Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Let The Right One In



Megan McArdle does what comes naturally.


There was a rumor going around a long time ago that Megan McArdle was up for a job at The New York Times but was rejected.  I have no idea if this is true, but I do know that McArdle has complained several times about the lack of right wingers in the elite professions. Like Ross Douthat, McArdle thinks of herself as part of a conservative intelligentsia, a small number of persecuted souls who are being unfairly excluded by liberal Mandarins who have taken all the cool jobs and won't let them in.
[The Chinese Mandarin] system produced many benefits, but some of those benefits were also costs. A single elite taking a single exam means a single way of thinking: The examination system also served to maintain cultural unity and consensus on basic values. The uniformity of the content of the examinations meant that the local elite and ambitious would-be elite all across China were being indoctrinated with the same values.
The American Mandarins, McArdle says, went to the same schools as she and worked the same sort of elite jobs as she, but they had it easy all their lives. Like the kids in her exclusive prep school who had more money than her (she says),  the Mandarins have it easy. They didn't get fired from their jobs at Merrill Lynch before they even started. They didn't suffer through two humiliating years of unemployment. They didn't wear shabby dresses or crawl under desks running wires while old men leered. They didn't have to run a copy machine while their friends met with authors and senators and hedge fund managers. They didn't have to shill for drug companies on their blog. They didn't have to go back to school at the Institute for Humane Studies and start their careers all over again. They just shot straight from one success to another. Unlike her.
The road to a job as a public intellectual now increasingly runs through a few elite schools, often followed by a series of very-low-paid internships that have to be subsidized by well-heeled parents, or at least a free bedroom in a major city. The fact that I have a somewhat meandering work and school history, and didn't become a journalist until I was 30, gives me some insight (she said, modestly) that is hard to get if you’re on a laser-focused track that shoots you out of third grade and straight toward a career where you write and think for a living. Almost none of the kids I meet in Washington these days even had boring menial high-school jobs working in a drugstore or waiting tables; they were doing “enriching” internships or academic programs. And thus the separation of the mandarin class grows ever more complete.
  Indeed, Megan McArdle. Indeed.

Like Ayn Rand, McArdle laments that the Mandarins never learned to appreciate the real business of America, which is running a business. They never have to soil their beautiful minds with money worries.
[...M]any of the mandarins have never worked for a business at all, except for a think tank, the government, a media organization, or a school—places that more or less deliberately shield their content producers from the money side of things. There is nothing wrong with any of these places, but culturally and operationally they're very different from pretty much any other sort of institution. I don't myself claim to understand how most businesses work, but having switched from business to media, I'm aware of how different they can be.  
In fact, I think that to some extent, the current political wars are a culture war not between social liberals and social conservatives, but between the values of the mandarin system and the values of those who compete in the very different culture of ordinary businesses--ones outside glamour industries like tech or design.
The Merrill Lynch Mandarin who fired McArdle without even knowing her name and the Mandarin girls she went to school with who always had new clothes and the Mandarins who sneered at her conservatives friends who worked for National Review and all the other Mandarins who were keeping her from getting on tv and in The New York Times--they think they're all that and a bag of chips.
And like all elites, they believe that they not only rule because they can, but because they should. Even many quite left-wing folks do not fundamentally question the idea that the world should be run by highly verbal people who test well and turn their work in on time. They may think that machine operators should have more power and money in the workplace, and salesmen and accountants should have less. But if they think there's anything wrong with the balance of power in the system we all live under, it is that clever mandarins do not have enough power to bend that system to their will. For the good of everyone else, of course. Not that they spend much time with everyone else, but they have excellent imaginations.
The Mandarins' grandfathers were super rich while McArdle's grandfather ran a(n) (extremely lucrative) gas station. Prep school must have been brutal. Add on 6'2" and a pack of Rich White Girls who lived on breath mints and were constantly bitchy from hunger, and no wonder McArdle hates the elite as much as she worships them. McArdle is one of them yet she is nothing like them, she assures us. The red blood of American business runs through her veins, while the Mandarins are effete and mindless.
All elites are good at rationalizing their eliteness, whether it's meritocracy or “the divine right of kings.” The problem is the mandarin elite has some good arguments. They really are very bright and hardworking. It’s just that they’re also prone to be conformist, risk averse, obedient, and good at echoing the opinions of authority, because that is what this sort of examination system selects for.
Therefore the Mandarin class of liberals needs people like Megan McArdle, Ross Douthat, Jonah Goldberg, Peter Suderman, and the rest of her friends and co-workers to keep them honest and true. Anti-authoritarians, every one.
Bring The Right Wing Into The Mainstream Media
How can the Republican Party keep another Trump candidacy from derailing its future electoral chances? Forget messing around with the primary system. If Republicans want a party that can win, says Catherine Rampell of the Washington Post, the first thing they need to do is to “drain the right-wing media swamp.”
“It is, after all, the right-wing radio, TV and Internet fever swamps that have gotten them into this mess,” she writes, “that have led to massive misinformation, disinformation and cynicism among Republican voters. And draining those fever swamps is the only way to get them out of it.”
I could point out that Rampell is remarkably ungenerous in ignoring the many serious conservative journalists who spoke out early and often against Donald Trump, including an entire “Against Trump” issue of the National Review, the elder statesman of right-wing journalism. (The National Review also printed an editorial unequivocally stating that then-President-Elect Barack Obama was a natural-born U.S. citizen.)
 McArdle's dishonesty shines like a vampire in the moonlight. Even conservatives are saying that the right created its own monster by encouraging hatred to inflame their followers to vote or give money. McArdle ignores the entire history of the right wing and protests that Trump's competitors were against him from the start. That doesn't make up for the last 60+ years but McArdle is a shill and shills don't have to make sense. They just have to make money.

