Moral Panic

"The Tiny Hole of X-Ray Rock 'n' Roll"

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Here's something special: an old Soviet propaganda film on the evils of rock 'n' roll. From the narration:

Suddenly this merry chorus of voices is invaded by a sound that resembles the screeching of car brakes that they consider music. We are growing suspicious. It turns out that these youngsters who loiter in shady alleyways behind the GUM instead of going to school are here to peddle a product of their own making. Foxtrot on x-ray plates that, instead of intricate anatomic details, capture a crude image of their intellectual poverty.

Listen, Zhenya Garkun, what does the world look like to you through the tiny hole of x-ray rock 'n' roll? It's a small, cramped world of shadows exchanging furtive looks. Shadows whose nickname is fartsovshiki (smugglers) selling old junk with fancy foreign labels.

Watch it here. Bonus reading: Charles Paul Freund's Reason classic "In Praise of Vulgarity," which discusses the USSR's jazz- and rock-loving stilyagi subculture, and Michael C. Moynihan's "Red Elvis," on an East German effort to promote a rock star of their own.

NEXT: Reason Writers With Questionable Facial Hair on TV: Matt Welch Talks California on Varney & Co.

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  1. chorus of voices is invaded by a sound that resembles the screeching of car brakes

    If you’re into that kind of thing, go here:
    http://aboombong.bandcamp.com/album/amnemonic

  2. Suddenly this delicious meal of locally-grown, organic fruits and vegetables is invaded by an aroma that resembles the frying of animal flesh that they consider food. We are growing suspicious. It turns out that these youngsters who loiter in shady drive-thrus at the McDonalds instead of eating public school lunches are here to consume a product not of their own gardening. Big Macs on Pixar plates that, instead of reducing obesity in America, offer a happy meal toy which captures a crude image of Disney’s intellectual poverty.

    1. Suddenly this delicious meal of locally-grown, organic fruits and vegetables is invaded by an aroma that resembles the frying of human flesh that they consider food. I knew it wasn’t. I could still hear the screams of the man as i shoved him into my wood shredder, feet first. His song unchanged till he surrendered his manhood to my well-used blades. I lovingly hand-picked his remains and composted them into the aptly named blood red tomatoes I grew form my seed; organic from the start bitches.

      Suspicions abound, the boisterous nature of the children unnaturally placated by the consumption of burgers made with my tomatoes. They came to know my secret recipy. I keep them in a locked room and promise to show them very soon…artistry cannot be rushed

  3. Are you SugarFree’s ghostwriter?

  4. It’s interesting to me how in many ways Stalinist Russia, the often invoked right-wing bogeyman of an ideal type of liberalism/leftism, was so very conservative. Militarism, nationalism, legal enforcement of “family values” (criminalizing abortion & homosexuality, restricting divorce, etc), censorship, it was like a GOP convention in many ways…

    1. Wow, you got dangerously close to stumbling over some uncomfortable thoughts there

      Thank God you managed to quash any epiphanies and turn it into a nice, safe, “The other team is DUMB!” point.

    2. Not to mention the flag-waving, xenophobia, chauvinistic nationalism, massive military budgets, etc. that were adopted not just by Stalin but Mao and Kim Il-Sung.

      You should write a book, you could call it: “Conservative Communism: The Collectivist Temptation from Joseph Stalin to the Hoover Institution”

      1. The line between communism and fascism is very thin and blurry. And it’s mostly a distinction without much of a difference.

    3. Militarism, nationalism, legal enforcement of “family values” (criminalizing abortion & homosexuality, restricting divorce, etc), censorship,

      I think you just described the American left for the past 100 years.

      1. The American Left for the past 100 years has been defined by criminalizing abortion/homosexuality, nationalism and militarism?

        I thought the alternate earths were destroyed in one of the DC crisis series but it seems you ihnabit one.

        1. As far as I know, that was the Democratic Party until the late sixties or so. Abortion and homosexuality they are “liberal” on. But this idea that they aren’t nationalistic, militaristic or don’t want to force family values is absurd. Wasn’t it Hill-dog and Tipper Gore who lead the way for the “WARNING: Explicit lyrics” disclaimer on music? And every war we’ve been in since the Civil War was started by a Democrat, minus Gulf War 1 and 2, right? Different rhetoric does not mean different actions.

          Not defending Republicans at all, just saying.

          1. No. The Spanish-American War was started by a Republican.

            WWII was started by the Japanese.

            The Korean War was started by the North Koreans, but I’ll give you it being ended (sort of) by a Republican.

            I’ll give you Vietnam.

            Tipper Gore and Hillary were triangulating, trying to appeal to conservatives.

            1. Forgot about the Spanish-American War. WWII yes, but it was a Dem in office. North Korea didn’t attack us, but whatever. None of those wars we needed to be in, except maybe WWII. And even that one was in large part due to the fact we intervened in WWI, which we didn’t need to – Dem in office then too.

              The only difference between the way Red Team tries to force family values and the way Blue Team tries to force family values is Red Team uses religion. There is nothing in progressivism that says government can’t force family values, or force other social “ideas” down our throats. I don’t care what their excuse is, religion or for “TEH childrenz,” its wrong either way.

              1. And even that one was in large part due to the fact we intervened in WWI,

                I think it had to do partly with our intervention in the Second Sino-Japanese War.

            2. No. The Spanish-American War was started by a Republican.

              Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolf Hurst were Republicans?

              McKinley opposed entering the war for years until finally giving in to the progressives.

            3. WWII was started by the Japanese.

              Oh yeah I forgot about all those Japanese in Europe and Africa the US needed to fight.

              1. Timeline:

                Dec 7, 1941—Japan attacks (Declares War) Pearl Harbor

                Dec 8, 1941—U. S. declares War on Japan

                Dec 11, 1941 (AM)—Germany & Japan declare War on U. S.

                Dec 11,1941 (later)—U. S. declares War on Germany (& Italy)

                So yes, U. S. formal involvement in WWII “was started by the Japanese”.

                1. —“Dec 11, 1941 (AM)—Germany & Japan declare War on U. S.”—

                  Should be Germany & Italy

            4. Tipper Gore and Hillary were triangulating, trying to appeal to conservatives.

              So, um, how did that work out?

          2. Well, and WWI though an awful lot of Republicans were clamoring for intervention, too. Republican Charles Evans Hughes ran against Wilson for not being “prepared” enough for war in 1916.

            1. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to say Red Team isn’t war mongers. I’m just saying that its funny how Blue Team is seen as the peace party, when clearly they are just as bad.

          3. Using the military is not militarism, militarism is something like the glorification of or reverence for the military as an institution. Liberals have long seen the strong traditionalism, emphasis on order and discipline and such in the military with at best a dissapproving eye.

            1. Yes, a true “liberal” would see that, and I would agree. I’m talking about the party. I don’t believe most Democrats are true “liberals,” nor do I think Obama is. Being a Democrat does not automatically make you a liberal, just like being a Republican does not automatically mean you are pro-free market, for example. I’m just saying look at actions, not rhetoric.

