Saturday, February 28, 2009

538 Trolls

With All Do Respect to Nate Silver whom I think runs a great blog I am using his 538 to steal some troll quotes. Axtuallt this particular thread was not written by Nate. It's interesting. While 538's class of troll is more eloquent... it's just as wrong.

John said... People become Republicans once they graduate from college and actually have to pay taxes. They recognize the sheer incompetence of government and resent being forced to support a corrupt machine with their hard earned money. Republicans fundamentally believe in the freedom of the individual and the inherent strictures of the collectivist mentality.

Republican thinking--free markets and personal freedom--made America and western Europe prosperous; socialism and communism made China and Russia, two potential super-powers, languish for decades. The better question is what makes someone a Democrat? Or maybe it should be "Why does someone stay a Democrat after he comes to grips with reality?" Most teenagers and young adults gravitate towards the Democratic Party with its promise of "free entitlements" for everyone, but when people learn the true meaning of "free entitlements" they become Republicans

Matthew H said...

I would have thought the differences would be a little more obvious.

Democrats trust Big Government to protect us from Big Corporations.

Republicans trust Big Corporations to protect us from Big Government.

Libertarians don't trust either of them, and think they can protect themselves.

Corporations only care about shareholders. They don't care about customers or employees unless what they do affects the share price. On the other hand, Politicians only care about votes. They don't care about me unless I'm a voter or what I do affects voters.

Well, I may not be much of a shareholder, but I am a voter, so the decision is obvious. If my employer screws me over, I want to be able to go to court. If where I shop screws me over, I want to be able to go to the Attorney General. And if I don't like the way services are handled in my town, I like being able to go to my Village Council and complain. Even at the Congressional level, it doesn't take many people to scream about something before we're heard. A few hundred, perhaps. Therefore, being a Democrat gives *me* more power to change things.

On the other hand, how many complaints to Dell would it take for them to fix their customer support? I'm sure they've had hundreds. It's not going to change. I was head of IT for a medium sized company at one point when one of our phone companies screwed us. Wouldn't listen to us. But, by gum, I filed a complaint with the Attorney General and it got fixed. Big Government trumping Big Business. That's what the Democratic Party is all about.

Steven said...

Here are a few reasons I can come up with for conservatism:

1. "Epistemological modesty": I loved David Brooks' column from a few days ago. A good conservative is highly skeptical of human understanding of complex systems and ability to manipulate them without fostering unintended consequences. This ideal, to me, works towards a favoring of markets. I find Hayek's arguments compelling, if I part ways with him at some of the more specific, nuts-and-bolts aspects of the so-called "Austrian school." I believe that the collective knowledge of people making their own decisions is far more than groups of technocrats directing or heavily steering the markets themselves. My ideal is a lightly-regulated but strictly-enforced system allowing people to operate freely.

2. "Belief in slow, responsible change": Robert Peel was a Tory prime minister who ushered in the repeal of the Corn Laws, a position that was highly unpopular with protectionist conservatives in his party. Peel, in my view, was an excellent conservative: he understood when change was necessary, accepting the need for reform in some cases to preserve the greater system. Fred Thompson hit at this during the campaign: 'Responsible change is the essence of conservatism.'

3. "Federalism": Different states have different priorities, and the individual states can function as "laboratories of democracy" in a federalist system. Provided that the federal government ensures equal protection, diversity in states is a good thing (unlike pre-Civil Rights era, when diversity in states led to segregation, etc.). A conservative prefers the small, more accessible state government to the national government when possible.

4. "Respect for the country's past": I reject the Howard Zinn interpretation of history outright (and not just because his work is poorly sourced). I don't believe that the history of the republic has been the struggle of working people. I believe the American republic has largely been about the gradual achievement of ideals of the 18th century Enlightenment. We're not perfect, certainly, but I don't agree with the "grievances" pushed by the left.

5. "Respect for the law": As a conservative, I found Barack Obama's statements about what's needed in judges to be appalling. From the Economist:

"Mr Obama might make good choices—his choice of advisers has usually been sound. But he has promised to pick judges for their “empathy” and “understanding” of “what it’s like to be poor, or African-American, or gay, or disabled, or old.” That could just be campaign blather, but conservatives fear he means it: that he really does want judges to favour the underdog rather than uphold the law dispassionately as their oath of office requires. Stephen Calabresi, a conservative jurist, says an Obama court could usher in ruinous shareholder lawsuits, huge punitive damages and even a constitutional right to welfare."

This was paraphrased from remarks he made to Planned Parenthood in 2007.

On the same token, as a conservative, I don't have much admiration for the turn-of-the-century progressives like Woodrow Wilson who believed that the constitution was an obstacle to his own conceptions of rather than a guidepost of sagacity and realism. The idea of splitting sovereignty and power intentionally slowed the pace of change and the authority of government. To me, this is a blessing, not a curse.

6. "Equal opportunities instead of equal outcomes": This is just my own conception of what's fair. I don't like the idea of "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need," and I don't think it works. A government's responsibility is to provide equal opportunities and a minimal safety net.

BenJones said...

Wow, this post is difficult to read. The problems here are enormous.
1) The vast majority ot repulicans (though to fair, cpac people tend to be pretty far out there) support a government that does more than enforce contracts. A hefty majority of Republicans see a role for government in publiuc transportation, just a smaller one than most democrats. Public transportation has positive externalties, so therefore a free marketer can support some intervention.
2). There are certainly bad customer service and ineffecencies in the private sector, but they are considerably smaller. Private businesses face competion, so compaies with a reputation for bad service, or poor bang for the buck will lose customers. The government does not face this competion. Do you really not know this Sean?
3)There are perfectly good reasons to be for smaller government. Like more freedom, and a more efficent economy. It not just a manifestation of negative emotion.

I was a McCain supporter, but I have read this website almost every day since August, because despite it's democratic tilt, Nate's analysis is intresting and extremely inciteful. Truth be told, I am not sure why you, (Sean), have a posting gig on this site. Your posts are extremely one sided and lack any sort of respect for oppossing views.In this post you did not make a good faith attempt to understand conservative thinking, you just assume they are biggoted and angry. That might be forgivable (like it is in Paul Krugman), if you had anything interesting to say. You mostly just trope agonizingly simmilar field organizing stories and sarcastic, uninciteful remarks about various republicans. nate would be better off replacing you, (Andrew is off to a good start), or making 538 just him.

Anyway interesting. 538 certainly gets a better class of idiot than Newshounds. But they're idiots none the less.

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