Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Woman and Superwoman

Paul Krugman discusses reform, and the burning question that so perplexes Megan McArdle: Who could have known the financial system was in trouble? Megan says:

So while yes, part of this story has been simple greed, a willingness to believe that we could and should massively increase consumption no matter what, I tend to take this desire as a given. The question is how you design an institution that channels those given desires into productive ends. Markets, for example, channel self-interest into exchanges that result in gains to both sides; government lobbying channels that same self-interest into rent-seeking that makes society as a whole, and at least one major party to the exchange, worse off.

Megan ignores power inequalities that inevitably arise if self-interest goes unchecked. McArdle's dominant drive is self-interest, and fortunately for her, others have refined it into both a political and moral philosophy. Lack of charity and empathy is encouraging self-reliance. Callousness is individualism. Greed is supporting free markets. Elitism is rewarding hard work and innate superiority. There is always an excuse for what would be considered moral underdevelopment and self-indulgence in a child, but is found acceptable in an educated, privileged middle-aged woman.

McArdle's frequent excuse for the exposure of her philosophy's failure is that nobody is smart enough to know what went wrong, and it's useless to try. This is an incredibly weak and patently false lie. For three years a few economists and journalists warned of the coming storm. I read them every day; John Hussman, Bill Fleckstein, Mish, Bonddad, Calculated Risk, The Big Picture, Angry Bear, The Oil Drum, and of course Nouriel Roubini. They warned and explained, showed graphs and charts, but were mocked and vilified, often by McArdle herself. People knew, and to say otherwise is a lie. People were just making too much money to care. As long as the party continued, Wall Street could siphon off as much money as possible. When the party ended they demanded more money to clean up the mess, and McArdle supported that too. Then they ran off without cleaning up and again, nobody who isn't paid to look the other way is surprised.

We are in deep shit. McArdle is nothing but the Magician's assistant put on stage in a short skirt and low-cut top to distract the audience while he pulls off his magic act of disappearing the audience's money.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Village Idiot Speaks; Brain Cells Curl Up In Horror

Jonah Goldberg has found a solution for the country's economic problems.

But rather than blow money on a lavish reenactment of the New Deal, or
continue bailing out undeserving corporations, why not really think outside the
box? Rep. Louie Gohmert (R., Texas) suggests an across-the-board reprieve on
paying 2008 income taxes. This would leave an extra $1.2trillion in the hands
of Americans, who are the best stewards of their own money.

I don't need to tell you how stupid this idea is. Jonah, however, doesn't seem to realize that taxes actually pay for things we need. Or that having Americans buy at lot of stuff from China might not solve the economic problems. But it really doesn't matter how stupid Jonah's ideas are, since his readers believe him anyway.

Happy Shopping Holiday!

You may have noticed that Megan McArdle, a week after scolding parents for buying their children toys in hard times, has created a list of Christmas presents. They have been culled from her very well-stocked kitchen, which is evidently filled with expensive gadgets. She also lists some less-expensive items for the little people, for which we give the generous Miss Megan thanks.

Anyway, Happy Holidays, everyone, I have a lot to be thankful for
this year; my family is safe and healthy, my dog is adorable and affectionate,
my job is amazing, my friends are so great I occasionally suspect that I am
actually in an indie film, and in the new year, I'll be taking up residence
in a great new house in Bloomingdale. All of my worries are the best
sort: the kind I can't do anything about, and therefore have no reason
to fret on, beyond making emergency provisions. I know a lot of you
are probably suffering from the financial crisis, and others from the
general tendency of life to hand you a lot of lemons and no sugar to make
lemonade with. But I hope that all of you have some good thing to be
thankful for.

I suspect she sees herself as an extra-large version of Parker Posey, winsomely charming one and all while oozing with Upper West Side exclusivity. It's a wonderful life for Megan. Sure, a lot of her friends are going to lose their jobs as magazine and newspapers close and cut back, but Megan works for David Bradley, who runs The Atlantic as a vanity press and pays for it out of pocket. No, Megan, it's not that the magazine is cheaper to run than a large newspaper. It's the deep pockets that fund it, instead of depending on advertising revenue. I wouldn't be quite so sanguine, however, if I were Megan. Thomas Friedman's wife lost about 90% of her shopping mall fortune. It could happen to Bradley's consulting empire also, and the expensive toy you work for could easily be the first thing to go.

It's wonderful that her family is well and that she and her massive dog can both fit in her cute little car, although the effect must be somewhat trippy. And it's exciting to move, even if you have to share a house because your stock portfolio has tanked, because you believed your friends and fellow elites at investment banks. What Megan doesn't get, and probably never will, is that the ruling elite worked her over too. Her credit limit will go down, just like the undeserving poor person might lose credit. She might not only lose her job, but might see most of her entire industry disappear, like one of those overpaid union-supporting auto workers in the Midwest. If she loses her job she will lose her house, like all those feckless minorities who traded votes for low Fannie Mae mortgages, who should have stayed in the rental class, where they belong. And all those carefully worded posts supporting the ruling elite and the monied class will have done exactly what Megan wanted them to do; enrich the wealthy at the expense of everyone else.

Nero fiddled while Rome burned; Megan McArdle went shopping.

Monday, November 24, 2008


Megan moves.

I don't know enough about rent-to-own to say whether it is ever, or never, a good idea.
Then why did you write the useless post?


Rubin is one of the few icons of Wall Street who hasn't been stained with the fallout from the financial crisis--Republicans don't want to blame capitalist institutions, and Democrats don't want to imply that St. Robert of Clinton might not have miraculous economic healing powers
What are you, a twelve-year-old with a superiority complex and subscription to The National Review?

I have an iPhone.
What's the over/under on the first government attempt to shut this down?

What's the over/under on you sounding like a Liberal Fascism groupie?

I know better than you.
The Obama team is unnecessarily (I hope) make it look like they're dithering,
testing the waters for popularity rather than competence.

Concern troll.

I was wrong.
But we'll undoubtedly get their mildly manic cousins: minimum wage laws, stiffer unionization rules, and heavier corporate taxes, on the theory that if demand for something is falling, the best way to fix the problem is to make it more expensive.

Yes, God forbid we reverse the trend that got us into this mess, and try to prevent the entire country from sinking.

You're A Mean One, Megan McArdle

This post of Megan McArdle's has already been exposed as a vapid, selfish, deeply heartless excretion, but it deserves all this scorn and more.
Screw you, kids, I got mine.
This represents a nadir of sorts for McArdle. Kids don't need presents because McArdle doesn't remember any of the presents she was given. That makes her both ungrateful and unappreciative, but it doesn't mean other kids will feel the same way. Why does she find it necessary to write a post complaining about mothers who want to give their children Christmas presents? Does the thought of someone, somewhere, buying something that they can't really afford for their child really bother her so much?

