Reventing

by Don Boudreaux on August 15, 2011

in Hubris and humility, Myths and Fallacies

Vain guy that I am, I’m always flattered when someone asks me to re-run an earlier post.  “LibertyBabe” – that’s her e-mail name and her nom de e-plume – asked me to reprise this seven-year-old post:

Venting Against Mysticism

by Don Boudreaux on September 1, 2004

in Myths and Fallacies

The bottom-line, fundamental reason I endorse markets over government direction of the economy – the essential reason I support extensive and vigorous private property rights and the consequent decentralization of decision-making that this institution brings – is that I cannot tolerate the mysticism that motivates too much reliance on government.

Too many people, including otherwise very smart people, believe in secular magic. They believe that words written on paper by people, each of whom receive a majority of votes on certain days of the year of adult citizens living in certain geographic areas, and who utter ritualistic pronouncements under marble domes in buildings conventionally called “capitols,” are somehow endowed with greater understanding of society’s complexities and with superhuman capacities to care about the welfare of strangers. These priests preach devotion, dedication, and sacrifice to the One True State (your own government), even while each recognizes that legitimate disputes about the details of the dogma divide various cliques of the secular clergy. When they speak and act in their official roles, they expect – usually correctly – that the laity pay their words special heed as if these words have extraordinary power.

For example, what’s so special about President Bush expressing his sympathies to victims of Hurricane Charley? I’m sure that Mr. Bush’s sentiments are sincere. But does he feel for these victims more than I do? More than do, say, the presidents of USX, George Mason University, and the Saginaw, Michigan, chapter of the Knights of Columbus? I’m pretty sure that the answer is no. And yet, the media unfailingly report expressions of such presidential sympathies. When I ask myself why this is so, I invariably conclude that lots of my fellow Americans regard politicians – and the President especially – as possessing certain mystical powers, or an exceptional capacity to empathize and sympathize with strangers.

And, of course, the belief is rampant that enacting statutes with promising titles – for example, “No Child Left Behind Act” – will fulfill the aspirations expressed in the titles.

I suffer from an unusually acute aversion to mysticism, to unsubstantiated claims, and to mish-mash about “we as a nation,” “the hopes of the American people,” “pulling together as a country,” and other romantic foolishness that inevitably is meant to submerge each person’s individuality, wishes, and choices under the suffocating drabness of politicized and allegedly “collective” endeavors.

Be Sociable, Share!

Comments

comments

145 comments    Share Share    Print    Email

{ 145 comments }

Chris O'Leary August 15, 2011 at 10:52 am

I’m honestly curious why people believe in this kind of mysticism, especially since it’s so readily proven wrong. I still don’t understand how my (liberal) brothers continue to make statements like, “The government can do anything better than the private sector,” and, “My problem is that too many of my clients are small businesspeople who are spending their own money. I need to get more clients who are spending other people’s money because everyone knows that people are less careful, and freer spenders, when they are spending other people’s money.”

Fearsome Tycoon August 15, 2011 at 12:30 pm

Same reason they believe in any other religion–it promises to fulfill dreams that reality can’t make come true.

Invisible Backhand August 15, 2011 at 3:39 pm

I googled “The government can do anything better than the private sector” and got 0 hits.

Care to comment, Chris?

PrometheeFeu August 15, 2011 at 4:59 pm

I got 10 hits for your phrase. I got 0 hits for “The government can do nothing better than the private sector”

Ole August 15, 2011 at 5:11 pm

Its something wrong with the google search algoritythm.

Chris O'Leary August 15, 2011 at 6:09 pm

While my brother said that to me in a FTF conversation, you can find identical thoughts expressed all over the internet.

Invisible Backhand August 15, 2011 at 6:34 pm

except via Google

Chris O'Leary August 15, 2011 at 7:26 pm

I get 6,290,000 results.

I can’t tell if you’re lazy, stupid, or just a troll, but either way it should be obvious that I don’t respect you.

J. W. August 15, 2011 at 7:15 pm

My brothers, like Chris’s it seems, tend not to converse with me in sentences available verbatim via internet search engines. This strikes me as rather normal.

Slappy McFee August 16, 2011 at 9:14 am

It can’t be real if the Google can’t find it

eriks August 16, 2011 at 8:53 am

I think a lot of it has to do with our tendency to attribute the cause of historical events to intentional human activity, specifically that of leaders. Some of that over-attribution comes from our inability to understand the complexity and randomness of the world, and I think some of that is nothing more than wishful thinking culled from our tribal past. We like the idea of smart, honest people investing our resources and sheparding society. Or we just like the idea that somone, somewhere is in control. Call it denial, I guess.

The worst part for me is that it’s not just liberals sipping the kool-aid. Outside of enlightened libertarians, today’s Republicans are just as guilty. My boss went to a luncheon recently hosted by Republican congressmen, in which one loudly chastised the group for not having a better solution to “fixing” the economy and creating jobs.

Bill August 15, 2011 at 11:01 am

But these priests are so generous — with other peoples’ money.

Ole August 15, 2011 at 5:22 pm

But sadly countries without strong governments, like Somalia and Afghanistan, arnt such good examples either. Its hard to believe that a country with a weak government will also be a strong country.
This site is full of governemnt bashing. It has to stop. Without a strong government there will be no strong country.

Ken August 15, 2011 at 5:26 pm

And yet in 1900, the US government was relatively weak compared to what it is today and the US economy was all ready the strongest in the world.

How’s that happen?

Regards,
Ken

Greg Webb August 15, 2011 at 5:58 pm

Both Afghanistan and Somalia are failed former communist states where former communists leaders and other local warlords are fighting among themselves.for control of the country. Sadly, that is what happens when totalitarian states fail.

Sam Grove August 15, 2011 at 9:23 pm

What does that mean?

My government can beat up your government?

Will people who think like that ever grow up?

vikingvista August 16, 2011 at 12:29 am

I see DB’s words fell hard on your receptive ears.

Slappy McFee August 16, 2011 at 9:17 am

I am more concerned with what a ‘strong government’ is. From what I can tell, the thugs running Somalia and Afghanistan have been able to exercise their ‘strength’ over their populace for centuries.

Greg Webb August 15, 2011 at 11:05 am

It is the same unreasoned and illogical nonsense used by Roman Emperor Diocletian to institute feudalism and myth of the divine right of Emperors and Kings to rule over the rest of us. The advocates of big government know that they cannot make logical, coherent arguments in favor of the centralization of power so they resort to myths, outright lies, and violence or the threat of violence to force people to give more power to government and give up their individual liberties and freedoms.

David August 15, 2011 at 11:29 am

Prof. Boudreaux – when’s the last time you had your blood pressure checked?

Jameson August 15, 2011 at 11:29 am

This is a great anthropological theme to study from a classical liberal perspective. Figureheads are natural parts of our lives–even markets produce them, as you can see by looking at the entertainment industry. People naturally desire other people to be representatives of their desire for a more perfect world. How you deal with that is an important question–but I don’t think you can simply dismiss this desire.

Don Boudreaux August 15, 2011 at 11:38 am

I agree. I understand that these desires and mindsets are deeply rooted in human beings. The goal oughtn’t be to change human nature; rather, it’s to keep coercive power away from those who are adored or worshipped or hailed.

