Very Serious, Important Thoughts

(1) There is Amazon’s “The Man In the High Castle”, HBO’s “The Young Pope” and Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale”. They all seem quite relevant to the present. But it would be better to keep authoritarianism in fiction and not let it seep into reality.

(2) It is nice getting one thing cleared up. During Trump’s campaign, there was a question that was on many people’s minds. Is Trump actually crazy or is it all an act? Well, it turns out it isn’t an act.

(3) This is what scares me. Republicans want law and order without rule of law. That is an accurate working definition of authoritarianism.

(4) The positive side of this is that we’ve now seen the beast for what it is. Democrats like Obama going back to Republicans like Reagan put a friendly face on growing fascism. Most Americans simply didn’t want to know.

That was the situation we were stuck in for decades. But the stark reality can no longer be ignored. Now that Americans have been forced awake from their dreams, an opportunity is before us but an opportunity that requires a choice be made.

(5) Democratic partisans and establishment ignored the political left, excluded third parties, and attacked reform candidates. They did this for decades. And they were successful in disempowering and frustrating progressive change.

So now they have right-wing reactionaries to contend with. Those who have gained power will make us all pay attention. And the coming years won’t be a happy time to be alive.

This all could have been avoided. But it is what the Democrats chose. They threatened that they either would get their way in everything or they would unleash a madman on us. I hope they’re satisfied with their Pyrrhic victory.

(6) What then? That is one of my favorite questions. After thinking about one thing or another, it often comes to mind.

It can be applied to almost any issue or concern. Trump has been elected president. What then? The dog ate the cookies including the wrapper. What then?

It’s an important question.

(7) As I’m Mr. Optimism, here is another positive for you.

For as long as I can remember, many on the political right have argued that if only a real businessman were made president he would clean house and show how it is done. Well, now we know. Trump is showing us all how a businessman does politics.

It’s good to clear things up. I’m all for experiments. We tried it and that is that. No one has to speculate about what would happen if a businessman was given ultimate power. That ends that particular argument, at least for the next several generations.

What’s our next experiment? Maybe we could see how well our country continues to function after our government collapses from within. Isn’t experimenting fun!?! It is sort of like science, but without the controls. I think the peer review process will have to be done by other countries, though.

Just stick with me. I’ll keep you updated on the positives as they roll in.

* * *

Bonus questions:

  • You’re in a bear pit. Which is worse, the large dangerous bear who is angry and hungry or the person who shoved you into the bear pit?
  • Everyone loves monkeys. Two scenarios: The Scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz being torn apart by the witch’s army of flying monkeys. And the gangster in Bruce Almighty who experiences the exiting and returning ‘home’ of a little anal-dwelling butt monkey. You must choose the lesser of two evils. Which one do you prefer?
  • What is worse, that which weakens the immune system such as HIV or that which kills so many with weakened immune systems such as pneumonia? If you could only eliminate one of these, which would it be?

75 thoughts on “Very Serious, Important Thoughts

  1. Ultimate answer is that the Democrats don’t serve the people.

    Nobody who knows the truth about the Clintons and the other dismal, demobilizing and dollar- doused sham liberals atop the Democratic Party should doubt that Hillary’s top job was to keep the Democrats under the reign of the nation’s unelected and interrelated Deep State dictatorships of money and empire. Or that she preferred defeating Sanders and then losing the general election to Trump over losing to Sanders and Bernie then defeating Trump. Sanders would have stood a better chance of defeating Trump than Hillary but a reformist and half-progressive Sanders presidency (mild and hedged-in as it would have been) would not have pleased the Democrats’ corporate, finance-led sponsors. It was her task to prevent such an atrocity – and here she succeeded.

    • I can’t even muster the slightest regret about Hillary Clinton losing. As bad as Trump is, he is at least forcing so much out into the open. Sure, actually seeing it out in the open is depressing, but it’s not as if it growing like an undiagnosed cancer is more comforting. I suspect I’d have felt even more despairing if Clinton had won. I just couldn’t take yet another corporatist Democrat draining all life out of hope for reform.

  2. They assumed that trump would be enough to make everyone scurry to them no matter what. Problem is that’s not how it works

    • Fear does work in the short term. But when fear is used continuously for years on end, the constant threat loses its power. Repeated lesser evil voting eventually numbs the public to evil because no matter what they choose everything gets worse and worse.

      A threat can only be compelling if there is eventually offered an alternative. Otherwise, it just leads to cynicism and apathy. That is how demagogues come to power, especially in a system where democracy doesn’t really function in the first place.

      • Yep. People didn’t bother turning out for Clinton. Hillary creates apathetic voters at best even with trump

        (Yeah yeah I know I know she won the popular vote

        • She may have won the theoretical “popular vote.” But she only won the majority of those who voted. What she didn’t win was the majority of eligible voters. If the only way to win a popular vote is by making the public feel so apathetic that nearly half the population doesn’t vote, then that is a sad state of affairs.

          • If you take out California, she loses the popular vote

            You’d have to say the same of every other winning candidate too. low turnout is normal in the USA.

          • It’s not just low voter turnout. It’s also voter disenfranchisement and voter suppression. A large part of the population didn’t even legally have the right to vote within living memory. If we actually had democracy, there would be high voter turnout. But anyone who isn’t a complete ignoramus knows that the US is a banana republic.

            Even if the average American can’t put it into those exact words, they know this is true. On some level, almost all Americans know they are being deceived and manipulated, that they don’t have a real choice, that it is all spectacle with any genuine alternatives eliminated by the rigged system before it ever gets to the party nominations.

            Americans know and don’t know this simultaneously. An election is like a good drama. In order to be emotionally pulled in, it requires suspension of disbelief and that requires dissociation. It’s an inspiring story, that any American could become president. It is our mythology.

          • I refuse to any longer even pretend we have a democracy. It is the opposite of surprising that so few Americans treat our anti-democratic system as a functioning democracy by democratically turning out to vote for candidates that were pre-chosen by a rigged undemocratic process.

            Am I supposed to be shocked that Americans who don’t believe we have a democracy treat elections as if they weren’t actually democratic? Am I supposed to blame the American public for not yet starting a revolution to finally force a democracy into existence?


          • I’ve never felt so betrayed in my life as I have with the treatment of the DNC and MSM toward Sanders (and before him, Nader). It wasn’t just about Sanders as a candidate. The betrayal was of democracy itself. I will never forgive that betrayal and, for the rest of my life, I won’t forget. I have entirely lost faith in any claims of American democracy.

            From this day forward, I consider Democrats and liberals to be my enemy, never to be trusted because they will always turn on you when it matters most. It’s like the frog and the scorpion. As the frog was taking the scorpion across the river, the scorpion stung him. The frog asked him why he did because now they’d both drown. And the scorpion said he couldn’t help himself because it was his nature.

            There is nothing left for US politics but the slow self-destruction that can’t be turned back now. It’s not just that we are past the point of reform. It’s not clear that reform was ever a real possibility. Americans know only one kind of change and that involves violence. There was the 18th century American Revolution, 19th century Civil War, 20th century race wars, and now whatever this new century will bring.

            Predictably, the ruling elite and their supporters refused to allow non-violent reform. It was their choice to make, as they had the power to either allow it or deny it. Now they will have to live with the consequences. There is nothing I can do about it. It’s not what I would have chosen.

  3. What White people are into now:
    I’m only talking about middle-class and upper-middle-class White people:
    They’re no longer into HAMILTON anymore or even pretending to aspire to inclusiveness. Sure, tickets will always sell out, but the hope is gone.
    Buying lots of parenting books because they’re realizing that the overly permissive, overly protective, overly praising style is not working at all. They want to make sure their young children do not grow up to be like white millennials today — Narcissistic, entitled, privileged … yet woefully unprepared for real life, mentally unresilient, psychologically unresilient, unable to compete fairly in a more even playing field. White millennials were raised to think good self-esteem is a right and that the rest of the world is obligated to give it to them (just like their parents did). But today’s white m/c parents want their kids to understand self-esteem is something you earn for yourself and do not automatically deserve. In other words, they’re going to start raising their kids like POCs have been doing all along.
    Books on China (as an oppressive and horrible regime to their own people), Henry Kissinger, KILLING THE RISING SUN by Bill O’Reilly, and a whole slew of books about the Civil Rights Movement and the Underground Railroad are now in. For the first time in their entire lives, they want to know about the experiences of poor white people who never made it into the middle class: HILLBILLY ELEGY and WHITE TRASH are at the top of most bestsellers lists.
    Survivalist culture is going mainstream — not just for right-wing extremists in Kentucky anymore. Buying guns and ammo, stockpiling bottled water, toilet paper, canned soup, first aid kits, extra pairs of glasses (always keep an extra pair in the glove compartment), lighter fluid/waterproof matches, candles, Swiss Army knives, etc. Getting lots of real-world street smarts from watching WALKING DEAD, ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK, and Navy Seal documentaries. Personally, I do NOT think any of this is stupid.
    Going to the Canada website to learn about their immigration policies and visa requirements.
    Planning summer vacations in Europe. They’re assuming Trump will have been impeached by then and they can connect with their white European counterparts. It isn’t just a fun adventure anymore, it’s a way to re-establish ties and erase the stereotype of The Ugly (white) American that has persisted for the last 50 years. Bridge-building and damage control.
    Decluttering and simplifying your life. I know this sounds laughably cynical, but could it be they need more space to make way for their survivalist stuff?
    Escapism: adult coloring books, Pusheen, Tokidoki, Minecraft, mindfulness meditation, etc.
    Similarly, the return of New Age magical thinking: unlike in the 90s when it was in the spirit of giddy optimism about the new upcoming century, now it’s coming from sheer desperation. You see, all this anarchy is really leading up to something truly great, we just don’t know what it is yet. It’s always darkest before the dawn, the universe is unfolding as it should …
    Food/Diet: paleo, ketogenic, or at least low-carb … and a rather silly, irrational fear of gluten. The point is, you want your body to look leaner and meaner, ready for anything.

    • I’m not sure about all of that. I know quite a few middle class whites. I haven’t observed anything that has really changed with them.

