If …

In response to an EXCELLENT post recently written by the “Ohio Realist” at OnTheFenceVoters.com, Keith, who is another regular blogger, wrote a comment that I felt needed wider exposure.

Keith has been both a Republican and a Democrat … and is now an Independent because (as he shares on his “About” page), he was “disillusioned by the extreme points of view of both parties.” He now describes himself as a “moderate left thinker.”

In many instances, I have found his political views are quite similar to my own.

In any event, the following is not his entire response to the referenced post but it is the portion that most impressed me. Perhaps you will identify with his words as well.


Quite simply, if addressing climate change more dramatically is a concern, do not vote for a Republican. If civil and women’s rights are an issue, do not vote for a Republican. If doing something about health care costs and access is an issue, do not vote for a Republican. If job creation and retraining are issues, do not vote for Republican (note jobs created under the same number of Democrat White Houses as Republican ones since 1922 have been twice the numbers as under GOP ones). If integrity matters do not vote for a Republican as the party is aligned against its truth tellers and support the white paint can carrying whitewashers telling us things did not happen and the former president did not lose an election he lost.

Democrats are not perfect. Never have been. But, we must vote for people who are at least talking about issues and not contrived and exaggerated ones.

69 thoughts on “If …

  1. My only problem with Keith’s words are that the the people who need to read them will never read them. He’s just another WOKE hack who doesn’t believe in the greatness of self-made men to hoard as much money as they can to keep it out of the hands of those who need it. He’s a political nobody, one who had a chance to be great but threw it away. Or something like that…

    Liked by 1 person

    • One of the things that too many self-made men don’t realize is they don’t recognize fully the role others play in their success. Warren Buffett, who worked hard and was smart) said he was born lucky – a white man in America. This very wealthy person said all three of those attributes were vital – white, male and America. Buffett proves that one can be successful without being arrogant.

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      • So few and far between. Most think they somehow did it all on their own. They cannot see the advantages the three things you mentioned gave them. They got better educations, they were supported mentally their whole lives, and they were accepted into exclusive groups and clubs that allowed them to flourish.
        Just to contrast, I myself had to give myself a good education, I was told at every turn that a red man could not succeed, and that I should know my place in the world.
        Well, I never did succeed in the business world, but the thing was, once I learned what kind of people were in that world I wanted no part of it. I consider myself a huge success, because I am happy being me. How many of those rich, self-made white men are truly happy? They are constantly worrying about being stabbed in the back, or losing their wealth. I have nothing to lose. I get the last laugh.

        Liked by 2 people

        • I have just the guy for you. He comments on Robert Reich’s blog on Substack. He calls himself Frankie Lee. I will see if I can get a contact address for you.


        • I could not find a contact address, and the name is only Frank Lee. He writes “Social Misfit Newletter” on Substack.com.
          Here is an example of this self-made man’s thinking. I apologize, Nan, for going astray, but even you might want to hear how thi8s guy thinks:
          These real manly men are the anti-prohibition types. They are not telling women to go back to the village and tend the children, they are simply telling everyone that the patriarchal approach for adults is the only one that works… the one that the country was founded on… and that EVERYONE… no matter gender, race, ethnicity… to be successful, has to adopt that traditional approach or the country will fail.


        • But he certainly thinks everyone should listen to him. He is so full of himself there is no room for anyone else in his heart — if he has one.


  2. It’s excellent as far as it goes. And I agree with Keith.

    The problem, however, is that a mirror post could be written ending each equally terrible point with, “…so don’t vote Democrat.”

    Vilifying those who vote either way is not a solution because the problem of governing by narrative rather than by reality is inherent today on both ends of the political spectrum. But the danger of continuing to vilify The Other as if meaningful (no matter how justified each criticism is) to political discourse is foolish; it just deepens the widening divide. And I think this point isn’t promoted enough. If it were, then I think we’d see the emergence of a ‘radical’ centrist movement that appeals to both a Nan and a Keith.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Tildeb, thanks for your comment and your point has some validity. But, as an independent, my former recent party has been more prone to put forth issues that are not meritorious or steeped in fact. I am willing to discuss issues with conservatives and progressives, but as Michael Gerson, a favorite conservative pundit noted, the “Republican Party is in decay.” I would rather discuss how we pay down our debt with both sides, but I feel I must argue facts with Republicans more so than I do Democrats. I want a viable GOP to put forth conservative points, but we don’t have that. The people who want to discuss issues need to retake control of the GOP from the hands who support this populism model. That is my view. Thanks for the pushback. Keith

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      • While I agree the Republican party is threat to democracy, I see the Democratic party a threat to liberalism. Republican values today lead to authoritarianism. Democratic values today lead to totalitarianism. Historically, when given such a choice, most people prefer authoritarianism. Those who don’t soon learn to regret that decision as they disappear into the machinery of the totalitarian state machine.

        As you point out, both parties (and this is NOT constrained only to the United States but throughout the West) seem captured by the extremists. Both operate as if their narrative about reality is true in fact and so the greatest enemy is the contrary narrative. The rest of us have to live in the real world and it is full of real problems and real challenges to the health and welfare of each of us. I see the evangelical wing of the Republicans – just like the typical Muslim – as the main source, for example, of accepting violence in defence of the faith, but then I see mainstream media either ignoring or excusing massive rioting by antifa. So vilifying one ‘side’ over the other ‘side’ when it comes to this example of violence, for example, I just think isn’t the least bit productive. Making the list longer with more areas of concern I don’t think alters the productivity of bringing about meaningful change.

