We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Sunday, June 14. 2009
Another quote from the Steyn piece we posted and commented on yesterday:
By way of contrast with the excellent Steyn essay, economist Robert Frank thinks we'll all be happier if we're taxed more and controlled more, presumably because we are incompetent, dysfunctional morons. A quote from a comment on his book:
Frank's vision is of citizens as a herd of happy, peaceful, benighted sheep, grazing, screwing and reading comics in a meadow while producing wool for the State's mills - and ruled by wise, altruistic men like him (who of course lack the passions of us peons - other than the passion to run the world their way. And who wants their life to be fully rational anyway? Not me.).
Problem is, as our post on technocrats and policy wonks yesterday discussed, the People have far more accumulated wisdom and life experience than any group of scheming technocrats or condescending academics who wish to create a world in their own image.
I would much prefer Sippican, Vanderleun, Glenn Reynolds, or my neighbor as President than the smartest guy in the Harvard School of Government. They understand why the energetic people of the world want to come to America.
Furthermore, we have seen all over the world in the 20th Century 1. how dispiriting powerful States are to the inventiveness and productivity of the aspiring, imaginative, creative and energetic individual (and how, if you dispirit the producers, there's no money to fund anything), 2. how entire sociopathic populations and cultures can be created (as in the Soviet Union) by energetic and resourceful people working the system and sneaking around it, and 3. how States politicize everything, and how power corrupts.
Frank is thus dangerously naive to idealize the State as some benevolent, altruistic, all-wise entity - almost like a god - and he is ignorant to view his fellow Americans as needing control and direction at gunpoint. It is an infantile and grandiose vision, and one which every proud red-blooded American should find demeaning and insulting. Un-American. Steyn's point about civic life is very well-taken by us Yankees: civic life isn't the Federal Government - it's your neighborhood and town.
I thought this debate was over when the Berlin Wall fell. Who imagined that the fall of Communism across the world would just provide a fresh opportunity for these soul-destroying weeds to sprout up again?
Count me as a Jeffersonian in this respect: "The government which governs least, governs best." We are not idiots, Prof. Frank.
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When the wall fell it just set the stage for them to try their crap here.
Really,Franks and his ilk WILL find out when things are escalated quicker than they are now, that they are NOT safe,nor protected,from their "kings."
Let them try.....
Excellent post, BD, right on the money $$$$. Power abhors a vacuum, the saying goes, and the current crop of power hungry liberals rushed into the one created, aided and abetted by the MSM. Question is: How do we remove them? We need a true reform movement at all levels of government. Who is going to lead? It requires a return to active, good citzenship, citizenship dedicated to the common good rather than the accumulation of state power.
The Founding Fathers had the gift of understanding human nature. This new crop of 'sociopaths' will come to understand human nature is a force they cannot control no matter how many laws and regulations they put on it. Like the cream of humanity, the nature of man rises to the top - sooner or later.
Because individualism is already the DNA of America, I think it will rise sooner rather than later.
I pray you're right, Meta dear. "Individualism is already in the DNA of America..." I like your phrase. And I pray that you're right.
Count me as a Jeffersonian in this respect: "The government which governs least, governs best." We are no idiots.
So, gotta ask...In principle, regarding the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, are you with Barney Frank or with the Republicans?
A small nit to pick. It's behavioral economics, not behaviorist economics. Behaviorists are Skinnerians. They believe that behavior is determined by classical and operant conditioning. Behavioral economics has nothing to do with conditioning consumers or citizens.
The late psychologist Amos Tversky and Nobel economist Daniel Kahneman, the founders of the field, were not behaviorists by any stretch of the imagination. Behavioral economics looks, instead, at cognition, judgment and decision-making. So, for example, cognitive biases and cognitive errors are a huge area of investigation.
As for the suggestion that behavioral economics supplies the rationale for raising taxes, of course that can be true. It can also supply the rationale for reducing or eliminating certain taxes. Every tax, every law, every regulation, the very structure of government and the conduct of elections--all of it--has implications for how we judge and how we decide. Behavioral economics is another way to understand some of those implications. It gives economists and policy makers new ways to recognize unintended policy consequences that are overlooked by classical economic theory.
That looks like a very wholesome dish--do you have a recipe?
I knew I was in trouble with my thesis when I posted a tasty-looking lentil soup, good enough for Esau - or Jacob.
Everybody makes their own. I like garlic in it.
In a free market economy, people prosper because it is in their self-interest to do so. Everyone looking out for themselves leads to prosperity for all. Unfortunately the attitude of looking out for oneself doesn't work so well in Government. Government officials looking out for themselves worsens the lot of the public they serve. It is the same human attitude. Works well in building an economy. Not so well in governing.
I am heartened by the posts I see here, and will refer frequently to this site and the articles like Steyn's. As a public school teacher, I am surrounded by sheeple who see a cool, young, liberal Black president as we in my day saw cool parents who would let us go upstairs and "cuddle" b/c they would rather us do it "under their roofs" than out somewhere else. It was a bad idea to do bad stuff in the house then and it is also bad now to be doing foolish things in government. We have mighty far to go to get our country back, and the kids coming up don't have any idea of the quest they face.
Indeed. Because gummit carries the gun of enforcement in its hand.
...economist Robert Frank thinks we'll all be happier if we're taxed more and controlled more, presumably because we are incompetent, dysfunctional morons.
Look at the garbage we keep electing to lead us. (And yes, I include R garbage as well as D garbage.) Are you really so sure Frank is wrong?