I’m from the federal family and I’m here to help you

by Russ Roberts on September 1, 2011

in Politics, Prices, Uncategorized

The Palm Beach Post reports on a rhetorical move by the Obama administration:

Don’t think of it as the federal government but as your “federal family.”

In a Category 4 torrent of official communications during the approach and aftermath of Hurricane Irene, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has repeatedly used the phrase “federal family” when describing the Obama administration’s response to the storm.

The Obama administration didn’t invent the phrase but has taken it to new heights.

“Under the direction of President Obama and Secretary Janet Napolitano, the entire federal family is leaning forward to support our state, tribal and territorial partners along the East Coast,” a FEMA news release declared Friday as Irene churned toward landfall.

The G-word — “government” — has been nearly banished, with FEMA instead referring to federal, state and local “partners” as well as “offices” and “personnel.”

Later on in the article, there is some empirical support for the claim that the Obama administration is using the phrase more frequently:

A Google search shows the phrase appearing 10 times on FEMA’s website during the Bush years. Since Obama took office, “federal family” has turned up 118 times on fema.gov, including 50 Irene-related references.

Among them: statements that the Obama administration “is committed to bringing all of the resources of the federal family to bear” for storm assistance and that “the entire federal family continues to lean forward to support the states in their ongoing response efforts.”

Lean forward? I guess that’s the opposite of sitting back. I guess it’s supposed to show initiative and focus. Not working for me.

As I tried to describe in The Price of Everything, families generally don’t use prices to allocate resources because they don’t need to. Families have good information about the desires and constraints facing the members of the family and the families have the incentive to use that information wisely. So when there aren’t enough cookies to go around, I don’t auction them off to the highest bidder. I might give each of the kids an equal fraction of the cookies. Or I might know that one of the kids went to a party and had some sweets. I try to get the cookies into the hands of the kids that will enjoy them the most. I have the information and the incentive to make that happen because I care about my kids. And I face the consequences if I do a bad job as a parent.

The federal “family” is not a family. It’s a faux family. A sham family. The government has neither the information nor the incentives to allocate goods wisely in the face of a shortage or a catastrophe. It should do less leaning forward and more sitting back.

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loveactuary September 1, 2011 at 1:20 pm

it’s a shamily

Methinks1776 September 1, 2011 at 1:24 pm

The federal “family” is not a family. It’s a faux family. A sham family.

Of course it’s a family. It’s a crime family.

Gambino family
Colombo family
Genovese family
Federal family

He’s using it correctly, you just misunderstand the type of family he’s talking about.

Jim September 1, 2011 at 1:31 pm

Perfect mefriend.

When a Progressive reads 1984, I wonder what they think about when they read the doublespeak. Is there any cognitive dissonance at all?

Even a tiny voice would give me hope.

Slappy McFee September 1, 2011 at 2:00 pm

The Progressives I know of, that have read 1984, think Progressives are the ones under attack and only they can free us from oppression.

Invisible Backhand September 1, 2011 at 7:13 pm

If you weren’t irony impaired, you folks would notice how you talk about progressivism like it’s goldsteinism.


kyle8 September 1, 2011 at 11:59 pm

Yeah, let me clue you in. The Tea Party is Emmanuel Goldstein.
and Guess who is big brother. When the press are mostly in their pocket, they have big labor, academia, and about half of all the big corporations.

That doesn’t leave many of us Winston Smith’s left.

argosyjones September 2, 2011 at 2:49 am


In the novel 1984, Emmanuel Goldstein is a fake: a contrived creature designed to entrap dissatisfied people into pointless and counterproductive action. So yes, the Tea Party is Emmanuel Goldstein.

kyle8 September 2, 2011 at 7:18 am

big brother is also a fake, so what? The tea parties have been pretty productive in moving one of the main parties toward fiscal responsibility, so they are anything but fake.

Methinks1776 September 2, 2011 at 7:35 am


I’m guessing you don’t do well on those tests that ask you to pick out the thing that doesn’t look like the others.

Dan H September 1, 2011 at 3:09 pm

The Mafia is actually a perfect analogy for the government. It started out with a few armed men with a noble purpose of protecting Sicilian fruit farmers from thieves that would steal their fruit. In return for the protection of their property, they received a percentage of the fruit.