She also ignores the recent history of National Review, with its staff of racists, god-humpers and fetus-fondlers, and neocon genocide fanboys. If you pretend the fever swamp doesn't exist, you can pretend you are being unfairly excluded from exclusive jobs because you are conservative, not because your ideology is a notorious failure and your fellow travelers are stupid, lazy, immoral, and greedy.
None of this had much effect on folks like Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity, nor does it seem to have appreciably damaged Trump. It’s unclear how the Republican establishment critiquing Fox News and talk radio would be any more effective.
Yes, once you create a monster it's rather difficult to kill it. Especially when you pretend you never created it in the first place.
Let me suggest a better strategy. Liberal journalists who want to drain the “fever swamps” should not be pointing the finger at Republican politicians. If they want to get people out of the swamp, they’ll have to make room in the castle.
Naturally the only way to drain the swamp of racists, sexists, neo-cons, and failures is to give them exclusive jobs at the top of the financial and social ladder. Letting them suffer the whims of the free market would be too, too cruel and unfair, and the Mandarins would also suffer if they excluded the only voices of Reason, Morality, and Industry.
The media is overwhelmingly liberal. It tends to mirror the left-to-center-left spectrum of the social class from which most journalists are drawn. That affects coverage, which right-wing readers pick up on.
Yes, liberal journalists, I’m saying that the media is biased, and I know you don’t see any evidence of that, because that’s how bias works: You don’t notice it when you share the bias. No, my loonier Republican readers, I am not confirming your belief that journalists deliberately slant their coverage to achieve political ends or even just to provoke you.
McArdle occupies higher ground than Mandarins and conservative fever swamps. Her earthy connection to the working man and her superior intellect give her a unique perspective than enables her to tell everyone else what to do and how to think. From the earlier post quoted above:
Though I completely lacked the focused ambition of the young journalists I meet today, I am a truly stellar test-taker, from a family of stellar test-takers. I have a B.A. from Penn and an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago, credentials that I am well aware give me an entree that other people don't have. Nor do I think that these are bad things to have. Verbal fluency, fast reading, and a good memory are excellent qualities—in a writer.
Despite the fact that she also has told us she was an indifferent student with indifferent grades, McArdle's stellar test-taking abilities have made her able to rise above bias.
Rather, the bias operates in what topics people choose to cover, how strenuously they interrogate facts, how skeptical they are of various claims about the future. As social psychologist Jonathan Haidt says, when we see a fact or a claim that comports with our ideological beliefs, we ask: “Can I believe this?” When we see one that conflicts with it, we ask: “Must I believe this?”
McArdle routinely assumes anything she agrees with is right, and anything she doesn't agree with is wrong. We know this because she cherry-picks data and misinterprets information according to her bias. This makes her a very poor analyst, a dishonest journalist, and the type of person who will spend the rest of her life slowly sinking into the quicksand of the fever swamps, because that is where she belongs.
The process mostly operates subconsciously; it is entirely possible to believe that you are being strenuously fair while setting the bar higher for believing “conservative” stories and liking conservative politicians than for “liberal” ones. An unlikeable liberal politician will still be disliked; an irrefutable “conservative” fact will still be accepted. But in the mushy middle, the ground will tilt toward liberalism.
It's the System, man.
As long as there is liberal hegemony over the media -- and there is -- its coverage will read as liberal to someone with a different worldview. And that will create a demand for conservative media.
This is the lie (beloved of Jonah Goldberg) that extremist liberalism created the right wing fever swamps by forcing them to band together in self-defense and push back against the instigators.
The talent, the donors, the customers -- all will tend to be folks who are irritated with the status quo, which is to say, hardcore conservatives. How do you get and keep those folks? By being strongly ideological. You end up with a liberal mainstream media that is large and weakly politically biased, and a much smaller conservative media that is strongly political and focuses almost entirely on stories with a political angle, to keep its readership.
No mention of money, power and control, or the fact that the right's tactics worked for a long time, until they killed the golden goose by pushing the right too far.
At which point, it became hard for the people working in that media to get a job at a mainstream publication staffed by people who think they’re wrong about everything.
They are. Conservative failures have proven it. Right wing economics ruined Louisiana, Wisconsin, and Kansas and nearly brought down the entire economy. Right wing religion went too far and forced gays and women to fight back. (It's always projection.) Right wing entertainment failed to turn people conservative. Right wing  pundits were proven wrong about everything.
Big mainstream outlets hire a fair number of reporters from little left-wing political magazines; when I asked the conservative journalists I know for a similar list from right-wing outlets, the number of people we could come up with could be counted on the fingers of one hand. And we didn’t need all the fingers, either.
Evidently P. Suderman, boy Astro-turfer, can't get a mainstream job, denying McArdle access to even more money. How will she move to a multi-million dollar home on Dupont Circle next to Matthew "Let them eat concrete" Yglesias if she can't scrape up a million-dollar income?
This is not a slur on the folks on that side of the industry; a lot of them do great work, and many are my friends.
Please hire me, even though I say you are biased and should be hiring Pepe The Fever Swamp Frog instead of Paul Krugman.
But they justly lament that it will be hard for them to ever work anywhere else, given the employers on their resumes.
Then they shouldn't have taken those disreputable jobs, should they? Nobody forced McArdle to sell out to the Koches. She chose to work for them, support them, defend them, and lie for them. She could have lowered her expectations and taken whatever job her father could finagle for her, but she decided to become one of the Undead instead.

McArdle believes in gains from trade. She traded the Ivy League degree that her father bought for a high-salary job servicing billionaires. The mediocre sons and daughters of the rich took one look at William F. Buckley's mansion and yacht and in their greed forgot that he lived on a huge pile of inherited money, unlike them. They needed jobs and felt they deserved prestigious, lucrative ones. The only way they could achieve success was to take make-work jobs for shill factories. They joined conservative think tanks and wrote fake white papers and gave vapid lectures and bestowed each other with awards, aping real academics like a little girl and her dolls playing house. But they are shills, and everyone who doesn't live in the fever swamps knows it.
Conservative media, in other words, became an ideological ghetto. And ghettos often develop pathologies. What’s remarkable is not that so much of the right-wing media is so vitriolic and prone to conspiracy-mongering; what’s remarkable is that so many of those outlets remain committed to careful reporting and debunking things like the Obama birth certificate nonsense, rather than simply pandering to their readers.
Liar.
I’m not blaming liberals for the rise of the conservative-media ghetto.
Liar.
“Blame” implies that someone made a decision to make this happen. The thing is, no one made any such decision. There was no secret plan.
There was certainly no liberal media conspiracy, just an iterative process controlled by no one: Being human, liberals naturally prefer the work of folks who agree with them, so those are the folks they tend to hire and promote.  As they became increasingly dominant in the media, the trend became self-reinforcing. Fewer conservatives wanted to enter the castle in the first place, and few were allowed to. Now the castle residents are peering into the swamp and wondering what the heck is going on out there.
Oh, we know. The conservative elite unleashed their racists, sexists, and authoritarians, and the fever swamp denizens turned around and ate them.
But whoever is to blame for the problem,
How convenient. There are no villains, so hire the villains.
yelling at the residents of the swamp to behave themselves is probably not going to fix it.
Barring them from doing any more damage might help, though.
What would fix the problem is if the folks in the castle made a concerted effort to open the doors and persuade some of the swamp-dwellers to move inside.
Let in the racists. Let in the sexists. Let in the authoritarians,  the theocratic bigots, the conspiracy nuts, the gun nuts, the militia nuts, the Lock Her Up! nuts. It would be so biased to exclude them.
Not just to move inside, but to help run the place, pushing back on liberal pieties and dubious claims with the same fervor that liberals push back on conservative ones.
They don't just want to pretend to be real Big Thinkers. They want enough power to forced everyone else to service their billionaire masters as well.

The Party of Trump is knocking on the door and wants to be let in.
It’s not wholly implausible. The opinion operations of mainstream media outlets have long sought out and amplified conservative voices, in op-eds and via regular columnists like George Will at the Washington Post and Ross Douthat (preceded by Bill Kristol) at the New York Times. The news side of media outlets could follow suit. Unlike the “yell at them until they stop” strategy, this at least has a chance of working.
Destroy them while they're weak, when their base of power has left them. Hang garlic on your necks, ring the building with salt, draw hex marks over the windows.

But whatever you do, don't let them in the house.

Friday, October 28, 2016

In Which Conservatives Beg For Affirmative Action Jobs


Give up, conservatives. You're not lost in the woods, you're dead and stinking up the place.


From the beginning of Ross Douthat's recent essay on conservative intellectuals, it's clear he intends to blame their followers for the leaders' incompetency and greed.
Every political movement in a democracy is shaped like a pyramid — elite actors on the top, the masses underneath. But the pyramid that is modern American conservatism has always been misshapen, with a wide, squat base that tapers far too quickly at its peak.
The purpose of electing representatives is to have representation in government, not provide jobs for the lesser sons and daughters of the rich. Over here in reality, the conservative elite have used the money, time and votes of their followers to set up their children with a cushy, rose-strewn path from, say,  The House At Pooh Corner Preschool for Privileged Tykes to the most expensive prep schools they can afford, to an Ivy League school and on to clerk for a Judge, work for a Senator, intern at Wall Street, join a publishing house, or write for The Atlantic. Ross Douthat is complaining about being shut out of the meritocracy from his airy little nest at The New York Times, for Chrissake.
The broad base is right-wing populism, in all its post-World War II varietals: Orange County Cold Warriors, “Silent Majority” hard hats, Southern evangelicals, Reagan Democrats, the Tea Party, the Trumpistas. The too-small peak is the right’s intellectual cadres, its philosophers and legal theorists and foreign policy hands and wonks. The peak is small because conservatives have always had a relatively weak presence within what James Burnham, one of modern conservatism’s intellectual godfathers, called the “managerial class” — the largely liberal meritocrats who staff our legal establishment, our bureaucracy, our culture industries, our universities. Whether as provincial critics of this class or dissidents within it, conservative intellectuals have long depended on populism to win the power that the managerial elite’s liberal tilt would otherwise deny them.
The purpose of academia is to gain knowledge and pass it on to our young. Bureaucracies exist to run the business of governing, the entertainment industry exists to make money, and the legal establishment exists to create, maintain, and enforce a code of law. None of these organizations owe conservatives a living. If these organizations are meritocracies, moreover, then the cream will rise and the dregs will fall. The same conservative philosophies that glorify individual achievement and success through hard work and discipline should make whining for more power, money, and jobs a humiliating task. Sadly, however, Douthat is forced to admit that competence has a liberal bias.

Since, as Douthat admits, the conservative elite don't have enough brain or artistic power to succeed in lucrative and/or prestigious profession, they must depend on their base's power to get jobs. But once again, an impediment stands in their way. After yanking around, lying to, and ignoring their followers, the followers no longer trust their elite. They insist on trying to elect people who hire their own types, not Douthat and his conservative brethren.
Sometimes this interdependency has worked out well. At its peaks of political success, the conservative intelligentsia has channeled and directed populism, responding to grass-roots passions without being ruled by them.
By channeled and directed he means inflamed and unleashed. By not being ruled he means fooling the rubes.
But now, in the age of Donald Trump, the populists have seemingly decided that they can get along just fine without any elite direction whatsoever.
The conservative elite really shouldn't have told their followers that all the elite are too liberal and they should get rid of them in favor of people who will refuse to cooperate with anyone so the government will shut down and their taxes will be eliminated.
“This is the crisis of the conservative intellectual,” writes Matthew Continetti, the editor of The Washington Free Beacon, in a long essay tracing how the highbrow conservatism of Burnham and William F. Buckley sought to work with and through the anti-establishment impulses of the Middle American right. “After years of aligning with, trying to explain, sympathizing with the causes and occasionally ignoring the worst aspects of populism, he finds that populism has exiled him from his political home.”
The elite honored the wretched poor with their notice, tried to hammer the facts of life through their thick skulls, pretended to care about their poverty and conspiracies, and held their noses at the racist, sexist, fascist stench of the poor. In return, CNN hired Trump supporters, not libertarians and god-humpers.
And, Continetti adds, “what makes this crisis acute is the knowledge that he and his predecessors may have helped to bring it on themselves.”
The only word amiss in this analysis is “may.” The crisis described in Continetti’s essay was not created by the conservative intelligentsia alone. But three signal failures of that intelligentsia clearly contributed to the right’s disastrous rendezvous with Trumpism.
From here, Douthat goes on to describe how the conservative party's superstitions, prejudices and greed ruined the party for the next generation.

Just kidding. He blames the poors.
The first failure was a failure of governance and wisdom, under George W. Bush and in the years that followed. Had there been weapons of mass destruction under Iraqi soil and a successful occupation, or had Bush and his advisers chosen a more prudent post-Sept. 11 course, the trust that right-wing populists placed in their elites might not have frayed so quickly. If those same conservative intellectuals had shown more policy imagination over all, if they hadn’t assumed that the solutions of 1980 could simply be recycled a generation later, the right’s blue-collar voters might not have drifted toward a man who spoke, however crudely, to their more immediate anxieties.
They are elite conservatives. They are philosophically opposed to changing with circumstances, learning from mistakes, or rationally analyzing data. They always have and always will choose whatever activity will benefit them the most, and only seek to maintain the status quo because these are the circumstances under which they became wealthy and successful. The elite look upon their followers as pawns on a chessboard, to be moved at the will and whim of the elite for their personal benefit, and demand that they stay silent and unmoving the rest of the time.
The second failure was a failure of recognition and self-critique, in which the right’s best minds deceived themselves about (or made excuses for) the toxic tendencies of populism, which were manifest in various hysterias long before Sean Hannity swooned for Donald Trump. What the intellectuals did not see clearly enough was that Fox News and talk radio and the internet had made right-wing populism more powerful, relative to conservatism’s small elite, than it had been during the Nixon or Reagan eras, without necessarily making it more serious or sober than its Bircher-era antecedents.
The Reagan-era solutions included removing the Fairness Doctrine. This set up what followed: the development of a rabble-rousing, lying media organization that created, reinforced, and demanded hysterical reactions from its listeners. Conservative intellectuals worked hand-in-glove with the conservative media empires. The followers are now so paranoid that they will only trust people who they already know can't be trusted. Douthat is such a poor Christian and such a weak man that he can't confess guilt or accept responsibility.
Some conservatives told themselves that Fox and Drudge and Breitbart were just the evolving right-of-center alternative to the liberal mainstream media, when in reality they were more fact-averse and irresponsible. Others (myself included) told ourselves that this irresponsibility could be mitigated by effective statesmanship, when in reality political conservatism’s leaders — including high-minded figures like Paul Ryan — turned out to have no strategy save self-preservation.
Trump revealed that the intelligentsia were occupying themselves with meaningless busy work while the base cared about nothing but winning a contest. We already know that the politicians were occupied with lining their pockets, preserving their power, and groping any young person who came within range of their hands.
Both of these errors were linked to the most important failure of the right’s intellectuals: The failure to translate the power accrued through their alliance with populists into a revolution within the managerial class — one that would have ultimately made conservatism less dependent on the vagaries and venom of populism, made the right-leaning intelligentsia less of a wobbly peak and more of a sturdy spire.
I'll let my twitter speak for this paragraph.

Partial revolutions there were. Free-market ideas were absorbed into the managerial consensus after the stagflation of the 1970s. The fall of Communism lent a retrospective luster to Reaganism within the foreign policy establishment. There was even a period in the 1990s — and again, briefly, after Sept. 11 — when a soft sort of social conservatism seemed to be making headway among Atlantic-reading, center-left mandarins.
Douthat wrote for The Atlantic but of course he's referring to everyone else, not himself. McArdle also loves to snidely call liberal elites mandarins. Mandarins are a meritocratic but aristocratic bureaucracy class, which is exactly what Douthat is trying to increase. Calling liberals mandarins does nothing but make conservatives look racist; conservatives are Real Americans, liberals are foreign and not-us.
But the same Bush-era failures that alienated right-wing populists from their own intelligentsia also discredited conservative ideas within the broader elite. And then the progress of sexual individualism and the energy of a renascent left has pulled that elite further left across the last eight years.
Conservatives were wrong all the time, but what really pulled us all left was individuals thinking they could decided when they would or would not have sex. They forget that only celibate white older males can tell women when they can and can't have sex.
So it is that today, three generations after Buckley and Burnham, the academy and the mass media are arguably more hostile to conservative ideas than ever, and the courts and the bureaucracy are trending in a similar direction. Reflecting on this harsh reality has confirmed some conservatives in their belief that the managerial order is inherently left wing, and that the goal of a conservative politics should be to sweep the managerial class away entirely. This is part of the appeal of Trump to a small cohort within the right’s intelligentsia, who imagine that his strongman approach can unweave the administrative state and strip the overclass of all its powers.
If you didn't want them to think they could do that, you shouldn't have told them that it could be done.
This idea strikes me as fatuous and fantastical at once. But is there an alternative? Continetti’s essay hints at one: to make intellectual conservatism a more elite-focused project, to seek “a conservative tinged Establishment capable of permeating the managerial society and gradually directing it in a prudential, reflective, virtuous manner respectful of both freedom and tradition.”
 Why should they start now when they've never done this before? Douthat is either a bold liar or he is so self-flattering that he actually believes his lies.
This path seems considerably more appealing (and more republican) than the dream of a Trump-led Thermidor. But is it any more plausible? To begin anew, at such steep disadvantages, what amounts to missionary work? Or, as another alternative, conservative elites might simply try to build a more intellectually serious populism out of the Trumpian wreckage and wait for a less toxic backlash against liberal overreach to ride back into power. But can the populist right actually be de-Hannitized, de-Trumpified, rendered 100 percent Breitbart-free? Or would building on populism once again just repeat the process that led conservatism to its present end?
No, no, not a chance, no, and yes.
History does not stand still; crises do not last forever. Eventually a path for conservative intellectuals will open. But for now we find ourselves in a dark wood, with the straight way lost.
They are Over The Garden Wall, in the autumnal land of the dead, dancing around a fertility god, and pretending they are still alive.

Megan McArdle was deeply inspired by this Douthat post, and we will examine her greed post next.






Sunday, October 23, 2016

How The Right Is Paid To Say The Right Has Reformed On Prisons


The middle class.


Every Megan McArdle post is an archaeological dig. The deeper you go, the more information you gather. Finally you find the skeleton in the dank trench of McArdle's mind, which invariably belongs to the tribe of Koch.

McArdle addressed prison reform recently in an interview with Steve Teles, and we see that as McArdle goes, so goes the world, if the world is the Kochtopus:
One of the heartening developments of the last few years has been the emergence of a serious movement for prison reform on the right. These people are not simply coming over to the left-wing side; they have their own ideas about de-escalating mass incarceration, and an increasingly serious commitment to doing so.
The reality is far different from McArdle's fantasy, as Charles Pierce said recently while discussing McArdle's heartthrob, Paul Ryan. For decades, the Republican party pumped law and order to feed anger and fear, and is now suffering the consequences.
No, the prion disease cannot be stopped nor, increasingly, can its symptoms be ameliorated. Watch carefully, because by next January, they will be telling you that the biggest damage to the Trump campaign was wrought by Access Hollywood, and not the half-understood Heritage Society nostrums the Trump campaign embraced because its candidate didn't know any better. Exhibit B can be found in Friday's New York Times, in which we find deep sympathy for Speaker Paul Ryan, the zombie-eyed granny starver from the state of Wisconsin, as he wanders through his own personal ideological Gethsemane[...]
The Heritage Society will come up again.
"Criminal-justice issues?" Those are already dead in a Republican electorate that reformed itself into a defense committee for brutal cops; their untimely passing was noted by no less a star than Tom Cotton, to The Washington Times:
Asked why he thought the movement on the reform package is dead, Mr. Cotton said many lawmakers think releasing more people from prison will increase crime rates across the country. "It's deeply divisive within the Senate and the House as well, in part because there are a large number of senators and congressmen who do not think criminals are victims; they think criminals are criminals," the Arkansas Republican said. "Not many senators or congressmen want to be responsible for the murder or rape of innocent civilians out on the street." Noting that the prison population is already on the decline and recent 2016 crime data from major cities is pointing to an uptick in violent crime, Mr. Cotton said he worried that the country "may be at the leading edge of new crime wave." "The truth is you cannot decrease the severity and certainty of sentences without increasing crime," he said. "It's simply impossible. The bill's sponsors rarely speak of this trade-off."
It should be noted that the principal author of the bill that Cotton sang into its grave was Chuck Grassley, Republican from Iowa, the very man who invited Cotton to speak there last week. Who's the party going to listen to there?
So no, the right has not reformed on criminal justice. Which leads us to the next question: who is Steve Teles, and why is he claiming the right has reformed on reform? From the Johns Hopkins website:
Steven M. Teles (steles2@jhu.edu), associate professor of political science, came from the University of Maryland, where he was an associate professor of public policy, and from Yale Law School, where he was a visiting lecturer. His areas of specialty include social policy, law and public policy, and political analysis. “I’m slightly out of the mainstream of regular American political science. I don’t do game theory or highly quantitative work,” Teles says. “I’m interested in the role of ideas. I do qualitative work in archives. Hopkins has got to be one of the best, if not the best, departments outside the mainstream of ordinary political sciences. It’s extraordinarily exciting to work with so many people I respect whose work dovetails with the work I do.”
Teles earned his PhD from the University of Virginia and completed postdoctoral fellowships at Harvard University’s Center for American Political Studies and Princeton University. He is the author and co-author of several books including The Rise of the Conservative Legal Movement (Princeton University Press, 2008), in which he charts the success of the conservative legal establishment. His research for the book included accessing the private archives of the Olin Foundation, the Federalist Society, and other organizations. “I was interested in things other people weren’t—where does the organization of a movement come from and what are their challenges?” he says. He is currently at work on a number of projects, including a book on political analysis and policy design. Teles’ non-academic interests include skiing and discovering the best ethnic restaurants in the area.
Mr. Telnes is an independent thinker.
Teles’ central interest is in the interaction of public policy and processes of organizational genesis and change. How do movements create new kinds of organizations, how do funding processes influence the kinds of organizations that are created, how do those organizations take (and change) positions, and how do all these actions eventually influence what government actually does? He attacks these larger theoretical questions by talking directly with political activists and funders (among others), and digging into organizational papers. He has written for a number of popular publications, but his most important civic involvement today is as an editorial board member of The Washington Monthly, where he also contributes most of his non-academic writing. He also gives talks to Federalist Society chapters on a fairly regular basis, which gives him a chance to meet conservatives across the country and, he hopes, build some bridges to them.

Mr. Teles discussed our country's "kludgeocracy" with Clinton administration tea cup poodle Ezra Klein a few years ago, revealing that the government is interfering with the free market, to the market's detriment. He also has found that the government is preventing the free market from rewarding innovation and hard work by redistributing wealth upwards for the rich. In fact, most of America's ills are due to our refusal to let the free market do its magic unencumbered.

His interests are many, and he wrote a book called "Prison Break: How Conservatives Turned Against Mass Incarceration, which describes how anti-statism has turned the right soft on crime. In his interview with McArdle, Teles mentions "a huge group of conservatives who are part of the "Right on Crime" movement." From here on, it's a well-worn path back to the usual suspects, far-right wing billionaires.
"Right on Crime is a project of the Center for Effective Justice at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a conservative think tank.[3]
Of course it is.

So who is the Texas Public Policy Foundation?
The Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF) is a conservative think tank based in Austin, Texas. It is a member of the State Policy Network, a network of free-market oriented think tanks.
Heavens! A network that reaches out to every state, or at least every one that might be useful? That sounds very organized and very expensive.

The State Policy Network was founded in 1992 by Thomas A. Roe,[14] a South Carolina businessman who was a member of the board of trustees of The Heritage Foundation.[15]
...
In 2011, Mother Jones reported that SPN is largely funded by donations from foundations, including the Lovett and Ruth Peters Foundation, the Castle Rock Foundation, and the Bradley Foundation.[15] A 2013 article by The Guardian said that SPN received funding from the Koch brothers, Philip Morris, Kraft Foods and GlaxoSmithKline.[24] Other corporate donors to SPN have included Facebook, Microsoft, AT&T, Time Warner Cable, Verizon, and Comcast.[33][34] Between 2008 and 2013, SPN received $10 million from Donors Trust, a nonprofit donor-advised fund. In 2011, the approximately $2 million investment from Donors Trust accounted for about 40% of annual revenue.[35]
 Yes, conservatives have changed the way they think, moving from law and order to prison reform. Those crowds chanting "Lock her up!" to Hillary Clinton really meant "Put her on soft probation!"

It's going to be interesting to watch the elite's servants on the right retreat further and further into their fantasy of a reform-based, winning Republican Party. The reality will be a shrieking descent into madness as the alt-right-curious purge the party of Ryan and everyone else that lost the election for them.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Shorter Megan McArdle: There's Alway A Breeze In The Windmills Of My Mind

When time is short, do shorters.


Wal-Mart's Wage Experiment Works ... for Workers: aka Look Mommy, I Can Knock Down A Strawman! Silly people, Wal-Mart wages can't replace factory work. Wal-Mart can't adopt Costco's business model. It's not profitable to pay people anything but "the lowest wage you can get away with paying." Once raised, wages can't and aren't cut.

Me: The difference between Costco and Wal-Mart is that Costco tries to pay the most it can afford, and Wal-Mart tries to pay the least it can get away with. To McArdle, low wage employees are a barrier to billionaires' profit, not actual people with families.


Misbehaving Consumer Agency Gets Sent to Time Out: [I can't even.]

Me: This post is so incredibly aggravating that I couldn't encapsulate it. I wasted one week trying to approach it rationally and ended up walking away, enraged, every time. It's so unbelievably condescending, wrong, and misleading that I gave up. Read it if you must but I warned you.


Five Types of Voters, More or Less Loyal to Trump: How many Trump voters will retaliate against me and my elite brethren? How many seats will be lost down-ticket? It depends on the honor of Trump voters.

Me: Good luck with that.


Innovation Falls, and Retirees Pay the Price: When the population ages, productivity falls. Therefore senior should get accustomed to seeing their standard of living go down.

Me: At the bottom of the report she linked to, the author(s) note "employment at older ages could prevent these losses to some degree." And guess what? Thanks to our wonderfully perfect free market economy, older people are working longer. Even more perfect, the number of old women working has increased more than ever before!





McArdle must be so relieved.


First Lady's Garden, Like Obamacare, Will Prove Hard to Uproot: Isn't it amusing that Michelle Obama is trying to preserve her legacy as First Lady by making the White House garden more permanent? Don't you think Social Security should be paid out of general revenue? Wouldn't it be swell if Republicans removed and replaced Obamacare?

Me: Sorry, princess. Your party is the party of Trump, and all the power fantasies in the world can't make that cold, hard, groin-grinding fact go away.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Megan And Peter Go To Dinner: A Play In One Act






Megan And Peter Go To Dinner

a play in one act



MEGAN
Let's get an appetizer

PETER
Sure

MEGAN
What would you like, potato skins or chicken tenders?

PETER
I don't care, either one.

MEGAN
But darling, we have to pick one, you know.

PETER
Yeah, sure. Whatever you want.

MEGAN
But I want to know what you want.

PETER
I don't care.

(Pause)

MEGAN
I've found that most restaurants don't know how to make decent chicken tenders. If they don't actually use dirty oil, they have no idea how to hit exactly the right temperature to produce the perfect crispness. But this place has especially good potato skins, with gilded applewood smoked bacon and delicious sour cream made from Peruvian yak milk.

PETER
Uh-huh.

MEGAN
So you agree, we should get the potato skins.

PETER
What? I like chicken nuggets. They remind of coming home to an empty house after school and heating up a plate of chicken while the X-Box loaded.

MEGAN
I'm sure we could work this out to our mutual benefit. If we had potato skins, we both would benefit because we both would enjoy them. But if we had a few nasty little badly-fried lumps of chicken tenders, I would be very unhappy and neither one of us would enjoy them. So I am sure you can see that I must give in and have the potato skins, for the sake of your happiness.

PETER
Well, thanks, Megan. I can have chicken tenders any time.

MEGAN
That's right, dear. Now, what shall we have for dinner?

PETER
I want the Sole Meniere. You never make fish and I had fish all the time, growing up in Florida.

MEGAN
Ugh, you know I can't stand fish. Wouldn't it be selfish to have something we couldn't share with each other? Could you enjoy your meal huddled suspiciously over your food like a convict?

PETER
But--

MEGAN
Think of the diminishing marginal returns: You'll be tired of your fish in fifteen bites and want me to finish the rest, but it will go to waste because I loathe fish. But if you have a ribeye, I will happy to finish your steak. If I were to order a ribeye you wouldn't be happy because you want fish.

PETER
But-

MEGAN
Peter, don't you want to have a higher yield curve?

PETER
I want chicken tenders and Sole Meniere.

MEGAN
Are you sure you want the fish? What if I ordered the clam chowder and you ordered the potato skins? You'd have fish and I'd have potato skins.

PETER
What else are you going to have?

MEGAN
Ham timbales.

PETER
The what?

MEGAN
A timbale is a like quiche with no crust, covered with a B├ęchamel or mushroom sauce.

PETER
B├ęchamel, again? Didn't we have something in white sauce three times this week? Strike.

MEGAN
You don't have to have any if you don't want.

PETER
So far I don't want anything we decided to order. Can I have the Beef Wellington?

MEGAN
Strike

PETER
What about the pork tenderloin with ginger stuffing and coriander sauerkraut?

MEGAN
Double strike. How about the venison roulade?

PETER
Acceptable. What about braised Iberian pork cheeks with port wine and honey?

MEGAN
Oooh, yes! So we'll split the clam chowder, potato skins, pork cheeks, and venison roulade, Now, how about dessert?

PETER
[tentatively] I heard the flan is excellent here.

MEGAN
(shudders) Flan is slimy, Peter, and nobody can convince me otherwise. Let's have the chocolate lava cake and the macaroons.

PETER
I like the cake but the macaroons look like Necco wafers. How about the rustic apple tart with English cheddar cheese?

MEGAN
How about the tart a la mode?

PETER
Deal. Okay, let's get the waiter. Waiter!

MEGAN
Don't you love gains from trade, Peter?

PETER
Waiter, we're ready to order.

WAITER
I'm sorry sir, the kitchen closed ten minutes ago.



Hit And Run

Megan McArdle Shorters:

How To End The Death Penalty: Ending the death penalty would be a terrible mistake.

OK, We Agree: Obamacare Needs Some Fixes. Now What?: Health care reform will destroy Democratic election chances in 2012 2016 2020.

Testing Health-Care Providers' Threshold for Pain I read everything about all-payer I could get my hands on, made multiple phone calls, and still don't understand it. But here is why it won't work.

Megan McArdle's Theory Of Trumpism


"And I said to Rae Jean, today it's gay marriage, tomorrow it's the rice paddies."



Megan McArdle has responded to all the criticisms of her foolish Trump tax post and I will get to that soon, but I was distracted by a shiny object. Thanks to a heads-up from a reader whose e-mail I can no longer find (thanks!),  I listened to half of a bloggingheads episode that McArdle did with Robert Wright to discuss Trump's followers, and it was a revelation.

McArdle's theories on Trumpism are elaborate fantasies that explain why liberals force conservatives to be racist, which they, like, totally aren't. I only had time to listen to half of her hour-long podcast but by the end of that time two things became unusually clear: McArdle has read too much communist propaganda, and she is afraid her career will be damaged by her past anti-gay marriage stance if liberals gain more power. Everything else flows from that.

Wright and McArdle started their discussion of Trump and his supporters by saying they didn't expect Trump to get the nomination, and neither did anyone else. Wright says it makes you wonder if elites deserve respect, which Trump supporters already doubt. McArdle says the "elites were just constitutionally incapable of imagining that this could actually happen. And so, uh, one hesitates to call oneself elite, but, uh--"

Wright and McArdle agree that calling oneself an elite doesn't mean one thinks one is better than the non-elite, it's just a "sociological category."

"I would say I'm on the anti-elitist side of the spectrum," McArdle lied.

"In fact, it's the same thing, not thinking you are better than other people by virtue of being a quote unquote elite, is not being an elitist," Wright said.

McArdle said, "I claim I am anti-elitist, in some ways I have been more sympathetic to Trump supporters than I think a lot of people have. I am not sympathetic to Donald Trump himself, uh,  I think he is kind of shockingly bad prepared for the job that he says he wants to do. Uh, he is often vulgar and offensive uh, he, whether he is racist himself I cannot peek into his soul, he certainly has made heroic efforts to at the very least to not alienate the racists who like him."

Isn't that just the way things go: Everyone in the world is able to determine that Trump is a racist, based on his upbringing, words, and actions over a long period of time. Megan McArdle, who is paid a great deal of money to comment on economics and politics, is incapable of making that assessment. She must be able to peer into a man's soul to see if he is racist. This is confusing, for later we shall see that McArdle is able to peer into her own soul and determine that most of Trump's followers are not racist.

Wright said that people say Trump's voters support him for different reasons, such as racism, ethic and class resentment, or economic anxiety.

McArdle agreed that "you don't get people for one reason" and it's obvious some hard-core racists don't like Trump, but the racists and anti-Semites are only around 10% of Trump's constituency. McArdle described Trump's supporters as not doing "super well" but not disadvantaged and are "concentrated in the $30-100,000 band," which is both wrong and an odd definition of not doing very well.  But they fear they or their kids will lose their $100,000 jobs, so naturally they turn to Trump, who promises to deport day-labor construction workers, nannies, factory workers, housekeepers, mechanics and cooks.

Now that they had virtually written off racism in Trump's campaign, McArdle and Wright agreed that opposition to immigration is not necessarily racist.

McArdle said, "The way I would put this is, look, if you talked to someone about, say, some country in Africa that doesn't want to be swamped, uh, some small area that doesn't want to be swamped by say wealthy white tourists, right? Um, and it's not that the tourists [sic] are doing something kind of morally illegitimate, it's just that they want their community to be like their community."

Obviously Africans can't be racist, right? So if they don't want white people around, that's not racism. Likewise, if white people don't want black or brown people around, that's not racism either by the transitive laws of race relations. The Africans aren't morally bad people, they just don't want their community to be spoiled by the presence of people of other colors, which is what happens when other-color people enter your homogeneous community of Black people in Africa or white people in Alabama.

"I don't know that this place exists, but I am just saying as a sort of theoretical construct if that place said to me, "No, we want a community that's a certain way, that is our old way of life, we want to preserve that I wouldn't say that they're racists, I would say they have something affirmative that they want to preserve and influx of strangers does change it."

As we saw when McArdle discussed Brexit, she thinks an influx of other-color or other-culture people will destroy a community which has existed unchanged for an unknown number of years, or at least change it for the worse.

"My relatives came here in the ninetieth century and they absolutely changed America radically, if you look at how America's politics changed, its religious make-up, um, any number of things. Now I think a lot of those changes were for the good, I think some of them weren't, you look at what happened in, in nineteenth century cities thanks largely to my people, as, you know, we were... [laughs] I,  I can see why the Protestants were upset."

Naturally she would side with the oppressor, and her decent Irish ancestors would spit on the lace curtain upstart. It's too bad we don't hear what the Irish immigrants did to the Protestant Americans. Deny them employment? Burn down their churches? Spit on them as low-lifes?

"Um, but, and, but the fact that I came here makes me feel even apart from the kind of benefits of having other foods, other cultures, etc., makes me feel sort of moral obligation to pay it forward, there are arguments to the other side, there are people who say look, my community is the way I want, it's not that I, like, hate those people or think they're inferior. I mean, but, they aren't like me, if they come here things will change.  You're importing your future electorate, and that does change things, right? So I think that's that, it's legitimate, and I think that elites conspire--"

As we know, McArdle is almost always talking about herself when she talks about others. This will become very clear later. McArdle assumes immigrants will be Democrats and she wants to prevent people from immigrating to America to gain a better life for their children because it would harm the chances of the political party she says she doesn't belong to. She is not the only one of course; Republicans often say this.

"But I would say this, this, that there's a fourth group, um, that I think is and, and, I think there is a lot of overlap with the this group and the other three, is that they're tired of being shushed by elites, right, and you can frame that as, like, white resentment, and also you can frame it as actually elites are kind of obnoxious about these people and this is a natural reaction backwards."

McArdle and Wright said that political correctness didn't change how people felt about others and it was very tedious to keep up with changing terms, such as disabled versus differently labeled. McArdle was upset that she was being forced to use words chosen by others instead of the terms she wanted to use.

McArdle said, "If you're not [an elite] what it feels like is some nanny came along, they have more economic power than you, they have way more cultural power than you, they're ordering you around and they're telling you you're not allowed to say what you think."

Political correctness killed terms like the n-word, retarded, and all the slurs commonly used in the near past. The statists are controlling speech. McArdle, who repeatedly said she is not a Randian, said she was worried about the same sort of repression that Ayn Rand most feared.

"And, you know, there's, there's a real, there's a whole literature of communist countries and one of the really interesting things is uh, I'm, I'm starting to read The Three Body Problem, the science fiction novel about China, which is obviously kind of very cryptically getting at these issues. What's interesting to me is you read these things, you read Orwell, you read lots of them uh, people make the same observation which is that they think that the object is to make them lie, not for any affirmative [unintelligible] just a purpose in and of itself and that the ultimate purpose of that is to shame them, degrade them and make them less, right, and so they, what they feel is that they're being controlled and shamed by people who have appointed themselves as their cultural betters, that they have no power over the conversation, and that--"

Yeah, that's not revealing at all.

McArdle's ability to peer into the mind of Trump supporters is nothing short of incredible. She realizes that it's not racism, they're really afraid of  Clinton imposing a Cultural Revolution, and it will all end up with her being sent to the sticks to take inventory in a dress shop. This paranoia is overwrought. Does she really think she's going to be shamed for using the wrong word for disabled?

Wright pointed out that conservative strategist have cultivated resentment to get votes and this election is partly is about a sense of contempt that people feel the elite have for them.

McArdle responded, "So, I-I think that that's true, but I also think that the contempt is absolutely there, and, I-I still remember the first time I encountered it, the first time I noticed it, so I underwent a conver-I grew up in a super liberal part of New York City and I went to college and I still remember a communications major talking about Rush Limbaugh, who I had never heard, I think I had listened to Rush Limbaugh twice in my life, he is not my cup  of tea on any level. Um, but she [laughs] said she wanted him banned from the radio and I-I said, "Well, but you know, that's bad, that's censorship" and she said, [forcefully] "You don't understand these people listen to him and they believe what he says," and that thing has always stuck with me because it really is a kind of running theme in conversations that I hear very frequently in DC and in New York, is like "these people," "these people" are sheep and they are bad sheep and they need to be controlled and herded somewhere because they are terrible."

McArdle does not want people to tell her she is terrible for taking a stand against gay marriage and the idea that some liberal policies are more moral in fact is extremely grating to her.

"Um, um, and, so I think that yes, absolutely, do conservative strategists use that strategically, absolutely, just as Democratic strategists strategically heighten the perception of conservative racism in minority communities. There is racism in the conservative movement um, but it is railed on constantly because that is to their political advantage. Like, this is how politics works. This is how people are raised."

Both sides do it, but liberals did it first and forced conservatives to do it, whatever "it" is. Democrats inflame minorities communities by constantly railing on the dreadfulness of racism, which the minority communities might not even notice without all that political maneuvering. And this is not only politics, it's how minorities are raised. They're told by their parents all their lives that white people treat them badly, so naturally when they grow up they think badly of white people.

Remember, racism is rare. That's how we know it's all in Democrats' heads.

Wright said, " Trumpism has been described as white identity politics, do you think it is to some extent a reaction against the non-white identity politics that have become such a big part of coalition building on the Democratic side?"

McArdle agreed that Blacks created racism by seeing themselves as a political group.

"Uh, yeah. Look, I think first of all the more you have ethnic identity politics, there's [unintelligible] dimension along which stuff is played, if you define everyone else as a racial demographic category then the people the residual is also going to define itself as a racial demographic. If that is the major cleavage line in politics, then we'll have white identity politics. Um, so yes, I think that that is part of it. Um, I think that as America becomes majority minority, right, it-it no longer makes sense to say as a white person you're just kind of a default American and then everyone else is a member of a particularist ah, minority. Now you're a member of a minority too and minorities tend to have identification with each other, they cleave together along those lines, right, there are cultural similarities between white people, they have shared experiences that non-white people don't, um--.

What else could the United States do after the Civil Rights Act but become racist for the first time?

Wright pointed out that white people don't just hate minorities, "a lot of the people they hate are white. You can call it white working class identity politics, too."

McArdle said, "But identity politics is always strongest, is always strongest in the working class, right, that's a generally tr--." Wright didn't agree and McArdle dropped it. She said workers used to identify with their fellow working class members but "that broke down" for some reason. What else could they do but become White Nationalists and get Hitler tattoos?

McArdle says she's concerned about "punitive norms." People feel threatened about having different options.  People are so afraid of being punished by the liberal cultural hegemony that reject the idea of violating norms altogether. But Trump violates all norms, McArdle said, and the baby is being thrown out with the bathwater.

She said Trumpism is a huge reaction against all the social justice stuff, that people used to be able to have a different opinions but now you'll be called racist. When there are lots of punitive norms that punish people for different opinions such as gay marriage, "people's reactions are no, I don't want that, and what starts to happen is that any violation of norms looks okay. So they like Trump for violating norms but Trump smashes all of them so people are so sick of it. They're rejecting the entire system, instead of the tenuous part."

Wait, how did gay marriage sneak in there? I thought we were talking about racism as a motivating factor for Trump voters.

"And I think that's what we're seeing here, is that people are so sick of the elite cultural control over them and I don't think this is all of it but this is a strand of his support, that that the fact that he's vulgar, the fact that he is not bound by any kind of decent norms of propriety. That's a big part of his appeal and the problem with that, and I think, but on the flip side, the problem with having so many punitive norms, of having norms not just be about we're going to have an argument, but no you can't say that and if you keep saying that, I'm going to see if I can destroy your livelihood, or get you get kicked out of school. Right?"

And there you go.

Megan McArdle is supporting-not-supporting Donald Trump's Republican  party because she is afraid that she will suffer financially for being publicly against gay marriage. She can't give that reason for supporting the rehabilitation of the Party of Trump, but there it is. So she works her way backwards, inventing pseudo-intellectual reasons for covering her heteronormative hide.

She said Trump's following is a backlash against speech codes, and she has no problem with word bans-her mother slapped her when she was four for using the n-word after hearing a black friend use it, which is fine with her.

The problem, McArdle said, is that we're going beyond a word ban to an idea ban. "What happened with Brendan Eich and gay marriage is a good example [of an idea ban], right, that's not a word ban, he was--that is a ban for believing in heterosexual marriage and I can disagree with that but--the point is that--"

McArdle doesn't disagree with that. She said that gay marriage might harm heterosexual marriage, so it was better to forbid gays from marrying. She also slickly tries to minimize anti-gay legislation that has been run through the courts for years to restrict gay rights and calls anti-gay beliefs a belief in "heterosexual marriage," a miserable dodge. Wright pointed out that in the future, people might look back on anti-gay marriage advocates the way we now look back on anti-miscegenation advocates.

McArdle protested that Brendan Eich's action was private, his workplace not anti-gay, his donation was leaked by "someone at the tax office," and she "can't imagine an organization advocating against interracial marriage."

Wright said that that's his point, so McArdle fished up another segregation-era argument. "You need to give people space to change their minds. If you go from ten years-wait-but there's also this--is that-"

McArdle said she disagrees with comparing racial inter-marriage with gay marriage, that race is different from everything else, including gay rights. What followed was a long explanation in which she tried desperately to deny that racial bigotry was anything like sexual bigotry, so Megan McArdle wouldn't look bad to prospective employers.

"And I think the legacy of slavery in the United States is unique, it is the original sin of our republic, uh, it justified things, so for example, I think states should have a right to succeed, if Hawaii who wants to leave right now they should be free to, on the other hand, I also think that seceding over slavery is not okay.  And I kind of square this circle by saying, you have the right to secede, that the  South should have been allowed to secede and we should have invaded to end slavery."

Wright laughed. He will not be the last. She thinks parts of the nation should be able to dissolve it, never mind that whole war over secession to maintain slavery. But after we let the South secede, we should have invaded the now-foreign country to force them to give up slavery, which we will somehow enforce. She really must think that everything she says is wise, otherwise she would have learned to curb her musings when being recorded.

"But at any rate, the point is we did a bunch of things, we've always, and for the past 150 years we have taken legal steps that are kind of not justifiable on principle-on legal principle I mean, there are totally justifiable on the principle of extirpating this terrible wrong we did to millions of human beings. Um, I feel similarly about affirmative action, uh,  is that you know what, this thing happened we have to undo it, it's not kind of fair, and I don't care."

Affirmative action is unfair to whites.

"Um, and now you can, we can have practical arguments about affirmative action but as a principle matter, and I feel that way about just a large number of things, Brown v Board of Education was not necessarily a good but as a woman, right, I don't think that I deserve that, that, saying things about women is on the same par as saying things about Blacks. It's a different thing, I don't think, I don't think it's as bad. Uh, I think [unintelligible] comments that are okay to make about women that I don't think aren't okay to make about Black citizens. But-but that too has been applied to women and it's not a pace of change thing, these changes have been happening for 50 years."

School desegregation was not necessarily a good thing, my friends. McArdle might want to worry less about her anti-gay stance and more about her views on other races (and their IQs).

After talking about idea bans, we are now back to word bans. Insulting Blacks is worse than insulting women and gays, although we are not talking about insults, we are talking about systematic exploitation, repression, violence, and denial of civil and economic rights. But for McArdle, it's about words, specifically the words she used to explain why she was anti-gay rights.

"But it is now dangerous to believe things in a way it wasn't 50 years ago, uh, that it wasn't 20 years ago. So if you think about, like, the gay marriage case, right, for me, if you, if you, if someone had told you ten years ago gay marriage is about it-it part of having gay marriage be legal is obviously people that disagree with gay marriage would be legally required to bake a wedding cake for that wedding. I don't know about you, but I would have been, like, "That is some bs propaganda, that is never going to happen, then you are just making crap up so you can like to make a stupid argument against gay marriage. And then it happened, right, things have changed so fast we not only say, well, we've changed our minds, but holding a position I held five years ago is now appalling and I will pummel you for it."

At this extremely interesting half-way mark I had to abandon the conversation.

McArdle felt protected by the covert racism and sexism of the right, just as she felt free to giggle about violence against peaceful protesters during our disastrous invasion of Iraq. She now feels less protected in a gay-positive Clinton Nation.

McArdle is Trump-curious because if the liberals win and dominate the Supreme Court, she is afraid she'll lose money. People might fire or refuse to hire someone with a history of being antagonistic to gay marriage, and despite her best efforts at erasing her past, her old posts can still be found. Everything she says is a rationalization for her desperate attempts to preserve her elite status and freely-given, comfortable, consequence-free "opinions" about race and sexuality.


ADDED: It's not too surprising that McArdle has sympathy for Trump voters. Both she and Trump (wrongly) think Democrats are letting in illegal aliens to gain more voters.

SECOND ADDITION: McArdle is worried about the liberal culture thought police while the anti-gay organizations are the ones firing people for their ideas on gay marriage.


One of the largest evangelical organizations on college campuses nationwide has told its 1,300 staff members they will be fired if they personally support gay marriage or otherwise disagree with its newly detailed positions on sexuality starting on Nov. 11.