Author Topic: In the New Yorker...  (Read 473600 times)

Offline serious crayons

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #2020 on: November 16, 2018, 11:28:20 am »
I've noticed that reporters are taking a new interest in rural America these days. It was rural people who had a big role in the sudden change in political leadership, some think. This issue of the New Yorker had two articles about Oklahoma: the wildfire one and another one about how so many women in Oklahoma are being incarcerated, including victims of domestic violence.

Agreed that the 2016 election and other political developments have increased interest in rural people. I think it made media outlets realize they'd been somewhat neglecting them. Media people are definitely more interested in cities because they live in cities, so to some extent it's like when your editor drives over a pothole on their way to work and then assigns you to do a story about potholes. Also, people in cities tend to do more things to write about, partly because there's a larger concentration of people in general as well as ambitious ambitious politicians, artists, authors, musicians, social-service programs etc. etc. And more money.

But around the 2016 election the media collectively realized that by neglecting rural areas they'd neglected political developments that would eventually prove important.

Rural people, in some ways, hold disproportionate political influence. Oklahoma and Wyoming have the same number of senators as New York and California. Also the same number of governors.




Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #2021 on: November 16, 2018, 02:57:21 pm »

Rural people, in some ways, hold disproportionate political influence. Oklahoma and Wyoming have the same number of senators as New York and California. Also the same number of governors.

I think the founding fathers set it up that way, so that landowners (farmers and ranchers) would wield more influence.
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Online Jeff Wrangler

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #2022 on: November 16, 2018, 10:34:21 pm »
I think the founding fathers set it up that way, so that landowners (farmers and ranchers) would wield more influence.

It was set up that way so that states with smaller populations (in 1787 that would have been Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Delaware, e.g.) would have an equal voice in one house, the Senate, compared to the House of Representatives, where representation was based on population, and where states with larger populations (e.g., Virginia, Pennsylvania) would have more influence.

I gave up on the Gavin Newsome article. I found it boring.
"It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide."--Charles Dickens.

Offline southendmd

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #2023 on: November 16, 2018, 11:55:33 pm »
I agree with Jeff about the Gavin Newsom article.

What did people think about the WWI article? Basically saying it needn’t have happened.

Offline serious crayons

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #2024 on: November 17, 2018, 11:20:03 am »
I think the founding fathers set it up that way, so that landowners (farmers and ranchers) would wield more influence.

Yes. They must not have foreseen the rise of Donald Trump and his ilk.

Several big issues over the past year or so have highlighted the stakes of one side or the other having even one or two more senators: under-oath liar seated on the Supreme Court, giant tax break for rich people, close call on health care (RIP, John McCain).

The FFs may not have foreseen how sharply divided sparsely vs. heavily populated states are in terms of politics, demographics and other characteristics.



Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #2025 on: November 17, 2018, 12:10:43 pm »
I've looked through the information online as to why the Senate was set up with an equal number of Senators for each state and the answer seems to fall into two camps:

  • Because "states have rights too" as well as individuals

    Because the smaller states were afraid that the larger states would secede and so they agreed to a compromise that set the number of Senators

The second reason doesn't make any sense, and the first reason puzzles me because states should have rights in their state, but should whole states have the right to set federal policy? Especially when the policies affect urban people disproportionally? I think not.
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Offline serious crayons

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #2026 on: November 17, 2018, 12:15:44 pm »
Coincidentally, this just ran in the Washington Post.

Wonkblog Analysis
The big city paradox: They’re getting richer but losing electoral clout
By Andrew Van Dam
November 16 at 12:46 PM


Economically, America’s most prosperous regions are more dominant than ever. Politically, they’re not.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2018/11/16/big-city-paradox-theyre-getting-richer-losing-electoral-clout/?utm_term=.e0ebc4b8fc2c&wpisrc=nl_rainbow&wpmm=1

Also, big city populations are more diverse, which of course not an issue the FFs would have taken into account.




Online Jeff Wrangler

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #2027 on: November 17, 2018, 12:31:30 pm »
What did people think about the WWI article? Basically saying it needn’t have happened.

I liked the article, and the historians' judgment when I was in school was that, in deed, it need not have happened.

Talk about your domino effect. It's been a while, but I think I remember the sequence; I also checked with an old World History textbook. Austria-Hungary decided to crush Serbia after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand because Austria felt that Serbia was complicit in the assassination. Then Russia declared war on Austria-Hungary in support of its fellow Slavs in Serbia. Then Russia mobilized against Germany because it expected (correctly) that Germany would support its ally Austria-Hungary. Germany declared war on Russia because Russia wouldn't stop mobilizing against Germany. Germany also declared war on France because France was allied with Russia. Great Britain supported France and jumped in when Germany invaded Belgium.

Since I first read about this stuff in college, I always felt that if Austria-Hungary had not determined to crush Serbia, the war would not have happened, or at least not in 1914.
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Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #2028 on: November 17, 2018, 07:10:57 pm »

  • Because "states have rights too" as well as individuals

  • Because the smaller states were afraid that the larger states would secede and so they agreed to a compromise that set the number of Senators

Jeff, thanks for explaining that I got the second reason turned around. It makes more sense the other way.

But in terms of states having their own rights, I only agree that states have rights within their own boundaries. Federally, I don't think it's right that Wyoming can have the same say in matters as California. That has led to Wyoming receiving more than $4k per capita in Federal aid, versus a small fraction of that for California. I'm sure there are some questions over which states could weigh in equally, but thinking about it for a while now, I can't think of one.
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Offline serious crayons

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #2029 on: November 18, 2018, 11:36:03 am »
Jeff, thanks for explaining that I got the second reason turned around. It makes more sense the other way.

But in terms of states having their own rights, I only agree that states have rights within their own boundaries. Federally, I don't think it's right that Wyoming can have the same say in matters as California. That has led to Wyoming receiving more than $4k per capita in Federal aid, versus a small fraction of that for California. I'm sure there are some questions over which states could weigh in equally, but thinking about it for a while now, I can't think of one.

Tell that to the Founding Fathers!  :laugh:

I don't know enough about the reasoning behind those decisions, but life was very different back then. Maybe they were looking out for the interests of gentleman-farmer types like Thomas Jefferson who lived in less densely populated areas?

What I do know is that there's a Thomas Jefferson quote carved into the Jefferson Memorial in the mall in Washington that says

I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions. But laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinion change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him as a boy as civilized society ever to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.

I took a photo of it to show to anyone who argues against affordable single-payer healthcare with"there's no mention of health care in the Constitution." Because, true, these slave-holding white men, the only eligible voters, did not see the need for citizens to receive outside help paying for their bleedings and leech treatments. I don't think the founders discussed whether this would still make sense in an era of heart transplants and nueromodulation (inserting wires into the brain or spinal cord that deliver electrical currents to particular areas) for Parkinson's disease and chronic pain.

And from a modern perspective, the founders were barbarous in many ways. Though, paradoxically, far more brilliant than typical presidents nowadays.

So they might have decided differently if their culture was more like ours now. For one thing, the Founding Fathers would almost certainly be living in a big city; places like Monticello or Mount Vernon would be for an occasional getaway (a la Camp David) or summer house for the family. Also, they would be rich.

So livestyle-wise, they might be basically like Trump. Except they'd have completely different brains.  :laugh: