Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Ohhhh, Texas...

OK, I have to assume that the fact that I didn't hear the entire report is in their favor.

Today's NPR item: on the program "Think," there was a report called "Turning Texas Blue." The premise was that as Texas goes, so will go the nation - and that since Harris County, which contains HOUSTON, the fourth largest city in the United States, went Democrat in a year in which Republicans picked up seats every-dang-where, huzzah, there is hope that the entire country will go blue in the next few years.

Do you see what I mean about assuming that I just missed some important part of the report? How is it news that a big city went blue? And how does it follow that therefore Texas itself will follow, much less the country? Did they not notice that this pattern was just exactly what we saw all over the country? Every big city went blue. And virtually every non-big-city area went red. Check out this post, with lots of figures, about red versus blue, for instance. I find myself wondering whether this report was begun well before the election, more in the line of, "As the nation goes, so goes Texas."

I am not arguing that the blue voters won the popular vote. Big cities have lots and lots of people, and, as with protests and marches, it's easier to undertake a get-out-the-vote effort in a place where population is concentrated than in the vast landmass where population density is more like 80 people per square mile (about the average population density of the United States) than 7,000, as in Los Angeles. But I hope and pray at least two things: 1. that the red voters will continue to turn out, and to turn out in greater numbers so that they don't lose their place at the table, and 2. that the country won't lose its mind and get rid of the Electoral College, the only thing that keeps that seat available to those who choose not to live at high density.

But - and this next is purely anecdotal - it is my observation that people (of many ages and ways of life) still yearn for small-town life. And why is that? It appears that the people who so yearn are the people who want to have children; the dyed-in-the-wool urbanites frankly can't afford it. (I think this is why so many NPR stories about city folk feature city folk with children. NPR appears to take pleasure in illustrating how inappropriate stereotypes are by telling us stories of people who bust them. Please note that I am not in favor of stereotypes that limit people; any city people who want to have children - more power to you! I just recognize the realities.) As long as cities' fiscal policies continue to make it hard for people with, or who want to start, families to live and prosper within their borders, it seems well within the realm of possibilities that enough people will move to the small towns and suburbs, and will be positively affected by the lifestyle that's in reach there, that they'll continue to give the big cities a run for their money.

Anyway. I don't know how it'll all come out; I just think that a report saying that because Houston went Democrat, Texas is a burgeoning blue state is incredibly disingenuous. If instead the report had said that big cities' continuing indigo hue and high population are rendering vote distribution wildly out-of-whack, now that would have been truthful. Boring, but truthful.

Thursday, March 02, 2017

The new egalitarianism

The wonderfully well-read Victor Davis Hanson, a student of history and an observer of the present who manages to synthesize these interests with clarity and style, writes

We are now in a media arena where there are no rules. The New York Times is no longer any more credible than talk radio; CNN—whose reporters have compared Trump to Hitler and gleefully joked about his plane crashing—should be no more believed than a blogger’s website. Buzzfeed has become like the National Inquirer.
His evidence? Please do go read the whole thing, because he's at some pains to lay out the many ways in which the so-called MSM has squandered whatever public currency they ever had through its shamelessly obvious, full-throated, and ill-supported attempts to bring down Donald Trump. It was their mistake to give him so much press during the campaign; they must have felt that he was (a) an inconsequential threat to the anointed Clinton, therefore safe to give lots of exposure, and (b) a super ratings boost, and they now reap their foolish harvest.

Let me be clear (as I've heard somewhere): I also thought Donald Trump was an inconsequential candidate and wrote off the Presidency once he was nominated. Yeah, I voted for him, because I didn't want to throw away my vote on a third-party candidate and absolutely would not vote for Clinton - but it was, for me, more a thumb in the eye to these same media outlets: though they would never know it, I at least would know that this intelligent and thoughtful voter rejected their anointed one and voted for the possible loose cannon, simply because they were laughing so hard at him.

We are not just in a media arena in which the "elite" and hoi polloi find themselves (or are found by watchers) to be equal. We are in a public arena in which this is true. Those who believe themselves to be "elite" were defeated across the board in the November election; those who are told by those "elites" that they are hoi polloi - or, let's use English as well as a clearer statement of what those "elites" seem to mean: the great unwashed - these great unwashed won those elections at all levels, and feel increasingly free to ignore the outlets they're supposed to pay attention to, like not only the New York Times but also Hollywood, the NFL, and academia. Value signaling is all that's left to the Left: they can and do still try to shame everyone who doesn't dance to their tune, and they express first disdain, and then disbelief and irritation, if not outright rage, when not everyone does.

Huzzah, we're all equal: equally able to do and say stupid things and be judged for them! Those on the Right are not necessarily right about everything; those on the Left are not necessarily left behind by history. We all have to answer for what we believe. I stand on the Right because I believe this side has the best answers to the big questions of human society, and I expect the other side to disdain me and attempt to shame me for my "reactionary" position. But I feel just fine about fiercely supporting the rights of individuals to go as far as they are able - or not to go anywhere if that's their choice, provided that they also bear the consequences of their choice. I recognize the need to remove artificial (which means "made by humans" in this context) obstacles to equal opportunities for all, and I'm committed to that effort, but I frequently depart from the Left in exactly how we are to remove those obstacles. I don't think I need to shame the Left; I think events will unfold - are unfolding - that will take care of that.