        I was rereading some Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s writing earlier today and came across his central thesis on how each citizen can beat back the forces of totalitarianism and the principle is this: exercising the personal choice of not participating in lies.

        Sounds pretty simple. But it’s actually quite hard and requires courage and persistence.

        “And this is the way to break out of the imaginary encirclement of our inertness, the easiest way for us and the most devastating for the lies. For when people renounce lies, lies simply cease to exist. Like parasites, they can only survive when attached to a person. We are not called upon to step out onto the square and shout out the truth, to say out loud what we think—this is scary, we are not ready. But let us at least refuse to say what we do not think!”

        I think what lists like this do is attach people to the lies which keeps them alive and gives them oxygen.

        And that is core, I think, to describe the narratives being foisted on us today in the name of supposedly ‘noble’ ideals like patriotism and religion and progressivism and social justice. Sure, we can claim everyone who in some way goes along with the lies each extreme lives by are the ‘enemy’, so to speak, but I think more of us need to repudiate ALL those who engage in promoting their preferred narrative. We need to stop feeding the division and start feeding what we share: that is liberalism that feeds e pluribus unum.


        • Tildeb, thanks for your response. I agree with your statement that the GOP has embraced some authoritarian practices, but I disagree with your statement that Democrats are putting forth totalitarianism. Dems are far from perfect, but my main concerns with the more progressive wing is a lack of focus on paying for things and not showing enough willingness to compromise. That is about it, in my view. Sorry dude. Keith

          Liked by 2 people

        • That’s okay, Keith. I am inundated with examples of totalitarianism from the left in governance, academia, medicine, education, and non profits every day and so I see it incrementally unfold and understand why so many people when its imposed on them think it is the worst of two evils. I am not going to condemn them for preferring the authoritarian alternative. The right, unlike the left, is not dismantling the fundamentals of western civilization.


        • I think you seriously exaggerate the totalitarian danger of the Democrats. The Party as a whole is not really controlled by 22 year old blue haired “activist” who is one of the 25 genders we don’t even have names for. They make a lot of noise, but the DP is overall the rational side of the One Party of Wall Street and War. The Republicans are just the insane theocratic wing of said One Party.

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        • This right here is why I think the Democrats are going to lose American democracy. What happens then is I think is where federal democracy becomes unrecognizable in its slide into authoritarianism when the Republicans gain the supermajority power to do so at the federal level. I think the Democrats could have altered this, should have altered this, but most Americans who would usually vote Democrat were utterly blind to realize the danger they themselves played in creating the necessary conditions to foster and encourage this travesty to unfold. When a historically democratic border are in Texas with a majority of Latinos vote in a Republican, that’s the dying canary few Democrats pay any attention to. This shift is not because of some ‘fringe’ element!


          If by fringe you mean the entertainment industry, then yes. If by fringe you mean legacy media, then yes. If by fringe you mean education, then yes. If by fringe you mean the publishing industry, then yes. If by fringe you mean the medical community, then yes. If by fringe you mean scientific oversite organizations, then yes. If by fringe you mean censoring information access like Wikipedia and Google and Facebook and Twitter do, then yes. If by fringe you mean every single person supportive of the Black Lives Matter movement who went out and demonstrated, the yes. All very fringe.

          And the list of ‘fringe’ that IS the Democratic base AND those who staff its party organization from top to bottom and funds it just goes on and on and on pretending the Republicans are the threat. Yet the ideological capture of the Democrats AND its base by this ‘fringe’ is complete!

          And it is now as ‘fringe’ as are the tea party extremists and Trumpites within the Republican party who have captured that and just as ubiquitous in its authoritarian policies and practices as the Democrats in its totalitarian and Marxist policies and practices. And it IS totalitarian to its core. One is either onboard with the righteousness of this capture or is treated by Democrats as if an enemy of the people. There is zero middle ground allowed. Those who criticize the Dems and are still standing are dwindling by non stop attacks against employers, family members, and the reputation of anyone associated or sympathetic. It’s called ‘purging’ in China; it’s called implementing ‘social justice’ in the US. Twitter is the modern version of the public square guillotine for these heretics.

          This is the heart and soul of the Democratic party today and its base. This is the only alternative to the Republican candidates. What so many Democrats don’t get is that in the eyes of literally tens of millions of citizens, the Republicans are the BETTER, the SAFER, the less CRAZY, the more TOLERANT alternative. Certainly more liberal in values.

          The Democrats cannot see this central role they play in failing to produce a legitimate liberal – not today’s ANTI liberal highly regressive totalitarian – alternative. It’s an unbelievable failure. It’s hard to be worse than the Republicans, yet the Democrats have accomplished just that in the eyes of what I think will prove to be the majority of Americans. No number of dead canaries matter.



    • The Republican Party as we knew it no longer exists choosing to follow the dog whistle politics of the former twice impeached disgraced president who perpetrated a violent b uprising against the U.S. government. Still the radical right defends and lies to hold on to power in Congress. Even our supposedly apolitical Supreme Court has been corrupted by the Republican party as well as many other Institutions of democracy.
      The only way to save our democracy is at the polls and the red states are at this very moment gerrymandering and attempting to block free elections. The Democratic Party is the only political party that can save our democracy as it erodes under the congressional leadership ( loose term) of the Republican lead Senate and two House representatives (that should be sitting in the right side of the aisle) whose agenda is to obstruct and deny.

