The Rise of Decline

Experts say things are collapsing. Maybe they’re not collapsing fast enough.

When Andrew Joseph Stack, a software consultant with a history of tax troubles and marital problems, crashed his Piper Cherokee into the Austin, Texas, office of the Internal Revenue Service in February, the crime was widely seen as a referendum on the national psyche. Stack, who killed himself and one other person while injuring 13, was said to represent a strain of legitimate grievances in America. 

In his syndicated column, Richard Parker credited Stack with summing up the American “continuum of disappointment, anxiety, fear and yes, anger” related to economic pressure and income inequality. “On the day of Stack’s violence,” Parker wrote, “everyone I interview who has read his suicide note has the same reaction: No, he should not have tried to kill anyone to make his point and so he deserved to die. And yes, the guy did have a point.” Writing on AlterNet, Rich Benjamin called Stack “an acute symptom of this nation’s neglected wounds,” concluding, “We dismiss his screed, suicide and crime as ‘lunatic’ at our own risk.” 

A similar reaction greeted a far less catastrophic act of destruction that occurred a few days before Stack’s attack. Terry Hoskins, an Ohio carpet store owner and landlord of several commercial properties, bulldozed his own home before it was foreclosed. Hoskins’ local TV station ran a very sympathetic story on the destruction of the house. A blogger at macedoniaonline.eu called it “the tipping point” for Americans who have “been taken advantage like no one on earth by greedy Banksters and corporations.”

Neither man made a very credible case for righteous everyman rage. Stack’s breakout-hit suicide note runs through such disparate peeves as banker bonuses, the Catholic church, the failure of health care reform, post–Cold War base closings in Southern California, Stack’s own accountant, George W. Bush, tax treatment of freelance engineers, and capitalism. Hoskins’ foreclosure resulted not from the real estate correction but from a 10-year battle against a family member and from his failure to repay commercial real estate loans for which the $350,000 house was collateral. The bank collecting on the loans is not some too-big-to-fail behemoth but Clermont County’s own RiverHills Bank, which as of 2008 had a mere $118 million in assets and $96.2 million in deposits.

The elevation of such unlikely folk heroes might be a sign of the current recession’s severity. Or it might not. A similar genre of morbid appreciation arose during the prosperous mid-1990s around Unabomber Ted Kaczynski’s 35,000-word Luddite manifesto Industrial Society and Its Future. Elite society has a tendency to take the declarations of violent outlaws with great seriousness. As an unironic believer that the 1968 S.C.U.M. Manifesto by Andy Warhol shooter Valerie Solanas is the most important work on gender relations ever written, I fully understand the impulse. 

But outlaw intellectualism is part of a larger trend in declinism. The recession has not just hustled the U.S. economy back to a late-20th-century state of nature that resists all efforts at reinflation, stimulus, and outcome management. It has created a conviction that American society itself, rather than just its institutions of government and public/private rent seeking, is in collapse.

“The United States is not the Soviet Union,” writes Yale School of Management fellow Bruce Judson in his 2009 book It Could Happen Here: America on the Brink. “Our economy is not as terrible. Our government is not as despised. But nobody thought the U.S.S.R. could collapse. Could everyone be wrong again?” 

The first third of Judson’s book is taken up with a scenario in which the United States crumbles as terrorists furious about growing inequality bring the nation to a standstill with a dirty bomb campaign; politicians like “Sen. Bob King (R-Nevada)” and “Sen. Louis Roberts (D-Minnesota)” float a single piece of legislation that will solve the health care, education, and housing crises; Florida, Illinois, and New York secede (and the rest of the country fails to respond with the expected “good riddance”); and so on. It’s a bit like the old “Jeopardy 1999” sketch on Saturday Night Live, in which famous acts of nuclear terrorism turn out to have been committed by unlikely culprits such as the Young Republicans. After that jarring opener, Judson goes on to argue that asset bubbles, the decline of labor unions, and other factors have created a combustible disparity in wealth throughout the country.

It’s not hard to persuade people these days that they’re doing worse than they were 10 years ago. My own career and financial prospects are in every way worse and more hopeless than they were in 2000, and I’m ready to join any revolution that will reverse my catastrophically bad decisions and foil the shadowy enemies who have kept me down. But Judson’s remedies turn out to be the same old recipe—new financial regulations, more spending on education, more accountability—that you hear from every politician.

This is the problem with the new declinism. With no compelling vision of the apocalypse that doesn’t involve zombies, cyborgs, or outlaw bikers, we tend to miss something obvious: The problem isn’t that things are collapsing. It’s that not enough things are collapsing. General Motors, AIG, and the government of California have committed enough errors to merit immediate extinction, but there they still are.

Yet the political establishment continues to argue that the market needs to be prevented from delivering rough justice to sinners. President Obama, who one year ago gave us a worst-case scenario in which an unstimulated economy might hit 8 percent unemployment by this year, now presides over 10 percent unemployment but tries to bamboozle us with counterfactuals like this doozy from the 2010 State of the Union address: “If we had allowed the meltdown of the financial system, unemployment might be double what it is today.” 

The current recession has become the economic version of The Fantasticks, a show that keeps running long after the audience wants to move on. It’s becoming increasingly clear that by not letting anything collapse, by not allowing sweet, beautiful failure to happen, the government is helping to drag out the pain. That may not be indicative of anything new, but it’s enough to make you want to bulldoze a house or two. 

Contributing Editor Tim Cavanaugh (bigtimcavanaugh@gmail.com) blogs at simpleton.com.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • ||

    President Obama, who one year ago gave us a worst-case scenario in which an unstimulated economy might hit 8 percent unemployment by this year, now presides over 10 percent unemployment but tries to bamboozle us with counterfactuals like this doozy from the 2010 State of the Union address: “If we had allowed the meltdown of the financial system, unemployment might be double what it is today.”

    You are correct that Obama is wrong about this...unemployement would probably be at about 100% today had the financial system not been bailed out.

  • ||

    You sound pretty thankful that your boy Bush signed TARP.

  • ||

    Indeed I am. Bush didn't do much right (and the gov't failed in its duty to prevent the meltdown in the first place) but at the time, TARP was absolutely the right move considering the alternatives.

  • ||

    So you're saying that thanks to Bush we don't have unemployment much higher than we do now. Got it.

  • Michael Price||

    Exactly what is the evidence that not spending trillions on corrupt and unaccountable handouts to those who caused the problem in the first place would have been disastrous? Is there any situation where you think that government is not the answer?

  • Brett Knoss||

    TARP may have prevented a meltdown, but there was nothing TARP did that the FED couldn't have done and TARP has since expanded beyond its original role.

  • ||

    SHUT UP DANNY DEVITO

  • Colonel_Angus||

    "unemployement would probably be at about 100% today had the financial system not been bailed out"

    Good. And,... bullshit.

    Suck a dick.

  • OO=======D||

    I live for his wet kisses!

  • Mike M.||

    unemployement would probably be at about 100% today had the financial system not been bailed out.

    I have serious doubts about this in spite of the fact that it seems to get repeated about every other day.

    But if in fact it is true, then that means that our entire economy is at the mercy of the international banking system. I would think that even liberals would find such a situation to be at best problematic. Frankly, the very notion ought to be intolerable to a free people.

  • ||

    Yes, it is problematic. Liberals have been saying this for a while now. It's libertarians who are all for unlimited corporate power, just don't call it "government".

  • ||

    What "libertarian" said that?

  • Mike M.||

    Liberals have been saying this for a while now.

    And yet in the entire history of our country going back to the founding, it has been predominantly liberals and believers in strong federal government that have supported big, centralized banking and banker-controlled fiat currency.

  • ||

    Yes, and so far it seems to have worked out pretty well, all things considered.

  • ||

    Yeah, it gave us one monstrous depression worse than anything the country had suffered before, and now it has given us a totally financialized economy, with an unprecedented 360% debt-to-GDP ratio, where commerce would grind to a halt if the U.S. government stopped borrowing 10% of GDP every year or Ben Bernanke announced he was raising short-term interest rates to 1%.

    Everything's just going peachy with this central bank thing!

  • check_minus||

    Really? Corporations are construct of government. Libertarians don't necessarily favor corporations, just the ability of individuals to contract. I think you are thinking a of a corporatist or perhaps a conservative with corporatist or authoritarian leanings.

  • ||

    Methinks, all things considered, Dan misreads libertarianism veez-ah-veez corporations.

    My friend is a financial analyst - CFA, MBA etc. He's a very smart guy. He too used the "it's worse if we do nothing" argument. That it would be "catastrophic." When I pressed him for facts and evidence or to at least demonstrate how so, he pointed to loss jobs and the sort. In other words, I was left unsatisfied. My contention was, and will always be let the shit companies die and whither.

    It may indeed be painful but in the long run wouldn't it be beneficial? If you keep a junkie on drugs how will kick the habit?

  • ||

    Its always the same argument when the government's plans don't workas advertised:

    Think of what it we be like if we had done nothing!!

    Try doing nothing once and see how it works out.

  • ||

    +164 ⅔.

    If we weren't fighting the War on Drugs Brown People, America would be a dysfunctional hell-hole populated exclusively by crackheads and junkies.

    You can't prove me wrong.

  • ||

    We tested that with ol' Paul Erlich. He demanded we take drastic measures to reduce world population, the world chose not to, and somehow the species survived.

  • ||

    Well, they did nothing to regulate the stock market back in the 20's and the Great Depression was the result. I'm going to put that in the "did not work out too well" category.

  • Jimmy 'Crack' Corn||

    +1

  • ||

    Jimmy, smoking the crack and corn? Why the +1? I think that's a rather simplistic assertion made by Dan. Blame the stock markets for a depression.

    Exactly how should we "regulate" stock markets? Markets have one very powerful aspect to them we will never ever be able to control: Laws of human nature. Vices and virtues. This thing about how we need to "regulate" everything has become tiresome.

    Modest regulation sure, but when you try and control the uncontrollable that's when it becomes worse. Ie, government interventionism in an incredibly dynamic and delicate eco-system like stock markets.

    Liberals don't understand this stuff. I read them on liberal blogs and it's like I'm reading five year-olds who understand absolutely nothing about business or economics. I don't profess to be an expert but I'm glad I'm not filled with liberal notions of nothingness on the matter.

    The only solution they have is to tax, regulate and spend.

  • ||

    Unprecedented Government regulation is exactly what prolonged the 1929 depression. There was a much sharper decline in 1920 that corrected itself within a couple of years with NO intervention. It was government tinkering which triggered and prolonged what should've been a much less severe event in 1929. Do your homework, Dan.
    http://snipurl.com/vmftr

  • ||

    More misinformation Danny Boy. The stock market crash was a symptom not a cause of the Great Depression. The Great Depression was caused by 3 things. First, the Smoot-Hawley tariff which enacted unprecedented tariffs on over 3200 items. The U.S. saw retalitory tariffs as a result where our exports dropped 7 billion in 1929 to 2.5 billion in 1932. Second, the U.S. incurred massive debt from World War I(sound familiar?) where our national debt skyrocketed from 1.3 billion to 24 billion in three short years. Third, was the crap ass policies of the Fed. You don't hear this very often with a majority of talking heads yammering about "the excesses of capitalism" being the cause of the Great Depression.

  • ||

    Dan T.|4.19.10 @ 1:07PM|#
    "You are correct that Obama is wrong about this...unemployement would probably be at about 100% today had the financial system not been bailed out."

    No kidding?! 100% unemployment?
    Can we presume you're a total ignoramus, or would you like to prove ti with another ignorant post?

  • d||

    I for one would enjoy some time off.

  • neo-apocalypticists||

    This is the problem with the new declinism.

    Don't try to push your paleo-declinism on us! The old ways have failed!

  • Almanian||

    **actual LOL **

    **thumbs up**

  • ||

    Paleo-declinism. Classic. I'm stealing. ;

  • ||

    IMO the question of our time is: Can the republic be saved?

  • cynical||

    It can be rendered undead.

  • Zenmaster||

    Is that why there is a zombie at my door? My mistake, it's a census taker.

  • JB||

    After Obama runs it into the ground (like Osama just wished he could), then it will time for aborting lots of fetuses.

    Things will get better then.

  • ||

    "My own career and financial prospects are in every way worse and more hopeless than they were in 2000, and I’m ready to join any revolution that will reverse my catastrophically bad decisions and foil the shadowy enemies who have kept me down."
    Yeah, and my penis doesn't work nearly as well as it used to.

  • Tiger Woods||

    Mine does!

  • President Camacho||

    "Shit. I know shit's bad right now, with all that starving bullshit, and the dust storms, and we are running out of french fries and burrito coverings. But I got a solution."

  • Anon||

    "That's what you said last time, dipshit." "South Carolina, what's up!!"

  • Representin' Guy||

    "I got a solution: you're a dick!"

  • ||

    Barack Obama and his Marxist agenda is the enemy within our own borders:

    http://www.canadafreepress.com.....my-within/

  • ||

    CFP? Man, that's "out" there.

    Check out the about us page. A ninth grader is third in line in the editorial ranks.

  • ||

    Brilliant title! Heh.

    The government makes us take the pain pill, instead of getting the hip operation. (That was a snarky Obama reference.)

    We'd like to let it fail and get the pain over with. Elites won't let us.

  • boomshanka||

    wow, this may be the craziest thing i've read at this site in a long time.

    let california experience "sweet, beautiful failure" and you think we won't have higher than 10% unemployment? you're out of your mind.

  • ||

    You haven't been reading this site long, it's wall-to-wall crazy here.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    If Reason isn't echo-chambery enough for your needs, Dan, feel free to post on DemocraticUnderground.

  • re-defiler||

    Always nice to see the use of "you're all crazy" as a cover for "I can't defend the bullshit I spew ".

    You need a diaper change Dan, the rash has "progressed" up your spine.

  • ||

    Ah, yes. Classic leftist/liberal tactics.

  • ||

    It would mainly be pube-sec workers. "Sweet" and "Beautiful" would be pretty accurate desriptors.

  • boomshanka||

    "It would mainly be pube-sec workers."

    uh, yeah, and that will have no effect on the rest of the economy.

  • ||

    no, there would be an effect, and a big one at that. but as i asked above, can our republic be saved? if the answer is yes, it's going to take a lot of pain to do it. that pain must be in the form of public spending cuts, because raising taxes such that the state's financial footing is sound would strangle economic growth even more than it does now.

    if the answer is no, i'd rather it be like taking a band-aid off. don't drag it out.

