Poverty

The Worst St. Patrick's Day Article You'll Read All Year: How Paul Ryan is Like Genocidal Englishmen

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In yesterday's New York Times, National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Timothy Egan likens Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to the English overlords of Ireland's great potato famine of 1845-1852. Seriously.

Egan says he did a bit of "time traveling" in anticipation of St. Patrick's Day (whose celebration in the form of parades and drunkeness is largely an invention of colonial America). What did Egan find while traipsing about in the Old Sod?

A great debate raged in London: Would it be wrong to feed the starving Irish with free food, thereby setting up a "culture of dependency"? Certainly England's man in charge of easing the famine, Sir Charles Trevelyan, thought so. "Dependence on charity," he declared, "is not to be made an agreeable mode of life."

And there I ran into Paul Ryan…the Republican congressman was very much in evidence, wagging his finger at the famished. His oft-stated "culture of dependency" is a safety net that becomes a lazy-day hammock. But it was also England's excuse for lethal negligence.

But wait, before you dare say that Egan in any way means to compare Ryan to the architects of one of the most heinous acts of imperial brutality, perish the thought:

There is no comparison, of course, between the de facto genocide that resulted from British policy, and conservative criticism of modern American poverty programs.

But you can't help noticing the deep historic irony that finds a Tea Party favorite and descendant of famine Irish using the same language that English Tories used to justify indifference to an epic tragedy.

You got that? "There is no comparison" between "de facto genocide" and Paul Ryan's call for, what, trimming (not eliminating, mind you) future increases in food stamps? And yet, that's exactly the point of Egan's article—to put Ryan's mug cheek-to-jowl with the 19th-century malefactors who controlled the food supply of Ireland and did little or nothing as the race of kings died like flies. All while mumbling that "there is no comparison, of course."

There's a "lazy-day hammock" going on in all of this, and it has nothing to do with Paul Ryan having "a head still stuffed with college-boy mush from Ayn Rand." It's got a helluva lot more to do with Timothy Egan's (and by extension, The New York Times') willingness to entertain any useless and un-illuminating comparison as long as it slags the right villain.

Paul Ryan's ritual invocation of his Hibernian roots is indeed every bit as grating to me as the howl of the banshee at the end of Darby O'Gill and the Little People. And it is sweet music to my ears compared to the underhanded and rotten sort of song Egan is singing.

As for the question of contemporary anti-poverty programs: Does anyone seriously doubt that we haven't been defining poverty upwards for a decade or more now? It definitely started under Bush, who doubled food-stamp spending during years when unemployment hovered in the 4 percent range, massively increased disability payouts, and created an entire new entitlement (Medicare Part D) in the name of helping penny-pinching seniors (yet the program, like Medicare itself, was not really means-tested). How else do you explain that at least 49 percent of the U.S. population lives in a household that receives a direct benefit from the government (including 35 percent who receive a means-tested benefit)? In 2006, according to a study by Douglas J. Besharov of the American Enterprise Institute and Douglas M. Call of the University of Maryland, between "between 74 and 81 percent of all American infants would be WIC eligible" (emphasis in original).

But the important thing to remember this St. Paddy's Day, folks, is that to even question the efficacy and effects of anti-poverty programs is to align yourself with Sir Charles Trevelyan, the English adminstrator who chalked up Ireland's poverty and starvation not to colonial exploitation but to a defect of character.

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170 responses to “The Worst St. Patrick's Day Article You'll Read All Year: How Paul Ryan is Like Genocidal Englishmen

  1. Genocidal Englishmen

    Nice band name.

    1. Even if it is redundant.

    2. One I came up with is Trigger Warning.

      1. I’ve always wanted to be in a band called ‘Harry Balzac’.

    3. Egan only says this to distract people from realizing he’s worse than Pol Pot and Hitler combined.

  2. This writer might have a better case for speaking out against Ryan if it weren’t also a fact that liberal commentators are continuously harping on how “bad choices” are making too many of the American poor too fat.

    You can’t have your cake and?. oh, wait, maybe you can.

    1. Really? I thought poor people were fat because evil corporations were forcing them to eat unhealthy preprocessed food, and that they were poor because evil corporations like WalMart were forcing them to take jobs that don’t pay a living wage. That’s why we need more government: to control the corporations. Except that corporations control the government. But if we give government more power, then it will be able to control the corporations that control it, bringing power back to the people. Or something.

      1. needz moar food deserts

      2. Let me tell you how all this works: you see, America is funded by the corporations, so they fight for the corporations… while they sit in their corporation buildings… and they’re all corporationy… and they make lots of money!

        1. +F.A.G.

      3. 1) Corporations control government
        2) Give government moar power
        3) ???
        4) Freedom!

