Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Taxation and failed strategies. And how sane conservatives could pull this off.

Jennifer Rubin has long been one of the conservative columnists who spoke up for a politics of adult negotiation. Yes, she made excuses - sometimes infuriating ones - for the Bush-Boehner era.  But she is capable of seeing what’s happened to the American Right, and she's among the first to call upon the remaining adults in US conservatism to stand up. To avow that there is something worth saving in the movement - a voice and perspective we badly need in the national conversation. But that 'something' will not be saved in, or by, the Republican Party.

“The GOP, I think, is kaput. The real question is what sprouts up to fill some of that space, the ground occupied by those who favor reform conservatism; responsible internationalism; free trade and sensible immigration; tolerance and the rule of law; and market economics with an ample safety net. I don’t have the answer. I only know it cannot be the GOP.”

Alas, any move to revive adult conservatism will draw fury from the Murdoch Clan and Fox News… and behind them Putin and the Saudis, the Mercers and Clear Channel radio shock jocks. DOminionist apocalypse-seekers and heck, the entire Confederacy.

Is this why Senators Flake and Corker announced they won’t run for re-election? To free themselves for this battle? Is the prospect daunting for Collins, Murkowski and anyone else pondering their political future? Plus all those on whom the Murdochs have blackmail goods?

Way back in 2008 I published a look into the past — “Can We Perform Another 'Miracle of 1947’?” — which told the story of a similar crisis, long ago, when it was the Democrats' turn to choose country and future over their dogmatic wing. 

Dear Jennifer Rubin, David Brooks, John McCain and all the rest of you out there who want desperately to save something of the soul (and effective usefulness) of American conservatism… may I recommend you have a look? 

Oh, but then the rest of you will see I published "the Miracle of 1947" way back in 2008 - and realize how long this day has been coming. This is now Phase 8 of the Civil War. And alas,  the rest of us are tired of waiting. 

== The taxation Imbroglio ==

Lowering corporate taxes will not benefit the broader economy: Nick Hanauer is one of the smart, tech billionaires who get it... that the restoration of feudalism will only lead to revolution. On the other hand investment in R&D and in infrastructure and middle class wages will spur economic growth. The Tax Bill might have been about those things, but instead they chose feudalism.

This article's deceitful interviewer ignores that: 
(1) Carter unleashed Volcker to cure the economy of stagflation and that got the economy rolling again, and 
(2) Reagan retreated from the 28% rate a year later, and 
(3) going back 70 years, only one tax cut (JFK’s) actually correlated with increased rates of growth. All others led to declines. 

A careful Bloomberg analysis of the Tax Bill shows that it will very likely slash Donald Trump's own taxes by 2/3 or more! The biggest reason is abolishment of the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT), that ensures the rich pay at least something, when they have a year with huge income but also many gimmicks and dodges. 

Eliminating the AMT and the Inheritance Tax are the core goals desperately wanted by Republican donors, who arm-twist GOP congressmen to pass what their constituents already hate. (Which explains why Darrell Issa, the richest man in the House, is demurring while his fellow CA GOP Reps are caving in, even though the bill savages California.)

Consumers lose chance to sue banks in win for Wall Street. Um, this is “populism? Take the reversal of Net Neutrality and the gutting of the CFPB and the ending of restrictions on K Street lobbyists, and you get the truth about "draining the swamp."  They are draining their cesspits into our aquifer and expanding the swamp.

== And you’re surprised? ==

Dig it. Supply Side predictions of tax cuts erasing deficits have never come true. 

Not once, ever, even remotely.

But the “opposite happened” after every single tax cut for the rich -- no "growth" of Main Street, but instead inflated asset bubbles like stocks and the 2007 housing bubble, that always burst. But very little investment in productivity that “supply side” is supposed to stimulate. These patterns were known 250 years ago! Adam Smith rightly blamed asset bubbles on a bloated, rentier aristocracy.  Aristocrats who do not invest in productive capacity but in passive rent-seeking.

While you pay full rates on income earned by the sweat of your brow, passive income is taxed at ever-lower rates, every time the GOP takes power. Do read Adam Smith. He describes this - not socialism - as the disease that wrecks all competitive markets.

Fox anchors never explain why the top 1% pays the most taxes, despite their kinds of income being taxed at far lower rates than your hard-earned income. The reason is simple. They have all the money! 

== Our (ongoing) Civil War ==

Absolutely stunning: Trump's Chief of Staff John Kelly claims Civil War caused by "lack of compromise." In fact, Lincoln offered compromise after compromise. Southern leaders sent not one delegation to find out Lincoln's intentions. 

Yes, Thomas Jefferson's Declaration of Independence does assert that oaths of union can only be broken, but only as a last resort, after everything else has been tried.

As Ben Franklin and the Founders did try, sending repeated delegations to the King & Parliament. Royal refusal to compromise led to that breakup.

Note: Jeff Davis and his peers had sworn "undying and eternal allegiance" to the United States, repeatedly and continuously, until the very moment that an election went a way they didn't like, whereupon they blithely broke solemn oaths, because the secession documents declared refusal ever to even talk compromise over slavery. There's no better example of treason in any dictionary... 

...or there wasn't, till the GOP became a New Confederacy, selling America to Murdochs and the Kremlin.

Refusal to compromise? Choke-sputter. Republicans fired Newt Gingrich for daring to negotiate Welfare Reform and the Budget Act with Bill Clinton, in 1995. They made Dennis "friend to boys" Hastert the head of the whole GOP for 6 years, and his "Hastert Rule" consisted of the following rigid anti-compromise declaration: "No Republican is allowed ever to negotiate with a Democrat, ever, even in the national interest."

You dare to bring up... compromise???

"I would tell you that Robert E. Lee was an honorable man," Kelly said. "He was a man that gave up his country to fight for his state, which 150 years ago was more important than country. It was always loyalty to state first back in those days. Now it's different today. But the lack of an ability to compromise led to the Civil War, and men and women of good faith on both sides made their stand where their conscience had made them stand."

Bull. That is oft-claimed and utterly false. Jefferson Davis administered the oath to cadets at West Point many times, and to Congress! An oath only to the United States of America. Historians find almost no oaths to individual states. Robert E. Lee never swore one to Virginia, but he did many times to the USA.

I often say that the US Military Officer Corps is the third best-educated clade in American life, after professors and medical doctors, and it's generally (so to speak) true!  It's why that fact-centered community is now under attack by the mad right as "deep state" enemies... along with all other fact-using professions.  I had vested real hope in this.  And in Kelly.

But the stunning degree of historical ignorance that he displayed was... disturbing.

157 comments:

Treeb said...

Jennifer Rubin, McCain, etc. are neocon radicals. Why you consider such people "sane" or "conservative" is rather puzzling. Conservative does not mean reckless international interventionism (see Iraq), open borders internationalism or political correctness, all of which neocons push as hard as "liberals". They are the enemies of conservatism, who have been subverting and sabotaging it for decades. But then, you already knew that, and approve of it. The bipartisan agenda is globalist Empire; actual conservatives and nationalists (see Ron Paul, Steve Bannon, etc.) who question it are to be branded "crazy", "nazis", "Putin stooges", etc. by the neocon crazies and their media allies. Many of us get how the game is played by now, old boy, and we're done with it.

Laser Guided Loogie said...

Sure Mr. Brin, because when I want someone to tell me what a "sane conservative" should be, I ALWAYS look for insane leftist (or their "right wing" pets) to tell me that.

-Ken
http://www.LaserGuidedLoogie.com

He Said said...

Bannon is labeled a racist because HE proclaimed Breitbart a bastion of the alt-right. Ron Paul is called a racist because, for 2 decades Newsletter's bearing his name, funded by an organization Dr. Paul founded, and from 1978 until the early 2000's he never bothered to mention he didn't agree with many of the stories published, and in fact,in 1992 he went to some lengths to support the articles in the magazines.

LarryHart said...

What happened to the regulars?

I stuck my head in to wish the Americans a happy Thanksgiving, and it looks like I walked into the wrong house.

Robert said...

Given the ongoing destruction of Net Neutrality and the tendency for Democrats to do constructive deregulation, I have to wonder if when Democrats end up taking the House and Senate in another year (as is looking increasingly likely as Republican politicians proceed to shit all over things even their constituents are saying they want to keep so to protect their overlords and donors) that they might say "fine, you can keep your lack of Net Neutrality. But we're going to properly deregulate the Internet, Cable, and the Telecoms so that you can no longer have regional monopolies or that any monopoly has a limited lifespan of 10 years maximum for those companies that DO expand infrastructure."

If Democrats did that? I don't see how Trump could manage to Veto it. After all, it's deregulation and improves competition, things he claims to be all for! Of course, Democrats would probably have to coach it in language of "continuing along Trump's theme of deregulating unnecessary programs..." so to toss him at least a minor bone to chew on.

Rob H. who still expects to be put up against the wall and shot, or tossed in a gas chamber as a "deviant"

LarryHart said...

@Robert,

I'd say "get a gun so you can take the bastards with you", but ultimately, it's probably more accurate to advise never to allow yourself to love Big Brother.

David Brin said...

LaserLoogie was here before. And guys we welcome non-trolls, even when they are confederate hysteic-hallucinators, like "Treeb."

Their fundamental is subjectivity. Breitbart screeds and Hillary denunciations are all "true" because everything is relative and when fact-checkers and fact-people disprove one of their anecdotal narratives, the tactic is both to declare the "facts" to be politically biased Oppression AND move on to the next concocted incantation-narrative.

Half a *billion* dollars of mostly our money was spent — across 24 years — investigating the Clintons, the most thoroughly probed humans in the history of our species. Every document scrutinized, every micro assistant grilled. George Bush diverted federal investigators from anti-terror duties, before 9/11 (which should have been a huge scandal) to sift every federal filing cabinet for some smoking gun. The Kochs offered gigantic rewards for whistle blowers to rat out the alleged "secret Clinton deals and travesties." Fox offered lucrative commentator posts and other incentives.

And after all that, what did we wind up with? A husband fibbed about some 3rd base adult-consensual infidelity in a hallway... and the wife was caught using exactly the same sort of somewhat improper email system as Colin Powell, Dick Cheney, John McCain, Mike Pence, George Bush and Jared Kushner. (Oh and our current president ignores advice, using a completely unsecured Galaxy 3 for calls and tweets.)

No. In order to maintain their volcanic grudges and any sense that they have a valid political stance, they must declare war - (as they have done) - on every single fact using profession.

This is conservatism? Hatred of universities and smart people. And people with knowledge and skill? The folks who invented all the toys and tools these guys use to veg in front of screens filled with dudgeon?

That hatred now extends from the war on science to journalism, teaching, medicine, economics, civil servants… and lately the “deep state” conspiring villains of the FBI, the intelligence agencies and the U.S. military officer corps. This is bedlam. It is insanity that serves one purpose, to discredit any “elites” who might stand in the way of a return to feudalism by the super rich, which was the pattern of 6000 years that America rebelled against.

No -- "treeb" - you are not a "conservative. You are a confederate. Your every single political action helps one force in society... the owner-lords who are propelling our return to feudalism.

Steven Hammond said...

LarryHart said:
What happened to the regulars?

I stuck my head in to wish the Americans a happy Thanksgiving, and it looks like I walked into the wrong house.


Well, Happy Thanksgiving, Larry Hart and your kind thoughts are much appreciated by me, as a semi-regular, though very new. :) I look forward to seeing whether our new posters stick around for the to-and-fro discussion/criticism, peer review that this site does so well or if they troll and run.

I must admit that having someone besides Locum and the Ent as an opponent for discussion on the part of regular members is refreshing. Perhaps the discussion will have some substance to it? I doubt it, but I look forward to hearing their thoughts, though engaging them may require more emotional energy than I'm willing to waste.

Getting more attention from the neo-confederates suggests that our hosts posts are striking a nerve...

Paul SB said...

Steven,

The ghost of Ernst Myer smiles upon you. You get it. The median itself is a moving target, but many people don't get this, they go with the simple-minded assumption that the way things supposedly were in the quasi-mythical past (usually their own childhood, which is why for a long time the 1950s was declared to be the Golden Age- it was the childhood years of the baby boomers, who are now getting past their socio-cultural sell by date) is natural and the way life must be. And the median is only the most frequently occurring data point, not the entire data set. People who fall for this kind of simplistic thinking have simply closed their eyes to most of the reality around them.

On mythic golden ages, I like to tell the story of Tulan, the great capitol of the mighty Toltec Empire. The friars who interviewed Aztec citizens for their histories after the Conquista were told stories about the might and glory of the Toltecs, who the Aztecs aspired to be. They wanted to make Mesoamerica great again by returning to ways of their Toltec forebears. And they were absolutely certain they were nowhere near as mighty as the glorious Toltecs. When archaeologists found the ruins of Tulan, it was less than a quarter the size of the Aztec capitol, and the extent of the Toltec Empire was equally diminutive compared to the Aztec. So much for mythic golden ages.

Does the grooming behavior of rat mothers and its effects on their growing pups have any relevance for humans? The HPA works pretty much the same way, and human pups respond in very similar ways. Attentive moms (and dads) who hold their babies, play with them, talk to them and generally give them the attention that humans need grow up much more mentally healthy and capable than babies whose parents hung them up on a hook except for feeding and changing. A lot of people question the value of studies on smaller mammals for understanding human nature, not understanding that human nature is far more complicated, so we need to look at simpler versions to find clues of what to look for in humans.

We do have to talk a little about testosterone, which is another example of where animal models revealed the simple version of something that is more complicated in humans. Yes, T levels have a lot to do with aggressive behavior all over the animal kingdom. Your average misogynist and misanthrope alike stop there, the one assuming that aggression is a good thing, the other a bad thing. But if you dig deeper into the data you find that testosterone only promotes violence if violence is what it takes to succeed. Grand chess masters' vein positively course with the hormone when they are playing, but if they lose their T level plummets. These chess masters are not kicking and biting, they are using strategy to outthink one another. if you want to know more you could read "The Trouble with Testosterone" or watch the National Geographic video called "The Testosterone Factor." It's probably even more hyped than most of their material, but it dispels some of the myths.

" ... it means real, painful affects on actual people."
- Locum has made it clear on many occasions that real, painful effects on actual people is exactly what he wants to see.