      They are maybe a bit more depressed. But most of them are doing fine. I think they have outrage exhaustion at this point. And they are watching less news. They aren’t preparing for anything really. Just retreating into their comfortable middle class lives. Or simply trying to about life as if everything is normal.

      If you are upper middle class or further up the economic ladder, life is still quite nice with few worries and concerns. It doesn’t matter to them in any practical way if the ACA or EPA is eliminated. They have private insurance and live far away from toxic dumps and factories. These remain abstract issues, only relevant as symbolic politics during the campaign season. But the campaign season is over, until the next one begins.

      Such comfortable people feel no more desperate now than they ever have. Trump is just more entertainment media, the ultimate reality tv show. That’s it. It is going to have to get far far worse before you’ll get a serious reaction.

      • I’ll tell you though, some are genuinely pissed off and scared and upset with Betsy devos, since they have kids in public school. Piblic school teachers and parents with disabled kids are particularly upset

        • Yeah. There is that. The only liberals I’ve heard that are really bothered are those with young kids. But even there it is fairly limited. I know quite a few middle class liberals with kids and mostly they don’t seem all that excited. Until it actually has an impact on the school their kid is attending, it is hard for most people to viscerally grasp the reality of political change. So far, all the change that has happened has been at a high level. None of it has filtered down to the general public yet.

  4. I believe that had Mrs. Clinton allowed the primary to be a fair race and still won it, she would have very easily won the general election. Instead she chose to be greedy (she’s already lived in the white house, too, and so has Bill), and the result was a Trump presidency because of her untrustworthiness.

    I think she would’ve been better off, certainly there would have been a lot less resentment. I know that was an obstacle for me; you hate to reward anybody for cheating. But if the primary had really been fair, the chance of her losing was extremely high. Hell, in a fair primary, when Hillary is one of the candidates, she’s not even a sure bet against Lincoln Chafee. Most people are always looking past her for an alternative

    • If the primary had been fair, we’d be living in an alternative reality. It’s not that elections aren’t regularly manipulated and even rigged. But this time it was so blatant. And the leaks proved what everyone suspected. It wasn’t just conspiracy theorists ranting. We had actual proof of corruption and collusion.

  5. You criticized a lot of academics and I’ve even given you many examples which you’ve soundly criticized. But I notice this. You talk about well off whites being at heart, pretty detached from the state of affairs, and he makes me think. The academics we’ve criticized here are all, well, well off whites.

    I was thinking about osmething interesting. A lot of my professors are the conventional social justice, liberal, type. You know the type. But it seems like for them, they will only care about issues that are trendy, like BLM. But if you try to discuss another social justice issue or perspective that might not be mainstream, like for me, I bring up things from an Asian perspective or questioning the economic system that makes it so people need masters for work that dosen’t even need a degree, they just blank out. Like totally blank out. They can’t be arsed to get it. Even if they can say things, it’s like they can’t just GET it.

    • I didn’t know I soundly criticized any specific example you gave me. I was just speaking from my experience, which apparently doesn’t correspond to your experience. That is fine.

      As for academics, I criticize some of them. I also praise other academics. A large part of my blog is dedicated to the study of academic scholarship. I couldn’t say I have any general view of all academics. But I do think that how academia is presently structured can be problematic. Western higher education is built on a very old model of institutional hierarchy, having its origins in feudalism. Universities aren’t democratic organizations. That does effect academics and how they think. Still, higher education in the Western world is fairly diverse. Some universities seem to be better at promoting innovative thought and radical questioning than others.

      Beyond all that, I’d make some distinctions. In the original comment, you referred broadly to “middle-class and upper-middle-class White people.” Most of them aren’t academics. I live in a small college town that has one of the highest or maybe the highest rates of academics per capita. Yet even here most “middle-class and upper-middle-class White People” aren’t academics.

      I’m not in academia. And I’m not in school. I don’t regularly interact with academics. The middle class white people I know work as county naturalists, store managers, business owners, tech industry, real estate, nurses, bookdealers, etc. Besides, not all middle class white academics are liberals. The middle class white (former) academic I interact with most regularly is my dad, a Christian conservative. I’m not claiming my experience is representative. I’m living in a state that was barely effected by the economic recession. House building never stopped in this town during the housing bust. So, the middle class whites around here maybe are more comfortable than average and so extra detached from problems that seem more serious elsewhere in the country.

      I don’t think I’m strongly disagreeing with you. I’m not sure I’m really disagreeing with you at all. I just see most Americans have simply given up caring, to the degree they ever cared much in the first place. There has been so many years of outrage going back to the Bush administration. Outrage can only last so long. Trump is the straw that broke the outrage camel. That isn’t to say there aren’t some people who are feeling high levels of anxiety. But those with the most anxiety I’ve seen are on the lower end of the middle class, even if professionals, just barely above falling out of the middle class. In many cases, their middle class identity is more based on an attitude than on any financial reality.

      I know one guy. He is a liberal and lacks any principled consistency in his politics. One moment he was supporting Sanders and the next Clinton, with equal praise in both cases. He is now acting all nostalgic about Obama. A standard Democrat. He is one of those lower middle class whites. He owns and operates his own business. He didn’t have healthcare insurance for years, until ACA. Plus, he has a kid in public school. So, these are real issues to him, in the way I don’t see with the more comfortable white liberals.

      To respond to your last point, that sounds like most liberals in general, not just academics. Even more broadly, most Americans, left and right, are fairly conventional in their thinking because most Americans still get most of their news from mainstream media. Even the average academic isn’t likely to seriously research anything outside of their narrow area of expertise. The thing about the typical academic is that, at the end of the day, they are primarily bureaucratic functionaries. They aren’t being paid to have independent thoughts and challenge the system. After all, they work in and for the system. Morally principled radical left-wingers aren’t likely to last long in academia, either getting fired or simply leaving because of frustration. The people who make careers out of academia are usually those who’ve learned to not rock the boat too much.

      That is the nature of bureaucratic, hierarchical institutions in a society like ours. It would be shocking if much serious activism ever came out of academia. Certainly, academia isn’t a breeding ground for revolutionaries. Academics are the controlled opposition who symbolically stand in for left-wingers in the public imagination but in reality are rather tame and centrist, moderate and conventional. As for actual hardcore left-wingers, our society acts like they don’t exist. They do exist, just rarely in academia. There are far more left-wing non-academics in the world than there are liberal academics.

      If liberal academics really were scared about Trump, then they’d take seriously concerns about social justice issues and perspectives outside the mainstream. But most of them don’t. That is how you know what righteousness they may express is largely superficial and meaningless. After getting huffy about Trump and showing up at the local protest, they go home to turn on MSNBC or watch a movie and drink a glass of wine to relax. Very few of these people are going to prepare for societal collapse. In their bubble of comfort, they can’t really believe these problems will ever personally effect them, no matter the attitudes they may express in public. Their public lives and private lives are separate.

    • That does seem to be the case. Trump is just a privileged asshole who has had his entire life served on a silver platter. I’d be unsurprised to learn that he has an assistant who wipes his butt for him.

      There was a video I watched that discussed his apparent reading disability, suggesting the possibility that he maybe speaks at a 4th grade level because he reads at a 4th grade level. Some of the footage they shared seemed to show that, when asked to read something, he found it extremely difficult.

      People close to him say he has a short attention span and gets all of his info from tv and social media. He has admitted that he almost never reads anything he signs. He even has someone write his tweets for him.

      Trump is literally a man-child who is incapable of doing much of anything for himself.

      • He might have a learning disability. I know I have a really short attention span too and tend to zone out without realizing it

        • I have a learning disability and it caused me to learn to read late. I don’t judge people for having learning/reading disabilities. But when it is this severe it would be preferable if the person wasn’t the leader of the most powerful country in the world.

    • There is endless failure. I’ve been shocked by how so many people, especially among the well educated, don’t seem to get what is going on. They can’t seem to imagine what has been happening, what has caused it, and where it is heading.

      I don’t think it is a refusal but an inability to understand. They just don’t get it. I doubt they will get it, until it’s too late to doing anything about it. That might be intentional on an unconscious level. These people realize they aren’t capable of the changes that are necessary.

      I’ve seen this pattern in human behavior. Sometimes people know a change needs to happen. But on a conscious level they can’t responsibility for making the change happen. So they create situations that will force the change to happen.

      An example of this is people who obviously don’t like a job and have the skills to work other jobs. Yet they won’t quit the job, instead acting in ways that inevitably will get them fired. To an outside perspective, it is clear the person is trying to get fired. It is what they want, even if it isn’t what they can admit to wanting.

      Trump’s election is like that. On a conscious level, Democrats didn’t want a crazy demagogue Republican as president. Even so, everything they’ve done has created the conditions to put Trump into power. Trump will force the changes to happen, good or bad, and so force us all to take action. Trump will accomplish for Democrats what no establishment Democrat ever could.

      Democrats need Trump as an exaggeration. Trump is playing a role. Arnold Mindell has a theory about this. If something goes unclaimed in the collective psyche, it must find a way to manifest in our collective experience. This often means a person needs to embody the issue to be dealt with. Trump has taken all of the problems we are facing and made them visible and visceral, made them concretely and personally real.

      That is what was needed. All our problems are now unavoidable. Trump is in power because that apparently is what our society needs right now. Trump is holding a mirror up for Americans to see themselves.

    • I’m not convinced that people like this get what is going on. That isn’t to say I’ve got it figured out. But having looked at a lot of data over the years, I know enough to realize that the explanation isn’t simple and obvious.

      As always, there are numerous confounding factors. Also, our ways of speaking about such things doesn’t seem helpful. Race and such are proxies for other things. So what are those other things? That is the more interesting and necessary question to be answered.

      I don’t know that this article has it wrong. But I’m not convinced that the author has enough evidence to prove he is right. It ends up being speculation that fits into a mainstream narrative. To my mind, that by itself makes it suspect.

      “Why do working-class Americans vote as they do?

      “The question has long bedeviled analysts on the left, troubled that people who would largely benefit from a more robust government seem so often to vote for right-leaning politicians eager to cut federal programs to pay for tax cuts for the rich.”

      Most working class Americans don’t vote as they do. That is because most working class Americans don’t vote at all.