  3. Paul Ryan wants to starve the poor and kill your granny….all due respect, of course.

    1. And eat your lobster!

  4. “a head still stuffed with college-boy mush from Ayn Rand.”

    Don’t be dissin’ the haggis!

    1. Who doesn’t like some delicious sheep lung

      1. I certainly do. When I was visiting Scotland a few years ago I had some the morning after a long bar crawl. It was much more mild than I thought it would be, a little peppery, and all in all quite nice.

        1. Agreed. Haggis was a surprisingly delicious breakfast food. Really soaked up the Islay whisky that was still sloshing around in my belly too.

  5. “Dependence on charity is not to be made an agreeable mode of life.”

    What kind of low-life would disagree with this statement???

    1. 47% of America?

    2. clearly a member of the evil Kochtopus.

  6. The only reason anyone would think Republicans want to cut government is that Democrats keep saying it.

  7. I heard Ryan also wants to outlaw private charity, just like England’s Hitler.

  8. This means the JournoList scum are afraid of him. Excellent.

  9. And let’s all remember that Paul Ryan is no great cutter of government spending. But even his ridiculously modest “cuts” (decreases in increases really) are to be attached like this.

  10. who are these “famished” in Egan’s fantasy world? All I hear is about how Americans are obese. Starving-by-overeating is the sort of thing that only prog brain could fart.

    1. Some survey found that 15% of people (or something like that) at some point in their lives had less food than they might have wanted. Therefore 1 in 6 Americans are food insecure.
      I think that’s how it works.

  11. Funny how Democrats say Republicans hate the poor because Republicans would rather poor people have jobs than welfare checks. Not taking is giving and not giving is taking, right? So not giving the poor welfare checks is the same as taking money away from them, and not taxing the rich to pay for it is the same as giving money to the rich! In fact, cutting welfare programs actually steals from the poor and gives to the rich! It’s true! Tony said so!

    1. The problem is you either aren’t aware of or completely ignore the ways in which the system is rigged in favor of the already rich.

      Republicans says a lot of stuff, and it’s pretty much all bullshit. How, exactly, do they propose to decrease dependency on welfare and promote employment? Or isn’t it the same program to them? Cut people off and their extra poverty will motivate them to go find jobs that don’t exist? (Because Obama.)

      1. “Cut people off”

        Yes, let’s start there.

      2. The system rigged in favor of keeping poor people on public assistance.

        There’s plenty of jobs out there, but they pay about the same as being on the dole.

        Where’s the incentive to work when there’s nothing to gain from doing so?

        1. Citation please.

          1. Citation please.

            In other words you can’t think. That’s no surprise.

            1. I can think. Evidence helps that process. Got any?

              1. If you could think, then you would be able to understand why someone, when given a choice between working and not working while keeping the same relative lifestyle, may not seek out a job. Being that you cannot comprehend incentives, I can only conclude that your brain is broken.

                1. You are ignoring reality. Period. When corporate wealth-fare, much larger dollar amount by far, is taken care of, then you can attack the poor. Paul Ryan is an idiot that can’t do math. Sure get rid of some dead wood, but that doesn’t solve any budget problems, at all. It’s like thumping the foreign aid stick, while ignoring how spending such a small amount in the international community is worth far more than the investment.

                  1. Wow, I didn’t get the memo that libertarians were in favor of “corporate wealth-fare.”

                    In fact, I’ve been operating under the knowledge that it is exactly the opposite for quite some time.

                    Are you one of those who think people keeping more of their money involves “giving?”

                  2. So, you want him to repeal all the handouts 0bama made to the bankers?

        2. Tony has a great idea. Let’s increase the minimum wage so that low skilled workers will be in fact legally prohibited from gaining employment. It’s a win-win, for the government. You create a problem and then impose a solution that makes the problem worse. Rinse and repeat.

        3. To go one step further, where’s the incentive to find another job when you’d make more on unemployment each month than working a 40 hour work week on CA minimum wage? Which is already pretty high at $8 an hour.

          1. Or go on disability and get housing, medical, and food covered for life. It’s a meager existence, but if working is not any better, why bother?

      3. The problem is you either aren’t aware of or completely ignore the ways in which the system is rigged in favor of the already rich.

        Says the guy who favors a regulatory state that makes it impossibly expensive for the vast majority of the population to start a business and entrenches large existing businesses, a central bank that inflates away people’s wealth as soon as they acquire it and funnels it to the wealthy, and corporate subsidies and bailouts which redistribute wealth from the poor to the wealthy, as well as making it impossible for smaller businesses to compete.

