I’m a secular Republican who hangs out in Republican social circles. Unlike what the author implies, it isn’t difficult to pull off. The religious Republicans that I spend time with are some of the most well adjusted and welcoming folks I’ve ever met. As such, unlike with the progressive left, there aren’t any stringent loyalty oaths required to be a member of the team.

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In addition to their optimistic demeanor, I also think part of the reason that religious Republicans are so welcoming to non-religious fellow travelers is due to the former’s status as deplorable outsiders within the power structure of the US. They need all the help they can get.

This book was just published about our family’s hometown. It isn’t a remotely accurate portrayal of what our family experiences here on a day to day basis. But, none of that matters as long as the MSM and other institutions embrace and approve of the narrative. I wonder what a keyword search for “Christian Nationalist” in the book might yield?


The urgent, revelatory story of how a school board win for the conservative right in one Texas suburb inspired a Christian nationalist campaign now threatening to undermine public education in America—from an NBC investigative reporter and co-creator of the Peabody Award–winning and Pulitzer Prize finalist Southlake podcast.


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Our school district went through a series of scandals that were horribly covered by the MSM. Whatever problems there are with outlets like The Daily Wire, I can never forget that they were the only ones that stood up for parents when they were terrorized by school boards and local governments.

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Yeah, so the Republicans want to protect our daughters’ bathroom safety and athletic rights. And, they also don’t want to expose our children to pornography or other age inappropriate books in schools. The MSM converts these valid concerns into “anti-LGBTQ+ legislation,” or “book burning” or “don’t say gay.” It’s completely predictable.

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So you hang out in Republican circles and you are comparing that to the progressive left? That sounds a bit uneven.

Regardless, I used to think conservatives were more accepting. Then I started having problems with far right people too. Maybe not all but I'd argue not all on the far left either. Anyway, I find people on both extremes who want nothing to do with those who aren't as extreme and some who are more accommodating but you almost always have to move away from the extremes to find people who truly accept someone with differing views.

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“Jews have a really hard time wearing ‘conservative’ on our lapel pins…Better to align with a party that is dominated by Christians than with a party that is increasingly dominated by social justice activists.”

That’s what Arnold said and I was merely responding to it. I just don’t get his hang up on Christian conservatives. Are they that bad? How so? Does he ever even hang out with any to make a reasonable assessment?

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May 29·edited May 29

I agree there are many wonderful Christian conservatives. I know many I can disagree with without even thinking their positions are wrong, just different.

I'm not really sure what Kling thinks. The sentence you quote seems like a hot mess to me.

Surely whether you lean conservative or liberal (or libertarian or socialist) is the strongest indicator of party.

Being conservative isn't the same as being Republican.

I strongly disagree the party is dominated by Christians. It is dominated by Trump.

I'd argue most of the problems with social justice activists are outside of how the Dems are governing. And I'd think a conservative would also have many other problems with Dems.

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After reading his post for today (5/29) it seems he wasn't talking about his own hang up.

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Re Lan: I suspect causality goes both ways there. On the one hand being mentally fragile makes you seek external causes for it as Kling points out. On the hand, if your political team holds the mentally fragile in higher regard than others you are going to be inclined to identify as mentally fragile yourself. It isn’t as though anyone can objectively point out “No, your mental state is pretty normal, not special at all.”

Of course the worry then is whether or not identifying as mentally fragile over a long period of time makes you in fact mentally fragile. Fake it till you break it.

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Of course, leftists suffer from depression; they've bought into claims that:

- They are either oppressors or oppressed because of their skin color.

- Because they can't change their skin color, they will always be oppressors or oppressed.

- They are citizens of a country that has no right to exist because it was founded by colonist settlers who stole the land from its rightful owners.

- They are citizens of a country that is responsible for all of the world's ills.

- Climate change will make the planet uninhabitable within their lifetimes.

- The world is rapidly running out of natural resources.

- Forests and rainforests are disappearing around the world.

- The oceans have become cesspools.

What sane person wouldn't be depressed if he believed all that?

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I've had a long-standing problem with the "tech companies are gathering our data!" concerns. What data is being gathered that has everyone so upset? I guess I initially assumed it was like social security numbers or something else that would lead to identity theft, but obviously not. It just seems to be whether or not we bought a sweater. I just can't give a shit.

It's not like I have any love for Silicon Valley. But I don't see this particular threat as having come to anything; I don't understand why it has people so paralyzed. I like Noah Smith fine, but I didn't completely understand the concern he was expressing in that column. What information is he worried about being gathered? Is it political data? Anyone who wrote "let's go Brandon" in the last four years can't get a job? Because that kind of political oppression is nothing new, has always needed to be fought, and has succeeded wildly in some places in the past without using artificial intelligence. That it's done cheaper and with computers strikes me as a trivial difference. To act like it's more frightening now, I think, is to really not understand how bad tyranny has been for its victims.

