Venezuela

Venezuelan Economic Disaster: Finding Moral Equivalence Between Socialism and the "Right Wing" in America

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WLRN, a radio station out of Miami, has a decent report from Tim Padgett on how crummy things have gotten in Venezuela, a land where many of the staples of modern society and life are unavailable thanks to grotesque socialist mismanagement of the economy. 

It's a nation where, as Padgett reports, engineers spend all day in lines trying and often failing to purchase basic staples of life, where medical professionals flee because anesthesia and other basic medical supplies are impossible to find and a doctor might be as apt to be robbed by a would-be patient as treat them effectively.

Padgett has the sense to detect there is some relevance in the fact that calling yourself "Stalin" is an acceptable and even maybe cool thing in that troubled country. You know, totalitarian communism, when taken for a good thing, can lead to some predictable troubles. (Ayn Rand wrote a novel about it, one that, as all right-thinking Americans know, is evil, idiotic and absurd and has nothing to tell you about life on earth.)

But Padgett drops in a rather jaw-dropping bit of "plague on both their houses" moral equivalence in the middle, blaming Venezuela's problems not on socialism, communism, or political management of the economy per se, but just on ideology, which is always bad, right? After all:

This didn't happen just because the Venezuelan revolution's policies are leftist. It's because – from reckless social spending to the senseless nationalization of businesses – they're blindly ideological.

Like, say, the dogmatically right-wing economic agenda here – from reckless financial deregulation to the senseless concentration of wealth – which shot down the U.S. during the 2000s as blindly as Dick Cheney fired buckshot on quail hunts.

Ideologues are always right, everyone else is always wrong – and the results are almost always catastrophic, from the Great Recession of 2008 to the Venezuelan Meltdown of 2015.

Irony becomes our only defense here. Yes, people unable or unwilling to pay their mortgages leading to powerful and politically influential financial intermediaries losing big bucks, most of whom had their troubles made good by government action and most of whom made their bad decisions in the first place knowing that would be the case, leading to slowdowns in employment and GDP growth, are "catastrophic" on the same level as people standing in line all days for food that often isn't there, and medical care becoming more or less impossible.

And catastrophic in the same way across "ideological lines"—leftism and "right wing" thought (search hard for the "right wing" agenda in America's post-2008 troubles largely caused from personal problems, bad business decisions, and cronyism) equally bad, equally catastrophic. Don't get me wrong, reader, because I can see and report the travails of socialism that are right before anyone's eyes! Believe me, I know the "right" is also to blame, for something, somewhere.

Some recent writings here on Venezuela's troubles from Ed Krayewski and J.D. Tuccille.

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  1. Ideologues are always right, everyone else is always wrong ? and the results are almost always catastrophic, from the Great Recession of 2008 to the Venezuelan Meltdown of 2015.

    The projection…it’s…ASTOUNDING.

    1. You mean you didn’t run out of TP in 2008?! What, are you some hoarder?!

      1. Epi doesn’t bother with toilet paper, or pants for that matter.

        1. They’re completely inefficient! D-pants are the way to go!

          1. I’m more of an “Oops I Crapped My Pants” kinda guy.

        2. “I hope he tells us to burn our pants. These are driving me nuts.”

      2. aka senseless concentration of pulp resources.

  2. Moral equivalency is the refuge of liars and cowards. My favorite thing about Reagan was how he called them out on it in his “evil empire” speech:

    They preach the supremacy of the state, declare its omnipotence over individual man and predict its eventual domination of all peoples on the Earth. They are the focus of evil in the modern world….

    So, in your discussions of the nuclear freeze proposals, I urge you to beware the temptation of pride, the temptation of blithely declaring yourselves above it all and label both sides equally at fault, to ignore the facts of history and the aggressive impulses of an evil empire, to simply call the arms race a giant misunderstanding and thereby remove yourself from the struggle between right and wrong and good and evil.

    1. Moral equivalance is for the unnuanced.

    2. HAh… Says the crook who was bankrolling right-wing death squads.

  3. To be fair, it takes courage for a left-wing journalist or intellectual to criticize a socialist regime, running the risk that other leftists will pounce on him and call him a Koch-funded capitalist running dog. So to maintain credibility with a leftist audience, he needs to balance out any criticism of a leftist with some moral-equivalence shtick about the right.

