Walking Through On Political Ideologies

It was brought to my attention as I was sharing a threadified version (must have been the week I thought folks might be more likely to read a thread on Twitter than a linked post. I was wrong. Folks just aren’t interested in reading. So, technically, I am talking to myself right now) of On Political Ideologies that the way I express my thoughts often obscures the point I intend to make. To remedy this I created a thread walking through the obscurities of the aforementioned thread. I figured I may as well do the same for the post from which that thread had been transcribed (So … for the record … I wrote a post which became a thread which warranted the creation of an entirely new thread to explain what the first original thread that used to be a post ought to have just said plainly from the start which is now becoming a new post).

Let’s walk through On Political Ideologies to make sure everything in my head makes its way out. Might be overkill (but more likely everything I touch could use one of these).

So the post starts off with some digital art I created. The information depicted becomes the focal point of the entire post so let’s have another look at it before we start.

The introductory text is aimed at setting up the delivery of this mysterious information depicted I just referenced while, at the same time, addressing some of the societal abrasion and inner turmoil some may encounter that may be lessened to a degree upon its reception (the walkthrough is shaping up to require its own walkthrough … I see it too. It will clear up startinnnnnggg now).

So let’s have a look and do a bit of italicized rephrasing with the emphasis on clarity.

As the January 6th committee begins holding hearings, it feels worth pointing out once more just where Representatives Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger fit into the ideologies of today.

Twittersphere, has this ever happened to you?

You find yourself grateful for something Adam or Liz has said.

Being liberal can make supporting Liz and/or Adam feel weird. This is because of their conservative record voting against the liberal agenda you’d like to see succeed.

You admit as much on Twitter … and inevitably some a$$hat takes this opportunity to berate you.

They’re all, “these people are not your friends. They did ‘X’, ‘Y’, and ‘Z’. Blah-dee-f$&king-blah.”

People on Twitter can be a$$holes. They often are not shy about telling you that any support given to a conservative is wrong and you are a bad liberal for providing it.

Well … here is what these useless blowhards fail to comprehend (and what resolves that inner conflict I’m sure you felt) … one mustn’t be a friend to be an ally.

Things used to be black and white … but these are unprecedented times. The a$$hole is not adjusting their derivative blather for our current environment. Battle lines must be redrawn in a broader scope. Take two people that disagree on damn near everything. Toss in something they happen to agree on. Make it the most consequential [email protected] something one could conjure. Then gather a group of people that disagree with the first two people about this consequential thing. The two that started out on opposite sides now have all their disagreements superseded by a common consequential cause. You know the cliche … I needn’t include it here.

Liz and Adam are to the right ideologically. Adam’s 2020 record scored a 0.66 while Liz’s scored a 0.68. Were we to respect our political norms and precedents such scores would easily land Liz and Adam on our list of enemies … and whichever a$$hat trying to sh$t all over your gratitude would have at least one leg to stand on.

Traditionally, we have scored how politically left or right a legislator leans on a linear ideological line by scoring their congressional voting record.

Searching for such scores online led me to govtrack.us and the 2020 Report Cards found here (scroll down to Ideology Score). The site describes its ideology scores as follows: 

Our unique ideology analysis assigns a score to Members of Congress according to their legislative behavior by whether they sponsor and cosponsor overlapping sets of bills and resolutions with other Members of Congress. The score can be interpreted as a left—right scale measuring the dominant ideological difference or differences among Members of Congress, although of course it only takes into account a small aspect of reality.

On this left—right scale ranging from 0.0 through 1.0, Adam received a score of 0.66 while Liz received a score of 0.68. Contrast this with someone like Pramila Jayapal, who received a score of 0.07. If this were all there was to the story, that a$$hole berating you would have a fairly solid position backing his douchery.

Side note: a score of 0.68 would stick Senator Krysten Sinema on that very same list. Bet that m0therf$&ker didn’t know that sh$t.

This one’s just a dig at Sinema being as “politically right” as Liz Cheney (based on ideology scores alone, which are identical).

The trickiest bit to comprehend is likely the bits about bifurcation. Let’s revisit and italicly tackle what I mean by the bifurcated information ecosystem.

Okay … back to friendship ≢ allyship.

The symbol denotes not identical to.

When we bifurcated our information ecosystem, we doubled the number of realities hosted by our nation and available to our citizenry for occupancy …

The phenomenon I am referencing is easily recognized once seen. You may know what I am calling bubbles as echo chambers or something else (Joy and Rachel often employ the Earth One and Earth Two monikers). Whatever we call them, the effect is that it feels like there are two distinct realities in this country.

To greatly simplify my hypothesis, I believe our dual realities were fully developed when social media supplanted print media as a primary news source for millions of Americans. 

