Bill Keller needs to get out more

by Russ Roberts on December 7, 2011

in Media

Paul Gregory explains why.

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Chuclehead December 7, 2011 at 12:47 am

Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes? The economy is great. Obama 2012

vidyohs December 7, 2011 at 6:13 am

In the broken brained world of the left it is proper to create thinking based on an agenda, whereas in the libertarian world one creates agendas derived from one’s thinking.

Salt Water Economist December 7, 2011 at 6:23 am

Of course, Bill Keller is right.

Incentive caused bias has resulted in complete pollution of the “economic” atmosphere.

A good example is the comment above by Chuclehead, who seems unable to realize that our Economy was in serious trouble many years before Obama became President and that the capture of Congress by special business interests and the One Percent has for years prevented any attempt at meaningful solutions.

Some of us just accept the futility of its all. My son has a great t-shirt: Those who can’t do the math, read.

Quantum mechanics has taught us that there is no such thing as a vacuum; and, that space can travel many times the speed of light. Fortunately, we do not have to have meaningful discussions about such in our daily public life.

If we did, that atmosphere would be equally polluted by the Russ Roberts, and John John Stossels, and Ann Coulters, all looking to sell a t-shirt, book, or dvd or otherwise gain attention by proclaiming that nothing is nothing or that Einstein was right!

vidyohs December 7, 2011 at 7:05 am

Ah, the troll de jour.

Or is it one troll, many names.

GAAPrulesIFRSdrools December 7, 2011 at 9:06 am

Well, this prose isn’t quite the pedal-to-the-metal statist screed Murgeio (aka Muirbot, and Muirdouche) likes to post, but he has been awful quiet lately..

Sam Grove December 8, 2011 at 3:45 pm

A good example is the comment above by Chuclehead, who seems unable to realize that our Economy was in serious trouble many years before Obama

I don’t get that from Chucklehead’s comment, but I understand why you do.

Dan Phillips December 7, 2011 at 7:32 am

“…our Economy was in serious trouble many years before Obama became President and that the capture of Congress by special business interests and the One Percent has for years prevented any attempt at meaningful solutions.”

With that portion of your comment you hit the nail on the head. I’m curious, though, what you would consider to be a meaningful solution.

Salt Water Economist December 7, 2011 at 2:08 pm

1) end tenure

2) national exams in all subjects, so that everyone knows who is performing

3) free education through college, ending all loan programs

pay for such by requiring that any good or service than incorporates, directly or indirectly, learning, technology, or patents paid for by state or federal tax dollars has to be made in the US, with royalties funding colleges and universities

4) everyone guaranteed a job; welfare of any sort only for the truly disabled

5) corporations permitted to bring all over seas $$$ home, on the condition they create venture funds and invest money through such funds solely in new businesses and research in USA. No income tax on such investments, but never any exporting of jobs $3 trillion +/- new investment

6) repeal income tax and replace with VAT

repeal obama care and replace with federal single payer system; no health insurance; permit doctors and patients to also purchase health care privately. IOW remove all incentives not to be healthy as possible.

wealth tax to re-capture costs of wars in Iraq and Afg, which rich refused to pay for, applying tax directly to debt reduction

7) permit bankruptcy cram down on foreclosures and permit bankruptcy discharge of credit card debt; make bankruptcy very entrepreneur favorable

8) repeal business judgment rule for large public firms (more than $500 million in sales); cap size of banks and require divestiture; direct banks into merchant banking, instead of lending to small and medium business, by making all bank lending non recourse, including consumer

9) direct election of president; end Sherman plan and allocate Senators by districts, not states, with direct election

1) pass ERA

Dan Phillips December 7, 2011 at 2:58 pm

That’s a pretty long list for a message board!

1) End tenure. Tenure for whom? College professors? Even professors at private universities? How doe that solve the economic crises we face?

2) National exams… Again, I’m perplexed. What does that solve economically?

3) Free education… How can education be free? Do you mean tuition-free? For education to be free, that would mean nobody pays anything for it, right? So how do we get school buildings, textbooks, teachers, etc? Are the teachers unpaid? Do the school buildings, textbooks, etc. appear out of thin air? No, there can be no such thing as free education. Somebody has to pay for it.

