Elections 2018


#588

weren’t we not attributing random shit to mental illness around here anymore


#589

#590

I was not aware that this had been considered by anyone to be related in any way to mental illness for centuries, but fair enough. I chose the word intentionally for that reason, but apologize for anyone who was offended by it.


#591

Interestingly, Rohrabacher is not conceding and insisting he wants “all votes counted.” I thought that was against the Republican standard?


#592

Well, about that…

Republican Party mailers never mentioned he was a Republican.


#593

The Republican standard on counting all the votes is the same as on small government and states’ rights – It’s okay only when it benefits them.


#594

BTW…


#598

While we’re waiting for the big ones…


#599

#600

Some times. But we should always let it inform us when reading it now and know what parts to ignore or roll our eyes at.


#601

Let us keep in mind that a couple centuries from now, assuming we make it that far, even the most progressive of us will probably be judged as Neolithic in our viewpoints on many issues, and just plain ignorant on most of the rest. The founders were creatures of their era as are we all. They created a system capable of evolving well beyond their ability to anticipate, despite the efforts of some to keep that from happening. We can only strive to assure that evolution continues.


#602

Sure. As @docosc says, we can certainly look back and say that the social environment of the time was toxic, and that (for example) slave ownership by Jefferson or the casual racism of the suffragettes is evidence of that. Baggini’s point though is also that modern declarations that these people were monsters are misguided:

Anyone who cannot bring themselves to admire such a historical figure betrays a profound lack of understanding about just how socially conditioned all our minds are, even the greatest. Because the prejudice seems so self-evidently wrong, they just cannot imagine how anyone could fail to see this without being depraved.

He continues:

Their outrage arrogantly supposes that they are so virtuous that they would never be so immoral, even when everyone around them was blind to the injustice. We should know better.

That said, slavery is kind of a special case, as even in the 18th century it was vociferously opposed by people of good conscience.


#603

I find it interesting that Washington, who is often held up as the “good” Founder by even relatively woke folks, was actually the slaviest slaver of the lot.

(and, no, posthumously freeing the survivors does not make this substantially better)


#604

Yes, because there was literally no one talking about the equality of women and of the end of slavery in the late 18th century… except that there was.


#605

I’d put a witty quip here about finding the differences between the two groups but there’s really only one.


#606

I’m not sure this is what people mean when they say “representative democracy”. And yet…


#607

And the Republicans get whiter, maler and older. It’s only a matter of time, but I have to wonder if we have enough of that.


#608

I gather you skipped the last line of my subsequent post.

It is worth noting that many suffragettes in England were vigorous colonialists, and many in the US were rather awful racists. The point isn’t that these were terrible people, but rather that people are complicated, and good people in a particular time or place can have terrible perspectives mixed in with the good.

Moral outrage is useful as an instrument for change, but it is most useful when we apply it to ourselves and our fellows in the present.


#609

From another thread:

Washington et al were not representative of the common people of their day; they’re representative of the Murdoch/Thiel/Bezos equivalents.

The plutocratic and white supremacist nature of US politics is not a new thing; it was deliberately designed in from the beginning. The character of the Constitutional authors remains relevant to that.


#610

Not really. We can learn about historical figures and how they helped shape the past, but we don’t have to admire them.

I’ve never once thought anything like that. On the other hand, I have considered the way I would have been regarded by them as a brown woman. I am certain that those on the receiving end of the injustice saw it quite clearly.