Mr. Smith August 15, 2011 at 11:57 am
Shidoshi August 15, 2011 at 1:58 pm

Glenn Beck??? C’mon, man. Don’t post that crap here.

PrometheeFeu August 15, 2011 at 5:03 pm

But it’s so ridiculously funny. It has Russian subtitles and everything!

Greg Webb August 15, 2011 at 6:01 pm

That’s hilarious!

vidyohs August 15, 2011 at 11:51 am

Excellent piece, Don, I am very glad you reposted it because I had not found the Cafe until 2007.

Personally I think the reason the myth exists and is accepted by so many is that in our nation confidence in our individuality, and all that implies, has been slowly enculturated out of us, particularly since the concept of political correctness ramped up the destruction of what makes each of the best we can be even when that best can be rough edged and hard to take.

Mr. Smith August 15, 2011 at 12:01 pm

I think it is even simpler. Politicians love to enact policies to pay people. Then the people paid by the government through one program or another praise how wonderful the government is.

Before long, the majority of Americans will be paid by the government rather than earning or producing all of their means. There won’t be need for a Socialist revolution, it will be “Democratically elected”.

Prole August 15, 2011 at 1:47 pm

Between entitlements, direct government employees, and indirect government employees (military contractors, Medicaid doctors, grant researchers, etc) we may already be there.

Chucklehead August 15, 2011 at 12:13 pm

I agree, excellent piece. You can tell that the second paragraph flows from the heart. This makes the third paragraph seem clunky by comparison, although a good point.
As far as titles of statutes, I find that each is named the opposite of their effect.
Keep up the great writing, it enlightens us all.

jorod August 15, 2011 at 12:28 pm

This article says the US government cut spending in the 1930s. I don’t know of any evidence to that effect. Does anyone know?

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Aftershock-to-Economy-Has-a-nytimes-2412848648.html?x=0

Fearsome Tycoon August 15, 2011 at 12:38 pm

http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/data/budget.php

Spending was cut in 1937 and again in 1938.

W.E. Heasley August 15, 2011 at 3:24 pm

“This article says the US government cut spending in the 1930s. I don’t know of any evidence to that effect. Does anyone know?” – jorod

“Spending was cut in 1937 and again in 1938“. – Fearsome Tycoon

Good question and the question was addressed by Jim Powell in his book FDR’s Folly. Take a look at the link Tycoon provided and note the giant increase in spending in 1936. FDR and his political party purposely increased spending in 1936 to coincide with the 1936 election. Hence, note the ramp-up in 1936 compared to 1935 and the ramp down in 1937.

However, the depression within a depression [1937 and 1938] was unrelated to the spending ramp-down and directly related to the Fed’s actions in regards to massive reserve requirements increases and other measures engage by the Fed. Powell explains the situation via Milton Friedman. Friedman has explained the situation many times and you can easily find the analysis in the book A Monetary History of the United States, 1867-1960 and again in chapter three of the book Capitalism and Freedom.

Dan J August 15, 2011 at 9:25 pm

Burton Folsom, Jr….. New Deal, or Raw Deal….

DG Lesvic August 15, 2011 at 12:30 pm

This one was pretty good but that one on democracy about a week ago was much better. There were elements of this you might want to integrate within that one, but that was the one for your book.

DG Lesvic August 15, 2011 at 12:43 pm

The reason I liked that one on democracy so much was that it overcame the inherent disability of that kind of argument. Ordinarily rants against evil government are just grist for the socialist mill, more horse and buggy laissez faire survival of the fittest robber baron apologia, without any concern for the weak, the vulnerable, the dispossessed. For the anti-gov rant to overcome that it has to have literary witchcraft, the special magic, the overwhelming sarcasm, wit, and irony of a Mencken, a MacAuley, or Boudreax at his best.

Otherwise, better stick to “the bottom line,” the economy, stupid, the old bread-basket, taking from the rich to give to the poor cannot reduce but only increase income inequality and “social injustice.”

Curious August 15, 2011 at 12:49 pm

“I’m sure that Mr. Bush’s sentiments are sincere.”

Yeah, right.

Ken August 15, 2011 at 1:14 pm

Why wouldn’t they be? Just because you may not like the man or his politics doesn’t mean he isn’t sincere. While I despise Obama’s politics, I have doubt that he is sincere when he says that redistribution is good or that government can stimulate an economy. The point is that sincerity isn’t enough and the sincerity of a politician shouldn’t be given any more weight that yours or my sincerity.

Bush was a very sincere person. He believed passionately in helping people. He spent considerable time volunteering in Houston with inner city children. Unfortunately, as Don points out, he thought his personal charity wasn’t enough and decided to use the political purse to pursue his charitable aims, which resulted in the disastrous No Child Left Behind and expansion of welfare, as well as nation building.

The point is that being sincere is not the same as being charitable. It is not charitable to spend other people’s money on things you find worthy.

Regards,
Ken

Dan J August 15, 2011 at 9:27 pm

You can’t be charitable with other people’s money.

Ken August 15, 2011 at 11:06 pm

Yep. That’s what I said in my last sentence.

Regards,
Ken

Dan J August 16, 2011 at 12:30 am

I just didn’t think ‘things you find worthy’ was needed.

Ken August 16, 2011 at 12:42 am

Fair enough.

Regards,
Ken

Curious August 16, 2011 at 2:41 am

“Bush … believed passionately in helping people.”

What better way to help people than to start a war.

Ken August 16, 2011 at 2:54 am

Afghanis and Iraqis are in general better off now than before the war.

Regards,
Ken

Curious August 16, 2011 at 1:29 pm

Maybe, maybe not. But that wasn’t the reason why Bush invaded Iraq.

Ken August 16, 2011 at 5:50 pm

“But that wasn’t the reason why Bush invaded Iraq.”

Except that it was. One of the primary reasons for the Iraq invasion was regime change. Regime change was desired in part due to human rights violations, against Iraqis, on the part of Saddam Hussein and the Baathist party.

Regards,
Ken

Curious August 17, 2011 at 2:18 am

Regime change from one, hostile to Bush, to one, friendly to him. That shows that he is passionate about helping … himself.

If helping other people was his primary goal, why didn’t he invade Cuba or some other dictatorship?

Dan J August 17, 2011 at 2:32 am

Hhmmmmmm…. Regime change to a friendly regime, personally, while he is bike riding and doing fund raisers for troops. Makes sense. He needed a place to go on vacations? Saddam wouldn’t give him any Persian sand?

Not that I find favor with US blood and treasures being spent in Iraq, but there are few times in our current age that such an event could take place and get support. They gambled. It was highly unlikely that an Afghanistan incursion could continue for long with Hussein in power.
Bush went for oil? With the billions and billions and billions we have in our own backyard, he saw fit to risk so much for Iraqi oil?

Henri Hein August 16, 2011 at 3:19 am

“Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its
victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under
robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber
baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated, but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

~ C. S. Lewis in The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment, Res Judicatae (June 1953).”

Ken August 16, 2011 at 3:32 am

That lines up nicely with the thrust of my comment.

Regards,
Ken

Dave Tufte August 15, 2011 at 1:26 pm

Not only does the media “the media unfailingly report expressions of such presidential sympathies” they take off points if politicians don’t express such sympathies. Recall how Bush the Elder was pilloried for his lack of visits to various places …

John Donnelly August 15, 2011 at 2:24 pm

I don’t believe its mysticism that determines one’s level of reliance on the benefits of government. I believe that people are trying to do well for themselves and their families. I don’t believe the average person is evil, stupid or gullible.