4) Everybody guaranteed a job; welfare of any sort only for the truly disabled. Who is to warrant the guarantee? Who provides the jobs? Who pays the salaries? Are you expecting the government to do all of this? Where does it come up with the capital for such an endeavor? Have you thought this out past the sound-bite? How (and who?) discerns who are the truly disabled? Is that another government beauracracy? And how is this an economic solution? What does it solve? It looks to me like it creates as many – or more – problems as it purports to resolve.

I’ll stop for now, and adress your other points at a later date. Maybe somebody else would like to take up where I left off.

Salt Water Economist December 7, 2011 at 8:35 pm

reading the responses, it is plain that the trolls here are no up to speed

I will explain only point 1, this evening: ending tenure

Tenure should be ended for both public and private universities. The principle shortage we have in this Country are new fresh ideas. Colleges and universities are supposed to be idea factories. They are anything but because of tenure. Don and Russ, for example, need to be shown the door. The obviously don’t work productively. Look at the string of letters and meaningless quotes offered up here as “knowledge.” They give nothing to their students (Mencken, a petty little racist?)

I would link pay to performance. Are you students living better lives, and are they gainfully employed and productive, because of their education.

Dan Phillips December 7, 2011 at 10:24 pm

I ask again: how will that effect an economic recovery?

Jon Murphy December 7, 2011 at 3:18 pm

I only want to do one:

“repeal income tax and replace with VAT”

You support a regressive tax? Fascinating.

Chucklehead December 7, 2011 at 5:17 pm

How can you guarantee a job without guaranteeing customers? You can’t guarantee customers without specifying what products can and can not be built. This will lead to determining what jobs people must work, and eventually digging with spoons.

Salt Water Economist December 7, 2011 at 8:43 pm


We have lots of work that requires brooms and rakes, not customers.

I would pay for such programs by ending, for example, unemployment benefits.

Chucklehead December 8, 2011 at 2:08 am

So how much force are you going to exert against your neighbors to get them to comport with your plan?

Chucklehead December 8, 2011 at 2:14 am

Even if it is sweeping streets, it is still a product that you must force us to buy. Why use brooms and not toothbrushes?

Salt Water Economist December 7, 2011 at 8:41 pm

Jon Murphy, as for our current income tax system, as applied, is highly regressive, especially as applied and when you include FICA taxes.

For example, as applied, farmers write off all kinds of expenses that reduce their income and taxes (vehicles, gasoline, and utilities are good examples). (Who knows if the gas went in the car, the truck, or the tractor?)

I would scrape all of it and exempt certain items (food, rent, and utilities to set limits). A VAT can really the Rich, by for example, hitting property and casualty insurance.

Chucklehead December 8, 2011 at 2:11 am

So increase taxes for farmers, but make food tax exempt? If this is your idea of economics, I suggest you slither back into whatever saltwater pond you came out of and await further evolution.

Jon Murphy December 8, 2011 at 8:58 am

Regardless, the VAT is still, simply by it’s nature, regressive. Any consumption tax is a regressive tax. Since the lower incomes spend a greater proportion of their income on consumption than the rich, they bear a greater tax burden.

I’m not arguing the virtues of a Value-Added Tax (which is different from a tax on insurance, but that’s a different story). I’m just pointing out it is regressive.

Sam Grove December 8, 2011 at 3:47 pm

Ah, the sweet stench of fascism.

Jon Murphy December 7, 2011 at 7:32 am

Wait…if Keller is complaining that the democrization of media has lead to the public being exposed to “the Loudest, angriest, and most outrageous economists,” and Paul Krugman is an economist in the media, does that mean Krugman is one of the loudest, angriest, and most outrageous economists?

John Papola December 7, 2011 at 7:45 am


Krishnan December 7, 2011 at 7:45 am

No, only those economist that disagree with Krugman and others – See, THEY are right and everyone else is WRONG – and THEY get to decide who is right and who is wrong. So, as they say


Greg Webb December 7, 2011 at 8:38 pm

Exactly right, Jon.

Krishnan December 7, 2011 at 7:37 am

The condescension that drips from everything that people like Keller write just irritates the h&^% out of me. THEY KNOW BETTER – HOW DARE WE EVEN THINK WE KNOW ANYTHING and HOW DARE WE CRITICIZE the MESSIAH?