I know that my parents expended a lot of precious money and time on my Christmas gifts. But with a few exceptions (a certain Raggedy Ann and Andy Pen and Pencil Set comes to mind, along with my very own Beach Boys "Endless Summer" casette"), what I remember about Christmases is not what I was given, but the non-material traditions: the food, the family, the snow angels and crackling fires. This is true of basically everyone I know. So why do we continue to think that the gifts are the most important part?

Because they're children. Unbelievably, McArdle brags about the expensive and thoughtful gifts she received while saying that other children do not deserve the same. Once again, the rules are different for Miss Megan.

Let's not forget that hypocrisy. McArdle has a sidebar item called "Gadget of the Week." (Of course she doesn't update it because that would take effort, but never mind.) The gadget for the last few months is a $500 TIVO.
Is it worth spending over $500 on a Tivo? I'm sorry to report that it is. The Series Three has all the functionality that made its older products the best DVRs around: an intuitive user interface, transparent menus, simple and fast recording. Now it's added HD capability and two cable cards so you can record and watch at the same time (or record two shows). With the cable cards, the most annoying feature about older Tivos--the latency switching channels--has disappeared. They've also added new features that prove surprisingly useful, such as the ability to download movies on a whim from Amazon's Unbox service. I'd give up my dishwasher before I'd part with this.

Megan also recently bought an IPhone and a Mini Cooper, and we all know how important buying new clothes is to her. It's strange to see a sickness of the soul labeled a political philosophy, so that cold, calculating, greedy people can feel comfortable as they contemplate how much they own, and how much superior it makes them compared to those with less. It's a pinched, miserly attitude worthy of Scrooge himself.

And make no mistake; McArdle's post is not written out of a stringent morality or political philosophy. It is selfishness and heartlessness, callousness and fear, pure and simple. It is the refusal to feel anything at all that might touch the heart (or, with Megan, also the brain). To feel is painful, and these cowards and weaklings refuse to take that risk. They cannot cry for the children we have killed in Iraq. They cannot worry about poverty or hunger. They cannot think about the terror and desperation of men hooded and bound and kept in cages. It hurts too much, and they utterly refuse to try. Therefore they create excuses for their refusal to feel. They turn to God to justify their hatreds, to patriotism to hide their hunger to see others suffer and feel what they cannot. They turn to politics, to coat the blood and bones and burnt flesh with respectability. We can't be silent and let them do it. This world is all we have, this world and the people in it. What we do to each other is the only thing that counts.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Yummy, Delicious Spite

From the editor of the National Review Online:

palin increases turkey sales [Kathryn Jean Lopez]

An e-mail: "My wife and I have never been that fond of turkey, but with this dust-up we went shopping for a Thanksgiving/Christmas turkey and will thoroughly enjoy every bite."

This couple will actually choke down a food they don't like because it gives them a thrill to spite some anonymous people somewhere who laughed at Sarah Palin, and who will never know what this couple did?

Why don't they demand their teenage daughters get knocked up next? That'll teach the Palin haters!

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Clare Luce Booth Calendar--Brought To You By Kleenex Tissues

I have a feeling that Conservative America is going to spend the weekend in the bathroom.

The fur coats are a nice touch. I have nothing against other people killing animals and wearing their skins. It's like wearing diamonds--how else is a conservative woman to know her worth, except in dollars and cents? It's not like her brethren think she's an equal.

Megan McArdle Suffers For Our Souls

Needless to say, given that Obama's sterling choice of highest-caliber economic advisors was one of my main reason for supporting him, my regret is mounting faster than ever.

Poor Megan. What shall she do? She was depending on Obama to follow her philosophy, and now must live with a "bloody embarrassing" pick, if the news is true. How can she converse with her liberal friends who will support whatever Obama does with worshipful abandon? Everybody knows that liberals are fantasists who don't live in the real world. They don't hold down jobs or live in neighborhoods or buy food or pay taxes or send their kids to school. No, they only dream and meander and simper their way through life in a haze of imaginary thoughts and dreams of Jesus Obama fulfilling their every wish, tra la la.

Thank goodness Megan is here to set Obama and the liberals straight. Even though it does extract a heavy toll on her soul, and fill her with ever-mounting regret.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Shorter (But Not By Much) K-Lo

Single pregnant women make Baby Jesus cry.

Same Old Megan

Would it kill Megan McArdle to prove her statements? So far the main source of information for Miss Megan is her gut, and we all know that it is as empty as her head.

Now, I think a lot of liberals often mix up these claims with simple outrage that those CEOs are not, in fact, reduced to total penury.

Prove it, troll. Who is outraged that CEOs aren't beggered? Name names. Otherwise you're just another Michelle Malkin, but without the funny cheerleading video to give you entertainment value.

Evidently I must continue saying this over and over until it penetrates thicker brains. Put up or shut up. If you want to assault the majority political party with accusations of immorality and spite, you had better provide quotes and names, because we don't have to listen to you anymore. When Glenn Greenwald eviscerates conservatives he addresses people directly and provides copious evidence to support his accusations. However, Greenwald works hard on his blog and has standards of honesty and professionalism.

Elections have consequences. The conservative way of doing business utterly destroyed our economy, violated our land and laws, and built up a well-spring of hatred that poisons the country. Conservatism ran wild and free for eight years and was a massive failure.

Why would McArdle make vague, unpleasant accusations about liberals that (for all anyone knows) are not even true? So she can do this:

Now, I think a lot of liberals often mix up these claims with simple outrage that those CEOs are not, in fact, reduced to total penury. But the justice and the incentive problems are separate problems. It may well be totally just to take every last dime from them (and I imagine that shareholder lawsuits will do exactly that). But that frequently morphs into a muddy complaint that if these CEOs had suffered more, we wouldn't have had the crisis. The one does not follow from the other. There are many injustices in the world; almost none of them cause financial crises.

I know that my trolls are already mentally penning long whines that I have entirely missed the point--that their wealth is outrageous, that justice is important! Indeed it is. But it seems to me that it is also important to settle the empirical question of how such excessive risk taking could be prevented in the future. If we allow our outrage to convince us that taking every last dime from the bank presidents will help with that task, and this is not actually true, then we are simply setting ourselves up for more problems in the future.

McArdle doesn't want people to think about the reasons for the financial crisis. She doesn't want the privileged few to have to answer to anyone else. She believes the rich are innately superior to those will less money. For those reasons she doesn't believe in regulation and tries to discourage anyone from finding out the reasons for the financial troubles, which she declares are too complicated for anyone to understand and would have happened no matter what CEOs did.

Finally, we see McArdle will fill her posts with ad hominem attacks and then accuse anyone who criticizes her of being a whining troll. She has no idea how unprofessional her behavior is, and therefore will continue to embarrass herself with her venom and attempts to justify her own support of a failed regime.

McArdle might wonder why she should change her ways or soften her speech. She should take a good look around her. The smarter conservatives and quasi-conservatives have slowly and carefully backed away from Republican failure. Yglesias decamped the Atlantic. David Frum and Christopher Buckley left National Review. Kathleen Parker is doing the same and is now appearing in the Washington Post criticizing the far right. I warned her, and now it's too late. She can't do anything but double down, and inevitably throw away the influence that she so carefully cultivated.

