Over the years, some of my readers have expressed a distaste for Bill Maher. I, too, get pissed at him on occasion -- especially when he disses the Clintons or praises Bernie -- yet increasingly, he's the only liberal I can stand. He's also the only Democrat whose voice occasionally penetrates into Rightwingerland.
Here, he touches on a point I've tried to make repeatedly: Democracy is a popularity contest. Unfortunately, progressives always insist upon the less-popular option. It's an obsession. A sickness.
Allow me to offer several illustrations.
Atheism. As of 2014, atheists constituted all of 3.1 percent of the American population. Many within that small percentage were Dawkins-esque "new atheists" who have always tended to mix their atheism with libertarianism. Since that poll was taken, many sippers of the Dawkins/Rothbard cocktail have made the all-too-familiar shift from libertarianism to fascism. (In the process, a number of these evangelical God-deniers have, hilariously, decided to embrace very orthodox forms of religiosity.)
Yet Democratic Underground routinely features pro-atheism posts while denigrating the major Christian denominations. Would Elijah Cummings have approved?
Let me repeat: Only 3.1 percent of Americans identify as atheists.
"Three point one percent? Let's go there!" sayeth the Dems.
Feminism did much good during its first wave or two, but it has now become odious. The polls are consistent and clear: Most Americans -- most American women -- dislike feminism: Only 38 percent of females embrace the label, as do only 22 percent of men.
Americans favor gender equality by wide margins (as do I), but they also understand that -- despite claims to the contrary -- feminism and the advocacy of gender equality are two very different things. In our universities, under the evil influence of the postmodernists, the term "feminism" has lost its original meaning. The word may now be defined as "toxic anti-masculinity." Alternative definitions: "The reflexive blaming of one's own failures on all males" or, more simply, "hatred of males."
When reminded that the label repels most women, feminists invariably blame the mythical concepts of "patriarchy" and "brainwashing." The simple fact is that most women don't want subservience, but they also do not hate males. They love their brothers, fathers, sons, husbands and lovers. That's why most women will never embrace feminism.
Feminists claim that they have been smeared. No. They were given an endless supply of rope and insisted on using it to hang themselves. Americans hate modern feminism because the movement has been taken over by neurotics, by the perpetually and unrighteously angry, by control freaks, by prudes, by sexually dominant females who'd be better off paying dues at the local BDSM club, and by lesbians who use quasi-political casuistry to seduce naive young straight women.
(And don't you fucking dare try to tell me that that doesn't happen. I've heard first-hand testimony on multiple occasions.)
Let me repeat: Only 30 percent of Americans identify as feminists.
"Thirty percent? Let's go there!" sayeth the Dems.
Gender Dysphoria. Despite the current trendiness of gender flexibility among the young, the fact remains that gender dysphoria occurs in only about 0.5 percent of the population. Nobody knows if the cause is psychological, cultural or genetic, although some evidence suggests that the trait is heritable.
I do not wish the transgendered ill. In fact, Jeanne d'Arc -- the historical figure I most admire -- was among their number. (She went to the stake because she refused to wear female clothing. Think twice before arguing with me: I'm better read on this topic than you are, unless your name is Bonnie Wheeler.) If I had a daughter, I would have no problem if she followed Jeanne's example.
That said, I'm not going to preface my writings by listing my pronouns. If you insist that I must -- fuck you.
You can't ask 99.5 percent of the population to inconvenience themselves just to make 0.5 percent of the population feel better about themselves. The vast majority of that 99.5 percent simply won't do as you insist, no matter how loudly you caterwaul. So whatcha gonna do about that? Do you really think you're going to punch me out until I comply with your demands? I'll punch back. Whatcha gonna do then?
Try to understand one simple fact: You have no power over me. And you have no power over the 99.5 percent of the population with whom I stand.
Similarly: If you insist on spouting the trendy proposition that gender has nothing to do with biology -- fuck you. That is to say: You are certainly free to spew whatever metaphysical concepts you find pleasing, but you must understand that most people won't buy into your silly ideas until you offer proof. I'm talking real proof, scientific proof, the kind you see on a microscope slide, the kind discussed in refereed journals. (Actual journals, not these shams.) So far, all I've heard is absurd postmodernist rhetoric and name-calling.
I'm quite aware that the gender dysphoric have a high suicide rate. Obviously, I'd like that situation to change. Again, I wish no-one ill.
But here's what bugs the hell out of me: White heterosexual males in America have also been committing suicide at an alarmingly high rate. Yet if you mention that fact in Democratic forums, the victims will receive zero sympathy; invariably, you'll hear condescending references to "toxic masculinity." The word "butthurt" also gets tossed around a lot. If a gender dysphoric commits suicide, that's considered a MASSIVE TRAGEDY -- but if a white male kills himself, who gives a damn? Those palefaced butthurt crybabies fucking deserve to die, because they won't bow in obeisance before their female/black/queer superiors.
And then progressives seem genuinely surprised when the butthurt crybabies -- whose numbers are massive -- do not vote the way progs tell them to vote.
Again: The transgendered are only 0.5 percent of the population. At most. Some estimates go much lower.
"Zero point five percent? Let's go there!" sayeth the Dems.
An additional point: If forced to choose between constantly ego-stroking the 0.5 percent and electing enough Dems to do something about climate change, most progressives would opt to let the planet become uninhabitable. In their eyes, it is better to end the human experiment once and for all than to compromise on the idea that everyone should offer a preferred-pronoun list before writing any text.
