From Glenn to Glenn

I'm late to note it, but Glenn Greenwald's essay on the Glenn Beck phenomenon and the tea party movement is a remarkable read, not least because it shows one of Obama's critics on the left reaching out to his critics on the right. Greenwald doesn't think much of Beck himself, writing that the talk show host "doesn't really appear to have any actual, identifiable political beliefs; he just mutates into whatever is likely to draw the most attention for himself and whatever satisfies his emotional cravings of the moment." And Greenwald is by no means fond of every element of the tea parties, noting that "this anti-Obama sentiment is being exploited by run-of-the-mill GOP operatives who have no objective other than to undermine Democrats and return the Republicans to power." But he's also aware that "there are some identifiable -- and plainly valid -- underlying causes to these protests that are neither Republican nor Democratic, or even left or right":

The pipes, the pipes are calling.Is opposition to the Wall Street bailout (supported by both parties' establishments) left or right? How about the view that Washington is inherently corrupt and beholden to the richest corporate interests and banks which, through lobbyist influence and vast financial contributions, own and control our political system? Is hostility towards Beltway elites liberal or conservative? Is opposition to the Surveillance State and endless expansions of federal police powers a view of liberals (who vehemently opposed such measures during the Bush era but now sometimes support or at least tolerate them) or conservatives (some of whom -- the Ron Paul faction -- objected just as vigorously, and naturally oppose such things regardless of who is in power as transgressions of the proper limits of government)? Liberals during the Bush era continuously complained about the doubling of the national debt, a central concern of many of these "tea party" protesters. Is the belief that Washington politicians are destroying the economic security of the middle class, while the rich grow richer, a liberal or conservative view? Opposition to endless wars and bankruptcy-inducing imperial policy generally finds as much expression among certain quarters on the Right as it does on the Left.

Some central political debates do break down along standard left-right lines (health care and tax policy). But there are many political issues that defy the conventional Left-Right political drama in which cable news traffics and which serves as the prism -- often the distorting and distracting prism -- for virtually all of our political discourse.

On a related note, here's a blogger describing the split that hit the Monterey tea party organization after he asked the local branch of Code Pink to co-sponsor a rally.

Bonus links: Jackie Wilson sings "Danny Boy." So does Roy Orbison. So do some Muppets.

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.

  • B||

    "...this anti-Obama sentiment is being exploited by run-of-the-mill GOP operatives who have no objective other than to undermine Democrats and return the Republicans to power."

    Wow, what a fucking surprise. A Republican operative acting to return Republicans to power. Man, that is a shock and thank God we have intrepid reporters like Greenwald exposing such a scandal. Can we expect two or three more articles on the subject written by "someone" else who just happens to have the same IP address as Greenwald?

    I love how those on the left act like their is something sinister here. I guess they forget the shit they pulled during the Bush presidency. Remember how they latched unto Cindy Sheehan before she started blaming the Jews and hopping jets down to Venezuala? Or how about their coziness with the anti-war nutbags who always found a way to bring signs about Mumia and the Palestinians to any and all protests? Making a big deal out of it, or any sort of deal, is silly.

  • Suki||

    Where would you rather live? In Gaza or Glenn Beck's green room?

  • zoltan||

    Texas

  • ||

    I had a conversation with someone this past weekend about Beck, Rush and the likes. Most of the points (liberties, rights violations and such) they make I agree with (can't get one to disagree with the death penalty, but hey that is the one liberal streak I have). However, their delivery could use some work, big time. But, I guess that they want viewers and some viewers are not satisfied without the doom and gloom.

  • JB||

    Obama has us with the a huge deficit that is projected to get much worse.

    Anyone who is not preaching a little doom and gloom is not paying attention.

  • Geotpf||

    I still don't understand what choice he (and Bush, for that matter) had, in terms of the bank bailout. Let every single bank in the United States fail at once? That would be just swell.

    As for the stimulous and the like-capitalistic economies are cylical. One way to reduce the short term pain is by increasing government spending on a short term basis.

    If neither of these things occurred, the gloom and doom you speak of wouldn't be something that theoritically could happen in the future, but would be happening right now, today.

    I suppose things like the health care plan fall into a different, non-emergency, category. But a lot of the deficit you worry about was an attempt by the Bush and Obama administrations to solve a huge short-term economic collapse.

  • JB||

    Notice your bullshit argument: Not bailing out a few giant banks means every bank fails.

    Are you that retarded? There were thousands of smaller and mid-size banks that were fine. Let them takeover from the morons.

    Only a small portion of the upcoming deficits is bail-out and stimulus. Most of it is from government program spending.

  • Thane Eichenauer||

    In the name of effectiveness let me plead with you to not insult others. It isn't effective and it isn't impressive.

    Make your point and move on. Let Rachel Maddow and her crowd do the insults - it harms them each and every day. Don't emulate those people.

  • JB||

    To be honest, it is rare to convince anyone of anything; convincing people to change political beliefs and illusions on the internet is even more difficult.

    The effectiveness is two-fold for me: 1. Getting bile out of my system generated by the utter stupidity of so many morons on this planet and 2. Pointing out bullshit so those who are on the fence can see it for what it is.

    I don't expect to convince someone who believes that the dichotomy is bail out a few super-banks or ALL BANKS FAIL!!!1!1!

  • Angela's Ashhole||

    "Wow, what a fucking surprise. A Republican operative acting to return Republicans to power. Man, that is a shock and thank God we have intrepid reporters like Greenwald exposing such a scandal."

    I thought the same thing. Who writes this crap?

  • Jesse Walker||

    I thought the same thing.

    Really? You thought Greenwald was calling it a "shock" and a "surprise" that Republicans are trying to return Republicans to power, and that he believed he was being"an intrepid reporter" in "exposing" a "scandal"? That's what you thought the point of the piece was?

  • ||

    Wow What a surprise. A Reason staffer is "shocked" to read a Hit&Run; commenter expressing faux outrage at a misinterpretation of what he posted.

  • Angela's Ashhole||

    Yeah. Really. Putz.

  • Angela's Ashhole||

    "That's what you thought the point of the piece was?"

    To clarify, not the point of the piece, per se, but certainly a point in and of itself:

    "this anti-Obama sentiment is being exploited by run-of-the-mill GOP operatives who have no objective other than to undermine Democrats and return the Republicans to power."

    Or is your point that we are to just gloss over this? That words don't matter?

  • ||

    No doubt he wouldn't have bothered to point this out if it was run-of-the-mill Democratic operatves exploiting anti-war sentiment to get Democrats back in power (which they did).

