President

    The problem with your hypothesis is that Cruz, or Walker, or Romney would have got the same gasp. If you don’t think so, you don’t remember 2004.

    Frederick (80401a)

  69. @63 Colonel….
    LOL
    Good job. No disdain necessary. :)

    As to taxes…. living here in Houston we are faced with the mayor asking for a one-year (limited by state law supposedly) 9% property tax increase to deal with the expenses of Harvey. So the folks who had their houses flooded will be paying more taxes for a house that might not even be fixed by the time the taxes are due. Such compassion our government has.

    Marci (b7b42a)

  70. I’ll never forget the first time I publicly challenged an uninformed liberal at a party who was mindlessly repeating a lie he read at Huffington Post. I brutally lit into the guy. In addition to ensuring he understood the facts, my diatribe included vicious ad hominem attacks which I used in the heat of the moment. He was shell-shocked because until that moment, no one outside his echo chamber had ridiculed his opinions. He stammered and stuttered but I was merciless. He actually was forced to back-track as it dawned on him that there indisputable facts and other world-views held by those principled enough to advance and defend them.

    It actually felt great.

    Lenny,

    When it comes to the persuasive strength (or lack thereof) of ad hominem attacks, I’m reminded of this excellent Onion piece:

    Former Conservative Recalls Belittling Tirade From College Student That Brought Him Over To Left

    Explaining how the string of personal insults and sharply worded accusations caused him to reevaluate every one of his political leanings, former conservative Vincent Welsh recalled for reporters Friday the belittling tirade from a college student that brought him over to the left. “It was last October and I’d just mentioned my support for a Republican congressional candidate on Twitter when this 19-year-old responded by telling me I was an ignorant asshole who hated the poor and that I was everything that was wrong with the world, and it just completely opened my eyes to how incorrect my whole worldview was,” said Welsh, fondly recounting how the sophomore sociology major converted him to liberalism on the spot by calling him a hateful bigot and saying he was too much of a “brainwashed puppet” of corporate interests to know what was best for him, instantaneously invalidating the 56 years of individual thought and life experience that had led him to his previous political beliefs. “I remember how he said anyone who didn’t support Scandinavian-style social policies was nothing more than a greedy capitalist leech and I was just like, ‘Wow, yes, that makes total sense.’ And then when he called me a fascist piece of shit and condescendingly asked if I’d ever once looked up from my copy of Atlas Shrugged, that was the moment I saw what a complete fool I’d been and knew I had to reject all my political positions and adopt his ideology in total.” Welsh then expressed his deep gratitude that the young man had even stopped to direct the series of derogatory tweets at him in the first place, saying he would likely still be a “money-grubbing racist shithead who spends all day sucking the Koch brothers’ dicks” if not for the magnanimous individual.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  71. 73, good god, your property taxes will resemble the “property tax/12 > P&I” monthly payments I thought were possible in southern Cook County IL suburbs.

    urbanleftbehind (807688)

  72. Only in southern Cook Co.

    urbanleftbehind (807688)

  73. Frederick, I think you are making the same mistake as Hoagie. You seem unable to accept even the possibility that political opponents can act the way decent human beings act.
    My memory of 2004 is hazy (I think in fact I was working that evening, so I would have had no chance of observing the initial reaction) but what I remember can be described as subtly conveyed disappointment, not open horror and astonishment.

    kishnevi (4490a8)

  74. “russ” would not have written this navel-gazing treacle if hillary had wonned

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  75. @kishnevi:You seem unable to accept even the possibility that political opponents can act the way decent human beings act.

    That is an extremely strong statement that you cannot possibly justify by citing anything I have ever written.

    Frederick (80401a)

  76. @kishenvi: When Romney was described as a white supremacist by mainstream figures in the Left, what exactly did he do to deserve it?

    A lot of these guys, as Hoagie rightly points out, are not communicating in good faith. Not all of them, by any means, but too many of them have shown themselves to be able to gin up the outrage at whatever level required. Of course such figures can be found all over the spectrum.

    Frederick (80401a)

  77. Perhaps–but your comment I referred to suggests that you don’t even consider the possibility those people were acting simply as decent honest people, not out of political motivation.

