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June 05, 2005

Comments

Well, I'm a strong liberal (16) on non-fiscal issues, and a moderate liberal (29) on fiscal issues. The trouble is, I have no idea what this means. In my view, Democrats have been the party of fiscal responsibility for decades, but does the test think so? Who knows?

Strong liberal (15) on non-fiscal issues and moderate liberal (35) on fiscal issues. I think the test is out of whack, though, because a lot of the distinctions between the "moderate liberal" and "strong liberal" responses also contain dependent or modifying clauses that could apply to the other position as well. [I assume the same is true of the "moderate conservative" and "strong conservative" dichotomy, but I couldn't say for sure.] There are also rather severe problems with, e.g., the question on deficits in that I pretty much held three of the four possible views since two were specific and two were general. Eh. It is what it is; thanks for the link.

BTW, does the pre-Scoop tacitus.org exist in any meaningful way (other than the Wayback machine)? Or did the whole site just get blatted in the changeover?

Strong liberal - non-fiscal issues (15); moderate liberal - fiscal issues (24). Interesting exercise - meaningless - but interesting.

On the subject of fiscal policy, interesting post from Kevin Drum on America's de facto flat tax.

i'm a 24/24 . perfect in every way.

There also needs to be a separate axis (maybe even two) for partisanship. There are people whose views are strongly liberal or conservative but who aren't at all closely identified with the nearby party. And there are people whose basic instincts are fairly moderate but who are very strongly identified with one party and thoroughly hostile to the other.

According to the Political Gauge I am: moderately liberal on non-fiscal issues (24) and on fiscal issues (29).

I like The Political Compass a little better. There I am: economic Left/Right: -6.75 and social libertarian/authoritarian: -4.87...which seems more of an idealistic measure than a practical one (which seems to be the gauge's focus). I tend towards more moderate means to achieve a liberal/libertarian viewpoint.

Interesting test there, nous, especially since it's done from a British perspective. I ended up at -5.75 Economic Left/Right and -5.13 Authoritarian/Libertarian which puts me at almost the same place as Gandhi.

Needless to say, this is about the only thing we have in common.

I am: Economic Left/Right: -4.13
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -5.28

So, oddly, less liberal but more libertarian than Anarch. -- I always find, though, that I disagree with a lot of the questions, but find myself thinking: I'm sure this is not the sort of disagreement you were looking for, O test. Still, I answer them honestly, without trying to second-guess the test, and so often come up with very odd scores.

To put it mildly, the Gauge fails to capture many possible shades of opinion on issues. The farm subsidies and trade questions are particularly 'gappy'. If I were designing a test, I'd add at least two more statements per category, and give the ability to choose up to two statements. The intensity meter is nice.

results: 9 fiscal, 13 social. What can you say about a spectrum with nothing to the left of "strong liberal"? That it was designed by people for whom 'strong liberal' is code for 'left-wing extremist'.

I am not now in the mood to take that survey; I may later. Part of the problems I have with such things is my tendency to stick a finger into the air to see which directional the political winds are blowing, and then, either conciously or unconciously, tack into the wind. Given a very liberal administration and/or country, I would appear more conservative. In any case, I don't feel required to take firm, principle stands on every issue, because I lack certainty on most, and playing with the multiple sides of a policy is one way I gain clarity.
.....
Timmy reads CB's mind over at Tacitus and thinks Charles is feeling lonesome. ObsWi lacks conservative commenters.
For the record, I so visit Tacitus regularly and Red State intermittently, and I do see both those places as having more liberal commenters than ObsWi has conservatives. I will make a few points, and then leave the question for anyone who cares to address it. Should there be any Republicans left here. Or perhaps my premises can be challenged. Blogs develop communities, and the lefties on Tac don't seem all that noticably nicer to me.

1)The rightside posters have been less active lately, and the left more active. No criticism just an observation.
2)Extremely vitriolic attacks, of the type I am occasionally guilty of? That darn innuendo stuff.
3) Piling on? Not on posters, that is the show, but piling on particular commenters is really kinda pointless and tiresome. Drum's blog is famous for this, "Al" or "Charles"...a different Charles...make a comment, and the next fifty comments are a gang tackle, with a couple of lefty OT comments, and believe it or not, a few rightward comments. Whatever good arguments might exist in the minority comments are ignored for sake of "attacking the troll."

So to address the commenters: What can we do to make Republicans and/or conservatives feel more welcome? Do you want Cons/Repubs/Libs to feel more welcome? Is it not our problem, the fault lies in the powers-that-be, or in the conservatives?

Or are Timmy and Tacitus obsessed by a problem that doesn't exist, and isn't their business?

Blogs develop communities, and the lefties on Tac don't seem all that noticably nicer to me.

lemme guess, there's still a cadre of righties who specialize in this form of reply:

[pompous attitude]
[one or two possibly relevant facts]
[backhanded insult mixed with self-congratulatory sneer]
[variation on "...moving on..." ]

What can we do to make Republicans and/or conservatives feel more welcome? Do you want Cons/Repubs/Libs to feel more welcome? Is it not our problem, the fault lies in the powers-that-be, or in the conservatives?

I think the problem is one of rhetoric and tone, and the unfortunate tendency on the web to adopt polemic over debate as the primary mode of expression. Please forgive the use of technical terms here, but it seems to me that many of the posts here are argued as if this is a judicial forum (in the rhetorical sense of the term) where every issue is one to be won, rather than discussed. I recognize that this is standard operating procedure for provoking readers to comment, but it also tends to quickly devolve into polemic and slide towards talking points.

By contrast, I have always taken ObWi (in my short association here) to be, at least by intent, a deliberative forum rather than a judicial one--a forum not of rights and wrongs, but of whys and wherefores.

