August 14, 2012

Limbaugh says his prayers are answered: The campaign is now about ideology.

He wants — he says he prays for —  a campaign of "ideology... not just policy analysis, not just Electoral College analysis, but principles and ideas." And he thinks that now, with Paul Ryan, that's what we've got.
We're gonna take it straight to [the American people] and we're gonna win or we're gonna lose articulating exactly who we are and exactly what we believe and exactly what our vision for America is....
Going back to a CPAC speech Paul Ryan gave in 2008, Rush gets very excited about converting voters to conservative ideology. He uses that word, "ideology," over and over again. Go to that second link and read the whole thing. I'm making a big deal out of this because, listening to the podcast, I got worried about ideologues.

"There are those who say that modern society is too complicated for the average man or woman to deal with."  And that is being said.  That's the whole premise of liberalism.  You're incompetent.  You can't manage your own life.  You're not smart enough. You're not able enough. You're not competent enough to make the right decisions in your life.  "There are those who say modern society is too complicated for the average man or woman to deal with. This is a long-standing argument, but we heard it more frequently after the mortgage credit collapse and financial meltdown in 2008. They say we need more experts and technocrats making more of our economic decisions for us. And they argue for less 'political interference' with the enlightened bureaucrats … by which they mean less objection by the people to the overregulation of society.

"If we choose to have a federal government that tries to solve every problem, then as long as society keeps growing more complex, government must keep on growing right along with it. The rule of law by the people must be reduced and the arbitrary discretion of experts expanded..." So you buy into this complexity argument, you are automatically buying into "only government can fix it."...

"If the average American can’t handle complexity in his or her own life, and only government experts can … then government must direct the average American about how to live his or her life. Freedom becomes a diminishing good. But there’s a major flaw in this 'progressive' argument, and it’s this. It assumes there must be someone or some few who do have all the knowledge and information. We just have to find, train, and hire them to run the government’s agencies.  Friedrich Hayek called this collectivism’s 'fatal conceit.' The idea that a few bureaucrats know what’s best for all of society, or possess more information about human wants and needs than millions of free individuals interacting in a free market is both false and arrogant. It has guided collectivists for two centuries down the road to serfdom -- and the road is littered with their wrecked utopias. The plan always fails!" It always has failed.

And yet there are a lot of Americans (we talk about this a lot): Government comes up with a program and it's a debacle. It's a mess. So what's the fix? Government! Another program. We continue to go back to the architects of failure to fix what they broke in the first place. And Ryan simply argues that we are all capable of living our lives in freedom much more productively, much more capably, than being told how to live by a bunch of people who can't even manage their own lives.

Where are these magicians who know how to live their own lives? Who are they? And how do they magically end up in government? Well, they don't exist, and they aren't in government, and this is the ultimate argument. Small-government conservatism means turning your life back over to you. This then raises the question that we all are asking ourselves: How many Americans want that responsibility anymore?

How many takers are there who'll just as soon punt all the responsibility and accept whatever little things they get and they're happy, versus how many people really want the opportunity to be the best they can be with as few obstacles in their way as possible? Thomas Jefferson, in his first inaugural address, was actually one of the first people to articulate this whole point that Ryan made at CPAC. "Sometimes it is said that man cannot be trusted with the government of himself.

"Can he, then, be trusted with the government of others? Or have we found angels in the form of kings to govern him? Let history answer this question." And again, even Jefferson said there has never been a time in history where a government-run, top-to-down country has prospered. The greatest example of human prosperity is the United States of America, and it was not made up of the way Barack Obama sees it or wants it to be seen or wants it to exist....
But I like the fact that there's somebody who's gonna be on the news every day that can talk like I do.... We've got somebody who can articulate what we believe. It's in his heart. He doesn't need crib notes. He doesn't need briefings. He doesn't need a consultant to tell him what to think or how to answer a question. He knows it. He's lived it. It's his soul.
In a way that sounds good, but it's asking for a leap of faith, and it's asking for you to embrace a faith and accept all the consequences. And in that articulate presentation of the reasons for the faith, there's a key matter that you've got to believe: That people really can provide for themselves. If you just cut them free, they'll take responsibility. They're smart enough and competent enough to figure things out for themselves and take all the precautions they should. But I can't believe that! And we're too compassionate to allow old people to live in the streets or a child to be denied medical treatment and so forth. So there's no way anymore to tell people they're all on their own.

Come on, everybody, let's be ideologues! That seems quite dangerous and absurd to me.

Now, on some moderate level, I can see saying that as we structure our various programs, we ought to try to maximize personal freedom and responsibility, but I want sensible, realistic politicians thinking carefully about these things. Rush kept saying he was "jazzed" about Ryan. Jazzed at the opportunity to make it all starkly ideological.

I'm skeptical.

252 comments:

1 – 200 of 252   Newer›   Newest»
harrogate said...

He has very good reason to be jazzed by this pick.

Seeing Red said...

Our Founding Fathers and their ideas/ideals are still are very scary to the rest of the world.

Alex said...

As usual Althouse is building the case for why she has to vote for Obama. you know to keep those scary right wing ideologues out of the White House, white reasonable pragmatists like Obama.

Alex said...

If grandma has to eat cat food to balance the budget, so be it.

Elize Nayden said...

If we have lost the faith in the ability of man to care for himself, we have lost the core of the American project.

Why colonize the new world, why be a pioneer, why fight a revolution if we need our king anyway?

Lance said...

Limbaugh prays?

Pastafarian said...

Althouse = Goldilocks.

McCain wasn't an authentic-enough conservative for Althouse to vote for him -- better to vote for the liberal who calls himself a liberal, than to vote for the liberal who calls himself a conservative, she reasoned; and now Ryan might be too authentically conservative. If only we could nominate someone 'just right'...

tim maguire said...

I think ideology is the right word. Is there a group out there, left or right, who hasn't said Paul Ryan is the answer to their prayers?

So now we get to see who's god is stronger.

Fen said...

Come on, everybody, let's be ideologues! That seems quite dangerous and absurd to me.

Certainly. Lets instead vote on wedge issues like Goldstein shooting Trayvon, Goldstein taking away Fluke's reproductive rights, Goldstein selling chicken that "tastes like hate", Goldstein pushing Grandma off a cliff.

These are the things that should concern us. Goldstein lives and must be fought.

Rabel said...

Aren't you mixing up ideology and ideologue. One is a fairly neutral concept, the other has negative connotations. I went to the link, Rush didn't use the word ideologue.

dreams said...

"And we're too compassionate to allow old people to live in the streets or a child to be denied medical treatment and so forth"

I don't think he is really going there because conservatives believe in a safety net and before we had big government, charities run by churches provided a lot of help for those in need but I don't expect us to ever go back to that era.
Plus, Ryan's medicare plan only affects those 54 and younger everyone older can stay on medicare as we know it.

Alex said...

What's scary is how easily Ann can be persuaded to fall right in the liberal camp. You just have to show her enough "grandma being pushed off the cliff" ads I guess.

Rusty said...

Alex said...
If grandma has to eat cat food to balance the budget, so be it


Maybe you should help your grandma out. Doesn't sound like you're a very good grandson.

Sloanasaurus said...

Ryan supports a "safety net" in our society. Something you get if you fall on hard times, so you can have a 2nd chance. Such a safety net could be offered by charity also. That is compassion.

Compassion does not include making one "equal" to his peers.
Anything beyond a safety net requires "monitoring" and "socialism," to maintain otherwise the state will go bankrupt. No charity can offer socialism. ONly government violence can maintain it. This is the essence of the ideology that Rush is talking about.

Conservatives oppose the violence of socialism, and prefer freedom.
There is no freedom under socialism, just despair.

Liberals cannot be completely honest about leftist ideology because it interferes with the internal human desire for freedom. Thus, liberalism must be clouded in lies and deceit and based on emotion and fear. When the human will is finally beguiled by socialsm, then the journey of despair begins. Just ask the residents of the former USSR or North Korea.

Alex said...

Rusty - I'm not talking about myself, but other people's grandmothers. My grandma gets filet mignon every night.

edutcher said...

What's wrong with arguing ideas instead of having a "likable" candidate who talks on way and "rules" another (and Ann never really picked up on (or did but didn't want to face what they were really saying) the way the Demos constantly employed the word "rule")?

This time, the issues are specific, not Hopenchange, whatever the Hell that was supposed to be.

This is bad?

Alex said...

So how does safety net = the gargantuan monstrosity of a welfare state that we have now? How has it become "moderate" to simply accept it and "radical" to suggest reforming it? I guess Bill Clinton was a radical in the 90s for signing the welfare reform bill. He'd be too right-wing for Ann now.

yashu said...

Who says you have to vote for Romney/ Ryan for the same reasons as Rush?

Did you vote for Obama for the same reasons as his left-wing ideological supporters?

Why should Rush necessarily frame what this election is about for you personally, any more than David Brooks or Bill Ayers or Chris Matthews or whoever framed what the 2008 election was about?

Of related interest, here's Joe Scarborough on Paul Ryan. It's worth watching the clip.

“Guys that — yes, were conservative socially, but we talked about the budget, we came to Washington because of the budget,” Joe Scarborough said. “We are driven by the fears of the budget deficit. So Paul Ryan, there could not be a better pick for me.”

“I will tell you, this is the first time that the Republican Party, the national Republican Party has done something in over a decade that I go, ‘Wow, you know what, that may be my party. That may be the party that I joined when Ronald Reagan inspired me in 1979/1980,’” he said on "Morning Joe" today.

gregq said...

"If you just cut them free, they'll take responsibility. They're smart enough and competent enough to figure things out for themselves and take all the precautions they should. But I can't believe that!"

Then clearly we need to get rid of democracy. because if we can't trust you to run your own life, we certainly can't trust you to pick the people who will run everyone's lives.

Do you want the right, and the power, to vote? Or shall we junk the whole thing and have a straight up dictatorship, instead? Because there's no reasonable middle ground:

Either you can be trusted to run your own life, or you can't be trusted to vote, and run other people's lives.

pick one.

Chuck66 said...

Our safety net has become a hammock.

AllieOop said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mccullough said...

What's compassionate about government policies that have helped cause 40 percent of kids to be born to single moms or led to so much debt to pay for healthcare for octogenarians? We're out of money for this shit. The government can't substitute for a father and no matter how much money it spends to keep old people alive they are going to die soon enough anyway. Our compassion is leading to misery. It's not compassion, it's self indulgence.

yashu said...

Oops, sorry, here's the Scarborough clip.

Paul Zrimsek said...

You see, what's scary isn't people who believe things-- you find them everywhere. What's scary is people who believe things and can tell you why they believe them. This harks back to Althouse's Silliest Hour. It's still just as silly.

AllieOop said...

Reality always trumps ideology in the end and when it counts.

We can plead, beg, coerce, demand, expect some people to have the ability to take care of themselves. It won't happen, some will never, don't have the ability, brains, desire, gumption, etc to do it. They will always be our responsibility as a civilized society. We won't let grandma or poor cousin Floyd die on the street if we can help it.

This notion by some conservatives that what they wish for or demand of others will happen if they don't provide that safety net (hate using that term, as it's already overused of late) falls into the magical thinking category. I wonder if some folks just aren't imaginative enough to envision what societal repercussions there would be if we had Limbaugh's brave new world happen for real.

The price we pay to live in our modern society is that we care for the least of us, we are free to bitch and moan about it, we can certainly improve methods of delivery of these programs, cut waste and fraud, but we cannot abandon those who cannot care for themselves and remain a nation based on Judeo/ Christian values.

Limbaugh's world is a selfish hard place, I hope he doesn't really know what is in Ryan's heart as much as he thinks he does. I hope Ryan is as decent a man as he appears to be, that his Catholic upbringing influences him more than Ayn Rand's Objectivism.




tim maguire said...

In this post, the professor does seem to be one of those people who thinks the Tea Party is made up of fascists who want to use the awesome power of government to leave you alone and force you to live your own life as you choose.

She believes there are angels just waiting to be invited to take over government and make our lives safe and comfortable (if a little drab and dull). All we have to do is ask them (by voting Democrat).

bobwirka said...

Ann, How did you get from assuming personal responsibility to putting old people out in the street? That will never happen, and he's not advocating for it. We have both the responsibility to provide for ourselves, and to provide for those who *really* need our help.

