Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Revolutionary Nonsense is Dead.

Future updates on all subjects will occur at andrewjpatrick.com. If wish to know why, go here. Or just go to the new blog and check out that action.

It will remain here, and provide much ammunition for anyone who wishes to call me a scurrilous right-winging teabagging bitterclingeing RAAAAACIST.

But otherwise ...

Monday, December 05, 2011

Cain Bows Out

Most of the usual I'm-Proud-My-Campaign-Addressed-The-Issues, and he manages to 9-9-9 us a few more times, in case we had forgotten.

But he begins with a rather dull commonplace:

You’re not defeated as long as you never stop fighting.
Actually, you're defeated at the moment that your goal is no longer attainable at that particular point in time. You can keep fighting all you want, but it's not going to change anything. And that is why Hermann Cain is suspending his campaign now, rather than continuing to fight until the Republican Convention.

If the goal was to keep fighting, then yes, so long as you remain upright and defiant, you are not beaten. And sometimes, as at Valley Forge, such is the goal. But not in this case. In this case the goal -- a nomination for President -- was lost. Whatever happens afterwards, the reality of that defeat must be absorbed.

But whatever. It was fun having you in the mix, Hermann, and all carping aside, you did shift the campaign, by your bold talk of tax reform, and the hope you gave the party's base that we didn't have to bow to the Establishment Candidate this time around. I think when the history of this horse-race is written, you might just be remembered as the Guy who put the Knife in Romney.

Paul Krugman: The Media Keeps Not Doing The Left's Work For Them

Kruggie the Whale Issues Proggie Whine #46: That the Press Doesn't Scream Out "You Lie!" at Every Word a Republican Speaks, Including the "A's" and "The's"

All indications are, however, that Campaign 2012 will make Campaign 2000 look like a model of truthfulness. And all indications are that the press won’t know what to do — or, worse, that they will know what to do, which is act as stenographers and refuse to tell readers and listeners when candidates lie. Because to do otherwise when the parties aren’t equally at fault — and they won’t be — would be “biased”.
Goshers! It's almost as though Truth is more complicated than a single eschatologically-minded ideology can contain! Also, that Journalists are maleducated bobo twits who couldn't form a syllogism with two premises and a conclusion.

But you knew that. (h/t: Memeorandum)

Hermann Cain Might Could Endorse Gingrich

Stacy McCain hardest hit.

Protein Wisdom Celebrates Ten Years

And Why Not?

though it started as creatical.com, wore a pea-green backdrop, was comprised of “several” co-writers (all of them me, though I gave them loaded, tongue-in-cheek names like Dr. Ann D. Kaufmann; recall, at the time I had no readers and there was no such thing, as of yet, as a “blogosphere,” so the format for what a “respectable” political blog had to look like and operate as had not yet been set), and, believe it or not, got its first ever “Instalanche” not for some clever, pointed piece on the supposed racial overtones in the remake King Kong, say, but rather for a cartoon suggestive of breadstick masturbation.
He's still funnier than Ace. And I consider that praise.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Paul Krugman is Super-SMRT, And Other Observations: a Long-Promised Fisking

His Krugman-ness in the NYT:

Mark Thoma sends us to the new Journal of Economic Perspectives paper(pdf) on optimal taxes by Peter Diamond and Emmanuel Saez. It’s a tough read (I’m still working on it myself), but there’s one discussion that I think helps make a useful point about current political debate.
Useful to whom?

In the first part of the paper, D&S analyze the optimal tax rate on top earners. And they argue that this should be the rate that maximizes the revenue collected from these top earners — full stop. Why? Because if you’re trying to maximize any sort of aggregate welfare measure, it’s clear that a marginal dollar of income makes very little difference to the welfare of the wealthy, as compared with the difference it makes to the welfare of the poor and middle class. So to a first approximation policy should soak the rich for the maximum amount — not out of envy or a desire to punish, but simply to raise as much money as possible for other purposes.
I was going to say "optimal for whom?" but Paulie K. kindly spells it out: the "optimal tax rate" is the optimal tax rate for the government. It maximizes the revenue of the state, and it's ability to engage in "other purposes." That phrase, however, is not so clear: what are these "other purposes"? How well are they performed? How well is that performance even measured? If the people decide that the government no longer needs to perform them, can they get their money back?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

"We Will Control the Market"

And there you have it, really. (h/t Protein Wisdom)

For 100 years these hyper-instructed ne'er-do-wells have been telling that, given sufficient money and authority, they'll get everything under control. That the business cycle is theirs to command. That the incentives and motivations of millions of human hearts could be perfectly shaped by legislation. Despite watching their house of  jokers collapse around them, they believe it still.