But like any entity with guns – whether it’s mafia or government – noble purposes are lost and the lust for power draws the wrong people to the profession.

vidyohs September 1, 2011 at 4:46 pm

For the love of God and all that is free, where do you find one of those progressives? Certainly not in the looney left camp, they are all regressives, and should be addressed and labeled as such.

It’s like letting a skunk get away with calling himself perfume.

muirgeo September 1, 2011 at 11:12 pm

You might want to learn a bit more about mr Orwell.

Orwell stated in “Why I Write” (1946): “Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for democratic socialism, as I understand it.”

In his 1938 essay “Why I joined the Independent Labour Party”, published in the ILP-affiliated New Leader, Orwell wrote:
For some years past I have managed to make the capitalist class pay me several pounds a week for writing books against capitalism. But I do not delude myself that this state of affairs is going to last forever … the only régime which, in the long run, will dare to permit freedom of speech is a Socialist régime. If Fascism triumphs I am finished as a writer – that is to say, finished in my only effective capacity. That of itself would be a sufficient reason for joining a Socialist party.

And also ;

“Man is the only creature that consumes without producing. He does not give milk, he does not lay eggs, he is too weak to pull the plough, he cannot run fast enough to catch rabbits. Yet he is lord of all the animals. He sets them to work, he gives back to them the bare minimum that will prevent them from starving, and the rest he keeps for himself.”
— George Orwell

Dan J September 1, 2011 at 11:31 pm

Crickets chirping……….

kyle8 September 2, 2011 at 12:00 am

Yes, too bad for all of his abilities he never did see that socialism, democratic or otherwise always leads towards totalitarianism. Or at least one party control.

muirgeo September 2, 2011 at 1:41 am

I think you are newsdoublethinkspeaking.

Jim September 2, 2011 at 4:43 pm

Actually, Orwell, like his friend Hitchens, moved markedly right later in his life. Hitchens and others have wrote about it.

Economic Freedom September 2, 2011 at 2:15 am

the only régime which, in the long run, will dare to permit freedom of speech is a Socialist régime.

Since the government owns all the printing presses and media outlets under socialism, and since it is the single employer of all journalists, why would it permit freedom of speech?

Stick to fiction, George.

Methinks1776 September 2, 2011 at 4:19 pm

Um…hasn’t he always?

Don Kenner September 2, 2011 at 11:22 am

Would this be the same Orwell who enraged the left by denouncing Stalin and his purges? The same Orwell who later in life turned in names of his leftist/commie friends to the authorities?

Animal Farm is a great novel for debunking the socialist state, whatever fantastic dreams Orwell might have had for non-totalitarian one. 1984 was aimed squarely at the Soviet Union, with references to the statist encroachments made by Britain during World War II. Both of these things put Orwell at odds with his left-wing friends. Read ANY biography of Orwell.

Cherry-picking quotes from Orwell to present him as an non-conflicted leftie who never questioned state power is not only a deliberate misreading of Orwell, but also a childish attempt to avoid the blood-stained legacy of socialism by hiding behind a popular writer. Pretty silly all around.

muirgeo September 2, 2011 at 1:40 am

Well there’s also the fact that when we progressives read 1984 we never ONCE come across the word “doublespeak” . So do tell us how YOU interpreted the word doublespeak in Orwell’s 1984 or for that matter what you thought of when he didn’t write “newthink”.

Brian Gladish September 2, 2011 at 2:45 pm

When I used the term “newspeak” in a reply to someone on the Huffington Post his first reaction was to claim that I probably hadn’t even read 1984. It was obvious to him that anyone who disagreed with him must be illiterate. And no, he never seemed to recognize any cognitive dissonance in terms used by our benefactors in the “federal family.”

Don Boudreaux September 1, 2011 at 1:49 pm

Does a true family toss junior or Uncle Billy in jail for not helping to pay the family’s bills?

Methinks1776 September 1, 2011 at 1:59 pm

Don’t be silly, Don. A true crime family will send Uncle Billy on a permanent vacation to swim with the fishes if he doesn’t pull his weight.

tdp September 1, 2011 at 2:03 pm

Don’t forget the Bonnano and Lucchese families!

