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Rand Paul Wants to Restore Felon Voting Rights

I’ve hammered Rand Paul many times for taking unconscionable positions on a number of issues and pandering to the most extreme wing of his party, but I’ve also given him credit when he’s been right. And I have to applaud him for speaking out in favor of restoring the voting rights of felons who complete their sentence.

In a dozen states, people who have committed a felony and gotten sent to prison don’t get their voting rights back after completing their sentence. One of those dozen is Kentucky, represented by stalwart conservative Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY).

Speaking at a local event in Louisville Monday, Paul argued that felons who have served their sentences should get their voting rights restored. He rightly noted that one of every three adult black men are convicted felons.

According to the Louisville Courier-Journal, Paul said he will push to reform felon disenfranchisement laws both in Washington D.C. and Kentucky.

I hope he means it and I hope he sponsors legislation on it in the Senate, even if it has no chance of passing the House. On criminal justice issues — the death penalty, police misconduct, prosecutorial immunity, mandatory minimums, the war on drugs, racist stop and frisk, etc — libertarians and liberals are mostly in agreement and I think we should work together more on those issues. Even a few conservative Republican legislators and organizations are beginning to come around on some of these things, such as ALEC, which is now pushing to get rid of mandatory minimum sentences.

Comments

  1. says

    Sure, but as soon as Obama says “I’m for that”, and even if he doesn’t volunteer an opinion he will be asked about it eventually, the support on the Right will evaporate. Hell, they’ll probably double down (“House passes ‘Tougher on Crime Actl’ after Obama divides country with controversial comments…”).

  2. says

    I’ve hammered Rand Paul many times for taking unconscionable positions on a number of issues and pandering to the most extreme wing of his party, but I’ve also given him credit when he’s been right.

    Funny thing, I never hear you saying anything similar about neo-nazis, La Rouches, Moonies, or any other bigoted extremist faction. You only give such evenhanded treatment to bigoted extremists in or near the “libertarian” camp.

    …Paul argued that felons who have served their sentences should get their voting rights restored.

    Okay…does he say the same thing about people who lost their voting rights due to HIS PARTY’S voter-purges?

  3. says

    Modus: when Democrats say things like that, it’s “coddling criminals.” And that’s what makes Randy Paul’s statements on this all the more disgraceful — he knows he gets away with it because his party lets him. If a Democrat said the same thing, would he tell his fellow Republicans not to trash him for it?

  4. dingojack says

    Presumably, this is to allow him vote after they find out about what he did to those teenagers (with Glen Bek) in the 80′s.
    Dingo

  5. dingojack says

    Raging Bee – I’ve never heard you say that Adolf Hitler categorically disliked dogs either….. Hmmmmmm.
    What secrets are you trying to hide, exactly?
    Dingo

  6. trucreep says

    I wonder what everyone criticizing Paul thinks about what he actually said?? I mean yeah I get it – he’s endorsed some stupid shit. What about this though?

  7. Chiroptera says

    Whoa! Rand Paul is advocating a policy that, if enacted in the real world, would actually increase peoples’ liberty and expand democracy? Weird.

  8. Jordan Genso says

    @8 trucreep

    I would expect that most of the commenters here would support the idea that “felons who have served their sentences should get their voting rights restored”.

    As others have pointed out though, it’s one thing for him to take the position. Based on his previous actions though, it’s unlikely that he will be supportive of Democrats that take the same position.

  9. Nick Gotts says

    On criminal justice issues — the death penalty, police misconduct, prosecutorial immunity, mandatory minimums, the war on drugs, racist stop and frisk, etc — libertarians and liberals are mostly in agreement and I think we should work together more on those issues. – ed Brayton

    There are very few individuals or groups with whom I would have no agreement, but whether I’m prepared to “work together” with them depends on whether they meet minimum standards of human decency and intellectual integrity. Libertarians in general, and Rand Paul in particular, fail on both counts.

  10. freemage says

    Gregory: Since this is Rand Paul, and Rand Paul believes that the word ‘state’ makes a government body incapable of impinging on liberty, he obviously isn’t going to be trying to get the feds to force any state to do anything. He’s advocating for his own state, and for the District of Columbia, to set aside voting bans for released felons.

    Which is odd, because right now, released felons can already vote in D.C. They just can’t vote while actually in a prison. (BTW, two states, Maine and Vermont, actually DO allow felons to vote with absentee ballots while in prison.)

    Here, for the curious, is the state-by-state breakdown:

    http://felonvoting.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=286

    I was a little surprised to see Nebraska on the permanent-loss column. Otherwise, no real shocks there.

