Economics

Guess Who's Into the Recession? Leftards Hoping For a Whole-Scale Shift in American Culture, That's Who.

|

Over at Splice Today, Russ Smith points to recent stories in Time, Newsweek, and The American Prospect celebrating the new frugality that's all the vogue among lefty recessionists. Writers such as Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman, journalist Kurt Anderson, and Cornell economist Robert Frank are pushing the idea that maybe just maybe the current crisis will kill the glorious consumer culture that hath given so many spoils to so many people. Especially if the gummint rewrites tax codes to discourage wasteful spending at all levels.

Bushwah, says Smith:

The left doesn't want to hear it, but once the recession does end, the country will need a fully-engaged, humming economy, and for that to happen it's imperative that talented, business-oriented individuals lead the way. Government's role is to be the umpire, not the shortstop, pitcher, and clean-up hitter all in one. It's too early to tell whether Obama, at least if he wants to be re-elected, understands that the United States is a centrist country, and once the furor over AIG and TARP companies dies down, if he tacks to the left and embarks on a program of income redistribution, a Howard Jarvis-like populism will take hold and his "transformative" plans will be scuttled.

Whole bit here.

Advertisement

NEXT: Is the Bailout Constitutional?

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.

  1. I don’t understand libtards hatred for consumer America. I don’t understand their hatred for prosperity. I don’t think they will be satisfied until we are all living naked in the forest.

    http://www.notoriouslyconservative.com

  2. Especially if the gummint rewrites tax codes to discourage wasteful spending at all levels.

    If I want it, and I earned the means to buy it, it not wasteful.

    Even if it’s a snuggie…

  3. Dammit, bring back the consumer culture! How am I supposed to find awesome deals in overstock outlets if there are no retail stores with surpluses to sell cheap? How am I supposed to find great items in secondhand shops if there are no prodigal rich women to donate said items? These anti-consumerist idiots are killing the goose that laid the golden eggs.

  4. HAHA!

    Your corporate capitalist system is going away and there is nothing you Rightards can do about it!

  5. Sigh. Look, everyone knows that the liberal utopia is only possible when we have flying cars, space travel, togas, meals in pill form, effective full-immersion virtual reality with haptic interfaces, fusion power, home-based nanomanufacturing, and all-knowing, benevolent AI to rule and protect us. In other words, they need to wait a century or so until the free market supplies all those things.

  6. It’s all fun and games until some Lefty gets beaten unconscious.

  7. It’s all fun and games until some Lefty gets beaten unconscious.

    All the right knows is violence.

  8. Saxon violence.

  9. I’m 6’3″ and 150kg.

    Bring it bitch!

  10. Yo, fuck Barack Obama’s “transformative” plans.

  11. I haven’t been here much recently. I used to visit daily but started to find the incoherent randianism grating. On a lark, I pop by and see that you used “leftard” in a headline. Goddamnit, when you guys jump the shark, you jump HIGH!

  12. That’s a really great story, ramster. It is so awesome that you typed that.

  13. “It’s all fun and games until some Lefty gets beaten unconscious.”

    You mean beating lefties unconcious isn’t part of fun and games?

    Who knew.

  14. It’s all fun and games until some Lefty gets beaten unconscious.

    Since they’ve banned guns so many places we can’t shoot as easily.

  15. “I’m 6’3″ and 150kg.

    Bring it bitch!”

    larger, slower, target

    It hath been brought!!!!

    Government intervention will continue as long as Big O can maintain his political capital, and with a raving, largely retarded public, that might be a long time.

  16. ramster,

    You said it. It seems they’ve just been throwing stuff at the wall to see what sticks.

  17. Especially if the gummint rewrites tax codes to discourage wasteful spending at all levels.

    When will the hypocrites in Congress discourage wasteful spending in government?

  18. maybe just maybe the current crisis will kill the glorious consumer culture that hath given so many spoils to so many people

    Pfft. Dream big, Lefties.

  19. hmm,

    good point. lolz

    But seriously, the question is, how long can he do the redistribution thingy under the guise of fixing what the rich republicans screwed up.

  20. Academic economist sucking public and private money to continue the absolute farce that science has become, in the academic world, constitutes the use of libtard.

  21. I’m very proud of my thriftiness and ability to forego luxuries I can afford.

    How the hell am I supposed to feel this kind of high and mightiness if the hoi polloi start making the same decisions (whether by necessity or option)?

  22. The right has a problem with sex. The left has a problem with money. It’s an old story.

  23. Leftists are perfectly fine with “consumer culture” as long as they get to choose the winners and the losers. How many expressing a disdain for “consumerism” live a life devoid of it? 1%? Maybe? When resisting consumer culture is defined as buying a Saab rather than a Dodge pick-up, they should just all STFU.

  24. Especially if the gummint rewrites tax codes to discourage wasteful spending at all levels.

    Oh! You mean *our* wasteful spending!

    Silly me, I thought they were talking about fiscal discipline at the federal level or something. Thank god we have leftists around to let us know it’s all our fault.

  25. It is meaningless to say this is a centrist country. Based on what scale that is etched in which stone? Better to describe what policies most Americans prefer.

    I’ll give you a hint: it’s not putting all our faith in “business-oriented individuals”!

    And please spare us this obnoxious comparison of sniveling plutocrats to populist heroes.

  26. The right has a problem with sex. The left has a problem with money. It’s an old story.

    No, the right has a problem with other people’s sex. Ditto for the left with money.

    It’s never their own sex or money that’s the problem. It’s those deviant rich people over in Shelbyville causing all the trouble.

  27. Since when did “free markets” = “hedonism”? I wasn’t aware that capitalism has to mean spending 100%+ of your income year on year. Come on, is there no discussion to be had – even with the dreaded “leftards” – about the cultural dimension of the economic crisis? Is there nothing to be said about the costs of conspicuous consumption? Is it not worth debating how personal financial incontinence – and a systemic stimulation of same – maybe isn’t so great in the long run? And, you know, you can want to talk about all these things without wanting the government to regulate the problem. (I can’t believe I even have to add that caveat.)

  28. It is meaningless to say this is a centrist country. Based on what scale that is etched in which stone?

    I’d say the last 3 presidential elections might be a hint.

  29. It’s those deviant rich people over in Shelbyville causing all the trouble.

    But they like rootmarm and marrying their more comely cousins. They are deviants.

    “Shake your fist harder, boy! They’re gettin’ away!”

  30. The left doesn’t necessarily want a recession. They wish Barack Obama would ride his fairy dust-crapping flying pony o’er the land dropping free gifts in equal amounts to all people.

    Once they realize that’s impossible however, they tend to say something along the lines of Screw the Rich (who don’t donate to our causes).

  31. it’s not putting all our faith in “business-oriented individuals”!

    Explain the overwhelming popularity of Walmart, Starbucks, Toyota, Disney, and Budweiser.

  32. It’s those deviant rich people over in Shelbyville causing all the trouble.

    Its the lack of lemons.

  33. Damn you SugarFree.

  34. Explain the overwhelming popularity of Walmart, Starbucks, Toyota, Disney, and Budweiser.

    Evil corporate advertising on corporate television and radio.

  35. Explain the overwhelming popularity of Walmart, Starbucks, Toyota, Disney, and Budweiser.

    Too easy, Nick. You’ve been brainwashed by advertising. Advertising is super-effective at brainwashing, unlike the constant drumbeat of leftism you get in college which has no effect whatsoever and is not done in an attempt to effect the opinions of impressionable young people.

  36. I’d say the last 3 presidential elections might be a hint.

    But centrist according to whom? The center is defined not by some universal political scale, but by what is the mean of all political beliefs in a given geography. It shifts.

    I would posit that Hurricane Katrina was the moment this country’s center stopped being with the anti-government crowd.

  37. Reason really is jumping the shark. I get the impression people like Gillespie have very empty lives, measured only by the amount of consumer goods they accumulate. Actually any
    “true” conservative is hoping for the end of consumer culture – conservatism is about tradition, values, honoring God, and hard work. Not about buying the latest trendy iPod and a fancy car. It’s kind of odd to see “leftards” embracing traditional conservative Protestant values of thrift and self-denial but that seems to be the kind of looking glass world we’ve entered.

  38. Leftists are perfectly fine with “consumer culture” as long as they get to choose the winners and the losers

    Let me give it a shot

    Winners: Apple, Nikon, Pabst Brewing Company, Whole Foods, Amtrak

    Losers: Microsoft, Wal-mart, The Limited co., Starbucks, Maytag (dishwashers, air conditioners, etc.), Caterpillar

  39. Please TofuSushi, find a different site to troll. You advocate way to much central control to contribute anything to the libertarian movement.

  40. Bingo, Reinmoose.

    Add into that all the people who rant against corporatism on-line. Who built your computer, idiot?

  41. crap

    I forgot

    Winners: Internet Banking – so that it’s as easy and fast as possible for your parents to transfer money into the account from which you withdraw cash to pay for everything.