    A leftist audience will tune him out unless he utters soothing noises like “Maduro is acting just like Dick Cheney, so it’s OK to criticize him!”

    1. Likewise, if criticizing a Muslim fanatic, you either have to balance it out with some reference to the Crusades or Jerry Falwell or categorize the fanatic as an example of generic “religious extremism.”

      1. I don’t believe Christians have to atone for the Crusades which at the time seemed justifiable as a reconquest of formerly Christian lands that were seized many years before. In any case, the Crusades didn’t occur in a vacuum and next time someone uses it as a defense just tell them “Al-Andalus” or “Ottoman Empire” and you will have effectively neutered the Crusader argument.

        Then you can move on to the continued bloodlust demanded by Islamic ideology unabated.

        1. That won’t stop them. They’ll just move on to saying that McDonalds opening outlets in Cairo is an example of neo-colonialist capitalist imperialism.

          The crusades are still on. We’re just invading them with hamburgers and pop music. Equally bad, of course.

          1. It’s vastly asymetrical war. As everyone knows, hamburgers and pop music are far more devastating and intimidating weapons than self-detonating teenagers or roving bands of executioners with a taste for gangrape and decapitation.

          2. That won’t stop them. They’ll just move on to saying that McDonalds opening outlets in Cairo is an example of neo-colonialist capitalist imperialism.

            An old friend of mine was complaining about “corporate imperialism” on facebook the other day. I couldn’t even get him to give me an example of what that is or define it, or even define the words ‘corporation’ or ‘imperialism’ separately. And he knows that he doesn’t what these things are, but he still felt that he had every reason to make the argument for the pervasive existence of “corporate imperialism”.

            So really it doesn’t matter what you call these people out about. Even when they plainly admit they don’t know what they’re talking about, they’ll never come around to your position and inexplicably dig in their heels.

            1. Ooooo…. let’s put some scare words together in new combinations.

              Let’s see “corpoartions” and “imperialism” …. “corporate imperialism!” That sounds super evil! Yay, new thing for me to rail about!

              1. I like the corporate imperialism industrial complex.

        2. I just tell the moral equalizer “If what their ancestor jutifies what they are trying ti do to me, the answer if obvious. We just make sure they don’t have any descendents.”

          This usually causes the Lefty Prat to back slowly out of the room, being sure not to make any threatening gestures.

        3. Why would Christians have to atone for the Crusades in the first place? Aren’t the Crusaders all dead?

          1. I think the Crusades were awesome, I’m just reviewing some standard moral-equivalence arguments.

    2. Then there’s the article where the author says right-wingers, with the customary lack of nuance, have exploited the tragic situation in Venezuala to make all government efforts at social justice look bad. Whereas Venezuala isn’t really socialist, etc.

      1. Yes, it’s a real validation of your political and economic systems of choice to lie about everything whenever they fail. Especially when the lies are amazingly transparent.

  4. Whenever someone says that ‘all ideology is bad,’ they always seem to be engaged in the idea that their own beliefs and ideas are non-ideological.

    “All those guys over there have ideologies! I’m just objective!”

    In fact, the idea that all ideologies are bad is itself an ideology! What should we call this kind of ideology? Meta-ology? Metology?

    1. Yourmomology?

      1. You are a Full Professor of Yourmomology at U Washington, yes?

        1. And an adjunct at Wattsamotta U.

          1. Member of “I Feela Thigh” or “I Tappa Keg” fraternity?

          2. Wossamotta, hats off to you!
            To thy colors, ochre and Alice blue,
            We will e’er be faithful and true!
            Hail, Wossamotta, hail!
            (Better we should be in jail!)
            Hey, Wossamotta U.!

    2. Look, it’s simple:

      You’re ideological, I have ideals.

      You’re rigid and inflexible, I’m principled.

      You’re fearful, I’m just concerned.

      You utter divisive hate speech, I speak truth to power.

      Haven’t you read the manual?

      1. Da Tavarish!

      2. Sorry, I don’t speak or read gibberish.

    3. Whenever someone says that ‘all ideology is bad,’ they always seem to be engaged in the idea that their own beliefs and ideas are non-ideological.

      There is a kernal of truth in the notion that one should be cognizant of their own ideological preconceptions and be aware of trying to fit everything within that narrative. Of course this guy is an idiot if he thinks that the financial crisis was entirely the result of some AnCap deregulation by teh evul Cheney and his pro-market ideology, and unmolested by all manner of govt decrees and diktats.

    4. As Bob Wilson wrote, “Convictions create convicts.”

  5. …fired buckshot on quail hunts…

    He lost me there.

    1. I’m gonna go out on a limb and guess he isn’t a hunter.

      1. I also feel like it would have done a bit more damage if Cheney had shot his friend in the face with buckshot.

        1. His friend would be dead. Plus buckshot would disintegrate a bird. I love when people who don’t know fuckall about guns talk like they do. They come across deliciously stupid.

          1. It doesn’t negate the rest of his thesis. That thesis does enough to negate itself. It does however provide lulz.

          2. Ah, but other than an exhaustive knowledge of currently politically acceptable jargon and dialectic, Liberal Intellectual Radical Progressives know fuck all about most things.

          3. Like talking about semi-automatic machine guns…

      2. “LynchPin1477|2015/03/27 14:13:23|#5186105

        I’m gonna go out on a limb”

        GAH!!! TREE DEER!! (fires blindly)

    2. He meant Quayle. Cheney was hunting Dan that day.

  6. “Like, say, the dogmatically right-wing economic agenda here ? from reckless financial deregulation to the senseless concentration of wealth ? which shot down the U.S. during the 2000s as blindly as Dick Cheney fired buckshot on quail hunts.”

    This entire sentence tells me Tim Padgett is really stupid.

    1. There is not one single phrase that isn’t categorically false:

      the dogmatically right-wing economic agenda here

      If we have implemented a right-wing economic agenda in this country, I missed it.

      from reckless financial deregulation

      Yeah, when I think “financial deregulation”, I think of the Fed, the SEC, Sarb-Ox, etc. Nothing says deregulation like an ever-expanding regulatory code and regulatory agencies.

      to the senseless concentration of wealth

      The concentration of wealth is a right wing economic agenda? And what is “senseless” doing in there anyway?

      which shot down the U.S. during the 2000s

      We had, really, three financial contractions in the 2000s. The tech collapse, the post-9/11 mini-recession, and the Big Dump of ’08. I find it fascinating that all three of these apparently had the same cause, imaginary deregulation and concentration of wealth (which has accelerated since the last of these).

      as blindly as Dick Cheney fired buckshot on quail hunts.”

      Nothing rescues your incoherent babbling like a totally unrelated personal attack.

      1. I like your post RC Dean. Excellent rebuttal.

  7. “This didn’t happen just because the Venezuelan revolution’s policies are leftist.”

    Yes, it did. It happened exactly for that reason.

  8. Because I still can’t get over how appallingly stupid it is…

    Ted Rall* blames the plane crash in France on Capitalism =

    Airlines replaced navigators with GPS; now just 1 pilot in the cockpit while the other 1 is in the restroom. Capitalism killed 149 people

    *for the unaware – this is par for course

    1. I saw that and it’s still hilarious. EFFICIENCY IS MURDER

      1. Jesus H Motherfucking Shitballs Christ.

        Do we have records of how many people died from human navigation errors before the modern GPS era?

        1. You misunderstand –

          clearly he means to suggest that the notion of “free travel” and its associated risks are unacceptable byproducts of modern capitalist democracies; clearly the preferable alternative is rigorous control of human populations and transporting them for labor-needs by the most efficient and democratic means possible

    2. From the link:
      “Edward D Maner ?@paraAax 2h2 hours ago
      @TedRall @fakebaldur How many people has Communism killed ?
      0 retweets 0 favorites

      Ted Rall ?@TedRall 53m53 minutes ago
      @paraAax I suspect far few than capitalism.”

      I don'[t have to suspect, I KNOW Ted Rall is an ignormaus.

      1. Ted Rall’s suspicions are of far more importance than your objective facts.

      2. Well, every war ever is because of capitalism. And all of those millions of people killed by communist regimes were just an honest mistake on the part of well meaning leaders.

        1. If only poor Teddy were this clever.

    3. Hmmm, how many extra tons of CO2 would be pumped in the air by every airliner in the world burning that little bit of extra fuel because they were carrying an extra 80 kg of navigator?

  9. as blindly as Dick Cheney fired buckshot on quail hunts.

    God, these “journalists” are stupid.

    1. Being stupid is acceptable as long as you have the right feelings.

      1. He was taking potshots at Santa’s team!

    2. Which do you think the journo got wrong:

      Not knowing about different loads (buckshot, birdshot)?

      Not knowing a quail is a bird?

  10. Ideology is just moral principles applied to human society. It’s one thing to have the wrong ideology, but if you claim to have no ideology, you’re either lying or you’re an amoral monster.

    1. It’s principles when you do it, and ideology when the other guy does it.

    2. But wait…aren’t you an amoral monster?!?

      1. I thought he was a garden variety monster?

        1. “You’re nothing but a common thief.”

          “I am an exceptional thief!”

        2. From personal experience, most amoral monsters tend to be pretty good liars as well.

      2. I am a highly moral monster, you dope.

    3. Americans tend to be anti-ideology. They believe common sense or judgment on the merits of every case with a fresh mind should be employed, while pursuing a fixed idea leads to absurd and/or evil results. The Perot for President campaigns were peculiarly American in that way. I sense it’s not like that so much in most other countries, although today’s China is another big exception. This model of problem solving is to take all sides into acc’t in terms of their demands (not their arguments) & then split the dif.

  11. The biggest problem with these kinds of people is that they lack all imagination and higher reasoning abilities. They can’t admit that left-wing policies fail in reality because the egalitarian ideals are correct. Conversely, everything about capitalism is morally suspect to them at best because they can’t wrape their minds around the concept of selfishness or self-interest.

    So they end up with quite the conundrum when socialism consistently fails and capitaism consistently produces superior results.

    1. “Conversely, everything about capitalism is morally suspect to them at best because they can’t WRAPE their minds around the concept of selfishness or self-interest.”

      That’s because they oppose wrape culture.

      1. STEVE SMITH SUPPORT WRAPE CULTURE!

      2. Elmer Fudd was a big fan of wrape culture.

        1. Onwy when Bugs dwessed up wike a hot chick.

    2. Letting people suffer and taking away their freedoms to make you happy because you get some emotional lift from believing in some ideology. . .that’s wrong. Like criminally wrong.

    3. What do we gain by constantly telling ourselves that our ideological opponents are stupid, rather than evil? Why posit they “lack all imagination and higher reasoning abilities” when all signs point, in fact, to them having different moral commitments that lead them to different conclusions about policy?

      If you told me my preferred policy outcomes would “fail,” I wouldn’t care, because they would still be moral. We witness that many of our opponents feel the same way. And when were they ever convinced by an explanation of the inherent nature of taxation as theft? They simply don’t care. Theft is okay in their moral system.

      1. What do we gain?

        I don’t know, but I know lots of really good people who believe in leftist ideals, and they are not evil people, but they area really, really stupid about some things. I reserve the ‘evil’ label for those in charge that really are smart enough to know better.

        1. I would agree.

          If you don’t know that what you’re proposing is bullshit, you’re stupid.
          If you do know that what you’re proposing is bullshit, you’re evil.

        2. Are they so stupid they don’t know what stealing is, or do they just think it’s okay when government does it?

          I literally do not understand why anyone would think most statists are dumb rather then wrong.

          1. Lots of Normals have a hard time wrapping their heads around the idea that if something is wrong for a person to do, it’s wrong for a government to do. Is that stupidity or just a moral lacuna? I’d say the latter.

            1. Agreed. They have a moral problem, not an imagination problem or an information problem.

              1. I think it’s primarily a logic problem. How can one delegate authority to a 3rd party, when one does not have such authority for themselves in the first place? A person who doesn’t make that connection, has a logic problem. The moral problem is when a person who can make that connection then disregards it, but even then, they may be disregarding the logical disconnect in service to some other false moral principle like “the greater good”. Again we come back to stupidity.