  11. says

    There’s not a chance in hell that the Republican party would support this, their first reason being, “because it will add to the rolls of Democratic voters”. In their minds, this is a democratically legitimate reason to keep people from voting. And it does double-duty by reinforcing racial stereotypes about “Obama voters”.

    As for Rand Paul, he’s either standing up for what’s right regardless of the personal consequences, or he’s cynically employing the divide-and-conquer strategy that his father used to draw young independents into his camp. I’m feeling generous today, so I’ll go with the former until proven otherwise.

  12. says

    On criminal justice issues — the death penalty, police misconduct, prosecutorial immunity, mandatory minimums, the war on drugs, racist stop and frisk, etc — libertarians and liberals are mostly in agreement and I think we should work together more on those issues.

    So what’s stopping them from working with liberals? It must be something big, since it’s been stopping them from working with us since the 1970s. What could it possibly be? Oh yeah, now I remember — it’s the fact that they care more about tax cuts and deregulation than they do about criminal justice. That’s why, despite your laughably naive preaching about common goals, libertarians have consistently supported the party that gave us just about all of the injustices they now pretend to care about.

  13. says

    I wonder what everyone criticizing Paul thinks about what he actually said?? I mean yeah I get it – he’s endorsed some stupid shit. What about this though?

    What about it? He’s said enough stupid, dishonest, insane and bigoted shit that the occasional pleasing noise can be discounted. He’s got a long track record that proves he can’t be trusted, and that far outweighs one speech or photo-op.

  14. says

    Also, if abortion is made illegal, as he and his party clearly want, would he be okay with restoring the voting rights of women and doctors convicted under his anti-choice laws?

  15. mjmiller says

    There’s not a chance in hell that the Republican party would support this, their first reason being, “because it will add to the rolls of Democratic voters”. In their minds, this is a democratically legitimate reason to keep people from voting. And it does double-duty by reinforcing racial stereotypes about “Obama voters”.

    I’m at work and so I don’t have time to research this, but, what are the demographics concerning federal inmate political affiliation/identification? Are those federal offenders who receive their voting rights back tending to actually vote democratic?

  16. says

    I’m at work and so I don’t have time to research this, but, what are the demographics concerning federal inmate political affiliation/identification?

    I doubt anyone keeps statistics on their party ID, but a quick look shows that at the state level (there are relatively few federal inmates) just over half of inmates are black or hispanic, and of course prison inmates tend to come from poorer families. Those are demographics are are more likely to vote Democratic.

    Keep in mind that it doesn’t actually matter how they would vote. Republicans would call them Democrats for sheer rhetorical effect, and once that gets into their heads, Republicans will declare them unworthy of voting. In the name of protecting the integrity of the vote, of course.

  17. jameshanley says

    Once upon a time Dispatches was a reasonably welcoming place for libertarians, with even liberals defending us against the exceptional commenter like the furious invertebrate who still buzzes around here. But this thread is an example of why I don’t even bother anymore. Freethought? It really saddens me me that the thought culture here is less free, more straightjacketed, than before it became part of Freethoughts blogs.* I have to wonder if that’s oart of the reason his comment counts are so much lower. Posts used to get sometimes hundreds of comments (on a guest post I once got 400 comments (although full disclosure compels me to note that I contributed my shate of them), and serious debates raged. It’s pretty boringly conformist now, but blesedly brief, I guess. But I don’t blame Ed. I’m actually curious what he thinks about the change, whether he feels the loss or enjoys the diminished level of fighting.
    ___________________
    *And if freethought applies only to atheism, what a sadly constrained definition (I say as a hard agnostic getting ever closer to admitting to atheism).

  18. says

    jameshanley, that was because we thought you were “librarians”. We clued in when things got noisy and you didn’t shush anyone.

    And Rand Paul isn’t a libertarian (best case scenario: a biographical film would be made on him called “The Occasional Libertarian”). And also Raging Bee has always been anti-libertarian. That’s his schtick, like Israel is for colnago80, or unsatisfying turkey sandwiches are for me. And also this turkey is a little dry. How much mustard must I drench you in, somewhat dry turkey sandwich? How much?!

  19. says

    Jameshanley:

    I know that you might think I’m jerking your chain, but what Raging Bee is doing is entirely in keeping with libertarian thought. He’s saying what he thinks without restraint and other commenters are free to agree or disagree with him.

    Raging Bee and I disagree on some things. I’m pretty sure that we are in agreement on one thing, though. We both think that Rand Paul is piece of shit. He is, if anything, worse than his piece of shit father.

