Politics

Civility Is Overrated

We have no duty to be nice to elected officials

|

If you've been paying attention lately, you may be under the impression that the United States is spiraling into mass incivility.

The evidence keeps mounting: Rep. Joe Wilson's yelling. Serena Williams' yelling. Kanye West's … whatever. All of these uncouth characters have been strung together by critics to establish, indisputably, that there is a societal explosion of boorish and coarse behavior.

On the political front, columnist Kathleen Parker calls this "a political era of uninhibited belligerence." House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, lamenting an imaginary climate of violence, wishes "we would all, again, curb our enthusiasm in some of the statements that are made."

Such a preposterous statement should be actionable. Pelosi, who only recently compared her political opponents to Nazis, isn't exactly a paragon of civil discourse. American politics always has been unsightly. Most of the time, in fact, far worse than today.

Have we transformed into so brittle a citizenry that we are unable to handle a raucous debate over the future of the country? If things were quiet, subdued, and "civil" in America today, as Pelosi surely wishes, it only would be proof that democracy isn't working.

It's no accident, either, that those in power are generally the ones choking up about the lack of decorum. The truth is we could use far less bogus civility in Washington.

Some of us, for instance, would prefer the superb system of debating used by the British Parliament. Watching those foppish MPs holler "poppycock, sir!" at one another during speeches is a pure pleasure. The British trade courteousness for a more productive, more honest, and, most importantly, more entertaining debate. (The occasional Taiwanese-style free-for-all parliamentary slap riot wouldn't hurt C-Span's ratings, either.)

Instead, here at home, stilted House rules dictate that a member of Congress may not refer to the government as "something hated, something oppressive." Its members shall not call any unnamed officials "our half-baked nitwits handling foreign affairs," no matter how true the statement may be. And they never, ever can describe the president as a "liar" or a "hypocrite" or claim he is "intellectually dishonest."

It's a miracle anything is discussed, actually.

Obviously, Rep. Wilson broke the rules when he rudely blurted out, "You lie!" The vulnerable souls inhabiting Congress—people who spend half their lives and millions of dollars smearing political opponents as child-hating, warmongering, brown-shirted socialists—were profoundly offended by this act of rudeness. For many, it was another sign of the intensifying coarseness in American society.

Now, tennis (unlike politics) is, without question, one of the most civilized sports in the world. If there were any chance that Williams would shove an EXPLETIVE ball down the EXPLETIVE throat of a line judge, it might even be a sport worth watching. But despite the overwrought finger wagging of critics, the incident tells us nothing about society at large—other than that athletes can be competitive and lose their tempers.

Neither does a hammered celebrity rapper making an idiot out of himself on the MTV (the exemplar of proper etiquette, no?) Video Music Awards. Yes, I, too, yearn for the bygone era of hip-hop chivalry, but those days, sadly, have passed.

Where does that leave us? Exactly where we were 10 years ago—or 20. I've been around this country a bit, and most of the people I've encountered have been extraordinarily civil—even if they occasionally drink too much or embarrass themselves or curse at one another while playing pickup basketball.

This new focus on civility is meant to cloud another issue. Let's not confuse personal civility with political civility. A "civil" citizenry can mean a pliable citizenry, waiting—sometimes forever—to speak their minds.

We have no duty to say "please" and "thank you" to elected officials. Not yet.

David Harsanyi is a columnist at The Denver Post and the author of Nanny State. Visit his Web site at www.DavidHarsanyi.com.

COPYRIGHT 2009 THE DENVER POST
DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM

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

231 responses to “Civility Is Overrated

  1. Just a guess, but I would imagine debate is very civil in places like Cuba and North Korea.

  2. Shut the fuck up, David Harsanyi.

  3. This is a retarded article. Democracy and debate can be effective and yet be civil you stupid fuck!

  4. Seriously though, it would be better if debate were civil. When it is not civil it becomes pretty near impossible to convince anyone on a different side and democracy just becomes a “my side turned out more than your side” affair.

  5. Glad that Reason is addressing civility but they seem to have missed religious honor killings in their list of uncivil acts.

  6. Aarrrrrr!

    Simply preface any remark/question with “With all due respect”.

    It takes so little and it means so much.

  7. “Seriously though, it would be better if debate were civil. When it is not civil it becomes pretty near impossible to convince anyone on a different side and democracy just becomes a “my side turned out more than your side” affair.”

    True. But there is a flip side to that. “Civility” can just be a club to beat the minority into submission or create a sense that all arguments are of equal importance. Sometimes, you need to get angry. Sometimes being uncivil is the only way to get heard. Not all the time, but sometimes. Yes, we should all try to be civil, but we shouldn’t use civility as an excuse to tell the other side to shut up.

    Also, the picture of Serena Williams is a really dumb example. Sports are not politics. Nothing in sports is life or death or is comparable to real life stuff.

  8. MNG, if a democracy is peopled by humans rather than angels, debate is definitely going to be uncivil. And the more control that democracy has over your money and your life, the more everyone has at stake in the decision going their way, and the more uncivil the debate’s going to be.

    It’s another reason to support limited government — it offers a great deal of social stability. If the biggest decision made through a democratic process is whether Jim or Bob gets to be dog catcher, you’d be surprised how calm the debate can be.

  9. The funny thing is John is one of these people who is up in arms when, say, leftist protestors demonstrart their “righteous anger” by disrupting campus events.

    If you ask those people what’s up with their assholery they will give you the same answers John just gave.

  10. ” If the biggest decision made through a democratic process is whether Jim or Bob gets to be dog catcher, you’d be surprised how calm the debate can be.”

    Yeah Tulpa, because political debate back 1880-1920 was so civil and restrained!
    Did you see Gangs of New York? That was just over who got to be the local constable, not tariff and stimulus policy.

  11. Gangs of New York? That’s your evidence?

    MNG, my days of not taking you seriously are definitely coming to a middle…

  12. “we shouldn’t use civility as an excuse to tell the other side to shut up.”

    By definition being civil does not mean being silent. It does mean being polite and not an asshole.

    For example, Joe Wilson was being an asshole. If he thought Obama was misrepresenting something, he could have had a press conference afterwards and said so. And if someone yelled ‘you lie’ during his press conference, then that person would be uncivil. If that person thought Wilson was lying, then he should have his own press conference. Etc. Insisting on civility does not lead to silencing.

  13. You know Gangs of New York was based on a book by a news reporter of that day right (great read). Check it out and see how “civil” debate was back in the halycon days of much more limited government.

  14. Also, the picture of Serena Williams is a really dumb example. Sports are not politics. Nothing in sports is life or death or is comparable to real life stuff.

    That’s just because the government suppresses death sports from being televised.

  15. Just check out all of history. Government was pretty limited in the period I mentioned, but politics was not very civil. Patronage was worth killing people over, ask President Garfield.

  16. Sports, at the professional level, is real life stuff for the people in it. It’s how they make their living, how they put food on the table or, in Serena’s case, get that extra house in the Hamptons.

  17. And in any case, MNG, it’s all relative. Working within the fictional GONY universe, you can imagine how much less civil the “debate” would have been if the election were determining even weightier things.

    And either the movie was extremely unfaithful to the book, or that news reporter was an idiot. The draft riots and the most intense gang warfare weren’t happening at the same time. You might note that 1880-1920 doesn’t include the Civil War, bub.

  18. And wait a minute, you’re calling the Civil War a period of limited government? Still approaching that middle.

  19. Tulpa
    Are you seriously suggesting that there is a positive correlation between government growth and involvement in society and incivility in politics? Because according to this little subject you seem none too familiar with called AMERICAN HISTORY it seems mcuh more like a negative correlation between the two.

    I’ll give you the same advice I give to many right wing folks: read less blogs and more books (and not ones published by Regenery).

  20. Nothing in sports is life or death or is comparable to real life stuff.

    What about that Colombian player who was gunned down by Colombian gamblers for scoring an “own goal” that caused them to lose to the US in the ’90 World Cup?

  21. Was the Civil War between 1880-1920?

  22. Where is Tomcat to tell us what Obama wants him to do? I mean besides calling Kanye West a jackass.

  23. I’m not talking about the draft riots scene but the violence surrounding the election of the local constable in the film.

    Who got to be dog catcher, or rather sheriff, customs official or postal employee was stuff people killed over back then, probably in large part due to the fact that since there were little or no government benefit programs for the needy it was one of the few ways hte needy could quickly get such benefits (especially for much discriminated against groups such as the Irish).

  24. Tulpa
    Do you know where the term “waving the bloody shirt” comes from in American politics?

    Hint, pre-New Deal and Progressive era.

  25. Was the Civil War between 1880-1920?

    Tulpa just gave you the answer mister Leftwing noise maker.

  26. Do you know where the term “waving the bloody shirt” comes from in American politics?

    Can I guess? Jessee Jackson doing a press conference after the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King with fake blood all over his shirt.

  27. Are you seriously suggesting that there is a positive correlation between government growth and involvement in society and incivility in politics?

    Absolutely. It’s a thing called COMMON SENSE.

    Because according to this little subject you seem none too familiar with called AMERICAN HISTORY it seems mcuh more like a negative correlation between the two.

    If you consider incivility in politics relative to the average incivility in the nonpolitical society, that’s dubious. Everybody loves the go-to example of Charles Sumner getting caned in the Senate, but remember that duelling was still legal in most states at the time. It was still common then to resolve disputes with violence.

    And even if it were true you would have to separate out all the confounding variables. Increasing wealth does a lot to make people more content and civil and perhaps cancel out the influence of expanding govt.

  28. I completely disagree with this article. I think we can have both vigorous and civil debate. Take this recent exchanges at H&R.

    joe:: Single payer is the most effective way to distribute health care.

    Warty:: I respectfully disagree, joseph. While being an affront to our personal liberty, the inefficiencies of large government make the system impractical.

    joe:: Well played, my good man. I now see the error in my logic. I do so enjoy these bouts of verbal fisticuffs.