Methinks1776 September 1, 2011 at 2:16 pm

On second thought, I’m being unfair to crime families. They at least had some principles.

brotio September 2, 2011 at 5:21 pm


Kirby September 1, 2011 at 6:01 pm

Mason family

Kirby September 1, 2011 at 6:04 pm


muirgeo September 1, 2011 at 10:40 pm

Baloney. You don’t seem to want to tell the board what you do for a living but I bet I could trace your success back to the federal family in about 2 seconds.

If nothing else the safety and civility of the society in which you live and the debt you owe back in return is a far better deal then any payments that might go to a mafia type family as you suggest. In fact, the world you’d design would indeed be governed by mafia families far more ruthless and far less accountable then our government even its most inept.

Methinks1776 September 1, 2011 at 11:11 pm

Shhh! Nobody knows what I do for a living around here. I’ve never ever mentioned it before, big mouth.

Muirdiot, it’s not that I’m brushing you off, but I’m way too busy designing the world to respond to your incoherent drivel at the moment. The details of the mafia families are tricky, but very exciting to plan. I’m like 16 rules and regs away from designing the perfect Utopia.

Mesa Econoguy September 1, 2011 at 11:12 pm

Never take sides against the family again, George.

Mesa Econoguy September 1, 2011 at 11:29 pm

“In fact, the world you’d design would indeed be governed by mafia families far more ruthless and far less accountable then our government even its most inept.”

Let’s examine this a little closer, apologies everyone.

“…mafia families far more ruthless…”

So is killing Medicaid recipients by denying them funding, like evil Repugs want to, ok? Is government providing, then suddenly abrogating, duty of care not much more ruthless?

“…far less accountable then [sic.] our government …”

When Michael Corleone calls his brother-in-law Carlo, who was beating his sister, he sets up his punishment:

Michael: You have to answer for Santino, Carlo. You fingered Sonny for the Barzini people.
Carlo Rizzi: Mike, you got it all wrong.
Michael: Ah, that little farce you played with my sister. You think that would fool a Corleone?
Carlo Rizzi: Mike, I’m innocent. I swear on the kids.
Michael: Sit down.
Carlo Rizzi: Please don’t do this to me, Mike. Please don’t.
Michael: Barzini is dead. So is Phillip Tattaglia. Moe Greene. Stracci. Cuneo. Today I settled all family business so don’t tell me that you’re innocent. Admit what you did.
[Carlo starts sobbing]

Government is never accountable, otherwise there would be many more Carlos.

So this little snippet illustrates yet again how truly stupid you are.

There is no other description. You sleep with the fishes.

David September 1, 2011 at 1:27 pm

The Federal Family finds your insistence on the use of Oldspeak to be doublplussungood.

Methinks1776 September 1, 2011 at 1:28 pm

The federal family is “leaning forward”. In other words, it’s coming for you.

Mesa Econoguy September 1, 2011 at 3:17 pm


Underwriterguy September 1, 2011 at 5:07 pm

Actually, corporatespeak. Can into vogue (at least in my company) just as I was retiring. Meant not actually doing anything but ready to at a moments notice. Or pretending to be ready (stalling for time).

T Rich September 1, 2011 at 9:22 pm

Didn’t (P)MSNBC use the “leaning forward” tagline in their promotional commercials in the last several months? I think that people made a lot of fun of it and Fox ran commercials that used a tagline of “moving forward.”

Underwriterguy is right though, it sounds like a very non-committal thing. Actually, it sounds like posturing.

Mesa Econoguy September 1, 2011 at 11:13 pm

Yep, yep, and yep.

tdp September 1, 2011 at 11:31 pm

If you’re referring to the popularity of the current administration, it is leaning forward because it is about to pitch forward and fall on its face.

Richard Stands September 2, 2011 at 1:35 am

Did they spell it “leaning” or “liening”? Because I can understand the phrase if they’re “liening forward” to future generations to pay for bungled bureaucratic bloat today.

Ike September 1, 2011 at 1:36 pm

A family is NOT a democracy.

Families constantly bicker, and fight.

There are battles over who gets the stuff when family members die.

I think there is empirical evidence that the use of the term is warranted. ;)

Slappy McFee September 1, 2011 at 1:55 pm

My family operates like a democracy. The difference being that the only vote that counts is my wifes.

