November 16, 2013

"Government is not the solution to our problem. Government is the problem."

Your favorite aphorism?



Here's a take on it:



Yeah, I know. The response to that is obvious to a decently educated person, but this is an effective viral video aimed at... other people. And even if you know what's wrong with the argument in that video, it's about manipulation of opinion at an emotional level.

60 comments:

El Pollo Raylan said...

If people can't control themselves, the government will. If the government can't control itself, another government will.

PB Reader said...

Yeah, why think when you can feel.

pm317 said...

Didn't Obama reinforce that very idea that Government is the problem in his press conference couple of days ago? But Obama was transferring his incompetence and pointing the finger at the government as he always does. Pass the blame and point the finger at someone/something else.

As for aphorisms, the one I like is 'only thing we have to fear is fear itself' -- that was clever. Any original line that will long and forever from the current smartest orator?

Ann Althouse said...

"Yeah, why think when you can feel."

One thing you might want to think about is neuroscience. Paradoxically, the thinking/feeling dichotomy is not what a thinking person ought to believe in.

Rusty said...

Video #2 Just beclowns liberalism.
Limited government does not equal no government.

America's Politico said...

I am still shocked by the Amanda M. essay that was in the blog here. I just do not understand how she can say that she is still a virgin. I did not know what a booty call is and so I asked the Yahoo site (What is a booty call?). It turns out something about sex. So, when is a virgin not a virgin? That is an extensial question. It is what the definition of what a virgin is.

pm317 said...

Government has no tangible motive unlike the private sector where it is profit -- you sink or swim with the numbers. Traditionally government is thought to protect the underdog from unfairness, injustice and so on (bear with me, I know you all know this). So 'doing good' was adopted as the motive for the government. Now I know where the liberal schmucks get their mojo about being good, moral, and compassionate and all that. Life is about simplification and government is oversimplified for the lowest info voter. I think we need a technocrat like Romney to straighten it out and that didn't happen.

John Lynch said...

When Americans had almost no government, in the colonial period and the period before the Civil War, we didn't act like Somalis.

The idea that we would now were it not for a strong and powerful government is strangely Hobbesian, coming from liberals.

I thought liberals believed that people were basically good and that society made them bad.

Bob Boyd said...

Reagan dabbled in socialism as a young man by working as a lifeguard.

pm317 said...

Well, it all comes down to intellectual honesty and being straight with people and politicians are last to do that. When you pour money into a project which may have been well intentioned, well planned and even well executed, how hard is it to quantify the results and see if it is working? But politics gets in the way and admission of failure is not an option. We need to take POLITICS out of government.

ddh said...

The second video--if anyone actually believes it--makes the viewer dumber. "If I only had a brain," sings the liberal Strawman, filming his argument.

El Pollo Raylan said...

John Lynch said...
When Americans had almost no government, in the colonial period and the period before the Civil War, we didn't act like Somalis.

Many Americans think that the worst gang-infested parts of American cities verge on Somalia. One wing of American politics strives to contain those aberrations while the other effectively grows them.

MartyH said...

The second video confuses libertarianism with anarchy; limited government with no government. If they had a real point, I'd guess that it is that libertarianism begets Somalia, but I doubt that they are that nuanced.

Bob R said...

Yes. The path is very clear.
1. Abolish wool and mohair subsidies
2. ???
3. We crack each other's skulls open and feast on the goo inside.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

You think that is effective? Your brain is mush. Everyone knows that an ideology taken to its extreme is grotesque . Liberalism gives us SovietUnion, Communist China and Nazi Germany. These are the arguments of middle schoolers.

Bob said...

I don't think the second video is meant to persuade, even emotionally. Instead it's meant to buck up weak-willed believers (aka useful idiots). Weak-willed believers need to be reassured and told that they are right and are wanted in the gang.

It's like maintenance sex. Obama & Co. need to tell their insecure followers every now and then that they are hot and really great in bed in order to keep them around.

pm317 said...

Agree with Ann about the second video..

cubanbob said...

What a stupid video the second one is. A better video would have shown the difference between Botox injections to treat migrane headaches and botchulism. The difference between a drug and a poison is the dosage.

Chef Mojo said...

What's with the link between the vids? A Greg Sargent open thread?

pm317 said...

What's with the link between the vids?