ADDED: Some people do not have a problem understanding the financial crisis, or assigning blame where it is due.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Andrew McCarthy, 11/18/08

Victory in Iraq has never meant a functioning democracy.

Andrew McCarthy, 5/23/07

Iraq, however, is a frustrating slog precisely because it is an exercise in
democracy building, not mere jihadist repulsion.

Lying tool of the ruling elite.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Company You Keep

Sometimes you have to stop and smell the stupidity, so to speak. When analyzing a typical Megan McArdle post, you can seldom uncover all the stupidity and venality in one passing. There will be grave ethical breeches that demand one's attention first. Then come the errors in logic that make your head swim while trying to comprehend McArdle's point. Then you might get to the factual errors, if you are not too busy. Finally, you might go over the poor sentence structure, spelling and punctuation. It's quite time consuming.

Today Fire Megan McArdle points out yet another aspect of McArdle's writing that gives one pause; the company she chooses to keep. McArdle refers to Dan Riehl, as if he is a fellow journalist instead of a misogynist and homophobic moron. Megan likes Michelle Rhee's proposals to destroy teachers' unions, despite the fact that Rhee refuses to discuss who is funding her prospective efforts. She quotes young dolt Conor Friedsdorf, who is even stupider than Megan herself. And she also quotes Dr. Sally Satel, an AEI "scholar" who advocates selling body parts. It's not just for third world countries, says the doc. Idiots, one and all, brought to you by the crown princess of fools.

Asimetracul Enfurmashun

Megan McArdle posts about tenure, saying that anyone who doesn't give it up should be afraid of the following:

If Rhee's plan goes down, it will indicate that a majority of DC's teacher's think that they're incompetent.

Do you want to know who's incompetent? A writer paid handsomely by The Atlantic, who went to a prep school that cost $38,000 dollars a year, who can't be bothered to learn basic punctuation.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Boy Can't Help It

Jonah Goldberg has an extraordinarily strong Authoritarian drive. It's strong enough to override an also-strong rebellious streak, embodied in his love of anti-social pop culture heroes like Homer and Bart Simpson and in South Park. It's strong enough to crush any creative streak that might have lurked in this former tv writer and producer. It's even strong enough to make him support the types of people who would be horrified by Goldberg, an East Coast elite Jewish writer; the evangelicals.

Jonah states you can't be conservative without being religious. He appeals to authority by listing several conservatives that purport to be religious. It does not occur to him that his Authorities might be lying or disbelievers ; for instance, it's well know that Karl Rove is an atheist. Jonah also seems to state that if you are religious you must also be conservative, or else you will start acting out of mercy and give away to the poor, which would make you a liberal. QED, in Jonah's snarled mind.

The conservative party is trying to figure out where they went wrong. They are split between realists such as David Frum, who wants to win, and fantasists such as Goldberg, who wants to be right. Authoritarianism and conservatism both abhor change, by definition. The future must be the same as the past; the child must obey and copy the father and mother. There is no solution or compromise possible. Either they have enough votes to inflict their view upon the world, or they don't, and that depends as much on the economy as ideology. No debate or intellectual exercise can change that.

Charity For My Friends, No Charity For You

Many posts later, McArdle still hasn't explained why it's okay for the US to lose its Midwest manufacturing base but it's not okay for bankers and stock owners to lose their money. She did, however, share with us a personal story. We learn that McArdle expected to make a lot more money than she has, and that she was once poorly dressed. Women who actually have to struggle through life know that you can scour discount stores for items on sale or search charity and consignment shops when you need to wear good quality clothes. They also know that wearing worn clothing is not a sign of shame and don't base their self-image on how much money they spend.

I understand that this is not what the auto workers want; they want their jobs. But while I am happy to help the auto workers, I am not happy to help them manufacture undesireable cars at massive social cost. I too, would have liked to keep my job as a management consultant. But I didn't have a right to have the job I wanted merely because I liked it. And it wouldn't have been good for America if I had.

Funny, I feel the same way about bankers and CDOs.

A More Serious Post

Megan McArdle mentions again that she worked at the World Trade Center after the collapse. She also seems to suffer often from lung complaints. Maybe she should find out if the toxic chemicals in the air hurt her lungs.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Very Quick Megan

One of the things you hear over and over again from critics of Detroit, especially ones from the left, is that their current woes are all management's fault because they kept making big cars.

Management has made a lot of mistakes. But making big cars wasn't one of them. That's because they couldn't profitably make small cars in the United States. And the reason they couldn't is that their labor costs were too high. All in, Detroit was paying about $30 more an hour than other companies to make cars. At that kind of differential, you have to concentrate on large cars with big profit margins, not economy cars where consumers fight to save $15 on the headlight bezels.

Read her link and you see she's cutting out half the story--billions in profits from big cars.

Dishonest hack.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Less Tall Megan

Throw the Christians to the lions.

Bonus Megan:

We sent the Republican party a message that we couldn't be taken for granted.

How? Libertarians think you can get rich by getting rid of the government. The rich know you get richer by using the government. It is the height of naivete to think the government will go away or the rich won't do what they want to do. That is why Libertarians are powerless.

Persons have a right to be protected against the initiation of force, and libertarianism has no basic principles that answer the question of when personhood begins.

For the billionth time--it's not a question of personhood. It is a question of who gets to make the decision to abort or not abort--the individual or the state, as libertarians like to put it. This implied omission/lie is obfuscation to give McArdle wiggle room to jump to whichever side is politically expedient at a moment's notice. She's an opportunistic coward.

I don't share the libertarian confidence that we are going to achieve massive new affirmative steps in our direction; a lot of the things we want, like a simpler tax code and privatized social security, are actually issues that the Republican leadership agrees with us on, and the greater American public does not.

You just lost the down payment for your house in the stock market. And you still want to invest your social security in the stock market. You are a very, very stupid woman.

Chaos Theory

I should refute some of the posts Megan McArdle is churning out in her attempt to confuse the public, but eh, why bother. McArdle is tossing all her libertarian beliefs and philosophy down the toilet and flushing it away to support conservative who are attempting to stem the consequences of their actions until after Obama takes office. She is plainly abandoning her "principles" whenever necessary. Conservatives are, after all, her source of income. How she achieves this noble goal is irrelevant, although it is very instructive to analyze the methods used.

The world is changing and we must change with it.It's going to be a smaller, poorer world, and most of us are going to be totally unwilling and perhaps even unable to tolerate the forced change. We will have to learn to find the good in this change. It will be there, if we are strong enough to look for it. We will need humility to ask each other for help, patience to learn new skills and deal with fear, and empathy to bring us together instead of drive us apart. In the chaos will be an opportunity to wrestle control back from the military-industrial complex, but we will lose the struggle without even knowing it took place if we continue to listen to the cowards and quislings who got us into this mess.

Don't Let This Happen To You

I am coming to the reluctant and more than slightly horrified realization that Megan McArdle might have read Liberal Fascism. And liked it. I know, I know. It's a horrible thing to accuse a stranger of, especially without iron-clad proof. You don't simply throw such accusations around; reputation have been ruined and nations felled over less. But there you are, the suspicion must be voiced so the unwary can know what is ahead of them.

I could be wrong, and if so I deeply apologize to McArdle. I've thrown a lot of criticism her way and she's deserved every word, but there are lengths that even I will not go. No sex jokes, no violence, no heaps of undeserved abuse. And most of all, I would never accuse someone of being so bone-deep stupid, so mind-numbingly moronic, so steeped in class warfare, selfishness, and spite that they would read and approve of Liberal Fascism. But the truth, no matter how ugly and threatening, must out.

Please, I beg of you all. Don't let this happen to you. Don't commit that final act of degredation and despair. Don't be a Jonah Goldberg fan.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Here There Be Monsters

Oh, dear lord. It's hideous. Unfortunately I cannot respond until much later. Oh, god. My spine is twitching. Jesus, Mary and Joseph, save us.

Fill In The BLank

Megan McArdle's commenters have already done a good job of refuting her latest [earlier, by now] post. It's just a boilerplate post insulting another person on Megan's list of People Who Are Dead To Me, as Colbert says. Dean Baker wrote The Conservative Nanny State: How the Wealthy Use the Government to Stay Rich and Get Richer, and on the title alone I can tell that Baker falls into the naughty and not nice column. To insinuate that the rich stole, lied, cheated and connived their way to riches strike at the very heart of Megan "Dagny" McArdle's economic philosophy: The rich really are different.

The rich are better than the poor; more moral, more intelligent, more clean and civilized and Christian. It is balm for the insecure person's soul, and the only price is to constantly praise one's self and try to denegrate the Others. There are many rewards for praising the rich. The better class of people will listen to your flattering words. They will send you dinner invitations on thick, creamy stationery that looks good propped up on the mantelpiece when your friends drop by. You can dream of the time you are one of the rich, since proximity surely breeds success. And you are rewarded with careers that pay just enough to let you imitate the rich, if you are careful and balance your credit cards just right. You might even get a pony.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Follow The Link

This is from a comment by conradg made on a post by Daniel Larison quoted by John Cole then mentioned by Crooks and Liars and lifted by me. I'm exhausted.

From the comments at Larison’s:
It’s not as if Republicans have set a high bar of knowledge, expertise, judgment, and accomplishment [for their candidates]. Their “high bar” is all about theatrical performance and nerve, both of which Palin has in abundance.

There’s a reason for this. Any candidate with real intelligence, judgment, and expertise would not support the policies of the Republican party platform, plain and simple. As long as those basic policies remain unchanged, the candidates who will succeed must be able to practice deep denial while acting with full confidence in their righteousness. This means the qualifications to be the GOP nominee are mostly ones of psychological imbalance and theatrical skill. To change that situation, the entire policy agenda of the Republican party would have to change, and that simply isn’t going to happen.

Q. E. D.

Megan McArdle's statement:
The attribution of the late 1990s boom to Clinton is magical thinking of the first order.

Megan McArdle's proof:
I cannot think of anything significant that Bill Clinton did to make my life better.

Context here.


Megan McArdle has written seven posts that warn Democrats that they'll be sorry Obama was elected. Her posts reek with wrong assumptions, saying that Democrats expect Obama will magically cure all problems in the US. If a pundit is going to accuse Democrats of being both greedy and stupid, deluded idealists, she had better come up with more than an annecdote about an anonymous person in a crowd and vague accusations directed a huge, diverse group.

If McArdle wants to bash people she should start having enough courage to address people directly. Her posts are beginning to sound like the bitter, cynical whining of any number of female conservative media darlings, who claw their way into the media world through the enormous achievement of being presentable enough to go on tv but vicious enough to throw a little red meat to the audience. At least Jonah Goldberg had the stones to directly address Juan Cole. Unfortunately those stones proved to be small, useless and terminally wrong, but he was confident enough in his arrogance to try.

You're not in the majority anymore, and elections have consequences. Put up or shut up.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Future of Conservatism

While New Orleans was drowning, Jonah Goldberg joked about blacks rioting and fantasizing about enacting an Edgar Rice Burroughs scenario of domination and mastery. He was forced to retract his statements because of the cry of disgust that rang across the blogosphere, but as Jonah has little or no sense of honor or morality and an overload of spite, he can't even do that right.

Back when NPR and other news outlets were reporting that New Orleans had
“dodged the bullet” on hurricane Katrina I made an ill-conceived joke in The
Corner about how the Superdome was going to hell-in-a-hand basket. I wrote:
ATTN: SUPERDOME RESIDENTS [Jonah Goldberg]I think it's
time to face facts. That place is going to be a Mad Max/thunderdome
Waterworld/Lord of the Flies horror show within the next few hours. My advice is
to prepare yourself now. Hoard weapons, grow gills and learn to communicate with
serpents. While you're working on that, find the biggest guy you can and when
he's not expecting it beat him senseless. Gather young fighters around you and
tell the womenfolk you will feed and protect any female who agrees to
participate without question in your plans to repopulate the earth with a race
of gilled-supermen. It's never too soon to be prepared.

I was mocking what at the time seemed like out-of-control media hype.
When things turned out to be worse than I — or most of us — ever could have
expected, I apologized.

That didn’t stop scores of blogs and hundreds of angry e-mailers from
tearing me a new one for my insensitivity. As the week progressed, however, a
lot of folks wrote me — half jokingly — to congratulate me on my prescience.
After all, except for the gill-growing and serpent-talking I turned out to get
it pretty much exactly right. If I’d only said I wasn’t kidding, I’d be in the

They were onto something. Because, you see, I hadn’t even raised the
possibility that, after just three or four days without food, blacks in New
Orleans would transform into Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers.

On September 2, Randall Robinson, former president of Transafrica wrote
that “It is reported that black hurricane victims in New Orleans have begun
eating corpses to survive.”

Before we move on, let’s be clear about all the
components of this sentence. First, it is deadly serious. Indeed, its import is
such that it caused the man to lose all faith in America. Second, blacks are
eating the flesh of the dead to survive: Not “hurricane victims,” not “the
poor,” not “the refugees,” not “New Orleans residents,” but “black hurricane
victims” and black hurricane victims alone are feasting on the bodies of the
fallen. Second, it asserts as fact that “it is reported.” At the time I searched
Google News and Nexis and found not one story mentioning this fairly dramatic
piece of news.

Robinson has since retracted this single solitary assertion. But he
says he stands “behind everything else I wrote without reservation.”

We’ll get to “everything else,” but let us linger for a moment.
Robinson did not apologize for his error, he merely offered a retraction. So, in
other words, he doesn’t feel the need to make amends for the fact that he told
the world black people — and black people alone — were willing to eat their
fellow human beings after 72-96 hours without food (a
“fact” now reported as far away as Turkey
). Moreover, he feels no shame for
believing it.