Methinks1776 September 1, 2011 at 2:13 pm

Your recasting Mrs. McFee’s dictatorship as a “democracy” will result in a positive mark on your permanent record.

Liberty 1 September 1, 2011 at 2:51 pm

I believe there is an extremely good chance that a positive mark on Slappy’s permanent record would not be the preferred incentive.

Methinks1776 September 1, 2011 at 4:28 pm

Mmmm..hmm. I see you are either not married or not married long. If you were either, you’d never underestimate the importance of the permanent record. It can and will be pulled out (usually with little warning) to scuttle any more pleasurable plans in favour of yet another review of your meticulously documented misdeeds. In those moments, you will want some documentation in the “pros” column in order to convince your agitated beloved that there are more interesting way to spend time.

This, of course, is slightly different than the norm of behaviour of the the federal family which will %*@& you regardless.

Slappy McFee September 1, 2011 at 4:48 pm

What she said!

Dan H September 1, 2011 at 4:55 pm

The future Mrs. Dan H is stubborn and fiercly independent, but in a good way. I’m pretty laid back, so it works out well. She knows I have two rules though: 1) When I’m working, I’m all business. If I’m on a roll getting some sort of project or spreadsheet done, do not try to take me away from work (she’s great about this… she even brings me a sandwich and a beer if she knows I’m going to work right through dinner) 2) Saturdays in the fall are my day to watch college football. This has worked out well too, as she has actually taken a liking to college football. Hey, if you’re first game day experience was at Ohio State (like her), you’d probably enjoy it too. But she seems to like Oregon, because she likes “Ducks” and their jerseys. Hey, at least she picked a team!

Other than work-time and college football time, future Mrs. Dan H makes all the decisions, which is fine by me because I’m pretty indifferent about small stuff.

Methinks1776 September 1, 2011 at 7:35 pm

The future Mrs. H’s embrace of college football reminds me of the day my brother and I caught my mother doing something so unbelievable we thought we were dreaming it. She was watching football. When we asked her what she was doing she replied that she was “watching tight end”. For the record, soon after this revelation, we discovered that she had no idea that a “tight end” was a position.

I just don’t see moments like that happening with the Federal Family.

Liberty 1 September 2, 2011 at 10:53 am

I have been married just long enough to be perpetually in my wife’s doghouse and perpetually just good enough that I am allowed to keep my nose out of the doghouse to smell the flowers!
Truth be told, I believe the permanent record will be brought out at a wife’s pleasure and convenience, at times designed to maximize its effect. I’m not sure how most husbands respond, but my chosen response is to listen to her, while ignoring my record and basing my actions on the discussion and not the record. In other words I am basically trying not to be stupid enough to, as an amateur, get in the ring with a pro…
As a rock climbing enthusiast I have healthy forearms and hands and leverage those assets to massage her to either sleep if she had a difficult day, or to relax her for more interesting ways to spend time.

My wish to everyone on Café Hayek is that they are worthy enough to enjoy and appreciate a good %*@& from their beloved, and wise enough to see the %*@& from the Federal Family for what it is!!!!!!!!!

Methinks1776 September 2, 2011 at 4:30 pm

I like your strategy, Liberty1.

Wives’ neck and shoulder muscles really knot up at the sight of poorly placed dirty gym socks.

dsylexic September 1, 2011 at 1:37 pm

so are you saying that socialism is a great idea at the family unit level? wrt the egalitarian treatment of children.

that must explain why people like to impose such behaviour on a world wide level

Russ Roberts September 1, 2011 at 1:48 pm

You are correct. Hayek made that observation in The Fatal Conceit.

Seth September 1, 2011 at 3:05 pm

And that doesn’t work because we don’t have good enough information to be able to do this effectively. Prices, though, do it well.

Similarly, that’s why prices work to get others to fulfill your desires outside your family, but not so well within the family.

Kirby September 1, 2011 at 6:04 pm

Children aren’t legally allowed to work. Thus, dependants.

vikingvista September 1, 2011 at 10:19 pm

The facts of the matter are that the spouse is engaged in a voluntary coequal partnership, and the kids don’t own jack. This is not socialism at all. Not a dictatorship either.

