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Lunch with a Conservative

These are posts made in frustration about trying to have rational dialogue with my dad over lunch, which we were having more or less every week (at his request) over the course of more than a decade.

January through October 2016 were originally public; the rest were originally private in order to avoid confrontation. In July 2017, I decided I was done with that.

Note that I never identified him in any of the original public posts; I might have referred to him as "a relative" in comments on occasion. Even now I'm not giving his name. I could just link to Wikipedia, but that would be equivalent.


Over the years before this, he had forwarded me many irritatingly counterfactual articles "for your amusement"; I wrote responses to some of them. Here's one:


  • /2014-01-29 : an introduction of sorts to the haute right-wingiverse
  • /2014-02-01 (mainly link to a denialist article he sent me)
  • /2014-02-18 : Obama is arrogant and refused to negotiate during the "fiscal cliff" crisis; the Israelis are so much more civilized than those barbarous Palestinians
  • /2014-04-08 : employees ousting a CEO because of his beliefs is "fascism"
  • /2014-04-15 (you can skip this one too; very short)
  • /2014-05-29 : liberals are against free speech
  • /2014-05-30 : many claims
  • /2014-10-21 : Democrats are exactly as much in the pockets of the big corporations as the Republicans are; book idea
  • /2014-10-22 : he recognizes himself in my LwaC posts, and wants me to remove all of them (so much for freeze peach); this and subsequent posts are private
  • /2014-11-16 : I've avoided meeting with him for awhile; here, he agrees that I can arbitrarily rule subjects off-limits, and I agree to resume lunches



  • /2016-03-10 : a possible insight into the Republican votership; "science by consensus"
  • /2016-03-24 : me: Trump is the logical endpoint of Republican counterfactualism; him: "both sides are out of touch with reality"
  • /2016-03-25 : more claims from 3/24 - English law and self-defense; austerity counterfactualism
  • /2016-04-11 : (very short) are all cultures equally good? Do liberals believe they are?
  • /2016-05-12 : [now posting to SWoC] no "transgenders" have ever been attacked in restrooms, because he has never heard of any such thing
  • /2016-05-24 : my response to him, about HB2
  • /2016-05-26 : his infuriating response to that

Apparently this was where I made the decision (with support from my therapist) to discontinue our lunches.

Life with a Conservative

  • 2019-09-14 He emailed me this article (rebuttal), with the comment "Hi W: I don't think you are autistic, and I was unaware of the conflict discussed at the end of this article. But it is an interesting piece and I thought you might find it worth reading." I just want to know where he gets off saying I'm not autistic when I have so many matching symptoms. It's equivalent to saying "I think all your strange and problematic behavior patterns are just for show."
  • 2019-10-18 Car Ride With a Conservative
    • According to my dad:
      • there isn't much hard evidence that carbon dioxide drives global warming
      • the hockey-stick graph has all kinds of problems with it, especially if you look back over 100,000 years ago
      • the left-leaning media (which includes the New Yorker and New York Times) curses too much
      • disregarding people when they curse isn't the same as suppressing free speech
      • it's better to speak civilly when planning to do terrible things than it is to curse about how we shouldn't be doing terrible things
      • when everyone raises their hands for the Green New Deal, that's an example of tribalism on the Left
    • He thinks Tulsi Gabbard is good, which immediately makes me think there must be something awful about her that I've overlooked.
  • /2019-12-26 Silly me, I agreed to another lunch. He'd sort of skirted politics the last few times...
  • 2020-05-17 from an email to my mom regarding Why Is It so Stressful to Talk Politics With the Other Side?:
    I think the second hypothesis especially is relevant to our issues with Dad.
    I've said previously that he seems to think of politics as being like a sports match, where the outcome doesn't really matter (unless, of course, you're a Duke or UNC fan, but that seems like a different kind of problem) -- and while I am generally disdainful about moralizing, I feel strongly that moral judgement which is based on an honest investigation of the evidence is something that is important, because clearly a lot of harm happens when bad public policy decisions are made... and we have been direct victims, multiple times, of bad policy (enacted almost entirely by people espousing the views he tends to support), although we didn't need to be direct or clear victims of it in order to see the harm.