TCS Daily


We the Rats, We the Children

By Max Borders - September 15, 2009 12:00 AM

We aren't rats. Nor are we children. But Congress and the Obama Administration seem to think so. From Cash-for-Clunkers to the idea that all Americans should be forced to buy health insurance, our leaders are moving away from stewardship of the Constitution to a rewards-and-punishments government. "Stimulus and response" meets "hope and change". It's for your own good. But the idea that they can subsidize and tax their way to utopia has its roots in a discredited theory from early 20th Century—the psychology of B. F. Skinner.

The Skinnerian approach to government is actually based on an economic truth: people respond to incentives. If you tax some activity, you'll get less of it. If you subsidize some activity, you'll get more of it. "The rest is just commentary," adds economist Steven Landsburg. So, what's so bad about prods and prizes by the state? It's a question of the activity you're rewarding and with whose money. Maybe more importantly, though, three troubling issues emerge: 1) Government officials are starting to view the American as an automaton to be manipulated with his own tax dollars; 2) Perverse effects follow any incentive scheme; and 3) Our government has a laundry list of legal activities it has determined to be good or bad—all within their framework of utopia.

Cass Sunstein, President Obama's regulation commissar-in-waiting is known among wonks for his "libertarian paternalism." The idea is that if people could understand what is good for them, they would choose it. Because they are biased by old ways of doing things -- or otherwise in the grip of irrationality - they often don't choose what's best. What they need, according to Sunstein, is a "nudge" from an enlightened state bureaucrat.

"Libertarian paternalists," writes Sunstein, "should attempt to steer people's choices in welfare-promoting directions without eliminating freedom of choice." Now that Sunstein is poised to be a czar, think he'll get to do some nudging? Food pellet, anyone? How about $4,500 for your Cutlass Supreme? Needless to say, real libertarians think libertarian paternalism is an oxymoron. I don't know about you, but I'd rather be free than to be considered "rational" by someone else's standards.

What is paternalism, exactly? Some people think of themselves as being like parents and others as being like children. The word paternalism comes from the Latin pater—father. The following captures it: Most people are just not smart enough to make good choices for themselves. But a certain few are capable of making decisions for everyone. These elites are ordained. They possess the wisdom to implement controls that will protect us in our health, safety and longevity. To any paternalist, I say: 'I'll take the counsel, but not the coercion.' And that's just the problem with Sunstein's approach and Obama's Administration overall. When it comes down to it, it's still about coercing people—even if a spoonful of sugar helps the coercion go down.

What about unintended consequences? Whether it's propping up zombie industries like wind-power or devastating the third-world poor with agricultural subsidies, serious perverse effects follow paternalist policies. High taxes on cigarettes result in dangerous interstate smuggling rings. Government's "nudging" banks to give people easy mortgages resulted in a housing boom and bust followed by recession. Will Cash-for-Clunkers result in people getting into car loans they didn't need or couldn't afford? We'll see. But the list of paternalism's unwanted effects could fill the Library of Congress.

What gets to count as "welfare promoting?" As far as I can tell the answer is a moving target. Ethanol interests say slowing global warming through taxes will promote our welfare (though an army of economists would disagree). Elites in the Northeast think a single-payer health care system will be good for our welfare, despite people waiting in pain across their Northern border. The "libertarian paternalist" alternative to single-payer healthcare is to nudge our way to socialized medicine via the public option.

The problem with the Skinnerian outlook is not that incentives don't work. They do. The problem is that in a pluralistic society, we'll never agree about what "welfare" people ought to be nudged towards. We have different ideas about what the good society is and that's what makes us human. When elites start thinking of us as being like rats or children to be prodded toward this social goal or that, it's the beginning of the end of our Republic. Smart people will turn away from entrepreneurship and start investing in getting elite status. The rest of us will have eventually to stand by in our cages, pressing a bar in hopes that a morsel pops out. That's an America beyond freedom and dignity.


Max Borders is executive editor at Free To Choose Network. He blogs at maxborders.com.
Categories:

95 Comments

Regulation czar: Rights are granted by the state, not endowed by a Creator.
"Article 40. Citizens of the USSR have the right to work (that is, to guaranteed employment and pay in accordance wit the quantity and quality of their work, and not below the state-established minimum), including the right to choose their trade or profession, type of job and work in accordance with their inclinations, abilities, training and education, with due account of the needs of society...
Article 41. Citizens of the USSR have the right to rest and leisure...
The length of collective farmers' working and leisure time is established by their collective farms.
Article 42. Citizens of the USSR have the right to health protection."

http://corner.nationalreview.com/post/?q=NmRkZjNkNWZlMmUzZDEzZjMxY2Q4NTBjYjJmZDJjMzM=

"A new intellectual champion of absolutism has now emerged. Mild-mannered University of Chicago law professor Cass Sunstein has been advancing the radical notion that all rights — including rights usually held to be "against" the state, such as the right to freedom of speech and the right not to be arbitrarily imprisoned or tortured — are grants from the state.'