But, as is always the case with rhetoric, the rhetor must work with the crowd s/he is given. The crowd here (taken as a whole) is rather more liberal and judicial than otherwise. When the conservative commentators make judicial arguments, they provoke a stronger judicial counter-response. When the liberal commentators make judicial arguments, they galvanize the audience. So if the concern is local (this blog) rather than global (the blogsphere)--and I am not at all certain that everyone is concerned primarily with the local--these strategies will only reinforce differences of opinion.

Rhetorical strategy argues that if the commentator on the minority side wishes to win people over to his/her cause, s/he should try to stress the deliberative over the judicial. The same is true for leaders of the majority looking to build a larger consensus rather than an 'appeal to the base.'

Sorry, that was long and pedantic. I've been thinking of this a lot, partially because I'm right at the end of a quarter of rhetoric from the Sophists to Quintillian, and this is all fresh in my mind(if moderately off-topic). This is the first place I've felt I could comment without it seeming like an attack on any specific poster.

I'm a strong liberal (scoring 8) on non-fiscal issues and a centrist (scoring 44) on fiscal issues. However, not being American, many of the questions are inappropriate for me. By European standards I would guess I am at least centre-right on economic issues. It would be interesting to know who these things are scored. Is somebody who wants to cut taxes, even if it means a hefty budget deficit, farther to the right than someone who wants a smaller public sector, but only if the budget is balanced?

My result:
On Non-Fiscal Issues, you rank as a Strong Liberal (10).
On Fiscal Issues, you rank as a Strong Liberal (14).
Your score is on a scale of 0 to 100, with 0 being fully liberal and 100 being fully conservative.

62 social / 70 fiscal

I couldn't figure out scoop or whatever it is. I like to use a fake email address, and don't want to log in, so here I am.

Tip to conservative commenters, if you get 5 or 6 comments responding to your comments, just pick 1 or 2 to answer directly or make a general answer in 1 comment, or you might start to feeling a little overwhelmed. Conservatives, try commenting here please. Don't restrict yourself to "home games".

Non-Fiscal 21, Fiscal 32. ModLib. I didn't think the questions captured my views very well, but that's in the nature of the beast, as noted above.

As for how to get more Republicans and/or conservative to post here, I've really no clue. I can tell you why I gave up commenting on Tacitus and the like after a pretty short run: life's too short to spend time arguing with people who are not interested in listening. Mr. Trevino himself sometimes falls into that category, but not always, and I suppose a day spent with him drifting down the Potomac on a rubber raft drinking beer wouldn't be all that bad. He's more the exception (or was the last time I looked, a year ago maybe) than the rule. RedState is the same to me, and I did look at a post a week or so back, and the comments were kind of scary.

The worst, for me, is the constant assertion that people who hold my views are either (a) dishonest;* (b) traitors; or (c) both. I don't ask for agreement, but for fair discussion, and see no purpose in interacting with people who cannot engage in it.

Item (b) reduces me to purple-faced rage, and causes all manner of irrationality. It's a failing of mine. In fact I feel myself descending into a state of rage just thinking about this, and am only barely suppressing the urge to write in all caps. I just have to avoid sites where this sort of thing is common. I guess the question is whether there is an analogue -- an unfair, capital, personal smear -- that makes conservatives feel the same way. Undoubtedly there are such, so then the question is whether ModLib commenters can be educated to avoid them. Or at least acknowledge error when called out. I think the answer is yes, but then the biggest knock on my kind from those of the other faith is that we think we are better than them.


* E.g., I'll paraphrase: 'no thinking person could believe that the Constitution precludes or in any way limits state power to regulate abortion, and those who say they do believe this are lying, because they like the result.'


Personally, I would prefer to see ad hominem attacks on anyone, liberal or conservative, vanish from the world. All they do is tell the person you're supposedly talking to that you are willing to dismiss what s/he has to say out of hand. 'Dishonest', for instance.

It has also struck me from time to time that when one of the conservative posters agrees with us, some of us still jump all over him (whichever him it is) for whatever residual errors (in our view) still remain, without giving enough weight to the part we agree with.

There must be some analog to the conservative habit of making assumptions about liberals -- we hate America, criticize only because we want to see things fail, care about torture because we think it's important not to be mean and judgmental to those poor misunderstood terrorists, etc. This truly annoys me -- I mean, how often should a person have to prove that she loves her country? and what gives them the right to say truly hateful things about someone they've never met? -- and I'm sure we must have some analog. But I don't know what it is.

hilzoy: So, oddly, less liberal but more libertarian than Anarch.

Oddly?

I always find, though, that I disagree with a lot of the questions, but find myself thinking: I'm sure this is not the sort of disagreement you were looking for, O test.

Amen to that, sister.

bob mcmanus: Piling on? Not on posters, that is the show, but piling on particular commenters is really kinda pointless and tiresome. Drum's blog is famous for this, "Al" or "Charles"...a different Charles

It's "Al" and "Charlie", not "Charles". The real Al doesn't comment much on Washington Monthly any more -- I hear he's moved his travelling inanity show to Yglesias' site -- so most of the "Als" that you see at WaMo are fakes. Regrettably, it's now become a tradition for commenters to adopt the Al persona just to stir things up; one particularly memorable thread last year had comments filled with nothing but "Al" clones.

Charlie deserves all the flak he's getting and then some. He's a troll through and through, with a particularly irritating habit of side-tracking every thread to deal with his favorite hobby-horses (usually "abortion == genocide"). After repeated requests by multiple commenters over a period of almost six months, Kevin Drum finally asked him to leave... and contrary to his promises, Charlie immediately popped back up under a multitude of pseudonyms, only to get outed almost immediately because, well, he's not very clever about it.

All that said, I completely agree that the piling on at Washington Monthly tends to be disgraceful and unnecessary. Worse is that legitimate conservative commenters -- or oft-trollish conservative commenters making legitimate points -- get caught in the crossfire (I think Sebastian ended up getting hammered just this past week in a markedly unfair fashion) which merely reinforces both the echo chamber and the entrenched imbecility of the conservatives who decide to stick around. Bad news, all of that.