Socialism. The most recent Harris polling indicates that 37 percent of Americans would prefer to live in a socialist country, while other polls give lower numbers -- 25% and 29%. Yes, the number has increased. I suspect that a growing toleration for socialism has something to do with the fact that decades of libertarian propaganda (largely funded by the Kochtopus) has managed to convince the populace that what used to be called Keynesianism is actually socialism.
I'm old enough to recall a time when most Americans automatically equated the S-word to the idea of government control of industrial production. I'm also old enough to recall a time when even Richard Nixon declared himself a Keynesian (though, contrary to myth, he did not actually utter the phrase "We're all Keynesians now"). Back then, when both parties shared in the Keynesian consensus, no-one considered the United States a socialist nation. In fact, this country was considered both the bodyguard and ultimate exemplar of capitalism, despite Social Security and progressive tax rates and strong labor unions and all those other things that libertarians hate. Those were America's best days. We were on the road to utopia, until the Friedmanites and the Randroids tricked us into marching in another direction.
Despite socialism's uptick in polling, a strong majority of Americans still bristles at any mention of the S-word.
In a new Hill.TV/HarrisX American Barometer poll released Tuesday, an overwhelming majority of respondents, 76 percent, said they would not vote for a “socialist” political candidate, while only 24 percent of those polled said they would vote for a socialist candidate.
Although Sanders remains highly popular among Democratic voters (and Americans generally), in the American Barometer survey, 64 percent of Democratic respondents said they would not vote for a "socialist." Among respondents who said they voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 general election, 59 percent said they would not support a self-described socialist.
If you think that you -- or Bernie Sanders, or AOC, or anyone else -- can cobble together the magic argument which will dramatically change those numbers before the next election, stop deluding yourself. Need I remind you that the electoral college gives an advantage to rural areas? In those regions, the S-word still conjures up images of mad Marxist church-burners. Pastoral purple-staters decide elections, and you're not going to counter their power by mounting an obnoxiously repetitive GOTV campaign in the blue states.
Again: Only 24 percent of those polled said they would vote for a socialist candidate
"Twenty-four percent? Let's go there!" sayeth the Dems.
Sometimes I'm surprised that Democrats get any votes. My party has been commandeered by fools and zealots. I admit it.
What are the results of this incessant insistence on progressive purity, on this infuriating obsession with wedding the party to unpopular ideas? The young are embracing fascism, Democracy is in serious danger, Klan membership is on the rise, and Donald fucking Trump -- one of the worst human beings imaginable -- is the goddamned president.
What's more, he's going to be a two-termer. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that the prog purists are paid by Putin.
From the recent Pew Research study on US religious attitudes:
"Meanwhile, the religiously unaffiliated share of the population, consisting of people who describe their religious identity as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular,” now stands at 26%, up from 17% in 2009."
posted by maz : 5:26 PM
(And don't you fucking dare try to tell me that that doesn't happen. I've heard first-hand testimony on multiple occasions.)
The plural of 'anecdote' is not 'data.'
It seems you want it both ways. Hillary lost (well, actually, won, but still lost) not because a sizable percentage of the population found her personality and behavior distasteful but because the media and other politicians lied about her. But a politician embracing feminism or atheism (as if the latter actually exists...) can't win because a sizable percentage of the population would find them distasteful, and not because the media and other politicians would lie about them (like trotting out homophobic nonsense that *may* have last been true in isolated bicoastal pockets 40 years ago).
The funny thing is I agree with you in that the synergistic effect of being aligned with multiple fringe groups probably hurts the Democrats in exactly not the same way being aligned with multiple fringe groups had a positive synergistic effect for the GOP. (It's basic set theory: The GOP benefits from the union of different groups identified by who they hate, while the Democrats suffer by intersecting different groups identified by whom they support.) The solution, though, isn't in building a Democratic union of left-oriented right haters but in finding a way to unify a group based around commonality. In many ways Obama managed that -- which led to the current beatdown -- as did Jesse Jackson in 1988. Our current problem, though, in many ways stems from the loss of the [ultimately un-democratic] Democratic machine: Because we don't have a brokered party, we have too many inconsequential idiots chasing a fragmented power base upon which to build, managing to alienate not only those outside their intersection but providing blood sport for the GOP, who represent a spectrum of ideas running from A to C.
On other news, tonight is the local symphony's season opener: Dvorak's Eighth, which is about as extreme a programming choice as is tolerated here in Southside. You may be living hand to mouth in Baltimore, but things could be worse. ;-)
posted by maz : 5:54 PM
Parsing the LGBTQQIP2SAA community I see.... You are most likely correct. The Democrats are filled with glee at the national polls. Trump is within a couple percentage points in Wisconsin. The old boomers are uniting on Facebook to burn it all down alongside their death.
How do Democrats get out the message taxes will increase under a single payer system but total outlay for health care will be lower or worst case the same? Most Americans stop listening at "tax increase" and the news media won't bite the hand that feeds them, health insurance company ad revenue by explaining how it would work. Same for taxes on the wealthy, the quality of life in the United States has decreased with every tax cut. Again the beneficiaries of lower upper income tax rates can buy politicians and advertising to keep the status quo. I can't remember what Democratic Party convention it was that the row call awarding delegates was done in random order instead of "being subject to the tyranny of the alphabet". I think it's year the election was a 49 state rout.