  • Stereotypical boomer||

    That's all well and good, but can't we put off -- damn the consequences -- until after I'm dead?

  • liberty_equality_solidarity||

    Great! Don't forget that you want a 10% increase in your SS check every year. And you know that we can pay for it by cutting foreign aid (fucking Haitians- wave fist at sky)

  • boomshanka||

    if the country experienced a depression due to the collapse of the state of CALIFORNIA, we would end up with a social welfare state so large that you would yearn for good ol days of obamacare.

  • ||

    that likely will happen anyway. why not do it without another trillion federal dollars?

  • ||

    California is TOO BIG TO FAIL! (I live in San Diego.) Therefore, it needs to be split up into smaller units.

  • ||

    That's probably true but why prop it up?

  • ||

    "It would mainly be pube-sec workers."

    uh, yeah, and that will have no effect on the rest of the economy.

    You mean as opposed to runaway pensions and spending? Sure, those things don't affect the economy. The money comes from a giant vat of cash, not the productive.

    Cut government employees by 50% in California and cut taxes the equivalent amount. It would be a net benefit.

  • ||

    nobody made a pube joke? WTF?

  • The Talk||

    "It's not public hair."

    "There's no l."

  • ||

    California's failure would result in unemployment for public sector workers and their unions primarily and do very little damage to the rest. You see, government takes your money and then gives it to public sector workers (less a stiff transaction fee) who then spend it buying the stuff you make. Those people produce nothing, for the most part, that you want to buy, and only return a portion of your money to you. If we get them off the government dole and get them producing actual goods and services in the private economy, they will still buy your goods and you get to keep a much higher portion of your money. There is no economic scenario under which bigger government can ever result in anything but economic collapse. Unless of course the government starts to actually produce a good or service the people actually want to buy. Maybe that's why Obama nationalized some banks and GM. So the government would actually have something to sell that the people wanted to buy.

  • ||

    Either now, or shore it up through all sorts of governmental sleight of hand so when it does collapse, and it will when fiscal reality wins, it will be much worse.

    The same is true of the national situation.

  • Drax the Destroyer||

    Frankly, I could find nothing more poetic then the (delayed but still-inevitable) failure of California. Here we have a gigantic state infused with industries, natural resrouces, and many capable people that heralded such cultural/societal shifts as the motion picture and the millenial tech boom. By all rights, California's coffers should be stuffed like a fat whore considering the sheer number of millionaire Celebrities that exhalt the virtues of intrusive government. Why then, do we see a state bordering on, if not wallowing in, bankruptcy brought about by all the talking points of "social" engineers like poor unions, poor teachers, free health care, social justice, corporate greed, rich racists, etc?

    California is a history lesson in the making. You can't pretend to support the very thing that made this country unique while chopping your testicles off. Its a case of hubris writ large. Publically elected officials believed they knew what was best for the majority of Californians by subsidizing whoever could get on the state payroll at the expense of everyone else. A road paved with good intentions, but sealed with forced sacrifice will inevitably lead to hell. Public sector employees drained the budget and the wallets of their neighbors by demanding more for less while their neighbors struggled to get by on dried-up private sector jobs no doubt drained by prohibitive taxes.

    Maybe if the Governator had kept public-sector pensions/raises in line with the roller coaster of the private-sector, the drain on the public chest could have been reduced. But unforunately for Arnold, he was more concerned with getting re-elected and being liked by the most vocal and angry protestors that he forgot about those whom his policies hurt. In the end, this is a simple fable that can be derived to the classic ant and the grasshopper. California's grasshopper wasted its resources on shit it didn't need and shit people actually don't want much of (over-zealous, race-targetting cops, over-priced pothole-ridden roads, handouts to non-taxpayers/Illegal immigrants, exhuberant pensions for terrible teachers, etc).

    Some people say we should look no further than Greece for a proper lesson in the perils of social democracy, but sadly we can look much closer, to California, a once-golden apple rotted to the core with the seeds of "equal outcomes" and magical saftey nets resulting in a fiscal disaster. The state should have to rely on the dreaded charity of individual Americans if it intends on butressing its unsustainable policies into the future. I suspect they would fortunately reevaluate their priorities and determine the government is actually needed for. But I have a feeling it will be bailed-out despite its irresponisbile and immoral policies.

  • ||

    Wow. Absolutely brilliant comment. I salute you, Drax. Now get out there and destroy something.

  • Almanian||

    What sage said - damn!

  • The Art-P.O.G.||

    Drax's post is nominated for post of the day.

  • Ivan||

    I second that nomination!

  • Jeffersonian||

    It was a superb comment, but while Ah-nuld has a role in this, it's largely a supporting one, with Gray Davis playing the star of the declinist show.

  • Jimmy 'Crack' Corn||

    Drax- Eh, not so much.

  • Steff||

    Beautiful.

  • ||

    Someone should send you one of those chicks on the 'Price is Right' for one night for your price was right!

    Yes. Years from now, when the West finally falls (it's in slow decline as we speak. The EU is asleep already under the weight of its massive welfare state), assuming America doesn't get its act together (I consider America the protector of Western civilization), historians will piece together all these things we speak of that helped hasten its destruction.

    Just a guess.

    Now I'm going to break something. My kid's Crayola crayons will do.

  • Jennifer||

    Capitalism won't succeed unless failures are allowed to fail; taxing the frugal and responsible to bail out the irresponsible spendthrifts is no way to repair a damaged economy. But it's all the government seems to know how to do.

  • ||

    Jennifer, that sounds great in theory but when the failures are allowed to fail (aka the entire US financial system) then what happens to the people affected?

    Frankly, I'd rather the government borrow a few bucks and keep things going somewhat smoothly rather than face total social collapse. But that's just me.

  • Jennifer||

    I shall regret the fact that in my utter boredom I elected to feed a troll, but: Dan, you're repeating the same bullshit justification used to first shove this TARP shit down America's gullet. "Ooo, we need to bail out the banks, because if they refuse to lend money to people we'll be SOL." So the banks got the bailout money ... and they're STILL refusing the lend money to people. Since banks are not lending anyway, I prefer the situation "Irresponsible banks make no loans because the banks went out of business" to "Irresponsible banks make no loans because they used their billions of federal bailout dollars to fund exorbitant bonuses for the same CEOs who trashed the economy in the first place."

    And I remember when that twit Bush was still president, and justified the bailouts by saying something like "This will give Americans access to the credit necessary to meet their daily needs." NO, dammit. "Get credit" is merely a euphemism for "go into debt," and you're not supposed to rely on debt just to meet your daily needs! That's how we got into all this trouble in the first place.

    People and governments both need to learn to live within their means. That will entail short-term hardship, but the longer we postpone the day of reckoning, the worse it'll be when it hits.

  • ||

    You didn't really answer my question, though, Jennifer. If the government had allowed all the major banks to fail, it would have meant that every business that relies on credit would have failed, which just adds to the snowball effect.

    This is not meant to be an insult, but I get the feeling that you (along with about 90% of Americans) don't have much understanding of how the financial system works.

    Ironically, the near-disaster was caused by small government types pushing for deregulation and then we were rescued by the federal government who was the only one left with any money.

  • Jennifer||

    Strawman. There was never any danger that ALL the banks would fail; not every bank was or is run by greedy damnfool idiots who jumped on the bubble bandwagon. What we should've done is let the bad banks fail, and then the good banks can fill in the vacuum. Instead, the good banks are facing higher taxes and higher FDIC Premiums to bail out their irresponsible competitors.

  • ||

    Jennifer. Marry me.

    Dan, I worked 10 years in financial services on the banking and investment side. Categorize yourself in the arbitrary "90%" category.

    Strawman indeed.

    But that's a liberal for you. Thinking their rational world is so rational and others below them as irrational.

  • EJ||

    "Ironically, the near-disaster was caused by small government types pushing for deregulation "

    Please explain to me what was deregulated in recent years and then how such named deregulation was relevant to mortgage lending and asset bubbles. Because last time I checks there hasnt been any. Simply saying "deregulation" is not an argument.

  • ||

    Repealing Glass-Stegall was the main one, wasn't it?

  • Jordan||

    Wrong.

    The Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 prohibited investment banks from acting as commercial banks, and vice versa. Signed by Bill Clinton (who continues to defend the legislation), the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999 repealed those aspects of the law. Many on the left blame at least part of our current woes on that move. With the repeal, Barack Obama said in a March economic address, “we have deregulated the financial services sector, and we face another crisis.”

    In fact, multiple exemptions to Glass-Steagall had been granted for years before Gramm-Leach-Bliley was signed into law. Most European financial markets, not normally known as more “deregulated” than the U.S., never separated commercial and investment banks in the first place. And there is no correspondence between institutions that benefited from the repeal and those that recently collapsed. Institutions that didn’t take advantage of the Glass-Steagall repeal, such as Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns, were the ones that failed most spectacularly, in part because they lacked the stability provided by commercial banking deposits.

    If anything, Gramm-Leach-Bliley may have softened the blow. The George Mason economist Tyler Cowen argues that Gramm-Leach-Bliley made way for more diversity in the financial sector, and “so far in the crisis times the diversification has done considerably more good than harm.” Under the Glass-Steagall rules, Bank of America and J.P. Morgan Chase would not have been able to acquire Merrill Lynch and Bear Stearns. Nor would Goldman Sachs and Citibank have their current unified form, which may have helped them survive.

    There is a significant body of academic work supporting this idea. The Rutgers economist Eugene Nelson White, for example, has found that national banks with security affiliates—the sort of institutions Glass-Steagall was designed to prevent—were much less likely to fail than banks without affiliates.
  • EJ||

    beat me to it

  • EJ||

    Glass-Stegall had nothing to do with mortgage lending. It had to do with industrial organization. All of the biggest mess institutions were NOT financial holding companies. Even if it were in place the investment banks, bear stearns, lehaman brothers, would have done exactly what they did and the mortagge lenders, country wide, indy mac, wamu all would have still existed. Plus the US was the exception to the rule... every other country allows what GLB did.

    So I ask again, what was deregulated and explain to me how that particular deregulation was relevant to mortgage lending and assets bubbles? Considering you are asserting that deregulation casued this mess, Im sure you have a thought out reaosn in your head.

  • ||

    Jordan and EJ, don't confuse DanT with facts.

  • ||

    The Commodities Futures Modernization Act created a massive regulatory loophole within which investment firms played their game of Russian roulette with credit default swaps.

  • ||

    "Deregulation" is one of those terms shot about like "neo-con" by people who know jack shit about the depth of the words.

    De-reg had little to do with it. If you worked on the inside, there are so many laws and regulations in place it's ridiculous. True, there are abuses. True, it's very hard to police this industry but to pigeon hole the entire problem is thanks to de-reg is one simplistic and shallow shell.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    "Ironically, the near-disaster was caused by small government types pushing for deregulation"

    Small government economists were the ones predicting the recession years ago. They cited things like tax credits for home debtors, housing market subsidies, and government policies that forced or threatened to force banks to lend to people who could not afford mortgages.

    So, suck a dick.

  • Steff||

    It wasn't every single bank, douchebag. And please don't forget about credit unions and everything else.

  • ||

    If the government had allowed all the major banks to fail, it would have meant that every business that relies on credit would have failed, which just adds to the snowball effect.

    So now you subscribe to trickle down economics: Feed the banking power elite so they let the working class keep their jobs.

    Yeah, that really sounds "progressive".

  • fish||

    Frankly, I'd rather the government borrow a few bucks and keep things going somewhat smoothly rather than face total social collapse. But that's just me.

    Shit Jennifer, get off his back! Its just a few bucks! What a tightass!

  • Jordan||

    In which Dan T demonstrates why Liberals are complete corporate tools because they actually believe the "too big to fail" bullshit.

  • ||

    No, that's not just you. That's most everyone in power that want to keep getting re-elected. They could care less about the people that haven't been born yet or are too young to vote ("what about the children" is really lip service aimed at parents, whoda thunkit?). It's also people living very comfortably off the sweat of people in the priv-sec. It most certainly is not just you.

  • Alan Vanneman||

    Not as boring as Damon's piece.

  • The Gobbler||

    Shouldn't you be at home writing another Agatha Christie book or something?

  • Warty||

    VANNEMAN DELENDA EST

    Shut the fuck up, Vanneman.

  • ||

    I think if the US would stop wasting BILLIONS in places it does not belong, but instead start dealing with its own issues right at home, things would change.

    Lou
    www.vpn-privacy.us.tc

  • ||

    Frankly I'm not sure that's such a good idea either. The phrase, "I'm from the government and I'm here to help.", comes to mind.

  • ||

    I'm from the government and I'm here to help.

    Are the scariest words in the English language.

    A very libertarian sentiment. Who said it again?

  • Ivan||

  • ||

    "It’s not hard to persuade people these days that they’re doing worse than they were 10 years ago. My own career and financial prospects are in every way worse and more hopeless than they were in 2000"

    Since 2000, my income has tripled, I have paid off my mortgage and have managed to bank $250K.

  • ||

    Since 2000, my income has gone up by nearly 400%, and my net worth has increased by (rough guess, here) 700%.

    I could pay off my mortgage, but frankly, at an after-tax interest rate of around 3%, I'd rather invest the money elsewhere than in residential real estate. Other than my mortgage, I don't owe a cent.

  • ||

    Great job! Of course you understand that the world doesn't revolve around your anecdotally great news, right?

  • ||

    Nor does it revolve around anecdotally bad news, Nicholas.

    A tip for you: Try to grasp my point before replying.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    You're a dick, Nick.

  • Floccina||

    It seems convenient to me that people are angry at the banks rather than at the person who sold them the house.

  • Tim Cavanaugh||

    Why should they be angry at either?

  • DoDoGuRu||

    How DARE you sell me a house!!1! You should have known I was too stupid to buy responsibly or pay my debts!

  • ||

    Typical Libertarian reductionist indictment of the foreclosed upon. There are boatloads of evidence that suggest many mortgages were sold under pretenses of complete lies. Lies about what the monthly payment would be, lies about what adjustable interest rates actually meant, etc. The fact is, mortgage lenders were incentivized to lie about the income of potential mortgagees and target low-income and minority citizens as a means of getting as many mortgages on the books as possible. Watch "American Casino" if you want a more insightful, less Libertarian reductionist view of what went down.

  • ||

    This article and its subsequent comments are a great example of the pervasively reductionist absurdities so favored by Libertarians who've never experienced their chosen political belief system in reality.