              1. I see your point, but if you go to a Democratic Party convention you see a lot less reverence for and glorification of the military, and when you do see otherwise, like the 04 convention, everyone sees how false it rings…

                1. Yes, a lot of the actual citizens I know that are Democrats are a lot less militaristic than Republicans I know. But many Democratic politicians aren’t, more than I think many are willing to admit. Also, it seems that a lot of Democratic citizens are so obsessed with beating Republicans they fall in line when the party wants war or anything else that would be illiberal(and yes this works for the other side as well).

                2. Trading reverence and glorification of the military for reverence and glorification of government, doesn’t sound like an even-Steven swap.

            2. So it’s fine to rain hellfire on innocents, to casually curtail liberty in favor of specious foreign policy, and to dramatically expand government in the service of warfare… so long as you spit on guys in camo? Got it: Robert McNamara/LBJ good, Robert Heinlein bad.

            3. Liberals have long seen the strong traditionalism, emphasis on order and discipline and such in the military with at best a disapproving eye.

              By liberals you must mean pre 60s republicans and post 60s libertarians.

              Progressives pre and post 60s on the other hand have the longest and most militaristic streak of any political movement or party in US history.

              1. “Progressives pre and post 60s on the other hand have the longest and most militaristic streak of any political movement or party in US history.”

                Thats kind of where I was going. Progressives of the Red and Blue variety.

              2. This is non-sense. You’re just spouting nonsese with nothing to back it up.

                I love blaming the Spanish war on progressives when McKinley was Pres because he resisted it as long he could! Dems in charge during; GOP in

            4. Democrats are mostly non liberal.

              I’ve had this discussion with somebody before. THis is Google’s definition of liberal:

              1. broad: showing or characterized by broad-mindedness; “a broad political stance”; “generous and broad sympathies”; “a liberal newspaper”; “tolerant of his opponent’s opinions”

              The first definition is about tolerance. I don’t know, but I don’t consider the modern democratic party or much of the left outside of the democratic party to be all that tolerant of opposing ideas. I mean, they aren’t clamoring for people to be thrown in prison for their ideas, but neither are most Republicans. Generally, libertarians are the most “liberal” in this regard, as a libertarian does not believe in curtailing the right to free speech in any way.

              2. having political or social views favoring reform and progress

              This could apply to anybody. I’m sure that the Nazis believed that they were bringing about reform and progress. For this definition, some online sources use the term “progressive,” but that word doesn’t have an iron meaning either.

              3. tolerant of change; not bound by authoritarianism, orthodoxy, or tradition

              All political viewpoints are tolerant of some changes and intolerant of others. THe least authoritarian group would have to be the libertarians, but all viewpoints are going to have at least some orthodoxy and tradition.

              4. a person who favors a political philosophy of progress and reform and the protection of civil liberties

              Anybody could meet the standards of the first part of this definition, but “the protection of civil liberties” most strongly correlates with libertarians when it comes to negative rights. If you consider positive rights to be civil liberties, than the left would actually be the most “liberal” by this definition.

              5. big: given or giving freely; “was a big tipper”; “the bounteous goodness of God”; “bountiful compliments”; “a freehanded host”; “a handsome allowance”; “Saturday’s child is loving and giving”; “a liberal backer of the arts”; “a munificent gift”; “her fond and openhanded grandfather”

              This is a non political definition. Some people see the government as a giving force (leftists), but the government does not give anything it didn’t take from somebody else.

              6. a person who favors an economic theory of laissez-faire and self-regulating markets

              This one is obviously pointing to libertarians. However, other online sources have completely dropped this from the definition of liberal. Interesting how the word “D’oh” is added to the dictionary after it gets used a couple of times in some early piece of literature and is reused in the Simpsons, but a widely used definition of “liberal” (Mises, Rothbard, Hayek, THE RENAISSANCE!) gets dropped.

              7 free: not literal; “a loose interpretation of what she had been told”; “a free translation of the poem”

              Non political definition.

              I will repeat that the word liberal is defined in slightly different ways in other dictionary sources, however the definitions are basically the same as the one above with slight tweaks that make them appear more leftist at first glance. IF you look closely, they throw around subjective terms like “progress,” “reform,” and “proressive” as if those things meant something specific.

              It just seems hard to make a strong case that the left or modern Democrats are especially liberal in any sense. As Mises and Rothbard used to argue, the Leftist movement is a conservative movement that attempts to use the government force implemented by the old conservatives to achieve what they viewed as “liberal” ends. Conservative means do not achieve liberal ends.

              1. I think the terms “Liberal” and “Conservative” are best used to describe personality attributes, and not political positions. In the realm of politics, the meaning of words gets confused and changed way to often to take any of them too seriously.

    4. Oh yeah, also the substituting of Darwinian Evolution with crackpot theories for the sake of ideological conformity (Lysenkoism in one case, “Intelligent Design” in the other).

    5. Hey, now you’re getting it. If you could get outside of the TEAM RED TEAM BLUE bullshit, you might realize that they’re essentially the same, and in all the wrong ways.

      1. Relax, Episiarch, I don’t seriously believe the CPSU is like the Republican Party, I’m just trolling people who take Jonah Goldberg and Glenn Beck seriously, using their “logic”.

        1. Except that “Modern liberals = anti-Semitic NAZIs” is not what Goldberg actually says. If you’d, you know, read his book (gasp!) or listened to him discuss the thesis anywhere you’d know that what he actually proposes is that the same collectivist, statist organizational impulses which drove the Progressives, Socialists, Fascists, and Communists of yore are those that are still at work motivating modern Left-liberals today; that there is a common thread which unites them as kindred Leftist ideologies. Which is a solid premise and which Goldberg amply demonstrates in his book.

          But then, you’re not really interested in actually engaging that type of argument on an intellectual level — it’s far easier (and lazier) to simply dismiss it as empirically ridiculous, and Goldberg as an idiot for even suggesting such a thing because it’s a premise which steals the Leftist baby’s milk bottle: That they get to call Fascism right-wing and use it as the rhetorical cudgel with which to brow-beat the Right and its sympathizers. And gosh, we can’t have that, no matter how painful to hear.

          1. Then Goldberg’s thesis is essentially that people who want to force people to do things tend to use the state? Well, duh, as the state is the institution which can use force to get people to do stuff.

            Goldberg was obviously hoping to link the odiousness of fascism, which is derived more from their racism, nationalistic war-mongering and dissent crushing than their regulatory policies, and modern day liberalism.

            1. “Goldberg was obviously hoping to link the odiousness of fascism, which is derived more from their racism, nationalistic war-mongering and dissent crushing than their regulatory policies, and modern day liberalism.”

              But this is the problem. You ignore the means and only focus on the ends. As long as the ends are what you view to be good, you like the government to be strong and powerful. You don’t have any problem with the government having the ability to tell everybody how to live their lives and how to run their business as long as it can make a decent case to you about the ends that it hopes to achieve. True, widespread agreement on the ends will never be reached, which is why the Hitlers, Stalins, and Maos of the world step forward to crush opposition.

              1. The odious means that people think of re: fascism and communism were the crushing of dissent and concentration camps, not regulatory schemes.

            2. Then Goldberg’s thesis is essentially that people who want to force people to do things tend to use the state?

              No it is not. Read the book or at least read Reason’s coverage of it. They were not monarchists (right wing) in any sense of the word. Their history and intellectual backing come straight from the left.

          2. steals the Leftist baby’s milk bottle: That they get to call Fascism right-wing and use it as the rhetorical cudgel with which to brow-beat the Right and its sympathizers.

            Good God is this ever projection. Whenever someone asks a right winger “Why don’t you like Social Security”? It takes about fives minutes before they start babbling about the Soviet Union and gulags.

            1. Actually most right wingers defended SS.

            2. Oh God, @. The left does the same thing. Come on now. Its no more or less on either side.

            3. Whenever someone asks a right winger “Why don’t you like Social Security”?

              One wonders why the left does not criticize it as a regressive tax.

              Then one wonders if the left does not oppose regressive taxes that take from the poor and young and give to the rich and the old how the left consider themselves liberals and not monarchists.

              Then one wonders if the left are monarchists how are they not in fact fascists by their own definition of fascism.

              1. Funny how some on Team Blue bitch about the “regressive” Fair Tax, but are all for higher gas taxes, which most definitely WILL fuck the poor.

    6. Hey MNG,

      I heard the bad news about the stuxnet virus hurting Iran’s attempt to nuke Israel and kill the 5.5 million Jews there.

      Hey! Why don’t you have George Soros pay for the boyfriends of you and Baked Penquin and Warty to go over to Iran (I heard your boyfriends were computer whizzes) and get rid of that puter virus so Iran can be on schedule to murder the 5.5 million Jews of Israel. Maybe Achmadinijad will throw in the Jews of New York New York for good measure.

      Make sure you guys talk to your rh?mite boyfriends soon.

      “There’s no need to fear. Underzog is here.”

      1. You’re the trifecta, Underschmuck: racist, homophobic, and retarded.

      2. Ew, underzog mentioned my name. I feel violated now, and not in the way that I like.

      3. You need to come by a little more often, Zoggy boy! We were missing your whiny yenta schtick. And I could use some more material for my cartoons.

    7. Ming, you’re forgetting the mass murders and genocides. You sound like an ignorant HuffyPost slut with talk like that.

  5. Yeah, especially that whole Communist economic system — totally right-wing, man!

    Besides, the Left NEVER advocates militarism or censorship or legal restrictions on “socially inappropriate” personal behavior choices, as we all know.

    1. Well, the part about massive military budgets and funding Buck Rogers superweapons at the expense of the consumer economy sounds right wing.

      1. “massive military budgets and funding Buck Rogers superweapons at the expense of the consumer economy”

        Zero-sum economic thinking definitely sounds left-wing.

        1. It’s well known one of the biggest reasons the USSR collapsed was its unsustainable military budget, in fact it’s an article of faith among Republicans that Reagan forced the Soviets to spend themselves into the ground on armaments, which further crippled their consumer economy (never strong in any event).

          1. The reason why the Soviets couldn’t support their military budget is that their consumer economy was so terrible to begin with. And why was it terrible? Because you can’t centrally plan an economy. Not every Soviet planner was corrupt or incompetant. At least in the 1950s and 60s, many of them were very smart people committed to the communist state. But they failed miserably because no planner no matter how smart or dedicated, can plan an economy. They just never have the information to do so.

            You would think 1989 would have ended that debate. But leftists like MNG pretend 1989 didn’t happen or if it did happen it happened because the Soviets were really just right wingers. Here we are in 2011 still having the same stupid debates that should have been settled definitively over 20 years ago. But for some the impulse to control and to plan is uncontrollable, facts and experience be damned.

            1. I’d like to know how you explain the current Chinese economy.

              I’m not arguing–I dislike central planning not because it “works” or “doesn’t work” but because it inevitably leads to an authoritarian police state–but the current system in China currently belies the mantra “central planning leads to poverty and breadlines!”

              They still have their Five Year Plans and their centrally directed economy and protectionism and their economy continues to grow at a pretty good clip.

              1. “They still have their Five Year Plans and their centrally directed economy”

                That is simply not true. The Chinese economy started to grow when they embraced capitalism and went away from central planning. Further, they are about to like Japan in the 1990s to pay the price for the extent of their remaining planning which has resulted in an enormous real estate budget and an under developed consumer economy created by an artificially low value currency.

                Liberals like to believe that central planning only fails if it tries to plan everything. But that it can still succeed planning just the big areas of the economy. They can’t get out of the idea that you should have a “industrial policy”. That is doomed to fail just like the old Soviet Union. The “policy” ends up being just chronyism where the government intervenes to save connected but failing businesses.

                1. Not true? They’re on their 12th Five Year Plan.

                2. “The Chinese economy started to grow when they embraced capitalism and went away from central planning. Further, they are about to like Japan in the 1990s to pay the price for the extent of their remaining planning which has resulted in an enormous real estate budget and an under developed consumer economy created by an artificially low value currency.”

                  John is our resident fundamentalist. This is how a fundamentalist thinks. Rainbows come from God, hurricanes from the Devil.

                  The good parts of the Chinese economy (or any economy) come from where they embraced the market, the bad parts from where they did not. Since as any hyperbolic libertarian can tell you all we have are “mixed economies” in the world you have an unfalsifiable theory that explains everything economically. Bad economy? Just look until you find some inevitable government intervention and blame it. Good economy, just look for some inevitable market component and credit it. Rinse and repeat…

                  But I must say I prefer the more sophisticated Austrian versions where all this is dressed up as an “a priori science” so that not only all the past but all the future is taken care of!

                  1. “The good parts of the Chinese economy (or any economy) come from where they embraced the market, the bad parts from where they did not. Since as any hyperbolic libertarian can tell you all we have are “mixed economies” in the world you have an unfalsifiable theory that explains everything economically. Bad economy? Just look until you find some inevitable government intervention and blame it. Good economy, just look for some inevitable market component and credit it. Rinse and repeat..”

                    Accept it is pretty irrefutable that the Chinese economy began its period of fast growth after the reform period. What did those reforms include? Well, decentralization of markets and a much softer hand when dealing with private producers. It would be really hard to argue that central planning simply started working really well circa 1978 just as the chains of central planning were starting to be broken one by one.

            2. And we’re not saying American right wingers are like Stalinists–we’re trolling the morons who think American liberals are the same as Fascists, using the same logic (“Hitler was a vegetarian! Nazi had “socialist” in the name!!)

            3. On the one hand we have natural experiments like the Soviet Union that suggest that too much planning indeed is detrimental to economic well being. But on the other hand? As every hyperbolic libertarian can tell you the very successful US, Europe, Japan, etc., all had elements of centralized planning. So the record is pretty mixed actually …

              1. The US had virtually no central planning before 1932 and built the largest economy in history. The 19th Century, when central planning hadn’t been invented, resulted in the greatest real increas in standard of living of any century in history. The 20th Century, with its plannign gave us the great depression and the twin horrors of Communism and Fascism.

                The record isn’t mixed at all. You just pretend it is because you love control more than you love success.

                1. “The US had virtually no central planning before 1932”

                  Somebody forgot his Evils of Progressivism Class notes from Beck U!

                  And yeah John, there was no governmental central planning before 1932 (cough mercantilism, cough).

                2. Just leaving aside the catastrophic financial panics that struck about every twenty or so years in that period, child labor, the horrors of the tenements and slumsm, slavery (pre-1865), and the constant plight of farmers whenever prices collapsed, there was government involvement in the economy then.

