# Is the US headed for another civil war?

Discussion in 'Politics' started by James R, Feb 11, 2022.

1. ### SeattleValued Senior Member

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8,397
A government that does little is what most people want. You describe compromise as compromising with failure. No compromise is an extreme position and we see that doesn't usually work either.

You don't want government loans but you don't mind taxes being raised forever rather than having a loan for a short period of time. How is that better?

Look at the drug addicts living under bridges and in the parks all around Seattle. You think it would be better to house them without any restrictions? For the true homeless there are shelters. Drug addicts don't want that because they have to continue doing drugs and they have to continue committing crimes to pay for the drugs. Do you think if we did that (provided better housing) they would stop using drugs or use more drugs?

Where is the motivation to work and to be productive if it's easy to be a drug user and have everything provided? We need more productive people, not less.

How many productive people do you know on the far left? Who is more productive, you or James?

3. ### TiassaLet us not launch the boat ...Staff Member

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37,405
You are erroneous and fallacious; observe:

• … of such centrist inclination as to demand liberals compromise with conservatives by agreeing to fail.​

It's not a question of "no compromise", or "compromise as compromising with failure". Rather, it is the political question of demanding such compromise as agreeing to fail.

Not every compromise is a compromise with failure. As I said↑, it's called compromising with conservatives, or, compromising with Republicans.

There is a curious, narrow dullardy, a presumption of unmarked boundaries, common among many conservative outlooks and positions, as if their argument is the only other possible alternative, or some such. It's an artificial dualism, a false dichotomy. It's like when people complain that everyone who disagrees with me gets called -ist, and the obvious answer is no, not the ones who aren't -ist; some people even actually teach me things that advance my understanding, which is a far cry from blaming the penguin↱ as one faults right↱. It's even in the conservative narrative about Hillary and the Deplorables. Those who would separate↗ conservatism from Trumpism¹ might recall she did the same; even more, she asserted to recognize the difference in Trump voters. But when the so-called Deplorables complained that she called all Trump voters deplorable, that other half was apparently willing to dutifully line up↗ and complain↗. It's actually part of our American tradition, and thus kind of baked into conservatism, but that gets complicated, or, at least, subtle.

Since you're so fluent in fallacy, try this one: You don't like taxes, but you're happy to pay inflated prices so rich people can buy another summer house and a new jet to fly there; how is that better?

Walmart quality on Amazon terms at Netflix prices with a Hulu interface on a Comcast box. It's how your bit about centrism↑ isn't utterly wrong; the center of the voter-spectrum bell curve, as such, that middle bloc, that influential "center" majority, as such, gets so angry about the results of what they voted for, and in feeling somehow hopeless about how society goes, pretends the indifference you suggest, a façade to obscure and occult what they would otherwise prefer remain unseen.

Your entire post is a string of fallacies:

The thing is, some part of me would presume you're aware it's more complicated than that. Asking, as you do, "Do you think if we did that (provided better housing) they would stop using drugs or use more drugs?" is fallacious.

If I suggest it sounds like 1984 all over again, I don't mean the dystopian novel, but, rather, suggest a vintage for that dystopian conservative politic.

You mean like a best-selling, influential novelist? I actually don't know. To the one, not everyone makes those politics known; to the other, it depends on what you call productive, or how you measure leftwardness.

†​

Remember² Wilde: "The proper aim is to try and reconstruct society on such a basis that poverty will be impossible."
____________________

Notes:

¹ If we "wonder what happened to all those non-Trump Republicans that existed at the time of his election", there are two obvious answers to the question. One is that some will vote for a moderate or conservative Democrat; the other is that most will come back to the Party line enough to support Trump sufficiently to drive the Bushes and Cheneys out. Of the part about voting for Democrats, we should remember that struggling to accommodate conservative needs in order to pick up those crossover voters is part of how the Democrats wreck themselves against the rocks, akin to your prior noise about noise and centrism.

