Why a certain percentage of Amtrak riders don't really care for Charles Blow!


The essence of tribal hustle: Since alighting from Amtak, we've spent a good deal of our time visiting with a sick older friend. But before we head back to the Medicaid-funded facility in question, we thought we'd help you see why a percentage of Amtrak riders don't much care for Charles Blow.

On Wednesday, we discussed Marco Rubio's response to that "curveball question" concerning the age of the earth. That same day, Rubio said that he doesn't doubt the accuracy of current scientific estimates. (Current estimate: very old).

But that wasn't nearly enough for Blow. Reading his new column, we thought we spoted a bit of a hustle in support of the deadly old game in which one tribe must be incomparably right and the other tribe must be horrifically wrong.

Can you spot the hustle here?
BLOW (12/8/12): This week, in an interview with Politico, [Rubio] attempted to mop up that mess.

He said, “There is no scientific debate on the age of the Earth. I mean, it’s established pretty definitively. It’s at least 4.5 billion years old.”

But then he hedged: “I just think in America we should have the freedom to teach our children whatever it is we believe. And that means teaching them science. They have to know the science, but also parents have the right to teach them the theology and to reconcile those two things.”

Why the hedge? Because he is in a party of creationists. According to a June Gallup report, most Republicans (58 percent) believed that God created humans in their present form within the last 10,000 years. Most Democrats and independents did not agree.

This anti-intellectualism is antediluvian.
For ourselves, we don't believe that God created humans in their present form within the last 10,000 years. Then too, we don't believe in hustling the tribal rubes, as Blow so typically does.

We were struck by Blow's construction. 58 percent of the other tribe believe that crap; "most" of our tribe does not! Alarms rang all over our temporary headquarters.

We decided to get the statistic. In this case, how much is "most?"

As it turns out, our tribe is pretty heavily antediluvian too! According to the Gallup report Blow cites, 41 percent of Democrats believe that God created humans within the last 10,000 years.

Why didn't Blow give you the actual number? Do you have to ask?

Blow was in his tribal element, letting us know that their tribe is dumb and letting us think that our tribe isn't. The fact that our tribe keeps swallowing Blow's malarkey shows you the flaw in that thinking.

We've noted the basic point here before. We liberals love to mock the other side for holding beliefs which are widely held within our own exalted tribe. It makes us feel good, and it makes us more dumb.

More pensees when we return from today's visit.


  1. So "tribal hustle". That's a thing now? White thing?

  2. OK, so three-fifths of "their" tribe believes a demonstrable nonsense. And three-fifths of "our" tribe doesn't. So which tribe is dumber?

    Let's put it another way. 30% of the candidates of "their" tribe is willing to go on record in a public debate as not "believing" in evolution. This isn't even a question of political interest for "our" tribe.

    So. Which tribe is dumber?

    Just askin'.

    1. Evolution? It's a question of *great* political interest for liberals. We're always going on about how dumb (your word) they all are. 58% of them are so "dumb" about the origin of man. 41% of us are that "dumb" too.

      But look how much better we are:

      We know 58 is bigger than 41!

      So "we" are not as dumb as "they" are!


      "Which tribe is dumber?"

      They don't make people stupider than those who ask such questions & think they know the answers.

    2. "Dumb" is not my word; it's Somerby's. And the liberal tribe may draw too much comfort and glee from this particular ignorance of the other tribe, but no, evolution isn't a question of any kind of political interest for liberals. Try to imagine evolution as an issue in a Democratic Party debate or primary.

      I may be stupid, but when I subtract 41 from 58 I keep getting a positive number. But I don't know the answer to the larger question. Which is why I asked. I guess it was a dumb question, and you know what happens when you ask one of those.

    3. Dead- Is his point who is dumber? Or is trying to say that we should not take comfort in the fact we are marginally less dumber and instead remember that we are both dumb and begin a discussion on practical matters from that point without getting hung up on who is less dumb?