Scott G September 1, 2011 at 1:55 pm

Thanks for bringing the new Big Brother rhetoric to my attention. I think you’ve already come up with a good defense.

The government is not like my family. My family members know each other well and can thus help each other. The government on the other hand only pretends to know me. It doesn’t know me; it’s too distant to do that. It will never know me better than my family members do. Even if it could know me, it doesn’t have the strong incentives to help me like my family members do.

Government is a fraud. It pretends to be things that it isn’t.

Don Boudreaux September 1, 2011 at 11:43 pm


tdp September 1, 2011 at 2:02 pm

Our federal parents are being abusive. I think someone should call child protection services…

Kirby September 1, 2011 at 6:07 pm

You’re being disowned. Your new parents are…. Dagny Traggart and John Galt?

PappyD September 1, 2011 at 2:09 pm

Didn’t MSNBC use the term Lean Forward as one of their slogans?

cthorm September 1, 2011 at 3:26 pm

Current tense. MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow is using the tagline Lean Forward…infuriatingly I am forced to watch her commercials daily on CNBC….the only tv channel we have at work.

vikingvista September 2, 2011 at 6:50 pm

Time to turn off the TV and turn on the radio. Or better yet, turn on an EconTalk podcast.

Tom of the Missouri September 3, 2011 at 10:27 am

Where do you work? At the ministry of truth?

Mesa Econoguy September 1, 2011 at 11:35 pm

Yes, because Lean Stupid didn’t test well.

drobviousso September 1, 2011 at 2:18 pm

Interesting term that I haven’t heard before. Here’s how it’s historical usage looks.

I think these are only really reliable till 2000. That’s the default end date.

Bare Markets September 1, 2011 at 2:58 pm

Many of the concepts you “extremists” use have only been in use for a few decades, didn’t you read Orwell in during your public school “mindschtuppen”

I know that and I’m just a teenager, a being which never existed until half a century ago.


drobviousso September 1, 2011 at 5:04 pm

I have absolutely no idea what you are attempting to communicate.

gregworrel September 1, 2011 at 2:26 pm

MSNBC uses “lean forward” as a slogan. I think it is supposed to be as opposed to leaning left or leaning right they are leaning forward, looking to the future, while the rest of us yahoos are ostensibly stuck in the past.

I am not sure who stole the phrase from whom. Or maybe they are working together, coming up with catchy buzzwords to market an otherwise loathsome agenda.

Michael September 1, 2011 at 2:38 pm

Maybe both MSNBC and the federal family value “moving forward” because they are both Progressive.

Dan H September 1, 2011 at 3:42 pm

Given the confiscatory nature of government, it really should be “Lien Forward”.

Richard Stands September 2, 2011 at 1:44 am

You beat me to it. I hadn’t read this far before making that same point above.

tdp September 1, 2011 at 11:34 pm

Leaning left is leaning backward. Leaning right is leaning slightly backward. Leaning libertarian is leaning towards progress.

muirgeo September 2, 2011 at 1:54 am

Leaning libertarian is joining a cult.

Kirby September 2, 2011 at 7:21 am

Says the man with FDR as his avatar who refuses to believe that The Family could ever do harm.

tdp September 4, 2011 at 2:20 pm

Libertarians are decidedly not a “cult”. There are more schools of thought in the libertarian tradition, both economically and politically, than any other ideology. Libertarians think and have their own views about things. There are plenty of instances where libertarian commenters on this site disagree with one another. It is you, the “progressive”, who is the cultist. The Left never questions its preconceived notions and ideology. They are the ones in lockstep obedience with the directives of their leaders. Unswerving devotion to charismatic politicians like Obama and FDR is far more cult-like than a healthy distrust of all politicians and only qualified support for even avowed “libertarian” candidates.

muirgeo September 2, 2011 at 1:53 am
Bare Markets September 1, 2011 at 2:48 pm

They make you an offer of freedom you can’t refuse.

A girl can hardly resist the embrace of brotherly love that only crony corporate big brothers like General Electric can give you.

Dad, can I borrow the keys to the Drone?

GrizzlyAdam September 1, 2011 at 2:52 pm

I’ve always wanted a big brother. And now I have one that will bully me, steal from me, lie to me, and beat me. All for my own good of course. Years from now, we’ll all have a good laugh about it!

