Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Thursday, October 10, 2013


Speak of the devil and the devil appears.

As the shutdown grinds into its second week, I thought it might be useful to lay out why I think Republicans should look for a graceful exit as quickly as possible, rather than trying to use the shutdown -- or God forbid, the debt ceiling -- to extract unlikely concessions.

Coincidentally, Ms. Megan McArdle decided to write about the shutdown yesterday, the better to educate and guide her devoted followers. When the financial industry is at risk, Bankgirl is always there to lend a hand.  But remember, folks, Bankgirl is a libertarian. She hates evil government giveaways. And don't get her started on student loans, when they are taken out by people who are not Megan McArdle. She is not some schmuck Republican, with their tacky religious tchotchkes and polyester pants and state college diplomas decorating their tiny suburban offices. She follows her own, elite, rules.
I know that many of my conservative readers do not believe this, but I share many of your goals. I would like a smaller government that does less stuff. I oppose the Affordable Care Act.
I do solemnly swear that if McArdle were to find it financially advantageous to sign up for "Obamacare," she would do it in an instant. Just as she (almost) voted for Obama despite his advocation of health insurance reform before he took office.   Yes, McArdle "would like a smaller government that does less stuff" for other people. She, herself, has no problem taking what her nation offers her. She just doesn't want to do anything in return.
Yet I am opposed to the shutdown because I think it does real institutional damage to the country, and because I don’t think it will work. It is damaging the Republican Party’s prospects, while not noticeably increasing the chances that government will shrink.  
I understand the frustration. Government is much bigger, and stupider, than it would be in a world designed by me.
The biggest problem with our wannabe elite today is that they really believe that. Matthew Yglesias thinks that he can make decisions for us. Megan McArdle thinks that she can run major organizations more efficiently. P. Suderman, boy gamer extraordinaire, in between movie reviews thinks he can cogently analyze the health care industry. If everyone would just get out of their way, they could do everything, be anyone, have anything. If only....

It does too much, and too little of it well. Democrats are working on a huge expansion of an entitlement state that we already can’t afford.  
But -- as I frequently say to liberals who get huffy about my opposition to Obamacare -- the fact that there is a problem does not mean that there is a solution.
Video or it didn't happen. We are supposed to believe that liberals frequently flounce over to Megan McArdle and get all huffy in her grill about "Obmaacare," only to be schooled on their political naiveté and fuzzy thinking. By Megan McArdle.
The fact that you are really angry about what has happened over the last four years and passionately wish to undo some of the damage does not mean that a way exists for you to do so. Do not fall prey to that fatal political syllogism: 
1. Something must be done.
2. This is something.
3. Therefore, this must be done. 
That logic is, after all, what brought us the giant Rube Goldberg apparatus of Obamacare.

I thought the Heritage Foundation brought us the giant Rube Goldberg apparatus of Obamacare?

McArdle goes on to earn her daily bread by taking us along on a ride on her train of thought, which is less a Taggart Transcontinental Express and more a choo-choo you would find at a petting zoo.

Reason the First: People wouldn't like a shutdown. The mean old liberal media blames the right, so the right is losing politically, the poor innocent babies.

Reason the Second: Obama will shut down the government before he gives up on "Obamacare." The right will be standing by helplessly, of course, unable to stop Obama from refusing to stop them.

Reason the Third: We should be attacking "Obamacare" as it is rolled out, not the national debt. Priorities, people! Reducing the debt doesn't put money in her pocket. Attacking "Obamacare" does.

Reason the Fourth: The markets will get spooked and lose money. Can't have that. McArdle has a 401k.

Reason the Fifth: People wouldn't like it when they become affected by a shutdown. This presupposes that the government is helping people and that they want it to continue helping them, which only makes sense but pretty much invalidates the entire raison detre  of the Republican party.

The question, then, is how to do it gracefully. My advice, for what it’s worth, is to ask for something you can get, and then settle for that. Be realistic about what Democrats are going to agree to -- and the answer is not “completely dismantling Obamacare,” however wonderful that would be.
McArdle does not understand the mindset of her own people. She is thrilled to get anything, no matter how much or how little. The sheer pleasure of accumulating wealth and possessions is enough for her. Other people, however, cannot afford retail therapy and therefore are a little more demanding of their political party. They want what McArdle already has, and if she and her fellow elite suffer financial pain in the process, well, suffering is good for the soul.


Downpuppy said...

On the positive side, Megan is aware that nobody goes to her for advice.

On the negative, she still has no idea why they don't.

Mary Worth's fans can explain.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Coincidentally, Ms. Megan McArdle decided to write about the shutdown yesterday

Beetlejuice Beetlejuice Beetlejuice!

(Maybe it would work on McArdle?)

Susan of Texas said...

Maybe everyone is right and if I don't say her name she'll disappear.

Susan of Texas said...

Oh hell. She's repeating her imaginary drug profits bs again. I don't have time for this.

Anonymous said...

"Government is much bigger, and stupider, than it would be in a world designed by me."


Poison countertops for everyone!

Susan of Texas said...

50 coats! No! 60!

Anonymous said...

If only there was a Narcissist Party for her to join.

It's always funny when she tries to figure out things she has no expertise in on her own when she has a rabid fanbase that could answer any of her questions pretty simply if she asked.

Anatole David said...

Having seen Megan's kitchen, I'd rather not imagine a world she's designed.

Mr. Wonderful said...

Welcome back. (Agent Smith voice) We missed you...

Again, I have to say: Shut up, Megan, and just explain economic phenomena to those of us who don't have an MBA. Do NOT undertake to analyze politics. Do NOT instruct us in cooking. Do NOT offer Xmas gift suggestions. Do NOT present tips on performing veterinary procedures on your own dog or cat at home to save big bux. Do NOT do anything else.

And, now that I think of it, do NOT explain economic phenomena to us. Just do not do anything. Join a women's basketball league. You've got the height for it.

Susan of Texas said...

Bite your tongue! I want her to advise us on cooking as often as possible!

Anonymous said...

(psst it was 70 coats)

Anonymous said...

Moar mac and cheese from McMegan this p.m. Only calls for about three pounds of cheese. Recipe proportions are in metric weights for some reason--because it's Megan. What kind of a home cook can even measure out "one kilogram" of milk, in America anyway? what a jerk.

Anonymous said...

by the way, she got a photo of her dining table. It looks filthy, like it's never been waxed or properly cleaned. She doesn't use a table cloth or place mats. The table looks like it was garbage picked. I didn't even eat like that in college and I'm a guy.

Susan of Texas said...

Maybe the New York Times will print an article on elite table setting and housekeeping, and McArdle will get a clue. It's not just about spending money, it's also about creating an attractive and pleasant home life. Plate your food, polish your furniture, set your table. It only takes a few minutes.

aimai said...

Susan you have been missed!

Susan of Texas said...

Thanks, aimai!

"Ain't nobody got time for that."

Heh. Who are you to question the might expertise of Mrs. Megan McArdle!!

Anonymous said...

There's an epoxy varnish called Glaze Coat with the advertising tagline, "Just one coat equals 70 coats of varnish."

So basically, McArdle read that on the label and then being the self-aggrandizing weirdo that she is, she decided it would make her sound like a real do-it-yourselfer if she used that sales pitch to claim that she had actually put 70 coats of varnish on her counter.

Nevermind that it generally takes several hours or more for a thin coat of varnish to cure, meaning that it would take a couple weeks of varnishing during every waking hour in order to apply 70 coats. Also she would have poisoned herself by that point.