Epigenetic makes a complete mockery of the older idea of genetic determinism that has been used for centuries to justify inequality. Not to toot my own horn, but if you are interested in discussing human nature, I'm an anthropologist by training, and anthropology is the one field that is devoted entirely to this question. Naturally it borrows from other fields, as other fields have very useful things to say - a lot of what the discipline does is synthetic. But I can't boast too loud, since I have been out of the field for a very long time, and have been too busy to keep up.Thus while I am happy to contribute to the discussion, I am also willing to learn from others.

Keep up the good brain work!

Twominds said...

From the last thread, @ TCB:

However, if you told me that hostile aliens who breathed a hot atmosphere rich in CO2 and methane had brainwashed our leaders to exoform the planet in preparation for their arrival, why hell, I'd almost believe that.

TASAT, but I don't remember which one. Not just the atmosphere, but a specific kind of ecocatastrophe, the way they polluted their own planet and now need to repeat to live on new ones.

Anyone, does this ring a bell?


Now, to read the new post.

Marino said...

"However, if you told me that hostile aliens who breathed a hot atmosphere rich in CO2 and methane had brainwashed our leaders to exoform the planet..."
"TASAT, but I don't remember which one. "

There was a different story (translated in Italian in the sci-fi magazine Urania, but as a short story added to the main novel in that issue...I forgot any further details).
Some scientists and deep state people manage to show live the POTUS the fake authopsy of an "alien" breathing exactly that mix, in order to push him to endorse a more "Green" set of policies. At the end, when the POTUS is persuaded, a scientist has a flash: "What if the alien invasion/manipulation had been true?"

btw, happy turkey day for all USians here (pity for the turkeys.. :-)

LarryHart said...

Twominds:

However, if you told me that hostile aliens who breathed a hot atmosphere rich in CO2 and methane had brainwashed our leaders to exoform the planet in preparation for their arrival, why hell, I'd almost believe that.

TASAT, but I don't remember which one. Not just the atmosphere, but a specific kind of ecocatastrophe, the way they polluted their own planet and now need to repeat to live on new ones.

Anyone, does this ring a bell?


I think I'm also looking for the same story.

In the 1990s, John Byrne did four issues of a short-lived comics series called "Danger Unlimited" which took place in a future in which aliens had taken over the earth and did just that--induced changes in the environment to make it more suitable for themselves. IIRC, it was always cloudy with lightning in the background. We didn't get all that much detail on the backstory before he stopped with four issues.

On some forum, probably his own website, I remember someone asking for more background on the aliens, and Byrne referred us to a movie which he said pretty much followed the plotline he was going for.

Now that I'm out of work again (sob!), I figure it would be a good time to find that movie, but I have no idea what it was. Byrne's website is pretty locked down and won't even allow registration with an "anonymous" e-mail provider such as yahoo or gmail, so I can't get back onto the site.

Point being--if someone out there knows the movie I'm looking for, it is likely the same story that you are referring to.

Anonymous said...

The story Marino is referring to is Occam's Scalpel (1971) by THEODORE STURGEON.
If someone is interested in seeing the Italian cover for the short story here's the link:
Urania #586

Signed
JustThisOnce

LarryHart said...

@JustThisOnce,

If you don't want your posts to be shown as "Anonymous", you can free-form type your name into the "Name/URL" option and it will appear the way mine does. You don't need a URL either.

TCB said...

Ted Sturgeon??? It's possible I read that story and don't remember. I read a zillion science fiction shorts back then.

Paul SB said...

Marino, Twominds, JustThisOnce & Larry,

The story you are discussing sounds a bit like Miyazaki Hayao's "Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind." The movie version is overly simplistic and doesn't go into details, but in the manga he has the world poisoned (not by aliens but by us) with toxic chemicals and depopulated in a world war. A giant forest of fungus has sprung up which is slowly filtering the poisons from the soil. The kicker is that humans using aircraft find a patch in the middle of the forest where the process is complete, the soils have been purified, and the spores produced by the fungi no longer make a toxic miasma (people presumed that the fungi themselves were responsible for the poison). But the humans had become so adapted to breathing poison that breathing the clean air killed them. I wonder if he got the idea from learning about how oxygen was poisonous to much of the life that existed before cyanobacteria figured out the photosynthesis trick? No aliens, but interesting food for thought.

Happy Turkey Day all (even if you're not in North America), or whatever it is you are grateful for. Gratitude, as Cicero once said, is the mother of all virtues.

LarryHart said...

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, as it has neither been commercialized nor politicized.

As someone whose tag line is often "I can't complain, but sometimes I still do," it's humbling and redeeming to remember all I have to be grateful for.

Paul SB said...

I will second the motion, and add that most of 'what' we have to be grateful for are 'who's. High on that list would have to be our host, for bringing us (I accidentally typed "brining" us) together here where we can share our thoughts, hopes and fears with people we most likely would never meet otherwise.

Lorraine said...

Brin us together indeed! Cooperation AND competition!

LarryHart said...

My sister-in-law is Brining the turkey even as we speak.

:)

Robert said...

An episode of The Outer Limits had that theme of aliens infiltrating government and terraforming the planet to make it more habitable for them (but not for humans).

---------

And more in Net Neutrality - local communities are starting to fight back against the corporate monopolies. I say let's eliminate the corporate monopolistic legislation entirely. They want to get rid of Net Neutrality? Fine. Let's allow TRUE competition, including on the public level.

Rob H.

Tim H. said...

I baked two pumpkin pies, chocolate chip cookies and peeled potatoes. I suggest a few mods to the top house cookie recipe, add 1/3 cup cocoa to the dry ingredients, a tablespoon of dark Jamaican rum along with the vanilla extract (Or an extra teaspoon of vanilla) and do not substitute margarine for the butter.
And a story idea: Time traveling Native Americans bring vaccines to 15th century North America to guard against diseased Europeans. (Likely been done already ;).

Zepp Jamieson said...

Paul SB, in an excellent post, said as an aside, "So much for mythic golden ages."

They're pretty much extinct now, but in my youth we used to have the "Colonel Blimps"; Englishmen, usually of military background, who longed for the glorious days of the British Empire.

The attrition of years finished them off, but it was well publicised documentaries and non-fiction books about the "glory days of empire"--specifically during the reigns of Elizabeth I and Victoria--that showed that the "glory" went mostly to the royals and corporations, while the lot of the typical Briton languished. Empire was expensive, violent and corrosive. Rights and wages were held down, and the wage-serfs of London, knowingly or not, were culpable for atrocities around the world.

LarryHart said...

Tim H:

I suggest a few mods to the top house cookie recipe,


I assume you meant "Toll House". If not, then never mind.


...and do not substitute margarine for the butter.


For years, I was a purist on the ingredients for Toll House cookies, which I absolutely love. Then I married a woman who is lactose intolerant, and was forced to start using margarine instead of butter. My experience is that it doesn't affect the final taste at all.

Steven Hammond said...

Paul SB said:

Steven,

The ghost of Ernst Myer smiles upon you. You get it.


Thanks, friend! :) That makes me happy and it's something I'm thankful for. You may be sorry for pointing out your training as an anthropologist as I may be querying you here for your knowledge and expertise more than you hoped. To start with, I'd like to ask how best to explain the apparent sacralization of certain, general common, human traits (generally in men) such as heterosexuality, physical imperfection and marital prowess, which, as far I can see, were (and are) offered up as ideals in so many cultures and religions. Why were these characteristics so desired by various religions and cultures and variations from them decried and punished by laws and religious purity codes? The Old Testament laws etc which are carried forward in modern fundamentalist/evangelical Christianity come to mind along with, I think, some muslim traditions/laws/codes. So, why now, arethese ideals and the desire to outlaw deviations from these "means" still present?

LarryHart said:

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, as it has neither been commercialized nor politicized.

As someone whose tag line is often "I can't complain, but sometimes I still do," it's humbling and redeeming to remember all I have to be grateful for.


I agree, wholeheartedly! I'm thankful for this very interesting and thoughtful forum and for thoughtful and kind people like yourself to discuss things with. :) Thankfulness is so important and when stressed and harried, just thinking of a few things I'm thankful for gives me peace.


Now I'm off to watch some of the MST3K Turkey Day Marathon and do some serious eating.

Best to all here, and I'm also thankful for Locum and the Ent and wish them a very happy Thanksgiving!

locumranch said...


Most assuredly, Taxation is a failed strategy:

(1) To obligate yourself in perpetual semi-servitude under a non-representative collective that insists that (a) your better-than-average work aptitude & ethic equals 'privilege' and (b) your enslavement to others is the natural state of man.

(2) To offer blnd obedience & deference to a corrupt hierarchical system composed of people who think themselves your betters by dint of some arbitrary credentials obtained from their transgenerational co-conspirators.

(3) To squaunder 1/3rd of your working life in the interests of others -- US Tax Freedom Day is April 24 -- who will then attack you as a selfish self-interested 'ist' of the most objectionable sort in order to shame you into giving more obedience, more labour & more support to a protected class of unrepentent parasites.

F. = I. W., aka 'Freedom equals the ability to say "I won't"', meaning that if you cannot say "I won't" to the so-called taxing demands of the collective then you are the slave who cannot say 'no' & who is NOT free.

And, lastly, there are NO Sane Conservative Establishmentarians as Establishmentarianism is both a sign & symptom of Antigand INSANITY.

The Sane Conservative says "I Won't". He supports Freedom & the Rights of the Individual. He rejects the Halter & the Yoke. He hampers, resists & obstructs the insidious errosion of Individual Liberty. He defies Authority. He denies Collectivism. And he says MYOB with force & sincerity.

And, yes, TASAT: There's A Story About That which captures the Libertarian perspective.

http://www.abelard.org/e-f-russell.php

The Libertarian simply does not apologise, ever:

Sorry? You louse! whispered something deep within his own mind. Why should you be sorry? He’s only a pompous fat man who couldn’t cancel an ob if he tried. He’s no better than you. Those raw boys prancing around on Hygeia would maintain that he’s not as good as you because he’s got a pot-belly. Yet you keep staring at his pot-belly and saying, ‘Sir ’and, ‘I’m sorry.’ If he tried to ride your bike he’d fall off before he’d gone ten yards. He’s just another Terran freak. Go spit in his eye and say, I won’t! ’You’re not scared, are you?

I'm not and I won't !


Best,
A Happy Libertarian Turkey Day to All & God Bless Us Everyone.

LarryHart said...

I hope Tim W/Tacitus2 shows up, as he's usually an exemplar of the spirit of Thanksgiving. Much as I often spar with the guy politically, he was there for me with some useful medical suggestions (can't legally call it "advice") when my wife needed them, and is at least indirectly responsible for her being alive today.

After something like that, well, today's not a day to dwell on "first world problems".

madtom said...

Dr. Brin, your discussion of oaths, to states and/or the USA, made me wonder:

Does anyone (or perhaps do we all) have the legal standing to sue or to prosecute the numerous officeholders who routinely violate their oaths to the Constitution? In just one key area, they have actively nullified most of the Bill of Rights, or at least passively accepted that nullification by the Executive branch, without observing the required process to amend the Constitution.

I know the standard answer would be that in a democracy, the remedy is at the next election, but hey, we've tried that a few times already, haven't we? And an oath violation would seem to require immediate action with serious consequences, rather than just a someday exit into a very comfortable retirement.

Many Americans have lost money, jobs, and homes because of the government's failure to simply observe the clear letter and precedent of many laws (like in the great housing/mortgage ripoff, where forged papers and many other blatant illegalities were simply ignored, as long as it was banks doing the forging).

And 99% of us have lost massively to the massive corruption and interference with the democratic process resulting from the granting of a citizen's rights to corporations, which are also exempt from many of a citizen's vulnerabilities and obligations. Fair? Consider the results!

I think the outcome of the 2016 nominations & election demonstrated that it is already too late to expect relief from that slow political process, where the cards are already so well stacked against us. But outraged violence will hurt us all, so I'm wondering if there's a legal avenue left.

madtom said...

Goodonya for remembering Russell's "And Then There Were None", locumranch!

My collection of Astounding goes back to November 1946, and quite a few of the best stories there (like Jack williamson's) reflect keen awareness in the postwar period of the need to be free of oppressive, bureaucratic, militarized centralized control. [Yes, that's a lot of redundancy in four qualifiers, but people often seem not to notice that you can't have one without the other(s) - old song line]

David Brin said...

madtom; This is why so many republicans say: "I know my side has gone crazy and the GOP is flooded with politicians who are either morons, lunatics or pervs... and we have a catastrophically poor record at governance... but... but... the courts! We'll support Trump and a wretched, evil lazy Congress in order to fill the judiciary!

UM, WITH WHAT? With morons, lunatics or pervs? "By his fruits you shall know him." And your entire tree is not just perverted, maniacal and sick. It is utter treason.

---
I well remember that Erik Frank Russell story, in THE GREAT EXPLOSION. One of the best expressions of a libertarian ideal in fiction! Another was "You were right, Joe," which shows that the libertarian+marxist shared dream of a future state of no-coercion statelessness will NOT happen the way Marxists recommend (completion of the means of production followed by class revolution) or via the randidiot approach (Just eliminate "government" and free markets will prevail, yippee!)...

No, that state of near-zero coercion will come when all deprivation, sickness and oppression are eliminated by a combination of tech and social reform. WE are on that path. Today's "libertarians" and marxists would yank us off of it.

Oh, but how amusing... to see a confederate lackey of plantation lords proclaiming that he is a brave dissenter from power and a libertarian! Har!

===

Happy Thanksgiving all! By far my favorite holiday ... and from what I can see, there may be less of the War-by-Christmas against Thanksgiving than some other years. A harbinger, I hope.

Enjoy loved one. Be thankful. Gird yourselves. Thrive.

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin:

and from what I can see, there may be less of the War-by-Christmas against Thanksgiving than some other years. A harbinger, I hope.


I wasn't even going to get that political today, but yes, I noticed the same thing.

Tim Wolter said...

Full of Turkey.

Empty of political thoughts.

An ideal family gathering....3.5 generations.

2 gens is good. 3 is quite excellent. 4 would be sub optimal....only possible with some really old rickety rels and/or some very young age generatin'.

In addition to the direct Tacitan lineage we had the two slightly older folks who were our kids' alternate parents...the house they ran over to when we were being too parental!

Good times, wishing same to y'all.


TW/T2

Robert said...

It seems I may have spoken too soon - the FCC plans on preventing States and local governments from passing their own Net Neutrality laws. In short, the FCC plans on abolishing Net Neutrality and then protect the monopolies that benefit from eliminating Net Neutrality so to protect businesses that can then throttle information and prevent the Internet from being used against the Republican Party.

Though I have to wonder... will it stand up to the Supreme Court? If the FCC has chosen to eliminate Net Neutrality and then State governments step in... did not the federal government cede control? Given that states are banding together for environmental laws AND HAVE GOTTEN AWAY WITH THIS, there is precedence for allowing state-controlled Net Neutrality.

This could ultimately damage Red States if this comes to be. If Net Neutrality is a regional affair, then you could end up with Blue and Purple states passing their own Net Neutrality laws that benefit businesses and prevent policies that damage small businesses. This will result in more and more businesses moving from Red States, and those states suffering economically as a result.

Of course, what is truly needed is an elimination of monopolistic protectionism that allows ISPs to move into an area and have exclusivity in offering services while preventing public ISPs from filling voids that these corporations refuse to fill as it doesn't benefit them economically. But we'll need Democrats to do proper deregulation for that to come about. We know Republicans won't.

Rob H.

Paul SB said...

Gratitude is the sign of noble souls.
- Aesop

Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.
- Marcus Tullius Cicero

At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.
- Albert Schweitzer

When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.
- Gilbert K. Chesterton

We learned about gratitude and humility - that so many people had a hand in our success, from the teachers who inspired us to the janitors who kept our school clean... and we were taught to value everyone's contribution and treat everyone with respect.
- Michelle Obama

Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.
- Zig Ziglar

Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.
- William Arthur Ward

Lloyd Flack said...

Gratitude, the emotion that property obsessed side of libertarianism wishes never to feel.

David Brin said...


There are times when I’d rather not be right. Going back to the beginning, I have always had mixed feelings about WikiLeaks… approving of the general concept and trend toward transparency/accountability, while instinctively suspicious toward a rising aroma of hypocrisy and political bias favoring the stinkiest parts of our modern world. Do read this article! Now we know that:
https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/nov/19/trump-russia-fake-news-libertarians-autocrats-democracy

“In Twitter direct messages during the last throes of the US election campaign, released over the past week, WikiLeaks, which US intelligence has deemed a tool of Russian intelligence, attempted to woo Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr, with offers of secret collusion.”

“The radical libertarians and the autocrats are allied by virtue of sharing an enemy which is the mainstream, soft, establishment, liberal politics,” said Jamie Bartlett, the director of the centre for the analysis of social media at the Demos thinktank. “Most early, hardline cryptographers who were part of this movement in the 1990s considered that democracy and liberty were not really compatible. Like most radical libertarians – as Assange was – the principal enemy was the soft democrats who were imposing the will of the majority on the minority and who didn’t really believe in genuine, absolute freedom.”

The Guardian article goes on to show an extensive network of “libertarians” whose collusion with the Kremlin, as well as other despotic or proto-feudal factions, has been getting ever more blatant and smelly. Only… note my use of quotation marks around “libertarians.” Alas, this reporter - and almost every other smart observer - is falling for a longstanding trap. One with devastating consequences, in its cleverness.

Think it through. The nightmare of the right is that ten million Americans with libertarian, pro-market enterprise leanings will someday realize that there are no reasons to keep thinking of the Republican Party as “less-terrible” than Democrats. The narrative is that “liberals like personal freedom” and “conservatives fight for economic freedom.” And as long as the incantation of false equivalence can be maintained, the oligarchs know that most “libertarians” will remain prone to accepting Koch-Murdoch propaganda, hold their noses and vote GOP.

Never mind that in fact market economics are savagely repressed by almost every Republican priority or action, and every single active metric of US national health - espceially entrepreneurship, small business, innovation and so - does better across the span of democratic administrations than republican ones. That’s every single such metric. See: http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2014/06/so-do-outcomes-matter-more-than-rhetoric.html

Some libertarians are re-awakening to the fact that their founder - Adam Smith - emphasized the creative power of *competition* - and not the religious sanctity of property. (Which he denounced as the worst enemy (if too concentrated) of open-fair competition. Some libertarians have glanced at human history and 6000 years during which the destroyers of flat-fair-creative competition were oligarchs and owner-cheater lords, and no “government bureaucrats.

Yes, generalizations about “libertarians come easily, with facile “obviousness.” But attacking them only drives them away from the light, back into Murdoch-Koch arms. Try parsing things more clearly. Libertarians who was both freedom and democracy - as well as a vibrant entrepreneurial economy - should be lured into conversation. Those who declare that “democracy and freedom are incompatible” are members of the ancient enemy of both, denounced by Smith. They are rushing to throw themselves at the feet of a Kremlin that has only changed a few symbols from the old USSR. They don’t deserve the name “libertarian.”

Robert said...

The thing is, Dr. Brin, there are two breeds of Libertarians. There are Property Right Libertarians, and Social Libertarians. The Randians are all for Property Rights and consider Property and Ownership the most important thing. They feel that in order to have social freedom you need to own things. And this is the dominant arm of Libertarianism... and hates the Social Libertarians.

I've seen it said more than once by Property Rights Libertarians that the first ones put on the wall and shot will be the Social Libertarians. They HATE the thought of social liberties being more important than money. And there is an important reason for that.

Social Libertarianism inevitably considers the Good of the People. Thus they look at the largess of corporations and private ownership and how it harms civil rights and liberties... and should be regulated so to protect civil liberties. And I've seen some truly intelligent libertarians try to straddle the line and remain true to both... and let me tell you, it is quite teh balancing act requiring significant self-delusion.

Of course, another friend of mine put it quite well: Democrats are slimy, while Republicans are evil. Add in the Randian and Social Libertarians and you have Randians as evil and Social Libertarians deluded in thinking Randians have their best interests at heart.

Rob H. who told his Republican friend that (with the caveat of adding "politicians" after "Republican" only to have his friend kneejerk and state "well, Democrats are slimy and evil and corrupt and horrible." *sigh*

Treebeard said...

Well Putin apparently wears a cross, so this is a rather significant change of symbolism from the militantly atheist Soviet Union. One suspects that this is the root of a lot of the hostility coming from the most rabid American Russo/Christophobes. For them, the cross has an effect similar to that on vampires.

Lloyd Flack said...

I think Proprietarian Libertarians are more the champions of meritocracy than the champions of liberty but will not admit that there is a difference. To do this they blind themselves to the possibility that an unregulated market might not behave in the way that they need it to.
I think they over value self reliance and want to believe that chance and circumstance are of minor importance in how well you do in life. Thay want to believe that character and ability almost allways overwhelm these. They divide people into the worthy and the unworthy to tell themselves that they have more control over their life than than they do.

TCB said...

I keep going back to Robert Anton Wilson saying "I'm a libertarian, but not that kind of Libertarian, I don't hate poor people." Also, that bugbear of rubbery words that mean whatever the speaker wants them to. If politics lacked linguistic imprecision and the lust for personal power and ego, it would just be another technical field where advancing knowledge and ever-improving methods was simply taken as a given.

Paul SB said...

Lloyd,

Your description of Propertarians applies equally to the rich of every society on Earth. It is in the interest of the rich and powerful to convince the masses that they deserve to sleep on golden best while the rest of us are lucky to have a crust of bread. The foolishness is on the part of those of the masses, who buy into the bull, not assuming that they themselves are inferior, but that if the government didn't interfere with their criminal activities they would be sleeping in golden beds, too. A little greed and a lot of propaganda.


Treebeard,

It's funny how Russia was "The Evil Empire" since the end of WW 2, until they started supporting right-wing candidates in the US. Now all of a sudden Russia is a good Christian nation lead by real manly men who have our best interests at heart.

Got any money to invest? I've got this bridge for sale, you see ...

Paul SB said...

Anyone can strap a cross around their necks. A few years before 9/11 I was working with some Persian Muslims who wore crosses around their necks because they were afraid that if they didn't they would find them burning on their lawns. It's not hard to strap a symbol around your neck and pose for photos with it.

Raise your hand if you think a former KGB director is likely to be a genuine believer in the words of Jesus Christ and has the Sermon on the Mount deep in his heart. Do unto others? Turn the other cheek? Annex smaller nations and bomb their people to oblivion?

Anyone?

LarryHart said...

Treebeard:

One suspects that this is the root of a lot of the hostility coming from the most rabid American Russo/Christophobes. For them, the cross has an effect similar to that on vampires.


Even you can't really believe that the reason liberals dislike an authoritarian white nationalist is that he's too Christian for them.

LarryHart said...

Ok, back to politics today, I see.

This column from the New York Times scares me. It's by Maureen Dowd, but I gather it is really her Republican brother "writing", and it tells me that there is no winning over the people who live and believe firmly inside of the Trump bubble. All we sane Americans can hope to do is run roughshod over them in future elections and then ignore their hysterical whining afterwards.

Think I'm exaggerating? Read the whole thing:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/23/opinion/sunday/my-brother-kevins-not-tired-of-winning.html


...
Trump delivered on his promises to shake things up with a slew of executive orders undoing much of Barack Obama’s burdensome regulations and, more important, started to reshape the lower courts decimated by Obama’s appointments. The nomination of Judge Gorsuch to the Supreme Court may be his most lasting legacy.

Trump’s presidency is unorthodox, but his blustering against Kim Jong-un is the only way to deal with a bully. And since Kim will want to get back at Trump, and Kim’s rockets may be able to reach only the West Coast, we’re probably all right until he can hit a red state.
...
The Democrats have their own issues. Their leaders are all on Medicare and cling to power like a drunk hugging his bottle of schnapps at last call. Liz and Bernie want the party to be more liberal, as if that were possible. If they move any further left, they will be driving in Britain.
...


LarryHart said...

...and even Paul Krugman felt compelled to mix a "What I'm thankful for" column with "but we might be in the process of losing it all."

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/23/opinion/thanksgiving-america-changing.html


...
And I don’t believe for a minute that this turn against education is a reaction to political correctness. It’s about the nasty habit scholarship has of telling you things you don’t want to hear, like the fact that climate change is real.

Finally, we’re now ruled by people who have no interest in letting hard thinking get in the way of whatever policies they want to follow. When Congress gets back from its break, Republicans will try to ram through major tax legislation without a single hearing, without giving anyone time for a careful assessment. The result, if they succeed, will be a law riddled with loopholes and perverse incentives, doing nothing for growth but adding hugely to debt. But they don’t care.

In other words, America has given me a lot to be thankful for. But it looks, more and more, as if that was a different country from the one we live in now.

LarryHart said...

Paul SB:

Raise your hand if you think a former KGB director is likely to be a genuine believer in the words of Jesus Christ and has the Sermon on the Mount deep in his heart. Do unto others? Turn the other cheek?


I doubt very much that Treebeard himself believes in anything Jesus stands for. He uses "Christian" as a euphemism for "White supremacist", which is how Trump supporters also interpret the term. That's the only way Trump's claim, "First of all, I'm a great Christian (and I am)!" makes any kind of sense.

LarryHart said...

BTW, concerning the Maureen Dowd's Republican brother column linked above, I'm not claiming that the guy is frothing-at-the-mouth insane. In fact, his arguments would be quite reasonable if the alternative facts underpinning them weren't so far afield from reality.

When I say those Trump supporters can't be reached, I don't mean that they're a howling mob. I mean that the facts that they see in front of them is not real, and the solutions they insist on to the problems they imagine (even if those problems in fact happen to be real) would have the opposite effect of what they think.

If your house is on fire, the fire department can't compromise between those who know how to put out fires and those who don't believe in fire and think water is evil. That's the situation America is in with the Republican Party right now. The metaphorical residents of the city have appointed a fire department which believes that fire is not the problem--that the fire department is the problem. We can't compromise with them--we have to take back the reins of administration out of their incompetent hands and keep them from doing any further damage.

locumranch said...


Frankly, I don't know why David is either shocked or surprised by the West's currrent political & socioeconomic predicament, especially when Jamie Barlett has spelled it out for him so succinctly:

“The radical libertarians and the autocrats are allied by virtue of sharing an enemy which is the mainstream, soft, establishment, liberal politics. Most early, hardline cryptographers who were part of this movement in the 1990s considered that democracy and liberty were not really compatible. Like most radical libertarians – as Assange was – the principal enemy was the soft democrats who were imposing the will of the majority on the minority and who didn’t really believe in genuine, absolute freedom.”

'The enemy of my enemy is my friend' goes the old saw, explaining why Minority Libertarians everywhere have gravitated toward the Plutocrat & Nationalist parties. It's not that we trust or even respect Trump, Republican Establishmentarians & their ilk, but we acknowlege that these Oligarchic Puppets are the only ones who currently that have any chance of standing up to the soft Social Democratic Hydrae that now holds a touchy-feely globe in an Iron Grip.

A future dominated by EITHER extreme, from the Big Mother Smotherers to the Drunk Uncle Profiteers, is too horrible for us to imagine, so we engage in the classic game of 'Let's you & him fight', so you may weaken & cripple each other in the hopes that True Freedom of the Libertarian variety may take root and flourish within the social fractures & gaps.

Perhaps David is right when he concludes that the soft Democratic Socialist authoritarians -- with their eternal demands to 'Put on a Sweater', 'Mind your language', 'Play NICE with your Sister' and 'Eat your Veggies'-- are the lesseer of the two evils, but screw that. There are some of us who would prefer to keep our own counsel & go our own way, even if means a lifetime of eating cold pizza off a table made of telephone books while lounging on a sofa made of soggy take-out boxes.

True Freedom, aka 'the Liberty to do what you want when you want', requires a large dollop of CHAOS in the sense that it cannot & does not exist within the confines of micromanaged societal efficiency. Those who fear chaos like David only desire the appearance of liberty, a false veneer of freedom well-bounded by the restrictive presence of omnipresent morality & risk management modalities, rather than the scatalogical Monty Python variant of 'Anything Goes'.