      If that question has bedeviled analysts on the left, the problem might be that the question itself is misleading and heavily loaded. It needs some unpacking and then, after that, it either needs to be rephrased or replaced with a better question.

      Let’s first figure out what most working class Americans are and are not doing. We can work forward from there. But let’s get the basics right first.

      “For instance, Julian Betts of the University of California, San Diego and Robert Fairlie of the University of California,Santa Cruz found that for every four immigrants entering public high schools, one native student switched to a private school.”

      That ignores the origins of public education. It was largely created in the first place for the purpose of immigrants, in helping them assimilate. It was also to help white and black Southerners moving North to assimilate as well. Many of the earliest public schools were even racially integrated.

      That was during an era of greater ethnic diversity, conflict, and violence than today. It was also during a time when there was international terrorism, including bombings and assassinations. Along with that, there was organized crime violence and growing number of youth gangs.

      Drug addiction and alcoholism were seen as problems, leading to laws such as Prohibition and the first drug war. There was organized labor and race wars that broke out to gun fights and mob violence. The government feared a second revolution or a military coup, and indeed there was a fascist plot organized to take over the government.

      That was a far more violent and scary time than today. And reactionary politics was a thousand times more potent back then. And yet out of that there was a demand for public education, social programs, and welfare. Why? What was different?

      You can’t even blame skin color. Many of the early 20th century Southern European immigrants, such as the swarthy Italians and French, had skin that was as dark or darker than Hispanics. After all, most Hispanics also are of European ancestry.

      Nor can you blame religion. Many of those immigrants were Catholic. In the early 20th century, Catholics were as feared by American Protestants as now Muslims are feared. Part of the reason for public schools was to break the hold of private Catholic schools.

      Social conservatives were among the strongest supporters of public education and other forms of government involvement. So what was going on back then?

      “Daniel Hungerman from the University of Notre Dame found that all-white congregations became less charitable as the share of black residents in the community rose.”

      This seems like one of those proxy issues. As minorities increase in a community, it usually means something is happening that has destabilized or otherwise altered the local economy. Or else some outside situation that is forcing people to move there.

      Minorities and immigrants don’t cause communities to decline. Rather minorities and immigrants tend to move into declining communities because that is where the most affordable housing is. And if the economy is declining as well, as the cause of the declining community, it would follow they’d be less charitable and also in a generally more fearful state about their future.

      There are simply way to many potential confounding factors. What is causing blacks to move into a community might be the same thing that is causing white residents to become less charitable. Correlation isn’t causation. Or else the correlation indicates a third factor that is the cause. The actual causal relationship might not directly be between the two correlated observations.

      I realize that is a simple criticism. But I get the sense that many people overlook the simplest criticisms, especially when a correlation is easily rationalized with a mainstream narrative. Few people seem willing or able to question assumptions and that is even more true when it involves cultural biases and dominant paradigms.

      “Perhaps because they have relied more on government programs and protections, members of minority groups have decidedly different beliefs about supporting social solidarity.”

      That is one of those superficial comments. What does that mean?

      Most welfare recipients are whites. Some of the poorest regions of the country are majority white and they are utterly dependent on public assistance. And many of those regions are heavily rural where poverty can be much worse and more isolating. Still, most poor whites, like most poor blacks, live in urban areas.

      There is no monolithic poor white or working class white population, especially considering the changing perception of whiteness over this past century or so. There are different historical, cultural, and environmental factors involved in various populations. A poor rural white Southerner in an old mining town is not the same as a poor inner city white New Englander in a declining industrial city. And neither of those is the same as a suburban poor white Upper Midwesterner in a prosperous metropolitan area or a poor rural white Alaskan who essentially gets a basic income because of natural resources on public lands.

      Which poor populations are we talking about? What kind and level of poverty are we focused on? What are the specific contexts?

      The author is simply repeating what he believes and not looking at the actual data. He just assumes that this is true. Are the poorest of poor whites any less likely to rely on government programs and protections than an equivalent category of minorities? The author never even thinks to ask that question, much less answer it.

      If we aren’t even clear about the basic facts and confounding factors, how are we supposed to even attempt to offer any meaningful understanding of the deeper issues?

      None of that disproves the authors claims. Nor does it disprove mainstream narratives. But it isn’t up to anyone else to disprove. Instead, it is the responsibility of the person making the claim to offer the evidence in support of that claim. The evidence offered is too limited and the analysis too simplistic.

      What bothers me more than anything is this. It’s not a matter of who is right or wrong. The problem is that this author and many people like him tend to be highly intelligent, well educated, and worldly. They should know better. All of the criticisms and questions I bring up should be obvious to them. These aren’t stupid people. But somehow being a part of the liberal class and the media echo chamber disconnects them from what seems more obvious from an outside perspective and is more tangibly real on the ground.

      Interestingly, while complaining that working class whites don’t support government-funded programs, the author also argues against basic income which would be a program that would help working class people more than almost any other. Maybe the author doesn’t understand working class people or what would help them, which would explain his writing an article blaming working class whites.

      Well, I blame people like him. Looking at his other articles, he appears to be a standard neoliberal New Democrat, the kind of person who has supported the politicians who have been cutting welfare for decades. That is part of the reason working class whites are doing so badly right now and are so pissed off. They are literally dying at higher rates. And this asshole living his comfortable life condescends to explain away the suffering of those he has absolutely no clue about.

      Fuck him! He is a useless piece of shit. He is part of the problem.

      To be fair, it’s possible that he is starting to get a clue. This next recent article indicates some awareness of the severity of the problem. Maybe he is finally beginning to question his beloved neoliberalism. But in doing so, he maybe just turns toward reactionary neoconservatism, a worldview of national betterment through war.

  6. You see that the White House, has all the aging racist white men hellbent on destroying China to fulfill some stupid self-fulfilling prophecy. America is the only country that goes out of its way to start war for the fun of it. No citizens of other countries brag about their military and have a one man can kill an entire army mindset. This is the delusional thinking after hearing about how great they are from movies, and the me first and selfish part of Anglo culture. This will destroy the whole world.

    • Both parties love war.

      The United States has been involved in wars, many of them wars of aggression, almost continuously since the founding of the country. The US has only been at peace, relatively speaking (if we exclude other forms of violent oppression), for 21 years of its existence. The other two and a quarter centuries has been war-mongering.

      The War on Terror is beginning to lose its ability to to be used as a tool for propaganda and manipulation. A new war is needed. It seemed like Clinton wanted war with Russia. But Trump is friendly with Russia. So, I guess it will have to be China.

      The danger with war-mongering now is that the world is getting ever more dangerous. These games of violent power are going to bite us in the ass. There are increasing numbers of nuclear weapons, biological weapons, and other crazy shit. Einstein was right about, whatever a third world war would be fought with, a fourth world war would be fought with sticks and stones.

    • “A visitor from Saturn might be puzzled by this particular crusade, since none of the things that liberals profess to fear the most about a Trump era revolve around education policy. If Trump is planning to surrender Eastern Europe to the Russians or start a world war with the Chinese, perhaps his secretary of state nominee deserved an all-night talkathon of opposition. If he’s bent on domestic authoritarianism with a racist tinge, then it’s Jeff Sessions, his attorney general, who presents the natural target for Democratic protest. If the biggest problem is that Trump will nominate allies who are unqualified for their responsibilities, then the choice of Ben Carson to run the Department of Housing and Urban Development seems like an obvious place to draw a line.”

      That is easy to explain. Education makes a good symbolic issue. It riles people up. But it is far from being the most important and problematic issue, in terms of nominations. That is its purpose. It makes for good distraction. As for war and authoritarianism, the Democratic establishment is fully behind that vision of America. And the New Democrats have always favored dog whistle politics. Lacking qualifications has never really been an issue in politics, considering most politicians aren’t qualified about most things they make decisions on. It’s not as if the Democratic Party idealizes putting the most qualified people into power.

  7. Criticizing the upper middle class is good but from his right wing perspective it’s weird

    Also I would not want someone working with my teeth who has no dental degree just like I wouldn’t want to see a doctor without a medical degeee.

    Here is a common issue. Many people who were high skilled doctors, etc, immigrate here and are unable to practice. A lot of the immigrant taxi drivers and other working class immigrants you see were doctors, scientists, etc back home.

    • It is weird. He is bothered that the upper middle class doesn’t have proper respect toward and submission toward the interests of the rich. And the argument seems to be that, therefore, the interests of the working class are more aligned with that of the rich. I guess that is the argument being made or something like it.

      I have a coworker who married a woman from his home country, Algeria. She had been a doctor there, but she couldn’t practice in the US. So, she left and went back home, taking his child with her. We need to do two things. Create international standards for such things. Also, education for such things should be made more accessible and cheaper to more of the population.

      We talk about their being shortages of certain kinds of workers. But there is no practical reason for these shortages. They are created by the system we have. As it benefits some people, it is hard to change. US doctors, dentists, etc don’t want to compete with foreign workers like working class Americans are forced to do. It’s neoliberalism for the poor and protected jobs for the privileged.

  8. “This column is absolutely spot on. I’ve been through the school experience from all sides – inside as a student, then a parent, then an board member, at suburban public, urban public, urban charter and parochial private … pretty much everything the US has to offer except home schooling. And I have never fully understood the hysterical opposition to charters. Douthat, however, nails it. The battleground for all things education is urban public schools. Everywhere else – suburbs, rural, private schools – parents are generally satisfied and there is no crisis. Suburbanites fear charters because they might lead to unwanted change or worse, vouchers which then leads to urban blacks enrolling in their suburban schools. They don’t want or need “reform,” so DeVos is anathema. For teacher unions, charters are an existential threat. These two powerful interests are the defenders of the status quo, which suits them fine. DeVos may very well be an incompetent administrator, but the policies she will promote are a threat to the status quo. While that is exactly what politically ossified urban systems need, it sure isn’t what the rest of the education establishment wants,”

    • Many people who are against the status quo are also against charter schools. It’s like healthcare reform. Most Americans are to the left of Democrats on these kinds of issues. Americans want real reform, not Republican reactionary politics nor Democrats who are Republican Lite.

      Let’s not pretend that these assholes are being principled. Back when many immigrants and Catholics were in private schools, right-wingers pushed public schools in order to force these people to assimilate by attacking their cultural independence. Now, they suddenly worry that their shrinking white population is going to be assimilated and so they are against public schools.