    Warty:: I value your opinion, Lonewacko.

  29. Was the Civil War between 1880-1920?

    Was Gangs of New York set between 1880-1920? Kind of an important question since it forms the basis of your argument.

  30. It’s not that I don’t see the logic of your argument Tulpa, in theory the higher the stake the crazier the fight. But like a lot of libertarian thought what has a logical base has little support empirically (kind of why libertarian’s beloved Austrian economists seem to shy from empirical hypothesis testing, but I digress).

    The debate is crazier when people are more desperate, and when the government was smaller people were so. For all the bitching and moaning of libertarians, the desperateness created by the imposition of programs like social security and welfare are very much outwieghed by the desperateness they alleviate. Hence a more civil debate during times of relatively higher government involvement and growth.

  31. And even if it were true you would have to separate out all the confounding variables. Increasing wealth does a lot to make people more content and civil and perhaps cancel out the influence of expanding govt.

    But in the movies the wealthy do evil mean stuff to minorities. Didn’t you see Billy Jack?
    😉

  32. “Increasing wealth does a lot to make people more content and civil and perhaps cancel out the influence of expanding govt.”

    And so you admit there is a historical positive correlation between increasing wealth and government growth/involvement in American history? Quote Borat: “Ni-ice!”

    “If you consider incivility in politics relative to the average incivility in the nonpolitical society, that’s dubious.”

    If you just confine yourself to the oratory it’s much worse back then when government was much smaller. Empirical fail buddy.

  33. I think there is a non-nefarious reason why so many movie and tv villians are wealthy. To heighten drama you make the odds against he hero steep, and what better way to do that than make the villian powerful (and people, well excepting many libertarians and lunatics that is, realize that wealth=power in our society)? I think it has to do more with that than capitalism hate. Many movies also have beloved rich people alongside the wealthy villian (of course they must demonstrate their goodness in unselfish ways etc).

  34. Funny. While listening to NPR at work yesterday, at least 3 different programs (Fresh Air, All Things Considered and Radio Times) discussed this issue. Just an observation.

  35. Things I learned from MNG today:

  36. Per the article, the only people calling for more “civility” are the gang in charge and their obedient vassals in the punditocracy. “Civility,” of course, is a very nice and safe and charming euphemism for “censorship.” Yeah, I know, no one is calling for that. Not even weepy and oh-so-concerned Nancy Pelosi. We’re a democracy! (Even though we aren’t.) Funny how the “progressives,” formerly champions of civil rights, have become the new Commissars of Speech and Behavior.

  37. “The funny thing is John is one of these people who is up in arms when, say, leftist protestors demonstrart their “righteous anger” by disrupting campus events.”

    Again MNG it is all about degree. Do I think that it is okay to just go and be a thug and shout the other side down? No. That is crossing the line. But, Do I have a problem with using harsh and uncivil language in response to what someone is saying? No. There is a difference between the two. In the first case, the other guy can’t say anything. In the second, he can. That I think is the test: if your behavior prevents the other guy, no matter how loathsome from having a fair say, then you are the asshole. If your behavior just hurts his feelings, too bad.

  38. Sports is not life or death?

    Tell it to Caster Semenya . . .

  39. Funny how the “progressives,” formerly champions of civil rights, have become the new Commissars of Speech and Behavior.

    Perhaps the Progressives are just plain afraid, because the ones engaging in “uncivil discourse”, are the ones that support and own guns.

  40. Oh yeah, WAY overrated due! To say the least!

    Jess
    http://www.real-privacy.net.tc

  41. “I think there is a non-nefarious reason why so many movie and tv villians are wealthy.”

    Yes and no. Wealthy people are more interesting than poor people and are thus going to be more likly to portrayed on film. But, the fact that the corporation is always the villian and never the NGO or the non-Christian rightwing religous fanatic, is no accident. There are hundreds of example of this; the rewritting of the villians in the Sum of All Fears, the changing of the villian in the awful remake of The Manchurian Candidate from the Chinese to some multi-national, the complete whitewashing of the opposing side in movies like The Insider or the Erin Brocovitch.

    Why hasn’t Hollywood made a movie about the crooked plaintiffs’ firms? The story of the former nurse federal judge who found them out for submitting millions of false claims against asbestos companies that ended in people going to jail would make a great movie. But it will never be made.

  42. “We have no duty to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ to elected officials. Not yet.”

    You’ve obviously never had to deal with a homeowner’s association board of directors.

  43. “Things I learned from MNG today:”

    Retarded people have a great deal of trouble learning things, it’s true…

    “Per the article, the only people calling for more “civility” are the gang in charge and their obedient vassals in the punditocracy.”

    BS. I bet Hugo Chavez’s opposition would like to see a little more “civility” from the ruling faction…

    John
    There are plenty of movies where slimy lawyers are featured. But the lawyer who unethically sues the mega-corporation is not a good story to tell for the reasons I gave (he’s sort of an underdog still).

    And what story would have the NGO the villian? “Curse the oppression of the Red Cross and its heavy handed bureaucracy!”

  44. Try being uncivil in a court of law, and see where it gets you.

  45. John
    What is the good that incivility does? Does it outweigh its harms (inflamming people to do stupid things, hardening positions on both sides, etc)?

    Whatever happened to the virtues of just being polite?

  46. Surely no regular commenter at H&R is bemoaning the lack of “civil” debate on the issues. Raucous debate filled with slanderous innuendo and pejoratives is an American tradition.

    If you don’t realize that simple fact, you’re a fucking moron, woefully ignorant of history.

  47. I’m not arguing that there is not, well, madcrazy bias in hollywood media, there is. I’m just saying I think the wealthy are cast as villians in large part just because it heightens the drama.

    One of my beefs with Hollywood is the constant neverending “Nazis were bad” movies but the relative lack of “Communists were bad” movies. I’ve never heard any plausible explanation for this other than leftist bias.


  48. If you don’t realize that simple fact, you’re a fucking moron, woefully ignorant of history.

    That display of incivility was totally uncalled for.

  49. J sub
    Well, I think you realize that a lot of it is tongue in cheek (see my first post 😉

    But I do think there is a “time and place” sort of thing. Blogs are in part a place to have good old fashioned raucous debate. As long as it is in part always thought of as fun and as partly cathartic I think its a great thing. As long as it’s still realized that its still often conducive to the good to see the other side as less than horned demons and to try to honestly and civilly engage their ideas…In my opinion THAT’S how democracy works, not this game of trying to turn our more true-believers every first Tuesday of Nov.

  50. Tricky Prickears, stop trying to silence dissent, you Stalinist fucker!

  51. If it were a small Asian woman threatening to shove a tennis ball down a big black woman’s throat, would anyone have cared?

  52. Tricky Prickears, stop trying to silence dissent, you Stalinist fucker!

    LOL

  53. Those of you so incensed by Joe Wilson’s “you lie” comment seem to forget the nasty treatment Bush got during his terms. His state of the union speach was booed, he was called a liar and a Hitler from the floor of the House, and more than a few Dems were “uncivil”.

    Joe Wilson was right. Obama is a liar and he deserves to be called out. He hasn’t really seen uncivility yet. But he will.

  54. Tricky Prickears | September 19, 2009, 10:06am | #

    Perhaps the Progressives are just plain afraid, because the ones engaging in “uncivil discourse”, are the ones that support and own guns.

    Perhaps, but a crowd full of fat people in t-shirts, holding amateurish signage and chanting clich?d slogans, is hardly a physical threat (though it does assault one’s aesthetic sensibilities). The gang in power wants to silence all debate, whether civil or angry or violent (though there has been–contrary to their complaints–almost no violence to speak of). Apparently they think an election victory is equivalent to a coup d’?tat.

  55. JohnD
    Perhaps its possible that some people that think Wilson was out of line also thought folks booing the President or calling him Hitler during the Bush years were also out of line?

    I mean really, are you advocating as a general rule of morality that it is ok to shout out things when someone else speaking has the floor? WTF?

  56. A fat person in a T-shirt can blow you away just as easily as a skinny one in a Ralph Lauren polo shirt or a military uniform 🙂

  57. “If it were a small Asian woman threatening to shove a tennis ball down a big black woman’s throat, would anyone have cared?”

    Cursing and threatening an official is wrong no matter who did it and any sports participant who does so like that should be penalized. I don’t think race mattered or should.

    Fans watching at home, however, should be encouraged to curse officials loudly and often.

  58. No MNG, I’m saying there were damn few people that critised the dems for their boorish behavior. And I doubt seriously that you said a word about it either.

  59. “The gang in power wants to silence all debate”

    It’s better put to say that every administration would love to see less criticism of their administration. Many Bush supporters suggested their critics were unpatriotic, many Obama supporters suggest their critics are racists. Yawn. This is hardly groundbreaking stuff here and its not like we are on the edge of Stalinism here as a result.

  60. Actually I’ve long said here that comparisons of Bush to Hitler were not just nutty hyperbole but borderline insane (there is a search mechanism on this site you know, feel free to check it out). The guy was pretty mild imo, and this is from a fairly strong liberal. Hitler? I always thought the “Bushhitler” crowd to be boorish beyond the pale.

  61. JohnD
    You say “no” but above you say “Wilson was right.”

    As a general rule is it right to shout out while another speaker has the floor?

    And if not, how does Wilson’s conduct not fall under this general rule?

    I would suggest that the syllogism should frankly complete itself here with the conclusion being that what Wilson did was in fact not right.

  62. Joe Wilson was right. Obama is a liar and he deserves to be called out.

    Name me one person in that building that isn’t an outright liar. Like I said, try that in court of law and see where it gets you. Contempt of Congress, Contempt of Court. Same?

  63. Perhaps, but a crowd full of fat people in t-shirts, holding amateurish signage and chanting clich?d slogans, is hardly a physical threat

    And bringing a loaded weapon to a Town Hall meeting…?