The so-called 'Freedom' that David is selling is the false freedom of centralised top-down hierarchical management which requires the facilitated participation of an unfree populace compelled to recycle, love one another, cooperate with hereditary enemies, pursue the 'progressive' Utopian agenda, reverese climate change and (above all) cheerfully OBEY the expert orders of their well-credentialed betters.


Best

onlyaboutthenail said...

@DrBrin It's an understandable reaction in those who feel oppressed: appeal to a greater power who can put your oppressors in fear. Consider the fantasy of a bullied child: "They can kick *me* around, but what if I knew a mafia guy who owed me a favour or a vampire or my real dad turned out to be James Bond!!

It was President Obama who finally decided the Brexit vote. It was unimaginably, incomprehensibly stupid of him to threaten the British people right before the vote. I did not vote to leave, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't understand it. The self-satisfied calm, the *certainty* that he could snap his fingers and Britain would crawl back to our kennel like a dog that threatened to piddle on America's rug...........

Robert said...

The one thing I can't stand about the Randian Libertarians and their "well we need Chaos and disruption to bring about our way of life!" is that when I tell them "then fucking move to Somalia where society broke down and you HAVE your chaos" they say "I don't want to leave here!"

In short, they are a bunch of hacks who will be the first to whine and beg for Big Brother Authoritarian to protect them and bring order into their lives when people finally DO get pissed off enough to start uprising and dismantling society because the oligarchs finally got to the point that we're pulling out guillotines and terminating the current rich boy social order.

Rob H.

onlyaboutthenail said...

@locumranch You put that more succinctly than I did. Yes, The Enemy Of My Enemy Is My Friend."It's not that we trust or even respect Trump, Republican Establishmentarians & their ilk, but we acknowlege that these Oligarchic Puppets are the only ones who currently that have any chance of standing up to the soft Social Democratic Hydrae that now holds a touchy-feely globe in an Iron Grip."Yes.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Treebeard: You think we believe that Putin is a devout Christian.

How cute is that?

Zepp Jamieson said...

I haven't read anything by Dowd since her ridiculous "marijuana brownie overdose" piece, but THIS should be required reading for all Democrats and non-Trumpian independents!


https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/23/opinion/thanksgiving-america-changing.html , for those who don't want to scroll up to find Larry Hart's original comment.

onlyaboutthenail said...


@Zepp Jamieson re: Dowd's marijuana brownie overdose piece, well, that's pretty close to what happened the only time I tried marijuana. No reaction for two hours, then Bam! I did have the nouse to be with my friends when I did. The solution we came up with was that I should drink myself unconscious, which worked. :)

Zepp Jamieson said...

I'm a real lightweight when it comes to the killer weed. I don't like smoking it, and if I am going to eat some, I usually only eat about 1/10th of a dose. Even then, about all you're going to get out of me for the next six hours is something like, "Oh, wow, lookit the Moon. I never noticed it was animated before."
But I never experiences anything like the ridiculous reaction Dowd had. Maybe someone slipped some LSD in, I don't know.

onlyaboutthenail said...

@Zepp Jamieson Brains vary a lot. Mine Does.Not.Like.Weed.

Jon S. said...

Nail, try Maxim 29: "The enemy of my enemy is my enemy's enemy. No more, no less."

We cooperated with Stalin in WW2 because we jointly faced an even greater evil. Stalin was never our friend. Neither was the Soviet Union post-Stalin, nor has Putin's attempt to resurrect the Russian Empire (with himself as Tsar, naturally) been.

David Brin said...

Cogency from the ent! I mean Treebeard! “ Treebeard said...
Well Putin apparently wears a cross, so this is a rather significant change of symbolism from the militantly atheist Soviet Union.”

Exactly! Symbolism is all that troglodytes and confederates care about. It is a core cultural trait that underlies every phase of our civil war, from confed statues to accepting the endless chain of anecdotal assertions spewed by Fox, all the way to the hilariously obsessive naming of Aircraft Carriers.

re the latter, see: http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2015/04/the-politics-of-naming-aircraft.html Seriously! There is no way to read that and come away anything but ashamed of such dismal, magical, petty thinking.

Functionally, the current mafiosi-oligarchy in Russia is no different than the one that held under the old USSR — even with many of the same faces. But our confederate imbeciles think that waving a few symbols and shouting some altered incantations makes all this difference.

onlyaboutthenail said...

@Jon S Not saying I agree! |But I can see where they're coming from.

*Pillage, then burn.* Heh.

David Brin said...

In contrast, locumranch had one of his more cogent moments, in which only 50% was lying-hallucinatory strawmanning. Good on you, son!

“A future dominated by EITHER extreme, from the Big Mother Smotherers to the Drunk Uncle Profiteers, is too horrible for us to imagine…”

Yeeeeesss, and the best example is Kust Vonneguit’s wonderful story “Harrison Bergeron” which conveys the libertarian fear of Big Mother far better than anything by Rand! It is a reasonable - if very distant - danger to express some mild concern toward.

But… but… there are no historical examples of smothering Big Mother going even 1% as bad as you claim. Yes, commies in the east used some Big Mother symbolic language, from time to time. But Orwell wrote *Big Brother* about the commies and they were in fact Drunk Uncle Profiteers.

SO your false equivalence exaggerates the one and minimizes the other with one agenda in mind. The last refuge of the murdochians. “I know my side is immoral and insane and repressive… but… but… liberals are as bad or worse!”

As long as you can do that, you stand a chance of staunching the bleeding from the confederate tent, losing every single moderately decent human citizen.


Onlyabout… how many of the tweets and postings about Obama’s supposed “bullying” during Brexit were Kremlin-made? Have you checked?

David Brin said...

Everyone critique the following. It expanded to blog length:

Robert, it is a mistake to approach propertarian-cultist “libertarians” or conservatives with good-goody social responsibility memes. They are armored with reflexes that simply dismiss you as either a sappy-impractical fool or else a commie who uses guilt trips to gather the power to destroy markets and institute bureaucratic oppression. Moralizing never works.

In my experience, many libertarians are bright enough and curious enough to respond when you corner them with:

1) The fundamental of Adam Smith and any true libertarianism is “competition,” the most creative force in the universe. “You ‘libertarians” THINK that core sits at your center and you only chant “unlimited property!” in order to defend competition. But then why do you almost ever mention the C-Word? Actually read Adam Smith. Some wealth-reward is a necessary market incentive. Beyond that, property becomes the ENEMY of competitive markets.”

2) When 5000 lordly clans own everything, it is the end of competition. AND THIS IS NOT NEW. Name one time in 6000 years when enterprise markets and innovation-competition weren’t ruined by cheaters — not by “bureaucrats” but by feudal inheritance lords. Adam Smith prescribed civil servants as a counterweight to lordly cheating. Which is why the new lords spend so much on propaganda getting you to chant “hate all government!”

3) Not all liberal “programs” are the same. Many, perhaps most, aim at providing what YOU - as pro-competition libertarians - should want! To maximize the number of humans in a society who are skilled, healthy, educated and creatively eager to participate in our competitive markets. F. Hayek, the doyen of libertarian economics, said that a central goal should be to maximize the number of market participants, in seeking dispersed market wisdom. Adam Smith said the same thing, denouncing the narrowing of allocators to the King and a few noble families.

Yes, many liberal programs do not have that aim or effect: so go ahead and oppose those! But inarguably, mass education (for all its improvable flaws) health, infrastructure and civil rights increased the fraction of our citizens who can compete… just as skyrocketing wealth disparity decreases that fraction. And some of the rights movements that you dismiss as “political correctness” boil down to a simple expansion of marketparticipation, because prejudice leads to wasted talent!

4) Those claiming “liberty and democracy are incompatible” are at-best stupid and at-worst deliberate enemies of the only era of true creativity and hope the world ever saw. Markets are a form of democracy! Markets work best when power is so dispersed that the allocation choices of a myriad consumers can matter, when entrepreneurs can form competitive startups that stand a chance against entrenched elites, and when transparency and accountability can be applied in all directions by a maximum number of participants.

Just as all of that is true in markets (and entrepreneurship always… always(!)… does better under democratic administrations), so it is true in public policy or… politics. In other words, democracy isn’t just better morally, it has proved - by orders of magnitude - to govern better. Find… one… counterexample.

See a comparison of actual outcomes: http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2014/06/so-do-outcomes-matter-more-than-rhetoric.html

See utter refutation of the propertarians’ core religious incantation: that voters in a democracy choose shortsighted ripoffs and the rich rule better: http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2012/10/the-tytler-insult-is-democracy-hopeless.html

On to part II

David Brin said...

Part II

I could go on and on. But for now, note this: that every argument I just made was in libertarian terms! My criteria concerned the health of lat-fair competitive markets. And, in light of 60 centuries of human history, the last folks we should trust with tending the health of such things are the inheritance lords who wrecked them, every single chance they got.

In fairness, I have been invited to many libertarian conferences to talk about these things! Proving that “libertarians” are not a monolith and should not be dismissed that way! At these gatherings, there is always a fringe who remember the word “competition” and vaguely recall Adam Smith. Sure, most are transfixed by Randite incantations, while the Kochs and Steve Forbes and other moguls spend lavishly, pushing the meme that “Republicans are awful, but Democrats are worse! So stay inside the Confederate tent!”

My point: though a sane libertarian may have serious differences with a liberal democrat, he will also find areas of agreement. There are zero points of actual overlap with confederatist-republicanism. The New Feudal Lords are absolutely counting on you never to glance at 6000 years, or read Adam Smith, or study Hayek, or consider why the moguls are financing open war on science and every other fact-using profession.

The answer is simple. They want the aristocracy to be the last elite standing.

LarryHart said...

Jon S:

The enemy of my enemy is my enemy's enemy. No more, no less."


The saying, "The enemy of my enemy is my friend" used to be a derogatory description of how Arabs did things. It carried an implication of "They can't see past the immediate situation." It's funny (in a bad way) that Republicans now adopt it as a full-fledged slogan.

The enemy of my enemy is a useful ally, but one should never expect the alliance to be long-term or all-encompasing.

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin:

The last refuge of the murdochians. “I know my side is immoral and insane and repressive… but… but… liberals are as bad or worse!”


As the Maureen Dowd column linked above makes clear (actually, Maureen Dowd's Republican brother), they don't even seem to understand the failings of their own side. They live in an impenetrable world of alternate facts* in which Obama and the Clintons are the ones who have done terrible things, and the Democratic Party (and their media allies) have dragged the country so far to the left that electing Republicans and appointing Republican judges is the only way to pull us back from the socialist abyss. They search their feelings and know this to be true.

As I said above, I despair that these people are reachable. All we can hope for is that we have the numbers to force their hands off of the steering wheel and take back control of our democracy. At that point, our job is to right the course and stabilize our society, not to listen to the incessant and unending whining about what we're doing wrong from the insane side of the aisle.

* "The word you are searching for is facts, but these are not facts. Alternate facts, perhaps, but that's a different thing, in fact the opposite thing."

onlyaboutthenail said...

@Dr Brin No one needed twitter to know that Obama threatened us, we heard him. Here:https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/apr/22/barack-obama-brexit-uk-back-of-queue-for-trade-talks It seems unlikely that twitter would be relevant: the twittering young were most likely to vote Remain and the Leavers were largely older citizens who have no interest in that sort of thing.

onlyaboutthenail said...

@Dr Brin Big Mother: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/06/13/non-competitive-school-sports-days_n_7397316.html

Treebeard said...

No I'm not a Christian, I was just making a point about why Putin's Russia gets so many people riled up in a way that the Soviet Union didn't, even if many things haven't changed. Because symbolism matters, a lot. It's how elites signal their values and intentions to those who don't think in rationalist abstractions. American cultural programmers load their TV, movies and advertising with it, so it must make a difference. Why else would google put up the rainbow gay flag doodle during the winter olympics in Russia, timed with Obama's criticism of Russia's supposed lack of gay rights? Why all the PC advertising putting the (metrosexual) white dudes at the back of the bus? America is swimming in loaded symbolism, most of it crafted by progressives. Many of us get the message of this symbolism, understand what its sponsors are trying to tell us about their program, and vote and act accordingly.

Likewise, Christians see Putin's cross, coupled with his unwillingness to go along with the New World Order program of secular postmodern demolition of all traditional values and institutions sends a potent message to Christians and conservatives. It signals his intention to resist this system, which many in the belly of the beast naturally respond to, despite the best efforts of the New World Order programmers. Symbolism is vital; wars are fought first on this plane, before escalating to more physical hostilities.

Zepp Jamieson said...

"Mine Does.Not.Like.Weed"
Fair enough, and I'm not peddling it myself. But you might thing twice before forming an association with Maureen Dowd, who I regard as a major twit. (There was a time I thought she might be a successor to Molly Ivins!).

Zepp Jamieson said...

"Obama threatened us"
He's gone, replaced by an utter twat who supports Brexit.
So how's it working out?

Zepp Jamieson said...

What chance does science have against this type of brilliance?

Speaking of Science
A flat-Earther’s plan to launch himself in a homemade rocket just hit a speed bump

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2017/11/24/a-flat-earthers-plan-to-launch-himself-in-a-homemade-rocket-just-hit-a-speed-bump/


[Why not rent a Cessna and pilot for an hour? Or a hot air balloon? 1,800 feet is a remarkably modest goal. Most commercial flights reach 35,000 feet. Bet he doesn't make it 35 feet off the ground, thus proving something.]

onlyaboutthenail said...

More Big Mother: https://www.scottaaronson.com/blog/?p=2119 more: http://slatestarcodex.com/2017/08/29/my-irb-nightmare/ and :https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tHLEbIXc7O0

onlyaboutthenail said...

@Zepp Jamieson The fact that he was comfortable threatening to punish us in public made it clear how much power he thinks the ordinary people of Britain should have over our own lives. Now, obviously he's right about who *has* the power. But if he did want something from us, our vote to remain, it was foolish to spit on us.

I really don't know how Brexit will work out.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Sorry to hear that the British right has adopted the same persecution complex the American right have.
It was never a threat It was advice from a friend. And he wasn't "spitting on you"; he was trying to dissuade you from a foolish and self-destructive course of action.
I note that American right wingers can't win in good grace either. As witness Trump's mindless vendetta against Obama.

onlyaboutthenail said...

What Treebeard said about symblism

Steven Hammond said...