                It’s exceedingly easy to be stupid, being evil is exceedingly hard for people without a physical or mental illness to predispose them towards evil.

            2. Consider the situation of the typical progressive. In short, he has been indoctrinated in statism for 13-15 years in public schools or private schools that are modeled on public schools. He has probably also received advanced indoctrination in a college or university. His indoctrination is continually validated by the mainstream media, and his network of friends and acquaintances reinforce his indoctrination.

              It seems a bit unfair to regard the typical progressive as morally evil just because he responded to unceasing pressure to conform to a statist ideology.

              Now contrast that with the indoctrination of, say, a national socialist, a progressive NKVD agent, or a Wahabi true-believer. Sure, these guys spent less time in indoctrination than American progressives, but it was more culturally reinforced. It really does make the typical Nazi, progressive gulag commandant, and ISIS butcherer more sympathetic, no?

              The evil or stupid debate has no easy resolution.

          2. Well, the thing is that pretty much everyone who isn’t an anarchist thinks that some government stealing is acceptable. You can’t have a government at all without some degree of stealing and abuse.

            I think part of the problem is that most people can’t just accept that government is either unnecessary, or an unavoidable and perhaps necessary evil. Philosophically I am pretty much an anarchist, but as far as I can see, government is ineveitable. So I can think about how best government can be managed without the need to convince myself it is morally justified. The real world is messy and sometimes unpleasant, but you make the most of what you have.

            1. Actually, you can have a government without stealing. A homeowners association is a good example. Nobody is forced to buy property subject to a HOA. The purchaser of a property subject to the HOA voluntarily consents to the terms and conditions of the HOA, including the assessment of dues. If he doesn’t like it, he can refuse to buy.

              The reason why HOAs are originally formed is that real estate developers want to maintain neighborhood standards while they still have an interest in the neighborhood’s development. The reason why the owners do not disband the HOA afterwards is that they don’t want anarchy either. It is a limited, voluntary government. People may not agree with the HOA, they can even hate their HOA, but they give consent to its rules anyway. If they don’t like it, they can campaign to unseat the board, or failing that, they can move.

              Of course, states don’t work like that. They demand allegiance at birth and will expand their boundaries at will.

              1. I suppose that could be considered a government. I tend to think of governments more as the entities that use force to get people to do certain things and which mostly monopolize such use of force. To my mind, HOA like things would be what would take the place of government in a an-cap sort of situation.

                And when the HOA covers the whole state or country, it gets a lot harder to move away from it.

          3. I literally do not understand why anyone would think most statists are dumb rather then wrong.

            I don’t think it’s either / or. I think it’s quite probable many of them are both.

      2. It may or may not be their fault, I know about 9/10 people are actively lied to and instilled with sophistry from a very young age, but that deficient teaching and intellectual abuse does indeed produce what I would call stupidity.

        When people refuse to think through the very basic premises upon which they base their premises, I think it’s fair to at least regard them as stupid. Ignorance would be one thing, but willful ignorance in service to making your brain work less or in to unavoid uncomfortable realizations, is stupidity. Willful ignorance in service to things you know to be lies, is evil.

        Our opponents are stupid at their best.

        1. willful ignorance in service to making your brain work less or in to unavoid uncomfortable realizations, is stupidity

          In my experience, this isn’t the problem at all. It’s not hard to get people to understand that taxation is theft. They don’t tend to deny it. They just think it’s okay to steal. If they’ve heard it once and don’t care, they move from the stupid pile to the evil pile.

          1. They just think it’s okay to steal.

            Which is stupid. Theft that isn’t a violation of ethical principles is a contradiction in terms. If it’s a person’s position that theft is ethically permissible, the logical conclusion then, is a situation where human survival is hindered and everyone stands to lose from that arrangement. Which means that position stupid.

            If they’ve heard it once and don’t care, they move from the stupid pile to the evil pile.