  64. And bringing a loaded weapon to a Town Hall meeting…?

    If they weren’t brandishing or even firing it, how was that a threat?

  65. If it were a small Asian woman threatening to shove a tennis ball down a big black woman’s throat, would anyone have cared?

    Yea! Someone answer that one!

  66. Retarded people have a great deal of trouble learning things, it’s true…

    Obama thinks you are a jackass.

  67. Government was pretty limited in the period I mentioned, but politics was not very civil.

    Point of order, you puerile ignoramus. Smaller government doesn’t necessarily mean limited government. ‘Limited’ indicates that the government is strictly bound by constitutional prohibitions, whereas ‘small’ just means they haven’t gotten around to feeding the leviathan yet.

  68. HA,

    Thank you. I sometimes forget that too.

  69. Did you see Gangs of New York?

    I did. And I shall regret it to my dying day.

    As for the rest of your inane blathering and giddy hypotheticals…

    STFU, MaunderingNannyGoat.

  70. Obama wants me to second P Brooks.

    [shakes fist at John Tagliaferro for doing the “Obama wants” thing on every thread from yesterday after I saw it first, but I was at work!)

  71. Smaller government doesn’t necessarily mean limited government.

    Ultimately, as the population increases, so must the size of the government. As you pointed out, it is the scope of the gov that should be limited.

  72. Yea! Someone answer that one!

    Thought you might like that one Suki.

  73. But like a lot of libertarian thought what has a logical base has little support empirically (kind of why libertarian’s beloved Austrian economists seem to shy from empirical hypothesis testing, but I digress).

    Finding true empirical support for just about any broad statement about economics, politics, or social trends is impossible due to the inability to control extraneous variables. It’s not like a physics experiment where you can set it up so everything you don’t care about is constant, and then repeat the experiment to reduce statistical error. The world is your laboratory and you don’t have any control over it and you can’t repeat the experiment.

    So, the best you can do is try to trace the reasons for events that are observed in an attempt to ferret out the basic cause of these things. It’s messy, sloppy, unreliable work.

  74. If it were a small Asian woman threatening to shove a tennis ball down a big black woman’s throat, would anyone have cared?

    you could sell that on pay-per-view.

    /still having trouble understanding how the discussion devolved into debate over learning history from a leonardo dicaprio movie.

  75. Finding true empirical support for just about any broad statement about economics, politics, or social trends is impossible due to the inability to control extraneous variables. It’s not like a physics experiment where you can set it up so everything you don’t care about is constant, and then repeat the experiment to reduce statistical error. The world is your laboratory and you don’t have any control over it and you can’t repeat the experiment.

    That’s the difference between a “soft” science, and a “hard” science.

    Unstable condition:
    A symptom of life
    In mental,
    And environmental change

    Atmospheric disturbance–
    The feverish flux
    Of human interface
    And interchange

  76. Especially if they started slapping each other. And were wearing bikinis.

  77. Obama wants me to say “You’re Welcome” for putting the “Obama wants you to…” idea out there yesterday in the Friday Funnies thread. 🙂

  78. Why are we supposed to have “respect for the office” of the President or “respect for the chamber” of Congress? That is what I want to know.

    This is an interesting article on the same basic subject with another twist:
    http://c4ss.org/content/1073

  79. /still having trouble understanding how the discussion devolved into debate over learning history from a leonardo dicaprio movie.

    It was the MNG factor.

  80. Especially if they started slapping each other. And were wearing bikinis.

    Don’t forget the spike heels and baby oil.

  81. Some tubes of fiberglass insulation and a box full of live crickets wouldn’t hurt either.

  82. democracy just becomes a “my side turned out more than your side” affair.

    “Becomes”, MNG? That is the essence of majoritarian democracy — a special interest can steal from or coerce or otherwise take away the rights of others if they can muster a bare majority among those who bother to show up at the ballot boxes.

  83. Some tubes of fiberglass insulation and a box full of live crickets wouldn’t hurt either.

    Count me out. I can do without the rash.

  84. If it were a small Asian woman threatening to shove a tennis ball down a big black woman’s throat, would anyone have cared?

    Remove the word “tennis” from the above, and make “ball” plural, and I could probably dredge up dozens of NSFW movie clips depicting just that.

    The very variety of said … documentaries … would be evidence that some people “care” about that.

  85. prolofeed,

    Isn’t there an internet rule for that?

  86. The debate is crazier when people are more desperate, and when the government was smaller people were so. For all the bitching and moaning of libertarians, the desperateness created by the imposition of programs like social security and welfare are very much outwieghed by the desperateness they alleviate. Hence a more civil debate during times of relatively higher government involvement and growth.

    The government being smaller back then didn’t cause the greater poverty — the much lower level of scientific and technological knowledge and application to generate wealth created poverty.

    Are you seriously suggesting that there weren’t large and oppressive governments in the past, and desperate peasantry despite the large government? I believe the American and French revolutions were both about overthrowing said large, oppressive governments.

    And if you think the current large, oppressive government on net benefits poor people, you have a rather skewed, ideological perspective on the effect of the wealth transfers from poor, young people to wealthy older people caused by Social Security, the unemployment wreaked among minority teenagers by the minimum wage causing many of them to be unable to get a job at a wage that reflects their current job skills, the massive transfer of wealth to well-to-do people by the financial sector bailouts, and on and on.


  87. Remove the word “tennis” from the above, and make “ball” plural, and I could probably dredge up dozens of NSFW movie clips depicting just that.

    Holy fuck.

  88. Needs more Lynda Barry.

  89. Thank you. I sometimes forget that too.

    Suki, were you referring to the small vs. limited part, or that MNG argues with the credibility of a special needs child?

  90. Not to mention the “benefits” to millions of inner-city kids locked up in the WoD.

    The government doesn’t help poor people on net, MNG. The government helps politicians benefit themselves.

  91. When did Speaker Pelosi compare anyone to a Nazi?

  92. When did Speaker Pelosi compare anyone to a Nazi?

    We’re all Nazis or Fascists. That’s the new term that replaced Poopy Head

  93. HA,

    LOL, the small vs. limited part. The other is self evident.

  94. Obama wants me to call Nancy Pelosi a Nazi.

  95. Sure, We The People don’t have to be civil to our elected officials, and when they lie we should call them out on it – in newspapers, blogs, tv shows, etc. Not during a speech.

    And hypocrisy also needs to be called out. There’s no way Wilson would have called a white president a liar. Sure there’s no way to prove that except by traveling to an alternate universe with a white Democratic president (one in which about 10%-15% of Americans would love to be living right now). But when you look at the guy and his history there’s little doubt. If nobody yelled at Bush – who lied and misspoke so much he made Nixon look like an honest man, then now is not the time to decide that yelling at the president during his speeches is acceptable.

    It’s ideological estoppel if nothing else.

  96. Needs more Lynda Barry.

    Nobody would pay to see that. Lucy Liu and Joya ahsan maybe, but not Lynda Barry.

  97. Obama wants me to call Bruce Kanye West.

  98. It’s ideological estoppel

    Not that idiocy again.

    Shut the fuck up, Bruce.

  99. If MNG ever reapears, I think it is a question of trust. Conservatives watched liberals behave like jackasses for 8 years and never recieve so much as a rebuke from the media. Now that liberals are in charge, we get people like MNG talking about civility. Maybe MNG is sincere. I am not saying he is not. But, I think that the fact that liberals behaved so appallingly during Bush, takes away a lot of credibility from appeals for civility now.

    Ultimately, there is a feeling that if liberals don’t want to have an uncivil minority, they should have thought about that when they were in the minority.

  100. Nobody would pay to see that. Lucy Liu and Joya ahsan maybe, but not Lynda Barry.

    hahahahaha

    /nod

  101. John, to be fair, from 9/11 until the 2004 campaign, the media was seriously sucking up to Bush and portraying antiwar protesters as crazies. Let’s not play the victim too much here.

  102. Warty:: I value your opinion, Lonewacko.

    OK, I lawled.

  103. Tulpa,

    John, to be fair, from 9/11 until the 2004 campaign, the media was seriously sucking up to Bush and portraying antiwar protesters as crazies.

    They had a brief episode of honesty and reasonableness. Then they went back to their terrorist loving ways.

  104. “John, to be fair, from 9/11 until the 2004 campaign, the media was seriously sucking up to Bush and portraying antiwar protesters as crazies. Let’s not play the victim too much here.”

    Bullshit. Frankly people who protested the Afghanistan war and wrote thumb sucking pieces about what we did to deserve 9-11, were crazies.

  105. Good, John, then you agree with the media of that time. If we’d listened to the crazies about Iraq at least, we’d be in a lot better shape IMHO, but in any case, don’t claim the midia were skewering Republicans for 8 years.

  106. Tulpa, Obama wants me to tell you to stop mentioning Midia because he is not Muslim.

  107. “Good, John, then you agree with the media of that time. If we’d listened to the crazies about Iraq at least, we’d be in a lot better shape IMHO, but in any case, don’t claim the midia were skewering Republicans for 8 years.”

    Yeah I mean it is not like a major network didn’t try to pass faked documents incriminating the President on the eve on the election or anything.

  108. And it is not like the media didn’t report as fact false accusations of murder made against American soldiers. Come on Tulpa, the coverage of Iraq was just all pro Bush all the time. They were all over the surge. It is not like they didn’t declare the war lost and the country in irretrievable civil war in 2004 or anything and how the surge was hopeless and would never work.

  109. Yeah I mean it is not like a major network didn’t try to pass faked documents incriminating the President on the eve on the election or anything.

    And FOX broke the drunk driving story during the 2000 election.

  110. I for one think it is our duty to be boisterous jackasses to our leaders. It keeps them honest. If we are calm, quite and cool about things, they will perceive no opposition and keep on keeping on. Besides, it’s more fun to be an asshole.

  111. There’s no way Wilson would have called a white president a liar. Sure there’s no way to prove that except by traveling to an alternate universe with a white Democratic president (one in which about 10%-15% of Americans would love to be living right now).

    I know his reasons for calling Obama a liar. I also know why Bruce is so quick to call others for racism.

  112. Shadow, Obama wants me to heart you.

  113. “But when you look at the guy and his history there’s little doubt.”

    Based upon what? His accent? That he is from the South? Isn’t that a form of bigotry itself?

  114. I wouldn’t worry too much. The civility debate is perennial, just like the “where’s the outrage?” debate.

    It’s really more a function of the liberal media establishment being confused and saddened that the public disagrees with them. When journalists are outraged, and the people aren’t, they lament the death of outrage. When the journalists are happy, and the people are outraged, they lament the incivility of public discourse.

  115. “I wouldn’t worry too much. The civility debate is perennial, just like the “where’s the outrage?” debate.”

    I remember during the Bush years neo-Hippie-wannabees at college campuses had bumper stickers that read “If you aren’t outraged you aren’t paying attention.” Funny, I haven’t seen one of those bumper stickers lately. Perhaps I should buy one for my own car.

  116. “If you aren’t outraged you aren’t paying attention.” would also be great for a sign to hold at the next Tea Party Protest.

  117. Hazel is exactly right. I don’t recall one major media story or concern about civility during the Bush years. Now that someone they like is in charge it is time to be nice again. Of course, when the Dems get their asses kicked out of Congress in 2010, it will be perfectly ok to be outraged about it.

  118. Obama wants me to tell you that the only people outraged are domestic terrorists.

  119. I want to tell you this is fun!

  120. So, MNG, let me see if I’m following your logic:

    The more government, and government programs, the better off we are.

    Therefore, if we just get rid of the private sector entirely, cancel states’ rights altogether, and just make government one big, all-encompassing entity… we’ll have an idyllic, peaceful world.

    I’d go for that, IF every single person on this mudball planet had EXACTLY the same amount of money and stuff, and nobody’s house was bigger, and everyone drove the same vehicle, wore the same clothes, ate the same food (no $100/lb. beef for our president), et cetera…

    No, forget it. It’ll never work.

  121. TLG,

    It is the same notion that if women ran the world we would not have any more wars. Usually spoken by women who have never run anything besides a word processor and want to be handed the keys to the world.

  122. “So, the best you can do is try to trace the reasons for events that are observed in an attempt to ferret out the basic cause of these things.”

    Go back after the fact and ad hoc try to explain things away to fit with the axioms you started out with? Yep, that is how the Austrians do it…Religious cults do that pretty well too.

    “I think that the fact that liberals behaved so appallingly during Bush, takes away a lot of credibility from appeals for civility now”

    Maybe that would be a good come back to one of those liberals complaining about civility (actually it would be one of TAO’s logical fallacies[Tu quoque]), but it would not be any kind of comeback to someone who thinks civility is important, period. Again, this is very simple?

    As a general rule, is it right to yell out when another speaker has the floor? If no, then why does Wilson’s behavior not fall under that rule? Answer at will folks, if ye can!

  123. Obama does not want me to tell you that Wilson was speaking truth to power.

  124. prole
    “That is the essence of majoritarian democracy — a special interest can steal from or coerce or otherwise take away the rights of others if they can muster a bare majority among those who bother to show up at the ballot boxes”

    Oh please prole. Unless you are a complete anarchist you support some government which will have to decide some issues, so how should it do so, majority or minority rule? Besides, I was referring to turning out a majority via discussion and debate and changing minds or just competing GOTV of the fanatics of either side. I know which sounds like more of a model democracy to me, and I know the role civility would play in getting to it.

    “The government being smaller back then didn’t cause the greater poverty — the much lower level of scientific and technological knowledge and application to generate wealth created poverty.”

    You have to love this about hardcore libertarians. If wealth grows alongside growing government involvement, then it grew DESPITE it. If it grows alongside less government involvement, then it grows BECAUSE of that. It’s a non-falsifiable religion to some.

    “I believe the American and French revolutions were both about overthrowing said large, oppressive governments”

    You think the governments of England and France pre-revolutionary period were as large and involved as post-New Deal America? Do your work there my friend. If you measure by precent of GDP or extent of programs offered etc., whatever, I just don’t see it.

    “And if you think the current large, oppressive government on net benefits poor people”

    Oh I do, I do! Unemployment was MUCH higher among the poor, especially the black poor, before “teh evil oppresive minimum wage.” So was poverty. What was lower? So was the average life expectancy. etc.

    prole, do you need me to post the poverty figures for pre-Great Society and post-Great Society yet again?

  125. Being uncivil only works when such behavior stands out among a generally civil society. David Harsanyi’s theory that everybody should be an insufferable cockbag all the time breaks down the first time two colossally self-absorbed assholes can’t agree to compromise. Part of the problem with David Harsanyi’s advocacy of people acting like total pieces of shit is that acting like a fuck-tard says “look at me” rather than “listen to what I’m saying”. In small doses, uncivil outbursts gain attention to both the insufferable prick and his message. In larger doses, you just have a giant clique of vulgar narcissists trying to get camera time. So, no, I don’t think more uncivil behavior is a good idea.

  126. Kanye is a creature of entitlement and feels (to quote a Canadian politician) “entitled to my entitlements.” Kick his ass back to Chicago and don’t let him out until he grows up. Serena was fined a point and lost the match and $$$ for her tantrum, case closed ’til next time.

    The subject of the piece ‘though was rudeness to politicians. You can be rude to a politician by saying that his wife is ugly, or his daughter is fat or that he is. How can it possibly be rudeness to say he’s a liar or tell him to take his hand out of your pocket *or* his dick out of your ass?

    One day the tumbrils will roll, madame LaFarge will take up her knitting again and all will be well. We won’t need’a be rude no more. Aux armes, mes citoyens.

  127. poverty rate for all people 1959=22.4% 2006=12.3

    For all blacks 1959=55.1%!!!!!!2002=22.7%

    Yup, those minimum wage, social security and civil rights laws sure played hell on those poor folks prole!

    Come on prole, I’d love to see you argue that government size and involvement was as extensive in 1959 as it was in the current decade. Yet poverty plummetted while government grew to current levels.

    I know, it fell “despite” the growth, right? Amen and Hallelujah brother, Praise be to the Magical Market!

    Testify!

  128. Lamar, Obama wants me to tell you that Harsanyi is a fan of MNG.

  129. The Man in short “People I like and agree with being uncivil=OK, People I dont like and agree with being uncivil=Appalling

    See how nice it is to be consistent? The same principle I hold allows me to find Kanye West and Joe Wilson’s behavior to be douchey.

  130. “David Harsanyi writes, if things were quiet, subdued, and civil in America today, it only would be proof that democracy isn’t working.”

    Unless our government looks like British Parliament in fast forward with the Benny Hill music, our democracy will surely die.

  131. One thing that these people need to understand is that the more politics begins to look like a rowdy sport, the more Americans might start to give a crap, which would solve a lot of our problems.

  132. It’s not a matter of civility. It’s a matter of taste.

  133. “One thing that these people need to understand is that the more politics begins to look like a rowdy sport, the more Americans might start to give a crap, which would solve a lot of our problems.”

    That kind of thinking is what gave us Keith Olbermann. No, keep the sports in the sports arena.

  134. Oh God. I take back what I said. I’m not sure that you’re right, but just the possibility that you might be right makes me want to retract my statement.

  135. Correlation isn’t causation MNG. Just because the Fed takes credit for eliminating poverty doesn’t make it so.

    Suki,

    Obama does not want me to tell you that Wilson was speaking truth to black power.

    MNGFTFY

  136. Yo, MNG, shut the fuck up! You’re all over this thread.

  137. “Oh God. I take back what I said. I’m not sure that you’re right, but just the possibility that you might be right makes me want to retract my statement.”

    I don’t think I’m right either, but just to be safe, we better don’t talk about this ever again.

  138. It’s not ironic that some of Reason’s buddies: Insty, FreedomWorks, etc. have just been encouraging people to act out, throw tantrums, and the like. The former supported things like giving PoliticiansBunnyEars behind their back and swarming a politician at a meeting. The latter said they opposed such things, but then they just told people to go to meetings knowing full well what would happen.

    Meanwhile, if someone who’s smart – and, let’s face it, a lot of bloggers and commentators aren’t exactly brain surgeons – had gone to a meeting and had asked questions like these, BHOCare might have been withdrawn by now.

    Let’s bottom line it: their braindead plan of just throwing tantrums had an effect but it wasn’t that great. My plan would have had an effect, would have undercut the MSM, and would have raised the level of debate in the U.S. Considering those three, it’s not surprising that Reason, Insty, FreedomWorks and all the rest showed no interest in the plan.

    P.S. In case anyone replies to this, their responses will almost assuredly be ad homs, thereby conceding my points and showing the childish, anti-intellectual nature of libertarians.

  139. You have to admit, the chosen picture of Serena Williams has “uppity nigger” written all over it. Thus the power of propaganda. Is she really an uppity nigger? Or just a black athlete who allowed her emotions to momentarily get the best of her? She did say the things she said (though she subsequently used the Chris Brown amnesia defense to mitigate her outburst). What does this say about Serena Williams, psychology, race relations and Barack Obama? Not much, really.

  140. The disclaimer is back! The disclaimer is back!

    LoneDipshit looked down, braving the view of his own penis once again. It was so…thin. He hated that word: GIRTH. Whenever he heard it, he cringed internally. He couldn’t get that Mexican prostitute’s laugh out of his head. He reached for another Chesterfield, and then recoiled as he realized it also reminded him of his schlong. Instead, he swigged from his bottle of Popov. He could jerk off…he WOULD jerk off; he could do it.