    Have you considered that possibility (not even probability, just possibility!)?

    If so, I misread you and I apologize.

    kishnevi (4490a8)

  78. @kishnevi: I referred to suggests that you don’t even consider the possibility

    Can you please cut and paste the words where I said any such thing, or any synonyms?

    Is it because I simply failed to say “I have considered the possibility”, that you feel justified characterizing me as a person “unable” to accept even a “possibility”?

    Frederick (80401a)

  79. If you don’t think so, you don’t remember 2004.

    I remember 2004. I also remember 2008 and 20012.

    Davethulhu (3a2442)

  80. A much more important point.
    The last comment I saw from Ropelight was made before Irma made landfall in his area. Has anyone heard from him? Hopefully it’s simply a matter of having more important things to do, such as dealing with a house that seriously trashed by the hurricane, and lack of cell phone service, but it would be nice to know that’s all it is.

    kishnevi (4490a8)

  81. 82
    No, it’s your almost reflexive insistence that they aren’t.

    kishnevi (4490a8)

  82. In a more perfect world, the way of MLK and Christ are inarguably correct. That world is not this world.

    Your comment makes me sad. Using the common definition of “win out” I can’t argue with your statement: “The reality is that bullies and tyrants win out in this world.” Christ and MLK were both murdered. I suppose you could say they “lost” when that happened.

    But I think history views them as “winners” under any sensible person’s definition of “winning.” (I do not include Charlie Sheen or Donald Trump in the group of “sensible people”). Christ and MLK lived in this world, and accepted that it was imperfect even as they battled for something greater. They will be remembered with greater affection and admiration than Trump, or Charlie Sheen, or any of the other immoral people who (at times very temporarily) seem to do so well by living immorally.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  83. @Kishnevi:No, it’s your almost reflexive insistence that they aren’t.

    Please quote where I said it then. I’d encourage you to review all my comments. There isn’t anything in them like that. My comment 80 in fact explicitly acknowledges that some people I disagree with are acting in good faith, but I have many comments in this very thread encouraging civil disagreement.

    Frederick (80401a)

  84. @64. There are anecdotes about conservatives being fired, blacklisted, marginalized, or forced into deep cover in Hollywood, the companies they work for, academia, and government. I never hear reports of liberals encountering similar discrimination.

    Get your ears cleaned; apparently you missed all the noise over the HUAC hearings, McCarthyism and the 15 years of Hollywood blacklisting of liberals and by studio heads.

    “For God’s Sake, Jamie, give your brain a chance.” -Squadron Leader Harvey [Christopher Plummer] ‘The Battle of Britain’ 1969

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  85. In sum, the squeaky wheel will get the grease. It always has and it always will.

    Counterpoint: sometimes the squeaky wheel gets removed.

    An acquaintance found this out the hard way in Turkey.

    JP (795a6c)

  86. 88 – Before my time, and I’m not sure how you could possibly equate the two.

    74 – Love the Onion. But to be honest, I’m still guilty of shamelessly enjoying skewering the idiot.

    Lenny (5ea732)

  87. Frederick, your comment is not as explicit as you think.

    I do apologize.

    kishnevi (4490a8)

  88. 73… terrible, Marci. The property owner – who pays his/her bills, taxes and mortgage on time and with little in the way of complaint – almost always takes the brunt of the government hit.

    Colonel Haiku (a4b010)

  89. Pat – That they were martyred and that our world is devolving at an unprecedented rate (there never had been genuine personal liberty until a couple of centuries ago) is indeed tragic. It tears me up.

    The anger I have for the racial industrial complex who were the heirs to King’s legacy is massive. All that matters to them anymore is that they get theirs. There are certainly others who fight the righteous fight. I love them. But, the direct heirs almost universally became mercantilists and/or power mad.

    On our side, the phony Reaganites as well as the politicos who rode Newt’s Contract with America to power only to abandon these principles for self-aggrandizement similarly occupy a space of special contempt in my heart.