What can we do to make Republicans and/or conservatives feel more welcome?

Stop calling them "liars", "fools", "traitors", "cowards" and the equivalent. That'd be at the top of my list, at any rate. A close second would be to stop imputing heinous motives without cause -- and to require a much higher level of "cause" then some commenters here seem willing to credit. Coming in a distant third: don't pile on unless there's a damn good reason. If you see four responses dealing with the same post then it's probably not worth remarking on again unless you have something qualitatively new to add to the discussion.

[All that cuts both ways, natch, which is why I ultimately ditched most of the blogs I frequented, from all over the blogosphere. I deal with enough imbecility in my regular line of work; I don't need to deal with it during my down-time.]

That's all my perspective, at least, and YMMV. You'd have to check with actual Republicans and conservatives to see whether that's what they're worried about.

Do you want Cons/Repubs/Libs to feel more welcome?

Provided they make good-faith, fact-based arguments? Of course. Same is true for anyone of any political disposition as far as I'm concerned.

Is it not our problem, the fault lies in the powers-that-be, or in the conservatives?

That, alas, lies above my pay-grade.

What can we do to make Republicans and/or conservatives feel more welcome?

I could bake a bundt cake and make some punch. :-)

I scored 12 on non-fiscal and 25 on fiscal. I'm with Nell, however. This is very facile and limited.

Nell: What can you say about a spectrum with nothing to the left of "strong liberal"? That it was designed by people for whom 'strong liberal' is code for 'left-wing extremist'.

It's a problem for a country that doesn't have a left-wing political party: the Democratic Party is right-of-center (and apparently drifting rightward at a rate of knots); the Republican party is so far right as to be unelectable in the UK. (Well, not quite. But far right parties in the UK are very much minority parties.)

I don't tend to take American political tests any more except if they're intended to be funny, because the results tend to be skewed by the tester not conceiving that there exist major political parties in government that are far, far more left-wing than the Democratic party at its most centrist.

It is actually a genuinely good reason for not hanging out on right-wing American sites. Used to be you could tell a troll as someone who made a deliberately controversial statement. But it is entirely possible, so far apart have left and right drifted, for one person's uncontroversial truism to be another person's confrontational trollism.

I'll add another pair of remarks that applies to everyone, irrespective of sociopolitical leanings, myself included:

1) Stop passing off your opinion as truth.
2) Stop passing off the truth as somebody else's opinion.

I think this, more than anything, has contributed to the general degradation of debate in this country. The twin pillars of faux-certitude and carefully-circumscribed-doubt are more corrosive to rational thought than just about anything else I can think of, in large part because they can successfully masquerade as rationalism long enough for the debate to become meaningless.

I took the test and answered all the questions and was like hilzoy (a strong liberal (17) on non-fiscal issues, and a moderate liberal (28) on fiscal issues). But then I took the test and answered no opinion for all the questions whose answer I felt skewed my opinion or failed to provide me with a meaningful option, I clicked no opinion and came up with a 34/34 score.
the other test
Economic Left/Right: -4.88
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -4.67

On Non-Fiscal Issues, you rank as a Strong Liberal (9).
On Fiscal Issues, you rank as a Moderate Liberal (29).

Used to be you could tell a troll as someone who made a deliberately controversial statement. But it is entirely possible, so far apart have left and right drifted, for one person's uncontroversial truism to be another person's confrontational trollism.

No kidding. I really wonder sometimes how that happens. The best I've come up with is that some people trust President Bush and believe everything he says, even when it's clearly and uncontroversially contradicted.

Strong Liberal (6) on non-fiscal, and Moderate Liberal (20) on fiscal. This test is so limited in scope, though, as to be near-meaningless--it's about as comprehensive as an LJ quiz. :>

I came up as a 27 (Moderate Liberal) on non-fiscal, and 54 (Centrist) on fiscal; I suppose if, by "liberal," they mean "classical liberal," then sure. But I doubt they do.

The "Political Compass" lists me as:

Economic Left/Right: 1.25
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -3.90

Which puts me about halfway in between Gandhi and Milton Friedman. Yeesh.

On Non-Fiscal Issues, you rank as a Strong Liberal (9). On Fiscal Issues, you rank as a Strong Liberal (18).

Your political compass
Economic Left/Right: -5.50
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -5.33

Of course if I took them again tomorrow, the numbers might be a fair bit different. There were a lot of questions where I wasn't happy with the phrasing of the question or none of the answers were good. I didn't expect to be rated quite so fiscally liberal, but I suppose free-marketeers have to be in favor of multinational monopolies nowadays. And is disbelief in astrology libertarian or authoritarian?

Also, the Political Gauge has forgotten that DC exists (judging by the dropdown on its form).

I balked at the first question. I think that that shall-issue is a good standard for firearm permits, and that people who've served their jail terms and probations should get the right to carry firearms back, but that much closer scrutiny of sales would often be in order, and that firearm use should be a strongly considered factor in sentencing, and so on. Not rules that interfere much at all with purchase, training, carrying, or self-defense, but that come down hard on evasion of basic scrutiny and harder on use in crimes. That didn't strike me as an option at all. likewise with the others. But what the heck...

On Non-Fiscal Issues, you rank as a Strong Liberal (6).
On Fiscal Issues, you rank as a Moderate Liberal (32).

I tend to find this a travesty of my views. :)

NF - 28
F - 36

People scratch their heads when I wear that on my T-shirt.

On Non-Fiscal Issues, you rank as a Strong Liberal (15).
On Fiscal Issues, you rank as a Strong Liberal (16).

My results are flipped from the usual here:

A Moderate Liberal on Non-Fiscal Issues (21)and a Strong Liberal on Fiscal Issues(15).

