On American social cohesion

    Most of us feel like it is breaking down, but this point I just ran across made me think again:

    I looked at the whole original thread, which has several more thought-provoking points. Then I thought of this kind of thing



    And that we are nowhere near that yet. 

    At the same time, we've got this thing where people who are angry settle it with guns and other cultures don't. Then I thought liberal heresy: could the 2nd Amendment people be a little right in that the threat of guns tempers the way many act? Even with the current chaos, what makes us different to guys like this immigrant? What should we appreciate that we are still doing right? He sees that we still follow rule of law for the most part?....


    Another confusing tweet I just ran across. Is it because we do this kind of thing instead of brawl? Which is like the opposite of Melania's "Be Best"?

    That the first amendment allows for verbal bullying, name calling, protection of hate speech, that let's off steam? And your mother wears army boots!

    I think of how most of us grumble and mutter our road rage at the other guy in the car, we don't just start rear ending the other guy, or slam on the breaks and start punching.

    We are not Rwanda, but there is one side yelling about locking up people who disagree with them. That appears to be 30-40% of the country. Both sides are not the problem.

    If the opposing 30% are "yelling" back, they are part of the problem as far as cohesiveness is concerned. You either are for civil warfare or ya aren't. You're giving the "he started it" argument moms everywhere know so well. To which mom usually says "I don't care who started it."

    I am for civil warfare. That's where we are at and the only option left. To fight back vigorously, though we can have disagreements on the best way to fight that battle. Frankly it does matter who started it. Moms say "I don't care who started it" because they don't want to take the time to get all the information about the conflict and dispense justice. Perhaps that's understandable when dealing with children. From an adult point of view too many of the conflicts are trivial and children have too many conflicts to adjudicate them all comprehensively and fairly. Not caring who started it doesn't mean who started it doesn't matter. It's about time constraints and a function of prioritizing.

    Still, a reminder about some of those who started it:

    Whoa “Mere Exposure Effect” and Cambridge Analytica Psy ops‼️cc @DrWinarick @VickerySec @MingGao26 https://t.co/cnFfJkoZZq

    — Venture Capital (@kelly2277) April 1, 2019

    Facebook is messing w your news feed... tip @RighteousBabe4 https://t.co/2u8svhp48Y

    — Venture Capital (@kelly2277) April 2, 2019

    I didn't know where to plop this but I could not pass it up. Doesn't the following strongly suggest that George lives with a sociopath? 

    Thread https://t.co/ENQ26ElAE7

    — George Conway (@gtconway3d) April 2, 2019

    Brexit Mess Reflects Democracy’s New Era of Tear-It-All-Down

    By Max Fisher @ NYTimes.com, March 29

    Across Western democracies, politics are increasingly defined by opposition — opposition to the status quo, to the establishment and to one’s partisan rivals.

    People have always organized more easily around what they’re against than what they’re for, but this is different. Politics have grown viscerally tribal and voters instinctively destructive.

    This trend, driven by social change, economic upheaval and technological disruption, is worsening some of democracy’s gravest problems.

    It is feeding partisanship’s rancor and intransigence, as voters organize around opposing the other side. It is deepening instability, with elections that fracture parties and eject whoever holds power. And it is driving populist revolts, as citizens clamor to tear down establishments and status quos [....]

    “This is happening everywhere,” said Steven Levitsky, a Harvard University political scientist, referring to the collapse of what scholars call Schumpeterian democracy, named for the Austrian theorist Joseph Schumpeter. Long the basis of modern democracy, in which establishments managed popular will and sought a common good, it is giving way to a new system that is both primal and distinctly 21st century.

    “For better and worse, the moderation, policy stability and informal checks imposed by the establishments’ monopoly over access to elected office are disappearing,” Mr. Levitsky said. With social distrust and political chaos rising, he added, “This is going to be a major challenge going forward.”

    A New Kind of Divide

    In 2015, the political scientists Alan Abramowitz and Steven Webster identified a mystery: Americans expressed record levels of party loyalty and party-line voting, but were less likely than ever to identify as Republican or Democrat. How could people be simultaneously at their most partisan and least supportive of their own party?

    The answer, they found, was a rising force called negative partisanship. Americans increasingly voted based on their fear and distrust of the other side, not support for their own.

    This had a more destructive effect than merely widening partisan divides. It weakened parties, now less able to draw on a united base or enthusiasm for an affirmative agenda. And it empowered whoever would promise to tear down the other side.

    “This has generated an electorate that is more biased against and angry at opponents, and more willing to act on that bias and anger,” the political scientist Lilliana Mason wrote in a book-length study of the change, which she credited to the parties growing socially and demographically homogeneous.

    Parties organized around opposition have proven less able to govern. Republicans ran for three consecutive elections on opposition to Obamacare. 

    But after taking the White House and both houses of Congress, the party failed to unite around any plan to replace it.

    In Britain, Brexit has been animated by opposition to the European Union, rather than any clear alternative to membership.

    The politics of destruction tend to lead to breakdown. Parties might do well in one election by promising to crush the other side — as Republicans did in 2016 and Britain’s Labour in 2017 — only to suffer their own humiliating defeat in the very next cycle. [....]

    It's not about that at all. Homeless shelters are problematic. I lived next to a homeless shelter. It was a homeless shelter for men. For a couple of years I could pretty much ignore it but when a women with three kids moved in with me there were problems that we couldn't ignore. The oldest daughter was 13 and well developed with large breasts. The men hanging around the shelter, and there were always men hanging around, would harass her with sexual comments and cat calls. How ever well developed physically she was still just a 13 year old girl who was not prepared to deal with this. No women should have to but for this child it was very scary.

    Homelessness is a problem that's difficult to solve. Any attempt to find a solution involves trade offs. Every economic group on the negative side of those trade offs will attempt to protect themselves from those negative side effects. Even "regular people" will try. Lower middle class people will have more power to avoid the negative impacts than poor people. Upper middle class people more than the lower middle class and the very rich more than the lesser rich.

    It has nothing to do with oppositional politics or wanting to annoy this or that elite group or this or that identity group. Try to put a homeless shelter in a neighborhood populated by regular folks and the regular people will get into a "slapfight" too. There are problems and we have to face them realistically and discuss them rationally if we're going to come up with plans to deal with the homeless. This comment/analysis doesn't do that.

    I remember a woman taking food to the homeless at the train station, claiming the city doesn't care about them. I noted there's a homeless shelter a block away, but it's much more exciting to hang out at the train station all day. The police are pretty even-keeled about it - keep problems from happening, keep the homeless a bit clustered off so not a social problem, but largely let them do their thing as well... Respect.

    Time for a positivity break. I.E.: anything is possible. Watch this Martha & Snoop inter-generational (I looked it up, she's not a boomer, but a war baby-77 yrs. old! and he's GenX-48) interra​cial, major cross-cultural and personality clash mashup as they don't just respect but adore each other while appropriating romantic tropes to the max, have fun doing it and make big capitalist bucks at the same time:

    This is the best video I’ve ever seen oh my g— pic.twitter.com/xe4qOzhEnW

    — Brett S. Vergara (@BrettSVergara) March 30, 2019

    Then what the heck, I'll throw in a guilt break. Believe it or not, found re-tweeted on the feed of the coach Steve Kerr of the Golden State Warriors (don't ask how I got there, I dunno!), turns out he's not all cutthroat partisan all the time:

    "Life is stunningly short and it is eggshell fragile.
    Most people are having a really tough time.
    They are almost always in more pain than you think they are.
    Don't be a jerk."#WednesdayWisdom https://t.co/uLiJKiSpsi

    — John Pavlovitz (@johnpavlovitz) April 3, 2019

    Yeah, saw it - tried showing it to the rest of the family, I'm the only one truly moved... guess I have too much time.


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