    His hand felt like a stranger, also ridiculing his peter like a hateful IllegalImmigrant. Why was he born like this? Was there any surgery, anything, that could make a difference?

    LoneMoron gave up–he wasn’t going to get off no matter what he did. He put on the season premiere of Gossip Girl on and tried to distract himself with dreams of being Chuck Bass.

  141. shut the fuck up lonely spanker

  142. You have to admit, the chosen picture of Serena Williams has “uppity nigger” written all over it.

    And the pictures we’ve all seen of John McEnroe have what written all over them?

    ed, leave peering into the hearts of men to those of us with the abilty to do so.

  143. MNG I agree with you that Kanye west is a douche. Kanye’s victim was a young girl.
    Joe is a douche. Joe’s victim was the president of the United States of America.
    Context is everything.

    Fifty years ago, when I was child, if a white man had exhibited the behavior that Kanye did towards a teenage girl, he would have been forcibly removed from the stage and escorted from the premises. (A black man would have experienced much worse of course.) If Taylor’s dad had been in the audience he might have punched him in the nose. People used to be more civil because punishment was swift (no pun intended). And in that respect life was better.

    With regard to unparliamentary behavior, it has a long history in England and the Commonwealth. Calling anyone a liar in the House of Commons is not allowed and can lead to censure or even expulsion. But . . . everyone tut tuts when it happens, the other party claims that they are wounded to the quick and may never recover, the transgressor’s party claims it was a only small breach, the member is censured and everybody moves on. It’s not a capital offense and nobody but pols and journalists take it seriously. But it happens enough that there has to be rules against it: Parliament must function even if it contains thieves and liars.

    So, Joe Wilson was guilty and should be censured and try to do better next time. Kanye should receive a punch in the nose from Taylor’s dad and be sent to his room ’til he smartens up. In a sense Joe Wilson committed an administrative infraction (like illegal parking). Kanye bullied a young girl. This is an offense against virtue. Who’s better for the body politic: a short guy that bullies girls or a guy that calls the POTUS a liar truthfully but inappropriately. I wouldn’t invite either into my home.

  144. Shadow got to my point before me. Obama wants me to tell you that I heart you again.

    Epi, don’t make Lonewacko attractive to girls into anal. He already gets enough attention from all the boys.

  145. The Shadow | September 19, 2009, 4:40pm | #

    ed, leave peering into the hearts of men to those of us with the abilty to do so

    I’m peerless at peering.

  146. I’m peerless at peering.

    Call me when you’re a cultural icon.

  147. Fifty years ago, when I was child, if a white man had exhibited the behavior that Kanye did towards a teenage girl, he would have been forcibly removed from the stage and escorted from the premises sold more records.

  148. MNG — Basic statistics 101: correlation does not prove causation. The government growing while overall wealth increases DOES NOT prove that the government’s growth caused the wealth, since other factors are also correlated with the growth in wealth, in particular the increase in scientific knowledge and technology. You can’t just fucking point to correlation and say “TA-DAH! Causation!” You have to actually fucking show that the actual effects of one caused the other. Otherwise you wind up “proving” that lots of people opening umbrellas cause rain to fall.

    Re this: Oh please prole. Unless you are a complete anarchist you support some government which will have to decide some issues, so how should it do so, majority or minority rule?

    Oh, come on. The choices are not limited to either “less than 50% of people get to decide for the majority” versus “the majority always gets its way”. The Constitution and in particular Bill of Rights says that some things are off limits no matter how overwhelming a majority you can muster to take away a minority’s rights. (Nevermind that this has been flagrantly ignored — that’s what the actual text says.)

    And a far less coercive approach to governance without resorting to anarchy says that a large supermajority is needed to pass any legislation. You know, like the rule that 60% of the Senate is needed to cut off debate? You can be a minarchist and want that limit upped considerably so that, say, you need 80% or 90% of both chambers of a legislative body to pass anything, and that everything gets a sunset date where it would need to periodically reauthorized.

    So, no the choices aren’t limited solely to monarchy or some other oligarchic rule versus a bare majority — you can require a much greater degree of consensus before the government gets to coerce or steal or limit people’s rights, and you can have hard and fast limits on things the government can never, ever do no matter what.

  149. The Shadow | September 19, 2009, 4:59pm | #

    Call me when you’re a cultural icon.

    Dear Shadow,

    Why would anyone want to call you?

    Best regards,
    Ed

  150. Fifty years ago, when I was child, if a white man had exhibited the behavior that Kanye did towards a teenage girl, he would have been forcibly removed from the stage and escorted from the premises sold more records.

    Actually, when the Killer* married his child bride (not unheard of in the place and time) his career nosedived.

    But you knew that, right?

    *Full disclosure – I was tending bar at an EM club when Jerry Lee Lewis performed in the early ’80s. He was drunk and he sucked.

  151. Aarrrrrr!

    Simply preface any remark/question with “With all due respect”.

    It takes so little and it means so much.

    So…”With all due respect, you lie!” will do it then?

    Not that this is dumb or anything, civil and courteous debate can be more effective at times. At others, being blunt is in order.

    Know when to apply each strategy is a step on the road to wisdom.

    Oh, and any pansy politician who can’t take a little heated debate, should get out of the business. If you try to sell me out or treat me as a owned thing, I’ll let you know exactly what I think.

  152. Suki: alas that is what has come to pass.

    I once had a wife that fired a professor at a small college for taking liberties with numerous female students (naive, young, christian, taiwanese girls who barely spoke english). It was against the law to punch him in the nose (if all the taiwanese dads had punched him in the nose he’d probably die) so she fired him. He litigated. He won. He was reinstated. I think a few punches would have taught him the error or his ways, but as it stands, he won.

    My major point is that often the extra-legal methods employed by our fathers and grandfathers were better at protecting people than the current over-lawed, over-judged and over-thought legal manoeuverings used to achieve the same goal. At least peopel were polite.

    My heart doesn’t bleed when one politician says something nasty about another politician, but I think there is something fundamentally wrong with a society that doesn’t take Kanye out into the alley and kick his ass. Or Kid Rock for that matter. Or a dozen others. In a less free society we would know our place and suffer in silence, our betters free to abuse us as they will. But in a country so free that some words are banned on some campuses for the offense they might give to some people, it is incredible that no mechanism exists to bring Kanye to justice.

    He is just such a douche. My kids like him ‘though.

  153. MNG, you kicked this thread’s ass. Well done.

  154. Who banged John’s website from Chicago?

  155. “As a general rule, is it right to yell out when another speaker has the floor? If no, then why does Wilson’s behavior not fall under that rule? Answer at will folks, if ye can!”

    Come on, MNG, you know you’d be okay with it had McCain become our national hood ornament.

    IMO, neither he nor Obama would be deserving of respect, but at least *I* am consistent in that regard. You want Obama treated with kid gloves, ass-kissing, and total acquiesence; I say neither him nor Grumpy Ol’ John McCain deserve respect. That’s “bipartisanship” for you.

  156. That was a good argument, prolefeed, but MNG and his ilk think anarchy means “if we did away with just one governmental agency, the whole country would unravel like a cheap throw rug from Wal-Mart”.

  157. . . . unravel like a cheap throw rug from Wal-Mart”.

    Picking on emerging markets now is he?

  158. Kathy Greene Fucetola credits an audience full of people singing, “The Governor [Tom Kean of NJ] is an asshole!”, causing him to leave, with helping to delay enactment of a tax increase.

  159. I think we should all wear powdered wigs when we engage in civil discourse.

  160. Prole,

    Indeed one of the most common correlation/causation traps, is so called “reverse causation.” That is causation exists, but the relationship is the opposite of what is argued. I think increased prosperity is just as possible to cause increased government as the other way around.

  161. I think we should all wear powdered wigs when we engage in civil discourse.

    And carry sword canes.

  162. I think we should all wear powdered wigs when we engage in civil discourse.

    I look too much like an Asian version of Storm from X-Men when I do that. Sticking with natural black, until I get really old.

  163. And carry sword canes.

    Nobody rolls down Rodeo with those, silly man. Total fashion fail.

  164. I think we should all wear powdered wigs when we engage in civil discourse.

    Kanye needs to be slapped in the face with a white glove.

  165. Kanye needs to be slapped in the face with a white glove.

    Obama wants me to tell you that your Michael Jackson joke is racist.

  166. Obama wants me to tell you that your Michael Jackson joke is racist.

    Ya know, it would have been funnier if I had actually made that joke …

  167. Ya know, it would have been funnier if I had actually made that joke …

    White glove! White glove!

  168. Meanwhile, if someone who’s smart – and, let’s face it, a lot of bloggers and commentators aren’t exactly brain surgeons – had gone to a meeting and had asked questions like these, BHOCare might have been withdrawn by now.

    Come on, man. Really?

  169. Hippopotami are ill-tempered animals. Adult hippos are hostile toward crocodiles, which often live in the same pools and rivers as hippos. This is especially so when hippo calves are around. Nile crocodiles, along with Lions and Spotted Hyenas, may prey on young hippos.[47] Hippos are very aggressive towards humans and are often considered one of the most dangerous large animals in Africa.[48][49] Hippos attack humans and boats.[50]

    To mark territory, hippos spin their tails while defecating to distribute their excrement over the greatest possible area.[51] Hippos are retromingent, likely for the same reason.[52]

    Hippos rarely kill each other, even in territorial challenges. Usually a territorial bull and a challenging bachelor will stop fighting when it is clear that one hippo is stronger. When hippos become overpopulated, or when a habitat starts to shrink, bulls will sometimes attempt to kill infants; sometimes female hippos will kill the bulls to protect their infants, but neither behavior is common under normal conditions.[46] Some incidents of hippo cannibalism have been documented, but it is believed to be the behavior of distressed or sick hippos, and not healthy behavior.[5]

  170. ZS,

    Thank you for something different than a bug poop story 😉

  171. If it were possible to discourse civilly with the undead legions of hell, I am certain I would have it so. But as it seem they are intent only upon the consumption of my brains, I fear I must defend myself with what weapons I find accessible.