  42. Who built your computer, idiot?

    I thought Al Gore made it possible for me to rant about consumerism on-line!

  43. And, you know, you can want to talk about all these things without wanting the government to regulate the problem.

    Well, sure, we can.

    I just don’t trust the lefty libs now in power to do the same, that’s all.

  44. conservatism is about tradition, values, honoring God, and hard work.

    Zzzzzzzzzzzz

  45. It’s really simple – for both the eco-friendly, unconsumer left and the puritan right, it’s all about not enjoying yourself, and making sure no one else does, either.

  46. @Vanya

    You are a little misinformed about what conservatism is about. Conservatism is about conserving the rights of the people that have been granted to us by God, which basically boils down to free will, and the only reason a government would exist is to help protect those rights. That is the only place where religion would come into play. Please try not to be confused by those in politics who call themselves conservatives, taking everything that they stand for as conservative by association.

  47. The fear that someone, somewhere, is enjoying himself.

  48. The right has a problem with sex. The left has a problem with money

    Very true. From Robert Frank’s essay linked to by Russ Smith:

    Many people, for example, recall being happy during their student days, even though they were living at a much lower material standard.

    You ever think why that is, professor?

  49. P brooks – thx. I couldn’t remember the Mencken quote.

  50. Losers: Microsoft, Wal-mart, The Limited co., Starbucks, Maytag (dishwashers, air conditioners, etc.), Caterpillar

    Wait, Caterpillar trucks or hats?

    Because the hats are ironic, but the vehicles are examples of corrupt industry…

  51. Obviously the trucks, Taktix. That would also imply that something was getting built, and we can’t allow that unless it is up to the street, has ground floor retail and mixed-use upper floors, and architectually fits with the rest of the buildings (that we like).

    Also, other winners that should not be forgotten: Ray Ban

  52. From the mouths of flightless birds comes the truth.

    The only shameful joy is the joy of hurting others.

  53. These comments seem a little grouchy to me. Obama, as Paul Krugman loudly (and correctly) tells us, is playing the “let’s keep Wall Street happy” game, subsidizing both their losses and their greed. It’s the only thing they understand!

    What Obama really wants is to give everyone what they want, so that he can get what he wants–to spend hundreds of billions of dollars on his “clean energy” fantasy, which 1) we don’t need and 2) won’t work. It may be time for libertarians to move to Canada, where you can still club baby seals for a living.

  54. One of my favorite things is cognitive dissonance.

    For example: American Apparel is one of the very few clothing manufactures who doesn’t use foreign sweatshop labor to make its clothes, but all its advertising is incredibly sexist, featuring mainstream porn stars and occasionally underage-looking girls in various states of undress.

  55. C.S. Lewis:

    Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

  56. Canada, where you can still club baby seals for a living.

    *bursts into song*

    Ooooooohh,
    Caaaaaaaa
    naaaaaaa
    daaaaaaaaaa!

  57. SugarFree,

    I fail to see the cognitive dissonance in that.

    Is there something about the relationship between AA and, say, certain members of the left thatt those of us who dont regularly hang out on feministing wouldnt know?

  58. I agree, Alan Vanneman.

    Except for that part about moving to Canada. Too cold, don’t you know. And how long do you think they’ll really let you club baby seals. They’re banning everything else that’s any fun.

    (Except pot, of course. Their drug prohibition regime may not be as liberal as I would want – nor is it as good as a lot of people believe – but it’s miles ahead of USA.)

  59. Xeones,

    And people sometimes are confused when I say Lewis is the author that was most responsible for me being a libertarian.

  60. Ah C.S. Lewis. “I believe things specifically because they make no sense!”

  61. robc,

    I fail to see the cognitive dissonance in that.

    If you are truly trying to vote with your wallet, you have to compromise one or the other of related ideals in respect to American Apparel. And yes, it’s a debate you have to go find.

  62. For those who profess that money can’t buy happiness I propose a simple experiment in 3 easy steps that will only cost $50.

    Step 1 – Find a skid row wino/junkie/crackhead.
    Step 2 – Give him/her the aformentioned $50.
    Step 3 – Gauge his/her emotional reaction.

    Morons. People like stuff. They work very hard so they can buy stuff. They produce more stuff than they need so they can trade it for other stuff. This is a good thing because PEOPLE LIKE STUFF.

    I’ll wager that Paul Krugman, Kurt Anderson, and Robert Frank all have higher incomes, larger carbon footprints and MORE STUFF than I do. I do not begrudge their economic success. Perhaps its because, unlike them, I’m not an envious twit. They dress it up as noble egalitarianism and a desiring a more spiritual existence. I call bullshit.

  63. SugarFree,

    If Im voting with my wallet, all I want to know is if AA sells their stuff cheaper than the sweat shop companies. 🙂

  64. @Carston,

    Guess you missed where SF said the same thing as me but with more words?

  65. I have mixed feelings about American Apparel. On the one hand, I despise anyone who wears their retarded clothes and I want to run them down with my car. On the other hand, I enjoy their filthy pornstar ads. The world needs more Sasha Grey.

  66. Yeah, robc, that one there is where it really clicked for me.

  67. J Sub D – how many carbon offsets did you buy last year? You know, those miraculous things you can purchase that actually undo the environmental consequences of your actions.

  68. robc,

    Agreed. It should have made it clear it was not a universal value opposition.

  69. To live his life in his own way, to call his house his castle, to enjoy the fruits of his labour, to educate his children as his conscience directs, to save for their prosperity after his death … [t]heir realization is almost as necessary to our virtues as to our happiness

    That was the one that really struck me. It is also my campaign platform if I ever run for office.

    Simple 5 points.

  70. J Sub D – how many carbon offsets did you buy last year? You know, those miraculous things you can purchase that actually undo the environmental consequences of your actions.

    No useless masturbatory carbon offsets, but I’m burning smaller Palestinian flags nowadays. Does that count?

  71. SugarFree,

    I thought you maybe had a hilarious link with lefties going at it over the issue.

  72. Warty,

    I got a T-shirt as a present from AA. It’s feels, well… sleazy. It’s clingy and fitted and kind of gross to wear. It’s like wearing one of their ads, but not in a good way.

  73. It is also my campaign platform

    You’d get my vote, as long as you drop that u from ‘labour.’

  74. No useless masturbatory carbon offsets, but I’m burning smaller Palestinian flags nowadays. Does that count?

    Honestly, in this context, doesn’t it matter why you’re burning the smaller flags? If you’re doing it out of virtue and concern for the environment, good! If you’re doing it only because burning the big ones were too expensive, then take that, you consumerist pig!

  75. No useless masturbatory carbon offsets, but I’m burning smaller Palestinian flags nowadays. Does that count?

    At least somebody is thinking about the Palestinians in this thread.

  76. robc,

    Heir, heir, and heir. Last one is NSFW.

    No pitched battles, but a whole lot of “Sexism is horrible, but I still shop there” rationalizations. I’m cool with voting with your wallet based on your values, but you actually have to not shop there to make the change you want.

  77. @TofuSushi

    You stated “Your corporate capitalist system is going away and there is nothing you Rightards can do about it!”

    SF stated “Leftists are perfectly fine with “consumer culture” as long as they get to choose the winners and the losers.”

    What you stated is just blatantly against capitalism and the free market, while SF post simply states that the left wants to control who wins and who loses, and at the same time, not taking a position (that I know of).

    You advocate a position, while he simply stated a fact. That is the difference on why you were pointed out as someone who does not subscribe to the libertarian ideology. Stop trolling, and go chat with your friends at a JournoList like echo chamber.

  78. Conservatism is about conserving the rights of the people that have been granted to us by God, which basically boils down to free will, and the only reason a government would exist is to help protect those rights.

    Um, no. That’s codswollop. True conservatives don’t believe God gave you “rights”, God gave you “obligations”. “Rights” is a leftist concept. Go look in the Bible and show me where God enumerates our “rights.”

    I know this – in Russia and Ukraine the only free people I ever met were independent farmers. The difference between these men and ordinary citizens was like night and day. In America the distinction is not quite as stark – I’ve met independent businessmen and military men who also act like free men. But being truly free requires some degree of self-sufficiency. People who are too plugged into consumer culture may be happy enough but they are almost never free.

  79. Carston,

    TofuSushi | March 30, 2009, 11:18am | #

    Explain the overwhelming popularity of Walmart, Starbucks, Toyota, Disney, and Budweiser.

    Evil corporate advertising on corporate television and radio.

    Then SF with this:

    SugarFree | March 30, 2009, 11:19am | #

    Explain the overwhelming popularity of Walmart, Starbucks, Toyota, Disney, and Budweiser.

    Too easy, Nick. You’ve been brainwashed by advertising. Advertising is super-effective at brainwashing, unlike the constant drumbeat of leftism you get in college which has no effect whatsoever and is not done in an attempt to effect the opinions of impressionable young people.

    And then at 11:31 you chimed in with this pathetic nonsense:

    Carston | March 30, 2009, 11:31am | #

    Please TofuSushi, find a different site to troll. You advocate way to much central control to contribute anything to the libertarian movement.