    However, that doesn't necessarily mean he was "shocked". He's just pointing it out as a matter of fact.

  • Jesse Walker||

    Angela, you'll have to point me to the part where Greenwald expresses shock or surprise that such operatives exist, or claims that he is exposing some unknown scandal.

    It seems clear to me -- and by "seems clear to me" I mean "is obviously true" -- that he's clearing his throat in that passage, acknowledging that there are people in the tea parties who he and most of his readers find disagreeable, before moving on to discuss the tea party sentiments he admires. This doesn't strike me as objectionable, especially since the group he's singling out -- GOP loyalists trying to co-opt the protests -- are a group libertarians frequently complain about as well.

  • Angela's Ashhole||

    If it makes you feel better I will point out that I honestly think you write better than Suderman.

  • ||

    If it makes you feel better I will point out that your screen name fits your personality perfectly.

  • Yeah||

    "Exploited" and "undermine" seem a little strong for just throat-clearin'.

  • Jesse Walker||

    An opinion can be strong and still be an aside.

  • Johnny Longtorso||

    We liberals represent The People, so it isn't a conspiracy when we act politically. Its plotting for them but just planning for us.

  • Angela's Ashhole||

    "Really? You thought Greenwald was calling it a "shock" and a "surprise

    To further clarify: No. I thought "B" wrote that "B" was shocked and surprised; here's why:

    B|10.6.09 @ 10:32AM|#
    "...this anti-Obama sentiment is being exploited by run-of-the-mill GOP operatives who have no objective other than to undermine Democrats and return the Republicans to power."

    Wow, what a fucking surprise. A Republican operative acting to return Republicans to power. Man, that is a shock and thank God we have intrepid reporters like Greenwald exposing such a scandal."

  • Jesse Walker||

    I'll drop your "I thought the same thing" down the memory hole, then.

  • Jesse Walker||

    ...and if you don't see that B was sarcastically summarizing what he took to be the point of Greenwald's post, you're thicker than B.

  • Mister DNA||

    Remember how they latched unto Cindy Sheehan before she started blaming the Jews and hopping jets down to Venezuala?

    My timeline might be wrong, but I thought the left latched on to Cindy Sheehan until the day after Obama's election. Then they got embarrassed by all that stuff about Jews and the plane trips to Venezuela.

  • Jonas||

    Thank god someone on the left seems to understand the opposition.

    I have to say though, somebody needs to tell even the right-wing protesters that theirs is not a strictly right-wing perspective.

    It's amazing to see how many people on both sides don't really see how much agreement there is right now about surveillance and wiretapping, bank and auto company bailouts, cronyism, foreign intervention and war-mongering, etc. If people would for one second stop trying to fit themselves into the left-right paradigm and focus on the objects of their mutual hatred, they might get something done.

    And I don't mean that in a "let's be bipartisan and work together" way. I mean it in a "hey let's decapitate the mother fuckers we can all agree are ruining the country" kind of way. Oh, but I dream...

  • JB||

    The Left is out to lunch. If Obama the messiah does it, it's automatically good and they cheer.

    The first tea-party I went to was a mixed bag of right-wing, libertarian, independent and Democrat. Not many Lefties though.

  • Obey the Fist||

    I don't know why you righties keep calling Obama the Messiah. I thought you had Jesus for that, and that being the Messiah was a good thing, and that you hate Obama's guts. How is he the Messiah?

  • JB||

    Wow you are one dense retarded fetus.

    I am not a 'rightie' (whatever your warped fetus mind thinks that is), and you and your ilk treat him like he is your messiah.

  • SpongePaul||

    "doesn't really appear to have any actual, identifiable political beliefs;

    Well thats because you were looking for R or D beliefs, when he is a libertarian and yes we are hard to pin down in a R and D system, because we incoparate beliefs from both parties along with our own.

  • Jesse Walker||

    thats because you were looking for R or D beliefs

    That's pretty much the exact opposite of Greenwald's point.

  • Suki||

    Jesse, Jesse, Jesse . . .

    You are starting to sound like a Literature instructor ;)

  • ||

    I like when the Reason staff post here in the comments, but it does make me a little more reluctant to post myself; who wants to risk a smack down?

  • Kolohe||

    It's Jesse Walker, not Jesse Ventura.

  • @||

    He shoots, he scores!

  • ||

    I think Greenwald is just using an old trope: "The people opposing us don't really have principles, they're just being contrary." Find some inconsistency in what a commentator or politician has said, and tah-dah, "proof" of lack of principles. Has Greenwald excoriated Obama/Pelosi/Reid for their inconsistencies on Afghanistan, ethics and transparency in government, etc.? Feminists for not denouncing Polanski, Letterman, and the media's treatment of Sarah Palin? I suspect not. Greenwald's not being insightful or even-handed, just partisan.

  • Untermensch||

    Reading comprehension: F-

    Actually, try reading some of Greenwald's writing before calling him “partisan”. I know it's a novel idea and the best critiques are of books nobody’s read and all, but it actually does work...

    For instance, today he absolutely eviscerated a thinly disguised propaganda piece from the administration that was published in the Washington Post. I actually took the time to look at Greenwald’s writing, and he is a ruthless critic of the Obama administration on civil liberties issues, so I don’t think he’s being partisan.

    Actually, if you even bothered to read the article referenced here, you’d find out that he’s saying many of the Tea Party issues are ones that transcend party boundaries and that the left should pay attention to the concerns despite the partisan use of them. I don’t know about you, but that sure doesn’t sound like a partisan argument to me. But what do I know since I only read the article?

  • ||

    Good to know that he has attacked the Obama administration on some points, at least. I don't follow his writings. And maybe I didn't phrase things well, but when someone writes "doesn't really appear to have any actual, identifiable political beliefs" and "GOP operatives who have no objective other than to undermine Democrats and return the Republicans to power" that strikes me as the essence of partisanship. It's saying that the opposition has no principles, just opposition. Or I suppose one could be generous and say it's merely cynical rather than partisan, but in either case, it's not insightful or interesting.

  • Untermensch||

    Thanks for taking my response in good humor. Of course he has a bit of Rah, rah, Team D! about him, but in general he's pretty critical of them from his own vantage point. He's certainly not a partisan shill who believes in the inherent rightness of his party and the inherent wrongness of the other party. His article today absolutely lambasted the groundless arguments made by Obama in favor of FISA and other Bush-era policies that Obama had previously denounced. So you certainly don't get a free ride from him just for being on Team D.

