The Right Way to View Competing Political Horrors

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JasonL
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The Right Way to View Competing Political Horrors

Post by JasonL » 08 Jun 2019, 09:27

An abstraction from all the which team is worse and how talk. So, I’ve had a number of models over the years for how to handle 2 coalitions I find repugnant for different reasons.

My first political thoughts were an innate hostility to liberalism. I thought it basically childish and kind of scary in how far it wanted to reach. My framework was maybe “What happens if they get everything they want?” I thought nearly all liberals were soviet apologist commies who only occasionally would say so out loud.

Later, I began to see the horrors of the right more clearly. Civil Rights, LGBT issues, Christian coalition and such punctured the story of the “leave people alone coalition”. Still, I believed in taxes and guns as prime indicators of an important type of Liberty. So my thoughts became, “there’s a lot to hate here but the really bad stuff the right likes basically won’t happen - they are on the wrong side of history.” So this model is which team has a chance over the long term to actually implement their worst instincts.

As my dislike of the right grew and I stopped identifying them with libertarian ideas really at all, it became “which individual policy do I want to vote for or against”. The right became an ideas wasteland of repeal ACA and cut taxes and i began to feel left centrism.

Then the trump thing happened, and the reaction. Now I’m like “fuck all populists”. Their storytelling and popularity makes me feel like that whole idea of the wrong side of history is wrong. Everyone wants to unwind things that have actually been the real political successes of the past 40 years. Economic growth matters more than almost everything else in a practical sense. And my recent thing - a position that directly asserts “I get to say what’s allowable speech” is about the second worst political idea there is - right under advocating violence against political or cultural opposition.

So ... I don’t know how to digest this stuff right now.

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Re: The Right Way to View Competing Political Horrors

Post by Warren » 08 Jun 2019, 10:13

JasonL wrote:
08 Jun 2019, 09:27
As my dislike of the right grew and I stopped identifying them with libertarian ideas really at all, it became “which individual policy do I want to vote for or against”.
That is a 100% counterproductive strategy. It only serves to further entrench an establishment that is hostile to personal liberty and long term economic growth.
JasonL wrote:
08 Jun 2019, 09:27
Economic growth matters more than almost everything else in a practical sense.
Also misguided. Economic growth should be the result of liberal policies, but that is not necessary. Economic growth is achievable, perhaps even easier, under tyrannical State authority. See China late 20th, early 21st century.
(Also, if you really gave two shits about long term economic growth, you'd be screaming about the debt and nothing else.)
JasonL wrote:
08 Jun 2019, 09:27
Now I’m like “fuck all populists”.

Yes. Fuck populists.

We're living in a scary time politically, at least measured against my lifetime. Things have been spiraling downwards since the second Clinton administration. And absolutely everything being spoke aloud in daylight by both the Dems and Reps, Libs and Cons, is doubling and quadrupling down on their most horrible ideas. The one saving grace is that it's not sustainable. But I think things are going to get really really ugly before they get better. Like, Greater Depression economically and Civil Rightsesque social upheaval at the same time. And I'm not at all confident we'll come out the other side a more enlightened society. History has a bad habit of uplifting totalitarian douche bags at such times.
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Re: The Right Way to View Competing Political Horrors

Post by thoreau » 08 Jun 2019, 11:07

Each party has members who work overtime to offend various moral intuitions. Which moral intuitions matter most to you depends at least as much on childhood experience as on philosophical notions that we might express in adult terms. This stuff is rooted deep in us.

That said, if I were to attempt an appeal to adult reason, I'd ask which party lets its crazies sit at the main table. For decades the GOP has pandered to its extremes while the Blues have tried to marginalize them. That may be changing in the era of Bernie and AOC, but the jury is still out on that IMHO. Up to 2016, though, the GOP was the party that treated Birthers as respectable while the Blues maintained a moderates-only leadership team. This goes back decades, to at least the DLC and their reactions to big defeats. The Blues are the party that worries about winning moderate swing voters and the Reds are the party that worries about primary challenges.

2016 may encapsulate that. Hillary Clinton had no principles and swayed as the polls told her to. Trump had no principles and swayed as his id told him to.

From a libertarian perspective, well, each party has elements that say nice things about some of our pet concerns. Because we are not mainstream the people who make sweet noises for us are also not mainstream. The Reds let those fringe figures get closer to the spotlight while the Blues have a security team dedicated to rounding up anyone with ACLU sympathies and locking them in the Free Speech Zone several miles away.

But other than tax cuts and stopping gun control bills, the GOP doesn't let its nominal libertarians do anything.

OTOH, the centrism of the Blues means that if they get Supreme Executive Power they will not blow up anything other than Yemeni wedding parties, while Reds will make a big splash in ways that may be good or bad but will definitely make waves.

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Re: The Right Way to View Competing Political Horrors

Post by Jennifer » 08 Jun 2019, 13:01

For longer than I've been alive, the GOP has been the party of the Southern Strategy, then compounded that with the "Moral Majority," science denial and dog-whistle racism. Around the time Obama got elected, more and more of them started trading their dog whistles for megaphones.
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Re: The Right Way to View Competing Political Horrors

Post by Jennifer » 08 Jun 2019, 13:56

thoreau wrote:
08 Jun 2019, 11:07
That said, if I were to attempt an appeal to adult reason, I'd ask which party lets its crazies sit at the main table. For decades the GOP has pandered to its extremes while the Blues have tried to marginalize them. That may be changing in the era of Bernie and AOC, but the jury is still out on that IMHO.
That's another thing: it's not just that the Reds, unlike the Blues, let the crazies sit at the grownups' table; it's also what issues the respective crazies focus on.

Analogy: do y'all remember some years ago (checks archives -- holy shit, that was in 2013!) when some spoiled twit whined that the government ought to take over Twitter and other social media, specifically so that nobody would have to see advertising, which inspired me to say this:
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.
Obviously, the distinction I make between the first three examples of "socialize these things" versus "socialize Twitter so I don't have to see ads on it" is -- at least "poor people in America sometimes go hungry, get cold in winter or must forgo necessary medical treatments solely due to lack of money" are no-shit problems. I do not agree with the socialists' proposed solutions, of course, but at least I can agree with them on what our country's problems are.

Fast forward to now -- if we're going to hold Bernie and AOC up as example of left-wing crazies with actual political power -- things like the Green New Deal may not be the best way to deal with climate change, but at least I agree that climate change is indeed a problem. I don't agree with "free bachelor's degrees for all," but I agree that the high cost of college (and bankruptcy-proof student debts) are a problem. At least the left's craziness tries to solve actual problems.

Meanwhile, what "problems" do the crazies on the right try to solve? Over the past few years there have been "those evil gays are out to destroy marriage," "pregnant rape victims have too much bodily autonomy under our current legal system," "fear the Muslims 'cuz they all want a Sharia-law theocracy," "fight those evil conspiracy-theory 'scientists' with their ridiculous claims that increasing atmospheric greenhouse gases increases the greenhouse effect" ... and in the age of Trump, when racist megaphones replace racist dog whistles, fine upstanding Republicans such as Rep. Steve King want us to fear "white genocide" and "diversity means get rid of whites" and blah blah oh no the coloreds are getting uppity.

Oh, I almost forgot: the GOP's voter suppression acts are all based on the notion "fear what America will become if minorities' votes are actually counted."