    And you come back almost an hour later to rewrite history? LOL, you are laughable!

  80. So, I will admit, I did not read everything everyone wrote, and you and SF maybe on the same side in this, but will you please defend your position that somehow government control over an economy (other side of what you call “evil capitalism”)and libertarianism are somehow compatible??

  81. Carston –
    TofuSushi is what one would call a troll around here. This particular troll is one that does not actually believe what he is writing, but quite the opposite. At his beginning he was often brilliant, but since has completely lost his ability to amuse. Don’t treat him like a serious commenter as it only will encourrage him to talk more.

  82. I believe the person currently perpetrating TofuSushi on us was not his original creator.

  83. Carston,

    TS is a spoof troll, someone who parrots the “party line” of the leftist posters who have mostly been driven from the site by Obama’s failure to be their messiah. I was merely being sarcastic.

    Engage TS and Tony at risk of your own sanity.

  84. I’m annoyed by corporate culture, but that’s just a personal preference. I have no right to stop others from buying advertising or being trendy or whatever, but that doesn’t mean I have to give a shit either…

  85. domo,

    I suspect that as well. It’s also the Edward/Neil/LukerBold/Lefiti spoof posting problem.

  86. I’m annoyed by corporate culture, but that’s just a personal preference. I have no right to stop others from buying advertising or being trendy or whatever, but that doesn’t mean I have to give a shit either.

    This.

  87. Ok, thank SugarFree and Reinmoose. Big joke on me, hardy-har-har.

    And to continue my correction to Vanya:

    Read Nephi and Leviticus

  88. I believe the person currently perpetrating TofuSushi on us was not his original creator.

    I had my suspicions about that too. My original suspicion was that it was multiple posters, but the wit level and omnipresence dropped so sharply at a certain point that I doubt it’s the same person/people. Also, someone that witty would also likely be self-aware enough to know when they’ve stopped being funny.

  89. Carston,

    but will you please defend your position that somehow government control over an economy (other side of what you call “evil capitalism”)and libertarianism are somehow compatible??

    Why? I do not advocate that. Where have you seen me support that?

    Are you under the impression that this is some sort of Rightwing Reagan/Bush/Larouche echo chamber or something?

  90. If our conjecture is correct – perhaps the original creator will come forward to claim his HellChild.

  91. Reinmoose,

    Stop being such a downer man.

  92. I give nick three points for using “leftard” in a title!

  93. Also, someone that witty would also likely be self-aware enough to know when they’ve stopped being funny.

    See, it seems to me that the soy puppeteer is one of those folks who can’t just quit something they’ve invested so much time into. In that vein, i almost feel sorry for the guy — almost — because he’s trapped in a weird kind of existential internet hell of his own making: TofuSushi.

    Or he’s a misanthropic teenage Randroid, one.

  94. I believe the person currently perpetrating TofuSushi on us was not his original creator.

    It’s more that he’s run out of material. It’s hard to keep up the posting pace that he does and remain really funny. I mean, Night Court sucked after a few years too. Harry Anderson can only do so much with Mel Torme jokes.

  95. Epi, yet Marki Post made it still viewable.

    Cosby, Family Ties, Cheers, Night Court, Hill Street Blues. Good lineup, in my opinion.

  96. Well, I give the creator full applause for a spoof well done – it would be nice to eventually know the creator. Hopefully before the joke is comepletely killed. There are only so many layers of self referential humor that can work.

  97. I’m still trying to wrap my head around the fact that it’s possibly someone who also posts as themself on the same threads, also sometimes responding to himself. Anyone know the significance of the name? It used to have a link attached to it. Would that give us any insight?

  98. domo,

    I think you know TofuSushi. He lives in all of us.

  99. I’m annoyed by corporate culture, but that’s just a personal preference. I have no right to stop others from buying advertising or being trendy or whatever, but that doesn’t mean I have to give a shit either…

    I dunno. Just about every cultural item I consume came out of the doors of some corporation. I mean, these books I’m reading didn’t grow on trees. I think what a lot of people object to is the lowest common denominator mass-market crap. Yeah, corporations are responsible for that, but they’re also responsible for the rest of the long tail that is worth buying. To an extent, the mass market crap subsidizes the better stuff. It is, like so much else, a mixed blessing.

  100. Reinmoose,

    The TofuSushis who respond to TofuSushi are not the original.

  101. There is no spoon TofuSushi.

    Once you understand that, you won’t have to dodge bullets.

  102. T –
    I think what a lot of people object to is the lowest common denominator mass-market crap.

    Yeah, you’re right. A lot of them equate that stuff with “free market.” I can’t tell you how many people I’ve talked to who seem to think that “free market” means “buy the cheapest P.O.S. that does the job.” It’s as though they can’t connect the fact that they CHOOSE to buy things that are more environmental or that are up to their particular standards because they are allowed to by a free market, and by nobody’s decree.

  103. I live in the SF Bay Area. It’s pretty liberal around here, but from my experience, the more liberal the town the MORE consumerist: Palo Alto and Burlingame top the list. Nine out of ten Lexus SUVs have Obama stickers on them.

    When liberals bitch about a consumer culture, they aren’t talking about consumerism, they’re talking about cheap kitsch from WalMart. Spending gobs of money and worthless junk is fine, just so long as it’s done by a liberal at a mainstreet boutique store.

  104. sorry, correction:
    because they are allowed to by a free market, and by nobody’s decree.

  105. just so long as it’s done by a liberal at a mainstreet boutique store.

    That’s totally unfair. That artisan-hammered metal pig for my garden I bought at the local garden center was totally worth the $125 I paid for it!

  106. We need better and more regulations and regulators. Even bridges are collapsing (like in Minnesota). Our financial system is a wreck because of a lack of regulation.

    We need campaign finance reform. Regulators have been “captured” by the industries they’re supposed to be monitoring on behalf of the public.

    This is common sense but money warps culture. I couldn’t give a rat’s ass about consumption.

  107. That artisan-hammered metal pig for my garden I bought at the local garden center was totally worth the $125 I paid for it!

    As long as you didn’t buy the mass produced resin garden pig from Lowe’s or Home Depot…cuz then we’d have to call you Reincorporatist or some such bullshit.

  108. As long as you didn’t buy the mass produced resin garden pig from Lowe’s or Home Depot

    From what places? I’ve never heard of those businesses.

  109. @ Peter K.

    Its not a matter of needing more regulation, its sane regulation. Have you ever took the time to read SOX or GLBA? They are rot with legalese and ridiculously long. We need general regulation reform. Every time a new regulation is made or expanded, businesses need legal teams to go through that info and verify compliance, this in turn drives the prices of their good up, only hurting their consumers.

  110. “I don’t think they will be satisfied until we are all living naked in the forest.”

    That does sound fun!

  111. A) Stop ruining TofuSushi. He’s (she’s) hilarious. Best art troll currently working these boards. Leave them alone.

    B) Agree with Sean Healy – the free market doesn’t imply mindless consumption. Markets just direct price signals according to what consumers want. What consumers choose to buy is entirely independent of that. They could be purchasing eco-tourism travel packages to Costa Rica, and the market would just reorganize itself around that.

    Moreover, all those old-fashioned values like thrift and self-reliance are at the core of the individualist ethos that underlies market capitalism. People who can take care of themselves don’t need a government dole.

  112. Conspicuous consumption is entire subjective. All it can really be defined as is “People I don’t like, buying stuff I don’t think they should want.”

  113. Our financial system is a wreck because of a lack of regulation.

    [citation needed]

    You’re new here, aren’t you?

  114. Honestly, in this context, doesn’t it matter why you’re burning the smaller flags? If you’re doing it out of virtue and concern for the environment, good! If you’re doing it only because burning the big ones were too expensive, then take that, you consumerist pig!

    *oink, oink*

  115. Stop ruining TofuSushi. He’s (she’s) hilarious. Best art troll currently working these boards. Leave them alone.

    Yikes, Hazel. TofuSushi is the Starbucks of trolling – overroasted and gross.

    I want Neil back!

  116. All it can really be defined as is “People I don’t like, buying stuff I don’t think they should want.”

    Exactly. It’s okay when I do, but those other people are bastards who need to be stopped.

  117. TAO,

    The day the music died. Neil’s outing thread.

  118. “For example: American Apparel is one of the very few clothing manufactures who doesn’t use foreign sweatshop labor to make its clothes, but all its advertising is incredibly sexist, featuring mainstream porn stars and occasionally underage-looking girls in various states of undress.”

    Thanks for the tip!

    http://www.americanapparel.net/morephotos/rsac301/rsac301_01.jpg

  119. I live in the SF Bay Area. It’s pretty liberal around here, but from my experience, the more liberal the town the MORE consumerist: Palo Alto and Burlingame top the list. Nine out of ten Lexus SUVs have Obama stickers on them.

    Liberalism, like environmentalism, is a luxury of the wealthy.