Imagine if I said, "Oh, you know those blacks — after a couple days
without food they start eating each other. White folks? They can go weeks before
they’d even consider such a thing. But if the food runs out on a Monday, zombism
will break out among the black population by Thursday." People would be
outraged. As they should be. Talk about the soft bigotry of


There’s an old axiom which says that extraordinary claims require
extraordinary proof. But Robinson was so keen on believing this allegation he
went straight to the megaphone after someone simply told him it was so. What
kind of person takes such news at face value? Let’s see: Racists surely would.
But that’s a bit of a stretch. Idiots would take it at face value. But I don’t
think Robinson is anybody’s fool. I’ve got it: He’s a fraud. Yeah, that works.
It’s not perfect, but it will do the job.

It's no stretch to call Jonah a racist, fraudulent idiot, it's the simple truth. Joanh knows very well that he is utterly unfit for his position. He has a degree from The Women's College of Baltimore, renamed Goucher College in 1910. Goldberg admitted he was a benefactor of affirmative action as the school went co-ed. His internships were with new services and a publishing house. Coincidentally, his father worked for new services and his mother worked in publishing. His first jobs were pretending to be a writer in Prauge for a year and working for the right-wing AEI think tank. He worked in tv for a while, including documentaries on gargoyles and Notre Dame. Then he spread comfortably into his job at NRO, where he can slip out to leisurely lunches, take in a movie, and tap out a column guaranteed to have a least two pop culture references, whether they are appropriate or not. He published his first book just recently, while in his late thirties.

This is a man who measures himself against the best thinkers of our time and finds them wanting. A man whose every step has been eased by money and influence. A petulant child with no humanity or humility or courage. And being a bigoted, fraudulent fool, he is naturally also a hypocrite.

"Fabulously Wrongheaded Prediction"? [Jonah Goldberg]
So says Salon about what I wrote on January 4, 2008:

"I think it's worth imagining a
certain scenario. Imagine the Democrats do rally around Obama. Imagine the media
invests as heavily in him as I think we all know they will if he's the nominee —
and then imagine he loses. I seriously think certain segments of American
political life will become completely unhinged. I can imagine the fear of this
social unraveling actually aiding Obama enormously in 2008. Forget Hillary's
inevitability. Obama has a rendezvous with destiny, or so we will be told. And
if he's denied it, teeth shall be gnashed, clothes rent and prices paid."

Not only do I stand by that, I know a significant number of liberals
who've said pretty much the same thing to me personally (not to mention some of
the nutjobs who wrote that there would be a race war if Obama lost). I stand by
that entirely.

Megan McArdle has taken to quoting Jonah, no doubt recognizing a kindred soul. The Age of Mediocrity has lingered too long, and there is nothing left but the idiot sons of the rich and the grasping, social climbing fools who long to move in the same circles.

Just One More Thing----

This bit deserves to be emphasized further.

And when the various parties act as if it is so--as if the independents had
actually voted to join their power-hungry two-minutes-hate, rather than voting
for the guy they thought would best shelter them from the vicissitudes of fate .
. . well, for the last few elections, they've had their asses handed to them on
a silver platter two years later.

The role of the president is not to shelter us from the vicissitudes of life. It is to uphold and defend the Constitution and preserve the nation. Megan, like all Authoritarians in varying degree, wants someone to make her feel secure and safe. It is something that has been missing all the Authoritarians' life. Security is one of the basic needs of life, and they are driven to achieve it in any way possible, even giving up their freedom if necessary.

Everybody's afraid. It's what you do next that counts. Do you choose the certainty of hate and security, or do you choose the risk of hope and openness?

Let The Concern Trolling Begin!

Roy Edroso, long may he write, pins Megan McArdle down like a butterfly on cardboard. The futile struggling is painful to see, for disappointment has made Megan testy.

When Obama fails to denounce the capital gains tax in his Inaugural Address, I
expect that will be the last straw. Then McArdle can become the go-to
disgruntled Obama supporter. Orson Scott Card must be kicking himself for not thinking of this first.
A girl's gotta have a gimmick if she wants to get applause, and Megan has embarked on her high-profile career as a concern troll. Megan's been preparing for this moment for a long time, although it was a race to see if Ann Althouse would get there first. However, Ann is easily distracted, and like golden apples thrown down to delay Atalanta, Ann was delayed by a New Yorker article that called her a wingnatrix, and Megan won the race. To the victor go the spoils:

Perhaps I'm getting too testy. For the past two presidential elections, I've voted for the winning candidate. For the past two elections, I've experienced near-immediate buyer's remorse. And for the past two elections, I've been saddened and appalled to watch the people who voted with me display behavior they would be ashamed to find in their three year old in any other context.

I don't mean celebrating their win. I mean celebrating their opponents loss. I mean taking more obvious enjoyment in the fact that the people they disagree with are unhappy, developing fantasies of being the boot stomping into those peoples' faces--forever. Four years ago (or was it six?) I told my commenters to stop gloating, only to be dismissed as a nannying concern troll. They'd earned it, you see. After years of abuse from the other side, they deserved to take joy in the disappointment of others.

How'd that work out, guys?

First of all, anyone who quotes Jonah Goldberg in seriousness isn't going to convince anyone. Second, if Megan is going to accuse anyone of malfeasance, she had better tell us who she is accusing. We're sick to death of these vaguely worded accusations of traitordom and boot stomping and fascism. Show some balls and name names so the people can defend themselves, or shut up.

The "people we disagree with" lost for a damn good reason; incompetence, reckless militancy, neglect, and corruption. If we experience a wild joy at the hope of the possibility of the beginning of the ending of war and corruption, we can live with it. If you can't, give us reasons why we should be humble, modest, and, most of all, not annoying to Ms. Megan McArdle. Otherwise it is your problem, not ours.

Every time we have an election, the partisans confuse the fact that the independents disliked the opposition candidate, with the idea that the independents joined their party. The independents did not want to stomp the Democrats in 2004, and they do not want to stomp the Republicans now. They are not interested in advancing the electoral fortunes of the Democratic Party, any more than they were preparing to hand the Republicans a "permanent majority" in 2004. And when the various parties act as if it is so--as if the independents had actually voted to join their power-hungry two-minutes-hate, rather than voting for the guy they thought would best shelter them from the vicissitudes of fate . . . well, for the last few elections, they've had their asses handed to them on a silver platter two years later.

This is the Jonah Goldberg Theory of Electoral Success. When your party is elected by a landslide on the explicit agenda of major change, you should rule like the losing party, or you will lose the next election. Thank you for the advice, Megan. We'll take it for what it's worth.