      Fuck them! They are worthless hypocrites. Their arguments lack any consistency. They are bigots and that is entirely what education is about for them.

    • That is kind of an odd article. It doesn’t sound like something written by someone who both strongly supported Sanders the entire time and who has seriously researched the issue.

      Sanders is a moderate about most issues. That isn’t a white vs black thing. Some of the issues the author portrays as black issues are strongly divisive even within the black community. When so many blacks are on different sides of these issues, why is it so shocking that whites also can be found on different sides of the same issues?

      The fact of the matter is that Sanders did win over the majority of young minorities, including the majority of young blacks. The author points out that he didn’t do well on Super Tuesday. Well, he didn’t have much media reporting at that point. The author dismisses this, but offers no evidence that many blacks knew who he was at that time.

      The article is a whole lot of opinionated speculation. The only evidence are quotes. But considering most young blacks ended up supporting Sanders, the quotes seem likely cherrypicked. Some of the comments in defense of Sanders appear to be from blacks. So, it isn’t as if the article represents some unanimous opinion of a monolithic black demographic. It’s just some person’s opinion quote a few other people’s opinions.

      It comes off sounding like yet another hit piece.

      Quentin Sumner: “I think this article is written by a group that supported Clinton from the beginning but let me say this as a black voter and someone who has been a Democrat all my life. This election was won because of name recognition Bernie Sanders is known for pushing amendments to bills because they don’t go far enough to help minorities or the working poor. I was schoked by the fact that the CBC didn’t support Sanders maybe its because they supported most of the bills that hurt middle American economy but made the rest of the country rich. The NAFTA trade agreement took more wealth from the middle class and crushed unions. The 90’s crime bill which Bernie voted for but only after his fellow Democrates in the Senate did not move the violence against women provisions to another bill and other things were taken out. The war on drugs which has caused more broken homes in the black community then any bill besides the 90s crime bill. The welfare reform act which took money that was going directly to poor families and gave it to companies in the form of tax brakes to hire poor people at minimum wage and cut medical assistance for poor families drastically. I think that we lost the only chance to put America back on track and the poor blacks will regret not voteing for him we have another disastrous trade agreement coming when Hilary get into office.”

      Dhir D Shah: “Big issues that plague the black communities are the war on drugs (liscence to stop and frisk blacks and jail them for petty mj crimes)
      Income inequality,
      the burden of poverty and inability to get a college education.
      Sander’s policies should speak well to address the above for his socalled “failed outreach” towards blacks.
      Yet his rallies were much more diverse than clinton’s and black milleneals.
      Sanders let blm talk during his rally. Clinton kicked out a blm supporter. Actions speak loudly.
      While black parents are still kissing the Clinton Families behind, their children are tired of it (Black millenials voted Sanders)
      So yes in my research blacks (mostly the older generation) are uninformed of how much more sanders would have helped them and their children than Hillary whose war on drug policies created a huge increase in the mass incarceration of Blacks and destroyed black families in the process.”

      Randall Vaughn: “It wasn’t about him at all- he was just fine- sure, he could’ve done more to attract A/A voters, but “mainstream” A/A’s LOVE the status quo- and symbolism is paramount. The Clintons have (falsely) manufactured a concerned, chummy and familiar manner with A/A’s, despite the facts of detrimental legislation against A/A’s. Hillary can do NO wrong with them, especially A/A women (generally speaking).”

      Rebekah Yasmine: “Fine, but Medicare for all is better than CHIP, and Sanders has always been a strong supporter of PP. And he added an amendment to the ACA that created more community clinics.
      I think this article is unfair. His problem was that he’s too sincere so he isn’t always tactful and doesn’t explain himself as well as some silver-tongued politicians (Bill) or tightly on-script ones (Hillary.). That and the fact that the media kept saying he didn’t do well with blacks so often that people decided it was true.
      My personal issue is K-12 education. The Democrats are terrible on it. Bernie didn’t address it a lot either, but I researched and paid attention, and I knew that even if he didn’t address it directly, all his policies would help our students anyway. He did address the black community’s issues, a lot more than he did mine, and it should be obvious that all his policies are good for the black community, even though they’re good for everyone who isn’t a 1%er.
      MLK, when he was killed, was working on economic justice as being the most important thing for the black community. MLK was also a democratic socialist; maybe Bernie was inspired by that. In any case, it’s too bad he wasn’t able to connect the dots better, but he had the whole DNC working against him.”

      Timothy Kane: “In both parties, the candidates with the lowest approval rates won. What else did they have in common? Name recognition.
      Hillary had a 23 year head start on Bernie in name recognition. The Media did everything they could to perpetuate that. The idea that it was anything else, to me, seems absurd. If you didn’t know who Sanders was, then you had to do your own research. If you are busy working, taking care of family, etc.. you don’t have time for that when the decision time suddenly comes upon you.”

      Kinga Locklear: “Exactly. Black voters made their decisions (like all the other voters) based on the information that was avalable to them. There is no question, and we know now for sure after DNC leaks, that the party collaborated with the media against Sanders. For most people above 50 MSM are still the main source of information. It’s not a coincidence that Bernie won young voters over Clinton in mch greater margins than even Obama.”

      Shaaron Evans: “As long as the so called “Black Community” expects super candidates to fix all of their problems by waving magic wands or something, we will continue to lanquish. We fell for the status quo this election and gained nothing. Bernie would have been a far better option instead of the same ole, same ole. This article attempts to smear Bernie’s campaign as dismissive of Black voters when it was nothing of the sort!”

      Jeffrey Dziuban: “I am not so sure. What issues of importance to Black America did Sanders not address, and how did those statements differ so far from Hillary’s that they did not show results? Maybe more resources and emphasis by the Sanders campaign would have helped, but mybe the media’s constant description of Sandes as NOT apealling to Black voters made a difference also.
      Then, again, maybe there is not that great a difference between the two oncerning the non-economic issues important to Black voters, and Black Americans simply stayed where they were in regards to Hillary as initially more appealling from familiarity.
      That would make Black America the same as the rest of America. Barring a noticably undeniable difference, they stuck with what they knew and were familiar with.”

      John Elfrank-Dana: “”Bernie Sanders lost the Democratic primary in large part because he failed to win the hearts of black progressives.”
      Harry Belafonte (missing from your piece)
      Michelle Alexander (missing from you piece)
      Alice Walker (missing from your piece)
      Cornell West (missing from your piece)
      Killer Mike (missing from your piece)
      Ta Nahisi Coates (missing from your piece)
      Danny Glover
      Spike Lee (missing from your piece)
      Keith Ellison (missing from your piece)
      Ben Jealous (missing from your piece)
      and on…
      Too many African Americans were bamboozeled into thinking:
      $15 an hour
      Mass incarceration
      Universal Healthcare
      Climate Change
      are not “Black” issues.
      It was celebrity worship.”

      Greg Jaspan: “This article brings up some valid points, i.e. the campaign could have done a better job at Black voter outreach, but much of the article reads like more of a hit piece on Sanders himself than an honest look at the failings of the campaign. The author harshly criticizes Sanders on just about every race related issue he could think of, but hardly criticizes Clinton (either of them) for the many race related issues that so many other Black writers, activists, and intellectuals have (i.e. Cornell West, Nina Turner, Michelle Alexander, Killer Mike, Harry Belafonte, Spike Lee, YahNe Ndgo, Benjamin Dixon, Tim Black, Shaun King, etc).
      Also, the author mentions that Sanders voted for Bill Clinton’s crime bill in 1994, but conveniently leaves out why Sanders voted for the bill (the assault-weapons ban and Violence Against Women Act provisions it contained) and that he spoke out strongly against the mass incarceration and death penalty provisions in the bill, and also voted separately against creating new mandatory sentencing minimums — all of which then-First Lady Hillary Clinton strongly supported. But curiously, the author makes no mention of that.
      Lastly, the author asserts that Black voters are in large part the reason Sanders lost, but makes absolutely no mention whatsoever of all the compelling evidence of massive election fraud, or the mass deception orchestrated by mainstream media (in coordination with the DNC, of course). Were it not for this fraud and deception, Sanders of course very well may have won even without winning the Black vote.
      So, again, while this article does raise some valid points about how the campaign could potentially have done a better job at Black voter outreach, the clear anti-Sanders / pro-Clinton bias the author displays really cheapens the article as a whole — which is sad, really — because it diminishes the few valid points that he does make.”

      Omoro Lewis: “Article is completely ridiculous. So pandering to black people is what we want???? Clinton is a lying, turncoat that started her career supporting Barry Goldwater (1964 presidential nominee that campaigned against the civil rights movement)
      Does the author actually think that free college, legalized marijuana, $15 minimum wage, and universal health care, wouldn’t help black people ??? Does the black electorate actually think that ??? If so, then we deserve the indefinite future of same old same old that we’ve been getting.
      There hasn’t been a president since LBJ that has done anything for black people and that includes Obama. Clinton will just continue not doing anything except pandering and lip service, but I guess that’s all we care about.”

      Kenny Braden: “The title should be “How black voters lost by not voting for Bernie.””

      Johan Johansson: “I suggest they vote in their own best interest instead. Bernie Sanders is not the one who lost something here.”

      Alak Cohen: “Bernie Sanders offered a movement that would have been more helpful to the needs of the Black Community than anything Hillary ever proposed. He was rejected on day one and frankly I never understood it. I don’t buy the weak rationale explained in this story and I don’t believe it addresses the real reasons he was rejected by much of the Black Community. If his platform didn’t speak to their needs I don’t know what ever will.”

      • There are black intellectuals like Yvette Carnell, Irami Osei-Frimpong, etc, who are critical of Obama but not from a right wing POV. Some of them, and it seems there are more vocal black people doing so, who talk about being hoodwinked by Obama in terms of background. Obama shares a skin color with black americans but is, well, a rich white guy who “used black america to enrich himself.” He has little connection to Black Americans in terms of slave descendents who’ve been here for many generations, lived with American history of dehumanization, etc. To them, Obama was the white son of a Kenyan immigrant with no connection to Black Americans who grew up rich, going to private schools, and raised by well-off whites, but he inserted himself into the Black American community to advance his political career yet has done little to make Black Americans who voted for him’s lives better. NAsically they see him as an outsider who used Black Americans.

        • That is the thing. Obama is half white. He was raised by a white mother and white grandparents. His father’s side of the family weren’t slaves or even US citizens. He has no roots in the African American community. He didn’t grow up around blacks or poverty. Obama is more white in a mainstream sense than many white Americans. I’m not sure why any black who gave it much thought would think Obama had anything in common with them and would represent them.

    • That was a fairly good video. It didn’t feel like those were just cherrypicked interviews. But I’m not sure how representative they were.

      It would have been nice if she had talked to those who supported or voted for candidates other than Trump. Were these people who would have voted for Sanders? It would have been even better if she had talked to the majority who probably didn’t vote at all. I doubt most eligible voters voted for Trump because most poor eligible voters don’t vote.

      I’d also like to hear from those who aren’t eligible voters such as prisoners and ex-cons. Poor rural areas have high rates of incarceration.

      Also, it would have been useful to hear from the 3% of blacks that live in the same county. It’s easy to forget that there are still large populations of rural blacks in the South. Besides maybe Hspanics, blacks were the last large racial/ethnic group to become majority urban.

      I always wonder about the background. I know quite a bit about Kentucky from doing genealogical and historical research of the state. I had family there from the late 1700s to the late 1800s (some of my earliest Kentucky family came from Pulaski County which is adjacent to McCreary County). Kentucky used to have a large black population and mostly rural. When I visited there, I didn’t see a single black person in any rural area. Most blacks either left the state or moved to the cities, as the late 1800s began a violent time in Kentucky.

      I was looking at a map of the percentage of blacks in each Kentucky county. Whitley County is way down in the southeast part. It is mostly surrounded by counties that have higher percentages of black population. McCreary County next door has 5.8% blacks and nearby Clay County has 4.4%. What is interesting is that, according to the 2000 census, Mcreary only had 0.63% blacks. The video says there are 97% whites in Whitley and I assume that means the other 3% is mostly blacks, but in 2000 0.34% of blacks there.

      This seems to indicate some shifting of populations. There has been increasing numbers of Northerners, black and white, moving South. That has to do with cheap housing and employment. I’m sure there is cheap housing in the poorest counties. But obviously there is much unemployment, at least in Whitley. The question is why would there be population shifts, unless the changing racial percentages has more to do with who is moving out than who is moving in.

      There is something odd going on here. The unemployment rate now there is 5.7%. That isn’t particularly high compared to the national average at 4.9. It is about half of what it was in the years following the Great Recession and about the same as it was before. It was much higher back in the early-to-mid 1990s, almost to the levels following the Great Recession. Then it dropped below the present national average in the late 1990s.

      Sure, the people living there are poor. But the vast majority of them are working and they live in an area that has cheap living costs. They may not have affordable healthcare now, but most of them never had affordable healthcare at any point in their lives. In objective terms, there is noting obviously worse about their lives now than in the past. Yet these are the populations that for some reason are experiencing worsening mortality rates. It’s not loss the loss of good mining jobs that has changed recently, as good mining jobs have mostly been gone for decades.

      So, what’s happened?

      It’s also interesting to look at voting patterns. Whitley is far from being a Solid Red county. In the last 20 presidential elections, the county has half the time gone to Republicans and the other half to Democrats. They voted for Bill Clinton twice and voted for Franklin D. Roosevelt four times, among other Democratic candidates. Of course, it was a way more Democratic state in the early 20th century.

      It’s not like they are mere ignorant partisans. When a candidate speaks to their concerns, they’ll vote for either party. And it isn’t as if they didn’t vote for Obama just because he was a black guy. They also didn’t vote for Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, and Al Gore. The Democrats have ignored them since Bill Clinton. Why exactly would they vote for a party that treats them like they don’t exist or don’t matter?

      It’s rather unsurprising that they voted for Trump, considering they’ve voted Republican in the last several presidential elections. It might have had nothing to do with Trump. That is what is wrong with the video. It portrays their voting for a Republican candidate this time as somehow different than when they voted for Mitt Romney, John McCain, and George W. Bush. The better question is why did they entirely stop voting for Democrats after Bill Clinton left office.

    • Here is another thing with this video. It is falling into the mainstream narrative.

      Why are they looking to rural whites to explain Trump? Most whites aren’t rural. And in particular, most whites who voted for Trump aren’t rural. How is looking at a poor county in a rural state supposed to explain Trump as somehow different when that county has voted for Republicans in the previous four elections?

      The implication is that this is about poor rural people. But it isn’t even clear what percentage of whites in that county are rural. The unemployment rate is close to the national average and most of the population would work in whatever major cities are nearby.

      More interesting to know is to look at the places that voted for Obama in one or both of the last elections but then voted for Trump. Those places would be better indicators of what has changed. The problem is many of those places are urban, suburban, and exurban. They don’t fit into the mainstream narrative.

    • I just looked at the data for rural versus urban:

      It is mostly rural, at 65% of the population. But rural can be many things. A mile outside of the city I live in is ‘rural’, although most of those people work here in the city, only living outside of the city for cheap housing. So, what percentage of that rural population is directly near an urban area? And how many of those rural people work at jobs in cities? More importantly, what kind of jobs are they working? What is the pay and benefits?

      Here is another thought. I know there is a difference between the reported unemployment rate and the real unemployment rate. The data I was looking at probably was only the reported data. Around 95% of the population there isn’t reported as unemployed. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they are employed either. We’d need to differentiate between the percentage employed and the percentage permanently unemployed, both sets of data not shown in the standard unemployment data.

      My guess is that the permanently unemployment rate is higher there. If so, how high? Even so, the real unemployment data has been kept hidden since the Reagan administration. It’s not anything new. The fact remains that unemployment was lower by the time Obama left office, unless there really has been an increase in the permanently unemployed in such counties.

      It’s hard to find accurate data. And even harder to determine what it means. On what basis are we to conclude that Whitley County is representative of the average white person, the average poor white person, the average rural white person, and/or the average Trump voter? Also, how do we know the people interviewed in that video are representative of the average person in that county, in that state, or in that region? It would have been nice if they had used the interviews alongside public opinion data.

      The video leaves me with more questions than answers.

  9. I wonder if Black Americans in terms of being descendents of American slaves, could be considered an ethnic group. A bit like French Canadians, Cajuns, Creoles, etc

    • It seems like a rather fuzzy use of ethnicity. I’ve heard people sometimes refer to European American whites as an ethnic group. That sounds meaningless.

      An ethnic group is a very specific population, typically defined by such things as ancestry, national origin, religion, unique language, etc. But the fact of the matter is most American blacks have more in common with American whites than to any African ethnicities. As I like to repeat, the average black has 20% European ancestry, about a quarter are 50+% European ancestry, and one in twenty have no detectable African genetics. A large number of supposed African Americans may have no African ancestry, depending on how reliable are the genetic tests.

      What makes Hispanics an ethnicity is that they have historically had their own culture, religion, and language that is separate and distinct from most of the rest of American society. That isn’t the case with American blacks. Their culture, religion, and language is largely shared by white people of the same regional background. Thomas Sowell makes that argument when he speaks of black rednecks, in arguing that inner city culture is simply a Northern variant of lower class Southern culture. Until conflict heated up in the late 1900s, poor blacks and poor whites mixed together quite a bit in the South.

      Much of what we think of as black dialect is just a form of Southern dialect. If you lived in the South, you hear many whites speak in a similar way. What differentiates Southerners is more about where they lived. Whites and blacks in the inner cities sound more alike, just as whites and blacks outside of the inner cities sound more alike. Black Americans only seem distinct because of where they moved to in Northern cities, becoming segregated in a way that was less common in the South.

      I’m not sure what would be the basis of African Americans as an ethnicity. French Canadians, Cajuns, Creoles, etc are defined by communities that are regionally confined and separate from the rest of society. French Canadians live in French Canada speaking French, as the Amish live in Amish country speaking Dutch or whatever. There is no exact equivalent for American blacks.

    • The thing is that it depends on what kind of diversity and the purpose. People who grow up with diversity, according to studies, are better at dealing with diversity and so breaking the ice would be easier for them (a rather common sense result).

      That is probably why long term diversity should be looked at differently than short term diversity. When a population has been living with diversity for centuries that is hardly comparable to diversity based on recent immigration. Large, quick increases in diversity is often the result of war, drought, etc which leads to immigrants with PTSD, malnutrition, poverty, and general problems that have nothing directly to do with diversity itself. But once diversity is established and following generations are raised in a healthy stable communities, it is an entirely different kind of situation.

      It also matters how that diversity becomes structured. There is a difference between national or regional diversity and local or neighborhood diversity. The US is one of the most diverse countries in the world with several centuries of mixing of races, ethnicities, cultures, languages, religions, etc. Americans have been forced to deal with diversity in a way only typically found in post-colonial societies that were built on immigration and slavery. Imperfect as this country is, our culture has a rough-and-ready way of dealing with diversity. There is far less segregation in the US than in Europe and research shows that segregation is the key factor to making diversity problematic.

      For all the problems of neoliberal capitalism, it does force a lot of immigration and population movement both between and within societies. We Americans are so used to diversity that we rarely notice it at all except. The average American doesn’t think twice about moving to a new city of strangers for a new job, even if that city has a different regional culture and demographic profile than what they grew up with.

      When people are segregated, it doesn’t matter how much diversity you have. It will lead to mistrust and conflict. People won’t normally interact with each other and so they will never learn the skills of dealing with diversity. The thing about segregation is that there is always an artificiality to it when one looks closely. Segegation in a diverse society cannot be maintained without powerful social forces and legal systems to enforce it.

      We can see that with racial segregation in the US. It didn’t happen naturally. When it wasn’t enforced early in Virginia, they found that poor whites and black whites working and living together started to socialize together (marrying, having kids, etc) and so started to identify with one another. This led to revolt against the ruling elite. Racialized slavery was created on purpose to segregate the population in order to not just physically divide but psychologically divide the poor and it worked.

