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June 27, 2022

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The fact that the right is losing its members ...

What's to make of this?

"WASHINGTON (AP) — A political shift is beginning to take hold across the U.S. as tens of thousands of suburban swing voters who helped fuel the Democratic Party’s gains in recent years are becoming Republicans.

More than 1 million voters across 43 states have switched to the Republican Party over the last year, according to voter registration data analyzed by The Associated Press. The previously unreported number reflects a phenomenon that is playing out in virtually every region of the country — Democratic and Republican states along with cities and small towns — in the period since President Joe Biden replaced former President Donald Trump."
More than 1 million voters switch to GOP, raising alarm for Democrats

Nigel lays out above (5:24 AM) the Court's various decisions. Of interest, I think, was United States v. Vaello Madero, involving payment from the SSI (Suplemental Income Security) to residents of Puerto Rico -- Congress having specified only residents of the states, DC and the Northern Mariana Islands**, but not residents of the other United States territories, including Puerto Rico. Sometimes Congress is inexplicable.

Note that this was an 8-1 decision. So not, in itself, a particular reflection of the Court's partisan composition. But there were some interesting bits....

For example, Justice Gorsuch wrote separately to call for the overruling of the Insular Cases**, which stated, as he put it, that Puerto Rico and other unincorporated Territories could be ruled by the Federal government "largely without regard to the Constitution". I wouldn't have expected to do so in most cases. But in this instance I have to say "Good on Mr Justice Gorsuch."

* No clue why this territory was explicitly included, but not the rest. Seems like, if they'd left it out, there'd have been a far stronger case for including everybody.
** Insular Cases are series of opinions, from the early 1900s, which held that inhabitants of unincorporated territories such as Puerto Rico — "even if they are U.S. citizens" — may lack some constitutional rights because they were not part of the United States.

What's to make of this?

"WASHINGTON (AP) — A political shift is beginning to take hold across the U.S. as tens of thousands of suburban swing voters who helped fuel the Democratic Party’s gains in recent years are becoming Republicans.

The first question that I'd ask is, are they becoming Republicans, or merely (re)registering as Republicans? I am aware of various instances where there are very red districts, so Democrats are registering** as Republicans in order to have some influence what kind of Republican will end up representing them. (I seem to recall that Wyoming is one such.)

In short, panic may be premature. Concern? Sure. But a bit more information may be in order.

** In some case with the encouragement of the local Democratic Party.

CharlesWT - What's to make of this?

Wonder how many of them are, like some of my friends, changing party affiliation in order to vote in GOP primaries against the more MAGA candidate. I know people who have done this in WY (to help Cheney) and CO (failed attempt to knock out younger, dumber Sara Palin).

@CharlesWT --

From deeper in the article:

But over the last year, roughly two-thirds of the 1.7 million voters who changed their party affiliation shifted to the Republican Party. In all, more than 1 million people became Republicans compared to about 630,000 who became Democrats.

Nice trick: lead with a misleading number, bury the more complicated reality well along in the article.

Same old same old....

The first question I'd ask is, did they even know about it?

@Pete -- oh, so many creative ways to cheat and rig the system.....

Pete: and a very good question it is too.

oh, so many creative ways to cheat and rig the system.....

Seems like rigging the system would involve something more along the lines of changing the registrations of non-cultist Republicans to "Independent" (or "No Party Preference", or however Florida labels them). That would up the chances of getting a cultist nominee.

But then, maybe they're just too dumb to realize that.

How do you propose they find out whether any random voter is a non-cultist? I don't see them wanting their numbers to be seen to go down, anyhow.

Seems like rigging the system would involve something more along the lines of changing the registrations of non-cultist Republicans to "Independent" (or "No Party Preference", or however Florida labels them).

I wondered about that as well. I'm sure there are more nefarious reasons than I can think of, but even if there aren't, the chaos is enough.

"You're a Democrat? It says 'Republican' here. Check his papers."

They may simply be trying to juice the numbers for a district's expected lean in order to make the results of their suppression seem more in line with the margin of error?

I may not understand the terminology, but leaving tactics for primaries aside, if there are x registered Rs, and the R vote (midterm or presidential) is very much less than x, wouldn't that give them more ammunition to claim fraud? Or maybe that's what some of you were saying? I know there'd still have to be actual evidence of fraud, but they don't seem to really need that....Or does this registration stuff only apply to primaries?

And if that comment is particularly idiotic, I wouldn't mind someone saying that and explaining why....

When putting together those election maps, part of what sets expectations is the number of voters who are registered to either party. If the Rs outnumber the Ds by enough, then the district gets listed as a likely R win. If the Rs then just squeak by, no one looks closely at the district.

If the party affiliation is close and the district is a tossup, then the district will be more closely watched.

That's how I was seeing it.

You are clearly more nefarious than I, GftNC, cuz I didn't think of that. But yeah, that could very well be part of the calculus. Anything to fog the issue, and they'll sink to any depths to do so. Throw enough of anything at a wall and something's bound to stick.

It's well-known strategy, if one can call it that. Rs defund education and point to poor outcomes so they can siphon off public funds for their wingnut religious schools. Which seem to create more R voters. It's deplorable, but it isn't ineffective.

The registration stuff, and what if means, varies from state.