  172. and yet be civil you stupid fuck!

    It never gets old.

  173. HEY! Be civil DAMMIT, the fucking government fucking calls for it! FUCK!

  174. HEY! Be civil DAMMIT, the fucking government fucking calls for it! FUCK!

    Well, technically “government” is the very sinew of civilization as we know it itself.

    That said, there’s nothing inherently civil about politics.

    Also, enough with these comparisons to Parliament – in Parliament you are NOT allowed to directly call someone a liar.

  175. I haven’t read all of the posts, so I apologize if I’m repeating here.

    You don’t change anyone’s mind by insulting them. You definitely don’t change anyone’s mind by imputing motives to their behavior other than the ones they’ve stated. (e.g., how many of us have been convinced to change our mind after hearing that we really only want to stop poor kids from getting an education, or that we want someone’s grandma on the street)?

    There have been many, many times on these boards when someone of another political viewpoint came on, asked a real question, and got hammered by dildotarians even though it should have been obvious they were not familiar with Rand, Bastiat, or Hazlett, let alone the entire libertarian canon. Rather than maybe making a sale, or at least giving someone a new point of view, they went Cro-mag, and convinced the newbie only that libertarians are dicks. Admittedly, there does come a point when a person is either being deliberately obtuse, or is so wrapped up in their own political narratives that real discussion is not possible. However, that’s shouldn’t be the default assumption.

    So it all depends on what you’re after. If you really want to change people’s mind, you avoid contentious displays of vitriol in favor of reasoned arguments. If you want to score points with the home crowd, show off how much you know, etc., go straight to Lonewacko – Underzog mode.

  176. “Correlation isn’t causation MNG.”
    “Basic statistics 101: correlation does not prove causation.”

    Yes, but it is a crucial step in inferring causation, and in our pratical lives we let it serve as a most useful proxy for causation when it would be not cost effective to make a definite conclusion. People throw that line out without really getting what it’s after, much like TAO and his logical fallacies.

    “Otherwise you wind up “proving” that lots of people opening umbrellas cause rain to fall.”

    Here’s further proof that prole doesn’t really get causation at all. One element of showing causation is correlation, another is time-sequence. So when two things are correlated and one comes after the other we have even more reason to think there might be causation (of course we cannot 100% conclude at this point, the relationship may be spurious). But when two things are correlated and one always comes AFTER the other we can conclude that the latter occuring thing did not cause the precedeing thing. Look prole, I do statistical analysis for a living, so you can knock off the cuteness. Your little bit of knowledge is worse than ignorance.

    “The Constitution and in particular Bill of Rights says that some things are off limits no matter how overwhelming a majority you can muster to take away a minority’s rights.”

    Er, and those protections come from the supermajorities that enacted them, and they are open to amendment by similar supermajorities. And that is the way it should be!

    “You can be a minarchist and want that limit upped considerably so that, say, you need 80% or 90% of both chambers of a legislative body to pass anything, and that everything gets a sunset date where it would need to periodically reauthorized.”

    So effectively a small minority of people rule the rest. Great! For example, in your nutty system of 90% majorities needed to pass laws if 11% of the people are theives they could block any laws prohibiting theft. Goofy idea, prole, goofy, but then most anti-democratic ideas are.

  177. “My major point is that often the extra-legal methods employed by our fathers and grandfathers were better at protecting people than the current over-lawed, over-judged and over-thought legal manoeuverings used to achieve the same goal.”

    Yeah, screw the rule of law!

    Libertarian Guy

    I like McCain. Had he run against Gore he would have got my vote. I voted Obama to change party rule. But even if I did not like him I think he should be able to speak when he has the floor without interruption from ill-tempered buffoons.

  178. So it all depends on what you’re after. If you really want to change people’s mind, you avoid contentious displays of vitriol in favor of reasoned arguments. If you want to score points with the home crowd, show off how much you know, etc., go straight to Lonewacko – Underzog mode.

    +1.

    So effectively a small minority of people rule the rest. Great! For example, in your nutty system of 90% majorities needed to pass laws if 11% of the people are theives they could block any laws prohibiting theft. Goofy idea, prole, goofy, but then most anti-democratic ideas are.

    Tsk, tsk, I thought you’d be up for a noble experiment, MNG.

  179. MNG, I have tougher standards. McCain worked with Feingold on that hideous campaign finance reform – er, incumbent politician protection act – and IMO that right there precluded him from being able to take the oath of office.

    As far as speaking without interruption, it seems to me that neither party has squeaky-clean hands when the opposition has the floor. I say we need more confrontations, not fewer. It shows the folly of the two-party system, and it’s great entertainment.

  180. I’m about as late as is possible to this board, but… three things…

    1.“Check it out and see how “civil” debate was back in the halycon days of much more limited government.”

    You’re right MNG, much of public discourse was never civil. As I like to remind people, Aaron Burr killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel and then went back to work. That said, to suggest that the early 1900s were anything close to a period of “limited government” in New York City is absurd on its face. The entire place (as were many major cities) were run by political machines bordering on organized-crime! The Tamany Hall Machine, headed by Boss Tweed controlled damn near every bit of construction going on in the city and was responsible for insane levels of redistribution based on cronyism & bribery… not at all unlike today. So having access to that power is something of high value. Additionally, the Gangs of New York era is also one of ethnic animosity – note that the different gangs fighting weren’t particularly motivated by any philosophy of government, but rather whether or not the Irish or the Italians would have control over X part of town. What a fucking stupid example that was. Thanks MNG.

    2. Tony showed up to ask when Nancy Pelosi called people Nazis? Does the guy’s brain just shut off whenever he see’s someone talking on TV with (D) next to their name? WTF.

    3. MNG brings out his tired and completely superficial argument that the poverty rate among blacks is down to 22% from some 50% 70 years ago. Well, MNG, you douchebag, the poverty rate for everybody is down from 70 years ago because capitalism, as Ludwig von Mises said, means mass production for the masses. Even the increasingly hampered market that we experience in the United States produces more & better stuff for the great bulk of people year after year after year. Perhaps you think this isn’t a good benchmark, but the Neilsen people recently reported that 99% of all Americans have at least one TV. Politicians didn’t do that.

    Wealth redistribution does jack shit to help poverty on the first order simply due to the fact that it, by itself, is a completely non-productive act!! Politicians don’t produce anything! They can take from some producers and give to other people if they’d like but they do not increase the wealth available in the world. You sense of causation is as bad as your understanding of reality on this MNG. Worse still, I’ve suggested before that you read The State Against The Blacks by Walter Williams. You haven’t done so.

    It’s about time you do, at least for my sake because the more times you talk out of your ass about how increases in government have somehow created less poverty simply because massive increases in wealth over the decades have been followed by massive increases in state power (can’t regulate cellphones, computers, internet, cancer drugs, etc. until they exist, you know) is going to make me lose what remaining civility I have with you MNG.

    Your ideology is insane and bankrupt, and I’m sick of explaining this shit to you.

  181. Did anyone consider the reverse narrative for “government grows as wealth grows”? I.e. as wealth increases, so does the percentage of the population that wants to steal it?

    So effectively a small minority of people rule the rest. Great!

    Only if you think that “not passing laws = ruling”. Again, you have this weird tautology where everything government does or does not do is “ruling”, and that just is not so.

  182. I’d be curious to know how much of the total available wealth would not exist but for the existence of public infrastructure like the Interstate highway system, or the public school system.

    It would be hard to calculate, certainly, but I have a suspicion the number would be nowhere near zero.

  183. Sean W.

    Point one – agreed.
    Point two – Nancy Pelosi did not call people nazis,

    Interviewer: Do you think there’s legitimate grassroot opposition going on here?

    Pelosi: “I think they’re Astroturf… You be the judge. “They’re carrying swastikas and symbols like that to a town meeting on healthcare.”

    Rush Limbaugh then said “she’s calling you a nazi.” Get the facts straight if you are gonna be pedantic.

    Point three – that’s all debatable. You overstate your case, imho.

  184. Sean W.

    In case your brain turns off whenever someone with a “D” says something, Pelosi was implying that the people were “astroturf” by pointing to the fact that they were comparing healthcare reform to Nazi Germany. She was not calling the protesters nazis.

  185. Did anyone consider the reverse narrative for “government grows as wealth grows”? I.e. as wealth increases, so does the percentage of the population that wants to steal it?

    Oddly, I would expect government to shrink as wealth grows, since the more prosperity there is, the less people have need of assistance.

    But the progressives seem to think that if we have lots of money floating around we might as well continute redistributing it so as to equalize the distribution of cars and televisions.

    My favorite is when they visit a poor person’s home and a horrified to discover children sharing rooms. In the future, not only will every retired person be entitled to his own apartment, but every child will be entitled to his own bicycle.

  186. Pelosi was implying that the people were “astroturf” by pointing to the fact that they were comparing healthcare reform to Nazi Germany.

    Which makes about as much sense as arguing that Jewish Bankers run the world, by pointing out the fact that they eat bagels.

  187. I think, actually, Sean W’s Pelosi point highlights the damage of uncivil discourse in politics.

    Pelosi points to a group of people carrying swastikas and refers to them as astroturf…in other words, she does not take their arguments seriously because they are making a non-serious argument. A functional democracy requires that people consider the other sides arguments as given in good faith. Incivility makes it hard to do that.

  188. Hazel,

    Indeed, but it is easy to dismiss people who use hyperbole as their main form of argument.

  189. lmnop,

    Indeed. I would say that the contributions are pretty significant. Any argument to the contrary is on pretty shaky ground.

  190. Regarding the “back in the day” thing.

    Kanye West was asked to leave immediately after his stunt.

  191. Kanye West was asked to leave immediately after his stunt.

    Yeah, “Kanye” dig it?!