            That’s really my position there. The people who think stealing is okay because they can’t conceive of why it’s bad… those people are stupid. The one’s who know better though, are evil insofar as theft is evil.

        2. I think the problem is that we have biologically based moral intuitions that evolved to work well in a society of 20-100 people, where everyone knows eachother. And many people keep trying to transpose these moral intuitions to a society of millions of people where nobody knows anyone beyond a miniscule fraction of that society.

          Sharing works fine in a small tribe where you personally know every person and every person may in some way contribute to your own survival. It does NOT work well in a society of millions of people you don’t even know, who don’t know you, and have no interest in reciprocating the help.

        3. This has been observed for quite some time:

          To argue with a man who has renounced the use and authority of reason, and whose philosophy consists in holding humanity in contempt, is like administering medicine to the dead, or endeavoring to convert an atheist by scripture. — Thomas Paine

          First, God created idiots. That was just for practice. Then He created school boards. — Mark Twain

          However, if stupidity got us into this mess, then why can’t it get us out? (Will Rogers)

      3. What do we gain by constantly telling ourselves that our ideological opponents are stupid, rather than evil?

        This bothers me too. I think it’s because “evil” is such a strong word, we are hesitant to apply it to so many people. Yet it is almost always more accurate than “stupid”.

        1. Yeah, I assume it’s this. I’m fine with just calling them “wrong.” But, like, actually wrong. Not just too stupid to know what wrong is.

          I’m sick of giving them some kind of moral pass. So we can feel superior? So we can avoid thinking about how sick and horrible the people we know are? Not interested. Most of the people you know are sick and evil and wrong. Sorry.

          1. I think “wrong” covers the vast majority just fine. Most people aren’t evil. I think “evil” implies some sort of ill intent. Most people just don’t consider the ideologies they subscribe to very well. I’m convinced that for most people, personal politics is all about social signalling. Which is why I avoid Facebook and other popular social networking things like the plague.

            1. I think “evil” implies some sort of ill intent.

              When I say “evil” is more accurate than “stupid”, I have politicians and pundits in mind. So, yeah – ill intent.

              1. Yeah, those people don’t get a pass. I’m happy to presume that they are evil.

            2. Most people just don’t consider the ideologies they subscribe to very well.

              I’m wiling to call them malignantly negligent rather than evil, I guess.

      4. Well, communists claim to be scientific and rational. Since their ideology has been demonstrated so many times to be a such a failure, they have to be stupid as well as evil to maintain it.

        1. What makes communists stupid is a belief in the teleology of history, more than anything else.

          1. But, on the other hand, if liberty were conclusively demonstrated to be a failure in all cases, I’d still be for it, and I don’t think that’s a stupid position. So no, you’re right, they’re moral monsters and not necessarily stupid.

        2. they have to be stupid as well as evil to maintain it.

          Not sure if “brainwashed” is a form of stupidity. Maybe it is.

          1. That’s a good question. Maybe it is, or maybe stupidity is not the right word. They’re not fully rational, that’s for sure.

        3. Tolstoy was right – There are no communists.

      5. But, you’re right. People like Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig are much more evil than they are stupid.

      6. Wow, for a chick you are kinda smart and deep-ish! Are you hot too?!

      7. We gain an excuse to not shoot them. Seriously, if they were evil, we’d be best off stealthily assassinating as many as possible, making their deaths look like accidents, while never revealing our sympathies to anybody.

  12. Looks like we can add “alt-text shortage” to their problems too.

  13. The only ‘non-ideological’ states that I can think of are kleptocracies like Russia.

    There are plenty of socialist countries that provide generous benefit systems to their citizens, but none of them have gone batshit crazy like the Chavez and Maduro regime.

    1. The only ‘non-ideological’ states that I can think of are kleptocracies like Russia.

      Last time I checked, fervent nationalism qualified as ideology.

      1. Hell statism is an ideology. Unless the state in question were openly operating and regarding themselves as a gang of mobsters, you can’t even have a non-ideological state.

        1. And even then they would have an ideology: “might makes right”.

          1. But once you’ve got the might, it doesn’t tell you what to do w it.

      2. I agree nationalism is an ideology and Putin uses it. I have to concede your point.

        But my estimate is that Putin would use any ideology to stay in power and help his friends to steal. Putin’s only real ideology is lining his pockets.