Most (all?) states ask you to pick a party when you register. Generally, there is some provision for Decline to State or No Party Preference -- for easy of typing, call them Independents.** Those are the registration numbers being reported. There's no requirement, in the general election, that you vote for someone from that party.

In some states, you can only vote in the primary of the party you are registered with. Period. (Both major parties insist on that for their Presidential primaries. But they don't get a say in other contests.)

In some states, you can vote in the primary of the party you are registered with. But if you are an Independent, you can pick which party's primary ballot you get.

In some states, you can pick which party's primary you want to vote in, regardless of your registration.

California, Washington, and Nebraska (and others?) run what we call a Top Two primary. That is all candidates for an office are available to everyone. The two with the highest vote total, regardless of party, go to the general election. If one party is vastly more popular, or if one fields so many candidates that they divide the primary vote, you can end up with a general election featuring two candidates from the same party. That's happened several times here in California, usually because the Republican candidates on offer were rwnjs and lots of them.

Finally, Maine, Alaska, and soon Hawaii, do Ranked Choice Voting sometimes called Single Transferable vote. (Janie, correct me if I mess this up.) You vote for several people initially, ranked by order of preference. After the first count, the candidate with the fewest votes gets dropped. The ballots where he got preferred now get split up, with those votes going to the second choices shown. Rinse and repeat until there are only two candidates left -- they go on to the general election.

Just to keep things interesting, some places use one system for state and national offices, but a different one for local offices.

** All too easily confused with the American Independent Party. Which actually is a party, albeit a small one, rather than a lack of one.

Maine has ranked choice voting for Federal elections, not for state -- kind of ironically.

From here:

The Justices of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court issue a unanimous advisory opinion at the request of legislators in May 2017, concluding that the parts of the ranked-choice voting law that apply to general elections for State Representative, State Senator and Governor were unconstitutional under the Maine Constitution because the Maine Constitution requires the winners of those offices in a general election to be decided by a plurality. Primary elections in Maine and elections for federal offices are governed by statute and not by the Maine Constitution.

Ranked choice voting is also called "instant runoff." I found that that made it easier to understand; otherwise I was getting lost in the weeds about the math. (But that's just me....)

Pete: thanks for the answer, and the nefariousness (in my opinion) compliment! It has generally been perceived more as Machiavellian, but I do think (and various lawyers confirm) it makes me quite good at red-teaming, which (as I have previously mentioned) I think is valuable, because forewarned is forearmed.

And thanks all, for other info on registration stuff.

CharlesWT's PBS article has been rolling around in the back of my mind all day. Quotes:

But over the last year, roughly two-thirds of the 1.7 million voters who changed their party affiliation shifted to the Republican Party. In all, more than 1 million people became Republicans compared to about 630,000 who became Democrats.

The broad migration of more than 1 million voters...

The article repeats that number ... "more than 1 million" … four times, counting the headline. And yet that number rather vague, isn't it, compared to the more specific 630,000 who went the other way? I mean, how hard would it have been to write 1,330,000, which is the actual (rounded) result of taking 2/3 of 1.7 million…?

Too hard, apparently.

A million is about 59% of 1.7 million -- a far cry from 67%.

So which is it? I would wager a lot that it’s much closer to 1,000,000 than 1,330,333 – because if it were the latter, the author would/could/should have made hay out of saying so. That’s not a minor difference.

So there's some champion fudging going on there. Ordinarily I would snark about innumeracy, but the pounding away at “more than a million” seems too deliberately vague to be anything but purposeful.

Wouldn't it possibly be a less hair-on-fire article if instead of dwelling on the vague but alarming "more than a million," the author attempted to address the reality of a net migration of "more than 370,000" voters?

Gee, though, 370,000 doesn't sound nearly as "dire" as "more than a million."

As usual, we have to have alarums and excursions about the Ds, with the also as usual cherry-picked interviewees. Any D voters interviewed? I thought not.

At least the article didn't mention diners.

Also:

L2 uses a combination of state voter records and statistical modeling to determine party affiliation, meaning that the switchers include both those who have formally changed their registration and those who L2 estimates have shifted toward the GOP.

Modeling....

https://jabberwocking.com/update-party-defections-are-tiny-and-mostly-meaningless/

Kevin Drum following up on this.

Sorry for the hasty writing. I would go into Typepad and tighten it up, but that doesn't seem right either.

First point: Lies, damned lies, and statistics....

Second point: this kind of thing helps to create the attitudes it purports to be merely reporting.

and those who L2 estimates have shifted toward the GOP.

It would, one supposes, be just way too much trouble to break out explicitly how many "formal registration changes" there actually were. (In both directions.) Just in the interests of, I don't know, accuracy...

Or maybe the actual (as opposed to "estimated") numbers wouldn't be nearly as alarming. See, also, a debunking at
https://gelliottmorris.substack.com/p/an-analysis-claiming-one-million

Why is it that the press (which we allegedly control) never visits the gambling venues, houses of ill repute, smoke filled cocktail lounges, and opium dens where we real Americans hang out?

What is it about the cheap food and oozing resentment that attracts them so?