So, yeah - if my only two choices are "crazies who think climate change and high medical costs are no-shit problems" or "crazies who think the scientific community is part of a gigantic conspiracy to destroy capitalism, Obama was an illegal immigrant all this time, gay people are an affront to all that is good and decent, and maybe we fought on the wrong side in World War Two because Nazis and white supremacists are very fine people," I prefer the former.
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Re: The Right Way to View Competing Political Horrors

Post by thoreau » 10 Jun 2019, 23:19

Here's one place where I think the parties are different:

If John Paul Stevens had died suddenly in February of 2008, I believe that Bush would have gotten a SCOTUS appointment. Maybe some Blue Senators would have blustered about not confirming, but I believe that in the end it would have gone through. Maybe because the Blues respect norms, maybe because they're dumbfucks, or maybe because those are the same thing. But it would have happened.

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Re: The Right Way to View Competing Political Horrors

Post by Hugh Akston » 11 Jun 2019, 01:49

As long as Bush didn't appoint Robert Bork, I guess.
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Re: The Right Way to View Competing Political Horrors

Post by thoreau » 11 Jun 2019, 02:32

If Bush had appointed a moderate analogue of Merrick Garland in this scenario, I am quite certain that the nomination would have gone through. It would have been nasty but it would have happened.

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Re: The Right Way to View Competing Political Horrors

Post by Jennifer » 11 Jun 2019, 02:51

Another difference: only the Republicans are engaged in massive voter suppression these days.
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Re: The Right Way to View Competing Political Horrors

Post by JasonL » 11 Jun 2019, 10:33

thoreau wrote:
10 Jun 2019, 23:19
Here's one place where I think the parties are different:

If John Paul Stevens had died suddenly in February of 2008, I believe that Bush would have gotten a SCOTUS appointment. Maybe some Blue Senators would have blustered about not confirming, but I believe that in the end it would have gone through. Maybe because the Blues respect norms, maybe because they're dumbfucks, or maybe because those are the same thing. But it would have happened.

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I am not at all certain about this if we are doing an all things equal hypothetical. That is if given the opportunity to shift the court composition fundamentally with 2 nominees likely coming up, I don't think adherence to procedure would have restrained the donkeys. It's hypothetical but I think the underlying force is the number of seats coming up at a certain time frame. Generally, I think political parties represent what their constituents want and I think "breaking the consensus" on guns, citizens united, etc would be an overwhelming temptation if roles were reversed.

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Re: The Right Way to View Competing Political Horrors

Post by thoreau » 11 Jun 2019, 10:42

In 2008 SCOTUS had 4 votes on the right (Scalia, Thomas, Roberts, Alito), Kennedy as the swing vote, and 4 on the left (Stevens, Ginsburg, Breyer, and Souter). Replacing Stevens would have shifted the balance of power. My hypothetical is very similar to 2016.

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Re: The Right Way to View Competing Political Horrors

Post by nicole » 11 Jun 2019, 10:56

JasonL wrote:
08 Jun 2019, 09:27
Then the trump thing happened, and the reaction. Now I’m like “fuck all populists”. Their storytelling and popularity makes me feel like that whole idea of the wrong side of history is wrong.
The idea of the wrong side of history is right, but only because the people writing the history will be the side that won.



My own youngster-to-now trajectory is basically that when I was a kid, the left generally seemed like the sex, drugs and death party (all three of which being good) while the right was the God party, just fucking constant God, basically no content other than religion and family values.

By the time I was in late high school I was realizing the institutional (center-)left was not very pro-freedom in some particularly lame ways, i.e., less hippie-like and more anti-drug, anti-prostitution, pro-"safe, legal, rare" and pro-schooling. Then was nina leven and everyone became the War and Security Party, I was out of the country for years, and the big issue after the wars seemed to be immigration and I was just baffled that anyone would give a shit about immigration. I was also being exposed to serious economic leftism at this point which I was never much impressed by...this is when I got interested in economics and started caring a lot more about the economic side of things (but still never as much as about the social side, but the social side didn't seem as pressing).

