Sunday, November 09, 2014

The Dwarves Are For The Dwarves

In the quiet happiness that post-liberals, conservatives, libertarians and whatever have in this last election, I think it is important to say discouraging words to all of you. We are not ever going to win and get things our way. I am in discussion - no, actually, I have just gotten out of a discussion - with people who are very proud of the fact that they didn't vote for Scott Brown (because he's a squish on 2A rights), I guess by golly they showed THEM, didn't they! They've somehow got it worked in their heads that they won, because real conservatives won in other states, and they kicked this center-right bastard to the curb here in NH. Which means that...well, I don't know what they think it means. Perhaps they think that it means that next time the NHGOP will only dare run a real conservative. Because they showed 'em.

And this happens every time.  Republicans have a slight majority in the Senate, probably brief, on the basis of general frustration with Obama and key Democrats. I know nothing of all the strategic advice of whether McConnell and Boehner should negotiate, demand, delay, placate, or persuade.  Other people have better instincts for that sort of thing than I do.  But I think it doesn't much matter.  Conservatives shooting themselves in the foot because they are offended that someone isn't with them enough,  isn't our sort or real foxhole guy, has been going on as long as I have been interested in their internal workings - maybe 30 years.  It's not going to stop.  The country will continue to get more liberal, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly, and our children and grandchildren will live in a different country than we do.

Perhaps it will be for the best.  Perhaps the right is wrong, and we'll all be happier with increasingly leftist culture.  Or perhaps it will all collapse for financial reasons, resulting in some unpredictable new world where parts split off, or tyrants rise up, or it all doesn't matter because of technological advances. Roll the dice there.

But a significant subset of conservatives are never going to get it.  They are never going to come 'round and be reasonable and accept a center-right coalition.  They will vote that out in the next cycle.  It is not something they can be persuaded of, it's in their personalities.  They cannot do otherwise. Even as the flames lick around the edges of their property they will rejoice in Ragnarok, content that they have fought the good fight and not bowed the knee. To them the political compromises are the same as religious apostasies and deals with the devil.

Added: I recall from 2012 an only discussion with a person who wasn't going to vote for Romney (or perhaps even 2008 and not voting for McCain) and saying over and over "I'm not going to eat a shit sandwich.  The Republicans can't make me.  My vote is sacred, and I'm not going to eat a shit sandwich.."  There was no real discussion happening.  No one was talking about making him do anything, of course.  But somehow it felt that way to him.  I think that is part of it with this type of personality.  I imagine there is some equivalent on the left.

It is, as the title suggests, all there in Lewis.  (What do they teach them in those schools these days?)


Texan99 said...

I'm nearly as tough on RINOs as anyone I know. But I save my fanaticism for the primaries, and I hold my nose and vote for the Scott Browns of the world in the general elections. What else am I going to do? Stay home?

If our choices aren't appealing enough, we should run for office ourselves.

Sam L. said...

Narrow believers, one-issue voters refuse to recognize that Perfect is the enemy of the Good. Cutting off nose to spite face--seems appropriate here.

Mark Stoler said...

Non-liberals often rightly criticize liberals for having an unrealistic view of human nature but it seems that some non-liberals have an unrealistic view of politics.

Mark from Things Have Changed

William Newman said...

Maybe. But it seems notable to me in this context that two grassroots campaigns have been persistently successful far beyond my 1990-or-so expectations in achieving limited-government policy goals: shall-issue concealed carry and beating back the legal limitations on homeschooling. There are various folk and organizations behind that, and their track record leaves me impressed with them. The institutional Republican tendency has been to drive away the folks who fought and won such battles by nominating intrusive-government folk, notably Medicare D Bush, McCain-Feingold McCain, and Romneycare Romney. That might be hyper-competent rational big tent triangulating! Of course, it might very well be. But it might also be dreary shortsighted institutional capture by cynical careerists whose abiding hunger for a bigger role and meal ticket for themselves is far more important to them than any transient campaign-time professions about the kind of principles that would suggest that the people should be allowed to buy light bulbs.

I honestly don't know: life likes to remind me regularly that I tend to be tone-deaf to various things that evidently motivate a large fraction of the electorate. Also FWIW the kind of game theory math that underlies these informal discussions tends to be fundamentally intractably hard, so it's hard to be confident that anyone's truly correct. But the Republican establishment doesn't have the kind of track record that makes me want to give them the benefit of the doubt.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

A fairminded counter

Retriever said...
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