  • Untermensch||

    Actually, he's the sort of liberal who believes in liberalism and—as a result of that belief—goes pretty hard on liberals for failing to live up to their claims. I'd rather talk to him than to someone on the other end who goes hard on liberals just because they are liberals.

  • Obey the Fist||

    "He’s saying many of the Tea Party issues are ones that transcend party boundaries and that the left should pay attention to the concerns despite the partisan use of them"

    Honestly, as a lefty, I think this is one of the hardest things to come to terms with in our current political environment. It's like believing in an individual's right to gun ownership while living next door to a right-wing militia member who's stock piling weapons for the coming race war. Difficult to stand up for your principles when you think you might be facilitating your own demise.

  • JB||

    I encourage you to move somewhere where you will be comfortable with your Lefist/socialist/wimp views. Honestly, get out and move to France or Canada. Go.

  • Guy Smiley||

    I disagree. The point that I got out of this article was that Glenn Greenwald doesn't know what a Libertarian is. All of his examples of positions that transcend Republican and Democrat were just Libertarian Positions. Yet he seemed to think that he was discovering something new, that there is no word for.

  • Untermensch||

    That’s what we see, but I don’t think it’s as coherent as that, and I don’t see that most of the Tea Partiers are libertarian (even little-L). They may have libertarian leanings, but most of them (as witnessed by the second blog that was linked to), are conservative. There is a lot of anger at the Obamaite arrogating of power to Washington, but most of the Tea Partiers I happen to know are more than happy to support the War on Drugs, etc., so it's not a principled object to the use of power, but a pragmatic one. You can't build a coalition on that as a libertarian because it's inevitable that they won’t want to go far enough and you will want to go too far for them.

    So I don’t think he fails to get it, but what he identifies (correctly) is a superficially libertarian populism that would not want (or work for) a real libertarian outcome. Of course, I'll take what I can get, but I'm not buying that there is a great libertarian middle out there that someone could tap into. What there may be is a great, distrustful middle that is jealous and fearful of power, but that does not equal in any sense a commitment to freedom and liberty (even though they will use the language of liberty).

  • Bruce Majors||

    The question is not whether they are already libertarians bit whether they are educable and ripe for education

  • oaktownadam||

    Actually, I think Greenwald nailed it...Beck is not a libertarian, he's an alarmist partisan hack. Witness his support for the Patriot Act, or this:
    http://mediamatters.org/research/200909230042

    It's not even that he just misinterpreted the constitution...but he was trying to make the point that immigration is too easy nowadays!

    Greenwald is right, Beck has no coherent worldview, only paranoia and Mormonism.

  • ||

    Well, I think one can be a libertarian (though perhaps not a purist one) and be opposed to massive immigration from the Third World. As Obey the Fist noted above, it's difficult to stand up for your principles when you think you might be facilitating your own demise, so it's understandable to be wary of importing tens of millions of poor people who often have little knowledge or sympathy with libertarian principles and instead come from political cultures that sing the virtues of socialism.

  • ¢||

    Nothing says "We reject you, all libertarians!" like resisting being co-opted by Code Pink.

    Punchable "libertarian" needs punching. So much punching.

  • Xeones||

    If Beck is a libertarian, then i'm Amish.

    Greenwald came this close to getting the ultimate stupidity of trying to cram something as complicated as personal beliefs into simple left-right categories. Then he kind of backed off.

  • Suki||

    If Beck is a libertarian, then i'm Amish.

    You are so NOT borrowing my Amish girl outfit for that!

  • Angela's Ashhole||

    I lived among the Amish in Central PA. They are reputed to be flashers, though none ever flashed me..

  • ||

    Have my own, thanks, with cute little locking...

    Wait, I think I'm on the wrong site.

  • peachy||

    Not really.

  • ||

    Yeah, I know. I'm just not prepared to start down that path, or next thing you know we'll have Ayn-Rand-smoking-fetish-slash postings.

  • JB||

    Beck is on at the gym (which really floors me where I live) so I catch his show a few times a week. He tends to say he is becoming more libertarian, not that he is one.

  • ||

    I have a lot more (infinitely more) respect for Glenn Greenwald than that jabbering imbecile Beck.

  • Xeones||

    You are so NOT borrowing my Amish girl outfit for that!

    No... no, i'm not.

  • ||

    Go read Greenwald's coverage of telecom immunity (including his story about trying to get into the telecom lobbyists party at the Democratic convention).

    Then tell me what Beck had to say about it.

    Where does Beck stand on the murder of detainees?

  • Monolith||

    I'm impressed by how many economic commentators who constantly claim to be pro free market somehow see the bailout of banks as somehow not being a government intervention.

  • ||

    OHHH JESSSEEEE BOOYYYY...

    Greenwald has consistently been the most intellectually honest journalist on the left, and this is an example of why. He surprises me, though--usually someone with his intelligence and standards comes over to the dark side (libertarianism), because the other sides are horrible places if you look at them with any kind of sense.

  • JB||

    It's a very low standard and one I'm not sure Greenwald lives up to. He often comes across as a moron when I see him cited.

  • ||

    "It's a very low standard and [...] I [...] come across as a moron [...] when [...] cited"

    Reading source material has a place.

  • JB||

    I've seen him cited more than a few times and went and read the cited articles. Each time he didn't come across as all that much different from the retarded fetus Left.

    The paragraphs cited here are an exception. Maybe it will start a new trend. One can only hope for that change.

  • ||

    OHHH JESSSEEEE BOOYYYY...

    Everybody wants to be a mick.

  • ||

    You must not know about Greenwald's sock-puppetry or you wouldn't call him "intellectually honest."

  • Ska||

    It's just so much easier to call someone a redneck than to admit your side is playing you. And that's what being a real patriotic American is all about.

  • ||

    usually someone with his intelligence and standards comes over to the dark side (libertarianism)

    There are times when seems like he's teetering at the edge of the abyss. Especially when he writes aboiut the drug war.

  • ||

    Wait until he's teetering on the edge of rejecting single-payer healthcare.

  • Attorney||

    the talk show host "doesn't really appear to have any actual, identifiable political beliefs; he just mutates into whatever is likely to draw the most attention for himself and whatever satisfies his emotional cravings of the moment."

    I am shocked, shocked to find opportunism here!

  • ||

    In one important sense, the "tea party" movement is similar to the Obama campaign for "change": it stays sufficiently vague and unspecific to enable everyone to read into what they want, so that people with fundamentally irreconcilable views believe they're part of the same movement.

    -Greenwald

  • JB||

    I would disagree to an extent. Most of the movement wants to cut government spending. That's a pretty solid position that's opposed by large numbers of Democrats and Republicans.

  • Spartacus||

    It certainly started out that way, but around where I live it seems to be becoming more the mirror image of those lefty anarcho-choice-mumia-palestine-Pink parades that we used to marvel at for their incoherence.

  • JB||

    Any sizable event will attract fringes, but count the signs that are talking about money. I would include the health care signs as part of this since there is no way they will come up with a bill that spends less money.

  • ||

    Yeah it is nice that Greenwald is all sympathetic to objections to corporate bailouts. But do not forget Greenwald's sollution to that would be to regulate those corporations out of existence and repeal the first ammendment as it applies to political speech to keep anyone from complaining about it.

    Leopards don't change their spots. Greenwald is the same authoritarian douschbag he has always been.

  • Tony||

    You think Greenwald is an authoritarian? Really? He's one of the few prominent bloggers who's taken a consistent stand against all of the authoritarian abuses of both the Bush and Obama administrations. He's far better on these issues than you are with your knee-jerk tendency to defend the GOP.

    Greenwald, like all good liberals, simply recognizes that there are other power centers in the country besides the federal government. Liberals work against abuses of power wherever it exists, even corporate america.

  • JB||

    Oh, so that's why they are going after Charlie Rangel, right?

    STFU Tony.

  • Tony||

    Rangel has been undergoing investigation by the House Ethics Committee for more than a year.

    I'm sure when Greenwald has been satisfied that the problems of torture, indefinite detention, wiretapping, corporate ownership of government, a sycophantic news industry, and military industrial colonialism are solved he'll get around to writing about Charlie Rangel's back taxes so that you can get a nice squeeze out knowing that a Democrat got caught in wrongdoing.

  • ||

    Rangel has been undergoing investigation by the House Ethics Committee for more than a year.

    And yet nothing has happened to him. He is still in his position of power - in charge of the freaking tax code, for pete's sake.

    The guy is a crook and needs to be removed if he won't step down. So much for Pelosi's "most honest, open and ethical Congress ever."

    And it's not too hard to find a Democrat getting caught in wrongdoing. Let's see - Whitewater, Travel Gate, Congressman William Jefferson, Murtha bribes on tape, Tom "oops I forgot my taxes" Daschle, and more...

  • Tony||

    Has anyone claimed that Democrats are blameless and pure? I'm just saying that there are bigger fish to fry for liberals at the moment than Charlie Rangel's back taxes and other issues, which are being dealt with institutionally unlike some slightly bigger issues to which I referred above.

  • JB||

    Shorter: liberals have no problem with their abuses of government power because there are bigger fish to fry. Rules and laws are for the little people...and corporations.

  • Tony||

    Rangel is being dealt with! You really expect Greenwald to set aside all of the massive problems he addresses to satisfy some brainwashed jerkoff who likes seeing Dems go down? Greenwald's MAIN SHTICK is to point out the two sets of laws that seem to exist for "little people" and the powerful.

  • Tony||

    And he never applies a different standard to a person based on their political party.

  • JB||

    Rangel is being dealt with because Tony says so!

    Tony is sucking him off in the alley as we speak.

  • Thom||

    Greenwald, like all good liberals, simply recognizes that there are other power centers in the country besides the federal government.

    I've never met any self-identified liberal who felt this way. Generally they seem to believe that if it should be done, then the federal government is the one who should be doing it.

  • Tony||

    Liberals believe the government shouldn't start illegal wars and torture people with or without a trial. We also believe corporations shouldn't be able to abuse people and the environment with impunity. It takes government oversight to prevent both, oversight that has been lacking in the post-Reagan era of government nihilism you guys parrot.

  • JB||

    Holy fuck you stupid fuckwit. You mean I could currently hit you in the face with the Federal Register a hundred times and you wouldn't care because it is so tiny?

    Lack of regulation my ass. Barney Fuckbag and Chris Doddering-idiot used tons of regulation to encourage the buying of homes by people who could not afford them.

    Fuck you and your shitty regulations.

  • Tony||

    And somehow we always get to the alternate reality created by GOP sockpuppets on the teevee. Facts creating problems with your ideology? Make new ones!

  • ||

    Project much?

  • ||

    Er that was a reply to Tony.

  • ||

    Anyone else noticing that threaded comments are buggy? Not nesting properly? Or in the right spot?

  • JB||

    You have no clue what reality is, you retarded troll.

    Even non-retarded Leftists admit that Barney Fuckfriend and Chris Dadfuck pushed government regulations in an attempt to push home ownership.

  • Thom||

    We also believe corporations shouldn't be able to abuse people and the environment with impunity. It takes government oversight to prevent both

    Gotcha. So while you recognize that there are power centers outside of the federal government, you view this is a problem that needs to be solved through further consolidation of power. (Except of course, when a Republican wants to use that power to do something you disagree with.)

  • Tony||

    It's my right to have opinions about policy. Some policies are good and some aren't. I just don't see government as this black hole sucking liberty away by every action. Properly construed it is supposed to enhance individual liberty by guarding against external powers, be they nature, invaders, or multinational corporations.

  • Tony||

    But libertarian deference to the actions of what amount to mini-dictatorships is something that's always puzzled me. It's like you're perfectly fine with feudalism as long as it's not evil government doing it.

  • Thom||

    I'm not really sure what you're talking about here.

    You've lost me.

  • ||

    Explain to me how exactly selling cokes and hamburgers amounts to an "evil dictatorship".

    Unless you seriously think that people are helpless before the demon advertsing.

  • Tony||

    Corporations are in essence authoritarian dictatorships. Employees are more or less helpless before employers, and the standard libertarian line is to make them even more helpless. You don't value individual liberty at all, you just have a pavlovian hatred of government.

  • ||

    Okay.
    You either have no idea what it's like to live in an actual authoritarian dictatorship, or you have a "pavlovian" hatred of corporations that defies rational thought.

    I've known lots of people who have worked for large corporations. I have myself. And it's just completely fucking laughable to suggest that working for a "corporation" (*gasp*) is like living in a totalitarian state.

    You fucking nuts Tony. Completely fucking insane.

  • Tony||

    It's a powerful entity with a single authoritarian leader to whom a good chunk of the wealth produced within that society goes. There is no free speech or, within the context of that society, freedom to dissent at all. Sounds pretty authoritarian to me. Your inability to apply the same standards vis a vis liberty to these mini-societies as you do government is the reason libertarian rhetoric is so often coopted to advance corporatism.

  • ||

    It's totally ridiculous to call a corporation a "mini-society", unless you contend that people eat, sleep, and marry inside it, never leaving the building. While that may be true of individual employees (I've known a few who cmae pretty close), generally not the ones who find their jobs unpleasant.