        1. But my estimate is that Putin would use any ideology to stay in power and help his friends to steal.

          That’s the danger of pseudo moral philosophy. Putin wouldn’t be able to use ideology to do anything without the support of millions of ideological adherents who’ve had their critical thinking skills malformed from a young age.

  14. Venezuela is a textbook leftist meltdown. This Padgett guy’s a fucking hack.

  15. This didn’t happen just because the Venezuelan revolution’s policies are leftist. It’s because ? from reckless social spending to the senseless nationalization of businesses ? they’re blindly ideological.

    Leftism has NOTHING to do with senseless spending or nationalization of businesses. NOTHING! Thinking it does is nothing more than blind ideology!

    Thinking it doesn’t – despite the evidence and the thousands of pages written and all those dead trees – cannot be ideology. No, it can’t! I don’t want to believe it is, so I don’t. So, there!

    Like, say, the dogmatically right-wing economic agenda here ? from reckless financial deregulation to the senseless concentration of wealth

    There’s nothing ideological about peddling a fucking lie (“deregulation”) and a non-issue, I guess. And what is senseless about the concentration of wealth, if the wealth comes from trade and production?

    1. And what is senseless about the concentration of wealth

      The fact that all of it didn’t wind up in the hands of Tim Padgett.

  16. It’s pretty weird how every time leftist economic policies are enacted, things get worse for everyone, including the poor, and every time libertarian/free market economic policies are enacted, things get better, including for the poor. I’m sure it’s just a coincidence though.

    1. That sounds pretty ideological to me. Why do you hate poor people?

      1. “You hate poor people because you favor economic policies that make people richer. That means you think there should be fewer poor people. That means you hate poor people. QED.” /tony

      2. So, using evidence to support your point of view is ideological now too. Good to know.

      3. I hate poor people because they have leftist ideologies.

      4. I hate poor people a lot less if they were rich.

    2. I saw a chart a while ago showing that pretty well the only Latin American country that experienced a significant rise in poverty over the last 15 years was Venezuela. (And the rise was continuous, it didn’t happen just when oil prices tanked last year.

      1. Peruse the list on page 8 of this PDF.

        If you were a poor person, would you prefer to live in the countries at the top of the list or the bottom?

        See this post regarding correlation of economic freedom and growth.

        1. All of the countries at the top of the list have very strong social welfare systems.

  17. “Fairness” means giving yourself a lobotomy.

    You can’t treat everyone equally if you’re allowed to tell the difference between different things.

  18. Calling today’s “pro-business” republicans blindly ideological seems like a bit of a stretch.

    1. “Reflexively Chamber of Commerce-y”

  19. The irony – if the big banks actually self regulated and refused to hand out loans to unqualified borrowers (and students seeking art degrees), the left would call that “racism” and “capitalism run amok”.

    The Warren crowd was railing on the credit card companies for sending applications to 20 year olds since the 80’s or something. So why hasn’t the left “regulated” the credit card companies? Maybe because people like free stuff?

    Wall Street is ran by wealthy progressives that give 3 times the money to democrats than Republicans. But the Republicans somehow beat back dem opposition to deregulate them?

  20. This didn’t happen just because the Venezuelan revolution’s policies are leftist.

    Didn’t read past.

    1. You don’t have to be leftist to turn your country into a basket case…but it sure helps!

      1. Yeah. The Generals in Argentina and some other Latin American states did a pretty good job of that in the 1970s.

      2. No, but being a statist is the quickest way. Wait, what were we talking about?

  21. This is exactly right. The actual contents of the politics are almost incidental–the problem is dogmatism. Radical communists have wrecked some countries, and radical advocates of laissez-faire have wrecked others. Our country currently has a problem with the latter and not the former. And all of you who claim that pragmatic liberalism (as more or less defines the Democratic party and everyone aligned with it) is the same as radical communism are probably the ones being dogmatic and stupid.