    I’m better now, right?

  192. “You can be a minarchist and want that limit upped considerably so that, say, you need 80% or 90% of both chambers of a legislative body to pass anything, and that everything gets a sunset date where it would need to periodically reauthorized.”

    So effectively a small minority of people rule the rest. Great! For example, in your nutty system of 90% majorities needed to pass laws if 11% of the people are theives they could block any laws prohibiting theft. Goofy idea, prole, goofy, but then most anti-democratic ideas are.

    MNG, you have got it exactly bass-ackwards. Minority rule is when you have a handful of people, such as a king and some nobles, passing laws without the consent of anyone else.

    Majoritarian democracy, which improves the number of people given input over laws infringing on their lives, is when 50.1% or more of the people who bother to vote get to pass the laws without the consent of anyone else. This system lessens coercion more than minority rule.

    Supermajority democracy, which I was referring to, is when far more than 50% of the voters must agree to pass a law. This system lessens coercion even more than majoritarian democracy, since you have to get buy-in from almost everyone — you have to reach a broad-based consensus — before you can pass a law, thus making it very difficult for the majority to tyrannize the minority.

    Supermajority democracy is the EXACT FUCKING OPPOSITE of minority rule. It is far less oppressive than the current system. It is far more democratic.

    Finally, re: your comment about thieves, majoritarian democracy legitimizes theft by the majority. It encourages people who normally condemn theft to engage in it, even though their moral code prohibits theft, and not even realize that that is what they’re doing.

    /exasperation

  193. I support civility in politics and sports. In the former, reason usually suffers. For example, Wilson might have pointed out exactly why he thought Obama was lying after the speech. Calling him a liar was not so terrible. Yelling out during a speech was the tacky part.

    In sports ‘civility’ equals sportsmanship in my mind. A participant can be aggressive and punishing during the event and congratulate/console the opponent afterward.

  194. Elemenope | September 20, 2009, 2:38pm | #
    I’d be curious to know how much of the total available wealth would not exist but for the existence of public infrastructure like the Interstate highway system, or the public school system.

    It would be hard to calculate, certainly, but I have a suspicion the number would be nowhere near zero.

    You’re assuming that crowding out private schools with subsidized government-run schools has increased total wealth. You’re assuming that crowding out private transportation systems like private roads or private buses with public versions of these services has increased total wealth.

    Please think clearly here. There are a continuum of possibilities here, from “the national wealth is less than it would have been with privatization; to no net effect on wealth; to an increase of wealth”. You are limiting the possibilities to “did this crowding out of private services by public services increase net wealth only a little, or a lot?”

    Sorta like Colbert’s tongue in cheek question: “So, answer this question: President Bush — great president, or the greatest president?”

    I submit that the effect has be an “increase” in wealth that is less than zero, i.e. a decrease, due to the lessening of the ability of individuals to make choices.

  195. Yes, I am assuming those things. They are not (in those two examples) unwarranted assumptions. It is possible the assumption is incorrect. It is not bloody likely.

  196. I’d be curious to know how much of the total available wealth would not exist but for the existence of public infrastructure like the Interstate highway system, or the public school system.

    It would be hard to calculate, certainly, but I have a suspicion the number would be nowhere near zero.

    I know I’m mostly echoing prolefeed, here, but…

    It goes beyond merely hard because you have to project what non-government innovation and infrastructure was pushed out of the way by the governmental take over.

    This isn’t merely hard, it require prognostication.

    But another important thing to keep in mind when talking about the interstate highways: they are military roads. The width of the right of ways, the grades, and the bridge load limits have been kept consistent with the army’s needs. The only interstate in Hawaii runs from one military base to another. Dwight’s motives were not simple economics.

  197. The only interstate in Hawaii runs from one military base to another. Dwight’s motives were not simple economics.

    If you are correct, then the ensuing civilian use must be the largest single case of positive externality *EVAR!!!*.

    And while we are on the subject, does nobody think that the general perception of the US being militarily impregnable (due in at least small part to our awesome interstate highway system, among other factors) had no effect upon investors’ perception of stability?

  198. Neu; You are mincing words to absurdity if you think that saying that “Person X is holding a Swastika” isn’t the same fucking thing as saying “Person X is a Nazi”.

    The Nazi symbol = Swastika, ergo anyone sporting such symbols must be a Nazi. Just because she had enough of a sense of self-preservation to not outright say the words, “These protesters are Nazis!” doesn’t mean that that wasn’t exactly what she was implying by that statement. Whether Limbaugh pointed it out or not.

    As for the LMNOP thing… I think that the assumption that the interstate highway system and other aspects of the infrastructure (though I will not agree to a net gain in productivity from the public school system) produced by the Federal gov’t in the 20th Century has contributed to a net gain in wealth is pretty well undeniable.

    But it is simultaneously beyond absurd to think that humanity with diverse needs & wants, coupled with the freedom to trade and exchange with each other across state lines, not to mention the general desire of people to communicate with loved ones even if they move 1500 miles away would not have produced similar – and yet more effective, more malleable & dynamic, and more productive means of accomplishing the same ends absent government.

    Almost without fail, every single thing any government does is by-definition a destruction of wealth, or at the very least a drain on it. Whether through waste, cronyism, overspending, bad planning, bad design or anything else, the whole point is that if government doesn’t do project X, “no one will” (more often of course that is actually, “no one will be allowed to”). And obviously, there’s no direct incentive to innovate or make the processes more efficient.

    Nah, I submit that whatever wealth was gained by highaways, etc. pales in comparison to what could have been. But of course, no one will ever know, huh? 😉

  199. Not to bring things back to topic, but I live in a state where the Democrats and Republicans were so civil toward one another that when we had our Constitutional Convention, we had to have two of them. Both parties held their own convention, both claimed that theirs was the sole legal convention, and both refused to recognize the other as such. After neutral third parties interjected themselves it was decided that each party would adopt identical but separate documents, so each side produced a Constitution, and put their names to their respective versions separately. The two Constitutions were then filed separately, one with the Governor’s office and the other with the office of the Secretary of the Territory.

    ( ref: the original 1858 New York Times story on the situation )

  200. Sean, I think Neu’s right on this one. Pelosi could have been lamenting that members of her caucus were being called Nazis at town halls by astroturfers. She was totally mischaracterizing the protesters but I doubt when she referred to people “carrying swastikas and symbols like that” she was not trying to call them Nazis.

    I agree with you on the infrastructure point though. Moreover:

    If you are correct, then the ensuing civilian use must be the largest single case of positive externality *EVAR!!!*.

    I wouldn’t call suburban/exurban sprawl and dependence on imported oil a positive externality. Not to mention the decline and subsidization of railroads. Or raising the drinking age. Or any other negative consequences of federal highway funding I forgot to mention.

  201. “Only if you think that “not passing laws = ruling”.”

    I gave an example for you, the theives example. Preventing the majority from passing laws it feels necessary and proper to protect itself and property strikes me as “ruling” them. But call it what you will (and this goes for prole’s tirade on oligarchy v. supermajoritarian government), my example shows how f*cked up it is to be anti-democratic, even in Libertopia…Prole’s thought experiment has no answer to mine, he didn’t even attempt one other than the old “well majoritarian government leads to taxation which = theft” line. But in my example outright theft cannot be prevented because of his goofy supermajoritarian ideals. At some point preventing people from ruling themselves based on majority rule is simply indefensible.

    “Did anyone consider the reverse narrative for “government grows as wealth grows”? I.e. as wealth increases, so does the percentage of the population that wants to steal it?”

    Yes, but according to hyper-libertarian assumptions, as this grows, i.e., the burden and “theft” on the productive, shouldn’t the productive start to “shrug” (disincentives and all that) and the wealth start to go down?

    But it didn’t.

    And of course, if wealth is growing for more people then who cares if it were through this government-stealing thing? That’s an argument for more government stealing if I ever saw one TAO! More people enjoying more wealth; as you say an ethical theory should “work;” there it is working. You just argued for how great wealth redistribution is!

    “Wealth redistribution does jack shit to help poverty on the first order simply due to the fact that it, by itself, is a completely non-productive act!!”

    This is incredibly stupid. If I have ten people, one that is ten times over the poverty line and nine who are slightly below it, and I take from the former and give to the latter so that they are over the poverty line, then I have, via redistribution, lessened poverty (eliminated it in this set actually).

    Now Sean, you might say “but if you keep doing that the productive guy will stop creating the wealth that makes that possible!” But TAO has already proven you wrong with his insight that wealth production has kept on being generated as this government redistribution increased ;)!

  202. MNG, if I came to your house and demanded fifty bucks, you’d laugh me off the porch (or back it up with a weapon, if you thought I was there to rob you by force, which would be an appropriate response).

    However, if I came to your house with IRS credentials, you’d have no recourse but to bend over and take out your wallet… and I’d be demanding a lot more than fifty bucks. And you would have NO right to defend yourself.

    Seriously, at what point would you say “okay, that’s enough taxes on you, Mr. Rich Person”? Eighty cents on every dollar? Ninety?

    Yes, I think there are some on the left so infused with wealth hatred, who wouldn’t be satisfied with high marginal rates… they would, if possible, take most of EVERY bit of wealth – earned, inherited, or stuffed in a mattress.

    I’m just trying to gauge where YOU fit in that category.

  203. You have not eliminated poverty in your example (you created Communism). You assume that the Poverty Line is a static thing, but it is not. As you shift the money from your one rich guy to the other 9 poor guys (assuming that these are all the players in your experiment) the Poverty Line shifts too.

    Think of it like grading on a curve. You can adjust people’s scores up and down all you want, sending the score needed to pass up and down, but short of assigning everyone the same grade (Communism) there will be a passing score (a Poverty Line).

  204. And of course, if wealth is growing for more people then who cares if it were through this government-stealing thing? That’s an argument for more government stealing if I ever saw one TAO! More people enjoying more wealth; as you say an ethical theory should “work;” there it is working. You just argued for how great wealth redistribution is!

