Author Archives

Archive of the posts written by author : Henry Oliner.

Oligarchical Solialism

“The technocratic future is already upon us. And it has little need for the labor of the lower classes—or the messiness of democracy. These same people have amassed the power to control and disseminate information far more subtly and efficiently than Mussolini, Hitler, or Stalin.”

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The Information Oligarchy

“..the biggest problem with having the flow of information so tightly concentrated in the hands of so few is not that it allows posts from hate groups or divisive political operatives or skinny teenagers. It’s that a tiny handful of oligarchs are dictating what is knowable, or what views are valid.”

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Hyphenated Capitalism

“Hyphenated capitalism is no capitalism at all. The better name for it is socialism lite.” Nikki Haley

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Capitalism and The New Deal

“Recovery had proceeded far enough to end despair, but not far enough to restore satisfaction. People still felt that many things were wrong, but no longer felt, as they had in the terrible days of 1933, that their single duty was to trust Franklin Roosevelt and hold their peace. By transforming the national mood from apathy to action, the New Deal was invigorating its enemies as well as its friends.”

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Political Observations 2021 09 29

Whether you are a Democrat or a Republican you cannot incite a mob and expect to control it for long. The French learned this long ago. 

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A Reasonable Use of Liberty

The government or the politicians who seek the power of government tend to promise benefits without paying for them.  When there is an eviction moratorium what happens to the landlord? When we forgive college debt or any other debt who makes up the shortfall?  When the minimum wage is raised where does this increase come from?  We pretend either the shortfall magically appears or worse, it comes out of the pockets of evil greedy people who deserve to be shorted.

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Taming the News

Successful journalism is less likely to be measured by objective truth, clarity, and illumination than by clicks and shares. Clicks and shares are generated by outrage and fear mongering. If your first response to an article is outrage or vindication, put it aside for a few days; you are being played.

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The Forgottten Man and Civil Liberty

“Now if I have set this idea before you with any distinctness and success, you see that civil liberty consists of a set of civil institutions and laws which are arranged to act as impersonally as possible. It does not consist in majority rule or in universal suffrage or in elective systems at all. These are devices which are good or better just in the degree in which they secure liberty.”

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An Alliance of Victims and Experts

“That is, the experts are not always disinterested, and they sometimes use their powerful positions to find ways to avoid the consequences of their own innovations. Court-ordered busing to achieve school integration, for example, involved many children, but few whose parents were the judges, lawyers, and activists who promoted this remedy.”

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The Risk of Historical Determinism

The evolution of philosophy document so well in The Tyranny of Reason by Yuval Levin brought the dream of scientific reason to the social realm, expressed by Hegel that influenced Marx, the communists, and the fascists and to a much lesser extent, the progressives. It is expressed innocently as the arc of history or the right side of history.  Darwin provided the link from science to society, though he should not be held accountable for those who so bastardized his work. The ‘inevitability’ of history provided cover for the most brutal regimes of the last century.

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The Mutated Rationale of the Administrative State

“Neither the inflation of the 1970s nor the transformation of America’s industrial heartland into its Rust Belt was inevitable, she argues. Both were direct, foreseeable consequences of short-sighted choices: demanding that monetary policy accommodate irresponsible fiscal policy, and labor and management agreeing to enrich one another by fleecing customers and shareholders ever more brazenly.”

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The Dignity of the Destitute

“Hopkins much preferred giving straight cash, even if the reliefer used it for tobacco or liquor; on the whole, he felt, more damage was done to the human spirit by loss of choice than by loss of vitamins.”

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The Forgotten Men

For FDR the ‘Forgotten Man’ was the victim of an unfair society left behind in the capitalist economy. Only a robust central government had the power to right this wrong. For William Sumner the ‘Forgotten Man’ was one who would be required to ultimately pay for it.

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The Liberal Q-Anon

“A note to our progressive friends: This is your version of Q-Anon — falling for obvious, ridiculous lies because you want to believe the worst about people you hate.”

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Democracy and Climate

“Progressives have long struggled with the tension between their desire, often genuine, to be democratizers and their desire to give experts (however unreliably identified) a larger role in the administration of public affairs. “

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Covid Progressivism

“In its Wilsonian form, progressivism is a system in which the elected branches attempt to permanently outsource many of the country’s key political decisions to an ostensibly disinterested technocracy. When that technocracy is trusted, as it was for a while in the early 20th century and again in the 1950s and early to mid 1960s, those attempts enjoy a sufficient degree of support. When that technocracy is not trusted, as was the case after the fall of Robert McNamara and during the malaise-ridden 1970s, those attempts create a mighty backlash.”

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The Cost of Politicizing Science

“So those who believe in science as philosophy are increasingly estranged from science as an institution.”

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Framing Speculation as Proof

“One motivation: Pessimism sells. “You don’t get blamed for being too pessimistic, but you do get attention. It’s like climate science. Modeled forecasts of a future that is scary is much more likely to get you on television.”

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The Seduction of Judicial Moral Truth

“Why wait until one can build popular majorities and win elections on your policy platform when unelected judges could give you the results now? Why should judges rely on broadly accepted principles of limited government when they could instead enforce polarizing but substantively rich principles of the public good? “

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CRT as Racial Calvinism

“So critical race theory, protesting the old injustice, embraces its lie. This is not progress but revenge. The motive is not justice but payback, lex talionis—an understandable, if Balkan, impulse. Beware a hedgehog claiming the immunities of an innocent victim. Beware when victimhood is his One Big Thing.”

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