    Moreover, it's compeletely erroneous to say there is no freedom of speech or dissent within a corporation. There are bad managers here and there who hate dissenters, but most halfway decent managers prefer to cultivate an atmosphere where people can disagree on policy.

    Also, I've had more than a few debates, political, religious, or otherwise, with fellow employees over lunch or at the proverbial water cooler.

    You're bizarre view of the totalitarian live inside major corporations appears to be entirely a fictional creation of your own pathological anti-corporate mindset.

  • ||

    Damn typos....

  • Tony||

    I don't care what you call it, the relevant question is 'can they be oppressive to individual liberty?' The answer is quite clearly yes, in more ways than stifling free speech.

    I'm not saying all the protections citizens have against government should be applied to corporations--that would be absurd. But it's equally absurd to say you value individual liberty but claim that the only threat to that is government. A mugger pointing a gun at me is a non-government threat to my liberty. Indeed government is the entity that steps in to secure my liberty from that oppressor.

    Corporations can abuse people too, legally or otherwise. But they're much, much more powerful than a mugger and affect many more people. To my mind that means regulatory oversight should be commensurately strong. Government--for all its failures to live up to the ideal--has all sorts of checks and balances meant to mitigate abuse. Corporations have no such structure and in the absence of strong regulation will inevitably abuse people (or fail to contribute to the easing of abuse) when it is profitable to do so. Someone once said that if a corporation were really a person it would be a sociopath--single-minded, amoral, and totally self-interested. Should we not keep an eye on such a thing?

  • MJ||

    A business has to convince people to do business with it in order to survive. Systematically abusing vendors, employees and customers harms that, and is never profitable in the long run. There is a mechanisim governing the behavior of corporations but you are too narrowminded to really understand it. You've heard of market forces but the operation is a type of magic to you.

    Unless, of course, you do understand them but prefer huge government because you are a totalitarian bastard.

  • Tony||

    I understand market forces, I just don't think they are the same thing as magic utopia generators.

  • ||

    But taking people's property, and subjecting them to the arbitrary whims of regulators with a vast an complex code at their disposal, selectively enforced, and impossible not to violate, that no problem.

  • VinceP1974||

    Tony: You fucking Leftists believe in NOTHING other than the pursuit of power for its own sake.

    Oh , you stupid hypocrite, I missed all the outrage when Clinton took America to war against Serbia.

    No UN Resolution
    No Declaration of War
    No Congressional Authorization to Use Force.

    And that didn't stop that idiot Wesely Clark from almost launching an attack on the Russian Army at some airport in Yugoslavia.

  • ||

    Except when those abuses of power involve stopping people from making profits and spending their own money on whatever they want.

    Soda taxes? Not an abuse of power...
    Eminent domain? Not an abuse of power ...
    Regulating crafters out of business? Not an abuse of power ...
    Forcing people to buy mandatory health insurance? Not an abuse of power ...
    Forcing insurance companies to pay for medical care for people who are sick before they buy insurance? Not an abuse of power ...

    Wait, I forgot, if the majority votes for it, it can't be an abuse of power, right? Not if it involves taking money from people anyway.

  • Thom||

    Wait, I forgot, if the majority votes for it, it can't be an abuse of power, right? Not if it involves taking money from people anyway.

    If the majority votes for it, it's not an abuse of power, it's democracy. And democracy is always good!

  • ||

    But ... the majority reelected Bush. So does that mean that detainee abuse and wiretapping aren't abuses of power now?

    It seems like abuses of power by majorities can only happen when they don't invovle taking money from people.

    Odd....

  • Thom||

    But ... the majority reelected Bush. So does that mean that detainee abuse and wiretapping aren't abuses of power now?

    Now you're getting it!

  • JB||

    I can't wait for the majority to vote for higher taxes on Democrats.

    Those fuckers are going to put their money where their mouths are.

  • ||

    That's not a bad idea. Why don't you just require people who register as Democrat to pay higher taxes, and get those awesome government provided healthcare plans. And people who register as Republican - that's an opt-out. Low taxes, fewer services.

    (Seriously, why not?)

  • oaktownadam||

    Because the fancy entitlement programs that Democrats love so much would fall apart instantly if people were allowed to opt out of them.

    Seriously, go try asking on a liberal site about being able to opt out, and they'll sneer at you and say "Sure, you can opt out, as long as you keep paying in".

    Deep down, they recognize that their entire system is based upon coercion. They just rationalize it by convincing themselves that it's for the good of "the people". Whether "the people" want it or not.

  • oaktownadam||

  • JB||

    I would push them, but I actually have a pair of balls unlike 99.9% of Republican fuckbags.

    Any Democrat that votes against bills like that is a hypocrite and any Republican that votes against is just like the Democrats.

  • smartass sob||

    Cuz there ain't enough Democrats to pay for all the shit they think they're entitled to?

  • smartass sob||

    That was a reply to Hazel Meade's question. I should have refreshed before posting - sorry.

  • nj||

    There is nothing remotely authoritarian about Greenwald. He is one of the better civil libertarians out there . We talking about a guy who defended Matthew Hale, so yeah he is pretty down with the first ammendment

  • ||

    What is his position on campaign finance reform? If he supports it, he is not down with the first amendment.

  • ||

    Liberals work against abuses of power wherever it exists, even corporate america.

    That's some funny shit, Tony.

  • hamilton||

    I agree, GG's blog is on my shortcuts and probably one of the few liberal blogs I really enjoy reading. He does have his Blue Team moments though, and tends to forget (recent) examples of Team Blue doing the same stuff Team Red is doing now, but he's generally OK.

  • ||

    I have asked a few people at work already, but figured there seems to be enough people here that despise Beck that maybe I can get an answer. What is it that makes Beck worthy of your hate? I can't seem to figure it out. Granted, I don't listen to him much, but the little that I have, he sounds pretty reasonable for a talk show host.

    Is he a racist? Proof?
    Does he push wacky conspiracy theories? Which ones?
    Any thing else that is completely without basis or off the wall?

  • Mike M.||

    If you want paranoia and off-the-wall conspiracy theories, go back and read some of Greenwald's writings about the anthrax investigation.

    He is one of these far left wing loons who believed that the anthrax attacks were perpetrated by the military, or perhaps even the Bush administration himself, when in reality it was nothing but a deranged, rogue government employee looking for a way to justify his life's work and get more funding; a crazed coward who killed himself rather than face the music when he finally got caught.

    Glenn Greenwald is a typical lefty loser. Fuck him.