      Still the races kept intermingling as daily life brought them into contact. Later on after the Civil War, poor blacks and poor whites started identifying with each other again. They were working together, living together, and socializing together. The ruling elite didn’t like that. So, once again they created racial laws to segregate people. Now we are back to increasing intermingling.

      If humans are left alone, they intermingle. Put a bunch of diverse kids together in a shared community without adults interfering in any way and I promise you those kids will grow up to be friends and spouses. All that diversity intermingling for centuries in the US and now most people no longer even think of it as diversity. For many societies in the past, almost the entire population had the same ancestry, religion, etc. But the US has hundreds of ancestries, religions, etc and no one even thinks about it in terms of ‘diversity’ because it is simply the normal state of our society. Few American kids these days are told they can’t be friends with someone because they are Catholic or can’t marry someone because they are Italian-American.

      Our public school system has done wonders for breaking down some of the worse forms of segregation. I went to public schools in the desegregated South and it had a major, permanent impact on my worldview. When I hear what is considered black dialect, I don’t think of a foreign-sounding racial other but the familiarity of my younger years spent in the Deep South. When I see a black person in this majority white city, my first thought is remembering all the black kids I knew in school and all the black people I worked with at various jobs. I even once met a black guy here in Iowa who went to a school near the school I went to in South Carolina. Such things as breaking the ice are easier to do with those you have shared life experience.

      Considering how much diversity there is in the US, it is surprising how little interracial, inter-ethnic, and interreligious conflict and violence there is. If the anti-diversity crowd was right, the US should be in a near permanent state of social chaos or even civil war. The US has had its problems, but interestingly most of the problems the US has had is when those in power attempt to enforce segregation. If allowed to live and relate freely, people tend to increasingly integrate or even assimilate over the generations.

      Here is what I noticed about the two links you shared.

      The first one that has critical conclusions about diversity refers to self-segregation several times but never mentions socially and legally-enforced segregation. There is no mention of the effect segregation has on the results of diversity and no mention of how recent that segregation is, as Jim Crow Laws are well within living memory and some sundown towns were maintained into my childhood. How can segregation (and its long history), one of the most obvious confounding factors, be kept out of the discussion of diversity?

      The second one doesn’t talk about segregation in a direct way. But what is obvious is that the focus is on a situation where official and systemic forms of segregation are lacking. These are students raised on multiculturalism ideology who are attending diverse college campuses following several generations of legal desegregation. It’s not just that these kids aren’t segregated. They are actively being desegregated and being taught to deal with diversity while still young. Throw together a bunch of adults who spent their entire lives in segregated communities and I promise that you won’t get the same results. It takes a lot of work to undo the damage caused by long term systemic segregation.

      The thing is diversity is either a proxy for other issues (i.e., confounding factors) or it is largely about perception. The former feeds into the latter because, within perception, the proxy gets conflated with the confounding factors. All of human history is endless mixing of populations. Every perceived homogeneous population was built on centuries or millennia of diversity, much of it long forgotten. But diversity can be forgotten even within a single generation, such as inter-ethnic violent conflict becoming racial solidarity as happened in 20th century US.

      What was perceived as the basis of difference in the past in many cases is perceived as irrelevant today. Few modern Westerners see diversity among people with different European ancestries, different shades of ‘white’ skin, different hair color, different accents, different religions, etc. Yet for centuries in Europe and the former colonies, wars were fought and societies ripped apart because of these perceived differences.

      Northerners and Southerners fought a Civil War partly over their perceived differences (often using the language of ethno-racial difference), even though today such differences seem inconsequential and barely noticed. When I hear someone with a Southern accent, it doesn’t signal to me that the person is a potential threat to my life, job, community, or whatever. Protestants and Catholics used to fight each other as if they each posed an existential threat to the entire social order and Western Civilization itself, but these days most people don’t even know what religion their neighbor might adhere to nor do they generally care. A Chinese family lived next to my parent’s house and, despite my parents having some old school prejudices, it never occurred to them to even think about what religion they may or may not have belonged to.

      These previously perceived differences have lost nearly all salience. It’s not the difference that matters but the perception of that difference. This problematizes all research about diversity. Scientists don’t just study differences in pure detached objectivity, for the researchers have internalized society’s perceived differences which will bias how they construct their studies, interpret their results, and form conclusions. It never occurs, for example, to most researchers to study the factors of perceived diversity that past generations found so important. We only study the issues of difference that we notice and care about. But the world is full of millions of human differences that no one bothers to study because we take them as normal or insignificant.

      That is too bad. Perception is the most interesting and important factor. There is some research on perception, though. But it still seems limited considering the central role it plays. Even as research is being done, the very understanding of what diversity means has been shifting across the generations. Diversity is a constantly changing reality and so a moving target. Diversity is also a relative concept. All societies are diverse in different ways. The issue is about what kind and degree of diversity, compared to what other kind and degree of diversity existing elsewhere. Such comparisons are always mired in the biases of perception.

      This is one of those issues that seems like we are barely beginning to grasp even how to study it.

      Click to access NLetki_social%20capital%20and%20diversity_final.pdf

  10. “The evidence is Obama’s numbers vs. Hillary’s and the thousands of Bernie supporters like me who campaigned against her in the general because they didn’t want her to shape the future of the Democratic party by example.
    You can be pissed at us, but if you expected Hillary to get our votes after cheating against us, you’re deluding yourself. See, Hillary might have won the primary without cheating and still got Bernie votes, but Hillary didn’t have the moral backbone necessary to take the risk of being honest. And had she lost, Bernie very well might have won with an undivided Democratic party behind him.
    Hillbots like to act as though Hillary’s ruthlessness was her strength. Turns out, it was her weakness.”

    • I don’t regret it either. My dirty secret is that I was gleeful when I heard Hillary Clinton lost. I’ve never in my life wanted more for a particular candidate to lose. I’ve often hated the Republican Party, but few candidates have I found more despicable than her. That said, it was hard being too gleeful, knowing who won. For people like me, with those two nominated candidates, it was a lose-lose scenario.

      • She seemed to treat the campaign as motions to go through on her way to inevitable coronation. It was off putting, especially with the favoritism. It oozed arrogance and entitlement

        I don’t know if clintkn deserves the hate. To some extent it eeems the image she presents of the hyper type A cunning Spock who will stop st nothing is a product of her generation. Many well off white women of her generation who wanted to her anywhere in the male dominated worlds of politics, law, etc, felt they had to overcompensate by being even 10x more cold and ball-busting and hardcore than the most assholey men.

        Then again, while clintkn really had that singular dream of being the first female president and stopped at nothing for it, was it really hard for her? I don’t want to demean her abilities, but it seems a lot of the positions she got she never would’ve if she were not married to bill. She carpetbagged her way into the ny senate, got the Secretary of State position as a consolation prize, etc.

        It’s not to say she isn’t bright and capable. But there are countless bright and capable women who aren’t married to charismatic former presidents and are living mundane lives as local lawyers, etc. which is likely the life she would’ve lived without bill. It’s not even really anyone’s fault. Connections are what get you ahead in this world

        • There is the fact that she has an irritating personality. I don’t know to what extent it is something she developed in order to succeed as a woman.

          But it can’t be denied that she would probably be unknown if not for her husband’s political career. Even her being hired for a law firm early on seems to have been because who she was married to. Not that I personally care, as that is standard sleazy cronyism.

          What I don’t doubt is that she worked harder than Trump has ever had to do. Then again, almost everyone in the world, politician and otherwise, has worked harder than someone like Trump who was born into plutocracy.

          Why people came to dislike Clinton seems to have had more to do with her campaign than anything else. Earlier on, she received popular ratings in polls. So, it’s not that people hated her as a person or because of her personality. It was her actions in her campaign that turned people away.

    • My sense is that she isn’t good at reading people or in understanding how people perceive her. I’m not sure many people would think of her as cold and emotional. She never comes off like that to me. There is just something about her that seems a bit emotionally obtuse, such as how she often laughs at inappropriate moments. Her people skills seem limited, which has nothing to do with gender.

      • Clinton is one of those people who people seem to dislike the more they are exposed to her.

        I’m not sure all of her popularity woes are entirely attributable to her gender

        Sometimes I do that thought experiment kn myself. Like if clintkn was the exact same person but male what would I think. I pretty much think I’d still avoid voting for her. But to be honest while ckintkn does face sexism a lot of her appeal was based on her gender as well. I think if she were male she would’ve gone the way if Jeb bush instead, not propelled to the candidacy for president.

        Asked my dad if clintkn would be more liked if she were male. He was like “people would like her even less! She’s too fake.”

        • She admitted that Bill and Barack have had to work at appearing to be natural. They developed great interpersonal skills, although with Bill there probably was some inborn charisma. She seems to argue that she didn’t develop those skills because there were no role models. Yet there are now and have been other female politicians and leaders, both in the US and other countries. Many women over this past century have won elections against men and even done so while being liked and respected.

          You could think about the hypothetical of a male Hillary. Would her inappropriate laughs seem less offensive or irritating if she were a man? Would her heavy-handed, tone deaf presidential campaign been more successful? Would her lies be more convincing and her identity politics less superficial? I doubt it.

          Another way to think about it is the hypothetical of male politicians as female. Would a female Bill be less charismatic and have fewer people skills? Would he have been less popular and not become president? I don’t know. It’s possible But one would think that, if his charisma is natural, it would still be a factor conducive toward success. I’m not sure why a charismatic women couldn’t succeed. Would a female Donald’s assholishness and narcissism led him to the presidency? Maybe not. But maybe so, if s/he were still running against a candidate as bad as Hillary. He was in a position of not needing to win, just not lose.

          There is the point that a large number of people wouldn’t have supported Hillary all these years and wouldn’t have voted for her if she hadn’t been a woman. She wasn’t just a candidate but a feminist symbol. Many people didn’t care about her so much as a person or a politician but what she represented, even if only in their minds. Every politician plays to their strength. And Hillary always played to her gender as a strength, not a weakness. It was supposed to be one of her best features. One could try to make that argument about Obama and his blackness. No doubt he played to the idea of his somehow representing the African American experience. Even so, it is hard to imagine him ever having received much notice if not for his speaking skills.