    Yes, lets just let all banks, companies, states, etc. fail and then everything will get quickly back to normal. I hope you guys have kept up on your hunting and farming skills because you'd need them in your fantasy world of economic retribution.

    The reality is, this situation was born out of deregulation to the point of facilitating huge conglomerations of banking power. This coupled with the unavoidable greed of men with seemingly absolute financial power is the reason we are where we are today. Had these banks never been allowed to get as big as they are, this never would've happened. And I've yet to hear a convincing argument in favor of allowing banks to grow as large as they have other than the usual subjective screed of libertarians, "Freedom from!"

  • Jennifer||

    Yes, lets just let all banks, companies, states, etc. fail and then everything will get quickly back to normal.

    No, you got it wrong. We don't let ALL banks and companies fail, just the ones that are, in fact, failures. The banks that lost all their money making bad loans to people with no chance in hell of paying them back -- let those banks fail,and then the responsible, non-failing banks can fill the void they left. Not every bank got on the bubble bandwagon; those wise enough to stay off should now be reaping the rewards of their fiscal good sense, rather than be penalized by paying extra taxes and extra FDIC premiums to bail out the irresponsible fools.

  • ||

    I'm going to assume that you've crunched the numbers and that the results have lead you to unequivocally believe that all of the remaining banks would have the financial fortitude to keep our economy afloat. No? Oh, OK, then lets get back to talking about reality. This is just classic Libertarian reductionist market fellatio.

  • Jennifer||

    You don't even need to crunch numbers: just look around you. The big banks are NOT lending money, and for all the problems in this country, it is not the end of the world. So, since the big banks aren't lending money anyway, why, exactly, would it have been bad if they were not lending money because they went out of business, rather than not lending money because they're funding executive bonuses instead?

    Thing is, the horrible nightmare scenario that the bank bailouts were supposed to prevent -- that scenario has already happened. It's here now. And while the current economy does indeed suck, it's not so horrible that we simply MUST keep raising taxes or increasing the national debt to fund more bailouts for politically connected billionaires.

  • ||

    One reason it would've been worse to let them fail: the annihilation of all of their associated wealth, including shareholder value. Whether or not they were lending was but a portion of the problem. I suppose seeing the stock market at 4, 5, 600 would've just been dandy for you, but not the rest of the world who were relying on 401k's heavily reliant on some of those firms.

  • Jennifer||

    I hate to break this to you, Nick, but a lot of their "wealth" never truly existed. A little plywood ranch house in a town where the median household income is only $40,000 was never "worth" $500,000, and the mortgages written on the assumption it was are now close to worthless.

    That phantom wealth has to evaporate before we can get the economy back on track. There is still a LOT of air in the housing bubble, because the government doesn't want to let it deflate.

  • ||

    I agree mostly, but the solution is where we differ. There is little to nothing to stop the same thing from happening but some form of regulation. The precipitous increase in home values was due largely to unscrupulous lending and bank deregulation that allowed for derivative trading to become so explosively profitable. This doesn't even take into account how you think we're best able to establish "worth" other than in markets which can obviously be manipulated, particularly when largely controlled by mega-banks.

  • ||

    Nicholas Adams|4.19.10 @ 5:18PM|#
    "I agree mostly, but the solution is where we differ. There is little to nothing to stop the same thing from happening but some form of regulation."

    Cite please, Chony.

  • Invisible Finger||

    but not the rest of the world who were relying on 401k's heavily reliant on some of those firms.

    How is a 401K and different than relying on a paycheck from only one employer? A 401K should be diversified for just that reason - anyone foolish enough to put all of their retirement savings in a 401k is tempting fate (and history).

  • ||

    Yes, and they too should be doomed to "fail". Our society would ultimately have benefited from a bunch of baby boomers thrust back into the job market, right?

  • Fuct||

    Our society would ultimately have benefited from a bunch of baby boomers thrust back into the job market into a wood chipper, right?

    Why, yes!

  • ||

    Our society would ultimately have benefited from a bunch of baby boomers thrust back into the job market, right?

    Why wouldn't any society benefit from having people support themselves? By working, if their assets aren't sufficient?

  • ||

    Oh, I don't know, because they're 90 and they suck at working? Less productive, lower quality work, and always bitching about how they thought they'd be in Florida by now. I guess we differ in that I see an enlightened society as one in which people don't have to work until they die and can reasonably expect that a bank won't fritter away their entire life savings through criminal behavior. I suppose they should have just stashed it all under the mattress?

  • Ivan||

    Nicholas,
    You are absolutely right I say let's inflate our way out of this and our 401k's will be worth a lot more. (Does anybody really think that there are any 90 year old baby boomers)

  • ||

    Nicholas Adams|4.19.10 @ 6:29PM|#
    "Oh, I don't know, because they're 90 and they suck at working?"

    Ah, yes. Ignorant hypotheticals from brain-deads should always direct policy, shouldn't they, brain-dead?

  • ||

    I see an enlightened society as one in which people don't have to work until they die and can reasonably expect that a bank won't fritter away their entire life savings through criminal behavior.

    If they chose to invest it in stocks instead of bonds or CDs or something, then they take their risks. What you are suggesting is that the government should guarentee not just deposits, but the value of our mutual funds. Which implies that the government should somehow make sure that the value of overpriced investments stays high. Which, incidentally, creates a political incentive for the government in inflate stock market bubbles. Ultimately, having the government in the business of insuring the value of stock market investments is like advocating that the government sell us all the worlds largest credit default swap. And the money that will back this epic size CDS, comes from? Hopes and fairies? Unicorn farts?

  • ||

    What I'm suggesting is that companies that exist theoretically because of their penchant for risk-management should be held to some level of account when they willingly fritter away the life savings of millions of people while padding their own bank accounts through obscure financial instruments. Its tantamount to stealing. Without some sort of confidence that investments are relatively safe from complete loss, there will be no investments and the precious economic growth that you and your fellow free-marketeers so cherish will be unattainable. Also, its not as if CD's and bonds are without risk. Less risk, yes, but not no risk.

  • re-defiler||

    Investments are gambling, people make a choice to invest their money rather than piling it under the mattress.

    I'm not sure how you'd find this risk-less fantasyland you seek, much less how you'd manage & correct the continual onslaught of poor decisions and unfortunate circumstances that are inherent in all aspects of life. If you're looking for protection from risk in speculation, you're essentially arguing that you'd prefer not to exist. You can either flip around in the relative safety of the primordial ooze, or you can try and get up on land.

    It's "pursuit of happiness" not the "Federal insured guarantee of _x_% happiness". If somebody stole your money, take 'em to court. The rest of us who made better risk assessments and decisions, shouldn't be covering your dumb ass.

  • ||

    No, you're right. We should allow giant banks to take on investments from average folk, create a scam investment market that CREATES sickly securities that are doomed to fail so that they can short them, thereby lining their coffers with the money of their investors. Then, the company simply folds, all of the rich executives and investment bankers walk away, and do it again! That's a great system that instills a ton of confidence in investors, which in turn leads to a ton of investments being made, which in turn leads to strong economic growth. Oh wait, the opposite of the that would happen. Without any regulation, no one except the elite bankers could have the time or insight required to measure risk and therefore invest, thus, economic growth would slow to a snail's pace, wages would stagnate or not keep up with inflation, quality of life will go down, and we can finally get to that Libertarian utopia where everyone lives until their 50 again so who cares if we have to work until we die?

  • Comrade Zero||

    What you are failing to take into account here is that it is a self-correcting system. Not all investment firms are run by crooks. The ones that aren't will have the confidence of their investors and will prosper.

    And no one is entitled to anything here. I think it's the mix of welfare statism on one hand and over-indulgent consumerism on the other that has bred the entitlement mentality that we're discussing here (do I get the "Cathy Young Fence-sitting Award" for this post or what?)

  • EJ||

    "The reality is, this situation was born out of deregulation to the point of facilitating huge conglomerations of banking power."

    [Citation needed]

  • Tony||

    But... but.. FannieFreddie.. FrannieFeddie, DoddFrank FrankDodd!!

  • Tony||

    This goat semen sure is tangy.

  • fish||

    You should spend less quality time with the congressman Tony!

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Yeah, Tony, Democrats had absolutely nothing to do with the housing bust. We get it. oKay?

  • Tony||

    Absolutely Democrats share blame. But it's not all their fault or even mostly their fault, which is what this mindless chanting coming from the FOX News version of reality is trying to imply.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    I don't hear Barney Frank admitting fault... in fact, he denies he had anything to do with the housing bust.

  • Tony||

    I don't hear any republicans admitting fault either.

  • Fonzerelli||

    Hard to see why they should when they were the ones screaming at you thieving traitor Demon Rats to stop.

  • re-defiler||

    Which still doesn't absolve Democrats from their guilt, nor does it bode for us when they've whined for decades for control the wheel, on the car they've already stripped for parts.

    Stop obsessing over Fox News. I swear I'd never be exposed to it, for not the infantile liberals who need to bring it up at every opportunity. Yes, we all know about your closet christian tendencies, and desire to find a supernatural demon to explain away evil. Seriously, don't you get ESPN on your TV? Might be less scary for you than people talking.

  • Tony||

    There's got to be some reason for your complete disconnect from reality. FOX is just the most likely choice, but it could be from your selection of web sites.

  • re-defiler||

    That's a big whiff on a response Tony.

    Said the same thing after getting spanked. Strike 2. Don't worry Captain Zero will save you from the big bad Fox News.

  • ||

    Because liberals automatically assume that people who don't see things like them are educated only by FOX.

  • ||

    The reality is, this situation was born out of deregulation

    Not this again.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Yeah. This country has really gone to hell since the libertarians were put in charge.

  • EJ||

    yeah, because a system with government sponsered deposit insurance, a central bank that manipulated interest rates, an artifical lender of last resort, GSEs that subsidize mortgage risk, an interest rate deduction for mortgage interest, bank examaners that go into every bank quarterly to inspect their protfolios, an government enduced oligopoly on credit risk assesment, and mandates that require certain loans to be given to certain people is total a "deregulated free market."

  • EJ||

    considering the entire financial system framewok has essetially been created by various left leaning congresses over the years, shouldn't they be the ones that have to defend the current system?

  • cynical||

    No, people still make money from it. Even if it was only a government-appointed nomenclatura, that means it's the fault of the free market.

  • ||

    Well, working within the framework of reality, which is the system described above, do you believe that letting all of the companies fail who were poised to do so would have yielded the best economic outcome? And I ask this question within the framework of realistic alternative solutions. Ones that actually had any chance of actually happening. By no means did I intend to suggest that the reason for the banking failure and subsequent economic collapse was because of total deregulation. It was because of several factors including artificially low interest rates, a ridiculous trade deficit, predatory lending, and a complete failure of the credit rating industry, among others. But accepting that our financial system is full of regulation, and accepting that only in some libertarian fantasy will the Fed not be able to set interest rates, that the ratings oligopoly won't exist, etc., how does slightly less regulation help? In this case it appears that it hurt immensely. I'm not attempting to argue the merits of a completely unfettered financial system vs. a mixed economy, I'm simply pointing out that the reason we got where we are today is because of a selective deregulation that was short-sighted in the extreme.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    In other words, at this point more regulation is our only option.
    Forever.

  • ||

    Regardless of your latent beliefs about what our economic system "should" look like, I feel as though the alternatives are either adjustments to our regulatory system or abolishment thereof. I choose to think about what the former should look like as I have no confidence in the latter ever happening.

  • re-defiler||

    Obviously you've never:
    1. read the 2nd Amendment
    2. owned a pitchfork

  • ||

    What a pathetic sight it would be to see you out in front of the White House, all by yourself with your wittle pitchfork. Good luck getting people to take you seriously!

  • re-defiler||

    Obviously taking you seriously was never an intention. You haven't earned that. After your failure to imagine any other possible financial solutions besides the ones marketed to your by incompetent popularity contest winners, I was merely pointing out the built-in Constitutional one as explained by Thomas Jefferson. That sting you feel... that's pride fucking with you.

  • Invisible Finger||

    Well, working within the framework of reality, which is the system described above, do you believe that letting all of the companies fail who were poised to do so would have yielded the best economic outcome?

    Are you asking a loaded question of 2007-present failures or an honest question of all the failures propped up since the 1950's?

  • ||

    I don't think it was loaded, and I was referencing the current crisis which seems more apt, given the substance of the article. Considering every instance of "propping up" from the 50's onward would require an amount of insight and analysis I'm not equipped to handle.

  • St. V||

    Yet you can handle the current one with ease, and even gusto, I might add!

  • ||

    Yeah, because I actually lived through it and tackling the details of this particular case is a bit less time consuming than taking on every instance of "propping up", right?

  • Some Guy||

    Well, working within the framework of reality, which is the system described above, do you believe that letting all of the companies fail who were poised to do so would have yielded the best economic outcome?

    Absofuckinglutely squared!

    (I spent like a good minute and a half coming up with a strong enough response to that, not sure if it quite conveys it enough.)

  • ||

    Prove it. Or is this just another Libertarian example of "best" being equated with sticking to your principles of "freedom from" no matter the consequences? Ideologues are bad for business.

  • Some Guy||

    Well since proving it to you is likely as impossible as proving evolution to a fundie, I'll leave you with a few things to think about.

    One problem is that house prices were overvalued. Our response has been to try to keep them that way.

    One problem is that banks were too big and interconnected. Our response was to make them bigger and more interconnected.

    One problem is that bank executives, etc, had massive financial incentives to make risky bets where the losses would be catastrophic. We have rewarded this, and are working on codifying it into law.

    One problem is that people who have the financial sense to rent when it is a better value proposition have been punished by the government for doing so. We added plenty more punishment.

    So I really must say that given all that, I have a hard time seeing how we could be doing any worse by ripping the damn band-aid off and getting to a recovery. Rather than this slow, painful, counterproductive quagmire we're putting ourselves in.

    You think we're better now than we would have been if we let the failed companies fail? Prove it.

  • ||

    Wow! You agree with me that banks were to big and interconnected! You must be a socialist since "too big" implies that you think they should be broken up by, wait for it...the Government! The prove it thing is meant to drive home the point that "better" is subjective and that all the whining in the world that your team continues to lose does nothing to further your ultimate cause, which as near as I can tell, is a religious belief in the mantra of "freedom from" which itself requires a philosophical ethical jump between what is and what you want to be. Just because you believe that Libertarianism offers better answers to the problems we're facing doesn't make it so and doesn't make everyone else an idiot. If I were you, I'd spend less time in the comments section of Reason.com, otherwise known as the echo chamber, and actually try to change something to suit your desires. Unless you enjoy being a member of an impotent political party.