    What? You utterly fail at reading comprehension. I made a positive observation – the possibility exists that as wealth increases, you get more folks who want to steal it, and ergo, government rises as wealth rises. I don’t see where that is making a normative judgment on whether that is a good thing.

    Yes, but according to hyper-libertarian assumptions, as this grows, i.e., the burden and “theft” on the productive, shouldn’t the productive start to “shrug” (disincentives and all that) and the wealth start to go down?

    Yikes – shrugging is an artistic representation of the collective “mini-shrugs”, i.e. responding to incentives, that people do every day. And yes, less wealth is created in the face of distorting government incentives.

  205. This is incredibly stupid. If I have ten people, one that is ten times over the poverty line and nine who are slightly below it, and I take from the former and give to the latter so that they are over the poverty line, then I have, via redistribution, lessened poverty (eliminated it in this set actually).

    Like jpocali said, you just artificially shifted the poverty line up.

  206. Sean W.

    Neu; You are mincing words to absurdity if you think that saying that “Person X is holding a Swastika” isn’t the same fucking thing as saying “Person X is a Nazi”.

    The Nazi symbol = Swastika, ergo anyone sporting such symbols must be a Nazi. Just because she had enough of a sense of self-preservation to not outright say the words, “These protesters are Nazis!” doesn’t mean that that wasn’t exactly what she was implying by that statement.

    Apparently your brain DOES turn off when Pelosi (or is it whenever someone with a D beside their name) is talking. You are a smart guy, I find it odd that you swallow the Limbaughesque version of events so easily so often.

  207. “Or any other negative consequences of federal highway funding I forgot to mention.”

    Eminent domain abuse? Crowding out of alternative transportation methods? Neighborhoods designed with the car rather than the pedestrian in mind? Robert Moses?

    😉

    Also, MNG – maybe I missed something, but your example was horrendous.

    In a Republic such as ours, with a guaranteed Bill of Rights, a supermajoritarian democracy for law-making makes is much harder to pass insanity like what you’re suggesting. 11% can’t prevent a law stopping theft, theft is part of the basic set of things government cannot rightly support to begin with. The question for your hypothetical 11% wouldn’t be “How do we prevent people from passing laws against theft”, but rather “How do we pass a law that legalizes theft”. Since 89% don’t support it, then the likelihood of that 11% getting anything close to their way is virtually non-existent.

    Am I wrong for assuming that we still have a republic in your hypothetical? Cause it seemed like you forgot that part.

  208. Like jpocali said, you just artificially shifted the poverty line up.

    Not if the poverty line is objectively determined rather than relatively determined. Details matter.

  209. Three separate, unrelated incidents happened last week that were all obnoxious. Kanye West was rightly villified & ridiculed. I LOVE Kanye hateration. Serena Williams was a John McEnroe-esque hot head – she deserved the penalty. Joe Wilson. . . heckling is annoying. The time for being politically courageous is to vote against stupid bills that your party is pressuring you to support

    All three jerks where rightly scorned in the free market place of ideas. Being a douchebag doesn’t make someone an individual.

    This column. . .is not your best work, David.

  210. This column. . .is not your best work, David.

    Given the quality of his other articles so far…that’s a HARSH critique. ;^)

  211. “I find it odd that you swallow the Limbaughesque version of events so easily so often.”

    When I heard her use the term Swastika’s & Brownshirt to describe protesters, I immediately understood what equivalence she was making.

    I’ve since heard the direct versions of that statement come from dozens of liberal friends & acquaintances.

    And I haven’t listened to a word of Limbaugh in something like 7 years… If you’re going to say that people are carrying the sign of the Nazi’s, that’s only one step removed from calling those people Nazi’s.

    I’m not sure what more you need to understand the implication. All I’m saying here is; if the jack-boot fits.

  212. Not if the poverty line is objectively determined rather than relatively determined. Details matter.

    Hence why most libertarians support a minimum-standards-of-living net, and then get hammered with it when people like MNG invoke it because the poverty line is 11,000.

  213. Not if the poverty line is objectively determined rather than relatively determined. Details matter.

    In a sense, although one is a reflection of the numbers and one is an arbitrary number.

  214. Sean,

    When I heard her use the term Swastika’s & Brownshirt to describe protesters, I immediately MISunderstood what equivalence she was making.

    Fixed that for ya.
    I assumed you didn’t get your interpretation from Limbaugh (hence the “Limbaughesque”), but I still find your reading of her meaning really, really odd in the context in which it was uttered. Again, I think it is a perfect example of how the issue of incivility degrades the ability of a democracy to function smoothly. Pelosi, who should listen to the protesters, instead ignores them as they call her and the other democrats Nazis. You and others who see her statement (wrongly) as a similar accusation then ignore everything she has to say on the issue and round and round it goes.


  215. In a sense, although one is a reflection of the numbers and one is an arbitrary number.

    It is “arbitrary” either way, but in once case it is pegged to cost of living, in the other it is pegged to cost of keeping up with the Joneses.

  216. Barring symmetry, someone will have more buying power. Those with less will be poor. I can say that the bottom quarter are poor, or I can say that at some number they are poor, that really doesn’t matter, there will be poor, and that is the point being made here.

  217. jpocali,

    I don’t dispute your point…no matter what, some people will be considered poor. The goal of a safety net, however, is not to prevent the inevitable (“there will be poor always,” someone said a long time ago). The goal of the safety net is to assure that even the poor have the resources to meet basic needs.

    I had a long discussion with a visiting professor from China back in the early 90’s. His main surprise when coming to the US was how rich the poor people in the US were. This was in one of the poorest communities in the US (Las Cruces was ranked 6th poorest in the nation at the time).

  218. That was, actually, the early 80’s. Oops.

  219. I agree, I was disputing redistribution as a means of eliminating poverty.

  220. I hear ya… where does it go….lol

  221. The Nazi symbol = Swastika, ergo anyone sporting such symbols must be a Nazi. Just because she had enough of a sense of self-preservation to not outright say the words, “These protesters are Nazis!” doesn’t mean that that wasn’t exactly what she was implying by that statement. Whether Limbaugh pointed it out or not.

    I think it’s pretty clear she was expressing shock that people would use the swastika symbol at all–regardless of their intent. The deliberate re-interpretation is just a slimy way to accuse Pelosi of what the protesters are doing. The only people comparing anyone to Nazis were the protesters. What is missed is that this not only brings criticism of government to the level of hysteria and hyperbole, it minimizes the holocaust. Who cares what the message is, a bunch of people carrying swastikas are not engaged in civil debate.

  222. “You and others who see her statement (wrongly) as a similar accusation then ignore everything she has to say on the issue and round and round it goes.”

    I haven’t ignored everything she’s said on the issue… at least not deliberately – it’s kind of hard to listen to such a shrill bitch, especially when she’s from your own state after all – but I’m not shutting her out.

    Regardless of whether or not she’s calling protesters Nazis, which a few on the “left” believe she was (rightly) doing as well, unlike people like Pelosi, I don’t use ad homs as a reason to avoid further debate.

    She can call people Nazis all she wants (or not), and that still doesn’t make the proposals she supports any better. Nor does it make the cookie-cutter “responses” to emails I’ve sent her over the last 2 years any less idiotic. Name-calling aside, her ideas are still shiite.

    And just for fun…

    Shorter Tony: “Calling people Nazis minimizes the holocaust and is hysterical hyperbole! Republican protesters are Nazis!”

  223. This had to be highlighted…

    …- it’s kind of hard to listen to such a shrill bitch, … unlike people like Pelosi, I don’t use ad homs as a reason to avoid further debate.

    You may be telling the truth, but I am gonna guess that you don’t listen too carefully to the arguments of “shrill bitches like Pelosi” as you are probably at least partially distracted by your hate for her.

    FWIW, I find her policies positions vague and ambiguous and think she focuses too much on the game of politics rather than the work of policy. But I don’t think “shrill bitch” is quite accurate.

  224. Her letters in response to my various pleas to not fuck up the economy have been vague, ambiguous and stupid.

    But I get around being distracted by my hate for shrill bitches, and obnoxious nannying liars like Obama for that matter, by READING instead of listening.

    I rarely listen to speeches politicians give. They typically just make me want to shoot myself in the brain with a nail gun. Instead, I wait until they’re done, then parse speeches. Saves me a headache and suicidal tendencies.

  225. This commentary reminds me of Sen. P.S. (U.S. senate public servant) Barbara Boxer’s uppity remark to a military general during a congressional hearing a few months ago about wanting to be addressed as “senator” instead of “mam” by him because she “earned it”. My immediate reaction was to address all elected “public servants” from then on as just that both verbally and in writing as a constant reminder to them of their true place in government; i.e., no matter how “high” the office, they are still public servants–not celebrities.

  226. My only point is that if you take the Bible straight, as I’m sure many of Reasons readers do, you will see a lot of the Old Testament stuff as absolutely insane. Even some cursory knowledge of Hebrew and doing some mathematics and logic will tell you that you really won’t get the full deal by just doing regular skill english reading for those books. In other words, there’s more to the books of the Bible than most will ever grasp.

  227. My only point is that if you take the Bible straight, as I’m sure many of Reasons readers do, you will see a lot of the Old Testament stuff as absolutely insane. Even some cursory knowledge of Hebrew and doing some mathematics and logic will tell you that you really won’t get the full deal by just doing regular skill english reading for those books. In other words, there’s more to the books of the Bible than most will ever grasp. I’m not concerned that Mr. Crumb will go to hell or anything crazy like that! It’s just that he, like many types of religionists, seems to take it literally, take it straight…the Bible’s books were not written by straight laced divinity students in 3 piece suits who white wash religious beliefs as if God made them with clothes on…the Bible’s books were written by people with very different mindsets.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.