        1. I favor all that?

          1. Your supposed intentions override the actual implications of your authoritarianism, apparently.

          2. Well, you’ve defended everyone of them here, so either you do, or you’re a liar.

            1. …so either you do, or you’re a liar.

              Hey now, false dichotomy. Fascist and liar aren’t mutually exclusive by any means.

      4. the system is rigged in favor of the already rich

        Rigged? I suppose the burdensome regulations on small businesses and various other legal barriers to entry do favor established businesses and people with money.

        1. No see, it’s rigged by corporations who are all corporationy. The panoply of laws and regulations couldn’t possibly rig anything!

      5. Tony actually has a good point here. Rhetoric aside, the Republicans are full of shit and their economic program in practice is shit. Of course, he doesn’t realize that’s because it’s very similar to the Democratic program, not because it’s anything like libertarian economic policy.

        1. What, do you think it’s your money? It’s printed by the federal reserve, so it’s their money. You should feel privileged they let you have any of it.

    2. I find your logic flawless, and am interested in subscribing to your newsletter.

  12. Also, fuck America’s celebration of St. Patrick’s day, and fuck the Irish for being….Irish. And Notre Dame, too.

    1. If only the Irish could stay sober long enough to realize what a pack of false, offensive stereotypes St. Patrick’s Day parties perpetuate.

      1. I’m perfectly happy to beat any and all non-Irish with a broken pool queue for using March 17 as an excuse to get roaring drunk.

        Same with non-Mexicans and Cinco De Mayo.

        1. racists!!@$#!@$!%!

        2. Especially since the majority of Mexicans (with the exception of some residents of Puebla) don’t give a rip about the Fifth of May.

    2. And Guinness? You better leave that sweet stout out of this or me and the boys will string you up by your teetotaling Protestant ass and leave you hanging there for all of Shankhill to see!

      1. Fuck that black product of a peat bog!

        how’d you guess I was Protestant?

        HAPPY ST. PATRICKS DAY, YOU FUCKING MICK BASTARDS! 🙂

        1. How’d I know er I mean, guess? Uh, well, a lucky guess? Yeah, a lucky guess…. /NSA

          And enjoy your O’Doul’s ye loyalist shite!

  13. Some conservative on the radio recently was making the point that you must make a moral stand. The progressives won’t let you opt out or be neutral on any issue. He said you can’t take a position of “Ayn Rand-like moral neutrality”.

    I’m no expert, but wouldn’t Randians or Objectivists say that their belief system is deeply and profoundly moral?

    As usual, the ignorant use “Rand-like” as shorthand for “things I don’t like”

    1. Yes, they would say that. They just think it sounds clever to present the most obviously immoral political ideology and personal ethos as the height of morality.

      “You mean I get to be the world’s biggest selfish prick and that actually makes me morally superior?! Sweet!” Said every 8th grader for a couple months and, bizarrely, many adult-sized 8th graders like Paul Ryan.

      1. You mean stealing, kidnapping, murder and extortion are more moral than an ideology based on the Non-Aggression Principle?

        Tell me about morality, Tony. Tell me how it applies to some people, but not others. I’m all ears.

        1. Ah yes, stealing, kidnapping, murder, and extortion, that’s exactly what I support!

          1. We know.

          2. Yes, go on…

          3. Don’t pay your tithe to your benevolent overlords and then call me a liar.

          4. Tony would you rather have a society that does not limit the actions of a majority of moral people? No of course not. You would rather have a society that places restrictions on the majority of moral people, and a minority of immoral people.

            1. * wouldn’t

          5. The truth will set you free.

      2. They just think it sounds clever to present the most obviously immoral political ideology and personal ethos as the height of morality.

        It’s projection all the way down.

      3. So, how much of your money are you going to give me?

    2. I was thinking about that the other day, when Guinness was planning to pull out their support of the St. Patrick’s Day parade.

      I’ve been on the record, here at H&R supporting gay marriage for ten years now, but shouldn’t it be possible for some things to not be about gay rights?

      Aren’t there a lot of people out there who weren’t particularly enamored of Guinness’ beer anyway? Is it still possible for such people in New York to sit down on St. Patrick’s Day and order a beer without taking a stance on gay rights either way?

      1. I think that was his point. You can’t just have a silly St. Paddy’s day parade without being forced to take a stand on gay rights.

        It does start to get a little tedious and boring, as I sense this thread is about to.

      2. shouldn’t it be possible for some things to not be about gay rights

        Apparently not. Gay marriage, you see, is the greatest moral challenge of our generation. It permeates the entirety of your existence. So long as this injustice is allowed to continue, your meat should have no savor.

        1. It’s been referred to as World War G.

    3. You aren’t wrong… Compared to other philosophies, Objectivism has a far wider list of broad topics where the decisions are moral ones.