I don't begrudge my fellow Obama supporters an excitement I certainly do not
feel about the many exciting projects that may be undertaken with a large
Democratic congressional majority. But I'm kind of ashamed at the meanness. The
election of the President of the United States not a sports match, or a
schoolyard battle for who's the biggest, meanest bully on the block. I wish so
many Obama supporters were not acting as if it was. I especially wish they
weren't doing so after complaining so bitterly that it wasn't fair four years
ago. If Obama gets blindisded by an intractable financial crisis, those people
will deserve every bit of nastiness that gets heaped on them two and four years
hence. And the undoubtedly equally repulsive Republican gloating from people who
really ought to have learned better will be no less nauseating for all that.

I'm sorry, but that won't work. Everyone and his puppy knows that Bush, the Republican Congress (and their weak Democratic enablers), and the Republican policies of the financial world destroyed the economy. Pinning it on Obama won't work. Nice try, though.

The world changes, and either you change with the times or get left behind. Megan is proving to be a little less nimble than I thought she would be. And Megan, if you've voted twice (and forgotten to register to vote once) and been disappointed every time, you're not a very good judge of character or politics, are you?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Sometimes The Funny Can't Be Found

Let's talk about fear.

During a brief period of time, parts of the East coast were tested with genuine fear; 9/11, anthrax, and the DC shooters shocked and frightened everyone in the area. Senators and staffers ran out of the capitol every time Tom Ridge hit the panic button. The DC Village people were terrified. The randomness of the attacks destroyed their illusion that the elite can never suffer like the little people, and let them know that their security guards and limos and wealth couldn't stop someone from hijacking a plane or sending poison through the mail.

9/11 changed nothing. It simply ripped away the mask the elite wear, a thin veneer of superiority. They were cowards, and rather than admit it, they insist the danger was so severe that the world had to completely transform itself to meet it. They were afraid, and they panicked. They would rather that we forget this little detail, indeed, forget the last eight years altogether.

And so we come to Megan McArdle, Homo Vacuous, as we so often do.

If the country is so progressive, how come Bush won the popular vote four years ago? Did all the center right people die? Or are American voters somewhat mercurial?

Oh, Megan. The dishonesty of this approach is naked and ugly. Obviously people became extremely unhappy with Republican rule. Republicans dragged us (some willing, some not) into two wars with no ending and no measure of success. They looted the Treasury and probably destroyed the economy. They neglected and let crumble an historic and beautiful American city. And those are just the tip of the iceberg that has hit our country, courtesy not merely of George Bush, but of the entire Republican party (and Democratic enablers).

Also, how come Bush had no mandate four years ago? Did the American
voter get more mandative? Would John McCain have had a mandate if he'd
achieved these kinds of numbers? Or would that be entirely different?

Bush won by a very narrow margin. Obama won in a landslide. What a petty thing to say, reeking of sour grapes. Why do we have to do this? Why do we have to fight deceitful "ideologues" working out personal issues? Why can't we concentrate on improving our country, instead of wasting our time and emotional energy on highly-placed hacks?

I have to quote Paul Krugman in toto now, both for the aptness of the quote and the lovely, tasty irony. Here he is.

Last night wasn’t just a victory for tolerance; it wasn’t just a mandate for
progressive change; it was also, I hope, the end of the monster years.

What I mean by that is that for the past 14 years America’s political
life has been largely dominated by, well, monsters. Monsters like Tom DeLay, who
suggested that the shootings at Columbine happened because schools teach
students the theory of evolution. Monsters like Karl Rove, who declared that
liberals wanted to offer “therapy and understanding” to terrorists. Monsters
like Dick Cheney, who saw 9/11 as an opportunity to start torturing people.

And in our national discourse, we pretended that these monsters were
reasonable, respectable people. To point out that the monsters were, in fact,
monsters, was “shrill.”

Four years ago it seemed as if the monsters
would dominate American politics for a long time to come. But for now, at least,
they’ve been banished to the wilderness.

Prof. Krugman must not read The Atlantic.

(links added)

The Inner Workings Of An Inferor Mind

Megan McArdle doesn't think gays should marry. Every time she mentions the subject she comes up with stupid arguments such as it might potentially harm the institution of marriage by magically making it less attractive. The only logical conclusion one can come to is that Megan thinks that if a gay person married, people would think less of marriage, because they think less of gays. Megan never says she feels this way of course, just that someone else might, and that might harm marriage.

But why would Megan care if some bigot didn't like gays marrying? Why does the idea of excluding gays from marriage appeal to Megan? Evidently, Megan believes that the more exclusive something is, the more valuable it is, and therefore will always be trying to find reasons to exclude others. It's how she calculates her self-worth. The more exclusive the Megan Club is, the more valuable Megan is. This simple method of dealing with insecurity is the foundation of her career.

Everything she writes is affected by this drive. It's why she is impressed with expensive educations, why she tries to hard to keep down the poor, indeed why she considers the poor to be a seething mass of immorality in the first place. It's not reason, or education, or training or ideology. It's insecurity, and it will never be satisfied because insecurity is a bottomless well of need. No amount of keeping down gays and the poor will ever truly make her feel better about herself, but she keeps trying.

Either we can accept and forgive ourselves for the faults that we perceive in ourselves, or we can spend our lives trying to compensate for self-hatred. It's up to us to make that choice.

Megan's argument this time is that the people are afraid to let gays marry. Her words aren't even worth quoting. It's the same argument dishonest people always use. I 've read excuses from people down in the south who say the same thing about slavery. If only the north hadn't demanded the south end slavery, it would have happened anyway. Sure. The south would have voluntarily rid themselves of the system that lets them imagine they are superior to an entire group of people. That's why the south bloomed with love and support for blacks for the century following the Civil War.

Congratulations, Megan McArdle. You can use The Atlantic to make the same sort of arguments that it used to fight against. "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" was printed in The Atlantic. Now it prints your garbage instead.

Hoist, Meet Petard

In "Why McCain Lost " by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair, there is a quote from a friend of the authors that cracked me up.

He added that all the talk about Obama’s links to terror, to Islam, to
bombers has also had the effect of intimidating elderly Republicans from
even putting McCain/Palin signs in their yards.
It serves them right. He who lives by the sword, dies by the sword.


Jonah Goldberg, doughy of pant and deficient of brain, states that Democrats had better rule as Republicans, or they'll lose the next election. Obama just won in a landslide, yet the people who elected him will turn on him if he doesn't follow the policies of the losers.


Jonah's tome, Liberal Fascism: From Mommy's Bank Account To W. F. Buckley's Bank Account, is now the number one conservative book on government on Amazon, according to Jonah. He's one of their leading intellectuals. And they wonder why they lost.

Post-Racial Lisa Schiffren

Lisa Schiffren is becoming a favorite of mine at Wingnut Welfare Central, also known as The Corner. Watch this, folks:

I went to bed after John McCain's exceptionally gracious, unusually eloquent concession speech, not having much interest in watching jubilant crowds celebrating their win. That speech touched all the grace notes, and went the extra mile in speaking about the wonders of a country that elected it's [sic] first black leader, just so many years after all those bad things that used to happen to African Americans, on the grounds of race.