From wj's link:

Voter who registered as Democrat or Other but who get modeled by L2 as leaning Republican, perhaps because of either:

-- Polling data that indicated a shift away from Democrats among certain demographics or in particular geographies; or

-- Election results that showed shifts from Democrats in certain jurisdictions

I know I'm tired, but do I detect a whiff of presuming the conclusion here? Circular reasoning? Outright BS? That people are getting paid for? Nice gig if you can get it.

do I detect a whiff of presuming the conclusion here? Circular reasoning? Outright BS?

If you reach a conclusion that is the popular view (in the microscopic where you, and especially your editor) live, you can diddle the data or the explanation and not have to argue. If the data show something different, and you try to report it, you're faced with a really high hurdle to get it published. And a bad rep if it happens very often.

Of course, if you go against the popular view and get it right, it can be a career maker. (Unless you work for Fox News....)

Wow, did the editing fail on that one!

This is really scary. Especially if you live in California.
https://digbysblog.net/2022/07/01/liz-in-cali/

Liz Cheney spoke to a zombie political party on Wednesday and got a rousing reception from California Republicans.
To understand why, you have to understand how far into crazy town the California GOP has been the last few decades. And yet, Cheney got a standing ovation when appearing at the Reagan Presidential Library. As opposed to, for example, Wyoming, where an election debate had to be cancelled, due to the number of death threats to Cheney.

When our GOP is a comparative font of sanity, things are really bad for this country.

Another editing fail: I copied 1,133,333 (unrounded) to a rounded form of 1,330,000 last night.

It's still a significant difference, but not as much as I made it seem.

Thanks to the person who emailed me to point it out, who can out himself as my new copy editor, or not, according to personal perference.

Wouldn't it possibly be a less hair-on-fire article if instead of dwelling on the vague but alarming "more than a million," the author attempted to address the reality of a net migration of "more than 370,000" voters?

When clicks, eyeballs, and outrage are the order of the day, you got some pretty stiff competition this week.

While I'm on about hyperbole, it's about a million percent humidity out and the gnats are suffocating, so I'm hiding inside with the news going in the background. There are discussions about if rainbows are okay - in Elementary Schools. Governors discussing "safe states" to provide healthcare and potentially asylum to women. A healthcare provider in Alabama is worried about being prosecuted for simply suggesting a state where women might find the services they need. She seems to think it's okay for existing patients but no-go for anyone new. Yeah, she can't use words.

So how's this for sensationalism: A soft fundamentalist coup is happening this 4th of July weekend, and it's not slowing down.

Pete - Add to that, next term SCOTUS will hear a case that would give state legislatures absolute control over elections (including being able to hand their electors to the candidate of their choice, rather than to whoever actually won). Just in time for 2024.

We have a coup in plain sight. We have a civil war in plain sight.

Thomas shouldn't be anywhere near Moore v Harper or anything election-related. Quinnipiac has 52% in favor of his recusal on election matters and a petition for his impeachment is nearing 1 million signatures. But since the majority of SCOTUS doesn't seem to care about what the majority of the citizenry want and "appearance of impropriety" has given way to "you can't prove nuthin'!", I fully expect ISL doctrine to be the law of the land.

In fact, I'm betting on it! Introducing...

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I have no idea how anything works.

Wyoming's Republican primary debate (1.58 mins):

https://twitter.com/AccountableGOP/status/1542866096537145345

Aaaand.....let's hear it for Arizona (2.20 mins)!

https://twitter.com/AdamKinzinger/status/1543031788188188674

My favourite bit:

"Why can't we treat human life like we would treat alien life that we discovered on an alien planet?"

And the terrifying thing is, these people think (and they're probably not wrong) that they stand a chance of a) winning the R nomination and b) winning the actual election.

In the UK the actual Monster Raving Loony Party sounds a lot saner than these people.

JFC.

the actual Monster Raving Loony Party sounds a lot saner than these people.

Probably because the MTLP doesn't believe the idiocy/satire they are spouting. These days, it has become incredibly difficult to do political satire in the US. The GOP is just so far gone that sane people can't guess what (if anything) they might consider nuts.

That carpenter's son from Nazareth was crucified, buried, and then resurrected before being taken bodily to heaven by some angel or other. Not to mention that the deity impregnated his mother by some magical means that no one has ever figured out.

Thus it ever was, thus it shall ever be.

Someone who studies this stuff would probably have fun (or "fun") watching which strands of Q-induced nonsense survive a few decades and harden to become part of the firmly entrenched origin story of the new religion. Or of the new nation that might grow on the smoldering ashes of this one.

Johnny Tremaine, The Sequel! (The story of 1/6/21, retold for children)

Johnny Tremaine, a vivid memory from my childhood.

Not to mention that the deity impregnated his mother by some magical means that no one has ever figured out.

Well it's a good thing there were no exceptions for rape or incest - or rape and incest, I suppose - or where would a billion Christians be right now?

Yeah, I'm in a mood.

The tree of liberty...sanitized and Disney-fied.

I believe the guy in the black coat leading the parade is supposed to be Samuel Adams.

Looks so easy, revolution, doesn't it?

Not to mention that the deity impregnated his mother by some magical means that no one has ever figured out.

Probably because they haven't thought it thru. Jesus never said that this happened. He was asked about God and his relationship to man. As he so often did, he made an analogy: God's relationship to man is like a father's relationship to his children. (Which, if you think about it, says something about what an impressive man Joseph was.) Note also how smoothly it fits with the view that we are all "children of God".