Treebeard said:

Likewise, Christians see Putin's cross, coupled with his unwillingness to go along with the New World Order program of secular postmodern demolition of all traditional values and institutions sends a potent message to Christians and conservatives. It signals his intention to resist this system, which many in the belly of the beast naturally respond to, despite the best efforts of the New World Order programmers. (my emphasis)

Treebeard, I'd be very interested in hearing more explicitly, which traditional values and institutions are (apparently) being destroyed. I could certainly speculate but this might be a good opportunity for you to lay down your cards. I would also love for you to opine about what those values and institutions are grounded in. Is it purely culture and tradition? Is it "human nature"? Do you think those values and traditions should be carried on in perpetuity or are these changes by the New World Order too drastic and too fast to be accepted?

You've said you're not a Christian, but you do seem to sympathize with much of the reaction against this "demolition." Is this sympathy purely due to hatred of those in the New World Order (for whatever reason) or is there something valuable you see being lost? There are certainly aspects of previous versions of modernism such as Big Agriculture that I would resist myself, TBH. Or, is this purely a case of seeing Putin "stickin' it to the Man"--even though he IS the Man?

Paul SB said...

This is interesting:

"... Christians see Putin's cross, coupled with his unwillingness to go along with the New World Order program of secular postmodern demolition of all traditional values and institutions sends a potent message to Christians and conservatives."

In other words, he's a hypocrite. And we are expected to trust him because ...?

If our arboreal buddy thinks the progressives are winning, he hasn't been paying attention. The presidential elections swing like yo-yos, but with enough gerrymandering, voter suppression, "alternate facts" and endless rants, the right wing is now in a position that it is so dominant they can start competing amongst themselves, shooting their part in the foot.

Take a minute to think about why there are always many more conservatives than liberals in any given society. There are two simple reasons.
1) Every generation is raised by the previous generation (with some rare exceptions), so there is a bias in favor of older values established in the earliest years when children's major neural pathways are forming.
2) Old traditions give easy, pat answers to complicated questions, which is much easier (rad: lazier) than actually taking time to think things over, or doing the hard work of thinking in "rationalist abstractions" as Mr. Kindling would have it. It's so much easier to answer the question, "Why is the sky blue?" by saying "God did it" than to actually make the effort to figure it out. Lazy-brains, the most common state of human thought.

I am not saying that traditions are necessarily bad. traditions generally become traditional because they work, or at least, they work for the people who dominate society. Sticking to traditions works when the environment is stable and nothing much is changing. That does not describe today. Under conditions of rapid change, reflexive traditionalism is a recipe for extinction. We se it in the fossil record, where 99% of all life that ever was is gone. We see it in the archaeological record, full of civilizations that collapsed when their traditions failed them but they refused to change. I hope we're not going to see it in the near future. We won't survive the changes that are taking place by closing our eyes, covering our ears and saying to ourselves, "It's just a dream! Just a bad dream!"

LarryHart said...

onlyaboutthenail:

No one needed twitter to know that Obama threatened us, we heard him.


Eye of the beholder, I suppose. What sounds to you as a threat sounded to me like good advice. It's similar to the people who think that global warming just means the fertile areas move north. Dr Brin warns that Canada and Siberia might become warm enough, but they'll still have shorter growing seasons than the southern areas previously had, plus they'll be totally lacking in topsoil.

Is he threatening? Or just pointing out the facts of life? I guess you decide how to take it, but I have a pretty good idea what he means. Same for President Obama.

Steven Hammond said...

Addendum:

Treebeard:

Please give me more information about The New World Order. I'm afraid I keep confusing it with The Pentaverate that Charlie's dad discusses in the movie So I Married and Ax-Murderer.

Here's the clip:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eKo25yicT_4


Stuart Mackenzie: Well, it's a well known fact, Sonny Jim, that there's a secret society of the five wealthiest people in the world, known as The Pentavirate, who run everything in the world, including the newspapers, and meet tri-annually at a secret country mansion in Colorado, known as The Meadows.

Tony Giardino: So who's in this Pentavirate?

Stuart Mackenzie: The Queen, The Vatican, The Gettys, The Rothschilds, *and* Colonel Sanders before he went tits up. Oh, I hated the Colonel with is wee *beady* eyes, and that smug look on his face. "Oh, you're gonna buy my chicken! Ohhhhh!"

Charlie Mackenzie: Dad, how can you hate "The Colonel"?

Stuart Mackenzie: Because he puts an addictive chemical in his chicken that makes ya crave it fortnightly, smartass!

LarryHart said...

Steve Hammond asks of Treebeard:

...or is there something valuable you see being lost?


White privilege.

LarryHart said...

Paul SB:

Take a minute to think about why there are always many more conservatives than liberals in any given society.


Conservatives are valuable when conditions remain stable; when what worked before works now. Liberals are valuable when conditions are changing, when you have to try something new because the old ways are obsolete.


We won't survive the changes that are taking place by closing our eyes, covering our ears and saying to ourselves, "It's just a dream! Just a bad dream!"


I tried that after the Trump election. It didn't work.

Steven Hammond said...

Paul SB said:

Take a minute to think about why there are always many more conservatives than liberals in any given society. There are two simple reasons.

I'd add one additional thought to your list (though it may not apply in Russia where life-expectancy dropped, at least for awhile). People are generally living longer and older people tend to hark back to their "glory days" as Bruce Springsteen put it so well. Regardless of the reasons, older people tend to be more conservative and resistant to and (often) incapable of change. A society with a disproportionate percentage of older people will generally be more conservative. I'm not sure how this applies to the Middle East. Is radical Islam conservative or, well, radical?

Steven Hammond said...

LarryHart said:

Steve Hammond asks of Treebeard:

...or is there something valuable you see being lost?


White privilege.


Now, now, Mr. Hart. Please don't shout out the answers to Mr. Treebeard! I'm sure he can answer the question on his own. :)

Paul SB said...

Steven,

Good point about the age factor, though we might have to reassess re. Scandinavia.

Once again, I can explain this by looking at energy use in the brain. As people age there are a couple things that tend to happen. One is that they lose myelin, the "insulation" that coats neural circuits that get used often enough to demand extra attention. Without the myelin sheaths, thinking and doing tasks that were once routine become increasingly difficult. This makes it much harder for people to learn new things, explore new ways of thinking, and maintain sufficient energy. When overall energy starts to drop, the first thing to go is the frontal lobes, where rational decisions are made. Emotional centers like the amygdala, which responds with fear and anger, become disproportionately more influential (which is also why older people are more vulnerable to mood disorders). Thus all the grumpy old men and those nasty old hags that hang out at the back of every church pontificating on everyone else's sins.

The other thing that happens is the down regulation of receptors. This makes people less sensitive to feelings (among other effects). It works very much like drug tolerance, where it takes more and more stimulation to get any affect at all. This is what makes elderly people seem to be quite extreme, vacillating from blazing hot to freezing cold. We usually don't notice that much of the time their feelings are just kind of dulled. This doesn't necessarily make people more conservative the way Americans define the word, but it makes them more reactionary. With other forces encouraging them to not think much and fall into old mental ruts, it makes some of them real crusaders once they get going.

onlyaboutthenail said...

*Are* their always more conservatives than liberals in any society? In Britain the Labour Party is bigger than the Conservative Party, but of course millions of people care about politics without ever joining a party. FWIW, I'm not conservative.

Paul SB said...

onlyaboutthenail (is there a funny story behind this name?),

Conservative is a very general term. What specific practices are considered conservative in one society may be the opposite in another. Conservative Jewish society demands circumcision of males, while many African societies consider female circumcision tone traditional and hate those evil Westerners for convincing their women that they don't need to stick with this one.

A conservative bias has been observed pretty much everywhere anthropologists have spent enough time to see more than one generation reach maturity. It might be that this tendency resulted from a population bottleneck that nearly took out the species. Human behavior is never as simple as instinct, though. Question: for how long has the Labour Party had numerical dominance? It only takes a couple decades for something to be established as a tradition as families rear their children. So say several young people in a working class neighborhood decide to join the LP because it seems to be in their interests, in spite of (or to spite) their conservative parents, when they raise their children those children are likely to share many of the values of the LP.

On another matter, Treebeard has shown with his Putin's Cross argument that he is just as willing to stood to disingenuous arguments as Locum. He doesn't believe in Christian values, but he will try to use them to ram his agenda down other people's throats.

Steven Hammond said...

Paul SB said:

Old traditions give easy, pat answers to complicated questions, which is much easier (rad: lazier) than actually taking time to think things over, or doing the hard work of thinking in "rationalist abstractions" as Mr. Kindling would have it. It's so much easier to answer the question, "Why is the sky blue?" by saying "God did it" than to actually make the effort to figure it out. Lazy-brains, the most common state of human thought.,

Ah, I think you're being a bit harsh, Paul. You said later in the same post, "traditions generally become traditional because they work, or at least, they work for the people who dominate society." May of the traditions that work are definitely passed down from those that dominated society numerically. The tenant farmers, cottagers, peasants, poor craftsmen and others at the bottom of the hierarchical pyramid were the major influences on our traditions, and, as you said "they work". Or at least they worked. Things have changed so much in the last 150 years that these old traditions may cause more harm than good. But some may still be worth holding onto. It's so hard to know a priori, which to preserve and which to cast aside.

I think there is a lot of "tradition" hanging by a thread to ancient religious text, but the greater concern is that of tradition based on even older texts--those from Homer for example--that glorify male dominance and violence. So many literary works from Homer down to Sir Walter Scott glorify male violence and dominance.

Of course (in my opinion) the primary text resisting this is the,(I'll say "red letter" ), gospels in the NT with the Sermon on the Mount and all that. Christianity has never been pure, incorporating the true and unadulterated thoughts of Jesus. The gospel of Matthew was early and already, specific goals by religious communities like Matthews's were used to modify the message presented in other texts.

In any event, I remain agnostic as far as who and what Jesus was. I do promote many of his ideas and I suspect most here do--even if they don't know it.

Steven Hammond said...

@ PaulSB

Just a quick post as I have to leave but that post about the aging changes in the human brain was wonderfully informative. :)

Thanks for that and for being such a diligent and thoughtful person.

Oh! And enlighten me about Scandinavia. I'm reading Mary Midgley lately who emphasized that humans are both competitive AND cooperative so the egoistic thoughts of many philosophers are not grounded in "human nature". Does the Scandinavian model incorporate both of these very human influence--competition and cooperativeness?

Jerry Emanuelson said...

David Brin said, " . . . Name one time in 6000 years when enterprise markets and innovation-competition weren’t ruined by cheaters — not by “bureaucrats” but by feudal inheritance lords."

I am surprised that David even asked this question. Who do you think are the modern-day enforcers for the feudalist cheaters?

Federal bureaucrats generally see themselves as having two purposes. As long as no large corporate donors are participating in the relevant sector of the marketplace, their job is to ensure that market participants are not cheating.

As soon as a large favored corporate entity enters that sector of the market, the duty of the federal bureaucracy immediately changes to insuring that the honest participants in that sector of the market can be eliminated from the market in order that the favored corporate entity can survive and thrive.

There are so many examples of this that if I were to begin to cite examples, it would consume all of my waking hours for the rest of my life. Hundreds of offices on K Street in Washington, D.C. exist solely to insure that these enforcement actions in favor of certain cheating corporate entities continues to thrive.

One current example is the case of cannibidiol oil being sold for Dravet Syndrome, a disorder where children (beginning in the first year of life) have up to 300 major seizures per week, rarely living into adulthood. Several months ago, a few companies were selling "cannibidiol oil" containing little or no cannibidiol. These fraudulent companies received threating warning letters from the FDA (the U.S. Food and Drug Administration). So far, so good. That's exactly what they should be doing.

Then, a favored pharmaceutical company came to the FDA ready to present its case for its cannibidiol oil to become an FDA-approved drug. Like clockwork, the FDA enforcers sent out warning letters to U.S. companies that were already producing legitimate cannibidiol oil as a naturally derived substance. For example, see:

https://www.fda.gov/ICECI/EnforcementActions/WarningLetters/2017/ucm583192.htm

Part of the above letter states, "The claims on your websites establish that the products are drugs under section 201(g)(1) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the Act) [21 U.S.C. § 321(g)(1)] because they are intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease and/or because they are intended to affect the structure or any function of the body."

In other words, people are buying these products because they work to cure disease without proper permission of government bureaucrats. A certain pharmaceutical corporation wants FDA permission to exclusively sell these products at a much higher price, therefore (as it has done so often before) the FDA tries to drive morally legitimate competitors from the market, even if it cost thousands of terribly sick children their lives.

A major function of FDA bureaucracy is the violation of free speech and freedom of the press. Companies are not allowed to make certain truthful statements about their products unless the Ministry of Truth at the FDA has approved these statements. Even worse, the FDA explicitly claims that customer's statements about the benefits of the product can transform a nutritional supplement into an "unapproved new drug."

onlyaboutthenail said...

@Paul SB That's fascinating! I didn't know that. Not long, it turns out, basically just this century.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4EDhdAHrOg

I have friends for whom *Christian* does not really mean *a believer in the gospel of Christ*, which would be weird, but is a term refering to a sort of general normality/conservatism/complex of habits and affiliations. (C.S. Lewis referred to The Normal.) This usage is honest and obvious to them. One friend will literally sleep through the sermon if forced to go to Church and will also react with great dugeon to any criticism of *our religious traditions*. Putin may be signalling to them.

Jon S. said...

That is, in my opinion, a weird definition of "Christianity". I don't believe I've ever encountered that in the wild. Rather, at least lip service must be paid the Gospels, else why even use the name?

As for political discussion, I think something similar might be going on here - to the crowd in this forum, at least, "conservative" means "making change slowly, if at all", and should not be confused with the political capital-C "Conservative", which often veers into reactionary or even radical positions. (Judging from the political commercials I've been hearing from British Columbia radio, the conservative party there is known as the "BC Liberal" party.)

TCB said...

@ Jerry Emanuelson, the bureaucrats in any government are there to carry out the policies handed down by the people at the top of the government. They are, so to speak, the 'foot soldiers' of all the parts of a government that do not employ actual soldiers. Like the boys in khaki, however, the bureaucrats are there to carry out orders.

Let me drop something on you that I'll go ahead and call Buckner's Law.

The soldier is only as good or as evil as the orders he will follow; the policeman is only as just or unjust as the laws he will enforce; and the bureaucrat, too, is only as good or bad as the policies he will carry out.

Following orders does not absolve any human of moral responsibility. They proved that at Nuremberg! On the other hand, all this nattering about 'those awful BUREAUCRATS' misses the point, which is that they do not MAKE the laws and regulations! That is done by corrupt legislators and traitorous 'presidents' and their lobbyist friends, etc. etc.

Do you imagine the feudalist crooks at the top would behave themselves if only the bureaucrats would go away? The feudalists would just hire private enforcers, no? If there were no bureaucrats at all, there would be no government at all... And I admit, some folks like the sound of that.

But, from a modern standpoint, government is like an asshole. It's not pretty, in fact it usually stinks. But if you had to go a month without it, you'd be in a world of misery.

LarryHart said...

Steve Hammond:

Regardless of the reasons, older people tend to be more conservative and resistant to and (often) incapable of change.


While I acknowledge the veracity of this bit of convention wisdom in the aggregate, there are exceptions, and I am one of them. I was much more conservative--at least in the economic realm--in my twenties than I am now in my fifties. Now that we know that, what do we know?

LarryHart said...

onlyaboutthenail:

I have friends for whom *Christian* does not really mean *a believer in the gospel of Christ*, which would be weird, but is a term refering to a sort of general normality/conservatism/complex of habits and affiliations. (C.S. Lewis referred to The Normal.)


During the 2016 campaign, "Christian" certainly seemed to mean anti-abortion and in favor of only traditionally-approved sexual activities. That's it. Nothing else seemed to matter.

Troutwaxer said...

"The thing is, Dr. Brin, there are two breeds of Libertarians."

There are the Libertarians who are unaware that Heinlein was writing fiction AND the Libertarians who were unaware that Ayn Rand was writing fiction.

LarryHart said...

Jon S:

That is, in my opinion, a weird definition of "Christianity". I don't believe I've ever encountered that in the wild. Rather, at least lip service must be paid the Gospels, else why even use the name?


I agree in theory, but in practice, terms like that do get corrupted all the time. Most employers' definitions of "sexual harassment", for example contain elements which have nothing "sexual" about them.

This is probably anachronistic, but "Christian" sometimes refers simply to people of European stock, as opposed to Arab "Muslims" or Indian "Hindoos"--more like an ethnic group than a statement of creed. "Christian values" certainly gets linked to white nationalism all the time, and this is the only sense at all in which it makes sense for Trump to refer to himself as a great Christian, or any kind of Christian.


As for political discussion, I think something similar might be going on here - to the crowd in this forum, at least, "conservative" means "making change slowly, if at all", and should not be confused with the political capital-C "Conservative", which often veers into reactionary or even radical positions.


Yep. Just as radical right-wing judges are never called "activist judges", and right-wing gun mass-murderers are never called "terrorists". Radical change is forgiven if it is in the service of restoring lost glory, or else to ceding political power to the wealthy and powerful.

onlyaboutthenail said...

@ Jon S. Maybe it comes from having an Established Church? We've got all shades of religion of course, but for many people it's just...The Way Things Are Done. It's weird to take religion seriously, but criticizing it will get you a Tribal reaction. A lot of people only set foot in Church for hatch, match and dispatch but DESPISE Richard Dawkins as *a threat to our way of life*. They'd be pleased to see Putin wearing a crucifix and actually very worried if he started spouting about Jesus. Is there going to be nuclear war??

Definitions of conservative: ah, that makes sense. You're right, I use conservative for tribal affiliation.

Jerry Emanuelson said...

TCB said, "Jerry Emanuelson, the bureaucrats in any government are there to carry out the policies handed down by the people at the top of the government. They are, so to speak, the 'foot soldiers' of all the parts of a government that do not employ actual soldiers. Like the boys in khaki, however, the bureaucrats are there to carry out orders."

In many cases, what TCB said is correct, however in many other cases it is not. In the United States, most of the enforcable regulations which carry penalties are made by bureaucrats, not directly by legislators. It is true that legislators generally authorize this bureaucratic rulemaking, but that has simply led to a situation where virtually everything is against some law or regulation.

In the case of the FDA warning letter that I linked to in my last post, it appears that the warning letter itself was in violation of federal law. Specifically, in violation of section 773 of the Continuing Appropriations Act of 2017.

I am not a lawyer, but it appears to me that if an FDA bureaucrat issues an illegal warning letter, and the direct result of the warning letter is a child's death, then the FDA bureaucrat would likely lose the immunity that he would normally have; and he would be guilty of homicide. This is especially true when the bureaucrat should reasonably be expected to know that the warning letter could result in a human death.


Zepp Jamieson said...

Troutwaxer wrote:
"There are the Libertarians who are unaware that Heinlein was writing fiction AND the Libertarians who were unaware that Ayn Rand was writing fiction."

Fair old bit of truth there.

Steven Hammond said...

LarryHart said:

Steve Hammond:

Regardless of the reasons, older people tend to be more conservative and resistant to and (often) incapable of change.


While I acknowledge the veracity of this bit of convention wisdom in the aggregate, there are exceptions, and I am one of them. I was much more conservative--at least in the economic realm--in my twenties than I am now in my fifties. Now that we know that, what do we know?


Hah! Well, that makes two of us at least. A few more and maybe we can say with confidence that "people become more liberal as they age". :)

I'm afraid I won't let you know who I voted for in presidential elections in ages past, but it wasn't for Democrats until recently. This is due both to changes in my own philosophy and world view as well as conservatism running off the rails around the time of the Benghazi thing.

I was a William F Buckley, National Review type conservative until converging theological/philosophical arguments made me reconsider the assumptions/beliefs that were the very ground of the meaning of my existence. The never-ending FOX news hype of Benghazi as I was running on a treadmill at the gym in the mornings (true story) over, and over, and over again made me realize that the GOP was not the WF Buckley party now. And when that made me look closer, I saw that WF Buckley was never one to follow, for long, anyway. Especially in light of my new philosophical/religious position.

I do regret the loss of Buckley's style, which is worth remaking on. I wish our current opponents had some semblance of that style. If you're going to be evil, OWN IT, flaunt it, work the mid-atlantic accent and wear the right clothes. Trump is just so damn Jersey Shore IMO. #Lame :)

David Brin said...

 onlyaboutthenail said... “@Dr Brin Big Mother: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/06/13/non-competitive-school-sports-days_n_7397316.html”

Seriously? Will we meet even one “conservative” today who thinks in anything but anecdotes? Are you saying there’s no competitive sports for kids? Really? Seriously?

Do you have even a clue the difference between a verified statistic and an anecdote?

Barry Goldwater is spinning in his grave.


Answer any of these statistics, fellah:
http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2014/06/so-do-outcomes-matter-more-than-rhetoric.html

Can you NAME ONE profession of high knowledge and skill that’s not under attack by Fox/Trump &cohorts?  Teachers, medical doctors, journalists, civil servants, law professionals, economists, skilled labor, professors… oh, yes and science. Thirty years ago, 40% of US scientists called themselves Republican, now it is 4% and plummeting. They are voting with their feet, the smartest, wisest, most logical and by far the most competitive humans our species ever produced. 
http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/the-mistrust-of-science?linkId=25842187

Barry Goldwater is spinning in his grave.


But you are sane and cogent compared with this drooling lunatic:  Treebeard said... “No I'm not a Christian, I was just making a point about why Putin's Russia gets so many people riled up in a way that the Soviet Union didn't, “

The… choke… way… sputter…that… cough!!… the Soviet Union didn’t?????

You stunning… oh, such stupidity has to be deliberate…

Duncan Cairncross said...

onlyaboutthenail
Did you actually read that article in the Guardian?
It does not seem like it
Obama pointed out that the USA looks to its own needs first
and that a trade deal with 27 countries takes precedence over a deal with one country
And you call that "a threat?"
Or do you think that Obama should have said that he was going to put the needs of the UK above the needs of the USA?
That would have been a lie - a lie worthy of the Donald

Steven Hammond said...

onlyaboutthenail said:


I have friends for whom *Christian* does not really mean *a believer in the gospel of Christ*, which would be weird, but is a term refering to a sort of general normality/conservatism/complex of habits and affiliations.


Hmmm... I think your friend are actually Constantinians--as are the Putinists. I may not have a great deal of knowledge about astrophyisics or quantum physics... (someone please remind me why these disciplines are the creme de la creme in the science hierarchy, BTW) But, in any event, I do know a bit about modern "Christians" and "Christianity.

I think your friends are actually "right", "spot on", whatever, as seeing the idea of "Christian" as a " general normality/conservatism/complex of habits and affiliations."

The ideas of Jesus--at least those we see in the gospels,are (for the most part) very different from later ideas of the angry Jesus coming back to enact retributive justice on the non-believers. There is so little in the gospels to suggest this apocalyptic ending though there is some in Paul and the mad-man John's Revelation etc to bolster the retributive punishment idea.

I know that very few "bible-believing" Christians will harken to the things modern NT scholars have learned. In my case, it was a matter of delving into the idea of universal salvation and going on from there. I suspect working on evaluating the theology of conservatives/"christians" in a scientific but understanding way. would be the most efficacious way to change minds. I can only speak for myself in that changing my theology made me able to accept idea that were "anathema" beforehand.

Alfred Differ said...

@treebeard | Well Putin apparently wears a cross, so this is a rather significant change of symbolism from the militantly atheist Soviet Union.

Big f!#$%ing deal. He is a czar without the 'legitimacy' of being from a royal family, which makes him the criminal first generation of a possible dynasty.

I couldn't give a rat's patooie about his faith.
I CAN care about a wanna-be aristocrat. Behead them all.

Alfred Differ said...

@onlyaboutthenail | but we acknowlege that these Oligarchic Puppets are the only ones who currently that have any chance of standing up to the soft Social Democratic Hydrae

Change the names a bit and there is a chapter about that in The Road to Serfdom.

Hmm... I guess Hayek should be included in any TASAT library.

Alfred Differ said...

The way I learned it is 'conservatives' defend social traditions from the rest of us who are inclined to change them. They usually out-number us by quite a bit... and for that reason, traditions endure.

The irony in the US is that many of the traditions being defended are liberal ones dating way back. Not all of them, of course. If you ever need to know where that line is, just ask a social libertarian. 8)

TCB said...

The Libertarian Flag, folks!

harharhar

onlyaboutthenail said...

@ Duncan Cairncross Absolutely! Americans make decisions based on American interests. Your interests and ours may coincide or not. But why did he have to SAY that, before the vote? He could have said The people of America respect the people of Britain blah blah citizens of sovereign nations make their own decisions about their futures blah blah staunch allies, you're all right in a fight mate. I'd guess that in an alternate universe where he said that Britain would still be in the EU.

onlyaboutthenail said...

@ Dr. Brin I apologize for my tone last night. I let myself get snippy, sorry.

I'm not conservative or liberal, so not on the hook to defend conservatives' track record, thank God. You've said that you don't think Big Mother is very significant in the West at the moment. I suggest that it depends who and where you are. Big Mother is biting hard into the private lives of many people. For a few it has ruined their lives. I will put together some more respectable statistical evidence.

Nice to hear that Mr. Goldwater is getting some exercise.

onlyaboutthenail said...

Zepp Jamieson and LarryHart

In the nations who owe our liberty, possibly our lives, to American protection and aid there is *always* a floating, unpredictable -animus?-towards America that has to be politically managed. Any pressure by an American president on British politics will produce some reaction in the opposite direction. If President Obama didn't know that that's....darkly funny. The comment about trade deals was heard by many as Obey Me Or You'll Get A Smack.

LarryHart said...

Troutwaxer:

There are the Libertarians who are unaware that Heinlein was writing fiction AND the Libertarians who were unaware that Ayn Rand was writing fiction.


"Atlas Shrugged" suffers from attempting to be both a story book and a how-to manual at the same time. There's a Heisenberg uncertainty element that prevents the same book from being 100% both things. The Bible suffers from a similar problem--it tries to be a story book, a how-to manual, and a true record of history at the same time. That's even more impossible.

LarryHart said...

Steven Hammond:

Hah! Well, that makes two of us at least. A few more and maybe we can say with confidence that "people become more liberal as they age". :)


My mother is hardly political, but during the course of my lifetime, she has become less judgmental about the moral failings of family members and a lot more tolerant of individual differences. That's similar to my own progression--not so much a trend toward economic leveling as a trend away from bullying and toward acceptance of differences.

It might (or might not) be more natural for people to become more liberal in that sense as they age. They usual aphorism that a capitalist at 20 has no heart and a communist at 40 has no brain speaks strictly to economics. The presumption is that a liberal is someone "with nothing who wants to share it with everyone", and that once you've worked for your own money, you become miserly. There's a certain amount of sense to that, but it only speaks to a small portion of what makes up "liberal" and "conservative".

In most recent times here in America, if I had to come up with a short definition of "conservative", it no longer seems to be about economics or even about traditional moral values. It's about fighting for one's right to be mean to others. And that's not the kind of old man I want to turn into.

LarryHart said...

Steven Hammond:

This is due both to changes in my own philosophy and world view as well as conservatism running off the rails around the time of the Benghazi thing.
...
The never-ending FOX news hype of Benghazi as I was running on a treadmill at the gym in the mornings (true story) over, and over, and over again made me realize that the GOP was not the WF Buckley party now...


With your newfound perspective, let me ask you whether anything you now notice about the Republican Party or FOX News really changed that recently. If conservatism (as pertains to political officeholders) hadn't run off the rails by 2005 (Terry Schiavo and Hurricane Katrina), it certainly had by the time of Sarah Palin in 2008. And FOX News has always been like that.

LarryHart said...

onlyaboutthenail:

Any pressure by an American president on British politics will produce some reaction in the opposite direction. ... The comment about trade deals was heard by many as Obey Me Or You'll Get A Smack.


And I suspect the current state of affairs is as presented by Dave Sim in "Cerebus":

"Sometimes, you can get what you want and still not be very happy."

Steven Hammond said...

LarryHart said:


In most recent times here in America, if I had to come up with a short definition of "conservative", it no longer seems to be about economics or even about traditional moral values. It's about fighting for one's right to be mean to others. And that's not the kind of old man I want to turn into. (my emphasis)

Wow...I just can't argue with that and you're probably right that Fox News has always been that way. There may have been a veneer of civility and reasonableness present in conservatism that lulled me prior to my personal epiphany, but the underlying meanness was still there. When I think back on my former views, I'm saddened, but I suppose it also makes me a little more understanding of what is going through the minds of current conservatives--though that seems to be fading over time.

Zepp Jamieson said...

So any American president can utterly control the UK through reverse psychology? If Obama had supported Brexit, it would have failed. But wait! Trump supported Brexit. Even went to Scotland and congratulated the Scots for voting for it, apparently unaware that they didn't!
So if an American president with an IQ over 100 advises Britain that a course of action is ill-advised, they declare it "Opposite Day in Blighty!" and race off the White Cliffs, but if an American politician who manages to make Boris Johnson look urbane and intelligent suggests it, then everyone south of Hadrian's Wall swoons in abject joy. Except in Och Aye the Noo, of course. Those Scots are a stubborn lot.

Zepp Jamieson said...

"if I had to come up with a short definition of 'conservative'"...

Most conservatives are nothing of the sort. Many are at best reactionaries, at worst fascists. Fascism is the political arm of capitalism, It is the word that must not be spoken because of the horrific connotations that came from World War II (even though Hitler, properly speaking wasn't even a fascist).
By 1980, the American media couldn't even call Franco a fascist, even though he assuredly was, because he was an ally.

Paul SB said...

Steven,

Perhaps I am being a bit harsh, and also the tendency to focus on all things political, both in this blog and in civic life more generally, makes it easy to overestimate the long-term contributions of the powerful to the overall culture. It's ironic, since that was a major reason why I switched majors in college from history to anthropology. One of my best history professors, who talked endlessly about the "great men" of history, once said that the kings, priests and generals are always 20 years behind the people. That told me that historians are studying the wrong people if they want to understand what drives history. No doubt you are right that many of our traditions originate with the unwashed masses. Once they are seen as traditional, then they can become the playthings of political actors.

Biologists call something that no longer serves a purpose "vestigial." Ethnographers describe customs that no longer serve a purpose as "survivals" - both refer to things that used to be good but now are causing more harm than good as "maladaptive." I have no problem with tradition as a general rule, but the unreflective, knee-jerk tendency to cling to practices simply because we remember them (often erroneously) from our childhood is lazy thinking and dangerous.

I knew a lot of guys in my home town who were obsessed with muscle cars, especially if they dated back to the 1950s, which was considered the glorious golden age back in the '70s and '80s. When the mass-produced automobile first arrived on the scene it was some new-fangled contraption and people complained about the smell and the much greater potential for deadly accidents than the traditional horse and buggy. But the practical value of its greater speed won people over fairly quickly, and it began to transform society, allowing populations to expand radically into suburbs while workers could drive to their inner city jobs distances that would have taken all day to reach on foot or by horse. Food could be transported from farms to burgeoning suburban sprawls, contributing to runaway growth. Now we know that the waste gasses from our cars are killing people by the thousands every year, huge numbers of people are mangled and killed in accidents, and we are working on flat-lining the Earth's life support system. all those deaths are normalized. Internal combustion is a tradition, a recreation, a dependency (take away cars and trucks and what happens to the grocery store shelves in suburbia?) and our bane. At this point there is no going back. Unless we can change the technology, the death toll they cause will climb to the point of causing substantial depopulation. But most people just shrug and don't care, but if you try to take their cars away you would have a bloody pogrom on your hands.

Paul SB said...

Steven con.t,

You're right that it is hard to figure which traditions are still good and which need to change. But we kind of have to try, or we end up in the waste bin of extinction with 99% of the rest of life - the dumb ones who did not have the neural architecture to allow them to think it over and change course. It's a lot of trial and error. The problem with clinging to traditions is that it is a fundamental rejection of the very ability that made humans able to dominate the planet. If we can only do what we have always done, we're just biding our time waiting for extinction.

I'm afraid I can't tell you a whole lot about Scandinavia, except that the population pyramids show those nations as predominantly elderly populations. Some of why their population is shrinking has to do with the lowering of political barriers to migration. A whole lot of young Scandinavians are getting the hell out of the Frozen North while they can. It's a rather marginal environment for human habitation for several reasons, and even people whose ancestors have lived there since the Neolithic have problems living there. And yet, Scandinavian countries have some of the most advanced social policies anywhere. Check out this little video on the prison system in Norway and you'll see what I mean.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sxdgPnYyj64

There was a linguist named Jack Goody who made the point many decades ago that when religion is in the hands of shaman in pre-literate societies, it is much more flexible and responsive to change because the shaman's words are what people believe. Once those words are written down, they become solidified, losing their flexibility. This is mostly right, but every generation interprets its holy books in light of the times in which they live. The slavery that is all over the Bible is no more, so we just ignore those parts that touch on that. We don't stone people to death for adultery, etc. Larry is right, though, that being Christian today mostly means being obsessed with sex. The ironic thing is that the drive to forbid normal biological functions has the opposite of the intended effect. In the words of Geoff Chaucer, "Forbid us something, and that thing we desire." If you look at civilizations where religions try to restrict sexuality and wrap people up in public decency laws and you see explosive populations. Naked savages, on the other hand, aren't cranking out so many kids. And with only a few exceptions, they don't have the problems of harassment and assault, all the violence that nation-states associate with sexuality. I read an article several months ago that suggested that Colorado teens no longer think marijuana is cool now that it's legal. Good stuff to think about when evaluating traditions.

LarryHart said...

Zepp Jamieson:

Fascism is the political arm of capitalism, It is the word that must not be spoken because of the horrific connotations that came from World War II (even though Hitler, properly speaking wasn't even a fascist).


That was why I used to compare Trump to Mussolini rather than Hitler during the campaign. I didn't expect him to establish concentration camps or annex Austria, but I did expect him to merge his administration with corporate interests.


By 1980, the American media couldn't even call Franco a fascist, even though he assuredly was, because he was an ally.


He was also "still dead" by that time. :)

In the 1960s, I remember seeing a "Speed Racer" cartoon in which the villain's name was obviously derived from the name Francisco Franco. When I learned that Franco had been active during WWII, I was amazed that he was still a thing. But then, in the 1970s, when I saw my first reprint of the 1940s origin of Captain America, I was even more amazed to see that FBI director J Edgar Hoover was already FBI director J Edgar Hoover even back then. Those WWII-era personalities sure had a long reach.

LarryHart said...

Paul SB:

I have no problem with tradition as a general rule, but the unreflective, knee-jerk tendency to cling to practices simply because we remember them (often erroneously) from our childhood is lazy thinking and dangerous.


In Watchmen, Alan Moore suggests that an emphasis on nostalgia is a by-product of a culture fearful for its survival and its inability to stave off actual danger. That may describe the situation we find ourselves in now.

There are elements of my childhood I am wistful about, but there are also plenty of things I was glad to outgrow and leave behind forever. It's distressing to see even such trivialities as bad movies or tv shows that I thought I'd never have to hear about again going through nostalgic "revivals" at their 20th, 30th, 35th, etc anniversaries, or ridiculously bad pop songs from the 70s and 80s showing up as modern commercial jingles.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Franco lingered, kinda half-dead, for a couple of years, and NatLamp, after he died, had monthly updates to report he was still dead. Thus Larry's "still dead" remark.
I had an aunt and uncle who fought for the leftists, and helped the classical guitar family The Romeros to escape from Franco's Spain. A point of family pride.
Some of the personalities of the WW2 era did have, as you say, a long reach, but it's the same now: I have Bloom County and Doonesbury cartoons from the 1980s that mocked Donald Trump. Putin was high ranking KGB and viewed warily by American intelligence back then.

onlyaboutthenail said...

@Zepp Jamieson Well no, but it was a very close vote. Like it or not, America is the biggest single power in the world today. Everyone cares what you think of them, even if they say they don't. Controlled by reverse psychology - well yes, a portion of the electorate can be controlled by someone who knows where and when to apply psychological pressure, even if that person knows basically nothing else.

I'm sorry for getting snippy last night.

LarryHart said...

Zepp Jamieson:

Franco lingered, kinda half-dead, for a couple of years, and NatLamp, after he died, had monthly updates to report he was still dead. Thus Larry's "still dead" remark.


That gag wasn't original with Chevy Chase on Saturday Night Live?

Zepp Jamieson said...

It may well have been. I wasn't a big SNL viewer, and all I remember is "Jane, you ignorant slut!".

LarryHart said...

onlyaboutthenail:

I'm sorry for getting snippy last night.


I don't think you exceeded any bounds there. We've seen worse, and many of us have done worse from time to time.

Zepp Jamieson said...

"I'm sorry for getting snippy last night."
No worries; I wasn't offended. It's part of the give-and-take around here, and you seemed to be well within the boundaries of acceptable behaviour.
Oh, yeah: I was raised in England, and no, I'm not an American. So don't take offence.

Steven Hammond said...

Zepp Jamieson said:

"if I had to come up with a short definition of 'conservative'"...

Most conservatives are nothing of the sort. Many are at best reactionaries, at worst fascists. Fascism is the political arm of capitalism, ...


Larry's definition is obviously a simplification, but I think it's worth mining his statement for the truth within it.

People don't generally pick political stances based on carefully reasoned decisions based on abstractions such as politically supporting capitalism. (Which is why intellectual arguments for or against conservatism or liberalism have so little influence) We use intellectual arguments to bolster emotional decisions we've already made based on fear, love, disgust, sense of fairness, envy, greed, desire for comfort etc. These decisions are not purely egoistic (unless you're a sociopath/psychopath) , but are mainly decisions about how our family, tribe, people, country should act for the good of the group.

I would suggest that we're all just fighting for our tribe or clan. Liberals tend to include many more people in their "tribe" than conservatives whose tribe is often quite small--so they have more people to be mean to. Of course the one group that we liberals don't tend to include in our tribe is conservatives... ;)

Any change in someone's political stance will start first with a non-rational appeal. The reasoned arguments just make it easier to articulate to oneself and others why the chosen politics "make sense."

(I would appeal to Paul SB for a critique of this cod anthropology I just wrote) ;)

Jon S. said...

"The Bible suffers from a similar problem--it tries to be a story book, a how-to manual, and a true record of history at the same time."

In fairness, that's a pretty modern interpretation. If you'd gone around the US in, say, 1904, saying that the Old Testament was largely allegory and not intended to represent What Happened with any degree of accuracy, most people would have either shrugged or agreed with you. It's only when we get our occasional flare-ups of Fundamentalism that you hear more than a few fringe oddies claiming it's a book of history as we understand it.

"Sometimes, you can get what you want and still not be very happy."

Theodore Sturgeon beat him to it, in the original-flavor Star Trek episode "Amok Time":

"Over time, you may find that 'having' is not so pleasing a thing as 'wanting'. It is not logical - but it is often true."

LarryHart said...

@Zepp Jamieson,

Chevy Chase was the original anchorman on "Weekend Update". He used to open the segment by saying, "Good evening. I'm Chevy Chase...and you're not." One of the earlier recurring gags on that show had him reading a headline "Generalisimo Francisco Franco is still dead."

Chevy missed the start of one of the early seasons due to illness (maybe it was really a contract dispute), and the women on the show did a tribute love song to him that began:

When he's doing "Update", my heart stands still.
When he says that Franco's still dead, I could die.
...


But the funniest stanza in there riffed on the "and you're not" gag:


I know this shouldn't be said,
I wish his girlfriend were dead;
Her tragic accidental death, I scheme and plot.
So when in Heaven we meet,
I will be able to say,
"Hi. I'm Mrs. Chevy Chase, and you're not."

LarryHart said...

Steve Hammond:

I would suggest that we're all just fighting for our tribe or clan. Liberals tend to include many more people in their "tribe" than conservatives whose tribe is often quite small--so they have more people to be mean to.


The ironic thing about America is that our "tribe" is supposed to be non-tribal.

Like much of real life, it's a paradox.


Of course the one group that we liberals don't tend to include in our tribe is conservatives... ;)


Yeah, that's one too.

Although I like to think that the conservatives are self-exiling from the tribe defined by non-tribalism.

No wonder it's so hard to figure out what words mean sometimes.

Steven Hammond said...

@ Paul SB

Thanks for your thoughtful and well-written response to me above. I just saw it. :)

locumranch said...



The Big Mother Smotherers -- who promise us Freedom FROM want, risks, failure, bad choices & bullies -- surround us & dominate every aspect of Western Society. Their numbers are legion -- David is one, Paul_SB is another -- as they seek to free us FROM bad choices through the elimination of choice itself.

They often mean well, believing as they often do that they act in our 'best interests' as if we were unschooled children. So, they indoctrinate us from childhood in institutions modeled on the Prussian military academy where we learn to be passive, attentive, to respect authority, obey orders & keep our work spaces tidy, and all they ask in return for this mandatory education is our slavish obedience because (they say) our freedom depends on it (aka the 'Freedom is Slavery' argument}.

Of course, our indoctrination continues well past majority wherein Big Mother nags us unceasingly about what to buy, how to act, who to trust, hate or believe, where to go & which individual 'choices' are currently deemed 'verbotten', as evidenced by the official narrative as told by CNN & Obama the Scold when they threatened to place the UK "in the back of the queue" if & when it dared to leave the EU.

In a way, Larry_H is right about what Modern Conservatism has become:

It is about Our Right to make the WRONG choice; it's about Our Right to make OUR OWN RULES; it's about Our Right to smoke-drink, stay up late, worship our own way, 'sex up' who we want when we want & hang out with those in ill-repute; it's about being socially irresponsible; and it's about NOT wearing a sweater when someone orders you to wear one.

In the 'Declaration of Independence', it's all there, black and white, clear as crystal! Big Mother Smotherers shall forfeit all rights, privileges, and licenses herein and herein contained, et cetera, et cetera... Fax mentis incendium gloria cultum, et cetera, et cetera... Memo bis punitor delicatum!