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      • Yes, I have often stated that the Republican party is an existential threat to the United States. We are in full agreement there. That means electing a supermajority of Republicans I think will literally be the end of a United States as a liberal democracy. When Trump is reelected (the window of opportunity to alter this result I think is dwindling rapidly), there will be a purge throughout the federal government and an oath of allegiance to Trump will be central to that purge. This is already policy in the national Republican party (Source ). This first act (and by policy it IS the first order of business when reelection occurs) will destroy federal institutions working for the public and make them fully beholden to Trump. That includes national agencies like the FBI, CIA, NSA, and the Secret Service. This will make government authoritarian by fiat.

        The path to that terrible end I think runs through the Democrats. Few Democrats seem willing to listen to this. That path requires the Democrats to lose enough seats. This is why I criticize polices and practices and decisions by the captured Democratic party that fuels Republican success at ballot box – over and over and over again.

        Nan knows how often I bring this up! And she’s not happy when I do. But that capture I talk about is not just by the progressive ideologues INSIDE the Democratic party leadership but by the rank and file Democrats and independents who tolerate not just zero criticism of these platforms (because they’re NOT Republicans) but who then constantly double down in the ‘righteousness’ of their ‘virtue’ to insist these be imposed on everyone, and to just shut up and go along, just do and say nothing because anything might help the Republicans.

        And so I get slotted into being somehow a Republican supporter when I point this guaranteed losing strategy out, when I explain why this turns enough centrist voters to see the local Republican as the better alternative than the batshit crazy reality-denying progressive who seems to truly despise the country, its history and everything it stands for, and thinks tearing everything down is a good first step!

        So I hold democrats responsible for ensuring Republican electoral wins (after all, the Republicans have no compelling policies that stand on their own merit) with these polices, practices, intolerance, and full blown totalitarian Marxist framing of issues inside public institutions. This Democratic position is swaying enough voters to select enough Republican senatorial and congressional seats to bring about the supermajority that will, I think, end American democracy. That doesn’t make me a Republic apologist; it makes me a liberal defender against enemies foreign AND domestic. Especially domestic.


        • I agree the Democrats are weak and there course of inaction and compulsive desire to please every constituent for fear of losing votes will be their downfall. I also agree the Republicans under the leadership of Trump conspire to purge federal institutions and thereby create an autocratic government with ultimate authority and power over others. Rome burns while the Dems fiddle.

          Liked by 2 people

        • tildeb, it’s not necessarily that I’m unhappy with the content of your (lengthy!) comments. It’s more that you point out mistakes and faults, but then offer little in the way of solution.

          For example, in this latest tirade, what do you suggest the average citizen do? In the U.S., we generally have two options on our ballots … Democrat or Republican. If Biden doesn’t run again, we may be able to exert some influence in 2024, but otherwise …

          Liked by 1 person

  3. I often agree with Keith.

    I consider myself an independent, and I have always tried to avoid party affiliations. In the past, I have sometimes voted for Republicans and sometimes for Democrats. But these days, I mostly vote for the Democrats.

    Since the 1990s, I have thought of the Republicans as unfit to govern. That’s largely because of Newt Gingrich, who changed the party to one which emphasis dishonest smears rather than discussions of policy proposals.

    I did vote for a Republican (Judy Baar Topinka) for state governor in 2006. I could not vote for a second term for the thoroughly dishonest Rod Blagojevich.

    The Democrats, much like the Republicans, also have a crazy fringe, and that’s why I stay as an independent. However, the crazies in the Democratic party are a far smaller group than the crazies in the Republican party.

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  4. I too am an independent, as many here. I voted R in some elections in days past, I voted D similarly. But over the last 20 years (and I know I repeat myself,) the R’s have moved so far right that it makes my self proclaimed independent ass, look like a left wing liberal from hell.

    Never EVER again will I vote R after what I’ve seen of late. How anyone with two eyes, two ears and a brain to process the input can vote R in these times just amazes me. I am bewildered. I am confused. I am sickened. What possesses people to vote for the things I am seeing? It does not compute.

    Keith’s words ring true with me.

    We are having elections here this year, as are the rest of ya. We have a guy I have known for may years running for mayor. He’s a landlord to my mother in law/ and sister in law, he was the election commissioner for the last 15 years or so. He has always been a nice guy when I’ve seen him and even though he is a R, I had been considering voting for him. Despite my misgivings about R’s in general. I’ve always known him to be a straight up guy.

    Then, I heard from a friend of mine, this guy was a BIG Trumper and was freaking at the insurrection!

    Well, I’ll tell ya that threw me for a loop. I did not know of the claims veracity, but I’ve been walking around the last few days a bit uneasy about my notion of voting for him.

    Well, my wife and mother in law wanted to go do the early voting thing, so I drove them. I was still thinking about calling this guy, or talking to him somehow. I need to know before I vote. Well lo and behold, guess who had a little canopy setup outside the election office? Well, me being me, I just walked over and asked him. I told him I had heard he was a big Trumper and had attended the insurrection. I asked was that true?

    His response was “yes I was at the Ellipse speech, but I did not go to the Capitol.” He went on to tell me he had always been a Trump fan, and had always wanted to attend a speech of his, and because he had been election commissioner for so many years (he no longer holds the position,) he never had the chance. So he went.