"Sunstein's treatment of the problem of how to use the judiciary to enforce welfare rights shows what a radical departure they are from the rule of law, how they introduce arbitrariness into government policy, and how, ultimately, the contradictions and incompatibilities generated by welfare rights undermine the very idea of rights itself — for when "rights" conflict, the state must decide whose "rights" are to be respected, but, since it has been stipulated that both of the conflicting parties are in the right, the state's decisions must be on the basis of something other than right.'

http://www.nationalreview.com/books/palmer200503011045.asp

Yuck. Rats and children. And blind ideology.
While I agree with the premise of Border's article, that positive is ruined by the ideological jabbing and misleading statements. When will the right learn that being an a-hole and lying, even when one may be right on principle, destroy credibility? I know Borders is a partisan ideologue who misrepresents facts, why should I believe anything else he says?

Or, as I suspect is the overwhelming case with modern conservatives, they don't care about anyone else or what they think or how they see things, they just want reinforcement of their views. Cheerleading echoes to stroke a sensitive, overgrown ego.

"Government's "nudging" banks to give people easy mortgages resulted in a housing boom and bust followed by recession."
Wow, that is blind ideology at work. You can argue that removing regulation is indeed a form of "government nudging", but the real problem is what banks did with that freedom. They caused our current recession.

"Food pellet, anyone? How about $4,500 for your Cutlass Supreme?"
Just look at the goals of Clunkers and how the program performed in achieving those goals. This is just more unexplainable ideological foolishness from Borders.

"Elites in the Northeast think a single-payer health care system will be good for our welfare, despite people waiting in pain across their Northern border."
It would be! Just ask doctors. Any pain felt north of border is the result of a decision to reduce costs, its not automatic within a single payer system. Borders is misleading with yet another conservative talking point.

Alert: incentives are now defined as coercion.
"When it comes down to it, it's still about coercing people—even if a spoonful of sugar helps the coercion go down."
Despite its inaccuracy. I bet Border's statement scares some people. Which is really his point anyway.


"The following captures it: Most people are just not smart enough to make good choices for themselves. But a certain few are capable of making decisions for everyone."

Thats true, people are just not smart enough to make good choices for themselves.
No one should make decisions for them however. The problem is when their stupid choices directly affect other people. But its not their fault, its never their fault. We ALL need to quadruple our sense of ownership for our own actions.

If conservatives made smarter choices, the government wouldn't have to tell them how to choose. :)

Which Creator?
Just want to make sure I kneel in the right direction.

Thanks for another National Review puking. Heads up: Your brain is still in the off position.

"...that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator..."
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it,..."

History repeats. Time for another revolution as the first one has been forgotten.

How childish!
If you want to start the 'who lied first' game, certainly all those who support Marxism and socialism of all flavors must take top billing.

"We ALL need to quadruple our sense of ownership for our own actions.'

Since you choose to use force to steal the property of others, don't be surprised when you are shot for it someday.

...I'd rather be free than to be considered "rational" by someone else's standards.
"I don't know about you, but I'd rather be free than to be considered "rational" by someone else's standards."

Awesome quote. A keeper.

Predictably irrational
"When it comes to making decisions in our lives, we think we're in control. We think we're making smart, rational choices. But are we? In a series of illuminating, often surprising experiments, MIT behavioral economist Dan Ariely refutes the common assumption that we behave in fundamentally rational ways. Blending everyday experience with groundbreaking research, Ariely explains how expectations, emotions, social norms, and other invisible, seemingly illogical forces skew our reasoning abilities.

Not only do we make astonishingly simple mistakes every day, but we make the same types of mistakes, Ariely discovers. We consistently overpay, underestimate, and procrastinate. We fail to understand the profound effects of our emotions on what we want, and we overvalue what we already own. Yet these misguided behaviors are neither random nor senseless. They're systematic and predictable - making us predictably irrational."

Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions

By
Dan Ariely


But most living things will generally choose to survive. However, given that the modern state has shielded so many from reality, too many don't know what will kill them.

