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Member Since 21 January 2012 - 01:48 AM
Online Last Active Aug 10 2020 02:14 PM

Topics I've Started

College-Educated Professionals Are Capitalism’s Useful Idiots

08 August 2020 - 07:32 PM



How I got co-opted into helping the rich prevail at the expense of everybody else

From my parents’ teenage years in the 1930s and ’40s through my teenage years in the 1970s, American economic life became a lot more fair and democratic and secure than it had been when my grandparents were teenagers. But then all of a sudden, around 1980, that progress slowed, stopped, and in many ways reversed.

I didn’t really start understanding the nature and enormity of the change until the turn of this century, after the country had been fully transformed. One very cold morning just after Thanksgiving in 2006, I was on the way to Eppley Airfield in Omaha after my first visit to my hometown since both my parents had died, sharing a minivan jitney from a hotel with a couple of Central Casting airline pilots—tall, fit white men around my age, one wearing a leather jacket. We chatted. To my surprise, even shock, both of them spent the entire trip sputtering and whining—about being bait-and-switched when their employee-ownership shares of United Airlines had been evaporated by its recent bankruptcy, about the default of their pension plan, about their CEO’s recent 40 percent pay raise, about the company to which they’d devoted their entire careers but no longer trusted at all. In effect, about changing overnight from successful all-American middle-class professionals who’d worked hard and played by the rules into disrespected, cheated, sputtering, whining chumps.

The Blast in Beirut

06 August 2020 - 06:39 PM

Shock waves from the blast in Beirut.


The right needs to stop falsely claiming that the Nazis were socialists

26 July 2020 - 04:37 PM



Did you know that “Nazi” is short for “National Socialist”? That means that Hitler and his henchmen were all socialists. Bernie Sanders calls himself a socialist, too. That means Bernie Sanders and his supporters are the same as Nazis … doesn’t it?

Anyone who has been on political Twitter in the past decade has seen a version of this syllogism. Conservatives, seeking to escape the “fascist” and “Nazi” labels tossed at them by leftist critics since the 1960s, have turned the tables. Books such as Jonah Goldberg’s “Liberal Fascism” have noted that many leading fascists, such as Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, started out as socialists, just as many early 20th-century “progressives” embraced eugenic ideas ultimately linked to Nazi racist genocide. This connection has become a silver bullet for voices on the right like Dinesh D’Souza and Candace Owens: Not only is the reviled left, embodied in 2020 by figures like Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Elizabeth Warren, a dangerous descendant of the Nazis, but anyone who opposes it can’t possibly have ties to the Nazis’ odious ideas.

Why the Richest, Freest Economies Belong to Countries With Large Powerful States

13 July 2020 - 05:59 PM



The free-market intellectual movement has done much to further develop and more widely disseminate these insights, and for that we are in its debt. But in appreciating the world-transforming virtues of the market system, it is vitally important for us to keep in mind this qualification: a well-functioning market system is neither self-executing nor self-sustaining. To achieve what they are capable of, markets need to be embedded in and supplemented by supportive legal, political, and social institutions. Alas, the free-market movement has done a bad job of recognizing this fact and its implications for policy. This blind spot is the result of flawed ideology, as I described in the previous essays in this series. But it also reflects the fact that the movement has been led by economists, and as that discipline has professionalized, its practitioners have tended to narrow their focus and take the existence of the market order as given.

But the market order is not a given. Start with the fact that all the world’s richest, freest, most advanced economies today belong to countries with large, powerful states, elaborate regulatory codes, and extensive provision of social insurance and other public goods. If modern, large-scale, impersonal markets were truly self-executing and self-sustaining – that is, they emerged naturally and spontaneously and thrived wherever they are not smothered by overbearing government – we should expect to see flourishing market economies in the world’s most lightly governed places. Yet if we look at, say, the tribal areas of Pakistan, where the writ of the central government barely reaches, or Somalia, which lacked any central government at all from 1991 to 2006, we see nothing of the kind.

Random Political Posts

10 July 2020 - 05:41 PM

"As we are experiencing firsthand, you cannot fight the pandemic with lies and disinformation any more than you can fight it with hate or incitement to hatred. The limits of populism and denial of basic truths are being laid bare."

-- Angela Merkel