Horror and Exasperation

  • How young people are progressive, a problem for the GOP;
  • Thomas Edsall on Republican and Democratic attitudes about masculinity;
  • Climate experts express “horror and exasperation as global predictions play out”.

Sometimes you have to wonder what conservatives are conserving.

On John Scalzi’s bog post yesterday, Various and Sundry, 7/25/23, he discusses several items he would have posted on “the Site Formerly Known as Twitter,” including his gradual withdrawal from the former Twitter. Another items is this, which I’ll quote in full:

Today’s Surprise: Young People Are Progressive: Greg Sargent of the Washington Post seems to imply this is something of a surprise to Republicans. It’s not, which is why they are investing so heavily in hobbling actual participatory democracy in the United States. The GOP not realizing that this means they’re fucked when the demographic curve takes away the advantages they currently have is classified as “Tomorrow’s GOP’s problem,” i.e., the same way the GOP deals with climate change or any other looming disaster. If nothing else, they are consistent.

(Yes, I know the shibboleth that people get more conservative as they get older. Thing is, if you don’t give people the things that they historically want to conserve, like, you know, good jobs and houses and actual money, they won’t get more conservative. Especially when you also take their rights away.)

This is the WaPo article:

Washington Post, Greg Sargent, 25 Jul 2023: Opinion | Striking new data about young voters should alarm Trump and the GOP

Something is happening among young voters in America — even if, to paraphrase the old Bob Dylan song, we don’t know what it is.

Consider: Youth turnout exploded during the 2018 midterm elections under President Donald Trump. Then in 2020, energized opposition to Trump among young voters was critical to his defeat. And in the 2022 midterms, surging youth participation helped fend off the widely predicted “red wave.” Even some Republicans fear that expanding youth populations in swing states pose a long-term threat to the GOP.

New data supplied to me by the Harvard Youth Poll sheds light on the powerful undercurrents driving these developments. Young voters have shifted in a markedly progressive direction on multiple issues that are deeply important to them: Climate change, gun violence, economic inequality and LGBTQ+ rights.

The article shows the chart shown here at the top of the page.


From Thomas B. Edsall, who usually compiles long lists of links and quotes on various themes in his NYT pieces, this time writing a somewhat more conventional essay, though again with lots of links and quotes.

NY Times, guest essay by Thomas B. Edsall, 26 Jul 2023: Democrats and Republicans Are Living in Different Worlds

The essay begins, curiously, with the contrast between two books with different takes on masculinity.

Competing partisan views on how we see men and masculinity are emerging as key factors in the run-up to the 2024 election.

Two books published last year, very different in tone — Senator Josh Hawley’s “Manhood: The Masculine Virtues America Needs” and Richard Reeves’s “Of Boys and Men” — have focused public attention on this debate.

Edsall provides some samples of the two books, then links a survey.

Reeves and Hawley had quite dissimilar causal explanations for this phenomenon — as do so many Republicans and Democrats. Let’s take a look at a July survey, conducted by Ipsos for Politico, “The Best Way to Find Out if Someone Is a Trump Voter? Ask Them What They Think About Manhood.”

Then follows several questions from that poll, e.g. “Is the Democratic Party hostile to masculine values?”, to which one party agrees with in lopsided numbers, and the other party disagrees with in lopsided numbers. And leads to issues about schadenfreude, present on both sides.

The relationship between conservative views of masculinity, and the Savannah/tribal morality I’ve been discussing in recent weeks, is left as an exercise for the reader.

Edsall ends by anticipating the 2024 election.

Trump is the Democrats’ best hope. In the past three elections — 2018, 2020 and 2022 — when he was on the ballot either literally or through candidate surrogates, he brought out Democratic voters by the millions, reminding a majority of Americans just what it is that they do not want.



The Guardian, Climate experts, 24 Jul 2023: No one wants to be right about this’: climate scientists’ horror and exasperation as global predictions play out, subtitled “As the northern hemisphere burns, experts feel deep sadness – and resentment – while dreading what lies ahead this Australian summer”

The article consists of paragraph-or-two-length statements by various “climate experts” around the world. Here’s one.

‘History will judge them very harshly’

I still recall reading the 1985 Villach conference report, alerting the scientific community to the possible link between greenhouse gas production and climate change. In 1988, I directed the Australian Commission for the Future and worked with CSIRO’s Graeme Pearman on Greenhouse ‘88, a program to draw public attention to what the science was showing.

Now all the projected changes are happening, so I reflect on how much needless environmental damage and human suffering will result from the work of those politicians, business leaders and public figures who have prevented concerted action. History will judge them very harshly.

  • Prof Ian Lowe, emeritus professor in the School of Science at Griffith University

The scientists have been warning the world about this for decades.


Here’s that Bob Dylan song.

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