JS September 1, 2011 at 3:03 pm

The introduction of the phrase proves that a propaganda apparatus is at work in this administration. They play hardball.

Historically, families and extended clans were dictatorially run by their elders. Ancient Roman Law provided family elders with life or death decisions regarding both rules and punishment. There was no such legal concept as private property until families/clans began trading with each other. Property rights, rules of contract, the market economy, and other aspects of individualism evolved from that point as well.

There has never existed a communally (socialistically) structured civilization in the history of mankind. This is because there can be no society without a recognition of property and some measure of individual right. Civilization requires a market process. The former Soviet Union and other so-called communist dictatorships survive(d) only because of their reliance on market based societies around them.

Prior to civilization, totalitarian communism limited to small family units prevailed.

SaulOhio September 1, 2011 at 4:25 pm

“The former Soviet Union and other so-called communist dictatorships survive(d) only because of their reliance on market based societies around them.”

And because of certain limited times/places when they allowed private property. Lenin’s New Economic Plan. Small private farms limited to an acre so they wouldn’t exploit workers by hiring farm hands. Socialism can only survive as a parasite on capitalism.

Methinks1776 September 1, 2011 at 4:48 pm

Yes, but the NEP didn’t last long.

I don’t buy the argument that the Soviet Union necessarily survived because of the surrounding market-based economies. Russia was rich in commodities, which the Federal Family used both as an input to its production and exported to others (but the “others” needn’t have been market based economies to buy it). When the Soviet Union collapsed, economists got their first really good look at the Soviet economy and discovered that the black market was about as large as the official economy. Some suspect that the Soviet Union’s longevity is partially due to this version of a market economy. I do remember that virtually anything that my father didn’t smuggle in for us from his frequent trips abroad was acquired through our connections in the black market.

It’s also not clear that the Soviet Union’s collapse was inevitable. A Federal Family that literally saw the population as disposable can hang on to power forever.

Slappy McFee September 1, 2011 at 4:49 pm

I love how you worked Federal Family into that….

Methinks1776 September 1, 2011 at 4:51 pm

What can I say? It’s a natural fit.

Nick September 1, 2011 at 3:07 pm

As a native of Palm Beach County, I am shocked to be seeing this from the Post. They usually religiously take the pro-gov’t line.

rbd September 1, 2011 at 3:24 pm

I’ve got a new name for government:

The Impediment.

I_am_a_lead_pencil September 1, 2011 at 4:00 pm

An attempt to infuse the comfort of our ‘familial instincts’ into our wider societal goals.

“Part of our present difficulty is that we must constantly adjust our lives, our thoughts and our emotions, in order to live simultaneously within different kinds of orders according to different rules. If we were to apply the unmodified, uncurbed, rules of the micro-cosmos (i.e., of the small band or troop, or of, say, our families) to the macro-cosmos (our wider civilization), as our instincts and sentimental yearnings often make us wish to do, we would destroy it. Yet if we were always to apply the rules of the extended order to our more intimate groupings, we would crush them. So we must learn to live in two sorts of world at once.”

F.A. Hayek “The Fatal Conceit”

Ken Mueller September 1, 2011 at 5:01 pm

I couldn’t keep my eyes and brain from lingering on this felicitous phrase: “the entire federal family is ‘leaning forward’ . . . .” Where have I seen that before, aha, MSNBC in their new branding campaign?, or is it ‘bend forward’? Is it just FEMA that is putting on the friendly face of socialism mask?

tdp September 1, 2011 at 11:36 pm

They’re leaning forward, so we have to bend over…

Dan J September 1, 2011 at 11:46 pm

Haha….. Squeal like a piggy….

Stone Glasgow September 1, 2011 at 5:05 pm

Haven’t socialist and communist governments been using as many family oriented slogans and phrases as possible for some time now? Terms like “brotherhood,” “motherland,” “fatherland,” “homeland?”

Socialism and communism try to create a family among strangers, and it has failed every time. But they keep trying, and they seem to realize that the goal is to corral everyone into considering strangers to be family members.

Methinks1776 September 1, 2011 at 8:27 pm

The goal is to break loyalty to family and to supplant it with loyalty and subservience to the state. In the socialist state, we were the property of the state. The state had every right do dispose of us as it saw fit. And it did.

Of course, the state was wrapped in fantastic promises – a communist future which will bring freedom from want and exploitation and all sorts of obviously unattainable fantasies. For this bright future, we were expected to sacrifice. Deeply and without complaint.

We see a rehashing of this rhetoric with the same goal today in the blatherings from the Obamessiah and, to be fair, many other clowns in the three ring circus in D.C. “Shared sacrifice”, “federal family”, promises of a bright future delivered to us by a state which demands only our subjugation to it in return.

Fomenting unrest and class warfare, we hear tired rhetoric from revolutionary Russia rehashed. Same hypocritical anti-capitalist, anti-bourgeoisie ranting, different ugly skank:

Tom of the Missouri September 3, 2011 at 10:46 am

I think you are correct, with “homeland” being G.W. Bush’s huge and creepy contribution to our ever more Orwellian state with his Department of Homeland Security. Think TSA gropers and now DHS head Janet Napolitano recent warnings about those rabid Tea Partiers and other similar internal domestic threats.

vidyohs September 1, 2011 at 6:37 pm

LOL, I realized a few moments ago where this all began and where it is now.

She ain’t heavy, she’s your sister. (Courtesy of the Federal Govamily)


Now how can you turn your back on yo sista?

jorod September 1, 2011 at 8:31 pm

The family makes allotments for each member. Fits right in with government policy.

Invisible Backhand September 1, 2011 at 8:59 pm

Very good article on libertarians, hayek, friedman etc. went up at Salon a couple days ago:


kyle8 September 2, 2011 at 12:08 am

no, there are no good articles on Salon.

Invisible Backhand September 2, 2011 at 10:36 am

Maybe I could look at your blog…nope, you don’t post there any more.

Slappy McFee September 2, 2011 at 9:48 am

Actually — I think most at the Cafe should stroll over to Salon and read this article. It is a brilliant example of what Don, EconLog, etal have been discussing regarding people thinking they know more about their debating partner than they really do. The Cafe will not be the last place that this particular piece of propoganda will be spread.

John Papola September 2, 2011 at 12:54 pm

I love that article and the other hack jobs Salon has run. It shows how scared some of their writers are of the rise in libertarian interest. I see it as a market signal.

Meanwhile, Glenn Greenwald, one of the best writers, is getting more libertarian by the day as fake “liberals” yell at him day in and day out for not being a toady for the Obama war factory.

John Papola September 2, 2011 at 12:52 pm

Plucked from the Naomi Klein playbook of ad hominem hackery.

Here’s the best response:

There’s a reason the phrase “tyranny of the majority” has the word “tyranny” in it. We didn’t make that up. Mobs can be brutal.

muirgeo September 1, 2011 at 10:35 pm

“It should do less leaning forward and more sitting back.”

I bet there are a lot… millions of families In the path of Irene, in Joplin and Alabama and Texas… that would claim you have NO IDEA what you are talking about.

Comparing families abilities to divide cookies with their ability to handle massive flooding, houses blown to splinters and lands wasted by fire and drought is quite a stretch.

They DID what you said with Katrina… they sat back… and thousands died and suffered…. very poorly thought out…

Methinks1776 September 1, 2011 at 11:00 pm

Yeah, I was delighted to have the entire town in a panic and evacuating over a little rain. Which the Federal Family and its propagandists in the media knew was going to be no more than a tropical storm by the time it hit New Jersey.

The super unbiased propagandists we euphemistically refer to as “journalists” did a fabulous job of whipping up fear and panic to make the out of favour would-be dictator in the white house seem like the saviour nobody believes he is anymore (along with the governors of the states in the path of the thunderstorm, some of whom took to threatening and condescending to their populations – I’m talking to you, governor Christie). Turns out the weather service was under political pressure to keep the fear going.

So, next time the Federal Family decides to whip up panic again, fewer people will take it seriously and if a really serious storm hits, more people will die.

That’s how the Federal Family and the super professional journalists are working for we the people and all that jazz!

muirgeo September 1, 2011 at 11:28 pm

Yeah… much better to take the Bush approach and not create unnecessary panic over a lil hurricane and questionable levees heading for New Orleans…. that worked real good.