The two extremes? a cautionary tale for the right who go off the rails..?

southcentralpa said...

Wow, that much straw (needed to make all the strawmen) could've been used to comfortably bed a LOT of animals ...

St. George said...

Somalia became independent in 1960 after a roughly 15 year period in which the British, whose colony it had been, tried to teach its leaders and citizens how to govern themselves.

Then in 1969, there was a coup. That's when a pro Soviet regime took over. It became the SDR---the Somali Democratic Republic.

Any other questions?

pm317 said...

"The Great Prevaricator", great read But.. he ends it with a hyperbole like this:

"Obamacare may be remembered as a turning point in American history. It may be remembered as the time when Americans woke up, saw to the heart of the administrative entitlement state, and began the process of dismantling it and restoring limited government."

Without cliched words like entitlement state or limited government, it would be more effective. Takes the edge off of the more important points he is making in the article.

David said...

Racists.

EDH said...

Reagan prefaced his remarks about government with "in this present [economic] crisis".

Inaugural Address, January 20, 1981

But great as our tax burden is, it has not kept pace with public spending. For decades we have piled deficit upon deficit, mortgaging our future and our children's future for the temporary convenience of the present. To continue this long trend is to guarantee tremendous social, cultural, political, and economic upheavals.

You and I, as individuals, can, by borrowing, live beyond our means, but for only a limited period of time. Why, then, should we think that collectively, as a nation, we're not bound by that same limitation? We must act today in order to preserve tomorrow. And let there be no misunderstanding: We are going to begin to act, beginning today.

The economic ills we suffer have come upon us over several decades. They will not go away in days, weeks, or months, but they will go away. They will go away because we as Americans have the capacity now, as we've had in the past, to do whatever needs to be done to preserve this last and greatest bastion of freedom.

In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. From time to time we've been tempted to believe that society has become too complex to be managed by self-rule, that government by an elite group is superior to government for, by, and of the people. Well, if no one among us is capable of governing himself, then who among us has the capacity to govern someone else? All of us together, in and out of government, must bear the burden. The solutions we seek must be equitable, with no one group singled out to pay a higher price.

We hear much of special interest groups. Well, our concern must be for a special interest group that has been too long neglected. It knows no sectional boundaries or ethnic and racial divisions, and it crosses political party lines. It is made up of men and women who raise our food, patrol our streets, man our mines and factories, teach our children, keep our homes, and heal us when we're sick -- professionals, industrialists, shopkeepers, clerks, cabbies, and truckdrivers. They are, in short, ``We the people,'' this breed called Americans.

Sam L. said...

I vass amoossssssed!

Richard Dolan said...

The video is a bore but this isn't: "Paradoxically, the thinking/feeling dichotomy is not what a thinking person ought to believe in."

Well, it's not really a dichotomy, and belief doesn't have much to do with it. Most people have no trouble using the terms to describe different things, different aspects of ordinary life. Difficulties arise when you try to correlate the words to 'mental states' or something of that sort. Of course, similarly difficult problems arise when people, often neuroscientists, try to correlate various neurons and their functions with thinking, feeling and such. That may be a fine way to understand why some people suffering from various impairments can't do what others do effortlessly, and for understanding the brain and its functions more generally. But the reductionist methods of biology and chemistry aren't going to tell you much about what people do and why they do it.

Achilles said...

Of course you have to be historically illiterate to go with the Somalia comparison. It was a Socialist/Communist totalitarian regime installed by the USSR that collapsed and produced the ensuing anarchy. When in doubt statists blame their failures on someone else.

Of course Ann derives her paycheck from tax dollars. From an institution that is endangered by technological advance and will no longer be in existence in 10 years no less. The only chance universities have is the use of government force. They can't compete on their own, especially with the administrative bloat they currently carry.

If I was a professor in a major university I would see two options. The first option would be to understand the coming MOOC based education paradigm and try to find a place in it.

The second would be prayer to the statist faith. One to trash Libertarians and the ideology, and pray that the government can force tax dollars into the failing universities. They are also hoping they can trick young idiots into mortgaging their futures for a diploma they will be able to get for nearly free.

Pretty soon chipping up 100,000-200,000 for a degree will be a sign to employers that the degree holder is too stupid to log into Khan Academy. The only employer looking for people like that is the government. Go figure why statists want more of it.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Most people have no trouble using the terms to describe different things, different aspects of ordinary life.