  • Some Guy||

    You must be a socialist since "too big" implies that you think they should be broken up by, wait for it...the Government!

    No, they should have simply been allowed to fail. But as an aside, there is a distinction between banks like BofA and "banks" like GS. Any bank that carried an FDIC guarantee or is allowed to borrow from the Fed should have severe restrictions on what it can do.

    all the whining in the world that your team continues to lose does nothing to further your ultimate cause

    Yet here you are whining.

    which as near as I can tell, is a religious belief in the mantra of "freedom from"

    Your powers of perception rival only that of my dog.

    Just because you believe that Libertarianism offers better answers to the problems we're facing doesn't make it so

    Yet you couldn't even point to a single instance where I was wrong.

    and doesn't make everyone else an idiot.

    Correct. You'd be an idiot regardless of what I believe.

    If I were you, I'd spend less time in the comments section of Reason.com, otherwise known as the echo chamber, and actually try to change something to suit your desires.

    I'm off to vote against a bad school board after dinner, so thanks for the advice.

    Unless you enjoy being a member of an impotent political party.

    I would never be a member of a party I wasn't in charge of.

  • ||

    "One problem is that house prices were overvalued. Our response has been to try to keep them that way."

    How do we know they were "overvalued"? In my opinion they were properly valued and then they lost a ton of value. Investing is a risky game you know?

    "One problem is that bank executives, etc, had massive financial incentives to make risky bets where the losses would be catastrophic. We have rewarded this, and are working on codifying it into law."

    How does a deregulated system get rid of monetary incentives for giant risks? The problem wasn't the risk, the problem was the unethical behavior of people who gamble with other people's money, make a ton off of it, and leave the investor holding the empty bag. The typical libertarian response of, "well, people won't go to banks that don't perform well, they'll choose banks that manage risk better", is bullshit. Where do people go when all their money vanished?

    "One problem is that people who have the financial sense to rent when it is a better value proposition have been punished by the government for doing so. We added plenty more punishment."

    A) I'm still not sure throwing your money into a bottomless pit is ever a better value proposition than buying a home, unless the home value goes below what you are ultimately on the hook for in terms of interest interest.

    B) How are renters penalized? I know I get a nice chunk of money back every year for being a renter.

    "So I really must say that given all that, I have a hard time seeing how we could be doing any worse by ripping the damn band-aid off and getting to a recovery. Rather than this slow, painful, counterproductive quagmire we're putting ourselves in."

    Ahh yes, the Libertarian screed of "rip off the band-aid!" You have no good reason to believe that would've been "better", precisely because your conception of "better" is so limited. If you think economic health and growth are and should be the only ethical provisos of our society, then we'll have to agree to disagree.

  • Some Guy||

    How do we know they were "overvalued"?

    You can't really be that stupid, can you?

    In my opinion they were properly valued and then they lost a ton of value.

    Want to buy some Pets.com stock? It's due for a comeback!

    How does a deregulated system get rid of monetary incentives for giant risks?

    Creative destruction.

    The problem wasn't the risk, the problem was the unethical behavior of people who gamble with other people's money, make a ton off of it, and leave the investor holding the empty bag

    Are you aware that all you did was rephrase my statement, or did you miss that?

    A) I'm still not sure throwing your money into a bottomless pit is ever a better value proposition than buying a home, unless the home value goes below what you are ultimately on the hook for in terms of interest interest

    I see you are unfamiliar with terms such as "opportunity cost", "property taxes", "maintenance", and "flexibility."

    Also, there were very few areas in the country during the bubble (and still not a majority today) where you could rent for less than interest + taxes. Even before you consider up-front costs.

    B) How are renters penalized? I know I get a nice chunk of money back every year for being a renter.

    You live in NJ, too? Your landlord gets a bigger chunk, and he charged you for the amount you "got back" in the first place.

    If you think economic health and growth are and should be the only ethical provisos of our society, then we'll have to agree to disagree.

    If you think over a trillion dollars spent on bailouts (before future interest is taken into account) is the best use of our money, your ethics are frightening.

  • JoshInHb||

    Ideologues are bad for business.

    No doubt the easiest way to make money is by sucking on the government teat.

  • ||

    I don't see how the two statements are in any way related. Please clarify your position.

  • ||

    Nicholas Adams|4.19.10 @ 3:33PM|#
    "Well, working within the framework of reality, which is the system described above, do you believe that letting all of the companies fail who were poised to do so would have yielded the best economic outcome?..."

    Yes.

  • ||

    Prove it.

  • re-defiler||

    Allow me...

    *See "Learning From Your Mistakes" circa dawn of human existence to present.

    I thought dogs only circled 3 times before laying down. OCD much?

  • ||

    My dog could formulate a better defense of Libertarian economic principles. Actually, I could too. The subjectivity of your belief system is evident in that the only contemporary examples of Libertarian states exist in the third world. Continuing to argue in favor of pure Libertarianism is about on par with arguing in favor of Communism. I know that the elegant simplicity of "just let the markets handle it" appeals to intellectually and morally bankrupt people most of all, but come on. Libertarianism is silly in part because it even acknowledges that we need SOME government. How much is too much? Does the point at which we decide a certain level of government is TOO much completely arbitrary? Isn't a belief that the definition of freedom is freedom from and not freedom to also arbitrary? These are just a couple of reasons why Libertarians continue to toil away in their online echo chambers without much notice from the rest of the world.

  • re-defiler||

    I was referring to you in K9 terms. You keep circling over the same point, either you're going to lay down or it's a compulsive problem.

    You're looking to argue absolutes when only one specific was addressed. Arguing that 'letting screwed up banks fail' is membership in the universal libertarian absolute is ignorant. You're spending a lot of time ignoring the fact that this country was founded on libertarian principles, not absolutes. It demonstrates an adolescent view, compounded with the hypocrisy of you, here, "toiling away in Libertarian echo chambers". By your own definition, you're an idiot.

  • ||

    only in some libertarian fantasy will .... the ratings oligopoly won't exist, etc.,

    Why is this a libertarian fantasy? How motherfucking hard would it be to privatize the ratings agencies?

  • ||

    It's only a fantasy insofar as that wasn't the case when the decisions about the financial crisis were being made. I suppose you could make the argument that one of the proceeding actions should have been to "privatize" the ratings agencies, but of course, this would've required some sort of government action, which is always bad, right? And it wouldn't have fixed the conundrum we were already in.

    I'm also reluctant to follow the line of thinking that contends that, had the ratings agencies been operating in a completely privatized market, there is reason to believe they would've done anything differently. The incentives to fudge the ratings of the CDO's would've been there either way.

  • ||

    I haven't met many libertarians singing the praises of the Federal Reserve and banking cartels.

  • Charles||

    Even if you think that the role of the government is to make sure the economy stays stable, if nothing else can't we agree that giving billions of dollars to multi-millionaires with political connections is not the most just or fair way to do it?

  • ||

    I totally agree. At the time it seemed like a necessary evil, but it should have come with a caveat that included dismantling giant banks to make them "small enough to fail" again.

  • JoshInHb||

    And "punishing" the perpetrators in some fashion.

  • Warty||

    Our new crop of trolls is intolerably earnest. It's time to unban Lonewacko.

  • The Art-P.O.G.||

    +1

  • ||

    Absolutely.

  • Tim Cavanaugh||

    LoneWacko was not, as far as I know, banned. I suspect he just got tired of all the ad-hominems as libertarians revealed the bankruptcy of their own arguments, or whatever that phrase was. Or maybe he's out asking tough questions and posting the results on YouTube.

  • Warty||

    I'm not about to go over to his site, but I think he claims on there that he was banned from here. He also claims to be considering legal action against at least one commenter here. Presumably that's me, since I drove him away by calling him a child molester. Regardless, I AM A GOLDEN GOD

  • Warty||

    Speaking of collapsing, have some Collapsing Newbuildings

  • Tony||

    That music is terrible. Here's some REAL good shit.

  • Warty||

    Whoever's spoofing Tony, were you trying to incite me to go murder a shitload of kids-these-days? It almost worked.

  • Tony||

    Wut? You know we're all a buncha FREAXXX up in the Progressive hizzy.

  • Tony||

    And that guy in his sister's pants is sooooooo smexy LOLLERSKATES!!!11!1!!1!

  • SIV||

    I don't wanna know how you found that

  • ||

    "You know what I blame this on the break down of? ...

    Society!"

  • Joe Klein||

    This article is seditious and I am reporting it to the FBI.

  • ||

    I'm assuming everyone that would proclaim themselves to be a libertarian has a good alternative solution to the problem? I mean one that could actually happen, not an idealized libertarian fantasy scenario, but within the context of our society, system, etc., and also one that they can testify to the efficacy of either through economic modeling or historical reference and not just free market fellatio. Anyone?

  • Citizen Nothing||

    More regulation.
    Forever.
    It's the only thing that makes sense.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    I mean, given context and shit.

  • Warty||

    everyone that would proclaim themselves to be a libertarian

    I mean one that could actually happen, not an idealized libertarian fantasy scenario

    not just free market fellatio

    I have a solution. You can gouge out your eyes and then throw yourself into a vat of boiling pigshit, you condescending fuck.

  • boomshanka||

    the last line of defense...

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Feel free to use it, boomshanka.

  • ||

    I'm not condescending to anyone here, you're just exhibiting a typical defensive response to having your beliefs, and they are just beliefs, challenged.

  • Warty||

    Yeah, you're not condescending to anyone here. In the real world, not some libertarian fantasy, we're market-fellating lunatics, right? Fuck you.

  • ||

    Sorry if I've insulted your sensibilities, but I think that if you take a look around at the general tone of the comments here, they tend to be humorous and condescending to opinions alternative to Libertarianism. Now back to receiving your invisible hand job!

  • Refutation||

    First thing we do: gather an angry mob of torch-and-pitchfork-wielding patriots and hang every treasonous socialism-fellating statist such as your wretched self from the nearest trees and lampposts.

    Second thing: fire every last public sector employee's ass, starting with your beloved Kenyan usurper and his tax-evading cronies and working down from there.

    Third thing: slash all corporate welfare and dump all nationalized entities, including especially the public schools this infernal Molech state's concentration camps for kids.

    Fourth thing: eliminate the minimum wage, all tariffs, and any of the associated bureaucracies still in existence after step three (e.g. the Fed, Sallie Mae, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Social Services gestapo).

    Fifth: outlaw all public sector unions and send out military death squads to exterminate illegal strikers and picketers.

    Sixth: slash any remaining spending that is not directly associated with the government's one legitimate function, which is the monopolization of violence and subsequent use of same against robbers, rapists, murderers, and all other obvious evil-doers; all financial regulation is thenceforth to be left strictly to the most local governments.

  • Jordan||

    If only we had the right man in charge. He'd finally get it right. The Local Knowledge Problem is a myth, invented by market-fellating libertarians.

  • ||

    Of course, all neo-classical microeconomic models require certain assumptions about economic actors that have no relation to reality whatsoever.

    Further, Hayek's analysis of the Local Knowledge Problem seems to imply that corporations aren't capable of rational economic planning either because they too must be incapable of aggregating data efficiently from amongst their individual constituent actors. Whom should we trust then?

  • ||

    Further, Hayek's analysis of the Local Knowledge Problem seems to imply that corporations aren't capable of rational economic planning either

    To imply that the knowledge problem suffered by the State isn't orders of magnitude worse than that of corporations shows remarkable ignorance, Nicholas. Care to try again?

  • ||

    Hayek makes no reference to orders of magnitude as far as I know, so why should I? To do so would basically be to say that corporations are less terrible at it, but still not the ideal, and isn't that what libertarianism is all about reaching, an ideal? Further, there are US corporations larger in orders of magnitude than many state governments and even many foreign federal governments. Would Hayek argue that those governments of smaller nations are better at central planning than corporations that are larger?

    Ultimately, individual agents are terrible at economic planning in part because they're knowledge is TOO local. For markets to work efficiently, and in accordance with neoclassical models, individuals need perfect information among other nonsensical caveats.

    Its easy to be smitten by the elegant simplicity of the invisible hand, but reality tends to be a bit more complicated.

  • Yes We Can't||

    Further, Hayek's analysis of the Local Knowledge Problem seems to imply that corporations aren't capable of rational economic planning either because they too must be incapable of aggregating data efficiently from amongst their individual constituent actors. Whom should we trust then?

    Nicholas,

    You claim to have read Hayek, and then you go and make such a sophomore mistake? Hayek's central thesis is that price mechanisms "solve" the knowledge problem for consensual transactions, such as as done by corporation people doing their corporantiony things in their corporation buildings. Governments do not respond to price mechanisms but rather political pressure. If you are such a brainiac Hayek scholar, how did you miss his central thesis?

  • ||

    Price mechanisms, like the one's manipulated in the banking scandal we've been talking about? Again, I too love the elegant simplicity of believing that markets will always reflect true value, and that all agents within these markets will have perfect price information, will be able to know the future and see where prices are headed, will have enough money to even enter the market, will have the ability to exit the market if their preferences aren't being satisfied, aren't influenced by factors other than price such as advertising or culture or acquaintances or environment, and will be perfectly rational in their decisions. Yes, "price mechanisms" are a really advanced way of thinking about how actual human beings operate within markets {sarcasm}. Its not that I don't know what Hayek thinks about them, its that I think, unlike most Libertarians, economics didn't get "solved" by the early to mid 1900's, and I don't believe for an instant that the simplistic notion of price mechanisms reveals anything even remotely interesting or even "true" about reality. It, like most neoclassical models of economic activity, relies on a series of reductionist assumptions about people that renders the model only good for predicting the behavior of robots.

  • MJ||

    There are many companies but just one government. I seem to recall an aphorism against putting all of one's eggs in a single basket.

  • ||

    If only we had the right man in charge.

    But...but...we *do* have the right man in charge! The real problem is that he is hamstrung at every turn by that naive obsolete racist tract some call the 'Constutition'. That won't last much longer, though, then Utopia will be right around the corner.

  • cynical||

    Yes, let every fucking bank fail and build society on their corpses. I'm sorry if you don't like it, feel free to prove that it would never work.

    If you're saying "that won't ever happen because politicians aren't libertarian", well, no shit.

  • Steff||

    Sure. You pay for everything. All of it. Right now.

    I'm waiting.

  • ||

    In the nineteenth century they actually let banks fail all the time and, astoundingly, the banking system never got the economy leveraged at a 360% debt-to-GDP ratio, there were no "too big to fail" banks, and the financial panics that sometimes ensued did not bring real economic growth to a halt (though you wouldn't know it to read the various cartoons which pass for U.S. economic history these days).

  • ||

    Ahh yes, the good ole' 1800's that Libertarians are so fond of. Actually, we currently let banks fail all the time: http://www.fdic.gov/bank/indiv.....klist.html

    Also, the debt to GDP ratio has never gone much above 120% and it currently is lower than its historic high, which not coincidentally also occurred during a massively expensive war: http://www.usgovernmentspendin.....chart.html

    Any other misinformation you need clearing up?

  • ||

    I was referring to the total debt-to-GDP ratio, which includes public and private debt, the latter being somewhat more relevant when discussing the banking system, for example. Private debt never ballooned to current day levels in the nineteenth century because the absence of a central bank provided a natural brake on unsustainable credit expansion.

    I don't call bailing out a shady bank's credulous depositors and handing its crap assets off to some other bank in a publicly subsidized sale "letting a bank fail."

  • Citizen Nothing||

    I think there's regulations against boiling pigshit.
    At least there should be.
    Given context, and all...

  • Warty||

    It's our last line of defense, dude. If there are regulations against it, we're fucked.

  • ||


    The Council on Foreign Relations accuses the Tea Party and Glenn Beck of sedition!

    Read this article at the Freemen Institute by clicking on the link below:

    The Freemen Institute!

  • ||

    I know you guys probably regard peak oil as bunk, but the facts are:

    * market capitalism requires ever-increasing amounts of energy to grow
    * only petroleum can supply this every increasing amount of energy
    * post peak petroleum will only be available in ever smaller amounts (and natural gas and coal too, and uranium even - all these are near or past peak supply)
    * very shortly economic growth will no longer be possible

    But there's not enough energy in the entire universe to allow infinite perpetual growth. The current version of capitalism is a bigger failure than communism ever was.

  • Warty||

    Totally. Give or take, you know, a few hundred million corpses.

  • ||

    No, he's right. Capitalism failed to produce as many corpses as Communism.

  • cynical||

    Per capita, I think they're about even.

  • ||

    only petroleum can supply this every increasing amount of energy

    Only whale oil can supply this ever-increasing amount of energy!

    And yes, capitalism is a failure because, unlike communism, it is powerless to prevent the heat death of the universe or suspend the laws of thermodynamics.

  • Warty||

    It can't even prevent chemtrails, dude. Freedom is such a worthless concept.

  • David Mathews||

    Capitalism very nearly drove the whales extinct ... which would have put an end to the entire whale oil business except the discovery of petroleum ended the industry before it exterminated its golden egg.

    Capitalism is burning up all of the planet's fossil fuels. This will lead to the deaths of billions of humans, quite a lot more than communism killed.

    Regarding capitalism's inability to suspend the laws of thermodynamics ... you are going to learn this lesson the hard way in the years ahead.

    You are going to live in a hellish world. You aren't going to like it, either.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    So... if we get rid of capitalism... we'll live forever?

  • Fidel Castro||

    I'm still alive, so it's true.

  • David Mathews||

    No, Mr. Fify, getting rid of capitalism at this time isn't going to save humankind.

    Humankind is lost. Technological civilization is poised to collapse. You will live long enough to witness very bad things and envy the dead.

    This is the future you have chosen for yourself. It isn't so far away that you can hope to die before the bad days come.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Wow. Nihilist. Cool.

  • Alien Queen||

    David is quite a treat, isn't he?

    I designed him that way, but he was more of an experiment, rather then the advanced production models we currently engineer. Although, he is partially correct in pointing out a small genetic defect in our first Human™ prototype that translated into the second version. Granted, there is no planned total extinction for humankind.

    Most of the advanced Human™ products will be safely ushered into deep underground military bases during the correction process. We'll be offering genetic alterations during that period if people are interested. So, Warty can be a Jay, a Finch, or, what I'd suggest, changed into a Swallow.

    The catch is humanity will have to fight off an evil alien race that threatens the existence of the entire universe. Oh, and also everybody will have to tend to my queenly needs vigorously and consistently. This special attention is needed to build our new army.

    I'll let those among you decide who gets to be first...

  • JoshInHb||

    Finally an eco-pagan prophesy of the "end times".

    You're transformation into religion is almost complete!

  • Warty||

    the sweet mulberry is an example of Nature's socialism ... Nature provides this food for humans and other animals for free, only humans attach a price to free things in order to exploit and enslave each other for the sake of wealth.

    the dolphin says, "Humans reached for the stars and lost the Earth in the process. The moon is a poor substitute for the Earth, a worthless goal for any animal in love with life."

    a relic of the horrific 20th century ... humans designed these tools in order to maximize the killing of fellow humans. No other animal behaves in this manner.

    Nature will bring an eternal end to technological warfare in the 21st century by depriving technology of its fuel.

    Tell me more, Davey.

  • David Mathews||

    All those statements are self-explanatory.

    Nature has functioned successfully without capitalism and technology for over four billion years.

    Humankind has thoroughly trashed the planet in less than 12,000 years (since the beginning of agriculture).

    Nature is going to stay alive. Humankind will go extinct.

    The sun will keep rising and the Earth will flourish and it will be as if humankind ever existed.

    Problem solved. There is life after humankind.

  • Warty||

    Mmmm-hmmm. And then what happened?

  • David Mathews||

    The dinosaurs dominated the Earth for over 100 million years. They went extinct. Life went on very well without them.

    The humans dominated the Earth for several centuries. Humankind will go extinct. Life will go on very well without humankind.

    The Universe can afford to lose humankind. The Earth will become a much more peaceful and healthier place without humankind.

    Humans aren't the center of the Universe, you know ...

  • Warty||

    Wow! What else?

  • David Mathews||

    What else do you need to know? I've told you the truth.

    You do know that the sun will rise and flowers will bloom on the day you die, don't you?

    The Universe doesn't care about you. Nature doesn't need humankind.

    The loss of humankind is a net positive for the Universe. Nature will be fine without humans.

  • Warty||

    That's interesting! Wow! LOL!

  • Steff||

    o.O Nicely done, Warty.

  • David Mathews||

    Poor Steff is unable to handle reality ... well, Steff, I got a ticket to a human colonization of Mars if you would like to buy it.

    Too bad the American human spaceflight era will die with the end of the Space Shuttle program ...

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Well, we're fucked.

    Who's up for pie?

  • David Mathews||

    Fools laugh at harsh reality until harsh reality makes them cry and pity their own misfortune.

    You are living in a dangerous time and you won't escape this life without feeling the consequences of humankind's suicidally self destructive behavior.

  • Warty||

    Oh? What then?

  • David Mathews||

    Poor Warty has run out of ideas and is left merely asking the same question over and over again.

  • Warty||

    OK, I'm tired of you. By the way, here's how you do doom and gloom properly.

    "Strange! that you should not have suspected years ago--centuries,
    ages, eons, ago!--for you have existed, companionless, through all the
    eternities. Strange, indeed, that you should not have suspected that
    your universe and its contents were only dreams, visions, fiction!
    Strange, because they are so frankly and hysterically insane--like
    all dreams: a God who could make good children as easily as bad, yet
    preferred to make bad ones; who could have made every one of them happy,
    yet never made a single happy one; who made them prize their bitter
    life, yet stingily cut it short; who gave his angels eternal happiness
    unearned, yet required his other children to earn it; who gave his
    angels painless lives, yet cursed his other children with biting
    miseries and maladies of mind and body; who mouths justice and
    invented hell--mouths mercy and invented hell--mouths Golden Rules, and
    forgiveness multiplied by seventy times seven, and invented hell; who
    mouths morals to other people and has none himself; who frowns upon
    crimes, yet commits them all; who created man without invitation, then
    tries to shuffle the responsibility for man's acts upon man, instead of
    honorably placing it where it belongs, upon himself; and finally, with
    altogether divine obtuseness, invites this poor, abused slave to worship
    him!...

    "You perceive, now, that these things are all impossible except in a
    dream. You perceive that they are pure and puerile insanities, the silly
    creations of an imagination that is not conscious of its freaks--in a
    word, that they are a dream, and you the maker of it. The dream-marks
    are all present; you should have recognized them earlier.

    "It is true, that which I have revealed to you; there is no God, no
    universe, no human race, no earthly life, no heaven, no hell. It is all
    a dream--a grotesque and foolish dream. Nothing exists but you. And
    you are but a thought--a vagrant thought, a useless thought, a homeless
    thought, wandering forlorn among the empty eternities!"

    He vanished, and left me appalled; for I knew, and realized, that all he
    had said was true.

  • Warty||

    And here's how you do doom properly.

  • Victor Von Doom||

    I'll get my revenge yet, Reed Richards!

  • David Mathews||

    Warty runs away from reality by appealing to some sort of mysticism.

    Reality is harsh, isn't it, Warty?

    Too bad you are going to learn first hand that there is a reality and it will demolish your future dreams.

  • Warty||

    I don't know what you think you're arguing with me about, but I like you. Stick around.

    And -1 for not being Twain-literate.

  • ||

    "The loss of humankind is a net positive for the Universe."

    By all means, lead by example, Dave.

    C'mon, you're not afraid to do your bit for Mother Gaia, are you?

  • MJ||

    Perhaps the earth will be more peaceful (well except Nature red in tooth and claw) and healthier but...there will be no one around to care.

    That kind nihilistic misanthropy is a sign of a diseased mind.

  • David Mathews||

    Hello MJ,

    Nature is not red in tooth and claw. I've spent a significant amount of time outside over the last two years and can assure you that Nature isn't the violent place you imagine.

    The animals spend most of their time relaxing and sleeping. Only humans spend their time engaging in violence and enjoying violent entertainment.

    You seem to think that humans are the center of the Universe. Science refuted that theory centuries ago.

    The Earth will be fine without humankind just as the Earth was fine before humankind.

  • re-defiler||

    Only humans engage in violence and spend their time enjoying violent entertainment?

    Go buy a house cat, right after it's done eating, release a mouse. Let us know how the experiment turns out. My hypothesis is that they 'won't' start a little mini pet UN, and that many teeth and claws will be red.

  • fish||

    Oh my god.....you're channeling Wargames! Do you have that cool radio controlled Pterodactyl too?!

  • Comrade Zero||

    It's a computer-enhanced hallucination...

  • Megan||

    Is that really the fault of capitalism or is it human population growth instead? Capitalism led to the population explosion of the last century, but does capitalism really need the human population to continue expanding for it to work?

  • David Mathews||

    Yes, Megan, capitalism needed the human population explosion. Without the human population explosion capitalism would have collapsed a long time ago.

    Are you familiar with the operation of Ponzi schemes? Capitalism is a global scale ponzi scheme which demanded perpetual population growth and perpetual economic growth.

    Unfortunately for capitalism, perpetual economic growth has come to an eternal end. Soon human population growth will come to an eternal end with a human population collapse which will occur this century.

    Very bad days are ahead for humankind. Technological civilization won't survive. Nor shall humankind.

    But do keep in mind that I am not predicting the extinction of humankind this century. Humankind will suffer for many thousands of years before Nature finally ends human suffering.

  • Solanum||

    Dave, I hate to break the news to you but all life on earth is doomed, whether we're around or not. The sun will expand in the next few billion years and fry everything on the planet to a cinder. Hell, for that matter everything in the universe is doomed. In about a 100 trillion years all star formation will cease and black holes will consume what's left over. So fuck your dolphins.

  • David Mathews||

    Hello Solanum,

    * "Dave, I hate to break the news to you but all life on earth is doomed, whether we're around or not. The sun will expand in the next few billion years and fry everything on the planet to a cinder. "

    Humankind will be extinct within 100,000 years (if that long) and so the sun's expansion is as irrelevant to humankind as it was to the dinosaurs.

    * "So fuck your dolphins. "

    Thanks for demonstrating that primates really are the very worst animal to ever dominate a planet. Humans are miserable pathetic unhappy violent suicidal animals and the Universe will be a much better place once humankind has gone extinct.

    Humans are at war with every living thing on the planet. This is how a species self-exterminates.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Then we'd all better get busy committing suicide.

    You go first. We'll follow. Promise.

  • David Mathews||

    Humankind has already committed suicide. Poisoning and overpopulating the planet has deadly consequences ... which you will live long enough to experience first hand.

  • ||

    Dolphins are pack-raping baby-killers. The world's better off without those fuckers.

  • Steve Smith||

    STEVE SMITH WANT FUCK DOLPHINS!!!

  • ||

    There's one of the randy buggers in New Zealand who'll be more than happy to accommodate you, by all reports.

  • ||

    People are absolutely incapable of making significant short term sacrifices for long term gain. Even if such sacrifices are essential. Theres something seriously wrong with the way the human brain is designed.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    You're not dead yet? Shit, what's taking you so long? Humans are destroying Gaia, and you're a human, so get busy with the wrist-slitting.

  • David Mathews||

    Libertarians are very much pro-suicide. You might take your own advice some day, though.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    No, no, no... you go first.

    In fact, I'm surprised you're still alive, what with all these billions of rotten, horrid human beings all over the place... and not ONE of them worth a damn. Not one.

    Not even yourself.

    Loophole!

  • KWebb||

    I prefer to think of myself as pro-choice.

  • Mikey||

    Say what you will about the tenets of National Socialism...At least its an ethos.

  • ||

    David Mathews, if we are all doomed anyway, why can't we enjoy ourselves by living in complete capitalist freedom? Why be restricted by conservation when it's all going to hell anyway?

  • David Mathews||

    You already have, Heller, and you will pay the ultimate price for your lifestyle. Humankind will go extinct and Nature will be happy to be rid of such a destructive violent plague.

  • cynical||

    A small price to pay to be rid of envirotwats.

  • ||

    No, no, no ... you don't get it ... it's not the neo-Malthusians who have to make the sacrifices, it's OTHER people ... preferably poor, brown people ... there's too many of those selfish bastards, ruining it for all the rich, white people who agonise over what's being done to Mother Earth.

  • re-defiler||

    Without capitalism, David Matthews wouldn't exist, you'd be a fragments of a protein sequence in a really cold part of space. Life is capitalism. Don't believe me: try discussing your capitalism denial with an Australian saltwater crocodile. They've been working at capitalism long before apes were listening to dippy, impotent college rock.

  • David Mathews||

    That's pure plain stupidity ...

  • re-defiler||

    No that's evolution. Capitalism is the economic version. The better crocs survive and breed, the rest get eaten. I thought you spent time in nature? Or was it just 2 years of Animal Planet?

  • ||

    Wow, I thought only Creationists were dumb enough to invoke the Laws of Thermodynamics to promulgate their bullshit religious views.

  • cynical||

    Capitalism is not a synonym for "economic activity", or even "private property".

    If a Communist government decides that the nation needs to produce whale oil, it will order whalers to hunt whales. The only difference is who decides how the economy is run. If you think it will be environmentalists, you might want to take a look at the environmental state of authoritarian nations like China or the environmental legacy of Communism in Eastern Europe.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    *Market capitalism has been reducing the amount of energy needed for growth despite the planners' market manipulation that led to less efficient energy use, land use, and transportation
    *only any kind of energy can supply this ever not increasing that much amount of energy as technology becomes economical and market decisions shift
    *none of these things are near peak supply, as the supply is currently limited by political bullshit rather than geological reasons
    *there is more than a shit ton enough energy in the universe to hold us over for any practical consideration of growth, andthensomeandthensomeandthensome because you are a dumbass if you think infinite perpetual growth of anything is possible.

  • David Mathews||

    "none of these things are near peak supply, as the supply is currently limited by political bullshit rather than geological reasons "

    What the hell right do you claim to the oil under any other nation's land?

    Libertarians imagine that the own all of the Earth's resources. Too bad they don't.

  • Steff||

    Too bad they don't.

    I know. We wouldn't want people to have a vested interest in the planet. Much better to let the dolphins take over when we're gone.

  • David Mathews||

    Steff, what sort of vested interest do you have in the planet?

    What claim do you have to the Muslim's oil resources?

    You aren't a libertarian. You are a fascist in libertarian clothing. You want to impose your will and satisfy your addiction by stealing the resouces of other nations.

    This isn't capitalism. It is called perpetual oil wars.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    We don't steal oil... we BUY it.

    But we could drill on our own turf...
    if it weren't for the Chicken Little Brigade.

  • David Mathews||

    * "We don't steal oil... we BUY it. "

    Are you really so naive? The US Dollar is becoming worthless. No one is obligated to sell oil to the United States.

    * "But we could drill on our own turf... "

    Aren't you naive? The United States has drilled more oil wells on American soil than the rest of the world combined.

    The oil industry started in America and Peak Oil occurred in 1971. You cannot drill your way out of this problem.

    Too bad for you! You have a bleak future ahead.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Good God, but you're depressing. You must be a liberal.

  • David Mathews||

    There is nothing more depression that hearing libertarians spout their naive BS to each other.

    Of course, you always have Rush Limbaugh!

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    If you really paid attention, you'd know that a) there aren't many libertarian Limbaugh fans, and b) Limbaugh hates the kind of freedoms of mind, property, and liberty we libertarians espouse.

    Then again, so do you, apparently, which means you have something in common with Limbaugh.

    Ponder on that, Sparky.

  • David Mathews||

    Whatever ... I really am not especially interested in your political philosophy since your viewpoiont represents an extremist minority and is therefore politically irrelevant.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    If you're not interested in free minds and free markets, then why ARE you here?

    I'll bet you voted for Obama. Or McCain. Shit sandwich either way, really.

  • David Mathews||

    Poor Libertarian didn't have anyone to vote for in the last election ... because his political viewpoint is an extremist minority that is perpetually irrelevant from a political standpoint.

    No wonder why you are so unhappy all of the time!

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    I'd be happier if people like you didn't exist.

    Besides, how do you know my happiness level?

    You're not being entertaining enough. You'll need to try harder.

  • David Mathews||

    Of course, Libertarian, you'd be happy if you weren't a member of a politically irrelevant extremist group established upon delusional and long refuted ideas.

    But I'm in the majority and you are in the minority. You'll have to keep on weeping in the years ahead!

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    I'd rather die than become like you, David.

  • re-defiler||

    Yeah but it's like the Lakers playing against the majority of 3rd grade girls' basketball teams. The crying ratio is certainly the same.

    Our Madison counts for like a trillion of your Obamas. One wrote the Constitution, the other had dreams of the guy who skipped out after banging his mom.

    It would be better if you surrendered sooner than later.

  • Comrade Zero||

    Really, really liberal aren't you?

  • Zeb||

    And its mainstream and normal to claim that humanity is inherently evil and we are all doomed. Got it.

  • ||

    I've already learned the hard way that I don't agree wholeheartedly with ol' Dave, therefore I MUST be a Limbaugh/Beck fan. My sincere avowal that, being Australian, I've never watched, read or listened to either of them is apparently an insidious lie.

  • MJ||

    No, liberals at least believe the human condition can be improved, this guy fallen past that (or is pretending to have). I'm not sure what exactly to call it but it's far worse.

  • ||

    JEEEZZ!! It's really not that hard!! Razor blades are readily available at grocery stores. The wrist is located just above the hand. Slice upward, perpendicular to the wrist. Doing this in a hot bath will speed things up nicely.

  • David Mathews||

    I can see that you have your future planned out, Bean Counter ... life is so miserable for libertarians that they constantly fantasize about suicide.

  • ||

    But nobody thought the U.S.S.R. could collapse.

    Seriously?

  • ||

    I think there's regulations against boiling pigshit.

    Not really, but Exxon bought the rights to the process and squelched it, because your Microbus will go three hundred miles on a gallon of distilled pigshit.

    You can look it up.

  • ||

    * market capitalism requires ever-increasing amounts of energy to grow
    * only petroleum can supply this every increasing amount of energy
    * post peak petroleum will only be available in ever smaller amounts (and natural gas and coal too, and uranium even - all these are near or past peak supply)
    * very shortly economic growth will no longer be possible

    Paging Reverend Malthus!

  • ||

    Our society would ultimately have benefited from a bunch of baby boomers thrust back into the job market, right?

    Nicholas Adams,

    The first boomer to qualify for early Social Security benefits (age 62) did so barely two years ago. The first boomer will not reach full Social Security retirement age (66) for almost another two years.

    If your going to argues, you should at a minimum get your facts straight, or else people might dismiss your opinions as those of an ignoramus.

    And your old chestnut about older workers needing to get out to make way for the young is as obsolete and bankrupt as the rest of the New Deal philosophy you seem to hold so dear.

  • ||

    Sorry, I thought the hyperbole about 90 year old baby boomers was obviously a joke. And nowhere did I make the claim that old people need to get out of the workplace to make room for younger workers. I simply meant that I believed many of them had hoped that they'd be able to stop working based on their retirement savings, much of which was wiped out in the financial crisis.

  • ||

    You want to impose your will and satisfy your addiction by stealing the resouces(sic) of other nations.

    I am truly puzzled by exactly which comment made above this was a remotely reasonable or sensible response to.

    Or did you just wander in to leave a few of your nonsensical and irrelevant musings here?

  • Warty||

    This guy's fun, dude. Don't chase him off.

  • ||

    It's like he read Ishmael and thought it was actually a good idea to follow the ramblings of a talking gorilla.

  • David Mathews||

    According to Charles Darwin, you are a talking gorilla ... and given the general level of intelligence among libertarians, I suspect that the gorillas are actually more intelligent.

  • ||

    I suppose Charles Darwin also said that we are all talking trilobytes ....

  • David Mathews||

    Your ignorance regarding science is showing ... typical for a libertarian, though.

  • ||

    I think the ignorance started when you wrote, "according to Charles Darwin [I am] a talking gorilla."

    Would Charles Darwin have said, "a chimpanzee is a gorilla"? If all species with common genetic ancestry are the same and we can freely equivocate between them, then clearly you and I are talking trilobytes.

    Whether you have enough back and chest hair and fling enough of your own poop to be classified as a gorilla, I have no idea.

  • David Mathews||

    Doubtless you spend all your time flinging poo, Graphite, so you would qualify as a gorilla.

    But is there any intelligence in Graphite? No.

  • ||

    So basically you're avoiding the fact that you obviously know nothing about Charles Darwin's theory of evolution, and you're retarded comment is evidence of that?

  • David Mathews||

    You should try reading more carefully ... but, as a libertarian, that is likely impossible for you.

  • ||

    Wow, and you chide *me* for not understanding science - dude, you don't even get Darwin right.

  • Solanum||

    Check out his photostream on flickr. I can't stop reading it.

  • Warty||

    It's awesome, isn't it? The rusty tank...so profound.

  • ||

    I think my favorite is "the cute little bird says that humankind has accomplished nothing whatsoever of lasting value over the last 12,000 years and that the species will accomplish even less over the next 12,000 years."

    And then he poos on your car!

  • David Mathews||

    Bettee than humankind shitting on the entire planet and leaving a desolate ashalt covered wasteland as our dead legacy.

    The birds have lived for a lot longer than the primates. The birds will still be alive long after huamnkind is extinct. The Earth will be a better place without you.

  • re-defiler||

    Not if we cook 'em all. Col. Sanders is on our side remember? Envirogs have no clue what his secret recipe even is, much less a viable counter defense.

  • Zeb||

    And bacteria have been around longer than birds, so that is clearly the superior form of life and the only one of any lasting value.

  • re-defiler||

    Col. Sanders cooks them too.

  • David Mathews||

    Too bad Warty has a mind which isn't at all profound. Libertarianism has made you shallow ... or perhaps it is shallow people who are drawn into libertarianism.

    Who is John Galt? Where did he go? John Galt is dead!

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Fail: John Galt is a fictional character.

    Take a hint, David: Not every libertarian is a fan of Ayn Rand, who was no fan of libertarians.

  • David Mathews||

    John Galt is dead. Ayn Rand is dead. Libertarianism is about as close to a non-entity as could possibly exist in politics.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Beats the horseshit being peddled by Democrats and Republicans.

    I predict you will disagree.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Davey-boy still thinks John Galt was capable of dying, when he was a character created on pen and paper. They cannot die, and yet our new nihilist neighbor is weedlin' on his grave.

  • Foghorn Leghorn||

    Nice, I say, NICE boy, but he's about as sharp as a bowlin' ball.

  • David Mathews||

    John Galt is dead & buried. Poor John Galt!

    He was always a non-entity. Now he is a dead. Ayn Rand is dead, too.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Is there a point to this?

    No, wait... forget I asked. You'll just spout more inane, nihilistic crap.

    Do you listen to emo, and smoke lots of cigarettes?

  • John Galt||

    I'm dead?

    Shit.

  • David Mathews||

    Yes, you are dead. Ayn Rand is also dead. Libertarianism is a dead political philosophy, too.

  • John Galt||

    But, apparently, I only exist on paper, so I guess being dead doesn't mean what you think it means, David.

  • ||

    Interesting. Tell me more.

  • David Mathews||

    Hello Isaac,

    * "I am truly puzzled by exactly which comment made above this was a remotely reasonable or sensible response to. "

    To the common comment by libertarians which suggests that something called "resource nationalism" is depriving them of cheap oil although America is presently consuming 25% of the world's daily oil production and still unsatisfied by this sort of stupid reckless gluttony.

  • re-defiler||

    Who are you to judge who should consume what and by what quantities? We've been busy burning fossil fuels to create the computers and operating systems you're using to ramble on. But I invite you to instead visit any number of underground caverns and paint your ideas on the walls with animal dung. Oh the hypocrisy!

  • cynical||

    He thought that the political obstacles to acquiring fossil fuels one commenter mentioned was a reference to the fact that reserves are in foreign lands, instead of a reference to the belief that more fossil fuels are available in the U.S. but only by using extraction techniques that are currently disallowed.

  • Warty||

    I've spent a significant amount of time outside over the last two years

    I figured it out. Davey is Andrew Loeb.

  • Solanum||

    birds live for the sake of relaxation ... for millions of years they have lived a no-stress lifestyle

    HA HA HA. Nice. Who knew birds lived such carefree lives?

  • David Mathews||

    You didn't know this, Solanum?

    How much time do you spend inside?

    You must spend all your time staring at a screen. This might explain your profound ignorance of Nature.

  • Solanum||

    Well you've convinced me. I want to be a bird. Never having to worry about food, disease, the elements, or predators. Where do I sign up?

  • David Mathews||

    The birds have less to worry about than you have to worry about. You really should spend some time outside ... and actually pay attention to how the animals live.

    Humans are sick animals. Humans are overstressed, violent, perpetually addicted and they are at war with everything.

    There isn't an animal on the planet so miserable that it wishes it was a human.

  • ||

    Nothing more restful than a finch wondering whether it will be the hawk or the cat who eventually turns him into dinner.

  • David Mathews||

    The finch is more relaxed that all those libertarians who spend their lifetime polishing their guns and trying to hide away from the government.

  • Warty||

    If I were a bird, I'd be one of those big-ass eagles that grabs baby mountain goats and throws them off cliffs. What kind of bird would you be?

  • David Mathews||

    Warty sounds like a human fantasizing about violence ... which, incidentally, is what humans do all the time.

    Of course, humans love to kill things ... including each other and very often their own very self.

    Humans are one pathetic miserable animal. Thankfully extinction will bring an end to the human scourge.

    A planet without humans is a fine planet indeed.

  • Warty||

    So what would you rather be, a vulture or a duck? If you were a duck, you'd get to swim all the time, but you'd have to work pretty hard when you flew. But if you were a vulture, you'd get to soar on thermals all day, What do you think, Davey? Being a bird would be totally tits.

  • David Mathews||

    Hello Warty,

    * " you were a duck, you'd get to swim all the time, but you'd have to work pretty hard when you flew. But if you were a vulture, you'd get to soar on thermals all day, What do you think, Davey? "

    Poor Warty fails to ask intelligent questions. Poor Wartry fails all intelligence tests altogether.

    Are you really the apex of evolution, Warty? I didn't think so!

  • re-defiler||

    Neil Armstrong is the apex of evolution so far. With the exception of the 11 other guys, we're all insects in comparison. Which puts birds on the plankton level.

    But if YOU knew anything about nature, we are the apex predators on this rock. But if you want to demote yourself, go right ahead.

  • David Mathews||

    Neil Armstrong is just a primate who walked on the moon.

    If you want to worship him, you can ...

    Humans are apex predators, that is true, but there's been millions of apex predators since the beginning of time. All the rest went extint just as humankind is going extinct.

  • Solanum||

    I want to be an ostrich. They can't fly, but they sure as fuck can run. And they can peck and kick like mother fuckers. Not even lions fuck with them. Yeah, being an ostrich would be bad ass.