Before we had government warning systems hurricanes like Irene would have killed many more than just 40 people.

kyle8 September 2, 2011 at 12:07 am

And I suppose in your bizarre tiny mind that no private enterprise would have every set up a weather warning service if the government had not done so.

muirgeo September 2, 2011 at 1:58 am

LOL!!! Yeah because in 1960 there were some firms on the verge of launching satellites and the government pushed them out of the business. Stupid NASA…..

kyle8 September 2, 2011 at 7:23 am

satellites were launched by private business in the early 1960′s yes indeed. I suppose you never heard of telestar.

besides which, if there had been a market for it then it would have happened as soon as the technology made it profitable.

I understand the usefulness of some government agencies in pushing technology. I am not against government, as you are against profit. What I find humorous is your idiotic worship at the altar of big government.

Kirby September 2, 2011 at 7:30 am

Private corporations are now doing so at exorbitant prices, nearly 5 TIMES the cost that the government was doing it. Also, their safety regulations are extremely lower. Truly we should be thankful for our government.

brotio September 2, 2011 at 5:36 pm

I am not against government, as you are against profit. – kyle8 RE Yasafi

Don’t give Yasafi so much credit. He is a hypocrite about profit (as he is about most things).

Yasafi is only opposed to other people earning profit. He wouldn’t dream of forgoing any of the obscene profit he earns in the health care industry. What’s a few-thousand vaccinations for poor kids versus a carbon-spewing, Gaia-destroying trip to Italy for our Dear, compassionate Ducktor?

Methinks1776 September 2, 2011 at 7:31 am

Irene was a windy thunderstorm. I’ve never been so underwhelmed in my life.

New Orleans was given evacuation orders. Unless you expect Bush to personally go house to house and extract people at gunpoint to provide you with photos to call him a racist, I don’t know what you wanted Bush to do about it. Speaking of which, what the hell did Mayor Nagin do about the evacuation and why did the local government decide to divert federal funds meant for the levees to build a greenway instead?

Oh yeah….because Mayor Nagin hates black people!

Slappy McFee September 2, 2011 at 11:28 am

“much better to take the Bush approach and not create unnecessary panic…”

So the proper response of government is to create unneccessary panic?

Awesome. Your patients must love you. Yes, it appears that this common cold might result in the loss of your leg, let’s cut them both off just in case.

Dan J September 1, 2011 at 11:36 pm

Mayor Nagin and Gov Blanco are more responsible for failures than others.

tdp September 1, 2011 at 11:38 pm

Nagin should have been tried for the deaths of every single New Orleans resident who drowned during that storm. Have you read the Douglas Brinkley book about Katrina?

Dan J September 1, 2011 at 11:53 pm

Have to see that book. Have not yet.

penocea September 2, 2011 at 1:05 am

Federal Family. Mission accomplished.

In a November 1969 issue of Young Socialist Magazine, Lee Smith wrote, When America Goes Socialist,

“We believe children in a socialist society will not “belong to” one set of biological parents, but will look upon all adults as their mothers and fathers. In turn, adults will view them as children of the whole community. During the years they require of extensive care, training and affection, the children will be raised by professionals who choose to specialize in such work.”

ArrowSmith September 2, 2011 at 1:16 am

Obama getting desperate. Does he really think this drivel is going to win votes?

Mr. Blather September 2, 2011 at 2:33 am

Tells me how to dress: check
Tells me what to eat: check
Tells me how to eat: check
Tells me how to talk: check
Tells me not to smoke: check
Tells me not to drink: check
Tells me when to come home: check
Tells me when to go to bed: check
Tells me when I can use the car: check
Tells me to turn off the lights and not waste power: check

Holy crap! The government IS just like my family (when I was a kid anyway).

muirgeo September 2, 2011 at 9:47 am

I don’t think the government tells me those things or in any significant way forces those things on me. Now if you work for a corporation THEY will force many of these things on you as a condition of your employment.

scott September 2, 2011 at 9:03 am

lol- great post russ

John Papola September 2, 2011 at 12:50 pm

“Socialism is simply a re-assertion of that tribal ethics whose gradual weakening had made an approach to the Great Society possible.” F. A. Hayek.

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