The affirmative action thinking that got Obama into office is not working again – and they are furious at the country (OK, the election is still months away). A country that elected Obama in Nov 2008 was progressive and if it does not elect him in Nov 2012 would be called racist. In their mind, Obama is perfect and the economy is doing poorly because of someone else’s fault.

Darren December 7, 2011 at 1:50 pm

In their mind, Obama is perfect and the economy is doing poorly because of someone else’s fault.

I’d say you are half right.

Greg G December 7, 2011 at 7:38 am

Keller’s fear of the “democratization of media” is just as unwarranted as your fear of the democratization of our political process. Keller was explaining his version of a Public Choice Theory in Media. Let’s put more trust than that in bottom up solutions for media and politics.

Jon Murphy December 7, 2011 at 8:43 am

I’m not sure I agree, Greg. My understanding of Keller’s comment was that the presence of multiple news channels has reduced the authority of the news. I read that as something like elitism (without these experts to guide and shape opinions, people are subject to every nutjob out there), which would be the opposite of what we argue for. The way I see it, Keller is objecting to the bottom-up nature of news today as opposed to the top-down “national networks” news of yesterday.

But I may be wrong. I am interested in hearing your opinion.

Greg G December 7, 2011 at 9:03 am


I read Keller exactly the way you do and I share your criticism of him. That is why I not only read the Times, I come here too. My point is that, if you want to be more consistent in applying bottom up solutions, you will be less afraid of democracy. Behind the fear of democracy is the belief that we need a more elite and expert group of leaders who are smart enough to do the right thing and not subject to having their authority threatened by the votes of “every nutjob out there.”

vidyohs December 7, 2011 at 6:49 pm

“Behind the fear of democracy is the belief that we need a more elite and expert group of leaders who are smart enough to do the right thing and not subject to having their authority threatened by the votes of “every nutjob out there.”

Dead wrong, absolutely dead wrong.

Anyone without a broken brain is afraid of democracy for the simple reason it was recognized long ago that democracy allows the have nots the power to vote themselves largess from the common treasury, and why not….they don’t have to pay, only receive.

It is with that premise the demagogue loves democracy and promises everything to everyone if they will just vote for him.

It is why the looney left is fighting voter ID so hard that the fools are now pleading with the UN to prevent those evil republicans from requiring a voter actually be the voter registered to vote.

It is why the looney left wants amnesty for illegals from south of the border so desperately……more gimme voters for the democrats.

The true nutjobs are the looney left, which is why they are tagged looney, for believing democracy and the resultant socialism will succeed for them this time, cause they are smarter than the ones that have failed throughout history; or they are nutjobs for not giving a shit about the total degeneration of life in the USA because at least in their warped little minds we will all be brought to suffer equally….and God knows equal is what life is all about.

Greg G December 7, 2011 at 7:01 pm


And how will the economic elite who will provide this top down governance be selected? Will there be a minimum income level for political rights? What will that income level be? Or should we just find the very wealthiest people and have them govern?

vidyohs December 7, 2011 at 8:00 pm

I’ll appoint them. Nuff said. Fool.

Greg G December 7, 2011 at 8:04 pm

Well vidyohs, you do compensate with honesty for what you lack in common sense.

vidyohs December 7, 2011 at 9:11 pm

@Greg G

I see you like I see any play toy, just an amusement, you’re certainly no challenge.

But, then what looney lefty is?

Greg G December 7, 2011 at 11:23 pm


I would have opposed the Dred Scott decision by working to elect candidates that would have appointed Justices who would have been willing to overturn that decision (and rule differently in the first place). But I would have viewed the decision as legal while that process was underway. I am not in favor of everything that is legal.

I am well aware of your crackpot theory that the founders outlawed slavery without realizing it. You covered that at great length on a previous date. I am really not interested in reading another wall text rehashing your views on that. I am even less interested in what label you are choosing to dismiss me with today.

Greg Webb December 8, 2011 at 12:30 am

“But I would have viewed the decision [the Supreme Court's opining in Dred Scott that people could be legally owned as property] as legal while that process was underway.”

Ha! Talk about crack pot!