Most of the rest of you seem to be strong on non-fiscal and moderate on fiscal issues. Of course, the fiscal matters was where I wanted more nuance and options, but was sort of forced to come down on partisan principles and talking points.

Nous, I enjoyed your pedantic argument and mostly agree with your analysis. There are some threads, often on topics that fall outside the better-rehearsed lines of partisan disagreement, where the deliberative still obtains. Perhaps that's the better direction for the main-posters: to attempt to cast a wider net, to write more often about issues that don't have such familiar sides.

BirdDog,

I don't care about your political bent.

My strong lefty tendencies in no way interfere with my deep friendships with strong righties and with deep love for righties and misanthropic libertarians in my family.

What I care about is that your contributions are primarily composed of shallow, inaccurate, deliberately obfuscatory, deliberately inflammatory, irresponsible, demonstrable lies, and that you seem to think that somehow repeating those lies often enough will make them true and that repeating those lies often enough will make the policies that are based on those lies "good policy" and that those lies, oft repeated, will somehow deflect criticism and suspend reality.

Bullshit.

   On Non-Fiscal Issues, you rank as a Strong Liberal (16).
   On Fiscal Issues, you rank as a Moderate Liberal (25).
No surprises here, though as others have pointed out the questions are inherently biased and produce something of a caricature as a result.

Charles, I believe I have been polite to you even though I disagree strongly with some things you have posted. I have noticed, though, that you fail to respond when I pose you a direct question. Why?

I got a 5 and a 3, respectively, btw.

Charles, I apologize. Reviewing what I have written, I see I wrote hastily above.

non-fiscal: 4
fiscal: 19

economic: 6.00
social: 7.03

Accurate . . . ? But fun to take.

I got 9/39. Not sure what that means. In particular, I have no idea what they are talking about when they rate people on fiscal issues. Is the issue spending levels or attitude towards budget balance?

RedDan: I just posted a civil response to you a minute ago, but that was before I saw what you wrote here. I'm banning you. Feel free to appeal this if you think it's unfair.

hilzoy,

I tend not to appeal.

I knew what I was doing and why.

I disagree with your policy, and think you should rethink it, but I do not think it necessary to appeal.

Should you decide otherwise, send me an email.

15 non-fiscal, 22 fiscal. I dislked the questions, often because I felt both of the liberal answers were needed to properly state my views.

I grouse about some of the conservative commentators we have, but I certainly want them to stay and debate as actively and open-mindedly as possible. Given that the makeup of the front page posters leans conservative, one would think that should be sufficient to draw more conservatives here. Since it seems not, I am not sure what to suggest.

Otto, did you leave out a couple of negative signs?

Despite RedDan's penchant for tomfoolery, I have been pleasantly surprised to learnt that he is, counterintuitively, pro-life.

"I have been pleasantly surprised to learnt that he is, counterintuitively, pro-life."

How very interesting! Please expand, I would like to understand your intuitions that might have made it a surprise. And perhaps the priorities that made the surprise a pleasant one.
....
Comrade Dean has embarrassed us, and I have received instructions from cadre leaders that general criticism of "Republicans" is counter-productive, and that all such criticism may be easily corrected with the simple addition of "leaders" or leadership".

Example:"Republican leaders suck."

This cell, as demonstrated above, is not in compliance with NewSpeak, and may face Party discipline, possibly including the withholding of refreshments and recreational equipment.

Looking at the other thread, let me add that while I can imagine enjoying a lazy summer afternoon arguing with Mr. Trevino -- floating and drinking, not just arguing -- I cannot say the same of Mr. Bird. RedDan's frustration with unilateral disarmament imposed by the rules in the face of Bird's penchant for over-the-top and often incendiary rhetoric is perfectly understandable. I wouldn't say that Mr. Bird is beyond hope of redemption, but I would hope that he would find in the comments there, and here, cause for reflection.

Non-fiscal: Moderate liberal
Fiscal: Centrist

Like many others, I found myself frustrated because of questions where I think I have a clear position, but it wasn't one of the ones listed. The only one I'm rabid about is balancing the federal budget. I would prefer to see it done by a combination of raising revenues and reducing spending. But if it were done by reducing spending, I would probably disagree with most conservatives about where to reduce first. And if it were done by raising taxes, I would probably disagree with most liberals about how to structure the taxes. Overall, it did seem to put me, a self-described "flaming moderate", in about the right place.

Oh yeah.

economic: -6.00
social: -7.03

Thanks, KCinDC.

Hmm:

"On Non-Fiscal Issues, you rank as a Centrist (45).
On Fiscal Issues, you rank as a Moderate Conservative (72)."

Tacitus: Despite RedDan's penchant for tomfoolery, I have been pleasantly surprised to learnt that he is, counterintuitively, pro-life.

I'm uncertain why it should surprise you that someone unabashedly rude is "pro-life". (I am guessing at your definition of "pro-life", but if - as I suspect - you mean "making it more difficult or making it illegal for women who need abortions to get them", well, that is frequently a source of aggressively discourteous behavior, both online and in real life.)

Item (b) reduces me to purple-faced rage, and causes all manner of irrationality.

It does to me as well.

As what passes for a "right-leaning" commentator around this parts (despite being pro-gay marriage, pro-immigration, etc.), here's what occasionally annoys me about our left-leaning commentariat: Moral certainty, and the willingness to immediately assume the worst about one's opponents. E.g.:

No one really opposes abortion based on the belief that it's murder (or, if not murder, uncomfortably close to it); no, they really want to control women.

There was no legitimate reason to invade Iraq.

You want to cut subsidies on X because you're racist/classist/hate children, not because you really believe that (in the long run) cutting subsidies will lead to a better result for everyone.

Etc.

