Happy Thanksgiving

Last year, on October 9th, the first post went live on Political Orphans. Attempting to port an entire web community from one platform to another was challenging, but we seem to have pulled it off. Thanks for your patience, participation and your remarkable contributions this year.

The site was thrown together in a hurry and I’ve been reluctant to make major changes. It’s time to start working out the kinks. I’ve gotten some feedback on likes and dislikes and I’m happy to hear more. Over the course of this holiday weekend you may experience interruptions as I make minor changes.

You may have noticed that we’ve welcomed relatively few new visitors this year. After a wave of successful bot and spam signups after the election I closed security down to a nearly impenetrable lock. I want to find ways to loosen that back up without losing control of the dozens of Russian accounts that try to log in every day. I’m proud to sponsor the best comments section on the Internet. Whatever changes occur on the backend of the site, I’m committed to preserving that distinction.

I’d also like to welcome some other contributors to the main page. Nothing in the works yet, but I’m beginning to give it more thought.

Many thanks to all of you for what you’ve invested in this place. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

18 Comments

  1. Twitter and Facebook, obviously, but why would the Russians be targeting us? Are we more important than I thought or are they just out there going after anything political now? o_O

    That aside, had a fascinating read on the Washington Post about how to “turn conservatives into liberals”.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/inspired-life/wp/2017/11/22/at-yale-we-conducted-an-experiment-to-turn-conservatives-into-liberals-the-results-say-a-lot-about-our-political-divisions/?utm_term=.d0bbfced4d0f

    If you might indulge my sadistic streak for but a moment, apparently cowards are conservatives and heroes are liberals. Now, yes, that’s exaggerating things just a *tiny* bit, but it’s actually not too far off. According to the article, those who live more in fear of being physically harmed (or rather, have a more consuming sense of fear in general) lean more and more conservative while those who are more secure and confident lean more liberal.

    For those of us living in the Trump Era, none of this comes across as remotely surprising. No great shock that the Con Artist-in-Chief spends no small measure of his time stoking fear and animosity among his die-hard supporters. Driven in large measure by a society and a culture moving further and further away from the misplaced sense of security that they once had, fear is all they have left, which has in turn ingratiated them into a cult of personality from which even the jaws of life wouldn’t be enough to tear them away.

    Some, like Noah Smith on Twitter (who, if you aren’t already following, I highly recommend. You’ll learn a lot.) argue that this revelation demands us to reach our hands out and find a way to make these people feel secure once again so as to bring them into the liberal fold, as it were. And while there’s some logic to that with respect to anti-Trump Republicans/weak Trump voters (ie suburban voters), the true believers are simply too far gone for anything like that. Not to be morbid, but these are people who just have to be outvoted until they simply die out.

    That aside, I’d like to understand a bit of the history as to how this came about. Were conservatives always like this or is this a recent phenomenon? Did it happen gradually over time, and if so, what were the historical factors that played a role in shaping how that occurred?

    1. I don’t know Ryan,
      Like all social science studies, this one needs to be taken with a grain of salt. I’m not sure they’ve proven anything, and if they have, it’s probably more about the current state of the liberal / conservative divide than anything intrinsic to those two philosophies.

      For example, they say they asked questions about “gay rights, abortion, feminism and immigration”. Those are all social issues. And *current* conservatives are all afraid of losing their culture, so it’s no surprise they found them to be very afraid in those realms. But for most people, economic issues are far more important, and lots of Trump voters were socially conservative but fiscally very liberal (anti-trade, protectionism, raise taxes on rich people, etc.). One could argue that traditional liberals are very afraid about the economy, always worrying about the social safety net and what happens to people who fail, while conservatives are much less afraid, always looking to increase opportunity and support those who take a risk and succeed.

      Even in the social realm, one could argue the fear / no fear divide from a different perspective: minorities and women had little to lose from the old culture, so of course they weren’t afraid of breaking it. Once they start to stockpile advantages like old white men used to, they’ll become just as “conservative” as them. IOW, fear always rises the more you have to lose. If liberals traditionally advocate for the downtrodden, then it’s not surprising their voters are always more open to change. It doesn’t necessarily mean less fear as we understand that feeling.

      So I think simply talking about fear / no fear is way too simplistic, and their study is flawed because it focuses too much on hot-button social issues rather than economic beliefs, which IMHO, are a far bigger driver of voting preferences.

      At best they capture the current zeitgeist, not anything intrinsic to either side. IMHO, part of Reagan’s charm, for example, was by replacing the dour, somber face of conservatism with a sunny, smiling face that allowed Americans to feel optimistic about the future while Jimmy Carter was telling people our country has serious problems and we’re all *this* close to dying in a nuclear war.

    1. Why wouldn’t he? And to be clear, I don’t say that in jest. Seriously, what incentive would there be for Flynn to stay loyal to Trump? Anyone with eyes to see knows that this “president” is a “man” that’ll drop anyone off a cliff at the slightest provocation, so the decision here is just asking yourself whether the Asshole-in-Chief is worth it or whether you should be smart and put saving your own ass first. Who wants to bet which call Flynn made?

    1. Apropos to your last post, Chris, how human-like were those bots? Did any of them fool you into granting access? Did you allow some of the more interesting ones here to see if we could pick them out? I guess the last post was more personal than I thought! 🙂

  2. You have Russians trying to log in to your blog? Who knew?

    Love the blog and know that any changes you make will only make it more special. Thanks for offering all of us a civil, interesting, educational, “safe” place to share our opinions and information. I appreciate the time and effort you spend to make this such a great place to gather. My only complaint is that I would love to know all who post here…no nude selfies allowed, however!

    1. +1 for the nude selfie ban. Although since posts on here don’t allow pictures, it would have to be ascii art regardless 🙂

      I also really enjoy this comment site, but we seem to have driven out quite a few conservatives. I really appreciated debating and learning from ‘sane’ conservatives. Not that there are none now, but there seemed to be more a year ago. Any way we can be more welcoming of them?

      1. Keep in mind, that until 12-16 months ago, Chris was one of those “sane conservatives”. If the current regime consisted of rational people, Chris and much of the forum people here would be having a far different conversation, with vigorous debate.

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