conservatives vs. republicans

Hi Rox, I understand you are trying hard and thank you for your warmly worded letter, which I found verged on condescending in its simplistic solipsism.

However, when I discussed this with my daughters, both saw through your apparent mathy argument about “actual” unicorns and dragons — the correct attempted comparison of the gigantonormous overlap between Republicans and conservatives should be to fictional unicorns and fictional dragons (since they are both mythical creatures by definition). These sets mostly do not overlap, neither in the definitions nor in actuality (though there are dragons which are portrayed with single “horns” protruding from their snouts etc.).

You define neither “conservative” nor “republican” (what is with the lower case ‘r’, why are you trying to distinguish it from “Republican”?). I can distinguishably define both unicorn and dragon in at most a few sentences each so that most readers can have a pretty high diagnostic odds ratio, I don’t need to read a whole book to “tell”. (By the way, since you are mathy, this is the reason that tests of normality are stupid: they don’t tell you what the distribution isn’t, the popularity of such tests lies in their simplicity as a pre-made tool and due to the inability of “data scientists” and most statisticians to do any kind of independent model thinking.)

The right wing loves to conflate Democrat, moderate, liberal, progressive, left wing, radical, socialist, anti-fascist, Democratic Socialist, communist, politically correct, anti-business, pro-tax, identity politickers etc., due to some combination of ignorance and red-baiting self-serving. (Kelly Loefller is a current example.) I know who I am and while I’ll explain myself to someone who understands or is willing to understand these terms in a few sentences, I am not ashamed of being mislabeled from afar, again, that perspective from the far right (or perhaps even what goes for “center” in the US) leads to very small angular differences between the above categories.

However, I don’t find where the lines are between the grab-bag of conservative, Republican, pro-corporate, anti-labor, misogynistic, racist, fascist, neo-nazi, antiscience, evolution denying, creation “scientists”, “intelligent design”, 5G conspiracy, anti-vaxxers, anti-maskers, federalists, anti-life, pro-gun, property over human rights, treasonous, anti-democratic, reactionary, evangelical Christian, anti-poor, anti-labor, anti-education, anti-health, religious and white supremacists. (Ignorant American writers conflate “radical” with “reactionary” (Margaret Sullivan in WaPo)— I find the political knowledge of American “punditry” to be woeful and it demonstrates a supremely laxy ;-) anti-intellectual stance.) I’ll bet you couldn’t train a machine learning model for categorization, due to problems with the data sparsity and quality, and the lack of ability to find any predictive features.

Here is a sample test case, self-proclaimed conservative, Republican party member Tom Cotton, “…I therefore support a commission to study the last election and propose reforms to protect the integrity of our elections. … it will only embolden those Democrats who want to erode further our system of constitutional government.” Interesting, there doesn’t seem to be anything principled and conservative about it — what should be investigated is gerry-mandering, voter suppression, roll-purging, inadequate poll stations and machines in minority and Democratic leaning areas, conflict of interest (current GA governor certifying his own election two years ago), poll-taxes, voter ID laws, the lack of any evidence of “voter fraud” and hundreds of other discriminatory barriers to voting, very different from this squeal from Cotton to study “the last election”. And seriously, Democrats want to erode our constitutional government? Hmm, I didn’t know Trump and his enablers were Democrats! I assume Cotton will start with investigating those.

My guess is you are a “conservative”, consider yourself an intellectual and are surrounded by and ashamed of being mistaken for much of the rest of the above. Well, set yourself apart, let daylight through, condemn the behavior of your fellow right-wingers, educate them.

Frank Wilhoit once said: “Conservatism consists of exactly one proposition … There must be in-groups whom the law protects but does not bind, alongside out-groups whom the law binds but does not protect.”

I stop to miau to cats.

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