I agree with about 95% of what Henry wrote, which concerns me, because, I mean, who wants to be like Henry. Some responses.
It’s not a given that it’s impossible to affect your friends with political posts. Slate had a story discussing a survey of how much social media posts affect people. It pretty much jives with my own experience. That is: liberals are more likely to change their minds on an issue based on their friends’ posts. My opinion is that it’s because of what Henry identified – the average Democratic position is more centrist than the average Republican position. But the very conservative are the ones who post the most. The upshot being that ultra-conservatives post the most and are simply ignored. Anyway, it’s possible to affect your friends. Just so unlikely that I don’t bother trying anymore.
I’ll just say it – I had to hide G from my newsfeed. It’s not that I completely disagree with him – I’m a registered Republican, so we must intersect on some issues. It’s just that the his posts are so extreme to the right, so incessant, and so closed-minded. I couldn’t take it anymore. I really value his friendship in real life, and I felt I had to break the FB one to preserve the real one, which matters more.
I agree that the assessment about the crazy thing. Disagree that smugness is the exclusive domain of the left. Go to Texas sometime. Or watch some old William Buckley vids. To me, it’s the exact same thing as the crazy thing. There’s crazies and smugness on both side. More crazies on the right. More smugness on the left. But both have them.
Jay Kang had an interesting analysis of the argumentative structure of 2016, how it uses rhetorical tricks to build on argument on nothing. I’m torn on D’Souza. I actually like a lot of what he writes in Christianity Today. It’s just that so much (most) of his political stuff is nuts. It’s kind of mindboggling that both come from the same mind.
It’s funny that he characterizes being on the far right with unions, because I distinctly remember a conversation with where it was clear that I was even further to the right.
I also believed that Romney would become centrist were he elected. However, I still believe this; regardless of anything he’s saying now, I think it’s possible. Republicans have ways of deeply violating their principles without the public realizing it (e.g. the Medicare prescription drug benefit under W). I think Romney will end up doing the same thing if he’s elected. The alternative is unthinkable.
To bring it back to the UK, there was an interesting column in the Evening Standard yesterday. As far as I can tell, the UK is far more liberal than the U.S. when it comes to things like gay marriage. But the Deputy Prime Minister was involved in a controversy this week when he called all gay-marriage foes “bigots”. The Standard had an editorial that I found funny. It said that yes, many of those who oppose gay-marriage are indeed bigots. But it said it’s wrong to say that the stance itself is bigoted, as there are many non-bigoted foes, citing the Archbishop of Canterbury.
There was so much in that editorial that was interesting. There’s a state church here, and it’s respected in the liberal press even though virtually no one here actually goes to church or believes in Christianity. None of those things (a state church, the church being intellectually respected in the liberal press, no one going to church) are true in the U.S. so it made that brief editorial striking.
One interesting thing about here is that even the natives don’t really know how things work, including things I would consider fairly basic. For example, elections. Pretty fundamental, right? In America, we have national elections every 4 years. Here? People don’t know when they’re supposed to happen. Most think it’s supposed to happen every 4 or 5 years. But no one I talked to was certain about it, or how it’s scheduled. Bizarre.
Everyone’s pretty confused about the England / Great Britain / United Kingdom thing too. They have a sense of what it is, but no clue how it practically works. Like Wales is apparently semi-independent, but no one understands what that means. That seems crazy to me. Then again, I don’t understand Puerto Rico at all. It’s just that Wales seems much more fundamental to the UK than Puerto Rico in (to?) the U.S.
One last thing I learned: Thursday is the night when most people go out to pubs or drink in general. There has been a going away night every week I’ve been here, and it’s always on Thursday, not Friday. And when walking home, pubs are overflowing on Thursday nights, far more than on any other night. I could not understand that. A coworker explained why that is – people here prefer to be hungover on Friday; if they were hungover on Saturday, that would affect their weekend.