      Strawman Ayn Rand is essentially their Emanuel Goldstein.

  14. “It’s got a helluva lot more to do with Timothy Egan’s (and by extension, The New York Times’) willingness to entertain any useless and un-illuminating comparison as long as it slags the right villain.”

    Bingo!

    Othering the right people is all that matters.

    It’s like what the Raw Story did with Elizabeth Nolan Brown last week.

    https://reason.com/blog/2014/03…..-in-the-gr

    Who cares if what they said about Brown’s story was true? The important thing was that the right villains were slagged, and the rest is just petty details.

    Meanwhile, Paul Ryan’s assaults on the government systems that keep poor people down are entirely inadequate. If only he were half the libertarian they’re making him out to be.

  15. Who will take the Master Baiter’s bait ?

  16. The problem is you either aren’t aware of or completely ignore the ways in which the system is rigged in favor of the already rich.

    Tony, we’ve been over this so many times with you. Libertarians are always pointing out the problem of cronyism that arises out of the government power to reward cronies. A power you’ve always wanted to expand. I know the idea of lambasting everyone with more wealth than you is compelling, but it is the politically connected who benefit from the political system of favoritism.

    Republicans says a lot of stuff, and it’s pretty much all bullshit. How, exactly, do they propose to decrease dependency on welfare and promote employment? Or isn’t it the same program to them? Cut people off and their extra poverty will motivate them to go find jobs that don’t exist? (Because Obama.)

    You decrease dependency by increasing economic liberty. If authoritarianism and plundering was the key to prosperity then poverty would have been eliminated a few thousand years ago.

    1. You don’t understand! The reason why corporations control the government is because the government doesn’t have enough power! We must increase the power of government so it can control the corporations that control it! If that doesn’t work, and the government remains under corporate control, then we must give it more power! And if that doesn’t work, and the government remains under corporate control, then we must give it more power! And if that doesn’t work, and the government remains under corporate control, then we must give it more power! And if that doesn’t work, and the government remains under corporate control, then we must give it more power!
      .
      .
      .

    2. Present to me one program that will remove one cent from one billionaire’s pocket that libertarians champion.

      You decrease dependency by increasing economic liberty

      Maybe I should have said unicorn shit.

      1. Why do you have to remove something from someone’s pocket for it to be a valid? Is theft the only form of economics you are familiar with?

        1. Money is wealth in Tonyland and theft is charity.

        2. Because you are obsessed with taking what little the poor have because they got it via government programs. If the rich also benefit from government favoratism, necessarily there would be at least one policy you favor that would make some rich people less rich. Name it. Just so we can establish that you’re not completely full of shit.

          1. Not taking is giving and not giving is taking.

            1. You take from the poor to motivate poor people. You give to the rich to motivate rich people.

              1. See? ‘Tony’ thinks not stealing from Peter to give to Paul is ‘giving’ to Peter and ‘taking’ from Paul.

            2. This is what ‘Tony’ actually believes.

              1. Tony|3.17.14 @ 11:00AM|#

                Ah yes, stealing, kidnapping, murder, and extortion, that’s exactly what I support!

                As a matter of fact…

          2. Because you are obsessed with taking what little the poor have because they got it via government programs.

            So it’s not theft when a bureacrat takes from Person A and gives to Person B. But it actually is theft when there is no forcible transfer of wealth from Person A to person B? So the fact that I didn’t mail you my pay check means I stole that money from you?

            If the rich also benefit from government favoratism, necessarily there would be at least one policy you favor that would make some rich people less rich. Name it. Just so we can establish that you’re not completely full of shit.

            Are you fucking kidding? You act like libertarians have not been railing against bailouts and industry subsidies. Again, Person A has no right to take the wealth of Person B except through voluntary means. You think I think it’s fair that the likes of Warren Buffet get rich off buying crappy assets and then sell it to the feds using the too big to fail argument?

            The amount of cognitive dissonance it takes to believe what you believe is astounding.

            1. Tony sees no distinction between taxes to pay for legitimate functions of government like defense and courts, and taxes for the sole purpose of transferring wealth from one party to another.

              He is distinction-challenged.

              1. I dispute that there is a legitimate function of theft. Defense and arbitration are products and like all products, the quality goes down when managed by political monopolies.

                1. Thing is, there will always be someone with the last word in violence, giving them license to steal. They call it taxation, and yes, it is indeed stealing. Unfortunately, as Ben Franklin supposedly said, you can’t escape death and taxes.
                  That said, if there is going to be a group of people who will actively use organized violence to make sure they keep the monopoly on organized violence, giving them license to steal, it would be best to limit what they do.
                  That’s what the Constitution was for. Not that it worked very well.