  120. I presume your ass looked just as good in them though…

  121. ” it would be nice to eventually know the creator.”

    I simply fucked myself in the ass and poof! Here I am.

  122. Tragically, domo, I am one of those cursed white males that has almost no ass. It’s like I’m sitting on my spine.

    I had hoped the shorts would spice them up, like wrapping otherwise dry chicken breasts in bacon before grilling… but it was not to be.

  123. SugarFree,

    Thanks for the Neil link.

    The imposter @2:36 is an imposter.

  124. CHOOSE to buy things that are more environmental

    And what good does that do? If there’s a global problem, one that obviously cannot be addressed by the naked marketplace, how are a bunch of conscientious individuals going to do anything to solve the problem? All else being equal, if less environmental options are cheaper, people will, on the whole, always go for them. The goal here is to save the planet, not give people the option to feel better about themselves.

  125. “Best art troll currently working these boards. Leave them alone.”

    One person’s art is another person’s Night Train-soaked bum, smeared with blood and feces.

    Funny that.

  126. Tony –
    You just did what I said people did earlier. You’re assuming that everyone is going to buy the cheapest thing.

    And just how much naked are you buying, anyway?

  127. I had hoped the shorts would spice them up, like wrapping otherwise dry chicken breasts in bacon before grilling… but it was not to be.

    I’m imagining the hot chick ass (not yours) with a couple slices of greasy bacon tucked into the bottom. Yummy…

  128. In a related story, Matthew Yglesias (subject of a post by Moynihan here) has doubled down.

  129. Matthew Yglesias is the next Ezra Klein.

  130. Ugh. Reason had an article like two weeks ago about how the left is worried about people losing all of their consumption power. You guys just want it both ways. You pick on one group and say, “See, their spineless hypocrites! They want their capitalism too!” and then you find another group and say “Look at those crazy liberals still slavering the end of capitalism.”

    In either case you’re talking about all liberals though, right? Because you guys are just so darn smart and consistent in everything you do.

  131. And by “their” I meant “they’re”

  132. Yea Ted, say it loud, say it proud!

  133. From Kohole’s link:

    # joe from Lowell Says:
    March 30th, 2009 at 11:46 am

    When I read someone equate the relationship an individual has with his mind, soul, body, or thoughts with the relationship and individual has with his money, I find myself experiencing a profound sensation of pity.

    So that’s where he went.

  134. Ted –
    Did either of the threads say “all liberals” or something to that effect? I don’t believe so. In fact, the title even says who we’re talking about – those who are hoping for a whole-scale shift in American culture.

  135. And what good does that do? If there’s a global problem, one that obviously cannot be addressed by the naked marketplace, how are a bunch of conscientious individuals going to do anything to solve the problem?

    Most enviros do what they do mostly to feel and look good, anyway, so I would say that the first-order goal of enviro lifestylin’ can be met in the marketplace.

    If it truly is a global problem, such that any attempt to address it at less than a global scale is by definition fruitless, then I guess there’s no point in pushing for national mandates/incentives/whatever, either, is there? Job one in “Saving The Planet” would appear to be eliminating the sovereign rights of nations to govern their own affairs, and setting up a truly global government with the authority and ability to scrutinize, regulate, and enforce lifestyle decisions.

    That’s where your logic leads, Tony. Is that really where you want to go?

  136. You’re assuming that everyone is going to buy the cheapest thing.

    No, I’m not. I assume most people will by the cheapest thing, all else being equal. If a product is more environmentally friendly but more expensive, sure some people will pay extra for peace of mind. But we can’t count on enough people doing the “right thing” even though it’s more expensive to affect the problem a single bit.

    I think all products should be required to incorporate the environmental damage they do into their cost so that doing the “right thing” is incentivized.

  137. Peter K. | March 30, 2009, 1:22pm | #
    We need better and more regulations and regulators. Even bridges are collapsing (like in Minnesota). Our financial system is a wreck because of a lack of regulation.

    Shorter Peter K.: We need the right people in charge.

  138. Job one in “Saving The Planet” would appear to be eliminating the sovereign rights of nations to govern their own affairs, and setting up a truly global government with the authority and ability to scrutinize, regulate, and enforce lifestyle decisions.

    That’s where your logic leads, Tony. Is that really where you want to go?

    I’m thinking less drastic measures can probably do the job. Powerful economies can create economic incentives to coax smaller ones into doing the necessary things.

    But let’s assume your hyperbolic solution is really all that can possibly solve the problem of climate change. What’s more important, national sovereignty or not letting all coastal cities flood, not having mass starvation, etc.?

  139. So that’s where he went.

    Holy crap! Ha ha ha ha ha…man, I sure don’t miss his sanctimonious bullshit.

  140. R C Dean – the typical person who would say something like Tony said would prefer to think that all of the enlightened first world nations of the world can bestow this gift on the rest of the world (who are all more moral than we are) through international agreements and climate treaties by forcing everyone we do business with to subject themselves to “voluntary” restrictions on quality of life for the greater good.

  141. I think all products should be required to incorporate the environmental damage they do into their cost so that doing the “right thing” is incentivized.

    A lot of libertarians advocate a carbon tax (that is, if we are to have a policy for….), which would accomplish that.

  142. Certainly sounds like him, doesn’t it?

    By the way, the liberal/left consensus on that thread is that all money belongs to the government and you should be grateful for whatever tiny crumbs it allows you to have.

    Wow, I never thought of it like that, you dongbags.

  143. “I think all products should be required to incorporate the environmental cultural/sexual/social justice/psychological/ideological/equal pay/racial/feminist/safety damage they do into their cost so that doing the “right thing” is incentivized.”

    Welcome to Tony’s dream.

  144. Holy crap! Ha ha ha ha ha…man, I sure don’t miss his sanctimonious bullshit.

    I knew he was over there, but I’d read a few of his comments and thought the same that you did, Epi. I never felt so bad about myself as when I realized that he knew more about the subject I studied than me, was more spiritual than me, was more moral than me, was less racist than me, and was better in all other ways. NOT

  145. joe: The Passive-Aggressive Ubermensch

  146. I think all products should be required to incorporate the environmental damage they do into their cost so that doing the “right thing” is incentivized.

    Tony, your proposal is a very reasonable one in principle. If you can incorporate the social costs into the price, the market will decide the most efficient outcome. I like it. In practice, however, the process of determining those costs is a very government centric process – with the attendant corruption, empire building and crony capitalism that always accompanies government ventures into the market. In practice, it’s VERY hard to prevent such a scheme from becoming a tool for the more influential to cripple the less so.

  147. So, if you can devide a scheme that avoids this pitfalls – I’m in. Until then, I remain highly skeptical.

  148. joe: The Passive-Aggressive Ubermensch

    He’s like a combination of Nietzsche and Frank Reynolds.

  149. It twud be unefical te do eknomic reforms jus cus of stuff thats hapnin wid teh ekonomy

    its all teh corpurayshuns anyway

    avin stuff is bad

    I luv brown people
    except when they take ar jobz wid this free trade

    then its bad cuz they iz workin with da corpurashuns

    and now Chinkee peopul haz stuff lyke IPODs and cars

    and that is bad cuz its consummurist

    I hate Chinkee peopul cus they is fuckin up teh envirunment

  150. “But we can’t count on enough people doing the “right thing” even though it’s more expensive to affect the problem a single bit.”

    But I can count on every single person who talks about the “right thing” to be completely incapable of proving that they are any authority on what that is.

  151. Really? I was thinking more along the lines of a Rachel Ray/Julius Rosenberg mash-up.

  152. JW,

    Climate change is orders of magnitude more of a threat to civilization than just about anything else, certainly petty social issues. I think it’s a genuine criticism of liberals that they can overreach and not have a clear wall between what should be regulated and what shouldn’t. Social engineering has certainly gone way way too far in places such as England.

    But doing massive damage to our shared environment can’t be something sanctioned even by free marketeers, can it? We make people pay for harm they do to others, why should this be any different? If you ask me, greenhouse gas emitters should be punished legally. But if economically will do the job, I don’t see how anyone can say it’s not a legitimate province of government–whose charge it is to promote general welfare after all. Who else is gonna take responsibility for the environment?

  153. Overpopulation is orders of magnitude more of a threat to civilization than just about anything else, certainly petty social issues

  154. Mongoloids breeding is orders of magnitude more of a threat to civilization than just about anything else, certainly petty social issues

  155. I was thinking more along the lines of a Rachel Ray

    Now that’s just mean. Really mean.

  156. I am disappointed, Epi, that you would associate such a lovable character as Frank Reynolds with someone like joe.

    Couldn’t he be more like Keith Olbermann/Rickety Cricket?

  157. Destroying native culture is orders of magnitude more of a threat to civilization than just about anything else, certainly petty social issues, man.

  158. Squawk! Squawk!

    The sky is falling!

    The sky is falling!

  159. Couldn’t he be more like Keith Olbermann/Rickety Cricket?

    There is not even a remote possibility that joe could have Olbermann’s terrific hair.