          I don’t know what would be about gender that would keep Hillary from learning basic people and speaking skills that other presidents have had to learn. Some other women seem to learn those skills. Besides, most men don’t have such skills. It’s not like gender either guarantees or denies the ability to learn how to relate to people well, to inspire them, and gain their support.

          That said, I do take seriously the issue of role models. Many people lack role models. And that can be problematic. Then again, Barack didn’t have a black role model for president, even if he had male role models. He had to fight against many negative stereotypes and prejudices. He was swimming against the tide of a long racist history. So, I’m not sure how the lack of role models effects most people. But I do know research has shown Barack has acted as a role model and inspiration for many blacks. After he was elected, a study showed that black test scores went up, counteracting the stereotype effect.

          The problem with Hillary is that I don’t see her being an inspiring role model for too many women. The majority of young women are at the time of life when they are looking for role models and yet the majority of them didn’t support Hillary. Instead of blaming the world for lacking role models for her, she could have taken it as an opportunity to be a genuine role model to others. But it seems that she was more interested in power than anything else. Before she asks why poor rural white men didn’t vote for her, she needs to ask why so many white women and young women didn’t vote for her, the two demographics she should have won easily.

  11. It’s funny because I’m not pro Betsy devos, but I’m not sure I’d want my kids going through the same public school experience I went through. The thought of it makes me uncomfortable. I went to a school with 2500 students and had a graduating class of 600. It was very competitive and very cliquey. It still haunts me mental health wise

    I read a study that suggested that cliqueyness in high schools isn’t inevitable. Generally, bigger schools with more options will be more cliquey.

    I think cliqueyness only sucked for me because I was a misfit though. I usually gravitated towards older people

    So props to this kids parents I guess:

    • “It’s funny because I’m not pro Betsy devos, but I’m not sure I’d want my kids going through the same public school experience I went through.”

      The problem is that has nothing to do with public versus private schools. In other countries or even some places in the US, public education is highly valued, supported, and funded. Those public schools are better than most private schools.

      Right-wingers and Creationists like Devos don’t care about education. Everyone knows that anything touch will turn to shit. If Devos and her ilk get their way, education for most students will get worse. These are the same people who have argued for getting science and history out of school textbooks, while trying to get religion put in.

      There purpose is to attack and defund any and all public goods. It’s not about reform and improvement. What bothers me is the threat of worsening or even destruction of our public education system and the harm to so many kids that would inevitably follow.

      “I read a study that suggested that cliqueyness in high schools isn’t inevitable. Generally, bigger schools with more options will be more cliquey.”

      I’ve never seen research about it. But intuitively it doesn’t seem inevitable. My medium-sized high school wasn’t that way.

      About the article, it seems like a missed opportunity. The author offers almost no larger context or insightful perspective.

      “Golphin fixed himself on providing an education that no school could.”

      That is blatantly false. Schools provide what we demand that they provide. The fact of the matter is most parents couldn’t provide what that kid’s parents provided. Even most middle class families couldn’t accomplish that. Those parents were clearly in an extremely economically secure situation where they could afford the money and time invested.

      “He estimates that the family has taken advantage of $1 million worth of free educational opportunities, seeking them wherever they can find them, online or otherwise. When he’s not taking his son to free programs at museums, he routinely brings Romanieo to university classes to observe, and sometimes even to speak, as he did at Morehouse College and Duke University in 2015.”

      That $1 million worth of educational opportunities weren’t free. They were simply paid for by other people, most of it probably coming from publicly funded institutions and programs. Imagine if every child had $1 million worth of educational opportunities provided at their local public school, easily accessible to all students no matter their parents’ economic status.

    • “Like one issue with public schools is that some of them are huge. Which if it’s your taste I guess but it.”

      That is also not inevitable, along with large number of students per class. The US used to have mostly small public schools. Large public schools were extremely rare decades ago. I spent my childhood going to small neighborhood schools. That has changed for a number of reasons. Some of these reasons had intentional purpose and others were unintentional side effects.

      Desegregation in the South and inner cities destroyed neighborhood schools. I experienced that once my family moved to South Carolina. But even then the schools weren’t huge. My class was small enough that I had at least passing familiarity with most people in it. I didn’t feel lost in a sea of strangers. It’s only been recently that there has been a greater movement to make schools even larger. In this town, they have over time been shutting down the smaller neighborhood schools. It is actually being promoted by do-gooder liberals who want to promote ‘diversity’, to avoid both racial and economic segregation as the city continues to grow.

      I understand their reasoning. But there are few things that harm the social fabric of a community more than destroying the most basic of community institutions, i.e., neighborhood schools. Those small neighborhood schools were among the best experiences I’ve had in my life. I had a hard enough time with school back then because of learning disabilities. I somehow doubt I would have been better off in a large school where I would have been shunted off into special ed classes and isolated from my peers.

      Still, I’m not against big schools on principle. It probably isn’t an issue of public versus private-or-charter. The push for bigger schools will effect all schools. If anything, for-profit schools will grow the largest because larger would mean greater cost savings and so greater profits. Small neighborhood schools could only ever be maintained through public education where the public demanded that they be maintained. There is the rub.

      “So if ESL students strain public schools how did they function in the past when immigration waves were bigger than now?”

      The public and political elite back then decided it was a priority. There was a demand for universal public education and the government took seriously meeting that demand. Vast amounts of local, state, and federal funding was pumped into education. Public schools were built in every community and neighborhood. Teaching became a highly respected profession that was well paid.

      It was part of the Progressive and New Deal eras when a large-scale reform movement pushed for a complete overhaul of society and the creation of public institutions. And it was done at a time when the US had a far lower GDP than today. We aren’t limited by wealth today. It’s just that those in power have decided to privatize the benefits for the few while socializing and externalizing the costs onto the general public. And unlike in early 20th century, the government hasn’t felt threatened by militant movements and potential revolution if they don’t get serious about serving the public good.

      The public gets what it demands, when there is enough real threat behind that demand. The question then is: Why aren’t enough people demanding improvement? Or else why do the ruling elite not fear that those demands represent a real threat to their wealth and power?

      There were some good comments at the article:

      “The suburbs have never been a financially viable model of development. That’s why they always needed to expand; the quest was always to continually create taxable real estate to fund their towns’ existences. Now with the recession, the aging boomer generation, the focus of young people back on cities and older communities and not on continual exurban living, those realities are finally coming to light. Cities are economic engines that can adapt and reinvent themselves because given the chance the thrive (a chance they were actively denied through local and federal policy in the mid to late 20th century) they are inherently efficient machines. The post-war suburbia that was grafted onto farmland was almost immediately turned into an ideological model driven by the profit of car makers and house builders, pushed along by a government that thought cities, despite having existed for thousands of years, were an old model to toss away. But now, suburbs all over this country are failing now that the economic sham they always were is being exposed. This is ultimately the future of this country.”

      “The problems of Fairfax County can be most easily be attributed to common problems for many aging suburbs. See here:

      :”Came here to say exactly this. Suburban growth is one of the biggest Ponzi schemes in this country’s history. Low density means a smaller tax base and more infrastructure to maintain. Now that infrastructure is crowded and aging, and cannot be supported with existing tax revenues.
      Not to mention that we’ve paved over wooded areas and farm land to create these auto-dependent monstrosities. Even if Fairfax were fiscally sustainable, it’s not environmentally sustainable.”

      Richard Carlstrom:
      “The county can cry poverty all they want but they seemed to have no problem “finding” 53 million dollars to put in cancer-causing artificial turf fields in the parks (which will need to be replaced again in 10 years). So now I can no longer use the trails in Roundtree Park or Broyhill Crest park because the county decided to remove the pedestrian bridges instead of fixing them. (PS According to the county’s own report the average class size for K-12 is 22 students)”

      “When did the Post become a Republican mouthpiece. This dumpster fire of an article is embarrassing. Nothing in this story is a problem without a moderate tax hike so people are actually paying for what they get. Our problem is gutless politicians, cheap bigots and ungrateful unrealistic old people who want something for nothing. High home values, cheap property taxes, and great infrastrcuture. It doesn’t work like that. You have to pay for it. Of course tax revenue is slowing, the county is built out. And as was barely mentioned we have the second highest income in the country. We are hardly being overrun with low income people. Or overwhelmed by aging poverty stricken cadre of baby boomers. I think those older people can afford a couple $100 extra a year in property taxes on houses they bought 20-30 years for 1/4 of what they are worth now. Want to keep your property values high? you need great schools, libraries parks and infrastructre. Raise taxes to pay for the upkeep of the county and then good things will happen. Fairfax will maintain its position and your house values will rise and people will want to move here. Cut taxes to cheap old rich people and they will be the first to complain when their house values collapse. This all very predictable, very Republican complaining about starving a government that does most things pretty well. Fairfax is in the same position as thousands of other municipalities around the country except we have a highly educated, wealthy workforce in close proximity to an excellent long range employment base. Raise taxes to a reasonable level and all this crap goes away.”

