MONDAY, JUNE 27, 2022
Kevin Drum cites Dahlia Lithwick: On balance, we tend to agree with Kevin Drum's recent posts, though we also spot a bit of irony in the nature of the agreement.
On what subject do we tend to agree? Let's take this in two awful steps:
More than 1 million voters switch to GOP in warning for Dems
It isn't that everyone who's switching their party registration is switching from D to R. Roughly 630,000 voters have also switched from R to D in the past year, the period under review.
Still, the AP scores this as a warning sign for Democrats. So why in the world would some Democrats be switching their registration?
If you can't think of a million possible reasons, you may not have cable TV! Setting such sour thoughts to the side, let's consider an earlier post by Drum, a post from yesterday.
Headline included, this was Drum's complete post:
Liberals really suck at defending abortion
Just to add to my previous notes, I've read a whole lot of pieces this weekend about how terrible Sam Alito's opinion in Dobbs is; about the misogyny of conservatives; about their ignorance of history; about the Court's lack of democratic legitimacy; about all the other rights that are certain to fall now that Roe is toast; and about bodily autonomy and how it is so in the Constitution.
I'll have more to say about this tomorrow, but what's striking to me is how bad all these columns and essays and think pieces have been. I'm not sure I've read a single one that I'd call lucid or persuasive—and that's despite the fact that my personal view of abortion is about as extreme as it's possible to have.¹
We liberals really need to get our act together. How is it that after 50 years we're apparently still not able to defend abortion in any kind of simple, convincing way that appeals to anyone who's not already on our side?
In footnote 1, Drum describes his personal view on abortion and abortion rights, a view which would almost surely be impossible to sell on the political open market. (That doesn't mean that it's wrong.)
That said, we're struck by the claim he makes about the columns he's read about Alito and Dobbs. His statement is worth repeating:
"What's striking to me is how bad all these columns and essays and think pieces have been."
We can't say we're shocked by that, though we're probably coming at this from a slightly different angle. We've been amazed, but not amazed, by how clueless the cable commentary has been—how clueless, how reliably disingenuous, how thoroughly built to fail.
Our corporate-selected tribal "thought leaders" are deeply unimpressive. Endless self-flattery to the side, they just aren't especially sharp.
We talk to ourselves and to no one else. Our tribe is virtually defined by our high self-regard, but there simply isn't a whole lot there to justify this attitude.
We expect to discuss these points as the week unfolds. For now, we'll only note the irony in Drum's complaints about the lack of clarity in much of the work he's read. Can this be the same Kevin Drum who recently said that, in the end, it isn't really all that hard to explain what Kurt Godel said?
In part, our politics of the past many years has been defined by "the absence of the logicians." As our public discourse crashes around us, they tangle themselves in "the set of all sets not members of themselves," or in the silly imagined complexities of The Liar's Paradox.
Frege and Godel are our greatest logicians, and no one can explain what they said. In fact, no one has ever heard their names! Our greatest logicians have walked off their posts and left us with Donald J. Trump, and with a stumblebum group of corporate-picked pundits to guide us along our path.
In one respect, the failures of our highest academic elites are part of a (beautiful) human comedy. We plan to return to this topic in the next few days, writing with that 12-year-old kid in mind.
Meanwhile, our liberal "thought leaders" in the upper-end press have served us amazingly poorly over the past thirty years. People are dead all over the world because of the mayhem these nitwits have caused, and many more people are going to die as they pretend to perform their key service.
In this other recent post, Drum discussed recent remarks by Slate's Dahlia Lithwick. It's his promised follow-up to yesterday's post. Quite correctly in our view, he complains about our floundering tribe's frequent lack of clarity.
You can judge his assessment as you will, but more than anything else on earth, our tribe probably needs to stop trusting academic / journalistic authority.
The people in question aren't real sharp. Neither is anyone else!