  160. Who is TofuSushi?

    Jesse, are you there? Please tell us who TofuSushi is.

  161. GLOBAL COOOOOLING! AAAAARRRRRRGH!

  162. Moose, true, Frank is less obnoxious than joe. If joe is like Cricket, does that mean he got teabagged constantly in high school? That would explain a lot, you know.

  163. Who could have possibly predicted it?! The economics of global warming don’t conform to libertarian dogma so let’s just attack the premise!

    My argument is really in the form of “if, then,” so you don’t have to believe in AGW to address it.

    Not that being scientifically illiterate is anything to be proud of.

  164. All you libertardians should shut up and listen to Tony, because Tony is smarter than any of you libertardians can ever hope to be.

  165. If things get real bad, the leftards won’t have any police or military to protect them.

    Then they will get to see and experience things that will have them crying for Guantanamo.

  166. Whoever is doing the “Tony” spoof troll, you’re doing a great job, but you’re almost too subtle. Kick it up a notch. Get a little outrageous.

  167. Tony, please get the fuck out and move to Canada or France.

    There are plenty of places where you can live and jizz all over yourself with your socialist fantasies. You and your ilk want to stay here and keep pushing the liberty-loving people? Fine, see what happens.

  168. Tony

    you is like well hot

    I read dis book about Afrika
    (dat is where brown pepul comes from)

    and it sez that the most consumurist cuntree is a place
    called Botswanna

    and dey is like the most richest, cuntry in Africa
    and dey hs loads of stuff, and is like well consumurist

    and that is cus dey is the most right wing cuntry in Africa

    and dey is fuckin up the planet

    peepul shouldn’t have stuff cuz it fucks up the planet

    I read this book by people called

    PURITANS

    they was well cool

    dey said people shouldn’t have stuff

    they were cool just like you Tony

    (PS is u Tony Blair he was a soshulist like me!)

  169. Tony — domo pretty much said what I was snarking. I don’t have any faith in the powers that be to not turn, what you envision as a tool, into a weapon to be used against the politically unpopular. That, or just a pile on of the socially righteous and the easily offended a’la Robocop 2.

    Your faith in the gummint to do the right thing exceeds mine by several thousand orders of magnitude.

    That said, as much I oppose the manipulation of markets by the gummint as no good comes of it the long run, I would much rather see carrots used instead of sticks. Unfortunately, most people would rather have a nice big stick around with which to beat those who dissent into submission.

  170. JB,

    No I think I’ll stick around in the country that just elected a black socialist as president.

    You guys aren’t the only ones with guns you know.

    “Free minds”… you guys should be sued for false advertising.

  171. “Free minds”… you guys should be sued for false advertising.

    DRINK!

  172. TofuSushi

    You is right Tony is like well intellijunt

    is you Asian?

    you is taking our jobs and bein xploited by teh corpurashuns

  173. “Free minds”… you guys should be sued for false advertising.

    Fucking finally! I’ve been here for years waiting for someone to make that joke. How brilliant and original!

  174. But doing massive damage to our shared environment can’t be something sanctioned even by free marketeers, can it? We make people pay for harm they do to others, why should this be any different? If you ask me, greenhouse gas emitters should be punished legally.

    Sadly, you just made several assumptions unsupported by any sane person.

    Frankly, I *like* living in the modern world and have no desire to return to pre-industrial times. If you do, go nuts, I’ll help you build the cabin in the woods, but don’t assume that the rest of us are willing to forgo modern ammenties like electricity and modern medicine, just to asuage your unfounded fears. Not to mention some sort of transportation system that doesn’t tend to involve cholera epidemics.

  175. If there’s a global problem, one that obviously cannot be addressed by the naked marketplace, how are a bunch of conscientious individuals going to do anything to solve the problem? All else being equal, if less environmental options are cheaper, people will, on the whole, always go for them. The goal here is to save the planet, not give people the option to feel better about themselves.

    Let me guess: “we” NEED to eliminate the improper choices available to people, in order to bring about the *optimum* outcome.

    We need a five-year-plan!

  176. You guys aren’t the only ones with guns you know.

    True, but we have better aim.

  177. “Free minds”… you guys should be sued for false advertising.

    W00t! Drinks are on Tony!!

  178. JW,

    Your cynicism about the ability of government to handle the situation fairly and adequately may be well grounded. If so, we’re fucked. Because I certainly don’t have faith in massive global cartels to buck up and do the right thing on their own.

    I simply think the incentive structure has been ridiculously skewed in favor of polluters with deep pockets and friends in Washington. At the very least we can incorporate the damage they do to other people against those people’s will into the equation. Letting them pollute with impunity doesn’t seem to be something even the most ardent defender of unregulated markets should be able to stomach.

  179. Gillespie has gone full Malkin. No, wait. Full Hewitt.

    First, even the article in question isn’t linked properly. Second, this post is nothing but a summary of what is in that article. Third, the article is intellectually dishonest partisan garbage. The “leftards” in question are hoping for the end of massive perpetual consumer debt, a structural adjustment pretty much everyone agrees has to happen. But hey, keep skewering those strawmen. Er, linking to those who skew those strawmen.

  180. We need a five-year-plan!

    I read dis book about 5 year plans
    and it said that they was real good
    cus they is against capitulateism

    and 5 year palns kill people

    and so there is less damage to teh envirunment

  181. DRINK!

    Drink has so jumped the shark, dude. We should add it to the drinking game.

  182. Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.

  183. Drink has so jumped the shark, dude.

    “Jumped the shark” has jumped the shark. The hip new term is “nuking the fridge”. Put your bifocals on and go read up on it, grandpa.

  184. I have no problem with the end of consumer debt. If only the leftards were as concerned about perpetual government debt.

  185. JW,

    Nobody is talking about returning to preindustrial levels of technology. The entire green movement is about implementing long overdue, more advanced technology. If the market–whether free or deliberately skewed in favor of polluters–isn’t delivering necessary advancement, then what’s wrong with setting up an incentive structure that will?

    I mean I’m not even talking about nationalizing anything, just tweaking the market so that it works correctly. But I’m not shy about that–I don’t have blind faith in the market to do anything but manage short-term supply and demand. I think it’s impotent to deal with the long-term and that’s why we have governments in the first place.

  186. Tony

    (is you Tony Blair? you sounds all intellijunt like him)

    The problum is the Chinkee people

    they is takin our jobs and bein exploytud by teh corpurashuns

    and they is fuckin up teh planet
    more than evil Americuns now

    and there is nothing government (our savior)
    can do

    so we shud kill em

    with bombs like Obama dus with Pakistanis

  187. Tony – what about a non-government based education program or simple propoganda? Some people already change their choices based on environmental impact and corporate ethics. Why don’t others?

    If the case is so obvious to some, then in their eyes it’s the case that there isn’t enough information out there in a coherent and easy to interpret way for people to make such intricate choices for all of the decisions we make daily, otherwise we would make the same decisions they do, right?

    So if people don’t want to support companies that pollute like that, they won’t, right?

    For Chrissakes the green movement needs to get creative and stop trying to get an obviously flawed and self-serving power like the government to do their work for them.

  188. Tony,

    But doing massive damage to our shared environment can’t be something sanctioned even by free marketeers, can it? We make people pay for harm they do to others, why should this be any different?

    It’s very difficult to put a price on public goods – like the right to pollute. In the current political environment, it’s impossible to put forward a plan that explicitly states “it ok for us to emit x amount of toxins into the environment: industry will have to bid on the right to pollute exactly that much” Until the Green groups admit that a certain level of pollution is acceptable, it’s impossible to adopt a rational scheme like the one you propose.

    Notice I don’t mention CO2 – which I consider to be harmless. I am, however, concerned about mercury, sulfates, organics, soot, etc.

  189. Tony,
    I would be fine with a carbon tax IF (and this is a huge if) the revenue went to replace other taxes (esp. the income tax). But most of your lefty friends wouldn’t allow that. Methinks they’re more interested in a justification for expanding government than environmental protection.

  190. Tony is beset on all sides by the wicked who oppose his righteous planet saving plans!

  191. If only the leftards were as concerned about perpetual government debt.

    It’s not the left who believes in perpetual government debt. Republicans believe (and practice) debt during good times and extreme debt in moderate and bad times. Democrats believe (and practice) debt in bad times and balancing the books in good times. How is this meme of OMG LEFTARDS DEBT LOL still live? Look at the past fifty years of actual American history.

  192. Okay, even I’m starting to find the constant spoof trolling annoying. Meaning: Please shut up, Naomi Klein troll.

  193. Epi, “nuked the fridge” has connotations of laughable absurdity, whereas “jumped the shark” simply implies something good became bad. Your posts continue to fuck the dog, my friend.

  194. “How is this meme of OMG LEFTARDS DEBT LOL still live? Look at the past fifty years of actual American history.”

    Did you sleep through the last several months?

  195. Nobody is talking about returning to preindustrial levels of technology.

    That’s right. The BSG finale didn’t happen.