  • ||

    Did you read those writings? Many facts that were irrefutable, certainly rising above conspiracy theory.

  • Mike M.||

    Did you read those writings?

    Of course I did, that's why I brought them up!

    Many facts that were irrefutable, certainly rising above conspiracy theory.

    Total rubbish. The fact is that the anthrax victims were killed by the cowardly, nutty government employee Bruce Ivins, regardless of whatever ultra-paranoid leftist psychos like Greenwald want to believe.

  • T||

    I'm impressed by how many economic commentators who constantly claim to be pro free market somehow see the bailout of banks as somehow not being a government intervention.

    In general, the D and R folks pay lip service to the free market but start throwing out qualifiers as soon as it produces results they don't like. So they'll keep talking about the free market while simultaneously trying to eviscerate it.

  • ||

    I think they are driven by two things. First, is the Megan McArdle effect. McArdle was all for TARP because she is a Wharton MBA and if it didn't go through a lot of her friends would lose their jobs. Further, she just won't admit to the idea that maybe those finance people screwed up and deserved to go broke. Nope. It was all an unfortunate accident that must be cleaned up to save the world economy. Second, is they get seduced by the idea of "doing something". It is really hard to say that things are lousy but they will do better if left alone. That kind of answer doesn't appeal to the two bit intellectual that writes in the media these days. All "intellectuals" must offer sollutions rather than common sense advice like "first do no harm" or "sometimes bad things happen and there is nothing you can do about it".

  • Citizen Nothing||

    aelhues, I don't get all the Beck hate either. Of course, I only occasionally hear him on the radio and have never seen his TV gig.

  • ||

    It is because people off of the approved cool list like him. Hating Beck is a way for leftists to slime conservatives as ignorant neanderthals and for conservatives to show leftists that they are not like the rest of the proles. It is cultural snobbery through and through.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Wait a minute...
    I thought I was on the approved cool list...

  • JB||

    Beck is over the top at times and that's part of his showmanship. He is a comedian and I think people don't realize he is being serious AND poking fun with some of his hyperbole. It's the argument from absurdity.

    He isn't perfect, but I respect him more than the NYT.

  • Tony||

    Where I come from comedians are funny and showmen wear sequins. Beck is a 3rd rate agitation propagandist.

  • JB||

    Where you come from is nutjob-land.

  • ||

    I can tolerate listening to Glenn Beck far longer than I can tolerate listening to Hannity or Limbaugh. I do listen to all occasionally, but Beck seem to say a lot more that seems just common sense, while Hannity and Limbaugh basically spout neocon dogma. Plus Beck is genuinely funny a lot of the time and more entertaining, although I don't agree with everything he says. I do find myself agreeing with him more often than with Hannity or Limbaugh, though. I just wish Beck wouldn't cry so much.

  • Attorney||

    Same here. Hannity and Limbuagh have zero entertainment value IMO. Beck is at least funny fairly often. (On the radio. I can't take the TV show. His face bugs me.)

  • MJ||

    Limbaugh's a neocon? Really? Do you have any idea what that word means besides that you don't like it?

    Limbaugh's more of Buckley school conservative, not a Kristol style.

  • Lester Hunt||

    Long ago, I thought that given that there are so many things on which libertarians and leftists agree, there are plenty of opportunities for cooperation between them. I have long since given up hope of that. The main reason it has never happened, in my opinion, is that most leftists are not nearly as rational as Greenwald. For most of them, politics is actually a religion and those who disagree with them are horrifying heretics.

  • JB||

    For most of them, politics is actually a religion and those who disagree with them are horrifying heretics.

    Yup. There is a quiz going around Facebook that identifies your friends' political affiliations (R or D only). A friend of mine noticed that the R people tended to have nearly even amounts of R and D friends. Whereas the D people were something like 80% D friends.

    Personally, the Democrats I've met (and they are legion) tend to be much less tolerant of dissenting views and will shun you because of it. Not all of them of course, but many more of them than Republicans.

  • ||

    That certainly fits my experience. San Francisco area lefties can be extremely intolerant of opposing political beliefs.

  • ||

    No shit. Lefties and Dems are the most intolerant people I've ever known. Seems to spring from some kind of deep insecurity that drives them to join the leftie herd. They get all bent about how supposedly intolerate those awful conservatives are, yet they cannot tolerate any departure from their dogma. A case of removing the beam from thine own, methinks.

  • Mo||

    For this to be the case, the Ds would have to have significantly more friends than the Rs.

    So it means that while Rs may be more tolerant, they're also friendless losers.

  • Mo||

    To clarify, I don't think is true, I think your friend has a limited sample size with their D friends having more friends in general. Or closed blinders to extremes of Rs in their friend list.

  • JB||

    Some people don't need tons of friends to validate themselves. People tend to get more conservative as they age and also tend to have fewer friends.

    I saw the same thing with my Democrat friends so I don't think it was a sample size problem. And it fits my experience of Lefties being far more intolerant.

  • ||

    I know I'm a horrifying heretic.

  • JB||

    Wow, Greenwald wrote sentences that make sense. I'm shocked.

  • ||

    BURN HIM!

  • Xeones||

    Liberals work against abuses of power wherever it exists, even corporate america.

    Tony, for once in your stupid life you have said a true thing. You and your fellow travelers are not liberals, though you have appropriated the term, but at least you reco'nize.

  • T||

    Further, she just won't admit to the idea that maybe those finance people screwed up and deserved to go broke. Nope. It was all an unfortunate accident that must be cleaned up to save the world economy.

    Well, my argument for letting the system implode is multi-faceted, but a primary one for me was just to clean up the system. If the financial system was so vulnerable to a single point failure, perhaps your system needs a drastic redesign. Clearing out the deadwood is the first step. Trying to prop up the existing system and paper over the weaknesses just ensures the structure is as unsound as it was beforehand, but prettier so no one worries.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Penn Jillette apparently gets along with Beck. That's a big plus in my book.

  • kolmogorov||

    Some of this is rather strained, as evidenced by the hedging words. Opposition to the "Surveillance State and endless expansions of federal police powers" is opposed by the Ron Paul faction of conservatives? That vast Ron Paul faction of conservatives? That's just another way of saying the Surveillance State is supported by conservatives, by and large. That you can find *someone* in a party who opposes some government power grab does not imply that there is any kind of generalized opposition from that party. And again, he says, "Opposition to endless wars and bankruptcy-inducing imperial policy generally finds as much expression among certain quarters on the Right as it does on the Left." You mean Pat Buchannan. Other than that, let's face it, the Right has been one big war drum ever since 9/11. It's virtually the main plank of their platform: "We'll keep you safe by kicking ass abroad". While the Left is giving Obama a free pass on war and surveillance and Guantanamo, they are clearly more uneasy with that than the Right.