"All those bad things"? "All those bad things"? You mean like slavery, degradation, physical assault, rape, murder, rending of families? And the war that it took to end slavery that killed hundreds of thousands? Then the decade upon decade of oppression and continuation of abuse? And the routine if much more covert abusive behavior blacks have to tolerate today? Those bad things?

You're a loser, lady. In more ways than one. Which means that she's not done yet.

The Fox News reporter who had covered the campaign, whose name escapes me,
reported, forthrightly, that some McCain aides had felt for a while that their
candidate had had a deep reluctance to impede the election of the nation's first
African American president. That he had, perhaps, pulled punches and failed to
strike as hard as necessary to win this thing, for that greater good. The report
was infuriating, since more depended on the election than changing the race
dynamic — which, it must be said, has been changed for some time, and did not
require this particular symbol to validate it. To be sure, McCain must have
known that his campaign was losing — and did not want to swing blindly. And
maybe he didn't like being called "erratic," "desperate", and a "racist" every
time the inconvenient facts of Barack Obama's short past came up for discussion.

But all Republicans who watched their candidate these past few months,
must have been struck, as I have been, by the sense that he was holding back. I
wondered, too often, how it could be that no one at the campaign could frame and
muster the arguments that were clear to all conservative writers here and at the
other publications and blogs that share our view. When the arguments were made,
they were too little, too late, and garbled enough to drain their force. The
campaign had it's [sic] (very serious) flaws, but it seems that the reluctance to aim
and shoot cleanly, was due to the candidate's internal conflict here. Contrast
that with the campaign style of the Vice Presidential candidate, who seemed
quite interested in winning, and was willing to call things by name to make the
case against the opposition.

The only lesson Schiffren gleaned from this election is that they should have called Obama worse names. It will be very entertaining to watch conservatives throw themselves further down the rabbit hole, into an upside-down world of hate and self-pity, where they can believe as many as six impossible things before breakfast.

I Woke Up Smiling

and I can't stop. I have some very serious problems with Obama, but that can wait. Right now is the time to store up the joy for the difficult time ahead. We can't stop questioning and demanding our government follow the laws, but we can take a little time to feel the relief, pride, and yes, hope.

Thank you, Mr. President-Elect, for giving hope back to us.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Megan McArdle, in a nutshell:

But clearly, I must be missing something, because almost all the smart
economists disagree with me.

Indeed, Megan. Indeed.

Stupid's Go To Girl

Kathryn Jean Lopez introduces a new meme to the world via e-mails to NRO; a meme so wonderfully idiotic, patently false, and achingly dog-whistlesque that it is sure to become an Internet Tradition.

we have reports of possible voter intimidation in some way — pennsylvania.
republicans saying that two black panthers have been
blocking the doorway of one polling locations

i do not even know where to begin, but we have reached a polling place in
the city of philadelphia. one of the two black panthers who
was allegedly blocking the door is standing right over here, with an accused us
of intimidating voters because we were here with a camera and microphone

we got a phone call that there was intimidation going on. i walked up
to the door, two gentlemen in black panther guard, one
brandishing a nightstick, standing in front of the door.

but the implication is that you were telling me that the black panthers were there to intimidate white voters from coming to this location?

this is the first time i have heard of black panthers being stationed outside of a polling place. the one gentleman who is still here, he is a poll-watcher? [type change is mine--s/t]

Ahhhhhh! The black panthers are going to get you!!! Oh noes!!!

K-Lo, you are as disgusting as you are naively moronic. You are the perfect conduit for stupid. You are the shit-moat of conservative politics.

Juan Cole's Definitions

I never knew Juan Cole was funny.

The Ghoul's Glossary: the 2008 Election:

Withdrawal: A way to avoid the worst consequences of a moment of
pleasurable conquest, which, however, often comes too late to avoid years of
support payments.


Via TPM, we see Sarah Palin has still not released her medical records, but does have a note from her doctor.

"She is physically fit with a regular exercise regimen," Baldwin-Johnson wrote, adding that the 44-year-old Palin takes no routine prescription medications.

So she doesn't take birth control, no doubt out of religious/political conviction. I wonder if the right ever thought Palin through at all. While it would have been interesting to have a vice president who might become pregnant at any time and indeed just had a baby, perhaps it is better for everyone if Palin is forced to spend more time with her family.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Megan McArdle, Socialist

Megan McArdle asks, "Why isn't it a good thing for bankruptcy judges to write down mortgage debt?" Sorry, Megan, the time to argue this issue has long past. You supported bailing out the banks and investment houses to the tune of over $700,000,000,000.00 You're going to pinch pennies now?

It's always the same with her; socialism for the rich, capitalism for the poor.

Less Tall Megan

In which Megan proves that once you criticize her or one of her economic heroes such as Friedman or Greenspan, you are on her "naughty" list forever. There is no reason for this post except to sneer at Krugman and De Long.

In which Megan erects another strawman, props it up, stuffs it into a suit, decorates the stage with an American flag and cardboard desk, blares a John Phillips Sousa march through a loudspeaker, and hopes nobody notices that the strawman is full of crap.

Letters to the Corner

Dear Jay Nordlinger,

I am an white, female, leftist Obama supporter who homeschools her twelve children and takes them to church every Sunday, even when they don't bring out the snake to talk in tongues. Every black or Hispanic person I know is voting for McCain, and it's not just because I give them their pay under the table every two months. They know McCain will protect them when the brown hordes kill our soldiers, take away women's rights, destroy our Constitution, and release terrorist attacks on us. Our leftist neighbors, who have conducted black masses to bewitch our yard signs, secretly whisper to me inside my head that they are really going to vote for McCain because he has a manly scent, just like George Bush. Keep up the good work!

Name withheld to protect author from Wiccans.

Madonna with Child

Think Progress:
With 24 hours left in the campaign, Palin still has not given a single
press conference, nor has she released her medical records despite
promising to do so
Amazing. My guess is that she didn't follow her doctor's orders during her last pregnancy.

Megan, Interrupted

Megan is finally awake and working. Not on economic posts, of course, but I'm sure her erudition and volunimous research will pay off very, very soon.

"Apparently, if you pass a stopped emergency vehicle (including a trooper on a traffic stop) without pulling into the left lane, you can be liable for a huge ticket in Virginia. DC area drivers(In other words, I or someone I know just got a ticket.), take note; they can pull you over even if you're going to the limit (Do you mean under?) and not endangering the trooper. (You mean you can't argue your way out of trouble? Life isn't like grad school?) I don't know about other parts of the country, but around here governments are partially dealing with their revenue shortfall by upping their traffic enforcement to outrageously persnickety levels (Proof?); my sister got a ticket the other day for stopping at a stop sign for three seconds instead of the apparently requisite five.(Writers should edit their work. After they lean how to do so.) There were no other cars around--except for the cop who handed her a gigantic ticket. (Rules are for the little people?) "

I actually agree that traffic laws could be set up to fleece people when the city needs money. I do not, however, think that only my family should be exempt.