  196. Reinmoose,

    You and I both know the oil industry has had its thumb on the scales for decades. Surely we both can agree that the current practice of incentivizing pollution is no good.

    Furthermore, at present people don’t really have a viable option not to engage in polluting. Sure you can buy a hybrid or change out your light bulbs, but individuals acting individually–with their short-term motivation being only their concern for the environment–will never be enough on its own, because a) such actors will always be a minority and b) the problems are global and require massive alterations to infrastructure.

    Yes, in this instance the people really do need to be protected from themselves, because their collective action, aided and abetted by industry and government, will cause harm to me and my descendants.

    In short, the only entity large enough to handle a problem this large is government. Maybe you’re right and no government can ever be trusted not to be irredeemably flawed. This is an article of faith for you, and if it’s true then according to my argument we’re all pretty much screwed.

    But if you trust so much in individuals’ ability to generate emergent advancements collectively, I don’t see why they can’t do the same with a democratic government.

  197. Did you sleep through the last several months?

    These are bad times. Democrats believe in deficit spending during bad times. I refuse to believe someone whose moniker is “economist” is not aware of this.

  198. max hats –
    it seems that you suffer a bit from equating Republicans with “the right.”

    Just because Kentucky is closer to Japan than New York doesn’t make Kentucky more Japanese

  199. And I’m not arguing that Republicans are fiscally responsible either. That said, for either party to lecture consumers on fiscal responsibility is farcical.

    As for your Keynesian argument that the government must spend more in bad times or else the economy would collapse and we’d all be reduced to cannibalism to survive, I would refer you to numberous examples of depressions caused by government actions that were fixed by reducing taxes and spending (1920-21 depression), and recent failures of Keynesian economics (stagflation, Japan’s “lost decade”).

  200. Shorter Max Hats: It’s good when we do it, because we know when the right time to do it is.

  201. Unfortunately, I have a doctor’s appoint, so sayonara.

  202. max hats

    yeah Democrats iz well left!!!!

    see cus repulicuns is left and democrats is right

    I mean republicuns is right and democrats is left!

    Sumtimes I get well confuzed then Jon Stewart explains
    that they is in fact diffurent and that

    >Democrats is good an soshulist like us

    an repulicuns is right and bad

    Like Milton Freedmun

    (dont get me started on him or I’ll right another book! and make loads of munee but not spend it on consumerist stuff and just eat recycled fair trade chocolate with it)

  203. Epi, “nuked the fridge” has connotations of laughable absurdity, whereas “jumped the shark” simply implies something good became bad.

    Poppycock. The Indiana Jones franchise was great, especially Raiders, and then went bad. They have the same connotations, much like you would say “wallow in my corpulence” because you are an old fart, and I would say “Warty has a muffintop”.

  204. Epi, “nuked the fridge” has connotations of laughable absurdity, whereas “jumped the shark” simply implies something good became bad.

    I think both connote both. Fonzie jumping the shark was laughably absurd and signaled the point at which Happy Days started wearing out its welcome.

    Indy surviving a nuke in a fridge is laughably absurd and was the moment I decided this movie shouldn’t be mentioned alongside the others, or ever.

  205. “Democrats believe (and practice) debt in bad times and balancing the books in good times”

    Uh huh.

    That’s why they’ve saddled us with mucho trillions of unfunded liabilites by creating Social Security and Medicare.

  206. Tony –

    I’ve studied environmental economic policy and the common flaw that always comes up is in the implementation phase. It always looks good on paper, but when it comes time to implement things go to pot.

    There’s no reason that individuals can’t still come up with revolutionary technology to advance environmental goals under a Democratic government. Demonizing profits, however, is completely the wrong way to do it. So are subsidies (as we’ve seen, subsidies have a way of never going away). Would you not agree that things that manage to provide profit are also things that are most popular in the marketplace? Incentives for entrepreneurial activity (low taxes, fewer hoops to jump through and red tape, shorter waiting periods and fewer licensures) are, imo, the best way to allow people to achieve this goal. The government has never been very good at picking winners and losers, n’est-ce pas?

  207. And I’m not arguing that Republicans are fiscally responsible either. That said, for either party to lecture consumers on fiscal responsibility is farcical.

    I am unaware of either party apparatus lecturing consumers on anything. This article is about. . .well, this article is about another article which is in turn about articles written by certain liberal pundits and liberal intellectuals not affiliated with the democratic party.

    As for your Keynesian argument that the government must spend more in bad times or else the economy would collapse and we’d all be reduced to cannibalism to survive, I would refer you to numberous examples of depressions caused by government actions that were fixed by reducing taxes and spending (1920-21 depression), and recent failures of Keynesian economics (stagflation, Japan’s “lost decade”).

    That is not in any way “my argument.” I did not invent Keynesian economics and I do not come to this board to further them. My point in this thread is to try and correct obvious, ridiculous errors. But hey, whatever. Keep arguing with the evil socialists in your head instead. Who am I to judge – I masturbate all the time.

  208. One more thing, and then I really have to go:

    Max Hats,
    Your justification for the Dems’ apparent about-face on spending is predicated on Keynesian economics. Hence, my rebuttal. And now I seriously have to go.

  209. Of course it is. That doesn’t mean I’m arguing for it. And what “about face” are you talking about? Democrats have held to Keynesian economics for three generations. I am starting to doubt that you are an economist at all.

  210. There’s no reason that individuals can’t still come up with revolutionary technology to advance environmental goals under a Democratic government.

    That’s difficult when oil companies hold worldwide patents for said technologies while lacking any intention to improve upon or market them.

  211. And Reinmoose, we’re saying essentially the same thing: government is the problem. I don’t fault the market or industry for doing what it’s supposed to do. But whereas you have no faith in the government getting it right, I say we don’t have any other choice.

    If the science is correct, we don’t have the time to wait for patents to expire or for the market to work its magic, especially given our current incentive structure and the existing oil-based infrastructure (and an industry with vast resources and a huge stake in the status quo).

  212. Epi, I wallow in my crapulence, not my corpulence. Get it right.

  213. You and I both know the oil industry has had its thumb on the scales for decades.

    If, by that, you mean petroleum-based fuels are a highly efficient (and reasonably safe and easily transported) store of energy, okay. If you mean the diabolical Oil Cabal has been running the world, try again.

    And, by all means, keep babbling about the 200mpg carburetor; I just love that story.

  214. Of course, there is another faith-based argument for climate inaction.

  215. “That’s difficult when oil companies hold worldwide patents for said technologies while lacking any intention to improve upon or market them.”

    yeah cus teh Oil cumpanees have no insentives to make any money frum alt-energy

    Teh Oil cumpanees have patents on wind turbines

    not too menchun first secund and third generachun photovoltaics devices

  216. “Nuked the fridge?” I didn’t even bother watching that crappy movie.

    Sorry, but “jumped the shark” still reigns supreme.

  217. yeah Tonee

    you tell them capitulateists

    “we don’t have the time to wait for patents to expire”

    I don’t actually know of any patents on alt-tech held by oil cumpanees

    (which is odd because I work with the technology)

    but you tell em Tony

    show sum links to back up that argumunt!!!!!

  218. (an industry with vast resources and a huge stake in the status quo).

    yeah cus it wud be loadz less profitabul if
    oil cumpanies cud just make energy without havin to pay OPEC

    (OPEC is good cus they hate Americuns!)

  219. The Naomi Klein I know can spell, especially her own name. As long as the companies can keep being the most profitable in the history of the world simply by pumping more oil from the ground, no I do not expect them to champion changes to that status quo, and I expect them to actively impede it, which they have done. Not that OPEC is an example of a free market actor.

  220. Thread Winner, hell, fucking site winner:

    joe: The Passive-Aggressive Ubermensch

  221. You is rite!!!!

    Teh oil cumpanies are stealin ideas and stoppin poeple use them!

    look here EXXoN (hahahaha Bushes cumpanie!!!!!)

    is investigatin Carbun capture

    http://www.businessgreen.com/business-green/news/2215963/exxon-unveils-plans-100m-carbon

    an if it works they will stop anyone usin it!!!!

    and Exxon they has developed this idea for a membrane for lithium ion batteries

    http://www.ecogeek.org/content/view/1180/6/

    but they will STEAL the idea!!

    an let no one use it so they can give money to eh Bush!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11

  222. yeah Tonee

    I can spell
    I did a degree in some ology

    and now I can talk about economics cus I is smart just like you

    🙂

  223. I’m soo late to this thing, but why the hell do people keep linking to Yglesias’ blog? Aside from the fact that it itself is ridiculous (I did an admittedly futile rebuttal of the last thing attacking Mises, Friedman, Hayek & Rand by inexplicably trying to link them to Larry Summers) – but in addition to Yglesias’ stupidity, his blog’s comments are a treasure-trove (?) of logical fallacy, ignorance and abject retardation.

    I don’t get it… I’m only now starting to realize how pervasive bad reasoning truly is – and how much the average person relies on fallacy to form opinions. It’s shocking… But I know I shouldn’t be shocked.