After all the flak Althouse has gotten here over that camel she swallowed in 2008, straining at gnats probably looks like a better bet right now.

William said...

Well, the youth of Somalia are not burdened by stop and frisk intrusions on their personal dignity and, in such a climate, they are allowed to reach their full potential.

Alex said...

It doesn't help matters that a significant % of libertarians are semi-anarchists.

n.n said...

In a weak society, anarchy is the father of socialism. In a strong society, anarchy is the foot soldier of socialism. Socialism is a consolidation of capital and control by a minority through granted or usurped authority. Perhaps these anti-libertarians should address progressive corruption. Libertarianism is not an amoral philosophy.

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

Liberty is only suitable and possible for men and women capable of self-moderating, responsible behavior. While others are prevented from running amuck by empowered competing interests or a central authority.

rcocean said...

Haha. Nice touch having a black actress in the video. But I agree with most Libertarians, GET THE GOVERNMENT OFF MY BACK**

** = except for the public schools, national defense, SEC, fire department, police department, Social Security, Medicare (which I paid into Dammit), public libraries roads, parks, and every other public program which benefits me in some way

rcocean said...

Libertarian-ism, like Marxism, and every other universal, one size fits all, economic philosophy is bullshit.

Its amazing how many Socialists and Commies when they stop believing in Marx start believing in Anne Rand and Hayek.

jr565 said...

Reagan said "In this present crisis, govt is not the solution". But that leaves open other crises where govt would be the solution.
Think of the primary functions of govt, as examples.

I do think the second video is funny, but a total misrepresentation of both libertarianism and the idea that govt shouldn't be involved in everything.

jr565 said...

MartyH wrote:
The second video confuses libertarianism with anarchy; limited government with no government. If they had a real point, I'd guess that it is that libertarianism begets Somalia, but I doubt that they are that nuanced.

Some libertarians though do seem to stress govt so limited as to be almost non existent. I'm no liberal, but some of the rhetoric coming from the libertarains does strike me as that.


Ambrose said...

No one wants to say what the real problem with Somalia is. Here's a hint, it's not Reaganism, it begins with an "I" and sometimes calls itself the religion of peace.

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

I just listened to the Reagan tape. I had forgotten that he prefaced the famous statement with the phrase: "In this present crisis, government is not...". That actually changes the meaning a lot. I wonder why we never hear that when Reagan is being mocked for his silly anti-government views?

Aaron said...

Its ironic that prior to the civil war in Somalia, they had a socialist government. The economy is actually BETTER after a civil war than when there was no war and socialists were in charge.

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

Aaron said...

and of course a private beach that charged a small admission fee might be cleaner than a public beach and cost less when you considered the park rangers, etc. that are paid to keep the beach clean.

Aaron said...

Meanwhile, we could film North Korea and advise what a government paradise that is!

jelink said...

Speaking of the thinking/feeling dichotomy: I missed what that black shick was saying.

I was too busy staring at her rack.

Cedarford said...

Ambrose said...
I just listened to the Reagan tape. I had forgotten that he prefaced the famous statement with the phrase: "In this present crisis, government is not...". That actually changes the meaning a lot. I wonder why we never hear that when Reagan is being mocked for his silly anti-government views?

======================
Probably because right-wingers and all too many libertarian assholes took it literally. That gummint is the problem about anything they do. And what we need is more Freedom and less stinking regulations on wise bankers and Ceos on Wall Street to create a fabulous New America by privatizing everything.

MattL said...

Liberals can't be bothered to understand their own ideology or the consequences of their preferred policies. Why is anyone surprised that they don't understand others'?

Rusty said...

======================
Probably because right-wingers and all too many libertarian assholes took it literally. That gummint is the problem about anything they do. And what we need is more Freedom and less stinking regulations on wise bankers and Ceos on Wall Street to create a fabulous New America by privatizing everything.

The current government crisis makes the above statement funny as hell. Our system of healthcare worked pretty well when it was in private hands.
But you just keep on swingin' there comrade.

chrisnavin.com said...

rcocean-I absolutely trust Obama and his coalitions with the public schools, national defense, SEC, fire department, police department, Social Security, Medicare (which I paid into Dammit), public libraries roads, parks, and every other public program which benefits me in some way.

