Loved it! A nerdy title of the podcast would be: How to Extract Possibilities From The Arrow Impossibility Theorem. A small way to start is by agreeing that table manners are critical (no Schmitt-posting!).

Looking forward to the next one.

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Sep 16, 2023·edited Sep 16, 2023

"Red-state politicians need our thoughts and prayers."

And dollars, if you're lucky enough to have them to spare. I have a monthly donation to Jon Tester, among others.

"Left-wing think-tanks should not take money from “leftists” who want to use procedural obstacles to block green investments in their backyards."

Eh. Depends on what they're expecting to get out of the transaction. Marc Andreesen is a hypocrite, with his Time To Build essay contrasting with his own personal NIMBY-ism about Atherton. But if he wanted to hand YIMBY Action and YIMBY Law a hundred million dollars to do their thing, with no strings, or at least no way to make them stick? Better they have it than him. (Of course, I don't think he will.)

I think in general the main thing for an activist org to consider with big donors is: Are we going to change behavior to try to lure further donations from this person, and would that compromise the mission? If so, either you don't accept the donation, or possibly you do accept the donation, and immediately turn around and _demonstrate_ that you can't be bought off, by doing exactly the kind of thing that the person might've been trying to influence you not to do. If it turns out they're mad about that and don't make another donation, oh well, you still got a big chunk of money.

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Should I rename my Substack "Infinite Centrist" instead of "Radical Centrist." :)

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As always, enjoyable and informative.

One quibble. Repeatedly saying "Everyone agrees" about, e.g., abortion being a private medical matter is clearly provably wrong. It's a winning electoral issue, no doubt, which shows that Yglesias is wrong if he argues that Democrats should drop ALL "social issues" in favor of economic ones.

But I think you might find yourselves in danger of liberal groupthink on trans athletes participating in women's sports. Noah saying that he just doesn't care about sports clearly marks him out as NOT a representative American. (Which is not a bad thing 99 times out of 100.) But JBD and I have several college classmates with elite female athletes in the family (e.g. swimmer Katie Ledecky, and a couple of All-American field hockey players), and I think their parents might argue that trans women appear to have an unfair advantage in those endeavors. As I think Brad mentioned, it might be akin to taking steroids. Fairness issues are traditionally liberal issues, so we have a danger of cognitive dissonance on this one. If trans male athletes were dropping into male sports and winning, maybe I would think this was not a legit issue. But I don't know of a single case of this. I'm willing to be persuaded on this, but I see too much "We're through talking, get in line" on this issue, and if I think that way, and I am a pretty reliable knee-jerk liberal who, like Noah, is not that representative of 'Murkans in general, imagine what the median voter might think about that. So on this issue, I think Yglesias has a better case. (And blue state Dems making a racket about it in their jurisdictions can be heard in purple states. It has an effect on D candidates there. "Will you speak out against Gavin Newsom's support for trans women in school sports?" "Uhhhh...")

(The dog wins the podcast. But we could do with a bit less wind noise on someone's mike.)

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tldl: Choose your own wedge issues rather than reacting to the other side's wedge issues. And make sure you don't push your own wedge issues so far that they become a wedge within your side.

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I love and glad they are back! I also Love Brad's Dogs wanting to make a point but being denied.

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I hold these truths to be self-evident:

1) One thing Matt Yglesias ain't is a cannier politician than Joe Biden.

2) The last thing on earth that Ron DeSantis wants is to eliminate trans and gay people, at least when it comes to the imaginations of his electorate. If they did not exist, he would be obliged to invent them; and in a sense I suppose he has.

But I am pleased we agree about Matt, Ezra, and partial orders.

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Thanks for Pass the Baton! Back when it was published, I had sent this line to any number of people. Forgot where it was published since. It really is one for the ages: “Barack Obama rolls into office with Mitt Romney’s health care policy, with John McCain’s climate policy, with Bill Clinton’s tax policy, and George H.W. Bush’s foreign policy,” DeLong notes. “And did George H.W. Bush, did Mitt Romney, did John McCain say a single good word about anything Barack Obama ever did over the course of eight solid years? No, they fucking did not.”

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"How to persuade others" is an underlying issue in the podcast. 100% of my household is often aghast with the choice of slogans on the Left. For instance, please don't call something "defund the police" when you don't really mean it that way. Punchy slogans go a long way, but not when they punch your own face.

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Audio quality has improved! :)

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100% agree that welfare-increasing policies are infinitely more important than ideological purity tests, but as a long-term strategic observation, I do think that only asking for things when the societal moment "is ripe" is self-defeating. Empirically, women's right to vote (I'm thinking England) wasn't a natural outcome of a shifted global consensus - it was contentious, it was fought for (literally), it was like pulling teeth, it was absolutely right, immensely welfare-increasing, and I don't think it'd have happened any other way.

Which suggests, I think:

1. "Social consensus" can be an inherently conservative construct. Formal political power, economic power, or media visibility need not reflect (and often do not reflect) the unweighted balance of opinions; very often, that's part of what you want to change.

1b. In other words, sometimes you have to ignore the op-ed consensus to see what people can get behind. (I think in the US policy-making Democrats in particular underweight popular support and overweight biased instruments like peer opinion.)

2. Short-term you might get nowhere, but long term it's the only way to shift the Overton window. It's not what you want to spend power into, but it's what you need to talk about if you want to make it possible later.

3. Negotiation strategy. The middle point between a minor reasonable policy and a maximalist counter-policy isn't going to help you.

TL;DR I only care about enacted policies, but I think an optimal path to maximize good enacted policies involves some strategic overshooting, particularly for long-term gains; at the very least, you have to match the request range of your opponents so any sort of middle point is somewhere you can live with and not a step back.

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