² As I have already mentioned↗ to you twice↗ in as many weeks.​

Bors, Matt. "Fault Right". The Nib. 7 August 2018. TheNib.com. 6 September 2022. http://bit.ly/2L2vXcs

Tomorrow, Tom. "Penguin thinks we're Nazis". This Modern World. 28 May 2018. DailyKos.com. 6 September 2022. http://bit.ly/2zojjht

Wilde, Oscar. "The Soul of Man Under Socialism". 1891. Marxists.org. 6 September 2022. http://bit.ly/1JdDOaw

5. ### TiassaLet us not launch the boat ...Staff Member

Messages:
37,405
And Yet Again ....

It's always felt like a weirdly delicate proposition¹: They actually want to revolt.

And remember, that's the flag-draped party of patriotism.

The latest, per Benen↗:

In late 2021, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene briefly referenced “a National Divorce scenario” that seemed to allude to the dissolution of the United States. About a year later, the Georgia Republican seemed to predict a “national divorce” in response to the CDC adding Covid shots to its list of recommended vaccine schedules.

This morning, as some elected officials released statements recognizing the Presidents' Day holiday, the right-wing congresswoman published a message to Twitter that steered clear of traditional American patriotism. The missive read in its entirety:

“We need a national divorce. We need to separate by red states and blue states and shrink the federal government. Everyone I talk to says this. From the sick and disgusting woke culture issues shoved down our throats to the Democrat's [sic] traitorous America Last policies, we are done.”

At face value, this isn't especially surprising. Greene has earned a reputation as one of the most radical members of Congress in recent memory. She's expressed support for violence against Democratic elected officials, and a year ago, the Georgia Republican appeared at a white-nationalist event. The fact that the congresswoman has endorsed a vision in which Americans “separate by red states and blue states” is entirely in line with everything we know about her.

But let's not lose sight of the larger context: House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and GOP leaders recently rewarded Greene with committee assignments, including a slot on the House Homeland Security Committee. Are Republicans prepared to defend a member of the House Homeland Security Committee openly endorsing the dissolution of the United States?

Remember, this is also the party known for complaining that government just doesn't work.

Putting the insurrectionist sympathizer who gives aid and comfort to the nation's enemies on the Homeland Securty Committee is just the latest example of how that complaint was actually a threat. Republicans don't simply believe, but, rather, intend that government will fail.

A small but important detail, here, is the oath of office; Rep. Greene (R-GA14) has abrogated. To be clear, the oath pledges fidelity to the Constitution, which in turn is established for ourselves and our posterity; the Republic is guaranteed, and its continuation is a duty accepted and affirmed in that oath. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene is in dereliction.

†​

And, honestly, let us jump out in front of one, here: Hint: We tried "separate but equal". Hint: It didn't work. Hint: At the time, the lone dissenter among those who had a say was also the former slave owner who knew it wouldn't work. Today's separatists should take the hint: Even the slave owner knew it wouldn't work. So, no, that's not where she was going with it.
____________________

Notes:

¹ see #23↑ above; see also, "I Think of All Those Republicans …" #3↗.​

Benen, Steve. "Despite her role, Marjorie Taylor Greene backs 'national divorce'". MSNBC. 21 February 2023. MSNBC.com. 20 February 2023. http://bit.ly/3YIsNvb

7. ### TiassaLet us not launch the boat ...Staff Member

Messages:
37,405

Sean Hannity promotes dissolution of the United States, FOX News, 21 February 2023

If the question of another civil war in the United States is, as such↑, entirely up to those who would revolt, it might be important to check in on what they are actually saying.

Earlier this week, Sean Hannity promoted the "national divorce"↑ suggested by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA14). As we see, the pitch is couched as conservative talking points:

"Much smaller federal government" — In more recent history, there were the Norquist acolytes pledging to not raise taxes, and seeking to render the federal government so weak it could be easily murdered. Compared to American history in general, the Articles of Confederation failed, and it's about time conservatives came to terms with that fact. They don't, however, because they abide other priorities.

"States fully control public education" — One would expect the supremacist censorship tantrum of late would make the point about that, but people didn't catch on after thirty years of anti-gay, forty years of anti-science, and fifty years of anti-woman. Conservative priorities on this point are pretty clear.