People pay taxes and want a voice in how they are utilized.

Do you not believe in elected representatives or do you simply disdain their PR departments (as in Bush’s sympathies, Bill titles etc)?

Also, with all due respect professor, you provide no foundation for the following conclusion:
“When I ask myself why this is so, I invariably conclude that lots of my fellow Americans regard politicians – and the President especially – as possessing certain mystical powers, or an exceptional capacity to empathize and sympathize with strangers.”

Bruce August 15, 2011 at 2:47 pm

“I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.” – Barack Obama

Seems to me that the people voting for this guy sure expected mystical powers.

Ken August 15, 2011 at 5:29 pm

Don’t forget that Obama is going to pay people’s gas and mortgage.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P36x8rTb3jI

Regards,
Ken

tdp August 15, 2011 at 2:51 pm

The people who want to “utilize” the tax money are almost never the ones who paid the taxes. People vote to establish programs with OTHER people’s money.

“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until a majority of voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse out the public treasury.”
-Scottish jurist Alexander Tytler, Lord Woodhouselee, ca. 1800

Wojciehowicz August 15, 2011 at 3:58 pm

To be more precise, it isn’t the stated recipients of the largesse who so much support the expenditures, as those who have psychological gains to make. The poor don’t support welfare openly and avidly; to do so makes one feel like a beggar and assaults their dignity, and they’d much prefer their dignity to anything else.

Our welfare state has been most ardently supported by upper middle class people who fancy themselves more caring, more sympathetic, and more the champions of the poor than anyone else. Their support is based entirely on a need to feel like good people, and to feel better than others. The reality of the welfare system, that it gives most of its money to itself in the form of salaries and benefits for overpaid upper-middle class employees and managers, and creates dependency that devastates the poor themselves, and mostly empowers politicians who did nothing to deserve it and even less so given the damage their actions inflict, is totally irrelevant to them: they support it because it makes them feel good about themselves.

You could put it in terms of mysticism, surely, but it boils down to human psychology. Humans will always seek to embrace things that make them feel better about themselves, even if they come with an element of guilt encouragement and self-flagellation which itself is part of the reinforcement of the belief system against the contradictory reality. If we treat it only as mysticism, and attempt to disabuse them by appealing strictly to logic and rationality, we will destroy one source of validation and leave them still needing another. They will remain human, remain with their needs, and they will grasp about for another mysticism to fulfill them.

It’s a matter of choice of beliefs, and at present, there’s a religion of faith in the state, because the state, unlike traditional deities, promises them immediate and ongoing justification and validation. It offers them the feeling of influence in heaven, if only they can get the votes each fall. It makes them feel involved and powerful. Of course, the reality is that they are not empowered, only borderline sociopathic people we call politicians, but reality doesn’t matter and that is the problem. A better system has to involve linkage with real outcomes, and provide emotionally satisfying validation.

tdp August 15, 2011 at 9:08 pm

The worst part: assuming there are 50 million people in the US (a generous estimate) who are struggling to make ends meet and would be screwed in the event of an accident, major medical problem, etc. (and assuming that the current state of the economy and of government spending prevents those who are a steady job away from leaving this group from doing so), the government, at federal, state, and local levels is spending about $7,000 for every person on welfare. The poverty line for an individual is $6,250 per year and for a family of four it is $25,000 per year. It seems that if you gave these people the $7,000 dollars that are currently disappearing into the black hole that is government bureaucracy, they would be above the poverty line just with that. If any of them had even a minimum wage job (or below if we would ever abolish the damn thing to reduce unemployment) they would be able to get by, especially with the $300 million in charity that gets donated every year. All three levels of government are combining to spend $1.1 trillion dollars on healthcare and $1 trillion on pensions in FY 2012. By the way, the gross public debt for FY 2012 is $16.6 trillion at the federal level and $19.3185 trillion when state and local debt are included. That’s $64,395 for every man, woman, and child in the United States. It’s also 122% of GDP. Federal debt alone is 105% of GDP for next year.

tdp August 15, 2011 at 9:17 pm

“It’s a matter of choice of beliefs, and at present, there’s a religion of faith in the state, because the state, unlike traditional deities, promises them immediate and ongoing justification and validation.”

Therein lies the problem. People’s ideal society is a nanny state. My ideal society is one where there is so much prosperity that order and peace happen naturally through the free market and only a night watchman type state is needed. People would be free to pursue their own interests and the only rights the government would guarantee are the ones it can enforce- negative rights (or, as P.J. O’Rourke called them: “get outta here” rights).

A compelling argument to disabuse people of statist hero worship (other than “Harrison Bergeron”, Animal Farm, 1984, and Randall Jarrell) combines both the natural-rights-pursuit-of-happiness strain of social thought and rational arguments explaining how free markets are the best economic system for everyone (of course backed up with evidence).

I have always thought that religion and political power are a dangerous mixture, but the religion of state-worship is by far the most dangerous religion of all.

Greg Webb August 15, 2011 at 9:33 pm

Hear, hear!

tdp August 15, 2011 at 2:45 pm

Blind trust in people with no more particular knowledge than you about any major issue and the adoration of big government as a savior that can do no wrong has produced disastrous results of late.
I hereby give you what is wrong with the country:

-Corporate welfare
-The nanny state
-Special interest legislation
-Socialized healthcare
-Pork projects
-Subsidies
-Class warfare
-Interventionism
-Deficit spending
-Protectionism
-Keynesianism
-Bailouts
-Nativism
-Militarism
-Nation-building
-State corporations
-Bureaucracy
-Legislating morality
-The drug war
-Affirmative action
-Throwing money at problems
-The NLRA and NLRB
-Gas taxes
-Dodd-Frank
-Government investigating itself for wrongdoing
-Loopholes
-Boondoggles
-Belief in economic fallacies
-Quantitative Easing
-Inflation to reduce debts
-Breach of contract
-Raising the debt ceiling
-Sarbanes-Oxley
-Entitlements
-The Christian Right
-Islamophobia
-Over-regulation
-Tort law and ambulance chasers
-Populism
-Governmental arrogance and hypocrisy

Did I leave anything out?

liberty is over August 15, 2011 at 4:13 pm

Breach of contract?

tdp August 15, 2011 at 4:48 pm

Shit! Totally slipped my mind!

Jack Costello August 15, 2011 at 4:45 pm

Gosh, thats a big list, but I’d add the imposition of an artificial price floor on wages.

Ole August 15, 2011 at 5:17 pm

You left out corporate power and corporate political influence.
Probably the biggest enemy of individual liberty is corporate power.

Ken August 15, 2011 at 5:38 pm

Ole,

No he didn’t. He clearly listed:

-Corporate welfare
-Special interest legislation
-Socialized healthcare
-Pork projects
-Subsidies
-Class warfare
-Interventionism
-Deficit spending
-Protectionism
-Keynesianism
-Bailouts
-Militarism
-Nation-building
-State corporations
-The drug war
-Affirmative action
-Throwing money at problems
-The NLRA and NLRB
-Dodd-Frank
-Government investigating itself for wrongdoing
-Loopholes
-Boondoggles
-Quantitative Easing
-Inflation to reduce debts
-Breach of contract
-Raising the debt ceiling
-Sarbanes-Oxley
-Entitlements
-Islamophobia
-Over-regulation
-Tort law and ambulance chasers

All of which big politically connected business want to reduce their competition or get a piece of the federal budget.

tdp,

Islamists have done a lot to stoke Islamophobia. And calling it Islamophobia is misleading. Learning from experience is a better term for it.