    At any rate, I also wanted to say… Tony, as much as I know you’re well-meaning, your arguments and opinions rest on dozens of largely unfounded presumptions which taken together might lead to the conclusions you recommend (though that is not guaranteed). But because your assumptions rest on the backs of each other, and your premises are pretty weak overall, you’re entire case is a house of cards built on circuitous reasoning.

    I’ve gone over specifically which things a dozen times now and I don’t really feel like doing it again, but I do encourage you to analyze your own premises a little more carefully. And also to consider the long-term effects of your proposed “solutions” without implicitly assuming that any government action will be all upside & no downside.

    PS. Also check out the new CATO ad

  224. Democrats believe (and practice) debt in bad times and balancing the books in good times. How is this meme of OMG LEFTARDS DEBT LOL still live? Look at the past fifty years of actual American history.

    Hahahahahahaha. When has counter cyclical spending ever actually been implemented? In the 60s, LBJ decided that the economy just wasn’t stimulated enough yet, so we had to declare war on poverty and “invest” a lot of borrowed money in the supposed “multiplier effect”. Unfortunately, reality intruded in the 70s.

    You’re basing your entire argument on a 2 year period in the mid-90s in which the economy grew so much, because of a BUBBLE, that taxation accidentally overtook spending, and at a time when the Republicans controlled congress.

  225. Actually, Tony’s proposal of a carbon tax to incorporate the environmental costs of pollution is pretty much what a lot of libertarians are advocating.

    Obviously, it’s not a perfect solution, but working it all via courts and massive class-action civil liability lawsuits is probably untenable.

    A carbon tax is blind to the specific means by which the carbon is produced and therefore not as easily manipulated in favor of particular technolgies or industries. Cap-and-trade is more problematic, since the caps have to be determined by someone, and can be lobbied and manipulated. A carbon tax is thus more FAIR – you pay in direct proportion to your carbon footprint, no matter the means.

  226. Hazel,

    Agreed, for once! =)

  227. Sean W. Malone,

    PS. Also check out the new CATO ad

    You’ve got to be kidding me. Yet another list of “experts” refuting scientific consensus via advertising, rather than science. Does this even pass the “Steve” test?

  228. “You’ve got to be kidding me. Yet another list of “experts” refuting scientific consensus via advertising, rather than science.

    Aside from the fact that that arguing from authority is really all you have going in the other direction – since you can neither show a causal relationship between CO2 and historical climate trends nor can you account for the fact that the climate models are highly imprecise, often based on bad or inherently upwardly biased temperature data (which is pretty well documented) and reflects an immensely complex system while trying to reduce it to one or two variables – I didn’t come here to get into that fight.

    I just wanted to point out that your extremely high levels of certainty don’t exactly jive with science.

    And ironically, as I re-read your statement there… the very way you’ve countered that little link with appeals to “scientific consensus” negates the argument against the CATO ad – firstly because science isn’t about consensus as you pointed out (though you rely on the appearance of it as your benchmark for quick, bold and highly authoritarian political action) and secondly because you are trying to then hypocritically discredit the experts who disagree with no particular support or understanding other than that they disagree with you.

    I guess it’d be amusing, but the fact that you think that CATO is engaging in an argument from authority fallacy (which it would seem you do), and yet you don’t realize that arguing from authority is the basis of your entire ideology is just depressing.

    That said, while we’re on the topic of scientific authority & consensus why don’t you actually go read and research some of the names of the signatories. At some point, you’re going to run out of the ability to poison the well by calling people shills for Big Oil and realize that the consensus isn’t as strong as you think it is – and certainly not if you’re looking for everyone to agree on the dangers or the policy solutions to global warming.

  229. I realized this wasn’t quite clear:

    “secondly because you are hypocritically trying to discredit the experts who disagree with you, with no particular support for your case and without having much of an understanding of their positions, other than that they disagree with you.”

    Possibly more clear?

  230. Hey!! Science, logic, math, and statistics have no place in global catastrophe.

  231. Wait, did a prominent Reason contributor just use the word “Libtard?” How old are you guys?

    It’s becoming clear that the magazine is essentially throwing as much shit at the wall in the hopes that some of it sticks, or at least starts a fight.

    The magazine is becoming some bizarre Fox News offshoot. I would say that it’s time to consider a new editor, and a new series of contributors.

    I was a Welch fan when he first got the gig, but his performance has been pretty dismal thus far, and I’m not even a Libertarian.

    This place is just as silly, and anti-intellectual as any other ideological outfit. Please, at least try to give rational people a place to shelter from the same old team oriented bullshit.

    I’m still waiting for the effort.


  232. No useless masturbatory carbon offsets, but I’m burning smaller Palestinian flags nowadays. Does that count?

    There is a tremendous amount of win in this statement.

  233. I like how when the journalists here criticize liberals, liberal assholes slink out of the sewers to call Reason a bunch of Republican sympathizing cocksuckers. I also love how, when Reason criticizes conservatives or Republicans, paleocons, neocons, and other strains of wingnut show up to call Welch and Gillespie liberal pansies.

    Oh Noes,
    Dig the sand out of your mangina and use the search function. You will find lots of posts by the staff here criticizing Republicans. Lots. Or, you can continue to be a petulant leftard and pule and moan when anyone disagrees with you.

  234. If I have learned one thing in all of my years lurking on this site, it’s that self-described Libertarians are often some of the most egregious abusers of reasoning. When you have such a narrow ideology, you have to frequently abuse reasoning in order to keep the narrative going.

    Again, the use of the word “reason” as the title of this propaganda outfit should have been evidence enough, but some days have been better than others.

    Above all, it’s the casual use of either/or fallacies, strawman arguments, and just about every other logical fallacy conjured up by man that are the hardest top stomach. Few seem to really care. I’m beginning to think that this forum is more of a psychiatrists couch than a political blog.

    It’s not just from the commentators, who seem like little more than a gang of socially inept IT nerds. It comes from the actual writers as well, and that is just pathetic.

  235. Nooge, you’ve just displayed the problem that I have described, and you have done it in spades. I appreciate your help.

    My comments had nothing to do with critique of Republicans, or Democrats. It had to do with the standards for the use of “reason.” You know, the actual name of the magazine?

    But, you’re right. It is funny to watch the various gangs show up to defend their religious philosophy. However, it’s also funny to watch as the members of those gangs digress by of way of some silly strawman.

    So, how does it feel to be the object of your own ridicule?

  236. “And what ‘about face’ are you talking about? Democrats have held to Keynesian economics for three generations.”

    It’s funny that every time a Democratic administration and Congress is in power, deficit spending is absolutely necessary or else Ragnarok will come and Shiva will rise to referee the fight between Jesus and Satan. Then again, it’s funny that the same thing occurs under Republicans. Once again, not shilling for either party. And I’m fully aware that Democrats have held to Keynesian economics for three generation. It gives a convenient excuse to criticize spending when they are out of power and to love it when they’re in power.

  237. Democrats believe (and practice) debt in bad times and balancing the books in good times.

    Holy jesus Christ on a motherfucking pogo stick, what a bunch of everloving crap.

    The Democrats have controled Congress (both ouses for almost all of the years since 1945 (we’ll discount deficits before then, OK) and the USA has seen budget surpluses in about four years since then. And those have been due to pure luck (as one of my favorite Heinlin characters points out at March 30, 2009, 6:21pm).

    Keynesianism can never be disproved because, like Marxism and free market capitalism, it has never really been practiced. There’s always someone who needs to be stimulated with deficit spending, but there’s never a boom so hot that it needs to be cooled down with spending cuts and increased taxes.

    Lord Keynes’ opus might have looked splendid on paper but in reality it’s been an absolute mess.

    My challenge to you, Max Hats, is to name a single year that Democrats were interested in balanced budgets and running surpluses except when they were trying to make points against equally freespending GOPers. And then it was only because they wanted to spend more money on different things.

  238. Max Hats,
    Here’s how our exchange went. I said: Too bad the left doesn’t wet its pants as much over public debt as over consumer debt. You said: Liberals aren’t given to fiscal profligacy. I said: BS. Just because the Republicans are as bad doesn’t get lefties off the hook. You said: But these are desperate times, and call for desperate measures(4:33)! I said: That’s a Keynesian justification, and this is the reason that I consider it a flawed justification (4:36). You said: But I was never advocating Keynesian economics (4:46)! If you want to argue over semantics, I can’t prove definitively that you were arguing in favor of Keynesian economics. What I was arguing was that Keynesian economics is not a sound basis for incurring a trillion-dollar deficit (this year) after complaining for the last eight about deficits, and you seemed (but perhaps I was mistaken in this assessment), to be arguing the Democratic party line that it’s okay for the federal government to spend with impunity now because it’s a recession.

  239. You guys aren’t the only ones with guns you know.

    You liberals have guns? LOL! Just thinking about them hurts your vaginas. Actually shooting them? hahaha.