  20. dingojack says

    JamesHanley –
    What you mean is nobody sits in rapt attention at your feet while Kindly Uncle James tells his libertarian fairytales, then uncritically applauds and choruses how clever you are.
    We’ve worked out (some) of tenets of your Galt cult.

    a) I’m all right Jack, fuck you
    b) No care, no responsibility
    c) All animals are equal, it’s just some are more equal than others (ie Get to back of the bus, nigger!)*

    If you want someone to snap to attention when you speak, go visit Ron’s minions, I’m sure they’ve got their own website.
    Dingo
    ——–
    * If you don’t like this characterisation, maybe you should have a word to Ron and Rand

  21. colnago80 says

    Re James Hanley @ #24

    Here is one commenter who appreciated Prof. Hanley’s comments, even when I didn’t agree with him, which was probably 3/4 of the time. Very frankly, I considered him one of the more thoughtful commenters here and someone whose contributions were very much worth reading.

  22. Michael Heath says

    To James point,

    I think part of the issue has nothing to do with the dynamics of this forum changing. Over the past several years we’ve instead encountered libertarians going from groups making abstract arguments with little influence on public policy to the conservative wing of libertarian thought now influencing the Republican party and therefore public policy – in a demonstrably horrific manner. When libertarians had no power, we could ignore their conservative wingnuts and embrace them on common causes, like ending the Drug War and the promotion of gay marriage.

    The nail in the coffin for me was Nick Gillespie, editor of Reason, going on Bill Maher’s HBO show early in President Obama’s first term when fiscal policy debates revolved around responding to the recession and financial crisis. Mr. Gillespie spouted the trite false GOP talking points regarding economic policy, as idiotic as the arguments Rush Limbaugh and yes, even Sarah Palin was espousing. Falsehoods anyone who has passed and remembers 200-level economics could have easily fisked.

    Given that non-partisan liberals are by definition psychologically open, of course their position on libertarians is going to adapt as reality evolves. Especially when libertarians who do not necessarily share the policy positions of conservative libertarians use denialist/avoidance tactics to avoid confronting libertarian complicity for piss-poor policy arguments, or fall for those fatally defective arguments. E.g., ‘no true Scotsman’ arguments about influential [conservative] libertarians or supposedly non-conservative libertarians continuing to ally themselves with the GOP.

    Those alliances have them effectively taking an illiberal side and promoting insane conservative policy objectives. So of course liberals are going to gag at such illiberality, dishonesty, and antipathy towards science and what experts argue; precisely because these libertarians are now wielding power.

    For me, my considering libertarian arguments is something I now perceive as sophomoric, though useful for some when one is at a juvenile stage in their quest for wisdom where one was not exposed to liberal thought as a youth. That whatever arguments attracted me to libertarian thought I now find was and remains rooted in liberalism. It’s a stage that I think wisdom requires us to grow beyond, similar to my hopes for the young atheists at PZ Myers’ forum who I think need to eventually grow out of their bitterness and tribalism for a different tribe if they’re going to become emotionally intelligent. Another analogy would be a young person indoctrinated to be a fundie who rejects that group and moves on to a theologically liberal Christian denomination; libertarianism can be a useful waystation for those indoctrinated to be conservatives where the indoctrination doesn’t take. One would hope at some point they’ll reject religion altogether, that doing so would demonstrate continued progress.

    For those committed to remaining conservative libertarianism rather than serving as a way station to liberality, I see one major reason: Libertarianism provides utility in avoiding the cognitive dissonance that conservatism is in direct conflict with the founding ideals of equality, individual liberty, and other ‘just governance’ principles in the Declaration of Independence. I see these people as standard-issue rightwing authoritarians, e.g. Ron and Rand Paul.

    Like James, I too think this forum has degraded in the quality of the arguments. And I see the entirety of this degradation coming from two sources. One is far less scientifically and economically literate commenters – probably given the move from scienceblogs.com. The second is far more partisan liberals whose unconsciously practiced tribalism has them demonstrating the same delusional idiotic behavior we see from conservatives, including denialism. But I don’t this this degradation on why people are less tolerant of libertarians, including this forum. Instead I point the finger directly at libertarians for their effectively exploiting their new-found power for partisan GOP causes that deny inconvenient facts and what experts understand.

    If libertarians want respect, they need to make arguments that use sufficiently framed factually true premises to rest their conclusions upon. I see the arguments of their powerful as no better than what we get from conservatives, at a point in time where contemporaneous conservatives have descended to a level of depravity, idiocy, and delusion I didn’t imagine possible three decades ago. Ayn Rand, Joe Farah, and John Bircherism now describes the GOP where libertarians are an effective champion of their objectives getting carried out. Liberals aren’t sick for pointing this out and why it increases human suffering.