  3. Could I re-introduce an old distinction (one not unlike being incorrect vs. lying) that seems to have fallen out of use? I think its Southern American formulation is, "I may be ignorant, but I ain't stupid." ("Ain't," by the way, being a perfectly grammatically "proper" contraction for "am not.")

    1. At some point, ignorance is as stupid does. And when it comes to repeated, willful, and negligent ignorance, your re-introduced distinction is one without a difference. Not that I'm pointing any fingers.

      Just sayin'.

      And, by the way, good choice to use the scare quotes on "'proper'"

  4. We all need to know the correct age of the Earth, 10,000 or more years.... obviously because we also need to know the earth goes around the sun too. For many people, understanding contraception, would be more important.

  5. TDH makes a very good point here about tribalism. That said, the difference between 58 and 41 is, in elections, much more important than the difference between, say, 32 and 15 or 96 and 79. Again, I think TDH makes a valid point about Blow's piece, but there does seems to be some real world impact from that relatively small difference in party members' beliefs.

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  7. Another aspect of this type of hustle is that the victims are always conservatives. Since 41% of Dems think the earth is 10,000 years old, it would be embarassing for a Dem politician to publicly take a stand against this belief. In fact, there are probably some well-known Dem politicians who hold this belief.

    But, you don't see our media making this an issue with Dem politicians.

    IMHO this is parallel to the media's treatment of Mormonism. A number of my liberal friends told me that they have strong anti-Mormon feelings. I've seen a number of media articles raising questions about this religion, as it applies to Romney. Yet, i've never seen an article that was the least bit concerned that the (Democratic) Majority Leader of the Senate is a Mormon.

    1. Crymeafuckinriver. Rep politicians made scientific ignorance a political badge of honor so they could troll for votes from fundamentalists. They deserve whatever backlash they get in the public forum. 41% of Dems may think the earth is 10K years old, but Dem politicians don't make a public stand on the issue because even for the 41%, it isn't a political issue. And yes, there are "well-known" Democrats in the 41%. See Bill Maher's film _Religulous_. But these Democrats don't champion teaching their religious beliefs in public school science classes.

      Please cite these articles that raised "questions" about Romney's religion.

    2. But these Democrats don't champion teaching their religious beliefs in public school science classes.

      Neither did Rubio champion teaching their religious beliefs in public school science classes.

      Nor was Rubio asked that question. He was asked a different question and gave a reasonable answer. but deadrat took the bait and jumped to Rubio supposedly championing teaching religious beliefs in public school science classes.

  8. Did you catch Nocera trotting out that zombie-meme of Kitty Genovese? Really just so sad.

  9. everyone seems to be missing the point about Rubio's statements. He's arguing against a straw man. How many people are arguing that parents can't teach their kids religion in their own homes? the whole argument is about what is and isn't appropriate in science classes. I don't give a hoot, and I would estimate about 99% of other liberals don't give a hoot what Christians teach their kids at home about history or science. They can teach them that Fred Flintstone worked with Jesus at the quarry for all I care.

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. For those scoring at home: 58% of one tribe doesn't believe in evolution; 41% of the other tribe shares that view. 100% of one tribe demands that candidates declare their opposition to evolution during primaries. 0% of the other tribe even brings the topic up, except to support Darwin's theory. But yes, both tribes are dumb.

  12. obviously there is no shortage of ignorant morons from the left right and center of American politics. As a non believer it confounds me how much respect is accorded to idiotic ideas if they are rooted in religion. So you think its okay for a parent to tell their children that the earth is only 6 thousand yrs old? Of course it is their right but lets make no mistake it is how ignorance gets passed from generation to generation. How otherwise intelligent people can continue to believe in supernatural events and will embrace some of the most illogical stories when wrapped in the cloth of religion will always escape. Actually I do understand when the indoctrination begins at birth and continues throughout childhood development into adulthood. I am resigned to never experiencing a world where the majority of humans don't believe in the supernatural and try and build a world based on logic, common sense and empathy for all mankind. The best I can do is try to imagine such a world.

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