Bored into Submission

The politically correct nonsense is worse than illiberal.  If they got their wish we would be bored into submission.  The diversity they claim to cherish would disappear from American thinking.

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Rust Never Sleeps

“Modernity often assumes that we’ve conquered human nature as much as we’ve conquered the natural world. The truth is we’ve done neither. We simply restrain each from generation to generation. If you’ve ever owned a boat, car, or house, you know that nature needs only time and opportunity to reclaim everything. Rust doesn’t sleep. Termites respect a grandfather clock no more than an outhouse. “

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HKO Observations 2018 04 19

The patronage and influence of the first Progressive Era has only morphed into lobbyists and regulatory capture. But the real threat is the control they exert on government or the democratic process. 

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Passion and Persuasion

“Our political system was designed to be deliberative. Deliberation is a waste of time if minds cannot be changed. But today, partisans left and right value purity and passion over persuasion. Opponents aren’t potential converts; they’re an abstract and unredeemable them, and their tears, we’re told, are delicious.”

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The Roots of FDR

FDR expressed a willingness to experiment his way out of the Great Depression.  But experimentation requires recognizing failures, and the self preserving dynamics of government bureaucracies laced with political cronyism is reluctant to confess failure.

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Artificial Tribes

“Populism, which always wants the national government to solve local problems, is in vogue on left and right precisely because local institutions and civil society generally no longer do their jobs. “

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It’s the Entitlements, Stupid

“The long run budget problem has essentially nothing to do with the Trump tax cut. It has been brewing under Bush, Obama, and Trump. It fundamentally comes from growth in entitlements an order of magnitude larger. “

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Tax Math Reality

“A key principle here is that the overall marginal tax rate matters.  There is a tendency, especially on the left, to quote only the top Federal marginal rate of about 40%, and to say therefore that high income Americans pays less taxes than most of Europe. But that argument forgets we also pay state and sometimes local taxes.”

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Petty Little Tyrants

It is the illiberalism of the left that should be marginalized. This obsession with white privilege is ludicrous. Those who decry Amy Wax and Charles Murray as racists are just narrow-minded idiots. Those who dwell on people rather than ideas have small and weak minds. Those who dismiss a life’s work because of a single, questionable irrelevant comment, in or out of context, are petty little tyrants.

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The Overton Window

The left thinks it wins when it silences dissent.  This never works, even when it is forced by violence and tyranny.  It only impoverishes their own understanding.  When I am demonized I do not go away, even though I will no longer engage with you.  As one political server noted, the voting booth is the ultimate safe space.

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The Borking of Kevin Williamson

The left has become so illiberal that they not only reject ideas, but they reject the rights of free expression to those who hold those ideas. Their strategy to win an argument is to deny that the argument even exists. By demonizing the opposition as racists, misogynists, bigots or hate-speech, they can dismiss them as unworthy of debate and deny them any platform for expression. The accusations do not have to be true to be effective.

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Was Madison Wrong?

Madison was correct that a dispersal of special interests over a large land mass could protect a republic from tyranny, but he failed to foresee that special interests are no longer restrained by mere distance and geography. They now exist in the cloud.

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Political Sustainability

The meritocracy of China is a challenge to the popular democracy of the United States.  For too many of us the restraints on democracy and the accountability of capitalism have become irrelevant philosophical constructs. Our democracy has descended into self-interested voters voting for both lower taxes and more spending, and our political fools are aware that reality is a useless campaign tool.

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Bastiat and Trump

When Mnuchin claims that the steel and aluminum tariffs will only add a few cents to a beer can or a few dollars to an auto he displays as much ignorance as Nancy Pelosi who contends that a raise of only $20 a week is crumbs.  It is the classic broken window fallacy of Bastiat, the inability to understand and acknowledge what is unseen.

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The Populists are Championing Liberalism

Today’s populists are resentful of being called racist and intolerant while they watch intellectuals such as Charles Murray being physically attacked for speaking at an elite liberal arts college with an annual tuition price tag of $60,000 a year. 

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Fascist Liberals

“Liberalism is no longer about winning arguments. It’s about intimidating people into silence. Shutting people up. De-platforming them. Doing whatever it takes to make sure that only the liberal opinion is considered because liberalism can’t win in a fair fight of ideas. “

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The Lindy Effect

In Nassim Taleb’s new book Skin in the Game, he refers to the Lindy effect; that the best predictor of continuity is survival. This is why I general insist that any book on history, politics, sociology, or economics be at least 20 years old, preferably (but not absolutely required) still in print.

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Trump and Jackson

“Like the chief of a military junto, he did not check backgrounds or discriminate against idiosyncrasies, he required only absolute loyalty. Hence he could accept the perpetual flux of his supporting coalitions and advising associates and extract the greatest benefit from them.”

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Trade Factions

What DT is risking is not just some political points in the rust belt and trade promises. When this trade war ends like all the rest do, and the economy takes a hit- it will not be his stupid trade polices that are blamed, it will be his ‘stupid’ tax cuts.

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“Rational Ignorance with a Vengeance”

“We end up with a political discourse in which both sides are, at their broadest points, heavily invested in their insistence that there is no good-faith disagreement about policy — there is only the eternal conflict between the guys in the white hats and the guys in the black hats.”

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