  • David Mathews||

    Solanum ... the ostriches wouldn't want you. You are too miserable as a human to qualify for membership in any other species.

    Only an animal as unhappy as a human would fantasize about violence all of the time. Even when dreaming of being an animal you degenerate into your violence obsessed huamn self.

  • Solanum||

    But I want to be happy, Dave. I'm willing to change. Please put me on the path to ornithological bliss. What do I need to do?

  • Warty||

    If they have to run a lot, wouldn't that be stressful? I hear that birds aren't stressed. Ergo, ostriches aren't birds. Try again, dumbass. Jesus.

  • David Mathews||

    Stress is a mental illness which afflicts humankind only.

    The ostriches run but they are not stressed.

    But Warty is always a miserable sad human. The ostriches wouldn't want you, Warty.

  • Warty||

    I ate ostrich once, and it was pretty delicious. It might be cool to be an ostrich, 'cause then I could be an ostrich cannibal. I think that might be pretty tits for a while. Don't you agree, Davey?

  • David Mathews||

    Yes, fatasnizing about violence and cannabalism is typical of the miserable animal known as a "human".

    Humans love violence. Humans are perpetually violent animals. Humans are violent against everything.

    Thank God that humans are going extinct!

  • Warty||

    There are no gods, but there are birds. I'd rather be a bird than a god. I think I'd try being a goose for a while, because then I'd get to poop a lot, and pooping is pretty fun. What do you think about pooping, Davey? My cats poop a lot.

  • David Mathews||

    Warty spends all of his time pooping already ... your interest in this subject suggests that you might associate the activity with sexual urges.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    David, if you truly believed in God, you wouldn't spout such lies about the humans He created in His image.

  • David Mathews||

    God isn't impressed by humankind.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    He told you this, I take it?

  • David Mathews||

    God said that humans are miserable violent animals who ought to be extinct. I agreed.

    More importantly, Nature also agreed. Nature has a long history of driving primates extinct, by the way ...

  • God||

    I said no such thing. You're committing a very bad sin here, David.

  • The Pope||

    SMITE HIM!

  • re-defiler||

    Rabbits don't die from stress? Try again.

  • ||

    "Stress is a mental illness which afflicts humankind only."

    Another science fail for Dave.

  • ||

    Earlier in the thread, you denigrated the moon. But it's a planet (ok plentoid) without humans. It should be "fine, indeed."

  • ||

    When birds get broken wings or diseases they gladly, contentedly starve to death to make way for fellow members of the species.

  • David Mathews||

    There are plenty of humans who are dying right now, Graphite. Billions of humans lack the basic necessities of life ... including medical care.

  • ||

    David Mathews|4.19.10 @ 10:15PM|#
    "There are plenty of humans who are dying right now, Graphite. Billions of humans lack the basic necessities of life ... including medical care."

    Not to mention the millions more who die from, oh, the lack of food engineered by governments.

  • David Mathews||

    Humans are horrendous animals, aren't they?

    Humans have killed billions of humans. Not a day goes by without a human killing a human.

    The Earth will be a more peaceful place once this miserable violent animal goes extinct.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Yep... no human, ever, has ever done anything kind, decent, or moral. Animals, every last one of 'em.

  • David Mathews||

    Humans are horrendous animals, Libertarian Guy.

    You know that I am speaking the truth so stop babbling.

    The Universe will be a more peaceful place once humans are extinct. Humans have known this for a very long time ... see Genesis 6:5-6.

    A planet without humans is a perfectly fine planet.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Afraid to admit you're wrong, I see.

  • God||

    You know nothing of My work, David.

  • David Mathews||

    Poor God is a libertarian! A libertarian God is a weak god indeed!

  • God||

    I'm apolitical, David.

  • Satan||

    He'd better not try that speaking-for shit with me.

  • Minion||

    I can vouch for this. The Boss has a terrible temper. And that tail (shudder)

    I have said too much....

  • re-defiler||

    Try Venus, no humans, perfectly fine.

  • ||

    David Mathews|4.19.10 @ 10:38PM|#
    "Humans are horrendous animals, aren't they?"

    Compared to?
    Humans are both good and bad, and no more 'horrendous' than any animal.
    Organized as 'government' coercion, they can be dangerous, and should be limited.
    But given that you're an atavistic ignoramus, you won't get this.

  • David Mathews||

    That's just plain stupid, Ron. Humans are much worse than the rest of the animals. Humans are violent against every other form of life on the planet.

    Humans are so stupid and violent that the species is driving itself extinct.

    You blame governments for humankind's horrendous nature but humans were horrendous long before government was invented.

    Humans are the worst animal that Nature has ever generated. Natural selection will rid Nature of the human problem, though.

    To extinction you go!

  • ||

    David Mathews|4.19.10 @ 10:47PM|#
    "That's just plain stupid, Ron. Humans are much worse than the rest of the animals...."

    That's just plain stupid, David. You are much more ignorant than the rest of humanity.

  • David Mathews||

    Poor Ron has run out of argument.

  • ||

    You never had one. Delusions of grandeur do not an argument make.

  • Warty||

    Davey, if you want to get really good at bashing humanity, you should read and take notes. You've got some potential, champ.

    Man is the only Patriot. He sets himself apart in his own country, under his own flag, and sneers at the other nations, and keeps multitudinous uniformed assassins on hand at heavy expense to grab slices of other peoples countries, and keep them from grabbing slices of his. And in the intervals between campaigns, he washes the blood off his hands and works for the universal brotherhood of man, with his mouth.

    Man is the Religious Animal. He is the only Religious Animal. He is the only animal that has the True Religion, several of them. He is the only animal that loves his neighbor as himself, and cuts his throat if his theology isn't straight. He has made a graveyard of the globe in trying his honest best to smooth his brothers path to happiness and heaven. He was at it in the time of the Caesars, he was at it in Mahomets time, he was at it in the time of the Inquisition, he was at it in France a couple of centuries, he was at it in England in Mary's day, he has been at it ever since he first saw the light, he is at it today in Crete (as per the telegrams quoted above) he will be at it somewhere else tomorrow. The higher animals have no religion. And we are told that they are going to be left out, in the Hereafter. I wonder why? It seems questionable taste.

  • David Mathews||

    Poor Warty must appeal to Mark Twain in order to attain any semblance of eloquence.

  • Warty||

    How could I be eloquent? I've spent the last 20 years outside observing the birds, dude. They're really bad at conversating, so I've forgotten all the eloquence classes my parents sent me to when I was a kid.

  • David Mathews||

    Poor Warty would be able to relax if he spent the last twenty years outside. Poor Warty is very much an indoors person.

    The birds wouldn't talk to a pathetic primate such as Warty. The advertisers talk to him, though, and fill his soul with all sorts of unhealthy ideas and addictions.

    Capitalism makes you sick, Warty.

  • Warty||

    Who says I'm not relaxed? I have a kitty on my lap. She's relaxed, because she's outside all the time eating birds, so she relaxes me. She's a kitty. Do you have any kitties, Davey? What are their names?

  • David Mathews||

    The poor kitten is owned by a miserable human. I'd rescue that poor animal. You cannot be a pleasant owner.

  • ||

    Really dude, this is some hilarious stuff. Keep going!

    Or better yet, if it's all pointless why don't you show us the way? Do your part for Mother Gaia and help with the population problem by reducing it by one.

  • David Mathews||

    Crawdad is another pro-suicide libertarian. I am a theory about people who promote suicide anonymously on blogs ... these people are actively thinking about committing the act on their own self.

    That's why suicide is on their mind. These anonymous nobodies are so miserable that they really want to die.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    But, according to you, we're dead already... AND we're killing the planet.

    So, when are you going to slit your wrists, David? Get movin' and make an example.

  • David Mathews||

    Another pro-suicide libertarian!

    These libertarians are such happy people ... they fantasize about suicide and violence all of the time.

    Thank God that you are a human!

  • ||

    David Mathews|4.19.10 @ 10:33PM|#
    "...I am a theory...."

    I'm sure you are a theory....

  • ||

    Now you see, I'm not the one bashing humans. Me likes people especially the little, soon to be pumping out tons of carbon, ones.

    You are indeed a theory alright, about what no one knows. Suicide is for guilt-ridden, Gaia worshiping, sad little girley-men, not us red meat eating, Bambi killing, tree cutting, oil drilling, coal digging, swarthy types. Hell, we like it here.

    To blow holes in the rest of your theory, my name is Rick Croley. See? Not anonymous anymore. And while I usually try to discourage suicide I make exceptions for people hating nut jobs.

    Now, I want you to put up or shut up. Are you going to do your part for Gaia or are you a fucking pussy who lacks the courage of his convictions? Or maybe you consider yourself amongst the elite and what you really mean is that we ought to reduce the population first by sterilizing "those" people? How about gas chambers? They worked well for another group of people hating nasties.

  • David Mathews||

    Rick Crowley, aka "Crawdad", the pro-suicide perpetually unhappy sad sack libertarian, says ...

    * "Suicide is for guilt-ridden, Gaia worshiping, sad little girley-men, not us red meat eating, Bambi killing, tree cutting, oil drilling, coal digging, swarthy types. Hell, we like it here. "

    Like hell you do. Plenty of conservatives commit suicide. Plenty of conservatives spend their time thinking about suicide so much that it automatically comes up in their conversations with others ... such as on blogs.

    Rick Crowley hates his own life more than he hates liberals. Rick Crowley should consider it a minor miracle that he has lived this long and not acted on his own personal death fantasies.

  • ||

    David Mathews|4.19.10 @ 10:08PM|#
    "The birds wouldn't talk to a pathetic primate such as Warty...."

    Whoa! We have a whacko to whom the birds talk?
    Really!?

  • David Mathews||

    Talking to birds is better than talking to libertarians. Libertarians are unpleasant unhappy violent animals.

  • ||

    David Mathews|4.19.10 @ 10:49PM|#
    "Talking to birds is better than talking to libertarians...."

    OK, thanks for your 'comments'.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    I think Nicholas and David are one and the same, and they're gang-spunking the threads.

    If they keep it up, they'll make Chony look like a dismal failure.

  • ||

    Where the fuck is the "Easy Button" for resetting things?

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Where's that invisible hand job Nicholas promised us?

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Am I too late for the pie?

  • Warty||

    The birds ate all the pie, yo. Those fucking stress-free birds and their perfect fucking lives. It sucks to be a human when the birds eat your pie.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    They apparently get free invisible hand jobs, too!

  • David Mathews||

    Warty represents humankind so very well ... note his evident happiness and peacefulness!

    The apex of evolution ... that's Warty.

  • ||

    David Mathews|4.19.10 @ 10:41PM|#
    "Warty represents humankind so very well ... note his evident happiness and peacefulness!
    The apex of evolution ... that's Warty."

    Uh, folks, look a bit above.
    We have someone here who is a bit, well, not quite carrying a full load.
    I'd suggest avoiding eye contact and backing toward the door.

  • David Mathews||

    Yes, Ron, I know ... Warty isn't happy nor is he peaceful.

    He isn't the apex of evolution, either. Seems more miserable than a roach, actually.

  • Warty||

    I'm extremely happy and peaceful, because there's still a happy kitty on my lap. Maybe you'd feel better if you pet kitties more often, Davey. Kitties are soft and they purr.

  • David Mathews||

    Stop lying about yourself, Warty, you are one miserable unhappy human with or without a kitten.

  • ||

    David Mathews|4.19.10 @ 10:57PM|#
    "Yes, Ron, I know ... Warty isn't happy nor is he peaceful...."

    Uh, it wasn't Warty I was referring to; it was you.
    A bit lacking in logic, are you?

  • David Mathews||

    Perhaps if you were more intelligent you wouldn't write in such a vague manner.

  • ||

    David Mathews|4.19.10 @ 11:18PM|#
    "Perhaps if you were more intelligent you wouldn't write in such a vague manner."

    Perhaps if you were in the least intelligent, you wouldn't post such hogwash.
    "Talking to the Animals" was a movie theme and now you claim it to be reality?
    What do those Jays say?

  • Mr. FIFY||

    He isn't the apex of evolution, either.

    You have no room to talk in that regard, David. You being a filthy, hateful, worthless human and whatnot.

  • David Mathews||

    I'm talking about humankind, Mr. Fify. You score one IQ point!

  • Mr. FIFY||

    But you, being a human yourself, cannot claim superiority over every other living or dead human.

    You're not fooling anyone, in other words.

  • David Mathews||

    I make no claims of superiority. Humans are miserable animals. Humans are miserable all the time.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    And YOU are human, David, which means you are in no position to judge.

  • ||

    David Mathews|4.19.10 @ 11:26PM|#
    "I make no claims of superiority. Humans are miserable animals. Humans are miserable all the time."

    Are you human?
    Speak for yourself.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Yes, you did, David. You claimed there is no such thing as even one good, decent person - now or in the past - and, for the icing, you claim to speak for God.

    All while putting yourself on a pedestal.

    Disgusting behavior. Sociopathic much?

  • ||

    Careful TLG. Prophets and others that claim to speak for Deity tend to have an over-developed sense of vengeance. Especially when their hypocrisy and flawed logic is exposed. You don't happen to have six-fingers on your right hand, do you?

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    I'm pretty sure David can't figure out where I live, but thanks for the warning. Y'never know how these freaks really are until they snap.

  • David Mathews||

    The Libertarian Guy is a really scared little boy, isn't he? In general, libertarians are the most cowardly weak people on the planet. That's why you love your guns and hate everything else.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    I don't own a gun. Nice try, though.

  • Michelle Obama||

    No pie. It sets a bad example for my tubby-assed children.

  • David Mathews||

    A racist libertarian ... how unusual!

  • Mr. FIFY||

    More like "virtually non-existent".

    Besides, you don't know how to use the word "racist" properly.

    That, and you are a fool if you think Michelle Obama actually posts here.

    But, please, do regale us with knowledge. How, exactly, is it "racist" to spoof a post by a black woman?

  • ||

    David Mathews|4.19.10 @ 11:21PM|#
    "A racist libertarian ... how unusual!"

    A brain-dead liberal! How unusual!

  • Zeb||

    I think it is a slight to liberals to call this guy a liberal. At least liberals claim to want to make life better for people. Nihilist would fit OK, but is a bit intellectually heavy.

  • David Mathews||

    You don't want to make the world better for humankind, Zeb. You have succeeded in failing to make the world better, too.

    Treating the Earth like a sewer is a misanthropic act. Driving humankind extinct isn't exactly a kind thing to do to your grandchildren.

