People will oppose policies that benefit themselves and their community if they think it will lower their within-group status.
In other words, even when a policy might make someone materially better off (by, say, improving their housing conditions), they are likely to oppose it if the government doing so for everyone in their community would harm their relative status position.
The plan is to lose a few battles but possibly win the war: let the bill be struck down in district and circuit courts as unconstitutional but give the Supreme Court the final word, and hope five justices are interested in taking an opportunity to overturn Roe v Wade.
… they are smart, they are focussed, they are patient.
They plan their moves and execute them with patience over years, if not decades. While their opponents, specially the twitterati sort, react to what’s happening. Reactivity isn’t always bad. But it does usually mean that you aren’t setting the terms, or the direction. You’re just responding to the other’s terms, in/against their direction. And, over time, you are losing.
Mandela was prepared to break ranks with his fellow African leaders and condemn oppression. He did not indulge the ruinous culture of relativism and solidarity that had led to so many abuses in Africa passing unrebuked.
—Alec Russell, in ‘After Mandela‘
I love the term ‘Culture of relativism’. It’s a much better name for what’s come to be known as ‘whataboutery’ in the social media age.
Culture of relativism is also something that’s made a strong comeback in the era of social media empowered populism across the globe.
Grand coalitions play into the hands of populists, he suggests, because they signal to voters that political contests are redundant.
… “civilised conflict” helps keep politics, and parties, alive.
The farmers know something is happening to the weather, but the words “climate change” have become politically charged in a place where, like much of rural America, conservative politics dominate.
In the field, looking at his withering crop, Somerfeld was unequivocal about the cause of his damaged crop – “climate change.” But back at the bar, with his friends, his language changed. He dropped those taboo words in favour of “erratic weather” and “drier, hotter summers” – a not-uncommon conversational tactic in farm country these days.
Barack Obama delivered to black people the hoary message that if they work twice as hard as white people, anything is possible.
But Trump’s counter is persuasive: Work half as hard as black people, and even more is possible.
I can’t predict it. I’ve given up predicting politics. I used to be really good at it, and then I was not so good at it, and now I think it’s probably inherently unpredictable. So where do you camp in those circumstances? You camp on the ground you believe in.