I oppose any infringement on Constitutional restrictions and rights whether it’s by politically-motivated Justices opining that people are property or cowardly Congress critters abdicating their responsibility to declare war to the President, etc. What part of the policy reason of “all men are created equal” from the Declaration that underlies the Constitution that you do not (as slave owners disingenuously argued that they did not) understand?

Greg G December 8, 2011 at 7:26 am


How about the actual Constitution rather than what “underlies it” ?

The Three-Fifths Compromise is found in Article 1, Section 2, Paragraph 3 of the United States Constitution:
“ Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.

“All other persons” (other than free that is) is understood by everyone but you to refer to slaves. How the hell did you pass the Bar Exam?

Greg Webb December 8, 2011 at 8:04 am

Greg G, thanks for proving that you are merely an advocate for corrupt politicians and their political cronies. Now, in defense of the statist slave owners of the early 1800s, you make their argument. I know that, as a big-government advocate, you feel right at home with slave owners and their statist descendants.

The section that you referred to was part of the compromise that the founders had to make with statists such as yourself back then. It has been amended out of the Constiution.

Understanding any law requires understanding it’s purpose. The abolitionists argued the policy reasons for the Constitution as clearly stated in the Declaration. The slave owners cited the section that you cited, the Bible, and world history as well as claimed that the Declaration did not matter. It’s funny how you stastists continue to make the same arguments.

Under your silly view of legal interpretation, you would stop and stay in one place forever when you see a Stop Sign. But, the purpose of the law is merely to get you to stop temporarily, check both ways for other traffic, and proceed when the way is clear. Thus, the purpose of the law is of primary importance.

Greg G, like all statists, you twist the clear meaning of words and ideas. But, in applying your twisted meanings, we can all see how ridiculous your view is. And, that’s true in law as well as in economics, history, philosophy, or anything else for that matter.

Why be so disingenuous? And, why be a useful idiot to corrupt politicians and their political cronies?

Greg G December 8, 2011 at 8:14 am


Of course I am not defending slaveowners. Even you know that (as you call me disingenuous) but since your argument has fallen apart, you need to invent a straw man you can deal with.

Yes, slaveowners argued one way and abolitionists argued another. And the FOUNDERS continued to own slaves.

Game. Set. And match.

Greg Webb December 8, 2011 at 7:24 pm

Once again, Greg G, you prove that you are the dumbest guy in any room that you are in.

A thorough reading of history leaves no doubt that the founding fathers were adamantly opposed to Slavery, and determined to end it.  Being strenuously opposed to slavery is one thing. That part is easy. But, developing a working plan to end slavery is another, harder thing.

The founding fathers that you libtards just love to denigrate knew that if they insisted on an immediate end of slavery, the southern colonies would take a hike.  With those colonies not being a part of the union, the anti-slavery forces from the North would lose all leverage over them.  Historian A. J. Ohline wrote:  “It would have been impossible to establish a national government in the 18th Century without recognizing slavery in some way.”  So it really looked like the choice was a United States of the north without slavery, a United States of the south with slavery — or some middle ground is sought that would allow for the fight for independence and the founding of the nation while leaving the slavery battle for another day. 

Even before the Declaration of Independence the founders were on record as opposing slavery.  The General Articles of Association were adopted in 1774, and in that document the importation or purchase of slaves was forbidden after January 1, 1775.  One year later the Declaration of Independence was originally written to include a section denouncing slavery.  This portion was eventually removed because the document needed a unanimous vote for approval, and at the time Georgia and South Carolina refused to vote for the Declaration of Independence with the following paragraph included:
“…he has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life & liberty in the persons of distant people who never offended him, captivating & carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither. This piratical warfare, the opprobrium of infidel powers, is the warfare of the Christian king of Great Britain. [determined to keep open a market where MEN should be bought & sold,] he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or restrain this execrable commerce: and that this assemblage of horrors might want no fact of distinguished die, he is now exciting those very people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase that liberty of which he has deprived them, by murdering the people upon whom he also obtruded them, thus paying off former crimes committed against the liberties of one people, with crimes which he urges them to commit against the lives of another…”

This paragraph appeared in the original version of Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence.  When it came time to draft the Constitution of the United States, the theory is that the Founding Fathers were willing to compromise on the issue of slavery because A) They knew that Georgia and South Carolina would never give in, considering their economies relied on the  institution and B) Those opposed to slavery thought that they would have more influence over the Southern states by having them as a part of the union and therefore be able to better influence them over the coming years to give up the institution of slavery.