  23. says

    @29:

    Or, as St. Ronnie might say, if he weren’t (thank the universe) moldering in his grave:

    “The blog didn’t change, the Libertarians did.”.

    As for Paul’s latest headline grabber. That’s all it is.

  24. colnago80 says

    Re MH @ #29

    Like James, I too think this forum has degraded in the quality of the arguments. And I see the entirety of this degradation coming from two sources. One is far less scientifically and economically literate commenters – probably given the move from scienceblogs.com. The second is far more partisan liberals whose unconsciously practiced tribalism has them demonstrating the same delusional idiotic behavior we see from conservatives, including denialism.

    In addition, IMHO, part of the reason is the emphasis by Brayton given to nutcases like Brian Ficsher. For instance, in yesterday’s set of posts, we have a fisking of Fischer, Barber, Corsi, Jacobs, and Beck, 5 posts. Moronic nutcases all. Another issue that comes up almost every day is something from the Whacknutdaily. The problem is that these are easy targets; fisking them is like shooting fish in a barrel. All of these posts are entertaining for the stupidity of the individuals involved, just as I found, unlike all the other commenters here, the comments of recently heave hoed Don Williams, a very smart guy (IMHO) who is certifiable. However, how can one respond to someone like Brian Fischer with an intelligent argument? There has to be some intelligence shown in the first place by the Fischers of the world in order to respond intelligently.

  25. says

    “There has to be some intelligence shown in the first place by the Fischers of the world in order to respond intelligently.”

    In terms of intellectual capacity, Brian Fischer and the like are not bringing a knife to a gun fight, they’re bringing their own body bag.

    In all honesty one of the things I’ve noticed about Dispatches for the last six or seven years is its failure to adequately police people like me. But, then, that’s why I come!

  26. says

    Hanley, do yourself a favor and cut the crybaby-victimhood schtick. You’re not fooling anyone. All you’re doing, in fact, is reminding us how low you’ve sunk as your libertarian BS gets exposed for what it is.

    Yes, this place WAS a welcoming place for libertarians — you had all the opportunity you needed to state your case, and your case got conclusively refuted every time. That’s the only reason it’s not so “welcoming” for you lot anymore — the debates are done, you lost, and you have nothing else to offer that we haven’t already seen and kicked to the curb. You’ve been proven to be a fraud, and you’ve put yourself, with your own words, in the same cagegory as the geocentrists and creationists. (Which is why you’re now falling back on the same self-pitying whinery about “FTBULLIES!!!” that those other charlatans use in the same circumstances.)

    Do you actually expect us to believe that the quality of this place has gone down? I’ve seen the quality of your arguments go down, from plausible, to Heddle-style religious apologetics, to Lance-style AGW denialism, and finally to the empty stock whinery about “fascism” and “conformity” we see from the MRAs and other moronic bigots who can’t hold up their end of a grownup conversation.

    PS: You really think I’m “exceptional” here? That’s bullshit. I’ve NEVER been the only one debunking libertarian BS here, and you know it. You know damn well I’m right and you’re wrong, so you’re trying to pretend I’m a lone marginal figure to give yourself an excuse to ignore me. Just another example of bogus, manipulative libertarian BS.

  27. Michael Heath says

    Raging Bee writes:

    you [James Hanley] had all the opportunity you needed to state your case, and your case got conclusively refuted every time.

    I strongly disagree. James Hanley’s made many fine arguments here that weren’t, “conclusively refuted”, let alone, “every time”. I’d argue the balance is far more in his favor, let alone no arguments in his favor.

    The problem is not that libertarianism is always wrong from the perspective of facts and what liberals promote, e.g., their antipathy against neo-conservatism and the so-called War on Drugs . Instead one root cause defect is that libertarianism as a whole is effectively supporting and empowering an incredibly inept Republican party, along with providing many arguments used by conservatives to justify their antipathy towards individual rights and public policy that requires one to deny basic scientific facts and consensus positions on even rudimentary economic principles.

    The two prime examples of each being their powerful wing of the movement’s promotion of “states rights” as a way to continue to promote an anti-woman and anti-gay agenda. An example of the latter is Cato’s Patrick Michaels’ dishonest and ignorant arguments which are heavily used by Congressional Republicans to justify their denial of the sensitivity of the climate as its observed in the past and understood today by nearly all climate scientists (e.g., the scientists who aren’t cranks (Curry) or worse (Lindzen)).

  28. says

    The second is far more partisan liberals whose unconsciously practiced tribalism has them demonstrating the same delusional idiotic behavior we see from conservatives, including denialism.

    Examples, please?

    James Hanley’s made many fine arguments here that weren’t, “conclusively refuted”, let alone, “every time”. I’d argue the balance is far more in his favor, let alone no arguments in his favor.

    Examples, please?

  29. Michael Heath says

    Raging Bee writes:

    Do you actually expect us to believe that the quality of this place has gone down?

    I’m surprised anyone would think otherwise. Defending the defamation of someone because the target isn’t in the popular tribe, or defending the prohibition of religiously offensive speech are two prime examples of arguments that would have been overwhelmingly ridiculed at scienceblogs.com.

  30. dogmeat says

    James, Michael, etc.

    I agree with much of what Michael said. While the Libertarian movement has some good arguments regarding personal freedoms, it has a rather poor track record supporting utterly idiotic Republican Neo-Con policies over the last 10-15 years. Rand Paul happened to get something right, much like his father happens to get a few things right once in a while. The reality is that both of them wont do much more than make the statement. If Democrats adopt the idea they are far more likely to shift and oppose that idea than they are to support it. What makes it even more distasteful is that they’re likely to do so quietly, simply voting against an attempt to establish a policy and/or quietly allowing their compatriots in the Republican party to actively oppose the policy with utterly idiotic rhetoric. The real problem for the Libertarian party is that so many of their public faces have been exposed as closet Republicans, Dennis Miller is a perfect example of that “fuck you, I got mine” attitude in which he finally openly admitted he was a Republican when it was no longer convenient to claim Libertarian status.

    —————

    Regarding posting here, I too remember the roaring debates that waged, at times, for a week or more. I can see where part of it is the types of posts that Ed has been putting up. It is hard to debate whether Fisher is an idiot or not. I also see it in the people who come here are somewhat different. Neither good nor bad difference, just different. Personally, I see it in a lack of time. I’ve got too much on my plate to come in regularly and comment as I once did. That has resulted in me not coming in to comment when I do have the time because I know that my work schedule will shift back and I don’t like leaving discussions/debates in mid course because I don’t have time to check the blogs for a week or more.

    Over the years I have agreed and disagreed with a lot of people. Michael and I disagree on tax policy, but on a lot of other issues we see I to eye. James, you and I agree on a number of rights issues, but when you shift to more libertarian positions, we depart paths. If it doesn’t involve the Middle East or Israel, SLC/Coinage shares some good points and good ideas. ‘Bee can be quite amusing in his fury. Dingo and Demo are both solid contributors, and obviously, MO is the voice of reason. ;o)

  31. says

    The problem is not that libertarianism is always wrong from the perspective of facts and what liberals promote, e.g., their antipathy against neo-conservatism and the so-called War on Drugs . Instead one root cause defect is that libertarianism as a whole is effectively supporting and empowering an incredibly inept Republican party, along with providing many arguments used by conservatives to justify their antipathy towards individual rights and public policy that requires one to deny basic scientific facts and consensus positions on even rudimentary economic principles.

    Actually, Heath, it’s both, as many commenters have repeatedly shown here over a period of years. Libertarianism is, like many religious doctrines, an ideology made up for the specific purpose of justifying certain right-wing authoritarian policies that cannot be justified otherwise (such as opposition to civil-rights legislation or environmental regs); and of deceiving and manipulating ordinary people into supporting policies they would not otherwise support. And that cobbled-up ideology is based in large part on some outrageous misreadings of history, economics, and other relevant factual matter.

  32. says

    Defending the defamation of someone because the target isn’t in the popular tribe, or defending the prohibition of religiously offensive speech…

    Examples, please, or admit you’re full of shit.

  33. says

    While the Libertarian movement has some good arguments regarding personal freedoms…

    Good abstract arguments, maybe. Meaningful policies in support of said freedoms, not so much. The overwhelming majority of our personal freedoms were secured through laws, regulations, and active government enforcement — which libertarians consistently oppose. Libertarians claim to care more about personal freedoms than reich-wing Republicans — but those rights are enshrined in the US Constitution, and libertarians’ interpretation of that document is almost indistinguislable from Michelle Bachmann’s.

  34. Michael Heath says

    I’m not full of shit nor will I be wasting my time going off on another tangent. I’ll instead stand pat with my un-cited assertions in this thread just as you’ve done with this un-cited assertion of yours:

    you [James Hanley] had all the opportunity you needed to state your case, and your case got conclusively refuted every time.

  35. says

    A quick-and-dirty recall of instances of Hanley being conclusively refuted includes: his lame attempt to use a Pol-Pot-Bhopal comparison to show that gummint is more evil then business; his callously uncaring assertion that “voting with your feet” is one of the most important freedoms you can have; his assertion that “dishonest liberals” were responsible for libertarianism’s bad rap; his assertion that forcing wages down is perfectly okay because prices will magically fall to compensate; his bizarre argument that unions are bad, and would not have been necessary if America hadn’t allowed so many immigrants to come here… There’s probably more, but like I said, that was just a very quick answer before I nip off to lunch. And now I’m waiting for you to substantiate your claim that FtBers are guilty of (in your words):

    Defending the defamation of someone because the target isn’t in the popular tribe, or defending the prohibition of religiously offensive speech…

  36. colnago80 says

    Re #31

    Further evidence supporting my argument can be sound in today’s posts. Thus far, we have posts on Alan Keyes, Matt Staver, Glenn Beck, and the Whacknutdaily. I’m not complaining as I enjoy reading about nutcases. However, it’s hard to get up a discussion about clowns like these.

  37. abb3w says

    @3, Raging Bee:

    Funny thing, I never hear you saying anything similar about neo-nazis, La Rouches, Moonies, or any other bigoted extremist faction. You only give such evenhanded treatment to bigoted extremists in or near the “libertarian” camp.

    Are you merely complaining that Ed Brayton has failed to spend enough time castigating Libertarians for the issues that they are wrong about? Or are there any issues you can point out that La Rouches, Moonies, or any other non-Libertarian bigoted extremist faction has been right about, that Ed Brayton has failed to give credit to?

    @24, jameshanley

    Freethought? It really saddens me me that the thought culture here is less free, more straightjacketed, than before it became part of Freethoughts blogs.

    I conjecture there’s an increased sensitivity to and normative disapproval of what I’ll approximately characterize as “high-SDO attitudes”. In yet more approximate colloquial terms, “assholishness”.

    A few of the other blogs have tightened their comments policies; however, Ed has not. You and I both retain the capacity for having asshole opinions (whether libertarian or otherwise), and even for expressing them without Ed censoring. I’ve even exercised the option. Contrariwise, freedom of thought does not preclude the possibility of a consensus arising among other thinkers; and thus, your opinions may be extensively challenged. You appear to presume the response is intolerance of dissent; contrariwise, with a topological co-ordinate transform of the metric space it may instead reflect that you are intolerant of those who consistently dissent from your views, whose failure to adjust their own position signals their assessing a lack of merit of your position — which can result when either the audience is deficient in ability to assess the merit of an idea OR when an idea lacks merit.

    Freedom of thought means competing ideas get examined. However, in practice, ideas that are presented unpersuasively enough, often enough, eventually stop being judged worth yet one more re-examination. Humans (being evolved as social signalling organisms) will signal for the benefit of others that further consideration of the idea is a waste of time resources by saying things like “that’s a stupid/bigoted/terrible idea”; and, if you repeatedly present ideas by means that failed to persuade, people will start signalling similarly on you in general.

    In short, Freedom of Thought means that Freethinkers will examine ideas before judging them, rather than relying on existing judgement from other Authority. It does not mean Freedom from Criticism.

  38. says

    …what are the demographics concerning federal inmate political affiliation/identification? Are those federal offenders who receive their voting rights back tending to actually vote democratic?

    That’s a good possibility, at least WRT the people who got locked up as a result of the Republican War on Drugs. So a Republican giving them back their right to vote would be a good way to make sure those felons would vote for the party that sent them to jail in the first place. Same goes for all the poor sods who got caught up in the Republicans’ private-prison scam.

  39. abb3w says

    @39, Raging Bee

    Libertarianism is, like many religious doctrines, an ideology made up for the specific purpose of justifying certain right-wing authoritarian policies that cannot be justified otherwise

    I’d vehemently disagree on one key aspect. Libertarianism does not appear to be an ideology made up for the specific purpose of justifying certain right-wing authoritarian policies that cannot be justified otherwise. Rather, Libertarianism seems an ideology made up for the specific purpose of justifying certain social dominance orientation policies that cannot be justified otherwise.

    Cue yet another link pointing to Altemeyer’s book.

  40. says

    Are you merely complaining that Ed Brayton has failed to spend enough time castigating Libertarians for the issues that they are wrong about? Or are there any issues you can point out that La Rouches, Moonies, or any other non-Libertarian bigoted extremist faction has been right about, that Ed Brayton has failed to give credit to?

    Neither. I’m saying that Ed is quick to show “evenhandedness” to one group of untrustworthy extremists, and no other, when in fact we generally agree that there’s no reason to show such mercy to ANY group of people known for being both bigoted and blatantly dishonest.

