It is so frustrating to spend tons of time reading and thinking about a policy problem only for pretty much every solution to be foreclosed by the fact that the GOP has broken American governance — and then to feel like you're being some kind of blinkered partisan as a result
It really is the case that the American political system is designed around the major factions in power acting in good faith. The system fails when one isn't.
That's what's happening! It's at the root of a huge number of our problems!
And yet, it feels off to focus on this problem so much — like it's reductive or cheap. Writers are supposed to have complex solutions to complex problems, to sound smart and disinterested.
Yet today, the basic problem is excruciatingly simple — but devilishly hard to solve.
1. The problem with the Ben Shapiro Playbook isn't primarily the author. It's that the *content* of the piece is bad, in a way that was eminently predictable given the author.
I'm going to go through the entire piece and explain why.
2. Shapiro's core argument is that House Republicans opposed impeachment because they saw it as a Democratic plot to undermine them — and, moreover, that they were right (or at least justified) in thinking that.
One thing I think we're underplaying in the post-riot analysis: the degree to which Second Amendment ideology, the idea that the people should be constantly be prepared to use force to overthrow the state, created the conditions for this uprising
If you've been to a major conservative movement event, or even just spent time following right-leaning media, you see this idea is omnipresent.
This Jefferson quote is popular: "the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."
This is explicitly linked to Democratic rule and policies, especially related to guns. I get at this a little in this piece, specifically in rhetoric from Sharron Angle and Don Young vox.com/policy-and-pol…
This argument from @ToryAnarchist, who I count as one of the sharpest Trump supporters I know, seems largely at odds with actual American politics — where Democrats and liberals are the ones advocating for more democracy (e.g., abolishing the Electoral College)
The Discourse equates Democrats with "elites" because of their cultural power and identification with the academic establishment.
But Trump is unpopular! If he wins, it'll be with a minority of the vote and the backing of six unelected elite credentialed lawyers.
I think this sort of take confuses political systems (democracy) with epistemic standards during democratic deliberation (how much weight to put on expert opinion).
It's important to criticize ideas you generally agree with, and I don't think I do it enough. So I want to thread three brief points about what I see as problems in left-liberal discourse today. Not insuperable or fatal problems, but problems nonetheless.
The first is anti-rationalism on identity issues. Sometimes, debates over unsettled empirical questions — would defunding police increase crime? why does Trump seem to be gaining votes among Latinos? — are themselves declared illegitimate or out-of-bounds.
The second, relatedly, is intellectual insularity. Socialist and conservative critics often raise genuinely sharp critiques of liberal politics — particularly relating to class, credentialism and history — that don't get the serious consideration they deserve.
I think so much of our free speech debate suffers from treating things that are actually on a spectrum as black-and-white issues.
Everyone agrees that certain speech deserves to be excluded from prominent outlets. It's uncontroversial to say that, for example, the New York Times shouldn't publish an op-ed by David Duke on "the Jewish question."
Similarly, I don't think anyone of good faith and good intentions thinks that National Review was wrong to fire John Derbyshire for being a huge racist. Derb was "cancelled," but generally speaking it was seen as a positive step.
1. This right wing media meme that Neil Ferguson "walked back" the Imperial College report's findings in Britain are utterly and completely false
2. The argument rests on the idea that Ferguson's Imperial team predicted that Britain could have as many as 500,000 deaths, but recently said that deaths there likely wouldn't exceed 20,000.
3. Except the original model predicted that a total as low as 20,000 was possible in the UK — if Britain changed course toward a more aggressive policy. Don't take my word from it; here's the table of projected deaths from the report. You can see huge variation based on response
I have listened to a recording of Wax's talk and spoken with others who attended it. This thread is incorrect — were you there, Yoram? — and I stand by my original reporting. Will likely be writing more on this, and the revealing parts of Yoram's arguments here.