October 25, 2007

"Giuliani and religious right meet on the road to political adulthood."

Writes Daniel Henniger in the Wall Street Journal:
Call me old-fashioned, but I think governing philosophy is more important than the endless Chinese puzzle of moving this or that issue forward and back. American politics, right and left, has become obsessive about nailing where candidates "stand" on standalone issues--abortion, gay marriage, immigration, the North Pole melting or pulling out of Iraq. Trying to pin politicians down is honest work. But last time I looked, the thing you win was still called a "government." That means it matters if the candidate is able to govern, which has proven a challenge the past 16 years or so, in part because proliferating factions refuse to be governed.

In the '60s, the left introduced the "non-negotiable demand" into our politics. It's still with us. It's political infantilism. In real life, the non-negotiable "demand" usually ends about age six.
So, has Giuliani really done anything more than to tell the social conservatives that he can't agree with them on all their issues but that they ought to want him anyway? Are 60s lefties really to blame for one-issue voting? And if we really got into thinking about maturity and infantilism in American politics, which candidate would we gravitate toward? Giuliani?

IN THE COMMENTS: Madison Man: "That damn left! If only everyone was mature like the right!"

122 comments:

MadisonMan said...

In the '60s, the left introduced the "non-negotiable demand" into our politics

That damn left! If only everyone was mature like the right!

rhhardin said...

The trouble is the TV audience.

It's not so much infantilism as a certain female dysfunction that comprises the TV audience business model.

Nothing that doesn't interest the soap opera audience makes it into public debate.

Ron said...

It's impossible to answer, because if we took the topics more seriously, than the candidates would change to match suit. Perhaps overall debate/leadership would improve, but can't these actors act seriously as well as "juvenilly"?

EnigmatiCore said...

I think Ron is right.

It is ironic, though, that an article that talks about political infantilism includes the childish whine, "They started it!" Who cares, almost 50 years later, who started it?

"So, has Giuliani really done anything more then tell the social conservatives he can't agree [to] meet them on all their issues but they ought to want him anyway?"

He has met them on some issues, not on others, and said that he won't pander to them, but they'll be able to take him at his word. I do not know if this is more adult than approaches like the one taken by Romney or former-conservative-Democrat-turned-populist Edwards, but I find it more appealing.

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

Are 60s lefties really to blame for one-issue voting?

Abolition, anyone? Prohibition? The real concern here ought to be that we have a generation at its demographic peak of power ... half of which absolutely hates the other half.

The last time that happened was 1860.

If you haven't yet read Strauss & Howe's 'Generations' (1991) and 'Fourth Turning' (1997), it's something you really ought to do, and sooner, not later.

Just a taste: in FT we are at the very end of what S&H call the Unravelling, which precedes the Crisis. Ten years ago, they made the following prediction about the late Unravelling period:

"Any wars will be fought with great moral fervor, but without consensus or necessary follow-through."

The coming Crisis (whatever it is) will sweep away political infantilism and dysfunction -- pragmatism and results will become the order of the day.

We're not quite there yet, but in those circumstances I'd rather have a Giuliani (with his numerous warts) than any Senator from either party.

hdhouse said...

As discussions are increasingly framed with "lefties" references and the villification seems endless...well.

I will miss this board and the fun of the interaction. But all good things must come to and end and this has for me. Time for me to find a different playground.

Bye all.

Tim said...

"And if we really got into thinking about maturity and infantilism in American politics, which candidate would we gravitate toward?"

None of them, for the same reason Ron points out - but I do think Giuliani might be closer to the mark than the rest.

Tim said...

"As discussions are increasingly framed with "lefties" references and the villification (sic) seems endless...well."

The Left has earned every bit of it.

Ann Althouse said...

"Time for me to find a different playground."

Let me know where you find a better playground. I think those blogs where people seem to get along have banned commenters who don't fit with the group. And what's with you this morning? This post is balanced and so are the comments.

Simon said...

I don't know if it's helpful to send a message to people whose votes we sort of need in order to win that they ought to vote for Rudy because their issues don't matter. People tend to think their issues matter, and don't usually like to be told otherwise. That might be necessary in a pinch, but not when there's a more friendly way to accomplish the same thing, which I think there is. The better strategy, it seems to me, is to point out the cost of voting for Hillary (anyone who didn't vote constructively voted for the winning candidate); the better strategy is to point out that elections are about choosing the lesser evil, and however imperfect Rudy might be, the alternative is much worse, much more harmful to the causes these folks care about. No one abstains in an election, so if you "won't vote for any pro-choice candidate 'as a matter of personal moral conscience,'" when faced with a choice where either way you vote for a pro-choice candidate, you need to make sure that you're voting for the one who will do less harm to the cause.

Simon said...

EnigmatiCore said...
"It is ironic, though, that an article that talks about political infantilism includes the childish whine, 'They started it!' Who cares, almost 50 years later, who started it?"

I don't think that really holds up in the context of the remark. It doesn't really seem a whine about who started it as an attempt (perhaps flawed) to briefly frame the historical time period during which the culture of the non-negotiable demand arose and the context in which it arose (i.e. why and over what issues).

Cedarford said...

Are 60s lefties really to blame for one-issue voting?

Yes, I think so. That was part of the "package" communist and Jewish refugee Herbert Marcuse sold in his seminal work "Repressive Tolerance". Which argued that what was then American politeness and civility had to go, because civility and respect towards the Oppressors only perpetuated their repression and safeguarded their power. Marcuse saw the solution in introducing Brownshirting with a Progressive Face. He listed his tools to end reasoned debate with the "established society"..And that good communists and others on the Left must embrace ideological purity on issues, remember all politics and all justice stems from identity - to adhere to the approved Line of thought, and never backtrack, never compromise.

It was not just just the "Politics of Confrontation" - disrupting and demonizing Oppressor Class oppo - with shoutdowns, silencing, and agitprop theater, but voicing absolute demands that had to be met to allow for "buy-in".

After the 1965 Marcuse guide, the 1968 Red Italian, Paris riots - and race riots in the USA - the right wing saw the huge success of Marcusian tactics, and began emulating them on abortion, military spending.

And if we really got into thinking about maturity and infantilism in American politics, which candidate would we gravitate toward? Giuliani?

Its worse than single issues, because when the Party's candidates agree on the single issues - then the "holier than thou" folks will say that their stance in purer and more strident than anyone elses..That they became anti-Abortion, anti-ROTC, pro gay marriage before candidates x,y,z did.
And, importantly, they were never pragmatic and objective...but were better than those who changed their mind along the way - because they were pure, true believers from the Start that never had to change their minds.
It is incredibly insipid, fatuous to say Candidate X "cannot be trusted" as a Democrat because they opposed gun registration 23 years ago, then changed their mind..A "flip-flopper".
Or the Republicans that think supply side economics is insanity, but who realized the cancer of the Club For GRowth is so powerful they must "tack" and give the fatcats that push more deficit spending and less taxes on the wealthy as "sound economic policy" .

A flip-flopper changes their opinion the same day or does so on pure expediency.

If we gravitate away from the nuts to pragmatic people running as President - we would select Rudy and Romney because as executives for decades...they know having an open mind beats "true-believing" rivals consistently. Also, I would add Obama because he has given some very thoughtful speeches about how excessive partisanship, close-mindedness on single issues has hurt the Democrats.

The best present example of having an open mind and showing a maturity and lack of infantilism in politics in shedding ideas that don't work in his current position...being receptive to changing positions as he sees the people he serve want him to - that would probably be Arnold Schwarzenegger.

peter hoh said...

Simon, so educate me. Why, and over what issues?

Simon said...

Peter, sorry, I'm not sure I understand the question?

Windbag said...

This forum has been the most balanced I've encountered thus far. Of course, people take their points to far, and unfortunately it turns personal at times. For the most part, though, "BDS" and "Lefty Troll" and "wingnut" aren't part of the discourse. I'm not sure where you'll find polite banter (tipping, at times, into the passionate) like this, certainly not at DU, KOS, LGF, or HotAir.

And where else is eating onion rings for breakfast, smothered in ketchup and washed down with fresh carrot juice, acceptable?

Windbag said...

too far...damn glasses.

Sloanasaurus said...

One issue voting could also be a sign that things are generally good for the most part for most people. If your life is going along pretty good then you have more time to concentrate on single issues. The single issue voter doesn't see any risk to his or her standard of living generally by voting someone in for a single issue.

So I disagree with Henninger. Hippies from the 1960s only became hippies because they had the wealth to do so.

ricpic said...

The Left makes absolute demands because the struggle for utopia is the paramount issue in its eyes. Are there intransigent Righties as well? Of course there are. But for the most part the Right, at peace with the imperfect, is less absolutist.

peter hoh said...

Simon, as you see it, why and over what issues did the culture of the non-negotiable demand arise? I came of age politically in the late 1970s, not the 60s, so while I may speculate that Henniger is referring to opposition to our involvement in Vietnam, I'm not certain about it.

Ralph said...

Mad.Man, the subtitle of the article says "on the road to political adulthood."
The Dixiecrats were single issue voters, and they actually won some states in 1948. Certainly, Roe v. Wade has polarized national politics, so let's send abortion to the states to spread the fun around.

Simon said...

Peter, I think you'd have to ask Henninger that question. I wasn't signing on to his rationale, only trying to clarify that I didn't agree with Enigmaticore's function of the statement in the context of the piece.

Zeb Quinn said...

Maybe the polemic axis upon which most political debate is framed --including the supposed positions and philosophies of the two parties-- is no longer sufficient to cover it. Too much of the electorate gets ignored on things that matter to them most.

B said...

When I hear and see a Presidential Candidate make statements that equal "no litmus test for the Supreme Court nominee - but he/she will be pro-choice" (Bill Clinton, Al Gore, John Kerry)I know I've found a single-issue candidate.

B said...

As to hdhouse -

As discussions are increasingly framed with "lefties" references and the villification seems endless...well.

It might not have been so heated for hd if he didn't begin every comment with a slur or personal attack on "righties". He may have felt outnumbered, but he was a bully and a taunter.

And to think that I wasted time defending his better nature to other victims of his sadistic gile on this blog.

He belongs in a litterbox. Good riddance.

And Ann Althouse - I have defended your blog (not that you necessarily have needed me to) - from some vicious commenters, and you have several times thanked me for it. I know that you cannot read every post. But these last 2 days have seen more of my comments receive more misrepresentation and personal attacks - akin to Titus towards Palladian - than I had ever experienced here. And your response was "let's talk about ideas"?

Trooper York said...

I finally figured it out! After these numerous farewell appearances, hdhouse is Barbara Streisand. What a hoot!

Simon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Simon said...

Zeb Quinn said...
"Maybe the polemic axis upon which most political debate is framed --including the supposed positions and philosophies of the two parties-- is no longer sufficient to cover it."

Indeed - I suggested recently that the left-right axis is suboptimal and that Hayek's scale between liberals and planners is much more effective for many purposes.

Freder Frederson said...

This post is balanced and so are the comments.

You're kidding, right? Of course I should expect such a ridiculous comment from someone who continues to insist she is "not a conservative" even though she publishes practically every right wing smear ("rich kids are in SCHIP!", "Dodd is a terrorist lover who cares more about making sure OBL has HBO in his cave than getting elected president!", "Polar bears can swim for 2000 miles and then rip your throat out!", "Jose Padilla shoots lasers out of his eyes!" "left wing bloggers are mean, have potty mouths and boobs!").

But she did vote for Russ Feingold--multiple times!

Trooper York said...

House is it really true that people who need people are the luckiest people in the world!

Freder Frederson said...

Ann,

Here's a clue. Printing an excerpt from patently and ridiculously partisan column and then asking a silly question--"Are 60s lefties really to blame for one-issue voting?"--to which the answer is obviously a resounding "no", does not a balanced post make.

And just because you rarely come out and say what you think does not mean that you are not a shill for the right--your voting record notwithstanding.

B said...

Freder,

Put up or shut up:

Why don't you tell us how Althouse blog should be and look, instead of whining about what you think it is. Give us your standards.

Then everyone will know why you are so rage-filled here.


My bet is you don't have the balls.

Freder Frederson said...

Why don't you tell us how Althouse blog should be and look, instead of whining about what you think it is. Give us your standards.

All I am asking for is a little honesty from Ann. That she loves the hatemonger and genocidal maniac Glenn Reynolds and carries water for the more viscous right wing blogs by constantly spreading right wing smears.

These constant protestations that she is a moderate who desperately wants to save the Democratic Party and return to the Democratic fold is getting tiresome.

Joseph Hovsep said...

I don't think one-issue voting or non-negotiable demands are any more a feature of the left than the right.

I do agree with the writer though that we focus too much on nailing down candidates on specific issues and then playing gotcha if and when their opinions evolve. And I agree that a candidate's likely governing style or philosophy is much more important, which nicely sums up why I'd personally be more comfortable supporting Romney than Giuliani even though I may be more sympathetic to Giuliani's views on some hot button social issues.

I don't see myself actually voting for Romney either, but I'm persuaded by the Matt Yglesias Romney-as-least-worst theory.

Invisible Man said...

When I hear and see a Presidential Candidate make statements that equal "no litmus test for the Supreme Court nominee - but he/she will be pro-choice" (Bill Clinton, Al Gore, John Kerry)I know I've found a single-issue candidate.

Or when I hear "I will pick strict constructionist judges" I know that I've heard a signal to single-issue voters looking to overturn Roe v. Wade. You can make all of the minor distinctions that you want between Left and Right, but there are plenty of single-issues on both sides of the aisle.

And the larger point about Mr. Henninger remains that those asking for grown-up politics don't seem willing to practice it themselves. Maybe we are all hypocrites but these call to arms don't seem to be getting us any closer. Obama to me has tried the hardest at this for the current election cycle, but I'm sure that after opponents have enough fun calling him Osama and other juvenile taunts, he might unfortunately find himself just as cynical as the rest of us.

LawGiver said...

Time for me to find a different playground.

I'm guessing he'll pull a Simels.

Trooper York said...

Goodbye, Goodbye, Goodbye.
Goodbye, Goodbye, Goodbye.
Don't try to stop me Horace, please...
Wave your little hand and whisper
So long dearie
You ain't gonna see me anymore
And when you discover that your life is dreary
Don't you come a knockin' at my door
'Cause I'll be all dolled up
And singin' that song
That says you dog, I told you so
So wave your little hand and whisper
So long dearie
Dearie, should have said so long
So long ago
Because you've treated me so rotten and rough
I've had enough of feelin' low
So wave your little hand and whisper
So long dearie
Dearie would have said so long
So long ago
For I can hear that choo choo callin' me on
To a fancy new address
Yes, I can hear that choo choo callin' me on
On board that happiness express
I'm gonna learn to dance and drink and smoke a cigarette
I'm go'n as far away from Yonkers as a girl can get
So...on those cold winter nights, Horace...
You can snuggle up to your cash register.
It's a bit lumpy but it rings!
Don't come a knockin'
I'll be all dolled up
And singin' that song
That says you dog, I told you so
So Horace, you will find your life a sad old story
You'll be livin' in that lonesome territory
When you see your Dolly shuffle off to glory
Oh I should have said so long...
How could I have been wrong?
Oh, I should have said so long...
So Long ago
(Hdhouse channeling Barbra Streisand in Hello Dolly)

Kirk said...

Hey, as long as people are leaving (and no, I disagree with "b", I think hdhouse hasn't been much of a discussion-killer and I'm sorry to see him go)--why not Freder ("hatemonger and genocidal maniac" my a**) along with Our Favorite Antisemite™?

Just suggesting...

Windbag said...

Baby boomers may want to think that they (we) invented, inspired, or discovered everything, but there are other examples of single-issue politics prior to the 60s. The temperance movement evolved into the prohibition movement, to cite just one example.

Like many causes and revolutions, radicalism replaces moderation when the movement doesn't catch on either as quickly or as widely as some adherents wish. The cause becomes the all-consuming criterion by which to judge all others. "Are you a T-totaller?" "Are you pro-choice?" "Are you an abolitionist?" "Are you homophobic?"

People are far more complex than these, hopefully. The single-issue voter is a caricature of himself.

Ralph said...

strict constructionist judges
There's a lot more to this than Roe: who ultimately rules in our constitution--judges or "the people"?

Many Americans are nominally against abortion, but are a bit relieved that women who would abort their child, are; some of them are relieved, admittedly, for racial or merely financial reasons.
NC is supposedly a red state, but we have state abortion subsidies and heavily regulated insurance markets which drove three of my insurers out of the state.

Freder Frederson said...

why not Freder ("hatemonger and genocidal maniac" my a**)

If I left (and believe me I considered it after Cedarford issued vague death threats and he and others accused my wife--apparently just because she is married to me--of being one of Rush's "phony soldiers"), how could Ann claim that this blog is "balanced and so are the comments". Of course she still would because reality rarely intrudes into her little narcissistic vortex.

As for Instaidiot--the man thinks genocide is sometimes "necessary" (and cites the genocide of the American Indian as an example of "necessary genocide"). He is beneath contempt.

Roger said...

I think Mr Henninger has offered up a strawman. All groups and individuals have a hierarchy of values, some of which trump others. And there are times when these values become non-negotiable. This is true for the old John Birchers, the Ron Pauls, NOW, and the Sierra Club. To attribute "single issue voting" is another of the commentariat's imprecise analysis and failure to understand basic human nature.

I suspect we as individuals, groups qua groups make value tradeoffs all the time. Its the nature of human existence--in fact Madison recognizes the issue in Federalist 51 (or was it 10--I forget)

rhhardin said...

All I am asking for is a little honesty from Ann. That she loves the hatemonger and genocidal maniac Glenn Reynolds and carries water for the more viscous right wing blogs by constantly spreading right wing smears.

Carrying water for the viscous sounds like the role of a peacemaker.

Roger said...

It is a constant source of amazement to me that folks condemn blog writers for not complying with the readers view of how the blog writer should write. Blogs reflect the individuality of the author, do not require logical consistency, fairness or balance. Freder: if you dont like this blog, or the Professor's world view, or balance--do what House did: find another sand box or better yet, start your own blog. This is far too easy and unless you have some sort of masochistic streak I honestly dont understand why you hang around here.

Simon said...

Apropos of my 9:27 comment (about Hayek's axis between liberals and planners) and Freder's comment immediately following it, Freder would be at the "planner" end of that axis.

Simon said...

Freder Frederson said...
"All I am asking for is a little honesty from Ann."

All you ask is that she conform to your demands, to your views. Give you what you want and nobody gets abused.

Ralph said...

Carrying water for the viscous sounds like the role of a peacemaker.
There's a joke in there somewhere, but I'm too thick to find it.

JohnAnnArbor said...

Carrying water for the viscous sounds like the role of a peacemaker.

Peacemakers like ketchup?

Roger said...

Peacemakers carry 10W 30?

Freder Frederson said...

All you ask is that she conform to your demands, to your views. Give you what you want and nobody gets abused.

Nah, I would just like her to state an actual opinion on something that matters once in a while.

Apropos of my 9:27 comment (about Hayek's axis between liberals and planners) and Freder's comment immediately following it, Freder would be at the "planner" end of that axis.

Hayek's (and Scalia's) economic theories and how they relate to freedom are as laughable as Marx's. Pure "economic freedom", at least the way libertarians envision it, will certainly lead to oppression and oligarchy.

Richard Dolan said...

"And if we really got into thinking about maturity and infantilism in American politics, which candidate would we gravitate toward? Giuliani?"

Henninger's take on the maturity/infantilism divide implicitly contrasts the economically rational man, seeking to maximize his policy preferences in a diverse political marketplace; with the prophet, drawing a line in the sand, and insisting that it not be crossed. In looking at candidates, Henninger divides those who see the clash of conflicting views on every major policy issue and conclude that compromise is inevitable; and those who see the same thing but conclude that they want to replace the existing cacophany with their version of the Good or the True. No serious politician is all one or the other -- there is always some issue or principle that any politician of substance won't sacrifice, or otherwise that pol stands for nothing but expediency -- and so it's the mix that really matters. That's a roundabout way of saying that political maturity is all about judgment and character, when and where to know that compromise is the greater good, and when and where to see that compromise is just a sell-out.

As Ann says, Giuliani's pitch is in part that he will be honest with the public about his views. Honesty at that level, says Rudy, is essential -- and he invites his audience to judge Hillary and Romney, among others, on that scale. But he adds to that his own crazy combination of libertine-cum-public-scold -- a live and let live approach to social issues (like abortion and gay rights), with an insistence that Americans accept the burdens of personal responsibility as the price of rights and freedoms. Giuliani makes it clear that he wants to be a leader, and that getting his fellow Americans to accept his ideas about personal responsibility is a big part of his image of being a leader.

How Rudy fares on all of that, when viewed in isolation, doesn't really matter. He wants the voters, and especially the social conservatives, to contrast him with the other available choices (mainly Hillary but also Romney). Both the "I won't lie to you" claim and the personal responsibility theme are particularly powerful against the Clintons, with all their baggage and their image of endless calculation and triangulation. If voters take him up on looking at the choices in that way, I think they are likely to find Rudy quite attractive.

Ralph said...

I'm too thick
And apparently, John and Roger are, too.

Simon said...

Freder Frederson said...
"I would just like her to state an actual opinion on something that matters once in a while."

I suspect you want her to confirm to your opinions or shut up, but even taking your reply at face value, I don't disagree, I like to know her actual opinion on stuff, too (although I suspect that your modifier of "on something that matters" of course means something that you have deemed to be important, which comes back to your desire to control what Ann writes about, when, and how). But she approaches blogging the way she approaches blogging. Love it, like it, or leave.


"Hayek's ... economic theories and how they relate to freedom are as laughable as Marx's. Pure 'economic freedom,' at least the way libertarians envision it, will certainly lead to oppression and oligarchy."

I suppose the difference is that Marx's theories were logically flawed and have been falsified by experience, while Hayek's, in the main, have been vindicated.

LawGiver said...

Here's a peacemakerfor ya pilgrim.

Simon said...

^ Sorry, conform, not confirm.

Ralph said...

Cool. A colored bronze, like the Greeks'.

Were Wayne's fingers that long?

Trooper York said...

According to Clara Bow and Marlene Dietrich, they were his second most impressive feature.

Joe said...

While very loud and pushy, religious conservatives make up the minority of the Republican party. Like the far loony left, which is a minority in the Democratic party, the religious right learned how to dominate the nomination process.

Nobody really believes politicians when they pander, so why start?

Ultimately, the problem with the Christian right is the same as with the socialist left. What they want is simply not going to happen in the real world.

PS. Freder, you left "puppy blending" off your list of negatives about Glenn Reynolds.

Justin said...

Freder Frederson said...

As for Instaidiot--the man thinks genocide is sometimes "necessary" (and cites the genocide of the American Indian as an example of "necessary genocide").

Can you provide a citation for this?

Sloanasaurus said...

As discussions are increasingly framed with "lefties" references and the villification seems endless...well.

Perhaps hd's departure has something to do with the impending victory now becoming clearer in Iraq. There are so many who were invested with defeat in Iraq - these must be depressing days for them.

Sloanasaurus said...

As for Instaidiot--the man thinks genocide is sometimes "necessary" (and cites the genocide of the American Indian as an example of "necessary genocide").

Where does genocide and American Indians fit into the same sentence? I don't get it?

Simon said...

Justin, Freder is repeating a common meme about Reynolds, and Glenn's recent commentary on the issue (and link to the original post) appears here.

Cedarford said...

Freder - Freder Frederson said...
why not Freder ("hatemonger and genocidal maniac" my a**)

If I left (and believe me I considered it after Cedarford issued vague death threats and he and others accused my wife--apparently just because she is married to me--of being one of Rush's "phony soldiers"), how could Ann claim that this blog is "balanced and so are the comments". Of course she still would because reality rarely intrudes into her little narcissistic vortex.


You're psychotic, Freder. When you get on terrorist rights, Americans killing "innocent enemy", repeating fictional stats meant to discredit America and bolster the enemy cause --pointing out that other nations have dealt harshly with abettors of the enemy does not constitute a death threat. It informs you of historical reality.

Nor do you come to the table with a gun that shoots real bullets. You simply went with the classic Marxist-Bolshevik strategy of not arguing with Althouses hypothetical that the Left began single issue, non-negotiable demands into American politics - you simply Went to Motive

Nor did you question the basis of my piece that communist and German-Jewish refugee Herbert Marcuse wrote "Repressive Tolerance" arguing that toleration of the free speech of those with incorrect, repressive thoughts was wrong - and the Left needed to bring on some of the Brownshirt tactics against their foes he witnessed as a young man.

As for your "wife", I am convinced she is fictional because no true soldier would cohabit with a Quisling....now that you mention it...but I doubt I ever criticized her unless you dredged her up w/o her knowledge as endorsing one your loony beliefs.

***************

Freder Frederson said...

I suppose the difference is that Marx's theories were logically flawed and have been falsified by experience, while Hayek's, in the main, have been vindicated.

Sadly no, there is very little correspondence between economic freedom and political freedom. We can start with World War II, where the western democracies achieved a much greater control over their economies and curtailed economic freedom much more than the Nazis ever did (it is one of the reasons we won the war). And can't honestly argue that the social democracies of Western Europe are less free in any meaningful way than the U.S.

Then of course the counterexamples of economically laissez faire but politically repressive states are myriad--Hong Kong both before and after reunification with China. Taiwan until very recently. The economic miracle in China has come with approximately zero increase in personal or political freedom. Then we have the Gulf states.

Scalia's, Hayek's, and your observations ignore real world evidence (not to mention the conditions that led to the creation of the welfare state that should have put the fantasy of laissez faire capitalism and libertarianism to bed 80 years ago).

Freder Frederson said...

As for your "wife", I am convinced she is fictional because no true soldier would cohabit with a Quisling....now that you mention it...but I doubt I ever criticized her unless you dredged her up w/o her knowledge as endorsing one your loony beliefs.

You're a scumbag Cedarford.

Revenant said...

If the Left invented single-issue voting, it didn't do it in the 60s. White segregationists were single-issue voters for decades prior to that, to name just one example.

It is also worth noting that single-issue voting grew in popularity as party loyalty (by both voters and politicians) declined. It used to be that Party X stood for Issue Y, and Party X made damned sure that its members toed that party line. A person who cared about Issue Y would vote for Party X. Nowadays you can have a long and healthy career in Washington while regularly flaunting party policy (e.g., Lieberman and Specter). It is left up to the voters to enforce issue discipline at the voting booth. In other words, under the old system Rudy Giuliani's positions on gay rights and abortion would have disqualified him from being allowed on the Republican ticket at ALL, so voters wouldn't have been faced with the problem of whether or not to support a pro-choice Republican.

Freder Frederson said...

Cedarford,

I have loony beliefs? I'm not the one who thinks the interstate highway system is a socialist plot.

And frankly, even if I was in the mood to respond to your anti-semitic screed, I couldn't as I don't have the slightest idea what you are going on about.

Justin said...

Simon said...

Justin, Freder is repeating a common meme about Reynolds, and Glenn's recent commentary on the issue (and link to the original post) appears here.

Thanks for the link. I was giving Freder the benefit on the doubt. I searched "necessary genocide" on Instapundit and found the post Glenn links in the Volokh thread. But, since he never said genocide was "necessary" and, in fact, never used the phrase "necessary genocide", I figured I had the wrong post. I was hoping Freder could point me to the correct post.

After reading the thread at Volokh, I'm reminded how far people will go to distort Glenn's words to make him out to be a monster. It's mystifying.

Ralph said...

The economic miracle in China has come with approximately zero increase in personal or political freedom.
OTOH, it's not free, but it's come a long way from the Cultural Revolution.

rdkraus said...

Freder

Do you not understand that just because two things exist together, that does not show that one causes or leads to the other?

Simon said...

Freder Frederson said...
"If I left ... how could Ann claim that this blog is 'balanced and so are the comments'".

You're misquoting her. Ann's 7:28 AM comment said that "[t]his post is balanced and so are the comments" under it prior to her comment (emphasis added).

"We can start with World War II, where the western democracies achieved a much greater control over their economies and curtailed economic freedom much more than the Nazis ever did (it is one of the reasons we won the war)"

I'm sorry -- I assumed you'd actually read The Road to Serfdom. My mistake entirely.

Revenant said...

We can start with World War II, where the western democracies achieved a much greater control over their economies and curtailed economic freedom much more than the Nazis ever did

That sound you hear is the historians of the world laughing at you, Freder. First of all Nazi Germany exerted a much greater degree of control over its economy, both prior to and during the war, than the United States did. Secondly, the two critical differences between our economy and theirs were (a) we could attack their infrastructure and they couldn't return the favor and (b) we were bigger. Finally, your "central control works" hypothesis collapses in the face of the Soviet Union, whose economy was utterly unable to provide the material it needed to fight the Germans. They had to rely on us for their food, clothing, trucks, trains, much of their weaponry, and much of the metal and chemicals used to make the Soviet-built weaponry.

And can't honestly argue that the social democracies of Western Europe are less free in any meaningful way than the U.S.

Oh? The "losses of freedom" you're so fond of whining about here in the US -- things like warrantless wiretapping and the holding of prisoners without charges -- are legal in most of Europe. Abortion is more tightly restricted and regulated. In many EU nations the press is regulated or controlled by the government, and unofficial media subject to sanctions. Most Europeans have fewer rights and protections during criminal trials than Americans do. Finally, there's the obvious fact that restrictions on economic freedom ARE restrictions on freedom; it is a tautology that when comparing two otherwise-identical nations, one of which has a more restricted economy, it is the other nation which is more free.

Roger said...

Without meaning to take sides in any mudslinging contest, I would suggest that bringing commenters families into the "discussion" is way out of bounds. Just saying.

Freder: Just how, may I ask, do you define economic freedom? I am not aware that that there is any pure capitalistic laissez faire society--just as there are very few pure socialist or communist economies. Even the disciples of St Milton still carve out a place in capitalism for government intervention in economies--albeit a very small one.

Freder Frederson said...

Okay, Here is the good perfesser's much disputed quote in its entirety:

"Civilized societies have found it harder, though, to beat the barbarians without killing all, or nearly all, of them. Were it really to become all-out war of the sort that Osama and his ilk want, the likely result would be genocide — unavoidable, and provoked, perhaps, but genocide nonetheless, akin to what Rome did to Carthage, or to what Americans did to American Indians. That’s what happens when two societies can’t live together, and the weaker one won’t stop fighting — especially when the weaker one targets the civilians and children of the stronger. This is why I think it’s important to pursue a vigorous military strategy now. Because if we don’t, the military strategy we’ll have to follow in five or ten years will be light-years beyond “vigorous.”"

(emphasis mine). Granted, he never uses the word "necessary". But "unavoidable" and strategies "we'll have to follow" are certainly synonymous with necessity.

Also, Sloan, I have highlighted for your benefit the fact that he points to the genocide of the American Indian as an example of a "provoked" and "unavoidable" genocide. He is the one calling the treatment of the American Indian genocide, not me.

jeff said...

"All I am asking for is a little honesty from Ann. That she loves the hatemonger and genocidal maniac Glenn Reynolds and carries water for the more viscous right wing blogs by constantly spreading right wing smears."

Those are two truly amazing sentences. The first asking for honesty. The second, actually does what he complains about later in the same sentence. The hypocrisy is actually breathtaking. Leftwing smear-hatemonger and genocidal maniac. Just......wow.

Roger said...

Freder: For one like you who is against torture, you have done grievous damage to the language to infer that Glen Reynolds endorses genocide in the quote you throw up there. No where in that quote do I see the slightest bit of approbation for genocide.

Roger said...

To be clear: Reynolds is talking about the consequences of a given course of action; and is most certainly not suggesting the military strategy will have to be one of genocide. You should consider the difference between inference and implication much more closely before you go off the rails.

Ralph said...

No Freder, "provoked" and "unavoidable" do not refer to the genocide of the Indians, it applies to what he says we might have to do to the current enemy. He's comparing what we did, not why. That was also written in 2002, when Al Queada did not look so feeble as they have lately.

Freder Frederson said...

That sound you hear is the historians of the world laughing at you, Freder.

Very good Revenant. While you are laughing at me, you might want to check the production figures on the T-34 or artillery pieces by the Soviet Union.

As for Germany, our bombing campaign had very little effect on their production capacity until well into 1944. And their war production was always a disaster. They could never standardize production of anything. It took them forever to get anything fielded (the Panther came too late, was way too mechanically complex, and was plagued with production problems). They never were able to do simple things like produce a standard cargo truck and til the very end of the war much of German supply depended on horses. That is not the hallmark of a well-run modern war economy.

Ralph said...

Is this a viscous right wing blog?
No wonder it takes so long on dialup.

Freder Frederson said...

No where in that quote do I see the slightest bit of approbation for genocide.

Well then you're an idiot. He calls genocide "provoked" and "unavoidable" (he is blaming the victims of genocide for bringing it upon themselves. Cedarford probably thinks the Jews of Europe deserved the genocide delivered upon them by the Nazis) and goes on to cite examples of such genocides. He then warns that it may be necessary in the future to repeat such a genocide upon "Osama and his ilk" (if we don't take care of him now).

No Freder, "provoked" and "unavoidable" do not refer to the genocide of the Indians

Don't be embarrassed, a lot of people don't know what the word "akin" means. But you really should consult a dictionary before you display your ignorance.

Roger said...

Freder makes a good point about Soviet production. Early in the war, lend lease was essential. The soviets were required to move their production facilities east of the Urals and then start from scratch after 1941--but they more than made up for it by the end of the war, and as Freder points out were producing weaponry at an astronomical rate. When you have a command economy that task is a bit easier because it can be done without regard to the human cost of the enterprise.

Freder Frederson said...

Is this a viscous right wing blog?

Ahh, the heartbreak of spell check.

Roger said...

Freder: of course I am idiot; Got any substance behind that charge or are you replacing HD as head poo flinger? I let you get under my skin last week. I have moved on and you may call me anything you like.

Ralph said...

Freder, see the "perhaps" and "nonetheless" and reread it. He's comparing what our ancestors and the Romans did to a future conflagration (which he wants to avoid by vigorous action now), not why.

jeff said...

"Well then you're an idiot."
Well, convinced me. Other than the fact you are still interpreting the paragraph the way you want it interpreted rather than the way it is written. For those of us sane readers, he is saying that should the minority continue vicious attacks upon the majority, with no thought to compromise, the majority will eventually commit the next closest thing to genocide, much like Rome did, or American to the Indians.

Such a poor attempt to smear a better man. Pitiful, really.

Roger said...

This whole contretemps is easily resolved. We could simply ask the sainted Professor Reynolds if he personally approves of genocide. My bet, of course, is the answer is no. Of course that wont count for Freder because the cognitive dissonance would drive poor Fred to the prozac salt lick once again. In Freders bizzaro world once he wrongly interprets something, nothing else that follows counts. Interesting indeed......

Freder Frederson said...

We could simply ask the sainted Professor Reynolds if he personally approves of genocide. My bet, of course, is the answer is no.

Well, as Simon pointed out, the sainted Professor did deign to comment on the subject when this topic came up a few weeks ago over on Volokh when some smartass calling himself J.F. Thomas (what is it with these idiots who take their pseudonyms from obscure movies) raised many of the same points I am here.

All the professor had to say was that he had been "smeared". He had ample opportunity to clear up the oft-repeated interpretation of his statement that genocide (including that of the American Indian) was sometimes provoked and unavoidable (which after all is what he wrote), and that if we didn't fight the Islamists effectively now, genocide would be provoked, but sadly unavoidable, later.

But he just made the one short claim about being smeared, claimed links were never made to the original post (which is entirely untrue), and retreated back to Tennessee. So as far as I know, he still stands by the statement as written and refuses to clarify it further.

Justin said...

Freder Frederson said...

He had ample opportunity to clear up the oft-repeated interpretation of his statement that genocide (including that of the American Indian) was sometimes provoked and unavoidable (which after all is what he wrote), and that if we didn't fight the Islamists effectively now, genocide would be provoked, but sadly unavoidable, later.

Now see, this is what he said. It's also what he meant. So what, exactly, is objectionable about this? He's clearly saying that we need to act now to avoid genocide in the future. How does that make him a genocidal maniac?

Roger said...

Freder--believe as you will; I will believe as I chose. There is clearly no middle ground here so I will check out of this "conversation."

Freder Frederson said...

Now see, this is what he said. It's also what he meant. So what, exactly, is objectionable about this?

You don't find anything wrong with the notion that genocide can be provoked and unavoidable? That groups of people--e.g., the American Indian--because of their actions, are to blame and responsible for their own genocide carried out by the dominant society?

Including the American Indian as an example of a provoked and unavoidable genocide is particularly egregious. The American Indian at almost every turn, was the victim, not the perpetrator of aggression.

Richard Dolan said...

What a strange thread this turned into. There's nothing unusual about seeing it hijacked. But it's strange that others are willing to engage with that, particularly as it descends into an exchange of insults. What a waste of time, energy and bandwidth.

jeff said...

"That groups of people--e.g., the American Indian--because of their actions, are to blame and responsible for their own genocide carried out by the dominant society?

Including the American Indian as an example of a provoked and unavoidable genocide is particularly egregious. The American Indian at almost every turn, was the victim, not the perpetrator of aggression."

Which, of course, is not what he said. But points to you to continue to argue something no one else is supporting.

Freder Frederson said...

Which, of course, is not what he said. But points to you to continue to argue something no one else is supporting.

I am tired of hearing this. I have heard many times that my (and all us other vile left wingers who accuse Reynolds of being an apologist for genocide) are wrong and that isn't what Reynolds meant at all.

Maybe I am just dense, but please explain to me what the hell he did mean, because I just don't get it. What on earth is the reference to the American Indians about if not an example of a provoked and unavoidable genocide.

What does he mean when he says that if we don't fight now the response in the future will be "light years beyond vigorous"? Isn't he saying that genocide will be provoked and unavoidable (albeit caused by a combination of weak-willed liberals refusing to fight hard enough now and the "barbarians refusing to give up.

Obviously I am just too dense to read plain English.

Justin said...
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Justin said...

Richard Dolan said...

There's nothing unusual about seeing it hijacked. But it's strange that others are willing to engage with that...

You're right. It's past time I bowed out of the diversion.

Roger said...

Freder: rather than all of us play the blindfolded committee that feels parts of the elephant to determine what it is--here's a suggestion: Email Reynolds and ask him flat out. You can argue with him directly rather than argue with the many of us who read it differently. And BTW: I do hope your wife is safe and I respect her work as a serving soldier.

Windbag said...

In the Reynolds quote is found this: That’s what happens when two societies can’t live together, and the weaker one won’t stop fighting...

I'm not going to defend or attack Reynolds, but this is the crux of what he was saying. If you'll allow an analogy, someone getting mugged on the street may survive the attack is he is passive, and allows his attacker to take his wallet. Fighting back is an option that may or may not work.

If he chooses to fight--especially if the attacker has a 9mm and the victim has an umbrella--he will certainly lose. If the attacker is content to walk away, having obtained the goal (the wallet), but the victim continues to follow after him, beating the attacker with his umbrella, it's likely that eventually, he's going to end up with a 9mm slug to the head.

There was no element of whether or not the victims deserved what he got, just that the course of action chosen by both sides placed them on a course for lethal confrontation.

Ralph said...

Freder, you get points for honesty.
But seriously, you're tying two parts of the sentence together. Do you really think Reynolds blames the invasion of the white man on the Indians? We all know who was here first.

jeff said...

"What does he mean when he says that if we don't fight now the response in the future will be "light years beyond vigorous"? Isn't he saying that genocide will be provoked and unavoidable (albeit caused by a combination of weak-willed liberals refusing to fight hard enough now and the "barbarians refusing to give up."

I already did this at 2:38, but once more into the breech.

What he is saying is that should a minority population continue to deliver brutal attacks on the majority, with no thought of compromise, at some point the majority is going to get pissed and wipe them out. He isn't saying its a good thing, he is saying it will happen. And that genocide will be much like what happened to the American Indians. Using another example, Rome and Carthage. Carthage wasn't a small minority nickel and diming Rome to death, they fought three wars and Rome wiped them out. Much like the American Indians were, and much like what he is afraid will eventually happen. He is saying that his position is that you have to fight the war. Not lob a few cruise missiles in the enemies direction and hope they get the point. If you refuse to fight, then you run the risk of the other side continuing to ratchet up the pain until the dominant state finally wipes them out. And when he says wipes out, he means like the Indians and Carthage were. Nothing about motives for why the Indians and Carthage were wiped out, but used as an example as what happens when a state wages all out war. His point is that if you sit on the sidelines and try to "understand" the other sides "feelings", you run the risk of the other side finally pushing the bigger side up against the wall. An example: suppose 9/11 happens, and we don't do much. Someone then finally gets a small nuke into Seattle. The response to that could be horrific and cost many more lives than just reponding to the first attack.

Whether or not you agree with that, isn't the point. It is a valid argument, it does not endorse genocide, it is a cautionary tale of what could happen if you never respond. It presents the Indians and Carthage as victims of genocide, with nothing said as to the reasons.

You might as well argue with the weatherman for predicting cold weather this winter and calling him a monster because people will be cold and possible freeze to death.

How you can get "the hatemonger and genocidal maniac Glenn Reynolds " (words that frankly deserve a punch in the mouth) out of what he said just shows tremendous problems with reading comprehension, possibly caused by your refusal to look at anyone else who doesn't share your political viewpoint as someone evil.

JohnAnnArbor said...

What a waste of time, energy and bandwidth.

Especially if the data stream is viscous.

ron st.amant said...

I think hyper-partisanship and single-issue political divides are nothing new, and certainly did not start with the 1960s Left.

The first political parties developed over Federalism...hello, the opposition was called Anti-Federalists.

I don't buy the argument that the Right is any more or less intrenched ideologically at its fringes. Some issues are naturally divisive in this way. Abortion is the sine qua non of many in the religious right, and it is why Guiliani has any challenge at all in the GOP.

Currently on the Left its the Iraq war.

There's little pragmatism among the candidates of either side, and the ideologues of both parties will continue to wrench the vast majority sitting in the middle.

The Exalted said...

freder,

this comment:

The economic miracle in China has come with approximately zero increase in personal or political freedom.

is just absolutely ridiculous. you really think today's chinese are under the same authoritarian scrutiny as in the 1960's? you cannot be serious.

however, i am with you on instaidiot. he is, afterall, an idiot, thus, it is no surprise his comment is idiotic. (he seems to be arguing that OBL better be careful or we will massacre all arabs. do i have this wrong?)

The Exalted said...

Revenant said...

That sound you hear is the historians of the world laughing at you, Freder. First of all Nazi Germany exerted a much greater degree of control over its economy, both prior to and during the war, than the United States did.


germany famously was not on a true "war economy" until 1943 b/c 1) hitler feared upsetting the populace, and 2) hitler was an insanely optimistic maniac (see not allowing troops to bring longcoats or heavy boots in the invasion of the soviet union).

Secondly, the two critical differences between our economy and theirs were (a) we could attack their infrastructure and they couldn't return the favor and (b) we were bigger.


Actually, no. At its height, the nazi empire controlled more land, resources and people than did the united states. it was nowhere near as efficient in its resource exploitation for a variety of reasons, including cultural/language barriers, resistance, and flat incompetence.

Finally, your "central control works" hypothesis collapses in the face of the Soviet Union, whose economy was utterly unable to provide the material it needed to fight the Germans. They had to rely on us for their food, clothing, trucks, trains, much of their weaponry, and much of the metal and chemicals used to make the Soviet-built weaponry.

how glib. of course our materials -- in particular the autos -- were massively helpful. but to say "utterly unable" to produce in the face of the urals miracle...give me a break. compare soviet tank production with german and american. (think i saw this in "why the allies won" by overy). you might be surprised.

as to the relative "freedom" of europe vs here, the most important choice, the ability to vote with your feet, is always present...

Joe said...
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Joe said...

(he seems to be arguing that OBL better be careful or we will massacre all arabs. do i have this wrong?)

Quite. See Jeff's comment above.

Ralph said...

do i have this wrong?
I suspect he was worrying about a worst case scenario of a new, militant Caliphate using nukes against the West. Seems much less likely now than it did in 2002.

Revenant said...

Granted, he never uses the word "necessary". But "unavoidable" and strategies "we'll have to follow" are certainly synonymous with necessity.

"Unavoidable" is not synonymous with "necessity" or "necessary". Unavoidable means it is going to happen whether it is necessary for it to happen or not.

"We'll have to follow" is certainly synonymous with necessity, but what "we'll have to follow" is a "military strategy" that "will be light-years beyond 'vigorous'" -- not genocide itself. Genocide will be the "unavoidable" consequence of total war between America and Islamists. A pundit in the 1930s might have similarly observed that the genocide of the Japanese people would be the unavoidable result of the strategies we would have to follow in the event of a Japanese war against the United States -- and, in fact, it was. We killed millions and millions of innocent Japanese civilians, not as the primary goal of our war but as a side effect of how total war is fought.

Reynolds' point, which you overlooked in your rush to take offense, is that the Islamists are engaged in a cycle of performing ever-more-outrageous acts of provocation against us in an attempt to draw us into total war with them. Should they succeed, they and the cultures which shelter them will be annihilated.

Revenant said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Revenant said...

germany famously was not on a true "war economy" until 1943 b/c 1) hitler feared upsetting the populace

Germany's economy was subject to central government control -- much more so than even in the New Deal-era United States -- even before Hitler got serious about switching to a war footing.

Actually, no. At its height, the nazi empire controlled more land, resources and people than did the united states.

Militarily, sure. Economically, no. It doesn't do you any good to "control" a piece of land if there's a war being fought on it.

compare soviet tank production with german and american

The soviets were able to produce a lot of tanks for two reasons:

(1): We gave them enough steel to produce a hundred thousand tanks, and

(2): We produced approximately 99% of their trains, 70% of their automobiles (including almost all of their transport trucks), and similar percentages of their tractors and heavy equipment -- thereby freeing up their vehicle factories to produce basically nothing BUT tanks. In other words, the Soviets beat us in tank production because we were nice enough to supply everything their economy needed to keep going while they did it.

Were it not for Lend-Lease they would not only have been unable to build the tanks -- they'd have been unable to feed or clothe most of the people building them, unable to transport them to the front once they were built, and unable to use them even if they got there (since they would also not have had the logistical capacity to keep them in supplies).

as to the relative "freedom" of europe vs here, the most important choice, the ability to vote with your feet, is always present...

At the moment. Europe's got a bad track record where that particular choice is concerned.

jeff said...

"Reynolds' point, which you overlooked in your rush to take offense, is that the Islamists are engaged in a cycle of performing ever-more-outrageous acts of provocation against us in an attempt to draw us into total war with them. Should they succeed, they and the cultures which shelter them will be annihilated."

Nice. Much better and easier to understand than my overly long post. No excuse for mis reading Instapundit incorrectly after that.

Trumpit said...
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Trumpit said...

Hayek's scale between liberals and planners is much more effective for many purposes. - Simon

I don't know what you're talking about, and I don't intend to research Hayek's scale.


I suppose the difference is that Marx's theories were logically flawed and have been falsified by experience, while Hayek's, in the main, have been vindicated. - Simon

Because you said so? Forget it, man!

I'm sorry -- I assumed you'd actually read The Road to Serfdom. My mistake entirely. - Simon

I have no intention of reading that stale, dusty book. If there is something in that book that is worthwhile to you, good for you. YOU have said nothing other than drop a name from the remote past.

I know one thing for sure that if you vote for another Republican, you're voting for perpetual serfdom for the middle class. Ask Lou Dobbs of CNN. See, Simple Simon, two can play that slick name dropping game.

Have you taken up permanent residence on Ann's blog? If you have, then I may join hdhouse in the outhouse of Althouse.

Trumpit said...

I'm sorry -- I assumed you'd actually read War on the Middle Class by Lou Dobbs. My mistake entirely.

Revenant said...

I have no intention of reading that stale, dusty book

Your loss.

Simon said...

Trumpit, I've been in quasi-permanent residence here, at Ann's sufferance, for quite some time, and I don't intend to depart any time soon. You can stay or go as you will, but I do find it adorably self-important that an occasional troll thinks that (a) I was talking to you or (b) that I'm especially concerned with the advancement of people who expressly disclaim interest in learning.

Freder Frederson said...

Simon, you're right, I haven't read The Road to Serfdom and I doubt you have read Das Kapital (which I have--although don't ask me to explain it). I know both are wildly wrong in both their predictions and economic theory. Hayek is wrong that economic freedom is the cause of political freedom. I gave you several modern day examples and of course you just ignored them. Nor is the opposite true, free markets can exist in oppressive societies. To claim that Nazi Germany was a centrally controlled economy and somehow equivalent to the Soviet Union is of course nonsense. Private industry and businesses survived and thrived under the Nazis. The only businesses seized by the state--and then they were turned over to private interests--were those confiscated from Jews and other undesireable elements.

Hayek saw in the welfare states arising after the war in Western Europe the "road to serfdom". Guess what, it just didn't happen. In fact, the happiest, healthiest, freest countries in the world are still in western Europe and North America.

is just absolutely ridiculous. you really think today's chinese are under the same authoritarian scrutiny as in the 1960's?

Well of course they aren't. But political reform and loosening of the oppresive conditions of the '60s came before capitalism in China, it was not the result of it.

The Chinese are certainly less free politically today than they were in 1989 (the year of Tianamin Square) in spite of the economic progress.

Trumpit said...
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Trumpit said...

Simple Simon,

Any comment you make to another commenter is free for all to read and comment on, or don't you truly believe in freedom? Hayek wouldn't approve, SS.

You must be reminded that you are simple and narrow-mind when you are, which is quite frequently. So I'll troll around self-importantly to kick you in the butt when it strikes me as appropriate to inform an adorably partially educated, & smug troll like you when you're sounding stupid. Sadly, that would be all time-consuming, I'm afraid.

There are a million & one important books that you & Ir-relevant haven't read, because no one has the time or inclination to read them all, and it's humanly impossible anyway. Just because you think a book is uber-important doesn't make it obligatory that others read it. Hayek doesn't like obligatory, either, SS. Maybe Ann will live blog (or let you guest live blog) Road to Serfdom or the 1945 Reader's Digest abridgment. She seems to have a soft spot for geeky, opinionated kooks like you, so why don't you ask her? Then, to honor racist Cederford, you can do Mein Kumpf. In that case, I predict her readership will fall off by 99% as most people are bored out of their collective minds. Maybe not, if people think it's some kind of spooky Halloween stunt.


Since you claim to want to advance learning please send me a 10 page book report on the first 500 pages of Das Kapital. You don't have to read it in the original German; that would be asking too much. Since true blue capitalists won't work for free, I'll send you 1 or 2 dollars per page depending on whether or not I think you got red Karl's main points. Don't worry; I'm an easy grader. Submit the homework assignment to my email: trumpit@aol.com .

Trooper York said...

I am sorry; I assumed that you read "Slave Girls of Gor." Hopefully you can pick up the plot from the brief excerpts that I have previously posted. It is a classic of economic theory and I believe it lead directly to the Vice President's recent Nobel Prize.

The Exalted said...

The Chinese are certainly less free politically today than they were in 1989 (the year of Tianamin Square) in spite of the economic progress.

i wonder what you base this on

Gedaliya said...

I doubt you have read Das Kapital (which I have--although don't ask me to explain it).

All three volumes? I simply don't believe that you've read Das Kapital. You're making it up.

Revenant said...

I haven't read The Road to Serfdom and I doubt you have read Das Kapital [...]

I wonder why you'd doubt that? I had to read it for a college course and I'd already read it prior to that just out of personal curiosity . There's no reason to assume that an intellectually active person like Simon wouldn't have read it.

I know both are wildly wrong in both their predictions and economic theory. Hayek is wrong that economic freedom is the cause of political freedom.

And here's where actually reading the book would have helped you avoid making that mistake. You see, Hayek's point was not that economic freedom causes political freedom -- it was that economic freedom is necessary to political freedom. It is the difference between saying "if you don't shoot yourself in the head you'll live to a ripe old age" (which is often false, since people die from other causes) and saying "if you want to live to a ripe old age, you must not shoot yourself in the head" (which is obviously true).

A state which loses its economic freedom descends into tyranny as well as poverty. Hayek was specifically addressing the evils of centralized governmental control of the economy, as was practiced in Germany and the USSR, and as was becoming popular in America and much of Europe. Now, maybe Hayek is wrong about that, but if so then it is an eerie coincidence that every centrally planned economy in the world has either (a) abandoned central planning (as America and western Europe did) or (b) become tyrannical (as the Communist world did, and as states like Zimbabwe and Venezuela are becoming today). It is certainly not the case that the political situation in the world today proves him wrong.

At the time Hayek was writing, the American people were becoming rapidly less free while the government became rapidly more powerful; next to the powers of Roosevelt's "Imperial Presidency" the worst excesses of the Bush Administration barely register. The same situation was true in much of Europe. Thankfully, that trend ended -- the government's control over the lives of its people was dramatically reduced during the postwar years. But at the time Hayek was writing, the belief that the economy could be wonderful forever if we just got a bunch of really smart guys together and gave them power to dictate who made what for whom was VERY popular -- nearly universally so on the left, and fairly popular even on the right. Hayek illustrated, quite clearly, why they were wrong in their thinking.

This gets at the point so many critics of economic freedom miss -- economic freedom is itself a form of political freedom, and is necessary for the health of pretty much all of the other political freedoms. Look at it this way: suppose a Bush appointee was in charge of determining what food you got to buy, what apartment you were allowed to rent, and what job you were allowed to work at. How much political freedom would you really have in that situation? Well, that's what a centrally-controlled economy is.