Liberty vs tyranny
"Without ever having been reviewed by either the New York Times or the Washington Post, Mark Levin’s Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto has now sold one million copies, according to its publisher, Threshold Editions."
http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/54079
#22 in Books


"The Second Bill of Rights: FDR's Unfinished Revolution--And Why We Need It More Than Ever " #39,545 in Books

Amazon non-fiction bestsellers:

2: End the Fed, Ron Paul
3: Arguing with Idiots: , Glen Beck
5: Glen Beck's Common Sense
6: Liberty and Tyranny, Levin
8: Culture of Corruption:..., Malkin
16: National Suicide: How Washington Is Destroying the American Dream from A to Z , Gross

Now if only the people who bought these books on Amazon read them, BHO and the socialists are in trouble.

It does not matter.
What matters is that no human ever believes he has the right to control another human being with force, for any reason.

Answer for ya
Which Sovereign? For you, Bob, that would be the state.

Don't like the National Review link? Think their brains are stuck in off? How about the other link, to the article by Palmer? Scholarly enough for you? Or did that one go over your head?

My critique of your critique: "If I understand it, but don't agree, it is because others have their brain stuck in off position. If I don't understand it, I ignore it."

Not much room for learning if that is your attitude.

While Zyndryl doesn’t care what OTHERS think is “rational”, Marjon PROUDLY declares he is IRRATIONAL
..

Dan Ariely: "...animals are more rational than we are....."
"In addition, Dan is a visiting professor in MIT’s Program in Media Arts and Sciences, a
founding member of the Center for Advanced Hindsight, a fellow at Diamond
Management and Technology Consultants, and President of the Society for Judgment and
Decision Making. He is also the author of Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces
that Shape Our Decisions. He is currently working on a new book titled Dining Without
Crumbs: The Art of Eating Over the Sink.
As a behavioral economist, Dan Ariely studies how people actually act in the
marketplace, as opposed to how they should or would perform if they were completely
rational. His interests span a wide range of daily behaviors such as buying (or not),
saving (or not), ordering food in restaurants, pain management, procrastination,
dishonesty, and decision making under different emotional states. His experiments are
consistently interesting, amusing, and informative, demonstrating profound ideas that fly
in the face of common wisdom."


"In this case, then, animals are more rational than we are. Whereas we’re willing to lose a couple bucks so that the other guy gets punished for his inequitable offer, chimps only act according to what will guarantee them the most raisons.

This curious turning-of-tables suggests that we might want to think differently about the neocortex. Overall, we’re better off having it, as without our sense of right and wrong, we would lack empathy and the ability to reinforce societal rules. Yet, in certain contexts, the neocortex can cause us not to maximize our self-interest. Evolution, then, is a mixed blessing: it makes us better some things, and worse at others."

http://www.predictablyirrational.com/?page_id=5

Now Marjon is PROUD that animals are MORE rational than he is. Way to go Marjon
..

The Irrationality of it all
Like I said earlier, what is perfectly rational for the individual might be very irrational for society at large. What was left unsaid is: "...and the VICE VERSA of that also holds true at times."

That is why Communism failed. It wasn't because the ideals were off, really. It was because it didn't acknowledge the inherent conflicts between rationality for the individual vs that of the State's and vice versa. That is why George Orwell's 'Animal Farm' concentrated on those aspects to drill home that point.

It is also why Lefties HATE Capitalism...because it ACKNOWLEDGES the crass self-centeredness of individuals as it truly exists and attempts to harness it for the social good instead of trying to destroy and/or ignore it.

And it's the "What is good for the proles isn't good enough for the pigs" aspect of how the Left (and government types in general) manage things is why I have absolutely no trust in big government programs.

And, contrary to Roy and Bob and all the others, that is a UNDENIABLE act of rationality on my part.

Non-Zyndryl Examples of rampant 'Animal Farmism' going on:

Every attempt to amend the House and Senate bills on 'Obama's Non-Plan' to force members of Congress to be put on the same Public Option they are forcing the rest of us has been defeated in committee.

Of course, this is SOP for Congress. They exempted themselves from the sexual harassment and discrimination laws the rest of us live by too.

Another:

UnitedHealth Lobbyist Announces Pelosi Fundraiser As She Begins Backing Off Pub Option -- http://www.openleft.com/diary/15066/unitedhealth-lobbyist-announces-big-fundraiser-for-pelosi-as-she-backs-off-public-option

Both examples make perfectly rational sense for the individuals involved (those in power). So why is it not considered 'rational' for those with the short end of the stick to also seek the best deal for their individual situation (which means killing further government control over their health care, in this case)?

See, Bob and Roy are not only hypocritical when they make claims otherwise -- that those of us resisting are 'greedy' and 'don't care about society at large' when in fact EVERYONE pretty much is or should be. But worse, they don't make LOGICAL SENSE to the rest of us when making those claims, either.

Their arguments DO make logical sense to themselves, however. Because their quest to make the world more the way they want it to be is quite rational for them on an individual level.