What I'd appreciate (but, admittedly, don't always practice) would be a recognition that many of the issues we debate are hard questions, and there is legitimate room for a wide range of views. Accordingly, the fact that your opponent does not share your view is not an indication that she or he is evil/stupid/lying.

von

p.s. The same two sins -- certainty and a willingness to believe the worst -- are present in conservative commentators as well (including yours truly), and I have no doubt that they annoy lefties to no end.

hmmm

On Non-Fiscal Issues: Moderate Liberal (26).
On Fiscal Issues: Moderate Liberal (35).

something screwy about that.

For many of the questions, my true response was more nuanced than any of the choices...I tended to choose the more conservative of the options available thinking my overall liberal tendencies would compensate, but I don't think they did.

Despite RedDan's penchant for tomfoolery, I have been pleasantly surprised to learnt that he is, counterintuitively, pro-life.

Dunno. There's a strong pro-life current in some radicalized working class circles. See, e.g., The Sex Pistols, which were a strongly pro-life band.

von: No one really opposes abortion based on the belief that it's murder (or, if not murder, uncomfortably close to it); no, they really want to control women.

Well, Von, given that so many of the people who oppose abortion also oppose free access to contraception, decent (and compulsory) sex education in schools, free health care for pregnant women and children, guaranteed minimum wage, helpful public transport and child care and other support for working parents...

...and they support the death penalty - even for minors: they support war...

...I think that I can safely say that most people who oppose abortion do so not because they feel it is murder, but because they want to control women.

I think it would be a very good thing if there were fewer, far fewer, abortions. (I doubt if it would ever be possible to get the number down to zero, but I think it very likely it would be possible to greatly decrease it from the present number.)

But criminalizing abortion, or making it much more difficult/expensive for a woman to obtain an abortion, is not an effective means of reducing the number of abortions, still less for taking them down to zero. Where only illegal abortions are available, women will have illegal abortions, and women will die of them - or risk becoming sterile.

Proven-to-be-effective means of reducing the number of abortions exist, and they don't kill women or render them sterile: and the two most obvious are free access to contraception, and decent (and compulsory) sex education in schools. Secondary but still useful would be to reduce the economic reasons women have for choosing to abort rather than bear: free health care for pregnant women and children, guaranteed minimum wage, helpful public transport and child care.

Anyone who opposes abortion because it's murder/uncomfortably close to murder, would also have to (as a matter of conscience) oppose IVF, which routinely disposes of unwanted embryos... but I have never seen a "pro-lifer" fulminating against the "mass murder" at an IVF clinic.

For all I know, you may oppose abortion and IVF as a matter of conscience, and I know (or think I remember) that you take a sensible stance on contraception/sex education. But publicly and conspicuously, most "pro-lifers" are for reducing the choices available to women, not for increasing them.

Von: Accordingly, the fact that your opponent does not share your view is not an indication that she or he is evil/stupid/lying.

No. But where the facts have been established (for example, that the Bush administration lied to the US public, to Congress, and indeed to the world, about their plans for making war on Iraq) people who persist in claiming that there is no evidence that Bush told any lies are, well, either (a) uninformed (b) stupid (c) lying. Politely, one assumes (a) and provides the necessary information, of which there is aplenty: but if one provides the necessary information several times over and the other person keeps claiming "there is no evidence" one must (impolitely) conclude (b) or (c).

"Evil" is another judgement call, and not one I suppose one should get into.

Von, you're projecting here. We've seen right-wingers repeatedly deny what the administration has done, the motivations, competancy and results. When a piece of information comes out, it's an anecdote; when additional pieces come out, the media is biased, yadda yadda yadda.

So, when we don't show you much respect, please don't feel that we're being rude - we're merely showing you that respect which we feel is merited.

I disagree with Barry. I think people sometimes stereotype von and assume , because he is supposed to be a more right-leaning blogger, that he thinks things which he doesn't or that he has a rigid mind. He isn't instapundit.

Barry: What do you mean "we"? Did I miss the moment when the monolithic 'left' appointed Barry as its official spokesperson?

For the record, von, despite his unfortunate contribution to the reactionary anti-AI clusterf*ck, is one of the most principled and introspective conservatives in the entire blogosphere (he voted for Kerry, ferchristsake!) He is the wrong outlet for spewing your righteous vitriol. Save it for the REAL partisan wingnuts (most of whom thankfully hang out in online venues other than ObWi).

Since the AI report was released I've observed a hardening of the discourse between 'right' and 'left'-leaning posters. All the rhetorical hand grenades and increasingly broad partisan generalizations are, to me at least, not healthy for the expressed purpose of the site, namely constructive and civil dialog between people of varying ideologies.

As for my score on the Political Gauge, I scored 2 for non-fiscal and 13 for fiscal. Being Canadian (and an unrepentant socialist), it amused me to no end to be labeled a 'strong liberal'.

To paraphrase William Goldman, I don't think that word means what they think it does. (not in Canada at least.)

I agree with matttbastard: if you're looking for a rigid, doctrinaire right-wing person, von is not the guy you want.

More generally, I think that everyone, on both sides, would do well to stop imputing motives to people based on their political affiliation. I find it infuriating when people assume that because I'm liberal, I must therefore hate America, want us to lose in Iraq, etc., etc. It's not only unfair, it also makes me have to work hard not to just dismiss what the person who makes these assumptions is saying.

We are all individuals, she said, with her usual air of profundity; and most of us will display our actual weaknesses soon enough. No need to go around inventing fake ones.

BTW, does the pre-Scoop tacitus.org exist in any meaningful way (other than the Wayback machine)?

In a word, no. All is gone from the Internet. Tac has it in storage somewhere. Big file. Too bad, because there's been too many occasions when I'd write about something and I wanted to go back and see what I did before on the topic.

Charles, I believe I have been polite to you even though I disagree strongly with some things you have posted. I have noticed, though, that you fail to respond when I pose you a direct question. Why?

