The current legislative extremism of the ruling GOP majority is already legendary. And over and over again I hear from the far-left the repeated mantra that Democrats need to move further left to win elections.
The graph above illustrates why -- you don't gain any new supporters by doubling down on the territory you already have. You have to find ways to accommodate something from the center to gain ground. This is the essence of the Median Voter Theorem.
"Ah, but wait!" you say -- "the Median Voter Theorem is so fraught with assumptions. In the real world, these conditions are rarely all true!"
True, true, my astute friend. However, statistics sees to that as well. It allows us to ask what we should expect to see given many many trials and sets of conditions, such that we get an even truer, richer, weighted average than we would from simply measuring a single empirical event. The central limit theorem tells us that with sample sizes large enough, the distribution o...
Times change. And us with them.
Voice and Accountability
Political Stability and Absence of Violence/Terrorism
Rule of Law
Control of Corruption
Data from the World Bank
* BHO inaugural
* DJT inaugural
* Obama cloud
* Trump cloud
* little Trump cloud
“The most dangerous 'enemy of the people' is presidential lying--always. Attacks on press by @realDonaldTrump more treacherous than Nixon’s"
-- Carl Bernstein, journalist who broke the Watergate scandal
"These systematic attacks on the media accomplish two things. First, they fire up the base, which believe that traditional media do not represent their interests or concerns. Second, they provoke the media itself, which feeling threatened, adopts a more oppositional posture. This in turn further fuels the polarization on which the leaders depend and paves the way for the government to introduce legal restrictions.
The most dramatic example was in Venezuela, where elements in the media embarked on a campaign of open warfare, engaging in overtly partisan coverage intended to undermine Chávez’s rule. Some media owners were alleged to have conspired in a 2002 coup that briefly ousted the president. Once Chavez returned to power, he rallied his supporters behind a new law imposing ...
"'I understood the infamous spiritual terror which this movement [the Social Democrats] exerts, particularly on the bourgeoisie, which is neither morally nor mentally equal to such attacks; at a given sign it unleashes a veritable barrage of lies and slanders against whatever adversary seems most dangerous, until the nerves of the attacked persons break down... This is a tactic based on precise calculation of all human weaknesses, and its result will lead to success with almost mathematical certainty...
I achieved an equal understanding of the importance of physical terror toward the individual and the masses... For while in the ranks of their supporters the victory achieved seems a triumph of the justice of their own cause, the defeated adversary in most cases despairs of the success of any further resistance.'
No more precise analysis of Nazi tactics, as Hitler was eventually to develop them, was ever written."
-- The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, William L. Shirer
It's heartening to see many new faces and hear many new voices who may in the past have not explicitly considered themselves "activists," or who have felt a greater call to stand up against a political administration whose ideologies show every indication of running counter to a constitutional democratic framework.
If that describes you: THANK YOU! You are awesome. And if you're an Old Hat at this sort of thing, this post is for you too -- by way of initiating a civil dialogue with some of the fresh faces you see in your timeline or in your local community who may be exhibiting the following behavior:
Making claims that issue X, Y, or Z is "not important" or "not as important" as issue A, B, or C -- which is what we should really be discussing right now.
Here's why this behavior tends to do more harm than good:
There are a dizzying number of issues coming up, and many challenges being made to both constitutional democracy and American values -- no one can be an expert on or con...
There's something those of us in marginalized groups know instinctively, having lived lives long in opposition to a dizzying continuum of Absurd Moral Authority: from outright violence, to secretive "technical" manipulations of statutes designed to erode or remove rights, to vague and carefully unstated "wink wink nudge nudge" moments from individuals of authority who had some power to constrain us -- whether it's a boss (or potential boss), a teacher, a community figure, and/or perhaps most guttingly a family member.
We know the sting of being scolded for even daring an attempt at upsetting the Tautological Supremacist Meritocracy: "If you weren't worthless, you'd already be here by now!"
The British thought we would just roll over too
But we should remember one of the primary reasons that we as a nation even won our independence in the first place:
We were underestimated.
Lord North offered tax relief to the colonies that would help "defend the motherland" in February, 1775 -...
Coming from a monarch who could just as well have long ago checked out from world affairs, these statements should feel more disturbing than they are -- feeling as they do, a confirmation of the state of world affairs, whose shockwaves are reaching us still:
"Echoes of the dark days in the 1930s... that nearly 70 years later we should still be seeing such evil persecution is to me, beyond all belief." -- Charles, Prince of Wales
Much has been said regarding the so-called laziness of the poor. Hands have been wrung, glasses have been drained, Davos hotel rooms have been trashed year after year in elite consternation over The Perennially Perplexing Plight of the Poor.
Meanwhile in the American political landscape, the answer is already clear:
THEY'RE NOT WORKING HARD ENOUGH!!!!
But perhaps there's some confusion over what is meant by the term "hard work" -- certainly it's ambiguous, and no one takes a pause in the middle of a vigorous, breathy debate to define their terms, curiously. So, for the barely literate cretins out there who can barely manage to hold down a job much less participate in the ever-prosperous U.S. economy -- a visual guide:
Working hard vs. hardly working: An Illustrated Guide to Hard WorkWorking hard
(direct link: https://tpc.quip.com/00POAlXJ6I8Y)