  240. Isaac Bartram,
    Given that Max Hats fairly reliably toes the Democratic party line, I doubt you’ll get a satisfactory response. You’re far more likely to get “OMG you’re shilling for THE REPUBLICANS. Because we know that ALL LIBERTARIANS ARE JUST REPUBLICANS IN DISGUISE!!!”

  241. “You guys aren’t the only ones with guns you know.”

    I like it when the left’s true colors come out: If you don’t like what we’re doing, we can threaten you into going along. Just a word of advice, Tony: You don’t say that until after you’ve secured your hold on power beyond all possible challengers. Of course, then you say, “We’re the guys with guns”. Don’t they teach that in Petty Tyranny 101?

  242. Nooge, if this magazine was a FOX News offshoot, would there be so many posts criticizing the Bush wiretapping and torture policies?

    You just don’t like the fact that a magazine that supports free markets hasn’t jumped on board the “OMG!!! The free market has failled!!” bullshit brigade.

    Seriously. “This crisis was caused by greed!” is every bit as retarded an operating theory as “They hate our freedom!”, and is “simplism” is likely to produce similar results.

  243. RE: JB

    Nothing worse for one’s mood than having a juvenile asswipe agree with you.

  244. Democrats have held to Keynesian economics for three generations.

    And every single fiscal year of those three generations, if there has been a Congress controlled by Democrats (which odds on there was) ther has been a budget deficit, no matter where the country was in the business cycle.

    Keynesian for Dummies tells you to cut spending and raise taxes during a boom. By that measure there has not been a boom since in the USA since 1946.

    Hell the Democratic Congress even torpedoed* one of their own very best when Jimmy Carter tried to get spending under control in the 1970s.

    *couldn’t resist a submarine allusion right there, eh?

  245. Hazel,
    Don’t go after Nooge, go after Oh Noes.

  246. Er. that last was directed at Oh noes, not Nooge.

  247. Isaac,
    But in the 1970’s there was a recession!!!!! With just a little more inflation, I’m sure we could have reduced unemployment!

  248. Thank you, Hazel.

  249. Who could have possibly predicted it?! The economics of global warming don’t conform to libertarian dogma so let’s just attack the premise!

    Who could have possibly predicted it?! The politics of global warming exactly conform to socialist dogma so let’s just adopt the premise!

    Keynesian economist, I know you’re kidding, but actually many indicators in the early years of Carter’s administration showed things were pretty damn good. A little cooling off might have helped. There was wide agreement, even on the left, that inflation was the problem. The Keynesian prescription should have been to cool things off and take care of unemployment with the relatively modest expenditures that unemployment insurance incurs.

    But, most likely it was really too late. By that time the accumulation of debt had occurred at such a pace that since then we have basically been forced to borrow to pay the interest.

    Yes, through the magic of compound interest we have simply managed to increase the National Debt at virtually exponential rates since 1980.

  250. The Keynesian prescription should have been to cool things off and take care of unemployment with the relatively modest expenditures that unemployment insurance incurs.

    Mind you, Carter, in some ways, got the last laugh. Putting Volcker in at the Fed resulted in exactly that happening.

    Only we remember it as the Reagan Recession rather than the Carter Recession.

  251. Oh, but too bad nobody learned any lessons about fiscal discipline from it.

  252. Once they realize that’s impossible however, they tend to say something along the lines of Screw the Rich (who don’t donate to our causes).

    The mere millionaires don’t, but once you get to 50-100 million, I’ve noticed a pronounced leftward tilt in their politics. Once you pass a billion, nearly all of them are socialists of one stripe or another.

    all its advertising is incredibly sexist, featuring mainstream porn stars and occasionally underage-looking girls in various states of undress

    It’s sexist towards women to pay them, but not men, lots of money to show off their bodies?

    What’s more important, national sovereignty or not letting all coastal cities flood, not having mass starvation, etc.?

    National sovereignty. The rest isn’t going to happen.

    But doing massive damage to our shared environment can’t be something sanctioned even by free marketeers, can it?

    I absolutely deny that “greenhouse gases” are doing any damage whatsoever to our environment. Even if they were, a cogent case can be made that “do nothing” is exactly the right response.

    The “leftards” in question are hoping for the end of massive perpetual consumer debt, a structural adjustment pretty much everyone agrees has to happen

    Who is “everybody”? I disagree with the entire premise. You aren’t qualified to decide what the right level of consumer debt is.

  253. “Government’s role is to be the” vampire, not “umpire”…fucking mongoloid.

  254. Oh Noes,

    Bull-fucking-shit. Your whining comments pretty fucking clearly indicated you’re wondering if this place is becoming some sort of “Fox News offshoot.”

    Still, you wanna claim you were pulling the “for a place called ‘Reason'” card? Really? That isn’t any better. It’s such a stupid, meaningless argument that it’s actually a drinking game around here when somebody does that. It’s code for “Gillespie/Welch/Sullum/whoever said something I don’t like.”

    HM + economist,

    Thanks for lookin’ out. 🙂

  255. The only president who ever paid off the national debt was Andrew Jackson.

    It’s been fiscal downhill all the way since then.

    The Dems like to claim that Clinton eliminated the budget deficit.

    But, of course, he actually had nothing to do with it.

    It was due to to an economic upcycle that began before he ever took office in his first term and ended before he left it in his second (i.e he had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with creating it or sustaining it) bringing in more tax revenue.

    And the fact that the Republicans took over Congress and blocked Democrat spending initiatives.

  256. You have to admit this place engages in some pretty egregious history rewriting and denial of science. See the last few comments.

  257. Tony,

    Just because you don’t have a clue what you’re talking about most of the time doesn’t mean we’re rewriting anything… I for one can’t be responsible for your historical ignorance, but we do our best to educate.

  258. economist,

    I’m not sure who is being juvenile, but liberals definitely don’t get it that there is a segment of this country (a rather large one) that will fight at a certain point.

    Liberals have their pick of countries to go to that represent their politics, conservatives and libertarians do not. They keep pushing and they won’t like the back-lash.

  259. JB,

    And all we can do is shake our head in wonder at why all you armchair anarchists didn’t lift a damn finger during the last 8 years.

  260. “And all we can do is shake our head in wonder at why all you armchair anarchists didn’t lift a damn finger during the last 8 years.”

    WE DID Tony! Just because you weren’t fucking around Reason the last 8 years doesn’t mean we weren’t active. Your ignorance of libertarian opposition to Bush is not relevant to this discussion…

    That said, most of the Bush admin, I was in college & graduate school, dealing with those issues.

  261. Some of us considered Bush the lesser of evils. At least in 2000, though I didn’t vote for him.

    But if you want to know why I didn’t protest the Iraq War, although I thought it was a bad idea, it was because the anti-war movement was being run by a bunch of anti-American fuck-tards running around saying America “had it coming”. There was no fucking way I was going to lend any support, moral or otherwise, to those people.

    That’s the real reason the anti-war movement failed, and then too several years to get going, even after Iraq was an obvious disaster to anyone paying attention. Because the people who dominated the movement had views that were so abhorrent that nobody wanted to associate with them. Like Ward Churchill.

  262. In 2003, I (somewhat regrettably) took the Christopher Hitchens’ position on the Iraq war… I thought it wasn’t a good idea, I certainly was not supportive of any wars not specifically authorized as wars by congress, but I also did/do think that Saddam Hussein was a very very bad man, and between the dozen or so UN resolutions, his belligerence with weapons inspectors and his history of invading neighboring countries… It would seem that Saddam’s removal is definitely still a plus.

    To a degree, by that point in 2002/2003, I was certainly concerned with additional international attacks, I was aware of the history of avoidance with the USS Cole in Yemen and other earlier offenses which had gone ignored.

    Were I a member of congress at the time, I would have made the Ron Paul vote – No on the war. Yes on funding & such once it’s started. At least through 2003… Now, not so much. Also might not have helped that my father was an active theatre commander in Afghanistan in 2003 for the Air Force running the base in Kandahar. Getting more “inside” information on the situation over there sort of changes your perspective a little. And I do still believe there are many people (especially in that part of the world) for whom the goal is death of Americans/America and not simply retribution for legitimate grievances against the CIA and what-have-you.

    I guess I’m saying, it’s more complicated than Tony gives it credit for being…

    And yet – EVERY time I was aware of an abuse of liberty, a breach of the Constitution, I spoke & wrote about it and have some of the old blogs to prove it. That’s the best I could do…

    Oh, and I signed a petition against the Patriot Act – although… In spite of that I got into an argument with the guy asking me to sign it because he tacked on a bunch of idiotic socialist bullshit. College campus and all… You know.

  263. After this thread I know I can in future ignore any comment from max hats and Tony.

    Although I confess that since Tony’s comments are such over the top hysterically stereotypical liberal nonsense (mixed with utter ignorance) that I sometimes wonder if he’s a performance troll.

  264. Government’s role is to be the umpire, not the shortstop, pitcher, and clean-up hitter all in one.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.