My essays often focus on how this alternate reality has been used to exploit its occupants, to lead them to believe in a shadowy high power cabal drinking up babies whilst wearing little girl faces in the pursuit of immortality, or even to convince them the last thing they want amidst a deadly pandemic is a prophylactic vaccine; but, if you get the Earth One and Earth Two reference you’re good. You can just think Earth wherever you see bubble.

what I like to refer to as our dual reality bubbles. I also like to number these bubbles from oldest to newest. Let’s look again at the House ideology scores.

Notice that the traditional score is not sufficient for plotting ideologies for our current legislators. We must adjust for the bifurcation by assigning each representative to one of our bubbles.

So here is where my ideology scoring system breaks with tradition. It reflects an additional data point specifying whether the congressional voting record leans more Earth One or Earth Two (which, of course, I was calling bubble one and bubble two). I posit that in a dual reality America, bubble associations are required to fully understand the ideologies of our legislators.

Rather than repeat myself here, I would point you to the evolution of the post we are walking through (where, just to confuse you even further, I introduce the Upside Up and the Upside Down as yet another pair of monikers for these bubbles), as it includes a more thorough treatment of how my bubble scores were calculated.

With so many House members, I only had room for the district labels, so you’ll find Liz labeled by her district, WY0, and Adam by his district, IL16, and so on. 

Labels that begin with an asterisk (*) indicate freshmen for which a traditional ideology score from govtrack.us was unavailable. The x-axis value for these labels indicates only where I felt I had the most room for working them into the plot.

Every label that does not begin with an asterisk (*) has been properly placed along the x-axis according to the traditional ideology score received for 2020.

I was able to generate a bubble association score for every member, including those represented by a label that begins with an asterisk (*). Labels residing in the top half of the plot were scored as associating with bubble one. Labels placed in the bottom half of the plot were scored as associating with bubble two. Y-axis values are arbitrary aside from this bubble assignment. There were a sh$t ton of labels to fit.

Before beginning to explore the implications of the information depicted, a minor digression.

The traditional two-party system with which we’re all familiar requires both parties to reside within a shared common reality. Without a common reality, there is no civil discourse as there is no common ground.

Civil discourse is all about finding common ground … and finding common ground requires a shared reality. The implication here is that dual realities prohibit common ground, which prohibits civil discourse. Consequentially, dual realities and the American Experiment are incompatible.

Time to italicly explore those implications I promised.

Within each reality bubble, however, political systems are recognizable. Within the alternate reality bubble, bubble two, we find a strong one-party system (this tracks with the pivot towards authoritarianism we’ve all noticed).

Things get interesting when we consider each bubble in isolation. Let’s look just at the bubble two labels. What do we see?

We find a sea of red, only one party enjoys representation on Earth Two. One-party states tend to be authoritarian in nature.

Within bubble one, we are clinging to our two-party system. The extra ideological dimension is the missing piece of the puzzle for sorting that inner conflict (and all the ammunition you need when telling that numb-nuts to go f$&k himself).

Liz and Adam represent the conservative element within bubble one.

Now, let’s have a look at just the bubble one labels. What do we see?

We clearly find two parties represented in bubble one (however lopsided the numbers). This is the two-party system we with which we are all familiar. Civil discourse is only made possible when representation is split across two or more parties. Liz and Adam represent the conservative element on Earth One. Their presence on Earth One is weighted more heavily than their conservative ideology.

On the home stretch now, let’s italicly rephrase the conclusion I’ve drawn, in part, from the information depicted.

We are [email protected] deep in the War of the Bubbles. The dual reality configuration is unsustainable and will lead to a failed democracy. This is why we are allies. We believe in democracy. We want bubble one to outlive bubble two.

To rephrase this uncharacteristically crude sentiment, okay, so remember 7485 characters ago ( give or take) when I was all:

Battle lines must be redrawn in a broader scope.

This is where it gets redrawn. The battle for the soul of America is not between the left and the right, it is between bubble one and bubble two. That metaphorical battle line we have always drawn along the x-axis … that line must now be drawn along the y-axis. American democracy is unsustainable under a dual reality configuration. One reality must swallow up the other. The bubble is now the tribe.

The bubble merger … that is earliest point at which it becomes safe again to dabble with norms and precedents. That is when all bets get called off concerning Liz and Adam.

Any inner-turmoil fueled by x-axis concerns is superseded by y-axis concerns for as long as those concerns lay unresolved. All Earth One denizens want Earth Two to implode so we might return to a shared reality that is compatible with civil discourse. Once (knock on f$&king wood) we have achieved this, we no longer need to align with Liz or Adam and the battle line may once more be drawn along the x-axis.

Okay, let’s italicly rephrase the big finish and call it a day, shall we?

Anyone dabbling with norms and precedents before that second bubble f$&king pops is f$&king up … for they’ve failed to see the forest through the trees.

Until our dual realities have merged into that shared reality (knock on f$&king wood), one mustn’t rely on old knowledge … on norms and precedents that do not take into consideration the dual reality bubbles within which our populace has been divided. Those doing so are inherently ill-equipped as they are oblivious to an entire dimension of relevancy.

Jason Cardwell @Moondeer