July 20, 2012

Take the actively viral "you didn't build that" meme and cross-pollinate it with the slightly dimmed "Julia" meme and breed a vigorous new small-government/individual responsibility conservatism...

Charles Krauthammer, hammering "you didn't build it":
Obama’s infrastructure argument is easily refuted by what is essentially a controlled social experiment. Roads and schools are the constant. What’s variable is the energy, enterprise, risk-taking, hard work and genius of the individual. It is therefore precisely those individual characteristics, not the communal utilities, that account for the different outcomes.
A similar point was made very well by rhhardin in the comments on this blog, back on July 15th, the first day we talked about "you didn't build it":
You're paid for knowing what to do.

That's just as competitive with or without bridges. You have to guess well or you fail.

Take away the reward for knowing what to do, and there's less of it happening, as we see today.

Infrastructure raises the general standard of living, but not need for guessing right. Guessing right is what the private market does, bridges or no bridges.

Government guesses wrong, and wipes out the economy entirely.
Later rh added:
A chaplin was captive in a German prisoner of war camp.

Every month or so red cross packages arrived, with cigarettes, meat, jam, and so forth.

Every month the chaplin would set off trading stuff, letting meat lovers trade cigarettes for more meat and so forth.

Every month he'd return to his bed with the equivalent of two red cross packages, a gain from trading.

Everybody he traded with is better off, and yet he comes out with a profit.

What he knows is the barter price of things, who to go to next, and so forth, to enable all the trades to happen.

Should he turn in a portion of his profit because he couldn't have done it without the red cross?

Why? Everybody is better off already owing to his efforts.
Krauthammer goes on to say that conservatives as well as liberals support infrastructure. (I note that we disagree about some infrastructure, notably high-speed rail.) The real divergence is over things like "transfer payments and redistributionist taxation, about geometrically expanding entitlements, about tax breaks and subsidies to induce actions pleasing to central planners... free contraceptives for privileged students and welfare without work... endless government handouts...." Here, Krauthammer reminds us of the notorious "Julia" cartoon.
Julia’s world is totally atomized. It contains no friends, no community and, of course, no spouse. Who needs one? She’s married to the provider state.

Or to put it slightly differently, the “Life of Julia” represents the paradigmatic Obama political philosophy: citizen as orphan child. For the conservative, providing for every need is the duty that government owes to actual orphan children. Not to supposedly autonomous adults.
If the Romney campaign can take the actively viral "you didn't build that" meme and cross-pollinate it with the slightly dimmed "Julia" meme and breed a vigorous new small-government/individual responsibility conservatism...

94 comments:

Jay said...

Flashback from a month ago:

A Georgia Town Takes the People’s Business Private

I love how the author promises delicate NYT readers that:

that doesn’t mean “the model” can be easily exported

We must maintain the sweet comfort of what we "know" after all...

Jay said...

By the way, this nugget from that NYT piece is quite revealing:

HOVERING around the debate about privatization is a basic question: What is local government for? For years, one answer, at least implicitly, was “to provide steady jobs with good wages.” But that answer is losing its political tenability, says John D. Donahue of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.

Again, I never signed up for a "social contract" to provide "jobs" with "good wages" for people at the Department of Public Welfare.

The Drill SGT said...

Notice how the Left always takes whatever is their current policy goal and wraps it up as a "Right" or an element of the "Social Contract"?

Kohath said...

High speed rail isn't infrastructure, it's a religion.

Michael said...

The NYT notes in passing that Sandy Springs is a "white flight" suburb implying redneck racists. In fact, Sandy Springs was noted for a time as the habitat of northern Jews who preferred not to reside in town. Most of the northern suburbs are filled with transplants from outside the south: people who love African Americans as a group but are afraid of them individually and would prefer to live as far crom them as possible. In the meantime, people leave the cities for 1.) better schools, 2.) lower taxes 3.) better security. The core cities always forget that people vote with their feet when all else fails.

pst314 said...

"A chaplin was captive in a German prisoner of war camp."

That story is discussed at length in an EconTalk podcast: www.econtalk.org

Lem said...

Julia’s world is totally atomized. It contains no friends, no community and, of course, no spouse.

The spouse, free from any responsibility, sings...

Dicen que soy dichoso...
Ay Julia porque me dejaste Julita porque me abandonaste
ahora yo voy a bailar ahora yo voy a gozar ay que bueno va (oyelo) que bueno esta


Translation...

They say I'm lucky...
Oh Julia why did you leave me
Julita why did you abandoned me
Now I'm going to dance Now I'm going to enjoy Oh how good it is (hear-this) its very good.

The Drill SGT said...

Mary,

Not sure what your point was. As Krauthammer pointed ot (better than I), conservatives are fine with infrasture like roads, bridges, water, sewer and power, plus common defense topics like the military, border control. customs, etc.

Liberals seem to want to federalize things conservatives think should be handled by the individual, the family the community, or the local government.

Why the Feds need to be in the business of National Education is a liberal agenda.

Liberals like to take every operating cost and call it an investment.

a psychiatrist who learned from veterans said...

Yeah. I'm one of the few few who thought Obama's ad was any good, but it was only good in a certain perspective: Obama was going to get hammered on his statement. Like a boxer about to get hammered, he needed to put distance between him and his attacker with a counter-punch or put him in a clinch. Basically, Obama succeeds in the objective of going for the clinch, tying up his opponent. To mix the metaphor, the 400 pound laugher of a fish story is his counter-punch, that 'Romney will say anything to gt elected.' What a hoot! Who will say anything to get elected? HA-HA-HA. If the Romney response ad can catch that, it's lights out.

David said...

Krauthammer goes on to say that conservatives as well as liberals support infrastructure. (I note that we disagree about some infrastructure, notably high-speed rail.)

This might be the first time that Althouse, even indirectly, refers to herself as conservative. Someone write down the date.

MayBee said...

If Obama would have said "You didn't build that shit" he would have been ok.

Bruce Hayden said...

Again, I never signed up for a "social contract" to provide "jobs" with "good wages" for people at the Department of Public Welfare.

This brings up the question, what exactly is the social contract that we live under?

The social contract that a lot of us thought that we had is the one that is embodied in our founding documents, including the Constitution, Declaration of Independence, and Federalist Papers. With it, we have agreed to a limited federal government with limited enumerated powers and significant limitations.

Yet, the federal government is now spending some 1/4 of GDP, and much of that is in the form of redistributing wealth. Where is that in the social contract?

Some may argue that we have the government that we vote for, and elections are part of that social contract. But what we see these days is massive amounts of money being spent to buy votes and politicians, in order to receive far more money in return from the government. We see this in government contracting, government regulation, and government employees.

The politicians, often ruthless opportunists by nature, willingly prostitute themselves to these interest in order to benefit financially themselves. No one should be surprised that the same politicians who are pushing so hard for Romney to disclose his last 40 years of tax returns, adamantly refuse to do so themselves, despite being the ones who authorize the spending of money and the structure of government. Harry Reid is not alone as a politician who started "public service" dirt poor, and is now a multi-millionaire (as are his 5 kids), built on the special concessions that he could procure as a powerful politician, and not on the salary that he was paid.

We were warned against much of this by very prescient founders in the Federalist Papers.

So, what is the social contract that we are all bound with? The vision of our founders that many of us were taught in civics classes (back when they taught this sort of stuff), or the crony capitalist brand socialism that seems to have grown so drastically under Obama and his Democratic Congressional allies?

One of the problems is that the assumption seems to be that if the current state of affairs isn't to your liking, you can just pick up and move somewhere where it is, and, therefore that remaining here in the U.S. means consenting to the social contract that is the current state of affairs. But, that isn't really an answer, since the next question would then be, where to move? Not very many good choices. Besides, my family started moving here almost 400 years ago. A lot of ties would need to be broken for me to leave.

So, I am not the least bit surprised that the question of our social contract is now resurfacing. And, not surprised that some are looking seriously at Thomas Jefferson's suggestion that there are times when we need to restart afresh, and that armed revolution may sometimes be the answer (though we are cautioned against doing so too hastily in the Declaration of Independence).

Freder Frederson said...

Should he turn in a portion of his profit because he couldn't have done it without the red cross?

I doubt your story is even real. And everyone is not better off. Red Cross packages are meant to supplement barely adequate rations supplied by the Germans. That cigarettes were included is a quirk of history. That someone, especially a chaplain, would think he is benefiting someone by feeding their addiction and depriving them of basic nutritional necessities is disgusting, not laudable.

Freder Frederson said...

No one should be surprised that the same politicians who are pushing so hard for Romney to disclose his last 40 years of tax returns, adamantly refuse to do so themselves

Please provide examples.

bandmeeting said...

I note that we disagree about some infrastructure, notably high-speed rail.

We don't even agree that it IS infrastructure, much less than is it infrastructure that we need.

Would you see paving the streets in gold to be infrastructure? The gold would visually enhance the infrastructure but it wouldn't actually be infrastructure.

High speed rail, with the exception of the eastern corridor is never going to be used in sufficient numbers to be seen as anything but a huge waste of money serving only a small (I don't even know who these people would be and I don't believe Jerry Brown or whomever is behind the MAD-MIL project do either) number of people. That is the definition of boondoggle not infrastructure.

Michelle said...

David -- I don't think her "we" was referring to just conservatives, but to both conservatives and liberals.

Paul said...

More importantly about the infrastructure... WE PAYED TAXES TO BUILD IT. It was not 'free' or just the government doing it. The government only had a part cause we paid for it.

Government seems to think the money was theirs, just as kings felt everything was their property.

The infrastructure only gives a easier way to build, it does not build a damn thing.

It's the people who take the risk, the ones that work 12-18 hours building a company that may fail, that take the risk.

The government does not take any risk.

MayBee said...

bandmeeting- good point. The California high speed rail isn't even being sold anymore as important infrastructure or transportation. It's being sold as jobs.

Freder Frederson said...

High speed rail, with the exception of the eastern corridor is never going to be used in sufficient numbers to be seen as anything but a huge waste of money serving only a small (I don't even know who these people would be and I don't believe Jerry Brown or whomever is behind the MAD-MIL project do either) number of people.

Have you ever been on the I-94 and I-90 through the Dakotas and Montana. Don't they meet your definition of boondoggle?

Freder Frederson said...

The government does not take any risk.

Gee, I guess World War II, the cold war and the space program just weren't risky.

The government was creating programming languages for private industry (e.g., COBOL) when private industry wasn't willing to take the risk.

bandmeeting said...

Have you ever been on the I-94 and I-90 through the Dakotas and Montana. Don't they meet your definition of boondoggle?

I have, they don't. Guess what? There is also a railroad through there. It hauls goods (including my ass one time) through a part of our country, similarly to the Interstate Highway System (in Obamaspeak, the Intercontinental Highway System).

I see no correlation between the rail systems I previously mentioned and the highway you mention.

Fritz said...

"Krauthammer goes on to say that conservatives as well as liberals support infrastructure. (I note that we disagree about some infrastructure, notably high-speed rail.)

This might be the first time that Althouse, even indirectly, refers to herself as conservative. Someone write down the date."

Did you consider the possibility that she supports high speed rail?

bandmeeting said...

Fred;

How would a cost per mile of the California high speed rail compare to the cost per mile of the Dakota Interstate system?

bandmeeting said...

There is a bus station, just off West Washington, where you can catch a bus to Milwaukee without further government action.

Bruce Hayden said...

Please provide examples.

The 40 years were an exaggeration, but both Pelosi and Reid have called for Romney to provide many more years of tax returns. The standard, up until now, for Presidential candidates, has been two years. And, Romney has agreed to do that. But, somehow, these Democratic politicians believe that he is not qualified to be President if he doesn't disclose many more years.

Oh, and both have refused to release their tax returns this last week, when requested. Somehow, the standard that they want applied to Romney shouldn't apply to them. Pelosi pointed out that she has conformed to the disclosure required by Congress - which, of course, is self-serving, since that disclosure ignores spousal income and wealth, and groups income and wealth in large categories and ranges.

Hagar said...

I think the person who commented that Obama has essentially a "third world" sense of property and economics is on to something.
If you have anything, anything at all, it does not need to be in "the rich" range, it is not because you worked harder or smarter, or just prudently conserved what you have; it is just that you have been lucky, or you outright cheated or stole from your neighbors, and therefore they have as much right to it as you do, and it is all right to take it away from you.

MayBee said...

Julia's baby daddy to Julia: "You think you're so loveable? A lot of people are loveable."

Ken said...

A lesson on Julia from the liberal arts.

Bruce Hayden said...

Have you ever been on the I-94 and I-90 through the Dakotas and Montana. Don't they meet your definition of boondoggle?

Don't know why you think that they are boondoggles. Drove maybe a 100 mile stretch of I-90 last weekend into Idaho, and there were plenty of trucks on the road, which provide a good chunk of the money to maintain the roads.

Keep in mind that much of the federal highway system, including the Interstate highways, is built and maintained through taxes levied on fuel. So, contrary to much of what the government does, highways are mostly self-funded. If you drive your car 1000 miles on the highway, you will spend maybe 10x in taxes as much as if you only drove it only 100 miles.

The difference between roads and rail is that road construction and maintenance is mostly self-financed by those using it. Passenger rail traffic is heavily subsidized by the general public, often for more than is charged the passengers. Freight rail is profitable, but was deregulated several decades ago.

Chase said...

Bruce Hayden is on FIRE this morning! Just by being rational and logical.

Freder - I don't wish you ill, man, but Bruce has spanked you twice so far today!

David said...

Michelle: Point taken. But we do know Althouse's position on high speed rail and it's not the liberal position.

Freder Frederson said...

highways are mostly self-funded.

Nonsense, direct taxes on gas and transportation fund about a third of the highway system (which is woefully under-maintained). The rest comes out of general revenue.

Chase said...

The government does not take any risk.

Gee, I guess World War II, the cold war and the space program just weren't risky.

The government was creating programming languages for private industry (e.g., COBOL) when private industry wasn't willing to take the risk.


First the government is SUPPOSED to to do those things. Defense is one of the Primary Purposes of government - sheesh!!.

Second, my father worked on COBOL in the 50's - He was with the Defense Department Teams, but IBM led the Teams. It was meant for business but The Defense Department used it for years. And again, go back to the primary purposes of government.

Dude, wake up!

Freder Frederson said...

The standard, up until now, for Presidential candidates, has been two years.

According to who? George Romney released 12 years back in 1968. Kerry had 20 years available when he ran. Both Bushes released 10 years plus, Obama seven.

Chase said...

So Freder, the governement builds highways for all of us, then those who work harder and expolit it's uses pay for the privilege - that third you're talking about.

What's your point? that someone sitting on his ass who has never paid taxes - currently 30+% of the population - should get a cut of the rewards from someone who worked his ass off?

What's NOT Communist about your philosophy?

Be honest, dude.

Hagar said...

Freder Fredersen's view of the United States

bandmeeting said...

It was meant for business but The Defense Department used it..

Common Business Oriented Language.

Hagar said...

Freder wants to talk about boondoggles, consider the billions spent on urban bicycle trails for the titanium bike and Lycra crowd.

bandmeeting said...

How would a cost per mile of the California high speed rail compare to the cost per mile of the Dakota Interstate system?

Freddy, boy, you there? Cost per mile, please. Oh, and a coherent explanation why it should be done.

Brent said...

bandmeeting,

Yes, it was developed for business, and one of it's functions was to allow business to communicate with government on the same standards.

My father worked on it, used it.

You're not a dipshit are you, bandmeeting?

Hagar said...

Now that is really taxing the masses of the poor to pay for the luxuries of the wealthy minority!

bandmeeting said...

titanium bike and Lycra crowd.

You are fully unfamiliar with the subject you are getting into. Expensive (carbon it preferable to titanium)bike and lycra types, like myself, only ride on a rail trail or bike lane because there is no other route. One does not get all kitted up to head out on a MUP (multi-use path). The in-city routes are the domain of commuters and food delivery Kamikazies.

bandmeeting said...

You're not a dipshit are you, bandmeeting?

You are providing a minimum of information that would cause me to answer in the affirmative. I got the acronym wrong.

Oh, wait. Your daddy worked on it. that's all the proof I need. Busted.

Freder Frederson said...

Freder - I don't wish you ill, man, but Bruce has spanked you twice so far today!

It's easy to spank someone when you make up facts to support your point of view.

High Speed rail will be immediately profitable and take 1 million cars off the road. So much for being a boondoggle.

Argue with those "facts".

See how easy it is.

The Drill SGT said...

I wonder if Mary is from Pasadena...

edutcher said...

Actually, I think what Dr K has envisioned has already begun. I think the pushback against this is going to do for Little Zero what Admiral Yamamoto's flyby of the Pacific Fleet did for Japan

Throw in Pelosi Galore's little Solly an' Da Boys threat to the media and you may have a real sea change in the race (which appears to have begun anyway).

Freder Frederson said...

No one should be surprised that the same politicians who are pushing so hard for Romney to disclose his last 40 years of tax returns, adamantly refuse to do so themselves

Please provide examples.


Please see above link.

Hagar said...

@ bandmeeting,
OK, carbon-fiber and Lycra crowd.
And in this town they do not ride on the bike trails along the City arterials, but in the traffic lanes, because there is too much sand, dog poo, etc. on the trails for those skinny little racing tires to cope with.
So the trails are really a total waste anyway as regards their intended purpose.
But it is the bicyclists' "rights" to have them, regardless of cost.

chickelit said...

Krauthammer wrote: Julia’s world is totally atomized. It contains no friends, no community and, of course, no spouse. Who needs one? She’s married to the provider state.

I tried making that same point:

Another point is that the atomistic destruction of family which "Julia" espouses is wrong too.

7/15/12 8:06 PM
link

Timing is everything.

Chip S. said...

A chaplin was captive in a German prisoner of war camp.

Must've been Sydney. He served in WWII in Europe.

dbp said...

Here in a nutshell is what distinguishes those who value freedom and those who do not:

Freder Frederson said...
Should he turn in a portion of his profit because he couldn't have done it without the red cross?

I doubt your story is even real. And everyone is not better off. Red Cross packages are meant to supplement barely adequate rations supplied by the Germans. That cigarettes were included is a quirk of history. That someone, especially a chaplain, would think he is benefiting someone by feeding their addiction and depriving them of basic nutritional necessities is disgusting, not laudable.


To the GI who traded his candy bar for a pack of smokes, it seemed like a good deal: He wouldn't have made the trade if he didn't think so. Those who love freedom, respect their fellow man and his autonomy. That GI neither needs nor wants a nanny making his decisions for him.

edutcher said...

Freder Frederson said...

Freder - I don't wish you ill, man, but Bruce has spanked you twice so far today!

It's easy to spank someone when you make up facts to support your point of view.

High Speed rail will be immediately profitable and take 1 million cars off the road. So much for being a boondoggle.

Argue with those "facts".


Easily. They aren't facts, merely Freder's speculation.

And, in light of Spain's adventure with high speed rail, poor speculation, at that.

Hagar said...

or whether they actually use them.

Tim said...

Ann Althouse wrote...

"If the Romney campaign can take the actively viral "you didn't build that" meme and cross-pollinate it with the slightly dimmed "Julia" meme and breed a vigorous new small-government/individual responsibility conservatism..."

Yes. But if that's what you want from government, how the hell did you wind up voting for Obama?

That was never going to eventuate, and everybody knew it.

Rusty said...

The difference between roads and rail is that road construction and maintenance is mostly self-financed by those using it. Passenger rail traffic is heavily subsidized by the general public, often for more than is charged the passengers. Freight rail is profitable, but was deregulated several decades ago.


And guess who maintains the right of way. Yes. The corporate railroads that use it.


High Speed rail will be immediately profitable and take 1 million cars off the road

No it won't.


I don't think there is a high speed rail system any where in the world that is not sustained by its governments subsidies.

rhhardin said...

The fortunes of Lionel probably indicte the directon of rail transportation.

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

Why are we allowing the statists to define the battleground by talking about infrastructure? I don't think anyone argues against infrastructure being a reasonable, rational societal responsibility. But infrastructure is not the point of contention; irresponsible spending is! Cut loose congress with money and then check back and see what they allocate it on!

Being against irresponsible government spending is not the same as being against society or any social contract. Why it's pitched any other way, I don't know, but it's a false argument to do so. So why concede anything by allowing any debate on the battleground of infrastructure? Infrastructure spending isn't the damn problem! It isn't a question of someone "not building that", it's a problem with claiming to need money to fund The Social Contract and build infrastructure, but then turning around and putting that money to dumb use. And then asking for even more!! That's where the problem lies!

Bruce Hayden said...

It's easy to spank someone when you make up facts to support your point of view.

High Speed rail will be immediately profitable and take 1 million cars off the road. So much for being a boondoggle.

Argue with those "facts".


I don't think that even Freder really believes this.

In any case, it is wrong. Why? Because high speed rail has no real nitch to fill, except in the heavily populated NE corridor.

Air travel is faster and far more flexible from the point of view of the operator. A lot of people want to go from point A to point B? Just throw a plane or two onto the route. Lost interest and want to go to C instead? Move the plane. Double the traffic? Double the planes, which can be done on pretty short notice. With high speed rail, the answer is to lay special track from Point A to Point B, which may take a decade and cost billions of dollars, and then when the people want to go to Point C instead - whoops.

And, don't expect to run those high speed trains on existing rails. Those are owned by the freight companies. Yes, they were financed by 19th century land giveaways, but that was over a hundred years ago. Freight is profitable, and so is king of the rails in this country.

Oh, and don't think that you will be able to get away from TSA if high speed rail ever were to take off. A high speed train is maybe even a bigger target for terrorists than a plane, since they have to go the same exact route every time. And, they have a huge amount of momentum if they ever hit anything.

If you want moderate flexibility and more speed than by normal passenger train, there are always buses. Work fairly well, and the system again is much more flexible than a rail system. And private automobiles give you better speed over moderate distances and complete flexibility.

Face it. There are very few places in this country where thousands of people are going to reliably want to go from Point A to Point B every day for the next number of decades, where Point A and Point B are at least several hundred miles apart, but not more than maybe 500 miles. To be economically feasible, we are talking a number of trains a day, each one carrying many hundreds of people. Fewer than that, and the numbers don't work out. (And, yes, Freder, I am guessing at the miles here, but have seen something like them over the years).

Never been clear to me what the allure is with high speed rail, except maybe to get people out of their cars. But, that isn't going to happen anytime soon. Most of the country is just too spread out to make rail, fast or slow, a viable option.

bandmeeting said...

I don't think that even Freder really believes this.

He is either a conservative moby trying to make Democrats sound supid(er) or America's Politico.

bandmeeting said...

stupid. Trying to cook lunch here.

Bruce Hayden said...

Why are we allowing the statists to define the battleground by talking about infrastructure?

They talk infrastructure because that is one of those things that few can complain about the government doing. The federal government did partially finance the U.S., and then Interstate, highway system, and taxes collected by the federal government from the users of these systems help maintain them to this day. Going back into the 19th Century, the federal government subsidized the construction of rail lines throughout the country with massive land giveaways to the railroads.

This focus on infrastructure is somewhat akin to talking about police, fire, and teachers whenever cities and counties have to cut back - ignoring that they aren't the ones being hired, for the most part, when those governments go on hiring sprees. Rather, it is the nameless bureaucrats in less visible jobs. But the Dems/progs/libs can't get much sympathy for them, and so concentrate on the jobs that are valued by the citizenry.

And, the deceptive part of the infrastructure debate is that the federal part of the useful part of infrastructure is mostly self-financed. The federal government taxes fuel and they tax airline passengers, and then return the money to build and maintain the highways and airports. Something like toll roads, except that portions of those fees and taxes get skimmed off to support pet projects for the politicians.

Most of the non-defense spending by the federal government, esp. when ignoring self-financed transportation costs, is hidden from view. Much of it is on automatic pilot, untouchable to budget cutters. And, that is just the way that the Dems, progs, and liberals want it to be - with us concentrating on the little stuff that we like, and hiding from us the stuff we don' like.

Bruce Hayden said...

He is either a conservative moby trying to make Democrats sound supid(er) or America's Politico.

I am pretty sure that he is neither. Freder has been around for years, and is the lib here who makes the best arguments. AP just makes things up on the fly. Freder does do research, and, I think really believes in the Kool-Aid he drinks.

deborah said...

The Drill SGT said...
I wonder if Mary is from Pasadena...
-----

I think Mary is Maxine.

Rusty said...

Freder said this."
High Speed rail will be immediately profitable and take 1 million cars off the road. "


Bruce Hayden said this,"

I am pretty sure that he is neither. Freder has been around for years, and is the lib here who makes the best arguments."



And there is absolutely no evidence for either assertion.

pst314 said...

Freder Frederson 8:09 AM "I doubt your story is even real. And everyone is not better off. Red Cross packages are meant to supplement barely adequate rations supplied by the Germans. That cigarettes were included is a quirk of history. That someone, especially a chaplain, would think he is benefiting someone by feeding their addiction and depriving them of basic nutritional necessities is disgusting, not laudable."

You don't know--or have forgotten--just how large a fraction of men (including priests, by the way) smoked. Attitudes were different back then.

You make the mistake of judging the people and events of 70 years ago from your contemporary, politically correct perspective.

That you would refer to cigarettes in Red Cross packages as a "quirk of history" is very revealing.

Freder Frederson said...

Easily. They aren't facts, merely Freder's speculation.

They weren't facts, they were lies. The point I was making is that Chase said Bruce Hayden spanked me. Bruce made up facts to refute my points. He said that our highway system is "is built and maintained through taxes levied on fuel" and that the norm was for presidential candidates is to release two years of income tax returns. He is simply wrong on the facts on both those points.

If all it takes to spank someone is to state complete untruths I should be able to win every argument because I am perfectly capable of making up facts to back up my point of view too.

Freder Frederson said...

You don't know--or have forgotten--just how large a fraction of men (including priests, by the way) smoked. Attitudes were different back then.

Even if attitudes were different, cigarettes were still addictive and caused cancer. The addictive and cancerous properties of cigarettes were not caused by a change in attitude.

Jay said...

Freder Frederson said...

High Speed rail will be immediately profitable and take 1 million cars off the road. So much for being a boondoggle.

Argue with those "facts".


HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA

Idiot:

The word "facts" don't mean what you think it means.

Good God are you embarrassing.

Jay said...

Freder Frederson said...
Kerry had 20 years available when he ran.


Only because of his time in the Senate.

Pretending that is the equivalent of "releasing" them speaks volumes about you.

Freder Frederson said...

Oh and after a little further research, it turns out that it was common practice for allied prisoners to keep only the chocolate and cigarettes out of Red Cross packages for themselves. All the other items were combined and distributed based on need, with the food items being used to supplement rations for everyone in the camp.

Communists!

Freder Frederson said...

The word "facts" don't mean what you think it means.

Good God are you embarrassing.


Sarcasm is wasted on you.

Michael said...

FrederF: In your world do the inhabitants of World War II have possession of medical facts not known for another twenty five years?

Chip S. said...

The story about the chaplain (possibly apocryphal) is only a tiny part of a fascinating article published in the LSE journal Economica in November 1945 as "The Economic Organization of a P.O.W, Camp," written by a distinguished British economist who had himself been a POW during WWII.

If anyone's interested, the full text is available here.

There were indeed concerns about the health of men who sold off "too much" food for cigarettes, which were the primary medium of exchange. There was also dislike of the middlemen who made the whole system work smoothly.

Plus ├ža change...

Chip S. said...

BTW, aside from the fact that the camp where the story about the "padre" circulated was in Italy and not Germany, and aside from the fact that the story did not describe the padre's regular routine but rather a one-time exploitation of wildly differing prices that soon settled down to relatively stable equilibrium values, the version recounted in Althouse's post is a faithful retelling.

JAL said...

take 1 million cars off the road.

And how, exactly will that happene?

Coercion, maybe?

So American.

I am trying to imagine 1,000,000 people giving up their cars.

{Not working. Doesn't work.}

dbp said...

" Michael said...
FrederF: In your world do the inhabitants of World War II have possession of medical facts not known for another twenty five years?"

Good point! From a philisophical standpoint though, it doesn't matter if cigarettes are bad for you or not. Free men are...free to choose a pleasure even if it causes long term harm. I don't smoke, but if I was 25 years old and in a world war my view on this would probably be along the lines of: I should be so lucky to live to 70 and get lung cancer!

Freder Frederson said...

Free men are...free to choose a pleasure even if it causes long term harm.

Of course the issue isn't freedom. An addict is not free--read the paper Chip S. linked. Men ended up in the hospital with malnutrition because they traded their food rations for cigarettes.

And thanks Chip--that paper was fascinating.

I thought I would spread the love to this thread too ;)

Chip S. said...

Glad to share the good stuff, as always, Freder.

Fen said...

Freder: High Speed rail will be immediately profitable...Argue with those "facts".

Wow. Just Wow.

leslyn said...

I'd askbif the story about the chaplain is a trick except Chip S seems to think it might be true.

The chaplain would know perfectly well the Biblical principle of returning 10% of one's profits. It is intended to make dire all have enough, and IMO, even mote so to keep us from being greedy and thinking that what we have "belongs" to us. Instead, a portion belongs to god, that is, to be stored and rained to those who need it.

So regardless of whether the chaplain hasvmeat or cigs, 10% of the best of what he gets is to be given back to those who haven't "earned" it but who need it the most. In this story, probably those who are most sick and malnourished.

The point is to remind us that we are not so good at getting things, but that they come from a source outside of our efforts.

In this way all are cared for, and in fact there is a promise that when done so, riches will be multiplied.

The chaplain redistributed wealth; he didn't create it; and his profits came from the work of others (red cross). He is to return 10% to the many.

So yes, the story of the chaplain would be a fitting example of how those with more than they need got it not all from their own efforts and are expected to pay a portion back.

Fen said...

Freder: Oh and after a little further research, it turns out that it was common practice for allied prisoners to keep only the chocolate and cigarettes out of Red Cross packages for themselves. All the other items were combined and distributed based on need, with the food items being used to supplement rations for everyone in the camp.

Communists!


Why yes, Freder. That is the standard behavior of people enslaved by Communist and Socialist systems. And what you want for the rest of us.

You're on a fricken roll!

Fen said...

les: ...those with more than they need..

As determined by Righteous people like you...

Which dovetails with what is so arrogant and obnoxious about the "you didn't build it, you had help" meme. The people that buy into Obama's crap didn't help. They didn't build the roads or serve as teachers and police. They didn't even pay taxes. They just want our stuff.

leslyn said...

No, as determined by the simple metric of who has least.

I'm surprised FO missed the obvious point of a story that completely undermines his position.

leslyn said...

Sorry, "CK" not "FO." Spellbot.

leslyn said...

Fen said... les: ..."those with more than they need.." As determined by Righteous people like you...

Sorry Fen, I misunderstood your point--and you also caught me.

It's not just those who are by some means determined to have "more than they need" who are to give back. You rightly pointed out that thwt would require someone to determine "who has more than they need."

It's everyone who is to give back from what they have.

From an economics standpoint, this ensures the continuing circulation of wealth, which makes for a vibrant economy.

Even the widow, in the Bible, gave her mite, which was all that she had.

leslyn said...

I was reading Robert Harris and came across this:

"No freedom," repeated Elmira Gulzhan, "as I say. The state will take everything from us, and if we dare to protest, we will be arrested for not being politically correct."

Hoffman stared at the tablecloth and let the discussion flow around him. He was remembering now why he didn't like the rich: their self-pity. Persecution was the common ground of their conversation, like sport or the weather was for everyone else.

Of course, that's fiction. :)

leslyn said...

I was reading Robert Harris and came across this:

"No freedom," repeated Elmira Gulzhan, "as I say. The state will take everything from us, and if we dare to protest, we will be arrested for not being politically correct."

Hoffman stared at the tablecloth and let the discussion flow around him. He was remembering now why he didn't like the rich: their self-pity. Persecution was the common ground of their conversation, like sport or the weather was for everyone else.

Of course, that's fiction. :)

Fen said...

Wait a sec, Les. Its not clear: are you identifying with Ghulzan or Hoffman?

Fen said...

It's everyone who is to give back from what they have. From an economics standpoint, this ensures the continuing circulation of wealth, which makes for a vibrant economy.

Not to that extreme. Humans don't work that way. If you take away all the fruits of their labor, they will lose incentive to work. The is the economic downward spiral known as Marxism.

As more and more workhorses wise up and decide to ride in the cart with everyone else, the cart slows. Until finally, it comes to a stop and everyone starves to death.

leslyn said...

"It's everyone who is to give back from what they have. From an economics standpoint, this ensures the continuing circulation of wealth, which makes for a vibrant economy."

Not to that extreme. Humans don't work that way. If you take away all the fruits of their labor, they will lose incentive to work.

What extreme? I'm not referencing "all the fruits of their labor." Ten percent.

But you're right, humans "don't work that way," and so we have government stepping in to fill the gap.

Fen said...

Les: I'm not referencing "all the fruits of their labor." Ten percent.

So you're NOT in favor of a progressive tax system? And agree that everyone, even the poor, should pony up 10% ?


But you're right, humans "don't work that way," and so we have government stepping in to fill the gap.

No. We have other humans stepping in to fill the gap. The neighbor who keeps an eye out for the elderly widow. The co-worker who watches your kid for you.

When you say "government stepping in", you're talking about us paying complete strangers to do that work. Outsourcing Charity. Its an Abomination.

We created a government to serve the people. Not to become our God. Not to become our Nanny. And certainly not to be our Master.

leslyn said...

Outsourcing Charity. Its an Abomination.

I agree.

But. I'm not talking about a tax system, and I think you know that. Taxing is a government function . "Tithing" is a spiritual practice. I find no exception for "the poor" from tithing. In fact, tithing when one is poor is probably the best way to ensure security (I have only anecdotal evidence, but it's consistent).

Tithing brings enough into the storehouse to provide for present need and ensure against future shortage.

But as I said before, you're right, people don't work that way.

Kirk Parker said...

Whoa--that's worthy of a headline and black-and-white photo on Drudge: "Leslyn calls for top federal rate to be cut to 10%!!!"

Kirk Parker said...

leslyn, you ignorant sl*t--at the time that The Law was given, that was the entirety of the tax paid.