Sometimes I suspect that theologians (especially evangelical ones) have mush for brains.

Are there evangelical theologians? That's a quaint concept.

Are there evangelical theologians?

Well, there definitely are individuals who are evangelicals, and who pontificate about what their faith requires and what it forbids. Regardless of what their nominal scriptures actually say. (Consider the "prosperity gospel" -- which is impossible to square with "man cannot serve both God and Mammon".)

It was an evangelical theologian (biblical hermeneutics) that started me down my path to being a heathen rhetorician.

"Truth must be truth. You cannot search for truth and reserve from examination the things you believe to be true."

If only he knew.

Francis Schaeffer is probably the best know evangelical theologian, though he seems a lightweight to me. Schaeffer was a big influence on my brother and his slide into evangelical extremism.

nous -- I was thinking about this all evening yesterday -- realizing that my mild snark about evangelical theologians was in part a weird survival of my Catholic upbringing (which, lord knows, I have put as far behind me as I can consciously do). It came in part from my Catholic (and later heathen, to use your term) ignorance about other "Christian" denominations.

But it's also related to my more recent experience, e.g. on the day of the Maine legislative hearing on same-sex marriage in 2009, 3000 people in attendance at the Augusta Civic Center, the first speaker on the "no" side was a back-country preacher in a leather jacket, who edged out the bishop of the diocese of Portland (much to that arrogant little twit's chagrin, I suspect).

I don't think of back-country preachers in leather jackets as potential theologians (in the sense I understood the term in my Catholic youth), or the cultural context in which they thrive as a fertile ground for theology (as an academic sort of discipline).

Nor do I quite understand what the study of theology might be in a context where anyone is allowed to interpret the Bible in their own way. (Of course I know this isn't true literally, but to the extent that it isn't, what was the Reformation for? (Rhetorical question.))

Reminds me of the question of whether the ultimate interpreter of the Constitution is the Supreme Court (heaven help us) or the sovereign citizen sheriffs all over the country (ditto).

This is written in haste, but I'm bemused by the whole topic. I went to Wikipedia to see if I could get a quick notion of what an evangelical actually is, and I know a sliver more than I did before, but I gave up when I got to the difference between biblical inerrancy and biblical infallibility.

Hey, it's Sunday morning, I have plenty of time on my hands (NOT!), since I'm not going to church. ;-)

PS I know I'm mixing up a lot of things here, like the difference between a preacher or priest and a theologian....

I don't think there is currently an Open Thread, so I am posting this obituary of Peter Brook here. He was truly one of the all-time great directors, a man of astonishing and inspiring creativity openmindedness, and capable of creating actual joy in a theatre. I only saw a few of his productions: the unforgettable Midsummer Night's Dream, which I have written about before, and the extraordinary nine-hour Mahabharata among them. And the experience of both of these were like being in a true world of actual magic.

https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2022/jul/03/peter-brook-influential-theatre-visionary-dies-aged-97

Priests (at least Christian ones) are expected to be (studied) theologians too. Preachers not necessarily.

creativity AND openmindedness. Openminded like a child....

https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2022/jul/03/peter-brooks-legacy-is-everywhere-in-todays-theatre


I just tried three times unsuccessfully to post another link about Peter Brook. If anybody could rescue just one of those, I'd be grateful.

Done.

Thanks, Janie!

And this is the last, I promise, but in case any of you USians saw or heard about the Marat/Sade I thought you might also be interested in this, which might be behind a paywall:

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/peter-brook-obituary-tq7wl8xlg

From soon after Hall and John Barton (obituary, January 22, 2018) founded the RSC in 1960, Brook had been a director. In 1964, with Charles Marowitz, he recruited a dozen or so of the company for 12 weeks of improvisation and experiment at the Lamda studio theatre. For this he adopted the name “the theatre of cruelty” from Antonin Artaud, the surrealist French director who strongly influenced Brook with his vision of theatre as a form that should profoundly shock, more concerned with ritual and images than with words.

Such explorations led directly to the two most acclaimed and debated of his RSC productions at the Aldwych. The first was Peter Weiss’s The Persecution and Murder of Marat 45 Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade (inevitably shortened to The Marat/Sade), an extraordinary play in which the action, violent in the extreme, included Charlotte Corday (Glenda Jackson) whipping the naked de Sade with her hair. Spectators in London, and in New York, where it won two Tony awards, were enthralled and appalled. The other, US, was devised by a group that Brook led. It shook audiences into a painful awareness of the desperate war in Vietnam and divided the critics — but not before the lord chamberlain had unsuccessfully tried to stop the play, fearing it to be anti-American and pro-communist.

As early as 1957 Brook had cleared the Stratford stage of clutter in a Tempest that showed John Gielgud as an angry, unromantic Prospero relying on rough magic. In 1970 came one of his greatest works, a minimalist staging of A Midsummer Night’s Dream that drew acclaim for bringing out the dark eroticism lurking beneath the play’s humour. Then, having stripped away the scenery and the props, he dispensed with the words in Ted Hughes’s Orghast (1971), a work awash with the universal language of grunts, cries and sighs.