I just answered you ;)

I'd like to answer every question, but by the time I finish writing a post, my time for responding is constrained. As you can probably tell from reading this thread, most of the commenters are on the other side of the political aisle and I'm forced to pick a few from the many comments.

Economic Left/Right: -7.38
Authoritarian/Libertarian: -6.00

Jeez, I thought we were supposed to get more conservative the older we get!?!?! I'm a church going Leftist with a gun!

So, when we don't show you much respect, please don't feel that we're being rude - we're merely showing you that respect which we feel is merited.

CLASSIC!!!

Hilzoy: if you're looking for a rigid, doctrinaire right-wing person, von is not the guy you want.

*waves hand* *exerts Jedi mind-whammy* These are not the droids you're looking for...

Sorry, couldn't resist.

Hilzoy: More generally, I think that everyone, on both sides, would do well to stop imputing motives to people based on their political affiliation. I find it infuriating when people assume that because I'm liberal, I must therefore hate America, want us to lose in Iraq, etc., etc. It's not only unfair, it also makes me have to work hard not to just dismiss what the person who makes these assumptions is saying.

Mmmm, but that's an odd counter-example to choose. When we on the left criticize those on the right who are denying proven facts (the Bush administration had decided to invade Iraq, yet for months afterwards were claiming that they hadn't yet made up their minds: there were no WMD found: Saddam Hussein had no links to al-Qaeda justifying invasion) and who keep denying them regardless of how much additional information is given to them, we are criticizing them because, over a specific issue, they are behaving very badly.

When those on the right criticize those on the left for "hating America", and "wanting us to lose in Iraq" they are usually not pulling up specific behavior on a specific issue, but responding with generalized abuse to specific criticisms.

The two are not comparable. It would be comparable behavior if I were to argue that (for example) because A.N.Republican supports torturing al-Qaeda, he therefore hates America and wants the US to lose in Iraq.

Charles: most of the commenters are on the other side of the political aisle and I'm forced to pick a few from the many comments.

Which is fair enough. But why do you never (hardly ever) seem to pick the substantive, fact-based criticisms to respond to?

Jes: when I wrote that, I had originally meant to add (to the para. you quoted): and I can't imagine it feels any better for them, when it comes from us. I was talking about von's remark, which is mostly about such assumptions.

Myself, I tend to resist 'dishonest', partly because I think there's lots and lots of room for things like: forgetting some bit of information, inadvertently deleting it from your mind because it doesn't square with your basic beliefs about what's going on, not having put together a lot of different facts into a pattern, etc., etc. I also think it's a lot harder to persuade people when you put them on the defensive.

Hilzoy: I also think it's a lot harder to persuade people when you put them on the defensive.

True.

But my point is, you were describing and equating two different kinds of behavior: annoyance at those who persist in claiming that [the Earth is flat*], versus annoyance at those who persist in making criticisms you don't agree with.

*Anything. If I were to persistently claim "There are only three Star Wars movies", and went on claiming this at every possible opportunity, asserting that this was a fact and those who claim there are six are wrong, I would be engaging in one kind of annoying behavior - the same kind that those on the right engage in when they claim that Bush never lied about the war with Iraq.

If I were to criticise the last three SW movies on the grounds that they're utter trash and ought never to have been made, I might be annoying, but at least I'd be engaging in a reasonable kind of argument: you can agree or disagree about a movie's quality, but if you deny the movie even exists, it is impossible to move on to discussing its quality. It's a showstopper.

On Non-Fiscal Issues, you rank as a Strong Liberal (12).
On Fiscal Issues, you rank as a Moderate Liberal (28).

Economic Left/Right: -4.00
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -4.56

i'm a -4.25, -4.25, on the Compass. again, perfect in every way.

Mattbastard, I meant 'we' in the sense that a bunch of 'us' were getting down on CB; not 'we' in the sense of 'my followers'. Not exactly an easy mistake to make, but we all make such mistakes, even myself, I'm afraid.

Might as well weigh in here with my scores: Non-Fisc "Strong Lib" (19), Fiscal: "Mod Lib" (33) - values which, I notice seem to put me right in the range with most of my fellow commenters here; and values, which, JFTR, I think are wildly off (especially in the "fiscal" part) - since I don'y really view my own opinions on such matters as all that "liberal" (I am a "deficit hawk", fwiw, and believe most government spending is a huge waste). I suppose these online "tests" have to quantify the opinions they tally in some fashion, but should carry a useful disclaimer such as "For Entertainment Purposes Only" since they are fairly unsubtle in their analyses.

I will not re-fight the lead up to the Iraq War ...
I will not re-fight the lead up to the Iraq War ...
I will not re-fight the lead up to the Iraq War ...

Except to note that there has been no credible evidence, none, that Bush knew going in that WMDs did not exist in Iraq. Yes, absolutely, some evidence was overstated. But -- in a world of uncertainties -- it was reasonable to err on the side of caution with a man like Saddam. Perhaps not the right decision, from your perspective; perhaps demonstrably wrong, to you. But a decision that be explained rationally and logically, and in a manner consistent with our best interests and ideals.

Indeed, I return to something I back in November 2002, when the debate was over the UN should endorse a US led attack against Iraq.*

Resolved: The United Nations’ Security Counsel should endorse a U.S.-led attack on Iraq if Iraq does not fully comply with the U.N.-mandated inspections regime. The credibility of the Security Counsel is at stake; an Iraq armed with weapons of mass destruction will destabilize its neighbors; Iraq may share such weaponary with terrorists or other, rouge states; and Iraq’s past violations of international law merit a response, however belated. In addition, even a minimally-democratic Iraq, with its educated and secularized population, will likely restrain the Arab street and serve as a counterweight to an increasingly radicalized Saudi Arabia. Indeed, in no other (so-called) rogue nation – Iran, North Korea, Syria, Libya – are the advantages of military action so clear, and the risks of inaction so dire.