                  1. Thing is, there will always be someone with the last word in violence, giving them license to steal. They call it taxation, and yes, it is indeed stealing.

                    I don’t think that’s necessarily true. If the perverse incentives created by political monopolies were eliminated or diminished to a negligible level, human beings would have every incentive to coexist and cooperate voluntarily. I do not believe forced associations improve the quality of human interaction.

                    Unfortunately, as Ben Franklin supposedly said, you can’t escape death and taxes.

                    By way of analogy, it’s a fair bet that Ole Ben would have found it unfathomable that cities of the future wouldn’t need to employ people to clean the piles of horseshit out of the streets.

                    1. By way of analogy, it’s a fair bet that Ole Ben would have found it unfathomable that cities of the future wouldn’t need to employ people to clean the piles of horseshit out of the streets.

                      Considering Ole Ben was an avid inventor and scientist, I think he would have totally fathomed the idea.

                    2. Considering Ole Ben was an avid inventor and scientist, I think he would have totally fathomed the idea.

                      I’m willing to give Ben the benefit of the doubt. The point is, that the viability of concepts are not limited to immediate circumstances.

                  2. That said, if there is going to be a group of people who will actively use organized violence to make sure they keep the monopoly on organized violence, giving them license to steal, it would be best to limit what they do.
                    That’s what the Constitution was for. Not that it worked very well.

                    I would agree that it would be best to limit what they do, if such were a necessity. And I would agree that it hasn’t worked very well. But I would posit to you, that it will continue to not work very well and that statism cannot in fact, work at all without tremendous cost.

                    1. Here’s the deal. It only takes one group of thugs employing organized violence to force everyone else into organized violence in defense. Eventually someone wins, and they become government.
                      I agree too that all governments are parasites on society and they eventually bleed their hosts dry.
                      I’m not trying to justify or defend it anymore than I would justify or defend supply and demand.
                      That’s just the way it is.

                    2. Here’s the deal. It only takes one group of thugs employing organized violence to force everyone else into organized violence in defense. Eventually someone wins, and they become government.

                      That’s one narrative, but by no means is that a self-evident proposition.

                      I agree too that all governments are parasites on society and they eventually bleed their hosts dry.
                      I’m not trying to justify or defend it anymore than I would justify or defend supply and demand.
                      That’s just the way it is.

                      But not the only way it can or ought to be. Liberty is a moral proposition. Any proposed moral axioms that don’t apply to all people at all times, or are otherwise not logically consistent, is a false moral principle. You and I both know that theft is theft regardless of your costume or public opinion. We don’t differ on that. We differ on issue of justifying theft as a practical necessity. I can’t reconcile the moral cost with the payoff. Tolerating or promoting evil for the sake of good, results in more evil in the world.

                    3. I think you’re an intellectually honest fellow, interested in truth, who would genuinely entertain opposing concepts for that purpose.

                      So I hope you’ll humor this random person on the internet and try some thought experiments of how to make a free society work. If you were tasked with outlining such a society, free of political monopolies, how could you make it work? If you give up immediately and say “it couldn’t” then you didn’t experiment.

                      I could write pages of text giving you my analysis of a working free society, but I’ll spare us both. Reach whatever conclusion you may and as long as you applied real intellectual honesty, I’m sure you’ll be happy with the result, whatever it may be. Cheers.

                    4. If you give up immediately and say “it couldn’t” then you didn’t experiment.

                      Without some group with the monopoly on organized violence, how do you propose fixing the inevitable problem of gangs using organized violence for the purpose of plunder?

                      I’m not seeing it.

                      Because it will happen. It is easier to plunder than to produce, and it is human nature to take the easy way. So plundering groups of thugs are an inevitability. How do individuals combat organized violence without themselves organizing for the purpose of violence? And once a monopoly on organized violence is established, human nature dictates that it will be used for the very purpose it was organized to combat: plunder.

                      Human nature isn’t going to change.

                      Call that intellectually dishonest if you want. But I just don’t see another way.

                    5. The costs associated with compliance and cooperation are lower than the costs associated with violating the rights of others in a system where certain groups aren’t given license to plunder.

                      I can’t force you to think about alternatives. I also can’t stop you from adopting blind assertions as though they’re self-evident propositions. But that’s your call. Truly, best regards.

              2. Sarcasmic… re: “Tony sees no distinction between taxes to pay for legitimate functions of government like defense and courts, and taxes for the sole purpose of transferring wealth from one party to another.
                He is distinction-challenged.”

                I just realized that I’d really like Tony to tell us how and why he’s come to the attitudes, beliefs and positions which he expresses here! Might be a fascinating insight!