      “Thirty years of the Laffer curve fantasy of cutting taxes, cutting taxes, cutting taxes, cutting and privatizing services, and laying off tens of thousands of decently paid, taxpaying government employees in favor of overpaid private contractors, and suddenly we’re shocked, shocked I tell you, that those formerly taxpaying employees, now unemployed or working at Burger King, aren’t contributing to the local economy, so tax collections are down — the very raison d’etre for all the corporate and 1-percenter tax cuts — and … Golly gee, we can’t pay for any services, and we’re broke.
      Hello America, welcome to Reaganistan, where the chickens have been quietly coming home to roost for 25 years and are finally defecating all over our vaunted quality of life.
      How did we get out of the Great Depression? We spent money, put people to work, primed the pump, and built a war machine that turned out to be essential when we went to war. How did we get out of the post-war recession? We spent money, put people to work, supported unions, built highways and schools.
      How will we get out of this long, ongoing slump? Spend money, build our infrastructure, put people to work — and watch as they pay taxes on their salaries and bring money in to improve the schools etc. etc. etc.
      But we’ll only get there if we dump Reaganomics forever, bury the Laffer curve, and eliminate the Republican Party’s death-throe mantra of drowning government in a bathtub. When you do that, you get Fairfax County (and ten thousand other communities around the US: a waterlogged, bloated, corpse and a community that’s dying, if not dead. Just what the doctor ordered.”

      nemo wraith:
      “the damaged bridge is the top picture could have been replace for a few thousand dollars, instead Fairfax Supervisor Penny Gross wizzed hundreds of thousands on a palatial office building for herself and there is no money left.
      Penny Gross is a DINO, in the pockets of the developers and cares nothing for her constituents,”

      A Catala:
      “Oh no! Rome is burning! Or is it?
      I moved to Fairfax County last summer. Let me tell you what I see: I’m living in one of the safest places I’ve ever lived in my life. I see FCPS in my area with ESOL of 15% or less. (check your school’s demographics on the FCPS website, folks)
      An FCPS substitute that I know says that there are 20-25 students per class more often than 30-35 students per class. By comparison, my son’s 5th grade class in Delaware had 100 students with only three teachers — and no IAs.
      FCPS is so bad?!? According to US News & World Report, most FCPS high schools are ranked 400th or better in the nation. TJ is #3. Most FCPS high schools are also ranked 15th or better in the Commonwealth. Compare that to Delaware where the top ranked DE high school is ranked 1,300 in the nation.
      Yes I believe that the financial concerns and budget woes are real, but I don’t believe that Fairfax is heading toward disaster. Why not? For one thing, I’m having a very difficult time finding a house in the Robinson boundary for under $350k. NOVA houses aren’t underwater anywhere near Maryland houses. Maybe property values are stagnating, but they don’t seem to be declining. ”

      “Good post, but it just really depends on where in Fairfax County you are. I am a substitute, and while things are peachy in the Robinson district, they are far from that way in other areas of the county.
      Believe me, all of my assignments where I usually go in eastern Fairfax…it’s 30 or so kids and it’s always special or ESOL classes. I don’t mind them often, but all the time gets old.”

      “The good parts of Fairfax are great. The Mason districts is going off the rails. Look how many f the schools here are and will continue to be overcapacity. Look at how many failed accreditation. If you are in our area you are hosed.”

      “I’ve lived places that were cheaper and had much lower taxes. In some ways, it was nice. But schools were terrible, not preparing kids for adulthood. Had to drive 20 min to a library. Had to drive 30 min to a park. Roads in my neighborhood were all messed up (asphalt cracked and broken). Petty crime rampant, although that could be anywhere. Dogs ran loose in packs. So I guess you get what you pay for. My annual property tax on my car was $90. When I moved here it was $800. That was before Gov. Gilmore lowered the car tax. Not thrilled with a possible tax hike, but maybe we need it.”

      Along For The Ride:
      “No, liberals aren’t responsible for people with lower personal incomes moving to Fairfax, that trend is happening across the region. Liberals aren’t responsible for the Federal government reducing or cancelling contracts, a bubble that burst post the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and the recent recession. Liberals aren’t responsible for the huge dip in the housing market post-recession or the huge hit taxpayer’s savings took. Liberals aren’t responsible for a global economic slowdown.
      No, these things happen regardless of which political party has the edge in Fairfax County.”

      “Everybody who has lived in Fairfax knows that it isn’t filled with wealth. Sure, it’s a better area than most in terms of overall infrastructure quality and a decent standard of living, but there have always been people struggling to make ends meet. What has kept it all in balance was the sharp focus upon what already existed, along with careful planning. However, that’s now all being thrown out of whack by overdevelopment. The more you build the more you need to maintain, and the ignorant have chosen to focus upon the immediate gratification of shiny new buildings and an ever growing populace. The notion of favoring quantity over quality will always lead to failure, and plenty of communities once thought to be indestructible powerhouses learned that very fact the hard way before. Fairfax is simply losing its bearing, and if it doesn’t cease with this concentration of building anew while ignoring maintenance of what already exists, then you will certainly witness abandoned buildings and poverty rearing its ugly blighted head as everyone moves away.”

      “The most important piece of information in this article would seem to be that Fairfax is “still” the second-richest county in the nation. Extremely safe, new metro line, etc.”

      “Yeah, so they should be collecting enough tax money to fix washed out bridges and similar. The fact that they don’t can only be a failure of local government. There are many poorer places in this country that aren’t falling apart. Where are all their revenues going? If this story is really supposed to introduce to us the county’s problems, that seems like the first question that needs to be answered. Other counties would be thriving with that kind of a tax base, so what’s wrong with Fairfax?”

      “I don’t live in Fairfax, but near it, and my experience is that it simply is not falling apart. The claim just doesn’t seem correct to me. The author looked around a county of 1.1 million people for signs of infrastructure decay and found a footbridge and a cracked basketball court. I’ll bet the court is fixed by mid-day Monday.
      Infrastructure ages and even an affluent county does not have unlimited resources, but the overall balance seems okay to me. I am no expert, but that’s what I see.”

      “cut taxes some more
      that solves everything
      ( or, if that fails, bomb them )”

      “And this is different than it’s been since the early 1980s in precisely what way?
      I lived in Herndon before it “went upscale” and the day laborer situation has remained pretty much as it is now for a long time now.
      Also, it’s about time that the myth of “refuse to learn English” dies the death it so justly deserves. The story of immigrant communities has played out the same way since the turn of the 20th century. Most adults who arrive never master English and get along as best they can. Their children are bilingual (at least since the nonsense that my father grew up with – that it was not American to speak anything but English finally disappeared) and much more integrated into this country and its customs. Those children’s children are assimilated. ‘Twas ever thus.”

      “Oh, poor guys dealing with what the rest of the country has had to since 2008.”

      “That’s about what it comes down to. The government class is now feeling the squeeze that most of the country started to feel several years ago, or even longer. I remember Ross Perot warning about NAFTA back in ’92, but he was considered an alarmist.”

      South Detroit:
      “I wish Connolly had mentioned that under his and Herrity Senior’s leadersip for the past 30 years they didn’t fund the pensions fully, so now we take operational funds from the schools and make up not only the current costs, but the past costs. Hard to keep spending at the inflation rate when making up for horrible decisions made over decades.”

      “Eight Fortune 500 companies in one county? There should be NO problem. Except that many Fortune 500 companies pay NO taxes and receive billions of dollars every year from the federal government in corporate welfare”

      “For all the ignorant posters trying to equate a poor quality of life because of the liberal agenda that promotes improved social services and cultural diversity tell that to all the GOP run poverty stricken states of the Southeastern US. Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, etc.. There as conservative an culturally monolithic as anywhere in the country yet these states are at the bottom statistically in health care, education, crime and other statistics. You can’t blame everything on liberals people.”

  12. One of the things I’m most worried about with any future kids I have in school is bullying and exclusion. It still mentally sffects me. And as a kid of immigrants there’s the stnandard “parents can’t relate” thing which probably plays into why I’m not totally over it today. In that American high schools and teenagegood have certain social dynamic characteristics that my parents can’t relate to. So it was a lonely time to navigate without guidance.

    I feel kind of bad now. But in my school there were always the kids that were bullied and outcast and basically shunned and low status.? I wasn’t one of those kids, but I often became friends with them until I realized they were socially low on the totem pole/shunned by other kids. I would end up avoiding them to preserve my own social status :/

    Like if I have a kid I hope I can be a better guide to them on this stuff than my own parents.

    • My own parents weren’t always that great in helping me navigate the social world of my youth. And I really did need much guidance, as I was socially obtuse when younger, far more socially obtuse than Hillary Clinton. I totally didn’t understand so much about how to relate normally. I was pathetic.

      But my obtuseness had a certain advantage when I was really young. I simply was oblivious to social status. I didn’t have low social status nor did it bother me if someone else had low social status. It was a somewhat contented obliviousness, while it lasted.

      By high school, I was gaining social awareness and so becoming socially sensitive, even as I remained socially clueless. It was a bad combination and my parents were of little help. It sure would be nice to have parents or other adults to help one at that age.

      • In my experience the kids that were targeted for bullying and exclusion were high functioning special ed kids. The kids who aren’t physically disabled (blind, deaf, etc) or retarded and take mainstream classes but might need some extra assistance, special services, etc. this probably varies my school though. I bet more severely disabled kids getting bullied is more common elsewhere. I think the more severe special ed kids were teased by some but it was generally frowned upon by most people. However for high functioning special education kids who were mostly mainstream it was open season.

        You know what makes me sad remember it? For those kids, even the teachers were mean to them

        Some of them had anger and other behavioral issues but it seems a decent chunk of it was due to how they were treated. They were decent kids at heart to people who were nice to them.

  13. I’m one of those people that could go a whole day eating barely anything. And my childhood was me barely eating lol. I could have a latte for the day to sustain me if I wanted as long as it was a fairly sendentary day

    As a result I’m shorter than both parents and they they were often hungry as kids so it’s likely their height isn’t their genetic potential either.

    • I’m above the US average for height. I’m not extremely tall at a little over 6 feet. My paternal grandfather was even taller and he grew up poor, but he probably ate healthier food as a kid than is common for Americans these days.

      The US average probably is lower because of our higher immigration rate. The time during which US average height increased the most was during the mid 20th century when there was a major drop in immigration.

      Hispanics are presently the fastest growing demographic. They are far from their genetic potential for average height. If all factors were the same, Hispanics would be as tall as Europeans. After all, most of Hispanic genetics come from their European ancestry.

      • Being above average but not too above average “freakishly tall” in height seems to be the “ideal” beauty standard wise in society, especially for men but for women too.

  14. “Curiosity, questioning, interest in gaining knowledge and expertise–these are signs of intelligence that kids show early. Alas, adults may not spot these signs, and may not honor them–especially in girls or minority kids.
    There may be many kids whose signs of intelligence aren’t spotted until they’re 15 to 18 years old–not because they aren’t present, but because others aren’t looking for them.
    And if these signs are not acknowledged and encouraged by adults, kids may tend to hide them.”

    • I’ve long suspected that most smart people are never recognized. Consider the demographics that are stereotyped as low intelligence, overall or in certain areas such as math and science: the poor, minorities, girls, etc. Well, that is the vast majority of the entire population.

      There are likely millions of Americans who are quite brilliant and few if anyone has ever bothered to notice. That is a massive waste of human potential, not to mention an injustice beyond imagining. And those with greater privilege, often with less potential, would like us to believe it is a meritocracy.

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