My reasoning may have been (and may continue to be) wrong, but I have yet to see it proven "unreasonable."

von

*No link, because I posted under my real name.

von,

"The United Nations’ Security Counsel should endorse a U.S.-led attack on Iraq if Iraq does not fully comply with the U.N.-mandated inspections regime."

And yet, when Iraq complied and nothing was found, why was the correct response to attack then?

And yet, when Iraq complied and nothing was found, why was the correct response to attack then?

If Iraq fully complied, and granted the UN full and immediate access at every turn (remember, Hans Blix repeatedly complained that Iraq was not fully cooperating), and nothing was found (including materials that could be quickly reassembled into WMDs), then, yes: War would not have be justified.

Incidentally, I'm now on record as calling the War in Iraq a mistake, although one that we must not magnify by pully out, drawing down, or whatever euphemism you propose to a grace(less) exit.

But why do you never (hardly ever) seem to pick the substantive, fact-based criticisms to respond to?

I do. Obviously, your opinion is otherwise.

von,

Blix's final report is here. While not "full and immediate access at every turn" it is certainly more consistent with providing such access than trying to evade such access. For example:

"Inspections in Iraq resumed on the 27th of November 2002. In matters relating to process, notably prompt access to sites, we have faced relatively few difficulties, and certainly much less than those that were faced by UNSCOM [U.N. Special Commission] in the period 1991 to 1998. This may well be due to the strong outside pressure."

or

"One can hardly avoid the impression that after a period of somewhat reluctant cooperation, there's been an acceleration of initiatives from the Iraqi side since the end of January. This is welcome. But the value of these measures must be soberly judged by how many question marks they actually succeed in straightening out.

This is not yet clear.

Against this background, the question is now asked whether Iraq has cooperated, "immediately, unconditionally and actively," with UNMOVIC, as is required under Paragraph 9 of Resolution 1441. The answers can be seen from the factor descriptions that I have provided.

However, if more direct answers are desired, I would say the following: The Iraqi side has tried on occasion to attach conditions, as it did regarding helicopters and U-2 planes. It has not, however, so far persisted in this or other conditions for the exercise of any of our inspection rights. If it did, we would report it.

It is obvious that while the numerous initiatives which are now taken by the Iraqi side with a view to resolving some longstanding, open disarmament issues can be seen as active or even proactive, these initiatives three to four months into the new resolution cannot be said to constitute immediate cooperation. Nor do they necessarily cover all areas of relevance. They are, nevertheless, welcome. And UNMOVIC is responding to them in the hope of solving presently unresolved disarmament issues."

Against this background, and with the knowledge that Blix was asking Washington to provide specific sites to inspect and the few sites Washington suggested turned out to be dry holes, I came to the conclusion that war was not justified before it started. I do think based on this, starting a war when we did and with the background that was present was unreasonable.

i don't think von is the person who should be held accountable for once supporting the war; it's those Democrats in Congress who to this day won't admit to a mistake, who piss me off.

i don't think von is the person who should be held accountable for once supporting the war; it's those Democrats in Congress who to this day won't admit to a mistake, who piss me off.

I do. Obviously, your opinion is otherwise.

*cough*

See above.

[And pity about the loss of pre-Scoop Tac.]

We needed to kill tens of thousands of people to show the world 9-11 meant somethin'!!!

Since Bush has decided to leave Bin Ladden alone, Iraq & Hussein would be the closest things (in a hillbilly worldview sort of way) to recieve devine and democratic punishment.

I will not re-fight the lead up to the Iraq War ...

FWIW, and (currently) without prejudice, it's easier to make this resolution when your case has turned to ashes than when you were proven right all along.

I will not re-fight the lead up to the Iraq War ...

There's no reason to re-fight it on this thread -- regardless of one's opinion about it, it's hardly justified to consider the "Bush lied" theory as fact rather than opinion. I'm not saying that the evidence is just as strong on both sides, just that to equate it with the question of how many Star Wars films there are is overstating things by quite a bit.

I break my Bird Dog resolution because Cosmo quizzes are irresistable.

On Non-Fiscal Issues, you rank as a Moderate Liberal (30). On Fiscal Issues, you rank as a Centrist (54).

And the world would be a better place if everyone agreed with me. Honestly, just try it. You'll like it.

And the world would be a better place if everyone agreed with me. Honestly, just try it. You'll like it.

I guess I do like it -- I got 33/51. Although based on some of the answers I was more or less forced to select, I'm not sure I even agree with myself.

kenB--Although based on some of the answers I was more or less forced to select, I'm not sure I even agree with myself.

That usually sums up my views on politics as well.

PG
NF = 40
F = 54

PC
E = 0
Social = -1.79


Well, I came out as a moderate liberal, but I cheated.

Well, I came out as a moderate liberal, but I cheated.

Whose paper did you copy from?

Whose paper did you copy from?

Maybe she looked into the soul of girl sitting next to her?

kenB: regardless of one's opinion about it, it's hardly justified to consider the "Bush lied" theory as fact rather than opinion

It's not a theory: it's a fact.

(Date: 23 July 2002) C reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action. cite
British officials did not dispute the document's authenticity, and Michael Boyce, then Britain's Chief of Defense Staff, told the paper that Britain had not then made a decision to follow the United States to war, but it would have been "irresponsible" not to prepare for the possibility.cite

Do you happen to remember for how many months after July 2002 Bush was still claiming, publicly, that he didn't intend to make war on Iraq unless it was forced on him? He lied.


Well, it was. The mid-term elections, a bad economy, people asking about Osama bin ^H^H^H^H He Who Shouldn't Be Mentioned, people asking for outrageous things like an investigation into how 9/11 happened - wouldn't you have had a war, under that much pressure?

lily: i don't think von is the person who should be held accountable for once supporting the war;

I agree, and I don't.