    I thanked him for his honesty. I told him that was in short supply these days, and I appreciate it. We shook hands and parted ways. That was yesterday.

    Today, after giving it some thought, I am going to vote D down the ticket, and when it come to mayor I’m writing in Nancy Pelosi. Just to piss off the first R that sees it. For the record none of the mayoral candidates are worthy of my vote.

    Even though I know this guy has always been a straight shooter, a very good election commisioner, a fine lanlord, and a nice guy in general, I simply cannot vote for anyone that supports that orange freaking orangatan, known as our previous insurrectionist president. I just can’t do it.

    I should have known better. Should have kicked myself in the backside for even considering it.

    Sorry for writing a book Nan 😉

    Liked by 6 people

    • No apology necessary. You were telling a story and it was very interesting. The folks I get onto are those that seem unable to express their perspective and/or position on controversial topics without discussing all the aspects, facets, and features … and then adding their own thoughts!

      So … no worries!

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    • I fear Trump represents a core asshole ness of too many people. People who wish they could do that, behave like that but out of fear or the desire to maintain a facade of being nice guys????


      • Interesting psychology, all the wannabe kings/dictators/assholes in general, live vicariously through their heroes?

        Could be something to that… I have never been able to fathom why the poorest, most downtrodden backwoods rednecks, could possibly think the R party is in it for them? When perhaps, in fact, they possibly understand their draw of the cards, their place in the world just fine, but just want to be like the evil R jackasses they admire?

        Is that so far out it’s crazy to think it?

        Liked by 1 person

        • I don’t think it’s so much them believing the R’s are “in it for them” as it is they’re taken in by all the Bullsh__ — and are convinced by that Bullsh__ that tRump and his merry men are actually going to change their lives!

          Then again … maybe it is just “hero worship.”


        • I’m not hearing any of that from a bunch of contacts I have with people in the various States. To a person, male, female, different ethnicities, they are telling me they have to vote Republican because they cannot vote Democrat/woke/baizuo.


        • Well, there are a “a bunch of contacts” right here on this blog (and a few others) who are most definitely NOT going to “vote Republican” … regardless of “woke” OR (the Chinese neologism) baizuo.

          Liked by 2 people

        • By contacts I mean family members and friends who live in various states and have explained to me why they will vote Republican. I haven’t come across many on this or any blog who admit voting this was. Yet – miraculously – they (meaning half of the voting public) are consistently painted as drooling morons, bigots, and brain damaged gun-loving rednecks rather than well educated people (bankers, doctors, teachers, nurses, biologists, business people) who have good REASONS for doing so, a reason I almost never see recognized by those who lean Democrat. They is a huge knowledge gap. What I see, however, is shock and dismay by Dems every single time Republicans win elections, which tells me so many commentators have in fact and in reality absolutely no honest and informed clue other than their biases and beliefs and agreeable narratives upon which to base their ‘understanding’.


  5. Keith has long been my gold-standard, the one whose voice I hear in my head when I’m writing a post that is turning into a bit of a rant! I try to live up to his standard, but have not yet succeeded!

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  6. The nesting reply functions seems to drop off sometimes, so in response to tiledb: I share his disdain for the excesses of wokedom. And yes, in some segments of culture (I disagree when you h his litany of woe) you can get in trouble for meekly suggesting only females can get pregnant. But he shares with his contacts, it appears, to willingly accept the worst, verging on hysterical, interpretation of what the Democratic Party really is. Sorry, tiledb.. you are an intelligent man but I could see some of your posts coming straight out of The Federalist Society. And this may be harsh but I would be willing to bet that your contacts exist in a very deliberate propaganda soup.

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    • Re: the nesting. I have limited my “reply” buttons because after a point, they end up being one word per line for people using their phones and/or tablets. If the “reply” button is missing after a comment, just scroll back up to the last reply button showing for that particular comment. Your remarks will post at the end of the referenced comment.

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    • Be assured, basenjibrian2, I have zero support for the Republican party. All I’m saying is that there are good reasons why so many people vote this way and, as far as I can tell, it’s not because they agree with the extremists (about 13% of the party) but by vast majority do so because of the Democrat’s capture by anti-American ‘progressives’. And progressive ARE anti-American in that they support the dismantling of the American Constitution and the disavow the fundamental values enshrined.

      So this is the fuel I am talking about and something the Democrats can do something about. By mentioning the people who do vote Republican that I am in contact with, the message I hear is very, very clear: remove the fuel, defeat the Republicans. These are the folk I’m saying would otherwise vote Democrat.

      So this task lies completely with the base, with the rank and file Democrats and NOT the Republicans. Tolerate and continue supporting anti-liberal sentiment called ‘social justice’, lose to the Republicans. Continue vilifying all things Republican while supporting ‘progressive’ Democrats, lose to the Republicans. I am being told year in and year out that THIS is a direct cause and effect situation, whereas what I encounter on so many blogs is a never-ending stream of anti-Republican positions and vilification arguments about just how deplorable the Other is. That’s not a solution. Doing so (like what Reich constantly does) as if THAT is what’s required to win elections, is a losing strategy. It’s a losing strategy because the moral character of those who will vote Republican is not the problem. The problem is ‘progressive’ policies owned by the Democrats… the fuel – the very lifeblood – that wins election after election after election for Republicans.