    The bigger problem is that the citizenry of the West have been purposefully dumbed down and have consciously strayed from the wisest of all teachers and teachings (Christ and the Bible). Please note I am NOT referring to the spiritual aspects – merely the profound and unmatched wisdom found therein.

    The question of fighting the “good fight” is central to our lives. The author suggests that if we are to fight such, we must use a loving approach. I suggest we are well past that. However…if by some miracles (Islamic reformation, anyone?) enough folks choose the difficult choice of opening their eyes to the evil which has overtaken our interactions and communities, we absolutely MUST forgive and welcome them home (Prodigal politics).

    As in the horrible wars of the last century and in dealing with Islam now, we have little choice but to match ferocity with ferocity. This time in the information arena. We can’t back down. The lies can no longer go unchallenged and the liars MUST be called out. The deeply ingrained collective ignorance, most of it willful, has reduced the majority in the West to anti-thinkers. We did not ask for this war. It was brought to us. And it is a galactic tragedy.

    Ed from SFV (3400a5)

  90. @81 kishnevi

    They could be decent, honest people who don’t know anybody who voted for Reagan, Bush, Bush, McCain, Romney and Trump.

    Is a failure to associate with “those people” a moral judgement or happenstance?

    Pinandpuller (95bf00)

  91. @88 DCSCA

    Thank Science you avoided the Eye of Sauron.

    Pinandpuller (95bf00)

  92. 73. Marci (b7b42a) — 9/13/2017 @ 7:00 pm

    So the folks who had their houses flooded will be paying more taxes for a house that might not even be fixed by the time the taxes are due. Such compassion our government has.

    Couldn’t they get a reappraisal, or is that more of a theoretical possibility than real, and/or counterproductive because of how it might affect insurance payouts, mortgage help, a home equity line of credit, a possible buyout by government, or because most houses are underappraised??

    Sammy Finkelman (7fac35)

  93. I remember all of the hate directed at President Bush and never in a million years thought it could get any worse. With all of the anger directed at President Trump, I see that I was wrong. I think this article is worth reviewing and thinking about. I think you can argue and disagree in a more respectful way than we’ve done lately. I’ve often been the brunt of some well-meaning liberal about why I’m wrong on a whole host of things–none of the screaming and name-calling has ever caused me to rethink my position or want to support their position. I find that I often just have to tell them that we have to agree to disagree and leave it at that.

    rochf (877dba)

  94. @96 Sammy

    Couldn’t they get a reappraisal, or is that more of a theoretical possibility than real, and/or counterproductive because of how it might affect insurance payouts, mortgage help, a home equity line of credit, a possible buyout by government, or because most houses are underappraised??

    Our property taxes are based on MARKET VALUE not appraisal price. I protest my valuation every single year. By law they can only raise the valuation 10% on homestead properties. This limit does not apply to non-homestead properties. One year I actually took in a 3 month old appraisal we had done for refinancing purposes and argued that they had my house valued almost $150,000 more than it was worth. I was told, nope, it’s right but we’ll throw you a bone and reduce it by $20,000. The people making this decision on my board of review were retired real estate agents or land investors that have incentive to keep values high. (I asked the men what they did for a living that’s how I know what they did) I purchased a house for $250K and the tax authorities immediately valued it at $365K. I had to provide a contract showing that I had only paid $250K setting it’s market value as what it sold for. The next year they bumped it up to $345K (not a homestead). I fought it and managed to get it down $9K. I now pay a tax agent to fight for me as they know the maps and comps. You may think your next door neighbor is a good comp but they might be considered to be in a different neighborhood!

    Interestingly enough Harris county is NOT asking for a tax increase. The County Judge (like the county commissioner in other places) says that Houston needs to manage their money better and stop wasting it. AND the mayor of Houston was pushing for a tax increase before Harvey was even on the horizon so this is just a good excuse in my opinion.

    Marci (b7b42a)

  95. taxes that’s how they git ya

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  96. @99. Taxes women should all be named Iris.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  97. i tell you wut

    happyfeet (28a91b)

Leave a Reply

Comment moderation is enabled. Your comment may take some time to appear.


Powered by WordPress.

Page loaded in: 0.3353 secs.