      2. Present to me one program that will remove one cent from one billionaire’s pocket that libertarians champion

        Subsidies to Renewable Energy Companies.

        The National Flood Insurance Program.

        The National Endowment for the Arts.

        Agricultural Subsidies.

        1. That’s a non exhaustive list off the top of my head.

          Of course, reducing the number of federal laws on the books would completely destroy the business plans of all those K-Street lobbyists who prop up Washington DC’s gourmet restaurant industry.

          1. baited by the Master Baiter…i thought you knew better, tarran.

            1. Nah.

              Tony is sentient. If he is a real person, he is a very racist, reactionary, prejudiced, superstitious man who is motivated by hatred and envy.

              If he is a sock puppet (and I am increasingly of the opinion that he is one) , he is a very entertaining one.

              1. His ideas about how black people don’t have any rights really are racist.

                And going around trying to convince everyone that black people don’t have rights is objectively racist, too.

                1. Last time Tony talked about it? He said that believing black people have rights is like believing in magic.

        2. Ending the Fed, the largest welfare program on the planet for millionaires.

      3. Present to me one program that will remove one cent from one billionaire’s pocket that libertarians champion.

        Repeal the estate tax. Warren Buffet would lose tens or hundreds of millions, over time.

        There. Satisfied now?

      4. Present to me one program that will remove one cent from one billionaire’s pocket that libertarians champion.

        Wait…

        So removing money from someone you don;t like is a public good now?

        When the fuck did this happen?

        Anyway I am sure Buffet would have lost lost billions if there was no bailout which libertarians opposed.

        I am positive libertarians did not oppose it just to make Buffet broke though. They opposed it because it was theft from everyone in order to pay a small group of rich and politically connected.

        Ditto for stimulus.

      5. Libertarians oppose net neutrality which a bunch of billionaires would benefit from if passed.

      6. Maybe you should just keep your mouth shut until you know what you are talking about. Yes ?

      7. We support abolishing IP, farm subsidies, eminent domain, bailouts for corporations, and federally subsidized flood insurance, as well as slashing defense spending. To help the poor, we support abolishing occupational licensing laws, the war on drugs, zoning laws, and occupational licensing laws. Libertarians support school vouchers as well.

        The government does redistribute income to the wealthy. David Stockman, David Cay Johnston, luigi Zingales, Peter Schweizer, Dean Baker, and Timothy Carney have written great books on this. The government also keeps the poor and minorities in the underclass through legislation. Walter Willams, D. Eric Schansberg, Clarence Carson, Charles Murray, and Michelle Alexander have written wonderful books on state created institutional poverty.

        If libertarians like me want to implement our policy proposals and stop being basement dwelling freaks, we need to abandon rights based NAP/Randian garbage and solely focus on utilitarian, consequentialist arguments.

    3. You decrease dependency by increasing economic liberty.

      Wrong. India today or the USA in the Great Depression would have no dependency then.

      Economic liberty is a virtue unto itself. You don’t need to sell it as a welfare program to justify it.

      1. Har! Shreeky thinks economic liberty increased during the Great Depression!

        1. Economic liberty during the Great Depression was far greater than it is today.

          We had far fewer regulations, taxes, government programs, and all the other components of statism then.

          1. How are those wage and price controls workin’ out?

        2. When HErbert Hoover championed the creation of the FCC, the Agriculture Department and the continuation of World War I’s government control of the economy, it was totally laissez faire!!!!!!

      2. The Great Depression was not a result of economic liberty.

        And India’s economy has been more or less centrally planned since 1947. Here’s one example:

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

        They’ve liberalized–some–since the 1990s, but whatever India’s problems are, they’re not the result of economic liberty.

        Your beliefs about the world and the way it works have no basis in fact. Rather, you look for facts to support your conclusions–it really is supposed to be the other way around, you know?

        I mean, do you know that? First you look at premises and then you draw conclusions. Drawing conclusions first colors everything you see when you look at the “facts”. After a while, they stop being facts–they just become perspective. Ultimately, it makes you look really stupid when you talk to people who are familiar with the facts.

        1. Ken, it really doesn’t care if it looks stupid. It’s not sentient. It literally has no comprehension of any of the concepts it is bandying about. It’s a discrete thing; it is stimulated by a post or comment; it slaps text on the comment box that ‘feels’ responsive, and it gets n responses. The higher the value of n, the greater the weight that text gets in its neural net for future comments in response to similar words as the original posting.

          I wrote programs that did something similar as part of an AI course, so I recognize the signs.

          1. Are you making an analogy?

            ’cause that would be kind of interesting if it were literally true.

            Anyway, yeah, it shouldn’t have been too hard for me to see that somebody who puts “Buttplug” in his name doesn’t care about looking stupid.

            So, Palin’s Buttplug looks stupid? That observation is withdrawn. Of course “Palin’s Buttplug” doesn’t care if he looks stupid!

        2. The Great Depression was not a result of economic liberty.

          I don’t claim such. I am claiming that the GD happened despite the superior economic liberty of the time.

          And no, the puny little FCC (etc) did not cause the Great Depression. The GD became a certainty during the end of the Coolidge administration and was fully in process by 1929. And we had a gold standard. That time period was Libertarian Paradise!

          1. Which does not counter his argument at all. If liberty had been even less at the time, then dependency would have been even higher.

          2. I would say trade restrictions had a big impact on the Great Depression–and there’s nothing libertarian about a trade war.

            Anyway, yeah, there’s this thing called the business cycle.

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

            A lot of libertarians say it’s caused by fed policy, which is reacting to various things the government is doing (like borrowing and spending). Some of us say it’s a function of the Credit Cycle. Ultimately, I think the business cycle’s tops and bottoms are a function of uncertainty. We tend to follow whatever developing trend into the future because we don’t know when the worm is going to turn…

            One of the problems with a lack of economic liberty is that it makes it harder to climb out of the recessions and depressions when you get into them.

            The Great Depression lasted as long as it did because of a lack of economic liberty.

            So, you’re going to have to move your goalposts further.

          3. I am claiming that the GD happened despite the superior economic liberty of the time.

            WTF?!?!

            Are you retarded?

            Farmers could not grow wheat without permission from the government.

      3. decrease dependency

        no dependency

        Flog that strawman, dipshit.

      4. Wrong. India today or the USA in the Great Depression would have no dependency then.

        India? The country ranked 134/189 by the World Bank, 120/178 by Heritage and 111/152 by Fraser? Have you ever done business there? Are you trying to prove that you’re a retard? Fucking India as a bastion of economic liberty? That might be the dumbest thing you’ve ever written.

        1. The facts he cites are just stuff he throws up against the wall.

          He’s just hoping something will stick, but he doesn’t really care whether any one of them makes any sense at all.

          1. I’m talking about Palin, up there!

            …just in case that was unclear.

          2. Yeah, Tarran has him pegged. It’s a shame that I have nothing to do at work this week so I feed the trolls instead.

  17. In 2006, according to a study by Douglas J. Besharov of the American Enterprise Institute and Douglas M. Call of the University of Maryland, between “between 74 and 81 percent of all American infants would be WIC eligible”

    No way. Obama wasn’t president back then.

    1. This same article pointed out Bush’s tremendous expansion of the welfare state. Are you that hung up on tribalism that every issue is D versus R? Or do you just really love straw man arguments?

      1. The Peanuts tell me Obama is far worse than Bush.

        Must be that web portal where you can buy private insurance.

        1. So both then.

        2. Must be that web portal where you can are forced to buy heavily regulated and standardized private insurance.

          FTFY, since you’re too retarded to figure it out on your own.

        3. The Peanuts tell me Obama is far worse than Bush.

          Just because he spent more money they think he’s worse on spending. Rubes…

    2. You think no one was opposed to the welfare state until Obama became president?!

      Are you really that far gone?

      1. It’s even farther gone.

        You realize it’s not sentient, right?

        It merely spews out strings of words hoping to provoke a reaction. It can’t tell the difference between agreement and abuse.

        It’s no longer a man, but closer in brain power to a salamander.

        1. Yeah I see it now. Programmed responses to external stimuli, but no real capacity to learn or adapt to new or conflicting information.

  18. And it is sweet music to my ears compared to the underhanded and rotten sort of song Egan is singing.

    Which is precisely why I decline to read Egan’s overwrought drivel.

  19. The problem is you either aren’t aware of or completely ignore the ways in which the system is rigged in favor of the already rich.

    If only we knew how this state of affairs had come to be.

    It’s a mystery.

    1. There oughta be a LAW, for fuck’s sake!

    2. Yeah, government existed, therefore…

      How nice it must be to be so unburdened with details. Roomy up there in your brain hole?

      The state of affairs came to be through deregulation and increased income inequality via the very programs Republicans and libertarians supported for the past 40 years.

      1. The state of affairs came to be through deregulation …the past 40 years.

        If you consider regulation by the number of pages in the Federal Register, in 1972 there were 28,924 pages. In 2012 there were 80,050 pages. Some things were deregulated and others regulated. But overall, an increase in regulation.

        From Here

        1. To argue that the amount of laws and regulation has been diminishing is probably the most absurd defiance of reality you’ve ever made Tony.