Best
______
Ironic, isn't it, how the various conservative factions have switched places with the circa-1969 Baby Boomer rebels? Like those 1950s conservatives they once replaced in media, government & academia, the Boomer's brief stint as 'The Establishment' has now passed, and they will also be replaced in a similarly reactionary fashion, most assuredly. And, the defeated Confederacy will rise, fall, rise & fall again. History NEVER ends, despite what that idiot Boomer-cum-narcissist Fukuyama once claimed, recanted & claimed again.

Treebeard said...

Steve Hammond et al:

How about the demolition of: marriage, gender, religion, nations, borders, ethnicities, and soon, we're told, human beings themselves (transhumanism, etc.). Is that enough to start with? If our liberal friends' only response to misgivings about this radical program is to sputter “Putin stooge” and “white privilege”, then please carry on with your delusions, 'cuz that's what they are. Here's a clue for you: most of the people pushing this program are white; I live around a lot of brown people, and they find it all quite insane, I assure you.

Zepp Jamieson said...

"Chevy Chase was the original anchorman on "Weekend Update"."

My strongest memory of him was from National Lampoon's "Vacation". That scene with the cop and the tragically vacant dog leash is one of the funniest moments I've ever seen in a movie. Right up there with "Biggus Dickus" and Ali MacGraw dying in "Love Story". Oh, and "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life."

I did see a few of those old shows, but then, as now, I'm only an occasional viewer.

David Brin said...

onlyabout: “Big Mother is biting hard into the private lives of many people. For a few it has ruined their lives. “

There you go again! Impressions, guesses, not even anecdotes, this time. Are you SURE you’re not an American conservative, cause you sure argue like one.

(Notice locum’s latest: (I just skimmed two-seconds) “let’s kill Momma cause she’s so meeeean! without ever - once - rising above generalities even to anecdote. Not even anecdotes! Let alone facts or statistics that might sway a sane mind.)

Do not get an impression I adore PC-bully lefty-flake correctness police. I know em and they are rife on many university campuses. But only once in my life have their excesses risen from irksome - or anecdotal travesties (many) - to general things that were systematically and statistically harmful to the republic.

That one time was when they crammed down our throats the insanity called Forced School Bussing for Integration. A monstrous excess that did almost no good and outrageous harm to millions of lives. Especially, it anchored in the switch of millions over to the GOP, laying seeds for today’s monstrous confederacy.

Otherwise, even the most obnoxious lefty bullying anecdote is usually at least aimed in a direction we need generally to go.

Moreover, those anecdotes aren’t generally significant! It’s liberals, not lefty flakes, who control the Democratic Party and who worked hard for moderation and progress in the White House, and whose record of performance at governance is stunningly better at all STATISTICAL AND FACTUAL metrics of US national health.

See: http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2014/06/so-do-outcomes-matter-more-than-rhetoric.html


“In the nations who owe our liberty, possibly our lives, to American protection and aid there is *always* a floating, unpredictable -animus?-towards America that has to be politically managed. “

Again, stunning bull-puckey. I lived in Britain and have traveled all over. America is held in high general esteem. And Obama was hugely popular. Yes, there’s a “poke the Empire in the snoot” reflex! Compare it to attitudes toward the “empire” in any previous age.

If “let’s cut off our noses to spite Obama for lecturing us!” was the meme, OMG such people deserve what they get.

Breaking up the EU was Putin’s greatest Pre-Trump victory… and Rupert Murdoch did vastly more for that that one presidential statement saying that a strong EU is in the interests of civilization.

onlyaboutthenail said...

@Dr Brin You seemed to indicate that you were interested in understanding the motivations of conservatives and neutrals who sympathize with them. If not, never mind, though we will only be able to keep democracy for much longer if we start understanding each other better.

Yes, America is loved, and also resented. We love you and we hate you and we are embarrassed by both. That is, there are currents of these emotions that are stronger in different parts of society and at different times. You could call it Daddy Issues.

Well, one could pretend that all voters vote according to the highest principle, in pious awe of their responsibility and trembling solicitude for their nation. Not what I saw. ;) Now, I don't say the leave voters are childish, irresponsible *people*, but

onlyaboutthenail said...

@Dr Brin they were definitely in a childish irresponsible mood. It was all a game about teaching Europe they couldn't bully us, wiping the smirk off their faces. Adding Teach the Yanks a Lesson just put the lid on it. It was enough to tip a very close vote just over the line. *Such people deserve what they get* - maybe so but they are DRAGGING ME WITH THEM. You should have seen them the day after, many of them never expected to win and hadn't much idea what would happen next. There's not much doubt if we could vote again we would remain.

What kind of statistical evidence are you interested in? What would convince you the conservatives have a point?

Duncan Cairncross said...

onlyaboutthenail
It did not matter what Obama said - the loonie Brexiters were going to get offended no matter what
And you don't tell your friend who is about to jump off a cliff "I think that's a good idea"

onlyaboutthenail said...

@LarryHart Yep.

LarryHart said...

Zepp Jamieson:

...one of the funniest moments I've ever seen in a movie. Right up there with "Biggus Dickus" and Ali MacGraw dying in "Love Story"


Checking to see if we're paying attention?


onlyaboutthenail said...

@Duncan Cairncross Well, it's done now. The only good side to it that I can see is that we will no longer be able to blame Europe for our problems, though the Daily Mail will manage it somehow.:/

LarryHart said...

locumranch:

It [Modern Conservatism] is about Our Right to make the WRONG choice; it's about Our Right to make OUR OWN RULES; it's about Our Right to smoke-drink, stay up late, worship our own way, 'sex up' who we want when we want & hang out with those in ill-repute; it's about being socially irresponsible; and it's about NOT wearing a sweater when someone orders you to wear one.


You know what's funny? You're describing liberalism. At least the anti-establishment, non-conformist, "Do your own thing, man," liberalism of the 60s. You know, the type that conservatives wanted to beat up or deride with "America: Love it or leave it!"

So why don't you go back to Russia, ya hippie!

Aside from "'sex up' who we want when we want," which involves impinging on the rights of others, most of those things that you want to do you are perfectly free to do right now. And to the extent that any of them are discouraged, they are discouraged by establishment conservatives. Treebeard was just above you defending traditional marriage as one of the values Putin and the confederates are defending.

I get the freedom and liberty that you demand, but I'm at a loss as to how "conservatism" describes any of it. It's a different thing, in fact the opposite thing.

David Brin said...

 onlyaboutthenail said... “What kind of statistical evidence are you interested in? What would convince you the conservatives have a point?”

Well, what you just said was an example of what we’ve been missing around here, since Tim?Tacitus withdrew into semi-retirement…. a quasi or partially conservative voice who is willing to admit that SOME kind of evidence-based approach might conceivably add to our wisdom. Alas —

1) I have oft said that the conservative reflex is inherently human - about defending boundaries instead of fetishistically expanding horizons. Both are zero-sum views - one of them “conservative” and the other “leftist.” While the “liberal” view is positive sum: “I want to keep my old loyalties AND expand horizons.”

I expect you can read the preceding paragraph and at least understand it. Alas, locumranch and treebeard and most confederates could read it all day long and never grasp the meaning well enough to paraphrase, comprehend or debate the point.

2) Moving the goal posts is entirely the aim of confederatism. Every one of their positions vs climate science has been demolished, so they just scurry to the next concocted incantation. It’s what a denialist cult does, not real skeptics.

3) a logical-adult conservative would scan the OUTCOMES COMPARISON I offer at http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2014/06/so-do-outcomes-matter-more-than-rhetoric.html

… and realize “we’re got a real problem in our movement,” and put top priority to repairing it. After using delaying tactics re car-generated smog, lead in gas and paint, dumping in waterways, Ozone depletion and Tobacco is Harmless and women and minorities can’t do “man’s work,” shouldn’t any cogent person - seeing the exact same pattern repeated re Climate Change - at least consider giving the experts the benefit of the doubt?

4) Instead we have the war on all fact-using professions. Name for us one exception. One . If you can't, then the "statistic" of the War on all smartypants people" is proved. Till then, seriously?

David Brin said...

onward

onward

LarryHart said...

onlyaboutthenail:

You should have seen them the day after, many of them never expected to win and hadn't much idea what would happen next.


We Americans did see that--the day after Trump's election. And we should have known better because we already had the example of Brexit.

The graphic novel writer Alan Moore (British, BTW) once described a memory he had of himself as a young boy hugging his mother and thinking about the fact that, had he wanted, he could have grabbed a scissors off the desk behind her and stabbed her to death with it. He wasn't hating his mother or anything like that--merely musing on the fact that he could easily do something so egregious that it would make the metaphorical director of the scene run out from behind the curtain yelling "Cut!". I gather that some people vote like that--they want to shake things up and create a stir, but they don't really expect the outcome of that vote to cause permanent damage.

LarryHart said...

Oops, that ran past the...onward!

Onward!

locumranch said...


Rather that accepting the grossly over-simplistic "let’s kill Momma cause she’s so meeeean!" meme offed up by DB, let's consider "Respecting & abiding by the decisions made by other legal adults" instead of reclassifying them as juveniles, malcontents, racists, sexists & deplorables in order to justify your ongoing dominance 'in loco parentis'?

Who went and elected you 'Acting Parent', jefe? Tu loco !! And who told you that your factual & statistical version of sanity is any way desirable?

It's time to stuff the old tigers back in their boxes. We hate your slip-covers, your misplaced manipulations, your feminine rages, your heartless materialism. I mean, what do you ask a 60-year-old man? - You ask him if he wants his wheelchair FACING the sun, or facing AWAY from the sun. But running the country? FORGET IT, babies!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vcUv4dAiCkA

Best
_____
Quite true, LH: New Conservatism is all about preserving the very same revolutionary impulse that aging Progressive Baby Boomers now wish to exterminate. The Aging Baby Boomer attempts to legislate 'an end to history' in order to make their bullcrap values, mores & truths immutable and eternal.

David Brin said...

Again... yammer-yammer without any examples or anecdotes -- not even the usual rightist anecdote-fair! No evidence whatsoever that there's actually a significantly stifling Big Momma.

No... evidence... at... all. In fact the only evidence was given by... me! When I brought up forced school bussing and campus PC-lefty bullies. He can't even do that much!

argh.

onward

onward

Zepp Jamieson said...

Nah, that movie came out about two years after a good friend died of leukemia. She did not look like Ali MacGraw in her final weeks.

Jon S. said...

Ah. So it was funny in the same way that those of us working in nuclear-war planning at the time regarded The Day After as a comedy.

Lorraine said...

If they move any further left, they will be driving in Britain.

LITERAL translation: If they move any farther left, they will be left of center.

Don't let Maureen's brother gaslight you.

Troutwaxer said...

"No evidence whatsoever that there's actually a significantly stifling Big Momma."

I sympathize with Libertarian ideas about "Big Momma," so I'll start with the idea that disbelief about "Big Momma" is built into the idea that our laws and regulations are generally benign and well-thought-out. If you're a little more skeptical "Big Momma’s" presence is obvious.

For starters, consider Child Protective Services. I'll happily concede that it should be illegal to sexually abuse your child, force them to work in a factory, discipline them violently, etc. But what about the Meitiv case, where a family was investigated by social services for letting two children, 10 and 6, walk home from the park without parental supervision? (Doubtless very expensive even though the parents never faced trial.) There have been similar cases as well, in which parents who believe in some form of unsupervised play have been persecuted (or prosecuted) by "Big Momma."

LetGrow.org and its predecessor, FreeRangeKids.com, have many posts about how what constituted ordinary parenting for my generation of children (1960s/70s) has been criminalized, plus some succinct discussions of the damage legally or socially mandated helicopter parenting does to children. IMHO, they don't always get it right, but they're definitely worth reading.

Or what about drug laws? We've known since the 1920s that prohibition doesn't work, and anyone who thinks that federal marijuana laws (and the long list of lies that go along with them) make sense has never tried the stuff.* The idea that an adult can't make good decisions about what to put in his/her body is pretty ridiculous. These laws turn a medical problem involving plant products which can be grown cheaply into a legal problem involving plant products which are very expensive, plus jail time, gigantic legal fees and possible asset forfeiture (even if someone is not dealing.)**

Anti-drug laws harm the families of addicts and not just addicts themselves. (If you don't believe this, consider how many college funds have been spent on legal defense against drug charges.) I sincerely hope I don't have to explain the injustice of "Big Momma's" practice of "civil asset forfeiture."

Maggie McNeil, who blogs at "The Honest Courtesan" has a great deal to say about how very dangerous anti-prostitution laws are for both prostitutes and ordinary women. (Did you know that in New York "Big Momma" insists that mere possession of condoms by a woman is grounds for arrest on prostitution charges?) I don't visit prostitutes and don't always agree with Maggie, but she's very much worth reading.

* Note that I haven't imbibed for decades... I just didn't like the way MJ made me feel.

** Where drugs are concerned, everyone should look up the quotes by Anslinger on marijuana, or Haldeman on Nixon and the drug war and consider those quotes carefully.

THIS POST ON "BIG MOMMA" CONTINUES ON THE NEXT COMMENT.

Troutwaxer said...

"BIG MOMMA" CONTINUED

For a really ugly breach of justice, you might consider the Justina Pelletier case, which leads to the difficult issue of "Medical Child Abuse" where parents of children with hard-to-treat or complex illnesses are sometimes put through the wringer by "Big Momma," frequently when they are "difficult" or "pushy" about diagnosing/treating their child. (The New York Times estimates around 1600 "Medical Child Abuse" prosecutions nationally each year. Many of these prosecutions are based on a mental disease called "Munchausen's by Proxy," the existence of which is based on a single, contested British research paper which discusses only two cases of the disease.)

I’ve no serious thoughts about "Big Momma" and the possible problems of Title IX and how campus rapes are investigated. I’ve been unable to find statistics about real campus rape (probably many) versus poorly-designed investigation systems that produce false positives, (probably very few) but I run across a new story on the issue every couple weeks. Nonetheless, investigating the cases of Peter Yu, Drew Sterret, or Matt Boermeester might help someone find "Big Momma." (The Boermeester case is particularly disturbing as his girlfriend of one year, on who's behalf the case was fought by USC officials, insisted repeatedly that she had not been sexually assaulted.)

(Shame on you Libertarians for not having all this at your fingertips!)

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alaa ammar said...
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alaa ammar said...
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