Occam, Trump, and Russia

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Shem
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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by Shem » 14 Nov 2017, 19:05

So, we either have rule by disinterested wonks, or mob rule. Those are the choices. Got it.
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Jennifer
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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by Jennifer » 14 Nov 2017, 19:20

JasonL wrote:
14 Nov 2017, 18:46
The main difference is the numbers and the internal disagreement about the need for revolutionary change. If revolutionary minded libertarians started to spin a populist narrative about an oppressed underclass, that caught on somehow, and terk er jerbs became terk er propertay or something to a much larger but not ideologically libertarian group, those libertarians would have become a populist mob. Actual libertarian outcomes would be very unlikely at that point because, this is the point the mob isn't fundamentally libertarian it is fundamentally a mob.
How does "spin a populist narrative about an oppressed underclass" differ from (if at all) the various sob/outrage stories told by the Institute for Justice, say? "This poor black woman was arrested for braiding hair in her kitchen without a hairdresser's license from the state." Or the stories told by Radley Balko and others in that vein, about systemic police misbehavior mostly (but not entirely) harming poor or minority groups? "People are suffering and something about the government needs to change to stop this suffering" -- that's a pretty common complaint in all flavors of political thinking, one way or the other.
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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by lunchstealer » 14 Nov 2017, 19:32

the innominate one wrote:
14 Nov 2017, 14:31
rabblerabblerabble
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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by Aresen » 14 Nov 2017, 19:38

Jennifer wrote:
14 Nov 2017, 19:20
JasonL wrote:
14 Nov 2017, 18:46
The main difference is the numbers and the internal disagreement about the need for revolutionary change. If revolutionary minded libertarians started to spin a populist narrative about an oppressed underclass, that caught on somehow, and terk er jerbs became terk er propertay or something to a much larger but not ideologically libertarian group, those libertarians would have become a populist mob. Actual libertarian outcomes would be very unlikely at that point because, this is the point the mob isn't fundamentally libertarian it is fundamentally a mob.
How does "spin a populist narrative about an oppressed underclass" differ from (if at all) the various sob/outrage stories told by the Institute for Justice, say? "This poor black woman was arrested for braiding hair in her kitchen without a hairdresser's license from the state." Or the stories told by Radley Balko and others in that vein, about systemic police misbehavior mostly (but not entirely) harming poor or minority groups? "People are suffering and something about the government needs to change to stop this suffering" -- that's a pretty common complaint in all flavors of political thinking, one way or the other.
"The Government needs to do something" =/= "The Government needs to stop doing something."
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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by lunchstealer » 14 Nov 2017, 19:39

Shem wrote:
14 Nov 2017, 16:05
JasonL wrote:
14 Nov 2017, 15:51
I am familiar with the term as meaning something like “the type of exploited labor which cannot or will not achieve class consciousness and therefore remains part of the problem”. Like a property criminal might be one because they are unconnected through labor to their consumption. My sense is the term has expanded in sincere lefty circles over the years to include anyone who “didn’t get it”. It’s been a while though.
That's not what it is. It's people who are either disconnected to systems of labor and capital or who were never connected in the first place, and who are therefore not invested in the progress of society. It's not just a synonym for "people who won't get with the program." It's people who reject the idea of a program. The former coal miner who would rather vote Trump and watch the world burn than take advantage of the readily available retraining program is a member of the lumpenproletariat. The guy who thinks we'd all be better off if we would just get out of the way and let businessmen run things isn't.
I don't think that's too far off from what JasonL's saying. He's basically saying that the poor mobs wanting Maduro to burn the Venezuelan crony capitalist system down are fundamentally the same as the coal miners in your example.
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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by JasonL » 14 Nov 2017, 20:51

Exactly.

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Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by JasonL » 14 Nov 2017, 20:57

Shem wrote:So, we either have rule by disinterested wonks, or mob rule. Those are the choices. Got it.
There are lots of things that are not those in modern democracies. In old timey systems you do tend to get the new boot that replaces the old boot because violent revolution is the only way you change entrenched power. Lots of things can happen by way of evolving real consensus. I’m sort of saying populism is an attempt to shortcut that slow work.

