How To Talk To A Liberal

Interesting perspective over at Patterico’s Pontifications (Patterico is the nom de plume of Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Patrick Frey):

I’m not positive a blog is the best place to bring this up, as blogs tend to be exercises in tribalism, but I find Kling’s hypothesis both interesting and so full of common sense it seems obvious. Kling says that, basically, the three groups look at issues along different axes:

  • Progressives look at issues along an axis of oppressed vs. oppressors
  • Conservatives look at issues along an axis of civilization vs. barbarism
  • Libertarians look at issues along an axis of freedom vs. (government) coercion

The idea is that it is easier to understand how a person from one of those groups looks at an issue if you better understand what axis they jump to.

Kling gives as an example the Boston Marathon bombings. He notes that the Weekly Standard had a piece titled “Civilization and Barbarism.” A perfect example of the conservative world view.

Progressives sought a way to view the bombings in the prism of a struggle between oppressed and oppressors, the most famous example of which was David Sirota’s piece “Let’s hope the Boston Marathon bomber is a white American”.

Libertarians became concerned about the lockdown of an entire city by the police department.

Similarly, with immigration reform, you have progressives who see illegal immigrants as an oppressed group who would benefit from reform (but also see low-income Americans as an oppressed group that might be hurt); conservatives who are upset about laws being broken; and libertarians who don’t believe in “artificial” borders limiting freedom.

7 thoughts on “How To Talk To A Liberal

  1. “Progressives look at issues along an axis of oppressed vs. oppressors”

    That appears to be accurate.

    Why is the progressive solution to imaginary oppression always to oppress another?

    Institutionalizing oppression merely continues the “wrong” instead of correcting the wrong for future generations and people.

    Obviously they don’t really want to correct a wrong, they merely want to be the ones that inflict the wrong on those they dislike.

    • You’re seeing shadows where none exist. Firstly it’s not “imaginary”. People working for sweatshop wages, being told they can’t go on bathroom breaks, denied safe work places etc etc are all real and all exist. The so-called libertarian solution is to just allow employers to continue exploiting their employees. I’m not sure what the conservatives think but they keep voting for representatives who vote for laws which worsen employees ability to bargain for better conditions so they would have to be either ignorant of what their party platform is or believe that worse pay and working conditions are somehow better for people. Progressives on the other hand think that this stinks and that given that the government is the only institution capable of enforcing better working conditions it’s better to “oppress” (to use your terminology) the rotten employers and force them to stop oppressing their own employees.

      Oh and before you bring out the “dey took mer jab!” line, case in point is Walmart. It pays it’s workers so low they are literally unable to live on their wages and are forced to take welfare as well. Each Walmart store actually costs the US government $900,000 to $1.75 million. Each store! Walmart literally subsides it’s operations on welfare payments.

      The six Walton family members who own Walmart also happen to be richer than the poorest 48 million yes million Americans put together.

      So, my question to you is that given that hundreds of thousands of workers across the country are forced to take welfare because they are paid so low, the corporation is subsidising its operations by having its workers take that welfare rather than pay appropriate wages, and the people who own the corporation have a combined wealth of more than one sixth of your fellow countrymen, doesn’t it make perfect fucking sense for the government to step in and say please pay these people more than sweatshop wages?

      • First of all, this comment is a copy and paste of a dubious article from Mother Jones and is filled with anti-capitalist/Democrat bullshit. While Mother Jones knows how to write an article to get the leftist vagina wet, they…and you…know nothing about economics. You plagiarized your comment from them, so you are just repeating what sounded good to you, not what you actually know or think.

        Sweatshop wages? Wal-Mart pays an average wage of $12.57 per hour according to ABC News. That’s $5.32 per hour more than the federal minimum wage. It is $3,000 a year over the federal poverty limit and provides jobs for people who have very few skills. Supply and demand sets the wage level for the job performed. It would be nice if they made more but this is how much stocking shelves, driving a mop or working the checkout is worth based on the skills necessary to do the work and the supply of people willing to do it. They also pay little or no income taxes at this income level.

        They take federal welfare benefits? According to the 2010 IRS numbers, there were 59.5 million tax returns filed with adjust gross incomes under $25,000, so Wal-Mart employees are not the only people in this income situation.
        As far as I know, there are no people who are employed at gunpoint. They are free to go to other work as they wish. The problem is that their skills are low enough that they are only qualified to work at low level jobs like those Wal-Mart offers.

        Second, it is a common tactic of economic illiterates to focus only on the side of the equation that benefits their argument and never look at the real benefits that companies like Wal-Mart bring. The low prices that Wal-Mart brings to communities benefit the poor in proportionally greater impact than anyone else. Since this is an old collectivist trope, here’s an article from MIT in 2006:

        The direct effect for consumers is easy to spot, he said: Wal-Mart brings in lower food prices. Cereal, for example, costs 17 percent less at Wal-Mart than at a traditional supermarket.

        The indirect effect of Wal-Mart occurs “even if you never enter a Wal-Mart,” Hausman said, since supermarkets tend to drop their prices in competitive response to Wal-Mart’s. In addition, Wal-Mart does not raise its prices after it has driven out the competition, he said.

        “The indirect price effect is 5 percent even if you never go into a Wal-Mart,” he said.

        Hausman presented graphs to show that Wal-Mart’s impact on consumers varies by income category: For families with incomes less than $10,000 annually, a super center makes a 30 percent difference in what they can buy. “The marginal utility on the poor is greater,” he noted.

        The rate of overall improvement in consumer welfare thanks to a Wal-Mart super center’s direct and indirect effects on the cost of food in a community averages 3.75 percent, Hausman said.

        “Getting a 3.75 percent improvement in consumer welfare is greater than any tax reform or other policies. And while Wal-Mart pays its employees less — which does affect local wages — you still can’t beat that 3.75 percent. If economists could improve consumer welfare by that much, we’d all be heroes,” Hausman said.

        Wal-Mart employs over 2,000,000 people and in the last three years, they paid $23.5 billion in corporate taxes.

        As far as the wealth of the Walton family – that’s really none of your or anyone’s damn concern. Sam Walton operated his first store in 1945 and worked for 17 years before opening the first Wal-Mart in Bentonville, Arkansas in 1962. Walton found a way to bring low prices to people all over the country through volume and smart logistics. He had an idea that no one else did and made it work and got richly rewarded for it. That’s what happens in capitalistic economies. Walton was no child of privilege or wealth, he had an idea and he found a way to make it work.

        By all means, let’s raise their wages to $50 per hour so that the poor can no longer afford to shop there,cause 2,000,000 people lose their jobs and the government loses $8 billion a year in tax revenues.

        So in answer your question, it makes no fucking sense.

  2. So Utah, how do you talk to the Republicans masquerading as Conservatives when they are really Progressives.

    I’m referring to Sen(?) Lindsey Graham’s remarks concerning bloggers not deserving the protection of the shield laws they are thinking of instituting in Congress. seems he can’t get his head around the fact that the internet Blog sites are the modern printing presses. And the people Blogging ARE the new journalists.

      • Ha – Texas, we have thought of everything:

        I think that is what makes our interactions here so important, we ask people to think – to argue and debate. It’s OK to have another opinion but if you are going to spout off about it, you better be ready to bring the facts to back it up because we are a bunch of skeptics around here.

        We are the modern pamphleteers. We are the heirs of Thomas Paine and the writers of the Federalist and anti-Federalist papers. Whether 100, 2,000 or 50,000 people read what we write – if only one reads anything here and and it causes them to go “hmmmmm, never thought of it like that…”, we are successful.

        • Thanks Joe & Utah,

          “we patriots” are awakening. “we patriots” now realize we are not alone. “we patriots” now realize what we “believed must be true” in fact “is real”.

          From your post above: For those that are interested: This is important:

          Here’s the prime directive delivered by the master himself, John Dewey. From “My Pedagogic Creed” published in 1897, (paraphrased);

          “The destruction of a child’s individualistic traits are the primary goal of education. Once this is accomplished, the child will conform or adjust to whatever society he may find himself. Ability to “get along with the group” will become the prime measuring stick of the child’s educational “progress.”

          Here is what Admiral Hyman Rickover said about John Dewey, (emphasis mine);

          “America is reaping the consequences of the destruction of traditional education by the Dewey-Kilpatrick experimentalist philosophy….Dewey’s ideas have led to the elimination of many academic subjects on the grounds that they would not be useful in life…

          The student receives neither intellectual training nor the factual knowledge which will help him understand the world he lives in, or to make well-reasoned decisions in his private life or as a responsible citizen.”

          For those of you who don’t know, Admiral Rickover is considered the “Father” of Nuclear Submarines.

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