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Once you realize that “probable cause” is actually a low legal hurdle, it seems prudent to acknowledge the threat of law enforcement gaining access to your smartphone and internet history (including subpoenas of your account histories from big tech). The more big tech knows about you, the worse off you are from a legal perspective.

In the legal system, the process to prove your innocence is part of the penalty. You will lose your job, get ruined financially with legal and other fees and hope that you can make bail. That all happens long before you get your day in court, which can span years (and not mere months).

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"markets, elections, and freedom of expression"

China has markets, so I'm not sure the problem. Noah's big thing is he wants us to mimic Chinese economic intervention by the central state in order to promote industrial policy.

China doesn't have elections. But Noah doesn't really like elections where anyone outside his Overton Window can win. And he loves Japan and Singapore, which are effectively 1.5 and 1 party "democracies" respectively.

"freedom of expression"

The entire premise of this piece is that Noah wants to restrict freedom of expression to prevent wrongthink.

Anway, I've heard from many people that Asia has a larger Overton Window then us on issues that matter.

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That is exactly how I read Noahtalent's piece, too- a complaint that no one controls the information sources any longer.

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Re: "According to the 2022 SAMHSA National Survey on Drug Use and Health, a whopping 36.2% of respondents aged 18-25 reported a diagnosable mental illness according to the DSM IV in the last year." — Greg Lukianoff & Andrea Lan

Compare findings in new research by David Blanchflower, Alex Bryson, and Xiaowei Xu, "The Declining Mental Health Of The Young And The Global Disappearance Of The Hump Shape In Age In Unhappiness" (NBER):



"Across many studies subjective well-being follows a U-shape in age, declining until people reach middle-age, only to rebound subsequently. Ill-being follows a mirror-imaged hump-shape. But this empirical regularity has been replaced by a monotonic decrease in illbeing by age. The reason for the change is the deterioration in young people’s mental health both absolutely and relative to older people. We reconsider evidence for this fundamental change in the link between illbeing and age with micro data for the United States and the United Kingdom. Beginning around 2011 there is a monotonic and declining cross-sectional association between well-being and age. In the UK the recent COVID pandemic exacerbated the trends by impacting most heavily on the wellbeing of the young, but this was not the case in the United States. We replicate the decrease in illbeing by age across 34 countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom, using five ill-being metrics for the period 2020-2024 and confirm the findings."

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"“cheap information” only applies to what is already known. What is yet to be discovered may matter a lot" puts me in mind of Mark Twain...."It Ain’t What You Don’t Know That Gets You Into Trouble. It’s What You Know for Sure That Just Ain’t So"

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Truth seeking liberals are cross pressured because so much liberal stuff believed is likely false, like climate crisis, or TDS.

When a society has the “optimal” laws, those in society should be against changing the laws or norms.

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Trump will begin the American withdrawal from the world. What future do you expect for Israel after American Hegemony?

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I'd say it is the Christian Re[publican that should feel cross pressured. There is a lot more in the Christian tradition about transfers to the poor than tax cuts and deficits/reduced transfers t the poor to transfers to the rich.

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May 28·edited May 28

That's strange because I don't ever remember Jesus advocating for state sanctioned redistribution.

I'm somewhat certain that the dictum was to "love your neighbor as yourself" and not "love your government as yourself." That's a difference that most religious conservatives take seriously.

And, if we look at charitable giving, the Republicans run circles around the left.

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Re Smith: Information is one thing; what you do with it - or are able to do with it - is another.

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Wait a minute:

"The Republican party is basically 85% Christians right now. So to be an atheist who also identifies with the GOP puts you in a really small subset of the population.

…One in twenty Republicans are atheists or agnostics. It’s one in five Democrats. There are four Democrat atheist/agnostics for every Republican."

Looking at Statistica, I see:

Republican Party is 81% Christian, 9% Agnostic/Athiest, and 8% "Other"

Democratic Party is 61% Christian, 26% Agnostic/Athiest, and 13% Other

I'd guess the true cross-pressure is what percentage of those Christians are actually practicing.

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"If you don’t know how I would answer those questions, then you have not been following my substack."

I know how I would answer the question. I'm certain you would agree with me. That said, I have no idea how you would answer.

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Max Weber is stupid.

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May 28·edited May 28

I would hope that's not Kling's answer. The statement attributed to Weber statement is "stupid" but that doesn't mean he is. We all have our blind spots.

Regardless, even if the simple answer is that the idea is stupid, normally in a formal class the professor wants more explanation than that such as why the idea is stupid. Also, people complain about bureaucracies for all kinds of reasons and a lot of those are pretty stupid too so even when it works well people still complain.

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Fair enough on it being more accurate to call Weber's argument stupid. However, the argument is stupid as is proven almost every second of every day by simple observation of bureaucracies in action.

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I suppose that is true but I don't think we much appreciate how often they aren't stupid. And how often they could be WAY worse. And as I hinted before, how often they aren't what one/some of us want so we think of it as stupid even if that isn't what makes us dislike it.

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