    Let me give you a real-world example: I’ve heard anti-immigrant racists using “environmentalist” arguments to try to get me to join them in opposing nonwhite immigration. I was giving money to Greenpeace and Sea Shephard at the time, so I’m guessing the racists were deliberately pandering to people with environmental concerns, and may have got my name from those lists. So should I have stood up and said “Hey, these people share my concern for the environment, so maybe I should stop demonizing them”? Of course not — they’d already shown themselves to be racist liars, so the few pleasing noses they made on one issue didn’t matter, even though it was an issue I cared about. That’s the same standard I apply to people like Rand Paul and the libertarians: they have a long track record of being lying, manipulative con-artists, so their promises and occasional words of concern can’t be trusted.

  41. dingojack says

    dogmeat – I can’t speak for anyone else, but personally I disagree with your characterisation of my ‘efforts’.
    I’ seriously rate myself 3/10. (No that’s not false modesty. Other’s do so much better. Yes, I’m looking at you Mr Heath, Modus and etc. you know who you are).
    Dingo, Frequently silly and often totally wrong-headed.

  42. abb3w says

    @48: Raging Bee 

    Let me give you a real-world example: I’ve heard anti-immigrant racists using “environmentalist” arguments to try to get me to join them in opposing nonwhite immigration. I was giving money to Greenpeace and Sea Shephard at the time, so I’m guessing the racists were deliberately pandering to people with environmental concerns, and may have got my name from those lists. So should I have stood up and said “Hey, these people share my concern for the environment, so maybe I should stop demonizing them”?

    Nope.

    First, even if their “environmentalist” arguments were sound and pointed in that direction, that does not mean that their conclusion is well-supported when all arguments are taken together. Second, I’m not aware of sound arguments as to why immigration has a negative environmental impact. Third, it appears to be a minority position among racists, rather than one which would be widely accepted as following from racists’ core principles.

    There’s probably other reasons, but three should suffice for a quick rebuttal. It also seems a poor analogy, as there seems a quantitative difference between giving an individual credit for being stopped-clock right in a particular case, and considering them generally tolerable. (Though you should probably stop demonizing them, rather than castigating them for their particular sins; that kind of pure black-and-white thinking is generally a sloppy habit.)

    @48: Raging Bee

    And the difference behind that distinction is…?

    They are two different social psychology measures, with relatively weak correlation between them. You can look into Altemeyer’s book, and check Google Scholar for more details on the research done with the two scales. The main simple one seems to be that high-RWA is based in Fear, while high-SDO is based in Contempt. Another difference from the correlations: high-RWAs tend to reject facts because they have trouble grasping the truth, while high-SDOs tend averse to facts because they don’t give a damn about the truth.

    The differences imply variations in what strategies are more effective for dealing with each in politics.

  43. says

    abb3w: by what observable metric can we decide who is RWA and who is SDO? Can anyone come up with a realiable list of which politicians are in which category? The differences you listed aren’t all that great, and seem to result in the same behavior, and the same consequences.

  44. jameshanley says

    democommie,

    How in the world did you get the impression that I was saying Bee should be shushed? I support his right to criticize libertarians, and to criticize me. I also support my right to criticize him, and your right to wholly misconstrue the issue.

  45. jameshanley says

    And for the record, I have no idea what Raging Bee’s “immigrants and unions” reference is about. Please don’t take his word for what arguments I may or may not have made.

    But, jeez, even DingoJack being nasty? I thought he and I usually got along fine back in the old days. A funny funny guy, and very perceptive. That actually saddens me. I still wish you the best, friend.

    And thanks, Michael Heath. I know we have really really deep disagreements, and some lingering resentments, but I appreciate you sticking up for me on a personal level despite your disdain for libertarianism.

  46. says

    jameshanley, I still respect you most for your thin moustache, rich sauces and creeping sense of ennui. I should note that I may be confusing you with the French.

  47. Michael Heath says

    James,

    There have never been any lingering resentments by me to you, ever. I’ve always sincerely wished nothing but the best for you. Instead there was an ever-deepening frustration with the structure of your arguments on your blog which I found you to be increasingly using.

    What’s ironic is that after I stopped commenting on your blog, I’ve never encountered any subsequent blog posts from you that reflected this style that I find so objectionable – not even one. Yes, I continued to read your blog until the past several weeks or couple of months given I’ve been very busy.

    Given I have low confidence I sufficiently expressed myself in delivering my critique, I give myself no credit for your lack of posts using the framework I find objectionable. Perhaps it was a change in topics you’ve chosen to write about where you were on better-informed ground and therefore had better frameworks at your disposal. The framework I found unbecoming:

    1) I’m an expert in Topic A (where I grant you are)
    2) I take this position on Topic B (where you are not an expert)
    3) I’ll use a Topic A analogy/truism to support my Topic B position.

    I think an advocate instead needs to first make a compelling case on Topic B relying on a sufficient number of factual premises directly related to Topic B. And then rely on analogies merely for purposes of illustration or in hopes of getting one’s audience to better appreciate and understand the weight one puts on their Topic B position. Not to use analogies in place of the needed premises to advocate a particular position.

    I present this humbly since this all occurred the year after I’d made a New Year’s resolution to myself to quit being so dependent on analogies in my own arguments. That was because I was increasingly finding them sloppy, lazy, and worse, missed the target relative to others making arguments based solely on factual premises, including my own arguments. Reducing my use of analogies forced me to present tighter, more factually rich premises in support of my arguments. It’s also hard work so I tend to make far less controversial arguments since no one is paying me to make better arguments.

  48. says

    I did not say that you tried to silence Raging Bee.

    I said:

    “I know that you might think I’m jerking your chain, but what Raging Bee is doing is entirely in keeping with libertarian thought. He’s saying what he thinks without restraint and other commenters are free to agree or disagree with him.”

    after this:

    “Once upon a time Dispatches was a reasonably welcoming place for libertarians, with even liberals defending us against the exceptional commenter like the furious invertebrate who still buzzes around here. But this thread is an example of why I don’t even bother anymore. Freethought? It really saddens me me that the thought culture here is less free, more straightjacketed, than before”

    was said, by you.

    I have re-read all of my comments, none of them suggest, in even an oblique way that I think you are trying to get Raging Bee shushed.

    I’m wrong about loads of shit, on a daily basis, but I’m not wrong about this.

  49. says

    I applaud Rand Paul for this, but he really doesn’t go far enough. Of course, any politician who advocates for giving prisoners voting rights won’t remain in power for long..

  50. dingojack says

    James – as I have said to Mrroberts (of old) many times: ‘Don’t mistake disagreement with dislike’.
    Dingo

  51. says

    When I read that Rand Paul has done something uncharacteristically decent, I know that he’s not doing it for any reason except to polish his own escutcheon. He’s scum, just like father, fuck the both of them.

  52. ildi says

    Ah, yes, I miss the old days when James Hanley would argue that rivers wouldn’t get polluted if companies owned the rivers! Good times…

    Defending the defamation of someone because the target isn’t in the popular tribe

    My dog has this disgusting chew toy he refuses to give up, too. Brings it to the living room every chance he gets and hides with it under the couch so all you hear is the nasty slurping sound.

  53. abb3w says

    @52, Raging Bee:

    by what observable metric can we decide who is RWA and who is SDO? Can anyone come up with a realiable list of which politicians are in which category? The differences you listed aren’t all that great, and seem to result in the same behavior, and the same consequences.

    Well, there’s the simple approach of mailing the politician the self-response questions used for measuring RWA and SDO, and asking the politician to please fill them out. Altemeyer managed to get quite a bit of data on RWA in state legislators that way, back in the 1990s. However, I’ve not done that.

    Contrariwise, the research suggest reasons that would be unlikely to work more than once for SDO, once the results came out. More complicated methods could be possible, but would take some work and considerably more expense, particularly to achieve empirical validation.

    I mainly find it useful as a cognitive shortcut, and generally make subjective assessments. However, as a rule of thumb, anyone in congress associated to the Tea Party is likely both. (Rand Paul is the most obvious anomaly, who I think is instead a low-RWA high-SDO type. Michigan’s Justin Amash might also be in that category.)

    @52, Raging Bee:

    The differences you listed aren’t all that great, and seem to result in the same behavior, and the same consequences.

    That’s largely because I’m only giving the most fundamental aspects of the difference, briefly; which omits many of the consequent correlations. Phrases like “contempt versus fear” or even “malice versus stupidity” can’t do the distinction justice. The resulting consequences (as Altemeyer details) are rather more profound than the simple starting point — enough to be the difference between a third of the world’s population dying from starvation, versus 100% dying in a nuclear exchange. Which boils down to the difference between playing a round of Russian Roulette with two loaded chambers, and a round where all six chambers are loaded.

    @53, democommie:

    Yes. All of them. Both. {;>)

    Outside the South, the data suggests Democrats tend about the same median as the general US population on RWA. Republicans tend higher on RWA than Democrats; both tend higher in the South than elsewhere. Politicians seem very likely to generally tend higher-SDO than the overall population, but there’s almost certainly a distribution; and there’s also data suggesting that Republicans are likely to tend higher than Democrats.

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