And the atheist left has damaged this country far more than the Christian right, which, for all its flaws, has been a net gain to the country.

Regards,
Ken

tdp August 15, 2011 at 8:36 pm

Ken,

I agree with you about the atheist left (especially since they are more preoccupied with religion than even the most fanatically religious of my acquaintances). I was more concerned about the Christian right because they keep a lot of people in the center from embracing the economic principles Republicans espouse. How well will the very socially conservative Rick Perry (the only candidate likely to win both the primary and general elections) do with moderate voters who are just sick of Obama and libertarians who are strongly invested in issues like drugs, gay rights, etc.? He needs the center to win, especially since registered Republicans are outnumbered by registered Dems by about 17 million voters. There are also a lot fewer of the atheist left than the Christian right. I should probably have also included the Christian Left (our current president, Pelosi, and Reed among them) because their sincere desire (this time excluding the above mentioned) to help people combined with a profound ignorance of economics and the effects of their policies leads to them praising big government as “moral” and “Christian”.

Regarding Islamophobia, I had taken the list from one I was making for myself that went beyond current political issues, but I am annoyed by the profound ignorance displayed by some people (Herman Cain thinks they are required to kill all nonbelievers, and having Muslim friends I can safely say that is not the case) who I would otherwise support in the political arena (I also detected Islamophobia in the all-black Crispus Attucks Tea Party’s platform), and it would be a shame if this prejudice, however much it has been stoked by the actions of fundamentalists, kept these groups and their ideas from being taken seriously (especially the CATP- one of their main issues is the damage the welfare state has done to poor blacks and other minorities).

Ken August 15, 2011 at 11:39 pm

tdp,

I understand what you are saying. I agree that there are many westernized Muslims who are not violent. And I do agree that there are very disgusting groups of Christians. I think the record is pretty clear, though, that Christianity has largely been a force for good as almost all Christian dominated/based embrace freedom, natural rights, and respect the dignity of the individual. Muslim countries largely do not.

Also, the media emphasis anything that can be perceived as being wrong when done by Christians or are downplayed or even completely ignored when non-Christians, including Muslims, are involved. For example, less than 10 people have been killed, total over the decades, by anti-abortion activists. I don’t know how many honor killings have been committed in the US, but I’d be willing to bet it’s more.

Regards,
Ken

tdp August 16, 2011 at 2:51 pm

I again agree, but I think a differentiation needs to be made between modernized Muslims and the governments and many of the residents of backward Muslim countries, many of which are thankfully under assault from within to modernize.

Ken August 16, 2011 at 6:02 pm

tdp,

I don’t think the differentiation is between “modern” Muslims and “backwards” Muslims. I think the differentiation is between the West and non-Westernized Islam. There are plenty of “modern” Muslims hawking terrorism, destruction, violence, oppresion, brutality, sexism, and racism. In fact, the most effective of these types of Muslims are sophisticated moderns, very aware of Western philosophy and freedoms. These modern Muslimes explicitly reject Western philosophy and freedom, claiming it goes against Islam.

I don’t thing the conflict between the West and Muslims is fueled by ignorance. I think both sides understand the other and reject the other. Many of the tenets Islam, including modern Islam, is incompatible with Western culture and vice versa. Adherents to both know this and are willing to fight uncompromisingly for their side.

I am thankful, as are you, that many are coming to reject Islam and embrace Western values of freedom and the dignity of the individual bringing material wealth and physical health Western values produce and Islam fails to produce.

Regards,
Ken

Ole August 16, 2011 at 10:04 pm

Well there are for sure lots of ignorance about islam, but most of it comes from the fact that people dont understand the key nature of that religion and philosophy.
As tdp states clearly, muslim culture is both very polite, hospitable, clean and with lots of warmth.
The romantic view of violence and the oppression of women and minorities is also a side of the islamic culture.
As weill as the oppression of philosophy and free political debate.
Muslims will “sell” islam as peaceful. They will say islam means peace and they will tell you what they think you will like the hear. And as long as they are in a clear minority, they will be very nice in general.
Violence against women is very hidden in islam. They are not allowed to beat women in places that are shown in public. Beating in the face is forbidden. And if a muslim is caught in a crime, he will usually deny it. And play the victim card. If he murders someone, he will either claim insanity or claim that he didnt remember. Slapping people in the face is so socially forbidden in islam that they find it humourous: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=keXI8if7M8w

So just be aware that islam hides its violence and denies it crimes. Turkey has a hard time admitting the armenian genocide because it isnt part of their culture.

If you meet a muslim, he will usually be VERY polite and hospitable. Just be aware of the fact that they hide their darker sides very well. They have a part of their culture that is very secret. Homes in the muslim world are often made as fortresses, with no insight for others. Its a very closed society, yet also a very polite one.

Just be aware that they will be lying about quite a few things and give you the sunny side of islam. The darker side is hidden behind closed doors.

Just dont invest too much anger against them. They just follow a number of strict rules of conduct given to them from the prohet mohammed. It was the prophet Mohammed that thaught them about being polite. But he was also a guy who ordered assasinations and executions. The word “assasin” comes from a muslim group,The assassins, in the middle ages that used to assasinate people.

As long as they are not strong in a society, they will generally not unleash their darker sides upon others

Stone Glasgow August 15, 2011 at 6:22 pm

Corporate power comes from that laundry list, and every item is enforced via “regulations.”

vidyohs August 15, 2011 at 6:25 pm

You have some of the players correct, but why do I get the feeling you don’t include the SEIU, the Teamsters, the AFL-CIO, the NEA, as being among those influential politician buying corporations?

But, by-the-by, you have it exactly backwards.

The biggest enemy of individual liberty is the corrupt politician who sells the influence. When the corporations come calling with cash, as I see it, the politician does have the option of saying, “No, GTF out of my office.”

See my friend without a politician willing to sell, the corporation can’t buy.

Pom-Pom August 15, 2011 at 6:46 pm

Heck, half the time it might start as self-defense. How many lobbyists does Microsoft have in Washington now as opposed to before being sued by the government?

Greg Webb August 15, 2011 at 6:49 pm

And, the greater power and tax money available to the federal government, the more politicians will dispense favors and subsidies to their favorite corporations and unions…for a large campaign (and other under-the-table cash or crony deal) contribution.

tdp August 15, 2011 at 8:46 pm

I thought it went without saying. The AFL-CIO, UAW, SEIU, NEA et al are definitely a problem, but I thought they would be covered by “protectionism”, “the NLRA and NLRB”, “special interests”, and even “corporate welfare” (the big 3). The worst part about the AFL-CIO and UAW, other than their goals being more self-serving than any other group (have they ever denied that protectionism results in higher prices and less choice and quality?), is that they play to this image of the humble, blue-collar American who does “real work”, while everyone else sits in offices all day doing nothing (apparently unaware of the fact that white collar workers work longer hours and are compensated comparatively less for the amount of work they do). Think about the connotations that are evoked when someone or something is described as “working class” or “blue collar”. Most Americans still have a nostalgic Springsteen-esque romanticism for unions, which prevent people from seeing what they are actually doing (or not doing, like being good for the country).

vidyohs August 15, 2011 at 9:56 pm

Speaking of Unions and corrupt politicians.