My general definition is that priests & ministers have studied theology as an academic disciple - comparative religion, philosophy and such - whereas anyone with enough ego to claim to know god's will can hang out a shingle and call themselves a preacher. When I think of "preacher", Evangelical is what comes to mind. That's an admittedly loose and personal definition.

Just as loosely, I tend to think that the former wrestle with morals and ethics and outright contradictions within the framework of religious canon in a scholarly fashion. The latter kinda shoot from the hip, cherry-picking (and/or conveniently ignoring) whatever passages suit the moralizing du jour.

What we've got here, in the SCOTUS majority, is a bunch of preachers.

Like most people, when I wanna get my personal Jesus on, I deliberately seek out the quietude of dead center of an arena with thousands of onlookers and glaring spotlights and local tv cameras. I guess the Establishment Clause and the Treaty of Tripoli aren't "deeply rooted in the nation's history and traditions".

The requirements for someone to be a preacher - to occupy the pulpit of a church as a teacher and/or a small-p prophetic voice - vary widely from denomination to denomination.

At the less structured end of the spectrum, churches may pick whoever the heck they like, without the need for vetting or oversight by an ecclesiastic authority (bishops, presbyters, whoever). It's not unusual for charismatic individuals to start their own churches, if they can persuade enough people to come listen to them. Whether they know much or not may be immaterial.

Theologian is another skill set, really, although if you're a church-going person, you'd probably want the preacher to have some idea what they were talking about.

But yes, there are evangelical theologians, some who are preachers, many who are not.

Another topic:

Conservatives often claim that liberals want to tell everybody else what to do, while they just want to be left alone (at least by government) and want to offer everyone else the opportunity to be left alone.

I think it's pretty clear at this point that that claim is bullshit.

Conservatives often claim that liberals want to tell everybody else what to do, while they just want to be left alone (at least by government) and want to offer everyone else the opportunity to be left alone.

I think it's pretty clear at this point that that claim is bullshit.

Truer words....

Although my gut feeling is that they go on about their own right to be left alone far more than they go on about mine. In fact, I'm not sure I've ever heard any of them say I should be left alone to pursue my life as I please. (Romance-wise, at least. And female-wise, for that matter.)

Anne Laurie at BJ has some twitter videos of some modern-day Sons of Liberty marching through Boston. I know perfectly well that Boston has a checkered history in relation to, especially, racial issues. But I also know and love it, and have walked in the neighborhoods of the Freedom Trail many times. If I had run across these cowardly masked assholes hogging the sidewalk, polluting the soundscape, and generally sullying a nice summer day in the city, I would have been at serious risk of getting myself killed, given that I'm a bit hotheaded.

I worry about that every time I leave my house. But so far I personally haven't seen anything worse in Maine than Clickbait 2024 flags in people's yards, and the hideously ugly flags with black and white stripes interspersed with a blue, a green, and a red. Not even an AR-15 in the grocery store...

And at the same time, I know very well that "it can't happen here" is the dumbest idea in the history of the world. As we are seeing on a daily basis across the country.

To paint with one particular broad brush, conservatives are preoccupied with and want to enforce private morals. And liberals are preoccupied with and want to enforce public morals.

What we've got here, in the SCOTUS majority, is a bunch of preachers.

Except that they have done the study, too. To extend your analogy, they are like expert marksmen who have decided it would be fun to go out and spray the countryside with an AR-15. Just because they can.

"Public morals" = e.g. not driving while drunk? Not polluting the air we all have to breathe? Not pouring poison in the waterways? Not running redlights? Not letting our (collective/community) children grow up ignorant? Not letting people sell adultrated food?

.........

The church I grew up in on Long Island sets up a Pride display annually in June on the adjacent Green. One of the pastors is lesbian, my father tells me, but I've never met her as I ditched religion long ago. Regardless of my status in the church (which I think might still be officially "good"), it reflects well on the congregation and I'm glad to see it when I drive or walk by. I don't think any of this would be persuasive to the SCOTUS majority tho, or Conservatives in general, being the johnny-come-lately, not-deeply-rooted-in-history upstart that it is. After all, the new building was erected as recently as 1812 after the original burned down - the one established in the 1660s.

Conservatives often claim that liberals want to tell everybody else what to do, while they just want to be left alone (at least by government) and want to offer everyone else the opportunity to be left alone.

I'd say that's more libertarians mislabeled as conservatives. The liberal analogue being anarchists.

A conservative (and even a reactionary) is perfectly comfortable with rules everybody has to follow. They differ from liberals more in which set of rules they want.

A conservative (and even a reactionary) is perfectly comfortable with rules everybody has to follow.

Well, yeah, but that's a bit empty, isn't it? Every group is happy to follow the rules when the rules privilege them.

They differ from liberals more in which set of rules they want.

Also who sets them and is to be the arbiter.

And I mean that not just in the extreme sense we see to-day where the value of a rule is purely judged based on the the setter (If THEY set the same rule as I would, something must be wrong!).

I mean, the default is (or should be): Don't like same-sex marriage? Don't get one. Not: I don't like it, so nobody else can have it.

That isn't what I hear from modern Conservatives.

I'm biased, but generally speaking I think Liberal rules tend to be inclusive rather than exclusive, e.g. civil rights.

I'm painting with very broad strokes here.

I'm biased, but generally speaking I think Liberal rules tend to be inclusive rather than exclusive, e.g. civil rights.

No argument there.

That isn't what I hear from modern Conservatives.

That's where I think you go wrong. Because the folks you call "modern Conservatives" are nothing of the kind -- for all that they like to use the label. They are flat out reactionaries, with nothing modern about them beyond their use of modern technology to spread their noxious views.

We can argue about the merits of the views of different groups on various issues. But it would help enormously if we were clear(er) about who we are actually talking about.

Just to give one example, I doubt that anyone here would dispute the idea that nous** is more liberal than I am. But I wouldn't be surprised if this conservative embraced the idea of gay marriage before he did. (For reference, I got there in the mid- to late 1980s, when it was clear the "domestic partnerships" had serious negative unintended consequences. And I said so publicly.)

A reactionary, including today's reactionaries, would never have gone there. But a conservative could and did. So it's not just liberals who can be inclusive.

** Sorry to pick one just one individual, but it makes the example easier to follow.

Nor do I quite understand what the study of theology might be in a context where anyone is allowed to interpret the Bible in their own way. (Of course I know this isn't true literally, but to the extent that it isn't, what was the Reformation for? (Rhetorical question.))

Just noting here that this is generally how I feel whenever an open thread about literature pops up around here.

A lot of small evangelical churches and denominations exist as a spiritual analog of the Book Club. Everyone reads it, one person hosts it, asks the questions and leads the discussion. A lot of non-denominational churches look like this.

The next level of organization up is the ones at which there is some notion of ordination. Those usually have something like the equivalent of a liberal arts degree that had a required survey core class. The preacher has some familiarity with some formal textual conventions and history.

A level up from this are the places that have some sort of seminary, which is generally the equivalent of having majored in literature. The pastor understands Greek and has a weirdly non-Jewish understanding of Hebrew texts, and had a bit of training in historicism.

But I wouldn't call someone a theologian until they had gone through the equivalent of divinity school, done extensive study in hermeneutics and patristics, and worked through the different historical approaches to texts. This is roughly the same level of education as someone with a graduate degree in literature.

I have a Ph.D. in literature from a major university, so I'm the equivalent of a bishop for the purposes of all future literature open thread here. ;)

a weirdly non-Jewish understanding of Hebrew texts

This made me chuckle.

I have a Ph.D. in literature from a major university, so I'm the equivalent of a bishop for the purposes of all future literature open thread here. ;)

This made me chuckle even more. I too have a Ph.D. in literature from a major university, but 1) it was a very long time ago; and 2) it didn't really stick in the first place.

So I concede the bishopric to nous, and consider my degree to be in effect honorary.

Also, more seriously, the analogy between religious roles and academic ones is very useful.

so I'm the equivalent of a bishop for the purposes of all future literature open thread here.

Maybe. But you gotta up your hat/robe game if you really wanna contend. ;-)

I have a Ph.D. in literature from a major university, so I'm the equivalent of a bishop for the purposes of all future literature open thread here. ;)

Fine. As long as you don't become the Bishop of Rome. We're not going for Papal Infallibility here. :-)

A reactionary, including today's reactionaries, would never have gone there. But a conservative could and did. So it's not just liberals who can be inclusive.

In my defense, I did say broad strokes. I guess we need a standard bearer, but I don't know who that is. I don't know that the Overton Window still exists. Seems more like an Overton Rift.

So, who? CPAC is squarely in the nutwing column. Liz Cheney finally came around on gay marriage last year, but that's also an issue she has to deal with quite intimately. And I kinda feel like that's the thing: It's (only?) different when it affects me.

The evolution of the small-c conservative looks, to me, like John Tester.

Also, AFAIC, you can pick on nous all you want. ;-)

Also, AFAIC, you can pick on nous all you want.

He bears the hammer of Thor, he can take it.

conservatives are preoccupied with and want to enforce private morals. And liberals are preoccupied with and want to enforce public morals.

being that the province of politics is public life, the liberal position seems more sensible.

to me, anyway.

a weirdly non-Jewish understanding of Hebrew texts

LOL

As an aside, and FWIW (which is basically nothing), the most common historical and traditional position on abortion is that it's fine up until the quickening of the fetus. Typically that happens around 16-20 weeks.

There are traditions that are against abortion full stop, but they tend to be based on religion, and many religious traditions do NOT share that position. Which seems to make the overturn of Roe problematic from a 1st A point of view, in that it necessarily prefers one set of religious traditions over another.

Apparently the SCOTUS also gets to rule on what is and what is not historical and/or traditional. They also appear to have appointed themselves armchair theologians, to boot.

Fine. As long as you don't become the Bishop of Rome. We're not going for Papal Infallibility here. :-)

Fine, I'll remember not to send you an invite when I declare my crusade against the Sad Puppies.

Indulgences for anyone who brings Vox Day into the loving arms of the Inquisition.

They also appear to have appointed themselves armchair theologians, to boot.

Armchair popes, as well. Bye bye First Amendment.

being that the province of politics is public life, the liberal position seems more sensible.

After taking a look at what can be considered Public morality, perhaps the distention should be between individual mores and social mores.

On the way I encountered this:

"You can't adopt a firm stance on public morals in the hope of soliciting votes, while adopting a wide stance in public lavatories in the hope of soliciting blokes." —Times, Sunday Times

wj, while I fully agree that 'modern conservatives' is a misnomer, I'd still say that a common tenet of conservative view is that in order to keep society functioning, the 'natural leaders' have a right and duty to impose traditional rules on society at large. And opposition to e.g. non-traditional marriage, contraception etc. has a very long tradition in Western society indeed. What makes the 'modern conservatives' different is that they make up fake traditions as they go or are highly selective in what actual traditions they want to keep while denying that they are doing either.

perhaps the distention should be between individual mores and social mores.

In general, to my eye the distinction is between conservatives telling non-conservatives the they are not allowed to do stuff, and liberals telling conservatives that they aren't allowed to tell non-conservatives that they aren't allowed to do stuff.

It can cut the other way when it comes to how people can and can't use their property, but in general liberals endorse restrictions on property use in areas that they affect other people. And being the crypto lefty that I am, property rights seem to me to be a second-order set of concerns.

Different strokes. But I know where my allegiances lie.

a common tenet of conservative view is that in order to keep society functioning, the 'natural leaders' have a right and duty to impose traditional rules on society at large.

Here's my take on what the conservative view is: the world around us changes constantly. So we have to change as well. However, where things have been working well in the past**, we should try to make the smallest change which will allow us to adapt. But if the first, smallest change doesn't do the trick, then we try some other change. We do NOT try to shut down change. Period.

For example (can you tell I'm particularly fond of this example?), in California circa 1980, we adopted "domestic partners" as a way to give gay couples something like marriage. Was it a step forward? Yes. Was it a complete solution? No. But it was a start.

However, domestic partners proved to have some unintended effects. For one, a substantial majority of all domestic partnerships were not gay couples. They were heterosexual couples who could have gotten married, but opted for something with (as set up) most of the rights, but few of the responsibilities. So it was the conservative approach, as I saw it, to dump an unsuccessful change and go for something else.

And the obvious minimalist change was to simply take the part of the marriage laws which said "A man and a woman may get married, provided..." and revise it to "Two adults may get married, provided..." A handful of words, which seems damn minimalist to me.

** If things were bad in the past, more radical changes may be, from a conservative view, necessary right off.

In terms of traditional beliefs, among the nordic pre-Christian societies the child was protected only after two things happened - the father named the child and the mother put it to her breast. Before that, the child was not a part of the community. The parents owed it to the community not to burden it with a child that would damage their communal survival. Once a child was named and sprinkled with water, the part of the soul that connected the child to the clan would enter the body.

Children without names who had not nursed at their mother's breast could be exposed. Their survival was their own affair. They lacked the part of the soul that connected them to a community.

Conversely, if a parent killed a child that had been named and nursed, that child would come back and haunt them for having committed a crime against the clan.

Wonder if the Supreme Court would look as favorably upon that set of sincerely held religious beliefs? I have a hunch.

Wonder if the Supreme Court would look as favorably upon that set of sincerely held religious beliefs? I have a hunch

The Supreme Court (at least this Supreme Court) is both ignorant of the beliefs of any religion other than Christianity and Judaism -- those being the faiths held by members. And apparently don't think that those faiths deserve any consideration under the Constitution.

If you can show them a Biblical text supporting your position, you might have a chance to get to them. But not otherwise, apparently. And if it conflicts with their personal, narrow, view of Christianity, you are SOL regardless.

ignorant of the beliefs of any religion other than Christianity and Judaism

And not all Christian and Jewish traditions, at that.

I think even this SCOTUS will not agree to demands of some of the more extreme evangelicals that claim the right or even duty to kill their own children, if they go out of line ('become seditious'). What I could imagine is them doing away with most other child protection laws. And there is still a fraction of the GOP (and, or so I assume, parts of the donor class) that wants to have ALL child labor laws overturned as unconstitutional. That too could come onto the agenda. I assume though that this is a second tier item to be left for the time after the GOP has gained control of all branches of government again.

However, where things have been working well in the past**, we should try to make the smallest change which will allow us to adapt. But if the first, smallest change doesn't do the trick, then we try some other change.

This sounds like Biden/Pelosi to me. As conservatives, big or small c, are R voters, vastly, I don’t see who in Republican leadership expresses anything close. Women’s healthcare was working (as much as healthcare in this country can be said to be “working”). Rs, and big/small Cs by inclusion, aren’t conserving anything. They’re rolling back to a fucked up, broken system. And they’re celebrating it.

Can anyone explain to me why they might go after contraception, ideologically speaking? I mean I get their general reactionary religious stuff (especially Coney Barrett's weird brand of Catholicism), and certainly some misogyny (Kavanaugh and Thomas, anyway), but is there anything else that would explain an underlying wish to go back to a time of no contraception? As opposed to any legal issues with Griswold?

You’re not supposed to spill your seed or something. God’s will. Seriously, that’s it.

We were founded by religious nuts too crazy for Europe. Whatja expect?

As conservatives, big or small c, are R voters, vastly, I don’t see who in Republican leadership expresses anything close. Women’s healthcare was working (as much as healthcare in this country can be said to be “working”). Rs, and big/small Cs by inclusion, aren’t conserving anything. They’re rolling back to a fucked up, broken system.

The Republican leadership (at least the visible portions) are too in thrall to the rabid reactionaries to express anything. Evasion, and dodging questions as much as possible, are the order of the day. The conservatives are mostly still R voters. But fewer and fewer every day -- radical change, reactionary as much as progressive radical change, drives them away.

The reactionaries are currently in charge, and they are rolling back a messed up system precisely because they are reactionaries: determined to restore an ancient (and mostly mythical) past.

The Catholic church is still officially against any kind of contraception. One of their more out there arguments is that some kinds of contraception destroy a fertilized egg and are therefore forms of abortion. But that's just for extra adornment; the church still disapproves of any kind of birth control regardless, as far as I know. I believe there has been a carve-out in the ACA that lets Catholic hospitals not pay for birth control under the health coverage they provide to their employees. (Anyone feel free to correct me on the details.)

More importantly and fundamentally, as someone pointed out recently (here or at BJ), Griswold, the decision that made birth control legal, is really, underlyingly, about privacy. The medieval six don't believe in any right to privacy (except for themselves, no doubt), especially in relation to sex, or for women in relation to anything at all.

Caroline Kennedy (JFK's daughter) wrote a book about SCOTUS cases relating to privacy -- I read it a very long time ago but I remember it aas informative and interesting.

There's also David Garrow's Liberty and Sexuality, a very long (and not recent) book that focuses mostly on Griswold and the many decades of work in courts and legislatures that brought the campaign for legalized birth control to that final (?) case.

The Supreme Court (at least this Supreme Court) is both ignorant of the beliefs of any religion other than Christianity and Judaism -- those being the faiths held by members. And apparently don't think that those faiths deserve any consideration under the Constitution.

I gave this court a snarky nickname elsewhere a few days ago and was reminded that not all of them deserve the opprobrium that's due to the other six. Let's give Kagan, Sotomayor, and Breyer the credit they deserve and not lump them in with the rest.

Can anyone explain to me why they might go after contraception, ideologically speaking?

Most evangelicals, in my observation, are far more easily understood as a weird offshoot of Judaism rather than Christians. That is, they lean far more heavily on the Old Testament than the New.

In this case, their justification (can't speak to real motivation) would be Genesis 1:28: "Be fruitful and multiply." Carefully ignoring, of course, the idea that the next phrase, "replenish the earth", doesn't mean "increase without limit." (Cherry picking from text is a specialty with them. See their approach to the 2nd Amendment.)

Let's give Kagan, Sotomayor, and Breyer the credit they deserve and not lump them in with the rest.

Agreed. But when we speak of "the Court" we are necessarily talking about what a majority of the Justices will do/have done.

So why aren’t they swayed? Sure, there are AOCs and Ilhan Omars, but there are also Testers and Manchins. There’s another principle at work here & I don’t know what it is. Tribalism?

what would the founders say about 6 out of 9 SCOTUS justices being Catholic?

originalist minds want to know...

My 5:32 was intended as a response to GftNC's 4:59.

Also, the carve-out relating to the ACA and Catholic hospitals infuriates me, as an actual and symbolic example of what I consider to be a clear violation of the Establishment Clause. As I had occasion to say and write over and over in relation to gay rights and gay marriage, I should not be a second-class citizen because I do not live by someone else's religious beliefs.

But the Establishment Clause has no more useful or literal meaning at this point than the Second Amendment. It's like Humpty Dumpty and words...

Per russell's 5:40: I'm old enough to have vivid memories (as a befuddled child deeply immersed in a Catholic environment, who thought that Catholics were just ... folks) of when JFK the candidate had to go on TV to reassure the nation that if he were elected, the Pope would not be running the country. The fact that barely any Protestants end up on the Court these days is a fairly mind-blowing historical reversal.

From Wikipedia:

At the beginning of 2010, Justice John Paul Stevens was the sole remaining Protestant on the Court.[99][105] In April 2010, Justice Stevens announced his retirement, effective as of the Court's 2010 summer recess. Upon Justice Stevens' retirement, which formally began on June 28, 2010, the Court lacked a Protestant member, marking the first time in its history that it was exclusively composed of Jewish and Catholic justices.[85] Although in January 2017, after seven years with no Protestant justices serving or nominated, President Donald Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch to the Court, as noted above it is unclear whether Gorsuch considers himself a Catholic or an Episcopalian.[106][81] Following the retirement of Justice Kennedy, the Catholic majority on the Court was extended by the appointment of Brett Kavanaugh;[107] the appointment of Amy Coney Barrett increased this majority to six Catholic members of the Court, or seven if Gorsuch is classified as a Catholic.[81]

PS: What, no Buddhists? No Wiccans? .........

From that same Wiki:

Asian American jurists are poorly represented at all levels of federal judicial system, let alone being Supreme Court justices. According to the Center for American Progress (2019),[55] among active federal judges serving on U.S. courts of appeals, only 10 were Asian Americans (5.7%). According to the study by the California Justice Goodwin Liu (2017), of the 94 U.S. attorneys, only three are Asian American; and only 4 of the 2,437 elected prosecutors are Asian American.[56][57]

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