    But it just doesn't matter to you so long as you can maintain your lifestyle and your human pride.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    And good work on the Twain quotes, W. Tomorrow is the centennial of his death, and he's just as relevant and eloquent now as then. I recommend A new book, The Mark Twain Anthology: Great Writers on His Life and Works. Lots of interesting opinion and analysis.
    But I still want pie.

  • Warty||

    THOSE FUCKING BIRDS AND THEIR LACK OF FUCKING STRESS

  • David Mathews||

    As the night progresses Warty becomes enraged and unintelligent ... though to be honest he began unintelligent it is only the enraged Warty which is new.

  • Warty||

    Who would win in a fight, a lion or a Komodo dragon?

  • Citizen Nothing||

    A kitty with a frickin' laserbeam on its head.

  • David Mathews||

    Warty still hasn't gotten any more intelligent ... so much for the theory that libertarians are at all intelligent.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Hmm... someone has a highly inflated sense of self-worth...

  • David Mathews||

    Yeah ... poor libertarians. You people are irrelevant and you don't know it.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Did God tell you to say that, David?

    Show us where the politician touched you. Don't be afraid, he can't hurt you anymo- well, he can't hurt you now.

  • David Mathews||

    Mr. Fify has run out of ideas. He didn't have any ideas to begin with, though.

    Typical mindless libertarian drone ...

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    He asked you a question, David... did God tell you to say these things, as you alluded to in an earlier post?

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Note how David deigns to exclude himself from the rest of humanity. He obviously considers himself to be superior, yet he will eventually restate his belief that NO humans are kind, decent, or worthy of God's love - or that of any other human, for that matter.

  • Warty||

    Note his disdain for kitties. That's the most troubling part.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Who can resist a cute, cuddly kitty?

  • ||

    Not me. Especially sauteed in butter and garlic with just the dashiest dash of tarragon.

    Or is it the elderly we eat? (adjusts top hat)

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    And a half-decaf latte with a whisper of cinnamon. Mmm.

  • Zeb||

    No, we know how irrelevant we are. And you write as if your position is non-crazy in some way.

  • ||

    Neither. Both live perfect, stress-free lives and would never dream of harming another living being - only wicked humans do that.

    All animals live on a steady diet of organic tofu - this is a scientific fact.

  • ||

    But I have to ask:
    What do the Robins say to the Jays? They both seem pretty obnoxious?
    And then what do the Crows say to the Hawks?
    And those Hummingbirds? They are really nasty! What are they saying?
    I'd really like to know.

  • David Mathews||

    Ron is so unhappy ... isn't he? Not even the birds can make Ron happy.

    Ron is a typical human in this regard.

  • ||

    David Mathews|4.19.10 @ 11:22PM|#
    "Ron is so unhappy ... isn't he? Not even the birds can make Ron happy.
    Ron is a typical human in this regard."

    David is so ignorant....isn't s/he? Not even fantasies of talking to the animals can make him/her happy. David is typical of brain-dead atavism in this regard.

  • Pro-Human||

    lol... a self hating human. Who woulda thunk it? Poor guy must of never had pussy since pussy had him. XD

  • ||

    I suspect he was hatched; he seems to have an orthinological bias.

    I submit his nom de plum is Oswald Cobblepot.

  • Warty||

    It's strange to me to think that he lived until 1910. It's interesting to think what he would have written about the Great War if he had lived a few years longer. It would have broken the old dude's heart, though.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    I would have liked to see Twain and Mencken mix it up a bit. Mencken was a big fan, but also said Twain "was as thoroughly American as a Knight of Pythias, a Wheeling stogie or Prohibition. "
    But so was Mencken, of course.

  • Eric Carman||

    Free pie. They always come when there's free pie.

  • Eric Cartman||

    It's CARTMAN dammit! Respect my authoritay, you lion haired panty waist. No wonder you're all by yourself.

  • The Gingers||

    We're coming for you, Cartman!

  • Scott Tenorman||

    Bullshit, I get him first. I still have a phobia of chili.

  • MechaStreisand||

    NO! ME FIRST!!!

  • Eric Cartman||

    The damn Joos....always the fucking Joos.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Emus always looked stresses to me. Pelicans, not so much. Hummingbirds are working hard, but they seem to enjoy it.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Mutherfucking robins!

  • ||

    What the fuck have I stumbled onto here?????

  • Warty||

    What kind of bird would you be? I think being a hawk would be pretty fun, because then you'd get to have awesome eyes, and you'd always look all stern and stuff. That would be pretty tits.

  • ||

    I scroll through the rantings of Dan, past the tripe of Nick and whammo...comes Dave fresh off wolfing some shrooms.

    Tell me Dave isn't related to the pud up in Alaska that made friendly with the grizzlies.

  • ||

    tenletters|4.19.10 @ 11:37PM|#
    "I scroll through the rantings of Dan, past the tripe of Nick and whammo...comes Dave fresh off wolfing some shrooms."
    Not sure. There are those who are what most of us call 'sober' who subscribe to Dave's fantasies.

    "Tell me Dave isn't related to the pud up in Alaska that made friendly with the grizzlies."
    Well, if Dave had any consistency to his/her bleefs, s/he would certainly feed him/herself to a bear.
    Of course, Dave has no sort of consistency; s/he hopes others die in the fantasy that that s/he will live in "Eden".
    Tired religionist bleefs.....

  • David Mathews||

    Hello Ron,

    The fact that you will die is a non-negotiable aspect of reality. The extinction of humankind is also a non-negotiable aspect of reality.

    Anyone who believes otherwise is engaging in quasi-religious fantasies. Remember ... it was religion which promised humankind immortality before science & technology began whispering sweet nothings in humankind's ear about immortality.

  • ||

    Google Georges Lemaître.

  • ||

    I think someone got inspired by Organic Girl.

  • Warty||

    Look at his flickr page. If he's someone's creation, then that person did a lot of prep work. I think we're dealing with a real, AWESOME, lunatic.

  • ||

    Maybe he ate some bad mulberries?

  • David Mathews||

    Poor Graphite ... out of ideas, out of arguments, talking to himself, an anonymous nobody boasting to anonymous nobodies about nothing.

    Being a libertarian must really empower you ...

  • ||

    I miss Organic girl. He/She/It was the best performance art in some time. Though Dave the Feral Baptist is giving he/she/it stiff competition.

  • ||

    I have a feeling Organic Girl will be making future appearances.

  • ||

    Indeed. A thread with both of these feral nature zealots would be priceless.

  • ||

    Looks like Dave has stopped posting. Mommy must have taken his computer away and sent him to the barn to "communicate" with the sheep.

  • David Mathews||

    You people don't slee or do you live perpetually on your computer?

    A libertarian calling himself "Bean Counter" probably shouldn't show his face in public anyway.

  • ||

    You people don't slee or do you live perpetually on your computer?

    Pot meet kettle...your Messiah Complex runneth over, David.

  • $||

    I almost believe Dave that humans are retarded, because you pack of morons sat there and responded to this clearly delusional individual.

    Stop feeding the friggin' trolls!

  • David Mathews||

    Libertarians are retarded, that much is certain, and delusional too.

    Poor Ayn Rand is dead!

  • Ayn Rand||

    Your mom is retarded, that much is certain, and delusional too.

    David Mathews is dead!

  • ||

    How things could have happened.

    1) Dems accept Corker's restructuring proposal thus avoiding bankruptcy and saving 80 billion.

    2) Or Bush could have let them go bankrupt.

    3) No porkulus, no cash for clunkers, no useless green jobs initiatives such as weatherization.

    4) No scaring the crap out of private business with cap/tax, card-check, etc

    5) No 20% expansion of non defense/entitlement portions of the Federal govt.

    6) No expansion of education spending...we get nothing as it is

    7) Drill, baby, drill. The oil companies know where the oil is let them go get it. Obama plan is a lie masquerading as a plan.

    8) Deregulate the economy...this is the only way to revive the private economy

    9) Nuclear power. Forget solar/wind they are an impractical unworkable distraction...trinkets for the moral preening.

    10) Repeal all nanny state intrusions

    There you have it...a start. But the toughest will be relacing popular entitlements with something sustainable.

  • David Mathews||

    Hey, NoahP, you seem to be chanting the McCain - Palin mantra from 2008. Seems like that viewpoint lost ... big time.

    You can return to your crying. It is something conservatives do so very well!

  • fish||

    You gotta give Dave his props......he went the distance!

  • Jayrad||

    For any of you that might think that Dave Mathews is some made-up, intentionally hilarious posting persona, I assure you, he is not. He was spouting this nihilistic nonsense at AmSpec* (right after the 2008 elections, i believe).

    His posting generally went like this:
    "Boo Hoo, conservatives, too bad your political movement is now inconsequential for ever and ever. You guys are never going to be listened to again, etc. etc."

    As for his nutty nature nattering**, on every "global warming is bullshit" article they would post, he would devolve into this character. How we are doomed to extinction, etc. etc.

    If I remember correctly, he was IP banned over there. And that's saying something, they don't even try to curtail the "Buy these watches, try our northface jackets" commercial posts over there.

    *Yes I read AmSpec from time to time. So sue me.

    **I'm pretty proud of my alliteration in the post.

  • David Mathews||

    American Spectator magazine ... talk about an intellectual vacuum filled with dittohead drones and conservative losers.

    Those conservatives spent a lot of time crying after the 2008 election. It was quite fun to watch the weeping.

    The weeping continues right here among the libertarians, too. The failure to comprehend science is on display, too.

    There's a reason why you people spend all of your time weeping: Your side lost and you people aren't getting any younger nor any more popular in the years ahead.

    It is the 21st century. Your time has passed.

  • ||

    Poor, poor Americans. Cry for us. They steal the food right from our pitiful mouths as we beg for the scraps. But we won't take it anymore! We're mad as hell! They won't get away with this!

    Blah, blah, blah. Whine, Whine, Whine. It's Obama's fault! It's Bush'e fault. It's the bankers fault. It's China's fault. It's the oil company's fault. It's the environmentalist's fault. It's the liberal's fault. It's the Republican's fault.

    It must be a Teaparty meeting! Paint a big red "L" on you forehead and come on down! Free talk and whine for everybody.

  • Chris||

    Was it just me, or did you hear the voice of HAL from 2001 when reading David Mathews comments'? Good stuff!

  • Jayrad||

    I think his insanity was the reason I started reading AmSpec. I went for the crazy, noticed even MORE crazy, then ended up staying for the crazy. To tell ya the truth, I was kinda sad when I heard he'd been banned from there.

    Although I have to say, reading Reasons' commenters go back and forth was WAY MORE entertaining than the cons over at AmSpec. Don't ever leave, Davey! I don't want to go another year and a half without the crazy you provide!

  • David Mathews||

    Too bad I don't remember your comments, Jayrad. Lots of people remember my comments for many, many years.

    Some people remember my comments from a decade ago. I guess that is because I said something interesting and challenging and thoroughly beyond the range of a person's small little closed-loop mind.

  • David Mathews||

    Hello Chris,

    Your inability to handle reality might indicate that you aren't qualified to hold an opinion about anything.

    Libertarians and conservatives live in a Universe which is primarily concerned with their own existence. To get your mind outside that small little box requires a level of intellect not available to you.

    Of course, in the years ahead you are going to become acquianted with reality by direct personal experience.

  • Chris||

    David Mathews|4.20.10 @ 2:45PM|#
    "Of course, in the years ahead you are going to become acquianted with reality by direct personal experience."

    I think I read that in my horoscope last week, HAL.

    Geez, I'm usually just a lurker on H&R, but even I know you don't come on here and go full retard right outta the gate!

  • David Mathews||

    Hello Chris,

    * "I think I read that in my horoscope last week, HAL. "

    Too bad, Chris, that you cannot even see what is happening right in front of your own eyes and what is happening right below your feet.

    Chris lives in a fantasy world in which everything will turn out ok ... too bad that conservatives have spent the last 15 months talking absolute doom to each other about a dozen different things.

    I guess you must have missed all that doomer talk.

    $14 trillion national debt. US Dollar becoming worthless. You will lose your guns, too!

    The future isn't going to treat you well. But you are forgiven for your naivete ... the Europeans were denying that World War II would occur right up to the moment that Hitler invaded Poland.

  • Chris||

    Well you're right about one thing....my mind is in a completely different universe than the one yours is operating in.

  • David Mathews||

    That much is obvious ... though it isn't at all obvious that your mind is working at all.

    Describe the future as you see it, Chris. I'd love to hear precisely how optimistic you actually are about what's ahead.

    From my own conversations with libertarians, optimism about the future is quite unusual. Especially since President Obama took office ... optimism is scarce.

    But if you actually are an optimistic libertarian, here is your opportunity. Let's hear your vision regarding the future.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    We wouldn't be that much more optimistic had McCain won.

  • DT||

    We must lower taxes, privatize all our schools and give more rights to corporations now!

    It is the only way we will prevent our country from becoming a socialist nightmare. Otherwise we might end up with a larger middle class like those crappy Nordic countries that are doing so poorly.

  • fish||

    Is it over?

    Bummer!

  • Comrade Zero||

    Let's get this cocksucker up to 500

  • Comrade Zero||

    ...there!

  • ||

    Outrage at business? How about outrage at a corrupt government that utilizes crony capitalism! Have any Wall Streeters been sent to jail? How about all those politicians who told us Fannie Mae and their ilk were fuinancially solid?

    Outrage at corrupt and venal politicians. String them up and their lawyer mouthpieces.

  • ||

    It's as if 60% of the MLB umpires were yankee fans, and because they can't stand to see the Yankees not make the playoffs, they conspire that in any close game, they will make intentionally wrong calls in the Yankees favor. Everyone would see it after a while, everyone would hate the umpires and the Yankees even more, and people would stop going to games.

    That's what investors are doing now, keeping their money out of the entrepreneurial games. Ayn Rand predicted all of this. Makes me want to puke. The Democrats and the Fed and thier oligarchic crony pals are wrecking this country. They need to be stopped at the ballot box, obviously.

    But more than that we need to reject the parasitic ideas like positive rights and wealth extortions and the people that hold them. They need to be de-selected, Darwin-style. Their ideas need to be ridiculed, their advocacy groups marginalized, and the people themselves need to be ostracized, and their misdeeds never forgotten.

    A nation divided on the issue of meriticracy cannot stand. You are either for it, and you make every effort to pull your weight, or you are against it, and you need to be rejected economically and socially. The parasites must be shunned and exiled from productive society.

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