Now the TRUTH is starting to surface.

Remember the violent and disgusting demonstrations over Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker doing away with collective bargaining for teacher’s unions? The results are in. Some school districts went from a $400,000 deficit to a $1,500,000 surplus as a result. Why?

It seems that the insurance company that provided all the “so-called” benefits to the teachers was an insurance company owned and operated by the teacher’s union. Since the outfit was guaranteed to get the insurance business from the teachers, and the State had to pay for it (not the teachers) the insurance company was increasing annual costs every single year to become the most expensive insurance company in the state. Then the company was donating millions and millions of dollars to its favorite democrat politicians who, when they got elected, guaranteed to keep funding the union’s outrageous costs. In other words, the insurance company was a “pass through” for Wisconsin taxpayer money directly to the democrat politicians.

Nice racket, and this is the racket that is going on in every single State that allows collective bargaining.

No wonder the States are taking it away. Now the State of Wisconsin is free to put the insurance contract out for bids and, lo and behold, they have saved so much money it has turned deficits into surplus amounts. As a result, none of the teachers had to be laid off, everyone got a raise, etc., etc., and the taxpayers of Wisconsin don’t have to pay more taxes to fund the union’s political ambitions.

If you weren’t aware of the reasons Gov. Walker was fighting to take away collective bargaining, it gives you an idea of the problem the Republican Party has. Outside of one or two, none of them know how to speak up and explain properly what the problem was. We could sure use a Ronald Reagan now, someone who could explain things for people to understand, since we know that people don’t like to read anymore.

Here is the article:
http://washingtonexaminer.com/politics/2011/07/wisconsin-schools-buck-union-cut-health-costs

Greg Webb August 15, 2011 at 10:03 pm

We need more government officials like Governor Scott Walker!

Dan J August 16, 2011 at 12:38 am

Now see, I pay attention and read a lot, yet I did not know that the racket was in the insurance game.
Stupid republicans!! My conspiratorial side thinks that republicans don’t Disseminate the information is because of their own skeletons (special games they play with tax dollars and cheating).

vidyohs August 16, 2011 at 7:03 am

And here is some more of that wonderful top down decision making by government and business.

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/state-subsidized-company-files-bankruptcy-and-heads-to-china/

We all remember the praise Obama heaped on this company as being the wave of the future.

As we all knew, Obama was a wrong about that as he is about his Keynesian economic policies.

tdp August 15, 2011 at 2:54 pm

Kind of off-topic but: Who wants to see a debate between D.G. Lesvic and muirgeo?

Greg Webb August 15, 2011 at 6:03 pm

I do!

Ken August 16, 2011 at 12:45 am

I don’t. Two talking heads talking past each other. It’s why I don’t watch political debates anymore.

Regards,
Ken

Greg Webb August 16, 2011 at 1:09 am

LOL, Ken! I don’t intend to read their posts. I just thought that it would be better from those two to annoy each other than for them to continue to annoy the rest of us.

Henri Hein August 16, 2011 at 3:22 am

Yes, but if they could please do it somewhere else.

liberty is over August 15, 2011 at 4:11 pm

This topic is as old as religion itself. What man hasn’t understood scientifically, empirically or logically, he invents something methaphysical as a substitute.

We adore fictitious idols. These concepts are harmless until they’re politically used to subordinate the rights of individuals to the claimed interests of the idols. The idol is set up as something superior to the individuals in the society–such as ‘society’ itself–and then it can be said that the selfish private interests of the individuals are detrimental to ‘society’, even if there are no individuals that can be identified as harmed by the specific actions being questioned. Once the idol is set up as supreme, crimes against individuals can be committed in its name, such as confiscatory taxation.

Randy August 15, 2011 at 4:23 pm

Precisely why I avoid using the word government. “Government” is the myth. The reality is “Politics”.

Methinks1776 August 15, 2011 at 4:30 pm

That’s a great post. Thanks for reposting it, Don. And you just have to love “LibertyBabe”. Whoever you are, fabulous choice of pen names!

It seems that more people in this country are rejecting this mysticism. More people are disenchanted with politicians and government than…well, at least in the 35 years I’ve been here.

Stone Glasgow August 15, 2011 at 6:28 pm

Perhaps you are picking friends and acquaintances with a more discerning methodology, and perhaps the people you’ve known the longest are growing up, as it were.

I find that most young people are today very much enamored with socialism, and have little to no understanding of how government affects their quality of life.

Methinks1776 August 15, 2011 at 8:44 pm

I’m going by surveys and such. Even my supposedly socialist friends are fed up with government (but, we’re not young) and I’m meeting more young people who are liberty-minded.

Who knows. I think we’re past the point of no return here.

Dan J August 16, 2011 at 12:46 am

Fed up with govt, but still cast most blame on non-liberals. Many who do not spend much time to read much more than the headlines or to hear much more than the biased media assisting liberals with their talking points put the recent market fall ( it is up more now) and our credit rating fall at hands of the minority group in our govt, the republicans.
Amazingly, if the opposite were true of our congressional makeup and white house party affiliation, the media would have much of the ADD public finding scorn with group who has more influence, the republicans.
Red headed stepchild.

Methinks1776 August 16, 2011 at 9:00 am

Too true. I super liberal friend of mine is very unhappy with the Democrats – chiefly, Obama. So, of course, he’s taking to screaming that Obama is really a Republican. In his Manichean world, Republicans destroy and Democraps build this country.

This is shocking to me considering that he rarely has a problem with anything Democrats do – even if it’s the same thing Republicans did – as long as they’re Democrats.

He usually screeches between gritted teeth “Republicans are destroying this country!”
To which I reply, “Of course they are. You didn’t think the Democrats can do such a big job on their own, did you?”

Dan J August 18, 2011 at 2:19 am

Now, we get Cuomo in NY briefly doing what Republican do…….. Change unions compensations, lower taxes (implement ceilings on taxes), downsize the NY govt employment, etc.,…. And he is being hailed in NY with high approval ratings…. There is a ‘D’ next to his name, so therefore he can do no wrong…. Isn’t that right Anthony Wiener, who still had democrats clamoring for him and making excuses.

tdp August 15, 2011 at 9:41 pm

Recently there was a Libertarian Student gathering at GWU and both John Stossel and David Boaz expressed amazement at how many people showed up.

tdp August 15, 2011 at 4:41 pm

Here is what Justin Reed had to say about the role of politicians to magically solve problems, in this case Warren Buffett’s insistence that the government raise taxes on “the rich”.

“Is this what passes for an article these days?
Equating buffet’s investments in goldman sachs with buffet profiting off government spending is a ridiculous fallacy. Buffet – like the vast majority of economists knows that the best way to improve the domestic economy is not via trickle down but rather reinforcing public demand for products by putting more money in the hands of people who will spend it – ie. the lower classes who typically spend their money rather than invest or save it. As for the class warfare comment that rexprimoris mentioned – i’ll just quote mr buffet here:

“There’s class warfare, all right,” Mr. Buffett said, “but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”

and that’s the GD truth.”