    The converse is also true. By and large, the Left supports government power grabs that you would expect them to support. Expanded government meddling in the economy, fine by them. Bailouts for their UAW pals in the auto-industry? Thumbs up. You can probably find a few who don't agree, but their platform is: "We're the government, and we're here to help."

    It's just the Wall Street bailout that has bi-partisian opposition. There is no real groundswell for freedom. Both parties still hate our freedoms, they just differ on which freedoms they hate most.

  • T||

    While the Left is giving Obama a free pass on war and surveillance and Guantanamo, they are clearly more uneasy with that than the Right.

    A distinction without a difference. We're uneasy with it, but you're our guy, so it's cool, sorta. The same shitty policies are in effect, so what's the functional effect of the uneasiness? Not a damned thing.

  • ||

    You mean like ACORN?

    Nope, not a power center ...

  • Tony||

    Not one as well-funded or powerful as many other types of government contractors that the Beckies haven't spent a single breath ranting against.

    If you are concerned with ACORN to the exclusion of these actors then you're too stupid to realize you're being manipulated by the GOP noise machine.

  • ||

    You mean, like say all those "green energy" companies getting their backs scratched about now?
    Like the UAW? Or the auto industry?

  • Tony||

    How about Blackwater, which has actually committed felonies (some of them rather sadistic). Where is your outrage over that? Am I supposed to believe it's implied behind all of your ranting about a comparatively inconsequential organization (that hasn't in fact been charged with wrongdoing) that just happens to be on the Right's witch hunt list?

  • ||

    WTF happened to threaded comments?

  • ||

    Citizen Nothing,

    That's a pretty good piece that Penn, um, penned.

  • ||

    "Well, my argument for letting the system implode is multi-faceted, but a primary one for me was just to clean up the system. If the financial system was so vulnerable to a single point failure, perhaps your system needs a drastic redesign. Clearing out the deadwood is the first step. Trying to prop up the existing system and paper over the weaknesses just ensures the structure is as unsound as it was beforehand, but prettier so no one worries."

    You are exactly right. But you have to understand a lot of people have an interest in keeping the current system. If you let all of those banks fail, some of those finance people might have to work for a living. Smaller more inovative companies and individuals who are on the outside now would have a chance to step in and grow new and better institutions. That is great for the economy but really bad for the people who are on the inside now.

    And those people on the inside tend to be friends with journalists, who are themselves insiders or wannabes. People like McCardle let their coziness with the finance industry cloud their judgement.

  • ||

    This is a rather disappointing thread. Can't Greenwald make some interesting points about Beck and the tea parties while still being a typical liberal douche on economic issues?

    Someone noted it above, but the comparison between the tea party and Obama movements is compelling. I'm all for less government, just like the tea baggers, but I'd seriously question whether there was any consensus among tea baggers as to where government should be cut. I'd scale back the military and get rid of every alphabet soup bureaucracy, but that's just me.

  • ||

    First, don't use the term "tea bagger". It is really disgusting and partonizing. Second, you would probably get some debate at the tea parties about scaling back the military, although I am sure a lot of people would agree with you. But, you would get unanomous support in getting rid of every alphabet agency you can name. So, how about we do that first and deal with the military later?

    As far as Greenwald, his points are not particularly interesting. Yeah, most people are tired of the government and don't trust the government. Greenwald is correct in pointing that out. But, Greenwald is too stupid to look at how corrupt and mistrusted the government is and reflect on his own love of government intervention. The thought that gee maybe the government, becuase of its tendency to be corrupted, has no business having so much power and trying to do so much, never enters Greenwald's brain.

    On the one hand Greenwald admits that the government is corrupt and incompetant. But, on the other hand, he swears that it can get things right and run our lives better than we can if we only follow his plan.

  • ||

    I'd be proud to be called a tea bagger if I could have actually gone to a tea party.

  • ||

    Fair enough. It kind of bugs me. But that is just me.

  • JB||

    Anyone who uses the term 'tea bagger' to refer to others is a tea baggee.

  • ||

    Proud teabaggers in the tradition of John Hancock and Samuel Adams

  • ||

    But seriously, Greenwald's point is about political movements, not government, and it's a fascinating one that defies traditional party politics. The Obama movement coalesced around an individual, a Democrat, but plenty of lefties- like Greenwald- are already unhappy with Obama. But this tea party movement is truly fascinating as it has been grassroots and guys like Beck have only claimed some sort of mantle of leadership after the fact.

    What it really means is an opportunity for real libertarians and real limited government, but the problem is that the same spontaneous nature by which the movement came about defies political organization. So yes, there's opposition to Obama and the Democrat agenda, but there's no real political faction putting forth an alternative agenda.

  • Morris||

    Ever notice that Jesse Walker tries ever so subtlely to associate himself with the left? Maybe Jesse is getting tired of his role as right-wing propagandist and is planning to flip. Is there a tell-all expose of right-wing libertarianism in your future, Jesse?

  • Jesse Walker||

    I've been making common cause with liberals and leftists on a variety of libertarian issues for over two decades, Morris. I've written for their publications. I've quoted them here on Hit & Run. In 1998 I even helped organize one of their marches.

    I congratulate you on finally noticing this, even if it didn't register with you until another commenter pointed it out in the "Obama Is No Radical" thread. I'm impressed by your effort to reconcile it with your "right-wing propagandist" narrative. Keep trying!

  • Morris||

    So, Jesse, how do you reconcile your collaboration with leftists on "libertarian issues" with your Garden-variety right-wing demonization of government? What libertarian issues? How can your brand of right-wing libertarianism flourish in alimate of more government regulation of the market? Isn't that what the left stands for? What am I missing?

  • Jesse Walker||

    So, Jesse, how do you reconcile your collaboration with leftists on "libertarian issues" with your Garden-variety right-wing demonization of government?

    Anti-statism is not a left/right issue.

    How can your brand of right-wing libertarianism flourish in alimate of more government regulation of the market? Isn't that what the left stands for?

    I don't think "left" and "right" are very useful categories. There's plenty of people on the "left" who are hostile to government interventions at least part of the time, just as there are plenty of people on the "right" who reliably support certain sorts of government intervention. I don't buy the idea that people who identify with the left must always support economic regulation, just as I don't buy the idea that people who identify with the right must always support military action abroad.