                  The government had a hand in the 19th Century booms, John, through cheap federal lands (ex. homesteading program), using the military to clear out the Natives and patrol trade routes, building the trans-continental railroad, and instituting (*GASP*!) protective tariffs.

                  And guess what? From the 30s until 2008 we didn’t have any catastrophic financial panics. None. But we had one about 20 years after de-regulation under Reagan started. Gee, I wonder WHY?

                  1. First, Europe did just as well as the US. And countries like Mexico had lots of cheap land to and didn’t do as well. And yes, we had panics and terrible downturns. But the downturns didn’t last as long. We never had decades of downturns like the 1930s or the stagflation of the 1970s US or 1990s Japan. Yes, the downturns are harder, but the booms bigger and longer.

                    As far as the welfare and regulatory state being STalinism. They not the same as communism in that they don’t involve killing those with the wrong political conscience. But they are the same in that they are based on the same flawed principle that central planners can understand the effects of their policies well enough to make them effective. Both communism and welfare/regulatory state will make you poor. The former just murders more people and gets you there faster. But as we are finding out in Europe, the latter will bankrupt you and make you poor eventually.

                    1. I didn’t say cheap land was the only factor but it was one of the biggest ones in the US at that time (and Canada/Australia). And federal government programs were instrumental in getting people to settle them (and building the railroads and canals to get people to send their goods to market, and securing trade routes from Indian raids, and protecting our infant industries with high tariffs, and…etc)

                      And you’re DEAD WRONG about not having “long downturns”. Go look up the “long depression” of the 1870s, for just one example.

                    2. I can look it up. The 1870s were horrible. But it didn’t last as long as the great depression. It lasted six years between 1873 and 79. The great depression in contrast lasted 11 years. The lost decade of the 90s in Japan is going on twenty years. Stagflation lasted over 10.

                    3. You’re wrong. The Long Depression lasted even longer than the Great Depression.

                      In the United States, economists typically refer to the Long Depression as the Depression of 1873?79, kicked off by the Panic of 1873, and followed by the Depression of 1893, book-ending the entire period of the wider Long Depression[1]. The National Bureau of Economic Research dates the contraction following the panic as lasting from October 1873 to March 1879. At 65 months, it is the longest-lasting contraction identified by the NBER, eclipsing the Great Depression’s 43 months of contraction.[5][6] After the panic, the economy entered a period of rapid growth, with the U.S. growing at the fastest rates ever in its history in the 1870s and 1880s.[7]

                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_Depression

                      Stagflation was caused by the oil shock and was a walk in the park compared to the 1870s, 1930s, or the current period.

                    4. “After the panic, the economy entered a period of rapid growth, with the U.S. growing at the fastest rates ever in its history in the 1870s and 1880s.”

                      From your own quote. When it did come back it came back better than it ever was. But there was no FDR to control people’s lives, so what is the fun of that?

                      Yes, economies and markets get out of whack. And they got really out of whack in the 1870s. But, they also get back right to. And they do so without spending billions and destroying constitutional government. You own quote proves my point.

                    5. http://www.measuringworth.com/…..POPULATION

                      Okay, let’s see. The period from 1870 to 1884 saw real per capita GDP growth of 2.75% a year. This was one of the fastest periods of economic growth in US history. (I tried to use neutral years without starting in a valley and ending on a peak too.)

                      During the period from 1928 to 1940, per capita GDP grew only by 1.21% annually.

                      Compare these numbers to a more neutral growth period like the one from 1955 to 1970 and you’ll notice that the period from 1873 to 1884 experienced the highest rate of growth of the three. Was the period from 1955 to 1970 a long depression?

                      True, the period from 1955 to 1970 saw slightly faster real unskilled wage growth than the period from 1870 to 84. It is also true that the unskilled wage grew much faster during the Great Depression years, but that is mostly due to the huge supply of high paying government jobs at the time. NOtice that the unemployment rate of the Great Depression years never fell below 14-15%. Unemployment data for the Long Depression is not available in any concrete sense.

                      I don’t feel like checking right now, but i thought even the wikipedia page mentioned that most modern economists now view the Long Depression as more of a monetary phenomenon than a real depression. In fact, the period of the Long Depression experienced more per capita GDP growth and a higher annual increase in the real unskilled wage than we have experienced over the last 30 years!

                      http://www.measuringworth.com/…..S;[]=GDPCP

                      For what it’s worth, the population was also EXPLODING during the 1870s and 80s compared to the Great Depression and the modern era.

                    6. Dammit! My measuring worth links don’t work! Go to the site and plug in the numbers for yourselves you lazy cunts! lol.

                    7. Once again, I get no credit for doing the footwork and finding measuring worth (it took me years to find this kind of easy access to economic data spanning a large time span). Nor do I get any credit for spending hours plugging in dates and numbers to see every possible result and even experimenting with way that one might skew the data (in order to avoid doing so). Sigh…. lol, just kidding. I’d have done it all anyway.

                    8. I would also note that the “45 month” figure given above for the great depression only includes the initial contraction. It fails to include the 1937 double dip, which was in many ways worse than the first. The “Great Depression” by any reasonable definition lasted all of the 1930s, at least in the US.

                    9. And stop using straw men. I am not saying there shouldn’t be a government or even a libertarian government. I am saying post world war II central planning and welfare states are horrible failures. And the pending bankruptcy of pretty much every country that adopted such policies is proof of that.

                  2. “But we had one about 20 years after de-regulation under Reagan started.”

                    That is just a fantasy. Our banking sector was massively regulated. And the perverse incentives created by that regulation is what gave us our collapse.

                    1. Bullshit, banking regulations were gutted especially in the ’90s.

                    2. And please explain the total lack of a catastrophic financial panic between 1932 and 2008. I don’t mean recessions, I mean massive panics and bank failures, the entire economy melting down, like it did in 1929 and came within an inch of doing in 2008-09.

                    3. Or far that matter, whatever happened to the low-tax, low regulation darlings of the last decade like Ireland, Portugal, and Estonia?

                      Oh, right, they got fucked even worse than we did. Meanwhile Canada, which never deregulated its banking sector to the extent the rest of the western world did got off relatively unscathed.

                    4. Ireland and Portugal have huge welfare states. Welfare, large entitlement, large public sector states go bankrupt. What happened in 1989 to communism is happening now to third way socialism. Give it up man. The repo man is here. Liberalism is dead.

                    5. Wow, four years ago every economic right winger was pointing to Ireland and Estonia as “proof” that low corporate taxes and deregulation “work”!

                      You’re like the aging Marxist who says the USSR wasn’t “real” Communism.

                    6. And Greece, Italy, Japan, the UK and pretty much every other third way welfare state pointed to by liberals are going bankrupt. How do you explain that?

                      This is a pointless argument. The books don’t lie. Your poltical ideology is bankrupting the entire world. It is not sustainable. It doesnt’ matter how much you like it or how great it could be, it is dying and won’t be coming back.

                    7. “And please explain the total lack of a catastrophic financial panic between 1932 and 2008. I don’t mean recessions, I mean massive panics and bank failures, the entire economy melting down, like it did in 1929 and came within an inch of doing in 2008-09.”

                      Well, lets see. Between the 40’s and 1972 the world was riding the post war boom and the stability created by the Bretton Woods gold exchange standard (it was still bad and unsustainable, which is why it collapsed in the early 70’s). After Bretton Woods, the whole world experienced inflationary shocks. The 80’s saw huge banking crisis in SOuth America and Asia. Luckily, the US in the 80’s benefited from high interest rates that prevented the worst shenanigans. The world saw renewed banking crisis in 1998 too.

                3. And stop pretending that the welfare state and economic regulation is the same as Soviet-style totalitarian central planning. It isn’t and you fucking know it.

                  If you want to make a case against things like Social Security and the SEC, get some balls and make a case against those things, not “Fascism and Communism”.

                  1. You are acting like 1989 never happened!

                    1. On banking, there is no clear causality between regulation (or lack thereof) and the severity of the recessions in other countries. New Zealand, for example, has relatively high monetary freedom and a large investment sector, but has weathered the storm remarkably well. Right now, the only thing that we know for sure is that government helped to prop up some bubbles that may or may not have originated in the private sector, and that the severity of recession had many factors, such as the general structure of the economy. Moreover, who are the ones who wanted free markets to do what they would to the economic losers, rather than propping them up? Who are the ones who are blowing up the higher education bubble in the US? By and large, it is progressives in vital positions in state and federal government (state and local governments in AZ and CA share some of the blame for the size of the housing bubble when it popped).

                      Canada’s banking system (surprise, surprise) is very different from our own, and its market players are more conservative, larger, and more static than the players in the US market, so how much regulation would have helped (assuming that government even had incentives to reduce the growth of bubbles) is an open question. The only people pretending that they know all of the details of the crisis, and exactly how it could have been solved, are the fools who are predisposed to believe that gathering up the smartest people in the room and putting them in charge for a day or two would alleviate us of our problems.

                    2. Eric I have no doubt some of it is structural. The government has to prop up phony bubbles because our real economy has been stripped-mined and shipped to Asia.

                      The only thing we have left are defense contractors and Wall St.I think the next, final, and most painful bubble will be in defense contracting.

                    3. Wow. Just wow. Did you get your economic education entirely out of your own ass….

                      Can you even tell me what percentage of the economy is actually related to “defense contracting.” Can you? Or are you just spouting nonsense?

                    4. Defense-related expenses are +/- 10% of GDP when you look at the whole picture.

                      Weapons and weapons-related goods, btw, are 40% of what we export now. It’s the only thing the government hasn’t let our corporate overlords ship overseas in the n ame of free trade ideology (they haven’t found a way to yet).

                    5. We don’t have an export based economy. We have a domestic consumption based economy. We don’t need to export because you can sell you things here. As Japan found out in the 1990s, when you have an economy that is completely out of whack (ie too much artifically subsidized exports at the expense of domestic consumption) eventually your currency hits its proper evalution and you are totally screwed.

                      And further, I don’t buy that 40% of our exports are weapons. Come up with a legitimate citation for that or admit you pulled it, like all of your economic ideas, out of your ass.

                    6. I misspoke we control 40% of the world market in exports, its not 40% of our exports.

                      Consumption based economy? How to hell is anyone supposed to consume anything when there aren’t any jobs for the mass of high school graduates over minimum wage anymore? You can’t have a consumption economy with stagnant wages and dead-end jobs.

                      In the ’60s a man out of high school could get an assembly job line and buy his own home within a few years. Try doing that now that we have our vaunted “consumption based” economy.

                      Well, you can finance it through credit card debt and stock bubbles, and home equity loans, but that’s come to an end.

                    7. First, since when is owning a house somehow the only measure of success. For hundreds of years few people owned and the world did just fine. It was only since world war II that we decided everyone should own. And you can see where that got us.

                      And further, where is it written that a high school education and a job turning a wrench should now and forever be well paid? The world changes. We have to change with it.

                      You are pissing at the wind here. The old model of big government, big union, big corporations, is over. And it wasn’t that great even when it worked. As I said above, that model is bankrupt and it is never coming back.

                    8. “In the ’60s a man out of high school could get an assembly job line and buy his own home within a few years. Try doing that now that we have our vaunted “consumption based” economy.”

                      Compare that home to a modern home. WOuld that man have been able to buy a plasma tv? WOuld he have had an internet connection? Cable? Microwave oven? Proper insulation?

                    9. “Defense-related expenses are +/- 10% of GDP when you look at the whole picture.”

                      Defense related expenses are more like 7% of GDP and most of that isn’t for the military industrial complex. Most of it goes towards paychecks and healthcare. Don’t get me wrong, I’d slash the defense budget in half tomorrow, but your “facts” leave a lot to be desired.

                    10. Scratch a progressive, get a hidebound traditionalist screeching about chinks and spics taking his jerbs.

                    11. Also, gotta love how “@” goes from saying that regulations would have prevented the crisis, to conceding the point that government played a role in propping up the bubble and going full-bore on the “gubmint’s only doing it because they took our jerbs” train.

                  2. It may not be “the same as”, @, but it’s in the same general thought arena.

                    1. Though a period of general deflation and low growth began in 1873, it did not have the severe “economic retrogression [and] spectacular breakdown” of the latter Great Depression.[1]

                      From the “Long Depression” page on wikipedia:

                      Because of the large increases in U.S. industrial production, GNP and real product per capita, economic historians have questioned whether there was really a U.S. depression in anything other than profits.[2]

                      I also call bullshit on claiming that the homestead act represented a government cheap land giveaway. The homestead act simply allowed people who utilized land to claim ownership after a certain amount of time, land that was completely unowned before hand. THe homestead principle is a free market principle and the government was simply recognizing it back in the 1800’s (and even today). Being recognized by government isn’t the same thing as being created by government.

                      And yes, the government did interfere with the economy back in the 1800’s but it was to a much lesser extent than today. The government only interfered with the economy just enough to cause some serious bubbles and crashes, but recovered nicely each time without any government stimulus or expansionary monetary policy. That’s more of a ringing endorsement of free enterprise than government manipulation, so I don’t see what you are getting at.

                    2. What the hell? THe first paragraph and the second full paragraph both belong under the “From the “Long Depression” page on wikipedia:” line. I’m not sure how that happened. Everything else is me typing and not from wikipedia. (In case it wasn’t obvious.)

                      I think it is the utmost stupidity to read a small portion of wikipedia and then build an argument around it without even reading the beginning of the fucking article.

      2. Sounds right wing. Yes, once again, actions, not rhetoric….

      3. Well, the part about massive military budgets and funding Buck Rogers superweapons at the expense of the consumer economy sounds right wing.

        I wonder what percentage of GPD left wing governments like north Korea spend on their multimillion man standing army and their nuclear missile arsenal?

        I can guarantee it is less then the US spends.

        1. It’s about the same if you count things we have like the CIA, the “Black ops” budget, the Department of Energy (Which is now mostly about nuclear weapons and boondoggles like “rods from god” anti-missile tech), the TSA, and the VA in addition to the Pentagon budget. +/- 10%.

          1. Link pls? I’ve seen the same number come out to 7% of GDP.

    2. I think the Left has been pretty anti-military and anti-nationalism for a good while. Just as any conservative!

      Methinks some people want their cake and want to eat it as well…

      1. “Just ask any conservative”

        1. Why is it the left-wing progressives that fall over themselves apologizing for Stalin and Mao? Maybe on the inside they really admire that militarism as long as it is controlled by a murderous dictator.

      2. Almost pathologically anti-nationalist as I noted the other day, especially in the American left. The extent of it is actually one of the most irritating things about the left.

        If there’s one thing more annoying than American Exceptionalism, its the reverse of it–the belief that America is a doomed and sinful nation, the unique font of all evil in the world, far inferior to every other western nation etc. It’s even MORE stupid, obnoxious, and grating.

        1. I think there is some anti-Americanism among the left, it has to do with the fact or perception that many European nations are “further along” the road to Leftopia than the US is. If you look at what the left wants, from economic programs (universal health care, bigger ‘safety nets’ and such) to social ones (equal rights for homosexuals, gun control, etc) many European nations seem to be more on the left (which they see as right, i.e., correct) side. So it’s more of a frustration: “why can’t we be more like Europe” type of thing. Add to this that US history is nearly fundamentally marred by African slavery and Jim Crow in the minds of many leftists and there is among many of them little enthusiasm for American Exceptionalism and even forms of a reverse stance.

          I think it’s silly myself. I always point out that whatever the failings of the US we can, unlike Europe, point to the absence of fascism and communist dictatorships in our history. And if that doesn’t make them reflect I point to the election of Berlusconi in Italy: W was a statesman compared to that guy.

          1. In a lot of ways they’re more RIGHT wing though, the best example of this is their utter failure to integrate immigrant cultures from outside Europe.

            And they often leave out the Balkans (and southern Italy) in their definition of “Europe”, which would be like someone talking about the United States without mentioning the deep South and Appalachia.

            1. MNG, slavery and Jim Crow are long-dead. Get over them, already.

      3. I don’t know what a “good while” is, but we just went through 2 years of the left in total control. With two rah rah Team USA foreign soil wars going on… (we won’t even touch on the expansions of military actions)

        The bullshit flag is flying high and strong on that comment.

        1. We’ll be completely out of Iraq very shortly, and without having any permanent bases. Remember McCain and “Maybe 100 years!”?

          I can’t defend Afghanistan, we need to get the fuck out.

          1. “and without having any permanent bases.”

            Thats not rue at all. We will have bases there for a while, even if the Dems stay in power after next election. We never just leave a region, we always stay. Unless we lose like in Vietnam.

            1. The Iraqis want us out of Iraq and we’re obliging them. It’s the only reason they’re still not attacking us.

              In any event we can’t afford new foreign bases and adventures anymore. We can’t even afford the ones we have in places like Japan and Germany but nobody wants to talk about that.

              1. There will still be thousands of US personell in Iraq in 2012 even by Obama’s plan. Jesus, do you even read the news?

                1. Sure, and they’ll be there from the State Dept., not the Pentagon.

                  1. That is what Maliki says. And I hope it is true because it will mean we won the war. But I doubt it will come true.

              2. You’re on a libertarian site. I’m pretty sure more than a few here are willing to “talk about” eliminating US military bases overseas.

                1. I mean in our general political discourse, not on this particular site. There’s a real opening for libertarians with that issue though, a lot of people are sick of empire.

                  1. You mean we annexed Iraq and took all of their oil? Wow. I thnk that solves a lot of our problems. But I didn’t think we did that. But then again, I don’t think we have an empire. So maybe we did.

          2. I’ll believe that when there are zero US military personnel bar embassy guards in Iraq.

          3. We’ll be completely out of Iraq very shortly, and without having any permanent bases.

            so that would be a year behind Bush’s schedule.

            nice try though

      4. anti-nationalism

        One would only have to watch Olbermann for a week to run out of toes and fingers to count how many times he uses the term “unamerican”

        Nice try though.

        1. Proof that Olbermann is mentally ill – he hates nationalism, but spoos out the phrase “un-American” when he needs to make one of his bullshit points.

  6. It’s interesting to me how in many ways Stalinist Russia, the often invoked right-wing bogeyman of an ideal type of liberalism/leftism, was so very conservative.

    Pterodactyls ate my baby.

  7. Post-racial, we are.

    Former Sen. Carol Moseley Braun smiled and danced on-stage at Rainbow/PUSH headquarters Saturday morning as Rev. Jesse Jackson gathered together her former rivals for mayor to endorse her as the long-awaited “consensus candidate” of the Black community.

    “We need one African-American candidate running for mayor of the city of Chicago,” State Sen. James Meeks, a former rival, told the packed house.

    1. So fucking what? Like they don’t run “Irish” or “Jewish” candidates in northern urban politics?

      1. Gotta keep those quotas filled!

  8. Tom : “On the last day of the season, let’s go to the well of football metaphors to characterise MNG’s observation.”
    Dick : “Great idea. What’ve you got, Harry?”
    Harry : “Well, guys, it was like a team having first-and-goal on the one, then fumbling the snap to give up a TD the other way to lose the game.”
    Dick : “Ouch. Always hate it when that happens.”

  9. So fucking what?

    There is no need to consider qualifications, or examine policy prescriptions. Black people are like the Borg; a hive mind, in which each individual consciousness is a perfect reflection of the knowledge and thoughts of the whole.

    Vote BLACK; it’s all you need to know!

    1. White ethnic groups do this all the time, albeit more quietly. Especially in one-party cities like Chicago here there is often little difference on policy.

    2. Ex. you don’t think the vast majority of Jews are going to vote for Rahm Eammnuel?

      Or that the vast majority of Irish Catholics voted for Daley?

      1. Not 90+% in either case like it will be with black candidates. And if 90% of Irish Catholics voted for an Irish Catholic over a black candidate, they would be called racist.

        1. I wonder what % of Irish-Catholics voted for JFK?

          Racists? Tribalists?

          1. That was 50 years ago. And yes, they were very much tribalist. But you won’t call the same thing when it comes to black voters. you don’t think, you just spew DNC approved plattitudes. And one of those platitudes is that black people can never be racist.

            1. Hey John, remember when 90% of blacks voted for Lynn Swan and Michael Steele over those white boys Ben Cardin and Ed Rendell?

              Oh, yeah…

            2. Oh black people can be racists. But I’m not sure all instances of voting for someone that is the same race/religion/ethnicity as you is classical racism. Its incredibly common for oppressed groups to have high levels of support for “one of their own” who runs for office. This was true for the Irish, Southerners, and other groups for a good chunk of history and I expect it to be little different for blacks.

    3. “Black people are like the Borg; a hive mind, in which each individual consciousness is a perfect reflection of the knowledge and thoughts of the whole.”

      Wow, racist much?

      1. He was being sarcastic, I’m pretty sure.

        1. MNG can’t help it. It’s in his genes political make-up. He has to scream racist, otherwise the tribe might evict him.

      2. your own previous remark….

  10. P Brooks,you’re a prick. We collect specimens for all quadrants

    1. When i see Suddam Hussain or other tyrants get over 90% of the popular vote i do not blame the voters.

      I suspect the dictators of foul play.

      What percentage of votes do democrats get from black voters again? 95%?

  11. (starting a new thread, the old one is too crowded)

    You’re the one who needs to own up, John. We’ve tried Reaganism and Thatcherism. We’ve tried having deregulation, lowering taxes for the wealthy and corporations, massive debt-financed military budgets, “free” trade. We did that from 1980 until 2008.

    In return all most people have gotten are their jobs outsourced, their savings wiped out in phony stock bubbles, double-digit unemployment, and a record federal debt.

    1. We did that from 1980 until 2000.

      Fixed.

      1980 to 2000 was probably the best economy this country has ever seen.

      1. No, the best economy this country ever saw was from 1960 until the oil shock in the ’70s.

        And you’re seriously saying George W. Bush was a Keyensian liberal? LOL!

        1. Also from Measuring WOrth:

          The period from 1880 to 1890 saw the same per capita GDP growth that was seen in the 60s. Also, the 1880’s experienced higher real unskilled wage growth and much much higher population growth that probably skewed statistics downward.

        2. And you’re seriously saying George W. Bush was a Keyensian liberal? LOL!

          how are tax cuts not Keyensian? you need to look up Keyensian.

          also you need to look again at GDP growth from 1980 to 2000.

          and also there is more evidence of Bush being a Keynesian then there is evidence that he was a deregulater.

          ie there is actual evidence…rather then mountains of facts that show Bush increased regulations more then any other president in the history of the US.

          1. Yeah, GWB cut taxes and jacked up spending. But he wasn’t a Keynesian. And he was a “deregulator” even though he signed the biggest accounting and banking regulatory bill in history “SARBOX”.

            Wow just Wow. And for the record it was Clinton who repealed Glass Stegal.

            1. He “jacked up” spending at the wrong time. You increase spending in recessions and depressions, you drastically cut back on spending in boom times and pay down the debt.

              Reaganism turns this on its head, with predictable results.

              1. He inherited a recession in 2001. And clearly you must have been in a cave in the early 2000s when all of the Keynesians were claiming that you couldn’t cut spending without killing the recovery.

                You are right that Keynes actually said that you should cut spending during booms. But none of his followers ever think there is a good time to cur spending.

                Bush was a Keynesian through and through. And as far as Reagan, it was him and Volker who ended stagflation by raising interest rates causing the recession of 1982. Reagan cut taxes, but that didn’t make him a Keynesian.

                You seem like a person who at least thinks. It pains me to think that you could be so sadly misinformed about the world.

              2. “He “jacked up” spending at the wrong time. You increase spending in recessions and depressions, you drastically cut back on spending in boom times and pay down the debt.”

                I call bullshit. Well until 2006 democrats kept going on tv claiming that the dot com crash was Bush’s fault and that it was “the worst recession since Herbert Hoover.” I watched a lot of news between 2000 and 2008. Now I’m online.

              3. Keep taxes AND spending low. It’s the only way it will work.

                I’m sure @ will disagree, though.

        3. Guns and Butter, bitchez.

    2. We are not Reaganists or Thatcherists. Also, notice how people like you weren’t clamoring to remove the federal reserve after a major depression occurred under its watch.

      The deregulation that you speak of is utter nonsense. What supreme ignorance. We can’t even talk about deregulation as long as we have a federal reserve and fiat money. Such bullshit.

      1. Free banking and competing currencies would eliminate the need for almost all regulations.

  12. The hive mind comment has a scary bit of truth to it in more than one instance. Union voters I talk to tend to be straight D tickets. The great thing is if they are good sunday service catholics and vote straight D. You can get some seriously confused and pissed off people with that one.

    1. That’s not all that dissimlar to African-Americans. They’re socially conservative for the most part, but Republicans alienated them for at least 50 years with shit like this:

      You start out in 1954 by saying, “Nigger, nigger, nigger.” By 1968 you can’t say “nigger”?that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now [that] you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites.

      And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I’m not saying that. But I’m saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me?because obviously sitting around saying, “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “Nigger, nigger”.[5]–Lee Atwater

      1. “You start out in 1954 by saying, “Nigger, nigger, nigger.” By 1968 you can’t say “nigger”?that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights and all that stuff.”

        YOu don’t really believe that standing for state’s rights is equivalent to shouting “Nigger, Nigger, Nigger!” do you? Besides, the left gets a pass on its former racism, why shouldn’t the conservatives?

        1. Hey, just quoting Lee Atwater, only the most famous conservative strategist of the past 30 years.

          I think the equivalent of shouting “nigger, nigger!” right now is “ACORN”, actually.

        2. And just to note I’m not saying its code with YOU I’ve known federalists and libertarians who really, really, really honestly believe in states’ rights. But Atwater thought it worked as code with a large number of people.

          1. ATwater has been dead for twenty fucking years moron. And of course the Democrats who benefit and depend on racial division to maintain the black vote have never done anything to sow such discord.

          2. Oh, please. Lee Atwater said a lot of things, mostly depending on the audience. Hell, this is a guy whose close family members think that his deathbed confession was insincere: why does he suddenly get credibility simply because he’s saying something naughty about Republicans? Progressive democrats in federal and state politics from LBJ on back are provably racist in a way that is not true in the case of the most prominent conservative icons and political figures. Hell, Carter himself used dog-whistle politics quite a bit in his tenure as Georgia’s gov.

            I hope I don’t need to point out that Democrats held the cards in state governments in the South until the mid-90s: and if you’re really going to argue that Republican governments in the South from ’94-2010 promoted more implicitly and explicitly racist policies than Democratic governments in the same period, I’ve got some prime real estate in FL you might be interested in buying.

            There’s a hell of a lot to criticize Reps on without getting into the weeds by talking about racism.

            1. The Democrats (really, Dixiecrats) of the 1980s and before became the Republicans of the ’90s and ’00s. Many of them just switched parties (Strom Thurmond, Jesse Helms, Dick Armey, need I go on?)

              1. So what. You know as well as I do that the democrats and republicans included a lot of racists in their ranks well until the modern era. A lot of racist “progressives” simply stuck with the party because they didn’t want to switch to another party. No major party has made over racism part of its political platform in decades either. This is such a non discussion. You’re just sucking air out of the room.

                1. KKK Grand Wizard Democratic Senator Byrd lynched some black ones and knew some white ones on his way to spending the federal government into bankruptcy. He was loved and admired by many.

    2. Shit. My friend was in the Iron Workers Union, and he earned “Brownie Points” when he was an apprentice by passing out D-ticket fliers.

      1. That was a response to hmm

        Union voters I talk to tend to be straight D tickets

      2. Ya, I just got a kick out of the abortion/union straight D vote. It was good for making a few people’s heads explode.

  13. Alright!
    An argument about “whether or not” X is good or bad.

    X = central planning

    Of course, as per usual, many miss the point that the issue is not “whether or not” but “how much is too much/too little.”

    1. Well since you seem to be above such trivial discussion, how much government is too much? Because I’ve never been able to get a straight answer that either doesn’t end in “I’ll know it when I see it” or whatever government is required to get to a preferred end state. An unspecified discussion of “how much” is even more useless than one about whether X is bad *unless* it is limited in some fashion. At the very least, the comments above show that there will always be a need for strong rebuttal of the argument that X is “needed”, when X entails taking my money and restricting my freedoms.

      1. Eric,

        how much government is too much?

        How much is too much/too little?
        That is too vague a question to answer. The discussion that would be meaningful would be about narrower issues. Much narrower, certainly, than “the economy.”

        1. An unspecified discussion of “how much” is even more useless than one about whether X is bad *unless* it is limited in some fashion.

          If I read this right, you agree with my last comment.

          However, I would say that a discussion about “how much/how little” is more functional than the “bad/good” discussion as it, at least, recognizes the need for defining the context more precisely.

          1. How about this: “What should the government be doing?” And which level of government should be doing it?

            1. BP,
              That is still a pretty big question.
              It would result in a pretty big matrix, it seems.

          2. You read it right.

            I think it’s more useful to have discussion based on specifics, rather than generalities, but general discussion of government coercion is still important, given that we cannot know everything about everything and must vote (or not vote) based on our primary impulse towards or away from government control.

            1. Eric,

              General impulse towards or away from government is different than an argument for or against the extreme positions. It is not useful to argue “total state” versus “anarchy” positions as some here do frequently. Government functions to protect liberty…up to a point…and then it curtails it. Central planning can foster economic growth…up to a point…and then it curtails it. The discussion, even if general, should be about those breaking points. It seems.

        2. Neu Mejican??

          Where the fuck have you been?

          1. Well, this ain’t WoW, but I think this is best covered by…”I have a life.”

            1. rehab

        3. How much is too much/too little?

          too much is over 15% spending of GDP. (this is the point at which i actually get around to even remotely questioning libertarianism on its economic grounds)

          To little is yet to be determined….but a rough estimate would be a government that has a military that is less then one third the size of the one we have right now. Minus the current war spending of course.

          1. too much is over 15% spending of GDP

            [citation needed]

          2. too much is over 15% spending of GDP.

            Are you saying here that you think that 15% of the economy should be centrally planned?

            Hmmmm…

            And too small is a government with a military twice the size of China, even with a population that is about one quarter the size?

            Hmmm….

  14. Meanwhile, back on topic, I recently watched a few DVDs of propaganda films from the USSR.

    Apparently unaware of the irony (these films were created by several different directors between 1920-1980), some of the films had racist stereotypes of American blacks when jazz or rock music was played, while others criticized the treatment of blacks in America.

    1. Have you ever seen the cartoon adaptation of “Animal Farm” that turned out to be funded by the CIA? It was actually pretty good.

      1. I might have – I saw a cartoon version of Animal Farm – but I don’t know if it was funded by the CIA. It was pretty good.

        While that’s a boondoggle, I’d rather have the CIA doing that than overthrowing countries to install “friendly” dictators.

        1. It’s from the 1950s if that helps, I’m sure it’s on YouTube. It’s a pretty good, one of the better adaptations I’ve seen, and this is coming from a big Orwell fan.

          They did change it a bit to make the anti-Communist message a bit stronger, though.

  15. It’s interesting to me how in many ways Stalinist Russia, the often invoked right-wing bogeyman of an ideal type of liberalism/leftism, was so very conservative. Militarism, nationalism, legal enforcement of “family values” (criminalizing abortion & homosexuality, restricting divorce, etc), censorship, it was like a GOP convention in many ways…

    The Soviet thugs didn’t use religion as a bludgeon for controlling the populace as you describe, MNG.

    Of course, that doesn’t excuse American politicians who want morality at the threat of gunpoint, but hopefully you get the gist.

    1. Oh, yes they did, or at least the collaborationist subset. Go google “the Living Church”.

      And of course now that Russia has returned to their traditional czarism, guess who is part of the clique propping up Putin? That’s right, the Russian Orthodox Church, once again being a tool for authoritarianism and ethnic chauvinism as they were in the “good old days”.

      1. Sorry, but the prime motivation in virtually all cases of morality-based thuggery is “just because we can”, not “for the good of society”.

        1. Hah, nope! Try again.

          The drug war and the criminalization of birth control/abortion, for example, isn’t supposedly “for the good of society”?

          1. The criminalization is the endgame, not the “for the good of society” bit. It’s about wielding power over the populace; any social benefits are just sprinkles on the icing on the cake.

            Sure, there may be powermongers who have a modicum of altruism – IOW, they sincerely believe they’re telling us what to do for the “right reasons”, but for the most part it’s all about acquiring and building power over what the bulk of politicians see as a nation of 300+ million toddlers.

            Team Red has no corner on that market, by the way. They may have more morality-based goals, but the outcome is the same, and Team Blue isn’t shy about playing the Jesus Card on occasion, either.

            1. See, I think they really do believe that the criminalization of those things will improve society. They’re horribly, but honestly, mistaken.

              I certainly hope so. Otherwise a big section of our population is composed of those who want to wield power over others for mere pleasure–aka, sadists.

              1. Most of them ARE sadists.Any improvement of society is incidental to them.They dig on the “we can make these fuckers dance on our strings, and if they don’t, we’ll just toss ’em in prison” power rush.

          2. And the liberals who oppose the drug war would be…..?

            Only two come to mind. And they have to collaborate with Republicans like Ron Paul and Dana Rohrbacher to get co-sponsors for legislation.

            Sorry, but the big names in drug war opposition are (or were) conservatives or libertarians; William F Buckley, George Schultz, Milton Friedman etc.

  16. This isn’t to say, @, that some things aren’t necessary – murder, rape, fraud, theft, and other Really Bad Things, need to be punished.

    But Team Red and Team Blue love to find new and exciting ways to turn us into criminals… because they’re mostly sadistic bastards/bastardettes.

  17. It’s interesting to me how in many ways Stalinist Russia, the often invoked right-wing bogeyman of an ideal type of liberalism/leftism, was so very conservative. Militarism, nationalism, legal enforcement of “family values” (criminalizing abortion & homosexuality, restricting divorce, etc), censorship, it was like a GOP convention in many ways…

    Much of the same could be said of Chavez. Are you just going to write him out of the left when it becomes convenient to do so?

    1. It’s okay when WE do it!

    2. Chavez is an old school authoritarian Latin American strongman that uses the yanquis as his whipping boy. He’s not nearly as original or threatening as he (or Sean Penn) thinks he is.

      1. Two minutes later and I’m a Goddamn prophet.

  18. Oh wow, no way man. You must admit that is way cool!

    anon-web-tools.edu.tc

  19. In Soviet Russia, rock rolls YOU!

    Is okay, I don’t get it either! Come to Branson and see my show anyway!

  20. The American Left for the past 100 years has been defined by criminalizing abortion/homosexuality, nationalism and militarism?

    I thought the alternate earths were destroyed in one of the DC crisis series but it seems you ihnabit one.

    You’re silly. Homosexual rights was a separate matter even after Fire Island brought a populist spin to the movement, and at that time it was more firmly a civil liberties movement than the prole driven, leftist civil rights stylized rebrand we see today. It only merged with what is now a unified leftist framework within our generation.

    Al Sharpton and thousands like him were comfortable being open bigots against homosexuality well into the late nineteen eighties while maintaining status within the left.

    Being entirely driven by trend and fashion no doubt the left will turn on them again when the zeitgeist so sways them in that direction. Any course is possible with a group lacking any moorings beyond envy and the lust for power. They are quite capable of the greatest of inhumanities, at one time, lobotomizing women who played with themselves was the very pinnacle of progressive thought and action, though that is not in fashion now, nothing about their ideological approach has changed.

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  22. I think the equivalent of shouting “nigger, nigger!” right now is “ACORN”, actually.

    So all black people are members of a corrupt criminal enterprise then?

    hmmm, interesting worldview.

  23. They had films about jazz, too. I recall one about some crazed saxophonist on a plane . . .

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