Fen said...

Allie Ooops: We won't let grandma or poor cousin Floyd die on the street if we can help it.

Right. Instead, money will be taken from the productive class to outsource Charity for poor cousin Floyd to some government bureaucrat.



mtrobertsattorney said...

The word "ideology" is not accurate here. It has the connotation of dogmatic belief.

Hopefully, what we will see is discussion of two contradictory political philosophies and their relation to a healthy democracy. But this is not likely to happen.

The left is uncomfortable discussing political philosophy but Paul Ryan is not.
And so the left must rely on repeating their dogmatic beliefs, hyperbole and appeals to emotion.

Rush is betting that the American people will be persuaded by Ryan.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

McCain wasn't an authentic-enough conservative for Althouse to vote for him -- better to vote for the liberal who calls himself a liberal, than to vote for the liberal who calls himself a conservative, she reasoned; and now Ryan might be too authentically conservative. If only we could nominate someone 'just right'...

This.

And worse yet, we're talking about the VP. You know, the guy they drag out once a year to sit behind the President during the SOTU speech.

Curious George said...

What a bunch of bullshit Althouse. Ryan (and Rush) are simply saying that people who want control of their own lives can have control of their own lives without the government forcing issues. Get out of their way!

Saying that means that those can't or don't are on their own is conclusion you have created, and intellectually dishonest (or stupid).

Michael K said...

The coming insolvency of the whole blue state model can be seen in jest a couple of examples, Stockton, CA, Detroit, San Bernardino CA. The people under 55, like my oldest son who voted for Obama in 2008, is convinc ed he will never see a dime of Social Security. He has not yet begun thinking about Medicare, as far as I know. He is the target for the argument about the under 55 reforms. Explain it to him and it may make a difference.

My niece, who is a nurse with two degrees, is planning to vote for Obama. She complains about Ryan's plan to reduce capital gains tax rates. I doubt it has occurred to her that her 401k has sticks in it that will be affected by changes in capital gains rates. She taken calculus in college. I think she can learn about stocks. She needs to be convinced. The people whose word she accepts know less than she does but she hasn't heard the argument yet.

Christopher in MA said...

The price we pay to live in our modern society is we care for the least of us, we are free to bitch and moan about it, we can certainly improve methods of delivery of these programs, cut waste and fraud, but we cannot abandon those who cannot care for themselves and remain a nation based on Judeo / Christian values.

That statement is nearly as irritating as the moronic taxes are the price we pay to live in a civilized society.

To begin with, no one - and I mean NO ONE except for the most extreme Randian - is saying "abandon" people. What we are saying is that the current system of WIC, SSI "crazy checks," Section 8, supplemental income assistance, ad nauseam is hopelessly corrupt, ridiculously easy to game, destructive of a work ethic, and, frankly, none of the federal government's goddamn business.

And we certainly cannot cut waste and fraud when even holding to a baseline budget from one year to the next is denounced as a draconian cut by the left.

The poverty / safety net business is a racket, just like the "civil rights" racket. It is in the interest of the Democrat party to put more people at the government trough, because a "free" check is much more appealing than actually working. You create a class of voters who want the goodies to keep coming (and the GOP is the same, pace Jenna Jamison - if you cut people's taxes, they are also more likely to vote for you).

Most - though not all - private charities are better run, provide a better service and contribute more to the dignity of work than government dole. If, Allie, you insist that "we" have the obligation to steal money equally from everyone to care for the least fortunate, then I would prefer the theft occur at the state level, where I might at least have some oversight.

mccullough said...

Allie Oop, your compassion for grandma and cousin Floyd shows you lack compassion for the generations now born in debt to pay for your compassion to grandma and cousin Floyd. There lives will be miserable because of your compassion. Walk by a grade school and start feeling compassion for those 6 year olds and then look at grandma and cousin Floyd and take care of them yourself.

Alex said...

Let Cousin Floyd starve, it's called survival of the fittest.

Lance said...

Sen. Coburn addressed this issue in his op-ed yesterday:

"As a political matter, tax reform is essential because it will build a coalition that will make a grand bargain possible. Tax reform is a form of stimulus everyone is for, but perfect tax reform won’t be enough to avert a catastrophe. We have to embrace fundamental entitlement reform: If we don’t, entitlement programs won’t exist for the next generation. That means Democrats will have to back safety net fixes that are unpopular with their base while Republicans will have to agree to revenue increases. The only way to avoid this path is for either side to run the table in the next two elections, which is a delusional expectation. Yet, in this moment, as at our founding, the path of compromise is the path of principle."

I think Coburn is right. No matter how clear the message or how "ideological" the debate, Republicans can't expect to win either the tax or entitlement reform issues with a single election. The country's too divided.

And that of course is why I welcome Paul Ryan to the Republican ticket. He brings bedrock principles AND a mature willingness to compromise.

G Joubert said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ann Althouse said...

"What a bunch of bullshit Althouse. Ryan (and Rush) are simply saying that people who want control of their own lives can have control of their own lives without the government forcing issues. Get out of their way!"

I totally know what they are "simply" saying, but I'm saying that I can't go along with their simplicity because I, in fact, don't believe in the capacity of people to deal with a lifetime of needs in a modern economy. Way too many people will screw up, and we're not the kind of people who won't relent and help them in the end.

I don't trust ideologues. I think they are living inside their heads and insufficiently connected to reality.

Now, I think Romney and Ryan probably are practical men, and I think there's too much ideology on the Democratic side too.

As I said in the post, I'm afraid of both sides. I don't trust any of these people. But I will vote.

AllenS said...

Fuck off, Alex.

G Joubert said...

If the choice is between a corrupt and dishonest dissembling self-interested power-seeking for power's sake narcissist on the one-hand, or a committed ideologue on the other, me, I'll take the ideologue every day of the week and twice on Sunday.

The Crack Emcee said...

I'm skeptical.

Atta girl - and you oughtta be.

Look at the words you, Rush, and Ryan used - reflecting both sides of the argument - that we're being asked to buy into:

Magicians. Angels. Faith. Ideology.

While I know Rush isn't going as far as you have, in suggesting we put old folks on the street (some are there now) but pushing more of a "lift all boats" idea, it's still not articulated as I would:

Let's do what makes sense to work.

Are more of the answers found on the Right than the Left? Definitely. But I'm not taking everything from either of 'em. They're both crazy. Both deceptive. And both willing to lie as a means-to-an-end.

I haven't listened to Rush, regularly, since he apologized for calling Fluke a slut. I haven't listened to Glenn Beck, regularly, since he started laying on the religion extra-thick. I just got tired of Hannity's bulldog routine, though, surprisingly, I still like him (more than the others) for not changing on me.

I currently listen to NPR in the truck (a liberal friend recently asked if I don't "break out in hives" when it's on) and sat with my two liberal roomies last night to watch the TV news. (One of my roomies - the most liberal one - confessed to liking Paul Ryan's message,...)

As I've said, when it comes to Mitt Romney, conservatives screwed the pooch. They broke the spell. They showed they're as non-ideological, and atheological, as Liberals. Just the same.

In other words, they stand for nothing either, as Peggy Noonan just wrote.

And it shows,...

Triangle Man said...

I'm with Althouse 100% on this. Ideologues are absurd, whether on the left or the right.

dreams said...

Conservatives do have a higher opinion of their fellow man than liberals. And why is that, I think its probably because conservative leaders come from the private sector for the most part where they have interacted with the smart, talented but not academically inclined people or the less talented and even the poorly educated just not very smart people who regardless of their limitations are able to get the job done thus providing a living for themselves and their families.

Most people tend to rise to the occasion if challenged and when they aren't able to do that, we conservatives believe that we should provide a safety net. After all, its my contention that we conservative know these people better than liberals so why wouldn't we want to help them.

Robert Cook said...

The campaign is about shit

Quaestor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
edutcher said...

Nice to see Oop finally out of her closet.

Bender said...

If you just cut them free, they'll take responsibility. They're smart enough and competent enough to figure things out for themselves and take all the precautions they should. But I can't believe that!

If we emancipate the slaves, then they will only starve and die because they are too incompetent to take care of themselves if allowed the freedom to do so. Thus, we must deprive people of freedom for their own good.

Paul Zrimsek said...

One of my favorite quotes comes from economist Brian Mannix: "Ultimately, we insist that our regulators start from a presumption of rationality for the same reason that we insist that our criminal courts start from a presumption of innocence: not because the assumption is necessarily true, but because a government that proceeds from the opposite assumption is inevitably tyrannical."

Quaestor said...

Allie Oop wrote:
[We] cannot abandon those who cannot care for themselves and remain a nation based on Judeo/ Christian values.

So where do "we" get the money? Does "we" include me, even if I don't want to be included? Are you suggesting we take from the rich to give to the poor? When do you stop? From your comment I gather it never stops. Steal and steal until the rich are no longer rich, then steal from the formerly poor? Does your ideology boil down to Robin Hood vs. the Sheriff of Nottingham? Or maybe we should emulate the Romans and find a fat, juicy foreign domain to conquer and squeeze on behalf of our poor. Saudi hasn't done much for our poor lately, and they've got lots of cash; so let's take it from them! If stealing from the Koch Brothers to buy Sandra Fluke a Pill is moral, then robbing the House of Saud can't be bad, right?

mccullough said...

Althouse, you should start mistrusting yourself. The country is out of money. We can't keep spending so much of it on the old. If you want to sell your house and assets to pay for your healthcare in a few years, go for it. Bleed yourself and your kids dry to stay alive a few more years. But quit fucking over future generations with debt to pay for your compassion. There is no money left. You are not being compassionate, you are being selfish.

The Crack Emcee said...

G Joubert said...,

"a corrupt and dishonest dissembling self-interested power-seeking for power's sake narcissist"

Now you leave Mitt Romney out of this!

damikesc said...

We can plead, beg, coerce, demand, expect some people to have the ability to take care of themselves. It won't happen, some will never, don't have the ability, brains, desire, gumption, etc to do it. They will always be our responsibility as a civilized society. We won't let grandma or poor cousin Floyd die on the street if we can help it.

...except "we" are sentencing our children/grandchildren to pay off this debt without any input by them.

Shouldn't the kids ALREADY shackled by massive debt have some say in how we're going to fuck up the rest of their lives to make ourselves feel better now?

The Boomers have a ton to apologize for to all generations who follow them here. They have screwed the pooch beyond all rational measure.

Cut all spending back to 2000 levels. Period. Don't beat around the bush here.

Jennifer Whatnot said...

Come on, professor, you know it isn't a stark choice between freedom and people who can't take care of themselves dying in the streets. The problem with progressive ideology is that it starts with a safety net and then everything sneaks in, until government builds and builds. If we weren't spending money on cowboy sculptures, turtle museums, and $2m internships; if the government weren't automatically fixing medical care prices and artificially driving up the price of education; if government weren't picking winners and losers through tax subsidies and regulatory "fixes," then find me a fiscal conservative who would object to the basic social safety net. Nobody wants grandma to starve, but there is a HUGE gulf between that and what we have today, which (no matter what it may be) is NOT liberty.

Robert Cook said...

Allie Oop, being charitable, as befits a former nurse, (my mom became a nurse at 49 and worked as one until she retired at 73), says, "I hope (Limbaugh) doesn't really know what is in Ryan's heart as much as he thinks he does. I hope Ryan is as decent a man as he appears to be, that his Catholic upbringing influences him more than Ayn Rand's Objectivism."

Given his avowed admiration for and agreement with Rand's "philosophy" of selfishness, I'd be more concerned with what's in Ryan's brain than in his heart.

Jay said...

AllieOop said...

The price we pay to live in our modern society is that we care for the least of us


Um, except neither Social Security nor Medicare do this.

They actually take from "the least of us" and give to those with more.

Elize Nayden said...


Ann Althouse said...
I don't trust ideologues. I think they are living inside their heads and insufficiently connected to reality.


Have you read Jonah Goldbergs "Tyranny of cliche" on the subject? The modern prejudice against "ideologues" goes back to Napoleon Bonaparte. He discredited the democratic opposition against his tyranny by accusing them of being ideologues, who wouldnt do whats "necessary", but clang (bitterly?) to their old ideas of liberty.

Do you really think those who seriously feel themselves bound by principles should be distrusted before those who dont?

Bender said...

I, in fact, don't believe in the capacity of people to deal with a lifetime of needs in a modern economy. Way too many people will screw up

But you do believe in the capacity of "experts" and government bureaucrats and professors to deal with and provide for people who have a lifetime of needs in a modern economy. "People" will screw up if allowed freedom, but our government overlords are perfect and infallible and will never screw up and will always improve the lives of others.

In point of fact, the long history of mankind shows that, if the common person often does a poor job of providing for himself, government does an infinitely worse job.

Every government that has taken upon itself the job of providing for the needs of everyone has descended into despotism and tyranny and, ultimately, totalitarianism.

davis,br said...

@althouse "...but I want sensible, realistic politicians thinking carefully about these things."

Sure you do.

Tooth fairy, much?

And what reading of history leads you to postulate the existence of such beings, as a hidden class, Ann?

I quit having faith in such Platonic ideals a long, long time ago.

My own prescription calls for mild competence in elected officials ...tempered with a Constitutional amendment mandating extremely punitive [tax-based] penalties for any federal level politician leaving office with, say, any increase in familial wealth past, oh, a 20% increase from the time the politician first entered ANY public office.

That would keep the worst of the criminals from being obvious about it, at least.

Kurt said...

What's missing from this presentation of the Limbaugh quotes is the larger context of his broader message in the day before the Ryan pick was announced. Driving around and running errands on Friday, I listened to Rush for a little bit, and that day he was discussing this article by Charles Krauthammer. The article opens with the observation: "There are two ways to run against Barack Obama: stewardship or ideology. You can run against his record or you can run against his ideas."

Limbaugh is using "ideology" in exactly that way, meaning to take on the ideas behind Obama's candidacy and to present a competing set of alternate ideas. He's not calling for people to be ideologues as much as he wants them to recognize the reality of the ideologue we already have in the White House.

Peter said...

Alex said, "If grandma has to eat cat food to balance the budget, so be it.

But it's not just decent food for for grandma, is it? It's "The Life of Julia"-- from Headstart (was there ever a more useless program?) at age three to the final $255. death benefit from Social Security.

A government program for every time of life, and every purpose (under heaven). A time for free contraception, and a time to enter a government-subsidized nursing home.

Yet what government giveth, government can taketh away. When the price of goods or services falls to zero, demand inevitably exceeds supply.

Which ultimately means (among other things) that if you don't have enough QALYs (quality-adjusted life-years) remaining, you'll get palliative care only if curative care is too costly.

(Yet autistic children will receive costly treatments of dubious effectiveness at no charge, because their parents have an effective lobby.)

Christopher in MA said...

. . .I, in fact, don't believe in the capacity of people to deal with a lifetime of needs in a modern economy. Way too many people will screw up, and we're not the kind of people who won't relent and help them in the end.

Never mind the condescension implicit in that comment - what part of There is no more money! is confusing you?

Robert Cook said...

"Nobody wants grandma to starve...."

Hahahahahaha!

That's arguable, but beside the point: no one has to want grandma to starve for it to happen...they just to not give a shit one way or the other. There are plenty of those folks around, not necessarily restricted just to those in the Wall Street boardrooms and Big Bank CEO corner offices.

Laver10 said...

I agree with Alex. Looks like you're using a talk radio host to help pave the way for a vote for Obama. Not that voting is necessarily an exercise in logic.

Seeing Red said...

Talk about the soft bigotry of low expectations.

Robert Cook said...

"...what part of There is no more money! is confusing you?"

What part of if there's no more money (sic), how can we afford to keep expanding our wars abroad is eluding you?

We have plenty of money. The rulers simply prefer not to spread it back out among those who gave it to them--the taxpayers--and choose instead to use it to further their own agenda of (greater and never-ending) self-enrichment and expansion of American dominance globally.

bgates said...

there's a key matter that you've got to believe: That people really can provide for themselves

No, you don't have to believe that. You have only to be aware of the alternative: That while most people are unable to provide for themselves, a few have the intelligence and inclination to provide for themselves and for vast numbers of their helpless fellows; and that the vast number of dolts can be counted on to look into the hearts of political candidates much smarter than they are who they will never meet, and reliably select and empower the ones who will make life better for everyone.

Christopher in MA said...

No one has to want grandma to starve for it to happen. . .they just to not give a shit one way or the other.

The same might be said of you, Robert, were we discussing the genocide in Sudan, the extermination of Coptic Christians in Egypt, or even the dismal change of a Detroit gangbanger making it to his 20th birthday.

And isn't that the point of the private charity - that you do give a shit and want to help?

You're better than that comment.

I Callahan said...

AllieOop Said:

We can plead, beg, coerce, demand, expect some people to have the ability to take care of themselves. It won't happen, some will never, don't have the ability, brains, desire, gumption, etc to do it. They will always be our responsibility as a civilized society. We won't let grandma or poor cousin Floyd die on the street if we can help it.

This is EXACTLY what goes on in the mind of a liberal. Thanks for putting this in one paragraph.

This is what President Bush meant by "soft bigotry of low expectations"

Allie, I believe you are dead wrong. When people are forced to live with their own consequences, when they are forced to fend for themselves, they show the ability to do it every time.

This is the ironic thing - liberals accuse us conservatives of exactly what they're guilty of, and that is lack of faith in humanity.

Christopher in MA said...

Robert - you are preaching to the choir when you talk about wasting money on expanding wars. I would be more than happy to cut, say, 20% of the defense budget and drastically reduce our overseas presence.

The problem, as I have heard it put, is that if America steps aside, some other power will take up the role of global policeman (a phrase I hate, BTW). What other nation would you trust with that power?

Seeing Red said...

--Limbaugh's world is a selfish hard place---

The world is a hard place. China's going down, Europe's going down, we're broke, we may be going down if we don't toughen up.

Then our enemies strike.


Then where is your civilized society?

BTW your side had done a damm fine job of breaking our Judeo-Christian values, no whining now that you're seeing the effects.

Think said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mccullough said...

Cook,

Look at the total net worth of all individuals and companies in the US and compare it to the debt and the unfunded liabilities of Medicare. There is no more money. The US will have to enslave the rest of the world to pay for all this. Is that your secret plan?

I Callahan said...

Way too many people will screw up, and we're not the kind of people who won't relent and help them in the end.

The ironic thing is that the government programs put people in this mind in the first place. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy. The idea that people are incapable of not screwing up, was caused by people who thought people are too apt to screw up.

Those of you who vote democrat can thank yourselves for this.

Dante said...

That people really can provide for themselves. If you just cut them free, they'll take responsibility. They're smart enough and competent enough to figure things out for themselves and take all the precautions they should. But I can't believe that!

First a quip. People come from a long line of survivors. The fact that so many people in this country are requiring assistance is a bit of a mystery, isn't it? Maybe it has something to do with this:

and take all the precautions they should

There's the rub, isn't it. There is no end to the depth of precautions one should take. Government has proven itself to be a one way street over and over, growing larger and larger, almost never smaller.

Unfortunately, perhaps it's too late. What happens if the road you describe inexorably leads in one direction? To the situation Greece is in? With people abandoning their children?

This is why we need ideologues. We need people to constantly remind us of the failures of dependency, of relying on someone else to do for you, and the loss of freedom that is associated with it.

And then there are all the boogeymen. Was there ever a time when old people were "dying in the streets"? Please, help educate me. Now, I've heard of tribes that were nomadic that had to abandon the elderly, but in the US?

And why do we view it as government's role to take care of the needy? Perhaps the bureaucracy (see, I can tell it's a french word, and therefore bad) is less equipped to get people on their feet, and become contributing adults than the traditional charitable organizations.

And perhaps all this arrogated charity, which seems to be costing our kids a bundle, make more dependence, whereas traditional charities do not?

Government will try to solve all problems with more government and fewer freedoms. Society, and even government, needs the ideologue to slow down the decline inherent in modern day Democracies.

Think said...

"They're smart enough and competent enough to figure things out for themselves and take all the precautions they should. But I can't believe that!"

First, you are making the assumption that Rush or Ryan are saying that everyone will take care of themselves. I have never heard that from either of them. The real point is that when the government is out of the way, everyone does better. Did you know Canada has been rated as more economically free than the U.S.? Have you seen how their economy is doing compared to the U.S.? Is it worth harming 300 million American's to provide a cushy life for the bottom?

Second, why do you think so little of people? Why do you assume that most people would not take care of themselves? I think it is human instinct to find a way to survive and even thrive. It is ingrained deeply in the average human. I guess some of us are optimists, and others are not.

The reason most people don't take better care of themselves now is because the "safety net" is a hammock (as stated in another comment).

We all know people that live really nice lives on welfare. Some that I know of drive nice cars, live in a nice homes, and take nice vacations. Why work when you can live like that?

If you make the safety net less comfortable, you maintain incentive to work. Why shouldn't people eat rice and beans, live in a community shelter, give up their television and cell phones when they won't work or save? For the truly disabled (mentally or physically), let's let charity do its job and provide a more comfortable life. It is only the uncharitable that think this wouldn’t work.

I have never heard any conservative say that we shouldn't have some level of safety net. When you try to equalize everyone, everyone suffers. The entire wealth, innovation, and productivity of the nation suffers. People in all classes loose. The opposite is true when you rid yourself of the "ideology" the we can equalize everyone without a severe cost. Money encourages hard work and innovation and everyone, including the bottom, prosper.

As for preparing for retirement, Ryan's own plan still provides for it for existing seniors. Future seniors are taken care of through a better system.

Where is the compassion in bankrupting the system and not having it for me or my children, despite our paying into it?

Why can't the average American look past our current needs and think about the needs of the next generations? It is such a selfish viewpoint, disguised as compassion.

You are living in fairy tale land if you think it can be sustained as is. Math is math, and the money simply isn't there. It is not compassionate to ignore the coming train wreck.

Bender said...

We can plead, beg, coerce, demand, expect some people to have the ability to take care of themselves. It won't happen, some will never, don't have the ability, brains, desire, gumption, etc to do it. They will always be our responsibility as a civilized society. . . . we cannot abandon those who cannot care for themselves and remain a nation based on Judeo/ Christian values.

First of all, no one is saying that we should abandon those who cannot take care of themselves. So let's set aside that strawman.

Indeed, they will always be our responsibility as a civilized society. But there is a key word there -- SOCIETY.

"Society" and "government" are not the same thing. Moreover, from that Judeo/Christian perspective, before society, there is the responsibility of the individuals who make up society.

When he saw the injured man lying in the ditch, the Good Samaritan did not go and demand that Pilate come and provide for him, he did not go chasing after the priest and Levite and forcibly take their money to provide for the man. Rather, the Good Samaritan took care of the man himself.

Likewise, Jesus did not go protesting and lobbying Pilate demanding an increase in taxes to provide for taking care of people. He did not tell the rich man to go and give his money to Caesar to provide for people. Rather, He said to help the poor yourself, to freely and voluntarily give of yourself to others as an act of caritas (Latin for "love," from which we get the word "charity"). It is no virtue to shift this responsibility onto Caesar's government, and it is especially no virtue to shift that responsibility by advocating that Caesar take other people's money to do so.

I Callahan said...

What part of if there's no more money (sic), how can we afford to keep expanding our wars abroad is eluding you?

Defense is 20% of total annual spending. If we cut this to 0, we still are borrowing 20 cents on the dollar to keep up current programs. Your argument is a deflection.

Curious George said...

"Ann Althouse said...
I totally know what they are "simply" saying, but I'm saying that I can't go along with their simplicity because I, in fact, don't believe in the capacity of people to deal with a lifetime of needs in a modern economy. Way too many people will screw up, and we're not the kind of people who won't relent and help them in the end."

I don't trust ideologues. I think they are living inside their heads and insufficiently connected to reality.

Now, I think Romney and Ryan probably are practical men, and I think there's too much ideology on the Democratic side too.

As I said in the post, I'm afraid of both sides. I don't trust any of these people. But I will vote."

You clearly don't know what their ideology is. Nothing in their ideology suggests that their shouldn't be "safety nets" for those that need it. It's not the "you're on your own" that you describe. They are saying that their shouldn't be interference for those that don't.

Something tells me that we will be looking back at this post in November...

creeley23 said...

...there's a key matter that you've got to believe: That people really can provide for themselves

Mostly people can. You get more of those people in a society where people understand that it is expected of them.

In a society where people know that they can slide by on the dole with no consequences, you get more of those people.

This isn't mysterious.

Which do you prefer?

I Callahan said...

This post should be treated as a rare view inside a liberal's mind. We have our hostess saying that she doesn't think people will scre up. We have Allie saying that we can beg (etc. etc.) people to take care of themselves, but it won't happen. We have Cook saying people don't give a shit about Grandma.

Folks, this is it. The very crux of every single argument that ever happens on the internet. The great divide: can we take care of ourseves or not?

Christopher in MA said...

The great divide: can we take care of ourselves or not?

We are endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights and that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Treating a huge swath of Americans as if they were overgrown children who must be cosseted and coddled for their own good is an insult to the Declaration.

traditionalguy said...

Our usual politics since FDR has been between the poker game's winners who want the game over with the chips on their side of the table and the losers who want a new deal and a chance to win their losses back.

They worked out compromises within our Constution's 14th amendment guarantees of life, liberty and property.

What we have never faced before in America is a 5th columnist Marxist regime dedicated to destroying America's economy, military and personal freedoms forever and confiscating the third world lands left over for the palaces of a deadly patronal system.

Erik Robert Nelson said...

For conservatives (and some libertarians, though not of the Rand bent) compassion was always individualist--action following passion. The sort of thing that churches and tight communities foster. You find what you care about, and then do what you can.

For liberals, this is not the case. Everything is socialized. We're all supposed to feel strongly about every injustice. And we must DO SOMETHING (collectively) about everything. The problem is that because everything is mediated by government, no one has any idea about the actual cost of this compassion. Costs that were once born and understood by individuals willing to make individual sacrifices are now bound up in social identity.

Conservatives are somehow evil and murderous for recognizing the practical limits, and liberals saintly for being blind to the catastrophe that follows the constant passing of the financial buck to future generations. As the cost curve bends up, the tide of debt follows like a massive wave. Social security was pushed off just a few generations. Obamacare will follow in less than one--perhaps only a decade.

Liberals seem so caught up in feeling good about the moment that they won't even see it coming, no matter how many times we've warned them.

hombre said...

Everyone has an ideology. Some people with ideologies can also do math - which does not make them ideologues.

Kirk Parker said...

"Now, on some moderate level, I can see saying that as we structure our various programs, we ought to try to maximize personal freedom and responsibility... [emphasis added]"

Well, there's a world of tyranny hidden in that "moderate" statement--who gave "us" the right to tell others how to live in the first place? If you don't like Rush's ideological take on this, how about Thomas Jefferson's?

... the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately

Think said...

"There are plenty of those folks around, not necessarily restricted just to those in the Wall Street boardrooms and Big Bank CEO corner offices."

The big bad CEO with his evil corner office. I don't get the resentment. If we know what we want and want it bad enough, we find a way to get it. That CEO wanted the high pay and corner office bad enough. If you envy it so much, why don't you work to get it too?

Ironically, some of the most generous people I know are CEO's. Not only do they create companies that feed thousands of families by employing thousands of fathers and mothers, but they give away more money than you or I will make in a lifetime. But because of their title and the fact that they enjoy a large corner office, which they have undoubtedly earned, they are automatically hated.

Pookie Number 2 said...

I'm happy to concede one modest point to Althouse - under Romney-Ryan's ideal system, life won't be perfect for every single individual.

But life's not perfect now, either. Life has never been perfect under any system, and the long-term track record of increasingly intrusive well-intentioned government interference is always more net suffering and less liberty.

The Crack Emcee said...

On the Right side - Ayn Rand and whatever unelected Salt Lake "prophets" say to do.

On the Left side - a whole buffet table of gurus, like Oprah and Ken Wilber, calling the shots.

What's missing?

Anyone proven to think for themselves, and who encourages others to do the same, based on the evidence.

Call me when THAT vision of America is what's on offer,....

Jay said...

Robert Cook said...


We have plenty of money


We do?
Please then explain our soon to be $16 trillion dollar debt.

rulers simply prefer not to spread it back out among those who gave it to them--the taxpayers--

Of course you can't explain that our biggest budget items are Social Security and HHS spending.

Robert Cook said...

Those who object to establishing government programs to help those in need because they constitute "enforced charity" are blind. Such programs can be easily defended strictly from a purely selfish point of view: the existence of such programs insures that if you or I or any of our loved ones meets unexpected catastrophe and is reduced to poverty, bankruptcy, or homelessness, we can get help.

You don't have to have the slightest concern for the well-being of others, you just have to have concern for yourself, along with a realistic idea of how quickly and easily you could find yourself in this "but I thought it only happened to other people" predicament.

Pookie Number 2 said...

I read Stockman's article. He believes that big banks are too complicated to manage, but for some reason, big government never is.

Robert Cook said...

"Of course you can't explain that our biggest budget items are Social Security and HHS spending."

And the parasites on Wall Street can't stand to think that they don't have their hands on all that money!

They already have more than they can possibly spend, but they want it all.

Pogo said...

Russell Kirk:
"Being neither a religion nor an ideology, the body of opinion termed conservatism possesses no Holy Writ and no Das Kapital to provide dogmata. So far as it is possible to determine what conservatives believe, the first principles of the conservative persuasion are derived from what leading conservative writers and public men have professed during the past two centuries.

...For there exists no Model Conservative, and conservatism is the negation of ideology: it is a state of mind, a type of character, a way of looking at the civil social order.

The attitude we call conservatism is sustained by a body of sentiments, rather than by a system of ideological dogmata. It is almost true that a conservative may be defined as a person who thinks himself such. The conservative movement or body of opinion can accommodate a considerable diversity of views on a good many subjects, there being no Test Act or Thirty-Nine Articles of the conservative creed.

In essence, the conservative person is simply one who finds the permanent things more pleasing than Chaos and Old Night. (Yet conservatives know, with Burke, that healthy “change is the means of our preservation.”) A people’s historic continuity of experience, says the conservative, offers a guide to policy far better than the abstract designs of coffee-house philosophers.
"

Pookie Number 2 said...

You don't have to have the slightest concern for the well-being of others, you just have to have concern for yourself, along with a realistic idea of how quickly and easily you could find yourself in this "but I thought it only happened to other people" predicament.

Sure, but that ignores the costs associated with these programs, and the corresponding moral hazard of having them in place. All programs look phenomenal if we pretend that they're free, and no-one will ever abuse them.

gregq said...

Ann Althouse says:

"I totally know what they are "simply" saying, but I'm saying that I can't go along with their simplicity because I, in fact, don't believe in the capacity of people to deal with a lifetime of needs in a modern economy. Way too many people will screw up, and we're not the kind of people who won't relent and help them in the end."

Let's see if I can rephrase that for you:

I know what those advocates of democracy are saying, but I don't believe in the capacity of people to deal with the complexity of modern politics. Way too many people will screw up, so we just can't let them get out there and harm the rest of us when they vote the wrong way.

If what you wrote is true, then what I wrote is equally true. So shall we cancel this whole democracy thing?

You want to display your "compassion"? Great! Work in a soup kitchen. Donate to a charity that does a good job helping people you care about. It's not "compassion" to stick a gun to my head, and make me pay a large number of government bureaucrats to give small sums of money to other people.

The Ryan budget calls for cutting down on government intervention, and increasing people's ability to make choices for themselves. If you find that repugnant, then you damn well should be voting for the Democrats. But if you find that repugnant, then you've pretty much decided that the American people are worthless, and the American experiment is a failure.

For too many people, what "I don't like ideologues" means is "I don't want to face the consequences of my beliefs".

I believe that I have the absolute right to decide for myself. For better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, it is MY life. Not yours, not society's, not the government's, MINE. If I succeed, I should reap the rewards. If I fail, I should pay the cost.

President Obama doesn't believe that. He believes that my life, and your life, and every other American's life, belongs to him. If you succeed, it's because he, and government, made it possible. If you fail, it's not your fault, and you shouldn't have to suffer for it.

This election is about which vision of society we will have. If you really think we're all just too damn incompetent to run our own lives, you need to be on Obama's team.

But having decided that, you need to be able to explain, to yourself if not to us, how the bumbling bunch of incompetents who can't be trusted to run our own lives, can be trusted to pick the people who will run them for us.

Bender said...

What is the test for determining whether or not people really can provide for themselves? And who determines that?

Are people really competent to make their own food choices? Is anyone competent to decide for himself what he should eat?

Is the fact that so many people eat cheeseburgers and fries and high-calorie drinks proof that they CANNOT adequately take care of themselves?

Doesn't compassion require that government experts be empowered to make these choices for us and, if need be, ban the sale and consumption of those foods that they, with their superior ability, decree to be bad for us?

Pogo said...

Shit, if we can't agree that we've spent more than we have got already, then there really is no hope.

Math is hard.
And the reality of unsustainable negative numbers will hit us harder.

Your compassion-by-government spending won't mean anything then.

Worse, you will have harmed millions, who have become docile and dependent, unable to fend for themselves in any way, and angry that help is not going to come.

What of your promises then, when you cannot pay?

G Joubert said...

Ideologues are absurd, whether on the left or the right.

The alternative to ideologues are nihilists. And what we see now in many pols is a pandering nihilism, and since these pandering nihilists down inside don't really believe what they preach --they only pander to get votes-- it's a cynical nihilism at that. This is what you want more of?

In voting I'll take a choice between polar-opposite but nevertheless sincere ideologues any day. Actually, it's a no-brainer.

TosaGuy said...

Families once took care of each other. But the modern American welfare state has changed that. Why take care of your aging parents or needy relatives with your own resources when you can have government do it!

We can indeed have a well-meaning safety net in this nation for those who are truly without. Only the most hardcore libertarian is against that, yet lefties treat any rollback to personal and family responsibility as Monty Python's "Bring out your dead."

Boomers....you got to skip out on taking of grandma and your parents because they are on medicare and social security. You also had the lowest income tax rates and a fantastic bull market in the 1980s and 1990s during the prime of your working/investing lives. Yet, as a group you haven't saved a nickel to take care of yourselves. Now, in addition to bankrupting the safety net through your shear numbers, you are going to demand massive tax hikes on those younger than you -- thus making it that much harder for them to save for their retirements.

The cold hard world that the likes of Allie think that conservatives want is actually the world her ilk will deliver to future generations by their steadfast refusal to apply even the mildest of reforms.

The Crack Emcee said...

Pogo,

"conservatism is the negation of ideology"

Wait - you present this while they're backing a Mormon?

Come on, guy, try again,...

bagoh20 said...

Everybody is an ideologue. It simply means that you believe in something and believe it's important.

Some people believe that only other people are ideologues, and they think that's important.

Well, they are half-right.

Ken said...

Ann,

That people really can provide for themselves. If you just cut them free, they'll take responsibility. They're smart enough and competent enough to figure things out for themselves and take all the precautions they should. But I can't believe that!

You fool! This is what an ideologue looks like!!

What do you believe? That government bureaucrats have other people's interests at heart. You want to talk about ideologues? Well you are one. The wrong kind as well. The kind that think other people won't take responsibility, aren't smart enough, or competent enough.

That is an ideological statement if there ever was one. One of the primary difference between conservatives and liberals is that liberals lie to themselves about being ideologues.

You beclown yourself with such statements as the one I quoted above, then claim that you worry about ideologues, as if you aren't one!

Rusty said...

Alex said...
Rusty - I'm not talking about myself, but other people's grandmothers. My grandma gets filet mignon every night.


Alex. You're a good boy. Have a piece of hard candy.

SeanF said...

Christopher in MA: It is in the interest of the Democrat party to put more people at the government trough, because a "free" check is much more appealing than actually working. You create a class of voters who want the goodies to keep coming (and the GOP is the same, pace Jenna Jamison - if you cut people's taxes, they are also more likely to vote for you).

Really? "Vote for me because I'll take somebody else's money and give it to you" and "Vote for me because I won't take your money to give to somebody else" are the same?

Ken said...

Ann,

Being an ideologue means being consistent in your beliefs on your outlook on life. You are arguing for a mashed up incoherent worldview in which you can rationalize anything you want.

Aren't you supposed to be a lawyer? Do you really not understand the meaning of words? Your site and your meanderings makes me more sure that lawyers are sophists of the worst kind: the Queen of Hearts. Equivocating. Malapropism. And outright lying.

You are the reason people hate lawyers.

AllieOop said...

Tosa Guy, I guess you skipped over the part in my comment upthread in which I say delivery could be improved, waste and fraud adressed, those are reforms. Why must we go about reforming by shunting monies from safety nets for the poor to tax cuts for the rich? Robert Cook said there was plenty of money, I believe he is right and all the "math is hard" comments, are buying the hype of the Limbaugh's.

Math is tricky, numbers can be made to dissapear from one column and appear in another one, more favorable to some, some who don't need the money, some who have done favors and now expect favors back.

No party is innocent, no ideology perfect. People should be able to care for themselves, to plan for the future, so how are you going to force them to do it? Good luck, won't happen. Reality will step in and ideology will take a backseat to the problem most emergent.

Ken said...

Allie,

We can plead, beg, coerce, demand, expect some people to have the ability to take care of themselves.

You can depend on the charity and good judgement of politicians, but reality trumps ideology every time. The reality is that politicians the world over have robbed the "social safety" net to pay for their pet projects, bill the taxpayers for it, and leave those they claim to want to help high and dry.

bagoh20 said...

Thinking that old people or children or the helplessly poor will be left to suffer in the streets even under the most libertarian government we could ever get with a perfect alignment of the stars is simply being a crazy ideologue.

There are many things that have never been tried, and nobody is suggesting anything like a Darwinian approach. That fear is just being silly, and short on imagination. Although, it is true that such deprivation is more likely once people have learned only to suckle at the government teat, and that teat runs dry.

What will happen is that the lazy will lose their ability to sit on their ass with a bottle of vodka, bag of weed, and a big screen TV waiting for the check to arrive.

Of course, I kid. There will always be plenty of Democrats fighting to keep that happening, so we will never get there, but wouldn't it be novel to take a few small steps that way?

Ken said...

Ann,

I, in fact, don't believe in the capacity of people to deal with a lifetime of needs in a modern economy

Are you high? Your alternative is to believe that politicians have the capacity to deal with a lifetime of needs in modern society for everyone else, not just themselves. Grow up! It's like you're completely unaware of 20th century world politics and US history of the last 50 years, particularly the last 12.

Ken said...

Robert Cook,

We have plenty of money.

It's disgusting the way the left uses the word "we", as if what "we" have means that you have the right to the things that "we" have. Between the two of us "we" have two houses, but I'm sure you would object to me just walking right in, making myself at home, and eating all your food. After all "we" have this stuff, so I have the right to use it.

Imagine if some rapist used this as a defense: between the accuser and I "we" have a vagina that simply isn't being put to good use, so I put it to what I thought was good use.

You would rightly condemn this man as a disgusting deviant and lock him away. But the left has no problems whatsoever invoking "we" in the most disgusting of manners.

Pookie Number 2 said...

Tosa Guy, I guess you skipped over the part in my comment upthread in which I say delivery could be improved, waste and fraud adressed, those are reforms.

Do you have any reason for assuming that the inefficiencies that result from our current system aren't inherent in it? No-one washes a rental car, and no bureaucrat will be as careful with someone else's money as he would be with his own. I'd suggest that the waste and inefficiencies are permanent.

jr565 said...

Ann,
It's not as if Obama hasn't been engaging in ideological arguments. Why the sudden objection to ideological arguments from the right, if only to counter the ideological arguments of the left.

TosaGuy said...

"I guess you skipped over the part in my comment upthread in which I say delivery could be improved, waste and fraud adressed, those are reforms"

Those are stock talking points. EVERYONE is against WF&A. They are a rounding error in the big picture.

What I will agree with is that turning on a dime will cause the societal mayhem you elude to. The abandonment of personal responsiblity towards one's families has happened over decades and will take years to reestablish.

The safety net has evolved from saving the neediest and dependant from abject poverty to subsidizing lifestyles. People of all political pursuasions are guilty of this.

We can have an effective safety net and a healthy, fiscally sustainable government. We can't have such a government if we continue to subsidize a lifestyle.

bagoh20 said...

Yea, this post is really disappointing, again

Althouse can be pretty bright most of the time, but when she faces the liberal jurists in the thick fog of her hippy past ideology, she balks in fear that they may judge her mean. They appear as blurry faces of friends, family and colleagues. At that point, the imagination evaporates and the dogma gavel slams down hard stopping all further consideration of the evidence. Why make things hard on yourself?

wyo sis said...

What we can't do is spend the same government dollar on two or three different social programs. That is the crux of Ryan's short. schooling of Obama in that famous clip. We aren't going to get away from all social spending, but we have to be honest about where the dollars are really going.

Ryan and Romney understand complex financial undertakings, and they are able to see clearly where the flaws are. They may not be the conservatives you wish were running, but they are the most conservative people who actually are running and they understand how money and budgets work.

It would also help if everyone clearly understood that when liberals say something is being cut they really mean not funded at current unsustainable levels. When and if liberal programs actually get cut what are they going to say that will be more alarmist than the BS they're currently spouting over nothing.

Bob Ellison said...

If we aren't ideologues, presumably we lack ideology, which means we have no basic principles to guide us. Come on, everybody, let's just wing it with no principles at all! Kind of like a leftist legal scholar.

bagoh20 said...

" "we" have a vagina that simply isn't being put to good use, so I put it to what I thought was good use."

Never thought of it that way, but sure why doesn't that analogy work? It's just a matter of degree.

We could get there. First we will tax the teats by having breast mill collected and distributed equitably, and then, what the hell, from each according to their ability and to each according to their need.

I have needs.

Mike said...

It looks like Ann is allergic to "ideologues" and has transferred some of that skepticism to the word ideology. I'm much more afraid of politicians who claim to have no ideology just pragmatism (and yes I have read "Tyranny of Cliches" too).

That being said, there would be many more people able to "care for themselves" if the current President and 100 years pf Progressive Ideology had not created the welfare state as we now know it. Welfare (and to be clear, I'm referring here to all 80-some-odd programs run by the USDA and HHS) has destroyed many families, just like work lifts people's souls and strengthens families. We need a "rising tide to lift all boats" in other words.

Then a true, temporary safety net can help those who need it, and the majority of the Welfare State can be disassembles as more people work and lift themselves out of poverty. The current system traps families in a vicious cycle, instead of acting as a bridge to help people across obstacles.

Colonel Angus said...

The price we pay to live in our modern society is that we care for the least of us, we are free to bitch and moan about it, we can certainly improve methods of delivery of these programs, cut waste and fraud, but we cannot abandon those who cannot care for themselves and remain a nation based on Judeo/ Christian values.

I have no problem caring for those who can't help themselves. I have a problem caring for those who WON'T help themselves. Unfortunately the number of grifters vastly outnumbers the truly needy.

Chip Ahoy said...

Want to hear something funny? You might think this off topic, but it's not, I'm so on topic it's not even funny, but a diversion. Here goes.

The ASL word for 'pretend' is a two part word, begins with the word for 'shot glass' placed at forehead above an eyebrow where all the thinky-thought signs go. (That's one of their little systems.) It's the index finger and pinkie finger extended, the other two fingers clamped by the thumb. It's a salute with a shot glass. Usually the shot glass is slapped on the opposing hand in front of the chest. That goes into the word 'more" which requires the other hand, so the the second hand is brought up to complete the word 'pretend' and this is unusual. Thought words generally use only one hand. It is two little scoops bringing all 10 digits together right at the forehead shot glass. The word is usually made directly in front of the chest. Like you're scooping things together. The viewer see two open hands, then sees all the finger tips brought together. But this time the viewer sees a shot glass salute with two of those 'more' flappy scoops tighter than regular 'more' scoops.

When Meade said earlier "make the duck hand quack quack quack" That's the configuration that both hands make.

So, shot glass salute, more more.

Or possibly, shot glass salute (two handed) quack quack

It lifts both hands up the highest area of the speaking space you create and one arm tends to block the face to finish the word so all that is tilted to the side and the face tilts the opposite direction so that total view of the face is not lost. It's not often that you block your own face, but to say the word 'pretend' you do block your own face a little bit with your own arm.

You can elaborate the word pretend, as your wont, by nearly knocking yourself out with a sharp shot glass salute, by exaggerating the flappy 'more more' portion or expanding the grasping 'more' to scoop up more or go balls out and flap all over the place and scoop up everything all around you into your contrived pretend world.

Colonel Angus said...

They will always be our responsibility as a civilized society. We won't let grandma or poor cousin Floyd die on the street if we can help it.

In a civilized society you would be responsible for your own grandma and cousin Floyd.

TosaGuy said...

Fixing Waste, Fraud and Abuse won't fix these numbers.

wyo sis said...

It's illustrative to look at Clinton's workfare as a lesson in what happens when people are asked to work themselves out of the welfare system.
It's one way to discover who's really needy. There are others, but we don't even try them. Why not?

Naut Right said...

Tap any of us on the edge of the bowl hard enough and an ideologue will slide out.
I know of two kinds; the principled and the pragmatist. The naming subdivisions like libertarian or liberal only outline different ideologies.
Neither group can recognize themselves as an ideologue in the negative connotation of the word. They just see themselves as rational, logical and right.
The pragmatist thinks because he is comfy playing fast and loose with rules that disqualifies him/her from the label.

tim in vermont said...

I've been waiting 15 billion years to be born into this universe, and I will be dead in a flash for more than trillions of trillions of years, and yet I am not allowed to live my one life as I choose because some people resent that I make more money than other people? Is that really a "safety net"? To make sure that nobody feels resentment of other's success? Because that is the saftey net Obama is pushing.

Colonel Angus said...

You don't have to have the slightest concern for the well-being of others, you just have to have concern for yourself, along with a realistic idea of how quickly and easily you could find yourself in this "but I thought it only happened to other people" predicament.

I agree. Then again there is a difference between falling on hard times and multi-generational recipients of taxpayer largesee. It's the continuance support of the latter I take umbrage with.

People mired in poverty can usually trace the origin to dropping out if school, single parenthood or running afoul of the law. Or a combination thereof. Providing for people who are truly in need is not a problem. Providing for those whose life choices require a portion of my earnings is.

AprilApple said...

Obama comes right out and says - Pay up Suckas... I need more private money to pay for all of the money I have wasted by giving it to my cronies and donors..."
Rush did get his wish.

Unknown said...

What used to be the "city" of Colorado Springs is now rubble, mostly. The liberal predictions of death on every corner came true after the budget cuts took affect a couple years ago.

And Detroit is paradise, per the Romney supporting native Kid Rock.

So, again, Repubs just don't care about the observable facts proving or disproving their ideology, daily.

Robert Cook said...

"I have no problem caring for those who can't help themselves. I have a problem caring for those who WON'T help themselves. Unfortunately the number of grifters vastly outnumbers the truly needy."

Do you have any data to support that assertion, or do you just believe because it's easier to dismiss those in need as being merely possessed by greed?


Alex said...

Cook - why do you assume that most welfare recipients aren't grifters?

mccullough said...

The wealthiest age group in our country is those 65 and up. But by all means lets have young working people pay for wealthy boomers to live as long as they can and as comfortably as possible. This is also the theory of Obamacare. Let's make the young buy exorbitant policies to lower the health care costs of their wealthier, older fellow Americans. And let's just give free health care to many able bodied adults because it's not their fault they want to get high all the time or have 4 kids with 4 different sexual partners. And while we're at it,let's pay for the birth control of college educated adults.

Calypso Facto said...

Paul Zrimsek: +1, as always

Ken: "we" have a vagina

Now just HOW am I supposed to unread and forget that before it comes spilling out at an inopportune moment in a heated discussion with a lefty?

John said...

Ann, didn't you just go to Yellowstone? There were presumably numerous signs warning you not to feed the animals (I say "presumably" because I've not yet had the opportunity to go).

The reason for those signs is because if the tourists feed the animals, the animals will come to rely on the handouts, and will forget how to support themselves by foraging or hunting.

I think the parallel is rather obvious...

Colonel Angus said...

Yes Mr. Cook, I certainly do. People who can't help themselves are disabled.

The others are not motivated by greed but rather, lack of motivation.

Robert Cook said...

"It's disgusting the way the left uses the word 'we,' as if what 'we' have means that you have the right to the things that 'we' have. Between the two of us 'we' have two houses, but I'm sure you would object to me just walking right in, making myself at home, and eating all your food. After all 'we' have this stuff, so I have the right to use it."

Inane in the brain, bro, inane in the membrane.

You have your private property and capital and I have my private property and capital, but "we" have the "commons," including the tax revenues collected by our government for use--ideally--for the common use and benefit of all.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commons

I wish you supposed fiscal conservatives, (i.e., selfish bastards), were as selfish about when it comes to "your" money going to kill and maim human being around the world as you are to begrudging somebody some pittance of sustenance or care.


Chip S. said...

I don't know what people are arguing about. Rabid ideologues like Bill Clinton killed the safety net 16 years ago according to R Cook's friends.

I guess we still must remain vigilant for the hard-right academic ideologues who concoct "empirical analyses" purporting to show that the shredding of welfare was actually associated with improved educational attainment by poor kids. Otherwise, we might be tricked into thinking that there really isn't an entire underclass of people who are utterly bewildered by "modern society" and therefore totally dependent on the kindness of taxpaying strangers.

So thank goodness, I guess, for clear-eyed, split-the-difference/pox-on-both-their-houses rationalists like Ann Althouse.

Matthew Sablan said...

Oddly enough, conservatives give huge amounts more to charity than liberals. Charity which, by the way, is more effective than government assistance in many ways.

Yet, they are the heartless ones.

AllieOop said...

In Wisconsin, there is no Welfare. It used to be Aid to Dependant Children, it's now W2. It has a time limiit and expectations of schooling, training, and employment. It doesn't go on forever.

Wisconsin W2 Program

This could be improved, without being eliminated.

Ken said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AprilApple said...

We should have a government that works for us, not against us...
a government that spends out money wisely.
We do not have that now.

We have a government that wastes money, and then wants to take so much more that it will kill the golden goose.

Ken said...

Robert Cook,

"we" have the "commons," including the tax revenues collected by our government for use--ideally--for the common use and benefit of all.

First and foremost, have you never heard of the tragedy of the commons?

Secondly, taking private property (income) in order to transfer wealth from the politically powerful and wealth and away from the politically weak and much less wealthy is a strange definition of "commons".

fiscal conservatives, (i.e., selfish bastards)

So to clarify, not using the police state to take from my neighbor makes me a "selfish bastard", but you using the police state to take from your neighbor somehow makes you a selfless angel? Ha!

Matthew Sablan said...

I'd be perfectly happy with this level of spending if it were done efficiently, and if we achieved the return on our investments. We do not. It gets wasted. Cronies get flush with cash. Corzine walks free.

Sorry. The government has shown it is a bad steward. Until it shows it can do better, it can do without.

Robert Cook said...

"Cook - why do you assume that most welfare recipients aren't grifters?"

Why do you assume they are?

Throughout human history it has been customary to blame the poor for their own circumstances, as if they were somehow defective in character, ability, or morals. This is understandable, as it salves one's conscience and makes it easier to avoide grappling with the moral quandaries of one's own exceeding comfort while so many others live in misery and squalor.

Understandable though it may be, it does not lend validity to the blame cast on the poor.

jr565 said...

Neither Ryan nor Romney are talking about doing away with the safety net. Ryan in fact said his proposals were designed to keep it solvent.
So, the argument that its conservative ideology to end the safety net is itself a bit of agit prop from the left in pushing IT'S ideology.
But assuming we keep a safety net, shouldn't that safety net maintain solvency and not bankrupt us? Shouldn't that safety net correspond to basic math, when it comes to how its paid for? Otherwise, the argument for the safety net is not one based on ability to pay for but on the argument that we must help the poor.
Well yes, but what does that actually mean. ARe any of the people saying that we need to do this applying any accounting principles to their admonition?
We can look to Greece and various cities in California to see examples of spending beyond our means.

Appalled said...

I wonder if Althouse is mistaking a tendency, an orientation, for a rigid theology. And also making a huge mistake by making the mind of Limbaugh the mind of Romney. Under a Romney/Ryan administration, I would expect a bias towards shrinking governments, and trying to align spending to revenues. I don't expect that every government thing will be slashed, and we will be suddenly be dwelling in Randian nirvannah. Nor should you -- politics is not done that way.

There is no perfect political orientation right now. Tolerance of Gay marriage comes with soak the rich and cronyism and spending forever. A decent sense that government expenditures should eventually align with revenues, and economic sanity comes with a Forterss America immigration policy and a legacy of blinkered warmaking.

You have to choose the issues that are important in this election, and go with that, and let the ideologies work themselves out. If you make election decisions on the basis that an ideological talk-show host is ideological, then you deserve the President you elect. The problem is -- I don't.

Robert Cook said...

Ken, the "tragey of the commons" arises, from my only slight familiarity with the idea, with the net result of multiple individuals acting in pursuit of their own interests, such that, in the end, the commons are used up.

Presumably, this can be mitigated or prevente altogether by common representative management of the commons...i.e., through "government," rather than through the willy-nilly activities of multiple self-interested parties.

Oh, but I forgot: "government" can never work well, can never do anything right, can never accomplish anything worth accomplishing.

Ken said...

Robert Cook,

Throughout human history it has been customary to blame the poor for their own circumstances

There are no poor in the US. There are the wealthy, very wealthy, and the staggering wealthy. To become very wealthy requires nothing more than showing up to work on time and working an honest eight hours. The median income for high school drop outs is $27K/year.

In today's American society, asking what causes poverty is to indicate ignorance. Poverty is the natural state of man. Till roughly 1800, a little less than 100% of humanity lived on $600/year, or if you were really lucky, $700/year (in today's dollars). The proper question is "What causes wealth?" That question has been answered.

jr565 said...

Allie Oop wrote:
People should be able to care for themselves, to plan for the future, so how are you going to force them to do it? Good luck, won't happen. Reality will step in and ideology will take a backseat to the problem most emergent.

While we must have a safety net, what do you suggest for people who need more than what the safety net provides? Make the safety net infinitely bigger? Does that not come at a cost? ARe you calculating that cost when you say that people wont fend for themselves?
To what degree should we solve problems for people that wont solve their own problems? Should govt rent for people? Should govt pay child support for people who wont otherwise pay?

Colonel Angus said...

That pittance of care you refer to consumes 2/3 of the Federal budget. Not counting the states and private charities.

Using the term pittance just tells me you're not serious or simply uninformed.

ed said...

@ Robert Cook

"Oh, but I forgot: "government" can never work well, can never do anything right, can never accomplish anything worth accomplishing."

So you aren't familiar with the Tragedy of the Commons but you're going to opine about it anyways? That's impressive.

The Tragedy of the Commons arises when there is a lack of -ownership or responsibility- of a resource not necessarily of control. You can have solid control over a resource and still have a Tragedy of the Commons. Point out to me where governments are good at ownership or responsibility.

Collapse of the Cod Fisheries of the Grand Banks

They had control, but no real ownership or responsibility. So when the cod fisheries died out pretty much completely there wasn't anything left but to point fingers at each other and run away.

Astonishing the similarity in evasion techniques between squid and bureaucrats. In times of crisis they both hide behind clouds of ink.

Ken said...

Robert Cook,

Presumably, this can be mitigated or prevente altogether by common representative management of the commons...i.e., through "government," rather than through the willy-nilly activities of multiple self-interested parties.

This is false. The tragedy of the commons is eliminated through property rights and the pursuit of self-interest by property owners. You're forgetting there are incentives for everyone. The incentives for politicians is the same as a private citizen with regards to the commons: plunder it as fast as you can because other people are going to as well.

Having the government "own" something is wholly different than having a private citizens or group own something, mainly because politicians and government employees see everyone else's income and wealth as "ours" to be taken whenever because government employees are incredibly inefficient.

Oh, but I forgot: "government" can never work well, can never do anything right, can never accomplish anything worth accomplishing.

This is largely true. Tell me, if I don't have the proper knowledge to make a good decision about what to do with my life, like what house to buy, car, food, health care, health insurance, etc., what knowledge could some bureaucrat sitting in an office in DC possibly have that would make him make better decisions for my life? He doesn't know me, has no idea what the state of my health is, what my preferences are, what my education is, what my educational needs are, etc. Why do you think some government agency could possibly provide me with what I want, when it really has no incentive to? At any time, if that agency fails, they simply call congress and have them raise taxes.

Businesses have all the incentive in the world. If they can't convince me and a lot of others (unlike the government who can force me) to buy their products, they go out of business.

traditionalguy said...

The Marxist-Democrat of Obama has a very definite ideology that says each member Proletariat should receive according to their needs, the Party officials should live like Roman Emperors, the Bourgeoisie should be taken out and shot and their property given to the Party officials to pay some of the the needs of the productive members of the Proletariat for a few months until it runs out, and then conquest and looting of surrounding Capitalist countries will begin.

That is simple and easy. The only drawback has been when the Party Officials cannot divy up the loot by a succession of new officials without a Gestapo secret police arising to to murder all rivals.

But that Romney ideologue wants capitalism. He is Obama and the 99%'s enemy.

ed said...

@ Robert Cook

"Throughout human history it has been customary to blame the poor for their own circumstances, as if they were somehow defective in character, ability, or morals. This is understandable, as it salves one's conscience and makes it easier to avoide grappling with the moral quandaries of one's own exceeding comfort while so many others live in misery and squalor."

What fucking custom is this?

Strawman much? You imbecilic twit.

Paddy O said...

"I have a problem caring for those who WON'T help themselves. Unfortunately the number of grifters vastly outnumbers the truly needy."

St Paul agrees. 2 Thessalonians 3:10 For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.”

11 We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies. 12 Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the food they eat.



Here's my problem with ideologues on the Left in our current era. They are far, far, far too willing to overlook corruption. There is no equivalent to the Tea Party on the Left, which roots out the corrupt politicians. Such issues aren't limited to the left--as Trent Lott is the posterboy for corruption on the Right--but these days it's the Left side that has one kind of rhetoric--help the poor--and another kind of policy--hurt the poor. They sound more compassionate, and many are, but they're completely in the tank for those who would abuse the poor for their own gain.

Give me a honestly moneygrubbing businessman over a dishonest moneygrubbing politician or community leader. They're literally taking food and opportunities from those who need them, and until I see a reform movement that takes such corruption seriously, rather than writing it off or even opposing it, those on the Left really are in the service of those who hate the poor and needy.

I believe in helping those in need. But, bloated government or education services don't do that. They fill the ranks with administrators and bureaucrats. I have no doubt there is enough money out there to help those in need. What is absolutely in doubt is having enough money to help both the needy and the government corruption/waste. I have no doubt we could cut at least 10-15% of government budgets in every department without cutting any services to anybody--if we only fought against the bloat.

If you don't fight against the bloat, then you're really on the side of evil. Jesus had a lot to say about tax collectors and the corrupt after all, which I never hear quoted from the Christian Left.

I don't care how compassionate you feel you are or how much rhetoric you use about helping others. If you're not actively fighting corruption on you own side, you hate the poor, you hate teachers, you hate everyone who directly provides or receives a necessary service. Moreover, you are also either evil or a tool.

The tea party is a reform movement that isn't against government but is against people getting rich through government and people abusing government for their own gain at the expense of others.

I don't know any equivalent reform movement on the Left, which is why utterly corrupt politicians like Pelosi and Reid continue to be the voice of those who hate the poor--hating them by falsely claiming to speak for them.

damikesc said...

I read Stockman's article. He believes that big banks are too complicated to manage, but for some reason, big government never is.

That's the baffling part. Has private enterprise ever made anything as mind-numbingly complex as Obamacare?

Why do Progressives get this notion that bureaucrats (many of whom not exactly the brightest of the bright) are able to make these ridiculous Rube Goldbergian contraptions work? They have never shown any ability to do so thus far.

mariner said...

Notice how the term "ideologue" is only applied to people the left wishes to demonize, and their actual ideas need not even be considered.

Michael K said...

A number of you saved me the trouble of pointing out the fallacy behind Mr Cook's example of the tragedy of the commons. The solution with land is easy; ownership. With fisheries, it is more difficult and explains why Iceland, which has no army or navy, does have a fisheries patrol to try to stop poaching.

Of course, there is always the course of corruption, the favored regulatory method of the Obama people. They are now selling off to donors the national parks for solar arrays. Even Dianne Feinstein, no economist, knows that is a bad idea.

Seeing Red said...

--Those who object to establishing government programs to help those in need because they constitute "enforced charity" are blind. Such programs can be easily defended strictly from a purely selfish point of view: the existence of such programs insures that if you or I or any of our loved ones meets unexpected catastrophe and is reduced to poverty, bankruptcy, or homelessness, we can get help.

You don't have to have the slightest concern for the well-being of others, you just have to have concern for yourself, along with a realistic idea of how quickly and easily you could find yourself in this "but I thought it only happened to other people" predicament.--


So for whatever reason this happened, I deserve, mind you DESERVE, to live my previous lifestyle while others pay for it.

We're broke.

bagoh20 said...

"why do you assume that most welfare recipients aren't grifters?"

If you know many people on food stamps or welfare, etc, then you know something about this. I have known many in my life, in big towns and small. Most did not need the help, and definitely not all of it that they could get. Most needed help for a very short time when bad decisions or bad luck got the best of them.

The problem is that once discovered, free money if highly addictive. Previously self-sustaning people soon learn that the easiest job is simply looking at ways to maximize government benefits and other income that will not interfere with that, such as crime, selling drugs, trading benefits, etc. I have seen countless people even put substantial effort and creativity into securing and maximizing these benefits. For a while I lived in that subculture and it is a lifestyle, not a necessity, for most.

Even many working people get addicted to unemployment, disability or other income that does not require making the substantial sacrifices that holding a job does.

We all know this is true, yet modern liberals act like they don't. You are not fooling me. I think you are mistaken about a lot of things, but this is so obviously the case that I think you are just lying to maintain your partisan stance.

We all agree that some people need help. We disagree about whether they need to prove it before we give them free money and risk ruining them as people, at the expense of their future and that of the people they take the money from.

Giving someone charity can be extremely damaging to the recipient, as well as lazy and selfish for the giver, especially if it's someone else's money
they are using to pass on their responsibility.

It is not something that is automatically good or even helpful. It can be evil, and people should be more careful about endorsing it blindly, assuming they even give a shit.


Calypso Facto said...

The tea party is a reform movement that isn't against government but is against people getting rich through government and people abusing government for their own gain at the expense of others

Wow. That's well-said, Paddy O.

Robert Cook said...

"There are no poor in the US. There are the wealthy, very wealthy, and the staggering wealthy."

Absolutely! You got me there, Ken...tripped me up on this one unavoidable reality. Everyone in America is wealthy!

Chip S. said...

Throughout human history it has been customary to be poor

FIFY.

The emergence of capitalism out of feudalism is what changed the course of economic history. The accompanying prosperity is what allows self-righteous twits to profess their concern for those who don't prosper as much as most.

That would be perfectly OK if the proposed solution weren't to reintroduce stagnation.

chickelit said...

Paddy O wrote: There is no equivalent to the Tea Party on the Left, which roots out the corrupt politicians.

Well there once was such a thing...and it could do math too. Where did it go? I wonder if it could ever come back.

Chip S. said...

You've gotta admit, Cook, that it's a strange land in which the biggest health problem besetting the poor is obesity.

Seeing Red said...

Pittance? LOLOLOLOLOL

Some of those who live on the pittance in my daughter's school who get subsidized lunches walk around in $200 shoes. Or she's standing behind them managing the money's she's earned buying 1 nice thing while they peel off $600 in $100 bills to pay for a lot of clothing.

EMD said...

We were pioneers.

Once.

Seeing Red said...

Compared to the rest of the world, we are.

I was in Russia when they turned off the hot water to a city of 1 million people to work on the pipes before winter.

Do you think they would like that reliability? How about what just happened in India? We don't punish the rubes yet by cutting back on their electricity like Saddam did, but the Bamster was preparing us for it.

Ken said...

Robert Cook,

Absolutely! You got me there, Ken...tripped me up on this one unavoidable reality. Everyone in America is wealthy!

I think it's funny you think this is sarcasm. Are you aware that to be in the global 1%, a household needs an annual income of $34K? This is 29% below the US median. Did you know that having the median income of the bottom income decile in the US puts you in the top decile in India?

Smilin' Jack said...

I don't trust ideologues. I think they are living inside their heads and insufficiently connected to reality.

Whatever doesn't happen within the few cubic inches of your brain doesn't happen at all. What's inside our heads is all there is.

Robert Cook said...

"You've gotta admit, Cook, that it's a strange land in which the biggest health problem besetting the poor is obesity."

Not at all...processed food is cheap, high in sugar and fat, and low in nutritional value.

Obese people can often also be malnourished...they certainly are beset with many other ailments that degrade their quality of life and even cut them short.

The Crack Emcee said...

I heard a piece on black entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley recently. And the question was asked, why didn't they go to the traditional venture capitalists (where they might have more luck getting funding) instead of sticking to the raced-based ones? And they all said it never occurred to them.

When I hear people criticize multi-generational poverty in the black community, it becomes pretty obvious it never occurs to the speakers what others don't know.

They take it for granted that we're all working from the same base level of knowledge, which simply isn't so. Hell, I didn't understand the role of taxes - how they're connected to the street lights being on, or a war being fought - until far into adulthood.

Which always brings me back to critical thinking. We don't teach it in schools, but without it we're a nation of idiots. Lambs to the slaughter. Retards, not just waiting for a hand-out, but in need of one.

And conservatives are no better at dealing with that than liberals. Both are intent on telling us WHAT TO THINK rather than HOW TO THINK - because that's where the rubber meets the road. Neither can stand to discover some of their ideas are found to be bullshit. You've got to take the whole thing, or they give you nothing. But expect you to see them as kind.

I'm no fool, and I find that's a problem for the Left and Right. A black guy rejecting religion, alone, fucks up one's assumptions and the other's ideology - and they can't handle it. So they lash out, claiming I'm the problem, when they KNOW that aspect of their "thinking" is riddled with nonsensical contradictions. But for us, all, to rid ourselves of it is a non-starter, as far as they're concerned.

Critical thinking - the ability of our citizens to knowledgeably say "yes, this, but not this" - is the scariest thing both of our political parties face. Which is why they won't teach it in schools, won't promote it in TV and movies, and we never hear about it in our political discourse. They like the scam, the con, the play on our ignorance, too much.

I don't see our problems as insurmountable - and I do see the elimination of fraud and waste as a HUGE part of the answer - but that would include the humans who contribute to it, intellectually, and that's a lot of folks who are in charge now and who many of you want to be in charge in the future.

Our political system is fine (though maybe in need of a *little* tweaking) but our people are FUBAR and have been for some time. THAT's what we need to come to terms with.

But, as long as that requires us to look in a mirror and understand that we are the problem, our trajectory isn't going to change and, most likely, ever will.

Colonel Angus said...

The type of society Mr Cook desires doesn't exist and has left a lot of mass graves where its been tried.

Nonapod said...

I believe the problem that a great deal of well meaning people have with fully embracing the policies and ideologies of conservatism stems from a refusal to believe or understand the real benefits of the free market system. Specifically it’s a failure to grasp the meaning behind the statement made by Adam Smith over 200 years ago: "It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own self-interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own neccessities but of their advantages." They believe that a system that heavily advocates personal responsibility and a government that generally doesn’t get involved in social welfare will ultimately lead to huge swaths of citizens without proper health care, shelter, or education, even though the evidence is to the contrary.

They often persist in these beliefs even when it’s carefully explained to them that socialist systems of government invariably lead to misery and mass poverty (as has been demonstrated over and over again every single time such systems are tried throughout history) and that conversely the general standard of living of countries with markets that are more free is always much higher. They refuse to see that the less government intervention there is, the better the quality of life is for every citizen, even among the most poor and hopeless. They persist in the notion that wealth is zero sum and therefore it must be spread around. They apparently do not believe the arguments Adam Smith, Milton Friedman, F.A. Hayek, Ayn Rand and many, many others have been making for generations.

And, perhaps the saddest thing of all, these are not all stupid, thoughtless people. These unfortunate thought processes can be found in educated, literate people. It’s truly amazing.

Robert Cook said...

"I think it's funny you think this is sarcasm."

I don't think you're being sarcastic, Ken...I'm being sarcastic. I just think you're ignorant...or crazy.

Jay said...

Robert Cook said...

And the parasites on Wall Street can't stand to think that they don't have their hands on all that money!


Right. Because that is like totally what is happening.

Pookie Number 2 said...

I don't think you're being sarcastic, Ken...I'm being sarcastic. I just think you're ignorant...or crazy.

Do you believe the American poor are in the same situation as the Bangladeshi poor?

Bob Ellison said...

...processed food is cheap, high in sugar and fat, and low in nutritional value.

Now you're just moving goalposts. What nutritional value are we supposed to attain? Are the four food groups still valid, or must we do a Total-like assessment of vitamins and minerals?

As Chip said, food is the most important thing in food. That is, getting enough of it. Some people don't. Americans do, with lots of options, including vitamins and minerals.

One of the main reasons for this is...wait for it...processed food.

Ken said...

Robert Cook,

I don't think you're being sarcastic, Ken...I'm being sarcastic.

Yes, that's what I was referring to. I think it's funny you think you were being sarcastic in your comments.

I just think you're ignorant...or crazy.

And yet, you're the one who is unaware of what poverty actually is and think that it exists in the US. Go look at how the Census Bureau defines the poverty thresholds, then look at the historical incomes. You'll see that those poverty thresholds have been defined up and that now those who live below those thresholds today in 2012, live the same sort of material lives that the solidly middle (very rich) class lived in the 1970's.

And if you knew consumption patterns of the less wealthy, you'd know that the less wealthy lag the extremely wealthy by just a few year on luxury items such as flight, AC, cars, refrigerators, etc.

The Crack Emcee said...

Robert Cook,

Processed food is cheap, high in sugar and fat, and low in nutritional value.

Obese people can often also be malnourished...they certainly are beset with many other ailments that degrade their quality of life and even cut them short.


A perfect example of a smart guy (!) looking at a problem from the wrong end of a telescope.

The problem isn't the food, but the fact people aren't doing anything, beyond watching TV or whatnot. There's also your lack of acceptance of reality - there are three basic body types - one of which is fat. It follows that, with only three body types, somebody's going to be bigger, no? And if losing weight was possible for everyone, why do most diets fail?

Because they're fighting reality.

And you make things even worse when you focus on the food, by helping to kill the economy.

You're picking on people - the fat, food producers, etc. - who you can do nothing for and who have hurt no one.

The problem is in your mind, and nowhere else,....

Nora said...

It will not be campaign about ideology. Democrates will not have it, they operate on the level of labels and slogans.

Bob Ellison said...

RE: Ken's and Robert Cook's debate--

Ken has the better of this. Try to figure out how the federal government defines poverty.

"Poor" used to be a useful term. Someone who was poor was someone who didn't have enough money; maybe didn't have proper clothes or enough to eat; maybe couldn't afford things he/she wanted like school and travel.

"Poor" these days, like "poverty", is a social science term. It gets re-defined routinely. As Ken suggests, if all Americans were billionaires, the "poor" would be only millionaires.

Kurt said...

The Crack Emcee wrote:
Critical thinking - the ability of our citizens to knowledgeably say "yes, this, but not this" - is the scariest thing both of our political parties face. Which is why they won't teach it in schools, won't promote it in TV and movies, and we never hear about it in our political discourse. They like the scam, the con, the play on our ignorance, too much.

* * * * *

I don't see our problems as insurmountable - and I do see the elimination of fraud and waste as a HUGE part of the answer - but that would include the humans who contribute to it, intellectually, and that's a lot of folks who are in charge now and who many of you want to be in charge in the future.


I don't think this is a problem with any simple or clear solution. Although a parent might have some success teaching a child some critical thinking skills, if you've ever tried teaching such skills even to college-level students, you'll quickly learn how much most of them resist it. Students have graduated from schools that teach them that their self-esteem is the most important thing, and so the last thing they want to hear is that their writing or thinking is full of unsupported arguments and questionable logic. You can have students learn how to recognize certain logical fallacies, but most will only learn enough about them to pass a test or a quiz and then forget the details. Only a few will really grasp the point and be able to apply the lesson to their lives and the world at large. So it's not simply that the schools don't teach it, it's that even when instructors try to teach it, many students will resist it.

So sometimes the problem seems intractable. It's one thing to admit that humans are imperfect beings; what's more troubling is that in our society we have a set of institutions which seem focused on rewarding them for--if not encouraging--their imperfections, regardless of whether they learn or improve or not.

Roger Zimmerman said...


AllieOop thinks I'm not being imaginative to foresee what happens in a world where no one is forced - at the point of the societal/government gun - to care for those that don't have the "brains, desire, gumption, etc." to care for themselves.

Bullshit.

Some such people will live horrible lives, worse than they do now. Some will be no worse off than they are now. Some will accept the kick in the pants and discover the gumption to make their own lives better than they are now. Allie will be free to voluntarily help out anyone s/he wants, whether they deserve help or not.

But, is Allie imaginative enough to see the other side of the equation? Some currently marginally unsuccessful individuals would have the wherewithal to pursue their dreams to a greater degree, resulting in their increased happiness. Investment in science, technology, and business will increase in general so that the whole world will be more likely to benefit from faster advancement in these areas. Some people will feel more sympathetic to the plight of their fellow man.

If Allie cannot envision these scenarios, she has no business demeaning anyone's lack of imagination or conformance to reality.

Roger Zimmerman said...

But, more to the point of this post, Limbaugh is correct that the Ryan pick is contributing, along with many other factors - including the "you didn't build that" speech - to make this the most ideological presidential election in my life time. And, this thread supports that claim, as we are truly discussing some very fundamental political philosophy and ethics here. We haven't quite got around to metaphysics and epistemology, but those are implicit.

As such, this election will tell us a great deal about the near-to-medium future of this country, since it will reveal the "gut sense" view of the American electorate on these fundamental questions.

The Godfather said...

I hope you're enjoying your vacation, Ann. Very clever to post a few provocative words and phrases, and count on the readers fill up the comments while you watch Old Faithful, or whatever.

Lest we forget, the original topic was the Ryan (and now Romney-Ryan) proposals. None of which call for Granny to die in the street (or be pushed over a cliff). Ryan has been proposing common-sense solutions to the fact -- it is a fact -- that our current programs for the elderly can't be sustained much longer. Obama and the Democrats have been ignoring this problem, and they offer no solution, but they condemn the solutions that others offer as heartless.

I'm elderly and receiving both Social Security and Medicare. I don't want to lose the benefits I paid for over almost 50 years. Romney-Ryan have a plan to protect those benefits. Obama-Biden doesn't. How to vote is a no brainer. (Actually, that's a bad phrase; those with no brain will vote for Obama-Biden.)

AprilApple said...


I'm skeptical of Rush, who I sometimes find simplistic and repetitive. He doesn’t make me skeptical of my ideas, he just doesn’t sell me anymore. Though I don't listen to Rush that much anymore anyway. Sometimes, and sometimes he is right on. I prefer Hugh Hewitt, Dennis Prager, Dennis Miller, Levin etc.. Although I don't listen to them that much at all either. Too busy.

I have more faith in Ryan. Not blind faith, but more faith. Certainly more faith than I have in the democrats who have not kept promises to reform entitlements, reign in spending, cut the debt (in half!) and make taxation fair for all.(oh wait- leftists never promise that) Instead we have radical leftwing ideology. So yes, let's balance this hard core leftism with some conservative ideology.
And I am sick to death listening to libs call conservatives cold hearted.
Cold hearted? Where did all that Stimulus money go?
Are the poor better off?

PatCA said...

Crack and Nonapod each address the fatal problem that people don't know enough to analyze the current govt failures. Our poor people are obese, our cities and states and federal govt are bankrupt, and student test scores remain low -- despite trillions spent on these problems for half a century.

There's a reason for that, and it's not that the wrong party is in power. The reason is that we have ignored economic history and our own founders. We have chosen, up to now, the deadliest combo in politics: break and circuses.

Ryan knows this, and even libs lately respect him and might even vote for RR.

Thread winning line: "In times of crisis they both hide behind clouds of ink," by ed.

The Crack Emcee said...

Kurt,

You can have students learn how to recognize certain logical fallacies, but most will only learn enough about them to pass a test or a quiz and then forget the details.

That's why it should be an integral part of our culture - as opposed to, say, religion - because then, like religion is now, there'd be no escape. No place for bad ideas to run to. They'd have to deal with reality on it's terms, and not the ones they make up ("mind over matter") or those handed to them ("It's in Jesus' hands now,...").

We currently live in a culture that's anything goes - and helps no one. There are no parameters. You can talk all day about Heaven, knowing we've been above the clouds and the place doesn't exist - but few will tell you different. That's the problem.

If we had a culture that shut down even a fraction of the nonsense that's accepted as true - especially NewAge ideas - we'd be a lot better off. But we don't. Instead we say "don't judge," and insist people need this stuff, when someone like myself is living proof we don't. We make these problems - and problems that stem from them - for ourselves.

A student may be resistant to a concept in class, but if he found his nonsense found no fertile soil OUTSIDE OF CLASS, eventually he'd give it up. That's what we're not doing.

That's also why I rail about Romney so much:

Mormon ideas are the antithesis of knowledge. And kids are going to ask what's real once we elect a president who "believes" in pure jabberwocky - which can only hurt us in the long run - just as ideas in the '60s have had long-term negative effects. Many will say, "But Crack, they're such good citizens!" but they're good citizens who don't think for themselves. They turn away from information they don't like - like whether something is true is determined by whether or not you like it. That's simply not American.

I recently had the experience where a Mormon got a job for his teenage son at work, and he went around telling everyone not to swear. We laughed at him, explaining we're heathens and he had no more right to tell us how to behave than we did to hold him down and make him take a drink of whiskey. But that's how they think:

They want to be goodie-goodie, and think we (who are merely good) have to bow to their demands for it.

It's bullshit, and he had no basis for starting us down that hostile road, considering his "religion" is based on him accepting a con in the first place.

That's how we solve our problems. But, until we're willing to do it, we're stuck - and electing another of these fruitcakes to power isn't going to help in the long run.

Except to start more arguments,...

Seeing Red said...

Via Insty: As Barack Obama and his allies unleash their full Mediscaring fury, perhaps it’s helpful to recall this moment in 2005. George W. Bush proclaimed a mandate to fix Social Security after the 2004 election, which had Democrats insisting even then that Social Security didn’t need reform, and that it was safe for another 20 years. One Democrat in particular questioned the reform priorities of Bush, joining a few Republicans who had the same concern. Why not tackle Medicare reform instead, as it was by far the largest driver of unfunded and irrational future liabilities?

furious_a said...

@Allie: I wonder if some folks just aren't imaginative enough to envision what societal repercussions there would be...

...when, as someone else said on another thread, the safety net becomes so large that it pulls the circus tent down on top of it.

"Sacramento" or "Athens" -- no imagination necessary.

Think said...

Robert Crook said " wish you supposed fiscal conservatives, (i.e., selfish bastards). . ."

I am willing to bet that I gave more money to charity last year than you. I have found that to be almost always true when comparing the "selfish bastard" fiscal conservatives to fiscally irresponsible left wing politicians. They always want to take my money but rarely give a significant amount to charity themselves.

Chip S. said...

Any lefty who calls conservatives "selfish bastards" is simply projecting.

(There really ought to be a standardized Althouse bibliography so we can refer to oft-cited stuff like this w/o the effort of creating a new link every single time.)

jr565 said...

There is a real intellectual laziness streak that runs through some of Althouse's postings, where she seems to be at war with herself over waht to believe, and thus often offers contradicting visions from post to post, to where it's hard to tell where she leans.
Only last week she posted an exchange between Milton Friedman and Phil Donahue, where he essentially made almost the exact same point as Limbaugh. And yet today she finds such ideology troublesome.

This is from Limbaugh:
Where are these magicians who know how to live their own lives? Who are they? And how do they magically end up in government? Well, they don't exist, and they aren't in government, and this is the ultimate argument. Small-government conservatism means turning your life back over to you. This then raises the question that we all are asking ourselves: How many Americans want that responsibility anymore?

and this is Friedman:
Is it really true that political self-interest is nobler somehow than economic self-interest? …I think you’re taking a lot of things for granted. Just tell me where in the world you find these angels who are going to organize society for us?
http://remnantculture.com/?p=1619

I wonder why Althouse bothered with that last post, if she is somehow bothered by this one?

But Limbaugh in speaking for self reliance is not saying there should be NO safety net, only that govt can encroach on our lives to such a degree where it deprives us of freedom.

Taking to it's most absolute I have a problem with the sentiment as well. And this is where libertarians I think are over reliant on their absolutist freedom position. SOciety can't be constructed where the only safeguard you have against utter poverty is self reliance. But by the same token, govt simply cannot solve systemic problems sufficiently. SO if you grow govt at the expense of capitalism, which I woudl argue is THE BEST WAY to get the most people out of poverty, you are not in fact serving the social good, since again govt is simply not good at doing that. Govt has it's place, but it should never bankrupt us, using the pretense that we are helping people. IF we are bankrupt and can't pay our bills, how can our programs be used to take care of our needs?

So then, the only safety net we should have is one that will not bankrupt us. If it is insolvent then it's no longer a safety net and if it's not based on real numbers then it's not real.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Cook is currently in the State-worshipping phase of his bipolitical disorder. Give him a few days and he'll be back to denouncing everything the US Government does with the money he's urging us to send it.

Revenant said...

I wish you supposed fiscal conservatives, (i.e., selfish bastards), were as selfish about when it comes to "your" money going to kill and maim human being around the world as you are to begrudging somebody some pittance of sustenance or care.

Obvious troll is obvious.

Revenant said...

Those who object to establishing government programs to help those in need because they constitute "enforced charity" are blind. Such programs can be easily defended strictly from a purely selfish point of view

Stop for a moment and consider the two statements you claim are true:

1. "People who object to government largesse are selfish"

2. "Government largesse makes sense from a selfish point of view".

From this, you conclude that we must all be idiots -- otherwise, selfish bastards that we are, we would sign on for Big Government wholeheartedly.

It never occurs to you that there are many people who agree with point #2 but simply do not believe that government should pander to their selfish whims.

It never occurs to you that there are many people who are selfish but also bright enough to realize that safety nets, by pure mathematical necessity, must have a higher after cost than average benefit.

And, of course, there are the rest of us, who are no more selfish than anyone else and simply realize that, because waste, abuse, and oppression are inherent in all government activity, anyone interested in human welfare and freedom should want as little government as possible.

Kirk Parker said...

Paul @ 6:42 PM:

Ooooh, that's gonna leave a mark!

Birkel said...

Good gracious Robert Cook, you ignorant slut!
The "tragedy of the commons" is solved by assigning property rights to individuals.

What you suggested (copied below) will only exacerbate the problems.

I expected nothing less from the likes of you.

xxxxxxxxxxxx


Ken, the "tragey of the commons" arises, from my only slight familiarity with the idea, with the net result of multiple individuals acting in pursuit of their own interests, such that, in the end, the commons are used up.

Presumably, this can be mitigated or prevente altogether by common representative management of the commons...i.e., through "government," rather than through the willy-nilly activities of multiple self-interested parties.

Oh, but I forgot: "government" can never work well, can never do anything right, can never accomplish anything worth accomplishing.

8/14/12 3:16 PM

Christopher in MA said...

Sean @ 1.30 - "Vote for me because I'll take someone else's money and give it to you" and "vote for me because I won't take your money and give it to someone else" are the same?

I expressed myself imperfectly. I would consider it as regressing to the mean. If you are a recipient - or even multi-generational recipient* - of government largesse, you'll vote for whomever gives it to you. But, if you are someone who builds a business or brings home a paycheck every week, the man who promises to let you have more of that money is the man you will vote for. We vote our interests.

*google "Claribel Ventura," a Massachusetts welfare resident who, when confronted with the fact that her entire family (including grandmothers and grandchildren) were receiving state funds, was then asked if she had anything to say to the taxpayers of the Commonwealth, only sneered, "tell them to keep paying."

ElPresidenteCastro said...

The Chinese running out of money will be harder on the Norte Americanos than the Soviets running out of money was on the Socialist Paradise.

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