  • Morris||

    Well, being resolutely wishy-washy is one way of avoiding responsibility the worship of the market that characterizes American libertarianism,I guess. Find me a leftist who wants to privatize social security. Find me a right-wing libertarian who thnks Social Security has been a success.

  • Jesse Walker||

    Well, being resolutely wishy-washy is one way of avoiding responsibility the worship of the market that characterizes American libertarianism,I guess.

    Congratulations. You've just achieved a new level of incoherence.

    Find me a leftist who wants to privatize social security. Find me a right-wing libertarian who thnks Social Security has been a success.

    Yes, libertarians are opposed to the Social Security system. But this is true of libertarians who identify with the left as much as libertarians who identify with the right:

    http://mutualist.blogspot.com/.....elloc.html

  • Morris||

    Your direct me to this site in answer to my request for a leftist who opposes Social Security, and you accuse me of incoherence???

  • T||

    Shouldn't you be off filing your nails while your faithful manservant holds your coat?

  • Xeones||

    Edward, kill yourself.

  • Meta4||

    "Jesse Walker|10.6.09 @ 1:09PM|#
    ...and if you don't see that B was sarcastically summarizing what he took to be the point of Greenwald's post, you're thicker than B."

    Man! That is some shitty customer service!

  • bubba||

    I don't think the code pink tangent is actually relevant. There's nothing "anti-war" about the tea parties. And it's really silly to say "this particular code pink organization isn't socialist."

    Ok, then those particular code pink members can take off their pink outfits and play tea party for the day.

  • P Brooks||

    The Obama movement coalesced around an individual, a Democrat, but plenty of lefties- like Greenwald- are already unhappy with Obama. But this tea party movement is truly fascinating as it has been grassroots and guys like Beck have only claimed some sort of mantle of leadership after the fact.

    And, if somebody manages to get out in front of the "Tea Party" phenomenon, and ride it to political success, he/she/it will immediately be labeled a "traitor" by a large percentage of the people in the movement, whose personal hopes and projections are unfulfilled.

  • T||

    And, if somebody manages to get out in front of the "Tea Party" phenomenon, and ride it to political success, he/she/it will immediately be labeled a "traitor" by a large percentage of the people in the movement, whose personal hopes and projections are unfulfilled.

    Herding cats is hard, doncha know.

  • JB||

  • ||

    Glen Beck is limited to what he can say and do. Fox Is a large network who is still trying to do honest jornlism. If you want the bigger picture then you have to come here. Remember who still watches TV. The elderly,people who work all day on a computer and dont want to see one when they get home and the children. So you have to be careful as to what you say because what is happening to America is like so unreal. Glen Beck gives in small doses.

  • ||

    Not only does Jesse deign to speak with LoneBoner, he also does so for Leftitty. You have much patience, Jesse.

  • ||

    If we're going to call the tea parties "teabaggers", I'm going to call progressives "donkey-punchers".

    Fair is fair.

  • Astroglide in Blue||

    "If we're going to call the tea parties "teabaggers", I'm going to call progressives "donkey-punchers"."

    Sweet!

  • bitter troglodyte||

    I hate threaded comments.

  • ||

    Say, shouldn't the title of this post have been "Glenn or Glennda"?

  • Xeones||

    I apologize for breaking my own boycott earlier, but fuck Edward/Lefiti/Morris/Shitdick/whoever, yo.

  • ||

    If we're going to call the tea parties "teabaggers", I'm going to call progressives "donkey-punchers".

    Nah. Gorilla-Maskers.

  • ||

    All this bickering and you have failed to realize that these two Glenn's harness the awesome power of FOUR FUCKING "Ns!"

    I will be writing a piece on Beck under my assumed byline, Glennn Greennnbeck.

  • ||

    I never understood the reasning for the name "Tea Party". I suppose this is taken from The Boston Tea Party. But the Boston Tea Party wasn't just about taxes. It was also that they believed that it violated their right to be taxed only by their own elected representatives. And an ongoing dispute about the extent of Parliament's authority, if any, over the British American colonies without seating any elected representation.

    "Taxation without representation". Unless one wants to argue that the current system doesn't provide for proper representation, I really don't think "Tea Party" is accurate.

  • Mona||

    Much spewed here about Greenwald is amusing, but the most entertaining has been the several assertions that he does not know what a "libertarian" or "libertarian position" is.

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    Teh google is your friend. Try "Greenwald and Cato" -- further, I assure you he knew what libertarians were well before these events.

    As for the rest of his detractors, when y'all can analyze legislation and the law -- as well as media dysfunction -- to the extent he is able, do try again. But not until.

  • ||

    Hey Mona,

    When you kiss my ass, I might consider listening to you. But not until.

    Cheers.

  • Chad||

    Is the belief that Washington politicians are destroying the economic security of the middle class, while the rich grow richer, a liberal or conservative view

    It surely isn't a conservative view. Conservatives view the "rich growing rich" phenomenon as a natural market outcome, and therefore inherently just and desirable.

    They are half right. It IS a natural market phenomenon, caused by a shift in the very structure of our economy - globalization. However, the next step in their logic fails. How can it be that both the old and new income distributions are fair, given that rich people aren't any smarter or hard working now than they were last year or a few decades ago? Does anyone actually believe CEO's are ten times as bright as they were in the 60s? Yet, relative to everyone else, they get paid ten times more than back then.

    As the world globalizes, the economic system creates fewer, bigger winners. Where before each state might have had a dozen competing grocery chains, most now only have a handful that have survived the onslaught of Walmart. So instead of a few hundred pretty wealthy families across the country, you have fifty pretty wealthy families and the Waltons. The same general pattern occurs across almost all industries...fewer bigger winners.

    To libertarians, this trend means nothing. They would continue to justify it until the day WalDonaldSoft beats out GooGEapple for world dominance.

  • MJ||

    "Is opposition to the Wall Street bailout (supported by both parties' establishments) left or right? How about the view that Washington is inherently corrupt and beholden to the richest corporate interests and banks which, through lobbyist influence and vast financial contributions, own and control our political system?"

    Could it be because while people on the left and right have come to same general conclusion, they have done so for rather different reasons?

    Like the right believes that bailing out business failures distorts the proper functioning of the market by mitigating the punishment badly/stupidly behaving companies are supposed to receive. The left however, believes that corporate influence prevents the government from micromanaging the economy to nirvana. Maybe that means that left and right will vehemently disagree on what the solution to the problem is?

  • Mona||

    When you kiss my ass, I might consider listening to you. But not until.

    Such a compellingly intellectual reply to me (and by extension, Jesse) is worth of all of my further comment.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement