11-12-16 Hodgepodge

Saturday, November 12, 2016

That Might Have Been Part of It

Writing for The Guardian, Thomas Frank, known for his leftist apologia, What's the Matter With Kansas?, considers how the Democrats might have contributed to their own electoral demise:

Put this question in slightly more general terms and you are confronting the single great mystery of 2016. The American white-collar class just spent the year rallying around a super-competent professional (who really wasn't all that competent) and either insulting or silencing everyone who didn't accept their assessment. And then they lost. Maybe it's time to consider whether there's something about shrill self-righteousness, shouted from a position of high social status, that turns people away.
That is part of it, and the condescension and intolerance often come from a lack of ideological self-awareness. As for the protests, I liked the following speculation, although I can no longer recall the source: Perhaps these snowflake rebellions are fueled in part by the fear that they will be on the receiving end of what they wanted to do to conservatives.

I wish Frank well in prompting some soul-searching among his ideological compatriots, and may it go much further than he intends! But I have strong reservations, given the habit of so many of them to pre-empt debate. Consider the odious term, "mansplaining," which is popular in the culture and is often used by leftists to smear their ideological opponents. It holds a grain of truth: Some men in this day and age somehow do regard women as little better than children and talk down to them, even when they do, in fact, know less about a subject. But the term is also used to pre-empt debate or consideration of opinions different from one's own by making it easy to imply ignorance. Note how foolish it would sound to attempt to say that vast swaths of the American electorate were being "mansplained" to -- by self-proclaimed champions of women. It's as if it is impossible to be condescending when dispensing leftist positions, or for women to be condescending. People who make a habit of smearing opponents get that way for a reason, and it isn't because they have grounded their views in logic and the facts of reality. If they did, they would welcome debate, both as the chance it would represent to persuade others of their views (when correct) and as the chance to clarify or correct their own.

Weekend Reading

"Have you ever spoken your 'emotional mind' to somebody and then felt foolish afterwards?" -- Michael Hurd, in "Think Before You Speak -- or Click!" at The Delaware Wave

"It's contradictory to expect the other party to be motivated by something, i.e., selflessness, that would never motivate you." -- Michael Hurd, in "Unblocking a Stalled Relationship" at The Delaware Coast Press

I Guess I'm USB-Abstinent

The word of the week is, "USB Condom," defined by Word Spy as follows:
A modified USB adapter that prevents data from being stolen or malware from being installed when a mobile device's USB cable is plugged into a public charging station.
The only time I'd ever need one of those is when I'm traveling, in which case, I just bring along my own chargers. But with that unforgettable term, if things change such that I am regularly tempted to use such a facility, I'll be sure to get one of these.

-- CAV

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