I’m about to deliver him the rhetorical bitch-slap of the century, but anyone have anything they’d like to throw in before I post?

Greg Webb August 15, 2011 at 6:07 pm

Warren Buffet needs to set the proper example by sending a check in the amount of $61 billion. He and Mrs. Buffet can live quite nicely on the remaining billion dollars. If he doesn’t, he is just another “applause”-seeking hypocrite.

vikingvista August 16, 2011 at 12:37 am

He’s a long time hypocrite. People have been pointing it out to him for years. I think it was Mark Cuban who wrote him an open letter a few years back giving him the government address where he can send his money.

That he can seriously believe that the best use of people’s money is in the hands of Congressmen makes it impossible for me to believe he’s really a good business man. Either he’s lost his mind, or someone else in his organization deserves the credit for BH’s success.

Henri Hein August 16, 2011 at 3:25 am

Keynes was also a successful investor and a terrible economist (actually not an economist at all). Looking at many other examples of this, I take it as established that there is no overlap in the two skills.

tdp August 16, 2011 at 2:46 pm

Plus he purposely has no “salary” so he pays no income tax, and when people can’t afford to pay their death taxes he buys up the estate and makes huge amounts of money. Guess we know why he wants a higher death tax and why he’s so excited to get other people to pay income tax.

muirgeo August 15, 2011 at 4:46 pm

“I suffer from an unusually acute aversion to mysticism….” but you instead choose to believe with a faith like devotion in the Invisible Hand God of the market and it’s emegent order as ALWAYS better then using our evolved brains to plan and order society. And in spite of the historical documentation of the failings of unbrideled capitalism to fullfil its promise and to leave large swaths of people idle, without jobs and NOT contributing in any productive way.

Don you have you own mysticism much as you’d like to think otherwise. And like all religions it shares the property of protecting and providing for its preist while promoting a congregation of sheep to follw and support the dogma against their own better interest.

You can provide NO evidence that what you believe is better for most in society or that it would not actually INCREASE misery or decrease liberty.

Stone Glasgow August 15, 2011 at 6:47 pm

Why do you think poor nations are poor? How did the 30 or so developed nations become wealthy?

muirgeo August 15, 2011 at 9:57 pm

Because they had poor governance. You need good governance first before you can have good markets.

Most poor nations are poor because they were scavenged by nations that had preceding welath and could colonize and dominate these otjher nations always keeping them under the thumb of rich nations using a Banana republic diictator or some other form of leverage.

Greg Webb August 15, 2011 at 10:06 pm

Nah! Most poor nations are poor because they have highly centralized governments run by the normal thugs who seek such power.

Sam Grove August 15, 2011 at 10:00 pm

Why the Left Fears Libertarianism (and why they must attack it with any fabrication they can muster)

http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=3116

muirgeo August 16, 2011 at 9:35 am

Uhh… cause we fear serfdom…

Sam Grove August 16, 2011 at 2:23 pm

You say that, but you advocate for state managed serfdom.

Invisible Backhand August 15, 2011 at 4:47 pm

God, does this sound awfully familiar:
—————————————————————-
“…the claims that fundamental principles of logic lead to a worldview that only fools would fail to understand has a sort of eerie resemblance to John Galt’s speech in Atlas Shrugged…”

http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/08/15/mmt-again/

vikingvista August 16, 2011 at 1:08 am

That’s right. Krugman hates logic.

Dan J August 16, 2011 at 1:20 am

Gee, should we expect the progressive camp of ‘journalists’, politicians, columnists, and tv talking heads to make some ludicrous statements about non-liberals and their affection for Ayn Rand?
These guys are becoming predictable.

Dan H August 16, 2011 at 12:54 pm

IB,

Please read the “Galt Speech”… the whole thing… and then tell me which parts you disagree with. Furthermore, using logic and reason, tell me why you disagree with them. Emotions and feelings are not arguments. I will only accept reason.

College philosophy professors have all but stripped Rand out of the cirriculum, despite being perhaps the most influential philosopher of the 20th century, because they have been woefully ineffective at countering her arguments. Just the other day at the library, I gazed at a book called “Female Philosophers of the 20th Century”. I went to the index to see if there were ANY mentions of Rand. Not a single one.

Randy August 16, 2011 at 5:34 pm

Dan, I’ve noticed the same. I suspect that those who dismiss Rand follow a sort of “reduction to the absurd” approach. That is, after spending many trillions of dollars on propaganda to undermine reason, they find it completely absurd that anyone would actually defend reason.

Invisible Backhand August 16, 2011 at 6:16 pm

ah yes, the galt speech:

http://www.angryflower.com/intbon.gif

Ken August 16, 2011 at 6:21 pm

Fantastic rejoinder. With all those specific reasons and logic arguments against the Galt speech how is Dan H going to be able to defend it?

Just so you know, when someone asks for specific reasons and logical arguments to stake your position and your entire reply is “ah yes, the galt speech.”, THAT is a non-sequitur.

Regards,
Ken

Invisible Backhand August 16, 2011 at 9:56 pm

I can’t tell if you’re autistic or what, but I’ll post the link to the cartoon again.

http://www.angryflower.com/intbon.gif

Ken August 17, 2011 at 2:08 pm

I don’t know if you’re retarded or what, but I’ll state it again: Just so you know, when someone asks for specific reasons and logical arguments to stake your position and your entire reply is “ah yes, the galt speech.”, THAT is a non-sequitur.

Regards,
Ken

Pom-Pom August 16, 2011 at 1:17 pm

Hayek has been criticised by “objectivists.” “Hayekians” are not objectivists. You don’t have a point.

vikingvista August 17, 2011 at 1:55 am

And objectivists are definitely not Objectivists.

Harrison August 15, 2011 at 5:36 pm

There is also much propaganda at work to perpetuate the myth. A ridiculous fairy tale masquerades as American history is taught in public schools (at least in WI) that is constantly emphasizing the crucial role of a large federal government and either ignoring or deriding limited government and capitalism. This is a rough summary of AP US History in the fall of 2004 (found the book in my closet). The worst parts of America are glamorized, while the really excellent things about American history are either not discussed or presented in an extremely negative light. The first several weeks speculating about the Indians and did not really discuss the first 30 years after the Revolution. Apparently, James Madison–author of the Constitution–played a less prominent role in the United States than teaching than Sally Hemmings. Lincoln was FDR before FDR—untouchable, and, not a racist. The only thing that happened in South from 1877-1954 were lynchings and the KKK (who got more coverage than every president from Jefferson to Lincoln). The great success of American entrepreneurs in the late 19th century and the accompanying substantial improvements in the average person’s standard of living are derided as “Robber Barons,” while actual robbers in the Old West are glamorized. That has always struck me as odd, and a result of Marxist influence among historians: voluntary exchange is not robbery, while robbery is robbery.