Since then it's been a continuous pro-family push from the left, along with the pro-diversity push, which also mostly conflicts with my values. Everything about like, ACA, kids, disabilities...paid family leave...constant demands for more cash payments for having kids...public school funding...the left managed to grab hold of all this stuff right alongside the right, with a slight twist, but still extremely shitty. Plus all the environmental stuff on the left which is geared to depress quality of life for all of us so they can continue the pro-family push. It would be hard to top that stuff, but Trump and the MAGA crowd somehow manage it.

Okay going back to burning that seed corn.
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Re: The Right Way to View Competing Political Horrors

Post by Warren » 11 Jun 2019, 11:28

nicole wrote:
11 Jun 2019, 10:56
JasonL wrote:
08 Jun 2019, 09:27
Then the trump thing happened, and the reaction. Now I’m like “fuck all populists”. Their storytelling and popularity makes me feel like that whole idea of the wrong side of history is wrong.
The idea of the wrong side of history is right, but only because the people writing the history will be the side that won.
Which is why he's abandoning his "wrong side of history" position. For like the longest time the ugly side of the culture wars, would eventually lose in a seemingly permanent way. Things like segregation, homosexuality, legal codification of "judeo-christian values", etc. But now there are ugly things in assent and may be embraced by history. So you can't respond to anti-immigrant policy by shrugging and saying "Those people spewing anti-immigrant rhetoric are stupid, impotent, and will be dead soon anyway. This problem will fix itself if we do nothing, which is probably a better plan than doing something with unintended consequences".
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Re: The Right Way to View Competing Political Horrors

Post by nicole » 11 Jun 2019, 11:57

Warren wrote:
11 Jun 2019, 11:28
nicole wrote:
11 Jun 2019, 10:56
JasonL wrote:
08 Jun 2019, 09:27
Then the trump thing happened, and the reaction. Now I’m like “fuck all populists”. Their storytelling and popularity makes me feel like that whole idea of the wrong side of history is wrong.
The idea of the wrong side of history is right, but only because the people writing the history will be the side that won.
Which is why he's abandoning his "wrong side of history" position. For like the longest time the ugly side of the culture wars, would eventually lose in a seemingly permanent way. Things like segregation, homosexuality, legal codification of "judeo-christian values", etc. But now there are ugly things in assent and may be embraced by history. So you can't respond to anti-immigrant policy by shrugging and saying "Those people spewing anti-immigrant rhetoric are stupid, impotent, and will be dead soon anyway. This problem will fix itself if we do nothing, which is probably a better plan than doing something with unintended consequences".
Yes, I get it.
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Re: The Right Way to View Competing Political Horrors

Post by thoreau » 11 Jun 2019, 15:04

http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/06/ ... ttack.html

If a foreign power were trying to help the Blues, I cannot imagine Blue politicians getting away with an attitude of "Eh, well, you know, why worry?"
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Re: The Right Way to View Competing Political Horrors

Post by Warren » 11 Jun 2019, 18:05

thoreau wrote:
11 Jun 2019, 15:04
http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/06/ ... ttack.html

If a foreign power were trying to help the Blues, I cannot imagine Blue politicians getting away with an attitude of "Eh, well, you know, why worry?"
Your willful lack of imagination I find troubling.
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Re: The Right Way to View Competing Political Horrors

Post by thoreau » 11 Jun 2019, 18:53

I cannot imagine the Reds letting them get away with it. Mitch McConnell would find a way to punish them.

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Re: The Right Way to View Competing Political Horrors

Post by JasonL » 11 Jun 2019, 19:04

This thread was intended to focus a bit on the theory of evaluation rather than list of events. Thread drift I know but we have lots of lists of specifics.

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Re: The Right Way to View Competing Political Horrors

Post by Hugh Akston » 11 Jun 2019, 20:11

Not to mention at least two other threads devoted to thumbtacks and red string.
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Re: The Right Way to View Competing Political Horrors

Post by thoreau » 11 Jun 2019, 20:50

First, I posted it here for the same reason I posted about Merrick Garland here: While we have a thread about SCOTUS and threads about Trump and Russia, we don't have a thread that's about both of them as examples of a bigger asymmetry between the parties.

My point here is less about whose interpretation of the Russia story is true and more about how the Blues would be held to a different standard. For the purposes of this thread, let's just say that the interpretation most favorable to the GOP is true: While Russia might have been meddling in hopes of helping Trump, nobody who matters in the GOP had any meaningful involvement. It still looks bad when their Senate Majority Leader tries to block legislation aimed at preventing it from happening again.

I maintain that he can get away with it because the median voter sees the Reds as more pro-'Murica than the Blues. So the Reds can weather a scandal involving furriners more easily than the Blues can. And thus they can afford a more stark political calculus: They don't need to do anything to prove their anti-furriner credentials, and if those furriners just happen to help them, well, good.

Whereas if the Mexican government hacked Trump's personal messages and timed the release in a way calculated to help the Blues, it wouldn't matter if William Barr went on Fox News to personally exonerate the Blues of any involvement. They would still feel intense pressure to show that they're tuff on Mexico, and would probably claim that they're the only ones tuff enough to make Mexico pay for the firewall.

In general, I think that the Reds have the more stark political calculus. The Reds understand that any votes past 50%+1 are wasted votes, while the Blues have a more grandiose political vision. Hastert used to have a rule of only moving on things supported by "A majority of my majority." With the Blues, well, Clinton had some grandiose vision of "running up the score" in states like Georgia and Arizona. She wanted to win big to prove something about how wide her support is. Yes, Small-Hands McOrange also wants to say that he won big, but he's unusual in so many ways. Most Reds would rather not get a big coalition because that just means more compromise, whereas Blues think that if they can show that they are the party of Great American Consensus then everyone who called them hippies in 1968 will feel remorse and tell them that they're pretty decent after all.

It's probably because they still remember 1968 and the fighting at the Democratic National Convention, as well as their landslide defeats in 1972, 1984, and (to an extent) 1988. Whereas what the Reds remember of 1964 is that Goldwater talked the good talk.
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Re: The Right Way to View Competing Political Horrors

Post by Eric the .5b » 11 Jun 2019, 21:00

thoreau wrote:
11 Jun 2019, 20:50
In general, I think that the Reds have the more stark political calculus. The Reds understand that any votes past 50%+1 are wasted votes, while the Blues have a more grandiose political vision. Hastert used to have a rule of only moving on things supported by "A majority of my majority." With the Blues, well, Clinton had some grandiose vision of "running up the score" in states like Georgia and Arizona. She wanted to win big to prove something about how wide her support is. Yes, Small-Hands McOrange also wants to say that he won big, but he's unusual in so many ways. Most Reds would rather not get a big coalition because that just means more compromise, whereas Blues think that if they can show that they are the party of Great American Consensus then everyone who called them hippies in 1968 will feel remorse and tell them that they're pretty decent after all.
Clinton was Clinton, not Team Blue. I don't see any reason to think the Blues institutionally give a fuck for anything past 50%+1 and 270 EC votes. The Blues I hear from like to imagine demographic shifts mean that they never have to give a shit about what the 49% or less of the public that votes Red thinks. It's delusion, but they like to think it.
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Re: The Right Way to View Competing Political Horrors

Post by thoreau » 11 Jun 2019, 23:19

Eric the .5b wrote:
11 Jun 2019, 21:00
Clinton was Clinton, not Team Blue. I don't see any reason to think the Blues institutionally give a fuck for anything past 50%+1 and 270 EC votes. The Blues I hear from like to imagine demographic shifts mean that they never have to give a shit about what the 49% or less of the public that votes Red thinks. It's delusion, but they like to think it.
Fair point, but when I hear Blues speak of the Thousand Year Blue Rule, they seem to think that the first Sign will be that they win damn near everywhere because of changing demographics. The youth vote and African American vote will hand them NC and GA. Changing demographics will help them lead in FL, and in the southwest the rising Latino numbers mean that AZ will soon be reliably Blue and TX will be a swing state. (Because it's not like Latino Catholics would ever vote for anti-abortion politicians, right?) And in the midst of all this change they'll still keep a reliable lock on WI, MI, and PA. They won't just have a 51% win that could go away at any moment, they'll have a Blue Wave across the whole country, and it will last forever because demographic change will only happen once.

So Clinton was reaching for GA and AZ instead of focusing on the fundamentals in WI, MI, and PA. She believed that if she ran up the score there then it would be the sign that Blue Salvation has arrived, and when it arrived it was With HerTM.
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Re: The Right Way to View Competing Political Horrors

Post by dead_elvis » 12 Jun 2019, 00:33

JasonL wrote:
08 Jun 2019, 09:27
Economic growth matters more than almost everything else in a practical sense.
I dunno, does the practical sense involve things like the environment? Avoiding civil unrest? You call it an unwinding, I think of it as re-orientation. I think people are getting smarter about economic growth and realize that while the number has some important real-life correlations, it's *not* the only thing that matters, in some quite practical senses.
An abstraction from all the which team is worse and how talk
I would note that having said this, you procede to describe different periods and each team and what about each team was worse that made you flip ;) So the pattern over the years was that you kept being an antagonist of whoever is in power. Maybe that's the framework? Not very thoughtful since it doesn't take particular policies into account but you could just extend the pattern and save yourself some thinking if the evidence shows you'll end up coming to the same conclusion anyway.

My framework at the moment is maybe the opposite of 'which team has a chance over the long term to actually implement their worst instincts.' Something Jesse Walker wrote a long time ago stuck with me and nothing has happened in the meantime to disabuse me of the notion- to the effect of 'I don't care, I just want the dems to bring their best on social issues and republicans to bring their best on spending and fiscal issues.' Since we usually don't get that, it's maybe not that useful since it's such a small sample size, but it's what I keep in mind as an ideal. Though I certainly don't vote this way, as there are usually a dozen terrible things to defend against vs. a couple good things to be in favor of, as well as strategic voting considerations. Just a way of thinking of who to argue in favor.
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Re: The Right Way to View Competing Political Horrors

Post by Warren » 12 Jun 2019, 01:00

dead_elvis wrote:
12 Jun 2019, 00:33
I dunno, does the practical sense involve things like the environment? Avoiding civil unrest? You call it an unwinding, I think of it as re-orientation. I think people are getting smarter about economic growth and realize that while the number has some important real-life correlations, it's *not* the only thing that matters, in some quite practical senses.
Civil unrest, to the point of urban areas on fire, trumps economic growth. But that's about it. Environmental concerns, social concerns, other concerns, are all luxury items that get dropped first when you can't pay the rent. People talk a big game about the things that are more important than money. But only when they've got a couple of bucks in their pocket.
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Re: The Right Way to View Competing Political Horrors

Post by Jennifer » 12 Jun 2019, 02:58

Warren wrote:
12 Jun 2019, 01:00
dead_elvis wrote:
12 Jun 2019, 00:33
I dunno, does the practical sense involve things like the environment? Avoiding civil unrest? You call it an unwinding, I think of it as re-orientation. I think people are getting smarter about economic growth and realize that while the number has some important real-life correlations, it's *not* the only thing that matters, in some quite practical senses.
Civil unrest, to the point of urban areas on fire, trumps economic growth. But that's about it. Environmental concerns, social concerns, other concerns, are all luxury items that get dropped first when you can't pay the rent.
On the other hand, environmental, social and other concerns can damage economic growth on their own. Flint's poisonous public-water supply isn't doing Flint's economy any favors -- and home-insurance companies dealing with higher storm-damage payouts don't think dealing with climate change is merely a luxury item.
"Myself, despite what they say about libertarians, I think we're actually allowed to pursue options beyond futility or sucking the dicks of the powerful." -- Eric the .5b

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