I anticipate þt Noah Smith will back Brianna & Matt 100%. & I am going to be off in the corner whimpering "but what does þt really mean?"...
"Who, exactly, is she talking about? Where are they? And how important are they?"
That was my question too. "Infinite Leftists" are, like, 50,000 DSA members or something? Even if you think I am off by 2 orders of magnitude, "Infinite Rightists" are another order larger yet. I believe that "Infinite Leftists" are a negligible political quantity in America. If Wu thinks that focusing on them will "widen the Overton window", I am doubtful. The Infinite Rightists seem quite happy to impute Infinite Leftist views to Matt, after all.
I suppose all will be answered on the podcast. But I might not have time to listen to that until Monday ...
Not much patience for this sort of thing and I admit to a very cursory glance after catching the drift.
Seems like a lack of self-awareness to me. They should perhaps reread the letter from Birmingham jail, slowly, with awareness that it's addressed to them. And they should at least understand that they disagree with it. Which is o.k - it was addressed to perfectly honorable people with reasonable and widely shared views, and much the same objectives.
One thing I love about being a neoliberal (or as the I would tell the Mrs "a pragmatist") is the full and total OPTIMISM of their view. Yes there are many big problems to solve and yes we Biden did not give us everything right now, but we as a people are brilliant and resourceful and I *know* we can solve anything.
Also the pure optimism is always how I view the state of things - things aren't wonderful but they can be fixed; but more importantly why do people allow themselves to see the sky is falling for every little thing?
I really do not take kindly to this lecture by Matthew Yglesias. Rolling back the established-for-decades best-practice medical care for trans children is a policy decision. It is eliminationist. They have not been particularly candid about their motives. It is discriminatory. It has Asa Hutchinson calling it the "biggest government overrreach ever" But the thing he's mad about is that people like me are too angry about it.
I did my best to ensure my daughter (a trans woman) is healthy and whole. They can fuckiing sue me and try and prove I harmed her. Unfortunately for that initiative, she was over 18 when it all happened.
I'm unhappy more people aren't completely pissed off about this like I am. But you know, it's personal to me. However, it isn't some pie in the sky perfect world utopian dream. It's established practice that is being rolled back. Yglesias can stuff it.
To gain power, intellectual arguments are largely useless. Noah is right that emotional issues like Access to Abortion, an issue with emotional punch, is very important and viable. You are both wrong on who is affected - women and men want their daughters to have access, which is one reason it has such a high agreement amongst Americans.
Lastly, it seems that "intellectuals" are arguing philosophically, rather than based on experience. There is a wealth of experience across nations about what does and does not work - c.f. incarceration and prisons, not to mention policing. This applies to a number of social issues, many of which can be assessed by other countries experiences.
Golly. I've liked so many responses here that I can't tell where I stand on the matter. But Brad, just look: the responses are way more than anything in economics would generate. Lovin' it.
I'm neither ,but, like Burke, I have a basic philosophical view which I keep close to my vest. Politics is the art of the possible and assumes compromises. Just as an aside, when Burke wrote Reflections, some Whigs pointed out that he was more liberal than they were and didn't appreciate being lectured to as if they were radicals. The people who outed Burke , let's say, he especially despised because he felt that it was easier to compromise when your ideological views were obscure, and people publicly stating Burke's views told in confidence to them were making him less effective in the real world .
Brad, I don't understand your puzzlement. Demonizing the opposition has been going on, well, forever. If Brianne has got a clever new name for the demonizers, that's great. What's puzzling about that?
But the hard left (read the young Marx) has always been especially vulnerable to this kind of 'my opponents are bad people escalation'. Their "critical" view claims to see beneath the surface of things. It can't evaluate any opposing argument at face value; it has to attribute opponents' views to who they are - and the slip from pointing to who I am socioeconomically or ideologically to pointing to who I am morally doesn't even require a banana peel.
Well, yes, I agree that the constituency for wasting millions on useless _XYZ_ projects is small, put like that. Now, as soon as we have a trusted agency that can properly define "wasting" and "useless" in a way that everyone in Congress respects...
"If you do, you get screamed at by your own side."
Maybe the problem is considering that there are "sides."
Note about Burke Reflections...His attack was against a particular set of views and actions, and generalizing about him based on this one book is unsound.
One might add: it’s particularly bad, as a look, for substackers to be punching left on this issue because it’s clear even to outsiders that there are subscriber dollars in it.
Really dislike the conflation(?) between the Wu and Yglesias positions here. The challenge posed by the true far left is very different from the general call not to sell out interest groups in your coalition. You can tell in part by the way that the Yglesias excerpt soft-pedals the transphobic position relative to the actual state of the law, which is getting worse in red states all the time. You can easily oppose the raft of new anti-trans laws and anti-trans misinfo without being unable to compromise things generally.
Perhaps "infinite leftism" should be re-named "intellectual acne", or perhaps Marxism-Heatherism. "Leftier-than-thou" is indeed a form of social bullying. (Was it invented by the Jacobins?) And the young are more likely to be in a bullying phase, although some never quite grow out of it.
The issue is not moralism v. pragmatism. Most of us are both at the same time: aspiring toward justice, and doing what we can in this sublunary sphere. You could call it consequentialism v. deontology. But it's worth pointing out that our premier mode of deontological thinking--the legal mode--usually ends up with pragmatic rules, no matter the rhetoric. It's also worth noting that deontology tends to be associated with the more intelligent people on the right. It's a useful tool for justifying human suffering.
There idea of infinite leftists sparked a recollection of Lenin's polemic, "Left wing Communism, an Infantile Disorder. Politics based upon an ideological premise seem to inevitably spawn a "purist" wing. One observes this on both the right and left in this country. I shared Matt's frustration with groups unable to take yes for an answer.
A good example of the problems liberals face is the UAW strike. Liberals support government subsidies for electric cars in order to fight climate change. But electric cars require fewer workers to assemble than ICE cars. In the best of all possible worlds, excess auto workers could be retrained as software engineers. In the real world that isn't practical. So do the Democrats back big labor or clean energy? Or do they just try and sit on the fence? Eventually first world countries are going to need to provide their citizens with a guaranteed minimum income that is not based on holding a job. But this is not going to happen anytime soon. And of course illegal immigrants will demand to be included in any minimum income program. I kind of think Peter Turchin is correct that the coming decades will see a lot of disruption and even revolutionary change. And a study of history shows revolutions usually do more harm than good. But as Kurt Vonnegut used to say "and so it goes."