"States could continue using fossil fuels" — Nothing but the pitch; this is pure rightist nonsense prioritized as anti-government populism.

"One day elections with paper ballots" — We've seen how elections go in these states; Hannity is pitching a debacle. It's actually a complicated talking point, but tells us much about the motivations and priorities.

"Law enforcement supported and funded" — Compared to the number of Democratic-majority areas increasing law enforcement funding, there is nothing subtle about the priorities.​

For her part, Taylor's underlying argument runs approximately that the last thing she would ever want to see is a civil war, but it's going that direction so maybe we should just skip to the end and give conservatives everything they want. And that is, for American conservatives, kind of the same as it's ever been.

Comparatively, from nearly a year ago↗:

• We already know from a generation of rhetorical escalation that it is impossible to concede enough to these people; outright Appeasement doesn't even work. That is to say, it really does seem there are a lot of people who apparently really do want to have it out that way, and the only real question is how many. Do they have enough to bring it? Then they will. To the other, they've kind of been at it for a while. We're Americans, so we won't call it a civil war.​

That is to say, the most surprising thing about this turn is either that she actually came right out and said it, or nothing at all. The difference is a matter of expectation and hindsight: Before someone actually goes and does something that stupid, it's kind of impolite to suggest they actually would. After they go and do it, well, of course they would, and we really ought not pretend surprise. If the proverbial nobody took this possibility seriously before a sitting Member of Congress went and said it, blame a pretense of decency. But, no, we should not be at all surprised to discover this is where they're going with it. It's hardly new.
____________________

Notes:

@atrupar. "Hannity is taking Marjorie Taylor Greene's 'national divorce' BS seriously". (thread) Twitter. 21 February 2023. Twitter.com. 23 February 2023. https://bit.ly/3Zz6DM7

8. ### billvonValued Senior Member

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20,987
It's what most people who don't think about it want.

One of my favorite quotes on this came from a tea partyer interviewed back in 2010. She had been supporting a smaller government that did less. A reporter interviewing her asked if she wanted to lose her entitlements if it meant getting that smaller government. She answered:

“That’s a conundrum, isn’t it? I don’t know what to say. Maybe I don’t want smaller government. I guess I want smaller government and my Social Security. I didn’t look at it from the perspective of losing things I need. I think I’ve changed my mind.”

Most conservatives want smaller government. But ask them if they want fewer roads, no air traffic control, less support for veterans, a smaller military, an end to Social Security and Medicare, and they invariably answer "well, no, keep that stuff of course. Cut the other stuff. You know, all the bloated, inefficient stuff. Bureaucrats, gold plated toilet seats, that sort of thing." And yes, there is waste in government, and we should reduce that. But the largest part of their complaint comes down to "I want my stuff - and I want them to pay for it - and I don't want any of my money to go to their stuff." And that just doesn't work on a large scale.

https://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/15/us/politics/15poll.html

9. ### SeattleValued Senior Member

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8,397
"Entitlements" is misused. They are called that because it's something that you are "entitled to". You've paid into Social Security and therefore you are "entitled to it".

Of course no one wants no government. Most would argue that there are things that need to be done by the government (whether they are more efficient or not). You've mentioned the traditional things that are better left to the government. I'm not for "for profit" private prisons because the profit motive doesn't lend itself to running prisons. We don't want longer sentences or more people in prisons even if that would be more profitable.

If taxes aren't going to be sufficient to pay for programs that aren't necessary (pre-kindergarten) or if taxes will be excessive if they do pay for it, that is what is being referred to.

Almost by definition, if public debt to GDP is 120%, government is too big. I'm sure I could find a story where that was pointed out to a progressive and they responded "Oh, I hadn't thought it it quite that way!" That wouldn't really be a persuasive argument though.

10. ### billvonValued Senior Member

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20,987
Doesn't that have to do with the level of taxation, though? If no one pays any taxes, then any government at all is too large. If tax rates are like Finland's, then the government we have is quite frugal.

11. ### SeattleValued Senior Member

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8,397
I think our taxes are about right. Not perfect, but about right, IMO. You can't take it all or output will just decline (can't kill the goose that laid the golden egg).

This debt isn't a sudden thing. It's in every administration. So, given the facts as they actually exist, we are spending too much. You could always be broke and I could point out that you have too many sports cars and too many houses. You could argue that you should actually be buying even more cars and that the problem is just that you don't earn enough and need a higher paying job.

If this goes on for years, the "logic" could be true but you aren't going to get a higher paying job apparently so it's still not a good argument.

At a certain point, Democrats can't just keep saying "tax the rich" but not being able to do it, not being willing to tax themselves and yet they keep spending. Given that history, saying the problem isn't spending but rather it's a taxation problem, is just not dealing with reality.

It's also not being responsible with spending since you can always spend if the only plan is for the other guys to have to pay for it. There is no balance to that approach. In our personal lives were are responsible (to a large degree) because we have to be. If money was just given to us "we" would have too many sports cars and too many houses.

The government has too many sports cars and too many houses.

12. ### billvonValued Senior Member

Messages:
20,987
OK let's go with that.

I would argue that the better choice would be to decide how many cars and houses we need beforehand - and then set taxes to pay for exactly that amount of cars and houses. No more, no less.

13. ### SeattleValued Senior Member

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8,397
I agree. Many thing in life aren't actually necessary if you can't afford them. It's a sliding scale.

Let's say that most government jobs have much more generous benefits than the average private sector job. Those might be nice benefits but if we can't afford the program in the first place not every government job has to have gold plated benefits.

If we want income groups higher than our own to pay for a new program, we should be willing to pay more as well. We should also realize that nothing is "free" and that there is ultimately a price to be paid in terms of unintended (or unwanted) side effects.

If we want "affordable" housing, raising property taxes to fund that makes little sense (for example).

14. ### billvonValued Senior Member

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20,987
Jobs that the government offers have to have compensation (salary + benefits) to allow them to hire adequately competent people. Dropping the compensation until you can only get less competent people is NOT a cost savings, as any business owner knows.

15. ### SeattleValued Senior Member

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8,397
As any business owner knows it's also market based and not command based. I've been to the post office and I see who they get. Markets work better. As any business owner knows when the economy is in decline you have to tighten your belt, unless you are the government.

16. ### billvonValued Senior Member

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20,987
Right. Some things (air traffic control, the military) should NOT fluctuate with the economy, and are better controlled by the government. Some things (pet rocks, steaks, Ford F350's) work better in a market, and can be "belt-tightened" when necessary.

If the economy is in the toilet, it is not OK to hire incompetent people for air traffic control (or to manage nuclear weapons.) Even if that might be OK if you are selling pet rocks.

17. ### SeattleValued Senior Member

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8,397
It's never good to hire incompetent people but the government does manage to do that sometimes. It has little to do with what I was talking about however.

18. ### billvonValued Senior Member

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20,987
Agreed. No system works 100%.
You were saying that when the economy is poor, the government should skimp on things and not have "gold plated benefits" for government jobs. I think we should ALWAYS offer enough compensation to fill the important government jobs with competent people. Hiring the bottom of the barrel to "economize" is never a good idea for businesses OR governments.

19. ### SeattleValued Senior Member

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8,397
You never have to hire anyone, including bottom of the barrel. For instance, lets say that you were thinking about helping the homeless but the choice was do nothing or give them an income sufficient to bring them to the top of the poverty line, provide full dental, vision, and medical and offer tuition reimbursement.

So that either costs nothing or it costs let's say $50k per year. You can't afford it so you do nothing. If you could offer a little assistance, no vision and dental and only catastrophic medical maybe you could do that for$20k year and you could find a way to fund that.

Often that flexibility isn't available in government. You have many current employees without vision or dental (just for arguments sake) and yet if you offer anything to the homeless perhaps it's mandated that you have to offer all that.

Often the taxpayer paying for all this doesn't even have the same benefits as the non-working person being provided this.

The real point here is that there is a lot that is a reasonable policy if we were already fiscally responsible, but we aren't. It's like someone saying that our debt is too high, let's cut military spending and then they say and lets use that to pay teachers more!

They just said that the debt was too high and yet offered nothing that would cut the debt.