Monty, at Ace:

The “market” is not a thing to be managed, or a process to be controlled. The market is just an aspect of the natural world, working on the creatures who move through it. Merkel’s comment reflects the combination of arrogance and ignorance that is at the root of so many of our economic problems.
Yes. And the only thing wrong with this statement is that every GOP candidate is not shouting it from the rooftops, all the time. Every quarter the GDP is "unexpectedly" less than envisioned, and yet the premise of progressive politics -- that a learned technocracy can manage the wealth of the land better than the people -- remains a truism in the minds of too many people. They will continue to believe it until the bottom drops out.

Whereupon, they will eulogize their fallacies as "noble".

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Stop Newt Before He Gets THE CHILDREN

When I was 15, I had a work-study job at my Catholic high school. Twice a week I cleaned up the art room. I didn't like it very much, but I did it.

Newt Gingrich basically suggested the same thing (h/t Protein Wisdom). Actually, he suggested something better, because the kid janitors would be paid in actual cash money. All I got for cleaning clay-wheels every week was a break on my tuition.

Naturally, proggies shriek in terrified indignation:
You are probably one of the most disgusting human beings I’ve never met!
I want my neighbors 9yr olds or 14 yr olds cleaning up behind my children while I focus my children onto focusing on their education and letting my children to be “KIDS”.
Everyone knows that you Repugnants wants to model our society after China and make everyone a slave to Corpratism. We get it!
I don’t mind working my fingers to the bone but………….CHILDREN…………Really???
We are constantly told that poor kids are forced into the drug trade or worse from lack of economic opportunity. I don't see how giving a kid a job that pays $8-16 an hour doesn't constitute an economic opportunity. Nowhere does Newt say that the child labor laws would be abolished; at best, they'd be amended. We're not talking about a 12-year-old working 40+ hours a week and missing out on school; we're talking about maybe 10 hours a week, before or after school and weekends.

Am I really to believe that a kid who grows up in a poor, dilapidated neighborhood, with one or more parents missing, getting no breakfast except what the school provides, marking time in a broken public school earning a diploma that won't be worth the paper it's printed on would be objectively HARMED by earning some money pushing a mop around?


Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Greatest Trick the Socialists ever Pulled was Convincing the World They Didn't Exist...

And like that... they're gone.

The reductio ad Hitlerium is an irritating logical fallacy, which almost never serves to improve understanding or conversation. Calling the OWS crowd Nazis, or even fascists, is a stretch. That needs be said before anything else.

But pointing out what Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei means is a handy and fun way to irritate socialists, as Ladd Ehlinger has discovered. I've been round the block with lefties desperate to argue that nothing about the Nazi's was left at all (keep scrolling), so I sympathise.

It all comes to how the word "socialist" is defined. Typically, those on the Left prefer to define "socialist" as "one who favors ending private property." This allows anyone who hasn't gone that far left to escape the title of "leftist" altogether. By this and similar ellisions, the Left pretends to be the Center.

But I prefer to define "socialist" as "one who favors the use of direct political power to remake society according to principles of universal justice." I like it because it allows the myriad of squabbling social thinkers, from LeFebre to Lenin to Mussolini to Mao to be recognized according to their common traits. It puts all the tyrants who covered their tyranny in the cloak of True Justice in a single pot.

And it allows us to draw distinctions between them. We can see Progressives, Mensheviks, Trade-Unionists, Corporatists, Fascists, Nazis, and Communists as similar, but also note their wide and obvious differences. We can grant that your average "liberal" Democrat has no intention of carting anyone off in a boxcar, while continuing to point out that their calls for "unity" are code for "now stop arguing with us."

A few objections:

  • But Nazis and Fascists (and no small number of Progressive Democrats) hated Communists. If Communists are Socialists; how can Nazis, etc. be Socialists?
Answer: Large political/philosophical movements engage in vicious infighting all the time. See also, Christianity in the 16-17th centuries. For that matter, the Communists hated and murdered other Socialists with great regularity. No history of the Russian Revolution is complete without tracing the roles played by the Mensheviks and Socialist Revolutionaries in the Bolshevik rise to power, and the cruelty with which the Bolsheviks repaid them.

  • Isn't this just a cheap method of putting Progressive Democrats in the same boat as Fascists and Communists?
Answer: Not at all. In fact, it works within the way Progressives think of themselves: as sensible radicals who oppose totalitarianism. A Progressive who accepts my definition of "socialist" can still say "Sure, I want to see society change, and am prepared to use the law as a tool to bring that change about. But I'm not going to impose change at the point of a bayonet. I'm humane and have a conscience."

As evidence for my assertion, I invite anyone to read Section III of The Communist Manifesto, wherein Marx lists the varieties of socialism which fail to meet his standard of scientific materialism: Feudal Socialism, Petit-Bourgeois Socialism, German or "True" Socialism, Conservative Socialism, etc. If Marx could admit that numerous and mutually contradictory versions of socialism existed, why cannot we?