          1. Also to blame deregulation on Republicans and libertarians is a good one.

            Carter and Clinton deregulated.

            1. Carter and Clinton reregulated.

              FTFY.

              The only thing that can be called deregulation in any meaningful way is the ending of price controls on interstate airline fares.

      2. Yes and the vast improvements in life that came from the Agricultural and Industrial Revolutions was because of government fiat. I can’t believe the answer has been in front of me the whole time. There’s not one single problem that can’t be solved by politics and coercion. Such nuanced thinking you have, comrade.

      3. What deregulation? Be specific.

        As far as income inequality goes, I see you would rather the poor be poorer provided that the rich were also poorer (less inequality) than the poor be richer with the rich also being richer (more inequality).

        For example you would rather see the poor survive on $10K/yr provided the rich are limited to $100K/yr, than see the poor live on $50K/yr while allowing the rich to have a hundred times that.

        Equality is a race to the lowest common denominator.

      4. income inequality

        Drink!

  20. English Tories

    I thought Lord John Russell was a Whig? And Sir Charles Trevelyan’s son was a Liberal cabinet minister who was briefly a Liberal Unionist.

    1. I mention this because usually the Potato Famine is brought up to discredit the classical liberalism of the Whigs. But then again when were the Progs historically literate? I mean look at the attacks on all the “deregulation” going on in the US.

  21. Nothing worse then a self-hating, uncle tom, Irishman.

    1. Cawtholic, West Briton, Castle Catholic, Jackeen, shoneen.

      1. As a libertarian Irish-American (8 Irish or I-A grandparents) I’d just like to answer Egan’s nonsense. In what way did the famine-era Irish live under anything like a free enterprise system?

        Irish tenants and English landlords viewed each other with animosity.
        “Ireland was a conquered country, the Irish peasant a dispossessed man,
        [and] his landlord an alien conqueror.”37 In addition to being dispossessed
        of their property, Irish tenants were denied the legal protection once enjoyed
        under ancient Irish customs and land laws. English land laws were
        imported into Ireland, and these laws “pushed to their extreme the rights of
        landlords, and conceded nothing to the occupiers, in respect of their customary
        rights under the old Irish customs.”38 Tenants generally were not
        given leases. 39 Instead, they became tenants at will who could be evicted at
        anytime and for any reason.’ Additionally, tenants received no compensation
        for improvements made on the land during their tenancy and received
        no protection from rent increases or eviction.41

        Land Tenure System In Ireland, Marquette University Law Review, 76 Marq. L. Rev. 469 (1992-1993) – C E Smith

        If the durty Norman-Sasanach had just returned what they’d stolen, there wouldn’t have been any need for “famine relief.”

        Kevin R

  22. I can’t understand why the hell you people continue to “argue” with Tony. It’s degrading.

    1. We won all the good arguments.

      Might as win the ones against an idiot as well.

      Poking fun at Epi’s horrible taste in the arts only fills up so much time.

  23. Of course when both liberals and conservatives today speak of “deregulation” they are talking about “reregulation”.

    In spite of the changes that have happened since Barry Goldwater first challenged the republican and democratic establishments, the Managerial Liberalism advocated by Republicans like Henry Cabot Lodge, Bill Scranton and Nelson Rockefeller and just about all Democrats* is till the dominate political in this country.

    Every “deregulation” scheme has pretty much meant establishing a different set of regulations than the ones in effect before. Pretty much in the same way as “privatization” has never meant ending government involvement in some function and allowing private actors to decide what they want to do about it but to turn the government apparatus over to cronies of the party in power and maintaining or increasing the same subsidies that were in effect before.

    *Southern Democrats just believed in “separate” management for blacks.

  24. I can’t understand why the hell you people continue to “argue” with Tony.

    “Taunt” not same as “Argue”

  25. There is nothing like “free money” to get people to abandon common sense, if they had any to start with.

  26. Who disputes our right to “question the efficacy and effects of anti-poverty programs”?

    However, it is rich that Ryan, who used Federal welfare programs, sees in others the risk of a culture of dependency, but not in himself or the corporations including farmers sucking at the government teat.

    Does the red bar include tax benefits for employer-provided health insurance and home loan interest deductions? For employees of fossil fuel companies receiving benefits? Lies, damn lies, and statistics, etc.

  27. I don’t normally disagree with something I read on reason.com, but Paul Ryan is absolutely, unquestionably, a complete and total psychopath. I don’t believe in dependence on hand outs, I don’t believe in the nanny state or the welfare state. But Paul Ryan’s motives are not pure, he is sinister and evil, and he shouldn’t be mistaken for some kind of champion of conservative ideology. He gives conservatives and libertarians a bad name.

    1. And your evidence for this view?

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