I don't think Americans are going to be particularly happy with their politics for a long time, despite Obama's wonderful leadership.

chrisnavin.com said...

Sorry for the rant, Althousians:

At least I know where I stand with the moral claims of most religious people. I respect their beliefs and their freedom to believe. I haven't found the logic and reasons persuasive enough to become a believer however.

Yeah, they know how to live and how they want me to live, and they'll use government to make me live the same, but it seems our constitution does a pretty good job of recognizing this. Many religious people do a good job of recognizing a lot of what human nature is in my experience.

Sometimes I'm allied with the religious against a common enemy like the horrific Obamacare, but mostly because they're part of a party that at its best promises to leave me alone.

I'm less persuaded by political liberalism, and its moral claims, but there are some serious thinkers there.

It probably says more about me, but I laugh to myself at the conceit of modern limousine liberalism,the unsurprising ignorance & totalitarianism of the rights and justice crowd beneath the high-end liberals.

Who would've thought?

I take some comfort in the fact that when all the talk of freedom and progress wears off, and you run out of other people's money, most liberals I know don't think that well of people and human nature either.

Sam Hall said...

"Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery." – Winston Churchill

Ambrose said...
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Ambrose said...

Cedarford kindly read my post and commented:

"Probably because right-wingers and all too many libertarian assholes took it literally. That gummint is the problem about anything they do. And what we need is more Freedom and less stinking regulations on wise bankers and Ceos on Wall Street to create a fabulous New America by privatizing everything."

But "gummint"? I always spell words wrong on these posts(luckily I don't use my real name), but that's a whopper.

Oh wait, I see, Cedarford is suggesting that certain people (those who do not agree with him) are too stupid to spell government. How lucky! If everyone who disagreed with me was just stupid, oh how wonderful life would be!

I also think it is FEWER stinking regulations that we need, but who am I to judge?

rcocean said...

I really sorry for Bernie Madoff. If only the Government had gotten off his back when he was trying to make people money.

Free Enterprise baby.

Joe said...

Except Madoff wasn't affected by government regulators despite it being quite obvious to financial folks that he was engaged in suspicious, if not criminal, enterprise.

It is not more likely that this was a case of government being so big and so obsessed with irrelevant minutia that they missed the elephant in the room?

Is it also possible that the belief in strong government regulation allowed some to believe there investment was safer than it really was?

Ambrose said...

rcocean - except we right wing nut jobs do not advocate repeal of the criminal laws that Bernie Madoff violated. They should be prosecuted. We do suggest, politely, that government regulators are not competent to catch Madoffs. We are probably crazy, but wait, that is what happened.

Unknown said...

You guys are pulling your punches with rcocean re Bernie Madoff….

Big Government (SEC) was busy watching PORN while Madoff was criminally defrauding greedy liberals.

_______________________________________
On a day when President Obama argued for more government regulation over the financial industry, a new government report reveals that some high-level regulators have spent more time looking at porn than policing Wall Street.

The Securities and Exchange Commission is supposed to be the sheriff of the financial industry, looking for financial crimes like Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme. But the new report, obtained by ABC News, says senior employees of the SEC spent hours on the commission's computers looking at sites like naughty.com, skankwire, youporn, and others.

http://abcnews.go.com/WN/sec-pornography-employees-spent-hours-surfing-porn-sites/story?id=10451508

http://gawker.com/5501445/meet-the-high+ranking-sec-official-who-surfed-porn-while-your-401k-vanished

I look forward to more penetrating analysis from rocean

Hyphenated American said...

"I really sorry for Bernie Madoff. If only the Government had gotten off his back when he was trying to make people money."

Totally. Let's eliminate all freedom because of madoff. Of course, no be one explains why sec with all IRS power missed madoff and Enron, but this is just an unimportant detail.

Unknown said...

….no be one explains why sec with all IRS power missed madoff and Enron, but this is just an unimportant detail.

And while the SEC staff was watching PORN the IRS was investigating the Tea Party. Just an unimportant detail indeed.

William Chadwick said...

My favorite aphorism of this nature would be Nock's (and this may not be a verbatim quote since I'm operating from memory), "That the State can only do things for you you to the extent that it has the power to do things to you."

He must have said or written this about eighty years ago but Eloi such as "rcocean" still are oblivious.