Likewise, when it came to writing the Constitution the founders opted to form the union first and deal with the slavery issue later.  That’s why the Constitution included Article 1, Section 9 granting to the Congress the power to regulate or to ban slavery as of January 1, 1808.  That segment reads: 
“The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each Person.”

Georgia was the first of the 13 colonies to abolish slavery.  Georgia soon found out, however, that it could not compete agriculturally with the other southern colonies without slaves — so the prohibition was rescinded.  The southern states simply felt they could not compete economically without slavery; certainly not for many years. 

The institution of slavery was born in Africa (and pretty much only exists in Africa today.)  Slaves were the spoils of African tribal conflict and warfare. 

In the 15th century slavery was virtually wiped out in Europe by the emergence of a Christian society.  It was the Portugese who, in the mid 1540s, rediscovered slavery, so to speak, in their explorations along the western coast of Africa.  Slavery (generally in support of the sugar industry) then started to make its way across the Atlantic and into the Caribbean.  From the islands of the Caribbean slavery was then introduced into the southern colonies.

The simple truth is that if the founding fathers made up their mind in 1776 with the Declaration of Independence,  or in 1787 with our Constitution, that slavery was going to be illegal in the United States, and that all people held in slavery were going to be freed at that point — the southern colonies or states would have simply said “no way in hell” and gone their own way.  Without the southern colonies in the Revolutionary War, independence would not have been achieved.  This was truly one of those “we must all hang together or we will most assuredly hang separately” situations.  The more pragmatic move was to forge ahead with the Declaration of Independence from Great Britain and the creation of a new nation; with a stated determination to address and correct the slavery issue later.

To say that the Founding Fathers were proponents for slavery completely ignores their incredible achievements on the issue.  During their lifetimes, the Founding Fathers were able to accomplish many things in accordance with their anti-slavery beliefs.

They limited and eventually outlawed the importation of slaves.

They outlawed slavery in the majority of the states within their lifetime.

They outlawed the expansion of slavery into areas where it currently did not exist.

They passed or influenced legislatures to pass laws making slavery more humane.

Many individual slave owners, largely through the efforts of the founders, voluntarily freed their slaves.

Like many of the Founding Fathers, Thomas Jefferson pushed for the abolition of slavery.  In his home state of Virginia, Jefferson proposed the abolition of slavery in 1778 and 1796. 

Along with Jefferson, George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, James Wilson and countless others were opposed to the institution of slavery and organized to end the practice.  None were more outspoken than Benjamin Franklin, who founded the Pennsylvania Abolition Society in 1789. 

Others like George Washington, Alexander Hamilton and John Jay signed a petition to the New York State legislature in 1786 to end the slave trade.  This widely circulated petition was the foundation for the establishment of the “New York Society for Promoting the Manumission of Slaves and Protecting Such of Them as Have been or may be liberated.” 

Also, Hamilton and Washington, along with General Nathaniel Greene made a concerted effort to recruit blacks into the Continental Army.  They thought this would be a key step in bringing about emancipation.  Alexander Hamilton wrote a letter to John Jay (President of the Congress at the time) about recruiting blacks from South Carolina to serve in the Continental Army: “An essential part of the plan is to give them their freedom with their swords. This will secure their fidelity, animate their courage, and, I believe, will have a good influence upon those who remain, by opening a door to their emancipation. This circumstance, I confess, has no small weight in inducing me to wish the success of the project; for the dictates of humanity, and true policy, equally interest me in favor of this unfortunate class of men….”

On the eve of the creation of the Constitution, John Jay himself wrote about the hypocrisy of American ideals if they were not to abolish the institution of slavery: “It is much to be wished that slavery may be abolished. The honor of the States, as well as justice and humanity, in my opinion, loudly call upon them to emancipate these unhappy people. To contend for our own liberty, and to deny that blessing to others, involves an inconsistency not to be excused.”

The founders wrote on many occasions about their desire to end the institution of slavery and history demonstrates their efforts to do so.  I recommend that you read some history rather than libtard propaganda.

Greg G, based on the historical record, you lose…again.

Greg G December 8, 2011 at 7:52 pm


I understand that the founders needed to make the compromise they did to have a Constitution at all. I am not denigrating them for that or seeking to judge them by today’s standards.

I am making two points. First, the cause of liberty is in much better shape today than it was in the early days.

Secondly: They viewed the Constitution that they wrote as allowing slavery to remain legal. For some reason you bizarrely deny this. The need to compromise in writing the Constitution did not require them to continue owning THEIR OWN SLAVES. Put up another wall of text if you like. It will not get you around this.

Greg Webb December 8, 2011 at 8:57 pm

Greg G, you idiot. You obviously did nor carefully read the extensive history of the founders that I provided to educate you. You really should read it.

Over half of the founders like Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, John Adams, etc did not own slaves. They wanted to abolish slavery, but lacked the power to do so immediately. So they wrote the policy reasons in the Declaration and the means in the Constitution. They just lacked the power to enforce it.

The Supreme Court had the power to protect slavery and did so in the Dred Scott decision. But, it was not legal. Legal is what the words of the Constitution mean, not what a temporary majority of politically-motivated Justices say it is.

Greg G December 8, 2011 at 9:10 pm


Sadly I did read the “extensive history” you provided. That was a massive waste of valuable time that I can never get back. Your argument gets more bizarre by the minute.

Now the fact that all of the founders did not own slaves means that slavery must not have been legal. Do you advise your clients that you believe the law is what you think it should be rather than what those who write the law say it is? Rather than what the courts rule that it is?

Greg Webb December 10, 2011 at 1:36 am

Greg G, my firm has filed many appeals and won, which overturned prior courts’ opinion as to the law. Congress has written laws that specifically overturned Supreme Court opinions on prior laws. And, Presidents have refused to enforce Supreme Court’s rulings. Your childess worldview again proves that a mind is a terrible thing to waste. Perhaps you should donate yours to science. I’m sure they would love to have a specimen of an unused brain.

Greg Webb December 7, 2011 at 8:44 pm

“My point is that, if you want to be more consistent in applying bottom up solutions, you will be less afraid of democracy. Behind the fear of democracy is the belief that we need a more elite and expert group of leaders who are smart enough to do the right thing and not subject to having their authority threatened by the votes of “every nutjob out there.”

Nope. Read The Federalist Papers if you want to understand the twin perils of monarchy and democracy. It explains why the founders designed a Constitutional Republic with limited powers for the federal government. Try also reading about the French Revolution, which tried for pure democracy and caused France to end up with despotism.

vidyohs December 7, 2011 at 9:15 pm

Like the muirduck, Greg G isn’t interested in truth or facts about the reality of democracy, socialism, and being a regressive as he is. Like muirduck, all he is interested in doing is being another village idiot pushing into gatherings of his betters and puking nonsensical rhetoric on their shoes.

Greg G December 7, 2011 at 9:26 pm


You insist on arguing against the straw man of pure democracy with unlimited powers for the majority. No one is on the other side of that argument. I am talking about a constitutional democracy, which is also a republic, which is what we have. If you want to argue against pure democracy go find someone advocating it.

Greg Webb December 7, 2011 at 9:42 pm

Greg G, no one, other than big-government advocates, are afraid of the Constitutional Republic with limited powers for the federal government that the founders intended. Perhaps, instead of making false accusations, derogatory comments about the majority of readers of this blog, and general words like “democracy” that can mean pure democracy or a Constitutional Republic with limited federal government powers, you should clearly and specifically state what you mean.

Greg Webb December 7, 2011 at 9:47 pm

I agree, Vid. All I have seen Greg G do so far so make disingenuous and conclusory arguments in favor of even bigger government. But, perhaps, he will make a persuasive argument this time. Or, perhaps, he has realized that big government has failed.

Greg G December 7, 2011 at 9:52 pm


I have clearly explained to you, repeatedly, that when I refer to democracy I am talking about our constitutional democracy, not the French Revolution. So in the future, even if you think that democracy “can mean” something you would prefer to argue against, let’s see if you can remember that is not what I mean.

Greg Webb December 7, 2011 at 9:59 pm

Greg G, you have not clearly explained anything. You intentionally use the term “Constitutional democracy,” which is not what the founders intended. You have also said that the words of the Constitution don’t mean what they clearly say and the meaning changes depending on what people want them to say on any given day. That sounds like pure democracy. Now, how about answering the question?

Greg Webb December 7, 2011 at 10:17 pm

Vid, then again, Greg G will probably obfuscate and, in general, avoid directly answering the question because he knows that bigger government is wrong…. And clearly unconstitutional.

Greg G December 7, 2011 at 10:23 pm


The founders provided us with a Constitution that came with an amendment process. They put that in because they had an expectation we would use it. They were right about that. We did use it to make our country more democratic. Effective political power is no longer limited to white, land owning males.

I do not think they would be surprised or disappointed that we have become more democratic through that process. They themselves were part of a process that created a more democratic government than what had come before.

They also provided us with a Supreme Court that could settle the inevitable disputes that would come up over interpreting what they had written. It is the Supreme Court, not you or me, that they intended to decide what is constitutional.

Greg Webb December 7, 2011 at 10:34 pm

Greg G, another swing and a miss! The founders provided us with a written Constitution that specifically limits the power of the federal government. That has not been amended. Nor is it likely to be changed by the amendment process. By your silly statements, are you advocating again for even bigger government?

Greg G December 7, 2011 at 10:39 pm

I am advocating (like the founders) that the Supreme Court, not Greg Webb, should be the legal arbiter of what the Constitution means. If you can’t understand that, then I really don’t think I can help you anymore.

Greg Webb December 7, 2011 at 11:01 pm

Greg G, based on your statement, you would have supported the Supreme Court when it opined, in its Dred Scott decision, that people could legally be property. I, as opposed to you, realize that Justices, just like economists and politicians, are merely fallible human beings that make errors and thus must be restrained from their desire for power, no matter how good their stated intentions. That is the whole purpose of a written Constitution. It was never intended to be a supra legislative body.

I am certain that you are just another statist. Let me leave you with the wise words of Russ Kaminsky: “So when you hear people — especially non-economists with political agendas — long for the statism that characterizes most of America’s economic competitors, listen with great skepticism.”. He’s exactly right!

Greg Webb December 7, 2011 at 11:05 pm

Vid, I was right. Greg G merely obfuscated and generally avoided directly answering the question because he knows that bigger government is wrong…. And clearly unconstitutional.

vidyohs December 8, 2011 at 6:19 am

@Greg Webb

See, it is good to be right (pun intended).

Sam Grove December 8, 2011 at 3:49 pm

Democratic election of the elite to impose top down policy is decidedly not bottom up.

Hal December 7, 2011 at 1:44 pm

There is an enormous difference between an organization that simply broadcasts an idea (the media) and an organization that is empowered to take whatever it wants by force (the government).

The democratization of the media is subject to market forces as stupid ideas die when people consistently fail implementing them. In addition to this no one can be forced to listen or heed anything anyone in the media has to say.

The democratization of government simply means that whoever can get a majority of votes can bludgeon the entire population for more wealth to fund their pet projects, regardless of how stupid ideas (DoEducation) are or unnecessary (DoHomeland Security) they are. Force is at the heart of government. It can force you to do pretty much whatever it wants you to do.

Darren December 7, 2011 at 1:53 pm

The democratization of the media is subject to market forces as stupid ideas die when people consistently fail implementing them.

One problem is that people have short memories. Yesterday’s stupid idea becomes tomorrow’s inspiration and history continues to repeat itself.

Hal December 7, 2011 at 2:07 pm

Most of those ideas are revived by government politicians, particularly through the K-12 monopoly it’s granted itself.

John Papola December 7, 2011 at 7:51 am

Kelly paraphrased and stripped of pretense:

Some really great economists told me that uncompetitive oligarchs deliver much better value to their captive customers than an open competitive market with the barriers to entry are low, the cost is falling by the minute, and people have an ever-expanding array of choice. Did I mention these anti-competion, pro-oligarchy economists, are real economists? Seriously. Wait, what do you mean you don’t believe me. They practice economic science! It’s scientific. Oh, forget you, then, you know-nothing mongrel hoard. Without me, you don’t know nothin.

GAAPrulesIFRSdrools December 7, 2011 at 9:07 am

Who TF is Bell Keller and why should we care?

Jon Murphy December 7, 2011 at 2:05 pm

He’s a writer for the NYT and former editor of the name paper

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