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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by fyodor » 14 Nov 2017, 22:22

Fin Fang Foom wrote:
14 Nov 2017, 18:38
fyodor wrote:
14 Nov 2017, 18:22
JasonL wrote:
14 Nov 2017, 18:16
fyodor wrote:
JasonL wrote:
14 Nov 2017, 17:25
fyodor wrote:
14 Nov 2017, 17:07
Not sure what's informative or useful about this analysis. It'd unfalsifiable and others can and surely do say the same about libertarians.
What I would say is it is a mistake to compare mobs by looking at their narratives rather than what they are actually trying to do. Bernistas aren't good guys if they put half of Mississippi out of work through stupidity, if they pass that but a "mean" Trumpkin mob is too incompetent to pass anything, the Bernistas were the greater evil.

Also, I'm drawing a distinction between mobs looking to burn it all down for whatever reason and people who want to change some policy toward their preferred view through a more normal kind of politics and advocacy . There's a place where ideas can be debated.
What makes Bernistas a mob? Of course what they want to do is what matters. Everyone's the good guy in their own narrative.
They are a populist movement seeking to substantially overturn the role of government in society to their benefit. And they have numbers.
How is that different from libertarians? Well, other than the numbers. ;) Oh and also the self- serving motivation.... Um, what were we saying about narratives?
Libertarians aren't self-serving?

Assuming that's an answer to my question, I'd say you missed my point about the narratives.

To others, libertarians are about "fuck the poor" cause libertarians are doing okay. To Bernistas, Sanders is about helping the poor, meaning all the poor, not just themselves (who honestly aren't all poor).

So no, I don't think that's any kind of useful distinction, it's just a way of saying we're libertarians and so we're noble and they're not libertarians and so they're a mob. I'm trying to figure out how Jason's analysis is something other than just a denigrating way of saying he doesn't think much of Sanders supporters.

(Unless I misunderstood you and you're expressing skepticism that libertarians aren't self-serving?)

EDITED
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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by fyodor » 14 Nov 2017, 22:28

JasonL wrote:
14 Nov 2017, 18:46
The main difference is the numbers and the internal disagreement about the need for revolutionary change. If revolutionary minded libertarians started to spin a populist narrative about an oppressed underclass, that caught on somehow, and terk er jerbs became terk er propertay or something to a much larger but not ideologically libertarian group, those libertarians would have become a populist mob. Actual libertarian outcomes would be very unlikely at that point because, this is the point the mob isn't fundamentally libertarian it is fundamentally a mob.
Sounds like a mob is just people who say dumb stuff (in your opinion) in large enough numbers to get the dumb policies they want?

We may agree a lot on what's dumb stuff to say and want, I just don't see any usefulness in calling the people we differ from "a mob".

(To be honest, the concept of populism has always seemed vague to me. I get the feeling I know it when I see it but it's elusive to define usefully. Thus, I rarely if ever use it. I'd suggest the same in lieu of being able to define it usefully, which, frankly, I'm not really seeing.)
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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by JasonL » 14 Nov 2017, 23:01

Ahh. If you don’t think populism is a thing I can see the disconnect. Take any topic, make an appeal to the masses that goes like “privileged elites have taken what is yours/are keeping you down it’s time to take it back” - that’s a populist argument. The original topic may have been immigration or wages or anything. You stop making arguments about that thing and circle back over and over to the idea of masses being wronged by elites. It’s a replacement for the ideas that matter to the question of immigration. If you get enough traction on that message maybe you can string together some other examples about how the masses are oppressed. Then it’s a populist movement. Whatever ideology is now lost in mad as hell at those damn elites. In numbers and sufficiently motivated in this way, you are now a mob. Time to flip the card table over because it’s rigged or whatnot. There’s no argument being made that matters wouldn’t it be great if everything were free and those fuckers finally has to give you what they’ve been keeping from you? Wouldn’t it be great if you were culturally dominant white guy again and you could make fun of queers? It’s stupid piled on stupid.

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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by fyodor » 14 Nov 2017, 23:18

JasonL wrote:
14 Nov 2017, 23:01
Ahh. If you don’t think populism is a thing I can see the disconnect. Take any topic, make an appeal to the masses that goes like “privileged elites have taken what is yours/are keeping you down it’s time to take it back” - that’s a populist argument. The original topic may have been immigration or wages or anything. You stop making arguments about that thing and circle back over and over to the idea of masses being wronged by elites. It’s a replacement for the ideas that matter to the question of immigration. If you get enough traction on that message maybe you can string together some other examples about how the masses are oppressed. Then it’s a populist movement. Whatever ideology is now lost in mad as hell at those damn elites. In numbers and sufficiently motivated in this way, you are now a mob. Time to flip the card table over because it’s rigged or whatnot. There’s no argument being made that matters wouldn’t it be great if everything were free and those fuckers finally has to give you what they’ve been keeping from you? Wouldn’t it be great if you were culturally dominant white guy again and you could make fun of queers? It’s stupid piled on stupid.
Okay then. (I'd say that's a better description than Wikipedia gives!)

That's a little harsh for Bernistas, as I don't think they're as devoid of substance beyond the victimization as all that, but I do see the connection. Maybe I just know the Bernista cream. Of course, most any political movement has to depend on support from the rabble. Remember what Adlai said....
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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by JasonL » 15 Nov 2017, 10:05

I think it is true that to some extent the core message of the left is a populist message, but you can have an argument about the minimum wage that is an actual argument. The evolution of the neoliberal consensus contains many of those arguments and many of them that people of the left should like. I would agree that the best versions of bernie type arguments fall within the realm of actual ideas other than envy. The median position I encounter skews youngish and is very much rabble rousey.

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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by nicole » 15 Nov 2017, 10:13

It's not clear to me that the Trumpkin base has any political rather than rhetorical goals, whereas I do think Bernie fans have political goals that, were he president, they would care about pursuing politically. So they don't seem equally lumpen to me either.
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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by JasonL » 15 Nov 2017, 10:20

I think trump people want fewer immigrants and factory jobs to come back and for america not to have to answer to anyone else internationally because we're america and we tell you all what's what. The elites in the media and the coasts and the academy don't want you to have that.

Bernie people want free everything with the elite CEOs that took all their money having to pay for it.

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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by nicole » 15 Nov 2017, 10:36

But that's the stuff that we were supposed to take "seriously, not literally" from the Trump crowd. Trumpkins know they're not getting factory jobs back, they just want to trigger the libs. Bernie bros would have actually expected to pass healthcare reform. Another thing the Trumpkins didn't actually manage to do, and don't care about.
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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by fyodor » 15 Nov 2017, 11:53

JasonL wrote:
15 Nov 2017, 10:05
I think it is true that to some extent the core message of the left is a populist message, but you can have an argument about the minimum wage that is an actual argument. The evolution of the neoliberal consensus contains many of those arguments and many of them that people of the left should like. I would agree that the best versions of bernie type arguments fall within the realm of actual ideas other than envy. The median position I encounter skews youngish and is very much rabble rousey.
The median position of most any political trend is more emotional than intellectual cause most people aren't intellectuals and nothing attracts numbers without emotional resonance. The Hit 'n' Run commentariat is a good case in point.

I wonder if there's any significant political movement you think to be way wrong that you wouldn't label populist/a mob?
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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by JasonL » 15 Nov 2017, 12:18

Lessee. My selection criteria would be a) there are lots of people; b) those people are primarily motivated to action by the story that they are in some overarching sense oppressed / marginalized by elites and c) they are seeking some large overhaul of the system.

Moderates are not populists. Wonks are not populists generally speaking. Radicals at most times are not because they are small in number. Clinton's coalition was not populist. Reagan's certainly wasn't.

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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by fyodor » 15 Nov 2017, 13:15

Okay, moderates get a pass. Hard to be way wrong when you're moderate. I'm guessing you were relatively sympathetic to Reagan? How about Brexit? The American Revolution?
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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by Jennifer » 15 Nov 2017, 14:07

JasonL wrote:
15 Nov 2017, 12:18
Lessee. My selection criteria would be a) there are lots of people; b) those people are primarily motivated to action by the story that they are in some overarching sense oppressed / marginalized by elites and c) they are seeking some large overhaul of the system.

Moderates are not populists. Wonks are not populists generally speaking. Radicals at most times are not because they are small in number. Clinton's coalition was not populist. Reagan's certainly wasn't.
What political movements DON'T have some level of "people are being marginalized/oppressed" complaints? If everybody is happy and content with the status quo, there's no need for politicking in the first place.

Was the American civil rights movement a mob? The marchers thought they were oppressed/marginalized by elites, and they sure as hell demanded an overhaul of the system.
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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by JasonL » 15 Nov 2017, 15:40

fyodor wrote:
15 Nov 2017, 13:15
Okay, moderates get a pass. Hard to be way wrong when you're moderate. I'm guessing you were relatively sympathetic to Reagan? How about Brexit? The American Revolution?
Brexit is trumpian populist 1000%.

I suspect all revolutions are by the time the knives get sharpened populist mobs, including the American Revolution. That's not to say they are all equivalent because what comes next is what matters. I'm just saying if you flip over the cart because you are mad at those people and you create a similar or worse arrangement ... you don't get a pass because you were formerly looking to stick it to the man.

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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by fyodor » 15 Nov 2017, 15:53

JasonL wrote:
15 Nov 2017, 15:40
fyodor wrote:
15 Nov 2017, 13:15
Okay, moderates get a pass. Hard to be way wrong when you're moderate. I'm guessing you were relatively sympathetic to Reagan? How about Brexit? The American Revolution?
Brexit is trumpian populist 1000%.

I suspect all revolutions are by the time the knives get sharpened populist mobs, including the American Revolution. That's not to say they are all equivalent because what comes next is what matters. I'm just saying if you flip over the cart because you are mad at those people and you create a similar or worse arrangement ... you don't get a pass because you were formerly looking to stick it to the man.
Well no one (here) thinks that.

Jennifer's example is actually far superior to mine.
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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by JasonL » 15 Nov 2017, 16:43

Jennifer wrote:
15 Nov 2017, 14:07
JasonL wrote:
15 Nov 2017, 12:18
Lessee. My selection criteria would be a) there are lots of people; b) those people are primarily motivated to action by the story that they are in some overarching sense oppressed / marginalized by elites and c) they are seeking some large overhaul of the system.

Moderates are not populists. Wonks are not populists generally speaking. Radicals at most times are not because they are small in number. Clinton's coalition was not populist. Reagan's certainly wasn't.
What political movements DON'T have some level of "people are being marginalized/oppressed" complaints? If everybody is happy and content with the status quo, there's no need for politicking in the first place.

Was the American civil rights movement a mob? The marchers thought they were oppressed/marginalized by elites, and they sure as hell demanded an overhaul of the system.
Events during the civil rights movement were definitively mob like. When everything works out just right - there is a historical inflection point where outrage is met with a broader consensus that it is time, and with some pain you can move through the anger of the mob into real ideas that then become policy and part of the consensus. There is a tendency I think to conflate the appeal of the oppression story, the degree to which the sense of oppression is legitimate, and the degree to which there are coherent ideas about what the next thing should be. Many oppression stories are eyerolly - OWS I'm looking at you and your rich white girls with college debt. Others are expressions of anger at legitimate oppression but fail to embody ideas other than the anger of the mob and gimme gimme or kick them all out or whatever - Chavistas maybe. In some very small number of cases, you get all that stuff and a decent outcome. My critique is that the populist surge in the vast majority of cases dominates everything else. The most salient feature of large groups of angry people who want to knock it all down, is that they are angry and want to knock it all down.

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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by Jennifer » 15 Nov 2017, 17:01

JasonL wrote:
15 Nov 2017, 16:43
Jennifer wrote:
15 Nov 2017, 14:07
JasonL wrote:
15 Nov 2017, 12:18
Lessee. My selection criteria would be a) there are lots of people; b) those people are primarily motivated to action by the story that they are in some overarching sense oppressed / marginalized by elites and c) they are seeking some large overhaul of the system.

Moderates are not populists. Wonks are not populists generally speaking. Radicals at most times are not because they are small in number. Clinton's coalition was not populist. Reagan's certainly wasn't.
What political movements DON'T have some level of "people are being marginalized/oppressed" complaints? If everybody is happy and content with the status quo, there's no need for politicking in the first place.

Was the American civil rights movement a mob? The marchers thought they were oppressed/marginalized by elites, and they sure as hell demanded an overhaul of the system.
Events during the civil rights movement were definitively mob like. When everything works out just right - there is a historical inflection point where outrage is met with a broader consensus that it is time, and with some pain you can move through the anger of the mob into real ideas that then become policy and part of the consensus. There is a tendency I think to conflate the appeal of the oppression story, the degree to which the sense of oppression is legitimate, and the degree to which there are coherent ideas about what the next thing should be. Many oppression stories are eyerolly - OWS I'm looking at you and your rich white girls with college debt. Others are expressions of anger at legitimate oppression but fail to embody ideas other than the anger of the mob and gimme gimme or kick them all out or whatever - Chavistas maybe. In some very small number of cases, you get all that stuff and a decent outcome. My critique is that the populist surge in the vast majority of cases dominates everything else. The most salient feature of large groups of angry people who want to knock it all down, is that they are angry and want to knock it all down.
But I still don't see how this differs in any way from pretty much every successful or unsuccessful political movement in history. "Mob" already has a generally accepted [negative] meaning and connotation, in such contexts as "mob justice" and "mob rule" -- which is held to be distinct from "politicking." It sounds as through you're trying to either conflate the two somehow, or use "mob" as a substitute for "politicking you personally disapprove of." Maybe not even "politicking," but "any complaints not backed by concrete suggestions for improvement" -- "expressions of anger at legitimate oppression but fail to embody ideas," as you put it.
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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by thoreau » 15 Nov 2017, 17:06

Can we note distinctions between Trumpers and Berners if we swear a blood oath that we have no sympathy for the Berners? Because a lot of this seems to be a fear that if we note any distinctions then we might wind up sympathizing with massive wealth redistribution.
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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Post by Jennifer » 15 Nov 2017, 17:15

thoreau wrote:
15 Nov 2017, 17:06
Can we note distinctions between Trumpers and Berners if we swear a blood oath that we have no sympathy for the Berners? Because a lot of this seems to be a fear that if we note any distinctions then we might wind up sympathizing with massive wealth redistribution.
Way back in 2013 (I know because I checked the archive here), there was a brief discussion of some whiny twit who suggested Twitter and other social media platforms be nationalized, specifically so he wouldn't have to see ads on them. And I wrote this:

viewtopic.php?f=4&t=1659&p=198332&hilit ... ia#p198332
Jennifer wrote:
16 Nov 2013, 11:58
Y'know, I can understand and respect (for all that I disagree with) someone who says things like "Socialize the food supplies so nobody has to go hungry," "socialize the energy supplies so nobody freezes in winter," or "socialize medicine so nobody has to die of easily treatable things." But "socialize social media so users don't have to see ads" deserve not even the slightest pretense of respect. Jesus Christ, no.
The main distinction between Berners and Trumpers (specifically, people who are still Trumpers even now) is that many Berner complaints are about things that are real problems, even if their proposed solutions (if any) are not proposals I can support. But the Trumper/Moore defender types complain about things that aren't even problems. Somebody whining about the ever-increasing cost of college credentials even as those credentials become ever-closer to mandatory for most positions gets my sympathy, whereas someone who whines because gay people can marry now sure as hell does not.
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