But before Von can rationally discuss why he once supported the war, he would need to acknowledge that Bush, as is known the world round, lied about the reasons for having the war with Iraq.

Von: Except to note that there has been no credible evidence, none, that Bush knew going in that WMDs did not exist in Iraq.

But considerable and credible evidence (Downing Street memo, cited above, merely being the latest piece) that Bush didn't care whether or not there were WMDs in Iraq. His constantly moving-goalposts were clear indicators at the time: as we now know, he had made up his mind to invade by July 2002. Further, while you may feel that lying about what evidence existed is excusable ("some evidence was overstated"? Can you point to a single piece of solid evidence cited by Bush re. WMD in Iraq that wasn't overstated?) I don't.

Incidentally, I'm now on record as calling the War in Iraq a mistake, although one that we must not magnify by pully out, drawing down, or whatever euphemism you propose to a grace(less) exit.

How many more Iraqis have to die, and how many more Americans, before you finally agree that at least a graceless exit is better than continuing to wantonly kill in the name of "bringing democracy"? It was well over a million Vietnamese, as I recall off the top of my head, the last time the US got into this kind of pointless war.

Anyone,

What is the difference between the practical application of the following two positions?

1)“the War in Iraq [is] a mistake, although one that we must not magnify by pull[ing] out”

2) The war in Iraq is not a mistake, therefore we must not pull out.

The end result of both of these positions is the same, no? Do they not both amount to support for the continuation of the war?

Incidentally, I'm now on record as calling the War in Iraq a mistake,

A day late & a dollar short!

although one that we must not magnify by pully out, drawing down, or whatever euphemism you propose to a grace(less) exit.

Are you willing to go there and put your ass or that of your children on the line to get a gracefull exit?

In as far as I can figure out, there is no gracefull exit and the consequence of this war are pretty much unknown and unknowable, but I seriously doubt that Democracy will be the outcome.

It was well over a million Vietnamese, as I recall off the top of my head, the last time the US got into this kind of pointless war.

It's closer to three, not counting the consequences of our secret bombing of Cambodia.

"What is the difference between the practical application of the following two positions?

1)“the War in Iraq [is] a mistake, although one that we must not magnify by pull[ing] out”

2) The war in Iraq is not a mistake, therefore we must not pull out."

I guess if you hold the former belief then in the case of any potential future conflict you'll take the lesson from Iraq and maybe not get into it.

However, human nature being what it is, there's a good chance that whenever that potential future conflict comes, the same people who said 'maybe we shouldn't get into it' before will do it again, and will be branded weak appeasers on Fox New Channel 2.0, and the same people who said 'I don't want to be affiliated with the hippies. I'm Strong on Defense(tm)' will do so again, and we'll get to do it again.

So no, in the long run, I don't think there's any difference between the two positions.

But before Von can rationally discuss why he once supported the war, he would need to acknowledge that Bush, as is known the world round, lied about the reasons for having the war with Iraq.

Why must he acknowledge this? The demand sounds rather Inquisitorial to me.

The end result of both of these positions is the same, no?

Yes. So what. These are two separate questions, one of history, one of policy.

A day late & a dollar short!

Easy for you to say, since you've never misjudged a political situation.

since we seem to be comparing scores:

on the Political Gauge:

On Non-Fiscal Issues, I rank as a Strong Liberal (15).
On Fiscal Issues, I rank as a Moderate Liberal (27).

which sounds about right.

and on Political Compass:

Economic Left/Right: -1.75
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.00

which also sounds about right.

As to the war, as far as i'm concerned it's been pretty obvious since Powell's speech to the UN and the followup (remember the drone planes and the mobile poison gas generators?) that the admin simply didn't CARE what the evidence showed. war was inevitable.

now, the more interesting question is why. Why did Rumsfeld apparently think, just hours after the WTC attack, that the appropriate response was to "go massive" and finish off Saddam?

Economic -0.38
Social -1.03

I'm smack dab in the middle on that scale, possibly even more than crionna.

Jes: But before Von can rationally discuss why he once supported the war, he would need to acknowledge that Bush, as is known the world round, lied about the reasons for having the war with Iraq.

Bernard Why must he acknowledge this? The demand sounds rather Inquisitorial to me.

I agree. IMHO, this could be construed as an attempt at point scoring.

It's not a theory: it's a fact.

As suggestive as the memo is, it's still not a slam-dunk. It's the memo-writer's version of the impressions that a couple of British politicians were left with after a meeting. To you and me, it just confirms the obvious, but imagine for a minute that the memo suggested instead that Bush & friends were still hoping for a peaceful resolution -- would that on its own have been "proof" enough to convince you of their sincerity? Or would you be finding many reasons to be skeptical of the memo?

IMO, real proof is Bush or a member of his inner circle 'fessing up, or being caught on tape. Without that, all you have is the preponderance of the evidence -- still enough wiggle room to allow someone to deny that Bush was lying without being necessarily labelled a liar him/herself.

I have never been entirely convinced that Bush lies, for what it's worth, except in very rare cases, like the one I wrote about here. But that's because I am not convinced that he's sufficiently concerned about the truth to notice one way or the other, which is scary. -- I mean, I don't think the reality principle is his long suit. I can easily imagine him just not being concerned with the details of e.g. Social Security or Iraq, and operating on instinct, without really caring about the facts one way or the other.

Needless to say, this isn't an attempt at exoneration; just comprehension.

Easy for you to say, since you've never misjudged a political situation.

Never on that scale, 100,000 Dead Iraqis, lord knows how many wounded or crippled, or how much genetic damage all the DU we have dumped thru out the countryside will cause.

1,500+ Dead Americans, 12,000+ Wounded, lord knows how many crippled for life.

Ever since George has been selected, political judgement is not necessary, if he 's for it you should be against it based upobn the fact that he is an incompetant lying sack of sh*t whose sole interest is making as much money as possible for his friends and the Carlyle Group.

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