The 20th century is worse, with clear heroes and villains. TR a warmonger (but it was blamed on the evil newspapers [not corporations!]) and began modern application of the Sherman Act (we’re lucky we have such smart people in Washington who know when there’s too much competition). Woodrow Wilson gets a disproportionate amount of time–his “great” contribution failed, and he has the blood of thousands of Americans on his hands, and the economy was effectively nationalized–somehow we only got around to his peace plan. Also omitted was the re-segregation of the military—got to love the progressives. Herbert Hoover was a disgrace who increased spending. FDR also increased spending but he may well be the Messiah. The terrible economic times in the late 30s are not addressed. The court packing scandal was overlooked (IMO among the three worst incidents in US history), the phrase Ponzi scheme wasn’t used, and dictatorial tendencies were not addressed; rather, he built a couple of dams in TN and paying people to build paths in national parks was a great success. The Korean War might as well not have existed; all Truman did was drop the A-bomb. Kennedy got more coverage than John Marshall, which is a travesty. LBJ gets a pass because he had good intentions: he received favorable treatment because ending poverty sounds pleasant, and he didn’t want all those Americans and Vietnamese to die—it took such a toll on him that he didn’t run for reelection (better than being shot in the Jungle). Nixon is a crook (I agree, although he had more screw ups than just Watergate, like declare War on Drugs, because one can’t be subservient to the state if you own your own body). Nothing more recent was taught–the semester ended. Given the list above, Bill Clinton doesn’t seem too bad–he only lied and didn’t send in ground troops after Somalia.

When you’re taught your entire life that the good in American history comes out of Washington, mysticism seems inevitable.

Jack Costello August 15, 2011 at 6:12 pm

Excellent points. A recent example of this kind of history writing can be found in Reading Obama by Harvard’s James Kloppenberg.

This dense hagiography faithfully reproduces the argument that progress in American history mostly consists of enlightened governments securing ever more power over the lives of a downtrodden and misguided citizenry in order to protect them from the pernicious influence of reactionary political elements and business interests.

The tragedy of this line of argument, typical of leftists, is that it encourages the belief that government intervention is not just the best way, but often the only way, to improve the lot of mankind.

Ken August 16, 2011 at 3:11 am

Well this just can’t be true. When I tell people that my high school english teacher told the class that only whites can be racist because only they have political power, or that same teacher took time out of teaching Bewolf to have a race discussion, or that my chemistry teacher went on a rant about what a terrible president Reagan was, or that much of the reading I did in elementary school for reading comprehension discussed how mass starvations would occur due to the inability to feed itself, that DDT destroyed entire ecosystems, that the ozone layer would be gone by the mid-90′s, that oil would run dry by the mid-90′s, or that my middle school teacher talked disgustedly about how Americans consumed far more of the global economy than the 5% of the worlds population would be expected to consume (completely ignoring how much more of Americans produced than most of the world), etc., I get told I must be exaggerating.

Regards,
Ken

vidyohs August 15, 2011 at 6:16 pm

Your comment also helps amplify why WI school teachers are they screwed up bunch they are.

Union Official August 15, 2011 at 6:37 pm

The power we are we are amassing, is not power over things, but over men. To assert this power, we have to make you suffer. Obedience is not enough. Unless you are suffering, how can we be sure you are obeying our will and not your own? Power is in inflicting pain and humiliation. Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of our own choosing. Do you begin to see, then, what kind of world we are creating? It is the exact opposite of the stupid hedonistic Utopias that the you old reformers imagine. A world of fear and treachery and torment, a world of trampling and being trampled upon, a world which will grow not less but more merciless as it refines itself. Progress in our world will be progress toward more pain. In our world there will be no emotions except fear, rage, triumph, and self-abasement. Everything else we shall destroy. There will be no love, except the love of the state. They will be no laughter, except the laugh of triumph over a defeated enemy. When we are omnipotent there will be no distinction between beauty and ugliness. There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and undergoing new iterations. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture the future we are planning for you, imagine a boot stamping on a human face forever.

GreenDinosaur August 15, 2011 at 10:24 pm

Questions: How many people have libertarian/conservative views on economics and fiscal policy in the US? How many people oppose big government? What chance do we have to unseat Obama and the big-government Dems and enact fiscal reform while fostering economic growth? How many people believe tax increases are bad and unnecessary? How many blame government intervention in the marketplace (including collusion with big banks) for causing the financial collapse? How many people favor a free-market approach to health care reform?

How many people are on the fence about these issues and will vote for whichever candidate makes the more compelling argument? How soon until we reach the point of no return?

Ken August 16, 2011 at 12:50 am

GD,

“Questions: How many people have libertarian/conservative views on economics and fiscal policy in the US? How many people oppose big government?”

I think the answer is the majority. I think many people think very little about or pay attention to politics and do what they want till coming face to face with some idiot bureaucrat. However, the question I think you meant to ask, which is implied in the next question is how many voters have libertarian/conservative views? I always hope it’s the majority, but that’s not always true. And even when it is it can get split, like the ’92 presidential elections, where 57% of the vote was cast for conservative candidates.

Regards
Ken

tdp August 16, 2011 at 2:02 pm

Obama’s only strategy at this point seems to be screaming at the GOP for not raising taxes and implying that they are getting dealt tax breaks by corrupt Republicans and not having to pay their fair share during the crisis. All the GOP needs is to say

1) Insufficient revenue didn’t cause the deficit
2) Refraining from taking more of people’s money isn’t a “tax break”
3) The “rich” already pay a vast majority of the taxes, far higher a share than their share of the national income
4) Raising taxes leads to tax avoidance, a poor economy, and less revenue
5) Point out that economic growth under democratic regimes was caused by the relaxation of some tax rates, even if others were raised, allowing a shifting of money into those areas (Clinton lowering capital gains) and by cutting government spending
6) Point out the government’s role in triggering the financial crisis, and point out that the Bush tax cuts weren’t bad for the economy, the wars and deficit spending were.
7) Tap into anger about the pathetic “cuts” being discussed in DC, the bailouts, Obamacare, etc.
8) Don’t make any screwups on the trail or in debates

If this happens, the GOP has a chance in 2012.

Ken August 16, 2011 at 6:18 pm

tdp,

Yes. It’s now “common sense” to raise taxes in virtually any situation according to Obama.

It’s disgraceful the way the media covers for him spinning his statements or attacking those pointing out his incredible failures and stunning admissions to believing the complete opposite of the central values of the US.

I do think it’s interesting that having the media flacking for Obama in 2008 and with the country so fed up with the republicans, that Obama was only able to garner 52% of the general vote. With the type of anti-GOP sentiments in the country at the time, the general vote should have been a blow out on the order of 1984. Every single flaw in non-lefties comes under the microscope, while lefty flaws go ignored completely or until the media’s hand is forced. On the weakest of rumors, the NYT ran a front article about an alleged McCain affair (not true), yet the very real anti-American, mean-spirited, racist spiritual advisor of Obama, as well as Obama’s career launching terrorist friend are no big deal. In fact, you’re a racist for mentioning it.

And I truly don’t understand many political opponents to Obama. This group seems to hate it’s own as much as Obama. Every single conservative or libertarian I talk with has nothing but negative to say about people like Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin, Herman Cain, etc. While these people certainly aren’t perfect, since NO ONE is, since these people aren’t as ideologically pure as many conservatives and libertarians want, they are equated with being as bad as Obama. The GOP, the right and libertarians, largely suffer from self-inflicted wounds. The country WANTS smaller government, less intrusion, lower taxes. All that has to happen is small deliveries on any of these promises and the left doesn’t stand a chance.