      Unless and until – and a great big IF – the Democrats return to liberal policies starting with the base and forcing the progressive extremists out of positions of authority (and policy making, which is now so widespread in the institutions that make up the federal state), the Republicans will win. That’s bad. And I only see Democrats not correcting but doubling down again and again and again on maintaining this losing approach. Just like in 2016, where the Republicans didn’t so much win as the Democrats managed to lose to a bullying narcissistic clown. The reasons for the shock of this I don;t think has ever really been examined by all the institutions that were so certain a Democratic win was in the bag. And they seem to have learned nothing since and are just as certain today that doing the same thing will yield a different result. just keep on vilifying the republicans…


      • tildeb, again I see in your remarks what the Democrats should do, but what I don’t see are suggested actions for us, as blog-readers and average citizens who support the Democratic Way, to take in order to off-set these “progressive Democrats” that you consider the problem.

        It’s all well and good to put a “light unto our path,” but if we don’t know which road to follow to get to the desired destination, we will continue to curse the darkness.

        One other thing … please put names and faces on the “progressive extremists” you mentioned for those of us who may live within their purview so we can write or call them before the upcoming elections and express our reservations related to their actions.

        Liked by 2 people

        • I have answered this repeatedly, Nan. You’re not getting it so let me explain where the solution lies by way of analogy.

          How did your book offer a solution to the problems of religion in the public domain? Oh wait… it was about the Bible. It was an inquiry into its claims. It was… critical. But why do this, Nan, if you can’t offer me specific alternatives and solutions presuming I’m a religious believer? Why are you not providing me with a blueprint on exactly how you plan on changing my presumed dedication to the criticized biblical understanding I’ve been taught to accept with a legitimate alternative? That tells me exactly what to do? Oh, and give me names of the people responsible for incorrectly going along with the incorrect teaching.

          The issue starts with understanding what then problem is. Only then can we start to provide solutions.

          The problem is illiberalism. The solutions are for each of to uphold liberal values. Criticize illiberalism. Don’t go along to get along. Be honest. Tell the truth. Don’t lie. Vote accordingly. How many ways can I say it? It’s like when an ex-Muslim criticizes Islam and is treated as a bigot for doing so by the generic baizuo and others GO ALONG with this. That’s what’s happening with the Democrats and the institutions they staff and run from top to bottom when it comes to progressive ideology today, which is bad enough because it’s illiberal from top to bottom. But when this is the fuel for Republican electoral success, then the problem on the federal level becomes existential.

          Democracy will not survive another Trump term. Democrats who don’t understand their part in fuelling it, by not treating, as Neil says, this ‘fad’ as a central part of the fuel for this existential threat to be made real are, in my mind, undeserving of liberal democracy because they’re not doing their individual part to defend it… perhaps, I sincerely hope, because they don’t understand what the root PROBLEM is.

          The problem isn’t the Republicans (they are a symptom and therefore a threat to the body politic). The problem is illiberalism that fuels the symptom. The part that Democrats can play defending liberalism is by NOT supporting, excusing, justifying, rationalizing, demonstrating, defending, funding, and acting as an agent of ILLIBERALISM is all its forms. That’s what Democrats can do every day in every way.

          Demanding me to say what we should do is what I have said over and over again: support LIBERALISM not progressivism. Criticize progressivism not liberalism. I cannot be clearer than that.


        • The issue starts with understanding what the problem is. Only then can we start to provide solutions.

          I think you have more than provided us with an “understanding” of the problem. What I see lacking is the solutions … and how individuals can change things.

          How does it help to simply “criticize illiberalism”? (See below.) As for being honest and telling the truth, I would hope most of the people reading your rants on this blog are doing both. As for “voting accordingly,” I would also like to think that’s what most of us do!

          And again I ask for names of the individuals you believe are “progressive extremists” so readers can vote against them and/or contact them with their concerns.

          Definition: “Illiberalism” — opposition to or lack of liberalism; not broad-minded : BIGOTED. I can’t help but ask … Is this how you see the Democrats of today?


        • A practical example is to not go along with the hijacking of the language. As I outlined to Neil, the term ‘tolerance’ has a specific meaning that has been inverted to serve the needs of ideological ‘progressivism’. As a blogger, don’t go along with the perversion. As a commentator, don;t go along with the perversion. The same is true for ‘diversity’ and ‘inclusion’. When the term ‘gender’ is used, find out what on earth the person is talking about because nine times out of ten, the person means biological sex but is used to mean some magical above the neck spectrum of identities. Understand the difference between assigned group identities and assigned characteristics and how easily these terms slide by in conversation as if meaningful to and descriptive of individuals when they are as fake as claiming this child is ‘born’ a Muslim and this child is ‘born’ a Marxist. Upholding an immutable characteristic as if meaningful of the individuals who has it is the heart of prohibited discrimination even if it comes with a clever word like ‘anti-racist’.

          You’ll note I always use the the ‘progressive’ in scare quotes not because I am being facetious but because the term has been inverted to mean politically and socially regressive and antiliberal. So by using the quotes I am trying to be honest. Always. Especially in the language I use.

          That’s why I introduced the term baizuo because it’s sometimes easier to see a pattern from a distance commonly exercised by people and give it a descriptive term to show it’s ill repute rather than use the more generic and perhaps offensive word like ‘woke’. Notice please that even this term ‘woke’ has been inverted from its origins from the 60s civil rights movement. This linguistic inversion whenever and wherever it’s encountered is clear signal of the postmodern ideology like ‘progressivism’ hard at work. Recognize it. Criticize it. Hold people who use them to account and define what they mean because the inversion becomes apparent. And the inversion is about as dishonest a start as one can find. Be honest. Insist on respecting what’s true and knowable. Like religious belief, ‘progressive’ acceptance depends on people believing it’s true so recognize when people switch from addressing contrary evidence to character assassination and quip smearing.

          This is what is being described by Republicans who use it as fuel. And people – especially outside of urban areas – can’t afford to ignore reality and pretend words create reality. So they are naturally sympathetic to anyone who criticizes this practice. The Democrats could be making hay in the electorate with the same criticisms and exposing with ridicule and sarcasm and humor (remember when there used to be some?) the ‘progressives’ and their illiberal ideas in their ranks. Remember, it only takes about a 5% swing by centrist voters to win elections. Rejecting ‘progressivism’ would easily do that when the alternative is an existential threat to democracy. And, as I’ve said, people will choose authoritarianism over totalitarianism the ‘progressives’ are busy trying to impose on everyone.


      • I have zero support for the Republican party.

        That may be. Yet you are a damnable authoritarian.

        Yes, you speak against authoritarianism. Yet you repeatedly whine about the Democrats not using their authority to suppress those parts of the party that you dislike.

        … because of the Democrat’s capture by anti-American ‘progressives’.

        The Democrats have not been captured by ‘progressives’. Just look at who wins primaries, and you will see that.

        You are too much of an alarmist. The Democrats tend to be tolerant of the those on the fringes. And you appear to not like that tolerance. But the only alternative to tolerance is authoritarianism.

        Fads come and go. I’m tolerant enough to wait for the current fads to die out.

        Liked by 2 people

        • You will wait forever, then. And Democrats tend to be tolerant?

          ‘Tolerance’ (OED) means “the willingness to accept or tolerate someone or something, especially opinions or behavior that you may not agree with.”

          Now do you see the problem with ‘progressive’ tolerance? It ain’t tolerance. It’s intolerance.

          The term has been captured and is used now to mean ‘words of disagreement are now to be treated as violence’ and so we MUST NOT say them. (Go ahead and pull up stats on who in the US feels they are not free to state an opinion without risking reputation… like thee majority of university students, for example.) If they are said, then the person saying them is to be treated as morally suspect and of questionable character – probably ‘right wing’ and/or ‘conservative’ extremist. In institutions captured by the ideology, which today runs across the public square, these folk bring into question the leadership who would ‘tolerate’ employing such harmful people. The people who carry out this ‘violence’, therefore, should be censored and/or fired, their families should be targeted, their careers should be destroyed, that professional acquaintances should be be held suspect. These people should publicly APOLOGIZE for their ‘bigotry’ and ‘hate speech’.

          This is going on all around you every day. To pretend that this version of tolerance isn’t going on, or if it is it’s just a ‘fad’, is to deny reality. Tolerance – REAL tolerance – is a liberal value (and necessary for democracy to function). Anyone of any political bent who goes along with the intolerance being exercised as ‘equity, diversity, and inclusion’ that relies on this kind of ‘tolerance’ is by behaviour deeply anti-liberal. Even if it’s a person of different culture, ethnicity, gender, sex, race or religion. Anyone. And it runs unchecked throughout the Democratic party and obsequious base allowing for intolerance, overt racism, and mainstream bigotry to thrive.


        • You will wait forever, then.

          The fads will go away. But they will be replaced by new fads. That’s just the way that humans are.

          Now do you see the problem with ‘progressive’ tolerance? It ain’t tolerance. It’s intolerance.

          My comment was about Democrat’s tolerance, not about progressive tolerance (if such even exists). Yes, there is a lot of intolerance among the fringe groups on the left. But that does not describe most Democrats.

          Look at Jerry Coyne. Or look at Dan Kaufman (of The Electric Agora) or at Ophelia Benson for views that are more typical of Democrats.

          And it runs unchecked throughout the Democratic party …

          And there you are again, demanding that Democratic party become more authoritarian.

          Liked by 1 person

        • “I’ve heard from doctors who’ve been reported to their departments for criticizing residents for being late. (It was seen by their trainees as an act of racism.) I’ve heard from doctors who’ve stopped giving trainees honest feedback for fear of retaliation. I’ve spoken to those who have seen clinicians and residents refuse to treat patients based on their race or their perceived conservative politics.

          Some of these doctors say that there is a “purge” underway in the world of American medicine: question the current orthodoxy and you will be pushed out. They are so worried about the dangers of speaking out about their concerns that they will not let me identify them except by the region of the country where they work.

          “People are afraid to speak honestly,” said a doctor who immigrated to the U.S. from the Soviet Union. “It’s like back to the USSR, where you could only speak to the ones you trust.” If the authorities found out, you could lose your job, your status, you could go to jail or worse. The fear here is not dissimilar.” (Source)

          Look, Neil, there are literally thousands of such examples of this ever-deepening ‘fad’. In elementary education alone, there are thousands of such examples. This doesn’t make me an ‘authoritarian’ by saying we as liberal supporters – trying to keep Republicans from political power – need to criticize this ideology whenever and wherever it makes inroads, to stand up to it, to refuse to go along to get along, to speak honestly and refuse to lie, and so on. I’ve heard the same dire warning I’ve boldfaced from lots of people – smart, educated, accomplished people – who have lived under totalitarian regimes and see the very liberalism they escaped to disappearing one cowardly act at a time, from a mathematician at Princeton to a North Korean refugee at Columbia, from my Byelorussian biologist neighbour to my Hong Kong friend. Just this week, for example, Mirriam-Webster changed the definition of female to include males. See how virtuous that is? (Shh… just go along and use the correct vocabulary.) It’s just an ‘inclusive’ kind of world where reality can be altered by new terms and reworked definitions, donchaknow! Sure, just a fad.

          But ‘ranting’ about the dishonesty of doing so, of going along with it and defending this stealthy imposition of an illiberal and dishonest ideology throughout the public domain BY DEMOCRATS and what effect that abdication of being truthful has politically, well… that’s just hysterical ranting by right wing bigots, you see. Oh, and we can fix history the same way with enough cancelling and statue removals and renaming.

          So calling it all a passing ‘fad’ serves one master and it’s not the truth. If that criticism is a ‘rant’ then, hey, why shouldn’t we change the words to describe warnings and criticisms and causal effects to a smear term? There. All fixed.

          And so Rome burns while we argue about the gender pronouns of the barbarians inside the gate. Yeah, that’s a winning strategy.


        • Look, Neil, there are literally thousands of such examples of this ever-deepening ‘fad’.

          Anecdotes are not evidence.

          This doesn’t make me an ‘authoritarian’ by saying we as liberal supporters – trying to keep Republicans from political power – need to criticize this ideology whenever and wherever it makes inroads, to stand up to it, to refuse to go along to get along, to speak honestly and refuse to lie, and so on.

          I have no problem with you criticizing the ideology.

          But you don’t criticize the ideology. Instead, you repeatedly attack the Democratic party. You seem to believe the party should purge the ideology, and that’s what makes you look authoritarian.


        • Liberals need to stop supporting illiberalism. What I’m saying is that this is especially important for the Democrats – rank and file and leadership – because the only alternative to the Republican party is the Democratic party. I think the responsibility for swaying the centrist voters to keep the Republicans from a supermajority (that I think is an existential threat to democracy in the US) lies with Democrats. That’;s why I focus on the Democrats. And the way to bring about that swaying I have been told over and over again by liberals who have voted Republican is for the Democrats – rank and file and leadership – to stop supporting illiberalism in policy and practice and start promoting liberalism again in both policy and practice. Without that change…. well, we are where we are and heading to more and more electoral defeats. But Democrats keep telling me not in so many words how their doing this for all the right reasons and so what I’m saying is wrong. Except I’m not.


        • Liberals need to stop supporting illiberalism.

          WTF does that even mean?

          It is a nice sounding slogan, but it does not provide useful advice.

          Meanwhile, all I can do is choose between the candidates available for me at the election. Overall, the voters in Democratic primaries tend to be somewhat conservative. It seems to me that most of them are already opposed to the ideologies that you dislike.


        • Neil, this has been my contention all along … Meanwhile, all I can do is choose between the candidates available for me at the election.

          The idealism that tildeb continues to rant about is just that … idealism. To the average VOTER, it essentially has no meaning unless, as I said in a previous comment, those who live in states where the Democrats are demonstrating this “illiberalism,” the voter is able to write/call and/or VOTE for the individual that demonstrates more of what the voter wants to see.

          Liked by 2 people

        • Nan, do YOU know what the ‘liberal’ part of a liberal democracy means? Have you ever thought about why respecting that part of policies and practices might matter to some voters? Only because it’s THE key to the those centrist voters selected Republican in 2016 and again in 2020. Or is even asking still yet another rant from me? I’m surprised you haven’t called me strident and shrill yet.


        • I’m pushing it? I’m not the one calling others hysterical and a comment troll and ranting, Nan. All I’m doing is answering various charges.

          To find out what makes a liberal democracy liberal (to define policies and practices that are contrary to these principles, called ‘illiberal’), and why so much is so illiberal these days and getting worse, Honestly has an excellent interview with Greg Lukianoff, Constitutional lawyer, author, and head of The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education – now evolving into The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression. He articulates many of the same illiberal issues I have referenced (anecdotes are not evidence, says Neil, while ignoring the 1500 complaints logged annually with FIRE for cases of illiberal practices and policies) and explains WHY they are illiberal.

          So of course I’m going to criticize the Democratic party for helping fuel Republican electoral wins (as I’ve said repeatedly, they’ve got almost nothing in policy to vote FOR)… unless you think it’s a good idea to keep on fueling Republican wins by supporting, excusing, and tolerating the Democratic party’s illiberal actions, practices, and policies! That’s where we disagree. Like most commentators, you seem determined to hold the republicans solely responsible.

          I think this is a losing strategy not because I believe so but because this is an accurate descriptor of historical precedent. The Democrats are essential in this precedence.

          By you calling this criticism of the Democrats as ‘attacking’ – as if therefore somehow ‘bad’ by fiat in order to dismiss it out of hand – means you are waving away my central point: that only the Democrats CAN defeat the Republicans but only by (and you continue to ignore this point entirely) attracting the centrist swing voters, which means the party and rank and file are going to have to go back to supporting liberalism and distancing themselves from illiberalism. If the Democrats don’t do this – and I don’t think they will – I predict a Republican supermajority. THAT is what I’m trying to fight against happening by holding the Democrats to account for their part in bringing it about.


        • tildeb, please. No more. You’ve said your piece (again and again). I understand your passion, but by all indications, you’re not accomplishing what I think you set out to do. Moreover, I prefer my blog to be a bit more give-and-take. To my notion, you are dominating the discussion and receiving minimal feedback. So like I said … Enough already. Thx.

          Liked by 2 people

        • Okay.

          But one final thing If I may: people should read On Liberty by John Stuart Mill. This essay is the core of “a political and social philosophy that promotes individual rights, civil liberties, democracy, and free enterprise.” In other words, the core philosophy of US Constitution.

          Illiberalism like the kind of democracy you reference is really just the opposite, especially one that reduces individual rights and civil liberties (replacing these with group rights and privileged liberties for some). The primary right under sustained attack is free speech, and this is the main area defended by FIRE.


        • Like I said above, while the woke left can be in sane, tiledb seems as… hysterical…as the crazy Trumpalos. I dislike the gender crazies, the Maoist rioters, the 450 pound women who are triggered by a weight chart in their doctor’s office. But to claim that this is the modern Democratic Party is just nuts. And no, saying this does not mean I think every R voter is a drooling idiot. Too many are sociopaths, for instance. And tiledb is a classic example of a concern troll. “If you all just tell the queers and minorities to shut up and get back in the closet, my cousin in the gated suburb may vote D again.” Sorry for the language, Nan…but he is doubling down on his nonsense

          Liked by 3 people

        • So how do YOU think Trump not only won in 2016 but why tens of millions of voters kept their real preference away from all the pollsters and pundits leading up to it?


        • I mention this question because the answers I keep getting from those who did so remain the same: what you call ‘nonsense’. And it’s not somewhere in the fringe of the Democratic party but central to it. That’s why this ‘nonsense’ is throughout the public domain supported and implemented by Democrats in positions of public authority. This ‘nonsense’ is at the heart of much Democrat policy (and there are lots and lots of examples).

          This denialism of legitimate criticism by calling its target ‘nonsense’ or a ‘fad’ if even real, by calling those who speak honestly about it as ‘hysterical’ or ‘ranting’ or ‘trolling’ is a striking example of supporting an approved narrative hard at work rather than respecting what’s true first. When ex-Christians or ex-Muslims criticize their previous faith, well, they were never real believers; when a strong black woman tells us she’s not a victim of systemic racism, she’s not ‘black enough’; when a detransitioner criticizes the policy of blanket affirmation of gender dysphoria by absolutely everyone in the medical profession, she’s suddenly a bigoted transphobe. When liberals who vote Republican tell us the Democrat alternative is even worse for being so illiberal, they must be wrong, wrong, wrong. Otherwise, the believed-in narrative is at risk.

          And so when the Republicans gain a supermajority, please come back to this thread and see for yourself what went wrong, how this could have happened. I think far too many Democrats who think they are liberal simply aren’t listening while supporting increasing illiberalism in all kinds of ways, so sure of their narrative that they are a reasonable alternative that they don’t see how they are doing their individual part to fuel Republican electoral wins.


  7. I’m just going to put this here …

    What does “liberalism” involve and what does “illiberalism?” In nutshell form, a political liberal is someone (or some political party) who abides by each and all of the following three principles: First, the acknowledgement that modern society is divided by many, and most often crosscutting, cleavages; second, the need to strive to bridge those cleavages by promoting political moderation, consensus, and negotiated agreements; and, third, a commitment to the rule of law and the protection of minority rights as the best means to attain political liberalism. In sharp contrast, illiberal politicians, or parties, consider society to be divided by one single cleavage ostensibly dividing the ordinary people from some “establishment;” hence, such leaders encourage polarization and political adversity while rejecting compromise; and, finally, based on the belief that they represent the greater and best part of “the people,” illiberal leaders dismiss minorities and disregard institutional legality, while favoring majoritarianism.

    From: https://pappaspopulism.com/zakaria-and-illiberal-democracy/

    Liked by 2 people

    • A very rational definition. Which gets us back to the question: which party, which tendency is illiberal? Contra tiledb, I do not see the email institutional DP is meeting that definition very well?


  8. “Moreover, once this gets out, and it will, it’s going to be used against Democratic candidates far and wide. It was, after all, a product of a Democratic school system. And if people get riled up about anything, it’s about people propagandizing their children. Just imagine the Virginia gubernatorial election as a paradigm of what could happen.” (Jerry Coyne on his website Why Evolution is True)

    It’s not just me…


    • The ONLY part of that article that I can agree with is in the last paragraph — But there will be an endpoint. … [The] theory is a fundamentally weak academic theory. … Eventually, as parents understand the ideology and what it hopes to accomplish, they will revolt against it—a day that cannot come soon enough.

      And PLEASE … no response is necessary. Just letting you know my reaction.

      (Far, far to “woke” for me. And I live in Oregon!!)

      Liked by 2 people

  9. “[P]residential elections are not won by mobilizing progressive activists and driving up vote counts in California and New York; they are won in swing states by persuading centrist and independent voters.”

    Anytime one finds one’s position echoed by Francis Fukuyama (author/historian of End of History and Liberalism and its Discontents), it’s a good day. It means one is on the right track.


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