    Many of you understand such concepts as proportioning your beliefs to evidence, but none of you actually practice it. You couldn’t be libertarians if you did. It’s a hypothesis that almost seems to repel facts by default. It’s really more a quasi-religious system of morality than a set of practical policy ideas. If you think about it a little you should know this to be true.

    1. radical advocates of laissez-faire have wrecked others

      Examples? The US is not run by radical laissez-faire ideologues, but rather a bunch of not-too-ideological crony capitalists and proponents of Euro-style socialism-lite. And I don’t think we are quite wrecked yet.

      1. Hong Kong was wrecked by radical lassez-faire ideologues.

        1. It does smell awful there. Is that their fault?

          Otherwise I found it to be a remarkable and vibrant place.

          1. The name does mean Fragrant Port.

    2. I know it to be true that everywhere communism has been implemented, it leads to a shortage of basic supplies, human rights abuses, and a staggeringly large pile of corpses. I know that when China was about to implode on itself, they staved off collapse by becoming more open to free market ideas. I know that you consider Cuba to be utopia, but I see people trying to escape the island on home made rafts. I know the leftists in East Germany had to build a wall to keep it’s citizens from leaving, while the less-leftist West Germany became an economic powershouse following WWII. Our country has a problem with a government that is too large, unwieldy, and unaccountable, but you want to double down on the failed policies socialism. You want too big to fail banks and auto companies. You want a government that can’t provide decent healthcare for our veterans to provide it for everyone.

      1. Everyone agrees that communism failed. You don’t get to use it against modern liberals. They are anticommunist too.

        I want whatever makes for the best achievable society. You want everyone to live or die by the outcomes of a laissez-faire market. That is religious dogma.

        1. Let’s chalk up ‘religious dogma’ as another term Tony doesn’t understand.

          Especially rich considering Tony has, on numerous occasions argued for ‘practical policy ideas’ contrary to reality (or, in some cases, outright denial of said reality) on faith alone. Now please, go back to prostrating yourself towards the state while lecturing others on ‘religious dogma’. Your solutions will finally work if you only just BELIEVE.

          1. Also, nothing like someone accusing others of religious dogma while chanting vague mantras about ‘the best achievable society’. Yes Tony, you’ll get your Kingdom of Heaven eventually.

        2. You don’t get to use it against modern liberals. They are anticommunist too.

          Except for that pesky habit of always supporting communist and quasi-communist governments, wherever they come to power, such as in Venezuela.

    3. Mr. “might makes right” wants to lecture other people on “dogmatism”. Cute!

    4. Because an unemployment rate of 10% for a couple of years is “wrecked”. Just EXACTLY like what happened in the USSR and what is happening in Venezuela. No difference at all.

      So, Tony, is it a chemical lobotomy that you gave yourself or did you actually go under the knife?

    5. There are dimensions along which both extremes are bad, such as hot & cold, in which case the best is somewhere between them. However, there are also dimensions along which one extreme is the best, and every move away from that extreme is bad, such as health & sickness. Knowing which kind of dimension you’re dealing w takes understanding.

  22. *Of course* it’s an NPR station!!!

    Our Evil-Right Wing Capitalist Hellhole society apparently overlooked the need to prevent Mr. Padgett from posting his contrary opinions on government-sponsored media.

  23. Hi Brian,

    Presumably Venezuela was a paradise before chavez got his hands on it, correct?

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki…..Statistics

    Is it the libertarian position that we should support a CIA operation to depose Leftists in South America or no? Poor people that vote for socialists in the developing world are such assholes.

    1. Are you really that disingenuous?

      Nobody said that Venezuela was a paradise before Chavez.
      Nobody suggested that the CIA (or anybody) depose leftist dictators.
      Nobody called poor people who vote for socialists assholes.

      You really have nothing worthwhile to add to the conversation.

    2. Ass, dead-threadfucking….again.

  24. The author lost credibility, when he chimed “that sure as Dick Chaney fired buckshot on a Quail hunt” any idiot knows that you use bird shot not buckshot on Quail hunts. OOO Buck shot is .36″ and approx 9 pellet per 1 1/2 oz. and 7 1/2 bird shot (Standard size for quail) is .095″ or approx 735 pellets for the same weight.

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