UPDATE: McArdle informs us, "I can't prove that cops are ticketing more in order to make up other revenue shortfalls, of course, but it certainly seems true from anecdotal evidence. " Well, there you go, then! No proof needed.

That MBA is sure being put to good use.

Elephant in the Room

Right now at the Corner:

Kathryn Jean Lopez: Elephant in the Room

Oh, honey, you're the editor, you could have chosen a different title. I know you don't get it, but that snickering you hear isn't because you're an amusing writer.

And, like Death follows Dick Cheney, more stupid follows with K-Lo. Naturally it's all about the fetus, and she's been filled with holy pride that Trig Palin's parents chose to have a child with Down syndrome, and is horrified that some people dislike Palin's choice.

Whatever you think, frankly, of Sarah Palin’s suitability for the office of vice president, to see Trig is a good thing for America. Before this election, most Americans did not know that upwards of 90 percent of children diagnosed with Down Syndrome are never born. Now we know. Now we can offer more support to our friends and neighbors living with this challenge. Now we can do something to make sure we let people know they have our support before they eliminate a child who can
bring them great joy, amidst the challenge.

Okay, Lopez, you do that. Since every time I see Trig he's being held by his sister Bristol and she's about to be holding her own baby, Palin is going to need a new nurse for the baby. Show your support, Lopez. Put your actions where you mouth is. But remember, people are not babies for long. Volunteer to care for adults with Downs, too. Their parents would surely love to have a break. Once a week would be good, I think. I'm sure you'll rush out and do that very thing, as soon as you're finished your endless parade of posts sobbing and wheezing over Teh Fetus and its priestly protectors.

Alice Miller said she didn't understand love until she had a child with Downs. That love can be yours, too. You keep saying these are God's people, that their lives are a gift--why won't you share it with them? Or are you all talk, when it's your life and not someone else's? Is the choice that Sarah Palin was given by the Supreme Court and which she made in private between her doctor, husband, and herself only available for people who agree with you? Isn't that pretty fascist--to insist that everyone who agrees with you is "free to choose," but everyone who disagrees with you must accept your choice?

The Fine Print

A Tiny Revolution, which is a must read, reproduces an essay on economics by H. L. Mencken. The essay directly addresses a problem that has grown exponentially greater as the years have passed as the establishment, the 1%, has created an industry called the mass media to propagandize for itself. The 1% pay the elite to follow orders and the elite pay the mass media to quiet or encourage dissent, whichever is needed at the time. Many are led by gentle direction and implicit punishment, as Mencken describes below:.

But all the time a troubling question keeps afloat in the air, and that is briefly this: What would happen to the learned professors if they took the other side? In other words, to what extent is political economy, as professors expound and practice it, a free science, in the sense that mathematics and physiology are free sciences? At what place, if any, is speculation pulled up by a rule that beyond lies treason, anarchy and disaster? These questions, I hope I need not add, are not inspired by any heterodoxy in my own black heart. I am, in many fields, a flouter of the accepted revelation and hence immoral, but the field of economics is not one of them. Here, indeed, I know of no man who is more orthodox than I am. I believe that the present organization of society, as bad as it is, is better than any other that has ever been proposed. I reject all the sure cures in current agitation, from government ownership to the single tax. I am in favor of free competition in all human enterprises, and to the utmost limit. I admire successful scoundrels, and shrink from Socialists as I shrink from Methodists. But all the same, the afore said doubt pursues me when I plow through the solemn disproofs and expositions of the learned professors of economics, and that doubt will not down. It is not logical or evidential, but purely psycho logical.

And what it is grounded on is an unshakable belief that no man's opinion is worth a hoot, however well supported and maintained, so long as he is not absolutely free, if the spirit moves him, to support and maintain the exactly contrary opinion. In brief, human reason is a weak and paltry thing so long as it is not wholly free reason. The fact lies in its very nature, and is revealed by its entire history. A man may be perfectly honest in a contention, and he may be astute and persuasive in maintaining it, but the moment the slightest compulsion to maintain it is laid upon him, the moment the slightest external re ward goes with his partisanship or the slightest penalty with its abandonment, then' there appears a defect in his ratiocination that is more deep-seated than any error in fact and more destructive than any conscious and deliberate bias. He may seek the truth and the truth only, and bring up his highest talents and diligence to the business, but always there is a specter behind his chair, a warning in his ear. Always it is safer and more hygienic for him to think one way than to think another way, and in that bald fact there is excuse enough to hold his whole chain of syllogisms in suspicion. He may be earnest, he may be honest, but he is not free, and if he is not free, he is not anything.

Some bloggers eagerly and voluntarily propagandize for their masters, out of desire to become part of the elite. It just feels good to them, to fancy themselves superior to the rest of the country. Parents' slights and schoolmates' insults fade away, and the warm glow of knowing the power and popularity of the elite approve of and support the propagandist makes up (almost) for the emptiness inside. And this is something Obama supporters must remember after the election as well. The rich are not your friends. Look at the policies you agree with just as carefully as you look at the policies you hate.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Brilliant Megan McArdle

David Brooks [Sept. 26, 2008]:

The establishment — and yes, this week there really is such a thing — is saying we have to pass something [a bailout] even if it’s ugly. The greater risk is inaction, not bad action. I happen to agree with this position, for what it’s worth, influenced by the brilliant economic blogger Megan McArdle, who points out that given how bad the Great Depression was, it’s probably worth taking heroic measures to prevent another.

The brilliant economics blogger Megan McArdle [Nov. 28, 2007]:

I recently overheard someone bashing Alan Greenspan for not doing something about the subprime mortgage market. That something seemed a little fuzzy, but seemed to involve stopping banks from offering those dreadful, dreadful loans.

This seems to be a fairly common sentiment, so I think it's worth pointing out that the latest data we have shows that the overwhelming majority of subprime loans are still in good standing. Subprime securities are taking a bath because defaults are higher than were expected, not because everyone who got one is in trouble. The 85% of homeowners with subprime loans who are currently making their payments might not agree that Alan Greenspan should have, in his ineffable wisdom, prevented them from getting loans.

Nor, so far, is there much evidence that the subprime problems are causing much fuss in the broader financial markets. So it's far from clear to me that Alan Greenspan should have acted--and indeed, far from clear to me that Alan Greenspan could have acted effectively.

There's a disturbing tendency to think that every problem is the result of inadequate regulation. In fact, America's bank industry is, as Tyler Cowen points out, one of the most heavily regulated in the world. And not every problem can be solved by better regulation--some things simply can't be regulated without causing bigger problems than they solve. There is no perfect regulatory state that will allow us all to live in a serene economic paradise, and the sooner we stop looking for one, the more effective our regulatory state will actually be.

Update In calmer consideration, that was too flip. But the financial holocaust that was widely feared has not come to pass, and is looking less likely to occur with each passing day.

David Brooks's Authoritarian impluses are bleeding out here. The only person who would consider McArdle brilliant in economics or journalism is someone who looks at the surface and imagines that he has plumbed dephs. It makes Brooks act as if he is very, very stupid.