They just don't get that it isn't rational or logical to everyone else on an individual level.

And that is the crux of that quote I like so much:

"I don't know about you, but I'd rather be free than to be considered "rational" by someone else's standards."

Good decision
Those are good links, I appreciate it. I learned, and it broadened my perspective.

I didn't mean to express that I think the banks are solely responsible for the meltdown. No one entity or action or industry is solely responsible. On the same token, the government isn't solely responsible either. Border's article didn't have the same pragmatic view, he blames his ideological bogeymen for bad things that happen.

In my perspective, the government, nor Austrian economic theory, are always right or always wrong. Its painfully obvious the consensus conservative viewpoint is to blame government and everything government does is bad. Its slightly less painful, but equally obvious that libertarian viewpoint believes Austrian economics is infallible. Its incomprehensible that a theory, particularly one regarding the highly complex subject of economics and human behavior, would stand the test of time and experience and evolving circumstances, to be the right answer all the time.

I'm not bashing the mises article you linked to, thats a very good article. I'm targeting ideologicl adherents who think free markets are always the right answer and government regulation is always the wrong answer. The right answer, of course, is somewhere in between.

I have an interest in what you say Joanie. When its pragmatic. Too often lately you beat the same drum as the single minded idiots in here. Its not wrong on principle to agree with them, they are right sometimes, half right most times, but the point to allow their rotting falsities to go unchallenged is unacceptable in my book. One who accepts the moniker of conservative and doesn't challenge the extreme right wing ludicrous methods and rhetoric is complicit in their existence. (not that you accept to be called a comservative, I don't know that. It does seem that way though)

"single minded idiots in here"
That is certainly a way to start a civil conversation.

Too bad you can't make cogent argument in defense of your statist beliefs. But, then again, who really can defend statism against liberty?

Government->CRA->ACORN-> bad mortages
Government doesn't bear significant responsibility for the current economic collapse?

"Congress passed CRA in 1977 as legislation designed to prompt banks to lend more in lower income areas which advocates claimed were being ignored. Gradually over time community groups learned they could use the law as leverage to negotiate new inner-city lending programs with banks based on lower underwriting standards, which the groups demanded when banks complained that one reason they weren't doing more lending in some neighborhoods was because few applicants in those areas qualified for loans under traditional criteria.

Acorn led the way in this movement. In 1986, for instance, it protested a potential acquisition by Louisiana Bancshares, a Southern institution, until the bank agreed to new, "flexible credit and underwriting standards" for minority borrowers which included counting public assistance and food stamps as income in mortgage applications."

"Acorn also put pressure on the two quasi-government purchasers of mortgages, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, to lower their standards, complaining that they were "strictly by-the-book interpreters" who stood in the way of new lending programs. Under pressure both organizations committed to backing billions of dollars in affordable housing loans under so-called "alternative qualifying" programs which approved loans to individuals who didn't qualify under traditional standards, including those who agreed to go to mortgage counseling classes run by community groups like Acorn."

"Under pressure from these threats, the trade group that represented mortgage bankers announced an agreement with HUD to sharply boost lending in low-income areas. These mortgage bankers, the so-called non-bank lenders, agreed to "voluntarily" help develop new mortgage products with laxer underwriting standards. The first member of the trade group to sign onto the new program was Countrywide Financial, which partnered with Fannie Mae to commit to $2.5 billion in lending in minority communities under new, lower standards.

Other programs soon followed. Sears Mortgage Corp began a massive effort with Freddie Mac's backing, known as the alternative qualifying initiative, in which low-income borrowers could qualify for a mortgage if their monthly mortgage payment amounted to 45 percent of income, when the industry standard had traditionally been that a mortgage payment should amount to no more than one-third of monthly income. Arbor National Mortgage Inc., a nonbank lender, went further, making loans with monthly payments up to 50 percent of income.

These lending institutions were not only pushed by politicians and advocates into these new programs but were assured by federal institutions that the loans could be safe."

"The effort to save and extend CRA in the face of its role in the mortgage market's massive meltdown is testament to the unique power of this legislation to nourish an entire industry of nonprofits which, like Acorn, have been reliable supporters of politicians like Barney Frank, Maxine Waters and a former community organizer and associate of Acorn by the name of Barack Obama."

http://www.realclearmarkets.com/articles/2009/09/16/acorns_a_creature_of_the_cra_97409.html

BREAKING NEWS: Treasury documents gained from FOIA predict Cap & Trade costs
Obama Czars were forced to cough up the dirt under the Freedom of Information Act. Their own analysis at Treasury is totally damning:

"A previously unreleased analysis prepared by the U.S. Department of Treasury says the total in new taxes would be between $100 billion to $200 billion a year. At the upper end of the administration's estimate, the cost per American household would be an extra $1,761 a year."

"The FOIA'd document written by Judson Jaffe, who joined the Treasury Department's Office of Environment and Energy in January 2009, says: "Given the administration's proposal to auction all emission allowances, a cap-and-trade program could generate federal receipts on the order of $100 to $200 billion annually."

"Because personal income tax revenues bring in around $1.37 trillion a year, a $200 billion additional tax would be the equivalent of a 15 percent increase a year. A $100 billion additional tax would represent a 7 or 8 percent increase a year."

http://www.cbsnews.com/blogs/2009/09/15/taking_liberties/entry5314040.shtml

How much power do you let the government usurp?
It think it easier to have principles and fight hard to keep government power at bay than to try and take power back.
History has shown that governments don't like to give up power and will usually kill to keep it.
Starving a government for power keeps more people from being killed by the state.

i love liberty more than you
"That is certainly a way to start a civil conversation."

Start? You call this the start of a conversation?

"Too bad you can't make cogent argument in defense of your statist beliefs. But, then again, who really can defend statism against liberty?"

You said the same thing when we discussed America's temporary policy in the 2000's to conduct torture. When we discussed how liberals invented global warming to scare people into environmentalism. You said the same thing when I argued that it is good foreign policy to have discussions, relations, with every country in the world friend or foe. You even said that when I expressed distress over the extreme Federal deficit during the Bush Administration. Dejavu.

You could say that to anyone. But you need me. Yang to your Rush yin.

Government -> Glass Steagal repeal -> Countrywide -> Bank OA,Goldman,Citi,Fannie,IndyMac,Wachovia
"Government doesn't bear significant responsibility for the current economic collapse?"

Yes, it does.


Sweet. I didn't have to read another single word in your post.

I'm with you on this one
Nice use of the word "usurp". Props.

"It think it easier to have principles and fight hard to keep government power at bay than to try and take power back.
History has shown that governments don't like to give up power and will usually kill to keep it.
Starving a government for power keeps more people from being killed by the state."

Agreed. I paste it so it has twice the chance of being read. The next step in the conversation goes: How, what are some ways to starve the beast? Neither one of our ways is working.

Don't claim to be 'in the middle' when your are not.
Be proud of the socialist you are and join with BHO, hold hands and sing kumbaya.

"I expressed distress over the extreme Federal deficit during the Bush Administration."

So where is your distress over the much larger deficit under your 'dear leader'?

I am still waiting for your cogent argument supporting your statist socialism.

MORE stupid government rules and spending will 'fix' it?
Glass Stegall was repealed long after Wachovia began securitizing mortgages with implicit government guarantee.
Government sets the rules and the market players try to make a profit following their rules.

What is your way? Supporting BHO?
He is doing a great job.

Your logic makes sense to you too
"It is also why Lefties HATE Capitalism...because it ACKNOWLEDGES the crass self-centeredness of individuals as it truly exists and attempts to harness it for the social good instead of trying to destroy and/or ignore it."

Wisdom for the ages. Crass self-centeredness is good for society.
Remember that next time some jerk cuts you off in traffic.


"And it's the "What is good for the proles isn't good enough for the pigs" aspect of how the Left (and government types in general) manage things is why I have absolutely no trust in big government programs."

Ah, the Left and government are merged, one and the same. Republicans should just give up now.


"Every attempt to amend the House and Senate bills on 'Obama's Non-Plan' to force members of Congress to be put on the same Public Option they are forcing the rest of us has been defeated in committee."

I'm with you on this one. Its suspicious, and they should go on the public option when its running, if they're not happy with their current coverage.


"Of course, this is SOP for Congress. They exempted themselves from the sexual harassment and discrimination laws the rest of us live by too."

Not sure what you mean. Couldn't find anything in quick search... Besides, I've seen plenty of Republicans kicked out of office for sexual harassment and inappropriate homosexual exploits. But if they really exempted themselves, it would **** me off.


"UnitedHealth Lobbyist Announces Pelosi Fundraiser As She Begins Backing Off Pub Option -- http://www.openleft.com/diary/15066/unitedhealth-lobbyist-announces-big-fundraiser-for-pelosi-as-she-backs-off-public-option"

Pelosi needs to go. And Reid. Charlie Rangel should move on. ... if I thought a little while longer I could come up with a few more.


"So why is it not considered 'rational' for those with the short end of the stick to also seek the best deal for their individual situation (which means killing further government control over their health care, in this case)?"

You got the short end of the stick??
People on Medicare, they're getting the short end?


"I don't know about you, but I'd rather be free than to be considered "rational" by someone else's standards."

-the patient at the mental institute was overheard saying.

No, really. I wonder who said it. Its pretty macho. Tough guy.

Dissension in the ranks
"It's not every day that you hear a Democratic senator charge that a fellow Democrat is proposing to raise taxes on the middle class, but that is what happened on Tuesday when Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., ripped into the health-care bill developed by Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mt., the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee."
http://blogs.abcnews.com/thenote/2009/09/dem-senator-warns-of-big-big-tax-on-middle-class-in-baucus-bill.html

"No sooner than the Senate Finance Committee's chairman released his long-awaited health care bill today than Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said it's not good enough for Nevada.

Reid is concerned about the cash-poor state's inability to boost Medicaid spending as would be required under the bill.

“While this draft bill is a good starting point, it needs improvement before it will work for Nevada," Reid said in a statement. "During this time of economic crisis, our state cannot afford to shoulder the second highest increase in Medicaid funding.""

http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2009/sep/16/harry-reid-health-care-bill-wont-work-nevada/

How do we starve the beast?
Are you capable of carrying a conversation, or do you just revert to this partisan idiocy all the time?

That is exactly what I was talking about with "single minded idiots". Now, will you reinforce the proof you provided to my point, or will you continue the conversation... How do we starve the beast?


I wouldn't say Obama is doing a great job, a good job at best so far. Maybe that is one of my ways, and obviously, it is not working.

How is he doing a good job by spending trillions more?
And taking over GM and Chrysler and trying to take over health care.

How is BHO doing a good job of shrinking the power of government?

And you think you are not partisan?
You claimed to oppose deficit spending under Bush.

BHO's deficit spending is orders of magnitude greater than Bush and you support and defend BHO.

Rationality of the Left
>"It is also why Lefties HATE Capitalism...because it ACKNOWLEDGES the crass self-centeredness of individuals as it truly exists and attempts to harness it for the social good instead of trying to destroy and/or ignore it."

They also hate it because they believe that a market economy is UN-MERITOCRATIC. That is, they believe that earnings should be commensurate with some nebulous, innate intellectual/moral/cultural "worthiness" and not be left to supply-and-demand as dictated by the needs/wants of an "uniformed," "ignorant," "bourgeois" populace. They find it unjust and intolerable, for example, that some professor who spent four years in undergraduate studies and four more getting a Ph.D. in order to become a foremost expert on the history of green 5th-century Chinese pottery ends up making only, say, $60, 000/year salary for his efforts at a contribution to the cultural value of human knowledge, while some fat Rotarian from Omaha with a G.E.D. and gold chains around his neck makes $150, 000/year selling pest control products. They find that an imbalance of worth, based upon some wispy idea of "cultural significance." Thus, they cannot stand for it to be left up to a market economy where such imbalances reward the "unworthy" and punish the "worthy," culture-wise. For the Left, it's a matter of the intellectuals (or the "philosopher-kings") to reap material rewards, since they provide a much more culturally valuable (translating into monetarily valuable) service to mankind.

And (as you point out) they also don't acknowledge that human beings are driven by self-interest, which is the guiding principle of free-market economic interactions; they believe that if only a more "equitable" system were in place (i.e., a socialized economy) then the inherent inequities of a free-market system would be overcome. But this is based upon the false premise that individuals left to their own devices will work just as hard and be just as productive for the benefit of strangers as they will for themselves and their families -- which is the reason collectivist systems are doomed to fail. Marx knew this, which is why he created the notion of the "new man" who would be (forcibly, over time) transformed from his natural state of self-interested consciousness to some Utopian-minded altruistic demi-god. Which, as anyone studying the history of mankind knows, is hogwash. When Adam Smith wrote "The Wealth of Nations" he didn't invent some system called "Captialism" (that's a Marxist term, meant to be derogatory) or "Free-Market" economics, he simply observed the way free people interacted and documented the methods/results of that interaction; Marx, on the other hand, had to fabricate a theorized system of collectivization (or, Socialism) -- there was nothing natural about it. It was a completely theoretically-devised attempt to somehow prevent humans from acting naturally in their own best interest to overcome what are the inherent flaws (and it is flawed, since it's a product of natural human behavior) in a free-market system.

God bless you
Sorry, thats a silly thing to say, but its what popped in my head. I agree with you 100% on those comments. Even if I didn't, thats ok, disagreement doesn't have to be scary. I am just impatiently waiting, 1- for libertarians to rightly split from conseratives and smack them around being dishonest and corrupt about capitalism and social control. 2- for moderate Republicans to smack around fundamentalist conservatives for the same.

I don't think libertarians can bond with extreme liberals, but moderates are ripe for loyalty to moderate libertarian philosophy. I'm a little bit down on libertarians lately because too often I hear/see extreme viewpoints from them, including on Mises. If I saw what you expressed in that last post more often, my attitude would change very quickly.


On Moore:
"Moore started doing a number on capitalism, talking about companies that get mixed up with government officials. What he didn't seem to understand is that once a company gets in bed with the government, it's no longer capitalism, it's corruption; and that's something that no libertarian likes."

You're right. At the same time, I have the same perception as Moore expresses, because libertarians are in bed with conservatives and its conservative policy to further the love affair of companies and government. If no libertarian likes it, why are they in bed in conservatives? Conservatives talk a good game about capitalism up front, but like I said, they are dishonest and corrupt about it beyond shallow appearances.

I don't know if Moore is just menatally incapable, ignorant, or confused by emotion to recognize and express this complexity. Complexity doesn't win you elections. I think the extremes only care about winning.

Another rationality
There may be some truth to your rationality StinkHammer, but I don't identify with it. And I'm all that matters. (Good capitalist, right?)

I find it unjust, for example, that the fat Rotarian from Omaha with a G.E.D. and gold chains around his neck makes $150, 000/year selling pest control products while he pays his customer service person makes $8 an hour. That customer service person makes the first impression with potential customers, it is maybe the most important position in the company. That person should make a $60,000 salary. (Which is pretty darn good money in Omaha)

Intellecuals are doing fine, they're not treated unequitably. They do more than contribute to culture, they contribute to scientific advancement.


Humans primarily are driven by self-interest. The problem is the frequency they seek temporary pleasure and fleeting happiness through material means and are oblivious to the well-being of others. Humans are social creatures, yet people hate other people because other people are an inconvenience to ME. I need to get some new clothes and gold chains and a Hummer, so I feel better and look better when I have to deal with other people.
Altruism is a good thing. We are at our best and happiest when we help others. That is in our self-interest.
I don't want a socialized economy. Its a reality that a capitalist economy makes some richer than others. There is a point however when those at the top use their power to grow and guarantee their power and wealth at the expense of others, that is when it becomes intolerable, and it is inevitable with many people. A mixed economy is best. Free market principles with strong regulation and enforcement to try and keep corruption to a minimum.

It is called vested self-interst.
That's how the butcher and baker earn their living. They meet the needs of their customers who pay them for their service.
If no one is willing to pay someone to study Chinese pottery, the Phd is just being selfish if he demands payment from others as he is only serving himself.

Customer service person can leave or ...
provide such poor service his boss is out of business.

That is the risk all employers take when hiring for such positions.

Competition will decide who wins and loses, not the state.

"Obama renewing Bush's Patriot Act Provisions"
"The Patriot Act, often criticized under President Bush, is now about to be renewed by the Obama administration. "

http://www.examiner.com/x-2547-Watchdog-Politics-Examiner~y2009m3d26-Obama-renewing-Bushs-Patriot-Act-Provisions

"Obama's Presidency Isn't Too Big to Fail "
"A president has only so much capital to expend, both in tax dollars and public tolerance, and Barack Obama is dangerously overdrawn. He has tried to have it all on three fronts, and his administration is in serious danger of going bankrupt. He has blundered into a deepening quagmire in Afghanistan, has continued the Bush policy of buying off Wall Street hustlers instead of confronting them and is now on the cusp of bargaining away the so-called public option, the reform component of his health care program."

http://www.thenation.com/doc/20090928/scheer

This is what happens when one has no principles. When you stand for nothing you will fall for anything.

Obama has already started rationing Bob Jones' capacity to pay atttention and comprehend
"Crass self-centeredness is good for society."

I never said that (not that it keeps you from distorting what I actually said anyway). I SAID:

"Capitalism...attempts to harness it[crass self-centeredness] for the social good instead of trying to destroy and/or ignore it."

"You got the short end of the stick??"

Sure, I'm the cash cow the losers force to pay for their goodies.

"People on Medicare, they're getting the short end?"

Oh yes. Given how they are totally dependent on socialist government...and now same government will raid Medicare funding for the 'public option'.

"
No, really. I wonder who said it. Its pretty macho. Tough guy."

Uh...the author of this article this forum is about..the one you obviously didn't read. See the last sentence of the fourth paragraph.

Don't forget the libertines
They just want to smoke dope all day.

There really are some like that, I am told.

I am fond of the book "Ain't Nobody's Business if You Do", but I would also demand that people be held accountable for their actions at all times, especially under the influence of any substance.

And you missed the libertarians that want to defend ourselves, and if possible, like a good neighbor, help others to defend their liberty. The communist Chinese oppose interventionist policies as they don't want liberty to be encouraged in their country.
Promoting liberty around the world can only strengthen our own.

I thought Bernake was an expert?
If your only tool is a hammer, all problems look like nails.
I your only tool is the state, all problems must be solved by state action.

Congress the Animal Farm
"Not sure what you mean. Couldn't find anything in quick search... Besides, I've seen plenty of Republicans kicked out of office for sexual harassment and inappropriate homosexual exploits. But if they really exempted themselves, it would **** me off."

Yeah, I am not surprised you don't know about this...you didn't even know what a filibuster really was, either.

Reps were forced out of office POLITICALLY...but if any of those who were harassed tries to sue those guys, tough luck. Congress EXPLICITLY exempted itself from those laws.

This is OLD NEWS, btw...been going on all the way back to the Civil Right's era or even further.

Some of the laws the Congress exempts itself from (and this is just a VERY PARTIAL list):

Equal Opportunity Laws
Affirmative Action Laws
Insider Trading Laws
Sexual Harassment Laws
OSHA Laws & Regulations
Social Security Act: They don't pay SS taxes and have a more generous insider pension system
Minimum Wage requirements
Civil Rights Act
Freedom of Information Act
Age Discrimination Act
Ethics in Government Act
Americans with Disabilities Act

If slavery wasn't banned by the Constitution but by legislation instead, they probably would be exempt from that as well. (no joke)

As for your incompetent search query skills, I just Bing'd "congress exempts itself from laws" and found a mother lode of links to articles and studies that cover this topic very well.

But I refuse to be your Google B!tch...go find the dirt yourself. I just showed you how.

But Nazi Nancy says she has the votes to pass the House version
So, why hasn't she put it on the floor for a full vote, then? Let's see the Dem's walk the walk...or if Nancy is lying to us (again).

I'm waiting for Roy...
...to EVEN TRY to wiggle out of this one.

This is the SECOND time (the first was Bush's 'stimulus' nonsense in 2008) that Roy's contentions that Keynesianism actually works has been completely refuted by actual reality.

What is a libertarian to do?
"VIENNA (AP) - Experts at the world's top atomic watchdog are in agreement that Tehran has the ability to make a nuclear bomb and is on the way to developing a missile system able to carry an atomic warhead, according to a secret report seen by The Associated Press.

The document drafted by senior officials at the International Atomic Energy Agency is the clearest indication yet that the agency's leaders share Washington's views on Iran's weapon-making capabilities.

It appears to be the so-called "secret annex" on Iran's nuclear program that Washington says is being withheld by the IAEA's chief. "

http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D9AP714G0&show_article=1

Wait until thousands of people die?

He does claim to support 'evidenced based reasoning'.
And the evidence is clear.

Gerry Studds
Gary Studds, D from MA, of course, had sex with a male page, over age 18, was reprimanded by the House and basically told them to stick it.

What decorum!

"In 1983, Democratic congressman Gerry Studds was found to have sexually propositioned House pages and actually buggered a 17-year-old male page whom he took on a trip to Portugal. The 46-year-old Studds indignantly attacked those who criticized him for what he called a "mutually voluntary, private relationship between adults."

When the House censured Studds for his sex romp with a male page, Studds — not one to be shy about presenting his backside to a large group of men — defiantly turned his back on the House during the vote. He ran for re-election and was happily returned to office five more times by liberal Democratic voters in his Martha's Vineyard district. (They really liked his campaign slogan: "It's the outfit, stupid.") "

http://www.anncoulter.com/cgi-local/article.cgi?article=151

or move to Canada
Sometimes marjon you make such moronic comments its hard to believe you're that stupid. But you are, not because you're book stupid, or street stupid. You are ideological stupid. As in, you have blinders on that keep your vision only in a very specific direction of view, as such you can't see the elephant in the room, or the blood stains on the wall, because seriously, if you decide to believe they don't exist, they actually don't in your head. Its stunning, really. I'd want you on my team because you are so inescapably loyal, but I don't want you on my team because you're an embarrassment.

I shouldn't be so harsh, but come on.

I feel guilty. I seriously wonder if you've had a brain injury that renders your self filter inactive. If thats the case, I strenuously apologize and want nothing but the best for you.

Attack with what?
Maybe I am confusing you with other libertarians who are very critical of even having a military, but, if not, how would we launch such a surgical strike? How would we know where to strike? Spies? With what would we strike if we didn't have a defense industry to create such precision weapons?
And missile defense, I keep hearing it is a waste of money by many.
I wonder how the FBI found out enough information to conduct those recent raids in Brooklyn?

The Roy response.
Either like and accept socialism or leave for Canada for more?

Why not follow the Constitution?

TCS Daily Archives