Regards,
Ken

tdp August 16, 2011 at 9:51 pm

There was an article in the Washington Post lambasting Rick Perry for pointing out that 46% of Americans pay no net income tax because it means he thinks America is a “nation of slackers”. If he becomes the front runner, he will be accused of being both a secessionist and of hating poor people because it’s “their fault”. That’s obviously not what he meant, as anyone on this site with half a brain could point out that the reason the poor are poor is because government intervention slows the economy down, hitting the poor the hardest, and because of other reasons that have nothing to do with insufficient transfers of wealth (teen pregnancy, dropping out of high school, etc.). However, Perry’s already given the lefty media some convenient sound bites.

Paul Ryan is considering running. He has a good track record, is well liked, is articulate and judicious in his public comments, has an actual long-term deficit elimination plan, and he has the Ronald Reagan touch- he can explain his policies and defend them articulately and with a real knowledge of economics and the specifics of the budget (certainly compared to other candidates). Vidyohs, I believe, said that poor communication was a big problem for the Republicans in getting support for their platform. Paul Ryan is by far the most articulate communicator of the bunch.

Imagine a Ryan/Christie ticket (maybe Christie will run for Vice?) Ryan/Perry would also be a good ticket. As a bonus, Ryan is a big Hayek fan and a Friedman fan.

Sam Grove August 17, 2011 at 12:56 pm

When has the GOP, when given the chance, actually reduced government spending?

Ken August 17, 2011 at 2:10 pm

Sam,

You seem to have missed the entire point of my comment if you think that wasn’t part of what I was saying.

Regards,
Ken

tdp August 15, 2011 at 11:42 pm

Here’s a laugher: on the Washington Examiner website a headline proclaimed that Obama is saying he fixed the recession until “bad luck” hit.

That’s like taking a guy with a broken hand, slamming it in a car door, waiting until the swelling subsides the tiniest bit, and then running over the hand with a semi and claiming you “healed his broken hand” until “bad luck hit”.

Ken August 16, 2011 at 12:52 am

Glenn Reynolds posted Obama’s quote juxtaposed to Heinlein’s “bad luck” quote. Ha! You really can’t ask for any more confirmation of Heinlein’s insight.

Regards,
Ken

J Cuttance August 16, 2011 at 2:46 am

ouch

Richard Stands August 15, 2011 at 11:59 pm

Excellent post which echo my thoughts as well.

Reminded me of a quote from Eric Hoffer:

“There are similarities between absolute power and absolute faith: a demand for absolute obedience, a readiness to attempt the impossible, a bias for simple solutions—to cut the knot rather than unravel it, the viewing of compromise as surrender. Both absolute power and absolute faith are instruments of dehumanization. Hence, absolute faith corrupts as absolutely as absolute power.”

Randy August 16, 2011 at 5:39 pm

I understand faith to be a political method. Religion is politics.

Note: Following Hume, I do not conflate faith and belief.

g.s. August 16, 2011 at 8:55 am

Amen, bro.

Pom-Pom August 16, 2011 at 1:25 pm

Of statist mysticism resulting in monuments to the “gods,” I like this Hayek passage:

“[O]f the revival of European civilisation during the later Middle Ages it could be said that the expansion of capitalism — and European civilisation — owes its origins and raison d’être to political anarchy (Baechler, 1975:77). It was not under the more powerful governments, but in the towns of the Italian Renaissance, of South Germany and of the Low Countries, and finally in lightly-governed England, i.e., under the rule of the bourgeoisie rather than of warriors, that modern industrialism grew. Protection of several property, not the direction of its use by government, laid the foundations for the growth of the dense network of exchange of services that shaped the extended order.

Nothing is more misleading, then, than the conventional formulae of historians who represent the achievement of a powerful state as the culmination of cultural evolution: it as often marked its end. In this respect students of early history were overly impressed and greatly misled by monuments and documents left by the holders of political power, whereas the true builders of the extended order, who as often as not created the wealth that made the monuments possible, left less tangible and ostentatious testimonies to their achievement.”– Hayek, The Fatal Conceit, p33

Hobson August 16, 2011 at 3:27 pm

While all of Don’s objections to mysticism are valid and worthy of intense feelings, they are an extremely poor reason “to endorse markets over governmental direction of the economy.” From all else he writes one would come away with the idea that he believes markets are more efficient at generating wealth, and the invention and effort associated with wealth creation benefit all of mankind – the more of that the better. Devoting one’s life to the advancement of that truth is considerably nobler than tilting against a common trait of mankind (human nature?) to venerate leaders.

ArrowSmith August 16, 2011 at 7:15 pm

Markets are more efficient, because that’s what free people do. Free people, free to innovate, free from arbitrary constraints and worries.

juan carlos vera August 16, 2011 at 11:00 pm

I must admit that you are a sophisticated society. Here in Argetnina, there are 10 million morons who believe in Santa Claus kk Cristina, 10 million who voted she. The fate of a society like this can be none other than the utter ruin…

muirgeo August 17, 2011 at 1:39 am

Isn’t the Argentine economy growing at like 9%.

juan carlos vera August 17, 2011 at 11:49 am

Argentina’s GDP grew 7% in the last 7 years, but: poverty remains at 30% of the population; indigence reaches 20% of the population; criminals murdering two innocent people every day; make more of 50 street crime every day; the central bank issues pesos generating 30% annual inflation, from the country run away 20 billion dollars a year, the government has nationalized a lot of companies (Aerolineas Argentina, Aguas Argentinas, has a near monopoly of radio and television); were confiscated pension funds; are charged 35% tariff on exports of grains; is restricted the entry of capital goods; and many other things like that you can see in Argentina. This picture indicates that Argentina is on the road to serfdom, the society is routed to the total ruin.

7% of GDP growth is only one spurious evidence of the so called “El Modelo Nacional y Popular”. The 7% growth is explained only by the impressive increase in productivity in agriculture, and the great improvement in terms of trade for Argentina. But the 7% growth says nothing of the fate of this society governed by totalitarian style of F. Castro, H. Chavez, R. Correa, and N. Kirchner.

Dan J August 17, 2011 at 1:46 am

Unfortunately, South America has been wrought with decades of the charismatic Machismo riding in on the white horse. Now, you get Santa Claus throughout promising presents for all.
What do the Argentinians think about Chavez?

Dan J August 17, 2011 at 1:56 am

And isn’t Kirchner a disciple of the filthy scum known as Hugo Chavez? Thank God for the strength of the Honduran govt officials, who legally and rightfully, removed for attempting to usurp the Hnduran Constitution. 99.9% of the Honduran govt found, unanimously, in accordance with the Honduran Constitution that Zelaya was to be removed from office. The military was used to protect the police officers, who were sure to be harassed or harmed in retribution by Zelaya supporters who are violent thugs.

Dan J August 17, 2011 at 2:01 am

May Chavez die a slow and painful death of cancer.

Greg Webb August 16, 2011 at 11:33 pm

Juan, that’s too bad because Argentina has many natural resources and a geography that should make it one of the wealthiest and one of the most powerful in the world. Take away its socialist tendencies and it would still be a regional, if not world, power.

juan carlos vera August 17, 2011 at 12:10 pm

Greg:
I agree. But I think a society that not realize the true source of his wealth is, ultimately, a lost society…

Previous post:

Next post: